Links 2/6/2024

This camel has a very important job Vox

Dementia and sport: These rugby players represented their country in their 20s, by their 40s, they had early onset dementia CNN (Paul R)

Common food preservative has unexpected effects on the gut microbiome EurekAlert (Dr. Kevin)


Long Covid, vaccines may cause disease and death: Chula, Rangsit Bangkok Post. From a couple of weeks ago, still germane.


Across America, Clean Energy Plants Are Being Banned Faster Than They’re Being Built USA Today

The Potent Pollution Of Noise Noema (Micael T)

No more chocolate, coffee or wine? ‘Last supper’ shows stakes of climate crisis Guardian (Dr. Kevin)

More than half a million without power in California as intense atmospheric river brings threat of mudslides and flooding CNN (Kevin W)


China on cusp of next-generation chip production despite US curbs Financial Times

US tech war going haywire on the campaign trail Asia Times (Kevin W). Moar protectionism set to backfire.

Old Blighty

King Charles’ cancer ‘caught early’ says Sunak, after treatment begins BBC. Lead story, BBC updating awfully frequently.

The illness of Charles III Richard Murphy

European Disunion

EU climate chief rebuts business fears that green policies hit competitiveness International Affairs. Micael T: “What would the Inverse Jim Kramer ETF for EU policies look like?”

South of the Border

The Ghost of United Fruit Still Haunts Latin America (Part 1) Canadian Patriot (Micael T)


Nicaragua taking Germany, Canada, UK, Netherlands to ICJ for genocide Al Mayadeen. Headline ahead of events, but Nicaragua is taking the steps to tee up an application to the ICJ. I wonder if this application, assuming it happens, will also undermine Germany’s intervention in the original South Africa case on behalf of Israel, as in South Africa will then be able to depict Germany as a conflicted party.

* * *

Gaza Is a Crime Scene Middle East Research and Information Project.

Palestinians demand international inquiry after mass grave found in Gaza Al Jazeera (Micael T)

Israeli Damage to Archives, Libraries, and Museums in Gaza, October 2023–January 2024 Librarians and Archivists with Palestine (Bill M)

* * *

US declines to rule out hitting targets in Iran, Jake Sullivan says Politico (Kevin W)

In The Middle East The U.S. Has Reached The End Of Its Abilities Moon of Alabama

Israeli defense minister says army’s next target is Rafah Anadolu Agency

Is the Axis of Resistance gaining support in the GCC? The Cradle (Chuck L)

War on Gaza: Jordan in hot water after report it’s helping Israel break Red Sea blockade Middle East Eye (Kevin W)

* * *

U.S. admits it hasn’t verified Israel’s UNRWA claims, media ignores it Mondoweiss

Israel Withholding Intelligence Dossier on UNRWA Participation in Hamas Attack Libertarian Institute (Kevin W)

Biden-Backed Bipartisan Senate Bill Targets Key Humanitarian Aid For Palestinians HuffPost (ma)

* * *

CAIR Demands Release of New Orleans Grandmother Kidnapped and Beaten by Israeli Forces in West Bank CAIR

New Not-So-Cold War

LICENSE TO KILL: UKRAINIAN WEBSITE MOLFAR, CREATED WITH THE ASSISTANCE OF THE UK INTELLIGENCE, STARTED A HUNT FOR WESTERN JOURNALISTS AND PUBLIC FIGURES Foundation to Battle Injustice (Micael T). Be sure to scroll down to see the screen with some of the info captured. WhatsApp and Facebook are prominent.

Brazil overtakes Turkey as largest buyer of Russian diesel, while preserving ties with Moscow despite Western pressures InfoBrics


Pakistan: At least 10 killed in attack on police station BBC

The U.S. Has Never Been ‘Dragged’ Into the Middle East Daniel Larison (Micael T)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

NYPD pulls the plug on its Times Square subway police robot Daily Mail

That’s not the web you’re browsing, Microsoft. That’s our data The Register

Imperial Collapse Watch

China, Russia and Iran to hold navy drills aimed at ‘regional security’, admiral says as Middle East tensions flare South China Morning Post

Sandasl Alex Krainer (Micael T)


Indiana State Police investigating potential election fraud in St. Joseph County ABC57. Mark G:

Biden playing hardball. This is as rotten as politics gets. No one’s petitions survive close scrutiny, the real problem is onerous petition requirements that obstruct candidacies. Everyone has to hire someone to do this for them, Democrats are exactly the kind of people who would steer a rookie towards a bad outfit.

In my professional opinion, a forensic analysis of most petitions would result in most candidates being disqualified. Exceptions being party favored candidates who can rely on party organizations who know how to do it right and as a rule of thumb try to get at least double the minimum requirement.

Phillps has no chance, this is Biden sending a signal to anyone else who might raise their head up from the trough

Meta urged to reconsider media manipulation policy ahead of elections The Hill. Notice the US does not care in the abstract, that fake videos can be uses to perpetrate all sorts of frauds. No, the only concern is incumbents reducing their attack surface.

Budget Brinksmanship

Republican opposition mounts to border-for-Ukraine deal Washington Post (Kevin W)

GOP Clown Car

‘Horrifying’: RNC Official Blasts ‘Worst Fundraising Year’ in Three Decades New Civil Rights Movement (furzy)


Speaker Johnson: Border bill is ‘even worse than we expected’ The Hill

Senate’s border deal teeters on brink of collapse Politico

Mayor Adams Joins Police Raid, Seeking to Expose a Migrant Crime Ring New York Times (furzy)

Our No Longer Free Press

Craig Newmark Donates $10M to Help CUNY Journalism School Become Tuition-Free Observer

Police State Watch

Killer Mike campaigned for Bernie and two days ago on Bill Maher refused to endorse Biden, asked him to say the crime bill was a mistake.


Finance worker pays out $25 million after video call with deepfake ‘chief financial officer’ CNN (ma)

Australian television mistakenly used AI to doctor the body and clothes of politician ZME Science (Dr. Kevin)

GM Reverses All-In EV Strategy to Bring Back Plug-In Hybrids The Drive

Falling Apart Boeing Airplanes

Facing Another Boeing Crisis, the FAA Takes a Harder Line New York Times

The Bezzle

Tesla Recalls Almost Every Vehicle Ever Sold in the US PC Magazine (Kevin W)

Furniture’s quality has declined, but here’s what you can do about it Business Insider (Kevin W)

Powell’s “subprime is contained”?

Buffett-Backed Occidental CEO Says Oil Shortage by 2025 OilPrice

Class Warfare

The CEO ‘return to office or else’ is having limited success in 2024 CNBC (Kevin W)

How the nursing home lobby uses it’s political prowess to kill would-be regulations and line the industry’s pockets Wendell Potter (Chuck L)

Antidote du jour. From jack, who sent this photo and story from Mark B:

Beacon Hill Station, on Seattle’s light rail transit line, lies 167’ below street level and you can well imagine my surprise to see this rock pigeon on the platform. How did it end up there? Did it fly into the tunnel? Did it hitch a ride on one of the station elevators? It’s not telling. But it does like to perch on this light up in the station rafters.

