Links 4/21/2022

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!

* * *

Pterosaurs May Have Had Brightly Colored Feathers, Exquisite Fossil Reveals Scientific American

The ECB Must Act Soon to Avoid a Currency Crisis Bloomberg (Furzy Mouse). Important!

Calpers Plans to Vote to Replace Warren Buffett as Berkshire Hathaway’s Chairman WSJ


Climate change and farming driving insect decline BBC (Re Silc).


Despite In-Flight Celebrations, Many Americans Would Prefer to Keep Masks on Planes: Poll Gizmodo. “A new quickfire poll put out by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research shows that 56% of U.S. respondents said there should be requirements to wear a mask on planes, trains or other public transport. Less than a quarter of respondents prefer no requirements.” Placing this here at the start as an antidote to, well, despair at the idiocy to come. Note that these figures are holding up in the face of an enormous propaganda campaign.

Biden says Americans should decide for themselves if they want to wear masks on public transportation. NYT. Clearly, it’s mission-critical for liberal Democrats to stomp out the last vestiges of non-pharmaceutical intervention and mutual regard for each other’s safety before the next respiratory pandemic arrives.


Thread worth reading in full.

Lawsuit seeks to overturn renewed Philadelphia mask mandate Politico

“Freedom” (1):

“Freedom” (2):

* * *

Not Ready for the End Game — Why Ending Federal Covid-19 Emergency Declarations Will Harm Access to Care NEJM.

The response to Covid-19 does not hinge on a single emergency declaration. Overlapping federal, state, and local declarations have triggered executive emergency powers to spend money and issue, suspend, and alter regulations. Most state and local governments have now terminated the declarations that allowed governors and mayors to order travel and business restrictions and mask and quarantine mandates without legislative action.1 At the federal level, several distinct emergency declarations remain active, but their primary effect is to remove regulatory barriers and address liability concerns that would otherwise impede access to health care and medical countermeasures (see table), not to impose mandates.

Because federal agencies have power to regulate patient safety and the interstate spread of disease even without a declared emergency, rescinding federal declarations will have little effect on federal powers to impose vaccination and mask mandates. The vaccination requirement for health care workers issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) relies on ordinary authority; it does not depend on an active emergency declaration. Similarly, although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) chose to link the duration of its current order requiring masks on airplanes and other public conveyances to the federal public health emergency (PHE) declaration, the order relies on its general powers to control communicable diseases, and the agency could reissue it even if the PHE declaration ends.

CDC advisers discuss future of COVID-19 booster shots Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy

* * *

The Key Policy We Need to End the COVID-19 Pandemic Is Being Ignored Time

Despite effective treatments, HIV drags on. Experts warn COVID may face the same fate NPR

This Is, As Far As I’m Concerned, The Greatest Airport Story Ever Told Defector. Read all the way to the end.


Hopes rise in Shanghai’s battle against Covid-19 as two districts report no new cases Straits Times

Shanghai food (1):

Worth reading in full, for an insight into how China’s government works.

Shanghai food (2):

This thread is also on how China is governed, and also worth reading in full. More:

Shanghai food (3):

Migrant workers in China find new jobs — and precarious conditions — in COVID control NPR

* * *

Dead heat by 2050: massive North China area to be hotspot for killer mix of heatwaves and surface ozone, study finds South China Morning Post

US media: Russia-Ukraine conflict is not the biggest change in the global order What China Reads

U.S. is concerned about lack of transparency of China pact with Solomon Islands –White House Reuters

Study shows 99% on Indonesia’s most populous island have COVID-19 antibodies Channel News Asia. Indonesia used mostly Chinese vax.

UN asks Sri Lanka to negotiate ‘debt-for-nature’ swaps to ease economic meltdown FT

New Not-So-Cold War

Putin tells forces not to storm Ukraine holdout in Mariupol AP

The war in Donbas Yasha Levine

* * *

What happens to weapons sent to Ukraine? The US doesn’t really know CNN. What could go wrong?

US forces to train Ukrainians on US-provided artillery systems Al Mayadeen

* * *

The Fog of Information War in Ukraine Human Events. Disentangling the various propaganda ratlines.

Senior Editor of National Review normalizes Nazis:

How the CIA and Italy’s secret state manipulated the right and infiltrated the left Ada Winstanley. Operation Gladio. Filing this bit of the historical record here just to show we have form.

* * *

Was NATO Enlargement a Mistake? Foreign Affairs. A symposium.

Foreign Policy for the Twenty-First Century Boston Review

* * *

Loose language on atrocities will not help Ukraine Editorial Board, FT. Deck: “Biden’s allegation of genocide against Russia is too hasty.”

Ukraine war refugees top 5 million as assault intensifies AP

Biden Administration

DOJ to appeal travel mask mandate ruling after CDC says masks still needed on public transportation Politico

Mexico nationalises lithium in populist president’s push to extend state control FT

Supply Chain

Russian Crude Shipments Have Fallen 25% In A Week

China’s March coal imports from Russia plunge 30% yr/yr Hellenic Shipping News

China imports 13% less crude oil from Saudi in March, 14% less from Russia -customs Channel News Asia

Intelligence Community

Former Intelligence Officials, Citing Russia, Say Big Tech Monopoly Power is Vital to National Security Glenn Greenwald. Because of course they do.

After inspiring ‘Zero Dark Thirty,’ she wants to inspire your best life Responsible Statecraft

Sports Desk

Before Jerry Sandusky, Penn State football had another serial sexual predator. This is the untold story of his crimes and the fight to bring him to justice ESPN

Guillotine Watch

We are ruled by Harkonnens:

Class Warfare

Resident Mortality And Worker Infection Rates From COVID-19 Lower In Union Than Nonunion US Nursing Homes, 2020–21 (abstract only) Health Affairs

Working at Amazon Is Hazardous to Your Health Jacobin

Inflation, Corporate Power, and the Forgotten New Deal Pro Market

The Boneyard Principle: Why the Next Big Thing will Emerge from a Failed Idea Every. On the success of Tik-Tok

Does Wall Street Need New Storytelling? Insecurity Analysis. “If all you offer is money, all you get are mercenaries.”

