Links 4/18/2024

Elephant seal makes ‘epic’ trek back after Canadian officials relocate him Guardian

Widespread 911 outages reported in at least 3 states, officials say FOX


The economic commitment of climate change Nature. From the Abstract: “Using an empirical approach that provides a robust lower bound on the persistence of impacts on economic growth, we find that the world economy is committed to an income reduction of 19% within the next 26 years independent of future emission choices (relative to a baseline without climate impacts, likely range of 11–29% accounting for physical climate and empirical uncertainty).” That 19% will be evenly distributed, I assume.

‘Human-induced’ climate change caused deadly Sahel heatwave, says study France24

World faces ‘deathly silence’ of nature as wildlife disappears, warn experts Guardian

* * *

Tsunami alert after a volcano in Indonesia has several big eruptions and thousands are told to leave AP. Commentary:

* * *

Coral reefs are experiencing mass bleaching amid record ocean heat, scientists warn France24

‘Worst I have seen’: 75% of Great Barrier Reef suffers coral bleaching Pearls & Irritations. Commentary:

* * *

Dubai airport chaos as UAE and Oman reel from deadly storms BBC

My 24 Hours in the Flooded Crypto Apocalypse of Dubai Decrypt

No, Dubai’s Floods Weren’t Caused by Cloud Seeding Wired


California farming area placed on probation over declining groundwater and sinking land LA Times


USDA scientists weigh avian flu vaccine for cows; virus may be spreading from cattle to poultry Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy

What Is Long COVID? Understanding the Pandemic’s Mysterious Fallout Yale Medicine. A useful explainer, though focused on Yale.

Mysterieuze oversterfte levert honderden miljoenen op, waar moet dat geld naartoe? Oddly, I can’t get Google to translate the link, but here’s an alternative:

Not sure tern1’s analogy is correct in detail (as opposed to directionally).


Officials promote China-led cyber governance to Belt and Road members during the Digital Silk Road forum in Xian South China Morning Post

Behold China’s consumer paradise Asia Times. Commentary:

China’s micro-drama boom takes viewers by storm both at home and abroad Channel News Asia

Vietnam mounts $24 billion rescue plan for bank engulfed in giant fraud Business Standard. That’s a lot!


In a rebel-held Myanmar town, fragile unity pushes junta to the brink Channel News Asia


Leaked Cables Show Biden Admin Opposes Palestinian Statehood Ken Klipperstein

‘We had enormous success in defeating Iran’s attack’: US defense chief Anadolu Agency

US ‘deeply concerned’ by UN agency’s report detailing staffers subjected to ‘ill-treatment’ by Israel Anadalolu Agency. Oh.

Google fires 28 employees after sit-in protest over Israel cloud contract The Verge

European Disunion

Majority of EU states object to capital markets reform push FT

Dear Old Blighty

The UK’s missing companies Funding the Future

New Not-So-Cold War

Russia is bombing Ukraine into darkness — and leaving Europe short of power Politico. Vassal states don’t need power….

Russia destroys almost all thermal power generation in Ukraine, attacks on its nuclear power plants possible – Zelenskyy Ukrainska Pravda

No illegal Russian weapons in Zaporozhye, IAEA reports Infobrics

Poland would defend Lithuania, I cannot imagine any other way – interview with President Duda LRT

* * *

Ukraine’s Intelligence Chief unveils plan in Russia: More raids by Russian volunteers and drone strikes Ukrainska Pravda

Crude, cheap and deadly: Russian glide bombs are pounding Ukraine into surrender Telegraph. What makes them “crude”? Lack of gold plating? Bad table manners?

* * *

Ukraine warns of WW3 ahead of long-stalled Congress aid vote BBC

The Talks That Could Have Ended the War in Ukraine Foreign Affairs. The deck: “A Hidden History of Diplomacy That Came Up Short—but Holds Lessons for Future Negotiations.” The article gives a lot of detail that softens some of the hard edges, but to hose who were paying attention at the time, the basic outline was hardly “hidden.”

* * *

* * *

Nord Stream insurers say policies did not cover war risks, Kommersant reports Reuters

Georgia against the ‘foreign agents law’, day three, 100 thousand protesters. What happened, videos, photos JAM. Then again, NGOs staging color revolutions aren’t everyone’s cup of tea.

Foreign investor in Ukraine accuses officials of corruption FT. Will wonders never cease?

South of the Border

Why Musk Folded in Brazil Compact

Woman, seeking loan, wheels corpse into Brazilian bank Al Jazeera

Global Elections

Billionaire Families Lose Hope for Tax Cut After Korean Vote Bloomberg

Croatian election results: Populist wins chance to steer Zagreb away from pro-EU, pro-Ukraine path Politico

India election 2024 phase 1: Who votes and what’s at stake? Al Jazeera

IMF calls for fiscal restraint in year with most elections ever Reuters

The Caribbean

Investigation: Are there really rising cases of cannibalism in Haiti or is it fake news? France24. Cannibalism seems to be in the zeitgeist just now, I can’t think why.

The Supremes

The Supreme Court’s Big Gun Rights Decision Is a Waking Nightmare For Federal Judges Balls and Strikes

Spook Country

Senate Can Stop Expansion of Government Surveillance RealClearPolitics

Wyden vows to ‘do everything in my power’ to stop bill expanding warrantless government surveillance KTVZ. Brief, worth a read. Hey, remember when Senator [genuflects] Obama was going to filibuster the bill that gave the telcos retroactive immunity for Bush’s program of warrantless surveillance? Good times.

Will a FISA lapse cause a disaster? It depends on who you ask The Hill

Psst, hey. It’s the NSA. You want some AI security advice? The Register. The deck: “You can trust us, we’re the good guys.”

Digital Watch

Hatsune Miku is playing Coachella, but she’s not human. Why brands are working with digital avatars Los Angeles Times. Not “she.” “It.”

Why the Short-Lived Calvin and Hobbes Is Still One of the Most Beloved & Influential Comic Strips Open Culture

Book Nook

The making of Icehenge (interview) Kim Stanley Robinson, Crooked Timber

The Final Frontier

The great commercial takeover of low Earth orbit MIT Technology Review


Boeing engineer says safety concerns are ignored inside plane maker FT. Not just that; a manager threatened to kill him. No doubt the Charleston Police are interviewing him now?

Boeing unlikely to meet FAA’s 90-day deadline for new safety program Leeham News & Analysis

How to make a map of smell Aeon

David Dunning: Overcoming Overconfidence Open Mind. That Dunning.

Is society caught up in a Death Spiral? Modeling societal demise and its reversal Frontiers in Sociology (Flora). Interesting!

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Antifa

    (melody borrowed from Brandy  by Looking Glass)

    We have taught
    The world to live this way
    To burn a hundred million
    Barrels each day
    We burn twenty million
    In the USA
    And it’s just how life here goes

    Half the oil and gas
    We have ever found
    We have burned
    So it’s not around
    Burned in forty years
    Here above the ground
    And from here it shall decline

    Oil and gas are so handy for our engines (for our engines)
    And for electricity (for electric)
    Without ships trains tractors and trailers — where are we?

