Links 3/30/2024

Dear patient readers,

We have not gotten much in the way of animal picture for quite a while. Twitter links are always welcome but we need an image for our landing page. Thanks! Please send to yves-at-nakedcapitalism-dot-com.

China, Russia Launch Joint Lab on Siberian Tiger Conservation in Northeast China InfoBRICS

NYC Diet Contributed to Flaco’s Fatal Plunge, Necropsy Finds THE CITY :-(

Stoicism is more popular than ever. Too bad it’s so incoherent now. Washington Post (Anthony L)

James Wham – Riddle of the Sands Literary Review (Anthony L)

The film fans who refuse to surrender to streaming: ‘One day you’ll barter bread for our DVDs’ Guardian (Kevin W)

The Week: A History of the Unnatural Rhythms That Made Us Who We Are Economic History Association (Chuck L)

Ozempic maker Novo Nordisk facing pressure as study finds $1,000 appetite suppressant can be made for just $5 Fortune (furzy)

Vegetables are losing their nutrients. Can the decline be reversed? Guardian (Kevin W). This is a long-standing issue. The USDA said in 1938 (no typo) that soils had become so depleted that it recommended vitamin and mineral supplements.



Biden promised to install thousands of EV charging stations. Only 7 have been built. Washington Post (Kevin W)


South Korea is zooming ahead with the mass production of its KF-21 fighter jet, and China won’t be happy South China Morning Post

Old Blighty

Hospital admissions for waterborne diseases in England up 60%, report shows Guardian (Kevin W)

Thames Water bills likely to rise as UK ministers try to save company Financial Times (Kevin W)


‘Operation Al-Aqsa Flood’ Day 175: ICJ orders Israel to stop famine in Gaza as Israel continues to raid hospitals Mondoweiss

Colonialists used starvation as a tool of oppression The Conversation (Dr. Kevin)

* * *

* * *

Is­rael de­fence chief threat­ens to ex­pand Gaza war to ‘more dis­tant places’ Aljazeera

US approves transfer of over 2,000 bombs, 25 F-35s to Israel — report Times of Israel (Kevin W)

Israel ‘starting to focus on specific targets in southern Lebanon’ Arab News

* * *

War on Gaza: We were lied into genocide. Al Jazeera has shown us how Middle East Eye

Israel quietly rolled out a mass facial recognition program in the Gaza Strip The Verge

* * *

New Not-So-Cold War

Ukraine SitRep: Syrski’s Interview – Mobilizing – De-Energization Moon of Alabama

Future of the SMO: Russian Army Think-Tank Breakdown + UGVs Enter the Fray Simplicius the Thinker

* * *

War a real threat and Europe not ready, warns Poland’s Tusk BBC

Macron struggling to justify cash for Ukraine – Le Monde RT

A Polish general dies deep in Ukraine Asia Times (Li). This claim picked up earlier by some YouTubers, certainly Alex Christoforu, IIRC Alexander Mercouris too.

Imperial Collapse Watch

By Way of Deception: State Department Pretending It Recognizes the Geneva Conventions Sam Husseini

This is the way the West ends Asia Times (Kevin W)

Patrick Lawrence: Imperium: Decline on the Way to Fall ScheerPost (Anthony L)

South Carolina has $1.8 billion but doesn’t know where the money came from or where it should go Associated Press (Chuck L)


The Gag and the Goad: Trump Should Appeal Latest Gag Order Jonathan Turley

Trump aims his ire at spouses, children of judges at heart of legal troubles The Hill

Trump appeals ruling keeping Fani Willis on Georgia case The Hill

‘Sacrilege,’ theology, and the shadow of Christian nationalism CNN (furzy)


Hundreds of anti-Israel protesters denounce Biden as ‘war criminal’ outside star-studded, $25M Radio City fundraiser New York Post (Li)

Biden restores threatened species protections dropped by Trump Associated Press (furzy)

RFK, Jr.

Nicole Shanahan calls IVF ‘one of the biggest lies being told about women’s health’ Politico (furzy)

GOP Clown Car

Ron DeSantis Claims Victory Over Disney And All He Had To Do Was Give Disney Everything They Wanted Above the Law (furzy)

Falling Down Bridge

Dali Timeline from Data Recorder in Striking Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, March 26, 2024 What is Going on With Shipping? YouTube

Behind the Baltimore bridge collapse is a familiar story of a corporation cutting corners Salon. Paul R: “I wonder if Boeing was involved.”

Could tugboats have helped avert the bridge collapse tragedy in Baltimore? Associated Press (Kevin W)

Baltimore Drive-By: The Bridge, the City, and Infra-Structural Racism R.J. Eskow (Randy K)

Our No Longer Free Press


We must protect the free expression of the past as much as for ourselves and our inheritors. American Mind (Chuck L)

Police State Watch

This is how reporters documented 1,000 deaths after police force that isn’t supposed to be fatal MPR News (Chuck L)

Woke Watch

Not Everything Is About Gender Atlantic (Anthony L)


AI already uses as much energy as a small country. It’s only the beginning. Vox (Kevin W)

Michael Stern defaults on Brooklyn’s tallest tower Real Deal (BC). Commercial real estate distress becoming more visible.

The Bezzle

Judge’s scathing rebuke of Sam Bankman-Fried as he hands him 25 years Daily Mail (Li). Read down to the coin toss quote.

Equinix Exposed: Major Accounting Manipulation, Core Business Decay And Selling An AI Pipe Dream As Insiders Cashed Out Hundreds of Millions Hindenberg Research (Paul R)

Class Warfare

The Deaths of Effective Altruism Wired. Important. Anthony L: “‘I’m fond of effective altruists. When you meet one, ask them how many people they’ve killed.'”

Raymond Williams’s Resources for Hope Dissent Magazine (Anthony L)

Fired Americans Say Indian Firm Gave Their Jobs to H-1B Visa Holders Wall Street Journal (Li)

CHIPS Ahoy for Stock Buybacks R Us! Les Leopold, Scheerpost (Micael T)

Antidote du jour:

And a bonus:

A second bonus:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. Antifa

    (melody borrowed from Auld Lang Syne a traditional Scottish hymn as performed by The Irish Rovers)

    The factories of Germany
    Were once the finest kind
    Because of low cost energy
    From our Nordstream pipeline

    Our Nordstream pipeline, my dear
    Our Nordstream pipeline
    The lowest price a man could get
    Our Nordstream pipeline

    Deutschland was Europe’s driving force
    A colossus on the Rhine
    Till Biden and some sneaky Norse
    Killed our Nordstream pipeline

    Our Nordstream pipeline, my dear
    Our Nordstream pipeline
    Yes, Norway did aid and abet
    On our Nordstream pipeline

    The Swedes and Danes have gathered clues
    And kept those clues offline
    What truth lies in the residues
    Of our Nordstream pipeline?

    Our Nordstream pipeline, my dear
    Our Nordstream pipeline
    The EU looks more like Tibet
    Our Nordstream pipeline

    (musical interlude)

    Our factories are sailing East
    Across the foamy brine
    With three explosions we got fleeced
    Our Nordstream pipeline

    Our Nordstream pipeline, my dear
    Our Nordstream pipeline
    A fraud we are forced to forget
    Our Nordstream pipeline

    We can’t afford a safety net
    Or unemployment lines
    We lost our only real asset:
    Our Nordstream pipeline

      1. Skip Intro

        ISIS-B – The Bornholm Bunch

        The US actually gave advance warning to Germany to avoid relying on Russian energy in the period 2010-2030.

  2. The Rev Kev

    “Israel ‘starting to focus on specific targets in southern Lebanon’ ”

    They certainly are. Just a few days ago they hit a medical clinic In Lebanon and killed seven paramedics which seems to be in alignment with their standard operational procedure. I sometimes think that you could give IDF soldiers a sort of Rorschach test, that you would get interesting results. So you show them an image of a hospital and ask them what they see and they will answer ‘It’s a Hamas command post!’ Show them an image of civilians with their hands in the air and carrying a white flag and they will shout ‘It’s a Hamas commando suicide squad.’ It would explain a lot-

    1. Carolinian

      When the Germans invaded Belgium at the beginning of WW1 they were outraged by Belgians snipers and called them “terrorists” during harsh reprisals. In the next world war the Germans again called resistance members in occupied lands terrorists. Now Israel refers to anyone who opposes them with weapons as terrorists. It has always been a way to pretend that some violence, which always generates fear, is more legitimate than another based on a kind of arbitrary lawfare or perhaps law of war lawfare. You could almost call it “rules based.”

      Language is a weapon too–perhaps the most deadly.

      1. XXYY

        People in the US who smuggled out film of brutal animal processing facilities have come to be prosecuted under anti-terrorism laws despite being completely non-violent.

        The word is basically just a cudgel for braining people you don’t like.

      2. The Rev Kev

        When the US invaded Iraq and found themselves fighting the Iraqi resistance, they labelled them terrorists too instead of people fighting to defend their own country. By the same logic that would have made the Americans fighting the British during the American Revolution terrorists as well.

        1. Carolinian

          I think they did call them that here in SC where a bit of a guerilla war took place after the British invaded Charleston. Eventually though we whipped the dreaded Tarleton at the nearby Battle of Cowpens. My town’s central square has a statue of Daniel Morgan.

          The period was covered in a not very good Mel Gibson movie called, I believe, The Patriot.

      3. rowlf

        Didn’t the British get driven out of Palestine by terrorists, who also assassinated several European officials?

        So strange to hear of terrorists complaining about being attacked by terrorists.

        1. Synoia

          Yes, in 1948 the British evacuated their Citizens. How do I know this?

          My parents were among the evacuees. and Israel was a matter of discussion in our house.

    2. CA

      Sophia @les_politiques

      Not the first time: Israel hits the UN peacekeeping force in South Lebanon.

      Every time tensions rise, Israel strikes the UN peacekeeping force to force its withdrawal, and to intimidate the UN and participating countries.

      Israeli strike in southern Lebanon hit car carrying UN observers — security sources

      9:18 AM · Mar 30, 2024

    3. Aurelien

      This has been going on for a long time, and it’s surprising that this English-language Saudi site has only just picked up on it. The Israelis are trying to avoid getting involved in a conventional war with Hezbollah, where they do not have an advantage. Instead, they are using drones and other high-tech systems to locate and kill key Hezbollah commanders and destroy their buildings and facilities. Hezbollah can reply with long-range artillery, but they don’t have the level of ISR to be sure that they are striking the right targets. The Israelis have also been bombing Hezbollah targets further north in the Bekaa valley, and, I have been told, an air base constructed by Hezbollah in the south of the country. There are signs that this is hurting Hezbollah badly, because they are losing experienced top commanders, such as those who fought in Syria, and so they may not be averse to some kind of withdrawal agreement, at least a temporary one, which will give them a chance to regroup and retrain.

      1. Emma

        Okay, Israel has them on the run. That’s why Israel has now expanded their attacks to UN peacekeepers and while civilian targets. And why wouldn’t Hezbollah abandon their homes in southern Lebanon for an agreement with Israel? Their experience from the last 50 years show that it’s a perfectly reasonable solution to a temporary setback, no? /s

        Hezbollah couldn’t possibly be holding back to maintain escalatory control and try to avoid another 1982. Or waiting for the battlefield to shape in ways more favorable to when they do move. No, it must be because their Syria hardened troops couldn’t effectively fight against Israel’s Tiktok army on the ground and don’t have Uncle Sugar’s signal intelligence to assassinate Israeli commanders in their family homes like the IDF does.

        1. Aurelien

          That would require a long explanation, but if you’ll really accept a short one, in spite of your sarcastic tone, it runs as follows. Hezbollah can make a ground assault by Israel into Southern Lebanon at least prohibitively costly, if not downright impossible. A lot has changed since 2006, on both sides, but that still seems to be the judgement of people who know the ground.

          Therefore, Hezbollah would actually welcome an Israeli invasion, because they would be fighting on prepared ground that they know well, and could play the “defenders of the nation” card once more. The worst option for them would be an invasion of Israel itself, because they would be wiped out, and they know it. On the other hand, the Israelis (the military anyway) do not want to invade Lebanon for the reasons given above, but the fragmented government is coming under severe pressure to do something so that the 80,000 refugees from the border areas can return home. In the early stages, when it seemed Gaza was only going to last a few weeks or a month, rocketing Israel and being rocketed back was a piece of performative politics that showed that Hezbollah was actually doing something, and in turn the Israelis could say they were retaliating.

          However, the war has gone on much longer than people realised, and Hezbollah, like Israel, is effectively trapped. Somewhere around 100,000 Lebanese have fled the border region, and many of them constitute part of Hezbollah’s key constituency. They want to go back and both they, and the Shia community more generally, are losing patience with Hezbollah, who they see (not entirely unfairly) as having dragged Lebanon into an open-ended conflict, to please Iran. Needless to say, other groups in Lebanon feel this at least equally strongly. But Hezbollah can’t now stop until the violence in Gaza stops, and, whilst they don’t want an Israeli invasion (for which they will be blamed), it may be the least bad solution for them.

          The kind of war which is being fought out now is a high-technology one at distance. In this, Israel has an advantage, especially in the use of drones and electronic warfare. Attacking at a distance is all about accuracy and precision, and they have both better knowledge of where and when to strike, and better technology to do so. In this sense they have learned from the 2006 war, and Hezbollah doesn’t have the technology to defeat their new capabilities. They may acquire it from Iran, but I don’t know. Therefore, attack for attack, Israel is degrading Hezbollah much more than the reverse, and can strike well away from the frontier (eg in the Bekaa) whereas Hezbollah is limited in range.

          For all these reasons, and because this is the Middle East, there have been whispers that Hezbollah might withdraw its forces perhaps ten kilometres from the border and stop the attacks, which in turn would give the Israelis an excuse to stop theirs. At that point, the Israelis would be able to avoid a land invasion they don’t want, and the refugees on both sides could go back home. I have no idea whether this will work, or whether it is even a realistic policy, but given the nature of Middle East politics I wouldn’t rule it out.

          All this was simply because I thought I should record that Arab News was about three months behind the curve, in reporting that Israel was focusing on specific targets, and tried to explain why. Is that clear now?

          1. Emma

            That’s not a military argument or something internal to Hezbollah’s mission. That’s just saying that the same Christian and Sunni compradors who are always willing to cave to Israel and the West with a little pressure, wants to sell out the people of the South and abandon Gazans to their fates.

            Hezbollah didn’t fire at Israel first. They escalated to match Israeli actions. They’re not the ones who have now moved onto clearly civilian targets and open assassinations of political figures in family homes. If Israel wants to stop the cycle of violence all they have to do is stop attacking Southern Lebanon.

            Why would Hezbollah agree to an unilateral surrender and abandoning their people in the south when they’re matching Israeli escalation turn for turn, and have the ability to inflict far greater pain in Haifa and Tel Aviv if they decide their core mission is more important than currying favor in Beirut? They’re the only reason IDF is not in southern Lebanon torturing and killing people just like they’re doing in the West Bank and Gaza. While the settlers dream of Eretz Israel encompassing most of the Arabian Peninsula and going into Egypt.

