Links 1/30/2024

Facts never got in the way of a good Viking legend Christian Science Monitor (Chuck L)

Something Strange Happens to Wolves Infected by Infamous Mind-Altering Parasite ScienceAlert (furzy)

Darwin Award in Thailand :-( Tragic British base jumper’s last post before 33-year-old plunged to his death from top of Thai tower block after his parachute failed to open Daily Mail

Organ donation after medical assistance in dying: a descriptive study from 2018 to 2022 in Quebec CMAJ (Dr. Kevin)

Amid Recall Crisis, Philips Agrees To Stop Selling Sleep Apnea Machines In the United States ProPublica


Master Question List for COVID-19 (caused by SARS-CoV-2) DHS. ma: “Updated every six months? Seems we have been looking in the wrong place–forget CDC–DHS is much better info?!”

An example:


With the World Stumbling Past 1.5 Degrees of Warming, Scientists Warn Climate Shocks Could Trigger Unrest and Authoritarian Backlash Inside Climate News (Paul R)

A dry Panama Canal slows down the Globalization International Affairs (Micael T)


China’s economic ‘recovery is still shaky’ as Beijing looks to get it back on solid footing in 2024 South China Morning Post

China equity funds draw largest weekly inflows since 2015 -BofA Reuters (Micael T)


The Hindu right’s pro-cow policies are terrible for India’s cows Economist (furzy)

Witch hunts persist as a horrifying, deadly reality in pockets of rural India aeon (Micael T)

New Sanctions on Venezuela Oil Likely As Maduro Bans Opposition OilPrice

European Disunion

A wolf killed the EU president’s precious pony – then the fight to catch the predator began Guardian (Kevin W)

Poland and the Demon in Democracy N.S. Lyons (ma). Important.

Eurozone economy flatlines in fourth quarter Financial Times

Tractors block major roads in Europe as farmers begin ‘siege of Paris’ BBC. You can see why the officialdom wants kill switches in new vehicles.

“I think this railway is no longer repairable.” Nachdenkseiten (Micael T)

US rethinks gas exports: there be no American LNG for Europe International Affairs (Micael T)

More counterfeit money registered than last year Bundesbank (Micael T). Production not down on all fronts!


‘Operation Al-Aqsa Flood’ Day 115: Israel pushes Gazans further south; U.S threatens further regional violence Mondoweiss

Middle East situation ‘incredibly volatile’ after deadly attack, Blinken warns Financial Times

Enemy drone that killed US troops in Jordan was mistaken for a US drone, preliminary report suggests Associated Press (Kevin W). Note many many YouTuber reports that no way, no how did a single drone do this level of damage (however, I have not heard discussion of the possibility that it could have hit a force multiplier like an ammo dump or fuel storage)

* * *

Message of Yemenis to Europeans Defend Democracy

Another sort of message. Good voices!

US Think Tanks: Cost of Biden’s Attacks on Houthis May Exceed That of Red Sea Trade Disruption Sputnik

* * *

Domicide: The Mass Destruction of Homes Should Be a Crime Against Humanity New York Times

Israeli Ministers Attend ‘Resettle Gaza’ Conference (Kevin W)

* * *

Israel accuses 190 UN staff of being ‘hardened’ militants Reuters (furzy)

UNRWA fund cuts by the West ‘collective punishment’ against Palestinians Al Jazeera (BC)

UNRWA: Gaza aid agency says it is ‘extremely desperate’ after funding halted BBC

The UNRWA has been a force for peace and the good of people: it deserves our support now Richard Murphy

Exclusive: bank locks customer’s account after donation to UNRWA Skwawkbox (guurst)

* * *

Has International Law Survived, or Has the Western Political Class Killed It? Craig Murray. He makes a point I did, but neither of us did clearly enough. The ICJ did not rely solely on South Africa’s brief but did additional research of its own (or perhaps used info from third party briefs after vetting). For instance, it cited UN reports filed after the date of the oral argument, and provided quotes from Israel officials showing genocidal intent which were not the same as the ones South Africa provided.

* * *

Global ammo shortage forcing Israel to limit Gaza bombings Ctech (BC)

American Jews Have Fought for Palestinian Rights Since Israel Was Born Slate (Tom H)

New Not-So-Cold War

SnowStorm | Rats Always Run Away First. Russian Breakthrough Intensifies Military Summary. First report is that military chief Zaluzhny has been removed and Dima says this is confirmed by multiple sources

Australia must consider bringing back conscription as ‘all-out war’ with Russia looms, expert says 9 News. Kevin W: “These people need to seriously fuck off. It’s 7,000 klms from Russia to Australia. The air fares for their troops alone would bankrupt even Russia.”


Iranian Operative Hired Hells Angels for Assassination in US: DOJ Business Insider (furzy)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

TikTok Pledged to Protect U.S. Data. $1.5 Billion Later, It’s Still Struggling. Wall Street Journal

Imperial Collapse Watch

On the Impending War with Iran Larry Johnson. Important. Please circulate.

Why Defense Contractors Are Saying No to Their Biggest Customer: The Pentagon Wall Streeet Journal


Historians File Brief In Support Of Removing Trump From Ballot HuffPost (furzy) Here is the filing: Did the Colorado Supreme Court err in ordering President Trump excluded from the 2024 presidential primary ballot?

The Supreme Court can’t punt on Trump’s disqualification without threatening the Constitution The Hill (furzy)

Illinois election officials to weigh recommendation to remove Trump’s name from March primary ballot Associated Press (furzy)


Foreign Policy Is a Serious Liability for Biden Daniel Larison. Recall in US politics the President really has to screw up for foreign policy to make much difference.


George Soros pours millions into Texas in hopes of shifting power to Dems Fox

GOP Clown Car

McConnell bedeviled as Trump, GOP move goalposts on border The Hill. I love how these accounts have it backwards. They presume that there is public support for a big funding package for Ukraine, and that support has not fallen since November. In fact, the deteriorating Ukraine position (in real world, in messaging, and in voter interest) means Trump and the Rs recognize they can and should demand a LOT more on the border if they are to fund the Ukraine garbage barge.


AI spam is already starting to ruin the internet Business Insider (Kevin W)

Falling Apart Boeing Airplanes

Alaska Airlines Plane Appears to Have Left Boeing Factory Without Critical Bolts Wall Street Journal

The Bezzle

Elon Musk’s Neuralink implants brain tech in human patient for the first time CNBC (Kevin W). This “innovation” has the potential to completely wreck the regulatory approval process for medical devices, which is much more permissive than that for drugs. Recall that a single high profile disaster led to a significant increase in the purview and power of the FDA. Eben Byers completely ruining his health (vivid horrible details like holes in his jawbone before he died) from the use of a doctor-sold potion, Radithor, a radium drink. Radium drinks were widely sold but they contained isotopes with half-lives of a few days, so by the time they got to patients, they were harmless. Sadly new gen radium drinks started competing on potency, as in greater longevity of the radiation. His horrible case wound up being highly publicized, including his being asked to testify before Congress (he was too ill to attend so an investigator reported instead).

GPS Interference Now a Major Flight Safety Concern For Airline Industry The Register IMHO GPS way overused for spyware purposes, so these behaviors strike me as a byproduct of that.

Class Warfare

Reducing Administrative Bloat In Higher Education Dr. Mark H. Shapiro, YouTube

NYC Wants To Create a First-of-Its Kind Department To Regulate App Based Delivery Fast Company

IBM to Managers: Move Near an Office or Leave Company Bloomberg (Kevin W)

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Wukchumni

    Hey, Genocide Joe
    How many had to go
    Genocide Joe?
    Hey, Genocide Joe
    How many had to go
    Genocide Joe?

    He went out Hamas hunting with his elephantine MIC funds
    In case of Congress he always kept mum
    He’s the all American aviator glasses wearing mother’s son
    All the children sing

    Hey, Genocide Joe
    How many had to go
    Genocide Joe?
    Hey, Genocide Joe
    How many had to go
    Genocide Joe?

    Deep in the Gaza where the mighty menace lies
    Joe and his AIPAC adjutants were taken by surprise
    So Bibi & the IDF zapped them right between the eyes, Zap!
    All the children sing

    Hey, Genocide Joe
    How many had to go
    Genocide Joe?
    Hey, Genocide Joe
    How many had to go
    Genocide Joe?

    His children asked him if to kill was not a sin
    “Not when they looked so fierce”, Jill butted in
    “If looks could kill it would have been Hamas instead of him”
    All the children sing

    Hey, Genocide Joe
    How many had to go
    Genocide Joe?
    Hey, Genocide Joe
    How many had to go
    Genocide Joe?

