Links 5/8/2024

Exploring the mysterious alphabet of sperm whales MIT News. From the original: “These results show context-sensitive and combinatorial vocalisation systems extend beyond humans, and can appear in an organism with a divergent evolutionary lineage and vocal apparatus.”

Plants can communicate and respond to touch. Does that mean they’re intelligent? NPR

No, Jerome Powell Isn’t Playing Politics John Authers, Bloomberg

Pandemic-era winners suffer $1.5tn fall in market value FT


Can capitalism solve the ecological crisis? Climate and Capitalism

Making Graphs to Flatter the Global Elite Sublation Media

Scorching heat across Asia drives up power, coal, gas demand S&P Global

None of the world’s top industries would be profitable if they paid for the natural capital they use Grist. Not sure about that term “natural capital.”

Shell sold millions of ‘phantom’ carbon credits FT

How the US financial system helps shelter profits from environmental organized crime The Hill

Safe Havens Quinn Slobodian, NYRB


Panama Canal Authority warns of water insecurity beyond historic drought S&P Global

China’s devastating rainstorms show there’s no room for complacency when it comes to climate risks South China Morning Post


AstraZeneca withdraws COVID-19 vaccine globally months after admitting to side effects in court documents Channel News Asia

Scientists create new coronavirus jab that even works on viruses they haven’t discovered yet in a bid to beat the next pandemic Daily Mail. Only mouse studies, as of yet.

* * *

Estimating the return on investment of selected infection prevention and control interventions in healthcare settings for preparing against novel respiratory viruses: modelling the experience from SARS-CoV-2 among health workers The Lancet. From the Discussion:

We modelled the experience from the COVID-19 pandemic and assessed the return on investment on a global scale of three [infection prevention and control (IPC)] interventions to prevent SARS-CoV-2 infections among health workers: enhancing hand hygiene; increasing access to personal protective equipment (PPE); and combining PPE, with a scale-up of IPC training and education (PPE+). Our analysis highlights the large health and economic gains that would have been achieved globally by implementing three interventions prior to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our results suggest that estimated gains could have been highest when access to PPE was combined with increased access to IPC education and training. The relatively modest health gains attributable to the hand hygiene intervention are not surprising when considering that SARS-CoV-2 infection is transmitted through multiple routes, but mainly airborne via respiratory droplets and aerosol particles.26 Taken together, our results suggest that investments aiming to strengthen IPC capacity, consistent with the WHO IPC core components, should be prioritised to bolster the pandemic response and better prepare for future outbreaks. Our finding that the PPE only and PPE + interventions could have yielded substantial health and economic gains underscores the importance of securing global supply chains

Administering another well-deserved kick to the handwashing goons; Semmelweis would be rolling in his (early) grave to see his discoveries calcified into purely bureaucratic imperatives by dogmatists as rigid as those whose resistance to science drove him mad.

* * *

How HIV drugs have changed over the decades Chemistry World. “Antivirals are effective at knocking down replication in HIV-1 and reducing virus numbers, but they cannot cure. As soon as someone stops taking treatment, the virus rebounds. Why? Once inside the cell, the reverse transcriptase enzyme flips viral RNA into DNA and incorporates itself into the patient’s own DNA. The therapies cannot get at this DNA…. Other hideouts for the virus are in the brain, spinal fluid and testes.” Seems familiar somehow….

To combat cow flu outbreak, scientists plan to infect cattle with influenza in high-security labs Science. What could go wrong?


Macron’s cognac — the only thing that went down smoothly with Xi Politico

Xi Jinping praises Hungary’s ‘independent’ foreign policy ahead of Orbán meeting FT

China’s COMAC to expand Shanghai C919 plane factory as orders grow Channel News Asia. I wonder if Southwest will buy any. Just to get Boeing’s attention.

US, EU making inroads into China’s EV battery manufacturing dominance S&P Global

Wescom chief agreed to China’s ‘new model’ Manila Times. Commentary:


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

Cambodia’s Hun Sen asks Myanmar junta for Suu Kyi talks Channel News Asia. Suu Kyi is a brand beloved by NGOs and the Western press. Having acquiesced in the Tatmadaw’s Rohingya genocide, she doesn’t represent progress.

Cambodia presses ahead with canal project linking the capital with the Gulf of Thailand Splash 247


Is Constitutional Secularism Under Threat In ‘New India’? Madras Courier


Israel says it reopened a key Gaza crossing after a rocket attack but the UN says no aid has entered AP

US pauses weapons delivery to Israel over Rafah offensive concerns: Reports Al Jazeera

* * *

Two more MSC ships targeted by the Houthis Splash 247

* * *

A high-stakes report looms over Biden on whether Israel violated international law CNN

Bahamas formally recognizes Palestine as state Anadolu Agency

European Disunion

Italy’s mafia turns to white-collar crime as murder, extortion fall out of favor Reuters

New Not-So-Cold War

Rus Calls West Bluff; Threatens Strikes UK; Warns France Nukes; Massive West Climbdown No Troops Ukr (video) Alexander Mercouris, YouTube. Starts out: “[Yesterday was] a very frightening day with Russian announcements of military exercises, which included tactical drills on the use of tactical nuclear weapons and with the Russians calling in to the Russian foreign Ministry the ambassadors of Britain and France for what looked like a severe dressing down, and I explained that the trigger to these Russian moves appeared to be two articles written by Steven [Bryen] which have appeared in Asia Times” (here; here). And he goes on from there….

Ukraine Has Changed Too Much to Compromise with Russia The Atlantic. Co-founder of the Kyiv Independent. Oh?

Ukraine peace talks should include Russia, Chinese diplomat says Reuters

* * *

Ukraine’s manpower problem is likely going to ‘get worse before it gets better,’ war expert says Business Insider

How the West is helping Ukraine won’t be enough to win Politico

* * *

Ukraine Says It Thwarted Russian Plan To Kill Zelenskiy, Top Officials Radio Free Europe

Russians attack power facilities in six Ukrainian oblasts overnight Ukrainska Pravda

Global Elections

Should India take from the rich, give the poor? A new election flashpoint Al Jazeera

Biden Administration

The Antisemitism Awareness Act is a full frontal assault on free speech Middle East Eye

The Texas Three-Step Credit Slips


Trump’s federal classified docs trial date postponed indefinitely Axios

Groves of Academe

Student protests against Gaza war spread in Europe, sparking clashes and dozens of arrests France24

Pro-Palestinian protesters retake MIT encampment, occupy building at Rhode Island School of Design Scripps News

Penn Encampment:


Why Are Electric School Buses So Expensive? Resources

Digital Watch

America’s War on Drugs and Crime will be AI powered, says Homeland Security boss The Register. Let me know how that works out.

The disenshittified internet starts with loyal “user agents” Cory Doctorow, Pluralistic


DOJ to meet with families of Boeing victims as decision closes on if company violated prosecution deal The Hill

WA Boeing Firefighters Continue to Picket During Lockout Fire Engineering

Zeitgeist Watch

The Unlearning Of Empathy

Our Famously Free Press

The interview with Congressional candidate Dennis Kucinich that was removed from The Real News site and led to the termination of my show Chris Hedges, The Chris Hedges Report

Guillotine Watch

Truest Crime Matt Bevins, The 100 Days. The deck: “A deep dive into the sociopathy of the Opioid Crisis.”