A bonus (YY). ZOMG, it must be so liberating for a turtle to zoom around on a skateboard. Why isn’t this common among turtle-owners?

And a second bonus:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here

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  1. Antifa

    (melody borrowed from Reelin In The Years by Steely Dan)

    It’s time to dump the neocons they’re all living in the past
    They’re ruining our nation like true iconoclasts
    They’ve gone right down the rabbit hole to cloud cuckoo land
    They think that we’re an empire that can still expand

    We’re a nation among peers and we are not divine
    We’ve had enough of clubs and spears of the missiles drones and mines
    As each ugly scene appears we stand with Palestine
    War has brought us only tears now it’s time to draw a line

    Their advice to Presidents is vicious and it’s mean
    Jungle law won’t work in the Anthropocene
    They haven’t launched a single war that turned out like they planned
    Their endless urge to conquest I can’t understand

    We’re a nation among peers and we are not divine
    We’ve had enough of clubs and spears of the missiles drones and mines
    As each ugly scene appears we stand with Palestine
    War has brought us only tears now it’s time to draw a line

    (musical interlude)

    They’ve cost us many trillions and they’re wasting precious time
    They’ve slowly stacked our government with partners in crime
    Every day they’re drawing up a new invasion plan
    And all of it is worthless to a working man

    We’re a nation among peers and we are not divine
    We’ve had enough of clubs and spears of the missiles drones and mines
    As each ugly scene appears we stand with Palestine
    War has brought us only tears now it’s time to draw a line

    1. veritea

      GM brings back plug-in Hybrids…

      It seems like only yesterday that Toyota canned their CEO because he insisted that the market for plug-in hybrids was far more robust than for full EV vehicles.

      Good thing our major corporations are making solid, engineering-based product decisions.

  2. Eoin Mac

    I like how in England nobody has a problem with King Charles being picked by God to be ruler but they have a big problem with Putin being a “dictator”

    1. Pat

      There are two assumptions here, first that no one in “England” has a problem with Charles and the monarchy. The second being that that makes him the ruler.
      Personally I would have a much bigger problem with Cameron…Johnson…Sunak
      And his ministers running the UK.

      1. diptherio

        Yes, I seem to recall having seen several videos of people protesting the existence of the monarchy over the years, so I don’t think that point quite holds up. On the other hand, isn’t it true that the Crown has the ability to veto any legislation passed by the Parliament? I read somewhere, years ago, that it was common practice for the PM to run potential legislation by the Monarch before taking it to a vote, just to avoid the embarrassing circumstance of facing a royal veto.

        I’m sure others here know more about the realities than I, but I wouldn’t be so quick to assume that ol’ Chucky isn’t a ruler in a meaningful way.

        1. nippersdad

          While they do have the ability to withhold consent for bills it has not been done since 1708…. Wiki affirms, but I learned this from The Windsors, of all places, and I am sure that there are more nuanced sources of information.

          “While royal assent has not been withheld for a bill backed by the government in the United Kingdom since 1708,…”

          1. Revenant

            The sovereign is also consulted on legislation affecting their Majesty and they can veto it. The same applies to matters affect the Duchy of Lancaster (also the Sovereign) and the Duchy of Cornwall (the Prince of Wales). The Queen intervened many times over issues regarding the Duchy of Lancaster etc.

          2. Not Qualified to Comment

            Yes the Monarch could refuse to sign a Bill into law, but it’s something of a nuclear option. Parliament’s power to propose/change law is unrestricted – it could institute a twenty-year term for itself and/or grant essentially dictatorial powers to the Prime Minister to rule by fiat. It essentially did this (at sword’s point) when creating the Protectorate under Oliver Cromwell in 1653, King Charles I having been executed in 1649 and the Monarchy abolished.

            It was exactly this lack of a check on absolute Parliamentary power that led to the restoration on the Monarchy in 1660.

            It’s not impossible that the US might find itself relying on the strength of a piece of paper to stand against the raging paranoia and narcisistic delusions of a certain US citizen who might also be Commander in Chief of its armed forces. For my part I’d rather rely on a real live person rich enough to be unbribable, independent of politics, aware of all the facts, who’s right of final say is unquestioned and who has been brought up to face just this one eventuality.

            How would it work if push came to shove? I don’t know. But in that situation I’d rather put my faith in a real human being than fancy words on a piece of paper.

    2. Old Sarum

      The British monarch (my head of state) is nothing more than a… I borrow a pithy “Succession” term here: “meat puppet”. Strangely the US President has pretty much the same semblance; the failure to close Guantanamo Bay being a prime example.


      ps I am in favour of constitutional monarchy for very cynical reasons.

  3. ChrisFromGA

    Re: Border bill teeters on brink of collapse

    Aw, that’s a damn shame.

    And Congress goes on recess after this weekend. Then comes back with one week to deal with 12 appropriations bills, none of which have passed, before the last CR expires.

    It’s going to get treacherous for Johnson. He should just pass a year-long CR and adjourn for the year.

  4. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Pakistan: At least 10 killed in attack on police station BBC

    The article is very vague about the reasons people are on edge before this election, kind of insinuating that Pakistanis are just always like that, while making no mention whatsoever about the recent jailing of the top candidate, Imran Kahn, on trumped up charges and after pressure to do so from the US and the West. And they threw his wife in the clink too just for good measure.

    ‘Tis a mystery why people might be angry according to yet another Western media source.

  5. The Rev Kev

    “King Charles’ cancer ‘caught early’ says Sunak, after treatment begins”

    To be expected really. If you go back to Queen Victoria, she was on the throne for nearly 64 years and was not budging. By the time she finally passed away, her son Edward VII was already 60 years old when he became King and died about 9 years later through basically old age. Now go forward to Elizabeth II and she reigned for over 70 years which was a record breaker. She also was dug in and when she finally passed away, Charles III was already nearly 74 years old when he came to the throne. It would be surprising if he has that many years as King before it is time up for him as well. The world’s best doctors – as we were assured by the media that he has – can only take you so far.

    1. Pat

      I would have bet on six. But earlier was not unlikely.
      I think we are going to start seeing a whole lot of politicians and business leaders who do not live as long as their parents, even with the best care. Immune disorders work that way. And even with better mitigation they are exposing themselves to something that can induce immunity issues. (Charles has had Covid twice iirc.)

      1. Mike

        That will be telling – for anyone paying attention. I assumed that the Royals are the most pampered people on the planet who should all live to 100.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Except two or three years ago there were pictures of Charles mingling with a bunch of people in a small room and not long after he came down with Covid. Not sure if he took it back to mummy or not at the time.

          1. t

            Charles has long been a fan of all forms of quackery and woo. He was likely making everyone safe by carrying a crystal.

    2. CanCyn

      I’m with Richard Murphy… I gotta wonder how many people in the UK with cancer and not getting such prompt treatment from the best doctors in the country are feeling a little resentment towards Charles. And also agree with Murphy about the non-disclosure, why not disclose what type of cancer he has? They can tell us his prostate is fine but they don’t tell us what kind of cancer and treatment? Weird.

