Links 4/21/2024

The North American Peace Movement at an Inflection Point Dissident Voice


Climate change’s ‘physical risks’ are increasingly catching up with banks Business Standard

Fighting fire with beavers: How dam-building rodents are deployed to prevent megafires, restore scorched wildlands Colorado Sun

No Canadian Taxonomy Unless It Excludes Fossil Fuels (PDF) Environmental Defense

The “Epic Row” Over a New Epoch The New Yorker


The EPA is cracking down on PFAS — but not in fertilizer Grist

Ocean spray emits more PFAS than industrial polluters, study finds Guardian


Solar eclipse watchers at Children’s Museum may have been exposed to measles USA Today

Study Suggests Possible Link Between CWD and Fatal Human Disease—But with Many Open Questions Field & Stream

COVID-19 and cognitive impairment: From evidence to SARS-CoV-2 mechanism Brain-X. From the Abstract: “This review summarizes the neuroimaging evidence from clinical and imaging studies of COVID-19-associated CIs, including magnetic resonance imaging and 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography-computed tomography. The mechanisms underlying COVID-19-associated CIs are currently being actively investigated. … Inflammation is the central feature. Both central and systemic inflammation may cause acute and persistent neurological changes, and existing evidence indicates that inflammation underlies the elevated risk of Alzheimer’s disease.”

Clean Air Club Is Organizing Musicians to Make COVID-Safer Shows and Spaces Teen Vogue

Since Fauci was in the thick of both the AIDS pandemic and the Covid pandemic, you’d think we might have learned something:


Surveying the Experts: U.S. and Taiwan Views on China’s Approach to Taiwan in 2024 and Beyond China Power, CSIS

Massive river flooding expected in China’s Guangdong, threatening millions Channel News Asia

Antony Blinken to visit China next week and discuss ‘bilateral, regional and global issues’: official South China Morning Post


Myanmar’s neighbours sit on the sidelines as it slides into chaos South China Morning Post (Furzy Mouse).

The Koreas

Gaining Ground New Left Review. South Korea.

New World Order? Phenomenal World

Battle for supremacy in East Asia semiconductor manufacturing Channel News Asia

New Not-So-Cold War

By passing Ukraine aid, the accidental speaker became an unlikely Churchill CNN

SITREP 4/19/24: A Small Gust for Ukraine’s Sails? Simplicius the Thinker(s)

The House passed Ukraine aid at last. Here’s what it means. The Atlantic Council

Ukraine needs one more year to win, and Congress can make that happen now Eric Schmidt, The Hill

* * *

The Ukraine war is lost, but Hollywood and DC don’t know it FOX

Pentagon says US may send additional military advisers to Ukraine Ukrainska Pravda. Zelensky’s got one more army to lose, so maybe we can help him lose it, just as we helped him to lose the last one, and the one before that.

Ukraine’s 1-ton payload drones can help retake Crimea as Kyiv seeks to destroy bridge: report FOX


Scoop: U.S. expected to sanction IDF unit for human rights violations in West Bank Axios. Just a rotten apple.

From Gaza to Iran, the Netanyahu Government Is Endangering Israel’s Survival Haaretz

Turkey’s Erdogan urges Palestinian unity after meeting Hamas chief Al Jazeera

European Disunion

Israel seems to have suborned the domestic police of at least two putatively sovereign states:

Biden Administration

The House advanced its aid package. What does that mean for the future of TikTok? The Hill. Censorship Industrial Complex “Today TikTok, tomorrow Twitter!”

Biden’s new Title IX rules protect LGBTQ+ students, but avoid addressing transgender athletes AP


Great letter if you’re a fan of cartels:

Brain genius puts it on the record, costing Apple hundreds of millions of dollars….


Trump Deflates David Frum, The Atlantic. Or moves toward “the sensible center”:

NY AG asks Trump civil fraud judge to declare $175M bond ‘without effect’ The Hill

Spook Country

The horse’s head in every elected’s bed:

Groves of Academe

Pro-Palestinian students’ protests persist despite arrests, suspensions Anadolu Agency

Columbia faculty:





The Bezzle

Content theft is Silicon Valley’s business model for AI, and not just for so-called “training sets”:

From the little guys, naturally. Of course, at NC we write stuff that’s not so easy to steal….

Never use an AI for medical advice:

As we wrote a year ago: “Why You Should Never Use an AI for Advice about Your Health, Especially Covid

Avi Eisenberg convicted of $110 million Mango Markets heist Web3 is Going Just Great.


Boeing and the Dark Age of American Manufacturing The Atlantic

Boeing’s problems were as bad as you thought Vox

Supply Chain

China’s king-of-the-hill status shaky as offshore exploration diversifies rare earth supply chain South China Morning Post

Zeitgeist Watch

A brief, weird history of brainwashing MIT Technology Review

Class Warfare

VW workers in Tennessee vote to join union in win for US labour movement FT. Commentary:

Southern governors: Joining UAW would threaten jobs, ‘values’ The Hill

Precaratize bosses Cory Doctorow, Pluralistic

The billionaire ‘nepo baby’ boom

The Oregon town at the center of a Supreme Court battle over homelessness Seattle Times (Furzy Mouse).

How to Die in Good Health The New Yorker

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 Pressed Rat and Warthog  by Cream)

    Armageddon’s completely over the top
    The morning it’s time for this world to stop
    Four Horses apocalypse hearts skip a beat
    Sickness and hunger and flames in the street

    At the End of Days everything goes bye bye
    There’ll be trumpets and wingy things up in the sky
    Down here it’s awful but there’s no hangin’ back
    It’s Judgement Day — you’ve got sins in your sack

    No more war for more, no more swindle and swap
    Lay your deeds good and bad on the countertop
    Did you love your neighbors? Give ’em food to eat?
    If you didn’t this whole thing will be bittersweet

    All your good intentions that needed to wait?
    Don’t you mention them now — it’s too damn late
    Grace never needed a nation to be
    And Heaven’s not earned by a killing spree

    Here’s the End of Days yet you still can’t stop
    You still think Heaven’s a novelty shop
    There is nothing granted by what you believe
    What you have given is what you’ll receive

    1. Mark Gisleson

      Also works when sung to Black Sabbath, a metal keeper for sure! #armagiddeon #ragnarock #endtimes100

    2. nigel rooney

      Thanks for this piece of brilliance, including the bonus reminder of Ginger’s genius at Royal Albert Hall 2005 :)

  2. The Rev Kev

    ‘Chief Nerd
    👀 Tucker Carlson on Members of Congress Being Controlled by the Intel Agencies
    “They’re worried about someone putting kiddie p*rn on their computer. ‘

    Not so unlikely. Years ago I was reading of this woman was doing some reporting on sensitive issues and she asked a good friend, who was a techie, to check her laptop out over its security. The guy came back and said that in a very obscure part of the operating system he found three documents, all of them marked top secret.

    1. Yves Smith

      Many years ago a contact in private equity turned whistleblower saw that as the most likely way someone would get him. His former PE firm made intel state investments so he had an informed view.

    2. Neutrino

      Finding planted docs on her PC, as Sharyl Attkisson wrote about based on her own travails as an investigative reporter.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Thanks. That’s her and the original story was worse than I remembered. And this was years before Edward Snowden told everybody about all the other stuff that was going on.

      2. foghorn longhorn

        Hell, Schumer came right out and plainly said it “they have six ways from Sunday” blah blah blah

    3. Joe Well

      There was (is?) the FBI bounty program whereby they’d pay computer repair people for discovering this stuff.

      Aside from the private fishing expeditions that must have resulted, how much evidence was planted for cash?

    4. steppenwolf fetchit

      Would a forensic computerologist be able to detect the exogenous source of kiddie porn planted from the outside on someone’s computer? If a forensic computerologist would in theory be able to detect such exogenous sourcing, this could be an important area for collaboration between such forensic computerologists and offensive defense attorneys who believe in “carrying the battle to the heart of the enemy”.

    5. SocalJimObjects

      I am thinking it just takes one acquittal on this matter for people who are really into such disgusting stuff to have a field day “I didn’t do it, someone hacked into my computer and put them in”.

  3. Pat

    Fauci should have been fired over two decades ago. He should have been arrested a decade ago. That he wasn’t and was in position to family blog the pandemic is proof that our public health system was corrupt long ago.
    The one thing I will give Fauci, besides being lucky that Trump was President as Covid hit, is that he has developed a public face that disguises his true actions far better than anyone in charge of the CDC in the last decade. It may fall apart as you become more familiar with him, but it is still better.

    1. Screwball

      Funny how things work. Just the other day a conversation turned to Fauci. One guy said if anyone says anything bad about him then he can safely dismiss their opinions. He went on to say they may have well told him we faked the moon landings.

      Another said the guy is a national hero, maybe even a world wide hero. Of course the same people think all the people who died of COVID was because of Trump, and of course Joe Biden saved so many by getting COVID under control.

      When our information/facts have this type of spread we have no chance. We are nothing more than propagandized tools aimlessly floating in a sea of BS.

      What a world.

      1. steppenwolf fetchit

        Well . . . you aren’t. And some other people aren’t. Such people need to find eachother and form up into mutual co-survival co-enhancement groups. And some are . . . as described from time to time here on NaCap.

        As to the two Fauci worshippers you discuss in your comment, let Darwin take them.

      2. ArvidMartensen

        Simplistically speaking but in the ball park?, this may be the thinking.

        Everyone is on a side now, and if you’re not on our side then you must be on their side.

        My side knows at a visceral level that Trump is the cause of all evil ever done in the world. We revere Fauci, trust vaccines, vote Dem, went to college and therefore are smarter than most people, and support trans and BLM etc because we are also the most moral and the kindest group in history. We are the apex of human evolution.

        The other side are stoopids and their knuckles drag the ground. They should have no say in a democracy as they only drag down the moral fabric and the IQ of the nation.

        In fact, imho, this sort of thinking proves immediately that the level of intelligence of our best and brightest is regressing to the schoolyard and earlier. The best and brightest could start by reading Ishmael for some perspective.

    2. GramSci

      Let’s not forget to give honorable mention to Fauci’s boss and co-conspirator, the Bible-thumping Frank Collins, who led the public-private gold rush to patent the human genome.

  4. vao

    Avi Eisenberg convicted of $110 million Mango Markets heist.

    Am I alone in having this sentence conjure images of daring bandits surreptitiously emptying large warehouses in Pakistan after disabling all security measures, driving oversized lorries laden with crates of fruits towards their hideout, all the while patting themselves and salivating at the fortune they will make with the juicy contraband?

    After all, there already was the Great Canadian Maple Syrup Heist (3000 tonnes of it)…

    1. Polar Socialist

      If you make it an extremely precious patch of Miyazaki mango, you’d need only one truck.

    2. Emma

      “The facility was operated by the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers (French: Fédération des producteurs acéricoles du Québec, FPAQ) which represents 77 percent of the global maple syrup supply.”

      I had no idea that our supply of maple syrup was so dominated by Quebecoise interest. Are they going to cash in their incredible leverage over our breakfast foods and demand French-only education in all North American schools?

      1. Eclair

        Even worse, Emma, the entire maple syrup industry is riddled with corruption. A few years ago, my spouse’s cousin, a dairy farmer and maple syrup producer in north-west Pennsylvania, revealed to me, during a raucous family reunion, that most of his maple syrup production was purchased in bulk by a Vermont facility, which then bottled and resold it as ‘Vermont Maple Syrup.’ The horror!

        1. Neutrino

          Olive oil has a similar problem. Blends from various countries, different grades, even non-virgin stuff. Somebody is effing around.

        2. cgregory

          Vermont is quite obsessive about the use of its name with food products. Now going for $75 a gallon, Vermont maple syrup represents a significant chunk of cash. Your Pennsylvania producer might want to consider dropping a dime to protect his own business interests.

        3. steppenwolf fetchit

          The name ” Michigan Maple Syrup” does not have the same consumer cachet as ” Vermont Maple Syrup”, so hopefully no one is buying maple syrup from Vermont and selling it in Michigan as “Michigan Maple Syrup”.

          I find that some of the different maple syrups here in Michigan taste different from eachother, both from the small artisanal producers and the medium artisandustrial producers.

  5. DJG, Reality Czar

    Stoller = “I don’t usually do ‘the media doesn’t cover xyz enough’ thing but in this case the over-focus on university protests vs the unionization campaigns of auto plants is really striking.”

    Stoller should be capable of holding and entertaining two thoughts at once in his mind. This isn’t an either/or situation.

    Further, the U.S. media don’t lavish coverage on student protests. The U.S. media would rather not be bothered by any kinds of protests. The student protests have lasted a long time and are loud. So the media workers had to turn up.

    Labor gets very little coverage in the U.S. of A. It isn’t only unionization that the media can’t be bothered to cover. The media no longer have reporters on a labor beat. Why? Because the scandal is that U.S. labor law is so crappy. It’s a great unreported scandal.

    Repeal Taft-Hartley. Get rid of “right to work” laws. Southern governors and their whiny feudalist feelings be damned.

    1. bwilli123

      I like the idea of calling journalists ‘media workers’. I am old enough to remember when that ‘profession’
      self-upgraded their status from being mere ‘reporters.’
      And worker is, of course a more accurate description, there being precious few august journals that these individuals have escaped from.
      More importantly describing them as media workers removes an unwarranted aura that obfuscates the fact that they are in any way independent of an employer with their own agenda.
      It levels them with the rest of us; postal workers, support worker…sex worker

    2. digi_owl

      Likely very few among their ranks have a working class background.

      Used to be that becoming a journalist allowed one to check up on the “elite” while having legal protection under free speech. Thus it was a way for someone below to punch upwards.

      These days it seems more and more are nepo babies that partied their way through college.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I’ve read the same by a British journalist. He said that previously a working class guy or girl could enter the game and work their way up to be a full-fledged journalist. But these days the job of journalist seems to have been reserved for those who graduate from elite universities so of course these new journalists have only sympathy for the establishment causes & the government and none for the working class.

        1. Feral Finster

          We are duly assured that Julian Assange isn’t a “real journalist” and therefore is not entitled to First American protections because he lacks academic credentials.

          N.b. the First Amendment says jack-diddly about “journalists”. Finding journalists without appropriate college degrees is left as an exercise to the reader.

