Links 5/11/2024

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Toadally awesome! Psychedelic toxins from toads could treat depression and anxiety New Scientist (Dr. Kevin)

Most extreme solar storm in 20 years brings beautiful northern lights Washington Post (furzy)

Most Dementia Patients ‘Return’ Before Death And It’s Unclear Why ScienceAlert (Chuck L)

Infected blood: Hundreds of victims living with undetected hepatitis C BBC



Republican U.S. States Sue EPA over Strict Power Plant Emission Rules OilPrice

The ‘world’s largest’ vacuum to suck climate pollution out of the air just opened. Here’s how it works CNN (Kevin W). Sounds like it belongs under The Bezzle

Gas Lobbyists Want LNG Expansion in Canada’s Arctic DeSmog

Tornadoes Are Coming in Bunches. Scientists Are Trying To Figure Out Why New York Times

East Asia’s Coming Population Collapse Foreign Affairs. Key section:

Because of the effects on China, East Asia’s loss promises to be Washington’s geopolitical gain. But the drag on East Asia’s democracies will create problems for Washington. These states will become less attractive partners for the United States, just as their need for partnership with the United States grows.


China-Philippines near full diplomatic collapse at sea Asia Times (Kevin W)

US set to impose 100% tariff on Chinese electric vehicle imports Financial Times (Kevin W). At <$10,000 for a small car, still not enough to kill demand. Of course may be other costs to meet US safety regs. China Consumer Inflation Rises, Factory Price Drop Continues Bloomberg

European Disunion

Europe’s Parallel Reality: C02 And Degrowth MoneyCircus (Micael T)

East German’s REMEMBER What The Last Propaganda Regime Was About | Prof. Dan Bednarz YouTube

Old Blighty

Sunak says it’ll take time for people to feel better BBC (Kevin W). This sort of thing is why the Tories lost bigly.

South of the Border

‘Argentina Stopped’: Unions Hold Second General Strike Over Milei Austerity Common Dreams


UN general assembly calls on Security Council to admit Palestine as member BBC

WATCH: Israeli ambassador objects to UN resolution granting more rights to Palestine PBS. As Lambert put it, “Israeli ambassador completely loses his shit, [family blogging] childish and cringe.”

Spain, Ireland, Slovenia plan to recognize Palestine on May 21: EU’s Borrell Anadolu Agency

Australia must vote yes to Palestine at UN Jewish Council of Australia

* * *

Yemen’s strategic escalation into the Mediterranean The Cradle

War on Gaza: Hamas steps up fighting as aid runs out under Israeli blockade Middle East Eye

* * *

Israel defies international censure and orders more Palestinians to evacuate Rafah Financial Times

The real reason Israel is invading Rafah Mondoweiss

Israel Starts Demolishing 47 Bedouin Homes Without Offering Promised Alternative Housing Haaretz (Dr. Kevin). More spite for its own sake.

Not able to verify:

‘Biggest student movement of 21st century’: Pro-Palestinian protests spread across global campuses Anadolu Agency

America’s Jewish Supremacist Problem Mark Wauck (Micael T)

New Not-So-Cold War

Special Report: Russian Forces Breach Kharkov Border Simplicius the Thinker

Countdown begins for Russia’s Ukraine offensive Indian Punchline

Mass protests in Armenia, opposition calls for Prime Minister Pashinyan to resign Anti-Spiegel. Micael T: “Nice! Instead of Russia getting a multi-front war, it seems as if US and EU gets their counter multi-front war in Georgia and Armenia.”

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

After a Loss on FISA, Privacy-Minded Senators Find a New Target: Facial Recognition at Airports Notus (Erasumus)

Imperial Collapse Watch

The Coming Entropy Of Our World Order Nomea (Micael T)

Empire Managers Explain Why This New Protest Movement Scares Them Caitlin Johnstone (Kevin W)

The Demise of US Power, De-Dollarisation & the BRICS Ann Pettifor (Micael T)


How Stormy Daniels’s Sordid Testimony Could Help Trump Wall Street Journal

“I Gave Up Shame Years Ago”: Clinton Denounces Trump for Doing What She Did in 2016 Jonathan Turley


Biden faces impeachment over Israel weapons suspension RT (Kevin W)


Don Samuels has had it up to here, and he’s running for Congress Minnesota Reformer. Mark G:

Solid backgrounder, running against Ilhan Omar again after losing by only 2% in the 2022 primary. I would think this being a presidential year would favor Omar as Samuels is a borderline crank candidate somewhat in the mold of a Minnesota Nice version of the Rev. Al Sharpton with heavy Republican financial backing.


How Originalism Ate the Law Slate (furzy)

Police State Watch

IRS Now Targeting People Who Threaten Washington’s “Ability to Govern” Ken Klipperstein (Chuck L). Notice the Biden Administration engaging in the sort of authoritarianism that the “save our democracy” sorts are projecting on to Trump.

New Laws Are Turning Police Into ‘Supercitizens’ American Prospect (UserFriendly


OpenAI model behavior guidance contemplates NSFW AI The Register (Chuck L)

BOFH: AI boss is just the first of many The Register (Chuck L)

The Bezzle

Friction Planet: Critical (Micael T). Important

Big Three Carriers Pay $10 Million To Settle Claims of False ‘Unlimited’ Advertising ars technica. Couch lint.

Guillotine Watch

Calpers weighs vote against Exxon CEO in protest over climate lawsuit Financial Times. Really does not know his place.

Elon Musk’s X can’t invent its own copyright law, judge says ars technica (Kevin W)

Class Warfare

Woman found living inside Family Fare sign in Midland Midland Daily News

Universities as factories Branco Milanovic (Micael T). Important

The General Welfare Amendment: Restoring The Legal Teeth Of The Preamble VoteNo2BigDough. Identifies an important angle but I am not sure there’s any way to get there.

Antidote du jour. Frank L: “Bryce getting his ya-yas out on a spring ridge walk in southwest Montana.”

And a bonus:

A second bonus (Chuck L):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Antifa

    (melody borrowed from Austin  by Dasha)

    (The hottest song in America right now is ‘Austin’ by Dasha. Yes, there’s a line dance y’all can practice. It’s about a Texas gal who finds her boyfriend has chickened out on a grand road trip to their future together, so she heads to LA alone to get, like, rich and famous. Of course, not every newcomer out there gets discovered, especially in the music biz. While we wish Dasha all success, her song reminds me of an elderly woman who was my neighbor out there, decades ago. She came to LA in the Forties to be a movie star. Became a cocktail waitress instead. Raised a son who disappeared in Vietnam. A hard life, working to her last day. Jessica was such an Old School trooper.)

    I had a plan — I overreached greatly
    It’s LA, man — all the girls are so shapely

    ‘Faces in jars’ ‘This town is ours’ and we weren’t jokin’
    You know the song it all went wrong but here’s to hopin’

    ‘Paris and Rome — they’ll love you and adore you’
    Wait by the phone – no one ever calls for you

    Slinging drinks at Tiki Hut you’re just another hack
    No raving fans applauding hands no dressing room in back

    Forty years hard-workin’
    Now you’re broken down (broken down)
    If you don’t repair your knees
    You’re down and out (down and out)

    In Nowhereville your tips each day
    Get raided by your bosses
    Your only life went zipping by
    You’re broke and you’re exhausted

    As your kid was growin’
    Money’s always tight
    And the bills don’t let you
    Set a dime aside

    You need a break what does it take?
    The break you’ve never gotten
    Through forty years of sweat and tears
    That LA sun won’t soften

    (musical interlude)

    You’re pretty tough you go to work while wheezing
    It’s not enough – expenses keep on squeezing
    You’re sad and you fatten
    Your small shack – it’s tragic
    There’s just you – no magic oh-oh

    Forty years hard-workin’
    Now you’re broken down (broken down)
    If you don’t repair your knees
    You’re down and out (down and out)

    In Nowhereville – your tips each day
    Are raided by your bosses
    Your only life went zipping by
    You’re broke and you’re exhausted

    As your kid was growin’
    Money’s always tight
    And the bills don’t let you
    Set a dime aside

    You need a break what does it take?
    The break you’ve never gotten
    Through forty years of sweat and tears
    That LA sun won’t soften

    1. Wukchumni


      I feel certain she served me @ Du-par’s, when she tired of slinging adult beverages.

    2. The Rev Kev

      You’re ex-neighbour reminds me of the lines from the Carpenter’s song “Do You Know The Way To San Jose”-

      ‘L.A. is a great big freeway
      Put a hundred down a by a car
      In a week, maybe two they’ll make you a star
      Weeks turn into years, how quick they pass
      And all the stars there never were
      Are parking cars and pumping gas’

      It’s a brutal town.

      1. Laughingsong

        Dionne Warwick did that song, written by Burt Bacharach. Disclaimer: I was born in San Jose, so even though I was pretty young when the song came out, I had a particular interest.

  2. furnace

    UN General Assembly determines that the State of Palestine is qualified and should be admitted as a member to the United Nations.

    UNGA further recommends that the Security Council reconsider the matter.

    — United Nations (@UN) May 10, 2024

    Seems like the genocide is upending the old rules of the UN. By backing it to the hilt, the US is destroying its own advantageous position in the UNSC; empire truly dies by suicide, as they say. Hopefully this will shift the weight to the General Assembly, which does not suffer from the archaic imperialist form of the UN (seriously, even if you want to have permanent members, why the hell are France and the UK still there anymore?)