Antidote du jour (via):

Bonus Antidote:

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. ArkansasAngie

    “Note that these figures are holding up in the face of an enormous propaganda campaign.”

    Wait … which propaganda are you referring too?

    1. JMM

      There are always two at any given point in time: the one you like and the one you don’t like. Just pick the first one like everybody else and you’ll be fine.

  2. Roger Blakely

    Re: Gonzalo Lira.
    Maybe Scott Ritter suggested that Gonzalo Lira had been killed by the Ukrainians as a way of prompting someone to deny that they had killed him. At the end of the day Gonzalo Lira wasn’t a Russian spy or even a journalist; he was just an ordinary guy airing his opinions on YouTube.

    1. flora

      His on-on-the-ground reports running counter to the official narrative and embarrassing to the Z regime put a mark on his head. He knew it. His pinned tweet from March is clear:

      You want to learn the truth about the Zelensky regime? Google these names:

      Vlodymyr Struk
      Denis Kireev
      Mikhail & Aleksander Kononovich
      Nestor Shufrych
      Yan Taksyur
      Dmitri Djangirov
      Elena Berezhnaya

      If you haven’t heard from me in 12 hours or more, put my name on this list.

      His consistent ‘say “Tiffany Dover” if you can hear me OK’ seemed unrelated to his youtube show subject matter. Then I looked up “Tiffany Dover” and discovered it’s very much related to being disappeared.

      1. The Rev Kev

        For those unfamiliar with the name Tiffany Dover, here is a video showing her achieving notoriety. I remember the incident well but never knew her name- (1:09 mins)

        And it went out live so they could not censor it. Another video showing this incident had the title ‘Chattanooga nurse with pre-existing condition faints after getting vaccine’

        1. flora

          That’s the narrative utube leaves up. (utube took down several not in line with the “official narrative.”) Where has she actually been seen since that video? Why were her accounts on fb and instagram untouched after this incident and later scrubbed? A happily married woman, 2 kids, nurse in team leadership position at the hospital has suddenly vanished?

  3. timbers

    The ECB Must Act Soon to Avoid a Currency Crisis Bloomberg (Furzy Mouse). Important!

    Read a similar but very brief article on this topic regarding the Japanese Yen.

    The speed of near total capitulation of the western Euro nations to US economic embargo this past year and especially since the start of Russia campaign in Ukraine surprised me. If the governing elites in nations like Germany and England can’t say no to the US on issues so clearly against their people’s interests like energy…and accept such a very considerable blow to their economies and standard of living…if makes me think they will do almost anything the US orders them to do. So, would they also consider or be ordered to solve their inflation “problem” by simply pegging the Euro to the USD or even adopt the USD as their official currency?

    It would in a way just be replacing the ECB bureaucrats with those of the Federal Reserve and US Treasury. Of course they would not be replaced but absorbed into so as to buy off elite support, and It would complete the absorption of the European colonies into the US Empire so maybe the US would want that, to.

    If US elites come to favor this move and think they can benefit from it, wouldn’t surprise me if they force it to happen.

    1. SocalJimObjects

      I said the other day that worse comes to worst, the Russian can “borrow” some of the Javelins sent from the US to bomb the gas pipelines to Western Europe. Voila, instant hyperinflation in Germany!!! “The Ukrainians did it!!”

  4. THe Rev Kev

    “Calpers Plans to Vote to Replace Warren Buffett as Berkshire Hathaway’s Chairman”

    Somebody should have told the CalPERS Board. If you are going to take a shot at the King, then you had better make sure that you don’t miss.

  5. Appleseed

    re: Operation Gladio. An earlier Winstanley post linked to a 30 year-old three-part BBC documentary that is a deep dive into this mind-boggling effort. Operation Paperclip in reverse: instead of protecting and importing Nazis into the U.S., OG protected and infiltrated Nazis into post-WWII European “democracies” to stymie any leftist tendencies the plebes might have. Because Commies.

    1. anon y'mouse

      i have been mentioning Gladio online whenever relevant for the past few decades.

      my signature should read “what was Operation Gladio?”

      to follow that, i usually ask “when you find that out, is there any reason why this same process can’t be occurring here within the U.S.?”

      then it’s time for them to watch A Noble Lie.

      1. Reaville

        I don’t think anyone needs to know much more about hidden power than to watch the first episode of the new Frontline series “The Power of Big Oil” which is free on your local PBS site. Simply undresses how government works for elite power. After their success with Senator Boren, I’m sure that the Koch brothers thought “This will work across the whole of government policy…we can reshape the USA!”

        And they did.

        I have not been a PBS fan over the last decade, apart from the Nova series. I did not expect “The Power of Big Oil” to be meticulously researched and presented.

        So, while Operation Gladio is certainly of interest, watch “The Power of Big Oil”. It reveals exactly what we thought we knew.

  6. PlutoniumKun

    Just a comment on the Naomi Wu twitter thread: She is pretty accurate so far as I can see from my very distant vantage point. China benefits from a very strong ground level technocratic administrative system. Its corrupt as hell, but it generally works reasonably well. Not as well as, say, Japan or ROK, but a lot better than most countries. You see stupid things sometimes (like an expensively repaved footpath with holes where the manhole covers should be because someone couldn’t be bothered ordering them), but generally it works. A lot of this is down to China being surprisingly open to dissent at local area. Once you operate within generally accepted constraints, people can protest and make a fuss, and it usually works.

