Dear patient readers,
Lambert and I, and many readers, agree that Ukraine has prompted the worst informational environment ever. We hope readers will collaborate in mitigating the fog of war — both real fog and stage fog — in comments. None of us need more cheerleading and link-free repetition of memes; there are platforms for that. Low-value, link-free pom pom-wavers will be summarily whacked.
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.
‘Tech wreck’ looks more like another dotcom bubble bursting FT. That’s a damn shame.
SARS-CoV-2 Incidence in K–12 School Districts with Mask-Required Versus Mask-Optional Policies — Arkansas, August–October 2021 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, CDC. From the Sunmmary: “In Arkansas during August–October 2021, districts with universal mask requirements had a 23% lower incidence of COVID-19 among staff members and students compared with districts without mask requirements.” How can the remaining scientists at CDC continue to work there under management that believes maslks are a “scarlet letter”?
Even cautious Covid experts start to lower their guard as Biden urges return to normal NBC. Translation: “The dogs won’t eat the dogfood.” Democrat consultant: “I don’t understand. The knobs are already at eleven!”
This treatment can protect vulnerable people from COVID. But many don’t know about it LA Times and Hospitals use a lottery to allocate scarce COVID drugs for the immunocompromised CNN. An Evushied lottery. A little bit too on-the-nose, surely? Let ‘er rip!
First Dog in Illinois Diagnosed With COVID-19 NBC Chicago
An immune system molecule makes you more social. Wait, what? Virginia Magazine. From 2021, still germane. Interesting:
Why a deficit in the immune system might affect social behavior remains a matter of speculation. However, Filiano and his fellow researchers hypothesize that the “pro-social” function might actually have been interferon gamma’s original biological role and that pathogens may have evolved the capability to activate that function to drive increased social interactions and thus help spread themselves between individuals. In turn, “the interferon gamma pathways were recycled as an anti-pathogen response to limit the spread of infection as we come together,” [Dr. Anthony] Filiano says.
If that hypothesis sounds far-fetched, consider this: A study at Binghamton University, published in 2010 in Annals of Epidemiology, found that participants who had received a flu vaccination engaged in an increased number of social interactions in the 48 hours following the administration of the medication. Researchers called it “the strongest indicator yet discovered of in otherwise asymptomatic humans.” In other words, .
Speculating freely here, and maybe the Brain Trust can talk me off the ledge, but what if…. What if, for example, the upwelling of desire for “Hot Vax Summer” was an instance of “pathogen-mediated behavioral change”?
Airborne Toxic Events The Baffler
Why the Chinese Internet Is Cheering Russia’s Invasion NYT. The deck: “As the world overwhelmingly condemns the assault on Ukraine, online opinion in China is mostly pro-Russia, pro-war and pro-Putin.” By “world,” I take it we mean the bubble in which the Acela class can live and travel freely, and where English is typically spoken. Since apparently China’s internet is not part of “the world.”
China lawmakers have West’s decline on their minds at ‘two sessions’ South China Morning Post
China’s city elites wake up to scale of trafficking after chained woman shows human side of age-old crime South China Morning Post. So China’s PMC is a lot like our own (and Xi really is riding a tiger).
Why do so many Indonesians back Russia’s invasion of Ukraine? Indonesia at Melbourne
Women are not Lee's natural constituents. His public image is a lout who can unleash a torrent of vulgarities on a dime. It's extra work for him to go after women votes. It would have been much easier for him to just triangulate against a blatant sexist like Yun.
— T.K. of AAK! (@AskAKorean) March 4, 2022
New Not-So-Cold War
Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, March 8 Institute for the Study of War. Handy mao:
Looks like status quo, to me. (The legend claims that highways are included; I tried heightening contrast to make them show up better, without much success.)
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. Natylie’s Place: Understanding Russia. Worth reading in full.
How the War in Ukraine Could Get Much Worse Foreign Affairs. Somebody’s gonna have to dial back the triumphalism:
The United States should be especially attuned to the risks of escalation as the next phase of conflict begins, and should double down on finding ways to end the conflict in Ukraine when a window of opportunity presents itself. This may involve difficult and unpleasant choices, such as lifting some of the worst sanctions on Russia in exchange for an end to hostilities.