Class Warfare

Stellantis Warren Stamping workers approve strike over health and safety WSWS

In Labor’s Mission to Organize the South, Another Domino Could Soon Fall In These Times

Why the world needs a Bretton Woods 2.0 South China Morning Post

Antidote du jour (By Gabriel Barathieu, CC BY-SA:

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 Hotel California  by The Eagles)

    In the tent camps of Gaza
    Electronic warfare
    Tracks the signals of cell phones
    Tracks them everywhere
    Algorithms locate you
    Through US satellites
    Jets swoop in and promptly bomb your tent
    There are no last rites
    War on women and children
    Because they’re infidel
    War by race supremacists
    Trained to hate trained to hate oh so well
    They’ve divided Gaza
    With a brand new highway
    Jared Kushner’s gonna build resorts
    If Hamas lets him stay

    ‘Welcome to the Hotel Zionista
    Where a database (tracks your phone and face)
    To your sleeping place
    Lavender kills at the Hotel Zionista
    Though your life’s austere (you will starve this year)
    We can profit here’

    The IDF is ham-fisted
    Soldiers on weekends
    Hamas first shoots their officers
    Then all their friends
    We lure them into kill zones
    Where they draw their last breath
    We are Gaza’s defenders
    And we deal in death
    Israeli soldiers are trapped in
    Our rubble firing line
    They’ve been killing Arab moms and kids
    Since 1949
    If they kill two million
    Or chase them away
    Hamas still won’t let them occupy
    Gaza for a day

    ‘Welcome to the Hotel Zionista
    Where a database (tracks your phone and face)
    To your sleeping place
    American bombs for the Hotel Zionista
    War is subsidized (homes are pulverized)
    People vaporized’

    America’s double-dealing
    Comes at a high price
    All their dollars for Israel
    Never will suffice
    When the price of oil triples
    In the whole Middle East
    America will drop its Jewish state
    And we will be released
    America is a drunkard
    Outside a liquor store
    The US needs its oily fix
    Or they can’t make more war
    Congress runs on the kickbacks
    Arranged through Tel Aviv
    Once America can’t send them cash
    Israelis will all leave

    1. zagonostra

      They stab it with their steely knives, but they just can’t kill the the beast keeps rearing it’s ugly head no matter how many times it’s decapitated from the body politic

  2. The Rev Kev

    “US pauses weapons delivery to Israel over Rafah offensive concerns: Reports”

    Biden paused weapons delivery or has the US run out of bombs to deliver after all their shipments to the Ukraine and Israel? Wouldn’t be the first time this happened. Obama bombed so many places when he was President that at one point the US ran out of bombs to drop too.

    1. Will

      Or, is this all orchestrated? Did the US provide Israel with enough bombs and ammo to complete its genocide and can now pretend to be concerned? Would explain why Bibi has been holding off on the Rafah assault. Stockpile, Biden ‘cuts him off’, killing ramps up again, while Genocide Joe expresses iron-clad concern.

      In other words, would Israel attack Rafah if it didn’t have enough munitions?

      1. Benny Profane

        It’s Hezbollah they’re worried about. It’s not as though the Palestinians are shooting back.

      2. Vicky Cookies

        That would seem to depend upon whether or not the IOF, in determining its capacity to execute its plans, counted, or had to count, munitions yet to be delivered.

        If this is, as is being suggested, a “shot across the bow” to Israel, we may determine its success by seeing whether the behavior or strategy of the IOF shifts. If the Biden administration opposes the invasion of Rafah, and is intending to exert influence to discourage that, do those actions have any effect?

        I’m not taking down my tent just yet.

      3. ISL

        But how does Israel know how many bombs they need? They planned for a short genocide before world opinion turned to isolate Israel (their economy cannot sustain a long war), yet the murder grinds on and Israel is running out of armor (using 1960s armor for troop transport that are easily destroyed by modern Hamas arms – Electronic intifada), and the US is dipping into its needed stocks for war with China, and the US is using Korean shells in training (Simplicus).

        Meanwhile, no one (but Scott Ritter) talks about barrels.

      4. Feral Finster

        Ukraine is more of a priority for the Empire. Gaza isn’t going anywhere and can wait.

    2. Mikel

      There have been short-lived suspensions of delivery of weapons by previous administrations. And here we are…still looking at the prospect of Greater Israel spread across the mid-east. Sponsored by the US, UK, EU & monarchies of the Mid-East.

    3. ChrisFromGA

      We must be at the point where Pudding-for-brains has to choose: arms for the Chosen or Ukraine. But not both. Laws of physics are harsh.

      1. Feral Finster

        The citizens of Gaza are not going anywhere and can be starved to death at Israel’s leisure.

        Ukraine will get priority.

    4. Wukchumni

      My brother in law related that there is a 12-18 month lag time in manufacturing Patriot missiles on account of chips, could the idea that Israel ‘retired’ them the other day be indicative that they’ve run out?

      1. The Rev Kev

        Maybe the Patriot missile manufacturer could start to import thousands of washing machines from China. Ursula von der Leyen says that that idea works out great.

        1. Wukchumni

          No biggie though, Israeli scientists have come up a better defense system, the…

          Irony Dome

      2. scott s.

        IMO, simply stating “Patriot” is meaningless. You have different launchers, different radars, different control segments and different missiles. If Israeli systems are procured to fire PAC-2 GEM, time to manufacture a PAC-3 MSE missile is irrelevant for example.

        Here is a quote pulled from defence-ua

        “Since then, the Israeli Patriots did not get the PAC-3 upgrade which makes it an almost completely different system employing the next-level hit-to-kill technology for intercepting ballistic missiles, and remained in the MIM-104D (PAC-2/GEM+) version.”

      3. ilsm

        12 to 18 months if the contract manufacturers of the major subassemblies are not fully booked on other “work”. The primes are integration and sell off testing, no longer manufacture their stuff.

        The other schedule risk: can the contract manufacture find all the chipsets etc. in the approved product baseline or do they have a time and quality risking redesign?

        In the case of so called patriot, the prime is lusting to make money from a new radar!

        Producing older version takes away from new business.

        Patriot systems are expensive and risky to rush through the process.

        Other complex systems are similar.

        idk your brother in law I’ve been retired about five years

    5. Pat

      Just a thought, considering the intelligence level of the Biden administration is it possible that they were deluding themselves about the manufacturing time frame of the weapons, and have suddenly hit reality. That they honestly thought that manufacturers could be told to ramp it up, did that back in October and have just found out that that and four bucks could get them a small Starbucks because they are still a year out on replacement Patriots, and nine months to a year on other items.

      I could be underestimating them, but this bunch so seems to live in their own bubble, I don’t think ignorance and stupidity should be discounted.

      1. griffen

        The intelligent people in the current administration would imply there must be a few smart cookies there…it just can’t all be the likes of Blinken, Sullivan, etc…brings to mind a good tune from the early 90s by the metal band Megadeth “Hangar 18”. My preference for their music is limited but that dude, Dave Mustaine, can write.

