Links 4/24/2022

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.

* * *

The Webb Telescope Is Almost Fully Aligned Gizmodo

Machine-learning models vulnerable to undetectable backdoors: new claim The Registry. Holy [firetruck]!!!!!


Wynn Bruce dies after lighting himself on fire outside Supreme Court NY Post

Activism, Uncensored: On Winning and Losing Strategies of Climate Change Protest Matt Taibbi, TK News

Can you reach net zero by 2050? FT. A game.


Washington’s elite turned the Gridiron dinner into a COVID superspreader. Let’s learn from it. Jerome Adams, USA Today. More on this disgraceful episode at NC here. And speaking of Jerome Armstrong:

Masks (1):

(Cf. Matt 5:11.) Surgeon General Armstrong’s original tweet:

Masks (2):

Joe, Rochelle, Tony, Leanna, David, Ashish: good job.

Masks (3):

Masks (4):

SARS-CoV-2 Vaccination and Myocarditis in a Nordic Cohort Study of 23 Million Residents JAMA (Acacia). From the Abstract: “Results of this large cohort study indicated that both first and second doses of mRNA vaccines were associated with increased risk of myocarditis and pericarditis. For individuals receiving 2 doses of the same vaccine, risk of myocarditis was highest among young males (aged 16-24 years) after the second dose. These findings are compatible with between 4 and 7 excess events in 28 days per 100 000 vaccinees after BNT162b2 [Pfizer], and between 9 and 28 excess events per 100 000 vaccinees after mRNA-1273 [Moderna]. This risk should be balanced against the benefits of protecting against severe COVID-19 disease.


Coronavirus: Shanghai logs record 39 deaths in latest outbreak as Vice-Premier Sun calls for the timely treatment of patients South China Morning Post

In Shanghai London Review of Books. Today’s must-read. Lots of detail.

Chinese astronauts land on Earth after China’s longest crewed space mission Reuters

Scott Morrison says Chinese military base in Solomon Islands would be ‘red line’ for Australia, US ABC Australia


The Battle to Save India Has to Be Waged By Every Single One of Us The Wire


‘Not our fight’: Why the Middle East doesn’t fully support Ukraine Deutsche Welle

Bread, Debt and Politics Whip Up Volatile Mix in Tunisia Bloomberg

Jerusalem’s Temple Mount Clashes Are Spreading to Jordan’s Royal Palace Haaretz


Macron vs Le Pen: France votes in tense presidential runoff AP

Not just exit polls: Why French election projections are almost always correct France24

‘He’s lost it’: Anger at Boris Johnson sets tone for local elections FT

Slovenians vote in tight race between populists, liberals AP

New Not-So-Cold War

‘Al Qaeda is on our side’: How Obama-Biden team empowered terrorists in Syria Aaron Maté. Another must-read. And the same crew took the playbook, scratched out “Syria” and wrote in “Ukraine,” and here we are. Throwaway paragraph:

While Trump put an end to the CIA proxy war, his efforts to further extricate the U.S. from Syria by withdrawing troops were thwarted by senior officials who shared the preceding administration’s regime change goals.

“When President Trump said ‘I want everybody out of Syria,’ the top brass at Pentagon and State had aneurysms,” Christopher Miller, the Acting Secretary of Defense during Trump’s last months in office, recalls.

Jim Jeffrey, Trump’s envoy for Syria, admitted to deceiving the president in order to keep in place “a lot more than” the 200 U.S. troops that Trump had reluctantly agreed to. “We were always playing shell games to not make clear to our leadership how many troops we had there,” Jeffrey told Defense One.

Since I know the defenders of “our democracy” respect “norms” too much to ever stage a coup, although this looks remarkably like one, I won’t use the word. But feel free to think it!

* * *

Zelensky lashes out at Kremlin as he announces Blinken and Austin visit FT

The awful truth is dawning: Putin may win in Ukraine. The result would be catastrophe Guardian and Boris Johnson admits Russian victory in Ukraine is ‘a realistic possibility’ as Putin steps up onslaught Evening Standard

Russia says it destroyed Odesa terminal where foreign weapons were stored Reuters

Bulgarian PM Denies Ukraine’s Request For Weapons; Says ‘have Clear Red Lines’ Republic World

Turkey blocks Russian armed forces’ air route to Syria FT

DIHK: Banning Russian gas is a catastrophe for German industries Al Mayadeen. Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

A West-mandated Russian “default”: who wins and who loses? The Saker

* * *

Why Neutrality Is a Trap for Ukraine Foreign Policy

Nine reasons why NATO should close the door to Sweden and Finland Responsible Statecraft

* * *

The New Nuclear Reality The New Yorker

“There Cannot Be a Nuclear War” (interview) Olaf Scholz, Der Spiegel

Biden Administration

Ukraine war fuels a weapons gold rush — and defense contractors are already cashing in Salon

In rejecting a prisoner’s post-conviction claim, court plants seeds for narrowing habeas relief SCOTUSblog

Supply Chain

Ukraine Has Planted 20% of Expected Spring Crops So Far This Year, Says Ukrainian Ag Ministry Farm Journal


Jan. 6 revelations will ‘blow the roof off the House,’ Rep. Jamie Raskin says NBC. Big if true.


Why Elon Musk believes ‘woke mind virus’ and ‘wokeness’ are threats to modern civilization USA Today. I wonder if Musk is contemplating a Presidential run. It would be like him. The “smart Trump” we’re all worried about?

Republican Funhouse

What’s With the Far-Right’s Interest in Ball Tanning? Rolling Stone. Gender affirmation?

The Bezzle

Autopilot fail! Moment driverless Tesla being summoned by owner across Washington air field crashes into $2m private jet and keeps going even after collision Daily Mail

Our Famously Free Press

Anatomy of a Bogus “Disinformation” Smear Michael Tracey

Imperial Collapse Watch

DoD audit says Army’s $22 billion ‘mixed reality’ goggle needs more soldier input Army Times (Re Silc).

Guillotine Watch

Soaring food prices push more Cargill family members on to world’s richest 500 list Guardian

Inspiring: Celebrities Spell Out ‘We’re All In This Together’ With Their Yachts Babylon Bee

Class Warfare

Workers at Starbucks Roastery second in Seattle — and on Capitol Hill — to unionize Capitol Hill Seattle Blog. Schultz must be chewing the carpet.

Amazon’s Union Busting Is Subsidized By The Government Lever News

If Wage Growth Is Driving Inflation, Why Is Workers’ Share of Income Falling? Dean Baker, DC Report

Atoms with Consciousness: Yo-Yo Ma Performs Richard Feynman’s Ode to the Wonder of Life, Animated The Marginalian

Endemic Pathogens Are Making You Crazy And Then Killing You: Toxoplasmosis Spotlight hard to write. The author.

Antidote du Jour (via):

Spot the rocks!

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. JohnA

    Re The awful truth is dawning from the Guardian.
    Yes, panic is seriously setting in, in Blighty. The Guardian is now a pure CIA/MI6 propaganda sheet and becoming more hysterical by the day. If only they had listened to Russia’s red lines since 2014 if not earlier. But that would have been Munich 1938 appeasement according to warmongering western media. Well, they have got their war, and now face defeat. The lack of context in all western reporting is remarkable. And the end result is absolutely unremarkable, more like totally predictable. So sad for all the innocent Ukrainians suffering because the west is happy to fight to the last Ukrainian. I just wish western journalists, politicians and their adult sons and daughters would be the first to be conscripted and sent to Kiev to fight.

    1. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you, John.

      The ownership of the Guardian may part explain matters, a debt for equity swap in favour of banks / creditors in 2008.

      The Guardian media group has over a billion pounds in the bank, but still fools many readers to pay a Delaware tax dodge vehicle to fund a Cayman tax dodge parent.

        1. Colonel Smithers

          Thank you, Quentin.

          The ultimate holding company / parent is now based in the low tax and opaque Cayman Islands. The finance team based there is able to attribute earnings from high tax to low tax locations and save money.

          Readers who wish to contribute, including Bill Gates, are directed to a website / company / subsidiary based in low tax and opaque Delaware. The reader funds are kept off shore.

    2. Milton

      I’ve never understood the ’38 Munich Agreement as it pertains to how the West should respond to Russia’ s special military operation into Ukraine. The more apt analog is Russia learning from the Chamberlain appeasement and finally drawing a military line-confronting the ever-encroaching NATO before it settled right on Russia’ s border. It only took the murder of 14,000 ethnic Russians in the Donbass and the threat of nuclear missile bases right at its border to prod Russia to act.

      1. Quentin

        A preventive war on the part of Russia, like the US invasion of Iraq. Remember how that US invasion is justified as preventive, as if Iraq was capable of attacking the US? The goose and the gander waddle in unison between the corpses strewn across main street.

        1. ambrit

          Not a correct analogy. Irak was about the Middle East’s oil fields. The Ukraine is about an existential threat to a nation. (It can be argued that the loss of control over the Middle East oil fields would be an existential threat to the ruling elites of the West. Energy is literally power.)
          Russia’s alternative was to wait for the West’s “Preventative War” against it.
          What is not stated is that about every competently run wargame shows that any use of atomic weapons, at any scale, inevitably leads to a general nuclear exchange. The film “Fail Safe” is fiction, because it explores an impossible possibility, in the real world. Our problem is that the people in positions of power in the West have lost touch with that “Real World.”
          Per the other day, London has admitted that it has sent SAS teams to the Ukraine. These are not simple ‘observers.’ This is one step away from outright, officially sanctioned warfare against Russia by NATO. If that happens, then any NATO military establishment or troop concentration will be ‘fair game’ for Russian missiles anywhere in the world.
          These idiots are playing with fire.

          1. Wukchumni

            Jaw-Jaw, Jaw-Jaw
            The whole day through (the whole day through)
            Just an old sweet song
            Keeps Jaw-Jaw on my mind (Jaw-Jaw on my mind)

            I said Jaw-Jaw
            A song of you (a song of you)
            Comes as sweet and clear
            As moonlight through Mariupol

            Other arms reach out to thee
            Other weapons sent clandestinely
            Still in peaceful dreams I see
            The road leads back to you

            I said Jaw-Jaw
            Oh Jaw-Jaw, no peace I find (no peace I find)
            Just an old sweet song
            Keeps Jaw-Jaw on my mind (Jaw-Jaw on my mind)


            1. ambrit

              I like the Lennon version; “Back in the USASSR.”
              Diplomacy: The art of avoiding conflict through the deconstruction of language.
              Or, as ‘Scarlett’ O’Nuland puts it to her minions; “I swear! If you cross me one more time, I’ll sell you south! Just see if I don’t!”

          2. redleg

            Iraq was framed as a WMD threat to the US. The media at the time even published stories warning of WMD attacks using drones or rockets launched from commercial shipping off of the US coast.

            1. ambrit

              I had forgotten how deep that rabbit hole went.
              Compare that to today’s exercise in “Consent Management,’ and we see that the more things change, the more they stay the same.
              Be safe!

            2. Yves Smith

              It was clearly ridiculous as the press outside the US and UK reported.

              Hans Blix, the UN’s weapons inspector, was in Iraq and had already gone through 3/4 of the sites, in order of priority, before the US went in. If Saddam had anything, the quantity was so small it was being moved about on trucks.

              The US was clearly going in because it had started mobilizing 9 months before. It was not going to wait for Blix to finish his job and either find nothing or have to wait until early fall (the summer months are too hot).

          3. XXYY

            What is not stated is that about every competently run wargame shows that any use of atomic weapons, at any scale, inevitably leads to a general nuclear exchange.

            I don’t think you have to even assume this to be very scared. Many atmospheric studies have suggested that even a fairly small nuclear exchange will create enough atmospheric particulates to disrupt weather patterns for years. We have seen over the last couple of decades that it doesn’t take very much to completely screw up the earth’s climate. Tiny shifts in the gaseous composition of the atmosphere seem to be enough to do it. Now imagine huge (radioactive?) dust clouds blanketing out the sun for several years.

            Human society as we know it would completely collapse, it goes without saying.

          4. Caldecott

            The Norwegian Nobel Institute
            Nuclear weapons remain the only military threat with the capacity to end human civilization. Their effects on flesh and material.

            A No Fly Zone in Ukraine means You Fry Alone wherever you are.

            Learn how you would die–quickly–if lucky, thanks to Biden and the Neocons brinksmanship. This is the stuff nightmares are made of.


        2. Guild Navigator

          Iraq :: US : Ukraine :: Russia is an apples to oranges comparison. A neutral Ukraine is vital to Russia’s security, whereas whatever WMD lies were used to sell the war in Iraq, including that the was preventive, were outright fabrications.

          The PNAC wetdream of encircling the Bear with bases and goading it with NATO nukes, the “FU EE.UU. coup”, and ethnic cleansing of Russians in Donbas benefits nobody but Wall St and the MIC.

        3. tindrum

          Ukraine shares a border with Russia. Iraq, last time I looked, does not share a border with the USA. I would guess, that the Russian claim that a NATO-supplied armed-to-the-teeth Ukraine is a threat, is at least reasonable. The US claim is obviously bullshit.

            1. kgw

              The space you called “Ukraine” IS Russia…
              Right Bank Ukraine

              The Rus traditional history begins in 860 at Novgorod, in 860, where a prince called Rurik settled. By the end of the century, another prince had taken Kiev and transferred the capital to it.

              The Rus had finally overcome the rule of the Norsemen…

              1. Feder017

                That’s true… but then it is also true that some 500 years before that, the Visigoths had to leave what is now Ukraine because of the Huns, moving as far as today’s Spain.


                So in fact it is the Spanish that should lay claim of Ukraine following your logic.

      2. Robert Gray


        > It only took the murder of 14,000 ethnic Russians in the Donbass and the threat
        > of nuclear missile bases right at its border to prod Russia to act [emphasis added].

        That 14,000 number is frequently repeated but is it correct?

        Craig Murray’s much-bruited piece a fortnight ago about ‘Making sense of the Ukraine war’ generated, as one would expect, a lot of comments on his blog. One of the commenters referred to those supposed 14,000 supposedly murdered supposed ethnic Russians and in a direct reply Murray took him to task, writing

        ‘The 14,000 dead figure is correct, BUT over 10,000 of them are military casualties, and it is 14,000 total on both sides of the civil conflict in Donbass. It is not, as is often misrepresented, 14,000 civilian casualties on the Russian side.’

        Murray’s analysis is sometimes mistaken or misguided but he is usually pretty good with the facts.

        1. redleg

          I find it had to believe, because the ratio of civilian deaths to military deaths in ground combat should be much closer to 1:1, especially in populated areas.
          To me it appears that, if 10k military:4k civilian is the reported ratio, then only one side is counting civilian deaths. But we don’t know.

