Links 3/19/2022

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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P.P.S. One of our mods is on holiday till the end of the month, so comment liberation may take longer than usual. We are very sorry! Please be patient.

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Here’s how a videographer reimagines Hollywood blockbusters as cat videos NPR (David L)

Why Aren’t There More Dogs at the Doctor’s Office? JSTOR

How to Squeeze Twice as Much Energy Into Solid-State Batteries Popular Mechanics

Novel theory of entropy may solve materials design issues (Kevin W)

Our universe may have a twin that runs backward in time Live Science (Chuck L)

Scientists See What People Picture in Their Mind’s Eye Neuroscience (David L)

Scientists Create RNA That Evolves on Its Own. This Could Be How Life on Earth Started ScienceAlert (Kevin W)

Cancer Cells’ Iron Addiction May Be an Achilles Heel SciTech Daily (Chuck L)

Beyond Psilocybin: These Mushrooms May Offer Brain-Boosting Compounds, Too Discover Magazine (David L)

Against ‘han’, or why Koreans are not defined by sadness Aeon (Anthony L)



Changes in cognitive functioning after COVID-19: A systematic review and meta-analysis Alzheimer’s & Dementia

What We Know About the ‘Stealth’ BA.2 Omicron Variant New York Times (Kevin W). I am at a loss as to how to reconcile these statements:

The subvariant of Omicron is becoming more common in the United States but probably won’t cause another large spike….

It appears that these mutations speed up BA.2 by making it more transmissible, rather than better able to evade immunity. In Denmark, for example, scientists found that people infected with BA.2 were substantially more likely to infect people they shared a house with than those with BA.1.

In England, researchers found that it took less time on average for someone with BA.2 to infect another person, accelerating its spread through communities.

Um, this was obviously coming and foretold repeatedly by scientist GM:


Covid-19 cases are exploding in Asia. Here’s what it means for the rest of the world. Vox (David L)

Why Omicron Is So Deadly in Hong Kong New York Times (David L)

HK runs out of coffins as Covid deaths surge Asia Times Kevin W: “Obviously the people of Hong Kong were never told that the Pandemic is over. /sarc”


Why some Americans haven’t gotten COVID yet and why it’s not inevitable they ever will: Experts ABC. OMG so now it’s explicit. It’s reasonable to have been infected, as opposed to a total public health fail. They really do want to kill us. And conflates getting vaccinated with infection prevention, as opposed to severe outcome prevention, gah.

Murky case for fourth doses now with FDA as protection wanes, BA.2 looms ars technica. Kevin W: “Related article ‘Moderna seeks US permission for second COVID-19 booster shot’ at”


Temperatures to spike 50 degrees above normal near North Pole Washington Post (resilc)

Great Barrier Reef Suffers Another Episode of Widespread Bleaching Weather (J-LS)

Race to the bottom: How big business took over Oregon’s first protected aquifer OPB (resilc)

Quaise’s ultra-deep geothermal drilling plans: Your questions answered New Atlas (furzy)


US to build anti-China missile network along first island chain Nikkei (guurst)

New Not So Cold War

This is how the world ends Gilbert Doctorow. Important. Many nuggets, such as who Putin’s “fifth column” remarks on the 16th targeted.

The US arming of Ukraine and the preparations for war WSWS

U.S. Public Views of Russian Invasion of Ukraine and Biden’s Response Pew (resilc)

WATCH: UN Security Council on Ukraine’s Bio Labs Consortium News

Russia Mod: Briefing on analysis of documents related to US military and biological activities in Ukraine Saker (Kevin W)

Roaming Charges: The Thoughts That Pulled the Trigger CounterPunch

Ukie War: Blackwater Mercenary Teams Eradicated in Precision Russian Strike on Luxury ‘Skivvy’ Hotel Veterans Today (Chuck L). From earlier in the week, still germane.

* * *

Hillary Vows To Stop Importing Dossiers From Russia Babylon Bee (Li)

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Readout of President Joseph R. Biden Jr. Call with President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China White House

President Xi Jinping Has a Video Call with US President Joe Biden Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China. Way way more detail than US version and released almost immediately after the call, unlike US version. I welcome reader input, but this looks for the US to have come out on the very bad end of plausible outcomes. Xi upped the ante re Taiwan, telling Biden the US was responsible for loose-lipped talk regarding Taiwan independence, with Biden reaffirmed that the US does not support. So it’s now on Biden’s desk to turn those, ahem, misperceptions around. Xi also made it clear that China will not intermediate among the US, NATO, Ukraine, and Russia (which the US has always meant to equate to “China muscles Russia to stand down.”).

Xi urges US, NATO to talk with Russia, opposes indiscriminate sanctions Global Times. The failed Jake Sullivan meeting followed by the Biden call request was clearly an escalation, and the Chinese are not at all happy with the US refusing to take “no” as an answer. I don’t read Global Times regularly but the tone seemed caustic. For instance:

Just hours before the meeting, China, in a rare move, sent tough signals, stating it will never accept US threats and coercion over the Ukraine issue and vowing to make a strong response if the US takes measures harming China’s legitimate interests…

China will never accept US threats and coercion, and if the US takes measures that harm China’s legitimate interests and the interests of Chinese enterprises and individuals, China will not sit idly by and will make a strong response, the official stressed, noting the US should not have any illusions or miscalculations about this.

Biden’s call with Xi underscores deepening bilateral deadlock Politico

Biden and Xi fail to bridge differences over Ukraine war Financial Times. More proof we have lost our minds:

US officials did not offer any details of the potential punishment for China following the call, or provide an assessment of whether Xi had already decided whether to support Russia.

But Jen Psaki, White House press secretary, said the US had a “range of tools” at its disposal, including sanctions, and that the potential western response would probably be discussed when Biden travels to Europe next week for meetings with Nato, EU and G7 leaders.

* * *

High energy costs trigger unrest in parts of Europe Associated Press

Infographic: How much of your country’s gas comes from Russia? Al Jazeera (Kevin W)

Belgium scraps plan to ditch nuclear power RT (Kevin W)

From pasta shortage to run on iodine pills, panic buying hits Europe again Financial Times


Salad, fruit, cheese and wine could run out amid supply chain chaos after P&O Ferries – which handles 15% of UK freight – stopped ships while farmers warn breeding livestock could be slaughtered without a route across the Irish Sea Daily Mail

P&O Ferries sparks outrage by sacking 800 workers BBC (Kevin W)

Imperial Collapse Watch

Declassified Docs Show CIA Used Prisoner as a Torture Training Prop Antiwar


Hunter Biden scandal: CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, NBC completely avoid NYT report verifying laptop emails from 2020 MSN (TF)

EXCLUSIVE: Senator Ron Johnson leads Republicans asking when the ‘corrupt’ media, Twitter and Facebook will be held to account for taking a YEAR to ‘acknowledge’ the Hunter Biden laptop story after dismissing it as fake Daily Mail

California plan would give $100m to Indigenous leaders to buy ancestral lands Guardian (David L)

Police State Watch

LMPD Training Materials Portrayed Police As Avengers Who Carry Out God’s Wrath LEO Weekly (Dr. Kevin)

Our Famously Free Press

Most medical collection debt is about to fall off of consumer credit reports NBC

Toyota, major chip supplier suspend production due to earthquake in Japan CNBC (resilc)

Inside the Nickel Market Failure: Massive Trades the Exchange Didn’t See Wall Street Journal

International Energy Agency Says Nations Should Conserve Fuel as Global Energy Crisis Looms New York Times. Resilc: “Too funny. Yeh, and wear a mask.”

IEA calls for driving restrictions and air travel curbs to reduce oil demand Financial Times. Wowsers.

SEC takes its finger out of the dike with investigation of Big 4 auditors’ conflicts Francine McKenna

Class Warfare

A million new millionaires were created in U.S. last year, and the richest got richer, report says CNBC

Antidote du jour. Alison L’s Daisy:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here

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    1. JohnHerbieHancock

      This would be bad. I kinda figured (or baselessly hoped?) that the Russian invasion would end sooner than later, and bring at least a stable situation that we would complain about publicly, but not do anything about (like when they seized Crimea). And we’d back down once the “Northern Virginians” and their ilk had gotten to “wet their beaks” a bit more. But funding & fomenting a long term guerilla war on the border of Russia with a country that’s ~half Russian to begin with? yikes

      The Gilbert Doctorow article posted today really hit me like a load of bricks for some reason. I’m concerned now this is going to get A LOT worse. And we have recurring COVID as a cherry on top..

      1. Polar Socialist

        One part of the that worse I’ve not seen discussed much is that with Ukraine being flooded with weapons, what are the odds that next time US troops go on a mission to spread democracy, the opponent will have portable anti-air and anti-tank missiles of the latest generation and maybe even real-time intelligence way beyond their capability?

        Proxy wars are a two way street, and frankly, USA has much bigger contact surface in this regard. Say, what if Al-Hashd Al-Sha’abi would suddenly find some Kornet-M missiles with thermobaric warheads in their possession to be freely used to revenge al-Muhandis. Or Javelins, just for the sake of good old deniability.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Given the geographical location, I’d be much more worried about them falling into the hands of good old fashioned mafia types. Or Anders Breivik type lone wolves.

          1. JBird4049

            >>>Or Anders Breivik type lone wolves

            Thank you for putting that into my nightmares.

            I just see it. The economy continues to crash under the benevolent leadership of which ever wing of the Uni-Party is “in charge.” Covid-19 becomes the next Smallpox only without the lifelong immunity. Then it gets worse.

            After that, perhaps some of more militant or extreme American militias (or would it our version of Myanmar’s People’s Defense Force by then?) gets some special unmarked shipments. Some nihilistic fools with half a dozen new toys go the local international airport…Forget about mass shooting with mere guns.

  1. fresno dan

    This is how the world ends Gilbert Doctorow. Important. Many nuggets, such as who Putin’s “fifth column” remarks on the 16th targeted.
    The production of fake war videos became a big industry among American and British propaganda organs during the Syrian War, when Western audiences were shown utterly fraudulent films of alleged chemical attacks by the Assad regime. Many featured the supposedly heroic and selfless work of ‘white helmet’ humanitarian volunteers operating in the Syrian war zones. Now these talents and experience are being unleashed to whip up popular outrage over the conduct of the Russian campaign in Ukraine.

    The murder of Vladimir Putin in the present context of the ongoing war to the death over global overlordship would surely precipitate the launch of Russia’s nuclear arsenal against the United States
    I was reading a right wing site, and it asked the question are we the baddies…and answered yes.
    At some point the evidence is overwhelming – everything we do makes the world worse, and it is designed to do that…
    And it is quite amazing to me – that the media, hysterical about everything except for a disconcerting equanimity about use of nukes.

    1. Chris

      Think I saw it here:

      “Yesterday’s right wing conspiracy theories become today’s realities.”

      Russiagate, Biden laptop, etc.

    2. hemeantwell

      RE the right-wing, I’ve been sending around a review from 2006 of Christopher Layne’s The Peace of Illusions. It’s about how a segment of the “realist” school in international relations, among them a number of conservatives and libertarians, began to adjust their views after there was no peace dividend after the collapse of the Soviet Union. NC readers are familiar with the arguments and the cast of characters — Mearsheimer, Walt, Bacevich and others. The review’s great for getting people familiar with the Big Strategic Picture. Suddenly causal modeling of the current catastrophe starts to look very different. I’ve used NLR’s tweet-friendly form of distribution.

      And, btw, as far as dealing with this form of realism goes, Layne’s much better than Tooze’s windy piece from a few days ago that Lambert took exception to.

  2. Dr. John Carpenter

    Potential punishment for China why? For telling Biden “you broke it, you bought it?” Lord these people are delusional.

