Links 2/19/2024

Silence of the Wolves: How Human Landscapes Alter Howling Behaviour The Wire

Scientists Create Beef-Infused Rice With Cow Cells Gizmodo

Japan to launch world’s first wooden satellite to combat space pollution The Guardian

NASA’s Fire-in-Space Experiment Ends in Flames Gizmodo


‘FAO acknowledges that it neglected costs of food systems in its accounting’ Down to Earth

Social valuation of biodiversity relative to other types of assets at risk in wildfire Society for Conservation Biology. From the abstract: “Survey respondents overwhelmingly prioritized a single human life… even if that choice resulted in extinction of other species.”


Do We Simply Not Care About Old People? MedPage Today


Japan’s ‘naked men’ festival succumbs to population ageing AFP


India sends ‘killer’ drones to Israel ahead of Rafah assault The Cradle

India port workers refuse to load Israeli arms shipments, call for Gaza ceasefire The New Arab


Year of the Dragon opens on high note for China’s economy FT

The Tale of 2 Economies: Navigating the Growth Paradox in China The Diplomat

BYD announces new stock buyback and plans more luxury models Bloomberg


China Asserts No Restricted Zones Around Taiwanese Islands After Two Killed Reuters

Indonesia’s nickel supremacy: China’s backing and Australia’s decline Pearls and Irritations


US signals it will block proposed Gaza ceasefire resolution at UN Al Jazeera

Prospects for ceasefire dim as Israel rejects calls to spare Rafah AFP

Netanyahu: Those who want us to desist from Rafah op are telling us to lose i24

Egyptian President Sisi affirms ‘categorical rejection’ of displacement of Palestinians to Egypt in any way Anadolu Agency

Egypt declassifies war secrets from 1973 October War for 50th anniversary Ahram

Egypt to Present Two Memorandums Against Israel in the ICJ Egyptian Streets

Brazil’s Lula compares Israel’s war on Gaza with the Holocaust Al Jazeera


Houthi Militants Deploy a Drone Sub for the First Time Maritime Executive


Will Israel Invade Southern Lebanon? Larry Johnson


Examples of Shared Israeli-Palestinian Actions Foreign Policy in Focus

Old Blighty

Next week will see three UK court cases test the rights of all protesters The Canary

The Tory Appointee Holding Julian Assange’s Life in Her Hands UK Declassified

European Disunion

Job creation in southern Europe doesn’t tell the whole story: ‘Unemployment is dropping, because we accept miserable wages’ Le Monde

Gang of alleged armed robbers in their 60s and 70s arrested in Italy Guardian

New Not-So-Cold War

SITREP 2/18/24: Avdeevka Liberated Simplicius the Thinker

PM says Denmark to donate all its artillery to Ukraine Kyiv Independent

French Defense Minister: France to supply Ukraine with newest kamikaze drones in coming weeks Euromaidan Press

UK and allies seek to arm Ukraine with AI-enabled swarm drones – Bloomberg Ukrayinska Pravda

Czech Republic ready to send 800,000 artillery shells to Ukraine if ‘funding is found’ Euromaidan Press

Failure to back Ukraine aid could hurt US economy and defense contractors, says Germany: ‘We shouldn’t take freedom for granted’ Fortune

Timofey Bordachev: Western Europe could become the new Ukraine RT


After TRT World failed to post my interview on the death of Navalny…. Gilbert Doctorow

Imperial Collapse Watch


Biden’s brother used his name to promote a hospital chain. Then it collapsed. Politico

Indictment of FBI informant could spell trouble for key GOP impeachment claim The Hill


Trump will likely run out of legal defense funds by summer, report says Business Insider

Trumpworld takes aim at Republicans who supported Ukraine aid push The Hill


No Labels ‘talking with several exceptional leaders’ about possible runs, says Chavis The Hill

Democrats en déshabillé

Rep. Rashida Tlaib urges Michigan Democrats to vote against Biden in the primary NBC News

A Union Leader in Nebraska Tries to Leap to the Senate on Labor’s Strength New York Times.With no Democrat in the race, the Nebraska Democratic Party is likely to endorse Mr. Osborn at a meeting on March 2, the party chairwoman, Jane Kleeb, said, though Mr. Osborn said he was not sure he wants that.”

GOP Clown Car

Lindsey Graham: Time to designate Russia a state sponsor of terrorism Politico


Barbed Wire New Left Review

Our Famously Free Press

Chris Hedges: The Collapse of US Media is Accelerating Our Political Crisis Scheerpost

Media That Benefit From Inequality Prefer to Talk About Other Things FAIR


AI falsely accuses, fines artificial intelligence expert of using phone while driving – report Jerusalem Post

Air Canada responsible for errors by website chatbot after B.C. customer denied retroactive discount Vancouver Sun. The airline “claim[ed] it wasn’t responsible for promising the refund because it was made in error by the airline’s online chatbot.”

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Don’t Fall for the Latest Changes to the Dangerous Kids Online Safety Act  Electronic Frontier Foundation

Police State Watch

L.A.’s Incarceration of Youth Again Falls Short of Humane Standards, State Regulator Calls Two More Juvenile Facilities ‘Unsuitable’ The Imprint

The Bezzle

The Economics Teacher of the New Generation: Cryptocurrency Ideology MR Online

Class Warfare

Amid high rents, eviction filings in major Texas cities soar above pre-pandemic levels Texas Tribune

Proposal could give NH landlords more pathways to eviction after a lease ends NHPR

Bill to Crack Down on Eviction Moratoriums Gets Missouri House Approval Missouri Net

Commentary: If the economy is so great, why are evictions soaring? Los Angeles Times

The Groundhog Watchers Nautilus

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Antifa

    (melody borrowed from Kicks by Paul Revere and the Raiders)

    Well America has tried to push this world around by picking fights
    But the world’s not conforming — that rules-based-order just bites
    There’s no bag of tricks they haven’t tried they’ve cheated robbed and killed and lied
    Trying to rule the whole world . . . such greedy appetites!

    Don’t it seem like
    BRICS-Plus nations are getting aligned
    And this world will not run like you have in mind
    As everything deteriorates
    In all fifty states . . .

    Maybe they’ll join BRICS . . . to thrive in this world . . .

    Their One Percent have built themselves a giant paper paradise
    But paper’s not oil so hey you better think twice
    All the wealth the One Percent accrue leaves less of it for me and you
    The uber-rich are cunning but they won’t like the price

    And don’t it seem like
    BRICS-Plus nations are getting aligned
    And this world will not run like you have in mind
    As everything deteriorates
    In all fifty states . . .

    Maybe they’ll join BRICS . . . where neighbors help you every day
    Empires go nowhere . . . we’re gonna help you find yourself another way

    BRICS-Plus nations are getting aligned
    And this world will not run like you have in mind
    As everything deteriorates
    In all fifty states . . .

    Don’t it seem like
    BRICS-Plus nations are getting aligned
    And this world will not run like you have in mind
    As everything deteriorates
    In all fifty states . . .

  2. The Rev Kev

    #U2 frontman Bono chanted Alexei #Navalny’s name with the audience during his concert in Las Vegas
    “Putin would never ever say his name. So I thought tonight people who believe in freedom must say his name. Not just remember it, but say it.”‘

    I am starting to think that people who praise Navalny after his death may be actually associated intelligence assets themselves – people like Cornel West and Sean Penn. After all, it would be logical for the security services to recruit performers as people of influence. But I see that “South Park” had Bono figured out way back in 2007 when they said that he was a literal POS-

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Isn’t every bit of green washing undone by willing going to Vegas?

        The whole bit is worse. He both sides the genocide and then starts the chanting of Navalny.

      2. Enter Laughing

        Bono needs the Ricky Gervais Golden Globes treatment, which might go something like…

        “Get up on the stage, put on your silly sunglasses, sign your little song and get the f*ck off again.”

      3. Benny Profane

        U2 has always been a delivery medium for the guitar work of The Edge for me. Bono has always been the asshole at the end of the bar that everyone just wants to shut the F up.

        It’s actually sort of a residency in Vegas for them. They are in their Elvis stage. And this concert hall they’re playing in is a creation of NYC’s most hated asshole (now that Trump is in Florida), James “It’s my ball, and I’m taking it home” Dolan. I wish Dolan great success, so much so that he decamps to that horrible city in the desert. Then, maybe, the Knicks will win again.

      4. Feral Finster

        When I was a kitten, the following quote was attributed to one of the Sex Pistols: “Kill your idols before they can embarrass you.”

        I have never been able to verify this quote, but, regardless of its provenance, I believe it to be sound advice.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Bono is the personification of US suburban tepidness trying to be cool. Repeating banalities from cnn is his distilled essence. He tries to make saying Navalny sound bold. He’s too cowardly to take a stand on Israel-Palestine anymore. In his mind, this action is safe but sounds radical. Look at Bono, he’s wearing sunglasses inside!?!? He’s so extreme! Is that a key chain?

