Links 5/15/2024

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What We Can Learn From Ancient History (and What We Can’t) Chronicle of Higher Education (Anthony L)

How to get 7th graders to smoke Adam Mastroianni

#COVID-19

MDA5-autoimmunity and interstitial pneumonitis contemporaneous with the COVID-19 pandemic (MIP-C) Lancet. KLG notes: “I suppose the AIDS-associated conditions would be Kaposi sarcoma, Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (P. jirovecii now IIRC), CMV-mediated retinitis/blindness, severe thrush (Candida albicans)…”

FDA warns about using over-the-counter COVID-19 tests from Cue Health UPI. FDA letter here. ma:

This is fairly disturbing, especially since I bought one of their $500 machines with tests, though I have not yet had occasion to use it. I guess I’ll be part of the Class Action?! The FDA letter–dated last Thursday– specifically says:

“We request that you take immediate action to cease the sale and distribution of your Cue Health COVID-19 Test and your Cue Health COVID-19 Test for Home and Over The Counter (OTC) Use…” but their website seems to still be selling them, and I found no reference to the FDA letter on the website, in a cursory look.

Hmmm………Theranos, is that you?!

Climate/Environment

2023 Temperatures Were Warmest We’ve Seen For At Least 2,000 Years ars technica

China?

Biden administration intensifies economic war against China WSWS (Micael T). I am reminded of a line from the movie Elizabeth. When her advisers are urging her to take the initiative with Spain, the queen intones: “I do no like wars. They have uncertain outcomes.”

Small, well-built Chinese EV called the Seagull poses a big threat to the US auto industry Associated Press (Kevin W)

Cargo cult: Why America cannot have nice things Asia Times (Kevin W)

China Considers Government Buying of Unsold Homes to Save Property Market Bloomberg

Using Comparative & Absolute Advantage To Explain China’s Rise Ian Welsh (Micael T)

European Disunion

Beware of American “help”, or how the US undermined European energy security International Affairs (Micael T)

As Denmark plans to make national service mandatory for young women, some say they are ready to ‘send a signal to Russia’ ABC Australia. Kevin W: “For the Russians to fight the Danes, they would first have to fight their way through the entirety of Poland and then northern Germany.”

EU Adopts New Rules to Manage Migrant Arrivals & Create Uniform Procedures SchengenVisa

Gaza

Israeli forces push into Rafah as attacks intensify DW

Why the Israeli army is invading northern Gaza a second time Mondoweiss

Biden administration plans $1bn arms shipment to Israel BBC

US encouraging Arab states to join multinational postwar force in Gaza Financial Times. Contrary to Israeli plans to completely empty Gaza

UN refugee agency reports fresh arson attempt by Israelis on Jerusalem headquarters Anadolu Agency

Israel claims lowest civilian casualty ratio in history RT (Kevin W). Yes, thanks to the perverse definition of all Gazans, including children, as combatants. I hope this nonsense produces a Streisand-effect boomerang.

Gaza Protests

UCLA attackers exposed: meet the violent Zionist agitators LA police haven’t arrested The Grayzone (Kevin W)

North Carolina bill to curb mask-wearing in protests could make it illegal for medical reasons too Associated Press (Paul R). North Carolina had been on my list of places to consider living post-Alabama….I’d be in a mess now since I mask all the time in public places. Readers who live there, please e-mail or call your reps and raise holy hell.

Reflections on Student Activism William Hartung, TomDispatch

New Not-So-Cold War

Ukraine SitRep: An Army And Country At Their End Moon of Alabama (Kevin W)

Ukraine war live updates: Under heavy Russian fire, Ukraine withdraws troops from parts of besieged Kharkiv region CNBC. Interesting that this story is above the fold.

Ukrainian military stole money intended for fortifications – local media RT (Kevin W). Quelle surprise!

Kiev is intensifying its “Ukrainianization offensive”, a genuine cultural genocide, with the complicity of the collective West. Eastern Angle (Micael T)

You cannot make this up. The fact that nightclubs in Kiev still have a good business is an offense to all the men who’ve been thrown into trucks and sent to the front lines, most of whom die pronto. More proof of our moral bankruptcy:

Putin resets compass for voyage ahead India Punchline

Erdogan Holds Emergency Meeting Following Warning of Possible Coup – Reports Sputnik

Syraqistan

Strategic setbacks for US, Israel as the Resistance Axis gains ground in Syria The Cradle

The Caucuses

Foreign agents law passed, riots in front of parliament Anti-Spigel via machine translation (Micael T)

Thousands protest after Georgia Parliament passes ‘foreign agents’ bill Al Jazeera (Kevin W)

The West is mobilizing against Georgia Anti-Spigel via machine translation (Micael T)

Imperial Collapse Watch

US lags behind Russia in electronic warfare – ex-Pentagon official RT. Confirming what we’ve been saying for a while, which means the gap is undeniably large.

Canadian and US imperialism “modernizing” NORAD for global war WSWS (Micael T)

You Can’t Run Industrial Policy OR A War Economy Under Neoliberalism Ian Welsh (Micael T)

Trump

Unfixable: Michael Cohen Faces a Reckoning of Biblical Proportions on Cross Examination Jonathan Turley. Assuming Trump’s counsel can execute…

Stormy Daniels’ husband says they’ll likely leave country if Trump is acquitted CNN

Biden

Afroman – Hunter Got High (Official Video) YouTube (Mark G)

Fact check: Biden again falsely claims inflation was 9% when he became president CNN

2024

Warning signs for Trump: 5 takeaways from Tuesday’s primaries Politico

The GOP’s chances at winning the Senate just skyrocketed Washington Post

Antitrust

The Walls Are Closing In On John Deere’s Tractor Repair Monopoly 404media

Falling Down Boeing Airplanes

The Bezzle

Your Margin and Your Life Steve Keen. Today’s must read. On how the crisis-causing bubble of private debt is getting bigger, with margin debt a particularly worrisome feature.

‘My whole library is wiped out’: what it means to own movies and TV in the age of streaming services Guardian (Kevin W). Lordie. Own disks if you are attached to the content.

Guillotine Watch

Sussexes’ Archewell charity could be suspended over late tax returns Telegraph

Global players feature in Dubai property leaks Dawn (Micael T). More property as money-laundering.

Class Warfare

Walmart to Lay Off and Relocate Workers Wall Street Journal

Scott Galloway: How the US is destroying young people’s future TED Talks. UserFriendly:

Quite a good short talk. Ethically and content-wise, working class / populist. It makes a few points where I was waiting for audience members heads to explode. Very highly recommended.

Jack Conroy and the Lost Era of Proletarian Literature Nation (Anthony L)

Antidote du jour. Robert H sent this image from a Suzanne L:

A bonus:

And a second bonus (Chuck L):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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187 comments

  1. Antifa

    SETTLERS FROM BROOKLYN
    (melody borrowed from Werewolves of London  by Warren Zevon)

    Some Brooklyn settler’s here to steal some West Bank land
    Anything he grabs will show up in his name
    Israel has sent him brochures, maps, and books
    He’s here to take our house as his domain

    Ah-hooooo — settlers from Brooklyn
    Ah-hooooooooooo
    Ah-hooooo
    — settlers from Brooklyn
    Ah-hooooooooooo

    These settlers come a-prowling kickin’ in your door
    Try livin’ with your next of kin
    This settler’s named O’Grady, he’s a neophyte
    He studies Torah when he can

    Ah-hooooo — settlers from Brooklyn
    Ah-hooooooooooo
    Ah-hooooo
    — settlers from Brooklyn
    Ah-hooooooooooo

    (musical interlude)

    His wife is Jewish by descent, or it’s fraudulent intent
    His dual passport means that he won’t play fair
    He can’t recite a Jewish hymn – yet our land belongs to him
    This man is now our jailer

    Ah-hooooo — settlers from Brooklyn
    Ah-hooooooooooo
    Ah-hooooo
    — settlers from Brooklyn
    Ah-hooooooooooo

    Yeah, he’s got no plumbing so he dug a slit latrine
    Lookin’ out over Hebron
    Today he’s sittin out front sippin’ his caffeine, yeah
    Using our plates to eat on
    These Brooklyn settlers think an intifada can’t exist
    But there will be conflict . . .

    Ah-hooooooooooo — settlers from Brooklyn (bad blood)
    Ah-hooooooooooo
    — settlers from Brooklyn

    Reply
  2. The Rev Kev

    ‘Square profile picture
    NBC News
    @NBCNews
    WATCH: U.S. Secretary of State Blinken plays guitar at a Ukrainian nightclub.’

    I am given to understand that the most popular requested song for Blinken to sing was “Yesterday’s Hero.”

    Reply
    1. Enter Laughing

      Blinken is actually singing “Keep on Rocking in the Free World.” You know, the one about the “kinder, gentler, machine gun hand.”

      Reply
      1. wendigo

        Maybe Neil should write all of Blinken’s speeches.

