Links 3/18/2022

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.


P.S. Also, before further stressing our already stressed moderators, read our site policies:

Please do not write us to ask why a comment has not appeared. We do not have the bandwidth to investigate and reply. Using the comments section to complain about moderation decisions/tripwires earns that commenter troll points. Please don’t do it. Those comments will also be removed if we encounter them.

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‘Cats on Glass Tables’ Reddit has the internet purring NY Post (NL).

The King of Block Trades Is Entangled in a U.S. Probe of Morgan Stanley Bloomberg

John Podhoretz, You Suck Matt Taibbi, TK News


Navy orders ‘supplemental investigation’ of Red Hill Star-Adviser. Contaminated groundwater.


Meet the hard-core maskers who never leave home without an N95 Boston Globe (KLG25). The propaganda campaign against masking — whose whole point is to protect the air, a commons used by all, from contamination by a lethal pathogen — is so unspeakably vile. (I also don’t know where this “face covering” locution came in. It sounds technical — or rather, bureaucratic — but it’s wrong. Eyes, last I checked, were part of the face. Masks don’t cover the eyes. The stupid, it b-u-r-r-r-n-n-n-n-s-s-s-s!!!!!)

With mask mandates easing, experts say choosing to wear one may be seen as making a statement CTV


Is China the New Russia? The Big Picture

Coronavirus: officials in Chinese cities including Shenzhen sacked for falling short in fight against Omicron South China Morning Post. It can’t happen here.

Vietnam and the Russian ties that bind them Globe_


Why India Is Losing Faith in the West Bloomberg

The Democracy Turning Its Back on Ukraine The Atlantic


Londongrad must fall – or the US could raze it to the ground OpenDemocracy

How Brexit squashed the UK’s edible bug industry Sifted

Macron unveils re-election manifesto, vows stronger France in time of crisis France24

New Not-So-Cold War

Biden and Xi to talk on phone as US presses China over Russia Al Jazeera 1300 GMT, or 9:00PM EST. Late for Biden, who I’m sure would rather be in Wilmington. But in time for the talk shows.

Joe Biden to warn Xi Jinping of US retaliation if China actively supports Russia FT

Ukraine war: Biden will tell Xi any support of Russia comes with ‘costs’, top US diplomat says South China Morning Post. From the photo of their last call, Biden at least had a three-ring binder.

* * *

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, March 17 Institute for the Study of War

“Pentagon Estimates Putin Has Committed 75% of Forces to Ukraine” Turcopelier

How Does the Ukraine War End? Foreign Policy

For Washington, War Never Ends Diana Johnstone, Consortium News

UK could be Ukraine’s ‘protector’ against future Russian attacks: Peace talks may result in West agreeing to MILITARY response if Putin invades again – as MoD buys £500m defence system to detect missiles fired at Britain and Putin reveals his ‘endgame’ Daily Mail. It seems to me that having Western countries — like, heaven help us, BoJo’s little US satrapy — as guarantors of Ukrainian neutrality draws the tripwires even tighter than NATO membership would. Why not neutral nations as guarantors?

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Ukrainian news anchor quotes Adolf Eichmann, calls for genocide against Russians (video) WSWS (dk).

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Symbol Manipulation (1): How Stepan, Ukraine’s most famous cat, escaped the war to safety Taylor Lorenz, WaPo. Stepan, eh? Serious normalization going on. Here’s hoping we don’t get a lot of PMC kids and animal companions named “Stepan.” Dogs, too:


My goodness, this image certainly did appear all over the place instantly!

No babies!!!!!! today. Sorry.

Symbol Manipulation (2): Ukrainian Disinformation? ‘Destroyed’ Russian Warship Vasily Bykov Seen Unscathed In Crimean Port International Business Times

The influencers behind the Ukrainian PR machine Politico

Propaganda war rages as Russians face huge pressure to back invasion FT. I’ve always admired clever Brits for their sense of irony. I guess that’s gone too.

Why Journalists Love War Politico. The media employees who love war are stunted, vicious little children who like to pull the wings off flies and get weepy at the suffering. Institutional incentives, yes, but this is what those incentives have brought us to:

* * *

Big Tobacco’s future in Russia goes up in smoke FT. That’s a damn shame.

The Effect of the War Against Ukraine on Luxury Brands in China Jing Daily

Feedback From My Contacts In Russia Natylie’s Place: Understanding Russia

Biden Administration

Supreme Court Clerk Hiring Watch: Family Ties Original Jurisdiction

Democrats en Déshabillé

Please send help (1):

Please send help (2):

I hate to descend into Thersites-level vituperation — which increasingly seems to be the only style of discourse where objective correlatives are to be found — but surely our political class can grovel and eat sh*t at the same time?

House leaders want to take up daylight saving time bill — later The Hill.

Dems search for next steps on Covid aid as headaches pile up Politico

Opinion: Memo to Democrats: If there’s another covid surge, you’ll get the blame Greg Sargent, WaPo. Democrats: “The buck stops over there.”

Supply Chain

Seaborne trade with Russia drops by 58% since the start of the invasion of Ukraine Splash 247

Tanker Market Plagued With Uncertainty Hellenic Shipping News

Gulf of Mexico brimming with LNG tankers as exports rise Reuters

With ESG on the Rise, Asset Managers Target the Murky Underbelly of Supply Chains Institutional Investor

Health Care

Massive digital health system for veterans plagued by patient safety risks, watchdog finds WaPo. A digital system? Surely not.

Police State Watch

Justice Department Admits: We Don’t Even Know How Many Predictive Policing Tools We’ve Funded Gizmodo


The Second Tragedy of Sandy Hook Slate

Imperial Collapse Watch

Anglican Church Abuse Investigation: Some Alleged Victims Support Bishop The Roys Report. These episodes keep happening. And in institutions that are, to many, deeply meaningful, even spiritually nourishing.

Everyday Magic in the Middle Ages Medievalists

Zeitgeist Watch

A Con Artist’s Artist: Anna Delvey Teamed Up With a Basquiat Forger to Stage a Show of Her Prison Drawings in New York ArtNet

How Bones Communicate With the Rest of the Body Smithsonian

A List of Foods with the Highest GABA (dk).

Determining Exactly Which Word Is Musically Stressed In the First Line of the James Brown Song ‘I Feel Good’ Laughing Squid. Holy moley, the dance moves:

It’s Friday. Enjoy your weekend!

Antidote du jour (via):

The image comes from Chris Arnade in Lima, Peru. (He seems to be talking walking tours of cities around the world.) I like Arnade’s photography a lot. He has a real eye for the median. Which isn’t all that normal.

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. JohnA

    Re Londongrad must fall

    Not only is London a money laundering centre for Russian oligarch wealth, Britain has consistently refused extradition requests from the Russian government based on such wealth having been stolen, or fraudulently acquired from Russia. And of course, former US but now UK passport holder Bill Browder, of Maginsky fame, has a Russian arrest warrant outstanding related to massive tax evasion and other alleged fraud.
    So London has been a safe haven for both money and against deportation back to Russia.

    1. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you, John.

      Browder and and his accountant, not lawyer, Magnitsky ripped off City (and other western) investors in Russia and, were it not for his usefulness to certain people, could be prosecuted in the UK, if not further afield. Browder’s name is mud in the City, but the people who know the score are kept off the airwaves.

      1. Alex Cox

        The article’s sub-head is quite prescient: the US is well on the way to “razing London to the ground” – though perhaps not in the way the author thinks.

      2. lyman alpha blob

        Thanks for the reminder on Browder. Lots of “Putin is the richest man in the world” propaganda going around again. In my admittedly non-comprehensive research, every time I see this claim and follow the links, they all lead back to Browder, who helped create the Russian oligarchs as he was looting Russia back in the 90s.

        1. Anonymous 2

          I have just watched Browder on UK television. He was calling for a clean-up of the City of London, so he can’t be all bad.