    1. Louis Fyne

      The West has no empathy re. the rest of the world. Empathy is not approval. Empathy is not sympathy. empathy is understanding the other person’s view.

      The West has gone full retard with its obsession with full spectrum dominance. total hubris.

      This Russian billionaire may be trying to deflect blame. he might be telling the truth…he says the West’s sanctions against Russian billionaires show that the West has zero grasp of Russian domestic politics. And implies it is a bad omen with worse relations soon

      1. MarkT

        Just goes to underline how we have a system in the west which allows sociopaths and psychopaths to run the show. They have no empathy.

        1. Maritimer

          If one ever wanted evidence of where Humanity is headed it is in the sociopaths/psychopaths who freely move among us. The dangers these folk represent has apparently escaped the notice of our eminent Scientists. Not something they want to study or even talk about. No phunding from the Phauch. And as we “progress” down the sacred Science/Tech Road, they become ever more dangerous.

      2. Yves Smith Post author

        Yes, we pointed out early on that Russian oligarchs have little political power in Russia, the, unlike ours here, and are viewed correctly as looters who took advantage of the 1990s economic disaster and so are hated. Hurting them is very popular in Russia.

        1. none

          I thought political power derived from the money was the definition of an oligarch? A zillionaire without political power (i.e. tentacles deeply in the government) is rich but not not oligarch.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            The label “oligarch” is the one the West has consistently applied to Russian billionaires. I agree with your point and should probably not hew to that convention.

      3. Robert Hahl

        This sounds a lot like “civil forfeiture.” It’s not about anything but the money and the property itself..

    2. Michael Ismoe

      It’s like watching someone hold a gun against their own head and saying “Do you dare me to shoot?”

      1. LaRuse

        It would be more amusing if ordinary people like you and me weren’t sandwiched between the gun and the shooter’s own head.
        Sanctioning China would just be confirmation that “they really are trying to kill us” and COVID isn’t working fast enough so let’s add economic pain and suffering.
        As the kids like to say: “This is the worst timeline.”

    3. Glen

      Here’s a quote from an article in the Saker concerning how the Chinese public is reacting to all this:

      Chinese joke

      On a somewhat of a lighter note: The Chinese Netizens are in the majority siding with Russia so completely and so enthusiastically, that China’s WeChat and Douyin had to crack down on vulgar jokes and netizens were told in no uncertain terms that they cannot make fun of international news events. The very high support for Russia is becoming a clear talking point despite the somewhat muted and correct Chinese diplomatic statements.

      So, here is a joke for you.

      Bear and Dragon take a walk in the gardens. Bear is a little overcome with his serious responsibilities in the world and presents emotionally somewhat tired and despondent. As the walk proceeds, Dragon says to Bear .. Out with it! What has you so despondent? Bear thinks a moment and says: We’ve been friends for a long time. So, if I need a very large amount of money very quickly, will you give it to me?

      Dragon, known for taking time to ponder the imponderables, walks on for a while and then comes to a firm stop. NO, says Dragon, I will not give it to you!

      Bear’s shoulders fall .. but Dragon continues: I will lend it to you. 1.5 trillion the moment you ask for it, no interest, no repayment terms, pay me back when you can.

      And here is an editorial from the Global Times:

      China-Russia relations the most important strategic asset that cannot be damaged by US provocation

      I don’t think we will see it in Western MSM, but it looks like China’s answer to Biden is pretty much GFY.

    1. amechania

      I had three cases of ‘the regular flu’ in my small little group.

      I believed them for a whole 2 hours until I went, oh ****.

      *edit 3 cases in 2 days. 10 people at most.*

  3. Cocomaan

    One explanation I saw about the Biden Xi meeting was that Biden was going to “ask China to renounce the invasion”. Wish I could find it now.

    What struck me is how awful the State Department has to be if they think that negotiating with China is going to be like negotiating with someone who said something racist on Twitter.

    Our diplomatic future is in bad hands. Ukraine was already a failure of diplomacy, and Biden’s performance with this call shows that we are going to continue to fail until he is out of office.

    1. Pat

      Sadly, Biden is not the lynchpin in this, just the figurehead. Oh I am not saying he isn’t delusional just that the ever recycling village of advisors and appointees that are never banned for disastrous foreign policy advice are a cancer we need to excise. Without banishing the war mongering advisors and punishing war crimes and insubordination in the generals and top military (see the deliberate sabotage of the Syrian cease fire agreement or the dereliction of organizing the Afghanistan withdrawal) it won’t matter who is in office. And that doesn’t even get into the intelligence agencies.

      1. Joe Renter

        Well said. I try to be optimistic, but it gets harder every week. I want to have my eyes open as I witness empires and intuitions crumble, the list goes on and on. If I did not have a meditation practice, I would be hitting the bottle hard.
        At least If see the mushroom cloud, I will reflect on being not surprised.

      2. Josh E.

        I keep coming back to the fact that Trump is the only president in reason history who has not gotten us into a shooting war. I think it is mainly because he got in a fight with the Blob early and stopped listening to them.

        Remember how Bolton got a plane in the air to bomb Iran and Trump personally called it back at the last minute. I was shocked. I’m still shocked.

        I keep looking at Blinken, et al. poking Russia and China with sticks — at the same time — and can’t quite convince myself that Trump would be worst.

        1. Procopius

          I’ve been baffled by Blinken since he opened talks with Iran with, “America will not negotiate from a position of weakness,” and laid down demands that Iran would never agree to.

    2. Daryl

      On the plus side “let he who tied the bell to the tiger take it off” is a pretty fantastic burn, not that anybody in our gerontocracy has enough brain cells to process it as such.

  4. PlutoniumKun

    Re: New Silverado

    Its hard to exaggerate just how dangerous those are to pedestrians. Its not just a visibility issue – a high grill means that all the kinetic energy from even a slow moving vehicle is transferred to the pedestrian – with a conventional car getting tossed over the front is not exactly pleasant, but allows some dispersion of energy. The result is a vehicle that can kill at even very low speeds.

    But of course the driver has full airbags and seatbelt, so he’ll be fine.

    Going back to the 1980’s and onwards, there was a lot of research on risk compensation in the UK – it was predicted that making drivers feel safer (seatbelts, etc) would displace accidents onto pedestrians and cyclists. It did not happen to the extent predicted. The likely reason is, quite simply, people stopped walking and cycling so much.

    1. Louis Fyne

      trivia not obvious to non-petrolheads. The Silverado’s sister cars (Tahoe, Yukon) are the defacto black cars used to shuttle federal VIP officials when they have a driver and/or security detail, whether it is in DC or a military base somewhere in the mideast

      Being high up and oblivious to pedestrians is a feature, not a bug.

  5. Samuel Conner

    re: the Romans 13 quotation in police training,

    this strikes me as worrisome in terms of how law enforcers think about their work, but there’s also a flip side. It’s an argument against the prevailing conception within (at least Latin-church-derived) christian thinking that “the wrath of God” is primarily about post-mortem punishments. In the Letter to the Romans (as throughout the Old Testament), “wrath” is consistently (where it is clear from context) “under the sun” — pre-mortem, or at latest, mortality itself.

    Me thinks the pre-occupation with post-mortem punishments has not been a good thing for christian-influenced civilization — the harms this has done, both individually and collectively, are far larger than the harms from over-important self-conceptions in the minds of law enforcers.

    1. The Rev Kev

      It could be worse you know. They could adopt Ezekiel 25:17 and channel Samuel L. Jackson’s character in the 1994 film “Pulp Fiction” and tell suspects-

      ‘The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of the darkness, for he is truly his brother’s keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy My brothers. And you will know I am the Lord when I lay My vengeance upon you.’


      1. Brian (another one they call)

        Maybe we can go back to the shining values of the crusaders? …. sorry, we are back to the crusaders. Well Louisville, I am never to return and I am sure you won’t miss me. Or hit me.

        1. jr

          It takes an artist to take artistic
          liberties but that’s an aside…

          Another glimpse into the LEO mindset came back to memory after reading this. I cannot source it, I read it a long time ago on the ‘Net, but it was a cop addressing his colleagues. In short he said you are Batman and Superman rolled into one and when you get to finally shoot someone you’ll have the best sex of your life that night. I have a lot of cops in my extended family, with one exception they are power tripping a$$holes on wheels.

          1. LifelongLib

            My impression of the cops I’ve met is quite the opposite. They’d rather ride around in their air-conditioned squad cars all day eating donuts than actually arrest anyone. Good luck getting any action from them unless the crime involves bodily harm.

    2. Jeff N

      The Romans 13 thing is just the tip of the iceberg. For decades, cops have been telling themselves that their lives are way more important than anyone else’s, and that they should act accordingly.

  6. fresno dan
    Go back to the point about the explosion of content on the Internet: the first order implication is that there is an explosion of ideas; after all, anyone can publish anything. Presumably this means that there are far more categories of thought than ever before! And, if you dig deep enough into the Internet, this is true.
    Given that, it seems entirely reasonable — expected even — that we all outsource our intuition for what events matter, and what our position on those events should be, to the most convenient option, especially if that option has obvious moral valence. Police brutality against people of color is obviously bad; people dying from COVID is obviously bad; Russia invading Ukraine is obviously bad; why wouldn’t each of us snap into opposition to obviously bad things?

    This dynamic is exactly what the meme highlights: sure, the Internet makes possible a wide range of viewpoints — you can absolutely find critics of Black Lives Matter, COVID policies, or pro-Ukraine policies — but the Internet, thanks to its lack of friction and instant feedback loops, also makes nearly every position but the dominant one untenable.
    It seems to me that the truth is more available but less seen than ever – before the internet, I never would have known that the “white helments” are nothing but propaganda. Yet it actually seems that there is less dissent, and less truth than before the internet. After all, how many times will the average person look at the fifth Google search result, never mind the 30th.

    The link to the PEW poll I think proves the point, e.g., there is an almost even split about aid (too much or too little) to Ukraine, yet the idea that there should be NO aid is untenable. That Russia sanctions is the NOT the best policy – untenable.

    1. Carolinian

      To the elites the fact that all this is happening half way around the world is a feature, not a bug. It allows them to manipulate public opinion by taking advantage of the quite understandable public ignorance about Ukraine.

      And it’s not new. Back in the ’60s Fred Wiseman did a documentary called High School that showed how kids were molded into willing cannon fodder for Vietnam. That war was just as insane although the LBJ could at least blame it in part on “the best and the brightest” whereas with Biden we have a foreign policy made by Hillary retreads.

      1. Procopius

        I was on active duty during Vietnam, and the high school kids I saw, both draftees and enlistees, were not willing cannon fodder.

    2. DanB

      I was called by one of the major polling organizations, Quinnipiac, two weeks ago and all their question were of the push-poll variety, for instance, “Should Ukrainians leave their country or fight the Russians?” “Do you think Vladimir Putin is mentally unbalanced?” When I noted that the questions did not contain valid options the interviewer said -after about three comments from me- “I’m terminating this interview.”

      1. Princess Cutekitten

        I’ve worked push polls. If the stooge —I mean, the respondent—insists on thinking for himself, the interviewer will have no choice but to end the interview, although the interviewer certainly didn’t have to be so rude about it. Back in the day, we’d say something like, “That’s all the questions I have today. Thank you so much for taking the time to answer!”

    3. RockHard

      Related, from the tech space, a couple of bug reports from an open source project.

      In short, the author of the project decided to modify his project to detect the user’s location based on their IP address. If it determined the user was located in Russia, it would wipe the entire hard drive of the computer with files named “heart” (the actual heart emoji character).

      This library is widely used and for technical reasons, widely included in many unrelated codebases. I have heard that one popular gaming site was shut down because it was inadvertently distributing malware. The first report was withdrawn by someone’s request (unclear who), but the original text was:

      We are an American NGO based in Washington, D.C. that monitors human rights infringements by authoritarian regimes in Belarus, Russia and other post-Soviet states. Since our start in 2014, we have been in contact with over 2,500 whistleblowers that provided us with detailed reports on various kinds of abuse happening there.