        ” There’s a warning sign on the road ahead.
        There’s a lot of people saying we’d be better off dead.
        Don’t feel like Satan, but I am to them.”

        Reply
    2. SocalJimObjects

      “The fact that nightclubs in Kiev still have a good business is an offense to all the men who’ve been thrown into trucks and sent to the front lines”.

      I agree although the fault partly lies with the Russians. It seems like the later’s de electrification campaign has been less effective than advertised. The lights going out while Blinken was playing his favorite track would have been a great PR and proof that serious de electrification is proceeding apace. Even better would be if Blinken had gotten electrocuted because of an unexpected power surge. But no, Blinken gets to finish his tour and return to America to plot more Russian deaths.

      Oh well, at least that guy Shoygu is gone. #DearShoyguWesternTrustworthinessIsAnOxymoron.

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        Leaving the lights on in Kiev may be a smart play by the Russians as the soldiers on the front lines can see how the guys there are living the high life and do not have to worry about serving in a muddy trench under fire. A coupla months ago I saw this video of a female soldier sitting in a bunker on the front lines watching her mobile play clips of all the partying going on in Kiev and you could almost see her heart break.

        Reply
        1. ChrisFromGA

          I saw a video on Telegram showing a blackout in Lviv. The poster claimed that rolling blackouts were scheduled nationwide.

          My guess is they keep some power in reserve for their foreign puppet master visits.

          Reply
          1. The Rev Kev

            You’re right. But check out the last sentence of this extract-

            ‘Ukraine has been forced to introduce temporary blackouts across the country, affecting both industry and the local population, as it struggles with the aftermath of Russian strikes, the national power grid operator said.

            In a statement on Wednesday morning, Ukrenergo said it had “implemented controlled emergency shutdowns for industrial and household consumers in all regions of Ukraine,” adding that critical infrastructure was not affected. It later clarified that the restrictions lasted two to three hours and did not apply to the Kiev-controlled part of Russia’s Kherson Region.’

            https://www.rt.com/russia/597628-blackouts-ukraine-russian-strikes/

            Can’t go clubbing if there is a blackout on.

            Reply
            1. Polar Socialist

              Certainly a well connected club has a generator and a steady supply of diesel. All that money and stuff earmarked for the Kharkov defense construction has to have gone somewhere…

              Reply
              1. wilroncanada

                Polar Socialist
                The Zelensky regime would certainly plan ahead for a photo op for Blinken, even without Winken and Nod. The other option is that is that Blinken’s PR people brought generators with them on the plane. WWhy not!

                Reply
            2. Feral Finster

              You can bet your last Hryvnya that they will keep the lights on for their benefactor if Zelenskii himself has to personally ride a bicycle-powered generator to do it.

              Unless, of course, they want to make Blinken look all brave in the face of danger, sort of like how they run the air raid sirens so foreign dignitaries can stride resolutely forward for the TV cameras, sirens blaring, shoulder to shoulder, looking all Stirring And Brave.

              Reply
      2. zagonostra

        Form Neil Young’s Lyrics [who I used to respect before CV19 addled his brain)

        There’s colors on the street
        Red, white, and blue
        People shuffling their feet
        People sleeping in their shoes
        There’s a warning sign on the road ahead
        There’s a lot of people saying we’d be better off dead
        Don’t feel like Satan, but I am to them
        So I try to forget it any way I can

        I see a woman in the night
        With a baby in her hand
        There’s an old street light
        Near a garbage can
        Now she put the kid away and she’s gone to get a hit
        She hates her life and what she’s done to it
        There’s one more kid that’ll never go to school
        Never get to fall in love, never get to be cool

        We got a thousand points of light
        For the homeless man
        We got a kinder, gentler machine gun hand
        We’ve got department stores and toilet paper
        Got styrofoam boxes for the ozone layer
        Got a man of the people says keep hope alive
        Got fuel to burn, got roads to drive

        Reply
    3. griffen

      It’s from a forgotten soundtrack to an over hyped ’90s action movie with Arnold Schwarzenegger…”Last Action Hero” from the band Tesla…

      I am a bit late for submitting requests though! I’ll take irony for $200.

      Reply
    4. Lena

      Gawd, that performance was awful. Tony’s onstage act gave new meaning to the phrase “he killed it”. May I suggest Springsteen’s “The Promised Land” as an encore?

      Reply
      1. Martin Oline

        Dima unexpectedly said this morning that Blinken’s playing was the wonder weapon that has been promised by the west to Ukraine.

        Reply
        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          My guess is he thinks there will be a Harris-Blinken ticket or he might be run as the steady hand.

          Reply
      1. Neutrino

        There was one of those amazing focus groups, maybe even a West Wing State combo. Blinkered apparently didn’t have time to riff on his signature tune, Foggy Bottom Breakdown.
        Who says the PMC/Elite are useless? /s

        Reply
      2. JohnA

        As in Hardy’s Darkling Thrush?

        The tangled bine-stems scored the sky Like strings of broken lyres, And all mankind that haunted nigh Had sought their household fires. etc.

        Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        Blinken’s moral compass is so corrupted that it is a wonder that he can find his way to the car park at the end of the day. In Kiev, he was speaking to students at the Kiev Polytechnic Institute and told them that they should join up and do their part to fight Russia. That they owe those fighters on the line who need rest after two years fighting. He knows that they will make no difference but he needs this war to go on until November so his boss won’t look so bad.

        Reply
      1. juno mas

        Actually, Blinken just strummed. . . a basic chord sequence. I imagine his crooning was via Auto-Tune.

        Reply
        1. wilroncanada

          juno mas
          Or maybe he was just playing air guitar, while his strum pet was playing behind him. A man with pluck, or a plucking goof.

          Reply
    5. Feral Finster

      Regarding Blinken’s nightclub stunt.

      His job is to send a message, that everything is under control, no need to panic, party on! Sure, it is sort of insulting to the cannon fodder, but you think that anyone cares about the chickens used to make McNuggets? Besides, Kiev and Bukovel are full of Ukrainian rich kids living it up and posting on Insta, not to mention London, Paris, NYC, etc..

      Reply
  3. RuralDoom

    US lags behind Russia in electronic warfare – ex-Pentagon official RT.

    Want to work for a cyber agency? Best to have a stupendously clean life. Used torrent to download a song/movie/whatever? Disqualified. Toked up in HS or college, disqualified. Got the talent to hack? You have almost certainly done something that will disqualify you. And that’s before the polygraph (discredited by the National Academy of Science, but if you mention that it’s an automatic failure for disparaging the “science”).

    Reply
    1. i just don't like the gravy

      Believe me when I say this: any US intelligence agency wants young blood clever enough to get good standardized test results, but not so clever as to think deeply about the implications of the work they do.

      It’s part of what has lead to institutional rot and malaise. Back in the glory days of the CIA they were self aware, which allowed them to be effective. Now it’s all buried under woke crap and nonsense about being the good guy; that all the sociopaths that work there actually think they are helping the world. I miss the White Shoe era…

      Reply
      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        The CIA glory days? It’s a closed bureaucratic system. It’s anathema to tge premise of democracy and good government. They are only good at telling everyone about all the secret great stuff they did which we know never happened because the trumpet days they don’t eff up.

        They were thugs in places like Vietnam, but they didn’t have a clue then.

        Reply
        1. i just dont like the gravy

          By glory days I mean when they dosed each other with LSD. Sociopaths like Sidney Gottlieb no longer work there; it’s only the banal PMC-type sociopaths now, not the fun ones.

          Reply
      2. Procopius

        The CIA has always had two components. The analysts and the knuckle-draggers. After 9/11, the knuckledraggers have been in control. Even good analysts like Burns have to give way to them, and the analysts now produce junk. Well, I don’t have a security clearance any more, so maybe some of the really high classified stuff is realistic, but what our politicians quote is awful. I think if we go to war against China next year we will lose, and we will probably lose at least a couple of cities (New York and Washington, D.C. for sure). That may be enough to allow a return to sanity and the end of neoliberalism. The more likely outcome is the end of humanity altogether, and a couple hundred million years from now a new intelligent race evolving from cockroaches.

        Reply
  4. Trees&Trunks

    Regarding TV and movies and streaming. Jeff Bezos stole a large number of ebooks I had paid for when I deleted my Amazon account. I will never forget that family blogging thief and one of the million reasons to hate Amazon.
    Since then I have learnt the scam of Spotify. Wouldn’t touch it with a 10km long stick.
    Just stay away from streaming, kids.
    If it is not available on a disk or in print, it is not worth having.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      I suppose that if you dug into the fine print of your contract with your Amazon account, that they would regard those eBooks as only being leased to you and that you did not actually buy them. I have seen this corporate attitude before. A coupla years ago John Deere tried to argue in court that only corporations can actually own things while people themselves can only lease them. Fits into that ‘You will own nothing…’ theme quite well.

      Reply
    2. Carolinian

      Libraries are now doing this too. I hate being connected in order to read a book and recently tried the “Libby” app for library ebooks because it claimed to support offline reading. But when i tried to read a book it said you have to go online to turn on offline.