    Hey, Genocide Joe
    How many had to go
    Genocide Joe?
    Hey, Genocide Joe
    How many had to go
    Genocide Joe?

    Hey, Genocide Joe
    How many had to go
    Genocide Joe?
    Hey, Genocide Joe
    How many had to go
    Genocide Joe?

    Hey, Genocide Joe
    How many had to go
    Genocide Joe?
    Hey, Genocide Joe
    How many had to go
    Genocide Joe?

    The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill, by the Beatles

  2. The Rev Kev

    “Exclusive: bank locks customer’s account after donation to UNRWA”

    This is really low. It is not enough that the Israelis are trying to starve the people of Gaza while waiting for typhoid and cholera outbreaks to occur. Now the countries of the Collective West are doing their part to ensure that no food gets in from their side. Pretty sure that this counts as a war crime under ‘collective punishment’. Not even individuals in the UK trying to help those people will be allowed but will be treated the same as those trying to fund a terrorist organization. Here is an updated list of those countries helping to starve the Palestinians and when you read it you will see what I mean by the Collective West-

    Just read now. You can add New Zealand to that list.

  3. ChrisFromGA

    RE: GOP Clown Car

    I think this sort of framing is a microaggression, insofar as both parties are the clowns.

    I reject the premise that refusing to allow a bill with billions more thrown down the Ukraine rathole makes certain elements of the GOP “clowns.” The real clowns are the ones pushing for the money.

    To a certain extent, the infighting in the GOP (Lankford getting censured in his state; McConnell braying like a donkey, and the House Freedom Caucus doing their thing) makes for great entertainment.

    But that is how the system works … the Senate does not get to just “jam” a funding bill on the House. The House speaker has power, and he is exercising it. Politics is about conflict, and in this case, it’s refreshing to see the usual sellouts get a nice beatdown from the House.

    1. Hastalavictoria

      Re Palestine :Small Random Surveys in UK and Spain with T-Shirt.

      Hurtling at warp speed towards my mid seventies with trade union and political activism well in the rear mirror and the fairies flickering in front, I did manage to make the big London,( 800k ?), December Palestine Rally, and bought the T-shirt (I know!) with the slogan FREE PALESTINE, which since I use for running a couple of times a week around my home town.

      Thus getting a chance to get a very limited sample of public opinion.

      The general reaction has been very positive.”Where did you get that? “etc.
      often leading to great conversations and contacts-many from people you would not expect- thus deceasing the personal sense of anger, isolation and helplessness one permanently feels about Palestine, and finding out the heartening news that there are a large number of people who certainly support both the ceasefire and the Palestinians.

      In a large Catalonian seaside town for the last couple of weeks I have done the same and the reactions here have been significant degrees of magnitude higher.Which, given Catalonia’s militant history,immigrants and proximity to N.Africa is what one would expect.Here again many interesting exchanges and conversations from young and old and even a video requested.

      I must add that the opposite is the case when I donned the Palestine’s shirts predecessor , a red,80’s style, Russian CCCP T-shirt to trundle around my home town.Where I have had a few unfriendly shouts from strange eastern european looking people (both sexes) and sadly nothing from the locals, who,of course, know me.

      While the simple T-shirt survey offers me, therapy and exercise to relieve my personal anger,find succour with others and stops me screaming from the bottom of the abyss,I will keep plodding on.

      I do not,however, plan to run in the USA anytime soon.

      In fact, given the UK governments permanent, warlike tendencies the purchase of a Chinese T-shirt already looks next.

      For those who do not wish to wear a T-shirt I have found that a similarly worded, small,discrete enamelled badge works very well. The sharp-eyed beach pedlars are more tolerant and young cafe waiters sometimes give better service.

      For anyone wishing to validate/emulate this study beware, no Standard Error of Deviation was calculated – just be able to run fast when you need to!

      I tried to put this post in early to cheer readers up – before they tear into the (grim/insane) news of the day.

      – One more comment –

      To us UK children, brought up in 50/60s on a daily diet of much beloved Western series and movies, we have seen the Tower22 plot countless times.The hostiles are attacking the fort(s) except this time they may win.

      I imagine Biden’s new secret weapon to deal with this old threat is to either reincarnate The Duke or failing that, asking his sucessor Tom Cruise what his combat size is.

      Naturally, there is also a possibility that Biden could fail and join The Duke beforehand, in which case I am sure the Russian’s would be blamed and Kamela very happy.

      Hope to take in this visit, Lucentum~Hamilcar Barca
      New Carthage ~ Hannibal,
      Albacete ~to pay my deepest respects to The International Brigades,Men and women who recognised the threat early.

      1. CA

        “In fact, given the UK government’s permanent, warlike tendencies, the purchase of a Chinese T-shirt already looks next…”

        The observation is obviously correct, but I still do not understand the overt hostility which is the same in America. The hostility to China in New York Times articles and comments makes them painful to read, so I increasingly avoid reading the China articles. Why should this hostility be so, however?

        1. Dr. John Carpenter

          Oh I understand it. The peace activists threaten Mana Bear’s rice bowl and force her to trouble her beautiful mind with unpleasantness. What I like is how this paragon of the so called left adopted the “Go back to (country of “others”)” yell that was once the exclusive domain of the right wing deplorable. Hey Nancy. Your kente cloth is slipping off.

          1. Reply

            Ever since her chauffeur left she just hasn’t been the same. He could’ve ferried those folks to the airport, after all.

      2. CA

        By chance I noticed in the UK press a video of Nancy Pelosi railing at several women peace activists near her house, “Go back to China.”  The irrational response, tells of a long-standing raw hostility to China – and assorted peace activists – that I do not understand.

        By contrast, I remember reading in the New York Times that when peace activists, including physicist Linus Pauling, were marching outside the White House, Jackie Kennedy invited the group into the White House for tea or coffee.

      3. Goingnowhereslowly

        My husband, an editor for a group of research economists, has become alarmed and annoyed by their eager adoption of AI to draft their papers. Inspired by his frustration, I made up t-shirts emblazoned with “Ned Ludd: President 2024”. He wears one on his walks to work.

        Sadly, it appears that most people have no reaction because they have no idea who Ned Ludd was, although I did get to explain the backstory and our concerns to one curious neighbor. It think he decided I was crazy.

        My sewing teacher loved it and ordered shirts for several of her family members. For her I added the tagline “Slow down and make things.”

        I’m looking forward to the return of t-shirt weather here in the Mid-Atlantic. Who knows, as the presidential campaign becomes even more horrifying, I may have the opportunity to sharpen my spiel and prompt better discussions. While clearly less urgent than the Gaza genocide, I suspect there are more than a few locals even in DC who share our alarm at the dehumanization of artistic and intellectual work. And it amuses me to be an out and proud “Luddite.”

        We may underestimate the subversive power of t-shirts.

          1. Goingnowhereslowly

            I keep remembering a yard sign I drove past on the way to a food shop during the summer of 2020. It said “Any Competent Adult 2020.” At the time I sympathized. Then we managed to elect a mental incompetent.

            As my late father-in-law used to say, you can’t make this stuff up.

            1. John

              In 2016 there was a stylized version of Cthulhu in red white and blue under which as 2016. IIRC it also asked, “Why not the greater evil?”

              I am not now,never have been, and never will be a partisan of DJT. That said I find it difficult to recognize a greater or lesser evil in the farcical campaign.

              The state department claims to see no evidence of genocide in Gaza or the West Bank. It is applying the Lord Nelson test with both eyes closed. I find its attitude, that of the cabal around the President, and the President himself appalling, inhumane, complicit in war crimes and crimes against humanity. Better Cthulhu and no pretense of anything but evil.

              And not we have the “necessary response” to the drone, if it was a drone, strike on an American base in Jordan. What is it doing there in the first place? Oh, we were invited? Does the King really have a choice? But the response … Who gets bombed? Someone must to show “resolve”, demonstrate “strength.” Do those weenies in DC have any idea how lame that sounds? Do they not understand that most of those paying attention at all dismiss the chest thumping declarations as utter b— s—?

              So is it to be another war? Do the neocons get their longed for attack on Iran? Are Lindsay Graham, John Cornyn, and Tom Cotton heading to the region to show their defiance? I think not, but ‘They shur do talk purty though don’ they?’

            2. Screwball

              I don’t remember what election it was, but not too many ago, I made my own. It was quite brief;

              IF U R IN
              U R OUT

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      1. This is a category.

      2. The clown part is the disarray due to not being willing to say straight up what the point of the obstructionism is

      3. Don’t kid yourself about noble GOP motives. The reason they are happy to obstruct Biden is that it costs them nothing in their standing with military contractors since there are now way too many potential sales targets, starting with the Middle East and China. They don’t need orders related to Ukraine. In fact, the big need there is for low-tech, low margin artillery shells and they don’t want to be too visible in turning down or way overbidding those jobs.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I wonder if Biden’s poor standing has prevented him from promising to make it rain in GOP districts as he needs projects for his party’s electeds.

