Links 3/14/2022

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.

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* * *

Florida man asks police to test meth for authenticity NBC

Expecting the unexpected: Central bank decision making in turbulent times (PDF) Bank of International Settlements. How the Bank of Canada handled Covid.

Inside the 18 Minutes of Trading Chaos That Broke the Nickel Market Bloomberg

Barack Obama says he tested positive for COVID-19 CBS


The world’s rivers exhale a massive amount of carbon Nature. Let’s pave them over!


SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern and variants under investigation in England (PDF) UK Health Security Agency. Commentary:

An omicron ‘subvariant’ is doubling in NY, just as mandates lift Gothamist. BA.2. “The city has also adopted the CDC’s new color-coded system for judging a community’s risk of severe disease. It places a larger emphasis on hospital burden rather than the past habit of mostly focusing on case rates.” In other words, the city will recognize and react to a surge only when it’s too late to contain.

* * *

Where is the “Public” in American Public Health? Moving from individual responsibility to collective action The Lancet. From the Abstract: “American individualism continues to prove incommensurate to the public health challenge of COVID-19.”

As masks come off, vulnerable Americans feel left behind Politico, ““It’s important to realize how they’ve [the CDC] shifted the pandemic onus to individuals,” said Gregg Gonsalves, an infectious disease expert at Yale University…. Since last year, Gonsalves has tried to press his point with members of the administration, some of whom he’s known for years, but said he has since given up after receiving no response.”

* * *

FDA Begins Releasing Pfizer COVID Vax Documents MedPage Today

Pfizer CEO says a fourth booster shot ‘is necessary’ The Hill


Hong Kong reports 26,908 Covid-19 cases and 286 deaths as experts warn numbers will not be falling any time soon South China Morning Post

China Focus: China takes strict, swift measures to stem new COVID-19 infections Xinhua. Bezzle time:

China imposes new curbs amid worst COVID outbreak in two years Al Jazeera. A good thread from Eric Fiegl-Ding:

From Shenzhen:

A superpower struggle on the Cambodian coast Globe_


China uses Pakistan to clandestinely supply defence hardware in Myanmar ZEE5

Myanmar Factories to Close Amid Planned Power Cuts The Irrawaddy


Can India Really Overthrow Visa and Mastercard? Bloomberg

A Military Whodunnit: India’s Inquiry Into the Missile Launch Calamity Needs To Be Swift The Wire


Payback time! Why Saudi Arabia and UAE refused to talk to Joe Biden while merrily chatting with Vladimir Putin FirstPost

Ukraine may force Middle Eastern rivals to upgrade their toolkit The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer

Iran attacks Iraq’s Erbil with missiles in warning to U.S., allies Reuters

New Not-So-Cold War

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, March 13 Institute for the Study of War

Russian airstrike escalates offensive in western Ukraine AP

Pentagon push to send more trainers to Ukraine was scrapped in December amid White House fears of provoking Russia Politiico. Hmm. Really?

‘False flag’ chemical attack in Ukraine: a coming attraction Gilbert Doctorow. Good thing we’ve got the OPCW to referee. Oh, wait….

* * *

US and China to meet in Rome for high-level talks focusing on Ukraine FT

How China Can End the War in Ukraine Project Syndicate

Besides China, Putin Has Another Potential De-dollarization Partner in Asia Council on Foreign Relations

Alternative theory Telegraph India

Many Africans Reject Washington’s Position on Ukraine Crisis Borkena

The west v Russia: why the global south isn’t taking sides Guardian

* * *

The Art of Monetary War n+1

The West Needs an Off-Ramp From Sanctions, Too John Authers, Bloomberg

* * *

Symbol Manipulation (1):

The adutls in the room….

Symbol Manipulation (2): How it started:

How it’s going:

(Anders Åslund.) And more:

Symbol Manipulation (3): Our political class:

This is my symbol manipulation, to be clear.

Orwell Was Right (excerpt) Matt Taibbi, TK News

The ideal citizen of Orwell’s Oceania bubbled with rage a mile wide and a millimeter deep and could forget in an instant passions that may have consumed him or her for years. We just did this, with a pandemic that had the country steaming with indignation until it was quietly declared over the moment Putin rolled over Ukraine’s borders. We switched from “the pandemic of the unvaccinated” to “Putin’s price hikes” in a snap. National outrage moved a few lobes over with zero fuss, and now we hate new people; instead of “anti-vax Barbie,” we’re barring Russian and Belarussian kids from the Paralympics.

Not sure who the “we” is here, however.

I’m not saying we won’t get our hair mussed“:

Worth noting that Levitz is not a tinfoil hat-type guy.

* * *

Sixteen Days in Ukraine New York Magazine. “For our new issue, we asked 30 young Ukrainians born after the country’s independence to document the start of the Russian invasion, in words and photos.” Maybe we did the same thing for 30 essential workers back in 2021? I forget.

A Ukrainian Socialist Explains Why the Russian Invasion Shouldn’t Have Been a Surprise Jacobin

Biden Administration

The White House Briefs TikTok Stars on Ukraine Crisis Consequence

Supply Chain

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has shone a spotlight on palladium and platinum supplies. What does the future hold? Stockhead

Apple supplier Foxconn shuts plants as Covid outbreak in China grows FT

Our Famously Free Press

‘Cuomo-W. Trump-L.’: How CNN’s Jeff Zucker and His Cronies Manipulated the News Rolling Stone

Police State Watch

‘Unacceptable’: Atlanta officers scored on level of arrests CBS Atlanta

Health Care

AI gone astray: How subtle shifts in patient data send popular algorithms reeling, undermining patient safety (excerpt) STAT. Sadly paywalled, but this: “A novel investigation by STAT and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that subtle shifts in data fed into popular health care algorithms — used to warn caregivers of impending medical crises — can cause their accuracy to plummet over time, raising the prospect AI could do more harm than good in many hospitals.” Unfortunately, I can’t find more on this story. Readers?

Guillotine Watch

‘You Murdered My Daughter’: Relatives of OxyContin Victims Confront the Sacklers NYT

Class Warfare

Minneapolis Educators Strike for the Common Good The Nation

More than 1,000 Hershey’s workers vote on plan to unionize Virginia plant Guardian

Historical Redlining Is Associated with Present-Day Air Pollution Disparities in U.S. Cities American Chemical Society

The Cats (and Dogs) of Istanbul Chris Arnade, Intellectual In-ting

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. Louis Fyne

    Purportedly experienced mercenaries are being paid $60,000 per month to fight in Ukraine (doubt the the WaPo will run a story).

    Before one thinks that is a great deal, even the best special forces soldiers will not last long with zero air support and no backup tanks or artillery.

    This is different than the foreign legion volunteers who got bombed out at a military base this weekend near Lviv (look up the 33 reviews on google maps. international peacekeeping center, lviv).

    purported-unverified social media postings by the foreign legion members imply that they are going home or dead. lots more dead than the official count of 35.

    All of info is floating around social media, should be taken with salt but appears credible. All of this could be verified-disproven by any curious journalist.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Agreed about the underplaying of the Russian strike on that military base. The Russians launched 30 missiles against it. For just one base. I think that they were sending any foreign fighters a message about what awaited them as in ‘We are not f***ing around.’ I heard about some British survivors who picked themselves up after the strikes – and started to walk to the Polish border. They were done. But I doubt that only 35 died. That would mean that each missile killed only about one soldier and considering that they were asleep on their barracks when the missiles hit, I find that extremely unlikely.

      1. Louis Fyne

        The hearsay on social media is that there were no air raid sirens. Social media consensus is that the weapons were Kaliber missiles, 450kg warhead per missile = 13,500 kg/30,000 lbs of explosives.

        Purportedly (from their own social media accounts) there were numerous Latin American ex-soldiers and US Afghanistan war vets.

