Links 3/8/2022

Dear patient readers,

Yves and I, and many readers, agree that Ukraine has prompted the worst informational environment ever. We hope readers will collaborate in mitigating the fog of war — both real fog and stage fog — in comments. None of us need more cheerleading and link-free repetition of memes; there are platforms for that. Low-value, link-free pom pom-wavers will be summarily whacked.

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

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Big Bear bald eagles Jackie and Shadow welcome first eaglet in two years: ‘A star is hatched’ LA Times

The Judean Date Palm: Extinct Tree Resurrected from Ancient Seeds Ancient Origins

Deere & Co won’t give out software and data needed for repairs, FTC told The Register


Pronounced loss of Amazon rainforest resilience since the early 2000s Nature. From the Abstract: “We find that more than three-quarters of the Amazon rainforest has been losing resilience since the early 2000s, consistent with the approach to a critical transition. Resilience is being lost faster in regions with less rainfall and in parts of the rainforest that are closer to human activity. We provide direct empirical evidence that the Amazon rainforest is losing resilience, risking dieback with profound implications for biodiversity, carbon storage and climate change at a global scale.”

Stretching California’s Rice Belt Modern Farmer


SARS-CoV-2 is associated with changes in brain structure in UK Biobank (accepted manuscript) Nature. n = 785, 401 infected. Two brain scans averaging 141 days apart. From the Abstract: “We identified significant longitudinal effects when comparing the two groups, including: (i) greater reduction in grey matter thickness and tissue-contrast in the orbitofrontal cortex and parahippocampal gyrus, (ii) greater changes in markers of tissue damage in regions functionally-connected to the primary olfactory cortex, and (iii) greater reduction in global brain size. The infected participants also showed on average larger cognitive decline between the two timepoints. Importantly, these imaging and cognitive longitudinal effects were still seen after excluding the 15 cases who had been hospitalised.” Let ‘er rip!

Adverse Reactions to COVID Vaccines I Have Come Across The Forgotten Side of Medicine

Mask mandates go away in schools, but parent worries persist AP. Note lack of agency in “go away.”

The Homemade Air Purifier That’s Been Saving Lives During the Covid-19 Pandemic Smithsonian. I loved the 60 Minutes segement where Walensky assembled a Corsi-Rosenthal box in minutes with the help of some cute kids. Great PR! Oh, wait….

Biden pursues China-containment in new Indo-Pacific strategy Responsible Statecraft

Washington resurrects talk of two-war doctrine in nod to China Hankyoreh


Xi Jinping seeks to strengthen laws that regulate military engagements with other nations South China Morning Post

China rail:

Reminds me of NASA’s crawler-transporters for Saturn rockets.


Myanmar junta cuts off internet access ‘indefinitely’ to resistance stronghold of Sagaing Myanmar. Meanwhile, back in Yangon:

Preparing for street warfare? Not good.

Myanmar defectors describe military culture of abuse, fear Al Jazeera


India’s Modi urges direct negotiations between Putin and Zelenskiy Reuters


The Russia-Ukraine War has Turned Egypt’s Food Crisis into an Existential Threat to the Economy Middle East Institute


Offshore shell shockers Private Eye

New Not-So-Cold War

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, March 7 Institute for the Study of War. Handy map:

Russia-Ukraine live news: Evacuations from Sumy, Irpin under way Al Jazeera

Russia’s onslaught is brutal, but it is not ‘shock and awe’ FT

Ukraine War: Time Is No Longer on Putin’s Side Haaretz

What The Air Campaign in Ukraine Tells Us About The Current State Of The Russian Air Force The Aviationist

Is Putin’s end game the roll out of a domestic CBDC? The Blind Spot. CBDC = Central Bank Digital Currenciy. Most intriguing explanation for Russia’s seemingly relaxed operational tempo I’ve read….

After years of living in Moscow, I have bad news: No one should expect the Russian people to suddenly rise up against Putin now MarketWatch

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Russia’s $720m per day gas windfall – the lopsided economic war Adam Tooze, Chartbook

Russian energy dominance over Europe and what it means amidst the Ukraine crisis India Express

Wheat continues surge toward all-time high as Russian invasion of Ukraine shuts down exports MarketWatch. There is also the question of planting for next year’s harvest. A cursory search does not clarify whether Russia is anything like an autarky with respect to seeds, or not (see the FT and Seed World). Readers?

How War in Ukraine Drives Up Inflation at U.S. Farms, Supermarkets, Retailers WSJ

Stop financing Putin’s war machine. Cut off Russia’s oil and gas sales Simon Johnson and Oleg Ustenko, Los Angeles Times

Rosneft will pay back US dollar bond – sources IFR

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Symbol manipulation (1):

Tweet from March 4. Sunday was March 6. This is March 8. And “Bellingcat investigator” is oxymoronic.

Symbol manipulation (2):

Symbol manipulation (3): Fifteen bad Ukraine narratives Paul Street, Canadian Dimension

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Insurgency? Yasha Levine. Commentary:

For foreign fighters, Ukraine offers purpose, camaraderie and a cause Reuters. Wait ’til a US citizen gets whacked….

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Russian societal tensions are mirrored in Putin’s Orthodox church The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer

Through Putin’s looking glass: How the Russians are seeing — or not seeing — the war in Ukraine WaPo

Russia-Ukraine: Western media are acting as cheerleaders for war Middle East Eye

Biden Administration

Congress Is Poised to Bail Out the Post Office. What That Will and Won’t Mean for Mail Delays C|Net

Supply Chain

The Invasion of Ukraine Is Causing Crisis at Sea Foreign Policy

Paralyzed container shipping is one among the many ramifications of Russia Ukraine War Logistics Insider

Russian tankers at sea despite ‘big unknown’ over who will buy oil FT

American Longshoremen Refuse To Work Russian Cargo Effective Immediately gCaptain. But using their muscle to get PPE for nurses? Apparently never thought of. Reminds me of the SPD voting war credits in 1914….

Health Care

Three observations about justifying AI BMJ

Newly discovered brain cells may be a memory filing system, study suggests STAT

Class Warfare


‘I Had Nothing to My Name’: Amazon Delivery Companies Are Being Crushed by Debt Vice (Re Silc).

Office building welcomes back Toronto workers but people are hating how they did it blogTO

Antidote du Jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


    1. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you, Timbers.

      Have you and other readers noticed how much of the opposition is from (US) former colonels, i.e. people who would not or could not play the political games required to become general?

    2. Lou Anton

      Thanks for sharing this, timbers. Where’d Yanis Varoufakis get that colonel costume?

      What I mean is that viewing things with a realpolitik lens, whether from right or left, gets you to the point where a neutral Ukraine is best solution for ending the fighting.

    3. Kouros

      “The choice that we faced in Ukraine — and I’m using the past tense there intentionally — was whether Russia exercised a veto over NATO involvement in Ukraine on the negotiating table or on the battlefield,” said George Beebe, a former director of Russia analysis at the CIA and special adviser on Russia to former Vice President Dick Cheney.

      The CIA’s Beebe follows with this almost unbelievable line:

      “And we elected to make sure that the veto was exercised on the battlefield, hoping that either Putin would stay his hand or that the military operation would fail.”

    4. Edgar, not Edmund

      Thank you, timbers. Remarkable truth telling, and the anchor’s discomfort was delicious. Checking the Colonel’s YouTube page, he has been a Fox regular. It’ll be interesting to see if that remains the case

    5. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      Great clip and thanks for posting.

      Love the very end when the host says he disagrees with the Colonel YET OFFERS NO SUBSTANTIVE REBUTTALS.

      Russia is completely dominating in Ukraine, keeping civilian casualties to a minimum, capturing key energy facilities, destroying the military, and all while the country effectively remains open for business.

      1. dk

        This would also be China’s goal in Taiwan, whose infrastructure and civic operations produce ~20% of the world’s IC semiconductor production.

        I do wonder at the casual way “neutral Ukraine” is being used, it seems to me that Ukraine’s roiling internal conflicts not only preclude easy external neutrality but were drivers and triggers of the current scenario.

        The US colonel makes his facile case by ignoring both original and immediate realities. RF and US supplied opposing political movements in UKR, but those movements have organic local roots and defunding them won’t immediately neutralize them.

        We should always examine potentially straightforward and attainable solutions, but to me this one doesn’t pass the sniff test.

  1. Samuel Conner

    re: that ISW map.

    Assuming that these maps are roughly accurate, it seems impressive to me that the Rs have so many narrow/deep penetrations and that they don’t seem to be in a hurry to widen the bases of these penetrations — this suggests that they aren’t that concerned about attacks on their flanks or being encircled. This is similar to the apparent nonchalance of leaving, for days, that massive column of troops and equipment stationary and exposed to air attack north of Kiev — it suggests an assessment on their part that there is no risk of significant losses due to air attack.

    For a little historical perspective (and perhaps 80 year-old events are not that relevant, and perhaps the state of written history as it then was when I was reading these things decades ago is not accurate; a lot has been revealed since the archives were opened after the fall of the USSR — so YMMV), the Red Army in the fight against the original fascists got its a$$ handed to it repeatedly in ’41 and up to mid ’42, losing vast numbers of troops in encirclements. IIRC, the last big disaster of this kind was in Spring ’42 with the 2nd battle of Kharkhov, in which a Soviet attempt to encircle Nazi forces around Kharkov was defeated and, in the Nazi counterattack, numerous Russian forces in the southern (Izyum) salient were encircled and destroyed.

    R military leadership adapted to the evident deficiencies of operational art revealed in these disasters and subsequently, with a few notable exceptions (Stalingrad being the most important), they relied less on deep/narrow penetrations and encirclements and more on broad advances starting with an initial breakthrough that was quickly widened at its base to protect the flanks of the breakthrough forces — the term I recall was ‘cleaving blow’. The authors I read asserted that the early defeats had made the Rs very sensitive to threats to their flanks.

    Granting that is true, the thing that stands out to me in that ISW map is the apparent lack of ‘flank sensitivity’ that is being exhibited in the R penetrations.

    It suggests that the Us are completely overmatched — don’t have the resources or the mobility (or the air cover) to threaten the R penetrations — and the Rs are taking their time; they’re not in a rush.

    1. cocomaan

      Agreed on this, the thin projection of the salients into U territory is textbook setup for defenders to pinch them out and encircle them. That isn’t happening because it can’t happen. Who is going to do the pincers needed to break off those advances? I get that we don’t hear about U army movements because of operational security, but I have seen no columns moving to strike at any of these salients. Ukranians will be an insurgency in a few weeks, if not already.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      I think to make sense the map needs to be overlain on a road map. Lots of those salients may simply be major roads that they’ve taken control of. Whether they can be attacked from behind on the road depends I guess on whether the open lands are too muddy for tanks. I suspect many are. In so many ways, ground warfare really hasn’t changed much since WWII, the same basic principles exist.

      A lot of the Russian strategy seems based on creating the widest possible front in order to stretch defences. They may also be trying to lure the Ukie regulars into the open where they can be hit with artillery and air power. I’m sure the Ukies are well aware of this and are wisely playing things safe.

      It does seem to me that the Russians are slowing down. There were quite a few predictions from independent, or semi-independent observers that the Ukrainian army in the east would collapse over the past week. No sign of it yet. I think the indications are that the Russians significantly underestimated the problems they’d face and the willingness of the main Ukrainian army to fight.

      But having said that, they clearly have the initiative and the military options available to Ukraine shrink by the day.

      1. OnceWereVirologist

        The Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Militias seem to be doing well enough against the Ukrainian army in the east. There’s a lot more information released by them than the Russian army and some actual old-fashioned war correspondents accompanying their troops. Slow but steady progress, 3 or 4 villages a day. And if what was supposed to be the best trained and equipped part of the Ukrainian army can’t hold and it can’t retreat, it doesn’t bode well for the rest of the Ukrainian army when all the forces in the south-east can be released to head north and secure the entire east bank of the Dnieper.

        1. Jeff H

          One perspective I haven’t heard with regard to the military actions of Russia in Ukraine is that they are not truly interested in waging war on Ukraine. Might it be that their slow progress or lack of effectiveness isn’t a lack of capabilities but a desire do as little damage and create as little animosity as possible?
          For those with specific knowledge of the strategic or technical aspects of this conflict, could it be possible their perspective is biased by the information environment where the exist?

          1. Polar Socialist

            A big portion of the “invading” troops are Ukrainians from Luhansk and Donetsk areas. As in 25-30%. For them it’s very important to save as much a possible of the of their homes and families, which some of them haven’t seen in 8 years.

            They also have family and relatives everywhere in Eastern Ukraine, from Odessa-Kiev line to East. As do many Russians.

            It’s a very odd mixture of invasion, liberation and a civil war.

          2. Paul Jurczak

            Putin calls it “special military operation”. The stated goals are:

            1. Demilitarization, which in practice means destroying or capturing as much as possible of Ukraine’s military infrastructure.

            2. Denazification, which means capturing a few extreme nationalists with blood on their hands and bringing them to justice. Killing the rest, probably.

            Killing civilians and destroying civilian infrastructure has only downsides for him, as opposed to Zelensky and the West, who count on arranging another Afghanistan for the Russians.

      2. Eustachedesaintpierre

        The map is not the whole story – what isn’t shown is the infrastructure the Ukranian military rely on that has been destroyed by the Russians. In relation to that very unglamorous science of logistics the Russians have a major advantage, assisted by the Ukes lack of air power & the fact that major forces are pinned down in Odessa etc.

      3. juno mas

        The Uk army in the east, from what I’ve read, is heavily dug in. That is their best protection from artillery and air power. Since they are not moving about, they may be able to extend their supplies longer than the R’s anticipated. In any case, food supplies will likely end. The choices will be stark: starvation or slaughter in the “escape” route provided. Of course, the Uk’s may believe they will be rescued by NATO.

        1. square coats

          Do you mean slaughter in said escape routes by Russian forces or Azov members within Ukrainian forces?

          As I understand it the Russian army has a good track record from Syria of surrounding strategic areas and then proceeding to clean the areas by first allowing enemy combatants to surrender, and then sending them home if they surrendered also their weapons, or basically dropping them in Idlib if they surrendered but were committed to continuing to fight (sorry for this atrocious run-on sentence).