        The military intelligence
        Two words combined
        That can’t make sense

        possibly I’ve seen too much
        Hangar 18 I know too much

        1. Wukchumni

          Biden got an urgent request for 30 pieces of sliver from Netanyahu, so they rushed shrapnel laced armaments to Judas.

    6. Zuluf 4

      IMO this is theater, and well before being announced, team Biden & Israel carefully selected what bombs were going to be in the show. The NYT article I read says: “President Biden paused an arms shipment to Israel last week to prevent the U.S.-made weapons from being used in a long-threatened assault on the city of Rafah, administration officials said on Tuesday night, a sign of the growing rift between the United States and Israel over the conduct of the war.”
      An arms shipment, one, not arms shipments. Also the intent is to prevent ‘the U.S. made weapons’ (as in the carefully selected bombs – not weapons in general), but my question is, do any of our allies make these weapons (bombs) under license or make something similar? And could they not be provided to Israel paid for by the U.S.? Lastly, IMO, the growing rift between the United States and Israel is not over the conduct of the war, it is over the political consequences it is having in an election year. Have we not conducted ourselves in our wars in the region in a similar fashion?

    7. Anon

      Realistically, Gaza was rendered inhospitable to human life in the first three weeks of the conflict. They’ve already achieved that goal and don’t need more weapons. The rest is macabre theater to provoke intervention, so they can use the (Jewish) holocaust card in earnest.

    1. digi_owl

      I am not sure i see anything new in this.

      This was the state of things when Mozilla got going in competition to Microsoft’s IE.

      But then Mozilla and Apple formed WHATWG became W3C was taking too long for their liking to ratify HTML updates.

      And then WHATWG was subsequently filibustered by Google by making Chrome the showcase for all their “proposed” new web features.

      And Apple checked out because they had a lock on iOS anyways.

      By now there is Chrome in multiple guises, Apple’s more and more lethargic Safari, and Mozilla wasting money on CEO pay and feelgood symbolism while firing their developers.

      The article is two decades late, at least. The coffin lid was nailed shut when Mozilla handed over control of its extensions to Google by dropping support for XUL.

      1. scott s.

        “Mozilla handed over control of its extensions to Google by dropping support for XUL.”

        Doing my bit for anarchy by running an old release of Firefox fork “Waterfox Classic” with a user agent string set to firefox 60.0, though some sites refuse to serve to me (NC is perfectly happy).

  3. timbers

    New Not-So-Cold War – Rus Calls West Bluff; Threatens Strikes UK; Warns France Nukes; Massive West Climbdown No Troops Ukr (video)

    This process Mercouris describes is what I expect Russia will do more and MUST do to restore the peace she lost in 2014 with a long series of catastrophic blunders, as the war winds down: Issue orders to The West by clearly explaining Red Lines and what will happen if they are ignored. And Russia must not back down 1 inch at enforcing them. Start with individual toxic belligerent members of NATO. Then, Washington if need be.

    The West is a paper tiger and cowardly and no match against Russia. They will be trained to take orders.

    1. Feral Finster

      The question is whether Russia has the stomach to do so.

      The West is betting otherwise, and has already sunk so much into Project Ukraine that it cannot be seen to back down now.

    2. Martin Oline

      I wonder what might have come to pass in 2017 if Hillary had won and the Ukraine war started five years earlier than it did. I’m sure much of the anger by the intelligence agencies towards Trump was because he discounted their daily briefings. It’s likely these were designed to support a bellicose Ukraine policy. Without a receptive President it is hard to maintain an imperial policy. The CIA was certain Nixon would be elected in 1960 and would support the Bay of Pigs with an invasion. That didn’t work out so well either as Kennedy refused to send in the Navy.

      1. Feral Finster

        IIRC, the russiagate conspiracy theory started well before Trump actually took office. Actually, it really started cooking at about the time of the DNC email dump.

    3. djrichard

      I could fully imagine Britain still wanting to incrementally escalate to call Russia’s bluff. Let Ukraine fire a british missile on the bridge in crimea, just to see what Russia does in response to that. And if Russia blinks then escalate further from there: let Urkraine fire a british missile into Russia proper next.

      And if Russia escalates back by striking something Britain is sensitive to along the way, well then the cause celebre is established for Britain to ramp things up significantly.

      This could explain the radio silence (lack of news coverge) by Britain after the dressing down by Russia. The Brits don’t want their population understanding that they’ve already had a conversation with Russia about risks and Russia’s red lines. So when things escalate they want the public thinking the red lines being crossed are Britain’s not Russia’s. Publlc furor over Russia crossing Britain’s red lines means Britain will have no choice to go all in to put rogue actor Russia out of its misery.

      Edit: if I’m Russia, give Britain 3 strikes with direct outreach to Britain’s public along the way as much as possible. If that outreach looks to be succesful then if I’m Britain, end after 2 strikes. If the outreach doesn’t look like it’s penetrated, then continue on after 3 strikes.

      1. eg

        “Britain to ramp things up significantly.”

        Which would amount to what, exactly? The old toothless bulldog ain’t what it thinks it used to be.

        1. djrichard

          Fair point. Putting my marker down none-the-less. Edt: as a measure of how insane I think the Brits are.

        2. djrichard

          Hot off the press. Shows the enthusiasm in Britain for escalation

          The change in British strategy presents significant new opportunities for Ukrainian commanders. It will allow Ukraine to target Russian positions around cities including Voronezh, Kursk, Bryansk and Orol. These areas beyond Ukraine’s northeastern border serve as key logistics nodes for Russian forces.

          This leaves a growing strategic gap between the US and its closest ally, and the US and its oldest ally. Britain and France believe Russia can be confronted and deterred on the same principles as that which underpinned Cold War deterrence. Namely, the willingness to meet Russian escalation with commensurate action while rejecting out of hand Russian nuclear blackmail. In contrast, the US appears to believe that signaling disinterest in escalation will earn Putin’s eventual favor.

          If nothing else, this disunity provides openings for Putin to divide Nato.

  4. Benny Profane

    “Ukraine’s manpower problem is likely going to ‘get worse before it gets better,’ war expert says”

    How can it possibly get better, especially after it gets worse? There’s nobody left. Maybe mass deportations from Euro and Eastern Euro countries will do it, but then they’ll have to be properly motivated and trained. The first has to be innate, which is highly doubtful at this point, and the second needs at least a year.
    All that while Zelensky fires and shuffles his command, no doubt out of paranoia. As though the Russians wanted to assassinate him. I’m guessing Putin is just fine with the devil he knows.

    1. yep

      Zelensky will sign a law about mandatory artificial insemination program, as a solution to manpower problem. In fifteen years it will get better.

    2. Polar Socialist

      Mayde he means that if we think the situation as a function of manpower divides by area, there is a size Ukraine can shrink to, which it will be capable of defending…

    3. The Rev Kev

      Gets worse before it gets better? I think that they are talking about the new mobilizations laws which will let them send people to the front that ordinarily they would never do. Probably it is only a matter of time as the situation deteriorates that they will attempt to mobilize everyone in the Ukraine to go fight on behalf of Zelensky and his coterie. But Zelensky won’t do an Adolf in his bunker here but will be on a fast train to Poland if things go south where he will be head of the government in exile.

