Links 4/26/2022

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.

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Quick-Thinking Construction Crew Uses Excavator to Rescue Drowning Dog From a Irrigation Canal Laughing Squid

Fidelity’s New 401(k) Offering Will Invest in Bitcoin NYT

Bored Ape Instagram account hacked: NFTs worth $2.8 million stolen The Block. That’s a damn shame.

Patience wears thin in Wyoming as crypto banks await Fed approval American Banker

Bank of America sounding the alarm on collapsing freight demand Freight Waves

This doesn’t look very recessionary Sam Ro


How Cities Became Accidental Wildlife Havens Bloomberg


Team Biden’s mask dance before the WHCD Politico

For all the health care establishment has done to educate the public on best practices during a pandemic [this is irony, surely], it’s proving to be inconsistent on modeling that behavior for the masses. Vaccination requirements? Sometimes. Mask recommendations? Maybe.

The conferences have led Biden officials to do their own mask-policy dance. Many top health officials are attending the three-day AHA summit, and not one — including Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure — has committed to wearing a mask indoors.

That is in line with the current CDC recommendation for the D.C. area, but the string of maskless big events comes during a federal fight to keep transportation mask mandates in place — using arguments for airline passengers and flight attendants that could apply just as well to unmasking at an indoor wonkfest with hundreds, if not thousands, of strangers.

The neurological and vascular damage that comes from even “mild” Covid cases is, as I understand it, cumulative. So perhaps this elite problem will sort itself, happily, over time, even in as little as two or three years.

School Masking Policies and Secondary SARS-CoV-2 Transmission Pediatrics. From the Abstract: “1,112,899 students and 157,069 staff attended 61 K–12 districts across 9 states that met inclusion criteria. The districts reported 40,601 primary and 3,085 secondary infections. Six districts had optional masking policies, 9 had partial masking policies, and 46 had universal masking. Districts that optionally masked throughout the study period had 3.6 times the rate of secondary transmission as universally masked districts. For every 100 community-acquired cases, universally masked districts had 7.3 predicted secondary infections, while optionally masked districts had 26.4.” How is it that sick children are more “free” than children who are protected and well?

Covid Mask Mandates, Authority and Status WSJ

Masks (1):

Masks (2):

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COVID-19 mortality preventable by vaccines Peterson-KFF Health System Tracker

Six-month sequelae of post-vaccination SARS-CoV-2 infection: A retrospective cohort study of 10,024 breakthrough infections Brain, Behavior, and Immunity. Data from the TriNetX electronic health records network (over 81 million patients mostly in the USA). From the Abstract: “Receiving at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose was associated with a significantly lower risk of respiratory failure, ICU admission, intubation/ventilation, hypoxaemia, oxygen requirement, hypercoagulopathy/venous thromboembolism, seizures, psychotic disorder, and hair loss (each as composite endpoints with death to account for competing risks; HR 0.70–0.83, Bonferroni-corrected p < 0.05), but not other outcomes, including long-COVID features, renal disease, mood, anxiety, and sleep disorders. Receiving 2 vaccine doses was associated with lower risks for most outcomes." SARS-CoV-2 vaccination can elicit a CD8 T-cell dominant hepatitis Journal of Hepatology. n = 1. From the Lay Summary: “Liver inflammation is observed during SARS-CoV-2 infection but can also occur in some individuals after vaccination and shares some typical features with autoimmune liver disease. In this report, we show that highly activated T cells accumulate and are evenly distributed in the different areas of the liver in a patient with liver inflammation following SARS-CoV-2 vaccination. Moreover, within these liver infiltrating T cells, we observed an enrichment of T cells that are reactive to SARS-CoV-2, suggesting that these vaccine-induced cells can contribute to the liver inflammation in this context.”

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Gastrointestinal symptoms and fecal shedding of SARS-CoV-2 RNA suggest prolonged gastrointestinal infection Cell. From the Conclusions: “The extended presence of viral RNA in feces, but not respiratory samples, along with the association of fecal viral RNA shedding with GI symptoms suggest that SARS-CoV-2 infects the GI tract, and that this infection can be prolonged in a subset of individuals with COVID-19.”

Semen Proteomics of COVID-19 Convalescent Men Reveals Disruption of Key Biological Pathways Relevant to Male Reproductive Function ACS Omega. From the Abstract: “[W]e demonstrate the alteration of semen proteome in response to COVID-19, thus disrupting the male reproductive function despite the patient’s clinical remission. Hence, to understand fertility-related biological processes triggered by this infection, a protracted evaluation of the consequences of COVID-19 in recovered men is warranted.”

Cognitive and brain changes due to SARS-CoV-2 Mapping Ignorance

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FAQs on Protecting Yourself from COVID-19 Aerosol Transmission. Here is the impressive list of authors. Linked to previously, but this updates, so here it is again.

Portable air cleaners and residential exposure to SARS-CoV-2 aerosols: A real-world study Indoor Air. n = 17. “We report the first naturalistic intervention study suggesting a reduction of such transmission risk using portable air cleaners (PACs) with HEPA filters…. With the PAC operated at its lowest setting (clean air delivery rate [CADR] = 263 cfm) to minimize noise, positive aerosol samples decreased to four out of sixteen residences (25%; p = 0.229).”

How Japan’s slow acknowledgement of COVID’s airborne spread has hampered its response Japan Times


Mainland Chinese shares tumble amid Covid fears as Beijing expands testing; HSBC profit falls CNBC

China’s recent trade moves create outsize problems for everyone else Peterson Institute for International Economics. Unlike, say, becoming a global reservoir for Covid infection.

Why an increasingly confident US is baiting Beijing over Taiwan South China Morning Post

Taking Taiwan Here Comes China. Interesting speculations.


Macron’s France vs. Le Pen’s France, in charts Politico

Finland Is On The Brink Of A Nuclear Power ‘Game Changer’ HuffPo

New Not-So-Cold War

Will the Ukrainian Army Hold in Its East? Brad DeLong

Russia reportedly using ISIS-style pickup trucks in Ukraine Washington Examiner but and Someone in Ukraine Built a BMW 6-Series Convertible Technical Road and Track (“technical” being the term of art for a pick-up truck with a machine-gun mounted in the cargo bed. The “technical” concept seems to have originated in Somalia, so we have something to look forward to). FWIW, this armchair Supreme Commander thinks all the NATO weapons shipments are the equivalent of dropping a piano into a classroom and hoping the kids learn music, and nobody knows where the weapons are or to whom they have been sold anyhow. So the “grassroots” emergence of technicals may be a more accurate proxy for the direction of the war than weapons tonnage. (And if I were tooling around Mariupol looking to whack some fleeing Nazis, wouldn’t a technical be better than a tank anyhow?)

Welcome to the Black Sea Era of War Foreign Policy

Do Americans support fighting in Ukraine? It depends how you ask Responsible Statecraft (Re Silc).

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History and war propaganda: Timothy Snyder falsifies role of Ukrainian fascism WSWS. Commentary:

As long as the flags have the right colors!

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The flood of Russian sanctions has left banks in need of help FT. The deck, a little masterpiece of its kind: “We must acknowledge the heavy lifting in the financial sector required to make the price of war unacceptably high.”

Ukranian woman who injected herself with £1,600 of filler to get the ‘world’s biggest cheeks’ shares video of a beautician administering further injections to make her look even more dramatic Daily Mail

Biden Administration

A Real Foreign Policy for the Middle Class Foreign Affairs. Lol no.


Donald Trump found in contempt of court by New York judge FT

Trump will not return to Twitter even as Elon Musk purchases platform, will begin using his own TRUTH Social FOX. Two cocks on the same dunghill? Unlikely.

Supply Chain

Russian Crude on Tankers is the Highest on Record Hellenic Shipping News

Rosneft huge oil tender fails after it demands rouble payment -traders but Possible to pay for Russian gas while complying with sanctions – Uniper Germany Reuters

Musk Buys Twitter

How Elon Musk Won Twitter Wired. Commentary:

Elon Musk is Surveillance Valley Yasha Levine. Indeed:

No, it very doesn’t, especially when you consider that the powers-that-be will be able to purchase all the fake identities they want, in addition to the real identities they have already purchased.

Everything Elon Musk wants to change about Twitter Axios. Commentary:

Billionaires Only Come To The Rescue In Movies And Comic Books Caitlin Johnstone. Commentary:

This comment is not completely fair. Aerosol scientists, for example, are not non-elites, but used Twitter greatly for the public good. I grant that they are not dominant factions of the elite.

Horrific allegations of racism prompt California lawsuit against Tesla LA Times

Intelligence Community

CIA Files Confirm Guantanamo Bay Torture Program’s MKULTRA Roots Mint Press. A veritable factory farm for life coaches.

Health Care

200 Rural Hospitals At Risk of Closing in the Next Few Years, Study Finds MedPage Today

The hidden long-term risks of surgery: ‘It gives people’s brains a hard time’ Guardian

We are more satisfied with life as we age, thanks to this neurochemical Frontiers Science News

Our Famously Free Press

Subscriptions and external links help drive resentful users to alternative and extremist YouTube videos (PDF) Annie Y. Chen, Brendan Nyhan, Jason Reifler, Ronald E. Robertson, and Christo Wilson. From the Abstract: “Do online platforms facilitate the consumption of potentially harmful content? Despite widespread concerns that YouTube’s algorithms send people down ‘rabbit holes’ with recommendations to extremist videos, little systematic evidence exists to support this conjecture. Using paired behavioral and survey data provided by participants recruited from a representative sample (n=1,181), we show that exposure to alternative and extremist channel videos on YouTube is heavily concentrated among a small group of people with high prior levels of gender and racial resentment. These viewers typically subscribe to these channels (causing YouTube to recommend their videos more often) and often follow external links to them. Contrary to the ‘rabbit holes’ narrative, non-subscribers are rarely recommended videos from alternative and extremist channels and seldom follow such recommendations when offered.

The Private Equity Giant KKR Bought Hundreds Of Homes For People With Disabilities. Some Vulnerable Residents Suffered Abuse And Neglect. Buzzfeed. Whenever you see a chain named something like “BrightSpring,” run. It’s a trap.

Antidote du Jour (via):

Bonus Antidote:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Louis Fyne

    —Bank of America sounding the alarm on collapsing freight demand Freight Waves—

    —This doesn’t look very recessionary Sam Ro—

    We need another commentariat “what’s happening in your neck of the woods” post. IMO, heating bills and bulk-buying stockpiling pulled forward 2022 summer spending.

    I’ve noticed since the middle of March, food prices up 10%+ and sale promotions down at the local grocery stores, the HyperMarts and HyperWarehouse.

    Baby formula and diapers prices have gone through the roof. there are going to be a lot of angry millenial parents in November.

    1. timbers

      Diapers…didn’t Blinken say they donated a bunch to Ukraine the other day? Maybe Dems are counting on a lot of millennial Ukraine votes in Nov. Not this November but some November in the future. Like 2042.

    2. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you, LF.

      + 1.

      They are always interesting and, in advance of elections in UK (local in May), France (legislative in June plus new government), Germany (some states, e.g. Baden-Wuerttemberg, home of Mercedes and Porsche) and USA (midterms), timely.

      In the UK, one can add the impact of Brexit feeding through and not always / no longer hidden by covid and, in my home county’s case, the unprecendented mobilisation to support Ukraine.

      1. Revenant

        Colonel, I think the impact of Brexit is swamped by the impact of Russia. A lot of UK trade with the EU was non-essentials. Nobody needs French wine or Italian pasta or German cars: alternatives are available, some of them almost acceptable. :-)

        Even the supplies of key industrial inputs that are supposedly affected by Brexit (water purification chemicals, medical isotopes etc.) are likely to more affected by sanctioning Russia, which has major basic chemicals and isotope production facilities. Taking a major energy and hard and soft commodities player out and then having all the first world countries bidding against each other for what’s left in the market is going to hurt.

        Frankly, “taking back control” would be a great step right now: no self-denial of Russian goods and/or cutting import tariffs on substitutes. If only….

          1. Michaelmas

            I’ve been in the UK since January. If there’s a Brexit impact, I haven’t seen it.

            In fact, as compared to the UK of my youth (decades ago), the markets are surprisingly superior to the markets in the SF Bay Area in CA, with better food and cheaper prices — far cheaper, based on the inflation statistics I see from the US.

            1. Anonymous 2

              The main impact of Brexit IMO has been a very sluggish economic performance since 2015. The UK has underperformed its neighbours probably by circa 3.5% of GDP or about £80bn. Taxes on working folk have gone up, which I attribute to the need to fill the resulting hole in government finances though of course the government, lying as usual, say it is to increase spending on the NHS (which because of the aging population has to see increased spending).

              In the shops, well, with covid and Ukraine it is hard to disentangle causality, but the choice seems to me less and the prices of course are higher.

              Small businesses are said to be having a much harder time exporting.

              1. Colonel Smithers

                Thank you, both.

                In Buckinghamshire, farming, motor racing and film industry firms are struggling to recruit and move staff about, resulting in higher costs and the possibility of relocation. Farm, automotive and IT service exports are more difficult.

                Agricultural machinery repairers and hairdressers report getting supplies from the continent getting more difficult abs expensive and taking longer. Einhell and Henkel / Schwarzkopf no longer operate in the area.

                With regard to POOT’N, the cost of diesel and fertiliser has further restricted what farmers can do.

        1. Skippy

          And yet some thought QTM or wages were the inflationary monster under the bed and must be fought to the death …

    3. Geo

      Somewhat related: In a tweet yesterday Ilhan Omar suggested in the next aid package for Ukraine the US needs to include food aid for the rest of the world.

