Links 3/5/2022

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.

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

Elephant seals have built-in mental GPS spanning thousands of miles SYFY (David L)

The Elephant in the Courtroom New Yorker (furzy)

Scientists Can Now Trace Earth’s History in Individual Grains of Sand Science Alert (Chuck L)

Scientists Watch a Memory Form in a Living Brain Quanta (David L)



Note scientist GM says this Twitter account tends to hyperbole and alarm. There is a high death rate in Hong Kong but the BA.2 mutation is not the reason. Via e-mail:

Hong Kong will be approaching NYC in April 2020 levels of hurt for two reasons.

The second reason is that they did not try hard enough to vaccinate the elderly, who were hesitant to do it and had no real reason to when there was no virus around.

So in a way this is the only control group left in the world to judge Omicron’s inherent severity — everyone else is either vaccinated or infected already. And the answer is, as suspected, that it is about the same as the OG Wuhan virus. Recall that NYC went past 100 DPM/d at its peak. Hong Kong is at 20 DPM/d now, but that is from the cases two weeks ago, and cases were 1/10th of what they are now then. So one should expect deaths to keep shooting up for a while and they may well reach NYC levels. Complete disaster.

The first and biggest reason is that they refused to lock down properly when they had just a few cases and they refused to do mass testing either — there has been talk about doing it in **March** for several weeks now. What is the point of doing it so late?

Which leads is to the big question here, which is why this was allowed to get to this point. One can speculate — the mainland let them do it to serve as an example of how bad the virus is, affirming the elimination policy; or they let them do it for the opposite reason — to start gradually getting people accustomed to the virus; or the HK authorities did in defiance of the mainland, for whatever reason. I have no idea, I am not familiar with the local political situation there. But it is a disaster whatever the sequence of events that resulted in it.

Why Can’t Kids Just Get Bigger Doses Of The COVID Vaccine? HuffPost


Apple CEO Tim Cook tells employees the return to offices will begin on April 11th Verge (resilc)


Climate activists deflate tyres of SUVs in rich London neighbourhoods London Economic (David L)

Big ocean cleanups sound like a great idea. Marine biologists aren’t convinced. Vox (David L)

World leaders agree to draw up ‘historic’ treaty on plastic pollution Financial Times (David L)

New Not So Cold War

Ukraine and Russia Agree to Open Corridors for Civilians to Evacuate Mariupol Wall Street Journal. And Volnovakha. So they are encircled.

Russia reports cease-fire in 2 Ukraine areas for evacuations Associated Press

Ukraine Update: Russia Said to Violate Evacuation Ceasefires Bloomberg. The headline does say “said to” but that is not what readers will remember. Why would it be in Russia’s interest to do so? They could have flattened cities by air and killed plenty of civilians well before now. By contrast, the Azov Battalion has the motive and the means.

Ukraine, Russia Agreement on Evacuating Mariupol Civilians Collapses Wall Street Journal. I leave it to readers to parse the claims.

The Overton Window Is Being Shoved Toward Warmongering Extremism Caitlin Johnstone

White House weighs Russian oil import ban amid growing bipartisan call from Congress Washington Post. Kevin W: “Related article ‘Americans should get ready for $5 a gallon gas, analyst warns.’

Gazprom continues supplying gas for transit to Europe via Ukraine as normal TASS (guurst)

An important tidbit from Lambert. Recall the Estonian cargo ship that sank near Odessa yesterday. The assumption is it hit a mine, which means at least parts of the the Odessa port and potentially the Black Sea has been mined, which would tend to have a chilling effect on transport. Lambert’s sitrep: “Two ships in Odessa, this one (moored) and a tug. No other movement in or out. Not a lot of grain or fertilizer, then.”

And this is becoming a very big deal very quickly (hat tip guurst):

Russian ministry recommends fertilizer producers halt exports Reuters. The result of shipping issues. Recall that there is already a global shortage of fertilizer….

A reader recommended this Russian sitrep on Telegram: You can run it through a translation service. Having said that, the proprietor is concerned that he will be caught in the heightened information controls in Russia. Apparently he is reading the same materials many Russian-readers are following, e.g., Col Cassad, and does not have additional intel from on the ground sources.

RUSSIA UKRAINE 2 Patrick Armstrong. Since I am hearing way too much about all those Russia tanks:

So far the Russian military operation in Ukraine has been a reconnaissance in force preceded by the destruction of the supplies and headquarters of the Ukrainian Armed Forces by standoff weapons. The object being to suss out where the Ukrainian forces are, to surround them, to check existing Russian intelligence against reality and, at the same time, destroy known headquarters, air and naval assets, supplies and ammunition depots. And, perhaps, there was the hope that the speed and success (Russian/LDPR forces dominated an area of Ukraine about the size of the United Kingdom in the first week) would force an early end (aka recognition of reality).

At the moment they are readying for the next phase. The long column that so obsessed the “experts” on CNN is the preparation for the next phase. And that is this: “You didn’t get the hint, so now we have to hit you”. The fact that the column has been sitting there indicates that the Russians know they have complete air superiority. Secondly it is a message to the Ukrainian armed forces that it’s over, give up. (And one should never forget that the Russians/Soviets have always been the best at strategic deception, so who knows what’s actually there versus what the images show?)

What is Russia’s Near Term Objective in Ukraine? Turcopilier (resilc). Consistent with Russell Bentley says the actual plan is, take Ukraine on a line from Chernobyl-Kiev to Odessa, let the West have the rest and let NATO save face, since the West is too Europeanized for Russia to try to install a friendly and not wind up with a massive insurgency.

Putin is NOT crazy and the Russian invasion is NOT failing. The West’s delusions about this war – and its failure to understand the enemy – will prevent it from saving Ukraine, writes military analyst BILL ROGGIO Daily Mail. Several have already linked to this in comments, so ICYMI….

Russian anger as Senator Lindsey Graham calls for Putin’s assassination BBC (resilc)

Will Ukraine be Putin’s Afghanistan? YouTube. Brand new Scott Ritter interview. Only listened to very first few minutes.

Putin May Have Played Himself. Will We? Matt Taibbi. I hate criticizing Taibbi, but this is not one of his better moments. The US commentary is astute, the Russian part is an entirely different kettle of fish. Starts by presuming Putin is the Decider (which is an error even sites like ours enable by saying “Putin” as opposed to a more wordy formulation). John Helmer (who recall was part of the Carter Administration and therefore has seen official decision-making at very close range:

1. There are no sources on the Stavka, General Staff, DefMin.
2. Putin is not a sole decision-maker and never has been.
3. There is no doubt that some officials were not confided in. In the governments in which I’ve served, especially the USG, I remember how angry that makes those on the out, and how they plot their revenge. (Cf. the story Kissinger used to tell about how Haig arranged to move the walls of the staff assistants’ offices on the weekend to drive them mad and discredit them on Monday morning with Kissinger, to Haig’s advantage. It did.)
4. Bershitsky hasn’t matured with time. Matt seems to have forgotten.
5. There is no comparing the Russian Army of the 1990s with now.
6. Hasn’t Matt been watching the MH17 case for the past 8 years? Nothing made in the Ukraine purporting to be a still picture or moving picture or an audio tape is evidence of anything but crude faking.
7. Anatoly Sobchak’s widow (Narusova) is not a credible source of anything to me except her (and her daughter’s) pursuit of self-enrichment and power.

Airspace bans and unfriendly skies around Ukraine Reuters

Bunny Rabbits and the Big Bad Wolf: Ukraine and Russia through the lens of Western reporting Gilbert Doctorow. Addresses the claims that Russia shelled the outbuilding that caught on fire at a nuclear plant. A contact says the consensus of the best-informed sources is strike on the building was neither Russians or Ukrainians but a Banderite unit. Helpful visual aid from furzy:

Has war in Ukraine revived NATO? France24 (resilc)

War in Ukraine: The Russians leaving Russia for Finland BBC

How Ukraine’s Jewish president Zelensky made peace with neo-Nazi paramilitaries on front lines of war with Russia Grayzone

NBC Off by 18 Years on US’s Last Use of Cluster Bombs FAIR

Americans Are Still Unsure How The U.S. Should Respond To The Invasion Of Ukraine FiveThirtyEight. Resilc: “The Today show need more dead white kids.”

Russia blocks access to Facebook and Twitter Guardian. Surprised it took this long, but the crackdown also includes restrictions on domestic content.

War in Ukraine threatens the global financial system Gillian Tett, Financial Times. The Great War ended the gold standard. Peter Temin argued persuasively that the effort to restore it is what caused the Great Depression.

Dodgy Russian money has destabilised Britain’s democracy. We have to crack down on it Guardian (furzy). Right. In middle of Brexit, the UK is gonna have its prime residential real estate market collapse. However, the dirty money presumably went through offshore corps than can’t readily be traced. We’ve seen similar accounts from the US, the top Russian money can’t readily be found, so we and the UK will go after the small fry who leave footprints.

Ban on Russian Cats ConsortiumNews. Obviously Russian Blues are corrupting! My first cat, Dorian Grey, was the spitting image of a Russian Blue despite having a tabby mother.


Explained: The Case For Food Subsidies In India India Spend

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Samsung Encryption Flaw Bruce Schneier (David L)


Democrats Are Still Delusional About Trump Atlantic (resilc). Lambert: “Trump claims to have suggested stationing troops (on the Capitol?) to both Bowser and Pelosi. If he’s got documentation or tapes, I’d say he’s in the clear. Lenin didn’t call the Kossacks into Petrograd, after all. “


Heroic Secret Service Agent Dives In Front Of Biden As Reporter Tries To Ask A Question Babylon Bee (Chuck L)

Reflections from the Netherworld: Advice from JFK to Joe Biden Andrew Bacevich, Counterpunch. Important.


Supreme Court upholds death sentence of Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev CNN

US Supreme Court Says FBI Can Invoke ‘State Secrets’ to Evade Scrutiny of Post-9/11 Mosque Spying Sputnik (Kevin W)

The rat problem in Washington, DC, is so bad, two people got hantavirus ars rechnica. Resilc: “Not counting those with only two legs.”

Pet care lures private equity Axios (resilc)

February jobs rose a surprisingly strong 678,000, unemployment edged lower while wages were flat CNBC

Beyond the jobs report — a more troubling picture The Hill

Class Warfare

Antidote du jour (timotheus):

And a bonus (Matthew C):

And an oldie bonus from Corey P, sent back before I embedded tweets:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here

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  1. Louis Fyne

    Fertilizer problems started pre-war as the Baltic states banned Belarus use of ports for potash exports (potassium). fertilizer is just the first domino.

    Palladium prices are up 20% in one week to almost $3,000/troy oz.

    Disruption in palladium and platinum = catalytic converters shortage = UAW furloughs.

    Easy to build a car w/fewer computer chips if one is willing to give up some features. There is no substitute for the platinum group metals.

    1. Kelly in Texas

      Well, there actually is. Electric cars. Also you don’t have to get your oil changed all the time. There is the battery replacement eventually.

      1. Mary

        Or straight pipes, with only a muffler and no catalytic converter. When it’s time for your every two year smog test, or to sell a car, you install a borrowed catalytic converter for the test, then remove it.
        That’s what people we know have done after the thousands of catalytic converter thefts in California by organized gangs made them hideously expensive.

        Finally! The police took action: Faces only a mother could love:

          1. DMK

            Agreed. And if I had to guess, this diverse group of suspects came together without the help of any diversity consultant or training.

      2. Louis Fyne

        every component of an EV powertrain (cathodes, magnets, alloys, etc.) depends on metals sourced from countries that are either Russia or a country that can be described as ambivalently neutral to the USA. Canada, Australia, and South Africa can’t supply the entire West with everything needed.

        then there is the natural gas for fuel generators (which can be shipped to Europe as LNG), or neodymium for wind turbines, or uranium for US reactors.

        1. solarjay

          Some off shore wind machines use PM motors, most on short use asynchronous, they don’t use any magnets.

    2. Mikerw0

      I worked with the Arthur D. Little team that had done the studies for GM on global supply of platinum group metals for catalytic converters. Its a great story in and of itself. That said, its well know than the major PGM reef is in Russia so no one should be surprised. It also should be pointed out that Rosatom is a major global supplier of radioisotopes, many of which are critical for medicine and by the US military and NASA.

      All of that said, and with some of the other comments on needed metals, most are in relative abundance but at a price. The US has PGM and lithium, the cost to mine is too high relative the prevailing market price and/or environmental restrictions that other countries don’t mandate. Of course EVs are only cost competitive for the masses if the prices of the main metals (CO, Ni, CU and Moly) keep falling as efficiency improvements are slowing, as one would expect.

  2. Sam Adams

    RE: Pet care unleashed
    I had two elderly miniature dachshunds, one of whom was featured in a past photo on this page. The last of the two died a couple of years ago, but not before having a run-in with one of the investment house owned vets clinics. The regular vet was closed, so I took him to the specialty emergency clinic. For three days the clinic held the dog, ran multiple unnecessary tests on a dying dog and otherwise ran up a bill of over 8K.
    On the third day, knowing the dog was dying the vet refused to release the dog and continued with unnecessary procedures and tests. Finally they released the dog after writing a check for the bill and dog died at home.
    Angry, I researched the ownership. First started by local vets, it was sold to a Vet hospital investment consortium, transferred and then finally bought by a German family Trust — the same family that owned businesses that had produced gas in WW2. Later I met multiple specialist vets who worked for the clinic who confirmed that the corporate side pressured the vets to pump up bills with unnecessary tests and procedures. The vets, young and all burdened with substantial student loans signed do-not-compete and no disparagement agreements that precluded working as a vet within a wide area. They are essentially prisoners until they found work outside of the state.
    These vet investment groups are evil.

    1. Larry Carlson

      A similar area where private equity has shown an interest is optometry and ophthalmology. It feels like they’re offering the same old treatments, but selling unnecessary items more aggressively and charging more for everything. The standard playbook for private equity seems to be to generate larger returns through a combination of (1) more aggressive product pricing and cost cutting, and (2) use of leverage.

    2. Poopypants

      Similar experience:

      I had a cat that needed emergency surgery on a Friday night, cost $4500. Same surgery some years before cost $1200. (Long hair cat had hair ball issues between stomach and small intestines, needed surgery to remove).

      I don’t know what type of subhuman can charge or accept $4500 for one hours work, especially necessary to save an animals life, but I never forgot. I was making a lot of money then and it was not an issue, but I realized pet ownership is expensive and heart breaking and now have one cat left. He’ll be cared for well, but I am hesitant to adopt again.

      1. lordkoos

        A friend of mine owns a Russian Blue cat who broke its heel when jumping onto a dresser. The bill to repair it was $6000.

        I see there is such a thing as pet insurance, wonder if they are as horrible as human medical insurance… we just adopted a kitten and reading this, I would to try every holistic approach before taking her to a vet.

        1. PHLDenizen

          Dude, pet insurance is absolutely useless. I did a CBA and came out ahead with my own HSA of sorts for emergencies. They will deny almost everything as a “pre-existing condition” despite contortions in logic to get there. My employer offered it, I looked it, and it wasn’t worth the premiums. If the ACA applied and you had no exclusions for pre-existing illness, it MIGHT be worth it. But the premiums would also be terrifying.

          I DO have a CareCredit card which is useful if your vet takes it. The 0% financing can be a great way to amortize the cost, but if you don’t pay it off in full prior to the promotion end, the retroactive interest will bite you in the ass. I use it sparingly for large vet bills and some dental work. And I never finance more than I can afford.

      2. Yves Smith Post author

        Oh, wow. I was so lucky in NYC. There’s an emergency after hours vet chain. They are open only overnight, they don’t board animals. My last cat Gabriel had bladder cancer and couldn’t pee. He was going to die badly.

        Brought him to emergency vet. They flipped him on his back, did a sonogram, stuck a needle in him, and drained his bladder. Gabriel was astonishingly well behaved.

        I though I’d have to put him down the next day before his bladder refilled. But he was able to pee again so he lasted another week.

        I forget what the bill was exactly but under $500. I was shocked that it didn’t seem to be much if any premium over regular vet rates.

        That is exactly the sort of operation that is being targeted.

    3. harrybothered

      On a smaller scale, in the 80s my fantastic vet in Birmingham, AL used to just give me 4 or 5 pills of pranziquantel (cat dewormer) at no charge. This was before Advantage or Revolution so you were likely going to need it a couple of times in the flea season. Now it’s $15 to $22 for a bottle of 3 pills.

      1. PHLDenizen

        If Covid ever jumps species to hang out in cats, you can be sure we’ll be required to regularly “patch” their immune systems with some shitty mRNA vaccine despite the fact that it IS non-sterilizing. I’ll piss myself laughing if they prescribe ivermectin as a prophylactic or treatment in early cases.

        “What? It’s a cat! Why are you prescribing horse paste!”

    4. Lambert Strether

      > These vet investment groups are evil

      If people didn’t love their pets, private equity wouldn’t be in the business of screwing every last dollar out of them. Evil, indeed.

  3. farmboy

    World wheat supplies are precarious for several reasons, one of which is China’s stockpiling in the last year. “China is stockpiling food at historically high levels and now has more than half of the world’s maize and other grains. By mid-2022, the country is estimated to hold 69% of the world’s corn reserves, 60% of rice, and 51% of wheat.” “China ag minister says winter wheat condition could be worst in history.”
    Grain chain from producers clear through to end users are on edge. Chicago May and July contracts which are carrying the bulk of buying interest are trading limit up with 1.215 Billion bushels of open interest which is roughly 17% of export trade for one year. Even with futures at these sky high levels, US cash grain basis is going to 0 and elevators don’t want to buy at these prices. Northern Hemisphere harvest is still 4 months away.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Beginning to wonder if perhaps it might be a wise idea to halt all subsidies of corn grown in Ameica that is only for car fuel and is inedible but instead start growing wheat instead. Just sayin’.

      1. flora

        Wheat and corn in the US are grown in different areas, largely due to the increased water requirements and richer soil requirements of corn over wheat. Wheat is generally grown in the Great Plains area that runs from North Dakota south to Texas. This ‘wheat belt’ is a drier area with less rich soil than the ‘corn belt’ which runs generally from Iowa south to Missouri and east to Ohio. This is a long way of say that it isn’t easy to simply substitute one crop for another. The area farmed is important.

        Now, if you want to talk about stopping subsidies for fuel corn so it can be used for feed and human food, I’m all for that. (And ‘nuts’ to ADM. /heh)

        1. Return of the Bride of Joe Biden

          The number 3 wheat producer in the U.S.A. is Washington state. Unknown to many, the bulk of Washington state is neither wet nor green.

          1. Charlie Sheldon

            Washington is neither wet nor green east of the Cascades where the wheat is grown, but it is nearly entirely supported by irrigated water flowing from Federally-build dams on the Columbia and other rivers during the 1920s and 30s. Eastern Washington is also generally hard right, freedom loving patriots who hate government, the feds, and taxes, seemingly unaware their fortunes are entirely because the greatest socialist Prwsident of them all, Franklin Roosevelt, built the dams with tax money…..

              1. judy2shoes

                I looked at the map of WA State at the link you posted, Flora, and yes, WA was blue during the time period you noted. What it doesn’t show is the distribution of the votes across the state. Charlie is correct that eastern WA is “generally hard right, freedom loving patriots who hate government, the feds, and taxes.” I know because I live here. The eastern side of what’s referred to as the Cascade Curtain is more rural and Republican in general. I think the same kind of dynamic that pushed desperate people into Trump’s arms in 2016 did the same thing after the stock market crash and the great depression, except it pushed red states (and red areas) blue.

              2. LifelongLib

                Well, my sister lives in eastern WA, and from what she tells me Charlie Sheldon is correct about the area skewing right politically, even though it is also as he says heavily dependent on federal dam and irrigation projects. But because the more populated urban areas in the western part of the state lean Democrat the state is usually “blue” at the national level.

