Links 6/17/2024

Where is the center of the universe?

Toilet Train Your Tyrannosaur 3 Quarks Daily

Momentum Is Still Drawing Magnificent Mojo Bloomberg


LNG ‘anything but natural’ warns report Gas World

Global upstream spending growth expected to slow, but remains well above climate targets: IEA S&P Global

Oppressive heat wave will broil huge swaths of the East with record-breaking temperatures this week CNN

Rainfall Breaks Records in Florida NASA Earth Observatory


Forget oil, forget gas. Kyrgyzstan has plans to power Central Asia with water BNE Intellinews


Yes, People Really Are Getting Sick More Often After Covid (June 17) and June 14 Yes, Everyone Really Is Sick a Lot More Often After Covid Bloomberg. Commentary:

Too many children with long COVID are suffering in silence. Their greatest challenge? The myth that the virus is ‘harmless’ for kids ABC Australia

Here’s What Is Wrong With the National Academies’ Long COVID Definition MedPage Today

To respond to the threat of avian influenza, look back at lessons learned from COVID-19 Nature

The Ineptitude is The Point Jessica Wildfire, OK Doomer


China nuclear arsenal reached 500 warheads in 2024, says think tank Nikkei Asia

What Are China’s Nuclear Weapons For? Foreign Affairs

China’s tax man hands out decades-old bills to companies, hinting at funding shortage South China Morning POst

China’s Big Tech companies taught Asia to pay by scanning QR codes, but made a mess along the way The Register


Working in ‘hellfire’: Gig workers bear the brunt of India’s heatwave Al Jazeera

UK overtakes China as India’s fourth-largest export market in May Business Standard


Hezbollah bigger challenge than Hamas to Israel: ‘Crown jewel in the Iranian empire of terror’ FOX

Israel’s New Air War in the West Bank: Nearly Half of the Dead Are Children The Intercept

Why 800 people fled a sun-kissed Mediterranean village BBC

* * *

Netanyahu dissolves Israel’s war cabinet following resignations FT

Netanyahu denounces Israeli army’s ‘tactical pause’ in southern Gaza Strip Anadolu Agency

* * *

What this holiday of sacrifice teaches us about mindfulness CNN. Eid. Commentary:

European Disunion

France’s Le Pen says she won’t seek Macron’s resignation if far right wins snap election Politico. Handy map:

Dear Old Blighty

Do not ask me to stand aside and watch those planning to fail this country seek power Funding the Future

Some Links And An Open Thread Moon of Alabama. Happily, MoA is back.

New Not-So-Cold War

Ukraine “prepares ground” for attacks on Crimea after arrival of F-16 fighter jets − Business Insider Ukrainska Pravda

Conscription squads send Ukrainian men into hiding BBC

Watch: Sir Rod Stewart booed for Ukraine tribute at concert in Germany The Telegraph

Russia overtook US as gas supplier to Europe in May FT

* * *

Ukraine’s Global Diplomatic Flurry Fails to Outflank Russia WSJ Commentary:

Russia to be forced to surrender if not accepting terms of peace – Italian Prime Minister RBC Ukraine. Commentary:

In Ukraine, soldiers and civilians shrug off Zelensky’s summit Agence France Presse

Ukrainian president says efforts to reach peace should last ‘months, not years’ Anadolu Agency

Is Peace Still Attainable? Foreign Policy

* * *

On Russian casualty counts, a method:

* * *

NATO’s Prophetic Critics Modern Age

Telegraph: NATO in talks to put more nuclear weapons on standby, Stoltenberg says Kyiv Independent

Nuclear War Ahead? [i] Black Mountain Analysis

‘Step back and reflect’: Researchers warn of nuclear weapons’ increased role in global tensions France24

Global defence groups hiring at fastest rate in decades amid record orders FT


Monopoly Round-Up: How The Jetson’s Lost to Black Mirror (excerpt) Matt Stoller, BIG

FTC Chair Lina Khan on startups, scaling, and “innovations in potential lawbreaking” TechCrunch

The Bezzle

Your ‘Independent’ Advisor Now Works for Private Equity. What It Could Mean for Your Portfolio. Barron’s

Leaked documents reveal patient safety issues at Amazon’s One Medical WaPo

Digital Watch

Silicon Valley is finally making flying cars—and this guy bought one of the first San Francisco Standard

AI lab at Christian university aims to bring morality and ethics to artificial intelligence FOX

Supply Chain

Europe’s largest rare earth element deposit discovered in ancient Norwegian volcano The Watchers

The West Coast’s Fanciest Stolen Bikes Are Getting Trafficked by One Mastermind in Jalisco, Mexico Wired

Class Warfare

Guaranteed basic income programs spread across the country: Is it coming to your city? FOX

Land Grabs Squeeze Rural Poor Worldwide Challenging Development

How Democracies Decline Into Autocracies Madras Courier

The Crises and Sacrifices Yet to Come Charles Hugh Smith, Of Two Minds

Antidote du jour (Michael Barritt & Karen May ):

Bonus antidote:

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 Oh My Darling Clementine  by Percy Montrose, 1884, as performed by VOA)

    He’s a loser, an abuser, a narcissistic Frankenstein
    With his eyes closed all your man knows is a giant dollar sign
    He seeks laurels without morals, he paid off his concubine
    You cannot vote for that old goat, not that candidate of thine

    Why you snotty little librul! Your guy’s missing half his mind!
    Can’t recall which wars he started, or which documents he signed
    Ten Percent Guy turns a blind eye to the Russians’ reddest line
    He’s an antique neocon geek, he’s that candidate of thine

    Mister Orange Guy with his red tie’s not a real billionaire
    He’s not six feet, has a rap sheet, he builds castles in the air
    Always crude, he eats junk food, weighs two hundred eighty nine
    Can’t read or write, lives for pure spite, he’s that candidate of thine

    Your guy stumbles and he mumbles then his aides apologize
    ‘He mispoke there in the bright glare’; his advisors agonize
    He says words that have no meaning, words his team must then define
    His dementia represents ya, he’s that candidate of thine

    How the heck can we elect either one of these old men?
    They’re both costumes spewing hot fumes we can’t go through this again!
    Let’s enact a solemn pact here, let’s shake hands and draw a line —
    ‘I’ll cut my throat before I vote for this candidate of mine!

      1. Jabura Basaidai

        agree as well and hat tip to Antifa – calling them jokers is polite but waduyagunnadoo – a deserving denouement – recently read some ‘folks-in-the-street’ poll facts – 26% don’t know the earth revolves around the sun – only 39% can name the three branches of our government – 30% don’t know the difference btwn astronomy and astrology – 34% don’t know who gave the Gettysburg Address – 51% don’t read books (i think that figure is low) – when combining environmental consequences, political insanity and silo mentality, as a species we are in the midst of deserving swirl in the cosmic commode – commiserating earlier with a friend in Rio about the fact we do not have grandchildren and our children have no plans to provide any – with the exception of the slow walk to a nuclear confrontation or a dinosaur killing meteor it is going to be slow and painful grind – heatwave hitting Michigan so keeping garden and orchard well irrigated – the Broox device has been successful in keeping the deer away – finished “1491” by Charles Mann and just started “One Vast Winter Count” by Colin Galloway – “The Unspeakable” left me shaken –

        1. ChrisFromGA

          Calling “that woman” a concubine was rather polite of Antifa, though I suspect it served his lyrical genius quite well.

