Links 3/15/2024

Generous readers, we have met the goal of 400 donors for the 2024 Water Cooler fundraiser (403, yay). Not that I would turn down late-breaking entries! Thank you all so much. I appreciate your kindness much more than I can express. –lambert

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Study reveals the crow’s best friend: Humans

NASA enlists citizen scientists to help solve solar mysteries during the total solar eclipse 2024 April 8.

Wait . . .  what did Palantir’s CEO just say about short sellers? FT


Must have been quite a pitch deck:

Who will lead the world in nuclear propulsion for shipping regulation? Seatrade Maritime

Carmakers Are Still Sorting Out Europe’s Charger Shortcomings Bloomberg

Earth Isn’t the Only Planet With Seasons JSTOR Daily


Historic drought drains crucial Sau Reservoir to a trickle, Spain The Watchers

Brutal Heat for Southern Vietnam Vietnam Weekly. Plus saline intrusion in the Mekong Delta.


Chinese state media reporters blocked from deadly blast site near Beijing, raising rare controversy over press controls South China Morning Post

Chinese Characters across Asia: Continuity and transformation in Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese Northwest Asian Weekly

Will Lucy Let Charlie Kick the Football in Japan? John Authors, Bloomberg. BOJ to end its policy of negative interest rates??


Surrounded by Fighting, a Myanmar Crime Hub Is Oddly Unscathed The Irrawaddy


Who Belongs, and How? Locating the CAA in Today’s India The Wire. CAA = Citizenship Amendment Act.

India’s Citizenship Amendment Act is a devious anti-Muslim dog whistle Al Jazeera


Intractable Crisis New Left Review

Visa and Mastercard are pouring money into Africa Rest of World


If Israel Wants To Be An “Independent Nation”, Let It Be An Independent Nation Caitlin’s Newsletter

AIPAC Talking Points Revealed The American Prospect. And then there are the talking points in the vernacular:

Israeli army opens fire on people awaiting humanitarian aid in Gaza Strip Anadolu Agency

Gaza needs democracy without elections – opinion Jerusalem Post. Sortition.

Dear Old Blighty

The Panic Of the Ruling Class Craig Murray. On George Galloway.

Backlash at UK government’s new extremism definition Agence France Presse

Gove is following Goebbels’ advice Funding the Future

New Not-So-Cold War

Russians attack on 6 fronts where over 70 combat clashes occurred – General Staff Ukrainska Pravda

Ukraine, Stalled on the Battlefield, Targets Russia’s Oil Industry NYT

* * *

Macron warns Europe’s security ‘at stake’ after uproar over Ukraine ground troops comment France24

French Senate votes in favor of Macron’s Ukraine strategy Anadolu Agency

Ukraine Must Reclaim Crimea to Achieve Real Peace: Macron Newsweek

Zelenskyy: French soldiers “will not be dying in Ukraine Ukrainska Pravda

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Russia says Poland ‘undisputed leader’ in number of mercenaries fighting for Ukraine Anadolu Agency

Operating Behind Enemy Lines: How Fashion Powerhouse LPP S.A. Masked A Fake Russia ‘Sell-Off’ Using Front Entities And Encrypted Barcodes Hindenberg Research. What fun!

The Russian Autocrat’s Answer to the Problem of Succession Foreign Affairs

Global Elections

Election disinformation takes a big leap with AI being used to deceive worldwide AP

Biden Administration

The TikTok Problem Is Not What You Think Matt Stoller, BIG. Well worth reading in full; Stoller is, as ever, lucid and compelling. However, I don’t think his institutional frame can give an account of two salient features of the present TikTok conjuncture, a classic moral panic: Why now, and why so fast? Electeds servicing the Israel Lobby supplies the first; electeds servicing the spooks, who want to bring the platforms, all the platforms, under their control well before the election supplies the second. On Israel:

“Government tyranny” criticism of the TikTok bill is reactionary Carl Beijer

China says US TikTok vote follows ‘logic of a bandit’ Channel News Asia. Forcing a sale to Mnuchin, if that happens, is indeed pretty close to “Stand and deliver!

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Amid Chinese activity, new NORTHCOM chief calls for more exercises near Arctic Breaking Defense

Spook Country

“Problematic information” from “alternative sites”:


The Last Days of Julian Assange in the United States Declassified UK

The Bezzle

CEO of Data Privacy Company Founded Dozens of People-Search Firms Krebs on Security. One hand washes the other.

Diia code revealed: IT professionals can now get to know logic behind Ukraine’s e-government app Ukrainska Pravda

Digital Watch

OpenAI’s Lies and Half-Truths Marcus on AI. More ginormous theft of Hoovered-up training sets. The deck: “Not every thing the company says is completely candid.” My candidate for Understatement of the Year.

AI and wearables are scaring the wellbeing out of workers The Register. A self-licking ice cream cone,

A low-code way to learn AI Spreadsheets are All You Need. The deck: “Learn how AI works from a real LLM implemented entirely in Excel.”

Can a classical computer tell if a quantum computer is telling the truth? Physics World. Yes!


Update: Measles Cases Are Being Reported: Are We Losing Our Herd Immunity? Infection Control Today

Lawmakers Quibble Over Whether Telehealth Should Be Cheaper Than In-Person Visits MedPage. I dunno. Which makes upcoding easier?


Boeing Proudly Announces It Has Fixed Malfunctioning Whistleblower Babylon Bee


Women Aren’t Conspiracy Theorist ‘Wine Moms’ for Wondering Where Kate Middleton Is Jezebel

Imperial Collapse Watch

Twilight of the Blobs James Kunstler, Clusterf*ck Nation

Every Ship a Carrier: How Artificial Intelligence Can Revolutionize the Air and Sea Domains US Naval Institute. If we could build ships.

Polka Dot Warriors – The Assembly Ships of the Mighty Eighth Vintage Wings of Canada

Guillotine Watch

Her son was doing well at a clinic serving kids with autism. Then private equity took over. NBC

Class Warfare

The delivery rider who took on his faceless boss FT

Is the rich world stuck in an ‘upper-income trap’? FT

Capitalism’s New Age of Plagues, Part 2 Climate and Capitalism

Librarians Lock Autauga-Prattville Public Library in Protest After Director Fired by Board Literary Activist. Somebody should compile all the racy bits in the Bible — and there are plenty! — get that on the shelves, and see what these officious nitwits do then. Ideally copiously illustrated.

The Burbs Have Eyes The Baffler

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. Antifa

    (melody borrowed from Top Of The World by the Carpenters)

    Such a simple bit of chemistry
    Is changing everyone’s reality
    Melting methane hydrates puts us all in dire straits
    Because ice reflects more sunlight than the sea

    We’ve warmed our planet to a huge extent
    And we’re headed for a Blue Ocean Event
    As the deep ocean bed gets a bit more infrared
    We’ll go just as hot as planet Venus went

    At the two
    Poles of this world there’s no
    Government or nation
    Only miles of ice from every point of view
    As the ice melts away all the methane gets to stay
    As our planet fails our world fails, too

    We’re the only creatures we can blame
    That our biosphere will never be the same
    To feel the heat in the breeze pushing wildfires through the trees
    Tells us things are just as screwed up as they claim

    We’re looking at the end of humankind
    We are idiots who’ve been obtuse and blind
    Yet we drive down the street adding daily to the heat
    As we treat the Earth the Earth treats us in kind

    At the two
    Poles of this world there’s no
    Government or nation
    Only miles of ice from every point of view
    As the ice melts away all the methane gets to stay
    As our planet fails our world fails, too

    At the two
    Poles of this world there’s no
    Government or nation
    Only miles of ice from every point of view
    As the ice melts away all the methane gets to stay
    As our planet fails our world fails, too

    1. Sardonia

      When we hit a year of food shortage due to climate change, there will be many Karen Carpenters that year.

      1. Wukchumni

        I’m on top of the scale
        Looking down on double figures
        And the only explanation I can find
        Is Hunga Tonga & climate change

  2. The Rev Kev

    “Ukraine Must Reclaim Crimea to Achieve Real Peace: Macron”

    This is a lunatic thing to demand. Putin has said that other countries trying to wrest control of Crimea is a possible reason for going for nukes as it is a vital part of Russia and for them the matter is settled. They have had it longer than the United States was an actual country. Macron gave an interview today where he mentioned this and he really was a weasel in his words. Here are some exacts- (2:50 mins)

    Lied his face off and tried to make out that Russia broke the Minsk agreements too.

    1. ChrisFromGA

      The lunatic is on the grass …

      This live version has the Floyd Boys playing their classic tune “Brain damage” from “Dark Side of the Moon” with an appropriate video background, and lots of lunatics from the past like Thatcher, John Major, etc. in the video. Just photoshop Macron in and it would be perfect.

      1. Cassandra

        I find myself listening to a lot of Floyd lately, particularly Dark Side and Wish You Were Here. Endless River when despair is less, The Wall when it is more.

        Is anybody out there…

    2. Polar Socialist

      Mr. Bhadrakumar yesterday made the point that France and Germany used to be “European axis” of the NATO, but ever since Chancellor Scholtz turned out be a mindless US lackey, Macron has been completely lost and is trying to find a new role, any role, for France in the Europe, in the Collective West and in the World. It doesn’t help him that China and Russia are helping African countries to kick France out.

      France has become totally insignificant and it’s a scary place to be for a former somebody. Scary enough for Macron to be in a panic.

      1. zach

        [I read his latest also, I sent him this response. I apologize for the long post – I’m breaking my own golden rule of “don’t post a comment so long you wouldn’t read it yourself,” which is in contravention of… you know, the regular golden rule.]

        Still a great fan of your efforts, and I (do my best) not to find hills to die on vaingloriously, but I can’t agree in full with your assessment of Macron’s recent… eructations.

        I appreciate you scoring points in Macron’s column for his intellect, but I disagree that he shows “appalling inconsistency” by loudly and publicly declaring “En Marche!” regarding deeper European involvement in the Ukraine conflict.

        Taken in a certain light, at a moment in time in which no amount of perfume can hide the stench of the Ukrainian charnel grounds, Macron foolishly proposing to meet the Russian on the battlefield only draws into stark contrast just how unequal the Western partners are to the effort and displays a cunningly consistent position regarding his approach to Russia.

        Macron has long desired a more prominent role for France, and you give mention to this in your latest. Now, as lame duck, he has forced Germany and the US, longtime uneasy NATO allies, to publicly equivocate in their no limits support for Ukraine at its weakest since the start of the conflict.