      1. Pat

        At one of the first Social Good conferences, a self congratulatory social media networking festival for social change with concert, one of the speakers caused a dead silence in the auditorium. He had people applauding and making appreciative noises as he described the usual social media agenda of clicking and sharing. Then he dropped the truth on them that this really did nothing to change the things they were supposedly so concerned about, that it took real work to do that. That they had to go and clean the spaces, go and work with the children, go and…. The audience was shocked and appalled and yes got that he had just told them they were posers. He was not a hit.And they rejected his message as soon as it hit. But it was amazing to watch.

        I was at several following that, and no one ever pointed that out again. Don’t get me wrong there were still a few real activists still there, usually from some small much poorer country and happy to get any funding they could, but 99% were the nonprofit version of social media influencers. They wanted money, and applause, for tweeting and clicking and sharing and being righteous. Bono was just decades ahead of them.

    2. .Tom

      When the revolution comes and Gen-X is on trial for crimes against humanity they are going to have to answer for the letter U and the numeral 2.

          1. ForFawkesSakes

            You’re missing the point. Gen X has never been fans of U2. Bono has always been as the kids then would say, a poser.

            Not that it matters.

    3. Dr. John Carpenter

      My Irish ex- had many choice things to say about Mr. Hewson. Asset or not, he’s definitely a cog in the neoliberal machine.

    1. Es s Ce tera

      Yes, I hope the Gaza genocide opens many more eyes.

      “It is not that any of the arguments are new. It is simply that before I did not believe that the West would sponsor mass ethnic cleansing and genocidal attack on the Donbass by extreme Ukrainian nationalist-led, Western-armed forces. I thought the “West” was more civilised than that. I now have to face the fact that I was wrong about the character of the NATO powers.”

      1. The Rev Kev

        I would never have believed that my country would be one of the many countries withholding money from the only UN organization giving aid to the people of Gaza and thus pushing them into starvation. And we are doing it on a dodgy Israeli dossier that they refuse to show in public and maybe not those other governments. What happens when the first images emerge of Gazans that look like living skeletons.

        1. digi_owl

          I was happy to see that Norway was not eager to cut funding, suggests there are still someone sane walking the corridors of parliament.

          This even though we could see Støre sitting on the same panel as vdL when she delivered her latest stinker.

        2. NotTimothyGeithner

          We use to ask questions such as “what did FDR know?” and “why not bomb Auschowitz”.

          Today, the only question being raised is whether we are going to pretend Biden even feels the tinge of regret. “Never again”, but Nas anyone consider how long never really is?

          I imagine there is an element of fear in the West, hence the euphoria about Navalny dying. It’s weird they think it will change perceptions. I suppose the obvious is Epstein and black mail. Everyone is too afraid of what is out there, even if it’s not them personally. I could see an early Obama or a 41 building lock step support from the G7, but following Biden is just so bizarre.

          1. Mikel

            “…I imagine there is an element of fear in the West, hence the euphoria about Navalny dying. It’s weird they think it will change perceptions…”

            Not really weird at all. This is the type of situation The Blob would think plays to their strengths: propaganda and regime change.
            Their A-game isn’t intelligence analysis, battlefield strategy, diplomacy, or weapons manufacturing.
            I said during the first year of the SMO that the name of the game for the longest has been to take advantage of divisions within a country – whether they are helped along by outside forces or had developed more “organically” among the countries inhabitants.

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              Navalny was a runt. He was too aligned with DC to take advantage of Russian nationalism which was his goal. He settled for libertarian sentiments, but libertarians tend not to organize well.

              He was a snake oil salesman for the West. Numbers don’t lie, and he was a nothing. My gut is this is why he stayed in Russia. He thought he was too small but high profile enough he would be safe like some of the oligarchs.

              Euphoria, not dismay or outrage, is what I saw at Munich. Mrs. Navalny just brought her boyfriend. Even Bono chanting Navalny is a good example. These people who just want to steal and go to fancy parties are being called genocidal, but now, they can chant Navalny without upsetting big donors. In their minds, this is a reset for diplomacy with the Global South as they are good guys again!

              1. Michaelmas

                NotTimothGeithner: Navalny was a runt … Numbers don’t lie, and he was a nothing.

                The selling in the West of an utterly inconsequential CIA bumboy as any kind of serious popular opposition to Putin is comedy gold.

                There is a popular opposition to Putin in Russia and it’s the Communist Party of the Russian Federation —


                But for obvious reasons the Communists aren’t convenient CIA bumboys.

    2. Carolinian

      It is simply that before I did not believe that the West would sponsor mass ethnic cleansing and genocidal attack on the Donbass by extreme Ukrainian nationalist-led, Western-armed forces. I thought the “West” was more civilised than that. I now have to face the fact that I was wrong about the character of the NATO powers.

      Surely this is tongue in cheek. Maybe a million people died as a result of Dubya’s Iraq invasion. Before that almost surely a million died in the Iraq/Iran war encouraged by the Reagan administration. There are many other examples. If Murray, a former diplomat, didn’t know these things he has been sleepwalking through history. I’d take the above as a rhetorical sally and give him the benefit of a doubt.

      1. Carolinian

        Perhaps relevant

        David Bromwich, a Yale University Professor and author of The Intellectual Career of Edmund Burke, has written,

        The greater the improbability of an official explanation, the more pressing is the need to shore it up with unchecked reiterations, confirmations, enhancements. So the kingdom of untruth expands, without boundary or restraint. An officially sanctioned account of this or that event is affirmed by bureaucratic oversight and announced to the populace by a cooperative press and media. A consensus is thereby established that floats free of any concern with veracity.

        If we are being lied to about the progress of the war—and we are—what do you suppose are the odds we are also being lied to about the causes of the war?

        Or, putting it more succinctly, if you make the lie big enough…..

        1. zach

          Government lies are just like government budgets, they get bigger and more complex the farther up the ladder you travel.

          Didn’t you ever play telephone as a kid?

      2. Em

        Murray has always been remarkable naive about all the NED funded “national liberation” movements, starting with Polish solidarity and continuing with his support of the reactionary Catalan and Scottish Independence movements. Even getting him to an “are we the baddies?” moment on Ukraine is frankly amazing to me and suggests that the overall Western narrative on national liberation and R2P is crumbling.

        1. .Tom

          I’d love to hear you hash out the proposal that Scottish Independence is reactionary and an NED plan with David Jamieson on Conter Radio. No snark — I genuinely would.

        2. Em

          Any movement whose first action after exiting their current country is to join the EU and NATO seems pretty reactionary to me.

          1. .Tom

            Fair point.

            For a long time I’ve wondered what independence means to Scottish people and clearly it means different things to different people. One thing it means is protest against English rule and I think this is the dominant meaning and the only broadly unifying meaning. But it is a negative sentiment. It’s not a positive statement of what Scotland wants instead. And serious discussion of what Scotland wants instead doesn’t seem to happen very much and the EU/NATO thing is typical of that. So I think it’s more attributable to laziness of a political class that uses talk of independence to conceal its real agenda, which is simply to be in power.

            1. Em

              Exactly. There’s no clear positive vision of how things would be better under them. So they seem like the leadership of the various microstates coming out of Yugoslavia, who were very ready to speak to the injustices of the current state without any concrete plans on how independence would fix those problems. They’re really just selling subservience to EU/US under a national chauvinism skin.

          2. Michael McK

            My take is that Murray feels that the Scottish National Party was taken over by neo-libs which is why he is a supporter (along with many other early SNP members) of the Alba party.

            1. Em

              I believe he left because he saw first hand that the Alex Salmond prosecution was a frame up by the Sturgeon clique and was angry that the SNP was slow walking the referendum, but he didn’t have specific policy disagreements. In fact he called out lesbian Alba politicians for being against SNP’s trans position, where any self declared transwoman could access women’s bathrooms and shelters.

              Murray seems to be a good guy and did some exceptional reporting on Skripals and Assange, but his politics is a mess.

          3. zach

            From the google:


            (of a person or a set of views) opposing political or social liberalization or reform.

            I don’t mean to be dense, but i thought NATO and the EU were all about some social liberalization.

        3. hk

          There’s a long history: Free Tlaxcala! Down with the Aztecs! Thanks to the Spanish liberators who decolonized Mexico!

      3. .Tom

        I agree that it’s hard to take at face value but I’m not sure it’s tongue in cheek. Murray’s previous articles and speeches over the last 2+ years suggested a deep hatred for the Russian regime based on personal grudges woven into the western narrative about the evils there. So I guess he was, like most people, selective in his arguments. And this new article is polemic and exaggerated for effect. It’s not necessarily a bad thing. The pen is his sword and in the heat of battle the ends justify the means.