        Finding out the hard way that fighting a first world army is not like dealing w/drug cartels or the Taliban.

        1. BlakeFelix

          Hmm, I am being pedantic here, but I am not sure the Russian army is first world. First rate maybe, but IIRC First world was US aligned, 2nd was Soviet and 3rd was unaligned. Beats me what Russia is, I would say still 2nd, maybe China is second, too? It’s kinda squirrely these days…

          1. Andy

            You’re not being pedantic. The terms 1st, 2nd and 3rd world are, as you indicate, used to differentiate between the US aligned, Soviet aligned and non-aligned countries and regions of the world during the 1945 to 1991 Cold War.

            But they were also commonly (mis)used to generally rank countries in terms of human development, living standards, access to cutting edge technology etc. and, in North America at any rate, this is the definition that prevailed.

            A 1st world military in this sense means “modern” or “equipment and training on par with what the US and NATO provide”. The US Military refers to Russia and China as “near peer competitors” which more or less means the same thing.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        Very few mercenaries don’t fall under the liable to switch sides or pillage the host city, there to beat up peasants, and ready to run when the going gets tough. I imagine these tough guy volunteers are a bit surprised to find out planes were their real strength, especially against soldiers.

        1. John

          Andrei Martyanov’s The Real Revolution in Military Affairs makes the point that that even the best of special forces soldiers in a straight on fight with superior numbers of militia would be in trouble, but add even a helicopter or two and the odds even if not tip the other way.

          In 1957, I was told by a young Hungarian refugee from the 1956 uprising that as it began he laid hands on a sub-machine gun. He used it with enthusiasm until he saw his first Russian tank. He said he then put down the gun and walked to Austria.

          Seems walking away from overwhelming force has not gone out of style.

          1. JCC

            I’m reading “Vietnam, an Epic Tragedy, 1945-1975”, by Max Hastings right now and his descriptions of some of the battles (with quotes from those who participated) show that even Special Forces without close air support can easily find themselves in deep doo-doo, and they weren’t always fighting equivalently trained forces.

            Excellent book, by the way.

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          > Very few mercenaries don’t fall under the liable to switch sides or pillage the host city, there to beat up peasants, and ready to run when the going gets tough.

          “There are old sellswords and bold sellswords but there are no old, bold sellswords.” –Game of Thrones

      3. Joe Renter

        ️ One the site from Russia “Aftershock” this was posted on 3/13. Translation from Russian.
        This site is updated as events happen. Quite interesting.

        On the morning of March 13, high-precision long-range weapons struck at the training centers of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the village of Starichi and at the Yavorovsky military training ground, the Russian Defense Ministry reports.
        ️At these facilities, the Kiev regime deployed: a point of training and combat coordination of foreign mercenaries before sending them to the areas of combat operations against Russian servicemen, as well as a storage base for weapons and military equipment coming from foreign countries.
        ❗️As a result of the strike, up to 180 foreign mercenaries and a large consignment of foreign weapons were destroyed.

    2. David

      This is consistent with other things I’ve seen, for example this account from Unherd of a British soldier’s (brief) experience in Ukraine. The fact is that virtually none of the ex-soldiers recruited by Ukraine will have trained for, let alone operated in, a high-intensity conflict. The Russians have.
      I remember back in the 1980s, there was a lot of excitement about man-portable anti-tank weapons, and some pundits were claiming that it was the end of the heavy armoured vehicle. Saner voices pointed out that all an attacker had to do was to stand off, out of range of the anti-tanks weapons, and turn the ground-holding troops into mincemeat. It’s interesting that lessons forgotten thirty years ago are being painfully relearned.

      1. The Rev Kev

        There is a lot hanging for the Ukrainians on these man-portable anti-tank weapons being supplied by the US/EU but what happens if the Russians deploy a screen of snipers by day and drones firing missiles at night using thermal imaging?

        1. Andrew Watts

          You need a sizable amount of light infantry to screen these forces. Using drones and snipers to cover their armoured columns isn’t enough. I don’t think the Russian Army has the necessary manpower to effectively do that.

          1. Darthbobber

            I think the “standard” btg has about 200 grunts and 10 tanks in its own structure (+ its own indirect fire), and there’s normally additional artillery within range. (people forget how effective a pattern of howitzer or mortar fire is against troops in the field.)

      2. PlutoniumKun

        I think they’ll get more of a shock as the war goes on. The Russians are spread very thin now – an inevitable consequence of the need to cover as much of eastern Ukraine as possible early. Once they start to focus their firepower, it will be absolutely terrifying for anyone at the wrong end of it.

        I’ve been very surprised at the success so far of man portable anti-tank weapons. The received wisdom before this war was that they weren’t all that effective against the latest tanks and assault vehicles, but its clear from some of the photos we’ve seen that they are capable of taking out some of the better Russian armor. Maybe warhead design has advanced more than the Russians and others suspected. The Russians do have passive defenses which should allow them to identify the source of fire and return with interest very rapidly, but from the one sided clips we’ve seen so far, they either aren’t using them, or they are only available on a limited number of vehicles. But I think we’ll increasingly see the Russians succeed in neutralizing the NLAWs as they sort out their logistics, stop making stupid thunder runs and start putting the right equipment in the right place.

        1. The Rev Kev

          I have wondered about this. Remember how the old 19th Century British Victorian Army was divided into two – the regular Army and the Regiments that served in India? And how the regular Army did not think much of the British Regiments in the Indian theater doing stuff like adopting things like khaki uniforms as an example?

          I have begun to wonder if there might be a similar divide between the regular Russia Army and those units that served in Syria. It seems the the Russian Army is making tactical mistakes that you would not really see being made in Syria. Still, the Russians are gaining tactical and operational experience with large formation fighting which will make them more formidable.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            The state of Russian ncos and lieutenants has been questionable. Its been a public area of concern in their various army reorganizations, moving from conscripts to a hybrid conscript/professional force. The early days of the Syrian conflict showed who can and can’t. The biggest issues is the guys who might move to can and recognizing the can’t who aren’t so obvious.

        2. Polar Socialist

          There’s also certain bias towards destroyed tanks ending up in pictures. I read sources already from times of Grozny that more often than not a tank took several hits before the crew had to abandon it, after which the tank was still hit repeatedly until it burned. Very rarely it’s a one hit kill.

          In my time, before the active armor, we trained as anti-tank teams with the expectation that it would take 3-4 good hits to stop a tank. Of course what we had was not as powerful as what is in use today.

        3. Louis Fyne

          The social media punditry (via social media footage, news footage) is that the Russians sent their 2nd tier units first. Older equipment. And have used their smart bombs sparingly

          Most/all of the newest equipment are still in reserves, see 1st Tank Guards Army. Presumably to deter NATO and a modern battle tank is not suitable for city warfare

          1. Tor User

            Airborne troops are considered elite, not second rate. And they have been used in a number of places.

            I don’t think the Russian have a lot of the latest stuff. But lots of the older stuff which in the right hands is still very effective.

            1. Yves Smith

              You have consistently made statements that are often about factual matters without ONCE providing substantiation, in the form of a link to supporting evidence. This is not on. What you say might be true but there’s no reason to view your opinion as informed, and this comment section is not a chat board. You need to provide links.

              1. Tor User

                Apologizes, I thought it was more or less common knowledge that airborne troops are considered elite.


                The VDV have participated in virtually all Soviet and Russian conflicts since the Second World War, including the Soviet–Afghan War. As an elite force, the VDV…


                The Procurement section talks about the delays and the number of units of the T-14 which is the latest Russian tank.

        4. Lex

          It appears that Russia hasn’t been using their most modern ground equipment, which would explain the success of portable anti-tank weapons. They have used the defensive systems equipped on some aircraft (I’ve seen at least one clip from the ground and Russia has released a helicopter cockpit clip of the system in operation.) Yesterday an Su-25 was hit by a manpad but flew back to base.