              3. flora

                Apologies to C S for my above comment’s bit that suggested there was stereotyping in C S’s comment. I come from farming families and have become irritated with the national dem party’s pretty much denigration of farmers, describing them with negative stereotypes. (My red state used to reliably send one or two Dem congressmen to DC, until the state Dem party was abandoned by the national Dem get-out-the-vote machinery and funding.) I usually hear the stereotype from urban people who don’t know anyone who farms. Clearly not the case with C S’s comment.

                1. judy2shoes

                  Thank you, Flora, for the explanation. I am triggered by certain things, too, so I understand.

        2. Big River Bandido

          My grandfather farmed in Iowa for 70 years, field crops and livestock (farming used to be diversified that way). The primary field crop was always corn, but he cultivated many crops in smaller amounts, including wheat, depending on market conditions.

          Long and short, wheat *can* be grown in much of the corn belt because it requires a shorter growing season. Market conditions might now favor such a shift.

          1. flora

            My grandparents much the same. But, but, how can Cargill make its fortunes if small – quarter section or whole section acreage – family farms grow diversified crops decided by their own discretion?! Think of Cargill’s stock price! / ;)

            1. ex-PFC Chuck

              Cargill has always been a privately owned company. I lived a half mile from their HQ complex for 35 years. True to form it is surrounded by a mono-cultured pine forest. Scroll down to the highlighted photo.

        3. cobo

          In the wonderful novel by Frank Norris “The Octopus” the story is told in fiction of how the railroads bullied the wheat farmers of California’s Central Valley – the key point – wheat was grown in the Central Valley long before the federal and state water projects – and of course all the houses…

    2. jsn

      Still taking the Mandate of Heaven seriously.

      Legitimacy requires political leadership which neoliberalism’s rule #1 prohibits.

      Disaster Capitalism is poised for a breakout into a political abyss.

      1. Louis Fyne

        for as bad as the US Great Depression was, it was a kids tea party compared to the multiple bouts of famine/economic suffering in pre-communist China.

        The institutional memory of bad times haunts Chinese leadership (regardless of whether it is due to genuine care or cynical self-preservation)

        US doesn’t have that. The 1970’s = quirky TV sitcom, not gas lines or food inflation

        1. curlydan

          don’t forget the famine/suffering in post-revolution China from 1958-1962 either. epic f-ups led to millions dead.

          1. lordkoos

            Mao and/or his wife Jiang Qing had some odd ideas. The famine killed millions, estimates in the west were that 15 to 55 million died of hunger, making it one of the largest famines in human history. My first wife who was Chinese told me that at one point people were asked to kill sparrows if they saw them. Most people thought this kind of thing to be crazy but you were expected to go along with it. During “the great leap forward” rural people were tasked with industrialization by smelting metal, this sometimes involved cutting down precious fruit trees for firewood for the smelters, which in many cases ended being low-quality pot metal.

        2. flora

          an aside: The communist era doesn’t get of lightly. Mao had a hand in creating one of the deadliest famines in modern history.

          I’d say the current China has its own memory of placing ideology above the real world how-to requirements of civilizations, things like the way to grow food.

          (Something our ideologically obsessed neoliberal davosmen are still learning about the danger of placing ideology above competence in the real world, imo.)

          1. ambrit

            I’d add the entirely man made Bengal famine of 1943. Decisions made in London based on European concepts of wartime needs essentially halted previously ‘regular’ shipments of foodstuffs into the Bengal. Two to three million starved to death.
            Another case of military political calculations being deadly to the powerless.

          2. Stick'em

            For anyone wondering why many Chinese people seem to eat anything that moves, from snakes to pangolins to bats, this is a thing. Many Chinese remember these famines and adapted to eat anything remotely edible as a result. All of a sudden the Wuhan live animal market, epicenter of the COVID epidemic doesn’t seem so crazy, does it? Hyper-omnivory beats eating your belt and shoes…

            1. lordkoos

              The practice of eating “anything that had its back to the sun” was in place long before Mao and had nothing to do with communism, it was about scarcity and feeding a large population. When I visited China in the late 90s and early 2000s there were restaurants that served scorpions, etc.

              1. Anthony G Stegman

                In vast areas of Vietnam (perhaps the entire country now) the forests are silent. All living creatures are trapped and eaten because a fast growing population craves protein (from any and all sources).

                1. bassmule

                  From a gentleman I met in Hong Kong way back in 1989: “Chinese cuisine is the cuisine of starvation. If it’s green or it moves, you eat it.”

        3. Mary

          You forgot the Holodomor. One reason Ukrainians embraced and volunteered for the SS during the war, to get even with their Soviet torturers.

          Now generations later, the beat continues. Ironic, around here synagogues have hung up Ukrainian flags.

          1. flora

            I didn’t forget the Holodomor. I also didn’t forget the Reichskommissariat Ukraine, going to your second point. But mentioning either seemed a step away from the earlier comments about China.

        4. Kouros

          Irish Potato Famine…

          US cannot be considered. It’s frontier was closed as late as 1905. People had where to go to scratch a living.

          Malnutrition and obesity is emblematic though for the US presently.

          1. flora

            Malnutrition and obesity is emblematic though for the US presently.

            But not in the 1960s and 1970s or even 1980s. What happened? / ;)

            1. Doc

              We started eating science instead of food. Why get your vitamins and nutrients for fruit when you can have a glass of artificial colors and flavors made from left over chemicals? Never mind one of the greatest flubs of the last century – fat is bad. All the “food” became low fat, low nutrient, and carb right. It is a win-win-win for big food and big pharma.

  4. nippersdad

    Re: Taibbi’s Russia reportage.

    I have been really disappointed to see how many of my go-to sites have been coopted. Even Jacobin now sounds like it hired Judith Miller as a war correspondent. The pressure to conform must be intense. So many of them, reading between the lines, appear to be worried about being de-platformed; especially those on YouTube.

    One point I have had to make a lot lately is that accusations of war crimes are much more credible when they don’t come from war criminals. That usually ends the dispute right there. If one is looking for a bright spot, that might be one of them. Acceptance of the bi-partisan party line may be wide, but it is brittle and exceptionally thin. I suspect the run-up in gas and food prices will break it fairly quickly. Especially if our millionaire political class continues to tell us all how we should take one for the team.

    1. Louis Fyne

      yup. Maslow hierarchy of needs:

      media can bury under the fold the housing crisis.

      they can’t hide European gas prices at USA pumps, or 50% increase in grocery bills

        1. Laura in So Cal

          I saw regular at $5.59 last night at the expensive station in town. I paid $5.19 for regular at my regular cheaper station.

          1. tegnost

            Maybe this increases the odds for a brokered peace deal sometime during the sunday talk shows. I guess we’re about to see just how sociopathic our putative leaders actually are. I am not sanguine.
            Oil closed at 115/bbl yesterday…
            Lots of room to run

    2. marcyincny

      I too have been hugely “disappointed to see how many of my go-to sites have been coopted” and it began to shift with the ‘Covid in kids’ issue. I think something happens mentally when someone sits in front of a camera with an audience and the clicks start generating money. It’s another reason NC is vital for so many of us.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        It’s not terribly different than the post 9/11 environment. The blog sphere was largely a response to craziness.

        ignorance and jingoism are at play

        At this point, most people barely know where Ukraine much less the fighting is. There seems to be an attitude a no fly zone can simply be implemented because freedom per the poll linked in the linked tweet. Much of the myth of American invincibility is being punctured. People are having a hard time with that.

        1. marcyincny

          That’s exactly what’s keeping me up at night. If people are having a hard time now how will they react if Russia does succeed by any measure?

          From what little I see of the ‘blob’ it seems they are ultimately afraid Putin will make them look bad, will make “the myth of American invincibility” an obvious hallucination. Where will all the anger go?

          1. jsn

            The good news is the scope of control they’ve now got with mass media: it’s all fiction.

            The story will be written as a success regardless of outcome ( or we’ll all become radioactive dust).

            Those who care to know the truth will find out, but be isolated and disconnected by the fuel and food shortages and the disaster capitalists will watch the value of their assets evaporate. Look after your health and your neighbors. You’re in one of the only spots in the US with public transportation.

            1. super extra

              The story will be written as a success regardless of outcome ( or we’ll all become radioactive dust).

              I agree this is the likeliest short-to-mid-term outcome of this, and is the point of the hysteria (to justify the digital curtain cutting off the east).

            2. David

              I’m not so sure. If Ukraine is disarmed, Russian troops withdraw, alleged Nazis are tried in Moscow, and stability returns to Eastern Europe, while NATO and the US have just stood by making ineffectual hand gestures, that’s difficult to spin your way out of. Reality does win sometimes, you know.

              1. jsn

                Right, but you’re one of those irritating people seeking the truth who social media won’t relent in calling conspiracy theorists, crack pots or Putin lovers.

                Until the new price, employment and death rates are normalized, that effort won’t let up.

                What you suggest seems quite possible, but unlikely to be acknowledged anytime soon.

              2. Skip Intro

                Russian troops withdraw – President Harris greeted as victor with Wall St. parade.

              3. ArvidMartensen

                If Ukraine is disarmed then the “Ukrainian freedom fighters for democracy laid down their weapons for peace”.
                If Russian troops withdraw, then “the Ukrainian freedom fighters took on a David and Goliath battle and heroically won, defeating the crumbling Russian military made up of conscript soldiers tricked into being in Ukraine, given substandard guns and tanks that kept breaking down”.
                If alleged Nazis are tried in Moscow then “Ukrainian freedom fighters have been kidnapped and are being tried by a Moscow kangaroo court on trumped up charges. Their children are left without fathers [pic of crying child]”.

          2. rhodium

            “where will all the anger go?”

            The people in America who we all associate as being fervent unquestioning patriots haven’t been able to grasp why they are struggling so badly in the land of freedom and opportunity. Perhaps it will just continue to be more obvious that the U.S. is ran by it’s own oligarchs with geopolitical interests and more or less there is increasingly not so huge a difference between the land of freedom and the land of enemies. The failure of invincibility will come with the realization that most of society is being treated like gullible inferior proles.

            Also, if at any point the general public broadly notices that our economy would collapse or is collapsing due to further supply chain failures from war or otherwise, they might start to understand the insane hubris of the government. They might see how business was allowed to eliminate economic security while we wasted trillions on the military in the name of security.

          3. Delphi

            Counter propaganda for balance?

            Most Americans fail to realize that Zelensky’s rejection of Minsk was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Russian officials had worked for 8 years on Minsk hammering out terms that would be agreeable to all parties. Then—at the eleventh hour—Zelensky put the kibosh on the deal with a wave of the hand. Why? Who told Zelensky to scrap the agreement? Washington?


            1. Andrey Subbotin

              Minsk was reluctantly signed by Ukraine after several military defeats, Debaltsevo being the latest. It was essentially a mild surrender that would convert Ukraine into a loose confederation instead of centrally controlled anti-Russian force. After that for 8 years Russia kept hammering “Implement it already” while Ukraine did nothing, and Germany/France, who supposedly were guarantors, carefully looked the other way.
              A lot of people are now saying in Russia “Please, not another Minsk 3, not another fake negotiated non-agreement, finish the job this time”

          4. lyman alpha blob

            RE: Where will all the anger go?

            Grenada? Or maybe somewhere more original this time? If Russia prevails, probably not a good time to buy a vacation spot on small defenseless tropical island nations.

            1. ambrit

              I’m thinking this time it will turn inwards. Expect to see summary courts and town square executions of “domestic terrorists.” (For some eternally amorphous definition of ‘domestic terrorist.’)

          5. Lambert Strether

            > That’s exactly what’s keeping me up at night. If people are having a hard time now how will they react if Russia does succeed by any measure?

            They will double down.

            > Where will all the anger go?

            Traitors., I would assume, including what left there is.

            1. jsn

              Comments in the Cultural Revolution famine thread above are an outline of how far we are still at risk of falling.(flora March 5, 2022 at 10:50 am)

              Good news is neoliberalism has obliterated state capability so it will be a more freelance effort here to impose Successor Ideology on an armed but disorganized population. It will be interesting to see how the play of forces, SI electoral NY vs reactionary NYPD, work out with Eric Adams: new frontiers of cognitive dissonance!

              I’m personally modestly optimistic about the self organizing effects SI will have on gun nuts like my brother who, while making his own ammo is obsessive about gun safety and truthfulness. He and his hunting buddies are nothing if not fair, but isolated and alienated by a neoliberal discourse of “equity” that categorizes them as “the problem “ ignoring their rotting economic realities.

        2. Robert Dudek

          Who is calling for a no-fly zone? Other than the Ukie president? It would mean escalating the situation to Cuban Missile Crisis level instantly.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            No one who has to think about it. Media personalities. The push to bomb that convoy was everywhere for a reason. My guess is the Pentagon went are you kidding as the brass actually has to do it which can sober people up quickly.

          2. Ed S.

            Generally speaking, the PMC is calling for it or thinking about it.

            I watch the PBS Newshour to keep an eye on what and how I am supposed to think about the issues of the day. In the weekly David Brooks / Jonathan Capehart political commentary on the weeks’ issues Brooks commented regarding actions to support Ukraine,

            “Can we prevent ourselves from getting carried away and wanting to do things like a no-fly zone, which I think would be an act of war and real trouble?”

            So there is some awareness as to what a no-fly zone would actually entail (setting aside the complexity of actually implementing it).

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          It’s disappointing, but I’d have to agree. I’m surprised at how willing I was to ignore Krystal’s screechiness and inappropriate laughing, and Saagar’s saliva soaked malaprops when the two of them were more on point.

          1. PHLDenizen

            Krystal’s biases are rooted in living in NoVa. Well intentioned, but the blob parasite’s still throwing a party in her brain. Their Covid coverage degenerated into nonsense, although Jimmy Dore launched into some unhinged rants about the same. Had to tune those episodes out, but he still often has some useful insights when the right guests are on.

            When Sagar shows up dressed in camo and says goodbye as he ships off to basic to fight Putin, I’ll listen. Or if Krystal says “my children are going to take a couple years off before college to fight for our values”, she’ll have more credibility. Even if they deployed in a war zone as journalists, I’d have more respect.

            But neither’ll do that. So I just click “hide this channel from my feed” and move on.

          1. lyman alpha blob

            Thanks for that – I was wondering yesterday why there was no Rising for the last couple days. Apparently even the milquetoast Ryan Grimm is too radical for youtube these days. Hadn’t realized Kim Iverson has her own show – she was my favorite anyway

            1. jr

              Soave is unbearable, a chipper libertarian chipmunk. Grim tries to project an air of gravitas via the intonation of an android. Kim seems the most honest of the bunch to me…

        2. Screwball

          Agree. I used to watch almost every episode and now I can’t get through most segments. I don’t know what happened, but they are not the same.

          I think what they both really want is to work for a campaign. A Karl Rove/David Axelrod type person. Maybe this is their audition.

          1. Charlie Sheldon

            I agree with all the above. This is the sad but truthful realization that as soon as someone “monetizes” their offering they become subject to control from their sponsors. All and every one of them.

            Ten or fifteen years ago reading the Internet reporters was fun because they invariably told the huge stories days before MSM found out about them. But recently the level of bullshit has exploded. Every Youtube channel now has ads every five minutes. We are being trained as watchers to wait for the five second countdown to “skip ad” to end, then hitting skip ad, without any sense at all about what is being advertised.

            Not sure there is a resolution to this, for you need money to live. Maybe a site only funded by a maximum 10 dollar offering?

            And it used to be the MSM was intolerable because the damned reporters only offered framing for ten minutes before the story or pundits making conclusions, never the news, but lately Crystal and Saager and The Hill are the same. Must be the price of celebrity and the fact most of these people are soon making big money. I agree with the comments about Krystal’s screechiness, totally, and Saager’s overall excuse for anything bad being Boomer-caused, and generally it feels as if they are deep in conspiracy land, too.

            It used to be if it was a question between a conspiracy or a simple f*** up, simple f*** up won nearly every time. Still true, but you’d never know it….

            I look forward to the day when we go out to see what someone has written and posted on a telephone pole….

        3. fringe element

          I’m sorry to hear that. I stopped watching when Ukraine became the only news topic because I have never agreed with Saagar’s foreign policy thinking and Krystal lets him run the conversation on those topics. Really sad to hear that my instincts were prescient.

    3. Carolinian

      it is brittle

      Think you are probably right and we’ll know soon enough. Perhaps Russia’s true nuclear option is not those bombs and missiles but their irreplaceable commodities. There’s not much the US or Europe can do about that other than conquer Russia. Hitler tried it.

      Our elites like to ignore the flyovers but let gasoline reach $5 and that won’t be possible.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        Speaking of brittle, it appears that the Zelensky/nato love affair may be classified that way as well:

        Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Friday slammed NATO as being “weak” and “underconfident” for refusing to establish a no-fly zone over Ukraine as his country fights in “the worst invasion since World War II.”

        In a Facebook video shared and translated by Axios on Friday, Zelensky said Ukrainians have fought fearlessly against Russians invading their country — and will continue to — but have been thrown into “nine days of darkness” without assistance from NATO.

        “Knowing that new strikes and casualties are inevitable, NATO deliberately decided not to close the sky over Ukraine,” Zelensky said in an emotional video address.

        The president urged NATO to think about “all those people who will die because of you.”

        “Because of your weakness, because of your disunity, all the alliance has managed to do so far is to carry fifty tons of diesel fuel for Ukraine,” he said. “Is this the alliance you were building?”

        1. XXYY

          Of course, one does not just “declare” or “establish” a no-fly zone, one has to have overwhelming superiority of planes, and also the associated infrastructure, fuel, mechanics, missiles, and pilots to keep them in the air 24/7. And one has to be willing to face the political and military consequences of shooting down the aircraft of other countries which may be in the air.

          None of these conditions pertain in the Ukraine right now as far as the US or NATO is concerned. The Ukrainian Air Force was pretty much wiped out on the first day of the invasion, and all their military airfields and communication centers were rendered unusable by standoff Russian weapons. Evidence that the Russians totally control Ukrainian airspace is the fact that the 40 km long convoy headed for Kiev (a juicy target for aircraft) has existed for days completely unmolested.

          No fly zones are strictly for winners.

          1. Delphi

            i.e. Americans shooting down Russian planes and or destroying Russian radar stations. Genius!

            Got vaporization?

            You will if you are one of the lucky hundred millions. If not, ugly slow death awaits you and your family.

            Trotsky’s Neocon grandchildren will have at least gotten their revenge for their ancestors having been kicked out of power by Stalin.

          2. nn

            Actually, no fly zone isn’t just about shooting down aircrafts. You have to take out all the anti-aircraft defenses on the ground like S-400, Pantsir S1, manpads, etc. And of course runways, unless you are confident enough that you can sort it all in air dogfights to the point Russian’s themselves decide it’s not worth to try flying.

            All of which in this case means direct attack on Russia territory.

        2. JP

          Unless we want WW3, there is no such intervention. Sorry Zelensky, the west has no choice but to fight the ruskies to the last ukrain.

        3. Oh

          The only no-fly zone that should be imposed is on Zellensky who will sooner or later fly with the oodles of money that the CIA has given him. He should be put in jail where he can screech about NATO not having confidence (underconfident is probably a word he invented).

        4. Lambert Strether

          > In a Facebook video shared and translated by Axios on Friday, Zelensky said Ukrainians have fought fearlessly against Russians invading their country — and will continue to — but have been thrown into “nine days of darkness” without assistance from NATO.

          Reminds me of this passage from Children of Dune:

          “You feel betrayed!” the heavy voice said. Hands turned him around, gently but with an obvious show of strength. An adult male was telling the child what the odds were.