  2. paul

    RE: Please send help (1):

    I’m sure PK’s heart will be bursting with lachrymose pride on hearing his compatriot’s incisive analysis of a nuanced and challenging geopolitical situation.

    …all those years of overcoming the stereotype of the thick paddy, undone!

    1. PlutoniumKun

      We have long ago become inured to Bono’s stupidity. For a long time, his only saving grace (in contrast to Sting, that other prominent pompous oaf of a rock star), is that at least he showed some self awareness and could poke fun at himself. He seems to have lost even this in his dotage. And he doesn’t even have the usual excuse of having consumed too many drugs in his heyday.

      Mind you, it could be worse, he could be a genuinely nasty SOB like Van Morrison. They are near neighbours (VM’s house overlooks Bono’s) and apparently they hate each others guts. Mind you, VM seems to hate everyone.

      1. Ghost in the Machine

        Yes, it makes me sad when artists decay like this or maybe just reveal their flaws. I really love Joshua Tree.

      2. Ignacio

        VM is indeed a SOB though I like how he sings and enjoy several of his records from time to time.

      3. newcatty

        Absolutely disrespectful to Ireland’s people and to St. Patrick. The man has no shame and an utterly grandiose ego. On behalf of US residents I offer sincere apologies for our congressperson’s embarrassing and ridiculous performance.

      4. Offtrail

        Morrison may be a genuinely nasty SOB, but he also is (or was) a great artist. That is the way of the world. I will put up with his reported nastiness in exchange for his great work, particularly since I don’t live next door.

        1. RA

          Sad to hear the reports on Van-the-Man’s character. “Brown Eyed Girl” is one of my all time favorites. I used to like to play it on the Jukebox in a neighborhood bar. Its upbeat style always seem to brighten spirits in the room. Then — First the Jukeboxes went and then the neighborhood bars. Sigh.

          1. Moose and Squirrel

            I loved him the Last Dance, the “splits” and then pawing Joni Mitchell in an attempt to remain vertical.

          2. pasha

            iirc, he wrote it as “brown-skinned girl,” and performed it that way in clubs, but neither his record company nor radio would allow it, so he changed the lyrics and proved it a hit — when it came out i bought a 45rpm as present for the brown eyed girl in my life, remember her well

      1. The Rev Kev

        Interesting that of all the Irish poets that she could have read, she chose the one worth $700 million.

        1. norm de plume

          Yeah, she could have read several genuinely apt pieces from a real Irish poet, such as this one:

          They must to keep their certainty accuse
          All that are different of a base intent;
          Pull down established honour; hawk for news
          Whatever their loose fantasy invent
          And murmur it with bated breath, as though
          The abounding gutter had been Helicon
          Or calumny a song.

          The one about things falling apart in the widening gyre and the blood dimmed tide being loosed is another candidate. Perhaps Joe could read that one.

          1. Rolf

            Great response — and as I read that Yeats wrote The Second Coming while his wife suffered the ravages of pandemic flu, all the more appropriate.

    2. Bono the Poet

      Ireland’s favorite beverage
      Is now non-Russian vodka
      And there are still no Irish lawyers
      Since they can’t pass the bar

      Note: if you were deeply moved by this, please send donations to the the Bono intellectual property holding trust in Luxembourg Bermuda, wait a second, my lawyers have just informed me that we’re relocating our holding company to Russia since the sanctions mean that we legally can’t make tax payments from there!

  3. Toshiro_Mifune

    “Ireland’s sorrow and pain
    Is now the Ukraine
    And Saint Patrick’s name now Zelenskyy.”

    She then introduces Riverdance.

    Oh. I thought the Riverdance part was going to be a joke….. It wasn’t. There really needs to be a word for when real life turns out to be as or more absurd that the parody of it.

    1. dougie

      Personally, I would vote for Bono to have a seat on the rocket with Elon when he leaves our planet once and for all! That this chap has agency ANYWHERE is beyond my comprehension.

      1. Andy

        Sounds good to me. Let’s bundle Bob Geldof into that rocket ship as well and that’ll be at least three fewer sanctimonious twats the long suffering denizens of planet earth have to put up with.

    2. Sailor Bud

      I honestly don’t think I could come up with something as awful and chock full-o-cheese as Bono’s poem followed by Riverdance, all introduced by Nancy Pelosi in a blue caftan. There are more creative people in this world, I guess.

      1. JohnA

        You would think Nancy could have worn an embroidered Ukrainian Vyshyvanka, she could probably have got one in green to go with the St P’s day theme, just as she wore kente cloth and took the knee a year or so ago.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Well she did wear a blue dress with a bit of yellow decoration to reflect the Ukrainian national colours. Performance theater.

        2. begob

          Face-off between Pelosi and Nataliya from youtube, the one with the blue head-dress and other prominent features.

        3. Sailor Bud

          Seriously, missed opportunities. Put her in the vyshyvanka, and maybe she could have had one of her chamber slaves braid her hair in a crown ring like Yulia Tymoshenko’s. Then she could put on some Chieftains and dance a jig with a pint of Guinness in one hand and a four-leafed clover in the other, while reciting more poems that Bono took no more than 30 seconds of thought to write up.

          1. Michael Fiorillo

            I would have also suggested a quick costume change into kente cloth in order to combine Hail Banderastan! with IdPol Forevah…

            As for Bono’s embarrassing doggeral, that’s the icing on the gravy.

      2. wengigo

        “She’s got high-heeled shoes and an alligator hat

        Wearin’ her pearls and her diamond rings

        She’s got bracelets on her fingers now and everything …”

      3. Maritimer

        The Daily Mail has a wonderful expression for a video like this: toe curling. More and more of this stuff daily, there must be something in the water or is it The Injections? Only Schwab, Harari and Big Pharma know for sure.

        As for Phono, Best Before Date has faded. Pity the poor Irish, dragged out once a year for a Dog ‘n Pony political show.

    3. Dr. John Carpenter

      In other news, Apple announces as part of their effort to support Ukraine, the video of Nancy Pelosi reading Bono’s poem will automatically be added to everyone’s iTunes library.

      1. Michael Ismoe

        Coming next week, a new musical by Lin Manual Miranda – HamilZelensky. It will run until the midterms then quietly disappear. No masks required.

    4. Brian (another one they call)

      I am getting the impression that congress creatures are being knocked up with tranqs, anti-depressant and other happy meals. But this leaves out the viciously vapid press corpse who laugh and participate in these little demonstrations that show the world everyone is on dope. Only problem is that it is BigPharma’s dope and it kills you after it sucks your gray matter out with a straw.
      But seriously, everyone in attendance thinks this is entertainment? No wonder hollywood is remaking bad movies to satisfy the near comatose. Have you ever wondered why the brits make good who dun its and we recycle their stuff after dumbing it down?

    5. Art_DogCT

      I don’t have a single word to describe that state of affairs, Toshiro. There is, however, the first corollary to Murphy’s Law, which I have found most useful in grappling with ever so many things, big and small. To whit:

      The Perversity of the Universe Tends to a Maximum.

      Both predictive and explanatory!

      1. Irrational

        LOL! But isn’t that a bit unfair to the universe?
        It is really only this corner here where humans are in charge.
        And also it suggests there is a maximum rather than growth, be it linear, exponential or whatever….

  4. The Rev Kev

    “How Stepan, Ukraine’s most famous cat, escaped the war to safety”

    Saw the significance of the name too and thought it a bit on the nose. That would be like Russia being in a fight with Germany – and westerners are worried about the fate of a German cat named “Adolf”. It’s not enough that the Ukrainians demand that everybody around the world support them to the death but they have also gotten us to support and make acceptable Nazis, fascists, white-supremacists and low-level genocide. So remind me again? Which side of history are we on?

    1. hunkerdown

      If there is anything that scares the PMC, it is the anarchist who has no use for that class identity. “Russian service hound ‘Nestor’ confirms life under the rubble” would wicked ruin their make-up.

    2. lambert strether

      > they have also gotten us to support and make acceptable Nazis

      Liberal Democrats were dying to do it. (When I say they declared “a state of exception” I am not kidding.)