          Whereas Azov Battalion is reportedly shooting civilians who attempt to use escape corridors and I believe there have been reports (maybe just informed speculation though, I can’t remember) earlier that Azov members or like sort of squads/groups (I am very bad with precise military vocabulary, I’m sorry) had orders to shoot Ukrainian army defectors.

          I’m totally open to being incorrect about any of this, it’s just my understanding at the moment.

          1. juno mas

            My understanding is that the forces in eastern Ukraine are predominately Azov battalion.
            Putin has indicated that these forces will pay the price for their assault on the predominately Russian separatist enclave. My presumption is that any attempt to “escape” will be met with intense fighting and lots of dead soldiers, likely on the Uk side.

    3. BillC

      “The Aviationist” link cited by Lambert above gives Russian air defense and control of the skies a much lower grade than the impressions I’ve gotten from NC links and other non-mainstream media. I remain perplexed by the apparent contradiction between the facts Samuel Conner notes above (suggesting very high Russian confidence in their air superiority) and the seemingly well-informed (and not overtly prejudiced) assessment of The Aviationist. I guess it will become clear in the next few days which side is right — or perhaps that the Russian leadership simply regards the exposures noted by Conner as the unavoidable risk of a necessarily audacious plan.

      1. jo6pac

        Thanks that is my thought also. Russia long columns of equipment seating roads is a sign to me they control the above air space. Then again spin is the game.

        I need more coffee

      2. PlutoniumKun

        I follow a few military aviation sources and they are all more or less echo the Aviationist story. Various independent writers have been talking about the deep weaknesses in Russian aviation for quite a few years – they’ve suffered from many years of underfunding at the expense of other services, in particular the nuclear deterrent and the Navy. Its been known for a long time that the Russians have struggled to put modern targeting pods on their aircraft – these are vital for modern close air support. They tried to license a French design a few years ago, but the French wouldn’t approve it. So many of their aircraft are only really capable of chucking dumb bombs from height. And the venerable Su-25 ground attack aircraft is possibly very vulnerable to modern air defenses. Like the A-10 in Afghanistan, it did well against poorly equipped ground forces, but the Ukrainians are a different matter.

        I think one possible reason for its low key performance is that the Russians were worried about its overall ability to maintain an intensive cover, so decided to keep things simple and held most of their aircraft and missiles in reserve. Its also possible that they just didn’t get enough time to plan a comprehensive air war campaign so decided to hold back and assess the ground situation first. It certainly seems to be the case that they failed to thoroughly suppress Ukrainian air defenses and so are reluctant to risk too many aircraft. The Russian Airforce is a tiny fraction of its size at the height of the Cold War and they can’t afford to lose too many of their most advanced aircraft.

        1. Paradan

          They’ve been putting something like 80% of their military budget into modernizing their strategic deterrent. I believe they were expecting to be finished around 2023(everyone always runs late on these things though). I think one of the reasons we started this war was to eat up their budget and slow down their strategic modernization program so that we can catch up.

      3. jsn

        Russia has said it will respond to air incursions by destroying the aircraft and the facilities it was launched from. As the launch sites would likely be NATO facilities, this looks like, “do you feel lucky? Well, do ya?”

        Russian air defenses are pretty well tested in Syria. Hard to say why they’ve kept the sky as clear as they have. Having watched Syria pretty closely, my guess is a strategy of “show them just enough to win.”

        The question of seed autarchy Lambert raises is a good proxy for how well they’ve gamed these scenarios out. The answer to that will speak to strategic depth, or not, in Russian planning.

      4. Greg

        Like most western sources, the aviationist is relying on twitter relaying content from telegram to tell them the performance of various sources. Similar to the osint tally of confirmed kills, the skew in published imagery means lots of people are getting the impression that .ua is outperforming .ru in the skies – because they see more pictures of dead .ru aircraft.

        The evidence of the persistent columns and large numbers of not-dead .ru ground forces that continue to make inroads suggests otherwise, but its not possible to tell using western media as a source.

        My guess is that .ru is limiting its use of aircraft in combat because they know the west has spent the last eight years dumping MANPADs into the .ua.

    4. nippersdad

      I was looking at that map and it leads me to wonder if it doesn’t understate the reality on the ground. For example, attacks on the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant were being reported out four days ago, and they already have IAEA officials reporting on its’ condition after the investment of the reactor by Russian forces.

      Potential CIA agent, Mark Merzweiler, reports that Dnipro is pretty much surrounded:

      “For now, though, Merzweiler is staying in Ukraine. As fighting takes place in all directions around Dnipro, the city has remained quiet. Most businesses are closed, and air raid sirens regularly go off at night.”**



      So it strikes me that the front may be quite a ways away from where it is depicted.

      1. Stephen T Johnson

        Well, yeah. Check the NE corner, there’s a multi-kilometer gap between the RF forces and LDNR forces at the Russian border – straining credulity much? Leaves me to doubt anything else they say

      2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        Didn’t the Russians say the fire that was reported at this nuclear plant was nothing more than Ukrainians burning proof of an already started Nuclear Weapons program?

        1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

          After watching the Gonzalo Lira video Lambert posted, I found out that the Ukrainian Army was shooting rpgs from the power plant to try to get the Russians to fire on them.

    5. jrkrideau

      As of yesterday, the Russian Ministry of Defence as declared there is are no Ukrainian warplanes in Ukraine. I think they mean it. Clearly that 65km column was sitting there because they have absolute confidence in their control of the air. It can also be viewed as a threat: See you guys are so powerless we can just sit here.

    6. redleg

      As a former Army officer, the map to me looks tactically sound from the Russian perspective.
      What you are seeing looks to me like “move to contact” spearheads as part of encircling movements, not carelessness. Look at previous day’s maps and see how these change.

      Since most of the combat power of Ukraine was deployed to fight the civil war in the east, and the Russians control the sky, the Ukranians sure look like they are going to get divided and encircled.

      Anyway to my eyes, the map shows me that the Russian army looks competent and the Russian air force is in control. The long Russian convoys just sitting on the road would be destroyed or dispersed if Ukrainians had any air or artillery assets operational. They apparently don’t, or are tactically inept. I think the Russians are pulling punches by withholding artillery fire, but as I was an artillery officer that might be my bias. That’s great for civilians but makes fighting that much more difficult.

  2. Wukchumni

    The NFL announced on Monday that it has suspended Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley indefinitely for betting on NFL games during the 2021 season.

    Ridley is suspended through at least the conclusion of the 2022 season.

    According to the NFL, Ridley placed bets during a five-day period in late November 2021, when he was away from the club’s facility on the non-football illness list. The former first-round pick played in just five games in 2021 before leaving the club to focus on his “mental wellbeing.”

    “There is nothing more fundamental to the NFL’s success — and to the reputation of everyone associated with our league — than upholding the integrity of the game,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell wrote in a letter notifying Ridley of the suspension. “This is the responsibility of every player, coach, owner, game official, and anyone else employed in the league. Your actions put the integrity of the game at risk, threatened to damage public confidence in professional football, and potentially undermined the reputations of your fellow players throughout the NFL.

    The player in question will forfeit his $11 million salary coming this year, all for a crummy $1500 worth of betting on his part-which is a bit scarier in that vis a vis the NFL’s embrace of wagering on outcomes, you wonder how many other players are gambling with their careers, prompted by none other than the NFL?

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Checked his stats from last season. He had a rough season. I think he is on a guaranteed rookie contract. Did Atlanta just score $11 million in cap space?

      Has the NFL collected data on who is making prop bets just in case they need to deploy them?

    2. tegnost

      …in the meantime the owner who offered 100 grand for a loss is still just fine…move along, nothing to see here…

    3. orlbucfan

      NFL is becoming more and more a corporate gambling racket. It is killing the important aspect: fans who follow the games as a simple sport competition. The RW inbred ownership doesn’t care. They are just barely smart enough to understand all the $$$$ they make by doing next to nothing. So, if some player bets on a game, so what?

      1. Bugs

        It sure does look like that. There’s a paucity of actual sports reporting as well. I’m lucky enough to be a Packers fan and the rump Wisconsin newspapers have reporters, probably not making any decent money but who still have enough of a calling to concentrate on the ins and outs of what makes a great team, game and season instead of the over and under or fantasy league.

        The Raiders are a metaphor for the other side of the coin, as it were.

        Thanks Wuk for the astute comment.

  3. Tom

    Excellent and important Matt Stoller monologue about our insane reliance on China and how this will SEVERELY limit our options if/when we have a confrontation with China over Taiwan, or anywhere else. We are so family blogged. This is a ticking time bomb that could wreck our economy. Could we mount a Manhattan Project to rebuild manufacturing?

    1. Wukchumni

      If push>meets<shove over Taiwan, i'm for doing sanctions on doohickeys, geegaws and assorted sundries exported by the middle kingdom to our shores, bring on the retail rapture!

      Of course it would bear some resemblance to the Romans up and leaving Britain on the double along with their manufacturing knowhow… good luck and all that to you proto-Limeys!

      1. ambrit

        I can hear a couple of Mandarins contemplating today’s situation up in the Eagle Winged Palace. (It’s “up” because it is the “Middle” Kingdom; half way between Heaven and Earth.)
        “Ah, we remember well how the Foreign Devils corrupted our people with vast imports of opium.”
        “Now it is time to pay that debt back.”
        “Yes. I had reservations about the Emperor Mao, but now I see the wisdom of his policies.”
        “To have the Mandate of Heaven just handed to us by the Foreign Devils. Inscrutable indeed.”
        “Now, to rule wisely.”

        1. Henry Moon Pie

          It’s all quite clear. The Anglocentric world is passing away, unable to deal responsibly with plague, famine or war. The bleatings of our politicians and media actors, blind, perhaps willfully, to what is happening all around them, become more tragicomic by the hour.

          And the world comes to Xi to seek his favor.

    2. Brian Beijer

      Do you know the history of Taiwan? I’m asking because I’m wondering why would the US confront China when it decides to “reclaim” Taiwan? It’s been under Chinese rule for most years since 1683. China seems to have more claim over Taiwan than the US does over Guam for example. Isn’t the idea that the US “must confront X country” the exact type of thinking that’s causing us to risk WW3 over territorial disputes that have nothing to do with the US? When will the US realize that it is no longer an empire?

      The island was annexed in 1683 by the Qing dynasty of China, and ceded to the Empire of Japan in 1895. The Republic of China, which had overthrown the Qing in 1911, took control of Taiwan on behalf of the World War II Allies following the surrender of Japan in 1945. The resumption of the Chinese Civil War resulted in the ROC’s loss of mainland China to forces of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and retreat to Taiwan in 1949.

        1. ACPAL

          On the other hand when the UN recognized mainland China and dropped Taiwan, China chose the path of patience hoping for a negotiated merge of the two countries. Then the US chose to support Taiwan with weapons and acting as if Taiwan was an independent country fully aware that this would anger China. The US set up Ukraine and Taiwan alike. China’s patience with Taiwan will eventually end just as Putin’s patience ended. The US is good at starting wars between other countries.

    3. Anthony G Stegman

      Are you willing to pay sharply higher prices for nearly everything? The middle class and lower class in this country have managed to survive these past few decades largely because of the wide availability of cheap imports. American made products will cost significantly more. The idea that the US can become self-sufficient entirely is sheer nonsense.

      1. Wukchumni

        The way I see it, we’re gonna get it by an embargo on made in China because they took Taiwan, or we’re gonna get it when the $ does a well deserved swansong and that $6.99 cloth and metal fold-up chair becomes $169.99.

      2. CostcoPizza

        Seems like you’re forgetting that the US has already existed while manufacturing most of their products. Some degree of jobs would return if everything was onshore. Perhaps companies would have lower profit margins. Too many unknowns to just say its nonsense.

        1. Anthony G Stegman

          Lower profit margins? You think so? That is totally un-American and goes against all we believe in. Hell will freeze over first.

          1. ambrit

            I think that nuclear winter will accomplish that task, along with creating H— on Earth to begin with.

        2. Yves Smith

          The US has ceded far too many skills, from the factory floor to supervisory level to plant managers, to get it back in anything less than 20 years, and with what amounts to industrial policy, as in massive Federal support. With regular changes of which party is in charge, we can’t maintain a long term initiative like that.

          1. The Rev Kev

            There would probably have to be a massive revamp of American education to underpin this entire effort as well to proved an educated workforce, technicians, technical managers, etc.

      3. Steve

        Agreed. I often wonder why our oligarchs and the politicians they own keep marketing the idea of “making more stuff in America” to support the Americans. Sure it could be done on the supply side (especially when politicians hand over billions of our tax dollars to private corporations as subsidy payments for making profits), but econ 101 tells us that in order for a new equilibrium to materialize something also has to give on the demand side, in the form of higher wages & incomes for the majority of Americans. The only way Apple can sell a higher costing Iphone made in America, is if more Americans have more money to buy it. Given the counter attacks and inflation fearmongering to 24 months of Americans receiving stimulus checks during the pandemic and having a little more bargaining power in the labor market, we all know that higher wages is not part of “made in america” marketing campaign.

    4. Eclair

      In the middle of reading Stoller’s Goliath. Great stuff, a cross between a rolling soap opera and a gossip column, that must be read very slowly and savored. His writing is very accessible.

      And, thanks for that link. Just watched it and, aside from Stoller’s touching innocence about the lack of racial propaganda in Hollywood films, it’s great and frightening.

      But the corporations don’t care. China was a huge market, both in terms of cheap labor, lack of environmental regulations, and growing consumer class that could gorge themselves on KFC, McD, and Coke. Profits to be made, and all that. We have to stop thinking of China as producing only boatloads of Dollar Store plastic holiday gewgaws, and see them as controlling the production of essentials … at least what we consider essential for civilization as we know it: drugs, citric acid, PPE, all our beloved electronic devices, integrated circuits, etc. Our manufacturing corporations happily handed them the blueprints, the licensing, the technological know-how. And, for China? Revenge is a dish best served cold.

      1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        Exactly. And once the Taiwan Semi Conductor Company is in their hands, China will have an even bigger advantage in advanced manufacturing.