          Zekensky, obviously, is not Leto Atriedes. But did could he really have beleived the ghouls running our foreign policy wouldn’t betray him?

      2. Robert Dudek

        Canada/US combined have plenty of natural resources – it’s Western and Central Europe that is screwed.

        1. ambrit

          Yes, but in the international trading system, commodities, once in the pipeline, are fungible. So, we pay a lower price as long as cheaper to produce foreign sourced oil is concerned. If left to our own devices, who knows how high the American Mix of ‘conventional’ and fracked oil could go? To the actual production price of fracked oil? That would be a true ‘The Costs of Capitalism’ moment.
          America could go it alone, but the general standard of living would have to drop to compensate.

    4. upstater

      I am particularly disappointed in the reporting by the Financial Times… the west’s reporting is far worse than the Vietnam era and probably comparable to the 1950s cold war (I couldn’t read back then!).

      Back in the Iraq 2 war I had been an FT subscriber for maybe a year.. I recall a front page editorial that was critical of the invasion. The reporting also lacked the obvious boosterism of US media. It was refreshing.

      Now the FT is entirely different. I have yet to see any news articles or opinions that differ substantively from the US War party line. Earlier in the week the usually reality-based Martin Wolf sounded like a born again neocon. I haven’t gotten my weekend hardcopy yet, but it features a huge spread by Francis “End of History” Fukuyama entitled “Putin’s war on the liberal order”, which I suppose is a true statement. The lede is our “need to reawaken the spirit of 1989”. It seems to me that 1989 was a missed opportunity to step back from the brink and all the supposed liberalism Fukuyama pines for is exactly what created the terrible mess of 2022. Doubling down on bad policies will at best impoverish more or lead to a nuclear holocaust at worst.

      The link to Gillian Tett’s Friday piece about threats to the world’s financial system is perhaps the most relevant thing I’ve read in the FT since December. Pass the popcorn. But pity the suffering of innocents.

      1. Robert Dudek

        The reason it is different is that it isn’t the US that is invading this time.

      1. nippersdad

        That was a real disappointment for me as well. The one that amazed me the most, though, was Jacobin. There is at least one writer there who I could swear was Judith Miller. I thought David Sirota was an editor there, and I simply cannot believe that any of that got past him.

      1. Delphi

        Better yet this:

        “All of the main actors in this fiasco knew from the very beginning that Ukraine had no chance of defeating the Russian army. That was a foregone conclusion. So–what we want to know– is why Zelenskyy didn’t take steps to avoid the tragedy before it unfolded?

        Ask yourself this: Why didn’t Zelenskyy negotiate with Putin when he had the chance? Why didn’t he pull back his 60,000 troops from the east? Why didn’t he stop Washington’s weapons shipments? Why didn’t he implement the Minsk Treaty? Why didn’t he reject NATO’s offer for membership? Finally, why was so intent on doing the things that he knew would anger Moscow and increase the likelihood of a war?

        These questions are not hard to answer.
        Zelenskyy has been acting on orders from Washington from the get-go.”

        1. Pat

          And to his dismay has now discovered that America and their puppet NATO are agreement incapable. He has done everything they asked and what have they done for him and Ukraine. Either he is a better actor than he has shown thus far in which case the no fly zone rant is performance OR he is truly asking where are the rescuers he was told would be there. Personally I think he is finally realizing that they are perfectly willing to sacrifice everything in the Ukraine – including him and he is beginning to panic. His only real option if things keep going as they are is to negotiate with Russia, but that leaves him open to attacks from both the Nazis he is still surrounded by AND by his former western allies. He is screwed.

      2. fringe element

        Good piece by Zakaria overall, but I would quibble that Russia was provoked and doesn’t plan to occupy the country.

    5. Stephen T Johnson

      I think the reasons are surprisingly simple, given a little thought, There’s been wave after wave of Russia bad! Putin bad! Yadda yadda yadda. At this point anyone who isn’t fairly embedded in current things Russian is bound to have a hard time making sense of events.
      Matt is a great example – his knowledge of 90s Russia is really good, but his focus dfor the last 20 years has been the pursuit of a path back to viability for the US political system. This leaves him (and most people) incapable of really making sense because their priors are just too unreal.
      The cognitive dissonance once the end game begins is going to be incredible.
      Let’s hope we all live through it.

        1. ambrit

          And, sadly, all it takes is an influential someone to stand up in the committee room of an important Congressional committee and hold up a blank piece of paper and declaim, “Madame Chairperson, I hold here in my hand a list…..”
          Seeing as how History may not repeat, but it does rhyme, I can assert that all of our “moderne” digital media are the equivalent of that blank piece of paper from simpler times gone bye.

          1. flora

            Yep. I remember popcorn-or-not making pretty wild, evidence-free claims against websites after the 2016 election.

        2. Yves Smith Post author

          It wasn’t the DoJ. Headlines totally misleading. Some anon source engaging in scaredy talk. But very effective gaslighting.

      1. fringe element

        Interesting to me that just as Taibbi wrong-foots himself here, his former colleague in Russia, Mark Ames, has become a credible voice on the issues. The only critique I ever heard of Taibbi that seemed substantial until now was that he threw Ames under the bus when cancel culture went after him for his work on the Exile back in 90s Russia. Katha Pollitt slammed Taibbi for that one, and I was really sorry to see her be on the wrong side of that debate. Pretty much the way I felt about learning that Joni Mitchell was calling for Rogan to be deplatformed.

    6. marku52

      I snort every time I see that poll that says Americans are OK with paying more at the pump to stop Russian gas.

      Yeah, right, the same Americans that can’t wear a covering on their face without screeching about “FREEDOM”

      Yeah, sure they’ll good with $10 gas only available on alternate days, 10 gallons at a time.

    7. Anon

      prior to the crisis I never paid attention to Putin, so I took it upon myself to watch a horrid NBC interview with the man, and was just that, horrified by the lack of sophistication of the interviewer, his questions, and what that implied about the American people as it was produced for their consumption! Meanwhile, The President of Russia responded to the inane provocations with such diction as has no parallel in the Western theater (pun intended). Watching it, one gets a sinking feeling, that if this interviewer is the best we could send…

      It was interesting observing myself, watch John Oliver lambast Putin as he regularly does… it was highly disconcerting, as it made me question everything I blindly accepted, and laughed with him about in the past. Found it very ironic, that I might as well be watching ‘Tucker Carlson’… and maybe I’m not so different from a FOX watcher after all (in a bad way!).

  5. Safety First

    Re: Taibbi

    I had listened to that podcast he was doing with some woman (forget the name) a couple of times before the pandemic. On one of them, something regarding Russia came up, at which point Taibbi a) quoted as his source an article in Novaya Gazeta, and b) specifically quoted Yulia Latynina.

    Novaya Gazeta has ever been a bastion of “liberal” (read: rabidly pro-western, equally rabidly anti-communist) coverage, though not quite as off-the-wall as the now shuttered Echo of Moscow. Latynina specifically, who at least used to have a program on Echo in addition to her columns, has spent the past 20 years writing such off-the-wall tripe that would have made Ann Coulter blush just a little. The point is that to hold these two sources in the least credible, one has to adopt a very specific political stance and worldview, at least viz. anything happening in Russia. All a long way of saying, it surprises me not in the least that he is expressing shades of this in his pieces at present, which, of course, is one of the reasons why I do not listen to his podcasts any longer or shall ever subscribe to his Substack…

    Re: the Ukrainian poster shown above. From a purely historical perspective, looks very much to be a post-facto thing, since all the way through 1944 any and all Ukrainian nationalist organisations were under strict to semi-strict German control (either under German officers directly, or ultimately reporting to same). In any case, the BEST source specifically on the nuclear power plant incident has been, shockingly, the local mayoralty, with the mayor recording an official explanation (in Ukrainian)…24 hours ago? 18 hours ago? Something along those lines. Plus the camera shots of the car park where the shooting took place, of course.

    Re: sanctions. I am going to continue to pound the why-did-Treasury-give-Usmanov-a-blanket-exemption drum until someone gives me a reasonable answer. Thus far, only RT seems to have done any reporting on this (including in the Russian press), and they do not say much. Also, too, apparently the South Koreans have declared that any and all US sanction regimes viz. Russia do not apply to them; Samsung, if you believe Russian press, is in fact lamenting that present shipping volumes are not allowing them to move product into Russia fast enough. But in any case the whole thing looks…strange, unless the point of the sanctions regime is explicitly to shag the EU, and not the Russians.

    1. britzklieg

      Thanks for the clarification as Taibbi’s piece was so contrary to what I had come to believe re Ukraine that it lead me to doubts and silenced my skeptical mind more effectively than any other push-back I’d encountered. I knew Taibbi had spent a lot of time in Russia but I did not know the back-story you’ve provided nor the extent to which Taibbi has possibly stumbled re: sources. I am dismayed.

    2. OnceWereVirologist


      In video after video of POWs in Ukraine (YouTube is full of them, but only a few have been proven authentic, so I’m not linking yet), you see Russian soldiers, some too young to shave, insisting they had no idea what the mission was, or that they were expecting a 3-5 day training mission. Obviously some are reading off a script — in some cases their own, in other cases reading words handed by captors — but the consistency of the reactions is striking.

      He contradicts his own conclusions by suggesting that some POWs are reading off scripts but then saying that the consistency of reactions is striking. Consistency would be striking, but only if they weren’t reading off scripts. It’s not actually very convincing when you think about it that the higher ups would just pretend that a major invasion was a training mission and let their soldiers walk unaware into a live fire situation.

      Along with bizarre scenes like a widely publicized video of Russian tank operators stopped by the side of the road saying they have no idea where they’re going, it all points to a Russian mission that was poorly planned, if the bulk of the soldiers were trained at all.

      You could also interpret this video as showing Russian soldiers being well-trained enough to not reveal their orders to any random civilian that comes along. I don’t know which is the true interpretation, but like most Western commentators on this war, I think Taibbi is letting his priors influence his judgement a little too much.

      1. Louis Fyne

        Ukraine claims to have killed 9800 Russian soldiers in 7 days That is impossible to hide the verifying photos if true.

        The US had 53,000 deaths in 3 years of fierce fighting during the Korean War.

        No reason to trust both sides. But one side is conspicuously tight-lipped than the other. think that says volumes about the true course of the war

        1. OnceWereVirologist

          Well I guess if the Russian officer corps just gave the order “Drive west” and forgot to mention that they were going to invade a foreign country, that would explain BOTH how the soldiers didn’t know what the mission was or where they were going AND how 10,000 of them got killed in 7 days. Now, I’m convinced that Ukraine is going to win this war.

        2. Kouros

          A couple of days ago, Russian MoD release the losses number and the deaths were under 500.

          Russians have to be accountable to their own people. Ukrainians, on the other hand, have all the interest in the world to inflate any success…

      2. Darthbobber

        Since the bulk of the Ukrainian populace is fluent in Russian, and there’s little appreciable difference between Ukrainian and Russian uniforms I’m not sure how he goes about authenticating any of these.

        1. Paradan

          Ukrainian uniforms are digital camo. Its got a blocky pattern to it. They have more of a tan coloring in my opinion.

    3. grayslady

      Matt Taibbi has some sort of special hatred for Russia that I’ve never understood, but I noticed it quite a while back. He likes to hold himself out as a Russia expert since he lived there many years ago–I believe as a student. It’s one reason I don’t follow Taibbi anymore. He has never been willing to re-examine his pre-conceived notions on any number of issues.

      1. OnceWereVirologist

        He’s a great writer on the contemporary United States. I’m less convinced on his bona fides as far as Russia is concerned.

      2. Otis B Driftwood

        Taibbi worked as a journalist in Russia. His partner at the time was Mark Ames and they put out a bi-weekly rag called The eXile.

        Apparently he and Ames had a falling out. I don’t know the details.

        Ames has been one of the few voices of reason during this crisis. NK regularly post his tweets about the conflict.

    4. lyman alpha blob

      I am a subscriber to his substack and will continue to be, but I was really surprised by that recent take. I’ll cut him some slack since he did live in Russia and was clearly no fan of the corruption he saw there, especially the rampant corruption in the 90s that created the current Russian elite, with a huge assist from the Harvard boys. So it’s somewhat understandable he’d be on the lookout for Russian ineptitude given his priors. I think his major mistake there was equating Russia with Putin. As noted above, Putin is not the Decider in Russia and others in the Russian leadership see Ukraine joining NATO as a redline that can’t be crossed.

      I also subscribe to Breaking Points and was really disappointed in their coverage of the first couple days after the Russian invasion where they seemed to be toeing the Western line, but they have gotten much more circumspect again which was reassuring.

      1. fringe element

        I’m a subscriber to his substack too, and agree with cutting him some slack. I won’t put any stock in his thinking about Russia, but all of his writing about the longstanding financial misbehavior of US leadership is indispensable for me.

        Also good to hear that Breaking Points may be back on track. As with Taibbi, come to think of it, there may be no value for me in their thinking on foreign affairs, but their reporting on domestic issues is good and well worth my time.

  6. marcel

    Re: sanctions on Russia
    Someone must be out of their mind. From Dimitri Orlov’s latest:

    For example, the EU demanded that all Russian leases on Airbus jets—over 500 of them—be cancelled. It also blocked the sale of Airbus parts to Russia and forbade Russian planes from being serviced. It also closed its airspace to Russian planes and Russia closed its airspace to EU planes in response. The EU also blocked the SWIFT payment system. This means the following things:

    • The European leasing companies will have to pay Russia huge fines for canceling the leases but can’t because SWIFT isn’t working.

    • The European leasing companies have to get their planes out of Russian territory but can’t because their flight crews can’t get into Russia and once they take possession of the planes the planes won’t be allowed to take off (airspace is closed).

    • The planes can no longer be serviced according to the maintenance schedule, which means that in a couple of months they won’t be able to fly at all.

    • Given that this is a force majeur circumstance, the Russian government can very easily nationalize these planes, including all of the intellectual property and patent rights contained therein, and start making their own parts and providing their own service.

    • Given all of the above, the obvious choice for the European leasing companies to declare bankruptcy and cease operations. Company representatives have said as much.

    How will this not end badly in Europe ?

    1. super extra

      • Given that this is a force majeur circumstance, the Russian government can very easily nationalize these planes, including all of the intellectual property and patent rights contained therein, and start making their own parts and providing their own service.

      This tactic with the IP and patents is incredible to me and I wish there was more discussion about it in the west because given what I know about my field (software and computer engineering) this will have massive knock-on and long term effects in the US. Hard to overemphasize how much of the US software dominance relies on a very fragile IP house of cards.

      1. Louis Fyne

        No discussion because op-ed pundits are of one hive mind and give zero thought to 2d or 3d order consequences.

        most of them have spent their whole lives pushing paper, and have zero concept of the complex web of stuff that is needed to keep the First World functioning.

        Then through in that we have a form of secular Woke fundamentalism in the West. Any form of compromise, accommodation or even empathy with antagonists = giving and comfort to 1930’s Germans.

        1. Kouros

          I still have a pirated copy from 2003 of Microsoft Office on a CD somewhere. Works well. I updated it only when my employer got a license for the latest version for $11 a year ago.

      2. Alex Cox

        In the 1980s, as the American contra war and sanctions intensified, the Sandinistas responded by pirating US studio movies and showing them on national TV. So Nicaraguan children got to watch ET at home for nothing (if they had access to TV!) while American kids and their poor parents had to subsidize the studios.

        A refusal to obey “intellectual property” rules as a response to sanctions can have all manner of interesting and beneficial results.

    2. flora

      The neoliberals are running the EU now. This confirms my priors they’re nuts, clever but nuts.

      1. Pate

        There are so many different kinds of stupidity, and cleverness is one of the worst.”
        — Thomas Mann

    3. Louis Fyne

      Just look at Iran. 45 yeas of western sanctions and they still fly US fighter planes and helicopters.

      Reverse engineering the Airbus-Boeing software and parts are within easy reach of Russia aerospace companies.

      even with sanctions, the West can’t geofence Russia. Airbus tech will make its way into Russian plans, copycat Airbus parts and knowhow will make its way to China.

      this war gave birth to an experiment that will test the anarcho-libertarian dream of no IP laws.

        1. Lambert Strether

          > Airbus may scream blue murder about this but what is the EU going to do about it? Sanction Russia for it?

          I think the hardest aspect would be duplicating Airbus “fly by wire,” both the software engineering and actuating control surfaces without mechanical cables.

            1. jr

              An interesting corollary in EVE: players preferred hard cable internet connections v. wifi because a half second hiccup in signal could cost you months of work.

              1. ambrit

                Ah, we’re not gamers, but do insist on hard wiring all of our electronica. No wifi allowed in the house, at least not on purpose.

            2. Norm de plume

              ‘ Given the demonstrated ability to “fry” electronic systems from a distance, (remote cut off of automobile engines today for example)’

              I wonder how long that capability has been around. I can recall reading about a certain Bush 2 official who ‘lost’ something like 2 trillion dollars of defence funds on his watch whose priors included a senior role in the 1990s at an outfit developing a kill switch for aviation. Story went nowhere. Obviously nothing to see there…

            3. rowlf

              Fly by wire is safer. FBW originally came from military designs trying to make the aircraft more survivable when damaged. There have been several instances where FBW aircraft have safely landed while missing several feet of wing and the computers compensated for the condition. Early lessons from UH-60 helicopter crashes from flying close to high power radar led to better quality control of wiring and wire harness shielding.

              I’ll concede getting FBW correct took a while. FBW’s other advantage is flight control cables do not get mis-rigged, freeze up or get jammed by maintenance leaving rags on the cable runs, cargo loading damaging the cargo hold roof, or cabin floor flexing when a cargo door departs the aircraft.

          1. PHLDenizen

            Boeing’s farmed out a lot of their software development to third parties. Rockwell-Collins worked on MCAS. Rockwell also works on PTC systems for railroad networks and they have a large contingency of off-shored software engineers in India. Whether that’s true for AirBus, I’m not sure. But aviation, to my knowledge, in general relies on a sprawling network of suppliers.

            You just need to compromise one part of it to exfiltrate source code and design docs. China has a history of such things and is simultaneously working on its own aviation industry. It’s not impossible to foresee China, India, and Russia working together to duplicate exactly that. And China’s ability to machine and manufacture has gotten exponentially better with time.

            The 737 Max fiasco hasn’t left Boeing a bankrupt pile of smoldering ash. The Chinese melamine disaster hasn’t made importing their foodstuff into the US unpalatable. People seem to have short memories and a non-western consortium to develop aircraft could happen. Bill Gates would applaud it, aside from pissing and moaning about the intellectual property concerns.

            If the Russo-Sino-Indian alliance can get the Saudis comfortable sourcing their aircraft, that’s a major PR win and legitimization.

          2. marku52

            Also a lot of airplane IP is in the process. Yes, you can look at a titanium jet engine fan blade, measure it to the nth degree, and zap it with an XRF gun to figure out the alloy.

            You still can’t make with without knowing things like forging compression, shrinkage, and heat treatment.

            1. Carolinian

              The Russians probably know how to make jet engines. And airplane parts are a worldwide market or, potentially, black market. If the Iranians could get by all those years then Russians too more than likely.

            2. Paradan

              Russians have been catching up on jet engine manufacture, and could probably replace the engines with their own design that matches thrust, and weight of the original.

              1. rowlf

                Try matching time on wing as a measure of reliability. In 1990 at a US airline we thought 12000 hours was very good for a large high bypass fan engine. Now we can get almost 30000 hours. Medium size engines get about 16000 hours due to shorter flight leg lengths for similar cycles.

                If you have a good trend monitoring program the engines come off when performance margin starts to degrade. Flying the engine until the hot section comes out of the tailpipe is to be avoided.

                Newer turbine engine design parameters include noise and emissions.

