Links 5/7/2024

How rental ‘libraries of things’ have become the new way to save money Guardian

New form of bond emerges from Sri Lanka’s $13bn restructuring talks FT

A body–brain circuit that regulates body inflammatory responses Nature. “We are providing an unedited version of this manuscript to give early access to its findings.” From the Abstract: “The brain-evoked transformation of the course of an immune response offers new possibilities in the modulation of a wide range of immune disorders, from autoimmune diseases to cytokine storm and shock.”


Study reveals how much carbon damage would cost corporations if they paid for their emissions AP. Commentary:


WHO Overturns Dogma on Airborne Disease Spread. The CDC Might Not Act on It. MedPage Today. WHO’s report, which has its problems.

COVID-19 an ‘occupational disease’ triggering workers’ comp benefits, appeals court rules Colorado Politics. Now let’s see some lawsuits.

A lot of people may already have antibodies to H5N1- which is really good news. Maybe. Deplatform Disease

Substantial rise in mpox cases prompts NYC health alert Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy

On Seeking Vacation Absolution. Chloe Humbert, Teams Human


Can China’s Real Estate Market Avoid a Japan-Style Drop? Nippon

Cover Story: U.S. Widens China Trade Fight to Shipbuilding Which It Lost Decades Ago Caixin Global

China’s middle class is stressed. Can its growing mental health industry lend a helping hand? Channel News Asia

Chinese health chief Ma Xiaowei steps down after steering nation through pandemic and defending strict zero-Covid South China Morning Post


Myanmar ethnic armed group says it captured hundreds of junta personnel Channel News Asia


Live updates: Israel begins military operation in Rafah, hours after Hamas agrees to a cease-fire AP. Commentary:


And I went up there, I said, “Shrink, I want to kill. I mean, I wanna, I wanna kill. Kill. I wanna, I wanna see, I wanna see blood and gore and guts and veins in my teeth. Eat dead burnt bodies. I mean kill, Kill, KILL, KILL.” And I started jumpin up and down yelling, “KILL, KILL, ” and he started jumpin’ up and down with me and we was both jumping up and down yelling, “KILL, KILL.” And the seargent came over, pinned a medal on me, sent me down the hall, said, “You’re our boy.”

Alice’s Restaurant”

Israeli troops gain operational control of Gazan side of Rafah Crossing, IDF says FOX

US to continue efforts to stop Israel’s military operation in Rafah: Official Anadolu Agency. “Fighting for.”

Text of the Gaza ceasefire proposal approved by Hamas Al Jazeera

* * *

Arab nations warm to peacekeeping force for Gaza FT

Maersk Warns Red Sea Impact Widens Creating Capacity Constraints and Costs Maritime Executive

Israel bombs UNRWA building in Gaza Strip, claiming it was ‘Hamas base’ Anadolu Agency

Israel Accuses Al Jazeera Of Being Mouthpiece For Journalism The Onion. Commentary:

New Not-So-Cold War

Russia warns Britain it could strike back after Cameron remark on Ukraine Reuters

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, May 6, 2024 Institute for the Study of War. “The Kremlin appears to be re-intensifying a reflexive control campaign targeting Western decision-making using nuclear threats and diplomatic manipulation.”

Russia to hold nuclear drills following ‘threats’ from West BBC

United States on Russia’s upcoming nuclear drills: Irresponsible rhetoric and Russia should simply withdraw – US Strategic Communications Coordinator Kirby on nuclear rhetoric Ukrainska Pravda

Ukraine’s pitch to new soldiers: ‘Choose your own adventure’ FT

Satellite images show Russia no longer using Crimean bridge to supply troops in Ukraine Independent

Travel Notes, St Petersburg, April-May 2024: second installment Gilbert Doctorow, Armageddon Newsletter

Gig work in Georgia: “Another hell” JAM News

South of the Border

Walking Buenos Aires (excerpt) Chris Arnade Walks the World

Global Elections

European elections: One month ahead, the French badly need to start doing their homework France24

Facebook Black Market for Ad Accounts Looms Over India Election Tech Transparency Project

Indian politicians are bringing the dead on the campaign trail, with help from AI Rest of World

Biden Administration

The SEC’s power grab on digital assets threatens US innovation FT. You say “threatens innovation” like that’s a bad thing.

FTC Bans Noncompete Agreements in Most Cases James Moore

The Supremes

Blockbuster cases abound as Supreme Court enters opinion season Courthouse News


‘Politico’ Misses Mark in Story on Who’s Funding Pro-Palestine Protests Against Biden Rolling Stone


There are six reasons why we need taxes Funding the Future

Meanwhile, bogus posturing:

Since Federal taxes don’t “pay for” Federal funding.

Digital Watch

For AI, a Few Seconds of Power Becomes a Booming Business WSJ

Dear Stack Overflow denizens, thanks for helping train OpenAI’s billion-dollar LLMs The Register. Open theft, the basis (“primitive accumulation”) of the AI “industry.”

Our Famously Free Press


Also clarifying:

* * *

Patrick Lawrence: Of Journalists, Students and Power ScheerPost

New Claim Puts ‘WaPo’ Boss Will Lewis in Crosshairs of Murdoch Scandal Daily Beast

Groves of Academe

Encampment in Harvard Yard Harvard Office of the President. It’s not clear to me why an anti-genocide encampment is not part of Harvard’s “academic mission,” whereas a commencement ceremony, heart-warming though the presentation of credentials may be, is.

When the hammer came down at U.V.A. The Racket


The FAA investigates after Boeing says workers in South Carolina falsified 787 inspection records AP

Boeing Starliner’s first crewed mission scrubbed TechCrunch

Boeing Locks Out Firefighters While Negotiating With Machinists Forbes

Realignment and Legitimacy

On the political psychology of killer chimpanzees Carl Beijer

The Illiberalism at America’s Core The New Republic

Liberalism without Accountability London Review of Books

Tech bro fascism looks like a lot like old-fashioned fascism Boing Boing


Thanks, guys:

Guillotine Watch

Run, Bezos, Run Crooked Timber. Hilarious deadpan.

Class Warfare

The End of Lean Production… and What’s Ahead Kim Moody, Labor Notes

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Antifa

    (melody borrowed from Goodbye Yellow Brick Road  by Bernie Taupin and Elton John)

    Yesterday, none suggested “Goodbye Genocide Joe” to the tune of “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.” Here you go . . .

    DC is a crazy town
    Where money is in command
    Strange bedfellows keep you warm
    It’s no place for an honest man

    The rules of the game are so clever
    Keep track of each IOU
    Your vote’s for sale to some villain hopin’
    The bill has words that conceal and confuse

    So Goodbye Genocide Joe
    DC is the jungle you prowl
    You’ve had 12 years in the White House
    And done things we don’t allow

    You’ve started wars everywhere that you could
    Ukraine’s reached the end of the road
    Each child in Gaza that starves and dies
    Is a blade of grass that you mowed

    The bombs that you ship are new when
    Israelis drop them from their planes
    The Pentagon helps with the avionics
    It’s a red white blue campaign

    We watch all your wars with amazement
    Tik-Tok shows the scene and the sound
    How much how long and how many
    Have to go into mass graves we have found

    So Goodbye Genocide Joe
    DC is the jungle you prowl
    You’ve had 12 years in the White House
    And done things we don’t allow

    You’ve started wars everywhere that you could
    Ukraine’s reached the end of the road
    Each child in Gaza that starves and dies
    Is a blade of grass that you mowed

  2. JohnA

    Well as the song went You can get ’bout anything you want at Alice’s Restaurant.

    And the way western leaders are failing to react, they are going to continue letting Israel get anything they want, even if this means to the very last Palestinian mother and child. We can’t have them growing up to seek revenge, now can we?

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      And let’s give Arlo Guthrie, son of Woody, credit for his talkin’ blues, one of the greatest anti-authoritarian songs to come out of the 60s.

      1. Bugs

        It’s a beautiful song. And I also love the movie made from it. There are so many emotions from joy to fear, intense sadness, hilarity. It’s almost like the world back then held more possibilities.