      Periodically when one the liberal Democrats “cave” like this, I quote Byron:

      But who, alas! can love, and then be wise?
      Not that remorse did not oppose temptation,
      A little still she strove, and much repented,
      And whispering ‘I will ne’er consent’ – consented.

      Fascism is very seductive. But don’t worry. “We can control them.”

      NOTE I think if Brand Lorenz had written her fascist normalization piece at the Times, some vestigial institutional memory of the Holocaust would have roused an editor from slumber and caused them to spike or ay least rewrite the piece. But she jumped ship to WaPo, which is awash in Amazon’s plunder, and has a much cleaner and more feral approach to the niceties.

  5. PlutoniumKun

    Londongrad must fall – or the US could raze it to the ground OpenDemocracy

    I lived in London in the late 1990’s, and frequently took the tube north to Hampstead, a beautiful leafy inner suburb to meet a friend who lived there. She wasn’t rich, but her family had lived there for many decades and so she had inherited a very beautiful late 19th Century house that was rapidly becoming worth a fortune, although she had no desire to sell up and leave. She was involved with a local group fighting a losing battle to preserve some of the old traditional shops and cafes in the area that were rapidly being corporatised.

    What I found striking at the time was that the area had been pretty much bought up within a matter of a few years by nouveau riche Russians, easily identified by their a little too fashionable clothes (much looked down upon by the old money in the area, although they would never say openly, as if there is one thing English Old Money covets, its Foreign New Money). The sheer quantity of hot money being flashed around openly astonished me at the time, especially as everyone knew the dire straits of ordinary Russians. Much of that money has now of course been made ‘respectable’.

    What the article misses though is that clamping down on this money does not hurt Russia. On the contrary, its the fact that its been laundered through London that hurts Russia so badly. The oligarchs outside Russia are the ones that have been robbing the country. The ones who stayed at home are much harder to touch, but they are the ones who have done least damage (economically anyway, they still have a malign political impact).

    1. JohnA

      It was the same case in Highgate, on the opposite side of Hampstead Heath. However, there, they could have the excuse of wanting to be close to Marx in the local cemetery.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Part of me feels is political elites have internalized the propaganda that billionaires are job creators and can’t fathom the oligarchs actively harm Russia and Russian political leadership.

    3. begob

      From what I recall, Abramovich always kept his tax domicile in Russia – at least until a UK court looked into it a few years ago. Am I right in saying he’s the only one who’s been bitten so far?

  6. Steve H.

    > UK could be Ukraine’s ‘protector’ against future Russian attacks: Peace talks may result in West agreeing to MILITARY response if Putin invades again –

    The easy response is to simply not have to invade again.

    The western response is insane by the Boyd definition. Foreign policy is a subset of domestic policy. The Russians think that Russian weapons on NATO borders is better than NATO weapons on Russian borders.

    Time will tell. The Ruskies ain’t giving Chernobyl back. Kiev?

    Another benchmark to watch, and I’m sorry: an internal Russian massacre. The speech from the ‘meeting on socioeconomic support for regions’ is important. Important like ‘I have here in my hand a list’ important. The Russian identity formed at Stalingrad is in the grave, the renewed blade that was broken to be tempered in blood. Those who don’t like it can leave. Maybe. That’s my read.

    It’s been three weeks since Russia invaded. Twice-twice that is May 19; I’ll put that as a benchmark for this prediction to fail. I wouldn’t want to be in the Red Square on May Day.

    1. redleg

      They’re not giving Crimea back either. It wasn’t Ukrainian to begin with.

      Most Russians have to be aware that they have been demonized by the West since, oh 1917, with things really ramping up since 2014. Now add to sanctions, an overt US proxy war and US bloodlust to that.
      Based on history, it’s more likely that Russians come together than fall apart. I think that this will entrench Putin instead of discredit him, and harden the resolve of the Russians to keep going instead of reversing course.

    1. edwin

      Reads like an updated set of solutions to Henry Kissinger How the Ukraine Crisis Ends

      Leaders of all sides should return to examining outcomes, not compete in posturing. Here is my notion of an outcome compatible with the values and security interests of all sides:

      1. Ukraine should have the right to choose freely its economic and political associations, including with Europe.

      2. Ukraine should not join NATO, a position I took seven years ago, when it last came up.

      3. Ukraine should be free to create any government compatible with the expressed will of its people. Wise Ukrainian leaders would then opt for a policy of reconciliation between the various parts of their country. Internationally, they should pursue a posture comparable to that of Finland. That nation leaves no doubt about its fierce independence and cooperates with the West in most fields but carefully avoids institutional hostility toward Russia.

      4. It is incompatible with the rules of the existing world order for Russia to annex Crimea. But it should be possible to put Crimea’s relationship to Ukraine on a less fraught basis. To that end, Russia would recognize Ukraine’s sovereignty over Crimea. Ukraine should reinforce Crimea’s autonomy in elections held in the presence of international observers. The process would include removing any ambiguities about the status of the Black Sea Fleet at Sevastopol.

      These are principles, not prescriptions. People familiar with the region will know that not all of them will be palatable to all parties. The test is not absolute satisfaction but balanced dissatisfaction. If some solution based on these or comparable elements is not achieved, the drift toward confrontation will accelerate. The time for that will come soon enough.


      1. DanB

        “It is incompatible with the rules of the existing world order for Russia to annex Crimea.” As Paul Krassner said of the truth, the rules are like silly putty.

      2. RobertC

        Too late Edwin. Zelensky had his chance in 2020 when he agreed to the Minsk II Agreement with Germany, France and Russia. Then he went back on his word and now Ukraine’s future is in the hands of Biden and Xi.

      3. QuicksilverMessenger

        Wow. I looked up old Henry. I can’t believe he is still around at age 98. I guess even Hell doesn’t want him

  7. Pat

    That Democrats will own the next COVID surge will soon be tested in NY and NJ. Omicron variant BA.2 is apparently a quarter of new infections nationwide but 39% of them in NY and NJ. I am not sure where state three of the tristate area falls but would be shocked if it didn’t have comparable numbers.
    And this is according to the CDC via CBS

  8. PlutoniumKun

    On the mine sniffing dog – that little chap is cute, but would be useless as a mine sniffer. The specific needs of mine sniffing requires a dog with specific breeding because mine sniffing needs a very methodical approach, something any terrier would know they are not capable of. This article explains why the Belgian Malinois is the ideal breed.

    1. Polar Socialist

      PK, your link is referring back to NK.

      The main question that pops to my mind is why would Russia use mines for any purpose in Ukraine? Especially given that Chernihiv is inside an ever tightening encirclement…

      It would be more plausible if the dog indeed is a mascot for engineers planting mines all around the landscape to slow the Russian advance.

      I must admit I don’t get the Ukrainian way of war, so there may be a lot that escapes me here.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Sorry, I mangled my post a little – I meant to say as well that ‘any terrier owner would know they are not capable….’.

        As for Russian use of landmines, Russia (along with the US) did not ratify the Ottowa Treaty against the use of anti-personnel mines. I assume this is because the military still consider them to be of combat utility. They were widely used in the Chechen conflict and I believe they had a serious problem with mines supposedly designed to self deactivate over time failing to do so.

        But as you suggest, it would be hard to see the military utility of using them in Ukraine, except possibly into a limited extent for protecting flanks when their lines are over extended. Given the urgent need to get this years harvest planted, even a small number planted on agricultural land could be pretty devastating for world food supply.

        1. JBird4049

          >>>Given the urgent need to get this years harvest planted, even a small number planted on agricultural land could be pretty devastating for world food supply.

          As with Cambodia and Laos, from the Vietnamese War or France from the First World War? The first two countries have had hunger issues from the mining and unexploded bombs denying them farmland(yes, the massive bombing campaigns of that war left lots of unexploded bombs) Of course, desperate men, women, and children still farm the not completely cleared fields. Lots of dead and crippled people. Then there are blocked off areas of France where you still can’t go without possibly dying over a century after the war, which includes areas that are effectively dead from all the poisons the bombs and chemicals left over. IIRC, nearby farmers also leave shells that rise in the fields, which they then deposit at the roads to be picked up by bomb disposal.