Somebody also needs to figure out for Biden how to present “difficult and unpleasant choices” as victory. The midterms aren’t far away!
Zelensky, an excellent comedian, also an oligarch (dk):
We joke that he foreshadowed his rise to presidency with those viral clips — but Zelensky is no ordinary man. He was far from being ordinary or middle class. Zelensky was a billionaire. Or, as he calls Russian billionaires nowadays — oligarch.
— chaotic good (@kittykatfantasy) March 9, 2022
I suspect that for many liberal Democrats, Zelensky fits right into the Jon Stewart/Stephen Colbert hole in their heads, but he’s really quite a different entity. This whole thread is excellent.
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The Implications of Unrestricted Financial Warfare (excerpt) The Overshoot
Marine insurers widen high-risk area as Ukraine conflict escalates Hellenic Shipping News
Ukraine war: Poland offers all its MIG-29 fighter jets to US in plan to provide aircraft to Kyiv Sky News. Thanks but no thanks:
BREAKING – Pentagon response to Poland's proposal on jets: "We will continue to consult with Poland and our other NATO allies about this issue and the difficult logistical challenges it presents, but we do not believe Poland’s proposal is a tenable one.”
— Phil Stewart (@phildstewart) March 8, 2022
I guess it’s not that easy to launder aircraft.
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Political courage (1):
The consequences of flooding Ukraine with billion dollars in 🇺🇸 weapons, likely not limited to just military-specific equipment but also including small arms + ammo, are unpredictable & likely disastrous.
Specially when they are given to paramilitary groups w/out accountability.
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) March 8, 2022
Unfortunately, it’s extremely difficult to hold fascists “accountable,” Banderite or otherwise, as Von Papen and Hindenburg discovered.
Political courage (2):
It's actually incredibly easy to not give missiles to Nazis, and the fact that NATO keeps doing it shows that they must want the Nazis to have missiles. https://t.co/SMN0jqmZ6l
— Lee "Steeltoes and Sweatpants" Carter (@carterforva) March 8, 2022
Political courage (3), a second retweet:
The blinding speed with which Western governments have gone from "there's nothing more urgent than stopping Far Right violence" to "we have to arm neo-Nazis to fight Russia" has really been something. https://t.co/Q1GskbAKmZ
— Branko Marcetic (@BMarchetich) March 8, 2022
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A Toddler’s Terror, as Families Flee Shelling in Ukraine The New Yorker. So — just spitballing here — make Ukraine neutral, since Obama didn’t regard it as a vital national interest, and bring a halt to NATO expansion? On the downside, if we did, sentimental New Yorker readers could no longer get weepy (“I have no words” MR SUBLIMINAL Thank gawd!) about teh babies!!!! — at least until they reheat our southern border as an issue under the next Republican administration — but unity demands sacrifice, sometimes even our own.
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Chartbook #95: Is “Ukraine the West’s fault”? On great powers and realism Adam Tooze, Chartbool and John Mearsheimer and the dark origins of realism Adam Tooze, The New Statesman. I’ve read these companion pieces a couple of times. I think, when you leave out the potted intellectual history, they both boil down to handwaving. What do readers think?
There are no good choices for the west on Ukraine Martin Wolf, FT
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Mapping Ukraine’s Refugees Joshua Stevens. The deck: “A Defense of Proportional Arrows from Geography’s Radical Past.”
K Street was fine taking Russian cash — until it couldn’t Politico (Re Silc).
A Tale of Two Oil Shocks: Ukraine and Yom Kippur John Authers, Bloomberg
Our Famously Free Press
Who could forget “the moderate rebels”?
Check this out. In 2019, @nytimes accurately described Azov Battalion as "Ukrainian neo-Nazi paramilitary organization" (left image). Now it's just a "unit of the Ukrainian National Guard" (right image). See how this works? pic.twitter.com/o24kYo4aJr
— Ali Abunimah (@AliAbunimah) March 7, 2022
How Did This Many Deaths Become Normal The Atlantic. First slowly, then all at once?
Reasons You May Have Brain Fog (slideshow) WebMD. Oddly, Long Covid is not mentioned. Nor is being subjected to two enormous propaganda campaigns (Ukraine On; Covid Off) simultaneously. Dudes, come on.
Robust Joe Costello, LIfe in the 21st Century
Antidote du Jour (via):
See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here