      They say they need this to keep track of your reading pace or some such. Hmmmm…

      Reply
    3. Terry Flynn

      Sorry to hear that. I dug around the internet to find tools that worked on Linux to get the Amazon locks on my books removed and pdfs created. I quit buying ebooks from Amazon some time ago and I was pretty sure my purchases pre-dated the sneaky change in T&Cs – comments from others online in the “when this technique will or won’t work” thread certainly suggested that the newer T&Cs ebooks were the ones that might not be convertible.

      But whatever the case, it worked for me and I have the pdfs on an airgapped device for reading whenever I want. On a few of them I’ll have to fiddle in a Linux office program to revamp the pdf for better fonts etc but they’re all pretty much as the original ebook appears.

      Reply
      1. Trees&Trunks

        Even though it is in the T&C and there is a work around it is still despicable. I didn’t find out until I wanted to close my Amazon account. This is many years ago.

        In any case, I firmly believe in finding every and any reason to hate and avoid Amazon as a dignified activity.

        Reply
        1. Terry Flynn

          No disagreement from me! Amazon is my online retailer of last resort. I’m able to get 99% of what I want from a bricks & mortar place or an independent online place (usually at same or insignificant price premium to Amazon). I too resent them and grind my teeth for the 1% of things I can’t get anywhere else.

          One thing I found just yesterday was that a BBC comedy that I discovered via a couple of YT clips but which only got one season is no longer produced on DVD in the UK (and DVD/BluRay is only way I’m touching it). Ain’t on UK Amazon. However I can get it (probably with an extortionate import tariff) from USA Amazon.

          I have come to hate the BBC for its right wing news bias but I used to cut it slack for other things. No more. Dad and I were saying that the BBC should be folded into Channel 4: State majority ownership but run mostly commercially with adverts and therefore can’t make mega losses. C4 has produced a LOT more quality comedy and drama than the BBC since 2000ish. Plus C4 news, whilst still not good, is less in thrall to right wing zillionaires than the BBC. Plus a bunch of those BBC “bigwigs” in comedy/light entertainment like Graham Norton came from C4 (and were MUCH better when they had the freedom C4 allows). Somewhat amusingly, C4 used to be very protective on copyright front when people posted clips onto YouTube of Norton’s original C4 show. Now C4 don’t bother. Because YouTube itself censors so much that NOTHING from his C4 show would get uploaded due to violations of taste and decency…..but that show was essential viewing once upon a time where we learnt stuff from the late great Carrie Fisher that she’d revealed to NOBODY previously!

          Reply
          1. Trees&Trunks

            I have heard about a technology called torrents that is used for finding tv series and movies at certain websites. VPN is very important when using that softwarestack.

            Reply
            1. Vandemonian

              If you do accidentally stumble across a file or two, Plex offers a DIY option for sharing those around the house. Plex provides apps for Android, iOS, Apple TV, Roku etc.

              Reply
              1. scott s.

                Suggest Kodi as an open source alternative (Plex is a fork of Kodi). Or Jellyfin open source fork of Emby. Main difference with Kodi is that Kodi does not use a server/client model. However, add-ons are available that allow Kodi to act as a player for libraries maintained on Plex/Jellyfin servers.

                My entire library is maintained on home NAS. Hard drives are cheap compared to the time required to curate a media collection. It is of course easier just to stream and let some one else do the curation for you — up to you.

                Reply
                1. Terry Flynn

                  I have had, err, friends, who used to use Kodi, but it became increasingly unusable or virus-ridden to any except those who knew enough to set it up via command lines in (for instance) Linux environments.

                  I’m subscribed to Plex but just use it for normal stuff. The torrents stuff isn’t something I bother to risk these days since frankly there’s so little left that I’d want to watch that I don’t already have on store-bought physical media.

                  To show I’m not just virtue signalling, I feel the need to make the joke that UK people and perhaps some others will get that “yes, YES, I WOULD download a car if I could!” – cut to the IT Crowd skit on this anti-piracy warning.

                  Reply
        2. gk

          More and more of the English books I read these days are over a century old, so archive.org provides PDF of everything with no DRM.

          When I mention this to German friends, they ask “isn’t it too difficult” so I have to explain that English books never used Fraktur

          Reply
      2. Paleobotanist

        Hello all

        Is there any way to turn an epub in Books on a Mac into a pdf? I’d like to be able to share books with people. Isn’t that what one does with books?

        Reply
        1. cfraenkel

          Epubs and pdfs are different beasts. Epubs are a flexible format that can be viewed on different screen sizes – they reflow the text to fit the current screen dimensions. PDFs are static, they are sized for one page size only, which is why they’re very difficult to read on mobile screens as you can’t get the whole page on screen without displaying in a tiny font. There are DRM free epub formats that you should look at transferring into instead. (ie .mobi or .epub) Don’t know about Apple Books personally, but the search results say it uses .epub which may be copy-able as is, depending on if Apple layers some proprietary DRM on top.

          Reply
        2. Glen

          I use Calibre on Linux, and it is available for Macs too. But some EPUB files have embedded DRM which may prevent a conversion. If you’re buying an EPUB book on line, you may want to be sure it is DRM free.

          Plus many other applications have a print to PDF option which may also work.

          Reply
            1. harrybothered

              I use Calibre and have successfully gotten rid of all the Amazon DRMs in my .epubs. I did buy those books in an earlier Amazon format. Calibre does update frequently so the newer Amazon formats may be DRM removable by now

              Reply
            2. Vandemonian

              I tried putting “Calibre DRM stripping plugins” into my favorite search engine (DuckDuckGo at the moment). The first dozen hits seemed to be usable options.

              Anna’s Archive can be an interesting site to visit if your ethical standpoint doesn’t include an absolute ban on underhand activity.

              Reply
        3. neutrino23

          Use the Books app to view the book. In the lower right corner tap the little widget to show more options then tap the share icon (box with an up arrow) and choose export to PDF.

          Sorry, I’m doing this on my iPad so I’m referring to touch screen behaviors. I’m sure the macOS version of Books has the same option but finding it may be a bit different.

          Reply
    4. Acacia

      Just say “no” to Kindle. It’s all about vendor lock-in.

      PDFs on your own HDDs are the way to go.

      Reply
    5. marieann

      Luddite here
      When I read a book…I want to be holding the actual book in my actual hands.
      When I watch a movie…I want a actual disc etc. in my actual device sitting on my TV stand.

      It’s always worked for me and I see no reason to change.

      Reply
      1. lyman alpha blob

        The dead tree and DVD have always worked for me too.

        Now that I’m old and out of the loop on new music, I do find streaming useful for learning about new bands. When I hear one I like, I go buy the CD to try to support the artist.

        Or I should say I did find it useful – with the advent of AI crapification, I will be very skeptical that anything produced after about 2020 or so. I still prefer my art produced by human beings.

        Reply
      2. scott s.

        “Actual disk” is useless without an electro-mechanical player. There’s a Brit on YT goes by “Tech Moan” who sources obscure media formats/players on e-bay and demos them in his vids. Most of the time he has to fiddle around to get them working.

        Look at the shrinking market for UHD players. I suppose that format will stick around like vinyl, but maybe not.

        Reply
      3. eg

        This is my preference — it’s difficult to give up the long standing habit of underlining passages and making annotations after so many years. My one concession to reading books on a tablet is when I go on vacation, since it spares me the bulk and weight of the books.

        Reply
    6. cfraenkel

      True enough. One quible with the “Own disks if you are attached to the content. ” Owning the disks is not sufficient – CDs and DVDs are not permanent. Their construction methods vary, so expected lifetimes vary as well, from ~ 5 ~ 10 yrs for CD-Rs (which most music comes in these days) to 20 ~ 100 yrs for most DVDs. Non-recordable BlueRays should last the longest, since they don’t use a dye layer to reflect the laser, but no one really knows how long they’ll last. There certainly won’t be anyone dusting off optical media in their grandparents attic and playing them : (. If you really want digital media to last, the only durable method is to rip them to a hard drive, maintain an active archive to a second hard drive (or third), and replace the hard drives when they fail. (You should be backing up everything anyway!!)

      Here’s a good info page from the Canadian Conservation Institute (who knew?): https://www.canada.ca/en/conservation-institute/services/conservation-preservation-publications/canadian-conservation-institute-notes/longevity-recordable-cds-dvds.html

      Reply
      1. Terry Flynn

        Thanks for that. I knew I’d read some of that before (but not all). My CDs are all ripped to various drives: after I had my first CD failure (one of my favourite classical music ones) within 10 years of purchase back in the 1990s and had to buy a new copy I vowed never to be caught again. Although I ripped before the “gold standard lossless” formats arrived, I had had the foresight to use higher sampling rates etc and enough storage so I’m happy to stick with what I’ve got. (And in any case, deafness at certain frequencies runs in our family so going for “a little bit better” is probably time wasted!)