    The fear expressed by a lot of China watchers has long been that the increasing shut down of open channels for complaint, along with an increasing centralisation would seriously damage this system. Complaints of increasingly corrupt and autocratic behaviour by local officials is getting more and more dangerous, and this will inevitably lead to bad governance. Whether this is enough to damage China’s arc of development, only time will tell. But the failure, after 2 years of experience, for the country to get better at managing lockdowns doesn’t bode well. If anything, they’ve gotten worse at it. Mind you, the same can be said for pretty much every other country too, but China is not immune to the same arrogance and stupidity of other countries.

    1. flora

      Is Xi coming under pressure from the various CCP party factions over his handling of lockdowns, Evergrand and property bubbles, etc? Are their signs he is losing the Mandate of Heaven within the party?

      1. PlutoniumKun

        I don’t think so – he is as strong as ever, maybe stronger politically than he’s ever been. I don’t think he has any serious rivals and the CCP is certainly fully in control of all levers of power. In some ways, the mess being made in Shanghai strengthens Xi and the central party . They can blame the local party and use it as an excuse to clear out those they don’t want. Shanghai has always stood apart somewhat from the rest of China for all sorts of historical reasons. Nobody in China will be too bothered if they are taken down a peg or two.

        Its harder to say about other cities. There is far more online grumbling about lockdowns than there was a year ago . There are all sorts of reasons for it – partly fatigue I think, but also now that various conspiracy theories float around there are more people willing to express skepticism about the whole thing (Beijing may be paying the price for allowing politically convenient conspiracy theories to circulate). But again, I suspect that the ire is aimed more at local officials than national ones. The CCP is very good at deflecting blame onto some scapegoats and then taking credit for doing what you do to scapegoats. My sense is that the hard Covid policy is very popular with regular Chinese – its the upper middle classes who are upset about it because its depriving them of their shopping trips to Bangkok and Paris. But as Naomi Wu has pointed out, the entire selling point of the CCP has been their competence at getting the basic things right. Whatever guff they talk about peoples revolution, ultimately the CCP is a technocratic elite who maintain their authority through their competence at delivering a steady increase in living standards together with domestic safety and peace. If they lose their ‘brand’ of competence, things could fall apart very quickly. There are historical analogies in Taiwan and ROK where seemingly rock solid authoritarian (right wing) governments folded with surprising speed once the urban middle classes decided they were past their sell-by date. Both occurred at the stage of development where they were making the jump from middle to high income economies – i.e. the point China is at now. I’m pretty sure Beijing is fully aware of the precedents.

        Evergrande is not yet affecting regular Chinese, mostly as the entire sector is being propped up (nobody knows at what expense). But the consequences are grave if there is a major drop in property prices. Its hard to exaggerate just how much the wealth, savings and pensions of ordinary middle income Chinese is tied into rising property prices. If they go down, it is catastrophic for domestic spending, and they are already struggling to keep the domestic economy going. Imports are stagnant, which is a strong indicator that regular Chinese are very reluctant to spend money.

        Once again, Beijing is reaching for the infrastructure levers to generate money and investment in the economy. No matter how many times they promise that ‘this time its different’, and they will stimulate the domestic economy (i.e. consumer spending), it always comes back to pouring more concrete. But the returns to investment are getting lower and lower with each round. Its reported in some of the technical press that some of the latest round of HSR lines don’t even generate enough revenue to pay for the electricity. Eventually there will be a reckoning.

        Something has got to give at some stage. I think Xi and the Party are well aware of this – there have been plenty of official documents over the years pointing out the problems with the way the economy is structured and what is needed to make the leap into developed country status. But its one thing to know these things, another thing to implement them.

        Just as an outside observer, I think the Chinese public are, if anything, even more behind the CCP than they’ve been in the past. So I don’t think there are any political dangers in the near term. But problems are building up and are not being resolved and its entirely possible that a big Covid outbreak could be the catalyst for planned or unplanned change. Its anyone’s guess what the consequences are. Taking the big picture of Chinese history, its full of long periods of seemingly inexorable growth and expansion, with sudden and occasionally catastrophic collapses. Maybe this pattern has been broken, maybe not.

        1. tindrum

          In the end China is extremely resource constrained especially water and food, so climate change is going to be a disaster, as it will be everywhere of course. Stimulating the economy by pouring concrete will stop when the sand runs out and the dams run dry.

    2. CuriosityConcern

      If they rely too much on surveillance devices to maintain power, it will become a weak spot. I would not want to be in charge of 1 billion + unhappy people…
      I would like to think confuciunist thought might influence their leadership to avoid going down the wrong roads for too long.

    3. Maritimer

      “The fear expressed by a lot of China watchers has long been that the increasing shut down of open channels for complaint, along with an increasing centralisation would seriously damage this system.”
      “The fear expressed by a lot of [Canada] watchers [and citizens]has long been that the increasing shut down of open channels for complaint, along with an increasing centralisation would seriously damage this system.”

      Prime Injector of Canada Trudeau is a great admirer of the CCP Dictatorship:

      Monopoly Public Health care not looking so good right now, Comrade.

  7. Mr. Phips

    Just to proof the point of Glen Greenwald’s excellent (as usual) article highlighted today in these links, Youtube yesterday took down the YouTube channel of the official Hong Kong chief executive candidate John Lee. It really looks like Big Tech here is an extension of the US Government.

  8. GramSci

    Re: TikTok and The Next Big Thing

    Seems to me it’s like Mencken said, “Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people.”

      1. Robert Gray

        No, it was Mencken but GramSci presents the bastardised vernacular version. What the Sage of Baltimore actually wrote, In October of 1926, was this:

        “No one in this world, so far as I know – and I have searched the records for years, and employed agents to help me – has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people.”

        1. Paul Jurczak

          We can safely remove “plane” from this equation. Russiagate, Trump derangement syndrome and COVID related mass psychosis are only a few recent proofs that “educated” people can be in the same category.

          1. hunkerdown

            It’s more than likely they’re performing a public position to incite passion and derange thought. Their private positions are separate and no doubt (at least minimally) coherent.

