Links 3/7/2022

Jerri-Lynn here. Due to a computer issue, a short ration of Links is launching. Please check back at 8:00 a.m. EST for your full meal. Thanks!

Philip K Dick: the writer who witnessed the future BBC

New Jersey drivers may have to learn to pump their own gas Politico

The Crisis That Nearly Cost Charles Dickens His Career New Yorker

A few simple rules determine how floating fire ant rafts change shape over time Ars Technica

Orbiting Robots Could Help Fix and Fuel Satellites in Space Ars Technica

The Bottom of Love Liberties

Who Owns Your Academic Community? Chronicle of Higher Education

The US highway that helped break segregation BBC


Coronavirus: no public transport shutdown for mass testing, but movement could be ‘limited’, with 1 member per household allowed out for essentials South China Morning Post

Public health experts sketch a roadmap to get from the Covid pandemic to the ‘next normal’ Stat

New Not-So-Cold War

The U.S. Can Turn Europe Into Putin’s Nightmare Livemint (Bloomberg)

Oil prices soar as western allies discuss Russian import ban FT

Ukraine: Modi Expresses ‘Deep Concern’ to Zelensky; Russia Announces Ceasefire in 4 Cities The Wire

Ukraine Is A Sacrificial Pawn On The Imperial Chessboard Caitlin Johnstone

Western progressives must demand 3.5 more years of – no, permanent – Russophobia! The Saker

Australia plans submarine base as ‘autocrats’ take aim at the world order FT

Australia Plans Submarine Base That Can Host U.S. Vessels WSJ

Manchin calls for keeping no-fly zone as one option to help Ukraine The Hill

Possible End to Dollar Dominance?: Permanent Alterations to the World Order Post-Ukraine The Wire

Ukraine war ‘catastrophic for global food’ BBC


Macron keeps an open line to Putin as war in Ukraine rages AP

Pandora Papers: Ukraine leader seeks to justify offshore accounts Al Jazeera

Anti-aircraft missiles Germany offered Ukraine don’t work Yahoo (The Rev Kev)

Explainer | What does Russia’s threat to torpedo Iran nuclear deal mean for oil prices and Asian economies? South China Morning Post

Ukraine conflict: What’s behind Southeast Asia’s muted response? Deutsche Welle

How useful are Turkish-made drones fighting in Ukraine? Deutsche Welle

Car Industry Woes Show How Global Conflicts Will Reshape Trade NYT

I’ve Been Warned Not To Talk About This YouTube (mr). Russell Brand.

No, Russia Didn’t Get its Propaganda From John Mearsheimer The Intercept

Our Famously Free Press

Health Care

Researchers question whether Amazon’s partnership with Teladoc will really improve access to health care Stat


Jan. 6 panel has tough case to make on Trump criminal conspiracy The Hill

Biden Administration

Democrats aim to reset domestic legislative agenda after Biden speech Reuters

Waste Watch

Governing an Ocean of Plastics Project Syndicate

Oil spill at sea: who will pay for Peru’s worst environmental disaster? Guardian

Climate Change

Oil and gas lobbyists are using Ukraine to push for a drilling free-for-all in the US Guardian Never let a crisis go to waste.

By 2035, Risk Of Sea-Level Rise In Mumbai, Ahmedabad An Urban Heat Island: Climate Panel Report India Spend

US beef industry emerges from Biden’s climate pledges ‘relatively unscathed’ Guardian

Six key lifestyle changes can help avert the climate crisis, study finds Guardian

Class Warfare

How To Stop Inflation From Hurting America’s Working And Middle Class The Federalist

The adverts banned for misleading climate claims BBC

Sports Desk

Shane Warne: Australian cricket legend died from natural causes – police. BBC


15 Years Later, Govt Scheme to Rehabilitate Manual Scavengers Has Made Little Progress The Wire

Eight charts to help understand the impact of sanctions on the Russian economy – and India Scroll

Advantage Opposition as UP Voters Jettison Communal Issues, Focus on Livelihood Issues The Wire

Makers of Azamgarh’s Famous Black Clayware Are Having to Let Go of Their Craft The Wire


Myanmar: Could German technology soon help the military stifle dissent? Deutsche Welle

Antidote du Jour (via):


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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    1. John Zelnicker

      upstater and the NC community:

      This is a speech by Scott Horton given to the Libertarian Party of Utah on February 26, 2022. Video (1:58:44) and transcript.

      The speech is a very comprehensive history, going back to George H. W. Bush, of how our foreign policy, especially that of Bill Clinton and his successors, is ultimately responsible for Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine.

      Key quote:

      “It never had to be this way. Putin and his men obviously are responsible for the decisions that they have made and the blood on their hands. But the fact remains that it is the U.S.A. which has picked this fight so far from our shores.”

    2. Guild Navigator

      There are no off-ramps on the table to the current state of escalation. Worrisome, no?

      1. Anon

        Is it odd, that I am more concerned by the extremists and their role in this, than I am about nuclear war? There are some stunning implications. It’s one thing to hire jihadis in the Middle East, another to empower a group that has strong membership within your own borders… so it’s Kyiv then? I see.

    1. The Rev Kev

      RT was saying ‘The April futures at the TTF hub in the Netherlands soared to $3,899 per 1,000 cubic meters, or nearly $374 per megawatt-hour in household terms by 10:00 GMT, according to data from London’s ICE exchange.’

      It wasn’t that long ago that people complained about $1,000 per 1,000 cubic meters. Europe had better hope that some of those gas pipelines going through the Ukraine do not get hit–

    2. petal

      Gas has jumped 50 cents/gal overnight here in northern NH. Premium is now at $4.599 and diesel at $4.799. A lot of lower income folks around here have to live (quite a bit) farther out, so this is going to really hurt them. People are really pissed, and I’m also seeing/hearing a lot of drill baby drill/”if we hadn’t shut down our pipelines, etc etc”.

      1. Louis Fyne

        fun fact, New England has to import gasoline from refineries in the Caribbean and overseas natural gas (those paragons of Enlightenment virtue, the Qatari royal family) due to the lack of pipelines to PA and the Gulf Coast.

        Is that right or wrong for the environment and affordability? Others can flame that out…but that is the reality.

        1. upstater

          Understood about reality. Unfortunately I didn’t see anything in the doomberg link that informs readers of the failed energy policies of every administration D and R of the past 49 years, since 1973 or even way, way back. Or the political and economic system that facilitates this. The Mountain Valley Pipeline is to lock the southeast into gas fired electric generation for 50 years, like coal was in the 1970s. It also frees up Marcellus and Utica shale fracking for LNG exports. And as a bonus, exposes US consumers to EU style energy prices.

        2. Grumpy Engineer

          Sigh… I’ve long predicted that the tactic of cutting off fossil fuel supply without addressing fossil fuel demand would end poorly. Why does our nation always seem compelled to do things backwards?

          1. orlbucfan

            Cos it’s run by stupids who consistently claw their way to the top of the power pole. Aggressive stupidity/lust for power appears to be a major evolutionary flaw in homo sapiens.

            1. JBird4049

              In small groups like tribal or family bands, idiots like these get mocked to death. Even in larger “primitive” groups, they often get mocked to death. It is hard to maintain power or have your way when people are laughing at you. In our “advanced” society, the more nuts and detached from reality they are, the more likely they are to get power. That’s just great.

          2. drumlin woodchuckles

            Because the Deciders are pro-fossil-fuel and have figured out that doing things backwards will cause so much pain to the poor and near-poor majority that they will help the Deciders re-entrench the central role of fossil fuels all over again.

            It is applied “reverse-psychology” by the Fossil Feudalists who own and direct the government.

        3. JP

          There is a significant environmental difference in the production of gasoline from drilled oil and from cooking tar sands in Canada. Shutting down pipelines transporting tar sands oil is justified.

      2. PHLDenizen

        USD$4.80 for mid-grade in upper Bucks County, PA yesterday. Thankfully I work at home and drive infrequently, but got into a heated argument with my friend about it. He claims paying higher gas prices is awesome because it’s “better than buying it from Russia”. He spent a lot of time mesmerized by Maddow, so I can’t say I’m surprised.

        I countered with knock-on effects for landscaping companies, DoorDashers, construction trades, etc. having their already slim margins compressed further. Leaf blowers and mowers don’t care about fuel prices. Demand destruction is probably a death spiral. “Everyone is too lazy to cut their own grass, so they’ll be fine with the costs passed on.” Yeah, right.

        My girlfriend’s house runs on heating oil all year round — she has an indirect hot water system. Fortunately it’s warming up and she has prices locked in at a contract rate, but they’ll get much worse when it expires.

        IIRC, most A-1 jet fuel is kerosene and kerosene is now more expensive. Zero clue where it’s refined and what logistics are for delivering to point of use, but air travel has to take a hit. And I thought refineries switched their outputs based on market conditions? Commodities with better margins get preferential treatment. Or maybe I’m wrong. Anyone have any insight?

        1. Arizona Slim

          I have two insights. First of all, no one needs a lawn around the house.

          I grew up in eastern PA — in the woods — and Mom and Dad didn’t like to cut grass. So, we planted ivy and pachysandra and let ’em go to town. They did.

          Second, leaf blowers are just as silly as having a lawn. Leaves are called leaves for a reason. They fall off the trees and you leave them be. They make marvelous mulch and they do it for free.

          1. ambrit

            “…and they do it for free.” There’s your problem. No income stream in free.
            We are f—-d, for a price, of course.

          2. Nikkikat

            It aggravates me no end to see the mow and blow companies, mowing the grass and leaves and collecting all those clippings and then come back the next week and dump fertilizers all over the grass and sidewalks. For 30 years my husband and I have used our own mulch on the lawn. We only have a small area of grass now. We mostly have turned the yard into beds for flowers both in the ground and potted. We have never used fertilizers or pesticides of any kind. Our soil is rich and black. We also noticed that the people with the Tesla’s and solar panels always use these companies, creating pollution and noise, not to mention ponying up $150.00 for some one else to mow the grass. While wasting immense amounts of water with very ineffective sprinklers. Do they ever even contemplate these issues?

            1. jr

              “ Do they ever even contemplate these issues?”

              I think they often contemplate them through the lens of conspicuous consumption displays. Lawn crews are servants. Who wants to be the schmuck mowing their own lawn in a nice neighborhood when the Jones household next door has a team working on theirs? Whaddaya broke?

            2. lyman alpha blob

              Big ruckus in the neighbor’s tiny lawn last summer that wouldn’t let up. Looked out the window and saw a half dozen yard guys on a 15′ x 15′ patch of lawn arranged in a circular firing squad all with leaf blowers going full blast, bowing the leaves right past each other. Took them about twenty minutes of wasting gas to do what two guys with a rake and a tarp could have done in five, all because they were too damn lazy to just put down the machines. One of the absolute dumbest things I’ve ever seen. I’m sure the property owners who don’t live there but rent the building got billed out the wazoo for the complete waste of time. Kaching!

              1. GC54

                Same problem here. They are paid for an hr even if it takes 5 mins weekly. Many times just some dude noisily blowing around a couple of leaves to burn up time and hydrocarbons.

                1. ambrit

                  On our street a few years ago, duelling yard crews would blow the leaves and grass cuttings ‘down the street’ one day. The next day, a different yard crew would blow those old debris plus some new stuff back ‘up the street.’
                  I once asked one of the crews to collect all the debris in a pile in front of our yard and I’d cart it out back to our compost pile. The Mexicans got it right away. One time they even helped drag a tarp full of debris to the pile. The Anglos, of either colour, just couldn’t get it until I had expended some time and energy explaining the concept to them. Now I’ll occasionally see a “volunteer” pile of yard cuttings added to a separate pile I started just off of the rear alley. One fine day it will all be soil.
                  There’s nothing more neo-neo than enjoying the fruits, even rancid fruits, of someone else’s labour. On days like that, I feel positively Reactionary.
                  Stay safe all! [If you’re like me, you’ll keep wearing your masks when in public places. Those people who give me the Evil Eye for doing so can go Covid themselves.]

                  1. JBird4049

                    I guess my ignorance is showing, but just how hard is it to understand the idea of a compost pile? It’s just something I have sorta known for my whole life osmosis like, and even if I hadn’t, it is not something hard to understand.

      3. Nikkikat

        Now Joe Manchin screaming for no fly zone and more drilling. What a self serving slug. US also trying to get Iran and Venezuela to help us out with some oil as Europe starts back peddling. What goes around comes around.

        1. jrkrideau

          No-fly-zone == Declaration of War
          Is this just theatrics or is he really this ignorant?

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            He’ll compromise on giving up the No Fly Zone as long as he gets Drill Baby Drill.

            1. thoughtful person

              addendum: …as long as he gets “drill baby drill” for his funders/masters

          2. ambrit

            My money is on both at the same time.
            “Yes Minister” is become a prophecy laden program.
            How about a Netflix satire program; “Minister Manchin, or, the Arlington Hillbillies.”

        2. JohnA

          I just watched Putin do a Q&A about Ukraine with a group of Aeroflot female personnel. On the question of a no fly zone, he pointed out that it would effectively be a declaration of war, and any airfield base used by hostile aircraft would become a target.
          In answer to another question, he said that only professional career military personnel that had signed up for service were involved in Ukraine and this would remain the case. No conscripts or draftees either now or in the future. I have lost count of all the stories in western media about young Russian conscripts calling home in tears about their situation. More fake news.

          1. edwin

            Allowing prisoners of war the ability to call home would be a commendable thing to do. To film and distribute such things removes any good will.

            It has been made quite clear that filming prisoners of war for public consumption, and doubly recording phone calls and publicly broadcasting them are war crimes.

            We do not know the circumstances. Torture may have been involved. Scrips may have been provided. Keep in mind that these type of sessions may harm family of the prisoner, or even the prisoner himself upon release. Media that show these things are encouraging war crimes. So are individuals.

            It appears that Russia is also showing prisoners of war in potentially forced speech. I have also seen what looks like the after effects of torture on individuals who appear to have Nazi tattoos.

