Links 2/26/2022

Patient readers, once again I apologize for the dominance of news from Ukraine, but it’s a story not without interest, so here we are. –lambert

DNA Clears Hank The Tank!!! Now the Bear Will Be Spared TMZ

Do Birds Have Language? Smithsonian. Some would say yes.

Study finds elk are too smart for their own good, and the good of Utah

Monkeys in Their Own Right Verfassungsblog. The Estrellita Judgement of the Ecuadorian Constitutional Court.


The digital world’s real-world impact on the environment High Country News


UK government has abandoned its own Covid health advice, leak reveals Guardian

New CDC Covid-19 metrics drop strong mask recommendations for most of the country CNN

Effectiveness of Face Mask or Respirator Use in Indoor Public Settings for Prevention of SARS-CoV-2 Infection — California, February–December 2021 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, CDC. From the Abstract: “Consistent use of a face mask or respirator in indoor public settings was associated with lower odds of a positive SARS-CoV-2 test result (adjusted odds ratio = 0.44). Use of respirators with higher filtration capacity was associated with the most protection, compared with no mask use. In addition to being up to date with recommended COVID-19 vaccinations, consistently wearing a comfortable, well-fitting face mask or respirator in indoor public settings protects against acquisition of SARS-CoV-2 infection; a respirator offers the best protection.” It couldn’t be more clear that Biden Adminstration’s newest guidance does not “guide” the public toward protecting itself from Covid, but rather encourages the virus to spread, and continues the assault on all public health protections save waning vax before the next zoonotic pandemic respiratory virus predictably appears.


How is Beijing Portraying Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine for the Chinese Public? Council on Foreign Relations

Outpost : If Biden intervenes militarily, in what ways will the Russian army be hit hard? What China Reads

U.S. Officials Repeatedly Urged China to Help Avert War in Ukraine NYT

China’s SWIFT alternative may undercut US sanctions Asia Times

China’s Content Moderators Are Overworked and Chronically Stressed Sixth Tone

Here’s how the Russia-Ukraine conflict affects Malaysia and why we should care Malay Mail. Irredentism.


A Dysfunctional Peace: How Libya’s Fault Lines Were Redrawn War on the Rocks. Another brilliant success for US policy.

New No-So-Cold War

Ukraine’s President Zelensky discussing ‘time and place’ for possible talks with Russia Independent. Twelve hours ago, as of this writing.

Ukraine Conflict Update 8 Institute for the Study of War

Russian offensive unexpectedly slowed by fierce Ukrainian resistance NBC. Another account:

More on the Pripyat marshes.

* * *

NATO rushing to resupply Ukraine by land; no-fly zone all but ruled out Politico

NATO Activates Response Force for First Time as US Readies More Troops

* * *

The Coming Ukrainian Insurgency Foreign Affairs. Everything’s going according to plan.

Op-Ed: The CIA has backed Ukrainian insurgents before. Let’s learn from those mistakes LA Times. As I have said, I’m long stupid on this.

‘Ultimate test of brinkmanship’: US preps for high-stakes proxy war against Russia in Ukraine Washington Examiner. “High stakes” for whom?

U.S. Shocked Russia Would Invade Another Country After Seeing How Badly America’s Recent Invasions Went The Onion

* * *

Didn’t vote for Kyiv to be bombed: Russian lawmaker who voted for independence of rebel regions in Ukraine India Today

Ordinary Russians Don’t Want This War Jacobin (Re Silc). Home before the wheat sprouts….

* * *

In the curious absence of reporting, symbol manipulation is what we have:

Symbol manipulation (1):

The teddy bear is a very nice touch. Almost professional. On this tactic, see Taleb.

Symbol manipulation (2):

If one corpse reminds you of Stalingrad, you’re at best a fool.

Symbol manipulation (3):

Symbol manipulation (4):

Jed Bartlet tropes deployed in 10, 9, 8….

Symbol manipulation (5):

Readers will recall this photo is most likely staged.

Some Of The Most Popular ‘Ukraine Footage’ Is Actually A Video Game Kotaku

* * *

Grab two cups of coffee:

Presumanbly YouTube won’t censor a talk given on Alumni Weekend at the University of Chicago:

Well worth a listen.

Scott Ritter (DS):

Sadly, no transcript; I am told that Ritter gives another account of the speed (or lack of same) of the Russian advance from Belarus to Kiev.

* * *

5 ways to cope with the stressful news cycle NPR. Tagline: “In this turbulent time, we invite you to do the same. It’s important for all of us to stay informed citizens of the world, and also to remember: take it easy on yourself, and on each other.”

Biden Administration

In historic first, Biden nominates Ketanji Brown Jackson to Supreme Court SCOTUSblog

Biden battles Putin in Ukraine — and Trump’s GOP in America NBC

Deficit Hawk Henry Cuellar Makes it Rain for His Defense Donors ReadSludge

Trump Legacy

62 percent of voters say Putin wouldn’t have invaded Ukraine if Trump were president: poll The Hill. Harris.

Supply Chain

Here’s Why the Russia-Ukraine Crisis Creates a Realignment of World Trade AgWeb

Asian refiners see uninterrupted Black Sea crude import flows for now Hellenic Shipping News

Russia bans ammonium nitrate exports until April to support domestic farmers Platts

Report: Russian missile hits Japanese freighter in Black Sea NHK. Headline: Missile. Paragraph one: Shells (no source). Pargraph three: “bombarded” (Ukraine). “Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism is verifying details of the attack.” “So, we don’t really know what anyone is after.”

Health Care

Op-Ed: The anti-vax movement was already getting scary. COVID supercharged it LA Times.

The 1st public option health plan in the U.S. struggles to gain traction NPR. “‘The plans had a hard time getting networks put together because the hospitals wouldn’t play,’ said state Rep. Eileen Cody, the Washington legislator who introduced the public option bill in 2019. ‘They’re a big part of the problem.'” The same thing happened with MaineCare.

The Schools

Judge: New admissions policies at elite school discriminate AP. Fairfax County. The decision (PDF).

‘A very toxic environment’: Virginia students navigate ugly mask battle WaPo. My congratulations to the public health establishment.

Our Famously Free Press


Blog Terminated Paul Robinson, Irrussianality. I respect Robinson’s decision, but he might have given consideration to waiting for David Frum to resign from his editorship of The Atlantic, and only then terminating his blog.

Fed Up With Google, Conspiracy Theorists Turn to DuckDuckGo NYT. Musical interlude.

The Bezzle

Startup founder says he lost his company and $100 million by relying on Facebook: ‘Sends chills down my spine’ to watch others build businesses on Instagram and TikTok Business Insider (JB). If your business depends on a platform….


The U.K. Wanted to Extradite Julian Assange to the U.S. From the Start The Intercept

Class Warfare

Here’s What’s in the New Bill Jointly Backed by Uber and the Teamsters in Washington State Labor Notes

Not all oligarchs, of course:

Scratch a liberal….

Cryptographers Achieve Perfect Secrecy With Imperfect Devices Quanta

U.S. Plans New Safety Rules to Crack Down on Carbon Monoxide Poisoning from Portable Generators Pro Publica. This gives me an opportunity to clarify: Portable generators are jackpot-ready, in that they buy time if (when) the grid collapses. They are not jackpot-compliant, because they assume the continued distribution of fuel; they do not comply with newly imposed rigors.

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Samuel Conner

    re: the new CDC masking guidance, it looks (to me) like they have (or one could reasonably interpret them to have) a target lower limit for hospital capacity utilization, and the rate of new COVID infections is to be managed toward that end. I wonder what that is going to do to chronic care facilities’ capacity utilization if (or should that be “as”) “multi-long-COVID” becomes a significant feature of population morbidity.

    Or, to adapt a meme that was a big thing 2 years ago,

    ‘flatten the curve, but don’t make it too flat’

    So much for the “top down” leadership.

    Me thinks it is up to us at the bottom to facilitate change from below.

    Keep giving out those N95s to whomever will accept them.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      here in central texas(hill country and san antone), the mask ship has sailed.
      the sides are chosen…if you’re for masking, you wear a mask…if not, not.
      the latter is by far the majority.
      interestingly, in the part of SA we frequent(NW side, all around medical center), one doesn’t get the dirty looks, like out here, for masking up.
      and the buses require masks.
      that might play…as well as local leadership defying Abbot, and requiring masks for so long…got folks habituated, perhaps.
      a much greater % of people i see down there masked, than out here…out here, it’s rare…and mostly the old and frail(no stinkeye) and those who are adjacent/live with the old and frail(stinkeye)(like me, with wife’s cancer)
      worst stinkeye is the feedstore…especially from the gaggles of ranchers standing around being manlymen and jawing….no one confronts me about my mask, however

    2. Darius

      I think the CDC’s target is to sweep COVID under the rug in time for the midterms. COVID probably hasn’t gotten the memo.

      1. JDThomas

        It’s too late, nothing they can
        do to jam that toothpaste back into the tube.

        “Biden Harris Failure” and far uglier messages
        appearing inked on more and more dollar bills.

    3. Roger Blakely

      What is going on with mask rules in Los Angeles? My guess is that elected officials said to public health officials, “The public is sick of this pandemic. Give us something.” We are also in awards season. Grammys photos and Oscars photos need to be mask-free. Elected officials said to public health officials, “Give us a way to make that happen.”

      Public health officials complied. The revised health order is nonsense.

      Dr. Mike Osterholm says that cloth masks and surgical masks are nonsense. The only thing that makes sense is respirators (N95s or better) in all indoor public spaces.

      Omicron, BA2 has been beating me up for the past twenty-one days. People in the grocery store think that I am freak in my respirator and goggles. No, I am just doing what it takes to stay healthy enough to keep showing up at work every day.

      1. Wukchumni

        Sure, I get my share of odd looks when attired in a Apollo 24 flight suit with matching helmet and oxygen backpack going shopping in the supermarket-that I bought from a Army-Navy-NASA store, but I can’t afford the risk of getting Covid again and being asymptomatic and only knowing i’d been so stricken via test.

        Yesterday in the CVBB maybe 20% had masks on in the supermarket, pandemic’s over man, didn’t you hear?

        1. ambrit

          I just got back from walking through the City Zoo/Park to the local grocery store.
          There is a Renaissance Fair going on this weekend there. A decent crowd with a fair bit of cos-play going on (maybe a quarter of the attendees +/-.) Not a single mask in sight. I put on my N95 to transit through the crowd both ways and got a few “looks.” I’d say that the “social blame cannons” are already bombarding the ‘Non-compliant’ demographics.
          I distinctly wished that I had had a bell and could shuffle through the crowd crying out; “Unclean! Unclean!”
          One detail that I noticed, really two details, is that, first, the Park area had been cleaned up, and second, the few homeless types who usually hung out in the Gazeebo within the Park, (originally built in the 1900s,) of a morning were conspicuous in their absence. Somehow, I do not think that the “authorities” lured said homeless out of the Park with promises of a free lunch. I don’t think that I’ll ask ‘Officer Friendly’ about it the next time I see him. I’d probably find myself stumbling across the Greene County line by dinner time, courtesy of our ‘Boys and Girls in Blue.’ This town is starting to get a distinct Blue Check feel; and me being a non-compliant and all.
          Stay safe. Hull down.

      2. fringe element

        This has made the decision about whether or not to color my hair very easy. It will be staying silver so I don’t get attitude for wearing a mask.

  2. The Rev Kev

    “UK government has abandoned its own Covid health advice, leak reveals”

    Are they sure that this is not actually a story from last year? /sarc

          1. ambrit

            Yes, but as in the “access” to healthcare here in America, it turns out to be an inverse correlation.

    1. diptherio

      It doesn’t sound like the think they have much of a choice.

      What’s curious about this bill is that it has the backing of Teamsters Local 117 and its affiliate Drivers Union, which previously supported efforts to boost gig worker protections. Drivers Union members said the rationale for throwing their support behind a legislative deal with Uber and Lyft is the ballot initiative threat.

      “They’re also holding the gun at our heads with the possibility of an initiative,” said Don Creery, 68, a ridehail driver since 2013 and a board member of the Drivers Union. “They spent $200 million on California. It comes down to the reality that we don’t have the money to buy TV ads. They do. They will misinform the public with a barrage of TV ads, so we will lose an initiative. We could lose everything.

      Maybe if we actually had a Left in this country, they would feel like they had enough support to actually fight. But we don’t, and so they’re making a calculated decision to avoid worse outcomes. It’s the equivalent of an innocent person taking a plea bargain for a lesser offense, to avoid the possibility of being wrongfully convicted of a greater one. The situation says nothing at all about the person or people making the compromise, and everything about the state of affairs in which they are forced to make it.

      1. Aaron

        This is not a correct attribution of blame at all. The teamsters has always been a Business Union, meaning the union bureaucrats (full time upper layer professional union layer) works hand in hand with companies in an equal partnership to keep workers pacified.

        Seattle has laid out a path forward, and the union has a choice. They could harness the power of the working class to fight for solid gains, or they can do what they always do, which is put up a token resistance for optics. The failure of unions to harness the power of their members is one of the MAIN reasons that we don’t have a functional Left in the US today.

        The book Teamster Rebellion by Farrel Dobbs goes into all of this in great detail, describing the worker led fight in Minneapolis in the 1930s against employers and the union bureaucrats. The workers win large concessions from bottom up leadership, bucking the union bureaucracy. This book should be required reading for all interested in labor.

    2. lyman alpha blob

      We’re a decade or more into this “gig” economy and still no one with any power is willing to stand up to these lawbreaking companies, to the point where they now have so much money they can get whatever they want by either writing their own laws or threatening to.

      That it a must read article today and goes to show once again why the passage of Prop 22 was the single most important result of the 2020 elections.

      Next time anybody needs a ride, please call a cab or take the bus. These tech giants and labor arbitrage companies wouldn’t exist if people wouldn’t use their services. It really isn’t that hard not to.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        I take back part of that last paragraph. These companies wouldn’t exist if people wouldn’t use their services and they were operating in a normal economy and didn’t keep getting billions in stupid money cash infusions.

