Links 3/13/2022

Dear patient readers,

Lambert and I, and many readers, agree that Ukraine has prompted the worst informational environment ever. We hope readers will collaborate in mitigating the fog of war — both real fog and stage fog — in comments. None of us need more cheerleading and link-free repetition of memes; there are platforms for that. Low-value, link-free pom pom-wavers will be summarily whacked.

And for those who are new here, this is not a mere polite request. We have written site Policies and those who comment have accepted those terms. To prevent having to resort to the nuclear option of shutting comments down entirely until more sanity prevails, as we did during the 2015 Greek bailout negotiations and shortly after the 2020 election, we are going to be ruthless about moderating and blacklisting offenders.


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Road to table: Wyoming’s got a new app for claiming roadkill ABC

Cryptocurrencies: The Power of Memes Research Affiliates

Tax the land Vox. On a land tax, see e..g. Michael Hudson at NC here.


Jo Handelsman, “A World Without Soil: The Past, Present, and Precarious Future of the Earth Beneath Our Feet” (Yale UP, 2021) (podcast) New Books Network


The Epidemic of Covid Complacency Eric Topol. Commentary:

Further commentary:

That’s not a bug. It’s a feature.

How Millions of Lives Might Have Been Saved From Covid-19 Zeynep Tufecki, NYT

Covid has slipped from the headlines – but with restrictions eased, cases are rising Guardian. Commentary:

So, your ability to concentrate is shot? Welcome to the club Brisbane Times


Beijing weighs nickel rescue deal for billionaire owner of Tsingshan FT

The Koreas

Incels Vote Too The American Conservative

Philippines Willing to Open Bases to US if Ukraine Conflict Spreads Benar News


Missiles From Iran Struck in Vicinity of U.S. Consulate in Northern Iraq, Officials Say WSJ

Mysterious Drone Crash Leaves Croatia Baffled Balkan Insight. What with India launching — accidentally, it seems — a rocket that hit Pakistan the other day, there seems to be a lot of random hardware up in the sky.


The Johnson-Lebedev Letters A Back-Channel To Vladimir Putin? Byline Times

The Caribbean

Crisis & Critique: Venezuela and the New Latin American Left Monthly Review

Lula Gains Access To US/Lava Jato Partnership Info Brasilwire

New Not-So-Cold War

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, March 12 Institute for the Study of War. Not including the ISW’s map because it’s status quo with yesterday. A map is not the same as the territory, of course, and this may simply be the message the Kagans wish to send. Recall my standard for visuals in war reporting (soon to apply, or not, in Mariupol).

On maps wars and hate-filled mobs “canceling Russia” The Saker

Lots of think pieces for the weekend:

Has Russia’s invasion stalled? Meduza

Day Sixteen of the Russian-Ukrainian War: Changing Realities, Changing Mood Gilbert Doctoropw

Eastern Ukraine has almost completely fallen, but Putin now needs a peace, fast Intellinews. Very level-headed and well worth a read.

The Russian Military’s Debacle in Ukraine Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker. The walls are closing in?

* * *

Zelensky’s comedy series Servant of the People is as funny as it is heartbreaking FT. “It will make you laugh as it simultaneously breaks your heart” [grabs tissue]. Oddly, two phrases do not appear: The network on which Servant of the People appeared, 1+1, or that network’s owner, banderite Fascist Azov Battalion funder and billionaire, Igor Kolomoyskyi. (See NC here on Kolomoisky, 1+1, and Zelensky.) Propaganda works:

More clarity from Gonzalo Lira:

Short and sweet. LIra also cleaned up his language. I know caring about that makes me an old fuddy duddy, but the time is long past when I regarded profanity as a sign of authenticity, and in any case Lira’s videos are probably easier to distribute widely this way.

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Illusion Warfare Report: The Road to Ukraine (thread) Lez LuTHOR. Purportedly from the ground, though I don’t see how to test that. I will say that I have seen other little incongruities even in the mainstream: The coiffed BBC interviewee, speaking from her well-apppointed apartment — obviously with Internet, power, and heat — while the city is being reduced to rubble outside her window.

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Inside Putin’s circle — the real Russian elite FT

Ukraine Presidential Adviser Says Only China Benefits From the War WSJ

The Biden administration’s terrifying gamble Responsible Statecraft

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What role has the US played in the Ukraine crisis? KCRW

Raging Toward the Abyss with Russia The National Interest

Russian footholds in Mideast, Africa raise threat to NATO AP. Oh good. A world war.

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How a Playground for the Rich Could Undermine Sanctions on Oligarchs NYT. Not Manhattan or London, one hastens to add.

Russia’s Arctic gas is funding the war in Ukraine Cryopolitics

Supply Chain

Russia’s Invasion Is About to Make the World’s Chip Shortage Way Worse Gizmodo

Oil workers on foreign-flagged ships are at the mercy of corporations The Lens

Russia-Ukraine War Won’t Affect Pharmaceutical Sales, but It Could Disrupt Trials, Companies Say Barron’s

Democrats en Déshabillé

House Democrats Push Biden to Build a Better Midterm Message NYT. “[Pelosi,] who has long been fond of pithy, made-for-bumper-sticker mantras, offered a suggestion she had heard from members: Democrats deliver.” They do? What? Ice cream?

Rep. DeLauro tests positive for COVID-19 following House Dems retreat The Hilll. Oh.

Police State Watch

Law enforcement for profit:

The whole thread is worth reading; plenty of people saying this has happened to them.

Health Care

Rat Out Your Doctor: Biden’s Surgeon General Calls on Informants to Report Use of Generic Drugs Michael Capuzzo, Rescue

Our Famously Free Press

Twitter is censoring reporting on Ukrainian Nazis on the pretext of “abusive behavior” Asa Winstanley

Content Moderation as Administration (PDF) Harvard Law Review. Commentary:

Imperial Collapse Watch

Is The West Laissez-Faire About Economic Warfare? War on the Rocks. “Western states that painstakingly rebuilt a liberal economic order after World War II are increasingly dependent on an economic weapon that fundamentally undermines that order.” As it turns out, the PMC’s Vewy First War has turned Apple Pay, social media, and the [genuflects] almighty dollar into mere power projection; like NGOs or aircraft carriers, but intimate and ubiquitous. And hard power, not soft. Well and good, but it seems reasonable to me that some people, and some nations, would want to get out from under this.

“The casualties of empire.” Patrick Lawrence, The Scrum

In Search of Troy Smithsonian

Class Warfare

‘Insidious and seductive’: Uber funds new lobbying group to deny rights for gig workers Guardian (PR).

Top reasons why U.S. workers left a job in 2021: Low pay, no advancement opportunities Pew Research Center. The headline is deceptive; see this chart:

Thieves in the Night: A Vast Burglary Ring from Chile Has Been Targeting Wealthy U.S. Households Vanity Fair

‘We’re having way better sex than our kids!’ The seventysomethings hitting their kinky, blissed-out peak Guardian

A Poem (and a Painting) About the Suffering That Hides in Plain Sight NYT. Auden’s Musée des Beaux Arts. I thought this would get sloppy, but it’s a fine close reading. Sadly, one of those swipe-friendly articles meant to be read on a tablet or phone but worth the effort on a laptop.

Wynton at Harvard, Chapter 12: How the Rhythm Section Swings Harvard University. From 2011, still germane:

Antidote du Jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Steve H.

    > Eastern Ukraine has almost completely fallen, but Putin now needs a peace, fast Intellinews.

    >> Ukraine and Nato have won the information war so comprehensively that there is now almost no economic pain that the peoples of Europe and the US will not suffer to punish Russia

    Category Error on ‘the peoples’. I was talking to the cashier at Lowes, where I went to pick up some more fencing. (Side dish: they only had decent fencing in 36″ tall, and 100′ cost over $90.) He said “I can’t pay five dollars a gallon, and they’re saying it could be eight or nine.”

    Around here, people drive to work. Many work where the money is, but live in surrounding cheaper counties. Janet did home health and drove about 150 miles per day. Price jumps could cost another $100 per week for a fair number of folks. Forty hours per week, ten bucks an hour, a quarter of income evaporates. Family homesteads are popping as stability points, moving back in with the parents is not just for the young anymore.

    Passerby conversations aren’t about Ukraine, they’re about price gouging.

    1. timbers

      Agree with you about the whole cost of living is what is ultimately going to be what drives pain and maybe elections here. And any pain in the US will probably be greater in Europe. What if Russia closes the Ukraine gas line? Will Germany be forced to open NordStream 2?

      Yesterday I made a trip to purchase a particular brand of organic whole wheat bread at Stop&Shop and it’s price is up 15% from last time a week ago, on top of a 12% rise about 9 months ago. And chip shortage getting worse?…can you imagine what that will do to cars (lots of folks have leases/loans for cars so they will be going up up up) and all sorts of home appliances and yes we all see gasoline prices.

      At the same time, Russia needs to decide quickly
      if she hasn’t what she wants to do politically in Ukraine. Perhaps take Kiev, setup a new government that recognizes the Republics in the east and Crimea being Russia, no NATO or foreign arms alliances troops, and firmly eject Ukraine troops in the east. And if Mariupol is the haven I read it to be, it must be taken and cleaned up, too.

      Yes, the West will not recognize this, but is that any different from anything in the recent past or what anyone ever thought would be the case?

      It is important Russia wrap things up quickly, decide her red lines, and then enforce them relentlessly.

      Finally IMO she needs to take care of those Angus US bases in Poland and Romania and declare a firm line that will result in more surgical strikes as needed, if not honored. Also close the gas pipeline in Ukraine forever. If Germany doesn’t want to respond by opening NordStream 2, so be it. Send the gas to China instead or not at all.

      1. Donald

        I can’t see how any government they set up for the entire country would be recognized as legitimate by most Ukrainians. Most people don’t like invaders even when the deposed ruler was Saddam. A Russian- installed government will be seen as a puppet regime, which it would be, and people will fight it. And the West will pour in weapons and Ukraine bleeds.

        I did greatly appreciate the Intellinews piece for its attempt at careful analysis whether or not he gets everything right. We need more of that kind of thing for every conflict.

        1. Paradan

          Turn the power back on, along with the heat and water, and you are now a certified legitimate government.

        2. timbers

          Agree with you. Which is why I don’t get why/if Russia is going so far west into Ukraine with her troops. Because as you say the West won’t accept any official legal (not that it would be) political resolution imposed by Russia. My guess? Trying to get a negotiated settlement is a fetish of Putin, he still hasn’t gotten over hope he can negotiate with the West.

          1. Objective Ace

            >Which is why I don’t get why/if Russia is going so far west into Ukraine with her troops [where they cannot set up legitimate government]

            Why does the US do it? Genuine question, I really dont know. Possible explanation is it invokes a sense of power internationally and domestically. Both directly, “look how strong our armed forces are” and indirectly. Next time there’s a conflict brewing people will take them more seriously and not assume they are bluffing. Also, does Putin’s buddies own any weapons manufacturing companies?

          2. truly

            Setting up a neutral Ukraine:
            At the end of The Great Patriotic War, was it the case that the allies forced Germany to write into the constitution that Nazis and Naziism would not be tolerated? Could not be idolized?
            As part of Japans surrender, did they not accept terms in which they would not have a standing army ever again? Is this not written into their constitution?
            What if Russia were to impose nearly exact terms, do a cut and paste of requirements that the U.S. demanded? Exit Ukraine after imposing a constitution that demanded an end to pro Banderite activities. No language restrictions. No standing military. No membership in any organization that engages in militarism.

            1. Objective Ace

              Keep in mind the Allies also wrote into Germany’s constitution they wouldnt have a standing army after ww1–how did that turn out? Is Russia really going to want to police these new terms?

          3. Eureka Springs

            If I have a house and one acre and people are shooting at me I would want to make sure they cannot get close enough to my property to cause immediate concern. Isn’t this the basis of most every Russian concern? How close NATO missiles are and such…

            Buffer zones.

            1. ArvidMartensen

              Yes, but the Russian need for a buffer zone is just propaganda and lies.
              However the US need for a buffer zone is totally legit.
              And how big a buffer zone does the US need? The whole world by the looks of things.

            2. juno mas

              Yes. Although it may take sustained armed manpower, reducing the Ukraine to a rump state in the western third of the country, Russia may just reduce it to a land-locked sister of Poland.

              If, in fact, much of eastern Ukraine is prime agricultural land for high demand crops, then the economics just might pay for the expense.

              As for the economics in the US, high energy costs will kill the current boosterism for conflict.

          4. Henry Moon Pie

            I sure don’t know what Putin is thinking, but I don’t see how you negotiate with “the West” if that includes the USA. Republicans are already running around declaring they’ll invalidate any deal made with Iran, and that could mean within the next 24 months. Same with Venezuela.

            Just how do you negotiate with the USA? No treaty proposed by Biden would ever be ratified. It would probably never come to a vote. You have the very recent precedent of Trump tearing up the Paris Accords and the Iranian agreement.

            What anybody claiming to represent the U.S. government says is more or less meaningless as affecting the future behavior of America. France and Germany still have a little clout they could use, but it’s all basically up to China. If they end up mediating and forming a deal, no one will be able to challenge it. The Americans, especially the Neocons, can fulminate all they want, but they won’t be able to do anything about it without cutting their own throats worse than they already have.

            That may be all that Putin wants. China becomes the decider, or at least the leader, in a new order. Will the Western billionaires be willing to settle with Oceania while a Eurasian economic and military alliance dominates Africa and South America? Where do the resources come from for the Anglos + EU + JP? Lots of consumption, not much production. What happens when all the rentier income you’ve established through your “rules-based Order” disappears with the rise of a new Order over which you have no influence?

            A hard rain’s a gonna fall.

            The good news is that this one might even reach those overconsuming PMC-ers whose carbon emissions are about to take us far into the unknown, i.e well over 1.5 Degrees C, a temperature not seen since before the Holocene, the mild and gentle period during which we humans have been around.

        3. NotTimothyGeithner

          I figure the Russians largely withdraw to the new republics. The Crimea is a trickier. Kiev and the other two cities on the Dnieper are really too big.

          “Denazify” is a meaningless, amorphous term, but there is nothing about nation building in Putin’s statements. Ukraine is a border issue. It’s worthless otherwise. The proven oil reserves aren’t there. Not staying is an option.

          The question is how long can Zelensky remain the king of a trash heap from Poland before the local members of the government have to reform. Poroshenko is cosplaying, but will he stay when a TV station near his compound gets blown up? When he runs out of consumer goods? He might be a patriot. If he is there and Zelensky is in Poland, who is in charge? The oligarchs and local parliament types who fled arent going back until they run out of money.

        4. Jonhoops

          Well, the current regime is seen as a puppet regime so what’s the difference.

          Also I find it dubious that middle class Ukrainians will give up the prospect of the good life to join an insurgency. This isn’t Afghanistan.

          1. Fritzi

            And, as has been pointed out, an aging population and little in ways of jungles or mountains.

            The big cities are really the only place for guerillias to hide.

            If the Russians turned one city to rubble completely though, would the others really be eager to be used as shields?

          2. Donald

            You don’t need everybody. It could be Northern Ireland on a larger scale. You just need hardcore guerilla/ insurgent/ terrorists getting weapons from the West with some passive support and the rest of the population trying not to get killed by either side, whatever their personal feelings.

            I don’t really know if Northern Ireland is a good analogy. Probably too many differences. But urban guerilla wars do occur and I suspect the majority of Ukrainians hate the invasion even if most aren’t going to pick up a gun.

            1. tegnost

              I think the model may be El Salvador or those evil commies in Nicaragua.
              Death squads R Us…

            2. playon (formerly lordkoos)

              It’s in the US’ interest (and the arms mfg) to drag this war out as long as possible. Also the longer it goes on, the more western media can talk about how horrible Putin is.

              And I’m officially changing my handle with this post!

            3. The Rev Kev

              Imagine if the end result is that the people of the Ukraine has even more gun ownership than the US. Progress that you can believe in.

        5. lance ringquist

          or perhaps like what nafta billy clinton did to the serbs, russia says whats good for the goose, is good for the gander, and gives the ukrainians a choice which nafta billy did not, liver under russian rule as a good citizen, or get out now whilst the going is good.

          see what nafta billy did in Krajina, and kosovo.

      2. Nikkikat

        Pretty good analysis Timbers. Major pain in the EU, may help working class here. I don’t see Washington giving two shakes about what happens to us. How we will get by or end up living under a bridge.

      3. Jason Boxman

        On bread prices, I bought a 4 pack of Ace Bakery Baguettes, with $3.99 on the little sticker, in western NC. Actual price at ring-up? Almost $6.

        Fun times.

        Also, they were uncharacteristically stale. More than usual.

