Links 4/7/2022

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.


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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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Devoted Pit Bull Mama Teaches a Baby Raccoon How to Survive in the Wild Laughing Squid

US brings foreign banks into intelligence-sharing fold FT. What could go wrong?


Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of Climate Change IPCC Sixth Assessment Report

Tropical forests have big climate benefits beyond carbon storage Nature

Carbon Captured by Coastal and Ocean Habitats Can Advance States’ Climate Goals Pew

Agribusiness Hates CRP Iowa. Very good to see Christopher Jones back in action, although weirdly his blog doesn’t see to have a name.


Multiple D.C. insiders test positive for COVID after annual Gridiron Dinner Yahoo News. That’s a damn shame. Under Let ‘Er Rip, they’ll keep getting infected, too, and even with the best of care, which they will get, become a little bit more brain-damaged each time around the track. Commentary:

It’s not clear the servers were wearing N95s, though.

A not-quite-parallel case from Down Under:

(See here on “mutual obligs.”) More from the same thread:

This account is the Kookburra Lady, which is why I follow her; see antidotes.

* * *

Neuropathology and virus in brain of SARS-CoV-2 infected non-human primates Nature. From the Abstract: “Here, we show neuroinflammation, microhemorrhages, brain hypoxia, and neuropathology that is consistent with hypoxic-ischemic injury in SARS-CoV-2 infected non-human primates (NHPs), including evidence of neuron degeneration and apoptosis. Importantly, this is seen among infected animals that do not develop severe respiratory disease, which may provide insight into neurological symptoms associated with ‘long COVID’.”

Pulse Oximetry for Monitoring Patients with Covid-19 at Home — A Pragmatic, Randomized Trial (letter) NEJM. n = 2097. From the text: “Among patients with Covid-19, the addition of home pulse oximetry to remote monitoring did not result in a greater number of days alive and out of the hospital than subjective assessments of dyspnea alone.” The headline is a little deceptive; I would have thought the most useful (i.e., life-saving) comparison would have been between patients who were in the medical care system and those who were outside it altogether. And while it’s good to know that, for the patients studied, listening to your body (dyspnea) is sufficient without additional technology (the oximeter), these results come two years into the pandemic. Given the low cost and ease of use of oximeters, and given the downsides, it would have been insane to wait two years for the RCT process to emit a study before taking protective action, i.e. buying one and learning how to use it. A similar low-cost + low-risk / high benefit risk calculus applies in the case of treatments, although the PMC seems almost pathologically unwilling to work with this tendency as opposed to losing their minds over it.


Coronavirus: Shanghai adds 19,982 Covid-19 cases, setting a daily record for the sixth day South China Morning Post

Is this Shanghai’s COVID-19 Tipping Point? Eric Feigl-Ding, Medriva

US sanctions threat if China aids Russia stirs fear in Beijing about forex assets South China Morning Post

Wang Yi Speaks with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on the Phone Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China

PKU National Development dean on Chinese economy Pekingnology. Commentary:

Pakistan political crisis: Why Imran Khan’s enemies want him out Middle East Eye

Why Most of the Indo-Pacific Tiptoes Around Russia Foreign Policy

The Koreas

Incoming South Korean president backtracks on scrapping gender ministry Channel News Asia


A vegetable vendor’s quest for a just world People’s Archive of Rural India


Breaking ranks with EU, Hungary says ready to pay for Russian gas in roubles Reuters

Le Pen Is Finally Getting Noticed by Markets John Authers, Bloomberg

Waking Up from Anesthesia: Decline and Violence in France The Brooklyn Rail

Germany stages country-wide raids against ‘neo-Nazi networks’ Al Mayadeen

Serbia’s Vucic proved he is here to stay Al Jazeera

* * *

As airports grind to a halt… how UK’s ‘Great Lie Down’ threatens a summer of chaos: Hospitality, travel and farming STILL suffer staff shortages after 400,000 people left the work force during lockdowns (and it’s all going to make inflation worse) Daily Mail

Starmer abolishes fairness and natural justice from Labour’s expulsion rules. In as many words Sqwawkbox

Labour staff ‘gagged’ over sexual harassment claims BBC. Incredibly, they were Corbyn supporters.

New Not-So-Cold War

Striving to Make Sense of the Ukraine War Craig Murray. Today’s must-read. Grab a cup of coffee.

* * *

‘There is nothing else out there’: why Europe is hooked on Russian gas FT. News from No. 10:

* * *

Video appears to show Ukrainian troops killing captured Russian soldiers. NYT. At last, some realism. Commentary:

Ukrainian doctor tells TV interviewer he has ordered his staff to CASTRATE Russian soldiers because they are ‘cockroaches’ Daily Mail. From March, still germane.

WATCH: Zelenksy Blasts Russia at UN for ‘Worst War Crimes’ Since 1945; Russia Blames Ukraine for Massacre Consortium News. Worse than Abu Ghraib? Worse than Fallujah? Really?

* * *

Normalizing nuclear war (1):

From Brookings, not from those loons at the Atlantic Council.

Normalizing nuclear war (2):

The White House press corps really is optimized for demented, evil, little children.

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The Fantasy of the Free World Foreign Affairs

Attack On Europe: Documenting Equipment Losses During The 2022 Russian Invasion Of Ukraine Oryx. Impressively obsessive, but from photos, hence social media i.e. Ukraine-biased. And speaking of equipment–

About those Javelins, a useful thread:

(From a longer thread on “the Battle of Kiev.”)

Revisiting The Greek War of Independence While Ukraine Fights for Its Own War on the Rocks. Intriguing analogy, but I dunno. Finland, Austria, and Switzerland are all independent. Independent neutrals.

“Do Not Try to Interrupt a Ukrainian Woman”: Explaining the War to Europe’s Skeptics Vanity Fair

But the children:

Better than “Stepan“? Tough call.

Biden Administration

Poor old Joe (jr). During the afterparty for Obama’s return to the White House to celebrate the ACA:

Key shot:

I have sympathy for Biden because I tend to stand around at parties myself. But Obama and Harris’s shunning behavior is vicious and reprehensible. What a cesspit the Democrats are. I mean, Obama installed the guy; the least he can do is not humiliate him in public.