        You can vote with your wallet, but it’s really hard to fight against capitalists with stolen billions to burn in theirs.

        But please do still take the bus.

      2. tegnost

        That it a must read article today and goes to show once again

        I’m going to have to meditate before I can do anything else today after the links…
        lots of must reads today…Thanks Lambert, I hope you have a way to decompress

      3. Swamp Yankee

        I agree with you, Lyman Bob, but here’s the thing — those ten years of VC-funded Uber, Lyft, et al., operation, have effectively killed almost every cab operator in my neck of the woods (where metro Boston peters out into the countryside).

        The bus does exist, now, which is notionally an improvement, but is so inefficient and bass ackwards that I am frequently able to beat it by bicycling or even walking.

        So if you really need a ride somewhere, Uber and Lyft are it, the only games in town, and even they won’t come down here if it’s late, bad weather, etc.

        Local elites are fine with this all, by the way. There have to be a lot — a lot — of drivers on our roads who have to be but don’t have a license, can’t see well, etc., but otherwise will starve.

      4. jrs

        Yes it was important to vote just to vote against that. “But I don’t like Trump or Biden” Fine, it’s not like it matters in California anyway, the state will go blue. But vote.

    1. Carla

      Come on. It’s only black children who are shot dead.

      A white boy gets called into the principal’s office for carrying a gun in his backpack and no one even checks the backpack.

    2. GramSci

      Only Black children are shot dead instantaneously, without need for preliminary police investigation.

        1. JBird4049

          The difference between being White or Black is that of probabilities with one’s class sometimes of greater influence on whether one becomes in prison, crippled, or dead.

          What being White does give you is a better chance of being treated as a human being, of more chances and better treatment, but plenty of pale people have been murdered by the police for no good reason.

          1. Tom Stone

            Those most likely to be murdered by cops are
            1) Native Americans
            2) Blacks
            3) Poor Whites

            It’s a class issue somewhat confused by Racism.

            1. K.k

              Are you really going to argue there isnt a racial component to it? Racial conflict is and has historically been used to divide the working class in the u.s. I find it very strange when thoughtful bright people like to pretend there is no racial component to the class war in America.

              1. JBird4049

                I do not see anyone, here at least, denying that racism is real or saying that it is not important. I have seen people in other places arguing that not focusing on racism is “class reductionism.”

                Honestly, I have seen people, pundits, and politicians say that class is not important and to bring it up is “class warfare” for decades. When the number of poor people keeps increasing both in absolute and percentage numbers that is just a lie, but a very effective one in the United States. The more extreme advocates for focusing on racism and racial identity have said that “White Privilege” overrides everything even being poor.

                That race was created as a weapon in class warfare, or that race was put into the Census to divide and control, not for any other good reason other than power, is easily ignored.

                Unless we include everyone and improve the lives of all racism is going to exist because it gives power and wealth to the few.

                TL;DR wealth creates class, which creates race just as race creates class, which creates wealth.

  3. The Rev Kev

    Working link for “Here’s how the Russia-Ukraine conflict affects Malaysia and why we should care” article at-

    Asian countries are showing concern but they are not jumping down the rabbit hole like we are in the west. Some though, seem keen to push the NATO line-

  4. fresno dan

    Krugman: “Go after the vast overseas wealth of the oligarchs who surround Putin and help him stay in power.”
    fresnodan corollary : “Go after the vast domestic wealth of the oligarchs who surround Biden (actually, everybody in the US congress and every US president is bought and paid for) and help him stay in power.”
    Of course, the narrative is that only overseas oligarchs, in countries we don’t like, can be acknowledged….

    1. OnceWereVirologist

      Krugman : “Go after the vast overseas wealth of the oligarchs who surround Putin and help him stay in power.”

      Can anyone explain how this is is supposed to work ? If you freeze or confiscate all the overseas assets of an oligarch do you not turn a person who has a vested interest in pursuing conciliation with the West into someone whose interests now lie only with the Russian state ?

      1. cnchal

        > Can anyone explain how this is is supposed to work ?

        Paraphrasing the CBC, if we can piss off Putin’s Oligarchs, they will give him a wedgie and that will stop the war.

        1. OnceWereVirologist

          No doubt they’ll be pissed with Putin if all their US dollar & Euro wealth is frozen, but now all they’ve got left is their rouble wealth which leaves them at the mercy of the Russian state and less able to act on their pissedness with Putin. Or am I missing something ?

        2. Polar Socialist

          Wouldn’t that logic also require Putin to get green light before the war from the said oligarchs? If he’s in power only because he does the oligarchs’ bidding, then this “denazification operation”, by definition, was ordered by the oligarchs and freezing their assets (once they are located) won’t help.

          If they are not in charge, or without influence, then freezing their assets would either mean nothing (excluding a bunch of angry oligarchs) or actually prevent them from influencing decision making, since without their assets they’re not oligarchs anymore.

          All in all, I’m getting the feeling that Russia, for now, is done with the West. Medvedev, the supposed pro-West person in Kremlin, is basically telling the collective West to go pound sand. Given the current hysterical level of Russophobia it’s easy to assume years before relations will return to something resembling normalcy.

          1. OnceWereVirologist

            That’s my feeling, too. An oligarchy who earn their money in Russia but send their wealth overseas form a natural fifth column, at least in potential. Sanctioning them only reduces their power.

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              Krugman is an economist, not a historian, but a modern priest. This is a drown the cats for good luck routine. Certainly the US economy has become heavily financialized, way too much, but the real wealth of the US isn’t in a trading house. It’s fields, forests, trees, mines, factories, ports, monopoly on violence over a continent, unrestricted continental trade, and so forth. The wealth the London based Russian oligarchs have is representative of real wealth in Russia, fields, forests, mines, factories, ports, monopoly on violence over a continent sized region, unrestricted continental trade, and so forth.

              I think they should do it, but it’s not about pressuring Russia. That kind of money in too few hands is a bad idea, and should be stomped out.

              1. lance ringquist

                krugman is part of the free trade brain trust, that helped turn america into a third world extraction economy.

                krugman admits what the free trader keeps lying about, nafta billy clintons disastrous trade policies have provoked a public backlash that has rendered free trade toxic in the U.S. policy debate


                Pocket worthyStories to fuel your mind.
                Economists on the Run
                Paul Krugman and other mainstream trade experts are now admitting that they were wrong about globalization: It hurt American workers far more than they thought it would.
                Foreign Policy

                Michael Hirsh

                1. fresno dan

                  lance ringquist
                  February 26, 2022 at 11:47 am
                  Agree with you a thousand percent. What is amazing, is that with Brexit, and all the supply chain problems (i.e., ports jammed and unable to ship stuff from China), people who defacto are coming to grips with the reality that trade isn’t all its cracked up to be….resort to saying that we won’t trade with Russia to win a war.

                  1. lance ringquist

                    my answer to nafta billy clintons outrageous lies about free trade is, if you lose your standard of living and technology, then there are no gains from trade, its exactly the opposite of what nafta billy claimed.

                    russia and to a lesser point trump have proven that protectionism is the natural order of things. protectionism is sovereignty and democratic control.

                    free trade is barbarism, protection is a civil society.

                    there is a new world order coming, and it ain’t nafta billy clintons dream of a corporate run world.

                    truman stomped on the corporations and their W.T.O. 70 plus years ago, now its russia’s turn.

                2. John

                  Has anyone ever presented evidence that V.V. Putin possesses “vast overseas wealth?” I have heard this claim made before but I have never seen anything beyond the assertion.

                  1. NotTimothyGeithner

                    I’m sure he has a nest egg more than what he lists, but then again, he’s basically President for life. The reason for no term limits on the Presidency in the US was so Presidents were encouraged to consider trying to be popular enough to stay on as opposed to more recent examples. I thought he was building that weird tower house, but that might really be for the RF President.

                    Gaddafi was accused of having a vast fortune which happened to always match the Libyan sovereign wealth fund which was spent in five minutes after Gaddafi died. Then Libya really fell into an abyss.

          2. Fritzi


            If Putin is a strong dictator, then he is likely to win even if there were hypothetically a powerstruggle between him and the oligarchs, just like when some German oligarchs tried to go behind Hitler’s back during WW II, but were quickly and easily found out and intimidated.

            Not meant to equate Putin to Hitler, obviously, but western media do, and Hitler did not fear no oligarchs, german oligarchs were well aware that the Fuhrer could have every single one of them imprisoned or executed at a moment’s notice, if they gave him sufficient reason.

            Even though I don’t think Putin’s position is remotely comparable to Hitler’s, I do think Russian oligarchs in the end need the Russian state more than the Russian state needs them, with sanctions probably making it more so, and I also think as President Putin very likely DOES have significantly greater influence over the security forces of the state than any oligarch.

            And a weak dictator, a puppet ruler, would not be able to decide there should be war without the war being in the oligarchy’s interest, and even if he was replaced, it might well be with someone pursuing a more aggressive strategy, certainly no reason to expect the country to suddenly submit to the Empire’s wishes.

            The third option, probably closest to truth, that Putin isn’t actually a dictator at all, and that there are legitimate and vital security interests at stake, shared not only by the Russian elite, but with equally good reason also by the vast majority of the populace (at least to a degree), that is an option western pundits wouldn’t think of contemplating (though the “Blob” is of course aware of it and does not care).

            1. Henry Moon Pie

              “I do think Russian oligarchs in the end need the Russian state more than the Russian state needs them”

              I think our oligarchs are about to find out that they need the American state more than they thought. It’s ever more obvious decline will mean a diminution of their power and reach as well.

              That’s a bit ironic considering that those same American oligarchs have always done their best to minimize the strength of the American state. That’s not to say that the oligarchs have opposed military spending. To the contrary, they always support it, in part because so much of it ends up in their pockets. But they have opposed every effort to strengthen American society by using the State for providing the necessities most civilized 21st century countries provide. Instead, the plutocrats and the institutions they own by one means or another have engaged in divide-the-mopes for so long that the country is now ungovernable. And it’s likely that things have gone so far that it’s too late to make a last minute effort to change course and care about the citizenry.

              The discussion in the recent thread about everything being about money for Americans, at least American elites, applies here. It’s become about money to such an extent that the country is no longer functional. For quite a while, it resorted to a Potemkin prosperity that tried to hide the growing poverty and misery in the country. Now, we find we have a Potemkin military that has a hard time defeating guys in pickup trucks but is no longer willing to even take the field against a peer army with tanks and S-400s.

              That truth will prove very uncomfortable for our economic elites because they’ve been relying on American bullying power to get their way around the world since Ike was President.

            2. Kouros

              FDR didn’t have a problem going against Andrew Mellon’s Aluminum monopoly and unleash years of lawfare against one of the most corrupt Secretaries of the Treasury the US ever had…

              1. John

                Oligarchs or just plain bankers and businessmen want a weak state until they need the public treasury to remedy their mistakes.Then a state of maximum strength is a necessity. Money always acts in its own interest. That is not a surprise and that is why regulation is required to curb its excesses and to “promote the general welfare.”

        3. NotTimothyGeithner

          Sanctions have reached the point where their effective use amounts to support for the targeted government. The primary problem is the US won’t risk harm to its own oligarchs which means it’s only looking for symbolic wins. We’ve moved to such a global trade structure we can’t really tell the results of sanctions, so we tend to exempt everything. Since the US isn’t the autarky we killed all those natives to create, the US isn’t a one stop shop everyone wants, and too many places are cutting edge. What happens if Russians can’t get on facebook or buy exploding cars from Elon Musk? Oh no, the next marvel movie will be spoiled before it’s released. Putin won’t be able to move to Miami…admittedly this says more about the goals of western leaders.

          Americans and much of the West are watching the new world order be established, and their egos can’t handle it as America is in not just a relative power decline but a real decline, set off by decades of terrible government.

          1. meadows

            “America is in not just a relative power decline but a real decline, set off by decades of terrible government.”

            The truth hurts.

            The whole sanctions threatening business is a failure at narrative control. Not that success at narrative control lasts for long, since “…the truth will out.”

            1. Michael Ismoe

              Does this mean that the next time USA ! invades a country that Gates, Bezos and Musk won’t have any access to their money? Let’s go Brandon – I think I found a way for you to win the midterms.

        4. Skip Intro

          Yes, simple projection of the assumption that the oligarchs are in complete control of the ‘elected’ leaders.

      2. Andrey Subbotin

        More than that, Putin will then likely confiscate assets of foreign companies of those countries in Russia and keep them in state hands. Shares in oil/gas projects is the first thing coming to mind. So this works as a wealth transfer from oligarchs to Russian state, which is a great idea!

      3. Glen

        I think he’s a idiot. Part of what has allowed America to exist is the petro dollar. Long term Krugman’s stupidity will be rephrased as “wealth is not dollars.”

    2. Eclair

      Ian Welsh writes about why the West, and the UK in particular, won’t fool with such actions:

      “Note that England’s economy would collapse if they really froze out oligarchs, starting with the London real-estate market. I bet half the richest people in Britain would be bankrupt in six months. Even the central bank might not be able to save them by printing money because, without Russians propping up the City, the pound would collapse.”

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        Thanks for that link. I hadn’t seen that statement from the Chinese Foreign Ministry. Ouch.

        Did the US respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq when it launched military strikes on Baghdad on unwarranted charges? Did the US respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Afghanistan when US drones wantonly killed innocent people in Kabul and other places? Did the US respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of other countries when it instigated color revolutions and meddled in their internal affairs all around the world?

        It is hoped that the US takes these questions seriously and abandons double standards.

        And that’s just half of the litany of offenses as far as the Chinese are concerned.

        I don’t know if chickens laugh or play, but they do come home to roost.

  5. Theodore

    Thanks for the link to the talk by John Mearsheimer.