        I eat too much bread anyway, better off not buying any.

        1. Greg

          Is that not illegal in the states? Round here, a price sticker is a commitment to that price.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Has the cashier talked to Better Midler on the matter? Midler is doing okay. So it evens out.

      I figure the White House decided to believe the roaring economy numbers and decided to ignore that Elon Musk isn’t indicative of wider economic attitudes. Then they went bumbling along expecting to be embraced by little foreign people’s who would rejoice to be America’s friends like Iran and Venezuela.

      1. Wukchumni

        I’m so used to us casting aspersions @ Iran, that it feels weird hitting them up for a cup of sugar & as much oil as they can spare.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Has Biden called self-declared President for Life Juan Guaidó to see if he could cut loose a few spare barrels?

          1. Michael

            At JB’s age and mental condition, I’d say he’s our Prez4Life.
            Wonder what DT could do with that turn of phrase?

            1. Wukchumni

              Ukraine Fighting Championship

              Joe (aka the slow boil) versus Vladimir (…the judo you do)

              A slave to the system and a Slav to the system go into the Octagon, but what emerges?


              $39.95/5,350 Rubles
              $49.95/6,690 Rubles (HD)

    3. Louis Fyne

      I don’t bring up Ukraine, but when people talk about it in real life, I listen and don’t steer the conversation.

      Out of all my friends, family, acquaintances, very PMC in-laws, only the mailman sees, and is getting ready for, blowback from the sanctions.

      Everyone else is either ignorant of the 2nd order effects, or accepts the media conventional wisdom (driving teslas and solar panels will save the day)

      everyone is either talking about inflation, cost-of-living increases/lack thereof, or how they have benefitted or screwed by the crazy, no supply, housing market

        1. Michael Ismoe

          So while “everyone” wants to pay more to save that Ukrainian child, They might think that their own children might come first?

          This is going to be the quickest change in popular sentiment since gay marriage.

          1. Arizona Slim

            Photographer here.

            A caveat about photographing children: You need the parents’ consent. Period. Full stop.

            I seriously doubt that there’s any model release for this photo.

            1. juno mas

              Actually, it depends. If they are in a public setting and the photo doesn’t capture identifiable facial features (they’re not recognizable) and the photographer does not intrude on any persons activities then consent isn’t necessary.

              You do need consent to make money off the photograph.

    4. Soredemos

      That is a good article. By far the most balanced I’ve seen.

      Meanwhile I hopped over to Pat Lang’s site, and he’s completely lost his mind. He’s convinced the Russian army is being destroyed piecemeal, and wishes he was younger so he could be out there killing Rooskies himself.

  2. Louis Fyne

    –The Russian Military’s Debacle in Ukraine Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker—

    IMO, the analyis stated is 100% wrong, but worth noting as the interviewee is incredibly well-credentialed and 100% talking the DC conventional wisdom.

    the DC conventional wisdom got us into this mess and will keep doubling down bad hands. especailly as Team DC has no exit plan for the economic sanctions against Russia, or a definition of victory.

    Every day that passes since US-EU sanctions, I get more convinced that the US and European consumer is going to get steamrolled by a supply shock w/overall impacts worse than the 1970’s that no one is DC is appreciating, besides one-liners about sacrifice..

    CNN is going to need a new pithy name for Great Recession 2, because for the bottom 33% it’ll feel more like Great Depression 2

    prepare for the worst, hope for the best, but be realistic.

    1. Cocomaan

      It was bizarre seeing mentions of the Ukraine crisis in the last inflation number. Economic effects hadn’t happened yet. I agree, I think the financial and mainstream press is in major denial of how hard this is going to hit consumers. They seem to have stars in their eyes and aren’t able to see that it’s going to be a miserable year for everyone.

    2. petal

      Steve H and Louis, The Joe Biden Diet! I’ve already lost 3 lbs! Plus, it’ll work on that obesity problem for when the next covid wave rolls through. Win win! /s

      A retired music teacher couple I know posted some video or meme sob story of a musician in Ukraine and how they are happy to pay more for gas and other things and to think of this musician every time we start to complain. Oh yeah, and they just bought themselves an EV-so no problemo! Can’t even imagine what summer’s going to look like if things continue down this path. Figuring on some serious long-term economic and social damage. Yesterday on the bulletin board at the local grocery store was an A4 sized laminated flyer that said “No-fly zone over Ukraine: Shelter our sky and we will handle the rest!” with a blue background and hands sheltering a yellow Ukraine from a bunch of missiles. And the VT State Police is collecting used body armor to send to Ukraine. Good times.

      1. ambrit

        “Used body armour!” LOLs.
        Where did they ‘source’ this ‘used body armour?’ A battlefield up at the Canadian border?
        In some provinces of Canada, body armour has to be licensed, just like firearms. Someone up there is thinking ahead.
        Be extra vigilent!

          1. ambrit

            Don’t forget the Miraculous Medal of the MIC. Semi-divine protection is nothing to sneer at.
            The more committed can be identified by their blue and yellow underwear.
            Uh, and the Bandera played on?

            1. Wukchumni

              Luckily for some colleges & universities such as UCLA, they were an easy crossover in sporting Ukraine colors, and efforts are underway online to push to rename it Ukraine College Los Angeles.

        1. Wukchumni

          Watched part of Death Wish 3 the other day, a real carnage asada of a flick from 1985, and when we entered the fray 40 minutes in is when the body count just kept going up and every building had to blow up real good, with Chuck (wearing body armor) taking out a bunch of the 86 or so would be assailants with a 50 caliber machine gun, along with dispatching the el supremo bad guy with a Laws rocket.

          1. LifelongLib

            Maybe I’m getting my Chucks mixed up, but IIRC Chuck Norris did the Missing in Action movies. Charles Bronson was the Death Wish guy.

      2. jr

        Did they share with them that body armor degrades over time? If memory serves, the non-ceramic types have about a five year shelf life.

        1. petal

          Lifesaving Donations: Vermont State Police Collect Body Armor for Ukraine

          “A new effort is underway across Vermont to help the people of Ukraine, by supporting the physical safety of military units fighting back against Russia’s violent invasion…VSP credits the California National Guard with getting the ball rolling on the collection drive….Manley said he expects law enforcement agencies will be the top source of donated body armor since they cycle through vests at the end of manufacturers’ warranties — even though there’s probably still good protection left in them.”
          More at the link. You guys will get a chuckle out of it.

        2. LawnDart

          Jr, good point.

          The body-armor does degrade, minus ceramic or metal plates.

          We were required to wear it at all times on-duty, but knowing my agency, I took to wearing it in only during high-risk situations to keep heat, oil, sweat from degrading its usefulness at times I really needed it. You see, it was a budget-item, and who knew when you’d get a fresh set.

        3. lyman alpha blob

          That’s my understanding as well. A few years ago our local police force was asking for money for body armor and when I asked why it was needed, that was the explanation I got.

          Taking up a collection of used body armor to send to Ukraine sounds like something Donald Rumsfeld would come up with.

    3. johnherbiehancock

      since Russia invaded Ukraine, I feel like I’m seeing WAY more of those New Yorker-writer-cartoon avatars in my twitter feed. God knows where they’re coming from, b/c I follow almost none of them. Their opinions on the conflict are all uniformly in line with the “Putin is a madman who invaded Ukraine for no reason at all” DC/”official” rationale for the conflict.

      I read Chotiner’s “take down” of Mearsheimer, and I think contrary to all the back-slapping posts about how Mearsheimer should have known better than to agree to that interview, Chotiner comes off WAY worse. Mearsheimer repeatedly had to ask him if he understood what he was saying, and at another point, flat out asked why he’d conflate issues, when Chotiner tried to downplay the US’ involvement in pushing NATO further east & all that.

      going to go unfollow & mute all New Yorker writers…

      1. Andy

        since Russia invaded Ukraine, I feel like I’m seeing WAY more of those New Yorker-writer-cartoon avatars in my twitter feed.

        On my YouTube feed I’ve been getting way more feelgood videos and multi-hour long relaxation vids popping up from channels I don’t watch or subscribe to. It’s like the Director of Algorithmic Suggestions decided that this real life, brink of catastrophe/World War 3 stuff is ugh so depressing that they tweaked the algos to recommend more “fun” and “soothing” content. Very annoying.

    4. PHLDenizen

      If only those bottom 33% would learn to code, god damn it. It’s not a recession if you own a Mac laptop.

      On another note, how long before electronic medical records start snitching on medical professionals, flagging Ivermectin scrips for routing to the Misinformation Ministry? Pharma sales reps deputized to make arrests or sue doctors a la the Texas abortion bill?

      Despite the vile ethics of it, doctors going on strike and refusing to write any off-label use for anything, demanding RCTs and FDA approval for all interventions might deter the surgeon general. The older docs are retiring en masse and the younger cats are, as a rule, typically brainless fools who treat medicine like a pre-flight checklist or EBM decision tree. Zero intellectual curiosity who buy into all this “misinformation” bullshit. It’s not only my observation. It’s the consensus of a lot of older docs in my social group.

      And if malpractice carriers start dropping you for “misinformation”, then you’re completely fscked.

    5. playon (formerly lordkoos)

      Every time I log into twitter I see news/propaganda sites in the margin with headlines about how badly the Russian invasion is going. Meanwhile Russia’s advances continue daily…

      1. ArvidMartensen

        So it looks like we all live in the Truman show, and very few of us know. The English guy walking through Kyiv was instructive.
        The pregnant woman who was evacuated from the bombed out maternity hospital was a Ukrainian social media influencer. Of course she was, she was perfect for the role.
        Trying to work out what is real is a full time job now. Look at each “scene” through many sets of eyes and find the only bits that remain the same in every view.
        My rule of thumb for things not to believe, has become –
        # Does this “movement”, meme, etc spring out of nowhere?
        # In some cases, is the main founder “impossible” to find? eg Bitcoin. Q-Anon.
        # Has it propagated through social media really fast?
        # Does it appear in the mainstream media in lockstep, with even the same words and pictures?
        # Has there grown, quickly, a mass of people who believe it as if it has always been true?
        # Does it have a black/white moral position baked in, so that believers are true and good, and unbelievers are evil?
        # Does it smear opponents with unproven accusations? eg Russian spy or useful idiot, pedophile, dictator, communist etc
        # Does it lead the emotional heated slanging matches that just go on and on, with sides just making reflexive inputs?
        # Are alternative voices demonised, banned, sanctioned, cancelled, de-employed etc etc
        # Can a mob of believers be called up at convenient times?
        Then this is a manufactured movement, meme, idea, well funded by figures who intend to remain anonymous and who have the means to remain invisible. It is manufactured for a reason that we “wouldn’t understand” or “do not need to know” or is for a “higher purpose” or is for “national security”.
        Because it is a manufactured reality, and not reality, it means we can’t take decisions which are in our own interests, which is the point of the movement, meme, idea. Our decisions are being crafted towards other interests and we are just collateral damage.
        That is the reality.

    6. tindrum

      quite a bit of Russian steel imported into Germany, and it is currently not getting delivered (steel trader in my town is my neighbour). So I suspect that the problems will start to appear in the next couple of weeks as inventories take a hit – look out for the german car industry to start sending people home….again.

  3. griffen

    The graphic includes many reasons on why workers left their job in 2021. Several here have in recent months offered their opinions, and one reason not listed in that graphic is bad management. I left the last job because of poor management. Every week it was though they decided something different needed to be in place for managing branch locations. And this was after 20+ years of running this business.

    Recently started anew, full time contract position with reasonable hours and pay level. Grateful that I can step off the interview carousel for a bit.

    1. square coats

      My friend was in a similar situation until sometime last year with horrible management. He was eventually lucky enough to get a full time contract job with a company that turned out to be an excellent fit in both directions so after the contract ended they brought him on as a permanent hire and he’s quite happy with his position there.

      Good luck to you in your new position!

      1. griffen

        Good anecdote about your friend. Corporate work is a real crapshoot anymore, or maybe it is my experiences are just unevenly odd. I appreciate the kind words, thanks!

  4. Altandmain

    I’d say that the Biden administration and their desperate attempts to get more oil have failed.

    – The Iranians, as per above in the links have recently launched some missiles and the talks have stalled.
    – The Saudis and UAE declined to call Biden amd wanted to retaliate against him.
    – Venezuela is not in a position to produce huge amounts of oil in the immediate future.

    The Saudis themselves seem to be buying diesel.

    At this point, there isn’t much else left that they can do to secure oil from other countries.

    Between this and the unwillingness of many nations to join the sanctions, I wonder if this could be a Suez moment not so much for Russia as much as the US.

    Domestically, the rising fuel prices are going to have a huge role in how Americans live and how they may vote in tbe midterm.

    1. Cocomaan

      High gas prices are a huge headline number, but they also have subtle effects. For instance, with yesterdays March snow, I feel like I saw far less plowing going on. Townships in my area are turtling up, knowing that they won’t be able to raise taxes for the foreseeable future.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      I don’t know whether the Russians intended this or not, but I think its clear that an unintended consequence of the war in Ukraine is that many countries, small and large, are seeing the US and Europe as vulnerable and needing quick deals on a number of issues. If you want something from the west, now is a good time to drive a hard bargain.

      Its not just in trade or with the West – there are rumours of military moves in Nagorno-Karabakh. Turkey and Azerbaijan may be calculating that Russia is too tied up to fight on another front to defend Armenia and the breakaway provinces there.

      I think the big winner of this will be China and India along with various Middle Eastern countries. This is a perfect opportunity to extract deals from the West/Russia, and pursue their own local strategic objectives knowing the main powers are distracted. This could trigger small scale wars in unexpected places.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I think that you might be right here. So do you consider that Iranian missile strike in Iraq as part of this pushing to see what they can get away with?

        1. Louis Fyne

          Fact: A few days ago, two Iranian officers were killed in an Israeli airstrike in Syria.

          Speculation: A Revolutionary Guards site or operation presumably.

          Fact: Iran says that in retaliation they hit an Israeli site in Erbil, at/near the US consulate. No one died.

          Speculation: what was the target? how much damage was really done?

          Fact: It was a big attack with multiple missiles and a nearby TV studio was damaged by the shockwave.

          Allegedly Revolutionary Guards social media posted a message: Z (Russia) you are not alone.

          2022 might be the year when everyone with a grudge against the US decides to settle their score.

        2. PlutoniumKun

          I think its pretty clear that the Iranians are pushing the envelope to see how far they can get, I doubt this is a coincidence.

          Its certainly a big opportunity for many countries (or breakaway movements) around the world. But it hugely increases the chance of miscalculations. We are in ‘interesting’ times, and not in a good way.

            1. Nikkikat

              I agree, S Korea will now have someone who works with US. Wonder what silent coup happened that puts the kind of guy in charge? Sounds like a US puppet. Just in time for these DC morons to start up something with China and N Korea.

            1. britzklieg

              apparently the strike (against Israel) came at the exact time and date that S. was assassinated

              1. Judith

                I expect that when revenge happens, it will be unequivocal and major, though perhaps not public.

              2. Tor User

                “exact time and date that S. was assassinated”

                I don’t follow your thinking.

                On 3 January 2020, Qasem Soleimani, an Iranian major general, was assassinated by the United States.

                Was it even the same time? 12:47 am when the drone fired at Soleimani.

      2. steve

        I would imagine there is huge amounts of pent up hate for the USA USA waiting for the crack to widen just enough, both home and abroad. Just imagine that swarm.

        for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap

    1. PlutoniumKun

      It was only a matter of time before the Russians decided to hit those transit points. Its an obvious escalation point. I assume most Nato countries are smart enough to use contractors for deliveries, but you can never be sure.

    2. The Rev Kev

      On the news there was a lot of shock that Russia had done that but I am not sure why. They were military targets on the territory of the Ukraine and so were fair game. If there were NATO soldiers or spooks or mercs at those places, I do not think that Russia would shed a tear.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        It’s hard to pin down, but this is a very emotional time for the willfully ignorant. A recognition the US military has been fighting yahoos, not peer or near peer competitors, the potential for blowback, and so forth. It’s coming up. Even the crimes we are accusing Russia of amount to kind of a big weekend for the US.

        Then we have thugs like McFaul who seem to be apologizing for the Gerries in the 30’s and 40’s with Maddow blasting it everywhere. Hes not the only making “odd” statements. The G7 is having a snit, but outside, the former colonies aren’t appalled. Quite simply, being white enough isn’t protection from the flow of history is hitting people. All those cabbies who told reporters how great they were may have been lying for tips.

        The story about the Israeli PM rings of truth because eh told Zelensky to do the sensible thing. The US isn’t and can’t coming to the rescue.