      2. mrsyk

        For sure.. We had this record growing up. My older brother and I knew all the words, at six and eight years of age.
        HMP, I hope you’ve been able to get out to the garden. I’m on my way, so singing and signing out for now.
        “Walk right in, it’s around the back…..

        1. Henry Moon Pie

          Beautiful day here on the East Side. I have gotten out the last two days trying to bring my nettle patch under control again. The columbines are in bloom, and the roses and sage are budding. Still need to get the lines up for the hops to climb.

          1. mrsyk

            I’ve nettle soup for supper. Too hot to work in the sun now. Im building a small deck/jumbo raised bed off the garden door for my wife’s mom for mom’s day. The raised bed will be the nightshade garden.

    2. flora

      Or grow up to profit from that Gazan off-shore oil…. There’s money to be made. And seaside property to develope. The US Congress tell me I can’t criticize Isr. Killing women and children is A-OK if Isr does it. I can criticize the US Congress, the US president, AND Isr.

      1. Kouros

        If all elected officials were Jews, then The Congress, the Senate, and the President of the US would be beyond criticizing because that would be anti-semitic…

          1. Anne L

            The Pritzkers were mentioned in the Politico article. The last thing pro Israel supporters want is a calm and measured discussion of U.S. foreign policy, tax money trillions, or a discussion of the entire Middle East situation.

            Why would they buy tents and fund anti Israel demostrations? Funding, and thereby controlling photo-opportunity worthy pro Hamas demonstrations nationwide, lots of flags and strife, with Jewish kids being blocked from attending classes, that will get conservative rah rahs to demand U.S. military intervention, wave Israeli flags, now that the Ukrianian is DOA, and stifle questions about policy.


            “In response to the genocide in Gaza and violent attacks in Israel and Palestine, the Kataly Foundation”, –Olin, arms makers, Pritzkers, on board of directors and massive funders–“and their Environmental Justice Resourcing Collective (EJRC) are distributing $680,000 to 23 Arab and Jewish-led organizations in the U.S.” Plus many other large donations not mentioned on press release.

    3. ilsm

      Each Thanksgiving day I watch the youtube version!

      In the late ’60’s I went to an induction center (draft) physical in Albany, NY, not that far from St Albans!

      The flic captured the ambiance!

    4. B24S

      Friend of mine was Officer Obies’ last bust, before he retired, for half a dozen scraggly plants that’d been hard pressed to do much anyways…

  3. The Rev Kev

    “Arab nations warm to peacekeeping force for Gaza’

    Yeah, nah! Too many unanswered questions here. For example, the Israelis have caused about $$50 billion of destruction in Gaza. Who is going to pay to build all those new homes? Every plan that I have seen the Israelis come up with have the feature that other countries will pay for it. But $50 billion and rising? Who is going to supply medical services to over two million people? And what about water, food and sanitation? The Israelis will never allow the building materials in to do all this as they claim that it will be used for military purposes. How do those Arab nations know that the Israelis will not attack those contingents? Will they be tasked to hunt down Hamas soldiers and to seek out any underground tunnels? How can they justify sending contingents knowing that a Palestinian State will never be allowed by the Israelis, the US or the EU? How are the Palestinian authorities going to develop their own “capable” security forces when Israel has a history of attacking and bombing Palestinian police. And these objections are just off the top of my head. I think that FT is indulging themselves in some wishful thinking here.

    1. cgregory

      OH, no problem. The glitterati and cosmopolitanites will easily fork over the $50 billion it will take to convert the grounds of the former open air concentration camp into condos for the stratospheric elite. I envision the first project being named Blood Court.

  4. Cassandra

    My heart breaks for the kids in the GenZ xweet. Does anyone know if there is a corresponding movement away from first-person shooter games in the Xbox community? I can’t help but think that the world might be a better place if “blowing people away” was generally seen as sickening rather than an afternoon’s entertainment…

    1. The Rev Kev

      Was it the same for baby boomer kids in America who grew up with atomic attack drills in their schools? With a shooter, most of the kids survive. But I bet that the kids back then knew that the chances of surviving an atomic attack were mostly zilch. I can’t prove it but that must have had some sort of effect on a whole generation of kids and messed with their minds- (5:00 mins)

      ‘Duck and cover’ my a**. Who’s got the SPF 1,000,000 + sun cream?

      1. earthling

        No, that was a nebulous idea, kids rarely had any concept about the horrors of nuclear war, it was a just a variation on fire drills for kids who had never seen a fire or a bomb, ‘just a drill’.

        These kids are seeing mass murders play out in the news constantly, and their teachers are spending hours training them about how to deal with psychotic killers in their classrooms. It’s a big step up in anxiety.

        1. flora

          Kids had a very good idea of what a nuclear bomb would do. Plenty of TV shows about WWII and Japan, and film on the evening news of nuclear tests in the south Pacific islands and elsewhere.

          1. EMC

            I think the difference is it didn’t happen, unlike kids preparing for school shootings. It only lodged itself in the hind brain of a generation of otherwise rational and critically thinking people to hate and fear all things Russia. Just because.

              1. Wukchumni

                Say somebody had a fallout with their neighbors, and it was a limited exchange between Israel & an adversary, and went no further…

                …would it be the equivalent of a few 1950’s nuclear bomb tests in the atmosphere?

              2. Feral Finster

                Nothing would delight NATO more than if Russia were to resort to using tactical nuclear weapons.

                1. Retired Carpenter

                  Could you please unpack your remark a bit? How would NATO express its delight if Russia uses an NSNW? Roll on the floor and giggle?

                  1. Feral Finster

                    Sure. Think of how bad the optics would be, the cries for victim status would be overwhelming.

                    Not to mention this would get the world to stop talking about Israeli atrocities, and antiwar voices discredited. Finally, a chance to make Russia look as bad as they say Russia is.

                    Hypocritical? Yes, but the West has no problem with that.

                    1. witters

                      “Not to mention this would get the world to stop talking about Israeli atrocities, and antiwar voices discredited. Finally, a chance to make Russia look as bad as they say Russia is.”

                      What is “the world” here?
                      Does it mean – surely you can’t mean it – that the views of those not in the oligarchy count in some way?

            1. Chromex

              Grade school in the 1950s and early 60s. I knew about nuclear war, being a SF fan in grade school- a lot of stories about post nulcear war living then.
              We had the stupid drills too but my grade school mind never connected them with what they were for. Just thought they were more useless busywork.. which had a lot of company then. And, had I known what they were for I would have ridiculed the idea. Lots of tv at the time ( Twilight zone etc ) was also airing shows with this subject.In my upper midwest town anti-communism was there then and quite strong. As I grew older and became aware of the stupidity of the propaganda, it struck me that I was never going to learn much about anything other than the glories of capitalism unless I educated myself. I was more traumatized by the quality of thinking in the upper midwest college town I grew up in. At least until war protest manifested, the conservatives held sway with rather simplistic sloganeering.

            2. IMOR

              Flora and EMC are correct. I lived next to a shipping point for Nam materiel and a warhead / sub fuel reprocessing transshipment base, and there were regular drills that many of us understood to be whistling past the graveyard. But every day, every week from first grade on that it DIDN’T happen was like a certification that it WOULDN’T happen that next day or in the upcoming week.

            3. t

              Nukes didn’t happen here. Shootings happen here. They happen in your state, maybe your city, and no one cares. Sometimes there’s a situation like Uvalde where it’s on the news in real time for hours.

              1. The Rev Kev

                ‘Sometimes there’s a situation like Uvalde where it’s on the news in real time for hours.’

                What was really showing on the news was that not only will cops not go in and save kids lives from an active shooter – even the SWAT units – but that they will stop and arrest parents trying to go in and pull their own kids from other parts of the school. Blue Lives Matter. Not the first time that this has happened either.

            4. c_heale

              I was born in the 60’s and I remember the feeling that one day we might all die to nuclear war hanging over me during the 80’s. So it did affect people if I’m a good example.

