Links 3/1/2022

Yves here. For those of you with strong constitutions, the State of the Union is at 9:00 PM EST. Lambert will be opening up a live blog (more of an open thread) at 8:30 PM. Hope to see you there!

Sorry that Ukraine ate links.

Determined Tabby Cat Does Crunches at the Gym Laughing Squid (David L)

Professor Asks Students To Send Photos of Their Dogs Doing Homework and the Whole Internet Joins In My Modern Met (David L)

Puppies Destroy Giant Bean Bag And Innocently Nap In The Ruins Animal Rescue (David L)

Tyrannosaurus rex may have been three species, scientists say Guardian

Four Years On, New Experiment Sees No Sign of ‘Cosmic Dawn’ Quanta (David L)

Europe’s Mars rover ‘very unlikely’ to launch in 2022 BBC. Kevin W: “Related article ‘Putin stripped of honorary taekwondo black belt’:”

Landmark trial compares LSD and psilocybin trips, finds few differences New Atlas (David L)



Possible case of deer-to human Covid infection identified in Canada Guardian. From scientist GM:

The mutations in question are also the ones found in mink. And they made it less fit in humans

So not much to worry about here for the near-term future.

Effectiveness of the BNT162b2 vaccine among children 5-11 and 12-17 years in New York after the Emergence of the Omicron Variant MedRxIv. Reuters version: Pfizer/BioNTech COVID vaccine less effective in ages 5-11 -New York study


China reports 249 new Covid cases, including dozens from Hong Kong RTE (guurst). By contrast, 7 day average for Alabama, with fewer than 5 million people, is 869. And with more home testing, that’s sure to be an undercount.

Hong Kong residents empty store shelves as lockdown looms Financial Times


How the CDC Abandoned Science Tablet (Li)

Is Manhattan’s Back-to-the-Office Moment Finally Here? The City


Moderna faces new lawsuit over lucrative coronavirus vaccine Washington Post


The UN’s climate report highlights the dangers of natural solutions MIT Technology Review (David L)

Germany Aims To Get 100% of Energy From Renewable Sources By 2035 Reuters


People’s Republic of Florida? How Republicans’ rhetoric echoes that of Russia and China South China Morning Post

The student, the Penguin and the king: elite Thai university roiled by dissent Guardian (furzy)

Old Blighty

London Tube Strike Causes Chaos for Commuters Bloomberg

New Not So Cold War

Ukrainian sailor in Majorca tried to sink yacht of Russian boss BBC

How I’d fight back if the Russians invaded Nantwich, by a man from Nantwich Daily Mash

Missile hits center of Ukraine’s second-biggest city BBC. Big admin building. Also has some shots of the residential building, see below.

Russian Rocket Barrage Kills Civilians as First Talks Show No Progress New York Times. All we have are narratives around data points…

As Lambert warned, who knows what the situation on the ground is. But one take:

The Consequences of Humiliating Russia Michael Brenner Consortium News. Important.

Greater Russia is now a full-spectrum commodity superpower, less vulnerable to sanctions than Europe itself Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph. Important. Not paywalled. Very good detail. Note our post yesterday on the partial cutoff from SWIFT. The TL;DR version is they were so leaky that they weren’t even remotely the hammer blow that Western analysts thought they were (although in typical Keynesian beauty contest manner, the belief they’d be crippling did a number on the rouble and the Russian stock market). This piece gives a more fundamental take on why Russia is in a very defensible position:

So while there is brave and condign talk of crippling sanctions against Russia, it is the West’s pain threshold that is about to be tested. My presumption is that Fortress Russia will endure this contest of self-reliance more stoically than Europe’s skittish elites….

So one watches the western pantomime over sanctions with a jaundiced eye, knowing that almost everything being discussed is largely beside the point, and that only military strength matters when push comes to a 200,000-man military shove.

Having said that, AEP is a hard core Tory and believes that Putin wants to hold Ukraine, as opposed to get a set of arrangements that will make it a buffer zone.

BNP to Pictet Freeze Billions in Funds as Russian Assets Plunge Bloomberg

Putin Faces Existential Crisis As Ruble, Economy Collapse Overnight Heisenberg Report (resilc). Did someone not get the memo that Russians have no problem buying and selling to each other in roubles (oh, save maybe having to no longer use ApplePay to do that)? That Russia’s trade sector is only about 5% of GDP? That Russia has enough food and fuel? That where it will have trouble is autos and airplanes but with Russian commercial flights now largely domestic, it can get by just fine with its current fleet? Oh, and with designated commodities trades being outside the freeze, along with some banks, this blockage is looking sieve-like?


How the Crisis in Ukraine May End Atlantic (David L). FWIW, I find these scenarios to be weird. Most fail the McKinsey MECE standard, “Mutually exclusive, collectively exhaustive.” But this sort of prognostication, particularly in an overly dynamic situation, resembles making market predictions. There the cardinal rule is, “If you must forecast, forecast often.”

Top U.S. Senate Republican calls on Biden for 5% increase in military spending Reuters

Putin the Apostate Matt Taibbi. A very detailed history but then not well supported speculation re now, such as the claim that Putin would pulverize Ukraine.

What should you do in case of a nuclear explosion? U.S. government updates guidance Fox5DC (Kevin W)

Putin has Gambled Everything on His Snap-Invasion of Ukraine, Now His Political Survival in Russia is in Doubt CounterPunch

Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine in Perspective Energy Intelligence Group (guurst)

What Russia Wants From Its Invasion of Ukraine—and Why Zelensky Is Evil Gonzalo Lira, YouTube (bwilli123). Similar to Gilbert Doctorow except for the “Zelensky is evil” bit.

Zelensky’s Saakashvili Moment Ron Paul Institute. Ouch.

Ukraine makes strange bedfellows India Punchline. More ouch.

Russian invasion could change the world order Responsible Statecraft (resilc). Um, our David pointed that out the morning of the invasion. Key sentence: “Indeed, Russiagate’s central storyline was about Ukraine.”

Russian models back on OnlyFans after saucy clip ‘ban’ while Putin wages war on Ukraine Daily Star (resilc)

Pelosi says Congress will provide any economic help Ukraine needs The Hill. Resilc: “But not here in USA USA.”

Chancellor Scholz Takes the Plunge: Germany Completes Historic Foreign Policy About-Face Der Spiegel

Putin’s Nuclear Threat Scott Ritter, Consortium News (furzy). Important. Scott Ritter explains that Putin was responding to a NATO threat.

‘Yes, He Would’: Fiona Hill on Putin and Nukes Politico v. US sees Putin nuke threat as posturing The Hill


Desperate Afghans sell kidneys amid poverty, starvation . ma: “Hope Joe doesn’t forget to highlight this in his SOTU.”

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Satellite outage knocks out thousands of Enercon’s wind turbines MarketsScreener. Kevin W: “IOT ouroboros. ‘There was no risk to the turbines as they continued to operate on “auto mode,” the company said.'”

Imperial Collapse Watch

Failing US Navy Warship Still Can’t Perform Mission Bloomberg (guurst)


Everything old is new again: When accountants bail out loudly Francine McKenna


Biden’s State of the Union speech needs to show the US a clear map out of economic trouble even as he deals with Ukraine, Democratic strategists say Business Insider. Good luck with that. You heard it here first: if the West keeps trying to hurt Russia with sanctions and Russia is successful in diverting key commodities to Asia, it’s entirely possible we’ll see the YoY inflation rate 3% higher by fall. And what will that do to Dem fortunes?

Our Famously Free Press

Twitter To Label Tweets Linking To Russian State Media SecurityWeek

Consumer watchdog fires warning shot to lenders over abusive auto repos as used-car prices soar MarketWatch

UC Berkeley loses CRISPR patent case, invalidating licenses it granted gene-editing companies STAT

Antidote du jour (bob):

And a bonus (guurst):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here

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  1. Altandmain

    Despite the constant portrayals in the mainstream media, I think that the majority of the general population in the Western world does not seem to be too invested in what us happening in the Ukraine and certainly is against Western intervention.

    I think that with inflation rising faster than wages, most people have enough on their plate.

    Among the general population, I am noticing a trend. The upper middle class seems more interested in a serious confrontation with Russia.

    I think that it is because the working class would be the one that would actually be expected to fight and die, so it is super easy for the upper middle class to support the position of risking a major war.

    The Working Class has a very deep sense of cynicism, having been lied to repeatedly in the past. I also get the feeling that there is the belief the war is simply not worth fighting for.

    Another is that the working class, already living paycheck to paycheck, is going to be hit harder by any hypothetical sanctions. Food price increases, fuel price increases, shortages of critical exports supplied from Russia, etc. Sanctioning a larger nation like Russia is not like sanctioning a small, weak nation. I wonder if the rising costs will force the politicians to relent, especially once inflation inevitably worsens due to their recklessness.

    Looking around, I get the feeling that the politicians are willfully ignorant about the mood of the general population, or if they know, are desperately trying to build support for war.

    1. Sam Adams

      Or to bring it down to earth, the geriatric democratic leadership looking at a wipe-out in 2022 midterm elections needed something big to rally around. The media and its talking heads, bereft after the daily Trump circuses, is ginned up with a whole new career making show so is waiting at the stage door.

      1. Questa Nota

        The dem leadership has plenty of company on the rep side in their continued attempts at fatuous posturing and empty sanctioning. They demonstrate in the Ukraine situation and elsewhere that they are the epitome, or maybe nadir depending on point of view, of the schmendrick.

        Don’t expect many truths to be told in or about the SOTU, outside of the Tell Your Truth variety mutation.

        1. Oh

          I wonder who Uncle Joe is gonna trot out at the SOTU? I expect someone acting as a refugee from Ukraine.

          1. Pate

            No doubt. Always a favorite part of the program(ming) for me, too. But I read somewhere no “guests” tonight because if Covid.

    2. Arizona Slim

      I’ve noticed the same thing here in Tucson. The big news in my neighborhood is the increasing number of empty houses, and people are wondering what will happen with them.

      Oh, I might add that it now looks like I’m the acting president of the neighborhood association. Our president is having health problems, with no end in sight.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I’m guessing that if there is ever a neighborhood association meeting to be held, that you will insist that it be done in the open air with people spaced apart while still wearing masks. If people complain about the sun, tell them to bring a sun-umbrella.

        1. Arizona Slim

          Thank you, Reverend and cocomaan. Our last association meeting was done via my Zoom account, with me as the emcee.

          If I’m still acting president for our next meeting, I want to host a potluck party in the park that’s just west of our neighborhood. If people want to wear masks and stay socially distant, that’s their choice. I won’t be mandating anything.

    3. cocomaan

      This warmongering as the country falls apart reminds me of the French making war during the French Revolution.

      What was surprising to everyone is that France went out and generally did well on the field.

      Why even bother to listen to the populace when you know it can be done and done easily?