            What would a pause give them? R&R for some IDF soldiers while gathering up the rest to finish the job in Gaza? More tanks and assassinations in the West Bank? Then once those are done, come back and force a security zone up to the Litani River with the backing of Donald Trump or Bob Kennedy? What does withdrawal and regroup give Hezbollah other than at best a temporary cessation in Israel’s terror attacks and assassinations?

            But we shall see. So far I’m this conflict, I have seen Israel and the West behave foolishly, burning up whatever is left of their moral authority to avoid the responsibility for stopping a genocide. I’ve seen Hezbollah, Iran, Yemen, and Hamas behave strategically and with great restraint, and winning battles against the IDF against overwhelming odds. So I’m inclined to believe that this pattern will continue and pray that the West and Israel will soon get their comeuppance.

            1. Robert Gray

              > While the settlers dream of Eretz Israel encompassing most of the Arabian
              > Peninsula and going into Egypt.

              Sorry, but this sounds really far-fetched. ‘Most of the Arabian Peninsula’ would take them well south of Riyadh, to include both Mecca and Medina — and that is simply never going to happen. Pakistan would nuke them if they tried.

              Perhaps you mean the Sinai Peninsula?

              1. Emma

                I am not saying that they will accomplish it, I am saying that there are recordings of the more extremist members of the Netanyahu cabinet saying it. It’s what they want, logic and poor recent performance of the IDF (and the US military that they presumably expect to fight for them) notwithstanding. The IDF couldn’t even pacify northern Gaza after 175 days against a ragtag militia armed with homemade weapons. But that’s not stopped them from running their mouths and thinking some combination of nuclear blackmail, whatever levers they have against American politicians (much of it likely to be Epstein style sexual blackmail), and Zionist supremacy entitles them to all that.

                1. Robert Gray

                  > I am saying that there are recordings of the more extremist
                  > members of the Netanyahu cabinet saying it.

                  Link (or citation), please?

                  1. Yves Smith Post author

                    Please watch Alastair Crooke on Judge Napolitano. He reads the Hebrew press and has contacts in the region. He has confirmed this repeatedly.

                    The Knesset has committed to an objective of taking all of Biblical Israel, which by some reckonings includes all of Lebanon and further north, as well as large claims to the south and east. I don’t have the time to run this down in detail. However:

                    “Israel” is sensing the present crisis to be both an existential risk, but an ‘opportunity’ too – an opportunity to establish “Israel” across ‘its Biblical lands’ over the long term. There is no mistaking it — this is the direction of travel of Israeli popular sentiment, from both Left and Right wings, to bloody eschatology.


                    1. CA

                      Reading the New York Times several days ago, I noticed that reporter locations were being given as Eretz Israel. I had no idea where that was, so I looked up the term and found Eretz Israel was the name for biblical Israel.

                      A few days later and locations were just being given as specific modern locations in Israel. However, earlier use of the expression Eretz Israel strikes me now as especially telling of the slant of NYT reporting.

                      [ I never thought to copy the use of the biblical location in the NYT, and the term is now gone. ]

                    2. Robert Gray

                      Thanks for the link, Yves. I must admit, I am absolutely gobsmacked. One of the trending epithets these days is ‘delusional’ but surely this takes the biscuit.

                    3. Emma

                      Thank you Yves!

                      I admit that what I’ve seen are mostly clips and comments in Twitter and a quick search didn’t find a good article on the topic. Here’s the area that they consider Eretz Yisrael – I’ve seen maps cover most landmass of KSA but perhaps the northern third is more typical.

                      Is it insane? Of course! There are hundreds of millions of Arabs in that space and several army’s that could grind Israel to dust. But I’ve been seeing so much crazy and gruesome things come out of this conflict that “Eretz Yisrael” didn’t even register as particularly crazy.

          2. Old Jake

            This is an example of why I read everything you write, not just here on NC. Thanks for your patience and great collection of information for us.

          3. Glen

            Thank you! Very informative.

            Now, if I can figure out how this plays into the American Presidential election.

          4. steppenwolf fetchit

            Who thought the war would last only a short time? Didn’t a lot of people think that Netanyahu would drag the war out as long as possible to delay the day when he might have to go to court and maybe to prison? I know I thought so fairly early in the process.

            But that was just intuition on my purely layman’s part, to be sure, based on Netanyahu’s completely venal, grubby and self-serving character.

            1. Emma

              There was a somewhat reasonable assumption that once Israel hit a big enough number of deaths, the Americans would call them off and force some kind of peace that will screw the Palestinians while sounding fair minded. So the problem with this theory is that Biden wrote a blank check and then kept doubling down. So there was nobody to restrain the Israelis.

              Did the Arab States and Europeans think that the Americans would eventually step in? Maybe. I don’t think Hezbollah/Hamas/Russia/China/Iran were so naive. They had 3 years of experience dealing with Biden and knew his lack of character and bellicosity. So I think they knew there was a likelihood of a long struggle and presumably have plans in place to deal with the situation. They’re talking to each other and they thought they were even talking to the Palestinian Authority, but Abbas stabbed them in the back and was awarded by getting blocked out of banking access by Israelis.

          5. The Rev Kev

            ‘80,000 refugees from the border areas can return home’

            More like 100,000 to 200,000 refugees all of whom the Israelis have to financially support which is an enormous burden. And ‘Hezbollah might withdraw its forces perhaps ten kilometres from the border and stop the attacks, which in turn would give the Israelis an excuse to stop theirs.’ Everything that we see from Israeli behaviour the past few years would show that the Israelis would take that as a sign of weakness and would either bomb everything flat in that 10 kilometer zone, degrade the are with white phosphorus or maybe even occupy it. But they would never, ever stop bombing the rest of Lebanon the same way that they keep on bombing Syria killing Syrian soldiers. They are addicted to the idea that you can kill your way to a political aim.

            1. Emma

              I assume he meant the Southern Lebanese. My impression is that while some left, most stayed as evidenced by the number of civilian casualties from Israel’s “precision” strikes. Dimitri Lascaris put out some videos on what he is seeing in Israel, Lebanon, and now Iraq in his YouTube channel.

              I agree with you. The Southern Lebanese know exactly what Israel can do to them if Hezbollah is not around to defend them, because that was their lived reality until 2000. They also have endless videos from Gaza and the West Bank to remind them. Why would they unilaterally disarm against such a monster?

              And it should be emphasized that Hezbollah is responding to Israeli attacks. If Israel wants to end Hezbollah attacks, they just need to stop attacking Southern Lebanon. If Israel won’t do that now when Hezbollah is in a relatively stronger position, why would they possibly do it when Hezbollah is weakened by having to move 10 kilometers away?

            2. Yves Smith Post author

              To concur with you and Emma, the Hezbollah leader Nasrallah has said that absolutely no way is Lebanon ceding territory occupied for centuries to Israel.

              Israel is now demanding withdrawal to the Litani River. They could not achieve that in 2006 when Hezbollah was vastly less potent than now. Israel flew some troops to the Litanii, raised their flag there, got a photo op, and quickly left.

          6. Donald Obama

            They want to go back and both they, and the Shia community more generally, are losing patience with Hezbollah, who they see (not entirely unfairly) as having dragged Lebanon into an open-ended conflict, to please Iran.

            What is the basis for these claims?
            1) That the “Shia community” are losing patience with Hezbollah.
            2) That Hezbollah is acting to “please Iran” – or that people perceive them as acting to please Iran.

            1. CA

              “All Lebanese, and even Shia, are unimpressed with Hezbollah dragging them into a conflict which is further destroying their economy and provoking more emigration, fundamentally at the behest of Iran, to support one side in a conflict in another country…”

              Lebanese, who I read on occasion, appear to differ completely from this conclusion.

              1. Emma

                I am sure that there are quite a few liberal, Western educated NGO workers in Beirut who feel strongly against Hezbollah.

          7. Yves Smith Post author

            Alastair Crooke. who has decades of experience in the region and direct contacts with many leaders on the Arab/Persian side, and experience with Israelis, disagrees utterly with you. He argues that the Resistance has Israel where it want them, to drain them in an attritional war, which neither Israel nor the US are set up to wage. Israel is already having to husband shells. Lebanon took out two of Israel’s Iron Dome air defense platforms. I have no idea what that represents in terms of their total defensive power, but if they did it twice, they can do it again.

            1. Aurelien

              I won’t bore people with long replies. My original point was that the Arab News story was presenting as a new development something that’s been going on for a long time, and is explained by the Israelis learning, to some extent at least, from the debacle of 2006. They are now trying with some success to use the same kind of tactics against Hezbollah that the Russians are using against Ukraine, and making great use of drones, in particular, where they have an advantage. This is a common opinion in the region, and of those who follow the detail of the conflict from day to day.

              But I’ve stubbed my toe inadvertently against the “Hezbollah is winning” meme which is prevalent in some quarters, but is actually a logical impossibility. Hezbollah can deter and probably defeat an Israeli invasion, but they can’t invade Israel, they have little air defence, and they have much less in the way of precision strike weapons. All they can do by rocketing Israel is to make an Israeli invasion, with its attendant destruction, more likely. Given the present inflamed state of public opinion in Israel, there is no way that Hezbollah can force Israel to back down. That’s admitted by all sides I think.

              I stand by the rest of what I wrote. If there are people who have been on the ground in the region more recently than me, and spoken to more people, or read the regional press in several languages more assiduously than I do (and you’ll be aware from my Substack that I don’t claim the Levant as a speciality) then I’m happy to hear from them. For the rest, I’ll just make two very brief points which should not be controversial.

              Hezbollah is not Hamas. Hezbollah is a militia, later social movement, which morphed into a political party competing with Amal for the Shia vote, and has had Ministers in what pass for Lebanese governments for fifteen years now. Hamas is an offshoot of the Sunni Muslim brotherhood and follows Political Islam. The two fought on different sides at the start of the Syrian war, and Hamas has been violently active in the Palestinian refugee camps. Any standard history of the Lebanese Civil War will tell you about the role that the arrival of Palestinian refugees played in the beginning of the conflict, and there are bitter memories in all communities (since the sides changed so often) of atrocities committed by Palestinian fighters, who were as brutal as any other faction. I’ve spoken to many Lebanese whose private views of the Palestinians as a people are scarcely printable, but in any event the refugee camps are the longest unsolved and destabilising problem of Lebanese politics. All Lebanese, and even Shia, are unimpressed with Hezbollah dragging them into a conflict which is further destroying their economy and provoking more emigration, fundamentally at the behest of Iran, to support one side in a conflict in another country. There’s nothing strange in that.

              Secondly, neither Hezbollah nor Israel particularly wanted this war, and neither wanted or expected it to go on so long. Because this is the Levant, and because cynical deals are the currency of politics there, some cynical deal that prevents further escalation and a land invasion may be attractive to both sides. That’s it.

              1. Emma

                I am certainly not confusing Hamas with Hezbollah. They were on different sides on Syria. Different funding source, different sect, different history, and very different access to weapons and support.

                But they do share the commonality that they’re popular movements born out of necessary resistance to Israeli oppression of their people. They also saw the betrayal of the Oslo process and know how that process and the installation of the puppet Abbas, rather the long years of exile, was what utterly destroyed PLA and Fatah.

                I will push back strongly on the “MENA politics be complicated and backstabbing” as rationale for a potential withdrawl. They can appear so to outsiders, especially to ones who were predisposed to think in orientalist terms about non-westerners. But when observed closely, they’re very. logical to their core objectives. It just happens that Abbas and many of the despots in the region don’t care about people they purportedly represent.

                But Hamas and Hezbollah have proven through history and blood that they do stand by their principles to defend their people with the limited means available to them. They have been very consistent in word and deed on that. Abandoning Southern Lebanon when not absolutely forced to by necessity betrays Hezbollah’s very reason for being. Why would they do that?

                I’m sure that you spoke to more people in the region than anyone else here. But are they actually Hezbollah members? Or were they people who thinks, despite historical evidence and what they see daily, that somehow Israel will spare them if they sell out Southern Lebanon? I’m sure they rationalize it as giving Lebanon peace and relieving economic burdens, but what sort of pond scum really believes that after what Lebanon lived through 1982-2000? Sharmine Narwani once made an offhanded comment that Beirut is wonderful for reporters because they will find every kind of opinion on every subject there. So when you say your basing it on your direct observations, I certainly believe that. I would just question how relevant those opinions are to Hezbollah’s actions when their core principles at play.

              2. Emma

                Resistance fighters win by surviving and continuing resisting. How many battles did Algerians or Vietnamese win before the French and Americans threw in the towel? Westerners interpret that to mean these people do not value their lives the way we do, when it is because living under Western yoke is so intolerable that even they are willing to pay extraordinarily high prices to be freed from it.

                The point is not that Hezbollah is “winning” any individual action, it is that they are able to hit roughly equivalent Israeli targets in return for every Israeli hit. They don’t have a sophisticated AD system or a powerful backer who will block proper application of international law. All they have is to exact a price everytime Israel hits them and tells them that they can also respond proportionately if Israel bombards Beirut or turn Southern Lebanon into Gaza.

          8. ISL

            Not sure of your sources, but as far as I can tell, Israel has been unable to show any evidence that they have killed except by accident (and unconfirmed) any Hamas commanders, so I am skeptical that Isreali intel is better in Lebanon, rather I believe the evidence shows the IDF lying through its teeth as it is being rapidly attrited (Electronic Intifada has shown video of the IDF using 1960s armored vehicles – they are short on armor). I also wonder how, if the Lebanese had evacuated South Lebanon, the media keeps reporting Israel strikes kill civilians?

            1. Emma

              Hezbollah does honor their dead by publishing notices of their passing. I can believe that they contain quite a few senior leadership because some are well past 40. This account gets retweeted by accounts I follow whenever there’s new martyrs –

              I can believe that they’re easier to target than Hamas since they are not living in tunnels, not operating in small independent cells, and may not be practicing extreme info hygiene. Lebanon is also internally very divided and weak, including a small pro-Zionist Christian population (by no means reflective of most Lebanese Christians).

              Nasrallah had chided his followers in a recent speech to stop using their cellphone and social media. And not just them but people around them. I suspect quite a few of the earlier targets were due to poor social media by friends and families of the targeted fighter.

              I think I have actually seen fewer of these martyr notices lately, which suggest Hezbollah has tightened their opsec. There have also been recent arrests of people with very sophisticated signal gathering equipment hired to give targeting to Israelis. So I suspect the escalation to UN peacekeepers and medical clinics suggest that Israel is not able to pick off Hezbollah fighters easily and decide to punish innocent bystanders to exact their pound of meat.

  3. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Stoicism is more popular than ever.

    Not with historian Mary Beard. In her latest book Emperor of Rome, she flippantly refers to Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations, which PMC types seem to be fawning over these days, as “Jottings to Himself”.

    And not with philosopher John Gray either. In his book Feline Philosophy, he has a very funny section where he disparages most major philosophical schools in a sentence or two in favor of what you can learn from your cat. Going from memory here, his critique of stoicism’s main “grin and bear it” notion was that it might work out OK if you happen to be the emperor, but it didn’t soothe the mind quite as well if you were a pauper who was starving to death.

    And if you’re interested, buy the actual book from your local book store and stack them up beside your DVDs. I liked the article about the people who refuse to give them up, and I am one of them. When the zombie apocalypse comes, I will be entertained!