  4. KD

    Thoughts on geopolitical consequences of Russian-Ukrainian conflict:

    1.) Outcome not certain, but Russia has massive advantage. What is going to happen when (in all probability) Russia succeeds and all these media sources have been spewing stories that a Russian victory is impossible? Will they just move on to insurgency hopes?

    2.) Maybe insurgency will hamstring Russia, or maybe it will be crushed (not a lot of jungle in Ukraine). What will happen if these hopes crash to Earth? Will it affect public opinion in the West that they have been fed unrealistic B.S. or will they just go back to sleep? Will there be any public backlash as a result of rosy and ill informed prognostications?

    3.) More ridiculous is the faith in sanctions, as if Iran has collapsed as a result of it being a world pariah. It appears Russia has far more friends than Iran, and if Iran can do it, so can Russia. So, again, wishful thinking and pure B.S. Iraq couldn’t use sanctions on the US, but if people remember the Iraq War, you could imagine if Iraq had the capacity to sanction, and talking heads got on TV and predicted people would rise up and remove Bush from power for his aggressive war, how ridiculous that would be. Economic pain just helps the public internalize a foreign enemy and stokes nationalism and regime support.

    4.) It is hard to see how this conflict and the response doesn’t crush German industry and the EU economy, as well as if we see a Russian bond default or other issues, there could be both a European and potentially an international bank contagion which could blow things up bigger than the huge commodity price spike already will. That would take things from a recession to the brink of a depression, and we are going to see a collapse in equity prices and margin calls (accelerating the collapse).

    5.) If de-dollarization really happens, and China starts unloading its Treasuries (and why would they and the rest of the world continue to hold them), you may see treasury yields soaring, putting even more pressure on equities.

    4.) It is hard to see that elected officials in Europe will be able to be re-elected, and you will probably see the far right gaining electoral share, if not outright coming to power in some European states, which would likely de-stabilize the EU as well as NATO. NATO has probably just given the AfD the best Christmas present they could ask for.

    5.) You are going to have food riots and revolution in the developing world. Its is unclear how that will play out, but it will play out, and it will affect the balance of power and influence in the rest of the world.

    6.) In America, depending on the severity of financial contagion, you may only have to deal with severe recession, a collapse in equity markets and $8 a gallon gasoline, but its likely to be the stake through the heart for the Dems in Congress, and who knows what the incoming GOP crop will do (except for the Chamber of Commerce). We may find that Trump appears to be the moderate candidate by 2024.

    7.) Perhaps it is geopolitical maximalism, but you had a post-war order based on the UN, and it appears that the conservative bent of the international system–trying to freeze geography–is over, and we are emerging into a world of great powers with competing spheres of influence, and a de-globalization into more regional economic blocs. The real galvanizing issue for US policy makers is obviously not Ukraine (no one doubts Obama’s assessment of its strategic importance to the United States, e.g. zero), but about American exceptionalism cracking its bow on the hard rocks of reality.

    8.) The question for America is whether it can adapt to a new world, or will we see the American power elite building Xanadu and retreating into fantasy like the Manchu dynasty? On the Progressive front, there really seems to be a belief in a kind of metaphysical idealism, that the world becomes what you call it (probably related to religious faith in the blank slate), hardcore magical or superstitious thinking. On the Right, you have this unshakeable belief from watching too many action movies (not about Vietnam) that America is right and backed by God so we can do whatever we want and win, you would think you were listening to Pope Urban call for a crusade. Reality challenged jingoism appears to be the order of the day.

    9.) What are we supposed to believe is the Plan? All these things are foreseeable, and all the rosy B.S. improbable, so what the heck are we doing?

    1. XXYY

      Good analysis.

      This “war” has exposed the extreme weakness and disunity within the US/EU/NATO block, and also the incompetence and self-delusion of elites within these blocks. Having triggered a confrontation that the discredited US military cannot possibly compete in or win, but unable to back down or do anything constructive to defuse it, these leaders and their captive information systems have resorted to what they do best: ruthless propaganda and economic warfare.

      Unfortunately, neither of these tactics are likely to help, and in fact are likely to backfire and further discredit the West in the eyes of the world. We are assiduously showing everyone that (a) the US-backed media cannot be trusted and should be ignored, and (b) dollar-based assets and real assets in western countries are not safe and may be seized any time without warning. The bottom line: Don’t trust the West, don’t do business with them, and as quickly as possible find other trading partners, alliances, and technical arrangements that are safer and less likely to be used against you in the future.

      Quite remarkable.

      1. ArvidMartensen

        Yes, when the West stole the assets of countries in the Mid-East like Iran and Afghanistan, and South America, nobody in the West cares “because it couldn’t happen to people who look like us”.
        But I imagine the Indians (are they under sanction yet or has sanity prevailed?) and the Chinese have been taking notice for some time. They must have a Plan B, and it includes getting out of $US dollars for trade. And trying that is what brought Gaddafi down.
        The US, by loudly and often proving that it cannot be trusted in any way, is shooting itself in both feet and bits higher. Once the US dollar is optional, the US economy is going to collapse. It is a currency now dependent on its military forcing the world to use it’s money, and latterly more on the illusion of that. The illusion is being shattered. Even Poland has just told the US to deal with their own sh*t as regards fighter planes to Ukraine.
        I had to laugh in the movie, I think called The Day After Tomorrow, when the US was whacked by a climate change freezing event. At the end, when the white PMC refugees from the US poured over the border into Mexico they were welcomed as brothers by the Mexicans. Haha thought I, that is the last thing that will happen if the US is on its knees.
        I guess we are closer to finding out than I thought was possible 3 months ago.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Good analysis that. I am going with the assumption that Washington will do what it always do when denied – double down. There will be no retreat, no matter what the cost to others.

  5. Foy

    An article explaining how big Russian companies will be able to clear their big foreign debt obligations via the Russian Central Bank, so they can’t be sued in Russia for non payment, following the decree on 5th March

    “The new decree permits a Russian creditor of an entity in an unfriendly state to open a ruble denominated account at a Russian bank in the name of the creditor and deposit the equivalent amount in rubles into that account at the official exchange rate. This method can be used to discharge any debt of the debtor to a foreign entity, where they owe more than ten million rubles per month.”

    “The foreign entity can then apply to the Russian Ministry of Finance or central bank for access to the money in that account, and the Russian central bank will grant them a credit over the equivalent amount of financial reserves the Russian central bank holds at the relevant foreign central bank.”

    “Reserves the foreign creditor will not be able to access due to the ongoing financial sanctions.”

    “Depending upon the rules of any insurance product the foreign entity has hedged with, this may trigger credit default swaps and cause a cascade effect in the West.”

    “What we have here is the demonstration of the sovereign power behind a currency that cleverly neutralises the fiscal effects of freezing the foreign currency reserves of the Russian Federation.”

    More on the implications at the link

    Over to you Unfriendly Central Banks…

    1. The Rev Kev

      Wow. Thanks for that link. That’s epic that. How will those western creditors square that circle? Some wit put out a tweet talking about the effects of the Russian sanctions-

      ‘Jimmy Salford
      Russia has already been cut off from CNN, Pornhub and Facebook. The US is now working on depriving Russians of MacDonalds and CocaCola. If they keep going with these sanctions, Russians will soon be among the healthiest, well adjusted and best informed people on the planet.’

      1. Nikkikat

        Lol Rev, when I saw the coke/Pepsi Mc Donald’s headline. My first thought was…..and they will be all the healthier for it!
        Seriously, I doubt the lack of these products will engender the over throw of their Govt. anytime soon.

    2. Susan the other

      So Russia will make all transactions go through their own CB and clearing system? That sounds too basic to be real. They are protecting their sovereignty by self isolating. The Link from Blindspot today says something similar in “Is Putin’s Endgame… a CBDC?” Apparently it is. This article made lots of sense. “Since 2014” Russia has been working on just this – its own clearing system. The timing certainly rings true. But Isabella Kaminska gets her crypto and her digital mixed up a little – I wish that could be prevented – otherwise she is saying that Russia is looking to isolate their currency and banking operations and believes (Russia) that since they are so rich in natural resources it will be no problem to “back” a Russian digital currency. In other words, as was discussed here yesterday, everyone will be willing to accept the digital Rouble because they will need Russian commodities. She is referring to it as “Fiat Crypto”. Which is annoying and nonsensical because crypto by definition is private money. (Janet Yellen has been making that perfectly clear.) But that’s just another example why we should set out specific definitions for the word “crypto”. There’s just a little too much poetic license orbiting the word “crypto.” And her point is that Russia is using Ukraine as a distraction to both lock down the Russian economy and install the new Russian digital fiat system. It makes sense to me. But the discussion shouldn’t discount the misery Ukrainian nutcase fascist brigades have caused in the Donbass, imo. Not to even mention other “western” incursions.

  6. The Rev Kev

    “Office building welcomes back Toronto workers but people are hating how they did it”

    Man, how hateful are those signs. It’s like, oh I see that you are back – here, have some more s*** for your face. The marketing droids may have apologized for them but they would have needed a nod from management to go ahead and print them. And from now on, the the Richmond-Adelaide Centre will always be known as that building.

    1. Pat

      Hey our mayor said people need to get out of the pajamas and get back to work to jokingly talk about how we need people back in offices.* There is a reason that real estate company didn’t get how offensive their light hearted signage was, the plebes are just lazy and too stupid to realize how little we think of them is a common delusion in the FIRE sector and their lackies.

      Personally I think we would be better off if that excess office space was converted and split between subsidized to free housing for homeless and working poor and rent controlled affordable apartments which people can transition to from the first after becoming more financially secure. But then I thought Adams should have a plan where he could actually tell the public about where the homeless would go long term for help and housing when he got them off the trains, too.

      1. Brunches with Cats

        Evidently he can’t have a plan unless and until real estate developers hand him one, which will happen only if they know that the state will pay for it. According to this article, Hochul agrees in principle, but it has to get past the Legislature.

        Having grown up hearing almost daily that the reason we can’t have nice things here in poor rural upstate is because all of our tax dollars go to NYC, I can just imagine how this is going to over in a midterm year.

  7. petal

    This morning, CBS radio news is really cranking on the propaganda. It was nuts. It started off how the war has taken a turn for the (I can’t remember which overly dramatic word they used) and that it “seems Russia is now targeting civilians including women and children” and interviewed some English-speaking photojournalist. They also talked about how well the Ukrainian army was doing. It just kept going on and on. So surreal. And now NH Gov. Sununu is jumping on the “no Russian oil” bandwagon along with the 2 NH senators, etc, so I’d wager a guess that that is going to happen very soon and we’re going to get screwed even more. Disaster capitalism, right? Never let an opportunity go to waste.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      That Indian TV station posted in links a couple days ago has a more nuanced view, and it’s live right now –

      They are claiming to have over a dozen reporters on the ground. Just showed the evacuation of some Indian students and now switched to coverage from eastern Ukraine. Reporter speaking now who appears to be an American says cease fire is talking hold, at least for now. He’s talking about Ukraine trying to get rid of Russian language in Donbass area, something you won’t hear in Western TV.

      1. The Rev Kev

        After the Maidan, practically the very first law that they made was to ban the use of the Russian language which helped stoke trouble in the Crimea and the Donbass. I saw an interview with people in the Crimea and they said that the Ukrainians trued to stomp out the Russian language for decades.

    2. Jen

      I do my best to avoid the MSM garbage takes but yesterday during my early morning twitter doomscroll I could not prevent myself from glancing at a headline that read something to the effect of “courageous Kyiv grandmother takes down Russian drone with jar of pickles.”

      I just did a search for the headline and there are now variations describing the weapon variously as a jar of pickles, a jar of tomatoes and a case of pickles.

      I thank our hosts and the commentariat for remaining an island of sanity during these wild times.

      PS – petal, I hope you found the college’s survey on their covid response in your inbox and took the time to give them an earful. I certainly did.

      1. petal

        Re survey: I certainly did. I wish I could’ve given them more of an earful. It seemed like the survey was tailored to decrease the odds of actual feedback other than “list these things from 1-4”. I gave a more detailed “response” a month or so ago to the ADA/DIE office. It probably got binned like I bet this survey will, and the higher-ups will all give themselves a pat on the back for a job well done and then a hefty raise.

        I keep the radio 24-7 on for the dogs. The traffic noise here is intense and really stresses them out. It was the only station that is halfway tolerable in the morning(as in they play music), so lucky me got to hear what CBS is peddling.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Might be better to play some good music instead and experiment to find what sort of music chills your dogs out – and relaxes you. No idea what that might be. Country & western, baroque, heavy metal, folk, electronic – who knows what sort of music dogs like? Might be fun to find out. :)

          1. petal

            We’ve tried just about everything over the last 11 years. For them, I’ve found voices during mic breaks are good, and voices singing, but not talk radio, and classical is stressful. They either like or are used to the alternative station I stream. When I had better internet I’d leave that on. It’s been interesting trying different genres with them.

            I can’t have the station that relaxes me on overnight because it’s an internet stream and my internet cuts out often, plus I don’t sleep as heavily because I enjoy it a lot and listen for good songs. It’s kind of a running joke between me and the station manager that the songs that pique my interest and that I really like come on overnight for some reason. There have been many times I’ve emailed him in the middle of the night asking “Hey, what was this song?” with a few sleepily transcribed lyrics and a time. Think he still has a sticky note on the back of his office door for one of them-still a mystery after quite a few years. So local radio it is at home most of the time-usually oldies or the classic rock station. Some of the classic rock stuff bothers the boys, so they have been getting oldies lately.

              1. Brian Beijer

                I like it when I hear someone pronounce Kiev as “Keev”. It lets me know immediately that I can tune them out as they have no trustworthy information to provide. I do the same with anyone that uses “synergy” or “sustainabilty” or any other jargon that indicates the individual is either an idiot, shyster or both.

                1. petal

                  Haha Brian, yes! As soon as I heard her say “Keev” very early on, I thought “Ah, here we go.”

              2. newcatty

                To add. In the past week Amy ( know it’s “Democracy Now!”) began her headline about Ukraine invasion! by pronouncing Kiev as Keeev. Noticed yesterday she had mumbled it more like Kiev. We watch as a sociological outlook on the blob. Rarely, an interesting interviewee.