      1. Altandmain

        The US will almost certainly do worse in any war. I would not be surprised if the US did well below expectations, to be honest. I suspect many on NC share that sentiment.

        The French at least had competent military commanders – Napoleon Bonaparte, despite his later mistakes, is still considered a very capable military leader.

        Somehow I doubt the US has anyone similar – it is all about the rich these days.

        Another issue is, there is a reason to help the populace. The message to Russia and China has been “be like us”. Be a liberal capitalist democracy. As flawed as they were during times like the McCarthy period or the Vietnam War, the early half of Cold War American leaders understood that they had to provide a high standard of living to win the moral war. That’s partly why they were New Dealers. This current generation of leadership is too shortsighted to do even that.

    4. Louis Fyne

      Twitter is not Main Street USA. DC-NY pundits might be in for a rude awakening when Biden’s I am a War President bravado falls flat.

      People care more about rent, gas, chicken, and bread

      1. jonboinAR

        Out here where I live, in gen-you-wine flyover country, most of those I talk to have been on the “Let’s Go Brandon” bandwagon for quite some time, probably since the election. People replace their Trump signs as they grow tattered with fresh new ones. They seem to treat it sort-of as a team sport. Their side never cheats. The other never acts in good faith. It’s “Biden’s inflation”, stuff like that. Everything was peachy until he got elected. I exaggerate, but not greatly.

        Yet, despite the fact that this would be “Biden’s War” should it grow actually hot for the US and begin to go badly, I have been surprised at hearing, at this point, an almost universal condemnation of Russia, especially of their leader, Putin. I’ve encountered, for example, no nuanced recognition that Russia has undeniable strategic interest in the politics of Ukraine or that the US in any way might have provoked Russia into taking extreme measures. It’s only “Putin is evil -psychotic -like Hitler”, (put in your own demonizing adjective). I can’t remember in the past week or so, hearing any defense of Putin or Russia, even mild. I have heard a couple of remarks about how it would not have come to this had Trump still been President.

        Well, the extent of rallying against Russia and Putin, locally, has blindsided me a little. I figured that the near universal criticism of Biden in the past year would inspire at least a bit of taking Russia’s part, as Putin and Biden are at odds, currently. I’m guessing right now that the psychology that applies is the one where you may fight with your cousin, but when someone attacks him, the focus of your enmity changes to that more distant enemy. There may be distant memories of the Cold War. The constant anti-Russia barrage by the main-stream media may have actually had an effect, even though these type of folks pretend that they don’t believe the main-stream media. It’s influence still may have seeped in more that a person might realize. In any case, the readiness around here to condemn Russia in a little bit of what I’d call a knee-jerk reaction has me a bit concerned. If my deplorables are reacting to the war news that way, and the PMC are too, could that be some kind of momentum building?

        Maybe others are finding a different story around where they live.

        1. Pate

          I’m always been amazed at how those who hate all things gubment love the most powerful aspect of government – the mic and it’s wars. I guess one side likes guns and the other butter (and butter is not on the menu these days).

          1. Altandmain

            For many in the working class, the grim choice is to work in a minimum wage job or join the military.

            Combined with a lot of propaganda, the military escapes the negativity associated with the US government.

        2. Copeland

          I sense the same zeitgeist in my part of flyover (Jets going back and forth overhead from Seattle/Portland/SF/LA).

          Another part of it might be the very large percentage of military families in my area. I really can’t wrap my head around anything pro-military in the USA, having had no exposure to any of it in my family or friends, but if your great grandpa, grandpa, dad, mom, wife, cousins and friends have all served in the military you must necessarily look at all of these events differently. After all, wars have been putting food on their table for generations.

  2. Steve H.

    > Covid: virus found replicating in testes nearly a month after death—


    > correction to the my headline here—26 days after infection—not death—sorry for any confusion caused**

    1. JTMcPhee

      Still made for some sudden involuntary shrinkage, with unwonted visions of mass castrations to halt the plague…

      Do the nasty viruses also hide and replicate in ovaries?

      1. shoeless

        Don’t know, but Malone pointed out the “vaccine” targets the reproductive system. “These alterations in menstruation were believed to represent hysterical women. The CDC is now acknowledging it. The thing is that the ovary drives menstruation. Hormonally, the ovary drives menstruation. When we’re seeing altered menstrual cycles, we’re seeing the phenomena of post-menopausal woman starting to bleed. That’s a hallmark that something’s going on in the ovaries. And we know that these lipids are going to the ovaries. We know that these are synthetic, abnormal […] that insert into membranes and change the charge of cell surfaces. That’s all true. So all we have is this trail of breadcrumbs and, unfortunately, apparently, the FDA made a determination that they would treat these products using their standard checklist approach for a standard vaccine, and they did not use the checklist that they would use for gene therapy. And, furthermore, they didn’t make any special accommodation for the novel nature of this technology.”

    2. ambrit

      First, is this also applicable to the mRNA “vaccines?”
      Second, this being the testes, is there a danger of increased mutagenicity as a side effect?
      Third, also testes related, will this affect sperm counts, and thus population replacement rates?
      Fourth, this happening in an EUA regime, will the needed testing even be done?
      My Inner Cynic is whispering in my ear that this is a case of “The ends justify the means.”

  3. Steve H.


    > In short, this is the world’s first open-source war. If that’s not dangerous enough, this open-source swarm is attacking the world’s leading nuclear power .

  4. griffen

    Reuters headline about a defense spending increase, within the article it actually reads “at least a 5% increase in defense spending above inflation.” So, more like 12 to 13% increase?

    If only our defense sectors and MIC had everything they need. \ sarc

  5. Ian

    In some people’s eyes, I’m upper middle class.

    That means I went to college and took history. History indicates that Russia will not stop when it annexes Ukraine. In fact, it will never stop until it is *stopped.* A fact even China has not yet digested.

    My mother was from Estonia. My grandfather spent time in a Siberian gulag. My uncle was forcibly drafted into the russian army to act as shock troops. We know what russian occupation looks like. Either Putin is stopped now or your children will fight him for decades, assuming they are not under his thumb.

    Because in the end, that’s where this goes. He’ll never stop on his own. Ever.

    1. OIFVet

      It appears that “You dropped $150,000 on an education you coulda got for $1.50 in late fees at the public library.” ~ Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting

      1. Carolinian

        LOL. I’m not sure any of us way over here know fully what’s going on with Putin. And the blackout of real news doesn’t help one bit. Thanks Yves for all the Ukraine links.

        But arguably Biden, someone we do know a lot about, is making things worse with over the top sanctions and offers of still more weapons (the match that set it off). Turns out if you keep calling someone your enemy you eventually get what you asked for–an enemy with nukes.

        1. OIFVet

          There is a fairly straightforward concept for that in psychology: ‘self-fulfilling prophecy’.

          I apologize for the snipe at Ian. It’s just that it’s rather disingenuous to justify opinions that seem to be colored by family history with one’s history study in college. Still, my apologies to Ian.

          1. Pate

            “opinions that seem to be colored by family history”

            This was my take as well. We all talk our own book – all of us imprismed by our own story.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Sorry, but I am not buying it. Russia wants to annex the Ukraine like the US wants to annex present-day Mexico meaning not at all. It too would be a financial sink-hole of treasure and manpower that would never end. OK, your family has a bad history with the Russians but where does it end? How many generations have to go by re-fighting the battles of the 20th century? I have met some Irish who are still burning with resentment about some battle fought with the English a coupla centuries ago and who let it effect their present day attitudes.

      1. Boomheist

        I agree with Rev Kev. Looking at this entire thing – ie since 1991 Russia and Ukraine – the one thing Russia has demanded and the West has refused to even consider is Ukraine becoming a neutral state midway between Russia and the West, not in NATO. Not once. Pundits cannot even imagine this it seems. My guess last night was Zelinsky could say to Putin OK, we won’t go in NATO if you withdraw and we will implement Minsk and Putin would have taken it, however much he also wants NATO to move back west. That was and is an offramp for him. Now this morning I see Zelinsky amping up demands for EU membership and no fly zones, and pundits howling that, “see, that was why we expanded NATO east, see what Putin is doing” and all of the West is declaring economic war on Russia.

        We are cornering Putin, I think with some of the neocons and others thinking this is a chance to taker out the Russian Federation altogether. We have declared economic war, and the longer it goes on, the more WW3 is assured. Now think about it. Assume for a moment this happens without a nuclear firestorm, maybe just war with tactical nukes. Russia has food, energy, resources, and a population that has grown into the 21st century after several generations of widespread suffering. They can suffer it out, forever. They will suffer it out, as they have before. Can Europe suffer it out similarly? Where is their energy supply for next winter? They might be able to grow their food, but….And as for we here in the US, freaking out about masks and that tyranny (!!!!) and inflation, a population now three or four or even five generations removed from the kind of bare knuckle survival the Russians know all too well, how do you think that will play?

        My take here is if we declare a no fly zone we are in WW3. If we don’t, but continue to try to crush Russia with economic war, Russia will cut off the gas and the oil and the minerals, and then it will be which bloc can suffer it out the longest. Here in the US we will have food and even energy, but the suffering?

        My prayer is that Zekensky comes out and gives Putin the off ramp (ie no NATO for Ukraine) and Putin takes it. If Zelinsky did that, of course, the West will be outraged, the Neocons furious. But Zelinsky is trying to balance the West and an enraged bear, now flailing and furious in his own country. Biden could help tonight, too, with what and how he says whatever he will say. But we are now so into war-jingoism and posturing and outrage, so driven to break Putin entirely, that I am not sure anyone has the courage to face the facts.

        There is another thread, too, creeping beneath all of this, a chilling one, which was gathering among many countries these last years, the right wing authoritarian religious white supremecist (Aryan?) collective which was and may still be making inroads in all Western countries, rooting for Putin and his approach, the cultural alignment between Putin’s actions and cultural threads in the West, now perhaps somewhat derailed by Putin’s invasion……

        1. lyman alpha blob

          Check out that “Ukraine makes strange bedfellows” link above. The author is claiming that Israel is not at all fully on board with the US position here because both Israel and Russia have a pretty legitimate beef with nazis. Also the Israel had earlier refused to bring its missile defense system into Ukraine as the US wanted. There was also a UN referendum condemning Nazis from last December. Political posturing to be sure, but how hard would it have been to vote for it? Seems like a no-brainer. The only two countries to vote against it? The US and Ukraine.

          The world is a complicated place.

          1. Andy

            I don’t think it’s primarily about Israel having a beef with Ukrainian Nazis (whom they have supplied with weapons after all). Russia gives Israel more or less free reign to bomb “Iranian targets” in Syria and going too hard against the Russians would jeopardize that arrangement. There is also a lot of money flowing between Israel and Russia and some very wealthy Russians have dual citizenship and homes in Israel.

    3. Samuel Conner

      One wonders, in parallel with your reflections, what the natural end-state of US hegemony is. That seems to be non-negotiable, doesn’t it?