          We are living out “Idiocracy” the movie.

        2. Martin Oline

          In regards to “51% don’t read books (i think that figure is low)” I agree, but it is a matter of how people see themselves. Those who only read magazines or through their ‘device’ (audially or graphically) believe they read books if asked. When I had a bookstore young people would sometimes ask for graphic novels. I would ask “Do you mean comic books?” they would say no.

          1. Jabura Basaidai

            reading a BOOK is much more beneficial than hearing it and mags don’t count – much like the difference between writing by hand and typing like i’m doing right now – always find time to write by hand each day –

  2. CA

    This means Rev Kev as well:

    Andy Boreham 安柏然 @AndyBxxx

    BREAKING: #New Zealand will be added to #China’s growing list of countries whose citizens can visit the country visa-free.

    2:16 AM · Jun 13, 2024

    Andy Boreham 安柏然 @AndyBxxx

    BREAKING: #China will add #Australia to the list of countries whose citizens can visit the country visa-free.

    11:27 PM · Jun 16, 2024

  3. Wukchumni

    First big wildfire of the year in the vicinity of the Grapevine on interstate 5 north of LA, over 15,000 acres scorched with a mere 2% containment, I gotta bad feeling about this long dry summer coming, as the previous winter of record here was 1968-69, and everything was so wet there wasn’t much in the way of wildfires in the summer of ’69, but 1970 was an epic wildfire year around the state.

    I witnessed so much new growth in the aftermath of the record holder for the past 125 years in the Southern Sierra-the 2022-23 winter, and we received about 75% of an average year in snowpack up top this winter, so things won’t be all that wet a few months from now, some dying with their roots on.

    Been whacking off a lot lately, weeds that is. Some of the wild grasses this year were nearly 7 feet tall when at their apogee, never seen them that high, and a few NBA scouts were rumored to be in town.

    An interesting article…

    Nepal has already seen 5,000 wildfires in 2024, the second-most wildfires recorded in a single year since record-keeping began in 2002. The fires have killed more than 100 people and have for days engulfed Kathmandu in hazardous wildfire smog.

    “There is no respite from fires — both forest fires and house fires — continue to wreak havoc across the country in recent days,” the Kathmandu Post reported in April. “Massive fires have been raging across hectares of forest lands in more than a dozen places.”

    “In spring 2021, Nepal underwent a record wildfire season in which active fires were detected at a rate 10 times greater than the 2002–2020 average,” the study reported. “Prior to these major wildfire events, the country experienced a prolonged precipitation deficit and extreme drought during the post-monsoon period.”

    1. The Rev Kev

      From this and previous comments, I see that you take care to get rid of as much fuel loading as possible around your home. If you do not mind me asking, what about your nearest neighbours. Do they do the same or are they a bit of a worry? And when there is fire in your area, are you told to plug and fill your gutters and fill them with water like down here?

      1. Wukchumni

        There’s many splendored acres on the all cats and no cattle ranch, with the same spread on either side of us, and the neighbor nearest has done an exemplary job of clearing out burnables on the ground, similar to what i’ve been up to, as the brush fires this year would be around 6 feet tall at their highest point-and not for very long, so oaks and other trees would just snicker at the flames antics and silently thank it for clearing out the understory.

        It’s the buildup of in particular little pieces of wood that can ignite in a brush fire, which are the real concern, typically seen in a long since dead oak tree, keeled over, in search of a passing flame. That’s my other neighbor, who hasn’t really done anything with his newlydeads, as I have.

        And seeing as we have the same acreage, and I have approx 75 trees never watered by the hand of man, which expired on my watch, why they must have the same amount of dead trees sprawled all over their spread.

        In their defense, they’re in the mid 70’s, and great neighbors, so they get a pass, but once over into my neck of the woods is when it’s really clean as far as downed wood goes.

        We have no fire hydrants here, but I keep 10,000 gallons on hand in tanks, with a hydrant set up below to douse the house and then some all around the perimeter.

        The lay of the land here is nothing like Paradise, Ca. which was chock full of pine trees which burn like the dickens, in particular the pine needles. Oak trees aren’t like that, the leaves just smolder.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Just be grateful that nobody got it into their mind that it would be a great idea to plant Eucalyptus trees in your neck of the woods. That would change things real fast.

          1. Wukchumni

            The only Eucalyptus around these parts are along Hwy 99, big towering things interspersed every couple hundred of yards typically, the pigpen of trees!

            No palm trees here i’m aware of, down on the valley floor sometimes you’ll see them lining a driveway of the house of somebody that owns the orchard surrounding it, that were planted around a century ago, the fronds above rarely tended to, with the trees resembling grizzled old men with droopy beards. Fire bombs is what will become of them.

            1. The Rev Kev

              Our next door neighbours have palm trees on their place. About twenty years ago or so a Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses church was set up there and as there was a long driveway leading to that building, they planted both sides with palm trees. They have since moved to the front of that block in a purpose-built church but alas, those trees remain where I regard them with suspicion.

          2. Lee

            When the hills were cleared of redwoods here on the east side of San Francisco bay in the 1800s, eucalyptus were planted as a future source of more timber. Unfortunately these fast growing ginormous trees proved to be useless in that regard, so they just kept growing and spreading. In 1973 there was a very rare hard freeze here that killed and severely damaged the many acres of eucalyptus. Logging crews from all over the western U.S. as well as some of us locals made good money taking those trees down. Alas, no one thought to kill the stumps and they grew back with a vengeance to become a principal contributor to the scale and ferocity of Oakland firestorm of 1991. The house we moved out of in 1989 was among those lost.

            1. steppenwolf fetchit

              I read an interesting explanation once of why eucalyptus grown in California were not the good timber that they were in Australia itself. The explanation was that in Australia eucalyptus has various insect and other leafeating predators and part of its fast growth is to keep up with and ahead of all the leafeating.

              Eucalyptus grown without any of those leafeaters grew its wood so fast as to form wood with all kinds of internal tensions and stresses which makes the wood of California eucalyptus prone to shatter and etc.

              Are there enough eucalyptus in California to maintain and support any koalas if koalas were to be introduced?

              1. Wukchumni

                Poway Ca. down by SD is covered in Eucalyptus, an upscale community that i’m sure would support a colony of koalas, that is until the eventual wildfire takes out the Eucalyptus and we have to feed them Ranch Doritos with a use by date of a year ago, and Kumquat flavored sunflower seeds in the shell..

                1. Lee

                  Thanks for the link. There’s are eucalyptus groves near me, such as Ardenwood Farm, that are also a havens for Monarch butterflies. If managed, they are good for something after all. If allowed to grow all over the place unchecked, they will.

  4. The Rev Kev

    “Watch: Sir Rod Stewart booed for Ukraine tribute at concert in Germany”

    Stewart giving that giant image of Zelensky a salute may have been a bit too much for those former East German fans. Maybe they are a bit more grounded there but in this article The Telegraph was being a bit economical with the truth. Yes, Michael Roth did call Stewart a hero but he said a bit more than that. What he said was-

    ‘My hero of the day: Rod Stewart. Thank you for your solidarity with the Ukrainian people. And his empathy-less fans who live in mental Putin servitude should be ashamed, if they still can!’