      Due to internet censorship there, one of the web services used to contact us securely was hosted on servers located inside Belarus. Normally, we backup the received content to an external server on 20th day of every month, as this is reasonable given the volume we usually get, but since the start of the invasion on February 24th, traffic to our web service has increased over fiftyfold. Our staff has been working round the clock to accomodate the influx and during one of their tasks, package containing node-ipc module was updated on a production server, which resulted in executing your code and wiping over 30,000 messages and files detailing war crimes commited in Ukraine by Russian army and government officials. Due to the way the files were stored on the server, we are not able to recover any data and it’s most likely gone forever. For some of the senders, this might as well have been their last contact with the outside world, as many of them were front-line soldiers that could’ve been killed in action during the offensive.

      Personally, me and my colleagues are absolutely devastated. All I can say that your little shenanigan did more damage to us than Putin or Lukashenka ever could. Profesionally, our counsel suggested filing criminal charges federally and it’s likely we’ll be proceeding this way.

      1. scott s.

        Would be interesting if they able to get LEO involved if “open source” provides any sort of defense. I am involved in an open source project, and extensions that provide access to RT and Sputnik were removed, but if someone was interested they could easily retrieve them from Github.

  7. The Rev Kev

    “Ukie War: Blackwater Mercenary Teams Eradicated in Precision Russian Strike on Luxury ‘Skivvy’ Hotel”

    I had not heard that there were Blackwater mercs in that hotel but now that I know, I am beginning to wonder if there might not have been an element of payback here. During the Syrian war, politicians in Washington were gloating about getting Russians killed and having them sent home in body bags. Then in 2018 during the Battle of Khasham, US air strikes were done on the Russian Wagner mercs killing scores of them. The fact that the Russian mercs were not near the battle lines let the Russians know that it was done on purpose as a way of killing Russians while denying that this was the intent. So perhaps the Russians killing the Blackwater mercs which included lots of Americans and Brits was for them payback-

    And you know what they say about payback…

    1. Bono the Poet

      Some think they’re jerks
      Those Blackwater mercs
      But Ireland says R.I.P.
      And thanks for joining Zelenskyy

    2. Pat

      I am sure there is a bit of glee in what would appear to me to be a very straightforward message. It appears to me that Russia is shutting down “help” as much as possible. The Russians have now taken out and put on notice the relatively amateur heroes that this isn’t their kind of war and sent them running after the barracks bombing about a week ago. Now they have surgically struck the psychopathic soldiers of fortune who work for the highest bidder. (And to think we zeroed out public health money so there would be AID for Ukraine.) Not only did it kill a bunch, it just got harder and more expensive for the US and NATO to send in surrogates as I am sure that mercenaries are very good at pricing the risk level of their services. You come to extend this war you die possibly before you get close to a front line is very directly about escalating the risk level.
      And it isn’t just taking out human help, if the Lviv attack is real, it wouldn’t surprise me if what the missiles hit was an arms delivery meant to be masked by refugee movement.

      1. ambrit

        If so, that would be very much like what the Izzies do to “arms shipments” from Persia to Syria and the Lebanon.
        “What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.”
        The West had better not start flying combat missions into the Ukraine out of nearby nation’s airfields. I’m convinced that the Rusians have gamed it out and are willing to take the risk of “neutralizing” those airfields, wherever they are. In a way, I am very glad that no aircraft carriers are allowed in the Black Sea.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Jets need fuel, maintenance, and ground personnel. Proper runways. The nearby airbases aren’t that close. Aircraft carriers are useless against an opponent like Iran. So you can’t just roll up an airforce. The airbases used for the Iraqi no flyzones were really close to what they covered. The large NATO airbases, ready for action are 1600 km from Kiev, well outside the range of fighters. There actual range of our more advanced fighters is near 900 km. Even if we had proper airfields, the distances mean the planes can run less missions than Iraq.

          The potential forward bases were already hit in the first week. Modern missiles and satellites make a big difference.

          For the most part we are observing tantrums. Nothing really can be done. The Russians can’t advance beyond the Ukraine and Western Ukraine has been flooded with enough weapons to make it likely the Russians won’t stick around withdrawing to safety of numbers. The West can’t bring up the air support it needs or really has practical places to do anything without being noticed.

          1. ambrit

            I’d imagine that Russia would be satisfied to have the eastern half of the Ukraine as one or more buffer states to keep NATO away from Russia’s borders. Let the western half of the Ukraine be incorporated into neigbhoring states, alloted by demographics. A few plebiscites for legal cover and it’s done. H—, give Odessa and that part of the coast to Moldova. Then it can be a “real” country at last.
            What worries me is the “stupid” factor. Wars have been started in the past by accident. Having self-referential narcissists in charge makes the danger greater.
            Biden and his clique are no Marcus Aurelius and court.

          2. Yves Smith Post author

            The Russians never intended to stay around. They want to disarm, denazify, establish neutrality, and leave. They might have to give themselves a base or two to assure the “disarm” part.

    3. Louis Fyne

      reasonable guess that Russian secret services find out about any large group of foreigners. large group and their kit stick out to locals

      eever since 2001, the west has been obsessed with special forces.

      special forces are at most a minor inconvenience against an enemy, without air supremacy and tanks for backup.

      NATO has no clothes.

        1. judy2shoes

          The article seems to have a Ukrainian bias, and I have to admit I’m suspicious of Zelensky’s motives, especially when he includes such *dire* warnings as this:

          Zelensky called for the negotiations on peace “without delay,” warning that otherwise Russian losses would be “huge,” in the video message posted to his Facebook page” and “Otherwise, Russia’s losses will be so huge, that several generations won’t be enough to rebound,”

          Zelensky seems to be taking his cue from the U.S. failed attempt at bullying China into submission.

          “We have always insisted on negotiations,” he continued. “We have always offered dialogue, offered solutions for peace … And I want everyone to hear me now, especially in Moscow

          Sounds quite similar to President Putin’s words at the end of his February 24th speech when he said, “I hope they will hear me (IIRC).” It seems to me that Zelensky is all over the place trying to be MLK, Winston Churchill, and now VVP, but I’m pretty sure it’s just another act. I would love to be wrong.

      1. juno mas

        What is impressive with the young Russian sarcastic poking at McDonalds is that he does it in fluent English!

        (Think an American could do the same in Russian?)

      2. judy2shoes

        Perhaps the restaurant shown is one of the ones owned by individual franchisees, as opposed to the ones operated by the McDonald’s corporation.

        “According to Russian news outlet RIA Novosti, a number of McDonald’s restaurants that are owned by franchisees remain open. While the vast majority of McDonald’s restaurants in Russia are company-operated, over 100 of its nearly 850 locations are run by franchisees.

        “In a statement to RIA Novosti, McDonald’s confirmed that some restaurants remain open in Russia, including at Moscow’s airports and railway stations. Insider reached out to McDonald’s for comment but did not immediately hear back.”

        1. britzklieg

          Wow. A double Whopper, uh… quarter pounder… burger diplomacy.

          Russia would have been better off without, although I’m sure western cuisine has penetrated thoroughly and knock-offs would proliferate.. How do you say Wimpy-Burger in Russian?!

  8. digi_owl

    I fretted about how some of my nation’s military officers were being trained in USA.

    I should have fretted about the number of journalists etc that got “educated” there as well…

  9. fresno dan

    Just a thought
    Hunter Biden scandal: CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, NBC completely avoid NYT report verifying laptop emails from 2020 MSN (TF)
    Now that the Networks and NYT have been proven wrong, will twitter and facebook ban them for spreading misleading information?
    Ouch! I hurt myself laughing…
    and of course, I can’t resist modifying quotes to fit the present circumstances
    Animal Farm: 4 misleading NYT infos good, 2 Orange man misleading infos bad,

    1. griffen

      Move along, sheeple, nothing to report on there. Nope, not a shred of truthiness. It is all lies! \sarc

      Change the last name and add a junior, however, the context changes. Bush junior, Trump junior, pick your evil Repub. I insist even Mel Brooks could not sketch out this political sideshow as comedy.

      1. fresno dan

        They are the supposed nonpartisan group of top spies looking out for the best interest of the nation.

        But the 51 former “intelligence” officials who cast doubt on The Post’s Hunter Biden laptop stories in a public letter really were just desperate to get Joe Biden elected president. And more than a year later, even after their Deep State sabotage has been shown again and again to be a lie, they refuse to own up to how they undermined an election.

        The officials, including CNN pundit and professional fabricator James Clapper — a man who was nearly charged for perjury for lying to Congress — signed a letter saying that the laptop “has the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.”

        What proof did they have? By their own admission, none. “We do not know if the emails . . . are genuine or not,” the letter said. They’re just “suspicious.”

        Politico picked up the letter and ran the false headline “Hunter Biden story is Russian disinfo, dozens of former intel officials say.” That headline is still online today, even though the letter clearly says they don’t know if it’s Russian disinformation.
        Keep in mind that Twitter already had banned The New York Post a few days before. The rationale was that this was “hacked materials,” even though it wasn’t — and Twitter had no evidence to think it was. A Facebook official, meanwhile, said it wasn’t going to allow the sharing of The Post’s story until it was “fact checked” by a third party — a check that never happened.
        Thus, Big Tech, former government officials, and the media conspired together to bury a story.
        No, not just bury — create a false narrative that flipped the script to make Joe Biden the victim of a conspiracy.
        Is there a profession where the wronger you are, the more successful you are, that even comes close the modern MSM?

        1. griffen

          Much of what passes for proper US economic theory….paging Larry Summers to the front.
          What is the joke of forecasting? Economists have forecast 12 out of the last 7 recessions.

        2. Samuel Conner

          > that even comes close the modern MSM?

          Perhaps the US MIC? The more wars you don’t win, the more funding you get.

          I can’t imagine how much funding they’ll be rewarded with for not prevailing in the current world crisis.

          1. fresno dan

            we can’t afford to lose the next one. Funny, no social problem can be solved with money, but every military problem can only be sovled ONLY by more money – never by firing generals or changing policy…

  10. griffen

    Wealth report and status of millionaires, from CNBC. Market followers may well know it, but 2019, 2020 and 2021 were an incredible stretch for S&P 500 index percentage gains. However, early returns for 2022 year to date aren’t exactly maintaining the trend.

    Numbers don’t lie. Market close March 17, 2019 at roughly 2,800. Market closed Friday at roughly 4,460.

  11. QuarterBack

    Re those promoted using their “torture prop”, remember that war crimes have no statue of limitations and very few limitations of jurisdiction. Just sayin’

  12. Pat

    In comments yesterday Lambert questioned my description of an Andrew Cuomo ad. Unfortunately I haven’t found a copy of the most recent ad, but there is a fair amount of coverage and opinion of his activities of the last week.

    You’ve got to be kidding me from the Daily Beast

    NY Post on his dinner meeting

    Politico tells us he is mulling his options

    And the Daily News tells him to go ahead and run There are links to a few stories and another opinion piece in that one.

    The new ad appears to be setting up a run for Governor, but I have to wonder if he isn’t clearing the decks to set up a different run. Democratic nominee for President would be quite a come back AND he has wanted the job for a long time. Either way he unfortunately hasn’t been cancelled yet.

    1. Librarian Guy

      If the Swamp can run Hillary as a viable “change candidate” in 2024 (!!) as they were mulling earlier, why should Cuomo be any less shameless? The Dem voters were told after Bernie won the first 2 primaries and Obama’s “Night of Long Knives” (as NC dubbed it) to line up and vote for poor, shambling great-grandpa Joe, and they did!! Our gerontocracy makes the Soviet leaders prior to the collapse look smart, flexible and agile . . . & yet the MSM propaganda and brainless voters validate Thatcher’s “TINA” every day, I don’t see many of the brainwashed masses question anything . . . A pigeon in a Skinner box experiment would stop pressing the lever after 150 tries with no reward pellet. US voters don’t have the collective IQ of a pigeon, evidently!!