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Without context, “Meditations” is just “Eat Pray Love” with a veneer of classical cachet.

      I like the historical connection and subtle reminder “they are just like us.”

    2. The Rev Kev

      I read that book a very long time ago but I confess not getting much out of it so I gave it up as a bad job on my part.

    3. Christopher Smith

      I have a hypothesis on Stoicism. I’ve practiced Buddhism for almost twenty years, and they share some important points; especially understand where you are at this moment, accept where you are at this moment, now accept and exercise your agency within the possibilities and limitations so afforded by the moment. Buddhism has a package of spiritual and mental exercises to boost your ability to do this developed over a 2K+ year history.

      I hypothesize that stoics probably had a package of similar exercises (I’ll even bet that a form of breathing mindfulness meditation was the first exercise taught to beginners). I note that those exercises are not mentioned in Aurelius or Epictitus. But I think the students where probably taught them and expected to use them even though the surviving writers dont mention them. But then again, most Buddhist sutras provide insight without mentioning how to meditate upon them at all. The Arrow Sutra for instance is very important to meditate upon, but does not explicitly say “meditate upon this,” the student just knew to do so. It’s the same with St. John of the Cross; “The Dark Night of the Soul” does not mention his spiritual exercises, but I can make an educated guess as to what they were given my own practice and a passing familiarity with Loyola who did write down his exercises.

      So yeah, the PMC are going to get nothing out of Aurelius because they are reading his insights glibly and not building the mental and spiritual foundations to practice them. In the same way, the PMC practicing breathing mindfulness meditation and maybe body scans (a very basic insight meditation method) will get little benefit out of them because they are doing Buddhism without Buddhism. That is, they are doing practices that give you the foundation to live the sutras, but they never go beyond the foundation.

      That’s my take. I’ll conclude by relaying something profound either John Michael Greer or Ian Welsh said awhile back that really struck me – all great wisdom is trite. Yes, Stoicism is trite because it contains great wisdom. Complicated moral theories only arise when someone is trying to justify shitty behavior that they no is wrong, and the knowledge that it is wrong is very trite. See Bankman-Fried and Effective Altruism.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        The Stoics were not writing like Buddhists and as far as I can tell were philosophical and not religious. There were never Stoic monasteries or rituals or shrines. So IMHO comparing them closely is what Lambert might call a category error.

        All Classical texts, including those of the Stoics, were intensely studied in the Renaissance and later, universities. Some of the Stoics wrote letters that survived. I was not a Classicist but I am sure the New Age would have made great hay out of any Stoic mention or use of meditative practices.

        I do recall one article indicating that the Stoics were big on using low dose alcohol and/or opiates to make sure nothing harshed their mellow. Remember that unlike Buddhists, who come from all social strata, Stoics were upper class enough to have leisure and servants. So they were already buffered from a lot of problems of living and their worries were cheating romantic and business partners, lousy kids, and what the Brits later called “the servant problem”. I am told a lot of texts gave advice about not getting upset when the help stole or broke things.

        1. Christopher Smith

          I agree that Buddhism is a 2K+ year religion and that creates a big difference between it and the Stoic movement which was far more limited in time and scope But as a Buddhist and former professional philosopher, I do see some common points between Buddhism and Stoicism (I see the big differences as well. The differences were not my concern so I did not address them earlier. But to clarify, I am not saying they are the same or even that close over all.) My point was more that great wisdom, in my opinion tends to be trite, and so we should expect some strong similarities between differing philosophies that have good insights.

          As for Stoics having spiritual and mental exercises, it is my hypothesis. I chose this word deliberately because I don’t have any strong evidence of it, Rather Stoicism has the feel of something which would have such practices. I also think the lack of writings on the topic are not dispositive given the Mysteries did not write their practices down, nor did many Catholic mystics (again John of the Cross and Loyola come to mind) discuss theirs. How-to manuals for meditation and related practices as clear as Swami VIvekananda’s are a relatively new phenomena. Contrast “Raja Yoga” with early Buddhist discourses talking about following the breath, for example.

          At any rate, my hypothesis is just that and could be completely wrong.

          1. Sleeplessintokyo

            Thank you for this.
            Surely the Stoics might well have been influenced by teachers from the East? What records exist to support that?

            1. Christopher Smith

              Alexander the Great made it to India and his people were exposed to Buddhism, so there is a case to be made. But breathing mindfulness meditation is so basic to so many traditions that one should not be surprised to see it show up.

              On the other hand, I was thinking further about what Yves wrote and considered that maybe Stoicism died out because it was all philosophy and no exercises to build the capacity to live that philosophy.

          2. Harold

            Stoicism had an appeal because it was possible to combine it with an active life — in politics or the military for example. Other philosophies, such as Epicureanism, for example, advocated complete withdrawal from society. Stoicism also offered a solution to how to live in times of great troubles, such as under autocratic and tyrannical regimes and the religious wars of the 16th century, when it underwent a. European revival.

          3. Es s Ce Tera

            As a professional philosopher and Buddhist practitioner are you familiar with the Chinese Hua Yen (Huayen) school of Buddhism? This was a school of thought which tended to emphasize the philosophical rather than religious aspect, approached Buddhism more as academic study.

            It has several points of commonality with Stoicism, some off the top of my head would be the view of interconnectedness, unity and interpenetration of all that is. This bears a resemblance to the Stoic view of Logos as the same. Both emphasize taking a high-level cosmic view of interconnected reality as “infinite diversity in infinite combinations”, nirvana is the culmination in Buddhism, eudaimonia in Stoicism.

            Both Buddhism and Stoicism emphasize the transitory or impermanent nature of reality, in the case of the former this is the basis for non-attachment (attachment equals suffering), in the latter for acceptance that only ones thoughts, emotions and actions can be controlled, all else is beyond control.

            Both have similar ethical philosophies, both emphasize nurturing equity, justice and virtue, both emphasize looking beyond transitory boundaries such as social institutions, nationalities or ethnicities. Both teach that human beings (in the case of Buddhism, all beings) are equal, should be treated with kindness, fairness and compassion.

            Now that I think of it, they bear some resemblance to the modern idea of having empathy for and practicing inclusion in ones comportment toward others, bringing about fulfilment.

      2. lyman alpha blob

        Great comment – thank you. I agree with your take, and maybe that’s what the article was getting at too, but it was paywalled and I couldn’t get around it using my usual means so didn’t read it.

        It’s how our society is able to take pretty much anything decent, figure out how to commodify it, which usually involves adulterating what made the thing good in the first place, and then sell it to the lowest common denominator that really gets to me. When corporate HR starts expounding on the benefits of breathing and mindfulness, practices you know they don’t adhere to themselves and probably only learned about after watching some required webinar, my BS detector gets pinned at 11.

      3. JM

        From what I know, being rather interested in Stoicism for around a decade now, is that a large number of Stoic teaching and thought have been lost to time. The school of thought had a formal logic component, and a physics component at least, which are basically gone. So I wouldn’t be shocked if there were more regimented practices at one point. However, I think that what Aurelius and others spoke about in terms of reflecting on your death, and the deaths of your loved ones are intended to be approached much more seriously than contemporary writers tend towards.

        I don’t have the link handy, but about a year ago there was another article covering contemporary stoicism, and I linked to a page listing in some detail the different types of errors we see now. I recall headings of “$toicism”, “Broicism”, etc. which is basically what I got from this article just with less heft.

    4. digi_owl

      Funny how stoicism is on the rise among the PMC while they at the same time downright demand that men cry more.

      1. urddama

        I think the PMCers that want “men to cry more” is a subset of the group as I’ve seen plenty who appear irritated with emotions in general. In their eyes emotions are for poor people…

    5. Alice X

      I rather liked the Epicureans, be tranquil about the now and don’t worry about being dead, because there’s only nothingness there. Or something like that. The Xtian monks that kept copying those ancient scrolls didn’t have much sympathy with that line of thought.

      1. Martin Oline

        Life just lasts a second, you don’t have time to reckon
        the things that people say and do.
        Try to find your secrets, death is just a sequence
        You’re one day to be goin’ through.
        Second Story Window by Marc Benno

    6. Albe Vado

      The PMC are doing what neoliberals always do: offering up individualized band-aid ‘solutions’ to collective problems (collective problems they themselves have played a huge part in creating). It’s the same as all the ‘self-help’ guru stuff.

      Which isn’t to say stoicism is crap. Far from it. Its essential insight is that you can’t control much of what happens to you, but you can control how you react to it.

      I’m kind of surprised at all the comments being dismissive of this notion. Whatever the cushy lifestyles many of its original proponents may have had, you can’t convince me they didn’t face periods of genuine hardship (disease, war, their villas occasionally burning down, child death, the inevitable prospect of their own mortality). Regardless, the privileged lifestyle or hypocrisy of a proponent of an idea has no bearing on the validity (or lack thereof) of that idea. That’s a genetic fallacy; I don’t like the speaker so I won’t consider anything they have to say.

      The danger is in using stoicism to engender collective passivity, which I suspect is part of the reason it’s being pushed right now. This is effectively what the Japanese do, where shikata ga nai, it can’t be helped, is a kind of unofficial national motto that often encourages just shrugging and accepting some injustice or inequity and resigning yourself to the notion that it can never be changed.

      The first, instinctive reaction to something going wrong should be to try and systemically analyze why it happened, and if there might be a collective solution to it. But sometimes there won’t be one, or not one that is practically achievable. At which point coping comes down to the individual level. Everyone is going to face hardships to some extent or other, regardless of how utopian a society may be. At some point individual resilience becomes a factor.

      1. Christopher Smith

        Thank you for this. I think too much of the pop Stoicism out there conceptualizes it as a “stiff upper lip don’t show your feelings” philosophy. Far from it. Knowing what you can control and what you can’t to accept that fact and go from there is to my mind the root insight.

        No doubt management wants us to accept our lot without complaint, but understanding the potential of our agency not so much.

      2. Snailslime

        Interestingly enough Zeno the founder of stoicism apparently imagined an ideal society without slavery and rather radical ideas of equality, which is why later stoics basically buried and disappeared his “Republic” (perhaps a deliberate answer to Plato’s).

        There were some attempts to found utopian communities along such lines that were apparently inspired by philosophical teachings including very promonantly Zeno’s and the earliest Stoics’, like an ideal, “communist” city state called Heliopolis.

        There were also accusations that stoic (and perhaps other) philosophers inspired and incited slave revolts before but also up to and including the biggest of them all, that of Spartacus.

        There was seemingly at least some barely concealed philosophical sympathy and some (stoic) philosophers purportedly joined the slaves and probably died with them when they we’re crushed.

        The revolting slaves from the rebellion before the Spartacus one captured Sicily and held for two years or so, where they apparently tried to create such a philosophical Utopia of radical equality as well.

        Then then famous Stoic Gaius Blossius, the teacher of Gaius Musonous Rufus, teacher of Epictetes was one of those whose teachings supposedly he
        helped inspire such activities and who supposedly was known to sympathize with them.

        Stoics and other philosophers soon de-radicalized and became much more cautious and ultimately hypocritical and corrupt like Seneca, but even though it was disowned, buried and pretty much deliberately forgotten by later Generation Stoics themselves and even though there are unsurprisingly few sources leftvand even fewer straight talking ones, it seems that there was a Brief but seriously dramatic, today almost completely forgotten era of serious stoic and generally philosophical radicalism and “activism” during the later day Roman

        Any such utopian experiments were of course mercilessly stamped out by the Romans, as was Heliopolis, and philosophers directly involved killed and even their names forgotten.

        And while such radicalism died it’s previous existence probably contributed to early Roman Emperors and not just the infamously tyrannical onnes either, being quite paranoid about philosophers and not only executing quite a few but also repeatedly banishimg all philosophers from Italy.

        What was left was a philosophical reformism that argued for the humane treatment of slaves, that girls should receive an education similar to that of Boys, including in philosophy, that unwanted children should Not be left to die from exposure and many similar things, a reformism that did manage to have some influence on the law of the Empire, with Emperors over generations increasingly passing laws against the Killing and mistreatment of slaves, abolishing the traditional right of the Pater Familias to kill not only his slaves but also his wife and children, stuff like that.

        Of course there were other, less noble and philosophical reasons for that as well, such as the Emperors, as absolute monarchs, wanting to ensure that they were the only ones legally allowed to decide over the life or death of their subjects.

        Still, the Stoics were not without political impact.

      3. Snailslime

        Interestingly enough gool, old Zeno the founder of stoicism apparently imagined an ideal society without slavery and rather radical ideas of equality, which is why later stoics basically buried and disappeared his “Republic” (perhaps a deliberate answer to Plato’s).

        There were some attempts to found utopian communities along such lines that were apparently inspired by philosophical teachings including very promonantly Zeno’s and the earliest Stoics’, like an ideal, “communist” city state called Heliopolis.

        There were also accusations that stoic (and perhaps other) philosophers inspired and incited slave revolts before but also up to and including the biggest of them all, that of Spartacus.

        There was seemingly at least some barely concealed philosophical sympathy and some (stoic) philosophers purportedly joined the slaves and probably died with them when they we’re crushed.

        The revolting slaves from the rebellion before the Spartacus one captured Sicily and held for two years or so, where they apparently tried to create such a philosophical Utopia of radical equality as well.

        Then then famous Stoic Gaius Blossius, the teacher of Gaius Musonous Rufus, teacher of Epictetes was one of those whose teachings supposedly he
        helped inspire such activities and who supposedly was known to sympathize with them.

        Stoics and other philosophers soon de-radicalized and became much more cautious and ultimately hypocritical and corrupt like Seneca, but even though it was disowned, buried and pretty much deliberately forgotten by later Generation Stoics themselves and even though there are unsurprisingly few sources leftvand even fewer straight talking ones, it seems that there was a Brief but seriously dramatic, today almost completely forgotten era of serious stoic and generally philosophical radicalism and “activism” during the later day Roman

        Any such utopian experiments were of course mercilessly stamped out by the Romans, as was Heliopolis, and philosophers directly involved killed and even their names forgotten.

        And while such radicalism died it’s previous existence probably contributed to early Roman Emperors and not just the infamously tyrannical onnes either, being quite paranoid about philosophers and not only executing quite a few but also repeatedly banishimg all philosophers from Italy.

        What was left was a philosophical reformism that argued for the humane treatment of slaves, that girls should receive an education similar to that of Boys, including in philosophy, that unwanted children should Not be left to die from exposure and many similar things, a reformism that did manage to have some influence on the law of the Empire, with Emperors over generations increasingly passing laws against the Killing and mistreatment of slaves, abolishing the traditional right of the Pater Familias to kill not only his slaves but also his wife and children, stuff like that.

        Of course there were other, less noble and philosophical reasons for that as well, such as the Emperors, as absolute monarchs, wanting to ensure that they were the only ones legally allowed to decide over the life or death of their subjects.

        Still, the Stoics were not without political impact.

  4. timbers

    The film fans who refuse to surrender to streaming: ‘One day you’ll barter bread for our DVDs’ Guardian (Kevin W)

    “And when Universal released Oppenheimer on 4K Blu-ray this fall, the initial run sold out, with feverish Christopher Nolan fans pillaging the same megastores that are moving to drop physical media. Nolan himself had encouraged fans to rally to physical media: “If you buy a 4K UHD, you buy a Blu-ray, it’s on your shelf, it’s yours,” he told IGN last year. “You own it. That’s never really the case with any form of digital distribution.”