Obama backs Biden after ‘sad’ video shows audience ignoring president NY Post. Sounds like “the dreaded vote of confidence” in baseball.

* * *

Five-justice majority restores Trump-era policy on water pollution, provoking more criticism of emergency docket SCOTUSblog. Commentary:

FDA Warning Letters Are Pearls Of Wisdom Dealbreaker. On CBD.

Supply Chain

Faced With Sanctions and Scorn, Some Russian Ships are Flagging Out Maritime Executive. As John Gilmore did not quite say: “The supply chain views sanctions as damage and routes around them.”

China state refiners shun new Russian oil trades, teapots fly under radar -sources Hellenci Shipping News. Interesting:

Sanction worries have driven some independent refiners known as teapots, once a dynamic group of customers consuming about a third of China’s Russian oil imports, to fly under the radar.

“ESPO trading was really slow and secretive. Some deals are being done, but details are kept under wraps. No one wants to be seen buying Russian oil in public,” a regular ESPO dealer said.

To keep oil flowing, these nimble refiners are deploying alternative payment mechanisms such as cash transfer, paying after cargo is delivered and using Chinese currency.

Russian suppliers – Rosneft, Surgutneftegaz and Gazprom Neft, and independent producers represented by Swiss trader Paramount Energy – are expected to ship a record 3.3 million tonnes of ESPO from Kozmino port [Vladivostok] in May.

Impact of Russia-Ukraine war on steel production and supply chains Gas World

Our Famously Free Press

The Uncensored:

Global life expectancy drops two years since the start of the pandemic WSWS. Everything’s going according to plan.

Antidote du Jour:

Larry is not the only one–

Bonus Antidote:

The end of a sad story.

Double Bonus Antidote:

Triple Bonus Antidote, from the Kookaburra lady (see above):

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. Donald

    There are now some eyewitnesses coming forward to talk about Russians murdering people, so I think it is true. I don’t think one should have expected anything different. Russia supposedly ordered their forces to behave well. It turns out some didn’t. . Russia denies all wrongdoing. So what. One could summarize the Iraq invasion in the same way.

    There are also eyewitness accounts of Ukrainian troops shooting at civilians and some of the idiots have filmed their own war crimes, so it seems safe to say this war is like most wars. Both sides commit war crimes and try to cover it up.

    As for the Western press, I continue not to trust them but I don’t think they are faking the interviews.

    1. The Rev Kev

      ‘They gave him 20 minutes to bury his friends.’ If he had a backhoe, he might have been able to do it but digging a grave – even a shallow one – takes a long time. So something does not seem right with that story. Look, have some Russians murdered civilians? Of course they have. Have Ukrainians mutilated and murdered Russian? You don’t want to know. All armies are made up of people and in any large group of people, you are always going to get some natural born killers. Look up the name Staff Sergeant Robert Bales for example. Every army has them and the best thing that can happen to them is that they get “accidentally” killed in battle.

      So here is the thing. Murders like that are symptomatic of war in general because war is mass murder. But the big thing is systematic crime and that is what the Ukrainians are doing. International law says that you cannot place troops and military equipment in places like hospitals, schools, churches, next to apartment blocks, shopping centers as that makes them military targets. And that is precisely what the Ukrainians have been doing which has resulted in civilian deaths. Scott Ritter talked this out recently. And they turned the whole city of Mariupol into a human shield as well. So this is their actual tactical doctrine but people are refusing to call them out on it. You’ll never see them at the Hague. As I say, it is all about the context.

      1. Bart Hansen

        In the buildup to the war I read that denazification was to include summary judgement in the field. For example, anyone found with a wolfsangel tat was not going home to moma.

    2. Yves Smith

      I’m sorry, but Ukraine has been lying from the get go. The ghost ship. Snake Island. The presentation of a clip even I saw back in the day of a Palestinian girl defying Israeli troops dubbed into a Ukrainian girl getting in the faces of Russian troops. Dead Ukraine tanks presented as dead Russian tanks. Ukraine running old footage of strikes in Donbass as fresh. Ukraine claiming not just once but 2x (the first time shamelessly picked up by the Financial Times) that Russia had conceded to all their demands when they hadn’t.

      See this on the staging of bodies in Bucha:

      And see this staging of 4 supposed war scene videos on the same site: (an awful lot of talking, skip to see the video clips)

      You need to discount any claims by Ukraine by at least 90%. And if they are staging videos, it is not out of the question that some of the interviews are staged too.

      1. lambert strether

        Further, if the press noticed any staging, they would be highly unlikely to report it.

        Remember, before the first Iraq War to defend Kuwait, another atrocity story? How Saddam’s soldiers were pulling babies — the babies!! — off ventilators in hospitals? Time passes, and come to find out that not only was the story fake, but the “witness” who testified was the Kuwaiti ambassador’s daughter (!!!), not identified as such at the time. Can anyone really believe that nobody in the press recognized her?

        I suppose the next step will be to fly the most photogenic “witness” to Washington and have them testify. You can be 100% sure the press will give that person exactly the same deference they gave “Nayirah.” We have form.

        1. Yves Smith

          I should have added the most important point, which Scott Ritter stressed: to determine what happened, you need forensic examination of bodies: how they died. When they died. Were they moved. Anything less than that is bullshit, including interviews.

          And Russia immediately went to the UN Security Council to demand an independent investigation as soon as the Bucha claims surfaced. The UK, which now holds the chair, blocked even tabling the request! What does that tell you?