            It actually is important news when a media outlet shows prisoners of war phoning home. It provides information on their knowledge of war crimes, their ability to think issues through, and how professional they are. It shows their objectivity or lack thereof. It is news when one side documents the war crimes they are committing. And it is news when a media outlet participates in encouraging war crimes. Responsible news coverage would cover the event, blur the individual so they were unrecognizable, and remove the sound, but still allow the crime to be shown, and would tell you about the crime.

            It also helps document the professionalism of the soldiers, the commanders, and the commitment of the leaders to the rule of law.

            1. JohnA

              I saw one video of an alleged Russian prisoner of war claiming he had been mislead by false info about Ukraine. Then further posts showed the same guy in Ukrainian nazi regalia from earlier dates, so obviously a fake video. There is so much fake news and propaganda about and the Ukrainian side seems the worst. But that probably reflects the state of play as to how the conflict is going.

    3. PlutoniumKun

      And there is a big high pressure area over much of Europe for the next 10 days – that means dry, clear, cold days, not much wind. Not good news at all for energy supplies.

      I think we are very close to major industrial close downs due to energy costs and supply chain issues of key materials. The economic implications are pretty dire.

      I suspect that the message is already getting through to European capitals that the Ukraine needs to be sorted out very quickly and a deal done if there is not to be an economic calamity in Europe. There are reports that Hungary has banned weapons shipments to Ukraine and Poland has said Ukraine can’t use its airfields. Its also dawning on the UK that clamping down on oligarch money means a collapse in London housing prices. The UAE and other boltholes will look more attractive for the worlds dirty cash.

      1. Dave in Austrin

        Hungary gave in to pressure and said “Arms can transit” but not from Hungary to the Ukraine. Only from Huhgary to a NAto member. “Here Poland, I have a package for you to deliver.”

    4. paul

      There seems to be record profit taking amongst energy distributors in the UK.

      No cloud without a silver lining,

    1. The Rev Kev

      What that tweet does not mention is some of the all-American names as signatories of those demands such as Dayna Safarian, Edita Kuberka, Iryna Irkliyenko, Darya Kolesnichenko and Sergiy Kuchko. The linked article below mentions that ‘Kuberka is a Ukraine native and longtime Amazon executive pursuing her MBA at University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business.’ Imagine my surprise. Students demanding that experienced academics change their beliefs to match what they want it to be and to suit their own beliefs-

      1. Gareth

        Ukrainian grad students have freedom of speech; they can protest; and they can petition for redress of grievances. Their national origin doesn’t disqualify them from availing themselves of their basic human rights.

        The article you linked to is factually incorrect. Read the letter as posted here on NC. At no point do the students demand that Mearsheimer change his views or be fired. They asked that he disclose sources of Russian funding, that he issue a clear statement of his current views on Russian aggression in Ukraine “whatever it may be,” and they ask University of Chicago to issue a statement condemning “anti-Ukrainian ideology” on campus.

        Hanania also misrepresents the students when he says they are calling for cancellation since they have not asked for Mearsheimer’s dismissal or for him to stripped of teaching responsibilities. Requests for transparency regarding his current views and conflicts of interest are not cancellation.

          1. Gareth

            Corey Robin forgets that students must direct complaints through appropriate channels, which means that the administration must be involved. Failing to do so leaves them open to discipline. He would have a point if this were a group of outsiders, but it is not. They are students at University of Chicago; those that are grad students in Mearsheimer’s department are also his coworkers.

          2. fresno dan

            tweet edited for readability
            1/ It’s silly to say this letter calls for Mearsheimer’s cancellation. It doesn’t. What it does is a little creepier.
            corey robin
            2/ It asks that the president of the University of Chicago ensure that “the following actions be taken.” One of those actions is that “a clear statement from Dr. Mearsheimer of his current position regarding Russian aggression in Ukraine” be issued.
            3/ It’s totally legitimate for students to write directly to Mearsheimer, in a public or private letter, and call on him to clarify his position on a public debate in which he has already participated. That’s more than fine and fair.
            4/ But to address this call to the university president as one of several corrective “actions [to] be taken” invites the specter of a more insidious power and compulsion.
            5/ How exactly do these students imagine the president ensuring the production of this statement from Mearsheimer? Is the president supposed to ask Mearsheimer for it? Or demand it? In a private meeting or public forum? How should the statement be made? On the university website?
            6/ The letter conspicuously relies on the passive voice—action be taken, and so on—and omits any verb to anchor the much-sought-after statement from Mearsheimer. That obfuscates the mechanisms of power.
            7/ After all, if the statement is simply to be *issued*, then Mearsheimer is the responsible agent. So why even address the call to his employer? If the statement is to be *secured*, then the president is the responsible agent. Between those two words (and worlds) lies a chasm.
            8/ When you take in the letter’s larger atmospherics—the students are “pained” by Mearsheimer’s words, which harm the country, they say, and tarnish the university’s reputation—the veiling of the power by which a scholar is supposed to be compelled to speak seems, well, creepy.
            Again, cancellation doesn’t capture what’s going on. It’s a clumsy word that invites justified ridicule—and helps us avoid a more useful, and less histrionic, discussion of the sometimes creepy dynamics of the contemporary university’s culture of complaint.
            I have a few questions for the university of Chicago students:
            1. The students should disclose sources of Ukraine funding, including from the US CIA back to 2013, and the funding of any and all Nazis in Ukraine, and their own funding.
            2. The students should be asked in a clear statement of their current views on US aggression (including interference in Ukraine politics) in Ukraine “whatever it may be,” and all Mideastern, South American, Far Eastern, and African countries.
            3. The students should be asked to issue a statement condemning all “anti-Russian ideology, bias, and discrimination” on campus.

            With regard to: One of those actions is that “a clear statement from Dr. Mearsheimer of his current position regarding Russian aggression in Ukraine
            That is tantamount to asking someone for a statement on the continual beating of their wife.

            Instead of this passive agressive nonsense, the students should state what part of Mearsheimer’s arguements are incorrect. I think a real debate would be clarifying…and I think that debate would reveal that the US position is more wrong than right. But I think the students don’t want facts debated – they want facts obfuscated and excluded.

            1. pjay

              Thank you for this. Your last paragraph is especially applicable. The idea that this is some “free speech” threat to the students is beyond absurd — but then so is pretty much everything in the media/academia universe these days. The first 10 minutes of our *local* news last night was pure propaganda, built around a local protest (in Albany NY) led by students and Ukrainian Americans in support of Ukraine against the evil Russian invasion, interspersed with network talking points (it was an NBC affiliate). Reported as fact was the failure of civilian evacuation corridors because the *Russians* were shelling innocent civilians and preventing them from leaving the cities involved.

              I don’t doubt the sincerity of most of the protesters. But they are being used, as Fresno Dan says, to obfuscate the facts with emotional performances. And it is *everywhere*!

              1. Gareth


                My comment about the students having freedom of speech was not meant to imply that it was threatened. My point was that their rights exist in the United States, they can use them, and that dismissing their concerns without examination because they have Ukrainian last names is not legitimate argument.

                1. pjay

                  I defend freedom of speech for all groups. And I do not dismiss anyone’s concerns without examination. But like it or not, a particular Ukrainian background is relevant in considering possible biases as we evaluate their empirical claims.

                  Beyond that, though, please don’t pretend this isn’t a transparent attempt to smear Mearsheimer as a Russian propagandist. It’s especially nice when you can hide such efforts behind a facade of victimhood (how dare we challenge poor Ukrainian victims of Russian aggression). As others have noted, Mearsheirmer has considerable experience in this regard from the Israel lobby; I believe the Ukrainian lobby is the second most powerful foreign lobby in the US. Gotta give him credit for taking on some powerful enemies!

                  So let’s cut through all the legalistic bulls**t. Which of Mearsheimer’s specific empirical claims are false? If they are true, wouldn’t it be prudent for us to consider them before starting WWIII?

            2. Gareth

              Fresno Dan,

              First, Robin’s premise is flawed. The students must engage the administration as well as the professor when they do something like this; to do otherwise would open them to accusations of not using proper channels. You have not addressed my criticism of his argument. If you and Robin have a problem with their approach, you have a problem with what higher education in America has become — not the students.

              Second, the students’ views of US aggression are irrelevant. The topic is Ukraine and Russia, and what Russia is doing to Ukraine. Saying that the US did evil does not make what Russia is doing good. Nor is it right to tell the Ukrainians that they must cease to exist as a country because you have beef with the US.

              Third, the issue of compelled speech is irrelevant. The University of Chicago is a private institution; it is has the right to compel him to produce any statement it wishes, and it can fire him if he doesn’t. There would be an investigation and condemnation from the AAUP for not respecting academic freedom, but it would not violate any laws. Moreover, the students are not asking him to provide what they view as a correct opinion. They want a statement from a man whose work is being used by Russia to justify its invasion of Ukraine. He can give his opinion on the legality of Putin’s aggression without changing his opinion of the war’s proximal causes. Lastly, University of Chicago has not made any requests of him, so the point is moot.

              Fourth, US academics are required to disclose foreign funding. If he only received an honorarium and travel reimbursement from the Valdai Discussion Club, then it is not a big deal to say so. Likewise, it is reasonable to ask the grad students to disclose any foreign sources of funding they are receiving. I will grant you that point.

              Fifth, a statement condemning anti-Ukrainian ideology is not a statement condemning Russians as a people. A university can affirm Ukraine’s right to exist and right to self-determination, and it can condemn Putin’s aggression and his supporters without being against the Russian people.

              Sixth, it is perfectly legitimate to describe Putin’s invasion of Ukraine as aggression. That is what we call it when one country invades another without having been attacked first.

              Finally, the students are not requesting a debate. They want him to respond to the use of his work in Russian and Chinese propaganda. It is important to note that its use in propaganda does not make it propaganda in and of itself. Acquiescing to its use without pointing out the illegality of Russia’s actions is a failure to act that the Ukrainian students can legitimately criticize.

              1. square coats

                Can you point to where they’re asking him to respond to the use of his work in alleged propaganda? I’m wondering if I’m legitimately being obtuse or if I’ve just wasted the last several minutes rereading that (imo) kinda cringe letter searching for more depth of purpose than it actually has to offer.

                1. Gareth

                  I infer it from the paragraph noting its use by the Russians (“Equally significant . . .”) and the request that he provide a clear statement of his current views “whatever they may be.” They’re giving him a chance to repudiate Putin’s invasion without having to abandon his belief that the US contributed to the situation.

                  1. The Rev Kev

                    So they want to have him criticize the effect and totally isolate the cause. Good thing that they are not science students.

              2. lambert strether

                I’m sure there will be no goalpost-shifting at all regarding a “clear statement.” Who determines what’s clear?

        1. Laputan

          What “basic human rights” are they expressing? The right to make someone publicly disclose their opinion (even after they’ve seemingly given it)?

          Further, the only thing they point to regarding Mearsheimer’s financial ties to Russia is his speaking at the Valdai Discussion Club. Looking over this list of last year’s invitees (, are Google and the CFR also suspected to be on Russia’s payroll?

          It’s not quite McCarthyist but it’s definitely McCarthy-ish.

          1. Gareth


            They have the right to petition the university regarding their grievances. They have the right to criticize a professor who remains silent when his work is used to justify the illegal dismemberment of their country and war crimes against its people.

            Mearsheimer can condemn an illegal invasion without changing his opinion of the events that led up to it. Furthermore, he is required to disclose foreign funding sources. If the Valdai Discussion Club honorarium is all he took, it is no problem for him to say so. Lastly, unless these Ukrainians become US Senators who wield the powers of Congress to violate our civil rights, there is no valid comparison to McCarthy or McCarthyism here.

            1. The Rev Kev

              I think that John Mearsheimer as well as Stephen Walt would be familiar with how this goes down by their experience of releasing their 2007 book “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy.” Sure, he can be required to disclose foreign funding sources as can Hillary Clinton (massive funding from the Russian uranium deal) and Joe Biden (funding from both China and the Ukraine via his son Hunter’s deals) but I am sure that you will concede that there is foreign funding as in, for example, being paid expenses for a speech and then their is ‘foreign funding’ as in absolute corruption. Other wise that term ‘foreign funding’ is just a smear.

              1. Gareth

                Yes, The Rev Kev. As I noted above, no one will be upset if he took an honorarium and travel expenses to speak to the Valdai Discussion Club. That is a normal part of academic life. It is also perfectly normal to be asked to disclose it. If he has taken more and not disclosed it, then there is a problem.

            2. Laputan

              Ok, sure…they have the right of free speech to make up a list of phony up grievances, just as Mearsheimer has a right not to respond to them. Salient point. Also, how is his work – the work referred to here being almost 8 years old – being used to justify the invasion again?

              The atmospherics of compelling someone to defend themselves publicly does seem McCarthy-ish to me. It’s not some anodyne request, they (and you, incidentally) believe the views expressed in those cherry-picked quotes is “propagating Putinism.” And, in bringing up his appearance at what is essentially the Russian Davos (along with several other speakers from the US and elsewhere), implies that he only could have arrived at his conclusions because he’s on Putin’s payroll. Or, if not, he should come out and say so because what does he have to hide?

              Fortunately, neither you nor these students have any power at the moment but the attempt of a witch hunt is a little disturbing.

              1. Gareth

                To answer your question regarding how his work is being used as Russian propaganda, you need only ask the Russian Foreign Ministry.

                I have asserted that he has a moral obligation to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in light of their use of his work as propaganda justifying their invasion. If you would like to learn more about his unique moral takes, you can read this lovely interview he gave to the New Yorker a few days ago, though you may find it a little disturbing. Read on to discover how he excuses US atrocities in Latin and South America as absolutely okay and the most responsible kind of statecraft under his “great power” theory, the same theory he cites to excuse Russian atrocities in Ukraine. Every US atrocity that you all criticized today is perfectly kosher in this man’s eyes because “great power” status trumps everything else for him. Do you worship the ground Henry Kissinger walks on? He does.

                The students have the right to ask what they asked, and what they are doing does not amount to cancellation, chilling free expression, or a witch hunt. Tenure and academic freedom are not a free pass. He can be forced to defend the policies he advocates in public.