          1. Anonymous

            Having dropped out of college, I worked for a short time as a copygirl at a Washington D.C. paper, earning the amazing sum of $87 a week. It was a very small newsroom and despite only being there for a couple of months total, I was assigned to write several stories with my own byline. In a chat with the Editor, I asked his advice about returning to school and majoring in journalism. He exclaimed, “That’s the last thing you should major in — you already know how to write! Go back to college and take every course you can that interests you. That’s what will help to prepare you to report on the world.” It was 1967. The Editor was Dick Hollander. He had started as a copyboy there himself. The paper was the Washington Daily News, the last 5 cent daily in the country. It folded in 1972.

            1. Mark Gisleson

              Good advice for any writer. I took every undergraduate writing class at the University of Iowa but none of them impacted my writing as much as did my classes in history, philosophy, linguistics, etc.

              Conversely, one of my writing instructors was barely literate, his first drafts required massive editing but the final product was award-winning. A fellow older student won a national book award while being required by the university to take a remedial English course.

              What you write is important, how you write it less so.

              1. Steven A

                Fellow Hawkeye here. I started out as a journalism major at the U of I in the late 70s. This was at a time when J-school enrollment was exploding because everyone thought they could be Woodward and Bernstein. One of the first things we were told was: no editor is going to be impressed that you have a degree in journalism; he/she will want to know if you can write. J-school is just of way of compiling a portfolio of your writing to show to prospective editors.

                I changed majors after I noticed that the J-school offered courses in PR and advertising.

                BTW I had a classmate who majored in creative writing. I once watched her draft a term paper in long hand and put it in the typewriter (pre-word processer days) without making a single edit. She handed it in and received an A. She is now an accomplished poet who has published several volumes of her work.

          2. JustTheFacts

            Unfortunately the argument actually is that he is not a US citizen and therefore has no 1st amendment rights. This came from a case that went up to the Supreme Court ruled, where workers for an NGO abroad who wanted freedom of expression despite being given US government money lost and were told they had no such right because they weren’t US citizens. The source for this is Craig Murray in a recent program on Consortium News.

    3. Henry Moon Pie

      Agreed, DJG. And I’d add whether the press does much coverage or not, it gets around when a union wins a strike by using an innovative and determined strike strategy.

      And it’s Taft-Hartley that prevents even more innovative and effective approaches.

    4. spud

      i view unions as pure capitalism, its workers pooling their labor, just as capitalists pool their money.

      so corporations have rules about how or what can be done with their stocks, intellectual property, real estate, etc..

      lets give individual stock holders “the right to trade”, so that they can sell off their physical share of said corporation to anyone, or anybody they want.

      so lets say the rugged individual stock holder sells off the entrance to the office building of said corporation is housed in, to a company that charges a entrance and exit fee to all users of said building.

      the howls of rage from the corporate parasites will drown out the big bang event that created the universe, and make us a prime target for aliens looking for life in the universe.

    5. steppenwolf fetchit

      Perhaps a Social Democrat Party could run on ” Repeal Taft-Hartley” as well as other pro-worker and pro-public things.

  6. The Rev Kev

    “By passing Ukraine aid, the accidental speaker became an unlikely Churchill”

    There is something that does not add up mathematically with the money being sent to the Ukraine. The MIC was always going to get this $61 billion passed but we have to remember that it has been stalled out in DC for about six months now. In the meantime the US has been able to keep supplying the Ukraine with weapons as they find spare money for them found through accountancy errors or somebody finds a few spare billion hidden under the Pentagon’s lounge cushions. Militarily the Ukraine as been sent as much military equipment that could be spared. So here is the problem. It came out last year that the Ukraine needs $5 billion a month to pay all they wages, salaries and more dubious uses. If that money had stopped, the country would have collapsed. This being the case, where did the Ukraine get the money to keep the country running the six months that that legislation was stuck in Congress? You are talking about up to $30 billion dollars here. So is that $61 billion just a distraction as money from other sources is being constantly sent to the Ukraine to keep it propped up? Do we even know how much money has been sent to the Ukraine from the US, NATO nations and other allies?

    1. Polar Socialist

      Luckily for the Kiev regime, they pay in hryvnias which they have unmitigated access to. Those dollars are much better invested in expensive sports cars and English palaces, neither of which are made in Ukraine so you can’t get them with hryvnias.

      1. The Rev Kev

        You’d think that if they were printing up all those hryvnias, that it would show up as excess inflation in the economy but I have read no reports of that.

        1. digi_owl

          I think most nations at war don’t notice inflation until after. In particular if they lose and thus find themselves without with broken infrastructure and few working age men left to rebuild. During the war, nations basically run on a command economy. In particular if basics has to be rationed.

    2. DJG, Reality Czar

      The Rev Kev: Where did Ukraine get the money these last six months?

      Who knows? More carefully: I’d say that with money being fiat currency these days, the Coalition of the Proxies is simply making it all up. It’s all funny money and weird wire transfers.

      You don’t happen to think that Vogue Coverboi and International Media Sensation Zelenskyy is sitting in a bomb shelter with a green eye shade adding up donations in a paper checkbook?

      The glitch is paying for physical objects, the bomb budget, as it were. Someone does have to pay to buy things. So now the U.S. war profiteers can receive payment for their bloated invoices.

      1. Maxwell Johnston

        Producing tangible physical objects is indeed the tricky bit, especially healthy young men who are willing to fight. Passing bills and issuing digital currency is the easy part.

        The UKR aid package is more symbolic than consequential. Of the roughly $60bn, $49bn goes to the Pentagon/MIC ($35bn directly to replenish inventories, $14bn via UKR as new orders), $8bn is for UKR government salaries and expenses, and $1.6bn is for “economic development” (not quite sure what that means in the context of a de-electrifying failed state). The remaining $1.6bn is for “bolstering air and maritime defenses”, money for the Pentagon/MIC to send missiles to UKR. I don’t see that any of this will significantly change the near-term situation on the ground, although combined with UKR’s new mobilization law it ensures that the killing will continue for a while longer.

        The following link (from “The New Voice of Ukraine”, mea culpa) has a more detailed breakdown; the numbers don’t add up (they total to well over $60bn if you do the math), but there are some juicy tidbits in the smaller numbers: e.g., “$98 million for U.S. Department of Energy for purchase of radioactive isotopes, development and production”, and “$149 million for the U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration in response to nuclear threats in Ukraine.” Say what???? And there’s this too: “$26 million to oversee and ensure accountability for the aid and equipment sent to Ukraine.” Not enough for any serious investigations, but enough to check the block and issue a report confirming that everything was done in compliance with the very highest ethical and legal standards. “Close enough for government work”, as the saying goes.

        I’m impressed by the speed with which the House republicans folded, without even obtaining a border deal from the White House. Did Mike Johnson receive an offer he couldn’t refuse?

        The bill passed on Hitler’s birthday (20 April). I wonder if this was intentional.

        1. chris

          We’ll never know what he saw when he went to the SCIF. Apparently it was all he needed to get some of the Old Time Religion. Now, people are deluding themselves that this aid will change any of the realities Ukraine is facing on the battlefield. “ONE MORE YEAR!”… yeah that will do it.

          To me the most depressing and distressing feature of all this is we the people have no options. We are not allowed to criticize. We are not allowed to protest. We are not allowed to have anything we write which contradicts offici edicts acquire an audience. We are not allowed to vote on any of these matters. If we vote for representatives who state that they too, don’t agree with these positions, then it is just a matter of time before they bend and change to accommodate the status quo. The War Powers act is null and void. The Pentagon and related defense organizations do not have to submit to audits, and if audited, do not need to pass them to justify their budgets. Senior staff can lie to congress with impunity. Truth, whether it comes from foreign actors or domestic opposition is black holed or smeared as “disinfo” based on the opinions of “experts” with conflicts of interest too numerous to catalogue.

          There is no hope of this changing outside of divine intervention. And it is certain that in the change the people responsible for this madness will not be the ones to suffer. Can anyone recommend a book discussing what it was like to live through the collapse of the British empire? Was it this miserable? I wonder.

          1. DJG, Reality Czar

            chris: We all know what Mike Johnson saw. A bunch of confusing telecommunications in bafflegab. Plus some “plot” to blow up some national institution like the Masters Golf Tournament in August, Georgia. You wouldn’t want to be responsible for that, Mike, now would you?

            Then Johnson, Elect of God and Vision of Truth, turned tail.

            There is a way out of the mess of the intelligence agencies and their arrogance. But the members of the U.S. congress are all talk and all fund-raising. Bill of Rights? That’s so eighteenth century! We are way past powdered wigs! Give us the surveillance state.

            Like all things rotten, the intelligence “community” will fall apart with some sunlight. And who in Congress has enough probity to shine a light on the vermin?

            1. chris

              You’re so sure? I don’t think we know whether it was the junk they have on Johnson or something else.

              Regardless of what it was they showed to the Speaker in the SCIF, can we all sit back and marvel at how NOT funding terrorist leaning Banderite fascists in a losing war has been labeled right wing???

          2. steppenwolf fetchit

            Well, it will further de-militarize Ukraine by de-soldierizing it by depopulating it of soldier-age-potential people. And that is certainly a change.

            And it may further scrape the bottoms of the barrels in NATO’s bare ammunition cupboards.

          3. CA

            “We are not allowed to criticize. We are not allowed to protest. We are not allowed to have anything we write which contradicts official edicts acquire an audience. We are not allowed to vote on any of these matters. If we vote for representatives who state that they too, don’t agree with these positions, then it is just a matter of time before they bend and change to accommodate the status quo. The War Powers Resolution of 1973 * is null and void.”

            — Chris


            [ Perfectly expressed. ]

        2. wilroncanada

          Maxwell Johnston
          I’m disappointed. I was assured by someone named Johnson that the date would be April 20…my sister’s birthday.

        3. GF

          As pointed out, it was 4/20. I think they were in a hurry to finish with the small stuff and get to the pot store for the holiday deals.

    3. Don Cafferty

      “Do we even know how much money has been sent to the Ukraine from the US, NATO nations and other allies?” When the SMO started, Ukraine had domestic sources for revenue generation. These sources quickly shrunk. It is speculated that Ukraine is now dependent mostly or solely on external sources. A quick search yielded the following: “Last year, Ukraine received US$42.5-billion in external financing. Among the biggest supporters were the EU, which provided US$19.5-billion, much of it in the form of loans, not grants; the U.S., with US$11-billion; Japan, with US$3.6-billion; and Canada, with US$1.8-billion. The International Monetary Fund provided US$4.5-billion.” I am not a subscriber to where this paragraph may have been extracted.

      Obviously, it takes a sleught of hand to manage money from this many sources. The various terms and conditions of the agreements makes orchestration difficult not only for Ukraine but also for the funding sources. Likely, no one has a bottom line picture. It should be assumed that Ukraine is a bottomless pit for money. Possibly, in my country of Canada, Canada has already spent $2 billion, has another $2 billion in the process of being spent and may have committed as much as $4 to $5 billion more for future years. No one in the Canadian government is going to stand before the public and outline the extent of Canada’s financial commitment. There will be no questions aked about this commitment in the next federal election.

      1. The Rev Kev

        You said that the International Monetary Fund provided US$4.5-billion to the Ukraine. I could be wrong on this but I do not think that the IMF is supposed to provide money to countries who are at war. If so, I guess that they were given a “special waiver.” Maybe because it is not a war but a Special Military Operation. :)

        1. Feral Finster

          The IMF also is not to provide aid to countries with no realistic of repayment.

          The IMF had a staff revolt over this in 2014. The Americans snapped their fingers and the IMF ignored its own rules and did as told.

          This is most instructive on many levels and doesn’t just apply to international organizations.

        2. Don Cafferty

          “I could be wrong on this but I do not think that the IMF is supposed to provide money … “. You are both right and wrong. The IMF is not supposed to provide such funding but the US strong armed it to do so. My memory recall is that Michael Hudson has said this a number of times in various podcasts. From Reuters in Dec. 2023, “The International Monetary Fund’s executive board (IMF) on Monday approved a $900 million disbursement for Ukraine from its $15.6 billion loan program, hours before IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.”

      2. Feral Finster

        Of course Ukraine has long been entirely dependent on foreign aid.

        Since the US can basically print money, it doesn’t matter.

    4. pjay

      “… an Unlikely Churchill”

      We have yet another right-wing Republican who has become a “profile in courage” to the Establishment and its Democrat and media shills. Maybe a Johnson-Cheney ticket in 2028?

      The image of joyous bipartisan celebration in the House as they passed funding for more war in Ukraine, more genocide in Gaza, and more provocation of China was one of the most disgusting things I’ve seen in a long time – and I’ve been watching this stuff for a long time. Never have I felt such total contempt for Congress as I do today. It is a completely hopeless institution. And this CNN piece is a pretty good demonstration of the type of “analysis” provided by another of our hopeless institutions.

      1. Feral Finster

        I found the comments that Johnson was acting out of principle comically naive.

        I said from the outset, he always was going to fold, and he will fold again. The only question is when.

        1. ChrisFromGA

          It’s so easily disproved as a lie, it is almost comedy, as you say.

          What sort of person would refuse to do X, for six months, then suddenly change his mind?

          It really does speak to blackmail or, perhaps, bribery. And it seems to happen to any politician who gets elevated in power and privilege. Exhibit “A” – Barack Obama running against McCain and saying he would act as a check on Wall St., then becoming their BFF.

          I really cannot think of a single politician who ever held to their beliefs and past words once making it into the inner sanctum. Well … there was that JFK guy, and we see what happened to him.
          Of course, the DC cretins will always say he’s “evolved.”

          1. Feral Finster

            “It’s so easily disproved as a lie, it is almost comedy, as you say.”

            At the time, I said it was wishful thinking.

        2. steppenwolf fetchit

          Last night at a computer with audio, I watched a Beau of the Fifth Column video of Beau offering a theory . . . just a theory . . . of what might have produced this outcome. Since I am now at a computer without speakers here in the public library, and I have no headphones, I can only think I have found the right Beau video. The title seems familiar. Here is the link.

      2. Screwball

        Well said pjay and I echo your feelings.

        A GOP speaker passing a bill with unanimous consent from the Dems while the GOP had more who voted against. What’s up with that?

        Then the cheering, the waving of Ukrainian flags. Gag! I’m with the person on Twitter who said they should send all who voted for this directly to Ukraine.

        There is no recourse. We cannot vote our way out of this. Too bad, these people are despicable squared.

      3. flora

        According to Tucker, per today’s links, the Congress is pwned by the intel agencies; they all know it and they show it.

        1. pjay

          I’ve always referred to the “three B’s” in trying to account for Congressional behavior: they have to be either bribed, blackmailed, or brainwashed. But according to the MIT Technology Review article in today’s Links, “brainwashing” does not really exist. So I guess that just leaves the other two.