          1. cmoncmon

            UN SC: Is there some reason why the UK response to this is not mentioned? It’s now Thursday. Nebenzya made the complaints about its requests for meetings being ‘rejected’ on Tuesday (at least). The UK PermRep responded it hadn’t been, just that there was an already-scheduled meeting on Tuesday. Which meeting did in fact happen, see below. (I don’t see any explanation by Nebenzya of why this made a difference to the Russian explanation, either).
            A press summary with a fair amount of detail (note the source is the UNSC – it’s not quite a transcript but is quite detailed) is available – this was an open meeting and so video is available for some portions:
            See the part where Nebenzya quotes from a Meduza article, claiming that Russians had been providing the locals with food (also claims that “not a single civilian suffered from any kind of violence” while the town was under Russian control – which hardly sounds plausible).
            The Ukrainian PermRep, however, said Nebenzya “decided to quote from an interview in Medusa, but failed to quote the interview in full. The woman he had quoted said that Russian soldiers gave dry rations, and after lowering them, they tossed grenades into the basement.”
            I can’t attest to the details of the claims but this is the Meduza article the Ukrainian refers to:
            Note: Meduza is a Russian language source but translated by them. Of course, it’s basically banned in Russia.
            Now, the details of these events are clearly under dispute. But let’s dispense, please, with the implication that Russian government sources are somehow being more truthful. And given what’s going on with media in Russia right now, there are effectively no domestic Russian news sources that are not government.

            (I’m a fluent Russian speaker. Lived there for years. I get well more than half of my Russian/Ukrainian news in Russian, mostly from sources that identify as Russian although no longer published there – they’ve all had to shut down or move. There are almost no purely ‘domestic’ news sources I trust anymore, except of course for quotidian stuff).

            1. Yves Smith

              The key Russian demand was for an independent investigation. Is that happening? And TASS did go through the procedural details about why the UK delaying the meeting was irregular and how when Russia was chair, it honored every request for a meeting in 24 hours.

              And if there were to have been an independent investigation, every day of delay matters. As even a watcher of crime shows will tell you, you need to secure the crime scene as quickly as possible. More delay means more corruption and loss of evidence.

              And frankly, even if the point about throwing grenades into the basement was accurate, it does not refute the assertion that no one was hurt. The woman did not allege that someone was in the basement and killed or injured. The omitted part of the article does not establish that, when you are insinuating that it demonstrates that the Russian claim about not hurting people (as opposed to property, where they made no claim) was untrue. It is a very sweeping statement and there is reason to be skeptical, but the factoid you cite does not disprove it.

              The other main Russian point, which they made consistently, is Bucha shooting video and related claims does not add up with the timing of their exit. Multiple sources have pointed to a Ukraine police video, about 8 minutes, posted IIRC on April 1, of them sweeping the streets after the Russia departure, looking for suspicious cars. That suburb has only 37,000 people. The bodies shown were mainly on a major street. How did they miss them?

              Scott Ritter pointed out that the only way to know what happened is a forensic investigation by an independent group. The Russians asked for that. It’s not happening. What does that tell you?

              Finally, we have a hard 55 link limit on Links, and on top of that, we are not omniscient. We rely on readers to provide things we have missed. You seem to be accusing us of malfeasance when the recaps we saw on other sites of the UN meeting did not indicate anything unexpected happened (as in the Russians made the points they had already made, with more evidence; the Chinese depicted it as persuasive but you could contend they would; the substantive demands got nowhere).

            2. reprobate

              That Ukraine woman story does not add up. Soldier gives her food and then tosses a grenade? Something is missing. Maybe she spat on him. Doesn’t justify his response but would make sense. Or maybe she just added it because she can’t look like she is saying something nice about Russians and had to dirty him up.

          2. Ricardo

            I want to hear the evidence of the prisoners of war. Are there some? I ‘googled’ but couldn’t find any – perhaps there are none.

          3. JBird4049

            It is going to be years, perhaps decades, before we can know with real confidence who did what to whom and when.

            It sucks, but even events like the Second World War’s Katyn massacre in Poland were not well studied for decades. I could also point to events like the Mayan genocide in Guatemala, Augusto Pinochet’s Argentina, Mexico’s ongoing war with the Mexican cartels, and many, many others. Witnesses die, or move on, or are just threaten into silence. Bodies are buried or disposed of in isolated locations. Records are altered or are destroyed. Wars themselves destroy or hide much.

            It will not be until all the current governments are gone, partly because it is embarrassing to them and partly because individuals in them could be sent to trial by someone, and until real peace happens, and then investigations by professionals, or at least the dedicated, lasting years that we will get an accurate (more or less) account. Until then, like happened with the Katyn forest, they will be only a few short blurbs in the history books. It is likely that many of us reading this post will be dead of old age before textbooks on them are written.

              1. JBird4049

                Thanks. For whatever reason, I keep getting the two countries mixed up. It’s embarrassing.

                1. Ignacio

                  Hahaha! It is but don’t be hard on yourself. I have lots of trouble remembering names but long ago decided that yes, it is embarrassing, but no need to flagellate myself.

        2. Science Officer Smirnoff

          I recall the Kuwaiti connection (although without checking I thought it was the Emir’s daughter. Faulty memory again)

          Lately der Spiegel has the story that German intel picked up incriminating Russian chatter. For what it’s worth. FWIW

          1. Polar Socialist

            Not that it matters, but Germany is 1000 km away from nearest Russian troops, and even the closest NATO border is over 400 km away. The Russian vehicle radios can do 15-20 km on a good day.

            Are they saying German Intel is involved in the conflict?

              1. Science Officer Smirnoff

                Interesting. Peek at The Economist story reminds me that the frequency hopping radio was co-invented by Hedy Lamarr (so it’s told), who also sat in on a chat with Hitler.

                1. Science Officer Smirnoff

                  Here’s the snippet for non-subcribers from The Economist:
                  Modern military-grade radios encrypt signals and change the frequency on which they operate many times a second, making their transmissions impossible to intercept. But many Russian forces are communicating on unencrypted high-frequency (HF) channels that allow anyone with a ham radio to eavesdrop. The Russian army does have some modern tech. It started receiving Azart radios, which have built-in encryption and can operate on much higher frequencies, in 2012. Thomas Withington, a military analyst specialising in electronic warfare, says that the Azart system seems adequate, if inferior to the equipment used by NATO forces. But there are not enough radios to go around. Russian news reports have talked enthusiastically about deliveries of a few hundred radios shipped to whole army groups comprising several thousand troops. By the most optimistic estimates only a fraction of the invasion force could have Azart radios.

