Links 5/20/2024

The Rise of Mesoeconomics Project Syndicate

REAL ID Act: 20 Years Of Delays – Why 2025 Won’t Be Any Different View from the Wing


More critical minerals investment required to meet energy transition demand: IEA S&P Global

US moves to make nation’s largest coal region unavailable to new mining S&P Global

* * *

Vulnerable population: Rising heat on public health infrastructure Business Standard

Drops in the Ocean: The Hidden Power of Rights-Based Climate Change Litigation (PDF) Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law

This Plastic Is Embedded With Bacterial Spores That Break It Down After It’s Thrown Out Singularity Hub


Original COVID-19 priming regimen impacts the immunogenicity of bivalent BA.1 and BA.5 boosters Nature. From the Conclusion: “Combined, our data emphasize important lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic and associated vaccination strategies: (1) the original priming vaccination has an imprinting effect on the immune system that can still be observed after at least two mRNA-based booster vaccines, and (2) not all mRNA-based booster vaccines are equally immunogenic; in the SWITCH-ON trial only bivalent Omicron BA.5 vaccination broadened the neutralizing antibody response, whereas the bivalent BA.1 vaccine did not.” I’m so old I remember when we were going to rapidly develop point versions of mRNA vaccines, like software. Oh well.

The pandemic era is now, and mask bans are unethical and Anti-mask Woke-washing (2023) Chloe Humbert, Teams Human

Excess mortality in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden during the COVID-19 pandemic 2020–2022 European Journal of Public Health

* * *

A mad world: capitalism and the rise of mental illness Red Pepper


The battlegrounds that could decide a US-China war over Taiwan FT

Dozens of China’s state regulators, bankers, finance bosses in corruption net as crackdown stepped up in new year South China Morning Post


Ireland ‘absolutely’ intends to recognize Palestinian statehood this month: Premier Anadolu Agency

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi confirmed dead in helicopter crash BNE Intellinews

US security adviser urges Netanyahu to connect war to ‘political strategy’ BBC [slaps forehead]. Jake Sullivan.

Houthis strike tanker carrying Russian oil to China Splash247. I thought they only targeted ships servicing Israel? Did I not get the memo?

Another reason our elites identify with Israel:

European Disunion

Slovakia PM attacker ‘may not have been lone wolf’ BBC

Dear Old Blighty

Starmer, the cuckoo Funding the Future

New Not-So-Cold War

Volodymyr Zelensky’s presidential term expires on May 20th The Economist. That’s today!

War and popularity keep Zelensky in power despite term expiring BBC

* * *

SITREP 5/19/24: Ukrainian Streets Deserted as New Mobilization Hits Simplicius the Thinker(s)

Bulgarian president calls Ukraine’s victory over Russia impossible Ukrainska Pravda

* * *

Russia opens new front in Ukraine war. Is Ukraine losing the war with Russia? USA Today

Russia’s glide bombs devastating Ukraine’s cities on the cheap BBC

* * *

Russia & China — Two Against One Ray McGovern, Consortium News. Hat tip to the brain geniuses in The Blob for working so hard to bring this about.

Singing the Blues: the Baltics and Ukraine CEPA

Trillion dollar war: How Europe struggles to fund the Ukraine War Indian Express

* * *

US Congress may sanction authors of Georgia’s ‘foreign agents’ law – WSJ, The Hill JAM News

Bullshit Blowback Tarik Cyril Amar. The deck: “The latest crisis in Georgia is an example of Western ‘elites’ building echo chambers feeding them their own delusions.” But there are many such.

Global Elections

India begins voting in phase 5 of general elections Anadolu Agency

India votes 2024: ‘The rich get richer, the poor get poorer’ France24

‘Why should we vote?’ India’s jute workers blame politicians for woes Al Jazeera

Modi’s Anti-Muslim Rhetoric Taps Into Conspiracy Theories Of Hindu Replacement Madras Courier

The popular decimation of India’s democracy Bangkok Post


Monopoly Round-Up: Google Tries to Pay Off the Antitrust Division (excerpt) Matt Stoller, BIG

Digital Watch

The Rise of Large-Language-Model Optimization Bruce Schneier, Schneier on Security. “The advent of AI threatens to destroy the complex online ecosystem that allows writers, artists, and other creators to reach human audiences.”

When Online Content Disappears Pew Research Center. The deck: “38% of webpages that existed in 2013 are no longer accessible a decade later. Why don’t we nationalize the cloud?

Traffic lights could change in the era of smart vehicles Fast Company

VCs and the military are fueling self-driving startups that don’t need roads TechCrunch

Emoji history: the missing years Get Info

Librarians Are Waging a Quiet War Against International “Data Cartels” The Markup


Julian Assange faces judgment day in years-long fight to stay out of US court The Hill. Consortium News will cover it live.

The Final Frontier

Solar Storm Knocks Out Farmers’ Tractor GPS Systems During Peak Planting Season 404 Media

Giant alien power plants are sucking energy from seven stars in outer space, claims study WION. Dyson spheres?


The Tick That Took Me Out Oakland Magazine


Churches turn to armed volunteers as gunmen threaten pastors, worshippers FOX. Gal 6:7.

Infrastructure Collapse

Human error, Dali switchboard in focus at US Congress Baltimore bridge hearing Seatrade Maritime

Class Warfare

The End of Lean Production… and What’s Ahead Kim Moody, Labor Notes. Important. Moody is always worth a read.

Maybe We’re Closer to “You’ll Own Nothing” Than We Realize Charles Hugh Smith, Of Two Minds

A workers’ co-op rises from the remains of a Colorado mushroom farm Colorado Sun

10 Reasons Even a Bald Guy Should Own a Hairdryer The Art of Doing Stuff. First world problems, but could #8 be true?

Feeling good about feeling bad, or how guilt can make you better WaPo

Antidote du jour (via ejatgc):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Antifa

    (melody borrowed from Sailing  by Christopher Cross)

    Hell has come to Earth and here’s a slice:
    Here’s Gaza by the sea
    We see fires at night where the Arabs stay
    If they found food to eat
    We have made their lives so miserable
    They’re stumbling in the street
    So needy

    It’s ten klicks to hike across this land
    That terrorists defend
    But if we move at night we will be destroyed
    We won’t know where or when
    We are anxious on this open beach
    They have RPG’s
    So speedy

    Every day the terrorists wait where we can’t see
    Just a gleam or glint and there will be
    Dead friends next to me

    We bulldoze olive trees
    But we’re failing
    We’re shot up and Hamas runs free
    We shoot back but there’s nobody
    That’s all we see

    Every day the terrorists wait where we can’t see
    Just a gleam or glint and there will be
    Dead friends next to me

    (musical interlude)

    When I got called back they said to me
    ‘It’s just for a few weeks’
    ‘We’ll tuck ’em in at night in an empty grave
    Then come home for tea’

    But it’s been six months of misery
    Hostages aren’t free
    I wish I was leaving

    Every day the terrorists wait where we can’t see
    Just a gleam or glint and there will be
    Dead friends next to me

  2. The Rev Kev

    “10 Reasons Even a Bald Guy Should Own a Hairdryer”

    I gave a bald guy I knew once a comb. He said that he would never part with it.

    Boom, boom!

      1. Terry Flynn

        UK equivalent is “I’ll get me coat”

        (yes it is “me”, which pans well with various northern English dialects)

    1. flora

      From the lede:

      ….UniSuper, an Australian pension fund that manages $135 billion worth of funds and has 647,000 members, had its entire account wiped out at Google Cloud, including all its backups that were stored on the service. UniSuper thankfully had some backups with a different provider and was able to recover its data, but according to UniSuper’s incident log, downtime started May 2, and a full restoration of services didn’t happen until May 15.