                You acknowledge that these students have no power to harm him. Nothing that they have asked of him is beyond the pale for a professor dealing with students at his own university. The job of a professor is to publicly defend his arguments. He defended atrocities and denied that Ukraine has a right to be a liberal democracy in the New Yorker just six days ago, so let him have at it. Why cower in his office when confronted by a few powerless Ukrainian students?

                Being open with his funding is not an imposition. After all, the onus is on the students to contradict him if they disagree with whatever record he provides. Asking him to give his current view does not require him to change the views he has held for eight years. He can tell the students none of his views of the events leading up to the war have changed. He can also choose to condemn Russian aggression, or he can continue to excuse it under “great power” theory. He’s already made his viewpoint clear in the New Yorker, so how can it hurt him to verify it for the students yet again? Why be afraid to say to some Ukrainians’ faces what he was so willing to tell the whole nation a few days ago? How is he harmed? He isn’t, of course. The only risk to him is that he might experience feelings of shame when confronted by the victims of the atrocities that he so calmly excuses as good policy.

                1. The Rev Kev

                  Yes, Russia should be ashamed about all the damage that their bombs have done in Libya, errr, the Ukraine-


                  Remember that time that CNN, the BBC, MSNBC went to the Donbass to interview all those people that had been under eight years of constant bombardment by the Ukrainians resulting in thousands of people dead? No, I don’t remember it happening either.

                  1. Anon

                    I saw a Reuters bit where they did. Interviewed someone from Donetsk I think, guy says through tears, “we’ve been living under constant shelling for 8 years.” Narrator fails to mention who is doing shelling, but remembers to mention Russian aggression thereafter.

            3. Anon

              “ Mearsheimer can condemn an illegal invasion without changing his opinion of the events that led up to it.”

              And you can scold the empty stall, once the horse leaves the barn… saddle up, and ride into the mushroom cloud.

        2. Soredemos

          If these national traitors want to pick the wrong side in their homeland, that’s their business, but they have a lot of gall to think they can come over here and make demands of US academics vis a vis events in their homeland.

        3. lyman alpha blob

          I see. So it’s new and improved McCarthyism-lite, now with 10% less blacklisting?

          1. ambrit

            Snark alert.
            Get with the program l.a.b. The term “blacklisting” is so ‘white privilege speak.’ We now need to call it “corrective fact checking.”
            My preferred pronoun is ‘a—hole.’
            Snark off.

        4. OIFVet

          Right, anyone who deals with facts must be on Putin’s payroll. Especially Mearsheimer, a West Point graduate and US Air Force officer. This is worse than cancel, this is impugning his very academic integrity by implying that he is receiving Russian funding in order to spout Russian propaganda. I can’t even begin to describe just how mad I am that a handful of Ukrainians would disrespect my alma matter and my professor in this way just because he sticks to verifiable facts to support his position. These brats want a Top-10 diploma but do not want it to entail rigorous academic study and debate. These are future “leaders”, or at least they surely think of themselves as such. They are entitles brats who can’t bear the cognitive dissonance that results from Mearsheimer’s use of facts vs. the official narrative and their family legends and biases.

          1. Gareth


            Is is too much to ask a professor of international relations to comment on the legality of an invasion of a sovereign country after his work is used to justify it? Surely he can manage to condemn the illegality of the act without betraying his principles.

            1. OIFVet

              Says who that his work was used to justify the invasion? Anne Applebaum? And where in the students letter do you see them asking Mearsheimer to comment on the legality of the invasion??? They ask about his current position, which he has made abundantly clear and has not changed in 8 years. So stop making sh!t up as you go along. And BTW, the brats’ insistence that academic discourse constitutes anti-Ukrainian ideology is simply unbelievable. I can’t believe the sheer contempt that these so-called students have for facts and academic freedom. The fact that they may eventually obtain UChicago diplomas devalues mine by association.

              1. Carolinian

                Word. But should be said that he has been under attack before for his book with Walt on the Israeli lobby. I don’t know if his ouster was sought that time but in recent years quite a few professors have lost their positions for saying the wrong things according to powerful interest groups. As here it is always done under a quest for “safety” as though the ivied halls are supposed to protect students from the soon to be encountered real world. What indeed is such an education preparing them for? Or, alternately, their tender sensibilities are a scam designed to suppress ideas they don’t like.

              2. Gareth

                He would have to address the legality of the invasion if he wanted to give his position in light of current events. Your beloved professor is a monster who thinks that what the US did in Latin and South America was justified by its great power status — not exactly a man with high moral standards. But don’t worry, I totally understand how his peculiar policy positions could have gone unnoticed in the moral cesspit that calls itself UChicago. Claiming the mantle of a Maroon is not the flex you think it is.

                1. OIFVet

                  There is no morality in great power politics, just cold and ruthless calculations. Everything else is window dressing propaganda for the consumption of the masses. Mearsheimer’s job is to describe the processes by which these powers and the states caught in between make decisions and take actions, not to pass judgment on their morality. This is useful so that we can avoid wars in the first place, not to pass moral judgements on them and on their participants after they have begun. That’s why his school of thought is called realism, it focuses on the real processes and the real interests and the real world, not on make-believe nonsense about freedom and democracy and heroic underdogs. That is the neocons’ great swindle to get people like you to foam at the mouth about a war they very much wanted to have, and managed to get it at last. And foam you do, pointing a finger at a man who describes exactly how the war came to be, rather than at those who made it happen. Good job Gareth, hope that your righteousness will make the Ukrainian refugees warm and fuzzy knowing that a college professor somehow managed to enable Putin’s invasion.

            2. Pat

              Is it too much to ask students of that university to actually use some critical thinking and recognize that the most antiUkraine position is to have put their country in the middle and to have denied their prior agreements to do so? Obviously this was done with less care and concern then the “invaders” have taken since they not only fully egged on the invasion they fully expected Russia to wage war as they had, see the prepared and wrong reports of slaughter and massacre.

              Oh wait the little snots are so offended that someone pointed out that their country was run by idiots that were either so corrupt and or so stupid they allowed a Western nation to actively put a target on their back and then to throw stink bombs at a major power to force them to not only recognize that stupid corrupt Ukraine was going to be a staging ground for WW3 and be the front to attack them, their neighbor and in many cases relatives. Why because they were also too stupid and unconcerned to speak out that America and Europe were not friends but using them.

              The only people and opinions that are truly anti Ukrainian are those that support the West in this as any one who can think logically and read past the first paragraph, should realize that their current goal is for Russia to occupy Ukraine and fight a guerilla war in that country for years. They are willing to f*ck the Ukrainians. Our citizens may be more approving of Ukrainians for sad and obvious reasons, but like our leaders they are just fine with you fighting the Russians in your land so we don’t have to fight them over here, even if that wasn’t remotely a threat.

          2. OIFVet

            And let me tell you something else, pal. As someone who is a veteran because my own government lied us into a war, I can’t think of anything more patriotic than questioning our own government and calling out its responsibility for what is happening in Ukraine. Indeed, it is part of our civic responsibility to be its watchdog. And calling it out does not in any way shape or form constitute “Putinism,” it is a demand for better government, seeing how the consequences are born by all of us. I can perhaps excuse the ignorance of Ukrainians on UChicago campus about how real democracies are supposed to work, but what’s your excuse?

            1. Gareth

              Did I say the government should not be questioned? Show me where, if you can. Likewise, it would be fascinating to hear how five powerless students calling on a professor to publicly defend his viewpoints is a threat to democracy.

              1. OIFVet

                Are you obtuse or just pretending to be? This letter is nothing less than an attempt to force Mearsheimer to back-off, and the University to sanction him. As such, it attempts to remove a voice contrarian to our government’s and media narrative.

                And are these students powerless? In this environment of hysteria and fall-in-line-or-face-ostracism, being called a Putinist and implying that he receives Russian funding is nothing short of public lynching. Powerless my butt. In Ukraine people with contrarian views may be guilty until proven innocent, but this is still the United States of America and I resent any attempts to intimidate, to smear, and to denounce in the underhanded thuggish way that these students do.

                1. The Rev Kev

                  Re that last bit. During the First Cold War there was an unwritten rule. You could push the other side and push hard, but you always left them a ledge that they could climb back down on. Now we have the Second Cold War – that was never necessary at all – and this time the West is pushing Russia all the way to the ledge. The present Russia is a Federation, is not Soviet and is capitalist but there is no timeline where a Russia will accept a Ukraine with nukes and the missiles necessary to deliver them. The US almost initiated WW3 about nukes in Cuba so why would Russia accept nukes in the Ukraine? That is pushing Russia over the ledge.

        5. Flyover Boy

          I saw the same claim in the tweet string itself that this wasn’t “cancellation,” it was a mere “request for transparency.” Quoting from the student letter itself, its final demand is “4) A statement from the university community at large that it does not condone anti-Ukrainian ideology on campus.”

          Who determines what ideology is “anti-Ukrainian”? And what form does “not condoning” take?

          I’m not sophisticated enough to know exactly what’s meant by “cancellation.” But I can’t see how this statement in this context, meant to combat the professor accused of “propagating Putinism… (with) consequences extremely detrimental to our country,” could be viewed as anything but an attempt to exercise an intimidating, chilling effect on his expression of his views.

      2. fresno dan
        A MINOR SQUALL on Twitter this past week may have largely gone unnoticed amid the larger hurricane about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. But it’s worth taking a close look at it, because it illustrates something significant about U.S. foreign policy since World War II, and how propaganda works everywhere.

        It started when Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs — the equivalent to the U.S. State Department — did something unusual: It tweeted out an endorsement of a 2014 article in Foreign Affairs — the publication of the Council on Foreign Relations, probably the most influential American think tank on U.S. foreign policy. The piece was by John Mearsheimer, a professor in the political science department at the University of Chicago and a prominent member of the “realist” school of foreign policy thought. You can understand why the Russian government liked it, because it was called “Why the Ukraine Crisis Is the West’s Fault.”
        Fifty American foreign policy leaders, largely realists, wrote to President Bill Clinton in 1997 that pushing NATO’s borders eastward would be “a policy error of historic proportions. We believe that NATO expansion will decrease allied security and unsettle European stability
        Neither the realists or neoconservatives are any great shakes from a progressive perspective, but you have to understand them to understand U.S. foreign policy.
        Neither school has much concern for basic justice or the lives of regular, non-powerful people. But the realists at least tend to be more tethered to the world we live in, while the neoconservatives consistently succumb to bizarre fantasies of omnipotence that lead to catastrophe.
        In any case, Applebaum’s attack on Mearsheimer — that his analysis sounds similar to Russian propaganda, or even inspired it in the first place — is the kind of ugly, childish rhetoric in which neoconservatives specialize. For neoconservatives, if any external criticism of the U.S. is similar to internal criticism from Americans, that immediately discredits the internal critics. That argument seems to make sense until you think about it for two seconds. The fact is that when countries engage in propagandistic attacks on others, it’s rarely all lies. Indeed, propaganda often contains a surprisingly high percentage of truth. That’s because powerful nations are constantly doing terrible things, so other powerful governments don’t always have to make things up to criticize them.
        The lesson here is straightforward: Everyone who wants their country to improve should feel free to engage in sincere, accurate criticism of their government’s actions. It is both inevitable and irrelevant that it will likely end up sounding similar to criticism of their country by foreign “enemy” governments. And those who claim the similarity discredits the internal critics should be ignored like the propagandists they are.

        1. Eclair

          Thanks for your excellent comments, Fresno Dan.

          The Mearshimer kerfuffle is fascinating. I ran across a link, maybe 10 days ago, to his, now infamous, 2015 lecture (probably here at NC), watched it and was impressed with his clarity. Figured I must be, all previously unknown to me, an IR “realist.” :-)

          Meanwhile, my Twitter universe, admittedly limited to what I consider some more rational types, went from “Russia bad” to “Gee, just watched this Mearshimer guy’s talk, and maybe the US is kinda to blame.” That went on for a few days, and then, BLAM, hate stuff about Mearshimer being a Russian asset, etc.

          It’s propaganda wars in real time!

    2. Nikkikat

      Thanks as always for beautiful antidote photo. The owls feathers contain such incredible color variations and patterns.

  1. john

    Re: Philip Dick: He’s the inspiration for Benjamin Labatut’s fabulous “When We Cease To Understand The World.” Dick’s press conference titled “If You Think This World Is Bad Wiat Til You See Some Of The Others” was sobering.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      Dick’s concept of the Black Iron Prison has always been the most troubling for me…and the most useful as a tool:

      FTA:”So if you superimposed the past (ancient Rome) over the present (California in the twentieth century) and superimposed the far future world of The Android Cried Me a River over that, you got the Empire, as the supra- or trans-temporal constant. Everyone who had ever lived was literally surrounded by the iron walls of the prison; they were all inside it and none of them knew..”

      the idea of an Empire Disease that infects big, successful countries…inherited like some extra finger from Rome is a pretty powerful thought…and i reckon we can see it pretty clearly all over western MSM right about now.

      during the Second Bush Darkness, i had mom and stepdad hooked on Democracy Now…and well on the way to maybe actually getting prepared for the dystopian future i could see rather clearly, by then.
      now…when explaining my decision to forgo voting this time, after being the first one to the polls for all these years…I mentioned having to support nazis in ukraine, and how i just cannot…her:”there’s no nazis in Uk…i don’t know what you’ve been reading…”
      me: well…Scott Ritter, Pilger, Chris Hedges(and so on)…
      all people she once read, too, back then…and who were on Amy talking about US Empire.
      now, her: “I don’t know who that is”….
      Putin is Evil and has designs on world domination and (insert everything that once was said about USA Empire in her living room).
      the Russia!x3 wall to wall of the past few years…especially from Maddow…has done it’s work.
      no dissent will be tolerated, and my continuing resistance to the Borg is merely further reason to discount whatever i say(like…several months ago, no less…”we need a large seed order, for the vault…because the world’s gonna get worse”)

      1. Eclair

        Amfortas, about that ‘large seed order for the vault.’ I have been deliberately ordering open pollinated seeds for the past few years, and ‘seed saving.’ Although I did give in to the hybrid fever this year and buy a new hybrid tomato, said to be highly resistant to late wilt. The wilt is common in western NY, because of high humidity; it killed off our entire corp last summer, fortunately after we had a pretty bountiful harvest. Figure to interplant the resistant varsity amongst the open pollinated favorites (black and pink Brandywine, Black Krim, Principe Borghese, Roma, etc.)