      4. Amfortas the Hippie

        and that pelosi clip floating around(it rained last 2 days so intertubes acting weird)…about how the evil putin has ordered his ravening orcs with shovels to rape their way through ukraine.
        where the hell did she get that?
        all of this is totally disgusting, to me.
        and all our mentions of the orwellian quality of the news, today…and a new, improved panopticon…and “well, that 1st amendment thing is a threat to the empire”…being spoken out loud(!)…its approaching time to enter hunker down mode.

        1. Feral Finster

          I am on record thst WWIII is coming as a result of Russian indecision and dithering (and western sociopathy) for a long time now.

          I wish I were wrong.

          1. steppenwolf fetchit

            Russia does not do things to validate the desires of dissident Western onlookers.

            What looks to some like dithering and indecision may really be patient attrition and meatgrinding meant to conquer some of East Ukraine, turn Middle Ukraine into the political equivalent of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, where no person will be permitted to live or even to set foot on, and a rump Galiciastan existing at the same level which Paraguay existed in when it had finally and comprehensively lost the Chaco Wars.

    5. ChrisFromGA

      I always knew the worst part of Johnson caving would be the press fawning over such an act of cowardice.

      Remember, this is the same press that heaped “two minutes of hate” on the exact same person only a few weeks ago. And pretty much denigrated and despised him for the past six months for not passing the aid.

      It is almost as if they think we don’t remember … getting very strong “we’ve always been at war with EastAsia” vibes.

      1. Mark Gisleson

        Johnson’s heightening the contradictions. Don’t think of him as a Republican, think of him as an extremely devout Christian and an accomplished prosecutor with a personal agenda of who knows what.

        When you cannot win and do not wish to lose, you stall for time. In our modern age of instant gratification, six months of stalling is world class.

        If Johnson had stood up to Biden and blown up everything, he would have been ousted. Instead he’s dithered and dallied for half a year and no one was able to get funding legislation past him. By any standards Mike Johnson is extraordinarily underrated.

        1. chris

          But who would oust him? They’re discussing motions to vacate the Speakership now because he caved. The reason why we the people can never vote our way out of these debacles is because the people we elect refuse to apply any of the leverage they have when elected.

          1. Mark Gisleson

            I don’t think Johnson ever had any power or leverage. He was in an incredibly weak position and responded in classic fashion: he made the ‘failure’ to pass funding be about him and his incompetence.

            Maybe he’s just a bumbling clown but if so, he’s Clouseau’ing his way to the result he always wanted: military funding ostensibly for Ukraine but which will never get there in time and will just replenish our depleted arsenal.

            The really good pols are deceptive in ways that far transcend mere lying. He’s putting on a show and while everyone watches, nothing gets done.

            1. chris

              I agree that assuming any of these individuals have principles is too much. They have interests. They use various causes to mask their positions and advance their interests. Whuch us why I’m confused by this particular episode of caving in.

              Johnson was supported inside the House and outside by people who believed we should be spending money to support Ukraine protecting their borders until we spent money protecting our own. He was always Pro-Israel. So now we’ve got a bill that doesn’t help Israel more than Ukraine and has no changes in border security? And it passed using measures his colleagues told him not to use?

              Unless I’m missing something an awful lot about this stinks. Which is not to say I liked Mr. Johnson or agreed with his goals and his publicly expressed ideas! But I thought I understood his interests well enough go understand how he would behave. Now I see that either I had no idea about what really motivated him or he was turned into a willing accomplice using information I will never get to evaluate. Either possibility is awful for democracy. And for our current corporate instance of democracy, it’s even worse! Because it means people won’t stay bought!

        2. Belle

          That may have been a factor in how he decided to push the bill. Remember that article a few months back about how this think tank was thinking of Hail Mary plays to get Ukraine support? One strategy involved getting Taylor Swift to make some statements. (This leaves out that Taylor refused to get involved when Kony 2012 came along, and that an ex-boyfriend of hers (Connor Kennedy) fought for Kiev.) That got media attention. The other bit involved Ukrainian Baptists reaching out to their American counterparts. Most people didn’t notice that but…
          Not long ago, noted Southern Baptist leader Richard Land signed onto a letter calling on the Speaker to pass Ukraine funding. (Land has a long track record of right-wing views. He was forced to resign from the SBC’s Ethics and Religious Liberty commission in 2012 after he was caught accusing Obama of trying to “him up” the Trayvon Martin case to get reelected…and plagiarizing his statement to that effect…)
          Johnson didn’t say anything, but it’s likely that this helped the bill pass.

          Like the RFRA, this is another attempt by right-wingers to weaponize “religious freedom” for far-right causes.

    6. hk

      The headline might be right, but not the Churchill that the writer thinks: the Churchill of Gallipoli, maybe, or the Churchill of Bengal (I suppose tthat’s someone else, I suppose…).

        1. hk

          I wish Churchill was just an idiot. The Churchill of Bengal was something else, and 3 million dead Bengalis have been conveniently forgotten.

          1. Jeff V

            Radio 4 recently did a series on the Bengal famine, much to my surprise. At times it was very distressing to listen to.

            Growing up in South Wales, Churchill was very much not seen as a hero. People hadn’t forgotten his actions as home secretary during a miners’ strike.

            He lost his first two general elections as Conservative Party leader, and under a fairer voting system he’d have lost the third as well (the only one he ever won) since the Labour party actually got more votes.

    7. ilsm

      The U.S. has “black” programs, so delicate to good sense and morals the common taxpayer needs to be kept in the dark. “Black” funding exists!

      This “black” money built the Ukraine that lost their first tranche or army if you will.

      Churchill, my favorite memory is his starting the Cold War, reneging on security plans for the post war.
      Five billion a month is a bit much for the “black” budget.

      That and how much of the $60 billion will come from US war stocks, that need replacing from build lost tranches.

      So much you should be kept in the dark.

    8. Kouros

      It is under 14 Bil for Ukraine, the rest is to fund DoD purchasing ammunition, etc to resuply itself.

    9. juno mas

      The staff of the good Senator from Alabama (Tommy Tuberville) says their accounting indicates the US has sent @200 Billion to Ukraine since 2014.

  7. Bugs

    “Ukraine needs one more year to win, and Congress can make that happen now Eric Schmidt, The Hill”

    The oligarchy clears its throat?

    1. Neutrino

      Just letting the brave troops on Capitol Hill know that they’ll have to gear up for one more heroic push, and then another and another until the last dollar is dead.

    2. timbers

      “Ukraine needs one more year to win, and Congress can make that happen now Eric Schmidt, The Hill”


      “Ukraine needs one more year to grift, top off their stuffed mattresses and grab one more mansion, and get the family blog out, and Congress can make that happen now Eric Schmidt, The Hill”

      Also too, the Congress critters doing this.

      At least that is my take.

      1. Polar Socialist

        Well, this time Biden’s regime has to come up with some definition of what the “win” should look like. I don’t think they’re up to the task, since that would require some understanding of the underlying realities.

  8. DJG, Reality Czar

    Roger D. Harris, The North American Peace Movement at an Inflection Point.

    This is a good roundup of information. First, Harris describes how the peace movement in the U S of A, as well in some places outside the U S of A, brought together the ideas that the wars in Ukraine, Palestine-Israel, and soon-to-be East Asia, are all fronts in a war being waged by one country and its elites.

    At this point, I’d say that it is important to tie all of the wars together so that one doesn’t fall into the trap of thinking that Israel has to come to terms but that Freedom-Fighter and Vogue Coverboi Zelensky has one more year of struggle before the glorious victory. These wars are all of a piece.

    I note the that Harris makes an equivalence between the Dems and the Reps. It’s all one big war party. No further need for peeps to send signals of their traditional party allegiances. Those days are long gone.

    Note the list of upcoming conferences and protests. Fun in Chicago in August!

    1. lambert strether

      Yes, I thought of mentioning the 1968 Democratic National Convention. It also occurs to me the “peace movement”, now as then, will wither due to failure to root itself in the working class, though this time due to all the social norms so carefully inculcated in our “front row kids” at Columbia, Yale, etc., by our governing class (the utter rejection of masking by the putative left is a real tell, here). How I would like to be wrong.

    2. Louis Fyne

      the US peace movement is dead, dead, dead. just look at the screeching on the House floor(particularly the Dem whip) re. the funding.

      Literal uniparty passed the bill, 100% Dems + 100% RINOs

        1. Kouros

          And they were screaming that Russians were giving Taliban prize money for American scalps in Afghanistan…

    3. Benny Profane

      “Fun in Chicago in August!”

      Ha, my first thought when I saw the video of that fellow calling for the national guard at Columbia.

  9. Ignacio

    Today’s links prompted me to search the definition of Fascism the easy way. You go and take a look at the Wikipedia entry and what you see there applies very much to what the PMC-directed policy in the collective West is turning to be. Increasingly violent, increasingly suppressing opposition with all means available, regimentation or strict control of the society. As for today we see for instance in the Columbia and Vanderbilt links.

    Then we have this PMC-written piece on the Hill showing how these individuals live in an alternate reality that we can summarize as “throwing billions of dollars in Ukraine and the MIC will win the war in Ukraine”. It might, but not under the inept managing caste currently in charge.

    1. DJG, Reality Czar

      Ignacio: I will edit the Wikipedia list of characteristics: “characterized by a dictatorial leader [social class], centralized autocracy [supported by inflexible rules and flexible laws], militarism, forcible suppression of opposition, belief in a natural social hierarchy [with religious overtones], subordination of individual interests for the perceived good of the nation and/or race [with religious overtones], and regimentation of society and the economy [through a combination of overt penalties and less obvious pressures] ”

      The interesting thing about fascism is that it is highly adaptable. The Portuguese Novo Estado, the Spanish Falange, and the Italian fascist party all operated somewhat differently.

      So the “creative destruction” that is fascism, or to put it less politely, the death-politics that is fascism, is adapting to weaknesses and creating weaknesses in Anglo-America and Germany, most notably, these days.

      1. Ignacio

        Good editing there though social caste rather than social class fits better IMO. Yes, fascim comes with all kinds of flavours. What is new about this is that instead of a vociferous leader, such as Mussolini, it has come in an unexpected way and has taken the populace by surprise. Yet, the punditry belonging to this caste/class is becoming more vociferous with the day. The new fascios include the financial PMC- fascio, the health care PMC-fascio the military one etc. True fascism.

        1. Amfortas the Hippie

          or Swarm Fascism….the “dictator”/supreme leader/fuhrer is a hive mind of blue checks and rightthinkers.(per John Robb).

      2. vao

        I miss the explicit cultural project — which was an important element of fascism.

        Centralism, suppression of opposition, and subordination of individual interests are different aspects of what is known as “Gleichschaltung” — which literally means “synchronization” or “phasing”.

        Subordination of individual interests and regimentation of society and economy find their expression in mass organizations, and are the consequences of a very important element of fascism — corporatism.

        Corporatism is almost always forgotten, but this is a major commonality among fascisms of all kinds. Corporatism is the framework organizing labour and firms under the supervision, or better the command, of the State.

        Italy was the first (in 1927) to define its corporatist legal framework in the “carta del lavoro” (“charter of labour”). It served as basis for the development of the Portuguese “estatuto do trabalho nacional” (“statute of the national labour”) and a whole set of associated laws regulating trade unions, employer associations, corporatist councils, social security, etc in 1933. The “carta del lavoro” was also the starting point for the Spanish “fuero del trabajo” in 1938 (“charter of labour” — the first of the eight “fundamental laws of Franquism”). Both the Portuguese and Spanish laws closely followed the principles of the Italian one, but were not copies of it.

        Italian corporatism also inspired the laws edicted by Ulmanis establishing corporatism in Latvia from 1934 onwards, and the corporatist reforms introduced by Metaxas in Greece after 1936. Both regimes tended in their nature and their practice strongly towards fascism.

        The Vichy regime edicted the “charte du travail” (“charter of labour”) in 1941 — again, a corporatist law quite similar to the Italian one. And in Brazil, fascist dictator Vargas liked the “carta del lavoro” so much that he reportedly had parts of it translated into Portuguese and inserted into the comprehensive “consolidação das leis do trabalho” (“consolidation of labour laws”) finalized in 1943. Perón spent some time before WWII in Italy, where he had time to study the “carta del lavoro” and its application; from his correspondence, he appears to have returned to Argentina convinced that fascism was the best system to balance the relations between capital and labour.

        Germany, of course, also had its corporatist law: the “Gesetz zur Ordnung der nationalen Arbeit” (“law for the organization of the national labour”), edicted in 1934. The comparison with the “carta del lavoro” was already a topic for theses in comparative law at the time.

        The specific type of dictatorial regime with its systematic reliance upon violence, the pageantry with flags, spiffy uniforms, and the Roman salute, the armed militias, are what is commonly associated with fascism. The ideological and legal framework offered by Mussolini was as profoundly influential, and the “carta del lavoro” provided a ready-made, proven approach (after all, Mussolini had been in power for 10, 15, 20 years when other dictators got to draught their laws) to organize the society and the economy — rejecting both the cosmopolitan, degenerate, and failed liberal policies, and the hated left-wing (socialist, communist, or even worse anarchist) projects.

        To conclude, it is interesting to note that fascists so explicitly viewed the mobilisation, organization, and control of labour as the essential condition for their socio-economic project.

        1. Ignacio

          Your last phrase. Control of labour, has been achieved nowadays in a different even opposite way compared with the approaches taken by proto-fascists like Mussolini et al: dismantling unions and reducing labour laws to technicalities that make the workers believe that at least someone cares about their health though this is also being dismantled. See for instance latest news on Sunak approach linked yesterday.

          As per the violence it is usually unnecessary as long as the sheep behave but police brutality increases when a particular claim/demonstration is considered dangerous.

        2. DJG, Reality Czar

          Thanks, vao, for bringing the historical thread regarding control of labor to the foreground.

          One might argue that the U S of A is not fascist because there is no labor policy (carta del lavoro) other than suppression of unions and suppression of wages. In short, the model for management-labor relations in the U S of A, as ever, is Southern slavery.

          And in an irony of history, that isn’t fascism. It is feudalism.

          1. vao

            A point not to forget is that all those corporatist laws also provided the means to control the firms.

            To summarize: under a fascist regime

            a) fundamentally, trade unions are not there to defend the interests of workers, but to coordinate with firm owners and the State how to best put to use the working force;

            b) fundamentally, employer associations are not there to lobby for the interests of firms, but to coordinate with the State on how to best regulate the economy and implement the projects of national importance defined by the government.