        He’s also moved closer to Armenia and Moldova, in an effort to twist the knife vis-a-vis the Russian’s interests, which you also raise, but I doubt
        1) that the Russian government is looking to start a war in the Caucasus any time soon – that would likely lose them points with Turkey and Iran at a delicate moment, and
        2) the logistical challenges that led to Surovikin’s withdrawal from West Kherson are still very much in play, perhaps even exacerbated by the destruction of the Kakhovka dam, and Ukraine has shown itself to punch above its weight in the deployment of naval drones in the Black Sea, forestalling a naval approach. Mr. Macron can dance with Ms. Sandu in Chisinau, and at the moment, all Mr. Putin can do is consider how far he really wants to take this war train.

        Maybe there’s a reason the English word for intrigue comes from the French word for intrigue? Perhaps it’s time for everyone to sit down and settle it over a tense game of Durak? Never played myself but apparently there’s room for six hands – it appears Macron wants a seat at the table.

        1. Jams O'Donnell

          “Macron wants a seat at the table” does not translate into “Macron will get a seat at the table”

          No-one with any sense would give this shyster/banker a seat at any table, unless he was on the menu (urgh!).

          Russia has made it pretty clear that they will only sit down with the organ-grinder – no-one else has any real autonomy, and even the organ grinder will have to be tied down in some way yet to be ascertained.

    3. JohnA

      There are two reasons above all why Crimea will never return to Ukraine (that it was on temporary loan to in any case):
      1. The vast majority of the Crimean population want to be part of Russia, over 90% in the referendum in 2014 and similar views were expressed when the Soviet Union dissolved.
      2. A hostile Ukraine would immediately cancel the lease held by the Russian navy and sign a new lease with the US for a naval base there. Effectively blocking Russia from the Black Sea. No Russian leader could ever agree to that!

      Either Nato and Macron appreciate this and dial down the rhetoric and accept the current status quo, or prepare for war and a possible WW3.
      It is as simple as that.

      1. Feral Finster

        Nobody of influence and in Europe or Ukraine cares what the people of Crimea want, and they will happily preside of a wholesale massacre of Crimeans, if that is what will get them the destruction of Russia that they so crave.

        Similarly, no EU-friendly Ukraine is going to lease Russia a naval base.

      2. Ian Howie

        Russia will not under any circumstances lose Sevastopol. Nothing and nobody will prevent them from retaining this base for the protection of Russia. In a UK context it has the importance of Faslane / Coulport no way the British would allow anybody to take control of their key nuclear base. Simple.

        1. Daniil Adamov

          There are two conceivable circumstances in which this could happen. One is a military defeat, the other is internal collapse. Of course, neither of those things seem to be happening any time soon, whatever one makes of our other prospects.

    4. Acacia

      Distance from Kaliningrad to the Élysée Palace, Paris: 1,400 km.

      Range of a Kinzhal hypersonic missile, carrying 480kg warhead: 1,500 to 2,000 km.

      But sure… keep on pushing for Ukraine to try and invade Crimea again.

      1. Ignacio

        He said if Russia wins the lives of the French will change. Because “security”. It can certainly happen if the idiot is able to send troops.

    5. Feral Finster

      “Lied his face off and tried to make out that Russia broke the Minsk agreements too.”

      Macron knows he lied. He knows he is a hypocrite. He knows that he is playing with fire at the behest of his American Master. He does not care about any of these.

      All of our clever memes and word games, the close readings of texts we so pride ourselves on, our tightly reasoned arguments, all these things are irrelevant in the face of power, any more than you can convince a virus that it should bother someone less important.

      That is why I write “what is anyone going to do about it?” I do not do this to be annoying, although I am not here to make friends. I write this, because in the end, that is the only question that matters to a virus or to a sociopath. “What is anyone going to do about it?”

      1. Retired Carpenter

        re: “What is anyone going to do about it?”
        So far Putin & the Russian Stavka have ignored words and actions which did not put their end goals in jeopardy, while pursuing their strategy with commendable focus. The real question, IMHO, is “What is the West going to do about it?” Kindly remember V. V. Putin’s statement~ “A world w/out Russia is not worth having“. Think he is bluffing?
        Retired Carpenter

        1. Feral Finster

          France and its American Master clearly think that Putin is bluffing, probably because Russian has not responded more forcefully to previous escalations.

          Half-measures do not work with a bully. They only encourage more bullying.

          1. Daniil Adamov

            It’s not like any of what they’re doing is actually an immediate existential threat, though. So that particular bluff is beside the point for now. The “red lines” and various other ominous warnings I will grant you, though; they’re just embarrassing.

            1. Feral Finster

              This is what the Russian leadership appear to be saying at every stage of western escalation.

              This only encourages more escalation.

              1. Samuel Conner

                A point that has previously been made by others in other comments threads is that the escalations that RF has tolerated thus far have actually served the larger RF aspiration/agenda/goal of weakening NATO.

                RF continues to methodically plod, attritionally, toward victory. The West continues to throw into this inferno assets that it cannot quickly or cheaply replace.

                Perhaps it is too much of an “11-dimensional chess” theory, but if one grants that RF failure to “enforce red lines” has actually aided a “weaken NATO” strategy, it seems conceivable that this has been intentional.

                “Each self-weakening NATO escalation to which RF does not respond only encourages NATO to undertake further self-weakening escalations.”

                Put that way, it doesn’t look like such a foolish approach.

                At some point this does need to stop. Perhaps introduction of “special warhead”-capable missiles such as Taurus will be the red line that provokes RF escalation.

                RF is plainly winning this fight, and I have no confidence in my ability to 2nd guess them.

                1. Samuel Conner

                  > “Each self-weakening NATO escalation to which RF does not respond only encourages NATO to undertake further self-weakening escalations.”

                  In other words, when an adversary in engaged in self-defeating activities, do not interrupt him.

                2. Feral Finster

                  I don’t think NATO see this as “self-weakening” at all.

                  “At some point this does need to stop. Perhaps introduction of “special warhead”-capable missiles such as Taurus will be the red line that provokes RF escalation.”

                  And you admit as much.

                3. Daniil Adamov

                  “At some point this does need to stop. Perhaps introduction of “special warhead”-capable missiles such as Taurus will be the red line that provokes RF escalation.”

                  Perhaps. I’ll believe it when I see it, though. For some reason or another, Russian leadership seems content with the current level of intensity. I think the “red lines” are just rhetorical cover for the lack of an actual response. As such, they seem clumsy and self-discrediting, but perhaps they believe it’s better than nothing. That seems like the simplest explanation to me.

                  If the Russian government simply ignored those developments instead of making those statements that are so often derided by the public at home, do you think it would have made any difference with respect to US/NATO behaviour?

                  1. Samuel Conner

                    Part of the art of maskirovka is to appear weak when you are strong. Again in “11-dimensional chess” territory, one could imagine a deliberate policy of appearing irresolute in order to encourage Western military self-denudation.

                    But perhaps it’s simply hapless lack of policy. If it encourages Western recklessness in regard to unconventional weaponry, that would be very bad.

                    But I again note that RF is winning, slowly. My money is on the VVP regime outlasting the neocons in Western Europe, though perhaps not the ones in US.

                    1. zach

                      Yes, and the other part of that particular phrase is, “appear strong when you are weak.” Important not to truncate these already pithy observations overmuch.

                      Lest we forget, Sage Ritter reminds us with some regularity all the peer-to-peer war games the US/NATO partners have played went nuclear within… a week or two of fighting. Ukraine has been fighting, with aid from the Western partners, for… one week shy of 25 months. What does that tell you about the current nuclear threshold?

                      Hey Finster! I’ll tell you what Russia “proposes to do about it” – not end human civilization over some lines on a map.

                      If that fails to satisfy, why don’t you try… a stick of doublemint gum? For starters, just kinda see how you feel after that.

                    2. Daniil Adamov

                      I don’t disagree about us winning slowly and about the current regime (under whichever leader; Putin, though important, is not indispensable, and if he dies I think everything will continue more or less as before) surviving for a long while regardless. I just think that 11-dimensional chess theories, while interesting, are seldom true. This is an area of weakness, but one this regime can afford. It handled matters far more poorly in the 90s and survived.

        2. Daniil Adamov

          What the West is going to do about it is keep sending Ukraine money and whatever weapons they can scrape together and spare from other agendas, and placing more sanctions on Russia. None of that is a game-changer, though. I do think they are too scared to call Putin’s bluff by starting a non-proxy war. They haven’t done that in the last two years, although political circumstances were more favourable then. Material circumstances may be another story. One might suppose they would like to build up their strength and then intervene. But so far, their military build-up seems pretty lacklustre. I don’t think they’re much more ready for WW3 than they were in 2022.

          I think they will keep doing everything short of entering the war directly. Ultimately, Ukraine is not worth an actual risk of either nuclear war or military humiliation. Keeping the war going at the current level of intensity is the least risky option for Western political elites, though. It seems to me that Putin does not want to confront them directly either (the same concerns apply for him, more or less). That being the case, no matter what he says, they know they can keep sending weapons with impunity. Mercenaries too. On the other hand, reversing course is politically awkward and dangerous for any Western politician who tries it.

          I doubt that this will lead to WW3, at least by itself. I do think it means the slaughter may continue for years, simply because it’s safer for the powers that be on either side than any alternative. Unless Ukraine collapses, of course, but it hasn’t yet.

          1. mrsyk

            Some seasoning for your nicely written comment in regards to escalating nuclear. The current US government has pretty much zero empathy for its citizens. The idea that the small group of people who would be responsible for decisions nuclear believe they will survive and be better off is becoming more and more believable. It’s difficult to see exactly whose pulling the strings, and that’s making it difficult to see forward. We live in strange and interesting times.

            1. Daniil Adamov

              The US power elites having zero empathy for US citizens (which I guess I could buy; maybe give or take 1%) is different from them thinking they would survive a nuclear exchange. Even assuming that they do, having to hide in a bunker or flee the country seems like it’d be detrimental to their quality of life. Their precious economy might respond poorly too, which would bite into their wealth (it would be worse for other people, but I agree that this probably isn’t a major consideration). It seems to me that they would have something to lose in case of WW3, in contrast to the current situation.

              1. mrsyk

                This is fair, yet crazy blooms early in dc. And again, there’s “they” and “power elite” used for a lack of better. I’m wondering who? How “Epsteined” the US government is would be good to know.