    “A gripping chapter in “The Spoils of War,” a new book by Andrew Cockburn, spells out the mega-corporate zeal behind the massive campaigns to expand NATO beginning in the 1990s….“As of late 2020,” Cockburn’s book explains, NATO’s collective military spending “had hit $1.03 trillion, or roughly 20 times Russia’s military budget.”

      1. lyman alpha blob

        Great video – thanks for the link.

        One of the interviewees mentions that Ukrainian shelling of the Donbass picked up significantly on Feb 17th which if true, gives a reason and maybe the reason why the Russians finally decided to invade. There’s been speculation that US intelligence knew what it was talking about as a result of the Russians going in, but Ritter speaks of them with contempt as a bunch of incompetents.

        One possibility is that after weeks of warnings of imminent invasion and even giving Feb 16th as the date at one point, but with no “boom” resulting, the spooks upped the shelling and death count the next day in Donbass to force the issue. Putin calling the ongoing civil war a “genocide” against the Russians was likely an exaggeration for propaganda purposes, but Ritter notes that tens of thousands have died over the last several years which was a lot more than I’d realized. Could be that the spooks were clueless and fell back on the old standby of murderous violence to force Russia’s hand.

    1. Susan the other

      Yes, listening to both Mearsheimer and Ritter was like stumbling onto an oasis. Thanks Lambert. Interesting to me was the info on Russia using Chechens who are Muslim to do their wet work against the Ukranian nazis. But the ever-tactful avoidance of mentioning George Soros/NGOs seems to create the missing link to really understanding what’s going on. It is extra-sovereign or extra-legal. An elite operation to save face. The one thing George Soros was pushing for, via Victoria Nuland, was a hard separation of Ukraine from Russia. The influence Russia has because of oil/natgas is very real, but there are plenty of blood ties there too. And no matter how you look at it, the EU needs Russian energy. It is pointless to do what we are doing – trying to absorb Ukraine into NATO, or pretending to do so, even if we leave it virtually stateless, to either create a corridor to steal Russian oil or to create a barrier to it, some kind of sanction, especially when we simply do not care about Ukraine, is bad faith for all to see. Ukraine is just our tool.

    2. Bill Carson

      The disappointing thing about Mearscheimer is that he didn’t think Russia was actually going to invade. Yes, I realize that lots of people got it wrong, but when I’m trying to get other people to listen, the failure to predict this hurts his credibility. Even though the invasion was the logical conclusion of Mearscheimer’s work, he didn’t believe it himself.

      1. judy2shoes

        “The disappointing thing about Mearscheimer is that he didn’t think Russia was actually going to invade.”

        That video was made in 2015, and a lot has changed since then, including Zelensky’s statement that Ukraine was going to get nuclear weapons, which may have been the final straw for Russia.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Mearscheimer doesn’t have access to force readiness expectations. He lives in the United States. When was the last time, we were concerned about non-nuclear military forces? The Alaskan Highway? Places like Pearl, Midway. Protecting the Alaskan Pipeline from saboteurs.

            But the Joints Chiefs/War Department (the relevant operation) aren’t producing war plans outside of a hobby to knock out Mexico City or Ottawa, and they haven’t in almost 100 years in both cases. The plan would be to overwhelm. We aren’t worried about divisions. The Canadian population is nothing, and an Angloid build up would be noticed. The bulk of Mexico is too far away to care. We would notice.

            The Russians seized nuclear plants and the old Crimean water supply was restored. Oh yeah, that makes sense, but it simply wouldn’t occur to people except the truly brilliant, the truly deranged, and people with the job where they need to know. I certainly didn’t think of any of this. As smart as Mearscheimer is, its an operational detail. Its why you pay generals to give orders to colonels to get this done.

          2. Yves Smith

            There was evidence of US exaggerations of Russian troop levels, like including bases 150 miles away, which would get normal levels up to >100,000. So the US had engaged in so much funny accounting that if/when they were being truthful, it was easy to see it as more fake alarmism.

            And it’s possible that Putin and Co. had multiple plans and made their decision about how big to go not that far before the launch date. They might have vainly hoped that Zelensky would walk back his rejection of Minsk or his nuclear threat, for instance.

      2. Louis Fyne

        We, the public, don’t know the deployment of the UA army pre-war.

        There is public circumstantial evidence that most of the UA army was deployed in the southeast of the country (line from Kharkiv running due SW). this left the army vulnerable to encirclement and left Kiev virtually undefended.

        If true, then the question is why? And if true, then combined with Z’s nukes comments, Putin’s military advisors likely recommended that the benefits (regime change and wiping out the UA army) outweighed the risks.

        Mearsheimer would not have have access to satellite photos of the UA army. Knowing his work, if he would have predicted invasion if he had a clear assessment that UA readiness was subpar versus the Russian military.

  6. fresno dan

    62 percent of voters say Putin wouldn’t have invaded Ukraine if Trump were president: poll The Hill. Harris.

    If Trump were still president, Russia could have reformed the Soviet Union, and nuked the rest of Europe, and the NYT and associated narrativists headline would be, NY district attorney still investigating Trump finances….because unlike all the other crooked billionaires, he is the only one we got to get.

      1. ambrit

        Sorry, but in today’s America, the illusion of wealth is all you need. Mark Twain’s story of “The Million Pound Bank Note” tells the tale entertainingly. A good movie version of the story was made in the 1950s starring Gregory Peck.
        I consider the Dan Ackroyd and Eddie Murphy film “Trading Places” as a reboot version of the former. Very similar plots.
        In essence, our entire financial system in America today has the lineaments of a confidence game.
        Melville nailed it back in the 1850’s with his book, “The Confidence Man.”
        Judging from the history of America, Trump is the perfect symbol and embodiment of American culture.

        1. Wukchumni

          Melville nailed it back in the 1850’s with his book, “The Confidence Man.”

          It’s a pity that other book of his on fish gets more ink, because this is a whale of a tale in regards to us.

          1. ambrit

            I can see the introduction to the film version now.
            Scene: Back of our hero’s head as he navigates his way up Wall Street.
            Voice over narration: “Call me, Potiphar.”
            Slow dissolve to hero entering lobby of large building. Nervous, looking around. Spots building ‘address list.’ Walks up to list. Tilts head back to stare at hundreds of names with attached floor and room numbers.
            Slow dissolve to hero walking along wide corridor, stopping and squinting at names and numbers on glass doors.
            (At this point, I would throw in something about whited sepulchers, but that’s another story. Or is it?)

            1. Wukchumni

              Favorite character name in the book…

              John Ringman, the Man with the Weed – He tries to convince the country merchant, Mr. Roberts, they are acquainted, but Robert’s memory faltered. He asks for money, then recommends buying stock at the Black Rapids Coal Company. He is said to be looking for money to be able to go join his daughter after a disastrous divorce left him penniless. (Wiki)

        2. griffen

          Trading Places is always quotable. Great movie, especially at the ending.

          Turn the machines back on. Turn the machines back on!

        3. fresno dan

          February 26, 2022 at 10:24 am

          “The Trouble with Trillions” is the twentieth episode in the ninth season of the American animated television series The Simpsons. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on April 5, 1998.[2] It was written by Ian Maxtone-Graham and directed by Swinton O. Scott III.[2] The episode sees Homer being sent by the Federal Bureau of Investigation to try to obtain a trillion dollar bill that Mr. Burns failed to deliver to Europe during the post-war era.
          What I most enjoyed about the episode is that the FBI guy tells homer that the FBI surveilled Burns with a satelite, but all that revealed is that Burns didn’t hide the trillion dollar bill on the roof

          1. ambrit

            I see a double joke in there. The FBI has satellites? I thought that they were restricted by law to work within the confines of the territory of the United Ststes. Now they are in space! So, just how far does the United States extend? Up to Heaven and down to H—?
            Oh the Burns! It stupids!

      2. foghorn longhorn

        Well as an ex-president, he gets his annual salary for life, ss protection and bad*ss insurance.
        So not exactly broke like the rest of us mopes.

  7. griffen

    Authorities reach a better conclusion, and cease pinning all the home invasions on one furry suspect. The week ends on a good note for Hank the Tank!

    I’d be curious, who is collecting the DNA from these bears ? Assume it’s a DWF low level employee. Hey you, get the bag to start collecting poop samples.

    1. fresno dan

      February 26, 2022 at 7:43 am
      dare I say it? I can’t help myself. I know I need help.
      So not all bears sh*t in the woods?

      1. griffen

        There was a story from 2014 or 2015, where a bear invaded singer and heavy / metal rock star David Coverdale’s home in Lake Tahoe. Per the singer, the invader left a large poop sample in the kitchen.

        Suffice to say, not always in the woods.

        1. Wukchumni

          Even worse than doody left in a break and enter, is slobber from the bear drool team, it reeks.

          One thing that has gone missing in my neck of the woods, is bear shit. I used to see it on the trail fairly often, and if you think about it, you don’t eat where you shit and why would you ever eat where we hang out specifically, and of all the mechanisms an animal has, leaving a calling card for us is about all they can do, similar to how a cat or dog might do when pissed off at us.

          The black bear population has declined greatly, I saw 7 this year-all when behind the wheel on the road.

  8. JohnA

    In the latest sanction, Russia has now been banned from the Eurovision Song Contest. Yet Israel, despite not even being part of Europe, is a regular contestant. I guess some aggression is more equal than others.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Australia is also a regular contestant in the Eurovision Song Contest but last time I looked out the window, we are not in Europe either.

      1. Polar Socialist

        It’s organized by European Broadcasting Union, in principle all members can participate. Australia is an Associated member and can participate with special permit. China, Brazil and India are also associated members.

        Russia, on the other hand, just minutes ago resigned from the EBU. Apparently we’ll be very deep into this tit-for-tat thing until sanity prevails. Every step now taken means more difficulties when people sit down to negotiate. It may take hours, days, week or years, but eventually there will be negotiations.

    2. Polar Socialist

      You may be right.

      In March 2003 UK invaded Iraq and occupied it until 2011 and was not once banned during that time.
      In March 2011 France bombed Libya for two weeks and was not banned.
      In March 2014 Ukrainian armed forces began striking against the militias that didn’t accept the new government in Kiev resulting in 8 years of civil war and +10,000 civilian deaths, yet Ukraine was not once banned during that time.

    3. Bill Carson

      I wish they would let us watch it here in the US. They probably think we would ruin it and they are probably right.

    1. fresno dan

      Louis Fyne
      February 26, 2022 at 7:55 am

      There is a great quote from this guy on Instapundit:
      Modern journalism is all about deciding which facts the public shouldn’t know because they might reflect badly on Democrats.

      I would amend that to strike out dems and insert the PMC or whichever phrase one equates with our US “wealthy” .

      1. Questa Nota

        Try this thread featuring Noah Smith to find out an example of a PMC person in action. The same thought process is in evidence daily on TV in DC, even reaching as far as the West Wing. And they wonder why people in the provinces have such a low opinion of them.

        1. fresno dan

          Questa Nota
          February 26, 2022 at 10:51 am
          I tried your thread and it told me the tweet had been deleted. I imagine it is a particularly noteworthy example of the PMC asserting something especially imbecilic, even for them…
          But the thing of it is, its just not being constantly wrong, its obstinately staying wrong.

    2. Amfortas the hippie

      thanks for the Suzie Dawson thread.
      she sums up admirably how i feel about the whole imperial war and hegemony mess that seems to have replaced all those higher ideals i was told about in middle school.

      1. Synoia

        Those Higher ideals you were told about were propaganda. Ask the Indians and Mexicans why Texas is not a part of Mexico.

  9. fresno dan

    5 ways to cope with the stressful news cycle NPR. Tagline: “In this turbulent time, we invite you to do the same. It’s important for all of us to stay informed citizens of the world, and also to remember: take it easy on yourself, and on each other.”

    Or sign off. Remember that it’s OK not to be plugged into the news. By turning off your alerts or checking the headlines once or twice a day, you may be able to feel more grounded and prioritize yourself and loved ones.
    AND you will not subject yourself to the continuing propaganda that totally envelopes the on air media (and most of the printed MSM as well).
    So I watched (so you don’t have to) snippets of MSNBC, CNN, FOX and the new cable news called NewsNation, supposedly the lesser biased cable news. And except for Tucker Carlson, the official narrative was that anyone not completely behind Ukraine was insane and evil. Its not debatable, its not subject to examination or skepticism, its all Hallelujah for Ukraine and anyone who expresses any doubt whatsoever, is under the spell of satan.
    I have to say, as someone who was in their formative years during the Vietnam era, it is just something that is inconceivable to me that the media and liberals could be such warmongers.
    But than again, maybe I don’t really know what inconceivable means…

    1. griffen

      Comments yesterday, there was discussion about watching CNN. Memories are long in these parts…circa 2002-2003, during the build up to the Irag invasion and Powell’s performative kabuki before the UN. I read pretty closely the daily clippings from the Wall St Journal. What a stupid I am (stealing that from a sportswriter). Hindsight is useful, so very useful.

      1. Louis Fyne

        the social media videos (unverified of course) paint a different picture of the fighting.

        UA military is getting its butt whipped. The army’s infrastructure, “middle management” and “back office” are functionally destroyed. UA military bases are being.bombed back to 1945.

        And Russia hasn’t turned its heat past medium yet.

        Pres. Z needs to surrender unconditionally to stop senseless bloodshed, more deaths won’t change the final outcome. But Z won’t…because of his ultra-nationalist base…and DC-Brussels and/or maybe he was an ultra-nationalist con man all along

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          It’s been two days. A week ago, he was on top of the world with the political gliterratti praising him. Hillary spent more time in the woods after her defeats.

          He likely never conceived realpolitik, just myths. If Biden really believed there would be a Russian invasion, why were the Ukrainian forces so far away from defensible positions and supply lines. They can’t get in the fight if they wanted too. Ze is probably just now learning this.

          1. Fritzi

            If Zelensky is/was indeed naive in these things, perhaps influenced by the Hollywood version of history and war, instead of the real thing, as it seems plenty european politicians born after WW II are, than it is perhaps ever so slightly damning that he seems to think it is a moral, courageous stance to call on people to fight to the(ir) death in a war they cannot win, instead of the immoral insanity it really is.