      Perhaps we’re headed for the tri-polar world of perpetual conflict foreseen by Orwell.

      1. Procopius

        We don’t really know that the world of “1984” was tri-polar. In fact, I would say that world has a single government, somehow, else how could they change their war enemies so easily?

    4. OnceWereVirologist

      For every Alexander, Napoleon, or Hitler there’s a hundred far less well-known national leaders who went to war to claim a piece of useful territory, or to reach more defensible borders etc. etc. and then indeed did stop. So the lesson of history is not all what you’re claiming.

      1. Eustachedesaintpierre

        I think that Putin is wise enough to leave those potential hornet nests such as Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary etc in order to keep the EU busy. It’s not as if they are lucrative unless you need cheap labour or agricultural land grabs – Russia doesn’t need Lebensraum.

        1. OnceWereVirologist

          Exactly. People who say “So-and-so will never stop if we don’t fight now” can be found in the lead-up to every war and they are wrong 99 times out of 100. I’ve never seen any evidence that Putin is the 1 in 100.

          1. Val

            The Balts really do believe Putin wants their bog, but they have no interest in discussing grandpa’s early and persistent political enthusiasms.

            Looking at the map, we can see the Russians are again breathing new life into the classics.

            Looks like the Western apparatus is going to do everything the revisionists expect them to do, and this before the indispensables get halfway through Kubler-Ross.

            There wasn’t this degree of apoplexy when the Rus joined their Syrian peeps in blowing up the qaeda, but there are other events that require a diligent smokescreen and repurposed anxiety objects.

      2. Polar Socialist

        Oddly enough, two of the three conquerors you mention were stopped by the same European state.

      3. Jessica

        Two little known examples:
        When the Nazis annexed Czechoslovakia, Poland also took a little piece. Only a few villages, I think.
        Then when the Nazis and Soviets seized Poland, Lithuania seized Vilnius. Vilnius had long ago been the Lithuanian capital, but at the time the overwhelming majority was Polish or Jewish. Not for long.

    5. pjay

      I would never demean the experience of your grandfather, uncle, or other family members. But of course Putin has family experience and reads history as well. Please read his February 24 address on the invasion, and point out to me the paragraphs or even sentences that are false. This is not to justify Russia’s actions, but to point out that we *all* see the world from our own particular bubble of information, experience, and bias.

      Unfortunately, much of our foreign policy establishment seems to hold your view that Putin and/or Russia are innately or historically or genetically predisposed to evil. Based on my own reading of post WWII history, especially after 1991, if I were forced to choose which nation the world should fear more, Russia or the US, it wouldn’t even be close.

      1. Synoia

        Upton Sinclair:

        It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.

    6. JohnA

      TBH, I think the kind of history you were taught is as described by Henry Ford in this case.

    7. upstater

      My mother was Lithuanian; we have second cousins there. All sides of the family suffered under Tsarist occupation, WW1 and WW2, the Soviet era and the ensuing collapse of the economy and population.

      One must never underestimate the visceral hate of the Baltics against the Slavs, Jews and the Asiatic “yellow peril” that I grew up with. The racism, bigotry and historical denial are astonishing.

      The primary reason there were Baltic republics in the interwar years was the UK facilitating the transport of Freikorps to wreck havoc and create “friends”. History rhymes as with NATO expansion.

      And we’d be remiss not to add that when the Nazis invaded, the Lithuanians had already begun killing Jews, trade unionists, Bolsheviks (there were plenty of natives) and the disabled (cf Jaeger Report). It was over in less than 6 months. The Balts were to be assimilated into the thousand year Reich and were willing participants.

      War and militarism are immoral. The Russians, however, have legitimate security concerns. There was no reason for matters to get to this point. I ask you Ian, given the record of the US wars and millions of deaths resulting from same, shouldn’t the lies and warmongering of the US also be stopped?

      Nearly a million Covid deaths here, but we need WW3?

      1. Mark Gisleson

        Yesterday on Twitter a college professor remarked that his Ukrainian grandparents really, really hated Russians. I asked him how they would have felt about the Soviets adding Russian territory to Ukraine and how they would have felt about the Russian speakers in Ukraine.

        Several people told me I was rude and what on earth did that have to do with anything.

        Mostly older college professors in that thread, btw.

        1. Wukchumni

          Timothy Snyder’s: Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin lays bare where the hate comes from, as Stalin systematically starved out the Ukraine in the early 1930’s.

          1. SES

            Wasn’t Stalin Georgian, not Russian? And didn’t he starve out much of the peasantry in other parts of the Soviet Union as well?

            To establish my lived-experience-by-proxy bona fides, I should mention that my mother’s side of our family in Galicia was completely liquidated by Stalin.

      2. Mildred Montana

        As a native-born Canadian, I admit to little understanding of Eastern Europe. My father was born and raised in the Memel region (known today as Klaipeda) as was my aunt. Both seemed to be Lithuanian and/or German interchangeably, although my aunt preferred to be German and my father Lithuanian. He was fond of “Lithuanian-izing” the names of his German friends and was strongly anti-Semitic. He served the Nazis as an army doctor in WWII. A family photograph of the time shows him wearing the German helmet though he purported to be Lithuanian.

        I don’t know. The whole of Eastern Europe seems to be an area of shifting borders and populations, a hotbed of nationalistic fervor and animosities. At times, as witnessed by WWII, everybody apparently hates everybody.

        How can anyone raised and living on the island of North America possibly comprehend what is happening today?

        1. anon y'mouse

          everyone doesn’t hate everyone else here in N. America?

          ohwait. that’s right, you’re Canadian.

          come down and spend time in your southern neighbor and you’ll find the same thing holds here, and for even less sensible reasons than in the olde countries.

          1. HotFlash

            I sometimes wonder that the First Nations people don’t murder all us settlers in our beds. Perhaps it helps to be of European stock to hold a grudge for centuries? Mr. HotFlash remembers a time when somebody invaded somebody else and his Slovak-born mother wouldn’t speak to his second-generation Polish father for a week.

      3. Eclair

        Gosh, yes, the Lithuanians (my paternal grandparents emigrated from there) have a terrible rep for deadly anti-semitism. In college in the late 50’s, I went home during a break with a Jewish dorm mate. Her parents had emigrated from Austria, if I remember correctly. Her mother, who had studied opera in her youth and still sang in the kitchen while whipping up delicious food, was aghast when my friend mentioned that I was half-Lithuanian. If she had been Christian, I swear she would have done the cross thing with her hands in front of her. “They killed all their Jews,” was all she said.

      4. lance ringquist

        and the balts were heavy into the nazi war machine. they helped to police the conquered nations of europe. lots of troops for hitlers conquests, freed up a lot of german troops for the front lines.

    8. Raymond Sim

      He’ll never stop on his own. Ever.

      Let’s stipulate that. Should somebody stop him? How should they do it? Should Estonia invade?

      With what resources could NATO ever, at any time in its history have stopped Russia from doing what it wanted in the regions along its border?

    9. The Historian

      I feel for the people of Ukraine but it is hard for me to get on either government’s side in this war. First, you have Russia and NATO misunderstanding each other’s security concerns and getting paranoid about each other and then you have oligarchs on both sides using the instability created for their own benefits. It’s like a cycle was created that could only end in war. I can’t hold either side fully culpable or fully innocent.

      1. HotFlash

        Can you explain to me how NATO is misunderstanding Russia’s security concerns? When the USSR (NOT Russia) moved some missiles into Cuba (in response to US nukes in Turkey) the USians went ballistic, and threatened to go nuclear. The bumper stickers and lawn signs said “90 miles away”. Ukraine is, I believe, right on Russia’s border. And considering that the US has consistently over the past 200 years built 800-some odd military bases in 70-some countries around the world and invaded about 70 countries since 1776, about 50 of them since 1945, I wonder how it can be perceived that it is Russia that ‘won’t stop’.

    10. Eclair

      Golly, Ian, one can say the same about England/UK.

      My peasant ancestors fled from the English-imposed famine in Ireland. Egyptians, Somalians, Ugandans … all were forcibly subjugated by the Brits. Then, there’s India. At least Russia doesn’t get into boats and hare off to other continents to find people to conquer. They go overland.

    11. XXYY

      My reading of history is that crazy people in the West keep trying to invade Russia, and the Russians have to keep driving them out one way or another. Napoleon, Hitler, and American Presidents since World War II, have all mounted massive operations to take over the Russian territory. The Russians fortunately managed to drive the first two out at unbelievable cost to themselves (22 million dead in the second case), and now, they have watched the slow-motion takeover Eastern Europe by NATO over the last 40 years with increasing alarm.

      As the West has ignored or abrogated one solemnly-negotiated treaty after another, it’s become obvious that a strategy of negotiations between Russia and her would-be invaders is not going to work, and is a fools pursuit (many others have reached the same conclusion at various times). The US is non-agreement-capable, as they put it (недоговороспособны). So I think the current events are a case of the Russians trying to speak a language Western leaders will eventually understand and respect.

    12. Kouros

      And where does the demand for Ukraine to be neutral military leads you to the conclusion that Russia will never stopped?

      It did stop at Austria, didn’t it. At Finland, who was a Grand Duchy in the Empire. OIFVet seems about right about the value of your degree and critical thinking.

      1. hunkerdown

        Their arrogant pride in their class status and class interest was the tell for me. People whose words speak well for themselves don’t have to pull rank.

    13. Pelham

      If what you say is true then it might be useful to draw a clear line somewhere that Putin shouldn’t cross, and that line should be one that we can enforce. Ukraine isn’t it. In fact, the Baltics may not be it.

      But European countries with half a billion people and a collective GDP bigger than ours ought to be thinking hard about where the line should be drawn and how they’re going to do the bulk of the work enforcing it while ensuring that they’re able to do so with secure energy and other supplies not provided by Russia or China.

      This would be a project requiring years if not decades to implement. But signs are they may be just getting off the dime only now.

      1. Tom Bradford

        Perhaps it would be more constructive to think hard about whether we need a ‘line’ at all.

        Oh, and at the risk of earning the condemnation of a depressingly large number of people I must confess that I listened to Tchaikovsky’s 6th Symphony last night.

  6. Roger Blakely

    RE: John Mayer and several members of his band tested positive for COVID.Mayer also had COVID in January. Repeated infections are not sustainable.

    Getting infected over and over again is my experience with SARS-CoV-2. I am not surprised that Adele canceled her performances in Las Vegas. Until SARS-CoV-2 learns how to act right, I think that live performances are out of the question.

    1. JTMcPhee

      I just learned that a close relative, a teacher in the NY public school system, has had four courses of the disease since 2020. Jeebus.

      1. Questa Nota

        For some of us, the ever-present Covid headache, going on three months, seems to be mitigated only by more caffeine. That isn’t a permanent solution but will have to do for now.

