Links 4/3/2024

The Weirdest Eyes in The Animal Kingdom See a World We Can’t Even Imagine ScienceAlert (Chuck L)

Wait, does America suddenly have a record number of bees? Washington Post (Dr. Kevin)

#COVID-19

Climate/Environment

Global glut turns solar panels into garden fencing option Financial Times

Where Was Exxon Planning to Inject CO2 in Louisiana? It’s a Trade Secret. DeSmog

Orange Steam Funnels Are a New York Symbol. What Are They For? New York Times

China?

Taiwan earthquake: what is known and what happens next Asia Times

Taiwan Quake Puts World’s Most Advanced Chips at Risk MSN

Intel Discloses $7 Billion Operating Loss For Chip-Making Unit Reuters. In this section due to chip wars.

Cesium Wars: China and America Battle for the Future of Big Tech OilPrice

President Xi Jinping Speaks with U.S. President Joe Biden on the Phone Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China

Readout of President Joe Biden’s Call with President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China White House

European Disunion

At 75, Has NATO Outlived Its Use? American Conservative

Fall in German inflation boosts hopes of ECB rate cut Financial Times

Finland shooting: Child held after pupil aged 12 shot dead at school in Vantaa BBC

Old Blighty

Gaza

Israel’s intentional killing of 7 aid workers confirmed by Bellingcat watchdog report Anadolu Agency. When you’ve lost Bellingcat…..

Is­rael keeps deny­ing agency aid ac­cess as anger over Gaza killings grows Aljazeera

Israel’s Attack on Iranian Consulate Highlights Netanyahu’s Pending Defeat in Gaza Sputnik

Israel vows to ‘act anywhere’ following Syria, Lebanon strikes The Cradle

US foils Houthi drone attack in Red Sea Arab News

October 7 | Al Jazeera Investigations YouTube (furzy)

Israeli parliament passes law paving the way for Al Jazeera closure Aljazeera (furzy)

New Not-So-Cold War

Zelensky Signs Law Lowering Conscription Age to 25 Antiwar.com (Kevin W)

Just 8% of Ukrainians ready to take up arms against Russia – pollster RT

* * *

Poland and Belarus ramp up the war rhetoric Unherd

* * *

When Opining War Experts Can’t Read Maps Moon of Alabama (Kevin W)

With Genuine Respect For Laymen… Andrei Martyanov. In which Martyanov chews out Simplicius.

RUSSIAN OPINION POLL ON CROCUS ATTACK BACKFIRES AS KIEV PROPAGANDA John Helmer

Syraqistan

‘A Declaration of War’ Against Iran Consortium News

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

A stealth attack came close to compromising the world’s computers Economist (Dr. Kevin)

FCC To Vote To Restore Net Neutrality Rules Reuters

Imperial Collapse Watch

What makes a UN decision binding? Responsible Statecraft

Trump

From Safety First, hoisted from yesterday’s Water Cooler:

Re: Trump’s money/bond/etc.

If you read the spac’s pre-merger SEC filings, specifically the S-1 (or is it the S-4? one of the S’s), you’ll discover some fascinating things:

1. Trump and others weren’t “investors” in Truth Social – they owned an $875mm convertible bond in Truth Social. The spac paid out the convert holders to execute the merger.

2. Compensation for the convert holders was:

a) $875mm in cash.

b) 87.5 million shares of the merged company.

c) Between 10 million and 15 million of additional shares in the merged company if the stock trades above $12.50-$17.50 for 20 consecutive trading days, which it is highly likely to do.

3. Trump’s new stake in DJT is supposed to be 58%, presumably post-10-15 million share issuance, so you can work backwards to get something like a 70%-75% stake in Truth Social.

In other words, Trump didn’t just get shares – he got 70%-75% of an $875mm cash payout, which works out to somewhere north of $600mm. Now, maybe he had other obligations, e.g. he’d borrowed some money to buy the original convert. But the point is, even without the appeals court reducing the bond size, he shouldn’t have had a problem post-merger.

Of course, so far as I can ascertain, not a single, solitary journalist writing any of the “Trump’s bond” stories over the past few weeks has ever, ever bothered to read the S-1.

Trump Media sues its co-founders, accuses them of ‘severe mismanagement’ CNBC. Headline passed over key piece of the fight:

The lawsuit filed in Sarasota County, Florida, civil court seeks to bar Trump Media & Technology Group co-founders Wesley Moss and Andrew Litinsky from appointing members to the company’s board — or from owning any of its shares.

Moss and Litinsky claim that a 2021 agreement that Trump signed with a company they founded, United Atlantic Ventures, LLC, guarantees them an 8.6% share of Trump Media’s total stock, undiluted by the issuance of new shares.

Trump’s lawyers push for recusal of Judge Juan Merchan in hush money case ABC News (Kevin W)

Biden

White House Makes Last-ditch Push for Internet Subsidy Program Reuters

Biden Assails ‘Outrageous’ Florida Abortion Ruling as His Campaign Blames Trump New York Times (Kevin W)

“Not Evidence”: Federal Judge Denies Hunter Biden Motions to Dismiss Tax Charges in Stinging Rebuke Jonathan Turley. Story broke yesterday but this aspect not well covered.

2024

Tracking the 2024 U.S. Presidential Election: Biden leads Trump Morning Consult. Other polls of polls still show Trump ahead.

Wisconsin voters approve constitutional amendments on election funding, officials PBS Notice the “election funding” issue:

Private money to fund elections will be banned in Wisconsin after voters approved a constitutional amendment on April 2 put forward by Republicans in reaction to grants received in 2020 that were funded by donations from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

Team R calls this Zuckerbucks and thinks other measures like this would increase turnout. See current lead headlines from Citizen Free Press:

Trump tells crowd. We have to ban Zuckerbucks. And so it was done.

Tonight’s lesson is obvious. Republican turnout increases when anti-Zuckerbuck amendments are on the ballot. This will help November republican turnout in Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, North Carolina and Virginia. Use the same strategy democrats are using with IVF.

Our No Longer Free Press

Apple Got Caught Censoring Its Own Regulator Lina Khan Matt Stoller

Health Care

Louisiana Senate Passes Bill to End State Cooperation with UN and WHO Tenth Amendment

ACA health insurance plans are being switched without enrollees’ OK NPR (BC)

CalPERS Selects Stephen Gilmore as Chief Investment Officer CalPERS. For once, someone who looks qualified. But they had to relent and hire a white man.

AI

Turns out AI chatbots are way more persuasive than humans The Register

The Bezzle

Bitcoin Tumbles $5,000 In 24 Hours As Interest Rates Jump CNBC. This is affecting lots of other countries. Thai baht was not strong during high season and is now pretty weak.

Amazon to Remove ‘Just Walk Out’ Checkout Technology at U.S. Grocery Stores Wall Street Journal

Class Warfare

Housing ‘affordability has just totally collapsed,’ economist says CNBC (Kevin W)

70% of the land in Britain is still owned by 1% of the population, largely descended from William the Conqueror’s army ZMEScience (Dr. Kevin)

California Introduces ‘Right To Disconnect’ Bill That Would Allow Employees To Possibly Relax endagget

Antidote du jour. Janet T:

Steve said that you put a call out for more animal photos, and that I should send you one taken of our cats (who have now been with us for almost 4 years) when they were still small

We adopted them from our local shelter in mid-July of 2020. This was taken August 28 (2020) by our younger son who came to visit from Chicago and met them. In front, Moogie (named Smaug by the shelter – not really a fit for him, although we love Tolkien), was just over 3 months old, and Luna, just over 5 months, behind.

And a bonus:

And a second bonus:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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196 comments

  1. Antifa

    NOISY NIGHT IN GAZA
    (melody borrowed from Rainy Night In Georgia by Brook Benton)

    Every evening murder takes place
    Entire families erased
    Through their bombsights
    Blast waves send us sprawling
    Choking blind and crawling
    Lost in sheer fright

    A noisy night in Gaza
    Fire and flames in Gaza
    Is there no food, is there no food left in this world?
    We’re starving. Is there no food left in this world?

    This world they are smashing
    Buildings being crushed
    People killed from spite
    None of us can see the planes
    Dropping bombs to end our pain out of sight

    A noisy night in Gaza
    Fire and flames in Gaza
    Is there no food, is there no food left in this world?
    We’re starving. Is there no food left in this world?

    They murder us with thunder
    And say we are to blame
    The shattered lives we’re living leave us bones and skin
    We lose our lives in the dust calling Allah’s name

    Wherever in this world you are
    Gaze up at your stars
    And I’ll view mine
    We beg of you to disinvest
    Sanction them — stop this mess
    Why must we die?

    A noisy night in Gaza
    Fire and flames in Gaza
    Is there no food, is there no food left in this world?
    We’re starving. Is there no food left in this world?