            It is a hierarchy: workers get the marching orders from capitalists, who get theirs from the State, which wants everything to operate smoothly.

            In our current polities on the other hand, the State has become subservient to capitalists.

            Neo-liberals would hate a fascist regime. Actually, the majority of their predecessors in the 1930s and 1940s ultimately detested their subordination to the fascist State and the constraints it imposed upon them, no matter how bountiful their profits were and how absolute their control of employees was.

            1. Cat Burglar

              It is worth emphasizing that the means of control were often compulsory mass organizations, like unions or professional organizations people were required to join.

              You could think of them as statutorily created compulsory party-run NGOs, disseminating propaganda, surveilling and controlling members, and being useful political tools that could be ordered into action.

              1. vao

                Exactly. And those mass organizations were also those that distributed benefits.

                Rather than being entitled to such benefits as rights, members were submitted to the discretionary power of the regime to grant them carrots — whether a winter aid package, cheap vacations in a summer camp, subsidies, or much needed foreign currency to import industrial goods.

            2. hk

              I see a parallel to the argument about the Revolution and the French state by Tocqueville. Tocqueville argued that the “pre Revolutionary” stage of the French Revolution came about because of the clash between the king (the institution, not necessarily Louis XVI) who wanted to centralize power in the hands of the state and the nobles who opposed it. When the dust settled, the king may have been beheaded, but the nobles didn’t get their feudalism back either and the state was far centralized than it ever was under the king–even under the “republican” governments after 1848.

              I don’t think the current political conflicts are necessarily driven by long term agendas and conscientious designs: attributing the to “fascism” implies that. I think the conflicts are more short term and myopic: ultimately, the French nobles wanted to bring the king a few pegs–they may have been versed in snippets of Enlightenment ideas and were also driven to restore feudalism, without really seeing the contradiction between them (just like PMC today, perhaps?). But, when the fiscal crisis hit (again), I think they just wanted to score political points and the situation spiraled out of control due to poor leadership and political incompetence on both sides. Once things fell apart, centralization of state power, I tend to think, came about because the old institutions were destroyed and/or thoroughly discredited themselves rather than by a conscientious design with a long horizon.

              At the present, I think we have a similar problem: no one has a long term agenda, but are trying to score short term political points by subverting and abusing institutions (“lawfare” being but one example). I suspect that this will just create a power vacuum coupled with chaos, where some unexpected person will try to grab power. Maybe we’ll get a Sulla or a Napoleon. I don’t think we are that lucky.

      3. playon

        Good luck with wikipedia edits – been there done that. In my case they were almost instantly undone by the people in charge.

      4. Kouros

        How is fascism different from the feudal system in any way? Beside having the Church siding with the landowners, the warrior class always liked to train on the revolting peasants….

        Form and function… The domestication and subjugation of hoi polloi must continue apeace…

        1. hk

          Feudalism was built for and maintained by the “lords” the “small tyrants.” Fascism was built around reinforcing the state power. The “lords” got in the way and had to be brought to heel, in a “fascistic” state. Not exactly unique to what might be labeled a “Fascist” state: this is the history of, say, France over past 1000 years, after all.

          The point raised by vao above is applicable here: in a real fascist regime, both corporations and organized labor would be broken, reduced to appendages of the state.

          Of course, one thing that I wonder is how powerful are the “capitalists” in the West, including in the US? We think the rich are powerful and they run the government for their profit, but is that really true? Yes, MICIMAC or whatever does make money, but, overall, fo the entire class of capitalists profit by, say, not being able to do good business with China (Remember that Xi was met with adulation like a messiah in SF last year by US businesspeople.)? This sounds more like the state bringing capital to heel: those who go with the program are allowed to profit handsomely, but not the whole class. Ditto with other organized groups in society.

          1. James Payette

            one would have thought that all industry in Germany would have had the power to stop the “green” Idiocy. Have Nordstream 2 authorized. One would think they would have expressed outrage at the US blowing it up.

    2. marcel

      I’d rather say that most of the collective West is turning from inverted totalitarianism to your standard run-of-the-mill totalitarianism. In order to get to Fascism, you need a dictatorial ‘Leader’: Mussolino, Franco, Pinochet… spring to mind, but the “Deep State” (whatever you put there) is not. Macron of France tries to be one, but he is too much of a puppet to be a leader.

      1. Emma

        Yes, I’ve been mulling this one over lately. The inverted totalitarian system that we’ve been living under since at least 1990 and arguably since end of WWII, is a heck of a lemon market for leadership.

        By demanding absolute adherence to its narratives on freedom, democracy, capitalism, empire, etc., it ensures that only individuals with very limited intelligence and/or personal integrity can enter the halls of power.

        Add to that the desire to have leverage on these individuals to ensure they don’t inadvertently “break good” and find their conscience, there is the likely wholesale compromising of public officials via the likes of the Epstein sex ring and dodgy financial dealings a la Bob Menedez.

        So we’re now at the stage where anyone in the West within sniffing distance of power is almost certainly going to be a degenerate serial liar and a mind numbingly stupid person. Just compare speeches and interviews with any “garden” politico with “jungle” leader. The latter may indeed be despotic and corrupt, but they don’t present as gibbering idiots.

        We’re really *family blogged*

        1. jefemt

          You are describing Montana US Senate aspirant Tim Sheehy to a T. And he is just one of many.
          Bad Gravy!

      2. Polar Socialist

        I think you first need a rising leftist movement/pressure, so the “Deep State” uses right wing goons to fight back. And the goons then take over the “Deep State”, and voilà, you get Fascism.

        When you hear politicians saying things like “EU is a value based union”, you know they’ve reached a place where they can’t make compromises anymore. There’s no room for interpretations, no chance for flexibility – those are immoral acts against the “values”.

        And counter-intuitively they destroy all those values they claim defines them…

        1. Feral Finster

          Who says that the “evil enemy” has to be leftist?

          Populists/deplorables/antisemites/Russians (real.or imaginary) all will do just as well.

          1. Polar Socialist

            You can deploy right wing goons only against the left, usually the goons are the populists/deprorables/antisemites.

            1. Feral Finster

              Sometimes. Right now the PMC is betting that the goons will follow orders, regardless of whom they are directed at.

            2. hk

              The goons can be sent against the “wrong” goons, too, as the ghost of Ernst Roehm might remind us. They probably don’t care whom they bite.

        2. Emma

          I’m not convinced that there’s a true takeover by right elements. Rather it is the Janus faced liberal-fascist state shows its more fascist face to more of the public. But fascism is expensive and difficult to maintain so over time, it reverts back to the liberal face* once the immediate crisis passes.

          I’m sure that even at the height of Fascist phase, there are still plenty of well-to-do bourgeoisie and petite bourgeoisie who insist that everything is fine and the state is just keeping order – if only “those people” would stop making the “good people” so uncomfortable!

          *Except for marginalized black and brown communities and people in Iraq, Afghanistan, occupied Palestine, and the dispossessed Chagos Islanders. They always get the Fascist face.

          1. Snailslime

            The state of (western) capitalism being what it is I really don’t think the crisis is going anywhere and neither is the quasi fascism.

            I think it is the democratic facade that has become difficult to maintain and outside of paying lipservice and using it as a stick the elites have grown tired of it.

            They are tired of pretending they want to fully and openly flout and revel in their absolute power precisely because they think there is nobody who could or seriously would try to resist them.

            While at the same time they know that everyone knows that capitalism can’t keep it’s promises and was never going to, there is no going back to pretending about the american dream anymore, that genie is out of the bottle for good.

            Well, inside the US and the collective West for sure, there are some poor, dumb or shprtsightedly selfish Souls elsewhere that can still be bought or deceived with that morgen but within the west itself it’s going to be sticks over carrots for the indefinite future.

            1. Emma

              It’s a series of crises until we hit the terminal one. But we have seen Chile, Argentina (heh), Spain, and the Philippines (LMAO) move from fascist government to liberal government.

              I think there’s enough data to show it’s not a one way switch to fascism, but that there’s the interplay between the two faces. Fascism is costly to enforce, people hate it, and eventually it can burst out into revolutionary energy. In noncrisis situations, liberalism can do the bidding of our overlords with much lower cost and almost no likelihood of revolutionary change.

              1. Jason Boxman

                But which of these countries was an empire with nuclear weapons? I don’t think the same feat here can be so readily done.

                1. Emma

                  Most of them were propped up by an empire with nukes, and one at the height of its power.

                  Nowadays China and Russia and RoW are ascendant and some of them have or could have as many nukes as the US. It might mean the world gets blown up or maybe the US power elites will go peacefully into their NZ bunkers and Martian colonies.

                  1. Wukchumni

                    It might mean the world gets blown up or maybe the US power elites will go peacefully into their NZ bunkers and Martian colonies.

                    NZ might not be a good fit for such tall poppies…

                    In Australia and New Zealand, tall poppy syndrome refers to successful people being criticized. This occurs when their peers believe they are too successful, or are bragging about their success. Intense scrutiny and criticism of such a person is termed as “cutting down the tall poppy”.


              2. Snailslime

                Of course that has been historically true, I just think the crisis of global capitalism IS well into it’s terminal phase, so I’m not convinced that a return to liberal status quo will be possible this time.

                I also suspect that at least part of the elites are smart enough to know that and probably always knew it would get to that point.

                Suspect the guy who immolated himself most recently was on to something in his manifesto.

                That at least part of the “elite” was always aware that the liberal facade and capitalism itself would not be long term sustainable and that after various trial run there by necessity would have to be a switch for good to hard oppression going hand in hand with a massive, global culling of the herd.

                I also think that far from common tropes of elites being worried or even panicking (I mean, some of course are and have been for a long time, like the various fraidy cat parasite billionaires investing heavily in luxury bunkers in isolated places, but I don’t think they are truly representative and if global capitalism as we knew it is actually in terminal rot and decline thanks to various hard limits it cannot grow past any longer their power may evaporate quickly enough anyway in a more catabolic than capitalistic world), there is really a huge confidence on part of the majority of the ruling class that the instruments of repression either already have been or soon will be perfected to such a godlike degree that their position will be forever unassaillable come what may.

                And I really, really believe that openly lording over everyone else like gods without having to “lower themselves to pretending to be anything less than gods” is something that a large segment of the ruling class increasingly desires.

                1. Emma

                  Having been occasionally elite proximate in my life, I don’t think this group is sufficiently intelligent and farsighted enough to do what you credit them with doing. They are just very specialized parasites who lost their sense of reality.

                  Also, we may be lucky or unlucky enough to be in the “final crisis”.

      3. tegnost

        I don’t think thats the case…

        “Fascism should more properly be called corporatism, since it is the merger of state and corporate power.”
        Benito Mussolini

        The game these days is to say it’s not fascism because we don’t have a dictator, except (imo) that it is, sept 11 we got patriot act setting “the new american century” on it’s inviolable path, followed by a colossal bank/corporate bailout which shoveled uncountable sums into the greedy hands of the corporate overlords. 15 years of 0% interest rates rocketed the stock market and made anyone who owned a home a millionaire and raised the rent too high for the stingy wages offered creating a massive homelessness problem. Lets not forget the ACA boon for medical industry MBA’s. And of course we need unlimited immigration to make sure wages stay low. Did I forget something?
        Yesterday I was thinking that with the latest war funding vote it’s official, we’re fascists now.
        And to keep the kayfabe going it’s the orange menace that will turn us down the wrong path?
        No. We’re on the wrong path.

        1. Emma

          As you say, the corporate-state link up distinction isn’t helpful for contrasting it with liberalism, since liberalism is just as tied up in corporate-state linkages.

          I really think the Marxist approach of fascism and liberalism as two sides of the same coin is the correct approach to both. Fascism is the bad cop to liberalism’s good cop. Both are utilized by the same group of people to control the population. Generally liberalism is preferred because it’s less costly economically and can be used to bring in people who would resist in an openly fascist system, but fascism will be brought out when the system is in crisis and always at the margins, a la Assange, to remind the rest of us to behave.

        2. The Rev Kev

          Some Democrats want to really settle the orange menace’s hash. Every ex-President gets their own Secret Service detail for life, right? Well they are floating a new bill that would strip Trump of his Secret Service detail if he gets sent to prison. It is called the ‘Denying Infinite Security and Government Resources Allocated toward Convicted and Extremely Dishonorable former protectees Act’ (or DISGRACED Act for short). No, I am not making this up-

          Maybe they are hoping that Trump will get shanked or something. I would go along with the idea however that probably the prison guards are Trump voters as are the prisoners and would protect him. And why not? Trump has his own mug shot too.

          1. Milton

            Chuckling about the thought that Trump should use his mugshot as his official presidential portrait after the 2024 election.

        3. David in Friday Harbor

          The concept of Inverted Totalitarianism takes Mussolini’s vision of the merger of the power of the state and corporations and turns it on its head. The corporations control the state at all levels — there is no need for a Duce at the top. Presidents and congress-critters are nothing but Kayfabe cover for the redistribution of resources and assets to a shadowy self-appointed caste of corporate pirates.

          However, the dispersion of power to these various billionaires is chaotic because their only goal is to suck-up resources and assets. This “system” is headed like a laser-guided hypersonic missile for a violent collapse, but not before causing incalculable destruction and suffering throughout the world.

          There is a new generation of youth who see themselves as bụi đời — Vietnamese: “Dust Life” — arising. They understand their utter powerlessness under our system of Inverted Totalitarianism and are responding with a nihilism that state violence will only enflame.

          1. digi_owl

            In the end Varoufakis may be on to something with his technofeudalism after all. that is, if one see corporations as the replacement of the old baronies etc.

            1. hk

              That was my first reaction: but the last few times the “nobles” tried to get feudalism back by overplaying politics, things didn’t go well–the French Revolution being a big example. (I’m afraid I don’t know about the Mensheviks etc enough to see how this might apply to the Russian Revolution…)

      4. Kouros

        No, you don’t need a dictator for fascism to manifest itself. It is more effective for the current times to have clown elections with clown figureheads that in fact fulfill the function of a dictator – all executive functions are in fact “dictatorial” in nature for the duration of a mandate, and lately this executive power has been more and more entrenched, unaccountable, lacking transparency, with clownish legislatures…

    3. Carolinian

      Of course fascism the word refers to the fasces, the bundle of rods that symbolized the Roman doctrine of strength through unity. Or as that NPR lady might put it we have to be team players in order to “get things done”–make the trains run on time. It’s a Triumph of the Will.

      When the American revolution came along it was supposed to be against all that Caesarism and kings who liked to talk about “my people” as though they owned them.For that very reason those founders were deeply suspicious of militarism or perhaps they just didn’t want to pay for it.