      1. Benny Profane

        Oh, rim shot.

        What do you think the average age of that audience was? If he was performing in America, I’d guess 60+ mostly women.

    1. zagonostra

      The rot in Rock n Roll, from Bono, Jaeger, and lesser gods of Mount Stardom, only gets deeper and more foul.

      At least there is Roger Waters, Eric Clapton, and Van Morrison, to keep it on life support until these washed-up, toadies (can’t help of thinking of Bari Weiss anytime I hear that word) are dead and a new crop of musicians ascend.

        1. Jabura Basaidai

          back in 1968 after Neil left Buffalo Springfield he played a small venue in Ann Arbor called Canterbury House – maybe 60-80 folks in the audience – interspersed with raps about his days in Toronto and early recording with Buffalo Springfield – remember it well and was only a memory until Neil put the concert out on disc – my understanding from a friend that worked for her company, Highstyle Hospitality, was that she was his Michigan paramour for awhile – back in the 90’s Neil bought Lionel Trains Inc, since sold – i’ve been to his Bridge School concert a couple of times – lot of respect for him – saw him at the Fillmore East with Crazy Horse –
          here’s Sugar Mountain from that concert –

          the whole concert with his raps

          Ann Arbor was once a magical musical place – there was a venue called Fifth Dimension where among other acts i was fortunate to catch Jimi, Yardbirds, Zappa and others – before Iggy was Iggy he played drums for a group called The Prime Movers –

          1. ambrit

            Ah, college town venues. Back when school was cool.
            Back then, if you wanted to rule the world, you went to Georgetown. Now, everybody’s doin’ that raga.

            1. Jabura Basaidai

              you know your local history! – Ann Arborite at one time? – the Prime Movers played during the alcohol-free after-hours at the Fifth Dimension – the bar was sunken and same level as the floor so you sat on the floor, at least that’s how i remember it – then it morphed into the Whiffle Tree restaurant which had its own notorious past – there was a reason they called Ann Arbor dope capital of the midwest back in the day –

              1. Alice X

                UofMich, at least as long as I could put up with them. The Ig was a stock boy at Discount Records (Liberty & State) where I copped all my sides. Jeep Holland was the manager (and also of the Rationals). I knew many of those folks. I’d been over to Ron Ashton’s crib a few times. It was kind of weird, he had all sorts of WWII German paraphernalia about. But I was really more into jazz and classical, being a violinist and such.

                ps – I was at the Hendix gig (Jeep had called over to our house earlier and said we had to make it), I was the chick in the tie die dress (although I really can’t possibly remember that much, reefer madness and, well…you know…. :-))

              2. Alice X

                And Hendrix was quite good, he was very consistent with what he had in mind to do, such as it was. The bass player was plodding, while the drummer basically, kept it together. I liked them, they had spirit.

                1. Jabura Basaidai

                  Pete Andrews? Doug Curry? – a buddy we referred to as Fawn was an item with Kathy Ashton for a millisecond – Destroy All Monsters? – it was a hazy, trippy time to say the least – we probably bumped into each other somewhere – through a photographer friend met Terry from the Rationals and had an acquaintance over the years with Scott – and also some of the Quakenbush boys with SRC – by 1970 after second bout of hepatitis got serious about my health – went vegetarian and started studying Shotokan and followed my sensei and his family to Hawaii – introduced to jazz there, worked in a vegetarian restaurant and when i returned to the states after a couple of years experiencing paradise paralysis i returned to college at Oakland U when they had started their jazz program under Marvin “Doc” Holladay – think i mentioned once before he moved to Ecuador etc etc etc… – but OU lasted couple of years then moved to Ishpeming and went to NMU – a professor at OU introduced me to the works of Jacques Ellul and Maurice Cornforth – at NMU discovered C.Wright Mills – knew some of the crazies with SDS back in the late 60’s but they were nothing but poseurs – been a long a crooked road, to say the least, and the water under the bridge is the Amazon – ever go to Joe’s Star Lounge? – worked the door there occasionally – be well Ms X!

          1. ambrit

            That and “Pennies From Heaven.” A bit further afield, but well worth watching is “The Singing Detective.”
            The television product from the 70s and 80s BBC was phenomenal.

      1. Benny Profane

        Well, present day rock stars, although not really that young, but not hitting 80, the Black Keys, just cancelled their mega summer tour and fired their management(!), with maybe an explanation to come, posted the drummer the other day. The economics of touring and recording is a real mess, but I’m damn tired of being given tribute bands as my primary source of live music, unless I fly to Austin or some “festival”.

        1. Dr. John Carpenter

          No surprise the Black Keys canceled their tour. They’re not an arena band and they tried to book an arena tour. And did you see the ticket prices they were asking?

          1. Benny Profane

            No, they’ve graduated to large halls pre Covid. Maybe not the Stones, but, they can fill a house.

        2. Wukchumni

          Sad to say, but only when a member of a 60’s or 70’s band dies that I didn’t particularly follow, is when I learn what their name was.

  5. Benny Profane

    I read that article about the stolen bike ring the other day, and I was reminded to get extra insurance for mine, and always keep the garage door down, although mine are approaching vintage status.
    Trump sanctioning China and then Covid really screwed up the bike industry, but it’s settling back into normal.

    1. Wukchumni

      I never had my bike pinched at Burning Man and when I had a beater* back in the day, never locked it up, but now we’ve got trusty e-steeds we always lock ’em up Danno.

      I’d hate to lose my electrified one-of-a-kind circa 2007 Schwinn Sting-Ray, it’s an e-Ticket ride.

      * a 2002 Target $52 18 speed mountain bike, which hardly ever went out of anything other than first gear, the playa being dead flat and speed isn’t of the essence. A law enforcement officer friend in Sequoia NP in 2010 was going to FLETC (Federal Law Enforcement Training Center) in Brunswick, Ga. to get the chip implanted, and asked if he could borrow it, and I said sure, wondering how all the Burning Man stickers would go over with the men and women of serious law enforcement?

      He related later that being the narc in the park had earned him the nickname Serpico, so he was used to being counterculture and 2 wheels good gave him cred, mine that was.

  6. The Rev Kev

    “Netanyahu denounces Israeli army’s ‘tactical pause’ in southern Gaza Strip”

    Netanyahu hit the roof when he heard this and called it unacceptable. He also said that it never went before the Cabinet – so that they could vote it down. Benny Gantz also is against this. So the Prime Minister, his main opponent and also the Cabinet did not know about it until it was in effect. This being the case, could there be an Israeli ‘deep state’ who has read the writing on the wall and is having the country change course before something drastic happens – like Israel being thrown out of the United Nations or formally becoming an international pariah?

    1. Steve H.

      What is the national bird of Israel?

      Is it a Pigeon (coup)?

      Or a Cuckoo (coupcoup)?

      No, it’s a Hoopoe ( ___ ) !

    2. JohnnyGL

      This sort of thing makes me think there’s political/military fractures in Israel that we do not fully understand.

      The subdued reaction (thus far) to Hezbollah’s big rocket barrage is also very intriguing.

      1. ChrisFromGA

        Yesterday I was glancing at the headlines while going about my day, and they were bizarre. First the news of the tactical pause broke, then the headlines on Bibi and Ben-Gvir (Beavis and Butt-head?) broke. The stories were contradicting each other with one saying that Bibi shot down the idea of a tactical pause, and another saying that the military was going ahead with it.