              Ironically, I have less fear of a nuclear war now, due to global warming and the destruction of biodiversity which I think is more significant.

          2. Cristobal

            My seventh grade math teacher had just returned from his tour as some kind of mathematicion in the US Air Force and had, for some reason, been present for at least one of the many nuclear tests that were done out there in Nevada (Yucca Flats? you can see the holes if you look for them on Google Maps). One time he told us about it. There were some buildings located at various distances from the bomb, some frame and some brick or whatever. There were some live animals staked out there too at various distances away. He said that the first thing you saw when they set off the bomb was the bright light and the buildings, animals and everything else suddenly burst into flame. A couple of seconds later they disappeared in a cloud of dust – flattened by the blast. Nothing left. Then the boom. We were impressed.

          3. aletheia33

            born at end of ’54. no drills that i remember in rural grade school.
            read john hersey’s “hiroshima” at high school age.
            i never expected to live past the year 2000.
            in my mind, the world was due to be blown up by then.
            even since 2000, my life has actually not felt quite as real to me–
            being alive today was something i never planned on happening.
            and i find myself very much resisting the 21st century.

        2. Cassandra

          Earthling, we weren’t immersed in the graphic mayhem of the twenty first century, but I have a vivid memory of the afternoon my first grade teacher stepped out of the room and we were all supposed to work on our addition papers. I still remember the smell of the purple mimeograph fluid. It was a sunny day and someone spotted the Goodyear blimp shining silver in the distance. We all rushed to the window convinced that “the bomb” was coming for us just as the teacher returned. We got in trouble for leaving our seats without permission…

          I didn’t have any concept of the horrors of nuclear war then, just knew it was something the grownups were afraid of. I learned about the horrors of war in high school from watching newsreel footage of the aftermath of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, with people’s eyeballs melting down their cheeks. History class was the period before lunch…

          I loathe our rulers who play d***waving games with other people’s lives.

        3. converger

          I still remember my nightmares about nuclear war as a young child. I knew *exactly* what the air raid drills were about.

          1. Lena

            There was a part of me that knew. I had an uncle who was a chemical engineer at Los Alamos in the early years there. Both he and his wife died young from cancer. His death was rarely talked about in my mostly Quaker family when I was growing up because it was too painful. So in that way, ‘the bomb’ was a reality in my life from an early age, albeit somewhat hidden in the shadows. But I don’t recall connecting his death with my elementary school’s bomb drills at all.

      2. Wukchumni

        Generation Jones humbly reporting, sir

        I don’t remember any atomic attack drills in school, my coming out party taking place during the white heat phase of the Cold War, nor any anti-Communist indoctrination aside from that one day circa 1975 when the entire Mesa Robles junior high was assembled to hear some John Bircher type extol the horrors of Communism to not so impressionable teenagers with training wheels on. It must’ve been just after we left Saigon for the last time…

      3. Lena

        I’m a late boomer. We had regular nuclear bomb drills at my elementary school. We would all huddle in the downstairs hallway of the big 1890’s brick building that was our school. I remember thinking we weren’t really safe there but we all played along. Then in third grade, I believe it was, a real bomb shelter was built in a nearby university building and for our drills, we would walk a couple of blocks outside to go to it. It was scary, a claustrophobic place. By the time I was a teenager, the drills stopped. I don’t think I really understood what the bomb drills were about until I was an adult. They were just part of our childhood. I kind of blocked them out. I do recall having nightmares about nuclear war when I was in college, maybe an aftereffect of the those early drills.

        1. LifelongLib

          Growing up near Seattle, I only recall practicing “duck and cover” once, when I was in the first grade 1962-63. We were told it was “a new kind of fire drill”. Years later I realized this must have been during the Cuban Missile Crisis. At home there was a room on our basement that was supposed to be a “bomb shelter” but it gradually turned into a plain old storeroom.

        2. Henry Moon Pie

          Our little town had a designated bomb shelter consisting of the showers located in the boys’ and girls’ locker rooms in the basement of the 1920s era high school. No food storage or even first aid kits, but we had signs.

          I think civil defense was about as serious then as public health is now.

      4. marieann

        I was 12 during the Cuban crisis….I think it was a Tuesday, we in cookery class and I was failing (thank goodness for classsmates)

        I said why does it matter that I can’t beat in the eggs if we are all going to die.

        This was in Scotland.

        I don’t think it messed with my mind…there were too many other things happening in the teenage era.

      5. Benny Profane

        Born 1952. Can’t remember many drills, but do remember the bomb shelter signs everywhere. Watching film of those big blasts in the Pacific was scary. Living in North Jersey, I figured we were toast if one or two of those dropped on the Empire State building as ground zero. Then, as time matched on, we all had to worry about getting our butts shot in Vietnam, so nuke fear receded.

        But that was nothing like this school shooting fear. C’mon. What’s the toll since Columbine? I live five miles from Newton, and still get depressed driving through that pretty town. And this is nationwide. Add the Covid lockdowns, phone addiction, student debt, and I am not optimistic about how well this young generation will deal.

      6. Feral Finster

        For those who care, I understand that the civil defense drills were taught, not because any informed person thought that “duck and cover” would be much good in the event of an actual nuclear war, but because the drills made the public think that such a war might be survivable and therefore the public would not demand that tensions to be ratcheted down before the tomfools in the Pentagon, CIA, State, etc. get us all killed.

        Lest anyone doubt the cynicism of those who run things.

      7. B24S

        Born in ’53, lived in Manhattan from ’56 to ’70. Our apt. building was a Civil Defense shelter, as was most every public school. As noted by others, we knew damn well what had happened, and what would happen. My drawings from those years often featured mushroom clouds. We had seen plenty, heard plenty, and then we’d listen to Tom Lehrers “We Will All Go Together (When We Go)”. My wife, 2 yrs older, also knew the duck and cover drills behind the wall of windows at her school were BS. Then came Cuba. After that, ‘Nam. Neither my wife nor I expected to live to 25.

        1. playon

          I was born in late 1951. I remember the civil defense signs but I don’t recall ever having any drills at school.

    2. Dr. John Carpenter

      Cassandra, you ask an interesting question. Modern FPS’es aren’t my bag (way too much pro-military propaganda) but, as far as I know, Halo and Call of Duty still have a huge audience. I couldn’t say other than anecdotally what the player demographics are and, given the skittishness of the biz towards the idea that videogames cause violence in youth, I strongly doubt anyone is willing to make that information easily available. I could be wrong, but I’ve never seen it out there anyway and with the big Microsoft-Activision/Blizzard merger, I’d think something would have surfaced if Call of Duty (one of Activision’s biggest IPs) was losing players.

      1. t

        Madden was crazy popular and growing in the US while soccer was taking over with live people. Most of us are pretty clear on games being games, and books being books, and so on.
        I’m trying to recall a school in the GTA franchise – just as a location. I can think of a playground, maybe. But are their non-adult NPCs? Now my entire weekend willbe spent on this pressing question.

      2. digi_owl

        Probably going to regret getting involved, but frankly the video game “link” has been examined time and time again all the way back to Columbine and found to be tenuous at best.

        It may even be that the causation is reversed, that video games act as a escape from the stresses of daily life.

        Whenever we see something about video games in media, it is usually involving someone shouting nasty language over voice comms during a round of competitive gaming. The problem there is that most of those games these days have all kind of ranking and matching algos that mix random players. Thus there is difficult to develop team coherence, while easy to blame anyone but oneself when one’s “team” of faceless randoms loses.

        Again and again i see older gamers pine for the early days of online gaming, when the servers were player run and each one would develop its own community as the same players returned over time.

          1. digi_owl

            And before him it was Ozzy Osborne (funny how he looks more like an aging hippie these days).

          2. Feral Finster

            I also heard that it was TV And Junk Food, in spite of the fact that Klebold and Harris were not big on the Idiot Box and were health food freaks, to boot.