      2. hunkerdown

        The louder they gasp, the more hidden importance the objective must have held for them. Private weapons depots near residential districts could constitute a war crime. Russia’s terms of engagement endanger outside Western countries seen hosting material support. Ukrainian bases are one of the few feasible places to store and distribute material.

        I recall HTS and White Helmets in Syria as a gun-and-run logistics laundry, effectively supplying the war criminals’ henchmen under cover of sectarian squabbling. In this exciting hypothetical episode, a weakened Western army outpost is overrun by those moderate, trustworthy Indians from Boston, who then help themselves to everything they need to support the Western covert op. That would have made such an exciting and effective plot twist. But the Northern boys just set the pyrotechnics trailer on fire and the execs in baseball jackets are deeply concerned about the future of the production.

    3. britzklieg

      From 1988 – L.A. Times. When wiser heads prevailed. Russia said it’s goal was to deprive the USA of a foe:
      Our major secret weapon is to deprive you of an enemy… Moscow no longer wants to wear the black hat, Arbatov said during a frank speech before Soviet and U.S. scientists at the University Club.

      “It’s historical, it’s human, you have to have an enemy,” he said. “So much was built out of this role of the enemy. Your foreign policy, quite a bit of your economy, even your feelings about your country. To have a really good empire, you have to have a really evil empire.”

  5. Skippy

    Mar 11
    Replying to
    The US has chosen to prioritize the economy despite strong, countless studies that COVID harms many people, even those without #LongCovid or hospitalization. COVID predominantly affects the *vascular* system (the blood vessels), causing harm to the blood cells & blood flow;

    Basically every time your infected your health score drops.

    1. Arizona Slim

      And, once again, nary a mention of early treatments, even though such things do exist. But, heaven forfend, they might include the use of repurposed drugs!

      1. Maritimer

        Or worse yet: prophylaxis. As yer outa touch Granny might have said: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Ah, those old uninformed fogies.

    2. doug

      I notice more than one ‘solution’ for ‘brain fog’ being touted by ‘vitamin’ companies. So there are profits to be made as well.

    3. Pat


      Sorry but the US has not prioritized the economy. It just gave up and tacitly said we cannot do anything really anyway, and we are going to war because ratings so we need that money. Covid was handled so badly people not only noticed but rebelled. They screwed up so badly that trying to clear up the mess would mean hard work, honesty and some clear support of the public and hard regulation of numerous industries with strict enforcement. Since the last two are impossible for our craven political class that left throwing up one’s hands and declaring a Bush style Mission Accomplished.

      If the economy was prioritized there would be a lot more moves on a lot of fronts to decrease inflation and increase disposable income. Even the false stock market economy is going to find the increased inflation hitting it. If you can show me any indication that the government is doing anything but royally messing up foreign policy and defense policy but winning the propaganda wars I will apologize.

      1. tegnost

        Considering that inflation in the US translates in summerspeak to the poors have too much money sloshing around from all that undeserved stimulus they got under the last administration one might argue that raising prices will empty out the poors overstuffed bank accounts and they’ll get back to work like we all know they should. Half and half don’t deliver itself you know. In my little meaningless world the rent is obscene and unaffordable. Interest rates should have gone up ten years ago.

    1. Michael Ismoe

      It’s been two weeks -Ukraine and Afghanistan about the same size

      I’d say the USA could learn a few lessons

      1. playon (formerly lordkoos)

        There is a huge difference in terrain, which is why Afghanistan has historically been very difficult to conquer. Ukraine, on the other hand has been conquered and overrun many times.

    2. Greg

      This is such a very modern talking point.
      By any objective comparison to previous wars, encircling all major cities after two weeks effort is a very fast moving war.
      But we can rely on the modern consumer to know no history and have no interest in historical comparisons, even to last year, so lets say it’s moving really slowly.

  6. griffen

    Roadkill app is a genius deployment of technology and smart phone apps. Maybe I’m pushing the bounds of defining that term, genius, but seems like a real improvement for those who choose to collect the dead meat sources and preserve while mostly fresh. About these parts you’ll see smaller deer roadkill on the boundaries of I-85 going south from Greenville, SC into Georgia.

    Noted in the article, that employee worked for the state wildlife federation (or maybe it is just branded as such, but not a state organization / authority). He sent a sample out for testing, to make sure it was good for human consumption. You would not know such particulars if this app was built by Silicon Valley, in my estimation.

    1. LawnDart

      Roadkill app is a genius deployment of technology and smart phone apps.

      Agree, as at least the death can serve a purpose (feed those in need) vs a shameful waste: the former saddens me, but the latter disgusts me and seems very disrespectful.

      1. Michael Ismoe

        As we all “pay a little more” for gasoline, meat, bread and everything else so that Ukrainian children can “live in freedom”, it might become the Most Downloaded App of 2022.

      2. wilroncanada

        Somebody donate a phone with the app loaded, to Skink, Carl Hiaasen’s ex Florida governor. He’ll appreciate it.

    2. ambrit

      Check your State Division of Wildlife and Fisheries. Many states mandate that all roadkill be turned in to the State for “proper disposal.” We knew slightly a woman who’s son hit and killed a deer in Louisiana. Some damage to the front of his truck. He made an accident report. The State told him that he had to give the dead deer up or face a fine, plus some hunting license trouble.
      So, check with your State first.
      As is said here about bitcoin, this app looks like prosecution futures.

      1. rowlf

        Having heard people I have worked with describe hitting deer and getting a tag to be allowed to process the remains, I did a quick search and found ROADKILL LAWS – STATES SPECIFICS as a good sampler.

        I like the Minnesota entry: You can also ask to be placed on a call list, and the Sheriff’s office will notify you of road killed deer in your area for pickup and then you pick up the possession tag at the Sheriff’s office.

        1. ambrit

          An excellent resource for the state of play.
          The website name is definitely tongue in cheek.

        2. Stephanie

          My mother hit a deer once in the 80s in MN and the deputy who pulled over to help seemed quite jazzed that she didn’t want to take the carcass home herself, as that meant he had dibs.

        3. playon (formerly lordkoos)

          In my youth I did a week in the county jail. We were served roadkill venison more than once. Unfortunately the trustees who prepared it were terrible cooks, it was one of the worst meals I’ve ever had.

  7. DJG, Reality Czar

    If I may, in this distracting time, I’d like to keep commenters’ attention also focused on Brazil. U.S. relations with Brazil are not healthy, although Brazil has escaped the tender U.S. mercies given to Central America.

    Oh, and whose administration is implicated here? In the trumped-up case against Lula and then the fabricated impeachment of Dilma Roussef?

    To quote from the BrasilWire article:

    This Wednesday, March 9, Superior Justice Court Sergio Kukina ordered the Ministry of Justice to turn over the requested information to Lula’s defense team. According to the Brazilian legal blog Conjur, this represents another victory for the defense, but it’s a narrow one. The Court order stipulates that the Justice Ministry is only required to share information on the existence of and subjects of any and all cooperation agreements struck between the US government and the Brazilian Ministry of Justice related to the Lava Jato investigation against Lula.

    As Public Prosecutor Marcos Antonio da Silva Costa told Conjur, however, “the simple knowledge of a cooperation agreement can reveal an investigation strategy.”

  8. The Rev Kev

    “Russia-Ukraine War Won’t Affect Pharmaceutical Sales, but It Could Disrupt Trials, Companies Say”

    I can only see the first two paragraphs but where the title says that it could disrupt trials, does that mean that a source of human guinea pigs for experimental drugs are now for the moment out of reach?

    1. upstater

      I met a Russian 30-something on a now defunct Moscow-Minsk-Vilnius-Kaliningrad passenger train in June 2018. He was from St Petersburg, but attended HS in b the Cleveland area (his family evacuated during the collapse).

      Anyway, he was responsible for managing drug trials for a Swiss company that contracts with Big Pharma to run trials in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine. His comments about health care and poverty in Ukraine were as one would expect; not a nice place to be. The health care system collapsed and was cash only. For poorer people participating in trials it was the only way to get treatments. Trials were a big business in Ukraine. He said Belarus had the best over-all quality of life for its population.

      The Russian trains were great, BTW. I wonder if Lithuania has blocked rail access to Kaliningrad. Supposedly access was guaranteed by treaty. My cousin lives in the middle of the Sulaki Gap, the rail line basically follows the gap. It was fairly busy with freight traffic. Probably why NATO runs annual exercises there the cut off land access to Kaliningrad.

        1. DJG, Reality Czar

          Wonderful. It becomes even more evident why my grandfather G left the Russian Empire. He was mainly of Lithuanian descent, and his family lived in a village pretty much under the left black tickmark on the map in the article. The village was on the Lithuanian side of the border, which still runs through a little lake. The other side was then East Prussia.

          My grandfather’s village, when he was born in 1893, had about 4,000 inhabitants. There was a Catholic church, a synagogue, and a Lutheran church. The Lutheran church was more unusual than the synagogue, because not many Lithuanians are Lutherans, and the distinguished Lithuanian Jewish community was much larger that the Lutheran church.

          The village now has some 600 people. The synagogue is gone. Of course. So is the Lutheran church.

          But let’s have swarms of keyboard warriors telling us how they would strategize, and prioritize, and managize a war.

          1. upstater

            My grandfather’s family was from Kazlu Ruda, about 20 km from Poland and 30 from Kaliningrad. It, too, was pretty diverse until Babarrosa. Then it wasn’t. Like the country as a whole, one third of the population is gone after independence. There is a large Soviet era military base near by continously occupied by rotating Germans battalions (how ironic), frequently joined by Americans. In the center of town there is a WW2 cemetary of 300+ Red Army soldiers (most mass buried). Surprised it was still there in 2018. The EU has beautifully restored village Roman Catholic churches. None of the destroyed synagogues have been, AFIK.

      1. Eclair

        Upstater, one does meet the most fascinating people on long train journeys.

        About ten years ago, I met a New Zealander on the westward trip between Chicago and Denver. We talked all afternoon and through dinner, into the night. Inevitably, we got onto a discussion of comparative health care systems. And, he turns out to work for the Dean of the medical school in Christchurch, so he filled me in on the details of their system, including an exhaustive explanation of how they keep drug prices down. All stuff I never picked up by reading US media.

        1. Wukchumni

          We were on a train out of Dunedin NZ going to Taieri Gorge about 20 years ago and got talking to an Aussie fellow who related that he had a mild heart attack in NYC a decade prior and that 3 ambulances were squabbling over who got the right to ferry him away.

    2. HotFlash

      does that mean that a source of human guinea pigs for experimental drugs are now for the moment out of reach?

      Or perhaps that the marketing department is not letting a good crisis go to waste?

  9. Basil Pesto

    > So, your ability to concentrate is shot? Welcome to the club Brisbane Times

    This article. I have no words. Actually speechless.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Wow. Just wow.

      I’ve mentioned it before, but Covid sometimes seems to behave like one of those parasites that makes rats lose their fear of cats. Its the only possible explanation for such deep stupidity. Covid is turning the brains or our ‘intelligentsi’ passive mush.

    2. Ignacio

      I experienced the opposite Basil Pesto. Articles like this are small arcs of light in the fog we live and I strongly recommend NC readers to go to the link, read it in full and before going to any news on Ukraine, Covid, or whatever. Then think for a while about what you have just read.

      It is interesting for instance the take at your concentration skills going down if, for instance you are attacked by a bear (surprisingly of course). Such fog would be good natural reaction: you now ‘focus’ on your senses, scan the environment for threats and cannot complete your SamuraiSudoku or analyse properly the accounting spreadsheet or the computer screen. It is a positive in the sense you are better prepared for the next bear attack. But then the article goes to other ‘distractions’, for instance, social networks that might make your brain foggy for no good reason at all. A different thing would be, for instance, is if what you are doing is a focused scan on social networks and media the kind that Yves, Lambert, Jerry-Lynn do all the time to provide links, news and analysis. That is just part of their work and acts as an anti-fog vaccine.

      I have been myself somehow foggy and overwhelmed by events during the last two weeks and while I should be concentrating on two main tasks, last week I couldn’t do as well as I wished. During Covid, keeping part of my mind focused on the pandemic itself helped me a lot. Now, i have too many ‘war fronts’ and feeling quite a bit strained and unable. So I have for instance decided to turn off on news except for what I find at NC –and mainly during the weekend– while at the same time let the smartphone lost somewhere from Friday evening to Monday. One other thing that helps me staying focused is make extensive use of my written agenda -hate smartphone agendas- and I have realised I left it unattended for the last two weeks. Back to it now!

    3. super extra

      I started with only mild revulsion at the vox pop from a “twice burnt out PR exec” who’d only had covid as recently as mid-January discussing how she had been unable to concentrate on even the trashiest of tv, but when it shifted to soft advertisement for a Johan Hari book and then the non sequitur of the hypothetical bear attack before falling back on ‘multitasking in the era of screens causes distractions, what can you do’ I had to click away out of disgust. I’m starting to believe we’re facing down WW3 because the idiots in charge have brain damage from the virus they handwaved away, to everyone’s detriment.

      1. albrt

        If you’re running away from a bear, you don’t have to be smarter than the bear, you only have to be smarter than Joe Biden.

        Or something like that.

  10. griffen

    Playground for the rich could undermine sanctions on Russia and Russian oligarchs. Worth the time to navigate around the paywall, pretty thorough summary of how Dubai is playing their relationship cards with the US. Also, it reads like a summary proposal for a new Bond film (or even a poor sequel like the Mechanic: Resurrection sequel).

    Come to Dubai, where we do what Switzerland used to do but only do it better.

  11. The Rev Kev

    “Twitter is censoring reporting on Ukrainian Nazis on the pretext of “abusive behavior”

    A coupla years ago we were told that is was OK to cheer on and support Jihadists in Syria, even if they did have a propensity for atrocities, setting people on fire, having children execute bound prisoners, etc. But now we are told that we can cheer Nazis. Not imitation Nazis, not cosplay Nazis, not military recreation society Nazis but the real deal. And yes, these ones are into atrocities as well. I wonder what the surviving GIs from the WW2 European campaigns think about that and just so that ‘censorship of the people, by the Blue Checks, of the dissidents, shall not perish from the Earth.’

    You want to know what the worse of it is? The building blocks for censorship in the west are now in place. The Ukrainian war could be used for the justification of censoring people and remember, you need only need to be Russian now to be demonetized, deleted or banned on not only every social media platform but things like gaming or anything digital in fact. Once you have something like that in place, it is only a matter of time when it will be turned against Americans in the upcoming elections to ‘protect the integrity’ of the voting process. But what is worse, you know have a critical mass of people who are just fine with censorship and I am not just talking about the Cenk Uygurs of the world but all those that have jumped on the anti-Russia bandwagon no matter what the cost.

    And you wouldn’t need a formal government organization to do this but Silicon Valley would gleefully set up this censorship and they know what is right and what is wrong and are looking out for our interests. So it will be up to people like Mark Zuckerburg, Jack Dorsey, Sundar Pichai & Tim Cook who will decide what you can and can’t look at. And as they are private corporations, the government will claim to be helpless. Amazing this. It looks like in real life that you never know which person you meet will turn out to be a Nazi- (1:41 mins) – some swearing

    1. VP

      Agree completely.

      Imagine a person from the post WW2 time frame time-travelling to the present. What does that person see?
      The Allied Powers funding Neo-Nazi’s to wage a proxy war against an Allied country who lost upwards of 20 million people fighting the Nazi’s!

      Also, another thought experiment – Imagine things escalate to a point where there are hard alliances and say, Russia-China and India are in such an alliance. Considering the fact the regular people are being swept up into the Mob due to the Wave of Mania that was unleashed, will there be Internment Camps for US citizens who are Indian and Chinese decedents?

      Will the surveillance and censorship monster unleashed, censor/flag comments similar to this one and pull the authors into a “Foreign Sympathizer” list?

      All scary thoughts for me, but hard not to imagine how close we are to the above.

      1. wilroncanada

        The US funded real nazis then too, VP. Don’t forget, in the US, the business of the US is business.

    2. fresno dan

      Rev Kev
      Truly, we are in a Brave New World

      Karl Rove: “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors … and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.
      If a thousand Nazis are marching in a forest, but no one reads a tweet on twitter, makes a link on Facebook, or sees a video on YouTube, did it really happen?

      The law allows everyone to speak, but only the rich to be heard:
      The law, in its majestic equality, forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal their bread Anatole France

      1. fresno dan

        The White House on Thursday briefed around 30 social media creators covering Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, according to multiple media reports.

        According to a recording of the meeting obtained by The Post, the White House director of digital strategy Rob Flaherty said that the Biden administration recognizes “this is a critically important avenue in the way the American public is finding out about the latest” and they wanted to make sure the influencers had the “latest information from an authoritative source.”