        Combined with the bizarre spectacle of the failed Blinken/Biden proposal (“Israel refuses to sign off on its’ own peace plan!!”) where they lied and committed fraud in the factum by sneakily leaking an unapproved “draft” version of a plan Bibi that the war cabinet never signed off on and presented it to Hamas as a valid proposal when it wasn’t, this paints a picture of chaos and general stumble-bummery.

        Bibi still is the commander in chief of the military, right?

            1. Colonel Smithers

              Thank you.

              I know what you mean.

              I also know retired Bank of England staff, including a deputy governor, who say they warned the British government in the late 1990s and mid-noughties, but were ignored and even threatened with dismissal. They would like the papers unsealed, under the thirty year (or more) rule and an enquiry set up.

              1. skippy

                Ben Norton
                Western GDP measurements are so absurdly inflated.

                The UK counts illegal drug trafficking and prostitution in GDP data.

                The US counts imputed rent (the rent a homeowner would hypothetically pay) in its GDP data.

                Western neoliberal economies are just a financial house of cards.


                All those neoliberal nobel prizes lmmao …

      2. Louis Fyne

        intra-Israeli politics is no secret.

        IMO, much blame lies on Israeli “progressives” who caught war fever on Oct 8, and gave Bibi a blank check.

        Shake my head on how the liberals/progressives were marching in the streets only a few months earlier against the same govt

    3. John k

      Two of the intriguing possibilities…
      Idf unhappiness with leadership leads to insubordination.
      They paused because they couldn’t continue just now.

    4. steppenwolf fetchit

      I will again offer my thought that part of the reason that Burns of CIA is involved in the ceasefire negotiations is as a cover for really conferring with Mossad on how to perform a Netanyectomy on Israel’s leadership structure.

  7. John

    Are there those out there in what pass for responsible positions who imagine that there is some point to be scored, some military or political use for even a teeny weeny nuclear weapon, that does not open the door to catastrophe? Civilization may be not be much to write home about in this year of grace and there is no doubt that the lengthening of adolescence and declining level of competence is steepening the slide. But consider the alternatives. Idle talk about slinging around nuclear weapons will not improve the slim chance of lessening the impact of Jackpot. Are there those who really want to add radiation and nuclear winter to heat waves, tropical disease in ‘temperate’ regions, and sea level rise? Are we, you know, the common people, Hillary’s deplorables, in the hands of Huxley’s epsilon semi-morons spiffed up in business casual with power ties?

    1. Benny Profane

      The most dangerous term being used right now is “tactical” nuclear weapon. I think I just read it above or maybe yesterday, but, a “tactical” nuke is about 100 kiloton, and, to relate, Hiroshima and Nagasaki were 15 kiloton. These aren’t precise strikes. Entire cities will fry.

      1. sarmaT

        100 kiloton just an arbitrary border between tactical and strategic nukes. 15 kiloton is still much less than 15 megaton.

        1. Alice X

          ~15 kiloton is still much less than 15 megaton.

          one thousandth

          I do recall that the typical fusion yield of employed nukes in multiple warheads (MIRV) is around 750k, which is, of course, absolutely no consolation.

    2. ilsm

      During the Cold War our SAC exercises always started with some small military action, it was always classified…..

      By day 3 of the exercises all our B-52s did their “elelphant walk” up the runway, fully loaded but taxied back to stand down.

      The first tac nuke is like shooting the whole arsenal.

      I don’t know of any prisoner game which could be cooled after the first 100 kilotonst.

      Maybe Biden is up to it?

      1. redleg

        It’s impossible to determine the payload of a bomb or missile that is capable of carrying a tactical nuke until it detonates. Any such missile or bomb launched by NATO has to be treated as a nuke by Russia (or China) the minute it becomes clear that Russia (or China) is the target. To wait and see what it might be risks everything, or more appropriately launching even one of these risks everything. The so-called leaders in the West are insane.

  8. jhallc

    Re: Flying cars…
    A car? Really? It’s a drone on steroids!
    I wouldn’t want to be a pedestrian/biker clipped by one of those props:(

    1. lyman alpha blob

      This flying car looks like an slightly souped-up ultralight, a technology in existence for many decades now. This one will keep the pilot dry if it rains though!

      Used to see ultralights all the time flying around 30 or 40 years ago, but they fell out of fashion. Now that we have a whole generation who hasn’t seen one before, these techbro clowns can claim “innovation!” and sell them for ungodly amounts of money to the rubes. The price tag in the article is a whole lot more than the going rate for an ultralight – And it looks like today’s ultralights also keep the pilot dry, for a whole lot less.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Those techbro clowns are so self-delusional that they are fully capable of trying to convince the Pentagon to install their own high-tech brand of ejection seats, for top dollar, in the helicopter fleet.

        1. Joker

          Speaking of ejection seats in the helicopter fleet, the other day I saw an interview with the first helicopter pilot to use ejection seat in combat. Not a joke, it was Ka-52 pilot.

    2. Bsn

      Funny concept regarding props. I used to study silent film. I noticed that when there was a fan on, say on a hot NY afternoon, it had no protective cage around it. Also, the fan blades moved much slower and I’ll bet they had blunt edges. To me it was a subtle indicator of how technology “creeps” and is allowed to become more and more dangerous. A choir teacher I know who had very long hair stood too close to a fan ……. Seriously horrible story.

      1. LawnDart

        Protective-cages (“propeller guards”) can’t be used as they disrupt the airflow, however I would think that some type of lock-out mechanism is incorporated to keep the pilot from leaping-out into spinning blades: curiousity-seekers and spectators may be at the mercies of awareness and stupidity.

        I’m not sure that I’d like to see these flown over populated-areas by a pilot with only 30-hours of simulation-training, but if a few rich-boys kill their own selves with their toys, I’m not going to complain.

        1. Jeff H

          I beg to disagree. I’m a long time lover of almost everything that flies, I have some experience. The shroud around a rotary lift prop can also function as a ducted fan. The size and curvature can increase thrust by about 30%. My direct experience is in model aviation but the principals still apply.

  9. flora

    I agree with this bit. Nevermind what’s happened to manufacturing in the West. twtr-X

    MIC DROP: Peter Hitchens utterly eviscerates Net Zero, to the dismay of BBC Question Time panellists and audience members.

    “We didn’t just close down our coal fired power stations, we blew them up, we were so certain we were right to do so. At the same time, China is building the equivalent of two new coal fired power stations a week. India has a vast expansion programme of coal fired power stations.”

      1. flora

        adhom away. How did China overtake the West in manufacturing, wealth, and world influence? And is netzero doing anything other than hurting the West?

        There’s space between netzero and exploit-resources-till-they’re-exhausted. There’s a space between unfettered pollution and destruction of economies. But now the entire argument’s become a binary “yer either with us or yer agin’ us” brittle nonsense, imo.

        1. daniel paquette

          Although I’m not too sure who “net Zero” is supposed to benefit, honestly I’m not exactly sure what it is.
          With China going all in on electric vehicles while simultaneously building coal powered generating plants to supply them it would in turn have the net effect of concentrating emissions from millions of cars at the power plants that supply them. Possibly easier to do something to reduce those emissions at the plant vs the car.