                1. Daniil Adamov

                  That is a fair question. I admit I’m not sure who calls the shots there either. Probably some combination of high-profile public figures (government and party officials, electeds, etc.) and some less publicly prominent but influential fixers. However, I do think they are probably all rich, and hence have something to lose from a complete collapse.

                  1. mrsyk

                    We have no shortage of blue-eyed true believers who think we will win a nuke war. The crazy here is not hiding.

        1. Feral Finster

          I have stated my position several times, to much derision here, even as the escalations keep on coming.

          1. Stephen T Johnson

            Forgive me if I’m being obtuse, but what, exactly, do you have in mind for Russia to do?
            I agree that the Russian government are (maybe excessively) cautious, but I see only a very narrow range of Russian escalations that are not obviously insane, broadly:
            1) Attack actual locations where Ukrainian troops are trained
            2) Attack logistic facilities in Poland or Romania (or elsewhere) for arms to Ukraine
            3) Attack industrial sites used to make or store weapons for Ukraine.

            Is it one of these or something else entirely?

            1. Feral Finster

              None of the above. Russia should have used adequate force from the outset, start by wrecking transport infrastructure, power plants, relentless SEAD, communications infrastructure, etc. all in Ukraine.

              Basically, Russia should have run a shock and awe campaign. And any talk of insurgency is basically a retcon, for reasons I have discussed ad nauseam on prior occasions.

              1. OnceWere

                Without the ability to fly heavy bombers over Ukrainian territory at will most of this wish list was simply never possible.

                1. Feral Finster

                  I am not sure that heavy bombers are necessary for any of that, but regardless, there is a reason that I mentioned a relentless SEAD campaign, which Russia did not undertake.

                  In fact, in the early stages of the war, Russian aircraft often flew without any antiradar loadout. This was foolish in the extreme and a lot of good people were killed as a result.

                  Admittedly, since Russia has allowed the West to flood Ukraine with anti-aircraft defense and sheep-dipped crews, such a campaign would be much harder now. Still, it is depressing and shocking that Ukraine has any operational aircraft or air defenses at all even after two years.

              2. Wukchumni

                Kiev was as wrecked as any big German city during WW2 and somebody had to rebuild it…

                Maybe the Russian thinking wasn’t like us with our bomb the shit out of a place and then leave the mess for somebody else to put back together.

                1. Feral Finster

                  At the rate this is going, the point is moot. Do you want to be nice, or do you want to win?

                  Anyway, Russia bombed Grozny flat to the ground from 1998-2000, and rebuilt it, with a much weaker economic base than now.

              3. Wild Wombat

                So your plan of action would have been exactly what anyone from the US military or intelligence community have and would have done, shock and awe, and expected Russia to do in Ukraine. The US even prepared Ukrainian special forces for an insurgency campaign since they expected “shock and awe” from the Russians and a quick end to the war with a prolonged insugency. They did not expect a war of attrition which the Russians are winning.

                If Russia had followed your advice they would have killed untold civilians and destroyed civilian infrastructure(like Israel is doing to Gaza), thereby lost any support from the majority of the world, which except for the US empire and its lackeys is presently neutral or on Russia’s side, making more countries go along with The US empire’s sanctions weakening Russia economically.

                So what you would have done is exactly what the US empire would have Russia do: lose the Ukrainian SMO.

              4. Benny Profane

                Seems to me that you are forgetting the situation on the chess board in 2/22. Russia was hardly strong enough to unleash the shock and awe you hoped and still hope for. They were hoping that Zelensky would capitulate in talks, somewhat, and, as we all know, that didn’t work out well. Almost did it. So, F it, time to flex muscles, and see what happens, because, as you say, enough already. But, it was a masterful and patient move to strike first, retreat, and assess the situation, day by day. All the while Lavrov is travelling the world, calming nerves, and at least convincing many world leaders to be neutral and not to go the American side, because, look, we aren’t turning Kiev into rubble out of malice, we have specific goals, and, from what I can see, are sticking to those goals. Besides, what good would Kiev and Odessa in ruins would be to Russia? You want intact cities filled with people who don’t spend every waking minute hating you. And, a lot of them don’t hate you anyway, hell, they speak Russian! So, patience. Grind the Nazis down, grind the west down, especially America, because he knows most Americans don’t give an F, and we’ll just walk away, which is happening, slowly. Then you have at least Odessa, maybe Kiev, on a platter with minimal reconstruction costs.
                When was the last time you heard anybody say anything about Afghanistan? Ukraine will be like that in five years or so. Our leaders are cowards, and never want to even talk about their many failures. I’m stunned that there isn’t a Covid commission right now, studying that major event, but, you know, there’s TikTok to legislate.

            2. OnceWere

              I don’t think the prime movers in this – the Americans, & the British – would care any more about the lives of Poles or Romanians ended in Russian attacks on logistic facilities outside of Ukraine than they do about the lives of Ukrainians. There’s only down side for the Russians as hitting targets in Eastern Europe won’t cause the real decision makers to back down. More likely it gives renewed political capital to those who want to deliver more support to Ukraine, and in the worst case scenario gives NATO an Article 5 cassus belli.

              1. mrsyk

                This discussion belongs around a pub table. I refuse to contribute further until the barmaid comes by for my order, save imo Putin seems comfortable allowing the west to self destruct.

          2. OnceWere

            Have you stated your position because I’ve been reading your comments for a while and I don’t know what course of action you’re advocating the Russians should take ?

  3. Martin Oline

    Bob posted the following on Water Cooler at 11:45PM. I am re-posting it here as I feel it is significant being from a MSM source:

    From ABC News 4 in Charleston, NC:
    “CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCIV) — A close family friend of John Barnett said he predicted he might wind up dead and that a story could surface that he killed himself.
    But at the time, he told her not to believe it.
    “I know that he did not commit suicide,” said Jennifer, a friend of Barnett’s. “There’s no way.””
    ABC News 4 story of John Barnett

      1. t

        Read a bit yesterday without coming across gun details other than “silver.” Weirdly theatrical and detail-free description. Was he a werewolf?

      1. ChrisFromGA

        A lot better odds for a fair and unbiased investigation with the local PD vs. the FBI. Let’s hope it gets to the truth.

        1. Wukchumni

          It turns out the gun was hooked on anti-depressants and acted on it’s own volition, law enforcement reported.

        2. mrsyk

          Let’s see if the feds insist on “partnering up” or just plain taking over the investigation. I would consider that a strong signal of narrative construction underway.

          1. pjay

            Since I just watched the Netflix series on Danny Casolaro and the sprawling Inslaw case, I can’t help but think of that example. There were *multiple* investigations going on at *all* levels of government – local and (covert) FBI investigations of Casolaro’s murder, local and state-level investigations of related murders in California, various investigations of the Inslaw case and related malfeasance (including possible murder) by Congressional committees, the FBI, the DEA, the RCMP, etc. There were also lawsuits against powerful Reagan administration officials by the Inslaw folks with support from powerful individuals like Elliot Richardson. And ALL of these investigations were eventually killed, derailed, or “closed” abruptly under questionable circumstances, almost always due to pressure “from above.”

            I’d like to think local law enforcement might get to the truth. But…

            1. Jams O'Donnell

              What do you think the ‘law’ is for? It certainly has nothing to do with ‘justice’. For a clue, look at who draws these laws up.

        3. zach

          Maybe not in South Carolina. Boeing’s got facilities in North Charleston and the greater metro area. If you’re from Georgia you should know how these things work.

          1. rowlf

            Locals do better than the Feebs. The FBI is not held in high regard by state agencies and as mentioned, often show up to guide the narrative. I say this based on personal experience and interaction with state law enforcement.

    1. Vandemonian

      Read a comment yesterday (may have been linked here) that reported a comment from a seasoned police officer. He said that he had attended many suicides involving a handgun, but had never seen a finger on a trigger. Without fail, the recoil forces the gun out of the person’s hand.

      Gary Webb, who published Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion in1998, officially died by suicide involving a handgun, shot in the head. Twice.

      And thank you Alice X for yesterday’s link to the mini tutorial on HTML formatting, as used above.

  4. The Rev Kev

    ‘Ben Nowack
    By precisely reflecting sunlight that is endlessly available in space to specific targets on the ground, we can create a world where sunlight powers solar farms for longer than just daytime, and in doing this, commoditize sunlight.’

    No so sure I have a lot of that much confidence in present day space tech to do this. Earlier today I saw footage of Musk’s Starship take off but disintegrate while trying to return. And yet everybody there was saying how that it is a great success. Saywhatnow? Obviously this is new use of the word ‘success’ which I have not come across yet. But reflecting sunlight back down to the ground? What could possibly go wrong? (2:04 mins)

    1. jefemt

      I used to think it would be cool to be a bird. Then I woke up. My little chickadee, don’t get all Icarus on me…

      What could possibly go right?

    2. jefemt

      The whole notion of implied agreement and a globally accepted collective effort for limitless energy– to benefit humanity– or an investor group– is hilarious.
      There is no we in US. There is no we between US and the rest of the world. Now, commoditization and monetization, that certainly will get a group of folks at least looking. Musk surely screwed up some capital and courage when he took over my share of lower-earth orbit with starlink. I am STILLL waiting on my royalty checks.

      So a diminutive big thinker, Bucky Fuller, suggested a global electrical transmission network… energy flows from sunny production side of earth to dark side, 24/7.

      Why do we complicate the heck out of things and acquiesce to over-demand? Do laundry and energy intensive things in the peak sunlight hours. Wait a couple days til the clouds clear.
      Do we need streetlights and light in the night – do we have to have grocery and malls and office buildings lit up 24/7? We conserve little, we unthinkingly expect and demand ‘convenience’ at every turn.
      Go inside, put on a sweater and a cap, cozy up with a book, a board game, a musical instrument, a friend, and low demand LED lights for the evening hours. Then get a good nights sleep.

      Take $10K – $20K away from Jamie and Wall Street and put it on your own roof.

      Golly. We need to learn to stop, ponder our anticipated next move, analyze whether there is a lower demand method, starting with, “do I really need to do whatever it was, the way I was about to do it, at all?”
      Note—It’s a dangerous way of viewing the world… those near and dear might misconstrue inaction as unacceptable sloth, defeatism, deep depression, or a myriad of other aberrant abhorrent behaviors.

      Do little, with less. As they say in flyover cattle country, “like a Steer, I can try…”

      Have a great weekend! Avs v Oilers, Saturday Night … could be a good un!