        Re DVDs and non-recordable BluRays: I haven’t copied these but I figured enough will last me my remaining life expectancy to keep me giggling into old age and I thankfully have no dependents to leave that stuff to so I can’t be bothered. Plus my nephews wouldn’t know what physical media is and would likely just make fun of me so they’re welcome to the “wonderful world of streaming”

        Apologies to younger generations for snark!

        Reply
        1. cfraenkel

          These days I rip to FLAC for future proofing, and MP3 for listening, only because MP3 a) works everywhere (ie the car), and b) has gain adjust so everything gets piped through MP3gain so each album is more or less the same overall loudness. (nothing like having the shuffle go from a carefully mastered classical track to a commercial loudness war victim.)

          Reply
          1. Terry Flynn

            Yeah I don’t need future proofing and I totally understand your issues so a larger filesize MP3 does me just fine. I just remember the horror of the early Linux program I used to rip which failed to allow track signifiers into key fields or even have a future-proof track signifier field, thus making me have to manually add them to every single classical movement of every single piece in my collection….

            These days my relationship with Linux has gone from that early fiery throw stuff at each other stage to permanent passive aggression, knowing that alternatives will lead to one or both of us being “unalived” as I believe we’re now supposed to call it ;-)

            Reply
          2. scott s.

            I use “Exact Audio Copy” (EAC) to rip to flac. EAC is free, but for $10 I could get a “lifetime” sub to some database called GD3 that provides track and artist / album metadata. With that tagging I can use musicbrainz or discogs to flesh out the metadata.

            Also seems to be some technical reasons why EBU128 is better than replaygain.

            Reply
    7. Albe Vado

      “If it is not available on a disk or in print, it is not worth having.”

      Simply not true. The sad reality is that disc releases are already in their way out. Many streaming originals either don’t have a physical release at all, or a worse one (not 4k, no HDR). And there absolutely are streaming offerings worth watching.

      Piracy might be a solution, but 4k/HDR remains underserved on the high seas.

      Reply
  5. JTMcPhee

    To fight the Danes, Russia might have option A, wait for them to join the Ukraine project in Country 404, or option B, lob missiles and bombs from great distances. Probably lots of other options their General Staff has under consideration. Could also just wait for the European//NAFO thingy to complete the implosion process under the yoke of the rump Atlanticist machine now grinding itself to a halt. Russia clearly does not need Lebensraum or anything else other than a “new security structure” covering relations between it and the Condign West.

    Oh, the fantasies of these chihuahua statelets, and the toenail fungus of resurgent Nazi globalist neoconism.

    Reply
    1. Trees&Trunks

      I am trying to figure out the “signal” the Danes are sending.
      1) The men are so weak and effeminated that you could just as well have the ladies join the playclub too?
      2) Beware there are a little bit more than 9000 angry Danes coming for you, you evil million-man Russian army. We will storm you on boat, trains through Germany, Poland and Belarus!!! ?
      3) Beware there are a little bit more than 9000 angry Danes shielding the other 6 million Danes from primary, secondary, tertiary, and quaternary injuries from Russian artillery and absent Russian ground-forces?

      or the most likely signal

      4) “we’re a bunch of total f**king jokers” Dominic Cummings on the lesson the West taught Russia, i, 2004?

      The day European militaries start exchange programs with Hamas, Hizbollah and others to learn to fight a resistance war, I will start to take these jokers seriously. This know-how will be keenly needed as EU is being vassalized by the US.

      Reply
        1. The Rev Kev

          They should totally hire the Hamas Construction Company. I’m told that they do really good work with tunnels.

          Reply
          1. Giovanni Barca

            The Danes have an island in the Baltic that is less than 24 hours from Kalliningrad by rowboat. Or maybe they plan to reconquer Scania from the Swedes to have a larger staging area.

            Reply
            1. digi_owl

              Bornholm. Occupied by the USSR during the war and then handed back afterwards. But the agreement between Denmark and USSR was that only Danish troops would be present there.

              Frankly if Denmark and Russia were to come to blows, it would indeed start in the waters between Bornholm and Kaliningrad. The Danish navy, though small in a global sense, is likely far better equipped than its army.

              Reply
      1. Feral Finster

        The danes wish to show their American Master what good little poodles they are such good boys and hope that Master will maybe even give them a pat on the head.

        The sniveling little yappy dog that follows Spike the Bulldog around in the cartoons is an accurate depiction of the relationship between europe and its American Master.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MAgfPHP1w0I

        Reply
      1. Polar Socialist

        They did. Wehrmacht crossed the border 9th May 1940 at 04:15 AM, and Danish government formally capitulated at 08:34. By then Danish military had suffered 30-40 casualties.

        Danish movie about the day is pretty good (youtube), me thinks.

        Reply
      2. hk

        They did join the first Hitler to fight Russia the last time, though.

        The SS Wiking Divisision has thousands of Danes in their ranks. I believe they actually fought in Ukraine (Kharkov, I think?), too.

        Reply
      1. paul

        Sorry * 2
        It was american producer, writer and actor who made it into the wonderful object it is.

        Don’t be sorry about anything, apart from presenting as as a knowitallprick

        I saw this film when I was young,and I am very happy that they made it, and I was lucky enough to be surprised.

        Reply
        1. ambrit

          Ouch! Time to hunt up the Preparation H.
          My point being, (if I have one, it is on the top of my head,) the originals from which many Hollywood products are derived are foreign and generally quite different in overall presentation.
          Film and book are different ‘critters.’
          Rod Serling created quite an extensive corpus of work all his own. No need to appropriate someone else’s into Serling’s catalogue.
          As for the surprise at the end of the film; it is not in the book. It was added by the film-makers. For a visual ‘message,’ it is superb. However, it is pure Hollywood.
          Oh well. enough of my prickliness.
          Stay safe in the Pandemic.

          Reply
        2. griffen

          That’s a little chippy don’t ya think…btw ambrit does know a helluva lot…

          I mean…come on man ( or woman )…we’re supposed to be a little thick skinned around here too. Myself included.

          Reply
          1. ambrit

            Thanks for the backup griffen. As I age out, I discover that I know less than I thought I did. One ‘trick’ I use is to google around to find out about something that lurks on the periphery of my thinking to both delve deeper into the subject and also to supply a link to append to my comment. However, being now retired and a pensioner, I have lots of “free time” to pursue things that interest me. Others, still being in the “World of Work” do not have such a luxury of time. That should have made a good online game: “World of Work.” How much of online gaming is pure escapism? And, escape from what?
            And yes, to comment on the Internets, one does need to develop a thick skin.
            Once, years ago, Lambert ruminated about the ‘limits’ to “polite discourse” in argumentation on the Internet. His theory at the time was that excessive “politeness” was a backhanded way of limiting the range of argument, a form of narrative control.
            Anyway, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

            Reply
  6. flora

    re: Scott Galloway

    BS. He wants to do what the GOP has wanted to do since the FDR admin created Social Security: turn it into a welfare program which can be stripped or eliminated “as we know it.” (a la B Clinton.)

    Reply
    1. britzklieg

      “Do we love our children?”

      …then we should mandate (national service requirement) that they serve in the military? And this, under “mental health”

      and the familiar patriot’s pose that the USA (and Canada) are the greatest countries in the world, lol!

      Meh… call me unimpressed.

      Reply
    2. flora

      adding: Eisenhower warned the real economic threat the the nation and all her people’s economic well being – young and old – is an out of control Military Industrial Complex.

      Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          As a country we are utterly Krupp’d

          I drive on mountain roads mostly built in the 1930’s when there was scant money in military endeavors.

          I’d imagine there was the usual graft involved in road bulding, but here we are nearly a century later and i’m enjoying their handiwork still~

          Reply
        2. The Rev Kev

          I am going to go with the idea that as far as DC is concerned, the continental US may as well not exist as they are leaching as much money as they can from there already. So sending these hundreds of billions of dollars overseas is a way of generating new income streams that flow to DC and its patrons. Afghanistan was a washing machine for funds for twenty years but now it has been replaced by the washing machine of the Ukraine. US government funds are sent to a place like this, are washed, and a large amount of that money is sent back to the “right people.” Ask Julian Assange-

          https://twitter.com/ggreenwald/status/1547752702511263745 (27 sec video)

          Reply
      1. DorothyT

        In a speech of less than 10 minutes, on January 17, 1961, President Dwight Eisenhower delivered his political farewell to the American people on national television from the Oval Office of the White House. Those who expected the military leader and hero of World War II to depart his Presidency with a nostalgic, “old soldier” speech like Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s, were surprised at his strong warnings about the dangers of the “military-industrial complex.”

        I remember seeing him deliver this speech. Even at a young age — and in a Republican household — I knew how important his words were.

        From the National Archive

        Reply
        1. hk

          People (I want to say it was Ray McGovern, but I can’t remember for sure) that the original speech was going to be about Military-Industrial-Congressional complex, but he was talked out of it….

          Reply
      2. scott s.

        And
        “The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded.”