    3. Steve H.

      >> But the boundaries of all the African nations, except arguably Ethiopia, are entirely artificial colonial constructs. They cut right across ethnic, cultural and linguistic boundaries.
      >> The boundaries of these ex-Soviet republics were carefully designated by Stalin not to be ethnically or culturally coherent, to guard against the development of national opposition.

      Reminds me of Taleb:

      > 2) City states & federations like peace & commerce, large countries with centralized national identities are designed by war and conquest and for war and conquest.

      That comment is not contradicted by Turchin. But Murray is describing states constructed by States to stay conquered. Divide et impera. Which makes me very queasy about this statement by Murray:

      >> There is now a Ukrainian national identity, and those who subscribe to it have the right to their state.

      Do they? I find it uncomfortably close to the majestic equality of being arrested for stealing bread.

      1. .Tom

        Any assertion along the lines of “x has a right to y” makes me pause. It’s almost always a sign of someone pulling the wool over your eyes.

      2. hk

        Geoffrey Roberts made somewhat similar point as Murray on one of Mercouris/Diesen podcasts about what a “nation” is. That, to me, is the biggest problem with the sort of “historical” argument that Putin has made wrt Ukraine (and, incidentally, all the “political correct” history that wokesters love nowadays.)

        If we were to buy that “nations” should be respected in arranging political institutions (borders, constitutional arrangements, etc.), there are two dimensions one should consider wrt Ukraine (and, for that matter, for all “nations.”)

        1. Is “Ukraine” to be an inclusivist or exclusivist nation?
        2. If it is to be inclusive, what provisions and guarantees are needed to keep all tribes “Ukrainian”? If it it is to be exclusivist, what to do about those left out of the “Ukrainian” nation to be defined?

        The sad thing nowadays is that “nations” today are almost always defined in exclusivist terms (and that applies, as far as I can tell, especially to the modern day wokesters, particularly in context of allegedly “oppressed” nations–a most dangerous proclivity). So it’s not shocking that the exclusivist idea of Ukrainian nationhood found favor among the Western “liberals.” But once you buy into the idea of exclusivist nationhood, it’s just a short step before “genocide for justice.” (As long as the perpetrators are seen as “victims.” Of course, the Third Reich had always sold Germany-as-victim propaganda, sprinkled with certain convenient bits of historical truths….)

        The real challenge is to throw away the myths of exclusivist nationhood and think about how to create new nations on an inclusivist platform. Pity that we seem to have forgotten about the idea altogether.

        1. hk


          I keep bringing this up, but one thing that I’ve always found most memorable about the history of the Plains Tribes in 19th century US is the following alleged exchange (that showed up on a TV documentary in 1990s), between a Lakota tribeswoman and a Crow scout serving with the US military, as the former were being escorted to a reservation:

          Lakota: Why are you doing this to us?
          Crow: Because the Black Hills belonged to the Crow before they were Lakota’s.

          Multiculturalism could use a bit of decolonization/deimperialization, it seems. Not by the Spanish Empire/US Cavalry, perhaps, but certainly with a recognition that the Crow, the Tlaxcala, and the Novorossiyans are people, too, not just their oppressors who just happened to have fallen to another empire crushing them.

    4. Feral Finster

      From the linked “There is now a Ukrainian national identity, and those who subscribe to it have the right to their state.

      That they have a right to the former boundaries of Soviet Ukraine is a different proposition.”

      The reason, the underlying principle behind this identity is that it was made plain to Ukrainians that adopting this Ukrainian identity, hating and fighting their bothers and their own parents, was the price of admission to The West, to the Golden Billion, to the Magical Land Where Institutions Basically Work (they don’t work nearly as well as advertised, but it’s the perception that matters here).

      Anyway, it is good to see that Murray is starting to get wise, starting to see just how unprincipled to the point of blatant sociopathy the rulers of the West are.

      1. Polar Socialist

        I was announced today that about a thousand civilians stayed in Avdeevka trough all the fighting to regain their Russian identity. For example the doorman of that pretty, white little church standing next the 9th Quarter – which, oddly, neither side shot at during the fighting.

        1. alfia

          And that shows the real identity – Christian orthodox and deeply religious folk…. it is a very bloody civil war… it’s heartbreaking
          Ukrainian, Belorussian, Russian at the core are one nation

          1. hk

            “Ukrainian nationalism” is usually traced to the Union of Brest, where a faction of formerly Orthodox population in what is now Western Ukraine accepted papal leadership. They are still there, and are the most “nationalist” of the lot. In this sense, this is another crusade from the West that pits the “Catholics,” or whatever modern incarnation that it has taken, against the Orthodox and “Ukraine” is another crusader state.

    5. YY

      Thanks for this, I’d given up on Craig Murray owing to his incredible and unlikely position on this issue.
      Good to see he’s come around.

  3. digi_owl

    Lovely antidote.

    And Bono lost me ages ago when he advocated for the western world to build the equivalent of the Chinese Firewall in order to protect his precious songs from kids sharing MP3s.

    1. Hank Linderman

      Here’s the thing. Musicians – with very few exceptions – don’t make money from recordings the way they used to. Music has become free, streaming services pay very little per song. Remember “Happy”, a big hit years ago? It was the number 1 streaming song that year, and Spotify paid the writer (Pharrell) something like $80k for streaming the song. At that time the average Spotify exec was making $150k a year. I was at the house of a very successful Grammy winning songwriter / performer when he opened up his ASCAP statement and said, well they finally broke it. His statement had pages of plays and his check was for a few hundred dollars. Bear in mind artists had to sign away some of their publishing to the labels, who then agreed to low streaming fees in exchange for ownership in the streaming services.

      I have worked as a recording engineer, musician, songwriter, producer – and I got paid acceptably well when there were appropriate budgets.

      There’s also a social side to this: music’s value extends far beyond profitability. If it were up to me, public schools would have music, dance and art taught to every student art least until 5th grade. This would build community, employ a lot of musicians, dancers and artists, and I suspect it would be a benefit to the general mental health of individuals and families.

      Bono is a handy target – but who do we blame when we log into HBO Max and it requires 2 step verification? How much do we spend on streaming entertainment? Much more to say on the subject, but the destruction of the recorded music business certainly warned the video streaming industry to lock their product down and protect it.


      1. digi_owl

        Meh, it was less about the money and more about how he would use his fame to advocate “democracy” one day. And another advocate the very same authoritarian methods as he was decrying the day before when it benefited him.

        1. Hank Linderman

          meh /mĕ/
          Used to express indifference, apathy, or boredom

          Meh is very much my response to oversimplified dogmatic jargon expressed by pop stars.

          “And Bono lost me ages ago when he advocated for the western world to build the equivalent of the Chinese Firewall in order to protect his precious songs from kids sharing MP3s.”

          This is what I was responding to. I think it’s also worth noting that whether we like someone or not, they can still be right or wrong – our approval of them as human beings has nothing to do with their veracity or the value of their ideas. For an extreme example, ever driven a Volkswagen down a freeway?

          About all I can conclude about the Ukraine conflict is that I don’t trust what the media is saying, I’m uncomfortable with the attempts to simplify an enormously complex situation. War very seldom solves things; our Civil War is still being fought today. I doubt very much it will solve things in Ukraine or the Middle East.

          What was Navalny? A partner with the CIA? A man of the people? Lots of shoes left to drop.



          1. Em

            Even if the old regime of selling music by the record stayed, it was a lottery system that produced very few winners. U2 would benefit immensely and record executives would have stayed rich and casting couch adjacent, but very little of that benefit would have flowed to most musicians. And at what cost? So kids caught downloading music illegally can have their lives and their parent’s lives ruined irrevocably?

            If you want to actually have a fairer regime for musicians, then have the government mandate better pay and paid time off for all workers, musicians have time and financial resources to practice and go on tour. Maybe throw in an income subsidy of musicians with certain markers of going pro. Regulate Ticketmaster and venues’ take from receipts and merchandise sales, so most bands can make more than gas money from playing gigs that take many hours to set up, soundcheck, play, and then breakdown.

            It might sound utopian but let’s work on that world, rather than fixate on anotherbworld where famous musicians and their record companies can collect big checks on the backs of DRM ruined lives.

            1. Hank Linderman

              DRM ruined lives? What’s that? Are you talking about music or film or video? Photography? Books?

              Ever work and earn a living in anything related to the arts? It tends to shape your perspective. Consider your career – imagine it disappearing in a decade or so due to tech like AI or robotics.

              The lottery system you refer to made lots of people and businesses financially viable – engineers, producers, studio owners, tech crews, musicians, venues, radio stations, songwriters, publishers, instrument manufacturers, video crews, many more. Yes, there were serious inequities, but today’s system is a disaster.

