Links 3/29/2022

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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* * *

Are Humans the Only Animals That Lie? Discover Magazine (Dr. Kevin). I thought it was pretty well established that crows engage in deception….

WATCH: How do geckos hunt deadly scorpions? Haaretz. Furzy: “This is how my Lab Claire killed King Cobras….” Moi: Never try it with a much faster viper.

Florida’s Starving Manatees Ate ‘Every Scrap’ of Food in Trial Feeding Program EcoWatch (furzy)

Of Drugs and Monkeys Wall Street Journal (Dr. Kevin)

Killing Wolves to Own the Libs? New Yorker (furzy)

We Are Made of Plasticstuff: Scientists Find Microplastics in Human Blood The Wire (J-LS)

The Few Body Problem & the Metaphysics of Stupidity notesfromdisgraceland (resilc)



Imaging the Brain: What Brain Scans Reveal About the Consequences of Covid-19 Forbes (resilc)


China’s quest for new ways to handle Omicron Global Times. Lotta hand-waving.


Covid funding inaction threatens fragile progress on racial, economic disparities Politico

Vaccination Rates and COVID Outcomes across U.S. States NBER (resilc)


Daimler trucks chief warns cost of electric will ‘forever be higher’ Financial Times (Kevin W)

Insurers could have been climate heroes. Instead, they have risked a crisis to dwarf 2008 Eugene Linden, Guardian


Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare ‘insulted’ by reaction to security treaty with China ABC Australia (Kevin W)


The India Fix: Why Delhi hosting the Chinese foreign minister is a worrying sign for Indian power The Scroll (J-LS)

Old Blighty

P&O: Second ferry detained over safety concerns BBC (Kevin W)

New Not-So-Cold War

I should write about the gas game of chicken, but (mixing metaphors, forgive me), I’d like to see more shoes drop, or alternatively, more analysis. Polar Socialist noted yesterday:

In 2016 Gazprom had over 70 bcm storage capacity in Russia, and I don’t think that includes the depleted fields they also use as storage. So they may well have storage for at least a 3-4 months of production, which may be longer than G7 or EU can be without.

G7-Staaten lehnen Gas-Zahlungen in Rubel ab Tagesschau (“G7 countries reject gas payments in rubles”). Guurst: “Delusional.” Moi: It’s a bit rich to be harping about sanctity of contracts after having expropriated $300 billion.

Der deutsche Streit ums Gasembargo Der Zeit. TF: “Just as the Russians get ready to publish their rules for Roubles, Scholz says Germany can’t live without gas, even as he refuses to pay in Roubles..”

Bank of England expects UK energy shock on the scale of the 1970s Guardian

From the Russian site Aftershock, translated, which summarizes various news stories, including ones in English. Can anyone confirm or deny?

* * *

Russia says West not welcome at peace talks RT (Kevin W). Lavrov cited US conduct in 2014 and 2015, and of course we have the more recent scuttling of the effort to revive the Minsk Accord, formally by Zelensky, but it’s hard to think that the US didn’t have a hand in it. Earlier evidence of US intransigence came via Biden Admin escalating with Russia, which reportedly included a meeting that Victoria Nuland had at the Kremlin in October where she was allegedly astonishingly rude and imperious confirmed that the US was even more committed to the idea that it could push Russia around than evah. See Gonzalo Lira starting at 1:36:30. Can’t verify accuracy but does not seem implausible in light of Biden “regime change” demand. If you read his full speech in Munich, this was no gaffe, it followed from his argument (which also relied on conflating the USSR with modern Russia…)

Could Russia and Ukraine be ready for real negotiations? Miller Center, UVA

Roman Abramovich suffered suspected poisoning at talks BBC. Russia wants a resolutoin sooner rather than later. The ones opposed to the negotiations are the neo-Nazis (and to a lesser degree the US), who are believed to be behind the killing of another negotiator who was rumored to be close to Russia.

* * *

Germany may prosecute use of pro-Russia ‘Z’ symbol Al Jazeera (Kevin W). Not the actions of a confident nation.

Europe recommends ending golden passports and visas for Russians National News. The first real anti-Putin action regarding those billionaires. Much better for Russia if they continue to hang out in London.

Russia to restrict visas for people from ‘unfriendly countries’ Reuters

85 percent of Americans concerned US will be drawn into Ukraine, Russia conflict: poll The Hill. Resilc: “‘Will be’???’

* * *

Lambert ran CNN on this story in yesterday’s Links, but it isn’t going away:

KRIEGSVERBRECHEN IN UKRAINE?| Video zeigt Schüsse auf gefangene Putin-Soldaten. Bild. So here we have what looks like actual evidence (yes, video so deserving of skepticism but apparently solid enough for Bild) of what sure looks like Ukrainian war crimes, vs. US accusations based on the word “children” written on Russian on a bomb near the now-famous maternity hospital.

Ukraine to probe after videos show alleged Russian POWs shot, abused New York Post. The Post has more detail than some other outlets of claims v. counterclaims.

Activism, Uncensored: In Washington, Calls to “Close the Sky” Matt Taibbi

* * *

Biden Confirms Why the US Needed This War Consortium News (furzy)

I Make No Apologies’: Biden Says His Putin Comments Were an Expression of Moral Outrage New York Times. Um, this sort of thing is not working outside our echo chamber. Notice the views. It was also getting new tweets. I am told this translated clip was even more widely circulated on Chinese social media:

Patriarch Kirill: Putin ally faces backlash after ‘blessing’ war Al Jazeera (resilc). Worked for Patton, see movie version.


Biden risking new wars with Iran ‘diplomacy’ — and our Middle East allies know it The Hill (RobertC). Making explicit that peace = American weakness.

The US Should Remember that Israel’s Squatter-Settlements in Palestine are War Crimes Juan Cole

With two shocking attacks, ISIS rears its head in Israel. Haaretz (furzy)

Imperial Collapse Watch

Pointing to Ukraine war, arms lobby pushes for ′sustainable′ label DW (resilc)

How Albright’s ‘Munich mindset’ turned into uninhibited interventionism Responsible Statecraft

Pentagon wants to scrap dozens of F-22 fighter jets RT (Kevin W). Reader Li has maintained they are crappy for a while…

‘Russian Agent!’ McCarthyite Attacks on Anti-Imperialists, w/ Justin Podur & Rania Khalek YouTube

War Is No Solution American Conservative (resilc). Um, depends on your problem definition…

Great Post-Cold War American Thinkers on International Relations Gilbert Doctorow


A Google billionaire’s fingerprints are all over Biden’s science office Politico (Kevin W)

Death Penalty for Abortions Becomes Pivotal Issue in GOP Runoff in Texas Newsweek (furzy)

The Bottomless Corruption of Ginni and Clarence Thomas New Republic. Resilc: “There is a lot of bottomless corruption to go around in deecee.”

Big Pharma Is Betting on Bigger Political Ambitions From Sen. Tim Scott KHN

Colorado officials declare ‘year-round’ fire season The Hill (resilc)

Cuomo Set Out to ‘Transform’ Mental Health Care for Kids. Now They Can’t Get Treatment. THE CITY

Supply Chain

The Supply Chain Crisis Is About to Get a Lot Worse Wired

Shanghai Covid-19 Lockdown Poses Fresh Test to Supply Chains Wall Street Journal

New Supply Chain Risk: 22,000 Dockworkers Who May Soon Strike New York Times (resilc)

A World That’s More Expensive Is Starting to Destroy Demand Bloomberg (resilc)

What To Expect From This Week’s OPEC+ Meeting OilPrice (Kevin W)

Are Americans Unhappy? FiveThirtyEight (resilc)

Class Warfare

Central Alabama food bank receiving less food from USDA WBRC

Child poverty spiked by 41 percent in January after Biden benefit program expired, study finds Washington Post

Antidote du jour. Josh D: “It’s turkey mating season, and the toms are showing off.”

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Vikas Saini

    The FT is now laundering the Neo-Nazi’s.

    I take this as a sign that they are gearing up for a “German” solution for the endgame — Like the OSS/CIA did with the BND and remnants of the German officer corps, try to preserve as much of the Ukraine army and incorporate Nazi elements to harden it up against Russian cooperation in the post war period…

    The news that the Russians might be willing to allow Ukraine to join EU but not NATO is an interesting gambit. That means Germans will have to put their money where their mouth is to support the post-war reconstruction of Ukraine.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Its obviously a little tongue in cheek if the Russians are saying they’d be happy for the Ukraine to join the EU.
      For a whole list of reasons there is simply zero chance of this happening, plenty of EU States would be perfectly happy to block it (joining requires unanimity). The Russians of course know this full well.

      1. liam

        An interesting aside to this:

        In an interview with the late Stephen Cohen by Aaron Maté, the good professor, having read the offer made by the EU to Ukraine in 2014, pointed out that there was a clause wherein, “free trade” with Europe required Ukraine to “adhere to the procedures, rules and norms of NATO”. At the 13.00 min mark.

          1. Watt4Bob

            I think this is what you’re looking for;

            Council of the European Union, Conclusions on Ukraine 3209th Foreign Affairs Council Meeting.

            Look for this phrase, and similar, repeated often enough to demonstrate its importance.

            “The Council recalls the importance of the jointly agreed Association Agenda in preparing for a possible future entry into force of the Association Agreement and its Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area.”

            1. cmoncmon

              I do not understand, perhaps you could explain? The association agreement and deep etc agreements referred to are clearly EU agreements. Nothing in there I can see about nato.

          2. OISIN

            It doesn’t pass the sniff test at least. NATO is nothing to do with free trade and many EU countries were implicatly opposed to NATO membership at least until the last few weeks.

            1. Paradan

              It’s policy speak for, “Let us use your country to wage war against Russia, and we’ll provide you with favorable access to our magical finance machine so that you may enrich your ruling class.”

            2. lance ringquist

              nato has everything to do with free trade.

              i am not. free trade requires war. this was stated by the nutcase that got us entangled in free trade.

              under free trade whats mine is mine, whats yours is mine. any country that was foolish enough to believe they were special and not subject to smash and grab, were fools.

              nafta billy clinton made this quite clear.

              clearly this is fascism,

              “bill clinton did this,
              NATO bombed Yugoslavia for 78 days following accusations that Milošević was ethnically cleansing Albanians in Kosovo.
              The late Milošević was quietly and de facto cleared of all charges by the Hague Tribunal in 2016, but by the time the truth came out, Yugoslavia was long gone, broken into seven, more manageable and exploitable, countries. One of those profiteers, Albright’s financial management company, was involved in the privatization of Kosovo’s telecommunications company. From Wikipedia, one can learn that she too likely profits well from her war mongering, along with other untouchables”

              bill clinton did this to the mexicans,
              “There’s no other option for us. It’s either certain death in our villages where we can’t survive, largely due to NAFTA, or maybe dying on the road.”

              “a bill clinton mouth piece,
              In a March 28 New York Times article, Thomas Friedman wrote:
              “For globalization to work, America can’t be afraid to act like the almighty superpower that it is… The hidden hand of the market will never work without a hidden fist. McDonald’s cannot flourish without McDonnell Douglas, the designer of the F-15. And the hidden fist that keeps the world safe for Silicon Valley’s technologies is called the United States Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps.”
              As NATO troops entered Kosovo, the same newspaper announced Kosovo’s new currency will be the U.S. dollar or German mark, currencies of the two countries most responsible for Yugoslavia’s break-up. And after months of being told that Slobodan Milosevic was the problem, we heard Washington Balkans expert, Daniel Serwer, explain:
              “It’s not a single person that’s at issue, there’s a regime in place in Belgrade that is incompatible with the kind of economy that the World Bank… has to insist on…”

              ” Bill Clinton elaborated:
              “If we’re going to have a strong economic relationship that includes our ability to sell around the world Europe has got to be the key; that’s what this Kosovo thing is all about… It’s globalism versus tribalism.”
              “Tribalism” was the word used by 19th century free trade liberals to describe nationalism. And this war was all about threatening any nation which might have ideas of independence.”

              “Globalization undermines both democracy and national sovereignty, the only guarantors of human rights. Unfortunately for Messrs. Clinton, Chretien et al, that message was not lost on millions around the world watching NATO bombs pulverize Yugoslavia.”