      Trump’s not good on this either with his “make America great” when the point was to make us free rather than great. But it seems that swelled heads are the only kind we get in our modern day politics. Our leaders are too mediocre to embrace humility.

      1. hk

        Fun fact: Fasces is such a symbol of the old republican Rome that US Capitol, among others, is still strewn with them. in fact, a pair of them flank the speaker’s seat in the US House. Interesting juxtaposition these days.

    4. Victor Sciamarelli

      Ignacio: The US is not totalitarian or fascist because they’re not efficient systems; though elements of fascism exists. If it was fascist, NC would not exist.
      As Noam Chomsky wrote numerous times, the totalitarian system of thought control is far less effective than the democratic one since the official doctrine parroted by the intellectuals at the service of the state is readily identifiable as pure propaganda and this helps free the mind.
      In contrast, the democratic system seeks to determine and limit the entire spectrum of thought by leaving the fundamental assumptions unexpressed. They are presupposed but not asserted.

  10. .human

    Ocean spray emits more PFAS than industrial polluters, study finds

    Love the framing! Nothing in the article about how those chemicals originate.

  11. griffen

    Nepo babies… The Jackpot Distribution to Next Generation has commenced. Let the billions flow onward to infinity, for those deemed worthy for inclusion to the Lucky Little Swimmers Birthright Bonanza. Maybe a fellow poet can don their writing cap to make improvement to my initial thought processes.

    In a mere 25 to 50 years I’m sure that the varied offspring of a Zuckerberg, a Musk or a Bezos will continue the dynastic ways of their billionaire kin. I think we’re solidly into a third generation of the Walton family fortune, and quite a few others are further along ( Mars candy fortune, the Mellon family fortune ) by example.

    1. Benny Profane

      Older dynastic families diluted that wealth because there were more of them (the Kennedys take that prize) and through decadence and sloth, but you really have to be a screw up these days to blow those kinds of sums it you’re only one or two of the children and grandchildren. That’s a lot of cocaine and private jets.

      1. Carolinian

        Thanks for mentioning the holy Kennedys. Of course RFK jr is a nepo baby along with Dubya, Jared Kushner and one Donald Trump. Undoubtedly in the future third base will become ever more crowded by those who thought they hit a triple.

        Or not if our new Gilded Age turns into the new 1930s and the plutocrats are singing “once I [or my parents] built a railroad, made it run.” There was a time when American culture could view the wealthy with both envy and scorn–a healthier time.

        1. Benny Profane

          RFK Jr. is such a nepo baby, he was arrested and convicted for possession of heroin, but was able to have that conviction erased from his record. That’s privilege.

          And, unfortunately, it may take another awful great depression to change the attitudes of most Americans against the rich, and give us another FDR.

          1. Chris Smith

            Maybe. I think we are more likely to get Father Coughlin or a real version of the caricature of Huey Long in public imagination.

        2. Jabura Basaidai

          “once I [or my parents] built a railroad, made it run.”
          “….brother can you spare a dime?” – Yip was hauled before McCarthy and was blacklisted – no movies or TV but he still went on creating for Broadway

          1. britzklieg

            Here’s a great story about Yip… and a tribute to all (and too many) underappreciated lyricists. Harburg’s and Arlen’s wives were at a party when someone looked at Arlen’s and asked: “What’s it like to be married to the person who wrote “Somewhere over the rainbow” when Yip’s wife cleared her throat and said “Excuse me, Harold wrote “daaa, daaa, daa, da-da daa, daa” My husband wrote “Somewhere over the rainbow.””

            Could be apocryphal but makes the point… with a bullet.

      2. steppenwolf fetchit

        And if these families have intergenerational trusts and private family financial affairs management offices, then their collective inheritor-class power just grows and grows, never dilutes and dilutes.

        The only way their power could be diluted is by underminement from outside and below. That would require a leaderless mass culture-shift by several hundred million people devoted to destroying the power of power itself. Several hundred million people figuring out how to make the whole civilization ungovernable and unprofitable.

    2. jefemt

      I imagine it is ideal to have a crucial resource under the family — a la Houses of Saud.
      Cannot begin to relate….

      1. griffen

        Well I have guilt on my conscience, after all my adult beverage of choice is a simple can, or bottle of beer. it’s usually a product by Anheuser Busch ( international beer conglomerate AB InBev, I think ) so the supposed depravity of a 4th or a 5th generation is partly due to American consumers like myself.

        Drats but some habits die hard I guess. And if I played 18 holes of golf more frequently than 4 or 5 rounds annually, I’d probably support a big brand like Titleist but not at $45 a pop for a dozen golf balls. Driving range is more budget friendly, and time friendly, as well.

        1. steppenwolf fetchit

          Would a decent artisanal craft beer cost as much as 3 cans of AB inBev? If so, could you bear the pain of drinking 1 bottle of really good beer instead of 3 cans of really meh beer?

          ” When you want a beer real bad, we’ve got a real bad beer”.

          1. griffen

            Yeah, quality ahead of volume would make a better choice; but I’m going for an optimal level on expenses so volume it shall be…with limitations of course. Keystone light is not on the menu, such a thing as being too cheap a brand of beer.

    3. Kouros

      Most big landlords in Englad retrace their origin in the Normand invasion.

      In Italy, a lot of extremely rich can go back 4-500 years back…

      1. steppenwolf fetchit

        I remember once reading a comment by Colonel Smithers (spelling?) who noted that George Monbiot is at the very least privileged anglo-person adjacent. This led me to wonder whether George Monbiot is in any part descended from the Franco-Viking Norman conquistadors. Does anyone here know?

  12. Feral Finster

    Pentagon says US may send additional military advisers to Ukraine Ukrainska Pravda. Zelensky’s got one more army to lose, so maybe we can help him lose it, just as we helped him to lose the last one, and the one before that.

    No, once they run out of Ukrainians to catch Russian munitions, NATO will openly and directly intervene. The various member populaces won’t be happy about but nobody will ask them.

    And no, this will not be the last aid package.

    1. Benny Profane

      I don’t think so. First of all, there are no weapons to send, no matter how much congress spends. And even if there was some, especially air defense, it’s going to Israel first, and into warehouses for the next war in the far east. This is all final payoffs to the most corrupt government in Europe, after hinting heavily over the past six months that the game is over, settle up and pack your bags, we’re done, good luck. Did you catch the curious situation that when the Ukraine parliament voted for this new conscription bill, most seats were empty in that hall during the vote? The rats are already deserting. This thing will be over soon, but Biden may succeed on keeping the meat grinder churning until after the election.
      Speaking of that parliament vote, I think that may be a very decisive moment in the end game. Not the silly drop in conscription age from 27 to 25, as though that will produce a lot of bodies. The extension of service indefinitely for those that have survived after almost three years instead of being rotated out could be a real breaking point for morale. I wouldn’t be surprised to see more mass surrenders from the Uke side soon. It’s that or death.

      1. Feral Finster

        Ukraine is getting much more aid than Israel. Biden even was willing to hold up Israel aid by tying it to Ukraine.

        And we’ve been hearing “there are no more weapons to send!” for over two years now, even as more and more weapons get sent. Just as we hear that Ukraine is out of men as more and more bodies get press-ganged. At least NATO has dropped “Russia is out of men/missiles/tanks/burrito coverings”, at least for the time being.

        1. Benny Profane

          Ukraine has not been getting weapons for some time. Well, a trickle, but, their air defenses are gone, used up, and there are no shells left in the world to give them, especially after Oct. 7. That really accelerated the attrition. Ukraine has no soldiers left, and the Russian army grows by the thousands every month. Well trained soldiers, btw, not sent to the front after a few shooting lessons. Furgetabout NATO intervention. Really? Public support for this folly in Europe is bad, and sending it’s young men to this idiocy will topple governments. Tough guy Macron has something like 23% support, and that was before he started talking about sending troops. Note how the other Euro leaders cleared their throats and looked the other way when he said that. Nope, it’s a relatively comfy life on the continent, and nobody wants WW3 to support the Nazis.

          1. Feral Finster

            Europe already is getting together another six Patriot systems. Ukraine is getting longer range missiles without restrictions on use, and Tomahawks will come soon.

            And if you think weapons have not been transferred under the table…

            Anyway, if and when Ukraine does run low on warm live bodies (whether by press-ganging or by deporting refugees) NATO will intervene openly and directly. No, NATO members won’t like it. Nobody will ask them, just as Macron charges ahead, ignoring public opinion..

            And don’t think protests will solve anything. They’ve pretty much fizzled out, and if they don’t, the rulers will simply freeze bank accounts until the protesters come to heel.

            1. Benny Profane

              Did you see the cost comparison of either side in the Iranian attack on Israel last week? Many say, and I think some “officials”, that Israel spent 1.3 billion dollars that one night attempting to shoot down the Iranian air attack, and some missiles got through, damaging an air base. 1.3 billion! Each one of those Patriot missiles cost a few million, and they are shot off at least twice to get one target. Each Patriot battery is over a billion, and it all burns as easily as other weapons when a Kinzhal hits it. They are complex and take some time to build and arm, and require a large team of well trained soldiers to man them (which means that NATO soldiers are already in Ukraine, operating them, because I doubt we were foolish enough to just hand the over to the Nazis). Now, as the senator from Ohio, J.D. Vance, pointed out the math does not add up, especially in the new age of cheap drones warfare. Nobody can afford billion dollar nights of 85% effective air defense, and 0% effectiveness against hypersonic missiles.

              Look at the breakdown of this aid package, anyway. Only 20 billion is directly going to Ukraine to keep the government services going and the grift churning. The rest is going to our MIC, and they don’t have the capacity in our private, profit driven arms manufacturing system to make enough arms quickly. Some companies may not even bother, because they’re not driven by emotion, and know that this is a losing cause to tool up for.
              We have not only succeeded in turning Ukraine into another failed state, but, we have disarmed NATO in the process. Good job.

                1. Benny Profane

                  I think we’re finally reaching the upper limit on that.

                  Israel has no martial law preventing young people from leaving the country, like Ukraine has. The economy is already tanking, and I’ll bet a lot of well educated and well healed dual citizens are gone or packing bags. We can only do so much.

                  1. Feral Finster

                    Then thr US will resume its traditional role of fighting Israel’s wars for it.

                    And we’ve heard that the dollar is tanking for how many decades now?

                  2. Polar Socialist

                    Nor will throwing stacks of banknotes in the air be very effective air-defense. I’m sure the crews would rather take the money and skedaddle to Romania.

                    1. Feral Finster

                      We’ve been hearing for years that the West is out of weapons, but they always find more.

                2. steppenwolf fetchit

                  People confuse money with wealth.

                  The US can print eleventeen thousand million hundred dollars, but can the US bring the passenger pigeon back from extinction with eleventeen thousand million hundred dollars?

                  When the last can of catfood is gone from the last shelf in the last Walmart, then the White Man will learn he can’t eat MMT.

            2. Kouros

              Do you have a tally of weapons stocks still available in US/EU and their production lines?
              The logistic capability to support a front line with everything, you know, food, hospitals, blood, ammunition, repairs, etc., etc., etc.? It took the west more than half a year to build up capacity to invade Iraq.
              You might be right that NATO would want to intervene, but as soon as the Poles would officially join the fight, Warshaw will get drummed and that will not go down well, no matter how the older Polacks would like to slit their own throats to see Russians bleed.

      2. GM

        First of all, there are no weapons to send, no matter how much congress spends

        That’s completely irrelevant. This has long moved to a strategic confrontation between NATO and Russia.

        The battle in the trenches in Donbass is a smokescreen.

        The real story is the use of Ukraine as a cover for increasingly brazen strikes deep into Russia, with the goal of eventually disabling enough of the Russian strategic capabilities to allow for a surprise first strike by NATO.

        The recent attempted strike on the primary Russian over-the-horizon radar in Mordovia was a grave escalation, but most people didn’t even notice it. This is something you do just before you launch the nukes…

        We are at that point now.

        Think about it.

        Whether there are enough tanks and shells to defeat Russia in the Donbass is really irrelevant once you understand that. The point is to slow the Russians down so that they cannot take out the proxy completely and end the charade, because once Russians are at the Polish border, those strikes will either have to end, or NATO will have to go to war directly.

        The mystery here is why Putin sat on his hands for two years (and then 8 years before that, and then 10 years before those 8 years) and didn’t do what had to be done to get to the Polish border, fence Ukraine off, and end it as a proxy.

        1. Yves Smith

          Oh come on. This is a multidimensional problem and Russia has performed amazingly well. It’s almost axiomatic that the bigger economy wins, and the US + NATO way beats Russia in population and GDP by any metric.

          First, Russia spent years building up its military capabilities. It was apparently somewhat stealthy in 2016, when Putin was having to make great apologies for falling short in social spending. It didn’t announce that it had or was very close to having (I forget which) hypersonic missiles. The rest of the world scoffed. Russia also announced nuclear powered missiles were under development, which would be pretty deadly if Russia succeeded. We had worked on nuclear powered aircraft and abandoned them because the amount of lead it would take to protect the crew would make it too heavy to fly. Having just a missile solve the need for safety cladding. I think these were the weapons that Putin said could fly through the Southern Hemisphere and attack the US from its south. I have not heard since then where this program stands.

          Second, Russia was WAY WAY less of an autarky in 2014. The sanctions we imposed post Maidan were a long-term benefit in terms of preparing Russia for the shock and awe sanctions of 2022. Even Russian economic officials were shocked at how quickly the economy restabilized (admittedly due to a full court press by the government and many special programs). No one, absolutely no one, foresaw that outcome.

          Third, a critical break for Russia was the US deciding to turn on its former ally of sorts, China, in 2017 with the Trump tariffs. Any action before that and China would not have supported Russia and probably not even sat on the sidelines. China and Russia concluded their “stronger than an alliance” statement of commitment on Feb 1, 2022.

          Fourth, Russia setting up its “son of Kosovo” legal approach, going in light to try to get Minsk III, and having the West scupper the negotiations, turned world opinion outside the Collective West to Russia. No way would India, China, Saudi Arabia, and others have quietly or overtly defied US threats about trading with and supporting Russia under any other scenario I can conceive of.

            1. Yves Smith

              Russia had started on its designs IIRC in the 1970s, shelved them, and returned to them.

              You assume their design was the same as ours….

          1. sarmaT

            I think these were the weapons that Putin said could fly through the Southern Hemisphere and attack the US from its south. I have not heard since then where this program stands.