        5. Colonel Smithers

          Thank you and well said, David and PK.

          With regard to manpads and the end of armour, David may remember a Panorama special on smart weapons in the 1980s and how this would allow British and US, but not other NATO, forces to stand off and fend off a Russian advance, whilst waiting for, but perhaps not needing, reinforcements from across the Atlantic, and turning a defensive action into a counter-attack.

          That thought still holds in many circles, more political and pundit than military, apart from the new chiefs of the defence and general staff, Admiral Tony Radakin and General Patrick Sanders, both political officers who like to tell the politicians what they want to hear, i.e. smart weapons, including drones, and cyber capability can more than make up for infantry and armour.

          In last week’s Sun, two former Mercian Regiment infantrymen now fighting with the Ukrainians were interviewed. The pair said the war was nothing like Afghanistan and Iraq, they had never come across or expected such sustained and heavy fire, and the Russian forces are a modern, conventional force. What can one say?

          Hopefully, there are younger and junior officers paying attention. Still, lessons documented after the first gulf war were not applied, e.g. putting better guns on tanks, due to cost cutting, so British armour remains antiquated.

        6. Soredemos

          T-72s and T-80s are not among the better Russian tanks, and that’s mostly what’s being taken out (well, when it’s actually even a tank that gets taken out. The media thinks every tracked vehicle is a tank, in the same way they think every gun is a machine gun),

          1. Robert Gray

            > The media thinks every tracked vehicle is a tank, in the same way
            > they think every gun is a machine gun.


          2. PlutoniumKun

            It depends on the variants. Both have been extensively upgraded over the years – the latest versions are the best tanks available in number to the Russians. The T-90, which is often described as the best Russian tank is essentially a very upgraded T-72. Russian nomenclature can be very confusing as its often as much to do with marketing and internal politics as a real indicator of the vehicles origin and capability. You have to be a bit of a tank nerd to be able to spot on sight alone whether a particular tank is the latest variant or not.

            And non-tanks are often specialist vehicles on tank chassis. In urban warfare, the Russians have found that anti-aircraft guns on tank chassis are among the most effective weapons, as they have a much higher angle of fire (for shooting at rooftops).

        7. Tor User

          There are plenty of videos of tanks being destroyed or seriously damaged by anti-tank missiles in Syria. The TOW might have gotten most of the press and does come advertised as “man-portable”. There are others that got used.

          Google “Top 10 Man-Portable Anti-Tank Guided Missiles”

          About 5,000 of the really portable ones got shipped to Ukraine in the weeks before the war started. The specification sheets are clear on how much armor they would penetrate. From that it was clear they would cause problems if Ukraine had the will to fight.

          Drozd, Shtora & Arena have never equipped more than a small percentage of Russian tanks.

            1. Tor User

              I believe most of the below to be all NLAW’s single shot disposable reasonably well guided missiles.

              “Britain has now supplied 3,615 anti-tank weapons to Ukraine,”


              “NLAW has a ‘Predicted Line of Sight’ guidance system in which the operator tracks a moving target vehicle in the launcher’s 2.5x magnification sight for 3-5 seconds before firing.”

              Penetration is advertised at 400-600 mm. This might not penetrate the latest Russian equipment but a mobility kill is still possible. Knock a tread off and the tank isn’t going anywhere.

              I think the guidance part of these weapons is the big change that makes them more effective than they where 20 years ago.

      3. OIFVet

        And these are the guys with military experience. Many others have gone that have zero military experience. The lucky (and smart ones) will turn tail and run for it before it’s too late. The rest will provide new nutrients for the fertile chernozem of Ukraine.

        I know of one such guy with no military experience, a Bulgarian that is well known in liberal circles in Sofia for being a fixture of basically all protests for the past 25 years and getting occasionally roughed up by the cops at them. The guy’s an idealist, but with zero military experience and at an age and physical shape that scream ‘cannon fodder.’ My SO knows him and try as I might, I could not break through to her how he is yet another example of the danger of the propaganda and PsyOps that prey on the emotions of the populace. Hopefully he will survive somehow.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > The lucky (and smart ones) will turn tail and run for it before it’s too late

          I’m too lazy to find the story, but I remember hearing of a civilian who acquired an automatic weapon of some kind during the Hungarian Uprising of 1956 and who quite enjoyed firing it off. Then he encountered a tank. He put the gun down quietly and left the country.

          All this propaganda about civilian fighters is “primrose path” material of the worse sort, although it does fit into the “Resistance”-shaped hole in the PMC head.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Thats a very good question, although it would seem that whoever it is, is saving a lot of money thanks to Russian effectiveness.

    1. Laura in So Cal

      Carla,Thanks for this. My mom’s Alzheimer’s continues to progress, but I’m always looking for info on prevention or delaying the disease for my sister and myself. After you watch Alzheimers up close, the thought of having it is terrifying.

  2. Samuel Conner

    Re: the Taibbi quote:

    Perhaps VVP’s (the thought occurs that VV is not the R version of DJT, but rather of W, a pleasing orthography hypothesis that also places the recent R moves into an arguably appropriate larger historical context of precedents for the behavior of great powers) cunning plan is actually to distract US population from the looming BA.2 wave, increasing the likelihood that that a large proportion of the population will have been infected by the time it is noticed that the hospitals are again under stress. Putin can be blamed for the choices of the US elites.

    How quickly time passes (or, how quickly entropy increases). The great US Omicron wave peaked in mid-January — 8 weeks ago. This being ‘pandemic time’, it feels like yesterday, which may obscure individual awareness that immunity is waning — getting back to normal also entails ‘getting back to susceptible.’ Perhaps by May we will collectively be in trouble again.

    In the long run, the nation that does the best job of containing the CV and limiting the accumulation of long COVID sequelae in the population may have the highest military readiness.

    OTOH, perhaps one can hope that Lewy dementia is not all that bad. /s

  3. The Rev Kev

    “The White House Briefs TikTok Stars on Ukraine Crisis”

    Looks like this is going to be an annual thing. Remember when the White House recruited an army of more than 50 Twitch streamers, YouTubers and TikTokers to push for young people to get vaccinated?

    And they also had Benito Skinner do a video called ‘A day in my life as a White House intern’? But as the pandemic has shown Hollywood celebrities to be pretty shallow, clueless people, I expect that the same will happen with all these social media influencers.

  4. Sailor Bud

    Taibbi: The average citizen of Oceania bubbled with rage?

    Did they? Not sure about that, or maybe I’m misinterpreting Taibbi, because I can only read one-third of his paywalled article and wouldn’t give him a dime unless he asked me for it out of genuine need. Or maybe I’m just wrong; it has been a while since I read Nineteen Eighty-four.

    As I recall it, Oceania citizens could be induced to rage when the screen told them to for two minutes. Okay. But what I got from every other moment of their daily interactions were absurd levels of burnt-out resignation, helplessness, fear, and reticence from outer circle members like Smith’s neighbor, to the point of wholly neutered hallway and cafeteria conversations. Not exactly rage, or any expression of it. Rather, it felt like utter timidity, all the time. All doubleplus good stuff, vanilla as hell and frightened of their own vile little Hitlerjugend (Grossbruderjugend?) children. Maybe the rage ‘bubbling’ is always underneath, but I’m not sure I got even that, from a practical understanding. Julia is practically pixie-ish in her love of corruption and fornication, when she and Winston have their first honest talk about it.

    As for the proles, they were so stupidized that their rage was focused too, when put to use by the state as manpower for police and troop populations, but otherwise they were kept dumb, fed, drunk, and entertained – exactly like modern real world proles are. They are so stupidized, animal, and ignorant that in spite of their size and bottom level on the pyramid, the inner party doesn’t even have to worry about them. Proles are so stupid that one of the most always-forgotten sections of the book is when Winston visits their sector and tries to ask questions like “what was it like before?” and they have no clue what he’s even asking.