    1. mrsyk

      Argentina, Czechia, Hungary, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, and Papua New Guinea.
      Shiver me timbers.

      1. Wukchumni

        Seems like mostly Habsburgs & Headhunters, not that there is anything wrong with having them on our team, GO USA!

        1. nippersdad

          Papua New Guinea, still trying to make up for eating Genocide Joe’s uncle after all of these years. No, peeps, he may forget you but he will never forgive you.

          1. ambrit

            And don’t forget what they did to Rockefeller’s kid, (who has never been found.)
            Those ‘Headhunters’ can teach our CEOs and CFOs a thing or two about “styles of governance.”
            Somehow, I don’t think any self-respecting Headhunter would want to eat “Creepy” Joes brain.

      2. more news

        Albania, Austria, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Fiji, Finland, Georgia, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malawi, Marshall Islands, Monaco, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Paraguay, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Sweden, Switzeland, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Vanuatu.

        1. Pat

          Abstain equals “we are afraid of America but cannot bow down enough to give the criminal Israel clear support.”

    2. Revenant

      Because we fought half of WW2 while you waited on the sidelines, joining to pick over the bones of our Empires.

      1. Kurtismayfield

        The UK and France reaped what they sewed after the Treaty if Versailles. Foch said it best, it was a 20 year armistice.

    3. Revenant

      Oh, and another reason: because a UNSC of USA, USSR and then-Republic of China would have been 2:1 against and given the RoC too much leverage so Uncle Sam allowed UK and France some consolation prizes in its ultimate victory over the Axis and the Allies….

    4. Kouros

      Amonge the absentees and no votes there are some with deep cognitive dissonance:

      Malta, along with eastern states such as Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Romania and Slovakia, have recognised the Palestinians’ right to statehood since 1988.

      1. Acacia

        Yeah. For years, many have wondered what happened to the anti-war movement…

        …and here it is. These students really deserve praise and support.

    1. digi_owl

      I keep telling myself i should read BOFH more often, and every time i forget.

      Dark slapstick office comedy in written form, one do not see that often.

  3. The Rev Kev

    BREAKING: Belgian TV channel interrupts Eurovision to address Israel’s genocide:
    “This is a union action. We condemn the human rights violations committed by Israel. Additionally, Israel is destroying press freedom. That is why we are pausing the broadcast for a moment.” ‘

    Pretty gutsy move when you remember that Belgium is the headquarters for not only NATO but also the EU. Things are not going well for the Israelis in Sweden as their contestant was once more booed while performing. More Israeli security has had to be flown there and a lot of the artists are letting their displeasure show with the fact that a nation doing a genocide has been allowed to perform there. Swedish police are expecting tens of thousands of protestors to show up at Eurovision and it is an all round pr disaster for Eurovision itself which I am happy to report-

      1. The Rev Kev

        It’s one thing to be looking through a sniper scope at civilians below like the eye of god. But what happens when somebody flies a small drone with a video camera near them with a sign below it saying-

        ‘Smile. You’re on candid camera!’

        1. vao

          For a fairly early treatment of what happens when preserving order in a supposed democracy proves to be so unjust that affected people turn the tables on law enforcement, see the 1976 film “Mannen på taket”, or “The man on the roof” by Bo Widerberg. Topical, since it takes place in Sweden.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Looks like Leftism is still alive and well in Sweden in spite of their government. Good on them. I wonder if the same will be true in Macron’s France when the Paris Olympics kick off.

    1. digi_owl

      The whole thing has become a self-parody.

      What riles me up the most is the blatant hypocrisy on display. Russia is banned from any and all going on from defending Donbass from ethnic cleansing, while here we have a nation being the blatant perpetrator of same and nobody in power is even voicing a murmur of protest.

  4. Stephen V

    So are we looking at a political situation where Bibi and Joe B use each other for cover:
    “He stopped sending us weapons.”
    “Sorry for what’s happening but we stopped sending them stuff.”
    How do the Dems possibly ride genocide to victory on November?

    1. The Rev Kev

      That’s the easy part. It will just disappear from the media as if it never happened. Remember all the 24-7 coverage of the collapse in Afghanistan complete with people falling from outside those fleeing aircraft? About a fortnight or so after the last person left that country, news about it mostly evaporated and anything about Afghanistan just became background static.

      But you do bring up an important point. I am sure that Bibi and old Joe thought that the fighting in Gaza would have been long ago finished, what with the massive amount of weaponry supplied by the US. But it hasn’t and I am sure that as the November elections approach, that the Democrats will be getting nervous with their political calculations if Hamas and Hezbollah are still fighting by then. Both of them for political reasons want this war finished but are unable to see a path for that to happen.

      1. Cassandra

        I am sure that Bibi and old Joe thought that the fighting in Gaza would have been long ago finished, what with the massive amount of weaponry supplied by the US. But it hasn’t and I am sure that as the November elections approach, that the Democrats will be getting nervous

        This is true, Rev. And you can also substitute Zelenskyy/Ukraine in for Bibi/Gaza.

      2. ilsm

        Both USA, and Israel believe their insecurity justify murder on massive scales.

        The moral poverty of a doctrine where you can destroy any rival in the name of paranoia aka security.

        End the genocides

        1. Kouros

          “insecurity”?! Not by a long stretch. US wants hegemony while Israel wants absolut control of all land btw river and the sea including the Golan Heights, with Arabs possibly expelled, as well as absolut upper hand, militarily and economically on all Arab polities around, and with Iran hobbled forever, or with a complying Shah reinstalled in power.

      3. Phenix

        Israel will continue to lose the propaganda war. Their war crimes are exposed by their own soldiers. Palestinian families continue to get their stories out on social media. The only way to make this go away is to shut down Twitter, Tik Tok, Instagram and every other social media platform. Corporate Media does not have complete control of the under 45 crowd.

    2. Cassandra

      How do the Dems possibly ride genocide to victory on November?

      1. Orange man bad. (Well, yes, he is. So is the other one.)

      2. Abortion. (So it wasn’t a priority when Ds had a supermajority in 2017? President MyBoss felt it was divisive and had other interests. Like reforming health insurance. Oh wait…)

        1. ambrit

          “We are Daleks from Davos! Exterminate! Exterminate!”
          Well, Dalek starts with a ‘D’. So, the ‘D’ Party could be them in disguise.

            1. ambrit

              Yay! One of the cheaper fixes. Keep those contacts clean. (Q-tips and a little denatured alcohol help with that.)

      1. gk

        > Abortion

        They won’t do it, but I kept wishing that the Republicans would run a pro-choice candidate in TX-28, just see the Democratic reaction.

      2. Feral Finster

        From the public facing perspective, Team D is just Team R with different idpol.

        On a more fundamental level, Team D is the political manifestation of PMC class consciousness with various minority grievance groups as junior partners. Team R is the Local Gentry at politics, with white evangelicals as their sidekicks.

        1. hk

          Yes. People forget that IdPol in most contexts was the resort of reactionaries and scoundrels…and the Dem Party today is full of confused reactionaries and scoundrels who keep pointng the other guys (also reactionaries and scoundrels) to convince themselves that they are not…

    3. Jackiebass63

      It is easy because American voters have a short memory. Once something is no longer headline news it is forgotten.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Not just Americans but many countries. I heard this political observer here say many years ago that voters will only remember what happens in the last six months leading up to an election. If true, then there is hope for old Joe yet.

        1. Wukchumni

          From the cut of the jib of my fellow Americans, I’d guess most have ‘fortnight foresight’ in that they can remember what happened a few weeks back or think in the future in the same duration.

          Younger adults haven’t had to use memory retention skills most of their lives, a computer always did it for them.

          1. hk

            He who controls the internet’s control the past and he who controls the past controls the future?

    4. ambrit

      “How do the Dems possibly ride genocide to victory on November?”
      By “bringing it home” to America’s streets at the Conventions this summer.
      Our elites are now well into the, “do what you want and ask for forgiveness later (if ever,)” stage of governing.
      The second possibility, and I have heard this idea floated more than once recently, is that the Government suspends the Constitution just before the election is supposed to occur “in the interests of National Security.”

      1. LifelongLib

        IIRC all U.S. federal government office holders and officials take an oath to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic”. So a government that “suspends the Constitution” would be self-destructing.

      2. converger

        That’s Trump in 2028 for sure. Hard to imagine Biden pulling that off successfully in 2024.

        Of course, I never figured Biden for cheerfully blowing up free trade by slapping a 100% tariff on Chinese EVs that retail for one-quarter the cost of a Tesla. Go figure.

      3. ilsm

        Our sacred Slavic democracy aka Kiev has suspended elections, the incumbents terms end 21 May. For US they tough it out and stay on. Shades of Saigon.

        No problem US security requires continuity despite no democracy.

        Precedent for keeping genocide Joe w/o the frightful to neoliberal security is established.

        Security trumps life liberty and property.

        Ben Franklin was a seer.

        1. ambrit

          “Ben Franklin was a seer.”
          Indeed. He wanted a unicameral legislature and all sorts of “progressive” institutions. He’s why we have a Public owned United States Post Office today.
          I don’t see his like in the present day political arena. Pity that.