            Fighting to the last molatow cocktail throwing kid and granny may be a courageous stance if you are a Jew fighting Nazis that will exterminate you no matter what.

            Or if you are fighting Uruk Hai, or Tyranids, or any kind of cartoonish, subhuman hollywood villain.

            But in most cases in real life, it is a stance that makes those calling for it, or trying to enforce it basically equivalent to war criminals themselves.

            If you have no chance to win, and no genuine reason to assume you are going to be exterminated, than your effin moral duty is to stay alive.

        2. judy2shoes

          Scott Ritter, in the video linked above, says that most likely there is a mansion and boatloads of money waiting for Zelensky here in the U.S. if he just hangs tight and continues to play the victim.

          Scott mentions that Americans would be surprised to find out that Ghani (I think) from Afghanistan is already installed in his own “palace” here in the U.S. for his ‘service.’

    2. Carolinian

      It is a generational thing perhaps and all very depressing. For all the talk these days about eliminating prejudice the not so surprising result is that hate is merely directed somewhere else. It’s interesting that a poll shows a majority of the country thinks this wouldn’t have happened with someone else as president. Ordinary people have the common sense that the corruptly powerful so conspicuously lack. Therefore they are hated too.

      1. Michael Ismoe

        Biden is a weak president. He projects weakness whenever he talks, walks or sits in a chair. Weak presidents don’t get re-elected. I hope Jill’s vanity project is coming to an end. This is sad and too predictable.

    3. Bill Carson

      I think I’ve made myself a pariah on facebook. I really shouldn’t post my hot political takes because my friends and family just want to post dog pics.

      It is CLEAR if you want to see it that Ukraine is just the latest US/RF proxy war. US allies want to arm Ukraine just enough so the fight will inflict more damage on Russia AND Ukraine.

      There’s an old saying: If you’re hunting a mountain lion, stake out a goat. Ukraine is America’s goat.

      1. Samuel Conner

        Perhaps some day Jon Ronson will investigate the US foreign policy establishment, and write a book about it.

        He might call it, “The Men Who Stake Out Goats.”

  10. griffen

    China alternative to the SWIFT system for virtually all hard currency transactions through global banking. That also made me think of a different alternative to Swift….Taylor Swift.

    Ryan Adams does an excellent job of covering other artists. Feel free to enjoy this cover from the above named Taylor Swift 1989 album.

    1. Louis Fyne

      dont recall seeing this in US media, Russian forces are using the letter Z to mark their vehicles.

      Trolling President Zelensky and sending the message that this is personal

      1. Foy

        I understand the Z is so they can help distinguish their own troops and equipment from Ukranian forces as a lot of the equipment, especially the older stuff is very similar or the same, to prevent friendly fire. Not so sure it is for trolling Zelensky

            1. VietnamVet

              The stripes are going to be needed on all NATO aircraft for eyeball recognition.

              Jimmy cc’s reddit link below has one clip of a Ukraine soldier nonchalantly carrying a loaded Javelin anti-tank missile around their ambush site at a forest roundabout next to their personnel carriers with a Russian tank burning off in the background. No slit trenches. If Russia had air superiority they’d be hunkered down, camouflaged. Eastern Ukraine rebels used antiaircraft missiles to defang the Ukraine air force. Ukrainians have learned many hard lessons since 2014.

              It seems universal that human aggressors never see any downside to invading others.

    1. Ignacio

      After reading this you can easily realise how delusional is the rhetoric of people like Krugman as cited by Ritzholtz in the tweet. Economic sanctions cannot do anything to change Russia (Putin) seeing Ukraine as an existential threat and to make them negotiate. Not to mention widespread hypocrisy now with Ukraine after throwing her under the bus.

      This is a sad outcome that should have easily been avoided and I wonder if there is anybody on the west with the common sense necessary to go back before this has the opportunity to turn into even nastier events.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        It’s a combination of power limits and our own declining empire. Obama was smart enough to back down when he got into trouble, but Biden isn’t. I think the sinking of and US ship due to a peer or near peer adversary would be a traumatic event as it would pop many bubbles. To a certain extent, this is a slow motion sinking of a USN ship.

        After the performance of the Russian missiles in Syria, it should have been apparent every weapon system beyond small arms shipped out Ukraine would get knocked out. There they were shipping weapons well into the range of where Russia can control the airspace without trying.

      2. Robert Dudek

        I don’t believe the West can do anything to stop this now. Only Putin and the Ukranian leadership can do that, either by a negotiated resolution, or a Ukrainian capitulation.

        1. Ignacio

          Of course the West can do a lot. Make Zelensky capitulate (granting for instance Zelensky flees to the West) and offer this in exchange of negotiations with Russia if they stop now. And create a ‘neutral’ Ukraine. Of course they won’t because it would be formal recognition of previous mistakes. But indeed they can.

    2. Wukchumni

      A timely talk from 8 years ago!

      I enjoyed how he compared the caliber of intellectualism in leadership between China, Russia and the USA, we’re really sad sacks in that regard, and you see it in our politicians who all too often are dullards or worse.

      Anybody paying attention has noticed that the USA is in horse racing parlance, cruising on ‘past-class’, meaning that a steed that once could perform in higher classes of racing, can only do so by dropping down in class to races of less ability, and that’s all we’ve done since before the turn of the century, wars in relative backwaters, never making it to the playoffs with our abysmal win/loss record on the field of battle.

      We’ve been making by via sleight of and on the QWERTY, conjuring up amounts of money that would be hyperinflationary were such amounts to be distributed among the public-but luckily we haven’t noticed yet.

      We were right next door to the Ukraine and did nothing, what sort of lesson did Xi get from us turning the other cheek, other than we’re weak.

      Formosa or Bust!

  11. The Rev Kev

    ‘Three years ago, he was playing a president in a popular television comedy. Today, he is Ukraine’s president, confronting Russia’s fearsome military might.’

    Today he is trying to make Kiev some awful Götterdämmerung with massive casualties and destruction of the city for what exactly? Maybe he is fantasizing about making Kiev another Grozny. The videos that I have seen indicate that he has become as unhinged as Georgia’s Mikheil Saakashvili was after his invasion had blown up in his face and he is convinced that the Russians are after him and his family and so wants NATO to come into his country to fight the Russians.

    1. Paradan

      It’s possible that he’s got a gun to his head, and not able to make the decisions he’d like to. I’m kinda undecided on him.

  12. Amfortas the hippie

    birds have language.

    i talk to the geese, turkeys and especially the guinneas all the time.

    one of my favorite activities is getting some beer and a splif on a hot afternoon and following the guinneas around in the pasture in the Falcon(tricked out ranch golf cart)
    i carry a turkey call…one of those hinged box types with the bit of chalkboard in it.
    i’ve learned to accurately do the “Come Here come here come here” call…and call them back if they stray onto the neighbor’s place.
    if they get agitated(cough from the jerint), it’s easy to replicate the “pip….pip…pip” metronomic call that signals “everything’s cool”.
    turkeys are harder…and now that my 2 Jakes are grown males(without females, sadly and as of yet)…even harder.
    they just talk to me, now…wit the boom and huff…as well as the challenge call everybody is familiar with(gobble).
    it’s the testosterone in my sweat that sets them off(more language).
    more intense reaction with the boys and their buds(more testosterone)
    when the Jakes were smaller, i could call them with a their whistle(i could whistle before i could talk).
    they do a lot of non-verbal, gestural stuff as well…body language is language.
    during the warm months, when they’re set loose, and i’m hanging around outside all the time, one sees these 2.5′ circles in the dirt, wherever i have been.
    that’s from the challenge dance, wings splayed down, sweeping the ground, slow prance in a circle, and the huff/boom…all the while, their head and neck colors get brighter, and whatever that cock-like thing on their nose is gets stiff. ..and now that they have “beards”(tuft of hairfeathers sticking straight out of their chests), they get stiff, too.

    i cannot speak Goose…but i can definitely understand it…and that includes the body language part of their language.
    and, as i’ve noted…geese respond to saxophone music.
    coltrane engenders soft, satisfied noises.
    ornette coleman makes them angry, apparently.
    Charlie Parker is somewhere in between
    and! if i play any kind of sax music while they’re having one of their violent orgies in the goose pool, the scene gets even wilder, louder and more violent(birds are definitely not #metoo)

    chickens are stupid: i can discern little besides “ive laid an egg”, “look at me!”(crowing) and general agitation.

    and, of course, many of the wild birds around here are quite chatty, and obviously communicating with each other.
    so far, only the mockingbirds and quail talk back to me.

    all this is unscientific…or at best, primitive scientific observation.

    1. TiPs

      Thanks for that Ath, brought a smile. I’d include this as part of “de-stressing” from the news cycle…

      1. barefoot charley

        Jays could be called liars, when they imitate the call of hawks to warn their tribe that a real one is coming. They have a different warning cry when it’s just me clomping around. But I’m sure no one’s fooled by the imitation, just duly warned.

        1. ChetG

          A blue jay imitating a hawk can be very good. I used to assume that the jay’s call was a tad too loud, but one day I was walking in the woods and, from behind me, heard a very loud hawk call and assumed it was a jay. I kept walking but the call repeated twice more, and I was curious about the too loud jay. Turning, I saw it was an upset immature red-tailed hawk.

      2. Stephen T Johnson

        Sydney, my onetime umbrella cockatoo was perfectly capable of lying – he’d often do things he knew he wasn’t supposed to, and say “Good girl!” (he thought he was a girl, it’s a long story) in the hope of fooling us. Life with a cockatoo is ongoing battle of wits and will, and you don’t always win.

    2. WobblyTelomeres

      Wonder how they would react to Anthony Braxton’s more experimental work? I confess to putting an album of his on when I was ready for everyone to leave my house at, oh, 4am.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        Art Pepper seems to be their favorite…at least that sees them grazing and grooming and making the contented muttering noises the most reliably.
        but all the Cool Jazz sax music…adderly, the Lesters, coleman hawkins…seems to calm them to one degree or another.
        interestingly, perhaps, the slow drag intro to this:

        if i start it while they’re already just hanging out, will see them following the intensity…calm mutter…to raucus outbursts…and when the dude really gets going, they follow right along with the honking.
        once the rest of the band kicks in is where i’ve managed to snip it(don’t know how i did that, but i was proud of my technical magic,lol)

        1. lyman alpha blob

          How do the geese feel about Eric Dolphy? I could see that causing peaceful swaying or violent orgy – probably depends on the album and the instrument.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            must’ve missed him in my jazz education, somehow.
            i’ll introduce it when it warms up.
            also, on this part of the art,:
            “At the heart of this question is intentionality. Are animals merely reacting to their environment, or do they intend to convey information to one another? For example, upon discovering food a bird may make a characteristic call that attracts other birds to the food. Was the call the equivalent of “Yay! Food!” — unintentionally attracting other birds? Or, was it more like, “Hey guys, come check out the food I found!”?”

            the chickens, for all their idiocy…when i bring them a bucket of offal from the kitchen, the one’s who find it first make a lot of noise that brings the others arunnin…i’ve often wondered about the intention question.

            1. lyman alpha blob

              I found Dolphy through a Zappa tune named after him – The Eric Dolphy Memorial Barbecue

              Listened to that one for years before deciding to find out who Eric Dolphy was and turns out he was a very talented jazz multi-instrumentalist whose own music is similar to Zappa’s homage.

              1. Michael Fiorillo

                Check out “India” on Coltrane’s Village Vanguard sessions.

                He also did incredible work with Charles Mingus, but if you’re communing with the birds, I can’t over sell “You Don’t Know What Love Is,” from the LP Last Date… sublime…

                1. Amfortas the hippie

                  aye. those are the two things from Dolphy i downloaded and played in the greenhouse after y’all turned me on to him.
                  turns out, i knew of Dolphy, just didn’t know his name(Bass Clarinet is what i’d taken note of previously)
                  India is one one of my fave Coltrane albums.

                  geese are currently next door at mom’s, so no data on their response.
                  i know they dig coltrane in general, tho.

            2. HotFlash

              I’m pretty sure they are intentional. I have a bird feeder in the big barberry by my front door. Now that they know that food appears here, however irregularly, sparrows sit in it all day, twittering. If I have been diligent at refilling, there will be 50 or more there. If the feeder has been empty for a couple of days there are only a couple. I think they have been stationed as scouts, “You juniors stay here and come tell us if that thing gets refilled.” When I refill the feeder it takes ten minutes for the birds to get the word. Twitter, indeed!

              My father-in-law’s chickens would wait in a line maybe 4-5 deep at the edge of the lawn for him to emerge with the bucket of feed. When he did they would all run the 10 yards to the back porch, buck-bucking wildly — looked like a cresting wave.

              Our local jays will warn of hawks and cats and differentiate by using the appropriate ‘word’. Don’t think that’s lying, just onomatopoeia. The German work for ‘owl’ is ‘uhu’ and the ancient Egyptian word for ‘cat’ was pronounced ‘mew’.

              Now who does lie, for sure, is cats, dogs, and (at least some) parrots. They can clearly say, “It wasn’t me.”

    3. Wukchumni

      Our neighbors have 6x 1 gallon nectar feeders for hummingbirds around the periphery of their house and there will often be as many as 25 feeding at one time swarming around the six available holes in a feeder, and the sound they make en masse is similar to that of a Theremin, it modulates up and down, here check it out:

      {Hundreds of Hummingbirds at Bird Feeder!}

      The only animal that doesn’t beat a path in the other direction as you would see when coming across deer and bears in the High Sierra is as luck would have it, the Marmot Cong.

      As a consequence, you get to see them and they communicate by way of whistle which can be heard about 100 yards away.

      Here’s one in action on Mount Rainier:

      I’ve always enjoyed encounters with them in places where humans don’t usually tread in off-trail haunts, and they’re especially curious never having seen the likes of us.