          1. flora

            “honestly I’m not sure exactly what it is.”

            Read up.

            As Mary Harris “Mother” Jones once wrote, “Sit down and read. Educate yourself for the coming conflicts.”

          2. Alice X

            Net Zero relates to a point at which CO2 output does not increase. On a year to year basis. As I understand it.

            So, if it had been achieved in, say, 1970, it might have meant something for the world environment, maybe a lot. But that’s a parallel universe.

            The contemporary equation is for the achievement sometime in the near(er) future. CO2 output is still increasing.

          3. CA

            “With China going all in on electric vehicles while simultaneously building coal powered generating plants to supply them…”

            This is entirely incorrect and offensive:


            Arnaud Bertrand @RnaudBertrand

            China is already 6 years ahead of its green transition targets. It set a target of installing at least 1,200 gigawatts (GW) of solar and wind energy by 2030, but it is set to already surpass that amount in the next couple of months…

            1:35 AM · Jun 15, 2024

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      Opponents of doing anything effective about climate change are now trying a lot of whataboutism, pointing at current carbon emissions from China and India. That argument is quickly blown away by a little history:

      1) One minute video showing historical carbon emissions by country;

      2) A brief primer on historical carbon emissions by country and per capita.

      The truth is that no country is more responsible for our having too much carbon in the atmosphere than the United States of America and its citizens are by far the biggest carbon emitters per capita and have been since the carbon pulse began.

      1. flora

        Who claims people pointing out the obvious problems are opposed to doing anything about climate change? Not me.
        That’s what I mean about a brittle netzero binary argument. Either: “only renewable solar wind water”; Or: “only fossil fuels with no pollution mitigations whatever.”

        1. flora

          Pointing out problems is a spur to scientists and engineers to address and fix the problems. Fixing the problems is a good thing, imo.

          There was a wonderful, old cartoon from The New Yorker(?) in Watercooler a few days ago. The caption was “Back to the drawing board.”

            1. flora

              Perhaps one day ships will again traverse mostly by sail, with better real-time informations about local wind conditions, wind direction, wind speed, and ocean currents via satellites and computers. Who knows. / ;)

            2. flora

              And going on much too long, (sorry), for those who followed the above history link please look carefully at the opening print of the SS Sirius.

              Said ship’s configuration reminds me of the old wing walkers’ warning to not let go your hold of your current solid hold until you have a firm hold on the next step ahead. / cheers

      2. Jeff H

        A point that I’ve never heard anyone make is that fossil fuels are created over millions and millions of years of solar energy creating carbon biomass that is condensed over those millions and millions of years. That makes them effectively a limited resource. In those few centuries we’ve relied on fossil fuels, we’ve released that carbon. In effect taking multiple lifetimes of solar energy and expending it in a microsecond.
        Thom Hartmann covered the subject in his book “Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight”.
        The problem is that the size and structure of world society requires an unsustainable energy input. The level of solar energy could potentially be harnessed but it has to be multi modal and be coupled with effective and efficient usage. So much of societal structure, especially in the Western world has to be to be redesigned to meet the challenge. That’s where the real challenge comes. Changing the perspective and understanding of the general public is the major problem to addressing the challenge

    2. CA

      Arnaud Bertrand @RnaudBertrand

      China is already 6 years ahead of its green transition targets. It set a target of installing at least 1,200 gigawatts (GW) of solar and wind energy by 2030, but it is set to already surpass that amount in the next couple of months. *

      As a benchmark the average nuclear plant produces 1GW of electricity so that’s the equivalent of 1,200 nuclear plants’ worth of energy production capacity.

      * China Set to Massively Surpass Its 2030 Wind and Solar Goal
      The country’s cumulative capacity is ‘very likely’ to reach 2,400 gigawatts, nearly double its target, expert says

      1:35 AM · Jun 15, 2024

      1. ebolapoxclassic

        Whoever wrote that has little understanding of how power generation works. (It seems to unfortunately be Arnaud himself. He is my favorite Twitter contributor by far, but right here he’s simply talking outside of his area of competence.) Solar plants in China had an average capacity factor of 12% in 2022, whereas their nuclear fleet had a capacity factor of 86%. This means that a 1 GW nuclear power plant, in China, produces more than 7 times more electricity (1 GW * 0.86 * 1 year = 7.5 TWh) each year than 1 GW of photovoltaic panels (1 GW * 0.12 * 1 year = 1.05 TWh). With wind power it looks a bit better: The average capacity factor in China is 24%, so nuclear power produces about 3.5 times as much electricity per year per GW of capacity than wind power does.

        Added to this is that nuclear plants produce baseload electricity, which is of greater value (per MWh produced) to the electricity system than intermittent (non-dispatchable) power generation from wind and solar power. This is true everywhere but especially in a heavily industrialized economy like China’s.

        None of this implies that solar/wind is necessarily bad or that nuclear power is necessarily good – solar power will by its nature always have a much lower capacity factor than nuclear power, but that doesn’t make it “bad” – but the calculations have to made with some minimum of competence (which I assume the actual Chinese planners involved have).

    3. PlutoniumKun

      Electricity capacity is a rare success story for the UK.

      The demise of coal fired plants was mostly due to North Sea natural gas. This was the driver behind the decision to wind down the big coal thermal plants in the 1980’s and 90’s and not replace them. The capacity was replaced with wind and natural gas. Wind generation, on and off-shore, is the cheapest energy now in the UK. At present, nuclear provides around 20% (its the main baseload power source now), with wind providing 25% and natural gas 35%. Solar is around 5% and growing very fast. In northern climes, solar is an excellent complement to wind as it produces most in the summer, while wind produces more in the winter (plus sunny days tend to be calm, and vice versa).

      The crunch in electricity supply that was anticipated a few years ago never came to pass – electricity demand has actually dropped around 14% over a decade in the UK, mostly due to a combination of more efficient domestic use and the decline in heavy industry. Its possible that rooftop solar (which is not included in the overall calculations), may also have contributed.

      Most investment in the UK is now going on interconnectors – this is far more cost effective at protecting supply than building surplus backup capacity. It also makes it more cost effective to increase the renewables proportion when you have the interconnection capacity to export surpluses.

      Coal plants are simply not an option for the UK – you’d have to open up new pits (which would be next to impossible), or import the coal, which has all sorts of security implications – this makes no sense for a country with near limitless wind resource and still plenty of domestic natural gas. They’ve been trying to build a new generation of nuclear plants in the UK for several decades now, and they keep screwing it up. I doubt if the existing generators will be replaced (apart from one at Hinkley Point) – its proving too expensive in the face of much cheaper renewables.

      1. ebolapoxclassic

        Interconnectors might be a good choice for the UK in its current situation, but it shouldn’t be forgotten that they’re essentially a “beggar thy neighbor” approach. It offloads your balancing problems to other countries, and in exchange they get to export power at high prices when you are producing too little power yourself, and get cheap power (we are often already seeing negative prices) whenever you have a wind or solar surplus you need to get rid of (or otherwise have to waste, through curtailment). But that only works as long as there is a Norway, with massive hydroelectric capacity (and still way more than they can use themselves), or a France with a nuclear fleet set up for high flexibility, to absorb your surpluses and cover your deficits. If there aren’t neighbors with such flexibility left to build new interconnections to, you have to find your own ways to balance your power system.