  9. Randy

    Israel adds China’s yuan for the first time ever while cutting its dollar holdings in biggest currency reshuffle in a decade:

    The move is portrayed as being meant to “diversify its reserve allocations and lengthen its investment horizon” but lets face it, Israel has to see the writing on the wall when it sees that the western bloc is willing to just seize whatever assets it can grab and freeze the use of others when relations sour.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “US forces to train Ukrainians on US-provided artillery systems”

    Basically you can dismiss this pr effort. The Ukrainians use strictly old Soviet Union artillery as can be seen on this page-

    That means that that artillery can only use US/NATO artillery rounds and can’t use any stocks in the Ukraine. That which has survived that is. And that is why the Ukrainians have to be trained on it. And even if the US is sending only 18 howitzers, they will need huge stocks of ammo to be effective in action. And all that ammo will have to be shipped from NATO countries where it is liable to be destroyed in transit. And that artillery may be towed but do they have the gas to transport them to where they are needed? Can they be protected from Russian air, drones or counter artillery fire from the Russians whose artillery has a longer range? In any case, what difference will only 18 of them have? Zip I would say. So this is just a pr feel-good story to show us in the west that the US is “doing something.” I’d be more happy if the US sent 18 negotiators but we all know that that is not going to happen. Idjuts.

    1. Reaville

      War is logistics. Professional warfighters take this into account. Our military understands the basic issues you raise. The Ukrainians have proven that they have some military skill. I read that the artillery package included counter-battery radar. I don’t think that the players are as stupid as you imply.

      1. Darthbobber

        You seem to assume that this sort of decision is being made by the professional military. I doubt that greatly.

    2. Kevin Smith MD

      I think the best use of the artillery would be in the defense of places like Kiev, freeing up other assets like tanks for use elsewhere. The artillery around Kiev would be relatively static, and would have good long reach into territory around the capital.

    3. digi_owl

      I do wonder, do artillery shells leave enough behind to tell if they were of Russian or US/NATO design?

  11. rhodium

    Regarding monopolies and inflation, I find it ridiculous that the economists polled are acting like they aren’t related. A major tenant for the argument of the superiority of capitalism as espoused by the theories taught in classrooms across the world resides in the idea that competition drives down prices and drives up demand for the best workers. However, walk into any microeconomics class in the u.s. and you will find undergrads being taught that economies of scale don’t exist (despite common knowledge in industry that they do). This is then used to justify the self-regulation of capitalism. No need for government to ensure competitive markets, heaven forbid, that just happens naturally! As industries consolidate in real life, I suppose it’s assumed that we can just trust them not to raise their profit margins to levels of exorbitant usury just because they can. It’s an extremely convenient ideology that the rich and powerful hide behind, and they would love for everyone to ignore it or nod in agreement without taking a hard look at it.

    1. Kurtismayfield

      At this point, its all propaganda.. not many economics professors are selected by universities for challenging the status quo.

    2. anon y'mouse

      even without monopoly or near-to power, product makers, much like real estate landlords, can collude on “the max we can get away with” and not even talk to each other on the phone in the same way that the “going rate” for workers in various roles always seems to settle around some rate too low to actually live an adult life on. otherwise, generic products wouldn’t be lower than “name brand” products, would they?

      the true invisible hand is this, in my opinion.

    3. Paul Jurczak

      The Soviet Block used more apt term for this branch of social science: political economics. Ideology came first. A bit of applied mathematics was a distant second.

    4. digi_owl

      Most economists are priests and soothsayers.

      Their job is not to actual produce sensible advice, but to placate the public when the monied ones fuck up their lived.

      As such, humanity has not developed that much since the days of Rome.

    5. chuck roast

      Let us, yet again, invoke the time tested theories of the great Joan Robinson on imperfect competition. Monopolies and oligopolies: form collusive cartels, suppress innovation, extract monopoly rents and present barriers to entry. (bangs head on desk)

  12. Wukchumni

    Gooooooood Mooooooorning Fiatnam!

    We had to wreck the climate in order to save it, was the catchphrase often bandied about in the upper echelon of the financial atmosphere, and the grunts with tasseled loafers on the pavement in green land in lower Manhattan knew that they could always move Wall*Street to Boulder-or someplace else, as computers don’t care where they hang out, but they balk on water.

    1. anon y'mouse

      it especially won’t when he promotes, like clockwork, the lesser-evil that intends to do nothing but greenwash and claims that it is absolutely necessary.

      ditto Chomsky, Hartmann and so many others. i think the “dirtbag” or tankie left calls them Left Gatekeepers.

    2. LA in AZ

      I disagree with his framing. It is not earth that is killing us. It is us killing us. His framing makes earth the villain and the enemy. It is neither. We are both.

    1. tindrum

      she will sign, there will be an appeal, it will drag on and on; Julian will eventually die in Belmarsh.

      1. Paul Jurczak

        Julian will eventually die in Belmarsh.

        That seems to be the best outcome for the establishment: no messy legal proceedings and “the man is gone, the problem is gone”, as a certain uncle Joe used to say.

        1. The Rev Kev

          ‘Julian will eventually die in Belmarsh’

          No. Julian will eventually die in some supermax prison in the US. And both political parties here in Oz say that they won’t interfere because they are both so gutless and compromised.

  13. The Rev Kev

    “U.S. is concerned about lack of transparency of China pact with Solomon Islands –White House”

    You should hear the wailing in the media in Oz. You read between the lines and the attitude seems to be that the Solomon Islands should have gotten our permission first before signing anything with the Chinese – which we would have refused of course. The US may complain about a lack of transparency but the Solomon Islands said that the same is true of the US Pine Gap facility here in Oz. Tonight our media was going on how this will mean Chinese warships on our front door step while forgetting how the nuke subs that we are supposed to be buying will be sent to China’s front doorstep. Now waiting to hear from the Solomon Islands Popular People’s Front in 5, 4, 3…

    1. Karl

      SI People’s Front will get organized shortly. But first, CIA ops to fix the French election will need to be wrapped up.