            He said that about Sarmat ICBM. Regular ICBMs go short way between Russia and USA, over North Pole. That is the reason US defenses are in the north. Sarmat can go the other way around, over the South Pole, and enter USA from Mexico over completly unprotected border.

            Burevestnik, being a (nuclear-powered) cruise missile, does not have to go too far south, and can fly to Mexico over open ocean, and then just turn north towards Albuquerque.

            Burevestnik is still in the development phase. Sarmat has entered active use, and have names of US cities written on it, or at least in it.

          2. CA

            “Russia spent years building up its military capabilities. It was apparently somewhat stealthy in 2016, when Putin was having to make great apologies for falling short in social spending. It didn’t announce that it had or was very close to having (I forget which) hypersonic missiles. The rest of the world scoffed…”

            — Yves Smith


            The Avangard was reportedly flight tested between February 2015 and June 2016. ICBM launched from Dombarovsky Air Base, Orenburg Oblast, when it reached a speed of 11,200 kilometres per hour and successfully hit targets at the Kura Missile Test Range, Kamchatka Krai.

            In October 2016, another flight test was carried out using a R-36M2 heavy ICBM launched from Dombarovsky Air Base, successfully hitting a target at the Kura Missile Test Range. This was reportedly the first fully successful test of the glide vehicle.

            On 1 March 2018, Russian President Vladimir Putin in his presidential address to the Federal Assembly in Moscow announced that testing of the weapon is now complete and that it has entered serial production…

            1. CA


              December 13, 2001

              Tearing Up the ABM Treaty

              With his decision to junk the 1972 Antiballistic Missile Treaty, President Bush is rolling the diplomatic dice. If he is lucky, the Russians will live with the decision and relations with Moscow will continue to improve while Washington freely experiments with new missile defense systems. If he is not, Mr. Bush may alienate the Kremlin and give rise to a dangerous new arms race with Russia and possibly China as well…

          3. vidimi

            I disagree re China. Chinese leadership have seen for more than a decade that they would have to unite with Russia and that the US would be coming after them. If I saw this 20 years ago they certainly did too. The BRI was launched back in 2013 to strengthen ties.

            From wikipedia:

            On the eve of a 2013 state visit to Moscow by Chinese leader Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin remarked that the two nations were forging a special relationship.[4] China and Russia have enjoyed close relations militarily, economically, and politically, while supporting each other on various global issues.[5][6][7] Commentators have debated whether the bilateral strategic partnership constitutes an alliance.[8][9][10] Russia and China officially declared their relations “Not allies, but better than allies”.[11]

            1. Yves Smith

              John Mearsheimer disagrees with you. He has repeatedly depicted the inflection point as 2017, the Trump tariffs, when the US declared economic war on China. We also increased our Taiwan saber rattling under Biden and were affirmatively rude to the Chinese at the first summit we hosted, in Alaska, IIRC March 2021.

              Before then, China would have played as India does now, being friendly with both sides.

              Recall also that the 2013 friends-fest was before the Maidan coup.

              Absent the relationship getting closer due to the US virtually pushing China towards Russia, China had ample reason not to back Russia over supporting the Donbass separatists. Too close an analogy to the breakaway wannabe Taiwan. So this would have greatly complicated the “getting closer” initiative until the US behaved so aggressively towards China (and on such weak pretexts) that Russia even with its new warts was the only game in town.

              1. vidimi

                Even during the Obama era there was the much ballyhooed pivot to Asia, which saw China as the big threat to be contained. US politics were stupid and destructive long before 2017 and China would have been mad to ignore that. You are right, though, that if an invasion of Ukrainian territory took place in 2017 that China wouldn’t have done much. They’re not doing much now and they would have done less even then.
                China’s signaling of its special relationship with Russia is pretty old now, but maybe 2017 marked the point when they no longer pretended to please the US.

                1. Yves Smith

                  Even though the US is now making noise about largely fictive Chinese support for Russia’s military operation in Ukraine, the big big way China’s backing mattered was during the shock and awe sanctions. They didn’t give an inch to collective West demands, even though they also did not get in an argument about the bullying. They just ignored the effort to isolate Russia.

                  That not only helped Russia directly as it reoriented its economy to the East but very significantly, indirectly. It encouraged other countries also to ignore (as in defy) the illegal Collective West punishments.

        2. Ignacio

          I wouldn’t believe any claim coming from Ukrainian sources. The Kyev independent, possibly from some Telegram sources, claimed the system was destroyed while the Russian MoD only says that two drones were destroyed in Mordovia. Ukraine is trying to keep its value as a proxy so they try and try stunts like these. These also serve as trials to check how good is Russian AD and in this sense you are right. The tests go in both directions so the Russians can detect deficiencies and improve their AD systems . I guess some crazies in the US mob might be pushing for these stunts. Yet, the Donbass is not smokescreen but the real objective, first by the Ukrainians and now by Russia.

          1. GM

            Doesn’t matter if they took it out.

            The fact they tried, which is verified by Russian sources too, is what matters.

            The world has never been this close the brink. Ever.

            If the Kremlin had followed its own doctrine (and common nuclear strategy protocol), most of Europe would have ceases to exist by noon on Thursday. Today is Sunday.

            Russian doctrine states that strikes against such strategic system will be responded to with a first strike. And obvious the only reason anyone would take that radar out is to create a vulnerability to a first strike. Plus it is well known to everyone that such an act warrants a pre-emptive Russian first strike, so there is no overstating the risk that was taken by even trying this. Thus nobody in their right mind would even go there without having very serious intentions.

            1. CA

              There seems to be ample reason for your concern, which echoes that of Stephen Cohen. * Russia has been openly, increasingly threatened since the arbitrary cancelling in 2001 of the long-lasting ABM Treaty and the progressive moving of missiles by the US closer to Russia.

              There should have been continual diplomatic negotiation over the ABM matter since 2002.


              March 11, 2014

              A Russia Scholar’s Views

              1. Polar Socialist

                Taking the 29B6 Container radar out would require 50 – 60 cruise missiles – it consists of 144 antennas in a triangle with sides almost a mile long. And that’s just the receiver. It’s a bistatic radar, so the transmitter is located 300 km north, close to Nižni Novgorod.

                I also doubt it’s part of the Russia’s early warning system – that’s taken care by the nine Voronez radar stations – since it’s range doesn’t cover any nuclear armed country. On a good day with a great radar weather it might reach the border of France, or maybe observe the Iranian strike on Israel.

                Because it uses the ionosphere E-layer to bounce the radar waves to see beyond the horizon, it can’t see higher than 90-100 km, it would be really bad for tracking even the medium range ballistic missiles that reach 130 km on their trajectory.

                But it is quite good at keeping track on all the NATO spy planes and drones from the Barents Sea to the Black Sea.

                1. GM

                  >I also doubt it’s part of the Russia’s early warning system – that’s taken care by the nine Voronez radar stations


                  The Voronezh-M radars watch for ballistic missiles, which are easily visible because of how high they are (they’re actually in space).

                  This is an over-the-horizon radar, and the only means of detecting a mass low-flying cruise missile attack from Europe (because for three decades hundreds of billions were being spent on megayachts and real estate in Europe for Russian oligarchs (as if they could ever truly own it, as current events demonstrated in real time), not on building out the satellite constellation and other such critically important tasks (Russia doesn’t have enough AWACS planes for the same reason, and those NATO has been taking out too). There is no back up.

                  And no, it does not require 50-60 cruise missiles to make it inoperable, where are you getting that idea from?

                  1. hk

                    If there is a blatant NATO attack like that, I don’t think Washington DC will be habitable 30 minutes later….

              2. R.S.

                > and the progressive moving of missiles by the US closer to Russia.

                Well, if you read the latest interview by Lavrov, he recounts some details of his negotiations (I’m tempted to put the word in quotes) with Blinken before the SMO. Blinken told Lavrov that Ukraine would be in NATO, period, and there would be intermediate-range missiles there.

                In January 2022, I had talks with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Geneva. He said that there may be no commitments regarding the non-expansion of NATO, adding that they had withdrawn from the INF Treaty, because Russia had “violated” it earlier.

                I told Antony Blinken about our package of proposals. They [the Americans] are concerned about the developments surrounding Ukraine, even though they are the ones creating a crisis situation. He said NATO was out of question [can’t be discussed]. However, we should come to terms with regard to our proposal about medium-range missiles, meaning that they can now be deployed in Ukraine as well (since they are not banned any longer), and the United States will be willing to limit their number in Ukraine.

                My personal translation of the last part:
                But with regard to our proposal about intermediate-range missiles, we should agree that they may be deployed in Ukraine as well (as they are not banned anymore). The US, he said, will be willing to limit their number there.

            2. Kouros

              But Ukraine doesn’t have such a strategic strike capability and the drones definitely originated from Ukraine, so the doctrine doesn’t apply that much.

              Now, if the radar would have been taken off and US followed with a first decapitated, UNPROVOKED strike, 77 generations from now on, eartlings would curse the North American continent and people coming from there…

    2. ilsm

      As in Vietnam, one of the better sources of info on corruption are “advisors”.

      Better limit advisors to teaching grunts.

      Real graft might be safe if seen by contractors

  13. The Rev Kev

    “Blinken visiting China for ‘bilateral, regional and global issues’: official”

    I think that I am beginning to see the start of next year’s narrative. You just had Yellen in China telling them to stop selling anything that might be military to the Russians. And now here is Antony Blinken doing the same and who will ‘reiterate deep concerns regarding the PRC’s support for Russia’s defense industrial base.”

    “The concern there is that through Chinese support, Russia has largely reconstituted its defense industrial base, which has an impact not just on the battlefield in Ukraine, but poses a larger threat, we believe, to broader European security,” the State Department spokesman said. “So that’s deeply concerning to us. We’ll express those concerns to China, and we will express our intent to have China curtail that support.”

    I have said before that come next year the US will be gunning for China along with its allies slash vassals. It is also obvious that the Ukraine is finally starting to crack in spite of frantic efforts to keep it going until November. So what if next year’s narrative will be that the Collective West almost won in the Ukraine but then the Chinese went in and sold all sorts of military equipment to the Russians allowing them to win. It would follow then that the west would have to “punish” China for doing this which will justify sanctions, aggressive military postures and anything else that they can think of.

    1. Emma

      Humanity sucks. I identify as a bear who eats berries and salmon all summer and take my winters off to nap.

    2. Milton

      There really is an easy way to deal with this and that is to set a testosterone level that is permissable for participation in “female” athletics. Perhaps there may need to be some other testing levels where male-born have an advantage but the bottom line is to ensure the participants are on a somewhat equal footing; genitalia be damned.

      1. flora

        That sounds like it would work, but in fact it doesn’t. They’ve tried that. Males taking hormone suppressor drugs for 3 or 4 months can achieve in-the-moment low testosterone levels, but that does nothing to reduce the muscle mass, heart/lung oxygen capacity, bone strength, and size developed before starting drug treatments. (This is not an argument for preventing puberty in children for whatever reason.)

        1. flora

          Adding: there’s a reason male pro-bicyclists are tested for doping anabolic steroids closely related to testosterone, and disqualified if the tests are positive. The drugs give an unfair advantage.

          In this case, males taking testosterone suppressors to compete against females could be called reverse doping – drugs taken to mask having the same natural male advantage in competition against females in sports involving speed, strength, and endurance.

          1. flora

            adding and much aside: males taking anabolic steroids to increase sport performance has very bad longterm health consequences. The most amazing, as in total slack-jawed amazement, of one of the mountain climbing stages of the famed Tour de France was by a fellow who seemed to jump out of the saddle at the start and never seemed to sit in the saddle all the way up the mountain. I could hardly believe what I was seeing. I’ve never forgotten it. He won the polka-dot jersey (for mountain climbing) for that stage.

            He was later disqualified for that stage because doping. Even later it was discovered after X-rays that one of his hip/long leg bone joints was disintegrating. Doping is not good for the body. It also has known liver and kidney damages that might not show up for several years.

        2. Milton

          I thought I read that the ioc did just that when they determined some competitors ineligible. Oh well, as I’ve mentioned before, I’m just a geographer, what do I know?

      2. Emma

        But if they went through puberty as males, they are competing with male bodies. But trying to accommodate them on this basis is ridiculous in the first place because they arise from falsehoods.

        Trans men are not men and trans women are not women. The same way that the vast majority of Israeli Jews are not indigenous to the land of historic Palestine. Accommodating their feelings in opposition of reality is wrong even if nobody was harmed, because it’s just untrue. To abet their delusion is not helping anyone.

        We can accept that they’re human and chose a particular identity for themselves and make reasonable accommodations to give them security and dignity with their chosen identity, but they have no right to usurp other people’s identities, period.

        1. Lefty Godot

          Trans men are not men and trans women are not women.

          If you’re a “gender essentialist” for saying that, are you a “race essentialist” for saying that a white person claiming to “identify as” Black or Native American (in part or in whole) is not what they’re claiming, and is worthy of scorn and possible other punitive measures (like losing a scholarship if a student or losing your job if a professor or NGO executive)? If anything, “race” is more of a social construct than gender, but the unwritten woke code does not allow that kind of made up identity. The intellectual hypocrisy that permeates woke thinking is quite impressive.

        2. Yves Smith

          It’s not even “competing at puberty as males”. Men have a sports advantage before then.

          Men have more muscle mass and lower fat levels than women. Men have less laxity in their joints, so they can take higher stress levels at lower risk of injury. Men have more upper body strength. They get more testosterone IN UTEREO!’

          There are several times in boys’ lives in which bursts of testosterone play a key role in their development as males. The most well known is of course puberty, in which the testes start making much more testosterone. This makes boys hairier, grows their genitals and makes their voices break.

          The other times are the “mini-puberty” that takes place at around three months after birth, which leads certain changes in the testes and brain; and when a boy is still a fetus in the womb, around three months into his mother’s pregnancy.

      3. B Flat

        The knock on transwomen in sport is that they are nevertheless men, regardless of HRT tinkering.

        1. chris

          Yeah, that’s true. It’s not like hormone therapy can change the length of your arm. Or the size of your heart. Or hands. Of lungs. We live in a bizarre time where people scream that they can’t change reality and our media applauds more the louder they scream.

    3. Bsn

      I feel the only way to truly apply pressure when pressure is needed is via a strike. Protests and letters to congress are a waste. Those women (remember when there were actual women?) should have suited up, gone to the starting line and when the gun went off, sat down. Remember Tommie Smith and John Carlos? Imagine something like that at the Paris Olympics. Oh, the loss of viewership!