      For whatever faults she may have, I admire her for times like these when she juxtaposes our frivolous war spending with our total lack of compassionate spending. She is one of the only elected reps who seems to understand that helping those in need, not arming the world, should be our focus. Kinda funny that the Muslim rep has more “Christ-like” ideals than all the supposedly Christian ones. :)

        1. Geo

          Yeah. Wish she’d said that. But, my hopes for progressive reps to make effective arguments for beneficial policies is so low I’ll take anything even tangentially effective. :)

        2. The Rev Kev

          Well it’s not like the Squad could threaten to hold back their vote unless any food aid to the Ukraine was equally matched by food aid to the homeless in America. Who would want to see something so unpatriotic happen?

          1. marym

            There are only 6 of them, though. They’re not able to stop anything in a 221-209 House, especially (see link below at 9:45 am) something that also apparently has Republican support. In terms of making this an issue, then, their votes on a bill without US food aid would be interpreted as: Yes: sellout, No: Performative, Not voting: sellout and performative.

            1. Wukchumni

              McCarthyism is coming…

              ‘I have here in my hand a list of 245—a list of names that were made known to the Secretary of State as being members of the Grand Old Party and who nevertheless are working and shaping policy in the State Department.’

      1. Brian (another one they call)

        Can anyone believe we are having this conversation? Our President is giving our money to the nazi’s, our food to the nazi’s and everyone in the worlds weapons to the nazi’s.
        This has to end. People are already having to make choices on how they die in America. There is no option to live under the conditions they are most certainly creating and implementing now.
        Now we are cannon fodder for the battlefield. Our children will be encouraged to join the crotch just to pay for school or get food for their family. I am sure they will suggest joining the Ukrainian crotch soon because “that’s were the money is”. Many will have to become flies because they can’t cover the monthly bills and know there is even less help for anyone not getting screwed with the GI plan.
        Our congress will do nothing, because that is the always solution. They only care about the looting they can do with impunity. Target Ukraine!
        For any that don’t know, the descriptive terms used are those employed by our military to describe the military and conditions within.
        Crotch=Army Flies=lifers, re-enlistment

        Who is the good guys anyway?

        1. Anthony G Stegman

          The Nazis never went away. They have infiltrated every government in Europe as well as the US. Many of our elected representatives are closeted Nazis or Nazi sympathizers. On a number of levels the Western powers admire what the Nazis did in the 1930s-40s. It wasn’t that long ago when the British royal family was deeply intertwined with the Nazi party, via marriage as well as ideology. Some things haven’t changed.

      2. hunkerdown

        Well, now we know what the Squad and the rest of high liberalism are; we’re just haggling on price.

        We need to grow out of this “personal moral exercise” narrative that provides ongoing alibis for structural violence.

    4. Judith

      And there’s this:

      Read the entire thread.

      And Lindsay Toczylowski
      Spent this morning visiting a shelter for Ukrainian refugees in Tijuana.

      Spent the afternoon at a shelter @ImmDef
      visits regularly to provide legal services to mostly Haitian & Central American families.

      The differences between the two are stark and soul-shattering. ?
      1:25 AM · Apr 22, 2022·Twitter for iPhonethis:

          1. judy2shoes

            You’re welcome, Judith. I am glad you pointed out that thread. The difference in treatment of Ukrainian refugees at our southern border is a stark reminder that whites get better accommodations and go to the head of the line while brown/black people, mainly from Haiti and Central America, are shoved into subpar facilities, are often separated from their children, and have to wait months/years for a chance to be admitted to the US.

            1. Colonel Smithers

              Thank you, both.

              It’s the same with regard to U.K. processing centres, either on the continent or in the U.K. itself.

              The mobilisation in my home county of Buckinghamshire to support Ukrainian refugees has been breathtaking. I will send a sitrep when I have time.

            2. JTMcPhee

              one has to wonder, given the givens, why, exactly, so many people are hoping to be “admitted” to the US. From one broken third world place to another, that has done a lot of the breaking of those other places and is run by the people who are applying the same break-it (”let ‘er rip!”, all wealth to the already wealthy, etc.) techniques to the Homeland…

              Not too many good choices these days for individuals — except maybe figuring out how to pool their energies to make things better where they are, or at least as good as possible. Same applies to Murikans, of course, and it’s heartening to see that some of us are doing just that. Like unions (with the hope that they won’t just go the way of the Teamsters and UAW and such…)

              1. Vandemonian

                In general, impoverished colonial subjects tend to follow the path to where their looted money and resources went.

            3. Hickory

              I acknowledge much skin-color related disparity in the US, but that seems tangential here. The Ukrainian army killed thousands in the Donbas since 2014 and most don’t know or care. American Elites spreading anti-Russian sentiment to generate support for their plans is primary, the Ukrainians just happen to be white. Of course, so are the Russians!

            4. Futility

              It’s the same here in Germany. I haven’t seen that much support as Syrian refugees arrived. There’s a private organization still trying to get Afghan translators who worked for the Bundeswehr safely out of Afghanistan to Germany because the state cannot be bothered with organizing anything of that sort, even though they were promised visas which, incidentally, they have a hard time getting once they are here.
              The contrast to the treatment of Ukranian refugees is stark. In the school of my son a whole new class was created for refugees within weeks. Getting air filters for the school during Covid, however, was impossible. And no Syrian refugee ever set foot into his school. I am positive, that the colored fraction of our population took notice.

      1. GF

        Democracy Now! has a segment on the Ukrainians seeking asylum from Tijuana. The interview is with very articulate immigration lawyer Erika Pinheiro and is very enlightening about who gets special treatment. The paused video seems to show young males in the group of asylum seekers. Transcript is included.

        “…we’ve seen thousands of Ukrainians coming through Tijuana. Their trips to Mexico are mostly financed by families and church groups in the United States who help them fly from Europe to Mexico City or Cancún, and then onward to Tijuana. Volunteer groups are standing by at the airport. They are coordinating with CBP to give Ukrainians a number on a list. And CBP, Customs and Border Protection, are processing up to a thousand Ukrainians per day, at a port of entry where border officials claimed they did not have capacity to even process 30 other asylum seekers per day for the past few years.”

        1. Wukchumni

          Helpful hint to non-Ukrainian would-be asylum seekers in Tijuana…

          ‘My name is Jose Martinezchuk’

    5. Andrew

      Not to mention the debacle with covid vaccines for under-5s. I know a lady with a toddler and she is completely livid at the run-around the Biden administration has been giving young parents for months and months now. most recently with their pathetic line that parents would just be too confused if they authorized Moderna before authorizing Pfizer…

    6. Cresty

      Can’t figure out how to make an independent comment anymore.

      But, Lambert re: russian troops in technicals

      Those are Chechen national guard troops. They’ve been deployed on technicals since day one of the conflict. There’s a lot of video of them as Kadyrov’s people and the DPR are the only Russian affiliated soldiers who don’t have their phones confiscated at the front.

    1. Michael Ismoe

      They’ll be able to use the same cameras when they join NATO and the “Great Russian Migration” comes next.

      1. Slow-TV

        Hmmm… maybe that is the purpose of these cameras in the first place? They are looking for Russians but are using the elks as a bait. They started the “elk” broadcast Spring 2019. It makes so much sense, so much horrible sense. Just look here dated Feb 2019

        Some Putinversteher tried to fool us…

        but then just a few months later the very foretold Russian aggression is inflicted on the Swedes even though they were not caught on these particular forest “elk-hunting” cameras

        I feel bad for the elks being used as pawns in such a cruel geopolitical game.

        1. Robin Kash

          Russia has security interests in Georgia, Syria, Crimea, and Donbas. What would be served by invading Sweden or Finland? Only if they forsake neutrality in favor of NATO membership would Russia’s security interests change.

          1. Michael Ismoe

            Finland invaded Russia in the 1930s. Not the other way around.

            Putin has already said Finland in NATO is a red line. I believe he said the same about Ukraine.

            1. lance ringquist

              finland lost their access to the arctic ocean and a valuable nickel mine last time they sided with the nazi’s, i wonder what they will lose this time.

              OTOH, i am sure they are being heavily pressured by the free trade fascists that run the E.U..

              i wonder who were the towering intellectual midgets in finland, that signed them up to the forth Reich!

            2. Oisin

              Finland didn’t invade Russia in the 1930s. There are no facts to back that up.

              In terms of Sweden and Finland, being outside Nato seems more of a risk now than being inside it. I don’t think it makes any odds either way but it certainly doesn’t enhance Putin’s position of pushing back on Nato when his actions in Ukraine have only brought it closer. It is also opportunistic when they know Russia cant fight on 2 fronts.

              1. Polar Socialist

                Finland did invade Soviet Union unofficially 1918-22 (back when everyone and their aunt was attacking the “bolshevik regime”) and officially 1941-44, so 30’s is a good average.

                But seriously, NATO doesn’t add in any way to the security of Sweden and especially Finland. As Ukraine has showed us, the options are either prolonged war to the last Finn or nuclear holocaust, if and when a Russian red line is crossed. So it would be better, at least for Finland, not to cross the red lines. And NATO certainly wont be helping in that.

                Even bigger question is can NATO afford to have 800 miles of new border with Russia? Who’s going to pay for militarizing all that forest wilderness? Where’s the army that will stand guard there?

                Or should Finland just trust that in case of a conflict, the Metropolitan will certainly perform very emotional Finlandia at the start of a season and people in Missouri will give out small flags for free?

              2. Michael Ismoe

                Having approached Germany without reaching a formal alliance, Finland allowed German troops transit through the country after the outbreak of war between Germany and the Soviet Union in June 1941. The Finns then joined the fight against the Soviets, undertaking the “War of Continuation.” An armistice signed on September 19, 1944, effectively concluded that conflict between the Soviet Union and Finland, contingent on Finnish recognition of the Treaty of Moscow and the evacuation of German troops (who refused to leave). The formal end of the Soviet-Finnish conflict came with the signing of a peace treaty in Paris on February 10, 1947.


              3. lance ringquist

                how many fronts did russia fight in the period after WWI? do you have any idea at all, and do you realize in the end, they beat every one of them!

                russia means everything to the free traders. russia has whats left in the world that has not been plundered and pillaged by parasites. russia stands in the way of extending a system so corrupt, that if russia denies the parasites, the idiotology of free trade will collapse.

                adding more to nato is a attempt to spread russia thin. its being done by idiots that have no real idea that russia will not be raped, period.

                russia will wage total war before they ever allow themselves to be enslaved.

          2. VietnamVet

            The last Finnish War with Russia ended in 1944. The last Swedish War with Russia ended in 1809. Europe does not have the conscript army, tanks, personnel carriers, artillery, and defensive trenches/bunkers to stop the next Russian invasion. Finland and Sweden need to be under NATO’s nuclear umbrella to have any kind of deterrence.

            The problem is Russia without a peace treaty/armistice that keeps Odessa and Kiev in Ukraine will need to occupy Western Ukraine to end the shelling and to pacify the Ukrainian resistance.

            If Russia bombs NATO countries or invades to sever the resupply lines to the Ukrainian rebels, the only Western military response that can stop the Russian Army is igniting tactical nuclear weapons.

        2. juno mas

          …didn’t see any elk while viewing the panoramic view. Maybe that’s because the logo in the bottom left corner is a Moose?

          1. Slow-TV

            Yes, you are correct. It should be the Great Moose Migration.

            Sorry about that. I am attracted to these animals for aesthetic and culinary rather than taxonomical reasons.

          2. drumlin woodchuckles

            I believe the European word for moose is “elk”. And the European word for elk is “wapiti”. That can make for confusion.

    2. wilroncanada

      We have a whole club of Elks not far from where I live on the west coast. They are stuck here in Canada for centuries,even after they changed their name to Roosevelt Elks. No legitimate border crossings will accept them, so they have to sneak across through the mountains. None of them return with weed or fentanyl, just bullet holes sometimes. Maybe their chance will improve if they change their names to Elkensky (hat tip Wuk) they wouldn’t have to wait another hundred years.

  2. Geo

    “CIA Files Confirm Guantanamo Bay Torture Program’s MKULTRA Roots Mint Press. A veritable factory farm for life coaches.“

    Reading a piece like this one is emotionally draining. Years ago I read the book Guantanamo Diary and would often have to take a day or two away from it just to breath and calm myself. To know that actions like this are being done – mostly to innocent people – in my name as a US citizen is horrifying and heartbreaking.

    That said, everyone in America should be made to read these pieces as part of our “patriotic duty” (or whatever one wants to call it) since this is who we are now. But, as with Guantanamo Diary which I recommended to everyone I know, none will read it because no one wants to know who we are, just who we believe ourselves to be.

    Anyway, great article among many important and illuminating ones today. Thank you NC once again. If nothing else, you and this community make me feel less alone in this often solitary journey of trying to retain my humanity while attaining understanding.

    And, if anyone here hasn’t read it, check out Guantanamo Diary. I don’t even have words for how important, transformative, illuminating, humanizing, etc-etc-etc that book was for me. It’s one thing to “know” what we are doing, it’s a whole other experience to read a firsthand account of it. The newer (and somewhat less redacted) version is arguably better but there’s something about the original one with page upon page of redaction lines that was very powerful too.

    1. Geo

      Related: “Early polling showed the US public approved sending troops to back Kyiv, but then surveys started describing what that would entail.”

      This article states: “popular support for escalatory policies grows lukewarm when Americans understand the risks.”

      The only real response to this is a face-palm emoji. We’re a nation of toddlers. Where have all these Americans been the past few decades of interventionist wars? Do these same Americans poll in favor of defecating in their pants until it’s explained to them what that would entail for them?

      Again, great articles today. But, my nihilism meter is redlining. Gonna have to listen to some music and read poetry for a bit now. :)

      1. truly

        The things we have to read today, to stay properly informed, are really and truly traumatizing. I could not bring myself to read Gitmo Diary, but reading Shock Doctrine, learning about Chile 1973, and staying up to date on Libya, Syria, Yemen, Iraq, and the rise of Nat(z)ionalism going on currently will drive a person to pull their hair out. Nice to know I am not alone, you are not alone, in this dilemma. Would be nice to be the personality type to be able to bury ones head in the sand.
        Maybe Lamberts bird song choice will be a cheery one today? Always is.

