Links 2/28/2024

Tripping on LSD at the Dolphin Research Lab Chronicle of Higher Education (Anthony L)

Clouds Vanish During a Solar Eclipse, And We Finally Know Why ScienceAlert. Chuck L:

One of my high school friends who became a successful lawyer in our hometown began chasing solar eclipses around the world in the early 1990s. He got to them all until about five years ago. He plans to do one last encore to view the one expected to go over Indiana in April

We finally know why live music makes us so emotional New Scientist (Dr. Kevin)

Neom continues transformation of Saudi Arabia with lush desert oasis New Atlas (furzy)

Revolutionizing Lunar History: Scientists Introduce a New Timeline SciTech Daily (Chuck L)

Can Flow Batteries Finally Beat Lithium? IEEE Spectrum (Chuck L)

Is measles making a comeback? News from Those Nerdy Girls (Dr. Kevin)

Researchers make precious headway into a genetic form of Alzheimer’s disease MedicalXpress (Chuck L)

New study reveals MDMA’s unique influence on positive social feedback PsyPost (Chuck L)


Scientists Condemn Last Minute Push to Overturn EU Nature Law DeSmog

Texas issues disaster declaration as wildfires burn out of control Anadolu Agency

Microplastics Found In Every Human Placenta Tested In Study Guardian

US Judge Halts Government Effort To Monitor Crypto Mining Energy Use Guardian


China widens scope of state secrets law Nikkei

Japan’s new births fall to record low as demographic woes worsen ABC Australia (Kevin W)

Old Blighty

Crooked House: Owners of wonky pub ordered to rebuild BBC (Kevin W)

European Disunion

Germany had 90 minutes to prepare for a beach ball-sized meteorite impact Big Think. Micael T: “Even space is trying to get rid of the fools in the German government.”

The Journal trolls Germany:


‘Operation Al-Aqsa Flood’ Day 144: Israel and Hamas contradict Biden claim that Gaza ceasefire is close Mondoweiss

At least 576,000 people in Gaza one step away from famine, UN says Aljazeera

Israel-Palestine live: ‘Deliberate starvation’ of Palestinians cannot be tolerated, says Qatar Middle East Eye

US calls for ‘diplomatic path’ on Lebanon after Israel warning Arab News

Israel-Hamas war latest: Hezbollah launch ‘volley of rockets’ at Israeli base Telegraph

Russia may have just carried out its first direct action against the West Telegraph (Kevin W). ZOMG, Russia derangement syndrome goes on the road! And the framing is wrong. It was the Middle East and India that were were affected by the cable cuts.

Criticism of Israel at Berlin Film Festival Stirs Antisemitism Debate New York Times (Kevin W)

New Not-So-Cold War

CIA, Ukraine Exchange Pre-Divorce Propaganda Matt Taibbi. Important.

SITREP 2/27/24: Desperate Globalists Float Boots on Ground to Save Ukraine Simplicius the Thinker

Europeans’ last ditch clutch at Ukrainian victory Responsible Statecraft

NATO countries scramble to deny ground troops will go into Ukraine after Moscow warns of ‘inevitable’ conflict CNBC. Walking back a Macron remark.

All it took was a look at the headline (BTW lead story) to know it didn’t smell right:

Yellen Calls for Frozen Russian Central Bank Funds to Be Given to Ukraine (Kevin W). This comes off as sour grapes or posturing for the US, since the G-7 decided merely to study the matter further

Remember Tucker is on the Myrotvorets kill list, so this is plausible:

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Meta Will Start Collecting ‘Anonymized’ Data About Quest Headset Usage ars technica

Indian Railways coaches to get 175K facial recognition cameras Biometric Update


Trump’s Polling Lead is Much Larger than It Looks Counterpunch



Biden wins primary but suffers Gaza protest vote BBC

The SEP launches its campaign for a socialist alternative in 2024 to Biden and Trump, the corporate candidates of war and dictatorship! WSWS (Joe K)

Budget Brinksmanship

Shutdown Fears Fade After White House Meeting Wall Street Journal:

[Charles} Schumer said the discussion on Ukraine was “the most intense I have ever encountered in my many meetings in the Oval Office.” He said he told Johnson he would “regret it for the rest of his life” if he blocked assistance for Kyiv.

Johnson “said he wanted to get Ukraine done, and he had to figure out the best way to do it,” Schumer recalled.


Democrats try to force IVF vote The Hill. If you read the piece, this is a 2022 bill. It does not seem on point with the Alabama Supreme Court ruling, which criminalizes disposing of unused embryos.

Our No Longer Free Press

US tech giants refuse to work with Britain’s top secret military censorship board Politico


Geoff Mann · Give your mom a gun: America’s Favourite Gun London Review of Books


Walmart CEO confirms new AI technology that will change checkouts forever – but will you want cameras prying into your cart? Daily Mail. Self checkout 2.0.

Here lies the internet, murdered by generative AI Intrinsic Perspective. Paul R: “Spams and scams galore, plus just plain crap and enshittification.”

OpenAI accuses NYT of hacking ChatGPT to set up copyright suit ars technica (Kevin W). Lordie, look at the novel definition of hacking.

Researchers show Reddit users caused the famous GameStop ‘short squeeze’ PhysOrg (Chuck L)

The Bezzle

Ketchup Caddy Sold Some Fake Electricity Matt Levine, Bloomberg (Micael T)

Self-driving startup Vay to launch commercial teledriven service in Hamburg in 2022 TechCrunch (Keith A)

Apple Cancels Work on Electric Car Bloomberg

Amazon Aggregator Thrasio Files For Bankruptcy Nasdaq. Former unicorn.

Bitcoin Surges Above $59K as Bull Rally Continues Coindesk

Class Warfare

New policy guide details how states can strengthen laws to fight oppressive child labor Economic Policy Institute

Uber-Like Surge Pricing Is Coming For Fast Food SFGate

The case for liberal socialism in the 21st century aeon (Chuck L)

Antidote du jour. More from Mark T’s visit to Kruger Park:

We had a very nice cat vid on YouTube provided by YY but the meanie channel owner blocked our embed! So here is a replacement:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour“>here

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  1. Antifa

    (melody borrowed from Monday Monday by The Mamas & The Papas)

    Yahweh Yahweh
    War deity
    Not a stone atop a stone — your ancient decree

    Young kids get torn up
    With no warning by your Israelis
    They say you said they’ll own the river to the sea

    Yahweh Yahweh — the End of Days
    Fire and lightning — while you’re rounding up your strays

    O Yahweh Yahweh
    Your soldiers are shorning all Gaza for thee
    O Yahweh Yahweh must they be so bloodthirsty?

    Everybody prays (everybody prays)
    Everybody prays
    Everybody prays for some peace of mind, yeah
    But wherever Yahweh comes (whenever Yahweh comes)
    But wherever Yahweh comes
    Everyone starts dyin’ every time

    Yahweh Yahweh
    You SOB
    Yahweh Yahweh
    You aren’t all you’re cracked up to be

    Your Bronze Age warnings
    And all of your warring cannot guarantee
    There won’t be one long stretch in jail for your Bibi!

    Everybody sees (everybody sees)
    Everybody sees
    Everybody sees your mystique decline, yeah
    When the war you want has come
    (when the war you want has come)
    When the war you want has come
    No amount of blood makes it divine

    Yahweh Yahweh — the End of Days
    Samson’s Option — it just might turn out that way

    Whoa, Yahweh Yahweh
    Please go away
    Yahweh Yahweh
    God of Dismay
    O Yahweh Yahweh
    O Yahweh Yahweh

      1. Samuel Conner

        Alternatively, perhaps — analogous to the prophet Nathan’s declaration to King David after the “matter of Bathsheba and Uriah” — trouble will pursue Bibi to the end of his days on account of his giving the Gentiles reason to blaspheme the Name.

    1. Mark Gisleson

      B-side, Vacationland Dreaming

      All the buildings down (all the buildings down)
      The rubble is gray (the rubble is gray)
      Gaza crushed for a (gaza crushed for a)
      Vacationland resort! (vacationland resort!)
      The beach will be warm (beach will be warm)
      Once condos are built (once condos are built)
      No more Palestinians (no more palestinians)
      Vacationland resort!

      Stopped to torch a mosque
      On my way to Shabbat
      Where I get down on my knees (get down on my knees)
      And I pretend to pray (I pretend to pray)
      You know the rabbi’s I.D.F. (rabbi’s I.D.F.)
      He knows I’m gonna slay (knows I’m gonna slay)
      All the Palestinians (all the palestinians)
      Vacations on the beach!

      [clarinet solo]

      All the buildings down (all the buildings down)
      The rubble is gray (the rubble is gray)
      Gaza crushed for a (gaza crushed for a)
      Vacationland resort! (vacationland resort!)
      If we didn’t kill them (if we didn’t kill them)
      They’d be in the way (they’d be in the way)
      Genocide fixes this (genocide fixes this)
      Such a vacationland resort (vacationland resort)
      Such a vacationland resort (vacationland resort)
      Such sunny beaches (sunny beaches)

  2. Richard H Caldwell

    Does anyone know what has happened to Craig Murray? His last post from the Assange appeal hearing was on Feb 21 — nothing since.

    1. Jeff V

      Craig Murray posted in the comments to the Assange report to say he was ill in bed in Athens. He also posted a comment there today.

      Of course, his phone was in the hands of the authorities for some time (not sure if he’s even had it back yet) and his laptop was stolen on a train in Germany, so there’s always the possibility it’s an impersonator. However, even in short comments his writing style comes through. (Anyone impersonating me would need to make sure they over-use brackets and commas.)

      1. Richard H Caldwell

        Thanks! I read him on RSS, so forgot about checking for him in the post comments. I really appreciate your letting me know.

  3. ex-PFC Chuck

    It’s probably my fault that we boldly prepare for the forthcoming leap day. There must have been an embedded Bold command in the link I submitted to an Yves regarding my friend Bruce’s adventures chasing solar eclipses.

        1. cousinAdam

          A comedic ‘light opera’ from composers Gilbert & Sullivan. The protagonist, born on 2/29, learns to his chagrin that he is obligated to serve in the Queen’s Navy until his (guessing here) 30th birthday- which only occur once every four years. Another maybe more famous operetta of theirs was the Mikado. My parents took me to see performances of both in NYC when I was a tyke. I wore the grooves off of the soundtrack albums singing along with the songs. Timeless entertainment – highly recommended!

          1. Not Qualified to Comment

            Not quite. The protagonist’s nurse, instructed to indenture him as a ship’s pilot, mishears the word and indentures him to a band of pirates instead, until his 21st birthday. Intending to leave them promptly on his 21st for a more respectable profession he is thwarted when it is pointed out that, having been born on 29th Feb, he has only had five birthdays rather than 21!

          2. gk

            In the Pirates of Penzance (sic), it’s his 21st birthday. I have a friend who knows most of their works, but is completely ignorant of The Mikado: she’s from Japan….

  4. The Rev Kev

    ‘The Wall Street Journal
    Opinion – Germany Should Have Listened to Trump
    He was right about Berlin’s self-defence and risky energy dependence on Russia.’

    Yeah, nah! Berlin never had to worry about self-defence before which is why they let the Bundeswehr be run down. Now that they have declared Russia to be an enemy of Germany, they certainly have to worry about self-defence now. As for the ‘risky energy dependence on Russia’, they still get oil from Russia but from other countries acting as middlemen for which they now pay a premium price. Germany is now dependent on the US for LPG energy but I think that Biden cut off Europe from US LPG exports the other day. Like the UK before Brexit, Germany had the best deal possible but their elites burned it all down to the ground.

    1. John

      The Russians ain’t coming despite the sundry hysterical screeches from Brussels and the “risky energy dependence on Russia” worked just fine until Genocide Joe and the boys blew up Nordstream. Qui bono?

      1. Polar Socialist

        Considering how German economy has tanked while Russia is doing pretty good lately it looks like that “energy dependency” was actually Germany looting Russia’s natural resources.

        1. ebolapoxclassic

          Exactly. I sincerely hope that Russia won’t ever return to the previous energy arrangements, no matter what changes of heart the Germans pretend to make in the future. German industry and households should never be subsidized by Russian energy again. Russian energy should be used to build Russian industry and infrastructure and to help advance Asian, African and Latin American partners.

          Hopefully by now it’s also understood in Russia (I for one didn’t, or didn’t want to understand it, until recently) that hatred of Russia is as permanent, ubiquitous and deeply rooted in Germany as it is in the Anglosphere, in Poland, the Baltics and in Scandinavia. It was only at times better hidden for pragmatic reasons.

          It has persisted and reignited for centuries under vastly different political regimes: Christian crusades, whether against pagan Slavs or “only fake Christian” Orthodox Slavs, general anti-Slavic sentiment before and during WWI, the outright genocidal campaign during the Nazi era and WWII, and now the exact same dehumanization of Russians and warfare against them (for now by proxy) again, but under Western-Atlanticist liberal democracy. It has just happened too many times under such different circumstances that it can’t be a mere fluke.