        Ukrainian American TikTok creator Aaron Parnas, who has 1.2 million followers on TikTok, tweeted on Friday that “I still cannot believe how blessed I am to have had the opportunity to attend a White House briefing yesterday to be armed with accurate information about how America is helping Ukraine and our European allies.”

        1. Dr. John Carpenter

          When I first saw a headline about this, it was followed a few headlines away by (paraphrasing) “Russian TikTok stars paid to push Russian propaganda”. No acknowledgment that the two events were equal. Well, not equal. The Russians were smart enough to get paid. The USains are just doing it for the head pats, I guess.

      2. Nikkikat

        I have also been thing about Brave New World. Everything seems to be falling in place. I had read it in school as required reading for 9th grade literature class. I have a suspicion that book would not even be in the library now let alone taught in school.
        Brave New World hits so close to the mark now, that it makes my hair stand on end.

      3. bassmule

        Cornel West in an interview in the New Yorker, courtesy of Matt Taibbi:
        “Everybody knows if Russia had troops in Mexico or Canada there would be invasions tomorrow. [Biden] sends the Secretary of State, telling Russia, “You have no right to have a sphere of influence,” after the Monroe Doctrine, after the overthrowing of democratic regimes in Latin America for the last hundred-and-some years. Come on, America, do you think people are stupid? What kind of hypocrisy can anybody stand?
        That doesn’t mean that Putin is not still a gangster—of course he is. But so were the folk promoting the Monroe Doctrine that had the U.S. sphere of influence for decade after decade after decade after decade, and anybody critical of you, you would demonize. Yet here are you, right at the door of Russia, and can’t see yourself in the mirror. That’s spiritual decay right there, brother, it really is.”

        And, Taibbi himself:
        We’ve been trained to rage against this thinking. We even have our own borrowed Newspeak word for the offense: Whataboutism. The offender supposedly does a bait-and-switch, distracting with charges of hypocrisy without refuting the actual argument. But a Soviet giving a professionally two-faced answer to questions about Gulags by saying, “And you lynch blacks” isn’t the same as the much more serious thing West is talking about. Lying to others is shameful, but lying to ourselves and not even realizing it, that’s hardcore spiritual decay. We’re being driven faster toward the cliff-edge of this moral insanity with each new act of mass forgetting.

        1. albrt

          Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

          That Jesus dude needs to be canceled for his whataboutism.

        2. Late Introvert

          Surprised and pleased that Brother Cornell West got those remarks printed in the friggin’ New Yorker.

          It’s been hard arguing that same position to family and friends, and then having to defend myself against the immediate charge that I’m defending Putin and War on civilians. I asked my teenager if Russia staged a coup in Mexico and installed a hostile government, would the US like that? No, she said. I then asked if they started threatening to install nuclear weapons on the border, would the US invade? She paused… yes, she said.

          If I mention that most Soviet people wanted the Soviet Union to continue, or that Russia won WWII with the most losses of any people, I get gasps or that very Midwestern “Ohhh…!” while they look away and do a shoulder shrug/arm wave.

          You can’t have a nuanced argument in America. Transgender people, for whom I have a lifelong understanding, have far less numbers then athiests/agnostics/skeptics, and arguably get more social protection, try having that discussion. Or to discuss the state of the water, and why it’s so bad for everyone from city to rural and in-between. Even people who really want clean water will get worried looks and say oh, that’s not true.

          I don’t blame them, they have been lied to their entire lives by the very best experts in the field.

    3. HotFlash

      And as they are private corporations, the government will claim to be helpless.

      Social organization by private corporations in the manner of a government — isn’t there a name for that?

  12. DJG, Reality Czar

    Day Sixteen Report from Gilbert Doctorow is worth your while. It is long. It is detailed. The most important parts are about what is happening in the Donbas, information you are not likely to find elsewhere, and the buildup of Russian demands.

    I am still of a mind that the proposal made last Tuesday by Massimo Cacciari in LaStampa (yes, it squeaked in past Zafasova’s foaming at the mouth, the various earnest special correspondents now pressed into service, and the endless baby-Ukrainians war porn) is the best:

    Neutral Ukraine. Reintegration of the Donbas into Ukraine with special provisions for autonomy. Eventual (ohhh, 2075) EU membership.

    (I can’t imagine why the EU suddenly wants a large basketcase as a member, given that Turkey’s application has been hanging for years and Turkey is economically more productive than Ukraine. But then baby-Ukrainians as war porn seems to be having its effect.)

    Doctorow gives examples of vulgar anti-Russian behavior. But as I have pointed out (as have many others here) the tee-hee-heeing among the good-thinkers over how Trump and Putin are trombamici shows that the veneer of civilization is indeed thin. I’m so old that I recall when Alan Kurdi washed up the beach in Turkey–whose death has done nothing to affect U.S. policy in Syria.

    1. OIFVet

      I don’t think the EU wants Ukraine as a member, at least not the members that truly take the important decisions: Germany, France, Netherlands. They were forced to perform the theater of accepting Ukrainian and Georgian applications for membership by Zelensky’s insistence on Ukraine be let in immediately with a special procedure that simply does not exist. it would have been unseemly to refuse the anointed hero of the Free World at least a symbolic action, but were quick to add that no special procedure exists and Ukraine will follow the same process as every other applicant. It can’t have come as a great shock even to the most delusional Ukrainians, who act as though the rules of the world do not apply to Ukraine by virtue of it being attacked for it’s own elites craven stupidity.

      Eastern Europeans probably want to see Ukraine in the EU, particularly Poland and the Baltics. For the rest, support for Ukrainian ascension is most likely purely performative display of virtue, while they scheme how to use the crisis to extract some more Euro funding for themselves. They certainly do not want to share it with another huge money pit such as Ukraine.

      Based on what I have seen of my Bulgarian government, refugees will be heavily used in that scheming, while letting volunteers do the actual work and pay for it with generous dispersal of gratitude and no reimbursements. Those are reserved for the powerful hotel lobby, utterly corrupt and utterly terrified that they will go bankrupt this summer as the Russians won’t come to vacation in their usual big numbers, and even the Western budget tourists will probably opt to not come to drink themselves silly within 200 km of a war zone. Food and energy inflation here is such that panic buying and stocking of gasoline and certain foodstuffs has been the story for 10 days now, so most household budgets are now depleted and unable to pay even for a weekend getaway. Most of the hotels in the winter ski resorts are shutting down this weekend for lack of tourists, despite the best snow cover in years that had them planning to operate until the end of April. Given all this, there is now a lot of resentment against a government that is seen as a Western puppet paying hotels €20 per day per refugee, which is more than most Bulgarians make in a day. Predictably, resentment is beginning to be directed at the refugees as well.

      So no, I don’t think the EU wants Ukraine in now or in 10 years. They want to appear virtuous while spending as little as possible to create that appearance. The economic shocks for the regular Europeans are going to be fairly brutal, I dare say, and the EU will have to walk a tightrope to cushion them while avoiding the wrath that its citizens will eventually lay on it for its role in this crisis.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Its all theatre. There is no way Ukraine would be accepted into full membership. It would only take one member to veto an application. At all levels its now recognised that allowing in basket cases doesn’t work – its bad for the EU and only provides a very temporary boost to the country. So they will make the right noises, but it will always be on the understanding that it would, like Turkey, be parked in the waiting queue forever.

      2. DJG, Reality Czar

        OIFVet: Thanks for the report from Bulgaria. Your mention of Bulgarian salaries reminds me of something that bothered me on arrival in Italy: Italian salaries aren’t high either, and I am seeing way too many young men (and some young women) riding delivery bikes for Glovo, Amazon, UPS, UberEats, and so on.

        And we should keep pointing out that Ukraine asked for instant membership: Zelensky is engaged in a kind of oligarchic thinking in which one believes one dictates rules instead of following them.

        All in all, though, in spite of the current unease in Italy (and Bulgaria, I assume), I can’t say that I miss Chicago, which is a study in how to mismanage everything and fleece the populace.

        1. OIFVet

          I can’t say I miss Chicago’s government but I do miss Hyde Park sometimes. All in all, Sofia makes Chicago look like a paragon of good government and infrastructure maintenance by comparison. The scale of corruption and incompetence is breathtaking. Unrest here has been nonstop for almost two years now, and the current government may well be very temporary after a year that saw three elections before a coalition was able to be formed in December. The two leaders in the main party in the coalition ran on little more than their Harvard diplomas as proof of competence. Even before the war many people came to view them as empty suits, now they are viewed as America’s empty suits and the government is becoming increasingly unstable. Funny how Putin invades Ukraine, and as result our government may well fall before Kiev :)

          Zelensky insisting that Ukraine be admitted posthaste by special rules applicable only to it really rubbed me the wrong way too. Zelensky makes so many demands and prescriptions that I have come to think that he has come to see himself as a the ultimate authority on anything and everything, backed by raging sense of entitlement. He is not a comedian, he is a clown, and it boggles the mind how people can’t see the reality: that he is a puppet who has forgotten that he is a stage prop.

          Who knows, we may run into each other in Europe sometime :) Stay safe!

        2. Bugs

          Funny, I had Italian reports in my team back when they were paid in lira and their salaries were higher than equivalent level employees’ French salaries after conversion. Only Nordics had the big salaries. UK was slightly better than French, probably making up for housing cost at the time.

          Wonder what happened?

    2. Mel

      “I can’t imagine why the EU suddenly wants a large basketcase as a member,”

      The way I understand it, the Eurozone is constitutionally limited in that the only way it can grow its money supply, therefore its economy, is to find fresh members who can borrow fresh money from private banks, up to a set limit of their GDP. The current Eurosouth has exhausted their borrowing/paying-back capacity (Greece, most notoriously), so why not Ukraine? Speaking broken-window economics, there are fine borrowing/spending opportunities in fixing up a basket case. If you can tiptoe around the GDP limit, even better.

      1. Nikkikat

        He may not need a loan for his corrupt crap country, good old Brandon is shoveling millions of our tax money to that billionaire Clown.

        1. Mel

          Zelensky may not, but my conspiracy theory says the Eurobanks have to build their balance sheets somehow.

    3. Bart Hansen

      Doctorow’s post this morning is that the Americans want a long war, perhaps a re-run of how they bogged down Russia in Afghanistan so long ago. So it’s a proxy war with us supplying the weaponry so ‘you and him can fight’. Ukraine will be destroyed in order to save it?

      1. Durans

        The US plan seems to be to totally destroy Ukraine in a drawn out guerilla war that will last until the Russians decide to withdraw. The destroyed Ukraine will then be led by a band of the most hard-lined nationalists who will allow fascist terrorist groups to form there. Eventually one of these fascist groups will pull of a big attack on the west that can’t be ignored. Then West will invade, reduce the country to even more rubble, and occupy it for 20 years. After which we will hastily retreat, steal their money, and impose sanctions on them. I’m not sure what happens next.

  13. Jeff W

    “‘Democrats deliver.’ They do? What? Ice cream?”

    Messages, obviously. “Democrats deliver…messages, like this one.” (It’s what the article is about. Is that too meta?)

    1. Arizona Slim

      In my YouTube feed, I’ve been seeing ads for a Democrat Party survey. It’s asking me to rate their performance.

      Unless it allows for the use of negative numbers, I’m not taking it.

      1. Lost in OR

        Not sure why, but yesterday I checked out the OR Republican party list of candidates for 2022. Five candidates to replace the corrupt and retiring Schrader. Nineteen candidates for governor.

        Then I checked out the Dem list. At least I tried to. It is not easily found or does not exist.

    2. OIFVet

      Geez you can’t see the forest for the trees :) She is referring to democrat voters employed in the delivery industry, be it Amazon or Doordash. Have to deliver the votes, and Pelosi will cash them for a new Twin SubZero.

      1. Jeff W

        “She is referring to democrat voters employed in the delivery industry, be it Amazon or Doordash.”

        Well, it could be worse, I guess—Pelosi could have been channeling the over-three-decade-old US Postal Service jingle (♪ We deliver. We deliver. ♫).

      1. Michael Ismoe

        Can we get Putin to declare war on poor families? It seems to be the only way they will get any attention.

    3. griffen

      Checks irony meter quickly, I say they deliver for Wall St. Just look firstly at good old Chuck Schumer, of New York. Similarly situated Dems are beholden to that donor class.

      Why else would a Goldman Sachs or Morgan Stanley offer up a plentiful speaking fee to HRC. And then there is Citigroup of course, and their rotation of folks through the door.

  14. PlutoniumKun

    Incels Vote Too The American Conservative

    The article isn’t that great, but it does highlight an important story that has disappeared under all the other things happening in the world – the way in which the conservative right has been making a big come-back in ROK, despite the generally excellent governance there by the centre left Democrats. A key element seems to be a very large number of angry young men – exacerbated by an excessive number of male births in the 1990’s as boys were favoured over girls. Even in a prospering country like Korea, we are seeing increasing numbers of educated young people being left behind, stuck in crappy jobs when they’ve worked hard for what is seen as a secure life and career. Add in the toxicity over gender roles and arguments, and you’ve a recipe for a very bad situation.

    But once again we see the left lose what should be one of its constituencies. The casualties of economic changes should be the natural base of a populist left. But time and again we’ve seen the populist right grab that cohort.

    1. David

      It does seem to be part of a wider trend of the international PMC and its dependent political parties going out of their way to antagonise as many voters as possible, and then being surprised when they lose elections.

      The explanation, I think, is that the PMC doesn’t really like elections anyway, and has tried to make them as meaningless as possible, by evacuating anything of interest from politics, and moving the management of the country into the various manifestations of the PMC itself. Moreover, the internal organisation of the PMC itself is not democratic: it’s essentially a patronage system, where, as the phrase has it, you suck up and kick down. But to suck up is not enough, you have to get yourself noticed, and you do that by shouting more loudly and coming up with more extreme suggestions than the next person. (Ability, in this game, is not important). There is therefore a built-in tendency to competitive extremist hand-waving, which is not directed at the voting public, of course, but is inevitably noticed by them.

      So, in the context of the article, some figures on the Left in France last year came up with a really cool slogan to sweep to power in 2022: Abolish the Family. Would have gone down especially well, I imagine, among the more conservative immigrant voters which the Left has always taken for granted. I suspect that in a generation, South Korea may be experiencing what we’re getting in Europe: a generation of bitter, lonely, professional women who are disenchanted with the struggle for worldly success, and suddenly realise that they don’t have any friends, family or social life. As you say, the Left should be sweeping up the casualties of economic change, but it prefers to insult them, for reasons which are essentially those of careerism within the PMC.

      1. britzklieg

        I’ve been looking for evidence that a ‘left” exists for decades and have found none. Carter was a barely acceptable compromise. Clinton was not, so when everyone started loving on the big dawg (“the first Black President” – Morrison regretted saying that) we saw the casket was being lined (despite some push-back about crime bills and welfare reform, very little to no pushback on his sanctions and constant bombings (correct me if I’m wrong) on Iraq and his (illegal?) NATO-lead wars on Yugoslavia).
        Obama put the body in the casket.
        Biden closed (and nailed down) the lid.
        The left, long moribund, at last interred.

        1. David

          Well, as I like to say, the Tendency Formerly Known as the Left, but it’s a bit tiresome repeating it every time.

      2. The Rev Kev

        That’s quite an analysis that and kinda sad reading. Abolish the Family? How deluded do you have to be to consider that a good slogan, especially among immigrants with strong family values. Maybe this is part of a plan. To have the Left self-destruct so that conservative movements everywhere have a clear lane but that is a really bad idea as you see those countries become a bit more aggressive. And that does not make for a safer world.

    2. Kouros

      I guess I can say good by to the relaxing Korean historical dramas that had many an interesting strong willed, willy, and very resourceful female characters….

      South Korea, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in East Asia… Except that the perverts installing peep cams in female toilets would likely be beheaded in KSA…

    3. Altandmain

      I think that this overstates the Korean economic situation.

      A big part of the reason why the incumbent was voted out was because of the weak Korean economy and skyrocketing housing prices.

      To be blunt, I think that the PMC would rather lose by doubling down with identity politics than win by addressing the actual economic issues facing voters.

      The Korean manufacturing industry has lost a lot of jobs, especially to China over the years. Economically they got hit hard by the pandemic.

      One of President Moon Jae-in’s key failures was her inability to deliver affordable housing. Korea is likely in a big housing bubble that when it pops, I think could plunge the economy into a 2008 like crisis.

      But there’s no way to deny that the left badly mishandled the situation and people who might have been sympathetic voted for the Conservatives.

      To be honest, the political landscape may very well favor a culturally moderate or culturally conservative, but economically left wing party.