        1. Eclair

          Truly, The Shock Doctrine came to my mind as well, when reading Geo’s comment. I had to read it in short sessions; depression, anxiety, and sheer disgust would overwhelm me after a few pages. Don’t know if I could survive Guantanamo Diary. I knew we had crossed a line, as a country, when I read the news reports of how they shipped the young American who had attended a madrassa and supposedly defected to the terrorists; hooded, manacled, naked but for a diaper.

    2. Andrew Watts

      The article is missing a lot of historical information as well as context. Tracing the American torture program back to Unit 731 might be wrongheaded. The CIA didn’t start MK-ULTRA until after the Korean War. Towards the end of the war during Operation Big Switch / Little Switch it was alleged that UN and American POWs were tortured by North Korean and Chinese interrogators. While I’m not certain that the CIA copied and re-purposed some of these methods I know that both the Army and Navy conducted their own experiments after all that. Some people wanted to let me know about Operation Big Switch and Little Switch back in 2015.

      I don’t know what the US Army did exactly, but the Navy subjected their people to what is called stress positions which involved inflicting physical pain on the sailors by tying them down to a broom handle. Needless to say the joint pain that is caused by this is excruciating after an hour or so. This method also sounds like something the European or Japanese colonialists would use on their foreign subjects.

      Everything old is new again.

      1. David

        Yes, I think Unit 731 is just there to get clicks. I’m pretty sure that the origin of these programmes was the treatment given to western prisoners in Korea, but more generally, the assumption that any prisoners taken by the Soviet Union in a future war in Europe could not expect to be treated kindly. This was not an unreasonable assumption, and led to what was known as Resistance to Interrogation training. Mostly, this was psychological – how to avoid giving secrets away, how to stick to the Geneva Convention minima. It was assessed by psychiatrists that just the shock of capture and the arrival in an unfriendly environment might be enough to break down the resistance of the average prisoner. But for some with a high chance of being captured such as aircrew and special forces, some countries actually subjected them to treatment mimicking what was expected to happen to them if they were captured. In the UK, I remember there was a big row when this came out, with allegations of “torture” and even threats of prosecution. The fact remains, though, that if you are training soldiers who might have to fight, let’s say, the Islamic State today, this kind of issue has to be faced.
        Obviously, such expertise gets used for other purposes, but I think it’s fair to say that, until Guantanamo, no-one had ever expected that the US would ever stoop to this.

    3. Spoofs desu

      Agreed. Everybody should have to read this article on torture. Especially those that pay taxes!

      While it has been obvious that we have been torturing people for a while, that it is now and has been for 20 years an official policy, with a official army manual, truly indicates the darkness we have ventured into. The amount of bad karma that this is generating has to be astounding and will have profound effects as the karmic forces are rebalanced. We are all in on this, in some shape or form.

      The economic benefits and privileges that go with being part of the empire are not small. One day there will be a time shift cost associated with the tools being used—torture people on a regular basis being only one of them—to manage the empire. Nothing is free. There are only differences in who pays what and when.

      From the article: “ the nephew of purported 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Baluchi was arrested in Pakistan in April 2003. He was accused of serving as a “key lieutenant” within al-Qaeda and its chief “bagman,” having provided pivotal financial and logistical support to the 9/11 hijackers”

      Mean while, we now know that— and it was known by the fbi before the planes crashed—that “Bandar Bush” of Saudi Arabia, was providing “material support” to at least the hijackers in San Diego, and likely others. Yet instead of torturing this guy, we see him in the famous photo yucking it up with Bush in the day after etc came down, somking a cigar. What a fucked up world.

  3. begob

    Re: Snyder’s volte-face on Nazi activity in Ukraine.

    Came across a Byzantine twitter thread on all sorts of supremacists who seem to have gone from petty activism to engaging top-gear in that country since 2014. The most bizarre link is a TV style production of a torch-lit ceremony to raise a Nazi from the dead. The thread is an awesome hall of mirrors, in which eg. Bellingcat exposes their activity even as it pursues the evil-Russkies line.

    The most even-handed stuff is in clips from an Unherd interview – would appreciate the full link,

  4. dcblogger

    What Is Mastodon? (And Why You, A Leftist, Should Be On It)
    Given the current situation surrounding YouTube and Twitter’s poor treatment of LGBT creators, decentralised social networks are becoming more important as alternatives that may eventually take some power away from corporations.

    After 2+ years of existence, Mastodon presents both a viable alternative to Twitter for those who choose to engage in political discourse, and a safe space/retreat for those who need it.

    1. Fiery Hunt

      Not so sure you can have both “a viable alternative to Twitter for those who choose to engage in political discourse, and a safe space/retreat for those who need it.”

      As Lambert says “politics ain’t beanbags.”

      Sounds like Mastodon really is just a Woke Unicorn.

    2. Skeptamistic

      “positive aerosol samples decreased to four out of sixteen residences (25%; p = 0.229).”

      I have a few air cleaners and really want them to work.

      But I wonder: don’t we want that p stat to be lower, like 0.05 or lower?

  5. Basil Pesto

    How is it that sick children are more “free” than children who are protected and well?

    Didn’t you hear? Masks are child abuse ?

  6. Basil Pesto

    Whenever you see a chain named something like “BrightSpring,” run.

    The exploitative elder carehome chain in Better Call Saul is called Sandpiper which would seem to belong to that genre. They have a wonderful ear and eye for modern anodyne americana in BCS/Breaking Bad. Often with corporatist under/overtones too (the co-creator of BCS adapted Dross-Sorkin’s ‘Too Big To Fail’ for HBO, which was merely so-so, presumably on account of some pretty weak source material)

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Class is everywhere. More so escaping class and still being there. After all, what is the great Chuck doing in the ABQ? “Yo-yo MA came to our wedding” might be the perfect line for Chuck, a guy who loosed a “chimpanzee with a machine gun” on people who needed help the most. He helped his partner’s kid study for law school who turned out to be a great salesman but lousy lawyer and had no idea his own brother was even in law school. Go land crabs!

      Around the start of the show, one of the creators said they watched public defenders and after a time realized their original vision wouldn’t fly as they were certain they could do a better job.

      I think they do a better job with it than they did with Breaking Bad as though Walter was a teacher he really just turned into the devil. Anyway, I really regret not just waiting and binging after last night’s episode. The waits between episodes are just too much.

      1. Basil Pesto

        Heh, I’m rewatching now as a refresh before I watch the last episodes. It seems a bit unfair to compare it to BB in a way because the scale and scope of the shows is so different (despite obvious thematic overlap) but I think BCS is the more complete, sophisticated show. It’s very impressive.

  7. The Rev Kev

    “Bored Ape Instagram account hacked: NFTs worth $2.8 million stolen”

    ‘Sick of people calling everything in crypto a Ponzi scheme. Some crypto projects are pump and dump schemes, while others are pyramid schemes. Others are just standard issue fraud. Others are just middlemen skimming of the top. Stop glossing over the diversity in the industry.’

  8. Stick'em

    Re: Billionaires Only Come To The Rescue In Movies And Comic Books

    Remember when reality TV gameshow host and WWF wrasslin’ Hall of Famer Donald Trump was elected president for the Red people? The response from the Blue people was “let’s get a WOKE cable TV talk show host called Oprah. That’ll show’em!”

    The reaction was not “OMG! He’s a Hollywood actor!” The reaction was “OMG! We need our OWN Hollywood actor!” with no awareness of just maybe the problem (which became obvious with Reagan) is accepting the vacuous notion electing whoever’s on the cover of the People magazine is a good idea. Because celebrity actors are on the side of whomever pays them to act and writes their lines. Not yours.

    My reaction was we live in a world where childish magical thinking is not only the norm, it’s celebrated. Maybe time for some adult thinking…

    How the Oligarchy Wins: Lessons from Ancient Greece

    “The ruling class must remain united for an oligarchy to remain in power, the people must also be divided so they cannot overthrow their oppressors.”

    Yes, I know. Preaching to the choir. The non-choir members won’t listen.

      1. Martin Oline

        That’s a nice car. I hope it’s electric and running on 80% coal power in Kansas City, the Ohio valley and other places. It’s a brave new world and I can’t wait! I think Biff Rose said “her inner peace was much too loud” and that is true of me. The following song I call Musk’s Yellow Brick Road to Mars (hint to the melody):

        First I built my cars electric
        That’s not a Detroit metric
        They’re in my rear view mirror (whistle)
        My rockets are self-landed
        Starlink satellites wide-banded
        If I was an engineer

        Forty-four billion dollars
        And Wall street starts to holler
        The liberals fill with fear (whistle)
        I’ll have Dorsey in my pocket
        Bezos still can’t build a rocket
        If I was an engineer

        Oh I will cruise among the stars
        Vacation on the red beaches of Mars
        A grip on Twitter, I can’t hardly wait
        To see the serfs at my star gate

        I would build the first Mars station
        for off world colonization
        be the envy of my peers (whistle)
        I’d lead my life without caution
        I would even have stock options
        If I was an engineer

        As for excess radiation
        You need not have trepidation
        No, you needn’t have a fear (whistle)
        You could rocket here and there
        Wearing my lead-lined underwear
        If I was an engineer

        (tap dance interlude)

        I will be a Martian King
        A world of wonders it will surely bring
        There’s really nothing that I couldn’t do
        But that’s for me now how ‘bout you?

        You can be a mathematician
        Or spend your time a-fishing
        The choice is up to you (whistle)
        If you’re flora or you’re fauna
        You can make it with Madonna
        To your inner self be true

        1. Wukchumni

          That was wonderful, thanks!

          By the way, I still rue the day Mars Air went B/K before my return flight and left me stranded on this orb of yours for what will turn out to be all eternity.

      2. Geo

        One of my biggest beefs with the industry I am in is how movies so often deify the wealthy. Makes sense in an industry where the act of creating a movie requires funding from the wealthy that our stories would have to genuflect to them. But, superhero stories have always felt exceptionally icky to me. I’ve never liked stories about “chosen ones” or “super” people. Just don’t understand the appeal.

        Recently watched the new “The Batman” film. I respect that it actually critiqued the notion of his wealth/privilege as a solution to social ills and even framed it as a cause of many problems. Wish some of the dialogue hadn’t been written and spoken as if by a first year liberal arts student trying to impress their professor. But, between that and Joker it’s good to see some using the cultural obsession with men in capes to critique social power dynamics instead of the usual Ayn Randian deification of these “heroes” who solve every problem with money and brute violence that all the Marvel and the Snyder-era DC movies do.

        That said, it’s still a deeply flawed film (and dumb as any serious superhero movie will always be due to the core concept) and feels like the great Bill Hicks joke about people who work in marketing: “He’s going for the righteous indignation dollar. That’s a big dollar. A lot of people are feeling that indignation. We’ve done research – huge market. He’s doing a good thing.”

        1. Polar Socialist

          In recent series like Avenue 5, Made for Love or Upload wealthy people are presented as either moronic, abusive or downright evil (if not all three).

          In all of them the rich are not the solution, but the problem.

        2. Wukchumni

          There might be a trail only for billionaires, but i’ve yet to come across it… just one of the many things I enjoy about capitalism’s back of beyond sheep in the family where money wont buy you anything.

          The few pathetic movies Hollywood churns out about travelers in the wild spaces that don’t take American Express and/or dead presidents, always need a plot device of a murderer on the loose or said travelers having survived an airplane crash, reduced to eating Sierra Newts*. (don’t!, they’re poisonous)

          They could never capture the hours of a day in the life passing by, one foot in front of the other alternating back and forth, lost in a daydream with a 360 degree view as a moving canvas that has no MSRP sticker on it, nor any drama other than the scenery.

          * their toxin is hundreds of times stronger than cyanide, and for such deadly fellows they sure are cute. I’ve seen many dozens in the past month, all flat red. My favorite are what I call ‘Gummy Newts’ in that they look like gummy bears.

          1. Gawr Gura

            TCD hangs out with Sargon of Akkad and a bunch of other yubtub brainlets. How much of what he says can be any use?

            1. The Rev Kev

              Well, you could try listening to what he has to say for a start. So that ‘we will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the idiocy of their friends but by the content of their videos.’

            2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

              TCD is very good at parsing out THE MESSAGE aka Identity Politics that has infested modern day film making: using the same old storylines but changing genders, race, sexuality, etc. Big fan of the Drinker ?!

          2. Geo

            I am a regular listener of his and enjoy many of his tirades. Though, I don’t always agree (and sometimes vehemently disagree) I do get a good laugh from his humor and often some poignant takeaways to ponder.

        3. Pat

          Sometimes it is just playing to the audience. Was at a screening/Q&A for Wolf of Wall Street, and was gobsmacked that the audience didn’t get that Belford wasn’t an aberration but just a different packaging of the investment scam. Most of the audience was retirees, so it was the epitome of denying what your income depends upon. They couldn’t deal with how precarious this was for investors. So they could pretend they knew thar Scorsese and DiCaprio were going for the system works and the bad guys get caught and ignore any evidence that the system only takes out the guys who don’t hide the scam.

          If thinking the rich are good guys, even in films where they clearly aren’t allows you to sleep and dream…

          1. Geo

            Oliver Stone has often talked about being dumbfounded by the admiration so many had for Gordon Gekko in Wall Street. And, like you said, too often people see the anti-hero in these stories as an aberration instead of a systemic symptom. Sorta like those couple of “bad apples” at Abu Graib spoiling the stellar reputation of the US Armed Forces.

            Telling a proper tale that expresses the broad systemic situation is hard to do, harder to get made, and nearly impossible to get audiences to turn out for. Very few examples in modern mainstream that I can think of: The Big Short, Joker, and The Hunger Games (as much as I detest that film series, it was successful!). And, some foreign films have broken through, most notably Korean ones like Snowpiercer, Parasite, and Squid Games.