        1. Juneau

          I found migraine medicines (like imitrex/maxalt) put a dent in it, for a while at least. Sorry to hear you are having a 3 month headache that sounds rough. It makes everything more difficult.

        2. Mildred Montana

          I had what I believe to be Covid (untreated, undiagnosed) back in February 2020. I was, I guess you could say, an “early-adopter”.

          The onset was sudden (unlike the regular flu which gives one early warning signs in the form of muscle aches, sore throat, nasal congestion, etc.) Dinner at six feeling fine. In bed at 6:30 with severe chills and, as you mention, the worst headache I’ve ever had. It lasted three days and no OTC painkiller would touch it. By day three I was still in bed, sleepless and crying—yes, crying— from the pain.

          Briefly, other symptoms:
          1. Severe conjunctivitis. I ruined a pillow-slip with the gunk pouring out of my eyes. Like the headache, lasted three days.
          2. Loss of appetite. Again three days.
          3. The chills lasted four weeks, so bad that I couldn’t walk more than a couple of blocks without starting to shiver.
          4. The slight cough I had finally disappeared after five weeks.

          Though I never saw a doctor and was not tested for Covid (did they even do tests back then?), I am convinced that what I had was no normal flu.

    2. Sutter Cane

      I’m a musician who would like tour again (or even play a local show in a dive bar again) and this does not look good. And Mayer is a successful musician who can presumably afford the best doctors/care/testing for band and crew.

      Not like the music industry was ever easy for those less famous/successful than someone at a John Mayer level prior to this.

    3. Wukchumni

      If one of the dartful codgers in our over the hill ski group hadn’t e-mailed me saying he’d tested positive, I would have never suspected I would test + too, being asymptomatic.

      Lost my taste (some claimed I never had any) but it seems to be coming back, and that’s it. I’ve walked many a mile since without losing my breath or anything, and I know myself, so if Long Covid shows up, i’ll recognize it immediately.

      1. The Rev Kev

        It may very well be that all that long distance walking that you do has really conditioned your lungs well so you could cope with an attack of the ‘rona much better than most. I think that IM Doc has talked about this. If you had been a couch potato, the outcome may have been different.

  7. timbers

    Russian Rocket Barrage Kills Civilians as First Talks Show No Progress New York Times.

    Yah that totally fits in with Russian strategy – randomly attacking residential buildings. Strategy…a thing USA never seems to have in many of her wars errr liberations as soon as the TV cameras look away.

    Russia is weak, bogged down, facing stiff resistance, failing when she’s not blowing stuff up…and throwing military temper tantrums if someone says something mean to her at “talks.”

    The biggy – and mostly ignored in the West – is in eastern Ukraine and liberating the heavily Russian areas. Supposedly at least 10 Uki battalions are fleeing into a cauldron. That’s basically game over. That and securing a land bridge connecting Crimea and securing her access to water is my best guess at prime Russian priorities.

    Getting formal recognition from “Ukraine” of these facts and finding some folks to arrest in Odesa might also be in the mix.

    But what’s going on with Kiev? What benefit is there for Russia to “take” a 75% Ukrainian city she my take causalities in? Reportedly she open a corridor for folks to flee. But don’t understand what she’s doing with Kiev. And if Ukraine simply refuses to agree…so what? The West won’t recognize any agreement and just continue with other means to attack Russia.

    IMO secure you’re Russian brothers/sisters who want to be separate from Ukraine and get out.

    1. The Historian

      Whether the game is over yet is debatable. I don’t think Russia’s best and brightest generals are directing this war. I’ve already heard talks about Russian supply lines bogging down. Of course, that may be propaganda, but that column of tanks and vehicles staged for miles outside of Kiev makes no sense at all. The Russians have put themselves into a classic ‘Highway of Death” scenario If the Ukrainians can hold it off until they get their promised MIGS.

      I’m betting there are US commanders who would salivate if their enemy did anything like that.

      But yes, it is still a David v. Goliath war so who knows what will happen.

      1. timbers

        As I wrote…I don’t know what Russia wants in Kiev. Is it a diversion as she cleans up nuke sites? IMO makes no sense to take Kiev. As for the east yes that truly is 90% game over assuming Russia goal of liberating Russians and seriously disabling the “Azov Battalion” that has been killing her people is her primary goal as Putin stated. You may think is not, if you believe Russia has wider aims.

        1. The Historian

          I think those who say that Russia wants to set up a puppet government in Ukraine are probably right. Russia can’t do that without taking Kiev.

          1. timbers

            I see. Then agree with you, there is more to do it’s not 90% done and uncertainty exists.

          2. Tor User

            If Kyiv (which is not yet encircled, tomorrow maybe) falls, does that end the war? My opinion is no.

            Lukashenka, at his security council meeting today showed a map and talked through it. The map showed they and the Russians go to the Polish border. But not all the way south along the other NATO countries borders

        2. NotTimothyGeithner

          5 bridges per a highway map within the city across the Dnieper and ferry type traffic in a dense urban core. The approaches to the city are likely easier to manage.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        It makes sense if you understand that the infantry is screening for anti-tank weapons. Then the distances involved means even if the Ukrainians get planes, the anti-ground planes you would need aren’t getting through into the air space. Satellites know where artillery is, so for the most part they stay away. The Russians have likely destroyed every fuel depot and can hit any convoy necessary to help the Ukrainian army move.

        Only air power and other heavily armed vehicles can fight those columns.

        1. The Historian

          Think about this:
          What the Russians have done is tied up their hardware in that miles long formation and so the Ukrainians can concentrate their forces on the front of the line. The hardware in the middle and at the rear are useless – they can’t get to where the fighting is – they are held back by the front of the column.

          Ukraine’s air force is kaput but they have been promised MIGs. If they can keep the column from moving forward, they still have a chance.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Your point of view is based on questionable pilots getting enough planes and being a be to run sorties in sufficient numbers to outdo the Russian air force. Then though without roads, the vehicles can’t travel far, they can scatter into landscape and get back on the roads.

            What happened to the existing Ukrainian MIGs? They had an air force. Its why there is non sense about delivering planes. Then you have to consider what shape they are in. What you are describing is what to do if everything goes to plan. That’s the whole premise of air power.

            The Russians have satellites. They know if planes are being delivered. This isn’t like the Iraqis after six months of bombing.

          2. OIFVet

            Probably half of the Ukrainian forces are tied down in Donbass and in the South, and too busy trying to avoid encirclement to move toward Kiev. Then there are forces that are cut-off in cities like Kharkov. The Russians have screened Kiev from the West, so Ukrainian forces coming from the West will have some formidable victory to win before they can even reach that Russian column. Keep in mind, there is one corridor open to Kiev, and that is to the South. And it has been set up by Russian forces to let anyone who wants to get out of Kiev, and thus presumably under complete Russian control. At most, there is small areas of harassment around that convoy.

            The picture appears to be rather bleak for Ukraine, especially since they are hanging their hats on Borrell’s empty talk about MiGs. If any can be mustered, they would be Polish, and nowhere near 70. Bulgaria has five, count them again, 5 operational Mig-29s, and will not let them go, they are not enoughfor its own needs as it is. Similar picture in Slovakia. Su-25s, only a dozen in Bulgaria, that is it. And it will not send them to Ukraine, again they are needed here. Bottom line, Borrell was irresponsible to talk before he had any idea about plane availability, and Ukraine has fallen for yet another unicorn.

          3. OnceWereVirologist

            A little research shows that this is likely a pipe dream. Poland only has 30 Mig-29s of which several are two-seat trainers. As far as I can tell the combat jets are Mig-29As which means they are designed for air combat and very poorly suited to ground attack.

      3. OIFVet

        The promised MiGs are pretty much a mirage, just slightly more realistic than NATO membership for Ukraine. The fact that the Russians are able to do that 40 mile long convoy tells me, as a former military man, that they have absolute control over that particular airspace, confidence that that control isn’t about to be challenged any time soon, and near-total control over that particular land area.

        About overstretched and undersupplied lines, I don’t know. I tend to doubt it, but the next few days will likely provide some answers. For the time being, I tend to see that particular claim as a PsyOp. If the maps I’ve seen are any indication, the Russians have gained rather large ground, they have cut-off centers of resistance from resupply and are probing their defenses with movement to contact to provide a clear picture of Ukrainian positions to plan their assaults, and have likely secured their supply corridors. They have achieved this by tieing down large number of Ukrainian forces in the South and in Donbass using relatively small numbers of their own forces, and largely abstaining from massive artillery strikes and aerial bombardment. That’s rather impressive, though I am sure it has come with rather high (by US standards) manpower and material losses. Which in turn tells me that they are willing to pay some price in order to minimize infrastructure destruction and civilian casualties.

        Again, it’s impossible to be absolutely certain about anything given the near total information blackout. But based on the precious little that is available and verifiable, the above is most likely the actual picture on the ground. If so, the war is going fairly well for Russia, at least as far as metrics are concerned. I tend to doubt that this is a winnable war for them, even if they are indeed abstaining from US tactics that repulsed the population of Iraq, for example.

        1. Ignacio

          Thank you for your opinion. Unfortunately we have to rely exclusively on opinions but those that come with reasoning like yours add up. I sense that yours is well focused.

        2. The Historian

          Well, you all may be right. I’m relying on what the military people in my family say. My West Pointer brother who has studied military strategy (a required course at West Point?) sent me this link to show what lessons Americans learned from convoy transports:

          Conclusions start on page 120.

          Note that some of the lessons learned were to keep convoys small and maneuverable. That is not what the Russians are doing. In fact, my brother says that what the Russians are doing is no different strategically than the mistake the Persians made at Thermopylae which cost them dearly, even though they did eventually win. Remember that the Persians got themselves trapped in a narrow canyon where they could not bring their full forces to bear down on the Greeks.

          1. OIFVet

            Well, while no West Pointer myself, I would have to assume that Russian commanders are fairly competent and also have good picture of the situation. Based on this assumption, there are two possibilities:
            1. The Russians are in desperation mode
            2. The Russians are in complete control of the air and on the ground in that area
            I know which one the US wants to believe in. We will find out in 96 hours or so.

          2. NotTimothyGeithner

            West Point trains 2nd lieutenants. It’s not arcane, gnostic knowledge available to the elect. The Russians know what they teach.

            The questions are about force readiness and deployments. Assuming the Russians aren’t brain dead, a convoy that large is under heavy air support. The Russians aren’t the Iraqi army after six months of bombing.

          3. Andrew Watts

            The convoys are kept small to avoid enemy attack. By stretching out a convoy that long the Russians are projecting their confidence that they have air superiority and fear no attack on their logistical troops.

              1. NotTimothyGeithner

                Who knows? Mostly, the maps guys like b are sharing are byproducts of places where events are actually occurring. Given where the Russians are supposed to be, the question would be why the Ukranians would ever risk letting them get there. The civilian population of the capital is at risk, so my guess is they are totally uncoordinated, and they are in an area where they could be wiped out by starvation or artillery barrages.