      UniSuper’s website is now full of must-read admin nightmare fuel about how this all happened.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I was about to say unbelievable but in reality I can fully believe it. How difficult would it have been for UniSuper to have a server in their basement or somewhere so that once a day they can do a full backup of their account every 24 hours? What if that had been a malicious hacker that had gotten into Google Cloud? This really is the most stupidest timeline.

        1. digi_owl

          Logistically? None what so ever. managerially? Near impossible.

          Heck, server in the basement may have been their modus operandi until the cloud hype took over the c-suite.

        2. Rob

          If they manage Billions, then they probably have many 1,000’s of servers, not all of which may need to be backed up everyday. A bit more complex than you might imagine. A full backup of petabytes of data may take days or weeks to complete, Most critical online/transaction systems take periodic “snapshots” thoughout the day to allow multiple options when recovering from a variety of scenarios. Accidental deletes, corruption, hardware failure, ransomware/malware, etc etc. Goal is to minimize data loss and provide multiple recovery points in time to choose from because not all backups are “good” or useful for all situations.

          1. urdsama

            Eh, if they manage billions, they need to spend money to ensure no issues. The real problem is companies don’t want to spend the money on infrastructure.

            It’s really not that complex if designed correctly. No excuse for this be it 1 server or a million.

      2. Terry Flynn

        I’ve had almost daily “don’t panic” emails from the scheme for weeks now.

        Which automatically makes me assume they’ve been fatally compromised.

        So I assume I’ll never get my Aussie (largest by value) pension.

        1. flora

          Not sure you should assume that. A UniSuper admin had the foresight to make second backups on another (not Google) cloud service. UniSuper is recovering its data from that backup. Well done that admin!

          1. digi_owl

            Reminds me of when a big company was hit with ransomware, but was able to maintain operations thanks to the old hands insisting on keeping analog phone lines working as well as printed price lists.

          2. R.S.

            TBH that’s operations 101 for any financial institution. Stand-bys, at least two on-site backups in different locations, reserve comm channels and so on and so forth. I find it strange that it took them two weeks to restore operations.

            1. digi_owl

              It may well be that all of that was provided as part of the Google package. But apparently the fat fingered mistake deleted the whole company account across the Google service.

            2. vao

              Restoring everything would imply at least:

              1) Re-installing all programs, database schemas, etc on the Google cloud. Since they managed it in two weeks, I assume they had some kind of layer, on top of which UniSuper applications run, and that abstracted out the differences in API and libraries between Google and that second unnamed cloud service.

              2) Extracting a copy of all data from the second cloud, reformatting it, and re-feeding it into the Google installation. Depending on the size of the database, the network bandwidth available, and the time needed to have various database replicas cohere, this might take days or weeks.

              3) Between the time restoration work started and the time it ended and the Google cloud installation is ready to resume, plenty of transactions have been processed in that other cloud installation. All of these must be taken over so that both installations remain coherent.

              I am actually quite surprised they managed to correct things in just two weeks.

              1. R.S.

                I won’t argue, as I may be waaay in the wrong here. No idea whether they have ever imagined such a scenario or had to work out the details on the fly, and what architecture, designs etc they’re using. A bit too close to pontificating on my part, I guess.

          1. Terry Flynn

            Hehe I’ll keep that in mind. Plus kudos to flora for telling me something new that gives me hope.

    2. Skip Intro

      Seems like a corollary to the local law about platforms is presenting itself:
      “If all your data is on someone’s cloud, it’s not your data.”

  3. The Rev Kev

    “Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi confirmed dead in helicopter crash”

    This has been in the news for hours now but there is one thing that I am not seeing. Probably that helicopter crashed by flying into a hillside during heavy fog so maybe pilot error. They should have stayed on the ground. But nobody has brought up in the news how that is exactly Kobe Bryant also died back in 2020. His helicopter also flew into the side of hill during heavy fog killing all aboard-

    1. Terry Flynn

      I think someone yesterday brought up the possibility of pilot error brought on by covid cognitive problems. Wouldn’t surprise me if that’s the case.

      On day to day basis I’m seeing drivers etc make the kind of mistakes that were virtually unheard of pre 2020. I usually sit on front seat of bus to get maximum ventilation and fresh air. Thus I get to witness all the near misses too. Shocking.

      1. Just sayin

        I noticed the bad driving increase, too. I see stuff I never saw before. Also, a lot of people don’t drive when the light turns green; they just sit there. Not everyone of the drivers can be on their smart devices. Just weird.

    2. Benny Profane

      Stevie Ray Vaughn, too. Actually, heavy fog, but ran into unseen power wire.

    3. Aurelien

      Helicopters, fog and mountains are a lethal combination. The BBC has a good summary here:
      which suggests that it was actually raining at the time. No western air force would ever fly in such weather, though it’s fair to say that, with the time getting on, having several important members of your government stuck up by a dam on the border with Azerbaijan might not have seemed a good idea, so they obviously decided to risk it. The helicopter (a Bell) was probably delivered in the early 1980s, and is unlikely to have been fitted with modern navigation equipment for poor weather.

    4. Louis Fyne

      In a normal timeline, I, 100%, would be on board with you…

      but the ICC issued its arrest warrant for Bibi today of all days!

      And given Bibi has shown 0% rationality during his entire career, it is not inconceivable that it was purely weather.

      There better not be anything odd in the official investigation, the world doesn’t need a Archduke Ferdinand Pt. 2.

      regardless, corners of the internet are going to have a field day….

      1. ChrisFromGA

        Technically, the ICC has not yet issued a warrant. This is the equivalent of a D.A. (Khan) seeking an indictment from a grand jury, I think. So there is still a chance for it to be derailed on some technicality, i.e. the grand jury says no indictment and Bibi walks.

      2. steppenwolf fetchit

        I heard on the news that the ICC also ” issued arrest warrants” for the Hamas leadership authorising taking hostages, rocketing civilian sites, etc.

        Does anyone here know if the ICC also “did that” or if I heard disinfo on my news outlet?

    5. digi_owl

      Also, fog at altitude is basically low clouds. And it is easy to underestimate how quickly such conditions change.

      It may have been a clear sky when they lifted off.

      I do get semi-regular helicopter traffic past here, and i have on occasion noticed pilots taking a on the spot decision to detour due to low clouds making their regular route risky. Likely because it is hard for them to tell exactly how bad the situation is before getting up close, or that the fog/clouds got denser underway.

      Basic thing to keep in mind about helicopters is that they often can’t go above the weather, as their propeller need a certain air density to operate.

      1. flora

        An aside, re: “their propeller need a certain air density.” Helicopter rescues of climbers on Mt. Everest aren’t done above base camp altitude,( or maybe camp 2 if lucky), for that reason, as far as I know.

        1. digi_owl

          Another thing that came to mind is that on top of the operational limit of the vehicle itself there is the issue of oxygen at altitude. I can’t think of any helicopters built with a pressure hull as found on many commercial airplanes.

          And from some quick checking online, the terrain in the area could put passengers and crew at risk of altitude sickness if they tried to fly above rather than through.

        2. PlutoniumKun

          I can stand corrected on this, but I think the maximum service ceiling of any non-modified military or civilian helicopter in service today is around 20,000 foot, which is well below Everest and quite a few other high peaks. Most of the Everest basecamps are around the 15-20,000 foot mark.

          I believe there are specialist helicopters with modified turbine engines that can go higher, but they are rarely used. I recall seeing an advert for very expensive tourist helicopter trips to the Nepal basecamp, I think it was a highly modified helicopter.