          1. Nikkikat

            It’s why they didn’t put him on Mount Rushmore. With 3 slave holders and the guy who paid a poor sob to fight in the civil war
            Instead of his own kid. These guys had principles.

      1. furnace

        Yeah, it sounded weird to me also. UST might or might not be shaky, but this is a strange way to look at it.

        1. Wukchumni

          It’s hard to say, although in certainty the almighty buck has lost 98.52% of its value since 1971 when measured against it.

          …experts agree that last 1.48% is gonna be a tough get

    1. Cassandra

      So Frank Giustra is one of the Clintons’ favorite partners in crime. See: Uranium One and the Haiti grift, among others. Guaranteed there is a scam involved, possibly related to Herself crawling out of the woodwork.

      1. Randall Flagg

        These people are like a plague of locusts, every so often they emerge to devour and wreak havoc upon us and go dark again.

    2. Bugs

      Considering the volume in each, it seems like a very funny stat to base an opinion on. Unless you’re playing it…

  5. mrsyk

    Slow down there Bryce, lemme finish my coffee. Looks like it was a good day to be the dog.

    1. The Rev Kev

      All those tracks in the snow tell the story. No sore paws for him running on hard ground and all that snow must be his idea of doggie heaven.

    2. Ignacio

      Yeah, nice pic of Bryce enjoying it in the snow. And the story of the bee was also great and make me connect with the Censored Men tweet. Some here rightly taking care of a bee and we cannot collectively take care of some hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in Gaza. Some are trying though!. I, by myself, am doing nothing except letting my heart rot on events I feel I can do nothing about. I don’t even have the strength to click on any of the Gaza links and this has been going on for months.

    3. Luckless Pedestrian

      What great picture. Bryce’s shadow on the undisturbed snow, and his white socks, just wonderful!

    4. shleep

      Dogs on the “zoomies” are even better than dogs chasing their tails.
      I’d love to know what’s going through their minds.

  6. MicaT

    I’ve read in other places that the new 100% tariffs include solar panels, batteries, and aluminum.
    I bring this up because most all batteries used in either home or utility scale, solar panels and aluminum racking especially on residential solar are from China.
    I don’t know how much the new 100% tariff will add to the price, but it will have a big negative impact on solar.

    1. Michaelmas

      History rhymes, as it usually does. From Emperor Qianlong’s Letter to George III —

      “Our dynasty’s majestic virtue has penetrated unto every country under Heaven, and Kings of all nations have offered their costly tribute by land and sea. As your Ambassador can see for himself, we possess all things. I set no value on objects strange or ingenious, and have no use for your country’s manufactures.”

      This does feel like the USA’s ‘Emperor Qianlong’s Letter moment’, what with these tariffs and Boeings falling from the sky and all.

        1. digi_owl

          With the added irony that opium was the only export left for England to balance its books thanks to everything it was importing from China.

          1. Michaelmas

            digi-owl: opium was the only export left for England to balance its books thanks to everything it was importing from China.

            No. No “everything” involved — just tea. And the problem from the British POV was that the Chinese emperors had decreed in 1685 that all goods bought from China must be paid for only in silver.

            Since the British were running down their silver reserves paying for tea and the British Macartney embassy in 1793 failed to change Qianlong’s mind, they did two things:

            [1] Began importing opium from India to China, eventually leading to the First Opium War 1838-42 —
            -and the Second Opium War in 1856-60

            [2] Broke the Chinese monopoly by obtaining tea plants and introducing them into Darjeeling and Assam in India, and into Ceylon (now Sri Lanka).

    2. chris

      The whole discussion about tariffs is pointless without an industrial policy behind them. Otherwise we’re just making life hard for citizens.

      1. ambrit

        “Otherwise we’re just making life hard for citizens.”
        That might be considered a secondary benefit by the Western Elites. Desperate people are more easily manipulated.

        1. Michaelmas

          I don’t imagine it’ll be completely lost on the vast mass of Americans that the US government and elites were totally willing to dismantle protections and outsource production to China so long as US corporate profits could skyrocket while ordinary Americans were immiserated.

          Now the Chinese make better cars for half the money and US corporations will lose money, though, US government and elites decide there must be protection for US corporations.

          And how’s that protection going to work? Via tariffs that mean ordinary Americans will pay twice as much for Chinese-made EVs — and Americans need to have cars to get to work.

          Granted, it only makes sense. Nobody’s going to buy an American car if they have the option of something else.

          Still, being an ordinary American is really getting to be a heads-they-win-tails-you-lose kind of deal

          1. Butch

            I’m still working as a Union Carpenter in the south. Nearly everyone I know believes everything made in China is junk.I have to specificly bring up outsourcing and offshoring for anyone to remember it.
            On the other hand, the workers do exist to reindustrialize ‘murica. They are going to want more money and there will need to be an expansion in apprenticeship to raise math skills.

      2. digi_owl

        The plan is for the gooks to learn their place as good little factory serfs. /s

        USA is trying to ride the late 90s into eternity.

    3. converger

      Solar panels wholesale for ~$0.20 per watt of capacity. Batteries cost ~$90 per kilowatt-hour of capacity to make. Ten years ago hardware drove the cost-effectiveness equation for solar and storage. Now we have a different problem.

      The rest of the world installs solar systems, big and little, for between -$1.00 – $2.00 per watt of capacity, one-third to one-half of what the exact same system, big or little, costs to install in the US. The cost difference between centralized and rooftop solar in the US is basically the $1.00 – $2.00 per watt that installers pay for marketing and dealing with a utility that really, absolutely hates the idea of you having solar on your roof.

      In other words: we basically pay more to talk about solar in the US than everybody else pays to actually install solar.

      On the battery side, again, the cost of the actual hardware and installation isn’t really dependent on scale. The big problem here is the order of magnitude difference between manufacturing cost and and retail price.

      Solar and battery installations will suffer, absolutely. That said, China is so far ahead of the United States on delivering high quality solar, batteries, and EVs at scale, and our energy policies are so hostile to non-utility solar, and our solar installers are generally so lazy about innovation, that even a 100% hardware tariff won’t be what’s driving the slowdown.

      On aluminum: the short version is that aluminum is incredibly energy intensive. It takes ~8 kWh of electricity (and it has to be electricity) to make a one pound of aluminum. That’s about a fifth of a kilowatt-hour for every aluminum beer can. Jobs? Nah. An aluminum smelter employs maybe 200 people.

      Every country in the world with an aluminum smelter (especially including the US) goes to extraordinarily lengths to subsidize their corner of the global aluminum industry via a combination of subsidized electricity and punishing any other country that either offers cheaper energy to their smelters, or needs more foreign exchange currency (like dollars) in order to function in an international neoliberal economy. Aluminum has always been a global race to the bottom.

      Energy subsidies and hard currency issues aside, Chinese aluminum production is also cheaper because it’s simply better: newer smelters, more energy-efficient production, and lots more recycling (it takes a *lot* less energy to recycle old aluminum than it does to make new aluminum).

      The truly weird part about the US abandoning free trade with China is not the casual reversion to nineteenth-century Great Power trade wars (Britain’s multiple invasions to unilaterally assert and enforce an exclusive, zero-tariff monopoly on unlimited opium imports – a highly addictive drug that China never wanted in the first place – remain deeply embedded in China’s cultural memory): it’s that the horses have already left the barn. Blaming China changes nothing.

  7. The Rev Kev

    “Special Report: Russian Forces Breach Kharkov Border”

    Polar Socialist was saying in a comment yesterday that this was happening. Whether they will want to or not, the Ukrainians will have to commit extra forces to this section of the front in case the Russians decide later to advance. Those forces will then be no longer available to defend other sections of the front that are under even more serious pressure. Looks like it is going to be along hot summer in the Ukraine.

    1. Benny Profane

      I wonder if they’re using motorcycles, like they did a few weeks ago, Mad Max style. Harder to drone.

      1. ambrit

        Good generals, and Russia has a few sitting about in the General Staff, know to position their troop concentrations at spots where they can threaten multiple points of the enemy’s territory. A force multiplier plus giving greater latitude to potential offensive efforts.
        Now we wait and see what point of the Ukrainian line cracks first.

        1. yep

          About 20km east of Kharkov city there is a big lake going north to south. It used to be separation line between foreces, some time ago. Russians have destroyed bridge going over it. Ukrainian troops on the eastern side are bound to crack faster. I don’t expect Russians to push too hard, so it may take some time. My guess is that they want to time approach to Slavyansk & Kramatorsk from the north (Kupyansk, Izyum), to the approach from the south (Chasov Yar, Konstantinovka).

          1. Polar Socialist

            That lake is actually a part of Donets river system. I’d also venture a guess that the primary aim is to create buffer zone for Belgorod (which is getting pounded by Ukrainians like they’re running out of time), while threatening Kupyansk from north-west.

            Or, maybe Russia is just forcing Ukraine to commit the reserves UAF has managed to scrape together with the new mobilization. After all, Russia has the manpower to merely keep stretching the front line until UAF is spread too thin everywhere.

    2. Polar Socialist

      I do have a timezone ‘advantage’, I guess. By the time the tidbits from Ukraine are starting to form a coherent picture and getting verified, you folks in Oz are already hitting the sack while US East Coast isn’t even brewing their first coffees yet…

      1. digi_owl

        It is a bit funny to see that dynamic play out on English language social media.