          Then there are countries in Africa, which I haven’t done much reading on, which also have left over mine fields.

          I doubt this is true, but I would hope that maybe, perhaps, people would be less enthusiastic about war if they realized that wars don’t stop killing people just because the shooting has stop and the papers signed. But that would take some empathy, compassion, self-awareness, and even moral courage wouldn’t it? Much better to do the old rah-rah and flag waving.

      2. Yves Smith

        It was reported in the first week of the war, I can’t recall where, sadly (probably a video, since I can’t recall an image of text) that the Azov Battalion was mining areas around Mariupol to prevent escape and hit Russians. A twofer!

        1. JohnA

          And Ukraine was mining off the coast of the Black Sea (I know it is a different kind of mine), but the only casualties have been merchant ships so far, and not a good idea if you need to export stuff.

          1. Polar Socialist

            There are claims going around that whoever did the mining in Odessa area doesn’t know the sea in there. The currents have started to move those mines around and some of them have been exploding against the seawall (I’ve seen one video) while others are feared to have started drifting towards Romanian waters.

        2. ArvidMartensen

          Now that the civilians of Mariupol are being allowed to leave under Russian protection, apparently the Russians are making the escaping men take off their shirts to inspect for ancient rune type symbols. As one wag noted, not a good time to be a guy who is just into Germanic runes as a hobby.

          1. Xenophon Costeas

            Re: Mariupol and “civilians fleeing under russian protection”

            There is testimony, coming from the Greek consul, discussing the mayhem that ensued after the russian attack.


            Please keep in mind that this is not some greek diaspora, but rather a huge hellenic community of the Black Sea region, going back to the time of the mythical Argonauts.

            Forgive the bitterness, but at least Bono does not blatantly obfuscate the evolving tragedy — in my neighbourhood, I should add.

      3. Skip Intro

        But the painting is impressive. Someone probably spent minutes clicking on preset styles to come up with it, and launder the copyrighted image into a derivative work!

    2. Sardonia

      “On the mine sniffing dog – that little chap is cute”

      He’ll be so much cuter once all the money comes into the GoFundMe page I set up to buy him a little doggie Azov Battalion uniform.

        1. Polar Socialist

          On the dog? The cross seems to be that of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine and the text below it looks like it could be ДСНС, which is the acronym (in Ukrainian) for the State Emergency Service (Держа́вна слу́жба надзвича́йних ситуа́цій).

  9. digi_owl

    That opening still of Pelosi in the video from The Hill.

    I can see now why certain people refer to her, and others in congress, as ghouls.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      She seems genuinely ticked off she would be asked about anything other than the bipartisan war fest in DC.

      She might attack a reporter who asked about the proposed ban on congressional stock corruption.

      1. newcatty

        Perhaps spit venom at the reporter. Unfortunately, if reporter has a mask on, it would not protect his/her eyes.

  10. PlutoniumKun

    Is China the New Russia? The Big Picture

    One thing that the Ukraine crisis is bringing home to investors is that the assumption that strong governments in developing countries welcome foreign currency/investment is simply untrue. They crave technology and know-how, they can live without dollar investments.

    The Chinese have been making clear for several years now that they consider foreign investors to be disposable. Russia has now joined them. I think this is somewhat of a shock to many financial investors who are used to be treated as royalty wherever they go. Slowly, it will dawn on them that investing outside a tight circle of western countries is far more high risk than they realised.

    I’ve no idea what the long term implications of this are – I’ll leave that to those with more knowledge of the macroeconomics of transnational investment flows. But it does seem that they are likely to be far reaching and could fundamentally change the way the world economy works, with globalisation retreating in the face of a number of island autarkies. If we are fortunate, it will result in a lot more on-shoring of strategic investment. If we are unlucky, our glorious rulers will somehow find a way to screw it up.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Looking at the stock market, at least, it looks like “investors” are just totally happy with the world situation. They pretty much own the mechanisms of money creation and asset stripping, whether it’s in “developed” or “undeveloped” “sovereignties.” Whether it’s riding the ups or profiting from the downs by buying up all the “distressed values,” the rich folks happily augment all the worst vectors of the political economy.

      I hope it is the case that the governors and rulers in at least some places have armored themselves against the corruption that eats what, a quarter of the world’s wealth every day, but not holding my breath to see an end to neoliberal globalism or the retail versions of it that infect just about everything, as we humans demonstrate what we collectively take to be our “dominion” over the planet… even USAID, a great fomenter of huge corruption, is distressed about the unregulated, extra and supragovernmental parts of global corruption,

      Maybe it’s all just entropy in action…

  11. The Rev Kev

    “Meet the hard-core maskers who never leave home without an N95”

    Hard-core maskers? Is that a thing now? I wear a mask but I have never have had anybody called me hard core. Something to look forward to? You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to work out the odds of wearing a mask and Coronavirus. If you get sick, you only have a small chance of actually dying from it. Bad luck if you are one of the few but there it is. And if that was all there as to it, I might be tempted to get slack with wearing a mask myself. But then there is the flip side. If you get infected – and remember that you do not have to present any symptoms – then you have a one in three chance of having permanent damage to your body which includes the lungs, heart, brain, kidneys, etc. Those are not good odds. Not by a long shot. And then you reflect that there will be wave after wave and the odds are not looking any better. A coupla days ago I had a bird in the supermarket tell me that the pandemic is over now but the same day 4,500 people in my State got infected. Three days later it was over 7,000 people infected. So simple maths tells me to just wear the goddamn mask.

    1. petal

      Rev Kev, I think this makes us influencers! I’m still rocking an N95 inside, and don’t leave home without it. Didn’t realise that made me hardcore. So be it. If it means the odds of me continuing to be able to run 5k, garden, live, and be normal are better, I’ll take whatever stupid abuse the special people hurl. Check back with them in 10-20 years.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Check back with them in 10-20 years? Make sure that you bring some flowers then. Lots of them.

        1. Hana M

          The mask enthusiasts at NC might consider possible downsides of LT synthetic mask wearing:

          In this study, twelve phthalates were determined in 56 mask samples collected from different countries. The phthalates were detected in all the samples with total levels ranging from 115 ng/g to 37,700 ng/g. Estimated daily intakes (EDIs) of the phthalates from the masks ranged from 3.71 to 639 ng/kg-bw/day, and the EDIs of the phthalates from masks for toddlers were approximately 4-5 times higher than those for adults. Non-carcinogenic risks in relation to the phthalates in masks were found to be within safe levels, yet 89.3% of the mask samples exhibited potential carcinogenic effects to humans.

          See also: “Widespread occurrence of phthalate and non-phthalate plasticizers in single-use facemasks collected in the United States”

          1. Anthony G Stegman

            Thanks for this info. Wearing masks in crowded indoor settings is advisable, but it is also advisable to limit the times when masking is necessary. Rather than working out in a gym exercise outdoors where a mask need not be worn. Avoid recreational shopping. Do your drinking at home. And so on.

            1. jr

              Agreed, this is valuable information. I’m going to limit mask wearing to the absolute necessary amount of time.

              Sadly, pathetically, this is going to equate to “Masks kill!” in some circles. I can hear the self-satisfied chuckles of the COVID enthusiasts who haven’t been masking properly, if at all. With back-a$$wards logic, they will assume they are somehow vindicated, despite not having this information in play when they chose to expose themselves to the virus.

              I’d also like to see some information about the dangers of cancer from countries where long term mask wearing is ubiquitous.

          2. Maritimer

            Thanks for that.

            After two years of the Great Mask Debate, I have yet to see a comprehensive, all-inclusive analysis of the use of masks. I have seen only studies that cherry-pick the conditions for the study and which do not consider all factors.