      2. Randall Flagg

        I just feel bad for the average clowns insulted by being thrown in with the GOP.
        They don’t deserve that.

    3. Skip Intro

      Mercouris brought up a very interesting, and in retrospect obvious point about the Ukraine funding kabuki, namely that the US does not have the capacity to produce more munitions for Ukraine, and opening funding would reveal that, so industrial incapacity is masked by political paralysis. I still think this is a ‘teachable moment’ for the MMT crowd. They are always fending off claims that MMT just causes inflation by pointing out that inflation is caused by real-world constraints. Here we see the cost for 155mm shells jumped eightfold, and if Ukraine is funded for a billion$ worth of shells, the price will rise so that available production runs hit that amount.

      1. ChrisFromGA

        That is a very good point. It is also the case, I believe, that the money is needed not so much for weapons, but to keep Ukraine’s government from collapsing due to lack of funds. Of course, Ukraine can print their local currency, but that will lead to hyperinflation. They would greatly prefer to have their state budget essentially subsidized by Europe and the US, akin to the US having to put an entire state or maybe Puerto Rico into receivership, and take on the entire budget indefinitely.

        1. Skip Intro

          One of the more recent, and more honest pitches from the neocons for their war money was the admission that most of the money stayed in the US, creating jobs for lobbyists and yacht designers. I think the money for running the government will be squeezed from the EU, whose puny MIC can’t really run the show.

        2. skippy

          MMT is not available to Ukraine, only 7 developed nations have that distinction, 2nd/3rd world economies can not use it.

          Next all the money flowing to Ukraine is a loan and lets not forget the whole idea is to turn it into a market state by privatizing everything.

          Really don’t see or understand conflating structural under capacity in Mfg 155mm shells with MMT, Russia’s economy was supposed to implode by now due to sanctions and political instability due to SMO with Ukraine. Seems no plan B was considered and as such need for ramped up Mfg to support a longer conflict.

          If one wants to view inflation I would be more inclined to look at the Red Sea, Monopolies, Greedflation, way before thinking about anything to do with Quantity Theory of Money …

      2. panurge

        That’s very interesting, thank you!

        As soon as ROW figures out how to lock more western (war) resources than the west can collectively cough up, eventually all of them, the war is over.

  4. The Rev Kev

    “Tragic British base jumper’s last post before 33-year-old plunged to his death from top of Thai tower block after his parachute failed to open”

    Jumping from the 29th floor, there would have been no time to deploy a reserve parachute. That being said, I notice something about those images taken of him doing sky-diving. I am not a trained parachutist but I cannot see a reserve parachute on him when they were an option for him to use. Was that wise if so? I would assume that he packed his own parachute too when base jumping. Did he make a mistake?

    1. PlutoniumKun

      My older brother was a semi-pro skydiver and occasional base jumper (cliffs, not buildings), but he maintained that base jumping was too dangerous to do regularly – there was no fall back in the event of a failure so you were relying more on luck than preparation. A reserve chute is pointless in most base jumping as you’d never have the chance to open it. As a teenager I’d avidly read his skydiving magazines and there was always at the end of each monthly issue a 2 page section on analyses of fatal accidents. There seemed to be a lot of them which is one reason I never followed in his footsteps.

      I don’t know if that guy did it, but so far as I know its normal for base jumpers to have the pilot chute (the little chute that pulls out the main canopy) in their hand, so they open their parachute by just opening their hand. The risk of this is that it might loop around your arm or other obstruction. From what I’ve read, this may have been what happened to him, so having a reserve chute wouldn’t have helped.

      1. The Rev Kev

        That is what I meant in my comment. Being on the 29th floor, there was no point having a reserve chute. But in those images where he was doing classic sky diving, I can see no reserve chute on him which struck me as poor judgement.

        1. Camelotkidd

          Base rigs don’t have reserve parachutes and for low jumps the jumper uses a larger pilot chute that is balled up in the hand and deployed once terminal velocity is achieved–32 feet per second squared

          1. Bill Malcolm

            32 feet per second squared is not velocity. It is the acceleration towards the ground caused by gravity. Also called 1g acceleration.

            Terminal velocity is about 120 mph for a human, depending on arm and leg flapping in the breeze to cause more drag.

            Basic physics, Grade 10 when I was a teen. Obviously not uynderstood in this comment. At all. Good Lord.

    2. Carolinian

      Think I would quarrel with the “tragic.” Anyone who does things like this is flirting with the result that he had already accepted as a possibility. Call it more destiny fulfilled.

      1. Wukchumni

        I love watching those human wingsuit people do their thing on videos, because you have catch them before they crash to earth, dude-alous.

  5. Richard H Caldwell

    “UNRWA fund cuts by the West ‘collective punishment’ against Palestinians – Al Jazeera” This is a logical conclusion, and, particularly in light of the ICJ order, implies tthat the individual decision makers behind these cuts may also be at personal legal risk of involving themselves in committing an acknowledged genocide as a result. As they in fact should be.

    Certain Someones should be taking a breath and thinking for a few more milliseconds before allowing knee-jerk reactions to unwelcome news to govern their actions. Not only is unfunding UNRWA a very bad look, but now possibly also a ticket to some personal jail time. It’s refreshing to be maybe, possibly, seeing international law work sortta; kinda’ like it’s supposed to work… Rule-based order ‘n all, just sayin’.

    1. flora

      I wonder if de-funding UNRWA, coming on the heels of the ICJ decision and order is about payback to the UN for provided many documents to the ICJ for consideration in the charge of genocide? You think the US and it’s allies wouldn’t be mean spirited enough to withhold humanitarian funding after losing a court case?

      1. The Rev Kev

        It could be payback but there is also another possibility. Israel is in fact losing this war and they have only taken out only a small fraction of Hamas’s forces. Ammo is coming up short and you just know that their economy is swirling around the toilet, especially with Yemen’s actions. So this may be a way of trying to help the Israelis by putting extreme pressure on the Gazans so that Hamas will concede more in negotiations. Yeah, the payback is there but they have to help Israel somehow so they are helping with a starvation blockade.

        1. mrsyk

          Could be both. For instance, “Shimmer” is both a floor wax and a delicious dessert topping. One thing it (defunding humanitarian aid) does is shine a remarkably clear light on those that argue for it. Glad I don’t live in one of the counties on that list. Oh wait…

    2. Carolinian

      I’ve read that the participation of a few UNRWA workers in Oct 7 was known weeks ago and only brought up now to discredit the UN for invoking the genocide declaration. It’s another Israeli “pricetag” operation or perhaps setting up a “Samson Option” for international law.

      Price wise the world is paying a high price for the claimed needs of the 7 million. Let’s hope that other Samson Option never comes into play.

      1. ArvidMartensen

        I can imagine that this was tried as blackmail ie Dear UNRWA, if you don’t send information to the ICJ, we won’t do anything about the few workers somehow associated with Hamas, love, uknowwho

        The problem with blackmail is that it never goes away while the reason for it stays usable.

    3. hk

      This is fascinating in context of persistent Russian/Chinese call for a law-based (rather than rules-based) world order around UN, notwithstanding the justified skepticism that the UN is largely under control of the West. UN and its constituent agencies, with a much larger constituency than just the West, have to act when things get too egregious. West can’t manipulate everything at UN solely for its own advantage without looking hypocritical–b/c of the overwhelming institutional advantage for the West built into UN institutions, UN only acts against the West when things get truly bad. It only accelerates the discrediting of the West.

      Of course, the Western leaders, with their myopic legalism, can’t seem to understand it: why not just legislate that waves must obey them? But that’s not how legitimacy works (and no law would be legitimate vis a vis waves anyways….)

    4. Bill Malcolm

      Meanwhile, Palestinians are still starving. Their needs haven’t changed. But while our noble Western leaders huffily abandon funding for UNRWA as an insult to them personally, people in Gaza die even more rapidly. It’s a pause in supply of humanitarian aid while our elites recover from the shock of being insulted beyond all measure by the ICJ. A pathetic excuse. What a bunch of treasures we have as leaders! With unimpeachable morals, I tell ya. I’d follow them to fend off an intergalactic attack by aliens any day of the week. Yes sir!

  6. ambrit

    News rich today. The Israeli woman speaking truth to power, live on television no less, and Larry Johnson playing Cassandra to the Administration both show that the public is not anywhere near as ‘dumb’ as is assumed by the elites.
    A war with Iran would be the death knell for “The Exceptional Empire: North American Franchise.”