    Each day
    We move freight by train
    And on ships and trucks
    Quite a lot by plane
    And we cook our food
    With cheap methane
    In the homes that we all love

    This will all
    Slowly fade away
    Without oil and gas
    We can never pay
    For the energy
    We use every day
    In our cars and in our homes

    Oil and gas are so handy for our engines (for our engines)
    And for electricity (for electric)
    Without ships trains tractors and trailers — where are we?

    Yeah, endless fuel is an empty lie
    This is self-explanatory
    When you swallow your last piece of pie
    You’re in No-Pie territory

    There is no fount of endless youth
    Our collapse is poorly planned
    I really think it best
    You buy farmland

    By 2060
    Things should settle down
    We’ll be living
    In much smaller towns
    There won’t be as many
    Folks around
    We will live in simpler ways

    Oil and gas were so handy for our engines (for our engines)
    And for electricity (for electric)
    Without ships trains tractors and trailers — where are we?

    They were handy for engines (for our engines)
    And for electricity (for electric)
    Without ships trains tractors and trailers — where are we?

  2. digi_owl

    Between Dubai shutting down from rain, and the ash plume heading towards Vietnam, this looks to be a bad time to be traveling by air.

  3. Samuel Conner

    > What makes them “crude”? Lack of gold plating? Bad table manners?

    In photos I have seen of bombs equipped with the FAB kits to make them glide bombs, the conversion hardware looks very “basic.”

    For example, here @ 1:58.

    By comparison, JDAM-equipped bombs are much more sleek in appearance,
    as here @ 0:48.

    It would appear to me that the control surfaces on the JDAM bombs cannot provide much lift, so these are precise but not stand-off weapons, whereas FABs can be launched from a considerable distance from the target.

    US does have a glide bomb kit, GBU-15. Again, it has a kind of sleek (though less than the JDAM) appearance. Per the wiki, there are a limited number of platforms that can launch this weapon.

    I think that it’s a case of “simple, robust, and effective,” a Russian recipe that we’ve seen again and again. One suspects that FAB kits are likely cheaper per munition than JDAM or GBU kits.

    In a war between materialists and mystics, bet on the materialists.

    1. digi_owl

      A glide bomb and a JDAM are two different things, AFAIK.

      A JDAM is basically a normal bomb with a replacement tail and GPS receiver. The only real way that could affect range is that the plane could potentially be higher up when releasing the bomb.

      Those UMPK fitted bombs seem comparable to a GBU-39 in concept, but reusing existing FABs rather than having them custom made. Likely the kit can be attached to any size bomb that can be carried under wing.

      1. digi_owl

        Amendment: Apparently there is a JDAM-ER kit that basically do the same as the UMPK, by strapping fold out wings on the belly of the bomb to go with the GPS tail. Seems to allow such equipped bombs to perform comparably to the GBU-39.

        And the kit is apparently already in use in Ukraine.

      2. The Rev Kev

        I don’t know how big a bomb the old Soviet Union produced but right now the Russian Federation are converting 3,000 kg (6,614 lb) bombs as glide bombs. And for the Ukrainians hunkered down there is no way to stop them once released. The aircraft that dropped it would have already turned around and headed back to base out of sight of those Ukrainians.

        1. yep

          Soviet Union made much bigger bombs (FAB-5000, FAB-9000, not to mention FOAB), but they require much bigger planes to carry, not to mention the size of wings that would be needed to make those glide far enough. Su-34 was not intended to carry FAB-3000 but they will probably jerry-rig it. I don’t expect them to put strategic bombers anywhere near the frontlines.

        2. R.S.

          FAB-5000 and -9000 were definitely produced in the Soviet times, but they’re more like a relic from those good old days when precision munitions barely existed. Reportedly, ODAB-9000 (fuel-air) was also tested at least once in the mid-00’s, but it never entered production.

          As far as I know no modern Russian aircraft can even use 5k/9k with reasonable efficiency. Simply no standard pylons/racks for this type of weapon.

          1. Polar Socialist

            Tu-22M3 can carry a pair of FAB-5000M-54, I believe. But it’s the only one with the capability and the bombs are free fall, so not gonna happen until no air-defenses at all. Much safer (and probably more efficient) for Tu-22M3 to deliver 8 FAB-1500+UMPK and 100 km glide path.

    2. Wisker

      Just the usual Western propaganda tropes… and, frankly, “cope” vis a vis anything not made by the golden hands of “collective West”. Russian glide bombs are mass produced high tech, no more no less. They are not “crude” or “simple” as they are functionally identical to any other glide bomb kit.

      Being newly produced and put into service they still have a “prototype” look as custom manufacturing methods haven’t been introduced. That has some impact on production efficiency but not much on function.

      About the only thing you can accuse Russian equipment of is being more “robust” than Western gold-plated MIC junk. Russia lags technologically in some areas, is ahead in several others. But we have ample evidence its military equipment has vastly outperformed Western analogues in terms of field performance.

  4. The Rev Kev

    “Poland would defend Lithuania, I cannot imagine any other way – interview with President Duda”

    ‘I am pragmatic about the security of Europe and NATO’s eastern flank. […] Our interest is the same as that of Ukraine. Ukraine wants to regain full control of the occupied territories. This is also important for the whole world, because it is a sign that international law holds. Russia will have to comply with it by withdrawing its troops from Ukraine.’

    And with that President Duda proves that he is not a serious leader but just one of the clowns running Europe at the moment. Nice of him to offer to defend Lithuania though as they only have 20,0000 people in their armed forces total. Tough luck if you live in Estonia or Latvia though.

    1. .Tom

      Yesterday I recorded a podcast episode about Erol Morris’ amazing film The Unknown Known. I ranted about how we are today, and it’s especially acute in Europe, led by Donald Rumsfleds, people empty of understanding of the weight of the issues they deal with, lacking competence to address them, who get by on skills in talking points and style, and who don’t care if they fail to do a good job.

      What’s truly frightening about it is how we and our news media allow it.

      We discussed an interview Morris gave to VICE podcast in which the interviewer repeatedly demonstrates how, in 2014, he is bamboozled by Rumsfled even as he is presented in Morris film. It’s really disturbing to imaging that the news media is populated by such extraordinarily credulous people like that.

      1. Feral Finster

        It does not matter that we are led by barely latent sociopaths and raging incomps, as long as their orders are still obeyed.

      2. Adam1

        “What’s truly frightening about it is how we and our news media allow it.”

        Yes “we” may know it, but are you sure your neighbors and news media do? Or get it?

        By my read of friends, family and the mass media WE are on an island all to our own which is frightening in itself.

    2. yep

      The “our interest is the same as that of Ukraine” is more funny. Poles are just waiting for a proper moment to annex the west of Ukraine. They want to defend Latvia in the same way. :) That’s pragmatic.

      1. Feral Finster

        I often hear this, and frankly, I doubt that Poland would want millions of well-armed and fractious nationalists who are by no stretch of the imagination “Polish” but who also have a history of genocide against Poles well within living memory.

        1. yep

          That’s because you are using reson, and don’t know the region. Ten years ago, you might have said that you doubt that Ukraine would want to go to war against Russia. Others woud say that the borscht is cooking. Zhirinovski surely did.