          3. hk

            A colleague mentioned to me that her son got into trouble at a Boston area elementary school for doodling warplanes and such on margins of his notebook. I was pretty astonished I heard this. Adding to irony is that the colleague’s family is from PRC (her husband having been working at a Boston area college when that took place). So which country is cracking down on thoughtcrime (of kids!) these days? I know of the debates about linkage between music/videogames and supposed misbehavior among the youths (however tenuous the findings are), but has anyone even looked at even the possibility of linkage between doodles and behavior??

        1. Cassandra

          Digi_owl, my question was not about whether video games inspire active shooters.

          I noted that the youngsters subjected to the drills had early exposure to the horrific effects of high power rounds on human flesh. They are all too aware that the person on the receiving end does not merely fall down with a neat hole and a trickle of blood.

          I also am aware that the vast majority of gamers know very well the difference between a video game and reality.

          My curiosity was based on the eloquence of the description of the effect of being a potential shoot-ee. I have seen amazing empathy in many young people, and I wondered if that awareness of what real shooting entails would interfere with the enjoyment of fantasy shooting and killing.

      3. Dr. John Carpenter

        Just to add real quick, I’m NOT implying there’s a link between videogames and real world violence. I followed all the Jack Thompson/Colombine etc. stuff quite closely at the time and was never convinced. I only mentioned it thinking out loud that because things have been relatively quiet on that front for a while, the industry might not want to make a big deal of how many kids are playing FPSes, regardless if there’s a link to violence or not.

    3. ambrit

      The modern “active shooter” “Threat” is a classic case of “Divide and Rule” thinking. This time, the “Threat”(TM) is not some faceless foreign power, but “one of us!” Intense paranoia and internal distrust are the result. Community is weakened. The “Commons” become the “Killing Fields.”
      An entire generation is being trained into internalizing learned helplessness. As usual, “Officer Friendly” is around somewhere to reassure and ‘guide’ Goodthinkers onto the paths of ‘Right-thinking.’
      Never let a crisis go to waste.

      1. Janeway

        And I’d add that the popularity of the ‘eliminating’ game Fortnite doesn’t seem to faze millions of kids playing everyday.

    4. Neutrino

      Glad my children are out of the school system, but worry about eventual schooling of grandchildren.

      One aspect that could be covered more regarding the 1990s and beyond school shootings is pharma. There were numerous reports of high school shooters on psych meds. The side effects of those meds did not appear to be understood adequately.

    5. Emma

      I’m very sorry that the GenZ kids are being unnecessarily traumatized by these active shooter simulations that no other country has to have. But I’m glad they’re directing the trauma towards empathy and connection with brutalized peoples elsewhere in the world rather than letting their trauma turn them into selfish monsters.

      It’s really amazing. These kids at elite schools are paying $400,000 out of pocket or likely carrying $200,000 in loans if they got some need based grants. The only way they can pay it back is by scoring lucrative PMC jobs that might get them something like the American dream in 15 years. They may be giving that up forever because they feel they have to bear witness and do what they can to stop a genocide. I wonder if they were spurred into action by Aaron Bushnell’s sacrifice.

      They all deserve our utmost respect and attention.

      1. Mikel

        There are also kids at elite schools still prepping to take their place within the elite.

    6. Albe Vado

      Nope, shooters remain a highly successful genre. And not just on Xbox. The recent Helldivers 2 is exceptional and has sold way more copies than its developers thought it would, and that’s a PC and Playstation exclusive so far.

      1. digi_owl

        Because in that game, getting killed by enemy fire or your own team’s badly placed artillery barrage just means you have to wait for them to call down another drop pod clone. It is no worse than getting hit in a game of dodgeball.

        Heck, that the game even has friendly fire is an oddity. Back when WoT started up, Pentagon released their own FPS, America’s Army. This because they tried recruiting games, thinking they would already be well versed in things like small unit tactics, only to find they had zero concepts of line of fire. This thanks to shooters at the time allowed someone to provide “cover fire” by basically shooting through their advancing teammates.

        So Pentagon made their own game that was much closer to real army drills. Best i can tell it did well enough that they kept releasing new games until 2012. Not sure if it helped much with recruitment though.

  5. zagonostra

    The latest national ABC News/Ipsos poll found President Joe Biden leading Donald Trump among likely voters, 49% to 45%. Among all adults…

    I saw this headline yesterday and my gut reaction was to want to vomit. If people are willing to support either of these two Genocide enablers then the Republic is lost…I know it was lost long ago…

    1. flora

      I don’t believe the poll. Big swing out of nowhere? There are lots of officially pronounced things I don’t believe anymore. I also remember Hills was leading in all the polls up to election day. Potemkin Polls? / ;)

      1. Carolinian

        I read that Rasmussen has a poll now showing Trump up nationally by ten percent. Who to believe?

        Of course the ABC may depend on who they decide are “likely voters.”

    2. Big River Bandido

      US Presidential elections are not decided nationally, they are decided state by state. This has caused a few Democrats some *minor* problems over the years.

    3. griffen

      A couple of fictional efforts at historic military sagas were on cable channel Monday late afternoon..the sorta okay to watch again Troy and that film was followed by the Gladiator movie.

      We ain’t got Maximus in the wings and neither one of our pretenders contenders for the high seat of power resembles a Marcus Aurelius…sad to reflect upon such circumstances…

      1. Wukchumni

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

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

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

        1. griffen

          I’m thinking more like the ending scenes from the Incredible Hulk, where the green guy ( Edward Norton ) is going against some monstrous militarized concoction ( Tim Roth ) that doubled down the science and good grief gamma rays a bunch.

          Smashing and thrashing against buildings and skyscrapers.. which kinda works depending on which brand of bland Kool aid tool is next in line to rule and swagger on like everything is damn cool.

        2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

          That’s brilliant.

          The Ayatollah of Diet Cola!

          Feels like a line from the Mad Max films!

          My vote is for the Roy Rogers.

          F Shirley Temples!

      1. The Rev Kev

        Hackers have their uses. Putin has just been inaugurated for his fifth term as President in Moscow. But Germany’s Ambassador would not be there because Berlin is accusing Russia of hacking seniors members of the SPD and recalled him for a week. That is one way of getting out of attending that formal ceremony. There was enough teeth-grinding to be heard already and moans were distinctly heard coming from John McCain’s grave.

        1. Benny Profane

          “The German government claims that a group named ‘АРТ28’ is a front for the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, and used a vulnerability in Microsoft Outlook software to spy on the party’s leadership.”

          15 year olds in basements around the world are saying, Outlook? Really? My little brother could figure that out in a half hour.

          We hacked Merkel. And she didn’t get too upset, because, at the time, the attitude was, everybody does it.

          1. Polar Socialist

            Fer crying out loud! APT means Advanced Peristent Threat, and it’s a convention to name a certain set of tools and methods used often together to break into an information system.

            APT28 would be a “commonly used identified set” number 28. And no matter what the media orbthe experts say, it’s really hard to assign any single group or even nationality to any particular APT.

            When it’s done, it’s usually a circular logic: we assume this attack was by North Koreans and we name the tools/method as APT69, therefore all attacks that use APT69 are North Korean attacks. We don’t need no stinking proof…

          2. Feral Finster

            “We hacked Merkel. And she didn’t get too upset, because, at the time, the attitude was, everybody does it.”

            No, merkel didn’t get too upset for the same reason that nobody in the Mansion On The Hill cares what peons and flunkies down below think. They just have to accept their lot in life.

  6. The Rev Kev

    “Satellite images show Russia no longer using Crimean bridge to supply troops in Ukraine”

    That has been true for a very long time now. Not only do the Russians rely on land routes but recently they built a railway line to carry military gear as well which this article seems some to forget about. It is just a civilian bridge which is why the two times that the Ukraine attacked it, only civilians died. The destruction of the bridge is a bit of an obsession with the Zelensky regime which is understandable from a propaganda point of view. But it is amazing the number of western officials, including military ones, that are also demanding the destruction of this bridge. It is now an obsession of the west and recently Lithuanian ambassador to Sweden Linas Linkevicius posted a meme showing three images – Russia’s Crimean Bridge, another the launch of what appeared to be a US-made ATACMS missile, and the third showing Russian President Vladimir Putin in a reflective mood. The caption under the images reads: ‘If someone hasn’t had a chance to take a photo at the Kerch bridge, it’s still time.’ In a normal world that Ambassador would have been recalled but he wasn’t so I guess that all is cool. In a press briefing, Russian spokesperson Maria Zakharova asked what the reaction of the west would be if a Russian official posted the image of the English Channel tunnel and a missile launch. She has a point-

    1. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you, Rev.