            1. Norge

              Maybe you just haven’t found out the right classical music. My mom had a dog who loved Mozart and hated Beethoven.

              1. ambrit

                Not to go all offensive defensive and all, but man/boy relationships were a staple of older “ancient” western cultures, most notably Greece in the “Golden Age.” Sparta was another related example of this. Bukowski described just such a case in ‘moderne’ times in his “famous” book, “Running With Scissors.” On the distaff side, famed Science Fiction writer Robert Heinlein is quietly admitted to have eschewed all ‘decency’ in his relations with barely pubescent girls. He was also into wife swapping, etc.
                Where I agree with you is in the sphere of the reality of the helplessness and lack of proper judgemental capacity of youngsters in general. Puberty does not guarantee a sudden worldliness. Quite the opposite. Paedophilia is rightly considered a criminal enterprise precisely because it consists of and is based on the betrayal of trust.
                Alas for us all, we are all fallable and all prone to corruption. The internal battles against such tendencies are a core element of the Terran Human Condition.
                Stay safe.

    3. Carolinian

      I think this Michael Tracey is scaremongering and over the top but, still, it’s not impossible that the news media are going to get us all killed.

      Of course the media love this new war because they don’t see themselves as journalists seeking facts but rather as entertainers and dramatists. The public at large are more realistic and sensible and don’t want a no fly zone or US intervention. But the propaganda nevertheless has a huge effect because the public increasingly have nowhere else to turn for information. It’s the decay of journalism that makes this new cold war different from the first one. Back then memories of a horrific world war were fresh and pacifism more of a thing. Now many in our narrative saturated public may think Captain America is going to save the day. Perhaps only a crash in the economy will persuade our ruling class to snap out of it. They’ll stop seeing it as a game when they are losing their money.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        According to polls cited by Breaking Points yesterday, a no fly zone comes in at +25 with those US citizens polled. That’s rather scary, although it wasn’t clear how the polls were worded. My guess is if pollsters noted that there already is a Russian no fly zone and trying to institute a Western one might result in your town getting nuked, people may be a little less gung ho about the idea.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          No troops though. No fly zones are magic. Americans just believe in wonder weapons and dont want to acknowledge how often the US throws a small country against the wall because it’s easy.

          Have you seen those recruitment ads? American soldiers are super warriors or sitting safely in a made for tv movie set ready to blow up a truck!!!

          And 1/3 of Americans knew where the Ukraine was if we are being generous. I would not be shocked if the 1/3 and the opponents of a no fly zone were a circle if they were put into a venn diagram.

          1. The Rev Kev

            Maybe with those opinion polls that before people answer any questions, that they must first correctly identify the Ukraine on a map of the world first in a generous ten seconds time period. Otherwise they will be ignored.

          2. Jen

            No fly zones are magic. Like, all you have to do is say “this is a no fly zone!” and presto, it’s done. I don’t think the average person spouting on about no fly zones has the slightest clue that they have to be created and enforced militarily.

            My fervent hope is that since JB has declared we will not engage “directly” with Russia, that the only path forward is for some European nation to sign up for a suicide mission, for which will be no takers.

            1. marku52

              Nah, there is a button on the F35 dashboard, labelled “NFZ”

              Press it and aerodynamic lift is cancelled in the Lat Long region you specified.

              I read it in the Lockheed marketing pamphlet

              1. Paradan

                Theres no buttons on the F-35 dash, it’s a fuggin touch screen, swipe right on the target you wish to destroy.

                1. BeliTsari

                  Nah… you emulate Kamala’s attempt at sneering side-eye to clear the air! All one has to do, is grok positive, life-affirming righteousness concomitant in our best of all possible world trade democratizing outcomes, and like POOF, man! Then the engine flames out, and down you crash, into the baby milk cancer hospital packed with Instagram Influncer “models!”

                  My favorite link’s STILL the Zeke Emanuel Live with DEATH for the scvartzes & deplorables ‘splainer, from The Onion, fucking BRILLIANT!

        2. marym

          Do you suppose ordinary people responding to a poll or “calling for” a no-fly zone on social media just think it sounds nice – like right to work or our democracy? I assume politicians “calling for” it know it’s an escalation of the war.

          1. OnceWereVirologist

            I’ve seen many commenters on social media suggest that not just Putin’s government, but the entire Russian army and even the entire Russian federation, is already just one tiny push away from total collapse. If you believe that, it might not seem so risky to get involved in the war.

            1. Greg

              I’ve seen this weird “Russia are weak we can totally take them lets do it” take turning up more and more in OSINT twitter. It’s terrifying.
              The twits seem to have taken “we only see images of broken .ru equipment when we look in western media” to mean “.ua is winning” and aren’t able to see that they are trying to do math with a propaganda hose.

            2. M Quinlan

              A certain Austrian Corporal was sure the Russian army was just about to collapse, any minute now, all that was needed was one final push.
              Any involvement of NATO would just be choosing a different method of suicide. The myopia of the PMC is astounding.

          2. Tom Stone

            Look,no one likes flies.
            Heck,look what China did to them back in the 60’s.
            Of course most Americans support a no fly zone, it’s a no brainer.

        3. DanB

          I was contacted by Quinnipiac Polling Sunday night and partway through the interviewer said, “I’m terminating this interview,” after I replied to this question, “Would you advise Ukrainians to fight or leave?” My reply was that a third option was available: calling for a ceasefire. And before this termination the interviewer had asked, “Do you think Putin is mentally unstable?” along with some questions about how Biden was doing as president. Also, she asked me to rate the performance of Zalensky, although she could not pronounce his name.

          1. ambrit

            And here I was thinking that the Q Poll was reasonably ‘straight.’ Now I have to wonder about the “accuracy” of their political polls.

        4. Nikkikat

          I would say that most of those people, do not even know what a no fly zone is anyway. People are really quite stupid in this country. Sadly, I find quite a few young people in particular do not seem to know anything.

          1. newcatty

            The young people, aside from the fortunate ones, who attend almost any public school in this country are products ( intended use of term) of the manufactured demise of the public education institutions in this country. There are still some public schools in upper middle to upper class districts that have some good curriculums and administrations. There are also class differences in some districts schools. A functioning school can be in a district just miles away from a complete disaster. Kids often know nothing about important things. Instead of lamenting that, let’s lament the total class war on the people in the country. Like a billionaire is said to have stated, There is a class war and my class won (may be paraphrased). Consider that lots of kids are not nourished well, are encouraged to be mesmerized by their phones, and are neglected, or worse, abused. Already, reports of increasingly hungry, homeless kids and whatever caregivers they have at the time. Just read a headline, Teenagers are stealing, shoplifting and selling their bodies to provide for their families. These kids aren’t shoplifting fancy shampoo or candy bars for themselves. As is said around here, The plan is working.

      2. ambrit

        Wait until the Deplorables start holding them up on street corners and steal their four wheelers from out of their garages in broad daylight. We here are already seeing an increase in small time property theft. A Ring video of a poor looking woman trying someone’s side door and then trying to fool the push button lock is now trending locally. Someone local has identified the woman and claims that the ‘perp’ is a homeless drug addict. Another commenter mentions having a family relative with children bunking in with them due to domestic violence. The interlocuter says that her cousin was turned away from local shelters because they claimed to be full up. Welcome to America.

      3. fresno dan

        I hate to revert to good ole dayism but the lead up to Iraq was a veritable nirvana of debate and reflection compared to today. Although I am all for the independent media, let’s be real – it reaches and influences a very small portion of the population. Social media is a vast sea of rah rah-ism for Ukraine.
        Now, one could posit that Iraq directly involved US troops. And as NTG notes, no fly zones appear to most Americans as cost and risk free, so their popularity can be rationalized. Which only makes them exceeding hard to resist implementing, but exceptionally dangerous.
        But the cavalier attitude, indeed, the purposeful downplaying of the danger of engaging a nuclear power in active hostilities, is rather astounding and astonishing. Maybe I am over reacting to the mass media environment, but I really feel like if there were hints of nuclear weapon use, our media will be cheerleading and saying bring it on. What US pollitician has the gravitas, courage, and following to say, and be listened to, to the Americans, don’t be insane in the current hysterical environment???
        I think we fool ourselves that war is contemplated, considered, examined, and studied before being started. I am the kind of person who can’t help saying I told you so, but there may be no blog (or world) for me to say it on…

      4. fringe element

        Wow, I like Tracey so much I have his substack bookmarked, but I couldn’t finish that post. It was just too stressful. My first thought was a version of something you mentioned, that people who only hear the kind of news Tracey cites must be so jacked up because of it. I have a close friend and a close relation whom I suspect of doing just that. They seem to become more glum, angry and withdrawn every day, which is extremely sad and also entirely out of character for both of them. If I were not keeping myself sane reading these NC comment threads every day, the crescendo of media madness out there would have me freaked out all the time too.

        I’m going to share a link that I have debated with myself about sharing today. I had decided against it, but after what you just posted, I think it is a good antidote to that jarring post from Tracey.

        It is from Tucker Carlson and, as usual, there are facets of his opinion that don’t line up with my thinking. Even so, this segment really cheered me up because it is so satisfying to realize that it is reaching a wide mainstream audience. I shared it with a very conservative friend who liked it as much as I did.

    4. The Historian

      If there are people who want to doomscroll (I love that word, Jen!) try watching Republic World, or DWNews or France 24 on Youtube – they are doing a MUCH better job of covering the war than any American station – and with less ‘politics’ – and a lot less ads.

      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you.

        Are you sure about France 24? The French service has been diabolical.

        1. super extra

          Colonel, it’s definitely a spectrum.. and over here in the states France24 is competing with ‘Ukranian granny defeats Russian drone with a jar of pickles’ MSNBC and blond Ukranian child of 5 told to recite ‘Putin.. Monster!’ for NBC.

      2. Charlie Sheldon

        I have found that if I watch Aljezeera (?), France 24, and the India news channel (the India channel is over the top with froth and snappy cut-outs, but has a lot of on the ground reporters) I get, I think, a far more realistic view of what is happening there than any US channel (MSM)…..

        1. Susan the other

          I concur. Even Japan’s NHK is better than Judy Woodruff I was ready to throw food at my TV screen last night watching PBS. I like Deutsche Welle but now it has changed the way it reports the news in English – they almost have a new vocabulary. And it is no longer objective German reporting. Pretty sure it is because they want to be careful when it comes to reporting on Ukraine.

    5. NotTimothyGeithner

      Ratings. I would also hazard the people with bug out spots have left already. It’s one thing if Zelensky vows to fight on from an embassy, but eventually people on the ground have to carry out decisions.

      It hasn’t been that long, but don’t be surprised if a provisional government/junta starts acting with so much of the “leadership” abroad. Russia has spots they can withdraw to, so they don’t have to deal with the aftermath. Fighting for home is an admirable quality, but the Russians basically won in the areas of concern. Sitting in a new Somalia while former leaders live in London or Miami is likely not going to sit well.

      The West through officialdom promised assistance that would never come to fruition, like discussions of no fly zones. With defeat at hand, they want to explain to everyone who gave money to a Ukrainian charity that will wind up in Miami or London why they didn’t help.

    6. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you, Petal.

      If you access CBS News’ Twitter feed on 1 March, you will come across a story about “a war within a war”. Some transgender Ukrainian is having difficulty getting an operation and legal and social recognition. The story was seized upon by the usual suspects as another example of how bad Russia is making life for yet another id pol community. In dear old Blighty, we have some animal rescue types heading east to save some animal welfare centres in Ukraine.

  8. edwin

    Regarding Russian seed self sufficiency: Let me add some more questions:

    The Ukraine region has historically provided a huge amount of vegetables and fruit that was grown in Canada. In the non gmo/heritage portion of gardening they are everywhere. Often they have names that have been changed over the decades, but their roots are still from this region. These varieties may or may not be for large scale farming. Among other things they may not have the uniformity needed for mass agriculture (plant size, shape, ripening speed – determent vs indeterminate) . Traditionally the USSR has had very active plant breeding programs.

    How much of the local vegetables were maintained through communism encouraged through communism, and survived post communism and its drive for money and efficiency? Is there local sufficiency but not large scale farming sufficiency? Have they been growing large scale varieties that will allow them to collect seeds and create future sufficiency for large scale farming even if they don’t have it now? Have they been suckered into terminator gene varieties?

    1. The Rev Kev

      As to your last question, I don’t think so. About six years ago Russia did a full ban on foods with GMOs. The provisions of that law ban ‘any use of seeds derived from through genetic modification, including those that cannot reproduce or transfer inherited genetic material’ so maybe they do have plenty of seed available. There was much gnashing of teeth when Russia enacted that law in the west and I believe that before the Maidan, the Ukraine use to ban them as well-

      1. tegnost

        Giving Wall St control of your seed stock has got to be the stupidest idea ever, unless you’re Wall st…

        1. Colonel Smithers

          Thank you.

          Just wait until outgoing NATO secretary general Stoltenberg becomes governor of the Bank of Norway and gives de facto control of the Norwegian sovereign wealth fund to Wall Street. The guy is seriously bad news.

      2. Skip Intro

        Wasn’t the nazified Ukraine supposed to go all in on GMOs? I thought that was part of the plan for the intended neoliberal NATO bastion and free-enterprise zone, along with fracking. Gotta get those GMOs into Europeans somehow!

    2. albrt

      My parents lived in Hungary for a few years in the early 1990s, just as eastern Europe was opening up. A very large percentage of people had some type of garden plot, and relied on it for fresh food. I suspect local varieties persisted better in the former Soviet bloc than here in the US.

    3. James J Kennedy

      This seems like the sub-thread for comments re agriculture in the Ukraine, going forward:

      Un-planted wheat fields in 2022 means lower productivity per acre for 2023-2024 even IF things magically returned to ‘normal’ by end of this year.

      Once the weeds get into the fields it will take at least a few years to whip them back into pre-war shape.

      The shock to wheat prices, and what that augurs for hunger and inflation, is not a genie that can be put back into the bottle once out.