      1. c_heale

        The vote was extremely close, only a few hundred thousand votes in it. Moon neglected youth unemployment and didn’t do enough about housing. But the left candidate was also tainted by a corruption scandal which caused him to lose a lot of votes. It was said to be a vote between two unpopular candidates here in Korea. Unfortunately, the President has way too much power compared with the other parts of the political setup here.

  15. PlutoniumKun

    The Epidemic of Covid Complacency Eric Topol.

    Not much to say on this, but to note that the second Omicron wave is hitting lift off all over Europe, just as mask mandates and other controls have been abandoned. Here in Ireland I’ve been astounded at how quickly mask discipline has fallen apart once it was made non-compulsory. I had hoped that there had been a cultural change, but clear not. BA.2 rates are starting to shoot up. The US seems usually to be about a month behind Europe.

    Its 2-4 months now since the third shot was widely distributed, as well as lots of ‘natural’ immunity from the first wave. We’ll soon see if the pessimists or optimists are right. Looking at the death rates now – they are moving up very quickly again, things seem to favour the pessimists.

    1. Basil Pesto

      it’s worth repeating, but we’re currently in an extremely weird stage of the pandemic. It’s truly surreal stuff.

      I’ve seen some press calling for 4th boosters in the UK today. We don’t learn. And urgency for updated vaccines (to say nothing of intranasal vaccines) is non-existent – recall that we were told last year mRNA vaccines could be updated to a new strain in less than a week. It’s hard to find the words to emphasise how disastrous this vaccine-only policy has been for public heath.

      1. antidlc

        ‘ It’s hard to find the words to emphasise how disastrous this vaccine-only policy has been for public heath.”

        It’s been great for big pharma!

        Pfizer CEO says a fourth booster shot ‘is necessary’
        © Greg Nash

        Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said on Sunday that a fourth dose of the COVID-19 vaccine will be necessary to continue to help keep hospitalizations manageable and sicknesses more mild.

        “Right now, the way that we have seen, it is necessary, a fourth booster right now. The protection that you are getting from the third, it is good enough, actually quite good for hospitalizations and deaths,” Bourla said while appearing on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

      2. antidlc

        And what happened to covid sniffing dogs?

        Honestly, I think the “plan” is to keep the virus going as much as possible so people have to keep getting boosters.

        1. Rod

          And what happened to covid sniffing dogs?

          they’re in the closet, keeping Radical Conservation company.

      3. PlutoniumKun

        Pretty much every western government – and its public health establishment – has bought into the idea that vaccines and ‘natural immunity’ will bring serious illness and death rates down to what they consider acceptable levels. Implicitly, anyone who dies of Covid was either too sick to be worthy of life, or it was somehow their own fault.

        The response to any data that questions the wisdom of this will be to ignore it and gaslight the public. If a new very dangerous variant arises we’ll be told that nobody could possibly have anticipated that this would occur. Long Covid will be considered unproven, because of course its mostly hypochondriac women who are claiming to suffer from it. Research to confirm its reality or otherwise will take at least a decade to complete.

        Incidentally, a new translation of Hippocrates work is to be released soon. Its a little known fact that the real translation of his well known admonition to doctors was ‘first, do no harm, unless this could embarrass your employer or result in your failing to miss your chariot repayments’.

    2. Maritimer

      Covid Complacency indeed! So complacent in fact that Eric only mentions Paxlovid (badabing, kaching) as early treatment. No mention at all of prophylaxis! And little mention of early treatment. Thanks, Eric, but I’ll try prophylaxis and multiple early treatments if I can work around the prohibitions of Industrial Medicine and their insatiable greed.

  16. Wukchumni

    Thieves in the Night: A Vast Burglary Ring from Chile Has Been Targeting Wealthy U.S. Households Vanity Fair

    In the late 1980’s in LA we had a Colombian robbery ring whose members had graduated from ‘the school of the the 7 bells*’ that were terrorizing the smalls (anybody that deals in items of value that you can hold in your hand-not their stature) and their main thrust was towards diamond dealers in downtown LA, but were only too happy to rip off dealers in all that glitters or numismatists, it was a real problem.

    Their m/o was usually to take a knife and make small punctures in the sidewall of the mark’s car, and then once their quarry got in to drive, they’d follow him until the tires went flat a few miles down the road, and then descend upon the hapless victim-stealing his briefcase or in the case of diamond dealers who often kept expensive cut glass on their person, they’d get physical.

    * classmates had to be able to pickpocket a mannequin or somebody wearing 7 bells in lieu of buttons on their coat without making a sound

    1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      Isn’t this how the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles trained under Master Splinter???

  17. PlutoniumKun

    Mysterious Drone Crash Leaves Croatia Baffled Balkan Insight.

    I’m not sure there is a big mystery with this. From the beginning, it was reported that the Russians were using old target drones as decoys to trigger Ukrainian air defences. They were to some degree responsible for the high rate of supposed ‘successes’ against Russian aircraft early in the war. My guess is that this was an old drone sent on a fairly random course to see what air defence radars would try to light it up.

    It may have escaped detection precisely because Nato defences identified it as a decoy drone and so it didn’t trigger any alarms.

    1. Milton

      … or it may have escaped detection because airspace defences inside Ukraine have been rendered incapacitated by superior Russian air power.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Check a map. It had to overfly at least three Nato countries to get to Croatia. None of them detected it.

        1. Milton

          Patronizing retort since the article states that they really have no clue of the origin but can assume it came from Hungary, via western Ukraine. Don’t tell me about maps as I’ve been in the mapping industry for almost 25 years. Our maps are used by almost every industry including all those Covid dashboards that the Covidians here seem to gravitate. Not everyone who visits here can be a 24/7 commenter and don’t have the time to draft formulated essays that can be reread and edited before hitting Post.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            My apologies if it appeared patronising, but your comment had nothing to do with the article. The questions the Croatians are asking is how it could have overflown so many Nato countries without detection.

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      Your explanation of the drone seems most likely to me. However, my first thought on reading the headline was that a wayward drone, much like a remote cyber attack, might prove very difficult to attribute. That is a scary thought in this age of Karen-storms on the network and unprecedented levels of propaganda and control over information flows. if “Saddam’s soldiers were tossing Kuwaiti babies out of incubators to die” helping to push for the first Iraq war — who knows what horrors Russian soldiers might commit? Wayward drones could be used to stoke a few carefully crafted empathy tugs.

    3. Polar Socialist

      It was Tu-141, which Russia retired in 1991 and Ukraine reintroduced in 2014. One of them crashed in Ukraine in 8th March and another one in Crimea on 10th March.
      It’s not a target drone but reconnaissance drone that can have either camera, infra-red or imagining radar as a payload. It’s also has a max range of about 600 miles, so it couldn’t have come from any area under Russian control including the whole Black Sea.

      The trick with these is that the route it set using analog modules, 20 or so of them. You manually set every leg of the route, when to activate the sensor package and when to activate the landing parachute. If you make a mistake in the settings (or your plotting) early on, you really can’t know where the thing will eventually end up flying.

      1. rowlf

        Inertial navigation units installed in 1970s airliners required manual route inputting. It wasn’t uncommon for a flight crew member to accidentally get the inputting sequence wrong and find out during the flight as the aircraft passed a waypoint and then made a turn to head for an earlier waypoint in the flight.

        When navigation displays like in 767s and 757s appeared this stopped happening as the route could be stepped though before flight as a programming check.

      2. PlutoniumKun

        I’m aware it was retired and was originally a reconnaissance drone, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t put into storage and repurposed as possible future target or decoy drone use – this is very common practice in all militaries for outdated aircraft (even the US has repurposed old F-4’s and early model F-16’s for similar reasons).

        At the beginning of the conflict there was footage circulating of the Russians launching target drones towards Ukraine, presumably to act as decoys, but it wasn’t clear what type they were using, but the report indicated that these were old, cheap drones, not a modern purpose built type.

        1. EKV

          FWIW, the Croatian defence ministry issued a statement today saying that (a) it wasn’t a reconnaissance drone and (b) there were traces of explosive elements and parts of an aerial bomb in some of the fragments…

          At the moment it seems that the official statement is only available in Croatian, but Google’s translation is actually quite good.

            1. The Rev Kev

              The good news is that it might serve to remind a few European states that it this 30 year-old clunker of a drone design went right by them, the maybe getting too aggressive with Russia may not be such a good idea as the Russians have more recent drone designs that they can use.

    4. RobertC

      Today I read in MSM one of the overflown countries was Romania, the site of the Aegis Ashore BMD system. Its SPY-1 radar is capable of scanning from the horizon to almost overhead, although I don’t know if its capabilities are constrained by any treaties.

      Be that as it may, as a phased array radar it has a maximum amount of energy to scan the region of interest and BMD has quite an extended region so there wouldn’t be much energy available for horizon scans even if the drone was high enough to be seen.

      And it’s likely with the earlier Iranian missile activity, the radar was in BMD mode as Iran’s missiles were Obama’s ostensible rationale for the Aegis Ashore installation.

      As I recall, Patriots were intended as the AAW defense but I don’t know if they were installed.

      But even if the drone was seen would we acknowledge it?

  18. Wukchumni

    The Russian Ruble has become about worthless 3 or 4 times in the past 30 years, and the Iranian Rial has suffered much worse over a 40 year period-despite both countries being huge oil producers, people in both countries are used to it by now, which is why I think there hasn’t been much in the way of Russians panicking as their currency halved in value, it’s sadly old hat now.

    We caterwaul & moan over $5 a gallon gas, but what if it cost $500 a gallon a year from now, and we’d gotten used to the new normal of old school hyperinflation taking effect, so it didn’t seem all that much out of kilter, and the housing bubble?

    Imagine a tired 1964 3/2 in Sherman Oaks worth $100 million?

    1. Thistlebreath

      Inflation: I have a packet of Weimar currency my late mom’s desperate relatives mailed to her in America, hoping against hope that the bills could be redeemed here. Alas, the telegraph had beaten them to it. The notes were still worthless. There’s an intricate 50 Pfennig bill, a lot of increasingly ragged larger ones and a final tattered 500 Million Markschein.

      1. Wukchumni

        I used to go to Europe quite a bit in the 80’s and America sucks for crowd watching in comparison, along with the former being centered on choo-choos, not cars so much.

        I’m guilty of watching us in action as the next guy and at the time you could buy bundles of 100 brand new consecutively numbered currencies from the half dozen to dozen obscure countries in the financial scheme of things who had declared bankruptcy by way of hyperinflation. They cost $10-15 per hundred notes.

        Latin American countries were abundant, along with African & Asian competitors in a race to the bottom of value, and there’d be odd contenders, such as Poland in the early 1990’s or Yugoslavia in the late 90’s (even bigger of a hyperinflation than Weimar, if memory serves)

        So where am I going with this?

        Before i’d go on a trip, i’d pick up a bundle and clandestinely leave a high value Brazilian banknote or other failure d’jour on the ground in a railway station to see what happens, or maybe stick on one top of the escalator railing going down or in total desperation, make paper airplanes out of the larger sized banknotes and launch away.

        We’re fun to watch when it comes to money, the reactions ran the gamut and it gave me something to do with premeditated time to kill waiting for a train.

    1. Rod

      No on the film, but i don’t know what to think about the discordance between my eyes seeing that with dates and even a report I saw on Al Jazeera, and the ‘news’ I’ve been watching over that same 7 days.

  19. Wukchumni

    In regards to expletive deleted, language is so rich in possibilities that it seems limiting to corral oneself to the same old 8 cuss words.

  20. jefemt

    Gonzalo Lira: I need to poke around his videos and look for an equal-time take-down of T Rump and the Quid pro quo.

    Lotsa doit out there…

    1. Yves Smith

      We are linking to Lira for his position as someone on the ground in Kiev who’s been there for a while, not as a more general recommendation. He’s fiscally orthodox and so hate deficit spending and isn’t sound on the Fed. Hews generally to libertarian views.

      1. bassmule

        Since nobody else is quoting from it:

        “…in the Hunter Biden e-mails, there’s talk, that seems to be true, that “the old man” would get a 10% kickback of whatever Biden was getting, and that was in the laptop. You don’t have to take my word for it, look it up. You can look up anything I’ve been telling you. It’s very easy to find. Kolomoisky, the Ukrainian, Israeli, Cypriot oligarch, was financing Zelensky, financing Joe Biden—God alone knows who else he was financing.”

        “If you want to know why the West is freaking out over Ukraine, you have to understand that they are all terrified that the truth will come out in Ukraine. The biolabs—that just came out—Victoria Nuland, the Undersecretary of State, admitted that these biolabs existed in Ukraine. Why do you think she would admit to such a thing if it weren’t true? And she said that they were instructing the people in Ukraine of how to dispose of all their material, before the Russians could get their hands on it. Now that’s weird, because if I’m a biolab, and I’m working on the cure for Alzheimer’s, or something like that, I’m not worried about the Russians getting their hands on it. I’m worried the Russians might come in and destroy it, maybe on purpose, maybe by accident, but that’s my worry. I’m not thinking “Oh, the Russians are coming, therefore I am proactively going to destroy my research.” I’d never think that if I was working on something mundane or essentially beneficial to the human race. But I would be thinking that if I were working on something really nasty, like a super Anthrax virus or something like that, or some super plague that will kill off a whole bunch of people, then, I’d be thinking to myself “How can I get rid of this material, of this research that I’ve done, before the Russians find it and get their hands on it, and show the world what I’ve been up to.” See, that’s the thing that all the politicians are worried about, as far as Ukraine is concerned. They don’t really care about Russia taking it over. They don’t care about the Ukrainian people. They don’t care that Ukraine is turned to rubble. Actually, they hope it will. Because in that rubble will be hidden all their deeds, their evil deeds, their corrupt deeds. That’s why they want to destroy Ukraine”

        1. tegnost

          Why do you think she would admit to such a thing if it weren’t true?

          I wouldn’t ascribe a purpose/intent to anything Nuland says, certainly not anything either neutral or anything that might have a positive impact. She’s wagging the dog as hard as she can 24/7

        2. wilroncanada

          Besides, bassmule, the Russians might even find Novichok there, REAL Novichok. Not the stuff they were supposedly poisoning an old retired spy and a small-time political opponent with.

  21. Objective Ace

    For the surgean general’s call for health misinformation during the pandemic — I’m thinking we should swamp him with reports of Walensky and Biden saying the Vaccines prevent you from getting covid. Maybe throw some of Fauci in too saying Masks dont work

    1. judy2shoes

      It reminded me of Obama’s “if you see something, say something” initiative to get federal employees and contractors to rat out their fellow employees in an effort to stop leaks and whistleblowers* like Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning, for example.

      Remember Obama on the campaign trail saying that whistleblowers must be protected?

      *Giving it the proper term here.

      1. GF

        Speaking of Ed Snowden, I haven’t heard anything or seen anything from him since the Russian invasion. Does anyone know what he is doing now?

        1. judy2shoes

          Here’s his last tweet on Feb. 27. Apparently, he has been getting a lot of flak.

          “I’m not suspended from the ceiling above a barrel of acid by a rope that burns a little faster every time I tweet, you concern-trolling ghouls. I’ve just lost any confidence I had that sharing my thinking on this particular topic continues to be useful, because I called it wrong.”

          Here’s his substack address. He’s not doing much there either:

  22. TroyIA

    Does anyone know if the Public Policy Research Center of the Counselor’s Office of the State Council has any real influence in China?

    They released a think piece regarding China’s relationship with Russia. Possible Outcomes of the Russo-Ukrainian War and China’s Choice

    My summary of the piece is the following –

    Russia miscalculated by expecting a quick victory
    The west is now more unified
    If the west attacks Russia then Russia will lose the war and then China will be isolated and in the crosshairs

    China needs to quickly choose a side
    If they think being unified with Russia will lead to victory then choose Russia
    If they can’t defeat the west then side against Russia

    Time is of the essence so if this is a real and influential think tank then we should see a decision by China shortly if Russia doesn’t stop hostilities

    1. Yves Smith

      Huh? China has repeatedly reaffirmed it’s sticking with its recently signed “friendship” pact and has rebuffed US attempts to get intervene on behalf of the West v. Russia. Alexander Mercouris has covered Chinese readouts on discussions with US officials and more pointed statements in Chinese state organs.

    2. Kouros

      Yes, right. And next time, when Taiwan will declare its independence and US will be the first to recognize it and send the marines in to protect its ally, China’s back will be very bare… including the Russian nuclear umbrella, which was in the past lent to China in hours of need…

      I do think the Chinese are keeping their eyes on the ball here and realize that Russian loss is its loss as well (irrespective of the side it might take), so better try to help Russia win.