    2. Skippy

      All of which is just a bad case of the dept of silly walks, first it was boat people when the numbers coming over on planes was in the 10s of thousands, followed by the anguish of China buying up Oz when it was just the Atlantic investors that had previously bought up Oz post Keating selling on and taking price, and now China makes a deal with the Solomon’s after their Oz/Nippon experiences of late and were practically invaded already ….

      Just imagine the screams if they were to have talks with PNG … whoooboy …

    3. RobertC

      …2,1 Opposition leader says Solomon Islanders don’t want deal with China

      …Wale says the only way the deal can be reversed now is if there’s a change of government in the Solomons or a change of prime minister.

      And could that happen? ‘Oh, absolutely it can happen,’ he says. Those opposed to the deal include some of Sogavare’s ministers.

      ‘We are definitely going to make it an election issue.’

      China population = 1.4B Australian population = 26M

      Trade CH => SI $117M SI => CH $316M AU => SI $46M SI => AU $5M

      Distance to Solomon Islands China = 4.8K miles Australian = 2K miles
      (Distance from Solomon Islands to Other Countries)

      And then there’s Beidou reference stations RobertC April 20, 2022 at 1:16 am

  14. Wukchumni

    Who would’ve thought that April would be the most fruitful month in our winter of missed content this year?

    Looks like the higher climes will get a couple feet of snow out of the system, which will melt out as temps hit the mid 80’s in the foothills next week~

    Another day of igniting burn piles on tap here @ the all cats & no cattle rancho deluxe, smoke’m if you gottem’.

    The Drought Monitor map has a large part of Cali looking suspiciously like Florida-the extreme drought portion. I reckon i’m in the Everglades based on the lay of the land…

    1. The Rev Kev

      Think that your region will have major fires again this summer? From your description of drought conditions, the pieces for a bad fire are slowly being assembled. Do the people where you live also take fire protection seriously too?

      1. Glen

        I have configured Google Earth so that I can monitor American fires. There is information on how to that and more here:

        We never stopped having major fires this winter, although it was only in a couple instances that these were reported on the MSM such as the fires in Colorado and Texas. Right now there seem to be four big fires: Crooks, Tunnel, McBride, and Cooks Peak. These are located in Arizona, and New Mexico.

        Tunnel is located near Flagstaff, AZ which is at about 6000 ft, and is reported as 20,339 acres with percent contained as unknown. Thirty years ago it was not unusual for Flagstaff and the surrounding mountains to have snow on the ground at this time of year.

        So no mega fires, but it’s been very dry in the whole west, and if a fire gets started along with enough wind, then a large fire will result very quickly.

        Even more distressing to me was to see the resignation letter from the fire fighter that had been working for the US Forest Service. He was a GS-6. It’s been a long while since I was in government service, but back then a GS-6 was not very well paid at all. And now I read that the fire fighters cannot afford homes and some were living in their vehicles, but that was before vehicle prices went crazy, so who knows now. This is of course, completely crazy, we need fire fighters, we need much better funding going to the fire fighters.

        So spend billions on weapons to be shipped tens of thousands of miles away, but let the American West burn? Who knows?

        1. artemis

          My son works for the fire service and he says it’s very bad. Fires will be worse this year and engines will be understaffed, workers underpaid, many quitting due to conditions. Weakening this vital service will allow politicians to redirect funding to “more efficient” contractors.

        2. JP

          We spend 100’s of millions on fire fighting and $1.50 on fire prevention because no ones hair is on fire when it’s time to thin. Maybe forest upkeep is just as needed a skill as fire fighting

      2. Wukchumni

        Do the people where you live also take fire protection seriously too?

        There has been a lot more action in terms of clearing out dead wood on the ground and in trees in tiny town since the Castle & KNP Fires came calling, but it’s daunting in that to do it right is time consuming and lots of physical work. So we have a patchwork affair going on, where one property is immaculate and the next one over has fire ladders a plenty rising up into dead trees, in search of a new flame.

        There must be 400 trees on our lay of the land and just 4 of them have consumed me for over a week as per our prune-up agreement. Some dead branches on high surrender with the slickest flick of the tip of the spear, i.e. my trusty 14 foot pole-saw, while others play hard to get, and I can see through their machinations with a saw if they put up a fight.

  15. John Beech

    Regarding the pilot saying to a passenger with a mask to man-up, or words to that effect, I finally had someone challenge me about wearing my mask recently in a Lowe’s home-building store.

    So I took it off and said I was glad he was OK with me not wearing a mask because I had just tested positive and while I wasn’t feeling sick I really needed pressure treated 2x4s and it was hard to breath with the damn thing on. Then I coughed for good effect.

    Funny thing was he took two giant steps back from me – and then after a brief pause – another, before turning away without another word. He didn’t run but he moved with alacrity to search for what he was there to buy and quit f-ing with me.

    For my part, I slipped the mask back on and winked at the cashier to let her know I was bullshitting the guy. She smiled which despite her wearing a mask I could see in her eyes. Anyway, people are weird, just go with it.

    1. anon y'mouse

      i have a long running theory that it genuinely distresses people in America to not see faces. it’s like many have been programmed that face-covering means badbad things, like highway robbery and terrorism. perhaps they watch too much Hollywood CIA sponsored schlock?

      i had a personal experience with this in a department store i worked at once. a few women and their children came in and were wearing full hijab /chador and covered faces, all in black and the over-middle-aged woman tending counter with me almost appeared to be in a panic. as the women browsed, she kept saying to me “shouldn’t we contact security?” i said “for what? they’re shopping.” “this is not good” she kept muttering. granted, i can’t discount some kind of racism at work, but she didn’t appear to have that reaction to any minority in my presence.

      it’s almost like people in this country believe that old yarn about “seeing the truth in people’s faces” or being able to detect liars by their expressions. which i always counter with “experienced liars look directly into your eyes and have a steady voice and a firm handshake”.

      anyway, just some random thoughts about the various layers of antipathy towards extra face layers.