          3. Polar Socialist

            Russian corporation Avianpribor has collaborated with Western manufacturers in installing their systems in Russian jets and made their own for airliners like Il-96 and Tu-204. Clients have been able to order almost any Russian jet with either Western or Russian avionics and/or engines.

            I’m far from an expert in the field of avionics, but based on my very small experience regarding medical devices, the hardest part of software development in highly regulated industries is the certification process.

    4. Maxwell Johnston

      It is pretty clear that those hundreds of Airbuses and Boeings being operated by Russian airlines will never again leave Russian territory (except for brief flights to friendly countries that will ignore EU/USA sanctions). Just today Aeroflot and S7 (the two biggest operators) suspended international flights from 8 March. Russia will continue to fly these jets, getting by with local mechanics doing maintenance as best they can, scrabbling some spare parts from China or reverse-engineering their own, and cannibalizing some jets to keep the others airworthy. Meanwhile the Russians will pour money into their own aerospace industry and crank out (already existing but underfunded) more and more Sukhoi Superjets, Tu-204s, MS-21s, and IL-96s. It will take a few years, but it’s doable.

      Many of these anti-Russian sanctions are knee-jerk reactions and little thought has been given to their long term consequences. If the EU/USA are keen to reduce the global importance of the euro and dollar, as well as damaging the global market share of Airbus/Boeing, then they’re off to a good start.

      1. Robert Dudek

        Nobody knows how long this war will go on. Could end tomorrow if someone takes out Putin. This war is a disaster for all sides, but that doesn’t mean it won’t go on for years. We just don’t know.

        1. tegnost

          Could end tomorrow if someone takes out Putin.

          Why would the war end because someone assassinated Putin?

        2. urdsama

          I think taking out Putin would be like dumping napalm on an EV fire. While I suppose there is a way it could be done in a way to “free” the Russian people, I don’t see how the other power structures in Russia who’ve been pushing for this invasion wouldn’t just spin it as US/NATO sponsored agitators. Regardless of the facts.

          Remember what started WWI?

        3. Paradan

          Putin is not the government. He is not some fairy-tale king that wanders around telling people what to do. He is there with consent of the Russian elite, and if they didn’t want him there, he’d be gone. All his decisions are made after consulting with them.

          1. britzklieg

            As Scott Ritter points out (video in today’s Links), Putin can make no unilateral decisions, especially about “invading” Ukraine. He had to take it to the Duma, where there is certainly a Pro-west contingent, for approval. So much for the “Putin is on the precipice of being ousted” myth.

            Do people really believe the Russian people were are going to be anything but committed to their country, it’s history, it’s art, it’s scholarship? In exchange for “western” culture? Is blood thicker than water?

            1. Polar Socialist

              To be even more precise, first the decision was made in or approved by the 33 members of the Security Council of Russian Federation and then approved by 170 members of the Federation Council, the upper house of Federal Assembly.

              That’s over 200 people on the top of the Russian administrative and political system taking part, or at least responsibility, for the decision making.

        4. Oh

          Spoken like a true right wing red blooded American. It’s better to talk peace than use words like “take out” because killing gets one nowhere.

      2. clarky90

        So the Russians “will own nothing (no IP), but they still, can be happy?”

        The Analogue, Neo-New-World-Order; That owns oil, wheat … and lithium

        but not IP

        “Could Abraham Maslow please pick up his smart phone for an urgent conversation? We have belatedly, become acquainted with your work.”

        signed, The Davos Gang.

    5. dontmakemelager

      Bizarrely naive to believe that the leasing companies will take the hit as being at fault here – I stopped reading the other points, because this is so fanciful as to be ridiculous. Leasing companies never take the hit and pay penalties – contracts are structured to their advantage. (Mind, they end up with expensive equipment and no lessee – bad enough).
      What I’ve heard (can’t confirm) is that the way this has worked in practice is insurance policies were revoked and that means the lease is, too.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        You seem to miss that we are talking about the reverse, Russia expropriating the equipment. Pray tell how do they not take a hit from losing assets?

    6. fringe element

      Do you have a link to the Orlov piece? I checked the most current website for him that I could find and did not see it. I would like to share what you posted but would like to be able to do it along with a link.

      1. Acacia

        It’s paywalled. If you search for the sentence “the EU demanded that all Russian leases on Airbus jets” you can find some quotations.

        I would post the URL, but another comment I posted with a URL pointing to a WSJ article just got deleted, so I guess(?) there’s some NC site policy against this (only trying to cite sources, ma’am ;).

    7. Mikel

      “The European leasing companies will have to pay Russia huge fines for canceling the leases but can’t because SWIFT isn’t working.”

      Who’s going to make the leasing companies them pay?
      And the leases weren’t technically cancelled. Sanctions seem to me like a process akin to making a contract null and void.

  7. DJG, Reality Czar

    The article by Andrew Bacevich is worth reading, in part because he points to a way out for Biden. I’m not as sure about the rest of the Best and Brightest clown troupe in the Biden Administration.

    Excellent advice from JFK in the Bardo:

    You probably caught this recent headline in the Washington Post: “With or without war, Ukraine gives Biden a new lease on leadership.” The implication: perceived toughness on your part will pay political dividends.

    Don’t believe it for a second, Joe. An armed conflict stemming from the Ukraine crisis is likely to destroy your presidency and much else besides. The same can be said about a prospective war with China. Let me be blunt: the leadership we need today is akin to what the nation needed when I steered a course away from war in Berlin and Cuba.

    Yet after five years of Russia Russia, and after five years of “election interference” being considered an “act of war,” plus various levels of McCarthyism, plus the swamp of social media = Is Biden coherent enough, with a sturdy enough moral compass, to rise above the cheesy+toxic calls for escalation into war?

    Doesn’t anyone remember, in oh-so-religious USA, who the four horsemen of the Apocalypse were?

    The weaponization of finance horse:

    When He broke the third seal, I heard the third living creature saying, “Come.” I looked, and behold, a black horse; and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand. And I heard something like a voice in the center of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; but do not damage the oil and the wine.”

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I am asking someone with connections to those who were opposed to vaccine mandates for “Mark of the Beast” reasons (and mind you, some of them were vaccinated, it was the compulsion that triggered them) re your Third Seal sighting.

      1. DJG, Reality Czar

        Yves Smith: Covid pandemonium. The smog of the current war in central Europe. And you want to become a theologian?

        I tend to steer clear of the Book of Revelations because it is a panic-stricken hallucination. Also, the political sides of it aren’t salient anymore.

        Recall, though, the white horse, and its rider, who has the arrow of plague, like Apollo:

        And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. [2] And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.

        Yesterday, I was contemplating Guido Maria Brera’s recent column in LaStampa. He pointed out that the poor would end up paying for the war. With wheat now blocked, there will be much suffering. And he noted, too, that the war sits on the major east-west transportation routes, so Ukrainian wheat isn’t going anywhere.

        Meanwhile, the U.S. upper-middle class will just have to subsist on brioches.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Haha, no I am just asking if this has hit the radar of the very small group in the US that was triggered by the vaccine mandates….

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        My gut is its appropriation of parts of the bible that aren’t too popular among catholics, orthodox, and mainline protestants. Certainly there is the Tim LaHaye (spell?) type books that put his twist out there. Especially as the current strain of charismatic Christianity called Evangelical goes from a four walls and a bible to Righteous Gemstone style operations.

        The public health side make it particularly problematic, but this is the realm of evergreen trees being appropriated for the birth of Jesus and the story of Patrick using the clover. The LaHaye books and that kind of media are the successors. Pre-existing vaccine regimens are okay.

        In one of the articles about Jerry Falwell Jr, he quoted Urbs Dei and my memory is he butchered Augustine’s point. The move towards institutional Christianity means they have to compete with Augustine and Niehblur types, not who can weep about needing a better Beamer. As a result the LaHaye type books become the new stained glass windows. There is the Ark Encounter. Obsession with Creationism.

        1. Darthbobber

          Tolstoi has a funny chapter in War and Peace in which Prince Bezuhov is trying to see himself as destined to kill Napoleon by interpreting the Book of Revelation. The cottage industry of repurposing the Apocalypse creatively to fit the contemporary events of one’s choice, and Tolstoi was hardly alone in finding considerable humor in the methodology.

      3. clarky90

        “Logos”. God created All of Existence with Words. (Truth)

        Satan’s language is “lying” (anti-truth). The presence of The Beast’s Mark can be recognized by the “omnipresent lies”,.. the news, the statistics, the science, the emotions……..

        …looking us straight in the eyes…. and scaring us with the “weapons of mass destruction” lie… Which resulted in us (the west) committing atrocities, against the innocent….

        Isaiah 55

        10 As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,

        11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
        It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

        12 You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace;……

        1. clarky90

          Some further thought…

          Many people are forced to accept a particular “false narrative” in order to keep their jobs, their friends, their families, their status…….. cross borders, enter businesses……. even preserve their lives and liberty. Typically in any totalitarian state/community/organization, now or in the past.

          So, “believing”, what we know is false, in order to buy and sell, could be construed to be the mark of the beast?

    2. hemeantwell

      I enjoyed how Bacevich helpfully brought up JFK’s “missile gap” fabrication, along with much else. But by the time he suggests a round of secret back channel discussions akin to those in the Cuban Missile crisis, he hasn’t brought up NATO expansion, so you’re left wondering what the discussions will address.

      I often complain here about Bacevich’s unwillingness to “name the system” and talk about how the good ol’ systemic requirement to accumulate capital and extend markets just might generate conflict. This is another version. If a back channel agreement does emerge, are we going to see Russian forces very publicly backing down in some way while US/NATO tacitly agrees not to expand while loudly claiming the other side did all the blinking? I don’t think the Russians would buy that for an instant.

      1. britzklieg

        an “unwillingness to name the system”

        Someone should write a book on the history of politesse oblige and the damage done to progress and understanding because people were told they had to be, above all else, nice .

      2. upstater

        Before TSHTF, I borrowed Daniel Ellsberg’s “The Doomsday Machine” from the library. Needless to say my timing was awesome. I always knew thousands of nuclear weapons was insanity, but his book was chilling to say the least. JFK put the pedal to the metal, just as Nobel Peace Prize winner Obama did with his $1.7T program to “update” the nuclear arsenal through the year 2100. All US presidents have willingly and knowingly perched humanity and life on earth at the precipice of extinction.

        1. Jason Boxman

          My favorite part of the book is probably the discussion of “delegation”, where theater commanders can initiate a nuclear war, for various reasons such as “loss of communication”, which apparently was not an infrequent occurrence when Ellsberg visited actual bases in the Pacific as part of his time at RAND Corporation.

          Fun times.

        2. ex-PFC Chuck

          That was the scariest thing I ever read. It also led me to reconsider dissing McNamara for not coming forward knowing the Vietnam War was hopeless. He had been in the room when the crazies on the JCS were trying to push Kennedy into launching a preemptive nuclear strike on the USSR. Ellsberg portrays the SecDef as vehement in his determination to prevent the Vietnam affair from going nuclear. That may have induced him to stay on in spite of his doubts.

    3. Katniss Everdeen

      Let me emphasize, Joe, that the theme common to both episodes wasn’t toughness. Both times, I set aside the question of fault — the U.S. not exactly being an innocent party in either instance — in favor of identifying the terms of a resolution. That meant conceding their side had legitimate concerns we could ill-afford to ignore.

      Convincing the perpetually angry old man, biden, who “impresses” audiences with tales of his youthful vanquishing of Corn Pop, and advances on potential supporters with finger jabs and “dog-faced pony soldier” name-calling, that discretion is the better part of valor would seem to be a fool’s errand.

      On the other hand, convincing someone with so little left of his mental capacity that revered dead men are speaking to him and showing him the way may not be the worst strategy under the current dire circumstances.

      Either way and for future reference, “voters” should remember that mental acuity is an important qualification for a president, because sometimes really important shit comes up between “elections.”

    4. fresno dan

      I agree with you DJG.
      (Kennedy) Candor obliges me to admit that, politically speaking, my administration made good use of fear itself. If my run for the White House had an overarching theme, it was to scare the bejesus out of the American people. And once in office, fearmongering formed an essential part of my presidency. The famous Jack Kennedy wit and charisma was no more than a side dish meant to make the panic-inducing main course more palatable.
      Cable news and social media, two institutions designed to inflame emotions, promote self rightousness, and whip up hysteria, may be getting us as near to disaster as the Cuban missile crisis.
      After a very, very short interregnum of about 24 hours, Tucker and Trump jumped on the anti Russia! Russia! Russia! bandwagon. Anti-Russia as a core republican belief has been restored and strenghted – even Trump cannot resist it now. Trump now proves his bonifides by making the assertion that Trump told Putin he would attack Moscow if Putin causes trouble. I have my doubts (why didn’t Trump say that at the height of the assertions of the Trump Putin bormance?). But on the hand, the statement is out there now. And Trump isn’t a leader, but a follower – if the neocons want war with Russia, Trump will oblige them and the mob.
      In a phone call to golfer John Daly, video appears to show former President Donald Trump saying he was friends with Vladimir Putin while in office, but claimed he threatened the Russian president with ‘hitting Moscow’ if he attempted to cause trouble.

      1. Charlie Sheldon

        Biden is in an impossible spot. If he calls Zelinsky and says, make a peace, give up NATO and the Donbass, that way you can coexist between the Bear and the West, the GOP will accuse him of weakness, losing Ukraine, betraying everyone. If he keeps pushing weapons to Zelinsky and Russia takes over Ukraine Biden will be accused of weakness, losing Ukraine, betraying everyone. The GOP will say you should have used NATO and a no fly zone, and you’d have won – again, weakness, losing Ukraine, betrayal. If Biden does go for a no fly zone, we will be in open war with Russia, everywhere, and he will then be accused of acting too late, too weakly, Trump would never have done this…..

        The general mood on this side among the neocons and “leadership” seems to be, I fear, that if we go no fly and war we will win, easily, and Putin won’t pull the big trigger. If Biden goes that way and Putin is beaten or overthrown, then Biden wins, but we may all be ashes by then….

        We’re playing poker right now, turning the last cards on the biggest pot ever….

        1. urdsama

          It seems Biden broke his campaign promise: Nothing Will Change.

          Now a whole lot may change. And permanently.

  8. timbers

    Pet care lures private equity Axios (resilc)

    Article’s conclusion: Expect more M&A, investment, and ultimately public market activity to follow.

    I’ve noticed over the years that usual pet meds and treatments – monthly tick repellent, heartworm pills – have gotten more regulated, much higher priced, and increasingly hard to get from Canada or Australia at much less prices. Pet healthcare seems to be more and more like people healthcare in terms of cost.

    What might PE flooding into pet healthcare do? Just a guess: Assembly like chain of pet clinics with McJobs for the worker bees and higher prices with the extra going to hugely overpaid management and CEOs and investors.

    1. Brian (another one they call)

      May I suggest “Pet Supplies Delivered” (Nebraska) Your vet will fax them approval for your animals (as the law prescribes) I saved about 30-40% compared to most providers. My state allows one year of product this way. I hope not to ever have to go back to the retail circus.

      1. timbers

        Thanks I’ll check it out. BTW, I believe “prescriptions” are not needed in Canada/Australia (yet) for things like heartworm and tick repellents, but one or both are in USA. As I stock on them I buy only once a year so not exactly sure if that’s still true but it was last time I did.

    2. petal

      timbers, I probably should’ve posted my comment here instead of down below. Your last sentence is already happening. There’s been a huge push in the last few years.

  9. timbers

    Scott Ritter starting about 24:30 (24 minutes, 30 seconds):

    “I had a friend who spoke out correctly on some things during one of our wars on TV. I was invited back. He quickly realized if you say the right things you can invited on TV up to 5 times a day. If you say the wrong things you don’t get invited back. I called him out and that and he replied – gotta feed the family.”

    That’s a loose translation from memery.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I should have turned in and am only part way through it,

      Super important explanation staring maybe at 27:00 on why the neoNazis are so influential. Ritter confirms they are only 2% of voters, if that. But they threaten physical violence. He says they told Zelensky if he supported Minsk, they’d ransack his office.

      1. David

        I’ve just finished watching and it’s excellent, though you can skip the first fifteen minutes if you already know who Ritter is. He’s very good on what might to the Azov people: if I were them, I’d be running already. At the end he gets very apocalyptic on what counter-sanctions by Russia might mean for the western economies: I’d be interested to know how many of our expert readership agree with him.

        1. Ignacio

          (Not claiming any expertise) but indeed Russia has leverage, a lot of it, in the energy sector. Not that much in France, UK, Ireland, Portugal or Spain, (of course Norway) but a lot in most of the rest of Europe including Italy. Such power might be able to break the EU into pieces if, as an example, Italy and Spain start to compete for declining Algerian gas if Ukrainian pipelines are closed. We could find that all EU pride could sink to hell the moment a new winter comes without Natl Gas.

          And I agree that the interview is excellent. Thanks for the link!

          1. Neil Carey

            Actually, we in Ireland are exposed to energy shortages, at the moment home-heating oil is already being rationed to 500 litres (half a tank) if one can get any. Kerosene is widely used in country areas for heating and to a lesser extent for cooking.
            In our situation we usually top up the tank at the beginning of February but as the Winter was so mild I didn’t bother to. Yesterday I tried ordering some oil but was told that no orders were being taken as the company’’s supplies were all allocated and to contact them in ten days time for a further update. A neighbour was able to order 500 litres the previous day at the cost of €600, that would have paid for nearly a full tank before Christmas.
            The press yesterday reported that a Russian oil tanker was due to dock here but the Government have not said as to whether this would be allowed or not. The UK are refusing Russian tankers but are allowing Russian oil shipments on non-Russian ships. Go figure.
            Petrol was selling locally at €1.86 per litre yesterday, up over 10 cents since the start of the week.

        2. Ignacio

          This made me think (and sorry about replying twice to you David), that we should have a discussion on the, in my opinion shameful role the EU is playing in this conflict. There is a push to NATOfy the EU which I find very dangerous and that the UK and the US might be watching at with a grin. I might be extremely naive at this point but I consider the EU as an opposite to the NATO. The original purpose of it making European countries come closer to each other and create interdependence as a way to avoid conflict. Looks like this original perspective has been lost with the eastward expansion and a good example was the claim by several leaders of EU countries on the Eastern side asking for immediate inclusion of Ukraine in the EU. That is, using the EU as a weapon in this war. This would be the beginning of the end of the EU in short time and I think it is telling about how the Eastern EU countries see the EU themselves.

          1. JohnA

            As I understand it, joining NATO is now a condition of joining the EU and has been for many years. Of top of head, Ireland, Austria and Sweden, are neutral members but joined before this NATO membership was implemented. Sadly, these days, Sweden is NATO lite and very much a US vassal state, and I also understand Ireland allowed US rendition flights to land at Shannon Airport, although this has officially been denied.

      2. Tom67

        That is exactly right. That is why Kiew never gave the Donbass the autonomy that she had promised in Minsk and that is why the seize fire in the East of Ukraine never worked. The US goaded those people on and the Europeans never had the unity (and the stones) to stand up to the US. Now though a war has started and the majority of Ukrainians in the middle of the country and all in the West of Ukraine will stand united against the Russian army. A clusterfuck of huge proportions. Here in Europe we are heading for a huge energy and economic crisis whereas Putin is headed for an internal crisis if the war isn´t over soon. I expect that exhaustion will set in in the West and in Russia. It will take a while (up to two years) and then hopefully reality will have set in. If not we are headed for another cold war. On the one side a West with woke ideology and tight censorship by Big Tech and Big Finance and on the other side Russia with ultrapatriotism and also all pervasive censorship. Two kettles calling each other black.

        1. Robert Dudek

          I agree with everything except the Cold War remark. We’ve had Cold War 2.0 since shortly after Putin took power.