      1. jr

        The Swamp had Lolita Express “Frequent Flyer Program” Honorary Captain Bill Clinton address a gathering of young women in Democratic politics. Pedo-priest pal Kamalalala was his co-host. These creatures and their handlers are devoid of humanity. Their devotees are chumps at best, delusional and reactive at worst.

    2. Brunches with Cats

      > I have to wonder if he isn’t clearing the decks to set up a different run.

      Saw the ad for the first time last night. Don’t think there can be any doubt that he’s running for something, and I think you’re right that it’s not governor. I don’t have the rigid animosity that many feel for this guy — always struck me as too much like TDS — but my first thought after picking my jaw up off the floor was that I’d just watched the Hindenburg of trial balloons. If he wants to remain in politics, he needs to do an Al Gore or start a global foundation or something — anything — to keep him away from elected office.

    3. pjay

      I’ve been seeing these for a while (I live in upstate NY). They really focus on the anti-woke crowd, emphasizing Cuomo as “victim” of cancel culture. I can’t believe he’d run for governor this year, but something seems to be up. As I said the other day, he is one of the few people as ruthless as Hillary, and he still has some powerful friends (though probably some powerful enemies as well). The Dems have literally *no one* on their bench; maybe someone is behind this. Since I no longer take electoral politics any more seriously than professional wrestling, this should be entertaining.

  13. The Rev Kev

    “Here’s how a videographer reimagines Hollywood blockbusters as cat videos”

    They do excellent videos and I have featured them two or three times in comments in the past. You can see more of their work as well as how they make their videos at their YouTube channel at-

    Speaking of which, Alison L’s Daisy in today’s Antidote du jour just wants me to relax and chill out. We can learn a lot from cats.

    1. griffen

      That was a fun little read. I would enjoy any rendition where the cats are behaving like the fictional creature in Alien, for example. Maybe I’ll look that one up too.

      The T-Rex scene is pretty iconic from Jurassic Park. The cat just looks so believable as a stand in. I didn’t think send up of Jaws was good. ymmv

  14. cnchal

    > . . . OMG so now it’s explicit. It’s reasonable to have been infected, as opposed to a total public health fail. They really do want to kill us.

    How soon before officialdumb claims “getting Covid is good for you”?


    > . . . For now, at least, carmakers have the green light to keep designing taller, heavier models.

    To Cadillac’s credit, the Escalade is stuffed with the latest in safety technology. Multiple cameras embedded around the vehicle are used to create a digital overhead image of the Escalade when either in drive or reverse at low speeds. This view is projected onto the screen in the center console, giving the driver a more complete picture of their surroundings than what is actually available from the front seat. Haptic sensors in the driver’s seat will vibrate when there is a pedestrian crossing in front or behind the vehicle, or if there is a car behind you when you’re pulling out of a parking spot.

    These are important features to have in a vehicle this large, but they’re also just workarounds. When you need a suite of high-definition cameras and other expensive sensors to safely drive to the grocery store, there might be something inherently wrong with your design. Manufacturers know that these types of vehicles are more dangerous to pedestrians and cyclists, but they keep making them because people keep buying them. Cadillac says it is responding to customer demands for more interior space and cargo room. Super-sizing its vehicles helps it sell more SUVs to more people.
    ““growing the vehicle felt very appropriate to accommodate our particular customers””

    Really, how good would that Cadillac look with a Porsche 911 slant nose front end?

  15. Kengferno

    “This Is How The World End” interesting that the Russian equivalent of the PMC are called Fifth Column and that the tide is turning against them. I wonder what it would take for that to happen here.

    1. The Rev Kev

      That Fifth Column partly might be referring to what has been called the Atlantisists in Russia. Those who were committed to bringing in Russia as part of the west no matter what the cost was to Russia itself. Ex-President Dmitry Medvedev was one of these people and I think that this cause was more popular in the wealthier parts of Russian society. We can assume that this movement is now dead and perhaps beyond resurrection while those who are fleeing Russia I suppose you could term “summer soldiers and sunshine patriots” to borrow a phrase from the American revolution. In a way, this will make things easier for Putin in the long-term as he has wanted to re-orientate Russia to the east but had met resistance. Going forward, I do not think that this will be a problem anymore.

      1. Polar Socialist

        Yes, there is a small portion of Russians, especially in the “intelligentsija”, that have always considered Russia and Russians being backward, reactionary and miserable and the only way to salvation is to completely submit to and emulate the progressive West.

        One would think that the collective West having now decided to “support” Ukraine by emulating the Azov/Right Sector attitude to anything Russian could be an eye-opener for many of these Russians that West hates Russia even more than they do and will never accept Russia as part of the West.

        Which side you pick, when neither wants you?

        1. digi_owl

          I dear say the same attitude is seen in the Nordics, even though historically we have straddled east and west (and may well have in ancient times contributed to the seeds of Russian culture).

          What is worse is that we keep treating Russia as some enigmatic black box, and Putin as some rambling madman. Yet if one were to stop and actually look into what he is saying, and actually read up on the history of the area since WW2, he makes some degree of sense. His decisions and actions may not be the best, but they are not something done completely on a whim.

      2. Boomheist

        Hmmm…so here in the West we have generally right wing parties composed of people without college degrees, all united in their anger and resentment over the liberal elite and mainstream conservative elites serving only their own interests. In the United States some of their spokespeople are accused of being Putin lovers (Carlson, Trump etc). Now we see articles pointing out that in Russia there may be a similar split, between their PMC and the general population, the 70 percent who support Putin. These people are what Putin calls the Fifth Column. Leaving aside that the leaders of these right wing groups are almost uniformly wealthy themselves and within or from the PMC class – in Russia, Europe, the US and even China – it is starting to look as if there may be some kind of worldwide gathering that might just well come after all oligarchs everywhere, with more than pitchforks… the US and EU deplorables being entirely like minded with the Russian deplorables….a worldwide authoritarian movement rising against the Post World War 2 liberal order…..

        Ironically, if we now are in a world war, and we must be after declaring economic war against Russia, then when we go on a war footing we will ourselves be in a totally authoritarian mode, as we were in WW2, with government price controls, rationing, industry control everywhere – yet how will we do that after more than 40 years of declaring government is bad and a danger?

        I am not sure how this idea squares with Putin also going after the Ukrainian neo Nazis, as their fascistic approach in some ways seems to mirror tendencies among right wing groups worldwide….

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          BTW Putin’s approval rating is now 80%.

          The fascists in Ukraine are really ugly by world standards. Recall as Scott Ritter has pointed out, the men in Galacia (pretty much the current Western Ukraine) during WWII were the most rabid Jew-killers of al the Nazis. The reason Zelensky plays nice with them is they beat a politician in Eastern Ukraine so badly he needed to be hospitalized, and they reportedly told Zelensky they’d kill him if he didn’t back their agenda.

          To your point re rationing, I’m not sure we have the operational capacity (government competence) to do that. Please name any cabinet member, aside from Gary Gensler, who can manage his way out of a paper bag. And if communities and states don’t support the “war,” they’ll stockpile locally and won’t share. The red areas that produce food already hate blue cities….

          1. Eustachedesaintpierre

            Yes the Lviv pogroms on their own were a profound example of how disgusting human beings can be. Undertaken by Nazi death squads, Banderista’s & the urban population which included children judging by one horrendous photo featuring a terrified middle aged woman being chased by a mob. Chelmo, Sobibor & Treblinka extermination camps were manned mainly by Ukrainians with a small by comparison management team of SS. Some of the former perpetrated unspeakable acts beside the usual everyday beatings etc & many were on the Israeli wanted lists including the infamous Ivan the Terrible who got clean away.

        2. digi_owl

          I would not dismiss the right wing as uneducated monkeys.

          That may match to some degree the rank and file, though i suspect many of them would swing “left” if given a party that mixed socially conservative ideas with more socialist/protectionist economic ideas.

          The right wing leadership seems to be just as well educated as the left, but they hold different degrees.

          Also, the “left wing” of USA is at best center right in most of Europe outside of some very narrow social topics. And even on those topics i dear say they are lagging the left in Europe (and thus leading their fans in Europe ripping up long settles issues).

          I dear say the french has it right, Europe needs to stand on its own feet and ignore the ramblings from across the Atlantic. But i do not know if EU is the way to do so.

  16. RockHard

    Related to sanctions on China, this article from RealClearPolitics.

    The second, far larger cost to China may be the deterrent effect of crippling economic sanctions. Communist party leaders, determined to seize Taiwan, must have been shocked by the scale, comprehensiveness, and devastating impact of sanctions imposed on Russia.

    There’s so much delusion going on here. Sanctions on the scale that the US used on Russia would absolutely cripple the US without China even imposing any retaliatory sanctions.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      All China would have to do to the US is withhold sneakers and pharmaceuticals, which are not huge parts of their exports to the US. They’d bring us to our knees within months. The freakout of halting pharmaceuticals would probably tear the country apart sooner.

      1. Lee

        My sneakers are made in America. Unfortunately, the medications I take, which are a matter of life and death, are not.

        1. Anthony G Stegman

          Your “made in America” sneakers were likely assembled in America with parts imported from elsewhere. Some New Balance shoes are of this sort.

          1. digi_owl

            Yep. That age old trick of the product being “made in Hong Kong” thanks to having the case screwed tight there, while the majority of the assembly was done cross the border in Shenzhen. Same with much of the stuff that was “made in Taiwan”, and how Foxconn got started (it is a Taiwanese company after all).

      2. Dave in Austin

        I’m not sure I’m allowed to say this on NC (or even if I should be allowed to say this on NC), but if China withdraws sneakers and pharmaceuticals from US consumers, it will have neatly targeted two very angry groups facing outrageously overpriced goods; Blacks with overpriced sneakers and the elderly with overpriced pharmaceuticals.

        On a more serious note, I thought Youtube was censoring Zelinskyy playing the piano with his penis because I got “Youtube not available currently on this device” while another window got the usual war porn from them. This Z-penis link works: ttps://

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          I understand that so many people across all price points buy sneakers from China, and most sneakers don’t last all that long if used regularly, that the US really truly would have a footwear problem in ~six months.

          With over 60% of the population overweight, cushioned shoes are useful to necessary to reduce impact on joints. So the afflicted might pull out their leather-sole shoes (and have soles repaired) but that will be harder on their bodies.

    2. Pat

      I’m going to echo Yves here about pharmaceutical imports, as in the author doesn’t have a clue on how dependent we are on China.
      But as appalling as that ignorance is from someone who is opining on the subject, worse is their clear ignorance regarding the actual sanctions on Russia. I realize that we are blessed with a massive brain trust here at NC who take the time to explain details and background so the rest of us can see the big picture, but one would think the author might have noticed some of the walk backs and exceptions on the sanctions that were part of public record. Either they didn’t read everything or they are ignorant and unthinking regarding why it worked that way.

      Willful ignorance goes beyond delusional.