          It’s admittedly not up to me to decide, but In my view, a deep grave should be dug for any dreams of future German-Russian cooperation, ironically not in the interest of Anglo-Saxons and Atlanticists (as many of us thought) but in the interest of Russia itself.

          1. E

            I am no expert but issues with Russia from Germany are largely of US making. Most Germans I know here in Bavaria have no issue with Russia and a big issue with the US and the Ukraine war and the west Asian and African conflicts wihich drive millions of Muslim refugees to Europe. The German regime is under US control. The chance the current coalition will win in the next elections is nil. Many are hoping the AFD will lead because they are against this stupid war of the Americans.

      2. digi_owl

        Risky because it reduced US influence on Germany and thus EU.

        Can’t have one’s vassals get to independent minded…

      3. Em

        The end game to be the Europeans elites getting in their North American bound private jets and “jingle mail” their peninsula to Russia. The foundation crack and radicalized immigrant community are Russia’s problems now.

    2. DavidZ

      The Rev Kev – I agree with you.

      Opinion pieces are biased and not journalism. This is simply put there to boost Trump’s prescience – which it wasn’t.

      To add to your comment: Russia and Putin have never reneged on their contracts to Germany or any other EU country since the start of the SMO. They have even paid Ukraine transit fees, the country they are at war with, for all the gas transiting.

      Russia never shut off Nordstorm.
      Putin even offered to start pumping gas through the one remaining NS2 pipe that didn’t get blown up, if Germany did the paperwork to say, good to go.

      The whole European Energy / Recession debacle has been the EU’s own making because they allowed the US to pressure them to behave against their own interest. Whatever levers of pressure that the US used – worked. I imagine they are probably – bribery, blackmail or US Agents at the top political levels in EU.

      1. digi_owl

        Was there not talk about demonstrations in Germany to reopen the Russian NG imports right before them pipes went pop?

  5. NN Cassandra

    It’s fine trolling from WSJ, even more exquisite than they probably imagine, because in fact Trump (and all the neocons) was wrong. Russia never used energy as political leverage, it were the putative Germany allies who blown up the Nord Stream. So the Germans were right, but they can’t say that, instead they have to pretend they were wrong and thank those who are destroying their economy for own political gains. Very good trolling indeed.

    1. Feral Finster

      “Russia never used energy as political leverage, it were the putative Germany allies who blown up the Nord Stream. So the Germans were right, but they can’t say that, instead they have to pretend they were wrong and thank those who are destroying their economy for own political gains. Very good trolling indeed.”

      Of course, But since nobody of influence and authority in Germany will dare say it out loud, lest they be cast into Outer Darkness, does it matter?

  6. Keith

    Have to say, surge pricing at Wendy’s is a creative slice of hell that I didn’t predict. Thanks private equity!

    1. griffen

      Well the user may find choices and options to their liking elsewhere. Will surge pricing affect any of their promotional menu items? Say for example, a Wendy’s promo for breakfast that adverts as a Two for $4, now becomes as a Two for $5 due to “surge pricing” between 7 am to 9 am ? Good grief…

      Gives them leeway to charge more when input costs go higher…doubtful it works in a consumer’s favor if those input costs go lower…

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        This is a sure fire way to crash Wendy’s. I guess they nave a monopoly on square burgers.

          1. Wukchumni

            There isn’t much White Castle action on the left coast, a gas station with 96 pumps opened a few years ago in Jean, Nevada-west of Pavlovegas, and it has a White Castle inside.

            The time I stopped wasn’t on account of pump envy (it isn’t as if I feel inadequate with say 6 or 8 pumps in most gas stations) but to sample some sliders.

            The gas was a buck more than it should have been per gallon, @ 96 Tiers.

            1. Lena

              That reminds me of the “Get Eats and Gas Here” signs at roadside stops in the Midwest during my childhood.

              Then there was the local bait shop/diner on the edge of town…

              1. ex-PFC Chuck

                Then there was the establishment that offered both veterinary medicine and taxidermy services. The tagline on their sign was “Either way you get your dog back.”

      2. Carolinian

        Fast food seems like a fading cultural phenomenon anyway. The Kroc idea for McDonald’s (stolen from the original owners) was cheap and simple. This latest gambit sounds like an attempt to save something that was already in trouble.

        1. griffen

          Michael Keaton’s portrayal as Kroc in The Founder was highly enjoyable, from what I can tell the film was mostly accurate on the history of the landmark fast food icon. Those founding brothers should’ve received billions but alas did not.

          I trust a handshake but let’s get my lawyers involved. Mark Knopfler even penned a good set of lyrics to the overall story ( prior to the film by ~ ten years I think ).

          1. Carolinian

            That is a good movie and where all my knowledge of early McD comes from.

            Here in SC we had Hardees and a major franchisee of the North Carolina originated chain. He later bought Denny’s and put the headquarters here. Hardees sold smallish hamburgers and fries and milk shakes and that was about it.

      3. Phaedra

        Not mentioned, by raising the costs for “food” at Noon when the most demand, they reduce number of customers. However, the higher prices those pay and most importantly, the ability to reduce the number of employees, makes up for the lost business. The skeleton staff can be kept busy late at night and early in the morning with super low prices. Demand is evened out throughout the day, allowing the robots to make the “food.”

        Like robotic taxis, this deserves a monkeywrenching campaign.

    2. OnceWere

      ““There’s a certain amount of irritation, after growing up in a world where the price is the price, and then you jump into this environment”

      A certain amount of irritation is an understatement of the sheer amount of unadulterated rage that I would feel if any fast food business I frequented tried this. It’s a fast food joint not a hotel on a holiday weekend. There is no surge of demand meeting a fixed supply unless the business artificially makes it so by refusing to open a few more cash registers and throw a few more patties on the grill. I’d starve before I ever crossed their threshold again.

      1. Objective Ace

        There is no surge of demand

        Strongly disagree with this. People avoid lines. Obviously location dependent, but customers are more then happy to drive across the street or across the foodcourt to a competitor rather then waiting an extra 5-10 minutes.

        Like it or not, this is a rational way for the business to extract that extra “surplus” cost that the customers were previosly paying in wasted time. Will it turn some people off – yes, they are counting on that

        1. lyman alpha blob

          Time is time. “Time is money” is a fallacy created by economists assuming can openers.

          For various reasons, none of them particularly good (because humans are NOT rational actors), Wendy’s is the only fast food outlet I frequent. If I show up and they try to charge me extra for having the audacity to order dinner at dinner time, it will be the last time I go there.

          Buddy tells me Mickey D’s (the bad one, not the good one who was the drummer for Motorhead) tried surge pricing already and it was an epic fail. No idea why Wendy’s would want to double down.

          1. Objective Ace

            “Time is money” is a fallacy

            Your telling me your ambivalent between a 8 hour flight vs a 2 hour flight when flying somewhere? Between a 2 hour commute and a 15 minute commute to work everyday?

            If I show up and they try to charge me extra for having the audacity to order dinner at dinner time

            This is part of the calculation of the eatery. They have calculated they will offset the decline in business by increasing prices. There’s nothing insideous going on. Its the same decision making process they make when they make any other type of decision. Incidentally, plenty of eateries already use this strategy, they’re just less explicit about it — that’s why you cannot order off the lunch menu at dinner time

            1. lyman alpha blob

              What I’m telling you is that time is time and money is money. When I bought my house, I could have bought property for less money, but a half hour from my job. When I calculated how much extra I’d spend in gas for the commute over 30 years, it was clear I’d save money in the long run by buying a more expensive house closer to work.

              Tell me how much something really costs and I’ll decide whether I think it’s a fair price or not. The capitalist practice of gouging people for whatever they can get out of them is disgusting.

              Surge pricing is anathema. Those who came up with it deserve to have their bodies gnashed in Beelzebub’s fetid maw for all eternity in the 9th circle of hell.

        2. Cat Burglar

          Surge pricing is now used at some downhill ski areas — as far as I can tell, you can’t determine how much a lift ticket costs ahead of time. Because skiing often requires long travel times and reserving accommodations, it is not clear that the surcharge for going at a period of high demand is anything other than a shakedown. It doesn’t affect the demand, because the decision to buy has been made long in advance by most buyers.

          1. Wukchumni

            I always put my ski boots on in the Eagle Lodge @ Mammoth and go by the walk up sales window, and last year a 1-day lift ticket for an adult ranged from $189 to $279. It has been this way for years there-the surge pricing.

            1. Milton

              Jesus Christ! I thought $40 at Heavenly was outrageous back around ’80. No way would I spend anything like that amount when I can surf for free after a 5 minute drive from my home.

              1. Wukchumni

                There’s a lot to like about the Ikon season pass for those that get a lot of days in, and for Big Ski Conglomerate-who gets $700 to $1000 from us up front 6 months in advance before we get a chance to intentionally hurl ourselves down the side of a steep mountain repeatedly.

                It’s tantamount to a heavy tax for the casual skier, although there are always multi-day deals to be had.

                I’ll be skiing in Vail & Beaver Creek-which are on the Epic pass system, and a 5 day pass was $460, a little over $90 a day.

                I’d like to get it down to $30 a day on my Ikon pass, and that’s the same for the rest of the Dartful Codgers who also have Ikon passes.

                Once you hit 80, season passes are free @ Mammoth~

                1. Janie

                  We earned our turns with cross-country skiing in the Tahoe area. Pack a lunch and set your own pace. (I admired Nic Fiore, whom I encountered several times at the High Sierra camps)

        3. NN Cassandra

          Surge pricing works only if you are the only one doing it. When your suppliers and employees start changing prices of your inputs by the hour, then all the fun is lost as you don’t know if you make it to the evening or go bankrupt at 4 pm.

    3. Antifaxer

      Canary in a coal mine type situation.

      This is a test ballon to see how the market responds, cannot wait for the day I have to plan my grocery store runs around Krogers surge pricing….

      1. vao

        A pre-requisite is the replacement of paper/cardboard price tags by electronic price tags, which can be updated wirelessly at any time from a remote control room.

        Where I live, supermarkets have been, one by one, carrying out that substitution in the last couple of years. The electronic price tags rely on e-paper, not displays (such as LCD or OLED), and therefore look exactly like the paper price tags they replace — they use the same character fonts, colours, and layout. The first time I noticed they were electronic was because they were in the process of being updated — the flickering gave them away. Since then, I have been keeping an eye for them, and noticed they are becoming slowly but surely fairly common.

        1. Late Introvert

          My first real job was at a Super-Valu back in the 70s. It was eye opening for this 16-year-old to witness inflation in real time, as I would head out to the aisles with my pricing gun, fixing newer stickers over the old ones, often 10 deep or more.

          1. vao

            With electronic price tags, supermarket chains can advantageously reduce their headcount by firing those employees scouring aisles with pricing guns — it is faster to alter prices, too.

          2. Andrew

            In my families small grocery store we used the old Ink stamp markers. Changing prices entailed removing the old price with Cutex nail polish fluid and then stamping the new price; Cutex fumes were a pretty good buzz to a ten year old kid. The stampers featured a leather belt holster so as to be always ready! Total Badass. My brother and I made plenty of messes with those things, (and plenty of cutex to clean it up).

            1. Late Introvert

              My dad had those ink stampers, thanks for the reminder. He worked for Gerber Baby Foods. It would go right on the lid. I don’t remember having to erase them, but I’ll ask him, he’s 96 last week.

      2. Don

        No need to wait on Wendy’s trial balloon — the company has publicly stated, at least in Canada, that Wendy’s has “no intention” of implementing surge pricing.

        I don’t know why they were even formulating it this way. The tried and true format would suggest raising prices overall and then offering “happy hour” discounts in all non-surging time periods: “Lets go to Wendy’s, they have such great happy hour deals!”

        1. Late Introvert

          My theory is C-19 brain damage is causing all of this corporate stumbling, like the Kellogs guy who said eat cornflakes for dinner if you’re poor. Everyone has examples I’m sure. We ordered checks recently and they re-used all the old numbers, but when we call them up, twice now, they have no record of any of it, even though we have used that company multiple times over 2 decades.

          1. JBird4049

            >>My theory is C-19 brain damage is causing all of this corporate stumbling

            There is also the refusal to even acknowledge the issue. Once a person says that they have problem x, he can take steps to mitigate it. I am thinking of people who lose their hearing and keeps blaming everyone else by saying things like you are all speaking too softly. (Yes, it is the whole world’s fault that you can’t hear!) Brain damage is much, much worse, but the principle is the same in most any problem.

            Now, using the past’s standards, we have a world of people who are expected to be incompetent. We have a world of people who refuse to acknowledge the issue, meaning things just get worse without any mitigation or impediment.

            As a group, our nation’s elites are self destructing or suiciding because they refuse to accept and deal with the issues.

  7. zagonostra

    >Trump’s Polling Lead is Much Larger than It Looks- Counterpunch

    An unusually large swath of registered and likely voters have yet to commit to either candidate…the unlikely voters…are also unusually disgusted with their choices and wish they had more options.