    How can you let them do this to our people?
    All the screaming from the tents where we were
    These bombs are noisy, noisy, noisy, noisy, noisy,
    Noisy, noisy, noisy, noisy, pounding our world
    These bombs are noisy, noisy, noisy, noisy, noisy

    Reply
    1. mrsyk

      Tick tock goes the clock.The starvation of Gazans is (and likely has been from the beginning) the strategy.

      Reply
        1. Jabura Basaidai

          you made me think of Mark Edelman – the anti-Zionist leader of the Warsaw ghetto
          “To be a Jew means always being with the oppressed and never the oppressors.”
          Marek Edelman – A True Mensch
          While Israel dines out on the mythology of the ghetto uprising, it treated the only surviving leader of the Warsaw Uprising, who refused to leave Poland, as a pariah. Edelman understood that the lesson of the Holocaust and the ghetto uprising was not that Jews are morally superior or eternal victims.
          https://www.rebelnews.ie/2018/10/03/a-tribute-to-marek-edelman/

          Reply
          1. JEHR

            Yes, I especially enjoy the Why You Should Have a Cat posts. My son just got a black cat and he is having a hard time adjusting so I send these posts to buoy his spirits!

            Reply
        1. Pat

          Your subconscious may have realized we needed additional antidotes. Boosters in the best sense of the word.

          Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        Unless the officers don’t report their deaths but pocket their pay-packets for themselves. I have seen Russian drone footage of a Ukrainian truck dumping soldier’s bodies in the middle of the countryside in aid of this scam.

        Reply
  2. ambrit

    Amazing to see that les skunks de pew really do bounce along like the iconic Pepe Le Pew in the Warner Brothers cartoons.

    Reply
    1. Amfortas the Hippie

      over non-pavement…ie: fields…they sort of flow/undulate.
      and the little ones are cute.
      they are the most likely creature around here to be rabid, however(why, i dont know…since they mostly eat bugs and berries and such)…and one can easily tell a rabid skunk from a non-rabid skunk by a peculiar dance they tend to do when so infected….like they’re really drunk….as well as being out and about in full daylight…non=rabid skunks are rarely seen when its not one of the twilight times …unless theres been a lot of heavy rain, chasing them out of their holes.

      Reply
      1. mrsyk

        I patted a skunk once when I was a kid. It was on the back steps one night, I was going in and thought it was one of our cats and patted it on the way by. My older brother bore witness, he confessed to hoping I was gonna get sprayed.

        Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          We were in NZ one time and was talking to the locals in regards to animals, and I mentioned we have skunks in the USA, and he asked what do they smell like?

          Everybody in their lair knows what a skunk’s spray smells like, but how to describe it in word terms to somebody who has never seen one nor smelt it, I was a bit stumped.

          How would you describe it?

          Reply
          1. LifelongLib

            It’s been 50 years, but the one time I was near where a skunk sprayed it seemed like there was an element of garlic.

            Reply
          2. Grebo

            Kind of sweet actually, not pleasant but not as obnoxious as one would imagine. Its power comes from sheer pungency. You can smell a roadkill skunk from half a mile away.

            Reply
          3. Tom B.

            There’s a New Yorker cartoon showing two people chatting next to a fence – “Either someone’s smoking pot or it’s a skunk.” The viewpoint shows the other side of the fence with a skunk chilling out with a big smokin’ doobie.

            Findable with image search “New Yorker skunk cartoon”.

            Reply
          1. mrsyk

            Ours don’t even have attractive stripes. They’re just big black winged lumps banging on the screens all night. They have one upside. They are a top tier cat toy. Just bring one on inside and let her rip (as we like to say these days).

            Reply
            1. BikerBill

              June bugs are either Nature’s way of teaching teen-age motorcycle riders that eye (/face) protection really is a good idea or, failing that, of enrolling more candidates for the Darwin Award.

              Reply
      2. griffen

        Think I’d hire the local greenskeeper from Bushwood to handle the rabid skunk like he handles the gopher…from Caddyshack, Carl Spackler…

        Au Revoir, gopher..

        Reply
    2. Alice X

      A few years ago, I was sitting out on the patio late one night, and along came what appeared to be a rather large skunkster. S/he stood there looking at me for several long seconds. All I could think to say was: sweetie! My backyard, though not large, was wild and s/he probably felt right at home, along with the bunnies and the chipmunks, et al…

      Reply
    3. t

      When you come across one in deep grass, their their threat dance looks a bit like a looping snake. Striped skunks, anyway. Never seen a spotted skunk in the wild.

      Skunks are pretty common carriers of rabies, but you can check your US county records to see who is after bats where you live. It won’t be possums.

      Anyway, if you see a wild animal, film from a long distance while backing away. Those skunks have obviously been fed and are probably doomed to an early death because of it.

      Reply
    4. Nikkikat

      We are fairly new to Kentucky. We thought we were seeing skunks in back yard at night for a while . We stayed inside as I do
      Remember they smell bad from a run in as a kid. However, one night my husband said, there’s a skunk outside with double stripes. That’s when I realized that we had been seeing something with a white head, the rest was black and there were no stripes.
      We looked it up and it was something called a “stink Badger”.
      The double striped animal was a skunk. At any rate, we felt somewhat dumb. If we see anything from now on we will look it up.

      Reply
    5. Grateful Dude

      Had a skunk caught in the fence around our yard in NoCal Sierra foothills a couple of years back. So I got a pair of metal clippers and very carefully clipped around it (him/her) – I got bit by one way back. When it opened enough to get out, it stepped onto the lawn, turned around, and aimed its big butt-eye and sprayed at me. I jumped sidewise fast and the spray just grazed me. Close call. As a child now and then a dog would get sprayed, and had to stay outside until the aroma wore off.

      Cute as hell though.

      Reply
    6. JCC

      Speaking of Pepe Le Pew, I came home late one nght to see my cat laying at the top step of my front porch and a skunk laying near the bottom step, both just looking at each other calm as can be. I watched them for about five minutes until the skunk looked over at me then calmly got up and waddled away.

      All I could think of at the time was Warner Brothers and Pepe.

      Reply
  3. The Rev Kev

    “A stealth attack came close to compromising the world’s computers’

    Well the solution is obvious. The government should nationalize these open-source software packets run by all these hobbyists and then award them to corporations like Microsoft, Google, Apple who will maintain them instead. Of course they will probably have to charge a fee for each time that code is used which is only fair. But of course it may turn out that those code packet are not actually maintained by them but are subcontracted out – to the people that originally built them in the first place.

    As for “all modern digital infrastructure”, here is that image that they were talking about-

    https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/2347:_Dependency

    Reply
    1. CA

      https://twitter.com/RnaudBertrand/status/1775355580670247186

      Arnaud Bertrand @RnaudBertrand

      This is quite rare: China’s Ministry of State Security issues a scathing report on US and UK cyberattacks against China and around the world, calling their accusations of Chinese cyberattacks “playing the trick of a thief dressed in a judge’s robe”.

      Since you can be quite confident no media will report on this – “freedom of the press” dictates that they exclusively report accusations against China but never the rebuttal – I’m sharing the content of the report here so you don’t get only one side of the story

      ( original link: https://hkcd.com.hk/content_app/2024-04/02/content_8630451.html ):

      “For some time, the United States has been instigating the Five Eyes Alliance, the biggest intelligence organization in the world led by the US, to make up and spread disinformation of threats from ‘Chinese cyberintruders’. More recently, the US government has conspired with the UK to slander China by saying that they are under cyberattacks from groups of cyberintruders ‘affiliated to the Chinese government’ and conducted unilateral and unreasonable sanctions against China on that excuse. They are typically acting like a thief who, driven by a guilty conscience, poses as a judge to distort facts. What they are attempting at is the politicization of cybersecurity and infringement of the legal rights of China. We hereby express our strong protest and firm opposition to them. We urge relevant parties to stop immediately and will take necessary measures to defend our legitimate rights and interests.

      The US has been the biggest source of cyberattacks and biggest threat to the security of global cyberspace. As it is well known to all, it has long been committing large-scale espionage activities against nations worldwide and even against its allies, and illegally acquiring massive amounts of data of their politicians, enterprises and citizens, by the help of their advantages in information technology and the internet resources of the Five Eyes Alliance countries.

      Countless cases of cyberattacks and espionage activities exposed by the global media in recent years have shown that those attacks, mainly conducted by the US and the UK, are characterized by a clear division of labor, advanced technology and rigorous organization…

      April 2, 2024

      Reply
          1. ambrit

            Alas, I must disagree. Going back to antiquity, the concept of a catamite as a disreputable homosexual ‘partner’ is common. Not your everyday bugger mind you, but a truly untrustworthy one. When I worked in the New Orleans French Quarter, such examples of young male flesh for hire were referred to as ‘Nasty Chickens.’ The term doubled as a name for a young sneak thief.
            So, catamite is the perfect word to use in describing America’s maleficent minions.
            Also, the question at the end concerning what China proposes to do about it is, I believe, rhetorical. China will do what it sees as being in its own best interests.