                All the action is West of the Dneiper River for the most part. You should look at a map to see where this is. Maps explain everything. Rivers present a problem because outside of Kiev, there are 5 highways in total across the river. 3 are outright in Russian hands, and the other two are fairly close and appear to be in range, not just of Russian air power but their artillery.

                1. Kouros

                  My understanding is that the main action is in Donbass, where a cauldron is being prepared to capture 1/3 of Ukrainian Military that was positioned against LDPR

          4. The Rev Kev

            Last I heard, Russian officers are still required to study Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War” while I believe that West Point removed that from their required reading study list years ago.

        3. Andrew Watts

          I agree with you completely if that even means anything. The best units of the Ukrainian Army are to the east of the Dnieper River. Most of those troops were stationed along the line of contact. They are in no shape to assist Kiev in any way, shape, or form.

          The cities of Mariupol and Karkiv are surrounded and likely under artillery bombardment. There are videos on the internet purporting to show Russians troops patrolling the streets of Kherson already. I assume that once Mariupol falls they will head North to cut off the Ukrainians. At that point all forces left in Eastern Ukraine will begin to collapse.

          People need to stop watching the news for any basis of military analysis.

      4. jimmy cc

        it took 4 to 5 days for the soviets to encircle Stalingrad.

        Looking at a map, it appears the Ukrainian forces to the East have been encircled.

        That could be the plan, cut off and encircle the forces to the East, while harrassing and putting pressure on forces to the west, to keep them both from linking up.

        1. jimmy cc

          it took 5 months for the Russians to take Grozny in the 2nd Chechen War.

          To early to talk about Russians being ‘bogged down’ or ‘mopping up.’

          We have to give Time, time; before we will know anything.

        2. fringe element

          I was under impression that the Nazi-adjacent forces they are after are concentrated in Mariupol, hence the focus on that locale.

      5. Samuel Conner

        > supply lines bogging down

        several weeks ago (more or less; time runs differently for me since the pandemic started), cognoscenti were of the opinion that the apparent lack of large logistical buildup (a particular item I recall mentioned that specialist logistics units had not been forward deployed — IIRC there was skepticism whether the Rs even had sufficient transport to keep MLRS systems supplied with ammunition if they were to be heavily employed) suggested that the Russian forward deployment of combat units did not presage a soon intervention.

        The thought occurs that there might have been intentional misdirection in this regard. Gilbert Doctorow (for example in his recent “The Russian Way of War” and a comment on ‘day 5’) and some others think that the relatively sedate pace of the advance (compared with US approach in Iraq) is intended to minimize damage and casualties; in that case, it may not have been necessary to forward deploy as much logistical support as would have been required for a US-style immediate knockout blow.

        That’s all speculation, though. As Lambert noted recently, we know scarcely anything of what is happening. Doctorow notes that the Rs are maintaining operational security and the Us are likely shaping their reporting based on the needs of the government.

      6. Kouros

        Where are the Ukrainian planes? If the Russians feel they control the sky, to worry about the Highway of Death seems a bit far stretched.

    2. Tor User

      The Russians continue to grind on to their almost guaranteed ultimate success but have made a number of errors that will prolong this conflict.

      In my opinion a 3rd Russian mistake has been exposed

      1) The Russians went in light to make the takeover Ukraine be more palatable than otherwise to the West.

      2) The time delay from the 2/16 to 2/22 to launch the invasion has put a lot more strain on their logistical chain. Russian equipment has been running out of fuel well within the range of a single tank load – even accounting for cross country use.

      3) And now it appears that Russian embezzlement of the military’s radios contract see “Arslanov Radio Embezzlement” has left almost all but the elite Russian units using civilian analog radios. An entire hobbyist group has sprung up in the NATO countries bordering Ukraine listening in and recording the Russian units radio transmission; which are not encoded. The Ukrainian’s can be heard talking back to the Russians and jamming the Russian radio transmission by simply holding down the transmit key on their radio. This has slowed the Russian response to changing circumstances.

      But the inability of Ukraine to anything about that Russian column shows they are likely at their limits. I would give it about a 5% chance there will be any Migs or SU’s transferred to Ukraine. Someone got way ahead of themselves on that. Likely a finance guy :)

    3. VietnamVet

      PBS NewsHour last night mentioned logistics. Finally. As mentioned above, the Russian advance ran out of fuel. But, despite all the talk of EU buying Stingers to donate to the fight, NATO’s logistics is ever worse, almost impossible.

      Even if there is peace treaty, if Russian troops show up in Western Ukraine, a guerilla war will spring up due to existing contacts with western operatives and Galicia Province’s long history of being overrun by Germans, Poles, and Russians and fighting back. All NATO supplies will have to come in by ground from NATO members bordering Ukraine. There is no air or truck transport. Western reporters have to walk across the border.

      The resupply effort will have to equivalent to the Ho Chi Minh trail. Western Oligarchs want to profiteer but won’t pay a dime to UPS mercenaries to hand carry their equipment to the freedom fighters/neo-Nazis while dodging Russian artillery and air strikes. If NATO uses their troops for logistics or sets up border supply depots Russia will attack them. This and a no-fly zone likely will trigger a nuclear war. Also, Russia massing to attack NATO members Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria & Romania to halt the supplies can only be prevented by using tactical nuclear weapons first.

  8. The Rev Kev

    “The Consequences of Humiliating Russia”

    Yes, the West nostalgically celebrates the Yeltsin years as the Golden Age of Russian Democracy. So what was it like for the Russians? Here is Bill Clinton talking to Strobe Talbott back in ’96 about U.S.-Russian relations in the 1990s-

    ‘We haven’t played everything brilliantly with these people; we haven’t figured out how to say yes to them in a way that balances off how much and how often we want them to say yes to us. We keep telling Ol’ Boris [Yeltsin], “’OK, now here’s what you’ve got to do next – here’s some more s*** for your face.’”

  9. sinbad66

    Failing US Navy Warship Still Can’t Perform Mission Bloomberg (guurst)

    I have a friend who is a retired Command Master Chief Petty Officer. I had asked him about the Littoral class ships because of the bad press around them. He said they were “pieces of garbage” and knew, once he heard the concept of them, would never work. He knew they would be a nightmare to maintain because of their modular construction. Too big for Coast Guard use, but really too small to operate in the open seas effectively.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I’ve always wondered about building upgraded PT Boats from WW2. They were small, fast, inexpensive to build, valued for their maneuverability & speed and could pack a punch. But Rev, you say, they will never survive a hit from a modern missile. True, I say, but neither can those Little Crappy Ships so at least this way they are of proven value and you would lose less crew if fully lost-

    2. Michaelmas

      sinbad66: I had asked him about the Littoral class ships because of the bad press around them. He said they were “pieces of garbage” and knew, once he heard the concept of them, would never work.

      Worse than pieces of garbage. Death traps.

      In any shooting war in the context of offshore waters, where they were ostensibly built to operate, those ships have aluminum superstructures that would burn down to the waterline when hit by the first missile.

      I got this info not incidentally in 2002 from a Pentagon consultant at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, who called the whole concept “insane.”

      But they were profitable to the MIC. After all, those ships wouldn’t have been crewed by the children of MIC executives and the PMC, would they?

    3. russell1200

      I know someone that served alongside them. There are actually two very different designs. According to him one of them sort of works ok (I think it is the Independence class) and the other is absolute garbage (which if I don’t have them backwards would be the Freedom class). The Freedom class has been said to be capable if they could ever get their engines to work: so I think I have it correct.

      The Navy was going to hate them regardless of their quality. Our Navy is all about being a blue water navy and they are pushing into brown water (such as river gun boats) territory. That the United States has frequently needed brown water capabilities is beside the point. It is very much in the way the A-10 is not beloved by the Air Force brass. The Air Force doesn’t want to do close air support. It’s just that the A-10 works, and the public loves them, so the Air Force stays somewhat quiet about them – while trying to cancel them.

  10. The Rev Kev

    ‘For those of you with strong constitutions, the State of the Union is at 9:00 PM EST. Lambert will be opening up a live blog’

    Pass! Not this little black duck. But I salute those that do. You know what the trouble is? There is no background music for the State of the Union Speech like you have in the movies. So I am thinking of the Presidency of Joe Biden and what he has done in the past year or so. The obvious ones are throwing the whole population of the country to the virus while pushing for a thermonuclear war with Russia. So under Joe’s guidance, how will it go for the next three years as will be promised in this SOTU speech? Fortunately André Rieu came to my aid with a good selection- (4:37 mins)

    1. Eureka Springs

      Even if I had TV or bandwidth capable for viewing I could only endure it with a drinking game where one drinks at a sign of senility, absurdity and or the macabre. I wont even include sudden feelings of shame and embarrassment. Does Stoli sell an IV drip?

    2. Roger Blakely

      Happy Fat Tuesday. (Lent starts tomorrow with Ash Wednesday.)

      What ever you do, don’t make a drinking game out of the State of The Union Address.

  11. John

    Russia’s nuclear weapons should not be a problem as there use does not fit the narrative. However, Russia was supposed to acquiesce in whatever was done to them with perhaps a bit of writhing and twisting, but then Putin, who we were praising 20 years ago, turned out to actually have his own ideas, which did not fit the narrative either. Foreign policy is hard when the actors improvise instead of reading our script.

  12. Mikel

    “What should you do in case of a nucleaexplosion? U.S. government updates guidance” Fox5DC

    I read this just to see if they claimed getting a Covid shot would reduce chances of death or hospitilization from such an event.

    1. LawnDart

      “Call your doctor” if you feel sick from radiation poisoning and “keep six-feet apart” from any stranger who might be sheltering with you… …un-freakin-real.

      If the first indication isn’t a blinding white flash, you might notice that there’s a problem that’s a few minutes away from becoming dire when the cellphone quits working and the internet is down. Hopefully you have a deep hole to hide in for the next few months, if you’re unlucky enough not to be at ground-zero.

  13. A

    Just noting that “The Consequences of Humiliating Russia” is a piece by Michael Brenner, not Ian (Bremmer). The latter is a bien-pensant I would not actually expect Naked Capitalism to feature in Links.

  14. Mr Magoo

    Re: Zelensky’s Saakashvili Moment

    Seems to be a bit of a stretch wrt criticism of Zelensky. Sure, calling for a no-fly zone would be a likely start of WWWIII, but it is not something that must be done for domestic politics? Probably much more deserving than the 30 years of humiliation of Russia after the fall of the USSR at the hands of western democracies, particularly the US, sole for the purpose of their respective domestic politics.

    Unleashing prisoners to fight on the front lines – definitely subjective, but none of us are in the position Ukraine is facing at the moment.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I saw what Saakashvili was all about during the 2008 war. He was giving a pep speech to a small crowd in the open when Russian jets flew nearby. Even on a TV screen, you could actually see the fear in his eyes which was not helped when his bodyguards piled on top of him on the ground and covering him with bullet proof vests. So he was OK with him for other people dying and getting wounded but he never thought that it might be him at the receiving end.