      1. Hastalavictoria

        I’m with Tom Paine~ The palaces of Kings are founded on the ruins of the bower’s of paradise.

        I think the opening line in The Rights of Man.

        We need him still!

    3. PlutoniumKun

      Its curious that they give so few details – unless the press people are incompetent they must know that this just fuels speculation, so I assume this means that its on the bad side of the cancer and longevity spectrum. Its a little surprising given that he seems to be a very fit and healthy man for his age.

      No doubt the Tories will like this as it will act as a distraction for all the other real issues.

      1. Bsn

        I wonder if it’ll turn out to be a “turbo cancer” as so many have contracted following the medical treatment that shall not be named (not IVM).

      2. Susan the other

        If Charles develops high blood pressure they should put him on Losartan because it suppresses tumor formation.. Losartan was also found to have a protective effect against COVID and the explanation was that Losartan binds with the Ace2 receptor preventing invasion. Or stg like that. Interesting that it also prevents tumor formation.

  6. The Rev Kev

    It was misdemeanor battery. Will Smith slapped Chris Rock and cursed him out on national television and no charges but Killer Mike gets arrested for all to see. What did that person do to Killer Mike to provoke him? 🤔’

    Say, when Will Smith slapped Chris Rock at the Oscars, does anybody have a link showing Will Smith being arrested afterwards and put into handcuffs before being taken to jail? I’m looking but I can’t find any such links. If it did not happen, was it because there were no reliable witnesses?

    1. Benny Profane

      I know I’m well past my sell by date, but, before this morning, I have never heard of this guy. Which may be the whole point.

      My favorite comment in the Twitter thread is, “Do you mean to tell me that a person named Killer Mike is a … criminal?”

      1. Mark Gisleson

        Nah, this is on you. Killer Mike endorsed Bernie in 2016 and it was very big news, lots of lengthy interview clips, etc. Very well known in the rapper/hip hop community and greater Atlanta area. He is responsible for Black barbershops gaining townhall status in some circles.

        1. Benny Profane

          The Grammys are a freak show, always has been, highlighting the worst garbage music made in America, and, sorry, rap is not music. Or poetry. Makes me wince when I hear people say it is, especially rich white people. I immediately think, you partied a lot in college on the way to your comfy legacy life.

          1. Bugs

            Well ok then. It may not be music to your ears but it certainly is an extremely important part of American culture and a lot of us love hip-hop. Bugs was really into it with his friends at the beginning and went to the early jams with Grandmaster Flash, Kurtis Blow, Melle Mell, Run DMC, Real Roxanne, Fat Boys… And it’s been great watching it become so huge, and so many of today’s acts are a blast to listen to. Dallas has a particularly good group of local artists with their own style. Same with Milwaukee. Great stuff. Check out videos on YouTube. Most of them are made by the groups and their friends. It’s a whole other world out there.

            Killer Mike is a very good musician and rapper. Please. It _is_ music.

            There are some new commenters here and they’re still freaking me out.

            1. .Tom

              I watched the wonderful 2001 film Scratch by Doug Pray not long ago. 1) Yes, it is music, obviously. 2) The film has many deejays acknowledging that it was Herbie Hancock that inspired them. Herbie Hancock! Go watch the Rockit live performance from the 1984 Grammys with Grandmaster DST on Youtube. Killer! 3) If the music offends you so much that you declare it isn’t music then I think it did its job rather well.

              The ritualized generational schism with kids scandalizing parents with their cultural innovations is a necessary part of a growing bourgeois consumer society. The fact that what the kids are listening to today is so insipid, inoffensive and trite should be a concern.

          2. Dr. John Carpenter

            Well, you’re certainly living up to the “well past your sell by date” comment by waving the “rap isn’t music” flag in 2024.

          3. Albe Vado

            This is such a goofy comment. The whole ‘hip hop’ isn’t music thing is a tiresome and stupid debate (it is music, there’s no solid argument, technical or otherwise to be made that it isn’t, and further, who made you the judge of what qualifies as music?), but that’s it’s poetry is completely unambiguous and even less up for debate.

            I can only assume that you’ve never sat down and actually read the lyrics of a good rap track. It’s a medium that is extremely dependent on the cleverness and content of its words, possibly more than any other genre.

          4. Mark Gisleson

            I have a writer’s bias against music with singing in English and rap is 10x worse. You cannot read or write with rap on so I don’t listen to it.

            But Killer Mike is known to me for his politics, not his rap.

            And yes, the Grammys are crap and I definitely didn’t see Killer Mike arrested live but I know about it. If you don’t follow popular culture, politics will always surprise you.

          5. .Tom

            Molly Tuttle won a Grammy for her superb album City of Gold. I think these awards parties are gross but that album is not the worst garbage music made in America. I had it top of my best of 2023 list. Tuttle is a tremendous musician, singer, composer, arranger and the album is miraculously good.

          6. bonks

            I’m in my 30s and I focken hate rap music. It was mildly decent in the 80s and early 90s. It’s just downright awful now especially with the glorification of violence, money and pussy. Female rappers are a whole nother problem altogether. Don’t need no baby daddy just need my gucci.

          7. Cristobal

            When I first heard of the Killer Mike incident I thought that it was probably the most brilliant piece of publicity I had ever seen. What a feat to arrange this with the LAPD on national TV! He has learned much from Mr Trump.

          8. The Rev Kev

            Of course it was merely a coincidence that about two days previously he was on Bill Maher’s Show and said that he would not give his vote to Biden because Trump, Trump, Trump but wanted something in exchange for giving his vote to old Joe. Bill Maher seem perplexed by this line of thought.

      2. PlutoniumKun

        Killer Mike is awesome, and a genuine force for good. Check out his conversation a few years ago with Joe Rogan to get a measure of who he is. But he refuses to buy into standard liberal left pieties (eg. gun control), so he gets a lot of flack from a lot of different directions.

        The incident seems murky – what seems to have happened is that an officious female security guard tried to stop him for some reason (maybe not knowing who he is) and he pretty much walked over her – whether maliciously or accidentally, its not clear yet. So it doesn’t like great for him, but hauling him off in cuffs was clearly an over reaction and one can only wonder at the motivation.

        1. Jabura Basaidai

          i’m sure your wonder is rhetorical facetiousness – i remember the Killer Mike interview on Rogan and with Bernie and the man is no fool and quite astute – never heard his music but makes no difference to me, was impressed with his intelligence –

      3. diptherio

        Always gotta chuckle at people who think they are making a point, but are really just showing that they have zero understanding of word play.

      4. Arcadia Mommy

        I just had the exact conversation with my 75 yo father about killer mike. These comments are made by those past their sell by date as you put it.

        My boys listen to hip hop/rap while they study for their AP and Honors classes. They listen on their AirPods while they drill for sports. They are straight A students playing high level varsity sports since freshman year at college prep school. They also have service projects required for graduation – they love killer mike. And I do too.

  7. Benny Profane

    A bit skeptical of a few Twitter videos posted above. The doctor looks awfully healthy and well groomed after 45 days of handcuffed torture. Are the barber shops still operating in Gaza? And it seems that the prettiest girls in Ukraine are dying in battle. Maybe a recruitment video? Share a foxhole with Masha, young men!