    This. A digital streaming version of a movie can be disappeared at any time for various commercial reasons and there is nothing you can do about it except purchase it again. And the online “bitrate” (strength of the signal that streams the movie to your home and impacts the quality of what you see and hear) is inevitably weaker than what physical media can deliver.

    There are boutique labels restoring films to physical media on blu ray and increasingly 4K. They tend towards horror/sci fi/film noir – these categories tend to have the most loyal customers. Prices for a coveted niche 4k blu ray easily go near $40 or more from the retailer and when they go OOP, more. For example a boutique label recent released 4K blur rays for about $40 of a 1960’s Irish/British movie “Gorgo” which is a Godzilla like plot vehicle of a mother sea monster reclaiming her stolen offspring from it’s London circus prison and “Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors” a British film of 5 short horror stories with Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, Donald Sutherland, and other British actors. Noir’s include “The Big Heat”, “Repeat Performance” a nervous B movie trying to be an A movie along with several other films from the same studio that veered off the beaten plot path with some interesting and enjoyable if not great results, “Tomorrow is Forever” with Claudette Colbert/Orson Wells remarkable for it’s plot twists and resonating anti-war message despite the time of its filming (except for the ending). Many Mario Bava films are also being released.

    When news came of Disney buying Fox, I purchased a 2nd copy of my all time favorite movie knowing it would disappear from physical form forever – the spectacularly restored 1959 Journey to the Center of the Earth because it’s doubtful Disney will ever print more copies. Other Fox titles probably to disappear from physical form Fox now Disney films are “An Affair to Remember” and my copy of 1947 “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir” with Gene Tierney and Rex Harrison selling from hundreds of dollars now, but I will never sell it.

    BTW I agree with those who say Oppenheimer is one of the best recent films.

    1. Benny Profane

      I’m moving, and during packing I found an Xmas present still in the plastic wrap – the complete Monty Python TV series, with bonus discs, of course. For that alone I’m shopping for a DVD player.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        Don’t limit yourself to just a DVD player. I don’t know exactly what kind of “player” it’s called, but a few years ago I got one that can play anything round and shiny – CDs, DVDs, Bluray, etc. And it was relatively inexpensive – get one now before people catch on and the price goes up!

        1. ambrit

          Also consider an all region player. The World was carved up, like Spain and Portugal did five hundred years ago, into several ‘regions.’ Each region has different playback algorithms. A form of siloing.

          1. The Rev Kev

            And yet any corporation will go screaming to the law courts on any restriction of trade which this is exactly. And yet it is tolerated.
            (from an inhabitant of Region 4)

          2. anahuna

            I bought one a few years ago to watch the Turkish trilogy by Kaplanoglu: “Sut” (Milk), “Yumurta” (Egg), and “Bal”(Honey). All are interesting, and “Bal” is sublime.

        2. Bugs

          Oppo made two excellent ones. The top model also played SACD and Blu-ray audio disks. You can pick up a used one for a couple hundred dollars.

          You could also get a Plex (or other DLNA) home server, which has all your media stored locally, so no worries about it disappearing from the services. You can also stream from your server to a phone or tablet anywhere you are, which is pretty nice. Most TVs have an Ethernet socket so you don’t even need to use Wi-Fi if you don’t want to. I’ve been doing this for many years now. Much better quality than anything though the Internet.

          1. Glen

            Another way to get a usable disc player is to get one which can be plugged into a PC (or Plex server) via USB. These are essentially the disc drive stripped down to read (and sometimes burn) the physical media, but rely on the PC software to play the media:

            LG Slim Portable Blu-ray/DVD Writer

            The one I linked to above can read and burn CDs, DVD, and BDs, and has software to work with Windows and Mac. These are NOT inexpensive, and assume you know how to get your PC connected to your TV. I bought these for my wife and daughter since all the newer laptops do not have optical media read capability.

            The most expensive ones also support M-DISC which is supposed to be a disc media with an archival life span, and support reading 3D and 4K discs.

            1. Carolinian

              There are lots of software players in Windows, Linux–don’t know about Mac. I think most of these are region free. VLC is cross platform.

              And most TVs these days also work as monitors for your computer. There’s not much need for a hardware player these days except for Bluray.

              1. scott s.

                I am on the (all volunteer) development team for open source solution “Kodi” which runs on Windows, XBOX, Android, Apple, LG WebOS, and Linux so many platforms (even Raspberry Pi). Feel free to take a look at .

                Kodi started as a hack of XBOX to allow it to play dvds, eventually expanded into “XBOX Media Center” (XBMC) now rebranded as Kodi as XBOX is more of a niche these days. Kodi provides JSON and Python APIs so there is an eco-system of add-ins. Disclaimer: Kodi does not supply any content and does not support use of the software to obtain content in violation of rights restrictions. At the same time, as open source (subject to GPL 2.0 and later) we don’t dictate to users what they do with the software.

              2. Glen

                I’m a long time linux dweeb (at home, use whatever works best at work) so I use VLC for playback, K3b for backing things up, and makemkv is your friend when all else fails.

                Super cool to see a Kodi developer here! You guys are awesome!

                I also might have accidentally tweaked the firmware on my optical drive so it’s less discerning about DRM. All to ensure the integrity of backing up my purchases!

                Ultimate UHD Drives Flashing Guide Updated 2023

            2. Vandemonian

              Three thumbs up for your recommendation of Plex, Glen. I currently have more than 2,000 movies on line to stream on my local network (around 4 TB), as well as many TV shows.

              Runs on a relatively inexpensive second hand HP Microserver across my local network to an old Apple TV. Some of the newer smart TVs will run the Plex app as well.

              Not enough hours in the day…

      2. Christopher Smith

        That’s the one rub. Our movie collections depend on the continued functioning and availability for purchase of these players. The players themselves are complex packages of microelectronics that we are not going to be able to build from scratch. That said, I have an extensive collection of DVDs and Blu Rays and a few spare players to future-proof myself.

        1. lord abortikvs

          there are tools available to rip video from dvds and save them as a universal files for cataloging.

          doesn’t work on some high security discs, but i have most of my films/shows stored on a external hd in mov.

        2. scott s.

          Rip them to a home NAS. Yes, there is a continuing battle between copy protection providers and rippers but it seems like in the end there will be ability to rip, though may require burning the firmware in the reader. Playback can have some challenge in particular Dolby Vision. Seems like Android devices are the best alternative ATM.

      1. Milton

        Had no idea laserdiscs went that far back. The 1st one I saw was around ’92. But I’m pretty tech-ignorant. I was still listening to cassettes up to the millennium turn.

        1. mrsyk

          I’m still listening to cassettes. Of course I heat with wood and the shower is outside so take that with a grain salt.

        2. timbers

          Many on physical media blogs claim audio on laserdiscs is often superior to current audio even the state of art Atmos versions. It is suggested this is because the current fashion is to process the audio to move away from home systems in say modest suburban homes with a viewing room or area (“theatre” is maybe too grandiose a word but also applies) (few can afford it) and towards smart phone with ear plugs formats. So, LFE (bass) it often neglected which is unfortunate because it can be hugely impactful, and sound level is being reduced. I can’t say myself as I have no laser discs.

      2. Carolinian

        LaserDiscs had “laser rot”–they would delaminate if moisture got inside them. Also the vid quality not that great by current standards.

        VHS may have had the longest run and many movies that came out on VHS never made it to disc because the tapes were easy to make but disc manufacturing required some thousands of dollars of investment by the rights holder. Now some films come out on recordable DVDs–reverting to the VHS ease of distribution for obscure titles.

        1. mrsyk

          Moisture delimitation occurs on cds as well, according to the box of cds that was in my humid basement.

      3. digi_owl

        What i remember was that it was as large as an LP, and needed to be flipped half way through the movie by touching the center hole and the edge only.

        That is the one thing that trip up the industry and mediaphiles alike, most people will pick convenience over quality.

        VHS was replaced by DVD just as much because it didn’t need rewinding as because it was “better” (i suspect much of the problem of VHS quality was more about the massive hack that was NTSC, as it seemed far more liable to produce artifacts than the PAL i grew up with).

    2. The Rev Kev

      When I was a teenager I imagined that in the future an equivalent to the modern streaming services would be developed. That you could sit down in front of a TV and use a remote to select any film ever made going back to the original B&W silent films. But it did not work out like that and instead huge chunks of our film cultural history are locked up in vaults by corporations because they cannot not be bothered releasing them. Your example of that 1947 film “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir” is a great example. A brilliant film that will never be seen on TV again here and never released on hard media. It is on YouTube – for now. I don’t even know if you can stream it at all. And it is for this reason that I have several dozen DVDs of my favourite films as this is the only way that I can watch them again. I sometimes think that they keep those films locked up in order to get people to watch the latest Hollywood offerings by giving them no choice.

      1. mrsyk

        Well it wouldn’t be good for business to remind the masses what a good flick looks like, or more specifically, how crappy, formulated, and regurgitated Disney’s current releases are.

      2. timbers

        Criterion a boutique label of blu rays has a license from FOX (now Disney) for a specific time period for “All About Eve” which needs no introduction with film buffs and I think has won more academy awards (13) than any other film. When it runs out and reverts to Disney, it probably disappears forever from physical media because Disney is slowing scaling down it’s physical presence in fact I think they recently exited Australia completely. And anyways Disney is notorious for only releasing physical media if she thinks it will gobs of $$$.

        1. Benny Profane

          A lot of the Criterion library can be accessed through Max, formerly HBO Max, along with the huge MGM library that Ted Turner bought way back and was folded into the Time Warner assets. I recently found six or seven Fassbinder films in there. Of course, considering how everything Time Warner is being abused by a succession of bad CEOs since it was sold off, who knows what the future will bring. Some HBO series are now unavailable, like Westworld, which is a pretty recent project.

        2. Carolinian

          As a sidebar one should point out that DVDs are trivially easy to copy with a computer and Bluray too although a bit more complicated. So while optical discs may not last or the equipment to read them still be sold, the digitized movies can live on through your hard drive since it’s legal to copy your own discs or at least nobody is going to stop you (FBI too busy harassing social media posters).

          Indeed this is likely one big reason for the streaming push since past legal efforts to stop disc piracy have mostly only provided the studios with bad publicity.

          Meanwhile large chunks of many movies now come out of computers and streaming itself depends on them. The movie companies do have a problem. Cry them a river.

      3. digi_owl

        I suspect it is as much about limiting the attention space to only the most recent content. If we had easy access to all that back catalog, the demand for new would drop massively.

        Never mind that we are seeing a growing trend in them shooting new versions of popular older movies to fit with the zeitgeist. If the don’t do like Disney does with their old cartoons, cut out so many “controversial” bits the story is no longer coherent.

      4. Big River Bandido

        Recall that there was a spectacular warehouse fire in CA a few years back, which destroyed thousands — perhaps hundreds of thousands — of films. AFAIK no complete list of the actual contents that were destroyed has been published. Seems the studios don’t want people to know that.

        But the scope of the loss was so great that quite likely at least one of films you mentioned had been stored there and was destroyed. Perhaps even all of them.

        1. Carolinian

          Yep. And film is not an archival medium since the colors can turn magenta and old nitrate base H’wood films can literally turn to dust if not properly stored. Scorsese and others have made an effort to restore and preserve many classics–on film. That’s based in part on the assumption that digital files may not be readable in some distant future.

      5. Vandemonian

        The Ghost and Mrs Muir is available for download from non-legal sites, Rev, if you know where to look. Be sure to use a VPN, though. The studios recognise it as theft and copyright infringement, and may come after you.

        You can also find the 1968 TV show [two series).

    3. Carolinian

      Louis B.Mayer said the great thing about the movie business was that you could sell something while still owning it. And when Betamax came along the studios fought like blazes to suppress it on the grounds that it allowed mere peasants to own movies too.

      As it happened home video instead saved the movie business which suggests that the moguls perhaps don’t know their own business or are just plain greedy. And why should we trust these business people to be cultural protectors when “orphan films” (nobody owns the copyright or knows who does) fall out of distribution and many old films and television shows have disappeared through simple neglect by their “owners.”

      A friend has a whole house full of dvds and I have quite a few myself. Our library has thousands although they get fewer and fewer new ones as the disc business does indeed decline. They do still get all the major movie theater releases but this distribution avenue also seems too be in trouble. Studios like Disney–so eager to monetize the past rather than create the new–are doing far more harm to the business than all those movie pack rats who seem to be tiring of the streaming hustle. Guess Mouseland will still have theme parks.

      1. digi_owl

        The same played out around audio cassettes. Techmoan on Youtube has dug up some glorious trade press opinion pieces from the RIAA chief at the time, that liken the cassette recorder to the Boston Strangler no less.

        Why i so much enjoy the MAFIAA moniker for the combined RIAA and MPAA.

    4. Mark Gisleson

      Having trouble imagining a post-apocalyptic world in which we still have electricity, flat screens and UHD Blu-ray players but no one has a computer.

      That USD Blu-ray disc takes up space and requires special equipment to be copied. A digital copy of that UHD disk can run up to an absurd 50GB (thankfully only the highest quality flat screens will survive). 50GB goes into a cigar-box sized 10TB hard drive quite a few times.

      The disk argument is very weak and is really just the argument for digital media that you download and keep vs the absurd streaming model. Stream and you have nothing when the movie is over. Download the movie and it’s yours so long as you keep the file. Digital files can be DRMed but the first rule of pirate school is to strip out the DRM code so Bob Iger can’t brick your copy of Swiss Family Robinson.

      Streaming is inefficient and puts huge demands on the internet during peak viewing hours. Bittorrent filesharing is the FRIENDLIEST least demanding way to share content. The suits, being suits, insist on corporations doing everything as inefficiently as possible. They’re not distributing content, they’re ripping off their customers and they’re proud of it. Now go stand in line at Disney World and stay there until you catch something!

      1. Polar Socialist

        (In jest) I’d like to point out that for most movies I don’t mind having nothing when the movie is over.

        There certainly are some that I’d like to watch every other year or so that are impossible to own where I live – “Only Angels Have Wings” being a good example.

      2. Carolinian

        Streaming is inefficient and puts huge demands on the internet

        Exactly. But then it is said that the cable companies want to become ISPs and distribute all of that over the internet as well.

        For those of us who are movie fans the disc era has been a golden age. A few decades back you’d have to live in NYC or some other big city to have access to cinema heritage via art houses. Or colleges would rent the films (expensively) via 16mm. I’d say the genie is out of the bottle and content creators are going to have to become good enough to earn back their money during the “release window” because the public is busily creating their own film libraries as a defensive measure. This goes for books too or any medium that can be digitized. You can download high def copies of Metropolitan Museum paintings and I have a few (other museums restrict this as does the Met if not public domain).

        Computers empower us as long as we exercise our democratic rights to make sure the corporates don’t use them to overpower us. Call me a techno-optimist.