      1. Bsn

        When the conscript who’s taken from his job (fixing cars for example) and gets “trained” for a week on how to shoot a gun realizes he’s going to die in any case, he/she may decide to go the fragging route. Take out a few officers before his life is ended.
        That’s what finally brought the troops home from WW I and Vietnam.

    4. Feral Finster

      “How can it possibly get better, especially after it gets worse? There’s nobody left. Maybe mass deportations from Euro and Eastern Euro countries will do it, but then they’ll have to be properly motivated and trained.”

      Motivated? They’ll be motivated the same way the current crop of conscripts, that is, with guns to their back.

      Trained? They’ll be trained the same way as the current crop of conscripts, that is, if they can soak up Russian munitions with their bodies, then they will have been trained and served their purpose in life.

      NATO will then openly and directly intervene to “save Ukraine” once the supply of warm live Ukrainian bodies runs really low.

      Will there be any Ukrainians left to “save”? It doesn’t matter, since this never was really about Ukraine.

      1. GW

        The West definitely provoked this war, and possibly even started it, by launching the first blow at Maidan 2014.

        Different people see the issue differently, sure. But I don’t understand how anyone – upon giving the issue serious thought – could deny that the West’s ambitious, even aggressive, foreign policy between 2008 and 2014, and continuing through 2022, is the real catalyst behind this war.

        Now it appears the West is escalating. How tragic.

        1. Feral Finster

          No argument from me. Of course this war is entirely intentional on the part of the West. Of course, Ukrainian lives get less consideration than the chickens who are turned into McNuggets.

          The sociopaths who rule over us ask only “what is going to stop us?” The good guys do not always win.

    5. Mikel

      It said Ukraine’s manpower problem, not that there is a Ukranian manpower problem.

      Lots of people suspecting false flags on the menu.
      Just need a few good idiots.

      1. GW

        How do you know that the Ukrainian mililtary doesn’t have a manpower problem. Source?

  5. Mikel

    “To combat cow flu outbreak, scientists plan to infect cattle with influenza in high-security labs” Science. What could go wrong.

    Enough is going wrong because of mutations, but with profit making agendas like Beyond Meat and greater control over food supply wanted by a few corps, everything wrong could get an extra nudge or boost.

    1. castilleja

      Very disappointed to see the use of “Cow Flu” in the title. Looks like some science writers have been roped in by the cattle industry push to use a different name for avian/bird flu in cows – to try to confuse the public who has already formed an opinion that avian flu is BAD.

  6. Joker

    Can capitalism solve the ecological crisis? Climate and Capitalism

    Can capitalism solve the capitalism crisis?

  7. The Rev Kev

    “Israel says it reopened a key Gaza crossing after a rocket attack but the UN says no aid has entered”

    And no aid will continue not to cross over this border crossing. That is why they want total control over all the border crossings, Well, except for one. The Rafah border crossing is going to be handed over to a private US security firm which means mercs. The Israelis are doing this as part of a way to get agreement from the US and Egypt to let the Rafah invasion go ahead. But what is the point of controlling that crossing if Palestinians can get nowhere near it to receive aid?

    1. DJG, Reality Czar

      Rev Kev: You beat me to it. I give a couple more links below.

      This story from Antiwar is bizarre. And does the U.S. government think that a privatized war crime is any less a war crime? (I suppose that addled Biden would think so.)

  8. russell1200

    “natural capital” must be the new phrase for negative externalities: which in this case is equated with pollution. There is “X” cost of pollution from factory A. To the extent that factory A avoids any of these costs (through taxes or whatever), than the “X” pollutions would be “natural capital” used.

    It is not a particularly good definition in my opinion.

    Of course, their might be positive externalities from these industries. The jobs they create have various add on effects in taxes, personal satisfaction of employees, whatever, that they create, but get no obvious benefit from. That they don’t get any benefit from them (in our quasi-psychotic view of economy/finance) means that they are very much at risk of being disregarded, eliminated.

    1. Frank

      Nature as a Mode of Accumulation: Capitalism and the Financialization of the Earth

      “It is hardly surprising in this context that the first references to “natural capital” and to the “earth’s capital stock” arose in this same period in the work of radical and socialist political economists, who sought to defend nature and the commons against the intrusions of the market. Here, the notion of “natural capital” was viewed in terms of the stock of physical properties and natural-material use values constituting real wealth and was seen as opposed to the growing “sense of capitalism” as a system of mere exchange value or cash nexus.3”

      1. eg

        “Natural capital” sounds like the Physiocratic recognition that all wealth comes from the natural world.

  9. Trees&Trunks

    If you ascribe Ursula von der Leyen and her ilk intelligence because they can communicate and touch, so must you ascribe intelligence to plants. I consider a lot of plants more intelligent, functional and sense-making that Ursula von der Leyen and the Western political and economic misleadership.

    The actions and consequences of plants are more intelligently composed than the correspondent scheme of Western Elites.

    I warn of the risk of the herbamorphizing the Western Elites because that would be an insult to plants.

  10. bassmule

    Weirdness: Amazon will not sell me a Kindle Paperwhite without lock screen ads. Why? Because it contains “hazardous material.” But I can order one that does have lockscreen ads. Somehow, it suddenly does not contain hazardous material. Jeff is really playing dirty these days.

  11. The Rev Kev

    “Macron’s cognac — the only thing that went down smoothly with Xi ”

    ‘PARIS — On Xi Jinping’s first day in Europe after five years away from the continent, French President Emmanuel Macron presented him with a highly symbolic gift: several bottles of France’s most exquisite cognacs. It was not the most subtle of hints. China’s anti-dumping investigation into European wine-based liquors, largely targeting France’s cognac producers, is seen as retaliation for the European Union’s decision to open several investigations against Beijing on suspicions of unfair trade practices in sectors such as electric vehicles and medical device manufacturing.’

    Food and drink can get very political at this level of international affairs.

    ‘On the second day of the Chinese president’s state visit, the two leaders and their wives dined at the ‘Etape du berger’ restaurant at the Col du Tourmalet ski resort in the Hautes-Pyrenees region. According to La Depeche news outlet, the menu, pre-agreed several weeks in advance, consisted of traditional Pyrenean dishes: black pork ham, lamb shoulder, porcini mushrooms and local cheeses.’

    But then somebody woke up to the fact that the dessert that was going to be served was called ‘Russian cake’ (Gateau Russe), a local specialty and you couldn’t have that, especially not with Xi. So they had to frantically replace it at the last minute with blueberry tart instead. Morons.

  12. DJG, Reality Czar

    Peculiar story coming out of Israel and picked up by Fatto Quotidiano. I provide links, both paywalled, but others may be able to turn up more info from more open sources:


    Fatto Quotidiano:

    A private U.S. company gets control of the Rafah border crossing. (Lucky Palestinians: It will be just like the TSA airport messes.)

    Privatizing genocide. Truly it is scoundrel time.

    1. ChrisFromGA

      Criminals. Accessories to Genocide after the fact. Anyone who works for that private US corp is a criminal and should face the gallows under a future Nuremberg trial.

      Criminals only need apply.

      1. The Rev Kev

        They won’t be. They are former members of US Army elite formations and have ‘been employed in several Middle Eastern and African countries to guard sensitive sites.’ Officially they are a private company but in reality they will be as good as a part of the US Army – but without those annoying questions about accountability.