        A take that ring true elsewhere will get a very big swing in votes and comments once the USians log on.

      2. LifelongLib

        Hawaii is 5 hours behind the U.S. east coast (6 during daylight savings since we stay on standard time year-round). Usually the Links discussions have moved on by the time I see them so I comment more often on Water Cooler.

  8. Wukchumni

    Had a nightmare where AI PAC had merged with AIPAC making the Israelis actions seem even more robotic, Ay-ay-ay!

  9. The Rev Kev

    “Australia must vote yes to Palestine at UN’

    This is really surprising to hear that the Jewish Council of Australia called for this as they have been a solid supporter of Israel since the start. It also means that they were giving the present Labour government political cover to do so and better able to defend themselves against critics. I’m going to go out on a very long limb here with a theory. Could it be that some Jewish organizations are waking up to the fact that their support for a Zionist Israel are actually making all Jews look bad and complicit with the genocide in Israel? It does not matter how many Jewish people are appalled by what is happening and are opposing it, it is still causing reputational damage. The proper course would have been to support Israel and to oppose it’s Zionist government. But that avenue is being shut down as the two are being deliberately conflated through legislation so that if you oppose Zionism, then legally you are antisemitic even if Jewish.

    1. gk

      > they have been a solid supporter of Israel since the start

      Really? Are you confusing them with the Executive Jewish Council?

    2. bwilli123

      Reading their website’s ‘About Us’ they seem decidedly atypical of the Jewish-Australian establishment.
      Some article headlines

      Sydney rally: A conflation of antisemitism with criticism of Israel -February 19, 2024
      Jewish Council of Australia speaks out against unfolding massacre in Rafah-February 12, 2024
      Jewish Council of Australia says not all Jews agree on UNRWA funding withdrawal- February 9, 2024

      1. ambrit

        Good point which I will expand on and note that ‘The Establishment’ is always separate and distinct from the generality of the population.
        In general, an Establishment likes to “lead” the people into the ‘Paths of Righteousness.’ Sometimes, the people wake up and take a hard look at what is being done “in their name” and do not like what they see. We can argue all we want about whether the “People” are an entity with agency, or just a manifestation of a counter-establishment, but the effect is there.
        When the Zionists lose the support of the “average” Jewish person, the jig is up.
        Zionist Israel is living on borrowed time now. A new diaspora is on the horizon.

  10. Wukchumni

    A California high roller who says he was drugged while playing blackjack in a private Strip gaming salon has doubled a reward to $1 million for information leading to an arrest.

    Dwight Manley, a California real estate executive and sports agent with high-roller status at MGM Resorts International, sued the company after he says he was drugged with ketamine while playing in a high-limit area at MGM Grand in December 2021.

    The suit, first filed in the U.S. District Court in Nevada in November 2022 and amended in March, alleges while he was under the influence of the drug, he was extended credit markers totalling $3.5 million and was allowed to continue playing.

    Manley began his public campaign for information with a $500,000 reward in October 2023 while working with lawyers and private investigators, according to a Tuesday news release announcing the new reward. He’s also deployed a billboard campaign in Las Vegas.

    “Any tip is worth looking at,” Manley said in the release. “Someone knows who did this and we want to keep it from happening again. I could have died.”

    Dwight was a top notch numismatist who somehow became Dennis Rodman’s agent back in the day…

    Nowhere in the story does it say that Dwight has a huge gambling problem that needs to be addressed, so i’ll mention it here as a free tip.

    1. Morincotto

      Probably that of Peter Zeihan.

      Or they just cooked them up themselves.

      Same diff.

    2. Acacia

      Yeah, this line:

      These states will become less attractive partners for the United States, just as their need for partnership with the United States grows.

      Just makes me think: “no prob… they can and probably will all partner with China.”

  11. Henry Moon Pie

    I’ve occasionally related my experiences with treatment for double Stage 4 cancer, including my near-death experience when chemo caused an intestinal blockage that caused my stomach to swell to twice its normal size with 150 oz of bile/fluid in it. The past ten days, I’ve had several scans to follow-up on that emergency and to check the progress of the cancer and its treatment.

    The initial CT showed the digestive system trying to return to normal. Amazingly, it was quite resilient as shown on the “back to normal” CT and my gaining 10 lbs back of the 20 lbs I lost. But there were two concerning new areas: a “hypodense nodule” on the left adrenal to go with the clearly rectal-related tumor in the right adrenal. That would be bad because the right adrenal can be removed in its entirety, but if the left was also involved, you can’t do without both adrenals. The other spot was on the pelvis. I already had prostate spread to a thoracic vertebrae, but if the spot on the pelvis was rectal spread, I was looking at a matter of weeks to live, and very unpleasant weeks at that.

    So a PET scan for the prostate was done on Tuesday. It showed uptake indicating cancer in the prostate itself, but the spot on the vertebrae and the lymph nodes were all classified as resolved. The spot on the pelvis did not show up, heightening concern that it was rectal-related.

    A PET for the rectal was done yesterday. It was quite a short report. Cancer remains in the rectum itself and the right adrenal, with the right adrenal having been shrunk by the chemo. The left adrenal was not related to the rectal and is very likely just a benign nodule that occasionally occurs in the adrenals. The scan showed no rectal-related uptake in any bone tissue from the base of the skull to the mid-thigh. The spot on the earlier CT, as noted in that original reading, is probably the result of radiation treatment or some other cause.

    So surgery is being scheduled to remove the rectum and right adrenal, which would leave me in remission for the rectal for the time being. The prostate will not be removed, as is current practice, because with the chemical castration treatment at my age, something else is as likely to kill you before the prostate cancer does.

    So I have to hand it to this team of doctors. They about killed me, but the results have been better than I had reason to expect. Rather than a few miserable weeks of rapidly advancing bone cancer ahead of me, I should have some time when I feel pretty good and the only treatment I’m undergoing is the anti-hormone shot every three months.

    1. Michaelmas

      My best wishes. Chemotherapy is one or two stage on from bloodletting with leaches — I watched my mother go through it — and one day we will have better technologies.

        1. Susan the other

          Eat well if you can. Broccoli sprouts are highly recommended. Best to sprout your own. And if you have high BP ask your doc about Losartan – it also suppresses tumor formation (an ARB).

    2. ddt

      Wish you strength and courage Henry, tho you seem to have plenty of both. And glad that your team of doctors is working out.

    3. The Rev Kev

      Best wishes here too. It sounds like you are really going through the wars as we say here. I found myself wincing at some of the procedures planned for you but that is the way of things. When you are young you never think about these sort of things happening to you one day and when you are older, you wish that you had taken better care of your health when younger. Hopefully things will break your way even more so take care of yourself then and keep us apprised.

    4. JTMcPhee

      Thanks for your reporting your private struggle with that unfortunate disease. May provide hope for others, or exemplary fortitude.

      It occurs to me that all the details of your personal interaction with the medical machine are absorbed into and disseminated into the Cloud of what used to be “personally identifiable information” that was “protected” by terms of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, HIPPA. Undoubtedly now part of the training data set of AI black boxes. One hopes that this immanent reality of the times we live in and suffer through will be of humane and personal benefit to others.

      Peace be with you…

    5. Maxwell Johnston

      I’m sorry for your health woes and wish you all the best. And thank you for sharing so candidly; nobody likes to think about this stuff, but nobody is getting any younger either. I prefer to know what’s potentially in store for me. Good luck.

    6. Cassandra

      HMP, I am so glad that the news was better than expected, and wishing you the best in the upcoming procedures. I will look forward to reading your comments!

    7. cousinAdam

      Thank you for keeping us updated HMP – you have many friends and fans here at NC praying for a good outcome! I was diagnosed with Stage III prostate cancer in 2018 and completed radiation treatment in 2021 – still getting over the collateral damage of some ‘scorching’ of the bladder, urethra and a patch of colon but all we can do is count our blessings (and consider the alternative ☹️) . I’ve learned that it’s standard procedure for surgeons, oncologists etc. to give the patient the worst case scenario up front, then any improved outcome can be scored as a win and motivation to beat the odds. It’s all about quality of life at this point- hopefully the ongoing treatment won’t have a negative impact on your quest. Several months before starting my radiation, I was started on “hormone deprivation therapy” to turn off my production of testosterone (what the tumor feeds on) with orders to keep getting the monthly shots for an additional 18 months. Undoubtedly the most uncomfortable part of the entire process- I called it experiencing “man-o-pause” – hot/cold flashes, sweat- soaked bedding. I certainly gained a deep respect for the rite of passage that women eventually face- lady friends would give me a snicker and a “welcome to the club” acknowledgment- all consolations are appreciated! I got some notable relief from herbal tea – the “prostate classics” of nettle root, saw palmetto with addition of damiana (a tonic and mild aphrodisiac) and organic extracts of other hormones often used for post-menopausal balance. YMMV of course and definitely ‘run it up the flagpole’ with your caregiver team. I’m looking forward to your future contributions- I can safely say that the Commentariat feels likewise! Go well, amigo!

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        I will have to try that tonic. I grow my own stinging nettle. In fact, that’s the first thing I worked on in the garden this spring: containing the nettle patch that sends out runners in the spring. My hot flashes from the chemical castration are not as severe as yours sound, but they can be annoying.