          1. Greg

            Or some former civilians are enjoying a posthumous military career, as the US is so fond of doing to juke the numbers in the middle east.

        2. jrkrideau

          KYIV — Some 13,000 people have been killed, a quarter of them civilians, and as many as 30,000 wounded in the war in eastern Ukraine since it broke out in April 2014, the United Nations says.

          The estimated toll includes more than 3,300 civilian deaths, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said in a document dated February 25 and provided to RFE/RL the same day.

          February 26, 2019 11:23 GMT By RFE

          Well the US figures are in Craig’s range. Still 3,300 civilian deaths are not good.

          1. Yves Smith

            Also 1.5 million refugees fled to Russia and Belarus.

            The number I have seen more commonly for deaths is 14,000 but 13,000 is the right order of magnitude.

        3. kgw

          The civilian inhabitants of the Donbas were subject to shelling by the armed forces of the Kiev regime, since the Maidan, 2014, at least. I first encountered this situation by coming across a video of a fighter aircraft rocketing the steps of a government building in Doneskt right as a group of 5 or so women were going down the steps after finishing their business, Most were dead outright, torn limb from limb. One woman was still alive, her leg several feet away from her. She was able to turn her head to the person filming, and asked if they would call her daughter, before dying.

          I looked her up, due to being seriously moved by the event. She and her daughter were about to leave on a vacation together to the warmer parts of the Med or some such spot.

          Just recently, I saw a young member of a tank crew right after a tank battle (his tank lost) who had lost his right leg. He was able to talk to the Russian soldier who approached him, but he could not move. I was sure he would not survive due to the massive blood loss, but the Russians did get him to a hospital, but to no avail.

          The warmongers of the United States bear full resposibility both deaths.
          Among others…

          1. CoryP

            I saw that most recent video and it was horrific. I remember being shocked that someone with such a grievous injury would still be alive several minutes after the attack.

            I mean, given the number of war amputees around, maybe i need to recalibrate my sense of how quick one bleeds out upon losing a limb. I guess I’d assumed these were mostly surgical amputations of mangled limbs. Really vile stuff though. It really sucks that he didn’t make it if what you say is true.

          2. The Rev Kev

            I remember that first video very well and that poor woman. At the time it was a shock to them that the Ukrainian government would actually do aerial attacks on their own people but before long this sort of thing became the norm. After eight years of this they will never, ever go back to the Ukraine and now they are taking the fight to the Ukrainians. Just saw video of the Somalia battalion on the move after fighting in Mariupol and remembered that this was Givi’s old command. I bet that they remember him. And he certainly knew how to enjoy himself :)

   (4:01 mins)

        4. Polar Socialist

          I’ve most often seen the number quoted the other way around, 3,000 military and 11,000 civilian casualties, which would make more sense, since the civilians are not in the bunkers and trenches.

          Anyway, regarding the civilian casualties we must remember that the civil war was fought inside Donbass, so practically all the civilians were “on the Russian side” regardless of which side of the line of contact they happened to be.

          1. Polar Socialist

            Adding that the on Feb 21st US Ambassador to OSCE mission, Michael Carpenter, stated the following:
            “Let us also pause to think about what war actually means. It means carnage. It means humanitarian disaster. It means the deaths of civilians: innocent men, women and children. Like the 14,000 who have already died in this war since 2014.” (Emphasis mine)

            He seemed to think the 14,000 had been civilians. And he’s one of the people officially counting the civilian victims.

            1. Robert Gray

              Thanks, Polar.

              If I can find a link to this statement, I think I’ll put it to Murray for his reaction.

        5. Martin Oline

          I believe you are most likely correct Robert. The Ukraine army attempted to encircle Luhansk to the south next to the border of Russia in 2015 or so. They themselves were caught in a cauldron and about 10,000 were annihilated by the infamous Russian artillery. Now there is the possibility that the best of the UA again finds itself in a cauldron. They must know what happened the last time and I have heard they are going to attempt a withdrawal. I wish them the best but the best may be to surrender.

      3. rkka

        Munich was about Neville breaking up the 1935 French-Czech-Soviet alliance of 1935 that had Neville’s buddy Adolf stymied. The German gvt feared that in the event of war, the French would mobilize, the Czechs would man their fortifications, and the Soviet air force would stage to Czechoslovakia & bomb German forces.

        At Munich, Adolf told Neville that Czechoslovakia was a “spearhead in my side” because of this alliance. Neville told Adolf that if Czech-Soviet relations “…were modified, so that Czechslovakia were no longer bound to go to the assistance of Russia if Russia were attacked, and on the other hand Czechoslovakia were debarred from giving asylum to Russian forces in her aerodromes or elsewhere; would that remove your difficulty?” – Telford Taylor “Munich-The Price of Peace” 1979, pg 741.

        This was the practical expression of Neville’s “… Germany and England as two pillars of European peace and buttresses against communism” policy.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Before Czechoslovakia was forced by France and the UK to hand over the Sudetenland, the Czechs could have kept the Germans at bay behind the mountains there with their 40-odd divisions. Afterwards, it as all plain sailing for the Wehrmacht.

    3. dftbs

      I think the panic is shaping up, not with respect to Russian martial prowess and the inevitability of Ukrainian defeat. Although both of those things have seemed clear for sometime, the dominos of western cognizance fall in a certain order. The panic is in the realization that the collective West doesn’t have the productive capacity to supply Ukraine, and consequently this means that we lack the productive capacity to supply ourselves.

      Among the many myths whose fumes fuel the engine of our collective delusion is the belief that we can make things. We are presumably the “arsenal of democracy”. Remember it was the jeeps we shipped to Murmansk that beat the Nazis, not the Ivans driving them. We can leave that debate to historians, because the present reality is more pressing. And in this reality we can’t make things.

      For all the trillions we spend on our military, intelligence agencies and domestic security forces, we don’t make or have enough if we had to go mano-a-mano with Ivan. The real chill over northern Virginia should be the falling domino of realization that our next “defense” dollar won’t bring a marginally lower return but a negative return. That’s because inflation has changed the equation, each dollar of debt now spent actually detracts from what’s left of our productive capacity.

      I’d expect the media braying to turn up from the 11 it’s currently set at to an even higher level. After all this megaphone we’ve turned on ourselves seems to be the only thing we have that “works”.

      1. vao

        The panic is in the realization that the collective West doesn’t have the productive capacity to supply Ukraine, and consequently this means that we lack the productive capacity to supply ourselves.

        The demonstration that the USA no longer has the industrial capacity to sustain a high-intensity conflict was made almost 20 years ago. But somehow it did not register, was forgotten, or was kept hidden.

        Then, the USA was incapable of producing enough 5.56mm and 7.62mm bullets for its military endeavours in Afghanistan and Iraq — and therefore South Korea, Taiwan, Canada, Israel and others were asked to produce them. Furthermore, the consumption of .50 cal machine-gun bullets reached such heights that stockpiles dating back to the Vietnam war, Korean war and even WWII were depleted. Those shortages lasted several years starting in 2004.

        From 2015 onwards, the air operations in Syria and Iraq used so many bombs that production could not keep up and the USAF scoured and emptied its stores around the world to supply its forces in the Near East.

        A major lesson of WWI and WWII is that industrial capacity is indispensable to win the “Materialschlacht” and the war. For the past 40 years, NATO has been de-industrializing and is now becoming an iron colossus with feet of clay.

        1. Wukchumni

          It seemed to me that anything from the Soviet bloc party that could be sold in the west was for sale, and I used to go the best darned gun show ever which was held @ the LA County Fairgrounds in Pomona until LA County realized what a disaster holding a gun show with your name on it was in the aftermath of Columbine, back when mass murders had shock value…

          Gun show is a funny term, because there’s a little of this and that, along with costumed (you might see a couple of fellows in perfect WW1 German uniforms walk by) customers sometimes. I was there to gawk and do a little coin business, and there was something like 3,000x 6 foot tables of vendors, your eyes were more tired than your feet when the day was done.

          Small arms ammo from Communist countries was devastatingly cheap, I never bought any but you’d see 1,000 rounds for $10 or something. It had to have killed domestic manufacturers for years, as the supply chain as far as I knew in the late 1990’s had no quit, my gawd the sheer quantities of ammo.

          The other item there was oodles of, but who cares really, was uniforms from the USSR et al, you could be a General for $100.

          1. Milton

            Speaking of CCCP fire sales…
            My first job, after graduating from college, was to stich together recently acquired 3 meter resolution satellite imagery that our company purchased from the former Russian agency that compiled the datasets for their defence depts. I think I can say (after 30 years) that my project involved the complete coverage of N. Korea. At the time, I never knew why our company was tasked with this project as I assumed this was something that should have been done with our own gov’t agencies. I guess outsourcing intelligence information was the next money grab and was just getting started.

        2. JTMcPhee

          Nobody ever asks, apparently, that first question that Sun Tzu poses about going to war: why is this war necessary? The Rulers and Generals of today always jump tight over that part about having Heaven on your side and to right to the parts about deception and tactics, and blow right past the advice about how foreign wars conducted at great distances, particularly wars of aggression, will bankrupt the nation.

          And I’ll say it again, the US Military’s “Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms” uses the word “war” hundreds of times in defining the whole bureaucracy and logistics and strategic current-thinking boundaries of full spectrum conflict, BUT NEVER DEFINES THE TERM ITSELF. I guess it’s just one of those postulates that “everyone knows what it means,” so why waste energy talking about it (or flag it as something that needs careful discussion and understanding)? Same is true of “victory” and “success,” since obviously the Empire hasn’t “won” any wars since forever, and the only successes are in the transfer of huge wealth and vast portions of the Real Economy (see, e.g., the reality of near-autarky in the Hated Russian Federation and maybe in China, sort of) to the effing dysfunctional MICIMATT and the rich t%rds that “manage” it…

          As to the US as lacking an industrial base to conduct imperial wars of aggression any more, why would anyone think it wise or necessary to go back to a WW II “war footing” to churn out all the murderous stuff of warfighting? Why not learn from the Hated Slavic and Epicanthic-Fold-Eyed Hordes and concentrate on building the stuff of self-reliance and sustainability? There are pockets of industrial strength and returns to sustainable, soil-building agriculture and such-like, even in the current wasteland of post-globalized US, so I do see some hope here: if “we” don’t start putting our energies into these sorts of activities in a much more compendious way, that ol’ dustbin of history is wide open to receive us.

          Not, of course, that doing anything different will be very easy, given the destructive idiocy and dominant power of the ruling forces…

          1. JBird4049


            MICCIMATT Complex. Don’t forget the f*****s in Congress. Let’s be sure to get them all in.

            The Military-Industrial-Congressional-Counter-Intelligence-Media-Academia-Think Tank complex

          2. lance ringquist

            if anyone thinks that these dim wits will even share a penny, they have another thing coming. their motto, whats mine is mine, whats yours is mine.

            then there are the dim wits who say free trade helps the poor, and they view free trade as moral.

            they are enablers and useful idiots, but their numbers are large.

            you point that out, and that the poor they are so worried over are treated like trash, and the feverish believers ignore you.

            they are unable to even make a aspirin. let alone a rocket engine.

      2. jrkrideau

        Remember it was the jeeps we shipped to Murmansk that beat the Nazis

        Actually I think it was the Studebaker (1.5 ton?) trucks sent to Vladivostok that made the difference. Jeeps in Ukraine or Belurus in winter?

        1. Dave in Austin

          We shipped the Russians three vehicles that mattered.

          We know about the jeep, a 1/4 ton-capacity utility vehicle.

          The most important was the Studabaker 2 1/2 ton capacity truck. We shipped 200,000 of them to Russia. In reality this was just the standard “duece and a half” designed by GM for the war department. GMC’s primary consumer for the truck was the Army. International Harvester built its own version, the M-5H-6, for the U.S. Navy and Marines, while Studebaker built the US6 model primarily for the Allies through the Lend-Lease program.The Studebakers were modified to use low octane Russian gasoline and poor quality Russian motor oil. Speaking of “How we won the war”, the first generation of the Fram screw-on oil filters are what gave the truck engines long life.

          With the rail system largely destroyed, all the factories being used to build tanks and the need to use dirt roads, these trucks were the backbone of the Russian combat logistics operation. The rapid advances in 1943-45, up to 300 miles/offensive, would have ground to a halt within 75 miles without these trucks.

          The third truck was the Dodge Power Wagon- a 5,000 lbs all 4WD truck with a one ton payload, it looked like a panel truck. They were used as ambulances, a few WC 30s and more than 50,000 WC 54s. When I spoke with Russian vets in the 1990s this was the trucks they remembered. In the cold, snow and rain of the Eastern Front when one appeared a wounded soldier’s first though was “I’ll live and this thing will definitely get me to the hospital”. It held six stretchers… and had a great heater. When I worked at the local electric utility company during summers in the 1960s I got to drive one. It could drive through 2 feet of mud then plow through 6″ trees and a brick wall; nothing could stop it or damage it.

      3. NotTimothyGeithner

        I suspect a great deal is going on. Installing Pete Buttigieg as viceroy of Venezuela isn’t in the cards any more.

        Chris Coons has denied his call for troops in Ukraine. My guess is he like Pelosi who hasn’t rescheduled her trip to Taiwan had the riot act read to them. As the realization sets in that the war is lost, they will have to explain it to the rank and file Karens who won’t get private briefings.

        The GOP is going handmaiden’s tale, so the faux woke types like Spannberger need to get nervous.

        The deranged promises of “free traders” are blowing up.

        Starbucks employees are unionizing. This frightens Western elites more than a Russian victory.

        Ukraine was supposed to be the bipartisan victory for DC, but I feel the calls for increased military spending have been muted in light of every other crisis we face. As you note about diminishing returns, I imagine the Pentagon bean counters are starting to fight against the intelligence agencies and State for the first time since before 9/11.

        1. Mark Gisleson

          Just me or does schadenfreude taste more like almonds this time around?

          By the time they finally admit the extent to which they’ve screwed everything up, there won’t be anything left to unscrew.

          1. Wukchumni

            With about a billion pounds of almonds in storage and unable to be Shanghaied, maybe Blue Diamond can run tv commercials imploring us to eat a can a week.

            p.s. Oh, such innocent times in 1986… the then nascent almond industry in Cali had produced more than the domestic market & foreign markets could take, and i’m guessing it was 1/50th the amount of almond trees in production, compared to now..