      You may or may not be surprised at the, frankly, juvenile behaviour of such people.

      It’s rare for career / professional officials, except if on the make (and on the take), including a school contemporary of mine*, but political appointees and advisers are often like the people posting / fishing for likes on social media. It’s part of a game to get noticed, especially if a lobbyist position for the highly remunerative US MIC is desired.

      I get the sense of desperation, not just for Ukraine’s survival, but for the period after when recriminations will fly, backsides need to be covered and income needed.

      *Not the sharpest tool in the box, but some how got into the Foreign Office and specialises in human rights, especially women’s issues. That makes us chuckle as, one afternoon, after games, we walked into the dressing room and caught him with his girlfriend in flagrante delicto. She’s really nice and not the type of person who would perform there.

      One hopes Aurelien / David pipes up.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Thank you, Colonel. Frankly I take a devil’s delight in waiting until the Ukraine collapses and all these countries see all their plans go up in smoke and the billions that they gave never to return. The blowback will be epic as all their plans for looting Russia of trillions of dollars have gone to naught. Years ago I used to enjoy the old original Tom Clancy novels but I never expected to live in a Tom Clancy scenario where there was an attempted smash & grab on Russia itself. If it weren’t for the fact that so many people are being killed, it would make a great Tom Clancy style novel. But what has really surprised me is how so many of our leaders are in fact quite pathetic as well as incompetent.

        1. Feral Finster

          The problem is that those who rule over us would sooner annihilate us all than give up.

          Especially as further escalation allows the reckoning to be deferred. “Kicking the can down the road” as they say. Not to mention that escalation costs the rulers nothing the way of personal or professional consequences.

          So they keep on escalating, making the cost of withdrawal from Ukraine that much higher. This abuse of The Sunk Cost Fallacy is entirely intentional.

      2. Ignacio

        But, but, diplomatics? ambassadors? “New diplomacy” as J. Borrell calls and lectures about it.

        It must be desperation and panic, none of them good friends of diplomacy.

      3. Feral Finster

        “Not the sharpest tool in the box, but some how got into the Foreign Office and specialises in human rights, especially women’s issues.”

        Treatment of women is irrelevant. What matters is that the politician parrot the current PMC platitudes.

        Bill Clinton, by all accounts, treated women like crap, but he is counted as a Friend And Ally To All Women Everywhere and feminists bent over backwards to defend the Fat Boy, even smearing his accuser. I won’t even mention Biden’s record.

    2. Lefty Godot

      While Ukraine and NATO are looking for symbolic wins, Russia is steadily wiping out the armed forces of Ukraine. The AFU has concentrated tens of thousands of troops in Chasiv Yar that are going to get the Avdeevka treatment (one group is already trapped in the Kanal district). And the Russian capture of Ocheretyne has put the AFU troops in the New York-Toretsk-Kostantynivka line of towns in extreme peril also. Meanwhile the RF is using the threat of an invasion through Sumy and Kharkov to keep Syrsky and company hesitant in their deployments.

      Things will get very interesting in two weeks, when Zelensky’s official term in office legally expires. Even though Russia is still technically fighting on its own territory (the four oblasts that voted to join Russia), the breakout from there will probably start in June, and may be well underway by late summer (uniparty convention time in the US). First they have to take the Kramatorsk-Slovyansk and Selydove-Pokrovsk fortified centers, after which the AFU will have to retreat a long way from their current lines. Hopefully no nukes get slung around by anyone in the coming months.

  7. Captain Obvious

    It was Communism that they despised …

    Nope. They despised everything and everyone but themselves, just like today. Communism-scare was just a narrative for the plebs, just like the Putin-scare is nowdays (and China-scare, and whatever flavor-of-the-month-scare is).

  8. ChrisFromGA

    Re: US efforts to stop Israel military ops

    I’m sure OJ would have been proud.

  9. Cervantes

    An issue with the Gen Z guns tweet. Note there is an Internet genre of the overwrought and long fictional post on a forum, ranging from the old days to modern Reddit, varying from the sexual confession to the testimonial about weightlifting to the FML story. I would make a strong guess that this post falls in this genre. Implausible elements help operate as tells; these include “toughest ranch boys” crying during a drill and then all day long, the English teacher telling them about furniture in the teacher’s lounge that can be used to barricade doors, and so on. The point of these posts is usually to 1) gather karma, likes, kudos, or other objective status markers and 2) develop and enjoy the skill of writing believable tales. The type was pioneered by millennials.

    1. Bazarov

      It’s called “copy pasta” and is often copy and pasted into chats or in the comments–sometimes with minor edits to make them relevant to the specific discussion at hand–as a joke. People will write posts in the “copy pasta” mode hoping they’ll become a popular copy pasta. Here’s a few notable examples:

      1.) “Based”? Are you fucking kidding me? I spent a decent portion of my life writing all of that and your response to me is “Based”? Are you so mentally handicapped that the only word you can comprehend is “Based” – or are you just some fucking asshole who thinks that with such a short response, he can make a statement about how meaningless what was written was? Well, I’ll have you know that what I wrote was NOT meaningless, in fact, I even had my written work proof-read by several professors of literature. Don’t believe me? I doubt you would, and your response to this will probably be “Based” once again. Do I give a fuck? No, does it look like I give even the slightest fuck about five fucking letters? I bet you took the time to type those five letters too, I bet you sat there and chuckled to yourself for 20 hearty seconds before pressing “send”. You’re so fucking pathetic. I’m honestly considering directing you to a psychiatrist, but I’m simply far too nice to do something like that. You, however, will go out of your way to make a fool out of someone by responding to a well-thought-out, intelligent, or humorous statement that probably took longer to write than you can last in bed with a chimpanzee. What do I have to say to you? Absolutely nothing. I couldn’t be bothered to respond to such a worthless attempt at a response. Do you want “Based” on your gravestone?

      2.) Gamers. We’re a group of people who will sit for hours, days, even weeks on end performing some of the hardest, most mentally demanding tasks. Over, and over, and over all for nothing more than a little digital token saying we did. We’ll punish our selfs doing things others would consider torture, because we think it’s fun.
      We’ll spend most if not all of our free time min maxing the stats of a fictional character all to draw out a single extra point of damage per second. Many of us have made careers out of doing just these things: slogging through the grind, all day, the same quests over and over, hundreds of times to the point where we know evety little detail such that some have attained such gamer nirvana that they can literally play these games blindfolded. Do these people have any idea how many controllers have been smashed, systems over heated, disks and carts destroyed 8n frustration? All to latter be referred to as bragging rights? These people honestly think this is a battle they can win? They take our media? We’re already building a new one without them. They take our devs? Gamers aren’t shy about throwing their money else where, or even making the games our selves. They think calling us racist, mysoginistic, rape apologists is going to change us? We’ve been called worse things by prepubescent 10 year olds with a shitty head set. They picked a fight against a group that’s already grown desensitized to their strategies and methods. Who enjoy the battle of attrition they’ve threatened us with. Who take it as a challange when they tell us we no longer matter. Our obsession with proving we can after being told we can’t is so deeply ingrained from years of dealing with big brothers/sisters and friends laughing at how pathetic we used to be that proving you people wrong has become a very real need; a honed reflex. Gamers are competative, hard core, by nature. We love a challange. The worst thing you did in all of this was to challange us. You’re not special, you’re not original, you’re not the first; this is just another boss fight.