            Reply
          2. CA

            The US and its ——— play dirty. Duh…

            [ Thinking this comment through again, the language is prejudiced and highly offensive. I am saddened at such an evident effort to be offensive. ]

            Reply
          3. Glenn Olson

            Calling Great Britain the US’s “poodle” is derogatory to poodles, though calling her the US’s “bitch” is probably more in vogue.

            While there are dictionary definitions for words, and some people would like everyone to strictly adhere to these, most people are fine with using metaphors, especially if they add emphasis to what is being said. In this case I see the use of “catamite” as similar to “whore”, as in someone who is being used and not in a polite way. However, if you must protest, then at least protest like a junk yard dog.

            Reply
    2. QuarterBack

      Exactly! I have been following the IT industry since before Microsoft and Apple were a thing. I have never seen a period of greater disruption.

      The tech monopolies are panicking over how powerful AI capabilities are revealing themselves to be, and the open source communities is regularly leap frogging the major players. It is very difficult to make big bets in software initiatives, because major AI breakthrough capabilities are being regularly shown up by new open source innovations. The Gold Rush is on, and the majors see an existential threat unless they can keep outsiders out of the game. In today’s state of the technology world, I don’t know how that could be successful, but they are certainly trying.

      I keep pointing people back to last year’s leaked Google email “There is no moat”. All the seeds of the conflict are there to see. If you ponder its conclusions, it is obvious that regulatory capture is their best hope for holding onto the monopoly powers that they have. Here is a link to the email:
      https://www.semianalysis.com/p/google-we-have-no-moat-and-neither

      Reply
    1. Emma

      Palestinians and Yemenese resist not because life is cheap to them, they resist because colonialist oppression is so terrible and freedom is so necessary for civilized life.

      And anyways, as we see in the West Bank and with the WCK killings, compliance and collaboration doesn’t buy you life. Might as well resist and die on your feet. And perhaps you will win and not become a museum display in an Israeli or German museum with a vaguely written placard in 50 years time.

      Reply
      1. vao

        George Orwell, “Looking back on the Spanish war”:

        I believe that it is better, even from the point of view of survival, to fight and be conquered than to surrender without fighting.

        Reply
        1. Daniil Adamov

          There is something to be said for that. (Not only might you win, as Cristobal says, but even in defeat you might also get your enemies to take you seriously enough to make some concessions.) I wonder how many people here would agree with applying this logic to Ukraine, however. Are the advantages they get from fighting instead of surrendering worth the costs?

          Reply
          1. Emma

            You fight when the cost of not fighting is unbearable.

            What are Ukrainians fighting for? So they could live in a country with no social safety nets? A country denuded of all its men? A country that sells its remaining land and industry to Western business interests? Whose government happily feed them to the frontline when 80 percent of the population wanted to make peace with Russia? A country with so much debt to the West that they will never be able to repay it.

            Or just so they can feel European and hate Russians?

            Reply
            1. Daniil Adamov

              I think for most, it is so they could be independent of Russia (and perhaps a part of the European Union, with the economic benefits they have come to expect). Whether we agree with those motives or not, I think they are at least understandable in people who believe Ukraine is its own nation that is better off independent. In this much, they are not obviously different from any other nationalist movement in history. The problem is that in the process, they have ended up becoming vastly more dependent on the West (except for the parts that were directly absorbed by Russia).

              I suppose the difference with the Palestinians is that Ukraine has had superior alternatives in the past. By now, though, I’m afraid that those have largely been exhausted.

              Reply
    2. Emma

      This is a pretty huge admission from mainstream Israel’s press about how badly the Gaza operation is going for them.

      ttps://twitter.com/AliAbunimah/status/1775477552808616101

      Reply
    3. Borovnica

      “Indiscriminate” implies a task done without careful planning, or random selection with no forethought at all. Israel is incredibly discriminate. That’s the problem; killing is not incidental to Israel’s application of force, it is its essence.

      WKC, and the humanities it represents, are in a double-bind: the three UK security contractors killed were protecting humanitarians, not from Israeli drones, but from being kidnapped by Gazans. In retrospect, it was ego-centrism that lead a celebrity to believe wandering into a battle-space would be welcomed.

      If indeed it wasn’t negligence, aid workers were not killed as a by-product of Israel’s territorial incursion but pursuant to Israel’s interests, as a shadow interpretation of contemporary post-structural theory and urban psychology, opposed to Hamas’s desire to turn aid warehouses into an unlimited logistical base. Israel’s image is already tarnished to a point of diminishing returns. (Not an endorsement) from an academic perspective, Israel changed the battlefield overnight with one atrocity. They are not messin’ around.

      Reply
      1. Emma

        I say indiscriminate in the sense that Israel kills when there’s no military justification or even strategic justification to kill. The individual actions are calculated to inflict maximum pain and trauma on the victims and everyone around them. They are activated under the Dahyia Doctrine to inflict panic and fear in the populace, but it’s just making sure that Israel has forfeited any right to continue as a state.

        WCK killings are not any kind of deviation from the targeting of journalists in their family homes, targeting of Refaat Alareer, the sad experience of Hind Rajab, or the killings of dozens of individuals trying to ensure safe food deliveries in northern Gaza.

        The only difference is that they were working due an organization that was closely collaborating with Israel and the US government to undermine UNRWA and local civil authorities. As the three Israeli POWs found out to their cost, Israel will not spare you, no matter who you are.

        Reply
        1. Emma

          Going a little further into WCK complicity with the Israeli government.

          https://twitter.com/EvaKBartlett/status/1775566675632628141

          And the largest food aid NGO behind UNRWA in Gaza has suspended operations.

          All the focus is on how “accidental” the 7 deaths were. Not even limp wristed slaps.
          Meanwhile hundreds of thousands of people are starving in northern Gaza, half of them children. And the situation in the south is likely to get much worse if pressure intensifies on Rafah.

          Reply
      2. IMOR

        Gee, then their decades of aid worker, peacekeeper, peace activist, Palestinian, Lebanese, Syrian municipal, provincial, and national official assassinations should have “changed the battlefield” into one where they could, you know, SUCCEED or perhaps even win quite a few years ago.
        Your comment is taken here as wonderfully deadpan irony, or possibly parody.

        Reply
  4. timbers

    ACA health insurance plans are being switched without enrollees’ OK NPR (BC)

    “He filed a complaint with the federal marketplace and canceled the plan (that a healthcare insurance broker singed him up for w/o his authorization or knowledge). But he still owed the IRS part of the $2,445 in premium tax credits paid to the insurer from March until July on his behalf.”

    But..but…but…didn’t Chief Supreme John “It’s totally not illegal to pink mist children and innocent Americans” Roberts say ACA is not a tax? So if it’s not a tax, what is the IRS doing taxing people because ACA? Sure, having the IRS involved in your own personal healthcare is completely good medical practice on that we can all agree, but still.

    Swell system we have here in America. You get taxed if someone else is paid with your very own tax dollars, so they can spend your money on their commissions, (and maybe too stock buybacks and CEO bonuses) NOT your healthcare.

    Reply
  5. The Rev Kev

    ‘‘A Declaration of War’ Against Iran”

    On the news tonight they had several stories on those aid workers murdered by the Israelis. But when it came time to talk about the Israeli attack on the Iranian Consulate in Syria, made it sound like it was just like an attack on a warehouse or an apartment building. No significance attached to the fact that it was a diplomatic mission at all. Our media in Oz is completely useless.

    Israel really wants to get Iran involved in a shooting war with them which would mean that the US would get involved as well on Israel’s side. Thousands of US service people could die in such a conflict and many more crippled but if it keeps Bibi out of a prison cell for a while longer, then it’s all good.

    Reply
    1. ChrisFromGA

      I suspect Iran will respond asymmetrically.

      It would be a shame of the Houthis got their hands on some new upgraded weapons, like naval drones sold on the black market out of Ukraine. /s

      Reply
        1. ChrisFromGA

          How many cargo ships are still avoiding the Red Sea by taking the long way ’round the horn of Africa?

          Thereby stoking cost-push inflation and foiling the Manila Folder’s plan to cut rates and save Slow-Joe’s reelection prospects.

          Reply
          1. mrsyk

            Apparently those shippers still believe their lying’ eyes. Gotta crank up the volume on the narrative machine.

            Reply
          2. Wukchumni

            Cargo Cult erects a replica of the Suez Canal around the Cape of Good Hope, in hopes of attracting business.

            Reply
    2. Pat

      I’m pretty sure that no American outlet opened their report with: “Israel attacked Iran by bombing their embassy in Syria. Israel is well aware that embassies are sovereign land of the country they represent. America has denied any involvement with or foreknowledge of the act of war. “ which to me would be a pretty straightforward list of facts. I have no idea how they handwaved this, but blunt acknowledgment of the actual situation is just not going to happen here.