  9. Roger Blakely

    Re: The Judean Date Palm: Extinct Tree Resurrected from Ancient Seeds Ancient Origins

    As someone who spends $30 per month on dates and considers a refrigerator without Medjool and Zahidi dates to be a crisis, I love the story about ancient Judean dates. If they are more like Zahidi dates than Medjool dates, I can image what they taste like.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      when the reality of a warming planet set in for me, i lamented that it was too soon to plant date palms, here(gets way too cold).
      similarly with olives.
      by the time we don’t get super cold around here, i’m unlikely to be able to obtain seeds or cuttings or whatever.

      (i tried olives, about 20 years ago…but then came an exceptionally cold winter. killed them. looked into getting some of the more cold tolerant varieties…particularly 2 from the levant…but the APHIS quarantine requirements were far too arduous for me at the time.
      since then, a dude in Wimberly…some 60 miles to my southeast…has gone through that process, built up a large olive nursery. but he got all but wiped out with last year’s big freeze)

      1. Jonny Appleseed

        Amfortas, check out the incredible One Green World nursery in Portland, OR. They are currently evaluating Crimean olive cultivars that *may* be more cold hardy than the usual zone 8. They also have cold hardy pomegranates from Turkmenistan! I don’t buy lottery tickets, but I do buy marginally hardy fruit cultivars and cross my fingers. It’s gotten us bumper crops of paw paws and persimmons here in Western Mass, but no luck yet with scuppernongs.

      2. Eclair

        Amfortas, when we lived in SoCal, back pre- and early turn of the millennium, I planted an olive tree. Unable to wait for fruit production, I found a neighbor with a mature one and asked if I could harvest the olives. He agreed and I spent months curing them in various manners: brine, salt, etc.

        I finally mailed some off, overnight, to my kids on the east coast: they have never forgotten that, “Mom tried to kill us!”

        Guess that olive curing is one of those things, like mushroom-hunting, that one has to learn by doing, preferably with a grandparent who learned from their grandparent, etc.

      3. JCC

        If you are ever in Southern Cal, check out the China Ranch Date Farm. It’s off the beaten track at the southern end of Death Valley near Tecopa, located in an area where the Armagosa River pops out briefly from underground. I’ve made the two+ hour drive there a few times over the last couple of years just to hike through the grove and get fresh dates, date bread, and date milkshakes… Mmmm

    2. russell1200

      It never occurred to me that the dates we were eating weren’t the biblical dates – or at least something close.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “For foreign fighters, Ukraine offers purpose, camaraderie and a cause”

    There are foreign fighters – and then there are foreign fighters. Already Jihadists have reached the Ukraine at the invitation of Zelelnsky. The Russians have heard their chatter on radio traffic and at least once a suicide car bomb was attempted. That is why I said Jihadists. How do I know this? Because Putin himself talked about it publicly and I am inclined to give his words a bit of weight here.

    As for all those foreign fighters, all I can say is good luck with that matey. Individually they may be effective but where is their command structure? Will they have a chance to train together? Will the Ukrainians throw them into the fight to save themselves the casualties? Have their supply lines and communications been sorted out? A Russian general has already warned them that if captured, they cannot be treated as POWs and at best, will be treated as captured criminals. And that is at best.

    1. JBird4049

      >>>A Russian general has already warned them that if captured, they cannot be treated as POWs and at best, will be treated as captured criminals. And that is at best.

      So the Russians are going by the “enemy combatant” route the United States used to deny rights to anyone that they wanted to? An enemy combatant according to the United States is not a soldier or a criminal, but an enemy combatant, which means that they do not have the rights of either prisoners of war or of those accused of being criminals, and it was the United States government that made the decision. Neat trick that. It is nice to see that other countries can be unwise and commit war crimes themselves.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Here is a page talking about international law and mercenaries. Generally speaking, recruiting mercenaries is illegal and a captured merc is not entitled to the status of prisoner of war as in at all. So, not like those guys down in Guantanamo bay. But if the Russians capture a westerner who specifically came to the Ukraine to kill Russians as some have stated on TV in interviews, then my Ouija board says that it will not end well for them-

  11. Amfortas the hippie

    a few things i ran across early before i run off to san antonio:


    no mention of the difference between “lght sweet” and “heavy sour”:

    own goals r us, apparently:

    TAC on looming food crisis…i wish there was more open consideration on this:

    off, now, for another long day of sitting in the truck in a hospital parking lot….watching C-5’s float in to Lackland(those huge planes always look like they’re stalling out, to me).
    will be on the lookout for various roadside economic indicators, as per usual.

    shazzbot. nanoo nanoo.

    1. Screwball

      Crude is up over %6 to 127 a barrel as of 11:23 am.

      Gas hit $4.09 in NW Ohio today. This isn’t good for this area (rural farm land).

      Crude is not the only commodity to jump either. I don’t see how this ends well.

    2. GF

      Is there a shortage of gas or is this price gouging? Didn’t Nixon commence price controls during the 1970’s oil crisis?

      1. hunkerdown

        Gasoline retail is a low-margin business, netting around 3¢ per gallon. Stations have to sell their current inventory at the replacement price to afford the next load. Therefore, pump prices tend to lead feedstock price increases and lag feedstock price decreases. Compared to pump prices around the world, I wouldn’t call it gouging, maybe a correction…

        Also of note, we are getting close to the spring blend changeover, where the cheap but more volatile components of winter gasoline are dialed back in order to keep product in your tank and out of the air in the summer heat. Enjoy Robert Rapier of The Oil Drum’s fine primer about “that time again“.

        ($4.29 down the corner this a.m., but might have changed since then)

        1. wilroncanada

          Our price her today on lower Vancouver Island is $2.03.9 a litre. Taxes vary–here about $0.25 provincial and about $0.20 federal, including carbon tax. Unlike Alberta, which has promised to eliminate its provincial taxes, BC has resisted. Part of those taxes pay for public transit.
          Ironically, the great sheikdom of Alberta is one of two provinces which has been losing population over the last five years. Even the Maritimes, after shrinking for generations, are now gaining population.

  12. JWP

    Re: vaccine side effects

    Personal story: for the better part of a year I have been dealing with unspecified neurological symptoms ranging from vertigo to lightheaded ness and fatigue. My doctor said they were from the jnj vaccine and I shouldn’t get the school mandated booster. I told my school (wake forest) this, and they refused to accept the exemption twice now. The penalty for not getting a booster is withdrawing me from school and housing (mind you graduation is in 2 months). Not sure how it is possible for them to force someone to get vaccinated against a doctors written word.

    1. Screwball

      Horrible, just horrible. What is this country coming to. I teach for a state funded school in Ohio. If they had a policy like this I would quit. Screw them.

      Best of luck.

    2. BeliTsari

      Would they accept Moderna as the booster? I’d NO trouble, with HCW: after pretty spooky mRNA side-effects, easily available research on hybrid immunity and spike protein/ immunoglobulin check. I delayed my 2nd dose >5 months and all but one totally agreed. I’ve since had Omicron, but several million other adult New Yorkers somehow BELIEVED it was “mild” and elicited SUPER Immunity! I simply had a root canal, the wrong day? My preference would be two of the Cuban vaccines or the Texas Children’s Hospital or await some attenuated live virus nose-spray?

      1. BeliTsari

        Update: NY1 had a crawl, just now, advising folks delay any 2nd dose, due to a RARE but serious inflammatory disorder, capable of causing heart damage. Now, I’d been scared since only very cursory imaging & diagnostics was performed, since I’d smoked & had a car accident (god BLESS you Ralph Nader!) So, I’d suggest you do what’s necessary to protect your health. NOBODY will go to jail and SOON, vaccine heart damage will simply disappear! VITT had stopped Moderna in younger males LONG ago, in Denmark.

    3. Hunter B

      My wife went into premature labor at 29 weeks a couple of weeks after receiving Pfizer round 2. She has had persistent vertigo ever since. Luckily, our little twin girls seem to be doing fine so far. I’ve had persistent hypertension and strange arrhythmias after 2 Moderna doses almost 12 months ago. Previously completely healthy/athletic both of us.

      1. megrim

        I’ve been having strange arrhythmias, almost twelve months after my second Moderna shot. I will not be getting a third.

    4. Maritimer

      Keep all your records. I have seen some sites which offer liability letters which can be used to put the Coercers on record. In some cases when confronted with notice of liability, they will back off from injections.

      Drs. Malone and McCullough after viewing the most recent Pfizer data dump went on video record that there is fraud involved in these injections. That is some serious allegation. That data dump was given up very reluctantly by Pfizer.

      And Ed Dowd, former Blackstone manager and financial sidekick of Dr. Malone is investigating the financial side of injections. He points out the both Moderna and Pfizer stocks are down despite the booming Injection Industry.

      So, keep all your records, a Day Of Reckoning may come.

  13. pjay

    – ‘Insurgency?’ – Yasha Levine

    – “It’s almost two weeks now since Putin launched this brain-damaged regime change war…. One thing’s clear. The quick victory that Putin and his generals and advisors envisioned has not materialized. Ukrainians didn’t just surrender at the first sight of Russian armor, nor are they warmly embracing their “liberators” with flowers and bread. And why would they? Who the hell would support someone coming in with tanks and missiles into the heart of your city, killing people and sending hundreds of thousands fleeing?”

    I’ve been seeing a lot of comments like this from good anti-imperialist writers. Levine is one of my favorites, and yet comments like this bother me. Of course most of it is true, as are the US plans to support an insurgency that is the main part of the story. But does Levine really think the main Russian motivation was “liberation” and that they expected to be welcome with “flowers and bread”? Did they really think this would be a cake-walk? As Putin, Lavrov, and other Russian officials have made clear many times, their concern was what they claim to be an existential threat to *Russian* security. Aside from the decades-long expansion of NATO, there were the more immediate threats of NATO and CIA installations in Ukraine and increased integration with the Ukrainian military, troop build-ups along the LOC, accelerated flow of weapons, and the potential for both biological and nuclear weapons development. This was certainly a risky move, and like all such invasions it was illegal and will cause much human suffering. But articles like this just support the Western narrative that Putin is irrational, a mad-man… or “brain-damaged,” if you will. The reality is that Russia almost certainly took these real costs into consideration and decided they were worth dealing with the risk of allowing Ukraine to become one big NATO/CIA installation.

    I’m not accusing Levine of this, exactly, but the typical way “progressives” reinforce the establishment narrative is usually something like: “We shouldn’t fund and arm radical jihadists and destabilize sovereign nations, BUT… it is true that Assad is a vicious sadistic torturer killer of his own people!” What I’m seeing now in a lot of places is: “NATO should not have been backing Russia into a corner and provoking it for decades, BUT… Putin’s invasion is a brutal and illegal violation by a paranoid thug!”

    Let me be clear that I am not completely convinced myself that this invasion was necessary, especially given the human cost. But I understand why the Russians felt it was. I’m mystified by the usually hard-nosed commentators who themselves appear mystified by this action.

    1. jrkrideau

      Full Transcript of Putin’s Remarks on 3/5/22: Includes Comments on Why He Ordered the Military Operation in Ukraine, Why it Went Beyond Donbas, Whether He Plans to Declare Martial Law, etc.

      Somewhat bizarrely these remarks seem to have been delivered at a luncheon for women in the aviation industry . Putin’s remarks on woman’s day

      @ pjay
      As suspected, the final impetus for the attack was Zelensky’s statement in Munich that Ukraine was going to get nuclear weapons. I think that up to then Putin and his people hoped something could be worked out.

      The usual hard-nosed commentators seem to have fallen into the mainstream “Putin Evil, Putin mad” way of thinking.

      1. square coats

        re: the particular setting from which Putin delivered these remarks

        Does anyone have any insight to why he delivered his remarks then/there? Was there something intentional about showing him in that setting? Is it just happenstance that this particular instance of him answering Russian citizens’ questions reached a large(ish) audience and in fact he is doing such Q&A with people in Russia regularly right now?

        In addition to finding the sustained camera shots of the women’s serious and attentive expressions interesting, perhaps poignant in a way, I also kept noticing that there were numerous good sized indoor plants behind Putin but no or not much other decor in the room.

        I just found the whole thing quite visually striking, and also wondered if it would receive a lot of ridicule along the lines of various Russian stereotypes in the west.

        1. DanB

          I read somewhere -can’t just where- yesterday that the women were Russian military pilots, not stewardesses.

          1. rowlf

            Airline personnel. Also, Russians do not smile much. It’s a different culture.

            First of all, I would like to congratulate you all on the upcoming International Women’s Day and to wish you and your colleagues all the best. I will be able to address all women of Russia a bit later.

            But I would like to say that the sector which we are talking about and where you work and with which you are affiliated employs over 70,000 women, including over 200 pilots and co-pilots, as well as flight attendants, of course, who are a special category and caste.

            The people in Russia have always treated aviation with great respect and interest, especially for ladies in aviation. I think the first female Russian aviators emerged in the early 20th century, and they won a reputation for themselves during the Great Patriotic War. We know all those famous names of female aviation regiments and their combat record. Today, women work in all positions, including flight controllers, engineers, technicians, and I repeat once again, flight attendants and pilots. On the whole, this is a substantial female force that supplements the aviation sector’s male section.

            My name is Maria Kotova. I am the co-pilot of the Airbus A320 airliner operated by Aeroflot.

            Yulia Shvidkaya: Yulia Shvidkaya, co-pilot with Aeroflot Airlines.

        2. Gc54

          I wondered what he was doodling on the tablecloth with his pen, and what food was on their trays. He gave good explanations.

        3. Foy

          I was wondering if it was because they were Aeroflot pilots and obviously the international sanctions have affected them and so a good audience for him to explain his rationale to, as representative of others who also are affected by the sanctions.

          He does explain things well

    2. lyman alpha blob

      A lot of Western pundits seem to think they know exactly what Russia’s plans were and are mistaking Putin for Donald Rumsfeld circa early 2002. Must be the fog of war has their brains addled…

    3. britzklieg

      Did Levine link to any statements from Russia enunciating “the quick victory that Putin and his generals and advisors envisioned?”

      1. pjay

        No, and I’d be very surprised if there were any such statements by Russian officials. On the other hand, there were some predictions like this from some pro-Russia commentators early on, which is probably what Levine was reacting to.

    4. NotThePilot

      While he’s pretty much limited to anecdote (like almost all of us not hooked into classified intelligence), I think Yasha has done a really good job of reporting how normal Russians (liberals and pro-war) are reacting to this.