      3.) My Grandfather smoked his whole life. I was about 10 years old when my mother said to him, ‘If you ever want to see your grandchildren graduate, you have to stop immediately.’. Tears welled up in his eyes when he realized what exactly was at stake. He gave it up immediately. Three years later he died of lung cancer. It was really sad and destroyed me. My mother said to me- ‘Don’t ever smoke. Please don’t put your family through what your Grandfather put us through.” I agreed. At 28, I have never touched a cigarette. I must say, I feel a very slight sense of regret for never having done it, because your post gave me cancer anyway.

      1. digi_owl

        Seems the origin is from a now deleted Tumblr account from back in 2019, if not earlier. And the image in the tweet shows clear signs of jpeg degradation, suggesting it has been copied and reuploaded on various sites for some time.

        And Tumblr do have a reputation for going overboard. It may well be the birthplace of present day “woke”, before it got weaponized by the TLAs as a means for seeding division among the rabble.

  10. John Beech

    Regarding the President’s plan which extended Medicare, makes me wonder what the actuaries say with regard to the sheer number of COVID deaths. Like, what effect 1M deaths had because presumably, these were folks who paid into Medicare and won’t collect.

  11. Joker

    How rental ‘libraries of things’ have become the new way to save money Guardian

    Now, that’s a new concept. Instead of buying a car, I could rent one and save money.

    1. Bugs

      Yeah, think about it. Maybe you could even say, rent a trailer or truck to move house since you can’t afford the rent on your apartment anymore. Crazy how innovative these guys are.

      Alert the WEF, we have new young leaders to inspire us.

  12. Colonel Smithers

    Thank you, Lambert.

    Further to the Matt Stoller tweet, the real story of Epstein should include Epstein’s links with the owner of Foxcote House in Warwickshire and the shooting parties* this friend hosts at Foxcote House every October* , what’s happened to the documents Buzz Feed UK has on these sort of escapades, not just in the UK, but the Med playgrounds, too, the embezzlement of employee retirement savings by Bob Maxwell and the persistent suggestion that much of the money ended up with Epstein for the benefit of the Maxwell children and grandchildren, Epstein’s Parisian connections, including a friend, now serving in the Biden cabinet, who has been a friend of the Maxwells since childhood.

    *Often attended by US politicians, media types etc. playing at English aristocracy and serviced by models and wannabes who have stayed on from London Fashion Week.

    One hopes the Rev Kev pipes up. Some years ago, the Rev and I exchanged comments thereon.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Thank you, Colonel. From just your comment alone, the information and data is all there and needs only a team of investigative journalists to put it all together. But the thing is, nobody wants to do that as there are far too many influential – and ruthless – people still out there who would take action against any team that sought to do that. One can only assume that all this is still going on with another Epstein taking up his duties of the previous one but of course nobody wants to go there.

  13. BeliTsari

    Anybody, SEE Katie Smith’s splendid coverage of Met Ball/
    Rafah protests & march? Each time rich celebrities try to distract sneeringly obdurate Yuppies from their proxy Genocide Likud’s wholly-owned media calls them rioters, looters, antisemites!

    1. JohnA

      Was AOC wearing a ridiculous tax the rich daubed dress, or has she also backpedalled on that issue as well?

      1. BeliTsari

        You kidding, we never got to 5th Ave. God BLESS these students, though (especially the organizers!) Frequently, in the 60s we’d curse the petit bourgeois yuppie kids that took control of everything, unabashedly. Now, these folks were SERIOUS & pissed-off, knowing what’s happening in Gaza (read Likud’s media’s sneering, verbatim bullshit about “outside agitators.” We’re ALL the taxpayers, here. We’re aware of what’s coming & how we got to this point!) Who’d EVER thought this was only about DNC’s luxury seaside retirement condos, casinos & offshore platforms in Gaza? Ethnic cleansing BEGAN here!

      2. Christopher Smith

        She hasn’t backpedaled in her position; she still gives it all the lip service and “fightin’ for” that she can muster.

    2. Henry Moon Pie

      I needed to remove “mediaViewer” for the links to work. It was worth it.

      1. BeliTsari

        Sorry, I’m using an ancient Huawei & a BUNCH of anti-tracking/ anti-malware & they’d come right up. Her video & other posts on her timeline exemplify how folks are trying, to end-run any violent police interaction & clearly show, any “outside agitators” are (as in 1968) basically non-Aryan, non-rich & pretty damn serious about their 1st Amendment rights not being usurped by 1% mostly foreign kleptocrats?

    3. Kouros

      Pages don’t exist any longer.

      My local news mentioned the Met Gala and the theme and the clothes. No mention of the protests… has a fresh posting on privatization of censorship and how and how badly he was demonetized:
      How I Was Demonetized By Medium

  14. ilsm

    US and EU is funding this!

    “There are no uninvolved (civilians) there.”

    Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius.

    Calling Innocent III!

    Every day in Gaza is repeat of No Gun Ri!

    1. Carolinian

      Say what you will about Musk but his rocket and capsule have made it to the Space Station without knocking off any astronauts.

    2. Anna

      I think the Boeing links today maybe inadvertently capture an analysis of the sudden up-tick in Boeing news: the Machinists’ ongoing contract negotiations. I have a friend who is a long-time employee at their main Washington plant, and chatting with him the other day he said these news stories are planted by Boeing to make the workers feel like their jobs aren’t secure and to weaken their side of the negotiations.

      Dunno if this is really the case, but it’s a lens I’ve been sliding on when I read stuff about Boeing and it seems to clarify things for me a bit. Makes my head spin thinking about those whistleblowers

      Here’s a recent local story about Boeing warning about plans to “slow output to get a handle on its manufacturing issues.”

  15. Wukchumni

    caucus99percenter suggested a new wrinkle on old goods, as in Desperado by the Eagles, and here it goes…

    Netanyahu, why don’t you come to your senses?
    You been out killin’ defenseless for so long now
    Oh, you’re a hard one
    But I know that you’ve got your reasons
    These things that are pleasin’ you
    Can hurt you somehow

    Don’t you draw the wrath of Muslims, boy
    They’ll beat you if they’re able
    Know the MIC is always your best bet
    Well, it seems to me, some fine things
    Have been laid upon your table
    But you only want the things that you can’t get

    Netanyahu, you know you ain’t gettin’ no younger
    Your campaign of pain and hunger, drivin’ them out of home
    And freedom, oh freedom
    Well, that’s just some people talkin’
    Your prison is walking
    Through this world all alone

    And don’t your ships get caught in an inopportune time
    The oil & food won’t show, and the economy will decline
    It’s hard to tell the night-time from the day
    You’re losin’ all your Patriot highs and lows
    Ain’t it funny how the power goes away?

    Netanyahu, why don’t you come to your senses?
    Come down from your fences, accept your fate
    It may be rainin’, but there’s a rainbow of retaliation coming for you
    You better let somebody stop you (let somebody stop you)
    Let somebody stop you before it’s too late

    1. griffen

      Nice effort there, worthy of hearty applause from those of us in the cheap seats.

    1. Lefty Godot

      I think the Israelis later subtracted 200 from their number, because they were counting “burned beyond recognition” bodies as Israelis that, on closer inspection, turned out to be Hamas. There was never any explanation from the Israelis how so many (way more than 200) bodies were burned so badly when all Hamas was equipped with were assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenade launchers. Haaretz (the only halfway objective newspaper over there) eventually estimated about half the Israeli dead had been killed by IDF tank and helicopter fire.

  16. Mikel

    “A lot of people may already have antibodies to H5N1- which is really good news. Maybe” Deplatform Disease

    I remember thinking similar things about the Swine Flu scare around the mid-2000s.
    But never heard H5 described this way before. But have to remember how these viruses have also been incubating in certain places.

  17. The Rev Kev

    “I think we should’ve gone into Rafah yesterday already… There are no uninvolved (civilians) there. You have to go in and kill and kill and kill… We have to kill them before they kill us” ‘

    He virtually come out and says that he does not care if the hostages get killed or not. Killing Palestinians is all he wants to do, no matter how many Israelis get killed.