            Blue Diamond Almonds 80s Commercial (1986)


            1. JBird4049

              There is billion with a B pounds of almonds in storage? WTF are they still trying to grow more of them in California? At least, with the upcoming hunger games we all might put a dent in the supply!

              1. Wukchumni

                Yes, it’s a troubles with edible tribbles gig, which ought to get em’ down to a buck a pound (current wholesale prices are $1.43 a pound) thanks to rampant overproducing.

                You don’t often get farmers hoping for lousy yield on their crops, but the almond bros have run out of storage space i’m guessing, and where do you put this year’s excess?

                I grew up eating marzipan and what a treat it was, such an interesting texture, and always made into something like fruits or whatnot, the shape of the candy. Why not create a marzipan empire on the left coast?

            2. Amateur Socialist

              We consume a fair amount of almond butter, the spouse can’t eat peanuts. It’s a shelf stable source of protein so I tend to keep a lot of it in the pantry. The price jumped from around $10-12/lb to about $15-17/lb from about Feb to April. Still finding it “on sale” once in awhile for $10/lb so I stock up when I can.

              So I have been interested in this glut of almonds in storage that somehow is not being translated to lower prices for processed almond butter. I guess the arbitrage is fine somewhere.

        2. dftbs

          >Starbucks employees are unionizing. This frightens Western elites more than a Russian victory.

          Yup, American Capital has had its foot on the throat of American labor at least since before I was born. It’s the purpose of the American system to keep it this way. That’s why no American regime will implement the policies required to actually improve and increase and increase the nation’s productive capacity. We can’t shorten supply chains, we can’t re-industrialize. Not because these are insensible endeavors; but because implementing these changes will start a revision in the power relations between capital and labor. And that’s definitely scarier than Russians.

        3. Henry Moon Pie

          “Starbucks employees are unionizing. This frightens Western elites more than a Russian victory.”

          On the one hand, a Russian victory signals that our beloved billionaires no longer have the world as their playground. It might have been some consolation, with their power now restricted to Oceania, that at least they could step up their exploitation and immiseration of the home folks, but the workers are getting uppity on Maggie’s Farm.

        4. XXYY

          the calls for increased military spending have been muted in light of every other crisis we face.

          Another catastrophe for the West coming out of the Ukraine war is how superbly the Russian armaments and weaponry have performed and what gigantic quantities they are available in. Russia spends about 10% of what the US spends on its military, but it seems to have put together a war machine that is vastly superior to what the US has in most respects. In particular, their missiles, drones, and electronic warfare seem quite terrifying and nearly invincible; the West seems to have little or nothing that can counter these things.

          Relatively soon, hard questions are going to start to be asked about where trillions of US military dollars have been going, why the US defense sector has been technologically stagnant for several decades, and why their weapons are not (and cannot be) manufactured in more than token quantities. The only possible answers are going to be extremely embarrassing for a lot of people in high places.

          This inquiry is also going to kill the overseas sales for many or most US weapons manufacturers, another catastrophe in its own right.

        5. lance ringquist

          that is all that i heard in the 1990’s out of the feverish, the promises of free trade.

          all death cults make the impossible promises.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            I remember hearing a speech by President Jeffrey Epstein’s Friend. Somewhere in it he used the phrase ” building a bridge to the 21st Century”. I remember my very first thought being . . . ” I wonder how many people will be sleeping under Clinton’s bridge to the 21st century”. ( I hadn’t yet learned to think of him as Jeffrey Epstein’s Friend. But it feels natural now. Jeffrey Epstein was a perfect expression of everything Bill Clinton stands for.)

      4. Samuel Conner

        > the jeeps we shipped

        IIRC, we sent significant numbers of Grant tanks, the first US attempt to mount a 75mm cannon on a fully tracked platform.
        They didn’t do all that well in combat. I’ve read that the Rs called them “coffins for seven brothers”.

        The thought occurs that the M113 APCs that US is sending to Ukraine might be a present day analogy.

        1. Wukchumni

          On the other hand, the Airacobra P-39 fighter plane, which proved to be an underperformer in American pilots hands, was the plane of choice for Soviet aces, one of which racked up 59 kills.

          1. Dave in Austin

            The P-39 had problems; it couldn’t climb high so it was a lousy intercepter (supercharger problems) and it wasn’t very manuverable. But it had the V 12 engine in the middle of the plane and that drove the prop through a long tube with a serious gun (20MM originally) firing through the center hub. So if you were flying at low altitude looking for tanks and artillery positions it was great, it could take a serious beating and the pilot was protected from a plane shooting from behind it. The Russians liked it, just as the Finns loved the failed Navy fighter the Brewster Buffalo for the same reason; at low altitude it was good, it could take a beating, was easy to fix, and- most important- would get you home.

            A good plane is one that can meet the needs of the time and place.

            1. martell

              I think your final sentence is spot on. However, P-39s were not used as ground attack aircraft. It is true that they were equipped with a very powerful cannon: 37 mm was standard from the beginning (though a few relatively early types, intended for export to the British, were equipped with a 20 mm cannon instead). Indeed, the airplane was designed around that gun. But the Russians had a much better, domestically produced ground attack aircraft. Besides, the Americans didn’t supply the Russians with the armor piercing shells that the P-39 would have needed to make much more than a dent in German armor. No, the P-39 in Soviet service was used to clear the skies of Luftwaffe aircraft, bombers especially but also the fighters that escorted them. This was a job for which it was well suited owing to very good performance at relatively low altitudes (this is the plane that won the Thompson Trophy after the war).

          2. martell

            Yes, several top ten Russian aces scored the majority of their victories in the P-39, including Pokryshkin. The Kobruschka, as the Russians called it, didn’t get much love from American pilots, since its low combat-effective ceiling and short range made it unsuited to the war in the Pacific. But the airwar on the Eastern front was entirely different: fought at relatively low altitudes against an opponent who was right there. In experienced hands its performance made it a match for the Bf 109 and, it seems, more than a match for Fw 190 fighter bombers. Also, P-39s had very good radios and decent gunsights. I’ve read that, prior to the being supplied with P-39s, Soviet pilots in older, domestic types could only communicate with each other by hand signals or dips of the wing. There are stories about “sights” on Soviet aircraft consisting of little more than an ‘X’ on a windshield. Guns aren’t much good if they can’t be aimed, and air combat is a team sport in which communication is essential for survival.

            Of all the aircraft supplied (in one way or another) to the Soviet Union, it’s safe to say that Soviets favored the P-39 above all others. Surprisingly (for those brought up with post war Western propaganda) they thought very little of the Spitfire. They didn’t think much of the P-51 (a Spitfire crammed full of fuel) either. In fact, Pokryshkin claimed to have been forced to shoot a couple P-51s down in a single engagement over Germany when, late in the war, Americans mistakenly began firing on him. I think Russians got their hands on a few P-47s too and thought them nice enough flying machines. But they couldn’t figure out how such an aircraft could possibly be useful in combat.

            This is not to say that the Russians were entirely satisfied with the P-39. Useless low caliber, wing mounted machine guns had to be deleted, as did armor along the belly of the aircraft (they used the P-39 as an air superiority fighter, not for ground attack). The fuselage behind the cockpit needed strengthening and, of course, various tricks had to devised to keep the aircraft operating in extremely low temperatures. Mostly, though, the Russians complained that they weren’t receiving enough of them.

        2. Polar Socialist

          I recall reading years ago that the most important item among the lend and lease stuff, according to the Russians, were railroad tracks. Not having to keep making those by themselves (to fix what Germans destroyed) released all that steel and mills to make tanks.

      5. David

        During the Cold War, it was accepted that losses in equipment and personnel would be massive, and could not be replaced in anything like a timescale that would affect the result. The Soviet Union expected to win a war by sheer numbers: they used an echelon system where the first echelon would be written off but would destroy most NATO forces, after which they would keep throwing echelons at NATO until they broke through. There were even stories of depots deep inside the country where Second World War tanks were still kept in storage. If you have T-34s, but your opponents doesn’t have any tanks or anti-tank weapons, you’ve won. NATO put its faith in quality over quantity. The Soviets believed in Good Enough. They also believed in and practiced Lanchester’s Square Law, which says that between forces of comparable quality, their fighting power is not proportional to the difference between them, but to the square of the difference. It’s been updated to reflect the realities of modern combat.

        Since the Cold War, western nations have gone for even more quality rather than quantity. The frightening increase in the cost of weapons means that today’s armed forces are essentially single-shot organisations. The serious use of western forces in a high-intensity war would effectively disarm the country concerned, and would take perhaps a decade to recover from. I don’t think the Russians have forgotten the old Marxist doctrine that, beyond a certain point, quantity becomes quality, either.

        1. Polar Socialist

          I think Soviet Union went for quantity not just because of NATO, but because it had 37,000 miles of border to defend. And to defend successfully, as you say, it had to make sure it had the quantity advantage in all directions. This, naturally, necessitated the “good enough” approach for most weapon system, otherwise it would have been unbearably expensive.

          And yet in many systems the Soviet Union actually led the development. They had operational data links between interceptors first, they had look-down radars first, they had swarming missiles first, they had ABM systems first and so on. Their older nuclear subs were noisy, sure, but they had automation on the level the West is only now catching up to.

          So when they felt it was warranted, they did go for some definition of sophistication.

        2. Dave in Austin

          Churchill once asked Stalin what he though about the usual qualitative superiority of German weapons. He answered “Quantity has a quality all its own.”

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            I remember reading somewhere that ” Quantity has a quality all its own” was already a saying in the Czarist Imperial Army.

        3. Dftbs

          I think the Russians get a bad rap from the misapplied notion (probably by some Oxbridge historian studying the Eastern Front) that Stalin once ascribed “quality” to sufficient “quantity”. And of course from the inversion of that notion which then ascribes quality to our own methods.

          Since the Cold War, and through the present day, we’ve confused price/cost as a measurement of quality. Now that inflation has skewed the true cost of things, notional price tags have lost all relationship towards real world capacity, and so we’ll plumb new depths of confusion in this misunderstanding.

          As opposed to the wrongfully attributed “Marxist” notion of quantity/quality; I think the more appropriate fictional framing is that of Arthur C. Clarke story “Superiority”. It’s very brief and you can read it here:

          The Russians don’t waste their time with wunderwaffe. Their advance weapon systems s-500s, Kinzhals, Zircons, Sarmats are deployable; we are still working on SDI missile defense systems dreamt up in the Reagan era.

          At this point it’s hard to believe we have more technical expertise. And if we did, it’s impossible to see how we’d have the industrial capacity to bring it to bear.

          1. David

            Er, well, it was the Bearded One, as I recall, who came up with the Dialectical Triad, of which the quantity into quality phenomenon was one leg. Certainly, my (dim) memory of reading Soviet military textbooks during the Cold War is that this point was expressly and forcefully made. I’m not enough of a Marxist expert to say whether this is an accurate summary of Marx’s views, but that was how they saw it. It reflected also their reading of Clausewitz, who argued, you remember, that it was essential to “be strong everywhere, especially at the decisive point.”

            But I do agree that we shouldn’t judge Soviet/Russian equipment by western standards. A lot of it is very good for what they want, and I think their investments often turn out to be wiser than ours.

            1. dommage

              That merely quantitative differences beyond a certain point pass over into qualitative changes is from
              Hegel, Science of Logic, Vol 1 chapter on measure

              Referred to by Marx in Capital, e.g. in chapter XI , Rate and Mass of Surplus Value

              But the development as part of “Dialectical Triad” is solely Engels, in both Anti-Duhring and Dialectics of Nature.

            2. Dftbs

              I’m also getting hazy headed here. I do think the non-bearded Hegel takes the transition from quantity to quality to be a principle of his dialectics. As in how many drops does it take to change the quality of water from drops to torrent.

              I have no doubt that the Bearded One probably opined on this, as he wasn’t lacking opinions. But I do think this is apocrypha as it relates to Soviet doctrine. Dave in Austin attributes it to Churchill, and perhaps that’s the origin of the notion. From the mind of Perfidious Albion’s favored son.

              But yes, the Russian’s choices seem to be more prudent and effective than ours.

              1. Kouros

                It was recognized that one of the pillars of Dialectical Marxism was Hegelian philosophy and metaphysics. At least in the social sciences classes in the Eastern block….

                1. Dftbs

                  Absolutely . That Hegelian philosophy is a building block, if not cornerstone of Marxist analysis is without a doubt. But that the notion of quantity to quality being applied to Soviet military doctrine is true, or British BS (as is most history) is more hazy.

      6. redleg

        I disagree that the Arctic supply convoys beat the Germans in WW2. Certainly the supplies were critical in avoiding defeat, but Ivan defeated the best the Germans had, on the field of battle, starting in late fall of 1942, before strategic bombing took a toll on German production (in 1944).

        1. ambrit

          The anti-Ivans argument is hamstrung by that essential item in every war; “boots on the ground.” Unless, of course, you are prepared to ‘conquer’ a radioactive wasteland.
          I am a bit biased here. One of my Grandads was a First Mate, (ex-merchant marine, drafted into the Royal Navy,) on a minesweeper that did the Murmansk run. Dad had some postcards his Dad sent him from Reykjavik during the war. Black and white photos of Iceland on the front, message on the back. It seems the censors didn’t worry too much about the cards.
          The American trucks were vital for the Soviet logistics during the war. That’s the important part. As I mentioned before, the Russians also made their own trucks at two auto plants built in Russia by Ford during the thirties.
          I don’t think that today’s “leaders” can concieve of the scale of the effort needed to prosecute WW-2. I’m wondering just how far back does the Russian Army’s ‘institutional memory’ go.

          1. Jason Boxman

            The book Brute Force: Allied Strategy and Tactics in the Second World War covers logistics for all the belligerents at length, with pages and pages of covering production numbers and so forth.

            Argues that the Allies’ World War II triumph was due not to leadership, but to industrial capacity, demonstrating that Allied commanders were outclassed and incapable of using their numerical superiority efficiently


  2. Basil Pesto

    I wonder if Musk is contemplating a Presidential run.

    He wouldn’t be eligible, would he? Having been born outside the US?

    1. QuarterBack

      Presidents can be born outside the US if one of their parents was a US Citizen, but Musk was born in South Africa to a Canadian mother and South African father. Besides, as the richest man in the world, it’s better to own a President than be one.

        1. The Rev Kev

          There should be a law in America where you can’t be President unless your IQ is higher than your shoe size.

          1. Wukchumni

            The majority of our politicians have IQ’s of a buck-buck fifty, but they can get it for you wholesale @ 75, just hit up Louie Gohmert.

          2. Pelham

            Granted. And it’s a relief to know that Musk can’t run.