    The other, most important and (somewhat) forgotten aspect of the book is the full explanation of pyramid structures, as expressed in Theory and Practise of Oligarchic Collectivism, a clear and terrifying description of all our big historical human societies, regardless of “-ism,” past and present, once we strip the Oceania-specific fictions out of it, but whatevs. I’ll never pass an opportunity to recommend that part, so here it is.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Don’t forget that with the proles, that the Party had their operatives living with them and were identifying any who showed leadership qualities or who could be trouble makers and had them eliminated. You take out the yeast and there are no uprises.

      1. Sailor Bud

        I did forget that. Thanks. I also wrote ‘average citizen’ where Taibbi wrote ‘ideal,’ but ISTM the ideal is still way closer to what they achieved the way I wrote above.

  5. Kevin Smith

    Florida man asks police to test meth for authenticity
    Florida man has become a meme:
    The title should read:

    Florida Man™ asks police to test meth for authenticity

    1. anon y'mouse

      this will likely get some boos, but who would know better than the cops?

      it’s not like they don’t know who and where it is coming from.

    2. Wukchumni

      If I was a meth, heroin, cocaine or pill user, i’d be pretty sketched about it being laced with Fentanyl these days.

      I’d imagine there’s some West Point cadets* who wished they’d looked before leaping…

      * honorary Florida Men

    1. petal

      Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) has announced she’s tested positive as well. I’m so glad they have top shelf healthcare.

      1. Mildred Montana

        I’m getting a little tired of celebs and pols announcing, almost trumpeting, their Covid positivity. Most of them are not seriously ill, not dying, not even “under-the-weather”. Somehow, though, the mere fact of their positive test calls for a flood of press releases.

        Yet, when it comes to other health concerns they might have, they often invoke “patient confidentiality”.

        Mmm…I wonder why this is?

        1. Wukchumni

          The thing about Covid is there hasn’t really been many brand name celebrities or recognizable people under a certain age of say 65 who have died from it after testing positive, which takes nothing away from the nearly million who have succumbed in these United States (p.s. can we get a ticker put up in the upper right hand coroner, er corner?) although its hard to be precautionary sans cautionary tales of people everybody knows.

      1. ambrit

        I know that it’s “Your Day” and all, but, seriously, ‘root’ for?
        I suspect that this is an algorithm’s idea of a joke. [Oh well. I have always been a bit of A Square.]

      2. Art_DogCT

        What you are ‘rooting’ for, in this case, is the compelled mass participation in an ongoing, ethically compromised, poorly designed, and wretchedly implemented Stage 3/4 clinical trial in which any notion of informed consent has been shat upon. There are many vaccines well worth cheering. Pfizer, Moderna, and Jansen’s COBID-19 products do not qualify.

    2. Mikel

      Doesn’t seem like he’s someone concerned with the environment or climate.
      Miami hotels on the beach – I’m sure he knows about S. Beach – would give an example at what high walls on beaches will do.

      Other than for privacy reasons, I could see them building the sea wall to give off faux concern for rising sea levels as they jet from Martha’s Vineyard to the Pres library in Chicago (that did so much for the environment there) to Hawaii.

        1. ambrit

          I’m beginning to wonder if he and his might be more comfortable in R’lyeh. How far from Innsmouth is Martha’s Vinyard?

      1. Pat

        And with his wife.

        Then the question will be whether it then gets respect and acknowledgment OR they get canceled and ignored, treated as cranks as much as so many other victims of inconvenient truths of the economy.

    3. Barbados Slim

      Hopefully the “I just have a sore throat” is just press, but unfortunately we live in a world run by a cruel good that rewards the evil and punishes the just.

    4. Oh

      Obama is seeking attention as always; he misses being the center of attraction since the Russian Operation. Poor baby!

  6. Wukchumni

    The LME made a near-unprecedented decision. It decided to cancel all the trades that took place on Tuesday morning—$3.9 billion of them, according to a Bloomberg calculation. Exchanges sometimes cancel trades when technology glitches or “fat fingers” cause one-off mistakes. But it’s extremely unusual for an exchange to cancel whole sessions of trading after the fact. Crucially, the decision meant traders wouldn’t need to pay margin calls on the basis of the $80,000 nickel price. Effectively, it rewound the market to the moment when prices closed on Monday at $48,078.

    “The LME is now very likely going to die a slow, self-inflicted death through the loss of confidence in it and its products,” predicted Thompson in a tweet. Still, the LME has weathered numerous scandals before in its 145-year history, from a 1985 crisis in the tin market that caused many brokers to go out of business to the incident when a trader at Sumitomo hid more than $2 billion in losses.

    Hansen of Concord Resources argues that financial investors who traded nickel last week should have been prepared for the LME to step in. He draws a comparison with “Silver Thursday,” the day in 1980 when an attempt by the Hunt brothers to corner the silver market came unstuck. Then, as now, a key factor was the intervention of the exchange. “The LME at the end of the day is a physical metal market,” he says. “Anyone using the LME needs to understand that. It’s not just a casino.”

    I was in high school when the silver bubble of ’79-80 hit and was working for a coin dealer-learning the trade, and the Hunt Bros wanted physical delivery of Comex deliverable bars, and the price per ounce had gone from $6 to $48 by the time the rules were changed and their scheme ruined.

    The few refiners of silver in the country were hopelessly backed up as anything that wasn’t .999 pure silver and had an alloy (that would be most everything) had to be melted down, and towards the end of the bubble in December 1979, non pure silver was quite discounted at around 30% back of spot price, as the only buyers were the Hunts and it might take you 3 months to get alloyed silver turned into pure. It was the first financial bubble i’d ever seen, and it in turn caused a bubble in rare US coins-which burst not all that long after the silver bubble went away.

    The tin bubble was an interesting one, and very few know of it. That Sumitomo trader losing $2 billion was somewhat equal to the Hunt Bros losses in the silver bubble.

    I’d always wondered why the LME was such a force in the metals market, and now by their actions, might have made themselves redundant.

    Who needs the west and London in particular, when they’ve chased out Russian refiners and wiped out a day of trading because the results didn’t suit them?

    1. The Rev Kev

      I remember that episode well with the Hunt brothers as well as the knock-on effects. It turned out that silver was used with making x-rays at the time for example and the price of getting one skyrocketed. You would not expect them to have been related but they were. I was just thinking about this yesterday and wondering what knock-on effects will will see as a result of the present fiasco.

    2. Art_DogCT

      I recall an article headline in the left-wing newspaper Workers World we* put out at the time of the crash, “Hi-yo Silver, Away!” #GoodTimes

      And hanging out at The Bar** on 2nd Av and 4th St and listening to stories from Wall Streeters coming in to drown their sorrows.

      * At that time I was a member of Workers World Party living in NYC, and a member of the newspaper production staff.

      ** The Bar, which may still exist, functioned in the 80s as the neighborhood living room for one room apartment Lower East Side LGBT dwellers (clientele skewed heavily male, younger crowd, pool and its players the main attraction).

    1. Bugs

      Mitigation step #5 integrate them into our system and put them in positions of authority since, hey we need that kind of expertise.

      1. hunkerdown

        Let’s call it Operation Clippy, because the marketing is so much cuter and the Twitter bots so much snappier this time. “It looks like you’re supporting Putin. Would you like help? [Delete post] [Report as hate speech] [Get live assistance]”

        It strikes me how this war marketing campaign is being run just like a Democrat Party election campaign by most of the same people, now with the whole think-tankist class united in their need for war to preserve their own relevance. Wish the trucker convoy would pay the think-tankists a visit.