      They kind of resemble mini-bears to me in look, the only difference being that bears don’t have tails.

      To thwart them in terms of getting your stuff when camped overnight on their turf is pretty simple, marmots can’t climb, so just hang anything with your sweat on it out of marm’s way.

      They love our salt intake, i’ve rolled out of my hammock to take care of business more than a few times to as many as 4 or 5 of them fighting over urine truly, after the deluge.

    4. Dalepues

      “chickens are stupid”, and humorless.
      As far as I know, they are the only
      farmyard animals that do not play.

      1. Jen

        I can’t speak to their sense of humor, but mine enjoy a good game of keep away when choice edibles are involved, and the surviving crew that I have now are very, very predator savvy. They also excel at evasive maneuvers if I try to round them up before they deem it time to repair for the evening. They also love to sunbathe.

        My youngest hen was an insufferable drama queen until the flock matriarch passed on. She now keeps me company while I’m working in the yard, inspecting my work.

    5. Swamp Yankee

      That Maynard Ferguson tune is cookin’, Amfortas!

      I remember well learning to talk to chickadees on Stone Hill in Williamstown, Massachusetts, one of my first times smoking weed by myself in the woods (the weed was new, not the woods).

      Chickadees (state bird of both Massachusetts and Maine) love to talk back, and have a lovely greeting call. They can usually tell you are not a chickadee fairly quickly, but it is a wild, liquid, intriguing kind of feeling to talk across the bonds of species and non-domestication….

      Blue Jays are out of their minds, in my experience. Cat birds even more so, like the sorta psychotically aggressive dudes who try to fight young Fathers in parking lots over some automobilic dispute.

      Heard the woodcock tonight, first one of the year — spring is coming! Peet! Peet! It’s snowy out, but still the Spring and its first bird, the humble, ungainly, but striking and fascinating woodcock, approaches….

      “That bird is tough as a bag of hammers,” said the Mainer grandfather of one boss of mine. It’s true!

      And as for your observations — I would say they are scientific in the original sense of inductive observation, scire, scientia, and therefore very scientific indeed.

  13. Mikel

    “Fed Up With Google, Conspiracy Theorists Turn to DuckDuckGo” NYT

    For crying out loud, now they are trying to marginalize people who don’t use Google search.
    People turn to DuckDuckGo to reduce the amount advertising influence and exposure in their searches.
    And I have found it better for any type of historical search.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Okay, so I prefer to use DuckDuckGo and have for many years. Now, where is my official membership card for the Conspiracy Theorist Club?

      I keep watching my mailbox, but that darn card never shows up.

      1. foghorn longhorn

        What’s the difference between conspiracy theories and conspiracy facts?

        About six months, currently.

  14. Scott D

    I tried one of those generators with the CO sensor. If it’s calm outside it will shut off on its own. I guess one could use the generator to power a fan so it won’t

  15. The Rev Kev

    “Here’s Why the Russia-Ukraine Crisis Creates a Realignment of World Trade”

    Now here is an interesting point. The west tried to break Russia’s economy by refusing to do major trade with it back in 2015 because of Crimea. Russia’s answer was to launch counter-sanctions which those countries never expected. And now to a large extent Russia has become an Autarky as well as a major exporter of what they once had to import. Thus the present sanctions are to a large extent window-dressing. So my point is this. How many other countries will look at Russia’s experience and decide that maybe working to become an Autarky as much as possible may not be the worse thing in the world. When you are depending on other countries to supply what you need, you are really ‘depending on the kindness of strangers.’

    1. LifelongLib

      Is autarky possible for countries that don’t control lands with (say) multiple climates and geologies? I guess at a subsistence level it could be i.e. pretty much the whole world 200+ years ago, but it’s hard to imagine modern economies in most places without substantial trade.

      1. Michael Fiorillo

        Yes, but if you can be self sufficient in food and energy production, you’d seem to have the basis for a rough autarky.

      2. The Rev Kev

        I have the impression that America was to a large extent an autarky back in the 60s. Of course that was when so many of their industries were still located there which gave it the ability to do the Space program as an example.

  16. farmboy

    “Between April 2020 and December 2021, the price of wheat increased 80 percent, according to data from the International Monetary Fund. North Africa and the Middle East, the largest buyers of Russian and Ukrainian wheat, were experiencing their worst droughts in over 20 years” Large share of Ukrainian and Russian wheat goes to Mediterranean countries that rely on a steady supply month in and month out. Risk off on Friday, back on on Monday as long as fighting continues. Control of Bosporous crucial, watching how Turkey deals on sanctions. Egypt (GASC), biggest swing buyer in the world, tendered on Wednesday and cancelled on Thursday because there was only one offer, opened another tender Friday.
    There is a palpable air of desperation in the wheat market, .75-80 $ moves any day.

  17. The Rev Kev

    “U.S. Shocked Russia Would Invade Another Country After Seeing How Badly America’s Recent Invasions Went”

    The way I heard it, Biden is going to take the Russian Federation to Court for infringement of copyright as in their unauthorized and unacknowledged use of “Shock and Awe” ™

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do”

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        And we need to look like the Kiev rump state was more than just a forward base to attack. If we drop it too fast, people might get wise to the US act. An unlucky few will get to live in and cul de sac in Northern Virginia, but the really unlucky will be left behind. In Syria, forces that rebelled or sat out rejoined when they realized the US wasn’t interested in getting rid of Assad, promotions for everyone, and paying for new malls. To a large extent, the new republics are the result of seeing Libya and Syria.

    2. Skip Intro

      They will urgently need to renazify the country as soon as the dust settles, and they do make a lot of money dealing arms.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      man…the state department thing at the end!
      i, for one, have a working memory that stretches back to the late-70’s for foreign policy/events.
      but it is as if Fogbound Bottoms reckons that the amurkin people 1. aren’t paying attention(likely for majority), and 2.figgers that those of who are, are well trained to the blinders,readily lap up the pablum and fall from the turnip truck anew, each day, to a brand new world(tm), where there is no history.(also likely).
      i find that i am more and more offended by the second assumption, as time goes on.

      1. judy2shoes

        Yeah, on the State Department (SD) thing at the end, the SD went from demanding that the Russians sit down and negotiate peace at the start of this engagement, to:

        “Now we see Moscow suggesting that diplomacy take place at the barrel of a gun, or as Moscow’s rockets, mortars, artillery target the Ukrainian people,” he said. “This is not real diplomacy. Those are not the conditions for real diplomacy.”

        which clearly shows that peace is not what the SD cares about, unless it’s a U.S.-approved version. Most Americans won’t even notice the sleight of hand.

      2. jonboinAR

        The few of those chattle who do recognize the manure pile for what it is, what the %@#$ are they gonna do about it? Rant inside of echo chambers? -I imagine that’s part of their reasoning.

  18. griffen

    Start up founder says he lost sleep, and a cool $100 million after a fundamental shift to algorithms. His website was predicated on attracting traffic, and was primarily targeted to female consumers on social media. If he truly lost that much, it begs the question; how long were you planning to bleed red ink?

    As a startup, I’d presume one rule is not being too comforted by the targeted market always and ever being in your corner. Especially when it comes to using social media as your primary platform / resource to attract eyeballs (and keeping those eyeballs).

    In other news, Facebook is run by meanies.

  19. flora

    Ukraine: Some interesting stuff at Pat Lang’s Turcopolier site.

    In other news:
    “Russia vetoed a draft UN Security Council resolution on Friday that would have deplored Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, while China, India and the UAE abstained from the vote – a move Western countries view as a win for showing Russia’s international isolation.”

    The outcome isn’t surprising. It is a surprise to me India and UAE abstained from voting.

    1. ambrit

      Add up the populations, economies, and available raw materials in just Russia, China, and India and you have a sizeable chunk of the world. This isn’t real “isolation.” Those three have an insular trading sphere more than big enough to survive on it’s own. That is the real challenge to the Meta Blob. The three are “falsifying the claims” of the Globalists in the ‘real’ world.

    2. lyman alpha blob

      The Russians are taking the US diplomatic bushwa from the last 20 years and throwing it right back in their faces. The US does this all the time when it or one of its allies commits some atrocity that the UN wants to condemn. Then there’s the unilateral declaration of independent states, “denazification” (see the US de-baathification), etc.

      I’m still wondering why the Russians chose to invade when they did (was Zelensky’s nuke comment the last straw?), but the diplomatic rhetoric appears well calculated.

      1. Bill Carson

        Putin could see that NATO was sending increasing amounts of military aid to Ukraine. The US sent $650million in the past year alone. Thus, he knew that if he waited another year, Ukraine would be that much more difficult to defeat. If he waited too long, it would be impossible for Russia to successfully invade Ukraine, and at that point, NATO would start building military bases. Not allowing Ukraine to join NATO, mind you, but assigning its own forces within Ukraine.

        1. Foy

          Yep, US and NATO were turning the Ukraine into a defacto NATO state and every day it was receiving more and more weapons and it reached the point where the cost of doing something about it outweighed the cost of not doing something about it. It had become crystal clear that the US and NATO were not going to stop and it would have to be dealt with sooner or later because it is existential threat to the Russians. They could wait no longer. Better to move now.

          And the fact that the US knew the invasion would happen, and still let it happen and let Ukraine become a war torn country and even more more of a basket case, rather than de-escalating because it is existential to the Russians, demonstrates that the US and NATO would not have stopped arming Ukraine covertly and escalating the situation. The US’s aim is clearly to destabilise the region.

          The longer the Russians waited the higher the cost of addressing it. And sooner or later it would have to be addressed.

    3. Chris Smith

      I’m not surprised about India; we’ve been jerking them around a lot over the past several years. I was in India when Obama visited. I remember it going over like a lead balloon when Obama warned the democratically-elected Modi not to roll back democracy, and then flew off to hold hands with and kiss the backside of the Saudi monarch. I’m sure they haven’t forgot Trump revoking trade concessions either.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        India wasn’t always going to be a former colony. Its a real country with a GDP larger than the UK or France.

        I saw a promo for an interview with the son of a slave. The European colonial powers and the US wielded global power for a long time. Things change quickly.

    4. Maxwell Johnston

      India has a long history of good relations with Russia/USSR, and there’s a lot of trade, so I wouldn’t expect India to commit to any one side in a conflict which is far from its borders. As for UAE, it also has good relations with Russia, and a lot of sanction-shy Russian money has fled US/EU in recent years and ended up in friendlier jurisdictions like Singapore, HK, and Dubai. So UAE doesn’t want to risk losing this.

  20. The Rev Kev

    “5 ways to cope with the stressful news cycle”

    I’d add a 6th one. Reading a good book. A history book is a good one if you roll that way. John Michael Greer recommends reading a book from say the 19th century so you can see and read the different thought patterns.

    1. Wukchumni

      Bayard Taylor was sent from NY to California in 1849 to report on the gold rush by Horace Greeley’s New York Tribune, and frequently with accounts of this era, you get lost in a maze of contemporary language, but not with Bayard, he wrote for the ages, and what a trip, he goes through Panama to Cali and then comes back via Mexico, and you never read accounts of American travelers doing such a thing from that time period, so shortly after the Mexican War.

      Eldorado, or, Adventures in the path of empire : comprising a voyage to California, via Panama; life in San Francisco and Monterey; pictures of the gold region, and experiences of Mexican travel

      …an excerpt

      1. LifelongLib

        IIRC U.S. Grant was sent to the west coast via Panama around the same time. His experiences at isolated frontier forts led to his drinking and ultimately given the choice of resigning or being court-martialed. He left the army and didn’t rejoin until the Civil War.

  21. Craig H.

    Sadly, no transcript

    Every time I click on those three dots there is a speech recognition transcript and they are often very accurate. It’s not the greatest format with a time stamp near every second but there are a lot of people who come across better on those crusty pages than they do on camera. Control-F works in the transcript window.

    Also it is a lot faster.

  22. Jen

    Highly recommend the Scott Ritter interview. He provides an excellent overview of the history of the region and current political realities. Towards the end he compared Zelensky’s position to Ashraf Ghani’s in Afghanistan. Said that when Ghani called Biden to ask for help because the whole situation was going to hell, Biden told him to lie to the Afhan people and tell them everything was going to be okay, even if he knew it wasn’t true. He suspects the same is true for Zelenksy. Probably his most adamant statement statement during the entire interview was: “Biden is a liar.”

    1. solarjay

      Agreed a must watch/listen to video. Ritter makes a number of really interesting observations about exactly how the invasion is happening vs the normal Russian doctrine that I’ve not heard anyone else talk about.
      And his discussion about the Ukraine president asking for nuclear weapons and how that would break their agreement with the non proliferation treaty. I’m guessing that was the moment the Russian plans to invade were finalized.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      From the article –

      “Alexey Arestovich, an adviser at Zelensky’s office, confirmed to Ukrainian media that Kiev has declined the talks with Russia, blaming the “terms” put forward by Moscow through intermediaries. “It was an attempt to force us into capitulation,” he said, without elaborating.

      However, moments later, another official at Zelensky’s office, Mikhail Podolyak, told Russian outlet RBC that Kiev did not reject the negotiations.”

      Someone has their arm up someone’s rear end over there. Mouths are moving but who’s really doing the talking?

      1. Polar Socialist

        That there could be one negative side-effect of successful “full spectrum” dominance and destruction of command and control networks: the government doesn’t know how bad spot it is in.

        I mean, what are they expecting to change so that they don’t have to capitulate? Wouldn’t the first priority for any government be to make the shooting stop like immediately? The final terms can be talked over later, in the negotiations.

        1. curlydan

          The deeper we get into this conflict, the more it looks like the U.S. basically wants a long-term proxy war. There seem like 4 main options with the possible effects:
          1. Capitulation: Bad for the U.S. and Western Europe, so-so for most Ukrainians but bad for Ukrainian right-wing and current politicians, good for Russia
          2. Negotiations: Probably good for at least Ukraine and good for peace, probably decent effect for Russia while the effect on U.S. varies since we have to always be seen as “macho”
          3. Proxy war/guerilla war: Terrible for Ukraine, bad/difficult for Russia, probably OK for U.S. and Western Europe power brokers, good for U.S. weapons manufacturers
          4. All out war: terrible for everyone

          So where does the U.S. come out OK and Russia less than OK? A proxy/guerrila war. We really don’t care about the Ukrainian people or peace.