        1. ChrisFromGA

          There must be a CEO who can be publicly identified. Rank and file can get prison sentences. “Following orders” is not a valid defense.

    2. Judith

      Like IBM in World War II helped Nazis control the concentration camps. Perhaps the Zionists will tattoo the Palestinians.

    3. digi_owl

      Seems it will only come into effect after IDF decides they are done reducing Rafah to rubble.

      Most likely this will then facilitate the rapid entry of construction crews and materials to build all those new occupier condos and hotels that London and Wall Street has been divvying up.

  13. Pat

    I have nothing but gut, but as I keep saying COVID’s long effect is highly reminiscent of the early days of AIDS. I think in time we may find that it also becomes a forever invader of are system.

  14. JohnA

    Re Ukraine Has Changed Too Much to Compromise with Russia

    The author pushes in very dramatic and heart-tugging terms, Bucha as a Russian atrocity despite compelling evidence it was a Ukrainian operation. So much so, that the latter have refused an independent UN inquiry into events there as requested by Russia. I do wonder how the author has managed to avoid being conscripted to the front line. But then again Goebbels never was.

    1. Polar Socialist

      The weirdest thing about Bucha, as we now know, is that it happened precisely when Ukraine was a signature short of surrendering…

      1. yep

        All war crimes and genocides of NATO opponents are always perfectly timed with NATO interests. The weirdest thing is that people still believe in some of those.

    2. R.S.

      At least he admits that this sh-show had started in 2014 if not earlier, not in 2022.

      Though I’d say Mr. Ponomarenko still has to weasel around with words. I mean, “the rule of law, democracy, and human rights” as well as clean streets, polite police, yada-yada are nice things, no one would argue. But I don’t quite get why “stamping out corruption, obsolescence, unfreedom” means stamping out any “Russian influence”, including the mental and cultural one.

      And one of the very first examples of the reinvented Ukrainian comedy I vividly remember was an art project called “Warning, Russians!” (April 2014). With a mock-up human zoo with “Rooskies from Donbas” (starts at around 3:00), singing dumb songs like “I’m not a Moskal, I don’t have to… (do a stupid thing)”, etc

      1. ChrisPacific

        Yanukovych ‘fleeing a country that despised him’ was another. He won a majority, albeit an incredibly slim one. That statement is airbrushing away the views of half the country – which is a big part of what led to the current situation.

  15. DJG, Reality Czar

    What the young’uns are listening to: Macklemore posts a song called “Hind’s Hall.”

    As someone attentive to music, popular music, and theatrical performance, I often watch for cultural issues to get a certain heft. Macklemore has everything lined up here. The genocide, the oppression, the business as usual of looting and pillaging.

    Special appearance by Joe Biden, looking distinctly figure-head-y. Wax museum-ish.

    Natch, Zelensky makes a cameo, from some tour of the U.S. Congress. The next task, I suppose, is to make sure that everyone understands that Donbass / Ukraine is the same war, the same elites running the same proxies. It’s just that, unfortunately, the U.S. public isn’t quite ready to take responsibility for the mess in Ukraine caused by U.S. meddling.

    I have a feeling that it is going to take some doing for the U.S. public to understand that “let’s have you and him fight to the death,” the core of U.S. foreign policy, is sheer cowardice. Time for white feathers.

    1. jefemt

      “let’s have you and him fight to the death” Proxies.
      Sounds like Israel working the US with Iran and other ‘Bad Actors’.
      Like peeling an onion in the mid-East. Onion with your Red Heifer ?

      No bombs bullets left to supply. Arms futures. US GDP is tied to MIC, or Xmas. Say no more.

    2. pjay

      Caitlin Johnstone commented on this today:

      Last night’s NBC News was heavy on the “antisemitism” threat, complete with Biden in his angry old man mode loudly yelling at those antisemitic protesters to get off of his lawn. This threat from a popular mass cultural media star will increase the apoplexy. The Republicans will investigate whether George Soros funded Macklemore’s career. The Democrats will stutter and sputter. I’m too jaded to get my hopes up too much, but more power to these kids!

    3. Enter Laughing

      Wow. Kudos to Macklemore for calling out Genocide Joe and all the enablers of the Empire of Lies.

    4. Feral Finster

      I see the Twitter is awash with allegations of antisemitism on the part of Macklemore.

      No idea whether any of it is true and I don’t much care. Even if Macklemore were proven to be the latest avatar of Josef Goebbels, Israel is still committing a genocide and deserves every bad thing that it gets as a result.

  16. JohnA

    Meanwhile in yet another NATO exercise near Russia, some 90,000 troops and miles long convoys are making their way from Norway to Finland via the far north of Sweden to train for a rapid response (or do they mean rapid invasion force) against the evil Putin Empire.
    At the same time, in the south of Sweden, a large parachute troop exercise resulted in multiple fractures and other unspecified injuries, as helicopters ferried the wounded to different hospitals. While this was all in progress, the authorities cut the speed limit on adjacent motorways to 70 kmph, in order to reduce the risk of cars crashing due to drivers rubber necking the scene.
    No wonder the Swedish government refused to give the electorate a say in joining Nato. One disaster follows another.

    1. The Rev Kev

      The generals do love their parachute drops. Back in the early 80s there was a scheduled parachute drop by US troops in Europe during an exercise. The general was told that the wind conditions were too severe for a parachute drop but dagnabit, that general wanted to see that parachute drop. And like now, it resulted in scores of injured US troops as they wind seized their parachute and scattered them.

      1. Camelotkidd

        Jumping into high wind conditions is one of the many hazards faced by paratroopers.
        When I was with the 82nd Airborne we jumped into Ft. Irwin CA, where the high winds caused multiple injuries. At least no-one was shooting at us

      2. lyman alpha blob

        And those being parachuted upon do take countermeasures. During WWII, my understanding is that the Greek civilians – mostly women, children and the elderly because fighting age men were at the front – would pick up pitchforks and whatever else they could find to batter Italian paratroopers as they landed. One of the surprising things we uncovered while excavating a Bronze Age site in Greece was a dead Italian WWII soldier with dogtags still attached to his skeleton – suspicion was that he was a paratrooper who didn’t make it.

      3. digi_owl

        USA did a flashy one during the recent Nordic (formerly Cold) Response, flying a load of soldiers directly from Alaska to Norway before jumping.

    2. digi_owl

      Would not surprise me if that convoy contains the sum total of Norway’s fighting ability these days.

    1. Lena

      I have had trouble accessing the archive. There was a NYT article several days ago about vaccine harm that I wanted to read (because vaccine harm) but it was still a paywall for me. My internet connection is pretty bad, so I’m guessing that’s the reason?

      1. Mark Gisleson

        Try it again today: I’ve never seen it archive a page as fast as it did for me earlier.

    2. hunkerdown moved host from Eastern Europe, Latvia I think, to the Netherlands. I noticed a month or two ago. Seems like a very NGO move to me…

  17. Jen

    File under Groves of Academe: Dartmouth President “apologizes” for “community harm.”

    In a letter to the Daily Dartmouth (but not distributed via email to the entire campus, for some reason), Dartmouth’s president stated that she was “heartbroken by the pain, anger and division on campus.” She simultaneously stands by her decision to call in the police to break up the encampment, citing the usual tropes about violence, exclusionary zones and outside agitators, while lamenting that her decision may have made some people feel unsafe as a result of the “impossible” decision she had to make.