      3. JTMcPhee

        Interesting that this thread has so much more participation and “content” than all the infinitely more important discourse on demolition of the living planet and mass murder by various flavors of fanatics and what kind of political economy do “we” want :(or actually NEED), anyway, and how do “we” align the incentives to bring the necessary changes about?

        Niggling about technology and personal entertainment preferences while the fooking house is burning down…

        1. JP

          Maybe just taking a break from a vastly more complicated subject with more deeply entrenched stake holders who will not budge even as the life is squeezed from them. Not that there are not more important issues but discourse ain’t gonna provide the solutions. It will take a lot more then dissecting the manifold problems and defining the variables.

          1. Lena

            I love that I can come to NC to read links, articles and comments on a wide variety of subjects both serious and fun. This place is special.

          2. ChrisFromGA

            That resonates. Every day I wake up and check the news (non-MSM, including NC, MoA, various YouTube war mappers like Dima, and other sites like the Duran.) It is a miracle that I have not yet had a nervous breakdown. While my critical thinking skills are much sharper, I often wonder if there is any point to it.

            Events like the Russia-USA war (framing it properly) took decades to develop and may not fully resolve for years. Although, I suspect there will be a rapid “phase transition” state similar to the fall of Afghanistan in the summer of ’21.

            So, taking a break is probably the healthy thing to do. Wars, bezzles, and aging corrupt politicians will still be there when you come back.

        2. Carolinian

          Aren’t you niggling? There’s plenty of comment on the other as well. In theory comments are about the links presented.

          1. Alice X

            ~In theory comments are about the links presented.

            And links that one finds compelling and would like to share, per Yves.

        3. Alice X

          Caitlin Johnstone
          Ghost Town

          “We do not look at Gaza. We look at everything except Gaza.”

          Walking the streets of this ghost town, watching ghost people laugh and play and indulge like Gaza isn’t burning, like children aren’t starving, like people aren’t dying slowly trapped under rubble next to the corpses of their loved ones, like IDF troops aren’t merrily picking off civilians with drones and snipers while children get their limbs amputated without anaesthetic, with the full support of this ghost civilization and its ghost leaders.

          This ghost town full of ghost cars, ghost buses, ghost trains, ghost pubs, ghost concerts, ghost theme parks, ghost cinemas, ghost festivals, ghost laughter, ghost feasting, ghost shopping, all going on just the same as it was before all this started. Little children running around with flesh on their bones and their organs inside their bodies like they’re supposed to be, supervised by ghost parents with heads full of social clout and gossip.

          Last month a man set himself on fire before the Israeli embassy and screamed “FREE PALESTINE” as he burned. He was not a ghost. He was flesh-and-blood real. He saw it. He responded to it. He treated this nightmare like the thing that it is.

          We don’t do that in this ghost town. We stare at screens and shovel snacks and booze into the gaping void within ourselves and flail our attention around looking for anything that will keep us from an even momentary encounter with the real. We do not look at Gaza. We look at everything except Gaza.…(there’s more)

          Doesn’t anyone feel better? I don’t! I’m trying not to be a ghost.

        4. Vandemonian

          Repeating a quote from earlier in the week:

          “Don’t listen to what people say; watch what they do.”
          ― Steven D. Levitt, Think Like a Freak

          Yes, I read about, and fret about what is happening in Gaza, and share my concern with those who are prepared to listen. But what can I actually do?

          I am unable to feed a starving child, or divert a sniper’s bullet that’s aimed at the head of a paediatric surgeon, or keep a mother from being buried under the rubble of her own home. TPTB have set their path, and will continue to support the current Israeli government, or at least avoid taking concrete action to stop or moderate what is happening. They certainly won’t listen to me, or to the rest of us, no matter what we do. The response to Aaron’s courageous act was simply to label him an anarchist.

          I suspect that some others here share the same feelings of powerlessness and inadequacy.

          Please allow us the little diversions that we indulge in to stop us becoming profoundly depressed or totally insane.

          1. Lefty Godot

            I suspect that some others here share the same feelings of powerlessness and inadequacy.

            It’s a feeling that a large majority of the citizens of this country must share. I am reminded of the (cruel) animal experiments that psychologists did on what they called “learned helplessness”, and perhaps that is the goal of what the uppermost strata are engaged in now. But purposely shutting off all available pathways to nonviolent change seems like it could have other outcomes that those in charge may end up regretting.

          2. Lena

            Vandemonian, thank you for writing this. I also feel a tremendous sense of helplessness, hopelessness and powerlessness when it comes to Gaza and so many other horrific things that are happening in the world.

            As I come to the end of my life, I wish I had spent more time enjoying it. I’m not talking about a wild life of partying, something that has never appealed to me anyway. No, I mean simply enjoying day to day pleasures like a nice walk or a good meal, things that are not possible for me now.

            I spent so much time worrying about everything. It got me nowhere and it didn’t save the world. I’m proud of the fact that I was able to do some things in the course of my life that did help other people. Socal action is very important, we should of course do whatever we can. I think I did the best I could and that is all any of us can do.

            I hope people will truly enjoy their day today. Enjoyment is important, it’s not selfish, even when the world is going to hell in a hand basket.

    5. Bsn

      Here’s a trick people may want to try. In QuickTime Player, the video software, you can do a “new screen recording” and record the video and audio of a movie. Then save it to an external drive for future viewing. It will end up “off line” and you can store it. Also, many local public libraries have a grip of DVDs to check out. Recently watched (and recorded) this wonderful documentary on Jack Teagarden, arguably the top trombonist of 20th century. It was here originally, now it’s on our shelf.

    6. Jason Boxman

      Yep, I never did streaming; It’s just endless rent extraction, with access revocable at any time. No, thanks.

    7. XXYY

      I understand that reissuing or republishing older movies now suffers from the huge problem of trying to sort out the licensing and rights to the soundtrack material. Frequently the various songs on the soundtracks were written by different writers and the rights are owned by different entities. It’s not worth the effort to try to sort out that whole legal morass just to earn a small royalty payment from boutique collector DVD sales. In many cases the rights holders are no longer even around or in a position to do business.

      The upshot is that intellectual property laws have often rendered old movies lost forever even though we have the actual material. Seems like this could be solved by some kind of amnesty or sunset provision that would allow films beyond a certain age, say 10 years, to be exempted from soundtrack royalty payments.

      Or else just buy or copy bootleg DVDs.

  5. The Rev Kev

    “Macron struggling to justify cash for Ukraine – Le Monde”

    This might be a common problem in the EU countries. Here, Macron is telling the French that €10 billion has to be saved from the budget. But at the same time he wants to give €3 billion to the Ukraine which will never be seen again – ever. And it is more and more obvious that the Ukraine is a lost cause which is a major reason why that US$61 billion is stuck in Congress. In Germany it must be worse as the economy is going south and it is harder to justify prioritizing Ukrainians over Germans. I would expect an end run soon where the EU will demand that each country contribute a set amount to their war fund for shipment to the Ukraine and that would bypass the protests of individual EU country.

      1. Polar Socialist

        Most EU members have in their very constitution both protection of property and prohibition of censorship, and yet EU has forced members to both block many Russian news sites and confiscate property from people guilty of merely being Russian.

        For now, The Rules Based Order thwarts the law based societies in The West.

      2. The Rev Kev

        The EU is already talking about war bonds which would serve the same purpose. And there is speculation that the EU would impose an EU wide taxation on its citizen to provide the collateral for those bonds. And of course the individual EU nations would have no say on those bonds or how they are used.

  6. Henry Moon Pie

    I had a couple of experiences yesterday that moved me to think about how we relate to one another as humans here in the midwest USA as spring breaks.

    Good Friday was the day for my third in an originally planned five infusion sessions to treat Stage 4 rectal cancer. The routine was a little different this time, taking a port draw of blood to determine if I’m healthy enough to get this round. It required me to walk the length of the building, the Seidman Cancer Center, a flashy 10 year-old building with arching glass walls topping out at 10 stories. As I was answering the check-in questions, I noticed a very well-heeled couple coming down the same path wearing impressive, black respirators as they approached the same check-in desk.

    I completed my check-in as the husband/patient began his. I went and sat down a couple of seats down from his spouse, and after a few moments, turned to her and noted, “It looks like we’re the only three people wearing masks today,” because, from what I had seen, we were. Now I should set the scene more completely. This is a huge building, and the only other three people at the end of that floor besides me were the two Richie Riches and the person checking people in. It should be noted as well, that I was wearing my usual hospital attire, sweat pants and a soft shirt, good for doctor visits, along with a Chiefs hat plunked down on my thinning but still waist-length hair tied in a pony tail.

    My fellow traveler on the cancer highway, albeit a spouse of a patient, reacted to my inquiry by visibly tensing while keeping her visage pointed straight ahead. Now amused, I continued to look in her direction until she actually got up and moved another four or five seats away. Shortly thereafter, I was called into my appointment.

    A few hours later, I found my position reversed. I was receiving the infusion down on the first floor in the infusion center, where we’re encouraged to get up and walk around, which I did several times. On that end of the building, the ground floor windows look out directly on University Circle where students are going back and forth to class, a busy busline drops workers off at Case Western, UH and just down the street, the huge complex at Cleveland Clinic. Across the street, there was a beautiful, cruciform Presbyterian church advertising Good Friday services, but still using Lenten colors.

    Lying on his side in the grass just outside one of the bus stops, was a man with an exposed, distended and very fat belly. Now everyone around this man, and there were many, was dressed in stocking caps and winter coats It was cold. And this man’s belly would heave again and again from coughing or some other malady.

    So here we had the class structure of America missing only the class that has buildings like this named after them. Outside, the man, clearly discarded by the system, has been left to figure out how to survive a cold Cleveland early spring on his own. Inside, receiving absurdly expensive (and carbon intensive) treatment, is me, Mr. Medicare Parts A and B, whose very presence in such a temple of modern medicine seemed a threat to my PMC-looking spouse of a fellow patient who couldn’t deign to answer a friendly, social question. (I really wanted to hear about those respirators.)

    This country has no chance of saving itself as it is. After losing the common feelings that moved communities to share gasoline in WW II’s rationing, we seem to think that more stratifying, more competition, more austerity will force these layabouts to straighten up and fly right as my dad used to say to me.

    As the institutions continue to dissolve before our eyes, even now the military, and as the would-be dictators find they are as powerless in the face of our overwhelming problems, we’re going to be pretty hard-pressed to see any future. At that point, we may discover that it’s anarchism that offers the one philosophy the believes it’s possible to order our human affairs without a ruler, without the institutions of state, without even the Madisonian Trinity. And self-organization, anarchism’s tool to get things done, doesn’t have to wait for some vanguard to overthrow the State so they can grab power and dictate. Like the people of Staten Island after Sandy, we can get doing what needs to be done by organizing friends, family and neighbors to get it done as the State struggles to accomplish anything, even the Greatest Military Evah fails to keep the NYC city subways safe.

    Anarchism is the future, if for no other reason than that all confidence is being lost in existing institutions, and our class divisions, exacerbated by schismogenesis, render party and maybe ever union organizing under today’s legal regime, difficult to impossible. We must organize to do, not vote. Self-organize to solve, not demonstrate. Would it be nice if even a fraction of the resources available to these dying institutions or the billionaires’ bank accounts were available to us? Sure, but what is, is. And as the Sandy response demonstrated, it’s not always necessary to have great resources to have great impact. Just to be there and lend a hand helps.

    On another round, I saw the same man sitting up, working intricately on something real or imagined, but still with belly exposed to the cold. And I may be unfair to my exquisitely coiffed friend. Maybe the couple had driven in all the way from Buffalo for treatment. Then it was that Chiefs hat. Sorry, Wuk.

    And if it wasn’t Chiefs-envy, then chances are the schedules will still be in alignment for the next visit. I’ll sing her the key lines from “If Six Was Nine:”

    White-collared conservative, flashing down the street,
    pointing his plastic finger at me.
    They’re hopin’ soon my kind will drop and die,
    But I’m gonna wave my freak-flag high.

    (I have very much appreciated the kind thoughts and prayers offered in previous “reports” about my treatment, but I put up this post to provoke discussion about the social solidarity crisis in the country and more broadly, in the world. It’s very comforting to know my friends in the Commentariat are giving me their best thoughts. I know you’re out there.)

    1. The Rev Kev

      Same here. That is a helluva way to spend Easter that I would not wish on anyone. Hope that things break your way here and that before long you find yourself fighting fit.

    2. Louis Fyne

      my aunt beat stage 4 lung cancer (never smoked or drank a day in her life)

      it can be done! stay strong, be optimistic, eat a healthy diet (be careful with certain supplements as they can fuel cancer)

      …(look into intermittent fasting before treatment. not recommending for everyone, but it is a thing that has/is been studied)

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        I don’t know if I’d qualify on either count, Louis, though I have stayed clear of tobacco.

        And I appreciate the advice.

    3. Twylah

      Thank you Rev, I’ve been that lady, probably not as well dressed. just my frequent state of self-centered oblivion in my case… best wishes to you and blessed Easter.

    4. Eclair

      Thank you, HMP! I have saved your comment, really a ‘meditation,’ on the state of our US society.

      Here in Seattle, in the rainy season, I walk regularly to visit the chiropractor. (I have found that, like having an old car, it is essential to find a good and reasonable mechanic, who will tweak the rusting body and keep it running.). The route crosses under Interstate 5, which runs north-south, and underneath the rumbling, dripping, dank concrete span, a man has been living for the past three years. He lays out his sleeping bag, next to the sidewalk, at the bottom of the upslope to the roadway.

      He has been joined this year by a few camper vans, whose noisy generators compete with the constant roar from the highway. Now there are a couple of tents set up on the flat open area. Former fellow Seattle-ite, Jeff Bezos, owns eight Seattle properties, worth an estimated $190 million. But he has decamped to Florida, only months before he unloaded $2.4 billion (with a ‘B’) of Amazon stock. Florida, unlike Washington, had not passed a capital gains tax.

      Yeah, both Washington and Florida do not have a state income tax. Which is why Seattle is our official residence. Plus our son lives here. And, after 25 years in Southern California and ten in Denver, we have had enough sun for the rest of our lives.

      We move to a small town in western New York for the summer. My husband’s family lives here; he’s related to almost everyone here and just over the border in Pennsylvania. It’s rural and poor and filled with Trump banners/posters/sides of barns. There’s a meth ‘problem.’ And rampant racism. (Not a ‘Black Lives Matter’ poster in sight, unlike in our Seattle neighborhood.)

      But, and it has taken me a few years to realize this, there is a web of interconnectedness and mutual obligations among neighbors and those third and fourth cousins. We started growing vegetables, enlarging the garden every year. And as we began handing out the ‘surplus,’ we found ourselves with a constant supply of home-baked goodies, from zucchini bread to rhubarb pies. And our neighbor down the hill, keeps the meadow that adjoins his property mowed. And, the bluebird boxes in good repair.

      A ‘cousin’ brought over his tractor with back hoe to dig holes to plant 60 trees last fall. He refused our offer to pay for the fuel, at least. (Plus, his wife brought home-baked goodies to sustain us during the project!) Turns out he needs firewood. And an Amish friend last winter harvested a half dozen giant dying ash trees, leaving behind the tops, which will make a few cords of great firewood. We are planning a ‘chain saw’ party next month, when we return. And, his wife is bringing pecan pie!