              Not sure a government mandate re better pay for musicians or regulating Ticketmaster would do the job. My sense is that music has to be rebuilt at the grassroots or it continues to devolve into a niche industry. This was the sentiment I heard from my recent visit to the NAMM Show: “We need to get people to play instruments again or it’s all over.”


              1. Em

                I happen to mostly follow excellent bands that get very little exposure. Going on tour costs them money out of pocket and me buying everything in their catalog and going to all the easily accessible concerts don’t make them economically viable. They do it because they love it and I wish they could live a decent life and not have to sacrifice their economic well-being in order to do what they do.

                The old system does nothing for them. Whereas the current system at least brings in random fans who discover amazing bands who are in my opinion as good or better than name bands of the past. I definitely wish for more money for musicians, especially on the lower 99 percent of the income spectrum, but I don’t think the old system did them much favors beyond breaking out a few newer acts. Everybody except for big stars always relied on touring and merch sales to make ends meet.

                Suing teenagers for hundreds of thousands of dollars and possible felony prosecution sounds pretty ruinous to me. I know only a few attempts were made, but that’s what the record companies absolutely wanted the system to work, where they continue to get residuals for every play and every new medium for their older tired songs, while most musicians never have a chance at reaching an audience.

                1. Em

                  I understand there used to be more money floating in the recording industry for studios, sound engineers, producers, and even roadie’s but really that’s a very small portion of the entire population of musicians. The tradeoff is that now it’s very easy for an amateur musician to do good recordings of their music and put it out there, whereas this would have been very difficult in earlier times. Most of the bands I listen to including ones who “made it”, produce their own albums or rely on their friends to help out. For my admittedly very nonprofessional ear they sound as good as high end studio productions from the 1970s and 1980s.

            2. Chris Smith

              It’s the Tragedy of the Commons in reverse. I think what file sharing and now streaming have showed us is that fencing off the commons only makes sense when the cost of fencing is low enough to make it worthwhile. File sharing and streaming make the cost of “fencing” off the music – or any content – cost more than the money you can make.

            3. Big River Bandido

              Even if the old regime of selling music by the record stayed, it was a lottery system that produced very few winners.

              I don’t know what your experience is/was, but I have worked for 35 years on all sides of the music industry. I have received royalties throughout that entire time. I never had a big hit so t was never a lot of money — but until Napster it was significant enough to make a difference from time to time.

              The idea that only a blessed few prospered in the music industry of yore is simply false. That’s the real tragedy, after all. Every record U2 made required the highly specialized skills of dozens of people —  most of whom you probably never heard of or even considered their existence. But they had full-time jobs doing this. Not only that, those people wouldn’t be there without the symbiotic existence of all the other musicians and the factors that can support them. All that has evaporated — today’s “music industry” supports only a fraction of the musicians it used to. Perhaps that’s the source of your misconception.

              1. Em

                For my ears, the DIY bands I listen to who produce their own recordings sound just as good as anything coming out of studio records of the earlier era. They put their music and merch on Bandcamp and I buy them directly from the band. Plenty of people still buy music from bands either because they like the physical medium or to support the band. Some bands have a model of releasing some of their catalog to streaming services and making other albums only available for sale on Bandcamp.

                It seems like most bands I follow are still economically unsustainable as the band members have day jobs (where they’re probably having to take a pay cut to have the flexibility to tour), but most of these people would never have gotten into the “music industry” and been able to record albums before. Yes it sucks now for people who did break into the music industry before and managed to make a living, but I would argue that’s a tiny part of the population of capable musicians.

                And again, there are solutions for supporting musicians that doesn’t involve giving all the power and most of the money to record companies.

            4. Spikeyboy

              Ever heard of Bandcamp. Its music gold. More music uploaded each day than you could listen to. Buy one piece of music and get access to the app. Youll find its a wonderful community and they take 15% and the rest is the musicians. Most music you can listen to 4 or 5 times free before you have to buy

          2. Feral Finster

            Navalnyii had something like 2% support. Pro-western liberals couldn’t get the minimum 5% support threshold for automatic Duma representation.

      2. Pat

        Sir, I think you are confusing the problem. The problem isn’t the file sharing Bono had an issue with. I realize it isn’t the music business, but Neil Gaiman backtracked on his opposition with caveats when he realized how much of his book sales were fueled by people whose first exposure to his work was free to them. And that those free versions weren’t just library books. People who liked what they read bought those books and others. There is a fair amount of data that shows that record sales dropped after Napster got taken out.

        The problem is the streaming services, and that includes for videos (see last years strikes). They were designed by the ownership class who studied it and decided to provide a legal Napster but without the end user ending up with the file so that they have a continuing subscription to the service. But even more importantly this new technology allowed for new contracts that negated the fee structure for artists and technicians that were in place for radio, records, videos and DVDs.

        They are two very separate things. And there is a really good case to be made that artists were wrong about file sharing but were snookered about it and are now being systematically ripped off by the people who historically have always done it and found a new way to do it again.

      3. Norge

        I’m so old that when I was in elementary school in Connecticut I played clarinet in the school band AND the school orchestra.

    2. Eric Anderson

      Interesting story, too.

      Anecdotally, I was mountain biking up an old abandoned logging road in western MT years ago. The road followed a stream in a tight little valley. To bikers right the road dropped off down into the stream. To bikers left was a pretty steep road cut into the hillside.

      At one point while huffing it up the road I picked my head up from the handle bars and there is a little black bear stopped in the middle of the road about 20 years in front of me. He’s just looking at me, and so I stop peddling and put a foot down.

      Not a second after I stop pedaling a coyote comes ripping down the road cut from my left and literally runs head on into the bear’s ass. Coyote then sees me and everyone is frozen a couple of heart beats looking at each other. Coyote makes the first decision and turns and high tails it back up the road cut. Bear ambles down into the stream in no particular hurry.

      I’m left gaping, going: “What the hell did I just see”???

      1. Lee

        Critter watching in Yellowstone I observed a grizzly cub and an adult coyote romping and chasing each other for an extended period as mama grizzly sat on her haunches observing them play. It has long been known that badgers and coyotes are known to form odd couple pairs often hunting together. Interspecies bonding between more typically adversarial predators I find quite wonderful for reasons I can’t explain.

      2. Bugs

        Awesome story. I love it when nature just does its stuff right in front of you.

        Once I was canoeing a little river in a sort of remote area in western Wisconsin and I pulled up to the bank to see if I was in a decent place to camp for the night. After I decided it was good, I went back to the canoe and surprised a beaver couple who were walking off with one of my paddles. The male had it in his mouth and the female was chattering loudly. They saw me and just ran off. I imagine it ended up in their dam. I kept the other paddle with me in the tent for the rest of the trip. When I told the canoe rental guy what happened, he just said. “Oh, OK”.

  4. timbers

    China Asserts No Restricted Zones Around Taiwanese Islands After Two Killed Reuters

    “Separately on Saturday, a group of low-level Chinese officials from Shanghai arrived in Taipei to attend the city’s traditional Lantern Festival at the city government’s invitation. However, Taipei Mayor Chiang Wan-an told reporters he would not meet the group, led by Xu Hao, head of the liaison department of the Taiwan Affairs Office’s Shanghai branch.”

    How do you spell MAIDAN revolution in Chinese? Are there any tall buildings in the area the CIA can plant snippers at the rooftops? Brian Berletic has noted conflicts among fisherman in South East Asia is common and both sides do nasty things, but they don’t affect overall relations and are dealt with as normal in the sense it’s been happening since forever. Yet he says US MSM only reports on those involving Chinese as the apparent bad actors, because China is a bully seeking to take over the world.

    One day when the US decides it is ready, there might be another First Day In History just like Feb 24 2022 – China launches a “totally unprovoked brutal act of aggression” over fishing.

  5. The Rev Kev

    “Will Israel Invade Southern Lebanon?”

    I fully agree with Larry Johnson that this is an insane idea. So I thought to examine this idea from the Israeli point of view. Not only are they totally destroying Gaza right now, but the Collective West have given them a free pass to commit genocide with Biden vetoing any calls for a ceasefire in the UN. For them it is a once in a generation opportunity. Yes, they could take the entire West Bank but they can do that any time so will just let it “simmer.” But then there is the matter of Lebanon. If they can take Lebanon right up to the Litani river, this would give them immense benefits. They would be able to wipe out Hezbollah who is the only serious force challenging Israel in the Middle east, the 200,000 Israeli evacuees from northern Israel would be able to return home and be safe from any future attacks, the waters of the Litani river itself will be diverted to Israel for their benefit and finally any oil-gas fields offshore from the southern part of Lebanon would come under direct Israeli control which would eventually pay for this operation. So for the Israelis, this would all be a logical idea. What could possibly go wrong?