    8. Rod

      HMP– sorry it is what it is. . Regardless of the physical, your head sounds healthy.
      Pondered many a comment you have left us here.
      Praying God’s Grace onto you.
      Gardening a little something again, anything, will be a help.
      It did me last year.
      Ask now for help doing that and get a bonus harvest early.

    9. ambrit

      Phyl says to never give up hope and fight like H—. She’s now over five years on after the treatment (amputation) for the metastatic melanoma and still keeps me on my toes. “Tell him every day is a gift and to live it like a birthday.”
      Encouragement from the North American Deep South.

    10. Pat

      So glad the news was relatively positive for the situation. Hope all goes as well as it can. Sending you lots of best wishes.
      Oh, and listen to ambrit’s Phyl. Good advice from a smart woman who has been through the war.

    11. MaryLand

      Sending prayers and warm wishes for everything to work out for you. A day at a time on the path to recovery.

  12. Wukchumni

    Most extreme solar storm in 20 years brings beautiful northern lights Washington Post

    We battened down the hatches in preparation for something liquid this way comes from that bright shiny thing, live unplugged from the nether regions!

    And then nothing happened, no northern lights, no fanfare (why do cute animal videos often have accompanying music in them?) no nothing.

    I’m bringing back the vegetable seeds for a refund, I was prompted to purchase.

    1. GF

      I saw a tip on CNN where they were interviewing a photographer in Maine while showing his photos of the northern lights. He stated that if you take a photo of the area where the lights seem to be happening – glow on the horizon – the photos will show the colors as newer cameras can “see” better than the human eye in this situation. I tried it with my cell phone here in AZ and it worked. There will be more active northern lights the next few nights.

    2. Mikel

      “why do cute animal videos often have accompanying music in them?”

      To enhance the emotional response.

  13. ChrisFromGA

    Re: Biden impeachment

    Far be it from me to defend old Joe, but it seems to me that the spectacle of GOP neocons demanding his impeachment over what amounts to exercising the right of the executive to make foreign policy is our latest “coming out party” for the blob.

    They don’t even try to hide it anymore. The UN constitution isn’t the only one being shredded.

  14. The Rev Kev

    “Mass protests in Armenia, opposition calls for Prime Minister Pashinyan to resign”

    That must have been a fun meeting between Pashinyan and Putin. At the former’s request-

    ‘Russia has agreed to withdraw its troops and border guards from regions in Armenia, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has revealed. The decision will not affect Russian military garrisons along the former Soviet republic’s border with Türkiye and Iran, he added.’

    Maybe that is one of the reasons behind these mass protests. That Pashinyan is removed the main protective shield that they have against Azerbaijan and they know full well that NATO will do nothing for them. Not sure why Pashinyan wanted the Russians to keep their garrisons on the Armenian border with Türkiye and Iran. Both of them are Russians allies and I do not think that either of them threaten Armenia like Azerbaijan does.

    1. Frank

      Turkey is definitely not a Russian ally, and saying it doesn’t threaten Armenia strikes me as ever so slightly ahistorical.

      1. The Rev Kev

        With Russia, Türkiye is kinda like an ally but with Erdogan in charge it is an erratic sort of relationship. As a Facebook relationship status would say – ‘It’s complicated.’ I did not say that they don’t threaten Armenia but what I said was that they don’t threaten it in the same way that Azerbaijan does. Erdogan’s Türkiye is an expansionist power as seen with what they are doing in Syria and Iraq so Armenia should keep that in mind if they want to force the Russians out totally. It’s probably why Pashinyan asked for the Russian border garrisons there to stay.

        1. Laughingsong

          I’m pretty sure at least some bumblebees live longer, because they hibernate. In the fall they tank up and fill something I’ve heard called a “honey stomach” that they draw on to survive over hibernation and to give them enough energy to find food after they wake up.

          When Himself and I found out about this, we would take a squeeze bottle of honey with us on walks in early spring. If we found any exhausted-looking bumblebees on the ground or foliage, we’d leave a little puddle of honey near enough for them to get to. It was great to see them smell it, and (haha) make a beeline.

  15. Es s Ce Tera

    re: Infected blood: Hundreds of victims living with undetected hepatitis C BBC

    One thing the article doesn’t mention, in Canada at least one way of learning if you have Hep C is to go to an STD clinic. The STD clinics routinely screen for it, since Hep C could be sexually transmitted, whereas normal blood tests administered by doctors tend not to. I’m unsure about the UK or elsewhere, but it strikes me that if any of the victims were in the habit of getting STD tested they might have detected it sooner. So I’m thinking good advice might be to visit the STD clinic regardless whether anyone thinks they might have an STD, in fact if they’re having trouble getting people to go, this might be a good reason to which gets around the STD stigma.

    1. The Rev Kev

      They would pick it up also if that person was a blood donor as I am sure that they test for it as it is an infectious virus.

    2. Alice X

      Regular blood lab tests can indicate liver enzyme irregularities which then indicate for a specific Hep-C test.

      1. Revenant

        Hep C was not tested for routinely until the 1990’s, possibly 2000’s. It was barely discovered before that. The contaminated. blood products date back to the 1970’s.

    3. IM Doc

      I would like to make sure everyone is informed of the other side of this issue. This entire situation has changed dramatically since I was a young doctor 35 years ago.

      Back then, this medical condition was known as NON A NON B Hepatitis. We knew there was likely a viral cause – but the actual offending virus was not conclusively identified until the 1990s – HEP C. It is almost always found in those who use IV drugs, those who have lots of unprotected sex, and those who received blood transfusions before the testing became available right around the year 2000 or so. In 35 years, I am struggling to remember any one of the likely hundreds of cases I have seen that did not fall in these 3 groups.

      Furthermore, the infection is almost always heralded by an elevation in the liver enzymes, AST or ALT, previously known as SGOT and SGPT. I have pulled my entire database today. I have diagnosed 176 people with this condition over my lifetime. 1 and only 1 had normal liver tests. And that one individual was an avid IV heroin user.

      What is important to note – a good physician can take a social history and evaluate routine inexpensive labs and find the absolute vast majority of these patients ( greater than 99%). However, in today’s world there is not enough time to do any kind of expansive history – you have 5 minutes ma’am – start talking. Catastrophe.

      At some point, in the past 5-10 years, one after the other, very effective agents for Hepatitis C became available. The two most common are called Harvoni and Epclusa. These drugs are usually 50K-100K for the entire course. No, I am not kidding.

      Around the same time, after having years of ignoring this issue and simply wishing it to go away, the federal health agencies and the national medical committees ( ACP, IDSA, etc) decided that we should be screening every single person for HEP C – with the actual antibody test. Please note – this concern and this recommendation only came forward AFTER these drugs came out. The problem is – insurance and many advantage Medicare plans – and even some secondary insurance plans for plain Medicare – will simply NOT cover the 300 dollar or so fee for the HEP C lab. Unless the patient has elevated liver enzymes. See the above history. They just will not do it. And time and time again – I have patients get slapped with huge bills after watching Oprah or whoever to tell them to do this. But then the other part of the equation is once the diagnosis is made and they need to start Epclusa – they cannot afford to do so even if they want to – this is true of Medicare advantage plans and lots of commercial insurance and Obamacare. The co-pays and deductibles are simply undoable for most patients.

      I am afraid like most everything else – the entire situation is a total racket for a huge chunk of people. This and so many other things are a total disgrace. Unlike so many other drugs – these actually do work and work well. They are safe – I have never had any complications – and the results have staying power. I have seen it with my own eyes over and over. And believe me – I want no one to die from end stage cirrhosis.

      1. Pat

        Yet another way our insurance system fails us. I knew someone whose brother battled Hepatitis for years. His death from liver disease was grueling and expensive (and he actually had great insurance). If there is a way to prevent that, there is no excuse not to do so. None.
        Funnily enough my doctor ordered the lab at my first wellness check in dog’s years recently. I was not remotely a good candidate for it, but did not object as the early AIDS years have left me with an attitude of better safe than sorry for blood born diseases. I have yet to receive a bill from the hospital so it appears that my Medigap plan covered it and a couple of other items Medicare didn’t.

      2. sleeplessintokyo

        Amen. So pervasive is this sort of rot, it is hard to find healthy tissue these days. One despairs of our profession.

      3. CA

        “At some point, in the past 5-10 years, one after the other, very effective agents for Hepatitis C became available. The two most common are called Harvoni and Epclusa. These drugs are usually 50K-100K for the entire course. No, I am not kidding.”

        Where the new system of drug pricing began:

        February 15, 2006

        A Cancer Drug Shows Promise, at a Price That Many Can’t Pay

        Doctors are excited about the prospect of Avastin, a drug already widely used for colon cancer, as a crucial new treatment for breast and lung cancer, too. But doctors are cringing at the price the maker, Genentech, plans to charge for it: about $100,000 a year.

        That price, about double the current level as a colon cancer treatment, would raise Avastin to an annual cost typically found only for medicines used to treat rare diseases that affect small numbers of patients. But Avastin, already a billion-dollar drug, has a potential patient pool of hundreds of thousands of people — which is why analysts predict its United States sales could grow nearly sevenfold to $7 billion by 2009.