      Last summer, I advertised on the local Craigslist farm and garden section, to sell a variety of ancient tractor attachments that were littering the yard. Two guys with an enormous pickup and trailer came by to ask how much. I just wanted the attachments gone, so I named a very low price. They went off to confer, then asked me if I knew just how much these attachment were ‘worth.’ To me, nothing, but I quoted some figures that assured them they were not taking advantage of a clueless lady with wild white hair and dirt under her fingernails. They loaded the stuff onto the trailer. And, next day came back with a mower, because they noticed that our 2 acre lawn (well, green weeds, actually) was a bit long. They mowed. All parties felt they had gotten a good bargain. I now have the phone numbers of a couple of guys, guards at the state prison, in case I want to get rid of any more equipment. Or, get the lawn mowed.

      ‘Anarchism is the future.’ Or, ‘you’re not the boss of me!’ Such a society needs a solid basis, some assurance and stability, so that people feel a bit of security, that the bottom will not drop out on them. And, that if it does, then we will all sink together. How to do that is a problem for next week.

      So, take care HMP. And keep the ‘meditations’ coming.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        Thanks, Eclair. Great stories and good examples of what I’m talking about. Right now, sounds like things are pretty much two-party relationships, but how better to build trust in a locale so that maybe next time, it’s 3 or 4 neighbors taking on something bigger and beyond the scope of a two-party trade, but that’s how it begins.

      2. Jeremy Grimm

        I saved your comment as well as that of Henry Moon Pie initiating this thread. I also saved JTMcPhee’s comment above
        Together I believe these comments create a revealing collage … tea-leaves …

        JTMcPhee asks why there is so much comment “Niggling about technology and personal entertainment preferences while the fooking house is burning down…” I can only speak for myself — I believe the news has become so terrible and so far beyond our control that comments and speculations about our burning house seem like waste of breath we might need to carry us to an exit door … if we can find one. The Imperial Populace has become superfluous and irrelevant to the direction of Imperial self-destruction and decline. We are along for the ride but effectively gagged and strapped in.

        I do not know how to respond to Henry Moon Pie’s desire “… to provoke discussion about the social solidarity crisis in the country and more broadly, in the world.” The dying Empire has worked for decades destroying solidarity in this country and in the world. As the Empire supports the genocide of a millions to create beach front property for developers to build on foundations of human blood and bones, as it supports the destruction of multiple states around the world, as it struggles to drag the rest of the world onto its funeral pyre, I am frozen with terror of what is to come.

        I have moved to a region that continues a tradition of strong social ties like those Eclair describes. I am working to learn ways I can most generously contribute to the social networks that I have found. I believe I may have found the exit door I was seeking. The house will burn and I can do nothing to stop or slow the fires. The best I can do is place my hopes and best efforts in joining and contributing to the social solidarity I have found. I recall when a person’s Wealth was measured by how much that person gave and shared in times of crisis or need [– and I do not believe potlatch ‘giving’ fits that notion].

    5. Bugs

      I didn’t know you were ill but I’m not here every day so I might have missed it. I think very highly of your comments, always something genuinely interesting or a pithy, human observation. It sounds like you’re getting top care and I wish you the best possible outcome!

    6. Lena

      Henry, from your comments over time I have gathered that you are a spiritual person, so I hope it’s okay to say I am praying for you. May health and peace be with you.

      It is true our society shows such a lack of basic caring for others, it’s appalling. Everyone seems busy with their workouts, the latest Netflix series, whatever. Even churches focus so much time on fund raising and so little time on pastoral care. My priest told me straight to my face that he “doesn’t like dealing with sick people”. This was not comforting to hear.

      I could tell stories about being rejected and shunned by people I have known for years because I am poor and sick but I don’t want to depress everyone. I will just say it is very painful to know that I don’t matter anymore to people I once thought were friends. Holidays are especially hard.

      1. flora

        I’m sorry, Lena. I too have watch these past few decades as people who once understood themselves as part of a human community with its obligations as well as enjoyments transform slowly into people whose mental state seems more like individual bureaucrats in an enormous, impersonal machine. (Is that what neoliberalism does?)

        How do you deal with people like that? I don’t know. Maybe… don’t become one of them.

      2. Henry Moon Pie

        “My priest told me straight to my face that he “doesn’t like dealing with sick people”

        That is horrifying.

        And your prayers are much appreciated.

        1. KLG

          HMP, there is but one thing to do under the circumstances and you are doing it! Very Best Wishes from all of us who have gone through this tunnel. And from those who have not.

        2. Glenda

          Henry – my heart and healing energy go to you and your fine story and anarchism. I was at a small rally here in Berkeley CA, and as the mic went around I spoke on our broken city system and UC disregard of the community. I found myself declaring that “we need to be the safety net” in our city with a failing city council and lots of cops and houseless folx swept off the streets. As soon as the rains stop the “shelters” will empty and more people will be seen sleeping in doorway and on the sidewalk.

          The rewarding thing was that several in the group said how they agreed. I have hope that the people who care about our town will join me and others as we try to rebuild the town,

      3. Pat

        Lena, as so many here do I am keeping you and HMP in my thoughts and sending well wishes. I am also “praying” that you both find in person human connections and support you might need.

    7. XXYY

      Dude, thanks for the beautiful and engaging post taking me on a trip across space, time, class, and the human condition. Very occasionally one finds a jewel like this in the NC comments.

      Best wishes and thoughts. Look forward to hearing from you again.

    8. Alice X

      HMP – break a leg!

      And the person who couldn’t connect. I’ve been there, I just remind myself, there’s a whole world of theirs that I don’t know anything about…

    9. Alice X

      Anarchism as I believe you (and I) understand it is a matter of social consciousness, it works within a group. It could work in a much larger realm if it were widely understood. It is not understood, and it is certainly not encouraged. The so called Libertarians, who also call themselves anarchists, look through the wrong end of the telescope.

      They see the world and its people as a faint Chimera, devoid of a relation to themselves.

    10. Cassandra

      HMP, thank you for yet another beautifully written meditation on humanity and the state of our world. Your thoughts are always interesting, but it seems that this time in the crucible of your illness is producing nuggets of the pure metal. I look forward to reading your insights.

      I hope the infusions do for your health everything that you hope.

    11. kareninca

      It is very possible that the couple wasn’t actually rich. It doesn’t cost a lot to dress like a supposed rich person. I just ordered something online from Nordstrom Rack (hugely discounted of course) and I looked around the site and there’s loads of stuff for 80 percent off. Unless a person is in actual financial distress it is easy to “dress fancy”. But most people don’t, nonetheless. I dress like a slob in part in order to appear friendly and in part to not get robbed. It is a very particular choice to “dress up”. So I would not be surprised if it is used as a technique to stave off the approach of other people.

      When my mom’s cousin developed bladder cancer I found that raw broccoli had a good study behind it as a add-on to conventional treatment. It looks like it is pretty generally helpful: The fresher the better, it turns out. Frozen is not good since the high heat used to process it destroys the sulforophane (you can add stuff to it to fix it if that is your only option).

      Best wishes for your treatment.

    12. Rolf

      We must organize to do, not vote. Self-organize to solve, not demonstrate.


      Wishing you all the best, Henry. Godspeed.

  7. flora

    re:Ozempic maker Novo Nordisk facing pressure as study finds $1,000 appetite suppressant can be made for just $5 – Fortune (furzy)

    Interesting article. Interesting timing. Could Fortune be feeling some embarrassment for its last article which was roundly mocked here? Jimmy Dore tears Fortune and pharma a new one, as they say. / ;)

    Jimmy Dore and Due Dissidence guy. utube. ~16+ minutes.

    Intermittent Fasting Is Killing You! – Says Fortune Magazine

  8. timbers

    Hospital admissions for waterborne diseases in England up 60%, report shows

    “Labour’s shadow environment secretary, Steve Reed, said: “It is sickening that this Conservative government has turned a blind eye to illegal sewage dumping that has put thousands of people in hospital. To make matters worse, consumers face higher water bills while water bosses pocket millions in bonuses.”

    Key work being Conservative. If Labour where doing it, it would be OK.

    “It is because of good policy the Labour government will legalized sewage dumping. This will lower the cost of doing business in the UK, stimulate business and investment in Britain’s future, and lower consumer costs while providing more jobs for England.”

      1. ambrit

        So, let me get this straight. The local council made Dr. Snow put the pump handle back on the contaminated well. (In real life, the Council replaced the pump handle itself shortly after the demonstration project.)
        Elites being bloody minded is a constant.

    1. JohnA

      And the Labour party spokesperson has stated “We don’t have the time or frankly the money to be nationalising water companies right now.”

      Even though Thames Water is effectively bankrupt and dumping sewage in the rivers and seas. Even the famous university boat race crews have been warned not to expose themselves unnecessarily to the water in the River Thames.

      1. The Rev Kev

        But money will be found to send to the Ukraine or any other crack-pot scheme of the Neocons. Just how much money will the UK government put into Thames water to stop it collapsing so that they do not have to nationalize it? It should be nationalized but I do not think that either party wants to do it on ideological grounds.

  9. mrsyk

    Biden restores threatened species protections Three years in, must be an election year. Ugh. Team blue reminding us that they will never take an action unless and until it might have some benefit to keeping them in power. Helpfully includes a Republican quote in case you forgot how awful team red is.
    “The rules have gotten strong pushback from Republican lawmakers, who say Biden’s Democratic administration has hampered oil, gas and coal development, and favors conservation over development.

    “We know the Endangered Species Act is an outdated piece of legislation that has repeatedly failed its primary goal of recovering listed species, yet Biden is now undoing crucial reforms and issuing new regulations that will not benefit listed species,” said House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Bruce Westerman, a Republican from Arkansas.”
    Thanks Bruce for reminding me why I’m a Carlinist.

    1. John

      Has Biden ever done anything that was not directly related to his staying in office? Yes, know he is a politician thus a sociopathic narcissist, but he takes it to extremes. But I engage in hyperbolic character assassination. For shame. Suffice it to say, protector of endangered species, at least for the moment, he may be, but are not the people of Gaza critically endangered? Are not the people of the West Bank a threatened species? Biden, on paper, protects animals. Biden tries to conceal support for genocide.

      I would never vote for him or anyone else who supports the genocidal actions of the government of Israel.

      1. mrsyk

        Has Biden ever done anything that was not directly related to his staying in office? No. And, this observation is widely transferable inside the beltway.

        1. Pat

          I agree with myrsk.Biden has done many things not directly related to his staying in office. For instance go check his handling of the Clarence Thomas hearings.
          His long term support of the Iraq war could count. And while I know he was from Delaware, I believe you can look at much of his career as donor services rather than voter services. did that directly keep him in office. No. Indirect yes. But what it absolutely did was either fuel Joe’s jollies or his bank account.

          I am probably alone here in thinking that he has screwed up every action on student loans on purpose. Largely because he was forced to do anything but also he gets a kick in watching the relief get ripped away from those he considers undeserving.

          1. mrsyk

            You were actually disagreeing with me, yet now I’m agreeing with you. The “indirect” category is a bit more flexible on multiple motives (mostly nefarious in my mind, but I’m pretty bitter about politics these days).

            1. Pat

              I apologize for misreading you.

              And I appreciate your recognition of indirect, or motives that have nothing to do with voters. The two Joes were a big part of my realization that Congress not only worked for donors but also rewarded people who got off on the pain of the others. Lieberman was subtler than Biden, but both clearly loved denying people healthcare, liked sending addicts to prison rather than rehab, and relished every bombing run. That even fully funding the VA was beyond them was so telling. They reveled in these choices even though doing the opposite would have made them more popular in most cases.

          2. Lena

            I used to think that it was all about the money but over time I have grown to believe people like Biden (and so many others in power) are genuinely sadists. The money is great, sure, but the pleasure that comes from being able to literally destroy others and get away with it is more important to these truly evil people.

            Happy Easter, Joey!

      2. undercurrent

        Old man biden does more than support the genocide in Gaza, he makes it possible. In another time, he would have sold the timber and iron nails to the crowd in Palestine to crucify the terrorist, Jesus Christ. Gotta keep israel safe, gotta make a buck.

        1. steppenwolf fetchit

          At the time of the crucifixion, the place where it happened was called Judea. At least that’s what the Romans who ran it at the time called it.

          Also, was Jesus crucified by a crowd in Judea? Or was he crucified by the Romans?

    2. steppenwolf fetchit

      Didn’t Obama do some similar things just a year or less before departing office, so that it would be easier for an incoming Trump ( if such there was, and there was) to undue them than if those things had been done a year and a day before Obama’s departure?

      And when Biden makes such rule-tweaks less than a year before Trump’s return to office, if such there is, then those things will again be just as reversible by a returning Trump, if such we get. Which shows that Biden is not concerned about achieving lock-in for this rule change, or even removal-difficulty for it.

  10. Louis Fyne

    >>>I think the decrease in childrens performance following 2020 was due to the Neurological harm after….

    Kid brain development is possibly also affected by high exposure to certain disinfectants (quaternary ammonium compounds, see methyl ammonium or Cetrimonium chloride in many sprays, soaps, mouthwash) which literally rot brain cells.

    both could be true, or, correlated, or one factor is even stronger than other

    1. flora

      or… hear me out… closing schools for a year and leaving young kids at home sometimes alone or with siblings to figure out online stuff? Nope, couldn’t be that.

  11. Benny Profane

    That essay linking the bridge collapse to racism is quite the stretch. That bridge and 695 ring highway it’s part of is there to bypass downtown Baltimore, as are all ring highways around major cities in America. It is also used to feed truck traffic in and out of the port. Yes, they do encourage white flight into exurbia, but, let’s stop there.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I thought that it had to really do with a massive ship losing power twice before taking out a vital bridge. But hey, racism. Whatever works for them.

      Saw another example of this type of thinking the other day. The TV series “Shogun” is running right now and outraged people are asking where all the black samurai are. And why were the people depicted of early 17th Japan not more diverse?

      1. Paleobotanist

        Actually, there was a black samurai, Yasuke, an African slave given by the Jesuits to Lord Nobunaga, who made him a retainer/samurai not knowing what else to do with him in the late 1500s ….;^)

        I have always been fascinated by people who washed up by fate at the ends of the Earth from were they were born and somehow settled in, picked up another language and made a life for themselves.

        1. Feral Finster

          The grandfather of the Russian poet A.S. Pushkin was in fact the second black man to become a general in the Tsar’s army.

          1. Lena

            I had forgotten that fascinating fact about Pushkin from when I was studying Russian literature in college (a long time ago). Thank you for the reminder.

            Lenin’s favorite poet? Blok? Mayakovski? No, Pushkin, of course.

          2. Paleobotanist

            Once you start looking for these people, you find them in the oddest places:
            Malinche, Gonzalo Guerrero, Hurrem Sultan, a Roman legion captured by the Parthians who then stationed them on their border with China to whom the legion then defected. In China, they married Chinese wives and continued to use the testudo formation in fighting for the Chinese emperor…

    2. flora

      One of the zanier click-bait stories I’ve read.