      1. fresno dan

        as in the author doesn’t have a clue on how dependent we are on China.
        50 years of indoctrination will do that. My real problem with that guy is that he was probably all gung ho about “free trade” and deindustrializing America. He didn’t understand anything back then, and he doesn’t understand anything now…
        You know, I watched a portion of the movie The Martian on TV the other night. The Martian was made in 2015, when the offical Free Trade ideology was still firmly in place. There is a scene about using a Chinese rocket to help the rescue mission, and the Chinese guy in charge asks why the Americans haven’t asked to use it, and his gorgeous female assistant informs him the rocket is classified, so if the Chinese don’t help no one would be wiser. Of course, the Chinese do the right thing and let the Americans use the rocket. If the movie was made today, I suspect the scene wouldn’t exist.
        The thing that isn’t fictional is American technological and financial superiority is not what it once was. Maybe the problem will be that we won’t trade with them, but that they won’t trade with us…

        1. Lee

          Speaking of superior rocket technology, from the linked Doctorow piece:

          “…the Russian Federation likely has First Strike Capability, meaning that it can launch a nuclear attack first, destroy nearly all of America’s arsenals and most important population centers, disorganize or frustrate any counter attack, and rely on its well developed anti-ballistic missile defenses to ward off any of the residual U.S. capability. That was the clear objective of Putin back in 2007 when Russia was humiliated and impotent before the American hegemon. He reached that objective in 2018.”

          1. Anthony G Stegman

            This is BS. I recall someone in NC referencing a MIT professor who said that Russia cannot detect missile launches from undersea. The US Navy’s submarine launched ballistic missiles alone can destroy most of Russia’s infrastructure. These missiles cannot be taken out by Russian counter-measures.

            1. The Rev Kev

              Of course the implication of that is that America cannot detect Russian or Chinese submarines launching ballistic missiles either. So we are back to the Mutually Assured Destruction ideal.

  17. Michael Ismoe

    I wonder what it would take for that to happen here.

    About fives years on our current trajectory.

    1. Louis Fyne

      the strike in Ivano-Frankivsk got zero attention in the news.

      Makes you wonder who and what was there while the army Reddit was at Yanoriv

      1. Polar Socialist

        According to some Telegram channels it was an old mine turned in 1955 into a nuclear weapons storage facility. It was emptied in 1993 when the weapons were transferred to Russia. In 2018 it was reopened as the barracks for 2 battalions of 10th Mountain Assault Brigade.

        And apparently also a conventional weapons storage, since the Ukrainians announced several secondary explosions on the site. It’s supposed to be nuclear missile proof, though, so either it actually wasn’t or there was a load ammunition either leaving or entering the place.

        1. OnceWereVirologist

          A warhead that weighs 500 kg travelling at hypersonic speed carries kinetic energy equivalent to the explosive force of 4000 odd kg of TNT according to Wikipedia, in addition to the explosive force of the warhead itself. Delivered directly to the roof of an underground bunker, I’m not sure that the effect wouldn’t be greater than a small nuclear bomb exploding in the air above.

        1. tegnost

          thedrive seems to be an automobile fanzine, what is the relevant experience that makes their hearsay better than anyone else’s?

    2. PlutoniumKun

      The Kinzhal seems to be essentially an Iskander repurposed for air launch. Launching at altitude and at supersonic speed may give it even more speed and velocity. The ‘hypersonic’ thing is a red herring – all ballistic missiles are technically hypersonic – its a conventional air launched missile, its the sheer size of each one that makes it unique, not to mention that you can launch them from anywhere making them much harder to track.

      I assume it was used as the sheer kinetic energy would punch a hole in any concrete bunker. I assume the Russians know exactly how think that bunker is and what it could potentially hold. But the message to Nato will also be clear. If they can punch a hole in that shelter, they can punch a hole in any shelter used by Nato, pretty much anywhere in Europe.

      1. OnceWereVirologist

        True, anything over Mach 5 is classed as hypersonic, but the Iskander gets nowhere near the Mach 10 claimed for Kinzhal. Sheer speed and terminal maneuvering are supposed to make it almost impossible for missile defense systems to shoot it down.

  18. The Rev Kev

    “Xi urges US, NATO to talk with Russia, opposes indiscriminate sanctions”

    So ‘President Biden has just reiterated that the US does not seek to have a new Cold War with China, to change China’s system, or to revitalize alliances against China, and that the US does not support “Taiwan independence” or intend to seek a conflict with China.’ “I take these remarks very seriously,” said President Xi. Yeah, I bet he did. Just after he put down the newspaper carrying the story in Links today saying “US to build anti-China missile network along first island chain.”

    I think that Xi understands what old Joe said perfectly. And it amounted to this – ‘We are going to push Russia into an economic collapse and cause a regime change so that they will once more be crippled on the world stage so you had better not help them if you know what is good for you. And when we finish with them, we will come for you and Taiwan will be our Ukraine in the east. And there is nothing that you can do about it, buddy.’ I can imagine Xi getting on the horn to Putin afterwards-

    Putin: ‘Well, what did the geriatric old fool say to you.’

    Xi: ‘He said that he is going to open up a two-front war while collapsing the American dollar.’

    1. Pat

      That shouldn’t make me laugh, but it did. Reality bites.

      I’m now trying to imagine their discussion of American media and politicians portraying Putin as increasingly isolated, delusional and mentally deteriorating when we have Biden.

      1. rowlf

        …isolated, delusional and mentally deteriorating

        For some reason that made me think of a Meltdown remake in a Delaware basement.

        Biden: With Sullivan’s attack, that will be all right.
        Krebs: My President, Sullivan…
        Jodl: Sullivan couldn’t gather enough forces for the attack. Sullivan’s attack didn’t proceed.

        1. Blue Duck

          Sometimes I’ll compulsively say to myself when I’m mildly frustrated: “Fegelein! Fegelein! Fegelein!”

    2. Foy

      ‘He said that he is going to open up a two-front war while collapsing the American dollar.’

      Funny stuff Rev, hope you don’t mind if I borrow that line!

  19. Blue Duck

    > IEA Warning

    If a moderate uptick in the price of carbon derived energy is going to contribute to a global famine, how were we ever supposed to solve climate change?

  20. The Rev Kev

    Western freedom of expression is more scandalous every day than yesterday. After blocking Russian networks in the West, YouTube is now removing critical remarks in the American media’

    If you had told me a few years ago that if you wanted alternative sources of news in America, that you would have to go listen to Fox News and also Tucker Carlson, I would have laughed and thought that this was something from the Onion. And yet, here we are-

    ‘Justin Baragona
    Sergey Lavrov, during an English-language interview on RT, says that “only Fox News is trying to represent some alternative points of view” while calling the rest of the US press propaganda because “there is no such thing as an independent Western media.” ‘

  21. Donald

    The Intercept quotes Russian scientists who say the Russian claims about the biolabs are false.

    It seems wildly implausible to me that the US would carry out bio weapons research so close to Russia— I wouldn’t bat an eye if people said it was happening secretly within the US. I am not a biologist and can’t judge the scientific evidence.

    Overall, my guess is both sides in this war are probably lying and spinning like mad because that is how it is in most wars.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      The labs contained cholera, anthrax, and bat coronaviruses, along with other nasties.

      The Russians point out in their UN presentation that the Ukraine labs reported to the Ukraine DoD, not its public health officials. Note per the link below that would be inconsistent with how the labs were intended to be set up when the funding was authorized in 2010.

      The US has been funding them since 2010, but curiously you can find the account [only?] on the Wayback Machine:

      The Russians say they found Western documents to the labs on Feb 24 (when the war broke out) ordering the destruction of all samples. They also claim other records were destroyed. I doubt the Russians would bullshit about the records they claim to have given they have gone to the UN. They presumably are submitting them:

      Ms Zakharova said Russia had documents showing that the Ukrainian Health Ministry had ordered the destruction of samples of plague, cholera, anthrax and other pathogens after Feb 24. (Reuters story)

      This is from The Republic, which is MSM in India:

      Russian Defence Ministry which accused the United States of funding installation of biological research labs in Ukraine has now alleged that Washington has been conducting experiments to create biological weapons, and was conducting bat coronavirus-related research. In a press briefing on Thursday, Russia derided the United States for creating bioagents in Kyiv that would be used to target ethnic groups. It said Washington conducted an R-781 project that involved bats as carriers of potential biological weapons. Other researches included bacterial and viral pathogens that can be transmitted from bats to humans: pathogens of plague, leptospirosis, brucellosis, as well as coronaviruses and filoviruses.

      Note the pathogens listed.

      They are Level 3 biolabs, while the partly NIH funded virology lab in Wuhan had a Level 4 lab, along with Level 2 and Level 3 labs:

      The BSL-4 facilities were accredited by the China National Accreditation Service for Conformity Assessment (CNAS) in January 2017,[5] with the BSL-4 level lab put into operation in January 2018.[11] The highest level biosafety installation is necessary because the Institute investigated highly dangerous viruses, such as SARS, influenza H5N1, Japanese encephalitis, and dengue, along with germ causing anthrax.

      Note that this description suggests that anthrax warrants Level 4 protections. Dengue is very common in Africa but particularly nasty since reinfections are more serious than an original infection. I am not sure what pathogen the Russians are referring to as “the plague” but it suggests dengue-level nasty. Which points to another issue: the Ukraine labs may have been underpowered in their safety protocols relative to what they were handling.

      1. David

        Of itself, the fact that the labs were under the Defence Ministry is not surprising: I’m not sure if it’s universally the case, but it is certainly the case in all the western states I am aware of. The reason is that the labs are researching the possibility of the use of these agents as weapons, and develop counter-measures against them. The kind of question they have to answer is, if somebody were to weaponise this agent, in this fashion, and seek to use it as a weapon of war in this scenario, would our protective equipment and our drugs be able to cope? If not, what do we need to do to improve it? As long as BW exist, countries will see the need for labs of this kind and, as we’ve discussed, as long as there are diseases they can be weaponised.

        The problem here is that what you think largely depends on your interpretation. There is effectively no functional difference between tweaking a BW agent to see how others might develop it on one hand, and tweaking it to try to use against a possible enemy on the other. The difference only comes if you then actually try to weaponise the agent for delivery and prepare to actually use it. I’ve come to the conclusion that, in a sense, both sides are right. The Russians are right to say that BW agents capable of being used in war were being studied in Ukraine. The US is right to say that the purposes were defensive. It’s faintly possible that the US was somehow going to make use of the material in weapons developed elsewhere, but I really can’t see why. BW as a military technology has never been very effective: indeed, that’s why the US gave up BW research generations ago. To research an extremely dangerous and provenly ineffective technology for aggressive use so close to the Russian border, in an environment where the Russians almost certainly knew exactly what was going on, seems to me to be suicidally stupid. On the other hand, I can well believe that the labs were badly or incompetently run, and that there was a real risk of agents escaping and killing people if the labs were damaged in the fighting.

        1. Pat

          Because for years America has clearly only acted in Ukraine’s interest including having no idea of the genocidal tendencies of the militant group they were training and funding in that state, nor of the increasing power that group had throughout Ukraine’s government including their defense department.

          Could I interest you in buying a bridge in lower Manhattan?

            1. Pat

              I wasn’t referencing the Russian scientists underestimating the malignant nature of American support. They can say these labs are not problematic based on the modern idea of bio-warfare all they want. I was wondering how anyone could look at a situation where a lab has pathogens that need to be secured in case of attack and not understand that the pathogens themselves ARE a weapon in the “right” hands regardless of the stated lab mission. I was then noting that said labs were placed in a country with an active civil war, A region where the rising military power is actively seeking the elimination of humans of different descent on the other side of said civil war. Sounds like a great place for pathogen production and testing to me. Missing that the pathogens and the ability to produce them is in itself a weapon while also missing that there is only one logical reason for placing the lab there and funding it is missing the big picture. Those scientists may have forgotten that you don’t need a sophisticated delivery system, that was proved back in the 1600s by early Americans. You just need a group with access who would be determined to deliver it. I don’t think the Americans who have been known to mess with immunizations have forgotten.

        2. Yves Smith Post author

          I take it you did not read the links I provided.

          The Ukraine biolabs funded under Obama were to report to the Ukraine health ministry. That suggests they were not intended to have a military purpose.