          Even with modern avionics, small civilian craft are very vulnerable in mountains. Last year I was hiking with a friend in the relatively low Wicklow mountains and came across a small memorial to where a family of 6 died when a Piper flying from England hit the hill in fog and rain in 2008 while aiming for a nearby small civilian airfield. It seems the pilot (a wealthy amateur) misread his instruments and descended too early. Standing on the site of the crash it was all too obvious that if they’d only been 20 or 30 foot higher, they’d have made it, and probably wouldn’t even have been aware that the mountain was so close.

          1. Polar Socialist

            Yes, turbine powered helicopters can fly up to 20,000, but they become very sluggish, unstable and at times unresponsive in the thin air so most pilots assume 10 to 12,000 to be the ceiling.

            I do know that Russian combat helicopter pilots have a training camp in Tajikistan to specifically experience and learn flying in challenging mountain altitudes.

            And of course, the helicopters need to have oxygen feed for the crew at those altitudes.

    6. PlutoniumKun

      It seems the aircraft was an elderly Bell 212, the civilian version of the ‘huey’. It was probably close to half a century old. I would assume the avionics were updated at some stage but they are not likely to be all that advanced.

      Personally I would never consider flying in a chopper that old over remote high ground in bad weather. I wonder if it was bad judgement by the crew or if they were put under political pressure to fly no matter what – this is a regular cause of accidents involving powerful people. Either way, it would seem likely that heads will roll over this. Although it should be said that at least officially, nobody was held responsible for the last big Iranian aviation accident, the shooting down of Ukrainian Flight 752.

      1. The Rev Kev

        ‘if it was bad judgement by the crew or if they were put under political pressure to fly no matter what’

        Another example of that was the Smolensk air disaster back in 2010 in which the President of Poland died. The pilot knew that landing there in heavy fog was a bad idea but the cockpit voice recorder shows a member of the President’s team putting pressure on the pilot to land, even though that guy should never have been even in the cockpit in the first place-

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Ah yes, I’d forgotten about that one. A classic case of arrogance over-ruling sensible caution. This may also have been the cause of the Sukhoi Superjet crash in Indonesia in 2012 – it also ran into a mountain while on a trip designed to impress possible purchasers.

          Its hard, but I’ve a lot of respect for pilots who face down such pressure – I’ve heard a few stories of this happening in both civilian and military contexts.

          1. The Rev Kev

            Saw another example of this yesterday with the following video. A pilot refused his airplane on a flight to Hawaii as he though the mechanics of that plane was suspect because fuel pressure was trending upwards but was told by mechanics that it would be fixed when he got back from Hawaii-

   (10:41 mins)

            Gutsy call that.

              1. MicaT

                The Bell 212 was made from 1969-1998.
                As with most aircraft as long as the airframe is ok the parts are replaceable. Basically keeping them in the air for a long time.
                DC-3’s from WWII are still flying. It’s impossible to say but upgrading to a glass cockpit is a pretty standard procedure, which means up to date electronics, instruments and autopilot.
                Time will tell and maybe we’ll never know but it’s a tough decision to tell the president of the country you’re not to fly where they want you to go because the weather is bad.
                It’s also possible they had a mechanical failure.
                No reason to rush to judgement.

    7. Eric Anderson

      Anybody experienced around helicopters will tell you, it not an “if” but a “when” you’re going to go down in one of those things.

      I used to do forest fire initial attack in my youth. Everyone has a story. Me included. I’d boarded Bell on knife sharp ridge at about 7k ft. Elevation. Chopper went to lift off to catch the breeze coming in from the west when the breeze just died. Chopper fell a good ten feet straight back down onto the ridge smashing us all back down in our seats … one fire fighter sustained a lower back injury.

      Lucky the chopper didn’t tumble down the slope, but came to rest at a crazy angle and we able to deboard. It stayed up there for close to a month while they made the necessary repairs to get it in the air again.

      Needless to say, it was a long (family blogging) bushwhack in the dark to rendezvous with our with our 6-packs to drive us home that night.

    8. Maxwell Johnston

      Conspiracy theories aside, I’m genuinely puzzled as to why Iran’s government was operating an elderly USA chopper (old, spare parts an issue, maintenance a pain in the fourth point of contact) when Iran could have easily bought a fleet of modern RU choppers, complete with spare parts and maintenance.

  4. Terry Flynn

    Re Starmer. My constituency is part of the “Boris breaking red wall”. Our tory MP is one of the most marginal seats in parliament. He’ll lose to the Labour candidate (our local Councillor and deputy head of the council).

    So I can safely vote for whomever I want. I’ll probably vote Green. Not because they’re great (their manifesto is clearly written by committee with contradictory policies) but because they’re the only party that shows some appreciation for how money actually works.

    But if Greens engage in grandstanding I’ll still vote but spoil my ballot. That way my vote is still recorded. I’ve written “you’re all morons” across my ballot before and I’m ready to do it again.

  5. GramSci

    I instantly and totally believe US Centcom when it says it was the Houthis who struck a tanker carrying Russian oil to China.

      1. JTMcPhee

        And since the real processes described by MMT are fully operational, another $120 million (enhanced by inflation and corruption) will be created via “authorized appropriation” and transferred to General Atomics and its suppliers and shills in Congress and the Pentagram. So “nothing substantially changes.” One campaign promise actually and consistently fulfilled.

        “And the beat goes on,
        And the beat goes on…”

        1. Procopius

          Yes, but in the real world there are now four fewer MQ-9 Reaper drones. It will take several months to build new ones. In that time frame either something else will have to be used or the operation will have to be abandoned. I think this is a good thing.

    1. Balan Aroxdale

      Houthis strike tanker carrying Russian oil to China Splash247. I thought they only targeted ships servicing Israel? Did I not get the memo?

      The last time this happened, it turned out the ship or the operating company or some such was connected to one or more Israeli (Likud backing) shipping magnates. John Helmer reported this if I remember correctly. It’s a safe bet that there are backroom connections in this case too.

      Why people are still running risks when it’s clear that the Houthi’s shipping intelligence is top rate escapes me.

      1. ChrisFromGA

        Yes, and we can’t ignore the possibility that the West is just lying about who the real owner of the ship is. Blame it on Russia for a “two-fer!”

  6. digi_owl

    “The End of Lean Production… and What’s Ahead Kim Moody, Labor Notes. Important. Moody is always worth a read.”

    Amazon is a weird beast. Much of its activity is not a typical online store, but rather a logistics company with a bolted on storefront.

    Many of the products on offer are being sold by third parties, with Amazon acting as the delivery service. But as part of that service, Amazon warehouse the products being sold.

    And if multiple sellers offer the same product SKU, they are co-mingled. This has lead to some getting fake/copycat products from supposedly brand name sellers.

    1. Steve H.

      > Much of its activity is not a typical online store, but rather a logistics company with a bolted on storefront.

      >> Next Amazon is planning to build 150 “ultrafast delivery hubs.”
      >> By 2022 Amazon had a fleet of 70,000 vehicles, and it is planning to purchase 100,000 electric vans.

      I’m ballparking the interior space of those vans is equal to about 500 warehouses. Distribute those in urban areas, with the right load of goods, and they become ‘hyperfast delivery hubs’ in competition with convenience stores. Without the costs of warehousing.

      Return of the Milkman?

      1. Jackiebass63

        Amazon built a warehouse in the area I live 2 years ago. Since then their delivery is faster. If you order early in the day you sometimes get the order the same day.

      2. cfraenkel

        Nice idea, but the space in the vans is not practical as a ‘warehouse’, since they can only carry so many SKUs. It’s only helpful if the order for a given SKU happens to have that particular van in the neighborhood. The milkman analogy works only if you’re supplying one or two commodity products across the territory.