      The What’s Going On With Shipping article had a point I found interesting and entirely plausible about why the ship appeared to turn to the right, lining it up for the bridge pier. The tide was still going down, and a side channel current was emptying into the main harbor channel when the Dali lost power exactly where the current could catch the back of the ship and kick the back of the ship out to the left, making it look like the bow was steered to the right. “To go off-scew.” That’s still an open question, but it makes logical sense in the physical world. But as the host says, these are still questions, not answers. More investigation is required to find the answers.

      The MSM of course went into immediate hysteria about all sorts of things that supported their first hot-take, uninformed ideas. ( Old grade school rhyme: “When in danger or in doubt, run in circles scream and shout.) / ;)

      1. Screwball

        There is also the wind factor, but I can’t say I know what direction it was blowing. There is a lot of area for the wind to push the boat in that direction if it was blowing from the right direction.

        Also, you originally posted the video of the shipping expert guy who did the side by side comparison of the ship leaving the harbor via marine traffic map and video of the ship hitting the bridge support. Lambert then posted the same video in either Links or Water Cooler, along with some others as well. One of those videos became fodder for the conspiracy minded people IMO.

        The video I am talking about showed very clearly the boat turning into the support. It looked like it made a hard right turn into the bridge. It would be easy to see that video and think it was intentional. BUT…The video is sped up considerably, which makes it look much worse than reality, IMO.

        I spun up Goggle maps and compared (the best I could) the route the ship was taking from the marine map and Google maps. I admit this is not the most accurate, but I think it proves the point I’m trying to make. Best I can tell from doing some measuring (using the Google measure tool which I have found in the past to be pretty accurate) the distance from when the ship started to veer off course, to the bridge, is around 1 mile.

        In other words, the ship started turning about a mile before it hit the bridge. It was going 8+ knots, or about 9 mph, but also trying to slow down. Some articles say they even dropped an anchor, which would help slow it down as well (I would think). Doing a speed/distance/time calculation, it would take somewhere between 6 and 10 minutes from the time it veered off course until it hit the bridge (that’s not a lot of time for those dealing with the emergency at hand).

        To back this up, watch the video of the ship turning (the video shows the ship coming right at us) in that video to the traffic on the bridge. You can see several semi-trucks crossing the bridge. It only takes (in the video) a few seconds for the trucks to cross the bridge. I measured that as well, and it is also over 1 mile. If a truck was doing 60 mph it would take a minute to cross that bridge, not seconds. That gives us a sample of how much that video was sped up.

        I haven’t looked at the timeline video posted above, but I will when I have time just to see how that matches up with my theory. But to reiterate, that video can easily fool people into thinking it was intentional, when I don’t think it was.


        1. digi_owl

          I guess in the end so much of the confusion comes down to people trying to apply car on road physics to a ship in water. At best one may compared it to a car on ice, and i suspect most people that drive have little experience with that. And that is before one take into account the differences in scale and energy involved.

          Never mind that Hollywood has willfully ignored physics for generations as it gets in the way of spectacular action scenes, further distorting people’s “understanding” of events.

          1. Screwball

            Never mind that Hollywood has willfully ignored physics for generations as it gets in the way of spectacular action scenes, further distorting people’s “understanding” of events.

            No doubt. I don’t remember what movie it was recently, but I started watching it and the action scenes were so awful and unbelievable I turned it off.

            I don’t imagine video games help either.

        2. flora

          Thanks. That’s some good analysis. I think eventually this accident will be shown to be the confluence (no pun intended) of multiple forces all going wrong for the ship at nearly exactly the same time. It happens. But we’ll have to wait for the NTSB and other investigative information to know what happened and why. / my 2 cents.

          1. Screwball

            I agree.

            At the same time, even if this was the perfect storm it seemed to be, it should never happen. Same with the airline stuff.

            This is why there are rules, regulations, procedures, back-up systems, etc. Of course if those are not followed….

            I don’t know if we will ever know the truth, but my money is on cost cutting in one form or another as the culprit. A good example, which has already been discussed; why didn’t the tugs get the ship past the bridge?

            I also read somewhere the ship was experiencing electrical issues while in port. That should be a big red flag too.

            I have been to Baltimore on a few occasions and have to believe with this bridge down, the traffic is a mess. It is a mess before. Good luck to those living around there.

          2. digi_owl

            Most accident are that. And they end up that way because some suit far away from the action makes the workers skirt the edge of regulations to cut costs.

        3. Martin Oline

          I have given up on understanding the mechanics of this accident. With the reveal that these ships can use bow and stern thrusters I realized that when the power went out, any thrusters (if being used) would have stopped also. Thrusters could play an important part in the heading of the ship and without them it is anybody’s guess where the ship would head. As they say, above my pay grade.

          1. flora

            Above my pay grade, too. As a technologist I think it’s very important to pursue this story, the inquirey, the results, the conclusions in the public press, even if readers lose some interest, because I think it’s important for the public to be given the opportunity at least to follow the investigations and its results. Not everyone will follow, or be interested in, or care about the results. It won’t be the hot-ticket on MSM for long. However, I think it’s important to pursue this story even as a sideline because the public has too often been fobbed off with nonsense about major situations. This leaves the public , those that are interested, without good information. The public deserves better. And, importantly, the reporters deserve better so they can’t or won’t be fobbed off with the first political hot-takes in future. imo.

    3. digi_owl

      Everything is either racism or sexism these days, as that is all the PMC seems to fret about. So once something happens that they can’t make sense of, it has to be re-framed to fit their neuroticism.

      1. flora

        Ah yes. Critical Theory reducing everything to a power relationship, where everyone is either oppressor or oppressed. That’s a narrow-minded binary focused on the immediate present moment of reaction to something, instead of on the future. It’s escaped the literature and philosophy departments in the unis and taken over the enterprises, with possibly the exception of the sciences. Although it’s making inroads there, as well. There are law school profs teaching the 1st Amendment is bad and free speech is oppressive because speech is a form of violence. Really. And they want and expect and demand that all of us should agree with their fantasies. They are free to believe whatever, live and let live. Demanding I agree with their fantasies is an insult. An oppressive insult. It’s all about power. / ;)

      2. Furzy

        I don’t agree with this….most big cities have ring roads to lessen traffic having to drive thru the downtown area. I used the Key Bridge frequently to access the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel and NJ Turnpike when driving to NYC. Poverty and racism require other solutions, like the Red Line.

        A ring road is a road or a series of connected roads encircling a town, city or country. The most common purpose of a ring road is to assist in reducing traffic volumes in the urban centre, such as by offering an alternate route around the city for drivers who do not need to stop in the city core. Wikipedia

    4. Glenn Olson

      I’ve noticed that about half the shows I see now romantically match a black actor with a white one, typically a black man with a white woman. In real life this is a rarity but on the screen this is most commonplace. Look for it and you’ll see it. They don’t do it for Asians or other nationalities.

      I’m not trying to be racist but I’d like to point out that this is propaganda (indoctrination, brainwashing, promoting, disinformation?), the exact purpose for which I simply don’t understand. It obviously doesn’t reflect our actual cultural statistics so the media must be trying to lead us somewhere.

      I asked my wife if white women preferred black men and she just stared at me like I was nuts. Maybe the media is trying to say white men are inferior? I can see many ways that this can backfire so I wonder why they they are risking it.

  12. Louis Fyne

    >>>>Vegetables are losing their nutrients.

    survivorship bias of varieties that are robust enough for cross-country/international harvesting-shipment-handling, no regard to health, some regard for taste.

    don’t hold your breath for a change. i wouldn’t mind (in theory, devil in details) gene editing to make better tomatoes…obviously others disagree.

    regardless, support farmers who grow heirloom varieties…it isn’t cheap, but it can’t be helped. Mechanized farming has distorted our concept of the fair price for produce

    1. The Rev Kev

      Gene editing will only take you so far if the real problem is that the soil is stuffed. It would be better trying to rehabilitate the soil to contain more nutrients. But I’m not sure if that is possible with industrial farming.

      1. Ken Murphy

        A more unusual addition to soil to help “rehabilitate” its nutrient base might be lunar regolith. No, seriously, hear me out.

        Back in the 1970s, folks were concerned about lunar regolith getting into the wild and becoming an ever-expanding pool of toxic death. So Dr. Walkinshaw did some experiments where he sprinkled actual lunar regolith into a growing medium. The difference compared to plants grown without the added regolith is notable. Having determined that lunar regolith wouldn’t cause Earth plants to wither and die, the experiments ended. Ever since, regolith simulant has been used, but ultimately it is scientifically useless in this context as it lacks the fine distribution of trace elements extant in the actual lunar regolith. The Lunar Rock Labs are willing to release actual samples for agricultural studies, but they’re looking for results along the lines of gene expression spurred by the presence of the trace elements, not the science fair stuff you usually read about in the news.

        My hypothesis is that the regolith has been imbued with the contents of aeons of asteroid and comet impacts, as well as Solar-Wind Implanted Elements (SWIEs). Stuff that has been industrially farmed out of our soils by centuries/millennia of crop cultivation.

        So when rockets are dead-heading back to Earth for more supplies and equipment for the Moon, why not fill the cargo holds with bulk regolith to ship back to Earth for agricultural purposes? Early rounds would likely be snapped up by universities and research centers, or squillionaires who want to have a Moon garden. But eventually volumes could reach the point where it would be added to existing fertilizer streams.

        And for those concerned about transferring mass between the Moon and Earth, thereby causing catastrophic changes in the Moon’s orbit precipitating it to fly into deep space or swing wildly in towards Earth…um, no. I have had this question. I have researched the data. The scale is what makes the concern moot. Already, an estimated 50,000 -tonnes- of dust fall into the Earth’s atmosphere from space each year. Were you to scrape some of the dust off your dashboard and look at it under the microscope, some of it would be space spoor. The Moon is only 1/81th the mass of Earth (and gets a…somewhat…proportional amount of infall from space. It’s complicated with Hill spheres and Lagrange gravitational keyholes and lissajous stuff), and any transfer from the Moon to Earth of mass is going to be measured in tens of tonnes, while also offset by the mass of equipment and supplies being transferred to the Moon.

        So, lunar regolith for Terran soils. I think it’s a good idea, and one of the better reasons to go back to the Moon and start making good use of it.

        [FWIW, I did a list of 25 Good Reasons to Go Back to the Moon way back in the day that was published in Space News:

        1. Bsn

          And plant by the Moon. It was full just the other night – perfect time to put in spring seeds: beets, peas, greens……..

        2. steppenwolf fetchit

          Well, as long as we don’t mine enough regolith from off the moon to change its mass enough to disturb its orbit and thereby disturb whatever its orbit affects here on earth, like tides and things .
          And maybe even keeping the earth itself stable on its axis, to the benefit of life on earth as we are privileged to know it.

          So let’s not mine too much regolith from off the moon.

      2. thousand points of green

        By fortuitous coincidence almost, the April issue of Acres USA is dedicated to the theme of Grow Vegetables With Nutrient Integrity. I don’t know whether Acres USA would sell a single issue of their magazine to a non-subscriber or not.

        There have been farmers, input-suppliers, soil and plant sap/tissue testers, agronomists and agronomic consultants, etc. working for several decades in the ” soil fertility management and enhancement” space. Professor William Albrecht and his graduate students did work on soil fertility and its relation to plant and animal nutrient levels decades ago at the University of Missouri. His academic (and other) papers have been put into print and are sold in a series of books by Acres USA. Here is a small sampling of Albrecht papers from Steve Solomon’s ‘Soil and Health Library’ which is an online resource.

        Charles Walters claimed that Prof. Albrecht once wrote ” tongue-in-cheek” about how farmers deserved and needed a “soil mineral fertility depletion allowance” to help them pay for maintaining mineral fertility in their soil the same way that oil companies got an “oil depletion allowance” to help them pay for finding more oil. I once read the Albrecht article stating that concept and it read to me like it was written with a straight face, without any tongue in any cheek at all.

        Separately, Carey Reams discovered decades ago that the detectable sugar levels in plant sap was a fairly good proxy for the levels of various other nutrients in plant sap and by extension in plants overall, including the product finally harvested and sold for being eaten. Here is a super simple version of Reams’s discoveries laid out in table form.

        The Bionutrient Food Association offers an article explaining the principles of brix and the application of those principles. Without looking into their website in great detail, I can only suppose they cover some other aspects of bionutrient in food ( and how to get more of them in there) as well.

        International Ag Labs has a website called High Brix Gardens which also offers material about soil fertility leading to plant nutrient load increases as indicated by the ‘measured brix’ proxy. A lot of its information is aimed at gardeners growing for personal and family use.

        There’s enough more out there to choke a comment, but these links might be a good start.

    2. IM Doc

      I wonder what the nutrient level of our vegetables and fruits are here at the homestead.

      The beds and orchards are treated every year during the right season with cow manure, bone meal we make ourselves from our meat from ourselves or neighbors, and potash tea and dregs from our own tree and branch and firewood ashes. We also place all fish and animal carcasses and all gizzards and innards into the ground in a rotating fallow field, bed, or area. Every organic scrap from our tables either goes to the chickens, or is processed into compost by our Lomi device. The tomatoes absolutely love this Lomi compost.

      This is all very hard work. But you can taste it in the food and you can smell it in the flowers. And all the work is very good for my health and the kids. And we do it without chemicals. All plants and vegetables are heirloom varieties that grow true from seed every year.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        You don’t eat the gizzards???? I love gizzards. When we had holiday turkeys and goose, I would insist they never be chopped up and put in stuffing so I could have them. Duck gizzards are pretty tough but you can use them as the major item in a soup and cook them a very very long time to soften them up.

        1. Martin Oline

          Chicken gizzards are an essential ingredient (for me) in Dirty Rice. They are tough so I boil them, reserving the stock, then chop them up fine. I seldom use ground pork but it is tastier if I do.

        2. Jeff W

          I can’t eat gizzards, at least not whole. I’ve tried and they elicit a gag reflex literally. About every twenty years or so, I say “This is ridiculous—I can eat these!”—and try again, and get the same involuntary gag reflex. I can’t think of another food that does that.

          And I’m not particularly squeamish about foods. I’ve had stinky tofu [臭豆腐 cau³ dau⁶ fu⁶ in Cantonese] and nattō, both of which I quite like, and snow frog jelly or hasma [雪蛤膏 syut³ gap³ gou¹ in Cantonese]—which, if not cleaned properly, has a kind of (to me) unappealing reptilian taste (yes, frogs are amphibians, I know)—and Xiamen’s “famous” sandworm jelly aka “worm aspic” [土笋冻], both of which I can do without.

    3. Arkady Bogdanov

      Some of what you say is definitely true. Producers maximize for shelf life and disease resistance, and in some cases this leads to less flavorful, less nutrient rich vegetables. More and more we are seeing hydroponic production, where you simply do not have all of the odd and rare nutrients that are not necessary for the health of the plant itself added to the growth medium.
      All that said, soil depletion is a thing. I work for the primary fed agency that focuses on soil, and although my specialty is on the engineering side, I also cross train on soil science and agronomy. Vegetable production, as opposed to grains, generates high value crops that are generally tillage intensive with irrigation. Mechanical weeding keeps the soil exposed, and frequent watering and exposure to the atmosphere causes erosion and more importantly, leaching of trace elements.
      Now at the smaller end of the scale in market gardens/home gardens this is relatively easy to fix. There is a product known as Azomite that you can buy in 50 lb bags (or smaller) and you just dust the soil with this every couple of years. Azomite is volcanic ash that is mined, mostly in Oklahoma I believe, and it is incredibly rich in many rare elements and minerals and is wonderful for your plants, and many people claim that after application, vegetables become more flavorful. Studies do show that application increases disease and pest resistance.
      My family has a market garden, roadside stand, and we have been using Azomite for close to 10 years. We do seem to have better quality produce, but that may be attributable to other things as well.