              “Globalism is the creation of a set of property rights that, precisely because they span multiple sovereignties, cannot be touched by one government without inviting conflict with another.

              Organizing property and production across borders—whether through free trade, protections for foreign investment, currency unions or other devices—does more than limit the power of governments. It also serves, “to dissolve the small, discrete collective of mutual identification—which means a country.”

              offshore tax havens are a direct result of free trade: the pathology of free trade is being exposed

              Today’s global rich are increasingly stateless, detaching their money from nation states and conventional representations of ownership to hide and preserve it. A global oligarchy is growing — and it does not bode well for everyone else and the planet.

              free trade enables the plundering of the wealth of nations, especially hurting the world’s most poor and vulnerable populations. It allows wealthy individuals and corporations to dodge and evade their tax responsibilities, shifting obligations onto those with fewer resources. It empowers criminals, deadbeats, and kleptocrats

              in 1983 there were only 15 billionaires in the u.s.a., under nafta billy clintons free trade, billionaires have ballooned into more than 615, and under free trade, this is happening globally

        1. PlutoniumKun

          I wasn’t aware of that – its quite extraordinary if true, not to mention almost certainly illegal under the EU founding treaties – six of the EU Member States are not Nato members.

          But it wouldn’t be the first time something like this was slipped into obscure agreements with member states either not consulted, or deciding to turn a blind eye.

          1. liam

            As a courtesy to cmoncmon I had a cursory look for the document in question. I think the relevant document is this one:


            But it’s from 2016, and I have no way of knowing what changes were introduced into the text over the intervening years, or if indeed this is the document he was referring to. It mentions NATO but not in the manner suggested by Professor Cohen. Unfortunately there’s no way to ask him now.

            1. David

              Interesting: I can’t claim to have read it all (it’s an immense document) but I can’t find any reference to NATO as such.

              1. liam

                There’s a political component that I didn’t find in the EU’s document archives. So I had a look at the Ukrainian gov site. This is the closest I found, which doesn’t specifically mention NATO, but concerns security matters.

                1. Political dialogue in all areas of mutual interest shall be further developed and strengthened between the Parties. This will promote gradual convergence on foreign and security matters with the aim of Ukraine’s ever-deeper involvement in the European security area.


                Article 10 is interesting

                1. David

                  It mentions the Common Security and Defence Policy, which is specifically an EU policy, and has nothing to do with NATO.

                  1. liam

                    Thanks David. It’s a whole area of EU machinery that I’m quite ignorant of. Like most people I suspect. It’s important!

              2. cmoncmon

                In one version of this document, I was able to find a country-specific services reference that some regulated entities (companies) had to be from NATO countries. Nothing remotely like what Cohen claims.

        2. Brian Beijer

          I have said this before, but I think it is appropriate to restate it here. A few weeks ago, Zelensky said in a press conference, “I called all 27 countries (in EU) to ask if we could join NATO, and they said no”. Other commenters replied that “he must have misspoke”.
          I don’t think he misspoke at all. I think he let it slip that EU membership requires that country to be a member of NATO as well… whether officially or unofficially. It just makes sense. For decades, the EU’s long-term goal (now short -term) is to have a unified military force. It would be impossible to acheive this goal without every country being a NATO member, or at least, that it “adhere to the procedures, rules and norms of NATO”.

          1. David

            I don’t think it’s ever been an ambition of anyone to have a “unified military force” in Europe. There’s been a debate about this for thirty years now, and the general objective is to develop an independent capability for military action and decision-making, outside the NATO structures. This requires a permanent military HQ: something which the British succeeded in holding up for decades, and only started to be implemented in 2017. This would enable Europe to mount operations without using the NATO command structures (as was done for Bosnia) or using an expanded national HQ, as has been done several times. There are pragmatic advantages in having troops trained in the same procedures (in practice NATO) but that’s all.

            1. Tor User

              The EU has been talking about standing up a force for a long time. They did some paperwork back in 1999.


              Since the EU has done some minor things which overlap with NATO quite a bit.

              They have said they will really do something this time.

              Article 42 of the EU treaty is a lot like Article 5 of the NATO treaty.

            2. Brian Beijer

              “I don’t think it’s ever been an ambition of anyone to have a “unified military force” in Europe.”

              It’s my understanding that both Jean Monnet and Johan Beyen, two of the EU “pioneers”, initially tried to persuade six European countries to form a European Defence Community after WWII along with the European Coal and Steel Community. So, the idea of some form of unified European military force seems to predate, or at least was contemporaneous, with the idea of forming a European common market.


              This 42 page paper provides a very detailed analysis of the EU’s current efforts to acheive a unified defence by 2025.

              From the introduction:

              The aim of creating a Defence Union is inscribed
              in the Lisbon Treaty, and the ambition is as old as
              the Union itself. Attempts over the years to create
              such a Union have, however, been frustrated by
              remaining divisions in post-War Europe. When
              the new Commission in 2019 underlined the goal
              of creating a Defence Union by 2025, it resonated
              with public support for increased defence
              cooperation in view of a deteriorating security
              situation along the Union’s rim, from the Ukraine
              to the Sahel.

              1. David

                I didn’t want to go down the EDC rabbit-hole, partly because the institutional memory of that shambolic initiative (pushed very hard by the US, resisted by the French among others) was actually a major reason why the idea of European defence went away for so long, and only really came back to life in the late 1980s. The post-1992 debate (which I was involved in) had nothing in common with that, and anyway was more geared to operations outside Europe. Real, as opposed to rhetorical, progress has been glacial, and as the French have recently been complaining about Mali, there’s little enthusiasm among most nations for genuine operational cooperation. By the way, your quotation mentions the Commission, which has no competence in this area, though they’ve been trying to get into it since 1991, when they put forward a draft treaty that would have established something closer to an EDC model to be introduced, with a major role for themselves. It was kicked to death by a group of the larger nations.

                1. Brian Beijer

                  By the way, your quotation mentions the Commission, which has no competence in this area

                  That’s an interesting comment to make about the Commission since this paper was written by the Senior Adviser at Sieps (Swedish Institute for Euopean Policy Studies). Perhaps she is ignorant of the Commision’s competency in this matter. Could you provide a source to back up your claim?

                  1. Yves Smith Post author

                    “Competence” as I understand it = jurisdiction. And even as an American, I’ve never heard of the European Commission having a nexus to defense.

                    1. David

                      In Euro-speak it means “responsibility for.” The Commission has been trying for decades to elbow its way into the security area, with some success, simply because it has lots of money. Originally, defence and security were an exclusively national competence, but since 2009, with the abolition of the Pillar system, the Commission has a small role where states have already decided to work together on an issue in the EU.

                    2. PlutoniumKun

                      Yes, exactly, ‘competence’ means who is responsible for what. I think it is a concept that largely comes from northern European law – the notion that its not enough to make something legal or illegal, you must be explicit as to who is responsible (or whose desk the buck stops on).

                      Its caused a lot of confusion in the past in the UK and Ireland because for many years it hadn’t occurred to them that European Directives and other legal instruments actually meant what they said and were supposed to be taken seriously. The Irish legal system is still reeling from the shock.

        3. lance ringquist

          free trade requires war. it cannot be sustained any other way. if trade was subject to democratic control which the original Gatt was, then people may have control of their own resources and markets.

    2. JohnA

      And also note, there have been strong hints from EU countries that refugee status for Ukrainians would only be temporary. EU membership would result in a flood of permanent immigration from western Ukraine. Not sure that would fly, somehow.

    3. Mel

      I don’t see it that way. Somebody will have to put resources where their mouth — no, that metaphor doesn’t work, does it?
      Somebody will have to back up their opinions with resources to rebuild Ukraine-in-EU.
      The money will all be borrowed. Eurobanks have to build their balance sheets somehow.

  2. Samuel Conner

    Re: supply constraints producing price spikes and demand destruction,

    it’s not too late to order seed potatoes.

    Fedco still has a number of varieties available:

    They will start shipping in a few weeks.

    If space is a constraint, perhaps use ‘grow bags’ to increase output per square foot. This might also make it easier to control the potato beetles that your plants may attract.

    1. Bandit

      I spent almost 50 years cultivating and promoting organic gardens, and so gained a lot of experience from old school gardeners. One of the things I learned is to use what is available around us, including last year’s crop potatoes for seed the coming spring. We never bought seed potatoes and often traded some more exotic varieties such a Purple potatoes from old Norwegian farmers and Yukon Gold which were practically unknown 40 years ago and which are now commercial favorites.

      If you cannot locate “organic” potatoes at the farmer’s market, gardeners can use commercial potatoes from the supermarket. An inorganic seed potato will not contaminate an organic garden. If you are worried, you can grow potatoes above ground covered over with 24″ of straw; better yet, seaweed or seagrass which are full of minerals. Don’t worry about the salt, there is not enough of it to harm the soil.

      1. Randy

        Years ago when I grew potatoes I used whatever potatoes I had for seed. You can’t do that anymore. Late Blight is a much bigger problem now than it was years ago.

        A few years ago my tomatoes got infected with Late Blight after a wet Labor Day weekend. The spores get into the air and rain washes them out. Somebody in my neighborhood must have provided the spores. On Tuesday my tomato leaves were turning gray. By Friday they were all dead. Late Blight, unlike Early Blight destroys the fruit also. Five nice plants full of tomatoes, a week later, nothing. I had no experience with Late Blight, it was an eye opener. It is a really nasty fungus.

        If you grow potatoes it is a good idea to use certified disease free seed potatoes.

        The county next to me is a big potato producing county. If them farmers found blight in their fields and identified your contaminated garden as the source you might be in big big trouble.

      2. BMW DOG

        I was the first commercial grower of the Purple Peruvian Potatoes and did this on my farm in Nevada. What a wonderful time to be a organic producer of specialty crops. I grew 77different kinds of potatoes and 44 different garlics. Now too damn old and low energy.

        1. LawnDart

          44 different garlics…

          All hail thee, my lord!

          Please tell us you mentored someone to carry on with your devine works?

  3. Steve H.

    > Patriarch Kirill: Putin ally faces backlash after ‘blessing’ war Al Jazeera (resilc).

    Vladimir Putin shies away from hand kiss

    Or as I like to say, Putin almost punches priest.

    I think about this video a lot, the nature of authority and the church. Putin does not demure towards a spiritual figure, he makes a fist. Not in public, Sergey, back to the praying cell for you.

    Choose out some secret place, some reverent room
    More than thou hast, and with it joy thy life:
    So as thou livest in peace, die free from strife:

    1. Kevin Smith

      Putin should see if Patriarch Kirill can give him refuge in a monastery, where Putin could devote himself to prayer, fasting and penance. At least in the monastery Putin might be reasonably safe …

  4. PlutoniumKun

    Great Post-Cold War American Thinkers on International Relations Gilbert Doctorow

    A terrific read – I’d especially recommend the last 3 paragraphs or so.

    1. DJG, Reality Czar

      PlutoniumKun: Agreed. The point about Brzezinski’s pedigree is not politically incorrect, yet someone with two functioning brain cells should have taken notice of his built-in grudges. (Nuland, likewise.)

      Insightful, and amusing, is Doctorow’s take on Huntington.

      And then there is that remarkable ending to the article: Von der Leyen certainly doesn’t come off well. Yet if the EU elites don’t learn how to buy and sell gas forthwith, it is going to be a horrible year.

  5. PlutoniumKun

    The India Fix: Why Delhi hosting the Chinese foreign minister is a worrying sign for Indian power The Scroll

    The author makes the interesting point that India has found itself in too weak a position to make a fuss about China slowly inching its way over the Tibetan Plateau into India, including taking some long-time Indian territory.

    Its an interesting potential fly in the ointment in the Russian-Chinese alliance. These types of alliances only seem simple to people taking a big-picture overview. In reality, there are always complications and the Indians may extract a price from the Russians for their support, and this price may be something the Chinese don’t like.

    1. John Beech

      Hmmmm, I’m thinking ‘may’ is doing a lot of heavy lifting in the last sentence, PK

    2. RobertC

      PK — perhaps my optimism is overwhelming my realism but my assessment of this rapidly evolving situation is China is not asking India to give up its non-aligned policy, its Quad membership, etc etc. Rather China is asking India to reduce tensions with a militarily-secure and economically-transparent border so both can peacefully feed their 1.4B people in a rapidly changing climate.