    3. cfraenkel

      On the one hand – using Starship’s recent launch *success* (yes, it was a success!) as a talking point shows a sadly limited memory of any and all previous booster development programs. Falcon lost way more than three attempts, and almost killed the company before they got it right, now it’s the most reliable booster in history. Back in the 50s/60s, Atlas, Jupiter and Titan explosions were so common I remember seeing them as Looney Tunes like blooper reels (much later, of course). Atlas and Titan went on to become the workhorse platforms of the 70s – 90s.

      On the other hand – some pitch deck indeed. Just to take one obvious point… these things are in very low orbit per their visualization (and because otherwise they’d be way to expensive). So it’s not like you can quickly slew a large mirror (large because otherwise why bother?) off the earth’s disk when not over a ground power station. So we’re trying to counteract global warming by in effect, increasing the solar energy absorbed by the planet?!?! Presumably – they must assume investors are idiots.

  5. Terry Flynn

    Kinda reminds me of the Dyson Sphere issue. It was a great ST:TNG episode (& brought Scotty back). However, science in the last 20 years has established that humanity is highly unlikely to ever develop the engineering prowess to capture the sunlight to power a Dyson Sphere. Indeed there are lots of reasons to suggest we can’t do it full stop.

    Thus “Dyson swarms” are regularly suggested in my science YouTube suggestions. We could, with not TOO much advancement (and assuming we don’t kill us all due to Ukraine or Israel) set up a Dyson swarm around our sun to power stuff.

    We’re still in the realms of science fiction, but we are at least proposing stuff that conforms to physics – unlike subspace, transporters etc ;-)

    1. Michaelmas

      In fact, Freeman Dyson originally suggested a very advanced Dyson swarm, not the Dyson Sphere as popular SF has it — a continuous sheet of matter, which isn’t even feasible given the gravitational shear stress unless you posit unobtanium, some physics-defying magic material.

      We could, with not TOO much advancement (and assuming we don’t kill us all due to Ukraine or Israel) set up a Dyson swarm around our sun to power stuff.

      No, we couldn’t. That still would mean massively implausible sfnal advancement because Dyson swarms would still require cannibalizing all the matter of either gas-giant Jupiter or Saturn.

      1. Terry Flynn

        What did Jupiter/Saturn ever do for us?
        (Monty Python joke)

        Totally on same page as you and will defer to anyone who shows greater knowledge of cosmology/physics etc than me.

          1. Terry Flynn

            As long as it doesn’t give me a gargantuan case of pink-eye I’l live and let live.

    2. lambert strether

      Wait. You’re telling me that hundreds of millions of dollars-worth of VC capital allocation is being driven by twenty-year-old science television serials?

      1. Terry Flynn

        Hehe, you have it on the nose there. Gene Roddenberry had some amazingly progressive views but he was also a notorious horndog who specialised in getting his bedmates into his shows and got millions (billions?) spent on a franchise that NBC was effectively bullied into keeping in production for more than one season.

        I love Star Trek but I don’t look at Roddenberry with rose-tinted specs. Lots of people involved with the original Star Trek alleged that he was a total jerk. Interviews are on YouTube,

        1. Wukchumni

          I knew a numismatist who when he was younger was a man Friday on the Star Trek TV series.

          One of his many jobs was he and another fellow pulling the ropes just right to enable those seeing eye doors to open or close, now you run into them everywhere, I was just at a gas station convenience mart just the other day when I boldly walked through the portal.

          1. Terry Flynn

            But did you go boldly where no-one had gone before?

            OK I’ll quit the Star Trek references now!

          2. The Rev Kev

            Back in the 60s when the original TV show was running, this guy wrote in asking how they managed to make those doors work as he was trying to make the same work for him. He was very disappointed when they wrote back saying that it was just two guys holding ropes. Of course they did not always work-

   (58 secs)

      2. Michaelmas

        Lambert S.: Wait. You’re telling me that hundreds of millions of dollars-worth of VC capital allocation is being driven by twenty-year-old science television serials?

        So the idea has been around forever. I wouldn’t be surprised if at the end of the 19th century one of the Russian Cosmists didn’t already propose it —

        — and it exists not just in this crude mirrored-solar form but via the tidier, more controlled mode of wirelessly beaming solar energy down from orbit as microwave transmissions, which largely obviates objections about incinerating stray wildlife —

        To be clear, even the microwave idea goes back eighty years to the likes of Asimov and Clarke in the 1940s —

        Where all these ideas have hitherto foundered is in two areas.

        One has been the immense launch costs of getting the necessary kit into orbit, which is now ceasing to be so problematic and that’s one reason we’re seeing these ideas again.

        The other, though, is that if you just retarget these things, they’d make the niftiest orbit-to-surface directed energy weapon systems. This includes the microwave version —

        …During the Iraq War, electromagnetic weapons, including high power microwaves, were used by the U.S. military to disrupt and destroy Iraqi electronic systems and may have been used for crowd control. Types and magnitudes of exposure to electromagnetic fields are unknown.

    3. Polar Socialist

      Given how most forms of energy tend to turn to heat at one point or the other, I’d say we should do something about this warming thing before even thinking of collecting extra energy and pumping it to our planet. We can’t really manage the 44,000,000 GW we now receive annually.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        These days, Blofeld doesn’t even need to mastermind SuperTech weapons. The billionaires do it for him. All he needs to do is hire some hackers.

    4. DavidZ

      I’m not happy with this solution,
      – all the birds flying through that area will get burnt to a crisp
      – animals will have their sleep schedules messed up.
      – plants in the area will suffer

      I absolutely dislike these techno solutions, way smarter and cheaper to reduce consumption and increase efficiencies.

    1. Em

      Thank you for this. Agree with Ian that the Chinese regulators would be crazy to let the forced sale go through. Even if the US and most of the “garden” bans Tiktok, the site would still be accessible via VPN and to the “jungle”. To allow the global infosphere to be completely dominated by US deep state tied American media monopolies would be an own goal.

      Although one of the comments brought up how Chinese actions may discourage foreign capital investments, I think the impact would be marginal. Governments block such sales all the time for reasons of national security and in this case, it’s clear that the US instigated the forced sale situation. So it’s not Chinese willfulness that is depriving investors of the benefit of their investments. Maybe it’ll discourage foreign investments in China in the future but that’s America’s doing, not the Chinese.

      Furthermore, China has a lot of internal private capital that it needs to redirect out of the malinvesting “wealth management” and real estate areas. It’s not the 1990s, so China doesn’t need foreign expertise or capital to build its next generation of tech companies, they have ample capacity to build everything they want right there.

      1. Em

        Arguably this could be the best thing to happen to Tiktok. Even without the outright ban, they were clearly being compromised through US actions and insertion of deep state tied individuals. They would either have to make a break or eventually become a fully compromised husk of itself.

        But getting out of the US system right now, when it’s clearly about censorship of the going Gazan genocide, makes it clear that Tiktok is the freest platform and has nothing to do with Chinese state control or spying. I hope Tencent and other Chinese tech companies are paying attention and thinking of putting out other “banned in USA” social media platforms that are not as clunky as Telegram.

        fully taking Tiktok out of US control will be a long term positive for the platform.

        1. Carolinian

          I haven’t read the bill but apparently would only ban TikTok from app stores whereas our cyber youth surely know how to sideload this app or any other onto Android. So yes Tiktok would very much live on.

          1. Dessa

            Oh god, that’s their solution?! And to think I was worried for a minute. It will take all of 6 hours for tiktok to distribute tutorials for this, and then sideloading will become as commonplace as piracy. For those of you who aren’t tech savvy, this is as simple as downloading a special file to your phone and tapping a switch in your settings app. It’s dead easy.

            This on top of the Streisand Effect (Which is what got me to bit the bullet on this app last time Trump wanted it banned)

            1. Late Introvert

              I have an insider. My freshman college student was describing how everyone uses ChatGTP now, and the dumbest students are using it to submit papers and getting good grades. So the idea that the idiots in Congress could actually block any app at this point is actually entertaining to watch.

      1. pjay

        My reaction exactly. Talk about mystifying the forest by describing in intricate detail a whole bunch of trees… Yeah, these legal decisions are sometimes temporary pains-in-the-ass for our Corporate overlords. I’m so old I remember the Great Antitrust War against Microsoft. And that was before 9/11, which changed everything – though you’d never know it by reading Stoller’s optimistic revelations that “the Biden administration is orchestrating a remarkable revolution in privacy protections by resurrecting old legal tools.” Yay!

        Speaking of government and intelligence concerns… oh yeah, Stoller doesn’t, at least not unless we are discussing China. Lambert makes a very relevant observation regarding the Tic Toc hysteria: “Why now, and why so fast? Electeds servicing the Israel Lobby supplies the first; electeds servicing the spooks, who want to bring the platforms, all the platforms, under their control well before the election supplies the second.” I was wondering what Stoller would say about either of these topics. Guess what?

        If you care about privacy protection folks, vote for Biden! (Pay no attention to those spooks and lobbyists behind the curtain).

      2. Em

        The depth of his hatred for China is pretty remarkable. I wonder if his ancestors lost an opium running concession after the Communists took over.

        1. CA

          “The depth of his hatred for China is pretty remarkable…”

          The disdain for and hatred of China are intimidatingly ferocious.

          Thank you so much for pointing this out.

          1. Em

            I’m probably being unfair to single him out. Almost the entire US PMC have been taught from birth to reflectively hate China. I’ve heard friends who don’t know anything about China beyond what they’ve read in NYT/WaPo/NPR/Atlantic, confidently say the most awful things about China (Iran/Russia/Syria/Venezuela…). They wouldn’t know how to find Xinjiang on a map but they’re sure a genocide is happening there.

            Stoller’s utter cluelessness about who controls the US government and why we can’t have nice things like universal healthcare or $15 wage or an industrial base that can make enough warheads to supply a Ukraine engaged in a limited war with Russia, makes his discussion about antitrust just castles in the sky.

            1. Em

              Many thanks to pjay for pointing out that Stoller’s anti-China position is perhaps more sinister than just run-of-the-mill American anti-China-ism!

              I do stand by my view that Stoller’s discussions about antitrust is useless because it’s disconnected from understanding about the power structure of the US state. You can’t talk about Tiktok or Huawei without taking about the US media control/surveillance apparatus. You can’t talk about breaking up monopolies when the organs of the state have been firmly captured by big capital interests for decades. So he’s not taking seriously even outside of his belligerent anti-China position.