    1. Retired Carpenter

      What a tragedy! And completely preventable! Someone remind me, how much money was sent to “Ukraine” and “Israel”? I truly hope I die of a heart attack while planing a board for a cabinet…

  18. Henry Moon Pie reprints a still very relevant letter from Wendell Berry to the New York Review of Books. This paragraph summarizes Berry’s message:

    The truth is that when this nation chose to eliminate four million farmers (with their families, hired help, buildings, and boundaries) on the advice of the colleges of agriculture, the agricultural bureaucracy, and the agribusiness corporations, it committed a sort of cultural genocide. It destroyed, that is, a necessary mosaic of local agrarian cultures, which made farmers of farmers’ children by teaching them how to farm in their native places. Imperfect as it often was, this was an asset of immeasurable economic worth, easily wiped out, unimaginably difficult to restore. I don’t believe that the scientists of outer space could define the problem, let alone solve it.

    As someone who grew up on a farm outside a town of 1,000 people, I can testify that the cultural genocide where I came from was pretty much complete by 2000. Since then, the downward slide has continued unabated with the enthusiastic support of the liberals who occupy the cultural “high ground” of institutions like the New York Review of Books.

    1. flora

      Thanks for the comment. He is right. I grew up in a small farming town.

      In its place now there are vanished or vanishing small towns and local businesses, small county hospitals and doctors’ offices, local schools and local work, etc. In it place there is fentanyl and opioid addiction and early deaths.

      1. mrsyk

        Mostly small dairy farms here, which was once upon a time profitable. Some are lucky enough to have a contract with one of the large buyers. Some have shifted to beef cattle. Some are abandoned. On NY 22 south of Hillsdale center sits an abandoned (about five years now) dairy farm we used to stop at. They had ice cream that was worth the drive. On the wall was a framed document conveying the award “Dairy of Distinction”.

    2. lyman alpha blob

      Not to worry! Once the real farms go out of business, the rich can swoop in, buy them up, and then run a “gentleman’s farm” where they store their two horses and maybe a llama – then the kiddies have something to play with for the week or two out of the year the family actually comes to visit.

    3. Kouros


      The socialism was not able/nor really willing to kill the peasantry and small holdings in Romania. In my mother’s village (pop ~1200 on about 1500 hectares of land), each morning, during summer holidays spent at grandma, I wabeen awaken by:
      – the song of turtledoves
      – the gaglin of geese going to the commons pasture (15 or so per household, no sheperding required)
      – the oinks of pigs released from their pens to go to the commons
      – the moos of the cows going to the commons

      Thousands of geese, hundreds of pigs and cows. One village. Now the geese are gone and the cows. Some of the pigs are still there but no “grass fed” any longer…

      Thank you EU for destroying food self sufficiency in Romania. The sugar and oil mills are gone too…

      1. CA

        “The socialism was not able/nor really willing to kill the peasantry and small holdings in Romania.”

        [ A fine and important comment. ]

  19. eg

    In The Illiberalism at America’s Core I found the offhand dismissal of the late 19thC Populists as “xenophobic and anti-Semitic” jarring, especially given Thomas Frank’s excellent The People, NO!”

    1. Mikel

      The article says, “The colonists, Hahn suggests, clearly expressed “neo-feudal” ambitions.”

      I thought, “Yeah, right in The Constitution.” Before amendment push and pull began.

    2. Carolinian

      Well it is The New Republic. Have just been reading that Blinken started out as a protege of Martin Peretz–the rich guy who famously turned TNR from a by the numbers lefty organ into a pro Zionist, thinking outside the box advocacy shop for neoliberalism and The Bell Curve. Over at The Nation Cockburn used to make great sport of Peretz and said Navasky asked him to dial it back.

      Under Biden we are living in Peretz world rather than Cockburn world without a doubt.

    1. Yves Smith

      Not great rap but very good political video. Like that he specifically says he’s not voting for Biden, calls out music industry for silence.

    2. Feral Finster

      Until about two minutes ago, I had no idea that I actually liked Macklemore.

      Truly, Israel is performing veritable miracles, yea, even as we speak.

    3. bonks

      Good to see someone with clout speaking up. But my question is, since he brought up ‘white supremacy’ twice, do Jewish people consider themselves white? And are Jewish people considered white by others?

      1. Feral Finster

        Depends. Macklemore does mention the dishonest weaponization of allegations of antisemitism and applauds Jewish voices that speak out against genocide.

        1. bonks

          When I watched Seinfeld and especially Curb Your Enthusiasm I get the distinct feeling that Jewish people see themselves separate from Anglo-Saxons/Whites of non-Jewish faith, they even mentioned the words goyim and gentile a few times.

      2. Alice X

        ~do Jewish people consider themselves white?

        hmm…the Ashkenazim probably, but in their own view of the Mizrahim, maybe not so much. The latter have long had a repressed socioeconomic status in Israel, but now are actually in the majority.

        ~are Jewish people considered white by others?

        In the US, the concept of who is white, (by the previous exclusive club) has expanded. It started out, IMHO, as those from NW Europe (excepting Ireland). Prior to early in the last century, the Irish, Italians and other south and eastern euros were not included. This was true for the Jews, I suspect.

        I’ve started in on Morton Borden’s Jews, Turks, and Infidels

        Borden reveals the ways in which many mainstream Protestants worked to maintain preferential treatment for Christians in common law, state constitutions, and federal practices, even attempting through interpretation and amendment to alter the meaning of the U.S. Constitution. Even though religious freedom was guaranteed by the constitution in 1788, it took the sustained efforts of vigilant Jews during the nineteenth century to fulfill the constitution’s promise of religious equality.

        Originally published in 1984.

        I’m not quite sure how I stumbled on it but, but it is quite informative.

        1. Yves Smith

          Matt Stoller tweeted to the effect that he is white and finds that sort of surprising. Which suggests that the identification of European Jews as white has gone from iffy to pretty solid over his life. BTW same thing happened to the Irish.

          Having said that, I am older than Stoller, grew up mainly in the boonies, but the first school I attended was in a 90% Jewish community, although as I kid I didn’t much notice, except the Jewish and Catholic kids got way more school holidays than I did. It never occurred to me to see Jews as non-white.

          1. Alice X

            My two favorite teachers in seventh grade (math and science) were afro. Their rooms were adjacent in the back of the school. The school was mixed, the community was rather segregated, those two were alone. Much later I understood that in a fairer society, their brilliance would have offered them greater opportunities, though they did seem to cherish teaching us snotty kids, they were always kind. I am forever glad to have known them, though now I understand that in that elusive society they might have been teaching at a university. Concepts of an otherness are learned.

            By the time I had any awareness of someone identifying as being Jewish, they were my friends.

            1. Procopius

              When I was in high school, the received wisdom was that “all the Jews live in Huntington Park,” a pretty prosperous suburb of Detroit. I’m fairly sure there were no more than a half dozen in my class, two of whom were very popular and active in extracurricular activities. Both were rather dark skinned, say a bit darker than Italians. Royal Oak, however, was a white suburb. There was a story that there was one black person, a very old lady who lived on Eleven Mile Road, who resided in our town. Actually, my earlier childhood was spent in Akron, Ohio, and I never met a black person until I entered the Air Force shortly before my eighteenth birthday. I thought, until then, that everyone was white.
              ETA I read in the newspapers and heard on radio and TV that there were black people, suffering various grievances, but they were an abstraction. I knew they were real, but rarely/never thought about them.

  20. Mikel

    What if people started to explain that not solving problems works a bit like compound interest? Apparently, the term “cumulative effects” does nothing to slow the river of denial and various forms of magical thinking about the state of the world.

    1. Carolinian

      Your Alastair Crooke up above has a similar theme about “liberalism” discarding the old rules in the name of progress and therefore self proclaimed virtue. Of course the old rules had their problems but the new rules often seem to be reinventing the wheel into a square wheel. Or maybe it’s all just a flimflam.

      1. Kouros

        Liberalism is the good cop of capitalism and fascism is the bad cop of capitalism when working massess need to be scared off and their benefits reduced, or when the existing structure is threatened (i.e. after Bolshevik Revolution).

  21. edgui

    What a sophisticated camouflage that frog has. It looks like a dry leaf lying on the river. What species of frog is it?