        Simply continuing to add more wind and solar power at that point will make your system function worse, not better. California and Texas are indicative of where you will eventually end up: They only ran into problems faster than European countries have precisely because of vastly underdeveloped interconnections within the United States compared to Europe (especially continental Europe).

        One can also consider why Japan, as of 2022, were at 10.7% generation from wind and solar power, and Germany at 33%. It is not because the Japanese hate cheap, renewable energy and love depending on imported coal and gas so much. Rather it’s because Japan, unlike Germany, can’t pretend to be an independent power system, while at the same time being tightly integrated into a continent-spanning, synchronous grid about 10 times larger than their own.

        Just the other day Sweden said no to a new undersea HVDC interconnection with Germany. The reason is that Sweden, despite having a power system dominated by hydropower and nuclear generation (but, like Germany, has issues transferring power north-south), is stretched to its limit already. Germany might be served by a new interconnector, but Sweden isn’t, especially with EU single market rules saying that Sweden can’t regulate power flows to and from Germany based on its own requirements. Under such circumstances, having more transfer capacity to the continent would be a net liability for Sweden (even if it just appeared out of nowhere for free), and Germany will, as I alluded to earlier, have to find other ways to solve their problems with intermittent generation from now on.

        Norway and France will also get to the point where they can’t absorb more variable generation from Germany, the UK, Spain etc. In fact, even the existing interconnections are already controversial in Norway, despite Norway’s flexible generation capacity being vastly greater than Sweden’s. See for example here.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “Why 800 people fled a sun-kissed Mediterranean village’

    Was reading today that the Israelis are actually shelling those Lebanese villages with white phosphorus shells to contaminate those village with those chemicals as well as the surrounding land. Against international law of course but when did that ever stop the Israelis? They are doing this because they know that they will never have to pay for cleaning those sites up. But turn around is fair play and I wonder what would happen if Hezbollah started using white phosphorus on those Israeli settler towns themselves. Can you imagine the screams from all those evacuated settlers when they learn that their homes too have been contaminated with white phosphorus?

  11. Louis Fyne

    Love the war memorial’s drone—a nice touch for future normies or historians.

    for decades, much of Western public art has become so abstract that it’s lost emotional meaning (in my old-man-shakes-fists-at-clouds opinion)

  12. jefemt

    Guaranteed basic income. A bit shocking to this econ 001 student.
    Seems to me that any municipal, county, or state government will fail miserably, and property taxes will launch, to never re-trench, with an income guaranty program that will ultimately fail due to the blood out of a turnip reality of local public finance realities.

    The only way it could work, is to be federally financed, as the Feds are the only ones that can exercise political will/wont, and fund whatever ‘they’ deem worthy. And good luck getting it by the bought congress critters whose benfactors are capitalists who rely on excess labor value to fund their enterprises.

    Even Elon says he needs people!

    1. Milton

      Charter a muni bank, park it at the fed. Boom! There’s your federally-funded program.

  13. lyman alpha blob

    Good article by Charles Hugh Smith today.

    This bit –

    “Few seem to notice that corruption has become so normalized that we don’t even recognize the ubiquity and depth of our corruption; we tell ourselves that this isn’t corruption, it’s just healthy self-interest, the “invisible hand” of the market magically organizing our economy to optimize efficiency and productivity. This provides cover for our worship of self-interest, a polite phrase for limitless greed.”

    – brought to mind what I’m currently reading in William Hogeland’s new book, The Hamilton Scheme .

    Just a few chapters in, and Hogeland describes how the young Alexander Hamilton along with Robert Morris, the richest man on the continent at the time, conspired to create a US Federal government by issuing as much worthless paper as they could to finance the war. Morris was given a position that allowed him to hand out government contracts for the war effort, with himself quite often being the contractor. All the various bonds, scrips and chits on issue were not trusted, and speculation abounded. The vast majority of these were sold for a small fraction of their original face value, with skittish investors selling out for something rather than holding and getting nothing, and the counterparties with money to spare hoping to cash in on massive yields if any interest were ever paid. The biggest threat to the fatcat financiers of the time was peace breaking out – then nobody would be spending any more hard currency for the war effort, and investors would not be repaid. What Morris and Hamilton realized was that a Federal government, which many elites of the day, including Morris himself at first, were opposed to, was needed to consolidate all these debts and keep the whole enterprise (the war was just a start in Hamilton’s mind) from falling apart. A Federal government would then be able to consolidate all the massive debt, tax all the states, and use that revenue to pay interest on the otherwise worthless bonds, many issued by Morris himself. Elites eventually agreed because their initial greed had now made them desperate to be paid off and escape financial ruin.

    We joke about Monopoly money not being real money, but the more one reads about finance, the more it all sounds like Monopoly money, designed so that those small groups of elites designing and issuing the financial instruments would become the monopolists, able to stick it to the rest of us.

    Financial shenanigans, double dealing and influence peddling were what the US was founded on. FDR gave us a reprieve for several decades but his reforms have come undone. When you look at how the US was founded, it’s no wonder people like the Bidens with their influence peddling schemes really think they’ve done nothing wrong. They are just emulating the Founding Fathers after all.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I see that Robert Morris came to an interesting end-

      ‘Morris was unable to pay his debts, and he remained in debtors’ prison for three and a half years. Morris was released from prison in August 1801 after Congress passed its first bankruptcy legislation, the Bankruptcy Act of 1800 in part to get Morris out of prison. At the time of his release, three commissioners found that he had debts of $2,948,711.11; the proceedings were certified October 15, 1801, after 2/3 of his creditors agreed to the discharge of Morris; on December 4, 1801, a certificate of bankruptcy was confirmed. but he remained financially destitute.’

      I take it that there will be no “Morris – the Musical” then.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        Yes I am looking forward to reading about how the fat man eventually gets his just desserts and goes bust. Unfortunately though the system he helped create lives on today, and we still have double dealing politicos fomenting wars to line their own pockets.

          1. lyman alpha blob

            No worries – and perhaps one of our resident lyricists can pen the Morris musical ;)

    2. LifelongLib

      I haven’t read “The Hamilton Scheme” (yet), did read “Founding Finance”. Don’t know how many of the shenanigans etc were just the norm for the time. A credit-worthy national government certainly seems like a good thing to have, even if Hamilton and friends did make bucks for themselves along the way. I would like to find out if there were other nations that arrived at some degree of financial stability through more democratic means.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        There weren’t that many norms to go by for a financial system meant to produce an empire, which was Hamilton’s intent – they used the Bank of England as a model which was created to finance British enterprises like the East India Company. Perhaps hindsight is 20/20, but they modeled the US system after a bunch of rapers and pillagers (might being right being the norm at the time, and also in the Western world today [the rest of the world seems to have calmed down a bit, at least for the moment]).

        The point is that a small group of elites created a new system, not to bring democracy and equity and fairness to a new nation, as is the myth, but primarily to benefit themselves. They were absolutely skinning the deplorables of the day, and were worried about the backlash. They needed something to keep the little people in their place, and they got it with the Federal system.

    3. eg

      Well the sovereign currency issuer IS a monopolist — it holds the monopoly over the legitimate use of force within its own borders.