          2. zach

            @CA:: You’re always posting about China. I’ve had a hard time finding good (read – free) sources. Can you direct? If we’re fixing to double down on our strategic initiative to pivot to Asia after America… is BACK subsequent to this next election, I’d like to get the jump on my homework.

            If your sources are “eye’s only,” say “no more.”

            1. Em

              CA often posts Arnaud Bertrand’s tweets and I agree that they’re a good representation of things happening in China. There are many other Twitter and other social media accounts but they tend to unbalanced and didn’t focus as well on the big picture.


              If you are open to more openly Marxist discussions on China, Radhika Desai and Michael Hudson talks often focus on China. They’re good for getting to some theoretical underpinnings for the China’s path to Communism project


              Radhika is also active in another group called Friends of Socialist China, which brings in a lot of speakers to speak on various topics relating to China


              For general history and culture, Kenneth Hammond has a good lecture series on China that should be available at your public library if you’re in North America. Laszlo Montgomery has some pretty good podcasts that are not political and not polemical.


              If you really want to do deeper digs on Chinese culture, Tencent and CCTV both put out a ton of documentaries on nature, food, culture, and history. Unfortunately, I didn’t think captions are available for most of the content, at least on YouTube where I’m currently accessing the content.

        2. pjay

          I’ve mentioned this before, but several years ago I read a piece by Stoller that was so vehemently anti-China that it shocked me. Prior to that I had known him mainly from his economic work, especially on monopolies, which I liked a lot. So I went on line to try and find out the reason for what to me was a surprisingly dogmatic reaction. Within minutes I discovered that he had a Taiwanese wife who, if I remember correctly, was pretty well-connected. So ok. There was plenty of information on this, including on his Wikipedia page. Flash forward to a year or two ago. I read another anti-China screed by Stoller and decided to go back and read about his wife and possible related influences and… nothing. Nada. All information had been wiped from the internet, at least any info I could find through normal search measures.

          Now there might be a perfectly good explanation for this. But who do you have to know to get this kind of “privacy protection”? If I knew maybe I wouldn’t be so worried about the Tic Toc Bill.

          1. Em

            That makes sense. Taiwanese are not inherently suspect since many of them live on the mainland and marry mainlanders, so I wouldn’t assume that they’re hostile to China. But the fact that the information is disappeared is far more interesting. I’m guessing that the wife came from a family that closely collaborated with the Japanese like pretty much all the Taiwanese independence politicos.

            1. Jessica

              My experience in Taipei in 2011-2014 was that basically no one I met had any appetite for becoming part of the PRC. Many felt that the corporate elite was selling them out for the sake of access to cheap mainland labor and the billion mainland consumers.

              1. Em

                Not wanting to join the PRC is very different from the type of visceral hatred that Stoller is displaying. You basically have to be the kind who is willing to let America turn your country into another Ukraine, available to be sacrificed as the frontline against China. I’ve known a fair number of Taiwanese in my life but only a very few fall into the latter category, I have nothing but contempt for people who hate another country so much that they (typically from their comfortable home in North America) are willing to risk destroying their countrymen over it.

                On appetite to join China. I think were it not for media and curriculum changes to intentionally rewrite Taiwanese history and the NED fueled violent agitations in Hong Kong, there could have been more convergence. China has gotten wealthier and industrially more afvanced in the last 10 years. Governance has gotten a lot better (especially corruption and crime) and social services and infrastructure is much better. Meanwhile, Taiwan industry these days is basically TSMC (my impression is that there were a lot more OEM fabricators 10 years ago but these operations moved abroad and/or lost ground to Chinese, Korean, and possibly Vietnamese and Malaysian competitors) and America is trying to move that to Arizona.

    2. DJG, Reality Czar

      GramSci: Thanks for this, although I think that the long comment reproduced up top, with its implication that the Communist Party of China will decide, is a tad off base.

      I did some snooping at Wikipedia, not that I trust the entry on TikTok completely. Ownership, according to Wikipedia: TikTok Ltd was incorporated in the Cayman Islands and is based in both Singapore and Los Angeles.[14] Its parent company, Beijing-based ByteDance, is owned by founders and Chinese investors (20%), other global investors (60%), and employees (20%).[15] TikTok Ltd owns four entities that are based respectively in the United States, Australia (which also runs the New Zealand business), United Kingdom (also owns subsidiaries in the European Union), and Singapore (owns operations in Southeast Asia and India).

      So life is complicated. There are many groups involved here that aren’t going to take well to U.S. pressure. The U.S. elites may come out with egg on their face.

      As Welsh notes, it’s like China demanding that “the U.S. government” sell Apple.

      I was also reminded that I did some research–NordStream is owned 51 (? or so) percent by the Russian government, but the other half was Dutch, German, and French companies. How inconvenient for them.

      What’s going on in the U S of A is just “sanctions” (confiscations) by another means.

      1. Alice X

        Greenwald points out repeatedly that the the owners of TikTok are capitalists, thoroughly. They operate on the principle of profit. The momentum to ban it advanced rapidly after October 7, at the behest of the Israelis.

  6. timbers

    Spook Country

    This may be foul ball or my imagination, but for those who follow Judge Napolitano YouTube and sometimes Jeffrey Sachs who often goes into how openly blood thirsty the US govt and elites were/are regarding “helping” Russia recover from Soviet collapse, as well as others like Ritter, Duran, Joe McGovern, Larry Johnson…has anyone else noticed – in context with the creation of the CIA under President Truman and what a disaster of a mistake that was which lead to an unelected elite running our nation against our will – occasional mentions wondering if the CIA played a hand in JFK pink misting? Sachs often and with deliberate and great emphasis says “The US Government lies about everything” and Napolitano shared a story in which he confronted Trump for not honoring his promise to declassify docs related to that JFK event, to which per Napolitano relates Trump replied something like “when we talk next w/o 15 parties listening, I will tell you why.”

    Never gave this JFK idea any credence. But in light of what we’ve seen starting probably with the aggressive Spook intervention in the Trump/Hillary contest to the present, I’ve grown more open to looking at this “conspiracy” theory with an open mind.

    1. Benny Profane

      The magic bullet theory made me a bit skeptical of official accounts at a young age. That, and, why did he wait to shoot JFK as the limo was driving away from him, instead of the much easier clear shot when the limo was driving straight towards him? And, of course, Oswald assassinated by the likes of Rudy just a day or two after. So many holes.

      1. Screwball

        As someone who read dozens of books on the assassination, then visiting Dealey Plaza, I will never buy the official story. The magic bullet is one reason not to believe it, and part of that is because of the angles of the shots. Also, Dealey Plaza is not very big. For those who want to believe a shot came from the grassy knoll – possible IMO – it is close enough it could have been done with a pistol. I could go on about the plaza itself, but would be way too long.

        We will never know the truth IMO. Of course we will never know the truth about a lot of things. That seems to be standard operating procedure these days.

        1. Martin Oline

          I didn’t live there but one morning around 1978 I was walking into downtown Dallas from the west side and had a strange feeling I had been there before. Got to the top of the grade and there was a memorial/historical sign that read Texas School Book Depository. I have always detested True Crime but have read many books in the last few years that deal with the CIA and the Mafia. The more recent usual suspects I won’t repeat here. I have come to the conclusion that the CIA engineered the plot with the Mafia’s help but the Mafia alone controlled Jack Ruby for the coverup.
          I would recommend the following for those interested:
          Mafia Kingfish by John Davis for Jack Ruby’s involvement.
          Double Cross by Sam & Chuck Giancana the mob rules politics.
          General Walker & the Murder of John F Kennedy by Jeffery Caufield.
          Barry & the Boys by Daniel Hopsicker re. Kennedy and Mena, Ark.
          Both of the last two are available to read on
          A source for documents is The Mary Ferrell Foundation

          1. Jabura Basaidai

            you might wish to add, “JFK and the Unspeakable Why He died and Why It Matter” by James Douglass to your book list

          2. Em

            Don’t overthink the mob angle. If it primarily the mob, the coverup would never have been so thorough and complete, starting with the autopsy and up to this day. They made a lot of dead bodies and bureaucratic stalls to ensure the truth about JFK wouldn’t come out. No way the mob has that kind of power.

            Don’t get lost in the weeds of who allegedly did what and look at the big picture. Mary Ferrell is a dubious source who said a lot of contradictory things at different points.

            Look at the thoroughness of the coverup. Look at what JFK was doing to to November 1963. Look at how LBJ did 180 turn on Vietnam and allowed the coups in Indonesia and Brazil to happen. The US deep state is known to have carried out assassinations and terror campaigns all over the world. Why would they stop because JFK was American?

        2. Omicron

          Yup. I had the same experience. I was mildly skeptical of the Warren Commission report, and then, a couple of days before I had to go to Dallas on a consulting job, looked at the Zapruder film (in the 90s, I think it was). My consulting job was in a building on Houston Street. At noon, wanting to change the air in my lungs, I asked one of the secretaries if I was within walking distance of Dealey Plaza. “Oh yes,” she said, “just go right out of the front door and take your first left.” I did… and, as the saying goes, the scales fell from my eyes once I saw the Plaza and the angles. The clumsiest — and most far-reachingly consequential — coverup imaginable. We won’t know the truth in *my* lifetime; I wonder if we ever will.

    2. NYT_Memes

      I am surprised that some NC readers haven’t figured this one out. Read the book that documents lots of CIA history regarding his assassination. I have seen so much in the last few years to confirm, just small tidbits here and there that add up if you pay attention, so it’s not just the book.

      JFK and the Unspeakable, Why He Died & Why It Matters, James W. Douglas

      The line that stopped me cold was a meeting note (this just after Kennedy fired Alan Dulles as CIA Director) found in released CIA documents in which someone noted (hand written) Dulles saying “Who does he think he is?”. The Dulles brothers were a real pair of trouble. See “The Brothers” (don’t have the author handy).

      That plus lots of other things I have read/seen in recent years have made me realize that what was confusing has now become much more clear. NC has been most helpful in that regard.

      1. 4paul

        The book The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government seems to be well researched; no proof of the JFK thing but the rest is quite a narrative. Author David Talbot, original editor of the online mag Salon (back when it was good LOL).

        1. Em

          Talbot is currently hosting a podcast with Aaron Good and Bryce Greene. Mostly on current events but they definitely touch on the JFK assassination from time to time.

          TrueAnon probably has the best long form coverage of the JFK assassination. Very persuasive to me but most of it is behind a paywall. They also have a pretty good dissection of 9/11 and why the cover story makes no sense. Basically podcast with Ben Howard as a guest is gold.