    Yes indeed, they serve you up slop and you’re expected to consume the rancid offering. The minds of many friends is enemy occupied territory. When you try and sweep some of the mines from their minds they’ll have none of it. There are so many trenches dug with “What about Trump” trip wires ready to go off at any minute. Very delicate. When you preach “the lessor of two evils is the evil of two lessors” (I think Glen Ford of BAR coined the phrase, RIP) they stare at you like Nietzsche’s “Last Man.”

    You really have to be mentally trip-wired to support Biden after ongoing genocide in Gaza, Ukraine, and the memory-holed CV19 lockdowns. And, you have to be really gullible to think Trump is any better when his step-son is such buddies with blood-soaked ‎Benjamin Netanyahu.

    1. DavidZ

      memory-holed CV19 lockdowns

      Covid Lockdowns were necessary and the right step.

      In NYC, Elmhurst Hospital was overwhelmed with the number of patients coming in having breathing trouble and the number of dead were overwhelming the mortuaries and funeral homes.

      Not only that, people were already (self) locking down in January – February 2020, a whole 3-6 weeks earlier. Foot traffic in Chinatown was down 80% (except for locals). Chinese restaurant business was down 60%. This was happening automatically by people making choices to not go to places where they thought they might get the new disease. Self lockdown?

      What a formal lockdown did was – safe the lives of the working poor who had no choice but to go to work, deliver food, cook food, move packages in warehouses, travel in public transport.

      The rich were already leaving for their mansions in the country and long island, isolating themselves to protect themselves.

      Let’s not forget it was the Trump administration that actually initiated the lockdown.

      It’s important to get the facts right.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Funny that. For a year or two now I am seeing more and more videos mentioning how lockdowns were the greatest evil to ever happen after the Holocaust and must never be repeated again. Typically it is conservatives that are saying this but not always. Yeah, lockdowns were vital at the time and you can see the logic behind them easily enough. But there seems to be a concerted campaign to discredit them so that they never happen again. At least one State here in Oz changed their laws so that the chief medical officer no longer had the power to do so but that it was up to the politicians to decide. As it was the business groups that the screaming the loudest about lockdowns back in 2020, I would suspect them to be behind this campaign.

        1. digi_owl

          Because while the logic was sound from a public health standpoint, it had a massive slowing effect on the economy.

          This akin to how after 9/11 Bush had to go on air pleading that people get back to shopping etc to not crash the US economy.

          1. Phaedra

            And not shopping until after November is an easy way to vote against genocide, potential nuclear war and injustice every single day.

            Except for food, energy and essential services, everything can be found in thrift stores Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, or done without spending money, go on a picnic, staycation, line up purchases, use it up, make it do, wear it out.
            So much for the Bideneconomy.

      2. Nikkikat

        I would venture to say, there was not a problem with lock downs. The problem was mandating an experimental drug
        Be injected in your arm or you lose your job. I will never ever forget. A vaccine that did not stop you from getting Covid or prevent you from passing it on. This caused thousands to lose their jobs. This was just evil. Much like his support for Israel killing children by the thousands.

        1. zagonostra

          Yes, agree. I was thinking mandatory vaccine, not mandatory lockdowns, my fingers got ahead of my thoughts.

          I refused to take the jab when the company I work for said all employees were required to take it, even though I work at home via VPN and had already had CV…I stuck to my guns, signed a religious waver, which they company followed up with further request that I studiously ignored, ready to be terminated. Luckily, inexplicably, they seemed to have forgotten the whole matter and I’m still working for said company. I won’t forget what Biden and “controllers” behind the curtain did anymore than I’ll forget the name Aaron Buchnell…

      3. undercurrent

        I think I recall reading where Donald Trump said early on that covid was a democrat(?) hoax, and that the lockouts should end on Easter, 2020. Was this a different Donald Trump, or are my recollections in error? BTW, this Donald Trump refused to wear a mask, because he didn’t think it was a good look for the POTUS. In the best manner of the old game show, will the real Donald Trump please stand up.

    2. Feral Finster

      The Juistin Wolfer’s Tweet is comedy gold.

      Reminiscent of the old Soviet joke of how Haley romped to a second place triumph, while Trump is stuck in second to last place.

      n.b. not a Trumper.

  8. PlutoniumKun

    Neom continues transformation of Saudi Arabia with lush desert oasis New Atlas

    It wasn’t all that many years ago that Saudi Arabia seemed on the verge of going bust. They are still spending staggering amounts of money on crazy projects like Neom and various sportswashing projects. I guess its all down (so far) to consistent very high oil prices. One wonders what will happen if a recession or major drop in demand for other reasons pushes prices down.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Isn’t there some sort of saying in Saudi Arabia that says ‘My grandfather rode a camel, I drive a Mercedes Benz and my grandson will ride a camel.’

      1. PlutoniumKun

        The other Saudi Arabian quote I’ve heard is that ‘the Stone Age didn’t end because they ran out of stones’.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            Thanks, I couldn’t quite remember his name! Hearing that name brings me back to childhood with his name constantly on the news as the various oil crises did their rounds in the 1970’s.

      2. digi_owl

        I think some variant of that is found all over the Muslim world, though i can’t recall the original phrasing at present.

    2. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you, PK.

      And still showering benefits, not quite as good as before, especially for families, on foreigners to sign up, including only having to be on site (Neom) for half the year.

      I have been approached and was interested, if only to facilitate early retirement and do other things, and was urged by friends there, but my parents are getting on and I need to be nearer home.

      It’s not just Neom, Riyadh and Jeddah have changed a lot, if a bit too American (malls etc.). It’s great that sites of historic, cultural and natural interest are now accessible to greater numbers of people. I recommend visiting.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Quite a few of my wider family have done their ‘stint’ in getting a chunk of Saudi money. It used to be almost a graduation ritual for Irish engineers to do their first year or so of work on a building scheme somewhere in the desert and many a wedding was funded from it. I used to work for a US company that was responsible for a large chunk of the oil and gas infrastructure there, the older guys in the office had plenty of hair raising stories of how business was transacted. Only the most ruthless operators left with a profit.

        I’d love to explore whats left of the older remains, although they’ve notoriously destroyed some of the finest medieval buildings that survived – especially in Mecca. And of course they’ve not exactly contributed to preserving Yemens glorious architectural history. I had the good luck to cycle slowly around Syria two decades ago – some of the archaeology you’d find quite randomly, and untouched by tourism, was amazing – but so much seems to have been destroyed in the past few years. Even the strongest castle doesn’t stand long in the face of modern artillery.

  9. griffen

    Apple cancels their great endeavor to build a car. I was always a little negative on this becoming a thing, it just seemed a little too “pie in the sky” and lets all aim high to hit this futuristic BHAG.

    Big Hairy Audacious Goal. Or from a more recent employer, a WIG. Wildly Important Goal. Combine those acronyms and I get BWAG…Big Wild Arsed Goal…

    1. PlutoniumKun

      If there is one good outcome from this, it should give a lesson to techies that real engineering is very, very hard. Developing a new car company from scratch is a very difficult thing – a generational challenge. I know its popular to knock Musk, but what he achieved with Tesla is hugely impressive (and yes, I know he stole the idea from others).

      The car industry is a reminder that even in some industries even badly run and very inefficient companies can last a very long time against incomers, just through sheer scale and collective institutional know-how.

      1. Paul.W

        This article brings back memories for me. A mechanic I knew had an employer that bought an Eclipse jet. He had all kinds of tid-bits to talk about in the development and the difficulties in flying and support of the aircraft. I remember reading news articles about how those Titans of Tech industry would show the Aerospace market how to build and sell an aircraft. This is the result:

        1. The Rev Kev

          Say, what happens if Elon Musk gets it into his head to start building a Tesla airplane? Maybe not a passenger liner but maybe something to break into the luxury jet market. I could see him doing that and telling himself it can’t be as hard as building rockets.

        2. PlutoniumKun

          I’d forgotten about Eclipse. Its not the only tech bro aviation company that has wasted a lot of time and money, and in a few cases, lives.

          The whole EV electric taxi aircraft thing is also a big grift that will take down a lot of investors.

          1. LawnDart

            Yes and no: there’s definately grifters chasing the eVTOL/”air-taxi” dollars (Archer Aviation and Wisk Aero come to mind), but the industry is a real thing, especially in more advanced economies than ours, such as China, Saudi Arabia, and Ecuador.

            That said, we won’t be seeing Jetson-like “air-taxis” dropping in on residential subdivisions anytime soon– they use transportation hubs, like normal public transport.

      2. Carolinian

        Musk bought Tesla and its existing ideas while contributing his own (including his own bad ideas). However you are surely right when it comes to Space X which he created from scratch. One of his rockets just sent that private lander to the Moon. Musk should get more credit. Much of the opposition now is political because he dared to mess with the PMC’s and Dem’s Twitter. Our ruling establishment has a need for bogeymen.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Indeed – Space X is a very impressive. I was convinced for a while that his reusable rockets and very large lifters were just his usual antics to push up share prices, but he’s made them work. It will be very difficult for anyone to match Space X’s prices for most launches. The company has a momentum now with positive scaling that I don’t think anyone else will be able to match.

            1. PlutoniumKun

              The Chinese have had a very advanced space industry since the 1990’s, although for some reason have never been very active in the commercial side. They did make an attempt at breaking into the international lift market in the 1990’s but suffered a number of high profile launch failures.

              I suspect a reason for this is that many international customers were loath to allow the Chinese to inspect their satellites too closely.

              As of now, I think the Chinese space industry is largely focused on science, exploration and military uses.

              1. Em

                It was a tongue in cheek response to the price competitive observation. And yes, the Chinese can be very aggressive about technology transfers! But so are the Americans so would you trust SpaceX with your cutting edge tech?

                I can’t see SpaceX competing successful against the Chinese or Russian in the long run. The Chinese are not in the market now because most of the customers are in the West, but that’s likely to change as the RoW start taking a more fair share of the pie. The Chinese have pretty overwhelming advantages on cost and access to top tier talent, short supply chain, and national commitment to R&D.

          1. spud

            it was not impressive at all. he had decades of data from our government, how space travel works.

            if the nafta democrats(started with reagan)had not sold out nasa to the private sector, we we would still be doing rockets ourselves, and nasa would be light years ahead of what the private sector parasites could ever accomplish.

        2. Es s Ce tera

          Musk appears to have been traumatized by Tesla, took some hard learned lessons from the experience to Space X. In his interviews, he always points out the rocketry aspect had already been perfected by others, like NASA or the Soviets, that X invented nothing new, but he constantly brings up example after example of Tesla production line failures and inefficiencies and how they corrected for it at X. Usually to do with social roles or leadership hierarchies getting in the way of success. He seems to view the whole operation more as process strategy/engineering than rocketry or invention.

          He seems to have been especially traumatized that his own power often got in the way, so built the entire structure to compensate for the leadership factor.

        3. cousinAdam

          To quote (loosely) Steve Keen from a recent Debunking Economics podcast, “a reusable rocket booster that can land on its ass!” When I first saw a video of that feat, I thought to myself, we’re truly in the 21st Century now. As a lifelong sci-fi fan and avid model rocketeer in my younger days, I am deeply impressed by Musk/SpaceX and their accomplishments. Not so much Tesla (finally profitable in spite of itself and significant employee misery) or Starlink – lots of low earth orbit clutter (navigation hazards) with finite lifespans (“disposable”) and temptations for sabotage / vandalism (target practice anyone?)

        4. Roger Boyd

          Wrong! SpaceX was gifted access to all of the scientific and technical knowledge developed by NASA for free, then subsidized by the state. Then he hired a bunch of real rocket scientists who actually did all the work. Musk has no real training in science (his bachelors was a BA that was for non-scientists). The Chinese, as in so many other areas, are rapidly drawing level in the overtaking lane. Then of course there are the Russians.

          Musk will go down as the government-subsidy and QE facilitated image of the post-GFC bubble economics. His real problem is that he squandered first mover advantage in EVs. The Chinese actually used him to give their own manufacturers a kick up the butt and to develop their own EV infrastructure, which has now resulted in Tesla struggling to keep its small market share there. Some of the European manufacturers, and the South Koreans, have also started to deliver competitive models and we see that in Europe and even the US.

          We will have the shiny baubles of “AI”, and “Robotics” (just like we have FSD “next year” for the past decade, the hyperloop, solar roof tiles etc.) to take the focus off the increasingly dismal Tesla growth (or lack of) forecasts. The new Chinese price war is a nightmare for them in China when they have no real new models for the next two years. Check out the Huawei Aito brand to see how the competition is becoming even more fierce in China.

          The Youtuber “Thunderf00t” does a great job of bringing some critical thinking to everything Musk.

          1. Es s Ce tera

            Wrong! SpaceX was gifted access to all of the scientific and technical knowledge developed by NASA for free, then subsidized by the state.

            I’m not sure I would describe science as something that is gifted. Science is there for anyone, by design. Also, most corporations are government subsidized, especially in the US.

            And Musk only cares about solving particular types of process/cost/efficiency problems. NASA tended to overbuild rockets, he just stripped the things down to bare essentials. Musk himself says what he’s doing is not rocket science, more like rocket economics.