                  1. Polar Socialist

                    Soviet army had encrypted radio-family called Arbalet already in the 1980’s. Unfortunately for Russians, the factories were not in Russia, so in the 90’s they had to design a new set of radios, called R-168 “Aqueduct” which had encryption, frequency hopping, analog and digital channels etc.

                    According to Russian military literature by 2009 65% of the army had Aqueduct radios. In 2010 all the Airborne troops had Aqueducts and they started to develop a completely digital Andromeda-D C2 network which in recent years has been heavily automatized and evaluated for/adopted in other branches.

                    In recent years the Russian army has put a lot of effort and experimenting into shortening the OODA-loop to six hours or less. Of course a lot of that is theoretical and plenty of new lessons are learned when one actually goes to war.

              2. Polar Socialist

                I’m not a radio geek in any way or form (35 years since I hauled AN/PRC-77 around with a minimum training), but wouldn’t a big problem here be that military radios are not short wave but much higher frequency, thus limited to LOS propagation. So 50-60 km max. on a good radio weather with no ground features (hills, forests, swamps, lakes) blocking the signal. The AN/PCR-77 set I used managed 7-8 km if I climbed on top of a hill and had good batteries.

                Another issue all together would be that the radio traffic in the area would consist of Russian, Ukrainian, Belarusian, LNR and DNR armed forces and or other security forces/police which all use practically same language in unencrypted communication so proper identification of the communicator would require resources of proper intelligence organization with access to a lot of other information.

          2. Kouros

            Germans keep insisting that Navalny was poisoned, but refuse to provide evidence and testing methodology, given the fact that the Russians have the closest to event blood samples from Navalny…

      2. Paul Jurczak

        I share your serious doubts about Bucha events, but the first video can be explained as a bubby-trap check.

    3. lambert strether

      Not a believer in state media. That said, a timeline with initially fake videos followed by genuine investigations is not logically impossible. I think the venue where adjudication takes place is important (especially since the White Helmets, who “investigated” under similar moral panic conditions, have had their credibility used up). The Hague? Good. The UN? Maybe. Ukraine? Don’t make me laugh. Our famously free press, which is a pseudopodium of The Blob and the intelligence community? I think not.

      1. Duke of Prunes

        I saw on the news last night that the US Justice Department was going to investigate these war crimes!!! Who could argue with that /s

        Also, I saw that story (53 year old man burying < 50 year old his friends) when it was broadcast on the nightly news – my wife and I call it the "scary news", and we check in from time to time to see what we're supposed to be scared about today. I was skeptical. Are we really supposed to believe that the Russians checked IDs and validated ages before committing their war crimes? Seems like real war criminals would not want to leave witnesses behind.

      2. Yves Smith

        No, it could be done. You get the bodies. You can work back to when they died and how they died.

        If Ukraine can’t produce the bodies, that would be revealing and would support the Gonzalo Lira thesis. He thought only a couple of the bodies in the Bucha video looked like real dead bodies, the rest could have been live actors or mannequins.

    4. Geo

      “In October 1990, a fifteen-year-old Kuwaiti girl gave a harrowing testimony before the Congressional Human Rights Caucus, recounting inhumane atrocities committed by Iraqi soldiers in her country. It was credited for helping draw the U.S. into the Gulf War later that year.

      Known as “Nayirah”, the girl told the caucus that Iraqi soldiers had removed scores of babies from incubators and left them to die. Her story was originally corroborated by Amnesty International and other evacuees of Kuwait at the time.

      According to the New York Times in 1992 (after the war ended), the girl’s testimony was actually orchestrated by the big public relations firm Hill & Knowlton on behalf of a client, the Kuwaiti-sponsored Citizens for a Free Kuwait. The client’s aim was to secure military support from the U.S.”

    5. Katniss Everdeen

      Some might call it lying, others might call it propaganda. ken dilanian calls it “declassified ‘information’.” Nobody calls it the “truth.”

      It was an attention-grabbing assertion that made headlines around the world: U.S. officials said they had indications suggesting Russia might be preparing to use chemical agents in Ukraine.

      President Joe Biden later said it publicly. But three U.S. officials told NBC News this week there is no evidence Russia has brought any chemical weapons near Ukraine. They said the U.S. released the information to deter Russia from using the banned munitions.

      It’s one of a string of examples of the Biden administration’s breaking with recent precedent by deploying declassified intelligence as part of an information war against Russia. The administration has done so even when the intelligence wasn’t rock solid, officials said, to keep Russian President Vladimir Putin off balance. Coordinated by the White House National Security Council, the unprecedented intelligence releases have been so frequent and voluminous, officials said, that intelligence agencies had to devote more staff members to work on the declassification process, scrubbing the information so it wouldn’t betray sources and methods.

      Same “tactic” was apparently used for the story that Putin’s inner circle was “lying” to him about “how the war was going for Russia.”

      PS. In this household we watch james longman, method actor extraordinaire, every night on abc nightly “news.” I justify it as my daily dose of what NOT to believe.

      1. square coats

        I just came across this article and wondered if anyone had shared it on nc yet. It’s really an unbelievable mess of doublethink!

        Though I wonder if it’s going to be the justification for why the msm/west got this whole thing so wrong in the event that reality becomes too apparent to obfuscate or ignore any longer. Maybe this is the first of many articles to the same effect?

        which leads me to wonder further if there’s some specific reason why this justification is being debuted at this point in time.

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          You’re so right.

          Trying to boil it down it seems to be that we’re lying to the american people in order to keep the Russians from doing the things we’re lying about and to mess with Putin’s head.

          Just unbelievable. Someone somewhere has gone completely crazy.

          And you’re right again–why this and why now?

          1. jrkrideau

            My bet guess, and not a great one, is that the intelligence community fears it has a bad leak or even a new “Snowden” and wants to get their story in the press first.

    6. Anthony Noel

      Well if the Russians were killing males under 50, there were sure alot of young looking men in the video of people singing at the end of the thread.

  2. PlutoniumKun

    PKU National Development dean on Chinese economy Pekingnology.

    On the point about giving citizens short lived bonds to encourage spending, this was used by China in the early days of Covid (seems an age ago now). There was a short lived interest in it around the world, but it seems to have faded away as an idea, despite how logical it is.