      There are existing frameworks, eg Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and the Russia-India-China grouping I cite at
      RobertC March 11, 2022 at 6:22 pm

      I don’t think China is making a feint to distract the US from Russia. I believe this is an intentional planned and permanent shift in the neighborhood’s geopolitical relationships. And China has already priced it out.

    3. RobertC

      And Mr Daleep “Sanctions” Singh is off to India US national security official to travel to India to discuss Russia response to patch things up after Victoria “Yats is our guy” Nuland’s visit last week.

      “Singh will consult closely with counterparts on the consequences of Russia’s unjustified war against Ukraine and mitigating its impact on the global economy. Singh will also discuss priorities of the Biden Administration, including the promotion of high-quality infrastructure through Build Back Better World and the development of an Indo-Pacific Economic Framework.”

      BBBW and IPEF are Biden fantasies.

      BRI and RCEP aren’t.

      And Sausage Factory March 27, 2022 at 5:44 am says

      SDRs pose a serious alternative to the US dollar, both for the EAEU, the BRI’s 145 member states, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), ASEAN, and the RCEP. Middle East countries, including Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, are keenly interested.

      Less well known is that the EAEU, the BRI, the SCO, ASEAN, and the RCEP were discussing a merger before the currency news hit.

      As pointed in the The Scroll and other articles, Indian minds are being concentrated on the militarily-secure, economically-transparent non-aligned future of its 1.4B people.

  6. JohnA

    Re Germany may prosecute use of pro-Russia ‘Z’ symbol

    Is there a word in German to replace Zeitgeist?

      1. PaulaDoubleday

        How about subtracting a line through the H in WWHITEHOUSE?

        (WWIII if you didn’t get it.) Who could have imagined civilization ending because of an old man’s verbal incontinence?

      2. integer

        Replacing z with the Azov symbol is weak tea. At this point the west might as well just go all-in and legislate a wholesale replacement of the letter z with a swastika.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Ohmygod! Ohmygod! Ohmygod! I just realized. You know what Germany needs right now? A masked bandit appearing out of the night dressed in black with a mask, cape and a stylish hat but armed with a can of spray-paint instead of a sword. Appearing and disappearing to to leave his mark on the side of buildings and signs- (1:47 mins)

      1. John Zelnicker

        Rev – My father was nicknamed Zorro in grammar school. Not that he did anything to deserve it, he was a very peaceable guy.

      2. Paradan

        And they wouldn’t be able to arrest him because hes The Gay Blade!!!

        This is brilliant. I hope some bored German sees this.

    2. hunkerdown

      My nickel’s on Das Xeitgeist.

      (Again I must recommend Costa-Gavras’ movie Z which was named for this very same orthographic eliminationism.)

  7. The Rev Kev

    “Patriarch Kirill: Putin ally faces backlash after ‘blessing’ war”

    The Russian Orthodox Church has its own place in Russian society and when Russian soldiers go into battle, their priests go with them. They even undergo parachute training so that they can go in with the Russian Airborne Forces along with flat-packs which become, when assembled, churches. Heard about one fierce priest that on a plane with new parachutists, would not hesitate to give them the heave-ho out the door if they hesitated too long to ‘encourage them’.

    They are conservative in nature but it seems to work for them. Heard about one battle twenty-thirty years ago where they went against some extremist Muslims who would shout ‘Allahu Akbar’ while the Russian Orthodox soldiers would shout back ‘Christ has risen.’ That Al Jazeera article also mentioned that ‘the Orthodox Church of Ukraine broke away from the Moscow Patriarchate in 2018’ but what really happened is that the ultra-nationalists forced that to happen using violence to ensure that the Russia-Ukraine split also had a religious dimension to it and when the Istanbul-based Eastern Orthodox Church through corruption recognized them, the Russian Orthodox Church split with them as well.

    1. Michael Ismoe

      And now a blast from the past:

      Spellman was an outspoken supporter of the Vietnam War, to the extent that the conflict became known as “Spelly’s War” and the Cardinal as the “Bob Hope of the clergy”.[10] He met Ngo Dinh Diem in 1950 and, favorably impressed by his strongly Catholic and anti-Communist views, promoted his career; however, he disassociated from Diem before the latter’s assassination in 1963.[10] Fearful of Communist gains in Vietnam, Spellman had urged American intervention since late 1954,[10] but by the 1960s his views were strongly criticized by antiwar activists and even his fellow religious leaders.[32]

      When Pope Paul VI visited the United States in October 1965, he indirectly rebuked Spellman’s hawkish stance by pleading for peace before the United Nations. A group of college students protested outside his residence in December 1965 for suppressing antiwar priests, and he later spent that year’s Christmas with troops in South Vietnam.[10] While in Vietnam, Spellman quoted Stephen Decatur in declaring, “My country, may it always be right, but right or wrong, my country”.[6] He also described Vietnam as a “war for civilization” and “Christ’s war against the Vietcong and the people of North Vietnam”.[10] One priest accused Spellman of “[blessing] the guns which the pope is begging us to put down”.[23] In January 1967, antiwar protestors disrupted a Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.[6] His support for the Vietnam War, along with his opposition to church reform, greatly undermined Spellman’s clout within the church and country.[10]

      Spellman was awarded the Sylvanus Thayer Award by the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, in 1967. Illustrator Edward Sorel designed a poster in 1967 titled Pass the Lord and Praise the Ammunition, showing Spellman carrying a rifle with bayonet

      1. Michael Fiorillo

        He was also a notorious pedophile (at in that era and immediately after), known to cruise Times Square in his limousine.

  8. OIFVet

    If Ukrainians have indeed committed war crimes against POWs, then I can only hope that the perpetrators are caught and executed after a speedy trial. As a veteran, that video sickened me to the core.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I think that it is a fair bet that the GRU – Russian military intelligence – would have opened up a case file on those guys to deal with sooner or later. If I were them, I would learn to keep my chin on my shoulder.

      1. Randy

        According to “Reminiscence of the Future” the Russians have nabbed a couple of the perps.

    2. Polar Socialist

      Several Russian sources say that the perpetrators (one of them being a violent criminal recently let go from jail to fight the Russians) and the location have been identified, and that Vladimir Shamanov, head of the Duma Defense Committee announced the perpetrators have already been captured by Russian special forces.

      There’s an actual video of Shamanov making the announcement, but so far there’s no other proof of them being in Russian custody.

      1. ambrit

        The Russians are serious about de-Nazification. There must still be some around there who remember what happened when the original Nazis came to town.
        The Russians supplying effective ‘police services’ for the Donbass Republics is a harbinger of things to come.
        My money is now on a formal partitioning of the Ukraine.

  9. Furzy

    My Labrador Claire wasted some dozen cobras and even a 20′ python over the years….she would grab them in the middle, shake it sharply to snap the back, and then more or less harry the poor critter to death…usually avoiding the head of course!! Alas, one day she came back victoriously carrying a King cobra to show off, and I noticed a drop of blood on her tongue. I mistakenly assumed it was the result of the attack, but some 4 hours later, Claire passed away, curled up in front of my Buddha altar. =:(

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      we lost a dog to a rattler, many years ago.
      it had never occurred to us that the canines would be so foolish…
      ergo, it’s become standard whenever we kill a rattler(only critter besides mosquitos that i don’t tolerate within 200′ of the houses)…we cut off and bury the head, and scare the hell out of whatever dogs we have with the body.
      so far, lesson well learned.

      i’ve seen random vids over the years of King Cobras in people’s houses in some tropical place or another…and that’s just too much,lol.
      4 foot western diamondbacks are bad enough…cobras are frelling huge.
      (also,one good thing about rattlesnakes, is they don’t really climb much…good swimmers, tho…and i have seen them in trees out over the river…ready to drop into the canoe(altho usually such menaces are water moccasins))

      1. Robert Gray

        > i have seen them in trees out over the river…ready to drop into the canoe …

        Excuse my ignorance, but why would they do that? Do they (think they) see a meal in the canoe, or what? They can’t feel threatened, since they are in the tree and the canoe is below … ?

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          no. the canoe is incidental.
          i’ve had a big moccasin drop into my canoe because i bumped it into the branches(“strainer”, in canoe parlance)
          maybe after a bird.
          who can fathom the thinking of a serpent…a “motile alimentary canal”, per Joseph Campbell?)

  10. PlutoniumKun

    Pentagon wants to scrap dozens of F-22 fighter jets RT (Kevin W). Reader Li has maintained they are crappy for a while…

    The F-22 is simultaneously an amazing aircraft, by far the deadliest fighter in the sky (largely unbeatable in 1 on 1 pretend combat exercises), but also a complete waste of money and probably useless in a real fight. The proof is that it was supposed to replace the F-15 – but the F-15 is now being updated to provide the backbone to the USAF for the next few decades, while the F-22 is being slowly scrapped. Bear in mind that the F-22 was conceived in the 1990’s to replace the F-15, but the F-15 is still going strong and is likely to be flying into the 2060’s and beyond as a front line aircraft.

    Quite simply, its fancy radar absorbing structure is far too expensive to maintain and too vulnerable to wear and tear and damage in a real war. Its the classic hanger queen and it gobbles up a vast amount of resources. It hasn’t even provided a decent basic airframe for a potential future medium range strike aircraft for a variety of reasons. Another mistake in its design is that its electronics are ‘stand alone’, and don’t integrate with the F-35 or other systems. It may be lower profile, but in many ways it was even more of a fiasco than the F-35 programme.

    Ironically, the Koreans may be the beneficiaries. They’ve paid Lockheed big money for technical input to their new KF-21 Boromae multi-role fighter, and unsurprisingly it looks like an almost carbon copy of the F-22, albeit significantly smaller. No doubt the Koreans will work out how to build it with simpler, cheaper materials – something the US should probably have done instead of building the F-35. The Koreans are becoming the masters at looking at other countries technical stumbles, picking up the pieces, and then building something pretty amazing. It would not surprise me at all if in 10 years time the Boromae is beating out the F-35 worldwide in foreign sales.

    1. digi_owl

      In the end those cold war birds were conceived and designed to be trucks, not testosterone crutches or pork barrel work programs.

      Maximum firepower on target in the most cost effective way possible.

      And your description of South Korea sounds like 80s Japan. Only this time i suspect there will be no plaza accords, as there is a need to counterbalance China (not that SK has a shot at that in the long term based on pure scale).

    2. The Rev Kev

      Looks like the Pentagon also wants to get rid of those Littoral Combat Ships next year as being a waste of manpower-

      And even the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber is getting problematical. The US Air Force is letting out contracts to reverse-engineer parts from that plane as they are no longer manufactured and maybe somebody forgot to keep the blue-prints and the technical notes-

      So of course old Joe is demanding more money for the Pentagon for yet more weapons.

      1. Paradan

        The annoying thing about the B-2 is that the B-21 went into production years ago, and where the flak are they?

          1. Wukchumni

            Death Valley NP was the happy haunt for seeing the B-2 Stealth back in the day, must’ve seen it overhead 5 or 6 times, but that was 25 years ago.

      2. Carolinian

        MIC critic Andrew Cockburn on this (but partly paywalled)

        The eminent naval architect Kenneth Brower, designer of the Royal Navy’s carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth among many other ships, pointed out to me that the shallow draft (which in practice expanded to just over 14 feet) is “operationally useless,” as nefarious Iranians and Somalis are often to be found in far shallower waters. “So why,” he enquired, “uniquely constrain the draft of a 3500-ton ship?” Among other deleterious effects, this shallow draught precluded the big propellers normally installed on a ship of this size, forcing their substitution by water-jets. These work fine at high speeds, for which the LCS employs a fuel-guzzling gas turbine. But they are particularly vulnerable to barnacles, and remarkably inefficient at cruising speeds, when the ship switches over to a theoretically more economical diesel

        Hey every empire needs gunboats to subdue the natives. Just sounds like this one didn’t work.

    3. JohnnySacks

      The V-22 Osprey will see you and raise you. Never met it’s original functional test targets, main miss being able to land vertically with one dead engine. What hope can there ever be to free us from throwing the wealth of a generation or two on this bonfire when Dick Cheney can’t even accomplish his goal of killing off such a useless waste?

        1. petal

          A guy I grew up with was one of those killed early on. I think it educated a lot of locals about how the DoD treats its soldiers and families, and what it thinks of them.
          doug you are correct, four more were killed recently in Norway.