  23. The Rev Kev

    “New Not-So-Cold War”

    Been thinking about where this war may be going and can think of a few things. The Russians will probably won’t stop until they have forced that third of the Ukrainian army in the eastern cauldron to surrender, cleaned up as many Nazi units as they can and probably surrounded Kiev to make them realize that the cavalry is not coming to their rescue. So the military phase first. But then comes negotiations.

    Up until now, Russia has refrained from launching major counter-sanctions and I wondered why. The present crisis in fuel prices and some commodities? That is only a start and is mostly a by-product of the war itself and not any counter-sanctions. So maybe Russia is saving them for the negotiations and when the west demands something ridiculous such as that Russia must return Crimea to the Ukraine, will slap a ban on the export of titanium in a “No soup for you!” moment to make them wake up to themselves.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      I have difficulty believing all or even most of the price increases should be attributed to the Russian police action in the Ukraine and u.s. embargoes of Russian commodities. I am much more inclined to believe more than a small of amount of the price increases are the result of the concentration of the u.s. economy. I believe Corporations have been quick to exploit every pretext for raising prices. And Finance is pleased to exploit price flux, quite likely given some prior warning about its direction. These beliefs of mine suggest an unhappy adjunct to the thrust of your comment — the u.s. Government may not bargain with the Russians to serve the best interests of the u.s. Populace.

      1. Yves Smith

        Sorry, commodities are traded globally. US corps aren’t big enough to dictate their prices. And we actually do have supply chain issues from Covid that are still with us.

        However, companies are trying to keep their record profit shares and not pay workers adequately. Hospitals, which are largely outside the Russia sanctions impact, have been egregious in this regard, giving top brass big pay hikes because Covid while only giving meager increases to nurses.

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          I should clarify my comment. I was imprecise in my use of the term commodities. International markets do indeed control the price of commodities like crude oil, and wheat, although I also recall ADM’s plays on citric acid and lysine in the mid 1990s. I was using ‘commodities’ in the sense of consumer commodities — which I should have called consumer goods — things like gasoline at the service station pump or bread or flour from the local supermarket. The relationship between the price of a barrel of crude oil and the price of gasoline at the pump is at best mysterious, as is the price of a bushel of wheat and the price of a loaf of bread. Similarly the Corona flu has indeed impacted the supply chains for many goods and helped drive up prices. I suspect the relatively small number of players controlling prices for consumer goods in local markets — supermarket chains, Walmart, gasoline station chains, large manufacturers and parts consolidators like Dell or GM, might have given in to temptation to raise prices on the pretext of their increased costs and supply problems. I further suspect they might have raised their prices above and beyond the increases in their costs.

          I still remember going to the supermarket to buy a loaf of bread for my mom and discovering that the bread which had cost a quarter the week before was selling for over a dollar … and the price never came down. I am not sure whether that was the time of Nixon’s sales of grain to the Soviet Union after they had a bad harvest or the time of Jimmy Carter’s embargo halting shipments of grain to the Soviet Union to protest the invasion of Afghanistan. It is just a suspicion but I can all too easily believe Cargill and the other four grain giants might have been given a little advance warning of Government actions affecting their grain markets.

          I do not know enough to tie him in with my comment — I think(?) Gardiner Means and administered price theory might apply.

    2. Carolinian

      Some gloomy discussions from the pro Russia pundits in today’s links. These are along the lines of “has Putin miscalculated?” etc.

      But perhaps the plan all along was to produce a Western overreaction that would trigger the hubris/nemesis dynamic. Which is to say he may be out to prove the need for “indivisible” by making the West itself and not just Ukraine say uncle. Zelensky currently is defying Putin, not to mention advice from Israel, but if the US told him to settle he would do so.

      Call it Putin’s “Samson Option.” To be sure full scale defiance of the hegemon risks nuclear destruction but Putin is on record as saying he can’t imagine a world without Russia and invading Ukraine is one way of sending that message. Some of us would claim that this crisis has always been about Biden and his people, not Putin. Will American elites and voters as well get the message? That’s the true dynamic.

      A couple of good links this morning–from Alastair Crooke

      and Michael Tracey in Poland says things are chill–so far.

      1. Kouros

        Maybe Russian military and intelligence planners have miscalculated things in terms of a potential success, but likely they also likely had other information that made Russian leadership take this dramatic step.

        However, we all being accustomed with fast services and short attention spans, this war dragging on for over two weeks now is becoming tedious… One can take only so many little kids in distress.

        I do hope the Resolution in Russians will only stiffen, given the west’s overreaction and evident suppressed hatred to Russia.

        1. cnchal

          > . . . One can take only so many little kids in distress.

          Those are not Lady Finger firecrackers the Russians are firing at apartment buildings. Imagine that was you having dinner in your apartment when it got hit. Still wishing for stiffer Resolution in Russians?

          As for likely, likely, it’s just as likely the Russians were goaded into this disaster and the evident suppressed hatred to (or of) Russia is manufactured.

          1. Kouros

            “The choice that we faced in Ukraine — and I’m using the past tense there intentionally — was whether Russia exercised a veto over NATO involvement in Ukraine on the negotiating table or on the battlefield,” said George Beebe, a former director of Russia analysis at the CIA and special adviser on Russia to former Vice President Dick Cheney.

            The CIA’s Beebe follows with this almost unbelievable line:

            “And we elected to make sure that the veto was exercised on the battlefield, hoping that either Putin would stay his hand or that the military operation would fail.”

            I am sure I wouldn’t like to be in one of those apartments, same way as I wouldn’t have liked to be in the houses or apartments hit by Ukrainians in Donbas for 8 years, or in the apartments from Falluja or Aleppo or Damascus, or Baghdad, or Belgrade, under American bombardment…

  24. Michael Ismoe

    You have to admire the Ukrainian people. They hired a professional comedian as their president. Americans keep electing amateurs.

      1. ambrit

        Don’t forget Ronald “MacDonald” Reagan. He was an actor, first and last.
        He was hired to play the part of President. Look what happened then.

        1. wilroncanada

          Yes, a bad actor and an a$$hole game show host. Bracketed by three puffed-up incompetents. The US record is unblemished by success for everybody outside the 10%.

      2. Wukchumni

        Well Trump was a game show host. That’s kinda close.

        Don’t blame me, I went for the other game show host in 2016 and 2020, by casting my write in vote for Wink Martindale.

  25. Wukchumni

    We are sheltering in our seemingly safe house, an all-American boy all grown up now whose middle name is Vladimir, for the potential of reprisals from those who don’t grasp Putin loom large in polite society, lest he be found out and turned into the authorities for his crime of guilt by association.

  26. Roger Blakely

    RE: Incels Vote Too The American Conservative

    Thank you, Lambert, for including this story. I say this every time: This movie is coming to a theater near you. The newly elected president of South Korea, Yoon Suk-Yeol of the conservative opposition party, People’s Power Party, won by a narrow margin. He campaigned as an anti-feminist and promised to abolish Korea’s Ministry of Gender Equality and Family.

    “But neither is the resurgence of masculinity random, in a country that now has the lowest birth rate in the world after the Vatican City (0.84 births per woman) and a devastating marriage rate to back it up.”

    “For voters over the age of 50 years, the difference in party preference between men and women was minuscule; for voters in their 30s, and even more for those in their 20s, the divide between the two was 20 percent or higher.”

    “Tensions between the sexes are heating up, and South Korea’s election is a harbinger of what we can expect to see in the United States if our own electoral politics don’t take a dramatic redirection on short notice.”

    1. wilroncanada

      the US has already set in place and activated the way forward to yesterday–the 19th century–in the US Supreme Court. After all, legislators don’t rule, in fact they don’t do much of anything, think Biden’s election promise. It is the Supreme Court which changes the course of history, in both directions.

  27. Wukchumni

    Devil’s Oil Advocate dept:

    FD: I know nothing about oil aside from the idea that it is always priced in barrels and yet i’ve never known anybody that bought a barrel of it, but I digress.

    In the lines of 1973 & 1979 you could always scare up some go-juice, it was more along the lines of lessened delivery of gas to what used to be called ‘service stations’ which created the queues.

    What if it wasn’t lessened deliveries this time, and there was no gas available?

    Remember, that practically none of us have any gas on hand, aside from what is in the gas tanks of your vehicles…

    The Smashing Pumpkins – 1979

    1. griffen

      Nice placement of an excellent tune by Billy and his merry band of misfits! I am driving less, but it does look to be higher per gallon ( which I suppose is enough to give Bette Midler a wide smile, since she’s happy to pay more of course ). I think I saw $3.99 per gallon of 87 octane.

      I won’t be smiling or happy next time I semi fill the tank. In the south and southeastern states, we had that scaremongering gasoline shortage last year, middle May when Colonial had their pipeline shut temporarily.

  28. Verifyfirst

    So 615,000 US deaths/year from Covid, steady state, assuming no new spikes or more deadly variants, says Dr. Corsi. And we are not to be concerned, say Biden et al.

    So that’s our baseline–we don’t have to worry about anything anymore that kills fewer than 615K/year in the US. Childhood cancers–meh. Drunk driving–nope. Gun violence–whatever. We can save a lot of money by taking airbags and all the other safety systems out of cars. And we don’t need to vaccinate for anything, ever again!

    This is gonna be EPIC!

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > We can save a lot of money by taking airbags and all the other safety systems out of cars.

      I am so over airbags. Anyhow, I’m in the backseat because my Uber servant is driving. So who needs ’em?

  29. sd

    Cops stealing cars

    This happened twice to friends, one could get the car back – he was white – one could not get the car back – she was black.

    And the reason her car was taken? She was walking her dog off leash at 7am on a Sunday morning at a park.

  30. ambrit

    A side effect, and blowback effect of this fuel inflation suddenly besetting us that I have not seen mentioned yet is the upcoming negative effects this will have on online shopping. Handling and shipping charges are going to have to go up, by a lot. The ‘double whammy’ aspect of this is that “brick and mortar” stores have cut way back on their in house inventory. Thay have moved to a form of “just in time” availability by relying on quick delivery of many items from regional warehouses to the actual location, and often direct to the customer’s home. The new higher fuel prices are going to put a real crimp in this business model.
    Disruption is the order of the day.

    1. tegnost

      Disruption that just so happens to enrich the oil and gas “sector”, and what good news that the big pharma “sector” won’t suffer any negative consequences from our dirty little war, and don’t forget how when people shoot bullets, then they have to buy more bullets from the materiel “sector”… If only we had a sector of our own…
      Today’s news is pretty dispiriting, I can’t help but think that the PTB knew what this ukraine thing would lead to,..dominate news cycle, boost commodities, mass psychosis… as the US industry cozies up with big gov and the well being of the people is an afterthought beyond “wave your flag!USA !USA!” it’s hard to avoid the thought that “the good ideas of the nazi’s” are operating in the great halls of power. Have we become what we hate? The Blue Check Mafia is running amok.
      Catastrophic disruption is the goal within itself, and every disruption leads to more concentrated power and more national delusion.

  31. britzklieg

    Germany’s Stockholm Syndrome and the Firing of Valery Gergiev

    Although much of the witch-hunt against Russian artists, performers of beauty and optimism, is clearly an attack on Russian culture, where now even Russian art will be subjected to censorship for the mere fact that it is Russian, with the goal of causing shame and humiliation for merely being Russian. The loss is not one sided and the greatest loser in all of this will not be the Russian people.

    With a determination and cruelty reminiscent of the Roman Catholic Inquisition, the forces that have lined up to manufacture a sensationalist narrative about Russian figure skater Kamilia Valieva, and all of Russia’s athletes in general, have succeeded in destroying her as a human being on every knowable level of her identity.

    1. Kouros

      I have to admit that I have a very soft and tender spot for Cynthia Chung. She’s intelligent, modest, with a nice and articulate prose. In my biased view she’s so hot, I even made a one time donation to her foundation.

      All the while I have no patience for her hubby, who’s afflicted by written and verbal diarrhea and some silly fixations…

      1. britzklieg

        I’d not read her before and also found her writing as you describe it.

        I’m almost afraid to ask who her husband is (should I know this? too many voices to keep up with these days).

        Someone wrote, yesterday, a comment to the effect of “reasons not to know your heroes.” Goes along with “trust the art not the artist.”

        It’s a really good essay, especially if a fan of Goethe and Schiller.

          1. britzklieg

            I was prepared for worse when I saw, which seems his primary affiliation, but yes, loquacious with a purple tint. I’m guilty of that myself. Still, he isn’t uninformed. Haven’t explored enough to encounter the silly fixations. I found this:

            1. Kouros

              He should ask Cynthia for editing. He can say the same things in half of the words he uses.

    2. Maritimer

      First they came for the Uninjected,
      Then they came for the Unboostered,
      Then they came for any Russians,

      1. Wukchumni

        I know all that leaded gas we were exposed to shrank my IQ score, as i’m only in the low triple digits.

        1. flora

          Yes, the Congressional IQ problems existed before leaded gasoline. / ;)

          “Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.” – Mark Twain, 1891

          1. Wukchumni

            Ha ha!

            I asked my mom a few years ago if she smoked during her bout with me in her stomach, and she calmly told me…

            ‘about half a pack a day…’

    1. Nikkikat

      Lawn dart: re: this article seems to fit well with today’s links on covid and brain damage. It certainly fits well with the polls taken recently talking about support for no fly zones and the willingness to suffer for Ukraine…..people of the US seem to have sniffed too much gas fumes. Oh, the smell of lead in the morning.

    1. Fritzi

      Of course he didn’t.

      Communists, social democrats, union activists, the handicapped and chronically ill, pacifists, homeless and longterm jobless people, pacifists and everyone opposing him for whatever political, moral or religious reasons, those all weren’t real Germans.

      Jeez, it’s like they didn’t read the
      man’s own words.

  32. flora

    Well, well. Not exactly a surprise.

    China warns of ‘worst consequences’ over Taiwan
    Beijing says nothing will stand in the way of “national reunification” with Taipei

    (an aside: apparently, archdukes are no longer needed to cause the redrawing of long standing maps. Cocksure, wrongheaded assumptions in the global ruling power(s) are all it takes. The western world’s economy was globalized pre-WWI, too. Read Barbara Tuchman’s “The Proud Tower” ; it’s a book about la belle epoch, the 25 years of “the beautiful era” in Europe immediately preceding WWI. )

    1. Wukchumni

      It’s hard to watch Colbert now, but on the other hand Jon Stewart has been looking around in the nooks and crannies as of late on his show, which I quite like.

      Here’s a 51 minute (attention span alert!) podcast on MMT

      How Do We Fix The Economy? Modern Monetary Theory, Explained | The Problem With Jon Stewart Podcast

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Stewart is quite bright. His biggest problem is he is just a comedian/host and saw himself that way. His interviews were the best for years and far and away the best except when he interviewed McCain. To be fair, I knew who Jon Stewart was before Ed Helms and Mo Rocca were invited on the McCain bus.

        He would instantly become one of the more celebrated wonks in DC over night and probably be labeled a pinko by Pelosi et al.

        1. Wukchumni

          Comedy is a good entre vous into politics, while the opposite would be a disaster.

          Didn’t Pelosi warn others in the Donkey Show not to associate with the Daily Show?

        2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

          For those who don’t remember, Stewart and Colbert held the “Rally to Restore Sanity” in the late aughts. 2009ish. I sincerely hoped they would seize popular economic anger over the Bank Bailouts, etc.

          Instead they came out and told the audience to chillax. The rhetoric is getting too heated!!!

          What a waste.

          I watched Stewart’s latest episode on Apple TV about climate change and meh its better than Oliver. Stewart interviews Shells CEO. He doesn’t call him out when the Shell CEO starts droning on about Biofuels AKA destroying Forests. Or anything rather from Planet of the Humans refuting Wind Mills and renewables. Stewart should’ve focused on the Petrodollar and used Hudsonian Arguments about why we can’t do anything about Climate Change!

        3. newcatty

          Stewart is a comedian/host. He is bright and a great interviewer. Don’t know if there is any relevance that it is discussed that Ronnie was an actor, Trump a talk show host, Arnold Schwarzenegger an actor ( ok, not the POTUS, but governor of the great state of CA), now Zelensky a comedian and president of Ukraine. Al Franken a comedian ( a US senator). Since a large part of being a government “leader” is playing the part, is it surprising about the list? At least Stewart is bright, articulate, appears to have some integrity and loves animals.

    2. Nikkikat

      Just another rich jerk who thinks he knows what’s best for us. No Thanks! We’ve seen that act before. Remember Al Franken? His grandstanding over 911 hero’s getting medical treatment was enough for me.