        1. digi_owl

          The products will likely be smaller items that people will want ASAP rather than within say a business week.

          I have noticed electronics chains around here becoming in-chain post office of sorts. They will stock a variety of common cables etc, but then offer to ship less common products to their nearest store when ordered online.

        2. jefemt

          Predictive AI will assure that each van has precisely the appropriate mix of goods, every time!

          1. LifelongLib

            I once talked to a delivery truck driver who said he and his co-workers were very happy with his warehouse’s (not Amazon) new computerized system. Instead of them loading as much on their trucks as possible and returning to the warehouse only when the trucks were empty, the new system required them to load for a single delivery and then return to the warehouse to load for the next one. “We’re really racking up the overtime” he said.

            This was several years ago so I assume the “problem” has been corrected…

            1. Wild Wombat

              Used to deliver(until last year) for an amazon dsp(technically not amazon). I delivered from 2 different warehouses and one delivery or “bag” at a time is NOT how they did it.

              We loaded a full days delivery on our vans: we had 10 minutes to load 20 or so bags on the vans. On average we had 350 packages and 175 stops. We were expected to deliver about 50 packages an hour, 25 stops(If we took our legally required 2-15 minute breaks(they eventually ended up tracking us to see whether we took our mandatory 30 minute lunch, but not the breaks) and didn’t run, most drivers would be behind(and eventually fired, no unemployment since we couldn’t do the job algorithmically expected). Of course there were the drivers who took amphetamines and could deliver in less than a 7 hour day(that’s taking into account 15 minutes to get to the first stop and 15 minutes to drive back and another 20-30 minutes to get gas and debrief which would make an 8 hour day total, before overtime kicked in. Amazon would pay the DSP for 8 hours but the DSP owner contracted out to amazon would have to pay the overtime), which the algorithms would then take as an average causing the number of packages to increase to where it would be impossible for a non-pharmaceutically aided driver to accomplish. There was great turnover since Amazon did not expect most drivers to last a year doing this humanly impossible job.

              A truly despicable company.

    2. Es s Ce Tera

      One major reason the Soviet system failed is central planning inefficiency, systems did not yet exist which could do proper supply, tracking, prediction, distribution and logistics, resulting in chronic shortages even if product was in stock somewhere.

      Come to think of it, something like Amazon is exactly what any central planning system of government needs, what any global system of government would need if/when capitalism fails. Someone should emancipate it from Jeff Bezos and the profit model.

      1. digi_owl

        In part why Marx mused that communism would rise from industrial capitalism, not feudalism. This because it would co-opt the logistics system built to fuel capitalist industry, directing it towards providing for the masses rather than capital accumulation.

        Also, there were attempts at building such systems. The most famous may well be Chile’s Cybersyn.

        In the end i think the Soviet system’s millstone was its invasion paranoia. Thus far too many resources were directed towards the military.

          1. Daniil Adamov

            The Soviet Union was not invaded after 1945. It spent a lot of resources on preparing to defend against an invasion that never came, before collapsing due to elite mismanagement and infighting (one might name any number of other causes, but in the end it came down to that).

            1. Joker

              Invasion never came because they were ready. The moment the guard was down, “The Collective West” came charging in, as you might have noticed. All those guns and munitions made for an invasion that never came, turned out to be crucial for an invasion that did come.

              Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you.

              1. Aurelien

                Can’t say I noticed that in all the years I dealt with NATO, which had no capability for attacking Russia and no planning to do so. I mean, just imagine fighting your way through the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany, for a start. And no-one since has ever seriously entertained invading Russia for a minute, outside the lunatic fringe. The truth is that the Soviet regime destroyed their economy by giving the military absolute priority over everything, for decades after the War, and planning and rehearsing a pre-emptive strike into Western Europe. It turns out in fact there was never a Soviet defence budget as such: the military just took the resources they needed.

                1. furnace

                  The Soviets sure went a bit over with military spending, but it seems a bit unfair to say just because the higher Western eschelons privately said they would never entertain a war with the USSR that the leadership of the USSR was perfectly aware of this fear. It might have been paranoia, but at least it was historically founded paranoia.

                  1. Aurelien

                    Oh, the fear was real enough, although in reality NATO didn’t remotely have the capability to attack the Soviet Union. But when you are as scared as the Soviets were, even too much is not enough.

                2. Joker

                  You haven’t noticed NATO expansion eastwards, nor Yugoslav wars, nor the war in the Ukraine. Some might have.

                  1. Aurelien

                    Um, “expansion,” however misguided, is different from “invasion.” NATO, at largely US prompting, stayed out of the Yugoslav wars (at least the ones I was present for) until they were over. And I was just watching the Military Summary video for today, which appeared to show Russian troops moving West, but I may be wrong.

                    1. Joker

                      Misguided expansion, that was thoroughly planned, and intentional, and not misguided at all. Stayed out of the Yugoslav wars, that the West caused in the first place, and fought throughout, and is still there occupying and preparing a sequel (not to mention depleted uranium). Russian troops moving West, into Russian lands. You can’t be really trying to gaslight me with “semantical” “gymnastics”. This sounds like something Blinken would say, and then add that he is not part of the conflict, and keep on rocking in a free world.

                      USA is also staying out of Gaza, where misguided expansion, and non-invasion is happening. Soldiers just stay on the pier, in order to show that they are not a side in the conflict.

                      Maybe we live in different realities, and in yours the USA are the good guys spreading freedom, and equality, and democracy, instead of death and destruction.

            2. JTMcPhee

              Sounds just exactly like what Western Hegemonic Rapacious/paranoid political economy has produced.

              One wonders if RussAsia can somehow produce a different metastable, homeostatic end stage. Greed/cupidity seems inherent in monkey lizard brains.

              I’d sort of like to be around to watch it play out, but the death cult that has prevailed makes that ever less likely.

      2. Dermotmoconnor

        Google OGAS, the soviet plan for an internet in the sixties. A sad what might have been. The rest is history, and we are screwed.

        1. Daniil Adamov

          Mhm. Killed by bureaucrats because they thought (not unreasonably) that it would’ve taken their jobs, if I remember right.

      3. Polar Socialist

        Oddly enough, the first networked computers known were actually Gosplan’s attempt to properly track, predict and distribute stuff. I think the modern historiography is more lenient towards central planning than it used to be. It really was not that inefficient – it did rise the largest state on Eart, mostly agrarian to begin with, into a global superpower.

        The main inefficiencies were external. Soviet economy was burdened with supporting Cuba, Vietnam, Angola, Afghanistan and so on (not to mention that almost all other Soviet republics had negative GDP ratio, so it was basically Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic that held up the whole “socialist” world).

        Since it was not politically possible to cut off the “leeches”, all kinds of attempts were made to improve the economy. The original idea was to allow small entrepreneurship to see if it would improve the situation, but that actually resulted in a lot of the exchange between government owned companies going outside of the planned economy, which naturally made planning impossible.

        The runners of these government companies, on the other hand, started to carve out personal wealth and rule their domains more and more without Gosplan knowing what was going on, and they were more than ready when Soviet Union dissolved itself and went for privatization. We know many of them today as “oligarchs”.

  7. griffen

    Churches needing armed or private security guards. That’s a scary video to be honest, amazing that someone was able to tackle the gun wielding man and somehow they were able to disarm this individual.

    Yikes. More churches meet online via Zoom yet again ? Additionally, one more entry in the overall crazy, zany timeline of 2024.

    1. Benny Profane

      Reminded me of when Pussy was being shot by Tony in the Sopranos. “Not in the face”.