          P.S, There aren’t many millions left in Ukraine, and they aren’t well armed any more.

          1. Feral Finster

            Um, I probably know the region better than anyone here, being that I lived eight years in Ukraine, four years off and on in Poland, and speak Polish, Russian and something like Ukrainian. I also have some Polish education (long story).

            And yes, there still are millions of people left in Ukraine and they have arms, unless I am seeing Ukrainians charging empty-handed at Russian lines.

            1. yep

              Did you predict the war with all that knowledge? Many Ukrainians with knowledge about themselves were shure that Yugoslav-like scenario won’t happen to them. Not seeing the forest for all the trees, as some would say.

              1. Feral Finster

                I’m not Ukrainian (not a drop of Slavic blood in me, AFAIK) and I am not sure that your comment is at all relevant.

                1. yep

                  You asked why people have certain opinion (that you often hear about) different than yours. I’m trying to explain that they have diffent point of view, and their own knowledge and understanding of things. What opinion is right, only time tells.

                  I surely won’t try to change anyone’s opinion here. My first comment was mostly made in jest.

    3. Feral Finster

      Duda is simply signaling that NATO will only continue to double down until they either get what they want ot a nuclear exchange.

    4. Kouros

      “Our interest is the same as that of Ukraine. Ukraine wants to regain full control of the occupied territories. This is also important for the whole world, because it is a sign that international law holds.”

      Duda, tell that to the Serbs or Syrians…

    5. neutrino23

      As opposed to what? Just let Putin send his thugs in to kill and enslave everyone? No thanks. Life is worth fighting for.

      1. Feral Finster

        You are welcome to go. The various neonazi paramilitaries fighting for the regime in Kiev gladly accept foreign volunteers.

        Meanwhile, there are literally thousands of videos of military comissars press-ganging unwilling Ukrainians, dragging them off the streets. Happened to the son of a friend a few days ago, among others.

        Meanwhile, “Putin and his thugs” are rebuilding Mariupol, among other atrocities.

      2. Kouros

        The only ones engaged in terrorist attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure are the other guys.

  5. griffen

    Perhaps a key reason for older ( by this stage) comic strips the likes of Calvin are very much admired, is because they haven’t converted in part or in full to complete immersion into the entertainment and media universe.

    The story of the young boy and the anthropomorphic pet tiger are iconic in their zeal to be outdoors or to be anywhere that isn’t a class ( daydreams of space travel ! And of dinosaurs! ). I am partial to the life lessons learned by the parents actually, say when an army of snow zombies surround the driveway.

  6. Es s Ce Tera

    Leaked Cables Show Biden Admin Opposes Palestinian Statehood Ken Klipperstein

    The use of quotes around “Palestine” tell us the talking points in 4) are lies. The US has zero intention of ever moving toward or recognizing a two state solution and hopefully all countries will recognize this.

    1. JohnA

      A two state solution has been dead in the water for years. Every additional settlement makes it even more impossible. A one state solution solely for Zionist Jews, or a secular state where all religions can coexist in peace are the only options movign forward. The first requires genocide and ethnic cleansing, which is seemingly acceptable to the west, and the second the zionist fanatics returning to their former homeland, either their own, or that of their parents, grandparents, and the more human zionists accepting that all people are of equal value and equally human.

      1. Es s Ce Tera

        At some point everyone is going to realize that Zionism was always about relocating, purging the countries of the world of their unwanted Jews, even according to the founders of the movement, and that this is an unacceptable project to support. Eventually logic should prevail, right?

        1. Antagonist Muscles

          The following questions are going to reveal my ignorance.

          Why exactly have Jews been unwanted throughout history? Is it money lending? What did the Jews do to warrant a state sponsored expulsion? Wikipedia is increasingly unreliable, but the articles on Jewish diaspora and Expulsions and exoduses of Jews are very thorough, spanning millennia. That’s an incredibly long time to somehow repeatedly annoy a state and get expelled. Why did the Jews not learn from whatever mistakes they made and figure out a way to not get kicked out?

          I know astoundingly little about Judeo-Christian theology, outside the eye-opening accounts here at NC by Michael Hudson and debt jubilees. Nevertheless, when those Wikipedia articles (and Jews themselves) discuss an exile and exodus in regards to the Bible, did it actually happen?

          1. Grebo

            The Jews killed Jesus (the Church of Rome preferring that story over the Biblical version in which Romans killed Jesus) and they mostly refused to become Christians. Everyone believing the same crap was considered important in those days.

            Jews became money lenders because Christians weren’t allowed to and Jews weren’t allowed to do much else.

            Exile to Babylon probably happened to some Jews. Exodus from Egypt maybe, though there is little evidence outside the Bible. Diaspora probably happened to many, though not everyone who thinks so is actually descended from them.

            It’s worth noting that according to their own myths the Jews’ ‘ancient ancestral homeland’ was stolen from the Caananites in an orgy of genocidal destruction.

      2. Antifa

        Would that common humanity will emerge at long last . . . but

        However long as the Talmud is studied by Jewish students of that text, that is how long ideas that Jewish humans are innately superior to non-Jewish humans will persist. Zionism certainly stresses this idea of Covenant superiority, but it is right there in Jewish scriptures for those who want to stress it above Judaism’s gentler and kinder concepts.

        Other religions also suffer from this notion. When it is more important to convert others to your religion than it is to practice your religion, serious issues with your neighbors will arise.

        As Swami Vivekananda once said, “It is a marvelous thing to be born into a church. It is a terrible thing to die in one.”

        1. Tom Stone

          My Grandparents were initiated by Vivekananda, my parents and myself by Ashokananda..
          Impressive Men.

      3. Kouros

        Why would the settlements make Palestine impossible. Since there are Arabs in Israel, why there cannot be ews in Palestine??

        1. JBird4049

          My understanding is that the Jewish settlers, who are often the hardest of the hard right, do not intend to be governed by Palestinians at all. The land that they live on was flat out stolen from Palestinians, still alive, who had been living on it. Imagine if similar settlements were put into Gaza?

          1. Kouros

            While the question was partly rethorical, your answer does indicate the main culprit here: Israel and its current batch of people.

            1. JohnA

              The settlements make a 2 state solution impossible. For the simple reason that these settlements encroach on areas that would be Palestinian in a 2 state solution, which includes Gaza, the West Bankm and East Jerusalem. The settlers call the West Bank Judea and Samaria and claim the area is biblically promised to them.
              There could, of course, be Jews in the new Palestine, but not in land and houses that the settlers have effectively dispossessed the legal owners, by violent means, and either moved into the homes, or demolished them and built new housing.

    2. digi_owl

      USA love to noncommittally “support” something so that alternative solutions are not put forward, leaving the whole situation in eternal limbo.

    3. Feral Finster

      “The US has zero intention of ever moving toward or recognizing a two state solution and hopefully all countries will recognize this.”

      Please tell me that nobody was actually so gullible as to take the United States at its word on this. Humor me, please.

      Ignore what they say, watch what they do.