      1. flora

        Politicians are largely followers of public opinion. They are not “leaders.” I know this sounds not right, but considering how much effort politicians and their biggest moneybags donors spend trying to shape public opinion, if you think about it, that proves the point about politicians following public opinion. (Which they and Wall St. spend oodles trying to shape to their particular advantage). So.. (where was I going with this.. oh right)… if Stewart is effective in his current role and wants to affect US policy he’d best stick to his currrant role as an outsider channeling public opinion that isn’t bought by Wall St, that is if he really wants to sway DC politics, imo. “Change General Motors from within”? that never works. Change comes from without. My 2 cents.

  33. Michael

    “”It seems that Putin has invented a new form of war – langsamerkrieg, slow war…””

    C’mon Michelle, these soundbites write themselves!

    “When they go slow, we a) go fast, b) destroy our currency c) sleep with Nazis d) censor the clouds
    e) blame long covid

    1. newcatty

      Oh, you spilled some beans! One of Michelle’s new career tracks is to be speech writer for the next POTUS. It doesn’t matter who wins the election. She is an equal opportunity opportunist. Supporting the rehab of GWB was a telegraph. He gave her a cough drop. She giggled and gave him a hug.

    1. ambrit

      I went weaseling around the net since the NYT has a moderne style paywall. (I try to give our information to as few outfits as necessary. ‘They’ are getting a fair bit of usable information for those paltry two or three “free” articles.) All of the “usual suspects” ‘information providers’ had nearly similar anti-Russian messages at the end of their ‘news items.’ The control of information has been a military political ‘asset’ since at least the days of Bernays. Remember when the Americans began to “embed” reporters in their military units in war zones?
      I just relearned why I so seldom look at any “official” news sources any more.

      1. Kouros

        Evidence for information control is much earlier on. I have seen attempts during the English Revolution, when the Parliament side (merchants have no honor) started spreading disinformation about King’s supporters in their controlled newspapers.

        And then even earlier on, the demise of Vlad the Impaler and the stories spread in the west about him. And again, it was all those merchants (German this time) that lost their very profitable lucre in Wallachian Principality, because Vlad banned their commerce there and access to raw products in order to encourage the formation of a Wallachian/Romanian merchant class. And then, a false flag, a forged letter proving Vlad was allying with the Ottomans ended up with him being lured and imprisoned for 17 years by his “cousin” king Matthew Corvin of Hungary…

        1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

          According to that Insta Post they were on the Russian side. More War Porn for Western Audiences.

          Reminds me of the scene in Ukraine on Fire when they talk about sacrificial victims to heat up the Maidan Protest.

          1. Brunches with Cats

            A PBS NewsHour correspondent was in Kiev today and said she saw Renaud’s body lying on the roadside under a blanket, definitely in Ukraine-controlled territory. You could see the puzzlement on the weekend anchor’s face as he gingerly stepped around the obvious question. The correspondent, Jane Ferguson, said she and her crew asked all around for information, and learned that he was shot with a rifle, but gee, no one really knows how it happened, especially since the Russians are still well on the outskirts of the capital. However, this award-winning war correspondent wasn’t going to give up, no siree. She finally got her answer from a Ukrainian police officer: Obviously this means the Russians are inside Kiev!

            If I hadn’t already seen so many of Ferguson’s mental-contortionist dispatches over the years, my eyes would have rolled right through the ceiling. Nor was it surprising that she tweeted something to the effect that the policeman wanted her to “tell America, tell the world, what they did to a journalist!” Well, she kinda did …

  34. Fritzi

    That airattack on the military base close to Poland was a nice start.

    Now bring the hammer down hard and fast on all cauldroned and hunkered down Ukrainien forces in the south, if necessary turn one city into rubble, to let the others decide how eager exactly they are to be used as shields.

    Taking the gloves of and being absolutely ruthless and inflicting maximum casualties on the uki military seems clearly the way to go now.

    Without a LOT of dead uki soldiers, the Nazis are certain to try their own counter invasion rather sooner than later, and sure as hell without the tiniest bit of the hesitation about killing civilians that the Russians have shown up to now.

    Apparently there is plenty and growing criticism of Putin for not acting decisively and ruthlessly enough inside Russia.

    So, even if there was a successful palace coup, and that is no small if, there are excellent chances that the end result would be someone in charge who is less “timid” in going about things in the war.

    And as for the Chinese, if they are stupid and cowardly (and sucidal, really) enough to turn on Russia now, they deserve everything that is coming for them.

    1. britzklieg

      Stephen Cohen was making that point for decades – get rid of Putin and get something worse (for the west), a real hard-liner whose name the war cheerleaders have not considered and may not even know.

  35. Jason Boxman

    The money shot from the Guardian column:

    Whatever the cause of the recent increases, even if cases plateaued around current levels, this would still constitute bad news. Endemicity has been one of the most misappropriated and misunderstood concepts during the pandemic. It means roughly constant levels of infection, but says nothing about how high those levels are and how severe their impact: the common cold is endemic, but so too is malaria. Smallpox was endemic, until eradicated. Endemic does not mean benign. While we fail to take measures to mitigate the pandemic, we will continue to suffer a high disease burden. Despite what politicians say, the pandemic is not over. And while Covid may have been forgotten by some, it is far from gone.

    (bold mine)

    It’s gonna be a fun year!

  36. Eclair

    For those of us with just a shred of optimism remaining this morning, U of Chicago’s International Relations Professor, Paul Poast has a long Twitter thread on the possibility that WW3 (or 4,5,6) may have already started.

    Whether or not one agrees with his hypothesis, I always learn a lot of history from his threads, which include lots of linky goodness, as Lambert is wont to say. I won’t link to Poast, but you can easily find him on Twitter, if you indulge.

    1. Wukchumni

      Appeasement would seem to be the way to go this time around as opposed to that dirty thirties flavor of appeasement.

      What more could Russia & China want back in their bailiwicks, which would of course be the USA acquiescing it’s position of power in the world were we to do nothing in regards to Taiwan, so sadly that isn’t going to happen.

    2. Kouros

      I think the professor is wrong and that the war started in 1999 with Bill Clinton bombing Serbia for 80 days and claiming that globalization (under US “leadership”) will happen one way or the other…

      1. Bugs

        the whole thread is a load of us-ian received ideas. These guys get tenure. You can understand the contempt of the PMC when you read this offal. This blog is a safe space. Erm, most of the time ;)

      2. lance ringquist

        ” Bill Clinton elaborated:
        “If we’re going to have a strong economic relationship that includes our ability to sell around the world Europe has got to be the key; that’s what this Kosovo thing is all about… It’s globalism versus tribalism.”

        “Tribalism” was the word used by 19th century free trade liberals to describe nationalism. And this war was all about threatening any nation which might have ideas of independence.”

        “a bill clinton mouth piece,

        In a March 28 New York Times article, Thomas Friedman wrote:
        “For globalization to work, America can’t be afraid to act like the almighty superpower that it is… The hidden hand of the market will never work without a hidden fist. McDonald’s cannot flourish without McDonnell Douglas, the designer of the F-15. And the hidden fist that keeps the world safe for Silicon Valley’s technologies is called the United States Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps.”

        As NATO troops entered Kosovo, the same newspaper announced Kosovo’s new currency will be the U.S. dollar or German mark, currencies of the two countries most responsible for Yugoslavia’s break-up. And after months of being told that Slobodan Milosevic was the problem, we heard Washington Balkans expert, Daniel Serwer, explain:

        “It’s not a single person that’s at issue, there’s a regime in place in Belgrade that is incompatible with the kind of economy that the World Bank… has to insist on…”

  37. RobertC

    The state of play is moving to where it was always going to end: Politico announces Jake Sullivan and China’s Yang Jiechi to discuss Russia-Ukraine on Monday

    In my assessment, the decision by Xi (China) will determine the future of Putin (Russia) and Modi (India) and, by extension, Biden (US).

    Xi will draw out the decision Biden is forcing upon him but I think the Antony Blinken-Yang Jiechi meeting in Alaska last year set the tone of the relationship so I believe his response will be a bit quicker and sharper than usual for Chinese diplomacy.

    In previous posts I’ve argued that China began preparing for this moment over two decades ago. I believe China does not want this moment forced upon it but I believe China is ready for it.

    1. Wukchumni

      I read Jim Rogers Investment Biker which was his observations on an around the world motorcycle ride in the early 90’s…

      He’s one of the first on the scene in post USSR Russia and points out the waste and inefficiency of so much that he sees, factories and every kind of manufacturing concern, closed up.

      Meanwhile over in China, they were only getting warmed up in the game of life, er capitalism. They’d been at it for thousands of years in whatever name you’d like to term consumerism, aside from that really nasty stretch the past couple hundred years.

      You get a feel for the powerhouse that China would become in its embryonic journey… from behind the handlebars.

    2. RobertC

      A gun has been placed on tomorrow’s meeting table in Vienna Russia seeks military equipment from China after Ukraine invasion -reports

      The circumstances don’t matter.

      The US and China may decide What gun?

      But at some point there will a gun on a negotiating table. The US will ask China “Whatcha gonna do?” and China will provide an answer.

      Shortly after his inauguration Biden issued his challenge of competition, cooperation and confrontation.

      And now we are seeing his Confrontation with a capital “C.”

      This is a very sad time.

    3. RobertC

      A friend and I were responsible for certain aspects of Navy combat system acquisition.

      Our work included an invitation to a COCOM briefing on, among other things, Chinese organizations and their decision processes.

      The attendees were about 25% civilians like us, 10% Flag and General officers, and the remainder a range of military officer ranks.

      The briefer stated that one of several formal methods the Chinese used was the Analytic Hierarchy Process. He paused and as we looked around we realized that (1) like the briefer, everyone we could see never heard of it; and (2) we were likely the only ones who had used it.

      The briefer was a bit disconcerted, quickly gave an “executive” summary and moved on.

      1. ArvidMartensen

        Haven’t heard of that for a couple of decades. A friend was using it in tender evaluation and it seemed to allow a consensus to emerge where one might not otherwise emerge. I really liked the idea of it.
        Tried to introduce it into our organisation. But nah, “takes too much time”. Our top brass wanted to use a much more tried and true method – where the CIO sits next to a sales rep on a plane and then we buy the software.

        1. RobertC

          Arvid — you’ll probably never return to read this but I wanted to tell my story anyway.

          My friend and I needed to develop a course of action involving multiple independent engineering organizations. We assembled the engineers in a large conference room that just happened to have some large whiteboards. My friend started with having each engineer introduce themselves and discuss their interests and objectives for this effort. Then she started started asking for suggestions and ideas. It quickly became apparent there was a plethora. And there just happened to be a large stack of yellow stickies available. I started writing the responses down and putting them on the whiteboard. Then she led them through another round that included trimming and refinement. As we approached the morning break an engineer stood up and accused us “You’re doing TQM aren’t you?” (Engineers hated TQM.) We grinned and shrugged our shoulders. All the engineers laughed. And after the break everything went smoothly and we had our consensus course of action by the end of the day.

    1. ambrit

      This is actually hilarious. I won’t make fun of the man, even though I want to, because I can empathize with the action. The comment from the crowd is priceless. Similar to some little child yelling out; “The King has no clothes on!”
      Do notice that there are cameramen filming, which bespeaks pre-planning, and that the cameramen are wearing day-glo vests to identify themselves. Did the poor fellow in the Ukraine wear such a vest? A Russian might have recognized the outfit and hesitated to shoot. There is too much of a lack of ‘solid’ information about the shooting in Kiev to draw firm conclusions yet.
      I know not Russian. Could someone please translate the signage on those cameramen’s vests? Thanks in advance.

      1. Zephyrum

        Ambrit, the signage on the back of the green vests says ПРЕССА – press. The guys in grey are ПОЛИЦИЯ – police, of course.

        I caught the last Aeroflot from Moscow that actually landed in the USA, but in the couple days before that there were a lot of police on Tverskaya street near Pushkin Square, to accompany the large number of young people milling about. We were out enjoying a favorite restaurant, but with the crowds it was quite tense. Moscow is a lovely city with great people; it’s been sad to see this.

        1. ambrit

          Thank you. It makes sense.
          Most people never think about how the Russian character was formed. A big melange of East (the Golden Horde,) and West, (arguably the Rus.) Then some Tsars and Tsarinas tried to Europeanize the place. The upper classes got “civilized” while the masses stayed uniquely Russian. Sounds familiar.

  38. Party on

    The borrowing and spending binge by Canadian households, businesses, and governments (all levels) continues unabated.

    At the end of December, 2021 the total debt outstanding in Canada (bottom line of the Statistics Canada credit market summary data table) was $10.017 trillion. At the end of December, 2020 the total debt outstanding was $9.392 trillion. In the 1 year period from the end of December, 2020 to the end of December, 2021 it increased by $624.8 billion. This is an increase of 6.6%.

    Update on the total (household, business, and all levels of government) debt numbers in Canada

      1. britzklieg

        yes, I assume so. the tweet is from a military journalist and so it was surprising to find the sentiments expressed so plainly by both he and his associate.

      2. Dave in Austin

        I don’t take him to be a merc. From the spelling of his wife’s first name my guess is he married a local. I don’t think his motive is money. The most interesting things he has to say are about the US trainers at the airbase in the east that just got hit.

    1. OIFVet

      85% desertion rate? They are a bit smarter than I gave them credit for. The merc’s comments about the base in Suvorovo that was leveled overnight confirms that it was being used as logistics hub for mercs and supplies flowing in from the West. I was wondering whether Russia would start hitting the weapons and materiel supply routes, they have. Hopefully it will be an ongoing and effective operation if there is to be any hope to have a speedy resolution to the war.

    2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      Wow, it’s a good thing they went to the Front Lines. According to Russia, 180 foreign fighters got blown up at the base they just left.


  39. Michael Fiorillo

    Regarding the Wynton Marsalis clip, while he has done good work as a music and jazz educator, he’s a musical reactionary who has had a negative effect as a gatekeeper and empire-builder to the art. The Rick Burns documentary on jazz was dominated by his blinkered taste, and he used his brother Branford as a cat’s paw to attack pianist Cecil Taylor and other avant-garde, free jazz players from the ’60’s and 70’s. Sun Ra, a visionary and bandleader of the greatest hard bop big band ever – listen to his work from Chicago in the late 1950’s to understand – went completely unmentioned, despite the fact that people will be studying and enjoying him long after Marsalis is forgotten.

    While it’s a good thing that Jazz at Lincoln Center employs musicians under union contracts and provides work, it has overseen a very Tory-like regime of musical conservatism, and Marsalis himself is a very overrated player.

    1. britzklieg

      I’m glad I didn’t have to write that, because it’s true and difficult to square with the good work he is and should be credited for. I think he tried too hard to be “intellectual” – lecturing at Harvard carries that weight as a requirement, I suppose – and he must have been exposed to Lenny’s renown (rightfully so!) 6 lectures there.

      Leonard Bernstein will always be a hard act to follow, imho.

    2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      The Marsalis/Neville and a few other musician families dominate Nola politics. I bet there’s a lot there and I hadn’t considered this before. I was just working at this brand new bar and lounge in the French Quarter called Bijou. On one of the soft opening nights, I was instructed by the chef to give the Trumpist anything he wants food and drink wise. They’re all in bed together.

  40. Dave in Austin

    For the past two days I’ve been systematically asking: “Where do I find good reports on the Ukraine?” The US government has shadow-banned Telegraph and the Russian TikTok dancing girls, so I don’t get to see the interesting randos who live inside Russia,

    But Twitter is filled with interesting amateurs, frauds, the occasional boy-crazy girl now living in a Kiev basement. And, surprisingly, folks from well-known news organizations displaying laudable cynicism about their work. They are like the press I knew over drinks 40 years ago. To quote from one White House reporter’s pinned tweet: “the venn diagram of reporters who question everything and reporters who will unquestioningly eat random pizza left out in the newsroom is a circle.”

    Then there is the Kiev newspaper reporter who when asked civilly today on Twitter about the Avov people he has met said: “Some of them are really far right or even real Neo-Nazis, that’s a bad thing about the regiment, of course. And I also know a lot of people from Azov who never had any extreme views. They just come to serve with a highly-capable and organized combat formation. It’s complicated.” That could have been written by Orwell in Barcelona.

    How do you spot the good ones?

    First, create a place in your favorites list for “Ukraine 2022” and systematically look at the first good reports and people you have found. Look up the people they reference and retweet. In the real “Get the news” world there are leftists, rightists, glory-seekers, drinkers and tokers; a cross section of humans crazy enough to want to be in the White House press room at 4 am or on a bombed-out Ukrainian village sidewalk. You may not want them dating your daughter but they’re fun at a bar.

    Second, ignore the organized flame comments but notice the list of who these people have worked for, who they work for now and how many followers they have.

    Third, there are people who seek out war and those who simply find themselves in it. Identify the best of both and see who they retweet.