      Reply
      1. jsn

        US at the UN Security Council yesterday: “However, one thing is clear: Iran and its proxy and partner groups need to avoid escalating tensions in the region.”

        It would be and “escalation” to react. “Turn the other cheek” instructions from the DC Projector.

        Reply
    3. MRLost

      How can Netanyahu distract everyone from his commission of genocide? By nuking Iran. Netanyahu is already committing genocide and that’s okay with Biden. Can’t get much worse than genocide. Both Biden and Netanyahu see Iran as a long term serious threat. So if Netanyahu takes out Iran’s nuclear capacity, then he is doing both Israel and the US a big favor. Not the fault of the US if Israel murders millions or if Israel nukes Iran’s nukes. All good.
      And Israel can never entirely remove all the Muslims in Israel since those Muslims are Israel’s human shield against annihilation by some outraged Muslim state.

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        Any idea which way the prevailing winds blow in this region? If they blow to the west, then that would be epic blowback.

        Reply
        1. MRLost

          My understanding is the prevailing winds blow west to east during about half the year and blow east to west the other half.

          Reply
    4. undercurrent

      “ thousands of US service people could die in such a conflict…” Rev, I respect you a great deal, and I know that you’re extremely well-informed, but living in Oz you might be unaware that US service people, and US citizens for that matter, don’t really exist any longer. Up here, the political leaders of this state have turned us all into good little citizens of Israel. We live, eat, and breathe jewish suffering, and all our efforts have been conscripted to serve the defense, and expansion, of our zionist Israel. We take profound satisfaction in the destruction of Palestine because we are told to. Our superiors ( and there are many ) correctly tell us what to think, what to do, who to love, and who to hate. If that should include the Iranians, then it’s the will of God, and President Biden. We don’t self-immolate, we train our minds only on how we can get ahead, and how we can better support our land of Israel, the only democracy left in this part of the world. Selah.

      Reply
      1. Timmy

        Undercurrent, those Oozians probably aren’t aware that the U.S. House and Senate are both occupied territories of Israel.

        “Service people?”
        What percentage of combat troops are female?

        Reply
    5. CA

      https://twitter.com/RnaudBertrand/status/1775363077778919465

      Arnaud Bertrand @RnaudBertrand

      So the Pentagon officially confirms it was Israel that destroyed the Iranian consulate in Damascus.

      Yet another sign, if need be, that we’re in completely uncharted territory. Even during WW1 and WW2, states knew that targeting embassies or consulates was off-limits. There are no instances – none – of a state deliberately bombing an enemy’s embassy during these wars.

      The fact Israel now does this, fully acknowledged by the U.S. (and undoubtedly done with U.S. weaponry and approval) shows just how rogue and unhinged these countries have become, violating centuries-old cornerstone norms of international relations.

      11:21 PM · Apr 2, 2024

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        ‘There are no instances – none – of a state deliberately bombing an enemy’s embassy during these wars.’

        Well except for the time that the US bombed the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade back in 1999.

        Reply
        1. Emma

          US claimed it was an accident by and the Chinese officially accepted that explanation.

          Here the Israelis are claiming it’s a military installation because there were IRGC officers killed and thus somehow a legitimate target. Oh, and I don’t believe Israel officially declared war against Iran (which is why they rely on assassinations and proxies).

          That logic means every diplomatic compound with a military attache is a legit target for any one.

          Reply
          1. The Rev Kev

            Israel fired off three missiles from a drone, one after another, at that aid convoy until they were all dead. At the time, they said that they did this to kill a Hamas soldier that was assigned to protect that convoy to protect it. Turns out that Hamas soldier stayed at that depot after all those food deliveries were made and never went back with that three car convoy.

            So trying to kill some random Hamas grunt was worth wiping out an entire aid team. Yeah. Now they are claiming that the whole thing was an accident and Netanyahu came out with a statement that could be translated as ‘Hey, it’s war time. S*** happens.’ which impressed nobody.

            What’s the bet that when the war is over in the Ukraine, that the Russians will upgrade the Syrian’s missiles defence systems with S-400s. And if Israel does not like it, they can go pound sand. Maybe it was not wise for the Israelis to declare Russia as an enemy.

            As for Chinese officially accepted that explanation of the bombing of it’s Embassy, they were very weak at the time and – officially – accepted this. This will no longer be true.

            Reply
            1. Emma

              Not just that. The three vehicles were approximately a kilometer apart. The survivors of the first strike ran towards the second vehicle, which was then struck. Then the wounded survivors ran to the third vehicle, which was then hit to kill them all. Remind me if what happened to Hind and her would be rescuers.

              I suspect that Russia has now shared its methods for S400 production with Iran, just as it’s done for China, and everybody is cranking out maximum production.

              Reply
              1. Emma

                I do suspect that the strike on WCK workers happened after they started to get serious pushback on the Embassy strike and decided to change the info space by committing a more MSM friendly and less serious and fudgeable crime.

                Reply
            2. Ben Panga

              Interesting piece just gone up on the Grauniad on how Israel is using AI to identify targets. First actually informative article they’ve done on Gaza in a long time.

              It contains this nugget:

              “Two sources said that during the early weeks of the war they were permitted to kill 15 or 20 civilians during airstrikes on low-ranking militants.”

              So that’s 20 civilians deliberately slaughtered to kill just 1 of the “37,000 Palestinian men who had been linked by the AI system to Hamas or PIJ.”

              https://www.theguardian.com/world/2024/apr/03/israel-gaza-ai-database-hamas-airstrikes

              Reply
              1. Ben Panga

                And this bit seems particularly grotesque:

                “When it came to targeting low-ranking Hamas and PIJ suspects, they said, the preference was to attack when they were believed to be at home. “We were not interested in killing [Hamas] operatives only when they were in a military building or engaged in a military activity,” one said. “ It’s much easier to bomb a family’s home. The system is built to look for them in these situations. “”

                Reply
                  1. Emma

                    I wonder how they arrive at the 10 percent error determination. As far as I know, IDF does no post-conflict analysis to check how well they performed. The only time they would get proper verification is when they assassinate a prominent journalist, doctor, or academic who are clearly not Hamas militants.

                    Reply
        2. david krause

          The Iranian student occupation of the American embassy in Tehran wasn’t a bomb but was significant.

          Reply
  6. Louis Fyne

    —-There’s a big confounder in the Covid reinfection IQ loss study that hasn’t been mentioned—-

    Here is another one—people who keep getting infected w/Covid douse themselves w/Lysol and disinfectants ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quaternary_ammonium_cation )

    Methyl-ammonium chloride in both.

    There are studies that suggest (not definitive) that quaternary ammonium destroys a specific type of brain cell.

    lysol does not hit a virus and magically go away after your spray. It hangs around in dust, on the surface, etc. Ready for you to ingest via fingers or absorb.

    Obviously this hypothesis is not conclusive, but it is worth (IMO) switching to rubbing alcohol, bleach—permanently. Or using ammonium salts in very rare circumstances.

    Reply
    1. t

      Do they though? It seems that people who keep getting Covid would be doing the least.

      The people I know who are say it’s just a cold aren’t dousing themselves in anything.

      Their are kennel cleaners have to be used within a day after mixing which made me think they chemicals relied on producing fumes for a short time, and then degrading. Those are for Parvo, which was considered a handy model for Covid originally. (Cleaning, ventilation, isolation.)

      Reply
    2. playon

      That’s a stretch… I’ve had COVID a few times but have not developed a Lysol habit, nor has anyone else I know.

      Reply
  7. Wukchumni

    Gooooooooood Mooooooorning Fiatnam!

    Semper finance had been deployed across the border from profit, for a lowly ranked GI nicknamed ‘Corporal Punishment’ had put all the grunts manna into office buildings, ‘safe as houses!’ he had cackled copiously before the corpus derelicti got raptured of employees, who suddenly realized after like 25 years of being on the internet, that they really didn’t need to travel to a large building 5 times a week, and could work from the comfort of their homes, who knew?

    Reply
    1. ChrisFromGA

      There is reportedly a shortage of steel-toed boots due to all the banks and landlords needing them to kick cans down the road.

      Reply
  8. The Rev Kev

    “Readout of President Joe Biden’s Call with President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China’

    ‘President Biden emphasized the importance of maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and the rule of law and freedom of navigation in the South China Sea. He raised concerns over the PRC’s support for Russia’s defense industrial base and its impact on European and transatlantic security, and he emphasized the United States’ enduring commitment to the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. President Biden also raised continued concerns about the PRC’s unfair trade policies and non-market economic practices, which harm American workers and families. The President emphasized that the United States will continue to take necessary actions to prevent advanced U.S. technologies from being used to undermine our national security, without unduly limiting trade and investment.’