    1. Wukchumni

      Not to cast aspersions, but we’re kind of King Xerxes and the Iranians are the Spartans this go round @ thermal nuclear-apply?

      1. The Rev Kev

        And trying to launch champagne wars on beer supplies. I keep on wondering what would happen if the Russians and the Chinese sent a squadron of fighters to Iran each on a ‘goodwill visit’ if it looks like Biden is set to do something stupid. But with Biden, how would you tell?

          1. JTMcPhee

            Too bad that us mopes get dismembered along with the Imperial Death Cult Apostles And Suppliers.

            But we are told, “Shut up! You voted us into power!” To which I say, “That’s the biggest lie of all.”

            1. Wukchumni

              …all the Anasazi had to hack one another apart for parts was weaponry made out of stone, after Chaco Canyon had a loooong drought

              The parts are the same, the ability to find food is much easier for there is a much wider selection and you can kill from afar and only have to butcher the corpse.

              Experts say that dry-hanging the corpse upside down for a week increases flavor, particularly in head cheese.

              1. Wukchumni


                Is it localized to the USA, kind of in a way the French Revolution didn’t happen elsewhere in Europe at the same time.

            2. ArvidMartensen

              Yep, I have very mixed feelings about the end of the Empire.
              On the one hand, they are a lying, thieving, invading, genocidal, bunch of psychopathic megalomaniacs who don’t do what they do in my name.
              On the other hand, they have sort of protected their own from any other lying, thieving etc etc.
              The common people of losers of empire wars generally don’t do well.
              Perhaps the only option is to find a new place of residence pronto. Collapses, like bankruptcies, probably go very slowly and then very fast at the end.

      1. John

        Not communiques but comic books and not the 1960s but the 1970s and 1980s. They are too young poor dears.

    2. pjay

      That Larry Johnson post is indeed very powerful – a crystal clear statement with no mincing of words. Perhaps the most chilling part is this sentence: “Now is the time for cooler heads to prevail – but I don’t know where they are.” That is what strikes me today. There are absolutely *no* voices for sanity among our political class today – none. Where are they in Congress? In the mainstream media? Who is challenging the insane warmongering statements of a Lindsey Graham? Does anyone honestly think Trump’s Middle East policy would be better than Biden’s? If Johnson or Seymour Hersh are to be believed there are those in the military and intelligence communities who grasp reality, but where are their public voices? Nothing Johnson says here should surprise readers of NC. But though I agree that the general public is not as dumb as elites assume, they are very uninformed and manipulated. I’m not sure what Johnson says about Iraq or Iran would be understood by a lot of them, and most people are completely ignorant about what we have done to Syria. Some truth about Israel has seeped into public consciousness only because their genocidal behavior and assumptions of impunity are so open and blatant.

      We need some publicly visible “notables” to step up with some truth – and fast.

      1. Susan the other

        I appreciate Larry Johnson for saying the unspoken, which is about our determination to maintain control over Mideast oil. It has gone without saying for too long and probably because we have tried to hide our motives behind some very convenient terrorists, but it is clear to those of us who have been watching this for decades that oil is our motive and our increasing desperation. I also appreciate Ray McGovern for his aside that maybe the Gaza genocide is being also done in the service of controlling the vast Mediterranean gas field just offshore. The truth is always valuable for what it might prevent. And it’s possible that we could actually negotiate our insecurities to a peaceful resolution instead of acting like it’s our last chance to start WW3 and then, under the guise of the Zionists “greater Israel,” just take all the energy resources in the Middle East. Last chance for the spoils of war. The reason we have a “last chance” panic taking off is because technology is available to everyone, maybe thanks to the free market, and we no longer even control superior weapons. And the world no longer believes nor trusts us. For obvious reasons.

  7. Mikel

    “More counterfeit money registered than last year” Bundesbank

    Just consider it paper crypto and regulate it.

    1. Wukchumni

      A fortnight ago bought something at our Mercantile, and they had this cool feature I hadn’t seen before on the cash register, in that you merely inserted the banknote into a slot and it fed the note in and told you if it was real or not.

      The clerk told me they’d only gotten it recently and had detected 6 counterfeit banknotes, including some from local merchants-perhaps not so diligent in determining the real McCoy.

      My close encounter with chicanery was after the alteration day at the races @ Santa Anita, my favorite of all race tracks.

      This was a dozen years ago and when I tried to pay the $5 parking fee with a Benjamin, the ticket seller told me they couldn’t take hundreds, and I was thinking to myself, here I am in the last bastion of all cash businesses and they can’t play along?

      What had happened, was the previous iteration of the $5 FRN didn’t have that large purple circle in the corner on the back, and what the bad guise did was bleach out $5 FRN’s and print $100’s on top of them. A 2,000% rate of return on your money.

      They had snookered Santa Anita for hundreds of thousands of $’s is the story I was told, when inquiring with a few clerks.

      It would have been tricky though, as you’d risk getting your bad Benjamins back through winning wagers, hmmm.

  8. The Rev Kev

    “Global ammo shortage forcing Israel to limit Gaza bombings”

    I guess that the Israelis were counting on a short war in Gaza. So they felt free to bomb every building in sight until recently it was not so much a matter of bombing new buildings but bombing to see rubble bounce. All that bombing has accomplished – apart from killing 27,000 civilians – is to create an ideal place for Hamas teams to fight the IDF from. They have only shut down a fraction of those tunnels and are now reckoning that there might be 450 miles of tunnels under Gaza. But now, like a lot of counties, they have found out that there are hard limits to industrial capacity and even Uncle Sam can no longer supply their needs. You can print money but you can’t print bombs. At least when the hardliners start to demand an invasion of Lebanon, the IDF can turn around and ask them ‘Hey. We’re outta ammo. So unless you got some artillery round bunkers under those settlements, we ain’t going anywhere.’ You think that the Russians will sell them some?

    1. Wukchumni


      The arsenal of democracy®, saw that there wasn’t that much profit in a WW2 era shell game, in that missiles that run a few million per pow! are much more cost effective.

      1. digi_owl

        More and more it seems NATO from the 90s onwards tried the same kind of “air policing” of the world that the British Empire tried between the world wars.

    2. CA

      Running short of ammunition when defense spending is now well beyond $1 trillion, is quite a problem:

      January 25, 2025

      Defense spending was 56.`% of federal government consumption and
      investment in October through December 2023 *

      $1,021.8 / $1,819.8 = 56.1%

      Defense spending was 21.0% of all government consumption and investment in October through December 2023

      $1,021.8 / $4,856.8 = 21.0%

      Defense spending was 3.7% of Gross Domestic Product in October through December 2023

      $1,021.8 / $27,938.8 = 3.7%

      * Billions of dollars

    3. JTMcPhee

      Have to wonder, since hard munitions aren’t endless, and since epidemics are “likely” in the New Normal of Gaza depredations, and since the Israelites are already on record as intending to zero out Arabs in Gaza, whether or when the Israelites would apply their biological/medical skills to “encourage” mass die-off via cultured pathogens. They’ve proved capable and willing to use pretty much everything else in the Murderers’ Inventory. And a plague could be passed off as “just naturally occurring.” As if the current state of Gaza is “natural.”

      Go Greater Israel!

  9. Es s Ce tera

    re: IBM to Managers: Move Near an Office or Leave Company Bloomberg

    Translation: IBM want to force a mass quit so as to avoid severance payouts required with layoffs. AKA quiet sacking.

    1. ChrisFromGA

      It’s also a backdoor way to discriminate against older workers, who are less likely to be willing to pull up stakes and uproot themselves, especially if they’re within 5-10 years of retirement, and either have a spouse’s income to fall back on, or decent enough retirement funds to retire early or downscale to a different lower-paying but less stressful job.

    2. Mikel

      UPS has just announced something along the same lines.
      UPS to Cut 12,000 Jobs, Bring Workers in Five Days a Week

      So it’s not the era of misspent easy money that is the issue…it’s the workers “not being productive” at fault.
      It’s not the era of easy money that was responsible for their “growth”…it’s allegedly people in tiring commutes and cubicles that was responsible.

      1. TheMog

        Yet the “lack of productivity” seems to be mostly based on The Feelz because most actual research seems to contradict it.

        Most people in IT seem to be pretty convinced that it’s stealth layoffs, especially from those companies that promised remote work without any time limits and then suddenly rolled the policy back after lots of their employees moved away from wherever their office was.

        1. Mikel

          And much of the focus on remote work in these stories is the desperate dog whistle to try to salvage some commercial real estate. And even that grand mess can be traced to easy money policy abuses. I’ve speculated that the CRE crisis is just another shoe to fall from the 2008 financial crisis.

