Links 3/18/2024

Birds Eat Poop A Lot, And Scientists Are Still Trying to Figure Out Why Science Alert

Deadly morel mushroom outbreak highlights big gaps in fungi knowledge Ars Technica

Writing by hand, not typing, linked to better learning and memory: Study WION

Delayed Gratification – Why Are Global Birth Rates Falling, and Does It Matter? Alpha Sources


Giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum) in the UK: carbon storage potential and growth rates Royal Society Open Science

Radia’s WindRunner to be the world’s largest aircraft ever built Interesting Engineering. To transport wind turbines.

The atlas of unburnable oil for supply-side climate policies Nature

South Florida Proposes Lowering Insurance Costs 25% South Florida Sun-Sentinel


Small farmers cry for help as climate change keeps killing crops Floodlight

Droughts, complicated by climate change, result in US beef herd hitting historic low Investigate Midwest


The hunt for long COVID answers zeroes in on causes Axios


Niger suspends military cooperation with US: Spokesman Al Jazeera. The US’ most expensive drone base ($100m) is in Niger.

US plans to set up drone bases in coastal West Africa to stem Islamist advance and counter China North Africa Post. From January, still germane.


Electoral Bonds Blow Giant Holes in Modi’s Anti-Corruption Plank The Wire

India Clamps Down on Dissent with Drones Tech Policy Press


Taipei hid collision between Coast Guard vessel and capsized mainland fishing boat that killed two Pekingnology

China aims to establish ‘de facto’ control in Kinmen waters: Experts CNA vs. China Coast Guard carries out more law-enforcement patrols in waters near Kinmen Global Times

US advises caution on dealing with PRC Taipei Times

Taiwan sees rise in self-rescue course attendance TVBS News


Record number of graduates set to enter China’s workforce amid economic headwinds Channel News Asia

China’s economic plans make a trade war likely whether Biden or Trump wins the presidency Business Insider


St. Patrick’s Day & Palestinians Eating Grass in Gaza Sam Husseini

Israel targets information technology experts as part of its genocide in Gaza Euro-Med


Netanyahu won’t commit to elections, calls Schumer’s speech “inappropriate” Axios


EU announces $8 billion aid package for Egypt including funding for border fortification as migration concerns mount Fortune

Egypt says won’t allow forced displacement of Palestinians from Gaza Anadolu Agency


Yemen’s Houthis report fresh US-UK airstrikes on its sites Middle East Monitor

Yemeni Armed Forces carry out training exercises simulating American and British invasion YPA

As Gaza war rages, U.S. military footprint expands across Middle East Washington Post


Israel strikes targets in Syria’s Damascus including weapons depot, war monitor says Al Arabiya

IDF says fighter jets hit Hezbollah targets in four areas of south Lebanon Times of Israel

European Disunion

Interview: Ryszard Legutko The Upheaval. “Liberal Democracy, Communism, and totalitarian temptations in free societies.”

New Not-So-Cold War

Officials in Moldova’s breakaway Transnistria blame Ukrainian drone strike after military site blast AP

Russia Rocked by Sixth Explosion at Oil Refinery in a Week Newsweek

Chartbook 270: How Russia makes missiles – an important report from Rhodus Intelligence Adam Tooze, Chartbook

Help Ukraine win—or risk kicking off a US losing streak Atlantic Council

O Canada

The Canadian behind the West’s massive sanctions on Russia says it’s time for Round 2 POLITICO. The first sentence: “Chrystia Freeland is in her element in Davos.”

South of the Border

Mexico’s Investment Boom Apricitas Economics

China steps on the gas in the Mexican auto market: ‘The long-term goal is the US’ El Pais

B-a-a-a-a-d Banks

Loan-on-loan market could fuel real-estate rebound Euromoney


‘He’s lost my vote’: Many Irish Americans turn against Biden over Gaza war Al Jazeera


Boeing’s Pain Spreads to Travelers as Airlines Cut Back on Plans Bloomberg

The U.S. auto industry’s dirty little secret: plummeting quality New Atlas

Our Famously Free Press

On Today’s Absurd New York Times Hit Piece Matt Taibbi, Racket News

Backgrounder: Supreme Court to Hear Oral Argument in Murthy v. Missouri Tech Policy Press

TikTok Threat Is Purely Hypothetical, U.S. Intelligence Admits The Intercept


Why Are Large AI Models Being Red Teamed? IEEE Spectrum

FTC conducting inquiry into Reddit’s AI data-licensing practices ahead of IPO CNBC

Exclusive-Reddit’s IPO as much as five times oversubscribed, sources say Reuters

Survey: Using New Tech Like AI and Wearables at Work Actually Hurts Staff Well-Being Inc.

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

DWP faces ‘outrage’ and ‘paranoia’ if it continues plans to ‘spy’ on bank accounts Big Issue

Police State Watch

Lawsuits About FBI Warrantless Search of Safe Deposit Boxes Allowed to Proceed The Intercept

Meet Daystar Bot GS, Lenovo’s six-legged robodog Interesting Engineering

Groves of Academe

The Fracturing of American Higher Education Law and Political Economy Project

Book Nook

Publishing Models That Rely on Gig Workers Are Bad For Everybody Literary Hub. On the problem with “Authors Equity,” a new publishing company.

Class Warfare

Apollo humanoid robots join the Mercedes-Benz assembly line Interesting Engineering

A Growing Union Campaign Has Put REI’s Progressive Image On Trial Huff Post

Why Is the ACLU Undermining Labor Rights? Matt Bruenig, Jacobin

Sometimes You Either Strike or Accept Death How Things Work

An Interview With The Bee Hero Who Humanely Vacuumed Thousands Of Bees Out Of A Tennis Stadium Defector

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Antifa

    (melody borrowed from Daydream by The Lovin’ Spoonful)

    It’s America’s sweet dream
    I own my house and a boat for a toy
    A union job in a neat scheme —
    I’m paid to build things that only destroy

    The bombs that we build can either be dropped or glide
    If you hear it comin’ then it’s too late to hide
    We build a whole bunch each month to defend Taiwan
    Or maybe they’ll end up killing folks in Teheran

    I’m retiring next spring
    Forty years building bombs every day
    We used to hope they’d hit Beijing
    And now that plan seems to be under way

    These scenes out of Gaza well they bug me a lot
    I talked to my priest he said I’m just overwrought
    ‘An honest day’s work to make a TNT load’
    But I dream of each bomb in its descending mode

    (musical interlude)

    We won’t let a child play with dynamite
    But we’ll drop it on him through a fancy bombsight
    A whistle and bang is all that child ever hears
    And everyone’s dead before the smoke even clears

    I been havin’ a bad dream
    ‘Bout a job that I used to enjoy
    I’m drinkin’ Maalox and fresh cream
    I dream my bomb hits my son’s little boy . . .

  2. The Rev Kev

    ‘Jacob N. Kornbluh
    “We don’t intervene in American politics, and we expect to be treated with the same respect.” — Israeli government spokesperson Tal Heinrich to Newsmax’

    We don’t intervene in American politics? I think that NC needs a new section called Clown World and this would qualify for it. The entire Congress is occupied Israeli territory and every US President now lives in fear of the power of AIPEC. Biden could stop the genocide in Gaza with one phone call but would never dare. He would rather lose the election this November than cross Israel.

    1. DJG, Reality Czar

      The Rev Kev: Or maybe the rubric should be New Levels of Chutzpah.

      Although I doubt that paid-to-lie-media-worker Tal Heinrich will get it.

      You know the joke:
      A boy is about to be sentenced for killing his parents. He begs the judge to spare his life. The judge asks for one good reason he should be shown any mercy. The boy replies, “I’m an orphan, your honor.”

    2. Pat

      Back in 2017 I induced massive aghastitude in a woman when I couldn’t take her Russia!Russia! Interference talk and responded with something like “Russia bought a few ads, Israel has bought half of Congress. You want to talk election interference, you have to start and really end with Israel.”
      I have spent the last few months wondering if that woman woke up and is appalled at the genocide and our complicity, or if she is trying to tell herself that the controversy over Israel’s actions in Gaza are the result of Russian misinformation. I wish I wasn’t still leaning toward the latter, but then in many areas of NYC Ukraine is just weeks away from victory, and people were nodding in agreement with Politico’s headline of “Putin wins in rigged election.”
      The scales have been falling but too many eyes in America are still covered.

      1. Feral Finster

        “I have spent the last few months wondering if that woman woke up and is appalled at the genocide and our complicity, or if she is trying to tell herself that the controversy over Israel’s actions in Gaza are the result of Russian misinformation.”

        I have never met this woman, but I bet I can answer your question.

    3. Victor Sciamarelli

      I think the Israelis are correct. Schumer and the US government have no business telling another country when to have elections and who they should be rid of.
      Schumer certainly ran his remarks at Biden before going public. The real issue is Biden comes up with a new distraction each week hoping Americans will think he is even-handed and he cares about the Palestinians.
      Biden is a Zionist, unconditional supporter of Israel no matter who is in power, and now complicit in genocide. Rather than relying on propaganda to get elected in 2024, Biden, Schumer, and the DP leadership should shut down their support for Israel.

      1. Pat

        Schumer has every right to state an opinion about what Israel should do, just as most of the Beltway has been saying what Russia should do for years…or China. It may be stupid and pointless posturing but the First Amendment pretty much guarantees it.The only way Schumer’s opinion would actually mean anything to Israel is if he sponsors legislation outlawing aid of any type to them as long as they are X or don’t do Y. Or the reality in this case, helps block any attempt by any other legislator to do that.