            Here are just three factors not discussed:
            What are the consequences of taking the mask on and off, using over and over again?
            What are the long term consequences to the human immune
            system not being exposed to pathogens as it is usually?
            What are the long term consequences of masking for children and for society in general?

            The fact that no comprehensive study has not been done after all this time sends up a lot of smoke for me. Scientists: study please.

          3. lambert strether

            A result to be expected with no regulation at all, and relegation to a public health backwater. And one more thing that should have been done two years ago.

            On the first study, n =56 (and I wonder if the results vary by brand). I think the key sentence is: “The extent of the risks for wearing masks located at a moderate level comparing with other skin-contacted products.” In other words, if one truly wishes to avoid phthalates, there is much more to do.

            On the second study, n = 66 (same question). No information on effects.

      2. MT_Wild

        We should take a cue from the Ukranian PR Team and carry a small bag of sunflower seeds.

        When someone has a snide comment about your mask, hand them some to put in their pocket and tell them “when you die of covid, flowers will grow from your grave.”

        1. Michael Ismoe

          The newest round of covid funding includes nearly $100 million for “seeds” – Make of it what you will.

      3. JBird4049

        Well, comrades we can all be considered fellow travelers now. I never thought that my memories of the Cold War or about reading of anti-communism would be so relevant to the current fun.

    2. Nikkikat

      And we have an OG attitude. Yep I too am a hard case when it comes to my N95. Every where I go I’m the only one in a mask.

    3. jr

      I’ve mentioned this before but perhaps it will prove helpful to bring it back up. I wear an N95 everywhere but besides a few side-eyes no one has piped up about it. I have a story prepared for if and when someone does. I’ve peremptorily tested it in the field a few times and it lands:

      “The vaccines damaged my immune system. After each jab, my white blood cell count dropped sharply and has never fully recovered. I don’t dare risk a booster, on my doctor’s advice. So I must mask on and on.” (insert weary eyes here)

      For the blue flavored baboons, this accomplishes two things. First, their brain seizes up at the part where they hear a doctor has warned against further vaccinations. It’s like trying to visualize a six dimensional object or something. You can practically see the circuits overheating. Leading to the second stage where they down-shift into sympathetic confusion. The conversation is now over as they attempt to hold the idea of a credentialed medical authority advising against the magical panacea of the vaccines in their wee little minds. I’m lucky I haven’t caused any strokes.

      For the red flavored baboons, it also has two effects. Upon hearing that the vaccines have damaged my immune system, their own dimly formed prejudices against the vaccines are justified. Now I’m an ally, a wounded veteran in the teapot-tempest war of individual liberty versus tyranny playing out in their mental finger puppet theaters. I also become an object of pity, a regular guy rolled hard by the know-it-alls. I imagine a scene from a corny WW2 movie flickering in their minds: “The ba$tard$ got Jimmy!”

      Bottom line is, they shut the fu(k up and leave me alone. Get back to picking nits or something.

      1. Late Introvert

        @jr, I’m a Midwesterner through and through, but I lived in Boston from 88-91 and I learned all of those side-step techniques by necessity. Know your audience and tailor your response accordingly.

        I have since retreated to the Midwest, and now my response is “I have seniors at home who can’t get the vaccines, so I have to stay safe”. Or with the PMC white people I say “we’re just staying safe”.

    4. Daryl

      It’s sort of weird, since simple preventatives are otherwise generally glorified (probably well in excess of how effective they can be across all of society).

      Imagine some similar articles being written:

      “Meet the hard-core exercisers who think that running will prevent heart disease”

      “Meet the hard-core dieters who won’t eat fruity pebbles in chocolate milk because it’s ‘bad for you'”

      And so on.

  12. Sardonia

    Bono’s poem reminds me of an old Firesign Theater skit in which an Joan Baez impersonator is singing a song in support of Oakland’s Black Panthers – to a crowd gathered in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park.

    One line comes to mind:
    “So many grievous wrongs
    For me to right with tedious songs”

    The best line is the chorus (apologies for any uncool words):
    “Pull the triggers, (n-word’s)
    We’re with you allllllllll the way,
    Just across the Bay…..”

  13. The Rev Kev

    “Why India Is Losing Faith in the West”

    They are? Really? I have no idea why. Nothing to do with the west demonstrating that international laws means nothing. That any country’s assets, investments and gold can be grabbed at whim and that the entire west can turn against you if it is desirable to do so. That the US is threatening India for buying sorely needed Russian oil? That you have US Representatives Ro Khanna & Joe Wilson demanding that India give up its neutrality and declare itself against Russia – the one country that has always been a friend to it and defended them once against a US and a British Naval Task Force? And I do not see why Bloomberg is asking ‘whether the West has reposed too much faith in India.’ Faith as in what exactly? The only role that the US/EU want for India is to be a military threat to China – but be on the receiving end of any counter attacks. So basically an oversize bullet-sponge.

    1. Polar Socialist

      Indeed. As disappointed and shocked as I was to wake up and learn Russia had invaded, I was as disappointed at how fast the EU members betrayed all those values they have been claiming to uphold. No principles, no legality, no discussion, no civility – just plain raw (and too often manipulated) emotion.

      Not a single action aimed to solve the immediate issue of there being a hot war in Europe as fast as possible. As in “what it takes to stop the shooting”. Something that Turkey and Israel, two states that are not very high on my list of respectable governments, seem to at least try.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I feel the same as you. The only plan at the moment that the US/EU has seems to be to keep on pumping weapons into the Ukraine and try to keep the war going – hopefully for another decade or two. Tough luck if you live there. I don’t think that the west wants a negotiated peace. And I too am shocked at how all the laws, norms and ways of behaving have been thrown down the compacter in a flash. I guess that this is what a ‘rules-based order’ looks like rather than one based on international laws. But a negotiated peace could be rapidly done if wanted.

        There was a phrase I heard of a long time ago called a ‘lock-key democracy’. It is like an open jail cell where you can walk in in and out, hang from the bars and stick your arms between the bars too. But once that key is turned, instantly everything is changed and you see that you are in a prison and there is no way out. So in the past few weeks I can see that a key has been turned but on what exactly, I am still not sure. But everything has been changed.

        1. John Zelnicker

          I also agree, Rev.

          The US seems to be dong everything it can to prevent peace. And the arms merchants like Raytheon and Lockheed-Martin are licking their chops over another multi-decade war to keep boosting their profits.

          Frightening and disgusting.

          Of course, almost no one is talking about the attendant loss of our constitutional rights. Cancel culture has been bad enough, but as the saying goes “you ain’t seen nothin’ yet”.

        2. hamstak

          I disagree that the hope is to keep the war running for that long of period. That would be an acceptable outcome (from the standpoint of those promoting continued bloodshed), but not necessarily the optimal one.

          The goal, IMO, is to not only oust Putin, but the entire Russian sovereigntist camp, with the hopes of it being replaced by a liberal, West-leaning administration that wants to profit, as facilitators, from resumed looting by Western business and finance interests.

          In order of timeframe, here are some (theoretically) possible ways that could occur:

          1) Immediate: ouster by coup
          2) Short: ouster by irregular but constitutional means (recall election)
          3) Sub-medium: ouster through the standard electoral process — Russian presidential election slated for March 2024
          4) Medium to long: gradual erosion of popular support for the sovereigntists

          To my mind, 3) is the cherry. It occurs in a relatively short time frame, it removes Russia as a near-peer competitor, and it is done in the most (at least visibly) democratic fashion possible.

          1) is highly unlikely as the security services surrounding the Russian presidency are, to my understanding, pretty dedicated and robust — some members of the Western powers that be (WPTB) may however believe that is possible, just as they may think the US has first-strike capability

          2) may not even be technically possible; I do not know if recall potential is built into the Russian constitution

          4) will make a great deal of money for the MIC (or McGovern’s MICIMATT), but is not necessarily to the advantage of the banks, the oil and mining concerns, and so forth

          NOTE: 3) may not be a practical possibility, either, but the WPTB in general may believe that it is — delusion born of hubris and intellectual insularity are, to borrow from Clapper, “in their DNA”.