          Even before Covid, remember the articles and discussions about empty store fronts and apartment buldings not up to full occupancy…but high rents?

        2. digi_owl

          Lack of productivity is wall street speak for “profits are not compounding!!!”.

          Wall Street wants everything to behave like it did when USA was the world factory.

    3. Mikel
      “…A few US carriers, pressured by expensive new union contracts and higher prices for everything from plastic cups to engine parts, have offered voluntary departure packages or laid off some salaried employees. Those include Spirit Airlines Inc. and Delta Air Lines Inc. in November, according to CNBC. Earlier in 2023, American cut about 40% of its 350-person sales team, the Wall Street Journal reported, as it moved to direct dealings with corporate customers…”

      But rest assured:
      Consumer confidence climbs to 2-year high as inflation slows and economy keeps growing

      (I guess 2 or 3 years, give or take…LOL)

  10. Mikel

    “Elon Musk’s Neuralink implants brain tech in human patient for the first time CNBC”. This “innovation” has the potential to completely wreck the regulatory approval process for medical devices, which is much more permissive than that for drugs..”

    Notice how regulatory subversion again is the “innovation.” Nothing else proven as a concrete benefit for society.

    1. Mikel

      And the only regulations that establishments don’t want “innovations” to subvert are the ones that involve things like hyper-surveillance of populations and protests.

    2. digi_owl

      That has been the VC buzz since AirBnB took off, with until now Uber being the peak.

      Best i can tell it is an artifact of the US legal attitude of “allowed unless specifically forbidden”, where as elsewhere it is more “forbidden unless specifically allowed”. That said, the economic right of the world wants everywhere to adopt the US attitude.

    1. ChrisFromGA

      Did someone say song?

      Where can you find pleasure
      Scuttle infidels treasure
      Learn science, technology
      Where can you begin to send a lot of cheap junk
      To the bottom of the sea …

      Where can you learn to fly
      Missiles into the sky,
      Study oceanography?
      Board an empire’s trawler
      Kill the mighty dollar
      Or humiliate Bibi?

      In the navy
      Yes, you can sail the seven seas
      In the navy
      Yes, you can put your mind at ease
      In the navy
      Come on now, people, make a stand
      In the navy, in the navy

      Can’t you see we need a hand?

      In the navy
      Come on, protect the holy lands
      In the navy
      Come on and join your fellow man
      In the navy
      For Palestine, make a stand!

      In the navy, in the navy, in the navy (in the navy)
      They want you, they want you
      They want you as a new recruit!

  11. Mikel

    “Australia must consider bringing back conscription as ‘all-out war’ with Russia looms, expert says..”

    “…Rapidly rising global tensions in eastern Europe and the Middle East threaten to “drag Australia into an orbit of an open confrontation”, Dr Alexey Muraviev, Associate Professor of National Security and Strategic Studies at Curtin University, said.

    He added it may be “time for Australia to consider another uncomfortable subject — the return of national service”.

    Then a bunch of former prime ministers of various countries and assorted defence ministers trot out similar musings.

    So is the psyops underway for more national conscriptions in the West?

    1. The Rev Kev

      Back during the Vietnam, they used conscription to get troops to send to Vietnam and they were called “Nashos” which was an abbreviation of national conscripts. But if you refused because you thought the war was wrong or were a conscientious objector, you could be sent to prison for two years under the Commonwealth Crimes Act though likely you would have been released early. It split Australia at the time so the idea that they want to do it again would really cause the fecal matter to hit the rotary impeller even when the media here tries to run cover for this. I should note too that Russia has never invaded Australia but Australia has invaded Russia in the past-

      1. Wukchumni

        And you had no Regina…

        The oldest of the Dartful Codgers were 70 this past week on our Utah trip, and one of them related to us his plan to go to Canada that never went any further than La Cañada, because he was able to evade it by the draft going away.

        Both said they had to go in for a physical.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      It’s more of a greatest hits medley than any kind of policy. These people can’t comprehend the kind of country where conscription is possible. In their minds conscription solves the manpower problems away, but it’s just the kind of thing that appeals to the addled minds of Pete Buttigieg types.

      1. Aurelien

        Oh dear. It would create many more manpower problems than it would solve, even if the infrastructure and the equipment existed. Training is highly manpower intensive, and, judging by British experience between 1940-60, you can reckon on one senior and one junior NCO for a training platoon of say 30-40. So if you conscript and train, for the sake of argument, 100,000 people every year for one year’s service and you need to give them twelve weeks’ basic training, then you’d need to find two thousand experienced NCOs just to do the actual training, plus the specialists, the administrators, the garrison staff and the whole military hierarchy. Who don’t exist. Then you need to send them to units to finish their training. I knew a French officer who had commanded an infantry regiment which in practice existed to provide conscripts with advanced training. Such a regiment has about 120 officers, senior and junior NCOs for a total strength of about a thousand. You would need large numbers of such people for your conscript army, and they don’t exist either.

        National service can work very well, but it’s a highly complex and politically sensitive planning process, costing a lot of money. It’s not a slogan or a gimmick.

  12. pjay

    – Tractors block major roads in Europe as farmers begin ‘siege of Paris’. BBC

    I can’t wait for this summer’s Olympics! Maybe it’s just me, but that would seem like a good time to get people’s attention. I wonder if NBC would mention such a “siege” if it occurred during their Olympic coverage?

    1. flora

      EU farmers are reacting to the insane demands of the Davos set being carried out by their governments, imo. No farmers, no food. Clayton and Natalie Morris on Redacted. utube, ~12 minutes. It takes some time to get to the “insane” Davos part.

      Hang on! Now Bill Gates is coming for your backyard GARDENS? | Redacted with Clayton Morris

      1. Reply

        Gov Whitmer of Michigan was an early adopter with her COVID ban on seed sales. Seed sales!
        Victory gardens, or survival gardens, not so much. /:

  13. Wukchumni

    Darwin Award in Thailand :-( Tragic British base jumper’s last post before 33-year-old plunged to his death from top of Thai tower block after his parachute failed to open Daily Mail

    Organ donation after medical assistance in dying: a descriptive study from 2018 to 2022 in Quebec CMAJ (Dr. Kevin)

    Hope I wasn’t the only one that noticed the clever combining of articles, good job!

    …you’d never catch yours truly jumping off a perfectly good building

    Very little of what I do backpacking is risky, in particular if you’re on the trail. It’s more tantamount to weight lifting in that i’m used to a 30-40 pound set of ‘barbells’ that i’m schlepping around the mountain for many miles. Off-trail which includes climbing up class 1 & 2 peaks (it seems as if every one of the 45 peaks or so i’ve been on top of in the Sierra, there is a ‘walk-up side’ and an utterly terrifying other side on the backside) has more element of risk in that there is exposure and thousand foot falls if you were to slip in a few certain spots, but that’s about it.

    A wonderful week skiing with the Dartful Codgers*, a nicer bunch of ski-skinflints you never saw. We’re cheap bastards living large on meals made pre & apres ski in our rental digs and brown bagging it on lunch.

    As far as risk goes, there were 8 of us on the slopes for 6 days and somebody fell twice, another once, and I had the most serious crash i’ve experienced in many years, and glad to say that no ill effects aside from ego.

    We were coming down a run in Deer Valley and it got shaded in clouds and I didn’t see a mogul (no, not Zuckerberg-the skiing kind) and was going too fast to do anything other than launch myself into the air unexpectedly with a yard sale in my wake as I slid 25 feet on my arse down the piste de la not so much resistance. I didn’t even have time to put a price tag on my skis and poles left up slope.

    Some of the days were quite overcast and even with the right color on your goggles, it is really hard to read the snow, I call it ‘Skiing by Braile’.

    This was my favorite run @ Deer Valley, we must have done it 5 times, the perfect climax for a sexagenarian on the skids, and more or less a day in our lives. We’ll do 20-25 of these each day.

    Deer Valley-Hawkeye

    All of the pro sports contracts have what’s known as the ‘Jim Lonborg Clause’ in them, in that skiing is disallowed, largely because the 1967 Cy Young winning pitcher injured himself skiing just after Xmas in Tahoe later in the year. It must be dangerous!

    * a non-winter video of the Codgers, we’re the ones on scooters near the end.