      2. Paul Jurczak

        They deliver the results. As one of top neonazis involved in 2014 coup said in an interview: “Maidan would be a gay parade without us”

        1. ambrit

          “…gay parade…” Wait, you mean that the Brown Shirts were there too?
          [Some of the ‘worst’ fights I ever saw were at a Lesbian Bar in the French Quarter that had a table in the back for straight male Quarter workers who just wanted a drink before going home without being ‘cruised.’]
          “Macho” comes in all shapes and sizes.

    2. Eustache de Saint Pierre

      There was a bunch of later English National Front members at my last school who would have been OK with joining the Nazi party. One actually became a Para & then a Merc, ending up in the Congo but was fortunately never heard of again. They were not the sort of people who do brunch, but I know it would be very revealing for the people who do – if they were forced to spend some very low quality time with them.

  7. Michael Ismoe

    US and China to meet in Rome for high-level talks focusing on Ukraine FT

    Representing the USA will be National Security advisor Jake Sullivan, the same guy who was in charge of the Afghan withdrawal. Anyone who isn’t learning Mandarin, in order to be able to communicate with our new overlords, it wildly optimistic.

    1. jrkrideau

      Sullivan has started off well. He has been uttering threats against China before getting on a plane. Does he think he’s in a WWE wrestling match? Did the US not learn anything after that fiasco in Alaska?.

  8. Mikel

    Masks are coming off, ventilation requirements missing or ignored, and employers’ life insurance policies on employees have been increased.
    Looks like all systems ready to go in the death cult economy.

    1. Samuel Conner

      “Back to normal”, where by “normal” is meant “one to two new variant waves a year, with accumulating long COVID morbidity in the population.”

      At least, between increased demand and reduced supply, there will be plenty of job openings in the field of remunerated care-giving.

      1. ambrit

        This is neo-liberalstan bud. Expect a huge explosion in non-renumerative care giving positions; as in, you help me in exchange for room and board. We are hurtling backwards into the nineteenth century.
        The mystery writer Agatha Christie once mentioned in an interview later in her life that she had several major shocks in adjusting to the “modern” world. One was the idea of everyone having a private motorcar. The other was the inability to afford permanent domestic servants.
        I ‘look forward,’ (not back,) to adjusting to my “natural” ‘place’ in Mr. Lee’s Greater Hong Kong.

        1. Mikel

          “We are hurtling backwards into the nineteenth century…”

          But with smartphones!!

          I’d say the people of the 19th century would be able to rebuild a collapsed civilization better than people of this era.
          But they wouldn’t be able to if transported to this era.

  9. M Quinlan

    There are reports of a large number of civilian casualties in Donetsk . Telegram posts accuse the Ukrainians of deliberately enticing spouses of servicemen of the breakaway republics of the Donbas to gather in the location that was targeted.
    Whatever the truth of this, the kid gloves may come off now, especially with front line troops. (That is if the Russians ever were truly trying to limit the Ukrainian army casualties)

    1. OnceWereVirologist

      As the Russians advance in Donetsk and Lugansk, more and more Kiev-controlled towns are being liberated and interviews with the locals are appearing on Russian news channels. I’ve seen some angry people, more angry with the tactics of the Ukrainian army – not happy at all to be used as human shields with tanks parked in their front yard – than with the destruction caused by the Russians. Very hard to see any part of these provinces reintegrating into Ukraine.

    2. Lex

      A Tochka-U fitted with cluster munitions launched into the city center. I’ve seen CCTV footage as well as after footage. DPR claims it was hit by anti-air munitions which limited the strike’s effectiveness (but that sort of claim should be taken with a huge grain of salt).
      I don’t think it will change the Russian tactics. Those units dug in on the LoC were always going to be treated very harshly. My best assumption is that their elimination is waiting for the “cauldron” to be physically closed. It appears to be closed in terms of fire control, but that won’t stop small unit retreat. I’d expect that once trapped, Russia will start firing from behind the Ukrainian troops in Donbas while DPR push west. The Ukrainian positions are very well fortified at this point.

    3. Polar Socialist

      Considering that a lot of the troops in the South East fighting Ukrainian army are from Donetsk, smart Ukrainians might find it better to surrender to the Russians when the time comes.

      Given also that the initial reports from Mariupol say 5000 Chechens joined the battle this morning, and according to Russian MoD all Ukrainian positions were broken in the afternoon and humanitarian corridors opened. Since 3 o’clock there’s supposed have been a massive civilian evacuation in progress. Apparently over 200 cars (buses?) are on their way from Rostov to transfer the civilians.

      If that’s true, then soon most of the troops so far required to encircle Mariupol will be available for Donetsk front.

    4. Polar Socialist

      Russian MoD is asking people working for Ukrainian military industry to stay away from places of work tonight, because they are about to hit every known place of manufacturing and repairing of military equipment in Ukraine as a response to the attack on Donetsk center.

    5. Oh

      I was appalled when I saw the CNN news crawler show that ‘1 person was killed when a Russian bomb hit a building’. Wow! Such fine reporting. /s

  10. Screwball

    If find the spat between Mitt Romney & Tulsi quite entertaining. I don’t know what to think about Tulsi anymore, but I absolutely can’t stand Romney. She ripped him pretty good on Twitter, even calling for him to resign. Funny stuff – kind of – chemical weapons are not funny.

    I’m trying to find something entertaining since it seems there no adults left in DC, when we really need some. I’m getting more and more convinced by the day they really want to get us all blown up. No-fly zones, our poles over there running their yaps (Klobuchar) about planes, Romney, and Biden himself.

    I watched a clip of Biden yesterday and when asked about something and his reply was “that would be world war 3.” I found that chilling. I see on my Facebook page today a very dear PMC friend has a link on how to sign up to fight in Ukraine.

    This country has went stark raving mad. I’m old, I remember everything from the Cuban missile crisis forward, and I get more concerned everyday.

    1. Eureka Springs

      Not singling you out, just taking a moment to ask fellow NCrs to include links to what they mention. We used to do this for each other much more than as of late.
      Thank you.

      1. Screwball

        No worries. I don’t know how to post links from Twitter. If you have Twitter, search for Glen Greenwald, Tulsi herself, and I think Turley spoke about it as well.

        I read a Tweet just now about how Chelsea Clinton has come out and said Tucker Carlson should be taken down. You know, because Russia.

        Then there is this on Twitter (I will try to link – we’ll see what happens). This Tweet is a guy named Jason Karsh. Within this Tweet is a guy named Greg Sargent. My PMC friend thing this is great stuff. I think it is some of the most ridiculous stuff I’ve ever read. Russia and Donald Trump are eating peoples brains.

        Jason Karsh

  11. The Rev Kev

    “How China Can End the War in Ukraine”

    This was starting to read like an Onion article. So the author’s idea is to have China stop Russia using the G20, give UNICEF $50 billion to pay for humanitarian support for the Ukraine and finally to pay billions to reconstruct the Ukraine on behalf of the west. I had to check to see if this guy had serious credentials and he does – all economic. So ‘Stephen Samuel Roach is an American economist and serves as senior fellow at Yale University’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs and a senior lecturer at Yale School of Management. He was formerly chairman of Morgan Stanley Asia and chief economist at Morgan Stanley, the New York-based investment bank.’

    What if China says sure, we can help. We are sending over 100,000 Chinese Army Peacekeepers with UN Blue Helmets to put a lid on things there. We will start building bases immediately. Can you imagine the panic? The freakout in Washington and Brussels? I saw a cartoon that summed up what China must be thinking. It showed Uncle Sam next to a gas bowser and using the hose to spray gas on the burning Ukraine – while complaining that China is not helping to stop the situation. Just because they are Chinese does not mean that they are stupid. They know that the Ukraine and Russia is just a rehearsal for Taiwan and themselves.

    1. OnceWereVirologist

      I’ve read some dumb things in my time but this one almost sets a new standard.