  15. Tom Stone

    I’ll thank Lambert in advance for watching SOTU.
    It should be a happier event than last year what with the new Zients based guidance on Covid.
    No need for social distancing or mask wearing by the Congresscritters or their guests!.

    1. ambrit

      The Covids must be squeaking in anticipation. A target rich environment!
      However, someone posted the guidance from the Capitol Crew about the event yesterday(?). Full masking and social distancing and no guests allowed. Someone inside the Beltway is keeping an eye on “the real world Covid experience” and taking appropriate measures. We also keep reading reports that the Congressional apparat is taking “the drug that cannot be named” and other prophylactic measures.
      I know that hypocrisy is a given in politics, but this recent American version of politics has taken hypocrisy to an entirely new and higher level.
      A screen shot of the Members of Congress tonight will tell us the truth. Are they wearing masks or not?

      1. anon y'mouse

        “genuine protection for me and not for thee” shows exactly what is going on with these people and their motivations for their public guidelines, doesn’t it?

        oh sorry, that’s just my paranoia talking again.

        1. ambrit

          As long as you don’t start arguing with “Your Paranoia” out loud in public places, you should be fine.
          And yes, this is, as the inestimable Lambert likes to say, an “enlightening” moment.
          I am never going to trust in our Government again. Period. And I am definitely not going to “stand up and be counted” when “my Country calls.”

      2. antidlc

        All 535 members of Congress invited to Biden’s State of the Union address, but masks required

        Anyone attending the address will still have to follow COVID safety protocols.

        Per the memo, anyone attending the address in person will be required to present a negative PCR test, wear a K/N95 mask, and fill out a health attestation form. Social distancing will still be required. Boosters are “strongly recommended.” Members will also not be permitted to bring guests, as is usually customary in the pre-COVID era.

        The memo also noted: “failure to follow guidelines or removal of the mask in the House Chamber will result in the attendee’s removal from the event and/or fines.”
        Three Dem lawmakers test positive for COVID-19 ahead of SOTU

        Three Democratic lawmakers announced on Tuesday that they had tested positive for COVID-19 just hours ahead of President Biden’s first State of the Union address.

        Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) and Reps. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) and Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.) said they had tested positive for the virus in breakthrough cases.

        However, this report (dated Feb. 28)claims masks are personal choice:
        Capitol lifts mask requirement days before State of the Union

        Face coverings are now optional for President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address Tuesday, as Congress is lifting its mask requirement on the House floor after federal regulators eased guidelines last week in a rethinking of the nation’s strategy to adapt to living with a more manageable COVID-19.

    2. Screwball

      I’m going to watch a basketball game. My team is playing and I’m a die hard fan who gets pretty wound up. If I watched SOTU, I would get more wound up, but not in a good way. I honestly don’t think I could make it through the entire thing. But I think I know how it will go. I just read a Tweet sent out by the Democrats that read;

      President Biden’s diplomacy with our European allies has led to international unity against Putin.

      This is what leadership looks like.

      Alrighty then… Leadership my butt. I just went past the gas station and gas in Cornhole, Ohio is $3.58 a gallon or 87 octane. Highest it has been since…I don’t know. The girls in the store said people are not happy. No, tell me it ain’t so.

      I read Hillary was on Rachael Maddow last night yapping her pie hole about “democracy for Ukraine” yada yada yada. Where’s the barf bag – those two are stomach turning.

      So the SOTU will be how the current FDR in the White House has unified the world, created more jobs than anyone, ever. Appointed the most diverse and inclusive people to positions of government. He has helped raise hundreds of thousands out of poverty with the stimulus money (you still owe me $600 Jack). And best of all – he, like he told everyone he would do on the campaign trail – he nipped this virus right in the bud. Oh, and he can play the bag pipes while standing on one leg while riding on the back of a rhinoceros.

      The greatest president – EVER!!!!

      To thunderous applause by the PMC class.

      Well, at least you ain’t Trump, I’ll give you that. Not even that idiot tried to get us into WWIII or a nuclear dick swinging contest. These people can’t get beaten bad enough in mid-terms to suit me. I will never vote for another R or D in my lifetime. Their suckitutude knows no bounds. Family blog all of them.

      1. wilroncanada

        I’ll be watching basketball also, Screwball: the basketball Raptors, not the political ones.

  16. jr

    My friend who teaches in the Pennsylvania State system was just told last night that masks are now optional for his students. I turned him on to the gargles, nose sprays, and CBD oil. Ba$tards….

  17. Paradan

    What should you do in case of a nuclear explosion….

    So this propaganda blitz is generating some absolute gold.

    From the article above:

    “When a nuclear explosion occurs, the best location to seek shelter is in the basement or the in middle of a room in one of these places to avoid radiation exposure. If you have pets, make sure they are with you and protected.

    If a person is sheltering in place with individuals who are not their family, its important to keep a distance of six feet from them.

  18. Mikel

    Brenner/Humiliating Russia:
    “This is not to say that Russia’s political class has been bent on revenge for a decade or two – like France after its humiliation by Prussia in 1871, like Germany after its humiliation in 1918-1919, or like “Bennie from the Bronx” beaten up in front of his girlfriend by Al Pacino in Carlito’s Way. ..”

    But the line to remember is the one said by Gail to Carlito (Al Pacino): “Every instinct you have is going to get you killed.”

    Russia and China need Europe to feel humiliated enough to act. That hasn’t happened.
    Russia was feeling the heat and squeeze a bit more.
    China is biding time. They were at their most vulnerable during internal civil conflict and civil wars. It’s a main lesson they have learned.

  19. anon y'mouse

    that entire thread of videos of the bigmouth Ukrainian spewing out all of the plans of US is incredibly valuable. a quick synopsis of how all of these (attempted)”color revolutions” we’ve seen lately have been playing out, even here in the “homeland”.

    i would advise anyone who thinks they are going to get protests going around social issues to take a hard listen. thanks a million to Heshmat Alavi’s Trenchcoat.

  20. The Rev Kev

    “Ukrainian sailor in Majorca tried to sink yacht of Russian boss”

    I like how the BBC frames this story by having at the bottom an image of a very concerned Ukrainian mother and her toddler. Of course you have to wonder if you had another story saying. “Sailor on Majorca tried to sink yacht of Pzizer boss after losing family member to Pfizer’s vaccines” how they would frame that. But then again, would the BBC even publish such a story?

  21. Rolf

    Re: Pelosi says Congress will provide any economic help Ukraine needs.
    Wait — no PayGo/PayFor, Nancy? Oh, I forgot: that rule only applies to “entitlement” spending. On people in the US. That sort of thing.

      1. ambrit

        Ouch, ouch ouch!
        Seeing that this is Military Industrial Complex ‘investment’ funds, a perverse form of MMT is produced. The Government ‘spends’ money into existance only to destroy it, literally, when the weaponry the money enabled to be produced is used.

        1. anon y'mouse

          i have long thought that this is the entire point of such spendings.

          “we” can spend as much as we like making contractors rich, as long as it does nothing whatsoever to improve the lives of the peons living here.

          they might get ideas above their station. like that they have things called “rights” that were barely mentioned or only just nodded to in the Bill of Rights or Constitution.

          the right of Profit shall not be superseded.

    1. Wukchumni

      You’re as cold as ice cream
      You’re willing to sacrifice a farewell to arms

      You never take advice
      Someday you’ll pay the price, I know

      I’ve seen it before, it happens all the time
      You’re closing the Sub-Zero door, you leave the world behind
      You’re digging for gelato, you’re throwing away
      A fortune in face work, but someday you’ll pay

      You’re as cold as ice cream
      You’re willing to sacrifice a farewell to arms

      You want a NATO paradise
      But someday Ukraine will pay the price, I know

      I’ve seen it before, it happens all the time
      You’re closing the Sub-Zero door, you leave the world behind
      You’re digging for gelato, you’re throwing away
      A fortune in face work, but someday you’ll pay

      You know that you are
      (Cold as ice Cream) As cold as ice cream to me
      (Cold as ice Cream)

  22. Otis B Driftwood

    It occurs to me that the only China will come out of the Ukraine crisis in a better position.

  23. The Rev Kev

    “We were now been given so much weaponry, not because as some say, ‘West is helping us’…but because we perform the tasks set by the West, because we the only ones who are ready to do them, because we have fun killing and we have fun fighting”

    The first screen says that these guys were hired by Vitali Klitschko to serve as a municipal police but who would act more like vigilantes. But that Vitali Klitschko is a study in himself. A former successful boxer, he was one of the names floated by Victoria Nuland in that infamous recorded conversation as being someone to be given power in the Ukraine but ended up being shunted aside as Mayor of Kiev. But his beliefs have never changed, hence these ‘police’-

  24. macgregor

    You don’t get it. What matters for Russia is the illicit financial flows into the “ underground “ economy that is 46% of their GDP and relies heavily on foreign liquidity. The sanctions are going to take a real bite out of this area. No one is going to want to do business with the Russians as they don’t know who is going to get sanctioned and when. And don’t count on the Chinese bailing them out, China has it’s own liquidity headaches atm.

  25. Josh

    I voted for Walter Mondale when he ran for president. Can’t think of a single republican I’ve ever voted for. Even voted for Hillary, despite deep reservations about her.

    But I am reluctantly coming around to the view that my next vote might be TRUMP 2024. At least, he doesn’t believe what the State department tells him. Trump was only one president in recent history who didn’t invade/bomb/regime-change/etc. a foreign country. He even called off an attack on Iran after getting talking into it by Bolton.

    I’m probably kidding myself if I think Trump will be any better.

    What a f-ed up world.

    1. Mk

      I remember being in 1st grade during Regan’s re-election, and on election day, the teacher asked whose parents were voting for Regan, and I was the only one not to raise my hand. My parents voted for Mondale and I was so embarrassed by it.

      1. Wukchumni

        I’ve voted for Wink Martindale the past couple of elections, and ideally you’d want Wink Martindale-the game show host to be President, and Wink Martindale-the NY Giants defensive coordinator the Vice President, or was it the other way around?

        1. Pate

          Soupy Sales is my choice. Strong on defense (secretary of defense White Fang and Black Tooth national security advisor).

            1. Wukchumni

              Jim Cramer kind of reminds me of Soupy with his props, bells and assorted whistles-except Soupy’s audience wasn’t mad investors, but little snot-nosed kids like me.

          1. pasha

            Soup Sales started with a lunchtime kids show in detroit — loved watching it when i was home sick from school.

  26. pjay

    Re – ‘Putin has Gambled Everything on His Snap-Invasion of Ukraine, Now His Political Survival in Russia is in Doubt’ – CounterPunch

    – “So why did Putin do it? Explanations that he has gone mad or plans to rebuild the Soviet Union are propagandistic. More convincing as a reason for him taking this present extraordinary risk is hubris, which is an occupational disease among those who have been too long in power – 22 years in Putin’s case.”