            But if that had been a possibility, I doubt he would have been the smart Trump. It seems to me that way too many people who have somehow channeled their astronomical IQs into some pursuit that has pulled in a few billion dollars then experience a mysterious transformation that turns their wonderful brains into unthinking concrete.

            At that unfortunate point, when they’re most convinced of their unerring and universal brilliance, they feel most emboldened to take up any number of unrelated, nutso, fathead projects that serve to mesmerize the public, which assumes that the original brilliance is still at work and can be applied to governance and public policy.

            BTW, we see the same phenomenon at play with the PMC, albeit with less sparkling results.

            1. Mildred Montana

              >I doubt he would have been the smart Trump.”

              I don’t really think it would matter if he was. There is a large number of Americans who don’t like “smartness”, which is why so many celebrities these days can get elected to public office without apparent qualifications.

              That large number of Americans, if not outright anti-intellectual, relate better to candidates they’ve seen on TV, and prefer them to be plain-speaking, funny, and even outrageous. In other words, entertaining. (Which is why Trump’s obvious lies do not affect his popularity one bit.)

              Trump has 70 million voters in his pocket and their support is, imo, unshakeable—in the same way that Texans love their Dallas Cowboys. It’s all blind emotion. His intelligence (or lack thereof) has nothing at all to do with it.

      1. jsn

        The hedge fund guys used to say (maybe still do, but I’ve fallen out or touch), “if it flies, floats or (rhymes with) trucks, it’s better to rent than buy.

        Since a President (in full working order) does all three, renting will definitely be cheaper in the long term.

        In the case of the current one, daily operational maintenance alone argues against a purchase.

      2. Dave in Austin

        The “native born” rule has been slowly modified. in 1863 it was assumed General Meade could not serve as President because his father had been the Navy purchasing agent in Cadiz spain and he had not been born in that building (american territory) but in a nearby hospital (Spanish territory).

        Contrary to the “Oh you’re a conspiracy theorist” stuff, there was a real issue about where Obama was born. I woun’t bore you with the details and it no longer matters- he has served his eight years.

        McCain was a real breakthrough. His father was a serving US Naval officer assigned to the Canal Zone (arguably US territory). But he was born at a hospital outside the Canal Zone- he couldn’t run. Everyone in Congress knew they were facing a revolt if they told US service people assigned overseas “Sorry your kid born in Germany can’t run for President.” So the Senate passed a “sense of the senate’ resolution by 90+- zero (with no legal force) saying as an active duty service member he could run- Period. Full stop.

        The message was to the Supreme Court; “Don’t even think about it.”

        1. LifelongLib

          Interesting, I didn’t know that Meade wanted to run for President. I’ve read that Lincoln thought Grant might run in 1864, and was much more worried about that than about the actual Democratic candidate McClellan.

      1. Mark Gisleson

        Good article, thanks for the link. Musk is a South African American. African American should be reserved for use by ADOS, American Descendants Of Slaves.

        Immigrants are hyphenated and this should include Africans. Liberian Americans, Somali Americans, Nigerian Americans, etc. are not ADOS, therefore they should not be called African Americans. They know where they are from and should wear that label proudly.

        ADOS do not know the country of their origin and this is why they get to claim an entire continent. Terms like Euro American never took hold because Euro-Americans all know which country they are from. Asian American, sadly, works for many who see Asians as “all the same.”

        I should also note that Middle Eastern Americans are rarely identified by their country of origin, perhaps because the labelers think Middle Eastern is best summed up by “Muslims!” whether they are or not which, I suppose, is better than calling them all “terrorists.”


        1. ambrit

          I like James Earl Jones’ response to the matter of labeling people. He said that he was an American. Full stop.
          Anything else is an exercise in siloing and ‘divide and rule’ strategizing.
          And reparations? For a crime that happened over a hundred and sixty years ago? Methinks I sense a massive grift in progress.

        2. Stick'em

          Race is a social construct, not a biological one. Therefore, racial “identity” is whatever the group says it is.

          I learned this working at a genetics lab. People would try to send us blood samples to do DNA analysis to see “how much Black” they have and “how much Native American” they have and so on. We refused these samples mainly because the idea DNA polymorphisms define someone’s race is without evidence-based merit.

          Like most everything in America, people hear about “scientific” racial profiling on the TeeVee and social media, but that doesn’t mean it is real. Basically, commercial DNA home testing kits for this kind of thing are a vanity project.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > He wouldn’t be eligible, would he? Having been born outside the US?

      Dang. I think you’re right and I should have remembered that.

      On the bright side, Musk is the only “smart Trump” I can think of. So perhaps we can cross that worry off the list.

      1. Aumua

        Depends what you mean by “smart”, I mean how smart does one have to be to handle themselves better than Trump did? I think “smarter” is probably good enough to get the job done.

      2. Anthony G Stegman

        Nothing in this world is permanently etched in granite. It wouldn’t at all be difficult to change the rules enabling Musk to be eligible to run for the Oval Office. This chatter has gone on back and forth for a few decades now, so “serious” people are certainly considering it. If corporations can source “talent” globally why not the US government?

        1. Yves Smith

          Do not Make Shit Up. It’s in the Constitution. It takes approval of 2/3 of the states. The most recent amendment had been proposed in 1789 but was not ratified until 1992.

          This is agnotology, a violation of our written site Policies. You are already in moderation. I ought to blacklist you for this since our normal practice is to blacklist someone in moderation who offends again. Shape up.

          1. juno mas

            Actually a Constitutional Amendment takes 3/4’s of state assemblies to ratify a Constitutional change. However, before that hurdle it must past the US House by a 2/3 vote. As we all know, change is hard in American politics/democracy.

      3. Carla

        “On the bright side, Musk is the only “smart Trump” I can think of. ”

        What is Jeff Bezos? Chopped liver?

    3. Glen

      Why should he run for President when it’s much less expensive and more effective to just buy the government?

      This is why having the billionaires such as Bezos, Gates, Buffets, Thiels, Dimons, of the world complaining about government has become a joke. They are the government! They employ people that have every Congresscritter, Senator and Executive branch heavy hitter on speed dial. I’ll bet that the President weekly consults with these billionaires, and talks to an average voter maybe, maybe, once a quarter.

      It’s the only reason I can think of that American politicians routinely say crazy stuff and we’re all thinking – what planet do these people live on? Well, if all you interact with is people that for all intents and purposes DO LIVE on another planet – you’re going to start to sound a little crazy to the rest of us.

      1. anon y'mouse

        the longer term project is to get the little guys to reject government, “democratic” system and thus any collective decision making and to view those kinds of systems as rapacious and oppressive interventions in the little guys’ lives.

        these Owners have to keep up the scam. it’s a bit like pumping bitcoin to the proles to suck up their “stimmy checks”. these guys play the long con towards their ultimate goal, which seems like something out of one of Ayn Rand’s badly written bodice rippers.

  3. fresno dan

    ‘Al Qaeda is on our side’: How Obama-Biden team empowered terrorists in Syria Aaron Maté. Another must-read. And the same crew took the playbook, scratched out “Syria” and wrote in “Ukraine,” ….

    Despite being privately aware of Nusra’s dominance, Obama administration officials continued to publicly insist that the U.S. was only supporting Syria’s “moderate opposition,” as then-Deputy National Security Adviser Antony Blinken described it in September 2014.

    But speaking to a Harvard audience days later, then-Vice President Biden blurted out the concealed reality. In the Syrian insurgency, “there was no moderate middle,” Biden admitted. Instead, U.S. “allies” in Syria “poured hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of tons of weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad.” Those weapons were supplied, Biden said, to “al-Nusra, and Al-Qaeda and the extremist elements of jihadis coming from other parts of the world.”
    scratched out “Syria” Afghanistan and wrote in “Ukraine,” ….
    When you think about the fortune spent, the opportunities lost, in the wake of the Al Queda attack in the US because the US supported the Mujaideen, it is unbelievable that the idea of supporting terrorists in proxy wars has such support. Does the US support of the Azov group fortell the revival of Nazism??? Sow the wind and reap the whirlwind…

    1. JTMcPhee

      I just don’t understand the processes and motions whereby creatures like the Obamas and Clintons “rise to power.” Same processes that lead to the apotheosis of William Casey and the Dulles brothers and faceless but plenipotent others in the various halls of power.

      What tactics and modes of linkage and creepiness lead to psychopathocracy/kleptocracy? Maybe the article linked today on the effects of pathogens like Toxopolasmosis gondii contains at least one small part of the path to understanding the disorder. But what else do they do? What secret knowledge do they have?

      I’m sure that the vast literature on power and politics that is way beyond my waning understanding (chronic Epstein-Barr myself) has some answers… but most of us are blissfully unaware of how slimy sh!ts like Obama are able to slither up at political-crux moments to insert long knives into the backs of people like Bernie, and to become the eminences grise in especially the Democrat (sic) Party. And on the other side, of course, or maybe just another face of the same phenomenon, the Koch and Sackler and such families, and I find it interesting that “antisemitism” apparently bars noting the role of the Rothschild clan (oooh, conspiracy theory!) in bending the arc of history in a seemingly dead-end direction…

      1. Mildred Montana

        Good questions all and I have no answers. I’ve often wondered about this myself and so did Gore Vidal. Why would anyone want to be President with its paltry $400,000 per year salary and all the attendant headaches and worries and stressors? Why would anyone want to be Der Fuhrer or Il Duce or the “Man of Steel”?

        If I can hazard a guess, it’s about and only about power. Some people seem to enjoy being in a position where they can boss others around, terrorize them, make them cringe and grovel. Where they can hand out or deny favors. Certainly history is replete with these types.

        The reason this desire for power is so difficult to understand is that most of us (thankfully) do not have it. So, if most of us don’t have it, is it a psychopathology? That’s another question.

        1. redleg

          If you set up a proper Foundation, the “Man of Steel” can become the “Man of Steal”. Ka-Ching!

        2. LifelongLib

          In a true democracy/republic, the President would not be “powerful” or a “leader”. He/she would be someone who’d been temporarily delegated limited authority to deal with problems that were too large for ordinary citizens to handle on their own. So too with Congress, the Supreme Court, and all other government entities. The fact that we do think of those things as our masters shows that we never really had freedom, or understood what freedom was supposed to be about.

        3. juno mas

          …but that $400K goes a long way when your living quarters, food, and transportation are all free!

  4. Frank James

    I wonder if Musk is contemplating a Presidential run. It would be like him. The “smart Trump” we’re all worried about?

    He’s ineligible for the office but I guess he could act as a chaos agent by running. He was born in South Africa and is a naturalized US citizen.

  5. fresno dan

    Jan. 6 revelations will ‘blow the roof off the House,’ Rep. Jamie Raskin says NBC. Big if true.
    I don’t know about that, but I am thoroughly enjoying McCarthy’s twisting in the wind…well, I guess he really isn’t twisting as Trump says he still likes McCarthy.
    The greater danger for McCarthy on Friday had been the truth — that, with the disclosure of his negative comments about Trump, he might invite the ire of the former president, who maintains a stranglehold on his party and on a powerful faction of extremist House members who already pose the greatest risk to his political future. But by Friday evening, it appeared the danger would not materialize, as Trump told The Wall Street Journal in an interview that their relationship remained good.

    “I think it’s all a big compliment, frankly,” Trump told the Journal, referring to McCarthy and other Republicans who criticized him immediately after the Capitol attack but then relented. “They realized they were wrong and supported me.”

    For a Republican leader who has prostrated himself before Trump in ways large and small — including famously sorting through a package of Starbursts to present him with only his favorite red and pink candies — the lie was McCarthy’s latest show of loyalty.
    none of my congresspersons has ever sorted Starbursts (or m&m’s) for me – don’t get me wrong – I don’t want any candy removed – just sorted…

    1. Wukchumni

      My Kevin (since ’07) nearly came to blows with what was obviously a McCarthy impersonator who couldn’t have been the real thing as the faux Kevin spoke the truth.

      Authorities were called to break up the melee too, but when they arrived to take a witness statement from the Kevins, the obviously fake one acted as if nothing had happened aside from a little ruffling of words, a few of which appeared to be beaten up, a noun needing surgery was rushed to the hospital and is expected to recover.

      1. Stephen V.

        I found this G Greenwald interview of interest::
        The journalist refers to a lawsuit seeking the release of 14k hours of 1/6 video! I could not find a story about that…The Capitol Police have apparently argued in court that the video is not “public records.” Clever.

      2. Wukchumni


        If your My Kevin and the heat is on, good time to get outta town…

        House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) is leading a delegation of Republican lawmakers to the southern border in Texas on Monday, his office announced on Saturday.

        McCarthy and nine other Republicans will be traveling to the southern border at Eagle Pass, Texas, in the minority leader’s second congressional delegation to the southern border this Congress, his office noted.

        The other GOP lawmakers joining McCarthy include House Republican Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik (N.Y.) and Reps. Gary Palmer (Ala.), Tony Gonzales (Texas), Randy Weber (Texas), Michael Guest (Miss.), Chip Roy (Texas), Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.), Diana Harshbarger (Tenn.) and Blake Moore (Utah).

    2. lyman alpha blob

      These people are just embarrassing themselves now. From the article –

      “The plan was to use then-Vice President Mike Pence to try to get President Joe Biden’s electoral vote tally below the 270 majority needed for victory, Raskin said, which under the 12th Amendment would shift the contest to a vote in the House. If that occurred, he said, Republicans would have the majority to seize the presidency because the votes would be cast by the state delegations, and the GOP controls more state delegations than the Democrats do.”

      When was the last time a government was overthrown by gently requesting that someone manipulate the existing arcane rules?!?!? Was this an attempted coup in 2016? –

      Generally when a government is overthrown, the old rules go out the window. And generally there is a general or some other persons with big guns involved to enforce the new reality. See for example the US sponsored coup in Ukraine in 2014. Or maybe the US sponsored one in Honduras from 2009. They even had death squads!

      1. Wukchumni

        Yeah, we just thought we’d drop in!
        Where’s Pelosi’s laptop?
        Hey, where’s Pence?
        Ew, house-a-tosis!

        Who’s to blame when a party really gets out of hand?
        Who’s to blame when they get poorly planned?


        Crashers get bombed, slobs make a mess
        You know they’ll even ruin your next Inaugural address
        Crashers getttin’ bombed
        Who’s to blame?
        Can the GOP pull it back in line?
        Can they salvage it in time?
        What can you do to save a party?
        Blame Pelosi charades?
        A spur-of-the-moment scapegoat scavenger hunt
        Or remain in denial (aah, who turned out the lights?)