    China does have a tendency to encourage regional experiments and then takes a few years to absorb the lessons to see if they can be carried out more widely. Maybe this is an indication that they now think its a workable way around the long term issue they’ve had with been unable to turn away from infrastructure investment to consumption as a means of boosting the economy. Unfortunately, this is something we’ve been hearing for years, but for (presumably) institutional reasons they’ve been unable to do it. Maybe this time its different – we can just hope so, as Chinas infrastructure addition is not just damaging for China, its damaging for everyone else as they need to generate a huge trade surplus to make up for weak domestic demand.

    Another somewhat worrying issue raised in that commentary is his apparent favouring of coal to oil technology. The Chinese have been toying with this for many years, but thankfully have never developed a commercial way to do it. It may be that a combination of low coal prices and high oil prices might make it tempting. If so, its terrible news for the environment, its hard to think of a worse technology in terms of pollution and carbon emissions.

  3. Sardonia

    Forget Joe’s hand on Obama’s shoulder – I wanna know what Kamala’s hand is doing further down. Look at that smile on O’s face.

    How to Win Friends and Influence People….

  4. timbers

    US sanctions threat if China aids Russia stirs fear in Beijing about forex assets South China Morning Post

    “Because China runs a trade surplus, it has to invest in foreign assets and there are few other choices but US bonds”

    Add to that the $1 trillion or so China holds in U.S. Treasuries. I am skeptical China has “few other choices but US bonds” and don’t understand why she holds so much treasuries and hasn’t be more proactive especially after what the US did to Russian western assets.

  5. Wukchumni

    I mentioned the other day how the Presidency is truly our royalty, even after you are turfed out, lotsa pomp & circumstance with a healthy per diem for security and then sum. The monetary tributes flow similar to a 20 inch rainfall in 24 hours.

    Obama epitomizes the emperor’s new close, with spendy residences almost as far apart as one could get in these United States, just do what they tell you to do, and you’ll be set for life.

    He was truly the Jackie Robinson of the Oval Office-breaking the color barrier, albeit a Jackie who after 8 years in the bigs barely hit above the Mendoza Line, was a middling fielder @ best & attempted to steal 37 bases… although fondly remembered for interviews-he could talk a great game!

    Everything in the video clip of Joe in the White House indicated that Obama was the President, most astounding was him schmoozing up to Kamala, ah the scheming that must be going on to be second fiddle when she takes on the conductor role as our cackle savant.

    There was more than a little Willy Loman going on, and Joe had the look of a dotard, lost in space.

    1. Sardonia

      If Kamala, whose only skill is schmoozing, manages to schmooze her way to the Top Rung, I can foresee one of the most epic falls in History.

      There’s just no there there.

          1. Questa Nota

            And no cancellation calls for that obvious -ist behavior!
            Just another way that he was ahead of his time.

    2. Carolinian

      If Obama wants to upstage Biden perhaps he should be the one at those press conferences–explaining his coup against Ukraine in 2014 that started the whole thing. He could also be asked about some other countries left wrecked in his smug wake like Syria and Libya.

      But that’s no excuse for Biden. Call it weak and corrupt versus arrogant and incompetent. Either way we lose. Trump only broke the mold by being more obviously unsuitable.

    3. Mark Gisleson

      When I worked within the party at the state level, something like this would never happen. The moment you see anyone in the room untethered like Biden in Carlson’s video, a staffer or some other person working the event comes over to chat them up and guide them towards someone else not gaining any social traction.

      In serious politics, you never play Heathers games like this. Never. Even if you despised the person being shunned, there is nothing to be gained from such behavior. This reeks of Kremlin watching. Everyone in that room was being sent a message, and anyone who would have tried to engage with Joe would have done so knowing there would be repercussions.

      What I watched was Obama turning Biden into an unperson while doing his best to elevate Harris’ inevitability. Somewhere someone is working overtime to airbrush Joe out of party pictures…

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        I haven’t watched Krystal and Saagar in awhile since they’ve become pretty much unwatchable on Ukraine, but I decided to tune in yesterday to see what they were saying.

        The segment they did in advance of obama’s return turned into a pretty good hatchet job on obamacare. But before that, they highlighted a jen psaki answer to a question about the relationship between biden and obama.

        According to psaki, biden and obama are “real friends not just washington friends.” That got a laugh and an explanation of “washington friends” from Saagar which, as you can imagine, is pretty much about acting congenial for the cameras while hating the other person’s guts.

        I’ll be interested in watching Breaking Points today after seeing how the situation actually played out.

        1. Screwball

          They have become unwatchable on the Ukraine stuff. Seems their narrative is coming right out of the State department. I don’t think they are covering things like they used to either. For example, the other day their old show “Rising” was covering the Hunter laptop story, and new evidence in the lab leak hypothesis. Breaking Points were all Ukraine, union organizing, and how awful CNN’s new streaming service is, and a few other items I didn’t care about.

          I ending up watching more of Rising than I did their show, and I don’t like Grim all that much. Over the last few weeks I have found myself watching it less due to their Ukraine take, lack of segments that interest me, and the fact Krystal just can’t seem to be a news reporter instead of an activist shilling the the democratic party. And of course her dialog is still peppered with TDS, which turns me off.

          All that said, I wonder; they changed their recording to talk about how times are difficult due to censorship and they have to be careful. I don’t doubt this, especially since they went on their own, but I don’t know if that’s the entire story. It seemed to change when Krystal got hooked up with Kyle Kulinski. At the same time, I think Saager has changed too. Sad it has ended up this way, they were a breath of fresh air at one time.

          1. lyman alpha blob

            Their Ukraine coverage isn’t the greatest, but they have made some effort to point out US failures. They’ve been consistent in pointing out the uselessness of sanctions for example. And I really do think you are correct with your last paragraph – if they get too critical of the preferred US/Western narrative, they face getting the axe. I’m sure they noticed what happened to Scott Ritter, and that may be one reason I haven’t heard them mention him at all. I’ve also noticed Russell Brand’s coverage of events take a turn for the worse, right after I’d noted a couple weeks ago that he was growing on me. He has been pretty explicit about changing his words to avoid the banhammer, and the titles of his videos have recently become generic clickbait that no longer refer to what he’s actually talking about. A sampling of video titles from the last few days – “This Changes Everything”, “They Would, Wouldn’t They”, “They’ll Stop at Nothing”, “Oh, So It’s Just Bulls*it”. Older titles got to the point of the video – “Amazon Thinks You’re Dumb – This Proves It”, “Why the Left Can’t Handle Donald Trump”, etc. He’s clearly trying to avoid being censored.