          1. newcatty

            I think it educated a lot of locals about how the DoD treats its soldiers and families, and what it thinks of them. </blockquote

            Understandable for how local people's were enlightened about how the DoD treats its soldiers and families . It's no secret how the US military treats its soldiers and families. There has to be more reasons a young person joins a volunteer military then the trope, TINA.

          1. PaulaDoubleday

            Often seen taking off from Camp Pendleton over the now closed San Onofre nuclear reactors, just upwind of San Diego, or Los Angeles, depending on wind direction.

            Imagine one crashing into the nukes.

    4. SOMK

      I wonder if the wrong plane won back when the YF-22 design was in competition against the YF-23? I recall the argument for the YF-22 was it was the better dogfighter, more manoeuvrable, but the YF-23 was regarded as the better interceptor with superior speed, long-range performance and stealth design. There are any number of theories about why the F-22 won out, the Navy wasn’t a fan of the Naval variant, McDonell Douglas were deemed to have won too many contracts and not delivered satisfactorily (on the B-2 in particular), that pilots wanted total air superiority as opposed to BVR etc.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        The official reason was that the YF-22 was considered a higher risk design. It pushed the envelope a little too far for the taste of the assessors. I suspect that it was also thought that Northrop wasn’t up to doing the full project and lacked mass production know-how – the Air Force wanted them to concentrate on bombers.

        Its always easy to look at the ‘maybe’ planes in history and wondered what would have happened if they’d been developed. The YF-23 was a gorgeous aircraft, but realistically it had the potential to be an even bigger turkey than the F-22 or F-35. Its been rumoured that the Japanese have studied it closely for their new F-X design, although the designs don’t look particularly similar.

      2. Louis Fyne

        my inner cynic says the F-22 won because the F22 looks sexy and the F23 looks goofy.

        That and Lockheed is connected better politically than Northrop

      3. Reaville

        When I was based at Edwards (1998-2001) in flight test, there were guys from the YF-23 program around and they said without exception that the F-22 was just better all around except for stealth. However, with the benefit of hindsight, stealth didn’t work out from a maintenance cost/hour perspective so picking the YF-23 because it was stealthier would have been the wrong decision.

        My impression is that the F-22 is an absolute beast in the air to air arena.

        As a side note, it was pointed out to the stealth mafia in the 80s and 90s that aircraft change radar reflectivity at the speed of airframe development (so 20 years or more) while radars change their ability to detect stealth at the rate of computer/software/firmware evolution (think Moore’s Law). So stealth was doomed to lose.

        But the MIC wanted stealth and here we are, nervously hoping that it won’t be put to the test and finding it unaffordable in any case.

  11. timbers

    G7 countries reject gas payments in rubles

    Seems the only certainty is most of us will come out worse off. If Russia cuts off all gas to Europe because Europe won’t pay, it’s price will move much higher. Can Europe honestly thing this is an option it can live with? This will bring enormous benefit to companies supplying gas and encourage more diversion of gas from US to Europe. All that spells much higher prices in the US and elsewhere and more corporate profits and lower living standards for most except maybe the wealthy.

    And many Americans think it is their duty to take the higher prices, that they are only being asked to pay a little more to regime change

    1. Vikas Saini

      Well, it looks like we are about to have some price discovery on the demand for regime change among the European and North American population…

      1. PaulaDoubleday

        One way to get rid of American’s obesity, near starvation, it’s a win win, healthier people instead of fatties and the U.S. gets to sell LNG to Europe.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      It’s a game of chicken with one side throwing a tantrum. The EU elites are banking on Russia giving up. The daily stories about the Russian offensive stalling is directed at them. Their math is Russia will need Euros before Europe needs gas. They aren’t thinking in terms of industry because seasonal changes are priced in but voters seeing the bills. The Volkswagen factory’s needs aren’t part of the political equation normally.

      Then Western elites haven’t rationalized with fallout from their actions. It may not be on schedule, but Moscow and Beijing aren’t throwing up their hands going what do we do now because they haven’t trusted the West since Libya when it was apparent Shrub wasn’t an aberration who scared otherwise reasonable politicians.

      Game of chicken from the EU perspective.

      1. Wukchumni

        Russia sets fixed gold price as it restarts official bullion purchases | Kitco News

        I heard the new monetary management was set @ the Bretton Łódź conference.

    3. amused_in_sf

      The question is how much LNG the US could actually ship to Europe? The announcement that the US would replace much of Europe’s Russian imports is already being revealed as a farce, since the plan is actually to divert LNG shipments from other countries (who have yet to sign on to the plan).

      If the US and Canada are already exporting LNG at close to the capacity of their ports, then prices in N. America won’t track those in Europe, at least until new facilities are built.

        1. JBird4049

          Child poverty is important? It has been on the rise, with the exception of the recent stimulus checks, for decades. I expect that any rises in fuel costs resulting in more poverty and death especially next winter will get a gigantic meh from the media and the Powers That Be.

    4. John Beech

      So the question boils down in a similar manner to a dispute between a laborer and the boss. Laborer withholds his services in a strike action and the boss hires wildcatters unless the government stops him. So who plays the role of government in Russia says to pay in Rubles? Nobody so it comes down to a power play, can Russia do without income longer than the richer nations can scrounge around for more expensive supply?

      Gonna get interesting! Who has the popcorn?

  12. Lex

    The great minds over at Foreign Policy are discussing “grand strategy”. I get Hudson’s point and I don’t disagree with who the semi-primary targets of US machinations are, but I’m not willing to describe the shapers of US foreign policy as “smart”. Intelligent and well-educated perhaps, but not smart in terms of actionable use of intelligence in context.

    The hand kiss video is pretty wild given how Putin is a devout Orthodox Christian. I guess we can call that separation of church and state?

    1. dftbs

      At this rate US grand strategy over the next decade will be akin to finding the geopolitical equivalent of loose change in couch cushions to pay for the next tank of gas.

      In addition to the gas/ruble move which defrocks the Euro and USD of significant purchasing power, the Russian move to set a fixed price for Bullion purchases has now effectively put a real world (not leveraged world) floor on the Ruble and likely eliminated the Western CB ability to manipulate paper gold prices. This continues to lay bare the lack of utility of Western monies outside the West.

      The experts from the “academy” to the administration have displayed a criminal incompetence. Russia and China couldn’t have dreamt up a better troupe of clowns to go against then the ones now in charge.

      The next foreign policy article should round up 7 experts from prestigious international relations faculties and think-tanks as they figure out how to work a light switch.

      1. Lex

        Right? Putin and Xi’s text conversations must have devolved into nothing but variations on laughing emojis.

        I’ve never wanted an empire, but if there must be an empire I demand at least competence. I saw Dugin speaking recently (a good analyst of geopolitics but a crackpot in terms of prescriptions and maybe a little fascist on the side) and he related a story of meeting with Brzezinski in the early 2000’s where Brzezinski told Dugin that chess was a one player game. You move, spin the board and move from the other side. Apparently US foreign policy took that to heart because it is continually surprised and flummoxed any time it has to play the “grand chessboard” with an opponent.

        Did they really think that they’d sanction Russia and there would be no response? Nobody gamed out all the possible response Russia would enact and build sets of counter-response options? These are not serious people. Putin is a serious person. Xi is a serious person. We’re getting our asses handed to us and are petulant about it.

    2. Ellery O'Farrell

      Not that I’m privy to Putin’s thoughts, but as a practicing Catholic (cousin to Russian Orthodox, at least as described by Dostoevsky) I’d have done the same. It’s a violation of mores: I kiss the Pope’s ring, which is a recognition of his moral/spiritual authority; he doesn’t kiss mine, as he doesn’t and, more importantly, shouldn’t grant me any such authority in that realm. My instinct, for what it’s worth, is that the priest was trying to express his veneration for Putin’s stance but in the wrong way, and Putin, without in any way repudiating his own position, was rejecting any idea that a priest should cede moral/spiritual authority to him.

      Don’t think you’re wrong to call that a separation of church and state.

  13. Jason Boxman

    Algorithms for medical decisions? From Verge earlier this year.

    The program, though, doesn’t care if it’s unreasonable to expect a blood test on Alex every hour — it needs the data regardless. So the first step it takes is to fill in the gaps on those inconsistent metrics.

    It uses a method called a Gaussian process to do that.

    Say Alex only had their glucose levels measured at 2:30AM, 6AM, 3PM, and 9PM.

    The mathematical tool uses information from those measurements, as well as information about Alex’s other vital signs, to fill in the gaps.

    So, great, until an MBA hospital administrator decides it’ll be cheaper to only do that glucose test once a day and let the algorithm fill in the gaps…

    Fun times.

    This kind of stuff seems useful in theory, but in practice our medical system is so rotten from the head, it’s hard to see it isn’t abused to cut costs and/or enhance revenues. (Perhaps you can configure the algorithm to overestimate or underestimate a value consistently, based on some model, to goose revenue.)

    1. Oh

      The MBA Administrator would likely require double the number of tests in order to make more money. It’s always the bottom line ya know!

  14. KD

    Getting the sense that while Washington and the tribe of Blue Check CNN fans are foaming at the mouth spouting Ukrainian ultranationalist talking points, most normal people are skeptical, they realize they have to make the obligatory gesture to prove they are regime loyalists but there is no heart in it. Also, the devastating consequences of double-down-on-stupid “sanctions” haven’t actually hit the Western economies yet, so lots of real economic pain in store for the voters.

    Anyways, with all this talk of regime change in Russia (with a likelihood of less than 1%), it does feel like the real set up is for regime change in the West. I cannot remember a time when there was this level of disconnect between the elites and the masses. I suspect we will see a whole-sale slaughter of the Democrats and a serious impeachment attempt commenced on the President in the coming year. I also wouldn’t want to be center-left in Europe going into an election any time soon. It is amazing to watch the cluelessness (who knows, maybe I am wrong and the clueless one).

    1. caucus99percenter

      The center-left SPD, chancellor Olaf Scholz’s party, just won big though, this past Sunday in Saarland, Germany’s smallest state.

      For the average German voter, it probably hasn’t sunk in yet just how screwed things are.

      It’ll be interesting to see if the political and economic winds have turned by the time the next two German state elections are held (on May 8 in Schleswig-Holstein, in the north bordering Denmark, and then a week later in North Rhine–Westphalia, Germany’s most populous state).

    2. jr

      I just watched this video of Tucker detailing Biden’s serial screwups the last week or so and his caregiver’s attempts to put the hemorrhoid cream back into the tube:

      Biden appears as a senile old man arguing with his neighbors over who knows what, alternately doubling down and then denying everything. As bad as this is, one can only shudder to consider Harris assuming command.

  15. Wukchumni


    We have the same spectacle of the toms going on here where fowl play is suspected in a few wrecks on the road.

    We must have thousands of wild turkeys spread over the 44 sq miles of tiny town, and while not a troubles with tribbles trauma (why 3 strikes in a row in bowling is called a ‘turkey’ is a more vexing problem) it must be reaching epic proportions (pass the white meat & gravy please…) as far as available fodder to feed the movement goes. Lotsa roosting possibilities though on this here oak savanna.

    We’re used to them and accepting of their ways as our new overseers* but most tourists driving from SoCal aren’t, and turkeys are in no hurry to get out of the way in a Brooklyn-ese ‘YO, i’m standing here!’ fashion, prompting the need occasionally for the driver to stop traffic & document the moment on their phone and then post the photo on social media, making them more popular among their peers in theory, but who are we kidding really?

    *a group of 30 gobblers attired in frankly fascist looking-matching colors forced us to sign a quitclaim deed the other day, and have graciously given us 30 days to get our stuff together, but with no grace period.

    1. Charger01

      They’ve gather together, loudly proclaiming their sovereignty over the forest…..
      Gobble gobble

      Maybe Ben Franklin was right- its a heckuva national bird…..

      1. Wukchumni

        Saw this one staffel in the gobbles movement which had stenciled their number of kills on said snoods, oh the humanity!

      2. The Rev Kev

        I don’t know about that. The US 101st Airborne Division have been nicknamed the “Screaming Eagles” since the 1920s. I don’t think that they would sound so fearsome if nicknamed the 101st “Gobbling Turkeys” instead.