        Doctors, though, warn that some cancer patients are already being priced out of the Avastin market. Even some patients with insurance are thinking hard before agreeing to treatment, doctors say, because out-of-pocket co-payments for the drug could easily run $10,000 to $20,000 a year.

        Until now, drug makers have typically defended high prices by noting the cost of developing new medicines. But executives at Genentech and its majority owner, Roche, are now using a separate argument — citing the inherent value of life-sustaining therapies.

        If society wants the benefits, they say, it must be ready to spend more for treatments like Avastin and another of the company’s cancer drugs, Herceptin, which sells for $40,000 a year…

        1. digi_owl

          Almost as if patients are stuck in the middle as hospitals, insurance and pharma is having a Mexican standoff.

        2. IM Doc

          This pricing bonanza began in the USA literally almost to the day that Medicare Part D was created in Congress in the 2005 timeframe. You can thank Tom Delay, George W Bush, and Tom Daschle for this.

          Everyone in medicine who had their head on straight knew the instant this was done that Big Pharma had finally landed a tentacle directly into the national treasury. I promise you, it will not stop until the treasury is completely dry.

          It keeps getting worse every year. Just this week – I have a patient whose specialty doctor told her that her only hope was a drug that will cost $1.2 million a year, for the rest of her life. She is absolutely devastated because there is no way on earth she can even begin to afford the co-pays. And she fears she will be fired if she proceeds because her employer is self-insured.

          Meanwhile the drug companies get on national media with their comeback – “But, we have coupons, etc.”. Any provider who has had to deal with this situation and the “coupons” knows what a complete joke that is. An even bigger joke is getting most insurance companies to cover this. They have reams of binders for their “peer-to-peer” reviewers with every sort of excuse imaginable.

          The whole thing is painted to the American public on the ads and the talk shows as somewhat a benign clown show – that always ends well even with all the headaches.

          The reality cannot be further from the truth.

          1. JBird4049

            1.2 million dollars every year for the rest of your life?

            If I wasn’t an American and a widower, I would think that you were joking. Truly.

            Realistically, aside from the wealthier of the wealthy, hardly anyone with any kind of insurance would be able to pay for it. I am guessing around 0.5% of uncorrupt Americans would be able to even attempt to pay for it. Someone of the Senatorial class or senior Congressional Representatives would, with difficulty, be able to do so and still have a very comfortable life. The senator or representative would have to be on the payroll of the ruling elites for the rest of his life of course.

            A drug for the wealthy, the connected, the powerful, or people who would owe you favors of course.

      4. CA

        A little more than 18 years ago, drug companies began to price drugs not on costs of production but on the value of a drug to patients. A sort of Clint Eastwood, “Do you feel lucky today?” pricing. Genentech, controlled by Roche, began this pricing:

        February 15, 2006

        Until now, drug makers have typically defended high prices by noting the cost of developing new medicines. But executives at Genentech and its majority owner, Roche, are now using a separate argument — citing the inherent value of life-sustaining therapies.

        If society wants the benefits, they say, it must be ready to spend more for treatments like Avastin and another of the company’s cancer drugs, Herceptin, which sells for $40,000 a year…

  16. LawnDart

    Doing Something in Gaza:

    Number of Gazans killed by airdrops rises to 21

    The head of the Government Media Office in Gaza revealed on Thursday that the number of martyrs due to airdrops improperly executed has risen to 21 Palestinians.

    Salama Marouf confirmed in a statement that airdrop operations now pose a real threat…

    As a UNPROFOR volunteer in ’92-’93, this does bring back bitter memories.

  17. Es s Ce Tera

    re: How Stormy Daniels’s Sordid Testimony Could Help Trump Wall Street Journal

    What kind of message is it sending that a) the news media think what happened, a paid sexual transaction, is in any way sordid, b) that vanilla sex in the missionary position is sordid. What exactly is sordid about it? The testimony was so extremely boring, and sad, there was no kink at all, it was extremely lacking in sordidness.

    1. pjay

      Well, it is the Wall Street Journal. But to your point, I’m sure the many liberal critics denouncing Trump’s “criminal” actions in exerting his “power” over the poor Ms. Daniels would have no problems with the myriad types of sexual action and identity championed in the typical Netflix series today. “Sordid” is in the eye of the beholder I guess, sort of like Justice Stewart’s definition of porn. It depends on whose defining it – and whose doing it of course.

      1. anahuna

        I find Ms. Daniels’ refusal to cry rape quite admirable under the circumstances. She had a story to tell and was, it seems, willing to be bought off, but she isn’t responsible for the current manipulations of the government-allied prosecutors. All in all, a woman with an independent mind and a clearer view of reality than either Biden or Trump.

        Seems like a wholly politicized and manufactured case, as Lambert and others have opened. Still, there’s something delicious about reading descriptions of a glowering Trump, forced to sit through her version of that brief and unwelcome encounter.

      2. Dr. John Carpenter

        I’m still waiting for the infamous pee tape every late night comedian was all a-titter about ages ago.

    2. ChrisFromGA

      I guess if we lived in a truly free society then the details wouldn’t matter.

      There is still the larger issue of adultery as Trump was married at the time of the encounter.

      What does our culture shame more – an adulterous affair that only manifests itself sexually through the missionary position, or a monogamous relationship with two consenting non-married adults that involves elements of kink?

      Seems to me it’s the latter but I may be wrong.

  18. Jason Boxman

    New data shows most Americans don’t expect to work into their mid-60s: Chart of the Week

    Among young workers who see getting on the hamster wheel of buying a home, saving some money, building some wealth, and retiring as an increasingly distant goal, one meme endures: I will never be able to stop working.

    New York Fed economists found these expectations were represented broadly across age, education, and income demographics, though they were especially pronounced among women.

    The New York Fed doesn’t know why this change has happened. But the bank’s economists cite potential preferences to part-time or freelance employment, wealth, future earnings, and economic confidence, or — on the other side of the optimism ledger — a lack of confidence about making it to an expected age as factors influencing these results.

    No mention that long-COVID might have crippled part of the labor force, and these women know reasonably that they cannot and will not ever renter it.

    Or that as frequent unpaid caregivers, these women are now caring for newly orphaned children, or sick parents or loved ones. A lot of dead elders might have had part time child watching or spousal care activities. Between Biden & Trump a million are dead.

    It’s definitely not because, with credit card debt at the highest levels since 2020, with people unable to afford minor emergency expenses, that people suddenly have enough wealth that they’re signaling they don’t intend to keep working past 62, or 67:

    Our Chart of the Week below shows the number of respondents to the New York Fed’s survey who expect to work beyond 62 fell to 45.8% in March, down from 55.4% four years ago. And just 31.2% of workers expect to work beyond 67 years old, down from 36.2% four years ago.

    COVID disability keeps popping up unrecognized in places. Or at least, it’s fair to surmise that’s a credible underlying cause. Meanwhile we keep seeing fewer and fewer working native born Americans, the least so far since the Pandemic started. Such a mystery. Somehow an unexpected number of native born Americans are so wealthy, they’ve stopped working!

    1. ChrisFromGA

      Could it also be our bubblicious stock market, kept pumped up like a bodybuilder on steroids by decades of cheap money, partially to blame?

      Lots of boomers with big nest eggs thanks to Greedspan, HeliBen, and Yellen-stain. They don’t need no steenkin’ jobs!

    2. ChrisFromGA

      Your posts on the labor pool are thought provoking and I believe that we may be at the stage where some advice given by Charles Hugh Smith pays off.

      Learn a skill such as carpentry, plumbing, or just fixing stuff.

      The knowledge work can and will be outsourced to foreign lands, but the guy who fixes your shower cannot be.

      1. JBird4049

        Learn a skill such as carpentry, plumbing, or just fixing stuff.

        The knowledge work can and will be outsourced to foreign lands, but the guy who fixes your shower cannot be.

        Unless they import a replacement working class, which is what they seem to be doing. The elites do not want a healthy, well paid, or even educated population at any economic level including the middle and working classes, which is a reason for why college is both unaffordable and of decreasing quality. It used to be being educated was career enhancing, and they killed that and away goes the middle class. Now it is the turn of what’s left of the working class.

  19. The Rev Kev

    “Spain, Ireland, Slovenia plan to recognize Palestine on May 21: EU’s Borrell”

    The US has said that they will never vote for a Palestinian State in the UN Security Council – but still favours a two state solution. Just not now – or ever. So what if those 150 odd countries that voted yes start treating Palestine as a de facto sovereign country and setting up Consulates and the like. Encourage educational and historical teaching programs. Might get “interesting.”

    1. digi_owl

      As long as they keep the two state door ajar, nobody will put forth an alternative.

      USA loves these “superpositions” were they claim to support one idea while actively pursuing another. No need to put a cat in a box, physicists can observe quantum theory in action in congress every day.

    2. herman_sampson

      Sounds like a can of worms for Israel: ambassadors and other foreign diplomats in regions still subject to settler incursions and other semi-official offenses by Israelis? Time for popcorn?

  20. Jason Boxman

    Per BIG:

    Senator John Fetterman hired Meta official Krysta Juris as his new chief of staff.

    LOL. Fun times.

      1. Late Introvert

        He went south after being hospitalized with depression. My guess is he had a visit or two involving credible threats. Now he’s on the right team for sure.