  7. JohnA

    Woman, seeking loan, wheels corpse into Brazilian bank

    Maybe she got the idea from Ibsen’s A Doll’s House but tweaked it a little.

    1. The Rev Kev

      The way that the guys head kept on flopping back was a bit of a giveaway. What is the Portuguese form of the name Bernie?

    2. Wukchumni

      A corpse is a corpse, of course, of course,
      And no one can loan to a corpse of course
      That is, of course, unless the corpse is the famous Mr. Fed.

      Go right to the source and bring the corpse
      He’ll give you the answer that you’ll endorse.
      He’s always on a steady course.
      Talk to Mr. Fed.

      People yakkity yak a streak and waste your time of day
      But Mister Fed will never speak unless he has something to say.

      A corpse is a corpse, of course, of course,
      And this one’ll talk ’til his voice is hoarse.
      You never heard of a talking corpse?

      Well listen to this.

      I am Mister Fed.

      1. Laughingsong

        Holy chrome, now I’m going to have to clean up much spewed coffee. . . . But it was worth it! Thanks for the belly laugh!

      2. ChrisFromGA

        Awesome work there, Wuk!

        The Fed is quite the corpse, a relic of the 20th century that lives on despite it’s increasingly corrupt and nefarious ways. Bad banks, zombie corps, it swallows them whole and lives on, like a zombie.

  8. The Rev Kev

    “Behold China’s consumer paradise”

    Can’t fool me. That image is obviously AI generated and there are plenty of signs showing that it is. Notice that the pavement is clean with neat tiles and not just concrete or tarmac. And where are the people camping by that street in tents and sleeping bags? Where is the rubbish & crap on the ground? And look at how well-dressed the people are in that image. All of it fake of course using AI libraries. Those modern buildings are also a dead giveaway as is the Apple logo on the side of one of them. The article is also written by ChatGPT I see. How can such a place be so modern and efficient with all that money spent on infrastructure instead of executive bonuses and stock buybacks, I ask you.

    Speaking seriously, back in the 50s and the 60s people use to flock to America because it was so modern and developed. It was a thriving place and a large middle class showed how far you could go if you worked hard. Between the highways, beautiful landscapes and places like Disneyland, it was nirvana for so many people back then (‘I like to be in America’). Everybody wanted to visit or emigrate to America. Well that was then and this is now so America has lost that luster through financialization over the decades. Now it looks like that China will be the nirvana of the 21st century to visit and learn from.

    1. Wukchumni

      Speaking seriously, back in the 50s and the 60s people use to flock to America because it was so modern and developed. It was a thriving place and a large middle class showed how far you could go if you worked hard. Between the highways, beautiful landscapes and places like Disneyland, it was nirvana for so many people back then (‘I like to be in America’). Everybody wanted to visit or emigrate to America. Well that was then and this is now so America has lost that luster through financialization over the decades. Now it looks like that China will be the nirvana of the 21st century to visit and learn from

      It was around $5 to get into Disneyland in the early to mid 70’s with your ticket book festooned with A-E ducats, which never ever got fully used on rides & attractions…

      Magic Keyholder Andrew Rich found out the hard way that Disneyland has a Magic Key Review Board and Revocation Team after he sold a pair of Sweethearts’ Nite tickets on eBay and had his annual pass revoked for a year.

      Andrew and his wife, Jen, both in their 50s, are hard-core Disney fans who have been annual passholders since the late 1990s and travel to Disneyland from their home in Spokane, Washington, half a dozen times a year.

      They renewed their Disneyland Magic Key passes in September — paying $2,198 for a pair of Believe passes.

      Just before Christmas, Rich bought Sweethearts’ Nite tickets as a Valentine’s gift.

      During the holidays, the couple spent New Year’s Eve at Disneyland, flew to Florida for the Disney World Marathon Weekend, hopped on a cruise aboard the Disney Wish and then jetted back to Anaheim for the Disneyland Half Marathon.

      After the New Year’s trip, they both came down with COVID-19 — forcing them to cancel their plans to travel to Disneyland for Sweethearts’ Nite on Feb. 6.

      Rich put the tickets for the sold-out event up for sale on eBay — without reading the fine print on his annual pass or the special event tickets.

      “To ensure somebody would use the tickets, I offered them for sale at face value,” Rich said by email.

      The tickets got snapped up almost immediately.

      That’s when the trouble started.

      An eagle-eyed Disneyland fan notified the park that Sweethearts’ Nite tickets were being resold on eBay and Rich immediately lost his annual pass privileges.

      “Because I was logged into my Magic Key account when purchasing the tickets, my Magic Key privileges were revoked for one year,” Rich said by email.

        1. Wukchumni

          In the late 70’s, William Least Heat-Moon had a drive around the country, one last look at the place before corporate America decided we should all eat at the same eatery, which has the same feel in Schenectady as it does in Dime Box, Texas.

          A masterpiece…

          Blue Highways: A Journey into America

          1. The Rev Kev

            I have a book called ‘Down Under to Up Over’ by a once well-known Aussie author. He and his wife flew to America in the late 70s and, starting at San Francisco, traveled up the coastline to Washington State before going to Colorado Springs and back to San Francisco. But when I first read that book about 20 years ago, I knew that where he and his wife went would have changed radically from his descriptions. You are talking about pre-Reagan here.

          2. Alex Cox

            William Least Heat, like John Steinbeck in Travels With Charley, had a sweet camper van with a stove, fridge, bed, and plenty of storage.
            If you have a good camper, the West US is still wonderful. Free camping on BLM land, too!

        2. britzklieg

          Nostalgic, to be sure and some memorable pics. Alas, lily-white, not a black person in sight…

          I so well remember when my elementary school (Florida) got it’s first black student, in 1967.

        3. elissa3

          Lotta cars. Lotta white folks (I was one of them). Maybe the back of one asian in Chinatown. . .

        4. juno mas

          I believe you’ve linked to that video before. That was an era when I could identify the make and model of ALL the American made cars. Distant travel was on US Highways (freeways were mostly local). The “unidentified” locations are both in California: the first in the mountains above LA and the second in NorCal along US 101. My family traveled extensively on weekends to the mountains and to the Salton Sea for water-skiing. Longer camping trips to Yosemite, Death Valley, Grand Canyon, Canadian Rockies, and the Sonoran Desert; memorable times. Enjoyed the video!

      1. i just dont like the gravy

        A couple in their 50s making 6 trips to Disneyland a year is beyond pathetic.

        People in this country can’t eat nor pay rent, whereas wealth allows others never to grow up.

        1. Wukchumni

          Friends both became newly minted RN’s about a dozen years ago and she went into neo-natal and he into ICU.

          We used to joke that they were coming & going, ha.

          All of her RN co-workers who were female were heavily into Disney, to the point where Disneyland was a house of worship, and Mickey Mouse the de facto God. One of her co-workers pleaded with her to buy Disney Videos for her kids which didn’t exist yet.

          For something that was kind of a Hollywood set come to life, it was a point of pride being a kid and going there-even though I bored of it and haven’t been back in almost 50 years, but you get the same weird feeling about a 45 year old that never misses a high school football game, and knows who all the players are, verrrrry creepy.