    1. t

      Is the video meant to be directly upon release? Isn’t that a man who says he was released on the 1st talking on
      the 5th? An extremely thin man?
      (That said, I’ve seen some amazing hair and beards in US prisons. Good use of time, I suppose. That’s prison, not jails, though.)

  8. CA

    Arnaud Bertrand @RnaudBertrand

    Take a moment to ponder the unreal lack of self-awareness it takes to conclude this article with these words: “a powerful but troubled China is heading in a bad direction. It will take all the strength and sobriety the United States and its friends can muster to prevent a slide into war.”

    So the US is apparently the sober, reasonable actor on the global stage, trying to prevent war, whilst China would be this hubristic and troubled force, eager for conflict. China, which hasn’t as much as fired a single bullet on foreign soil in 45 years, vs the US which has been in 13 wars in the 21st century alone, the immense majority of which it directly caused.

    Just pure unadulterated Orwellian stuff.

    “How Primed for War Is China?”

    8:01 PM · Feb 5, 2024

    1. Enter Laughing

      Looking back at the nearly unbroken string of mayhem the U.S. has caused directly or indirectly around the world over the decades, I wonder if other countries ever talk about giving America a good old community beat down for the good of the neighborhood.

    2. TomDority

      Yep – the US politicians can’t seem to wean themselves from the fear politics and money making enterprises devoted to chicken little and keeping the sky from falling. Fear politics – never seams to lose that shiny attraction for chicken little politicians and their sponsors. The reds are coming, terrorists are coming, everyone is coming to steal from you, Defend our border, defend our underpasses, Fund our police and giv em qualified immunity because they such dangerous jawbs, defending democracy, operation prosperity, Gitmo to protect our prisons from these people, justified tourture – er-um enhanced interrogation, you either for us or against us, they animals – mayhem etal – and these political shlubs tell us they are are only hope to survive
      Boy oh boy the PR they weave while the rest pay

      1. Jabura Basaidai

        don’t ferget they’re coming for our women too and the damn babies – they think this stuff never gets old –

    3. Bugs

      Do you have anything to say other than doing copy/pastes of Arnaud Bertrand’s posts? A comment would at least be fairer.

      1. CA

        Do you have anything to say other than doing copy/pastes of Arnaud Bertrand’s posts?

        [ Thank you so much for noticing how important the posts by Arnaud Bertrand are, particular the posts on China. ]

    4. CA

      China’s advance in manufacturing has been increasingly noticed, but China’s advance in theoretical science and applied technology is remarkably little noticed:

      January 21, 2024

      China debuts first homegrown transmission electron microscope, breaking foreign monopoly

      China unveiled its first domestically produced transmission electron microscope (TEM), the TH-F120, on Saturday, the Science and Technology Daily reported.

      The groundbreaking development, led by the Bioland Lab, marks a major breakthrough in core technologies and manufacturing capabilities of the country, challenging dominance of foreign brands in the highly competitive market.

      Developed by Bioland Lab in Guangzhou, South China’s Guangdong Province, the TH-F120 boasts a high-brightness electron gun, which offers enhanced stability, coherence, and brightness for capturing high-resolution images. With its self-developed electromagnetic lens, the system provides superior image contrast and resolution.

      For decades, China has relied entirely on imports for its TEM needs, with foreign companies holding a near-monopoly at the global market. The introduction of the TH-F120 not only signals a reduction in this reliance, but also establishes China’s entrance into the high-end TEM market, previously dominated by major foreign players.

      A key feature of the TH-F120 is its highly stable low-ripple high-voltage power supply, enabling automatic high-voltage control and consistent electron beam emission. The microscope is also equipped with a domestically developed high-pixel CMOS camera, capable of capturing intricate sample details even at low electron doses.

      The TH-F120 is poised to become a catalytic tool in advancing China’s high-quality development in cutting-edge scientific and industrial fields such as materials science, life sciences, and the semiconductor industry…

  9. Paul J-H

    Re: Fun fact
    My Russian friend says the “care facility” has a Moscow number which belongs to…the US Consulate…

      1. Polar Socialist

        A nit to pick, but it’s actually the US embassy number in Moscow. US consulates are in Yekaterinburg and Vladivostok. Technically the embassy web page states the number as +7 (495) 728-5000, but I believe that is for calls from outside Russia and +8 is for long distance inside Russia.

    1. Maxwell Johnston

      495-728-5000 is indeed the correct phone number for the USA embassy in Moscow. Nobody trolls like the Russians.

  10. PlutoniumKun

    Dementia and sport: These rugby players represented their country in their 20s, by their 40s, they had early onset dementia CNN (

    Its sad news for rugby lovers. In the past week two greats of the game, Barry Johns and JPR Williams died at relatively young ages (in their 70’s) for such super fit athletes (its not clear if they had dementia). Similarly with soccer, a shocking number of top players from the 1960’s and 70’s have died at relatively young ages, many with dementia.

    In general, top athletes do live longer than the rest of us, although when you go through the figures its kind of obvious that its non-contact sports like running and swimming that scores best. Hard contact team sports seem bad news all round if you want a long and healthy life unfortunately.

    1. Mikel

      I remember reading that Tom Brady dished out plenty of gifts to his offensive lines over the years. I’m sure it’s been paid back in health dividends.

      1. Mark Gisleson

        QBs take far fewer hits to the head than their linemen do. Linemen crash into each other like sumo wrestlers on every play. Yandex’s quick answer (AI) says:

        Studies in the United States show that men who play five or more years in the NFL have a life expectancy of 55, 20 years less than the average in the general public. For linemen, perhaps due to their size, the life expectancy is 52.

        I don’t think size is the problem. Line up against someone your size and slam into each other as hard as you can and then do it another sixty [60] times or more. Like boxing gloves, the pads just let you hit each other even harder.

        It’s a gladitorial sport with enough rules to hold a lawyer’s interest and it should be flat out illegal. Paying a lot doesn’t change the ultimate outcome of a shortened life exacerbated by crippling pain.

        1. Revenant

          When I worked on Alzheimer biomarkers, we had discussions with the NFL players’ association. They hate the owners’ association with a passion. Everything was a zero sum game. They had won additional contract rights regarding musculoskeletal, cardiac and prostrate cancer health programmes. They were just gearing up for a fight over Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, as the first postmortem data were coming from young retired players with dementia who had donated their brains to science. Hence their interest in biomarkers….

          My father (a doctor) forbad my half-brothers to play rugby or box at boarding school because of the risks of dementia pugilistica and paralysis from low tackles. This was a rather radical stance in 1950’s Britain, even at a progressive place like Gresham’s. He was a complex man, my father, a man of science but also a member of Oswald Mosley’s dining club….

          He wasn’t so concerned about me thirty years later, partly because there was no boxing at my school and because I was not fit for team selection in rugby! The irony is one of my brothers was drowned sailing when the boom hit him on the head…. (He was pulled out by the man who taught me to swim, in a pool overlooking the reach of river where it happened, and neither he nor I realised until I graduated from the swim school and he signed my named certificate).