      3. Polar Socialist

        Not just threaten. Eastern Ukrainian Oleg Tsarev stopped his presidential campaign in 2014 when “pro-Western activists” beat him to a hospital. He eventually left the country, but is now rumored to be back.

        1. judy2shoes

          I remember that, and I also remember videos of gun-brandishing “pro-Western activists” who would storm into what appeared to be council meetings and threaten the people there.

          I also remember seeing the body of a pregnant woman, who had been beaten, raped, and murdered, lying across a desk.

          I don’t know if the videos were staged, but what they were depicting matched up with what I was reading about the Azoz battalion and far-right extremists.

          1. The Rev Kev

            That photo of that body of a pregnant woman was one of those that were burned in the Trade Unions House building in Odessa in 2014. The Russians weren’t shy about showing the images of the other people who had been killed there either. As people were jumping out of that burning building, the extremists were waiting for them down below to beat them with iron bars.

        2. Lambert Strether

          > Eastern Ukrainian Oleg Tsarev stopped his presidential campaign in 2014 when “pro-Western activists” beat him to a hospital.

          How long before we see these “pro-Western activists” on cable? I give it a year. We find the domestic version threatening but not the foreign one.

      4. Foy

        “Ukrainian media publish footage showing MP Verkhovna Rada Nestor Shufrych being intimidated. He had previously been detained by the Department of Territorial Defense and handed over to the SBU.”

        According to Wikipedia he was arrested on 4th March for Allegedly for providing the invading Russian military with locations and intel of the defending Ukrainian army during the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine.

        He is physically manhandled and threatened, up against the wall and then forced to sit.

        In February he had previously been assaulted on live TV when he refused to condemn Vladimir Putin’s actions in the Donbass and Crimea.

        I’m sure this sort of stuff is making Zelensky think twice

  10. Stick'em

    re: How Ukraine’s Jewish president Zelensky made peace with neo-Nazi paramilitaries

    When Obama was president, one of the folks in our town (we’ll call him “Rick with a silent p”) started shouting about taking the government back from its “illegal” ruler to anyone who would listen. Thing is pRick is ex-Marines and rubs his lots of guns like magic lamps and so on, and he goes on and on about his friends in the military who are going to do this sedition thing…

    Couple years later, we get this Oathkeeper movement trying to take the Capitol building, ostensibly because there is another “wrongful” president named not-Trump. Turns out pRick is part of this looney tunes right-wing milia group with origins in being riled up about having a black president. Unfortunately, this is what the reality of racism is like. It’s about reacting to half-baked perceptions of events signalling “persecution” in the eyes of the racists.

    Therefore, for people who say “there can’t be any Nazis in the Ukraine because having a Jewish president” like it’s some kind of wizard’s charm that wards off evil: the answer is “nope.” Having a minority leader doesn’t put some kind of Harry Potter spell on a country making it safe for minorities. What it does in the real world is give these pRicks something to use as a motivation speech to gain new recruits.

    Bottom line is Zelensky’s election probably made the Ukrainian Nazi infestation worse. If anything good can possibly come from this war, hopefully these Azov neo-Nazis are wiped.

    1. Duke of Prunes

      Thanks for this. The “Ukr can’t be Nazi because Zel is Jewish” trope has really been bugging me, but I couldn’t really find the words to explain why. In my mind it was just self evident. Your story helped clarify my jumbled thoughts.

      1. Stick'em

        Glad to be of some use. Do you remember in America we had one of those End of History says Francis Fukuyama moments when Obama was elected? On one hand, I never thought I’d live to see a black man elected president and was happy to see it. On the other hand, many people prematurely ejaculated a “this is the end of racism” narrative based solely on his accomplishment. “Why there simply cannot be racism in America if we have a brother in the White House!!!” went the gospel refrain.

        For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction in physics. In identity politics, we got the Trump reaction to the Obama election. Van Jones named it “Whitelash” out loud on CNN. This term swiftly was sent down the memory hole so as not to allow the blame for rise of the Trumpets on Obama, but it is a big thing nonetheless:

  11. Mikel

    “Beyond the jobs report — a more troubling picture” The Hill

    “…The U.S. desperately needs workers to fill good-paying jobs to unclog our supply chain crisis. To put it simply: our focus should be on getting Americans back to work; not paying them to stay home…”

    I don’t see any focus on paying people to stay home. They write like the raggedly little $1200 was going to last more than a couple of weeks. They write about the instances of fraud that happened with the additional unemployment but not the large sums THAT NEVER went out.

    I’m still leaning toward death and sickness as being the strain on labor supply. But admitting that would raise alarms.

    1. ambrit

      The entire piece comes across as bog standard right wing boilerplate Economic Triumphalism; ie. the Economy is all that matters.
      I see this as part of a campaign to “normalise” a return to pre Twentieth Century death rates, (before the advent of ‘modern’ medicine: manditory public sanitation, antibiotics, effective vaccines, etc.)
      This really is a giant step backwards in the Public Health Regime. ‘Jackpot’ compliant I’d say.

    2. JBird4049

      Paying people enough so that they can afford to work, after all gasoline cost money, might be a way to ease this “labor shortage.”

      1. fringe element

        If Scott Ritter’s warning at the end of that video was right, gasoline is about to cost even more money – a lot more.

  12. Ignacio

    The questions on fertilizers and grain add complexity and will probably influence events and positions.
    Here I leave a link to a pre-covid paper (2018) reviewing the situation at that time based mostly on analysis of the energy sector with a thorough explanation on events in Ukraine and a prescient discussion on what could occur thereafter.
    Link for pdf in Researchgate: The role of geo-energy interests of Russia in secessionist conflicts in Eastern Europe

    This is a good read for background, IMO.

  13. The Rev Kev

    “Ban on Russian Cats”

    Not just this delusional behaviour for cats but also trees as well. It seems that‘the Turgenev Oak, planted according to a legend by famous Russian novelist Ivan Turgenev, was banned from the “European Tree of the Year – 2022” competition over the Russian special incursion.’ It is getting that petty.

    When you look at the range of goods,services, events and so forth, I am getting the impression that a lot of them are within the provenance of the professional managerial classes from different countries. So what I am saying that when somebody bans or takes away something from Russia, that it is a form of virtue signalling to others of their class.

    In fact, when you see countries light up their buildings in blue & yellow, that too is a form of virtue signalling. Though not on Twitter, I would be curious to know how many with blue check accounts feel the pressure to slap a Ukrainian flag on their account in order to conform to social pressures.

    1. timbers

      Have to confess…Patrick Armstrong remark about the West retaliating by changing the name of Russian salad dressing made me laugh…best part here:

      “Reality is biting, and biting hard. All you have to do is watch CNN’s parade of talking heads and “experts” speculating about how crazy Putin is: THEY don’t understand, therefore HE must be nuts. For the West, as it has been, it’s over. The confusion, the bullshit, the boasting, the hysteria, the bans: the West has nothing left in the locker. Pour Russian vodka down the toilet, fire a singer and director, change the name of a drink or a salad, ban cats or trees, sanction a Russian plutocrat and steal his yacht, wear a blue and yellow t-shirt.”

      1. The Rev Kev

        Renaming Russian salad dressing? This is getting like the time during WW1 when the British hated the Germans so much, that they had to rename German Shepherd dogs as Alsatians which was an area in France. And it was not until 1977 that the name reverted to German Shepherd dogs again-

        Here in Oz, they banned the import of German Shepherds in the 1920s and did not lift this ban until the 1970s which was just as well as the German Sherds here were in bad need of fresh blood due to inbreeding because of the limited number of these dogs.

        1. Nikkikat

          It was the same in the US during and after WWI not only German Shepard dogs but Dachshunds were used on propaganda posters made by the US Govt. portraying Germans as little Dachshunds with German helmets etc. The dogs were banned in all sorts of cities and towns across the US. If you owned one you had to keep him hidden. RIN Tin Tin was brought back here from France by a Soldier because he had been bred and trained as a war dog Fighting the Germans the dogs regained their popularity. Rinty
          Became one of the biggest Stars of his time saved Warner Brothers from bankruptcy. He owned his own house while his owner/trainer lived next door and had his phone number listed in the telephone book.

            1. GF

              Rinny (aka Rin-Tin-Tin) was brought back to the USA by a US soldier after WW1. Rinny was orphaned by shelling and the soldier rescued the litter and gave Rinny’s siblings to others and kept one for himself. Rinny was smuggled back into the US by the soldier. Rinny became the highest paid movie “actor” in Hollywood during the 1920s. I don’t see the discrimination by Usians toward this particular German Shepard.


          1. newcatty

            Glad that Dachshunds were rehabilitated after WWII. One of the best memories of my childhood was the gift of my female Dachshund when I was eight years old. She was a sweet and patient friend. When lonely or sad I would lie next to her on the floor and rest my head against her warm belly. She always waited for me to lift my head. She lived to be 18 years old. I left home right after high school graduation. That summer she died. I always thought that she waited until I left, until she passed.

            1. Pat

              It wouldn’t surprise me. It isn’t just humans who hold on until the right moment.

              So glad you had one another.

              1. wilroncanada

                Thanks Pat
                Certainly humans. My wife and I regularly visited a “friend” of her parents (they never visited) who was in an iron lung for more than 20 years. The convalescent hospital she lived in arranged for her son to be married on the hospital grounds so she could watch. A few months later she died. Earlier, she had given us a wedding present–hanging in our dining room in front of me now, 49 years later– a landscape painted by the woman in the bed beside her, painted by mouth.

        2. marieann

          During the first world war the name of a town in Ontario was changed from Berlin to Kitchener.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Damn. My grandmother’s family name was French, qnd they changed it, probably expecting a Prussian super state victory.

          2. The Rev Kev

            During the same era, the town of Germanton in Australia was renamed Holbrook after a sub commander.

          3. edwin

            Original name Ebytown. Mennonite origin. Then Berlin. During WWI the statue of Kaiser Wilhelm I was thrown in the lake. It’s name was changed to Kitchener. Currently it has the largest Oktoberfest in North America.

            I use to live there.

          1. Anthony G Stegman

            From what I understand the Russian River in northern California is to be renamed Zelensky Creek (not unlike that other creek).

        3. JohnA

          Even the british royal family changed their name to mask their german ancestry. From Saxe-Coberg-Gotha to Windsor, after one of their many sumptious palaces

      2. Henry Moon Pie

        Three examples of the amazing amount of hypocrisy and projection engaged in by our MSM:

        1) Tragic story after tragic story about how war is disrupting and endangering noncombatants in Ukraine while years of genocidal actions against Gaza and Yemen are kept quiet.

        2) Calling Putin mentally impaired after we’ve had Trump and Biden as our last two Presidents.

        3) Dreaming that Putin is on thin ice in Russia after our Capitol was occupied and Red state governors regularly ignore the federal government.

        Finally, how did a press that once raised important questions about Vietnam come to be the worst warmongers in the country? They’re haranguing the generals and admirals for a no-fly zone. It would help to quell the craziness if the generals would admit that Russian air defense makes our ability to maintain air supremacy unlikely.

        1. fresno dan

          Henry Moon Pie
          March 5, 2022 at 9:02 am

          If there is one assumption that seems to pervade the US polity, it is anyone who opposes us is crazy, e.g., Kim Jong-un. Never can there be any dispassionate or informed analysis of what is motivating them – way too much effort and thought would be needed – it is ever just an uniformed, jingoistic ranting and raving that our “enemies” are all insane. As a commentor said yesterday, a lot of projection in our media and politics…

          1. LifelongLib

            In part because the U.S. seems secure from being bombed or invaded or bankrupted by other countries, most Americans are very isolationist and have no interest in getting into wars about territory or trade or the usual things nations fight about. So every foreign leader the U S. Government has a beef with has to be portrayed as the next Hitler. If it was just a matter of who runs what city in Europe or where the natural gas comes from, most people in the U.S. wouldn’t care.

      3. RockHard

        A friend observed the other day that the west is responding with cancellation of anything Russian. It’s all we know how to do anymore. Besides arming Nazis that is. Worked out so well in Afghanistan 40 year ago!

      4. Darthbobber

        By the time they’re done on the patriotic booze front the only approved drink will be Victory Gin with clove bitters.

        1. newcatty

          I am disgusted with B.J. So, my English gin is now called Peace and Love gin in my mind. I will refuse to call it Victory Gin.

    2. Wukchumni

      Second amendment enthusiasts around these parts have apparently been driving to the outskirts in order to clandestinely rid themselves of the taint of owning AK-47’s, with those lucky owners of AR-15’s and other non-Russian gats content and not contemplating defenestrating them out of a moving vehicle.

      Attempt at levity aside, imports of Russian guns & ammo have been banned since September in the land of the free, home of the brave.

      1. fresno dan

        they can have my AK-47 when they pry it out of my cold dead fingers….except of course I will be voluntarily getting rid of it* on an instagram and tik-toc to signal my virtuousness. Right wing virtuosness – not that commie left wing woke virtuousness.
        * actually, I don’t own any guns. Kinda of expensive. So I will be printing a picture of a gun, and buring it. Actually, air pollution laws preclude me from buring, so I will be merely ripping the picture up in to itzy bitzy pieces, but with such hatred of Putin!!!
        Also, I’ve added a dab of mustard to my Russian salad dressing, and am now calling it Fresno Freedom salad dressing…

        1. Wukchumni

          Also, I’ve added a dab of mustard to my Russian salad dressing, and am now calling it Fresno Freedom salad dressing…

          Isn’t Fresno Freedom the new name for your formerly Triple A baseball* team relegated to Single A status, not that it matters as MLB is determined to do away with their 58 year old average fan base in alienating old farts like us (except, they actually watch regular season games, and not just the playoffs) with millionaire players feeling they aren’t getting enough from billionaire owners?

          * Back in the day, the USSR claimed to have invented baseball, but Russian shortstops are few and far between and their designated hitters tend to be in the Russian mafia.

          1. fresno dan

            we have now been relegated to even lower minor league baseball status – apparently the lowest baseball status in the history of the universe – MINUS double A ball. Apparently, the players are unable to field, hit, throw, or spit.

        2. judy2shoes

          ” I’ve added a dab of mustard to my Russian salad dressing”

          Is it French mustard?

          1. newcatty

            From Freedom Fries to Fresno Freedom salad dressing. Musical chairs always ends with a loser. To mix things up you could add, as well as French, British mustard or American yellow. Replace sour cream with yogurt. No beets for us!

    3. JohnA

      A supermarket in England has already renamed Chicken Kiev.

      The Guardian leads the way when it comes to Russophobia. To the point that when Roman Abramovich announced that £2bn of the proceeds from the enforced sale of his ownership of football club Chelsea would go to ‘victims of the war in Ukraine’, the Guardian foamed that some of this might go to victims that were Russian and their families and how outrageous is that?
      Reminds me of the post Falklands War victory parade in London culminating in a service at St Pauls Cathedral. Thatcher overruled the archbishop who wanted prayers for the dead to be said in both English and Spanish.
      Now English football teams are both taking the knee for BLM and silence for Ukraine. Every Ukrainian footballer who plays in England has been interviewed and express their desire to go and fight but… Strange none of them ever said a word about the 10-15,000 people in the easwt indiscriminately killed over the past 7 years by the Ukrainian government. But then again, that has been totally airbrushed out of history.
      In the words of Harold Pinter in his Nobel speech, ‘it never happened, it never happened when it was happening…’

      1. MarkT

        Re the renaming of Chicken Kiev: just goes to show, never miss the chance to jump on any marketing bandwagon, even if it’s a war!

      2. fresno dan

        What did they rename Chicken Kiev to??? Isn’t Chicken Kiev already honoring Ukraine?? Has it been renamed to Super delicous and much more savory Chicken Kiev???
        Anti Putin Chicken Kiev?

        1. lyman alpha blob

          It’s Chicken Kyiv now which is evidently the Ukrainian spelling/pronunciation as opposed the supposedly Russian-preferred Kiev. Millions in the Western world who couldn’t find Russia on a map much less Ukraine a week ago have suddenly become experts on Slavic linguistics.

          Lost on all the newly minted pro-Ukrainian armchair patriots is that if they really wanted to be authentic, they’d be writing in Cyrillic….

    4. Gavin

      Are these same people now installing blue&yellow lights to shine on their yard’s BLM sign while continuing to think it’s not yet time to raise the minimum wage?

      1. Lambert Strether

        > Are these same people now installing blue&yellow lights to shine on their yard’s BLM sign while continuing to think it’s not yet time to raise the minimum wage?

        Yes, and they think you should take one for the team by paying more for gas, too.

        1. petal

          Yes, and we’re supposed to be happy about it(paying more for gas “to support Ukraine”). It’s infuriating. They’ve never had to choose between buying gas or food or paying rent and are screeching at those that can’t afford the increases. We’re bad people, and also pro-Putin. They’re also putting the Ukraine flag on their fb profile pictures. It seems to be the UMC comfortable ones that have never had to worry.

          1. Pat

            I’ve always wondered if there was suddenly a surcharge so that all of their ‘disposable’ income (not having to make a choice between eating and having transport to work, but not being able to go out or buy that new bauble) went to support others without their approval how that would go. Most I think would start screaming bloody murder even though their day to day life was not threatened. I also believe that most would be shocked to suddenly discover that their unhappiness was of as much interest to the people with power regardless of party as that of those living closer to the bone.

            We may get to that point sooner rather than later, unfortunately for those already making difficult to impossible choices will be roadkill by then. Sadly, I do believe that the PTB have miscalculated this one that badly.

          2. Anon

            The irony is, the Empire will gaslight them till they become what it says. See: the rise of gangster rap, early 90s.

    5. Basil Pesto

      Isn’t it cat breeders of Russian nationality instead of the Russian breed?

      More to the point, aren’t these just BDS tactics?

      The counter to that is “yeah but where were these people when we were calling for BDS against Israel?”

      But the hypocrisy/excuse making isn’t the point. It’s always been argued that BDS, rather than being something prone to gratuitous suppression of civilian activity, is an effective and legitimate strategy to coerce the Israeli state into not being such colossal assholes.

      So, isn’t that the point of what we’re seeing now? Whether it works or not remains to be seen. It also remains to be seen whether some of the more meaningful sanctions bite the west in the arse. But surely the argument against this strategy (if strategy it be, and not mere pettiness) has to amount to more than “yeah but Russia’s less evil than Israel so it’s okay” – which, again, isn’t the point – the point of this pressure as a strategy, notionally at least, is to get Russia to stop doing what it’s doing. (fwiw, I’ve never really supported BDS in toto because it leads to the kind of inane philistinism – passing as virtue signalling, as you say – that we’re seeing now vis à vis Russia and Russian culture)

      1. Stephen T Johnson

        IMO, BDS is justifiable against a government considered to be reasonably democratic. If (like most people hereabouts) you believe Russia to be a dictatorship, sanctions on ordinary Russians make no sense.

        My two cents worth, YMMV

        1. Donald

          BDS in reality will never come close to being as brutal as the sanctions we impose on others. The Western world would not stand for Israelis having increased mortality rates. I support BDS but would feel differently if people started dying because they couldn’t get medicine.

          Israeli supporters simultaneously mock BDS as have no effect on their economy and yet go hysterical if some famous musician is asked not to perform there. The symbolism frightens them— it is bad PR. So I support BDS because of this awareness raising effect.

          At some point the US could stop giving them aid and diplomatic support. That, however unlikely, is more likely than a serious sanctions movement that destroys their economy.