        But as you point out and we all well know, this is a coordinated effort where the Israeli spokesman also poses for the home team to bloviate outrage and cause meaningless uproar to distract from America’s complicity. (Israel just doesn’t care what anyone thinks as long as America protects them and sends money and arms, but America does care.)

      2. Buzz Meeks

        As a life long New York State resident I have learned when the traitor, Chuck the Schmuck Schumer, makes a public pronouncement he is privately doing just the opposite.
        Can’t count the number of times Chuck the Schmuck had claimed to have “fought for” legislation and lost and then it turns out he privately lobbied and ensured its defeat. Unless it benefits Israel.
        A Zionist scum of the first order.

      3. Buzz Meeks

        As noted above the US Congress is Israeli occupied territory through AIPAC and ADL. The state legislatures are also Israeli occupied territories along with many municipalities.
        On top of that most US police agencies have been “trained” by Israeli security forces. Any wonder at the increased number of police killings? Or the horrible image of Arron Bushnell on fire with the gun thug training a pistol on him as he burns.

    4. Lefty Godot

      We’re used to government lying by now, but the last six months have show us something exceptional: a government that Lies. All. The. Time. Like every single time an Israeli official, from the lowliest IDF commander to the highest government minister, opens their mouth, a lie comes out. And the same for all their puppets in Washington, DC, when it comes to anything Israel-related.

      Maybe this should not be a surprise in a nation founded on the Blut und Boden lie that it was “a land without people for a people without a land”. But I remember when we used to admire Israel as a secular, socialistic democracy sixty years or so back. I guess, like Rick in Casablanca, we were “misinformed”.

  3. timbers

    The U.S. auto industry’s dirty little secret: plummeting quality New Atlas

    Article says the recent large increase in car quality issues stem from…

    “the introduction of new technologies which are proving problematic and there are many factors that are influencing this significant deterioration in the quality of output from one of America’s largest industries.”

    Recently a routine oil change on my car went bad. It was clear most/all the oil leak onto my garage floor. I towed it to the dealership which performed the oil change, and they gave me a loaner car for a few days. Given their finger printers where all over the oil change gone bad, I was happy they gave this concession that I felt was due.

    It was a similar model to my own Toyota Prius but updated with all the bells and whistles.

    It was horrible. For example the windows were drastically reduced, creating a claustrophobic affect for anyone who wants to judge traffic and driving response with their own eyes, in that it reduced your ability to actually SEE your surrounds including traffic and other vehicles around you. Plus head room was noticeably reduced. But no fear, to compensate it has a Nanny AI voice to tell you when anything is near you. And if you turn your head in a way Nanny didn’t like, she told you to keep your eyes on the road in front of you. Nanny would even tell you when you tilted your head/face to far left or right outside her viewing parameters.

    There was a noted increase in button and controls due things like blue tooth or whatever the latest greatest is, but just looking at them to say, turn the radio on if you could locate the right control (if you tell a co-worker you listened to the radio while driving to work they are likely to respond “now we know about how old you are and what kind of music you listen to”) would give some people a headache and don’t dare try to while driving unless you’ve already worked it through.

    I was really happy when they finished the work and I got back my old 2016 banged up ugly Toyota Prius C discontinued model sans the new complicated software features I never asked for or wanted.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Been thinking about what you said and find it hard to understand why they are building cars like that. Cars with reduced driver’s ability to see their surroundings sound like an accident waiting to happen. And why reduced head room? To save on the amount of materials that they have to use to build a car? And that Nanny AI voice just sounded bizarre. So what will you do when your 2016 Toyota Prius C gives up the ghost and the only Toyota Prius that you can buy is like the one that you had to drive? What will you do then?

      1. timbers

        What will I do then? That’s the rub. Probably pay way more for a car I don’t like. The quotes that mandate 2/3 of new vehicles be electric is driving up car prices because consumers to want them in that ratio.

        1. Amfortas the Hippie

          i drive a 2001 dodge ram pickup.
          on the rare occasion i put it in the shop(5 months late inspection, bc i was waiting on tax return in case there was thangs wrong with it…ended up $20 worth of blinker bulbs)…dropping it off always makes me consider and fret about “what will i do” when it gives up the ghost…
          wife’s tundra(i think) suv thing…the keyfob died…and it’ll lock itself if the key is left inside.
          mom’s chevy spaceship(a suburban, or something) has so many bells and whistles that i find it almost intimidating…flashing screen and seat vibes, causing one to look at the screen to see whats up, and it says:”donbt take yer eyes off the road!!!”.
          i see all that crap, and i think: just more and more points of failure…and expensive to fix, no doubt.
          my truck does have a “computer”…but it only manages the fuel injection and the abs…the latter never works, because i live on a dirt road, which muds up the sensors, or something.
          and it has manual transmission, and hand crank windows, too…and one of the first things i did when i got it, circa 2003 or 4, was locate and remove the box under the dash that makes it ding when the door is left open,lol.

          ive said forever that my next vehicle will be a buckboard and a mule….and now that i really dont hafta go anywhere(like san antone for wife’s cancer stuff), that is well within the realm of possibility.
          an all day trip to town and back…twice per month…and i’m good.
          i do not want a vehicle thats newer than say…2006….and i really dont want all the dern tech and automatic BS.
          i dont need email in my truck…i dont need my truck to tell me to be careful, or to vibrate the damned seat when theres another car nearby,,,
          and i certainly dont need one that can be bricked from space if i fix the mirror with duck tape, rather than drive a million miles to the nearest dealership to get an approved repair.
          i am an adult human with loads of experience making do with less than ideal, and i resent such stuff.
          hell…ive gone as long as a year and a half without getting inspected or registered…
          the minders on the mothership would surely no approve,lol.

          1. FredW

            Our cars are a 2003 Corolla and a 1995 T-100, both four cylinder and stick shift. Hope they last forever!

            1. zach

              FTW. Only bought one vehicle with an auto ever, took it to be rebuilt, that was 15 months ago, don’t know if i’ll ever get it back.

              Just bought a 99 silverado “grandpa special deluxe” with a 5 speed(!) and 85k on the clock. I hope to get 20 years out of it.

              The 90s were peak auto, across all manufacturers, and I’ll never be convinced otherwise.

              End Rant.

      2. t

        A large reason for sitting down low in a car you can’t see out of is just fashion and trend – but it was sparked by the ridiculous idea that you can meaningfully increase fuel efficiency by a shape that “reduces drag” for the top and sides of a car. Which might work if average US drivers are going fast enough and driving without other cars or giant trucks on the road and don’t need full-blast AC to overcome the greenhouse effect of all the slanted windows.

        Don’t have a count but most cars that have what look like carefully designed vents on the front grill just have big pieces of plastic. And again, at city speeds and with heavy traffic, attempts to control air flow around (and occasionally even under) the car are a moot point. These aren’t boats in water.

        And, yeah, the electronics that most of us don’t need or want.

        1. Carolinian

          Uuuh, no. Aerodynamics do matter for gas mileage and there are federal mpg standards now and Biden wants them to go up. The shape of the car has an effect on my 45mpg mileage and the computer controlled engine is also about mileage. I think these are both good things.

          Current cars do have reduced visibility and are therefore equipped with much bigger and better side mirrors than in the old days and have backup cameras for parking.

    2. Carolinian

      The windows are smaller because modern crash standards require steel beams in the doors to resist side impact. So while this does reduce visibility it is nevertheless about safety.

      And the linked article itself has a logical problem insofar as it blames the situation on recent technology and just in time manufacturing while at the same time giving top quality ratings to Lexus which–obviously–has all that same modern technology and Toyota pioneered just in time manufacturing.

      So the real conclusion is that brands that have quality problems need better management, not different technology. It may seem fun to praise a ’57 Chevy unless you lived back then and, in cities like NY, had to choke on the pollution. And if you had one now the 12 mpg would be both expensive and carbon spewing. Much of what exists in cars now is in response to Nader’s Unsafe at Any Speed and in 1957 car companies didn’t even want to put in seat belts. They said safety was all on the drivers.

      Here’s suggesting that computers have made cars more, not less, reliable but indeed more expensive to repair. So it is a tradeoff. But the real problem is Detroit management. In the past they only worried about quality when they had to for competitive reasons.

    3. Jen

      I was delighted to buy a Subaru crosstrek with manual transmission in 2021 because it: a) doesn’t talk to me; b) is incompatible with all of those self driving doo-dads, and c) still requires a family blogging key to start it.

      Sadly, Subaru discontinued the manual version of the crosstrek last year in the name of “safety.”

      1. Carolinian

        I think manual trannies are out because nobody in America wants to buy them. When I was car shopping I very much wanted manual and at the dealer I was asked to drive the one manual car around front before the test drive because the young salesman didn’t know how to drive one!

        In the end I got a car with low maintenance automatic (not the CVT) and like it just fine.

        1. LifelongLib

          FWIW I had a summer job on a survey crew in the mid 70s and was assigned to drive a manual pickup because I was the only one who knew how. Obviously that trend continued…

          1. Jabura Basaidai

            one of the first things i taught my daughter when she got her license at 16 was how to drive a stick and how to drive a motorcycle – i was riding BMW’s at the time and beside the R100 and K series with an EML sidecar i also had an R27 that was light and easy to manage – the vehicle was an old 1969 Land Cruiser – it’s her secret power she once told me – daughter is now 35 – btw i hate sassy cars and presently drive a 2000 Ford Ranger and will probably buy something older next time –

            1. zach

              I’ve got a 99 Tacoma hitting the market here soon…. 270k miles, 5 speed, 2wd, lumber rack and tool box! All yours for $3500!