            Also, re: Tesla growth forecasts, are you resenting that Musk gave the Russians and Chinese an EV market share advantage? Was this a bad thing?

      3. FreeMarketApologist

        I lay part of the blame on those who labeled themselves ‘software engineers’, without a working knowledge of what actually goes into the activity of professional accredited engineering. Likewise, those who call themselves ‘financial engineers’.

        We certainly have seen any number of software and financial door plugs blown out mid-flight, often with terrible results, yet the perps walk free. Perhaps the requirements for rigorous certifications should be extended to some other professions? (Yes, and do a better job of quality control on those planes…)

        1. LifelongLib

          I’m not an engineer of anything, but my understanding is that software (although it could be a lot more reliable than it is) can never be engineered like material objects because of basic mathematical issues. Already past the end of the limb so I’ll stop…

        2. scott s.

          Unless you are in civil/structural or consulting I’m not sure how important state license requirements are to practicing “engineers” (in quotes because technically it is illegal to call yourself an engineer without a license).

          When I look at things like VS Code and other IDEs I would say software engineering has done quite a bit. I’m not so sure about modern scripting languages like Python. SEs I think have taken OOA/OOD paradigm and created useful tooling to incorporate it. Practical algorithms have been refined and reduced to standard libraries/implementations. Relational models for data management are another area of success.

      4. Benny Profane

        But, is he making a profit from Tesla?

        Besides, now he has to come out with new models. Tesla is starting to look like Henry Ford’s early company, although the color choices are more varied.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          I don’t follow Tesla closely, but from what I understand they are still doing very well, and are (if some rumours are correct) very successful in using their pole position in the EV market at driving particularly hard bargains in key componentry.

          1. Roger Boyd

            Totally squandered the first mover advantage, see my comment above. Tesla will be pushed to grow at all this year in sales, while already cutting prices. Without a new model or even a model refresh in 2025 that will probably be worse.

            The Chinese manufacturers are causing Tesla serious problems in China and Asia in general. In Europe, Tesla has also now started to struggle due to increased competition from the Europeans and Chinese. That will only get worse and Tesla has no new products, only a refreshed Y this year and next.

            In the US, where Tesla makes the vast majority of its profits (break even in China, modest profits in Europe) its market share has been falling substantially as the Europeans and South Koreans increasingly get their act together. This year Tesla will fall below a BEV 50% market share in a very slow growing US EV market. Further price cuts will rapidly slice into the still fat US profit margins.

      5. Altandmain

        Although I agree with your post about the barriers to entry, I’d have to disagree that the existing car industry is badly run – it’s a very competitive industry with decades of continuous improvements.

        It’s not like industries where one monopoly just sits there and rent seeks. There is constant innovation in the industry, process improvements, investments in technology, new capital, and attempts to lower the costs per vehicle. It also involves an enormous amount of engineering, and building up of a nation’s skilled trades workers. Due to the competitive nature of this industry, governments often subsidize their automotive industries.

        There are new entrants, but they won’t be the Western tech companies – most likely the Chinese, who have manufactured cars at scale and are bringing major cost improvements. That’s why the EU and US are trying hard to put trade barriers against the Chinese. This is not a static industry that is “badly” run.

        Are there flaws? Certainly – I don’t like how financialization has impacted the industry. We see companies choosing stock buybacks and cutting costs for short term profit.

        Losing the automotive industry would be a matter of national security with many jobs at stake and as shown recently by the recent world events, without a civilian manufacturing industry, building up a military industry is not possible.

        The money made from software, particularly advertising for firms like Google and Apple’s high margins in their phones, has made them arrogant and detached. They saw themselves as better than the hardware engineers and reality has knocked on their door.

        1. Benny Profane

          “Losing the automotive industry would be a matter of national security with many jobs at stake and as shown recently by the recent world events, without a civilian manufacturing industry, building up a military industry is not possible.”

          Obama saved the Midwest from (further) ruin by bailing out the industry.

          1. spud

            and turning G.M. over to a hedge fund operator, who turned a car company, into a truck company to attain more profit per unit, and dumped cars that were sold in large numbers, like the cruz and impala, and one just starting to catch on the volt.

            our car industry is just one serious recession away from collapse.

        2. PlutoniumKun

          I don’t mean to suggest that they are all badly run – clearly most are not. But some seem to be free riding on investments made many years ago, not to mention the support of national governments.

          In many respects, its very hard to see todays cars as substantively better than those of 30 years or so. All they seem to be doing is getting bigger and heavier. Safer for the drivers, sure, but definitely not safer for everyone else. EV’s are the only genuine changes in the market, and this was largely forced on them.

          1. Altandmain

            In terms of fuel economy, safety, etc, cars have become better.

            As far as vehicles becoming larger and heavier, that is due to several factors:

            1. Government regulations. Safer cars generally tend to be bigger and heavier, with larger crumple zones to absorb the kinetic energy into the cars rather than the occupants.


            This does lead to better deaths per passenger mile.

            2. There are actually innovations that have been made compared to decades ago in bumpers and the like to try to reduce pedestrian fatalities.

            3. Fuel economy requirements mean that engines have become more thermodynamically efficient as measured by fuel combusted vs useful work. This has been further helped by the deployment of electrification.

            4. Technologies such as infotainment systems have been improving, as has driver assist systems. These do reduce fatalities.


            There have been growing pains with infotainment and driver assist systems, but they do seem to be improving with time.

            5. The industry is using lighter weight materials compared to before, most notably more use of aluminum and carbon fibre, which offsets some of the larger size. Also, modern cars have a much lower coefficient of drag (note how older cars were boxier shaped), which does lower the fuel economy (or improve battery range).

            In the case of cars getting larger, it’s also important to consider that this is in response as well to consumer demand. Particularly in the US, consumers have expressed a strong preference for crossovers and pick-up trucks. These are indeed higher margin, but the customer drives the sales mix more so than anything else.

            Finally, at times, car manufacturers have had to discontinue their cheapest cars due to poor sales. Those who want cheap cars are often a vocal minority (at least in North America), but this is not reflected in the sales figures. Toyota for example stopped selling the sub-compact segment Yaris due to poor sales.

            6. Modern cars in general have become more comfortable over time. Better suspensions, quieter cabins, etc. Many of the technologies that were once for top end cars have become mainstream. Larger cars are also generally more comfortable to most passengers, with longer wheelbases.

            A company that free rode and fell behind in this field would see their sales fall over time, as their product fleet became older and older. Ironically right now, I’d say this may be Tesla, which is losing EV market share. The Model 3 and Y are aging with no clear replacements and the Cybertruck is a flop.

            Overall, there is a lot of innovation in the industry. Back when I was in the industry, I worked regularly with many engineers trying to improve the technology, quality as measured by defects per million, safety, fuel economy, and user experience. It’s very competitive and not at all like a rent seeking monopoly, where 1 or 2 players are holding back innovation. Being an automotive supplier is incredibly competitive, with only companies like Wal-Mart and Costco perhaps forcing a similar level of challenge among their suppliers. That forces a level of innovation and quality in the industry. I’d argue the automotive industry as a whole, alongside the aerospace and semiconductor industries represent some of the most technologically advanced sectors in manufacturing, with large capital and R&D budgets.

            In terms of your other argument, I think there’s another matter – in North America, those who wanted more walkability, higher population densities, and mass transit have seen society move in the opposite direction. Downtowns are in decline, having not recovered from the pandemic, and the financial fortunes of mass transit is itself in question. Work from home is resulting in more suburban living and hybrid arrangements are here to stay. Employers who force their staff back risk losing staff. I do see quite a bit of unhappiness among those who wanted urbanism. The fastest growing regions in the US are currently the Southern US, which has traditionally been far more car reliant.

            1. QuantumSoma

              This reads like it was written by chatGPT.

              Anyways, big cars are safer for those inside of it, not for everybody else.

              1. Altandmain

                On the contrary, I’m flesh and blood.

                The industry as a whole, is working on better pedestrian detection and pre collision braking.

          2. Benny Profane

            Well, yes, the hot selling large SUVs and pickups are essentially the same basic design and engineering as 40 to maybe 50 years ago, just glopped up with options that justify the incredibly profitable high prices. But Japanese cars are much more advanced than anything available 30 years ago, certainly 40 to 50. If I could send my Honda HRV back in a time machine, people would just stop and marvel at the damn thing, and, inflation adjusted, it would be remarkably affordable. And it would last nearly 200000 miles, properly cared for.

            1. Altandmain

              This is not true at all. Modern SUVs and pickups have seen advancements just like your HRV has.

              If you were to compare a modern engine in fuel economy of a pickup, either it has more horsepower and torque at a given fuel economy level or it is far more efficient than it was.

              There have also been major reductions in weight as well in trucks of a given size:


              Likewise, modern trucks are far more comfortable – some reviewers not that they are not “truck like” as they used to be. Higher end trucks now have air suspension options, something once only available to top end luxury cars.

              PIckups and SUVs have advanced just like Crossovers like the Hondra HRV. If anything, the pickups and SUVs will have gotten priority in capital and R&D funding because they are a high margin product, so in that regard, trucks have likely advanced further in technology that Crossovers and sedans.

              Finally, in terms of lasting 200k miles, the list is dominated by trucks. It’s heaviest duty trucks that last the longest due to their construction.


              Note how many US made trucks are on the list.

              Japanese vehicles have certainly advanced, but so too have American vehicles. Finally, it’s important to understand the car industry has heavily homogenized, and both Japanese and US car companies use the same suppliers, so often a consumer is getting a different spin from the same suppliers. US and Japanese car companies both have branch plants as well, in other nations other than their home country, so a Japanese car made by made in the US or Mexico, and a US car may be made abroad.

              1. Benny Profane

                Dude, they are crude ladder frames with gas guzzling large engines. Please. They just get bigger and heavier because real men and some fearful women need bigger and heavier. GM and Ford have been coasting on the product for decades because that’s what the people want. It’s absurd. Most are driven to Home Depot on Saturday by cube dwellers. But, you know, Murica.

                1. Altandmain

                  I’ve personally worked a lot with engineers and program mangers on these vehicles, both the pickups and the cars.

                  There have been advancements in fields like weight savings generation over generation.


                  The following generation then made the vehicle more aerodynamic.


                  In that regard, they aren’t stagnant nor are they crude. A lot of complex engineering goes into modern manufacturing. For even more fuel economy, hybrid options are now being offered on pickups.

                  The idea that only compact crossovers are advancing, while pickup technology remains stagnant isn’t true. As I mentioned, the pickup trucks get the priority in the industry when it comes to capital investment in the industry because of their margins.

                  I get that you don’t like pick-up trucks. But that doesn’t mean that they aren’t improving as well. If there were no fuel economy improvements or weight savings, then the fuel economy would be falling each generation.

                  Also keep in mind that not everyone who buys a pickup can use a smaller car. Skilled trades for example need a pick up as do farmers.

                  1. Benny Profane

                    please. Skilled trades and farmers are a minority of the market. The F150 wasn’t the highest selling vehicle in America because skilled tradesmen and farmers were multiplying. Quite the opposite. I live in upscale suburbia, and I’m surrounded by bro dudes with hip haircuts and sharp rugged clothes that have never seen real work driving these things everywhere.

                    It’s absurd when you talk of weight savings and improved aerodynamics. Have you actually parked or stood next to one of these monsters? Aerodynamic?? The front ends are like giant, angry battering rams, head high to a six footer like me. Light weight? You mean lighter than the original F150? Cmon. The market is obvious, and, sorry many American men have certain manhood issues, but those things are a menace.

                    Total irony is that many American farmers are waiting in line for Asian micro pickup trucks. Much cheaper, more fuel efficient, easier to work on, easier to use. How can a small family farmer afford a 60,000 vehicle to drive in a field?

                    1. Altandmain

                      I have been parked beside pickups. There are many where I am currently located on the parking lot.

                      Aerodynamics is measured by coefficient of drag. That has seen improvements in generation with time. We see these metrics used a lot in aerospace and automotive industries.

                      In regards to pickups getting larger:


                      The important thing is that relative to cars, pickups have gotten a lot more fuel efficient. As the article notes, pickups now have fuel economies comparable to better now to large crossovers (which are built on car platforms) and minivans.

                      Note that the article indicates that part of the reason why pickup have gotten larger is to accommodate families and not entirely for manhood reasons.

                      As for American farmers, that isn’t true. Cities tend to have more dealers with foreign brands. Rural areas tend to have more US branded vehicles (and Michigan of course, which is the heart of US automotive manufacturing). We can see this at the state level.


                      Rural America is very brand loyal to the US brands. In the full sized truck market, the Toyota Tundra has not done well at all in market share, although the midsize Tacoma is a market leader.

                      The bottom line is that the advancements in pickup trucks have been just as impressive as smaller cars, if not even more impressive I would argue considering they have both gotten bigger and more fuel efficient relative to cars at the same time).