        But, trying to figure out strategy for the next few years/decade is a tough one. Especially when you consider your kids and, in my case, young adult grandchildren. I have the very strong suspicion that the advice we gave our kids, because it worked well for us, e.g., go to college, work for big employer, stash savings away in house and 401(k), is so last century.

        I have a bad feeling about the current era,, like the one I had in 2007, when the bond market went wonky. And, of course, during that discombobulated aura that surrounded the days after 9/11, when our civilization’s tectonic plates gave a lurch. Except this time, I don’t think the return will be to ‘normal.’

        So, order more seeds. Also thinking of getting ducks (we have tons of slugs and snails) and, maybe a sheep or two, to keep the grass and the meadows in check. And, I fell in love yesterday. At the local coffee shop, sitting outside in the watery sunlight, with a couple and their two Bernese Mountain dogs. Loved the dogs, not the couple, although they were very nice.

        We can’t order our lives and choices of our kids and grandkids. But I hope that we can offer them a place to retreat to, if they need it.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          a place to retreat to for them was all i ever wanted.
          a redoubt.

          i’ve accomplished much towards that end…but i suppose it’s never really “enough”.
          being Cassandra has never been an ideal role,lol.

          i have a large seed vault…mostly saved, heirloom, open pollinated.
          last year’s weird weather…plus my absence during the growing season(stepdad’s terminal icu adventures), put a dent in it…but still pretty good.
          i’ve got 50+ flats germinating in the greenhouse atm, and prolly 50 rooted cuttings that made it through the cold of various useful trees and vines .
          and hopefully, the years long grasshopper plague is done(touch wood!), and we’ll have acorns and pecans and mesquite beans, again.

          my truck book, these last few months, has been “prehistoric agriculture”…compendium of anthropology papers from the 70’s about how the neolithic revolution was more of an ad hoc, long term transition, from hunting/gathering to ag.
          lots of inspiration, there.
          got me thinking again about all the food out there in the hills.
          we’ll be fine…save for the whole mutant zombie biker problem.

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          I have read that it is sometimes possible to stabilize hybrid tomatoes into new varieties bearing most of the useful features the hybrid was created for in the first place. One might try saving seed from some tomatoes from every one of your blight-resistant hybrid tomato plants. Then planting some of those seeds every year following and seeing which of the offspring plants have enough of the hybrids’ features to be worth saving seed from. And select year to year to see if you get a stabilized “neo-variety” resembling the hybrid closely enough to be worth saving and to be reliably replicable.

    2. Lulu

      “Writers of science fiction often feel more prescient than others…the genre is replete with prophetic writers dealing with ever more familiar issues.”

      The Author forgot to mention Jean Raspail’s The Camp of The Saints, a novel from the 1970s describing almost exactly the flow of boatloads of migrants into Europe from the Magreb and the Middle East forty years in the future.

    3. paul

      It is only my experience, having read pkd’s stuff as a child and adult:

      He was the real thing, and his writings change as you as read them.

      Galactic pot healer is the best.

  2. The Rev Kev

    “Manchin calls for keeping no-fly zone as one option to help Ukraine”

    If this ever passes and gets signed by old Joe, I have suggested in another comment that they should name it the ‘Declaration of War Against Russia Act.’ When was the last time that the US Air Force had to fight their way against a world class aerial defence system? Hanoi during the Vietnam war I think. So will we see the F-35 pitted against the S-400? What happens when the Russian send Kalibr missiles against Polish airfields they launch these attacks? (The Poles have already nixed that idea) No matter how many politicians would love to show the Russians whose boss, the Pentagon will probably kill this idea as being too idiotic.

    1. Louis Fyne

      anti-air missile tech have come a long way since the 70’s, even moreso than “stealth”. it will be tougher than 1942 Germany.

      Day 1: every NATO air base and the military fuel depots in Poland, Germany, Romania will be destroyed by cruise missiles.

      Try enforcing a no fly zone without jet fuel

      Day 2: DC chickenhawks advocate hitting Russia with tactical nukes.

      Day 3: ?

      1. David

        This is a very important point. A modern jet combat aircraft, fully loaded, needs a runway about a kilometre long to take off and land safely (landing requires more room). And whereas in 1942 most aircraft could take off from grass strips, this stopped being true by the end of the war. Runways are carefully prepared concrete surfaces. From the 1990s onwards, runway cratering and denial weapons like JP233 were fielded by NATO, and I assume there’s always been a Russian equivalent, probably a missile . These not only destroy runways, they sow mines to make repair difficult. If I were the Russians, I would retain air superiority (or air supremacy, which is what they seem to have) without launching a single aircraft, just by missiles.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Modern fighters also needs a crew to service that plane, fuel, munitions, lubricants, oxygen, etc. as well as machine shops, maintenance facilities, barracks – in short, an extensive amount of infrastructure in order to keep that plane flying and highly trained personnel as well. Degrade them and soon those birds will be only fit to sit on the ground.

          In Afghanistan the Taliban could not hit those bases as they were too well guarded so they did the next best thing to take out the Afghan Air Force – they started to assassinate the pilots. And as it takes years and many millions of dollars to replace one of those pilots, it worked. The same could happen in a European war as a defence grid would reduce the number of pilots – and planes – to undertake their missions over time and that is only the missiles that the Russians could deploy. Behind them would be their fighters waiting.

          1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

            When I was stationed at FOB Shindand 40 miles from the Iranian border, one of the Afghani Pilot Trainees fragged his officers tent. Killed a few fellow pilots and almost got the officer. FOB Shindand was an air base used by CIA Drones and also had an Afghani Pilot School taught by British and American pilots IIRC. It was a NATO base. The teachers had to start carrying pistols in the cockpit to stop the students from kamikazeeing the small planes/helicopters.

        2. JohnA

          a 1 km runway? Does that render aircraft carriers even more obsolete? I know they are floating sitting ducks against any foe with decent missiles, but still. The british navy is pretty much 2 aircraft carriers with no aircraft these days.

            1. Polar Socialist

              They also have cables to catch and stop the landing planes. F-35 requires 2500 meters of runway to operate (land) safely.

              Of course, if one believes all the hype about S-400, landing may not be of issue.

              1. Tor User

                It’s take off, not landing that needs the long runway.

                The standard for low time “trainee” pilots in F-35 is 10,000 feet, for higher time pilots it is 8,000 feet. But that is fully loaded. For non-ground attack missions (not fully loaded) is it much less.

                1. orlbucfan

                  The F-35 is a piece of MICC rip-off-the-U.S.-taxpayer junk. So, all the details about landing space seem a bit silly. So is calling this gigantic corporate thief, “Department of Defense.” Defense of what? All the stealing and legalized thievery the War Department (its original title) pulls along with being a “job creator.” A POX on it!

                  1. Wukchumni

                    In my keeping up on things, i’ve read of many areas around military air bases have seen & heard a lot more activity as of late, but our sole sortie overhead about a fortnight ago had been the first in months, or in other words the F-35’s from NAS Lemoore can’t get it up.

          1. ambrit

            Aircraft carriers are different. The landing decks of the ships have “arrestor systems,” a la wires, to suddenly slow down the landing aircraft.
            Taking off from an aircraft carrier involves catapult systems to accelerate the aircraft to faster speeds than available with aircraft powerplants alone.
            Don’t forget the helicopter ‘carriers.’ Smaller than aircraft carriers and useful from a “force projection” perspective. The Marines used to go ashore by small boat. There is footage of American Marines assaulting beaches by sea in the Pacific against Japanese troops during WW-2. Helicopters make the ‘experience’ a little more versatile.
            Basically, ‘carriers’ of all types are “force projection” tools. They are useful to the extent that they can be kept safe from enemy action.
            Heaven help us if any “Western” carriers of any type enter the Black Sea while hostilities continue in the Ukraine. Then it will be “Game On.”

            1. Polar Socialist

              I think that on behest of Ukraine Turkey closed the Bosporus from all other military vessels except of those that are from Black Sea ports, meaning Russian.

              1. bidule

                Aircraft carriers are forbidden to use the Bosphorus straits.

                Turkey did actually the right thing (and that is what all countries which are bordering the Black Sea agreed when they signed the Montreux Treaty), which is to close the straits for all belligerent countries, be these countries on the Black Sea or not. This includes the Russian navy.

                But the Russian navy was pretty well prepared (and that also proves that Russia did not decide to invade Ukraine on a whim, the morning before). They have already moved, quite sometime ago, their ships to Syria (I heard 16 of them), just in case someone thinks, because they are busy elsewhere, there could be a sort of opportunity in Syria.

                Regarding the Black Sea and the Azov Sea, they are pretty much Russian lakes for what really matters. UK and US ships, whose visits were almost always featured in the media (we have muscles, see?), were slow moving targets (none, as far as I know, are in these waters now). In that sense, and just to avoid that someone pushes a button by accident, closing the straits was the best thing to do. And, no, Ukraine had no voice at all, whatever they say. They do not have the power to force closing the straits, no more than they have the power to force opening them, to anyone, themselves included.

                1. bidule

                  From memory, and to complete a little bit, war ships have to declare their intention to enter the Black Sea, quite a long time in advance, and give the dates of their presence, knowing that this presence cannot exceed 30 days (a war ship has an autonomy of more or less 40 to maybe 60 days, depending on the type). US and UK ships were known to push this 30 days limits, by one or two days: anything to poke the bear…

                  Would these kind of boats be present, it would be a disaster or extraordinary magnitude. Whatever in one’s dish has traveled by sea, nowadays…

                  Insurance companies have already cold feet just now (and are pricing accordingly, I guess). But with a maritime war raging in the Black Sea, no commercial boat would ever dare to be there, or nearby these killing machines.

                  And also say a definitive goodbye to wheat from Ukraine. Worse actually: say goodbye to anything going through the straits… And Ukraine is not the sole exporter (or importer) in the region, by far.

                  So Turkey did not took sides here. One can even argue that they should have closed the straits, in both directions, for the belligerents , way sooner…

            2. David

              Yes, and if you watch a carrier-borne aircraft take of from a carrier, it’s launched effectively up a slope, and then falls with a sickening lurch before recovering. My impression is that you can’t simply operate any old aircraft off a carrier: you need something pretty solid to take the shocks.

              1. PlutoniumKun

                This is why we have the F-14 and F-18. The original plan was to adopt the F-15 for aircraft carriers as it was potentially a lot cheaper. By the time McDonnell Douglas had made the requisite changes to strengthen the airframe, it was something like 50% heavier and more or less useless.

                If you compare any carrier borne aircraft to their ground based equivalent, they are far heavier and usually have to have a wider wingspan, reducing combat effectiveness. One exception is the Rafale, the ‘M’ variant is about 500kg heavier than the regular Rafale, although I suspect at the expense of other elements, including range and longevity.

                This is of course why the F-35B is so popular with many country – it solves a lot of problems and avoids having to build super large carriers. As did the Harrier before it, which ensured of course that the Harriers many shortcomings (such as the number of pilots it killed) were overlooked for so long.

          2. Colonel Smithers

            Thank you, John.

            It’s not just the senior service, which can’t even field a double figure number of warships, but the RAF, two dozen Typhoons, and army, two brigades of infantry and two dozen main battle tanks, aged from 40 – 60 years old. The army has no armour dating from this century, in line with about a third of NATO members. German, Danish, Norwegian and Canadian forces are even more of a joke. The hawkish Scandinavians like giving it large, but can’t field an infantry brigade. French forces are in better nick.

            Drones and cyber capability are not sufficient as the Russians have demonstrated.

            1. David

              Thank you Colonel. This is a message that ought to be brought home to every European politician. The situation today is the result of probably the greatest foreign policy failure of the post Cold War world (yes, in the face of stiff competition). It’s one thing to run down your armed forces to almost nothing. It’s another thing to decide to adopt a hostile attitude to a very large and powerful neighbour, both as NATO members and of your own volition. But it’s Oscar-winning stupidity to do both at the same time. I think the cold realisation is starting to dawn that on the one hand we are all small players and the Russians are a big player, and that on the other the US is too distant, too weak and too divided to do anything. I really cannot begin to imagine how European political elites can ever start adapting to that situation.

        3. Polar Socialist

          Another point is that the Southern Iraq no-fly-zone was third of the size of Ukraine. I don’t think there’s a modern fighter plane with a range to cover Ukraine from outside Ukraine, at least not without external tanks or mid-air refueling.

          And also due the size and nature of the conflict, one would need hundreds of fighters for constant 24/7 air patrols, otherwise it would not be a no-fly-zone

          1. PlutoniumKun

            Depending on multiple factors, the combat range of a typical modern air superiority aircraft is around 1000km. Ukraine is more than 1000 km east to west. So any meaningful permanent air cover over most of Ukraine would be impossible without parking lots of air refuelling tankers near the border, which would of course be within range of S-400 missiles within Ukraine (they have a theoretical range of 400 km, a proven range of at least 150 km).

            So it would be an impossibility without completely wiping out all Russian ground defences in Ukraine and neutralising the best Russian fighters, or without being willing to take very heavy casualties. In other words, impossible without nuclear strikes. They could go for a partial policy of declaring Kiev a no-fly zone, although I would guess that would be only marginally less difficult.

            The best they could go for is a policy of intercepting Russian aircraft that are deemed to be a threat to Kiev or civilians, maybe using F-22’s based in Germany as the spear tips as the Russians would struggle to track them. That could make life difficult for the Russians, but wouldn’t meaningfully change the facts on the ground.

            The other ‘big’ option is to use B-2 bombers to strike Russian air defence on the ground. But thats perilously close to a nuclear strike so far as Russian defence policy goes. It would also be extremely risky as the Russians could well be able to take one down.