      1. Geo

        Yet these are the ones who fall for the sparkling smile of a charlatan every day.

        We look for smiles because the eyes, window to the soul that they are, are too much deeper connection for our impersonal and detached society. We don’t want truths, only glossy depictions of validation.

        1. Paul Jurczak

          fall for the sparkling smile of a charlatan

          That gives me an idea: mask mandates for salesman and politicians? Don’t sell me your widgets or ideology without a mask on, all the way up to your eyes.

    2. antidlc

      Best response I heard to someone being challenged about wearing a mask…

      Oh, the government said it was OK not to wear a mask? I don’t trust the government.

      1. bluegrapes

        Going to steal this one. Been looking for a retort that isn’t outright combative but also hints that the bare-faced person might want to dig a little deeper into all this.

    3. Amfortas the hippie

      usually i just get the stinkeye…and glare right back with my crazy eye.(i’m usually scarier looking than my opponent)

      weirdly, these last couple of days at the hospital with wife, i’ve noticed nurses and other staff taking off their masks when they’re alone or with themselves…and quickly putting them back on when a “customer” approaches.
      also a lot of noses sticking out.
      and lax mask insistence for the plebes.
      meanwhile, as is my wont, i ask various nurse types about the current covid load, locally…how many such patients they have, current positivity, etc…and every one i query says it’s as high as ever….as in “it ain’t over”.
      i double masked the whole time i was indoors.

    4. playon

      I’ve been continuing to wear one whenever going out and have not been challenged so far. There are a small minority of us who are still wearing them. It’s interesting how selective some people are when choosing what to believe — apparently there is renewed trust in gubmint. Humans are followers for the most part.

  16. T. J. Tewaran

    The file name for the “Antidote du jour” says “horse_and_lamb.jpeg”. Neither a horse nor a lamb is present in said photo. Is the name in jest?
    A retired carpenter

  17. The Rev Kev

    ‘More Perfect Union
    Amazon workers were greeted with this message on Easter Sunday.’

    It’s a trap! If you had workers achieve that rate to get such a cheap prize, then that rate will become the new minimal norm. Amazon will then announce a new competition. Those who are able to achieve that new rate get to keep their job. There is no second prize. Not even a set of steak-knives.

    1. ambrit

      That’s how the camp administrations at the NAZI extermination camps ran things.
      Every morning there was a race. The hindmost “disappeared” and were replaced by new “recruits.” Could the Amazon work scheme be an offshoot of Operation Paperclip?

    2. anon y'mouse

      the real Scrooge mentality is evinced by the fact that any halfway sane employer would have handed these out en masse (or placed them conveniently by the break-area door) for all as a small token of gratitude. i’ve worked in 5 employee places that were able to bust the piggy bank to feed us a genuine meal when asked to stay after for a few hours for staff meetings (also paid for the time). Amazon and other big businesses can well afford a micro-bag of chips and water for everyone that works on a holiday.

      there was one place i worked at that “rewarded me” for my numbers for one week by giving me a two day pass to the managerial breakroom (breaks on the 6 hour max shifts being about 15 minutes), containing stray keurig samples and stale peanuts and a light that was timed to go off after 3 minutes. it was grand. i was living the dream! felt like a queen stumbling in the dark over those Costco offerings of yesteryear.

    3. John Zelnicker

      My daughter has been working for Amazon in Cleveland for the past two and a half years and just got fired on Tuesday, apparently with a whole bunch of others.

      She has been a stellar worker, always meeting her targets, getting raises, and winning production awards. They even offered her a promotion last year which she refused because she liked her position and didn’t want to supervise others.

      It seems that Amazon set a trap by changing a leave policy and burying the notice deep within the flood of lengthy memos that workers are expected to read every day. In addition, when she applied for leave under the prior policy no one told her that it had changed so basically they allowed her to violate the new policy, which gave them an excuse to fire her.

      I think it’s all part of their strategy to get rid of workers who are making higher pay and replacing them with cheaper new hires.

      Interestingly, they told her she had been fired in “good standing” and could reapply in 30 days. Most likely at starting pay although they didn’t say so.

      Amazon is truly evil.

      1. Mark Gisleson

        What a repulsive company! Writing resumes I heard some pretty horrible stories about companies twisting the rules to force higher paid employees out but this is the most awful version of that story I’ve ever heard.

        Normally your best bet in such a situation is to contact the state A.G. but I’m not sure David Yost would be helpful. Otoh, Wikipedia says “In September 2019, Yost was one out of nine State Attorneys General that launched an antitrust investigation into Facebook and Google, to investigate whether or not they were stifling competition in their respective fields.”

        It’s worth contacting his office as the kind of rules shuffle you suspect is the kind of thing a state A.G. can make headlines out of. Good luck to your daughter.

    4. jr

      I worked with a liberal progressive oriented environmental advocacy group years ago that offered the low paid phone bankers who brought in all the cash “Pizza Night!” once a week. The management consistently ignored all of our complaints, ignored us when we told them the issues the callers were concerned about, made a ton of money relative to us, and literally forbade us from entering the back offices where they worked. “Pizza Night!” was held up as a perk but one that could go away if we didn’t meet the numbers.

      I was a high earner but was sanctioned because even though I made like 15% more money than the average caller I took longer to do it. They wanted the same results but faster. I told them it was the extra time that made those results possible. They docked me a quarter an hour from my pay. I walked out, to the literal amazement of the manager who had informed me of my deficiency. Didn’t I care about the environment!?

      Jump ahead and a friend who still worked there told me the ship was sinking. “Pizza Night!” had been yanked but all the management were making the same money. All the rats were fleeing the ship for DC consulting jobs. My point is that these sorts of things are designed to set and enforce a low bar, to manage expectations.