          1. Anthony G Stegman

            if the United States or any of its allies succeed in assassinating Putin WWIII may erupt. It’s one thing to assassinate a top general and quite another to assassinate a head of a state armed with thousands of nuclear weapons. Aside from Lyndsey Graham, is the West suicidal?

          2. redleg

            Keep in mind that Russia has already been looted once, during the Yeltsin era (who was installed by the US, as detailed in Time magazine) and I highly doubt that the Russians are too enthusiastic to re-live that experience. I don’t think that relations between Russia and US/EU warm up for a long time after this, assuming the nukes remain unused, because the US is incapable of backing off and the Russians are understandably paranoid.

            1. hamstak

              If you read my comment more closely, you might notice that I said “resumed looting” — the implied original looting would be that of the immediate post-Soviet/Yeltsin era.

              I am also not implying that number 3) has a practical chance in hell. But the WPTB themselves MIGHT, though not necessarily — and they are certainly not a monolithic bunch; there is much variety in their delusionalism. Refer to the note at the bottom of my comment.

  14. Carolinian

    From Natylie’s Place

    “Dehumanization of adversary is known to be a prelude to military actions. It is one of the telling signs of the coming hot scenario.”

    Another observed how she felt the west was making things worse with its actions and rhetoric:

    “By the way, visas to America have already stopped being issued more than 2 years ago, long before the war in Ukraine started. It was vivid that Russophobia began [in the U.S.] very long before these events. We came to the USA at [a peace activist’s] invitation in 2018 and even then the degree of hatred for Russians was off the scale, so it was clear at least to me how it would all end….Everyone realizes that it is necessary to stop the war ASAP, instead of inciting or provoking it which is happening now. Just watch your Mass Media to find the proof to my words.”

    Such a pity that Putin has no acting training like Zelensky or Pelosi’s knack for melodrama–declaring an attempted government overthrow because somebody put their feet on her desk. But then the Russian people don’t seem to need our kindergarten level of guff. And he wouldn’t be allowed to make his case on our media anyway.

    America versus the real world is going to end badly but boffo box offfice up to now. This production has legs.

  15. Lex

    So earlier this week Sullivan threatened China publicly before the Rome meeting and now Blinken is threatening China on Biden’s behalf before a presidential call. We’re incapable of learning a lesson delivered less than a week ago. When does Biden use his shoe to pound the podium and declare that we’ll bury everyone?

  16. Kouros

    I have never seen reports of Ukrainian losses in the western media. Just heavy Russian losses.

    1. lambert strether

      That is why it’s important to replace the words “journalist” and “reporter” with “media employee” where appropriate, which on this story seems to be everywhere.

  17. The Rev Kev

    “Pentagon Estimates Putin Has Committed 75% of Forces to Ukraine”

    Somehow that figure does not sound right as if there was some major factors missing. As an example, it may be that Russia wants to see as many of their soldiers see actual combat as possible so that they are better prepared for the rigors of a major war. You can’t buy combat experience after all. But we don’t know but you can be sure that the Russians are noting all the lessons that they can about fighting a major war for future improvements. We saw the result of them doing that after the 2008 Georgian war. But I am afraid that reading Turcopolier lately is a bit like reading CNN or MSNBC because of his anti-Russia views. In fact, a coupla days ago he warned readers not to post any comments critical of the United States as in at all. I’m afraid that Trump broke his brain.

    1. Anon123


      Pat Lang is excellent on the Middle East and not so excellent on anything else. As with his age group he really thinks humanity is going to space, which indicates a lack of understanding physical reality.

      Remember Mr. Lang is an ex spy not a soldier – and he is still bitter about losing the Vietnam war. Other sites are suggesting Mr. Lang has been bought.

    2. hunkerdown

      The Committee of Correspondence appears to have closed, the kindly porch replaced by a cranky old bookseller, his three best friends, and a television set perma-tuned to Fox News. I expect he’s had a talking-to by DoD or the Ukraine lobby.

    3. Polar Socialist

      I could accept 75% of the forces of Southern Military District. If one adds the 12-15k Chechens and 44k-60k Donbass militias (they did mobilize in February) that would give 130k – 160k as the size of the invasion force. Which seems plausible.

      According to the numbers thrown around in the build-up since December, that would still leave 60-70k Russians as immediate reserve. There are rumors, though, about big concentrations of Russian troops in both west of Kiev and north of Kherson.

  18. TomFinn

    Re: Daylight Savings permanent…Guess it’ll be gunfights at ‘High One’ from then on…

  19. lyman alpha blob

    The Kremlin takes the high road in responding to SleepyJoe’s accusations of Putin being a “war criminal” and “murderous dictator”.

    They could have called him out for all the dead brown people from illegal Biden-supported wars, or the slave markets left in the wake of the Obama/Biden illegal invasion of Libya. But instead –

    “We hear and see statements that are actually personal insults to President Putin,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

    “Given such irritability from Mr Biden, his fatigue and sometimes forgetfulness…fatigue that leads to aggressive statements, we will not make harsh assessments, so as not to cause more aggression.”

    1. Donald

      I agree with the claim that Putin is a war criminal— he invaded another country and none of the reasons I have seen people give justify that. The burden of proof is always on the invader. Guilty unless proven innocent, because thousands of people are going to die. I even agree with the criticism that the West was pushing him towards this, but he could have done something less drastic, like recognizing the breakaway regions and defending them as needed.

      But the idea of Biden and Blinken or any US government figure condemning Putin as a war criminal is just hysterically funny in a truly sick way . Blinken was part of the team that gave the green light to the bombing of Yemen. The US still supports the genocidal blockade the Saudis imposed. Biden is plunging Afghanistan into a catastrophic famine. Biden helped Bush drum up support for the Iraq invasion and iirc favored splitting Iraq into three pieces.

      Mainstream Western political culture is demented. I don’t have to say that to people here, but I just never get used to how demented it is and how Orwellian things are. The NYT has these “ analytic” pieces which are little more than propaganda telling their PMC readers what the party line is supposed to be on a given topic.

      That said, I don’t always agree with the dissidents. To me the world looks like it is run by what amounts to competing groups of organized criminal organizations. Which one happens to be the lesser evil on any given issue has to be judged on a case by case basis and with all the propaganda flying around, that can be tough sometimes.

      1. vao

        I agree with the claim that Putin is a war criminal— he invaded another country and none of the reasons I have seen people give justify that.

        Technically, this means that he did not commit a war crime, but a crime against peace instead — two clearly different issues in international law. And no, crime against peace does not stand lower in the hierarchy of crimes.

        Interestingly, the “international community” has studiously avoided indicting anybody for crime against peace ever since the concept was formalized during the Nuremberg and Tokyo trials. Figuring out the reasons that explain that attitude is left as an exercise to the reader.

      2. eg

        I hear you. The Americans lie. The Russians lie. The Chinese lie. But none of them lie ALL of the time. It’s an ongoing headache trying to triangulate something approximating reality given the ever-changing pollution of our data-feeds.

    2. bongbong

      Funny reply from Peskov.

      We should get him & Psaki in a contest of Street Countdown (h/t The IT Crowd)

    3. Donald

      I’m not sure, but it might be good in one way to have Biden and Blinken talking openly about a head of state being a war criminal. It brings up the obvious issue — what about them?

      But it is probably very bad for any prospect of peace.

  20. lyman alpha blob

    RE: James Brown’s “I Feel Good”

    Adam Neely may not have been able to measure the metric stress of James Brown’s song, but former JB (Brown’s backing band), Bootsy Collins, knows where it goes – on beat number 1.

    Still got the funk after 50 years – wiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiind us up Bootsy!! – The Power of the One

    1. hunkerdown

      James Brown avoids the 1 in that song until the bridge “When I |hold you | in my arms| “. It is a hard problem. Maybe Brown was too blessed to be stressed.