            Not that I feel any movie or show will change the world. But, they do help shape narratives and are how (too many) develop understandings of people not in their social circles, so would be nice to see more films like this and less Tony Stark, Bruce Wayne, Christian Gray, James Bond, etc rich/powerful idolization.

            1. Mildred Montana

              >”Telling a proper tale that expresses the broad systemic situation is hard to do, harder to get made, and nearly impossible to get audiences to turn out for.”

              Mostly true, this. Which is why, in order to simplify my life and narrow down my choices, I avoid all US military movies of recent vintage.

              I am fully aware they usually will not and cannot be made without the cooperation of said military, and if one is, that probably means hard truths have been studiously glossed over or ignored in exchange for its blessing and assistance. I’m thinking, for instance, of movies like ??? ???? ?????? and ???? ???? ??????. Am I being unfair with my blanket dismissal of such movies, which I admittedly have never seen ??? my rule?

              However, as far as audiences go, didn’t the controversial works of Oliver Stone and Michael Moore garner good box office?

              1. Fiery Hunt

                Black Hawk Down is a brilliant movie done by a brilliant director.
                Allows for the real portrayal of a wide swath of people in the military and the brave/tragic things that do happen but also makes very clear how many horrible and asinine mistakes are necessary for “bravery” to happen.

                Pretty intense violence, so be forewarned.

                Joe Bob Hunt says check it out!

              2. Oh

                The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty glorify war and are fantasies. When our troops cannot win in the battlefield they win in these movies. Same with Rambo movies.

            2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

              For a great film about Abu Ghraib check out The Card Counter on Netflix. It’s fn amazing and the latest greatest from Paul Schrader who made my best film of the year list with First Reformed (2018?).

        4. jr

          I suggest reading Alan Moore’s “Watchmen” for a flipped script of the superhero trope. It’s one graphic novel I like to keep around. Moore is a genius. Skip the movie.

          1. ilpalazzo

            Alan Moore is fantastic, one of the true Great Masters of the medium (and he doesn’t even draw himself). His Watchmen is indeed the ultimate deconstruction on the American Superhero trope. I disagree about the film though, I think it is pretty good. Snyder managed to make a very competent _Superhero Movie_ blockbuster. It is my favorite film of the genre although the last one I’ve watched IIRC. I recommend the medium length director’s cut if someone is interested.

            I also recommend checking out Moore’s interviews on youtube, this guy is a true character.

        5. Mark Gisleson

          I also just watched the latest Batman and what impressed me most was how they diversified the cast of this urban morality tale without once drawing any attention to it, as opposed to the nonstop virtue signaling you see in other recent superhero movies.

          But mostly watching it made me feel like I’ve finally watched way too much Batman. This one was a straight up detective movie, no capes were required. If not for the diverse cast, this movie could have taken place in Sweden. People who like this iteration of Batman should check out Nordic Noir.

        6. Bugs

          It’s also about an hour too long. Highlight was Bruce Wayne driving a black 1963 Corvette Sting Ray. By the end I just wanted it to stop.

          I’d say it’s the best of its genre since Batman 2, the weird one where lots of stray cats lick Michelle Pfeiffer’s face and both raise her from the dead and imbue her with total cattiness.

        7. Fiery Hunt

          The third part of Nolan’s “Dark Knight” trilogy very specifically went after wealth inequality
          in a much much better way.

          “The Batman” was gorgeous to look at but a real 3 hour mess in so many other ways…story-wise, acting-wise and that horrible Rob Patterson haircut…

    1. CanCyn

      We’re currently watching season 10 of Call the Midwife. A rich husband of a patient of the midwives sees the tenements owned by his family for the first time and is shocked and appalled enough to donate annually to keep the clinic afloat. He actually talks about his family being in the wrong for over 100 years and refers to his donation as a form of reparation. Not a billionaire and not a super hero but nonetheless a satisfying storyline.

        1. CanCyn

          Well, of course it is fantasy. The whole point of Call the Midwife is happy endings. The point of this discussion was portrayal of the rich in movies and tv. I was simply providing an example of rich guy portrayed as trying to make up for the ills caused by his privilege.

          1. Mookie

            To be honest it sounds like just another fantastical story of the rich doing good; one more fantasy of the good billionaire

      1. Tom Bradford

        but nonetheless a satisfying storyline.

        And about as authentic as Lord What’sisname in ‘Downton Abbey’ sounding off to the chauffeur he was allowing to marry his daughter about the duty to look after their social inferiors the entitled wealthy groan under, and how nobly they go about it. And didn’t the peasantry lap it up, for six wretched seasons and a feature film.

        1. CanCyn

          I don’t recall using the word authentic. Or advocating that it was the most realistic show on television. The rich guy doing good storyline is but one of many. I find the caring of the characters to be a good antidote to the woes of the real world. I enjoy a Danish noir as much as the next person but sometimes the nuns and the midwives are just what the doctor ordered in terms of escape via entertainment. Not everyone’s cup of tea, I get it. But cynical as I am about the world, the fact that I can enjoy such a sweet show lets me know there is hope inside me somewhere.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      Wasn’t Reagan also Governor of California? And a long-time Republican Party activist?

  9. Louis Fyne

    —Russia reportedly using ISIS-style pickup trucks in Ukraine —

    This is the likely LPR-DPR army trolling the Ukrainians and the West. Russians (likely Donbassians, not the RU army) can use pickups in Mariupols because they likely captured the trucks, have secured the entire city and have no fear of airstrikes.

    The city is secure enough that the Chechans have left to join the Russian army in the fight further north and north west.

    The UA army has to use pick-ups and cars commandeered (likely w/o due process or compensation) from civilians because they have no diesel.

    The Western media loves its own propganda too much (Examiner is conservative, 100% American exceptionalism, diet neocon). It may get us all into WW3. No joke.

    1. Randall Flagg

      To Louis Fyne, I would love to say” C’mon man, that’s a bunch of malarkey!”, re western propaganda and WW3 but I fear you are right. And two oceans on each side of this country cannot help protect the US from SLBMs or ICBMs.

    2. nippersdad

      There was a Christoforou video the other day that had Russian tanks with the entire alphabet written on them in response to the outlawing of Z and V displays by some of the European countries. That was some outstanding trolling by the Russians. I doubt that is something that the media would like to see much of. They are such easy targets.

  10. Wukchumni

    Similar to how a tsunami pulls the ocean back and reveals whats in the exposed depths near the shore for mere minutes until the main assault comes, wildfires do the same thing-but unlike your tiny amount of time to observe Davy Jones locker room floor in a tsunami, in the wooded wilderness you get a few years to glimpse exposed areas formerly forbidden by dense understory, which will grow back and cover everything up again.

    We came across the long ago abandoned Lovelace trail in Sequoia NP on a hike last week and was distinct enough to follow it for awhile, dirt doesn’t move around much-especially when anchored above & below by thick as thieves groundcover…now all gone

    The trail became superfluous in 1879 when Mineral King road was built, and was the only way in during the silver rush in MK in the 1870’s when all the action was happening, on what turned out to be the silver bust as they couldn’t separate silver from other minerals in what was known at the time as ‘rebellious ore’.

    We’re doing another hike in a few days to see how far we can get, and the NPS archaeologist who was with us when we found it will be along again, and she wants us to concentrate on finding ‘period trash’ as certainly nobody cared if they littered back in the day. Should be fun to see how far we can go, and it takes us through the New Oriole Grove of Giant Sequoias again, a bonus.

    Another time we ran into ‘period trash’ was in 2007 on the trail to Willett & Sespe hot springs along the Sespe River, where the trail was a dirt road you could drive on until around 1970. The Day Fire had come through in 2006 and just torched everything on the north side of the river where the trail is, I remember seeing foot high 5 inch wide remnants of trees that looked guillotine’d, it must have burned wickedly hot to do that.

    So, we started glimpsing 1960’s metal & glass trash on the periphery of the trail, and there was so much we each could have filled 3 backpacks full of it.

    When we walked it last year, the understory was as thick as it was back in the day before the Day Fire, you’d still see remnants of the conflagration here and there, but the cover up was successful.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Of course when a tsunami pulls the ocean back, that is when you get to see who has been swimming naked.

  11. Louis Fyne

    –Why an increasingly confident US is baiting Beijing over Taiwan South China Morning Post–

    You say confident, I say a desperate DC who wants to show any form of strength—-even if it is an irrational exhibition of “strength” which is permanently poisoning the long-term relations w/mainland China

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Reading that report, I think there are just two alternative scenarios:

      1. There is no strategy at all, and the US is just falling back on its default mode of aggressive posturing when it isn’t sure what else to do.

      2. Some elements in Washington feel they are falling behind militarily in the region and are gambling that its better to provide a war now over Taiwan than in 10 years time.

    2. John k

      Perhaps that poisoning is an objective.
      Seem to be moving rapidly to a bi-polar world. Maybe not a good time to have a massive and rapidly growing trade deficit.

    3. JTMcPhee

      “Beer muscles.” There’s a lot of that in the rank and file of the US military, and of course in all the other militaries especially including the Russia Army. Search “military fails” in YouTube for endless examples. I guess that macho stupidity percolates upward…

    1. Revenant

      I was lucky enough to spend a month on Gizo while a trainee doctor friend did his NHS elective out there. A very popular posting! The Solomons are an absolutely fantastic country and the people are lovely. If you can ever go, you should!

      NCer’s may not be aware but the Chinese are the merchant class in the Solomons (and through the Pacific). On the outlying islands, they own all the shops, to the extent that native-owned shops are notable as just that. I don’t know what economic life is like on the larger islands of Honiara and Malaita, it may be more mixed, but there is a high degree of resentment among the Solomon Islanders of the Chinese and intercommunal violence is common on the big islands, so I can imagine the Chinese getting caught up in this. I would be feeling very wary if I were a Chinese shopkeeper, exactly what misery the US may stir up here.

      If a picture postcard of the Solomons is of interest:

      I stayed in a two storey cement house set in a tropical hillside garden, where the landlady lived downstairs and took half a dozen rooms worth of lodgers upstairs, with their own bathroom and verandah and kitchen. You did your own cooking. She was a wealthy lady by Solomon standards. Most people had modest houses. Westerners were quite abundant, driving Toyota Landcruisers and working for various NGO’s, including the WWF. Not that the island had more than a couple of roads! I don’t remember if we had air con in the lodgings: I think we did in the bedroom and occasionally retreated to it to flake out.

      The shops tend to be charming corrugated iron affairs, stacked high with store cupboard goods and no fresh produce. They may have a corrugated iron verandah. There will be some chilled drinks in a fridge, potentially – you could get Coke but the local carbonated “tropical drink” was delicious. I think you could buy chocolate occasionally!

      Fresh produce is sold by people, mostly ladies, sitting cross-legged beneath the shade trees, the fruit and fish and so on laid out on banana leaves. Every possible coconut product is available, especially if you can climb! I remember buying citrus and bok choi and beans and chillies and I think tomatoes (to make a pasta sauce).

      A very limited selection of frozen food was available from the “frozen shop”, which was right beside the bank and the cable & wireless company (or its successor), with access to their reliable power. If you wanted bacon or red meat, you had to buy it frozen. Fresh chicken was available, running around people’s gardens. I don’t remember if we could get dairy, I think we had some milk for tea. There was also ice cream at the hotel cafe.

      Gizo was sadly devastated by a tsunami a few years ago. The hospital, which was a charming affair of wooden walkways and huts beside the harbour, was pretty much destroyed. There was also a lovely hotel at the port with a huge open-sided thatched first floor saloon which pretty much everybody passed through. The hotel was also the dive shop. I hope it survived. The dive shop operator was an American who was honorary consul and suspected of sending the occasional report to the CIA.

      The other main bar was a beach bar, PT109 (named after Kennedy’s patrol torpedo boat that sank and he was rescued from). A lot of people seemed to have a nice way of living on the islands, even if they did not have much in the way of consumer goods, sitting chatting in the day and going out to the bars at night.

      That said, Gizo was an “urban centre” for the western Solomons for many miles around (despite lacking any urban centre of its own, just a straggle of low buildings along the shore line). This status was a result of WW2. A large airfield had been built on an island in the harbour ((by the Japanese, I think, originally – actually two islands, they bulldozed the tops off them to fill in the gap between them!) and this was a major transport hub for the Western Solomons.

      Life in the outlying islands did not have bars or shops or electricity or running water and catching a turtle was a big deal (and while I was there, my friend had to make a medical trip to an atoll where people had been poisoned by meat from a turtle that had become contaminated by an endotoxin). I went to some of these islands, some time I will write the anecdote about getting lost climbing the volcano and about crossing the open water in a tin boat with a dicky engine to see the Megapode birds, which cunningly incubate their eggs in the volcanic sand….

      There is a book “Solomon Time” written by another Devonian my age who went there shortly after we did but stayed for a lot longer, which is well worth reading to get the feel of the place.

      It is a very lucky backwater: I hope it gets to retreat from the spotlight quickly.

      1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        Excellent Report, Comrade!!!

        Sounds very peaceful and I hope the Natives make it through whatever the US/China stir up!

    2. Oh

      We needed a small enough island to show off our power and here we are – just like Reagan picked Grenada.

  12. Amfortas the hippie

    re: foreign affairs thing on “foreign policy for the middle class”:
    first thing i read this morning…and i’ll give my impression with an anecdote:

    we finally got rain.
    my gauge says 1 1/2″.
    rained slow and steady all day long yesterday.
    mom this early am complains that we didn’t get even 1/4″….and that it didn’t even start until afternoon.
    she has no rain gauge, and stayed indoors all day.

    a lifetime of narcissism plus a creeping old person dementia-like brain fog(she’ll be 80 this year)…that’s what reading that article felt like.
    “what planet do they live on?”
    observable and shared reality trumped by belief and wishes.
    it’s remarkable, really.

    1. Eclair

      Amfortas, I hope you and your family are doing ok. You are my go-to guy on cultural trends amongst the un-PMC classes (because you are willing to engage with the locals) especially young males (because you have sons) and I been wanting to run this observation by you.