          1. Ann

            Two of my nursing students graduated, one went into long term care, one went into hospice care. My husband said, “Ah. One’s in the warehouse, the other one’s in shipping.”

        2. Dr. John Carpenter

          Speaking of pathetic: “An eagle-eyed Disneyland fan notified the park that Sweethearts’ Nite tickets were being resold on eBay…” So it wasn’t even Disney Inc. that noticed. It was another Disney Adult who snitched? I don’t know what’s more pathetic: the Disney Adults involved, the amount of money changing hands or the tattle tale reporting the auction.

        3. Dr. John Carpenter

          Also, more directly related to your comment, post-lockdown, my sister, a self described “Disney adult”, asked me to go with her and my niece to Disneyworld. There were a multitude of reasons I had no interest, but just out of morbid curiosity, I ran the numbers based on what my sister was proposing (she wasn’t proposing to pay my way either, ha!) Well, her trip was intended as a budget trip and though I don’t remember my number, it was high enough that I could have had a really nice trip over seas, stayed longer and brought my SO for about the same price as her less than a week Disney excursion.

          Worth mentioning too that every time my sister goes, she comes back with a laundry list of complaints about how it was worse than the last time. Everything from crowds (and strollers) to lines to maintenance issues to the constant nickle and diming. I asked her why she continues to go and she really had no answer. To her, that is vacation. As if there is no alternative. Sad.

      2. Leftist Mole

        Slaves to a corporate dreamworld. We took some pride in never taking our kids to Disney World or Land. One child did finally go w their high school and managed to leave without buying a single tchotchke.

        1. Wukchumni

          I remember yearning to be tall enough to have my very own car in Autopia, pretty much stuck in traffic the whole time.

          Here kid, get used to driving LA freeways!

          1. JohnA

            I took my daughters to EuroDisney outside Paris when they were 10 and 8. What they were most keen on was getting autographs of Disney characters wandering round the grounds. Some characters were friendly, others pretty dismissive, but they only signed autographs if you had bought an official Disney autograph book from one of the souvenir stands. I cannot for the life of me understand why adults would want to go on an adults only trip there. Even for my daughters, I think if we had spent the weekend in Paris itself, they would have had a far more interesting time and better memories.

            1. Jorge

              The secret to Disney properties is to
              1. take a little LSD, and
              2. go in the first week of December. Lowest attendance of the year, there are no lines.

              It’s quite a fun day!

        2. eg

          I took mine when they were 11 and 9 respectively. It was something I had wanted to experience as a child myself, but we didn’t have the money.

          I don’t regret it, but I have zero interest in returning.

    2. digi_owl

      It also helped that USA had not been bombed flat in the previous war, and found itself the factory of the non-communist world.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Over time that worked against America. Once a group of young Japanese engineers at the start of their careers were taken to America to tour all these manufacturing sites so that they could learn how to do the same in Japan when they went home. They were helping build new manufacturing centers out of the wartime rubble. Fast forward a coupla decades and those same engineers were at the end of their careers but had stayed in touch. So they decided on a nostalgia tour of America by repeating that same exact trip that they had made when young. But when they went there they were shocked as absolutely nothing had changed and the same methods were being used as decades ago. This would have not been possible in Japan as they sought to constantly improve their methods over time. So as new manufacturing centers came online around the world, those American ones simply could not compete and were forced out of business.

        1. digi_owl

          Heck, i can tell when some engineering “documentary” on the TV has been recorded in USA or not simply based on the equipment used.

          Basically every European nation for example use much the same high visibility orange overalls with reflective strips while on site.

          By contrast USA has workers show up in jeans and plaid shirts no matter if they are constructing a barn or a stadium. And if they are working near water, they wear flotation devices that seem to date from the 1950s.

        2. Wukchumni

          We bombed Hamburg into rubble, and allowed Hamtramck to be bombed out economically, to where if given enough time, photos of the devastation in Hamburg in 1943 don’t appear all that different than the rubble in Hamtramck presently.

    3. John k

      You don’t suppose it’s harder to migrate to China than thru the U.S. southern border? Or as easy to disappear there as it is here? Practicalities are important.

    4. Kouros

      I read somewhere that during the Tangs, there were eateries/restaurants with great service able to accomodate up to 900 people… City dwellers in those times really eat out a lot…

    5. Emma

      This is a great illustration about the dynamism of Chinese society. As Bertrand noted, it went from having infamously bad service to world class service in 15 years. This is the sort of cultural changes that typically happen very slowly over generations, but it basically happened in the blink of an eye. This is honestly as remarkable as how quickly they built their HSR or caught up on microchip production.

      Maybe they can also work on a real time translator implant chip, so we all don’t need to learn Chinese when they become the undisputed global hegemon.

      1. c_heale

        Korea (South) also has very fast and good service. Much better than anything I ever experienced in Western Europe or the USA.

        Although I prefer the ruder and more direct style of the sellers in fleamarkets, and food markets (covered or on the street).

        Aftersales is a mixed bag though.

      2. Kouros

        It is a civilization more than 3000 years old, with a level of sofistication that is especially hard to fathom in North America. Technology is the most easy to adopt and adapt and pursue, a concept hard to fathom in the US. Other things are harder. But re-adopting the Asian politness for service is an easy thing since is ingrained in the culture.

  9. Joker

    ‘Human-induced’ climate change caused deadly Sahel heatwave, says study France24

    True. In Niger it got so hot, that all the French soldiers had to flee in order to stay alive. Currently, 1000+ US troops are still there feeling the heat.

    “The dwindling availability of water and pasture, compounded by the development of agricultural land, has disrupted the lives of pastoral populations and encouraged the emergence of armed groups that have extended their hold over vast swathes of territory in Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger.”

    Up until now, I was sure that “emergence of armed groups that have extended their hold over vast swathes of territory” was caused by The West, in order to destabilize the region and keep it under neocolonial rule.

    1. Aurelien

      I don’t know where you got that idea from, but I’d put it back before you stain your fingers. Even by the narrowest and most self-interested of standards the West (and especially Europe) has nothing to gain from instability in the Sahel and everything to lose: political crisis, spillover into other regions, economic disruption, mass migration and of course jihadist terrorism now being imported into Europe. A huge amount of time, effort, money and human lives has been spent over the last 10-15 years trying to stabilise the situation, with not a great deal of success, primarily because local political actors benefit from instability, and increased stability is a threat to their power.

      1. Emma

        Then perhaps the French will benefit from the change. A changeover in government and security forces can hardly produce worse results than what came before.

        But France may have to pay market price for uranium and gold going forward.

      2. Joker

        “I don’t know where you got that idea from, but I’d put it back before you stain your fingers.”

        Is this supposed to be some kind of insult, that I’m too non-Westerner to understand? If you don’t like the ideas, than you should complain to the manager.

        Essence of UK/USA/etc. foreign policy have been divide and conqjuer, since forever. It is not even a secret, but I guess some still prefer living in oblivion.