          3. Duke of Prunes

            Today’s cars no better than 30 years ago? 1994 Honda Accord: 25 mpg, 0-60 10.1 sec
            2024 Honda Accord (Hybrid): 44 mpg, 0-60 6.1

            So much faster and much better fuel economy. Probably much safer as well.

            In 1994, the 2024 Accord’s 0-60 time would have put it into the high performance category. Faster the most BMWs, 1 sec-ish slower than a Ferrari.

            1. Benny Profane

              There is a YouTube video of Tim Allen winning a race on a road course in a Corolla or similar to Jay Leno in and old 60s Vette or similar. Can’t find it. Short track, of course, but, overall, faster and better car.

      6. urdsama

        Musk didn’t steal the idea, he stole the company.

        Tesla has actually gone down in quality since he took over.

  10. PlutoniumKun

    Geoff Mann · Give your mom a gun: America’s Favourite Gun London Review of Books

    Its not just America’s favourite gun. It inspired more Irish folk songs than any gun since the musket, from SLF’s ‘set my armalite‘, to the Wolfe Tones rather charming ‘My little Armalite‘.

  11. NotTimothyGeithner

    “regret it for the rest of his life”

    Even pretending Biden cared about anything other than his 10%, has anyone in the White House realized a Ukraine collapse games out well for the GOP? Then like immigration, the GOP can smell weakness. The only thing Biden can do is to send regulators out. Yes, he’s going to have to axe Merrick Garland. Mention Johnson’s association with gas conversion therapy or his use of the phrase “lifestyle choice” which always strikes me as an odd thing to say.

    I have discussed insurance rates this week in tne wild. Not immigration or Ukraine.

    1. ChrisFromGA

      “regret it for the rest of his life” sounds close to a threat of physical violence. Does Johnson get secret service protection?

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Biden is scared of Republicans and right wing positions. He fights with bleeding hearts. This is desperation. Biden can’t have a collapse until after the election. The “OMG Russia” crowd won’t be able to handle it.

        My local school system has an 18 million short fall after a local tax increase, linked to the CARES Act funding ending. Two elementary schools are closing. This is a nationwide problem. Not only does he have that problem, Obama has reportedly said in meetings the secret is young people and grassroots work (thanks for that gem 0, is it any wonder he beat McCain and Hillary?). This is no s sherlock advice, but who exactly are these young people? Outside of future log cabin republicans who loathe the lbt+ in lgbt+ who exactly would like Biden? Biden has put genocide on the table. He has to know by now. He’s hoping it will go away as November nears. They usual suspects are deploying “we must unite” nonsense and Trump would be an even worse genocide which is arguably wishful thinking on their part given the threat of famine.

        1. ChrisFromGA

          I believe Biden is scared as a NATO Waterloo would make Afghanistan look like a mere bad hair day.

          OTOH, how much of this bullying of Johnson is just theater? Setting him up to be the villain when Russia takes Kiev.

          You know, we wouldn’t have lost that war if not for those (insert two minutes of hate) Freedom caucus rascals along with Johnson.

          Gaza is a separate thing and a much bigger problem for Biden. I believe that even if Russia rolled to the Polish border it would be forgotten by most voters as long as the economy stays OK. In other words it can be memory holed.

          But as seen in MI the genocide Joe thing keeps young voters away.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Biden’s famed negotiation tactic was to threaten scraps to the poor if bleeding hearts didn’t support bad legislation. He’s done nothing else. To Johnson, Biden is holding his breath, and Johnson is offering pretzels.

            1. ChrisFromGA

              Hmm, we may yet see him return to his own vomit.

              Biden could threaten to not sign even a clean CR unless it has Ukraine money.

              Shut down the gubmint and starve kids on Food Stamps for Zee!!

        2. Cassandra

          >Obama has reportedly said in meetings the secret is young people and grassroots work

          Yeah. Back in the day, I did a lot of grassroots volunteer work for the Dems. I remember when Obama was promising to close Guantanamo, offer a public option for healthcare, legislate protection for reproductive rights, pay for increased social security benefits by lifting the FICA withholding cap, etc, etc. Back then, my specialty was getting young people registered to vote and involved in the process. Boy, were we ever amazed at the way that succeeded in 2015 during Bernie’s first run.

          At this point, Team Blue has made it abundantly clear there is no place in The Party for me and for all those fantastic, enthusiastic young people. No place in Our Democracy for those who don’t fall in line and do as they are told. They said openly that only fools would believe campaign promises,and that the voters they wanted to court were suburban Republicans.

          All righty, then.

          1. Jason Boxman

            Heh. I remember an OFA volunteer going around in 2009 getting signatures on a petition supporting Obama’s health care plan, which at that time no longer had a public option even. I mentioned this and said I wouldn’t sign it, thanks, and I must have grown a third eye.

            The fix was in before that dude even made it into office.

            I still remember the wild outside party next to the history museum in downtown Orlando when Obama won. Huge screens with the election returns.

            A new dawn that was not.

            1. Cassandra

              Indeed. By 2012, I was just working downballot races; we were still hoping to pull off a hostile takeover of the party. Ah well. Live and learn.

              1. undercurrent

                Biden feels completely at ease with the Democratic Party that he, and others, have worked so hard to create. He must feel much like a corpse, shuffling along, and very comfortable in a funeral home; or, a rather bland ghost sniffing headstones in an antique, overgrown graveyard.

        3. ilsm

          ‘She who must be obeyed’ went to the town/local democrats’ monthly gathering.

          The TDS is strong!

          All I said is “you should not call them deplorables….” That is what I remember

          Cold shoulder and early to bed for her! Me on the usual place, the sofa!

          But a quiet evening.

      2. Benny Profane

        I would recommend that he check under the car and under the hood before starting, like Tucker Carlson should.

        Absurd how geriatrics like Schumer should be talking about life spans. Say what you will about Johnson, but, at least he’ll be around for awhile.

    2. Feral Finster

      Ukraine will get its money, one way or the other, even if the CIA and FBI have to manufacture some dirt on Johnson.

      1. ChrisFromGA

        The hole in that argument is why haven’t they done so, yet?

        The money has been held up for five months now.

        I am sorry if you think that doesn’t hold water. My theory which you can test is that Johnson is using it as leverage to get real border security changes. If I’m right he won’t cave unless something like House Bill number 2 passes, which is politically impossible in an election year.

        It’s going to take something really big to disrupt that dynamic.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          I apologize for the sentiment, but the GOP base see Democrats as race traitors and baby killers. They aren’t big on nuance. Johnson is either one of them or knows this. Bipartisanship is impossible if he wants to keep his House seat. Surrender is possible, but there is no GOP bill that can pass with Biden in the White House.

        2. Feral Finster

          “The hole in that argument is why haven’t they done so, yet?

          The money has been held up for five months now.”

          That is a good question. The answer is simple. Johnson and Biden/McConnell are still haggling over price. Everyone knows that the transaction will get done, the only question is on what terms. For that matter, if he needs to, Biden will call upon whatever blackmail resources the Deep State has to get it done.

          1. ChrisFromGA

            Mitch just stepped down as Senate Minority leader so he’s a lame duck.

            Johnson has nobody to negotiate with now but the Freedom Caucus.

            1. Feral Finster

              McConnell isn’t the only Team R Senator for Moar War. I simply used his name as a stand-in.

              Even those who voted against the latest bill aren’t necessarily for ending the war; they simply know that this is something very very important to Biden and are determined to make him pay the maximum price for their support.

            1. Feral Finster

              Also the renewal and extension of the so-called “Patriot Act” and Smith-Mundt Modernization.

              Why, it’s almost as if Team D are puppets of the National Security State, just like Team R!

              1. John k

                Used to be both parties loved wars. Trump has shifted reps pretty far left on most wars… granted, I assume he’s with Biden on the genocide.
                Anyway, imo the combo of ukr collapse and trump oppo means no money for ukr.

          2. Darthbobber

            Alternatively, maybe behind the scenes they’ve reached the obvious conclusion that Ukraine is a losing horse no matter what and are happy to let the house take the blame for turning off the spigot.

            They will then insist that it was still a winner if not for those pesky republican representatives.

    3. steppenwolf fetchit

      . . . ” Mention Johnson’s association with gas conversion therapy or ” . . .

      When you typed ” gas” conversion therapy, did you mean ” gay” conversion therapy?

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      This was the argument against pursuing gun control. AIPAC has annoyed “The Squad” but definitely crushed them. Biden has that money to nand over to James Carville types, and it’s only lost him votes, probably guaranteeing his single term if he goes that long.

      It’s the President of the United States. They don’t need TV ads. Hillary had so much cash on hands she ran wall to wall ads on msnbc. If only viewers of msnbc knew there was an election.

    2. DavidZ

      Matthew – agree with you.

      I remember when Obama was pissed off with Netanyahu and at that Republicans were in control of Congress and even though Netanyahu was poking his finger in the eye of POTUS – Republicans invited him to speak in front of congress. Talk about traitors!

      Why the treachery? Republicans didn’t want the peace treaty and Nuclear arms control to be achieved!

      Talking about Republicans – Trump was also happy to send lethal arms to Ukraine

      Trump administration has approved a plan to provide lethal weapons to Ukraine – 2017

      US actions would have been no different under a second Trump administration – people can blame the current administration all they want – doesn’t change the fact it’s American policy to fight Russia and support Israel – no matter the cost.

    3. Feral Finster

      Don’t make excuses for people when they betray you. As it is, Genocide Joe is not looking too rosy even with AIPAC support.

    4. Em

      That’s the job to signed up for. No excuses. That’s my reply when my PMC friends tried to excuse inaction or worse by all the terrible Democrat politicians in my lifetime. I have zero empathy for the purported challenges of rich assholes who spend their career destroying the lives of normal people around the world.

    5. CA

      To be fair if Biden did try to stand up to the Israel lobby they would probably crush him.

      [ Ridiculously unfair.

      Joe Biden is president, and no lobby – domestic or foreign – could possibly stand up to a determined president. No lobby could stand against a Roosevelt or Eisenhower or Johnson or Reagan and so on… ]

      1. Paxil Williams

        They can if they have blackmail material. Jeffrey Epstein et al weren’t lolita-expressing all over the world just for kicks.

        The labrinthine “Israel Lobby” is much, much more than AIPAC. The ADL is part and parcel of it, and the ADL operates hand in glove with the FBI.

        Simply consider that RFK Jr will easily condemn his own country’s intel ops*, but he will never utter a negative word about Mossad or the Israeli deep state’s present and historical atrocities.

        *This is not a defense of said intel atrocities. Just illustrating how much power Israel has inside the US due to its “lobby” apparatus. Too, no US president or politician would ever be allowed inside the Israeli Knesset to attempt to dictate the country’s policies. But Netanyahu, Herzog and others have been inside the current world empire’s chambers over the past couple decades attempting to do just that.

    6. CA

      Here we have a president standing for peace, no matter any supposed lobby:

      August 13, 1982

      By Bernard Weinraub

      Chronology of Crisis

      About 6 A.M. (midnight Wednesday, New York time) – Israelis begin bombing west Beirut. As raids continue, Lebanon’s Prime Minister, Shafik al-Wazzan, tells Philip C. Habib, the special American envoy, that the talks cannot continue.

      2 P.M. (8 A.M., New York time) – The Israeli Cabinet meets. A message from President Reagan arrives, expressing ”outrage” and, reportedly threatening to halt the Habib mission. The Cabinet decides to end the raids and order new ones only if they are ”essential.” …

  12. PlutoniumKun

    Can Flow Batteries Finally Beat Lithium? IEEE Spectrum

    The article at the end hints at one of the key issues that could hamper the take up of renewables and EV’s – lithium batteries have established first mover advantage, so its not clear that there is any scope for widespread adoption of better designs if they are available.

    The rate at which prices are dropping for lithium (and sodium) based batteries is such that industry is going all in on them, even using them in non-optimal uses, such as grid storage. Existing flow battery technologies are rapidly falling out of favour as they can’t compete on cost, so its hard to see EV manufacturers invest in very different car designs to facilitate a liquid battery solution. Its a pity, as it has enormous potential.

    1. JohnnySacks

      The deliberate, by design, vendor lock-in for the entire range of li-ion battery applications is a bad idea which unfortunately gained way too much traction. My Ridgid tools lock me out of considering Ryobi, DeWalt, etc. because who in hell wants yet another pile of proprietary crap lying around? Cars nothing but the exact same. The entire premise of flow batteries could have been avoided years ago with industry standard battery form factors, similar to the 70 year lifespan of A, B, and D cells if a comparison is warranted. Swipe the card, drive the car onto the platform, robotic mechanism does a battery swap, on your way again.

      Now we’re stuck with it, and flow batteries, fuel cells, etc. have to overcome the deeply entrenched Everready Energizer mindset.

      Whether or not anyone believes hydrogen to be a viable energy alternative, if Saudi Arabia wasn’t so technically ignorant and short sighted, being in the middle of an equatorial desert, couldn’t it be possible for them to corner the world market on green hydrogen and become the Elon Musk of hydrogen production, distribution, and fuel cell use?