      For a deeply principled nation, the choice is actually quite obvious. Since the days of Zhou Enlai in the mid-1950s, China has been steadfast in its commitment to the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, including respect for national sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual non-aggression, and non-interference in other countries’ domestic affairs. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is in clear violation of these sacrosanct principles. There is no room for China to finesse that conclusion while remaining true to its core values.

      How the heck does the Chinese invasion of Vietnam in 1979 and its border skirmishes with India and the Soviet Union fit into this beautiful picture. Not to mention the time frame of the mid-50’s must have been carefully selected in order to exclude the invasion of Tibet, and the Korean War.

      As the West continues to up the ante on draconian sanctions against Russia, senior US officials are now openly discussing China’s guilt by association, just as I had warned. China needs to act quickly in order to forestall this possibility – before it finds itself in the crosshairs of rapidly spreading sanctions.

      As far as I can tell, this is the only other reason (beyond the 5 Principles of Peaceful Coexistence) the author gives for why China should get involved and try to force a ceasefire on Russia. I dare the author to translate this and post it to Chinese social media. We’ll see how the message “Show the world what beautiful principles you have China before we have to spank you” plays to the Chinese man on the street.

    2. RobertC

      TRK — you will find more realism from Cdr Salamander Yes Ukraine and Russia – but the Varsity Game is China

      “The old order is swiftly disintegrating, and strongman politics is again ascendant among the world’s great powers,” wrote Mr. Zheng of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shenzhen. “Countries are brimming with ambition, like tigers eyeing their prey, keen to find every opportunity among the ruins of the old order.”

      That quote from Zheng is sticking with me [Cdr Salamander]. The “old order” really was a historical exception to the normal course of human events and experience. The new order he sees as ascendant is, really, a regression towards the mean.

    3. Susan the other

      I thought he might have been suggesting that we drive a wedge between Russia and China; that we then partner more closely with China and the BRI, keeping the EU but still sidelining Russia. Yesterday one of the Links referred to the old idea that used to hold sway in D.C. that “without Ukraine Russia has no connection to Eurasia.” But I don’t see how that has any bearing on Russia and Eurasia today – it was just Z. Brezinski’s obsession at one time. As far as ignoring the neo-nazis in Ukraine – even Jacobin seems to have been willing to do so. Curiously. And those biowarfare labs… they were just looking for cures. Right. Imo the West is far from innocent. And Ukraine is up for grabs.

    4. chuck roast

      Yeah, I clicked on the link, and then saw that the piece was by Stephen Roach. I figured it would be a much more productive use of my time if I put a bit of air in my bicycle tires. Remember the name Stephen Roach…the man who wrote the book on How To Talk Your Own Book.

    5. Darthbobber

      All of these “what China should do” articles (and there are a lot of functionally identical ones, differing only in the condiments that garnish them) boil down to “China should take the American position.”

      Why in deity of your choice’s name they might do that is pretty mystifying.

      Especially since China, like Russia, has increasingly taken the attitude towards our alternating sermons and threats reflected in this Phil Ochs couplet:
      So keep right on a talkin’ and tell us what to do
      But if nobody listens my apologies to you.

  12. Raymond Sim

    Deepti Gurdasani makes note of in vitro evidence that the behavior of BA.1 and BA.2 are coupled, in this case that serum neutralization of BA.2 may be diminished post BA.1 infection. Evidence for BA.1’s use of the N-protein to induce cytotoxic T-cell attacks on uninfected cells also suggests this possibility.

    Epidemiological data is likewise suggestive of this: There have apparently been very strong founder effects in various regions. And of course the Occam’s razor explanation for the simultaneous emergence of these two very distinct variants in the same region is probably co-evolution.

    Up till Omicron the behavior of the pandemic (aside from the Big Bang of its emergence) was quite well explained by modeling with linear differential equations. However, even very well behaved, highly predictable systems, when coupled, can become extremely hard to predict, i.e. “chaotic”.

    A demonstration of nonlinear dependence on initial conditions in a “chaos pendulum”:

    A robot controlling a chaos pendulum:

    Note how hard that machine has to work to establish and sustain an unstable equilibrium. There’s your “endemicity”.

  13. The Rev Kev

    All right. I give up. Does anybody know what sort of cat that is in today’s Antidote du Jour? And how come it has a really short tail too?

      1. mary jensen

        Yes. I wanted to thank NC for the baby lynx. I sat here and stared at it for 5 minutes, such a little beauty.

        Please don’t yell at me but I assume there are animal zoos in Ukraine. Any news on any organizations which either transport out or protect those animals?

        1. ambrit

          It’s a legitimate question. I remember reading a book about the Fall of Berlin wherin a section treated with the sadness felt by a worker at the Berlin Zoo as he had to shoot one of their big cats. The Zoo determined that they couldn’t risk the big cat getting loose in the war zone.

  14. Lex

    I wish I was more shocked by the level of incompetence displayed by US leadership. Who decided that it would be a good idea for Sullivan to go on TV and tell everyone that we’re threatening China right before the Rome meeting? So now if the Chinese response is, “LOL, F you,” (which it almost certainly will be) what does the administration do to climb down from the position of publicly bullying China? The US concept of “diplomacy” is a fascinating overturning of classical diplomatic behavior.

    It also appears that whatever actual regional expertise may exist within DoS (maybe DoD and DIA too) is fully sidelined. For one example, most of the “experts” on TV news can’t even pronounce the name of Ukraine’s capitol correctly. Beyond that, apparently nobody in charge has even bothered to read the Wikipedia article on the Russian military doctrine of “deep operations”, which has been Russian doctrine since the 1920’s. While actual operations seem somewhat rushed in terms of plan implementation (was there intelligence of a Ukrainian offensive scheduled for early March?), almost all the “mistakes” Russia has made according to western experts are pretty much inline with Deep Operation principles which rely on reconnaissance in force; probing attacks; and tactical withdrawals to produce confusion in the opponent; hinder communication and resupply; and determine where/when/how to apply larger forces. Add to that an amazing low level of civilian infrastructure destruction, an equally amazingly low number of civilian casualties (using UN numbers), and a massive humanitarian operation being carried out concurrently with military operations and I’m having a hard time seeing the great “failure” of the Russian operation.

    1. Joe Renter

      Well said Lex. I have been deep diving the last couple days on a Russian news site,
      It is updated through the 24 cycle on operations in Ukraine. I have more respect for them in the process of trying to understand the background of this mess. The Russians think long term in their objectives and seem quite pragmatic. What is not clear to me is how they will be able to root out all the neo-Nazis. It may be that they will have presence on the ground for some time.

  15. Tom Stone

    It’s going to be an interesting summer regardless of the Ukraine.
    In six weeks or so BA2 will be fully established in the USA with predictable ugly consequences.
    I’m in Sonoma County and Santa Rosa has a rainfall deficit of 14.68″.
    The whole southwest is in the middle of a record setting drought which is bringing unprecedented fire danger.
    The odds of losing a town like Sebastopol, Orinda , or Mill Valley or a major chunk of a big city like Oakland or Berkeley are very high.
    I would be surprised if we did not see a 1 Million acre wildfire in California and seeing two would not be a surprise.
    And the whole Southwest is in like condition.
    A Corsi-Rosenthal box would be a good idea, there will be very serious air quality issues across most of the USA that may last several Months.
    And the effects of the Sanctions on the US Economy will be becoming clear.
    I suspect that Brandon is at the peak of his popularity right now.

    1. Wukchumni

      Ski Resorts were the big winner in our winter of missed content, as the Santa storm around Xmas was so substantial, I don’t think many resorts in the Sierra had to ever make snow.

      This time next week 95% of the snow i’ll be repeatedly hurling myself down a steep embankment @ breakneck speed, will be from Santa (I believe!)

      The golden poppy displays here have been fabulous, many think it’s one of the best ever, as the early storms in October & December seemed to activate sleeper cells in the underground movement that hadn’t been seen heretofore.