  23. Tom Stone

    The Invasion of the Ukraine will change the focus of SOTU in beneficial ways, no need to refer to the Pandemic or the 1,000,000th American death from Covid 19.
    Instead the focus will be on the existential threat to America’s soul posed by this brutal assault on DEMOCRACY!!! by slavering Bolshevik hordes.

    1. Michael

      Wonder if anyone will have the balls to yell

      “You Lie!”

      or jeer as in Parliament, or throw a shoe or two.

      New drinking game rules!

  24. Amfortas the hippie

    from agweb:
    “But when you think about 31% of world wheat trade being domiciled in Ukraine and Russia, 30% of world barley trade, and then somewhere around 29% of ‘sunoil’ trade,”

    been learning a lot about just how “connected” russia is to the global economy, and specifically that of the US.
    of course, only tiny mentions in passing about this in MSM..or it’s mentioned obliquely, almost sotto, as if it’s as well known as where the sun rises.
    as i said the other day, Zbignew turned me on to this concept a long time ago…Eurasia, and specifically siberia, as the last great bastion of resources in the world…largely untapped due to the wild harshness and isolation.

    ….and bubbling up,( i binged watched this some years ago…my first moving picture immersion in much of the geography of the former USSR(introduced me to a lot of folk music from the whole region, as well)…i watched it because one of my former guitar students(local elite) took 2 years off from college, late-90’s and walked along much that same route…sent me postcards, pics and letters from throughout.

  25. Questa Nota

    Re NFT and ‘Journalists’ in need of a story

    It is a matter of time before someone is told:

    Nice counter-narrative you have there, too bad something could happen to it.
    Here is an opportunity to buy an NFT that will take care of your problem.

    1. Wukchumni

      I did NFT’s of all the hair’m here and sold them into the guitar string market, because who needs their physical presence and having to feed them all the time and be in charge of cleaning the litter-box, not to mention vet fees and a feast of fleas. (not really on the latter, but oh how I love a rhyme)

      Sure-I miss my lap cats, but look how much my NFT of them has gone up in value.

  26. kramshaw

    Outpost : If Biden intervenes militarily, in what ways will the Russian army be hit hard? What China Reads

    It’s amazing to me that an automatically translated and somewhat hard to follow piece from China is more thoughtful and informative than anything I’ve seen in the nato-allied news.

    There are a ton of great details in there about how the geography of Ukraine influences and ultimately restricts the possibilities of meaningful U.S. involvement. They make the point that air force operations are constrained by Ukraine being a “pocket” where entrance or exit of the airspace would need to go over Russian controlled anti-aircraft defenses (primarily Belarus and Crimea).

    Also lots of thoughtful comments about how Russian tank warfare is likely to be overpowering contra Ukrainian anti-tank infantry, even U. S. armed, due to the terrain–with lots of references to actual military experiences in recent wars in the Middle East.

    Highly recommended

  27. Grimm

    Russia’s advance has been extraordinarily rapid. For comparison’s sake, here are same-scale maps of 48 hours into the US invasion of Iraq and
    ‘s estimate after 36 hours in Ukraine.

    Anyone saying Russia is bogged down is nuts.

    Comparing the pace of an operation that can be supplied by modern roads into a neighboring country with an operation requiring most personnel and equipment airlifted in across oceans is of dubious relevance.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Maybe Afghanistan, but Western Iraq was almost tailored made for a quick war with our tanks. Most of the equipment was prepositioned with a long term build up. Then Iraq was surrounded with two no fly zones and years of bombing and decay.

      Modern roads? I know they are brown people, but highways aren’t a secret. Those highways like Cheney Way and Halliburton Drive were just renamed by occupying troops. Until 1991, Spain was Iraq’s economic peer. That was a real country in 1991 with serious infrastructure.

    2. OnceWereVirologist

      I find it hard to believe that you don’t know that the the invasion of Iraq was staged from Kuwait with preparations starting months beforehand so I have to assume that you’re gaslighting us.

    3. josh

      The US also had the benefit of time and money. I am skeptical Russia can maintain a months long operation at the scale of Ukraine. They don’t have the pentagon’s couch cushions filled with billions for mercs and an endless supply of ammunition.

      1. ambrit

        Well, as far as small arms ammo goes, since the Bidens stopped the importation of “new” ammo from Russia, all that production had to go somewhere. An unintended consequence of sanctions.

      2. Yves Smith

        Huh? The Russians have a famously rugged design philosophy, while we like expensive and fussy narrow purpose hardware.

        The Russians are not using pricey mercs.

        Did you manage to miss supply lines are short?

        The Russians do not have the massive overhead of 700 gold plated bases around the world.

      3. David

        Scott Ritter said yesterday that he thought the operation would be completed in a week. Add a couple of weeks of consolidation, and most of the troops will be home by the end of March. Supply lines are not a problem, and anyway, since the Cold War, Russian units have been far leaner than western ones, and require much less logistic support. And they haven’t fired that much ammunition off yet.

        To pick up Yves’s point, yes, their material is famously rugged (“soldier-proof” apparently is the technical term); I had an unnerving ride over a wide river in Africa some years ago in a Ukrainian company’s Mi-8 helicopter, that looked as if it hadn’t been serviced since the 1980s. But then, as a Russian colleague said to me, such machines are actually capable of running with engines effectively dry, and no oil at all. I noticed Mi-8s in some of the videos yesterday.

        1. Louis Fyne

          if you look at social media videos (unverified of course), the Russians are still using their JV team. land equipment skews older, All of their new stuff is still in reserve for their big push.

          Irony. Obama’s war in Syria gave Russia a lab to test all their new equipment and tactics. Supposedly almost every Russian pilot has flown combat missions in Syria. (likely true for US as well)

  28. meadows

    Apologies if this interview w/Scott Ritter re Russia invading Ukraine has been posted elsewhere in comments. I find the interviewer annoying but at least he lets Ritter get his points across. So tired of the …” whattaya think Putin will do next?” kind of questions.

    I remain impressed by the MSM deep jingoism. Obligerent. (oblivious and belligerent)

    1. Synoia

      I remain impressed by the MSM deep jingoism. Obligerent.

      Necessary condition. Where else wold they get people to com on TV and Lie in interviews? They might have to do the heavy of informing the public, instead of repeating the current spin.

  29. Wukchumni

    Research from BYU wildlife sciences professors finds that at the beginning of hunting season, elk in Utah are smart enough to move off of public lands (where they can be hunted) and on to private lands where they cannot. And then, when hunting season is over, they shift right back to public lands.
    We have the same thing in Mineral King in Sequoia NP-where all animals are protected and no hunting, but on the other side of Farewell Gap is the Golden Trout Wilderness where hunting is allowed in the fall.

    On times i’ve walked in the GTW over Farewell Gap from the south, animals have been scarce, but once you get over Farewell Gap, you see a lot of deer-they know. The National Park being an ad hoc animal Switzerland.

    Initially the first period is for archer hunters, and then black powder hunters, and finally rifle hunting, and one time I came across an bowman headed towards the GTW and happy hunting grounds on the Farewell/Franklin trail, 4 miles into the 10 he’d have to go to find flay dirt.

    We talked a bit and he related that his backpack weighed 35 pounds and if he got his buck buck fifty, he’d have to clean it and cut it up then and there and then carefully pack around 35 more pounds of deer meat into plastic bags on the way back with a 70 pound pack.

    Me, i’d rather traipse through the aislederness towards the meat counter and meekly ask for a pound of pastrami, wafer thin please.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      here, the deer flock to the highways the night before opening day…and stay there for a week.
      deer all over the road.(it’s illegal af to hunt on the rightaway, and is relatively well enforced hereabouts)
      lots of resulting carnage, and the scanner is usually alive for that week with all those city slickers(“hunters”) driving too fast at night and mowing down deer, ending up in the barditch themselves.

    2. jr

      As a youth in Pennsylvania, my father and I would drive past a stream that had a wire hanging over it about 30’ upstream from the bridge. Fishing was allowed from the bridge but not past the wire according to the sign on it. In the evening, numerous trout could be seen hitting bugs, literally up to the edge of the boundary. I mean full on leaping out of the water, like in a nature documentary. Guys would pull over just to watch but the warden knew it was a hot spot and kept an eye on it pretty closely.

      1. Lee

        Fly fishing in the catch and release waters of Yellowstone is a real treat if you enjoy watching canny, trophy sized trout swim up to your offering, carefully study it, and then with a disdainful flick of the tail disappear back into the depths.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          i’ve only fly fished in the Llano River, and in the surf (lower half of texas coast)
          caught lots of bass and perch…and flounders and redfish on the coast…
          can’t really do the river by myself any more.
          rancher neighbor has a deep irrigation pond back there that’s full of catfish(challenge to do those with a fly rod, but they fight)
          “price” used to be a sack of chicken necks(to feed the fish you didn’t catch)…but those don’t seem to be a thing anymore.
          so we take whatever deer, sheep and barnyard fowl offal that doesn’t get buried in a garden bed back there, and dump it out.

        2. jonboinAR

          The larger trout usually are quite canny, wherever you (fly-)fish (for trout). They’ve pretty much all been caught repeatedly. Trying to catch educated fish is a big part of the sport of it! The previous sentence is the philosophy I’ve had to develop to break myself from griping about “all the d### (other) fishermen”! I’ve also had to teach myself that “all those d### (other) fishermen” have just as much right to be there as I do. I’ve also trained myself, with not too much difficulty, to keep in mind that enjoying the beauty of the environment I’m in while fly-fishing should actually be the focus of the experience.

    3. HotFlash

      When my hunter safety class was doing the section on what to do if you ever did shoot a critter, ie, field dressing, etiquette with offal, etc., our instructor told us that the very worst thing to bag was a big moose. Critters can weigh 1000 lbs or more, dress out up to 600, and you might want to take the head for a trophy. So how do you get it all from your camp the 20 miles back to the road? Easy! Every time you go away, you take a piece of meat with you.

      1. johnnyme

        About 20 years ago, my regular canoeing buddy and I crossed paths with a pair of hunters that had bagged a moose in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. For those of you not familiar with the BWCA, it is a roadless wilderness in northern Minnesota where motorized vehicles and motorized boats are not permitted. The only way in and out is on foot or by canoe.

        They had field dressed it and were carrying out all the meat they could. We were several lakes in from the nearest entry point and they had a long way to go with multiple round trips on each portage trail and each lake crossing to get the job done (they were portaging the absolutely ginormous hind legs when we encountered them). It must have been a fully grown adult and I wouldn’t have been surprised if it took them a couple of days of grueling labor just to get all that meat and their gear out.

        I have never seen anyone so exhausted in the BWCA as those two and it was the one and only time I ever encountered anyone there who was both exhausted and elated (exhausted and miserable is what you usually see in the newbies). Back when Minnesota had a moose hunting season, a lottery system was used and each hunter got a once-in-a-lifetime permit — if you won the lottery, got a permit but didn’t take an animal, that’s it, you’re done, you can’t get another permit in the future.

  30. Tom Stone

    I saw the same thing when I stayed at the Vedanta Retreat near Olema 50 years ago.
    A week or so before hunting season the deer population started to grow rapidly and by the end of opening day it had more than doubled.

  31. Steve H.

    Etymology: Russia: nation in Eastern Europe with a large possession in north Asia, 1530s, from Medieval Latin Russi “the people of Russia,” from Rus, the native name of the people and the country (source of Arabic Rus, Medieval Greek Rhos), originally the name of a group of Swedish merchant/warriors who established themselves around Kiev 9c. and founded the original Russian principality;

    How could Putin not take the ancestral homeland? If he fails, he’s weak, if he wins, he will literally be made a Saint. Only 1 in 5 in Kiev speak mainly Ukrainian at home. The rest will say ‘da’ to stay.

    Which made sense of seeing (single source) 10K Chechnyan fighters being sent in. wtf? Oh, how much louder can you say “Ethnic Cleansing”?

    So the real negotiations are about the magnitude and vector of the refugee crisis.

    1. newcatty

      How could Putin not take the ancestral homeland? If he fails, he’s weak, if he wins, he will literally be made a Saint.

      This smacks of US MSM narrative by talking heads, “political analysts”, “national security experts “, old retired generals. Their version, Putin has the ultimate goal of reestablishing the USSR! Look to Scott Ritter’s interview for some history and current reasonable explanation.

      1. Steve H.

        If that’s what they think, they’re (ed. change to ‘wrong’). This is not the re-establishment of a union of soviet states, this is about fulfillment of an existential imperative. The former view leads to negotiation from the perspective of competing interests. Putin’s perspective is this:

        “As a citizen of Russia and the head of the Russian state I must ask myself: Why would we want a world without Russia?”

        The soviets were also atheist. I’m not kidding about the saint thing.

        1. Polar Socialist

          Russia is much more complicated than that. It consists of 193 different ethnic groups, most of which have no relation to Kiev at all. Already from the 17th century there are different words in Russian for ethnic Russian and citizen of Russian state – both of which are translated as Russian.
          For the identity of the Russian state both Novgorod and Kulikovo are way more important than Kiev or it’s surroundings, for it was in Novgorod where Russian state was born and in Kulikovo where it (as Muscovite) came of age. It was the fight between Novgorod republic and autocratic Moscow that defined the nature of the coming state. The piety Kiev was basically left to decay and dissolve first under it’s own and then foreign rule and it had no role in forming the Russian state.

  32. tegnost

    High Country News…
    Sure, crypto is a waste of energy…
    but the article lost me here…
    “Google, Amazon and Facebook purchase solar and wind power, even build their own renewable energy facilities, to run their data centers.”

