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.
P.S. Also, before further stressing our already stressed moderators, read our site policies:
Please do not write us to ask why a comment has not appeared. We do not have the bandwidth to investigate and reply. Using the comments section to complain about moderation decisions/tripwires earns that commenter troll points. Please don’t do it. Those comments will also be removed if we encounter them.
We need to find a couple of videos of Ukraine that seem to be only on Telegram. Neither Lambert nor I are willing to sign up because Telegram now wants too much personal information. If any readers with established Telegram accounts are willing to try to locate some particular videos and send us coordinates, please write me at yves-at-nakedcapitalism-dot-com with “Telegram” in the headline. Thanks!
Sheep shorn of 18kg fleece after three years on the lam Guardian (resilc)
Hologram doctors beamed to space station to visit astronauts Space.com. Kevin W: “It is a shame that the first words spoken were not ‘Please state the nature of the medical emergency'”. See also: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W2On-nEoe1A
Saline solution: Japan invents ‘electric’ chopsticks that make food seem more salty Guardian (resilc). This is so Japanese.
Franz Liszt: Superstar Sinner Saint by Nathan Beacom Plough (Anthony L)
Poland reneges on coronavirus vaccine contracts Politico (Li)
The CDC’s mask mandate for flights needed to go Washington Post. Of course the voice of the PMC would say that.
Delta sparks backlash for calling COVID-19 ‘ordinary seasonal virus’ Atlanta Journal-Constitution (KLG)
Poor People’s Pandemic Report: Mapping the Intersections of Poverty, Race and COVID-19 Poor People’s Campaign (resilc)
FRONTLINE: THE POWER OF BIG OIL, PART ONE: DENIAL PBS (Kevin C)
The Surprising Climate Cost of the Humblest Battery Material Wired (Robert M)
Lithium costs a lot of money—so why aren’t we recycling lithium batteries? ars technica (Chuck L)
Microplastics found in lung tissue from live human beings for the first time PhysOrg (Robert M). From earlier this month, still germane.
Surrounded by NATO, Serbia buys more Chinese arms Asia Times (resilc)
US officials heading to Solomons over China pact worries Associated Press (RobertC). Usual US trying to close the barn door after the horse is now in the next county, per China Signs Solomon Islands Pact, Over U.S., Australia Opposition Wall Street Journal
La belle France
Ukrainian workers flee ‘modern slavery’ conditions on UK farms Guardian (resilc)
New Not-So-Cold War
Two Cheers for Realism Francis Lee, The Saker (Chuck L). Useful and timely discussion of the Treaty of Westphalia.
EXCLUSIVE. Nassim Nicholas Taleb: “We must humiliate Putin so that he backs down” L’Express. Original here. Lambert: “Shockingly naive and dangerous.”
President Zelenskyy, one Israel is enough Al Jazeera (resilc)
America’s Intellectual No-Fly Zone Matt Taibbi
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Russia gives fresh ultimatum to fighters in Mariupol BBC. The result of a sudden “tah dah” claim that there are civilians in the Azovstal factory. Russia said it doesn’t buy it but gave the holdouts one more chance because optics.
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with India today, Moscow, April 19, 2022 YouTube. Note that quite a few sites are declaring that Phase 2 of Russia’s campaign has begun based on a throwaway remark in Lavrov’s interview. I concur with Alexander Mercourius’ take, that Lavrov was merely reaffirming what other senior Russian officials had said in March, that Russia had completed Phase 1 and would be starting its second phase. Mercouris is of the view that Phase 2 had already begun but Russia is picking up the tempo.
Russia pushes back western sanctions, revs up operation in Eastern Ukraine Indian Punchline (Kevin W)
Per the below, I believe it was Bloomberg that recently reported that Ukraine is using up equipment and ammo shipments in a day that the US thought would last a week. Even though Russia is very good at blowing up supply depots and new deliveries, they aren’t that good. It’s a safe bet that a lot are being sold.
Gosh, really? You don't say pic.twitter.com/881gjL7wvK
— Michael Tracey (@mtracey) April 20, 2022
How Pentagon contractors are cashing in on Russia’s invasion Responsible Statecraft
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Can Russia Pay its 2022 Dollar Bond Obligation in Rubles? (More dodgy Russian bond clauses?) Credit Slips. Bettridge Law violation!
A sanctions counter measure: gas payments to Russia in rubles Bruegel. Help me. We predicted very close to exactly what the mechanism would be when Putin made his initial statement, since he’d set enough boundary conditions that there was pretty much only one way it could be done. Even so, with taking weeks to get to this matter, this think tank adds nothing to our initial and more fleshed out take (once the mechanism was published) except for getting a key detail wrong! Gazprom does not go to the Russian Central Bank to get the roubles in exchange for the euros/dollars/sterling deposited by the gas buyer. It executes the FX transaction on the Moscow Stock Exchange. Now one can argue that ultimately the Moscow Central Bank is the supplier of roubles….but that will happen only if and when banks need more reserves and the central bank has to supply them to maintain its policy rate.
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Imperial Collapse Watch
Lessons learned and relearned TTG (resilc)
NAVY SHIP MAINTENANCE GAO (resilc)
Americans want to legalize marijuana – their senators don’t The Hill (resilc)
Who’s on the payroll of Peter Thiel’s dark-money “influencer” campaign? Carl Beijer (martha r)
Gov. DeSantis Clears Way to Revoke Disney’s Special District in Florida New York Times (Kevin W)
Powell’s looming power problem HCN (resilc)
CalPERS to vote to replace Buffett as Berkshire chairman Reuters (Kevin W)
A former Foxconn executive tries to explain what went wrong in Wisconsin The Verge (resilc)
FDA Probes Lucky Charms’ Possible Link to Illnesses Wall Street Journal
Corn futures hit decade-high above $8 per bushel on global supply Al Jazeera (Kevin W)
Something Happened By Us: A Demonology New Atlantis. Resilc cites:
In 1841, the Scottish journalist Charles Mackay published a book that would eventually assume the title Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds. “We find that whole communities suddenly fix their minds upon one object, and go mad in its pursuit; that millions of people become simultaneously impressed with one delusion, and run after it, till their attention is caught by some new folly more captivating than the first.”
“We’re Living in an Era of Extraordinary Corporate Power” Washington Monthly (resilc)
Today five stores in the Richmond, VA area had their votes counted, and ALL FIVE voted to unionize! Virginia is for UNION lovers ❤️❤️❤️ https://t.co/QmDTA9HYMB
— SBWorkersUnited (@SBWorkersUnited) April 19, 2022
Flight Attendants Union Punts on Mask Mandate – Apple Retail Workers Union Launched – Verizon Raises Retail Wages to $20-an-Hour Mike Elk. Problem for flight attendants is they have to trade off risk of getting Covid v. being assaulted.
Democratic Elites Don’t Understand the Class Culture Gap New Republic. Resilc: “A kid down the street here in Vermont is an electrician in SE Mass, he flies into Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard to work……”
Antidote du jour. Chet G:
A snapping turtle who has come out of hibernation, along with a painted turtle. Painted turtles have been around the past few week or so. Given all the problem with human-to-human relationships, it always amazes me how different animal species can coexist without any hassle.
And a bonus (Chuck L):
Basel Zoo. Switzerland:
You gotta be kidding me… pic.twitter.com/77tFEEsyzX
— Rex Chapman?? (@RexChapman) April 19, 2022
See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.