      3. Kouros

        Let’s call them unintended consequences then… and that would go hand in hand with the argument that PMC is utterly incompetent to manage reality…

      4. Revenant

        Foreign actors also benefit from the instability. Look at the US sponsorship of “ISIS” and similar. Look at the desire for wider migration into Europe to provide cheap labour. Look at what is happening in the Sudan, where the local actors are indeed seeking benefits and have agency but also have a co-depedence on Western and BRICS meddlers….

      5. Darthbobber

        That doesn’t keep Western powers from taking actions that a small child with average powers of reasoning could predict would generate instability.
        Like the knock on effects of the Libya intervention throughout the region, por ejemplo.

  10. Louis Fyne

    >>>Why the Short-Lived Calvin and Hobbes Is Still One of the Most Beloved & Influential Comic Strips Open Culture

    want more literate well-adjusted boys who turn into well-adjusted men? start off by giving boys à contemporary, apolitical version of “Calvin & Hobbes”…not being hyperbolic.

    But I guess Anime is the closest thing

        1. bayoustjohndavid

          I couldn’t believe the M tribe* was claiming Calvin & Hobbes. I emailed** the article to myself when I first saw it for that reason — not because Calvin & Hobbes doesn’t belong to the M tribe, but because the article is a great example of the absurdity of trying to fit everything into a generational framework.

          *Seriously, “they” have successfully propagandized us into attaching much more meaning to “generation” than it ever had before. Even in the 60’s it was a general young vs old divide over specific issues, not several defined groups competing with, blaming, etc. each other. We should really start talking about age tribes rather than generations if we’re going to let them divide us up so easily.
          **With the intention of getting back to blogging about it. Last month, I did my first blog post in 13 years on that subject but haven’t followed up yet. Specifically, it was about Eric Weinstein blaming everything on the Boomers. When somebody who was born in 1965, went to Harvard, and left academia to make his fortune in venture capital can blame the boomers, it should be obvious that generational labels have lost all meaning aside from how they want to divide and conquer us. But, my footnotes have taken me far from the subject at hand. Apologies for that.

      1. Randall Flagg

        >reality continuous to ruin my life

        The same problem that afflicts most of the ideologies of our ruling and political classes today.
        And yes, one of the greatest comic strips ever.

      2. Antagonist Muscles

        I can remember two strips that bear relevance to our collective economic opinions. The one strip where Calvin exhorts his Dad to do what is right for our country and spend money into the economy. Calvin then gives his dad a list of big ticket items he should buy for Calvin, and Calvin’s dad says he has to stop leaving the Wall Street Journal lying around. The other strip is where Calvin and his dad are talking about [x] amount of money. Calvin’s dad dryly notes that with [x] dollars Calvin can think, “Oh boy, another [y, a tiny amount] minutes in college!” Somebody who is more skilled at searching than I am ought to link to the actual comic strip.

        Watterson, apparently, projected some of his socio-ecomonic and political beliefs onto Calvin’s dad. The appearance of Watterson and Calvin’s dad are not coincidentally similar. Watterson likely has enough royalties coming in, but I am surprised he didn’t do something artistic and creative post Calvin & Hobbes, even if the endeavor was just for fun. The man is artistic, (just look at the facial expressions he drew) funny, and an astute commentator on society. The recurring strips of Calvin’s struggles in school can be viewed as a sharp criticism of the American educational system being so unaccommodating to a bright kid like Calvin, rather than a reflection of individual flaws in Calvin.

    1. Jabura Basaidai

      not to mention that Doonesbury has turned into a PMC shill – once loved the comics and waited expectantly for the Sunday papers exclusively for the comics not the snews – still get the Sunday paper but only Pearls Before Swine, Curtis and BC seem to nibble at current events – and political cartoons on the opinion page were snuffed – no more Calvin & Hobbes or Bloom County – oh well –

      1. Feral Finster

        IIRC, Doonesbury was always a PMC shill, just that, back then, the PMC were not such finger-wagging moralists so smug and humorless they made The Church Lady look like Lenny Bruce by comparison.

        What happened was that the PMC changed as a result of their reinforcing their class hegemony.

          1. digi_owl

            The PMC stopped caring when the draft ended. Since then only deplorables from flyover areas don the uniform, either from misplaced glory or desperation.

      2. LifelongLib

        “Doonesbury” was fun when the characters were in college, as I was at the time (not Harvard), but I stopped following it after the reboot turned most of them into yuppies (hadn’t heard of “PMC”). Switched to “Bloom County”, though I later lost track of its various iterations.

    2. Louis Fyne

      Ever since raising kids, I’ve become more aware of “values-cultural transmission”….

      there are parental lectures, schools, church, friends, etc. there are also books, music, etc.

      A well-written comic book is a “gateway drug” to basic and deeper conservations about morals, ethics, life, philosophy, etc.

      IMO, there is a dearth of Calvin-Hobbes-like positive-moralizing in pop culture right now.

      my generation “survived” gory movies, rap, death metal, the Skin-emax cable channel, etc.

      Tik Tok and youtube are merely tools—they can be positive or negative. but I honestly don’t know if the next generations can survive the worst aspects of Tik Tok, Youtube (namely the mindless consumerism that makes 80’s, 90’s consumerism quaint). Maybe VR Tik Tok will turn out even worse, lol!

  11. expr

    INAL but could we possibly get around the firearm problem by having gun control laws apply only to weapons not firing black powder or not triggered by flintlock, slow match or possibly cap lock
    (just finished reading a Bernard Cornwell Sharpe book (Napoleonic wars))

    1. LifelongLib

      If I could wave a magic wand I’d repeal the 2nd Amendment, so various communities could sort out how they want to deal with guns. The Supreme Court has twisted it so out of shape that it’s absurd anyway. If Tombstone could ban guns in the 19th century why can’t we have the same authority, whether we choose to or not?

    2. scott s.

      Actually, most gun control laws do define “antique firearm” :

      “any firearm not intended or redesigned for using rim fire or conventional center fire ignition with fixed ammunition and manufactured in or before 1898 (including any matchlock, flintlock, percussion cap or similar type of ignition system or replica thereof, whether actually manufactured before or after the year 1898) and also any firearm using fixed ammunition manufactured in or before 1898, for which ammunition is no longer manufactured in the United States and is not readily available in the ordinary channels of commercial trade.”

      — this for firearms otherwise subject to National Firearms Act, with a more encompassing definition

      “A. Any firearm (including any firearm with a matchlock, flintlock, percussion cap, or similar type of ignition system) manufactured in or before 1898; or B. Any replica of any firearm described in subparagraph (A)”

      for more typical firearms under Gun Control Act.

  12. sarmaT

    When the nazis methodically eliminated sick people, gay people, disabled people, Jewish people, GRT people, communist people, opposition people, any people, they stripped their assets and kept them for the state.

    — tern (@1goodtern) April 17, 2024

    Nazis “methodically eliminated” more Slavs than all listed combined. Significantly more. Yet, for some reason, Slavic people did not make it on the list.

    1. Snailslime

      And they had concrete plans for methodical extermination of dozens of millions more Slavs drawn up and ready to implement for AFTER a victorious conclusion of the war.

      First a MASSIVE culling of the population to bring it to an easily manageable Level, then total, eternal enslavement (or rather domestication?) of the rest.