      We drove from Seattle to western NY at the beginning of April. I noticed, mostly at gas stations and convenience store, young guys, white, with Patriarchal beards, long narrow, down to mid-chest. Always combined with bald heads or a ‘high and tight’ hair style (I may be using the incorrect term here.)

      This week, two local sightings: one near the Amish enclave of Conawango Valley, 50 miles south of Buffalo, wandering about the main square of an almost defunct small town. This part of the state is Trump country, displaying not only F**K BIDEN signs but also the occasional Confederate flag. The other was at brew fest to the south in Warren County, PA, also Trump country. These are not Amish type beards, BTW.

      I may be getting paranoid. Guess if I see one driving a ‘technical’ truck, I will take a picture and send it in to NC for the anti-antidote. And, apologies in advance to any NC readers and commenters who are sporting this trendy beard and hair style, if I have completely misconstrued the zeitgeist.

      And, thank you, Amfortas.

      1. Fiery hunt

        The hipster beard fetish was about 7 or 8 years ago in Deep Blue cities like Portland, Seattle and SF.
        Generally a millenial thing…certainly not usually a Trump or “patriarchal” thing. Wearer of such things are most likely to be woke artisinal pickle farmers or some other overpriced old-fashioned product or service.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          How does one determine if/when an old fashioned product or service is overpriced or not?
          What per cent of artisanal pickle farmers are woke? And if you are not able to make your own pickles, but are determined to have pickles anyway, then you will have to buy them. In which case, will you buy shinola pickles from artisanal pickle growers whether woke or not , or will you buy sh*t pickles from chemo-industrial producers?

      2. DrDoom

        So whilst not USA based i’ve seen a lot of this in the UK and part of it comes from a sense of what a subsection of men believe men should look like. I’ve spent enough time around younger to middle ages groups to feel confident in my analysis.

        The long, styled beard, smart haircut (or bald) shows a level of manliness in their eyes. There’s an element of “this is what style should be” and a push back on expressionism within men.

        I don’t believe it started as this though, just people wanting beards and for them not to look scruffy but it seems to have been co-opted by subsection of people as the “manly stylish look that hark backs to the age of when men were men”. Various memes use this style of man to make jokes about how life was back in the 19xx’s.

      3. Eclair

        Thank you, Kouros, Fiery hunt, and DrDoom, for the info. I am feeling enlightened on the state of fashion amongst a subsection of young white males. Amish males, of course, remain beardless until married. Then they are bearded but not mustached. And, their hair is longish and ‘unstyled.’ Kind of a bowl over the head cut. I see the long beards only on the older, ‘retired’ males. Don’t want your long beard to get entangled in the farming or saw mill equipment!

  13. Louis Fyne

    –Will the Ukrainian Army Hold in Its East? Brad DeLong—

    IMO the ‘expert’ cited in that post is 100% wrong. Western experts are conflating steady, patient RU war-fighting with Ukrainian strength. YMMV.

    IMO, UA will develop exactly like Afghanistan 2021— DC and the media will reasonably be able to say that “everything is fine” as the red paint on the map stays relative constant versus the blue paint.

    Then within a period of 3 days, the entire UA organized resistance will collapse and the RU army will be left facing hastily trained, badly equipped reservists.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Agreed. He says too that he helped train Ukrainian soldiers so you wonder if that included the Azov guys. Thing is, those Russian soldiers have been fighting for over two months now and would be getting very good by now. They have adjusted their doctrine and since they are winning, are wrecking all sorts of havoc on the Ukrainians. Just because they do things different does not mean that it is wrong after all. And you can be sure that everything that that are learning is feeding into their doctrine & training establishments. I will agree with one thing that he says and that is his book recommendation at the end of the article called “Dragons at War” of which I have a copy.

      1. Pat

        I have no military history, but iirc part of the reason America exists is that the American army didn’t always fight the way regular military personnel thought wars should be fought. As “Western” experts have been getting their ass kicked for three decades that I know about, you would think they might revisit their military strategy. As far as I can see they just keep thinking the groups who have success will figure out that they are doing it wrong and change…over and over.

        1. Wukchumni

          We’re something like 1-7 in away games the last 30 years,but I think we’d be much more competitive if home games were played here.

          1. Louis Fyne

            The US’s home conference is a joke, lol. Latin America, Canada, Caribbean.

            The US stinks at Inter-League play unless the Soviet Union-Russis is on our side. Darn Designated Hitter rule.

            1. Wukchumni

              Eh, Canada kicked our arse thanks to that proto chocolateer Laura Secord, last time we went up against the Gulag Hockeypelago.

              1. Kouros

                In all honesty, I would put that on behalf of the Brits. Although the Quebec volunteers did kick bottom and were more adept in marching and fighting in the cold…

            2. johnnyme

              I misread your “Designated Hitter Rule” as the “Designated Hitler Rule”. We always do seem to have one of those, don’t we?

        2. Mark Gisleson

          Back in the day the National Lampoon (maybe it was the Harvard Lampoon) did a feature on the American military that emphasized their Yankee ingenuity by recounting how our Founding Fathers brilliantly figured out that military engagements worked out better when you hid behind a rock to shoot at the guys marching down the road four abreast.

          They then used “hide-behind-a-rock” metaphor to explain our entire military history up to and including the Vietnam war when our scientists invented a flying rock to hide behind (helicopters).

          If they were to do an update, I think our new rock to hide behind would be called Ukraine.

        3. JBird4049

          >>>but iirc part of the reason America exists is that the American army didn’t always fight the way regular military personnel thought wars should be fought.

          The American way of fighting in North America was usually been dual track. Guerilla warfare combined with the regular military. Constant skirmishing with big battles occasionally. It was done in the American Revolution, Civil War, and the Indian Wars. Particularly in the first two with the goal of keeping an army intact and using small groups to wear out the enemy. The army often, maybe usually, lost the battles, but not the last one.

          Of course, that was when losing might be mean losing the country or just be dead. Today, it is just about money, right? Win, lose, whatever. “Losing” is just prolonging the grift. Those juicy contracts will be paid and those careers succeed.

        4. Fiery Hunt

          Been thinking this exact thing for weeks now. NC is so good at sprinkling insight seeds and now, I’ve become more adept at seeing this complete failure at the highest levels of our government/military.

          They really don’t know they are wrong.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            but what are “their” true goals?
            and whothehellare ‘They”?
            i like to at least see those who are f^^king me over.
            but one cannot get to them, sadly(for to eat them, and steal their Power)
            the real game is played much above the level of ted cruz or chuck or that tester guy.

            1. Fiery Hunt

              Hey Hippie…hope you and yours are keeping on keeping on.

              I truly believe the “they” are the uber rich and the semi-uber rich.
              They just want more money. Bezos, Musk, Gates, Zuckerberg, and all the underlings in Silicon Valley and at defence contractors. That’s on the private side.

              The “they” in the public sector (not individual Senators or even Presidents) are the ensconced military/intelligence/State officials who think they know how to be Caesar/grow the Empire. They think they can control/manipulate/dominate the world. And that’s the “they” I was referring to…they really don’t understand how badly their little global dominance plan is going.

      2. Gavin

        “The few times I observed the R[ussian] army in training and exercises, or talked to their leaders, they didn’t seem to be ‘good units.'”

        Some dude barely watched the Russian army and his snap decision based on self-admittedly nothing was “They Are Not Good” .. because why, exactly?

        “For most of history, a commander with assibayah handled logistics”

        The Ukrainian army has completely lost logistics. That’s why the [initially] well-equipped units in Mariupol not named Azov were surrendering.. why all the bridges over the Dnieper have been blown.. why Russian missiles take out essentially 100% of western materiel earmarked for Ukraine once it crosses the border from Poland.

        It’s over, and the hopium just gets people killed. Ukraine sending in conscripts is basically state-sanctioned murder as well..

        Reading between the lines, perhaps what this guy is really saying is that US commanders lack assibayah..

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          If any Ukranormal within the Ukraine government knows that he/she will be assassinated by Ukranazis for any split-the-difference peace talks with the RussiaGov, no Ukranormals will be willing to negotiate with the RussiaGov.

          If indeed that is the hangup, then the Ukranormals will have to exterminate every Ukranazi within the borders of Ukraine first in order to lift the fear of Ukranazi assassination for negotiating with the RussiaGov. And if the pro-Nazi EuroNatos arm and train and work with the Ukranazis perferentially in order to keep them strong enough to assassinate any Ukranormal government which might try negotiationg with the RussiaGov, the war will go on until Ukraine and the Ukranormals are too dead and destroyed to physically sustain any more combat activities.

          At which point the pro-nazi Euro natos will keep arming and training and supplying the surviving Ukranazis for gladio left behind actions for as many decades as the Euro natos can afford to do so. The only way Russia could stop that would be by withholding every single natural resource that EUrope has gotten from Russia up to now so thoroughly that Russia can plunge EUrope into darkness , disease and famine. Nothing less will torture and weaken Europe into ceasing its pro-nazi assistance to the banderaform pravy-sektor svoboda azovazis in Ukraine.

  14. kriptid

    RE: How Elon Musk Won Twitter Wired. Commentary:

    In principle, I don’t believe anyone should own or run Twitter. It wants to be a public good at a protocol level, not a company. Solving for the problem of it being a company however, Elon is the singular solution I trust. I trust his mission to extend the light of consciousness.

    This is an interesting view by Jack that succinctly encapsulates my conflicting feelings about Twitter.

    The development of the internet and the application stack running on top of it has been governed by a decentralized, almost libertarian-like consensus that develops in real time. Winners slowly emerged. Protocols were standardized not because anyone said it must be so in a formal voting process, but because it made sense and eventually the dissenters gave in, if begrudgingly.

    Mr. Dorsey, being a technologist, sees Twitter not as a capitalist enterprise whose final incarnation is to serve as the most effective model for selling targeted ad space, but an adolescent internet protocol tossing about in its cocoon trying to figure out what it’s going to look like when it emerges. I think that’s a largely correct view. It’s why shoehorning Twitter into the ‘private company’ bucket is to ignore the fact that it has become, in some sense, a standardized internet protocol via network effect.

    I think Mr. Musk could set an historic precedent if he were to find a way to turn Twitter to more of a protocol-driven philosophy and dissolve Twitter as a corporate entity, perhaps turning it into a non-profit/open source entity with open governance, policies, books, etc. We know he doesn’t need the money (and Twitter isn’t a great business based strictly on the income statement relative to its comps, either). There has to be a better way of ensuring Twitter becomes the Best Possible Protocol than leaving it in the hands of Wall Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, like it is now, or entrusting it to a hopefully-benevolent dictator, like it will be soon. I just hope Mr. Musk has enough humility and foresight to take it there, but I don’t trust him nearly as much as Mr. Dorsey does…!

    1. Stick'em

      And if it doesn’t work – due to a lack of holding billionaires accountable to much of anything – Mr. Musk can always extend the light of consciousness simply by putting Twitter into the glovebox of a car, shooting it into space, and acting like nothing happened!

    2. Carolinian

      Apparently Bezos did some carping about billionaires running public institutions. And the world broke out in hilarious laughter.

      Musk may not be the altruist that he pretends to be but if he is sincere about free speech he will be doing a very useful and even patriotic service.

      1. Duke of Prunes

        It was worse than that. Bezos threw shade at Elon for how his (Elon’s) ties to China mean China now has undue influence in “our town square”.

        He was rightly ridiculed for his hypocrisy.

    3. Dr. John Carpenter

      Could..but won’t. Remember when the UN called his bluff on ending hunger for $6 billion? Still waiting for that stock sell off. Musk doing anything solely for potential public good just won’t happen. I do agree with the theoreticals you’re saying about what Twitter could be, but I’m in the camp who see the Musk take over as the circling of the drain getting a little bit faster.

      1. j

        Er, he did donate a pile of Tesla stock worth about $6 Billion dollars to an unnamed charity late last year. There was no PR around the donation, and it was only disclosed through SEC filings, IIRC. It could be related, and really, I can’t imagine him handing money over to some organization and not having direct control of it. Anyone who’s in charge of three (no, four!) big companies at the same time has got be a big enough of a control freak to want to be in direct charge of “end world hunger forever”, too.

        1. Wukchumni

          I remember when the Six Million Man seemed like all the money in the world, watching the tv show as a teenager… nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh

    4. Dave in Austin

      Dorsey: One of the final generation of accidental silicon-era billionaires, a nice guy who is what happens when a Unix techie says “I can build a one-to-many text messaging system with almost zero overhead because… it’s text” and 20 years later finds himself The Man Behind The Green Curtain, trying to figure out “Do I want to be Ma Bell or do I want to be the Department of Justice busting people using Ma Bell to phon- in bets on a horse race?”

      I trust randon techies like Dorsey because: 1) they didn’t start rich; 2) they’re smart and fun to be around; 3) the ones I’ve know who got accidentally rich (7 zeros) are both trying to be League of Justice superheros and are vaguely aware how rediculous 7 zeros are. The venture capital people are a different animal. But even they often started out as techies flinging math puzzles at each other while debugging machine code and drinking Jolt Cola at 3 am.

      I trust Aspergers people more than MBA people.

    5. Mikel

      “The development of the internet and the application stack running on top of it has been governed by a decentralized, almost libertarian-like consensus that develops in real time.”

      DARPA is considered “decentralized”?

  15. Lexx

    ‘The Hidden Long Term Risks of Surgery’

    First of all, I’m not really typing this reply, I’m just a hand puppet for my microbes and they have a few things to say this morning in regard to the two credit cards I’ve lost on vacations…

    ‘Look, we don’t travel well. There’s the stress of leaving the familiar routine of home, long periods of time sitting and bouncing down the highway, eating unfamiliar foods, strange smells, uncomfortable beds, weird people… communal balance in this meatsack is dicey under the best of circumstances. Mostly we hang tight in this ‘hood, especially under stress. Under stress we’re squatters and the neighborhood is under lockdown… nobody moves in and nobody leaves!’