            That being said, Krystal and Saager have still been doing excellent coverage on labor issues which I’m not seeing anywhere else. Lots on the efforts to unionize Amazon and Starbucks recently.

            And as has been noted at NC many times, if your business depends on a platform, you don’t really have a business. Time for all of these people to move on from youtube. I’m a current Breaking Points subscriber, and I’d be much more likely to subscribe again if I didn’t have to use youtube to watch them.

          2. JBird4049

            I think that all of them, including Ryan Grim, are trying not to be bubble-headed stenographers in an environment created by people who want them to be just that. Like with all of us, wadding through the manure, and accurately finding the truth is hard; you are going to make mistakes just because of all the continuous lying by everyone, everywhere.

          3. Dr. John Carpenter

            “It seemed to change when Krystal got hooked up with Kyle Kulinski.”

            You’re not the only one to notice.

          4. Big Tap

            Their show has changed for the worse. When on Rising they had a liberal and conservative point of view. They even write a best selling book about it. That’s gone now that Saggar is a liberal and has said so. Krystal Ball says what she wants now with no pushback. Conservatives are mostly banned from Breaking Points. Also the constant self promotion and the fixation about cable news ratings so they can mock them is juvenile. OK with the union stuff.Lately the always pro Ukraine coverage is a bit too much.

        2. CNu

          I have sympathy for Biden because I tend to stand around at parties myself. But Obama and Harris’s shunning behavior is vicious and reprehensible. What a cesspit the Democrats are. I mean, Obama installed the guy; the least he can do is not humiliate him in public.

          Carlson’s doctored Biden-Obama video is fake news.

          I have no sympathy for this corrupt old oxygen-thief, but absolutely find it unnecessary to lie about him.

          1. Yves Smith

            You clearly did not watch the entire Carlson clip. He shows an earlier part when Biden is wandering around all by himself. This is not doctored. Biden is clearly being shunned. And when you watch the full segment which is LONGER than this snippet, where Biden is trying to break in between Harris and Obama, it is AGAIN clear he is being shunned because the people OPPOSITE Harris and Obama are doing nothing to encourage Biden being admitted. Biden hangs out behind Harris and Obama for a bit before he puts his hand on Obama’s shoulder.

            In other words, the tweet is doctored, not Tucker. We chose Tucker because he showed more from the party than other sources, long enough to see clearly that Biden really was being treated badly.

            Better trolls, please.

  6. PlutoniumKun

    Labour staff ‘gagged’ over sexual harassment claims BBC. Incredibly, they were Corbyn supporters.

    The name of the accused senior manager hasn’t been released, but I think we can all make a good guess as to who he supports.

  7. PlutoniumKun

    But the children: (naming kids after anti tank missiles)

    I wonder what the NLAWs think of their new grandchilds name.

    1. The Rev Kev

      People can be stupid in naming kids. Been researching a distant relative that came out to Oz in 1857 by sailing ship. A couple on that ship wanted to remember that trip so the boy baby that they had on that voyage for the rest of his life – until his death in the 1940s – carried the middle name of Boanerges. Jeez.

      1. Adam1

        Yes it’s amazing what parents will do to their kids when they name them. In one family line in the early 1800’s a mom & dad prefixed 2 of theirs son’s names with Welcome… so they had Welcome Jonas and Welcome Thomas. The poor kids.

        I’ve got another ancestor who was a very early settler to Central New York in 1800/01. When family members were starting to get interested in writing down the early family to the area in the early 1900’s no one could remember his first name. Some thought maybe it was Austin and others speculated Samuel. Since those early days it’s been figured out through more official documents that have become more readily available that it was actually Jonathan.

        Why wasn’t Jonathan in the mix of names? My speculation goes back to when he was born. His parents (father) was determined to have a son named after him. His first son he named Jonathan who then died at the age of 4. His next son born 3 years later he too named Jonathan. Why would a father do that to the poor kid. I’m not so sure I’d like to be called by the same name as my dead older brother. He obviously used the name Jonathan for official business (and he couldn’t go by John as he had an uncle and cousin by those names in the neighboring town), but I’ve always wondered if he more casually went by his middle name or a nickname which could have been Austin or Samuel. That might also explain why those other names hung around over time; and possible why no one could confidently remember it because they also felt it might not have been his real first name which it wasn’t.

        And you don’t even have to go back 200 years… One of my high school buddy’s got given the name Hunter. While that seems to be a good strong name there’s a back story to it. As I understand it, it was a compromise between his parents and his grandparents who were vehemently against the idea of one of their grandkids being named Moon Beam.

        1. LifelongLib

          I’ve seen other cases from the 19th century where a child was given the name of a sibling who’d died, so maybe it wasn’t uncommon? Read a biography a while ago of a man who had nine children, only three of whom lived to adulthood. I can’t even imagine what that did to people psychologically. So attitudes then could have been totally different…

          1. JBird4049

            Apparently, it was a thing to give the same name to a younger sibling of an older deceased sibling. Reading on the Victorians, even the Americans, can be gloomy thing as so many children died back then. A woman might have 5,6, 7, or more children and often the majority died in childhood. Then there were the people constantly dying of illnesses and injuries that are easily treatable, even by a medic or a nurse, today. People had to be different psychologically otherwise they would have gone insane with grief. Their writings were still often melancholic. Heck, just read President Abraham Lincoln’s writings. There was some depression going on especially on death.

            It made me understand better why some cultures wait a year before giving their children names or why the funerals of children sometimes became celebrations of them going to a better world; it is a way to deal with the loss. Yeah, grief can kill you, but in the past there was so much more of it and predictable in its unpredictability.