              Fight the system. Save the planet. Buy used.

      2. lyman alpha blob

        You will pry the steering wheel of my manual six-speed 2012 Subaru outback from my cold dead hands. And that’s after buying it used and replacing the transmission due to my own screw up.

      3. jefemt

        I scored a 2008 Pontiac vibe (Toyota Matrix/ Corolla) with 75K one-owner miles, 5-speed manual tranny and cruise control two months ago. I can sleep in back, back seat folds dead flat, 35MPG if I drive 65, no turbo, gutless, like Trump.

        I feel VERY fortunate. Very few chipper-doodly-dos in it.

        Therre are some sleepers out there… check out Mister Money Moustache Used Cars on der

    4. Lee Melon

      Wow. My 2004 Prius is the best car I’ve owned. 217325 miles on it. You’ve made me reconsider buying a newer version.

    5. playon

      I have never bought a brand new car in my life, and after hearing about all the “smart” crap in new cars I intend to continue the practice. Currently driving a 2006 model and I’ll own nothing newer than 2010 at the latest.

      It would be more helpful for this country to invest heavily in public transport, but in western USA where I live the car still rules.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        I hope so. But the glee with which the vast majority in the house voted for it is still unnerving.

        One thing I did note about the house vote. Adam “Shifty” Schiff (or does his nickname skip the “f” for an extra “t”…) was called out recently (not by the Democrat party though – big surprise there) for donating heavily to Steve Garvey’s primary campaign so he wouldn’t have to run against Katie Porter or Barbara Lee in the general, two reps who actually have decent voting records, especially in comparison to the vast majority of their counterparts. Porter and Lee both voted against the TikTok bill. Shifty voted for it. Perhaps they’re waiting on a Senate vote until Schiff gets there. Here’s hoping Garvey switches parties before the general and kicks his ass.

        1. steppenwolf fetchit

          I suspect Trump “changed” his mind tactically with the youth vote in mind. He hopes an enraged TikTok youth vote will get revenge on Biden for signing the TikTok ban by not voting for Biden and maybe even voting for Trump.

    1. .Tom

      Flora, we can put this another way. The law gives the president fiat on who is allowed to own a business operation with online activity. All the big platforms used in the USA were brought to heel on content moderation years ago. With this new law they will get to complain to the feds if a competitor doesn’t similarly submit. If the complaint works then they either they get to buy the competitor in a sale supervised by the feds or they at least get it out of the US market.

      How long do Twitter, Rumble and Substack have to go?

      1. playon

        The way things are going pretty soon everyone is going to need a VPN to read news that isn’t state-controlled.

  4. The Rev Kev

    “China aims to establish ‘de facto’ control in Kinmen waters: Experts” CNA vs. “China Coast Guard carries out more law-enforcement patrols in waters near Kinmen” Global Times

    Nothing to do with the fact that U.S. Army Green Berets are now permanently stationed in amphibious command centers in Kinmen by any chance and that they are only a short swim to the Chinese mainland. For context, the distance is only 2.5 miles (4 km) from Kinmen to the Chinese mainland while the distance between Martha’s Vineyard and the US mainland is 7 miles (11 km). How would Washington feel about Chinese special forces being based at Martha’s Vineyard? Yeah, I thought so.

    1. Christopher Fay

      And what are the Chinese special forces going to do on Martha’s Vineyard, play hoops at the Obama estate, get summer jobs at the tourist seafood spots, or, this is the best, hit up the summertime hotties?

      1. Daddy O

        You laugh, but hereabouts if your teenagers, and you can assume this will soon or already applies to adults, want a job in customer service and don’t speak Spanish or Mandarin, forget it.
        There is absolutely no reason why any white person should not put down “Hispanic” on school enrollment or employement questionaires to get DEI preferences. It is not illegal. “I identify with Hispanics.”

      2. ambrit

        All of the above plus protect the Oligarchs from the ‘Deplorables.’
        When I read that the CCP had switched to a “Let ‘Er Rip” strategy on the Coronavirus, I knew that they had sold out to the Davos clique.

        1. CA

          “When I read that the CCP had switched…”

          Please allow for a gentle but important difference.

          China never switched to a strategy of unconcern. That would not have been possible for the government. Rather, the vast bulk of the population was vaccinated, an inhalable vaccine was available. Only the oldest men and women were relatively reluctant to be vaccinated, while they were repeatedly urged to take a vaccine even with broad home visits being made.

          There was then a carefully considered switch in strategy.

          A benign 5,000 year old civilization of 1.4 billion, does not and could not “sell the 1.4 billion out” to some sort of foreign “clique.”

          The name of the Communist Party of China is correctly represented as CPC and not CCP. Western writers who often wish to demean China, typically avoid using the correct CPC name.

          1. ambrit

            Points taken, but up until now, I had never seen the Party described as the CPC. An artifact of my limited reading I’ll venture.
            Second, as far as I have read, none of the “vaccines” developed for the Coronavirus 2019 are ‘sterilizing.’ So, relying on vaccinations alone is a sub-optimal strategy. (Not to claim that we here in the West are functioning even up to Chinese standards.)
            I’ll not enter into a ‘discussion’ on the benignity of China as a society or a State. There is more than enough blame to go around the World, entire.
            Finally, it is not the “Civilization” that “sells itself out,” but the top elites of said “Civilization.” Thus, I am implying that the top officials of the Party and State are the culprits here, not the masses of the People.
            As always, a differing perspective on the East is welcome. Basic assumptions are not questioned until someone brings the question up.
            Stay safe.

    2. TomDority

      It is funny how all our foreign policies and creations of boogie-men or need to know fear is generated by crystal ball thinking – some known intention or secret plot intended to undermine the forces of good and to be thwarted by our fearless leaders before coming to fruition. Or policies designed to recreate conditions for a new and improved cold war or a new way to pretend they are protecting democracy – a new way to justify their (politicians) distain to trust the will of the people- a new way to misinform the people instead of informing the people – In my mind, an informed citizenry is the only true defense for a democratic republic… just begs the question – why are politicians so afraid of playing it straight ?

      “It is a universal truth that the loss of liberty at home is to be charged to the provisions against danger, real or pretended, from abroad.” -James Madison

      Why are they ranting on ways to shut the door

      “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
      The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
      – Emma Lazarus, 1883

      And more to the point today (Biden – for super sure – ain’t anyway near FDR – not close despite his PR)
      “We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace–business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering.
      They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob.
      Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me–and I welcome their hatred.”
      Election eve speech at Madison Square Garden (October 31, 1936)
      Franklin Delano Roosevelt

      1. jrkrideau

        “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
        The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
        – Emma Lazarus, 1883

        Shortage of labour? Sounds a bit like not really closing the Southern Border as agriculture needs cheap labour.

  5. ChrisFromGA

    Re: Boeing

    As if Boeing weren’t evil enough, now it’s contributing to inflation.

    Policy makers chose to coddle Boeing management and the FAA as a regulatory oversight agency became Boeings lap dog.

    Action, or in this case inaction, leads to consequences. Here is looking at you, Obama, Trump, Biden, and Congress.

    To be fair, the solution might be the one actual regulator and litigant who does her job: Lina Khan. Break up Boeing and eighty-six the entire Board of Directors as the mergers of McDonnell Douglas and other were illegal under the USC.

    She’ll need a real quick draw and a shiny six gun to take down Boeing at the OK corral, but she’ll look quite good in boots and that would be a fine notch to put on her belt.

    1. ChrisFromGA

      Greed Gone Too Far

      Sung to the tune of “Shooting Star” by Bad Company

      Boeing was a small fry, when they built their first aeroplane
      Loved to fly and hone their craft, and from there, their reputation gained
      Got some engineering, used to build safe planes each day
      Now they’re making newsworthy stories and in a deadly way
      Don’t you know?

      Boeing told the gubmint, “Momma, fuhgeddabout the FAA!”
      I’m gonna hit the big time, gonna build planes Wall Street’s way
      Momma made a policy choice with dollar signs in her eye
      Boeing said “Don’t cry Momma, smile and wave safety goodbye”

      Don’t you know, yeah, yeah

      Don’t you know that your greed has gone too far?
      Don’t you know, don’t you know
      Don’t you know that your greed has gone too far?
      And all the flying public will shun you just as long, as long as you are!

      Boeing made a bargain with the Devil their soul to gain
      Suddenly everyone loved to see Boeing make it rain
      Watchin’ reputation die, suprisin’ it goes so fast

      Boeing looked around and said, well we made the big time at last

      Don’t you know, yeah, yeah
      Don’t you know that your greed has gone too far?
      Don’t you know, don’t you know
      Don’t you know that your greed has gone too far?

      And all the flying public will shun you just as long, as long as you are
      Greed gone too far!

      [Guitar solo]

      Boeing died one night, collapsed with no cred
      Bottle of gluttonous, late-stage capitalism by its head
      Boeing’s life passed it by like a warm summer day
      If you listen to the wind, you can still hear the lies they say


      Don’t you know that your greed has gone too far?
      Don’t you know, don’t you know?
      Don’t you know that your greed has gone too far?
      Don’t you know? 2x

      Nana, na, na, na, na, nana na, na, na, na, nana na na nah, whoo! (repeat)

    2. griffen

      How old is the latest example of the Federal govt actually making that occur and come to fruition, as in breaking apart a corporate monolith? My best recall is the breakout of AT&T into I believe 12 regional smaller Bell companies. On the other hand, CNBC’s maven Jim Cramer may experience a brain / heart episode if the FTC actually forced that action.