    When I saw this article and its source, I figured it was written by Cockburn or St. Clair. Both of them – and also Frank – pretty much always argue: (1) the US empire is evil; but (2) the dictators who run the countries being destroyed by the US are also evil; and (3) anyone defending the actions of those dictators are ignorant useful idiots giving aid and comfort to red-brown fascists. Cockburn, as he demonstrates here, is more nuanced than the other two, pointing out some valid problems Putin’s actions have created. But most of his observations are less hysterical versions of the mainstream narrative. And blaming “hubris” while downplaying (or ignoring) the specific historical and geopolitical arguments for Russia’s actions made by Putin and other Russian officials simply echos that narrative as well.

    But then I’ve been consigned to the “dirtbag left” these days, so what do I know?

    1. Mark Gisleson

      Reading the comments at The Saker it appears that many folks there are quite unhappy with Counterpunch these days. St. Clair has been aggressively pro-vax and anti-Putin and it’s made an ideological mess out of their site.

  27. Wukchumni

    Oriole Lake in Sequoia NP itself is no great shakes, about 100 yards long and 40 yards wide, all 4 feet deep of it.

    What made it special to the Wukchumni tribe perhaps, it was the first body of water they would have encountered in the higher climes, giving it an outsized importance compared to my ho hum appraisal?

    The real prize is nearby in the guise of a glacial erratic, a sloping granite boulder about 25 feet long and 10-15 feet wide and 5 feet tall with 7 of the rather enigmatic basins sunk into it, along with 7 mortars for grinding acorns. 5 of the bathrubs are a dead ringer for the olympic rings.

    The basins are over 4 feet wide and sunk 3 feet deep, and the jury is out on whether the Native Americans made them, or was it some other event of a more natural occurrence?

    Meter-size granite basins are found in a 180-km belt
    extending south from the South Fork of the Kings River to
    Lake Isabella on the west slope of the southern Sierra Nevada,
    California. Their origin has long been debated. A total of
    1,033 basins have been inventoried at 221 sites. The basins
    occur on bedrock granitic outcrops at a median elevation of
    1,950 m. Median basin diameter among 30 of the basin sites
    varies from 89 to 170 cm, median depth is 12 to 63 cm. Eighty
    percent of the basin sites also contain smaller bedrock mortars
    (~1-2 liters in capacity) of the type used by Native Americans
    (American Indians) to grind acorns. Features that suggest a
    manmade origin for the basins are: restricted size, shape, and
    elevation range; common association with Indian middens
    and grinding mortars; a south- and west-facing aspect; presence of differing shapes in distinct localities; and location in
    a food-rich belt with pleasant summer weather. Volcanic ash
    (erupted A.D. 1240±60) in the bottom of several of the basins
    indicates that they were used shortly before ~760 years ago
    but not thereafter. Experiments suggest that campfires built on
    the granite will weaken the bedrock and expedite excavation
    of the basins. The primary use of the basins was apparently
    in preparing food, including acorns and pine nuts. The basins
    are among the largest and most permanent artifacts remaining
    from the California Indian civilization.

    We passed by many burnt out areas from the KNP Fire on our hike in, and one of the more impressive things was a large boulder about 15 feet long and 5 feet high that had flaked off lower portions of said boulder on account of the heat of flames nearby, must’ve been some inferno, no?

  28. Carolinian

    Re Patrick Cockburn–he’s twinning with Craig Murray in making this all about Putin with his public and bureaucrats dubiously on board. An alternate take is that of saker who has said for years that many in Russia view Putin as too cautious and would have annexed the Donbass long ago. Saker makes the distinction between the fifth column (our regime change agents or sympathizers) and sixth column (those more militant critics from the right). The saker version has always been that if you get rid of Putin you will get someone more warlike. After all if the Ukrainians are assumed by Cockburn and Murray to be fierce patriots then what about the Russians? WW2 was a long time ago, but i’ts not for sure that they have been totally conquered by iPhones and McDonalds as the EU/NATO might wish.

    It’s all dueling speculation for the moment but in the past saker has been right about a lot of stuff.

    1. Edwin

      Craig Murray’s take seems to be to me:

      First: the people who fight in war are responsible for what they do. Second: Those who encourage that war are responsible for what they do, but it is the immediate that is most crucial to deal with. I’m not hearing that he is letting the WEST ™ off the hook.

      You have to understand the realpolitik of the Western elite. They will never damage their own interests. That is why the sanctions that would really hurt Putin, targeting companies like BP and Shell over their Russian interests or the real oligarchs like Usmanov, Deripaska and Abramovic, will never happen because they would damage the interests of the British elite. It is why the UK government fly Ukrainian flags but will not let Ukrainians come without visas. They don’t really care about the ordinary people at all.

      The NATO leadership now see Putin in a position where he either has to back down and retreat, or inflict massive casualties on the Ukraine and get bogged down there for decades. If they wanted to save the Ukrainian people, this would indeed be the time for West to negotiate. But the lives of ordinary Ukrainians mean nothing to them.

      The title encapsulates his focus. Ending the war first. This does not mean he is making this all about Putin.

      1. Carolinian

        All about Putin making the decision to attack is what I meant. Of course it’s not just about Putin including in Murray’s piece.

        I’m just passing along a different view from saker site. As I said in my comment we don’t really know yet how this went down.

        1. pjay

          And on this issue – the reasons for Putin’s decision to attack – Murray is as deficient as Cockburn, though his essay is vastly superior otherwise. Neither deal with the *specific* issues discussed by Putin and other Russian officials many times as the precipitating factors leading to their decision. Increasing flow of weapons, troop build-ups along the LOC, increased shelling of the Donbas, increased “covert” support and training of regular and paramilitary units by Western special ops (not so “covert” since it was discussed openly in the mainstream media), continued overt joint actions and training with NATO, complete Western diplomatic disdain for any of Russia’s security concerns, etc. These and other factors were listed by Putin as the existential threats leading to his decision to invade. We can argue whether these risks outweigh the costs of invasion (which Murray spells out quite well). But can we at least acknowledge them as part of the Russian decision-making process rather than act like Putin’s response was some sort of mysterious puzzlement? Or “hubris”? Or “insanity?” Or (which I’m seeing on some lefty sites now) a response to *domestic* political problems?

          That said, I do think Murray does a good job pointing out the problems for Putin that this invasion has created once the decision was made. I think we will soon have a better idea about whether he is right.

          1. ambrit

            Something to consider here is that Murray is a Professional Diplomat by profession.
            The outbreak of war is a repudiation and failure of Diplomacy.

  29. The Rev Kev

    “Greater Russia is now a full-spectrum commodity superpower, less vulnerable to sanctions than Europe itself”

    So after reading this, I sat back and thought of all those sanctioning or threatening to sanction Russia and it almost sounds like the whole world. You are talking about airlines, Interpol, the Olympics Committee, MasterCard, Visa, FIFA soccer, Conductors, F1 racing, Netflix, banks, Russia’s UN diplomats. You have countries that are supposed to be peaceful like Sweden shipping weapons to kill Russians with, European governments looking the other way while their citizens volunteer to fight for the Ukraine, the banning of RT & Sputnik in Europe as they are a threat to free speech or something, the suspension of space exploration and cooperation with the ISS, Germany reversing half a century of diplomacy and now shipping weapons. etc. I mean the list goes on and on. There is almost a racial component to this hatred of all things Russian with the UK saying that these sanctions are all about regime change while France says that they want to wreck the Russian economy.

    So Russia knows that they are in a fight to the death with the so-called west while the Arab and Asian worlds back away from this whole mess. I think that Russia knows what is in store for it if they buckle as in a return to the Yeltsin years and a probable break up of the Russian Federation. So who can stand the most pain? A lot of those sanctions are actually suspensions as in not totally burning their bridges but who knows how Russia will respond? I did see an interesting comment elsewhere the other day by a guy who pointed out that the sheer maniac response by the west demonstrates the importance of the Ukraine to the west’s plans and I can’t argue against that.

    1. Michaelmas

      So who can stand the most pain?

      History gives a pretty clear answer there.

      As for the sanctions, you called them Schrodinger’s sanctions yesterday, didn’t you? Well, to the extent they’re enacted in reality, they’re going to hurt the “West” — and especially the EU — more than the Russians. Power of Siberia 1 came online in 2019 and Power of Siberia 2 is set for September this year.

    2. John k

      The ‘whole world’ seems to be the west? Maybe a billion? Nothing on the list seemed critical… Netflix and us credit cards?
      ROW includes China, India, Africa, Cuba/Venezuela, anybody we’ve been bombing, probably opec since they all want higher prices… all of these enjoy large and critical trade with Russia.
      One big thing is swift has no clout if we want their commodities. Germany is in a tizzy but they haven’t said they want to blow up that pipe, that’s when it gets serious.
      My guess is a 1-month or so op, not counting time for settlement, the longer that draws out the more suffering the west Ukrainians endure. Russia learned 10-year wars aren’t in their best interest, something we can’t learn because every year has such big profits.
      Seems Russia doesn’t want a Ukie federation, they want complete sovereignty in the east plus water for crimea. Once that treaty is signed maybe they’re done. Who knows? Maybe with that Russia can once again give crimea to Ukraine – the east bit, of course – or just another Russian base in east Ukraine.

  30. antidlc

    I was wondering what the AMA would have to say:
    AMA statement on CDC COVID-19 updates

    Statement attributable to:
    Gerald E. Harmon, M.D.
    President, American Medical Association

    “Today’s updated recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reflect a new approach for monitoring COVID-19 in communities. Vaccines work; they are effective in preventing severe COVID, hospitalization and death. And we urge all Americans to stay up-to-date on their COVID-19 vaccines, including getting a booster dose, when eligible.

    But even as some jurisdictions lift masking requirements, we must grapple with the fact that millions of people in the U.S. are immunocompromised, more susceptible to severe COVID outcomes, or still too young to be eligible for the vaccine. In light of those facts, I personally will continue to wear a mask in most indoor public settings, and I urge all Americans to consider doing the same, especially in places like pharmacies, grocery stores, on public transportation— locations all of us, regardless of vaccination status or risk factors, must visit regularly. Although masks may no longer be required indoors in many parts of the U.S., we know that wearing a well-fitted mask is an effective way to protect ourselves and our communities, including the most vulnerable, from COVID-19—particularly in indoor settings when physical distancing is not possible.

    “Wearing a mask, physical distancing, and staying home if you’re sick are small, but important protective measure that can help us all stay safe. While the Omicron surge has declined, COVID-19 is not gone. We must remain adaptable and vigilant in confronting this unpredictable virus.”

  31. M Quinlan

    How are the carve outs going to work if no ships are being loaded?
    1/3 of major container carriers alliances left.