      And such plans were cooked up long before Barbarossa started already, with ideas in that direction floating around in Germany before the Nazis ever took power.

      Just pointing to that because some make the excuse that most of that Slav killing happened in the heat of the battle or as some consequence of the escalatory logic of the war itself.

      Or more perverse yet that the Germans would have treated them Eastern Slavs more humanely if only they had submitted instead of stubornly resisting.

      But some will say it’s not a REAL genocide because they didn’t want to kill all of them but to keep a bunch around as slaves.

      1. Feral Finster

        Want to tork off a Polish person? Want to send a Stasiek or Gosia into a spitting mad Donald Duck meltdown?

        Remind your neighborhood Pole that, whatever other bad things the Soviets did, the only reason that there are Polish people alive in Poland today is because of the Red Army.

        Sit back and watch the fur fly.

      2. Kouros

        The siege (German, Finish, and other Baltic formations) of Leningrad starved to death and killed due to cold and diseases about a million people.

        Putin lost his brother there. As such, Israelis and Netanyahoo cannot endear themselves very much with what they are doing in Gaza. No wonder, Kremlin has received Hamas in late October last year, given the statements of Israeli officials and their intentions…

  13. Charger01

    I remember fondly finding Calvin and Hobbes during my first day of 7th grade. My teacher had an entire bookshelf of Far Side, Calvin and Hobbes alongside National Geographic prints. It was a good year.

    1. griffen

      Yes to the Far Side! Iconic in it’s simplicity.

      One memorable personal fave, the School for the Gifted …door reading Pull

        1. Joe Renter

          I too enjoyed The Far side. Three degrees of separation… my girlfriend back in the day had a house cleaning business. One of her clients was G. Larson. He lived in the Phinney Ridge neighborhood in Seattle in the late 80’s.

      1. Martin Oline

        I always liked B. Kliban’s cartoons but just can’t resist adding this:

        “I was taking a walk in the Wall Street area a few years ago when I decided to pop into a deli.

        I ordered a sandwich and began chatting with the proprietor as he made it. Our conversation eventually turned to the shop’s location.

        I asked whether being in the Financial District ever caused him to play the stock market or led to his getting valuable tips from informed customers.

        He paused his sandwich-making, put down his knife and looked at me with a perplexed expression.

        “Every day, those brokers come in here,” he said. “They get their bagels, sandwiches, doughnuts, coffee, cigarettes … ”

        He paused again and pointed toward the door of his shop.

        “ … and every day, they’re out there on the sidewalk, pushing and shoving on a door that is clearly marked ‘pull.’”

        from — Steven Scharff”

      2. Jabura Basaidai

        oh yeah forgot the Far Side, one of the best – still have one of those on my fridge – an elephant in a phone booth missing one leg and saying “they did what with my leg?” – cut to the chase on that one, made a copy and gave it to my Dad who dreamed of his Hemingway moment in Africa

    1. griffen

      Between Larson or a Dan Piraro ( I think that’s correct ) we could certainly use a bit more of their level of satire.

      Speaking of satire, I did have a cynical thought after a second glance through the links above at the suggestion of losing hope per a Bloomberg article. “Billionaires losing hope” is just asking for a Twain, a Carlin level of response. What does that exactly reflect in the real world, I must wonder, should a billionaire class of citizens lose hope…they ain’t exactly digging a tunnel out of Shawshank prison to escape their imprisonment. And take from the crooked warden.

      1. Wukchumni

        A proper Illionaire has to keep up appearances, lest somebody notice that they are slipping in rank, and dutifully tell everybody of their straits…

        (‘I heard Tiffany had to fly first class on a public airliner last week, did she really think somebody wouldn’t notice that?’)

        1. griffen

          Earlier in the week on Tuesday, one of the cable channel stalwarts was running a Dan akroyd themed movie marathon of sorts. Trading Places was a featured film running from 7pm to 10pm I guess, unsure on the full time slots. That movie is so funny and well thought out, start to finish. Great cast as well.

          Winthorp in a scene where, following the sinister plot deployed by the Duke brothers, he has now fallen into a place in life where his status and education no longer matter…
          “He was wearing a Harvard tie! Sure like he went to Harvard!”

          1. Dr. John Carpenter

            I think I’ve mentioned it here before, but “Trading Places” helped radicalize me. Even as a youngster, I was able to see past the (brilliant) comedy and get the message. It’s still one of my favorite movies of all time. I hope no one ever gets the idea for a modern remake because I can only imagine how toothless it would be. (It’s also interesting how during the “greed is good” decade Yuppies were perfectly fair game for lampooning in the movies, and commonly were. Nowadays the rich have tons more of everything except for the grace to be laughed at.)

  14. John Beech

    Lambert, the Dutch article doesn’t translate because it’s largely photos with captions. That, and it’s refreshing rapidly. Anyway, I copy-and-pasted what text there is and came up with this . . .

    Mysterious excess mortality yields hundreds of millions, where is that money going?

    The government saves hundreds of millions of euros every year because tens of thousands of Dutch people die more than expected since the corona pandemic. What’s got to do with that money? The CNV wants to lower the AOW-just age with it, the government closes the budget with it.

    . . . and no offense, but definitely flavored with a conspiracy-feel theme to me.

    My 2¢

  15. The Rev Kev

    🚨Just so you know, as background to this story:
    ⚠️When the nazis methodically eliminated sick people, gay people, disabled people, Jewish people, GRT people, communist people, opposition people, any people, they stripped their assets and kept them for the state.’

    You had a similar process for Jewish people leaving Germany and Austria. Those Nazi bureaucrats use to boast that wealthy Jewish bourgeoisie would enter their building at one end and would leave at the other bare-a**ed and only holding a passport.

    1. Wukchumni

      Good time to mention Victor Klemperer’s diary of the Nazi years in I Will Bear Witness. He’s a German Jewish WW1 vet and a professor living in Dresden, and a critical thinker who seeks out the opinion of the common man on the strasse.

      You know what’s coming, but to watch him suss it out in real time is quite the act.

      There was a 25% Reich Flight Tax on all German Jews looking for a little lebensraum to call their own. Very few of the dozen or so he mentions go to Palestine, everywhere else you can imagine, but no great exodus there as he is concerned.

      Reality seems to be more a sliding scale upward on that Reich Flight Tax, more like the Nazis got most all of it.

      1. Revenant

        I seem to remember from Adam Tooze’s Wages of Destruction that the exit charge arrangements for Jewish emigrants to Palestine were favourable compared with other emigration paths out of Nazi Germany and, as ever, those who got out first did best, selling before the market was flooded.

  16. The Rev Kev

    “Georgia against the ‘foreign agents law’, day three, 100 thousand protesters. What happened, videos, photos”

    ‘Despite persistent recommendations from major international organizations, including top officials from the EU, Council of Europe, UN, representatives from the US State Department, Western leaders, and international policymakers, to abandon the law, Georgia’s government remains resolute in its decision to proceed.’

    And it is top officials from the EU, Council of Europe, UN, representatives from the US State Department, Western leaders, and international policymakers that are paying & sending those protestors onto the street. They do not want Georgians to see all the foreign money going into the country from them to change their political system. The protesters are trying to smear this new law by calling it the ‘Russian law’ but the US has an identical law called the FARA Foreign Agents Registration Act. If it comes into effect, there will be a lot of embarrassed people and recriminations in Georgia.