            I’m pretty sure the Europeans would be extremely reluctant to support this sort of policy. So most likely it would be the US alone, with some token support (the UK, as usual). I very much doubt if they have the capability within range to do this.

            1. Polar Socialist

              Also the sensor range of modern air superiority fighter is around 200 kilometers (in the forward arc, on a good day, without any jamming), so they would also require multiple AWACS’ working inside the contested airspace to find the buggers violating the no-fly-zone.

              Luckily Russia doesn’t have any weapons technology designed to deal with AWACS…oh, never mind.

          2. Tor User

            The no fly zones in Iraq where not enforced 24-7.

            But that said I think the likelihood of a NFZ in Ukraine while fighting is going on is nil.

        4. Colonel Smithers

          Thank you, David.

          Your comment reminded me of the RAF’s bombing of Port Stanley airport 40 years ago, “Operation Black Buck”. Tempus fugit.

          @ readers with an interest in military history and tactics, if you look at a map of Russian progress in Ukraine, you will notice Russian forces moving up and down the Dnieper valley and aiming to split Ukrainian forces and seizing control of the farm land, coal fields and Russian speaking areas on the east bank. The cutting in half of Ukraine along the water reminds me of British forces landing at San Carlos and fighting their way east to Port Stanley and cutting off Argentine forces on West Falkland.

        5. PlutoniumKun

          I think this is a key point. I follow a few military aviation mavens and they are all universally puzzled by the Russian failure to use their air power to any meaningful extent.

          I think its become pretty clear that the Russian approach is to keep their best aircraft in their hangers until absolutely necessary, and rely instead on missiles and ground based anti-aircraft systems. So far, it seems that Russia’s stand-off missiles have been very successful – maybe as a result of their Syrian experience, although of course its reasonable to assume that a Nato airfield will have more advanced defences than a Ukrainian one.

          I think a lot of analysts have been blinded by the assumption that Soviet doctrine is all about using aggressive assault as a means of blunting any defence or attack. Instead, they seem to be turning their weaknesses into a strength. Keeping things simple, using one tactic at a time while holding back their best weaponry until needed, if needed, seems to be the approach (this may well be just making a virtue of necessity if the rumours of organisational chaos are even half right).

          I would guess that if Nato tried a no fly zone they would find that Russia would accept significant ground based losses in order to attrit Nato aircraft day by day. They know that Nato is unlikely to be able to commit enough aircraft over a long period to maintain a no fly zone if they are losing aircraft every day and there is a regular hail of missiles aimed at airfields.

          1. John

            Questions: What do these … people … think they are doing? Have they a plan that goes beyond the next turn of the news cycle? Have they a tactic that does not lead toward a catastrophic general war? Do they favor a catastrophic general war? Is all of this a vain pursuit of the hegemony whose backside was last seen vanishing over the horizon?

            1. PlutoniumKun

              I think you have a lot of people talking tactics who haven’t really thought through the strategic implications. This seems a lost art.

              The only strategy I can see from Washington is the hope of creating a quagmire for Russia in Ukraine. If this is the case, then they will be content with keeping the pot boiling by sending in lots of weaponry and messages of hope for Kiev. Talking about a no fly zone may well be little more than a way of persuading the Ukrainian military that all is not lost, so keep fighting.

              Its early days, but I think the European neighbours are waking up to this and are unwilling to co-operate. Hungary and Poland in particular seem to be getting cold feet about letting weapons through their borders.

              1. The Historian

                I think that is exactly what the US is doing – supplying just enough arms to keep the killing going without giving Ukraine enough aid to actually defend itself. Caitlin Johnstone says as much in her link today.

                No doubt this is very beneficial to the MIC.

                1. Anthony G Stegman

                  The Russians have an option if they wish to avoid a quagmire. They can resort to strategic bombing of western Ukraine, and stop caring about minimizing civilian casualties. Destroy the place in order to save it…from the Nazis.

              2. JohnnyGL

                “The only strategy I can see from Washington is the hope of creating a quagmire for Russia in Ukraine.”

                — I do sort of wonder if the ‘no-fly zone’ rhetoric isn’t just a sanitized way to advocate for war with Russia. If NATO was (theoretically) able to implement a no-fly zone, what would that do for the military situation on the ground?

                Well, it would certainly make things much more evenly matched (with Russians still far superior) and wouldn’t change the eventual end result of a Russian victory, but would certainly result in WAY more casualties as the Russians would be forced into urban warfare with no air support. That means the whole conflict takes longer (probably months, not weeks) and gets more Russians killed.

                A no-fly zone is arguably the most sadistic position in that it seems calibrated to maximize Russian casualties at the cost of prolonging the war and not changing the eventual outcome.

                There’s a ridiculous notion still lingering around the beltway that the Cold War was won by arming the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan to shoot down Russian helicopters. It’s completely false and should be laughed out of the room.

                1. Louis Fyne

                  The US Air Force in Europe and the air arm from the carrier hanging in the Adriatic Sea would be wiped out in 7 days against Russia.

                  The F35s stink, and there are not many F22, and S400 will make mincemeat of the legacy fighters.

                  Can’t say that reasonable prediction in today’s media environment

                2. Ignacio

                  All these arguments I am reading here give me the creeps. Don’t misunderstand me. I appreciate the comments and find them quite interesting and probably important depending on how things develop. In fact, so far the leadership in Western countries seem ‘happy’ to wait and see how the course of war goes on the ground while fighting fiercely in the twittersphere.
                  Poor Ukrainians, at the mercy of decisions in more or less oval offices faraway. And if conflict escalates…

                  1. The Rev Kev

                    Maybe the Ukrainians would have been smarter to talk to the Kurds about their experiences in depending on the west and how that worked out for them.

                    1. Polar Socialist

                      Or to Mohammad Ashraf Ghani. He’s still alive to give advice, unlike Muammar Gaddafi, Saddam Hussein, Manuel Noriega or Nguyễn Văn Thiệu (who managed to die of old age and out of prison).

                3. NotTimothyGeithner

                  PK noted the operational abilities of a modern air superiority fighters. 1000 km. Wow. This is what politicians and msm types often hear. It’s air cruelly big number. That is like…it’s a lot of miles, right?

                  Now PK then notes the current theatre of war is in a country over 1,000 km long. People who just heard big numbers when reading about the F35 don’t have a clue until they are read the riot act.

                  The no fly zones in coastal Libya had no costs. Why not just do that? The Russians go to the bathroom outside. Yaknov Smirnoff said so. Let’s get them while they are on the crapper. Everyone is rushing to the exits when actual costs are explained.

                4. Donald

                  What is the truth about Afghanistan, the Cold War, helicopters and so forth? I am genuinely curious and asking a real question, though chances are it is too late in the day and you won’t see it.

                  1. JohnnyGL

                    It’s hard to answer a question like “why did the Soviet Union collapse” because so many people involved have skin in the game and would like you to believe one thing or another for their own reasons.

                    The Russian defeat in Afghanistan didn’t collapse the Soviet Union any more than the Vietnam War collapsed the United States (although it did do a lot of work breaking the Bretton Woods system of fixed exchange rates).

                    As far as I can tell, the Soviet system was under strain from low oil prices and falling agricultural productivity during the 1980s, as well as the ongoing cost of subsidizing peripheral states that were chronically in need of support, like Cuba, North Korea, and the Central Asian Republics.

                    I do think Gorbachev’s leadership was key in actually dismantling the Soviet system. At some point, during the Yelstin years, another group of elites (the oligarchs) got the upper hand and took advantage of the chaos unleashed by the reforms and decided to use their power and influence to cash in. The US was mostly supportive of the establishment of an oligarchy as it was viewed as an internal bulwark against a re-assertion of the Soviet system from ex-communists.

                    I don’t feel like this is a complete answer, of course, but it’s the best understanding I’ve got.

            2. The Rev Kev

              They might be like the Ukrainian elites in that they will just flee away from trouble and leave everybody else to hold the bag. The Oligarchs all flew out of the country on their private jets a coupla weeks ago just before the war started. But I have seen a video (unverified) of the police in the Ukraine providing armed escorts to the rich elite fleeing out of the country in their cars. So, no waiting at the train station for them. The same happened with New Orleans elite just before Hurricane Katrina hit back in 2005. They either flew or drove away from the city before it hit and everybody else was left to sink or swim.

              1. ambrit

                Units of the local police forces were proven to have stolen high end autos from New Orleans auto dealerships and fleeing north in them just before Katrina struck the region. Add that to the approved abandonment of the Orleans parish pumping stations and you have a snapshot of elite dysfunction at work. Next door Jefferson Parish kept crews working at their drainage pumping stations during the hurricane and as a result, flooding there was much less than in Orleans Parish.
                What I want to understand is the logic behind global elite’s thinking about atomic war. How will they survive it if even one detail of their plans goes awry?
                The Curse of Exceptionalism.

                1. Dave in Austin

                  And Jefferson Parish kept trees from growing on the levee of the canal coming down from Ponchetrain so no tree roots to weaken the levee. NOLA didn’t do that on their side of the canal- the rich folks wanted trees to shield them from passers-by walking the levee.

                  Result; the NOLA levee broke and flooded the city while the Jefferson levee on the other side of the canal held.

                  Just basic blocking-and-tackling… and mowing.

            3. David

              I don’t think they have a plan. I think they just have an assumption that the US can do whatever it wants anywhere in the world without consequences. The fact that there is already a NFZ over Ukraine, and it doesn’t belong to them, has completely slipped past them, as is the probability that if they try to send their Air Force into Ukraine it will probably come, out, if at all, in pieces. I don’t think the system in Washington is capable of processing the basic fact of impotence.

            4. jrkrideau

              Are you refering to tho Russians or the US?

              The Russian probably have gamed this obsessively for months if not years and have some very clear goals, most likely including the demise of NATO

              The USA? They appear to be very similar to chickens with their heads cut off. Policy seems to be being dictate by dedicated Russophobes who still think that Russia is the economic basket-case it was in the 1990s.

              From what I have read about the Trumpian witch hunts I do not think the US State Department has any expertise on Russia or a lot of other countries left so these headless chickens are setting whatever passes for policy for the USA and NATO.

        6. The Historian

          Here’s an article that lists the runway needs for jets:

          Is there a runway in Ukraine that hasn’t been destroyed? Perhaps by Lviv?

          Landing these jets in Poland would be considered an act of war. I wonder if the US is willing to chance that. Perhaps they are counting on Moldavia? They sure are being silent about that aspect of getting Ukraine planes, aren’t they?

          Interestingly enough, I was at the Albuquerque airport a few years back when I saw a military jet (don’t know what kind) get tail hooked on the main runway right in front of us in the terminal. Apparently it had some problem – the emergency vehicles wouldn’t approach it until the pilot got out. My flight was delayed for a couple of hours waiting for them to tow the plane. Of course, we were all standing at the big windows watching, probably the worst place to be if something really bad was happening. But who knew airports had tailhook capacity?

        7. MT_Wild

          Mig-29 were designed for rough field operations. This is what the Polish trade would give Ukraine. The Russians assumed NATO would destroy Russian airfields early on in an invasion and planned accordingly.

        8. Paul Jurczak

          Swedish Grippen is advertised as capable to operate from a regular highway with mobile supply support. Most major airforces train for contingency like that.

          1. David

            Yes, but the Swedes deliberately built a motorway network with very long, very straight sections from which aircraft could operate. They also built wide, heavily reinforced bridges to use as improvised aircraft shelters (hides, really) and where first line servicing could be done (essentially fuel and weapons and a bit of patching up). I don’t know if they still practice this, let alone whether any other nations now do, but of course it’s heavily dependent on the quality of the infrastructure. I haven’t been to Poland for may years, so I can’t comment on the current state of the motorways, but I do wonder …

            1. Tor User

              The Swedes, among others still do it.

              Photos of a 2021 Swedish exercise show that happening along with a US C-130 landing on a highway in Sweden in the same exercise.

            2. juno mas

              The same military considerations were included in the design of the US Interstate Highway System.

              1. ambrit

                From what I have read, the ‘Interstate Landing Strips’ were limited to several sections of roadway adjacent to SAC bases in the MidWest. The old story about “One out of every five miles” being a landing zone seems to be an urban myth.
                There are so many usable smaller public and even private airstrips already available. The Interstate Landing Zone is probably not even needed today.

        9. Eustachedesaintpierre

          Late one evening while half asleep I came across an article with a map showing that S-400’s had been deployed in a line stretching from Chernonbyl in order to cover the airspace of Western Ukraine. The map showed that their range was short of the opposite Southern border. Unfortunately I forgot to save the link, but I did notice on another later map that the Russians had advanced South enough to fill that gap in the range.

          This kind of fits in with that –

  3. Samuel Conner

    Gilbert Doctorow’s latest (and it’s sobering):

    there recently was mention at Saker of R official assertions of possession of incriminating information about prohibited biological research at U sites. GD provides a link to the official R source.

    Past time to order those seed potatoes I’ve been meaning to experiment with this year.

    A quick internet search suggests that if one uses a “grow bag” (adding soil as the plants get taller — this is also a bit easier on the back come harvest time), the “areal productivity” — pounds potatoes/square foot of soil — can, it is asserted, exceed 20 pounds (roughly 6000 [nutritional] calories) per square foot.

    That seems high — here’s a back-of-envelope reality check.

    6000 [nutritional] calories is about 25,000,000 Joules.

    Incident solar energy ~ 1000W/m^2 or ~370,000 joules per hour/square foot. Crudely absorbing geometry and weather, assuming 5 hours/day energy input at this level and 100 days growth; the total energy arriving at the plants over the growth season is around 185 million joules/square foot.

    This would imply about 14% conversion of incident sunlight into potato calories, which seems very high to me. Wikipedia asserts that ~2% is typical for field crops, and that is going into the entire plant, not just the storage organs. 2% conversion into storage would imply around 3 pounds per square foot, which is still several times typical yields in conventional in-soil growing. So worth a try, but don’t be disappointed if you don’t get a huge sack of potatoes out of a medium sized grow bag.