  8. ChrisFromGA

    Triple witching … Assange, Illegit-sky day, and a helicopter crash killing the Iranian President.

    Late breaking: make that Quadruple witching. ICC “seeking” arrest warrants for Netanyahu:

    (I hope this isn’t like OJ searching for the real killers. Or me trying to find a lost Blackberry from back in 2011.)

    Gold and silver continue to soar. Memo to Powell: I wish you a speedy recovery, and I have never seen gold and silver rise during a disinflationary episode.

    1. lambert strether

      > ICC “seeking” arrest warrants for Netanyahu:

      Awesome. Well-deserved.

      1. ChrisFromGA

        Let’s just hope that the judges who have to actually issue the warrant don’t go weak-kneed or find some technicality to let Bibi skate.

        1. lambert strether

          Yes, the prosecutor called for Bibi’s arrest but the judges must agree. I haveno reading on the court at all.

          1. Aurelien

            The request has to go to the (usually) three judges of the Pre-trial Chamber, who will decide whether there are reasonable grounds to go to trial, and, if necessary, issue an arrest warrant.The organisation of the chambers is explained here.

      1. pjay

        The “both sides” nature of this application bothers me. I realize my own biases here, and that under such conditions instances of rape, “torture,” hostage mistreatment, etc. on the part of Hamas or adjacent actors could certainly have occurred. But the charges against the Hamas leaders in the first half of the application sure sound like the Western atrocity propaganda narrative to me. Are there sources of evidence for these charges other than the flawed ones with which we are familiar? That is unclear, but there is this:

        “… I have also been grateful for the advice of a panel of experts in international law, an impartial group I convened to support the evidence review and legal analysis in relation to these arrest warrant applications. The Panel is composed of experts of immense standing in international humanitarian law and international criminal law, including Sir Adrian Fulford PC, former Lord Justice of Appeal and former International Criminal Court Judge; Baroness Helena Kennedy KC, President of the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute; Elizabeth Wilmshurst CMG KC, former Deputy Legal Adviser at the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office; Danny Friedman KC; and two of my Special Advisers – Amal Clooney and His Excellency Judge Theodor Meron CMG… I have also been grateful for the contributions of a number of my other Special Advisers to this review, particularly Adama Dieng and Professor Kevin Jon Heller.”

        Well, Amal Clooney is a “special advisor,” so…

        Of course Netanyahu and Gallant are rightly charged with starving and bombing the Palestinians of Gaza, and with “other inhumane acts,” though the specifics of rape, torture, humiliation, murder, etc. of Palestinian captives are not spelled out in their case as it is with the Hamas leaders. Since the bombing and starvation are live-streamed throughout the world daily the issue of sources of evidence does not seem *quite* the same here, despite the inferred equivalence of the crimes on either side. Maybe it’s just me.

        Given their track record, I don’t trust the ICC.

      2. The Rev Kev

        Some of the charges against Hamas will fall down in a court of law as there is no proof and the Israelis will refuse to cooperate in any case.

      3. ChrisFromGA

        This could make for some fun optics. Remember when Mike Johnson & the Zealots invited Netanyahu to speak to Congress? Will AIPAC withhold donations from Congress if they don’t show support for Netanyahu?

        What about a Hall of Shame daily double: Illegitimate Zelensky speaks to Congress in the morning, indicted war criminal Bibi in the afternoon.

        Will Xi and Putin have a date night to watch that, complete with popcorn and extra-large slurpies?


      4. Aurelien

        From a quick read, a couple of points stand out.

        -There is no mention of genocide, which makes any case a lot easier to prove, since intent does not have to be shown. “Crimes against humanity” are functionally identical, apart from the element of intent.
        – The Hamas allegations look thin. The only real crimes are murder, extermination (defined as “a mass killing of members of a civilian population”) and hostage-taking. The rest are really just expressions of different forms of ill-treatment.
        – The allegations do not necessarily relate to the events of 7 October. The alleged crimes date from “at least 7 October” and are mostly alleged to have occurred “in captivity.” Thus, the ICC has managed to indict Hamas leaders without necessarily having to support any of the wilder allegations made about the day itself.
        -In order for crimes against humanity to be proven, the Prosecutor has to show that there was a “widespread and systematic attack against the civilian population of Israel by Hamas and other armed groups pursuant to organisational policies.” Normally, the “widespread and systematic” criterion covers quite a lot of space and time, and I’d be interested to see how they propose to support that.
        -The rest of the allegations essentially concern treatment of hostages, ie “there are reasonable grounds to believe that hostages taken from Israel have been kept in inhumane conditions, and that some have been subject to sexual violence, including rape, while being held in captivity.”
        Altogether, it’s a bit underwhelming.

        The allegations against the Israeli defendants read much more like standard IHL criminal charges, and are much graver. They could easily be reformatted as genocide charges, but then, as I’ve said, the Prosecutor would have to demonstrate intent to a criminal standard of proof (ie beyond a reasonable doubt.)

        Finally, the Prosecutor is claiming jurisdiction on the basis that there is an international conflict between Israel and Palestine, but separate from the non-international armed conflict between Israel and Hamas. I’m not sure how that’s possible, since Hamas is the government and its militia is essentially the only armed force in Palestine. But the statement does mention other armed groups (such as Islamic Jihad) so possibly that’s why. But IANA IHL lawyer.

        To be continued, I think.

      5. Jabura Basaidai

        wonder if it would be a good thing for Hamas to surrender to the court and plead their case – or at least indicate they will surrender of Bibi & Galant do too –

        1. The Rev Kev

          The Israelis would do an Osama bin laden on them first. No way do the Israelis want them in a court where they can plead their case and provide evidence. They will kill them first. Just like Seal Team Six could have arrested bin Laden and took him to the US for trial. But bin Laden knew too much and knew where the bodies were buried so they shot him on sight.

          1. Jabura Basaidai

            ugh……… see the logic of your point, and if they were incarcerated then they would be Epsteined – but if they surrendered only if Bibi & Galant were in custody too……yeah, i believe in santa clause too…… will be interesting how it plays out – seems Zionist Israel is working hard to bury the country in debt and worldwide animosity and succeeding famously –

          2. Kara

            So appreciative of the cultural sensitivity of STS, not taking DNA samples from Osama, and following that ancient Bedouin tradition of burial at sea.

            1. LifelongLib

              Always thought GW Bush punted the Osama thing to Obama. Because of the Bush family’s connections to the bin Ladens it would have been embarrassing if Osama was killed or captured on GW’s watch, even if as alleged Osama was a black sheep.

    2. Will

      America’s Hague Invasion Act authorizes the President to free not only Americans but also Israelis. Also, authorized to act anywhere not just The Hague. An excerpt of some of the relevant provisions:

      Are there any limits to the special relationship? Wouldn’t think so, but maybe letting Bibi get arrested helps sell the story that the genocide is being committed by a lone gunmen (or two)?

  9. britzklieg

    Here’s a recent interview of Ted Gioia by Rick Beato in which the “honest broker” explains exactly how A.I. (and spotify) has ruined music. His larger theory, which I’m not yet convinced of, is that the tide is turning and that “micro” creatives (don’t care for that word either), by way of platforms like substack and others for control over their own commercial destiny, are gonna win over the “macro” producers/distributors of art. I hope he’s right and understand why he mentions Taylor Swift, but really… Taylor Swift? Still it’s a worthy listen:

    1. Dr. John Carpenter

      Rick Beato is one of the best music journalists on YouTube. Some of his stuff is a little clickbaitey, but I get that the man’s got to eat. But his long form interviews are wonderful.

  10. Carolinian

    Good article on Real ID.