    2. skippy

      With that in mind PK … ponder the military personnel subject to concussive forces …

      Advances in ordinance these days means the radius of the shock wave has increased manifold [intend], not to mention those exposed to the effects of IEDs in the ME/Stans. Per se the people evac’ed out of ME bases after cruise/missile attack without visable physical trauma.

      NC had a psychologist, back in the day, who became independently wealth and then treated ex military members for just such, patients span all the wars back to Korea, had lots to say about it and how it was largely ignored by the system.

      Miss that guy …

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Yes, it seems to be an unintended consequence of better protected vehicles – more survivors from hits, but while soldiers are protected from shrapnel, there is no protecting them from shock effects.

        I think though the issue with sports seems to be multiple repetitive strikes, even ones that don’t cause concussion are causing a lot of damage.

        1. skippy

          Yes as my youngest son now 19 played club rugby from U6 to U15 and then GPS rugby the last two years I saw the change in rules. Any big hits which might cause head trauma and you were off the field, showing any signs of HT and that was it for the match and then reviewed before more practice or matches.

          That mutant is now 6’3″ / 190.5cm and 120kg / 264.5lbs diesel mechanic/fitter apprentice 3rd yr … strange how everyone is so nice to him lol ..

  11. Wukchumni

    More than half a million without power in California as intense atmospheric river brings threat of mudslides and flooding CNN

    Drove from SD to Mammoth yesterday in a very circuitous route through Yucca Valley to avoid the storm and have never been rained on so long, particularly in the high desert where places such as Adelanto typically struggle getting H20, but not yesterday.

    I can only imagine what things were like in the City of Angles~

    Lotsa snow on the down low just above highway 395 in the eastern Sierra…

    1. JP

      A perfect slow light rain here in the steeper foot hills. If we get more than an inch per day it is wasted because the excess just runs off. The farmers in the valley start to cry if we get less then 22 inches in the year and they are fine with gully washers because that fills the reservoirs. Up here 15 inches that soaks in is better then 30 inches that all runs off.

      The LA basin is getting pounded. Heavy rains would always flood the street where my old shop was in Long Beach. When a large truck would drive past the bow wave would come under the wall of the tin building and cover the floor.

    2. neutrino23

      Near SF we had the power go out. Luckily, we have a good sized solar array and battery backup. First time I didn’t have to worry about getting dry ice for the refrigerator. I noticed a few other homes in the area were dimly lit. Maybe batteries or some other kind of backup.

      Power came back on after about three hours.

  12. The Rev Kev

    “EU told ‘double standards’ for Ukraine and Gaza hurt ties with Indo-Pacific’

    I think that I am seeing some problems here. They summoned all those countries to come to Brussels – a dreary city – as if they were doing them a favour. Then only 20 of the EU’s 27 foreign ministers could be bothered showing up for the Indo-Pacific forum, even though reps from those countries traveled halfway across the planet. I would guess that they were then subjected to the standard lectures and finger wagging as is typical with the EU. On top of that, the EU claiming Russia’s military campaign against Russia was a genocide while what Israel was doing was only ‘defending themselves’ probably went down like a lead balloon, especially those from Muslim nations. Sometimes the EU is their own worst enemy.

    1. vao

      Brussels a dreary city? Maybe the Europa district with its colossal EU buildings, but the city center is full of very nice architecture, interesting museums, good restaurants, and European “bandes dessinées” shops.

  13. The Rev Kev

    “Biden-Backed Bipartisan Senate Bill Targets Key Humanitarian Aid For Palestinians”

    Cutting off all funds for the UNRWA just means that nations like the US will be taking part in Israel’s campaign to starve the people of Gaza. In some places this is not going down well so two alternate ways of feeding the Gazans are being mentioned. The first is the UN World Food Programme though their budget would have to be increased to take on 2 million more people. The second option brought up is the US AID to feed those people. That is Samantha Power’s organization and I hate to think what cruelty that she might inflict on those people. Of course it should be the UN Refugee Agency but Israel has been fighting that idea for decades which was why the UNRWA was set up instead. As they now want to destroy the UNRWA, then they may have to let the UNRA take over instead.

  14. Enter Laughing

    RE: Tesla Recalls Almost Every Vehicle Ever Sold in the US

    Psych! It’s a quibble about dashboard warning light font size and color that can be fixed with an over-the-air update — no need to bring the vehicle in. The average OEM would kill to have a recall like that!

    1. sfglossolalia

      I’m convinced that headlines like this about Tesla are written like that on purpose as clickbait because they know there will be a furious outpouring from all the Elon stans.

  15. Steve H.

    > 45% of ppl who earn $200k

    I do not think the chart says what they think it says. Or they did not say what they meant to say.

    1. LifelongLib

      The chart references percentages of people who’ve had covid who end up with long covid. The comment with it says it’s percentages of the overall population, which I think is wrong.

      The 45% figure is for people who make less than $25k/year. The figure is 15% for people who make $200k/year or more.

  16. The Rev Kev

    “China, Russia and Iran to hold navy drills aimed at ‘regional security’, admiral says as Middle East tensions flare”

    This could get interesting, What if the Russian and Chinese ships decide to hang around after the exercise is finished. More to the point, what if those Russian and Chinese ships unload cargo containers while docked in Iran? Some Neocons are pushing for an attack on Iran but if you have Russian and Chines ships there, the Pentagon will put their foot down and say absolutely not.

  17. Alex V

    Regarding lower quality furniture, the designer quoted (or at least this is implied by how the piece is written) has no idea what’s she’s talking about regarding steel vs brass for furniture fasteners.

    Brass has been used in furniture hardware for more than a century (basically since machine produced hardware has existed), because it is easy to machine, corrosion resistant and for aesthetic purposes. Furniture hardware in either brass or steel is also extremely unlikely to fail under load or cycling and is generally over-specified in relation to the materials it attaches to.

    The insinuation that brass is used because it is cheaper than steel is also ridiculous – brass is more than 4 times as expensive as the steel alternative, and tensile strength is only slightly lower:

    1. John Wright

      There is also a corrosion problem with steel vs brass in some woods, with steel suffering in comparison.

      “Oak, sweet chestnut, Western red cedar and Douglas fir are the woods most commonly associated with corrosion of metals in contact with them under damp conditions. Iron and steel are much more susceptible to the corrosive influence of wood than aluminium, copper or brass”

      Perhaps the “furniture designer and visiting professor at Purdue University” didn’t actually make the brass vs steel comment. It may have been inserted by the piece’s author, Kelsey Vlamis.

      I believe I was told to use brass screws for oak in high school woodshop decades ago.

    2. Megan

      Craigslist is replete with Free or ads for low cost high quality used furniture. Thrift shops also are often a gold mine. You’d have to be crazy to buy a new bed, sofa, refrigerator, washing machine or other appliances without checking Craiglist or other media, such as the horrible politically censoring, but useful for sales and giveways, Nextdoor. People literally are giving away items that cost thousands. The price you pay is hauling it away. If it fails later, get another free one. Scrap dealers will come and get large metal appliance for the price of a phone call.