  21. Maxwell Johnston

    “China-Philippines near full diplomatic collapse at sea” — Asia Times

    Things are heating up in that part of the world, while most of us are focused on Israel and UKR. As usual, the USA seems keen on adding fuel to the fire:

    If we’re going to kick off WW3, I continue to doubt that UKR will be the flashpoint (even if for no other reason that NATO is incapable of deploying any serious ground forces there). I think that the South China Sea and Syraqistan are much better bets. Interesting times!

      1. JBird4049

        Congress passes legislation for FISA renewal and for broader spying and censorship. Scotland passes an insanely broad hate speech that equals disagreement with an attack. Now it is Canada’s proposed Online Harms Act, which would pay people to narc on others for ex post facto violations and possible pre-crime with penalties including life imprisonment.

        All of for mere speech, not physical acts, being classified as violent attacks and to such a degree that even peaceful opposition, forget about political opposition, protests, or even the mildest of disagreements, will be impossible.

        I realize that our ruling class is terrified of losing power, but this shows just how foolish they are as any society needs to allow disagreements and debate or else it will fail. The extent of which disagreements and debating is allowed is often limited, but a functioning country and its government allows some. Otherwise mistakes happen unchecked and uncorrected.

        This is extremely unwise, foolish to such a extreme that it shows just how suicidally stupid they are. The only thing that they are good at is at maintaining power enough to continue the looting. This ensures that they will fall even sooner and harder than I thought likely.

    1. Glen

      What’s she going to teach? How to make a career out of wrecking the American Empire?

  22. Jason Boxman

    From How Originalism Ate the Law

    This gotta-get-Trump stuff is funny in an unhinged way:

    Whatever the current flavor, originalism and its ever-growing progeny hold that judges and justices should ignore every interpretive methodology judges once used to understand a legal text in favor of free-floating feelings about history: What do we think the drafters of the text intended? What do we wish they had intended? What did the readers of contemporaneous public documents understand that text to mean? What did random dictionaries of the time reflect about … words? What—as cited by a lawyer for former President Donald Trump in arguing recently that presidents can occasionally order political assassinations without facing criminal consequences—did Benjamin Franklin announce at the Constitutional Convention? And also, how did the crowd react?

    (bold mine)

    Meanwhile, Obama did actually assassinate an American citizen, arguably a political assassination.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Is that the one where he then assassinated his son as well who I think was an American citizen as well?

  23. Jeff W

    The ‘world’s largest’ vacuum to suck climate pollution out of the air just opened. Here’s how it works CNN

    From the article:

    Mammoth [the second commercial direct air capture plant opened in Iceland by the Swiss company Chimeworks] will be able to pull 36,000 tons of carbon from the atmosphere a year at full capacity, according to Climeworks.

    According to this USGS page:

    The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that in 2019…the global emissions of energy-related carbon dioxide totaled 33,621.5 million metric tons.

    [emphasis added]

    So, basically, assuming these direct air capture plants do what the company claims they do, we’d need roughly a million of them to offset the global emissions of energy-related carbon dioxide released in one year. Every little bit counts, I suppose.

  24. ex-PFC Chuck

    Coming out of stealth mode as the author of The General Welfare Amendment link. Yves is right. Getting there will be a challenge.

    It’s a good bet that only a low single digit percentage of the general public knows the Preamble, the statement of purpose of the Constitution, once had legal teeth, but that they were pulled by the Jacobson vs. Massachusetts decision of 1905. The number is probably not much higher for lawyers.

    Think of the Preamble as a stone arch atop which the Articles of the constitution were built. A close look at that single sentence reveals that the “promote the general Welfare” phrase is the keystone of that arch. Implant new teeth in it and you enforce the other five phrases as well.

    Feel free to pass the link along, especially anyone you know who is active in non-duopoly national politics. Remember, there are a lot of things we take for granted that were once hair-brained ideas.

    1. lambert strether

      Thank you! That was really interesting and good.

      To me, “provide for the general welfare” goes directly to applying the precautionary principle in pandemics…l

    2. flora

      Who gets to define “the general welfare”? / ;) I’m pretty sure Trudeau’s Canadian Online Harms Act is being sold as promoting the general welfare, as was the US Patriot Act.

      1. ex-PFC Chuck

        That would ultimately be up to the court system. And in a functioning political system their decisions would be based in considerable extent on the arguments in Congress and elsewhere that took place during the process of the proposal of the amendment and its enactment. And that ultimately will depend upon time the qualities of the people who are appointed to the court. And they will at least have to take seriously arguments before them that are based on the Preamble.

  25. Joe Well

    >>The ‘world’s largest’ vacuum to suck climate pollution out of the air just opened

    Anyone else have a flashback to Spaceballs?

  26. digi_owl

    Nanny-tan looks like she want her back scratched.

    I swear, orangutans are like permanently stoned hippies in the best of ways.

  27. Joe Well

    >>Woman found living inside Family Fare sign in Midland Midland Daily News

    OMG, they handled that situation with such humanity. No charges, no fines, no asking for money, no public shaming. The story ended with the number of a hotline that will supposedly help coordinate housing for people who are housing-insecure. That’s Texas. What a contrast with the extreme anti-homeless rhetoric in California, New York and so much of blue America.

    1. chris

      Whether that reaction is common or not in Texas, I’m glad that it resolved peaceably and kindly. The problem with California is scale. There are so many homeless. I’m not sure it’s possible for individuals to be equally kind in the face of that overwhelming challenge.

      But it all gets back to a fundamental question our market god should be answering, how will people live when they don’t have enough money for shelter? How do we walk home prices and rent back to affordable status? And what does affordable even mean?

      When we apply the word “affordable” to goods like healthcare, our leaders have decided affordable means something you pay a lot for every month, to have access to something you may not be able to afford, and that can create large fines to limit your financial health if you decide to use it, but they won’t take it away unless there’s an extreme circumstance. They’ll let you go bankrupt over chemo bills and post transplant care but they probably won’t stop you from getting at least the initial treatment.

      Whereas with housing, our leaders have decided that you can negotiate for it until you can’t afford it, and then there is no option. Move, go somwhere you won’t cause trouble, or die…we don’t care which. They’ve also decided that even if you own your own residence, they can put claims on it through an HOA, a local taxing authority, whatever, so that you’re not allowed to stop paying for things. You never really own anything anymore. Our leaders don’t allow it. And when people try to argue for relief in that area, individuals are usually conflated with corporations until the distinction and the need is meaningless. Hence the bills protecting small community banks with only billions under management instead of actual small community banks… so what happens next?

      What happens when property taxes and insurance exceed principal and interest for home owners and mortgages? What happens when renting is too expensive everywhere, if you can find a place to rent? Will we ever let the market correct so that there is an actual crash in house value? And if so, will we ever force the banks to realize that loss while protecting home owners and renters? Or, are we doomed to see new HGTV series where adorably desperate couple try to find their own roof top store signs that they can convert into illicit homes before the law finds them?

      And when did we decide that real estate, alone among investments, had to appreciate in value every year?

      I really don’t know the answers to any of that. It feels like if we’re not going to set a floor for this kind of thing, we need to define a ceiling. Because we’ve decided people aren’t going to get increases in their wages commensurate with the increasing cost of living. So either we stop this crazy ride now or we face an army of the dispossessed with nothing to lose.

      1. Joe Well

        There are so many homeless in California because California creates so many homeless by restricting the supply of housing for the benefit of local property owners, who are individuals who keep fighting to stop the construction of apartment buildings. There has been article after article in NC links proving this point. It’s like saying Hannibal Lecter can’t be as kind to his guests because he just has so many. And yet Californians keep commenting stuff like this. Accept it: your state is evil.

  28. Tom Stone

    As far as Cops being “Supercitizens” the “LEO Bill of Rights” has been around quite a while, in those Jurisdictions which have adopted it the Cops are legally a superior Caste.

    1. Belle

      And to think the Declaration of Independence listed as its first charge that George III “effected to render the military independent of and superior to the civil power.”
      Now we have two-military and police.
      To quote REM, “Jefferson, I think we’re lost.”

      1. digi_owl

        Extra funny when one look at why the UK police is unarmed, as the philosophy was that thr constables would be of the citizenry and not a military force.

        Sadly just about only UK and Norway has a unarmed police force remaining, and there is a ongoing push, at least in urban areas, to arm the Norwegian police.

          1. digi_owl

            I find it ironic to see a comment there about the Nordics having things figured out, only for our politicians all being gung-ho about adopting US style neoliberalism…

            And here is a classic on how Norwegian police handle a drunk after a night on the town:


            1. Animal Rights

              Indeed, it’s all too easy for outsiders who see these continuing stories about the Nordic countries being the happiest, the most free, the best educated, etc., etc. to get the (mistaken) impression that everything is rosy. Here is a dose of reality.


  29. Mikel

    “East German’s REMEMBER What The Last Propaganda Regime Was About | Prof. Dan Bednarz” YouTube

    Hehehe. In case you didn’t see the joke that Neutrality Studies pinned to the top of the comments section on YouTube:

    “I once heard an ex soviet joke

    3 soviet journalists are invited to the US for a visit. After some time host asks the guests what they think of the US. He was expecting to hear praise of freedom but rather shocked when a guest says, we didn’t expect so much propaganda in the US. BUT, the host argues, don’t you have more propaganda in the Soviet Union? Yes, the guest replies, but nobody believes it.”