          Aaron Good and Ben Norton has a really great series on the US deep state. Unfortunately it stalled right before the Kennedy assassination and Watergate due to both being too busy with other projects. But it really gives a great grounding for understanding how the US deep state has operated since WWII.

        2. pjay

          Kinzer’s book on the Dulles brothers (The Brothers) is very good, though there are a few places where he doesn’t quite “go there,” if you know what I mean (not many though). But Talbot also wrote a very good book titled ‘Brothers,’ on JFK and RFK. In my opinion it is a useful antidote to the Chomsky/Hersh portrait of the Kennedy bros without falling completely into the Camelot hagiography.

  7. The Rev Kev

    “Gaza needs democracy without elections – opinion”

    Totally unworkable. For a peace time country it has possibilities but for Gaza? People would absolutely refuse to serve and for very good reasons. Make a decision that the Israelis do not like and you might find yourself arrested in a midnight raid and tortured in one of their prisons looking for links to “terrorists.” Or maybe your whole council is not doing what the Israelis want – so they bomb the council building in the middle of a meeting. In any case, because of what Israel is doing to Gaza, anybody selected is going to hate Israel because they have mostly killed women and children.

    1. Em

      Considering that IDF is now committing flour massacres everyday AND has terrible opsec for its own soldiers, any would-be collaborationist would likely have lifespan measured in hours.

  8. diptherio

    Don’t know how long you’ve had this section heading but I just noticed it this morning and want to show my appreciation for “Digital Watch.” Nicely done, whoever thought of that one.

      1. Art_DogCT

        I wait to see what other flavors of blushing you might produce, for example: [lambert blushes saucily], [lambert blushes aggressively], [lambert blushes sullenly], etc.

    1. Cassandra

      Hear, hear. The “ape-descended life forms [of the NC community] are so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea.”

      1. dave -- just dave

        I have what could be called a mixed-mode watch – the time keeping is a digital mechanism, but the display is analog – and when I press the crown, which in pre-electronic days was used to wind the watch, it lights up so I can tell what time it is when I should be sleeping.

        It is a world-famous brand you have heard of that ends in -ex.

        Oldsters may recall the advertising slogan “It takes a licking and keeps on ticking.” Actually, mine is even better – it is completely silent.

        1. Wukchumni

          Rolex often has spokespersons for activities where nobody keeps track of time, ballerinas, tennis players*, etc.

          Most any cheap quartz watch tells the same exact time as any fancy Swiss model, but as they say in the Cantons, time is money.

          * recently pro tennis instituted a 3 minute max for restroom breaks, so there’s that,

          1. undercurrent

            * A three minute restriction on congressional speeches seems correct, too. Three minutes is ample time to do the people’s business.

              1. undercurrent

                Hickory, dickory, doc,
                Fetterman crawled out from under a rock,
                The clock struck someone,
                He pulled out his gun
                And killed the clock with his glock.

                Speaking later to reporters, Fetterman said, Israel has a right to defend itself.

    1. DavidZ

      Blighty didn’t want the one guy who would have actually fixed things (aka Corbyn) so when one wants power – give the populace what they want!

      aka Conservative Lite.

      Also as research has shown, just because 60% of Americans want Medicare for All or Abortion access – doesn’t mean they will get it.

      It’s only what the rich and elites want, that gets implemented, so makes sense to give the business class what they want.

    1. Benny Profane

      Saner than funding and arming a genocide, and funding and arming a Nazi run government that is fighting against the world’s top nuclear armed power, resulting in massive death and destruction and population loss for decades.

        1. t

          The Trump who dropped the MOAB for giggles and groped the ORB to fight extremism? Yeah. I had hopes his chicken-hearted pettiness would help I’m that regard but turns out he’s fine with following hawkish money. And the ghost of Sheldon Adelston still haunts his dreams (and likely the moolah of Adelston widow and heirs keep funds and influence flowing.)

        2. jm

          One potentially amusing benefit, albeit small, will be watching how liberal Zionists reconcile this with their TDS.

          1. Em

            They managed just fine with Netanyahu. They’ll just say XYZ is horrible but I agree with them on this, and Khamas terrorist rapist baby beheaded…

            When push comes to shove, liberals are not better people, they just think they are.

    2. Feral Finster

      I had thought that a Trump presidency would possibly mean that America’s vassals, lackeys, catamites and buttbois might be less willing to blindly follow orders from a President Trump.

      In addition, Team D and the MSM might temporarily rediscover their consciences. Sort of like how The Squad and others affected a touching sympathy for the genocide victims in Yemen, only to drop it like a hot turd once Biden was presiding over it.

    3. LifelongLib

      Well, I’ve voted third party since 2012, but let’s face it, all you can do to affect what’s basically a two-party system is vote for one Big Guy or the other. Picking Door #3 makes you feel better but there’s never going to be much behind it.

  9. britzklieg

    Bible excerpts deserving scrutiny might start with Jesus’ arrest in Gethsemane, where he was found with a scantily clad boy, according to Mark.

    Mark 14: 46-51

    “They laid hands on Jesus and seized him. But one of those who stood by drew his sword… And Jesus said to them, ‘Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs to capture me? Day after day I was with you in the temple teaching, and you did not seize me. But let the Scriptures be fulfilled.
    “And a young man followed him, with nothing but a linen cloth about his body. And they seized him, but he left the linen cloth and ran away naked.”

    What is it they say about a certain end to any political career? Being caught with a dead girl or a live boy?

    1. griffen

      The OT has all manner of scurrilous behavior by those chosen to lead…King David, Solomon and his concubines….Sodom and Gomorrah… Delilah and the once powerful Samson.

      Old Testament if that helps any atheists or those not familiar.

      1. scott s.

        Well Solomon did build the first temple, but in the end he was a fail and his kingdom was split in two on tribal boundaries. Subsequent kings had their ups and downs (mostly down) but it seems like Israel was consistently the worst actor resulting in the first captivity.

    2. DJG, Reality Czar

      britzklieg: When I was in school, I learned that the naked young man is Mark himself, and that the reference is Mark’s own way of inserting himself in the Gospel. I suspect that this idea of naked young Mark is widespread in Catholicism, because I’m pretty sure I learned the anecdote from a priest. The assumptions are that Mark’s gospel came first and that to account for when it may have been written, he would have had to have been quite young at Jesus’s trial and crucifixion.

      And the anecdote you report was not long after the Last Supper, where young John, the Disciple Whom Jesus Loved, was reclining on Jesus’ chest.

      Those darned apostles and disciples, just a bunch of go-go boys in togas.

  10. Benny Profane

    “Zelensky: French soldiers “will not be dying in Ukraine””

    But, they already have:

    Macron has, again, proven to be, as they say, all hat and no cattle. The Duran guys were almost convinced he was going to announce the beginning of WWIII last night on French TV, but, fortunately, we just got more bluster from the little man. I’m convinced that he’s angling for a top job in Brussels, since he can’t run again in France. He’d be perfect there, and wouldn’t have to worry about those messy elections.

    1. ChrisFromGA

      I think that’s Zelensky’s clever way of saying they won’t go to the front line. You can bet that the Z-man wants them in the rear areas west of the Dnipr so that they can act as a tripwire or human shields.

    2. Jams O'Donnell

      In Scotland we say “All fur coat and nae nickers” – a trifle sexist, I suppose, but it comes to the same thing in the end.

  11. The Rev Kev

    “Israeli army opens fire on people awaiting humanitarian aid in Gaza Strip”

    ‘The Israeli army opened fire on people waiting for humanitarian aid in the Gaza Strip on Thursday, killing 20 and injuring at least 155.’

    Said yesterday that I turn on the TV waiting to see who the Israelis have murdered and here is the latest one. They used food as a bait for starving people and when they approached, cut them down.

      1. ilpalazzo

        One could mention Marek Edelman, last commander of the uprising, who was anti-Zionist, refused to move to Israel and supported Palestinians in his late days.

      1. Pat

        Not so sure about Ukraine, but a very strong case can be made that Israel does.

        And has for years.

        1. jefemt

          My perceptions about Israel have evolved to the US being a Proxy for Israel. Clever!
          And we know how relatively cheap it is to buy a congress-critter.

  12. Daniel Oudshoorn

    Speaking of racy bits from the Bible, it’s hard to top Exekiel 23:20 when the good Lord tells Israel that she is a dirty whore longing for lovers who are hung like donkeys and who ejaculate like horses. That whole section is a real revelation of how that dude-bro God feels about women, sex workers, and people who aren’t mindlessly obedient and willing to put up will all kinds of abuse simply because the abuser God says, “I’m doing this because I loooooove you!”

    1. Not Qualified to Comment

      I’ll see your Ezekiel and raise you Lot’s daughters – both the blameless ones he hands over to a mob to be gang raped and the ones who get him drunk in order to have sex with him. The contortions Biblical commentators get themselves into trying to draw moral lessons for our improvement from those passages are priceless.

      1. Late Introvert

        Well in reply to Lambert, I had every intention of getting the Bible banned from Iowa schools for obscene content, but the Republican Leglislature specifically excluded the Bible in their legislation. They are like that.

      2. skippy

        Jephthah’s daughter celebrated no less … bloke walks out compound gates proclaiming sacrifice if given victory on the battlefield to the first thing he sees walk out it coming home … oops … contracts are contracts …

  13. Henry Moon Pie

    Is it just me or does it seem like a lot of folks on the TV have bloodshot eyes these days? They’re not a healthy looking bunch. Either that or they’re all smoking a lot of weed.

    Along similar lines, Jennifer Lopez just cancelled her concert in Cleveland and other cities. No reason cited.

    1. JohnA

      The guy with whom Kate Middleton was allegedly having an affair, “suicided” himself in the head with a shotgun a few weeks ago.

  14. Ghost in the Machine

    The TikTok Problem Is Not What You Think Matt Stoller, BIG.