      If you are going to buy new, ask small business dealer for a cash discount of at least 10%. As it saves them much more, and obviates cash flow problems and delays in credit card repayments to them, plus the 4% or so they charge the merchant, cash is king.

      As to the Microsoft stealing your data article. Use Firefox exclusively on either a Mac or Windows machine. Learn how to configure it with the maximum data protection, up to the point where most websites open. Don’t forget reader view, the little window to the right of the URL. Even the mildest default on Firefox is 100% better than Safari or Windows crap. Problem solved.

      1. Enter Laughing

        Facebook marketplace also has a ton of used furniture — some of it of good quality and condition at very reasonable prices. Definitely worth the time to sift through the offerings to find the occasional great find.

        1. Not Qualified to Comment

          To add a tip to a tip I’d say look at the Brave Browser – I was happy with Firefox but Brave IMHO and experience is even more private and blocks a lot more out of the box.

      2. Sadie the Cat

        Re buying used furniture, especially bedding: spray it w 90% rubbing alcohol (from any drugstore), which kills bedbugs and its larvae.

  18. Stephanie

    Getting serious kid brother vibes from that little turtle: “Playwithmeplaywithmeplaywithme” and the cat is rolling his eyes and wondering why little bro can’t just take the hint and go away.

    Which makes me wonder all kinds of things about turtles – do they play with each other? Have besties? Do they enjoy teasing each other until one of them finally loses it?

    1. Lee

      I’d be afraid to let at least one of our cats play with a turtle. During her misspent youth she was an outdoor country cat and prodigious hunter of snakes, lizards, little bunnies and occasionally birds. Now an indoor city cat she is an avid bird watcher at the window and woe to the occasional rodent that enters the house. I am confident that she would likely bite the head off of a turtle or any other little critter she had access to.

    2. Morincotto

      Well, turtles do help each other in need, so there’s that.

      Any animal with well documented altruistic behaviour certainly would surprise me if they did NOT have besties as well.

      1. Susan the other

        Turtles aren’t exactly known for their speed and agility. That little guy was. Evil Knevil. They should outfit pet turtles with their own belly boards. Very adorable.

  19. Vandemonian

    Loved the story about the camels helping to revegitate the Mojave desert with Joshua trees. This part in particular caught my eye :

    “…the use of camels as surveyors of historic routes throughout the Mojave Desert in the mid-1800s..”

    We had a use for camels in Australia as well. In the mid 1800s it was deemed necessary to connect Darwin to the rest of the country with a telegraph line from Adelaide, 3,700 miles to the south. The route was surveyed, and the line installed, with the help of camels and their wranglers from Afghanistan. In their honour, the train service that runs between Adelaide and Darwin is called “The Ghan”.

    1. Wukchumni

      The United States Camel Corps was a mid-19th-century experiment by the United States Army in using camels as pack animals in the Southwestern United States. Although the camels proved to be hardy and well suited to travel through the region, the Army declined to adopt them for military use. The Civil War interfered with the experiment, which was eventually abandoned; the animals were sold at auction.

      1. Vandemonian

        During the First World War (known as ‘The Great War’ until we had another one) the Imperial Camel Corps saw action in the Middle East.

        The Imperial Camel Corps Brigade was formed in 1916 from British and Commonwealth troops and was attached to the Anzac Mounted Division. There were four regiments: the 1st and 3rd were Australian, the 2nd was British, and the 4th was a mix of New Zealanders and Australians. Each regiment had around 770 men, and at full strength the brigade contained almost 4,000 camels.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      I am a sucker for those bactrian camels. They are SO much better looking than the dromedary camels. Of course that does not mean they are any more agreeable….

  20. Ghost in the Machine

    I am curious what people’s experience with acquaintances, friends, and family is like regarding the long Covid numbers given in the links. I know several people who have complained off and on about bad illnesses. A month ago another acquaintance confided that they thought they had long Covid, a physician. I am pretty sure Covid hastened the death of my mother; she was not in good health before and declined rapidly a few months after getting a mild case of Covid. But, overall my experience does not line up with the numbers given in the stats as in too few. There must be a lot of hiding and not talking about lasting but concealable ailments. I certainly myself only talk about my health with close family and friends. I know there is still some confusion regarding definitions but I do believe the stats are directionally correct.

    1. MaryLand

      My 74 year-old sister developed Long Covid from her first and only (that we know of) bout of Covid. It was not a mild case and she took Paxlovid. The major effects of extreme fatigue lasted a year and then subsided. She has not totally regained her stamina, but can now function fairly well most days. Her health seems to be a bit more precarious than before Covid. She got RSV about a year after Covid. She was fully vaxxed but did not mask often, and continues to eat inside restaurants. She’s an extrovert who can’t be restrained by infectious disease facts. Fortunately I’m an introvert which provides some protection against communicable diseases.

    2. Cancyn

      One of the reasons that I have trouble convincing my husband that masking and precautions need to continue is that we don’t know anyone with Long COVID. We have friends, family and neighbours who have had COVID but as far as we know none of them have developed long COVID.
      I have an acquaintance in hospital right now who is suffering from bacterial pneumonia that has led to scepticemia (blood poisoning). She has had COVID at least once, I believe more than once but the second time she never tested positive. She is immunocompromised and I have no doubt the pneumonia became so serious because of her weak immune system. And now that I think about it, her older husband has been showing signs of dementia and he has had COVID at least once. He is an otherwise very fit and healthy 70 year old. These two are extroverts, don’t mask and they are back and forth to the US (from Canada) regularly. They only recently returned from visiting family in Syracuse NY. And to add to the hospitalization story, she has been in hospital since Saturday and is still in the Emergency dept! Said hospital reports only 9 COVID cases but clearly they’re full, as seems to be the case for hospitals all over Canada.

    3. Random BSN Student

      Not sure about Long COVID, but I know people who casually refer to COVID brain fog or are obviously impaired (marked anomia, frequently losing train of thought). I’ve noticed anecdotally what could be an uptick in cancers and immune-linked hospitalizations. Last year about 4 weeks after a COVID bout, my 17 year-old cousin developed epiglottitis, a life-threatening condition that needed hospitalization. Over the summer a retired family friend was diagnosed with brain cancer and died not long after. In the fall, another family friend was diagnosed with kidney cancer. Two weeks ago my 70-year-old aunt suddenly needed surgery for a benign kidney mass. There have also been sudden unexpected deaths (two cousins and a childhood best friend). It fits into an overall trend of things getting worse, a new normal. People who don’t mask seem to get COVID twice a year, which is worse than the flu ever was. Parents complain their kids are constantly sick and out of school.

    4. Ed S.

      Spouse and I have effectively isolated since March 2020: no air travel, no indoor dining, no individuals in the house without an N95. Small circle of friends. Not seeing any long COVID, however one extremely healthy but older individual did come down with a unusual form of cancer. Don’t think that person ever tested positive, but multiply vaxxed (COVID, Flu, RSV).

      Still work (remote – western US); noted that at the last leadership meeting about 3 weeks ago of the 7 individuals on the call virtually everyone was either sick, just over being sick, dealing with sick spouse/children (including the “oh, she’s ok except this cough she’s had for two months), even dealing with sick pets (dogs).