      Now on the other hand…We get AT&T, Verizon and whomever is third ( T-Mobile? ) when it comes to cellular service. Blech, you can have choices as Americans, but it must be a Coca Cola or a Pepsi.

      1. ChrisFromGA

        I believe your memory is correct. In the late 90’s the Justice Department went after Microsoft, but that attempt largely failed from a legal standpoint.

        1. cgregory

          The DOJ dropped its suit against Microsoft in the fall of 2001 after the winning party’s administration came into power . In 2000, Microsoft had donated $4 million each to the Democratic and Republican parties.

  6. Lena

    Re: ‘He’s lost my vote’: Many Irish Americans turn against Biden over Gaza war

    If a certain Irish American who is running as a third-party candidate would oppose Israel’s genocide, I could in good conscience vote for him in November. I think many others could as well.

    I’m looking at you, Bobby.

      1. Lena

        There is hard truth in that. RFK Jr’s support for Israel in Gaza makes me unable to vote for him.

        How I wish Dennis Kucinich were running! I would vote for him in a heartbeat.

        1. Alice X

          Kucinich IS running, for Ohio’s 8th district, as an independent, his website is here. The Demrats would never let him near the WH, and I’m sure they’ll try mightily to keep him out of the House.

          It is actually a rather small club (with apologies to George Carlin), and Dennis isn’t in it, which is of course, why I like him.

          Here in Michigan the atrocious Elissa Slotkin IS in it and will probably win the primary and maybe the election to replace the likewise awful Debbie Stabenow in the Senate.

          Who you gonna call?

          1. ambrit

            Some of the “Boyz” from out da hood to bust some caps.
            Time to remember just how much blood had to flow to get us the Democracy we all still yearn for and have pretty much lost.
            Sadly, the Middle Class Trap is that it precludes the “Continuous Revolution.”

          2. Jabura Basaidai

            Slotkin, another CIA stooge and Sen Peters the bankers’ friend and supposed savior of the Great Lakes but takes no stand on Line 5 – a pox on them

        2. Bsn

          Is that the only subject that concerns you? How about corporate med, military, tech surveillance, the border (or lack thereof). I could go on and on. The classic line is if you want a “perfect” president, run yourself. Trump? No. Biden? No. West (a mini Biden)? No. Kennedy, well, OK.

          1. Alice X

            Another classic line: Anyone with enough deep $ support to win the job is far too compromised to deserve it. Trump may be an outlier there, but he is unfit for many other reasons. IMHO.

            In fairness to Lena, though, I would say: support for genocide is not something one should ignore in a candidate, or anyone, for that matter. And such support is likely parallel to the other concerns you cite.

            1. ambrit

              I view it from the idea that whatever is carried out “overseas” on ‘furriners’ is eventually bought home and carried out on the homeland population. So, where oh where would we contemplate active, versus passive, genocide being implemented here in the good old U S of A? For me. the list is well nigh infinite. As recent history has shown us, the definition of ‘dissent’ has been expanded and demonized. One aspects of the old Robber Baron days that has yet to be highlighted in the societal rush to devolution has been the outright murder of strikers, demonstrators, and dissenters of all stripes that was “accepted practice” back then.
              What goes around comes around..

              1. Alice X

                I don’t know if they could get away with outright murder (given all the cell phones cameras), but they might try. They have already gotten quite brutal.

          2. Lena

            Is Bsn insinuating that I am a ‘Purity Pony’ on the subject of genocide? Gee, that hurts my feelings.

            1. Alice X

              I don’t know what she is saying. For me, being ok with genocide is something that cannot be overlooked.

              “Many of us like to ask ourselves, ‘What would I do if I was alive during slavery? Or the Jim Crow South? Or apartheid? What would I do if my country was committing genocide?’ The answer is, you’re doing it. Right now.” – Aaron Bushnell

  7. DJG, Reality Czar

    On eating raw mushrooms: Ars Tecnica, Deadly Morel Mushroom Outbreak.

    I have a copy of Maine-resident Greg Marley’s excellent book, Chanterelle Dreams, Amanita Nightmares. It’s a mycological, cultural, and cookery tour of fungi. Like other mushroom experts, Marley is leery of eating any mushroom raw. (Someone I know pointed out that even the bland white button mushroom sold so widely in the U. S. of A. has toxins and shouldn’t be eaten raw.)

    This is the first time I have read of people eating morels raw. I wonder who came up with that bright idea. The article points out more than once that eating mushrooms raw is not advised.

    A big problem with mushrooms is variability within species and across geography. It is possible that the local Montana morels have gotten excessively poisonous. Elsewhere, it may not happen at all. If I recall correctly, Marley also points out some outbreaks among benign mushrooms.

    In her wonderful book, Honey from a Weed, Patience Gray points out that in her region, the Salento (the “toe” of the Italian boot), people regularly pick and eat a certain species of mushroom that is considered toxic in northern Italy.

    And yet, in spite of hints of mortality, what is more delightful than a (cooked) chanterelle or boletus edulis (porcino)?

    1. MT_Wild

      They were imported chinese morels. But they were genotyped out as a true morel, not a false morel or other species.

      Who knows if the substrate they were farmed on had something to do with it or not. But as you mention, never eat raw wild mushrooms.

      We dehydrate or saute and freeze most of our “catch” for later use with a smaller portion being cooked for immediate use. They end up being cooked twice this way, and haven’t had any issues with morels, chanterelles, or boletes.

      1. vao

        It seems that cooking some varieties of perfectly inocuous, edible mushrooms with alcohol (wine, etc) is also a big no-no.

        I do not remember which sorts of mushrooms contain a substance that, combined with alcohol, turns into a dangerous toxin, but the warning stuck in my mind.

          1. Return of the Bride of Joe Biden

            Wow. More than 50 years eating those, and I could have been wasted drunk every time. Damn.

        1. Ignacio

          Hum, I prepare to dishes which contain both red wine and mushrooms: Typically Cantharelus, but not only. Delicious they are.

      2. Henry Moon Pie

        Where I grew up, hunting morels was an annual spring event, usually right around May Day. There was an old patch of woods at the back of the place with some giant, old, dead elms. Once the light caught them just right, you’d see scores spread across the base of the tree.

        After giving some of the catch away to neighbors who did the same, it was time to soak them in salt water, bread them with flour and fry ’em up in the electric skillet. Oh my. And never poisoned.

        My days as a hunter-gatherer. You could see how you might have shared emotions of joy and gratefulness with those ancestors along with just a little pride in knowing where to look.

    2. Irrational

      Could not agree more on the chanterelle or the porcini. On morels, Antonio Carluccio (he of the London restaurant and later chain) in his mushroom cookbook says that morels must be thoroughly cooked or dried and “when eaten raw it proves indigestible or even poisonous to certain people”.

    3. CA

      Interestingly, there is an increasingly important mushroom cultivation that was developed in China and is spreading country to country. Just now to Fiji and the Central African Republic. This is juncao cultivation and it is important for a variety of reasons, among the reasons that the cultivation of the nutritious food is not in wood but in grass and is environmentally friendly.

      Xi Jinping, before becoming president, recognized the potential of juncao cultivation and began to establish it in China.

    4. playon

      When we lived in central WA we found morels often but never ate them raw. They are tasty but on the whole I’d much prefer to eat boletes which have far better flavor and texture IMO. A girlfriend’s 7 yo daughter did have a reaction to them on a pizza that my mother made but it’s possible that was because they weren’t fully cooked. Whoever the chef was at that restaurant needs to wise up, and I’m surprised no one is suing him.

  8. The Rev Kev

    ‘Thomas Fazi
    “Have you all lost your minds?”.
    Amazing and terrifying speech by @SWagenknecht
    on the folly of Germany’s warmongering approach to Russia.’

    The big – forced – debate in Germany is those Taurus missiles. Fact one – they have a range of about 500 kilometers which means that they can hit Moscow. Fact two – the Ukrainians can’t operate them so it would have to be trained Bundeswehr operatives. So think this one out. A Taurus missile hits the Kremlin and through bad luck, kills Putin just as he enters a room where that missile hits. The Ukrainians are celebrating but for the Russians, their President has just been assassinated by a missile fired and directed by German troops. How will Russia retaliate to that one? No wonder Scholz does not want to find out. And no wonder Sarah Wagenknecht is trying to bang heads together to wake them up.

    1. ilsm

      A lot of people in the US with memory of WW II would care less if a few German cities got the Hiroshima treatment.

      Both Macron and Biden would trade a German city for a headline about bombing the Kremlin is not big problem.

      As to Doctorow’s link: no one other than US could (and it would take more than a year) put an operationally significant military target set in Ukraine that could need a tac nuke to eliminate.

      1. .Tom

        > no one other than US could (and it would take more than a year) put an operationally significant military target set in Ukraine that could need a tac nuke to eliminate

        What sort of a system would that be?

      2. steppenwolf fetchit

        There are very few people in the US anymore with a memory of WW II. And fewer all the time. And eventually none at all.

        I doubt any currently-alive Americans want to see any cities in Germany get the Hiroshima treatment or any cities anywhere else get the Hiroshima treatment. Except for some Rapturaniacs and Armageddonites.

    2. Skip Intro

      Fact 3, A biggie, the Taurus can reportedly be armed with a nuclear warhead, so Russia could not distinguish a Taurus launch with conventional explosive, from a nuclear first strike. They would be obliged to respond as if it were the worst case scenario… it’s not like the west has appeared rational.
      This is not another bogus Wunderwaffen scam, but a qualitative game changer, and not is a good way for anyone who wants to avoid nuclear war.