    1. Es s Ce tera

      There’s also the Zionist belief that the scripture is the “deed to the property” for all of the lands associated with the 12 tribes of Israel (despite that Judah, adjacent to the Dead Sea, was a very small portion and that the 12 tribes did not get along, also that there was no such thing as Judaism at the time of the tribes). Thus, they believe they have license to retake the Kingdom of Asher as far north as Sidon, the Kingdom of Napthali which goes as far as Damascus, the Kingdoms of Mannaseh, Gad and Reuben, which is almost all of Jordan. Interestingly, the map of the 12 Kingdoms does not include present day Gaza, nor the lands of the Philistines which Israel now controls.

          1. Colonel Smithers

            Thank you, all.

            You are right to bring up property and deeds.

            One of my employer’s clients, Pret A Manger, has been approached about opening in seaside resorts and inland communities once the war is complete.

            Another client, JC Bamford, already supplies machinery for building in Israel and the West Bank, so has been approached for the above projects. Our trade finance team is on notice.

            No timings were specified, but it was implied that projects will start in the next year or so.

            I don’t detect any skepticism on the part of our clients and bankers about what the Israelis are saying. There seems to be no doubt that Israel will prevail and Palestinians will disappear. The only concern, and it’s mildly put, is the risk of reputational damage from trading with JCB as their equipment is used in West Bank settlements.

              1. Colonel Smithers

                Thank you.

                I know what you mean, but there genuinely does not appear to be any doubt that Israel will prevail. It’s not said, but I imagine the thinking is having the US, UK, EU and other big allies aboard, means the ultimate conclusion is not in doubt.

                  1. Colonel Smithers

                    Thank you, W.

                    It feels like it.

                    Also, Israel’s PMC and wannabe backers, at least in the UK, see Israel as they see themselves, modern, moderate etc. It’s similar to how they see Russia.

                    I hope you are well and enjoying the early flat racing season.

                    1. Wukchumni

                      Dear Colonel,

                      Stopped overnight in Mesquite NV and wagered on the ponies @ Santa Anita in a casino sports book there.

                      1 of the races was my favorite distance on the turf, about 6 1/2 furlongs where the thoroughbreds come down a hill before hitting the home stretch…

                      No way or how does it compare to actually being at the ‘Oval Office’ in Arcadia, but I turned the slightest of profit on my wagering over 5 or 6 races.

                1. Kouros

                  What if Israel will be found guilty of genocide and ethnic cleansing by ICJ? No legal issues considered?

            1. Em

              I look forward to global boycotts of these ghoulish companies AND all their outlets in occupied Palestine getting blown up by Hezbollah missiles.

              1. Colonel Smithers

                Thank you, Em.

                I keep putting it out, but don’t see such boycotts and even protests being organised.

                1. Em

                  I appreciate you putting it out there. Hopefully there will be a response when it is known to the public.

                  I just can’t fathom consumer brands tying themselves to Zionism, which might have 50 million adherents globally, and alienate themselves from 2 billion Muslims (and presumably most Chinese people and the non-evangelical Christians of the global South aren’t thrilled by Israel either).

                  If Israel had contained their brutality
                  to the first 60 days then maybe it would have blown over, but it’s pretty clear now that Israel is totally okay with genocide of Muslims as their brand going forth. What were the executives at these companies thinking lashing themselves to that cart?

                  1. Colonel Smithers

                    Thank you, Em.

                    The families behind them are pretty right wing.

                    The Bamfords are Catholic and part of the aristocracy. Most are not Zionist, but it’s good business.

                    1. digi_owl

                      Heh, i guess when you are in the business of supplying construction equipment even the odd terrorist attack is just more profit (broken window fallacy etc etc).

                    2. Em

                      I guess they’re counting on everyone forgetting by 2025. Sadly, there is a chance that they’re right. We may indeed be at a stage when the average infotainment consumer can’t even be outraged by genocide.

                      But first Israel has to be able to hold Gaza and the West Bank and I don’t think it will happen.

        1. hemeantwell

          A nugget from a NLR article by Gabriel Piterberg, “Settlers and their States”:

          These modern Jewish nationalisms were truly secular, for they rejected the Old Testament as a religious text, in stark contrast to Zionism, whose secularity is limited to the rejection of rabbinical Judaism. As Amnon Raz-Krakotzkin has put it, the logic of Zionist Israeli secularity is, ‘There is no God, but He promised us the Land.’

          1. Polar Socialist

            I remember way, way back when Israel started to build that wall, a holocaust survivor very dryly commented that you can take the Jew out from the ghetto, but you can’t take the ghetto out from the Jew.

            He was, of course, comparing the wall to the one he spent his childhood inside of in some Eastern European country in the 1940’s. His life had made a full circle, he thought.

            1. digi_owl

              It sure do seem like as we are losing the generation that experienced the hardships of war first hand we are overeager to replicate it.

    2. Em

      Hezbollah is hardly the only challenge against Israel. Considering that the greater Israel of Kahanists encompass pretty much all Arab land, Iraqi militias, Syria, Iran, and even the official military forces of Jordan, Iraq, and Lebanon will weigh in.

      And IDF still hasn’t demonstrated that they can successfully fight anybody except for unarmed civilians, and even then they have to strip and handcuff the men before they feel safe.

      1. Em

        But I get your point. Zionists are legends in their own mind and IDF is the most moral army in the world and as long as America ships them plane load after plane load of munitions they’re fine.

  6. Henry Moon Pie

    Caring about older people–

    This article suffers from class blindness. Is it really possible to cry “Ageism!” when we our government is dominated by 70 and 80 year-olds? The billionaires are spending all kinds of money to prolong their lives while most nursing homes have long been the “discard pile” of our society. Societal attitudes toward the elderly vary according to how much money the aged have.

    What is more shocking to me is how little our society cares for the young. Again, it’s a matter of class. Rich little Muffy and Parker enjoy the benefits of the money poured into their upbringing from tony nursery schools to pickle ball lessons while urban public schools rot. Muffy and Parker may need security details to protect them from rebellious deplorables before they reach the age of majority.

    The people who matter in our society are not the young but the rich.

  7. DJG, Reality Czar

    Kaja Kallas wins the Banality of Evil Award today. She gets a bloody red check next to her name.

    I will skip over the first sentence, which indicates that Kallas and her highly paid twiXtologist are so inept that subject-verb agreement in English is beyond them. But grammar is soooo patriarchal, kids.

    It is this:
    To defeat Russia, we need to think outside the box. That’s what Russia is really afraid of.

    Surely, analysis of such profundity must be the result of lead in the water or exotic preservatives in her Pringles or just plain obtuseness. This is the best that freedom-loving Estonia has to offer?

    By the way, if the Russians decide to think outside the box, they can have troops in Tallinn in about an hour. Hmm. Maybe peace is a way of getting people to do less “creative destruction” and thinking outside the box.

    1. The Rev Kev

      You think that like Finland’s former Prime Minister Sanna Marin, that she too may end up working for the Tony Blair Institute in London?

      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, both.

        I have not met any of the Blair employees, but a friend of a friend and former civil servant worked there briefly and, a year or so ago, said something similar to what DJG said. Said ex bureaucrat did not hang around.

        Most of the Blair staff are former civil servants with just a few years of government experience, barely aged about thirty. We are not talking about seasoned professionals like NC’s Anonymous 2 and Aurelien / David. They are not as well read, too, unlike our pair.

        Blair runs the show like the government. Papers are put in red boxes, just like for ministers in Whitehall, and either presented to him, usually bilaterally, in his London office or left outside the office for him to take home to his Buckinghamshire estate on towards the end of the week.

        The London party / nightclub scene awaits Marin and, hopefully, Kallas.

        1. The Rev Kev

          ‘Blair runs the show like the government. Papers are put in red boxes, just like for ministers in Whitehall, and either presented to him, usually bilaterally, in his London office or left outside the office for him to take home to his Buckinghamshire estate on towards the end of the week.’

          That sounds so sad. It almost make me feel sorry for him – almost.

 (2:43 mins)

          1. Colonel Smithers

            Thank you, Rev.

            I get the impression that Blair has never got over being undermined out of office by Gordon Brown’s mafia. He even tried to ingratiate himself into Trump’s circle and thought he could act as a sort of intermediary between Trump and other leaders. This included breaking covid lockdown rules to fly to the US.

            The family’s persistent breaking of lockdown rules led to complaints by villagers. The Blairs now employ an African refugee, not local, gardener and let the flora grow, so no one can see what’s going on.

            Please have a look at, one the Blair family’s Buckinghamshire estates. The Blairs developed a taste for country (squire) living when at the PM’s country retreat, nearby Chequers,

            I live between the two estates.

      2. DJG, Reality Czar

        Kallas? She’s obviously not the sharpest knife in the drawer.

        Of course, Tony Blair is a box of rocks, with plenty of cunning.