          And pray tell, what is the point of widely decentralized research on combating pathogens that have potential military use? Science makes the most progress when practitioners share findings, which clearly would not happen here save at most among the Ukraine labs.

          Last I checked, Ukraine had no special chops in biology/biomed arena. This looks at best to be about evading FOIA, Congressional oversight, and US safety rules.

          1. David

            I had read some of them before and I checked on the rest before commenting. They do not add anything new. I can well believe that the labs (and there are different types with different purposes) were being supported, for example, to get round US safety rules. That’s not the point.
            Are these labs developing biological weapons for use against an enemy, presumably Russia? I don’t think so. Any country has research labs for protection against normal diseases, and they are normally funded by a Health Ministry. But most countries also have a small number of labs (generally on the same site) which research potential BW threats. They generally come under the Defence Ministry. As it stands, I have seen nothing to suggest that the US is funding an offensive BW operation in the Ukraine. I’m open to persuasion, but in the meantime I’m inclined to dismiss allegations made so far as (1) the Russians stirring it up, as everybody does and (2) the search for the plot for a new Netflix series.

            1. The Rev Kev

              I know that you are not inclined to accept the fact that all these labs in the Ukraine were a latent threat to Russia, even after there have been odd outbreaks of diseases over the years which Russia complained about, but in such situations I always flip it to see if it still rings true. So China sets up about 30 biolabs in Mexico not far from the American border and it is learned that these labs do not report to the Mexican Ministry of Health but to the Mexican military itself. The Chinese lab workers all carry diplomatic immunity but when American forces start getting aggressive along the border, some samples are flown direct to Moscow while the rest are ordered to be immediately destroyed on the spot. Yeah, I’m going to call BS on this whole thing. There are tens of thousands of islands around the world and these labs could not have been located on one of them? And if you are going to believe the US claims that these were simple research labs, then you are also going to have to believe the US claims that the reason that they are setting up missile launchers (capable of firing of nuclear missiles) in eastern Europe is to defend them against nuclear-tipped missiles coming from Iran and North Korea.

          2. Anthony G Stegman

            According to a recent issue of Bloomberg Businessweek Ukraine does in fact have pharmaceutical “chops”. Enamine is an important contract drug research group based in Kyiv. When the war started most of the employees evacuated to Poland and elsewhere. Enamine is described as being among the most sought-after partners for researches seeking new medicines.

            1. Yves Smith Post author

              I will ask GM who is a real scientist working in a top US institution and also knows the state of bioscience in Eastern Europe about his view of the level of bioscience in Ukraine (which almost everywhere is a function of the caliber of its advanced educational institutions), and what he makes of Enamine’s claims about its capabilities.

            2. Yves Smith Post author

              GM absolutely does not buy that Ukraine has any particular expertise and separately thinks that doing biohazard research there is loopy:

              I haven’t ever had to deal with anything Ukrainian in biotech.

              Nobody would describe them as leading in that field.

              The whole biolabs thing is very weird.

              Why would anyone have such labs in Ukraine? Secrecy is of paramount importance in that kind of work, which automatically means Ukraine is off the list of desirable locations for any large such operation. You do serious such work somewhere underground in Wyoming, not in Kharkiv. Ukraine is one the absolute most corrupt societies in the world, on all levels. The “oligarchs” barely scratch the surface of it — every daily transaction involves corruption there, education, healthcare, administration, whatever you can think of. Nobody can be trusted under any circumstances. On top of that. prior to 1989 probably one in ten people was working with/for the KGB in some capacity, and a lot of those links still remain.

              There is something extremely off about having dozens of US-funded labs doing bioweapon R&D there given that background. Such an operation would involve hundreds, even thousands of people, almost all of them Ukrainians. How can you ensure security of the operation if it is really sensitive?

              Even more so, you generally don’t do this work close to major population centers. The Soviets were generally, though not always, taking that into account — Koltsovo and Obolensk are close to Novosibirks and Moscow, but Omutminsk is deep in the forest in Kirov oblast, and Aralsk-7 was on that infamous island in what used to be the Aral Sea, i.e. very far away from civilization. For a good reason.

              Dozens of labs in densely populated Ukraine is an extreme security risk that nobody in their right mind would accept. Again, why not do this in US facilities hidden somewhere far away from population centers?

              From what I saw as publicized research activities, there was nothing particularly alarming, but that was just some abstracts, so obviously far from everything that was going on there was shown.

              So I am suspending judgement on this whole story until more information becomes available.

              GM also points out that the idea that bioweapons could be target to Russians or Slavs is daft, too much admixture.

          3. David

            Because timezones, I didn’t see these comments yesterday and I don’t want to burden the commentariat with endless reruns on an issue where there simply isn’t enough information. I would suggest that where we have got to is as follows.

            There are a number of BW research programmes in the Ukraine, funded by the US. This is not a secret, and indeed there has been a great deal of publicity about them. How many physical sites are involved is unclear, because we are dealing with translations into and out of several languages, and “lab” can mean anything from a room to an entire complex. It’s unclear also what the relationship is with non-military research programmes where the agents may be the same.

            Beyond the residual fears from the Cold War era, it’s not clear why the facilities are in Ukraine and why there seem to be relatively many of them. There are legitimate concerns about security, including the possibility of theft and diversion, and the Russians could plausibly be worried about the dangers to their own country if there was an accident. Given that, it’s reasonable both for the Ukrainians to try to destroy the materials (and the WHO apparently recommended that) and the Russians to try to make them safe.

            Beyond that, the Russians claim to have found evidence of an offensive BW programme, although it’s fair to say that none of the documents I have seen support this. In any event, the documents seem mainly to be in English, so with the best will in the world the Russians may not fully understand what they have found. Other than actual plans for BW use (which it’s hard to imagine would just be left lying around) the type of proof that would be needed is that work had been done on weaponisation and delivery systems: for example, designing and testing spraying mechanisms for aircraft, or special warheads for missiles. Maybe such evidence will emerge, but until then I’m suspending judgement.

            Since I have the floor, let me just, once again, point out that the missiles deployed in Rumania and Poland are SM-3 interceptors. They are kinetic kill vehicles, designed to crash into incoming missiles from Iran and destroy them. For technical reasons they would be useless against missiles directed at Europe, and have no offensive use: at best, they would be an unguided pebble compared to a hand grenade. In theory the US could deploy nuclear weapons to these sites but has not done so: not do they need to; they have plenty of other options. The Russian problem is not with the missiles but with the presence of US forces: for the Poles and Rumanians of course, the presence of US forces is the whole point.

        1. David

          I’m inclined to agree. The USSR had made a lot of progress weaponising bubonic plague çn the 1980s.

  22. Mildred Montana


    This morning, the CNN nonsense question/poll of the day was: “If the US steps up in Ukraine, should there be a draft?”

    The guest, not surprisingly, was in favor of it.

    So am I. But only, as Wendell Berry suggested, for those over forty. I have a feeling that would change a few opinions on CNN and in Washington.

    1. Pat

      My criteria:

      Automatically assigned Draft number 1:
      Off spring of any politician who votes for any form of or approval of military action including handing that decision to the President
      All national security advisors and foreign policy personnel advocating for military intervention regardless of age
      Off spring of operating officers and majority owners of all military contractors
      Off spring of operating officers, majority owners, senior editors and editorial writers, and hosts of major media outlets
      Off spring of all operating officers, partners and majority owners of major banks, financial services companies, private equity firms…
      All American members and employees above janitorial and secretarial staff of the Carlisle Group and their off spring

      Draft number 2:
      All graduate students, and undergrads within two years of graduating, and anyone who graduated in the previous four years from all Ivy League, Forbes and US News Top Colleges. Excepted from this is anyone who qualified for financial aid.

      Off spring means all children AND grandchildren between the ages of 18 and 45.
      Deferments are limited to those who qualify as disabled according to 2020 standards. Faking a disability will result in a thirty year prison sentence with no parole.

      Any decision to intervene militarily will trigger the draft and only after everyone in groups of draft number 1and 2 are inducted and serving will anyone else be drafted.

      Any decision

      1. John Wright

        We’d also need to change eligibility requirements if one wanted those drafted to actually be in the military.


        “About 75 percent of America’s 17- to 24-year-olds were ineligible for military service due to lack of education, obesity, and other physical problems, or criminal history in 2009, according to a report issued by the Mission: Readiness group.”

        It may be even less likely to find acceptable recruits in older age groups.

        It is unsurprising the US military is so hardware focused, as suitable recruits are harder to find, probably due in part to the USA lifestyle that is promoted around the world.

        Maybe world peace through human obesity if enough nations adopt USA lifestyle?.

        1. Pat

          Hey I am perfectly willing to make an exception to those requirements for anyone with draft number 1or 2. The more likely they are to die or be maimed the higher the cost to those deciding that these actions are necessary.

          1. Mildred Montana

            I like your rules. They’re so well thought out.

            You’re drafted—to write new draft regulations!

        2. fresno dan

          Maybe world peace through human obesity if enough nations adopt USA lifestyle?.
          Pure GENIUS!
          All we are say ing, is give McDonalds, Burger King, Wendy’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Taco Bell, Dunkin Donuts, and so on, a chance…

      2. DJG, Reality Czar

        Pat: “All” means male and female scions. All means all.

        I am, errrr, fascinated at all of the tough-talking U.S. “feminists” who don’t want to go so far as to have to register for the draft. Ryan Grim’s recent segment at The Hill, with the mean-girl media workers demanding MiGs, no-fly zones, and war, was more than enough for me.

        And Hillary Clinton, Professional Harpy, swooping in to announce the benefits of endless war in Ukraine is just a tad too much immoralism for me. I’m sensitive that way.

        Equal opportunities to be cannon fodder will concentrate some minds.

        I imagine that the ultra-liberated upper-middle-class ladies at The View will have a cow at the prospect of being drafted.

        War isn’t Private Benjamin. War isn’t upvoting a twitter storm on how cuddly Zelenskyy is. War is hell. Let the managerial and chattering class feel it.

        1. John Wright

          I suspect the “draft everyone” approach will result in an anti-war feedback loop with a very long delay with minimal negative feedback as the well-connected assess ways to get out of harm’s way,

          For example, one can view evangelist Pat Robertson’s Korean War military experience.

          See “”

          “Ex-Marine John Gearhart of Los Angeles, a key figure in the controversy over Pat Robertson’s military service record, Wednesday supported allegations that the television evangelist used political influence to avoid combat duty in Korea.”

      1. Mildred Montana

        The guest was some guy named Eliot Ackerman. Forty-two years old, Marine Corps Infantry and Special Ops, five tours of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq. So, to be fair, he can’t be labeled a “chicken-hawk”. But his bio and bibliography say military through-and-through.

  23. SOMK

    Re: Mick Wallace’s contribution to the European Parliament. Ireland’s independence from Britain was also independence from empire, hence Ireland’s position as being militarily ‘neutral’, to the extent De Valera sent a letter of condolence to the German embassy on Hitler’s death. Both his and Claire Daly’s contributions have gone viral, something you can be sure was studiously ignored by Irish television, radio and newspapers (the British may have the worst media in the world, but the Irish media takes the British as its model and paradigm)

    Both on social media and the wider media it has been eye-opening to see the degree to which people are towing the NATO line in Ireland, the vehemence of anti-Russian sentiment is bizarre, it’s not something that is accountable to a PR war, suspect it denotes a kind of cavity in the political space, the cathartic relief of having a good old fashioned bad guy to point at in the Covid aftermath/lull fits with group psychology, when you have a disunited group of individuals, a fall guy to blame and get rid of or ostracise has a unifying effect, irrespective of the degree of blame said fall guy deserves.

    The call for expanding Ireland’s military is an idiotic one on either an ethical or logical basis, the main military threat to Ireland isn’t the country on the very eastern extreme of Europe, but the one that currently occupies 6 out of Ireland’s 32 counties. Of course if you suggested that to any of the Irish media or political class they’d look at you as if they’d just seen their mother walking out of your nose!