      1. c_heale

        Hydrogen is a non starter for technical reasons (molecules too small to be contained except in special pipes and tanks).

        Using less energy and simpler (not more complex) technology is the only path forward.

  13. The Rev Kev

    “Germany had 90 minutes to prepare for a beach ball-sized meteorite impact”

    Germany has more reason than most to be wary of meteor strikes. There is a beautiful little walled town there called Nördlingen. It was only realized by two visiting American scientists back in the 60s that the whole damn town sat in a meteor crater about 25 kilometers (15 miles) across. The building there, including the main church, are constructed of debris from the initial explosion which includes millions of tiny diamonds-

  14. ProNewerDeal

    Any Covid forecast? Will Covid continue indefinitely? Or is there any chance that an inhaled vaccine in development would provide sterilizing immunity?

    If Covid continues indefinitely, do you think at some time the Long Covid Denial Bubble the US is in will burst, and more people will wear N95 masks at indoor public buildings that may also have filtration machines running as standard operating procedure?

    If the Long Covid Denial Bubble bursts, what is the economic effect? Covid high-risk activities like concerts/bars/gyms may face reduced demand. But OTOH a mass adoption of air filtration machines could be a boom, similar to how with the PC revolution businesses and consumers went from low PC “adoption” to supermajority usage. Also less Covid infection/re-infection would reduce morbidity and improve the economy. I am unsure if the negative or positive economic trends would be stronger in a Long Covid Denial Bubble Burst.

    1. t

      Who knows? I was in the office Monday and for whatever reason the air quality has changed dramatically.

      I could hear the HVAC system everywhere I went, but it was no longer changing air. Or at least it wasn’t Monday. Could be weather conditions or could be no longer a priority. Maybe the facilities staff unconcerned or incompetent or confident of reduced oversight.

    2. i just don't like the gravy

      There will be no bubble pop. Life will continue as normal. We are stuck with Covid until climate catastrophe makes the planet uninhabitable.

  15. PlutoniumKun

    Crooked House: Owners of wonky pub ordered to rebuild BBC (Kevin W)

    Good news for pub lovers – many years ago I did regular pub crawls around the Black Country and had a few enjoyable pints in the Crooked House and the very similar Tilted Barrell in Tipton, both 18th century pubs which fell into bizarre shapes due to mining subsidence. They (along with timber structures like Bromwich Hall, also formerly a pub) survived as mortared bricks have an inbuilt flexibility that cement lacks – so later buildings simply fell apart as the ground subsided. Perhaps this is a lesson in sustainability.

    While a lot of people dislike the idea of rebuilding, considering it ‘fake’, its surprising how many ‘historic’ buildings around the world have been essentially rebuilt – even entire cities such as Dresden and Warsaw. Even Stonehenge was essentially reconstructed in the 19th Century. I’m sitting right now not too far from a rebuilt 1930’s modernist car showroom – a protected building which was demolished by a developer who got the dates of a new historic buildings law enactment wrong. He sent in the demolition crew a week too late, and an unsympathetic court insisted he rebuilt it exactly as it was. The owners of the Crooked House no doubt know how painful this will be financially.

    1. digi_owl

      The impression i get is that preservation is a modern thing, perhaps related to being better able to document change over time though photographs and like.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Not quite so modern – it was a bit of an obsession of the 19th Century, although so often ‘preservation’ meant things like rebuilding ruins according to how they thought they should look rather than how they really did look. Eugen Viollet-le-Duc was particularly active in France, and restored and ‘improved’ many an old building, including of course Notre Dame in Paris. He had somewhat less talented imitators all over Europe.

        The first National Monuments Act in Britain dates from 1882 – it was following this that Stonehenge was ‘restored’ to its current look.

  16. DavidZ

    Biden is in the pocket of Zionist mafia don Haim Saban and other billionaire Israel supporters.

    The US political class, Dems or Repubs, are all in the pocket of the Israeli lobby/AIPAC.

    It’s easy to say “Genocide Joe” – though consider – when Trump was President, it was Sheldon Adelson who gave $172 million according to Open Secrets

    Another reason for the Hamas attacks is directly related to the actions Trump took by recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and moving the embassy.

    Another action Trump took were the Abraham Accords – which created peace in the neighborhood with total disregard for the Palestinians and their rights.

    After this the Israeli govt (Netanyahu + Far Right) – started taking over more West Bank land via settlers, tried to change the facts on the ground vis-a-vis Al-Aqsa Mosque.

    All this triggered the current Israeli-Palestinian crisis; because Hamas/Palestinians could see that they were losing on the political field, their rights were being trampled and no one was going to do anything, so they took action.

    1. Carolinian

      Sheldon Adelson died but Miriam Adelson is still very much a contributor according to the Guardian story linked here yesterday. However while Adelson’s campaign money undoubtedly had much to do with Trump One, a Trump Two would no longer need campaign money. And Trump, who has said he doesn’t trust Netanyahu either, would have a freer hand. The fact that the neocons are never Trumpers indicates just how much they worry that Trump will stray in ways that Biden doesn’t.

      And it’s surely too much to say that Trump is responsible for Gaza or at least more responsible than any other American politician. That’s all Netanyahu and now Biden.

        1. undercurrent

          I very recently read a quote from Gramsci, maybe here in NC, that reads, ‘History teaches, but has no pupils.’ Hitting the nail on the head.

      1. Pat

        I have to disagree, Trump’s choices while in office helped Netanyahu and not only allowed but outright endorsed a situation that not only emboldened the Israeli Zionists and settlers and increased their activity, it angered the Arab world thus united Arab groups more than had been seen previously. Ignoring that he made a bad situation worse doesn’t change that.
        Trump’s closer to home Zionist influences are as troublesome as his donors. And while I think he is clever enough to read the room, unlike both Biden and Netanyahu, I don’t know that he will throw Jared, and by addition Ivanka, under the bus by backing down from his previous support.
        This is something where Trump’s record is hideous and there are numerous reasons to distrust him on it.

        1. Carolinian

          And Congress giving Bibi a standing O wasn’t an outright endorsement? I’m not sure covert versus overt makes much difference to Bibi who in any event is more concerned, or so it seems, with staying in office and out of jail. Alastair Crooke says the initiator for Oct 7 was more Al Aqsa than Israel/Saudi deal–in other words recent events are more to do with internal Israeli politics than the always constant, no matter the party, US support for their aggression.

          As for Trump I wouldn’t begin to predict what he would have done or will do but it can’t be worse than what Biden is doing now. And I think there is an element of unpredictability that causes much of the TDS.

          1. Pat

            One I have said for years that the real foreign influence on our government and political system is Israel. As for Netanyahu’s standing ovation that was as much about pounding Obama as it was about Netanyahu for a significant portion of the majority. Those that it wasn’t, well End of Days fanatics do vote and some even get into office.
            I think that Biden has been demonstrably worse than Trump on multiple matters of policy. He has been better on at least one, yeah Lina Khan. Both have been wrong about Israel. And both are hideous choices for President. As for predicting how it is going to go my prediction is that whichever of these men hold the office, regardless of who, will be terrible, make terrible choices and have one or two good moments. They will be hated from day one and leave office hated. And both will fare badly historically, whether for one term or two.

            I cannot vote for either one. Although the lawfare is pushing me towards Trump, I have to remind myself it is systemic and a bigger problem. To use a Lambert term, it has all been illuminating.

    2. Feral Finster

      Biden is a war criminal who deserves the fate of the guilty at Nuremberg.

      That in no way excuses Trump.

      As it is, Biden is an AIPAC lackey and it doesn’t seem to be doing him much good in the polls. People are literally going out of their way to vote against him.

    3. digi_owl

      It will eternally weird me out to see Saban get called out in this context, given that his primary claim of “fame” is turning a cheesy Japanese TV series into Power Rangers.

  17. Jason Boxman

    From Shutdown Fears Fade After White House Meeting

    The Senate passed a $95.3 billion package this month that contained a fresh round of aid for Ukraine and funds for Israel and Taiwan. Johnson has declined to put it on the House floor. House Republicans are divided on Ukraine aid, with a little more than half on the record opposing it in the past, including Johnson before he became speaker. The Senate bill would need significant Democratic support to pass.

    Schumer said the discussion on Ukraine was “the most intense I have ever encountered in my many meetings in the Oval Office.” He said he told Johnson he would “regret it for the rest of his life” if he blocked assistance for Kyiv.

    Johnson “said he wanted to get Ukraine done, and he had to figure out the best way to do it,” Schumer recalled.

    Them’s bold words!

    But we’re still not on a war footing in regards to munitions production. What gives?

    We no longer have any editing. Saw a typo like this in NY Times front page header on Web yesterday too:

    Johnson has a number of options. none of which will satisfy all House Republicans.

    Three people at an employer I know are all reporting sick today.

    Stay safe out there!

    1. ilsm

      US has one “rotary forge” to make large artillery “tubes”!

      US has less than 10 (I do not recall the number) factories far fewer to produce large caliber shells. Because they handle large weights of high explosives they are in rural areas served by railroads. Expanding production is recruiting challenged, and supply chain ramping!

      That said all are low margin.

      Will the debated largesse for Ukraine come out of US “war” stocks meant for other contingency plans? How long will those plans be degraded?

      The debate should be more than money and neocon whims.

  18. The Rev Kev

    “NATO countries scramble to deny ground troops will go into Ukraine after Moscow warns of ‘inevitable’ conflict”

    The Duran speculate that this was Macron saying this to try to put pressure on the US to pass that $61 billion bill for the Ukraine and I find myself not disagreeing here. The only thing is that when all the other countries realized what he was saying, they threw him under the bus so hard that he bounced twice. They can see the Russian army doing a demolition job on the Ukrainian military and do not want any part of it. Any European forces crossing into the Ukraine would quickly expect to have a visit from Mr. Khinzhal.

    1. JW

      I suspect Macron was looking for anything to try to dismiss the pictures of him literally running away from the Farmers in the Paris show. His second term just can’t end soon enough for France!

  19. Alice X

    ~Hamas statement on Aaron Bushnell

    They got it right.

    ~Biden in Michigan

    My counties, Wayne and Washtenaw were 17% uncommitted, the most in the State.

  20. Wukchumni

    Bitcoin Surges Above $59K as Bull Rally Continues Coindesk
    NEW YORK (AP) — Sam Bankman-Fried’s lawyer said Tuesday that a suggested 100-year prison sentence for the FTX founder by an arm of the court is “grotesque” and “barbaric” and at most a term of a few years behind bars is appropriate for cryptocurrency crimes that the California man still disputes.

    In presentence arguments filed just minutes before a late Tuesday deadline in Manhattan federal court, attorney Marc Mukasey said a report by Probation officers improperly calculated federal sentencing guidelines to recommend a sentence just 10 years short of the maximum potential 110-year sentence.

    Around the same time S B-F was caught doing a rather common crime with an uncommon amount of money involved, Bitcoin had fallen to $16k as the news was bad, the big player in the numismatrix-FTX, was in deep kimchi, oh me oh my!

    Now Bitcoin is over $60k in record territory, and Sam could also set a record if he does 100 years in the hoosegow, which would make him 141 when he gets out.

    …you can’t make this stuff up!

    1. Michael Fiorillo

      Just as long as everyone agrees not to investigate his swinging-both-ways campaign contributions, everything will be hunky-dory.

    2. griffen

      Brief discussion and coverage this morning on CNBC, both on the increase in price of Bitcoin and also the looming sentence hearing for the young SBF. His camp of lawyers is arguing in behalf of Sam, asking for a more lenient sentence of say fewer than ten years ( maybe less )…his preciousness can not face the length or rigors of a harmful sentence of 50 yrs to life.

      Once he is sentenced and serving that time, just make sure he’s not hanging posters on the wall or chiseling chess pieces with a rock hammer.

      1. ChrisFromGA

        A 100-year sentence sounds awfully harsh. Sam is young and could still redeem himself, so I am surprised at such prosecutorial abuse (then again, maybe I shouldn’t be.)

        Retributirory justice seems inappropriate. How about restorative justice? Clawback money not just from SBF’s ill-gotten gains, but the whole coterie of scamsters who were attracted to him, including Ellison, plus didn’t all those celebrities like Tom Brady do ads and sponsor FTX?

        Now there’s a deep pocket. Clawback QB12, baby!

  21. The Rev Kev

    “China widens scope of state secrets law”

    I’m surprised that they did not do this years ago. They know without a doubt that Washington is gunning for them and long before there is any military action, there will be human rights accusations, lawfare attacks, NGOs training anybody that they can grab their hands on, spy networks, arming of hostile groups on China’s borders, digital attacks, etc. So it is only logical that they start to crack down on the leakage of any state secrets before it gets out of hand.