    In the White House read-out, it was all about Biden’s demands for this and Biden’s demands for that. Just stuff that would benefit Biden as a tough guy, even though it was Biden that asked for the phone call. No real emphasis on mutual cooperation much which is not good.

    Reply
    1. timbers

      I hope Xi to Biden by noting that it’s supporting Russia’s defense industrial base improved world peace in general and South China Sea/Taiwan Strait in particular, because it is a bulwark against American aggression, and that America Europe and Israel need to follow International Law, not unknown rules based order nonsense made up out of thin air in Washington.

      There is no need for Russia, China, Venezuela, Cuba, Iran, etc to talk/engage with American on American terms. Call a spade a spade. America is an outlaw nation, a state sponsor of terrorism. It should be treated as such.

      Reply
      1. Benny Profane

        Maybe this phone call was somehow connected to a previous incident when the Chinese embassy was bombed in Belgrade, the first time in centuries an embassy was attacked. And we did it, just like that Iranian embassy was probably attacked with American missiles.

        Jimmy Dore should have his phone call guy do a thing about this call. He does Biden well.

        Reply
    2. pjay

      Yes, the differences in the two descriptions of the call were pretty funny. And given those you mention, I thought it was particularly interesting that Biden (or whoever on the US side) requested the call.

      Reply
  9. Wukchumni

    The WWE* Main Event scheduled for endless rounds of Shirley Temples & Roy Rogers…

    Joe ‘Teetotalitarian Dictator’ Biden vs Donald ‘the Ayatollah of Diet Coca Cola’ Trump

    *disclaimer: WWE shows are not true contests but entertainment-based performance theater, featuring storyline-driven, scripted, and partially choreographed matches; however, matches often include moves that can put performers political lives at risk of injury, even death, if not performed correctly.

    Reply
    1. cousinAdam

      But when it comes to kayfabe, the Beltway League (including contenders like DJT) could “clean the clocks” of the WWE and probably wouldn’t refrain from inflicting grevious bodily harm on their opponents in the process. Maybe why Jesse Ventura is keeping a low profile….

      Reply
  10. flora

    Pfizer’s own pdf document listing adverse events through Feb. 2021, shortly after the public rollout began. See the table on page 8. The Y-axis is marked in increments of 10 thousand to 60 thousand.

    BNT162b25.3.6 Cumulative Analysis of Post-authorization Adverse Event ReportsCONFIDENTIALPage 15.3.6 CUMULATIVE ANALYSIS OF POST-AUTHORIZATION ADVERSE EVENT REPORTS OF PF-07302048 (BNT162B2) RECEIVED THROUGH 28-FEB-2021

    https://phmpt.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/5.3.6-postmarketing-experience.pdf

    Reply
  11. Benny Profane

    All I can say is, I find it much easier to understand what Simplicius is writing, and Martyanov needs an editor for his rambling. Not sure who is right or wrong, but, proper sentences and punctuation, please, if you want to debate like that.

    Reply
    1. pjay

      I used to read Martyanov regularly but finally quit because he had become so repetitious. His pieces could almost always be summarized in two sentences: (1) Russia is vastly superior in military technology, strategy, and tactics; and (2) anyone who does not have extensive education in military science or engineering (like Martyanov) is an idiot and does not know what he is talking about.

      Now I admit I lack the scientific training in satellite technology to “know what I’m talking about” on this subject. Yet I was able to posit a hypothesis on the basic content of Martyanov’s post after the first sentence or two, test it by reading the article carefully, and find my hypothesis supported by the evidence.

      He may well be right in his substantive claims. But since I already knew what the main point would be I didn’t gain much information. And once again Martyanov’s “hard science” credentialism was irritating. I’ve known many very “smart” and very well-credentialed “hard scientists” and engineers whose historical or geopolitical knowledge on any number of issues was minuscule. This includes a relative who could discuss in great detail almost any plane or weapon possessed by the US Air Force (he had worked on a number of them himself in the service and afterword). As someone with a “soft science” background (i.e. a charlatan in Martyanov’s view), I humbly suggest, once again, that credentialism and “expertise” is not always a guarantee of truth.

      Reply
      1. Aurelien

        I tend to agree, and I’ve stopped listening to his videos. He’s a good example of someone who knows quite a bit but doesn’t know what he doesn’t know. For example, he still doesn’t understand how the politics of defence and security work in a democracy, and persistently confuses the political head of the Defence Ministry with the head of the Armed Forces, although they are two entirely different roles in the West, unlike in the system he grew up in. He was trained as a naval officer in the old Soviet Union, and had a brief career, I think, in the Coastguard, so he has a lot of theoretical knowledge but not much practical experience. The problem is that he tends to think that anyone who didn’t have his five years’ theoretical technical training isn’t qualified to talk on defence issues. But there’s a lot more to defence issues than that.

        Reply
      2. scott s.

        This is the first I’ve ever heard of the guy, but having a background in this particular subject area I find this

        “I’ll give you a hint: in real war, suitable time stamped photo with acceptable data obsolescence even from Canopus will be more than enough for provision of targeting for any Russian made anti-shipping missiles against any surface ship.”

        to be nothing but an assertion. I don’t think you will ever see sufficient info in open-source literature to prove or disprove it.

        Reply
    2. Socal Rhino

      Seems pretty obvious to me that several bloggers and Xtwitter accounts use Martyanov for source material, including the Duran guys who did a lengthy interview with him this week. The British member of the duo expressed admiration for Martyanov’s books, which he had read. Martyanov eschews “military porn” and “tactical minutiae” focusing on operational and strategic considerations. He does tend to beat to death a few points, such as military and diplomatic incompetence of the West and Western misreading of events in WWII (the one area where he strongly disagrees with Colonel Macgregor).

      I would group Martyanov with Ritter, Macgregor, Johnson, and Mcgovern. Simplicitus is more a peer of Big Serge, the Duran, and other lay people who write about events in Ukraine.

      Reply
        1. Socal Rhino

          I read whoever seems informative and whose track record holds up. I was an avid reader of Pat Lang’s site while the focus was on the mideast (where I first came across Martyanov) but Ukraine broke the site so no more. I used to read Paul Krugman’s column in the NY times, I’ll admit.

          For entertainment I read novels, and I love the Criterion Channel for movies.

          Lots of choices competing for eyeballs, to each their own.

          Reply
            1. Polar Socialist

              With more time at hand you could try to read some of Martyanov’s books. Not sure if the writing is up to your standards, but it’s much better than in his rants.

              I also happen to think that he’s quite right in his latest rant about ISR – as somebody who was not trained in any military academy but who was trained almost 40 years ago to pack his 120 mm mortar posthaste and skedaddle somewhere else before the counter battery fire arrives and who has since read a lot of military history.

              From 2500 BCE (the approximate start of systematic war) to the Franco-Prussian War the commanders have had a view of the battlefield and relatively good understanding of the unit strengths and dispositions on both sides. The very term strategy comes from the art of spreading one’s army to meet the other army in the field.

              The enemy seeing your movement has been the default ever since the first men formed a phalanx. The whole Art of War has been about out maneuvering the enemy regardless – hitting his weak spot, breaking trough, making his formation to loose cohesion and thus rendering him unable to control the battle.

              I’d say, again having no education in military matters but based on my personal observations on battalion level operations, that too much unfiltered information on any level can cause indecisiveness and procrastination. So merely “network-centric” is not yet good enough, as Martyanov says, the network needs to enable quicker decision making and hopefully more correct decisions, too.

              All that said, I don’t like Martyanov’s style either, but then I use his blog mostly as kind of news aggregate.

              Reply
    3. zach

      Having worked with a good number of people for whom English is a second language, I can set aside Mr. Martyanov’s imprecise command of the finer points of English spelling and grammar – he does a much better job at English than I do at Russian.

      As others have said, he is highly repetitive, but in my opinion still a good resource for the simple fact that he’s a native Russian speaker, is a product of the Soviet military (good insights there, to the extent that it is at all similar to the modern Russian military), and maintains contacts (anonymous sources?) in Russia. He also dredges articles from Russian media outlets not named RT or Sputnik, which is nice.

      In terms of St.T getting chewed out in the linked post – as a longtime consumer of Mr. Martyanov’s outputs, i’d say it wasn’t so much a chewing, as a nibbling. Not that it’s worth anyone’s time to do so, compare with his treatment of Colonel Cassad, various RT mouthpieces, the “Valdai Boys” as he calls them, etc…

      He’d be a good opponent in a debate. One reason (among many) that i unsubbed from the youtubers was that they didn’t make much effort to interview people that held competing viewpoints. If you often find yourself nodding your head in agreement with the media you consume, just remember the lifetime implications of a deep tissue repetitive motion injury…

      End rant.

      Reply
      1. Michaelmas

        Martyanov, similar to neoclassical economists, likes throwing a veneer of maths over everything, quantifying defense matters that can’t necessarily be simply quantified and making up equations to pull out the results he wants at the end, as if these were the laws of the universe he’s adduced. If he were an American in the 1960s, he’d have done well working for guys like Mcnamara and Westmoreland, producing their bumf.