    Just check the leaves (undersides especially) frequently for potato bug egg masses; crush any you find.

    1. ambrit

      Doctorow’s mention of the “…sudden and unexpected flight to Moscow of Israel’s President Bennett for urgent consultations…” is the interesting part.
      Israel provides here an example of the observation that Nations do not have ‘friends,’ but ‘interests.’ Many here see the extent of the infiltration and corruption of America’s political elites by agents of the State of Israel. This should not be any surprise. Many foreign actors do this. It can be considered a standard tactic in international relations. What is surprising about this example of the phenomenon is the sheer brazeness of the process on Israel’s part. Now America’s paymasters suddenly go running to Moscow, perhaps in a panic?
      America’s relationship to the State of Israel has always been a Devil’s Bargain. As traditional stories about such exchanges teach, there are always strings attached to bargains with Ye Devil.
      We are about to find out the truth of this real world based fact set.
      Also, keep an eye on the Civil Defense posture of Israel in the near future. If it suddenly changes…..

      1. JBird4049

        >>>Nations do not have ‘friends,’ but ‘interests.’

        People forget that both the Nations and the individuals within them have memories as well. The memories of the many American betrayals is why it is not considered “agreement capable” and the memories of Nazis (and earlier) invasions is one of the causes of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

    2. Carolinian

      This one jumped out at me

      5) Russia has also obtained documentation proving that Ukraine, in cooperation with the United States, was since the presidency of Petro Petrushenko, actively developing nuclear weapons, including “dirty” nuclear devices using readily available fuel from its reactors. Such activity was going on in the Zaporozhye nuclear plants, and it is very likely that the fire reported at a ‘training unit’ adjacent to an active reactor two days ago related to destruction of incriminating papers, if it was not otherwise a ‘false flag’ operation to allege a Russian attack on the power station, in violation of international law.*

      I’ve seen an interview with one of the neo-Nazis where he not only said that he and the members of his gang like to kill people but that he didn’t mind dying himself–presumably after spraying his mouth with silver paint as in the most recent Mad Max movie. While the neo-Nazis may make up only a small percent of the Ukraine population it wouldn’t take many of them to change the world with some terrible act of nihilism and these are the people that we–the US and the CIA have been arming. Perhaps the relevant question here is not whether Putin is crazy but whether we are. There’s a lot of that nihilism going around.

      *May of course be Russian propaganda as they likely do it too.

      1. fresno dan

        Perhaps the relevant question here is not whether Putin is crazy but whether we are.
        We armed the Muhajideen – crazy, stupid, or crazy stupid??? Its all good…
        Think of the poor media – if they didn’t have war to jabber about, what would they jabber about in a dem administration?

        1. Carolinian

          Mearsheimer says we have the reverse Midas Touch in foreign policy.

          But hey, sez Blinken, ‘made you look.’

      2. ChrisPacific

        That and the biological weapons claim were very interesting. I would file them under propaganda for now (let’s not naively assume that Russia is too much better than the US in that regard, and information quality on ‘false flag’ claims is particularly bad) but with the potential for upgrading if genuine evidence is presented – which the Russians claim to have. A quick litmus test for evidence quality might be the loudness of the denials coming from the US.

    3. Amfortas the hippie

      i get the little bags of fancy multicolored taters at heb…as well as a few sacks of ordinary red taters, and cut them up, roll them in wood ashes, and toss them evenly into one of the raised beds, and cover them with straw(non-herbicidal red top cane hay from neighbor).
      but this requires room…which you may not have.
      no digging.
      i plant vetch on top and it feeds the taters and chokes out weeds(but not taters).
      after 10 years, i’ve got several dedicated tater beds that are all but self-seeding(always miss a few when harvesting)

      1. Samuel Conner

        Thank you, Amfortas! I will try something like this with the materials at hand.

        If I may inquire: do you have pest problems and how do you deal with them? Gabe Brown’s approach, which relies on ecosystem diversity to keep them under control, I fear might not work in my relatively simple system to keep potato bugs under control. I’m expecting to have to do several-times-a-week inspection and egg crushing/bug picking.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          spinosad(from some lilly, i think) works on them…but we don’t have very many of those.
          also the insecticidal soap and neem, too.
          i rely mostly on keeping wildflowers, weeds and herbs all over the place, for the Good Bugs to habitate in….and “wasp houses”(inverted old boots, buckets and cans on fenceposts) so the wasps will live there instead of on the porch(wasps are superpredators)
          and chickens, of course.
          like most pest bugs, tater beetles will lay eggs that then overwinter in the dirt…so dig up that dirt when it’s freezing.
          their eggs will initially be on the underside of the leaves, so it’s a good idea to render the aboveground taterplant remains into ash…and this goes for squash/pumpkin and especially zukes…to control squashbugs and harlequin beetles(our main concern with curcurbits). put the ashes right back where the taters go, if not rotating….but:
          rotating is always good, too…but in my case, not possible due to permanent tater beds(same with allium, too)
          ideally, make yer patch as diverse as possible, and focus on the soil health and richness, and pests and disease will dwindle away.

        2. petal

          Samuel, that’s what I do with my potato plants. I’m at a community garden. Every time I’m there I do an inspection and crush any Colorado potato beetles I see. I pick them off, drop them in a bucket, and crush them with a rock. Hate doing it, but it’s either that or no potatoes. There is a spray concentrate(from Bonide) you can get, but you have to reapply after rain so it is kind of difficult in my situation, but YMMV. I think I had more luck controlling them with the crushing.

        3. Janie

          Samuel, re potatoes: best edible yield per growing area, per you tube vid I’m too distracted to look up.

    4. Rod

      Re: Potatoes
      Been letting some cuttings harden off for planting this week–Yukon Gold. Seed store just got their stock in Friday and i plan on picking up the Reds later today.
      The past two years have been a waste of my time in terms of yield, despite vigorous top growth–just no tubers. I think the April window is too late for me anymore so I am trying 30 days sooner.
      I have tried both growing in a bag(feed sacks and plastic trash) and under mulch with ambivalent results.
      My Sweet Potatoe yield has also been steadily disappointing for the past 5 years.
      I think the fact we are now getting the 80-90 degree periods in Ap/May here as a big factor.
      Having an Irish ancestry, and the luck of such, haunts me.

      good luck in your endeavor…

    5. britzklieg

      George Galloway has a typically well-enunciated-but-admittedly-not-yet-supported-with-evidence response to the reports of the bio-labs research discovery. I guess we wait for more info but it is a scary situation in any event.

      Peter Hamill had something to say about it 40 years ago:

      Porton Down

      Won’t hear a sound at Porton Down,
      The clear liquids keep their silence,
      Buried underground at Porton Down
      The fast form of the final violence.

      Quite right to be worried about the proliferation
      Of nuclear bombs and power stations,
      But there’s a deterrent that’s going to
      Unearth us yet…

      Hurry on round about Porton Down,
      A quick glimpse of the future warfare
      Hidden under ground at Porton Down;
      Far too frightening to utter what you saw there.

      They got bacteria to drop us where we stand,
      They got diseases still unknown to man,
      They got the virus and a microgram’s enough
      To do in a continent.

      The ultimate madness,
      Just one shattered test-tube to wipe out the world.
      It begins with the mustard gas,
      It proceeds to Hiroshima.
      The culture moves on –
      Now it’s bacterial, truly insane.
      Porton Down waits to fever the brain.

      Won’t hear a sound at Porton Down,
      The clear liquids keep their silence
      Buried underground at Porton Down,
      The fast form of the final violence.

      Hurry on round about Porton Down
      A quick glimpse of the future warfare,
      Hidden underground at Porton Down,
      Far too frightening to say what you saw there.

      No sound at Porton Down,
      From Porton Down,
      After Porton Down.–obS8k

  4. farmboy

    “Nor will Ukraine return to the ranks of major food suppliers anytime soon. Russia’s wave of deliberate destruction will soon reach the port city of Odessa. Not only is Odessa Ukraine’s commercial capital, not only will its fall signal an end to Ukraine’s maritime frontage, Odessa is also the export point for nearly all of Ukraine’s agricultural bounty. Until it is freed from Russian control and rebuilt, large-scale Ukrainian exports will remain beyond reach.” Peter Ziehan
    So it’s likely no export activity out of Ukraine this crop year with 16mmt of last years corn stranded in country. So how long will Ukraine’s 12% of world wheat exports be offline? Years? How much “terrorism” will be aimed at Russian grains (17%of world wheat trade) or will shippers and insurance companies refuse to load Russian wheat? Much has been made of the unavailability of current grains from both countries, but how long might this last? Years? Punishing Russia after hostilities are over ala Versailles would be tragic.

    1. Polar Socialist

      Mr. Ziehan could take into account that majority of Ukraine’s wheat is a) produced in Southern and Eastern Ukraine so getting that to world trough “deliberately destructed” Odessa, Sevastopol, Kerch or even Tuapse would likely not pose a problem b) it’s winter wheat, so it has been planted already, and will be harvested in late June, early August – given that the “deliberate destruction” is over by then.

    2. flora

      This could spur faster completion of China’s Belt and Road rail transit into western RU.

  5. Colonel Smithers

    Thank you, JLS.

    Further to the Pandora Papers regarding Zelensky, his patron, Ihor Kolomoisky, has a house ready for him in Miami. As Zelensky became a dual citizen, like his patron, soon after election as president, the eastern Mediterranean may appeal.

  6. LaRuse

    Hey, some news you can use, I hope.
    I don’t know if this is general knowledge or not, since COVID coverage has essentially disappeared except on rare sites like NC, but as of today, you can begin placing orders for more free COVID tests with the USPS. We haven’t used our last free set yet, but with masks being a thing of the past and now hardcore allergy season has kicked off in Central VA (it will be 81* today and my car had its first green coating on it this morning), it will be helpful to have tests around to determine what is a nasty case of allergies and what might be a good reason to stay home.

    1. Samuel Conner

      I would imagine that N95s would be excellent respiratory protection from allergens.

      1. LaRuse

        My husband has some of the most serious allergies of anyone I have ever met. He gets two immunotherapy allergy shots a week. I inject him bi-weekly with another drug to help with his excema/dermatitis. I am getting ready to build him a CorsiRosenthal Box for the season – not for COVID (although it’s a bonus benefit) but to see if we can improve his quality of life this spring.

        1. Closet Optimist

          I have serious seasonal allergies and have come close to hospitalization in the spring time when allergies triggered my asthma. With the onset of the pandemic I was very worried. My cousin, an NP, said a doctor recommended taking probiotics. I finally found one without potato starch and started taking one in the Spring of 2020. I noticed a marked difference and rarely have to use my inhaler.

        2. fringe element

          Would a hepa system help? A friend whose wife has serious allergies uses that and it seems to keep the house comfortable for her.

      2. Nancy Kramer

        They sure are and I use them for that. When I have real bad allergies I sleep in an N95. When I wear them to bed is the only time I wake up without a stuffy nose.

    2. Carla

      “you can begin placing orders for more free COVID tests with the USPS”

      Thanks for this.

    3. kareninca

      Thank you! I am still testing once a week so that I can keep volunteering. More tests will be very helpful.

  7. JohnA

    Six key lifestyle changes can help avert the climate crisis, study finds Guardian

    Number 1: dont slavishly promote war in the media.

    1. Carla

      The “Six key lifestyle changes” made me laugh. 80 to 90% of the world already lives this way, with the possible exception of the “mostly plant-based diet.” I’m not sure 80% of people eschew meat and dairy.

      Seems like all we have to do is make the top 10%, uhm, go somewhere else. Won’t Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos take them to colonize Mars? Or do we have to figure out another way to get rid of them?

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Yup, this is what gets me, especially when the ‘its all about overpopulation’ crowd pipe up. The problem is the global minority who grossly over consume and consider this normal.

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          Not to mention the absolute Godzilla “overconsumption” becomes when people “shop” online, order two or three times MORE than they intend to “consume” in order to check size or color or quality, and the returns just get pitched into the landfill because “efficiency.”

          The least you should be able to expect is that green overconsumers get their sorry asses to the store, try on what they’ve just gotta have, and put what they don’t want back on the rack instead of in the dump.

      2. Henry Moon Pie

        Very true. The number that strikes me is that the world’s richest 10% contribute half the world’s carbon emissions. Here’s more detail from that same Oxfam report:

        The report, authored by Gore, makes clear the extent of this inequality in emissions responsibility – globally, within and between countries. For example:

        – Someone in the richest one percent of the world’s population uses 175 times more carbon on average than someone from the bottom 10 percent.

        – Someone in the richest 10 percent of citizens in India uses on average just one quarter of the carbon of someone in the poorest half of the population of the United States.

        – The emissions of someone in the poorest half of the Indian population are on average just one-twentieth those of someone in the poorest half of the US population.

        – The total emissions of the poorest half of the population of China, around 600 million people, are only one-third of the total emissions of the richest 10 percent in the US, some 30 million people.

        Now I can understand how people might object to the approach of this study because it seems to lay the burden of dealing with our ecological catastrophe on the basis of individual, but the problem is that it is currently politically impossible to make necessary changes because the least that Americans will do if gas prices are raised is vote out the party that interferes with their “freedom” to consume more than the Pharaohs of old. Until people understand the connection between how they live and the ecological crisis, they will crush any politician who tries to do the right thing.

        When Jimmy Carter tried to do a few things to cut energy consumption for the sake of Holy National Security, like the 55 mph speed limit, he had a truckers’ rebellion of his own to deal with.

        1. JBird4049

          Much of the energy use by Americans is due to short sighted stupidity, but it is more than that. Remember seeing the servants at the various restaurants and parties while the important people sat around eating indoors, close together, and without masks during the past waves of Covid?

          So, just think of someone who has to commute fifty miles, which is not that unusual, between a job that pays something and an apartment or maybe a house that is in anyway affordable. A place that only costs half your take home pay and isn’t in some hellpit. Then you see someone like Gavin “Maskless One” Newsom bleating about needing to raise gas prices or getting you into an electric econobox.