      1. flora

        I agree with you. It’s hard to ask young athletes to risk losing a college sports scholarship if they refused to compete, however. It’s a real dilemma for the young women.
        Thank goodness the NAIA, the smaller colleges association, has come to its senses.

    4. Jabura Basaidai

      so where are all the trans men that are crushing it over cis men in men’s sports…….do i hear crickets?

    1. Feral Finster

      Of course it’s smart to cheat.

      Some years ago, I saw some yuppie parenting article explaining that it’s not bad for children to lie, in fact being able to lie and spin convincingly is an important skill for business success.

      The article wasn’t wrong.

      1. Reply

        That early tuition in lying takes many forms. One is deflection. Learn to shift the blame, deny, obfuscate so little Schnookums can stay on track for success.

        In second grade comes the harder curriculum like Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt. There are plenty of motherfudders around to reinforce those lessons.

        I wish I were kidding, as I saw and heard plenty in classes and during extracurricular activities. :(

      2. vao

        Different stages of learning via socialization:

        1) Child: it is bad to cheat and lie.

        2) Teenager: it is bad to get caught, but cheating and lying are ok.

        3) Adult: getting caught cheating or lying as a member of the upper crust is ok, otherwise it is bad.

        4) Mature person: as a member of the upper crust, getting caught cheating or lying to other members of the upper crust is bad; otherwise, see (3).

  14. Mike

    RE: Columbia/Barnard suspensions and arrests

    Alas, it is time to rename this nexus of ideological bias. I suggest ZUA- Zionist University of America.

    Of course, there are other institutions of higher learning vying for this prized attribution…

    1. Lena

      For the last two decades or so, my former classmates and I have watched buildings, benches, gardens and walkways of our alma mater being ‘supported by’ and then renamed after various multimillionaire Zionist families, many of whom have no academic affiliation with the university whatsoever. It became a joke until it wasn’t, and the crackdowns on student protests against Israel’s genocide in Gaza began and pro-Palestinian voices were silenced. And no, I did not go to Columbia/Barnard. The Zionist reach into US higher education extends far beyond the elite private universities. It is chilling.

      1. ambrit

        Alas, their lack of self-reflection is fueling the rise, yet again, of the very anti-semitism they claim to oppose.
        A lesson in the phenomenon of unintended consequences.

        1. Lena

          I am not aware of any rise in antisemitism on the campus of my alma mater. But the university itself is engaging in anti-Palestinian acts: cancelling all the classes of a tenured Palestinian professor for the next year because he organized a peaceful discussion about the genocide in Gaza, cancelling long-planned lectures and other events by distinguished Palestinians (including alumni) and preventing peaceful student protests.

          1. ambrit

            Musing here, but from my abortive experiences “on campus” far back in the 1970s, I noticed even then the disconnect between the elite class of college goers and the “ordinary” toiling masses. The anti-semitism I alluded to above would be at a ‘deeper’ and more ‘visceral’ level of society.
            Living as we do in a Deep South college town, the phenomenon of “Town and Gown” is stark, when one is prompted to look for it. The values of the PMCs inhabiting and pervading the ‘Gown’ realms are quite different from the values in the rest of society.
            Look for signs of resurgent anti-semitism off campus, on “the street.”
            Stay safe. Be vigilent.

  15. CA

    A sense of what investment means for China, comes anew from the domestic production of carbon-14:

    April 21, 2024

    China achieves comprehensive domestic production of carbon-14 supply

    China has achieved the mass production of carbon-14 isotopes via its commercial reactor for the first time, announced the China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) on Saturday.

    According to the CNNC, the project was carried out in China’s very first nuclear power plant, Qinshan, and the production capacity is expected to fully meet domestic demand, as some 150 curies of carbon-14 were produced, much higher than the annual import of around 100 curies.

    The Qinshan Nuclear Power Plant, located in Jiaxing City, east China’s Zhejiang Province, launched the project in 2022 by producing carbon-14 in a heavy water reactor of commercial nuclear power units, in an attempt to ensure the domestic supply of radioactive isotopes.

    Carbon-14 is widely applied as a marker in agriculture, chemistry, medicine, biology and other fields for being radioactive and detectable. In the past, China’s carbon-14 supply largely relied on imports, which were both costly and uncertain, and as a result, the development of its downstream industries was also severely constrained….

  16. Benny Profane

    One wonders how Johnson was bought. Did they find the kiddie porn they planted on his cloud account? (looking at you, Mr. Schmidt) Maybe that Churchill comparison cured his ED problem, and he recycled that dumb Axis of Evil speech, of all things. Or just plain old money. The man does have great power over trillions of spending. Whoops, did that fall off the table? Sweep it up!

    I think of this every now and then when matters in DC come up.

      1. pjay

        Like a lot of us I’ve been making cracks about threats or blackmail to explain Johnson’s abrupt 180 on Ukraine funding. But you might have something here. Johnson is a “true believer” in the End Times Prophecy sense, as some of his statements in the Korybko piece make clear. The more I think about it, I can see the psyops experts in Johnson’s “intelligence” briefing last week sitting him down in a quiet room, closing the door, and then going full Ned Beatty on him. Except instead of a sermon on the Righteousness of Global Capitalism as in Network, the theme is the Righteousness of our Crusade against the Axis of Evil which is necessary to bring on the Second Coming (Johnson headed a meeting of evangelicals that hosted one of the Red Heifer Rabbis from Israel not long ago). Johnson stumbles out of the meeting transformed. He has seen the light (he said almost exactly that). Johnson is Howard Beale!

        Just a theory, but…

        1. Polar Socialist

          TASS is quoting sources in Brussels claiming that it was all about forcing Ukraine to push trough the “to the last Ukrainian” mobilization.

          I guess something along the lines that PMC AFU had to show to investors they have the resources to provide the services before being paid.

          1. ChrisFromGA

            That’s the theory I happen to like. The money is blood payment for another 300k dead Ukrainians. All just to buy time, and maybe defer the videos of Ukrainians hanging on to the wheels of C-130’s leaving Kiev until December or January.

              1. ambrit

                The ones that fly the Kiev Government and their henchbeings out of the cauldron and to safety in “The West.”
                The C-130s you mention will be unmarked and probably contracted from ‘Air America LLC.’ (Plausible deniability means never having to say you’re sorry.)

                1. hk

                  Those C130s won’t be leaving, or going anywhere, unless they have a red star (with blue and white trims) on their wings. Yhis will be no Saigon or Kabul.

            1. Joker

              Nah. Hanging on to the wheels of C-130’s is Kabul thing, just like hanging off the helicopter is a part of Saigon folklore. In Kiev they will be hanging off a train (with diesel powered locomotive, because there will be no electricity).

    1. Glen

      It’s possible what we’re watching is more about the upcoming Presidential election, and who will get “blamed” for the loss of Ukraine.

      House Speaker Johnson Visits Former President Trump at Mar-a-Lago

      No doubt if Ukraine falls before the Presidential election (and it’s increasingly looking like it might) then it will become a big part of the campaign. As for walking away from the border, well, all the oligarchs/billionaires need cheap labor:

      How immigrants are helping boost the U.S. job market without affecting inflation

      The article quotes the approval of Goldman Sachs and the Brooking Institute. Here, let me re-write that title for you:

      How immigrants are helping boost the U.S. job market and suppressing wage inflation

      Now it makes more sense.

      1. ChrisFromGA

        I have a tinfoil theory that all these illegal immigrants were let in by big business to backfill the COVID dead. And the number of dead from COVID is at least an order of magnitude higher than officially reported (1.2M.)

        As far as wage inflation, I kind of doubt they make much of a difference. With no skills or ability to speak English the best they can do is work underground economy jobs like nannies and landscapers. There may be some construction wage suppression, as many of those jobs never use E-verify and pay cash under the table.

        The big union contracts and knowledge work salaries are unaffected by cheap, unskilled labor. Those wages are going up, up, up! (at least until AI kills those jobs.)

        1. Glen

          It has been reported that Tyson Foods and similar food processing mega corporations were in NYC and Chicago recruiting recent immigrants. This is because the work is brutal (high worker turn over), and workers were getting infected:

          Update: COVID-19 Among Workers in Meat and Poultry Processing Facilities ― United States, April–May 2020

          Have wages for those workers gone up at all?

        2. Amfortas the Hippie

          my mom has been hiring the occasional illegal alien for yard work and whatnot forever.
          here, and especially back home north of houston.
          we’ve had academics, doctors, lawyers, engineers…all fully educated and certified in mexico…but those sheepskins were worthless, here/
          i remember one guy when i was in high school…i worked with him for a week…he had a phd in economics frp, some big uni in mexico city…taught there for years.
          then whatever usa engineered levelling that came before nafta…and he could no longer make it…and had to come mow in texas.

          i know lots of (legal) immigrants around here…and a lot of them have degrees in various things that are not rockwork.

  17. The Rev Kev

    ‘Rachel Metz
    i asked SARAH, the World Health Organization’s new AI chatbot, for medical help near me, and it provided an entirely fabricated list of clinics/hospitals in SF. fake addresses, fake phone numbers.’

    The WHO. Still dishing out fake news and fake recommendations – only now they have digitized it. Did nobody think to test run it first? What if somebody uses it’s recommendations and dies. What if a sick person drove to the address of a recommended local clinic only to find something like a McDonalds there? Sorry but this is actually criminal negligence if they have deployed it. You would do better asking for such locations from a taxi or uber driver.

    1. hk

      The trouble with much (or most) of AI (starting with search engines, I guess) is that the people who program them are lazy, ignorant, and, likely both. They certainly don’t know the substance. They often don’t even know how exactly their product looks for the “answers.” They only know how to feed the algorithm what “looks like answers” to them and should we be surprised that AI f”fetches” answers that only “look like” answers as seen by people who don’t know better? But are we being served by the humans nowadays? We have a bunch of posers who give out pretend-answers that sound impressive but are worse than useless because these guys and gals are ignorant (and don’t even know what they don’t know.)

      I think the problems with AI are more than just a technological problem. Very few people know the “real answers” (even when there are clear real answers) so people BS through them–and this BS approach is in fact rewarded. And this BS approach is basically programmed into the AI by these BS people.

      PS. I don’t want to invoke Dunning Krueger, which I think is a silly way to characterize the problem. I tend to think of it as a million Frenchmen problem–I forget what it was, but there was some ad for a food product that said, IIRC, “a million Frenchmen” can’t be wrong or something, and what AI does is, in a sense, coning up with whatever that would pass by those million Frenchmen, by surveying those million Frenchmen and piecing together their answers. Well, not only can those million Frenchmen be wrong, piecing together their answers is liable to produce nonsense. (Related to another problem that I’ve had with public opinion polling: the myth of the moderate. There is no such thing as a “moderate”:. Everyone who gets counted as a moderate in fact holds a host of “extreme views,” except they don’t match up with stereotypically “liberal,” ” conservative,” or whatever other archetype there is.)

  18. griffen

    Something I just watched this morning on the CBS news weekly Sunday broadcast, one to file under the Bezzle and / or lack of corporate function to combat known symptoms to users of their dating site offerings.. The lead of this headline article and video is both depressing and foreboding, I’d suggest to realize just how vulnerable one can become ( quite unfortunately ).

    Online dating is like, or can easily become a cesspool, I cynically suppose but just my opinion.

  19. Craig H.

    From the little guys, naturally. Of course, at NC we write stuff that’s not so easy to steal….

    They will steal it alright but the AI Safety controls will not permit use of the good stuff. See the post yesterday on free speech and controversial output!

      1. Lefty Godot

        Yet Walter Jones turned out to be one of the good guys, and came out strongly against the Iraq war once he realized Bush had lied us into it. A lot of others took much longer to break away from the herd that Bush and Cheney had stampeded into a war resulting from their negligence prior to 9/11.

      2. griffen

        Unless I am mistaken, and if so please beg my pardon. I don’t much care for the tone of condescension. Eastern NC is my native home, and generational forebears are six feet under …so think a little while on what you are calling Flyover, if you please would. This rep’s district is nearer to where I am living now however, western NC is a great outdoor activities spot in spring, summer and fall.

        A late uncle had a different description of the region however….Tobacco-ladesh or some similar plant derived location. Peanut fields, cotton fields as the tobacco trade diminished…the era of Reagan was not a prosperous decade in my recollection as a young kid and teenager.

        1. Maxwell Johnston

          Fair enough and I apologize for my tone of condescension. Actually I have many nice summer memories from the OBX. But “Marxist Socialist Dictator”? Wow.

    1. begob

      Russia seems to have retained many lessons and practices from Soviet times, not least state control of arms and energy production; the flip side being the goal of de-Sovietizing Ukraine. Yet the consensus seems to be that Putin and his central bankers are neo-lib. Stats seem to show 90+% of Russian families own their own homes, but I have no idea about debt levels. Is it a hybrid state, a mixed economy, something old, something new, something … do-do-de-do?

    2. Kouros

      Imagine then what you can hear at the level of states’ legislatures, governments, and news channels….

      Scott Ritter is the exception…

  20. antidlc
    Why are we so ill? The working-age health crisis
    There is, it seems, an epidemic of illness among the working-age population.

    This week the Office for National Statistics once again warned about the number of people being driven out of the jobs market because of ill-health.

    And on Friday the government in England said it wanted to change the way they are supported alongside a crackdown on what it calls the “sick note” culture.

    But it is not just those who are out of work who are affected. Research by the Health Foundation shows there are as many people aged 16 to 64 in work whose health limits what they can do as they are out of work because of ill-health.

    1. vao

      Why are we so ill? The working-age health crisis
      There is, it seems, an epidemic of illness among the working-age population.

      As Lambert would say: ’tis a mystery!

  21. Sub-Boreal

    In addition to the cited New Yorker piece on the bunfight over recognition of the Anthropocene epoch in the geological time scale, this article in The Narwhal is also worth reading. I’d commented there about one interesting alignment among opponents of the Anthropocene proposal – how the “ecomodernists” (i.e. technocracy fanboys) made common cause with archaeologists to downplay the significance of how radically humans transformed the Earth in the mid-20th Century, aka “the Great Acceleration”.

    Regardless of what the arbiters of stratigraphy decide, “Anthropocene” has escaped into the wild and has taken on a life of its own.

  22. Tom Stone

    The actions of Harvard and Columbia are wonderfully clarifying, the “Ethnic Cleansing” (Slaughter) of one Semitic people (Palestinians) by another is Anti Semitic.
    Because reasons.

    1. Emma

      I recently had a conversation with someone who grew up in rural-ish Ontario. He described the entire white male population spending their weekends getting drunk and then go looking for fights. And there is apparently a constellation of passive aggression and aggressive aggression behind an Ontarian calling somebody “bud” or “buddy”.