            1. Anthony Noel

              I live in Newfoundland where the name Hisscock is a fairly common surname. Friends of my parents had a grandchild recently born, whose parents named Holden. Holden Hisscock.

              I can only assume it’s an experiment to see at what age a child will murder their parents.

    2. super extra

      that poor girl named Javalina… a lifetime of vicious puns involving crested collared peccaries, pigs, and sh!tty imperial weapons..

      1. lambert strether

        And the boys named “Merc,” or “Goon,” or “Spook.” Imagine the possibilities!

        1. liam

          This reminds me of a wonderful movie I saw a few years back called Madeinusa. I also highly recommend Claudia LLosa’s other movie, La Teta Asustada. I don’t know if she has any others.

        2. Michael Ismoe

          In six years, there will be children in the DC suburbs starting kindergarten with the first name “Zelensky” so I guess it will all even out. Although, I have to admit, I’d probably prefer to be named after the wild pig than the crashing bore.

    3. Paradan

      Too bad the Ukrainians don’t have a bunch MiG-15s left over. They could’ve modified them into cruise missiles, and then patriotic parents could name their kids “Fagot”.

        1. Reaville

          NATO code names for (soviet) Russian fighter aircraft, also Fencer, Fulcrum, Flanker…nice.

    4. jonboinAR

      My parents gave me the initials ICBM. Once people talked about me all the time. I’m still lurking, malevolently.

  8. The Rev Kev

    “Breaking ranks with EU, Hungary says ready to pay for Russian gas in roubles”

    This could get interesting this. Hungary is being threatened by the EU who say that they will withhold billions if Hungary does not toe the EU’s orders and change their laws. But not only has Hungary agreed to buy their gas from Russia in roubles, last year they signed a long term deal with Russia to get their gas at a fixed price instead of depending on the spot market for their needs. So by the end of this year, Hungary may have something that a lot of EU countries may not have – a working economy with a secure energy supply.

    1. Wukchumni

      Hungarian currency was the only Soviet bloc party money that had forex action going on in the west, as for some reason the Forint had reasonably tight buy/sell spreads compared to the other countries whose currency might be worth 1/3rd or 1/2 of the official exchange value in the country of issuance.

      For instance the official rate for Czechoslovakian Koruny was 12 to the $, but you could buy them at a rate of around 30 to the $ @ a bank in Vienna.

  9. .human

    I’m not about to jump through hoops to read the FT article re bankers being invited into the intelligence fold, so, let me just leave this here:

    Remember – The National Security Act of 1947, which created the CIA, was written by Wall Street lawyer and banker Clark Clifford. Clark Clifford is the man who brought the CIA backed drug bank BCCI into the United States. Allen Dulles who virtually designed the CIA and served as its Director, and his brother John Foster who was Eisenhower’s Secretary of State, were Wall Street lawyers from the firm Sullivan and Cromwell. Dwight Eisenhower’s personal liaison with the CIA was none other than Nelson Rockefeller. William Casey was Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission under Richard Nixon. Former CIA Directors from William Raborn to William Webster to Robert Gates to James Woolsey to John Deutch all sit or have sat on the Boards of the largest, richest and most powerful companies in America.

    From the Wilderness ~ Michael Ruppert

    1. Lex

      Even before that, though the blurb does mention the Dulles brothers. Donovan was a Wall Street guy and A. Dulles ran a private bank for Thyssen between the wars during a time when all the Herbert Walker and Bush families merged in the process of making big money handling US/UK capital investment in Nazi Germany. IMO, the CIA is Wall Street’s paramilitary arm and it’s always been that way.

      Which is interesting if we adopt Dimitrov’s definition of fascism as the political expression of financial capitalism and empire. Really ties up the history of US intelligence agencies in a neat little bow.

      1. chuck roast

        One of the cousins, Foster Rhea Dulles emerged relatively unslimed. He became an academic specializing in East Asia. I took one of his courses at uni. The imperial implications of The Opium War and The Arrow War seemed to escape him. Perhaps he didn’t want to slag the ancestors.

    1. GramSci

      I’ll continue to throw some of my few dollars Craig Murray’s way, but not for this sad attempt to establish any kind of moral equivalency between the recent war crimes of Russia and those of the United States. Absent from Murray’s accounting is Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Korea, Vietnam, and a string of violent U.S. coups and proxy wars running from Iran, Indonesia, and Chile down to the present day in Ukraine.

      Neither can my browser find the words “gas” or “Nordstream” in Murray’s account of Putin’s motivations.

      Parenthetically, I also found naive Murray’s belief that it was Facebook’s negligent privacy protections that enabled Cambridge Analytica to be blamed for Trump’s election. Check out the CA “whistleblower”, Christopher Wylie and his boss, Alexander Nix on Wikipedia, and then tell me that Facebook didn’t have a priori knowledge that Cambridge Analytica was a CIA/MI6 cutout.

      1. JBird4049

        No, the Russians are not some innocent victim. The American government probably has more blood than the Soviets, certainly the Russians, but both are mass murderers. Eastern Europe, Korea, Vietnam, Africa, Central and South America, Cuba, the Middle East, all were proxy wars of both empires. All were aided by both and all suffered for it.

    2. OnceWereVirologist

      It seems naive to me. The overarching thesis seems to be that if only Russia had turned the other cheek at various key points over the last 20 years, it would have the diplomatic and moral high ground, along with continuing influence in Ukraine and no war would have ever been necessary. I think that totally ignores that the American neocons’ oft-stated goal is to maintain American full-spectrum world dominance forever. That’s simply not possible in a world with a nuclear-armed Russia, sitting on a pile of resources and its own independent military-industrial complex. I think it’s now clear that the provocations would keep on coming no matter how accommodating Russia chose to be. The US leadership is simply not going to accept a multipolar world and unless both Russia and China are somehow neutered as independent powers that multipolar world is inevitable.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I hazard it won’t simply be a multi-polar world. The Yankee go home sentiment will take over. The popularity of KPop is an omen. The US isnt producing pop culture norms the way it once did. The Monroe Doctrine existed in a multipolar world and includes a promise to protect European corporate interests.