          The United States is a bit large with the distances between anything often miles and miles. If you can “afford” to live in the coastal blue areas, you might have iffy public transit. Maybe. If you are forced to live in the cheaper red areas, jobs are fewer and pay much less with absolutely no public transit, not even the commuter trains of a century ago.

          Again, we have the problem of the Elites not practicing what they preach, refusing to do the minimum, isolating themselves from the costs of their decision while imposing those costs on those both least responsible and least able to afford it. Don’t forget that for most Americans, wages have been, at best, frozen for decades so any increase in prices really hurts and increases in fuel costs increases the prices of everything. If Governor Newsom swore on a stack of bibles and his mother’s grave, I probably would not believe him if he said that there would be a unified, statewide public transit system in twenty years with increases in fuel taxes. But it would be more connected to what we need instead of all electric all the time that he is proposing and if he was serious, not just telling more lies as usual, we might actually get something, but we will not.

          Then there is the fossil fuel and auto industries and their propaganda, bribery, and outright corruption that has interfered with both the acknowledgement of global warming and the means of dealing with it such as public transit. They still are doing it, but only now are taking advantage of their betrayal to make more profit.

          Since that is the reality, why should I support any increases in fuel prices for any causes? Only when those who make the rules take responsibility for their actions and also eat some of the costs of their decisions, decisions in which they have often been well paid for by big business, will the average American accept increase fuel costs.

      3. Return of the Bride of Joe Biden

        Bezos doesn’t want to go to Mars, he wants to create Earth-orbit space stations for colonization and zero-g industry. All these rich weirdos don’t seem to get that sci-fi isn’t so much science as fiction.

        There was Korean Movie sci-fi movie made recently called “Space Sweepers” that dealt with class issues and life in orbit. Korean Film and even TV is really into class conflict these days. Fun film.

  8. The Rev Kev

    “Six key lifestyle changes can help avert the climate crisis, study finds”

    I remain a bit pessimistic about such personal choices having a big impact when you have whole industries ramping up their activities that would take away any gains such as the planned plastics industry expansion. And it is not like big tech will help us out. A coupla years ago I was reading how general power consumption was going down which I took as a good sign with maybe promises of more to come. And then bitcoin mining came along. So a made up money was invented which required more and more power until now it has the same energy use as Argentina. Coal plants that had been shuttered were now being re-opened so that they could power banks of bitcoin mining computers. So much for all that energy saving.

  9. Carolinian

    re NJ prohibition on self-serve gas–Politico says NJ is the only such state but Oregon also has such a law unless I got my states mixed up when i visited there a couple of years ago. If Politico can’t get such a basic fact right then what else do they not get right? (rhetorical question)

    1. Janie

      You are correct; it’s illegal to pump your own gas in Oregon, with the exception of rural areas without 24 hour service. There’s a push now to allow self service.

      1. juno mas

        Well, it’s complicated. See: this map.

        It depends on whee you are, what time it is, and what is “retail service”.

        1. juno mas

          Ignore the above. The link didn’t take and the site didn’t allow me to edit it.

          Oregon does not have blanket attendant only gas fill-up.

      2. CoastalGold

        There was a push in the last few weeks to allow self service gas in the Oregon legislature. But it fortunately failed to pass; hung up in committee. Deliberately, I think. The push came from gas station owners, but most Oregonians remain opposed.

  10. Brian Beijer

    “30 Biolabs Whose Activities Were Commissioned by Pentagon Were Formed in Ukraine – Russian MoD”
    Latest news from Sputnik. The number of biolabs surprised me. I thought there were only 14 US biolabs, not 30!
    At the end of the article it states: Kirillov also declared that the government in Kiev had sent to the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in the United States thousands of patient’s serum samples, primarily from patients of “Slavic ethniticy”, under the pretext of testing COVID-19 treatment methods.

    I’m almost sure that the Russian government wouldn’t make this up considering the Western media onslaught their facing right now. It begs the question, what the he11 were the Ukrainian and US governments up to?—russian-mod-1093662299.html

    1. The Rev Kev

      It’s not just the Ukraine. The Russians have been complaining for years about US biolabs scattered across all of eastern Europe but of course they were ignored.

      1. Paradan

        The Chinese too. When they released that joint statement before the Olympics, the only time they called out the USA by name, was in reference to it’s biological warfare program.

      2. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

        I was sent a similar link, but didn’t include it today b/c I couldn’t get it to open. Ditto with this link. Anyone else having this problem?

        1. The Rev Kev

          If you go to the Saker’s site, you will see an article called ‘Statement by the Chief of the Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Protection troops of the Russian Federation Armed Forces Lieutenant General Igor Kirillov (March 7, 2022): biological programs.’ I would give the link but whenever I do that for the Saker’s site, the comment disappears into the ether, never to be seen again.

      3. RobertC

        “The sides emphasize that domestic and foreign bioweapons activities by the United States and its allies raise serious concerns and questions for the international community regarding their compliance with the BWC. The sides share the view that such activities pose a serious threat to the national security of the Russian Federation and China and are detrimental to the security of the respective regions. The sides call on the U.S. and its allies to act in an open, transparent, and responsible manner by properly reporting on their military biological activities conducted overseas and on their national territory, and by supporting the resumption of negotiations on a legally binding BWC Protocol with an effective verification mechanism.”

        The link to the Joint Statement can be found at this discussion RobertC March 7, 2022 at 11:44 am

        Or if you wish to skip the discussion you can visit Saker’s site Joint Statement of the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China on the International Relations Entering a New Era and the Global Sustainable Development

    2. super extra

      The news about the biolabs (which I know was discussed by ‘fringe’ elements in comment threads elsewhere before this started and before the news came out by the Ru MoD but I honestly dimissed before the announcement as ‘too unreal’) makes me think the primary reason for the media hysteria in the west is to provide a rationale for cutting off Ru news/media and discredit it in advance of this story and the dirty bomb stuff from being told to the west. The secondary cause has been the build up of NATO by Europe, which seemed like it could be beneficially directed by the necons in Washington but has spun out of control.

      I don’t know much about WW2 in Germany after the surrender and before Nuremberg but I was always under the impression – possibly wrong? – that the German people were heavily propagandized themselves and didn’t know the extent of the atrocities until the trials. It seems like a similar thing could be going on in the west now. Of course there is the entirely separate conversation about knowing and ‘knowing’ and we’ve had those conversations here occasionally. I am just wondering if Russia held war crimes tribunals, would they be able to matter in the west if nobody here was allowed to view them?

      1. ambrit

        Such tribunals would be very important to the Russians, Chinese, Indians, Iranians, etc. etc. Said trials would establish the ‘need’ for the ‘intervention.’ Local, ie. Eurasian, public opinion would be mollified. Western sponsored regime change psyops in the East would be infinitely harder under such conditions. What would matter in the West is the fact that we would be seeing, obscurely and from behind various veils, a fairly united and independent East. The Era of Multi-polar Power Politics would be an unmistakable fact. Western Hegemony would be a dead letter.

        1. judy2shoes

          ” Western Hegemony would be a dead letter.”

          Can’t happen too soon for me, ambrit.

      2. fringe element

        You are absolutely right about that. I have a great news story written by a WWII correspondent, Kaye Boyle. She covered a Nazi war crimes trial in Frankfurt. An important point was that the trial mattered enormously to regular Germans because they trusted nothing that came from the Nuremberg trials. The reason was that the trials in Nuremberg were at a high national level, held by people as far removed from ordinary German life as Washington DC is from ordinary Americans. Because they had been so heavily propagandized during the war, in its immediate aftermath regular Germans trusted no news that they heard about at a distance too remote to verify. The Frankfurt trial mattered because it was local, so that ordinary citizens could trust what they saw because it dealt with people and places familiar to them.

    3. Polar Socialist

      From my personal experience in biomedical field, the modern laboratories are quite small and very niche, at least on the research side. So for any serious project you have to engage services of several laboratories, all doing their specialty. The instruments are expensive and require skilled technicians to use them, so it naturally leads to high level of specification.

      So for now I interpret this news more like three centers of research (Lviv, Kiev and Poltava) each with several core laboratories and using services of multiple other laboratories for certain tasks.

      Now, if it turns out that USA and Ukraine have indeed violated the Biological Weapons Convention, it would make sense to try to kick Russia out of Interpol now, before some inconvenient international arrest warrants start to arrive.

      1. David

        That was basically my thought, and it still is. The point is that BW is a very poor technology to use as a weapon of war, and has nearly a century of discouraging experience behind it. The Soviet Union weaponised some BW agents – bubonic plague, for example – but only for very specific strategic purposes. The US gave up its BW arsenal in the late 60s because it was militarily ineffective, and it’s hard to see why it should suddenly start trying to develop new weapons now. In any event, if I had to choose a country to develop an offensive BW capability in, the last country I would choose would be Ukraine: close to Russia, heavily penetrated by Russian intelligence, and with an unstable government. You might as well give a news conference and announce it.

        Of course, that doesn’t mean that research has to stop. Article X of the Convention provides that:

        (1) The States Parties to this Convention undertake to facilitate, and have the right to participate in, the fullest possible exchange of equipment, materials and scientific and technological information for the use of bacteriological (biological) agents and toxins for peaceful purposes. Parties to the Convention … shall also co-operate in contributing individually or together with other States or international organisations to the further development and application of scientific discoveries in the field of bacteriology (biology) for the prevention of disease, or for other peaceful
        (2) This Convention shall be implemented in a manner designed to avoid hampering the economic or technological development of States Parties to the Convention or international co-operation in the field of peaceful bacteriological (biological) activities, including the international exchange of bacteriological (biological) agents and toxins and equipment for the processing. use or production of bacteriological (biological) agents and toxins for peaceful purposes in accordance with the provisions of the Convention

        And because this is a Convention (ie a treaty between states) violations are by states not individuals. So sorry, no arrests are likely. There is a history of Soviet violations of the BWC, acknowledged by Yeltsin, and rumours that there are still secret programmes going on. Since much of the Soviet defence industry was in the Ukraine, there may be some confused memory of that here, or it may just be a coincidence.

        1. lyman alpha blob

          I had the same thoughts when I first saw these rumors – the sources were dubious at best and placing a lab like that in Ukraine seems really stupid for the reasons you gave above.

          However when you take a look at the abject stupidity of what passes for leadership in the US, you never know. Presumably one can still find the receipts for the bioweapons Rumsfeld sold to Saddam Hussein back in the 80s somewhere on the interwebs.

          My best guess at this point would be that there’s something there, but it isn’t as bad as what the Russians are claiming. Putin has labeled the 8 years of shelling in the Donbass as a genocide of ethnic Russian people, but while terrible, I think this falls well short of what most people would consider a genocide. Not sure if “genocide” was a bad translation of what Putin said, or if he used the world deliberately for propaganda purposes seeing as the West also uses similar rhetoric to justify its own far more numerous invasions.

    4. Ignacio

      Possibly some ‘gain of function’ research there? Lot’s of new CoVs in the pipeline?
      The cynic on me asks with a grin…

  11. The Rev Kev

    “Australia plans submarine base as ‘autocrats’ take aim at the world order”

    So the candidates are Brisbane, Newcastle and Port Kembla. Unsaid of course is the fact that the nominated city will automatically have a target on its back and a nuclear missile will be allocated for its destruction. I hope that they don’t pick Brisbane as I am not sure the mountains between here and there will stop a shock wave. Here are the present populations of those cities-

    Brisbane – 2,560,720 people
    Newcastle – 498,095 people
    Port Kembla – 309,345 people (as part of Wollongong)

    We were a peaceful nation once. But I see that somebody put up a statue to Scotty from Marketing for his efforts to change this-

    1. GC54

      Nukemap will show the damage circles and fallout pllume for a groundburst but don’t know if it includes topographic effects. Newcastle plume blows away from Sydney.

  12. Samuel Conner

    > primarily from patients of “Slavic ethniticy”

    Does anyone remember Frank Herbert’s The White Plague?

    The thought occurs that before the human race became skilled at genetic technology, it would have been prudent to identify the sociopaths and keep them away from anything important.

  13. JohnnyGL
    “Why Do People Trust Republicans More Than Democrats on the Economy?”

    Jacobin asks the question and the TLDR answer is “because people hate the fact that Democrats lie about what they’re doing”.

    I actually think the answer has to do with MMT. Republicans hit the fiscal/monetary gas pedals with no restraints and damn the consequences. Democrats are always excessively worried about ‘fiscal responsibility’ listening to Joe Manchin-esque types. Look at how Biden hit the gas pedal at the start of 2021 and everyone cheered the end of austerity politics. However, once inflation came up, as usual, team Dem lost their nerve. All spending plans got shelved, no min wage hike, and the child tax credit got clipped. When normal people hear ‘fiscal responsibility’ they sort of understand at some level that it’s code for making sure us normal working slobs don’t get a raise.

    1. neo-realist

      It was the bought and paid for Manchin and Sinema, specifically, that torpedoed a stronger BBB with their garbage excuses about how it would be paid for, corporate tax hikes, inflation.

  14. The Rev Kev

    “How the US can turn Europe into Putin’s nightmare”

    And the guy that wrote this was the supreme allied commander of NATO? When you get to that level of command, you should also know a fair bit about politics, history and economics. For example, would this admiral be aware that some Russian corporations are Too Big To Sanction? Or why? If not, he should have been. Unless it is because that he writes for Bloomberg who would not want this known generally-

  15. Dennis

    As much as I despise Donald Trump, I, unlike other people on the left, would feel much more comfortable with him dealing with the Ukrainian crisis rather than Biden. It seems to me that since WW1, America wages war in two different ways, what I would call the Kissinger approach and the Brzezinski approach. Both are horrible and both men are war criminals, but if we have to chose the better of two evils I will take the Kissinger approach. It is based on the Westphalian compromise of 400 years ago that recognized great powers spheres of influence. The Brzezinski approach is to fight a proxy war with radical insurgents, mostly on the far fringe right. The goal being not recognizing spheres of influences but trying to destroy the enemy by getting them bogged down in an unwinnable war, then promoting regime change after the population starts to lose patience.