    Vicious Cycles

  14. Amfortas the Hippie

    the NS Lyons thing is well worth your time.
    every democrat i know in real life cannot understand what im talking about when i speak tht way…i muuuust be a cryptotrumper who’s mind has been overthrown by alex jones and putin’s trolls.
    but i have a long memory…and have been a civil libertarian for as long as i can remember(2nd grade, at least, when i stopped reverencing the flag)i remember my coach/government teacher in highschool calling me a communist when i insisted that Freedom…esp freedom of thought, speech and religion…means that i am free to arrive at paganism, socialism and numerous other things that made him uncomfortable.
    he couldnt understand this,lol.
    ive had that exact same conversation a million times since then(mostly with right wingers, since ive been mostly in rural texas and the rural south)…including “if the worst child murderer has no due process, then none of us do”…and “of course i defend the free speech right of the KKK”.
    the schmittian state of exception has been with us forever, at least in the hearts and minds of various people. now its just been instrumentalised and formalised.
    when the “democratic party” feels the need to subvert democracy because the People/Demos “vote wrong”….and see no contradiction in that, then we’re in for a hard time, going forward.
    when Kos….and then faceborg…kicked me off the island for advocating restraint, tolerance of different opinions and dialog….i knew it was all over, and just a matter of time before the contradictions piled up high enough to topple the whole thing.
    sadly, since the Actual Left has been so thoroughly subverted in the last 100 or so years, there really is no alternative…just 2 right wings to choose from.
    enjoy the Burning Times…and build out the parallel institutions as best you can in the time we have left.

    1. Wukchumni

      enjoy the Burning Times…and build out the parallel institutions as best you can in the time we have left.

      I’m enjoying the pre-Burning Times while I can, in that the rich must be eaten by those for whom capitalism has forsaken, and what better target than a place such as Deer Valley, which had the most ski in-ski out chalets i’ve ever seen at a ski resort, and looking them up, they are $5 to 18 million, and I loved one of the 3x $18 million ones, in that it had 6 bedrooms and 9 bathrooms, shit happens.

      Once the deal goes down, I doubt i’ll ever ski at a resort again, nor will anybody else.

    2. JTMcPhee

      Old joke about the Kentucky Col’s Hillary Chicken Dinner — two small breasts, two fat legs, and two right wings.

      “We get the politicians and policies we vote for,” am I right?

      1. Wukchumni

        My conscience is clean, for the 3rd election in a row, i’m writing in Wink Martindale for my vote.

        You get an old school game show host, and a free agent NFL defensive coordinator all in the same name.

    3. Feral Finster

      TL:DR western “democracy” = by fair means or foul, my team won.

      Anything else and The Dark Night Of Fascism Is At Hand.

    4. Hastalavictoria


      You had a wonderful organisation in the early 1900’s the IWW.Much admired in my (then)
      mining town and in the South Wales Coalfields.
      I was heavily influenced by them when young’

      One big union.Big Bill Haywood,Joe Hill etc. and a great lawyer to defend them Clarence Darrow.

      I picked up a book of his final defence speeches when very young.~Mesmeric~.Some books out of the 1000’s read stay with you forever and ideas travel.

      1. Amfortas the Hippie

        if i was gon be in a union, it’d be the Wobblies.
        of course, since i’m a “landowner”, they wont let me in.
        owning the means of production(at some level over the Hammer, and under the Land) means i’m in the oppressor class.
        so ireally hafta go further back, to like the Luddites or something.
        when yeomanry was ok in alliance with labor.

  15. The Rev Kev

    ”Mats Nilsson
    This is Maxim the cat. He was born in 1937 into the Vologdin family in Leningrad. He lived through and survived the blockade with the family.’

    Leningrad was brutal and Putin lost an elder brother there while both his parents nearly did. Starvation was so bad that there were even cases of cannibalism. One British naval officer, visiting some friends in Leningrad, was asked by the wife if he could leave his leather briefcase behind. She boiled it down to an edible jelly to feed the family with. But the cats were heroes too in Leningrad and saved the Hermitage Museum from rats eating the artwork. They brought in 5,000 cats from Tyumen, Omsk and Irkutsk to Leningrad which not only saved the Museum but which put paid to the rats in the city-

    1. Feral Finster

      Actually, there are plenty of Leningrad cat stories. I remember one of a family whose cat saved them during the Siege, by alerting them to incoming artillery and by bringing them delicious rats, which they shared with the neighbors (so that the neighbors wouldn’t eat the cat).

      The cat survived the war and was an honored member of the family.

      A lot of Russian people have special bonds with animals in general, and cats on particular.

    2. Screwball

      I’m sure I’m missing something because I’m not as educated as most, but that looks like a dog.

      1. JBird4049

        The woman with her cat in the black and white photo? It is definitely a cat. Some cat breeds can look doggish especially with their winter coat. For example, a Maine Coon or Norwegian Forest cat, which tend to be large anyways.

        1. Screwball

          Thanks JBird – I see it now. I didn’t click the link and was looking at the dog photo above it.

          This is what happens when you get old and stupid.

  16. Alice X

    >Has International Law Survived, or Has the Western Political Class Killed It? – Craig Murray

    An important piece. The occupiers have killed hundreds of Gazans since being ordered not to and continue with genocidal rhetoric.

    1. CA

      “Has International Law Survived…?”

      March 18, 2003

      Good Reasons for Going Around the U.N.

      With the news that the United States was abandoning its efforts to get United Nations approval for a possible invasion of Iraq, yesterday looked to be a very bad day for staunch multilateralists and critics of American policy.

      That view is understandable, but incomplete, even after President Bush’s speech last night made it clear that America would be going to war largely on its own. By giving up on the Security Council, the Bush administration has started on a course that could be called ”illegal but legitimate,” a course that could end up, paradoxically, winning United Nations approval for a military campaign in Iraq — though only after an invasion…

      Anne-Marie Slaughter is dean of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton.

        1. CA

          “Yes, and she was big on bombing Libya….”

          Yes. The immediate American bombing of Libya after the UN Security Council was fooled to think that only a no-fly protection of Libyan civilians was being called for in voting, was a betrayal of international law by President Obama and Secretary Clinton.

          Even the New York Times would editorially complain about the waging of war on Libya with no consultation of Congress.

      1. CA

        Please notice this remarkable letter, which would so sadly prove fruitless:

        Avoid War Crimes

        To the Editor:

        In ”A Burden Too Heavy to Put Down,” * David Brooks writes, ”Inevitably, there will be atrocities” committed by our forces in Iraq. Did he forget to add that they must be prosecuted?

        War crimes are indeed more likely if influential commentators foreshadow impunity for perpetrators of the ”brutal measures our own troops will have to adopt.”

        The choice is not between committing war crimes and retreating ”into the paradise of our own innocence.” A third option is for the United States to strive to avoid complicity.

        It is untrue that ”we have to take morally hazardous action.” Those who choose it, or urge others to, cannot evade or distribute responsibility by asserting that ”we live in a fallen world.”


        New Haven, Nov. 4, 2003
        The writer is director of the Genocide Studies Program at Yale University.

        1. c_heale

          The word ‘burden’ recalls ‘The white man’s burden’ of British Empire propaganda. And it’s the article has thr same egregious justifications for genocide that the British used back then.

  17. Mikel

    “Eurozone economy flatlines in fourth quarter” Financial Times

    “…However, governments are withdrawing many of the energy and food subsidies they introduced to cushion the impact of the recent surge in the cost of living that followed Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine almost two years ago.”

    So after prices rise, subsidies are removed, and then “growth” is eventually declared?

  18. The Rev Kev

    “My Podcast on the Impending War with Iran’

    Very much worth watching. In short, the days when the US could go around bombing countries who could not retaliate are rapidly coming to an end. Yemen is just a taste of what is to come.

  19. Terry Flynn

    Re Vikings. JRR Tolkien is widely credited with “inventing a mythology for us Brits and related groups” perhaps to give us something to match Norse mythology.

    I was fascinated to find that several random people on YT have commented that the “pre-drowning of Doggerland” map of north western Europe isn’t massively different from Tolkien’s map of North-Western Middle Earth.

    Of course this is coincidence (and you really have to want to “see” the equivalence of maps and ignore a bunch of stuff like “where is Mordor in 2024 – I’d say London but that’s another story) but it just goes to show how much interest there is in a period of Northern European history that has not received the interest that it probably deserves. /random musings

    1. Amfortas the Hippie

      the irish and welsh legends of Ys and Lyonesse, etc…likely based on corrupted oral history/cultural memory of Doggerland…were the inspiration…along with the myths of atlantis(/thera/santorini) and the biblical Flood(black sea inundation)…for Tolkien’s drowning of numenor/akkalabeth.
      (sp-2 throughout)

      1. Terry Flynn

        Thanks Amfortas! I did know Tolkien was not “making stuff up randomly” (partly because his invention of languages was so scholastic) but I didn’t realise he knew so much about certain historical oral traditions.