        Bombed, crashers gettin’ bombed
        Crashers gettin’ bombed, bombed, bombed, bombed, now,

        Who’s to blame?
        Who’s to blame when situations degenerate?
        Disgusting jail terms you’d never anticipate?


        People get picked up, they played the wrong patriot games
        You know, it could ruin your name

        Crashers gettin’ bombed
        Who’s to blame?
        Can you pull it back in line?
        Can you salvage it in time?


        It shouldn’t be difficult!
        Try not to condemn!
        Okay, who ordered Pizzagate?
        Please be tactful when making the rounds
        Be tactful when making the jail rounds and maybe
        You can save a party gone out of bounds (party gone out of bounds)
        Party gone out of bounds (gone out of bounds)
        Party gone out of bounds
        Gone out of bounds

        B-52’s Party Out Of Bounds

      2. marym

        According to assorted documentation being released recently, another alternative was to cause Congress to delay the count, providing time for further pressure on states to uncertify.

        Whether or not any one piece of the multiple efforts to transfer any remaining voter impact on electoral outcomes to Republican legislators and the courts, starting well before the election and continuing today, constitute a “coup” is less interesting to me than the scope of the overall effort.

        The Democrats won’t do anything about any of the vulnerable points in the electoral process, though. They’re just hoping for that one shocking thing that will justify their opinion that they’re not the most despicable faction.

        What’s roof-blowing about this particular “revelation” is that the politician who did something during the riot that was physically and politically brave was Pence. Will there be candles?

      3. Dr. John Carpenter

        My question every time I’m asked to care about this is “show me the military!” Don’t get me wrong, the people involved should be taken to task (but won’t.) But this whole so called plot sounds like a 19 year old trying to buy booze with an ID they drew themselves. Without some military muscle, that no one is suggesting they had, this would have been a delay in the process, at worst.

        You want to see how it’s done, go back to Bush in 2000. Those people were playing the long game and knew what they were doing.

      4. Dave in Austin

        “When was the last time a government was overthrown by gently requesting that someone manipulate the existing arcane rules”

        Hayes-Tilden, 1876 was a negotiated settlement that gave the Presidency to Hayes in exchange for ending military rule in the South.

        Bush-Gore, 2000 was a case where the Supreme Court decided “for the good of the country” to short-curcuit the issues in Florida (who appoints the electors; legislature (D) or gov (R)?). The Supreme Court took an appeal then decided it on grounds that hadn’t been appealed. Looking at the state constitution, I’m sure Bush would have prevailed- after 90 days of conflict that would have shaken American respect for the electoral process. So the Supreme Court (in a ruling that they said should not be used as precedent), said “Bush wins. Move on.” Foreigners I know were stunned that it didn’t lead to a mini-civil war. They don’t understand the U.S.

    3. Mark Gisleson

      “It’s anybody’s guess what could have happened — martial law, civil war. You know, the beginning of authoritarianism,” Raskin said, speculating on what might have unfolded if the plan was successful. “I want people to pay attention to what’s going on here, because that’s as close to fascism as I ever want my country to come to again.”

      This does not sound like they have anything more than another Mueller Report except this time there won’t be a Mueller to admit that they didn’t prove most of what they claim. The 1/6 crowd suspects everything and everyone who’s not them.

      The truth is that they kettled the protesters and there was a well-documented record of how they tricked the crowd into a prohibited zone. Even if they destroy all the videos, enough evidence has already been seen to undermine this attempt to end our Constitutional right to protest.

  6. John

    In a review of Richard Overy’s most recent book, Blood and Ruins: The Last Imperial War 1931-1945 makes this point, “Ignoring empire turns the Second World War into a moral triumph. … Though the United States never declared war again after defeating Japan, the scholar David Vine calculates that there have been only two years since -1977 and 1979 – when American forces weren’t invading or fighting in some foreign country.”

    The reasons: rolling back the Communist tide, defending the free world (for some definition of free) defeating terrorism, defending liberal values and the “rules based world order” have become clichés right up there with the their 19th century imperialist brothers.

    Russia and China have made a statement. Read their joint announcement of February 2022. The Ukraine is simply the tip of the spear.

  7. timbers

    Russia says it destroyed Odesa terminal where foreign weapons were stored Reuters

    A pro Russian site reported this and also included that one of the 6(?) missiles hit a residential civilian building, causing casualties – in the headline. The text of the article went on to speculate an air defense system of Ukraine may have hit one of the Russian missiles causing it’s remnants to change course and fall on the civilian structure. Makes sense given the civilian hit was at variance with the hits of the other missiles.

    Mention this only as one comparison of Western/Eastern reporting.

    1. Louis Fyne

      If a cruise missile hit the residential building, such building would collapse or look like the Murrah Federal Building after the McVeigh bombing. Otherwise it was an errant UA air-to-air missile.

      Not that facts matter. The initial headline did its purpose of outrage-hijacking the appropriate reading with atrocity porn.

      1. timbers

        I think that is why they suggest it may have been a fragment of the intercepted missile hit by Ukraine defense, blown off course, onto the building.

        Anyways, my point was a bit different, the account was much fuller and more detailed than the Reuters…which was a snippet of “Russia said.” No details, accounts, or investigation by Reuters.

    2. JohnA

      When Russian missiles destroyed an ammunitions base in Lvov, the western media described it as Russian missiles hitting refugee sanctuary of Lvov (or probably Lviv, to keep with the respelling theme). Western media propaganda is shameless in its dishonesty.

  8. Louis Fyne

    Russian victory: “a realistic possibility”

    Ugg. Russian victory is a definite certainty.

    Clearly Boris is now hedging his rhetoric to avoid looking like a fool when the UA army collapses (like Afghan Army) and the final UA military death toll will be revealed to be in the tens of thousands range, all for a post-war stalemate that will be worse for US-UK than what was possible on Feb 15.

    With, karmically enough, the RU army moving all the way to the Romanian border along the Black Sea and the West stuck with a broke Ukraine.

    the Zelensky government needs USD 50 billion per year in international non-military cash aid just to function.

    There are UA reports that given the current Kyiv budget deficit, they will need to start austerity measures and fire civil service employees .

    1. Quentin

      I must have mis-heard/read that he expects — demands, that’s right, he’s completely entitled and tone-deaf, impolite and rude — USD 7,000,000,000 — a MONTH! For him, his cronies, who knows. Anyway not for the American people.

    2. Quentin

      My bad in my preceding comment: the amount of dollars Ukraine hopes to pocket is 7 BILLION A MONTH.

      1. Michael Ismoe

        If we take HALF of that, we could have free community college for every American. Slava Ukraina!

        Wait until Bette Midler finds out!

      2. OIFVet

        He demanded that from EU during Ursuka von der Layen’s visit to Kiev. Greedy f*cks, aren’t they.

    1. pjay

      “About RUSI:

      “The Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) is the world’s oldest and the UK’s leading defence and security think tank. Our mission is to inform, influence and enhance public debate to help build a safer and more stable world.”

      No offense, but I think this – and reading the first paragraph of the article – suggests that my time might be better spent on other “long reads” today.

      1. Maxwell Johnston

        Agreed (after having read the article, unfortunately). Very one-sided. Some good detail on Russian failures and vulnerabilities, some good information there.

        Executive summary: the Russians have made big mistakes and the war will continue for a while longer, and in the meantime the Russians still need foreign tech to make their advanced weapons, therefore “the west” should make sure Russia cannot obtain such tech. Oh, and Russia bad.

        No historical analysis as to how we reached this point. No discussion of mistakes that might have been made (heaven forbid!) by Ukraine or “the west”, let alone actual Ukrainian battle casualties to date. No sense of how far Russia is prepared to go and how long the war might last. Plus a weird focus on Moldova towards the end, quite out of tune with the rest of the article.

        But I agree with them that the war won’t be over soon. So keep those seatbelts fastened.

        1. OnceWereVirologist

          I’m not so sure how seriously to take the analysis of Russian failures and vulnerabilites. The report seems to ex post facto change the previously accepted narrative of the battle of Kiev, i.e. that it was won by special operations teams armed with ATGMs, to one of Ukrainian artillery winning the battle. I can’t recall a single news report of artillery action on the part of the Ukrainians while the battle was ongoing. There was the Russian missile strike on the mall in the suburbs of Kiev under which Ukrainian MLRS were shown to be hiding but that suggests that Ukrainian artillery units were on the run from Russian air strikes not that they were winning the battle for the Ukrainians. A distrustful person might suspect that now the priority for the Ukrainian war effort has become heavy artillery for the Donbass front this thinktank has produced a report that conveniently foregrounds such artillery in the story.

          1. pjay

            Yes. Since I didn’t read the whole article perhaps I shouldn’t comment, but the first paragraph states that Russia “was anticipating the capture of Kyiv within three days,” and that they were “repulsed” militarily by the Ukrainians. That’s pretty ridiculous. Besides targeted military strikes like the one you mention, the Russians made no effort to “capture Kyiv.” At most, they *may* have hoped for a peaceful surrender as their army quickly surrounded the city. But they did not seem interested in taking the city by military force at all. Given what I’ve read, I tend to agree with Ritter et al. that their intentions were mainly to freeze Ukrainian forces in the north while they positioned themselves for an offensive in the south and east. I certainly don’t claim to know what’s really going on, but I know enough to see through this story.

            1. The Rev Kev

              Agreed. In population, Kiev is larger than the population of Chicago. And yet they thought that the Russians wanted to take it with what, 40,000 guys? Can you imagine trying to take Chicago with 40,000 guys?

    2. OnceWereVirologist

      It’s an interesting read but …

      Of the seven socket attachment points allowing data to be moved through the
      heat shield, one is of Soviet-era design and manufactured in Russia. The remaining six are all
      products of US companies. The rails connecting the circuit boards to the computer housing,
      which must maintain the alignment of the components under immense forces, are similarly of
      US manufacture. The circuit boards themselves are sourced from the US.

      Given that Russia is one of very few countries in the world with the ability to construct rocket and jet engines, it’s hard to believe that Russia doesn’t have the high-temperature metallurgy expertise to replace US-made socket attachments in their ballistic missiles. There’s also a case study of a jamming station which contains something like 60 imported electronic components. Most of these seem fairly low-tech and there is no attempt made in the article to distinguish between components that were probably sourced overseas on the basis of cost and convenience and those that might genuinely be technically unachievable or unobtainable for Russia. As such it hard to tell if this is more than a Daily Sun style “The Russian Army will collapse in 7 days from lack of food and ammunition” article for the highly educated set.

      1. Paradan

        I believe Lavrov mentioned a couple weeks ago that the Russians were addicted to American electronics and that was going to have to change, and should have been done a long time ago.

        How many of those components are produced in China by Chinese companies that are subcontractors for American corporations? Often times when they say US manufacture, they mean final assembly.

    3. jrkrideau

      RUSI Intro
      WHEN RUSSIAN FORCES began to roll towards the Ukrainian border on the evening of Defender of the Fatherland Day, 23 February, Moscow was anticipating the capture of Kyiv within three days.

      Great intro. Any reason to believe it? An estimated 50,000 troops are going to take a city of ~3.5 million in 3 days? It is likely at least day’s drive just to get there. Armies are not Formula One race cars.

      Moscow’s plan was for repressive measures
      to have stabilised control of Ukraine by Victory Day on 9 May.

      The authors have an Putin-autographed copy of the Russian campaign plan? Hopefully there is something of more substance in the report.

      I am reminded of an intro to an article on large cities that I read years ago. In paraphrase, the two urban planners pointed out that even Jules Verne would not have been able to imagine a city of 1 million people. Luckily he did not have to. Verne was born in 1828. William Playfair reports a London population of 1.2 or 1.3 million in 1813.

      Dreaming up great statements for an intro is great. A connection to reality might be nice.

      To be honest the rest of the article was pretty good but one was left with a nagging worry.

  9. The Rev Kev

    “Autopilot fail! Moment driverless Tesla being summoned by owner across Washington air field crashes into $2m private jet and keeps going even after collision”

    Stupid Teslas. It should be pointed out that a Cirrus Vision jet has a length of 31 ft (9.5 m), a wingspan of 39 ft (11.8 m) and weighs some 6,000 lbs (910kgs). And yet the Tesla couldn’t see it? And it was in ‘Smart Summon’ mode? There is that word again – “smart”. It is stories like this that make me think that we really don’t have to worry about a Skynet uprising. Those T-800s could be easily distracted by setting up storefront dummies everywhere.

    1. Louis Fyne

      And a car “sees” things that it is programmed to see. Teslas only use cameras, no Lidar sensors which would have prevented many Tesla accidents with minimal programming.

      Presumably cost and aesthetics is why Teslas don’t incorporate lidar

      1. BlakeFelix

        Sort of, to my understanding. It seems dumb to me. When Musk made the call a LIDAR system was like 20k and high maintenance, so hard to sensibly deploy on an affordable car. That made sense to me, but now that they are like 1k and no maintenance it seems like a no brainer the other way now. Musk is overly reluctant to reevaluate his strategy IMO.

        1. tindrum

          lots of marketing talk about 1k USD Lidar but no products. Remember self-driving-tec that was just around the corner…

          1. vao

            There are cheaper (a few k USD) LiDAR, but they have something like a quarter the resolution of the high-end ones used by the likes of Google & co for their self-driving vehicle projects. Functional when detecting large objects like cars (or airplanes), more problematic when trying to detect smaller features like the border of the pavement or, say, a roof tile lying on the road.

          2. BlakeFelix

            Sure, I’ll buy that. Maybe Musk just hasn’t found the right system to adopt or thinks he’s close enough to do it with just cameras. His just cameras strategy is what I think is silly, but I certainly don’t have a self driving car.

    2. InThePines

      I drive a truck with forward-looking radar which often mistakes interstate sign gantries for vehicles stopped in my lane, and makes horrible alarm sounds while applying the brakes. Tesla drivers wouldn’t put up with that. The occasional jet or pedestrian casualty? Well that’s a small price to pay for “driver” comfort.

      1. Wukchumni

        Didn’t we used to laugh at aged Americans (sadly, I fit the billing currently) who used to have metal curb feelers on their bulbous Lincoln Continentals, Cadillacs and the like?

        Of course they were hopelessly low tech and actually worked, so there is that.

        1. Dr. John Carpenter

          oooh! Maybe Musk can bring curb feelers back for Tesla, parading them as some brilliant new innovation, of course. He can charge a yearly subscription fee and if you don’t pay up, your car will brick. For safety!

        2. juno mas

          …the curb feelers were to save the whitewall tires. (My grandad had chrome feelers on his 1947 Dodge touring car..)

    3. Michael Ismoe

      Instead of wondering if he’s going to run for president, can’t Musk just be out “Psychopath of the Day”? It’s almost the same thing.