    Sounds nice, but I can’t take seriously the statement that the ‘government is serious about’ privacy when there are known huge citizen data collection practices such as that in the NSA that are used to quell protest. And the censorship, the money from tech companies flowing to congress, etc. The government does not care about our health (see the CDC), it doesn’t care about medical debt bankruptcy, it doesn’t care that we are slowly being poisoned by our food industry. It doesn’t care about genocide (is fine with it actually!). No way Stoller can convince me that this government gives a damn about my privacy. It doesn’t even give a &$@# if I live unless I have positive prospects for corporate profit. Stoller does good work, but he is naive if he really thinks this. I will start to believe if I see real painful fines and people sent to prison. Really I will only believe if I see high ranking execs sent to prison. Otherwise it is theatre. They want to control content on Tik Tok. That is it. The Israeli complaint is a motivator and so congress can kill two birds with one stone.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      Indeed. Stoller is being extremely naive here, but then he does still seem to cling to some faint hope that the Democrat party is somehow different and better than their Republican counterparts and has good intentions. Perhaps Lina Khan’s recent and good work on anti-trust has given him that notion, and I admit I don’t understand how the Biden admin ever appointed her, since unlike most apparatchicks these days, she actually takes her job seriously. If Stoller really thinks the government is concerned with USians privacy, it would only be so the US government (and now apparently its Israeli govt friends) can have a monopoly on US citizens’ data itself.

      He completely ignores all of Taibbi and others reporting on the collusion between these tech platforms and the US government to collect data on and censor US citizens, block inconvenient news, etc.

      I bought and enjoyed his book on antitrust, Goliath, a few years ago. If he wants to keep selling books to me at least, he’d better wise up.

  15. antidlc

    My body can’t tolerate alcohol anymore after getting COVID. I’m not alone
    Just one drink causes deep fatigue. My doctors don’t know why, and research on post-COVID alcohol intolerance is scarce

    It was a bad stroke of luck to catch COVID before the vaccine had time to build resistance in my body. Thankfully, I was negative within a week — a mild case, or so I thought. Immediately after recovering, I noticed something was off. Every time I drank alcohol my face would feel hot and flush red. Then I’d get dizzy and a deep exhaustion would set in.

    Three months later, those reactions haven’t gone away. If I have even one drink, I’m so lightheaded and fatigued that I can’t even contribute to a conversation. It’s beyond simply feeling tired or sleepy — more like a deep lethargy that even makes sitting upright on a barstool difficult. The experience of drinking has become so unpleasant that I’ve pretty much stopped entirely, forfeiting the nightly glass of wine I usually sip while I cook dinner. Gin, I’ve discovered through trial and error, is tolerable in small doses, but even then, I don’t feel great.

    1. Lee

      This sounds like your liver’s ability to produce a particular enzyme that breaks down certain toxins found in all alcoholic drinks has been adversely affected. The lack of this enzyme is most often genetically determined particularly in certain populations such as in East Asians. Perhaps you should get some liver function tests. Stay well.

  16. Vikas

    Spook Country

    USAID headed by Samantha Power seems fully integrated into the grand strategic project, with its leadership embracing and extending Responsibility to Protect to the American ‘homeland’.

      1. The Rev Kev

        She pops up from time to time in different countries like in Hungary recently and when she does, trouble follows. She might as well be in the CIA.

        1. flora

          I think the Hungarian govt kept close tabs on what charities, local organizations, and NGOs she visited while there. / ;)

        2. Pat

          I know she was around before, but this is another atrocity I lay at Obama’s feet.
          She is an ill wind that blows no good.

    1. Feral Finster

      Power attracts sociopaths the way catnip attracts cats, the way cocaine attracts @ssholes.

      Except, unlike power or honk, catnip is basically harmless.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        Actually, catnip is better than harmless. It’s an excellent insect repellent, which is why the numerous feral cats in our neighborhood love to drop by and roll in it. I hope it makes their pretty tough and usually short lives a little more tolerable with fewer fleas.

  17. Wukchumni

    Alex Glenn-Camden, an Army infantryman injured in Afghanistan, stood next to President George Bush looking at a portrait the former president had painted of him.

    Though the Temecula resident has met “43” before at other openings of “Portraits of Courage: A Commander in Chief’s Tribute to America’s Warriors,” Glenn-Camden never before had the opportunity to view his portrait while standing one-on-one with Bush as he did Wednesday, March 13, at the Nixon Presidential Library & Museum in Yorba Linda.

    Turns out ‘ssssshrubery wanted to be Red Skelton, a pity about those 2 wars he started, but in fairness it gave him portrait opportunities.

  18. Carolinian

    Library story

    This is a developing story. None of it is surprising, given what has been going on, but it is deeply troubling and a reminder of how much is at stake right now when it comes to democracy. These decisions are not about the books on shelf. They are about the power of one political faction to eradicate entire swaths of people under the name of “cleaning up” the library.

    A shocker. Next they’ll be banning Drag Queen Story Hour.

    Would it be ok if some of us object that a group with non scientific views on childhood development using the library as a political football? Of course the rightwingers are doing that too but given the delicate health of libraries these days the citizens of the small town in question might just decide to leave it locked. Meanwhile teens that want info on the topics in question have a vast library where it is available. We’re reading it right now.

    IMO this moral panic does not impress.

    1. flora

      They’re talking about material made available to minors at a public library.
      Utube still makes me log in to prove I’m 18 or older before they’ll let me watch some content like graphic war imagery and such.

      If the librarians think their stance is going to fly with most parents of minor children I think the librarians are mistaken. / my 2 cents.

    1. ChrisFromGA

      A legal argument might be fashioned on the grounds of our illustrious Supreme Court’s holding that “corporations are persons.”

      If that is indeed their legal status, then singling out a person for a forced sale to a third party sounds awfully like an unconstitutional bill of attainder.

      Then, there are the freedom of speech issues. Keep an eye on Missouri v. Biden, which is going to the Supreme Court. Completely different set of facts but could signal how far the Court is willing to go to defer to the government in infiltrating big tech to censor speech.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Isn’t it strange. The west that I grew up in was all about the many freedoms that we had in contrast to the old Soviet Union and Communist China. And yet here we are in the third decade of the 21st century and more and more western countries are stomping down hard on free speech, especially the Anglo-Saxon ones. In the US not only are they going after Tik Tok as it is a platform that they do not control but even what gamers – gamers! – talk about to each other that is undergoing scrutiny courtesy of Bellingcat. Not only do you have more free speech in the Russian Federation (eye-roll) but whereas people fled from Russia decades ago for freedom, you now have people from the west fleeing to Russia to achieve the same. If I could go back to the 70s and tell my younger self all about these changes, I would never have believed myself.

      1. Feral Finster

        Yes, and no Soviet Union to justify those crackdowns, either.

        For that matter, now that TPTB no longer have to offer their workers a better deal, we see the dismantling of any kind of social support, except the social support for billionaires when they lose it all at the casino, or putting another pointless war on the national credit card.

      2. Wukchumni

        One of the supposed stories of Communism, was bibles smuggled in via VW Bug, the guards at the border being temporarily blinded by faith, if you will.

        Turn it around and the proles are being blinded by bind lack of faith, in Tik Tok.

      3. Carolinian

        It’s not strange at all and of course the freedom tal–that I also grew up with–was iffy during the McCarthy era. Black people at the time not to mention the Hollywood 10 might beg to differ.

        On the Dem side Woody Wilson gave us the Espionage Act which is now much cherished by Biden and other national security Dems.

      4. caucus99percenter

        > If I could go back to the 70s and tell my younger self all about these changes, I would never have believed myself.

        You said it, brah.

        In Germany, the Social Democrats of Willy Brandt’s Ostpolitik and the Greens of the “Swords into plowshares” peace movement, are now all-in on militarization, re-armament, and war with Russia.

        All while the right-wing populist Alternative for Germany party — whom the other parties insist on calling Nazis — propose returning to reconciliation and trade with Russia, and investing the peace dividend in bettering life for ordinary Germans.

        It would be more honest, and a lot better fit, if the anti-AfD established German parties would just come right out, deck themselves in the garb of the Azov fighters they love so well, and declare themselves the heirs of the Nazis, as they huddle with Macron, Poland, and the Baltics to prepare Operation Barbarossa 2.0.

  19. Wukchumni

    Last year I mentioned to a Jewish friend I used to hike with quite a bit that I didn’t care much for Zelensky, which he took as anti-Semitic, and more recently I mentioned how the Tulare Sheriff running for My (ex) Kevin’s Congress spot, and in the debate how fawning he was regarding Israel (I suspect Boudreaux is one of those crazy evangs whose worldview depends on Israel being in place when armageddon comes around) and once again he took great umbrage and will have nothing to do with the likes of me.

    Anybody else run into this type of scenario with Jewish friends?

    1. eg

      I don’t tread on such topics around them, unless they inquire as to my opinion, and even then I am cautious, though there is one thing about which I am very firm and which I repeat at every opportunity: that neither the state of Israel nor Zionism is equivalent to, nor wholly representative of, either the Jewish faith nor the Jewish people.

    2. Em

      Yes. I’ve forgiven them in the past, rationalizing their liberal Zionism as mostly harmless since at least they’re not actively giving money to AIPAC and letting their kids join the IDP.

      Now I think they let their Zionism turn them into, as Caitlin Johnstone said, “garbage people” with garbage values. Their loyalty to a racist genocidal ideology that doesn’t even directly benefit them has overshadowed whatever shreds of humanity they used to have. I’m not going to have anything to do with them unless and until they renounce their Zionism. I hope it will happen and will start with arguing with their hopefully anti-Zionist kids at home.

  20. ChrisFromGA

    Judge McAfee’s ruling on disqualifying Fani Willis from prosecution of the Trump RICO case is out:

    I’m about halfway through the actual PDF of the ruling. Most striking thing so far – findings of fact. Willis and her paramour Wade managed to take two cruise vacations, a trip to Napa Valley wine country, and Belize between Oct. 22 and May ’23. Makes me wonder how they had time to do all that prosecutin’ when they were so busy romancin’.

    Does Fulton County have an army of paralegals or maybe they did “workcations?”

    For anyone not up to speed, the Judge split the baby or maybe Fani-Wade in two, ruled that while Fani is not disqualified, Wade has to go.

  21. Carolinian

    Stoller and his on-the-other-handism.

    While I support the bill, and find most of these objections lacking in credibility, there is some legitimacy to the skepticism, which I’ll get into. But what I want to offer is some basic framing, which is that this legislation has to be understood not as a substitute to a broader movement for reform of social media and privacy, but as part of it. And there are two basic points here. The first is while it’s true that Congress hasn’t passed a ‘comprehensive Federal privacy law,’ it’s also true the Biden administration is orchestrating a remarkable revolution in privacy protections by resurrecting old legal tools. There are reasons you haven’t heard of this revolution that have to do with the incentives of privacy scholars, but the litigation here is fierce and deeply bitter. The second is those who say ‘we can’t even regulate social media and now you want to divest TikTok’s ownership!’ have it 180 degrees backwards. Being able to address Chinese ownership of one video sharing platform is part of the movement to reform all platforms.