  33. Dave in Austin

    Just a quick update on what I’ve noticed, sort of a field guide to tactics and weapons:

    Russia has followed standard doctrine and committed recon units to probe the various avenues leading to Kiev that they can use. The one from the northwest was totally undefended. There are Russian helicopter detachments, wheeled vehicles and armored personnel carriers but so far no tanks. The road to Kiev from the northeast was defended and resulted in the “dead soldier in the snow” picture. The APC behind him was not damaged and the rear passenger door was open, so the Russians took fire, deployed, got shot up and most left. Reports now are that they have bypassed the defended town and are heading for Kiev, which is on the opposite side of the river.

    The Russian units in the Obelon district of Kiev which came down from the northwest are all recon vehicles too. The picture of a Russian APC going over some poor Ukrainian’s car is terrible. Most outlets have shown just the last few seconds. The long version shows the APC coming down the “Y” at about 30 mph, making an about 30 degree turn to the left and starting to skid, rotating clockwise. It looks like the APC driver hit the gas to control it, dug through the thin sheet of ice and accelerated across the road to the left and went right over the poor guy. The APC was buttoned up so the driver didn’t have much of a view. The APC driver stopped right on the car- then the video stops. The driver ducked into the passenger’s seat and survived. If it had been a tank which weighs 3x the APC he would have been dead. Obviously the APC backed carefully- and slowly- off (there is a video taken from a distance). Nobody interfered with the locals who got him out. The lesson is the same as in the US; little cars run over by either tractor trailers or APC do not fare well. It is pretty amazing to see a mixed line of cars and fighting vehicles stopped at a stoplight. But that’s war in the Ukraine.

    Down near the breakaway regions all the Ukrainian tanks have little 1 foot square boxes all over the outside. This is “reactive armor”. An antitank round hits a box and the box explodes, damaging and usually destroying the incoming round. Both the tanks and APCs have grids of metal bars or chain-link fence set off to the sides. These will detonate the lethal RPG 7s, (RPG= rocket propelled grenade) which look like an American bazooka tube with a mushroom head. Half the Taliban coming into Kabul had one slung over their shoulders. The nose of the rocket has what’s called a shaped charge which detonates on contact and sends a jet of superheated copper right through tank armor spraying the interior with superheated metal. These thinks have a very short range but they terrify the crews. In Vietnam American APCs after the first year would carry rolls of chain-link fence to set up outside the APC. None of the Russian APCs in Kiev have this- the Russians have forgotten what RPG 7s do; they’ll learn. The Ukrainians in Kiev are handing out AK 47 automatic rifles to the volunteer defenders; there are no RPGs in sight. A serious oversight.

    The American airforce is still living in 1944; they love to strafe enemy convoys. The Russians are also back in 1944; widespread attacks to probe and find the holes in the enemy defenses so the tanks (not moving yet) can bypass strong resistance and deal with it later. And the Ukrainian President’s call for Molotov cocktails (wine bottles half filled with gasoline with a cloth in the neck- light it and throw it on top of the tank where the radiator and air intake is) is pure 1942. The air intakes are no longer on the top and Molotov (the foreign minister of the USSR in WWII) is long dead.

    Other comments: No sign of recent Russian helicopters flying low; the light AA weapons the Ukrainians have are too dangerous. Those spectacular busts of what look like fireworks the planes and helicopters shoot off are flares to distract heat-seeking missiles; essentially harmless to people on the ground. I’ll bet the Ukrainians are wishing they had kept some of the better armored units located down near the breakaway provinces back to defend around Kiev; they are giving a good account of themselves in defense in the east. But too late to bring them back now. The Russians seem to have kept a tight leash on the volunteer units in the breakaway regions; violent amateurs are likely to do stupid and nasty things; ask anybody in Yugoslavia.

    The Ukrainians said they were willing to negotiate on neutrality; the Russians said: “OK, let’s talk” and suggested Minsk. Bad idea. So it looks like Warsaw, which is not a bad choice. And I doubt the Russians will go into Kiev right now. An occasional firefight? Yes. But tank columns going down the freeway and shooting at guys in the high rises? Not now. And, with luck, it will not come to that.

    Look at the John Mearsheimer 2015 video mentioned in Yves’ posting. He’s a realist— and right so far.

    1. Maxwell Johnston

      As I was a tank officer many moons ago, I enjoyed your comment. In general the Russians are moving pretty quickly but cautiously; Ukraine is a big place. The Ukrainians are fighting a lot harder than I expected, and certainly more than the Afghans did last year. One thing that’s puzzled me is the Russians’ claim that they have total air superiority, but I see very few Russian aircraft in action. And some Ukrainian aircraft are still operating. Not sure what the explanation is: maybe the Russians are having logistics/maintenance problems, maybe they failed to knock out Ukraine’s air force and AAA, maybe NATO secretly supplied the Ukrainians with lots of EW/AAA kit which is giving the Russian air force headaches, maybe the Russians are holding back their aircraft until the time is right: right now it’s the fog of war and we just don’t know. NATO is watching closely: the Flightradar24 site shows a Global Hawk drone circling just south of Crimea 24×7, and two surveillance jets circling over east Poland and east Romania also 24×7.

      But militarily, the final outcome is not in doubt.

      1. Fritze

        At The Saker (to be taken with the appropriate caution) the claim is making the rounds, that the Unkrainian army was warned by NATO and moved at least part of their air force into Poland basically right before the attack, so Ukrainian aircraft now fly in and out of the country, to refuel, rearm and get necessary repairs on polish territory, with the Russians unable to do much (except shooting them down in Uki airspace, of course), because they’d have to blow up airfields in Poland.

        1. Polar Socialist

          While Poland also operates Mig-29s, and thus would be able to maintain and reload them, even the southernmost of the two Polish airbases capable of this is so far away from Kiev that it would be out of range with any weapon load and even patrolling Lviv would be possible only for short duration.

          Mig-29 is designed to be interceptor for area defense; it excels at getting really fast up to mach 2 at 34000 feet, vector to target directed by ground control, launch it’s missiles in 2-3 salvos and return to base. It doesn’t do well in loitering or hunting missions, especially against fighters with superior sensors.

          Poland doesn’t operate any Su-family of fighters, so I’m not sure they would be able to do much maintenance for the planes, other than fuel and some missiles. Given the high tempo of operations during the war, the fighters would soon need more than just cleaning windows. Modern fighter jet are incredibly complicated machines often taken to the limits of their performance – and in combat even pushing that limit. After a mission they have to be checked out by people who know what they’re doing.

          I’m not saying it’s impossible they would go to Poland to fuel and weapon up, just thinking it would be only for “showing the flag” outside of the actual battlespace, so maybe not worth the risk for Poland.

    2. tegnost

      The dead soldier in the snow thing is disturbing for many reasons, not the least of which is the prohibition in the US of showing any trace of our own combat casualties in the media.

    3. barefoot charley

      Thanks for this informative window on the war-world. The invaluable Scott Ritter guesses that Russia will have government control and war aims met within a week, so we aren’t talking about an occupation. But our DC madmen and women look forward to an ugly insurgency rather than a negotiated peace that would roll back NATO-lite from Ukraine. Zelensky’s arm-up-butt is passing out rifles to all comers to shoot tanks with (and Ritter explains that Zelensky, like Afghan Ghani, is paid to lie in office till he’s relocated to his Western pension and mansion, while his country goes through what we’ve scripted for it.) We can only hope the Russian victory is so complete and quick that poor losers us must negotiate NATO’s withdrawal, as Putin has demanded since December.

    4. Foy

      “The picture of a Russian APC going over some poor Ukrainian’s car is terrible.”

      It was a Ukrainian Strela-10 surface to air mobile missile system, not a Russian APC. You will also notice it was on its own, not with other vehicles. A Russian APC would not be by itself alone.

      Here’s footage of a Ukrainian Strela-10 moving around a Ukrainian neighbourhood. If you compare it to the video you mention you will see it is the same type of vehicle with the missile system on its back. The Ukrainians are putting their military assets in and around the civilian population and infrastructure, so that for Russians to take them out they have to take the risk of hitting civilian infrastructure and bystanders.

      But now everyone thinks it was a Russian tank/APC. Classic example of how war propaganda works.

  34. WillyBgood

    Hmm. Is it a coincidence that the Maiden revolution went from Feb. 18-23 (2014) and Russia invaded on Feb. 24. Nice continuity, if only a storytelling coincidence.

    1. Maxwell Johnston

      More numbers for those interested. Russia invaded Georgia on 8-8-2008. Russia invaded Ukraine on 24-2-22 (which is 2 days after “Twosday” of 2-2-22). If you look at at enough numbers, you can always find a pattern (the proverbial correlation between soybean futures and the average daily temperature in Ulan Bator). Still, it’s weird.

  35. Lee

    “Study finds elk are too smart for their own good, and the good of Utah”

    Elk in wolf country are able to locate and in relative safety hang out in buffer zones between territories held by wolf packs. A lesson for Ukraine perhaps?

  36. Stillfeelinthebern

    I know there was a link earlier this week about the digesters and the California credits. Trying to put all the pieces together. A local farmer told me that over $1 billion will be invested in these in Wisconsin.

    The clip below from the article strikes me as questionable math, revenue does not equal profit. I know a farmer who has had an electricity generating digester for years. He says it was break even only because of major grants he got to put it in. I know the technology has advanced, but this seems like lots of press release info.

    “That ‘carbon credits’ system has spawned a methane-digester gold rush on large dairy farms in the Midwest, according to Mike McCully, an industry consultant from Chicago.

    For a 3,500-cow dairy, it could mean $350,000 a year in revenue from capturing the methane from manure. If the farm owns the digester and assumes more of the financial risk, the revenue could be even higher, according to McCully.

    ‘At that point, milk has become the byproduct of manure production,’ he said.”

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      when i was looking for an alternative to a septic system for this house, i searched all around for an off the shelf small digester…plenty were available, by american companies, and for reasonable prices….if you lived in Kenya or the Chinese Hinterland.
      according to the salespeople i emailed, they were actually forbidden at the time, under us law, from “importing” them to the us(one company actually manufactured them in Georgia, USA.)
      only ones available in the US were of the “small dairy size”(1000+ cows?) and ran starting at a million bucks.
      i yelled at “my” congresscritters about this…to little effect.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          gnothi seuton, and all…i knew that my gashandling skills were not up to par for just rigging up something close to/in the house that deals with a flammable gas.
          …and none of the propane guys hereabouts would accept my minor saturday beer and brisket and brainpicking(and $50) offer…preferring to laugh and say “why? when there’s all this propane?”….my issue was the gas capture and pressurisation.

          there was also the problem of steady feedstock…which, on this place, would have meant feeding the thing from the barnyards, chickenhouses, etc….even the “batch” designs i looked at
          something called ATTRA has a world of stuff on this, and many other such backwoods/thirdworld diy stuff(too lazy to look for link,lol)

          1. Stillfeelinthebern

            When in grad school training to be a sci teacher in the 90s, one of my cohort did some experimenting with a setup and it didn’t go well. Learned that biogas production is complicated and blow ups can be very, well, sh*tty.

        2. Stillfeelinthebern

          Lee, a great video. Thanks for sharing! Maybe I have a project for this summer.

          If anyone has experience or to know if a place/group to follow online please share. I’m sure this is not as easy as it looks.

  37. lazycat1984

    You can look forward to a new Foreclosure Crisis – The machinery is now in place.

    I live in Portland, OR. My business collapsed around 2012 from knock on effects of the 2008 debacle. So I limped from low wage job to unemployment to gruelling physically demanding work that then gave me a stroke. That was fun. Fast Forward to Covid and the line of work which I had picked up shut down completely. Hard to sell wine when all the restaurants are closed. For 2 years. I moved to liquor, which here is exclusively distributed by the state. One of those rare instances when the Granny’s Temperance Union worked to my benefit. Now that I can afford to just pay the mortgage in full, some entity called “Selene” which is a feeding tube for Pretium, which was set up by some Goldman alum with the express purpose of seizing NPL housing and renting it out. “You will own nothing and be happy.” Well I ain’t happy. This entity is demanding the whole 20k$ of the Covid set aside all at once. Like if you were out of work you just had 20 grand laying around.
    Portland is already full of Favelas and growing worse weekly. Open air chop shops. Foetid squalor. The whole Haitian trip.
    So what I see happening in Joe Brandon’s shiny build back better is a nation of serfs who exist to pay rent to a whole host of ‘services’ that are junk and don’t really work. Nobody will own anything because that is bad for the environment. Or something. The new micro war they pushed Russia into will provide the excuse to shut down everything Covid didn’t. The right wing pendulum swing will be something Doug Henwood will find difficult to believe. But hey, he’ll be ok in his digs in Manhattan. Same with every other Fabian phony socialist. If you thought the wold was ugly, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

    1. Cocomaan

      I 100% agree that a right wing pendulum swing is coming. It will make Trump look like a joke (which in many ways he ways.)

      To an extent, Joe Biden is that conservative authoritarian swing.

      1. Fritzi

        If you personally help fund an army, and that army commits warcrimes, and you know that and continue to fund them (possibly because of it, even), should you be personally held responsible?

        There are plenty of people gladly willing to sponsor ethnic cleansing and similar niceties.

        Gamification was all the rage to more or less subtly manipulate people’s behaviour in Silicon Valley not that long ago.

        No doubt there are ways to gamify actual war, as a way to get people to love and support it.

        Militaries, Big Tech and the psychopathy of the crowd, could be a winning combo in the war on compassion.

        News media and Hollywood need not be the only ways to normalize killing, getting people used to it, deadened to it.

        1. Stillfeelinthebern

          Some very good questions. It seems to be a very slippery slope to let individuals fund wars/arms in other countries. The militarization takes from helping people. Do we have a better world with all the armaments and conflict? I think not.

          It’s like the runaway funding of campaigns in the US. In my eyes, that doesn’t bring about better informed citizens.