        1. ambrit

          “Gobbling Turkeys” would be more appropriate for Naval Ensigns.
          “Come with us my lad and we will show you the wonder of the fleet! The Golden Nail that holds the ship together. It’s just in a secluded spot in the bilge. Mind your head.”
          Raucous laughter from hangers on and idlers.

      3. BrianH

        It seems now we’re going through a bit of a population surge with the wild turkeys. Back 30 or 40 years ago when I hunted them with my grandfather, the goofy bastards were formidable prey. It seemed all their senses were perfectly tuned to alert them to humans. Additionally, in order to save the meat it was necessary to shoot them in that tiny head, which always seemed to be moving. Just a few of the reasons why many turkey hunters had exceptional camouflage and were gifted with imitation calls. And they were delicious if all the hard work paid off.

    1. anniemoose

      March 29, 2022 at 9:12 am
      985 US COVID deaths “tolerated” yesterday.

      A considerable portion of the population rejects all measures concerning Covid 19. What are your suggestions to solve this problem.

      1. John Beech

        As usual, education.

        For example, 30-second television spots of;

        1. Lebron James talks about protecting his grandmother for why he got the jab. Ditto other big name athletes.

        2. Gwen Stefanni or any of many singers doing same, e.g. Blake Shelton, Rhianna, Puff Daddy, Snoop Dog, Madonna, Guns N Roses, etc.

        3. Any of many ministers about how being selfish puts others in the congregation at risk as they roll up their sleeve.

        4. Random woman taking the jab explaining her pal is battling breast cancer and she doesn’t want to put her at more risk.

        5. A few Joe 6-pack types talking about how good old Glenn was laid to rest when C19 ran rampant through their plant for why he’s getting the jab.

        6. POTUS stripping off his coat and rolling up his sleeve on national television for protecting staffers around him on why he’s getting the jab.

        7. Expectant mom taking it explaining why it’ll protect her unborn child.

        8. Older adult taking the jab and explaining they want to be able to hug their immuno-compromised granddaughter.

        . . . I can think of example after example all day long! Bottom line? We have the means to motivate folks to do this. We have just totally failed in the arena of leadership skills to move the needle vice the difference between ‘my rights’ versus responsibility to country and fellow citizens.

        How to pay for it? Auction off the sponsorship of these spots in exchange for a tiny logo in the lower right hand corner of the screen. They’ll line up around the block to pay for this.

        1. gepay

          How is getting vaccinated with a jab that doesn’t stop infection going to help anything? Even the CDC admits it is not effective at stopping transmission. Is my memory wrong in thinking it was promoted as being 95% effective as well as safe?

          1. ambrit

            I have taken to refering to this sort of behaviour as “Kabuki Medicine.”
            As with bureaucracies the world over, being seen to be “doing something” is just as important as actually being effective at the task.
            As good old Shakespeare said: “The Play’s the thing.”

        2. IM Doc

          And what do I tell all my patients and their families who have been vaccinated – and/or boosted – but have either died of COVID or who have quite severe complications…..
          The number of them is way more than trivial.

          What do I tell all their neighbors and fellow town members who come in and use them as examples as to why they should not be vaccinated?

          What do I tell the scores of current patients who are vaccinated/boosted – and they thought they were safe to go to parties, etc and still get infected and or hospitalized? I notice you conveniently do not say a word about non-pharmaceutical intervention in your reply.

          I am actually getting very frustrated with the whole thing. Thinking like you describe in your reply is actually quite dangerous in the environment of a vaccine only strategy and a non-sterilizing vaccine. And the other problem with your list of examples above is THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT WAS DONE FOR THE FIRST 6 MONTHS IN THIS VACCINATION DRIVE. My Facebook feed was filled with celebs and doctors and God knows who else taking the vaccine.

          Nothing like this happens with polio or measles vaccines because they are actually sterilizing.

          As I have said from the very very beginning – there are extreme consequences of putting a non-sterilizing vaccine out into the general population but selling it as 95% effective in PREVENTING infection. THAT IS STILL ON THE INFORMED CONSENT DOCUMENTS.

          The entire reputation of the health care system is at stake. And stupid human tricks as you list out above are just not going to persuade anyone at this late date when all have seen how completely ineffective this current group of vaccines is in ending transmission.

  16. The Rev Kev

    ‘Matt Hancock
    Our strategy – to suppress the virus until the vaccine made us safe – has made us the first major country to exit the pandemic, and we can now live with Covid like we do many other diseases like flu.’

    I have no idea what Matt Hancock is talking about. Trying to pretend that vaccines has solved the problem of the pandemic is just an out and out lie as a visit to most major hospitals will tell you. But Hancock has only really a background in economics & politics so has been insulated from the real world. Just checked the figures that shows that the UK has had about 165,000 deaths the past two years and is losing about 70 people daily. At that rate, that will increase the death toll by about 25,000 people each and every year. And you just know that if a more deadlier variant appeared, that he would try to make sure that there were no more lock-downs as that would have an effect on the economy.

  17. Wukchumni

    Germany may prosecute use of pro-Russia ‘Z’ symbol Al Jazeera (Kevin W). Not the actions of a confident nation.
    Also now verboten is the Churchill V for victory hand signal, by which confederates & fellow travelers of Vladimir recognize one another.

    1. Carolinian

      Once a celebrated movie

      The film stars Jean-Louis Trintignant as the investigating magistrate, an analogue of Christos Sartzetakis, who would be the Greek president from 1985 to 1990. International stars Yves Montand and Irene Papas also appear but, despite their star billing have very little screen time. Jacques Perrin, who coproduced the film, plays a key role as a photojournalist.

      The film’s title refers to a popular Greek protest slogan (Greek: Ζει, IPA: [ˈzi]) meaning “he lives,” in reference to Lambrakis.

  18. Samuel Conner

    The ‘metaphysics of stupidity’ ‘blog-post was an interesting read, though I felt it veered into ‘kicking dead dogs’ territory at the end with the focus on the ex-Soviet mono-town Asbest. Perhaps the author felt that was needed, in the present world situation, to balance the criticism of US implied by the mention of the wide embrace of Q-Anon ideas.

    The thought occurs to wonder if collective stupidity in public governance could be resisted through sufficiently well-designed systems. If one knew the scale at which groups become stupider than their members, perhaps that could define an upper limit to the group sizes at respective levels of governance. Representatives elected by members of the group at each level would function as members of a higher level of governance, the size of which would again be determined by the constraint that it be smaller than the threshhold at which collective stupidity sets in. It would be kind of like a ‘republic of republics of republics of …”

    Just dreaming, but perhaps experiments at small scale could occur here and there as we collectively herd towards greater woes.

  19. The Rev Kev

    Re that reported shortage of coal on Poland.

    I read that Poland wants to stop importing all coal from Russia and after checking, found that ‘last year, the country imported 8.3 million tonnes of coal from Russia, costing over €625 billion.’ This sounds like what happened with the Ukraine. Their coal was all on the Donbass and since they refused to buy any from them, they had to get coal from places like the US which were not suited to their infrastructure. Poland may find the same as ‘Russian coal consists of less sulphur and ash, making it burn better and more efficiently’ which means that not only will they be paying more for their coal but that it will be more polluting. But of course the price of coal worldwide is set to soar this year so it could get very expensive for them-

    1. Lex

      If the coal comes from the US it will depend on being eastern or western. Before the mass closings of US coal plants over the last few years there was a switch to western coal. Unfortunately, it has a habit of exploding during the various processes. I was involved in a project that included adding explosion vents and carbon fiber reinforcement to walls for the switch. The engineers never said “if”, always “when” which was disconcerting since a big enough blast at that plant could have theoretically landed bits and pieces on my house. I’ve since helped demolish that plant so it’s immaterial now.

      1. jr

        “ I’ve since helped demolish that plant so it’s immaterial now.”

        Wow! Did you use an atomic furnace? ?

    2. Anonymous 2

      Those figures cannot be right. 8.3 million costing 625bn euros is a price of 75,000 euros for a tonne of coal! When I was a boy my parents would buy a tonne of coal a year to heat the house, so I know it is not a huge quantity.

    3. Paul Jurczak

      ‘last year, the country imported 8.3 million tonnes of coal from Russia, costing over €625 billion.’

      That’s absurd, even if meant as a Polish joke. Last year, you could buy Rusian coal for $91/mt . Typical confusion of billions with millions brought to you by crapification of journalism. Poland paid €625 million for Russian coal in 2021. The whole Polish government budget for 2021 was €89.9 billion.

      1. Oh

        The journalists need to re-visit the explanation given by Ronny Raygun on how big a billion is. That explanation was meant for journalists.

  20. Jason Boxman

    In the FT, he said [Schmidt] estimated the necessary infrastructure would cost $70 billion. He wrote: “Without it there will be no 5G, and no base on which to build 6G, America’s digital economy will become an also-ran.”

    What do we need 5G for? Smart toasters? The “smart” economy is all garbage. But they really believe this stuff, I’m sure. I was doing just fine on 3G. It’s also not clear how beating China on AI amounts to anything at all when it all runs on computers, and those computers are all sourced from China. A focus on AI without any attention paid to the supply chain is idiotic.

    1. hunkerdown

      To an ex-Google exec, beating China on AI means front-running human behavior well enough for the human’s participation to be optional.

    2. ambrit

      There are also medical concerns about the effect of the 5G microwave radiation on the human body. All that seems to have been shoved “down the memory hole.”
      We are fighting a rearguard action against the IoT.

  21. timbers

    This looks like good news if true:

    Russia’s top negotiator Vladimir Medinsky has disclosed the key points of Istanbul talks:

    ▪️Ukraine is ready to become a neutral state, unable to own nuclear weapons, with internationally guaranteed independence

    ▪️Guarantees will not be extended to Donbass region and Russia owned Crimean Peninsula – which would make Kiev formally abandon idea to annex them militarily

    ▪️Ukraine would be unable to have any military presence – including NATO and Russian forces

    ▪️Russia does not oppose Ukraine potentially joining the European Union

    ▪️Kiev is requesting for final treaty to be formalised by Russian and Ukrainian heads of states

    1. The Rev Kev

      I can’t see it going through personally. The Ukraine wants different countries to guarantee their independence including Turkey and Israel which would make it a de-facto NATO agreement against Russia. And I think that it is actually part of Ukrainian law that the Crimean and the Donbass Republics be returned to Ukraine control. And not to possess nuclear weapons would imply an inspection regime like Iran has. Certainly NATO will balk at the idea that they cannot upgrade the Ukrainian military to NATO standards with NATO equipment. As well, the nationalists will never agree to any such terms. Not very optimistic that the Ukrainians will agree to any of this.

      1. Michael Fiorillo

        All valid points and potential chokepoints. Should they come to pass and prevent a ceasefire/ peace agreement, I suspect Vladimir Vladimirovich will employ the suggestion made by the great UAW organizer Bob Travis to John L. Lewis during the Flint sit-down strike of 1937.

        The workers had been in control of key body plants, halting production company-wide for weeks, but negotiations with General Motors over recognition of the union were at an impasse. Asked for his advice on how to break the impasse in the UAW’s favor, Travis said, “You’ve got them by the balls: squeeze a little.”

      2. timbers

        Well at least it might allow the neutrals something to grab onto to stay neutral plus Europe to wiggle out of sanctions over time as they realize more and more what a pickle they’re in and Blinken felt the need to dismiss it which is a good sign.

        Reducing troops near Kiev makes sense – they’ve largely served their purpose of tying down UAF so so they could not be moved to Donbass thus allowing Russia to capture Donbass as gently as she could plus Mariupol is increasingly in Donbass hands. Russia could plausibly say defeating Azov Battalion alone fulfills her denazification goal even if less than she may have wanted. However still some territory to reclaim in the Donbass region. Given reports of guerilla type arms flowing into Ukraine from the West, moving much beyond anything not solidly Russian populated territory could carry with it problems of it’s own.

    2. David

      Obviously it will be a question of the words that are actually used, because it always is. But through this, you can dimly see what a final settlement would look like. Given that the balance of forces very much favours the Russians, and that they are now in effective possession of the Donbass, it’s likely that the final form of such an agreement would be fairly close to what they want.