        1. ambrit

          Unfortunately for Washington and London, the response would not be just ‘one’ nuclear warhead, but thousands.
          We’ve got our Potassium Iodide ready.

          1. Pat

            Even as a child I rarely lived more than a hundred miles from a major nuclear target. (People would be surprised how many top twenty American targets are in the Southwest.) As an adult I have that down to no miles from a nuclear target (although NYC isn’t as high on the list as I might like).
            I really really do not want to survive if we get that stupid.

        2. jrkrideau

          That assumes Washington and London still exist. Radioactive embers don’t do a lot politically.

    3. Kouros

      Fact three, not mentioned but the the most important, they can be fitted with nuclear tips…

      Thus potentially triggering a nuclear response on Berlin from Russia. The Precautionary Principle in action.

      1. hk

        Why should we think it would only be Berlin that would get nuked on such a scenario? DC is as good a target from the Russian perspective.

        1. Henry Moon Pie

          Do you think the Russians could come up with a weapon that only harms those with over-inflated egos?

      2. TimH

        Interesting comment on current thread at by frequent commenter Clive Robinson. Only a bit quoted here:

        Few like to talk about what happens when you explode a largish strategic nuclear weapon under water. Just one effect is to in effect significantly reduce all be it for a quite short time the density of the water over a quite large area.

        But the time and coverage area are sufficient to turn an aircraft carrier and other vessels into the equivalent of lead bricks. They will go down and from the research I’ve seen they are unlikely to come back up again or the right way up etc. The reason is they sink down and the density around them rises fast enough to crush them breaking water tight compartments asunder or just crushing them such that the vessels density is lost.

        Now consider just how small a strategic nuke that sits on top of an ICBM is now consider a couple attached to a sub-sea ROV… You have something about the size of a sub-compact car that can mostly spend months just sitting on the sea floor in various “choke points” around the globe.

        This is a problem that the USN and others are not talking about publicly for obvious reasons.

    4. Feral Finster

      Yes, they have lost their minds. Yes, Ukraine will get these missiles and more, eventually.

    5. ilpalazzo

      For a trip down memory lane, this is Sahra Wagenknechts Bundestag speech from 2014 (english subs). I saw it back then and tried to google it since without luck, only to find the link in an old email to a former liberal friend:

    6. Mikel

      Hey, a big war would destroy a lot of infrastructure.
      Then they can rebuild so that it is more fitting for the machines.
      Somebody probably has that idea. Like in the movie “Don’t Look Up.” Let the asteroid hit the planet and make money kind of thinking.

    7. ChrisPacific

      It all just sounded like plain common sense to me. It should have been heartening, but instead I was depressed to realize once again how marginal this position really is. She’s right – they really have all lost their minds, together.

    8. Don

      Fact three, unlike the British and French ones currently in theatre, the Taurus can be equipped with a nuclear war head — “Gee, is this missile, on its way here to Moscow, nuclear or conventional? Quick, what should we do?”

  9. .Tom

    Did I catch it right from Wagenknecht’s Bundestagsrede that what English speakers call Wunderwaffen, Germans call Gamechanger?

    1. JohnnyGL

      Yes, I laughed at that, too. There’s no translation for ‘gamechanger’ in German, which is fitting, somehow.

    2. ceco

      Wagenknecht definitely said “game-changer”in this clip – in German, fields like business and tech are generally pretty saturated with English loanwords.

      Wunderwaffen” is a standard German compound word – “wonder weapons” or “miracle weapons” – but it does have a specific historical connotation: the Nazi’s used it to describe the experimental weaponry they tried to bring to bear late in the war, after the tide had turned against them. The V-1 and V-2 were the only Wunderwaffen I can recall being remotely successful, although they clearly weren’t “game-changers.” The Me.262 (first operational jet fighter) would be another of the better known ones.

      In any case, I wouldn’t see those two expressions as being synonymous/interchangeable, outside of contextual usage, and Wunderwaffen does come with some historical baggage…

      1. You're soaking in it!

        Also has the connotation of “vaporware”, as this is what the Nazi leadership was promising would turn the tide as the Soviets started too obviously winning.

      2. .Tom

        I was being a bit facetious when I spoke of the meaning that English speakers assign to the word when they use it. The English speakers I know that use the word use it to express bitter sarcasm while referring to the MIC’s sequence of deployments Gamechanger weapons and the media’s celebration of their miraculous potential as that plays out in typical military conflicts between the USA and some other entity. Of course if such weapons could change the game, that would be a true wonder.

        So in the specific context of Wagenknechts Rede and in that of conversations here on, I think these uses were semantically interchangeable, pretty much, I’m just unsure how much bitter sarcasm there was in Wagenknechts use of Gamechanger.

  10. Jon Cloke

    South Florida reducing insurance costs by 25%: “That would reduce reinsurance costs by half and — because reinsurance costs make up half of insurance premiums — reduce costs of homeowner policies by 25 percent, Geller said.”


    Or, thinking cynically, the large firms that are involved in both insurance and reinsurance could gratefully take the 50% cut and then cartelize to not pass it on to homeowners at all…

    1. jrkrideau

      Sounds like a great idea til the next really bad hurricane and all the insurange companies go bankrupt. Still Munich Re will be smiling as it had no position there.

  11. Ignacio

    Putin leads with 87% in Russian presidential election: Exit poll Anadolu Agency

    According to PMC-MSM “El Pais” the elections in Russia are a farce. I don’t know if this is a true English expression but this would be a good example of one seeing the sawdust in other’s eye and not the plank in her/his own. Anyway, by all indications Putin is more popular in Russia than any Western leader in it’s own country.

    A handy table on popularity (in Spanish but the numbers don’t need translation)

    1. The Rev Kev

      Here on the news it was all coping saying that of course he was going to win and all his opponents were dead or in prison. Then there were those brave people who spilled ink into ballot boxes to invalidate them or throw Molotov cocktails. But there is one fact that none of them were reporting-

      ‘A record number of people have voted in this election. More than 74% of Russia’s 112.3 million voters cast their ballots between March 15 and 17, the Russian Central Election Commission (CEC) said on Sunday. This is the highest engagement in the nation’s modern history, unseen for more than two decades.’

      The guy was going to win anyway but the people turned out in record numbers to show him a vote of confidence in how he was leading. That is amazing that.

      Meanwhile in the democratic west, the US State Department has just said that they will punish all those people who acted as foreign observers to the Russian Federal election. Most of them aren’t even American. Would you believe that in 2020 for the US Presidential elections, that there was a grand total of 40 foreign observers allowed for a nation of 335 million? Not even enough to cover the 50 states.

      1. pjay

        Last night on the ABC Evening News I watch the most bizarre “news” story about the Russian election. It kept showing long lines at the polling places, but kept talking about *protests* against Putin! The wording as the pictures were shown was clearly meant to mislead the viewer that these masses of people were somehow protesters. They also mentioned that Putin was expected to win with 85-89 percent of the vote but implied (without quite saying so) that this proved the elections were rigged. To top it off, the story clearly implied (again, without *quite* saying so) that Navalny was Putin’s main challenger so wasn’t it convenient what happened to him, wink, wink. Even for US network news it was pretty amazing, like an Onion piece or a parody of Pravda in the Soviet days. I was by myself at the time and thought “did I actually see what I think I saw?”

        Apparently I did:

        File under “New Not-so-Cold War” or “Our Famously Free Press” either one.

        1. The Rev Kev

          I have noticed on the news that when you see someone voting in Russia, it is typically a little old lady aged about 70 and never a young girl – like when they interview a Navalny supporter. Same with interviewing people who support Putin. It is nearly very old women in their 60s and 70s. Unless you look for that technique, you never notice it and I have seen this technique being used since the Maidan and here is an example from then which readers may recognize-

 (2:04 mins)

        2. Turtle

          France 24 spelled out the story about the long lines being a protest. Supposedly there was some call for a “noon against Putin”, where everyone who was against Putin would go to the polls at noon. Sky News also showed long lines for the polls at Russian embassies/consulates abroad (UK), interviewed a few people in line who gave anti-Putin soundbites, then claimed that the long lines were essentially all against Putin. It just sounded like intense fist-shaking to me. “We’ll get you yet, Putin!” *shakes fist*

      2. Pat

        I did laugh when Politico was hyperventilating and had to put rigged in their headline. I mean the Western media just spent days pounding their chests and ripping their vestments over Navalny’s martyrdom and Putin gets a record turnout and an approval vote that Western politicians cannot even dream of. Well, that and the fact that Jimmy Carter essentially said no one could confirm the integrity of American elections years ago, and it has only gotten worse.

    2. JohnA

      The western mainstream media are united in going mental in how to describe these results. A Russian woman was interviewed on British TV queuing to vote in London. She explained she was going to vote for Putin and explained why. Cue hysterical demands to expel all Russians from the west. Except in most western countries these days, there is only one uniparty but with 2 different names. As George Galloway put it “2 cheeks on the same backside”. Whichever way you vote you get the same policies, austerity, privatisation, cuts in welfare spending, education and healthcare, more military spending and support for Israel no matter how genocidal that country becomes.

    3. JohnnyGL

      Who’d have thought that the policy of blasting German tanks that are far too close to the Russian border for comfort would be popular with ordinary Russians???

      Take a bow, western leaders, Putin could never have achieved an outcome like this without your help!!!

      I bet he doesn’t even bother trying to tinker with the vote, anymore. He just lets the west manipulate public opinion for him!

      1. Polar Socialist

        If they do rig the vote they’re pretty clever about it: according to the Central Election Commission in some embassy poll stations in Europe the liberal candidate (Davankov) had more votes than Putin.