    It’s like that old Flip Wilson joke about the argument between parts of the body, on the subject of who’s really in charge. Guess who wins? By the end of vacation I’ve stopped eating and breathing has become difficult. Somewhere along the way, probably on the journey home, I lost the second credit card and didn’t discover it until I got home. Oh, the shame of it. I wept when I realized what had happened, then gathered up the bills and checkbook, and walked them up the stairs to Husband’s office and said, ‘I can’t do this anymore; I’ve become a financial danger to us’, and he accepted and remained silence. I’d been keeping our books for forty years and I no longer trusted myself to pay our bills. Earlier in the year I’d forgotten in the pay the property taxes. I switched to a debit card until some confidence returned. That was five years ago. I still get nervous every time I pay with plastic.

    Opiate allergies are probably first based on a gut reaction, and the response is built in long before you may have a reason to take them. Allergies in general are a failure of the gut. Our responses to the stimuli of our environment is the gut-brain axis at work…

    ‘the gut–brain axis is the two-way biochemical signaling that takes place between the gastrointestinal tract and the central nervous system.’

    … thus, the growing sense of being a hand puppet along the vagus nerve, like a microbial manor house system of bells and speaking tubes. ‘Lexx, We desire some bittersweet chocolate now and a pot of tea wouldn’t be amiss.’

    1. Lexx

      Yes, I know, but the 5 minute grace period for editing keeps disappearing. You know who to blame.

      1. Dave in Austin

        Very funny and maybe accurate post. Or to quote from a private joke told to me by a well-known songwriter: “I may be an overweight, unattractive, bipolar depressive… but we’re happy together.”

        1. Fiery Hunt

          Austin sounds like some of the worst of the Bay Area moved to Texas.
          Enjoy that…till ya don’t.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Sorry to hear about the troubles that you are experiencing as it must be very frustrating. Maybe it might be worth while doing some dietary experimentation to see of there is any change for your system but I am not qualified to make an actual suggestion however. By the way, I do I remember that Flip Wilson sketch and how it was decided which body part was king. :)

    3. Bart Hansen

      I am old but still hanging in there with online bill paying. Here are three facilities I use:

      My bank allows me to have them send email reminders about upcoming bills.

      My iMac has a Reminders app which I use for important future tasks.

      Some payees offer to send emails regarding upcoming bills.

    4. CanCyn

      I have a friend who is ‘wicked smart’ – I often describe her as the smartest personI know. Fabulous memory, quick to ‘get it’, knows math, science, literature, history, geography, etc. Most with depth, not just breadth. She suffered a traumatic fall, while skiing, leg and ankle injuries for which she required a couple of surgeries both under general anesthestetic. Ever since, her intellect has seemed dulled to me. As always anecdote doesn’t equal data and many other factors are involved (recently became vegetarian, depression due to being mostly housebound re COVID, death of mother), still, the change seems to correlate with the surgeries.
      As I was writing this I thought of my mother and brother who both had heart conditions that required open heart surgery. My Dad always insisted that Mom changed after her surgery and I believe that brother has too. Hmm. I will be reading more about that pre-surgery prep mentioned in the article.

      1. Anthony G Stegman

        It has long been known that heart surgery poses dangers to the brain. I thought it had to do with the heart-lung machines doing some damage, not the anesthetics. I recall that when Bill Clinton underwent heart bypass surgery it was noted that he suffered cognitive decline afterwards.

        1. Maritimer

          “During my 40 years of medical practice I have never heard a doctor warn a patient before bypass surgery that an expected complication is memory loss. After surgery when the family complains of dad’s fits of anger, I have never heard a doctor admit that personality change is a common consequence of surgery. Yet these well-recognized side effects have been reported in medical journals since 1969.”

          Doc McDougall saved my cardio bacon with an article about invasive cardio procedures. Based on his analysis, I refused invasive treatment twelve years ago. Do your research.

          Doctor McDougall a wonderful Gaelic Bookend to the present day Doctor Peter McCullough, two bright and shiny apples in a Rotten Barrel.

          1. Dave in Austin

            When they knock you out for surgery, they first give you something to calm you. After that they give you the real gas to knock you out. An anesthesiologist of my acquaintance told me that the cognitive issues for elderly people are caused by the first- convenient but not really necessary- gas, not the “knock you out” stuff.

            So when I had a hernia operation 10 years ago at age 68 and the anesthesiologist came in to ID me (standard practice) I said “I’d prefer not to have the first gas”. He asked “Why?” and I explained. He noted it on the chart and commented “Understandable”. The first gas does reduce the problem of a suddenly panicked patient struggling and because of that having vital signs which may require a postponement. But at too high a cost. The Lesson: Just ask calmly, professionally and respectfully.

          2. CanCyn

            “Do your research.” So my parents with their grade 12 educations we’re supposed to read medical journals in order to understand fully the surgery that my Mom was having? Ditto for my brother the miner? Seriously?

        2. Duke of Prunes

          After my last open heart surgery (replacement of a replacement valve), I was complaining to my follow-up nurse about my cognitive decline, and she mentioned “pump head” as a fairly common after effect of the heart-lung machine. It’s been almost 3 years since the surgery, and I think I’m mostly back to normal. I think it helps that I have a cognitively challenging job. Use it or lose it. Luckly, I had the flexibility to be a some what “off” for a few months while I worked hard to come back. Other odd side effects were that my sight was really bad – couldn’t really read my phone for a few days – and I enjoyed bad TV (I attributed this to the opiods, and gained insight to their attraction for those leading desperate lives).

          Minus the eyesight issue, I had similar issues after my 1st surgery 15-ish years ago, but I recovered faster.

          I say “mostly” back to normal because my wife gives me a hard time for not being as sharp as I once was, and she probably has a point. Then again, I also take beta blockers, and always feel more mentally clear when I forget to take them. I’ve heard others make similar comments.

          They do make a big point about depression being common after cardiac surgery, but no one said anything about brain problems. Then again, without the surgery I’d probably be dead by now so I guess the cost/benefit works in my favor.

  16. ex-PFC Chuck

    Re: “The hidden long-term risks of surgery: ‘It gives people’s brains a hard time’ Guardian”
    This is my late father-in-law’s story in spades. 30+ years ago at age 88 he fell and broke a hip (or was it he broke a hip and fell), had surgery (I don’t recall what the saw-bones did but wasn’t a joint replacement a la today’s technology), and instead of coming out of the anesthetic he hallucinated for nearly 48 hours. When he finally did “come out” he was a shadow of his former self and it was downhill from there until the end about six years later.

    1. Louis Fyne

      supposedly (don’t take my word for it, anyone who knows better please correct me), science still doesn’t understand how anesthesia works. It just works—most of the time.

      1. Jesper

        Medicine is (to me) a combination of arts and science. I am not always impressed by medical professionals, sometimes they appear to be focussed too much on the science (while not themselves understanding statistics, dismissing things they see without investigating since they appear to believe anecdata is always meaningless) leading to not noticing what happens.
        The article indicates that a doctor noticed the POCD for the first time in 2004, the question might be how many times the doctor failed to notice it before 2004?

        According to the article the NHS carries out 5.1 million operations per year. I am happy that medical professionals managed to find something but if they have problems seeing things in such large numbers then what else are they missing?

        1. Anthony G Stegman

          This is why doctors say that they “practice” medicine, just as lawyers do. Neither profession knows everything, and much of what they achieve is through trial and error.

      2. Stick'em

        Good question! Anesthesia is a bit of a head scratcher…

        Nerves typically send electrical impulses through a sodium/potassium mechanism of polarization across a cell membrane.The latest take on chloroform is a potassium channel gets activated in such a way the nerve cells no longer are able to do this polarization. This knocks the person out.

        The usual caveats remain, such as this work was done on fruitflies rather than humans, there are other anesthetics which may have different modes of action, need to reproduce the study, and so on…

    2. Dr. John Carpenter

      I had surgery last week and it was the first time I came out of the anesthetic not knowing where the hell I was, how I got there, what time or day it was, etc. It was an unnerving experience. So far, I’ve bounced back and feel normal, but I can’t see how that doesn’t impact you long-term, especially later in life.

      I’m sorry to hear about your fil.

      1. Anthony G Stegman

        I had surgery at the ripe old age of 16. When the anesthesia wore off I hallucinated a pleasant and pretty young nurse looking after me. Great thing about it was I wasn’t hallucinating after all.

    3. Laura in So Cal

      Similar thing happened to my Grandfather. He had Parkinsons that was slowly getting worse but after gall bladder surgery, he abruptly developed memory problems and then dementia very quickly.
      He died a few years later.

    4. Revenant

      Neuronal populations that are affected by progressive neurodegenerative processes are not either dead or healthy. The neurones lie at different points on a spectrum of disease state. The brain has great cognitive reserves, especially in the educated and happy and socially connected, so the presence of a lot of pathology will not cause much functional deficit.

      However, the hypoxia associated with anaesthesia (plus possibly the effects of various drugs) will be enough to tip many failing neurones into apoptosis, I.e. programmed cell death. The patient cones round from surgery and great swathes of their neurones have been taken out or are now moribund. This presents as a rapid decline.

      Interesting, Alzheimer’s disease is characterised as a gradual process of smooth decline whereas vascular dementia is characterised by sudden, stepwise decline. The latter is because a lot of mini-vascular injuries are happening in the brain and taking out small regions of cells.

      The effect of global hypoxia of anaesthesia is similar to vascular dementia, a sudden drop in ability. Anaesthesia on top of AD will produce a worse outcome still. Anaesthesia in patients with prodromal AD (mild cognitive impairment, not dementia) will tip them into frank AD.

      Various other drugs can exacerbate AD, e.g. largactil (halperidol), the “chemical cosh” go even to sundowner AD patients to make them placid and tractable. Unfortunately it cause major neuronal die off in AD-vulnerable brains.

  17. The Rev Kev

    “Welcome to the Black Sea Era of War”

    Count on Foreign Policy to both start and end an article with myopic mistakes. Look at the first opener-

    ‘The sinking of the Russian Black Sea Fleet flagship Moskva on April 14 made history as the largest military ship destroyed in conflict since World War II.’

    Did they forget about the sinking of the Argentinian warship General Belgrano during the Falklands war? That ship was bigger. Fun fact – this ship started its career as the cruiser USS Phoenix and was present at the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour in ’41 so when it sank, it was as old as the Moskva was when it sank. But I would also consider the sinking of the HMS Sheffield during the same war as important as well. So then this article ends with the following-

    ‘Framing the Black Sea as its own security space highlights the dangers of multipolarity.’

    Yeah, for some reason the Russians aren’t happy when the US sends in Navy warships to the Black Sea and builds NATO bases on the Black Sea coastline to threaten their naval base. So if Russia started to send warships into the Gulf of Mexico on a rotating basis and started flying aircraft at the American coastline, would that be a violation of America’s security space or would Washington be cool with that?

    1. Alyosha

      See also, Chinese bases in Solomon Islands as a “red line”. US foreign and military policy is now completely divorced from reality, isn’t it?

    2. Kouros

      Why worry? The Turks have closed the straights for military vessels except those having their port of call in the Black Sea, for the duration of hostilities… (Montreaux Convention and such)

      But now we are reading about the need to have military vessels’ protection for commercial shipping in the Black Sea…

      1. Polar Socialist

        Protect them from what? Entering the conflict zone by accident?

        NATO countries of the Black Sea have already 23 frigates and 19 corvettes available, while Russia has 7 frigates and 17 corvettes. That’s 66 vessels ready to help any merchant ship in distress.

    3. Dave in Austin

      The Brits had established a 200 mile “We will shoot” zone around the Falklands and the Belgrano was on the exact southern edge of the zone (the opposite side from the approaching British fleet). But the situation was very complicated: read

      The Captain of the Brirish sub was acting within his orders but many in the Royal Navy thought that the initial use of three torpedos and the decision to not use just one of the acustical torpedos which would have homed-in on the ship’s screws disabling the ship was an error. This is the cold South Atlantic, no place for a swim, and the Belgrano posed no immediate threat to the British naval force approaching the islands. Disabling the ship would have been as good as destroying it. But war is not a game of patty-cake and soldiers are trained accordingly. In wartime people give orders that have to be interpreted in real-time by men under great stress. 326 men died, half of the Argentinians killed in the war.

      When you look at the arrows on a map of the Ukraine and sit at home pondering what would be “the right” way to fight and the unanticipated consequences of war… remember the Belgrano. And I mean the “unaticipated consequences” of the decisions of all sides, Russian, Ukrainian and American.

  18. Alyosha

    Re: HEPA air filters, all I can say is “duh” because I’ve been saying from a professional perspective since the beginning of Covid. If I’m designing a negative pressure enclosure for remediation of hazardous materials, I’m generally shooting for 4 air changes/hour. The study claims 263 cubic feet per minute (CFM) setting on the fan unit. In a 150 sq ft room with 10 ft ceilings you’d be exchanging the air 5.7 per hour.

    Caveat for actual CFM including static pressure drop across the HEPA vs claimed CFM for fan only when shopping for manufactured air cleaners. Or, one could build a really nice air filter system for <$200. AC Infinity inline duct fans are very nice. There are HEPA filters that can be fitted directly to round duct, but HEPA replacement filters for the air cleaning units can be purchased pretty cheaply and then it's just mounting it to a duct flange that matches the fan. Add a small prefilter to keep the HEPA clean and go crazy with an add on carbon filter. If noise is an issue, AC Infinity also makes a silencer. I think they also make a flat filter mount box.

    And with this type of fan (which is not what most home air cleaners use) there is less problem with static pressure drop. A "squirrel wheel" fan just doesn't produce the same kind of pressure and suffers more from the HEPA resistance. /end IAQ nerd

    1. Lost in OR

      Thanks for this. As the first Omicron was coming on I built a modified Corci Filter. It was a birch plywood, pyramid-shaped box with a 20×20 bag filter facing an air gap at the floor and an inline duct fan blowing out the top. The fan cost became the dominant factor as CFM capacity was increased (with an ear toward low sone).