    1. JohnA

      Maybe if the Georgia law also exempted a local equivalent of AIPAC from registering as a foreign agent, all these pesky protestors would pipe down and accept it. Must be the reason the EU, UN and other bodies protesting at the moment have not problem with the FARA act in the US.

      1. Feral Finster

        No, laws concerning foreign lobbying, etc. are simply ignored with impunity when Israel is involved.

        Somewhat like how, during the 2004 presidential election, The Guardian openly called for British people to telephone US voters in the swing state of Ohio to urge them to vote for Kerry and provided links and support. Nobody ran around with their hair on fire, screaming about foreign interference in Muh Precious Democracy.

    2. Feral Finster

      The State Department and co. know fell well that they are hypocrites. They are perfectly aware of FARA and similar laws.

      However, to the extent that they can call on force to back them and their hypocrisy up, they do not care.

      Those students in Georgia also either know or refuse to admit the truth. However, as long as the prospect of being admitted to The Club is being danged before them if they take the approved positions and adopt the correct attidues, they also do not care.

  17. Wukchumni

    In the breakroom, grumbling with my fellow park rangers about how expensive living outside Arches National Park was, everyone shared personal information about making ends meet. We were all childless, from upper and middle-class families, and all but one of us were white. And we all had one thing in common: every one of us had financial support to meet our basic expenses—a second job, a partner with a well-paying job, or, in my case, parents who supplemented my income. Without this support, none of us would have been able to work for the National Park Service (NPS).

    If the applicant manages to successfully navigate USAJobs, after submitting their application, they are met with competency assessments (think SAT exams) that can take up to five hours to complete. When I took these assessments, I questioned how badly I wanted this job when one of the questions required me to make a seating chart for foreign diplomats with a complex list of rules to follow. But the real question is—who is this process really weeding out? Seen as a “learned skill, not a genuine measure of competency”, these standardized assessments are less about a candidate’s job-relevant skills and more about their ability to test well or access to the resources to do well.

    Many NPS positions typically require a bachelor’s degree or a few years of specialized experience, usually through underpaid internships and entry-level jobs. In my case, as an entry-level employee, I earned about $20,000 less than the livable wage in Utah. Most of my coworkers on the same pay scale, including myself, were spending almost if not a whole paycheck just on rent in Moab. Even with support from my family, this played a large part in why I left the park service after only a year. An article in High Country News described these jobs as “‘the playground of rich white kids,’ whose family support makes the low pay tolerable.” The folks who can afford to take these jobs, especially seasonal positions, get a leg up when applying for more senior or permanent positions in the agency, thereby perpetuating the privileged nature of the agency.

    At a public meeting a few weeks ago, the Sequoia NP Superintendent mentioned that 39% of the full time positions at the NP were unfilled, and it used to be that it took a decade of being a seasonal NPS employee to graduating to full-time, can you imagine such an arrangement in the real world, where your employment was only viable from April to October, please go do something else in the meantime, see ya next April!

    The pay is on the down low, and long term rentals here in town non-existent, park housing inadequate & ancient, where you gonna live?

    1. ambrit

      I keep saying it, but nobody listens! National Park Employee Tent Cities!
      To be a Ranger, live like one. Etc. Etc.
      Jerimiah Johnson: Park Ranger! (Bought to you by Blackstone Property Management. You deserve the best. Now pay for it.)

  18. SD

    I take care of two Siamese cats (brothers from the same litter) that my mother named Calvin and Hobbes.

    1. lambert strether

      It never occurred to me until just now that Calvin couldn’t possibly have named Hobbes “Hobbes” because he wouldn’t have been aware of the reference (or the joke).

      So it must have been the parents, who must be (even) more — heck, let’s avoid “sophisticated” — “culturally competent” than an initial reading suggests.

  19. Wukchumni

    Getting towards the last days to do burn piles around these parts, and parts are parts.

    There’s a giant limb of an oak tree sprawled across a boulder that i’ve half dismembered and fix to part out the rest. I burn it 1 wheelbarrow load at a time, and the max flame with be 2 & 1/2x the height of the burn pile, around 7 feet tall @ apogee. I’ll cut everything of larger size to burn in the fire pit outside on the front porch of the back of beyond.

    Left to its own devices, the fire-rich ends of the branches would make perfect ignition for a passing blaze that would only be a grass fire that burned itself out, were the branch not there… make it so number 1.

    1. Kouros

      There is that TED talk of Kathy saying that the search for truth is a big hindrance… She could power a small city with the gaslighting abilities, this one…

  20. Wukchumni

    We have become great because of the lavish use of our resources. But the time has come to inquire seriously what will happen when our forests are gone, when the coal, the iron, the oil, and the gas are exhausted, when the soils have still further impoverished and washed into the streams, polluting the rivers, denuding the fields and obstructing navigation.

    Teddy Roosevelt

    1. Ghost in the Machine

      Such an irrational doomer! Look at all the economic growth we’ve had since then! Never underestimate the markets ability to stimulate innovation! /s

      1. Polar Socialist

        So, you get to be a “firebrand populist” by stating that “Slava Ukraini!” was indeed a fascist chant and that EU should not try to influence Croatian politics?

        In a sane world it should give a pause to the editors in that pro-Croatian politics seem to deviate from pro-EU politics and that a country has to choose between the two. And maybe make the article about that, since it would be more interesting and serve the audience better…

  21. Maxwell Johnston

    “Foreign investor in Ukraine accuses officials of corruption” — FT

    In related news: “Dog chases car”, “Sun rises in the east”, “Sullen teenager ignores parents’ advice.”

    Two interesting items in this article. First, the “investor” was involved in an online gambling venture (“Cosmolot”, gotta love the name) which is now UKR’s 10th biggest taxpayer….. which dovetails with several items I read a few weeks ago describing a gambling epidemic among frontline UKR troops. Second, the article (this is the FT, after all) tries to blame this alleged corruption on Yanukovich (who has been out of power for a decade): “The war has given space for many of the corrupt networks linked to former president Viktor Yanukovych to reassemble, European security officials say.” Blame Emmanuel Goldstein!

  22. Wukchumni

    I’m in the midst of a 20 game streak of not having watched an MLB game so far this season, and I’d like to stretch it out to match DiMaggio’s streak.

    Ukraine isn’t alone in running out of arms, in that according to the news, MLB pitchers are having a lot more arm injuries as of late, and similar to the MIC, we get fresh arm shipments from South Korea, filling in the void.

    …play ball!

  23. Kouros

    Crude, cheap and deadly: Russian glide bombs are pounding Ukraine into surrender Telegraph. What makes them “crude”? Lack of gold plating? Bad table manners?

    They don’t knock…!?

  24. steppenwolf fetchit

    The crypto-bros who got stranded by “tomorrow’s new normal” style rains in Dubai can be proud that their little crypto-hobby did its small part to flood the air with carbon and help these rains to happen.

    Who says ordinary people ” can’t have an impact”?

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