    Apparently one student had his arm broken by the police. I’m sure he only “felt” unsafe after that encounter.

    She stated the college is working to have the charges dropped against the student journalists that were arrested, and others who were “inadvertently” arrested but not violating college policies, will suffer no consequences. Except for that broken arm. Whoopsie!

    No confidence referendum by the students scheduled for tomorrow.

    1. petal

      Jen, thank you for posting that. I couldn’t bear to read it this morning-too early for a big steaming pile.

  18. TomDority

    I have not heard the word ‘Genocide’ by the major network news media regarding the campus protests against genocide – It is always framed as pro-Palestine – of course, this to maintain the narrative (IMO an indefensible narrative). The news needs to report these protests as against genocide and human rights violations – of course that would be attacked as providing cover for anti-Semitism…. how does one get to anti-Semitism from protesting against Genocide and human rights violations…someone please explain.
    How about this question for both Trump and Biden… Can you say no to genocide, Joe?
    or…. Can you say no to the genocide, Don?

    As I have said before… both un-electable – that is the state of our pay-walled Dem and Repub parties/private corporations.
    Of course silence on the campaign finance reform front or taking down citizens united. silence…can’t have us lower classes types with any real choices

    1. Mikel

      I seldom watch MSM news channels. Do they even show any protestors that may have an anti-genocide sign?

      1. Belle

        NPR does give some favorable coverage to protesters…and the guy who resigned from it condemned NPR for it…

    2. Screwball

      Genocide cannot be used – it is against the narrative. I know people who will argue with you all day and night there is no genocide going on in Gaza. Only in Ukraine. This is the cold hard truth to many people. The campus protests are just a bunch of anti-Israel people who want to be assholes and don’t know what they are even there for. This is what I’m told by the people who listen to the narrative.

      This is the narrative, the news, the propaganda the powers that be want us to believe. They will even make new laws to change the definition – see article above. It won’t matter if it’s Joe or Don – nothing changes.

      Well, at some point it might change – they might come knocking on our door and hauling us away for calling them Genocide Jor or Don.

      Orwell says “told you so.”

      1. Feral Finster

        The NYT guidelines for reporting on Gaza said as much.

        Needless to say, the smarmy courtiers followed orders with nary a peep of complaint.

  19. The Rev Kev

    “The Antisemitism Awareness Act is a full frontal assault on free speech”

    The poison pill in that act is where the working definition is defined by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) and not in that legislation itself. In essence, they have outsourced the guts of this act to an unaccountable foreign organization. So consider how it could work in practice. They are already saying that criticizing Zionism is antisemitic because reasons. So suppose those protesting kids start to criticize the Likud party as they are behind so much of the evil or criticize Bibi Netanyahu. The IHRA could quickly change that definition to include attacks against Israeli political parties and leaders. There would be no need for Congress to make any changes whatsoever but they would enforce the brand new definition of antisemitism and come down on those students for criticizing the Likud party and Netanyahu now. So consider the IHRA as an organization of the Rules Based Order to stop people protesting and crack down on them.

    1. Ghost in the Machine

      On a major road into my PMC neighborhood there is a stop sign that reads
      free Palestine

      the words other than stop being graffiti. It has stayed up for about a month.

    2. Reply

      Congressionals should be queried about their votes and how those square with their Oaths of Office.
      They will not give you a straight answer.
      Go ahead, ask yours.

      1. Feral Finster

        Oh, they’ll tell you straight up, that loyalty to Israel is the first duty of every Patriotinc And Freedom Luvin’ American.

        Team R Congressmen will toss in some God and Bible references, but the PMC considers the deity to be declasse and Scripture to be “problematic” so Team D leaves that part out.

    3. Feral Finster

      Hate speech laws have long been the thin end of the wedge. Just now the definition of hate speech is expanded even further.

      1. Alice X

        Even hate speech is protected speech (under the first amendment), unless and until it is directed for violence against a specific individual. My 2¢.

          1. Captain Obvious

            Everything is a movable goalpost nowdays. That’s the only rule of the rule based order.

        1. Feral Finster

          Absolutely. Just that “hate speech” is a convenient way to silence dissent and to roll back that pesky first amendment.

  20. DJG, Reality Czar

    The “mysterious alphabet” of sperm whales: This is the second article in two days that I have seen on the talkative whiles. It is also the second to use the term “alphabet.”

    I have a feeling that the whales are using a syllabary: the clicks are syllables.

    So: “kli kik tic sok cu mi”
    Means: “Here comes another graduate student.”

    The article suffers a tad from the students not seeming to understand how language works. This sentence is indicative: “The researchers identified something of a “sperm whale phonetic alphabet,” where various elements that researchers call “rhythm,” “tempo,” “rubato,” and “ornamentation” interplay to form a vast array of distinguishable codas.”

    Yes, as in human language. Pitch accent. Stress accent. Tone (as in Chinese). Meter.

    The segue into “alien languages” doesn’t impress me. Let’s stick to the whales. They have plenty of uncomplimentary things to tell us about human beings anyway.

    “Klo ko cu tik tok mla?”
    “Is that damn Herman Melville still around?

    1. Anna

      Yeah, the equivocations always used in these articles (language, alphabet, etc) seem just an exercise in motte and bailey. The headlines and hype say ‘alphabet’ to rouse the attention of us erstwhile alphabet users, but the actual facts, very much interesting enough on their own, are only related by very airy analogies to alphabets and language in the way that humans do it.

  21. Wukchumni

    Gooooooooood Mooooooorning Fiatnam!

    It was agreed that anti-themistism pretty much covered all the possible angles in what constituted hate-speech in these not so united states, thems the rules.

  22. The Rev Kev

    “Russians attack power facilities in six Ukrainian oblasts overnight”

    The Russians have already said that these strikes were in retaliation for Ukrainian strikes on Russian fuel depots. Maybe not just that. The past coupla days the Ukrainians have been sending drones into Russia proper to attack civilian cars and workers vans killing several people and injuring many more. Personally I would call them terrorist attacks but that is just me.

    1. Belle

      I would not, because terrorism, by the current definition, is done by non-state actors.
      I would call it deliberate attacks on civilians, hence a war crime. Sadly, as the ICC has been coopted by the West, and treats those with a Responsibility to Protect as war criminals, as witnessed by their charges against Putin, Lvova-Belova, and those charged for defending South Ossetia., it means that Ukrainians and their allies will likely escape justice from that venue.
      This leaves the only current option for justice being that done by Russia. Alas, given how Russia let go various mercenaries and Banderites in the past, I fear that justice will not be done by that approach. (As well as not meeting Nuremberg standards of justice.)
      Of course, should the dictatorial Zelensky regime and it’s allies be removed, and a new government set up (or an old one- Yanukovich, anyone?), there is a chance that all those who started this war may yet get a chance to face consequences.

      1. GW

        The Russians claim they’re destroying Ukraine’s power grid to deprive the Ukrainian military of essential logistics and manpower support. It’s coming just as Russia launches a huge offensive, which, if successful, might end the war.

        Does that mean it’s a war crime anyway?