      There are various categories of “neutral”, and so there’s a lot of scope for discussions about models. The Russians will probably want something closer to the Austrian or Swiss model than the Swedish, for example. This could extend beyond just non-membership, to dropping partnership status with NATO, not participating in NATO discussion forums and not attending NATO training centres. Likewise, the meaning of “forces” matters a lot: would foreign training teams be allowed in the country, for example? Assuming the Russians get their way, at least mostly, then Ukrainian forces (or what’s left of them) would thus steadily lose contact with NATO, and become less and less able to operate with them. (There’s a confusion about “NATO standards”: this doesn’t mean levels of training or equipment, it means essentially the use of NATO procedures and types of training. At the moment, many Ukrainian battalions could operate seamlessly alongside battalions from Germany or the US: this will be increasingly less true.)

      The nuclear point may be a mistranslation or a misunderstanding. Ukraine has been a signatory to the NPT since 1994, so the actual development and possession of nuclear weapons isn’t (or shouldn’t be) an issue. I suspect that they will have to declare the country “nuclear-free”, ie they will not permit the weapons of other countries on their territory. But given that foreign stationed forces won’t be allowed, then the point is partly taken care of already.

      “Internationally guaranteed independence” may mean nothing more than a bilateral treaty in which the Russians recognise the frontiers of Ukraine as of this year, and the Ukrainians give up territorial claims to the Donbass and Crimea. It’s hard to imagine any mutually acceptable third parties being involved: that kind of thing doesn’t happen much today.

      The EU point is a nice low blow from Moscow. They realise, as does everybody, that the chances of Ukraine joining the EU are zero, but by raising the possibility they underline the firm distinction between political/economic blocs and military ones.

      It will be interesting to see a proper text.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        What would be interesting to see is how the Russians can get the Ukrainians to sign an agreement that would guarantee a bullet to the back of the head for the negotiators delivered by the ultra nationalist faction in Kviv. It would be similar to Michael Collins comment after he signed the Anglo Irish Treaty that he had signed his own death warrant by agreeing to the border.

        I assume that the only meaningful guarantee of ‘neutrality’ that Russia would accept is one that it can enforce unilaterally – presumably by keeping some key military bases, maybe along the coast. So long as Russia has control over sea access, they will always have a finger on Ukraines economic jugular.

        I wonder to what extent Russia would be willing to accept conditions that could be portrayed in the west as a ‘defeat’ so long as they get what they want strategically. There must certainly be a possible agreement on the table so long as the Russians are willing to be seen to concede something. A treaty that is obviously humiliating for the Ukraine government will not be sustainable – it could well lead to a civil war.

        1. David

          The Collins precedent is one that had occurred to me, I must admit. People get very excited over borders. Ironically, the Russians are best placed to protect Zelensky, and they need him to sign and implement the peace deal. It wouldn’t surprise me to find there are already Russian teams tracking him, and that the Russians would quietly offer to guarantee his personal security. It would be very hard to infiltrate a Russian PP team, after all.

          That said, I’ve been worried for some time that the next (last?) stage of this crisis is going to be a civil war (again, shades of Ireland). I have very little confidence in Zelensky’s political skills and instincts, and above all in his ability, and that of his team, to judge how much they can afford to give away. The problem is, that any settlement you can reasonably imagine will be considered a betrayal by somebody, and history suggests that a very small number of dissidents in such a situation can cause a great deal of trouble. We have to hope that that number is as small as possible. In which case, of course, the West is suddenly going to find itself obliged to choose between “good” Ukrainians and “bad” Ukrainians. Oh dear.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            I think the biggest obstacle to an agreement is that, as Taleb would put it, the key people on the Ukrainian side don’t have skin in the game. Zelensky and his various oligarch backers can retreat to their Swiss or Miami mansions if it all goes wrong. I’ve often thought that the real reason why Lebanon is such a mess is that so many of the people making the decisions there have plenty of homes and bank accounts outside the country. They have never really had to dirty their hands with compromise.

            It seems to me that most of the Ukrainian decision makers simply don’t have sufficient personal reason to make the sort of pragmatic compromise that usually ends conflicts like this. This is why I think the Russians will have to be prepared to accept some symbolic losses if they want an agreement.

        1. newcatty

          So now besides Zelensky being hailed as Churchilian, Israeli freedom fighter, US hero he is now more a national tragic president than Lincoln. The Donbass was brutally punished for not wanting to be in Ukraine after the coup. Reports will be released more about the Ukrainian military’s inhumane treatment of citizens locked in basements and used as human shields.

        2. The Rev Kev

          How many States did Mexico have to sacrifice for peace back in 1848? The Ukraine is in a similar position. Crimean and the Donbass Republics are gone for good and will never return to the Ukraine, such is the enmity between them now.

      2. Tor User

        Wouldn’t the treaty would have rule out Ukrainian troops going elsewhere for training or operations? However, how important is this issue? Ukraine has done considerably better than was forecast on these pages before this started.

    3. Martin Oline

      I think the government of Zelensky knows what is actually happening in the east. The Ukraine Army is surrounded and will either have to surrender or be destroyed. The loss of the over 30,000 men who still remain, possibly many more, cannot be hidden or glossed over. They have had a short window in which to dominate the western news cycle and when they lose the east the game is up. The Red Cross will start interviewing refugees in the east and the actions of the right wing military units will become common knowledge. Zelensky has to try and avoid this outcome.

    4. Louis Fyne

      so essentially the war could have been avoided in December 2021 by the White House

      The USA, willing to fight for its national interests until the last vassal dies.

      1. tindrum

        I can not see Biden agreeing to this. Zelensky can’t sign anything, he isn’t in charge of anything, Pretty sure this is just more time wasting.

        1. David

          I wouldn’t be so sure. Zelensky clearly believed he could count on military support from the US and that explained much of his initial bellicose posturing. Now, it’s become clear to him that the US is a liability not an asset, and it’s the Russians he’s going to have to live with, or at least Ukraine is. I just don’t think the US are big players here any more: they have a capacity for nuisance but that’s about it. In his case I’d be more worried about domestic hard-liners.

          1. Bazarov

            Could he have reasonably believed direct US military aid would be forthcoming? If he did, then I think he must have been in a very bad way–perhaps it’s true that he’s a drug addict like Russian propaganda says.

            There are many reasons why I doubt Zelensky really thought the US would come to Ukraine’s aid militarily in the event of a Russian incursion.

            For one, the risks to the US are too high, as basically every simulation I’ve heard of indicates that it’s very difficult to keep even a small conventional war between Russia and the United States from escalating into nuclear war. The stakes must’ve been apparent to Zelensky if they’re apparent to me, a mere humble observer!

            The 2008 Georgia conflict further demonstrates unequivocally that the US will not come to the rescue of its non-NATO, Eastern European “allies” when invaded by the Russians. Look what happened to Saakashvili! We left him to the wolves.

            I honestly wonder if Zelensky’s bellicose pre-invasion posturing owed to an incorrect belief, perhaps fed by his handlers, that the Russians would not invade because the risks were too high for Russia–that perhaps they’d be getting themselves into a situation that could spiral and lead to a wider, cataclysmic war. That makes more sense to me than faith in US military support.

            So Zelensky’s odd aggressiveness was either:

            1.) A bluff.

            2.) Delusional foolishness, perhaps exacerbated by drug use or “capture” by certain radical elements.

            1. Yves Smith Post author

              You assume Zelensky has autonomy. He’s an actor. He may have a lot of survival skills having lived in a very corrupt country, but you act as if he wrote his script.

              You underestimate Victoria Nuland. She’s been pulling Zelensky’s patron Koliomoisky’s strings for a while, and has a personal relationship with the head of the Right Sector, Dmytro Yarosh, who has the means and incentive to keep Zelensky in line.

        2. Yves Smith Post author

          The US built up Zelensky as the hero of the West.

          If they undercut him, after having basically told the EU they signed up for regime change in Russia, something they never never thought was part of the deal, Europe will paddle hard away from the US. Will take time to see the effects but that ship will most assuredly sail.

  22. michael Ismoe

    Nancy says it will be the “end of democracy” if the GOP wins the House in November, I guess next she will ask for everyone to wear a pussy hat and show up at the Capitol on January 3rd to protest?

    I’m not sure where she’s been living for the last decade or so but this ain’t a democracy.

  23. D Chris

    It’s pretty silly to say that something is “solid enough for Bild”
    Bild is like The Sun or New York Post of DE.
    Imagine promoting a story without being able to confirm it.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Tabloids are still MSM and MSM in the West is solidly behind Ukraine. Admitting Ukraine might have committed a war crime is a big deal.

      And please point to when the Daily News or Post was wrong, as opposed to salacious about a real story? The Post as you must know has been proven right on the Hunter Biden laptop story. It happens to do some good original reporting from time to time on hedge funds and real estate.

      1. tindrum

        Yes. Infact the “Bild” online – youtube – is really very well balance truly remarkable for a tabloid paper. In the middle of Covid mania it was more or less the only place where you could get alternative views. The often have Sarah Wagenknecht the Left wing politician on the discussion panel. Bild has also still got a big circulation so the Ukraine story is pretty big.

  24. Mikel

    “Airlines should not be allowed to fly with an APU failure and only 1 PACK operational during COVID times.

    This is reckless.

    Are passengers notified of this before take off and given the option of leaving the plane?

  25. Wukchumni

    Are Humans the Only Animals That Lie? Discover Magazine
    Everybody is somebody else’s meal in the animal pecking order and I wouldn’t say they lie-deception is more of the game, whereas we are content with merely maiming our own species by word of mouth or fingers… for there is nothing above us in the food chain to worry about.

    Man Walks Among Us, by Marty Robbins

    1. jr

      I have cared for, and currently own, a dog who is definitely sneaky with picking up garbage from the sidewalk. Essentially hiding their heads as they try to gobble it down. I have a technique to get it out of their mouths and they know it. I’d call that lying adjacent…

      1. Randy

        My dog, Howdy, walked up to me with a live baby bird in her mouth. Howdy was a well trained, obedient dog. I told her, “Drop it”. She looked at me for a second and down the hatch it went, live and whole. I just shook my head. What else could I do?

        When she was 6 months old I took her ruffed grouse hunting. She hunted like a pro, finding, flushing and retrieving 3 grouse. My friend always gave his dogs the heart and liver as a reward for good performance, I didn’t give Howdy anything but praise. The next time we hunted she hunted for herself, not for me. She only gave me one chance, if she wasn’t getting some of the reward I could find, flush and retrieve them myself. Same thing with that baby bird.

        1. ambrit

          It’s wierd how aminalz think. Our Welsh Border Collie caught two budgies out in the garden on the Beach, at different times, and brought both in for Mom. Mom fed the dog, so he knew who to please! He laid both, alive and a bit panicked, at her feet. She rewarded him somehow and both of those birds lived out long birdie lives in the big cage in the living room.
          He was like a cat in that he devoured anole lizards from out of the garden. Dad used to describe the dog as having “Lizard Breath.”

  26. NotTimothyGeithner

    This is in response to Paradan asking where the B21s are.

    They are cheaper than B2’s. I suppose the basic problem is they seem like overkill or would have to be in range of hypersonic missiles to operate. They likely would handle air defenses better (I’m sure they work somewhat reasonably), but the B2 was delivering outside the range of these current and potential missiles. What I can find on the range of the B21 means it can’t fly out out Diego Garcia and hit targets. I wouldn’t be surprised if theyve been slow walked.

    I feel like the are meant to bomb a place like Sarajevo in a Kosovo war situation with better air defenses. B52s will be used when air superiority is established. Troops won’t move until that is established.

    1. Paradan

      They were planning on air to air refueling then. As for hitting the airfields, it’s actually really hard to “kill” a fully equipped airbase. There’s too many targets, too well spread out, and cratered runways can be fixed in a few hours.

    2. jhg

      If you are referring to the B-21 Raider strategic bomber being built by Northrop Grumman, I don’t think they are in service yet. They were requested in 2014 and contracts were issued in 2015 and 2016.

      From what I have read there are 6 under construction so far and one is in ground testing.

      The aircraft is set to be rolled out to the public later in 2022. They will be operationally available sometime in the mid 2020’s and they are planning to build about 100 aircraft. According to Northrop’s website and Wikipedia.