    4. Jeff V

      The BBC repeatedly mentioned the Russian presidential election over the past few weeks. If the result was a foregone conclusion, as all the BBC reports said it was, then I wonder why they felt it was so newsworthy?

      They also interviewed a lot of very brave dissidents, who will presumably now be dragged off to arctic prison camps. However, the BBC seems to have found it difficult to find and interview any of the 87% who supported Putin.

      I’m not sure if RT will be able to wander round the UK and interview voters in the forthcoming UK general election. I know they are banned from broadcasting in the UK, but that might not prevent them talking to people.

    5. CA

      “Putin is more popular in Russia than any Western leader in its own country.”

      The New York Times had days of articles, telling of just how deep and broad the disdain for and hatred of the Russian president was and is. The Times even promoted a supposed plan by Russian dissidents to jam voting sites at noon so that voting for Putin supporters would be too tedious and difficult. There was even an accompanying photograph of a few Russians waiting to vote at a lone site on Sunday noon.

      The point is that the vilification of Putin has been a concerted Times staple from the days when it became clear that the Russian economy was significantly improving from the disastrous Yeltsin presidency.

      Another president who has had between a 65% and 70% approval rating, while the Times has been fiercely disparaging, is Mexico’s Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

      1. CA

        September 22, 2014

        Snap Out of It
        By David Brooks

        President Vladimir Putin of Russia, a lone thug sitting atop a failing regime….

        October 21, 2014

        Putin and the Pope
        By Thomas L. Friedman

        One keeps surprising us with his capacity for empathy, the other by how much he has become a first-class jerk and thug….

        December 20, 2014

        Who’s Playing Marbles Now?
        By Thomas L. Friedman

        Let us not mince words: Vladimir Putin is a delusional thug….

        December 21, 2014

        Conquest Is for Losers: Putin, Neocons and the Great Illusion
        By Paul Krugman

        Remember, he’s an ex-K.G.B. man — which is to say, he spent his formative years as a professional thug….

        January 27, 2015

        Czar Putin’s Next Moves
        By Thomas L. Friedman

        ZURICH — If Putin the Thug gets away with crushing Ukraine’s new democratic experiment and unilaterally redrawing the borders of Europe, every pro-Western country around Russia will be in danger….

        September 15, 2015

        Obama Weighing Talks With Putin on Syrian Crisis

        WASHINGTON — Mr. Obama views Mr. Putin as a thug, according to advisers and analysts….

        September 20, 2015

        Mr. Putin’s Mixed Messages on Syria

        Mr. Obama considers Mr. Putin a thug, his advisers say….

      2. ilsm

        A few dissident Russians become hordes!

        US coverage of Russia is propaganda.

        Putin is popular largely bc the US tried to destroy Russia in the 1990’s.

        1. ex-PFC Chuck

          The Borg thought they had their man when they propped him up as Acting President on the last day of 1999 but he turned out to be a Russian patriot.

        2. Polar Socialist

          Putin is popular largely bc the US tried to destroy Russia in the 1990’s.

          US is not that omnipotent, Russia did most it to herself. Americans just had the money to exploit the situation – but it was created by the privatizers to prevent Russia ever to return to Socialism. What they managed to destroy was any hope for any liberal getting to power for several generations.

          Putin is popular because he is a populist conservative – he says what the majority wants to hear and provides some tangible benefits. In his “SOTU” speech he promised to bring progressive taxation to Russia: take some of the wealth (and power!) of the rich and give it to the poor. That’s good enough for even the communists to vote him.

          1. Pat

            I’d vote for him if I got the chance. It is certainly is more than our two main candidates are offering here.

            (And in Biden’s case it isn’t like he doesn’t have form on cheapening out on concrete promises he did make to the public, he is probably very reliable for certain sponsors).

  12. FlyoverBoy

    Wow, that Tech Policy Press “backgrounder” on the upcoming Biden social media censorship case was complete Democratic Party bullsh!t. I needed to borrow Lambert’s waders halfway through it. They’re pretending not only that Biden was trying to fight Covid, but that his administration isn’t fighting for the right to censor. Utter fiction. It’s the only kind of reporting that will be in no danger of supporession at all if Congress rams through the TikTok bill (“Gee, that’s quite a dissenting opinion you’ve got there. Are you SURE you aren’t motivated to lie by your menacing foreign ownership?”).

    1. steppenwolf fetchit

      ” Gee, that’s quite a dissenting opinion platform you’ve got there. Too bad if something was to happen to it.”

    1. Carolinian

      Of course it does apply but Boeing’s quality is likely a lot better than your average Detroit road hog.

      The news media obsess over airplanes because they spend a lot of time on them. But air safety used to be vastly worse than it is now. I could provide a list of the movie stars who died in air crashes.

  13. Ghost in the Machine

    What Might the US Owe the World for Covid-19? Jeffrey D. Sachs, Common Dreams

    I am surprised nobody commented on this yesterday. The summary of the evidence presented in the linked mathematical biologist Alex Washburne’s post at the end of Sachs’ article is devastating. The evidence is now well beyond a reasonable doubt. So what is accountability going to look like? Sachs makes a good point. Authorities in the US and China are doing a good job so far keeping this under the radar of most people, but what happens when people find out their loved one’s death, their job losses, their ill health, long covid in their child etc. is due to a scientific project gone awry? That a large measure of responsibility goes to people we can name: Anthony Fauci, Peter Daszak, Ralph Baric, and Shi ZhengLi? That Daszak shipped the project to Wuhan so it could be done more cheaply under BSL-2 conditions (from FOI documents)? These people have a major hand in the deaths of 10s of millions and the maiming of 10s (100s?) of millions more. Trillions in damages and possibly the slow grinding collapse in public health generally.

    ‘Lab-leak’ proponents at Rutgers accused of defaming and intimidating COVID-19 origin researchers Science

    The Rutgers scientists are right to be angry and are accurate in their accusations as far as I can tell.

    “Andersen says he and his colleagues aren’t yet planning to file a defamation lawsuit against Ebright and Nickels, like the one that recently won climate scientist Michael Mann more than $1 million. “I don’t really want to see it go that way,” Andersen says. “I would much rather that we get back to proper scientific discourse where we can agree and disagree.””

    I am sure they won’t file a suit! That would really open things up!

    Andersen was the lead author on “The proximal origin of SARS-CoV-2” nature paper claiming zoonotic origin. I thought it was very weak when I first read it (this is a nature paper!?!), and we now know from FOI requests on emails that it was conceived and written in bad faith. It is true Andersen is a liar! I was a biomedical research scientist for 20 years and know many scientists still. All except one, who is well aware of the evidence and realizes it is a lab leak (and the two other scientists in my family who I have forwarded the compilations done by people like Sachs and who have conceded it is a lab leak), claim zoonotic origin, but can cite no evidence. They can cite the proximal origins Nature paper, but usually haven’t read it nor can restate its arguments. I understand their reluctance. Should people trust the judgement of scientists? No! I am saddened by what it means for the field of science as well.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      Thank you for highlighting this. Just went and read it, and Sachs lays out a very good argument.

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      Your comment also motivated me to go back and read the Sachs link. This sentence from the middle of the conclusion disturbs me greatly:
      “The second is a worldwide halt on GoF research until an independent global scientific body sets grounds rules for biosafety.”
      I cannot think of what benefit GoF research might provide and its dangers are manifest. I am not sure I would trust any ground rules for biosafety no matter who cooks them up and who enforces them.

      Another matter — assuming the u.s. DoD is keen to built bioweapons — does it make sense to contract with a lab in China to perform the research because performing the research at a BSL2 laboratory in China “…makes our system highly cost effective…”? I thought DoD and friends were anxious to initiate a conflict with China. It is very thoughtful to help Chinese scientists find funds for their research but I thought China already did a great deal to fund their own scientists performing their own research. I thought the u.s. had trained up a large cohort of research scientists of its own all scrounging for funds to perform research. Instead of playing at constructing bioweapons perhaps even DoD money might be better spent supporting basic research into the details of how viruses and other pathogens work, and how immune systems work … and not just human immune systems.

    3. Turtle

      Another thank you. Absolutely devastating summary of the case for the lab theory of COVID19 origins.

    4. SD

      Particularly enraging is that the NIH’s desire for cost savings seems to have driven the decision to locate the research in Wuhan and to conduct it at BSL 2 rather than at least 3.

    5. marku52

      Yes, thank you for the reminder. How could you possibly be one of the guilty parties and not be horrifed by what you had done? 10s of millions of deaths.

    6. XXYY

      This is one of the most remarkable news stories I can remember. Yet, as Ghost notes, it sank with barely a ripple. If Sachs isn’t an establishment figure, I don’t know who is, but that seemed to make no difference. Perhaps the story falls through some kind of sociological gap: half the people are already convinced of his point, and the other half find it so far out there that the whole thing is unthinkable.

      Something Sachs didn’t mention is that Ukraine was found to be filled with weird western-funded clandestine research labs also doing gain-of-function research on viruses. So this weird and deadly-dangerous program apparently goes far beyond China and into other countries, who knows where? And why?

      Another thing Sachs didn’t bring up was that this explanation goes far to explain frantic and otherwise-inexplicable efforts by Western governments to downplay the covid pandemic and desperately try to put it in the rearview mirror. One would think that the US government would be thrilled to have a huge global catastrophe that they could blame squarely on China, but there has been a strange silence here.

      Hopefully the reality of what’s been going on will sooner or later come to light.