      My friend was taken aside and offered a job in DC because his wife was friends with the boss. He asked my advice and I told him take it for the money but that networking isn’t advocacy. He quit as well.

    1. Geo

      I’m just curious if anyone knows why when liberals do it it’s called “cancel culture” but for all my life when conservatives did it (and Tipper Gore) it was called “censorship”?

      What is this new framing about? Is cancel culture just the new dumbed-down buzzword for it or is there some deeper partisan obfuscating going on where because the right has been pro-censorship for so long (forever really) that it’s been rebranded as some shiny new thing liberals created?

      I’m not defending liberals of course. And, I like Pepe and admire much of his reporting and writing. But, I find this piece (and much of his writing in the subject) to be far too self-interested and devoid of broader context. On a site founded by the late/great Robert Parry how is this culture of cancellation so shocking to him? Is he familiar with Parry and his history of being censored and banished from the mainstream? Does he not know this is what happens when you challenge power? Today it is big tech, before it was print.

      I’m not saying he doesn’t have valid points or that tech censorship isn’t frightening. I’m just baffled by this hysteria over the newfangled “cancel culture” as if real journalism and activism hasn’t always been attacked.

      Either way, as always, it will be the most essential voices which are censored in quiet, and the spotlight seeking outrage peddlers who go on Fox News, Rogan, and the other largest platforms in America to shout about cancellation while asking for GoFundMe donations and discussing their new book deals. To me, when I read these cancel culture pieces it feels like the writer is trying to get on that gravy train. Raging about cancel culture while detaching it from the real history of censorship does a disservice to the cause and just turns it into sensationalist clickbait. Is Twitter canceling someone any different than the MSM censorship and refusals to print the journalism of Parry, the whole reason he founded Consortium News?

      1. Ranger Rick

        It’s maddeningly difficult to pin down exact definitions for culture war terminology. The closest I’ve come to being able to define the goals of cancel culture is that it does not stop at removing the offending message: it pursues exile instead. This is where the “cancel” part comes from. To describe it another way, it’s neoliberal class warfare: instead of going after the offender, activists go after the offender’s source of funding. It’s frighteningly effective against people who are not independently wealthy.

        1. flora

          Yep. During the McCarthy hearings a form of this practice was called blacklisting, done for political reasons. It destroyed a person’s career and social standing. (The 1950’s movie High Noon was about standing up to bullies.) McCarthyism was pushed by the GOP and political conservatives targeting the ‘left’. Cancel culture is done by the Dems and liberals targeting the ‘right’ or anyone insufficiently adhering to their “liberal” official narrative. (I put “liberal” in quotes because there’s nothing liberal about canceling or blacklisting people.) So, shorter: blacklisting refers to the the right and cancelling refers to the left, but they’re both the same abhorrent practice.

          1. flora

            Interesting the GOP was unquestionably the big business party in the 1950s, the Dem party is unquestionably the party of big business today. Imo, both blacklisting (anti-unionism) then and cancelling (anti-neoliberalism) now are about silencing anyone and any ideas that could threaten corporate profits.

        2. digi_owl

          I suspect it is much easier to do that these days by shaming the big card companies. In decades past you would have to go after every odd bank offering checking accounts.

          The early net needed two things:

          Extending common carrier to ISPs and server hotels, and a system akin to premium numbers.

          Thanks to neither happening, police can now use copyrighted music to get their brutality off the net while the morality brigades can get anyone excommunicated at will.

  18. pjay

    – ‘The Fog of Information War in Ukraine’ – Human Events

    There was a time not long ago when I would have laughed in the face of anyone recommending Human Events as a useful source on anything. How times have changed. I’d recommend this in a second over almost any of the drivel appearing in the NY Times, Atlantic, or even the Nation these days. Do I laugh or cry now?

  19. Matthew G. Saroff

    I object to the characterization of “Rhinoceros” as an absurdist play.

    While Ionesco is clearly the most preeminent absurdist writer, and most of his work is absurdist, Rhinoceros is not absurdist. It is an allegory about the spread of Nazism in his native Romania in the 1930s.

    1. Kouros

      It wasn’t Nazism that spread in Romania. It was a right wing populist movement that also was evident in other countries. The Great Depression didn’t help.

      The Iron Guard 9that was the name of the movement) was mostly based on the eastern part of Romania, where not by coincidence, the greatest last peasant revolt in Europe started in 1907 and ended with over 11,000 peasants killed.

      In 1860s Romanian had to accept a sudden huge influx of Jews from Galicia, send by the Austrians, as a price of recognition of the newly united and minted polity. That influx of aliens was not really beneficial in a mostly peasant country. Alcohol started to be sold in every village and big landlords started giving the management of their lands to intermediaries. The peasant revolt in 1907 started in one of those villages managed by some Jewish brothers…

      The Iron Guard was mostly anti-semitic due to deep grievances in the population but was not looking outwards for conquests or what not.

      Ultimately, the military beat down the Iron Guard and killed and arrested most of them and took the reins of the country.

  20. djrichard on Caeser vs extra-elected-governance swarm governance.

    So the deeper battle over Twitter isn’t about free speech at all. That ship has long since sailed. Rather, it’s a fight for control of a key crucible of political consensus-formation, between those who prefer power to be vested in named individuals, and those who prefer to be ruled by self-organising swarm.

    1. RockHard

      Good article and it deserves to be boosted. This quote jumped out at me:

      Perhaps the first thinker to notice the contemporary re-emergence of coordinated moral management is the neoreactionary writer and ‘Jacobite’ Curtis Yarvin. In a more or less explicit nod to the world of Leo X, Yarvin describes what he calls “the Cathedral” as comprising “all the modern world’s legitimate and prestigious intellectual institutions”:

      There’s some irony here. In 1997, Eric S. Raymond published “The Cathedral and the Bazaar” which contrasted traditional software development with open source

      Linus Torvalds’s style of development—release early and often, delegate everything you can, be open to the point of promiscuity—came as a surprise. No quiet, reverent cathedral-building here—rather, the Linux community seemed to resemble a great babbling bazaar of differing agendas and approaches (aptly symbolized by the Linux archive sites, who’d take submissions from anyone) out of which a coherent and stable system could seemingly emerge only by a succession of miracles.