  14. The Rev Kev

    “Hezbollah bigger challenge than Hamas to Israel: ‘Crown jewel in the Iranian empire of terror’”

    So about 200,000 Israelis have been evacuated from the north of the country because of Hezbollah and billions of dollars of high-tech equipment has been destroyed by that organization. Plus there is constant attacks on Israeli troops with casualty numbers unreported. Hilariously, there will be a settler conference conference next week where the main topic will be, I kid you not, ‘on creating Jewish settlements in Lebanon.’

    Some of the statements in that article sound like they are coming from people with no access to newspapers, radio, TV or even the internet.

  15. The Rev Kev

    “Too many children with long COVID are suffering in silence. Their greatest challenge? The myth that the virus is ‘harmless’ for kids”

    That is one thing that I will never forget or ever forgive about the present Pandemic. How the kids were literally thrown to the wolves not only by the politicians but also our medical authorities. They really wanted those kids to go to school and I believe that it was for two reasons. The first reason was that if the kids were going to school, then those parents would have to go back to work as they did not have to mind their own kids. Yes, those parents and kids would be going out into the middle of pandemic but it was all for the good of the economy. The second reason was actual quite evil. They wanted those kids in school so that they actually would get infected. Then at the end of the day they would go home and give it to their parents, grandparents and their neighbours. It was all about ‘herd immunity’ but I knew that this was bs when four years ago IM Doc said that you can’t get herd immunity with a Coronavirus as it does not work that way. But they did it anyway-

    And now that those kids are getting Long Covid, those same doctors can’t be ****d about studying up on the subject to help those kids but will tell them that it is in their heads or is the flu or something.

  16. Sub-Boreal

    The Scourge of Self-Checkout


    In many ways, self-checkout is the shining jewel of enshittification. First, the technology can be deeply exasperating. According to one survey published in 2021, 67 percent of American customers said they’d experienced a failure at the self-checkout lane. Nor is it true that people whiz through: lines get clogged while staff assist with bar codes that aren’t working or payment problems. But the concept has also inspired some remarkable dystopian creativity. Amazon bragged about the Just Walk Out technology used in their Fresh grocery stores which sent customers their receipts after they had left the store with their items. However, the model was reportedly powered by low-paid workers in India who watched customers from afar and reviewed about 70 percent of purchases. (Amazon has denied these allegations.)

    Food giant Loblaw, which has a nearly 30 percent share of the Canadian grocery market, has rolled out an array of sometimes heavy-handed measures to combat what it calls “organized crime.” The beefed-up security can include wheel-locking shopping carts and looming Plexiglas barriers (creating what one user on X called a “jailhouse feel.”) In March, Loblaw also began testing receipt scanners in Ontario. The pilot required shoppers to scan a receipt’s bar code to open a metal gate to let them leave the premises. Consumers immediately hated it, as it led to confusion at the exit, with loud alarms constantly going off. One customer quoted by the CBC said that, at a time of skyrocketing grocery prices, the measures are “just kind of kicking [shoppers] while they’re down.”

    1. Sub-Boreal

      My own data point:

      Although I always avoid self-checkout, I recently had the experience of triggering the exit alarm and having the wheels lock on my cart after paying out at a Loblaw subsidiary. Two security goons immediately showed up, and one of them waved a hand-held device at my cart to unlock its wheels. Apparently I’d passed through the human-mediated checkout too quickly to suit the algorithm, and this pattern triggered the presumption of theft.

      1. Carolinian

        Some Home Depots have installed those locking wheel carts because thieves were walking out with basketfulls of power tools. They now lock many of these things in hogwire cages.

    2. Carolinian

      Around here stores like Walmart are dialing back the self checkout but I think it has less to do with customer dissatisfaction and more about rampant customer theft. Comments, like I sometimes see around here, that funny business with the self checkout is somehow “sticking it to the man” by stealing may have contributed.

      I do find arguments about confused customers who nevertheless spend half their time punching buttons on a smartphones to be disingenuous.

      One should also add that the over the top plunge into self check at some Walmarts may have had as much to with Covid as with more sinister motives.

      In any case the jury’s still out and I only know of one store where the self checkouts have been removed altogether.

      1. flora

        If self checkout was a pitch to Wall St about increasing profits by cutting labor costs it could be a while before those self checkout lanes vanish completely. /;)

      2. Oh

        My recent visit to the Walmart where the self checkout lane was closed before now revealed a new lane with many more self check (brand new ones) machines. I asked one employee on the way out:

        “I thought the self check machines were being removed. Why did they install more of them?”
        The employee replied “They lied to us!”

    3. flora

      I refuse to use self-checkout for 3 reasons: I want people to have jobs, even checkout line jobs; if the store expects me to do their work then I expect a price discount, which the stores will not offer; I like the 30 seconds of “hi, how are you, how’s the weather” small talk when checking out.

      If thieves are costing the big box stores more than it would cost them to hire people to run the checkout counters, well then, the “market” has spoken. / ;)

      1. Carolinian

        So if the store takes out all the self checkouts and I have to stand in line for ten minutes should I be paid for my time? I don’t exactly consider running a product past a laser beam and putting it in a bag to be work. And perhaps that’s part of the problem. Often these days cashiers don’t even have to make change and can seem confused when they do. Meanwhile even produce is increasingly bar coded. It’s not only retail greed that is rendering those jobs obsolete.

        So don’t write off self check just yet. Big business convinced the world to pump its own gas and they may yet succeed with this. Finding a way to make it theft proof may be the biggest obstacle.

        1. flora

          Goodness. I only stated what I do and why. Everyone has their own reasons for their actions which are good for them. / ;)

        2. ambrit

          Making a retail business “theft proof” must start at the top. All else will follow.

          1. Wukchumni

            I’d never shop lift, whaddya think I am, some Bulgarian weight lifter who got bronze in China for the clean & jerk?

              1. Alice X

                Good one flora, that’s a defining style (how Eddie Lampert ran the Co. into the ground, and made out like a bandit – once upon a time I sort of trusted them).

      2. Lee

        Trader Joe’s stores in my area have a noninterference policy toward shoplifters. Nor do they call the police. A friend of mine works at one, and once attempted to stop one of the many blatant shoplifters that frequent the store from stealing bottles of expensive booze. My friend received a reprimand from the manager. If ever hungry and without a dime, I know where to go for vittles.

    1. Carolinian

      Blame it on the South. Clooney is from Kentucky, Julia Roberts from Smyrna, GA.

      And apparently the Dems insisted that the debate has to take place sitting down and Trump has now agreed.

        1. Neutrino

          and make it slightly harder to spot the hidden screen teleprompting his, uh, responses. The tech has probably improved since the Hillary clumsy cheating days. Don’t expect CNN to allow any unsanctioned camera angles.

  17. Jeff W

    “Four years ago, a donkey named Diesel disappeared in Wyoming.”

    Referred to, of course, five days ago in a comment in the Links by diptherio (linking to a different but nearly identically-worded tweet).

    1. neutrino23

      That is so nice. It feels good that the donkey found friends who don’t discriminate.