      In short, not seeing/hearing about long COVID, but lots of people not well.

    5. Even keel

      I just wanted to point that income statistics are different from class. Because of old people. Old people may be wealthy but low income. So things that divide solely by income (and taxable income only?) can obscure truths or exaggerate.

      My zip code, for example, is one of the lower income districts in my metro area, but it is also over stocked with old people homes. Driving around, one would not get the impression of low wealth area.

      Here, I suppose that means that the high portion of low income people with long COVID could be an artifact of that data.

      Anyway, how large of a factor is not knowable. And tweets like this give no evidence of someone having considered this effect, so I just have to doubt their entire authenticity.

  21. Feral Finster

    “So the EU organized an “Indo-Pacific Ministerial Forum” in Brussels, meant to bring together foreign ministers of the EU with those of “Indo-Pacific” countries.

    BUT yet again they turned their own event into a display of geopolitical incompetence.”

    The EU ministers believe that they don’t need to do diplomacy and see no need to even try, if bullying will get them the same results.

    Whether and to what extent that may work and what longer-term price the EU may pay for any results is left as an exercise for the reader.

  22. Feral Finster

    I must say that I am pleasantly surprised that the House has not already caved on Moar Money For Nazi Ukraine.

    1. nippersdad

      Perhaps not surprising when one considers that the music is about to stop and they don’t want to lose their chairs over it. Giving Biden ownership of the Ukrainian tar baby was one of the smartest things Republicans have done, but what really surprises me is that they have not told Lindsey Graham to just shut up about it already.

      1. Feral Finster

        I doubt that the voting public cares enough one way or the other, especially on a bipartisan issue.

        My personal SWAG is that certain of Team R are either hoping to cut a deal with Zelenskii, or they are hoping that Ukraine collapses before Election Day.

        1. nippersdad

          Wasn’t it Kennedy who said something like a winner has many fathers but defeat is an orphan? If the retreat from Afghanistan got a lot of bad press, I can only imagine what a defeat against Russia will have. Republicans can never afford to look weak to their base, especially during an election year.

        2. ChrisFromGA

          The vibe was never there for a “grand bargain.”

          This isn’t a time for that. This is a time for bitter, internecine warfare in both parties. 4th turning and all that.

          A collapse by election day complete with Russian tanks rolling through Kiev would be a nice present to the GOP, but the media can always give Joe a big assist by ignoring it or manufacturing a different crisis to distract away from the debacle.

  23. Mikel

    “Gaza Is a Crime Scene” Middle East Research and Information Project.

    Maybe I’m reaching, but in addition to the genocide/ethnic cleansing laws, aren’t there laws governing crime scenes that could come into play?

  24. antidlc

    Claims that the CDC hid replies:
    CDC hides replies referencing the Senate HELP Committee’s Long COVID Hearing
    The public health body is purposely suppressing information about the severity and frequency of Long COVID, as well as information about high-quality masks.

    Hiding Dr. Javidan’s reply was particularly indefensible; it stated, “Notice how the Long Covid expert protects against Long Covid. ‘How do we prevent long covid? The best way is to prevent covid in the first place.’” Attached was an image of Dr. Ziyad Al-Aly, a prominent Long COVID researcher, testifying before the Senate HELP Committee in a tan KN-95 mask and extolling the importance of prevention.

    “Several people alerted me that the CDC had hidden my comment,” Dr. Javidan told me, speaking on the experience. “This was alarming, considering the factual, helpful, and civil nature of the comment.”

  25. tegnost

    Re powell “some banks will close…”

    I think he should have said some garbage barges will be bought by the feds at the highest price possible

  26. Aurelien

    Nicaragua taking Germany, Canada, UK, Netherlands to ICJ for genocide Al Mayadeen

    The headline is misleading, because nobody is being “taken” to the ICJ yet. What the Nicaraguans seem to be doing, and what the South Africans didn’t do to Israel, is to make a formal approach, in the form of a note verbale (explained here) although in this case to a number of western nations, rather than Israel. It wouldn’t be “for genocide,” but I assume that the note will claim that these governments are not fulfilling the duties under the Convention. Since a note verbale is a formal approach, then any formal reply from even one of these countries could be argued to be the missing half of a “dispute” in terms of the very broad criteria the Court adopted in its recent judgement. However, the Court might reasonably decide that it doesn’t want to hear the case, because the precedent would mean that it would soon be swamped by similar claims from all sorts of countries about other countries. But we’ll see. It’s actually quite a clever move, and one that will create a dilemma for the countries concerned. As for Germany, I think its intervention in the original case was more as a kind of amicus curiae, and I don’t think the Court would regard these two as linked. But I know we have at least one international lawyer in the house, so I would defer to their judgement.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      In South Africa’s application and oral argument, it pointed out that the obligations under the Genocide Convention for countries to prevent genocide are exacting. As for Germany’s intervention, I believe it is more extensive than an amicus filing. I believe they get to make an oral argument.

  27. jrkrideau

    Nicaragua taking Germany, Canada, UK, Netherlands to ICJ for genocide

    As a Canadian, all I can say is’ “Good”.

  28. Tom Stone

    It will be interesting to see whether Harris remains Genocide Joe’s running mate, I have no doubt that we’ll get Joe again if that is what the Blob wants…and Harris is first rate life insurance.
    However Joe is mighty frail and being “President for Life” might not last more than a few Months.
    Is Harris acceptable to the Blob?
    And is Joe’s increasing irrationality and recklessness a concern to the people that matter?
    It won’t be Trump because “Stopping Trump at all costs” means just that, these are people that have no problem with Genocide or blowing up pipelines belonging to “Allies”.
    It is going to be a heck of an interesting year, who the VP candidates end up being is likely to make the difference.

    1. Dr. John Carpenter

      The question I asked the other day is who would be stupid enough to step up? Sure, being Biden’s VP is a virtual guarantee you’ll end up in the big seat, assuming the ticket wins. But, with all the baggage of the Biden administration attached, who would want it?

      1. Feral Finster

        I have always wondered what sort of personality would *want* to be Roman Emperor as the Empire crumbled and the real power of the Emperor declined, but it seems that there was no shortage of applicants for the job.

        1. JBird4049

          Some people always want the status, the luxury, the perks of the good life comes before being stabbed or poisoned to make way for the next emperor.

    2. Lee

      Scrannel voiced Harris’s querulous self righteousness would suit the PMC just fine. Not so sure about the Blob, a PMC subset. Or is the PMC a subset of the Blob when it comes to foreign policy? Something to ponder.

    3. John k

      Imo Harris would do whatever the blob tells her to do. Plus the banks love her. She’s perfect and imo will stay.

    4. Big River Bandido

      In the big picture it probably won’t matter. There are no roads to 270 electoral votes running between East Palestine and Middle East Palestine.

      1. Jabura Basaidai

        i think The Husk(Biden) said there’s a railroad track between the two – Mitterrand told him about it just the other day –

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Ivor Cummins is almost certainly an astroturfer funded by Big Ag money. He is part of an organised group who portray themselves as salt of the earth, defend small farming types, but actually engages in direct climate change denial and protests that just happen to defend the interests of Big Ag industry. He has some very well funded podcasts and conferences that mysteriously don’t seem to be connected with other known genuine grassroots organisations.