      Thanks for the tip on AC Infinity. The local HVAC supply stores are unwilling to sell to a non-contractor. Online is the only option.

  19. christofay

    Taking Taiwan: Here Comes China This blog is frequently reposted at the the Saker which has become a regular read of mine. As I am what Lambeth calls a notebook computer based symbol manipulator in the trade of goods industry from Taiwan/China to the U. S. and Europe I was highly interested in this. I polled my three Taiwanese relatives at our dinner table tonight in Taipei about the medium Fujian Province China wage being higher than in Taiwan, all three said no way. Then I used (no longer primarily using duckduckgo for searches) and came up with Fujian province US$9819 and Taiwan US$17691 for median income. USD17 k sadly sounds about right for Taiwan. My methodology is questionable.

    For his evaluation about China’s capabilities in fighting for Taiwan, he seems off by half a decade and some science fiction. China should be able to blockade Taiwan and defacto remove it from the chess board.

    While it is good to have friends to stick up for you, most young Taiwanese consider China a bully, my fear is it is the new-cons, Sullivan, Blinkin, in the lead. Disasters waiting for the last Ukrainian to die. Whatever happened to statesmanship in the U. S.?

    1. RobertC

      Godfree Roberts (Taking Taiwan:) expands on his The Announcement proposal in his comment on Terry Su’s article Why an increasingly confident US is baiting Beijing over Taiwan. Roberts takes the position that Yves, I and others have articulated: if pushed by circumstances, China will begin with a law enforcement approach RobertC April 11, 2022 at 1:45 pm

      But I differ on the military role. I think China will carefully keep its Navy moored (fully fueled, armed and manned of course) until the US Navy starts moving into the neighborhood. And then things go into grayzone warfare for which I will share some thoughts in the future.

      Roberts trots out most of China’s Navy in his comment but in his article just cites the Type 22 missile boats which I suspect is his favorite. I like them too RobertC April 15, 2022 at 3:08 pm

      WRT to the wordy and repetitive Army War College Broken Nest: threat of TSMC destruction, here is the reality RobertC April 11, 2022 at 1:03 pm and RobertC April 21, 2022 at 2:39 am

    2. Sara K.

      That essay, like many which support the invasion of Taiwan, assumes Taiwanese people have no agency. For example, he doesn’t include survey results about whether *Taiwanese* people would be willing to fight for their country. And Chinese people being willing to fight for China is not the same as them wanting to sacrifice their lives to force Taiwanese people to surrender (I’m talking about rank-and-file soldiers).

      He twists the history of the Chiang Kai-Shek and 2/28. Taiwanese people were originally enthusiastic about a Chinese takeover which ended Japanese rule, but when it turned out horrible, they rebelled. This has left a deep memory among Taiwanese people that being absorbed by China is so bad it’s worth resisting with violence if necessary. The essayist know that if he actually talked to Taiwanese people about this. But that would require acknowledging their agency.

      Even if the People’s Republic of China takes Taiwan by force, the PRC government would then have to govern a large population with widespread military training (most men have been in the military at some point in their lives) who hates them and considers them to be an illegitimate ruler. I don’t know how it would work out, but I doubt it would end well for the PRC regime or the Taiwanese people.

      It would be in the PRC’s regimes *own self interest* to change their propaganda to claim that Taiwan is a separate country, like South Korea. I see no downside to them for that pivot, except they would have to change their minds. It’s far cheaper to buy access to Taiwan’s resources through trade than through war and occupation.

    3. Anthony G Stegman

      There may be a specific reason why the US is baiting China now. Some inside the MIC have warned that China will reach parity with the US in military capabilities within 5 years or so. Some have advised that the US strike China sooner, rather than later so as to set China back militarily. Taiwan is most certainly not a vital interest of the US regardless of who rules the island. It remains to be seen if China will take the bait.

    4. RobertC

      We seem to be viewing the Roberts article differently.

      Roberts stated “But whatever triggers it, China’s announcement will end seventy years of squabbling over Taiwan:

      With The Announcement being a law enforcement action encompassing Taiwan’s trade and travel.

      Roberts’ only mention of invasion was quotes from the NYT and Army War College.

      I believe the Peter Van Buren article DRAFT SPEECH – Deterrence, China, and the U.S. clearly explains why China is unlikely to use military force against its citizens in its “wandering” province no matter the internal or external provocations.

      If Biden initiates military-related actions against China’s interests in Taiwan, China will respond with grayzone warfare that does not involve the Taiwan people and territory. Unless the Taiwan government foolishly sends its Navy or Air Force into the fray.

    5. JTMcPhee

      Anyone know of some thoughtful writing that explains how sh!tes like Rice, Nuland, Bolton, Perle, Wolfowitz, Faith, Kissinger, Fleischer, Abrams and the like position themselves to ascend in the power structure? And of course the Dulleses, Roosevelts, Kennedys, “Wild Bill” Donovans, Scoop Jackson…

      I’d say that starting with the Monroe Docrine, there has not been any “statesmanship” in the US, period, end of report. Just a series of wealth-serving thugs. As was so articulately and accurately pointed out by Maj. Gen. Smedley Butler, almost a century of “dominance” ago.

  20. Wukchumni

    A friend was relating that her next door neighbor went to war against the AirBnB vacation rental next to him, by playing loud rap music and having bright lights flash on and off at all hours-hoping to force some 1 & 2 star ratings online, which of course affected her too, and she told her neighbor that if he kept it up she’d call the deputy in our 1 Barney Fife worth police force, and a couple of weeks ago the deputy was called and the rap artist given a talk, and all is quiet on the rental front, for now.

    The one rental in the distance we glimpse often has every possible outside light lit up so as to ward off the dark skies prowling above.

  21. Wukchumni

    Was reading through the communiques Mark Meadows released and my gawd, we were so lucky the players were essentially political Keystone Kops, wishful thinkers who if they had any brains among them, could have run roughshod over the constitution, instead they were a passel of inept connivers in the morning of the not for long knaves.

    Dire Straits: Communiqué

  22. The Rev Kev

    ‘Chants of “Azov, Azov!” broke out at a Ukranian solidarity rally in Manhattan the other day. Ukranian Americans and their allies literally cheering for Nazis, all draped in blue and yellow flags. Lovely.’

    Saw these hoons the other day in a video. Only, when they were shouting ‘Azov!’ it kinda sounded like ‘Azz-O!’ And as somebody pointed out in a reply to that tweet, it would not be the first time that New York hosted a Nazi rally. There was this guy that interviewed some of the people there and it was interesting. The first guy denied that there were Nazis wearing Nazi symbols but they were only nationalists that weren’t against anything else. And that they were only protecting the Ukraine and Ukrainian culture. And it was only Russian propaganda. Then this guy dropped the news that Japan dropped Azov from the list of Nazi organizations but when the interviewer was asking why they were on one, a minder pulled the guy away.

    Next was a young girl wrapped in a Ukrainian flag. The interviewer asked her about the Nazi imagery but she denied it and said that she couldn’t verify their validity. She also said that such pictures were part of Russian propaganda. When the interviewer said that other sources shown these emblems, she doubled down on the denial. Finally there was Brian P. Kavanagh of the New York State Senate. When asked about the Nazi patches, Kavanagh started to say that places like the rallies in Virginia had objectionable imagery. But then the interviewer pointed out that the Ukrainians had them on their army uniforms and American soldiers don’t have stuff like that on their uniforms. Kavanagh fobbed it off to the Putin administration before correcting himself to say the Putin regime’s propaganda and that such objectionable imagery did not mean that they could invade the country. So he could not really answer the question.

    1. fresno dan

      Franklin Roosevelt reportedly said of Nicaragua’s Anastasio Somoza, “He may be a son of a bitch. But he’s our son of a bitch.”
      Updated: The Azovs may be nazis, but they’re our nazis…

      1. Big River Bandido

        Carl Sandburg includes this anecdote in his multi-volume tome on Abraham Lincoln. The wording in that story was “he’s OUR dirty rascal”.

  23. fresno dan

    MSNBC’s The Beat
    6:26:43 p.m. Eastern

    ARI MELBER: The point is, people who work with this stuff, they understand how important this is. I’m not telling you need a Twitter account, I’m not telling you you have to jump in the ocean to study whether the ocean levels are rising. I’m just telling you this thing matters a ton. The world’s richest person who is very good at accumulating wealth and power thinks this is worth spending tens of billions of dollars on because frankly he thinks it’s that valuable and he thinks it may help him. Trump, by the way, today is claiming he won’t even return to Twitter if the ban were lifted but few take what Donald Trump says seriously on that score.
    It’s true if you are a democracy like the United States that used to regulate media ownership and say Rupert Murdoch can’t have too many local TV stations and newspapers in one town, they have laws for that are still on the books but the Congress hasn’t gotten around to limiting whether someone can own all of Twitter.

    And as we discussed in one of our special reports just last week, if you own all of Twitter or Facebook or what have you, you don’t have to explain yourself. You don’t even have to be transparent. You could secretly* ban one party’s candidate or all of its candidates, all of its nominees. Or you could just secretly turn down the reach of their stuff, and turn up the reach of something else and the rest of us might not even find out until after the election. **

    Elon Musk says this is all to help people because he is just a free speech, philosophically clear open-minded helper, a world helper if you will. Is that true? Should you take him at his word? Should you care about this whether you have a Twitter account or not? This is important stuff.
    Now, all we need is for someone at MSNBC to ponder what slant Bezos gives to the “news” via the Washington Post (or maybe, just maybe, the slant all the rich people who own the media give the “news”). Or the general corporate fact checkers who couldn’t figure out that the Steele file was all bunk. Or the plethora of former CIA spooks who completely infest CNN.
    * how about all the NON secret bans???
    ** I am not going to claim that Hunter Biden’s laptop was not covered because of ideological reasons…

    1. Mikel

      “And as we discussed in one of our special reports just last week, if you own all of Twitter or Facebook or what have you, you don’t have to explain yourself. You don’t even have to be transparent. You could secretly* ban one party’s candidate or all of its candidates, all of its nominees. Or you could just secretly turn down the reach of their stuff, and turn up the reach of something else and the rest of us might not even find out until after the election…”

      Like more than one person isn’t capable of the same thing?

      This issue isn’t as much one person, but one hive mind. That can embody one or more people.

  24. The Rev Kev

    “Russia reportedly using ISIS-style pickup trucks in Ukraine”

    Not sure why the ISIS slur. The origin of technicals goes back to WW2 when the SAS used to take Jeeps fitted with machine-guns out on patrol and both sides are using these in the present war. Come to think of it, Toyota must have made a lot of money over the decades selling their trucks to Africa and the Middle East. The Pentagon tried to build a technical but the end result weighed forty tons, could only travel on roads, and could not be driven in heavy rains or thunderstorms. But when this article said ‘Al Qaeda groups in Syria, Yemen, and Afghanistan have also been seen operating these sorts of modified trucks’ I began to wonder. What ever happened to that plumber in Texas who sold his truck locally, only to have it reappear in Syria being used by ISIS Jihadists and with the name of his business still on the side of his truck? He copped a lot of threats and abuse about that. Did they ever work out how trucks sold in America ended up in the hands of ISIS fighters?

    1. Gc54

      Don’t forget The Rat Patrol. Jeeps w 50 cals mounted brewing up panzers in North Africa. Eric Braeden, now that was one pissed-off Nazi.

      1. LifelongLib

        Yeah, watching that as a kid I liked his character even though he was a “bad guy”.

        Braeden did a good job as the lead in “Colossus: The Forbin Project” a few years later. Always thought he was an underrated actor.

    2. Anthony G Stegman

      Decades ago there was a popular TV show (called the Rat Patrol) that showcased Army units in North Africa fighting Rommel during WWII. They all drove Jeeps outfitted with machine guns in the back.

    3. Soredemos

      So, my guess, assuming this isn’t just yet another Ukrainian propaganda lie (they do this constantly, get something, especially something destroyed, paint a Z on it, and claim it’s Russian), is that those technicals are something the Chechens ‘requisitioned’ for themselves. There have been a bunch of videos of them joyriding around Mariupol. It’s not any kind of evidence of some widespread logistical shortcoming with the Russian military.

      The claim, which has been ubiquitous in Western media since almost the start of the invasion, that Russia is running out of equipment is, I suspect, going to have a very bad time in the coming days and weeks as the main offensive against the Donbass front starts.

      In reality it’s the Ukrainian side that has been increasingly reduced to using civilian vehicles. Here’s a tweeted video put out by an American propagandist in Ukraine (Gonzalo Lira made a video about the guy dissecting how obviously staged his videos were) bragging about how a bunch of civilian vehicles are the Ukrainian ‘cavalry’:

      And here’s an article, helpfully retweeted by this same Vasquez guy, about how General Motors got 50 SUVs into Ukraine: Why does the side that is totally winning and not at all critically low on equipment need a bunch of donated civilian cars?

  25. lance ringquist

    about the alarm being sounded over trucking. here is what really happened in 2008. it was not the housing bubble that popped that led to the great recession.

    the bubble popping was the results of nafta billy clintons disastrous polices that so thoroughly stripped blue collar workers of their standard of living, and sent americas wealth to a communist dictatorship.

    a vast class of americans could no longer service their debts, consume, save a little, and have some leisure time.

    the inevitable results would be depression, anyone could see this coming, i did.

    of course nafta billy clintons disastrous policies created the housing bubble also.

    “Freight is often looked at as a bellwether for the rest of the economy. If industries ranging from retail to housing to lumber are estimating that they’ll need fewer truckers, many economists see that as an omen of an economic downturn. If people aren’t buying or building as much stuff, there’s less of a need for truckers. Trucks move 72% of all freight.