  32. simjam

    Never underestimate your opponent. All wars start with the popular conception that their side will win in a cakewalk. Here we have two nuclear powers with one feeling that their existence is threatened. If this is a fight to the finish than both are finished.

    1. Wukchumni

      Never underestimate your opponent. All wars start with the popular conception that their side will win in a cakewalk

      The cakewalk I partook in @ carnivals when I was a kid, meant only 1 person won the prize out of say 25 players initially who dropped off one by one-no cake for you!, it wasn’t an easy get.

      but yes, it’s easy to be uneasy in these trying times, but lets count on Joe to come through with the goods tonight, enough of the mark to malarkey .

    2. Tom Stone

      I would change that to “All are finished”.
      A nuclear exchange is not out of the question, Western mis leadership is both arrogant and incompetent enough to make that happen.
      I’ll add that radiation poisoning is a good reason to own a gun.
      Given the choice of watching my loved ones die horribly from radiation poisoning or putting a bullet through their head is not a happy choice.

  33. Wukchumni


    I’m not much of a drinker but I liquor up once in awhile on occasion and my trigger is sadly the word Beau, Joe’s pride and joy obviously (er, sorry Hunter) and he’ll only mention him once or twice so there’ll be no chance whatsoever that the dude gets plastered on white Russians. Na Zdorovie

    1. Lena

      The trigger for me will be: “My father used to say, Joey, …”

      I expect to be quite drunk by the end of the evening.

      1. Wukchumni

        That’s tantamount to playing Russian Roulette, albeit with 5 bullets in the chamber…

  34. OIFVet

    No matter how Russian operations are going in Ukraine, the Bulgarian Defense Ministry has been seen a regime change because of the war (and brewing tensions between the President and the Prime Minister over, among other things, Macedonia and the stationing of NATO forces in Bulgaria). Bulgarian PM obtains the defence minister resignation over Ukraine comment. Stephan Yanev, the outgoing Defense Minister, is a retired Army general. So is the President Rumen Radev, whose man Yanev is supposed to be. The PM Kiril Petkov is a Harvard grad, as is his ‘twin’ Asen Vasilev, the Finance Minister. They are all that Harvard grads are expected to be, if you know what I mean. There has been a lot of tension between these men, even if Petkov owes his fast ascent from obscurity to PM to Radev (and to foreign players). Bottom line, there is circling of the wagons going on in the NATO territories, and no deviation from the official line will be tolerated, however small.

  35. CaliDan

    >The UN’s climate report highlights the dangers of natural solutions MIT Technology Review (David L)

    Most of the large outlets who ran stroies on the latest IPPC report (2022) chose to highlight the inceased likelihood that climate change has outpaced our ability to limit warming while stressing adaptation. Yikes. Yet our geoengineering-school-par-excellence’s take away was, essentially, “Sigh. Planting enough trees will have negative effects, too. Isn’t there a better solution? Wink wink.”

    Also, a question for anyone in the know regarding Ukraine: did they not inherit a sizable nuclear arsenal/infrastructure after Soviet dissolution? If so, I certainly haven’t heard anything about it recently.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Re: the nuclear situation.

      This was a major issue in international affairs in the 90’s, going into the 00’s. Fringe rumors aside, the weapons were disarmed or removed. Chernobyl and supposedly one other nuclear plant are capable of building producing the material for new bombs. There were all kinds of stories about babushka’s guarding the nukes that went around again after 9/11.

      Nukes are important. If there are spare nukes, its probably like the ones the US has lost over the years.

    2. MRLost

      See my comment on Sunday.

      Ukraine has four operational nuclear power complexes that provide 40% of Ukraine’s electrical power, according to Wikipedia. Two are in the south close to the Black Sea and two are in the northwest near the Polish border. Note where Russia is moving its troops. They also have two operational nuclear research facilities that are important because those can be used to either produce plutonium or learn how to produce plutonium. One is in Kharkiv. Again, note where Russia is moving its forces. The whole thing about Putin activating Russia’s nuclear weapons capacity is about warning the West that something regarding nuclear power plants is going to happen very soon. Attacking an operational nuclear power facility is, according to the treaties, analogous to attacking with a nuclear weapon. Remember way back when Israel destroyed Iraq’s unfinished nuclear power plant? That was seen as legitimate because the fuel hadn’t been loaded so no massive contamination. Same when Israel bombed Syria’s incomplete nuclear research plant not so long ago. Russia has three options with regard to these sites: take them and run them “for the people of Ukraine” but certainly control them, take them and run them with the oversight of some nuclear regulatory group but with Russia calling all the shots, or destroy them after removing the fuel, etc. Zelenskiy shouldn’t have threatened to build Ukrainian nuclear weapons. He left Putin few choices.

      1. Anthony G Stegman

        Ukraine doesn’t need to acquire its own nuclear weapons. It only need host them, as Germany presently does, and Japan a bit more secretly. Russia will be satisfied only when Ukraine agrees in writing to be a neutral state, and that neutrality is recognized and accepted by NATO and the UN.

  36. Raymond Sim

    Some semi-random observations:

    During our Civil War Russia was the Union’s key noncombatant ally.

    At no point during its existence has NATO been capable of imposing a no-fly zone over Ukraine, not even at Russia’s nadir.

    The ‘idiotic’ employment of Russian ground forces currently being disparaged by smart thinktank people who know smart stuff is what is otherwise referred to as ‘skirmishing’. “The task of the Tirailleur is to find the enemy. He does this by being shot at.”

    The volume of output of poor-quality hoaxes by various Ukrainain organs of state is so great as to be, all by itself, grounds for Ukrainians to despair.

    The historical roots of the phenomenon of Nazism in Ukraine, and the Nazis’ combination of vicious hostility and pathetic credulity towards various non-Ukrainians provides a really remarkable example of the enduring effects of trauma in human affairs.

    1. Anthony G Stegman

      When one considers what the Nazis did to Russia in WWII Putin should be lauded for exercising restraint (at least so far) in dealing with the Ukraine Nazi problem. if Zelensky had purged the Nazis from his administration perhaps Russia would have had no need to conduct military operations inside Ukraine.

      1. Raymond Sim

        Unfortunately purging the Nazis was probably never an option for Zelensky.

        It’s instructive to read the transcript of Trump’s infamous call to Zelensky bearing in mind that any threat of cutting off the weapons supply was a threat against Zelensky’s political enemies. To me it always sounded more like Trump’s threat was against the US establishment, not Zelensky, and I wondered if Zelensky wasn’t in on it from the beginning.

  37. Wukchumni

    Determined Tabby Cat Does Crunches at the Gym Laughing Squid

    SENDAI, Japan — Bigger muscles may be the key to a longer life. According to a study out of Japan, lifting weights at the gym or even doing some heavy lifting around the house for just 30 minutes a week cuts the risk of dying early by up to a fifth.

    1. ambrit

      Ashes on our foreheads at midnight, at the Cathedral downtown.
      This year, I’m thinking of giving up Hope for Lent. (Phyl just goes, “Hunh!” and shakes her head.)
      Be extra vigilant and safe down there in Da Big Easy man!

  38. Socal Rhino

    One question re aftermath: if hot war ends with Ukraine under Russian control or influence, will the West extend sanctions to Ukraine?

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Given the Ukraine size and Russian forces, I suspect it’s more a case of how far the Russians withdraw from the deeper. Kiev is a city of near 3 million, half the size of Baghdad.

      That is a huge commitment. Then 2/3 of the physical country are West of there. If there was oil or oil to deny, that would be different. The ng is under the separatist areas. They didn’t want to get freaked.

  39. lance ringquist

    the telegraph article is right to a point. its russias productive economy which is what ben franklins vision for america was, he insisted on in the constitution, article one, section eight, americans must be shield from foreign competition that under cuts our standard of living, vs. nafta billy clintons knowledge based economy, bitcoin and wall street.

    i wonder who will win?

  40. The Rev Kev

    Just to cool a hot situation down a bit, the Ukraine is thinking about attacking Belarus – or so they say. It seems that the Ukrainians are saying a lot if s*** lately to keep things riled and boiling-

    On the other hand, they do know what is important. So they are also demanding that their foreign debt be written off. It’s only $57 billion so I am sure that the EU would actively consider it-

  41. Tom Collins' Moscow Mule

    “To rest in inaction, and command respect – this is the Way of Heaven. To engage in action and become entangled in it – this is the way of man.”

    “A prominent Russian ultra-nationalist philosopher has told BBC News that war between Russia and Ukraine “is inevitable” and has called on President Vladimir Putin to intervene militarily in eastern Ukraine “to save Russia’s moral authority”. ”

    The harbinger and his prophetic message reified. Finis Mundi, “the end of the world”, i.e., “there will be wars the like of which have never yet been seen on earth.”

  42. integer

    Has been a while since I last commented here, and don’t have much to say at the moment, but just want to give my kindest regards to Yves and Lambert. Also the NC commentariat. Interesting times, to say the least. Hope everyone has been well.

  43. Australia

    Some Australia news. The alleged prime minister has just promised 80 million dollars worth of ‘lethal and non lethal’ aid to Ukraine via NATO. Now how directly implicated this gift to NATO is I don’t know, but last time I checked Australia was not in the North Atlantic. It’s fairly typical for the entity masquerading as a Chrstian ( yes, he’s a card carrying fundy). And in other news, it’s flooding badly in lots of places. Really badly. Record breaking. Sydney is now copping it.

    1. Australia

      On this point of flooding Ukraine with weapons. I’m aware this has been said before here repeatedly, but my personal thought when hearing the alleged prime minister of Australia make the comment about money for ‘lethal’ weapons. Who benefits? More weapons aren’t really whats going to change anything. It requires trained soldiers to use them. It can hardly be seen to help, can it? One other point. The aforementioned entity said on the radio report I heard ‘ If you’re wondering what the lethal support will be, well I’m not going to tell you, because I’m not going to give Russia a heads-up.’ So what is it thats being sent, then? Is it money? Or is it weapons? On another note, the large scale national alcohol store Dan Murphys – it’s like McDonalds, for alcohol – has announced they are removing Russia brands. What happens to it all I wonder? Do staff get to take it home like long-dated products from the supermarket? Dan Murphys had no problem attempting to build an ‘alcohol mega-store’ next to Darwin airport in the Northern Territory. Which means the store would be accessible by the original peoples of this land, living in ‘dry’ communities outside of the city. These indigenous peoples of this land notoriously have serious issues with alcohol based on a physiological difficulty in metabolising it. ‘Dan Murphys’ actually lobbied the political ministers to get the store built, and pushed and shoved, and tried to get laws changed, and bribed know.

      1. Australia

        I posted here thinking it was Thursdays new comments. The 3rd of March! I was impressed you actually got it out early – while it is still the 2nd of March in Australia, at the most eastern end of the time zone. And with so many comments, already! I make this mistake with your date system, oh, about second day. ( or do you make this mistake with our date system? /s)

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