      1. Oh

        IMHO, Thom Hartman is a shill for the DIms and wants to grab headline with this comment. He’s an Obama boy. The comments may have some truth in them but mostly conjecture.

        1. neo-realist

          Hate the messenger, but it’s true that Senator Nosferatu has made the Social Security and Medicare cuts part of his 11 point plan to cut deficits and reform government, which most republicans and a few vichy dems support (at least for dems the SS and medicare cuts.)

  16. Mikel

    “SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern and variants under investigation in England” (PDF) UK Health Security Agency

    All kinds of names are popping up for the “frankenspike proteins” and variants popping up – post mass shot giving:


    Still think it’s worth addressing how much the shots are driving the wild ride in new variant creation.
    Did variants develop at a different speed and in different ways before the mass shot therapy experiments?

  17. Colonel Smithers

    Thank you, Lambert.

    Further to what the global south or zone b thinks, let me shed some light from a Mauritian background.

    Doordarshan and CGTN are rebroadcasted locally, in part due to nearly about two thirds of Mauritians originating from the home of these stations. In the past week, both channels have made much of how unsavoury the Zelensky regime is and its links with equally unsavoury US, British and Israeli ne’er do wells.

    The one sided and frankly racist coverage on BBC World, Sky, France 24 and CNN has not gone down well in Africa.

    Many Mauritians study in Russia and Ukraine and often return with a spouse from there. It’s similar to Syria, so there are ties of blood now. This goes back to the 1970s. In addition, Russians are an increasing number of visitors. Some Russian professionals have made the island their home. As such, the islanders are more likely to know a Russian than an American or even a Chagossien and know what’s going.

    The global south can smell western hypocrisy an ocean away.

    This is quite apart from reliance on Russian and Ukrainian commodities.

    It will be interesting to read what Thuto comments.

  18. Bob Kavanagh

    It is difficult to asset that the zyklon-B was used a a chemical weapon. Weapon in this context indicates use against armed combatants. Zyklon-B was used to murder civilian non-combatants.

    1. DanB

      Dear Bob,

      “A weapon, arm or armament is any implement or device that can be used with the intent to inflict physical damage or harm.” Does this help?

    2. ambrit

      Well, dead civilians are often “secondary effects” of the use of weapons of all sorts.
      Zyklon-B was used as part of official policy in the Reich. Insofar as it was used to eliminate “enemies of the State,” it qualifies as a ‘chemical weapon.’

  19. OIFVet

    So you are playing semantics. Really? And after the many reports of what the media called “chemical weapons” being used in Syria against civilians. As far as apologists go, you are scraping the bottom.

    1. Bob Kavanagh

      No I wasn’t. I think it minimizes what the Nazis did to innocent men, women and children. Because the western media deploys propaganda regarding Assad, doesn’t give cover to those like Ames.

      1. OIFVet

        “I think it minimizes what the Nazis did to innocent men, women and children.”

        As opposed to outright erasing it, like Aslund does?! And doing so on the basis of what Putin MIGHT do, or at least be blamed for.

  20. Wukchumni

    It has dawned on me that the Jackpot will happen when I walk up to the outdoor slot machine and gas is $7.77 per gallon.

        1. ambrit

          At least you are not a ‘fiat heeler,’ the canine companion caring career compadres condone.

  21. Boomheist

    Re: covid: So today this thread landed on Twitter:

    China has locked down Shanghai, a city of 25 million. In fact China seems to be locking down everywhere, due to the BA2 surge of covid, which btw is now here in the US and growing fast. But not to worry, covid is “done” here in the US. Washington State just lifted mask requirements, all seems to be back to normal, some are still paying attention, many others not, yet meanwhile halfway around the world another great surge is rising, which will strike here later this spring and which by then I expect will have also struck in Europe especially among those more than 3 million refugees. I am trying to overlay this fourth, or is it fifth? surge with raging inflation, materials shortages, and the drumbeat of war fever, and totally failing….

    1. Screwball

      Maybe someone can clarify, but I read the other day, a recent bill passed by congress to give money to Ukraine (billions) had money taken out of the bill that was intended for COVID, and passed for Ukraine. That would seem fitting, given this congress.

      I was also told the GOP made the dems take that part out of the bill – so it’s their fault. I can’t find anything about that, but they guy said he heard it on NPR. I don’t believe NPR either. But blaming the GOP sounds legit as the only two things the dems can do is promise BS and blame someone else.

      1. marym

        Here are links, including an expanded NPR version. There’s no explanation other than, as you say: “the only two things the dems can do is promise BS and blame someone else.” From the first link, Schumer is lamenting, though.

        “Though White House officials initially told Congress that Biden wanted $30 billion more to continue battling COVID-19, a few days later he formally requested a scaled-back $22.5 billion. In bargaining over a final bill with skeptical Republicans, who said Congress had already spent enough, top Democrats settled for $15.6 billion.

        But Wednesday, rank-and-file House Democrats rebelled against cuts Republicans had negotiated in previously approved pandemic aid for 30 states to help pay for the new spending. Rather than delaying the entire bill, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., removed all the pandemic funds. The number ended up at zero.”

        “House Democrats were forced to remove roughly $15 billion in additional COVID-related funding for states after some Democrats objected to the way the funding was structured. Republicans had opposed new COVID spending, so top Democrats chose to reclaim some already allocated but unspent COVID funds to help pay for the new package. Some Democrats said that would mean as many as 30 states would lose money they were already planning to spend.

        The White House had asked Congress for $22.5 billion in emergency spending for immediate needs. A White House official said removing the money from the package would have “dire” consequences, including a decline in testing capacity in March…The decision to cut the COVID money now leaves Democrats with no clear path for passing the funding in the future.”

        1. Screwball

          Thank you. It’s a shame these bills/funds have to be done this way. Too many rotating villains can be blamed. At the same time, the Ds control all branches, so I’m in the camp if they really wanted to pass something they could. Break it down into a smaller bill, tell the parliamentarian to stuff it, etc.

          Maybe the easiest way would be to have someone write “for bombs” on the bill and it would pass yesterday and for more than they asked for.

          Pathetic no matter how you slice it. I’m guessing in the future they will want more COVID money because, contrary to their plan of “let’r rip”, COVID has other ideas.

          1. neo-realist

            A 50/50 Senate with two democrats who are bought and paid for by republican donors and vote against their President isn’t exactly control of all the branches. It’s practically a de-facto republican majority in the Senate the way Manchin and Sinema knock down democratic legislation.

            1. JBird4049

              Only to a point do the Republicans block the Senate. If Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris with the assistance of Senator Bernie Sanders plus House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in the House were willing to play extreme hardball the way President Lyndon B. Johnson did (the effort, not the skill as nobody else has been as good in the past century) they would get most of their proposed legislation.

              However, everyone with the partial exception of Sanders are using the excuse of being collegial as cover for not doing the actual work of legislating. It is much easier to put on a Kabuki Theater production which simulates the work so that they don’t make angry the donors or give more power to the general population especially the lower ninety percent. “Woe is us. We are so helpless because we can’t do anything, anything at all!!!”

              They could do an old fashioned filibuster and put the Republicans in a bad way. IIRC, and I might not, the Senate can still have multiple senators lined up to block all business in the Senate. They should have done it during the past two years while Senator Mitch McConnell was filling all those vacant judgeships with very conservative Republicans using the COVID tumult as cover. But like the wars in places like Yemen being ignored, so was McConnell’s successful efforts.

  22. OnceWereVirologist

    Good news for the people of Mariupol. Latest briefing from the Russian MoD :

    “Mariupol has been in an extremely difficult situation for a long time. Today, as a result of effective actions, the formations of the Donetsk People’s Republic, with the support of units of the Russian Armed Forces, have surgically destroyed almost all firing points equipped by neo-Nazis in the suburban areas of Mariupol. Maneuvering actions of special purpose units eliminated the main forces of neo-Nazis in positions in residential areas around the perimeter of the city.