    One 2019 study from Convoy, a trucking brokerage firm, found that six out of 12 trucking recessions led to macroeconomic downturns. For example, the trucking industry dipped in April 2006 — more than a year before the Great Recession slammed the larger economy.”

    as long as americans are willing to let the elites never pay a price for their follies, we will get one nafta billy after another.

  26. David

    The Politico article on the French elections is worth a quick glance for the tables, but don’t fall into the trap of thinking that the electors last Sunday voted “for” Macron and his policies or “against” Le Pen and hers.

    The easiest way to visualise the result is to start with the obvious point that in an election you have to choose between the candidates you have, not the ones you would like. Each of them had their hard core of supporters, who strongly approved of some, at least, of their policies. But that probably didn’t amount to more than 15-20% of the score of each. A larger percentage probably voted essentially negatively, to keep the other candidate out. But a significant number, perhaps 20-30% of the Macron vote, went for him because, confronted with the actual possibility of change, they wimped out. Everybody realises Macron has destroyed the system, and that it will be impossible to rebuild it, even if his reign turns out to be shorter than the theoretical five years. With Le Pen it would simply have happened more quickly. A choice, if you like, between Apocalypse Now, and Apocalypse Later.

    It’s been, shall we say, clarifying to see how, one by one, the fiercest critics of the Establishment rallied to Macron in the end, with all sorts of excuses and justifications, amounting in the end usually to well, the alternative is worse. Not exactly a vote of confidence, but a sign that most of the French political and media elites, for all that they might be violently critical of Macron, are ultimately more afraid of change than they realised. Which is not going to do them a lot of good when change comes knocking in a few years.

    1. Big River Bandido

      Well, it *is* Politico, after all, whose writers obviously cannot think. But their “analysis” is absolute facepalm cringeworthiness. There’s this, on the failure of the small left parties:

      Their collapse accelerates the reformatting of France’s political landscape, away from a right-left divide, toward a split between nationalist, anti-establishment populists and centrist pro-European progressives.

      “centrist progressives”. Words have zero meaning to this crowd.

  27. lance ringquist

    the article by the peterson inst. i could barley get past the first few sentences, then dumped the link.

    those charlatans and cranks helped get us into this mess in the first place. they belong in jail.

    as predicted, the blame games begins, and if americans keep letting elites go scot free from their follies, the peterson inst. will get us involved in folly after folly.

    blaming russia, when it was their own crank policies of free trade that is collapsing, as it did twice before.

    c. fred bergstrom, a regular on pbs extolling the virtues of free trade, and of course, no one will want to upset the apple cart.

    he should be put to work in a haitian shirt factory.

  28. Wukchumni

    I’ve been reading on Reddit of a mighty wind that seems to persist in much of the country and up over in Canada. Everybody says it has no quit. Nothing to report here in calm Cali though.

    It has elicited talk of those having lived in places all of their lives, never having experienced such a thing before.

    Climate change is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.

  29. KD

    On Taiwan:

    The real “provocation” or “defensive action” that is going to kick off a war over Taiwan is the US decision to develop and deploy intermediate range missiles in Asia:

    Although the US doesn’t have appropriate missile technology now, it is rapidly developing that capacity, so it puts the Taiwan question on a timer as China now has the conventional capability to take Taiwan, leaving America with the decision tree about trying to re-take it, whereas once that missile network is in place on bases in the First Island Chain, it would make it extremely difficult for China to take Taiwan with conventional forces.

    The rub is that China needs to act fast if they want to obtain Taiwan by force, or they may forfeit the opportunity of a generation.

  30. antidlc

    Washington Post interview with Sen. Kaine.

    He talks about long COVID and around the 22:00 mark is asked about the mid-terms:

    Kaine: If people do feel like though after two years of nearly a million people dead we are returning back to greater normalcy every day that could create a feeling of psychological uplift that could cut against the mid-term headwind.

    Me: We need to get people to believe the pandemic is over Wearing masks is a minder it’s not over. But people continuing to get long COVID means it’s not over.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      people do feel like… to greater normalcy…create a feeling of psychological uplift

      Just think happy thoughts. And this man likely wonders why no one remembers Hillary picked him.

      1. caucus99percenter

        Even Barry Goldwater’s running mate William E. Miller sticks in my memory more than that nebbish, especially after Miller did a funny, self-deprecatory TV commercial for American Express (theme: you need the Amex card to establish trust when, ha ha, nobody knows — or remembers — who you are).

    1. Kouros

      All those weapons shipped to Ukraine to kill Russian soldiers, it is bound to create blowback.

      If Russia stops gas and oil supplies across the board (maybe except Hungary), then we’ll see the combined west howling in fury…

    2. Ghost in the Machine

      Looking at that pipeline map, I do not see how you halt gas supplies to Poland without also halting supplies to Germany.

        1. Andrew Watts

          That might be Germany’s only option. If Russia completely shuts down those pipelines that likely means they’re going to cease production in their older gas fields.

          The lack of storage means restarting production would be an expensive process and may not be viable if there are any sanctions on Russia’s energy sector.

      1. vao

        This is another scene in the endless drama about Nord Stream II, payment in roubles, takeover of Gazprom Germania into fiduciary administration, and sanctions against Russia.

        There is however an interesting twist to the announcement that supplies to Poland stop from Wednesday onwards.

        Exactly one week ago, in a brief, little noticed dispatch, Reuters informed that Gazprom had not booked capacity for May 2022 on the Yamal pipeline leading from Russia through Bielorussia to Poland — but did so for the pipeline through Ukraine to Slovakia. The decision to stop supplying Poland must therefore have been taken earlier than that.

    3. NYG

      With all those rail road tracks blown up, for Ukraine it will be difficult to move any heavy war machinery to the front in Donbass. That applies to German tanks as well as all that heavy US military equipment. But that was only a Russian defensive move.
      Halting natural gas supplies to Poland is an offensive move, a definite escalation by Russia. The war is apparently entering a new phase. Previously, I hoped the war would not spread outside the borders of Ukraine, but that no longer seems possible. It is destined to engulf at least some other European countries, those that Russia identifies as aiding and abetting the killing of Russians.

      1. You're soaking in it!

        Hold on thar. Haven’t the Poles refused to pay for their April gas? According to Bloomberg:

        “Poland’s main gas supplier PGNiG said it has been informed that all flows will stop from Wednesday. Minutes earlier, Russian gas giant Gazprom issued a warning that Poland must pay up for its gas supplies on Tuesday — in the Russian currency.”

        I’m assuming that last bit really means, in Euro but through the approved Russian banks. Is this is any more “offensive” than the unlawful freezing of Russian assets?

        1. NYG

          I define offensive as going on the attack regardless of whether one is provoked. I am not suggesting that Russia is not provoked.

          1. hunkerdown

            Provocation isn’t sacred. There is no right to be free of the consequences of your own actions, not even in service of social reproduction.

          2. Sibiryak

            NYG: I define offensive as going on the attack,,,

            Demanding Poland pay for its gas is not “going on the attack.”

      2. Kouros

        Poland escalated first with the supply of tanks and other weapons to Ukraine. Plus joining in all those sanctions and clamoring for actual seizing of Russian assets, etc.

        1. Acacia

          Saker has opined repeatedly that it will probably take some Iskander strikes on those weapons inside Poland before they stop poking the Bear.

          Maybe’s he’s right. The Poles do seem to be cruisin’ for a bruisin’, as the saying goes.

    4. RobertC

      Latest report from Reuters April 26, 20222:42 PM PDT Last Updated a few seconds ago Russia warns Poland, Bulgaria of gas supply cuts on Wednesday

      WARSAW, April 26 (Reuters) – Russian energy giant Gazprom (GAZP.MM) has told Poland and Bulgaria it will halt gas supplies from Wednesday, in a major escalation of Russia’s broader row with the West over its invasion of Ukraine.

      Poland and Bulgaria would be the first countries to have their gas cut off by Europe’s main supplier since Moscow started what it calls a military operation in Ukraine on Feb. 24. The move to cut off supplies also followed sanctions imposed by Warsaw against Russian individuals and companies.

      1. Polar Socialist

        It’s kinda cute how Reuters doesn’t bother to mention that Poland and Bulgaria refused to pay for the gas which is why Gazprom is not sending them any.

        In a major de-escalation of the row, Poland and Bulgaria will receive gas as soon as they agree to pay for it. Like Hungary and Austria have agreed to.

  31. EGrise

    Re: YouTube and extremism, all I know is that whenever I watch a decidedly lefty video (e.g. Chris Hedges) I get recommendations for Ben Shapiro and PragerU. So of course, it’s all my fault.

    I think Hanlon’s Razor would posit that the more likely explanation is that the much-vaunted algo is in fact quite stupid: “You like watching politics? Here’s some more politics!”

  32. Anthony G Stegman

    So far in 2022 the weather in California has been odd. The normally rainiest months of the year – Jan thru March were nearly bone dry. Everything changed in April, with rain and snow along with below average temperatures. Now, the longer range forecasts are showing significant rain for the first half of May. Perhaps the Bay Area’s Mediterranean climate is no more due to climate change. Or, it could be all Putin’s fault.

  33. Jason Boxman

    Vice President Kamala Harris Tests Positive for Coronavirus

    Vice President Kamala Harris tested positive for the coronavirus on Tuesday, becoming the highest-ranking official in Washington to be infected and raising new concerns about President Biden’s potential exposure as the virus tears through his administration.

    What fears? I thought if you’re vaccinated all is well, so why is there any fear?

    As Lambert said (today?), perhaps our elite problem really will sort itself out in the next few years of infections and reinfections.

    We shall see.

    The vice president’s office said she tested positive on both rapid and P.C.R. tests and will stay away from the White House until she tests negative …

    (bold mine)

    Well, finally, some good news!

    1. Wukchumni

      It’s alright, if something happens simultaneously to the veep & pres, Nancy is waiting in the wings.

      1. Dr. John Carpenter

        Wait a min…I thought Nancy caught Covid too? What ever happened with that? I heard she tested positive and then…nothing.

  34. Mikel

    “Bored Ape Instagram account hacked: NFTs worth $2.8 million stolen” The Block. That’s a damn shame.

    Notional value fantasy. The establishment can’t even deal with reality long enough to have a real economy.
    Instead, here’s this “token economy” of fantasy valuations.
    The big problem: anything that gets stuck in the financial sector gets prone to bailouts.

  35. lance ringquist

    ‘Everything is halted’: Shanghai shutdowns are worsening shortages

    gee till nafta billy clinton came along, we used to make this stuff ourselves, keeping people working at good wages so they not did fall into poverty

    you can only imagine what this is doing to the poor!

    ‘Everything is halted’: Shanghai shutdowns are worsening shortages

    Abha Bhattarai
    Tue, April 26, 2022, 5:38 AM

    “To be honest, I don’t even want to be in China but it’s the only option,” Djavaheri said. “If there was a way to make air fryers or electric pressure cookers in America, I would’ve been there yesterday. Instead we’re dealing with hurdle after hurdle: Inflation, logistics, it’s a constant nightmare.”

    as long as elites do not have to pay a price for their follies, we will get one nafta billy clinton after another.

    1. Wukchumni

      The rapture on retail and online shelves is going to be quite something.

      I’d expect some consumers to purchase said barren shelves and then cut them into lengths and tell the kids they are wheel-less skateboards when they open their presents for xmas.

      1. Anthony G Stegman

        When I was growing up my mom would put pictures of things we would eventually receive inside the gift boxes. What worked then can work now.

  36. Mikel

    Billionaires Only Come To The Rescue In Movies And Comic Books Caitlin Johnstone.
    “…How many times are people going to fall for this “a billionaire is about to stick it to the man and save us all” schtick? It’s very sad that we’re at a point where speech is being throttled so severely that people are hoping an eccentric billionaire will swoop in and rescue them from oppression. Real life is like a dumber, more boring version of Gotham City, except Batman is working with the bad guys…”

    Johnstone may be familiar with a bit of film theory that has made the rounds on the internet:

    “…The Heath Ledger version of the Joker from Christopher Nolan’s Batman movie, The Dark Knight. I rewatched it recently and started to wonder, have we misunderstood this story the whole time? Could the Joker actually be the HERO of Gotham City, not Batman?”

    Ignore the cartoonish, infantilizing voice that so many YouTubers have to adopt. It’s an interesting theory.

    1. Maritimer

      Billionaires and Spitting fish Bonus Antidote above:
      That’s Musk on the left and Bezos on the right.

      Humanity (the remainder that is conscious) stay tuned while 3,000 Bills and the Nation States and Institutions they control, get in a room and determine the Future of the Universe. Consensus is assured.

    2. jr

      Musk is being hailed as a hero by right wing Utoobers users. One commenter noted that now that Twitter is “ours”, it’s time for some payback. I considered signing up for Twitter just to witness the insanity but then decided I really don’t need that garbage in my life.

    3. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      My favorite scene in The Dark Knight (of all time as well) is when The Joker is trying to get the citizens on the three ferry ships to blow each other up, and Tony “Tiny” Listers Prisoner character throws the detonation device into the river.

      I think you can root for the “Villain” alot in films. As my political ideology has developed over the years I’ve come to see a lot of my Heros as the Villains.

  37. Josef K

    The documentary “Into Eternity” covers the deep Rad-waste disposal site in Finland.

    At one point, the interviewees are asked if they can confirm that the waste cannot be disturbed accidentally or otherwise for the prescribed period of 100k years. They can’t. So much for eternity.

  38. vanres1974

    He continued, “What is likely to cushion the impact on [dry bulk and tanker] shipping, in our view, is significantly longer trading distances because of the Russia-Ukraine crisis, and low fleet growth.”

    “One important factor for shipping demand is the length of voyages. If average nautical miles increase, this could compensate for lower volume. For both dry bulk and tankers, we have seen a lengthening of average trading distances on the back of reduced Russian exports. Low underlying fleet growth also means that slowing economic growth is less worrisome than in prior periods.”

    1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      Man I need to get high for those!

      Music is great. Forwarded to a couple of friends!

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