    4. Dave in Austin

      Oh, be serious. The autopilot was obviously designed to look for things that were attached to the ground. The tail of the jet wasn’t- it was 3-4 feet up and the plane’s tricycle landing gear was up front. Nobody expected an overhead object to be only 3 feet up. The autopilot is a Beta, a field test of an advanced system. This willl lead to a “look up at an angle and judge the height of the object” bit of software- two or three lines of code to be added to the 5-10 million lines that were already compiled.

      Having once driven a 24 ft UHaul truck into the overhead canopy of a gas station (1 mph; a jolt; no damage- the height was unmarked on the canopy) I have some sympathy for the software.

      The constant “But the prototype just made a mistake! Autopilots should not be trusted-ever!” is the Luddite’s view of everything new that is imperfect. Under this theory the airplane autopilot should have been outlawed after the first hundred “mistakes”

      1. The Rev Kev

        Still, crashing your computer because you are using Microsoft software which turns out to be Beta-version in reality is different to crashing a Tesla through Beta software – considering the fact that you are strapped into it. And your computer does not have highly flammable Lithium batteries either.

  10. Scott D

    Toxoplasmosis cysts have been found in gum tissue, as have species of protozoa. Perhaps an antiparasitic might help? Can post links if thats OK with the moderator.

  11. Mr. Phips

    “Scott Morrison says Chinese military base in Solomon Islands would be ‘red line’ for Australia, US”. The 3rd World War will start in that corner of the world, not in Europe. Australia has been itching for a military confrontation with China for years now. The plain Sinophobia that Morrison and his team put on display on a weekly basis in their statements is just a regular side-note. Further up north, Japan is constantly finding more excuses to increase its military budget, going against its own constitution, even floating the idea of perhaps having nuclear weapons, of course always by way of an “opinion” or “private thought” of a politician there. All this is openly and eagerly encouraged by big brother USA. That Australia sees it necessary to threaten and bully a country as small as the Solomon Islands just shows how the aggressive imperial mind set is still dominant in the West. The way it’s going, it will get worse and worse until The Day the war mongers are hoping (and actively planning) for, unfortunately.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I have no idea what is going on in Scotty’s mind. Yeah, the guy is a know bully but threatening China and wanting to buy nuclear submarines to send to their waters? Maybe he thinks that he is President of America or something. Chrissake, Oz has a smaller population than Texas and yet he keeps on getting bellicose with them. No diplomacy – just threats. But it is not Oz that the Solomon Islands should be worried about but the US as they let if be known that if the Chinese set up a military base there, that they would take unspecified action. I understand too that the US wants to setup an Embassy again in the Solomon Islands and requested permission. Rumour has it that it will be six stories tall, cover an area equivalent to ten city blocks and will house 1,500 personnel. :)

      1. Michael Ismoe

        I have no idea what is going on in Scotty’s mind. Yeah, the guy is a known bully but threatening China

        He’s the Australian Zelensky! What’s the Mandarin word for “lebensraum”?

        Why eat an appetizer (Taiwan) if the entree costs the same amount

        1. Mu Xiaolei

          The Mandarin term for “Lebensraum” is 生存空间. In hanyupinyin that would be shēngcúnkōngjiān. Quite a mouthful for speedy conversation.

        2. Skippy

          Happy Clapper blessed[tm] with kids that don’t have autism … and some are confused about his cognitive processes .

    2. SocalJimObjects

      The Aussies will simply borrow the US’ playbook and fight the Chinese to the last Solomonian while Uncle Sam will fight China to the last Japanese and Korean person. Total defeat for the later two countries will mean everyone in East Asia will be speaking Mandarin sooner or later like it or not ;) Hopefully that prospect alone will deter either/both of those two countries from making any crazy move.

      Has anyone checked the Yen recently? It went from 110(?) to 128 in very short order. Japan’s Debt to GDP is like 350%. Increasing the military budget will probably collapse whatever remains of their middle class, and therefore the economy. The Japanese government is clearly as insane as their counterparts in the West. Anyway, Shinzo Abe can visit the Yasukuni shrine everyday, and the current government can daydream about the rejuvenation of Japan, but I don’t think they have the money, heck, it may be that the Japanese will fight China to the very last American in Okinawa.

      1. Oh

        Did you mean Fumio Kishida visiting the Yasukunid shrine. It’s the duty of every Prime Minister to vist the shrine to show his patriotism just like the US Prez saying ‘God Bless America’.

        1. SocalJimObjects

          “Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe also visited the shrine, as he has on multiple occasions since stepping down as prime minister in 2020. Abe’s visit in 2013 while he was prime minister sparked sharp criticism from Japan’s neighbors.

          Kishida’s decision to make the masakaki offering without visiting the controversial shrine apparently reflects his desire to avoid worsening ties with Japan’s neighbors, while taking heed of the LDP’s conservative support base.”

  12. voteforno6

    Re: Elon Musk

    Fortunately he’s not eligible to run for President of the U.S., at least.

    1. TomDority

      All he has to do is pay enough to sway enough politicians to change the rules – political prostitutes have never been cheaper

  13. Mu Xiaolei

    This Friday, the EU Commission changed its tune and greenlighted Putin’s rouble for gas payment scheme via Gazprom Bank, stating that it wouldn’t violate current sanctions (yeah, right…). It seems most legacy media isn’t keen on reporting this.

    The way they try to spin the headlines to make it seem as if the West isn’t giving in to Russia’s demands is remarkable.

    1. JTMcPhee

      And I guess the Russian Federation does not give a fig for what The West “thinks” any more.

      Lo how the mighty (midgets) have fallen!

      Too bad they still control (sic) a whole lot of nuclear weapons, and are planning how to use them…

  14. Wukchumni

    And now a word from a late ant heeder:

    We exist in a bizarre combination of stone age emotions, medieval beliefs, and god-like technology.

    E.O. Wilson

    1. The Historian

      And he is so right! From my studies into history, I know that history doesn’t repeat itself, but the way people behave and react sure does! You can find examples of ethnocentrism, xenophobia, middle class revolts when people feel too pressured, ruling class greed destroying societies, etc. all through history. What’s happening in Ukraine could fit very well into what happened in Rome before its fall or what happened in China after the Han dynasty or what happened after the Guptas fell in India, or what happened in Judea in the first century CE.

      1. Wukchumni

        I witnessed a lady at the supermarket the other day getting declined on her $90 request on a debit card, but being ok’d @ $65, telling me she was worth in the low double figures in net worth as far as cash money goes.

        Everything she bought was processed foods as far as I could tell-watching the spectacle unfold…

        There’s a lot of lemmings like her on the very precipice, and then you add in our leaders being inept or worse, every last one of them a critical syncher.

  15. marym

    Workers at multiple U.S. Apple stores move to unionize

    “This is part of a larger trend that includes technology stores and companies like Starbucks and Amazon — where warehouse employees have unionized all in the last several months,” [CBS News tech reporter Dan] Patterson said.

    “You have to think that this vote could potentially empower not just other Apple stores to unionize, but across the spectrum when it comes to tech and other retail outlets,” Patterson said.

    You have to think…

    1. Dr. John Carpenter

      Yeah…ya think? ;)

      On a personal note, I’m way proud of these folks. I did my time at the fruit stand and, back then, things were better from everything I can see. This was round the time Jobs died. However, even back then, there was an “underground resistance”, shall we say. People would pass names of anonymous Twitter accounts to one another. Some were just typical blowing off steam about work stuff. Others definitely got into more labor issues. Every now and again, you’d hear of someone being called into HR at their store confronted with a binder of Tweets and some papers to sign…

      Though things were better, there was still a pretty big gulf between the management and those of us actually on the floor. Out district, who was there quite a bit, was particularly out of touch. The pay was mediocre (I recall ending there in the $17/hour range and I was working the Genius Bar), hours were sucky and the benefits were average at best. When you’re standing there all day, mentally noting the money coming in, it doesn’t take long to start feel like they could do better for you.

  16. ChrisRUEcon

    #FrenchElection #MacronVLePen

    Anyone interested in keeping a running thread here? :) Especially if you are in France, please comment on what the vibe is like …
    Overseas departments (Martinique, Guadeloupe & French Guiana), which Macron won in 2017, have apparently gone to Le Pen.

    1. David

      We’ll have a pretty reliable indication from exit polls at about 20h00 CET time (do your own sums) of who has won, from exit polls. At the moment, Macron is favourite, but that’s perhaps the wrong word; More people are probably going to vote against Le Pen than are going to vote against Macron. The campaign has evoked little enthusiasm: neither have the candidates.
      You can take this as the opening of a thread. As soon as we have a probable result, I’ll post it with any immediate comments.

      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, Gentlemen.

        One looks forward to David’s updates and insights.

        The francophone media in Belgium and Switzerland report the same from the overseas territories. These areas voted yesterday.

        Although not French since 1810, to the chagrin of some, there are many French nationals in Mauritius. They have voted largely for Le Pen this century.

        At midday, French time, turn out was 26%, 2% below 2017.

        It will be interesting to hear David’s thoughts about the new PM. I had heard former Segolene Royal associate Elisabeth Borne’s name mentioned.

        1. Colonel Smithers

          Turn out at 17:00, French time, is 63%, 2% below 2017.

          No sneaky polls based on Metropolitan France from across the border in Belgium and Switzerland.

          1. David

            That’s bad. 2017 was already quite bad enough. That puts the Abstention/Blank Vote Party in a very strong position.

            1. Colonel Smithers

              Thank you, David.

              The francophone Belgian state broadcaster has just given Macron 55 – 58%, 18:30 Paris time.

          2. ChrisRUEcon

            Oh wow. That would mean the abstention rate being reported by IPSOS – 28% – is probably higher.

            We shall see.

            1. David

              Well, there were still three hours to go at that point. But the final turnout last time was (checks result) just under 75%. If the same dynamic is repeated, and it’s 2% worse, then the 28% figure looks about right. Which would be quite a shock politically, but not really unexpected if you’ve been paying attention.

              1. Colonel Smithers

                Thank you, David.

                The francophone Belgian state broadcaster has just given Macron 57 – 58%, 19:30 French time.

              2. Colonel Smithers

                Thank you, David.

                I forgot to mention that the other name floated for the post of PM is Christine Lagarde. I think this could be difficult as France may not want to lose the governorship of the ECB.

                If Lagarde was to become PM, one wonders if centrist Goulard could be promoted from deputy governor of the Bank of France. Goulard is bankster friendly. I have met her in Brussels and London.

      2. David

        The projection is Macron 58,2, Le Pen 41,8, at the top end of the recent poll difference. Abstentions are calculated at about 28%, much as projected also. Points to take away:

        – this is a much better result for Le Pen than last time, and probably represents the maximum that she could have realistically achieved. A victory for Le Pen would have been a political earthquake of an extent not seen for generations.
        – these figures are generally very accurate, so the final tally is unlikely to change more than fractionally.
        – abstention continues to grow, which doesn’t necessarily worry the political class, but does worry everybody else. The number of blank votes isn’t known yet.
        – All depends on how the parliamentary elections in June turn out. A President without a working majority in Parliament is in a weak position. That result will be very different, with a much greater representation for the traditional parties whose candidates were wiped out this time.
        – Macron may be relieved, but he’s not going to be a strong President. A surprising number of people (me included) wonder whether he will actually make it through five years. This is particularly likely to be the case if he carries on blindly with his technocratic “reforms.”

        Contrariwise, you can ignore some of the more likely pundit interpretations:

        – this has little to do with the programmes of each candidate. Neither of them was coherent, and everyone recognised that the world is now so uncertain that it hardly mattered what the candidates promised.
        – this wasn’t a “republican barricade” against fascism. In the end, more people disliked Le Pen than disliked Macron. Macron is hardly a defender of republican values, which has allowed Le Pen to pose as one.
        – France is not “turning Right.” Macron was pretty far to the Right already. This was a protest vote of previously unexpected dimensions, and a gesture of repugnance against the traditional parties. Against a stronger candidate, or one with less baggage, Macron would probably have lost. (Before anyone asks, he would easily have beaten Mélenchon).
        – The electorate was effectively almost evenly split between status quo, big city, educated PMC and the prosperous retired on one hand, and the regions, the countryside and small towns, the poor, those on small pensions on the other. Just over one third of the electorate voted for Macron.

        1. ChrisRUEcon

          Thank you David! Concur with all you’ve outlined above. Score one pour Les Énarques! /sarc

          I look forward to June elections. A can kicked down the road as it were.


        2. ex-PFC Chuck

          “– Macron may be relieved, but he’s not going to be a strong President. A surprising number of people (me included) wonder whether he will actually make it through five years. This is particularly likely to be the case if he carries on blindly with his technocratic “reforms.”

          If he were not to ‘make it through five years’ how might he lose the office? Resignation? Does the 5th Republic have an impeachment provision?

          1. David

            Theoretically, there is a mechanism for removing French Presidents, but in practice I doubt whether it could be used. In any event, it would just force another election. If Macron doesn’t make it to 2027, it’ll be because he is thrown out by the street.

    2. Colonel Smithers

      The exit polls have just given Macron 58% to Le Pen’s 42%.

      It’s interesting to see as many EU flags as French tricolours at Champ de Mars where Macron supporters have gathered.

  17. The Rev Kev

    “Bulgarian PM Denies Ukraine’s Request For Weapons; Says ‘have Clear Red Lines’ ”

    The other day Zelensky more or less gave the Bulgarian PM a you-are-either-with-us-or-against-us ultimatum – so it looks like Bulgaria has decided to sit this one out. After all, the Bulgarians could strip their military inventories and ship it all to the Ukraine but what would be the point? It won’t change the military equation in the Ukraine at all. And if there is more serious trouble brewing down the track, the Bulgarians may need that gear more. They need to secure their own borders first. What else are they going to do? Depend on NATO?

    1. OIFVet

      There are probably some small weapons and munitions being shipped from BG to Ukraine. Ukie AN-26 cargo planes have been spotted in BG, I can’t imagine what else for. BG did secretly supply the “moderate” Syrian jihadists through CIA fronts and ME arms dealers, possibly something similar is happening now. But as far as the big tickets that Kuleba came for, it ain’t gonna happen.

      Kuleba coming in and acting entitled and imperial as if he was in his own house rubbed many people the wrong way. Not the US-funded media and politicians, of course, but the Ukie entitlement shtick is wearing thin in a few other countries as well.