  22. jm

    About that that Pulitzer Prize awarded to the NYT for international reporting. From the prize’s website:
    What does the Pulitzer Board mean when it says that “entries must adhere to the highest journalistic principles?”

    The Board is committed to honoring work that exemplifies the longstanding ethics of the journalistic profession. These include a commitment to honesty [emphasis mine] with both readers and the subjects of our work. The best journalism is transparent about its sources and methods. The rigor and completeness of sourcing is an important factor in judging the quality of submissions, whether it involves attribution in the text, footnotes or the citation of documents. These standards apply to all entrants regardless of the medium or form of the entries.

    The criteria is about “honesty”, not “truth”. One can honestly believe a falsehood.

    Look at who sits on the Pulitzer Prize Board. Although truth is sometimes rewarded, the prize is not about truth. The prize has always been about rewarding people who reinforce the priors of the people who award the prize.

    How else does one explain Thomas Friedman having won three of them?

    1. Maxwell Johnston

      Brilliant! Thanks for sharing. I already forwarded it to our phone-loving offspring. Amazingly enough, Bradbury wrote the actual short story in 1953. I think I’ll go buy a chocolate milkshake.

  23. Wukchumni

    Stormy Daniels is testifying on a frame
    I can see those red head lights heading for bra strain
    And I can see Daniels waving Donald goodbye
    Oh it looks like Daniels, must be the devil in disguise

    They say Mar-A-Lago is pretty though I’ve never been
    And Donald says it’s the best place that he’s ever seen
    He should know, he’s been there enough
    Oh I miss Donald, oh I miss him so much, oh

    Daniels his bother, you are older than she
    Do you still feel the pain of the scars that won’t heal?
    Your eyes have died but you see more than I
    Donald you’re a star in the face of the sky

    Oh Daniels his bother, you are older than she
    Do you still feel the pain of the scars that won’t heal?
    Your eyes have died but you see more than I
    Donald you’re a star in the face of the sky

    Stormy Daniels is testifying on a frame
    I can see those red head lights heading for bra strain
    And I can see Daniels waving Donald goodbye
    Oh it looks like Daniels, must be the devil in disguise
    Oh God it looks like Daniels, must be the devil in disguise

    Daniel, performed by Elton John

    1. Carolinian

      Hey Elton just won the Library of Congress Gershwin prize although it may only be a prize if you show up and play at their PBS show (which he did and brought an arena with him). Think the song in original version is about Vietnam disillusionment rather than Clintonesque/Trumpesqe bimbo eruption.

      For a time Elton lived in Atlanta in a building a short way down Peachtree from my apartment.complex. So call him a semi American. In the movie all American Bryce Howard played his mom.

  24. GM

    Substantial rise in mpox cases prompts NYC health alert Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy

    From the article:

    For most of 2023, the city averaged about 2 to 20 cases per month, but since October, cases have averaged 36 per month, with a peak of 51 in January.

    So basically we have endemic monkeypox in the US now. The media stopped reporting about it, but it never went away and continued circulating. Yeah, it’s at low levels, and it’s still the mild strain. But both of these conditions may not last.

    Just try to go back in time five years and think about how that sentence — “MPX is endemic in the US” — would have sounded…

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      Just the Biden administration striving to bring the immunity deficit back into balance.

    2. James

      It’s an STD that circulates in a small community, exclusively. It has been since the beginning.

      When it says “94% of cases involved men who had sex with men” and you account for the % of respondents who would be apt to lie about something like this, the number rapidly approaches 100%.

      It’s simply not something you need to worry about.

      1. ambrit

        The problem is that STDs that “originate” in the Non-Heterosexual population eventually migrate into the rest of the population, hetero, non-hetero, and mixed. Look back at the history of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The same will happen here with Monkeypox.

      2. GM

        That’s because it is only in that circle that the currently R_e is around or slightly above 1, as it has not yet sufficiently adapted to efficient H2H spread.

        It is the height of foolishness to assume that is how it will always be given how smallpox transmitted back in the days.

        This isn’t syphilis or gonorrhea, there are hardy DNA viruses that are airborne and transmitted fairly well through fomites too.

  25. edgui

    NATO starts deploying troops as Russia races to win – Stephen Bryen

    In early April, if I remember correctly, Medvedev annoyingly warned the visit to Kiev of a group of NATO military advisers. At the time, the same words Stephen Bryen reference were used to justify it: “they are in Ukraine to operate sophisticated Western equipment”. But now they are more and more soldiers. Which casts serious doubts on the flexibility of “Russia’s red lines”. After all, more European soldiers would not mean a substantial change in the war unless it is done on a massive and unabashed scale of a direct confrontation against Russia. From the Kremlin they seem to “tolerate” these grandiloquent tantrums of desperate electoral politicking.

  26. Jonathan King

    The Onion’s take on Israel’s forceful Al Jazeera shutdown is not only spot-on, but one of the more finely crafted Onion pieces in recent memory, clearly fueled by a focused outrage. Something higher-minded, if you will, than a reflexive take on low-hanging snide bait, a regularly displayed Onion weakness.

    1. Alice X

      Heh, I watched that last night. Batya Ungar-Sargon, a verified member of said elites writes about the working class. Well maybe I’m a little harsh, she does seem to mean well.

      But… the elites have always viewed the working class with disdain, with a few exceptions, most famously (and effectively), perhaps, with FDR, who was called a traitor to his class. But he should have been applauded by his myopic peers because he saved them.

        1. Alice X

          Well, that settles that, doesn’t it. I don’t ever mean to be unkind, but, I suppose I could make an exception in special cases. The American Dream for the working class, is to have a postage stamp size plot of land with a small house on it, going deeply in hoc to do so. The elite financiers are ok with that (and they make their profit) as they believe homeowners (mortgage holders) won’t revolt. That ramped up considerably in the New Deal with the FHA, Fanny & Freddie etc. It doesn’t quite apply to the kids protesting today (whom I applaud greatly), though they certainly may take a hit.

    2. Martin Oline

      I am watching the Glen Greenwald interview now and she is very impressive. I think the fact that she is an orthodox Jew is unimportant to her work which seems to be superior for these times. I checked my library and they have her first book Bad News. From the description of the library book:

      “Bad News is a response to Thomas Frank’s 2004 book “What’s the Matter with Kansas.” I ask the same question he asked about the right, but about the left: Why is the media obsessed with racism, even though it’s getting objectively better by every measure we have? I argue that the liberal media is mainstreaming a woke culture war based on ideas that were relegated to the academic fringe as recently as a decade ago because it’s in their economic interests to do so.

    1. CA

      May 7, 2024

      Speaker Mike Johnson says U.S. universities are ‘hostile’ to Jews.

      House Speaker Mike Johnson on Tuesday compared the protests unfolding on American university campuses to what happened at institutions of higher learning in Germany during World War II.

      It was the “same elite centers of learning” from which “Jewish faculty and students were suddenly expelled” in Germany, Mr. Johnson, a Louisiana Republican, said in pointed remarks at a Holocaust Remembrance Ceremony at the Capitol. Today, he said, American universities have become “hostile places for Jewish students and faculty.”

      1. Polar Socialist

        But oddly enough, it’s those “antisemites” that are expelled. So, who’s the baddie here?

  27. flora

    Taibbi’s latest. no paywall

    A Deep Dive into the Opioid Crisis
    Part one, “Truest Crime.” From a series by E.R. doctor Matt Bivens

    Matt Taibbi’s editor’s note at the beginning:

    Editor’s note: the following is the first essay in a series, written by former Moscow Times co-worker and current E.R. doctor Matt Bivens. The remaining features will be published serially on his Substack site, The 100 Days
    . None of the articles in the series will be paywalled. In a normal presidential election year, the opiate addiction crisis would be a front-and-center domestic issue, but for a variety of mostly illegitimate reasons, it flies somewhat under the radar. Matt [Bivens’s] series chronicles the surprising and little-understood reasons contributing to this man-made, rapidly worsening disaster.

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