  18. Tom Stone

    I know that Lambert and others are hoping for a “Debate” that discusses issues like Climate change, the Wars with Russia, the slaughter in Gaza, the ongoing Pandemic which is causing 10,000 deaths a Month in the USA in a slow Month and so on.
    The sort of debate a pair of moderately bright and responsible teenagers could have.
    Na Ga happen.
    For myself I’m hoping Trump shows up wearing a button that says “Let’s Go Brandon”, Genocide Joe challenges Trump to an arm wrestling contest and Trump calls Genocide Joe “Poopy Pants”.
    In other words a “Debate” that shows the World a picture of what the USA has become, a Country run by Psychopathic clowns.

  19. flora

    re: antidote

    For some reason, probably the colors and the animal’s stance, the photo reminds me of the stone age (15000-35000-years-ago) cave paintings in Spain (Altamira) and France (Lascaux).

  20. LawnDart

    Re; Digital Watch/Flying Cars

    Is China even on the same planet? The “flying-car” from Silicon Valley is far more well-engineered than much of its American competition, but its still just one of the more-talented kids… in grammar school.

    It’s a bird, it’s a plane…it’s a Chinese flying car

    China is developing the vehicles faster than any other country

    China accounts for 50% of the world’s evtol models, much more than America (18%) or Germany (8%), according to China Merchants Securities, a bank.

    China has two big advantages. The first is the country’s edge in electric-vehicle technology, some of which is transferable from the driving sort to the flying sort. Batteries are especially important. The ones in evtols must be light and high-capacity. China is home to the world’s biggest battery-makers. The leader, catl, is wrestling with the challenges posed by flying cars.

    The second advantage is enthusiasm from the government. It aims to set up what it calls “demonstration zones” of the low-altitude economy in areas such as the Pearl river delta and Yangtze delta by 2025. It is not entirely clear what these zones will entail, but the city of Shenzhen (in the Pearl river delta) plans to build more than 600 take-off-and-landing pads for low-flying aircraft by 2025, according to Xinhua, the country’s official news service.

  21. Roger Blakely

    The Ineptitude is The Point Jessica Wildfire, OK Doomer

    The Crises and Sacrifices Yet to Come Charles Hugh Smith, Of Two Mind

    These two essays taken together show where we are today.

    “Weaponized incompetence has become a popular term in articles about work, relationships, and parenting. It’s been all over social media the last year, but curiously absent from political discourse. It describes a situation where one partner, coworker, or spouse has to constantly explain to another how to do basic tasks. They have to review that person’s work and fix their mistakes. Often, the competent partner or coworker finds the extra labor so exhausting they take over the job entirely, or they stop delegating work to the incompetent person. That was the plan.”

    “The American Dream has a peculiarly truncated vision of sacrifice: we make individual sacrifices to advance our personal goals, but sacrifices for the common good are not part of the Dream: sacrifices for the sake of our fellow citizens are at best unnecessary and at worst a waste of money, something only chumps fall for. The Smart Money spends a fortune evading taxes, as part of the prevailing ethos: Get rich by whatever means are necessary and let the Devil take the hindmost.”

  22. Bazarov

    Black Mountain Analysis (BMA) writes: “Russia is losing people on an epic scale. This is a full-blown Western victory, which I’ve repeatedly pointed out on the blog. Credit where credit is due. And yes, all the dead or stolen (Ukrainian refugees in Europe, which the Europeans are very keen to incorporate forever) ‘Ukrainians’ are also Russians and essentially the main target of the West.”

    BMA’s conclusions are overall too pat for my liking, but this statement in particular is dubious. The author considers Ukrainians to be Russians, therefore counting Ukraine’s losses, including refugees in the West, as Russian losses (?!).

    If you’re going to accept such a calculous and, as BMA does, consider these “Russian losses” as a “full-blown Western victory,” you must also accept the 9 million Belorussians truly and actually incorporated into the Russian state as a “full-blown” compensatory Russian victory. Before the west attempted to color revolution Lukashenko, Belarus was playing (poorly) a kind of Turkish game of tipping to one side, then to the other to get concessions from both and preserve sovereignty. At times it seemed like Lukashenko was getting ready to become another Hungary, forsake the Union State for good, and incorporate itself into the Western economic system.

    The west failed to oust Lukashenko thanks to Putin’s intervention, but Belarus paid a dear price: the Union State’s back from the dead. Belarus is de facto a Russian protectorate, and its population is at the disposal of Russia’s economy. I would say this more than compensates, if we stipulate to BMA’s position, for Russia’s manpower losses in the SMO, since not only did Russia gain 9 million Belarussian souls, it also secured control of Belarus’ not inconsiderable military and manufacturing infrastructure intact. This greatly increases the value of the Belorussian population, whose economic potential is enhanced by the industry of that nation.

  23. John Steinbach

    Read both Helmer & Black Mountain articles, both very informative, especially “Nuclear war ahead” (Probably no nuclear war- assumes “rational actors.) Both articles emphasize that the sophisticated longer range NATO are not & cannot be operated by Ukrainians, but MUST be operated by NATO. (At best the Ukrainians simply put a pre-programmed button.) Black Mountain thinks that US & Russia got together to agree on some actual red-lines like nuclear reactors & nuclear weapons storage sites. He emphasizes that Ukraine hasn’t & can’t attack Russia behind the lines & that it has been NATO itself attacking all along. The “decision” permitting Ukraine to use longer range weapons to attack Russia is pure political theater.

  24. Kermit

    Flying cars.

    Everything under 500′ is our airspace above our home.

    ‘No Trespassing. Violators will be shot down.’

    Center of the universe? Where are the edges of the universe?
    Think about that too hard and your mind goes blank.

  25. Henry Moon Pie

    Pertinent to nothing in particular but relevant to all our problems in the way it points out how our worldview has been warped by the Madmen is this post on about how we’ve all but lost the important social skill of group singing. The author has made it a practice to teach old folk songs to his daughter which they then sing together. These hoary tunes have value:

    That, I think, is what these songs were for—teaching lessons we abandoned when everything became cheap and fast and easily discarded. They do not tell us that we can accomplish anything if we believe in ourselves, or that we deserve to follow our hearts. They tell us our lives are brief and sad and funny, subject to injustice and bound by duty. They pass down, in a way spoken words cannot, our forbears’ grief and gratitude, their violence and remorse, their comfort and joy.

    The Madmen want us full of hubris because we spend more when we’re feeling cocky. Of course, plenty spend to bury sorrow or depression, and the Madmen have their ways of encouraging that as well. Cost-cutting in public schools has had a negative impact on music programs in public schools as well, and fewer children are learning to sing or dance together than when we Boomers were kids. It’s a shame, not only for the loss of exposure to folk music’s support for human humility, but also because it’s a lot of fun to sing together, especially in harmony. (Sorry if any punkers are offended. ;) )

    1. Retired Carpenter

      Thank for this post Henry Moon Pie. I always had a soft spot for folk songs and usually listened to them as I worked. They do not need to be centuries old to contain ageless wisdom. Here is the 1959 poem “”There once was an owl” by John Ciardi, set to music by Bob “Fiddler” Beers, and sang by Betty Smith as the first song of her album “For My Friends Of Song”

  26. viscaelpaviscaelvi

    Re. AI lab at Christian university aims to bring morality and ethics to artificial intelligence FOX
    So, more censorship?
    I wonder if big AI providers won’t be developing censorship layers, where the clients (states, network providers…) can pick and choose their censorship flavours. Tailored censorship by region that has the added benefit of outsourcing the job, saving costs and plausible deniability.

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