        Yet after reading a twiXt like that, I’m not clear on how Kallas would even be capable of working at an ice-cream shop in Tallinn.

        1. Colonel Smithers

          Thank you, DJG.

          Blair has a team of former bureaucrats, relatively young, around him. Although they publish think pieces and are now co-writing the Labour Party’s programme for government, in tandem with City banks and investment firms, I get the impression that Blair makes money selling access and PR advice, not the (limited) expertise from the former civil servants.

          One has to wonder about Marin and Kallas. Many of Blair’s clients are from the Persian Gulf monarchies and central Asia stans. Marin and Kallas are not unattractive. One has to wonder… Perhaps, Giorgia may join..?

          1. Pat

            He is smoother, but this description is giving me serious Rudy Giuliani vibes. His business sounds like Rudy’s post mayoral consulting and legal firm.
            If so I can only hope Tony ends up like Rudy sooner rather than later.

            1. Wukchumni

              Maybe she’ll divulge prison pen pal sweet nothings?

              ‘My darling Yulia,

              Another day on the borscht belt and being held against my will only reinforces my hope that the New Russia™ will be a much nicer place when a photogenic couple such as us can be the Slavic JFK & Jacqueline in brave new frontier after Putin.’

              1. Colonel Smithers

                Thank you, both.

                On Saturday, after seeing the coverage, I wondered similarly to Em. Too soon? Body not cold enough?

            2. digi_owl

              One can be tempted to say that Russian women age differently.

              Maybe it is the Asian influence in the gene pool?


    2. digi_owl

      I recently ran into the claim that back in the 70s the thinking was that getting women into politics would calm the world down. Frankly i think time has shown that to be a overly romantic notion. If anything the women in power are even more underhanded and ruthless than the men.

      1. vao

        back in the 70s the thinking was that getting women into politics would calm the world down.

        The 1970s were the times of Indira Ghandi, Isabel Perón, Golda Meir, and later Margaret Thatcher. That should have been enough to dispell any doubt that women are as authoritarian and bellicist as men.

      2. pjay

        Women of a certain type are recognized by globalist neoliberals for their “qualities” – Kallas, Marin, Arden, Baerbock, etc. – and their careers are fostered accordingly. As Chomsky once said about Western journalists, if they believed differently they wouldn’t be in their positions.

        In yesterday’s Links there was a humorous RT article about Scholz fearing that von der Leyen was too “hawkish” toward Russia to serve as NATO head. It also mentioned that some officials fear Kallas for the same reason. Seems the qualities that brought these women to the top might be a bit too dangerous if they actually believe their bulls**t propaganda.

        1. Colonel Smithers

          Thank you, Pjay.

          Ardern used to work for Blair at Downing Street, so she did not appear from nowhere. She has a consulting role with him now.

          1. pjay

            Yes. She was also given a nice dual appointment at Harvard’s Kennedy School, where she can maintain those important global contacts while advocating for internet censorship – I mean, warn us about the dangers of “online extremism.”

            Didn’t Sanna Marin also end up at Blair’s Institute? Small world. Nice rewards for a job well done I guess.

          2. skippy

            Ardern = Triggered …

            “She and a business delegation have this morning attended a US Chamber of Commerce event alongside BlackRock chairman Larry Fink and Myron Brilliant – the executive Vice President of the US Chamber of Commerce. BlackRock is a massive investment management company which now has more than $10 trillion dollars in assets – dwarfing NZ’s GDP of $350 billion.”


            Is it just my disheveled brain that every time I see the term – deescalate – my mind reads it as doing things our way …. until then …

      3. undercurrent

        I’m not sure where this came from, but there is some truth in it. Men go to war because the women are watching.

        1. Lefty Godot

          That reminds me tangentially of when I was taking half my high school classes (ages ago) at an all male “tech” school and the other half at a usual mixed gender public high school. The boys at the tech school never spoke up. If called on they would answer the teacher’s question as briefly as possible. They would never raise their hands and volunteer an answer. At the public school the boys were always waving their hands and showing off their knowledge (or gift of gab). It was quite a stark contrast.

          1. eg

            That difference might also have been influenced by who gets sent to “tech school” if those institutions are anything like what that name meant in 1980s Ontario.

    3. dingusansich

      Yeah, observing the Munich conclave of ghouls and grandees and attending to its hive mind pronouncements, outside-the-box thinking is what immediately comes to mind.

      Unless by “outside the box” the wannabe NATO mouthpiece Kallas means long-range terror attacks on Russia by proxies, which serve only to make the bear angrier at the bees, with the same outcome, a degraded hive. It’s not as if they’ve got much else left in the box other than the ultimate Wunderwaffe, Article 5. If only there were a way to pry it out. F-16s taking off from Poland? So Simplicius wonders.

      1. digi_owl

        Those jets do not have the range unless someone is willing to park KC-135s in Ukrainian air space, within reach of both S-400s and SU-35s.

        1. cfraenkel

          F-16s don’t, but the F-35 just barely has the range to reach Moscow from eastern Poland. Coincidentally, using Sweden as a base gives the F-35 range to reach St Petersburg, again, just barely. Hypothetically speaking.

          1. hk

            Of course, Washington DC is very much within the range of Sarmat ICBM’s, just hypothetically speaking.

            As far as I know, Russia/USSR has always had only one stage of nuclear escalation, and a F-35 going against Moscow or St. Petersburg, successfully or not, should be enough to cross it. US leadership should keep that in mind….

          2. Polar Socialist

            If that F-35 has any serious payload, it would be spending about two hours in a hostile airspace, where the Russian 55Zh6U NEBO-U VHF-band radar (or three) would track it the whole time within 500 meter accuracy.

            And tell it’s position to all the S-300, S-350, S-400, S-500, Buk, Tor and Pantsir systems along the route. And also alert all possible Mig-29, Su-35 and Su-57 fighters to take a peek.

            That F-35 would feel very, very vulnerable right after passing the Polish border.

    4. Feral Finster

      “It is this:
      To defeat Russia, we need to think outside the box. That’s what Russia is really afraid of.

      Surely, analysis of such profundity must be the result of lead in the water or exotic preservatives in her Pringles or just plain obtuseness. This is the best that freedom-loving Estonia has to offer?”

      What she meant was “longer ranged missiles” (which Europe will offer) and terrorism, which is something she can’t say out loud, because everyone knows that when out proxies do it, then it isn’t terrorism.

  8. Wukchumni

    Social valuation of biodiversity relative to other types of assets at risk in wildfire Society for Conservation Biology

    In the 88,000+ acre KNP Fire in 2021 here mostly in Sequoia NP, there really wasn’t any human risk and little in the way of buildings to protect aside from my cabin community in Mineral King, and the conflagration never got closer than a mile away.

    The following summer we walked up into the Atwell Grove of Giant Sequoias and noticed something in that near the Diamond Tree and the Arm Tree, there had been mere mortal trees too close to them that were chainsawed down in the heat of the fire it looked like.

    I asked the park superintendent about this, and he told me that it was a precautionary effort around named trees, he didn’t want to lose anymore after he’d walked in 2021 after the 2020 Castle Fire to see what was left of formerly the 9th largest tree in the world-the King Arthur, a still smoldering very much dead tree where the former upper half was AWOL. I think it left a mark on his soul and he didn’t want to lose any more titans on his watch.

    You can rebuild most any building to look like the one that burned down-its just a matter of cost, but you can’t accelerate a Sequoia seedling to approximate the look of a lost Brobdingnagian without it taking a few thousand years, give or take a century.

    In the case of the Arm Tree, its at least 3,000 years old-perhaps as old as 3,500 years, a sapling when the last Egyptian pyramids were built.

    The KNP Fire got within 100 feet of it, but it dodged destruction once again as is it’s penchant.

    1. mrsyk

      You can rebuild most any building to look like the one that burned down-its just a matter of cost, but you can’t accelerate a Sequoia seedling to approximate the look of a lost Brobdingnagian without it taking a few thousand years, give or take a century.
      Thank you. I was struggling to put words together on this. Elevating the life of one person over everything else in the world is maybe the one idea above all others that has cursed our species into our current trajectory.
      I’d like to stand that park superintendent a pint or three.

    1. nigel rooney

      Thanks for that link flora. Despite being considerably less than naive, I found the material to be devastating however it both needs and deserves to be viewed. Predation writ large, from on high.
      Given the planned destruction of both human beings and culture, maybe more than a hint of genocide for profit.

  9. The Rev Kev

    “AI falsely accuses, fines artificial intelligence expert of using phone while driving – report”

    If I was that guy, I would be spewing about having to wait six months to get that fine dismissed. The road cameras here in Oz are picking up people using their mobiles so I guess that they use AI as well though they don’t advertise it if so. There was this women here that was charged with driving while on her mobile phone. What she was actually doing was eating a Magnum ice cream that you can see in the photo. After being pulled over, she showed police her ice cream wrapper and stick and a receipt clearly recording that the purchase was made six minutes before she was pulled over but the highway coppers were not having a bar of it. But she fought it and won-

    Stupid Flanders AI systems!