  23. nippersdad

    Update on the CNN story about the State department report over war crimes by Israel. Due today, apparently its’ release has been halted by the Biden Admin.

    Starting @ the five minute mark:

    So I’m guessing that they found no good way of polishing that turd sufficiently well to make it presentable. Apparently there really are limits to what Kirby, ratface and that Indian guy can rationalize/lie about.

    1. JBird4049

      Would you be surprised if I said that I have more, not respect exactly, but a greater tolerance for Baghdad Bob than for the Troika? Maybe it should be the Quaternion(?) to add Karine Jean-Pierre. Bob’s boss would have tortured and killed him, but likely his family as well, whereas these people routinely lie to justify genocide for pay.

  24. The Rev Kev

    “Italy’s mafia turns to white-collar crime as murder, extortion fall out of favor”

    Just wait until the mafia comes up against the real crims in the City of London and Wall Street. The mafia can call in enforcers but Wall Street and the City of London can call in military forces. And the later has morals that would put mafia dons to shame. The mafia will do a hit on a person. What they won’t do is blow up a whole house full of people just to get that one person. and wave their hands in the air about ‘collateral damage.’

    1. digi_owl

      Brings to mind Gangs of London, a TV series i ran across recent-ish.

      And looking into it, apparently it is based on a series of video games on the Playstation consoles. I really am out of of the loop when it comes to the console side of gaming.

  25. antidlc
    Health systems and employers count economic cost of long Covid

    Long Covid is exerting a silent drag on work and health, say officials and economists who warn that a struggle to count the costs of the condition is leaving authorities “shooting in the dark”.

    1. playon

      The more I talk to people in my neighborhood the more I realize that there is a lot of long COVID around. The guy who delivers our propane told me that he can now barely make it through a day of work as he becomes so fatigued after a few hours. A daughter of our neighbor related that she took off on a trip to Europe (she wasn’t going to cancel her vacation just because she was sick) said she was ill the the three weeks she was there and beyond. People don’t like to talk about their health unless they know you a little, but I’m sure there are a lot of people suffering from it.

      1. JBird4049

        Yes, people do like not talking about their health and sometimes hide their illness. It reminds me of AIDS. Back when it was a shameful thing to be infected with HIV as after all supposedly only immoral or people deserving of punishment could get sick with AIDS. Homosexuals, prostitutes, heroin addicts, and others considered by some as undesirable, their thinking perhaps following the path of the Nazis’ Lebensunwertes Leben or “life unworthy of life.”

        Even if someone was so small-soulled as believing that a human being can deserve a prolonged, often extremely painful death from essentially rotting (HIV/AIDS kills the immune system allowing everything else to eventually kill you.) an infectious disease does not have agency. An infection can from the most reasonable, even necessary, of actions such as a blood transfusion for emergency surgery or the medication needed for hemophilia, with only single accident, mistake, or bad judgment call, could get you infected.

        But people will be judgmental won’t they? And nowadays, in these neoliberalized days, getting ill is seen as a personal failure, perhaps something like a perverted doctrine of Christian Science or perhaps people might see them as necessary sacrifices to propitiate the God Mammon.

        It is interesting how certain ideas keep surviving in the roughly four centuries of American culture: eugenics, which was creation and then a favorite of British and American elites, just as the slightly earlier Social Darwinism was by wealthy business and corporations, and racism by European slave traders. There is also free market capitalism was starting to be fetishized roughly the same time as the British and the Dutch got into the slave trade.

        Well, racism was also used to separate Native Americans, Blacks, and Europeans particularly in the southern colonies. All three groups were often living in various forms of slavery and economic oppression. Even the poor Europeans were likely living short, unpleasant lives of destitution while being overworked, often as unpaid indentured servants, and having absolutely no say in anything. I know European leaders tried and suspect leaders in the other groups also tried to get all three groups to work together. It would have been an almost unbeatable coalition.

        And now I have John C. Calhoun’s pernicious statement of “slavery as a positive good” wondering in my mind.

        Over five centuries ago the Portuguese and Spanish started the mass enslavement of Africans and Native Americans, which eventually became the four centuries of greedy asses that have been justifying the brutal exploitation of others including people of their own country or nationality. The wonders of the free market (capitalism), racism, human manure or waste people (the then terms referring to the indentured) social Darwinism, the deserving and undeserving poor, eugenics, and Neoliberalism all seem to flow into each other. The way AIDS and Covid have been and are is just a continuation of the process. The shame of being poor, or sick, or in anyway being in need marks you as less than human, weak enough to be suitable prey for the wolves of the elites. Fearful prey often casts off or exile fellow, but sick, prey. And smart prey do not advertise their weakness.

  26. Jason Boxman

    Another business Twitter account claims whole family and self sick; I wasn’t on the Twitter until the Pandemic, is it normal for 100% on-topic accounts to suddenly mention that they’re sick? Third time I’ve seen this this year. Admittedly small sample size, but I see people out sick when prior to the Pandemic, no one was ever out from work sick as far as I saw. Been more routine the past 12 months. But again small sample size.

  27. griffen

    Scanning the interwebs this morning for business updates and come across a perhaps bleak prediction for the Summer Big Movie Box Office… incredible to read this though; first summer ( making adjustments for 2020 – 2021 ) since 2008 (!) that lacks a May entry from the Marvel universe. Wait I guess Black Widow counts after all. I’ve not seen Deadpool 2 yet, argh. Guess Hugh Jackman got lured back.

    One for the Zeitgeist perhaps?

  28. Feral Finster

    Concerning the opioid crisis – nobody seems to be asking why it is that so many humans are so bound and determined to get as high as they can? Not like “two drinks buzzed” or “stoned” but “whacked out of their heads” like what meth or fentanyl does.

    We’ve all seen street junkies. That sort of life does not look like fun. So how desperate does one have to be to even start? Because humans still start down that road, more of them, every single day.

    It’s like policy makers and thought leaders have never heard of “Rat Park”.

    1. digi_owl

      Invariably the “results” from Rat Park has been used to denounce the welfare state.

      But as best i recall, there have been several attempts at replicating said results yet so far nothing.

      1. Feral Finster

        Strange. I’ve never thought the Rat Park experiment as a denunciation of the welfare state. Especially as it isn’t like any of the rats in any of the rat colonies had jobs, were learning to code or otherwise were lifting their little selves up by their bootstraps.

        Rather, what I took away from the experiment was that if you give your rats reasonably comfortable and low-stress lives, give them food, space, shelter, opportunities to socialize and respond to rat-oriented stimuli, your colony will thrive. Even if drugs are available, the rats will have little interest in getting high, since there are other things to do.

        If you warehouse your rats like rats in a cage, and give them lots of stress and only the bare minimum to exist but a supply dope, they will quickly become little addicts.

        1. digi_owl

          Crud, i got it confused with that other rat “community” experiment.

          Sorry about getting everything derailed.

    2. flora

      How many were started by their doc on a prescription opioid assured it wasn’t addictive? Except it was and is. Once the doc stops prescribing if you’re addicted where ya gonna go? Nobody intends to become an addict.

      Frontline. This guy is/was a small-fry in the pharma space.:

      Opioids, Inc. (full documentary) | FRONTLINE

      1. flora

        oops, wrong link. You can search on utube for the title listed above the ersatz link. ~55 minutes.