      Of course, Petkov and his coalition partners will make the now mandatory pilgrimage to Kiev to be berated by Saint Volodimir in person and to be taken to Bucha as well no doubt. Little good that would do, whatever Ukies may think. The simple fact is that this governing coalition will break apart if the government decides to ship any of the big ticket items that the Ukies want, and none of the parties in the coalition can afford early elections. Neither can the country, there were 3 elections last year before they finally managed to form a coalition. Nevertheless, Kuleba coming in and acting as he did was humiliating, and it probably helped to further alienate the significant portion of the population that disliked Ukraine and Ukrainians already.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Seems that the Germans are experiencing their on problems with shipping weapons to the Ukraine. They were all set to ship Marder infantry fighting vehicles to that country when, wouldn’t you know it, it was realized that the ammo for these is actually manufactured in Switzerland and not in Germany. And ‘Swiss law demands that Bern give its consent to any arms re-exports and forbids arms deliveries to conflict zones’ which means that it is not possible to issue that ammo an end-user certificate as in at all-

      2. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you.

        On Friday evening, I spotted a new Ford F-150 with Ukrainian number plates outside a local doctor’s office. These vehicles are not available in the UK yet. I was told the newcomers are being registered on a fast track with local doctors. The red carpet roll out continues.

        1. ambrit

          The question then is, who is going to be left in the Ukraine? Only the ‘poor’ Ukrainian people?
          One could almost consider this result as a second order “decapitation strike” on the Ukraine.
          When will the EU start sending these refugees home? Never?
          Stay safe. Remember, horse racing is generally an outdoor sport, and thus, good for your health in these perilous times.

          1. Colonel Smithers

            Thank you, Ambrit.

            I hope Phyllis and you are ok.

            There are hundreds of refugees in the Thames valley. No one expects that they will return.

            The goodies they are getting is provoking quiet resentment as no one dares to say anything in public.

            The flat season is gearing up for the first classics, the Guineas at Newmarket, this weekend.

    1. Revenant

      I think it was in the Watercooler the other day. I was very taken with it. Confirmation bias!

      My clinical sixth sense is that the mRNA story is just too neat and tidy. Human immunology, like all biology, is a massively dirty system (we’re still discovering new reasons why the old drugs work, most of which are broad in their effects). It’s the kind of machine you hit with a piano, not a tuning fork. Hijacking the cell to spit out a single version of a viral peptide is very different from genuinely infecting the cell with a chimeric virus. To start with, the mRNA route looks a bit like a cancer pathway plus the viral entry defences go untriggered. The adenovirus vaccines stand more chance of some broad spectrum effects.

  18. Wukchumni

    Atoms with Consciousness: Yo-Yo Ma Performs Richard Feynman’s Ode to the Wonder of Life, Animated The Marginalian
    Feynman is my kind of genius, the sort that doesn’t really take himself that seriously, liked to goof off whenever possible in between amazing discoveries of things that 99.999% of us have no comprehension whatsoever.

    My favorite quote of his, which sure seems on target these days:

    Looking back at the worst times, it always seems that they were times in which there were people who believed with absolute faith and absolute dogmatism in something. And they were so serious in this matter that they insisted that the rest of the world agree with them. And then they would do things that were directly inconsistent with their own beliefs in order to maintain that what they said was true.

  19. Donald

    On Aaron Mate’s Syria piece—

    I linked to a NYT “analysis” of Russian lies a few weeks ago which flatly contradicted its own earlier reporting on Syria. It was supposed to be a Russian lie to say that anti- Assad Syrian activists were members of Al Qaeda and technically, if they said that, it was probably a lie. But they were Al Qaeda supporters and so were some members of the Obama Administration.

    People in the Western foreign policy establishment, including much of the press, are masters of doublethink.

  20. Sudhir

    The problem with talks like the one by Arundhati Roy is that the level of hyperbole makes it impossible to distinguish facts from fevered imagination and the seriousness of the person delivering the diatribe.

    If indeed, as she says, the Indian state is so far gone that “elections cannot reverse the tide” and “India will cease to exist”, perhaps that is for the best. After all, what is the point of preserving an India that “robs [history] of nuance” and is based on a Brahministic philosophy of “Aryan supremacy, the idea that some humans are divine and godlike, while others are sub-human, polluted, and untouchable”? Why would anyone want such a country to exist?

    In actual fact, India has a complex history and the current situation where there are some very unpleasant people close to the centers of power has a long and convoluted set of reasons for being so. The BJP is, in fact, not a monolithic entity and does include many prominent liberals. The country Ms. Roy describes is not one that would be immediately recognized by anyone living there.

    1. skk

      I’ve rated Arundhati Roy ever since I read her long essay “Walking with the comrades” (pdf available by googling) a decade ago. But then I’ve been in touch with the evolution – in ideology, base, regionality – of the Maoists in India from wayyyyyy back in the ’60s and the times of Basu and Charu Muzumdar to now. So I’m biased towards her and do not hold a candle for the RSS.

      But the evidence of the last two decades, in voting patterns, in my own observations is that India is evolving its own path to becoming a national entity, out of the path chosen for it by people necessarily under the spell of the colonial grip on ideologies about nationhood. Necessarily under the spell because colonial origin ideologies, even Marxism, dominated all cultural thought, even of the upcoming leaders and only since independence do we see something indigenous arising, an inevitable mixture though it is.

      Arundhati Roy ( and others of the PMC literati ) wish for the western model of nationhood. But the majority don’t. That’s why she delivers a Sissy Farenthold lecture at the Lyndon ( changed spelling) B Johnson Auditorium, United States and not in India, not even at the JNU at that.

      But of course then again, I’m writing a post in NC and not in the whatsapp groups originating and circulating in India of Indians living amongst the majority in India.

      1. Sudhir

        Yes, I agree with you that the national identity and cultural ethos is slowly changing to something more uniquely Indian. Most English speaking commentators seem to be unable to come to terms with this and ascribe these voting patterns to the general stupidity of the people (as Ms. Roy does when bemoaning the fact of Dalits voting for the BJP).

  21. Wukchumni

    When the Russians win, who are we going to send in to settle accounts payable on all the weaponry and munitions we fronted to the Ukrainians, or is it a moot point in that our politicians will make our utterly Krupp’d war machine whole?

    1. trhys

      My good man, the question answers itself.

      The billions of military hardware and money resources thrown into this black hole must be replaced! And NATO re-supplied. The biggest part of this boondoggle goes to the MIC and to pay for sinecures for retired Generals with the arms contractors and re-directed to campaign contributions. It’s genius.

      But maybe even better, this may just be the deficit enhancer that will permit the end of Social Security and Medicare. Wall Street gets it all! And the Democrats won’t be blamed for this crime. Much better than Obama’s Grand Bargain which only barely failed IIRC.

      Our enemies are within.

      1. Michael Shatkey

        From the CEO of Raytheon. “Everything that’s being shipped into Ukraine today, of course, is coming out of stockpiles, either at DoD [the Department of Defense] or from our NATO allies, and that’s all great news. Eventually we’ll have to replenish it and we will see a benefit to the business over the next coming years.” – Raytheon Technologies CEO Greg Hayes March 2022

  22. Jeremy Grimm

    “Endemic Pathogens …”
    This is a long but compelling read. The author suggests academic dogmatism largely explains the lack of research into ties between endemic pathogens and later health issues. I believe the scientific research of today and its gaps, in many areas including research into endemic pathogens, is also afflicted by the Neoliberal takeover of science. Research is treated like an investment, with emphasis on short-term ‘product’ development and monetary returns.

  23. Ahimsa


    Are vaccine mandate proponents democidists?

    SARS-CoV-2 Vaccination and Myocarditis in a Nordic Cohort Study of 23 Million Residents JAMA (Acacia).

    From the Abstract:

    “Results of this large cohort study indicated that both first and second doses of mRNA vaccines were associated with increased risk of myocarditis and pericarditis. For individuals receiving 2 doses of the same vaccine, risk of myocarditis was highest among young males (aged 16-24 years) after the second dose…

    1. Yves Smith

      Tell me what the absolute, not the relative risk, is.

      Recall the HRT scare about increased cancer risk. I was in Australia when that paper was publishes. American doctors greatly cooled on HRT (save those who do bioidentical, what they did was not what was studied). Australian doctors read the study (as opposed to the news reports about it) and thought it meant little, the absolute risk was still low. And it now turns out that women who get HRT have lower all factor mortality than women who don’t.

  24. Acacia

    Some things in the LRB article on Shanghai sound crazy, but if you browse Twitter for news and videos from the lockdown, there’s plenty of supporting evidence. Police in hazmat suits like stormtroopers beating up groups of people in the street, green fences being installed around buildings to enforce quarantine, a guy going berserk with a chair, smashing windows, mass quarantine centers, etc. It’s also weird to see countless tweets of young women in sexy clothes tweeting images of themselves with a Shanghai hashtag. Not sure wtf is up with that. This is the ‘dynamic zero Covid’ policy being put to one heckuva test.

  25. Wukchumni

    Legalized murder ain’t my bag, so i’ve tried to stay neutral during the war, ignoring it as much as possible.

    In perhaps strengthening Russian-Ukraine relations, I offer up this 26:42 minute truce of the frankly amazing Ukrainian pianist Anna Fedorova playing Rachmaninoff. You’ll be tempted to start @ 16:00 which is the best part, but don’t & listen to the whole thing.

    Rachmaninoff: Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini – Anna Fedorova

  26. Rui

    RE: Why Neutrality Is a Trap for Ukraine by Foreign Policy

    This link was disappointing, let’s put it like that. I thought I was going to read a useful insight, even if I didn’t totally agree with it, but it just repeats all the mainstream fantasy ideas about Russia and Putin. Some advance warning would have been nice!
    Sorry if I sound ungrateful. Thanks for all your work.

    1. The Rev Kev

      The author is an associate fellow at the Royal United Services Institute but it sounds more like something from the Atlantic Council. If the idea is that the Ukraine cannot be allowed to be neutral as it is a trap, then the logical inference is that the Ukraine must instead become a huge staging area for NATO to keep it ‘safe.’ And you can bet that this would include tactical nuclear missiles which would also be aimed at the Russian Naval Base in Crimea. No country could accept this happening and certainly not Russia. For all they know, Ted Cruz could become the next President and then what? Depend on his political acumen?

    2. Jonhoops

      The warning was in the title. Foreign Policy magazine is the house organ of the DC Blob. Now you know.

      Some NC links are in the category of “know thy enemy”

    3. Maxwell Johnston

      Forget about neutrality. Things have moved on. I think that the war will go on for quite some time, and that it will end when Russia occupies all of Ukraine. Right up to the border of Poland. With 15m+ Ukraine citizens living permanently in the EU, Ukraine turned into a Russian satellite a la Belarus, and zero prospect of a rump neutral Ukraine with irredentist fantasies. And local pro-Russian Ukrainians armed and supported by Russia to keep any anti-Russian Ukrainians under control and subdue any resistance movement.

      At this point, with the sanctions already dialed up to 11 and the overall military situation well in hand, why should Putin stop? The only way to guarantee a long-term peace is to occupy the entire country and ethnically cleanse (with the help of the EU’s open refugee policy) the Ukrainians who don’t want to live under Russian control. And then sit and wait 50 years or so, until tempers cool and the situation on the ground is accepted as fait accompli.

      It’s not pretty, but war never is. Putin doesn’t strike me as someone who takes half-measures.

      1. Oh

        It appears that Putin will quicken the pace and do exactly what you’re predicting – Ukraine will become another Russian satellite. The CIA started all this by fomenting the overthrow of a democratic President. Why would Russia stop when they have the upper hand?

        1. VietnamVet

          The only option, other than a peace treaty/armistice and a DMZ separating Ukrainians from Russians, is for Russia to occupy all of Ukraine and kill off the Neo-Nazi Resistance. Much like the Soviets did after WWII. It will take a full mobilization and at least three years like the last time. Except, the rebels will be replenished from Poland. This is what the West wants to happen. But this means that either Russia invades Poland to stop the resupply igniting a nuclear war or the occupation will be a protracted war like Afghanistan or Vietnam where the invaders in the end were defeated because rebels had a safe haven to reconstitute next door.

          The Russian invasion is a huge gamble that puts the survival of mankind at risk.

  27. jrkrideau

    OT. Help!
    M. K. Bhadrakumar at Indian Punchline has a rather scary post Migratory birds of mass destruction on the Ukrainian bio labs. In it, he posts a UN video link and says, “The proceedings of the Security Council conference on April 6 are in the public domain and are accessible”. I am assuming he means transcripts and possible supporting documents.

    Can anyone point me to them. I, clearly, am searching with the wrong terms or don’t understand the website as I have found nothing. I only use the UN site for stats.

    1. Acacia

      I tried also and found the link to the UN site using Brave search. Google didn’t get me to the UN (perhaps their, ahem, partners in the Intel community told Google to demote it?).

      I could not find a Transcript on the UN site either, but you can get an auto-generated transcript from YouTube. I’m not sure it’ll work for multiple languages, though.

    2. David

      According to the UNSC site there was no discussion on 6 April, although there had been the day before. That page gives you all the records of UNSC meetings.

  28. Paleobotanist

    I had deleted this comment. It seems to have reappeared. My apologies.

    This study is being promoted by someone with ties to the GBD. This promotion was linked yesterday and it is this promotion that I am worried about given its author’s ties.

    The original article here needs comment by someone better versed in medical statistics than I. These original authors’ affiliation are fine.

    Please accept this clarification.

  29. timbers

    Bloomberg says Germany is to borrow additional 40 billion euro to fund energy cost relief to people/biz., bringing forecast new debt this year to 140 billion. Wonder what year end forecast will be 4 months from now?

  30. jr

    Thanks for the link to Feynman’s poetry! It has confirmed for me what an incredible physicist he must have been.

    1. tindrum

      Even if you do not like physics you should buy his 3 classic physics books and just browse them – even if you don’t understand the mathematics you will learn huge amounts and you will feel as though you have grasped everything.
      Just like reading the book Chickenhawk will leave you feeling that you could definitely fly a huey through the DMZ…

      1. jr

        Thank you for the references.I could use a good book or two on physics! I will not be purchasing any of his poetry however. ?

  31. The Rev Kev

    “‘Not our fight’: Why the Middle East doesn’t fully support Ukraine”

    I don’t think that it is our fight either. This whole war was orchestrated by the west as part on an operation to trigger regime change in Russia and/or cause their economy to implode. And when Zelensky started to talk about having nuclear weapons, that was a bridge too far for the Russians. I can see why all those countries are ignoring his demands to buckle under and get with the program. I think that before long, all these demands by Zelensky will get to wear a bit thin though. Ukrainian politicians have already suggested that the $300 billion stolen from the Russians be given to them for reparations. Plus all the money and assets stolen from those Russian billionaires. And as well, that the west give them tens of billions as well. A honey pot that big would have all those Ukrainian oligarchs flying back into the country, war or no war. But let us not forget who Zelensky is- (32 seconds)

    Trust this guy and his henchmen with anything up to half a trillion dollars? I don’t think so. He is like the neighbour who knocks on your door and asks for your help because he says that he has gotten into a fight. And when you ask him where, replies in that biker bar downtown so lets go.