        Reply
    3. Keith

      This TED talk by Scott Galloway pretty much sums up his shtick, come up with some “edgy” talking points and repeat them ad nauseam on the promotion circuit for his latest book/show/podcast/NYU course.

      The absurdity of his viewpoint is that he can’t or refuses to see the macro problems of neoliberal finance capitalism and happily takes his shots at some of the safer micro criticisms (ie, young people just can’t get rich anymore!, etc).

      Reply
    4. Matthew Scott

      I’m confused. Why is userfriendly applauding anything from Galloway and why did Yves post this link?

      Reply
    5. ChrisFromGA

      I agree w/ you, Flora. The Big Lie is around 9:00 in for those of you who want to cut to the chase.

      Claims that Social Security is some sort of intergenerational wealth x-fer are demagogy. Social security is an insurance program that we all pay into. Whatever shortfall may arise in 2033 can easily be solved by raising the income cap on Social Security payroll taxes or eliminating it.

      Right now, this is a huge windfall for billionaires and CEOs.

      https://money.usnews.com/money/retirement/social-security/articles/what-is-the-social-security-tax-limit

      He started out making some good points about higher ed, though. Too bad he falls into the trap of not thinking.

      Reply
      1. Michaelmas

        ChrisFromGA: Too bad he falls into the trap of not thinking.

        I don’t buy the ‘not thinking’ part. I looked at Galloway’s bio and he currently resides in London, UK, and has done since 2022.

        As I have done since leaving California. But then I never became a US citizen.

        So I don’t hold forth about what the US should do to stop its intergenerational wealth transfer by capping Social Security while sedulously not mentioning that the intergenerational transfer is only a part of the wealth pump US elites have increasingly run for the last four decades, whereby all the wealth of the bottom 80 percent of Americans is increasingly siphoned to the few at the top, so today the US is a sh*thole kleptocracy in steep decline.

        I mean, that’s the reason I moved to London. So I presume it’s Galloway and his wife’s reason too.

        Reply
      2. Henry Moon Pie

        Isn’t this:

        Social security is an insurance program that we all pay into.

        contradicted by this:

        Whatever shortfall may arise in 2033 can easily be solved by raising the income cap on Social Security payroll taxes

        If SS were not pay-as-you-go, raising the income cap would not be necessary. We would have already paid into the program what was necessary to support us absent some major, unanticipated increase in life expectancy (LOL).

        Let’s just be honest about why we want SS. It’s shameful for a society to have elderly people burdened with poverty, health care bills. etc. It’s also shameful for a society to have children, mothers, disabled people burdened with poverty, health care bills, etc., hence the need for a UBI, single payer healthcare, free and public education.

        SS as “insurance program” was a sales pitch thought necessary to get around the Four Horsement in FDR’s SCOTUS and the delusional ‘Murcan individualism into which we’ve been indoctrinated.

        Reply
        1. cfraenkel

          We all pay into it because when we’re working, we’re paying for the current benefits being paid out to seniors. You are correct that it was a psychological sales pitch to make the program politically untouchable (so they thought), but then fell back into thinking in that reference frame to find a contradiction. That sneaky neo-liberal overton window strikes again.

          Reply
      3. scott s.

        “Whatever shortfall may arise in 2033 can easily be solved by raising the income cap on Social Security payroll taxes or eliminating it. ”

        IOW, turn it into a welfare income transfer program.

        Reply
        1. flora

          Oh, it was turned into something in the mid-1980’s when then Dem Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill and GOP President Reagan got together to “save” Social Security by raising the retirement age from 65 to 66-68 to collect unreduced benefits, depending on birth year, for people then still far away from retirement age. And what did the great pols do with the projected savings? Why, they gave the richest people and businesses in the country a huge tax cut, of course, which was supposed to be paid back in time by said rich beneficiaries of the wealth transfer. That’s never happened. The Peterson Institute has dedicated itself to making sure it never happens. Then there are the accounting tricks like “chained CPI” designed to lower the supposedly inflation adjusted benefits below the rising costs of inflation. See: The Cat Food Commission.
          Yep, there’s a welfare-for-the-wealthy income transfer happening all right. / ;)

          Reply
          1. juno mas

            In Other Words, make it somewhat more progressive. As all workers pay the same percentage of their paycheck into the SS fund, and some workers get paid more than others, then extending the max pay cut-off is not a wealth transfer. It simply making the SS fund more robust.

            SS payments to retired workers consumes ~75% of SS payments. The other 25% goes to widows/children of retired/deceased workers and to disabled living workers and their families. The average SS check to retirees is ~$1900/mo. (That’s not wealthy.)

            Reply
  7. griffen

    Chinese EV, smaller and more competitive on price. Can’t have that in America! No sir no way no how, you over there in the CCP, much like ol’ Corn Pop did, are going to learn about humanity (!)

    The Seagull branded EV looks like that vehicle could be a category killer.

    Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        If you lose something, set it free. If it comes back, it’s yours. If not, it was never meant to be

        Reply
      2. griffen

        Squirrels on a golf course will do likewise, if say an open container of snacky snacks looks interesting to them…wide open to view on a golf cart…

        Guard your vital sustenance and nutrients from them rodents on ground and birds in air !

        Reply
    1. PlutoniumKun

      Everyone seems to overlook that since 2008, BYD was to a large extent an American owned company. Berkshire Hathaway was the major financer and shareholder for many years before it became a known name. But they’ve recently sold off a considerable chunk of their share, which is kind of interesting given their record for getting out of investments at the right time. It may not be unrelated to well attested stories of vast numbers of their cars being stockpiled unsold at ports.

      The Seagull isn’t the cheapest EV in the markets it sells in (BYD very much compete at the upper end of the market). There are plenty of cheaper Chinese EV’s in China, although the quality is highly variable and most of them have struggled to get market share abroad. In Europe, the Dacia Spring is generally cheaper, and is a larger and much more capable car from a very popular brand (Romanian based, French owned, although much of the components are Chinese). And if you want a city only EV, then in Europe something like the French owned/Moroccan made Citroen Ami is available for around 6,000 euro, less than half the price of a Seagull.

      But of course its becoming largely irrelevant to talk about ‘Chinese’ cars. The underpinning of nearly all EV’s on the road now are largely Chinese whatever the brand. In much of the world now, Tesla and VW EV’s are most likely to have been made in Shanghai. I suspect that over time the biggest Chinese brands will follow the lead of companies like Honda or Nissan or any Stellantis brand, and become essentially rootless, choosing whichever country at any given time gives them the best deal for their HQ or factories. There is vast overcapacity in the Chinese market, so they have no choice but to do what they can to win overseas markets. The problem is, no country (not just major western countries or ROK/Japan), have any intention of giving up their domestic industries to solve China’s problem of stagnant demand.

      Reply
      1. SocalJimObjects

        BYD was never American owned, the Forbes article even says that Buffet’s maximum ownership of the company never exceeded 10% which is a substantial stake but far from ownership. There’s no way China would ever allow a foreigner to assume control of such an important company.

        Reply
        1. PlutoniumKun

          Berkshire Hathaway started with a 10% share, which increased substantially over the next decade, but they have now reduced back to around 10%. Blackrock also owns a voting share. Until they stepped back, it was considered to be run by three senior owners, of which two were Chinese and one was BH.

          This is standard for all such companies in China (including, for example, VW’s investments). The western partner is at least officially ‘junior’ to the Chinese partner, but in some circumstances the foreign owner manages to retain full control – as with Airbus’s Chinese holdings, as one example. The actual question of who actually runs or controls any particular Chinese company is… well, only a few people within the company usually knows this. A former employer of mine thought that they owned and controlled a major construction operation in Shanghai until one day they discovered they didn’t. Thats the risk you take in China – Elon Musk is finding this out the hard way. I suspect BH are a little more astute.

          There is simply no way Berkshire Hathaway would have invested such a high investment sum without some substantial say in how the company was run. Thats just now how Buffet does business.

          Reply
          1. vidimi

            i think berkshire is derisking. buffet et al must know that whatever the US does to TikTok China can do to US assets in China.

            Reply
          2. SocalJimObjects

            No, they never increased their stake, https://markets.businessinsider.com/news/stocks/byd-stock-sales-warren-buffett-berkshire-hathaway-china-ev-munger-2023-11. You are welcome to post a link that says otherwise.

            Well actually Buffet’s no 1 philosophy is buying businesses with a large moat at a fair price. He’s not into actively interfering with management, he’s into so many businesses, it’s impossible that he would know every little detail about making cars, or sodas, or cellphones or furnitures. He places great value on autonomy and trusts the managers of the companies he invests in, a great example of which is the following : https://www.cnbc.com/2019/03/01/warren-buffett-and-his-relationship-with-retail-legend-rose-blumkin.html

            Reply
    2. Louis Fyne

      The Chinese EV market is impressive…but the (lazy? or incompetent?) media keeps comparing apples and oranges.

      The Seagull EV is 150 inches long….this is a micro-car by American plus-sized standardsand should not be compared to the median $45,000 new American car. a better comparison is the Xiaomi SU7, priced $40,000 in China.