    I felt comforted after Trump’s summit with Putin unlike the liberals who thought it was treason. I think he may have consulted Kissinger himself, who probably told him that Russia should be allowed their sphere of influence and we should try to move Russia closer to the West in order to tip the balance against China. Biden on the other hand, is fighting the Brzezinski approach, with the hope that somehow Russia can be Balkanized and become easy to steal raw materials.

    Putin himself has undergone a bit of a transaction over the last 20 years. I think he started a bit naive, thinking that the West was going to be friendly with Russia. Then when he realized that is not the case he moved into demanding (or requesting) his seat at the Westphalian table, in the same manner that Alexander did after liberating Paris, or Stalin in the UN. Tactically, I think this invasion was a misstep. However, Russians are better at recognizing Nazism when they see it. And what they see are Swastikas and a president suggesting that they should develop nuclear weapons in the same valley that Barbarossa stormed. And Finland threatening to follow the Baltic counties into NATO on the other Barbarossa front. What did we expect?

    1. MichaelSF

      Don’t forget that the Kissingers and Clintons have spent a lot of holiday vacations together, and HRC claims to Henry F’in Kissinger as one of her mentors.

  16. Brian Beijer

    Another little gem from Sputnik. “NATO-Labelled Laptop With Intelligence Found at Ukrainian Nationalists’ HQ, DPR Head Says”.
    According to the article, this war was inevitable. If Russia hadn’t invaded Ukraine; Ukraine would have invaded Donbas and Crimea…with the aid of NATO intelligence. I would be surprised if Russia didn’t know this beforehand, and that it was a major factor in their decision.

    In addition, he said that the Armed Forces of Ukraine planned to attack Crimea and Donbass in the spring of 2022.
    “According to our intelligence and the testimony of prisoners, an offensive operation was supposed to begin on 8 March of this year. The facts indicate that the invasion was planned simultaneously both on the territory of the republics of Donbas and in Russia’s Crimea,” Pushilin went on.

    I know some here may deem Sputnik not to be a valid source of news. To me, what the Russians report seems more valid and trustworthy than I can find anywhere in Western media. They may have a different perspective, but at least they try to support their point of view with some facts.–1093639199.html

    1. Polar Socialist

      Saw this piece of news earlier, and while taking it with a lot of salt for now, it would explain why the bulk of Ukrainian forces was in the East, why the artillery still bombarding Donbass is not running out of ammunition and why Ukrainians have not tried to withdraw from the developing encirclements: majority of their stuff (ammo, fuel, provisions) is in the East as a preparation for the offensive.

      1. Dave in Austin

        Not one of the Ukraine’s Battle Groups was between Kyiv and the Byelorussian border to defend the capitol.

  17. Jason Boxman

    Gas watch: We’ve now hit post-$4 gas here in western NC for cheapest unleaded.

    I’m curious if, once the crisis in Ukraine settles down, the media ever returns again to the ongoing pandemic. My bet is, they don’t. This is the perfect opportunity to “turn the page” on it and pretend it is over.

    Stay safe!

  18. Wukchumni

    My President said to Putin, you’re gonna’ drive me to drinkin’
    If you don’t pay heed to Anthony Blinken

    Have you heard this story of the hot war arms race
    When Raytheon & Lockheed Martin was settin’ the pace
    That story is true,
    I’m here to say
    It was all about the executive pay

    MIC gets nearly a trillion a year
    And it’s really souped up
    And that F-35 makes it look real tough
    It eats through money; uses it all
    It’s got overdrive, just watch out for a high speed stall

    Pulled out of Rzeszow late one night
    The moon and the stars was shinin’ bright
    We was flyin’ up
    And down a hill
    Passing cars like they was standing still

    All of a
    Sudden in a wink of an eye
    A SU-75 Checkmate passed us by
    I said, “Boys,
    That’s a plane for me!”
    By then the taillights was all you could see

    Now the fellas was ribbin’ me for bein’ behind,
    So I thought I’d make the Lightning unwind
    Put my foot on the gas and man alive,
    I shoved it on down into overdrive

    Wound it up to mph 1,210
    My speedometer said that I hit top end
    My foot was blue, like lead to the floor
    That’s all there is and there ain’t no more

    1. Pate

      From the same album (if memory serves-that was a long time ago) now please do “Down to Seeds and Stems Again” (which metaphorically speaking seems to be where we are headed).

      1. Wukchumni

        Hadn’t heard that one in donkeys ears…

        Hard to make something of it though, the inspiration is missing on my part.

  19. fresno dan

    The American military establishment and our domestic war culture must always have a villain, a cause, a war. Great sums of money must be spent, weapons quickly deployed, people killed, cities razed.
    Now, Ukraine is the pawn.
    And so, we the citizens must be duped, fed a story, a myth of rogues and righteous causes. A myth of warfare. We are the “good guys,” we do no wrong, killing is noble, evil must be stopped. The story is always the same. It is only the battlefield and the “evil ones” who change. Sometimes, as with the case of Russia, the “evil ones” are simply recycled and used again. America has bombed a sovereign country every day for the last twenty years, in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, and Yemen. Yet that is never part of the story we tell ourselves.

    1. Anthony G Stegman

      These days it is nearly impossible for dissenting voices to be heard. This is by design. Massive and all encompassing propaganda is the order of the day.

  20. Gloria

    The most hawkish sector in the U.S. is…. the media.

    They too are willing to share your sacrifices; $9.49 gas, A.C. or heat unaffordable. They too will have to pay higher fuel prices for their private jets and Range Rovers. Heating their second or third house will cost them as well.

    Trotsky’s Internationalist grandchildren in the media are ready to avenge grandpa’s getting killed by Stalin’s Russian Nationalists, even if it means everyone dies in a flash.

    1. Anthony G Stegman

      if it bleeds it leads. And for the media the more bloodshed there is the more money is to be made. It’s a pure business decision for the media to encourage war. There is a traffic jam of reporters rushing to Ukraine , and to the Ukraine-Polish border. They are tripping over each other to get stories and grab headlines. I’m sure that some of these reporters hope to become the next Wolf Blitzer (he of Iraq war fame).

  21. Glen

    Just one dumb question:

    Why is the price of US gas going up? We don’t get any from Russia.

    And the follow up dumb questions:

    What’s Biden gonna do, let the price go outta sight and turn the midterms from a shellacking to a party ending event?

    Or is he gonna pull a Nixon and impose price controls?

      1. Glen

        You’re right, and I seem to remember that the oil market is considered inelastic.

        Still, it’s not like the profits are not already rather healthy – price controls? After all, it’s a classic Nixon maneuver.

  22. Michael Ismoe

    US beef industry emerges from Biden’s climate pledges ‘relatively unscathed’ Guardian

    This is about to change. Within the last two weeks, the cost of feeding cattle has jumped 50%, The natural reaction is to cull the herd to shave costs and that’s exactly what’s happening. Beef prices have plummeted because of the oversupply. Of course, once this temporary oversupply is gone, the prices will go up, if you can find it at all.

    Let’s start a pool – which one will cost more by July 4th – a pound of steak or a gallon of gas? Bonus points if you can find both in your community this summer.

    We went to Europe to start a war and then we became Haiti.

    1. Screwball

      A pound of steak is already more expensive than a gallon of gas where I am. Close, but a little. I expect you are right though, if they are not now, they will be.

      FINVIZ is a great site by the way. While we are there, let’s check out another foodstuff commodity

      Wheat Futures

    2. Anthony G Stegman

      A vegetarian diet confers many benefits, including to your personal finances.

  23. Tom Collins' Moscow Mule

    Antidote du Jour (via):

    Further, for all those with the time to spare and the available interest, this particular self indulgent diversion is interesting, worthwhile, and informative.

    “We all recognize the trademark hoots of the great horned owl. But how many of us have seen one up close? The great horned owl lives all over the Americas, from rural countryside to bustling cityscapes. Yet it’s rare to catch a glimpse of this elusive bird of prey. The Secret Life of Owls gives us a window into the life of this amazing species and introduces us to some passionate owl experts along the way. In rural Wisconsin, we’ll meet Robbie, a great horned owl under the care of Neil Rettig and his wife Laura Johnson. Neil is a renowned wildlife cinematographer and dedicated falconer. Laura is a veterinarian who specializes in rehabilitating birds of prey. Neil and Laura are committed to helping Robbie learn to fly and hunt and work with him over several months to improve his skills. Their close relationship to Robbie provides an intimate access to a great horned owl in ways never before seen.”

    “The Secret Life of Owls”

    This ‘Nature of Things’ documentary, is freely available on CBC GEM. Season 56, Episode 9, viewing time 44:08.

    1. juno mas

      I’ve lived in Santa Barbara beginning in the 1960’s. Returned at the turn of the century. There are very many fewer Great Horned in the vicinity now than were then. Urban areas destroy habitat.

      1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

        I’ve only seen a great horned owl once. An amazing sight.

        Last month, my husband led a bird walk, the highlight of which was seeing a snowy owl.

    2. MichaelSF

      There have been several GHO nests in Golden Gate Park that we’ve seen. One has been in a big tree across the road from the bison paddock, and that has been occupied every year for a decade or more. I’ve been driving past it (the nest is visible from the road) this year and have yet to see any owls, usually there’d be owlets by now. They may have moved on.

      There’d often be people on the lawn below the tree watching the owls, and it was fun to share binoculars/scopes with people who had no idea the birds were there. The nest was in a large crotch of the tree about 40-60 feet up and the occupants were easily seen, presuming your eyes were sharp enough to deal with the distance.

      The owlets are wonderfully fluffy, but I suspect that an attempt to stroke the chest fluff would leave a finger with a nasty gash.

      Here’s a photo of the owlets from several years ago:

      Golden Gate Park owlets

    1. Geo

      The amount of people I know who still think Trump was a covert Russian agent is alarming.

      “Most people are not even aware of their need to conform. They live under the illusion that they follow their own ideas and inclinations, that they are individualists, that they have arrived at their opinions as the result of their own thinking—and that it just happens that their ideas are the same as those of the majority.” – Erich Fromm

  24. Anthony G Stegman

    Americans love to grip about all kinds of things. In the American west they gripe when they are told not to water their turf lawns twice a day due to drought conditions. They gripe when gasoline prices increase even as they continue to purchase large vehicles of all kinds. They gripe when the inflation rate rises sharply. And so on. What Americans seem not to understand (or even care) is how government domestic and foreign policy directly impacts their lives. They play the innocent victim, rather than taking direct action to influence government policy choices. Voting alone is never enough. Not by a long shot.

  25. drumlin woodchuckles

    From the 6 Key Lifestyle Changes to reduce carbon skyflooding . . .

    ” Eat a largely plant-based diet, with healthy portions and no waste “.

    I can think of an addendum or a clarification to that Key Lifestyle Change which would make it even more effective. When you DO eat meat/dairy/etc. . . . make it strictly and only pasture and range fed. Even better, make it “livestock-integrated” into multi-cycle farming the way Gabe Brown and Garry Zimmer and etc. do it. Beef and dairy done that way is eco-correct, carbon-capture, etc. It is active and positive and goes beyond the passive negative approach of merely “mostly plant based”.

  26. John Beech

    Whether it’s a rat, a dog, or a rattlesnake, you back it into a corner and you’re not going to like the results because it’s coming out fighting – guaranteed. So why is President Putin any different? Hasn’t this guy been telegraphing for at least 15 years regarding Ukraine? So what do we do? That’s right, we poke the bear. Good grief!

    I mean like what the Hell is wrong with the administration? Rhetorically, so what if it takes another 50 years for them (Ukrainians and the Russians, themselves) to more fully develop Western European value? It’s happening, Russia has been on an evolving path from serfdom since 1917. In 1989 they almost took the path. We did Yeltsin no favors and Putin took power 10 years later. But he (president Putin) won’t live forever, so just wait him out for God’s sake.

    After all, beginning in America in 1776, then France next in terms of the rights of man in the early 1790s. Ultimately, time is on our side for crying out loud! Wait Putin out. Eventually he dies and maybe the next guy is another Gorbchev. What’s the hurry? I’m sorry for Ukraine.

  27. John Beech

    Can President Putin nationalize leased aircraft? Sure he can. And all is good until a) he needs spare parts or b) it lands in a country with law and order (whereupon it gets seized like your deadbeat neighbor’s Accord when he stops making payments). Silly question!

    1. Darthbobber

      Well, the leasing companies appear to be contractually obligated to pay substantial damages for the termination of the leases. Which they can’t. Because sanctions. And they can’t go get them. Because sanctions. And airspace closures.

      The Russians have competent engineers, so I:d expect spare parts not to be much of an issue. Iran still flies pre-hostage crisis American aircraft in spite of having no (official) source of parts for more than a decade.

      There is really no place ruled by “law and order” when it comes to this sort of thing, and in any case the Russia/China/India/Iran airspace offers a lot of scope for aviation.

  28. Australia

    Bit of extra context to Rev Kev’s comment about the US submarine base. Port Kembla is just south of Sydney. Newcastle is just north of Sydney. Sydney is the most populated city in Australia. It’s about about 3 hours north of Canberra where parliament house sits. Sydney is also where the alleged current ‘prime minister’ has his local electorate.
    To the news about Shane Warne. Allegedly he received his third ‘vaccine’ just days prior to his death. Of heart failure. In the body of a arguably ‘young’ professional athlete of a low impact sport. The news here is reporting that the liquids-only diet he was consuming ( allegedly) is what killed him, and everyone must be careful, because liquid only diets are dangerous.
    Oh and the floods. Smal communities in northen New South Wales are entirely reliant on volunteer groups, to do things like search and rescue, abseiling amidst landslids and cliff faces, deep water rescue. accessing isolated individuals and dropping supplies etc. No military support to be seen. The military that was preventing people in Sydney from exiting the city, and was door knocking locked down suburbs, and apparently pulling ‘at risk’ people out of houses to administer vaccines ( according to local reports) last year – yeah, that military – they are nowhere to be seen. Unsure why. So are the flood stricken locals.

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