    6. tegnost

      Regarding virtue signalling high gas prices are going to increase the smugness of the teslarattii as well as drive people who can afford them to buy electric cars. High prices will also save the frackers,, and wall st. loves them some highly erratic market movements as all those quants are surely working overtime to fleece the globe. Biden is saving his presidency through the not so novel method of shoveling money at those who don’t need it. It’s all pretty gross the way the PTB say ‘let’s you and him fight so I can make myself ridiculously richer” and standing behind the flag of some other country. Dick Cheney, as i recall, also thought the economy could bear 4$/gal. gas,,,I expect 5 in short order…

      1. newcatty

        A friend opined that the wealthy and PMC enjoy being able to pay high gas prices. It’s fine, and they deserve or “earned”, the ability to pay for gas at high prices. It’s virtual signaling that they are the winners in the class war. It signals that they are patriots, love American values, and are for the freedom of Ukraine. Their sacrifices are going to be not buying another beloved gas fueled car. The trip to Europe this summer. The installation of the koi pond. Buffy or Biff’s coming out party pared down.

        1. tegnost

          …and they have exxon and BP and Royal Dutch Shell…oops Shell Global in their portfolios as a hedge.

  14. super extra

    Something I’ve been thinking on a lot are the comments made by the Russian side to the effect that an option they had should the sanctions go forward following this event is to effectively ignore IP laws from the west and begin reverse engineering and making everything in house (with the assistance of the Chinese). I can’t find a direct link for this due to the insane informational environment right now, so I apologize – it has been discussed regularly in the comments over at the saker and moa since the second or third day of this affair, but I haven’t seen it really discussed much (seriously) in the west amid all the other hysterical bs. I’ve been trying to game out the effects of something like this on the US’ sclerotic and highly IP-driven business economy. What kind of impact would this have on, for example, Microsoft?

    1. Louis Fyne

      Pharma IP is the neutron bomb for the Western economy.

      Microsoft gets the bulk of its revenue from commercial customers. Microsoft still will get paid by Dell or Fortune 500 IP departments.

      Discount flu antivirals? or imunotherapies? India and China will say sign me up.!

      And a particularly devious way to nuke the UK economy, as Boris and Liz Truss must be a big annoyance to the Kremlin.

      1. super extra

        Great point on the commercial customers, of course the corporations will continue their contracts to each other for as long as they need to to maintain the pretense of the value of their own products once this process begins. I don’t know anything about where the pharmaceuticals are actually manufactured but for computers, well Intel was only able to acquire an analog chip fab (in Israel I believe) just prior to the start of hostilities. Might be good to save parts of the domestic car industry and building industrial systems with sensors but the cutting edge stuff is all digital IC’s and really complex/thin/tiny/fast that has never been made in North America or Europe. If the idiots in charge really are going to draw a new digital (iron) curtain around the west to ‘protect’ their monopolies and income streams I highly doubt the sheen of ‘original design! NOT a fake!’ will last long enough to offset the mid- and long-term losses.

        1. Paradan

          Most pharmaceuticals for US domestic use are manufactured in China. I think I saw 80% mentioned at one point during the COVID crisis. I’m making a wild-donkeyed guess here, but if China sanctioned the USA, most hospitals would shut down in less then a month. It’s not just drugs, think of all the disposable stuff it takes to run a hospital, the bandages, petri dishes, syringes, etc. I doubt much of that is made here in the US.

    1. cnchal

      As soon as prices back off a hair, the scream will be, deflation.

      I started not winning a bit over two years ago when the United States Post Office inflated my shipping prices instantaneously by nearly 400%. A 50% price increase for basic commodities to satisfy the greed of Wall Street is nothing.

    2. timbers

      Just noticed gasoline prices today…yep already going up up. But I’m confident patriotic employers will quickly give us all 50% raises to offset the upcoming higher cost of living so nothing to worry about.

        1. timbers

          BTW latest over at Saker. New map, and possible admission by Ukraine sources Russia control 40% land and destroyed over 75% of military. If true Ritter may right to expect surrenders by pockets this coming week…do you think US military cadets will be studying this operation for decades in classes or am I being too optimistic?

          1. bidule

            These cadets in West Point are already spending a lot of time studying Russian wars… The retreat of Napoleon, Bagration and Stalingrad, Chechenya, Syria (in some ways) etc. Another one in the list, which, as Scott Ritter highlighted in today’s video, is very different of whatever has already been seen.

            The Russians have obviously prepared this invasion for months. (I would venture that they started around April 2021, when all these exercises ramped up on their south border.) You cannot possibly move so much soldiers, with such logistics involved, and blow away the Ukrainian military infrastructure within the first two days, without careful, thorough build-up and planning.

            And, as it looks like, despite the sheer size of this operation, nobody seems to have spotted anything all this time. Like in Syria: suddenly the Russian airplanes were there, coming out of the blue, starting to bomb “moderate rebels” the same day they landed.

            Maskirovka is a Russian word. Now, we know why.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Wait until inflation hits 10% by Nov, which is where it will be if this conflict is still on a boil. And potential really bad supply chain problems on top of that.

      1. Michael Ismoe

        By November the Dems will take a note from Putin and make it a crime to report on inflation while “saving our democracy” at the same time.

      2. marku52

        I Just got done testing $500 worth of new vacuum tubes for my little amp repair business.. About 60% of the good ones come from behind the New Iron Curtain. (I test them all, because sometimes they are bad right out of the box)

        I bought them assuming it will be while until I get chance to buy a Sovtek 6V6 again.

        It may say Mullard or Tung-Sol on it, but it came from Sovtek or Svetlana…..

      3. Cathy

        Math reminder, at 7.2% constant annual inflation, prices double in ten years.

        At 14.4% constant inflation, prices double in five years.

        At the the actual real rate of food and energy inflation, not the bullshit numbers produced by the Biden administrtion, food prices will easily double by 2024.

        Predict $6.00 gas by midterms.

  15. Nikkikat

    This cat banning thing really is delusional. I agree virtue signaling is sick. Next the American kennel club bans Russian Wolfhounds after GW Bush claims Putin dissed Barney the Scottish Terrier and and promoted Russian Wolfhounds as being superior.

      1. ambrit

        “And I was not a cat.”
        “Then they came for the Hep Cats,”
        “And I turned around and said,”
        “Now wait just a minute!”
        “So, they gave me a minute,”
        “To pray before they shot me.”

        1. newcatty

          Both of our cats come from a humane society and one is striking in appearance of a Russian Blue. She just met a person yesterday and he smiled and called her Sasha. It is not her name, but would fit her beautifully. She is an indoor only cat, so safe from any vigilantes on the lookout for “those” cats. Luckily, our other cat, who loves to sit and look out the front window is a black and white cat.

          1. MarkT

            Bless you for providing them with a home. I hope the amount of black and white is in the correct proportion, else s/he too might come to the attention of the mob wielding torches and pitchforks!

            Cats today, people from Russia tomorrow …

  16. The Rev Kev

    Today the Danish CDC announced:
    * 30% ppl who caught covid have long covid 6-12 after
    * 60% of Danes had omicron’

    Let me see if I have this right. So the population of Denmark is about 5,831,000 people. If 60% of Danes have been infected by Omicron, then that would mean that you are talking about 3,500,000 people infected. But if about 30% of these infected people are suffering from long covid, that would mean that about 1,050,000 people are in this category. And that is really for just this initial wave. Or have I stuffed up the maths?

    1. Louis Fyne

      the maths are correct. those are _____ scary figures.

      still waiting for the definitive, transparent, unbiased investigation on the origins. not holding my breath

      1. TimH

        I followed the link, but couldn’t find the article on the English version of the site. Just Danish. Elsewhere on the site it says that most of the research is published in English…

    2. Verifyfirst

      I have been thinking about the definition of “long-Covid”. The manifestations and functional impacts of the illness are so insanely varied, from person to person–being confined to bed and losing your sense of smell, for example are both counted as long-Covid? And the fact symptoms appear to resolve over time for some people, 6, 12, 18 months out. And the fact heart, brain or other big problems….well, we don’t know yet what will show up over time–5,10, 20 years out.

      Point being it is impossible to guess what the population disability burden is going to be, though it does seem it could be very very high.

      1. polar donkey

        I went to visit family in rural middle Tennessee south of Nashville. Town has about 20,000. The over all area of surrounding counties is about 100,000. The town has 4 funeral homes. My brother in law commented how the funeral homes are going like gangbusters. 3 to 4 different names a day on the signs in front of each funeral homes. That’s about 3,300 to 4,000 people going through the funeral homes a year. That area isn’t having 3,300 to 4,000 kids born per year.

  17. bwilli123

    Re the Russian Telegram link. If the author is actually the same gentleman (& who knows?) then he was one of the 1st ‘rebels’ in the break away zones from 2014.
    “Igor Strelkov, former DPR Defense Minister, former Commander of the armed forces of the DPR, head of the People’s militia in Donbass in 2014.”

    Recently found the news/commetary source below. Can’t yet judge on reliability (In Russian but chrome auto translate works)

    1. The Rev Kev

      Damn. I thought that I recognized that name. He was right at the start of the rebellion when the Crimean militia had very few arms to fight off the first forays by nationalistic thugs and were resorting to melee weapons. Some at the time suspected that he was still on the payroll of the Russian government but if I remember right, not too long after the Russians had him sidelined as being too radical or something. His name popped up later as being one of those charged as being responsible for the shooting down of that Malaysian airliner over the Ukraine which was just so much bs.

    2. dftbs

      Thanks for sharing. I’ve read that despite the great respect Strelkov has in Russia, there is a slight skepticism with some of his analysis as he is thought to carry a chip on his shoulder towards Putin. Strelkov thought if he had a bit more help in 2014 he could’ve ended the Donbass war. Perhaps he was right. But Putin it seems was thinking in terms of global risk and not regional conflict.

  18. dissonantdissident

    I can’t post a screengrab, but I would note that facebook is blocking that Patrick Armstrong blog post. I have been having a conversation about how weird it is that we’re getting a lot more photo ops that are far from the front lines, rather than evidence of Russia’s military actually taking large, sustained losses. Folks are obsessed with that column of tanks, but there are numerous reasons they may have halted, not all of them because the Ukrainians are epically fighting them off. If the column isn’t actually taking big losses, day after day, then there’s reason to think along the lines of that post. Tried to share it, no dice. The message implied that all links from that site are blocked.

    1. Mikel

      Yes, you can post a screengrab. Take a close up picture of the screen with another device.

      Then you have a photo file to work with.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      If that column of tanks, just sitting there, isn’t some kind of classic psyop straight out of Sun Tzu or Machiavelli, it oughtta be.

        1. Anthony G Stegman

          It is also possible that the column is mostly a shell. Russia invented this sorted of deception.

          1. Late Introvert

            Thanks, and they have studied how corrupt and stupid the Ivy League “journalists” are, and can play them like fiddles.

            Losin’ Lyin’ CIA™

  19. The Rev Kev

    “Russian anger as Senator Lindsey Graham calls for Putin’s assassination”

    Yeah, Lindsey Graham has been pushing the Ukrainians to fight the Bear for years now – along with his best buddy John McCain Here is a clip of Lindsey Graham and John McCain in Ukraine in December 2016 making a speech to Ukrainian soldiers alongside the Ukrainian President at the time Petro Poroshenko aka the “Chocolate King”-

  20. Samuel Conner

    Gilbert Doctorow has been helpful, IMO, in the information fog.

    Here’s his latest:

    The developing world situation has the ‘feel’ of a 3+ -player game of Risk, with the current strongest player discovering that the other players are finding it useful to cooperate with each other.

    We (US) seem to really not get ‘diplomacy’ or ‘soft power.’

    1. Jeff H


      Surely you jest. I was born the year we stopped bombing the snot out of Korea. From my perspective our foreign policy has been dominated by madmen and fools for much longer than I’ve been alive. I think the most salient points would be the 51 State Dept officials that penned an open letter to Obama calling for a no-fly zone in Syria or Blinken and Sullivan embarrassing themselves in Alaska.

      1. LifelongLib

        Diplomacy is for countries that actually have to worry about being attacked or invaded.

        If you’re the only major power on two isolated continents, you don’t need diplomacy.

  21. dftbs

    As we go into week 2 of the war, a number of things stick out. Most prominently is how useless all our presumed strategic advantages are.

    Even the pro-Russia media space will concede that the “West” has a more complete media operation than they could hope to match. But Russia’s neglect of that sphere is not so much a concession of defeat but a recognition of uselessness. As Russia advances in the physical space, Western media brays louder and louder, but only within that tiny padded asylum cell known as the West. And what a froth the lunatics have worked themselves up to! As to validate the Russian choice not to engage in this useless contest, public opinion in the West May be largely anti-Russia; but with no policy alternative short of war left for them, Westoids are going to suffer a terrible hangover of disappointment when this is over. What good is consensus on an action you can’t take? See Medicare for all!

    Secondly with respect to sanctions, it’s becoming harder to see how even if this was plan A for the American oligarchy it is not a resolute failure. When analyzing US actions one can’t forget the vaunted record of US elites in improving the strategic position of the US. That’s heavy sarcasm, the last thirty years has shown these people piss away the greatest historical advantages bestowed on any nation. It was obvious that even if they succeeded in their aim of cutting Europe off from Eurasia, this would saddle the Europe with terrible economic consequences. The American regime was willing to risk that, under the false assumption of the relative inviolability of the USD. Now sanctions and the accelerated de-dollarization response will not mean that you need more dollars to buy goods, but rather that there is a whole range of goods and commodities that dollars just won’t be able to buy. The more we sanction the larger the inaccessible becomes, as even nations not in direct conflict with the West will take note that the West is in passive conflict with anyone and can seize and sanction anyone’s wealth.

    We’ve punched a guy in the nose, suffered a broken hand, and are now we sit and watch that hand get gangrenous, and we’ll do nothing as the rot crawls up our arm. But at least Biden cured covid!

    1. fresno dan

      But Russia’s neglect of that sphere is not so much a concession of defeat but a recognition of uselessness. As Russia advances in the physical space, Western media brays louder and louder, but only within that tiny padded asylum cell known as the West. And what a froth the lunatics have worked themselves up to! As to validate the Russian choice not to engage in this useless contest, public opinion in the West May be largely anti-Russia; but with no policy alternative short of war left for them, Westoids are going to suffer a terrible hangover of disappointment when this is over. What good is consensus on an action you can’t take?
      So, so very well said. And you know what it reminds me of? TDS. How bad Trump was… And now how bad Ukraine is. And at the end of the day, after a thousand ships million tweets launched, so much sound, fury, and social media postings signifying nothing.

      1. Dftbs

        Yes, sound and fury signifying nothing!

        I think the advantages we think we have in information warfare, and financial chicanery, are strategic liabilities. Secretary Austin and General Milley formulate their decisions expecting to be (already were) on corporate boards for weapons manufacturers or perpetual paid media appearances. I don’t think Shoigu and Gerasimov have the same twisted incentives when they formulate strategy.

        1. Late Introvert

          I’m reminded of a previous discussion about why accountants who worked for the Mafia were more honest and competent. Our Lyin’ Losin’ Generals™ have never had to fear the consequences of their actions, they fail up every time.

          1. Procopius

            I don’t think that’s true of World War II, when George Catlett Marshall was Chief of Staff. Generals who lost battles were fired. That didn’t mean their careers were over — they often were reassigned to non-leadership jobs, which needed their expertise. After General Marshall moved to the State Department we stopped firing losing generals, and now the rule is one year or one and a half years in the position, win lose or whatever. I don’t know enough about Patton’s handling of World War I, but I think it was similar, and surely Lincoln’s handling of Generals in the Civil War was similar.

    2. marku52

      It’s gotta be the biggest own goal in recent history. US put all its chips on bluffing Russia to protect its position as top dog in the status quo.

      And ended up with the status quo blown into a million pieces.

      1. Dftbs

        I do think that status as “top dog” and status quo were already a thing of the past. But the events of the last week are bursting the bubble of imagined superiority Americans have lived in.

        Think of all the calls for bombing the Russian column near Kiev. Some cooler heads concluded that this would start WW3; but the real sane people understood that even if Joe Biden wanted to bomb that column, the US military couldn’t get anywhere close to it. After all the Russian armed forces are demonstrating the sort of envy inducing technical proficiency that will lead a lot of people in Arlington to the bottle.

    3. Rageon

      “They always played poker with European cash. There was American cash around, flimsy plastic stuff, but most people wouldn’t take American cash anymore. It was hard to take American cash seriously when it was no longer convertible outside U.S. borders. Besides, all the bigger bills were bugged.”
      From Distraction, by Bruce Sterling. Published 1998.

  22. judy2shoes

    Re: Matt Taibbi piece on Russia/Ukraine

    I was glad to see you post this piece. I tried to post a comment about it last night, but it disappeared into the ether.

    Thank you for explaining the inconsistencies between what Matt reported and what’s been reported here at NC. I was having some severe cognitive dissonance.

    I have to say that the caricature of Putin on a tank was something I would expect from MSM, not Matt. It surprised me, to say the least.

    1. Thistlebreath

      Matt doesn’t surprise me. Just disappoints.

      His years in Ulan Bator and later Moscow were the stuff of privileged snots.

      Hemingway’s magazine pieces after WWI are worth a re read. They reported on how French teenagers would head across the border, buy up pastries the local Germans could never afford and then gorge themselves, have food fights, etc.

      Matt ain’t no Ernie.

      1. judy2shoes

        Thanks, Thistlebreath. I’m disappointed as well as surprised, but your comment is enlightening. I am more dispassionate than I used to be (a blessing), but clearly I have a way to go.

        Thanks for the pointer to the Hemingway pieces. Will follow up.

  23. bwilli123

    Q. Re Has war in Ukraine revived NATO?
    A. If it appears so it is only because it is still early days in Russia’s years long campaign. The crisis will however allow Germany to shrug off the postwar peace mantle & re-arm in a majorly way.
    Europe in a few years will have no need to buy US military products, which Germany will produce as efficiently as they do everything else (and have an additional couple of million ex Ukrainian serfs to staff the factories)
    Coerced or otherwise the contribution from the other European states will only add to this, at which point Europe will ask, ‘why do we need America’s agenda, presence (& nuclear weapons) when we locals can control our own destiny?’
    Putin will by then be nodding sagely from his retirement dacha on the Black Sea as Chinese ships unload at Sevastopol, and the twice daily mag-lev (Shanghai to Berlin) speeds across his back yard.

    1. David

      Europe doesn’t use nearly as many US military products as you might imagine. Of the major militaries in Europe, for example, the French use almost no US equipment (E3 AWACS and other niche technologies where it’s not worth procuring small numbers) and the German very little. The British probably use more US equipment that average, but their tanks and naval vessels, for example, are national and the mainstay of the Air Force, the Typhoon is a European project. There’s actually a move towards even more European equipment: countries are giving up the C-130 for the European A400 and the smaller EADS C295, for example. May European nations are buying a tanker and transport version of the civilian A330, often replacing US equipment.

      Contrary to the propaganda, the US was never “defending European” even at the height of the Cold War. Rather, the presence of (relatively small) US forces i Europe ensured that any war with the Soviet Union would bring the US in by default.

      1. PHLDenizen

        I’m embarrassingly unqualified to discuss specific pieces of gear, who produces them, and who buys them. That said, the “future of warfare” (as epitomized in the US) appears to be drones and small, temporary forward operating bases in regions like Northern Africa to launch them from — the “war on terrorism” model. Maximal collateral damage with little to no US personnel losses.

        Drones are easy enough to shoot down or jam with a sophisticated enough adversary. You can’t use the same tactics against Russia that you do poor women and children with no defensive capabilities in Afghanistan. Even Iraq’s republic guard wasn’t well trained or equipped enough to really mount a good defense. Air superiority won most of that war, IIRC. I don’t think those same expectations hold true in Russia. Russia can probably shoot most of those out of the sky. And, under more dire circumstances, dropping a small yield tactical nuke on FOBs is a very really possibility.

        All the “smart” armaments the US has produced lately are total piles of shit. The F35? That thing is never going to be as effective as a F16. The most modern battle ships are so packed with software and “innovation” that they break regularly.