    The successful operation to unblock the city made it possible today from 15 o’clock to open humanitarian corridors for civilians to exit and to begin mass evacuation of the population that had been held hostage by neo-Nazis for a long time.

    Car convoys with humanitarian cargo were promptly formed and immediately dispatched. The first convoy has already arrived in Mariupol and delivered 450 tons of medicines, basic necessities and food, including baby food. In addition, four columns with a total of 200 buses have been formed to evacuate the needy and injured residents of Mariupol, of which 50 have already arrived in Mariupol, the rest are on the move.”

  23. Anthony G Stegman

    I think nuclear war is inevitable, and i also think that the United States will initiate it. Capitalist societies require conquest in order to feed the beast. The two go hand in hand. The United States practices hyper-capitalism, and with that comes hyper conquest. American capitalists seek total global control so that they can exploit the total globe. Since there are multiple nations with nuclear weapons it is only a matter of time that the United States resorts to using nuclear weapons in order to achieve its capitalist ends. This may seem crazy to many since it is the conventional wisdom that nuclear war ends human civilization. However, hyper-capitalists see only ever increasing profits and are blinded to the existential threat that capitalism itself poses to this planet we call home. Capitalists pay little heed to the climate catastrophe and all that entails, so why would they pay heed to the risks of nuclear war?

    1. Aaron212

      Sadly, I think it is inevitable, too, but I’m trying to not worry about it until the MSM starts cheerleading Nuclear Winter as a means to end global warming and Cannibalism for when the crops start to fail.

    2. Joe Renter

      Well, then let’s party like it’s 1999!
      I don’t think we will go nuclear. The hidden powers that over see this planet will intervene. I know this sounds foolish, but that’s my take. But that does not mean that we won’t destroy the planet or close to it with our poor stewardship.

      1. JBird4049

        Money will not allow one to control everything. Before a war starts, they have power. The wealthy even have influence during a war, but people are often more concerned about surviving the next month than their bank account.

        Theoretically, the President can give the order at anytime to bomb with any amount of nuclear weapons. I assume that some people would stop him or verify the order especially if it was completely unexpected. And I assume the same with Putin and Russia.

        So again, once the missiles, bombs, shells, and bullets start going and mere survival is in doubt, the wealthy find that their power is limited. Not gone, but curtailed. The trigger could be anyone in the military with a weapon. I worry that those supposedly in power actually believe that they are in control, thinking that wars are controllable like anything else with some money and some propaganda. Too many people don’t study their history so they probably do.

  24. orlbucfan

    I and my sister (full-time math teacher) will continue to follow our Covid precautions. Why? Cos they work and we have not contracted the virus(es). We intend on keeping it that way. As far as the Russian-Ukrainian conflict goes, I don’t know what to believe. I do know I am sick of the hysterical MSM propaganda screeching. Talk about headache-causing. Sheesh!

  25. Glen

    Crazy week. I’m starting to feel like I’m living in the precursor novel to 1984. Then we get a couple years of 1984, then Jackpot.

    I’m sure it will be a series on Amazon Prime next year. Something catchy like “Davos Man Uber Alles”

    1. Andrey Subbotin

      On the bright side, survivors will get to play Fallout for the rest of their life.

      1. ambrit

        Yeah, but one big thing the game designers don’t tell us is that all those “zombie hordes” in the games are, in real life, just starving mobs of “deplorables.”
        Successfully demonize the hungry and you have the conditions for the normalization of murder.

    1. Darthbobber

      Well. the Reuters take is interesting, but the situation goes back some years. The creation of the Kiev patriarchate was itself an attempt to create a Ukrainian national mirror of the Moscow one. (The Orthodox patriarchies are often tied very closely to the secular authorities). Differing allegiances within Ukrainian congregations account for recent manifestations like armed nationalists assaulting the parishioners in one church, and defenders of Mariupol holding those who had retreated to a monastery belonging to the Moscow patriarchate as hostages.

  26. Andrew Watts

    RE: A Ukrainian Socialist Explains Why the Russian Invasion Shouldn’t Have Been a Surprise

    I can’t say that I was all that surprised by the start of the war. The comparisons that can be made to the Russo-Georgian War are hard to ignore. The military buildup on the border, the ambiguous nature of the shelling on both sides, and the evacuation of the urban centers were all a prelude to war. The expected duration of the armed conflict is from the same playbook too. It’s the aftermath that I’m not so sure about.

    I think we’ll see permanent Russian bases on Ukrainian soil that’ll ensure Moscow will have the strategic depth it desires. These will deny any NATO countries from having any kind of foothold. It’d be consistent with the demilitarization of Ukraine that Putin has promised.

    This article was pretty illuminating as both countries are black holes for all intents and purposes. Most of the western interaction that happens in Russia is among the bohemian and bourgeoisie elements of Moscow and St. Petersburg. These people are disconnected from the mood and attitudes of the country like their western counterparts. It’s why they didn’t expect the war and were surprised by it.

  27. RobertC

    I’ve been expecting Indian diplomat (retired) M. K. BHADRAKUMAR to announce India Should Quit Quad Now!

    Hedging between superpowers — United States, Russia and China — was never the smart thing to do. India should have known that the contradictions are simply irreconcilable.

    This is a moment of truth, therefore, as the US unsheathes the sword to bleed and dismember Russia, and gives an ultimatum to China to stay out of it.

    The gravity of the situation is sinking in, finally. That is the message coming out of the Cabinet Committee on Security meeting convened by PM Modi on Sunday “to review India’s security preparedness, and the prevailing global scenario in the context of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine,” where he was briefed “on latest developments and different aspects of India’s security preparedness in the border areas as well as in the maritime and air domain.”

    And his generous and insightful summation

    A peaceful external environment is an imperative need and the foreign policy should prioritise that objective. It means a revamp of India’s policies toward China and Pakistan. We are stuck in a groove cut decades ago largely for propaganda purposes, unable to disown our self-serving narratives. Fortunately, there are incipient signs of rethink lately. Do not let Washington queer the pitch of India’s crucial relationships with China or Pakistan.

    A nation has no future if it is incapable of introspection. Mistakes have been made but it is false pride and hubris not to make amends. Indians are a forgiving people. And as for the present government at least, it only inherited the false narratives.

  28. judy2shoes

    Here’s another twitter thread from Eric Feigl-Ding that starts with a discussion of abrupt swing in U.S. wastewater signals:

    ?SEWER SIGNALS—there is a sharp reversal in wastewater #SARSCoV2–many now rising across the US / plateauing and no longer falling, says CDC data. This parallels surge in Europe, just a few weeks behind. A #BA2 wave is coming—how soon/big is the question?

    People in my area are acting like C-19 is over. Very little masking.

  29. Steve B

    Re: New Not-So-Cold War
    Thanks, Lex, for your post on the Russian military doctrine of ‘deep operations’. Useful link here:;_differences_with_other_methodologies

    My understanding is that a deep operation involves two successive advances against the enemy line – the first a column aimed at breakthrough, the second a wave aimed at envelopment. Envelopment eventually leads to encirclement, as we’ve seen with the closing of the operational ‘cauldron’ around the Donbass. The critical moment in a deep operation is the enemy’s mental paralysis. If they fail to surrender at that time, then the besieging operational force weakens them through starvation before finally committing to their physical destruction.

    So, the tempo of a deep operation involves many starts and stops – the pause at first contact before the second wave, the pause at encirclement of a city like Mariupol before bombardment or occupation. Very different from doctrines of ‘blitzkrieg’ and ‘Shock and Awe’, with pauses offering possibilities for diplomacy. But, in the end, just as prepared to be ruthless.

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