    This style of argumentation really is straight out of the Mustache school of understanding–unveiling the secret plan and not the censorship we thought it was. For the record Stoller’s pro bill stance is at odds with the ACLU. And while I have no love for TikTok–which tells teens how to steal my car–think I am with the ACLU on this rather than the “just trust us” Biden administration.

    Just to add, the NYT story he links

    is definitely worth a look but the car company explanation is as well.

    Modern cars are internet-enabled, allowing access to services like navigation, roadside assistance and car apps that drivers can connect to their vehicles to locate them or unlock them remotely. In recent years, automakers, including G.M., Honda, Kia and Hyundai, have started offering optional features in their connected-car apps that rate people’s driving. Some drivers may not realize that, if they turn on these features, the car companies then give information about how they drive to data brokers like LexisNexis.

    Automakers and data brokers that have partnered to collect detailed driving data from millions of Americans say they have drivers’ permission to do so. But the existence of these partnerships is nearly invisible to drivers, whose consent is obtained in fine print and murky privacy policies that few read.

    In other words collecting such info in secret is at least theoretically illegal. Onstar is for chumps in my very paranoid opinion.

        1. Henry Moon Pie

          Don’t trust any vehicle that doesn’t have a distributor cap and a carburetor.

          409“: the Beach Boys ode marking the apotheosis of American culture and Empire.

          “My four-speed, dual-quad, posi-traction 409.”

          1. scott s.

            Sorry, but

            “He’s hot with ram induction, but it’s understood
            I got a fuel-injected engine sittin’ under my hood”

    1. mrsyk

      it’s also true the Biden administration is orchestrating a remarkable revolution in privacy protections by resurrecting old legal tools.
      This statement seems patently false. Can anyone direct me to some action that could be described as such?

    2. flora

      Car insurance rates jumping based on data collection profile? Sure. From Fox Business: (skip the video)

      Automakers tracking drivers, sharing data with car insurance companies
      Report reveals sneaky way car companies share customer’s driving habits, leading to some drivers seeing rise in insurance rates

      So I gotta wonder if this is about saving lives or about increasing insurance profits / ;)

  22. Wukchumni

    Kyle Rittenhouse is scheduled to give a talk next month @ Kent State University, so officially America has gone from being distraught over 4 senseless murders in 1970, to being ok with senseless murders elsewhere.

    1. ChrisFromGA

      The history of the treatment of native Americans by colonialists says that America has always been ok with senseless murders.

  23. griffen

    Private equity buyout agenda…be it the above on autism clinics, veterinarian clinics, you name it they seem capable of doing two things at once.

    One, wreck the business model.
    Two, drive loyal employees to leave.

  24. Amfortas the Hippie

    re: the Baffler thing on small towns…
    my county up until around 15 or so years ago, was still an isolated and clannish place.
    we had dialup, even then…and mom and don and i were one of the only ferriners who had moved out and stayed.
    that began to change with the GFC of 08…mostly oil/fracking $…bought up big pioneer ranches in distress…started putting in wineries, and changing the likker laws to accommodate themselves…ive mentioned often the mushroomlike growth of hilltop mansions….i can even see 4 of them from my place…all several miles away, but still.
    wife and i got together in late 97…she knew everybody in this place…and was related, in some fashion, to maybe 2/3 of them.
    but over the years, she’d remark about how many new people there were…and i’d inquire as to what they do for a living…because until recently, the job situation was stagnant…with changes measured in decades.
    the early invaders were wealthy, of course…the more or less second wave was still well off…if younger…but were doing either online stuff(and thereby driving the internet infrastructure improvements)…or commuting 100 miles one way to austin or san antonio(and often maintaining an efficiency apartment in those places)
    now…seems sudden, to me(ive been here 30 years)…wine tasting rooms and actual bars have proliferated…construction is booming….and in fact, the county discovered 2 years ago that a couple of RE investment corps had begun construction in the eastern part of the county, and that the county regs were archaic, if non-existent(this spuirred them to “modernise” the regs, bc ferriners were making bankm and the local slumlord types were missing out).

    i could go on and on…as ive watched all this from my dead end dirt road redoubt.
    the main thing this article made me think of, tho…is the coming eclipse.
    we’re in the zone for that…and the city/county and local boughie class have been preparing and hyping it for 2 years.
    everybody and their brother is offering Glamping Pads…and cabins have been installed left and right…tiny houses in pastures, too….regs are only for po folks like me with this stuff,lol.
    city/county have already reserved and have started getting a couple of hundred portapotties…and all the B&B’s have been booked for a year.
    CoC(who is almost breathless) tell us locals to prepare for a week of maybe 30K ferriners to descend upon us(normal pop of the whole county is 4500…3500 of that in the one actual city).
    so, since mom wont allow me to clear some tent pads, i’ve got no trespassing signs…and plans to get everything we need for 2 weeks the week before all this happens…like preparing for a hurricane, or something….because i wont be leaving the farm,lol.
    how many of these foreign bougies(they can afford to come out here for an eclipse) will look at our far place while here, and decide to come out here more permanently?
    what will that do to the taxes, the property values, the strain on the infrastructure?
    ‘ll be watching closely.

    1. griffen

      The article uses a lot of paragraphs…in summation it’s akin to stories out of Asheville, NC starting about or after 2010. A complete refresh on the place as attractive for business and also the creative class led to an influx of new residents that push up home values and alter the regional demographics. There’s also been a flourishing push as an outdoor activity destination. I heard recently the small, regional airport had their busiest travel year in 2023. As the crow flies from here in South Carolina the city is perhaps 60 miles away.

      The eclipse drew a lot of attention here regionally in whichever year it was. Maybe the influx of visitors to hill country for this year’s eclipse bring their dollars and tip well, even if they may be just a temporary nuisance. I always liked this line from the John Adams mini series. “Guests, and fish, begin to stink after three days, Mr Adams”.

    2. Wukchumni

      We never really had much in the way of city slickers buying up Tiny Town during Covid, largely because the AirBnB’ers had bought everything already.

  25. Wukchumni

    Sure the Ides weren’t memorable for Julius Caesar, but knife technology has improved greatly.

  26. Wukchumni

    The most affected areas are also some of California’s most popular and accessible: Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks had the most air pollution of any park measured in the study, followed by Joshua Tree National Park, Mojave National Preserve, and Yosemite National Park.

    We’re number #1 (holds up oversized foam hand with outstretched finger) when it comes to pollution!

    It isn’t Sequoia NP’s fault really, 99% or more of the 400,000+ acres have no roads or infrastructure, it’s Bay Area and localized Central Valley car pollution that’s the real culprit.

    That said, visibility is pretty damned good for being the worst National Park for pollution. You only really see what looks to be a dirty snow globe that we’re living in when you get over 9,000 feet and look down.

  27. .Tom

    The UK gov’s anti-extremist action this week, which redefines prohibited speech and behavior, strikes me as motivated as much by fear of populism (Rochdale byelection results) as by Gaza protests. I suspect it is a step towards legal action against the Workers Party or any other party that gathers a threat to the established parties.

    Richard Murphy’s blog post on it linked today is a wonderful short piece. Don’t miss it:

    > Gove is following Goebbels’ advice Funding the Future

  28. Pat

    The latest email update from the Levi Strauss heir arrived.

    NY-10 Weekly Update: Proudly Fighting Alongside President Biden for New York City

    Sorry this is just too easy to ridicule, but feel free.

    I do notice there is nothing in it about his support of the TikTok ban, I guess even Dan knows that isn’t a popular fight.

    One thing I did find interesting is:

    The EPA Announced a $32 Million Grant Program to assist K-12 schools in low-income, disadvantaged, and Tribal communities in the development and adoption of comprehensive indoor air quality (IAQ) management plans to address air pollution and energy efficiency consistent with EPA’s recommended best practices. To learn more about this new federal funding

    That seems like an awfully small amount to address those issues, even when limited to low income and Tribal communities. I am glad there is something but I would bet more than that was spent upgrading the toilet facilities in the Capitol.

    1. Pookah Harvey

      Trump gave $18 billion to big pharma for the development of mRNA vaccines. We now are giving $32 million for indoor air quality for schools. This is less than 2 tenths of 1 percent that we gave to big pharma for disease prevention.

  29. Carolinian

    New Taibbi

    As Newsweek reported, the bill was fast-tracked after a secret “intelligence community briefing” of Congress led by the FBI, Department of Justice, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI). The magazine noted that if everything goes as planned, the bill will give Biden the authority to shut down an app used by 150 million Americans just in time for the November elections.

    Say you’re a Democrat, however, and that scenario doesn’t worry you. As America This Week co-host Walter Kirn notes, the bill would give a potential future President Donald Trump “unprecedented powers to censor and control the internet.” If that still doesn’t bother you, you’re either not worried about the election, or you’ve been overstating your fear of “dictatorial” Trump.

    Just what the country needs: more power for Biden to ban things. Maddow, who cuts off Trump’s primary victory speeches during her show, will no doubt approve.

    “When fascism comes to America it will be called antifascism.”

    1. pjay

      Gee, reading Stoller I would never have known the “intelligence community” was even interested in the bill – at least not *our* intelligence community. China, of course, is a different story for Stoller.

  30. Retired Carpenter

    In response to D. Adamov:
    re:I do think it means the slaughter may continue for years…”
    Thank you for your reasoned response. The extent of the slaughter is determined by available personnell, and it seems that the current loss rate is not sustainable, especially with increasing FAB1500 application.
    I am surprised by the acquisence of Ukrainian officers to send their troops to guaranteed slaughter. These officers are not soldiers but murderers. Fragging is too good for them.

    1. Daniil Adamov

      Of course it’s not sustainable indefinitely. And they will probably not launch another counter-offensive a la 2023 again. However, while both officers and soldiers continue to acquiesce, they can keep the meat grinder going.

  31. zach

    “What Russia should have done, is perfected their secret time machine, PRE-invasion, so that after two years of war fighting, they could just hit rewind and start all over and do it the right way.”

    But Finster, how can you be so sure that that isn’t EXACTLY what the Russians have done, in the other timeline?

    Maybe I’m reading the text of Mr. Johnson’s post too closely; or perhaps you didn’t actually answer his question, which, correct me if I’m wrong, and excuse me if this reasoning is too tight, is actually your question.

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