  14. The Rev Kev

    “China’s economic plans make a trade war likely whether Biden or Trump wins the presidency’

    At this stage of the game I think that it is baked into the cake that there will be escalating confrontations with China by next year. Ukraine? Where’s that? What’s Gaza? Trump and the Republicans have a bee in their bonnet about China and even with Biden and the Democrats, they are recruiting senior people that are China hawks into leading positions. So I think that we should check at home to see if there is anything vital that we need that comes from China and get it in this year before the trade disruptions have a chance to kick in.

    1. CA

      Arnaud Bertrand @RnaudBertrand

      Another great example of sanctions backfiring.

      In 2019, due to US sanctions, Huawei was banned from using Android, the operating system on which most of its devices ran. The US thought this would be a killer blow to the company.

      Undeterred, Huawei decided to develop its own homegrown OS – HarmonyOS – something everyone at the time said was impossible, due to the enormous complexity of the task.

      Fast forward 5 years, HarmonyOS is now running on no less than 700 million devices in China and is about to overtake Apple’s iOS.

      Huawei’s homegrown operating system, launched after the company was put on a U.S. blacklist, may soon overtake Apple’s iOS in China

      7:50 PM · Mar 17, 2024

    2. Lee

      Western elites sent capital and jobs to China for higher rates of return, telling us at the time we would get cheaper goods and that the Chinese, by becoming incorporated into our economic system, would magically, naturally, or by other mysterious means become more like us ideologically and politically. But it turns out they are, among other things, economic nationalists. In this regard our politicians are starting to make noises that sound like them. History sometimes repeats, sometimes rhymes, and is rife with irony.

  15. nippersdad

    That Atlantic Council article, “Help Ukraine win or else”, was an amazing array of admissions against interest passing as rationales for compounding their errors in judgment. The whole “support my wars or become a third world nation” didn’t sound threatening at all./s

    A long time ago there used to be this internet meme of stick figures running around with their hair on fire. This looked just like a verbal variant on the theme. Couldn’t happen to nicer people.

  16. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Help Ukraine win—or risk kicking off a US losing streak

    Kicking off a losing streak? Has the Atlantic Council been woofing down too many uncooked morels?!?!? Was Afghanistan “winning”?!?!? How about Iraq – what did the US win there other than offing Saddam? Vietnam, Korea?!?!? I missed have missed all the “winning” the US has been doing over the last 75 years or so. Maybe the Atlantic Council is pining for the glory days of the Grenada invasion….

    1. The Rev Kev

      Granada? Isn’t that the one where the US sent in 7,300 troops to take on 1,300 Granadan troops and about 780 Cubans? And when the invasion was going sideways, the US had to commit all their reserves. And when it was all over, more medals were awarded than there were soldiers that took part in that campaign. Not quite how Clint Eastwood pictured it in his 1986 film “Heartbreak Ridge”.

    2. Feral Finster

      “Vote for Moar War or This Cute Puppy Gets Shot!”

      The Atlantic Council will get the war that they so crave.

    1. Mikel

      I guess not enough of them speak a foreign language well enough to spin a tale about how they don’t have any papers. They could get some cash, a kick-ass shelter, and the rides to get there.

      1. tegnost

        yeah, I’ve got to get started on those spanish language lessons so I can say I’m from venezuela if I need to go to the doctor

        1. Mikel

          You’re joking. I’m looking at all my Spanish course material over the years that I’ve kept. Looking like one of the best investments in the room right now.
          Thinking about a private tutor to get me back up to speed and help me accelerate faster.
          Never know when an emergency plan B will be needed.

        2. Mikel

          It’s almost like one is forced to have at least one scam up the sleeve to survive in the USA.

    2. Mikel

      Arizona sees VT’s warehouses and says, “hold my beer”:
      As housing costs skyrocket, Sedona will allow workers to live in cars. Residents aren’t happy
      Sedona City Council approves ‘safe’ parking for workers living in their cars

  17. i just don't like the gravy

    Giant sequoia carbon sequestration in UK

    So when these die because of freezing temps caused by AMOC collapse, do I get to keep my carbon credits?

    1. The Rev Kev

      No, but you get the right to chop them up for firewood to try to stop you freezing to death after the AMOC collapse.

    2. Wukchumni

      Giant Sequoias grow to nearly 9,000 feet in the Sierra Nevada, I’d guess they can take freezing temps just fine in Blighty.

      The most impressive ones i’ve seen outside of the Sierra are in NZ, where they grow much quicker than in their natural environment, and have adapted to EnZed in particular with really low branches, some which droop to the ground. You’ll rarely see a Giant Sequoia in the Sierra with the lowest limb below 30 feet above the ground, which allowed them to be somewhat fireproof until the 2020 & 2021 wildfires that killed nearly 20% of them.

      I’d propose growing ‘Treehenge’ somewhere off the beaten track in the South Island, a circle of say 20 of them.

      My dad loved Sequoias and planted 30 of them in our home in LA around 1970, and I last hung out with the 13 survivors before mom sold the house almost a decade ago.

      With a bit of luck, perhaps the bakers dozen will live a thousand years or more.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Have you ever swung by your old LA home to see if those Sequoias are still there and if they have grown any? You might even see them on Google StreetView.

        1. Wukchumni

          I’d feel awkward doing it as i’d have to trespass to get to them.

          They were about 60 feet tall and one of them was listing over the neighbor’s yard, when I last paid a visit.

          1. The Rev Kev

            Maybe a satellite view of your old haunts will indicate how many of them are still standing. I did so for the home where I grew up in which showed me the many changes – including how the large backyard was totally built out.

            1. ambrit

              When I tried for a satellite view on our old house on Miami Beach, the present owners had had the views pixelated out. I didn’t know you could have that done.
              Still, the King Tides now regularly flood Lincoln Road on the Beach now. Miami is doomed, it just hasn’t accepted the fact yet.

  18. The Rev Kev

    “Lawsuits About FBI Warrantless Search of Safe Deposit Boxes Allowed to Proceed ‘

    That is just government theft and I bet that the government has no records of what happened to the missing cash, gold coins, etc. Tis a mystery. So you wonder if the FBI will claim that they be awarded this case on the grounds of national security which they cannot disclose to the court? Or will they sue the contents of each security box and it will be up to the owner/s to prove the innocence of that cash, etc. Not the first time that this has happened either.

    1. flora

      Taking the awful “asset forfeiture” program to new lows. Like a smash and grab looting spree by the Feds.

  19. Mikel

    I wonder if getting foreign fake identities to middle class American job seekers will become a big business?

    1. flora

      Tyson closed down a pork processing plant that employed 1200+ people, over half of whom were unionized. Tyson made noises about costs, prices, etc etc.


      Tyson hiring migrants while laying off US workers is the ‘decimation of the American Dream’: Top Republican

      “As Tyson Foods announced it is shuttering an Iowa pork factory that will lead to more than 1,000 lost jobs, the company reportedly met with and hired migrants in Manhattan for positions at a Tennessee plant.

      “After announcing it will join with the Tent Partnership for Refugees, staff from the poultry heavyweight engaged with asylum seekers at the New York office of Chobani yogurt, whose CEO Hamdi Ulukaya founded the charity.”

      Wow, doesn’t that sound so virtuous, so charitable, so goood? We want to hire people for less money that we have to pay our current workers. We’re philanthropists!

      It it any surprise the Dems and B are losing the working class vote?

      1. Mikel

        A few years ago, I told NC they might want to get ready to have a whole section dedicated to the child labor shenanigans.

      2. Mikel

        If I had a child applying to universities, I’d say look overseas. Get that school on the resume and come back.
        Algorithms may be less likely to toss resume.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      Love to see how that turns out. A few years ago I pointed out to our city manager that there were some local businesses refusing to accept cash, and I thought that was likely illegal. We found out that it is not illegal, and unless there is some other law requiring it, nobody actually must accept cash as payment. From the Federal Reserve, and filled with weasel words –

      “There is no federal statute mandating that a private business, a person, or an organization must accept currency or coins as payment for goods or services. Private businesses are free to develop their own policies on whether to accept cash unless there is a state law that says otherwise.”

      Could be that a court would construe the NPS as an “organization”. Congress should create a federal statute saying that cash must be accepted within the US as payment if offered. They should, but they won’t. Too busy lining their pockets with donations from the likes of Sam Banking-Fraud.

      1. playon

        I don’t understand how that can be as it says right on the bills that it’s “legal tender for all debts public and private”.

        1. lyman alpha blob

          That was my original thought too – it says right on the cash that you have to accept it. But then a lawyer pointed out that Fed website.

  20. The Rev Kev

    ‘Chartbook 270: How Russia makes missiles – an important report from Rhodus Intelligence ‘

    Lots of teeth-grinding in how the Russkies are doing this but there is one thing missing to this story. Not one mention of washing-machine chips. Now isn’t that odd.

    1. Mikel

      Here’s what gets me. Tooze has done enough in depth research on economies during war to have suspected a lot of this himself… from the beginning.

    2. vao

      Not one mention of washing-machine chips. Now isn’t that odd.

      They have exhausted their stock of washing-machines. Now they rely upon dishwashers.

      Now this reminds me: there was talk of dishwashers and washing machines built with chips that implemented fuzzy logic — which was the hot topic 35 years ago. I have never heard about that again, or for that matter, about fuzzy logic.

      1. Polar Socialist

        Fuzzy logic was merely a step allowing algorithms to make “decisions” in a non-binary situations. It evolved into gradient descent and basically what we call AI today.

  21. DF

    I wonder how much of the declining consumer sentiment, in addition to higher interest costs, is due to the general lower quality of everything.