  10. DJG, Reality Czar

    Gilbert Doctorow: TRT world and It’s the Brits!

    Much to chew on in the Doctorow piece.

    I will add something reported in Fatto Quotidiano today, based on an article in Bild in Germany. There may have been a prisoner exchange in progress among the US of A, Russia, and Germany, which may have included Navalny.

    So: So? Ockham’s razor says not to multiply causes and factors: Navalny died naturally at an inconvenient time indeed. His treatment in prison was very harsh, he had health problems, and he was 47 years old. That is the simplest explanation.

    That doesn’t let the Russian authorities off the hook. (And there are plenty of other suspicious deaths to consider, including that of Politkovskaya, the journalist, still unresolved.)

    Yet if we think of our friends the Israelis and the U S S Liberty, we may have (according to Doctorow) Navalny dead to show who truly is in charge: Toffs from the Decline of the British Empire.

    1. Em

      I tend to think it was a natural death. Otherwise the Russians have far worse opsec than I imagined. Just look at the complete hash they made of the Skipral poisoning. Are these clowns capable of assassinating Navalny in a Russian prison?

      If Russians do unjustly jail and assassinated their political opponents, that’s the Russians’ business. We in the West really have no standing to discuss other people’s governments.

      1. begob

        And they made a complete hash of the original Navalny poisoning. The Russians just can’t win, can they?

        1. Polar Socialist

          Well, for some reason they keep choosing to use the world’s most lethal neurotoxin that kills only 16% of it’s victims.

      2. c_heale

        I’m not sure there is any evidence showing the Russians poisoned the Skripals. There is a theory that it was the UK government.

        And there is still the question of where are they now?

        1. Em

          I meant that the Brits obviously did the Skipral poisoning and couldn’t concoct a story that hang together. If they can’t even set up a plausible poisoning in Salisbury, can they manage one in a Russian prison where Navalny is being closely watched?

    2. Carolinian

      Doctorow suggests a British mole in the prison slipped him some embolism pills. Doctorow could be out over his skis.

      1. Wukchumni

        it’s not as if Mikaela Shiffrin leans back on her planks, in fact she’s out over her skis a good amount of the time, like any downhill racer.

        I’ve never fallen over from being out over my skis, the saying probably came from somebody that never purposely flung themselves down a mountain at breakneck speeds over & over again.

        1. Carolinian

          Perhaps I watch too many cartoons. Wile E. Coyote always had trouble with skis.

          Living in SC I don’t ski myself. It now seems doubtful that we will even have one snowfall this year.

          1. Wukchumni

            Took my 19 year old nephew on the last Mammoth trip with the Dartful Codgers in order to drastically lower the average age for the 7 of us.

            He’s a skateboarder and I got him snowboarding lessons (most all the snowboarders are under 30-most all the skiers over 30) and he’s a natural!

            Never too late to learn how to ski, one of the Codgers took it up when he was 46 and is now 71.

            1. Carolinian

              Thanks but if I want to speed downhill I have a bicycle. Hills we have in abundance–snow not so much.

      2. Nikkikat

        Larry Johnson and ray Mc govern believe that Doctorow was right. M16 had a man inside. Judge Neapolitan today.
        It all fits in the the Russian death machine from outer space and a big loss in Ukraine

    3. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you, DJG.

      With regard to toffs, centrist log rollers, including some remoaners who used to detest him, are having an orgasm over David’s Cameron recent performances in DC and Munich. Some are even suggesting that a Labour government retain Cameron as foreign secretary or appoint his fellow Etonian and Scottish aristocrat, Rory Stewart, and dispense with current Labour spokesman David Lammy.

      The United Kingdom has been well served by the likes of Castlereagh, Canning, Carrington and Cameron. Let’s not ruin it by appointing the man known as a lazy hound and Cherie Blair’s lapdog.

    1. digi_owl

      Well damn, i was wondering where the image was taken.

      The wolf is a particular puzzler as they are very “tribal”, so one bonding to a bear rather than other wolfs suggest it was chased out for some reason.

      That said, there is some interplay between the two species as wolf packs are not above stealing a carcass from a bear by driving it away using harassment (as will ravens as well). Not easy being a bear…

      1. Wukchumni

        Wolves are hunters, while Black Bears here are largely vegetarian-but will indulge in most anything that’s dead.

        We don’t have wolves here yet (a pack of 5 or 6 Grey Wolves is 35 miles away) and Mountain Lions fill in more as far as the supermarket of sorts for bears eating sloppy seventeenths of some stag.

        The only thing i’m aware of that Black Bears kill and eat are chickens & really young deer.

        1. digi_owl

          From what i am reading, a bear can take down a moose (though mostly it will target the young and sick). And there is an ongoing complaint here in Norway at least that they will kill sheep when it gets close to hibernation time. In particular as they will take the udder and other fat bits and leave the rest to rot.

          1. Wukchumni

            Like the Native Americans in a shared food source, bruins here rely upon eating boucoup acorns before hibernating, and there is no shortage of oak trees up to around 5,000 feet.

            No humans presently participate in the harvest…

        2. cfraenkel

          The only thing i’m aware of that Black Bears kill and eat are chickens & really young deer.
          The Black Bears up here in BC eat plenty of Salmon!

  11. Vicky Cookies

    Re: Indian port workers:

    There are two non-military methods, as I see it, by which the flow of arms, and so the killing, can be stopped. One is in the hands of workers, like the Indian port workers mentioned. The Law & Political Economy Project featured an article last week in which the UAW’s ceasefire resolution is examined in terms of a possible legal argument for collectively refusing to handle materiel en route to Israel. In the U.S., ‘hot cargo’ actions are basically illegal under the NLRA; this ought to be challenged, or ignored outright. Until then, news of workers elsewhere heeding the call of their brothers and sisters in the Palestinian trade unions is most welcome.

    The second method is not directed by workers, but by bankers. Increased risk could jack up interest rates on Israeli government borrowing, and make refinancing debt prohibitively expensive. Former U.S. Ambassador and Assistant Defense Secretary Chas Freeman notes in a recent interview (relevant bit @9:15) that “the decisive move [in the fall of apartheid in South Africa] was the suspension of refinancing of South African debt by Swiss banks.”

    Whichever method, bottom-up or top-down, if there is a peaceful means of stopping this genocide, it is to be preferred; Hezbollah, I understand, has another way, if tested.

    1. Alice X

      The Law & Political Economy Project article pivots around the potential for the legal argument of moral injury, but then notes that it is a double edged sword.

      I certainly feel moral injury with the flow of arms, but also fear that justice only comes from the tip of the sword.

  12. The Rev Kev

    “Lindsey Graham: Time to designate Russia a state sponsor of terrorism”

    God, does the man have to sound like a complete idiot? Look, I would not know all the ramifications of such a move but I can guess some of them. The US would have to cut all diplomatic links with the Russia Federation as well as any other relations such as in the UN. That alone would be a spectacular own goal. But it might also mean that the US would feel justified in seizing Russians ships and cargoes, including oil. Countries have gone to war for less. Would the US feel the need to bomb the Russians in Syria? Or to board any Russian shipments? Or to force other countries to also treat Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism lest they be punished as supporting terrorism? Personally, I know where Lindsay Graham can go and what he can do when he gets there.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Thanks for the reminder. Without Russia, American electricity prices would go to the moon. And a lot of Russian oil is still shipped to the US too because reasons.

    1. nippersmom

      God, does the man have to sound like a complete idiot?
      Well, since he is a complete idiot, I’m not sure he can help it.

  13. Alice X


    U.N. Court Hears Arguments on Israeli Occupation

    The International Court of Justice in The Hague began hearing arguments on Monday on the legal consequences of Israel’s decades-long occupation of Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem and the West Bank. The six-day hearings, which are expected to address Israel’s actions in areas it occupied in 1967, have gained attention amid Israel’s war in Gaza against Hamas.

    The court is scheduled to hear from about 50 nations, including some of Israel’s allies, such as the United States and Britain, as well as critics, including China and Russia. (read more…)

    This case is separate from the South African case ruled on last month, but the additional scrutiny from that order could be significant.

  14. CA

    “Indonesia’s nickel supremacy: China’s backing and Australia’s decline”

    An important article showing the absurdity and perversity of American policy to contain a civilisation of 1.4 billion, with a land area as large as America including Alaska and an economy larger than America’s.
    China will of course not be contained:

    February 19, 2024

    Indonesia’s nickel supremacy: China’s backing and Australia’s decline
    By Teesta Prakash

    Australia is no longer competitive in the nickel market, largely due to Indonesia’s recent domination in the sector. This domination strategy has been carefully planned by Indonesia as it looks to boost its downstream industrial policy in critical minerals processing with the backing of Chinese investments.