        I bought one of his books and gave up after thirty pages of that.

        Reply
        1. Socal Rhino

          I wonder how people here feel about Yves rebuking people for cheerleading Greece replacing the Euro with the Drachma without knowing or caring about the technical details that made that a fantasy. And how many commenting here read her more technical articles on finance or skip them.

          Reply
        2. zach

          As a veteran of veneer production, may I politely offer that, hot off the lathe, some veneers are more robust than others, and that even weak veneers, when dried, layered, and glued together properly, yield quite a durable finished product? Apropos of Mr. Martyanov’s branch of service, if one were so inclined, one might even construct an oceangoing vessel from marine grade!

          Reply
  12. Mikel

    “Wait, does America suddenly have a record number of bees?” Washington Post

    And the rain comes round in Cali.

    Reply
  13. Mikel

    “Bitcoin Tumbles $5,000 In 24 Hours As Interest Rates Jump” CNBC

    So many of the current bezzels are the spawn of QE/ZIRP/near ZIRP policies.
    Raise ’em higher and stay higher for longer.

    Reply
    1. griffen

      Top of the hour here…eastern US, Tesla shares under pressure after an underwhelming news release on deliveries…but no bother as Cathie Wood encourages any doubters to wear a blindfold to “buy low”…these pesky UST yields leaving a few marks possibly?

      Elsewhere, shares of Valero Energy hitting a 52 week high for what that’s worth…

      Reply
    2. Wukchumni

      $4.01k update:

      Torn between holding or folding with a scant profit, i’ve decided {…pushes 401 chips into the center of the table} to go all-in, hells bells let the devil in the details sort it out. And besides, i’ve misplaced the Coinstar document indicating my Bitcoin investment portfolio, somewhere.

      Reply
  14. andy

    re: Safety First & Trump’s money from the Truth Social merger, unfortunately they have simply misread the S-4 (it’s an S-4, not an S-1).

    The compensations listed separately as a) & b) ($875m cash & 87.5m shares) are not actually separate items. The shares are just nominally valued at $10 per share & thus the total compensation has a nominal value of $875 million, paid solely in shares. No cash is involved! Here is the language directly from the S-4:

    “The Merger Agreement provides that (A) the aggregate merger consideration to be paid to TMTG securityholders (other than holders of TMTG Convertible Notes) as of immediately prior to the Effective Time will be an amount equal to $875,000,000, subject to adjustments for TMTG’s closing debt, net of cash and unpaid transaction expenses (the “Merger Consideration”)…
    The Merger Consideration to be paid to TMTG securityholders will be paid solely by the delivery of new
    shares
    of New Digital World common stock, with each valued at $10.00 per share.” (https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1849635/000119312524036093/d408563ds4a.htm)

    That consideration is also NOT related to what convertible bond holders are receiving. Its an exchange of the equity in the pre-merger TMTG for equity in the new post-merger company. The convertible bonds are a separate item, which, per the S-4, are also exchanged at the time of the merger for shares in the post-merger company (again, no cash!).

    Presumably, the financial journalists covering the merger actually did read the S-4, but did not wildly misinterpret its provisions, which is why they did not inaccurately report that the merger delivered $600M+ in cash to Trump.

    Reply
    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Thanks so much for the correction.

      It did seem implausible that Trump would not have noised up that he had cash coming and have pledged the convertible bonds against a bail bond.

      Reply
  15. The Rev Kev

    ‘Wall Street Silver
    @WallStreetSilv
    JUST IN:
    Home owners in the UK have been told that “compulsory selling of home” will be enforced to house illegal migrants …’

    Wait minute, wait a minute. This idea arose because there are so many people sleeping rough whose numbers are swelled by the numbers of people arriving in the country one way or another. And Sunak is talking about criminalizing rough sleeping. I’m confused. Didn’t Home Secretary Suella Braverman describe rough sleeping as a “lifestyle choice”? This was in connection with her decision to restrict the use of tents by homeless people on the streets of Britain as everybody knows that Britain has the same climate of Greece.

    https://www.theguardian.com/society/2023/nov/04/suella-braverman-says-rough-sleeping-is-lifestyle-choice

    Reply
    1. jefemt

      I was wondering if the root source of this was dated April 1, 2024? Could not see that from the X link… dated April 2… but the, “Taylor Swift Buys Montana” article caught fire post-April 1…

      Reply
    2. Lee

      While at the same time, from Links:

      70% of the land in Britain is still owned by 1% of the population, largely descended from William the Conqueror’s army ZMEScience (Dr. Kevin)

      Are these wealthy estate owners being similarly compelled?

      Reply
  16. mrsyk

    Amazon to Remove ‘Just Walk Out’ Checkout Technology at U.S. Grocery Stores hahaha. Who named that anyway. “Shopliftin’s Easy as Pie Technology” sounds good.

    Reply
    1. Benny Profane

      I have read that self checkout tech has very low customer satisfaction ratings. I am starting to refuse using it at a local Stop and Shop, a store I hate anyway, but, it’s a quarter mile away. Never does it work without a glitch, and I can almost feel the heat of the many robot cameras staring at me, probably using facial recognition in some insidious way for marketing. This same store employs those roving robot six foot tall rumba like devices to, I guess, clean the floors, but, gawd, are they obnoxious, and again probably using all sorts of facial recognition to send back to the home office. Someday, bang zoom, to the moon.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        Self-checkout @ the Wal*Marts in the Big Smoke here have corrals that somewhat resemble those that bovines utilize, complete with cattle chute to let ’em out 1 at a time, get along little doggies!

        Reply
        1. Benny Profane

          I just read that WalMart is working on some sort of pre check out tech when you’re cart is somehow scanned and you can walk out without playing cashier. Sounds like the Amazon tech, but that’s not working out too well.

          Reply
      2. The Rev Kev

        It is rumoured that when Apollo 14 went to the Moon back in ’71, that they found the body of a middle aged woman there who was later identified as Alice Kramden.

        Reply
        1. ambrit

          That’s an Urbane Myth.
          Mrs. Kramden’s carcase was actually discovered by the crew of Apollo 18. Subsequently, the entire mission was ‘deleted’ from the records for other, more sinister reasons.

          Reply
  17. Carolinian

    Stoller really hates him some China

    It’s well-known that Apple bars TV producers on its streaming service from commenting on China. When I was in Hollywood last year, censorship on behalf of China by all the streamers, especially Apple, was a constant complaint. There are obvious reasons, as Apple is de facto controlled by the Chinese government.

    Or….China is a huge market and the electronics and movie companies don’t want to antagonize it. Given the counter zeal of the USG to promote anti China propaganda perhaps we should be applauding any Hollywood resistance–for once–to promoting said propaganda in exchange for free use of military props and locations. They’ve shown no such restraint when it comes to Russia or, say, Iran–subject of a Jon Stewart directed movie no less. He also did a USG pleasing visit to Z in Ukraine.

    Reply
    1. CA

      “Stoller really hates him some China:

      ” ‘It’s well-known that Apple bars TV producers on its streaming service from commenting on China. When I was in Hollywood last year, censorship on behalf of China by all the streamers, especially Apple, was a constant complaint. There are obvious reasons, as Apple is de facto controlled by the Chinese government.’ ”
      Yes, the guy really hates him some China. Scary guy, to me.

      Reply
  18. Bugs

    O”Wisconsin voters approve constitutional amendments on election funding, officials”

    The complicating factor here is that the Republican legislature has cut off public funding to the elections office so Democrats argued that the private money was welcome to support it. Let’s see what happens in the next few months because this is immediately effective. It could well backfire on the Republicans because of new electoral maps. My sense is that Wisconsin is going to flip in state but might just vote Republican on the national tickets.

    Reply
    1. scott s.

      Under the current system , seems to me administering elections is a core government function. Don’t see why they would contract it out to NGOs.

      Reply
  19. Wukchumni

    After contracting Covid twice, I know my IQ has certainly dropped, perhaps in the lower triple digits now.

    Reply
          1. ambrit

            “Hi. My name is, oh, I know this! I’m the President of something or other important… Just a minute. Hey, Hunter. What am I president of again?”
            The Covid Administration.
            We’re all so Faucied.

            Reply
    1. griffen

      When playing the spelling contest called Scrabble, an older brother prone to tease and just running his mouth would often encourage anyone else playing to hurry it up…

      “Hey, 86 is it still your turn…??”

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        A friend of mine back in Skool Dayz would ‘complain’ about some of the words I would come up with by yelling; “Hey! That’s English english. No foreign words now!”

        Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        Oh wait. you must be talking about the Iranian Revolution back in 79. The whole place was a rat’s nest of spooks trying to run the country and at the time I remember the Iranian’s asking this attached US General there what to do about all the protestors in the streets. His reply? Just shoot them. After they took over the Embassy they found a mass of shredded documents so they sent them to these old boys who patiently put them back together again. Ahh, good times. I don’t suppose that this takeover of the Embassy had anything to do with the CIA overthrow of a democratic Iranian government back in ’53 and the installation of the cruel Shah regime who brought in Israeli torturers to teach them how to torture their own people. I sometimes wonder what would have happened if the west had just made their peace with that Iranian government back in ’53. There would have been no Shah regime, no Iranian revolution and thus no Islamic rule for the past 45 years so a very different world.

        Reply
  20. Richard H Caldwell

    “Louisiana Senate Passes Bill to End State Cooperation with UN and WHO” It would be nice to have a bettter-informed source of information about the likely effect of this piece of legislation. Since New Orleans (and by extension, Louisiana) lost its newspapers, there appears to be an “information desert” in LA. Searching for alternative reports on this legislation yields nothing beyond a bounty of nullification-nut blog hits and Patch-style anodyne summaries. I suppose this is just another example of “everything is going according to plan”…

    Reply
  21. The Rev Kev

    Just logging off for the night but found an interesting article. So it seems that the Russians are having no problems recruiting and 30,000 are signing up every month and more than 100,000 people had signed contracts since the start of 2024. But after the Moscow attack-

    ‘Officials estimate that up to 1,700 volunteers register at recruitment centers each day, and that in the past 10 days some 16,000 Russian citizens have signed contracts.’

    https://www.rt.com/russia/595329-recruitment-russia-ukraine-crocus/

    And they are out for blood. They know who launched that attack.

    Reply
    1. Martin Oline

      I knew that enlistment surge was coming but thanks for the stats. Remember Bunker Hill, remember the Alamo, remember Charleston Harbor, remember the Maine, remember Pearl Harbor, remember Tonkin Gulf, remember 9/11. We never consider the effects of ‘our’ coups on other nations. The US government reminds me of that old WB cartoon where Daffy Duck gets bitten by the gambling bug: “Come on, come on, deal the cards, deal the cards, let’s play penalties!”

      Reply
  22. hk

    Also, there’s the fact that Martyanov is a bit of arrogant know-it-all jerk. No question that he knows the military matters, but he does have peculiar obsessions he never lets go of.

    PS oops, this was in reply to Benny P’s comment wrt Andrei Martyanov….

    Reply
      1. hk

        Yes. However, it is also true that Martyanov is frequently guilty of overoptimistic, from the Russian perspective, worldview and has a rather exaggerated sense of Russia’s military capabilities (as well as too much notion of military “science”–there is a reason why Russians actually use the term “operational art” (or, as Mercouris recently pointed out, “operational craftsmanship”): as a graduate of the Soviet general staff academy, surely he is cognizant of that! He comes from an odd background, as I understand it–he served in Soviet equivalent of the Coast Guard (which I don’t think is a prestigious arm of service), but he also went to the general staff academy. (which I assume has to be uncommon for his service). Curious if this shapes his undue defensiveness and bombast. As a source of information and insights, he is definitely useful and informative, but only with a few giant grains of salt (and more importantly, corroboration from elsewhere).

        Reply
        1. Emma

          I listen to him for cathartic entertainment value and never took anything he said seriously. His position as Russian super patriot always amused me considering that he’s basically an old X-er computer programmer living in Seattle (I think), an ex-military version of Dimitri Orlov without the Russian Orthodox mysticism.

          Having listened to a lot of military analysis since February 2022, I don’t think any of it is very good. You would think someone like Scott Ritter or Colonel MacGregor should be pretty good, at least way better and more disciplined than laymen, based on their C.V., but they are often more wrong than civilians who just look at available and make calls based on civilian common sense.

          Reply
        2. jrkrideau

          He comes from an odd background, as I understand it–he served in Soviet equivalent of the Coast Guard (which I don’t think is a prestigious arm of service), but he also went to the general staff academy.

          As I think I remember it, the Russian Coast Guard was more a first military responder to an invasion, probably similar to some of the KGB border guards who were military forces in all but name. USSR force names translate into “not-quite” Anglo equivalents.

          KGB & Coastguard units seem to have been intended to fight holding actions until the main military forces could be rushed in.

          Reply
  23. Jason Boxman

    From ACA health insurance plans are being switched without enrollees’ OK

    LOL. This country is not serious.

    Ease of access to policyholders’ accounts on the federal marketplace is a double-edged sword, agents say: It aids enrollment, but also makes it easier to switch plans without consent.

    But markets!!

    Some consumers covered by Affordable Care Act insurance plans are being switched from one plan to another without their express permission, potentially leaving them unable to see their doctors or fill prescriptions. Some face large IRS bills for back taxes.

    Imagine if heath care was free at the point of service? What a sick country.

    Many people have no idea how they were targeted, agents say.

    Jonathan Kanfer, a West Palm Beach, Florida, agent, suspects names and lists of potential clients are being circulated to agents willing to bend the rules. He says his agency has lost 700 clients to switching.

    (bold mine)

    Should be some serious federal wire fraud investigations going on!

    Reply
  24. Tom Stone

    I hope someone will point out to our Oligarchs that Nuclear Armageddon would have a negative effect on next quarter’s profits and that both radioactive blow and glow in the dark hookers have drawbacks.
    This would be a really good time for them to have a “Come to Jesus” talk with Kamala , keeping in mind that giving Genocide Joe a stroke wouldn’t cost more than $10MM or so to the right SS agent.

    Reply
    1. Emma

      But how else will our plutocrats get to use their New Zealand bunkers and test out the control collars on their security staff?

      Reply
  25. digi_owl

    “Finland shooting: Child held after pupil aged 12 shot dead at school in Vantaa BBC”

    Once more the English “gun” distract from the details of the story. The kid used a revolver. Yet i suspect the vast majority of the statistic that BBC mentions are hunting rifles and shotguns ill suited for a kid to bring to school.

    And as best i recall from last time such news came out of Finland, they had far more lax regulation of pistols and revolvers than say Norway, with barely a signature from the local police needed to own one.

    Since then it seems they have restricted the rules somewhat, as Yle mentions that one need to be 18 (adult) to own one. But someone as young as 15 can be allowed to “operate” one as long as they have adult supervision.

    Reply
    1. Polar Socialist

      In Finland you can get a permission for a pistol or revolver only at age of 20, and you have to be able to prove a membership in a registered shooting club with “active participation” for at least 24 months.

      Once you get the pistol or revolver, it has to be stored behind a lock so that nobody else can gain access without breaking stuff. Same goes for ammunition, but they don’t have to be stored away from the weapons. If the pistol has high-capacity magazines, they have to be stored in a “breaking-proof” cabinet.

      And indeed, 86% of the privately owned weapons in Finland are hunting rifles and shotguns.

      Reply
    2. flora

      I read England is trying force citizens out of their homes in order to house refugees. I read about the hate speech laws in Canada, Scotland, Ireland, England. All designed to stop criticism of the govt narratives, imo.
      I’m glad we in the US have the 2nd Amendment. The 2nd Amendment is there because the Founders did not trust govts to behave without restraint. Watching what’s happened in Oz, NZ, UK, I think the Founders were right.

      Reply
  26. flora

    Matt Taibbi’s latest. Public excerpt. I watched that bit from The View. It was surreal.

    On “The View,” A Crack Finally Shows in the Propaganda Facade
    Q&A With Coleman Hughes, author of “The End of Race Politics,” who just experienced the mother of all book tour appearances

    https://www.racket.news/p/on-the-view-a-crack-finally-shows

    (Heaven forbid anyone talk about economics as a class issue.)

    Reply
    1. flora

      adding: the current hysteria of woke and cancel started around 2009-2010, when the Great financial Crisis was biting everyone, mostly the 99%; people were starting to question Wall St and particularly the big banks; and asking why O wasn’t cracking down on big bank malfeasance, as he said he would do during his campaign. Whoa! Gotta change the public narrative about who are the real bad guys. (It can’t be the Wall St. banks.) / ;)

      Reply
      1. flora

        adding from his longer article:

        “I don’t want to say it’s your youth,” she [Whoopi Goldberg[ began. “You have to also take into consideration what people have lived through in order to understand why there has been such a pointing [sic] of… very specific racial things. Like women couldn’t go to get into colleges. If you are a black person, there are a lot of colleges that wouldn’t accept you.”

        Watching this, I wondered: does Whoopi Goldberg really think Hughes doesn’t know colleges were segregated in America? Is she proposing to teach him this on air? I would have exploded, but Hughes, a measured, forgiving personality, said something conciliatory about the experiences of different generations before moving to a larger point.

        “The default right now in a lot of areas of policy is to use black and Hispanic identity as a proxy for disadvantage,” he said. “And my argument is that you actually get a better picture of who needs help by looking at socioeconomics and income that picks out people in a more accurate way.”