      The US market given the choice between a big, used $18,000car or a new, subcompact $18,000 car (see Mitsubishi Mirage) overwhelmingly picks the big car

      Unless I lived in a city and rare traveled over 40 mph, I would not want to be in a car so small on US roads….they are (relatively) statistical death traps.

      https://www.iihs.org/news/detail/driver-death-rates-remain-high-among-small-cars

      Reply
      1. Darthbobber

        So about half a foot longer than the Fiat 500, and similar to Toyota’s Yaris.

        “Relative”, I think, is doing a lot of work on that death trap characterization. I’d be fine with a car that size if safety were the only concern, but I need about Corolla capacity.

        Reply
      2. juno mas

        The article indicates that the small Nissan Leaf (an EV) has one of the lowest fatality rates. In general, a small car has small chance in a collision with a bigger car (the physics of mass prevails). And the statistics support that. The problem with collisions on US roads is mostly one of excessive speed and inattention to the roadway. (Excluding Tesla’s on auto-pilot ;)

        Reply
  8. The Rev Kev

    ‘John Hudson
    @John_Hudson
    In explaining why Niger is
    He said the Nigerien leaders took particular umbrage at remarks by Molly Phee, the State Department’s top official for African affairs, who he said had urged the government during a March visit to Niamey to refrain from engaging with Iran and Russia in ways objectionable to Washington if Niger wanted to continue its security relationship with the United States.’

    I don’t think Molly Phee saying that the US may cut their security relationship with Niger was quite the threat that she thought it was. Maybe those Nigerien leaders could have set up a GoFundMe for her so that she could buy herself a clue. The US was paying zero dollars on that very important base and it was probably not having a good effect on the Niger economy. But while Niger was under attack by extremists who would kill people and burn villages, not only did the US refuse to act but they also denied Niger’s request to get military equipment from the US to counter them. I don’t think that the US was even sharing their drone intelligence of those extremists with the Niger military. So at that meeting the US was skating on some pretty think ice and then this Molly Phee came charging in on a heavy-duty dump truck-

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Catherine_Phee

    Reply
  9. Benny Profane

    Blinken is such a dork. And he has zero soul. Has he ever listened to the first verse of that song?

    There’s colors on the street

    Red, white and blue

    People shufflin’ their feet

    People sleepin’ in their shoes

    But there’s a warnin’ sign on the road ahead

    There’s a lot of people sayin’ we’d be better off dead

    Don’t feel like Satan, but I am to them

    So I try to forget it any way I can

    I mean, JFC. What is wrong with these people? And, goes for Trump, too. He actually had his people (maybe he didn’t make the choice, but…) play Fortunate Son at his rallies! That song is about him!

    Reply
    1. nycTerrierist

      x100 – what is wrong with these people?
      that tasteless dork (Blinken), that ghoul
      as if anyone needs more proof of his poor judgment

      Reply
    2. Chris Smith

      If Reagan could use “Born in the USA”…

      Seriously, these people either don’t listen to or don’t understand the lyrics in the verses, and then bleat out the choruses unironically. Bunch of dorks.

      Reply
        1. barefoot charley

          I liked the beginning, with Blinkered singing Neal Young into a dead mic. Wish fulfillment? Then it turns on, he turns off, and sings like he’s a teleprompter. Not just any scripted non-entity, a low-energy one too. Youth of Ukraine, here’s your America.

          Reply
      1. Pat

        They are not alone. People just don’t for the most part. Sting may be a jerk, but I have always liked the statement that he worries about the couples who tell him that “Every Breath You Take” was their wedding song. Apparently Sarah MacLachlan’s “Possession” has a few of those, too.

        Reply
    3. Feral Finster

      Blinken knows that he is a raging hypocrite. He does not care.

      Reward and punishment, not hypocrisy, is what makes a sociopath change course.

      Reply
  10. yep

    As Denmark plans to make national service mandatory for young women, some say they are ready to ‘send a signal to Russia’ ABC Australia.

    The link has one “http://” too many.

    Reply
  11. zagonostra

    >Using Comparative & Absolute Advantage To Explain China’s Rise Ian Welsh (Micael T)

    Offshoring anything another country doesn’t already know how to make is stupid, because when you offshore the locals learn how to make what you offshore and eventually they make it themselves for themselves and compete with you. “Friendshoring” can’t work, it can only crate new competitors with lower costs.

    The days of the West’s absolute advantage are over. We threw it away for a few decades of high profits funneled to elites, and now we must learn to compete on comparative advantage again, something we mostly don’t have and aren’t used to being necessary.

    Article doesn’t mention the Trillions spent over the decades blowing up other countries and keeping the world garrisoned with military bases. We don’t have a Nation we have an Empire. The U.S. Constitution wasn’t written for an empire, and so Elites (not the “WE”) will continue to plunder what ever is left here and the real “we” will continue to suffer in any comparisons to a less war mongering country that invests in its infrastructure and people.

    Reply
    1. JBird4049

      >>>The U.S. Constitution wasn’t written for an empire…

      Ever wonder why all the bits related to protecting the individual from the government, which the Bill of Rights are all about and the American people’s control of its own government are the bits going away? It is much like the Roman Republic’s constitution going away when it became the Roman Empire. Augustus kept saying that he had restored the Republic, but that was just malarkey, as he had only restored the forms, not the functioning, of the former republic.

      I think that plenty of Americans believe in the United States, but the elites are reducing the constitutional system to merely the appearance or form from its functions much as first the Senatorial class and later the Equestrian class did to amass or steal as much wealth as they could.

      IIRC, there were suggestions for reforms that would account for the many changes during the previous centuries, but that would have weakened the grip of the Roman elites and threaten their plundering.

      Reply
  12. JTMcPhee

    Speaking of Denmark and autocoprophagy of the West, Bernie Sanders wrote an op Ed published in the biggest Danish newspaper whining to the Danes about how awful are the grossly inflated prices danish big pharma Novo Nordisk charges his fellow Americans for fat-fixer meds Ozempic and Wegovy. https://twitter.com/i/redirect?url=https%3A%2F%2Ftwitter.com%2FSenSanders%2Fstatus%2F1790064318471414056%3Fcxt%3DHBwW0IS5ue6Ay9cxAAAA%26cn%3DZmxleGlibGVfcmVjcw%253D%253D%26refsrc%3Demail&t=1+1715751729284&cn=ZmxleGlibGVfcmVjcw%3D%3D&sig=f8207197ca116c8594c33d5377d291e5fc3133aa&iid=54e82f88283d40d2b2a3da6f8deb22c1&uid=3431496159&nid=244+293670913

    Ah, the descent into total irrelevance…

    Reply
    1. Cassandra

      Bernie has been reading from the script for nigh on eight years now. Such a shame he didn’t retire while he still had a reputation for integrity.

      Reply
      1. barefoot charley

        He could barely get an office chair, let alone a committee chair, until he threw over everything that distinguished him, which is what had marginalized him from the big boys’ table. I always liked Bernie, and I respect how long he resisted temptation. Becoming a serious threat to the party seems to be what wrecked him for good and ill.

        Reply
  13. Jason Boxman

    From web surveillance land.

    So there are products like Hotjar, which let you meticulously track what a user does on a web site, but I’ve never seen this. As it happens, Microsoft has a similar product, which integrates with Google(!). You really can investigate each visitor in detail, not in terms of individual user demographics and identified personal information like age or mailing address, but in terms of every single page visited, every single click, every scroll. It’s insane. There are page heat maps that show where you tap or click. It’s unbelievable. And just like Google with Google Analytics, I doubt Microsoft provides “Clarity” for absolutely nothing for no reason at all. This data goes somewhere. And this stuff is why I would never run Windows 11! (Granted running some other OS does not prevent this stuff from working browsing the Web, but I don’t want this stuff in my OS as well. My file manager is my business.)

    Reply
    1. cfraenkel

      Speaking from the other side. User tracking has a long history in software development, back to the ancient days (80’s & 90’s) when developers would sit down behind users to see how typical users interacted with the controls onscreen. Later, ‘high tech’ methods got introduced – video cameras synched to the CRT’s refresh and another camera pointed at the user’s face. This allowed many more users to be monitored without tying up a programmer’s time (and allowed the whole team to see the important bits). You could spend days arguing with a programmer convinced that something was vitally important, or ten minutes showing a user baffled by what was on-screen. Nothing quite like seeing that light bulb go off.

      Nowadays, all that monitoring happens in analytics. Yes, all your mouse movements are tracked, along with 10,000 of your best friends’. No, no one cares what *you* do with your mouse. We care what the 98 out of a 100 users do with their mouse.

      Originally, all this monitoring led to treasured insights into software design like the Apple HID guidelines – which is what made Apple great, it’s what made Macs ‘just work’.

      Now, Apple themselves regularly ignore the HID guidelines, and all that monitoring goes to eking out that last 5% conversion rate bump to sell just a few more widgets.