      2. Feral Finster

        Ten or so years ago, quite a lot of people started on prescription opioids, then graduated to more potent and cheaper illegal opioids.

        Since that time, there has been a widespread and aggressive crackdown on opioid prescriptions, but new users are still recruited every day.

        1. flora

          adding: the crackdown began when health insurance companies started recognizing pain meds should only be prescribed for so long in a contiguous timeline. Good on the insurance companies for recognizing the problem. Too bad if the patient had already become addicted by the end of that insurance delimited timeline. No fault to the insurance cos to take steps that then seemed right to stop a drug dependence addiction. But if a patient had already become addicted, even unknown to themselves,….

          1. flora

            adding much: we all of us who’ve had loved ones suffer horrible enduring pain want an alleviation of the pain, but not an addiction to a drug, never an addiction to a drug.

  29. Wukchumni

    Lacking henhouse, its a pleasure to have a grey fox who has decided to hang out here a spell on the all cats & no cattle ranch.

    We had a family of 4 take up residence under our deck a dozen years ago for about 6 months…

      1. Wukchumni

        Einstein (…the brains of the outfit who just turned 11) has been on a killing streak as of late, here a gopher there a gopher everywhere a gopher gopher-supplanting his diet, and I think under peer pressure from a like minded hunter, who doesn’t ever have a can of Fancy Feast…

        1. flora

          The old movie Never Cry Wolf about wolves in Alaska and their diets is pretty good. Hint: lots of mice, more mice than caribou.

    1. Amfortas the Hippie

      i co-exist quite happily with my fox and bobcat neighbors.
      but my chickens and guinneas and turkeys get put up at night.
      geese are not bothered by such tiny predators, so long as theyre in the group and theres even a lil bit of light.

      i rarely see the bobcat, but i know she’s there…and had at least one kitten last spring(tracks).
      but i encounter the momma fox and her 3 kits pretty regular like…they apparently enjoy a nice walk of an evening…and i inadvertently am sometimes sitting in the golfcart along their path.
      so long as i see them first, and remain still as stone, they seem unconcerned.

        1. Yves Smith

          *Sigh* Please none of this. Disinformation is not on. mRNA does not cause heart attacks.

          Yes, vaccine enthusiasts will still take the Covid-19 shots even though efficacy v. current variants is not all that good, seems to become negative after 3 months or so, and efficacy seems to decline with total # of shots. But no misinformation. The immediate heart problems occur most often in super fit men, which seems to imply that they were overtaxing their hearts with the intensity of their programs. So it makes sense to wonder about Covid vaccine or Covid induced problems in cases with some low-level or worse pre-existing pathology.

          Covid also can (does) damage the heart and vascular system. Due to the complete lack of tracking of Covid cases (worsened by lots of people now not testing and no system for reporting home test results) we can’t pick apart Covid effects from vaccine effects.

          One of my theories is that a fair # of Covid vaccine injuries are due to taking the vaccine too close to an asymptomatic case. And we should have been testing people for recent Covid before vaccinating them…..

          See this, one of many. Admittedly a small sample but a lot of good detail on mechanisms:

          Silent Cardiovascular Threat of COVID-19

          COVID-19, caused by SARS-CoV-2, exhibits varied symptoms, ranging from none to severe respiratory distress and multi-organ failure, sometimes leading to death. A significant concern is the heightened risk of cardiovascular events like heart attack and stroke, persisting up to a year post-infection, markedly more than in cases of influenza. These events are typically linked to the inflammation of arterial plaque. Analysis of autopsy specimens revealed that the virus infects infiltrating macrophages within coronary vessels, particularly lipid-laden ones, inducing substantial pro-atherogenic inflammatory responses. This suggests a direct link between the virus and observed cardiovascular complications in COVID-19 patients. Further research is crucial to comprehend these interactions thoroughly, fostering the development of targeted interventions to diminish long-term cardiovascular risks in survivors.

          1. Acacia

            taking the vaccine too close to an asymptomatic case

            A close friend landed in the ER twice after getting a vaccine booster too close to a case of COVID, or at least that’s what the medicos concluded. These were confirmed cases, not asymptomatic, and “too close” was some number of weeks. Friend was neither “super-fit” who would be overtaxing the heart, nor in poor health.

            It seems now that the virus may take considerably longer to clear the system than many thought previously, and of course it doesn’t help when talking heads in public health are saying “you’re fine… go back to work.”

            I don’t know what the recommended wait time is, but it really seems like something to approach with caution.

  30. Amfortas the Hippie

    on that atlantic thing by ponomerinko(sp-2):
    “Most of us see such views as extremely naive, given the totalitarian and militaristic nature of Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Having built his rule on war hysteria, land grabs, imperial chauvinism, and global confrontation, Putin is hardly likely to stop even at a deal that most Ukrainians would find entirely unacceptable.”

    see…i just dont see any of that, save as projection by the FP Blob, et alia.
    chick i been talkin to started texting me back the other day…hour of two after i had crashed out mildly inebriated…so she was essentially arguing with my subconscious regarding all this ukrainian mess.
    she’s very, very pro ukraine…and pathologically anti putin.
    even to the point of volunteering in a soup kitchen in Lvov.
    ive tried to avoid this topic in our usually beer related get togethers…both IRL and in text.
    i couldnt tell…and still cant…if she was in her cups while texting me at almost midnight,lol.
    but i was in my cups…and literally asleep, to boot!
    and therefore had no filters in place.
    i guess its kinda cool that i could recite all manner of things…going back almost 30 years(plus history of last 150, 0r so)…and even cite specific msm articles and quote various important people…while in such a state.
    automatic pilot, still…lol.

    1. Amfortas the Hippie

      and my dog:
      “My peers and I wanted our country to have clean streets, polite police, and government officials who would resign at the exposure of petty corruption scandals. We wanted to be able to start businesses without passing money under the table, and to trust that courts of law would render justice. What we did not want were irremovable, lifetime dictators who packed the government with cronies on the take and sent goons to beat us up in the streets.”

      its as if she grew up in West Lake Hills(austin), The Dominion(san antone) or River Oaks(houston)—(all posh places where my kind aint welcome)
      still thinks amurka is the land of the free, etc.
      a shining light, perhaps…but more of a Morgul glow…

    2. Joker

      even to the point of volunteering in a soup kitchen in Lvov.

      I bet she gave no soup to Russian speakers.

    1. Pat

      He was always a massive scumbag. There is a lot wrong in his terms as mayor.
      It says a lot that I would have to toss a coin if in some alternative universe he survived the allegations in the messy divorce and was Clinton’s opponent in her first senatorial run.

  31. ArvidMartensen

    I find it interesting that the two viruses/virus classes that seemingly have had a lot of Gain Of Function experimentation in the US and elsewhere are the coronaviruses and also H5N1.

    Dec 2023 Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists reported on 309 lab acquired infections and 16 pathogen organism escapees between 2000 and 2021. And imo they are the ones that are known about and reported.

    Do other countries have a robust reporting mechanism for laboratory accidents for bio-research? Ukraine? The global south? Russia? China?

    Playing with fire in a gasoline storage depot is so much fun!

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