    1. Anthony G Stegman

      Ireland is one of those island nations full of clever people. Of course Ireland wishes to be neutral as it knows the UK would never allow anyone to threaten Ireland militarily since it is so close to England. Ireland runs a nationwide tax haven for wealthy corporations and individuals while blatantly ignoring EU taxation rules, though getting major benefits from being a member of the EU. I’m no fan of Ireland.

    2. LawnDart

      SOMK, to your second point, try this perspective:

      Wagging the Ukrainian and Irish Dogs

      How are we, who are denied credible, alternative news sources, supposed to divine between right and wrong, between truth and propaganda.

      What? Don’t like the dogfood?

      “We can rid ourselves of our entire political elite or we can expect our living standards to plummet. Though it is a simple choice, it is a necessarily hard one because nothing good comes easy.”

  24. Stupendous Man - Defender of Liberty, Foe of Tyranny

    I appreciate the comments of Mick Wallace. Perhaps even more because he delivered them as a “long hair,” and while wearing denim, and a T-shirt.

    1. The Rev Kev

      It must be something on the water. The same water that they make Guinness out of. This is not the first time I have seen an Irish politician talking truth to power and that was a pretty gutsy performance. It it’s not only the guys that will speak out either as I have seem one female politician also give a damning speech.

  25. Lost in OR

    Hillary Vows To Stop Importing Dossiers From Russia

    Yeah, nice. But do you really trust her?

  26. CaliDan

    >U.S. Public Views of Russian Invasion of Ukraine and Biden’s Response Pew (resilc)

    So my takeaway is that 35% of Americans are willing to risk Armageddon over this junk.

    1. Michael Ismoe

      Yeah, but Brandon’s numbers keep getting worse, not better. Perhaps Hunter’s laptop was “found” because if fighting the “worst guy since Hitler” can’t make you popular, then maybe you are beyond salvageable.

      Pictures of our new virile(?) president running around the trenches of Kyiv in her Chuck Taylors and camo gear should be good for a few clicks on Tik Tok anyway

  27. Simcha

    I came across something from a private DC watching think tank, which definitely confirmed your take. Brief excerpts from a brief note.

    “Our understanding is that the White House is in a bit of a panic right now, and is in an even worse (panicked) mood following the recent Yang-Sullivan talks. Ignore media reports: The meeting did not go well. It went really poorly. ”

    “It’s still very possible that all of this escalation talk is being overhyped out the wazoo. However…the WH is worried, and that lens should not be ignored because those guys are clearly seeing something in the intelligence data that makes them more concerned than everyone else.”

    The gist I took from the piece (which someone kindly forwarded) was that the admin fears that China’s irritation might take the form of material assistance to the RF. I included the second quote because it unnerved me. There are tweets suggesting RF officials have taken flights to Siberia – flight which were being tracked until they switched their transponders off!

    Dont shoot the messenger.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I’m not shooting you but note:

      1. I find it really hard to fathom that anyone thought that the Sullivan-Yang meeting went well. I don’t recall seeing any press reports that said so but admittedly I can’t read everything.

      2. It was obvious the US was not taking a clear and loud “no” for an answer and was trying to escalate quickly with the Biden call even though anyone with an operating brain cell could have seen that China was not going to shift position.

      3. As I indicated, after the war started would have been way too late for Russia to ask for material help. Too late to get it and integrate it. Plus the West keeps believing its own PR that Russia is losing when Russia is winning, albeit slowly so as to minimize harm to civilians.

      4. RF officials have tons of reasons to go to Siberia, like reassure local officials in person, or to assist and advise in production/logistics changes Russia is making in response to sanctions.

      5. What they should be worried about is China helping Russia blunt the impact of sanctions. Russia will sell energy (among other things) to China. That’s normally denominated in $ as it is. Russia could do quasi barter, ask China to use the $ credits to buy stuff it is finding hard to procure with sanctions and is high priority, like car parts, and send to Russia. If the US considers this to be “material aid” when there is no military assistance, I suspect China would tell the US to take a flying fuck, it has no business in interfering in China’s commerce. Recall China’s position is the Western sanctions are illegal because not approved by the UN.

      5. Lambert was surprised that China did not take umbrage at the idea that the US acted as if it could bar China from suppling materiel to Russia, although China’s present posture is that they are supporting peace. But China’s immediate priority may have been to tell the US that if it even thought about launching the sort of propaganda war v. China that it had v. Russia (by lying and saying Russia had asked China for help and that China had not been asked and emphatically said it said it had not been asked), it would face a world of hurt.

      1. Polar Socialist

        Even if the nature of the said material help has not been defined in any way, it’s still noteworthy that all captured Ukrainian material* is given to the Donetsk and Luhansk military.

        So it would seem that Russia is not lacking much at the moment. Or at least not enough to prevent gestures like that.

        * I’ve seen a video of DNR troops training with NLAWs, it seems they’ve captured enough to actually put them into the inventory. There are also pictures of DNR troops with M141 Bunker Defeat Munition.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          That raises the question about why weaponry like that was handed out without some sort of kill switch.

          1. OnceWereVirologist

            Actually implementing that kind of thing would be really difficult verging on impossible, I think.

        2. The Rev Kev

          You can bet that the Russian military are taking apart all that modern weaponry that they seized off the battlefields in their research labs. And for all we know, some samples may have been sent on to Beijing as well as part of a mutual aid deal.

        3. Carolinian

          A story I read said the Russians are giving the breakaway troops the captured Javelins.

          As to

          no business in interfering in China’s commerce

          back in my fave sailing ship days a naval blockade was considered an act of war (or would lead to war–the British blockade off NY pre 1812 i.e.) and Putin by that precedent has called the sanctions an act of war. Apparently we think our financial war is like our drone war–far away, remote control, no blowback.

        4. Greg

          Yeah there’s been a lot of footage of captured .ua gear being sent to DPR troops recently. The NLAWs apparently weigh 13kg each, so not surprising a lot of them are being left lying around when people are moving quickly.

          1. OnceWereVirologist

            Javelins weigh substantially more. That’s my biggest problem with the modern anti-tank weapons are going to turn the tide stories. Carried around in APCs as part of the mechanized infantry, as the US Army uses them, they’d no doubt be a devastating weapon. Expecting dismounted guerrilla bands to carry around 17 kg of single-use missile seems optimistic.

            1. David

              Given the way things work in that part of the world, I wouldn’t be surprised to find that they’re sold on the open market to whoever will pay. I suspect a number of intelligence services will be watching nervously to see where they turn up.

  28. Brunches with Cats

    Re: COVID and dementia
    Had an appointment at the VA yesterday and was much relieved to see that they’re sticking to the COVID protocol, at least for now — masks required, temperature check at the door, etc. When I commented to the provider that it would be folly to do otherwise, given the new strain on the way, she visibly shuddered, saying she’d been very ill with COVID last year. She seemed uncomfortable, like she knew management would disapprove of her talking about it, but I kept asking questions and eventually got the story that an infected patient had slipped through the screening process, and before they knew it, her entire department was ”dropping like flies.” Her symptoms lingered for months, including dementia, which scared the crap out of her. She came to work anyway, because the department was so short-staffed, and tried to keep up appearances so as not to worry her patients. That took so much out of her that she often went home in tears. In her professional opinion, she needed an MRI, but the VA essentially accused her of making up the dementia story to get paid time off and sent her to a lung specialist instead. She persisted and eventually got the imaging, and sure enough, it showed neurological damage in the brain.

    It’s always great to be vindicated, but there was no victory in realizing beyond a doubt what management really thinks of you. I’ve seen this provider a few times and can say unequivocally that she is among the best in her field that I’ve ever encountered. It makes me both sad and angry that the VA justifies its staff shortages by claiming there aren’t enough qualified professionals out there, and then I hear a good one saying she almost quit because of how she was treated. Our “heroes” are interchangeable to these people, robots programmed with the clinical practice guidelines. As annoyed as I’ve been at times with VA staff, I try to remember what they’re dealing with that we don’t necessarily see or hear about.

  29. Tom Stone

    I drove through Sebastopol this morning and while I was admiring all the “Black Lives Matter” and “I stand with Ukraine” signs I realized to my horror that the town is named after a RUSSIAN!!! naval base.
    Omigod, omigod,that name HAS to be changed right now or people will get the wrong impression of a true blue city.
    Thankfully after wracking my brain and discarding “Hillaryville” as an alternative I came up with the perfect new name.
    “Woketon”, pronounced “Woke Town”.
    Kinda English and classy, just right for the most “Woke” town in the Wine Country.
    You’re welcome.

    1. Louis Fyne

      ufortunately the etymology of Sebastapol = 100% Greek. venerable city. unfortunately that name was chosen by Russians to honor the greek influence as Crimea was a Greek colony long ago

      1. ambrit

        Sort of like an ancient Greek “nine dashes line.”
        Who could have guessed that the sea Xenophon’s Greek hoplites meant by “Thalassa” was the Black one.

      1. Joe Renter

        Not to mention Alaska. I was in Bristol Bay in the early 80’s saw the Russian Orthodox churches. Just did a search and there are 90 of them. Three of them are National Historic Landmarks. Hope they are not subjected to the righteous torches of freedom.

  30. Culp Creek Curmudgeon

    The good, ole USA minding it’s own business and putting missiles off the coast of China…

    1. Carlos

      Whenever someone laments Russia invading Ukraine over their potential nuclear rearmament, just say “Cuban Missile Crisis.” then to continue the chronological sequence, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria.

      One U.S. provided bomb, voted for by Senator Harris, killed a school bus full of children in Yemen.

    2. RobertC

      C3 — not to worry — too little too late. From the Nikkei Asia article

      “But placing U.S. missiles on Japanese soil would be fraught with difficulty. Because such a move would affect the division of roles between the American military and Japan’s Self-Defense Forces, Tokyo and Washington would need to discuss the details of any proposed deployment, including the locations and range of the missiles.

      “A decision by Japan to host American missiles would be certain to anger China, complicating diplomacy between the two economically intertwined neighbors. And Tokyo is likely to encounter local opposition around potential deployment sites, including in Okinawa, where around 70% of American forces in the country are concentrated.”

      You’ll see Aegis Ashore installed before these Article 9-violating “highly survivable, precision-strike networks along the first island chain” are installed by Japan.

      Japan’s big decision will be how to balance itself between the new US-led and China-led worlds.

  31. Chris

    -Most medical collection debt is about to fall off of consumer credit reports-
    Of course!

    It hinders the parasites’ ability to suck the last debt marrow out of the Precariat by issuing new credit at soon to be higher interest rates.

    No Fly Zone there = You Fry in Home here.

  32. antidlc

    March 18:

    ‘Stealth’ COVID Variant Spreading Faster in NY Than US, CDC Says: What to Know About BA.2

    According to the CDC, that variant accounts for 39% of COVID circulating in New York and New Jersey right now. By comparison, it’s responsible for about a quarter of new infections nationally. Its prevalence has doubled in just the last week or so.

    So how worried should you be? Not much, experts say.

    On Friday, the Biden administration’s incoming COVID czar Dr. Ashish Jha said he wasn’t expecting the latest variant to trigger yet another national surge in infections, given the overwhelming prevalence of those vaccinated and boosted.

    March 18:

    Fauci warns COVID-19 infection rates likely to increase

    White House adviser Anthony Fauci is warning that COVID-19 infection rates are likely to rise in the next few weeks in the United States after their dramatic drop following the omicron variant’s rapid spread across the country.

    Someone, PLEASE wake me up from this nightmare. PLEASE????

    1. Dwight

      Just look at his record of predictive, alarmist, failures for Pharma profits to realize that you can relax.