    1. CA

      “China widens scope of state secrets law”

      I’m surprised that they did not do this years ago…

      [ No surprise is necessary, the Chinese years ago widened the scope of state secrets coverage. This is not a naive or foolish leadership though Western media always portrays Chinese leadership as foolish. What is being done now is to let Western media and authorities know the game has been and will be increasingly self-defeating. ]

  22. .Tom

    Re Taibbi’s thing, what do we imagine prompted the blob to do this now? It looks like the blob is getting ready to point fingers. Does it mean that the blob parts that have the best view of what’s going down in UA (the CIA) is expecting to have to blame Ukraine for something rather soon? What do they see coming that will necessitate that? A military coup?

    1. flora

      These 2 paras from Taibbi’s longer article might be a clue.

      “It might be coincidence that a Ukrainian intelligence official descibed in a New York Times article as a loose cannon who led a “disaster” of a commando raid just jammed three fingers in Washington’s eye in less than a week. Either way, it’s clear there’s anxiety in Washington about fallout from an interruption of the US-Ukraine security project. Especially in an election year, any war of words between the erstwhile allies could get ugly in a heartbeat.

      Times authors incidentally don’t make any effort to support any of their sources’ assertions about, say, alleged election meddling or the “Fancy Bear hacking group” tale.”

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      The maps show the Russians moving faster than expected. Simpliciticus raised a number of points. The biggest problem is the Ukrainians don’t appear to have built the defensive lines that can stop the Russians from constantly advancing along all the fronts. Bulldozers cant work under artillery fire. The preferred defensive spots are already under Russian fire control.

      Azov was keeping conscripts at the front, but Azov was sent to the front. Even a major grouping was blasted away. The US has been trying to get Ecuador to release ammo stocks.

      One of those Russian military history bloggers had a write up of the Normandy campaign and made points about the US forces in general. The US could simply meet any and all missteps or weaknesses of the Germans. I think that is what is going on especially as the move out of more rugged country. The Ukrainians simply can’t get a respite especially if the Russians didn’t commit the forces they planned. The only blunder the Russians could make is a big arrow move where they outrun their ability to guard their flanks and supply. The only problem the US had in Europe was man power, and that was an issue last year for Russia. They’ve added half a million men.

      Real economic conditions drive elections. The OMG Putin crowd isn’t going to register voters in the urban core to get Putin. They will just blame Russian interference.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        There’s no need for Russia to do a big arrow. They can keep pressing Ukraine until its forces completely crumble. They can wait until it becomes a tank parade.

        Two things to add:

        One Azov unit refused to advance to Adiivka to support the forces there. So military discipline was failing even before the city fell.

        The air defenses are expected to be completely out of missiles by end of March. And that is before getting to the fact that Russia has gotten good at hunting down and destroying the launch platforms. If I heard Mercouris right today, Russia has killed 2, maybe even 3 Patriot systems in the last few weeks.

        1. ChrisFromGA

          Every patriot system trashed costs around $14B if I recall Mercouris correctly. Doing the math, that’s approaching the entire $61B package that Biden wants and Johnson is filibustering. Assuming 3 units destroyed.

          So even if Johnson caves, that money would barely replace what got turned to ash.

          (It’s possible that some of the cost is men and support.)

        2. JW

          Mercouris also reckons that the majority of the $61bn if it ever arrives is not for weapons or US manufacturing of new weapons , but for greasing palms in Ukraine, MIC etc. for services rendered before the whole thing blows up.

          1. gf

            Don’t they get a little carried away on the corruption side of it sometimes?

            Yes corruption but greasing everyone at this point maybe not.

        3. Procopius

          I wish I had seen more about what happened to the 3rd Assault Brigade (Azov). I read that they were ordered to Avdeevkeya, that they came under fire. I think I read a mention of the unit that refused to advance. Then the sound of crickets. I hope they’re still on the front lines in that area, but I’m afraid they might have been withdrawn — or withdrawn on their own initiative.

      2. .Tom

        Is this no more than what happens when the Ukrainians and their American handlers move to CYA mode as their military project wraps up? Or does this indicate what the Americans (CIA, State, WH) expects to happen next in Ukrainian politics?

        Who has the best, most complete, detailed and current picture what’s going on and being said in secret in Ukraine, besides the Ukrainian themselves? I imagine its the American little green men over there. And that’s who leaked all this to the NYT. So what I’m wondering is if what NTY and Taibbi reported give us a better idea what the blob thinks is likely to happen next in Ukrainian politics. For example could a military coup be coming in which those that sold out the nation to the West for their own profit are disciplined?

      3. ilsm

        Russian operational object seems to be to destroy the Ukraine army. Similar to what U.S. Grant did with Petersburg, Va from July 1864. Secondary object is to assure no military capacity left in longer term.

        One problem of German Blitzkreig in USSR was it left huge swaths of uncontrollable territory open fields for guerilla war!

        I suspect Russia is aware of the problems the allies had with the Bulge in Belgium in 1944.

        US donating $60B a bit less than Germany’s annual military budget will make Ukraine casualties feel better with shiny new stuff as they are shelled…… in hastily dug bunkers, with no concrete.

        1. Feral Finster

          2024 (or 2022) Ukraine are not exactly ideal for an insurgency.

          The one thing all successful insurgencies have in common is a young population. The median age in Ukraine is over 40, and that from before the war.

          The median age in Yemen is something like 19.

    3. pjay

      I haven’t yet been able to read Taibbi’s full article. But I have seen several suggestions at various sites over the last few days that this was a big deal. Why? It was an obvious CYA limited hangout to me, and to a number of other NC commenters as well who discussed this the other day. The basic story spun by two CIA stenographers was that the CIA was very hesitant to get involved – didn’t want to irritate Russia, you see. Then *after the coup* the new Ukrainian intelligence operatives begged them for help. Gradually, the CIA came to trust them (thanks to their valuable intel on Malaysia Flight 17 and US election interference!), and of course Putin was planning his conquest of Europe, so… blah, blah, blah.

      Yes, they did admit to having a bunch of CIA bases, which anyone with half a brain should have assumed already (and for anyone who believes we didn’t get seriously involved until 2016 I have a bridge in Brooklyn for sale). But otherwise, it just sounds like a propaganda piece to me.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        His second half is just as important, Ukraine repeatedly contradicting US claims, like Iran is sending lots of long range missiles to Russia (implication both Iran cheating and Russia can’t make them).

        1. pjay

          Thanks. I will read the full Taibbi article as soon as I can. I was mainly reacting to other suggestions around the net that imply that the NY Times story was some kind of Big Reveal.

      2. Jason Boxman

        There was definitely a jab at the Obama white house for being perhaps overlay cautious in regards to supporting lethal Ops against Russia.

    4. Skip Intro

      I think the story was a limited hangout meant to plant certain disinformation tidbits, like the bit about ‘Fancy Bear’ APT, which was Crowdstrike’s go to fabrication for Russian hacking attribution, even using it to describe Seth Rich’s exfiltration of emails as Russian hacking. It seems like the main goal is to revive the Russiagate hoax in anticipation of more misbehaving voters in the west.

    5. Feral Finster

      We’ve seen this movie before. Someone publishes something which shows a bit of the ugly reality behind the happy h@rsesh!t reporting on Ukraine, and folks like us proclaim that The End Is Near.

      Then someone in authority snaps his fingers and a groveling apology is issued.

      The CBS News story in fall 2022 that dared to disclose the shocking idea that there might be corruption in Ukraine is a prime example.

  23. TomDority

    US Judge Halts Government Effort To Monitor Crypto Mining Energy Use – Guardian.
    A US judge should also look at the poor criminals who would face economic hardship because of enforcement of criminal law – they should do all they can do to alleviate the hardships enforcement would have upon these folks. -sarc
    It is ironic that a couple a years ago in Texas – folks were getting whacked by huge energy cost spikes because of contract terms that allowed the provider to spike the rates because of infrastructure failures that were supposed to be upgraded under the same provider contract – but were not.
    Also – because of this use of energy for Crypto Mining (grifting) – would that not increase energy costs for the public (harms) – waste valuable resources (harms to the public) be detrimental to the environment (harms to the public) which – I would think…I am not a lawyer — but I would think some law guy working in the public interest would be able to file a mandamus to force the judge to take a look

  24. RookieEMT

    The SEP’s statement is outright sexy.

    Calling out all those lefty orgs that simp for the Democrats. Rejecting identity politics.

    It’s beautiful.

  25. The Rev Kev

    “Europeans’ last ditch clutch at Ukrainian victory”

    it was noted that when there were all those European leaders with Zelensky for the two year anniversary recently, that there was not an American in sight. Not Blinken, not Nuland – nobody. As they say, success has a thousand fathers, failure is a b****** son.

    1. Feral Finster

      I dunno, contrast Zelenskii’s ebullient reception in Munich last week with the gloomier NATO Summit in Riga last fall.

      The way they treated him in Munich, you’d think he cured VD using this one weird old trick.

  26. Carolinian

    Re Counterpunch

    USA Today interviewed some of these unlikely voters to learn more about their antipathy toward voting. The common refrain was deep distrust of the political establishment of both parties – but a higher residual support for Trump due to his willingness to buck conventional wisdom and to take positions considered outside the policy mainstream.

    Correctly or not, that seems to be the dominant perception, which bodes poorly for Biden and the Democrats should Trump find a fresh way to activate these voters in large numbers.

    So Trump becomes the alternative to TINA with all the blatant lawfare reinforcing the resentment?

    The article also talks about RFK jr but isn’t he having trouble getting on the ballot? I’ve read that the libertarians have said they will not nominate him. It seems to me this election is going to be all about Biden, not Trump.

  27. The Rev Kev

    “US calls for ‘diplomatic path’ on Lebanon after Israel warning”

    At the end is their idea of diplomacy-

    ‘France, with US support, has been pushing a plan in which Hezbollah and allied fighters would withdraw to around 12 kilometers (eight miles) from the border and Israel would halt attacks.’

    So what US/French diplomacy amounts to is that Hezbollah stands down while Israel only attacks them occasionally. Then, when the IDF has finished with Gaza, they will turn their full attention on Lebanon. The Israelis cannot help themselves. They covet those lands in Lebanon too badly.

    1. Feral Finster

      IIRC, the Hezbollah withdrawal was originally an Israeli demand.

      Now we’re calling it “diplomacy”.

    2. Em

      “Give my friend here your lunch money and maybe your face won’t end up in a toilet today” school of diplomacy.

      They know that Hezbollah will never agree to this but it gives their treacherous Lebanese Christian allies a fake talking point to beat Hezbollah with. I suggest that Hezbollah diplomatically ask the Americans to withdraw all forces 8 miles from the US- Mexican border. For peace.

      1. Em

        Israel and the West is doing this because they are ones who can’t afford to maintain, nevermind escalate, on the Lebanese front. West Bank is about the blow up (as Jon Elmer commented months ago, if this was any other time we would already call the situation in the West Bank and Intifatah), ditto the Iraqi, Yemenese, and Iranian resistance forces. If Hezbollah agree to this, Israel would pull those forces to finish off Gaza and the West Bank and if they succeed, turn back to formally annexing the land south of the Litani at their leisure.

    1. griffen

      Yeah not a great look going on there…darn it all that Skynet can’t get to thinking just yet…\sarc

      Now I’m thinking of a film, Ex Machina, where the brilliant IT dude has a stash of all his failed robots kept neatly hidden from view. None work too well, until he gets to his version named Ava. I’m not going to spoil the movie for those who may not know of it…

    2. Socal Rhino

      A good thing if it prompts more scrutiny of the choices made in LLMs – like other algorithmic processes they are not neutral representations of reality. What other biases are encoded, one might wonder?

      1. .Tom

        Where Gemini seems to have stumbled in trying to compensate for the biases inherent in the corpus they trained the LLM by overlaying it human designed algorithms to make corrections. Or so it seems to me.

  28. wuzzy

    Re: Live Music

    Years ago during my career as a Dinner/Cocktail pianist I was given this advice:

    “Play soft enough so you can hear them talking and loud enough so you can’t understand them.”

    After learning this I found that once you hit that sweet spot by playing louder the crowd gets louder, and by playing soft enough the crowd shuts up. No high powered amplifiers, tone deaf sound men, or MRI required.

  29. notabanker

    Not good news for the DNC in Michigan. 40% higher turnout for repubs, and 100k showed up in the Dem side to vote uncommitted. Just a few days ago they were speculating a 10k uncommitted vote. Be interesting to see if this uncommitted campaign gains legs in other states. Biden is toast, they will have to make a change at the convention.

    1. Jason Boxman

      I think Biden operatives are probably congratulating themselves on a primary season successfully played; by ensuring there was no legitimate liberal Democrat presidential primary, Biden is spared from what likely would be quite a lot of dissension in the ranks of actual liberal Democrat voters, maybe even putting his renomination at risk. But with a show primary, he can safely sail to renomination, even if Biden loses in the general to Trump.

      Well done, Team Biden!

      Whatever else can be said of the Democrat Party, it ain’t Democratic!

    2. Lena

      While following the early returns last night, I was pleasantly surprised to see “uncommitted” getting 10% to 15% of the vote in most Michigan counties, not just big counties like Wayne that have sizable Arab/Muslim populations, but small counties too. The Vote Uncommitted activists are to be congratulated. Here’s hoping the campaign will spread.