        Then there’s a reliance on a supply chain with fabs in China to manufacture chips, computer components, etc. The software that runs these things is complicated to the degree that bugs and defects are orders of magnitude more likely. What happens when your F35 suddenly needs an over the air update while entering enemy airspace? If your adversary jams GPS?

        We have a generation of kids fighting wars without the ability to function under communication failures and with equipment whose existence alone is supposed to be frightening enough that an enemy would never actually require you to test them in a real theater.

        You need effective fighters and bombers that are reliable with readily sourced, almost commodity parts to cycle them in and out of maintenance rapidly. You need China to be willing to keep making you processors, etc.

        The whole seems fragile to me. And if the US were drawn into a large scale war with Russia, they’d take massive losses and shocked into disbelief that they’re oh-so-smart iFighters were a liability.

        1. fresno dan

          March 5, 2022 at 1:32 pm
          You know, even when we invaded liberated Iraq, a good portion of our ground and support troops were reservists.
          Remember the refusal of the military truck drivers?

          The US/Europe has not faced substantial casualties (i.e., much larger than Iraq/Afghanistan) in a long, long time. And the rah rah social media postings for war would turn on a dime, once postings of substantial numbers of wounded and killed US personel are continually posted.
          Despite Hollywood, it was Russia that defeated Germany in WWII. When it comes to taking pain, I just don’t think the west can match the east.

        2. Tom Stone

          You are incorrect in your statement that drones are easy to shoot down or bring down.
          You are speaking of remote control drones, not a purpose built kamikazi drone that (As an instance) can recognize a specified type of target using sensors of one kind or another.
          Specify a 15 mile range, a 2.5Kg payload and a 45 MPH speed as well as a means to vary the altitude in flight. ( Randomly?).
          Say 10 to 30 Ft above ground level.
          Fire and forget.

        3. Procopius


          … dropping a small yield tactical nuke on FOBs is a very really possibility.

          If any nuclear device is used anywhere, every holder of nuclear devices has to use them or lose them. Only a crazy person would use a nuclear device for any reason, and that includes losing a major war, so you have to assume they are going to use theirs on you next.

    2. fringe element

      I just realized that actually, Putin will finally be able to retire, because finally Russia will be safe from the Americans. He is probably going to be a national hero, or should be.

  24. Chew

    I hope this post isn’t in contravention of any guidelines, but I thought that this probably would be one of the better sections in which to ask the question – has the recent RT CrossTalk interview with Michael Hudson been made available on some other platform than Youtube? It is currently unavailable in Sweden, and I would assume it is much the same in the rest of Europe.

      1. Foy

        They were talking about the various sanctions being laid against different countries and at about 7:20 in the clip one gentleman mentioned that the US was now considering sanctions against India for trading with Russia. That gave Michael Hudson quite a shock, his eyebrows raised right up, obviously he hadn’t heard the latest. So not surprised he was a bit shocked at that, things really going off the deep end.

        Soon there will be fewer countries unsanctioned than sanctioned if this keeps up. Someone mentioned the other day that maybe the should unsanction Venezuela so that they get could access to their oil and still have the new sanctions against Russia.

        The whole place is going nuts

  25. Soichero Rocks

    I’ll know the West is serious about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine (those who still refer to it as “the Ukraine” give themselves away) when Russian oligarchs end up dead. For anyone worth their classist salt, you should never eschew dead oligarchs. The only good oligarch is a dead oligarch, so you take dead oligarchs when you can get dead oligarchs, regardless of which oligarchs they are.

    ALL oligarchs are enemies of “the people” and if oligarchs start ending up dead, well, it sets a great, positive precedent because there can be no progress without justice and dead oligarchs is justice while living oligarchs are an impediment to justice. Death to ALL oligarchs everywhere. Dead oligarchs has to start somewhere, so dead Russian oligarchs is as fine a place to start as any.

    Also, NeoNazis and their loyalties are so confusing, aren’t they? In Ukraine, allegedly at least, they detest Putin, Russia and Russians but in America, the NeoNazis simply adore and worship Putin and they love Russia and Russians. How much is there to fear from idiotic nimrods who can’t even draft, agree to and adhere to a simple ideological doctrine.

    In my opinion, NeoNazis in Ukraine are a foil for Putin just as NeoNazis in America are a foil for various malevolent political factions. Foils abound in the battle for hearts and minds as do tropes. Foils & Tropes. Sounds like a great Manhattan law firm, doesn’t it?

    As far as Orlov is concerned, give me a break. Russia isn’t China. It’s largely a resource rentier state and always will be if it, and the world, survives Putin’s push for a lasting legacy. Russia is not going to start reengineering Airbuses. What a ridiculous notion. Disinformation at its finest. Propaganda.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Major exercise in demonstrating how you don’t know much of everything, starting with that there are real bona fide neo-Nazis in Ukraine who wear Nazi regalia and have beaten pols they didn’t like into hospitalization. You might bother learning something before spouting nonsense.

  26. The Rev Kev

    “Airspace bans and unfriendly skies around Ukraine”

    This is amazing this article. Straight off the bat I can see more jet fuel being burned due to the longer routes, more expensive tickets consequently, more maintenance long term as those jets have to fly longer routes, countries like the Ukraine missing out on fees that airliners have to pay for using their air space, other countries getting a boost here. And that is only some of the consequences that I can think of just now.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      The war has been an enormous boon to the Gulf States. Oil over $100 a barrel, plus their hubs being the only real alternative for Europe to Asian flights. They are loving it. The only downside to them is that Iran is benefiting too.

  27. bwilli123

    Jimmy Dore has posted a video of ‘Nationalist’ (as they are re-categorized by NATO et al) leaders boasting of their own significance (particularly during Maidan)
    I’ve read elsewhere that they are also embedded at the company level in the Ukrainian Army, much like the Russians used to with their political commissars (and to the same effect upon dissenters and potential deserters)

    Ukraine Neo-Nazis Infiltrate EVERY LEVEL Of Military & Government

  28. anon y'mouse

    thank you for all that you do, Yves and Lambert.

    i have just assumed that, like when a woman enters the birthing room, we will know when we know.

    more people should resign themselves to this, because all the sides in this party have very little reason to let the truth out.

  29. petal

    Re veterinary field issues: That has been happening around here in NH, and also back home in the Rochester, NY area. My vet had started a second practice that was an after-hours emergency practice. It got to be too much for him to juggle so he sold out to Ethos. He said he regrets it now because they’ve destroyed it. All they care about is how much they can squeeze out of desperate and emotional pet owners. They hold a proverbial gun to your head-no care until you pay an initial fee($120) to get in the door, and then they force you to get $400+ xrays before they’ll do anything. Before selling out, it was a great place to go. The change was immediate and stark, and it was clear the only thing they cared about was money and wringing as much out of desperate people as possible. A sea change. The next closest emergency vet is a long hour away in Concord, and they are owned by VCA. Burlington, VT emergency vet office is a long hour and a half highway drive.

    Workers at the emergency vet in Rochester recently voted to unionise-the first on the east coast to do so. Thrive Pet Healthcare bought up a lot of animal hospitals in that area and things have gone downhill fast.
    VSES: First Veterinary practice on East Coast to unionize

  30. Ghost in the Machine

    The Danish numbers on the percentage of people infected in the country and the percentage of those that go on to suffer long Covid has been something that has worried me since early in the pandemic. This has to start showing up in other statistics if these numbers are accurate. There have been links posted here in the past that have suggested that long Covid is contributing to the labor shortage. It has to be showing up in other health statistics, yes? There are some places like Iran where it has been estimated that most people have been infected multiple times. I wonder what the long Covid stats are there.

    One would guess that each new variant and round of infection is going to add another group to that long Covid category. It will inevitably grind us down with the current strategies. I read here recently in a link that Covid was sometimes finding a reservoir in testes (and ovaries maybe?). I wonder what the consequences on fertility will be. It is reminding me of Children of Men. Can’t imagine it being as dramatic as that movie, but with endocrine disruptors, other pollution, and now diseases that may be attacking reproductive organs it seems we are heading that way. Negative feedbacks to growth seem to be kicking in in earnest.

    1. Procopius

      I know I’ve seen statements that China, India, and Japan are already below replacement level, and I think America is, too. Are most countries now reproducing at less than replacement?

  31. Ignacio

    Regarding Megan Ben Dor Ruthven’s tweet on long Covid

    Dots cannot be connected the way she does. The long Covid data were taken from Covid cases between sep-2020 and april-2021. Yo cannot assume long Covid had similar incidence in Delta’s summer wave or Omicron’s this winter.

    1. Ghost in the Machine

      True, but it doesn’t seem prudent to assume the long Covid numberscwill be much better either when planning your pandemic response.

      1. Ignacio

        Best is not do assumptions not knowing. Could be better now, could be worse. My guess is somehow better.

  32. Darthbobber

    It was supposed to be absurd. Helmer can’t resist tossing absolute groaners of jokes into even the most serious analysis.

  33. RobertC

    BLUF: the next phase of Putin’s and Xi’s confrontation with Biden is now moving to the Putin-Xi-Modi relationship.

    As background, please allow me to repeat myself:

    I believe Putin and Xi gamed out and are executing a confrontation with Biden in Europe, weakening the Atlantic Alliance, using Ukraine as their cat’s paw and commodity prices as their lever. And so far everything is moving according to their plans.
    Over two decades ago, at its request, China resolved all boundary differences with Russia. In most cases, China accepted Russia’s position. And now that 2,600 mile border is mutually secure with a “better than an alliance” relationship.
    Last winter, Russia and China held one of the largest joint exercises ever involving not only the full range of conventional forces but also strategic forces. Two items of note:

    1. Overall command and control was provided by China.
    2. Russian soldiers operated Chinese sensors and weapons.
    Last November for the first time, food security appeared as a priority in China’s national security strategy.

    Russia and Ukraine provide a quarter of the world’s exported wheat and corn. China will be first in line for those exports. The previous MENA recipients will be Europe’s burden to feed.

    Similarly Russia has halted ammonium nitrate fertilizer exports until April. Its plans beyond that are not apparent.

    For seafood, China has created a three prong fleet: hundreds of thousands of fishing ships; the world’s largest coast guard; and the world’s second largest navy. And it has developed, trained and demonstrated global integrated coercive grayzone fishery operations with that fleet.

    Putin and Xi deeply accept the ramifications of rapid climate change and are acting to protect their populations.

    With that as background, let’s examine an Asia-Middle East map.

    With geography, BRI and bi-lateral agreements, China along with Russia have placed India in an agricultural and industrial resources cauldron.

    Modi’s only escape from this cauldron is to repeat with China the border adjustment of twenty years ago. And I believe Xi is ready to accommodate him for their mutual interest in military and food security.

    And this is the true seismic shift that is Putin’s and Xi’s goal.

  34. Rolf

    Re: Biden’s Dept of Education still waiting for guidance from on high to reform bankruptcy and student loan debt. The case the Prospect article describes is horrific:

    On March 8, the department is scheduled to haul Heather Smart into court to contest her claim that she cannot pay the $95,180 she owes in student loans from her time attending New Mexico Junior College and East New Mexico University, as part of her bankruptcy filing.

    Smart is filing for bankruptcy because of a debilitating cancer diagnosis. According to official documents, she is “currently unemployed due to being in the process of receiving extensive medical care and treatment for myriad issues relating to several forms of aggressive and invasive cancer, as well as a blood disorder.” She’s expected to begin the first in a series of invasive surgeries just days after her court date opposite the Education Department, at which point she “will be unable to maintain successful or meaningful employment for the foreseeable future and may potentially be permanently disabled as a result of treatment.” Right now, she owes approximately $1,017 per month in federal student loan debt; her unemployment sums to $1,888 a month.

    The official position of the Education Department is that Smart’s condition is not sufficiently hopeless.

    Biden could have easily remedied this, by simply telling DoEd not to pursue these cases or their appeals, or better, walking back his mistake in supporting the original 2005 legislation that gave rise to the whole mess. But as promised, “fundamentally, nothing will change …”.

    1. Martin Oline

      Depending on the continuing daily death rate, the total numbers of deaths in the US should pass 1,000,000 in around a week from now. Maybe as early as March 10th.

  35. mistah charley, ph.d.

    from today’s Financial Times:

    Hong Kong Covid crisis fails to sway jab refuseniks

    Elderly people fear virus but worry more about vaccine’s perceived side effects

    …The Hong Kong government probably made a mistake in its early vaccination strategy…officials at that time suggested [elderly people] who suffered from chronic illnesses to consult a doctor and wait till their illnesses stabilized before they get the shot….The doctors were quite concerned they would be responsible for any consequences….the requirement that family members consent to a jab accentuated the problem.

  36. Socal Rhino

    I’ve seen that Taleb has taken a self-described posture of “you don’t criticize the fire department while the house is still burning.”

    1. PHLDenizen

      If the fire department has spent years signaling that they love arson, you fire them and recruit more honest operators. And both the US hegemony and Russia have clearly signaled a willingness to do exactly that. Framed as stewardship of forests, the US has been lighting conflagrations for decades with Russia warning of a controlled burn to protect their own interests.

      It’s the same bullshit tribalism you see infecting neoliberal lunatics like Bill Maher calling criticism of your own party “sacking your own quarterback”. He needs to stick to smoking pot, sleeping on his pile of money, and stop with giving the Dem establishment something to jerk off to. IIRC, he gave Hillary a million bucks for her campaign. That turned out well.

      1. The Rev Kev

        ‘the US has been lighting conflagrations for decades’

        A coupla years ago Russia was comlpaining how they were acting as the world’s fire department that was running around putting out the fires that Washington was setting off.

  37. Bill

    Low-income countries are collateral damage: “The tragic war in Ukraine has significant consequences for the world. Cost of living expected to rise sharply in many countries as energy & food prices skyrocket. Their share in consumption is on average 30% & as high as 50% in Africa. Commodity importers particularly hard hit.”

    “Besides the higher share of energy & food in consumption in developing countries the passthrough of world prices to prices paid by consumers is also higher. It is 10% for advanced economies, 25% for emerging markets, 50% for low-income countries.”

    1. Anon

      I heard this attractive (hi Emily ;), intelligence, think-tank type say that there will be unpredictable, 3rd degree effects to the sanctions, so the American public should brace themselves; also the expectation (openly discussed on YouTube panel on March 1) is that of insurgency (read: overt Ukrainian defeat, also, openly compared with and commented on by an intelligence vet who participated organizing the afghan revolution, circa 1985). Goes on to say that if we’re going to stick up for our values like good Americans, it could take, “8 to 10 years.”

      8 to 10 years.

      They’ll have to burn Russian dictionaries, and watch DuoLingo very carefully, given the discomfort they have arranged for their own people. It makes me wonder if there is anyone in the West that appreciates their position, or if their propaganda is representative of what they believe.

      ‘Assessing the Russian Military Campaign in Ukraine‘, panel for Center for Strategic and International Studies… 22:00 for talk of how Biden burned their source by announcing the invasion…

    1. Louis Fyne

      not just Ukraine, but in the historically ethnic Russian stretch of Ukraine running from Odessa to the east.

      And that company processes (for lack of a better analogy) crude neon from Russia which is a byproduct of metals processing.

  38. LawnDart

    [I found the note notable]

    Note: The essay below was solicited by the editorial page of a major US newspaper, and then rejected because it did not fit its prevailing narrative. Not only are major channels of discussion closed off to dissenting views in the United States, but major news sources are blocked by internet service providers. Interfax, the post-Communist independent news service, is inaccessible from Western IP addresses, but accessible through Hong Kong, for example. The West is fighting for democracy, but using the propaganda and press control methods of authoritarian regimes.

    Reliving the nightmare of 1914

    Interfax(dot)com is Rus POV and I was able to get to the site this morning, unlike RT and Sputnik which I couldn’t access even with Tor. The censorship and attacks are messing with my ability to take both sides and split the difference, but I guess that’s the point.

    1. Carolinian

      As of this morning I can no longer get RT via RSS. Their Youtube channel seems to still be available.

      When the RSS was available they seemed to carry mostly Ukrainian accusations since the Russians are doing little talking.

    2. mistah charley, ph.d.

      Right now – early Saturday afternoon, Eastern time zone, U.S. – I have access to both Interfax and RT – if what the essay said was true at some earlier time, or will be true at some later time, currently it is not true.

      1. LawnDart

        Got both Sputnik and RT too, again, for now.

        I guess we’ll need to get used to this intermittent garbage, at least for a bit.

        Maybe a list (w/o links) to mirror websites would help: this infowar won’t get any better, no “breakthroughs” let alone thaw for at least a couple of weeks.

        Cold War 1 really didn’t seem to be real to Usaians until 1962. Maybe to us, now we can acknowledge CW2. Another 30-years of that bs?

  39. Jason Boxman

    Hector served two violent tours in Iraq as a United States Marine, then got out, got a pension and a civilian job, and thought he was done with military service. But on Friday, he boarded a plane for one more deployment, this time as a volunteer in Ukraine. He checked in several bags filled with rifle scopes, helmets and body armor donated by other veterans.

    I’ve been expecting to start hearing about this.

    ‘I Just Can’t Stand By’: American Veterans Join the Fight in Ukraine

    Ukraine’s minister of foreign affairs, Dmytro Kuleba, echoed the call for fighters, saying on Twitter, “Together we defeated Hitler, and we will defeat Putin, too.”

    Wow, you can’t make this stuff up.

    1. Louis Fyne

      only less dumb than the 60 y.o. British guy that told the cameras he was going to Ukraine to fight,

      If they are lucky, the war be be over before they are in harm’s way, or get shot and die instantly. otherwise they might spend the next 30 years in a Siberian prison

      no Geneva conventions protections for illegal combatants. paging Dick Cheney to the courtesy phone

      1. Anthony G Stegman

        Just to clarify: The correct terminology is “enemy combatants”, not “illegal combatants”.

    2. The Rev Kev

      The Russians have been holding back in killing Ukrainian soldiers unnecessarily. Foreign fighters? It will be open season. And this will not be like the Lincoln Battalion-

      And it mentions that after WW2, that the US government suspected any members of this brigade of being commies and so they set the FBI on them. No thank you for your service.

    3. wilroncanada

      Jason Boxman
      We had one of those, not sure of what age, here on Vancouver Island too. My immediate question was: how are they going to be able to smuggle this stuff into Ukraine? The Canadian here may have tried to disguise his stuff as goalie pads and funny-looking hockey sticks.
      I rather suspect it’s their versions of virtue signalling. They’ll be hiding out with the Canadian and US ‘reinforcements’ in their Baltic non-war war zones, so they’ll be able to return as putative heroes.

  40. Gumnut

    Re Denmark & 20% population having long covid: nada in press, nada in informal talk in any circle in urban Coprnhagen we hear. Selectionbias and all that, but either complete gaslighting or some language/cultural distranslation that any longterm symptom = long covid without graduation of severity. Believe we had wuhan in April2020, def had Omikron in Jan. Former took months to clear (running), latter days.

  41. tommy s

    That Caitlin article is so good. I’ve always liked her, but this one puts into words coherently, that I couldn’t type. …As always thanks to the commentators here and this site…for giving such a sober fascinating daily over view. Americans don’t even know what no fly zone means…as you’ve brought up. My god….

  42. Alice X

    ‘Americans should get ready for $5 a gallon gas, analyst warns.’

    I paid $3.85 a gallon yesterday. I don’t drive much, usually about five gallons worth a month. I’ll get ready for $5 a gallon by rolling my bicycle out or taking the bus. But for other poors neither will be possible and they’ll be hit the hardest.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      The DC FedRegime will not give any assistance to any poors to handle the rise in gas prices. The poors will be on their own. Can they find a way to be ” on their own together”?