        2. K.k

          Now add the element of ultra nationalists and fascist being the fiercest fighters willing to take on the Russians. So people donating money will be supporting fascists. As others have pointed out if you tried setting up a funding campaign to support the Palestinian resistance you may just get locked up or at the very least have all finances frozen and investigated.

  38. Grant

    Fun to watch so many Americans see the US government going after oligarchs in Russia and ignoring the fact that oligarchs control this government, control both parties, every dominant institution in society, own the media. Who is deciding to go after oligarchs in Russia? Oligarchs in America. I see a complete willingness to be critical of Putin and Russia, I am myself. I see too few people willing to really grapple with the US’s role, what it has done in recent years, its responsibility in bringing this conflict about. The US and Russia have used Ukraine as a place to do their proxy war, and the US continuously did things that if it blew up it would fall on the shoulders of the Ukrainian people. It has. And if that happened, well, lots of money could also be made as a result of the conflict. But waive those flags, talk about supporting the people of Ukraine. Feels great, don’t question whether ignoring what both sides have done is actually supporting the people in Ukraine, who didn’t ask for any of this.

  39. dcblogger

    Russian Labor Confederation Demands Peace in Ukraine
    “It is the working people of our countries, on both sides, who are suffering as a direct result of military conflict,” said the Confederation of Labor of Russia.

    Russia has a conscript army, so the resistance to this war will only grow. don’t pretend to know much about this, but Russian domestic opinion is clearly the sleeping giant in all this. In August of 1991 it was the strike by coal miners in the Kuzbas region that was the final to the coup plotters. It is possible that a strike by Russian oil workers would bring the world’s oligarchs to their knees, not just Russian. But whether there even a possibility of that happening I would have no way to know.

    1. Polar Socialist

      Russia has a conscript army

      Currently almost 70% are contract soldiers, about 10% with experience from Syria. Conscripts are not used in combat missions. For a few year now they have also had contract reservists that train couple of weeks a year with the units they are in reserve for, so possible combat losses can be quickly replaced (to a limit) efficiently.

  40. Gulag

    The Mearsheimer lecture on Ukraine was outstanding in its clarity and especially in its understanding of the deeper causes of this geopolitical crisis.

    But it is also important to be aware of the historical origins of and use of the theoretical lens of Realism which Mearsheimer has employed for presenting to us his understanding on international politics and what is happening in Ukraine.

    1) Realism historically has been a tool for acting on the world stage–specifically about how and why to aspire to the status of a great world empire (see the Monroe doctrine).

    2) It is also a theoretical framework based on the concept of space and geopolitics– both extremely important elements in its articulation.

    3) This perspective also assumes that the facts of geography determine the destiny of the world.

    4) This school of thought has a long historical trajectory beginning the mid-19th century with the German and
    American so-called Atlantic-Realists

    5) Between 1945 and 1960 the field of international relations in the United States developed a new identity because of the promotion of realism–graduating from being a hodgepodge of diplomatic history, international law and policy advocacy.

    If anyone is interested there is lots more to say about this particular theoretical lens.

  41. Copeland

    Could someone define the term “Jackpot” as frequently used here on NC?

    It appears to be related to economic or general collapse, but I’m not familiar with its origin or provenance.

    1. Skip Intro

      Jackpot is from a William Gibson novel and refer to a vague of civilisational collapse moment that is actually dispersed in time and space and cause: so widespread, multi-source chaotic collapse. I welcome a better reference and quote, of course.

  42. fringe element

    Well, I was worried that this post might be out of place, but following a post on urban warfare, maybe not so much.

    Just stopped by Daily Kos to see what the anti-Bernie blue check folks are up to and it seems the Ukraine situation has pushed them all the way past sad/foolish to dangerous/scary. War mongering is off the charts along with all this triumphalist nonsense about how strong the US is and how weak and doomed the Russians/Chinese are.

    The site will be an absolute gold mine for anyone who has the stomach to do graduate work on propaganda. As much as I deplore the war-mongering, I expect it. What really worries me more are the extreme over-estimation of US soft power and the even more extreme under-estimation of Putin and the Russian position.

    1. Louis Fyne

      The DC class has lost its marbles. Instead of just folding their hand and admitting their mistakes, (and saving lives by ending the violence) the US-EU is tripling down…..see the West/US sending more weapons to Ukraine.

      Best worst case scenario is the US sees $4-gas, 15% grocery inflation and a minor recession. Worst worst case scenario, DC foolishly escalates and a US warship sunk or a Russian missile strike on an air base in Poland.

      Russia is ready to fight WW3, US couldn’t even beat a country with the same number of people as California.

      And even if purely conventional the first week of a NATO-Russia war will involve so many airstrikes, missile strikes, and air combat, the US Air Force in Europe will not exist given Russian air defenses. the USAF will see action in a scale not since 1942-43.

      The USA military is not ready to go from peace to the Battle of Kursk version 2022 in the space of one week.

      1. fresno dan

        Louis Fyne
        February 26, 2022 at 4:53 pm
        US couldn’t even beat a country with the same number of people as California.
        and the most advanced armament was a Toyota pickup truck…
        Course, they improved the sophistication of their weapons cache, thanks to the US…

    2. Glen

      As an older guy that did 15 years with the USN during the Cold War, I cannot impress upon people enough that this is not Iraq, not Afghanistan, not a millionaire Saudi in a cave backed by billionaire Saudis. This is a heavily armed nuclear power. We do not want to [family blog] around and escalate this. Things can go real bad, real fast. And many of the treaties and safe guards that we had for the cold war are gone.

      I was out of the military by the time 9/11 happened and was astonished at just how afraid Americans were. It was bad, but it was not Cuban Missile Crisis bad. Now Americans, even DC elites are treating this as if they have forgotten the whole Cold War, and just what can happen if you [family blog] up. Here’s a talk with a real cold warrior and what he thinks of this mess:

      Ukraine: Russian Crimes, American Hypocrisy – Wilkerson and Jay

    3. Tex

      Predictable. A group who’s hubris far outweighs their intellect. Imagine what they would all be saying if Trump was in the White House.

  43. Greg

    The next supply chain crisis is warming up –

    Given the tit for tat responses across the rest of the western sanctions and penalties, I’d expect the sea off Kamchatka (apologies if I’m reading the map wrong) to get a bit interesting.
    That will mean more ships having to cross the pacific directly, although not all will be geared for that, and in general supply chains between Asia and NA will just get a bit messy for a while.

  44. Louis Fyne

    The US-EU are going full retard, as in not thinking of the 2nd order consequences of their knee-jerk lashing out, instead of trying to turn down the tensions.

    I thought the world would thread the needle and be ok, even with the invasion. after today…expect Russia banning exports of commodities to EU-US. “whatever” a DC staffer may say.

    get ready for the blowback: shortage of and/or expensive metals = production shutdowns at Boeing and Ford = furloughs for UAW. $6 gasoline in CA. More expensive wheat. Crazy fertilizer prices = crazy meat prices. If you own a modern diesel truck, stock up on DEF. have at least a year’s worth. Ordinary Americans will realize how many modern things are affected by the scarcity of Russian stuff

    our leaders are full of hubris, the bottom 86% will bear the brunt of the fall

    1. Altandmain

      I wonder if the Democrats realize what this means for the midterms.

      There was already a COVID induced inflation – it might end up making the idea of better relations with Russia popular among the working class due to economic hardship.

      1. Louis Fyne

        Putin Derangement Syndrome entirely overlaps w/the NYT-NPR-CNN class.

        Go outside of that bubble, pro-war fever sharply evaporates. People just want to make ends meet.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Back in the 90s it was found that the Simpsons cartoons had subliminal images of American flags, the Statue of Liberty, etc. slipped in. When caught, they claimed that it was all a joke.

  45. Louis Fyne

    unverified of course, but social media video gives reasonable evidence that the idea to hand assault rifles to anyone without training or vetting is turning out to be bad. Videos of firefights among confused locals and UA army, civilians with itchy fingers shooting at innocent civilians and some using the guns to settle pre-war scores.

  46. The Rev Kev

    The SWIFT trigger has been pulled – kinda. Some select Russian banks have been removed from the SWIFT network so I am going to assume that they would be banks not to do with the payments for stuff that the west vitally needs like gas or whatever. Unknown what the Russians will do as payback.

    Meanwhile Germany, in a total policy reversal, is going to ship things like manpads and anti-tank missiles to the Ukraine because pumping a forlorn war zone with weapons always helps everybody. The propaganda effort is ramping up to deluded and will only increase.

      1. Andy

        Are they? I think they are going exactly as planned. The US and EU knew that if the Ukraine/NATO situation wasn’t resolved Russia would take military action. Yet they stymied negotiations at every turn and, surprise, Russia invades Ukraine. Couldn’t see that one coming.

        Now they (US and EU) are egging on Ukraine from the sidelines, pouring in weapons and encouraging the Ukrainian government and Ukrainian citizens to take up arms against the Russian invasion force, thereby making high civilian casualties and a protracted war/occupation all the more likely. Arms manufacturers are salivating, politicians are riding their moral high horses at full gallop and the media has another gruesome spectacle to milk for click$ while pretending to care about “innocent civilians.” More sanctions against Russia were likely already in the pipeline and ready to be deployed.

        Now we will see the neocon ghouls and liberal R2P zombies crowing for years about how they were right about everything as centrist Dems use this conflict to further kettle and discipline the left flank of the party while the GOP goes to town on weak Joe Biden and the Democratic Party, likely ushering in Trump round two.

        As Mark Ames put it, everything lurches even further to the right and everything gets worse.

        But you can bet that champagne corks are popping at GOP central and in the caves where the DC foreign policy blob hangs out.

        And just let me add again that the selective outrage and moral grandstanding by the media and politicians while ignoring 20 years of US and NATO sponsored slaughter in Africa and West and Central Asia and frantically promoting the idea that flooding weapons into Ukraine and telling civilians to fight an invading army is absolutely monstrous and nauseating.

        The hypocrisy and depravity is absolutely staggering.

  47. Rainlover

    Re: Ukraine

    Lambert, thank you so much for posting the two videos from Prof. Measheimer and Dan Cohen’s interview with Scott Ritter. It was a big investment of my time today, but well worth it. I now feel I have both a historical and current perspective on U.S. and Russian viewpoints on the Ukraine’s significance to their respective foreign policy objectives. Ritter, in particular, was emphatic about Russian intentions to destroy the Ukrainian neo-Nazis and also about U.S. complicity in supporting said Nazis since the end of World War II. Because I was watching those videos, I haven’t had time to peruse the always excellent comments here so I will do that now, but I wanted to be sure I expressed my gratitude to you first.

    1. judy2shoes

      I saw that when I made a mad dash into and out of Twitter. Made me think of all the times people have referred to the current crop of MSM reporters as stenographers. Now it’s clear they just copy and paste, which is what I’ve found in my local newspaper. It is boring, but it’s also clarifying.

        1. judy2shoes

          LOL! No, Rev, I’d completely forgotten it. That’s even more clarifying.
          Thanks for my morning laugh!

    1. The Rev Kev

      Maybe his Boring Company can build a tunnel from Kiev to Poland for Zelenski and his buddies to escape with.

  48. Anthony G Stegman

    If Russia fails to quickly subdue Ukraine entirely it will likely become bogged down in an unwinnable war. The West will continue to send weapons to Ukraine (very profitable for American, French, and British weapons producers). Russia needs to crush the Ukraine military before all this additional military hardware has any utility. If Putin is being “measured” he will lose.

    1. ChrisRUEcon

      Lambert, you did not write “From 2015, but still germane” in describing this video, and now I have to pick my jaw up off the floor … LOL


    1. JBird4049

      Who knows? IIRC, China has to import some of their food.

      What is missing from all these analysis
      is that few countries are true autarchies. It is much like August of 1914 with everyone missing that they need something from other countries. Food, machine parts, fertilizer, oil, something. It was what the war and its immediate aftermath so unpleasant as countries were being starved out or having shortages. Not enough to destroy a country although that was a cause of the German collapse, but enough to make life unpleasant and fighting difficulty after the first year when all the stockpiles were used up.

      Of course, here in Neoliberaland there are no stockpiles in the United States. The Chinese are pretty ruthless, but it is hard to get people to starve themselves to feed you.

      Interesting times.

  49. VietnamVet

    The tragedy is that the Onion is not satire but the truth; “U.S. Shocked Russia Would Invade Another Country After Seeing How Badly America’s Recent Invasions Went”. The neoliberal Western Empire baited the Kremlin and suddenly found it bites back hard. The five-eyes intelligence fiefdom is damn good at using ethnic wars to fund itself.

    I am so old I served with lifers who guarded the Fulda Gap in Germany. To them Vietnam was always secondary. If the Russians invaded you only had days left to live. NATO worked in the first Cold War. LBJ dispatched the finest draft national army in the world to S.E. Asia and ground it up until it disappeared. Neoliberal NATO failed like the rest of western government. There is another Iron Curtain drawn across Europe. Either Russia stops its advance, West Ukraine is turned into a guerrilla war tying down Russian Forces, or tactical nuclear weapons will be used destroy Russians massing for invasion of Bulgaria and Poland.

    This is not a happy thought here, but World War III has started. All the wargames indicate when NATO and Russia start shooting at each other it is Apocalypse Now. If not and we survive, there will be severe food and energy shortages, unrest, pandemic illness, and regional summer wildfires/heat domes and winter freezing unheated/polar vortexes across the Western World with failed nation states unable to deal with the multitude of crises.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Without a multiyear build up, modern weaponry requires a country to have a forward bases to strike first, the would-be bases the Russians hit.

        I saw some speculation on Kiev tanks. The commentary missed the problem is that tanks don’t run on freedom. If the west intervened bridges would get hit. Then it’s a war of missiles, planes, and anti air craft, and the West has been playing games about carriers and drones. Even now he’s calling for a new carrier. There is a reason the carriers aren’t there now.

        Europe and the settler state successors are having a hard time with the end of the age of sail.

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