        The crowd again burst into spontaneous applause. Tension on set picked up. ABC’s Sunny Hostin, who apparently went into the segment gunning for Hughes and seemed the only host who’d read any part of his book, quickly stepped on audience cheers to begin questioning.

        – From Taibbi’s longer article.

        Reply
    2. The Rev Kev

      ‘Heaven forbid anyone talk about economics as a class issue’

      That is why Jimmy Dore gave up on Cornell West after interviewing him as West refused to consider class as an issue.

      Reply
  27. flora

    An aside: B took flak for declaring March 31st was designated Trans Visibility Day, which it was after O declared it during his presidency. B said nothing about March 31st being designated Cesar Chavez Day in 2014 by O.

    Why not recognize both days? Recognizing Chavez and the United Farm Workers Union, recognizing labor organizing and economics, wasn’t on B’s list of things to do on March 31st. odd.

    Reply
    1. Laura in So Cal

      I had a giggle last week. I was at the DMV and they had signs posted that the DMV office would be closed on Monday 4/1 for Cesar Chavez day which fell on Sunday 3/31. What made me laugh was that our local DMV office is ALWAYS closed on Mondays. I’m not sure we why they felt the need to post the signs unless it was just some sort of butte signaling.

      Reply
    2. wilroncanada

      When the United Farm Workers joined the American Federation of Labor, they were called the AFofL-EIEIO.

      Reply
  28. Feral Finster

    Meanwhile, Budanov says that Ukraine has almost everything it needs to destroy the Kerch Bridge. (Basically, Ukraine has received Taurus missiles, which is why we suddenly stopped hearing the constant mewling for them.)

    If this were not obvious enough, yesterday Ben Hodges said that “the siege of Crimea had begun”..

    French troops to be deployed in April.

    https://t.me/DDGeopolitics/106736

    The West only continues to double down while Russia dithers.

    Reply
    1. Polar Socialist

      Is dither a word for “constructing in a record time a new railroad connecting Crimea to Rostov”?
      Or does it mean “destroying airfields capable of supporting F-16’s which are needed to launch Taurus”?

      Apropos, Taurus is heavier than Storm Shadow (or SCALP-EG), has bigger payload, bigger engine, smaller wings and the same top speed. According to the physics it just can’t have longer range than a Storm Shadow, no matter what the MBDA brochures say. Unless it’s launched by a fast airplane, flying high and for the most part the missile flies in the thin atmosphere – where Russians can easily see it. And frankly, it’s targeting system sounds a lot like something that doesn’t actually work well in The Real World.

      Reply
      1. Feral Finster

        Keep telling yourself that, as if fuel efficiency were not a thing. For that matter, how many drones have hit Crimea already?

        It is obvious that the West will not stop until they get victory or full-blown WWIII, and Russian lacks the stomach to finish off Ukraine when it could have.

        Reply
        1. i just don't like the gravy

          Pessimistic but I agree. The US is doubling down in Ukraine and Israel. Seem determined to end it all if they can’t be #1

          Reply
        2. skippy

          Its NATO mate …

          Confusing X Sq Km for Geopolitics is bad methodology.

          I thought all the ME/Stans wars was pretty informative.

          Reply
        3. Kouros

          Naval drones and a truck with explosives, not missiles. Which UKR have pointed quite a few times at the bridge, with no success.

          Reply
        4. alfred venison

          well, in the last week or so Russia has bombed Ukraine’s electricity generation & transmission system back to 1870, permanently, with serious implications for EU countries sharing grids with Ukraine. Mere days ago they destroyed (reputedly) the largest natural gas storage facility in Europe somewhere in/near Galicia with implications for EU countries.

          no electricity, no internet, no water, no trains, no nothing electrical in a matter of a week. Cities are evacuating pardon the pun as sewage floods main streets in Kiev and Odessa and Karkov. Khakov population is/was on the road last night heading out west or to Poland, three out of 4 lanes full of outbound traffic. Polish border authority reports increasing numbers of Ukrainians not crossing back since (western) Easter . (from Helmer)

          Reports of tensions building up round Lviv way where some lights have been left on as refugees flowing in from the “cosmopolitan centre” mingle with resentful “Galician nationalists”. Hungary, Poland, Moldova becoming concerned. (again Helmer). Romania legislates a rapid reaction force to defend compatriots in “unconventional situations” if necessary (from X).

          Looks to me like Russia is breaking Ukraine on the wheel so to speak, emptying the centre, and sparking a refugee crisis for Galicia and bordering NATO/EU countries.

          Reply
    2. Martin Oline

      “Ukraine has almost everything it needs to destroy the Kerch Bridge” Now all they have to do is survive long enough to actually do it. Remember their much advertised mother-of-all-offensives that was talked about ad nauseum? When I was young it was the littlest guy that had the biggest mouths. They were entertaining but that was all.

      Reply
  29. Maxwell Johnston

    Four random comments on various matters (some covered in today’s links, some not):

    1. “Surrender your husband and get a reward”: noting the date, I really wonder if this is an April Fools gag. I’m ready to believe just about any nonsense coming out of UKR, but this is a bit much even for me.

    2. The Israeli bombing of an Iranian diplomatic facility is quite the game-changer. Not so much for what it will provoke directly (I doubt that Iran will do much immediately), but for the long-term precedent it sets, assuming that the rest of the world (especially the USA) largely ignores this action (as seems to be the case so far). If the Israelis can bomb an Iranian consulate bc they think there are enemy military inside, then why cannot RU whack a Lithuanian or Polish embassy in Kiev for the same reason? This is truly not good news. If we’re going to kick off WW3, Syria (not UKR or Taiwan) is the most likely flashpoint.

    3. The video of cars fleeing Kharkov is striking. This is not fake news. Even two months ago on the Runet, there were already widespread reports of collapsing real estate prices in Kharkov bc so many residents were trying to sell their apartments and flee.

    4. The price of Keynes’ barbarous relic (the yellow metal which must not be named) is on quite a roll recently. Speculators? Central banks? Or maybe Mr. Market is just not happy about the overall situation? I intend to keep my seatbelt fastened as we enter uncharted territory.

    Reply
    1. Feral Finster

      Re: Nr.4: Spengler remarked that the best way to view gold is as a hedge against the collapse of the financial system.

      I believe him, this time.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        When the fiat lady sings and gets 86’d out, #79 would make Indians the 800 pound gorilla in the vault.

        Reply
      1. LawnDart

        Hell, the Russians know that, but after the regime in Washington collapses and the rats try to scatter, it’ll be open-season on the culprits worldwide, save for an isolated shithole or two. But if the price is right and there’s a bounty on their heads…

        This is due-process in action, and as they say, the wheels of justice turn slowly– but grind fine.

        Reply
  30. Willow

    Israel trying to bait Iran into a regional war.

    Israel is losing. In Gaza. In Lebanon. Globally. The only way Israel has a chance to win is by drawing in the full might of the US into a regional conflict. Both for military success but more importantly to create enough chaos that Israel’s behaviour in Gaza is largely forgotten or reduced in significance.

    This type of risk behaviour when individuals go for increasingly higher payoffs which are even more increasingly unlikely to happen (i.e. irrational) is well known in sport[1]. Similar in some ways how rogue traders start off in a small hole and continue to dig deeper with ever larger (and hence riskier) positions. This is why you have governance & conventions in place – to avoid these catastrophic slippery risk slopes. And yet Israel continues to cross these rational red lines, which means unfortunately its all down hill.

    [1] https://www.sportseconomics.org/sports-economics/the-end-of-day-effect
    *for Israel it’s the ‘end of days effect’.

    Reply
  31. JCC

    Regarding the tweet by WallStreetSilver (whoever he may be) on the GBNews.com report on the Elderly in Great Britain being forced to sell their houses to make room to “house illegal immigrants”:

    https://ca.news.yahoo.com/fact-check-uk-couple-authorities-222100408.html

    It’s no wonder people have a hard time trusting Mainstream Media (and some X/Twitter pundits) nowadays. Particularly [familyblog] stirrers.

    Or, in other words, it is a joke, and not in the “Ha Ha Funny” sense. Is she the Rachel Maddow of the UK?

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      Not so unbelievable. If UK’s councils think you have too many bedrooms, they’ll reduce the amount of rent your Housing Benefit covers by: 14% if you have 1 extra room. 25% if you have 2 or more extra rooms. So that tweet is not so unbelievable in that context, especially as the UK is also the country that introduced a poll tax.

      Reply
      1. Welsh Ian

        It is unbelievable, because the council state that the letter was sent in error to them, they mistakenly identified the property as empty.

        The ‘bedroom tax’ is a law that was brought in by the UK government and councils have to comply with it, the law says how many bedrooms there should be for different numbers of occupants of a property so there is very little room for councils to maneuver. It also only applies to renters in receipt of Housing Benefit, not owners, and is a completely different context to the ‘non-story’ here.

        Reply

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