      The mouse and click tracking isn’t really so much of a privacy concern by itself, its used more for tracking the usability of each page. The history and search tracking is much more concerning, since that tracks *your* intent and interest.

      Thought some perspective from the webmaster’s side would be helpful in understanding.

      Reply
      1. Jason Boxman

        Oh, no doubt. I poked it earlier and the insights were valuable for my use case, and I specifically sought it out, knowing that it would probably work in the way that it did to enable me to that end.

        But I don’t have much trust that Microsoft, or Google, don’t combine this information with other data for nefarious reasons, irrespective of how useful it might be to individual web sites or mobile applications. This is, after all, provided completely free of monetary charge by Microsoft, as GA4 is from Google. Huge numbers of sites run Google Analytics, and Universal Analytics before that, and this must be on the order of hundreds of millions or billions of monthly requests to their infrastructure monthly; and to be useful, it has to be setup with failover and high-availability, at major edge points at every data center all over. This can’t possibly be cheap to run.

        At least in the days of video camera and CRTs, the data wasn’t shot up into the Cloud, anonymized or not.

        Reply
  14. GramSci

    Yes to “today’s Steve Keen is a must read”.

    Keen is often a dense read to those of us who are unschooled in mathematical macroeconomic modeling, but this chapter contains a good, elementary explanation of the importance of [non]ergodicity.

    Reply
    1. Steve H.

      > Blatt then demonstrates that u can be related to two subjective estimates: the maximum time M that a firm deems as acceptable to recoup its initial investment, and the probability D that some form of disaster will strike before this time

      > On Hyperbolic Discounting and Uncertain Hazard Rates

      More math, but ‘hazard rate’ can (mostly) directly transfer to Keen’s equations, and it lays out why an assumption of ergodicity fails:

      >> It can be seen from the table that a cake immediately is worth more than a promise of wine after a month, while a promise of wine after three months is worth more than a promise of cake after two months.

      Reply
      1. skippy

        For more fun … https://larspsyll.wordpress.com/?s=ergodicity+

        “Paul Samuelson once famously claimed that the ‘ergodic hypothesis’ is essential for advancing economics from the realm of history to the realm of science. But is it really tenable to assume — as Samuelson and most other mainstream economists — that ergodicity is essential to economics?

        Sometimes ergodicity is mistaken for stationarity. But although all ergodic processes are stationary, they are not equivalent.” – snip

        I am reminded of the human side of this quandary, where Samuelson when cornered said this methodology was his choice, could not see any alternative, in fact anything thing else, possibly, was disturbing to him. This can be expanded to a whole cornucopia of economic, political, military, et al sorts and watch them cling to their “Belifes” all whilst reality melts around them …

        Reply
  15. Eric Anderson

    Steve Keen: Your Margin or Your Life —

    I have a question for you, Yves.

    I’m finding it fascinating to watch Professor Keen’s attack on the foundations of neoclasssical econ play out in real time. But, given Thomas Neuberger’s recently post, what timeline are we looking at to begin seeing Professor Keen’s insights begin to actually shift the needle of economic thought?

    I mean, I KNOW my smug little advisor at Edward Jones isn’t reading Steve Keen. How long until ideas like his filter down to the practitioners? I get there is obviously no clear answer. But i think it’d be an interesting to hear your thoughts on the matter.

    Reply
  16. Eclair

    RE: Chinese producing masses of cheap EV’s and their threat to the US auto market. And, the US government slapping a 100% tarif on them.

    Ohhh, I am getting such a sense of deja vu here. Wasn’t it back in the 1960’s that Japan began sending over their cheap, reliable and efficient (for the time) passenger cars and pickups. The US car industry at the time was still going with Big, with chrome, with powerful, gas guzzling engines.

    Detroit laughed. But, then the 1973 ‘oil shock’ hit. Consumers wanted the great gas mileage of the smaller Japanese (and German) cars. Shopping malls and grocery stores re-striped their parking lots, downsizing parking spaces. By 1980, Japan was ‘persuaded’ to limit the number of their exports to the US.

    Then Detroit discovered the SUV. Big profit margins and bigger and bigger autos. Until you had moms explaining that they HAD to buy a big SUV to protect their children. Couldn’t have the wee ones out there on the highway in a tiny car! And here we are in 2024.

    Reply
  17. The Rev Kev

    “The Walls Are Closing in on John Deere’s Tractor Repair Monopoly”

    It would be one thing to establish a repair monopoly. But it is another that the repair center is several counties away – or even in another State. And if you need somebody to come out and “reboot” your tractor, you may have a very long wait indeed depending on how long you are in the que of service repairmen. Tough luck if you are trying to bring your crop in and the rains are threatening.

    Reply
  18. Wukchumni

    Well, I think things are goin’ over my head
    Yes, I think things are goin’ over my head
    Over you, over you Ukraine
    I want you to want me, I need you so badly
    I can’t think of anything but you

    And I think things are goin’ over my head
    Yes, I think things are goin’ over my head
    Over you, over you

    I see you now dressed in a black shirt, as if in mourning
    But you just talk past me, don’t even know that I exist

    Goin’ out of my head over you
    Out of my head over you out of my head day and night
    Night and day and night, wrong or right

    I must think of a way into playing a band part
    There’s no reason why Putin not being shy should keep us apart
    And I think I’m goin’ out of my head
    Yes, I think I’m goin’ out of my head

    Goin’ out of my head over you
    Out of my head over you out of my head day and night
    Night and day and night, wrong or right
    Night and day and night
    Wrong or right, day or night
    Everyday, every, every day

    Goin’ Out Of My Head, by Little Anthony and the Imperials

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qah0t_maZRo

    Reply
  19. The Rev Kev

    “Ukraine war live updates: Under heavy Russian fire, Ukraine withdraws troops from parts of besieged Kharkiv region”

    Further down that page is the following-

    ‘The European Commission’s next sanctions package is expected to propose restrictions on Russian liquefied natural gas (LNG) for the first time, including a ban on trans-shipments in the EU, according to a document seen by Reuters. This would not directly bar Russian LNG imports to the bloc, but would ban provision of re-loading services by EU facilities for trans-shipment of Russian LNG to third countries.’

    Must be more of those European values that I keep on hearing about. So they will still use Russian LNG but will make sure that no other country can if it goes through the EU so that there is more LNG for them.

    Reply
  20. t

    I understand that some people are not good at recognizing people. For them, I suppose any type of mask or clown noses or geometric face paint make no never mind. For the rest of us, when have non-Zorro like masks “concealed identity”?

    Maybe I’ll buy some flour in a sack, cut eyeholes in the sack, and go walking around town.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      Slovak PM Fico you say? Maybe the security details for Hungary’s Victor Orbán and Serbia’s Aleksandar Vučić should revise their security arrangements.

      Reply
    2. Feral Finster

      Apparently fighting for his life.

      I recall Ukrainian politicians threatening europe with blowback if they did not get what they wanted. This is one possible scenario, but I can think of several others, all speculation on my part.

      Reply
    3. flora

      Thanks for the link. The last para reads:

      Fico took office in October 2023, after serving two stints as prime minister from 2006 to 2010 and from 2012 to 2018. Fico immediately halted the previous government’s policy of military aid to Ukraine and called for a negotiated settlement between Moscow and Kiev. His neutral stance on the conflict has seen him clash with Brussels, and with pro-Western figures within Slovakia such as Caputova.

      Reply
    4. Lena

      Fico’s wounds are being called “life threatening”. Various Western news organizations are referring to him as the “pro-Russian” Slovak PM or the “Putin ally”.

      Reply
  21. The Rev Kev

    “The West is mobilizing against Georgia”

    ‘The law could put an end to Georgia’s plans to join NATO, British Deputy Foreign Secretary Nusrat Ghani warned’

    I would see that as a plus. Once you join NATO you lose a large chunk of your sovereignty and have to outlay billions each and every year on weapons. You also lose control of your foreign policy so maybe not joining NATO would not be so bad after all.

    ‘Sanction threats from the USA’

    Strange in that Georgia is only adopting the US’s FARA Act. Georgia may be wary about listening to the US and the EU too much. The last time that they believed what they said, they ended up in a war with Russia and lost two provinces as a result.

    Reply
    1. Feral Finster

      The Georgian opposition would gladly surrender any vestiges of sovereignty and turn Georgia into a wholly-owned subsidiary of McDonald’s if that were the price of admission to The Club.

      Reply
      1. Belle

        Lest we forget, Georgia’s opposition leader is the corrupt and mad Mikhail Saakashvili, who is facing trial on several charges. Numerous western politicians, as well as Zelensky and Bill Browder are calling for him to be released.

        Reply
      2. R.S.