    Fourth, you will see the same picture 100 times. Then suddenly you will see a dozen from someone you’ve never heard of; real, dramatic and sad pictures. You have just struck gold. Bookmark the Twitter account. Agency France Press has the best crew of photographers. Most of their pictures don’t get on the AFP site because the volume is too large and, like all press services, AFP must edit. I have not mentioned any names yet. The best of the randos need to be protected from all the governments and people who might want to knock on their doors and say: “For your own good, please stop.” But AFP… look at Notice the “You may like” links on the right of his screen. Happy hunting.

    Finally, STOP.

    Look more deeply at what you see. Two examples from today:

    Early reports speak of a NYT reporter killed in Kiev. Following the tweets and Wikipedia, the real story is as follows. Brent Renaud was a Neimen Fellow at the Harvard JFK School 20+ years ago. He and his brother Craig produced the “Off to War” series for the Discovery Channel in 2004. The picture of his NYT Press Pass is real. What does it say and show? A handsome, long-haired young man, 5’6” and 140 lbs. Young? But he died at 50 according to Wikipedia. What’s up? Well, according to Twitter @NYTimes, the Moscow Bureau Chief says the last time he worked for the NYT was 2015. The hospital bed story from his wounded friend tells a truthful and complex story… bypassing a checkpoint in a car they were hitchhiking in. What happened? I don’t know. But he’s dead. A handsome, short, educated guy, unable to resist the call of war. Well liked; restless; never caught the brass ring and got promoted to the big time. Another Bernard Fall or Shawn Flynn (Errol Flynn’s son). Both gone in Indochina. In WWII American bomber pilots had to fly 25 missions before they could go home. Not bad. But if each mission loses 1% due to accidents or the enemy, only 75% make it home. And at 2.5%… well, after a bad mission, every young flier from that era could do the math. Brent was the sort of guy who couldn’t resist volunteering for just one more mission. His passing and my quick research about it gave me five new links to follow.

    Then there is the local Tweeter woman (no name this time) from Irpan, a suburb near Kiev that is unfortunately in the front line. Two makeshift graves in an apartment complex courtyard. A divorced or single mother, 40, and her 12 year-old son. The links show pictures of them at the beach and later in front of a monumental building smiling, her in a dress a bit short for her age. Average people. But look carefully at the makeshift crosses on the graves. The names and dates are in both Ukrainian and Russian. As the guy from the Ukrainian newspaper I cited at the top said: “Its complicated”.

    So do your own research and let NakedCapitalism know what gems you find.

    1. marym

      “So do your own research…”

      Ok. I’ve seen the photos in a couple of threads. I can read the alphabet, not the languages, but in these pictures the names and dates are only there once.
      Thread with the photo and tweets from at least 2 other accounts – according to the profiles: 2 blue check reporters from Kyiv Independent, and 1 non-blue check reporter from “international broadcaster from Kyiv”

  41. Wukchumni

    Cryptocurrencies: The Power of Memes Research Affiliates
    I really thought this is when my $4.01k investment in Bitcoin (procured from a CoinStar machine in mostly Cents) would shine.

    Uncertainty over sanctions, a scramble towards $ denominated assets by Russians, but all it’s done is go down in value the past fortnight, leaving me @ around $3 in my wallet.

  42. ChrisRUEcon

    Thanks for the links! Been a while since I’ve been able to devote good time to my favourite family blog. Trying to make up some today!


    Good read. The poverty-prison-pipeline strikes back … longing for the global south to rise again, so no fall prey to a siren song from afar to commit crimes.

    1. ChrisRUEcon


      Well, I’m seeing more stuff on #Twitter raising alarms about T-Cell depletion (via #Twitter). Once again, ahead of the curve thanks to you all. My employer hopes to start “RTO” (return to office) in early April. I got news for my colleagues, but TBH, a lot of them see through the fog of lies now.

      1. ChrisRUEcon


        :: heavy sigh ::

        I cannot believe that at this point in time, when given what’s happened to Venezuela, and what is currently happening to Russia, that these “leaders” can’t get over the sniping, and put together a plan to pivot away from US currency hegemony. They should be talking about a global south plan to do what Russia, and now India are doing with China – which is setting up bilateral currency exchange with China outside SWIFT, and further, about setting up new, non-aligned multi-lateral agreements. Everyone one of them ought to be in “this is not a drill” mode, but alas …

        … there are fair to middling “crabs in a barrel” vibes to all of this.

        1. ChrisRUEcon


          Great piece – concur heartily and have expressed same views elsewhere. This excerpt caught my eye given recent events:

          “This extends to culture, or rather to the “anti-culture” movement spreading across Europe, whereby lectures on Dostoevsky are cancelled then reinstated in an Italian city, where Tchaikowsky is withdrawn from concert performances and similar idiocy has become rampant in supposed towers of culture in the West. It is simply incredible how easy it is for cave-man instincts to prevail and drive away all tolerance in mature societies of the West however much they pay mouth honor to ‘universal values.’

          I say this not merely as an abstraction but as something we in our family experienced firsthand in Brussels, Belgium. For reasons of security, I cannot go into the details here but will only say that the offense was directed at our eleven year old grandson because he has a Russian first name even if his family name is as Flemish as they come.”

          Yep. Liberals, whipped into Putin-frenzy by six-plus years on incessant #RussiaGate frenzy have now been driven over the precipice by Russia’s invasion.

          All manner of recriminations will now be faced by people who simply “bear a name”. Vandalization of Russian business have started here in the US and in the EU. It won’t be long till we see violent attacks and potentially deaths. Mindless tribal virtue signaling leading to mindless violence from people and societies that like to claim moral superiority.

          ${DEITY} help us.

          I agree that the scars will be manifold on each side of the conflict. But each side has reason to point a finger at NATO/US/EU in disgust. Russians will feel hard done by the sanctions, and Ukrainians will feel betrayed by being used as a pawn.

  43. lance ringquist

    the land tax just keeps popping up, like trickle down.

    “clearly lincoln was correct: lincoln, tariffs are the easiest tax to collect: Only 5% of all new income from global growth trickles down to the poorest 60%; the direct tax system, the land must be literally covered with assessors and collectors, going forth like swarms of Egyptian locusts, devouring every blade of grass and other green things.

    clearly all 20 locals in pennsylvania dumped the tax because they saw no benefits from it at all ”

    looks like the land tax utopia may face many many major hurtles and will be repeatedly challenged in the supreme court let along state courts. localism is constitutional, a federal land tax most likely is not, at least so far.

    how do you get all three thousand plus local real estate tax authorities to adhere to the land tax?

    instead of a land tax, just tariff, and redistribute that revenue to be used for affordable housing, which can built under the federal government like what was done under the new deal.

    1. Maritimer

      “…the land must be literally covered with assessors and collectors, going forth like swarms of Egyptian locusts, devouring every blade of grass and other green things.”
      I’ve challenged my property taxes four times in two different jurisdictions. Won two! What a racket! Anyone with children should involve them in the process and welcome them to the real world.

      There is more obfuscation, fraud, mumbo-jumbo than in any Big Pharma bought-n-paid for Safe and Effective study. This is nail Jello to the wall on steroids. One thing I found out was that the assessment software used had been involved in fraud in another jurisdiction.

      It was even proposed a few years back that RFID chips be installed in all major consumer products. Thus, the property extortionist (aka assessor) would drive by your house, determine the inside contents via RFIDs and then add that to your property tax bill.

      And speaking of Green Things, we have the Resource Recycling Racket busy in our hood. Big diesel trucks driving miles and miles and then stopping to pick up a bin of garbage and a bag of cans. See Giants Of Garbage, 1993.

      1. lance ringquist

        i just do not see how it can be even considered in the u.s.a., same with a vat tax. both taxes are to cover up what wilson did to us.

        the prototype fascist woodrew wilson got rid of tariff revenue, stuck us with the federal reserve and the federal income tax, than jailed and broke unions, socialists, communists, civil rights leaders.

        then pushed us into WWI, pushed free trade down every ones throats again, and basically set the stage for WWII.

  44. Wukchumni

    With the price of gas sure to ascend as summer comes along, I wonder what effect it will have on those considering going to the one place where there isn’t any inflation going on, as nothing is for sale in the back of beyond.

    Stay out as long as you’d like for free until late May here @ Sequoia/King NP’s and then it’s $15 during the quota period, with an additional $5 per person on the wilderness permit.

    Usage had been really building in the past decade-especially with younger adults who I think took to it, as for once in their lives, money wasn’t an insurmountable hurdle such as say a San Diegan in their 20’s looking at the prospect of buying a million $ home, or college debt, etc.

    It’s all about sweat equity on the trail, and then Covid came calling and the outdoors became big, and a completely different influence in the call of the wilderness, but once you’ve planted the route, it often bears fruit.

    Aside from the occasional visitor from Mexico, Sequoia NP has had little in the way of foreign visitors the past couple of years.

    You got so used to hearing the various lingua francas whose tongues made up 30-40% of the overall visitation to the NP, and its funny in that I hike often with a French ex-pat couple who’ve lived in Visalia for over a decade and have a home there, and sometimes we’ll run into other hikers and talk, and they’ll ask how they were able to travel from France during Covid, us being so starved for accent marks.

  45. Wukchumni

    Anybody try the new McChicken Kyiv (offer void in Russia) yet?

    It’s all-white chicken fleeing to Poland…

    1. The Rev Kev

      And making quite a squawk about the whole thing. If this war keeps up, the Ukraine will literally become Country 404.

      1. ambrit

        Hold up there! This is beginning to sound a bit too much like Rashomon in the Metaverse. (It’s all in your head.)
        Looking at the absolute dog’s breakfast we have been fed lately by our “all seeing, all knowing” Main Streaming Media, I take the above to be an accurate description of objective reality.

  46. Tom Collins' Moscow Mule

    “Beijing weighs nickel rescue deal for billionaire owner of Tsingshan FT”

    The remarkable, outstanding, and unambiguous consistent inconsistencies in the rules that exist for large speculators and gamblers (vs. the small fry gambler, involved in ‘get rich quick schemes, betting on the direction of future price movements of various speculative assets) in the financial casino could not be any clearer. As such, the full application of raw capitalism and its ‘rules’ is more generally reserved for the small time ‘retail’ gamblers (and the powerless, more generally), and where; it is generally agreed upon that all gambles on future price movements of speculative assets are highly risky in nature and involve substantial risk of loss and further,where one is informed, for example, to not “enter any investment without fully understanding the worst-case scenarios of that investment.” Apparently, the ‘too big to fail’ orthodoxy is still a thing among the class of gamblers and speculators that dominate so-called global finance, because it seems that constant intervention is needed in order to avert total collapse of a system where the capital losses become socialized (for some players), while; the profit remains private and individual.

    Noting that, the current version of the global gambling casino has more in common with “A typical cups and balls routine (that)includes many of the most fundamental effects of magic: the balls can vanish, appear, transpose, reappear and transform.” —-

    And so,

    “The tide went out this week in London’s nickel market, and we discovered—in Warren Buffett’s immortal words—who had been swimming naked: a giant Chinese producer that couldn’t meet its margin calls, additional security brokers require when leveraged trades lose money. Instead of letting the market cleanse itself of this indebted trader, the exchange decided to wade in and save the firm from the consequences of its bets by canceling the trades. This isn’t just a one-off in an obscure commodity. This is the natural conclusion of a trend that is undermining free markets and creating all the wrong incentives: A growing reluctance by the authorities to let financial groups go bust, even when they aren’t too big to fail. . . . This is moral hazard taken to its extreme. It has always been true that if you face a $100 margin call it’s your problem, while if you have a $1 billion margin call, it’s the brokers’ problem—and the authorities might save them. What is almost unprecedented here is that the exchange authorities decided to save them with money taken from other traders, who otherwise would be sitting on fat profits.”

    “The Moral Hazard Lessons From Nickel Market Disaster”

    And yet, it is still the case that 21st century capitalist financial deceit and trickery continues to be celebrated by the entire class of ‘winners’, both great and small.

  47. Susan the other

    Cryptocurrencies – the power of memes. Research Affiliates (?). Alex Pickard. What a concoction of incomplete ideas. Contradictions. Oxymorons. And nonsense. Memes indeed. Cut to the chase: “When blockchain is demystified… everything will run smoothly.” Really? According to which set of rules? I’d just submit that none of the rules of money are important – they are just bean counting. Crypto misses the point every time. Whether crypto is accepted like money or used as a disruption to the rules of money doesn’t matter. What matters is that both (crypto and money) are tokens. They are not things, just symbols. Symbols are easy memes, as long as you don’t think about them very much – but when it comes to the actual “Currency”, that energizes people to come together and produce things of lasting value, aka money to improve society, it’s fair to say that the value of whatever medium of exchange in question is delayed until the things are accomplished. If it is good and “useful” it makes society strong. If not it’s just another form of garbage. And Alex’s little discussion on Crypto is a confection of pre-emptive garbage.

  48. djrichard

    Ted Rall has a good bead on what’s been going on

    I remember his cartoons vividly when he skewered “Great Scott” Obama. For whatever reason lost sight of his work afterwards and began to wonder how incisive his cartoons would be on the Biden admin, so I checked in and I was happy to see he didn’t redeem himself. Was going to recommend him here, but forgot in the wake of war breaking out. Checked in again just now and he’s absolutely “deplorable”, like us, on the war propaganda. Highly recommend!

    1. caucus99percenter

      Years before the Great Purge of 2016, Rall got mobbed off Daily Kos for his drawing style which, according to the PC thought police there, made Obama look like a gorilla and was therefore racist.

      That should have been a warning to all of us, but alas, it took being banned outright for interfering with the ascent of Her Heinous for us to get the message.

      1. djrichard

        I had no idea. Rall should have kept drawing Obama in the superhero outfit that I remember from some of the panels. I thought it was a brilliant representation.

  49. Wukchumni

    I took my daylight savings and put it into a savings account that pays an interest rate about the same as the legal limit of alcohol allowed for a driver @ .08%.

    With any kind of luck i’ll double my money in about 9 lives from now.

  50. Dave in Austin

    The Telegram group with 82,500 subscribers and 8,750 photos used by Ukrainians to find lost and missing relatives is unavailable to Americans because Telegram is considered Russian propaganda by the US government. You can still look at the Telegram group indirectly as a link via But unless you happen to know the “/s/” for “view as link” and the name of the group- ”/poshuk_znyklyh”- you are out of luck.

    So as a bit of guerrilla free speech, does anyone on Naked Capitalism have the links for other Ukrainian and Russian Telegram groups so we here in censorship-free American can get a peek at the local reality?

    At there are a number of atrocity stories about Russian soldiers killing Ukrainian civilians for no reason. True or false? No way to tell. But one report cites the Russian entry into Andriivka on March 3. The town is half way between Karkov and Dnipro in the Dneiper, the choke point that will trap the half of the Ukrainian army which is deployed in the eastern Ukraine opposite the breakaway regions. If the Russians occupied the town ten days ago, then the Ukrainian army is probably already trapped.

    And the failure to report any battles in the area and along the escape route from the east might tend to substantiate one of two things; either the town has been taken or the atrocity reports are random fabrications. The Maxtor satellite pictures we see of burning shopping malls in Kiev are real. But where are the satellite pictures from the east?

    Under the “dog that didn’t bark” theory, Maxtor pictures may be propaganda and the lack of “Maxtor from the east” pictures may indicate a serious, unreported setback for the Ukrainians. Just a deduction from the limited information I have.

    An aside: I spent the nice day today in Austincruising around the SXSW festival, the largest hipster/movie/video/music/technology fest in the US. The usual pretty girls, industry types at the bar in the Driscoll Hotel and oddball special interest groups (“Don’t have any Children- instead help the Third World”). In a small world reflecting what hip America is about this year not one Ukrainian sign or flag.

    1. katiebird

      The news about William Hurt is a blow. I’ve always liked his films and there is a family connection, my sister reminded me of all the films her husband, Chris Tellefsen, worked on with him: “Chris edited Changing Lanes, Smoke, Yellow Handkerchief and The Village with William.” I missed the news that he was so ill and it really took me by surprise.

    1. OIFVet

      3 days of [very] basic training and the kid feels ready to battle… It’s infanticide.
      “I feel much more confident than I was before, because we get enough knowledge in tactics, in martial arts, in tactical medicine and in how to do something on the battlefield.”

  51. Mantid

    Regarding Wynton at Harvard. I appreciate how he teaches a lot, but am not fond of wither his playing nor his teaching. He dismisses any Jazz post Ornette Coleman. That was in the late 50s. He pushes too hard on the “donald duck, donald duck (ride cymbal)” of Jazz and does not swing with the times. Good for beginners, but limits discussion from the get go.

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