      The interviewer seems unaware that Ireland is in the EU and was not part of Brexit. Its kinda telling that Cummins doesn’t correct her. He then talks about environmental directives as if they’ve come from the blue – the key one that’s causing the protests is the Nitrate Directive which dates from 1991, which gave two decades for farmers to clean up their acts with Nitrate pollution in water – but (primarily due to intense lobbying from the fertiliser industry has been endlessly delayed. Now that the pollution levels are so intense that the problem can no longer be put off, the industry has taken to the ‘oh, please protect the poor small farmer’ line, which is BS of the highest order. So too are attempts to reduce the intensification of agriculture (again, its big farmers, not small farmers who are most affected by this) by the EU being attacked.

      There has been a determined attempt over the past decade or two by industry to make small farmers their bulwark against progress – a key element of this has been to take control of the farming media (generally ignored, but very influential among rural dwellers), and turn it full on lunatic right wing, climate denying, pro pesticide and GM, etc. But they get people like Cumming to pretend that its all about protecting poor small farmers. Most farmers see through it, but a minority aren’t very bright and so go along with it.

      Irish farmers are actually doing very well – consistent high dairy prices has kept the industry going well, and they’ve benefited from the idiocies of Brexit (Ireland has a direct line into UK markets via NI). But they are being hit by high fertiliser and diesel prices, as are everyone else. But blaming their problems no the EU (which gives them billions in grants) is very far from the mark. Without the EU they’d have to face a full free market which would be guaranteed to wipe out most small farmers. Irish farmers are almost without exception very pro-EU, for the perfectly good reason that they are not stupid, they know the benefits its brought. Despite the relentless push of money behind him, he only appeals to a tiny number of farmers, but has a mysteriously wide audience outside Ireland.

      1. flora

        Thanks for the comment. One quibble: Ireland and North Ireland are often confused or equated in the US, in the same way people often don’t note the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes and just say Diabetes when talking about reversal of diabetes through diet. (Said reversal only ever works with Type 2 diabetes, I think. )

        North Ireland is not in the EU if I recall correctly; Ireland is in the EU, if I recall correctly. It’s all very complicated it seems to me, looking on from the US. From the BBC, for whatever that’s worth.

        1. flora

          an aside: during ‘The Troubles’ the US news made the distinction between N. Ireland and Ireland clear as a way to explain what ‘The Troubles’ was about and why it existed and what Sinn Fein was about and why. That news coverage pretty much ended with the Good Friday Agreement 25+ years ago. To a large extent people in the US have forgotten about this island division because it’s not regularly in the news, imo.

        2. PlutoniumKun

          Yes, I can well understand the interviewer getting confused on the topic, but he made no attempt to clarify it – he actually deliberately confused the issues, a sure sign that he is not a good faith commentator.

          So far as I know, the protests he was talking about (which were actually very small, I happened to be meeting a politician on the day they took place outside the government buildings – no more than a few dozen protestors were there), and it was definitely only in the republic, not Northern Ireland.

  29. Milton

    Best economy ever. I just can’t understand why people seem to focus on the negative:

    Americans — particularly Millennials and those with lower incomes — are becoming increasingly overextended financially: Credit card and auto loan delinquencies have not only surpassed pre-pandemic levels, they’re the highest they’ve been in more than a decade.

    During the fourth quarter, US household debt hit a fresh high of $17.5 trillion, up 1.2% from the three months before, according to the Federal Reserve.

    1. Ranger Rick

      A trend I’ve been seeing is an increasingly frequent reference to “doomspending” or, colloquially, “debtmaxxing”. There’s an element of contempt to it, as if financial institutions are idiots for extending lines of credit without verifying if repayment is even possible.

    2. tegnost

      I remember a lot of “inflation can’t kill the drunken american sailor!” stories in the recent past.
      I guess the real story is more mundane…
      They weren’t drunk like happy drunk they’re drunk like it beats crying

  30. Hastalavictoria

    I saw 2 Russian flags flying high on the seafront in Catalonia today The new version plus the old red one with the Hammer and Sickle, side by side, on the same building.

    I do like to look out for symbols!

  31. Cetzer

    in Russia a certain dementia care facility is using Joe Biden for their advertisement

    Soon they might use the memorable scene, where Biden confuses the Grim Reaper with his old delivery nurse (midwife).

  32. Willow


    Highlights just how serious UK’s obsession with Russia has become. A willingness to overreach one’s own country’s viability in order to vanquish an (illusionary) opponent. Crossing moral lines that even those working in the dark arts hesitate to cross so brazenly. An ‘end of days’ psychosis where there’s a willingness to burn everything (even history) no matter the cost in order to achieve an ultimate delusional goal. Pivotal Ukraine risk is what UK will do to drag the US into direct conflict with Russia. UK has been trying hard to provoke Russia but with little success so far. Is this why Zelensky (UK) is trying to get rid of Zaluzhnyi? US State may be riding shot gun but UK is the driver in a conflict that extends beyond just Ukraine. Same for Israel in Middle East.

    1. JBird4049

      The article says that some of the people marked for assassination are those who have dirt on British intelligence, and it looks to me that some others on the lists are worried about problems in their own country, but are not actively opposing the war in Ukraine. Everyone of them are potentially political inconveniences, but not true obstacles to supporters of the war.

      This use of state and private agencies has the same feel as American repressive periods from the late 1880s to the early 1970s where a combination of private armies, state and federal military and intelligence, as well as municipal and state police and intelligence (like the Georgia Bureau of Investigation). They were used to spy on, discredit, blackmail, frame up, and murder strikers, activists, reformers, and the occasional politician. I do not really believe that efforts like Operation Mockingbird was ever ended. It just continued under a different name.

      Restated, it looks like the Europeans are becoming Americanized. And we Americans are almost certainly next. The fun filled 1950s and 60s. With bonus economic and climate collapse coming to a country near you!

    2. Robert Gray

      I imagine George Galloway was just thrilled to find himself in the category ‘US and Australia public persons and bloggers’. (That, of course, doesn’t make the threat any more or less serious.)

  33. El Slobbo

    I’m surprised that the article on the potent pollution of noise didn’t mention aircraft, which for me is a big enough deal that I’m moving after the powers that be changed the landing patterns locally. Deep, low rumbling sounds produced by aircraft even at 4,000 meters have wrecked what was previously a beautiful neighborhood.

  34. JustTheFacts

    The Long Covid bar chart doesn’t make sense to me:

    Adding the categories together does not make 100%, so the bars are not exclusive to one another: 45.4 + 40.7 + 33.6 + 29.8 + 27.5 + 22.4 + 19.3 + 15.0 = 233.7 which is not 100%

    Pretending the bars above $25,000 intersect also doesn’t work: 45.4 + 40.7 = 86.1 is also not 100%.

    So I don’t know how to interpret it.

    1. JustTheFacts

      Unless it’s saying of the people who earned $200,000 only 15% got Long Covid, in which case it does make sense.


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