    Since 2014, there has been strategic planning by Jakarta in how it would onshore the added value of nickel supply chains. It started with Indonesia banning nickel exports that year, which immediately withdrew a large proportion of nickel from the global supply chain. Unsurprisingly, this export ban was met with international criticism, with the EU complaining to the World Trade Organization (WTO) about this policy, considering it an anti-competitive trade-restricting measure. While the WTO ruled against Indonesia, finding that it could not demonstrate an imminent critical shortage of nickel for its domestic market, Jakarta has since appealed against this ruling.

    Indonesia has argued that this is a case of protecting its national economic interests, and that global trading rules are unfairly detrimental to developing nations. The Indonesian Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs, Airlangga Hartarto, called them a form of “economic imperialism” when the International Monetary Fund (IMF) called for Jakarta to scale back its export ban.

    Along with this controversial ban, the support of Chinese foreign direct investment (FDI), as well as concessional financing, helped Indonesia secure its place as the world’s top refined nickel producer. Chinese policy lending banks and state-owned enterprises started investing early. One of the largest Chinese investment projects in Indonesia, the Sulawesi-based Morowali Industrial Park, set up in 2013, and was funded by the Chinese Development Bank, China Export-Import Bank, Industrial and Commercial Bank, and China’s stainless steel giant Tsingshan Holdings. This helps Indonesia diversify its nickel production, especially as it looks to manufacture electric vehicles (EVs) and solidify its presence in the global supply and value chain…

  15. CA

    “Year of the Dragon opens on high note for China’s economy”

    What is important to remember that Western economists have almost uniformly projected the collapse of the Chinese economy in 2024, just as was projected in 2023 and year on year before that.

  16. Amfortas the Hippie

    on burgergate:

    Malcolm has been on this for a week or two.
    and i agree that the symbolism is important.
    i havent noticed higher prices out here, but i only very rarely eat out…and almost never eat fast food.(currently, BK and whataburger are my preferred fast road food fare…especially the former….tastes better..perhaps less sawdust)
    the local eatin joints we do get takeout from are all locally owned…and my boys report that the $ hasnt changed..unless i want guacamole.
    but if Malcolm is right, we’ll soon be left with only the Circusem part of Juvenal’s famous aphorism.
    and i reckon they need some better clowns for that to continue to enjoy any further utility.

    1. albrt

      Malcolm is a fascinating guy. His Xitter account is kinda juvenile sometimes but his articles for real publications are generally on point.

  17. Feral Finster

    What Kallas is proposing by “think[ing] outside the box” is longer-ranged missiles is longer-ranged missiles and terrorist (although we can’t call it that, when we are sponsoring the terrorists, that’s why they resort to euphemisms such as “thinking outside the box”.

    No duh.

    What does Russia propose to do about it? Because further dithering will just get Russian cities attacked and Russian people killed.

  18. Feral Finster

    “Putin – on the conflict in Ukraine:”

    It is abundantly obvious that neither Putin nor the Russian leadership wants this war and it loathe to make war on people that they still see as their wayward brothers.

    Unfortunately, neither the creeps in Kiev nor the ghouls in Brussels or Washington suffer any such qualms and they will continue to escalate, unless and until they start to face very real consequences for doing so.

    1. neutrino23

      “It is abundantly obvious that neither Putin nor the Russian leadership wants this war and it loathe to make war on people that they still see as their wayward brothers.”

      Seriously? Time and again Putin has denied the existence of Ukraine and the Ukrainian people. He has stated his intent to erase the country and the people of Ukraine. And after that Poland is next. He is already blaming Poland for the start of WWII. Like some sort of wife beater – “she made me do it.”

      Putin is a murderous dictator and will not stop with the conquest of Ukraine. Once he starts attacking Eastern Europe that may start a nuclear war. Welcome to WWIII.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        Were you listening to Putin or to CNN’s take on what Putin says? Because that’s not what I’ve heard him say at all.

        And when I check a map, it sure looks like the US with military bases all over the world, murdering and turning other nations into vassal states, not Russia.

      2. CA

        Time and again Putin has denied the existence of Ukraine and the Ukrainian people. He has stated his intent to erase the country and the people of Ukraine. And after that Poland is next. He is already blaming Poland for the start of WWII. Like some sort of wife beater – “she made me do it.”

        [ This is completely incorrect, and evidently purposely offensive. ]

        1. zach

          There is an element of “i’m gonna f*** you til you love me” going on here.

          If you’re not picking up on it, I suggest practicing a little active imagination – imagine yourself as a Ukrainian who doesn’t like/identify with Russia, doesn’t identify or associate his/herself with “neo-nazi,” and is afraid of getting shipped to the front to fight a war he/she did not start.

          Not intended to offend, Tyson’s words, not mine.

          I’m not a DNC troll, either. But then, I would say that.

      3. steppenwolf fetchit

        He has denied the “separate people-ness” of Ukrainian persons. That’s different than denying their existence in the physical sense. I don’t think he denies their physical existence.

        I don’t think he wants to erase the Ukrainian persons in any physical sense. What he wants to do is erase their separate-ness of people-hood. That sought-for erasure began several hundred years ago, not with Putin. ” Kill the Ukrainian, save the man” as in . . . ” Kill the Indian, save the man”.

    1. Wukchumni

      We went from 1 pot shoppe in greater Godzone 4 years ago, to dozens.

      I guess where i’d have a problem with pot and young tokers in their teenage years, is marijuana is ridiculously cheap now, so there’s no economic bar to entry, as when it was worth 8x as much around the turn of the century.

      …it went from illegal to ridiculously easy to procure to the point where you feel as if you are in a Baskin & Robbins 31 flavor operation @ the dispensary

  19. Feral Finster

    Re: Bono: I would like to see that pompous ass say the name of Gonzalo Lira, much less that of Julian Assange or Edward Snowden.

    He won’t, but it doesn’t matter, since Roger Waters is persecuted in German on a laughable pretext, while Bono is lauded by The Great And Good for his supposed courage.

  20. Feral Finster

    “Chris Hedges: The Collapse of US Media is Accelerating Our Political Crisis Scheerpost”

    The US MSM deserves a wooden stake through the heart.

    And I would not stop with the US MSM.

  21. CA

    February 19, 2024

    New building of museum at Shang Dynasty capital site to open this month

    BEIJING — The new building of the Yinxu Museum at the Yin Ruins, the site of the last capital of the Shang Dynasty (1600 B.C.-1046 B.C.), will open to the public on Feb. 26.

    The announcement was made at a press conference held by the National Cultural Heritage Administration on Monday in Beijing.

    The museum, located in the city of Anyang in central China’s Henan Province, will showcase nearly 4,000 items or sets of cultural relics, including bronzeware, pottery, jade objects, and oracle bones.

    The exhibition features a vast quantity and diverse range of cultural artifacts, with over three-quarters of the relics making their debut appearances.

    The Yin Ruins is the first documented late Shang Dynasty capital site in China, as confirmed by archaeological excavations and oracle bone inscriptions. It is also the ancient capital site with the highest frequency of archaeological excavations and the longest duration of exploration in China.

    The expanded Yinxu Museum is the first national major archaeological museum to comprehensively present the Shang civilization.

    1. CA

      A remarkable reader wrote yesterday of the relevance and importance of historical museums and exhibitions in building a healthy national identity, and I wrote about how China is portraying and using history in just this way. Today, we can learn about the opening of a museum of Chinese history recording Chinese life as much as 3,500 years ago.

  22. Socal Rhino

    Off topic, but is anyone here familiar with the people (and funding) behind “My Country My Choice”, the group fronted by Colonel McGregor?

  23. Jason Boxman

    Today’s laugh fest:

    Anti-Trump Burnout: The Resistance Says It’s Exhausted

    Bracing for yet another election against Donald Trump, America’s liberals are feeling the fatigue. “We’re kind of, like, crises-ed out,” one Democrat said.

    I guess it has been full-on apocalypse ever since Trump won the Republican nomination back in, what was it, 2016? I don’t even remember. It’s been almost ten years of Russia up in your base, capping your flag through the persona of Trump. I’m surprised these people haven’t overdosed on this stuff.

    I guess they finally have.

    What a pathetic, ineffective “resistance”.

    Seeing this headline truly warms my heart.

  24. alfia

    re Assange as per Declassified UK (29 June 2023):

    When Assange was seized at the Ecuadorian embassy in London in April 2019, Jeffress (then the DoJ’s attaché at the US embassy in London) told the Washington Post: “It will be some years before a final decision is reached – at least a year and probably longer.” She added: “These cases can become very political in the UK.”

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