        1. Amfortas the Hippie

          one of my favorite nuggets regarding tolkien…is that all his world-building was so his languages would have a place to live.
          and Finnish was his favorite actuallly existing language…he based much of Quendi and Sindarin on it.
          and there’s a lot of borrowing from the Finnougaric Epic, Kerala(or kevala…something like that), too.(ive never managed to obtain an english copy of that).
          you see memes on X about all the xtian symbolism in LOTR…but there’s a whole lot more going on in-universe.

          1. Polar Socialist

            You mean Fenno-Karelian epic Kalevala. There’s also Kalevipoeg from Estonia on the same vein. Both are more or less edited versions of folk poetry, some parts allegedly as old as time. The collected original material in Finland has over half a million poems/songs. Some of the characters are also present in the Russian bylinas.

            I can’t really remember without checking, but I think that while Silmarillion takes a lort from Kalevala, the only things in the Lord of the Rings are Tom Bombadil, Gandalf, Grey Havens and maybe the idea that little nations can do great things when everyone is looking at the great nations – referring, of course, to the effect this unknown folk poetry had on him when compared to the pompous, classical epics he had to learn in school.

          2. Terry Flynn

            I knew the Finnish stuff……when I’m excessively bored (or going too far down the rabbit hole) I wonder if the high Elves spoke with Vocal Fry, which informally is used to distinguish “good Finnish speakers” from “bad”.

            These days we argue about Vocal Fry w.r.t. “valley girls sounding dumb” but to think that once upon a time the top USA newsreaders were renowned, partially BECAUSE of their vocal fry.

    2. Skip Intro

      To what extent do you reckon renewed interest in Doggerland comes from misinterpretation of the name?

    3. c_heale

      I’ve never liked this justification for Tolkein’s work. There were already Celtic mythologies, and Beowulf, and the Viking sagas.

      He didn’t create a mythology, he wrote a series of books, which are bestsellers.

      All the mythological bits he took from other places.

      I will credit him with popularising studies of the above mentioned mythologies.

  20. Will

    re Organ Donation after Medical Assistance in Dying in Quebec, Canada

    From earlier this week:

    Surge in medically assisted deaths under Canada’s MAID program outpaces every other country (Archived version)

    Some experts see the rapid growth as a human rights triumph that allows Canadians to make their own choices about when they wish to die with the full support of the state and their doctors. Others fear that failures in the healthcare system and social safety net may be contributing to the surge.

  21. Amfortas the Hippie

    and, y’all wish me luck,lol…meeting with the high school councilor in a bit to do the whole FAFSA thing for my Youngest.
    i am allergic to such institutional fooferah.

    …well, either that or i am an allergen to said institutions…i suppose it could be both.
    so i have last years tax return, which still has some of Wife’s income on it, so as to be unrepresentative of our current state…so i must bring a copy of the death certificate and my latest check stub for my tiny little pension check.
    for a special dispensation, bc last years tax return is what they want.
    added fun….its a school, which is triggering,lol…and i am the embodiment of dress code violation…and for even more fun: my mom is coming with me, so she can passively/aggressively diss my competence, as well as that of the expert we’re meeting with.
    but she wouldn’t hand over the texas tomorrow fund stuff that Eldest didnt use(which is to be passed on to Youngest) without tagging along.
    got my hogleg already rolled and ready for after.

      1. Wukchumni

        …does that equal a four finger lid?

        Fund fact, my relatives who live in Oregon tell me the price per ounce has gotten down to $25 there, its more like $45 here for cheap but useful schwag.

        TV sets and dope are leading deflation factors.

      2. Amfortas the Hippie

        “whole hog” denotes when there’s likker around.
        and my limit anyways with the noble pasture is 2 hoglegs in a day…usually thursdays and sundays.
        weather permitting.

    1. Amfortas the Hippie

      what a splendid exercise in futility,lol
      so to enter the building…they put in a bank teller window, w bullet proof glass…gotta show yer id so they can copy it.
      i, of course, didnt bring my wallet to town(there’s no $ in it, so why lug it around?)
      so i say to the girl behind glass…you know who i am ffs…so she finds my id in the computer and prints out a badge.
      so we find counselors office and get to it.
      apparently, Wife made me an account for Fafsa…but idk passwords or even what email she used.
      so we go thru the recovery process…and they want me to answer questions…best friend in hS was easy…Mike.
      bt fave band in hs? idk…how would wife answer that?
      so next they want a pic of my id…uh-oh…dont have it.
      and so on and on.
      so i got home and sent the pic of id…we’ll see if the algobot figgers out that its expired,lol.
      (in september…had no $ or time to go hang around in brady for half a day)
      so Amfortas and his hollow log livin ways meets up with triple authentication regime that is set on “Dont Trust” as default.
      and has to go back manana(sans mom)…and i’m bringin my ss card, birth cert, marriage lic, and maybe my cat.
      remember…everyone in that building knows me…but theres no box to check to vouch so.
      good news is that the transfer of the texas tomorrow fund to youngest is apparently easy peasy….and she now has copies of all that to make it happen…so tuition, fees and dorm set at 2002 prices.

  22. Carolinian

    Re Vikings–recaps very familiar info and then

    But not all of the modern connections are benign or humorous. Whittock, like many other observers, finds Viking symbols, references, and mythology have become common among white supremacists. One of the best-known photographic images of the U.S. Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021, shows one of the rioters standing in the Senate chamber with “three ‘Viking’ tattoos clearly visible on his body,” writes Whittock. Vikings “were very much in the mix on that dramatic day.”

    So this is what the article is about? Oh please.

    1. Ranger Rick

      You should have seen the reaction to the head of NASA’s New Horizons mission wanting to name newly-discovered object MU69 “Ultima Thule”. He was pretty excited to be able to use a mythical name for “furthest point” — and then, in the press conference announcing the discovery, someone excitedly asks, “Hey, did you know the Nazis used that name for something else?” The temperature in the room dropped 20 degrees.

    2. anahuna

      I had a very similar reaction to this book review in the Guardian: Sex, Spies and Scandal by Alex Grant review – the cold war and an untold part of Britain’s LGBT history.

      All about a 50s scandal. Until the end, when Luke Harding (who else?) had to tack on a paragraph about Trump “cavorting” with prostitutes in a hotel in Russia –Steele dossier special — and “kompromat.”

  23. Tom Stone

    What’s the Biden Administration going to be like with a few more Covid reinfections?
    With a further loss of executive function, from a very low baseline…

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Hopefully, they would get too tired to authorize actions of a young kind. Right now, they are too focused on Biden looking like a tough guy to even consider they are goose stepping to a total disaster. They are still talking about the Abraham Accords and sending the Jews…I mean Palestinians to Madagascar in public.

  24. Wukchumni

    A dry Panama Canal slows down the Globalization International Affairs

    Jump back in line, don’t go aground
    Here Mother Nature comes, full blast drought, no rain come down
    Hot due, burnin’ down the avenue
    Model citizen, lotsa disciplining

    Don’t you know she’s coming to terms with we?
    You’ll lose her in the turn
    I’ll get her

    Panama, Panama
    Panama, Panama

    Ain’t nothin’ like it, made with a dredging machine
    Got the feel for the locks wheel, keep the moving parts clean
    Hot due, burnin’ down the avenue
    Got a lack of water comin’ through her canal

    Don’t you know she’s coming to terms with we?
    You’ll lose her in the turn
    I’ll get her

    Panama, Panama (wow)
    Panama, Panama (whoa)

    Yeah, we’re runnin’ a little bit hot tonight
    I can barely see the freshwater from the heat comin’ off of it
    Ah, I reach down between my lever
    Ease the locks back

    She’s blinding, I’m trying
    Right behind the rear-view mirror now
    Got the feeling, power steering
    Pistons popping, ain’t no option but stopping now

    Panama, Panama
    Panama, Panama
    Panama, Panama

    Panama, by Van Halen

  25. Carolinian

    That’s a good wolf article–not just about Von der Leyen.

    Here in the US practically the entire country has now been populated with coyotes who both have the wolves’ smarts and also a variable litter strategy that produces many more offspring when the species is threatened. Also a recent book points out that, ironically, the near extermination of the North American wolf was a boon for coyotes since wolves are their biggest (and literally bigger in size) enemy. Takes a doggie to catch a doggie? Human coyote eradication programs have depended upon traps and poison.

    1. Lee

      The other wolf article, “Something Strange Happens to Wolves Infected by Infamous Mind-Altering Parasite ScienceAlert (furzy).” It brings to mind the notoriously aggressive alpha female designated 40F in the Yellowstone Druid Peak pack as was. She was such a mean girl that she was eventually killed by closely related fellow pack members.

      Also, the role of microbes’ ecological and evolutionary effects such that it is not at all unreasonable to view them as keystone species whether for good or ill. Particularly given the ratio of their biomass to their massive effects on multitudes of other organisms. Perhaps it is they who are the apex predators. Invisible little phkrs.