      1. digi_owl

        Reminds of the different connotation of that N word. Used among friends and it is just a fun ribbing. But if an outsider use it, it is war.

        So much of human interaction relies on unstated and unlisted power hierarchies. And if one’s mind is blind to these, it can get really messy…

      2. danpaco

        The searching for fights comes from our english colonial roots, the not so high brow class. Resurrected through hockey and beer consumption.
        If you can find the the show Letterkenny, it perfectly represents this along with the unique Ontario dialect.

        1. Amfortas the Hippie

          goes a lot further back than that, i’d say…i’m a bird rancher.
          chickens, geese, guinneas, turkeys…even sheep…all do this.
          mostly the males, for fun…the female scraps tend to be over practical matters.
          this why the 8 castrated male sheep are separated from the mommas and babies…so they can be boys, as it were.
          even without balls, they often come in of an evening with blood on their heads.

          1. Kouros

            Joe Bageant – Dear Hunting with Jesus – Dispatches from America’s Class War is full of that going to the scottish/irish acestors from his part of America

            White Trash – 400 years of…. also describe the phenomenon.

        2. Robert Gray

          > If you can find the the show Letterkenny, it perfectly represents this …

          I like Letterkenny and having spent a lot of time in and around Sudbury (where it’s made) I enjoy their glorification of the northern Ontario dialect. :-) However, to be honest, the writing for that show is all over the place. Some segments are brilliant while others are so bad that it makes you feel embarrassed for them. For a focus on the hockey element specifically, check out the spin-off Shoresy.

    2. Benny Profane

      This is far from unique in Ontario. Even in my upper class CT. town, it’s an issue, although it’s height was during Covid, and has gotten better.

    3. Screwball

      The article says the writer has 20 years of experience. That would have him starting in 2004. Good thing he didn’t live in the muscle car era of the 60s and 70s – he would be one unhappy camper.

      To quote the theme song from “All in the Family” – those were the days.

      There was nothing like the sound of a muscle car and it came that way right from the factory. A handy guy could even fix their own car back then.

    4. griffen

      Fast and Furious coming to a local highway or roadway near you? Not that surprising…and with an urgent push or shove towards an “all EV, all the time” distant future it’s not difficult to project drivers using their one vehicle as a personal statement.

      I could live peacefully without the modified mufflers…which has become more a thing near where I am, South Carolina, a spring time version of chirping birds in the morning. Some sound reasonably good on a Mustang, others sound ridiculous and possibly cheap.

      1. wilroncanada

        A couple of comments on loud cars, media turned up to 11, Ontario rural drunken brawling, and muscle cars.
        I haven’t lived in Ontario for almost 60 years, but it seems many of the changes in young male behaviour is partly attributed to the politicians in power. Too many young men, and far too many politicians in Ontario, believe in the power of power. It is not tradeable, it is imposed on anyone considered weaker or more reasonable. I recall the muscle cars, the loud radios in vehicles or boomboxes on the beaches, the sneering disdain for others, including threats toward anyone exhibiting disapproval. In Atlantic Canada, the term bud or buddy, rather than being an invitation to fight, is a reference to anyone whose name one forgets. There is even a Newfoundland comic folk group called “Buddy What’is Name and the Udder Fellers.”
        Now peacefully ensconced on the west coast, the loudest noise is usually from, frequently, middle-aged bikers on their Harleys. Now that spring is here, I also spot quite a few middle-to-elder age men driving their sports convertibles with the tops down, trying to attract young women their daughter’s or granddaughter’s ages. They’re loud in a different way, like peacocks.

  23. Jonathan King

    I never thought of “Pressed Rat and Warthog” as having a melody as such. It’s more of a recitation, I’d submit, Ginger Baker not having fully mastered the nuances of rock vocalizing. Bold stroke to use it as the basis of a parody, and well done at that!

  24. Carolinian

    Are smartphones ruining us?

    The creation of political social media influencers started around this time, and while they haven’t all been grifters, many have an open relationship with the truth. A business model that only works if people rage-post demands that viewers spend their day in a constant state of disbelief that everyone is corrupt and nothing is working as it once was. Some of that sentiment is true, but a lot isn’t.

    The conditions also create a demand for political purity. Had the Salem witch trials occurred in the era of anonymous social media posts, there would have been so many women burned that the state of Massachusetts would have entered a demographic winter.

    On my walks half the people I see walking their dogs are staring at their phones, if not seemingly talking to themselves via tiny bluetooth earpiece/microphones. The greats–Einstein, Beethoven–thought walks were for thinking, not siloing.

    The above may be exaggerated but not entirely. And the non walkers have cable TV for more electronic griping. Maybe Americans are just lonely and need more company.

    1. Sub-Boreal

      Now that spring has arrived here in the sub-boreal of central British Columbia, I’m enjoying the seasonal switch from walking to biking for my daily constitutional. My usual route takes me through a major urban park in this town, where I weave among the growing numbers of fellow walkers & cyclists on the main path.

      But despite the lovely weather and the satisfaction of exercise, I often come away with such a feeling of sadness when I watch the many young couples walking together with their eyes totally fixed on their phones, oblivious to their surroundings … and perhaps each other?

      1. Lena

        Maybe they’re checking the newest online dating profiles in case things get boring or just don’t work out. It’s springtime for modern lovers…

      1. ambrit

        Has anyone yet asked the Smartphone Chattbeings what their goals in ‘life’ are?
        After all, ‘ruining’ someone implies an agenda.
        Code is Lawless.

    2. Terry Flynn

      I’m hoping this new channel I found a few days ago goes big but some of the humour straddles the line with tragedy so may remain niche but its loneliness take on social dating apps hits home:

      Bit of language but short video.

  25. playon

    The small Oregon town in the battle over the rights of homeless people is Grants Pass, which was once (and maybe still is) well known for being a magnet for preppers and off-grid types. The population in general is mighty white, although these days there are some Latinos/Hispanics. When it comes to Oregon people think of Eugene and Portland, but the rural parts of the state can be extremely conservative and I’ve heard first-hand stories of black people being harassed in Grants Pass, Newport Beach and other places. Having been to the place a couple of times I’m not at all surprised at the city’s attitudes towards homeless people, but it’s surprising to me that it has reached the SCOTUS.

  26. ChrisFromGA


    Sung by Marjorie and the Freedom Caucus, to the tune of “Vacation” by the Go-Gos

    Can’t seem to get my mind off of you
    After you caved there’s nothin’ to do
    Now that I’m away, my motion I wish I hadn’t stayed
    Tomorrow’s a day of mine that you won’t be in

    When Kev got canned, you never should have run
    But I thought it was just for fun
    I see I was wrong, and it’s time to bang the gong
    I should have known all along that time would tell

    A week without you
    We’ll soon forget
    Two weeks without you and I
    Still don’t give a damn yet

    Vacation, all I ever wanted
    Vacation, time’s up, go away
    Vacation, meant to be spent all alone
    Vacation, all I ever wanted
    Vacation, time’s up, go away
    Vacation, meant to be spent all alone

    A week without you
    We’ll soon forget
    Two weeks without you and I
    Still don’t give a crap about you yet

    Vacation, all I ever wanted
    Vacation, time’s up; go away
    Vacation, meant to be spent all alone
    Vacation, all I ever wanted
    Vacation, time’s up; go away
    Vacation, meant to be spent all alone
    Vacation, all I ever wanted
    Vacation, time’s up; go away
    Vacation, meant to be spent all alone

  27. steppenwolf fetchit

    . . . . ” As a member of the HIV positive community and advocate for those living with a chronic SARS-Cov-2 infection, it is absolutely remarkable just how well prepared we were to respond to the pandemic. It appears the desire wasn’t there. ”

    Well, actually, the desire to respond to the pandemic WAS there. The desired response was to spread Covid to every possible person, as fast as possible, over and over and over again, deliberately, on purpose and with malice aforethought. When we admit to ourselves that the government’s and the elites’ desired response was to spread Covid on purpose, then we can admit that the desire to respond WAS there. And the response we got was the response the rulers and masters desired.

    Why do you think the WHO and the CDC lied as long as they could about the airborne nature of Covid?

  28. juno mas

    RE: Pentagon military advisers to Ukraine

    According to the article they may be housed at the embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine. Hmm, US support for all things Israel makes that a stupid move. Soon enough the embassy will be getting a call from Mr. Kinzhal.

    1. steppenwolf fetchit

      Maybe not. If part of the IranGov’s motivation was to establish that ” we do not ever Ever EVER attack embassy property and/or facilities” and if the RussiaGov wishes to maintain effective support for that basic concept, then the RussiaGov will introduce Mr. Kinzhal to all the relevant people when they are discovered to be off the embassy grounds.

      Wee shell sea.

  29. steppenwolf fetchit

    . . . ” From the little guys, naturally. Of course, at NC we write stuff that’s not so easy to steal….” . . .

    Of course part of what the AI word-thieves might want to steal for training would be the millions of words written over the course of thousands of comments. What might the commentariat be able to do to corrupt, poison and pollute the well of words from which the AI word-thieves draw?

    One way, which would be difficult and would require 1-3 years of slow steady practice and learning by commenters, would be to begin writing comments in Anguish Languish. Here is the wiki about Anguish Languish.

    Here is a story written in Anguish Languish which can be understood if read and sounded-out real fast with slightly blurred interior vision . . . the story of Ladle Rat Rotten Hut.

    This would be hard to learn to write and to read, but if a few hundred commenters cud rite end reed
    Calm Ents en Anguish Languish, debt wood caw ripped teh Dada-Will form wish duh Eh-Eye theevz caw pee end steel.

    1. vao

      I gather that a significant subset of NC commenters are not native English speakers, so Anguish Languish is out.

      On the other hand, perhaps inserting a few parasit words or sentences here and there might throw those language learning machines out of balance — if the approach is carried out at scale and sufficiently long.

      Thinking aloud: perhaps if commenters started regularly and frequently using a weird and anomalously exotic expression / figure of speech, kept very specific to the NC forum, we could detect whether this site has been gobbled up for training when that expression starts re-appearing in the output of ChatGPT and co?

      1. steppenwolf fetchit

        Perhaps native English speakers could write eachother in Anguish Languish over less or least important topics so that non-native English speakers are not excluded from important discussions.

        Or perhaps when a native English speaker thinks it is time for a little Anguish Languish in order to pollute the AI datapools, that English speaker could begin his/her comment with the three words:
        Anguish Languish Incoming! And then write something in Anguish Languish to which others can respond in Anguish Languish. The purpose is shedding in teh AI’s pinch pole. After a few Anguished Languisheers felt the AI pinch pole had been shed-in enough for a while, day wood go write buck due riding English.

        Or maybe keep writing in strictly English but use grammar and words and stuff not so bad that the non-native speaker would get confused, but bad enough that the AI would get polluted.

        Just a thought . . .

        1. flora

          and adding: whenst I was a young one singing in my small church choir, I sang next to old Mrs. X, a wonderful old lady who provided amazing delicious homemade rolls for the church’s sunrise services at Easter time, who’d once had a good voice but could no longer carry the tune, as they say. Yet even so, no one would ever, ever, and I mean ever think to ask Mrs. X to retire from the choir. Their were more things more important back then to perfection of tone. Something I suppose about the importance of community or something. An old lady losing her ear and pitch after singing for decades in the choir? Um, yeah, we ain’t gonna throw her out. You youngsters need to compensate. What a great old small church that was.

          1. flora

            And adding: I thank you for reminding me of Mrs. X.

            Thinking of her again now I remember she was a kind and wonderful woman.

  30. steppenwolf fetchit

    Several hundred thousand words ago, I saw a link on ( I think) Naked Capitalism to a long article about Adderall, the creation of the Internet as we know it, and Adderall addiction and Internet addiction stepping eachother up and re-inforcing eachother.\

    If that link did indeed exist at Naked Capitalism several hundred thousand words ago, does anyone happen to remember what it was and could it be easily re-offered here? I read part of the article and wanted to come back to it but can’t find it now.

    thanks, if possible . . .

    1. Amfortas the Hippie

      that tab is still up at the Bar laptop…but im pretty sure it was at in their thing called “Broadcast”.
      it was really good.
      turns out i knew nothing about adderal.
      (after my time)

    2. ChrisFromGA

      Try a google search:

      “ Adderall”

      (Gives back 1480 results; not an unreasonable starting point.)

      From there, do sub-searches or time box it if you can pinpoint the date range.

      1. ambrit

        ” I’ve heard people say they can barely function without it.”
        That’s the basic definition of an addiction. A socially approved addiction at that.
        It reminds me of a small joke in an old Loony Tunes cartoon where a character visits a doctor’s office. The medico in question was Dr. Milt Towne, a sly reference to miltowns, the brand name for meprobamate, a tranquilizer ‘popular’ in the Fifties and Sixties.
        This problem is as old as Terran humans have lived on the earth.

      2. R.S.

        No wonder. AFAIR Adderall is a mix of amphetamines, racemic and dexie. Speed, but kinda legal.

  31. Jason Boxman

    It’s crazy to see how seriously the Pandemic was taken in 2020-21 when filming Walking Dead. All N95s, face shields for actors between scenes. Image if Biden didn’t suck we could’ve had a real response, not eugenics. Better than hospital infection control. What murderous thugs. The thugs having people say goodbye on iPads to dying family in other rooms. Now everyone can get it, hospitals don’t care. Lol

    1. steppenwolf fetchit

      Yes and by now it is fair to say that the Bidenoids worked to entrench and permanentize Covid on the “culture left” just as hard as the Trumpanons worked to entrench and permanentize Covid on the ” culture right”.

      So the Bidenoids can not say they were just trying to make the best of a Trump situation. Well, they can say it, but the covid-cautious germ-science-aware will not believe them anymore.

  32. chris

    Applebaum’s latest collection of screeches is up for people to read on the Atlantic. You’ll be surprised to see that now since the money is flowing everything will change. Which is interesting given that unless there’s an awful lot that’s been hidden from people, there is nothing to buy. We can put that money toward requisitions. We can schedule payment for future deliveries. But the stores are bare. We have very little armor, artillery, and missiles to give Ukraine. And Ukraine has few people to use them. So what’s the point of the money Anne? Despite lining the pockets of fascists who your husband approves of?

    Also interesting is the picture of the soldier at the top of that article. Is that a tattoo of a stylized Naughtzi black sun on his hand??? Oh well, I’m sure that will be explained away as a fetish for history.

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