  21. The Rev Kev

    ‘Ukraine has prompted the worst informational environment ever.’

    I don’t see why. You can see videos telling you all you need to know. Look at the following one which shows the terrible damage that the Russians did to Kharkov in the Ukraine. The smashed buildings, the wrecked landscape, the burning fires and the smoke. Oh wait, that’s a film clip of Beirut in 2020-

    1. CloverBee

      I feel like I am watching Wag the Dog every day with Western media. Then I can look at social media and talk to family and friends and see how their thoughts and emotions are being manipulated in real time. No one remembers what was said yesterday, what they are told today is the truth. And I find this to be more distressing than the actual truth.

      1. fresno dan

        When I talk to normal people, people who only know what is going on from the briefest familiarity with what is reported in the MSM, and don’t really spend any time or effort reading and discussing politics and affairs of state, I can understand their lack of willingness to expend any effort on the subject. The more I know, the more enraged I get at the unending lying. All it is doing is shortening my life. What good does knowing this really do me – or society for that matter?

        1. Rolf

          The more I know, the more enraged I get at the unending lying. All it is doing is shortening my life. What good does knowing this really do me – or society for that matter?

          This is my state every morning. I have long since abandoned subscriptions to major papers (not that I could afford them anymore anyways), never watch broadcast TV or listen to NPR, etc. Virtually all I consume is through links that appear in these NC pages, synopses by Yves, Lambert, et al., the commentary that follows, and a few select blogs and substacks. Otherwise, given the complete degradation and manipulation of “mainstream” media in the US, I don’t see how they reclaim *any* authority: it’s gone, game over, done. Neil Postman (RIP) was right, only much more so than he knew.

          And watching that clip of Pelosi’s arrogance in response to an actual, pertinent question (“This will be your third time”), it’s all just … too much.

        2. BlueMoose

          The unending lying is getting to me too. I had a zoom call with my CNN watching mother the other day and had to bite my tongue, hard. I also just started a regimen of heart medicine to deal with my arrhythmia but I don’t think I’m going to be able to follow through. Minimal alcohol consumption recommended. I’m 64, so I don’t really see any downside.

      2. RockHard

        Yep, I’m seeing several friends come undone on social media. One is posting pictures of Putin saying “someone needs to take this f*@% out!” A relative is reposting every article on Ukraine she sees. An old friend who has unfortunately struggled with bipolar disorder for many years is selling his few possessions so he can donate to Ukrainian refugees. I sent the article from yesterday’s WC about the Ohio man who’s volunteering for the Ukrainian foreign legion, and he said “better they go over there and help Ukraine then cause trouble here” and I didn’t feel like getting into a discussion of second-order effects. Talking with a friend who doesn’t really follow world events the other day, she’s stuck on the war so I say something like “Why are we in Ukraine in the first place?” and she accuses me of being a “Trumper” while at the same time worrying that her sons will be drafted. Somebody’s got to fight Putin, just not you or anyone you care about, I suppose.

        I sometimes look at Reddit without being logged in to see what’s going on there. There’s several posts today tagging Marjorie Taylor Greene, Lauren Boebert, et al as “Russian assets”. These days, if you question US motivations in Ukraine, you’re a right wing reactionary. I frequently wish these congresspeople would STFU so as not to completely taint the discussion from the start.

        You might think that after the experience of being openly lied to in 2001 and then spending 20 years at war, people might be a bit skeptical about jumping into another war.

        1. Rolf

          You might think that after the experience of being openly lied to in 2001 and then spending 20 years at war, people might be a bit skeptical about jumping into another war.

          Yes, one would think so.

      3. lambert strether

        > see how their thoughts and emotions are being manipulated in real time

        I was just thinking today that it’s addressing the emotional manipulation that’s key. Not sure how to do that — though I think I’m ok at detecting it — with no theory of emotions. Not Freud. Spinoza? Not pop psychology for sure.

    2. Michael Ismoe

      Ever been to Fallujah? The US Army has.

      Brandon knows what a war criminal is. He kept supporting them.

      a Red Cross official told Inter Press Service that “at least 800 civilians” had been killed in Fallujah and indicated that “they had received several reports from refugees that the military had dropped cluster bombs in Fallujah, and used a phosphorus weapon that caused severe burns.”

      In 2010, it was reported that an academic study had shown “a four-fold increase in all cancers and a 12-fold increase in childhood cancer” since 2004.

      1. fresno dan

        I have to show my age, but I keep going back to Vietnam. There is the infamous picture of the little girl on fire from napalm. The mockery of we had to destroy the village in order to save the village.
        The skepticism about the aims of the US in foreign countries has been completely supplanted in the last 50 years. However the ruling class did it, one has to say they did a very effective job.

        1. jax

          Last night on one of the alphabet channels I occasionally scan I listened to an older, well-known anchor say, “And this is why the Vietnamese said, ‘we had to destroy the village in order to save the village’.”

          This anchor is close to 70, as am I, and he *must* know the history. Was it a flub? A senior moment? Or an outright distortion of American history because we are ALWAYS the good guys?

          50 years of propaganda has changed this country until it is nearly unrecognizable.

  22. Matthew G. Saroff

    I think that I managed my performance of Riverdance better than Pelosi.

    I was throwing an alcohol soaked party™ at the Arisia science fiction convention, and some Irish guys came in, and offered to dance for drinks.
    I said that there was no need, but they danced anyway, and they were really good.

    Turns out that they were Riverdance members who were also staying at the hotel.

    When your party gets crashed by Riverdance, you have a kicking party.

    1. Martin Oline

      I read on RT that the CDC has ‘revised’ its death count downward by a significant amount this week. I guess this must be more Russian disinformation. “Come on Charlie Brown, kick the football!”

      1. Young

        We are used to debt ceiling being adjusted whenever needed.

        Now, we have a death ceiling. We will adjust the numbers so it will always be <1M.

  23. fresno dan
    It is certainly true that we did “arrest people for doing stuff like this.” They were liberals, socialists, pacifists, and others who spoke out against wars. Indeed, this month, we passed the anniversary of the infamous ruling in Debs v. United States upholding the conviction of Eugene Debs, a socialist who ran for President. He was convicted under the Espionage Act of 1917 for opposing World War I.
    Then there were the hundreds of actors and writers blacklisted or prosecuted during the Red Scare and the McCarthy period. They included figures like the great singer Paul Robeson found themselves barred from performances due to their refusal to condemn others or Russia.
    Now it is the left that is calling for blacklists and arrests over dissenting viewpoints. Indeed, they are calling for arrests on the very same basis of being aligned or supportive of Russia…..
    It is not surprising that McCarthyism could come back in vogue. What is surprising is that it is the rage on the left. The victims of the Red Scare are now leading the mob to root out the Russian sympathizers and traitors among us. Blacklisting and censorship (both public and corporate) are now considered righteous acts. It is all in the name of defending freedom by preventing its exercise.
    I don’t know that censorship from the left is soooo surprising. People are people, and many have a tendency to want to put their hands over their ears and yell nyah nyah nyah.
    And at least Google can’t find a victim of the red scare who now supports rooting out Russian sympathizers. If there really are any, I would like to know who.
    The more things change, the more they stay the same – fear of Russian commies in the 50’s, fear of Russian …well, they are not commies anymore… What is it with this country and Russians?

    1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      Ugh. It’s the LIBERALS. Not the LEFT.

      Watch. When Russia gets everything they wanted from the Ukrainians, the Shitlibs will blame what happened on the Left!

  24. antidlc


    Europe’s Covid spike has Biden officials concerned, could lead to return of masks

    The surge in Covid-19 cases in Europe, particularly in the United Kingdom, is prompting urgent conversations among senior Biden health aides about the potential of the U.S. experiencing another wave this spring, according to three senior officials familiar with the matter.

    While cases in the U.S. are at an eight-month low, the exponential growth in infections seen in several European countries is the latest evidence that Covid-19 remains a persistent threat that has the potential to upend the White House’s hopes of moving past the pandemic.