    2. Amfortas the Hippie

      and wolves arent near as prolific as coyotes…which are more of the cockroach version of “wolf”.
      lots and lots around here…but my yard lights on the geese, and 2 fence layered defense around where sheep sleep(and lights)…are effective.
      by this time of year…end of winter..i add a radio at the bar, playing country music on the local station.
      am talk(art bell) worked a lot better…but i can no longer pick up am stations out here(!?)
      and unless its real cold…or real wet…im usually out movin around by the time they tune up(3-5 am)

      1. Lee

        You take care of your domestic critters. Those who own herds grazing on large tracts of public lands don’t want the bother or expense of doing so. As for the coyotes and the rest of what you had to say, hang in there, brother.

  26. pjay

    – ‘Reducing Administrative Bloat In Higher Education’ – Dr. Mark H. Shapiro, YouTube

    I have not yet watch this video, but the solution seems pretty straightforward to me. You set up a University Committee on Administrative Bloat within your newly created Office of Administrative Oversight and Excess Assessment and let these experts figure out how to deal with this. They’ll solve the problem in no time!

  27. Neutrino

    That Frenchie looks guilty, as in, don’t pay attention to the living room rug. And don’t make me wear cutesy clothes. Woof. /s

  28. Feral Finster

    “McConnell bedeviled as Trump, GOP move goalposts on border The Hill. I love how these accounts have it backwards. They presume that there is public support for a big funding package for Ukraine, and that support has not fallen since November. In fact, the deteriorating Ukraine position (in real world, in messaging, and in voter interest) means Trump and the Rs recognize they can and should demand a LOT more on the border if they are to fund the Ukraine garbage barge.”

    Since when did public support start to matter, except when politicians are seeking a justification for doing what they already want to do.

    It’s obvious that more money Ukraine is something that Biden and McConnell really really really want*, and will promise just about anything to get. So the Team R House is driving a hard bargain.

    * now, why Ukraine is such a overriding priority is another question.

    1. Screwball

      I might be FOS, but my guess would be it’s one of the largest kickback and money laundering vehicles in world history.

      Maybe I’m too cynical.

      1. Feral Finster

        Well, I am sure that Young Hunter, whom we all know to be hired strictly for his deep expertise in energy markets and the intricacies of former Soviet law, has nothing to do with it.

          1. Feral Finster

            Young Hunter As Artist is an influence peddling scheme so blatant it might as well be titled “Self Portrait With Middle Fingers Extended!

            However, since nobody will do anything about it, it doesn’t matter.

              1. Feral Finster

                The same people would be buying, for the same money. He could even do Elvis, Playing Poker With Doges.

  29. Feral Finster

    “Australia must consider bringing back conscription as ‘all-out war’ with Russia looms, expert says 9 News. Kevin W:”

    Stop kidding yourselves. The US is floating trial balloons, here and in the recent UK and Germany examples, for more direct intervention in Ukraine. Obviously, American lives won’t be at stake, not at the beginning, but that’s what the poodles are for.

    Russia seriously miscalculated by not using enough force to ensure a quick and decisive resolution.

    1. John k

      Imo the longer the war goes on the weaker the west becomes, the less capable it is to mess up the world elsewhere, and the fewer casualties the Russians will suffer when compared with a faster war. Sun tzu would approve. In fact the Ukraine war continues to distract the west from more fully supporting both the ME genocide and the long delayed Taiwan pivot. What’s not to like?
      Granted, from a human perspective there is vast suffering in Ukraine. Imo Russia has tried to minimize civvy casualties, but ukranian suffering is logically a lesser priority for them vs their stated objectives.

      1. Feral Finster

        We hear this all the time, but is ever always only the West that seeks escalation. Never an off-ramp but escalation.

        Stop kidding yourselves.

    2. digi_owl

      Russia likely assumed they were dealing with sane players.

      They seem to be slowly realizing that what they are dealing with are senile old men trying to maintain the appearance of virility.

      The show of force was back when the SMO started, and it spooked Z enough that he was ready to sign a ceasefire. But then Boris Johnson came knocking, and here we are.

  30. Wukchumni

    I’m always amazed at what latter-day relics fetch, in some ways the equivalent of how hallowed the ‘true cross’ was in religious circles say in the pre 20th century (has anybody ever done tests on fragments of said cross to determine which blood type Jesus was?) in churches in Europe.

    Love the Beatles, Fab Four forever!, but who really gives a fig in regards to some slapdash piece of what some call art they did while essentially on house arrest in Japan in 1966 in their swanky presidential suite in a hotel?

    The Beatles made a psychedelic painting together – now up for sale at a New York auction on 1 February – while holed up in a Japanese hotel room. Its creation seemed to provide a moment of calm at a tumultuous time.

    It was meant to be their big introduction to the East, but when The Beatles disembarked at Tokyo’s Haneda airport on 29 June 1966, dressed in matching Japanese happi coats, the security was oppressive. “I’ve never seen so many people guarding us,” drummer Ringo Starr commented at the time. Death threats made by Japanese nationalists, who considered the Fab Four emblems of an invasive Western culture, saw the band confined for almost all of the five-day tour to the lavish Presidential Suite at Tokyo’s Hilton Hotel, with little more than their musical instruments and their own company to entertain them.

    Almost six decades on, that painting is now for sale, with the famous four signatures scribbled in the circular space where the lamp once stood. The 54.6 x 78.8cm painting will go under the hammer at Christie’s New York on 1 February and is estimated at $400,000 to $600,000.

  31. Wukchumni

    Leaving Las Vegas dept:

    I avoid Pavlovegas like the plague, it ain’t me babe.

    That said, I have to slither around on all fours aside the belly of the beast on occasion, with the only real attraction being the myriad of lawyers on billboards, almost imploring you to get into an accident right there and then on the spot-as there’s money in it for you!

    LV never fails and were an early advocate of slimy lawyers being held up on high standards.

    The one non shylock that was quite something was on the fringe of the city going west on Highway 15…

    “Let’s be clear: Hamas is your problem too.”

    JewBelong is fighting back against growing antisemitism with this bold billboard campaign! We’ve been in NYC, Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington, DC, Philadelphia, Orlando, Miami, Phoenix, Las Vegas, and the list of cities is growing!

    On Interstate 15, by Wall of Voodoo

  32. Wukchumni

    Assemblyman Vince Fong is running for former Congressman Kevin McCarthy’s seat. He’s also on the ballot to keep his state Assembly seat, which is illegal under California law.


    We held a séance trying to conjure up the dead career of whom I used to be a dedicated follower of…

    To our surprise out of the ether popped an apparition of an app, asking us for a burial contribution.

  33. Questioner Bill

    Hells Angels hired to kill drug dealer article;

    “…and one count of possession of a firearm by a non-US citizen unlawfully in the US”

    I thought illegal aliens had all the constitutional rights of American citizens in the U.S.?

  34. Morincotto

    Can’t say I see anything inaccurate as such in “Demon in democracy” article.

    To be fair though, it is shortsighted if not dishonest to pretend that deliberate, massive, systematic, often quite brutal and ruthless, top down authoritarian social engineering is in any way something new or restricted to “liberalism” communism” or “democracy”.

    In fact it has always existed as long as so called civilisation did.

    The rise of states and empires, the promotion and enforcement of new religions or political philosophies ALWAYS entailed copious amounts of all those things, everywhere, for thousands of years.

    Certainly the creation of the modern nation state went hand in hand with one of the greatest social engineering projects of all time, as did the spread of Christianity and Islam and any largescale schism, “reformation”, “counterreformation” or other transformation thereof as well as obviously and in many ways probably most heinously and destructively of them all the rise of capitalism.

    The authoritarian reactionaries (and yes they are and remain that even though their liberal adversaries are as bad and potentially more dangerous right now) of the Pis Party are of course unlikely to admit that all the institutions they value are of course also born from social engineering.

  35. Mikel

    “Why Defense Contractors Are Saying No to Their Biggest Customer: The Pentagon” Wall Streeet Journal

    “…The biggest risk for the Pentagon is that it receives no bids for some programs, or only from a company that can’t fully meet project specifications, said military experts.

    The Defense Department already faces a shrinking band of prime contractors, responsible for building ships, aircraft and munitions, with only two or three typically pursuing deals. It was often double that 30 years ago.

    Northrop Grumman is a product of the 1990s merger boom. The company was once a specialist in making jet fighters for the U.S. Navy. It pivoted into satellites and parts for planes such as the F-35 before its breakthrough win for the B-21 in 2015….”

    The MIC that ate itself.
    And still no urgency to take care of the overwhelming damage of monopolies on the economy.

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