    Decisions to put someone on the no fly list are based on predictive pre-crime profiling rather than actual evidence about the individual’s actions or intentions. This is a huge leap in our justice system.

    SC is one state where it’s optional for driver’s licenses and I declined at my last renewal because there is the option of upgrading your license should I decide to fly somewhere.

    But the article’s point is that the TSA is more about bureaucracy serving itself rather than real safety. Those airport checks are full of holes.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Predictive pre-crime profiling? We are getting a long way from the centuries old principal that the State could not punish you on the mere accusation of a crime but had to take you to court and prove it in that court with a body of evidence. And that court not only had to be open but there was no such thing as secret evidence and secret witnesses allowed but the accused could face their accusers and defend themselves there.

    2. griffen

      Article gets a bonus points for the perhaps timeless fake ID from the movie Superbad, “I am McLovin”. Hilarious that scene when he’s sharing it with his high school friends.

      I figure one day I’ll need it so I now have one. I’d thought I left the box unchecked when applying for a SC license but oh well, it’s done regardless. Flying once a year is about all I wish to endure, as I don’t enjoy the ritual at all.

    3. scott s.

      The HDL shown in the article looks nothing like the current “gold star” license.

  11. pjay

    – ‘Starmer, the cuckoo’ – Funding the Future

    – ‘Bullshit Blowback’ – Tarik Cyril Amar

    These are both good pieces and very complimentary in my mind. Both focus on how the powers that be take advantage of the sincerity and good intentions of indigenous inhabitants – whether of bird nests or political parties or fledgling “democracies” – to infiltrate, exploit, capture, or destroy their original habitat.

    As a grad student in the 1980s I was able to meet some East European academics through their connections with some of my professors. They were good, sincere people doing intellectual battle for things like freedom of expression and, yes, “democracy.” Yet I was able to meet them because of their Western ties. Some would become sources of “bullshit blowback” in the future.

  12. Wukchumni

    Gooooooooood Mooooooooorning Fiatnam!

    A head of state coming in on a slick during inclement weather to an iffy LZ was good for spree d’corpse, with some wondering if Agent Orange was the defoliant?

    1. Jabura Basaidai

      you mention Agent Orange – a friend since birth since our parents were tight, was an Army sergeant in Vietnam for 2 tours and was awashed in the shit numerous times – he now suffers Lewy Bodies dementia and has Parkinson-like symptoms – it is only because his wife is an aggressive attorney that he gets good treatment at the VA – going to see my friend tomorrow – his optimism in spite of his condition humbles me, i would be seriously pissed off but his wife seems to be taking care of that quite well –

      1. Wukchumni

        I was thinking more in a Benedict Donald variant, nudge nudge wink wink, say no more.

  13. Henry Moon Pie

    Capitalism and mental illness–

    Excellent article. The author traces the link between capitalism and mental illness all the back to the Enlightenment’s perverted anthropology:

    Why should all of these contemporary social and economic practices and processes generate so much illness, so many disorders? To answer this I think we need to look back at the wider Enlightenment project, and the psychological models of human nature out of which they emerged.

    Modern capitalism grew out of seventeenth century concepts of man as some sort of disconnected, discontinuous, disengaged self – one driven by competition and a narrow, ‘rational’ self-interest – the concept of homo economicus that drove and underwrote much of the whole Enlightenment project, including its economic models.

    As Iain McGilchrist notes, ‘Capitalism and consumerism, ways of conceiving human relationships based on little more than utility, greed, and competition, came to supplant those based on felt connection and cultural continuity.’

    Economists like Kate Raworth and Steve Keen do the same from an economic rather than a psychological point of view, critiquing the Enlightenment’s fundamental misunderstanding of human beings and the inequality, competitive stress and disregard for the planet that it leads to.

    What is often viewed as some ideal era, living in “Leave It to Beaver-land,” was merely the calm before the inevitable storm that results from a value system built on materialism and consumerism. When what matters is buying “stuff” and paying for “experiences,” it’s like Jackson Browne wrote in “The Pretender:”

    I’m gonna be a happy idiot
    And struggle for the legal tender
    Where the ads take aim and lay their claim
    To the heart and the soul of the spender,
    And believe in whatever may lie
    In those things that money can buy.
    Who thought true love could have been a contender?

    The 50s are not a time to be viewed longingly. They were the era when our worst instincts were nurtured and the path chosen that led to our current polycrisis. Suburbs, happy motoring, Madmen, the two-car garage: all took root in the Fifties. That was what the hippies’ rebellion was really about. Joni Mitchell put it well:

    Then can I walk beside you?
    I have come here to lose the smog,
    And I feel to be a cog
    In something turning.
    Well, maybe it is just the time of year
    Or maybe it’s the time of man.
    I don’t know who I am.
    But you know life is for learning.

    We are stardust.
    We are golden.
    And we’ve got to get ourselves
    Back to the garden.

    We aren’t cogs stamped by some machine. We’re living beings who need emotional connection not just to other human beings but to the rest of the living beings on the planet where we were created by the process of evolution. Substituting a new 4-door F-150 or the baby back ribs at Applebees for a community of cooperators rather than competitors doesn’t work. It leads only to anxiety and depression and growing Big Pharma profits.

    Brewer and Shipley saw the beginning of the rural decline brought about by capitalism enthusiast Earl Butz (working for that great humanitarian, Dick Nixon), and they wondered how we could escape the trap we’d created for ourselves:

    Twenty-four hours of barbed-wire fence,
    Fifty-five years of pollution.
    Everyone knows how the puzzle was laid,
    But can anyone recall the solution?

    The solution for us certainly does not lie in capitalism, consumerism, or materialism. These products of the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution have brought us to this point of crisis and misery. The way out begins with a rejection of those isms.

    Jackson Browne, “The Pretender

    Joni Mitchell, “Woodstock

    Brewer & Shipley, “Tarkio Road

    1. digi_owl

      I can’t help wonder if homo economicus is fundamentally a narcissistic psychopath.

      Also i increasingly suspect that enlightenment economics was about the merchants trumping the landed gentry, as the merchants needed imports to maintain trade while the gentry had their local produce.

      1. The Rev Kev

        That is exactly how it played out in 19th century Britain. The arising merchant class was able to accumulate enough power to mostly push aside the landed gentry with their enlightenment values and replace it with imperialistic, mercantile values instead.

        1. JBird4049

          This does explain the different responses of the British to famines in Ireland and India when there was effective relief in the 18h Century and then effectively a genocide in the 19th century. It also explains the shift from economic assistance in the form of cash as well as the continuing guild system to both being abandoned in the 19th century as well. American libertarianism was essentially what the British were doing for most of the 19th century; Dickensian London was a result. It is something that I should read more about.

          These disastrous policies were both abandoned and then taken up again in the 20th century by both the Americans and the British with the results easily predictable.

    2. cousinAdam

      Thank you HMP. A masterful display of “connect-a-dot” analysis and doubling down with quotes of beloved song lyrics (w/ links!). I was born in ’55, my dad was a writer working as a MadMan and we moved to the suburbs when I was three. Even though I’ve reached the age of being nostalgia-prone, it’s not too hard to look back and recall the growing cynicism and mistrust of the powers that be that turned us from customers into “consumers” (not unlike a company’s ‘Personel’ dept becoming ‘Human Resources’) – even before I smoked my first joint (just after Woodstock, fwiw). Recently binge watching the Netflix MadMen series was fascinating- the show took great pains to recreate the reality of those times through the early to mid sixties when I was coming of age – the fashions and fads, the songs of the times (!) and the ad and marketing forces being brought to bear. To paraphrase Pogo Possum, “we have met the Commodity, and it is us!” Go well and “keep on the good foot”! ✌️🫶

    3. communistmole

      I am always puzzled when the thinking of the Enlightenment is reduced to the concept of homo economicus, because the contradictions of this thinking would certainly be interesting for a critique of the ‘isms’ that result from them.