    The New Atlas article mentioned the plummeting quality of new cars as one example. As another source of anecdata, in the last few weeks, we had to get a mattress we bought 2-3 years ago replaced due to part of it collapsing (some of the fabric was frayed as well, which suggests poor QA). In addition, we bought a new microwave two months ago that just completely died.

    1. DF

      Also, now that I’m thinking of it, our 1-2 year old dishwasher had the circulation pump die. I replaced it, only to have that one die within a few weeks.

      So far, so good on the new one.

      1. Amfortas the Hippie

        whenever i hear such tales, i glance at my grandma’s waring blender, over there in the kitchen. circa late 50’s/early 60’s…i replaced the switch a few years ago(apparently, theres a warehouse somewhere with such parts)
        otherwise all original.
        heavy fluted glass…bakelite lid.
        works like a dream.
        i made margaritas with it just the other day

    2. Ed S.

      You’re not alone.

      A handful of observations on recent purchases (last 5-6 years):

      * 2018 Subaru repaired twice in 5 years for engine seals – first under warranty, second $1K+ (same model from 2007 nothing but routine/required maintenance)
      * 2021 Dodge Van that would warn “Check Brakes” going down a hill of more than 3 degrees (dealer couldn’t find anything wrong and I was told by Stellantis that “it’s supposed to do that”. Three years later Stellantis reflashed the computer system when the vehicle was in for a different recall and the message stopped)
      * $2k gas range that would “preheat” by going up to 500 degrees irrespective of the temperature set – which rendered it useless for baking (another “that’s the way the oven is supposed to work” comment from the manufacturer) – was able to return after a protracted fight
      * Replacement for above (cheapest gas range I could get) has convection feature which simply doesn’t work (since new); would be nice to have but just couldn’t bother fighting over.
      * New washing machine when set to hot wash would only provide water at 95 degrees Fahreinheit (replaced 3 times – each time the installer immediately said “there’s something wrong with your plumbing” ignoring that the washer just removed provided hot wash)
      * 2 year old $1500 dishwasher broke and flooded the kitchen floor

      There are more that I don’t remember. New products are poor and the manufacturers simply don’t care and/or lie to your face.

  22. Feral Finster

    “We don’t intervene in American politics, and we expect to be treated with the same respect.” — Israeli government spokesperson Tal Heinrich to Newsmax

    To be able to say that with a straight face must have required some Olympic champion chutzpah, right there.

    1. Dr. John Carpenter

      A great philosopher once said: it’s not a lie if you believe it. And I’m sure she does.

    2. Anon

      The gall of Israel to assert it and the United States are equals… I’m shocked Republicans could stomach that one.

  23. Mikel

    “Publishing Models That Rely on Gig Workers Are Bad For Everybody” Literary Hub.

    If anyone wants to see someone that went thru the exercise of demonstrating how bad the grift is with this fraud expose:
    Contrepreneurs: The Mikkelsen Twins

    Basically, demonstration of how one get rich quick scheme involving self-publishing also involves teaching the people they scam how to scam by taking advantage of that pooled, gig writer model.

  24. Lee

    The hunt for long COVID answers zeroes in on causes Axios

    Researchers probing those theories are studying antivirals Paxlovid and Valtrex and the substance use disorder medication naltrexone, which can reduce inflammation.

    Both these medications have been used for quite awhile in treatment of ME/CFS and which I’ve been taking for some years now. They have ameliorated but not eliminated my symptoms which are the post-acute sequelae from a serious respiratory infection in 2006.

    The good news is that more money and effort are being put into finding causes and cures of these post-acute chronic illnesses, the bad news being that it has taken millions of new cases to attract said money and effort.

    Also from the article:

    “We have strategies for management … the things you need to do on a day-to-day basis to function, even if that means not being able to do everything that you want to do,” Yonts said. “And we have labs that can help us right now at least go in a certain direction towards treatment.”

    I was able to adopt the strategy of management of not doing everything I wanted to do because I was then eligible for payments from my defined benefit pension (remember those?), and if careful, no longer had to work to maintain a modest but adequate standard of living. If the disease had hit me during my working years, I assume I would have been well and truly phkt and probably long gone by now.

    1. Lee

      Clarification: Both the medications to which I refer are Valtrex and Naltrexone. I’ve not yet needed nor taken Paxlovid.

  25. Mikel

    Fascinating: now we know what the French think of Macron’s new warmongering attitude vis à vis Russia… and they absolutely hate it!

    That’s pretty much the story all over the world. People who have to do the dying have other views.

    1. caucus99percenter

      Link doesn’t work for me in Germany (—> goes to a website error message / picture of a poodle)

      1. Mikel

        Try it from above. It’s a copy paste from today’s NC links. May have hit something off during the copy paste…

    2. Feral Finster

      Very few people in France are in favor of Macron’s war, and among those few who are, they certainly don’t want to go fight themselves.

      Doesn’t matter. Macron will not ask the people what they think or want.

  26. Carolinian


    Rutenberg two election cycles ago authored the seminal article on “oppositional” journalism in the Trump age. “Trump is Testing the Norms of Objectivity in Journalism” came out in summer of 2016, and was hugely influential. It said Trump was such a threat that the job going forward could no longer just be about reporting facts, but reporting facts that will “stand up to history’s judgment.”

    Always worth some Wayback

    NYT….home of the norms fairies. Twas ever thus according to Hedges.

    1. Feral Finster

      Hedges is back to mewling about “Christian Fascism” right around the corner, the beloved pet and Once And Forever Team D Boogeyman.

      I got news for you, Chris – we already have fascism, right here, right now, and if you read the fine print of the TikTok ban, Congress gave Biden the censorship power.

      1. steppenwolf fetchit

        America is a big place. Its got room for Corporate Biz-Fascism and Christian Kultur-Fascism at the same time.

        And Hedges has mewled about Corporate Biz-Fascism in the past and I am sure he will mewl about it in the future.

        So despair not of Chris Hedges. He will remain on the case.

  27. Mikel

    An update on PE’s gobbling up of music catalog…

    “…Like the major Hollywood studios that keep pumping out movies tied to already popular products, music’s new overlords are milking their acquisitions by building extended multimedia universes around songs, many of which were hits in the Cold War — think concerts starring holographic versions of long-dead musicians, TV tie-ins and splashy celebrity biopics. As the big money muscles these aging ditties back to our cultural consciousness, it leaves artists on the lower rungs left to fight over algorithmic scraps, with the music streaming giant Spotify recently eliminating payouts for songs with fewer than 1,000 annual streams….”

  28. steppenwolf fetchit

    . . . ”
    Israel War on Gaza
    ‘He’s lost my vote’: Many Irish Americans turn against Biden over Gaza war
    A series of protests on St Patrick’s Day points to the threat Biden faces from the loss of a key vote in swing states. ”

    Between losing the Arab Americans, the Irish Americans, and the TikTok Americans; Biden is losing a lot of support. And he will lose more support.

    The election is Biden’s to lose. And he is busy losing it.

  29. Cat Burglar

    REI has been pretty good about their environmental work, but they have always had a severely hierachical and anti-worker management.

    Working in a shop across the street from the Seattle REI, and having a lot of REI worker friends, I got to hear lots of the greatest hits. Every one of them complained about the inconsistent scheduling that made it impossible to predict your income or plan your week. Hours were very carefully maintained below a certain rolling average so nobody could qualify for the health plan — though once management had their hair on fire when somebody screwed up the calculation and workers actually qualified by mistake! Back in the 90s you better not have had piercings, or you would be compelled to remove them, cover them with bandaids, or leave employment (in Seattle this was held to be a consequence of REI corporate headquarters hiring from culturally backward regions; my friends with piercings were fingered for punishment by corporate staffers who found their piercings “made them uncomfortable,” even though they had won customer service awards). The day before the big annual sale, corporate headquarters staff would be allowed first crack at any bargains, before the low-paid retail workers or the public (this was bitterly resented). The protestor with the sign complaining about no merit pay may have been pointing out a difference between retail and corporate staff compensation. Nobody ever complained about low pay, because that is a given in the outdoor industry that fuels all the other discontent, and REI is no exception.

    REI’s management style began as a result of their reorganization by creditors following near-bankruptcy in the 1970s, and new management was hired. Creditors (including Seafirst Bank, noted for its political connections and work with the Seattle Police’s red squad to crush the antiwar movement in the 60s, and its eventual collapse in the Penn Square scandal) replaced the governing board. They brought REI out of the crisis, but many of my older Seattle friends point out that it is not really a co-op after the reorganization, and have very bitter feelings about it still.

    Class struggle is alive and well at REI. Looking into the employee break room from the street one day, I could see drawings of spacecraft on the chalkboard, with one saying to the other, “Luke, that’s not a planet — that’s a fully operational flagship store!”

  30. caucus99percenter

    > Birds Eat Poop A Lot, And Scientists Are Still Trying to Figure Out Why (Science Alert)

    My immediate reaction was, oh fer goodness’ sake — hey, scientists, don’t you be giving the WEF / the Davos set any more ideas.

    You just know what’s going to come out of this research — “You vil eat ze bugs dung and be happy.”

  31. thousand points of green

    When I read the article about global warming drought-flood cycles reducing the American cattle herd, I wonder how Gabe Brown’s ranch-including the cattle part of it–is doing up in North Dakota. I am assuming North Dakota has been getting some of the same global warming drought-flood cycles which the further south parts of the Great Plains have been getting.

    It would be instructive to see if his soil-management regime has been giving him better cattle maintainance results than more mainstream operations have been getting. Hopefully Acres USA will be covering this and giving reports.

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