        Yeah, die Jacobin had an article a week or so ago. It’s written with that “pox on both your houses” vibe, but gives some interesting figures and observations.
        (Link in German):
        https://www.jacobin.de/artikel/georgien-proteste-ngo-gesetz-russland-europa

        Like, Georgia has 25 000 NGOs, that’s about one NGO for every 150 residents. (I’ve seen even higher numbers, like 27 thousand, but without good sources.) 90 percent of their funding comes from abroad, and the majority don’t get money from inside Georgia at all. Their employees would find the idea of asking the locals for support “quite absurd” (ziemlich absurd finden).

        Another interesting quip is that for many Georgians the promised EU-membership is something “eschatological”, and stands for the recognition that the Georgians are inherently “European” and better than “the Asiatics”. Sounds very familiar.

        The actual quote:
        ===
        …ist die Idee der EU-Mitgliedschaft für viele Georgierinnen und Georgier zu einem eschatologischen Projekt geworden: Sie bedeutet das Versprechen von Erlösung nach langem und ungerechten Leid und Aufopferung. Die EU steht dabei nicht nur für Träume — von materiellem Wohlergehen, Sicherheit, Würde, Komfort — die sich erfüllen, sondern auch für die Anerkennung, die Georgier seien immanent “europäisch”, besonders und kulturell überlegen gegenüber ihren “asiatischen” Nachbarn.
        ===

        Reply
  22. Smith, M.J.

    Novel punishment for NYU protesters: “reflection papers”

    https://facultyforpalestine.education/2024/05/13/may-13-nyu-punishes-arrested-students-by-requiring-reflection-papers-and-completion-of-integrity-modules/

    As a public service, here is my template NYU ‘reflection paper,’ free of charge:

    “I am so sorry for using my 1st Amendment right to protest my country’s role in an ongoing genocide.

    How silly of me to think our 1st Amendment protects speech that might hurt the feelings of people supporting the most moral army in the world, whose brave soldiers have conquered bakery shops, hospitals, ambulances, grade schools, universities, churches, mosques, farms, fishing boats, refugee tents, cemeteries, waterworks, aid convoys, and playgrounds—not to mention that pesky 6 year-old girl with a coloring book begging for rescue on her dead cousin’s cellphone.

    On reflection, I have learned my lesson. I am much wiser now, with a better understanding of the values my school and country truly stand for.”

    I am sure the NC commentariat can provide other examples.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      ‘Punishment of student activists has been partially outsourced to a private company that specializes in “behavioral intervention management” on college campuses’

      Orwellian. Simply Orwellian.

      Reply
      1. Procopius

        Favorite tactic of the Cultural Revolution, require victims to “confess” to their crimes publicly and repent. Put in front of a hostile crowd, they had to describe what their “self reflection” had revealed to them about their sins. Personally, I don’t believe any of them believed what they were saying, but apparently this private “behavioral intervention management” company has sold the idea to the university administrations. Well, there’s a lot of ideology in “education” as a commodity, so it probably fits with their priors.

        Reply
    2. rowlf

      Reminds me of stories from former South Vietnamese in re-education camps after the invasion of South Vietnam having to make declarations.

      Reply
    1. brian wilder

      It was pretty good at skewering the competence-shortage of allegedly good intentions and proximate hypocrisies.

      As I was reading, I kept thinking to myself, “and yet . . .” there are organizations which appear remarkably effective at persuading, as an example, young people to smoke.

      Without acknowledging the latter, his argument is indistinguishable from reactionary arguments for the impotence of all efforts to reform or mitigate.

      Reply
  23. ChrisFromGA

    It occurs to me that our political parties (“the uniparty”) now have more in common with WWE/WWF wrestling than actual representative democracy.

    Get ready for a lot of fake campaign action, with GOP claims to be the party of border protection analogous to a chair made of balsa wood artfully smashed on the back of the Junkyard Dog or some other wrestler.

    Likewise, when the Dems claim to be protecting women’s rights to abortion, remember just how hard they worked to codify that when Pelosi ruled the House and Obama the WH. Boom, an atomic elbow!

    Reply
  24. lyman alpha blob

    RE: How to get 7th graders to smoke

    Unfortunately people really do buy into these dubious methods. This bit, intended to be cautionary –

    “My kid does better when we feed him raw beef and read him Ulysses, so that’s what all schools should do, and the fact that this also happens to fit my personal and political aesthetics is merely a coincidence.”

    – reminded me of my good friend and former math teacher. A colleague of hers who was a huge baseball fan was able to get his kids really enthused about statistics by using baseball stats as examples in his class. That prompted an administrator to say that since the one teacher got such good results, all the other teachers should now use baseball stats in their classes too. My friend protested, saying she hated baseball, had her own methods that kids liked, and her kids would surely pick up on her lack of enthusiasm were she forced to change her teaching methods, and become less enthused themselves. One size fits all wouldn’t work.

    This was just one of many times she butted heads with administrators who couldn’t teach before resigning earlier than she had planned.

    Reply
    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Here are the “rules”:

      – No audience.
      – No RFK Jr.
      – No Trump remarks during Biden’s answers. [Trump’s mic will be muted when biden’s “talking.”]
      – Only Biden-friendly outlets & anchors can moderate (from CBS, ABC, CNN or Telemundo).

      https://twitter.com/VinceCoglianese/status/1790729151999103180

      Luckily Trump is getting plenty of practice in being muzzled by “judge” juan merchan, who’ll probably get a gig job with one of those outlets so he’s “legal” to “moderate”…

      Reply
      1. Screwball

        Thanks for the info.

        Sounds like Joe wants a setup in his favor. I don’t blame him. If I were Joe’s handlers I would be ******* razor blades. I don’t see how he can look good through a debate no matter how stacked it is in his favor.

        It will no doubt be highly entertaining, especially the post debate talking heads telling us how Joe kicked his ass.

        Reply
  25. The Rev Kev

    “Why the Israeli army is invading northern Gaza a second time”

    I guess those resistance fighters didn’t get the memo that they had been defeated. Some of those videos on that page show some pretty gutsy move on the part of those fighters who seem to have no combat gear whatsoever. And some Israeli officer is going to have to explain why he only had a soldier or two guarding a whole bunch of tanks. That was pretty stupid that. But the mention of those Israeli casualties seems to give lie to what the Israelis are willing to admit too and you wonder what the true count actually is.

    Reply
  26. upstater

    Zombie loans, “Destiny USA”. How apropos that the largest mall in NYS is called “Destiny USA”. Indeed, Destiny epitomizes our destination. Note that the county provided $75M for a 3.5M SF Amazon warehouse 3 miles away. and Micron is on deck for $20B in taxpayer money for their chip fab. Picking the winners!

    Destiny USA’s latest financial woe: Why At Home’s departure couldn’t come at a worse time archive syracuse.com

    The news of the loss of At Home comes just weeks before Destiny faces an annual deadline to extend or pay in full more than $450 million in mortgage loans.
    Destiny is drowning in debt. The mortgage loans are part of a total debt of more than $700 million on the mall, which was appraised last year at just $133 million.

    Destiny is highly leveraged, with debt totaling $713.5 million. That’s five times greater than what the mall is worth, according to the appraisal done last year.
    The debt consists of $453.8 million in mortgage loans, and a $259.7 million balance on bonds issued by the Syracuse Industrial Development Agency to finance the 2012 expansion.
    Destiny has been making its bond payments. But Pyramid has been struggling to make its mortgage payments. Those loans were originally obtained from JP Morgan Chase and later bundled into commercial mortgage-backed securities sold on Wall Street.
    Pyramid, the family-owned mall development company that owns the mall, has been making only interest payments on the loans. They were supposed to be paid in full in 2019. But Pyramid was unable to pay them off or refinance them.

    It would be interesting to see which institutions are holding the bag. No moral hazard here… move along…

    Reply
  27. Tom Stone

    I expect the Biden Admin to double down (Triple down?) on suppressing the anti Genocide protestors.
    Using proxies ( Private Militias) to do the dirty work, as at UCLA , is a time honored tactic, but it might expose the paymasters to legal jeopardy.
    I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see the Seinfeld ‘s hit with a lawsuit by the families of the protestors injured by the goons they paid.
    The Police will do as they always do in such situations, stand by while the goons beat the kids to a pulp and then arrest them…
    However there are plenty of hungry lawyers in California and if they smell blood (Money) we might see some hefty settlements.

    Reply
    1. ambrit

      Watch out for some “local” or State level attempt to extend police immunity to the Goonsquad.
      Perhaps some sort of retroactive ‘Deputization’ of the Goons.
      As ‘Dim’ tells Alex near the end of “A Clockwork Orange,” when Alex is arrested by two of his former gang mates, who are now policemen; “Big jobs for big boys.”

      Reply
  28. James Casey

    “Scott Galloway: How the US is destroying young people’s future TED Talks. UserFriendly:

    Quite a good short talk. Ethically and content-wise, working class / populist. It makes a few points where I was waiting for audience members heads to explode. Very highly recommended.”

    Really? Lots of bull manure about Social Security bankrupting the country. Not a word about it being funded by deductions most people pay all their life (a fund, not an entitlement). I wonder if he’s truly ignorant or just in the business of stirring up inter-generational anger.

    Reply

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