    4. LifelongLib

      Yes, it may well be that the mass poverty, sickness, and early death that afflicted every society prior to ours is just the human lot, and that the Enlightenment was foolish to try and think of something better. After all, Nature is under no obligation to provide us with life, much less comfort, so how dare we force it to? We should be in harmony with the rest of the world even if it means watching most of our kids die before we do. Which we did, and if some ideas are followed to their logical conclusion, will again.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        The idea that has been followed to its logical conclusion is that humans are separate from and superior to Nature and non-human life on the Earth. The slaughter we are causing on this planet, and eventually our own demise, directly flow from the ideas of men like Bacon and Mill. There have been plenty of children dying well after the Enlightenment right up until today, and many of them were the victims of the Enlightenment idea that Western Conquistador culture is superior to all others.

        1. communistmole

          Neither Bacon nor Mill can be described as Enlightenment thinkers.
          And the idea that “man is separate from and superior to nature and non-human life on earth” is part of Enlightenment thinking seems highly questionable to me.

          1. Henry Moon Pie

            If you’re talking about the specific, narrowly defined period of history, that’s true, but if you’re talking about a worldview, Bacon laid the foundations and Mill completed the work into modernity. Throw them out, and the empiricist foundation (Bacon) is lacking, and utilitarianism is somehow excluded from the Enlightenment worldview.

            As for the attitude toward Nature:

            Bacon: My only earthly wish is… to stretch the deplorably narrow limits of man’s dominion over the universe to their promised bounds… [nature will be] bound into service, hounded in her wanderings and put on the rack and tortured for her secrets.

            New Atlantis

            The Enlightenment worldview embraced this idea of Nature, interpreted now as a machine no different from a steam engine, that has led to the view of the Earth as nothing more than a storehouse of raw materials for man’s use.

            1. communistmole

              Well, the text you quote at the beginning explicitly refers to the Enlightenment period:

              “Modern capitalism grew out of seventeenth century concepts of man as some sort of disconnected, discontinuous, disengaged self – one driven by competition and a narrow, ‘rational’ self-interest – the concept of homo economicus that drove and underwrote much of the whole Enlightenment project, including its economic models.”

              It has become a habit to blame the Enlightenment (which is then traced back to the Odyssey or Socrates) for the malaise of modernity, but what is identified as the core of the Enlightenment in the above quote is a very narrow and selective interpretation of this thinking (the model of this enlightenment seems to be primarily the Scottish one).

              And the statement

              “The Enlightenment worldview embraced this idea of Nature, interpreted now as a machine no different from a steam engine, that has led to the view of the Earth as nothing more than a storehouse of raw materials for man’s use“

              misses in my eyes precisely the contradictory aspect of the concept of nature in Enlightenment thinking.

              I am not defending the Enlightenment and I do not deny that Bacon is a forerunner of the Enlightenment, I am merely claiming that the Enlightenment raises problems that are not addressed by its mere denunciation (Hume’s empiricism is an aspect of the Enlightenment, but so is Kant’s transcendental philosophy).

  14. Wukchumni

    Hello darlings

    Yes, it’s me again
    I have just returned from the island of Chandelier
    What am I doing in town?
    Well, I’m glad you asked
    I’m just passing through in lieu of the ever elusive Thunderbird

    I got a job as a windy public relations man
    Punching out windows on Houston streets
    Merely an effort to address the climate change situation
    And ward off a case of the D.J.T.’s

    So farewell, my darling
    Perhaps we’ll meet again
    On some sin-infested street corner in Houston Texas

    Heaven, Hell or Houston, by ZZ Top

        1. Late Introvert

          As was the George Floyd riots, my glazier brother was super busy that summer.

  15. ilsm

    If Zelenski keeps his job it will remind me of how the US acted after getting rid of the Diem family.

    No subsequent “leader” was elected by anyone outside of MAC-V.

    What is the Ukraine equivalent?

      1. Lefty Godot

        The Great Z has lost the legal basis of his tenure in office, though I doubt the US and its band of champions of the “rules-based order” will care. But inside Ukraine there may be some people tired of the Zelensky-Yermak-Budanov group who view it as an opportunity for new leadership. Poroshenko, Klitschko, Zaluzhny, Stefanchuk, and others may think they can right the sinking ship where Z cannot. Also uncertain is whether Russia cares at all, or if they view it as a possible circumstance allowing for increased pressure on the regime.

  16. Tim

    ‘The Tick that took me out’- Spot on reading.
    If you haven’t understood the nature of the US healthcare system yet, having an infection like Lyme will disabuse you if any preconceived notions.
    Everything the author talks about, false negatives of testing, inadequate treatments, rounds of ineffective referrals, out of pocket treatments from a ‘Lyme literate’, out of network, doctor is par for the course.
    When my wife was publishing a local community newspaper she recommended I cope with the disease by writing about it. One of the articles was a series of questions ranging from ‘did you get a bullseye rash?’ To ‘was your Lyme test positive?’. I had interviewed apx. A dozen people in our area that had Lyme, fighting or recovered, with two on my own road.
    The answers were interesting and varied with the exception of the ignorance of the medical community in identifying and treating Lyme.
    To this day I’m convinced those articles we ran had more information to educate our community and offered more advice than the local medical community could, or would, provide. Most of the medical firms have been consolidated by a large regional hospital, btw, like most of the country.
    My honest opinion is war moves lots of merchandise regardless of its morality or justifications. Lyme creates units of reimbursements regardless of wether the patient outcomes are positive or not. Doctors are proletarianized now and take what’s handed down to them. Duty of care, wether effective or harmful, providing the legal cover for incompetence.
    When COVID hit I knew it was not going to be good with what we had to fight it with.

    1. Stephen V

      Agreed on all points. A most unusual article. Here’s another: who knew there was a Lyme vax in 2002? I sure didn’t.

      Re: the deer in my front yard, after years of thinking I had been exposed to the very mild Erlichia form of tick disease, I was diagnosed with chronic Lyme last year: after anitgen testing. Worth the $1400 bucks (but what of those who can’t afford such?)
      I am luckier than most (fatigue and weight loss). I have two friends whose Arky diagnosis 12 years ago was: We don’t have Lyme in Arkansas. Unbelievable but there you have it.

      1. Tim

        Sorry to hear you got hit with it, too.
        You bring up a good point about ‘those that can afford it’ regarding testing.
        I used the same lab as the one the author mentions. Another good lab is in Jersey. All out of pocket and several hundred dollars to each. I was told by others who went down this road before me that I could expect treatment to cost from 5-10k if the disease was not too advanced. That turned out to be pretty accurate in 2016 dollars.
        As a self employed person who could no longer work, I thank the stars that I could swing it at that time. A double whammy of incapacitation and medical bills now being a feature of American life, I’m glad I got out of that one relatively intact. At the end of my relationship with the in-network Lyme incompetent medical community I was offered opiate pain killers. I’m guessing here, but I wonder how many that can’t afford Lyme literate care get that option for chronic Lyme? How much business Lyme generates for pharma bro’s and the health care chains?