      Perhaps ” civil mitigation” will become the new ” civil society”, whether formal or informal. If thousands and then millions of poors can figure out how to link up with eachother for carpooling, ride-sharing ( not the UberLyft kind), sharing information on gas-sparing driving-efficiency practices, etc., they may survive the high gas prices better than if they don’t.

      Perhaps some poors even read these threads. Perhaps people can bring information on mitigating high gas prices through hypermiling and other driving-efficiency practices where those poors can see it and take it back to the other poors.

      This might be a very valuable project for the DSA tail-light replacement clinic teams to work on along with replacing tail lights and brake lights. As an example which no nice people would want to be seen referrencing in public . . . Hezbollah began life as a social support parallel society charitable organization before it became the political-military power it is today. As did the Muslim Brotherhood, in its own way.

      1. tegnost

        The poors will be on their own

        I think the idea is more alng the lines of “the poors will need to get another job to help with the increased cost of gas, easing the dastardly worker crisis in low wage industries”

  43. John

    To think that this week is only the beginning and from all indications, as Russia’s answers to USA/European sanctions are rolled out, it is only going to get worse mostly for the USA and Europe. Being skilled keyboard cowboys, masters of “gaming out a problem”, lightning quick with a standup interview or the killer tweet, appears to have little effect on a real world economy with advanced military forces and just off-stage, a strategic partner.

    The brilliant strategy that created this situation must be admired … from a secure location.

  44. RobertC

    US sanctions blowback: Russia and China want written guarantees before proceeding with JCPOA Russia’s demand for U.S. guarantees may harm nuclear talks, Iran official says

    “Russians had put this demand on the table (at the Vienna talks) since two days ago. There is an understanding that by changing its position in Vienna talks Russia wants to secure its interests in other places. This move is not constructive for Vienna nuclear talks,” said the Iranian official in Tehran.

    When asked whether Russia’s demand would harm 11 months of talks between Tehran and world powers, including Russia, Iran Project Director at International Crisis Group, Ali Vaez said: “Not yet. But it’s impossible to segregate the two crises for much longer.”

    “The U.S. can issue waivers for the work related to the transfer of excess fissile material to Russia. But it’s a sign that the commingling of the two issues has started,” Vaez said.

    I anticipate Russia and China will obtain certain understandings with Iran before they change their position on US sanctions.

  45. Glen

    Pardon me for posting a UT link, but this is very eye opening:

    Matt Stoller: What Ukraine War REVEALS About US Economy | Breaking Points with Krystal and Saagar

    China makes the ink for American dollars? Boy, America truly is the land being run by greedy idiots.

    Do you know who’s going to win the war in Ukraine if they are successful at driving the Russians out? China.

    Do you know who’s going to win the war in Ukraine if the Russians successfully occupy there? China.

    Do you know who set up this loser scenario and is now being paid billions to undo it? Wall St and American CEOs. American is now in the “Make it till you Fake It’ existence. We are going to see much more “faking it” as opposed to actual can do. We still have not attacked the root cause of America’s demise – Wall St greed and the destruction of the laws and regulations that keep America’s economy fair and balanced.

  46. andrea casalotti

    **Safe Corridors**

    The Russians have used this ruse to justify bombing civilians who stay (eg in Syria)

  47. fresno dan

    Regarding state secrets cases, I find this one a little more interesting than the one in today’s post:
    The opinion came in the case of Zayn al-Abidin Muhammad Husayn, known as Abu Zubaydah, a Palestinian man who was mistakenly believed to be a high-level member of al-Qaeda when he was captured in Pakistan 20 years ago. While he was held at several overseas locations, including one in Poland, the CIA repeatedly subjected Abu Zubaydah to so-called “enhanced interrogation” techniques such as waterboarding and sleep deprivation before he was transferred to the military prison at Guantanamo, where he remains today.

    The dispute before the Supreme Court stems from Abu Zubaydah’s efforts to depose and seek documents from two former CIA contractors who Abu Zubaydah says supervised his interrogations. He wants to use the information in a criminal investigation in Poland, where prosecutors are investigating the abuse that occurred there. The U.S. government asserted that the information is protected by the state secrets privilege because, even though the location of the detention site has already been publicly disclosed, Abu Zubaydah’s request could compel former CIA contractors to confirm the location of the site – which would itself compromise national security. The Supreme Court agreed.
    In a 30-page dissent that was joined by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Justice Neil Gorsuch did not pull any punches, describing the torture of Abu Zubaydah in detail and lamenting recent trends toward “overclassification” of government documents.

    The focal point of the case, Gorsuch wrote, was information about Abu Zubaydah’s treatment while he was detained at a black site between December 2002 and September 2003. No one, Gorsuch noted, contends that this information is a state secret.

    Gorsuch rejected the idea that U.S. courts should unquestioningly accept the federal government’s assertion that Abu Zubaydah’s suit should be dismissed because disclosure of the information he is seeking would harm national security. The government should provide details to support its assertion, Gorsuch contended, and courts should decide for themselves whether the state secrets privilege applies. Gorsuch observed that although English monarchs “may have enjoyed the kind of latitude the government sought,” the “Constitution did not create a President in the King’s image but envisioned an executive regularly checked and balanced by other authorities.”

    With efforts by the executive branch to classify information increasing dramatically over the past 20 years – Gorsuch observed wryly that the government had even classified a memo from one senior military official to another on the topic of the over-classification of documents – it is even more important, Gorsuch posited, for courts to conduct a careful review when the executive branch asserts the state secrets privilege to try to shield information from disclosure.
    So Breyer thinks its OK and Gorsuch doesn’t. Its a crazy mixed up world…
    And then the whole thing about a state secret not actually being secret is beyond Kafkaesque

    1. PHLDenizen

      Which begs the question: is the FISA court the ultimate arbiter of any and all litigation related to the blob? That the mere existence of a warrant issued is proof of guilt and that, axiomatically, there’s no higher authority for appeals?

    2. Brian Beijer

      Thank you for bringing this important case up in the comments. Two facts that you didn’t mention, which I think adds to your post is that

      A) Abu Zubaydah was ANALLY fed as part of his torture. Take a moment and imagine that.

      B) Abu Zubaydah IS STILL in Guantanamo Bay despite having long been proven that he had no connection to Al Qaida. How anyone, especially Americans, can support the US government is beyond me.

      In Europe, it’s especially ironic to me that Poland is being celebrated right now for it’s support of Ukraine. It doesn’t surprise me that Poland would support the Ukrainian government, but I don’t think it should be lauded for that. It would be equally unsurprising for me if North Korea supported the Myanmar government. I wouldn’t praise them for that either.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Those militant extremists that you saw fighting on the Maiden in the Ukraine back in 2014? They were actually trained in Poland. They took buses to some police academy in Poland itself where they received advanced training in rioting, fighting, barricade-building, etc. and after graduating, went back to the Ukraine. Hard work at the Maiden but if I remember right, they were being paid $100 a day with squad leaders being paid much more. After the Maiden though, it did not stop these same extremists giving the Polish-Ukrainians a hard time for not being Ukrainian enough. No gratitude there.

    3. Pat

      Everyone on the majority of this should be impeached. I don’t care where people think they are the political spectrum. This was not some Solomon’s choice. There is a clear right and wrong, both morally and legally. Their politics trumped both of those, which make them unsuitable for the position of Supreme Court Justice.

      Every time I think I cannot be disgusted even more…

  48. Susan the other

    On Bacevich today. At the risk of being excommunicated, I’m gonna make this observation. Bacevich freaked me out. It’s not like him to be so cryptic. He’s sticking to his own theme of peaceful solutions, but his message was too weird. Or his medium was too weird. JFK advising Biden. The 60s were a very critical time for our MIC and our corporations and our plans to create a global free market. Competition to the neoliberal idea of a “free market” came from the USSR and China – both of whom were our cold-war enemies. But peace was possible to maintain and JFK avoided going to war at every step. That part of the JFK advice is certainly good for Biden to be reminded of. But Bacevich invokes some strange stuff: Operation Mongoose; the assassination of Diem and his brother; the successful resolution of the Cuban Missile Crisis. All of which left a trail of breadcrumbs to JFK’s own assassination. Is Bacevich telling Joe to be careful here? Is this a veiled cautionary tale reminding him that JFK took every peaceful opportunity he had and he might have been assassinated for it? It’s true Joe is a militarist and prone to go with violence. But what is the message here? The world is on the brink of atomic war, so be brave and choose peaceful coexistence? We also thought we were on the brink of atomic war in 1964. I just thought it was an unnerving message. Not a clear message at all.

    1. RobertC

      Susan — I agree, it was very unlike Bacevich. Trying a David Goldman and went off the rails? I want the real Col Bacevich back.

          1. Bill Carson

            Thanks. Sometimes when I get here late I start at the bottom and read up, so I hadn’t reached that discussion.

  49. Bill Carson

    Gonzalo Lira (former NC contributor) has a good 2-hour livestream up on his youtubes channel. Lots of information on the background of Zelensky and the entire situation. I won’t provide a link but you can just search under his name. I fear for his life, frankly—he is telling too many hard truths. Short of that, his channel will be banned soon.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I only saw one Lira vid recently, from Kiev, and it was very good. He’s better in that medium than in writing. His points are good either way (except on the Fed and deficits, he’s a complete hawk) but in writing his tone is dial on 11.

    1. VietnamVet

      The FSB whistle blower letter is striking even machine translated from Russian to German to English. Even if it is disinformation from the Ukraine side, endorsed by bellingcat, there is no one in the 5-eyes intelligence fiefdom who would dare write or even touch upon this in their analyses — the upcoming global food shortages and riots this summer with the cutoff of grain from Russia and Ukraine caused by the West poking the Russian Bear too hard.

      I wish I could write as well as this of one’s utter desperation of being in the middle of hell, even though, for now, I am “safely” isolated here in Suburbia until the first air blast takes out the Joint Base five miles away.

    1. jr

      I enjoyed reading the comment that notes the cries for him to “clarify” himself. I haven’t followed him but everyone here who has seemed to think he was crystal clear. Plus, how do you clarify geo-politics to morons? How do you teach a horse to sing?

    2. lambert strether

      “A statement from the university as a whole that it does not condone anti-Ukrainian ideology on campus.”

      No study of the SS Volunteer Division “Galacia,” then, I suppose.

      Best, I suppose, to declare Ukrainians an identity, and let threm do their own cancellations, using the existing apparatus.

  50. MT_Wild

    Just saw in the comments at MoA that Denis Kereev, part of the Ukrainian negotiation delegation was killed by Ukrainian intelligence forces (SBU) after they took him into custody for treason.

    I wonder how long internal power struggles in Ukraine will stay hidden.

    Can’t find it in U.S. reporting, so not linking to Pravda.

    1. Louis Fyne

      and alleged pictures of his body are viral in social media. Motivations and intent, i presume, are crystal clear if you’ve watched enough Sopranos episodes

  51. drumlin woodchuckles

    About humanitarian escape corridors from Mariupol . . . I have read that the Azov Brigade is in charge of Mariupol and most of its members are massed there. If that is true, then I speculate that the Azovazis will keep the civilians inside Mariupol for human shield purposes the way that ISIS kept people within certain Iraqi cities for human shield purposes.

    One hopes the Russian forces are able to physically and personally delete every Azovazi in and around Mariupol with minimal harm to the civilians. But complete and thorough deletion of all Azovazi members and supporters would probably remain the sensible prime directive for the Russian forces.

  52. drumlin woodchuckles

    Ban on Russian Blue cats? Maybe we should rename them Freedom Blue cats. To go with the Freedom Gin.

    1. fresno dan

      I’m thinking with some dna crispr technology, we can make them blue and yellow

  53. jr

    Someone please do something sarcastic with this, I’m having an off day:

    “It makes me feel like I have so much more skin in the game. I am so heartbroken for Ukraine, but I don’t know anyone there. And now I care so much about this woman and what happens to her,” she tells NPR.

    “It’s not happening to someone happening far away — it’s happening to people we now know.”

    *cue warped merry-go-round music

    1. fresno dan

      I’m booking airbnbs in Russia, I’m not gonna pay (or go) and I’m telling the host to take all pictures in the house of Putin down and burn them – in an environmentally irresponsible way! AND I fully expect this to so demorilize the Russian military that every Russian soldier will put a flower in the barrel of his rifle and become gender neutral. AND as well as making every single Russian civilian same gender loving.
      Because it is a well know fact that two countries without any cisgender soldiers have never invaded each other.
      I’m sorry I couldn’t be sarcastic – nothing but brutal, irrefutable facts…

      1. jr

        It’s amazing, the blinkered perceptions of the PMC. Scammers must be tripping over themselves to find some of these idiots. I wonder how many Azov Battalion apartments will be rented out.

        1. britzklieg

          For the first few loops I tried to console my alarmed brain with misdirections like “it sounds sort of like the greek music I used to dance to as a kid in my foustanella” and realized the longer a sentence I could imagine to describe it, the less I wanted to endure it, and just gave over to the flow.

          Lasted less than a minute.

          I’m not even sure what I’m supposed to say after that one. Ouch?

        2. RA

          Nice. Kinda like a Bach piece where a simple theme starts then evolves into so much more.
          Except without the evolving part.


          Could be a nice alarm sound for a Ukrainian nuclear plant.

          1. RA

            Sorry, you’ve infected me with this one.

            It just occurred to me that it is a dystopian sample from the chorus of “Teddy Bears Picnic”
            “Today’s the day the Teddy Bears have… “, over and over

            May you be cursed with this thought too.

  54. Face/Off

    Anecdotal data from Russian Facebook Group in Germany:

    Teacher asks 9-years old russian pupil which side he is on – Ukraine or Russia. When the child answered “no side”, the teacher tried to explain that the child should hate Putin.

    Vandalism against cars owned by Russians

    Russian food store vandalized.

    Ukrainian lady walks up to Russian-speakers asking if they are Russian. When confirm, she unloads.

    Ukranian refugees talking about their kids getting into “gymnasium”, just having arrived and not speaking German at all. Background: who goes to gymnasium = doornopener to university, is decided already in 4th class, when the kids are about 10-11 years old. Potential problems: 1) If they get in, that will not be appreciated by locals whose kids were selected and 2) exaggerated expectations from refugees. Somebody will be disappointed, leading to funny situations.

    Situation not looking good on many levels.
    Germans vs Russians
    Ukrainians vs Russians
    Striving class vs refugees

  55. britzklieg

    Loving the bomb.

    A perfect triangulation developed through less perfect ones, over decades. Carter’s union busting and Zbig’s humanitarian intervention, Reaganomics aka Rubinomics, Sister Soulja and welfare as we knew it, prison filling crime bills. Joe Lieberman. 9/11 and a Bush you want to have a Budweiser with now returned to his warlord glory, Hope and Change and Occupy Wall Street conquered, Hillary’s no-fly-zone-campaign foaming a runway for Trump’s dump and Russiagate (did I mention Russiagate, but I repeat myself). Joe Biden with crypto-Stasi passports for a deplorable pandemic of the unvaccinated miraculously disappeared through immaculate infection. Boom.
    The chasm between right and left (ahem) has apparently been erased with one name: Putin. The plebs will still argue over pronouns (that don’t matter) and tax cuts (that are never reversed) the social safety net and gun control, mRna and horse meds – it’s a long and devastating list effectively dividing us from reason.

    But what voices will be lifted in treason against another endlessly noble war with real hints at a bright light ending this time, the world engulfed in a democracy no one will survive? All Russians ‘RAUS from the Vaterland and all the a-po-po-po-po-pologists too. We groove now in lockstep, Bible in hand and Old Glory for a shawl, to the bi-partisan patriot beat:


    Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori

    The revolution will not be televised, there will be no revolution

    Mein Führer, I can walk!

  56. VietnamVet

    Washington Post: “As war loomed, U.S. armed Ukraine to hit Russian aircraft, tanks and prep for urban combat…as early as December”. I didn’t believe Joe Biden when he said February 18th that Russia would invade. I thought the Kremlin wouldn’t be so stupid to invade Ukraine and likely start WWIII. They did on February 24, 2022.

    I agree with Colonel Lang (Turcopilier) that Russia will be stuck with a long drawn out guerilla war if they invade western Ukraine. This is an ethnic war that will only end if the Ukrainians with their own language and religion are ethnically cleaned out of the East and Ukraine partitioned like India, Yugoslavia etc. A peace treaty that will shorten the war will reduce the number of Ukraine cities destroyed to save them from neo-Nazis/freedom fighters.

    The real problem is the ruling neoliberal Death Cult. Much like FDR’s sanctions on oil shipments to the Japanese Empire made Pearl Harbor attack inevitable, not agreeing to the partition beforehand and threatening tougher sanctions, the Russian invasion became inevitable. This all was done in order to destabilize the Kremlin and allow western extractive corporations one more chance to profit off of Russia’s resources.

    The basic problem is that as shown by the death of over a million Americans from COVID-19 and the Opioid Crisis; corporate profits outweigh human lives. Taiwan with a functioning public health system is still eradicating COVID-19. Basically, western governments are so corrupt and incompetent they are unable to handle the looming economic, health and climate catastrophes; let alone, prevent a nuclear war that will kill billions.

      1. britzklieg

        I thought one of the most unsetting things discussed was the white haired fellow (don’t remember the name, I think he was after Susan Eisenhower) who spoke of Russia’s inferior system of detecting a nuclear strike. He also mentioned that the USA had cancelled a planned missile test and implied it was because they had the good sense to not want it to be mistaken for anything worse, which gave some hope that cooler heads are in the mix but did not assuage the sense of it as a perfect scenario for something to go terribly awry. Insane times.

        1. CoryP

          I’m pretty sure it was Theodore Postol who I remember as being a weapons inspector who also wasn’t convinced by the mainstream accounts of chemical weapon use by the Syrian government in the past decade.

          (Either that or it was some other guy named Postol)

      2. howseth

        Yes it is. Alas! Not a comforting chat before I go to sleep. Every night brings another set of nightmares.

  57. Tom Stone

    The world will be much different by November.
    The next wave of Omicron 2 is on the way and there’s plenty of time for another wave after that before the midterms.
    We’re above $5.50 a gallon for gas at some stations and it could easily hit $6.50 before the end of summer.
    The economic repercussions from the sanctions on Russia will have become significant.
    Wildfires and drought.
    It is almost certain to be a record year for wildfires with at least one exceeding 1 MM acres.
    Towns and cities across California and the Western USA are at serious risk from fires at the urban/wildland interface.
    And a 47% approval rating after the most intense propaganda campaign of my 68 years.
    It won’t be boring.

  58. Taurus

    Two things can be true at the same time.

    There can be nationalists (“neo-nazis”) in Ukraine AND the Russian army can be blanketing Ukraine with death and destruction.

    Capitalism AND communism can both be bad.

    Which brings me to Taibbi and the comments I read up top. I see that a number of the commentariat are shocked, SHOCKED that their views do not align with his on a topic. Various weak arguments – like – what kind of expert is he on Russia – he was just slumming it there in the 90s! – are trotted out why Taibbi has sadly lost it.

    This is what independent journalism looks like. If you don’t like it, you can always cancel your substack subscription and go read someone who would be happy to tell you that one and only one thing can be true at the same time.

    1. OnceWereVirologist

      That’s a straw man interpretation of the criticism of his piece. I personally don’t care and nor am I shocked if his views don’t align with my own. If he wants to write an article utterly condemning the invasion of Ukraine, good on him, that’s an article that doesn’t require any supporting evidence or specialist knowledge to write. But he didn’t, he wrote an article claiming that apart from Putin and his toadies, the Russian government and military don’t really want this war. And that the Russian army hasn’t really changed from the disaster it was in the 90s so the invasion is bound to turn into Chechnya 2.0. And for that argument he made a really weak case.

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