    1. fresno dan

      neither you nor I are stupid enough to go down to that biker bar, but you know who is? Yup, good ol’ uncle Sam. Somehow, he gets himself involved in every cockamamie dispute, and despite outweighing both combatants together by over a 100 pounds, yet somehow manages not to win. Makes me believe he throws the fight on purpose to enrich his wealthy gambling friends…

      1. Wukchumni

        A sure sign the war is nearly over, is the Drudge Report relegating Ukraine news to the lower right hand column, might as well be in Siberia.

  32. Mikel

    “Thrilled to announce I’m going to smoke cigarettes on my next @Delta flight because I’m really not worried about the health risks and @Delta puts my personal freedom first..”

    That’s about tne most perfect response.

    Fires up cigarette, passengers/crew complain and just say: “Oh, now we are worried about health effects of breathing the same air.”

    I think the Covid death toll wins the match…

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      That would only work if too many people started smoking all at once for the airline staff to beat them all down in flight. If 30 or 40 passengers all started smoking at once, maybe the plane would have to turn back.

      It could be called a ” smoke-in”. ” You mandate masks for everyone on the plane, and then we’ll stop smoking on the plane”. But again, it would only work if too many passengers do it all at once for the authorities to beat them all down.

      And that would require a level of social solidarity which may not exist anymore. So until there are smoky chokey smoke-ins on every flight until masks are re-mandated for every flight, the safest thing for covid realists to do is to shun airplanes and airports. Are there enough covid realists to torture the airlines into re-mandating masks if every covid realist boycotted air travel until masks were re-mandated?

    2. Wukchumni

      Must’ve flown a million miles overseas chasing aged metal discs in the 1980’s, and my ace in the hole was the smoking section-and having grown up in the worst smog you could ever imagine in LA, I had some sort of pollution super power that allowed me to linger there, and it was perfect as people were quitting in droves, and the way it worked was this:

      I’d have a economy class ticket-sometimes on pretty full planes, and i’d ditch my seat and go hunting for a bank of unoccupied seats in ciggyville, hopefully a whole middle aisle-which happened more often than not. At worst i’d get 3 seats and it never failed.

  33. John Beech

    The France24 article on how voting is done in France was concise on how they project winners based on actual vote counts instead of polls with excellent predictions.

    Appreciated information was they cast paper ballots with hand counts. No electioneering 44 hours before polls close. Honestly, France is sufficiently populous if they can do it, we can too. Why? Because I don’t WANT voting machines.

    Honestly, I don’t want the risk of a hack creating turmoil. I’m a dangerous man because I have the dangerous ideas – in this care that the cost to the economy of eliminating the use of voting machines (the companies that produce them and grease the palms of politicians to allow their use) is worth the economic hit to the few who would suffer financially – like give them an tax break or other offset to make them whole and let’s move on to a more trustworthy system.

  34. mistah charley, ph.d.

    I thought the former Surgeon General’s piece in USA Today about the Gridiron Club’s superspreader event was very reasonable. The fact that the questions he raises about what happened will not be answered is another indication of how unserious our rulers are about dealing with the actual situation. I hope you will correct erroneous references to his surname – it is Adams, not another name that begins with A.

  35. antidlc

    RE: Washington’s elite turned the Gridiron dinner into a COVID superspreader. Let’s learn from it.

    Sadly, we will learn NOTHING from this event. NOTHING.

    We can count on more of these events because nothing will fundamentally change.

    It can only get worse. I have no hope. There is no political will to stop transmission.

    1. Wukchumni

      Sure, we had the germ’ans on the run and the idea that their schvitzkrieg tactics were no longer a factor was a given, but why did just about everybody @ my brother-in-law’s wedding rehearsal test positive last week?

      Why doesn’t Joe grasp Putin and blame him for Covid, too?

          1. britzklieg

            well, at least in the west, which has moved on to more important things.
            “Let ‘er rip” isn’t exactly ending the pandemic but conceptually it’s pretty close.

  36. JAC

    “Wynn Bruce dies after lighting himself on fire outside Supreme Court”

    I am so glad you posted the link about Wynn, but am I the only one who thinks it is strange that no one brought this up in the comments and that the news has barely said a thing as well? A man sacrificed himself, hoping to save all of us.

    Was his sacrificial act so extreme we cannot even see it in our consciousness?

    1. Stick'em

      Bruce’s mistake was he didn’t go into a church and shoot 9 black people. See, if you do that, then everyone knows your name just like on Cheers. Your face is plastered everywhere so everyone can see the bowl cut your sister-aunt gave you. The NYTimes wil promote the link to your kook-ass online manifesto. And they’ll even buy you a Whopper and fries on the way downtown!

      But protest climate change on the steps of the Supreme Court through self-immolation?

      You aren’t going to get coverage because they don’t want “copy cats.”

    2. Oh

      None of the major media are worried about climate change let alone a dedicated activist setting himself on fire to draw attention to the serious nature of the problem. Pox on most USAians who don’t want to act or even protest.

      One would think that higher oil and gas prices would be a chance to use less. Hell no! When you have a fool like Bidet who opens up the spigot of the reserve and sells more public land to the oil companies.

    3. Henry Moon Pie

      When I was a kid, one of the first things that caught my attention about the Vietnam War was those Buddhist monks self-immolating. May Mr. Bruce’s sacrifice grow in its power to awaken.

  37. Jason Boxman

    After the Soviet Union’s collapse, the Pentagon “took a holiday” from studying high-end warfare, the general told me. “We looked away,” he said. The U.S. was drawn into a war in Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks, in 2001, and then opted to invade Iraq, in 2003. McKenzie was deployed in both wars. The U.S. focussed on conventional conflicts and insurgencies, while Russia, under Putin, built up its nuclear arsenal. Today, U.S. and Russian capabilities have “completely inverted,” McKenzie said. The U.S. has superiority in conventional arms, while Moscow has more nuclear weapons—and more options to deliver them.

    Conveniently leaves out Bush withdrawing from nuclear agreements with Russia. While we’re building an interceptor system, it’s no surprise that Russia might have built more weapons to counter it. Sort of like all western involvement in Ukraine is conveniently erased, with history starting when Russia invaded this year.

    Perhaps rejoining arms control agreements is the solution?

    Beginning in the nineteen-seventies, the two countries negotiated several treaties to limit strategic weapons, though all but one have since been scrapped. The New start treaty is the only surviving bilateral pact; it was extended for five years shortly after Biden’s Inauguration, but it seems more tenuous now.

    Conveniently erased. No agency is how this happened. Might have to reveal that the US is the aggressor here.

  38. Nick

    What’s With the Far-Right’s Interest in Ball Tanning? Gender affirmation?

    What’s With the Far-Left’s Interest in Gender Changing & Pronoun Banning?

  39. Stick'em

    Re: What’s With the Far-Right’s Interest in Ball Tanning?

    I ordered the Tucker Testicle Tanning 3000 machine.

    What arrived on my doorstep is a toaster, which when you pull the banana-shaped lever, Dewayne “The Rock” Johnson croons “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire,” meanwhile a red dot (aka the laser pointer sniper thingy) shines knowingly on your junk. Mine is the Gwenyth Paltrow autographed model.

    I think Darwin’s got this situation well in hand…

    1. ambrit

      Be verry careful! The ‘downmarket’ models have tiny amounts of plutonium hidden in the bottom of the “toaster unit,” to help advance the Zero Deplorable Population Growth agenda.
      “Two eyes good! Three eyes bad!”

  40. Jason Boxman

    ‘It’s Life or Death’: The Mental Health Crisis Among U.S. Teens

    Depression, self-harm and suicide are rising among American adolescents. For M, a 13-year-old in Minnesota, the despair was almost too much to take.

    And what future do these kids have?

    In 2019, 13 percent of adolescents reported having a major depressive episode, a 60 percent increase from 2007. Emergency room visits by children and adolescents in that period also rose sharply for anxiety, mood disorders and self-harm. And for people ages 10 to 24, suicide rates, stable from 2000 to 2007, leaped nearly 60 percent by 2018, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


    Over the last century, the age of puberty onset has dropped markedly for girls, to 12 years old today from 14 years old in 1990; the age of onset for boys has followed a similar path. Experts say this shift probably now plays a role in the adolescent mental health crisis, although it is just one of many factors that researchers are still working to understand.

    We’ve filled the entire world with poison. If not for climate change, I’d think all these novel chemicals we pump into the environment would do us in anyway.

  41. Wukchumni

    The Colorado River Basin is inching ever closer to “Day Zero,” a term first used in Cape Town, South Africa when they anticipated the day in 2018 that taps would run dry. Lakes Powell and Mead, the Colorado River’s two enormous reservoirs, were full in 2000, storing more than four years of the river’s average annual flow. For more than two decades water users have been sipping at that supply, watching them decline. Long-term drought and climate change is making this issue potentially catastrophic.

    Today the entire Colorado River reservoir storage system is 2/3 empty.

    Moreover, federal officials project that within two years, the water level in Lake Powell could be so low that it would be impossible for water to flow through the dam’s turbine intakes. When that happens, it’s clear the dam will no longer generate hydropower, but it’s also possible the dam will not release any water at all. That’s because the only other way for water to move through the dam when the water is low is a series of outlet tubes that were not designed, and have never been tested, for long-term use.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      It sounds like global warming realists living in the Southwest should quietly look for global warming deniers to sell their homes to . . . . so the realists can escape the Southwest before it is too late, and so that the deniers should all be gathered in one place where they belong. ( The same should be done along the most floodable coasts. The realists should find a way to sell their land and homes to the deniers so that the realists can escape a rising sea and the deniers can all be clustered where they deserve to be.).

      1. Wukchumni

        I’m not taking any chances of getting roasted by the big heat and bought a pied-à-terre in Tierra del Fuego. They tell me its a long walk there.

    2. Carolinian

      There is the sentiment among some that Lake Powell was a mistake from day one and the thing should be torn down and Glen Canyon restored.

      Doubtful that Hoover will ever face the same fate since it is a national icon and, in its setting, rather beautiful

      1. Wukchumni

        We put in about 1/2 a mile below Hoover Dam on our kayak trips down the Black Canyon of the Colorado and the view looking up @ the massif is awe inspiring. Can do America got the job done almost a century ago.

        I always send this video out to newcomers who are kayaking it for the first time…

        San Andreas (2015) – Hoover Dam Destruction Scene

  42. drumlin woodchuckles

    Musk for President? Wasn’t Musk born in South Africa? If so, he is constitutionally ineligible to be US President. If that still matters anymore.

    If it doesn’t, I hope Musk picks Schwartzenegger for his VP running mate. Schwartzenegger isn’t born in the US either. They could combine parts of their names for a funner-sounding joint name. Muskenegger or Schwartzenusker or something.

  43. B1WHOIS

    Today is Easter (the most significant religious holiday for the world’s roughly 300 million Orthodox Christians) in both of the countries involved in the Ukraine war. Alexander Mercouris ends today’s update with a poignant plea for peace and for the lives of the young men and women engaged in the conflict, one and all. IMHO his testimony deserves greater audience:

  44. urdsama

    Thankfully Musk cannot be president as he was born in RSA.

    And let’s be honest, if Arnold couldn’t raise any real support to pass a constitutional amendment, Musk has no shot at all.

    In any case, he’d just turn any run into a huge 420 joke and then walk away after people were mean to him.

  45. Wukchumni

    $4.01k update

    My investment in Bitcoin from the Coinstar machine @ the supermarket is in the hoarse latitudes, all talk & no action-stalled out @ $40k, still well under my $56k buy-in, but i’m a HODL king of guy with no FOMO despite it only being worth around three bucks currently.

    1. Louis Fyne

      in a world of rising interest rates, almost all assets will fall in value as the system de-leverages (or defaults) to pay back debt or the tax man.

      the world’s only “value investment” left is rice. seriously.

      a bargain when compared to what’s happening to nearly every other food or commodity or widget.

      1. ambrit

        And, as an added bonus, down in Louisiana, after the rice is harvested, the fields are flooded and crawfish grown. Yum! Mudbugs! Have them with your ‘Beans and Rice.’

    2. Milton

      It could be worse. You could buy at $414 ($3500 total) and sell at $1000. In fact, the fraction that i have left over (.21441 btc) is worth more than my cash out.

  46. fresno dan
    A California man was arrested and charged with making threats against Merriam-Webster Inc. for the company’s inclusive language around gender, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts.
    Jeremy David Hanson, 34, of Rossmoor, California, was arrested and charged with one count of interstate communication of threats to commit violence, according to a press release.
    I have no adjectives …. or synonyms
    but at least he is not from Fresno…

    1. Acacia

      Because of the threats, Merriam-Webster shut down its Springfield, Massachusetts, and New York City offices for five business days.

      Kinda sounds like those M-W staffers don’t spend much time on the Interwebs, where keyboard commando threats like Mr. Hanson’s — sorry, I mean alleged keyboard commando threats — are a daily occurrence.

  47. ChrisPacific

    The ML link is very interesting. Intuitively it makes sense that third party models could come with backdoors (it’s like hiring a security guard from a gang and then expecting them to protect against infiltration by the same gang) but the fact that they are provably undetectable under standard cryptographic assumptions is a pretty big result.

    The conclusion is that better models are needed with proper delegated authority. If you let a third party build the entire model for you, you need to allow for the possibility that they could manipulate its behavior in ways that weren’t detectable.

    1. Acacia

      Heh, that’s a good analogy of hiring gang members for security.

      Already some years ago I figured ML was going to be useless for anything “mission critical” — and security sort of qualifies —, which was later confirmed when that “humans are super cool” Microsoft chat bot “learned” to be a full-on Nazi after spending less than 24 hours on Twitter:

      …and that was on Twitter. It would be funny to repeat the experiment on 4chan and see how many minutes it took to achieve the same result.

    2. Polar Socialist

      You can’t detect “the special rules” injected into a model from the model, but you can detect them from the output.

      I still think the “special rules” that get inserted involuntarily in to the models are a much bigger problem in machine learning. After all the hype is stripped away, the models still operate on garbage in – garbage out principle. They do tend to be quite good in exposing biases in the behavior they’re trying to model, though.

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