  17. Dave

    I live in North Carolina, and I need to figure out what steps to take if this anti-mask bill goes through, as, presumably, it will. I have kids in public school and I’m not going to send them in without masks.
    It seems like it is pretty easy to put kids in homeschool in this state, even at the last minute. I hate the idea, but I suppose it is a fallback option. I expect my spouse will prefer to send them to school without masks. We are one of the only remaining families in the district that continues to mask, so there is powerful peer pressure to just give in.
    The GOP says that the intent of the law is just to target “criminals” (e.g. student protesters). So maybe masking in school will continue to be tolerated even with the law on the books. But there are no assurances, are there? I can see our public schools opting to enforce the law, to stay on its safe side, especially when the vast majority of parents will just shrug and go on living with COVID as they are already doing.

    Our government is attacking us. Since it is clearly not possible to change the government in the near future, I am just looking for evasion strategies.

  18. Wukchumni

    (I want my, I want my MMT)
    (I want my, I want my MMT)
    (I want my, I want my MMT)
    (I want my, I want my MMT)

    Now look at them 1’s & 0’s, that’s the way to do it
    Ginning up money via the MMT
    That ain’t workin’, that’s the way to do it
    Money for nothin’ from the mouse clique for free

    Now that ain’t workin’, that’s the way you do it
    Lemme tell ya, them guys ain’t dumb
    Maybe get a blister on your little finger
    Maybe get a blister on your thumb

    Look at that, look at that
    Money for nothin’ QWERTY clicks for free (I want my, I want my MMT)
    Money for nothin’ clicks for free (I want my, I want my MMT)
    Money for nothin’ clicks for free (I want my, I want my MMT)
    Money for nothin’ clicks for free (I want my, I want my MMT)
    Easy, easy money for nothin’ (I want my, I want my MMT)
    Easy, easy clicks for free (I want my, I want my MMT)
    Easy, easy money for nothin’ (I want my, I want my MMT)
    Clicks for free (I want my, I want my MMT)
    That ain’t workin’

    He shoulda learned to play the market
    He shoulda learned to play them Harvard funds
    Look at that MMT mama she got PR from the camera man

    We could have some money for nothing, clicks for free
    Money for nothing, clicks for free

    Money For Nothing by Dire Straits

    1. ChrisFromGA

      Jerome Powell approves this parody. As does Ben Bernanke, Janet Yellen, and Mike Johnson. Heck, let’s just say the entire Congress approves.

        1. LifelongLib

          I am the Lib, sovereign of LibLand.

          I hereby give you 10000 Libbies, my sovereign currency.

          LibLand now has a national debt of L10000. But who does it owe it to? It’s just a number equaling what I gave you. Nobody to pay back.

          Free money is the best kind.

  19. The Rev Kev

    “SITREP 5/19/24: Ukrainian Streets Deserted as New Mobilization Hits”

    The New York Times is reporting that ‘there is a growing feeling within the Biden administration that the next few months could be decisive as at some point the two sides could finally move to a negotiated truce similar to the one that ended active hostilities in Korea in 1953.’ As that would be tantamount to a Ukrainian victory, it will never happen. But is this really what the Biden admin is thinking? As for Estonian PM Kaja Kallas saying that Russia should be entirely broken up, I have different proposal. How about all three Baltic States amalgamate into one country which would make them more viable size-wise.

    1. Joker

      The whole purpose of Balkanization/Balticization is to make states non viable size-wise. The PM Chihuahua is barking for less viability, not more. You should propose freedom for the Republic of Saaremaa & Hiiumaa.

        1. Polar Socialist

          That city state would be Russian, I think. Over half of the population of Tallinn are Russian speaking. In the East-Viru county the ratio is over 70%. Ever since Estonia banned the Victory Day celebrations, Russians have constructed a huge stage on their side of the Narva river on May 9th to give a huge concert for the Estonian Russians.

          There used to be a Swedish speaking elite in the West Estonia (and the islands), so maybe Russia and Sweden could split the country for the old times sake. Estonians would get rid of the subhumans while having real overlords from the west return. Win-win for everybody!

  20. TimH

    On REAL ID… the third statement in the article says they will require compliant drivers licenses, but nowhere in the entire piece does it mention that passports are compliant and can be used instead. And it’s easy to get a passport card on renewal . No need to taint your driving license.

  21. ChrisFromGA

    And now, for some good news to cheer us up while we wait for the ICC indictments.

    AI staffing company files for Ch. 11 bankruptcy. Don’t have the link but the source is a Law360 feed I get in my school email.

    No details on whether they intend to argue a lack of intent means that AI is not to blame …

    1. Wukchumni

      AI is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma machine that pretty much does as it wants.

      1. ChrisFromGA

        The paywall is strong with this one, all I can scare up from Googles is this juicy, succulent tidbit:

        AI-powered employee recruitment venture Joonko Diversity Inc. has filed for Chapter 11 protection in a Delaware bankruptcy court, saying its business had rested almost entirely on fraudulent claims made by its…

        Fraud? AI? No way! They’d never do that, Beaver!

    2. ChrisFromGA

      More details:

      Fraudulent misrepresentation, inducing reliance by the plaintiffs. The startups alleged business model was to “prescreen” for DEI candidates using AI. The CEO lied to the board about the number of customers. Oops!

      According to a statement from the Joonko board, “The CEO was found to have engaged in egregious, unethical and fraudulent conduct, which caused harm to the company and its shareholders.”
      Joonko raised a $25 million Series B last September led by Insight Partners, with support from Target Global and existing investors, including Kapor Capital. The company, which has raised a total of $38 million to date, employed around 50 people at its peak and it remains unclear how many will remain following the extensive layoffs.

  22. steppenwolf fetchit

    . . . . ” Houthis strike tanker carrying Russian oil to China ” . . . .

    Whatever memo you didn’t get is the same memo I didn’t get. But I did hear a theory offered on a News Show ( forget which one). The Houthis are not really ( or at least totally not only) concerned with changing Israeli behavior against Gaza. They are also interested in showing that they are a Power to be Reckoned With.

    If they were too dumm to know the difference between a ship to Israel and a ship to China, are they really very smart? (Or did their targetting-choice vetters in Iran really make this mistake?) If the Houthis were/are smart enough to know the difference, did they decide to poke the bear and the dragon just for the natural fun of it and to show that they are indeed a power to be reckoned with and are not afraid of anybody?

    I think the ChinaRussia govs will consider it an honest mistake or a case of mistaken identity or whatever, and will quietly convey a request to the Houthis to be more careful next time.

  23. steppenwolf fetchit

    . . . ” The Rise of Large-Language-Model Optimization ” . . .

    Bruce Schneier may not want to understand what he has discovered and described or maybe just can’t bring himself to believe, but what he has described is the AI conspiracy to destroy the web, deliberately and on purpose with malice aforethought.

    Those humans who want a “net” will have to figure out how to do things on such vestiges of the Dark Undernet as may survive beyond the reach of AI. Or back to email and list-servs and such.

    Or networks of millions of personal desktop computer owners catapulting the samizdata by hand from desktop computer to desktop computer by means of couriers or carrier pigeons or other such things carrying little memory sticks or other tiny little data storage devices around from personal computer to personal computer to personal computer.

    People hoping to be part of such networks might begin studying how the Solidarnosc activists moved messages around during the Jaruzelski Martial Law Period in Poland.

    1. digi_owl

      The web was basically an abnormality. Before it came about, the likes of Bill Gates had dismissted the internet as nothing more than email. Instead he was gearing Microsoft up for taking on AOL via MSN. Complete with a Windows bundled MSN Messenger to compete with AOL’s AIM.

  24. kareninca

    My 99 year old father in law, who lives with us, has a regular state ID, not a Real ID. It is not possible to bring him to the DMV to switch over. However, it is possible that he will need to fly at some point; it could happen. California supposedly has a home visit program for this sort of situation. I called last week to put his name down on a list at the local DMV for such a visit. We’ll see if that works.

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