    1. digi_owl

      I seem to have seen a similar joke recently, about a CIA and KGB agent having a conversation about propaganda.

      1. Joker

        That one is a classic. KGB agent (or someone from Soviet Union, or Russia) telling CIA guy (or someone else from USA) that he is going to USA, in order to study US way of doing propaganda.
        CIA guy: What propaganda? / We don’t have propaganda.
        KGB guy: Exactly!

  30. sleeplessintokyo

    “Most Dementia Patients ‘Return’ Before Death And It’s Unclear Why”
    the title is inaccurate. No-wheres close to ‘Most’ dementia patients get terminal lucidity. No one knows the exact numbers but it remains in the distinct minority.

    It does however challenge contemporary understanding of brain function and dementia.

  31. Wild Wombat

    The Friction article is important. I think this is a good quote, “Israel has achieved what Silicon Valley promises: the destruction of human relationships.”

    Human relationships are essential to our humanity. But when some one reduces a human to a cockroach or vermin or a dog they are dehumanizing us. Every act or thought that regards a person as “less than” human is dehumanization. Dehumanization is the prerequisite for slavery.

    Certainly people–the ignorant, slave-owners, racists, propagandists, criminals, a**h*les–throughout history have called others who they consider less than human vermin, cockroaches, or dogs(granted, though calling Tony Blair Bush’s poodle was funny it certainly was meant to be, at best, demeaning). Lordie, why our host, who thinks the Friction article, humanity, and the destruction of human relationships is important can defend dehumanizing another human or group of humans as animals or insects is beyond me.

  32. Ranger Rick

    Re: University Factories
    We’ve come full circle. Not too long ago I was a starry-eyed liberal arts student learning about the philosophy behind education, why it was done and who it was for. It was genuinely unnerving to learn how much of the school experience (and curriculum!) was carefully designed to prepare students for factory shift work, and explicitly so. Now the schools themselves are the factories, and their products are $200k loans, immune to bankruptcy, ready and waiting to be securitized.

  33. The Rev Kev

    ‘Israeli Eurovision singer featured on Ukrainian ‘kill list’ ‘. Wait, what?

    ‘Eden Golan, who represented Israel at the Eurovision Song Contest 2024, has been placed on Ukraine’s notorious Mirotvorets website for participating in a children’s song competition in Crimea back when she was just 12 years old.

    The 20-year-old singer who holds a dual Israeli-Russian citizenship was apparently added to the database earlier this year, shortly after she won both the jury and public vote to become the Israeli representative at the Eurovision. However, it went largely unnoticed until she made it to the finals of the contest this week.’

    Back in 2016, when Golan was only 12 years old, she took part in the Novaya Volna (New Wave) competition in Artek – an international children’s resort in Crimea – where she performed a duet with Russian singer and songwriter Nyusha. That performance was her single “crime” listed on the infamous database.

    No matter how nutty the Israelis get, the Ukrainians try to one up them.

    1. CA

      ‘Israeli Eurovision singer featured on Ukrainian ‘kill list’ ‘. Wait, what?

      ‘Eden Golan, who represented Israel at the Eurovision Song Contest 2024, has been placed on Ukraine’s notorious Mirotvorets website for participating in a children’s song competition in Crimea back when she was just 12 years old…

      [ Illustratively important. ]

  34. Tony Wikrent

    Lithwick’s “How Originalism Ate the Law” in Slate and “The General Welfare Amendment: Restoring The Legal Teeth Of The Preamble” in VoteNo2BigDough belong together because they are both the result of the reactionary project to “reinterpret” the Constitution to literally dismantle “the administrative state” — or. more accurately, the structure of the USA as a self-governing republic. This is particularly maddening, because liberals and “the left” have adopted a philosophy of political economy that makes it difficult for them to recognize what the reactionaries are doing, let alone respond to it effectively.

    Until they were shocked by the December 2021 decision Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization which swept away Roe v. Wade, liberals and leaders of the Democratic Party have been crippled by a large part of “the left” rejecting out of hand USA Constitutional law and political history as mere instruments of an oppressive and exploitative capitalist system tainted irremediably by slavery. Liberals, Democrats and “the left” ignored the historical record of the fight within USA between republicanism and oligarchy. They mistakenly believed liberalism was a derivative of civic republicanism instead of seeing how much of liberalism — with its emphasis on “private property” and “individual liberty” — was shaped as an oligarchical response to civic republicanism and the rise of the American republic. Thus they were disastrously outflanked by the Rehnquist / Scalia / Thomas assault on the law and persistent undermining of the principles of civic republicanism.

    I highly recommend reading Reconsidering the Constitution’s Preamble: The Words that Made Us U.S. — University of Wisconsin Legal Studies Research Paper Series Paper No. 1718 David S. Schwartz, September 25, 2021 [37 Constitutional Commentary 2022]

    Conservatives and originalists dismiss the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution as a “stylistic flourish with no operative legal significance,” but “the drafting history of the Preamble, observable by comparing the preambles in the Articles of Confederation, the Committee of Detail draft of the Constitution, and the Committee of Style’s final version, demonstrate that the Framers considered the Preamble to be substantively meaningful.” There is room to debate the exact meaning of the Preamble — “it might be viewed as a rejection of compact theory, as an interpretive guide to the powers granted in the body of the Constitution, or as a source of implied powers.” But concluding that the Preamble is “a legally inoperative flourish has no basis as a matter of text or history.”

    In his 1833 three-volume Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States — long considered the most through and faithful exposition of Constitutional interpretation — Justice Joseph Story wrote that while the Preamble does not confer any “substantive power” on the national government, it does “expound the nature, and extent, and application of the powers actually conferred by the
    constitution,” and should be used as a guide to interpreting the Constitution when “the terms of a given power admit of two constructions, the one more restrictive, the other more liberal.” Further, interpretation should be “governed by the intent of the power;” that is, Constitutional interpretation of federal powers should “promote” and not restrict — Story uses the word “defeat”” — that power. Schwartz writes,

    “For Story, then, the preamble is an argument against strict construction of federal powers: a statement that the Constitution’s grants of powers are to be liberally construed, to promote such things as “the general welfare.”

    This is, of course, the exact opposite of the doctrines of conservatives and originalists such as William Rehnquist, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito, not to mention the entire (anti)Federalist Society. Schwartz makes the important point that “The argument that the preamble meant nothing more than a stylistic flourish … was highly congenial to compact theorists, nullifiers, and secessionists.”

    We have seen this throughout American history: the “domestic enemies” of the Constitution have tried repeatedly to have the Constitution reinterpreted in ways that limit and even abrogate the powers of the national government. Today, the “domestic enemies” of the Constitution want to dismantle “the administrative state” and allow “free enterprise” and “private property” free reign to foul our environment, alter our climate, exploit our labor, limit our economic prospects, mute our political participation, and surveil our lives.

    Schwartz ends by noting that at the time of ratification, the Anti-Federalists fully understood that the grand objectives proclaimed in the Preamble meant that the federal government was not at all strictly limited in its powers, but pointed to an expansive realm of implied powers, as Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton would argue in his February 1791 report to President Washington in favor of establishing a national bank.

    Schwartz writes, “The Framers felt they had to clarify that the new government was a truly national government, and moreover, one based on republican principles—that is, authorized by the sovereign people, not by a grand interstate compact. Significantly, nothing in the Preamble makes “limited enumerated powers” an object, or—pace Madison—an essential characteristic of the national government. The preamble does not list “federalism,” or “state sovereignty” or “balancing national powers with the rights of the states” among its great objects….” [p. 10]

    Federalists and Anti-Federalists during the ratification debates and early republic both understood the Preamble “as reinforcing a theory of sovereignty and national union that expanded the scope of national power, beyond either those powers that were enumerated or those powers that might be aggregated from that enumeration.” This nationalist reading, channeling the constitutional vision most acutely expressed by James Wilson, was thus a prominent reading—although so read with horror by Anti-Federalists—as Federalists in the early post-ratification years argued that the Preamble was indeed a legitimate source of implied powers. [pp. 11-12]

    There is plenty of history that clearly demonstrates the wild inaccuracy of “originalist” interpretation: Hamilton’s reports, Justice James Wilson’s law lectures in the first years of the republic [and it was actually Wilson who wrote most of the Constitution; Madison is better known because he took notes on the proceedings], Justice Story’s Commentaries, and more. As Lithwick writes in her Slate article, “In Trump v. Anderson—the recent Supreme Court argument about the state of Colorado’s efforts to remove the former president from the ballot due to his participation in an insurrection—regiments, battalions, and armies of historians came together to debunk the president’s fatuous reading of the 14th Amendment’s disqualification clause.” But, they still lost the case. They have to cease ignoring the purpose and intent of originalism. And they can only do that by understanding what a republic is supposed to be. Not a “republic” as its meaning is now being mutilated and redefined by the reactionaries. The Southern slaveholders insisted the slave states were the true republics in their time. Failure to understand what a republic really is at that time, and repudiate the slaveholders accordingly, led to civil war.

  35. Eric Anderson

    @Frank L

    Great pic of Bryce! I know that look, and have witnessed those yaya’s. I own a McNab dog too. Incredible little cow dogs :) All the smart of a border collie w/o the neuroses … and tough as old shoe.

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