      Genocide Joe, he’s gotta go!

  30. Benny Profane

    The tweet all about Trump’s poll discrepancies is so TDS. what’s the point? He won in a landslide, but not as much of a landslide as polled? So, there’s hope? Just like Hailey getting severely trounced in her home state by a ridiculous margin, an embarrassment that made countless politicians crawl back into their holes and get back to whatever in the past, but, no, she stands on stage and proclaims, I am woman, I am strong, I will never give up. She’s coming out of this remarkably wealthy, win or lose. Well, of course, lose. See, I did it too.

    1. griffen

      Makes me consider some ways to recast historic results from the world of ( by easy examples ) US collegiate or professional sport.

      Super Bowl, Rams vs Titans. Instead of “Rams defense stop Titans”, it becomes that the Titans fall a mere yard short of their Super Bowl dream end. Aka…such a close loss stings but those Haley losses just weren’t close.

  31. antidlc

    re: Lambert’s post the other day on Adele
    Adele postpones Las Vegas residency shows due to being sick

    Adele is postponing upcoming dates of her Las Vegas residency “Weekends with Adele” after falling ill.

    “Sadly, I have to take a beat and pause my Vegas residency,” she wrote on her Instagram page on Tuesday. “I was sick at the end of the last leg and all the way through my break. I hadn’t quite gotten the chance to get back to full health before shows resumed.”

    Now, she wrote, she’s sick again and “unfortunately it’s taken a toll on my voice.”

  32. Tom Stone

    I see that Hunter’s laptop is once again “Russian Disinformation” and Genocide is “Self defense” while the greatest threat to “Our Democracy” is Freedom of Speech.
    Pretty soon I expect to learn that Grubs taste just like chicken, but healthier.

    1. ambrit

      The old prospectors had a word for it; Grubsteak.
      I’m not too sure that the ‘average’ American is up to emulating John the Baptist in the desert.

  33. CA

    “It wasn’t all that many years ago that Saudi Arabia seemed on the verge of going bust.”

    I fail to understand how a country of 36 million with a per capita GDP of $68.5 thousand, no meaningful national debt and a persistent trade surplus could have been on the verge of going “bust.” What the Saudi government has evidently finally come to understand is that constructing an industrial base is necessary no matter the resource base. Possibly the lesson came from the Egyptians constructing an industrial base, but China is now building an advanced industrial base for Saudi Arabia and the Chinese-Saudi base should be highly productive.

  34. CA

    The point is that Saudi Arabia can readily afford advanced industrialization:,&s=NGDP_RPCH,PPPGDP,PPPPC,NID_NGDP,NGSD_NGDP,PCPIPCH,GGXWDG_NGDP,BCA_NGDPD,&sy=2000&ey=2023&ssm=0&scsm=1&scc=0&ssd=1&ssc=0&sic=0&sort=country&ds=.&br=1

    October 15, 2023

    Saudi Arabia, 2000-2023

    Real GDP, percent change
    Investment, percent of GDP
    Savings, percent of GDP
    Inflation rate, percent change
    General government gross debt, percent of GDP
    Current account balance, percent of GDP

  35. Craig H.

    Tripping on LSD at the Dolphin Research Lab

    In case anybody might be interested in reading the new Diana Pasulka book the most interesting parts are her new source who is given a false name to protect their stellar professional academic reputation. Simone has the Tyler part in this one. Simone is writing a ChatGPT to communicate with dolphins which is the first step we need for communicating with aliens.

    This is a serious book!

  36. Roger Blakely

    Re: Japan’s new births fall to record low as demographic woes worsen (ABC Australia)

    This movie is coming to a theater near you.

    “Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has called the low births “the biggest crisis Japan faces”, and put forward a package of measures that have included more support and subsidies mostly for childbirth, children, and their families.”

    1. PlutoniumKun

      The latest figures out of South Korea are even worse.

      I think the Japanese have the societal capacity to deal with this. They seem reasonably content to manage a relative economic decline. The South Korean figures are so catastrophic they could be facing a genuine demographic and economic collapse in a decade or two unless they can do something drastic.

      Many other countries are following them – the latest Chinese figures suggest that they are following Japan/ROK/Taiwan very closely demographically.

      Its interesting though that Russia, which was the first country to face a full on demographic crisis, has to some extent seemed to have stabilized. Similarly with some other former Soviet States, although they still have major problems.

      Its one of those weird double edged swords. We need to reduce the population rapidly to sustainable levels, but we haven’t yet figured out how to do this without serious societal and economic consequences.

      1. Polar Socialist

        Russia has had a recurring demographic crisis since WW2. The generations already heavily burdened with civil war and Spanish flu in the 20’s and famines in the 30’s were hit really hard during the war. Thus there’s still a noticeable 20+ year cycle, one of which was amplified by the 90’s liberal phase.

        So, it kinda stabilizes by itself (given no other catastrophes occur), but the current government has been actively incentivicing young people to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.

        1. Henry Moon Pie

          “incentivicing young people to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth”

          I think we can already put up the “Mission Accomplished” banner on that one.

        2. PlutoniumKun

          Yup, its a long time since I did a deep dive into demographics, but Russia’s have always been kind of unusual – a series of jumps and blips instead of the usual fairly clear trend lines. But current fertility rates appear to be around the 1.5 level, which is still significantly below ‘replacement’ level, especially as it reflects an already depleted demographic (i.e. people born 20-35 years ago). But still significantly above nearly every major Asian power and around the European average.

          What that means in economic and other terms is of course not easy to say.

      2. ebolapoxclassic

        I remember during the coronavirus epidemic in Sweden how, in reference to old people being given morphine instead of oxygen and similar measures, variations on “hey, finally some empty apartments”, “they have to die from something”, “isn’t old useless people dying a good thing on the whole?” were uttered openly in society, even on national TV and by public officials.

        I remember, among others, both the state epidemologist, Anders Tegnell, and, hilariously in a dark way, a senior official at Riksbanken (the central bank), Kerstin Hessius, both in effect saying exactly this on TV, apparently with no shame and without hesitation.

        As despicable as I found this pervasive psychopathy back then (and still do), perhaps we’re all going to find ourselves at a point where we’re desperate enough to think in those terms. I can warmly recommend the cult UK TV series Utopia (warning: it contains graphic violence).

        It features a plot to reduce human population (I’ll give you three guesses how they plan to do it), weirdly almost presaged the coronavirus epidemic (though drawing heavily on SARS before it), and it even contains the line “in the future, you’re dead if you don’t have wealth” at one point. (What the character is referring to is that there won’t be enough young people to support the old, though for the logistics behind why there won’t be in the unfolding scenario I’ll have to refer to the series.)

        1. CA

          March 22, 2022

          Evaluation of science advice during the COVID-19 pandemic in Sweden
          By Nele Brusselaers, David Steadson, Kelly Bjorklund, Sofia Breland, Jens Stilhoff Sörensen, Andrew Ewing, Sigurd Bergmann & Gunnar Steineck


          Sweden was well equipped to prevent the pandemic of COVID-19 from becoming serious. Over 280 years of collaboration between political bodies, authorities, and the scientific community had yielded many successes in preventive medicine. Sweden’s population is literate and has a high level of trust in authorities and those in power. During 2020, however, Sweden had ten times higher COVID-19 death rates compared with neighbouring Norway. In this report, we try to understand why, using a narrative approach to evaluate the Swedish COVID-19 policy and the role of scientific evidence and integrity. We argue that that scientific methodology was not followed by the major figures in the acting authorities—or the responsible politicians—with alternative narratives being considered as valid, resulting in arbitrary policy decisions. In 2014, the Public Health Agency merged with the Institute for Infectious Disease Control; the first decision by its new head (Johan Carlson) was to dismiss and move the authority’s six professors to Karolinska Institute. With this setup, the authority lacked expertise and could disregard scientific facts. The Swedish pandemic strategy seemed targeted towards “natural” herd-immunity and avoiding a societal shutdown. The Public Health Agency labelled advice from national scientists and international authorities as extreme positions, resulting in media and political bodies to accept their own policy instead. The Swedish people were kept in ignorance of basic facts such as the airborne SARS-CoV-2 transmission, that asymptomatic individuals can be contagious and that face masks protect both the carrier and others. Mandatory legislation was seldom used; recommendations relying upon personal responsibility and without any sanctions were the norm. Many elderly people were administered morphine instead of oxygen despite available supplies, effectively ending their lives. If Sweden wants to do better in future pandemics, the scientific method must be re-established, not least within the Public Health Agency. It would likely make a large difference if a separate, independent Institute for Infectious Disease Control is recreated. We recommend Sweden begins a self-critical process about its political culture and the lack of accountability of decision-makers to avoid future failures, as occurred with the COVID-19 pandemic.

      3. Revenant

        We know three lovely Korean sisters. All three are Professors with Ivy League educations. Two are unmarried and childless and the third has a single daughter. This is a fertility rate for that family generation of 0.25….

      4. QuantumSoma

        I don’t think it’s so much a matter of “figuring out a solution” as actually having the political gumption to restructure the economy at the requisite level. There is really no shortage of ways to do that, you just have to have your priorities in order.

        I agree that Japan will probably be fine, probably the biggest danger is screwing themselves over by bringing in McKinsey or something.

        As for South Korea, oh the irony if the North manages to avoid the Soviet fate long enough to see the South’s own collapse.

      5. John k

        Imo the Asian problem is the high burden on women that have kids. Gov needs to provide childcare, healthcare, lots of time off, guaranteed re-hiring, etc. and still likely to face problem that many men won’t lift a finger.

    2. skippy

      Having kids in neoliberal land diminishes your personal potential quotient and one can go broke paying for all the little buggers needs so they don’t drag on mom and dads personal potential or heraldic embarrassment in front of ones peer group …

  37. s.n.

    from the NY Post of all places & perhaps to be taken with a grain of salt. or maybe not….

    US airman Aaron Bushnell claimed to have classified knowledge of US forces fighting in Gaza tunnels on night before setting himself on fire:

    “He told me on Saturday that we have troops in those tunnels, that it’s US soldiers participating in the killings,’’ claimed the pal, whose ties to Bushnell have been verified by The Post.

  38. ChrisFromGA

    The Mitchster did the right thing and admitted that Father Time gets us all.

    Good Chris: Let’s hope he can spend more time with family and enjoy what’s left of his golden years.

    Bad Chris: he is just as guilty as Genocide Joe on supplying weapons to kill Gazans so may he stroke out in office one day before retiring in Nov.

    1. Em

      I’m hoping that he will live long enough to be hauled into multiple jurisdictions for what he did in this life. I don’t care about jail terms but at least all his assets should be confiscated to make partial restitution for his victims. And that his descendents will grow to be good enough people to curse his memory.

      That’s the long life I wish for the vast majority of politicians in DC and their masters.

    2. Wukchumni

      Mitch defenestrated the right stuff!

      He reminded me of a pro baseball player who didn’t care that he couldn’t catch up with a fastball anymore, and went up to the plate never swinging at anything-hoping for a walk, but not really-has an MLB player ever been awarded a base on balls and then just stood there motionless?

      1. Late Introvert

        I can credit NC for teaching my brain to substitute “Freeze Frame” in place of Mitch from now on.

        The only consolation I have for them letting C-19 run rampant is that they all got it mutltiple times.

  39. Willow

    > FT: Leaked files reveal Russia criteria for nuke strike.

    Reading this as a fracture in the DS establishment. Onside starting to ‘openly’ warn against the madness of their counterparts and the panic over Russia winning in Ukraine.

  40. Wukchumni

    Go take a hike dept: Marble Falls

    Most of the canyon of the Marble Fork of the Kaweah River was burned in the 2001 KNP Fire and we hiked it a year after and the conflagration didn’t miss much-leaving vast lunar-like landscapes, with life coming back in dribs & drabs. Weather looks good the next few days before a storm sets in. The falls at the apogee of the adventure is a nice reward-a little something for the effort.

    You start from a stoners’ whet dream name of a place if there ever was one, @ Potwisha campground in Sequoia NP.

    I’ll pick up my lifetime NPS senior pass for $80, such a deal~

    The lay of the land:

  41. kareninca

    I hate music. Live, dead, any sort of music, it gags me. I also hate chocolate. Sometimes I wonder what planet I belong on.

      1. kareninca

        I haven’t caught covid yet. And I’ve loathed both music and chocolate since I can remember. Maybe if I catch covid I’ll come to like them; odder things have happened.

    1. Late Introvert

      My work place has lots of coughing, very few masks, and my co-workers who used to mask have all gotten C-19 at least once, several 2 or more, and only one still masks. It’s almost like catching it makes you less careful.

  42. Matthew G. Saroff

    Regarding Unicorns, the best evidence is that they are largely the result of fraudulent manipulation.

    Typically, this is done when investors buying a lot from a target company on the cheap, and then make a small purchase at the end which is expensive, which creates the illusion of value, and then they cash in.

    If the response to this behavior was to have people like Andreeson and Son frog marched out of their offices in handcuffs, it would be a very good thing.™

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