      As I’ve said before though, I still think everyone expecting the Russians to commit to a long-term occupation, and the resulting insurgency, are assuming too much. I’m not sure why Yasha expects it, and maybe he’ll be right, but I think most people in the NATO countries are just projecting their own lack of imagination.

      I still haven’t even heard a rigorous argument yet for what Russia’s endgame necessarily is. Maybe they just don’t have one, but I was finally able to think of one today that doesn’t end in nuclear war, insurgency, or Russia failing in its stated objectives. Granted, it’s a little out there, but it is possible.

      And I agree with him that there really isn’t a coherent ideology the Russians are offering to attract people in the same sense consumerism or socialism has (I won’t even bother addressing the crazy idea Western conservatives have that Putin is on their side). However, I think there is a coherent program behind Russian strategy under Putin, it’s not entirely cynical or nihilistic, and in the grand scheme of things, it hasn’t really failed them yet.

  14. CG

    Re: Russian Seed Imports

    At least according to this article (, as of 2019 the top line number is that Russia imports around 80% of all seeds for it’s agriculture. The specific breakdown according to Viktor Yakushev, director of Agrophysical Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences is:

    “In the case of oil-bearing and some industrial crops, the volume of imports of seed material is currently estimated at 50 percent to 70 percent of the market,” Yakushev says. “At the same time, in the case of potatoes, vegetables and greens, these figures are lower … in the range of 40 percent to 50 percent.

    Now, that whole article is about how the Russians have been trying to increase their domestic seed production since 2019. So in the subsequent three years, I would imagine those numbers have changed a bit. But I can’t imagine Russia has obtained anywhere near a substantial level of autarky since then. Although at the same time, I don’t know whether or not the US has sanctioned the import of seeds to Russia as of now. So hopefully, the same people who apparently think that it’s a fantastic idea to ban the import of Russian oil to the US (thus basically ensuring that gas prices are going to go through the roof) will think better of further reducing the ability of one of the largest producers of wheat, beyond what said producer has already done, to produce a major portion of the worlds grain supplies.

  15. Questa Nota

    Rice farming in California wasn’t on my radar, other than having seen some fields near NoCal roads a few times.
    The article was quite informative about soils, aquifers, flyways and related matters.
    Now I will savor the bites of rice with new taste buds. :)

  16. The Rev Kev

    “Through Putin’s looking glass: How the Russians are seeing — or not seeing — the war in Ukraine”

    Instead of reading the Washington Post about Putin’s Russia, how about listening to Putin himself explain his thinking? Here is a 24-minute video of him answering a few question to a group of airline stewardesses. Make sure the ‘CC’ is clicked to get an English language translation of him- (24:20 min)

    Thing is about Putin is that he does not speak in sound bites but fully articulates his thoughts at some length. So he is the sort of guy that if you asked him the time, that he would give you the history of the calendar.

    1. Carolinian

      The US is always operating on the theory that Putin is oh so close to being overthrown or, per the latest Hillary nonsense, that everything that is happening is all about him. Clearly as a dilettante herself with a low opinion of her own country’s “deplorables” she can’t imagine a country where people are seriously into public affairs.

      Gilbert Doctorow writes articles about Russian TV with its no holds barred panel discussions of the issues of the day. He says they are very popular. It could be Russians are simply smarter than we are with a history not made up of old John Wayne movies.

    2. Stove Goblin

      That is called obfuscation. One asked for the time. Putin has a fantastic memory according to Madeline Albright whom worked with VVP when he was #2 to Yeltsin. These are prepared remarks from crunched numbers, yes. But the numbers were prepared in a secretive culture; the reports do not reflect reality. Prepared in a vacuum, they are for consumption by the masses. Albright also described Putin as reptilian; his first career was hunting dissidents. A man who gave nothing away but gained people’s confidence so as to acquire names.

        1. Michael Ismoe

          Propaganda works. If Putin is reptilian, what would you call an ex-president who bonks teenagers on an airplane?

          If anyone knows reptilian up close, it’s Madeline Albright.

          1. Pat

            I have Ophidiophobia. I still say that grouping Madeline and Bill with reptiles is grossly unfair and insulting to the reptiles.

            I am not sure what disgusting slime deserves to be bracketed with Albright, both Clintons and yes Biden, but they aren’t good enough for the planet to be reptiles.

              1. BeliTsari

                I would personally, run down, pick up and house several DC/ NYC area residents. Coordinate this for (most) innocent non-white residents. Then REALLY piss off somebody with a formerly advanced SLBM/ Cruise Missile stockpile?

        2. Wukchumni

          It cost my dad $200 (free to go to Aussie, incidentally) to emigrate to the USA in 1952, and he and a couple other Czech chaps did an On The Road trip from the Big Apple in search of their America, and the story goes that they got to Denver and my dad said, here’s the spot for me and they dropped him off en route to their own private Idaho & Washington.

          He met my mom-a lapsed Canadian there and they called Denver home until moving to LA in 1960, allowing for me to have Native Son of the Golden West status, so I have that going for me-which is nice.

          Anyhow, you can only imagine how tiny the Czech expat community of Denver was, and my mom would’ve been in her 30’s when Madeline was a teenager, so it wasn’t as if they mingled, and there was the issue of her father having been a Czech diplomat, while my dad was a fellow with a degree in economics from a Swiss university trading penny stocks (Denver was THE penny stock trading locale) in learning the game in the Single A league of arbitrage. They weren’t on the same level socially.

          Albright claimed to not know she was Jewish until 1997, and I remember my mom telling me that was a total crock, what BS.

        3. fresno dan

          Rev Kev
          ‘Mericans – facts, or facts known to the rest of the world but not reported in ‘Merican media, will never win you an arguement. (course, ‘Mericans are proud of their ignorance of history)
          USA! USA! USA!

          1. fresno dan

            OR, if half a million brown children die, but not under Trump (or under a dem), can it be reported in “Merican media?

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        I can’t think of anything to add to this:

        In the aftermath of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Russophobia which had taken grip in the United States since Russia’s first post-Cold War president, Boris Yeltsin, handed the reins of power over to his hand-picked successor, Vladimir Putin, has emerged much like the putrid core of an over-ripe boil. That this anti-Russian trend existed in the United States was, in and of itself, no secret. Indeed, the United States had, since 2000, pushed aside classic Russian area studies in the pursuit of a new school espousing the doctrine of “Putinism,” centered on the flawed notion that everything in Russia revolved around the singular person of Vladimir Putin.

        The more the United States struggled with the reality of a Russian nation unwilling to allow itself to be once again constrained by the yoke of carpetbagger economics disguised as “democracy” that had been prevalent during the Yeltsin era, the more the dogma of “Putinism” took hold in the very establishments where intellectual examination of complex problems was ostensibly transpiring — the halls of academia which in turn produced the minds that guided policy formulation and implementation.

        1. Triester

          Pity the Nation

          Pity the nation whose people are sheep
          And whose shepherds mislead them…

          Pity the nation oh pity the people
          Who allow their rights to erode

          and their freedoms to be washed away

          – Lawrence Ferlinghetti

          That’s funny. Ferlinghetti died at age 101,
          the day after he got his Covid vaccine.

      2. Louis Fyne

        Putin can play the piano well too. Watching him play the piano on youtube is a bit surreal given the western name calling.

        Turning Putin into a caricature is going to sink the current world order. Don’t know what will be next, but we’re getting the Great Reset ™, just not the outcome envisioned in Davos

        1. lyman alpha blob

          Zelensky can also play the piano, with no hands! I’m wondering if he wished he’d stuck with comedy at this point.

          He should have followed Fred Tuttle’s example, who was an old dairy farmer and an acquaintance of my family in Vermont, and like Zelensky played a fake politician. He starred in a fake documentary comedy called A Man With a Plan where he essentially plays himself and wins in a run for US Congress.

          Later, he was asked to run as a Republican in a real US Senate race, mainly because the other Republican was a rich flatlander (non-native transplant for those not from the Green Mountain state) who was new to the state and trying to buy a Senate seat. Tuttle spent almost no money on the campaign – he vowed to spend $1 for every town in VT for a total of $251.00 – and wallopped his well-heeled primary opponent. In a memorable debate, Tuttle showed his opponent being out of touch with regular VTers by asking “How many teats does a cow have?” and receiving an answer that was off by 50%. That pretty much did the rich guy in.

          Then, faced with an actual chance of going to DC, Tuttle did the smart thing and declined, endorsed Patrick Leahy, dropped out of the race, and went back to his farm.

          1. newcatty

            Love the old dairy farmer story. It would be a great “Mr, Smith goes to Washington ” script for a netflex movie. With the twist, that Mr. Tuttle didn’t. Just be careful that the O’s don’t get a hold of it.

  17. lyman alpha blob

    Extremely predictable US fecklessness is helping Zelensky get his mind right regarding NATO membership. From RT, quoting a news broadcast –

    “I’ve become less passionate about this issue after we understood that NATO isn’t ready to accept Ukraine. The alliance is afraid of controversial things and a confrontation with Russia,” Zelensky said.

    “I’ve never wanted Ukraine to be a country that is on its knees, begging for something. And we’re not going to be that country.”

    On an RT-related note, evidently Lee Camp’s show is kaput. Hopefully he’ll be able to make a comeback somewhere else. Haven’t listened to this yet, but here’s Camp’s explanation –

    1. Charlie Sheldon

      I have felt from the outset of this thing (the run-up and then the invasion, the size of which surprised nearly everybody) that the only individual with the keys to unlock the dilemma is Zelinsky. I thought actually he would take this step days ago, but instead he seemed to fall entirely into the NATO camp, ie fight to the end. But, maybe not. If Zelinsky declares he will declare Ukraine neutral, never join NATO, then Russian troops will leave (as stated by Putin again and again) and somehow an accomodation is reached whereby Ukraine is somewhat redrawn (losing the east in some way) and Ukraine (and Zelinsky) survive. Of course, who will pay for the damage, the deaths, the suffering? Zelinsky can meake such a deal by declaring that the west didnt have the balls to step in, he has no choice, and so Ukraine partially wins by becoming war free, Russia wins by getting the neutral non NATO zone (but losing a lot of soldiers), and the West loses because Putin remains in charge while at the dsame time also showing that NATO going eastward was necessary based on what Putin just did (a neat inversion but true). Nobody wins, here. Ukraine is ruined. Russia is bankrupt and exposed as maybe not a world class military power (bets are still out on that). The West loses because they are facing inflation and economic ruin, too, Europe still doesn’t have the Russian gas, China’s toys wont sell so well and they suffer….but maybe just maybe we all aren’t in a cloud of ash….

      My sense here is if Zelinsky did this he might be hailed as a world savior, although I fear he might have fallen into the “we can win this” camp which is growing every day….Ukraine would be a buffer between east and west, in a very powerful position, with a nation at peace while Russia and the West squabble about sanctions and such.

      I have not been smoking weed this morning, either….

      1. JohnA

        The neonazis have already said that if Zelinsky concedes to Russia they will string him up from a lamp post in the centre of Kiev. Plus, Biden Nuland and Blinken wont let him. Everytime Russia and Ukraine have any negotiations, the Ukrainians say they need time to think, so they go home, consult Biden and come back with the answer no.

        1. orlbucfan

          Not into supporting neo-Nazis anywhere including Eastern Europe/Asia. How about launching Nuland, Blinken, SloMoJoe, Harris and Pelousy on a one way ride into the Sun?

  18. Ghost in the Machine

    Regarding the adverse reactions to Covid vaccines, there was a post awhile back that suggested major financial firms were looking into Pharma hiding bad outcomes and there was discussion of this nullifying the legal protections Pharma has received to develop the mRNA vaccines. It seemed like a big deal but I have heard nothing more. Has anyone come across any further discussion of this?

    1. jefemt

      Here in America? I mean no disrespect…

      The investor class may pursue relief for themselves, but surely there will be a block to the plebes bringing attacks.

      And no, no hopium or delusion here— I have not heard a peep, and can’t imagine any long term traction.

      1. Ghost in the Machine

        Yes, I know they don’t give a damn about the plebes. It was supposedly motivated by big insurance firms looking out after themselves and investors worried about losing on their big Pharma bets. But I haven’t heard anything more and it may just be another internet rumor. I must confess I do hope for Pharma to finally get caught in acts so large and egregious (and this vaccine coverup seems like that) that they are bankrupted and/or nationalized and we can have real drug manufacturers instead of the combination of a protection racket for drugs that actually work(shame if something happened to your sick loved one, fork it over), drug dealer, and snake oil sales force we have now.

        I think that a revolution started by a mass poisoning by a Pharma company was a storyline in one of John Michael Greer’s novels.

        1. marku52

          It was actually a GMO food product, but yes it killed a lot of people, including the brother of the protagonist.

          I can’t think of vaccine questionable safety without thinking of it.

  19. JohnA

    I am quite intrigued about the flood of refugees to Poland and beyond. As soon as the EU expanded eastwards, Poles, Estonians, Latvians, Lithuanians, Romanians, Bulgarians etc., raced westwards – Polish is now the 2nd most spoken language in London, for example. So much so that there was talk of the Baltic states becoming ridiculously depopulated. This was one of the trigger factors behind Brexit. Reluctance to admit Ukraine was probably partly due to a fear of a further mass migration. The Netherlands voted against visa free entry to the EU for them a few years ago, for example. Now, this is happening. How many migrants have actually come from dangerous conflict zones, the fighting has been mostly in the east and around the Black Sea? In the combat areas, people are either being held hostage by the neo nazis as shields or heading to Russia. West Ukrainians, the half in favour of the EU instead of Russia, are now getting the longed for de facto right to enter the EU. As with sanctions, something else that will come back to bite the EU big time.

    1. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you, John.

      At the risk of lowering the tone, my former private banking colleagues often engage “concierge services” to facilitate personal services for high net worth clients, “elite courtesans” in City parlance. They reckon that over half of such providers in London and European cities which attract their clients are from the former Warsaw Pact states. The centre for trafficking is Geneva, not London.

      1. JohnA

        Agreed Colonel. If you drive past the endless ‘urbanisations’ along the Spanish Mediterranean coast in late evening/night, that are home to British, German, Scandinavian etc., retirees, almost every deserted roundabout has one or two very sad and bored looking East European women waiting to do business, that are dropped off and picked up by their pimps. A desperate sight. I expect more such exploitation will happen now.