      Thousands of footnotes on this in this book you can download free:

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        I ripped out the link to the RFK book because is it significantly crap, particularly its notorious footnotes. In the couple of chapters, I bothered to look up the academic studies he cites. More than half the time, the book flagrantly misrepresented what the studies said.

        I believe it is accurate in its history of Fauci’s horrific record in the AIDS crisis and his current financial conflicts of interest. Beyond that, I trust nothing it says.

  33. LawnDart

    This may be useful for those attempting to navigate today’s media enviromment:

    An Introduction to Psychological Warfare

    While grey and black propaganda campaigns often have the most immediate impact, they also carry the greatest risk. Sooner or later, the target population identifies the information as being false, thus discrediting the source.

    Emphasis on the word introduction.

    The effectiveness of an ability to shape thought, to control a narrative or perception of reality, would be affected by a target’s willingness to submit to an authority, be it a leader or an expert. US Americans typically are conditioned to internalize and exhibit such submission from childhood onward, reinforced through schooling or other coercions. A willingness to submit may interfere with an individual’s ability to examine and evaluate information in the context of life experience, but…

    Sooner or later, the target population identifies the information as being false, thus discrediting the source.

    …don’t lose hope!

    1. hunkerdown

      No hope for me, thanks. We all have to do the work to discredit and dethrone the judges.

      Simon Says = the gamification of authoritarianism

  34. LawnDart

    This is a civilian application of drone technology from a Chinese company, utilizing drone swarms for light shows. Who says that the Chinese can’t innovate?

    “You completed a drone show featuring 1,374 drones, how much larger could drone light shows get over the next few years? 5,000 drones? 10,000 drones?”

    “Technically we have the capacity of 5,000 or 10,000 or even more…”–the-future-of-drone-light-shows

    Now if today they, a civilian company, are capable of using 10,000-drone swarms for giggles and laughs, all flying around at once within a relatively confined area while NOT crashing into one another, I wonder where this technology will take us when the industry is brought to scale? And when weaponized.

    1. Anthony G Stegman

      Imagine a “distributed” nuclear weapon using drones. Each one carrying a small amount of fissile material flying separately to the target where they will then come together to form a critical mass thus producing a nuclear detonation. The yields may not be great by atomic bomb standards, but they could still be powerful. This “distributed” weapon is not yet in Proof of Concept stage.

      1. LawnDart

        I was thinking that vast swarms of inexpensive miniature, semi-autonomous suicide drones could render human operations on open-air battlefields a thing of the past.

        Reactive-armor on tanks and other vehicles likewise could be pelted by these things, and open them up to further attack. And they’d be great for area-denial against low-flying aircraft as a literal minefield in the sky.

        they will then come together to form a critical mass thus producing a nuclear detonation. Yeah, fun idea, but I don’t think it can work that way.

        Backyard mechanic drone modification for fly-by shooting:

  35. Soredemos

    >Against ‘han’, or why Koreans are not defined by sadness Aeon

    Any claims of supposedly intrinsic cultural concepts that are 1. untranslatable, and 2. totally alien and can never be understood by outsiders are invariably fictitious. At best they’re an attempt at benevolent stereotyping.

    1. Steve H.

      The Whole Earth Catalog said his book was the most important they’d reviewed. I used A Pattern Language as a basis for policy when I ran for local office.

      Even so, his masterwork may have been The Nature of Order: An Essay on the Art of Building and the Nature of the Universe. Exquisite and important, it both conveys knowledge and provides experience, altering my view of the world when I pull my eyes up from the page.

  36. Joe Renter

    Maybe it’s time for a new Dr Strangelove based on this. I am sure there are some talented woke/freedom screenwriters up to the task.

  37. CoryP

    Regarding the PR war and faked atrocity stories, are there any books out there that have integrated the suppressed facts about the Syrian White Helmets and the OPCW coverup into the story of the war?

    I think Management of Savagery by Max Blumenthal did (need to re read it), but curious if there’s been anything newer from a “respectable” or academic press or something, with an eye towards using it as a source to cite to skeptics.

    1. Donald

      I just emailed a friend today that I would expect an objective mainstream historical account of the Syrian Civil war in 50-100 years. Maybe sooner, maybe not. It depends on how embarrassing the details are and whether they still have the potential to embarrass US political culture that far into the future.

      For example, back around 1990 Kathy Kadane said the US was involved in supporting the Indonesian massacres in the 60’s. ( Chomsky already implied that, but he was out of the msm.). It got some attention and then the story was “ debunked”. Not really debunked but 1990 was too close to 1965 and reporters and officials from that era were still around. But I think in recent years enough time has passed so the liberal mainstream no longer feels threatened by the idea that we were involved and the msm just added on propaganda.

      There is some evidence for the allegation that the US used germ warfare or experimented with it during the Korean War. If true, I expect it will be decades more before it is admitted.

      Remi Brulin, an expert on the history of the word “ terrorism” wrote a long piece for Mondoweiss about Israeli false flag terrorist attacks in Lebanon in the early 80’s. You can find the evidence for this in completely mainstream sources but Brulin points out the Western press scrupulously avoid talking about the really damning details. It makes the mainstream press look really bad and justifies suspicions that we cranky types have that Western governments sometimes really do carry out false flag terror attacks and get away with it without being exposed for decades.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        I’d add to that the Malaysian and Mau-Mau insurgencies in the 1950’s. I suspect that with the former all damning written evidence has been destroyed, and its only by chance (one stubborn American academic) we know a little about what was really going on in Kenya. As you suggest, a hell of a lot went on in the Korean War that has only been suggested in the official histories. Even with Vietnam, which has been studied intensely, there are still blank areas (Nick Turse has written some interesting things on the subject). A Vietnamese born friend of mine is the granddaughter of a senior NVA general. Sadly, he died a few years ago, I would have given anything to have a conversation with him.

  38. RobertC

    The inimitable David Stockman provides a succinct history and reasonable future for the territory called Ukraine at Pearl Harbor My Eye!

    How Ukraine Will Be Partitioned After Kiev Capitulates

    In any event, a TV actor who has no script other than that handed to him by his Washington/NATO overseers is one thing. And at the end of the day, it’s small potatoes compared to the grotesque negligence and misdirection of Sleepy Joe’s own keepers.

    That is to say, Secy Blinkey and Snake Sullivan should be bent over the above map in earnest conversation with their Russian counterparts as to the fine points of the partition, and the meaning of “neutrality,” “de-nazification” and “demilitarization” of the green area of the map, which is to become the future “Ukraine,” if there is to be anything left at all.

    Needless to say, they are not even talking to the Russians. They are, in fact, so red in tooth and claw with the blood of economic warfare that they would drive the global economy to collapse rather than acknowledge that they – and they alone – brought this horrendous situation to the doorstep of the world.

  39. VietnamVet

    These initial stages of WWIII are much like the Guns of August a little over a century ago. The fundamental question is; can the world back down from the brink? Or, is today, like 1914, once the troops were called up and the trains assembled and running according to timetables, there was no way to back down; despite Volodymyr Zelenskyy urging talks with Vladimir Putin.

    The WaPo’s “Inside the transfer of foreign military equipment to Ukrainian soldiers”, near Poland’s border, is the first article on the nuts and bolts of the war – logistics. The video of the hypersonic flight of the missile that hit the nearby Ukrainian military base is also up on the internet. Russians have promised to bomb these supply lines. Unless there is cease fire and a peace treaty, sooner rather than later, a convoy inside Poland will be targeted and the shooting war between NATO and the Russian Federation will start.

    Basic fundamentals are not discussed in mainstream media anymore. The corporate-state neoliberal Empire is actually a series of fiefdoms; two in the news lately are military contractor and pharmaceutical revolving-door entities. Making money is their one only goal and all long-term consequences are ignored like almost a million Americans dying with COVID-19.

    Due to resource depletion, Europe must access Russian resources. But armed with nuclear weapons seizing Russia militarily is impossible. Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) is still operative. So, it is ignored. Also passed over is that the Russian Ukraine War is an ethnic conflict. The WaPo article hints at this when describing Lithuanian aid to Ukraine. Ethnic wars never end, if there is money to be made, until the peoples are partitioned and strong borders established.

    If western civilization is to survive, a regime change is needed in both Washington DC and in Moscow to governments that serve and protect its people.

  40. JBird4049

    >>>LMPD Training Materials Portrayed Police As Avengers Who Carry Out God’s Wrath

    Nice to know that some police believe that they are serving God’s will in their repression, often violently.

  41. LawnDart

    From Mother Jones, this Saturday morning:

    Report: Largest Study Yet Shows Ivermectin Failed to Reduce Covid Hospitalizations

    A peer-reviewed study recently presented by Dr. Edward Mills, a professor of health sciences at McMaster University in Canada, offered significant new evidence that ivermectin was coronavirus snake oil all along.

    Of the 1,358 patients, researchers prescribed half a three-day course of ivermectin pills, and the other half with a placebo. They then tracked how many patients were hospitalized over the course of four weeks, how quickly the patients rid the virus from their bodies, and death rates, among other variables. The researchers parsed the data in a variety of different ways and found no instances where ivermectin impacted patient outcomes.

    I note that the information in this article (which does not provide a link to the study it cites) conflicts with (many) other studies cited in previous NC posts, to include a double-blind study in Israel:

    India Just Became Latest Country to Approve Use of Ivermectin to Treat Covid-19

    It’s Time To Talk About Ivermectin

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I have not had a chance to look at the underlying study. I did send the WSJ study to the Covid brain trust and did not get a comment.

      My two questions are when was the Ivermectin actually administered and what was the dose? The way the WSJ account reads, the patients tested positive on a rapid test (the home kits typically don’t have false positives; the clinic rapid tests can) and then got IVM. You need to know when they took the IVM relative to symptom onset. There is a fairly short window in which it supposedly helps. Dose also depends on bodyweight. If they didn’t adjust for that, it would likely be too low for heavy people….who are more likely to be diabetic.

      1. LawnDart

        IYes, a lot of words in the article I linked to that seemed to cover up a lack of information.

        I mostly posted because MJ used to be considered “Left Wing,” and anti-establishment– an obvious bias while still adhering to journalistic standards.

        But they’ve gone neoliberal nutter.

  42. LawnDart


    $400 million worth of Western supplied weaponry destroyed in a single russian strike on the military base near Lvov — radio intercepted comms suggest that 267 foreign mercenaries have been killed in the strike. 50 year old Peter from Austria who fought alongside the “international legion of Ukraine” said that 800 to 1000 foreign mercenaries were present during the strike. Around 400 mercenaries were evacuated to Poland, many of whom have suffered severe burns & torn limbs from the Kalibr strike. There’s a high number of missing individuals still under the rubble which includes a high number of Americans, Poles and Romanians. Former NATO officers are Amongst the dead.

  43. Susan the other

    I’m feeling lonely. Not another comment on the Live Science post about our twin universe. The CPT theory whereby everything in our twin is a mirror image of us. Where C is charge: the electric charges are the reverse of all those in our uni; where P is 3 new right-handed neutrinos to offset our 3 lefties; and where T is time and it runs backward. I’m left savoring the whole thing. Wonder what happens to entropy – did everything start out completely dissipated and is slowly re-organizing itself?

  44. What a Wonderful West

    This is just crazy. We are going towards a really a dark age in the wonderful value-based West.

    Patrick Armstrong pausing because of accusations of being a Russian agent of desinformation.

    The West really need a new Soviet Union to arise. The previous Soviet Union forced our oligarchs to some concessions to avoid revolution, like introduce a social welfare state, some freedom of expression and a bit of free journalism. Now when Russia and China are sinking deeper into censorship our misleadership is not even trying. The neoliberal dismantlement of the welfare state and now the freedom of expresssion proves exactly what kind of fascist they really are.

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