  27. Carolinian

    re Tim Scott–our other dubious senator shows that the Black Misleadership Class is indeed bipartisan. The Business Republicans join hands with the Business Dems like Clyburn to produce one big business friendly state. Real estate promoters, at least, are flocking and some industrial firms as well in my area.

    The poor Depression era peach orchid country that spawned yours truly has become horse owner country and the brown lung textile mills of the urban areas an auto plant and vast hospital complexes. It’s prosperity of a sort, while it lasts.

  28. Wukchumni

    As per the 4996 Co2 measure in the corral of an Air Canada flight, we’re scheduled to fly into the Gulag Hockeypelago a few months from now, our first flights in 7 years, needless to say we’re a little rusty and add-in Covid and the uncertainty of timing with potential viral strains hitting, it has me a little weirded out.

    Our previous domestic flight had been in 2004, and when once again aloft in 2015, I brandished our 3 pieces of luggage onto the conveyor belt where we checked in and the airline representative asked how i’d like to pay for them, and I told her ideally i’d like it to be included in the price of a ticket…feeling a little like Rip Van Winkle, as she gave me a knowing no dice look and demanded $25 per.

    1. ambrit

      Get some full face respirators and dare the airline to legally kick you off. (Not that the airlines are particularly noted for their adherance to the “Rule of Law.”)
      Them: “Sir. We must ask that you remove your face covering. It obstructs our facial recognition program.”
      You: “I have a pre-existing condition.”
      Them: “Sir? what would that be?”
      You: “Intelligence.”
      Them: “Intelligence?” *sotto voce* “Could you show proof of employment by an Intelligence Department?”
      You: “I could, but then I would have to kill you.”
      Them: “It would be worth it!”
      Etc. etc.

      1. Wukchumni

        We have tiplomatic immunity, and I plan to continuously mumble ‘Red Rum’ and give dirty looks behind my assemblage of masks, along with doing mock animal sacrifices in the general area around our seats, to ward off the virus and/or passengers on a 3 hour tour-a 3 hour tour.

        1. ambrit

          Oh my. From an eminently ‘defensible’ mountain aerie to a remote tropical aisle. All in the span of a ‘three hour tour’ of duty in the Aerostan.
          Do the concourses still have the automated flight insurance machines?
          Safe travels!

    2. Shleep

      $25 per. How..quaint. Depending on airline and flying domestic-style, first is $CAD30, second is $50.

      Now that you didn’t mention it, back then businesses posted the USD-CAD exchange rate near the checkout. Haven’t seen any signs of those in quite some time.

  29. Tom Stone

    Lambert noted the other day that US deaths from Covid had passed 1 Million
    I idly checked the NYT, WaPo,Mercury News,Chronicle and the Press Democrat.
    It was mentioned in passing in several recent articles,however “There’s nothing to see here,move along.”
    As a thought exercise I imagined what the reporting would have been like had “Donald the Magnificent” been re elected.
    Banner headlines!
    “Trump murders 1 millionth American”.

    1. Screwball

      Don’t forget the half a dozen heads on a CNN panel spewing outrage 24/7, and maybe even rolling counters on the TV screen reminding us how many he killed.

      Makes me wonder. If Trump was re-elected, each and every death could be used against him (to some, they are all his fault anyway). Would we have had a better response from Trump than the “jab jab jab” and “let’r rip?” I remember my PMC friends losing their sanity if he didn’t have a COVID briefing in a day.

      From my vantage point, and I’m willing to be wrong here – I don’t really know what the Biden administration really did for us – other than “get the vaccine.” Well, they did mail out home test kits when it was way too late, so there’s that.

  30. Mildred Montana

    OT, but I couldn’t resist posting this news from yesterday:

    Obituary For Eugene Melnyk: Another Crook Goes to Hell (my headline):

    Eugene Melnyk, former owner of pharmaceutical company Biovail and the NHL hockey team the Ottawa Senators, passed away yesterday from liver disease at the age of 62. The Ukrainian-Canadian(!) had had a liver transplant in 2015, so not only did he screw many investors out of money he also screwed someone out of a liver whom I think it is safe to say would have been far more deserving of it.

    In 2002 he paid himself $42 million out of Biovail’s revenues of $788 million (not profits, but revenues). That compensation represented approximately one-half of the company’s earnings!

    In 2008, Biovail settled with the SEC for misleading investors for $10 million. In 2011, Melnyk paid about $1 million to the SEC and the Ontario Securities Commission banned him from public companies for five years and fined him $565,000. Not penalties at all, just pittances, merely the cost of doing (crooked) business.

    So, finally, he gets to pay in full for his crimes. With global warming, it should be pretty hot in Hell.

    Rest in Heat, Eugene.

    1. Maritimer

      More on Melnyk’s “donated” liver:

      “It should shock no one that in the matter of access to health care, even to the organs in other people’s bodies, the wealthy and well-connected, such as Ottawa Senators’ owner Eugene Melnyk, are different from the rest of us.

      “The rich do better,” Dr. Arthur Caplan, head of bioethics at New York University Langone Medical Center, told the Star. “I don’t know that that’s a headline, but it’s nonetheless true.”

      Caplan co-wrote an article on last week that said publicity campaigns for donor organs, such as that successfully mounted by Melnyk for a liver, create “a double standard” under which those with name recognition have an advantage over those with fewer resources and less profile.”
      Repeat: “The rich do better.” So much for CDN “Universal” healthcare.

      Lots of other ways rich, connected Canadians jump the public health queue while the hoi polloi wait, wait, wait and some die and get more ill because they do not get diagnosis or treatment.

      “Long wait times have become a defining characteristic of the Canadian health care system. In 2016, the Commonwealth Fund ranked Canada last among 11 countries surveyed on wait times for specialist care.1 Roughly one-fifth of Canadians report being negatively affected by wait times, citing experiences of stress, anxiety, pain, lost income, delays in diagnosis and treatment, duplications of tests, and deterioration in their conditions.2–4 In general, patients consider 3 months to be the maximum acceptable wait time for a specialist appointment.5–8”

      Oh yeah, CDN healthcare somehow is magically “free”. Too bad you may never get this “free” service when you need it.

  31. LawnDart

    Re; Are Humans the Only Animals That Lie?

    “The idea is that sometimes animals can act in a way that functionally deceives others, but they’re not aware of it or intending to do that…”

    We had a Rhodesian Ridgeback in our family– a fairly large (80+ lbs), very sweet and highly-intelligent dog, with the odd quirks of the breed (the sight of human toes seems to make them go insane for some reason, so cover toes or risk losing them). By intelligent, she learned to unlock and open doors by 9-months, and later, the rabbit hutch.

    When it came to food, I had her trained so you could put a chunk of meat in front of her, and she would sit and wait patiently until you snapped your fingers, to wolf it down. But she was also a practiced food thief, and she most definitely plotted and decieved.

    First example; my mother removed a roast from the oven when the dog started raising holy-hell at the front door, so ma went to investigate: no one there. She returned to the kitchen: no roast there, no dog either.

    Second; my grandfather sitting down at the dinner table to dine on steak. Dog, under table, chomps down on his right ankle. He turns, bends and reaches down to clobber the dog, but she has already moved to the left, and over his shoulder snatches the steak, bolts from the room.

    I would have to disagree with the scientist Bryant, as based upon experiences and observations; there is no way that damn dog was not aware or not intending to do these things. It’s not like we starved the beast or she went hungry, she just preferred our food to her own, and had no problems using deception or trickery to get her paws on it.

    Oh, the rabbit: the dog made no moves while my sister was around and petting or playing with the bunny– the dog knew it was sister’s pet. And it was a pet, till the day came when the hutch was found open with the dog sleeping lazily nearby under a tree, not bothering to come in for its dog-food dinner.

    1. roxan

      I used to have a Vizsla retriever. Silliest creature, imaginable! One day, I saw the cat go up to greet him, carrying a mouse. She out it down to touch noses, and looked away when she heard a sound. The dog instantly scooped it up in his big, floppy mouth and proceeded to stand there, looking innocent, while the cat searched for her mouse–never noticing the tail sticking out of his mouth. This went on for some time, until she gave up.

    2. jr

      I knew a Ridgeback who would attempt to open the babygate her owner installed to keep her out of the kitchen. She didn’t have weight to disengage it. She learned to run and jump over then would bite down on the dishtowel in the fridge handle, pulling it open. Then it was party time. I swear Ridgebacks are half chimp.

      My own little darling has a best buddy who isn’t very bright. The buddy loves balls and my pup will take a ball, climb up the couch, drop the ball in front of her, and pounce on her pal when she comes for it. My pup, when ignored by guests, will tear houseplants out of their pots and toss them onto the ground in a fit of pique. When I ignore her, she will slap me on my butt as I walk around and if I continue to do so she will nip me as well. Baby genius we call her.

      1. LawnDart

        …then would bite down on the dishtowel in the fridge handle, pulling it open.

        Yeah, she did that to, so we didn’t hang them there anymore. And we had to double-stack baby-gates until we plain gave up, at which point she lost interest in the “off-limits” areas.

        My grandfather was formal and ate European-style, upright and proper, but the dog had trained us to eat like prison-convicts– quickly, and hunched over with arms around our plates whenever she was around.

    3. Lex

      My shepherd/malamute mix (Tesla, guy not car) plays goofy but she’s actually very crafty. Wife got a new puppy and Tes was getting slightly annoyed one evening. She went to the toy basket and picked out a bone. Didn’t play with it much but it got the puppy’s attention for a minute, though it didn’t last. Tes took the bone and held it between her paws and chewed for a few minutes until the puppy just had to have that bone. Tes actually held it while the puppy chewed for a minute or two and then stood up, walked into the other room, and laid down. The puppy kept at the bone. It was a fascinating moment of animal behavior.

    4. Dave in Austin

      There was a bright guy I knew in college who was heading for the Marine Corp (intel; he survived Vietnam).

      He came back from the suburbs of New Jersey one fall and told us his father, a rather unassuming lineman for the local Ma Bell subsidiary, had for the second time in a few weeks had the stupid hound steal the beef off his plate. The first adminishment hadn’t worked and his wife had criticized him for his harshness. The second time he simply got up, went the bedroom, came back with his shotgun and blew the dog through the screen door. Then he silently ate the rest of his meal. I asked the kid if the old man was violent. “No” he said, “He never laid a hand on either us kids or mom. But he was a WWII veteran and had been called back up for Korea.”

      Again, only one source. But the kid wasn’t a story-teller.

    1. Brian Beijer

      Interesting. I did a quick search on for t-shirts supporting the Azov battalion. I quickly came upon with this one, “The Ukrainian Hero Stepan Bandera Glory of Ukraine T-Shirt”

      Then I found this one, “UKRAINE Flag | Women’s Men’s Children’s Ukrain T-Shirt”

      The flag has the Ukrainian coat of arms in the center of the flag… which also appears to be the emblem for The Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists. From Wikipedia “The ideology of the organization was heavily influenced by the philosophy of Nietzsche, German National Socialism and Italian Fascism; combining extreme nationalism with terrorism, corporatism, and anti-Semitism,[52] as well as totalitarianism and anti-democracy.”

      On a side note, I found this little gem on wiki’s page about Bandera and his organization OUN-B after WWII:

      “According to Stephen Dorril, author of MI6: Inside the Covert World of Her Majesty’s Secret Intelligence Service, OUN-B was re-formed in 1946 under the sponsorship of MI6. The organization had been receiving some support from MI6 since the 1930s.[57] One faction of Bandera’s organization, associated with Mykola Lebed, became more closely associated with the CIA.[58] Bandera himself was the target of an extensive and aggressive search carried out by the Counterintelligence Corps (CIC).[59] It failed, having described their quarry as “extremely dangerous” and “constantly en route, frequently in disguise”.[60] Some American intelligence reported that he even was guarded by former SS men.[61] His organization perpetrated many crimes, including hundreds of thousands of murders,[51] counterfeiting, and kidnapping. After the Bavarian state government initiated a crackdown on it, Bandera reached an agreement with the BND, offering them his service, despite CIA warning the West Germans against cooperating with him.”

  32. Jason Boxman

    You know, what is most enlightening, I think, about the continuous rage against China’s COVID-zero policy from the Establishment, is the disingenuous nature of the condemnation of it. We’re treated to various anecdotes of lives upended, privation, even death, but meanwhile, the collective punishment that is neoliberal capitalism imposed upon American citizens by these very elite is entirely dismissed.