    2. OnceWereVirologist

      Given the ban on military aged men leaving Ukraine, I imagine that there are very few complete families among the 2 million or so refugees that have already gone west. So add another few hundred thousand male family members who might want to follow them. Then imagine another few million leaving over the next few weeks. I think the Syrian War made about 4 million refugees. This has the potential to dwarf that number and the rate of flight seems somewhat out of proportion to the current level of danger for civilians, so it’s probably fair to speculate that some are seeing the opportunity to make a permanent move to the EU.

  20. The Rev Kev

    ‘Railway building in China. Fascinating stuff.’

    That’s is amazing that. Some how good engineering always looks elegant and the same is true here.

    1. Wukchumni

      Agree! So much thought and engineering went into it~

      In theory we are building a high speed choo-choo from Chinatown in LA to Chinatown in SF, but I must say you don’t see a heck of a lot of indication of anything being done on it in the CVBB, not that i’m specifically looking for evidence in that regard.

      We had no problems using Chinese labor in building our transcontinental railroad 160 years ago, why not turn to them in building the railroad of today?

      1. Anthony G Stegman

        And then kick out the Chinese laborers when we are done with them? Just like before?

      2. Carolinian

        The original Yellow Peril. Their tremendous work ethic made the European immigrants look bad so they had to be banned for many years. They drove a railroad tunnel through a mountain at the Donner pass with picks and (eventually) Nitro. Many died–unclear how many because the railroad didn’t bother to keep track.

    2. jo6pac

      I love watching those on utube. Then after the bridge is done the rail rolls out at amazing speed.

  21. Michael Ismoe

    Brandon just banned Russian oil. They think this country can survive with $7 a gallon gas. They are wrong.

    They promised me FDR and they gave me Herbert Hoover.

    1. Anthony G Stegman

      Biden will soon be going to Saudi Arabia to petition MBS to pump more oil. After a few winks and nods MBS will likely agree. The global economy MUST have cheap oil.

      1. Kouros

        Essentially the message is: “Give us more oil while you bomb Yemen so we don’t have to get oil from Russia as it bombs Ukraine.”

        Also, US is courting sanctioned Venezuela for its heavy crude, but not really willing to lift sanctions….

    2. Nikkikat

      Brandon is going to soon find out that Americans don’t give a rats a** about Ukraine and the EU if they cannot get to their job.

      1. Triester

        So much attention paid to the sanctity of a border 5,000 miles away, none to a border inches away from the U.S.

    3. Katniss Everdeen

      The cnbc “brain trust” is positively giddy at how much money the energy companies are going to be making now that brandon has committed “us” to “sacrifice” on behalf of ukranian “freedom,” a “sacrifice” that, according to brandon, is going nowhere but up.

      Zero mention of how this “sacrifice” will impact the new american must have–delivery of anything and everything by internal combustion engine owning grunts…er…independent business people.

      1. fresno dan

        three words that can never, evah, be spoken – excess profits tax.
        because it is important that WE ALL sacrifice, except of course the allocators and financiers of captial…cause that’s how capitalism works

    4. griffen

      Higher gas, higher commodity costs, higher cost of living. Brandon is on a roll lately. Oh and destroying the wealth effect for pensioners and retirees while at it.

      I’ll be sure to shove 2022 in the face of any Biden voter I know personally.

    5. The Rev Kev

      Will people be shamed for complaining about $10 a gallon gas? Will they be told to shut up and accept it as a price to pay for fighting Putin? By the way, the UK also pulled the trigger on this one too.

    1. Pat

      We may have slowed down but a million dead is still nigh. I wonder if any notice will be taken since there is no way to blame that on Putin.

      1. Screwball

        Nope, none. Not if we can’t blame Putin, Russia, or Trump. Nothing is the democrats fault, just ask them.

    2. Anthony G Stegman

      Just curious. How many Ukrainian civilians were killed yesterday? Their deaths get a whole lot more media attention than our deaths.

      1. Louis Fyne

        To date, the official UN total is somewhere under 500 in total since Feb. Obviously will rise, but when the official total is still lower than 1 day’s worth of covid, then compare to the news attention. just wow.

        1. lyman alpha blob

          When I watched some of the on the ground live coverage from the Indian news this morning (linked to above), one reporter was walking around among some houses reduced to rubble but there was no evidence of casualties. The rubble also didn’t looked burned like you would think it would after being bombed, but they were already using bulldozers so maybe that explained it. Anyway, just seemed like an odd scene. If people had been evacuated ahead of time, then why bomb them? And if the Russians had taken fire from the buildings, where were the casualties when they returned fire? Could be the Indian media presented a deliberately sanitized scene, who knows?

          From what I can tell though, Russia does seem to be taking steps to reduce civilian casualties so far and they have given military troops the chance to lay down their arms. Far better than say US treatment of Iraqis in either of those wars. Even western sources are admitting that Russia is not trying to use the “shock and awe” strategy in Ukraine, aka “kill everything that moves”.

    1. square coats

      He is definitely one of my main sources of info right now, and he has been paying very close attention to the situation since sometime last year.

      I also find him somehow very reassuring, not that he seems to minimize the severity/risk of the ongoing situation. I’m not sure why I find him reassuring, but I think it might be in part because I feel that he has a very good balance of confidence and humility, which is not quite the right word, but at any rate he strikes me as someone who, like anyone else, has their priors, but is genuinely trying to understand what is actually going on and is quite skilled at doing so.

      I’ve found it interesting that, among the sources for info about Russia/Ukraine I personally consider it worthwhile/informative to keep up with, it seems he’s had a vastly more positive view of Macron’s diplomatic attempts than most people. (this is neither here nor there, just a small curiosity of mine… )

  22. Pookah Harvey

    I was checking the headlines in the MSM this morning and was surprised not one mentioned that Russia threatens to cut gas flows to Germany via Nord Stream 1. The story was imbedded 3 or 4 paragraphs in some. But as Politico Europe explained “That would be a massive hammer-blow to German supply — out of the 93 billion cubic meters that Germany consumed in 2021, 60 bcm came via Nord Stream.”
    You would think this would be important enough to make it a page 1 headline.

    1. Louis Fyne

      Maybe it’s me, but it doesn’t seem that the news reports of German-French (Michelin, Porsche, Bosch, etc) factories going on furlough is being carried prominently by the big news outlets either.

  23. Tom Stone

    The right people are making serious bank due to the new proxy war already, I snickered when I learned that Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and Blackrock were buying the bonds of Russian companies…
    very cheaply.
    We are looking at $6 Gas now in my part of NorCal and $7 in parts of SoCal according to a friend,
    It will get higher.
    Even if the Stupidity and Hubris of the Biden Administration do not provoke a nuclear exchange the already imposed sanctions are going to cause serious disruptions.
    Food riots in the MENA.
    Further disruption of the Automotive and chip making industries
    And when Russia says no more gas from Nordstream one and no more coal….
    If you are a European Country perhaps it is time to re examine one’s relationship to NATO and the USA because the shit is hitting the fan..

  24. flora

    local report: car fuel regular gas at the fuel station jumped up 25% over the weekend. For people who remember the 1970s oil shock and stagflation, buckle up.

    (In the 1970s the US was a creditor nation with a still strong manufacturing base; there were no threats to the dollar as the world reserve currency. If nations decide they don’t need to buy as many US Treasuries as they have done because they have made alternative currency arrangements for cross-border trade in, say, Eurasia for example, it’ll be “Katie bar the door.” My 2 4 cents. )

    1. Wukchumni

      I keep a strategic gas stockpile of around 30 gallons, and truth be said it’s a pain in the arse, you have to find a spot to store a quite dangerous fluid, and add Sta-Bil to allow you to keep it for a couple years-although the reality is you use it about every year just to be sure it’s not gonna gum up the works of your car. I really dislike driving with it as well after filling up @ the gas station-there’s a certain dread of being burned up dead.

      I’d guess that 99.9962% of us regular joes keep nothing or next to it in storage, and my ‘lifeline’ is more or less enough to get me to LA and back to pick up my mom @ her assisted living place and a few friends, if shit gets really weird.

      Other than that, all I have on hand is what is in the gas tanks of the jalopies on the driveway, like everybody else.

      1. cocomaan

        I’m about to use my cache of gasoline, maybe 20 gallons. I also hate storing it. Feels like storing a bomb. And the modern spouts are such trash, spilling everywhere. I use a huge funnel every time.

        Problem is, I now need to refill my cache. Yikes.

      2. Carolinian

        30 gallons is not very much. Is it worth the trouble vs just keeping full tanks in vehicles?

        But you make the point that Americans are soon going to be hoarding as much as possible–driving the price up even further.

        1. Wukchumni

          I ask myself that every time the sprouts as mentioned, malfunction and 87 octane spills on you a bit, and it takes an hour to fill up a 20 gallon tank with heavy lifting involved, versus casually driving up to the pump, inserting a card made out of oil into a machine made with oil derived parts and then take a hose made from petroleum products and insert it into a hole and go get a cruller and a cup of joe @ the convenience mart and be back in time to remove it from the gas tank, and be on your way.

        2. cocomaan

          Not speaking for Wuk, but I use mine for generator when power goes out. A little less than a 1/2 gallon an hour under load. So 50 or so hours of generation. Not bad.

    2. Louis Fyne

      mortgage/rents versus income is worse now than in 2008. even going back to nominal 2008 levels for gasoline is bad news

      1. Wukchumni

        There was tremendous deflation in hospitality services in 2008, a hotel/casino we stay at near Hoover Dam before kayak trips on the Colorado River had a $10 rate* per night. Whiskey Pete’s casino @ the Cal/Neva border was much more expensive, they wanted $16 a night for a room.

        * Now $86 a night

        1. jr

          Gas bill: 285$ this month, 700$ total in 3 months, electric heat so it’s the H2O heater…and I’ve been turning it off at night.

  25. petal

    Thank you so much for the adverse vaccine reactions post. Whilst reading through the autoimmune section, I started crying. I feel much less alone now, and that maybe I’m not crazy or stupid like I was told I was by those in charge. My disease had been in remission for 21 years until exactly 9 hours after getting the shot. Prior to that, when I had brought up the autoimmune issues with MDs at DH, they treated me like I was an uneducated, stupid, hick anti-vax right-wing mouth-breather that didn’t know what I was talking about-even though I do immunology research every day for a living. I look forward to full light being blasted on everything about these vaccines, along with the issue of employees being forced to get them and the consequences of that. Unfortunately it will be too late for a lot of people.

        1. Danny

          According to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, there have been 7,537 cases of myocarditis and pericarditis reported following COVID vaccines, with 5,602 cases attributed to Pfizer. -Footnote 86- Some 476 of these reports occurred in children from 12 to 17 years old.

          86 MedAlerts, “Found 5,602 cases where Vaccine is COVID19 and Manufacturer is PFIZER/BIONTECH and Symptom is Myocarditis or Pericarditis,” MedAlert/VAERS, (Oct. 1, 2021),
 b/findfield.php?TABLE=ON&GROUP1=AGE&EVENTS=ON&SYMPTO MS[]=Myocarditis+%2810028606%29&SYMPTOMS[]=Pericarditis+%281 0034484%29&VAX=COVID19&VAXMAN=PFIZER/BIONTECH

          That’s from The Real Anthony Fauci
          download at

          1. ambrit

            IM Doc of the NC Covid Brain Trust has mentioned before how the people running VAERS have been downright obstructionist in allowing reports of serious side effects to be counted “officially.” So, take those statistics with a metric ton of salt.
            (Unless you were being snarky and I missed that.)

    1. fresno dan

      I am extremely fortunate that I have never had an adverse rx – except when I took a new medicine and no one told me that it was contra indicated because of a medication I was already taking.
      But my experience with doctors is that they simply do not take adverse reactions seriously. And I have had A LOT of doctors. I really can’t understand why that is, other than maybe vanity. Their universal view seems to be if they can’t diagnose you, than your problems are all in your head.
      I hope you recover fully and things go well for you.

  26. Culp Creek Curmudgeon

    “Tweet from March 4. Sunday was March 6. This is March 8. And ‘Bellingcat investigator’ is oxymoronic.”

    I think you misspelled a word. The correct spelling is “moronic.”

  27. fresno dan

    In the past few months, the United States has undergone a kind of transformation that one only reads about in history books — from a nation which imperfectly, yet stolidly, embraced the promise, if not principle, of freedom, especially when it came to that most basic of rights — the freedom of expression. Democracies live and die on the ability of an informed citizenry to engage in open debate, dialogue and discussion about difficult issues. Freedom of speech is one of the touch-stone tenets of American democracy — the idea that, no matter how out of step with mainstream society one’s beliefs might be, the retained right to freely express opinions thus derived without fear of censorship or repression existed.
    No more.
    hard to escape the conclusion that the world’s worst Oligarchs reside right here in the good ole USA. And that the US policy is to strip mine the world…And that is due to the complete and total control of both over the air and social media.

  28. Wukchumni

    Y$2K is upon us, old school money is now worth 100x it’s fiat value of 90 years ago.

    If past is prologue, it could get really interesting comparing us to the Roman Empire in the debasement of in their case the Denarius and of course for us, the Dollar.

    The exchange rate had been 25 silver Denarii equaling 1 gold Aureus for hundreds of years-as it had been 20 silver Dollars equaling 1 ounce in the USA for 135 years, and then enter high tech and the silver-washing of bronze coins to look like silver, whereas we didn’t even bother with making something fake, we just applied pressure to a keyboard to produce money.

    In 301, one gold aureus was worth 833⅓ denarii; by 324, the same aureus was worth 4,350 denarii. In 337, after Constantine converted to the solidus, one solidus was worth 275,000 denarii and finally, by 356, one solidus was worth 4,600,000 denarii.

    Here’s a comparison to the similar long playing trajectory…

    In 2001 an ounce of gold was $275, by 2022 that same ounce was worth $2050

    1. flora

      an aside: but how do you find a reliable coin dealer? Are they listed in the yellowgold pages? / ;)

  29. Ranger Rick

    Interesting coverage at the Register. The Right to Repair argument going on is creating unlikely allies between tech enthusiasts and farmers. Magnuson-Moss is in direct conflict with the DMCA, and something has to give.