      ESR updated it in 1999 with the section “On Management and the Maginot Line”, which dealt with pushback from traditional management types.

      C&B became a canonical text in the early Internet economy. Those ideas became combined with others, notably the “Information wants to be free” line from Stewart Brand, and got tossed around a lot in the blogosphere of the early 2000s.

      Then Twitter happened and the blogosphere got crushed between the Fail Whale and Facebook.

      But here we are, back at the Cathedral and the Bazaar 25 years later.

      1. digi_owl

        What happened was that big business found ways to game the system.

        the first is to get their people in the door and create enough churn that they can control the stack. See Google and the ever changing and expanding world of browser javascript APIs. It makes the HTML tag war between Microsoft and Netscape look like mates having a laugh. Red Hat does the same to a lesser degree when it comes to Linux userspace.

        The second, and more recent, method is to get someone inside to kick up a fuss regarding the behavior of the leadership. This to either get them to step down or back off from policing the technical antics of the people making the noise, for fear of social censure.

        The old joke was that online nobody could tell you were a dog (because all interaction happened in writing). That is, at least unless you told them. Thus your craftmanship, rather than your identity, was what was being weighed. And yes, that weighing could be a brutal experience. But it was done in order to ensure that the best quality work was what made it out there for others to use and rely on.

  21. Pat

    -Inflation, Corporate Power, and the Forgotten New Deal-

    Not one word about Joe Biden’s sanctions on Russia raising the cost of many things through the roof, Russian nickel, meaning stainless steel anything, medical devices, gasoline and the big one: Food. Probably will have food riots around the midterms.

    Like California’s greaseball governor, who signed wildly unpopular bills into law after his recall election, look for draconian measures from D.C. to save their floundering asses and allow their donors to loot one last time after the midterms.

  22. playon

    Nordlinger’s twitter post is really something, and the comments under it are 99% agreeing with him. Guess they all “forgot” that the fighters in the factory are the last stand of the Azov battalion — Nazis.

  23. ACPAL

    What is the US’s strategic plan?

    It finally dawned on me the main cause of the R/U war and most of the damage to the West, and to a lesser extent the East, is the US. Much of the conflicts in the Middle East are a result of the US actions. The US is also trying to provoke China into a war.

    But where in all the discussions here, in Moon of Alabama, and other forums is the discussion of the US’s grand plan? The US has been working on all this turmoil for decades so it’s not just Biden. There is a long-range plan they’re working from. But it’s almost as if the censures delete such discussions.

    So I ask, what is the US’s strategic plan? Why are they causing all this death and destruction around the world? What is the US going to do next?

    1. Yves Smith

      Why do you assume the US has a strategic plan? With no professional bureaucracy like the UK once had and still exists in much of the EU to provide continuity, and an Executive branch that turns over every 4 to 8 years, with political appointments well down into the ranks of most agencies, the US is incapable of having a strategy.

      I have sometimes cited Sun Tsu’s warning as fitting how we operate: “Tactics with no strategy is the noise before the defeat.”

      1. Skippy

        The strategic plan for decades was framed around confronting state capitalism vs market based capitalism, freedoms and liberties something or the other …

        Now its all about market share ownership with contractual rights to income or the resources its based off … know wonder some wanted TTP from an international law aspect and not per se something like signing onto a international criminal court agreement …

  24. CuriosityConcern

    Steve Lehto, discusses Detroit and 100k wrongful foreclosures and 600 million in overcharged property taxes. Cites the local weekly paper and author of the source material. 10 minutes, no need to “watch”, can listen only:

  25. Soredemos

    >The war in Donbas Yasha Levine

    Somewhat frustrating to see Levine blindly accept the Western MSM framing of events in Ukraine.

  26. Lexx

    I was walking into the bank a few years ago and old kindly-faced man was walking out. He reached the door first and held it open for me. I said, ‘thank you’ and went to the end of the line for a teller. The guy in front of me had been watching, looking all misty-eyed as he followed the old man’s progress into the parking lot. ‘Do you know who that was?’ he asked me. I turned to watch with him. ‘The guy walking out of the bank? No.’ ‘That was Sonny Lubick.’ ‘Like the restaurant downtown?’ ‘Like the CSU head football coach!’ ‘I’m not a sports fan.’ The guy turned to look at me in annoyance and disbelief; the spell had been broken.

    In a college town full of football fans, you’re not allowed to be ignorant of who the head coach is and what the he looks like. If you publicly display your ignorance, you may be treated with derision. ‘You’re not from around these parts, are you?’

    We’ve always lived in college towns; this is the first that has a college football team and stadium. It’s also the first time I’ve seen men who play college football live and in person, rather than on a television screen. It’s usually in a shop or grocery store. They’re always in pairs or threes. I could tell you they’re enormous, they seem to fill a room however large the room, but that’s just a given. Or that they instantly attract attention… that’s a given too. What bothers me when I turn to look along with everyone else is that the attention is never returned. Whatever conversation they were having before they walked in continues. No eye contact is made. They barely acknowledge the cashiers. Those guys are in their own bubble and no one seems to mind their anti-social behavior. Like me, as you read this, you’re probably coming up with “reasons” for why they behave as they do…

    …and thinking this must have something to do with the Todd Hodne piece. (Well yes, that too; it took all day to read! That and figuring out what a ‘ratline’ was.) But no, it has to do with the pandemic and the idea of not just a team but an entire generation who missed the window for developing empathy for others or whose anti-social behavior has become de rigueur.

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