    In recent days, officials from the White House Covid-19 task force and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have met to game out how the administration will respond if cases begin to rise drastically, according to the officials. The group has discussed the possibility of recommending communities reinstitute mask mandates indoors and how to ensure hospitals across the country are prepared for a potential spike in patients seeking care. Officials have also debated whether and when to recommend a fourth Covid-19 shot.

  25. Michael

    Hard core maskers:

    …surely our political class can grovel and eat sh*t at the same time?
    ……………………the greatisht delegation?

    1. RA


      Good on masking, I get it. But careful with that “.ru”. Haven’t you heard? That’s enemy territory.

      Danger, Will Russianson!

  26. RobertC

    Too too funny if Ukraine accelerates the Great Reset — When the US confiscated Russia’s dollar reserves, the world got a wake-up call

    The real reset

    At the end of last year, US national debt approached $30 trillion, while global debt reached $300 trillion, most of which is denominated in dollars. How this debt will be serviced when interest rates are raised to prevent rising inflation keeps bankers awake at night.

    The conflict in Ukraine has made the problem more acute. Excluding Russia from the dollar system makes a revamp of the global financial system inevitable but will come with a very high cost.

    China is heavily invested in the dollar system and will no doubt try to engineer a soft landing for the dollar. But it will develop a parallel yuan-centric payment system as a safety net and reduce its exposure to the dollar system. Virtually all non-Western nations, including oil-producing countries, will plug into the yuan system, as will some European countries with a growing reliance on Chinese trade and investment.

    China is not only the world’s largest importer of oil and countless other raw materials, it is also the world’s largest producer of essential consumer goods, green tech, and Industry 4.0 technologies. The roll-out of the digital yuan enables China to build a new financial architecture from the ground up.

    Digital money will be front and center in Industry 4.0. technologies. Klaus Schwab will get at least part of his technocratic Great Reset, if not the kind he envisaged.

  27. OIFVet

    I called it after Zelensky’s speech before Congress: Volodimir Zelensky nominated for the Nobel Prize.

    In social media, “Nobel Peace Prize” began to trend, and only the Ukrainian people and the leadership that Volodimir Zelensky were discussed, therefore, the participants of the letter request that the selection procedure for the Nobel Prize be reopened and that the selection be extended until March 31.

    So, they mythmaking has been effective: social media demands that Zelensky be crowned with a Nobel for peace. And keeping with the vibe that rules for Ukraine should be different, the deadline for nominations should be extended in order to accommodate Zelensky. I know that the Nobel for peace lost it’s meaning after Obama was bestowed with one, but still. This shows just how effective the propaganda and the manufacture of consent has been. Social media demands it.

    1. Nikkikat

      This might be those influential Tic Toc dummies that were invited to the White House. They know no shame.

    2. Michael Ismoe

      The problem with being a “living hero” is that you only have one way for your reputation to be enhanced. It’s kind of like the poor bastard who has a ten million dollar life insurance policy. Where’s the upside?

    3. lyman alpha blob

      I appreciate your righteous outrage especially in the last few weeks, and would make one minor addition to the above. The “Peace” prize was crapified way before Barry-O got it. They gave it to Kissinger too right in the middle of the Vietnam War.

  28. OIFVet

    Re: Cats on glass tables. Wow, most of these kitties are kind of, mmm, pleasantly plump. I brought my two US kitties with me to Europe, one of which is also rather American in girth and weight, and I haven’t had a guest yet who wouldn’t comment on it. I have learned to simply say “She’s an American” and tthat ends that line of comments. Apparently Euros have come to think of Americans as fat. Several years ago my a childhood friend introduced me to his girlfriend. Her very first words after nice to meet you: “You are not fat, for an American.”

    1. RobertC

      Two hours and essentially no change in US-China relationship per TheHill Biden warns Beijing; No ‘material support’ to Russia

      “President Biden detailed our efforts to prevent and then respond to the invasion, including by imposing costs on Russia,” said a White House readout of the call hours after it concluded. “He described the implications and consequences if China provides material support to Russia as it conducts brutal attacks against Ukrainian cities and civilians.”

      A Chinese readout of the call said that Xi told Biden “that China does not want to see the situation in Ukraine to come to this.” Xi also affirmed support for peace negotiations between Russia and Ukraine, according to the readout, which did not condemn Russia’s actions in Ukraine.

      “All sides need to jointly support Russia and Ukraine in having dialogue and negotiation that will produce results and lead to peace,” the readout posted by China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. “The US and NATO should also have dialogue with Russia to address the crux of the Ukraine crisis and ease the security concerns of both Russia and Ukraine.”

    2. RobertC

      Politico comes through with balanced reporting on Biden’s call with Xi underscores deepening bilateral deadlock : Xi unyielding on Ukraine, continues to blame conflict on U.S.

      That rancor suggests that the two leaders have exhausted any residual goodwill created by their virtual meeting in November and will likely reaffirm the Biden administration’s China policy that hinges on rallying allies to counter its influence in the Indo-Pacific and beyond.

      And to make sure Biden and Blinken got the message, Reuters reports Chinese carrier sails through Taiwan Strait hours before Biden-Xi call

      TAIPEI, March 18 (Reuters) – A Chinese aircraft carrier sailed through the sensitive Taiwan Strait on Friday, Taiwan’s Defence Ministry said, just hours before the Chinese and U.S. presidents were due to talk.

      Kuo Yu-jen, a security expert at Taiwan’s National Sun Yat-sen University, said the Shandong was likely to be on its way up to northern China for next month’s celebrations marking the founding of China’s navy.

      “It was carrying no aircraft and had no frigates” accompanying, he added.

  29. Anthony G Stegman

    One of the main goals of US foreign policy is to keep Europe dependent on the United States. Cutting Russia out means the US sells more oil and gas to Europe at a high price (which has the added bonus of keeping Europe un-competitive with the US). Most European nations are soft and prefer the US military umbrella even if it means a loss of sovereignty. Maintaining tensions between Russia and Europe also expands opportunities for more weapons sales to NATO members. Another win for the US. So there are major benefits for the US in aiding and abetting conflict in Ukraine. US officialdom doesn’t care about Ukrainians. They care about keeping Russia away and Europe weak. The US plays the same game in East Asia. So far its been working like a charm.

    1. Susan the other

      The Politico link “Russia’s War on Ukraine: The Influencers Behind the Ukranian PR Machine” actually implies they are… British, backed by oligarch money. I wonder how much this fifth-column activity between actual allies has to do with the US cracking down on the City of London only now, for money laundering and other world-destabilizing shit. And I still find it fascinating that Israel is never mentioned. To my (mostly uninformed) thinking, Israel is vying for control of gas transit anywhere east of Iran. Via pipelines or tankers. But maybe this omission is because Israel and the US are so tight there’s just no sunlight between us. Politico was a very good read – pointing out interesting factoids like one piece of Ukr. agitprop aimed at the EU was that Nordstream 2 was “Putin’s Weapon.” Yes, but why? I’d be inclined to think it was aRussia’s countermove to our incursions against Syria and Georgia, etc. You stop your crap first, then we’ll stop ours. I think Xi would agree. And interestingly, Germany has now revealed where it stands – with Ukraine, those bloody fascists. Amazing. Germany is allowing German “mercenaries” to join the fight as well as sending various supplies. Why? Because Germany needs Russian oil, one way or another. If it comes through Ukraine, it cuts out Russian influence. But it will only come through Ukraine when Russia has established its own secure borders against any further invasion – hence this very strange war. I mean, look who just stuck his foot all the way down his own throat: Mitt Romney. Calling Tulsi Gabbard “treasonous” for asking about US funded boiwarfare labs in Ukraine, pointedly, for an explanation. All the pro-Ukrainian-fascist propaganda since 2014 has been an onslaught against American journalism and Russian oil. A tricky set of enemies to be juggling with such transparent propaganda. All facilitated by the British. Unfortunately.

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