  30. michael Ismoe

    God Bless Joe Biden. He did the impossible. He made Trump look good.

    Favorability Ratings: U.S. Political Leaders
    Favorable Unfavorable Spread
    Joe Biden 41.9 53.0 -11.1
    Kamala Harris 37.5 51.0 -13.5
    Donald Trump 43.9 51.5 -7.6
    Nancy Pelosi 35.0 55.8 -20.8
    Kevin McCarthy 23.3 40.0 -16.7
    Chuck Schumer 28.3 45.7 -17.4
    Mitch McConnell 24.3 57.0 -32.7

    1. Wukchumni

      My Kevin (since ’07) is neck and neck in disapproval with Chuck, who never met a camera he didn’t bullrush.

  31. fresno dan

    The video, obtained by Just the News under an open records request, also shows officers administered Angela West a breathalyzer and expressed surprise it did not show her above the legal limit, but then omitted the existence of that test from the official police report they filed before all charges were dropped by prosecutors.
    evidence of guilt, always properly obtained. Evidence of innocence – fogetaboutit.
    So I actually see this NewsNation show occasionally, and of course, it has clips of the police acting admirably. OK, that is fine. BUT, they act like they are the fair, balanced, unbiased reporters of fact. So I wrote to them to see if they will put that body cam footage on air. And do an analysis of how many good police clips there are compared to how many bad poice clips are out there.
    I expect a full, objective, and disspassionate analysis of police body cam videos…never.
    Because in ‘Merica, the agenda is more important than the facts…

  32. Jason Boxman

    When asked whether she could pay off these debts, Angela said, “Hell no, I won’t be okay. I don’t have $64,000. I have been totally in a state of depression from the time I left there. I’m the kind of person who always has an excellent credit rating, pays every bill. I’m in counseling for anxiety and depression. I’ve gone through divorce, been a single parent, a vet, and never had to file bankruptcy. Now to think I might have to do that weighs on me very heavily.”

    The bankruptcy shame. Businesses declare bankruptcy all the time, and it isn’t considered a moral failing. It sucks that not only did Amazon hose this woman, but she feels shame for a bankruptcy that is entirely due to Amazon’s exploitations. There’s always counter party risk in lending; that’s why there’s a return.

    Oh, also interesting to note that Amazon, one of the world’s riches companies, is delivering packages at below cost clearly. That’s kind of amazing, to get away with that year in and out.


    1. cnchal

      > . . . delivering packages at below cost clearly. That’s kind of amazing, to get away with that year in and out.

      Amazon pays its delivery companies roughly 10 cents per package delivered, roughly $150 per day per route, and covers the cost of gas with additional bonuses of roughly 15 cents per package for achieving the highest performance metrics. (These numbers vary regionally across the United States based on the cost of doing business.) Amazon does not reimburse delivery service partners for expenses such as insurance claims, overtime pay, tows and repairs, leases on vans, van damages, workers’ compensation claims, office space, parking, parking and traffic tickets, labor costs for recruiters and dispatchers. Van damages are among the steepest of these costs, and often exceed $100,000 a year, delivery service company owners said.

      The requirement for those that want to deliver for Amazon is that they know nothing about the delivery business and are desperate and gullible.

      Amazon shopper = whip cracking sadist

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Let us pray that . . . Amazon shopper today = Amazon warehouse worker or delivery driver tomorrow.

  33. Jason Boxman

    Some additional news on economic consequences of the Russian invasion of the Ukraine, from a company I’m familiar with, straight from leadership:

    While relevant sanctions must guide many of our actions, we’ve taken additional measures as a company. Effective immediately, [company] is discontinuing sales and services in Russia and Belarus (for both organizations located in or headquartered in Russia or Belarus). This includes discontinuing partner relationships with organizations based in or headquartered in Russia or Belarus.

    (bold mine)

    We’re going to be living with the consequences of this geopolitically, this invasion, for decades to come. I can only hope that there is a peaceful resolution soon, regardless of what the warmongering press might desire.

    1. cocomaan

      Shouldn’t these companies also stop doing business with China and India for aiding and abetting Russian aggression? They didn’t vote against it in the UN, after all.

      1. Kouros

        Shouldn’t these companies stop business with the US for years occupation of Syria and for the full support to KSA & UAE in bombing Yemen for 7 years?

          1. rowlf

            Was the term humanitarian crisis available back then? Is there a Venn diagram of humanitarian crisis and spreading democracy?

    2. John k

      Our rulers wanted to isolate Russia from the west, mission accomplished. This seems likely to cement their relationship with China, India, Iran, Africa, Cuba and parts of s America. But Europe might be ground down until they become independent of fossil, not near term. S I-fi suggested this split years ago.
      I imagine Russian materials offered first to their partners at favorable terms, giving them one more advantage vs the west.
      And… seems Asia better educated vs us, while all we do is finance, which nearly ruined Boeing. How long before we don’t make anything at all? And how long to get back to what we could do in 1969? Maybe can’t get there from here.
      And maybe patents will not apply to the other side. Cheap drugs would then leak thru to the expensive side.

  34. Wukchumni


    Ever notice how preying mantis kind of looks like something more of our size in the popular imagination of how an extraterrestrial must surely be too, emanating out of UFO near you?

    ‘Lead me to your takers…’

    1. jr

      A few years back I saved a beautiful big female mantis from getting squashed in Washington Square Park. About 5 inches long, blue/green belly, a queen! Snapped a picture of her staring me down while perched on my hand!

  35. Rhys

    Re: Mask mandates “go away” and the lack of agency. Jersey here, teacher, school is grades 6-12, 900 kids. Mandate lifted yesterday and I had 2 out of 140 without a mask. Teachers almost all wearing masks. Almost gives you hope.

  36. CaliDan

    >Fifteen Bad Ukraine Narratives, Paul Street, Canadian Dimension, originally from Counterpunch

    A dearth of primary sources––heck, any sources––not to mention a truckload of random ad hominems. This from an article that purports to correct false narratives?

    Take #8, for example: “‘It was warmongering Western hysteria and shameless captivity to CIA propaganda to warn of a full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine.’ I read countless comments almost exactly like this and again and again on the social media accounts of numerous self-identified lefties and supposed anti-imperialists in the days and weeks leading up to Putin’s invasion. What’s there to say to this claim now except, to use the well-known acronym from phone text and online communication? LOL (short for ‘laugh out loud’)?”

    The bold false narrative is barely a coherent thought, even minus the adjectives. I suppose the author intended something like, “Random lefties in my Twitter feed did not think there’d be war because they were ignorant.” Maybe so. But does that meet the criteria of a false narrative that needs to be dubunked? Or evidence of Putin-stanism? Is anyone still saying things like this in his feed? My goodness, who are these people and what rock do they live under? Anyways, then, because there was war, the author’s corrective comes in the form of just LOL. I mean, I didn’t think I would ever shave my beard. But I did so… false narrative debunked!

    1. britzklieg

      Business Insider 2/6/22: Up to 50,000 civilian casualties and Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, could fall in days if Russia mounts a full-scale invasion, report says

      According to US military intelligence, Russia has gathered 70% of the firepower it needs for a full-scale invasion.

      Russia has almost completed preparations for a large-scale invasion of Ukraine which could lead to 50,000 civilian casualties, the Washington Post report.

      Paul Street lost his mind during Russiagate. Hasn’t found it yet and probably never will.

    2. pjay

      Yes, this is the typical Paul Street/Counterpunch line:

      “Just as one can hate both the neoliberal-capitalist Democratic Party and (imagine) the neofascist-capitalist Republican Party at the same time, one can simultaneously abhor both supremely dangerous US-led Western imperialism and the less powerful but nonetheless criminal, imperialist, and supremely dangerous regime of Russian President Vladimir Putin.”

      This illustrates perfectly the point I tried to make in an earlier comment above: US led imperialism is supremely dangerous, BUT… Putin is also criminal, imperialist, and supremely dangerous. Real helpful Paul. I’m trying to think of *any* victim of US imperialism over the last few decades which one could defend without being accused of idiotic fascistic “dirtbag leftism” by the oh-so-principled “radicals” of the Counterpunch leadership. “A curse on all their houses; none lives up to our standards!” It must be great to be so certain of one’s own righteousness. But as historically informed critique from the left it is worthless.

      1. Carolinian

        Street was on a four year rant when Trump was around. But, however bad Trump may have been, I think it’s safe to say he would not have dared Putin to invade Ukraine. Indeed Trump seemed to show little interest in foreign policy other than the middle east where his big backer Adelson had sway.

        I hardly ever read Counterpunch (his regular home) any more and used to read it religiously. The folks there keep it going with offerings from long time contributors but it isn’t at all what it once was.

    3. Soredemos

      I think it starts off okay but gets increasingly crap as it goes on. By the end he’s screeching about Glenn Greenwald being a Trump bootlicker.

      Also, ctrl + F ‘Donbass’ revealed nothing.

  37. drumlin woodchuckles

    I don’t know if the PutinGov and Russia have co-achieved a state of seed autarky or not. But I suspect the PutinGov has been thinking about that and also thinking about making Russia a go-to country for Franken-free GMO-free clean-genes seeds and foods in the long run. If the “world” gets disenchanted with petrochemical GMO cancer-juice farming, the “world” may well seek to buy Russia’s non-toxic cancer-free food, seeds etc. far into the long run future.

    Here is an article about Putin decreeing a ban on GMO food of any kind within the borders of Russia.

    ( I can think of a satirically humorous logo for such Zero GMO clean food. It could be inspired by the character Mister Green Jeans from the old Captain Kangaroo TV show. It could be called:
    Mister Clean Genes. A farmer in clean green jeans called Mister Clean Genes offering Franken Free Food. Here is a mixed pile of images, some of them being of Mister Green Jeans from that old show.;_ylt=A0geKYzctSdik6cAJSdXNyoA;_ylu=Y29sbwNiZjEEcG9zAzIEdnRpZANMT0NVSTAzNl8xBHNlYwNzYw–?p=Mister+Green+Jeans+image&fr=sfp )

    1. Kouros

      It is not about clean genes but about not relying on seeds from the west and especially the US. As in having your food security in the hands of your enemy. Present situation confirms the soundness of that decision.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        If it was merely about not depending on western and especially U. S. seeds, then the RussiaGov would not necessarily object to made-in-Russia GM seeds. But Putin did object to that. Unless I am wrong, he decided that no domestic GMO seed would be developed IN Russia as well as permitting no foreign GMO seed INTO Russia.

        If I am correct about that, then he was indeed looking ahead to a time when worldwide revulsion against the whole concept of GMOd food would lead huge customer-bases to seek out Franken-Free ” ( “Clean-genes”, if you will) food, seeds, etc. And Russia would be able to fill that need if Russia were kept a no-GMO zone.

        ( And it occurs to me that if a large percent of Russian ordinary people still grow their own gardens, mini-orchards, etc. for part of their food needs, then they may also be maintaining their millions of personal and family little informal seed banks, would would create a measure of diffuse parallel seed-autarky right there).

  38. Tom Collins' Moscow Mule

    The one certainty and outcome beyond the overall inconsequential nature of the many lives lost (Beyond the usual phony political rhetoric and customary hand wringing, is the singular and dominant importance of capital accumulation and individual private profit) is that “disaster capitalism” will once again ensure substantial profits for speculators and profiteers, as the frenzied bets are still being placed in the casino..

    “Nickel prices skyrocket 110% to top $100,000 a ton, prompting a trading halt after Russian sanctions trigger a big short squeeze”

    “OPEC chief says there’s ‘no capacity in the world’ that could replace Russia’s 7 million barrels a day in oil supply”

    “Russia warns West of $300 per barrel oil, cuts to EU gas supply”

    So it is that the same decadent financial industry (the laundromat) that enabled and provided the services and the architecture to launder Russian and Ukrainian oligarch money is now both enriching and engorging itself by betting on the outcome of the current conflict. This is the true ‘decadence’ of the ‘West’ and its ‘values’.

  39. Emma

    From an Australian perspective, farmers put aside wheat for next years planting. Key factor is that the grain needs to be high protein to be used as seed grain. If a farmer is lacking good high protein wheat, seed grain is sourced from the local grain pool. Sanctions will therefore should have little impact on Russian wheat crop. However, high protein wheat crops need good fertilizer applications. Given Russia is the global leader in fertilizer exports the opposite may be true for the original assumption: countries outside of Russia may struggle to accumulate enough wheat seed for future crops.

    After a couple years of good wheat seasons most Australian farmers had already purchased fertilizer for next year’s crop & stored on-farm before the Ukraine conflict started. Farmers in other countries may not have been so lucky.

  40. Gulag

    We now appear to be moving into truly dangerous territory–the beginnings of escalatory steps that could lead to nuclear war.

    The will to power impulse is seemingly becoming out of control on both an individual and nation-state level.

    What can stop this acceleration of insanity?

    I admit that my own will to power impulse is a predominant part of my personality and extremely difficult to check–especially in this highly charged emotional environment.

    On a nation-state level the will to power is justified in the best of our theoretical frameworks (Realism)–where it is seen as an appropriate response to fear of domination by other State entities.

    How would a check on this impulse to power work on an individual and nation-state level?

  41. kemerd

    GMO seeds have been banned from Russia years ago, hence I don’t think they would need seeds from anywhere

  42. RobertC

    Biden is trading human rights for lower fuel prices EXCLUSIVE Washington pins easing of Venezuela sanctions on direct oil supply to U.S.

    U.S. officials have demanded Venezuela supply at least a portion of oil exports to the United States as part of any agreement to ease oil trading sanctions on the OPEC member nation, two people close to the matter said.

    U.S. diplomats have worked to find energy supplies worldwide that can help compensate for disruption to Russian oil and gas exports caused by sanctions or war. U.S. officials met Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas for the first bilateral talks in years on Saturday.

    Since 2019 our State Department recognized opposition leader Juan Guaido as Venezuela’s legitimate president following Maduro’s 2018 re-election yet we are negotiating with Maduro, who is under US sanctions for human rights abuses and political repression along with an indictment as a narco-terrorist.

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