      1. ambrit

        News we can use! I’ll look into this. One major interest in my old age is healthy foods.

  13. upstater

    re.Baltimore Drive-By: The Bridge, the City, and Infra-Structural Racism R.J. Eskow

    While racism certainly plays a role in transportation infrastructure planning, the development of the interstate highway system was justified as the “National System of Interstate and Defense Highways” and was intended to avoid urban areas. Many of the primary interstate highways (eg, 5, 10…90, 95 and other 2 digit ids) skirt the city centers. Per wiki “Auxiliary Interstate Highways are circumferential, radial, or spur highways that principally serve urban areas. These types of Interstate Highways are given three-digit route numbers, which consist of a single digit prefixed to the two-digit number of its parent Interstate Highway.”

    But the whole automobile-centric transportation and interstate system is premised on facilitating sprawl and land as a consumable. The inner cities quickly became hollowed out, undesirable shells. Suburbs grew, malls, big boxes! office parks, low-rise manufacturing built, etc. The FIRE sector has been the primary beneficiary if not the driver in this development. Things like redlining and the atrophy of public transit are the results.

    And while the victims are often black, but the decline of cities like Baltimore (or my nearby Syracuse) really is colorblind. The victims are working class. Now devolved into lumpen proletariat.

    1. flora

      Thank you. The ever widening sprawl of expanding concentric circles is beginning to reverse as cities realize their road care infrastructure budgets can’t maintain the growth that hollows out the core and reduces the property tax receipts compared to increasing maintenance costs. It won’t happen overnight.

      1. ambrit

        The problem here is that, relatively speaking, a ‘collapse’ often does happen “overnight.”
        I’m re-reading Diamond’s tome “Collapse” now. Felicity, thy name is NC.

  14. LawnDart

    Equinix, by Hindenberg Research…. I’m afraid that Hindenberg’s name is quite apt, as upon scrutiny, their research often crashes and burns. Unfortunately, innocents get burned too.

    Hindenberg is on the short-seller side of the stock-market game; they make their money by crashing a stock, or by attempting to significantly decreasing the share-price of a company’s stock.

    They attempted to do this on November 24, 2023 with a company that I am quite familiar with– Ehang: EHang: Hollow Order Book And Fake Sales Make This China-Based eVTOL Company Last In Line For Takeoff

    Every single bullet-pointed “fact” in their press release was disproven and refuted, but the smear and uncertainty that it created may have had an effect: Ehang’s share price went from $17.58 on 11/24 to a low of $9.60 approximately 10-weeks later. It has since recovered to $20.57.

    I expect that Hindenberg is playing the same game with Equinix.

    By the way, Ehang’s flagship product, the EH-216-S passenger-carrying drone, rather than being “last in line for takeoff,” was certified for use by China’s equivalent of the FAA (the CAAC) in December, and it’s the first of its kind in the world that is approved for flight operations.

      1. LawnDart

        If long-long, yes. But why fight the tide? It might make sense to sell now and wait until the storm passes, then hopefully average down– if you have faith in your DD and repurchase.

    1. flora

      adding as an aside, composer Irving Berlin was Jewish. (Lest any Critical Theory morons want to criticise his musical genius.)

      1. steppenwolf fetchit

        Well, the academic intellectual Critical Theory morons could simply define “Jewish” as “white” in order to criticize his musical genius anyway. Nothing comes between a Critical Theory moron and its goal.

  15. Paleobotanist


    Does anyone know where there is a copy of “Not everything is about gender”?
    I tried I’d like to read the article.


      1. steppenwolf fetchit

        I tried finding the article of this name on the internet and got led to the same link given by Mikel.
        When I went there, I found lots of clickbaity material but I also found the article itself. Stepping around the clickbait was as easy as stepping around dogpoo on the sidewalk. Or at least it is on the particular computer machine I am using.

        Might be worth another try.

  16. The Rev Kev

    ‘Arnaud Bertrand
    The US is playing a very dangerous game in the South China Sea, where instead of trying to appease tensions like a responsible power should do, it backs maximalist claims that violate International Law, and lies egregiously for that purpose.’

    I think that the US is currently building five military bases in the Philippines so trying to ease tensions in this region are not on the cards.

    ‘Begun the shift has from the Ukraine to China.’

      1. LawnDart

        The Chinians might not take the bait and your shareholdings in the defense sector might go down?

  17. Tom Stone

    While “You can’t overestimate Joe’s ability to Eff things up” deliberately sending infectious children to school as a Government policy seems particularly stupid.
    April, May and June, then part of August and November with all of September and October should be plenty of time to repeatedly infect the babysitters as well as most of the funding units.
    That’s a LOT of sick kids, kids sick with everything from Covid to Measles and they will unselfishly share those bugs with their families who will in turn share those bugs with their neighbors and co workers…before the election.

  18. digi_owl

    “South Korea is zooming ahead with the mass production of its KF-21 fighter jet, and China won’t be happy South China Morning Post”

    Looks a bit like a FA-18 dressed up like a F-22. And it is interesting to see the various “smaller” nations that are now rolling their own jets while the old “empires” struggle to keep their flying.

    It seems like once you forgo the whole stealth thing, building a supersonic jet is now “easy” for any nation with functioning heavy industry.

    1. LawnDart

      The right combination of radars and other detection-devices go a long-ways towards “unmasking” stealth, and these cheap techs only getting better, so it would seem that pursuing the “AK-style” of military hardware– simple, rugged, and effective– would be a no-brainer… …oh, what am I saying…

      1. digi_owl

        Yep. The downing of the F-117 demonstrated that stealth was no alternative to proper doctrine.

        What enabled it was that US hubris lead to the same flight paths being used pr mission. So missile batteries could be placed beforehand and just wait for word from forward observers. Then the missiles were basically fired blind, locking on to the strongest signal as they came closer to the planes.

        Interestingly Russia, while also working in stealth, seems to have gone for active jamming in the interim. Their latest SUs carry pods that seem quite effective. Supposedly a F-35 that crossed their path over the Baltic Sea struggled with frequent radar reboots and thus kept losing track for their Russian counterpart.

        1. LawnDart

          Along those lines, we know that both Russia and China are developing AI-enabled UAVs that will have the ability to act as autonomous fighters, patrolling or loitering in a given area for many, many hours. Unmanned, these are more-or-less expendable– unlike piloted aircraft (the human body may be cheap, but it costs a lot to train that monkey).

          So-called stealth makes even less sense in light of the emerging tech. And then are the “cobots,” or dedicated AI-enabled wingmen…the stuff that is actually happening now and so quickly almost makes my head spin.

    2. upstater

      >building a supersonic jet is now “easy” for any nation with functioning heavy industry

      The KFX engines are Pratt, GE or EuroJet, so building a fighter is NOT easy. Perhaps building the airframes are getting easier. China struggles to build engines. Only the US, Russia, France and UK have mastered that part for both commercial and military.

      1. digi_owl

        Good point. I knew the JAS Gripen initially was using a US designed engine produced under license at Volvo (division since sold of to a UK company from what i can find, as seems to be the case with much of Sweden’s military industry).

        Interestingly it seems like all the options considered for the KF-21 date from the 70s-90s.

  19. digi_owl

    “Colonialists used starvation as a tool of oppression The Conversation (Dr. Kevin)”

    And capitalists continue into the present. No work, no money, no food for you.

    And isn’t this deep down the whole IMF shtick? Get smaller nations to focus on cash crops for export, then spend the currency earned on food staples from daddy USA etc?

    That way, if a new government should get uppity, or be of a political leaning DC do not approve of, the nation can be starved into submission.

  20. Henry Moon Pie

    Nate Hagens Interviews Chuck Watson on Ukraine–

    For those who might be interested in a different voice, Chuck Watson is an interesting listen. He worked for McFarlane and Rumsfeld, but he’s no longer a Neocon as they’re now defined. His background was at Air Force intelligence and State before working those guys.

    His viewpoints pretty consonant with what I read in the Commentariat and among our hosts. Some good background on France’s full motivation for Macron’s sabre-rattling.

    1. Phenix

      Hagens has a great podcast. I do not always agree with who he has on but the Steve Keen interview was great. I wish my son was a little older so I could use that to teach him.

      I don’t remember this podcast. Does he cover Russia’s role in pushing France out of the Sahel?

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        He does. Also makes a point I hadn’t heard before about Ukraine’s new head of the military has parents living in Moscow.

  21. Phenix

    “I’ve spent the past five years funding science to understand the environmental factors that impact women’s reproductive health because these have gone largely ignored,” Shanahan said. “IVF is a very expensive for-profit business, and many of these clinics are owned by private equity firms that are not invested in the underlying health of women. What I care about is informed consent, and not letting corporations take advantage of us.”

    21 paragraphs. Paragraph 12 has her first thoughts on IVF. The mitochondrial study is used to undercut her position.

    We live in a toxic stew of chemicals many of them are endocrine disruptors. My wife and I both know people who have conceived after IVF because they changed their diets and live cleaner lives.

    I do not know much about her. She shares RFK Jr’s focus on the environment especially regenerative agriculture and corruption. I really hope she is a multi billionaire and can rid the campaign of the Adelson clan. Even a stance of just sending Israel Iron Dome ordinance would be light years better than what he has said.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      She got only $340 million in her divorce from Brin, although a lot of that in stock so you can add in appreciation. She had a pre-nup but sued for a billion anyhow. Settlement supposedly confidential but a friend saw that # in the papers.

      1. Phenix

        That’s too bad. RFK Jr would have a legit chance if he wasn’t tied to Israeli money. His stance on Gaza is inconsistent with his other foreign policy positions. Or it’s the other way around and Ukraine is the outlier.

        I will be stuck with either voting for Trump or him. I am in Pa.

        I see Biden/PMC MIC BLOB as an existential threat to humanity but if Trump doesn’t show any improvement on his staffing choices then I’ll vote RFK.

      1. digi_owl

        That said, between this and recent events at the Suez canal, one may wonder how easily the empire could be logistically crippled with a few well placed container ships.

        1. Screwball

          Or if someone decided to cut an undersea communications cable? Or on land for that matter.

          Imagine millions of American phone zombies without their most essential device? Not to mention the chaos caused by lack of communications between essential parties partaking in commerce and/or logistics.

          Now I’m probably on the NSA list and the feds will be knocking on my door.

          1. digi_owl

            Gets me thinking about the company that got hit with a ransom attack a few years back, but managed to keep operations going thanks to ago old analog phones and printed catalogs. And it was the old geezers in the offices that insisted on keeping those around.

            1. Screwball

              Now all they want to do is get rid of the old geezers. Those who went through history, know what’s going on, and how to fix things. Those are the ones who also told them “you don’t want to do that.” They neither care or want to listen to those geezers.

              We have a brand new MBA that just started…

  22. antidlc
    Tuberculosis cases at highest level in a decade in US: report

    Nicole Skaggs said she was infected in 2020, but didn’t develop symptoms until 2022 — after she got sick from COVID-19.

    “Anything that can take out or lower your immune system can put you at risk,” said Skaggs, 41, a property manager in Bothell, Washington.

    CDC officials called the idea that COVID-19 has played a role in increased reactivation of TB “an important question.”

  23. lord abortikvs

    lol the claremont institute? what could they possibly bring to the discussion that some other, not insane, group has already expressed, likely much better?

    keeping the slurs in kids books, truly the issue of our time.

  24. Jason Boxman

    4 Things You Need to Know About Health Care Cyberattacks (NY Times via

    The attack on Change is just the most far-reaching example of what has become nearly commonplace in the health care industry. Ransomware attacks, in which criminals shut down computer systems unless the owners pay the hackers, affected 46 hospital systems last year, up from 25 in 2022, according to the data security firm Emsisoft. Hackers have also taken down companies that provide services such as medical transcription and billing in recent years.

    Hospital IT systems are a complete debacle. This is default password on your router on steroids.

    “The entire sector is severely under-resourced when it comes to cybersecurity and information security,” said Errol Weiss, chief security officer for the Health Information Sharing and Analysis Center, which he described as a virtual neighborhood watch for the industry.

    I guess hospital executives are too busy scheming to murder patients from an airborne, level 3 biohazard.

  25. ChrisFromGA

    Letter sent to US Senator Warnock:

    Dear Senator Warnock,

    As a man of the cloth, I know that you are one of the few members of Congress who serves a higher power than money.

    I want to point out a few facts that lead to the inevitable conclusion that our government is complicit in the mass slaughter of children in Gaza, and an accomplice to slaughter on a scale not seen since WWII in Ukraine.

    1. We have already given Ukraine something like $200B. Another $61B will make no difference, except to prolong the inevitable Russian victory and death of thousands if not 10s of thousands more.

    2. Israel has a right to defend itself, but what is going on in Gaza is not self-defense. It is genocide. Children are starving sending pictures we haven’t seen since Belsen and the days of Pol Pot.

    3. The US govt continues to send billions in aid to Israel, including weapons used to kill Gazans. We’re now an accomplice to genocide.

    4. The ICJ has provisionally ruled that Israel under the Netanyahu government is likely causing a genocide. They have also demanded that Israel stop. Also, the UN recently voted to demand an immediate ceasefire last week.

    5. Israel can be stopped with one phone call from President Biden. A call demanding they stop, or all further aid including weapons and ammunition will stop immediately.

    There aren’t many voices for peace these days. Where are the Jimmy Carters, the Dr. Kings of this generation?

    Please help. You are in your position because God put your there.

    Serve the Lord, not man.


  26. flora

    I’m leaving this in the late afternoon before Easter because I have other things to attend to on Easter day.

    Handel’s final Amen in his Messiah work. Everyone thinks his Hallelujah Chorus is the final Easter choral work, but it is not, imo. It is his final Amen chorus, which starts on a major chord (music majors will appreciate this), moves toward its seeming end on a minor chord, and then in 3 or 4 chords ends on a major chord. Anyway, best, and Happy Easter to all the NC readers here and to the commentariate.

    ROYAL CHORAL SOCIETY: Worthy is the Lamb & Amen Chorus from Handel’s Messiah

  27. skippy

    O/T per links on Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs raids …

    Media savvy 27 yr old son informed me last night after broaching the topic with him noted that as far back as 2014 and being into hip hop at the time there was lots of rumor control in social hip hop media about all this.

    So as far back as 10 yes ago the fan base was aware/discussing this topic. Seems its not a outlier with in the industry as well, lots of stuff goes on IMO.

  28. bonks

    China, Russia Launch Joint Lab on Siberian Tiger Conservation in Northeast China InfoBRICS

    This tiger sanctuary is located next to a small Russian-style village called Hengdaohezi, colourful in summer and buried deep in snow in winter. A very picturesque village that’s worth a visit.

Comments are closed.