    Starving children? A-okay. Excess mortality of black mothers? No worries! Crushing medical debt? Try a gofundme!

    We’ve got quite the political class in the United States, do we not?

  33. fresno dan
    The entire archive of On Contact, the Emmy-nominated show I hosted for six years for RT America and RT International, has been disappeared from YouTube.
    I received no inquiry or notice from YouTube. I vanished. In totalitarian systems you exist, then you don’t. I suppose this was done in the name of censoring Russian propaganda, although I have a hard time seeing how a detailed discussion of “Ulysses” or the biographies of Susan Sontag and J. Robert Oppenheimer had any connection in the eyes of the most obtuse censors in Silicon Valley with Vladimir Putin. Indeed, there is not one show that dealt with Russia. I was on RT because, as a vocal critic of US imperialism, militarism, the corporate control of the two ruling parties, and especially because I support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel, I was blacklisted.
    Sorry if this has already been posted, but it was news to me. Not with a bang, but a whimper…free speech is disappeared.

    1. caucus99percenter

      To coin a phrase, if your Bill of Rights depends on a platform, you don’t have a Bill of Rights.

    2. Eclair

      I believe it was Chris Hedges, in an interview on Pacifica Radio, sometime in the early 2000’s, who was responsible flipping my view of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. His words, describing the West Bank and Gaza, as the largest open-air prison on the planet, jolted me into delving deeper into the history of the area.

      1. fringe element

        Yes, Hedges had an impact like that on my thinking about prisons. He spoke of how intelligent his prison students are, more intelligent than the ones he taught at Princeton. It made me rethink my attitudes about our prisons and wonder how many people in our jails are more like political prisoners than menaces to society. For that matter, plenty of menaces to society seem to be perfectly free to prosper from their crimes against our communities.

    3. Dave in Austin

      I hope Chris kept backups. RT was taken down by the U.S. government so the shows aren’t lost, they are just unavailable.. with a warning. When I type I get:

      “The requested URL was rejected. Please consult with your administrator.
      Your support ID is: 13722613852958482872
      Your IP-address is:
      Go Back”

      The “Go Back” is a link which returns me to my home page. Note the warning “Your IP-address is…” In other words: “We know who and where you are.” The “support ID” is the note sent by Spectrum, my internet provider, saying my request was “rejected” by the Electronic Curtain Administrator, a polite way of saying “Your error in judgement has been recorded; be warned.”

      Not all Russian sites are down. If you type you get an excellent page on the Russian train system, which I guess isn’t deemed propaganda.

      To quote from that charming cynic A.J. Leibling: “Freedom of the Press belongs to those who own one.” That’s why the government and the establishment press hate the internet; we all own it… so far, a few “Unapproved Propaganda” sites not withstanding. By the way, most VPNs will not get the RT site either. The arm of Uncle Sam is, indeed, very long.

      Leibling was born in 1904 He wrote for everyone that mattered from the New Yorker on down and he loved food and Paris. His best WW II reports from the war were collected as: “Mollie and other War Pieces”, one of my all time favorite books. Direct, compact writing; a true course in the art.

      1. Acacia

        I get that message too, but it seems to be coming from RT’s server.

        TCP works. HTTP 301 (Moved Permanently). Ping doesn’t work, even from inside the RF.

        I can open Perhaps they’ve just moved?

  34. JBird4049

    >>>Death Penalty for Abortions Becomes Pivotal Issue in GOP Runoff in Texas

    It is easy to get outraged over this, but I think the GOP is not thinking this through although I get that it is a runoff in a very conservative part of an already conservative state. It’s all about that short term thinking. It is a very strong draw with the very conservative voters there, but what about the rest of Texas, never mind the rest of the country? I don’t think that the politicians supporting this actually believe in this position, although I could be wrong, they just want to get the office and lying is acceptable. Whatever gets those votes. If the worship of Ba’al with its possible child sacrifice came back, they would probably set up an altar in their office.

    Even in more conservative times, back when abortion was made legal, it was often doctors and nurses who supported the right. Not because they necessarily approved of it, but because the consequences of back alley abortions were often horrific and women, often children really, were taking the risks because they really had no choice. There is a reason coat hangers were a symbol back then.

    So, rather than reducing the causes of abortion, such as poverty, hunger, homelessness, and a lack of healthcare they decide on murdering the poor; anyone in the middle class or higher is going to have a “vacation” when needed and the working class on down, needing every working hour just to eat, and often with a smoking clunker for transportation are the people that would get caught. It is like how the victims of England’s Bloody Code were the poor and not the well off, but it made the wealthy and the business class happy and I assume it got the MPs votes.

    Really, if this evil actually got passed in Texas, they should probably, finally, get some of the Left, even the Neoliberal “left” to get a spine and push back. But we have had a number of wake up calls in the past few years, haven’t we? Maybe nothing will happen until some pretty, middle class blue eyed, blonde girl goes on death row. The blondes always gets the lead story.

  35. RobertC

    Imperial Collapse Watch

    Early this morning I mentioned to contributor Jeremy Grimm that I had ordered revered American diplomat and historian George F Kennan‘s last policy book At a Century’s Ending: Reflections, 1982-1995.

    Later this morning I was pleased to read at AT James Carden’s article George Kennan and the Russian future The late US diplomat saw that those yearning for regime change in Russia rarely considered what might come next

    It would be too much to hope that Joe ‘For God’s Sake, This Man Cannot Remain in Power’ Biden would also read and learn from the article.

  36. Jon S

    Florida’s Starving Manatees Ate ‘Every Scrap’ of Food in Trial Feeding Program

    I live along the Indian River Lagoon in Brevard County, Florida. The FPL plant in question is about 10 miles south of my house. The problem isn’t “agricultural runoff”. There is very, very little agriculture along the lagoon. The problem is far worse: septic tanks in huge housing developments leaking fecal material into the lagoon. In 2011, the lagoon hit a tipping point where the levels of fecal material reached a point coupled with warming winters to cause massive algae blooms for a decade. It appears this year that it is beginning to ebb as the government has pumped hundreds of millions of dollars into improving the sewage systems and cleaning up the lagoon. The water is crystal clear for the moment.

  37. nothing but the truth

    “The US Should Remember that Israel’s Squatter-Settlements in Palestine are War Crimes”

    the cool thing about a Rules Based Order (RBO) is that the US decides on whom the rules apply.

    1. JBird4049

      Actually, Rules Based Order is supposed to be like the Rule of Law when it really means that Might Makes Right and those who have the gold have the might; it is a cover for the American Empire’s rule as well as its actions much as the Democratic and Republican Parties faux seriousness on social issues and supporting the People is really just cover for their work for the wealthy, which gives the party members their jobs and lifestyles.

  38. none

    A day or two ago I’m pretty sure I saw a link here in Links, or maybe it was in Water Cooler, called something like “study shows MBA’s running companies are only good for taking money from other people” (loose paraphrase). I didn’t make a bookmark but made a mental note to read it later. It’s now “later” but I can’t find the link, despite searching the past few days worth of posts in both sections.

    Am I confused? Does anyone remember this link? Thanks.

  39. RobertC

    Imperial Collapse Watch

    The navalists at Cdr Salamander are frothing mad furious about We Chose Decline

    The People’s Republic of China does not have to aggressively take our status as the premier world power. It appears that we are willingly giving it to them, sooner more than later.

    If you have the time, follow The Terrible 20s link.

    1. MichaelSF

      That was interesting reading, but it was pretty obvious to me that “must maintain US position of global hegemon” is one of the writer’s axioms. But once past that his points about Pentagon/MIC bloat/self-serving and not getting value for money spent seem accurate.

      He has a nice bit of bureaucratese at the top of his site

  40. RobertC


    I’m in good company watching Afghanistan — Indian diplomat (retired) M. K. BHADRAKUMAR is reporting China’s diplomacy on a roll in Kabul

    Last Thursday, the Acting Foreign Minister of the Taliban interim government Amir Khan Muttaqi made a stunning remark to greet the visiting Chinese Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Kabul when he said, “This is the most important high-level delegation received by Afghanistan.” It spoke volumes about the quiet success of Beijing’s diplomacy to turn the tables in the Hindu Kush.

    Therefore, there are expectations regarding the Third Meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the Neighbouring Countries of Afghanistan that China is hosting in Tunxi in the eastern Chinese province of Anhui on March 30-31.

    Although Dr BHADRAKUMAR is more optimistic than me about the Haggani network RobertC March 28, 2022 at 1:25 pm

    If China and Russia pull the threads of the Afghanistan’s neighbors together to shift the region from Islamic jihad and drug trafficking to Islamic modernism and economic growth then once again they’ve created a developing nation miracle.

  41. RobertC


    Another AEI brutal blaster aimed at Biden’s Unbalanced Ukraine Policy Biden is an inept foreign policy president, and most Americans know it. If you want to understand the all-too-valid reasons for widespread concern over the current Ukraine crisis, that’s a pretty good place to start. The kindest paragraph is

    On a human level, you feel some sympathy for U.S. officials of any party who face what is really the most severe combination of geopolitical challenges to America’s position since the Cold War. Even as Putin looks to violently dismantle Ukraine, so China, North Korea, and Iran all consider how best to take advantage of this moment at America’s expense. We should pray this administration eventually gets it right. I mean that literally: the danger of deterrence breakdown and conflict on multiple fronts is now very real.

    1. LawnDart

      That article is friggin nuts– they’re basically arguing that Biden isn’t neocon enough, and the gaslighting/historical revision is enough to send Orwell spinning into orbit for 1M+ years.

      Thanks for posting– it’s a reminder that there are whack-jobs in the wings that make Biden seem balanced and sane.

  42. LawnDart

    A ‘game-changing’ antibiotic could save millions of lives worldwide from drug-resistant superbugs

    COVID is also thought to be speeding up the global threat of antimicrobial resistance, meaning the development of new antibiotics that can be used as a last resort when other drugs fail is crucial, scientists said.

    Industrial agriculture will soon have a new ingredient to add to their witch’s brew.

  43. RobertC


    Third departure Former Obama and Biden Admin Envoy to Israel Quits Iran Team

    Former United States ambassador to Israel under the Obama administration, Daniel B. Shapiro, announced on social media his departure from the Biden administration’s Iran team after several months as a temporary senior advisor and government employee.

    The departure of one of the Biden Administration’s most pro-Israeli members of the Iran team raises concerns about the current approach to the nuclear talks with Tehran.

    [Former Special Advisor for Iran Gabriel] Noronha believes that “it would be a difficult job for Mr. Shapiro to convince the Israelis that this deal is in their interest when the Biden administration is preparing to allow Iran to have access to around $90 billion in sanctions relief with no restrictions on its use to threaten and attack Israel through terror proxies like Hezbollah and Hamas, and lifting sanctions against the IRGC which is dedicated to the destruction of the entire state of Israel.”

  44. LawnDart

    Asian neoliberal medical hell:

    After 7 days of COVID-19, patients are left stranded

    Once the seven-day isolation expires, all COVID-19-related medical costs are no longer covered by the government.

    “The government considers a patient to no longer be a COVID-19 case past day seven…”

    So one becomes a statistic of a different kind. This sounds familiar, but I don’t recall from where.

  45. LawnDart

    Why I hate people (reason #256/10,101):

    Out of more than 1,300 people who tested positive before the legal requirement to self isolate was lifted, only 64% said they were in quarantine to avoid spreading the disease, according to the Office for National Statistics.

    The number of people self-isolating after testing positive for coronavirus has fallen “significantly” since it stopped being a legal requirement – with less than two thirds of those who know they have the virus following government advice, figures show.

  46. LawnDart

    Pretty neat, if it works:

    Researchers develop sensor for faster, more accurate COVID-19 tests

    “The technique is as simple as putting a drop of saliva on our device…”

    The key novelty is that this is a label-free technique, which means no additional chemical modifications like molecular labeling or antibody functionalization are required.

    The sensor is nearly as sensitive as a PCR test and as convenient as a rapid antigen test. During initial testing, the sensor demonstrated 92% accuracy at detecting SARS-COV-2 in saliva samples—comparable to that of PCR tests. The sensor was also highly successful at rapidly determining the presence of other viruses, including H1N1 and Zika.

    It only fails 8% of the time…

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