        A few Russian oligarchs have had yachts seized, but Germany is denying Russia gas to its own industries. Legislator types will start to notice especially when China is delivering goods.

    3. anahuna

      Hmmm… Although I’ve been a quietly grateful reader of NC for years, I still don’t feel capable of critiquing the Gowans piece in the link. Still, the Olympian tone and Utopian recommendations (Russia withdraws from Ukraine and the US ceases to meddle, leaving the Ukrainians to determine their own destiny) leave me uneasy. I wonder if anyone else has read it, or knows anything about Gowans beyond what I have Googled. (Not an assignment, just a question.)

    4. pjay

      I praised Murray’s piece yesterday as a model of an honest and thorough presentation of one’s position with reference to his own experience and knowledge set. I recommended it even though I felt he left out some crucial facts. I stand by that; everyone should read it. But since you brought up Gowans, I feel the need to consider the other side.

      While Murray is certainly critical of the role of the US and NATO in their long-term aggression toward Russia, he does not seem to seriously consider Russia’s specific arguments about the more recent overt and covert actions that Russia argued represented an “existential threat”. These include increased flow of weapons into Ukraine, troop build-up and increased shelling of the Donbas, expansion of NATO and CIA installations, enhanced integration and training of Ukrainian regular and paramilitary forces by the West, etc. This is apart from the possible threats of biolabs or future Ukrainian nukes. Murray’s condemnation of the Crimean annexation without so much as mentioning the very real security concerns of Russia after the 2014 coup is similarly myopic. Without taking these and other factors into account, he seems to fall back on Putin bashing and suggestions of Russian “imperialist” impulses to explain the invasion.

      This could not be said of Stephen Gowans, who has been one of my journalistic heroes for his excellent work on Syria, China, Korea, and much else. In January, Gowans published one of the best articles on Russia’s perception of the Ukraine I have seen, listing all the reasons why Russia was absolutely justified in seeing the US/NATO as an existential threat. I strongly recommend this article to anyone looking for a one-stop source on this subject:

      So imagine my shock when, immediately after the invasion, I read this in the article you cite:

      “Russia is no more a progressive state than is the United States, and, indeed, is a good deal less so. The country’s president, Vladmir Putin, an anti-Bolshevik apostle of “traditional values”, i.e., homophobia, misogyny, and religious superstition, is admired by the Tucker Carlsons and Donald Trumps of the world, as well as some supporters of the trucker convoys, for his “anti-woke stance.” Trump thinks the world of Putin, much as US reactionaries of another time admired Hitler and Mussolini for their “strong” leadership and anti-Bolshevism….”

      “On a moral and legal plane, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is indefensible. Putin’s invoking Article 51, Chapter VII of the UN Charter, (the right of self-defense in response to an attack) is a total farce, as is Putin’s claim that the Kyiv government is a neo-Nazi government and that Kyiv is carrying out a genocide against Russians. These claims demonstrate that Moscow can stoop as low as Washington in inventing totally ridiculous pretexts for wars of aggression….”

      And so on. Like Murray, like Yasha Levine, and many others – but more surprisingly to me — Gowans also falls into the pattern for which he criticized other leftists in regards to Syria. “US/NATO are aggressive imperialist war-mongers, BUT… Putin is an evil thug whose brutal invasion is immoral, illegal, and unjustified.”

      There are some ideological factors behind Gowans position, I think, and based on other recent writings he seems to fear being lumped with those of us on the “dirtbag left” who are not sufficiently critical of the “authoritarianism” of some of the empire’s targets. But this s**t is getting pretty damned discouraging, I have to say.

      1. Gc54

        Yes, I get the same from otherwise lucid friends who are no fans of US policies but say “must support Ukraine because Putin is a thug”. But many of them also have TDS and parroted Maddow so maybe not critical thinkers.

      2. Guild Navigator

        Tankie here! Totally agree on the lame mystery meat takes by the ole eXile crew among the others mentioned, who did so well avoiding TDS knowing so much but suddenly have starry eyes for the Ken doll comedian, succumbing to I don’t even know what to call it. Collective brain rot.

    5. c_heale

      I read this comment, “To be clear, there are neo-Nazis in Ukraine, a few in government, and more than a few in the military, but they tend to be Russophobes first and neo-Nazis second” as a pathetic excuse for the behaviour of the neo-Nazis in Ukraine.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Thanks for that link. It is quite good and informative and the guys account is interesting as well so duly bookmarked.

  10. DJG, Reality Czar

    Yes, as the commenters mentioned, and as Lambert Strether recommends today, Striving to Make Sense by Craig Murray is the most insightful commentary available in days or weeks.

    This paragraph is his ethic: “Well, it is now over 50 years later, and those are still exactly my sentiments today. And that parable of the noble/evil Finns is still relevant today. Because much of what is happening in Ukraine still reflects the failure to resolve who was on which side during World War II, and some pretty unpleasant underlying narratives.”

    What he is referring to as well is the death of his uncle in war and its effects on the family, as the death of any child causes the world to go out of balance. His uncle died in WWII at the age of 19.

    This is why I am particularly horrified at the current war propaganda and at media workers in DC pushing for more bombs. At the same time, if there is such a thing as pornography, pornography is splashing photos of dead blond children across the pages of newspapers to encourage shipment of more arms to Ukraine.

    I am also reminded of Curzio Malaparte’s Kaputt, which is a grim and yet evocative portrait of WWII. Malaparte was Italian and worked for the Italian government. He seems to have admired the Finns and their astuteness as warriors. He has an excellent eye, though, for when people cross the line into barbarism.

    His dinners with the Gauleiter of occupied Poland and his excursion into the Warsaw Ghetto are not easy to forget. We are only steps away, if that, from Kaputt, which was written around 1943.

    At the end, Murray gives a series of conflicting ideas organized in pairs, both of which are true. We can be simple minded and argue for one. Or we can be uncomfortable under the burden of the cruelty of recent history and admit that we have to agree with Murray and hold them all in mind to remain humane.

    1. fresno dan

      I agree wholeheartedly that it is just an incredible article. Some of the sections that I found most interesting.
      I know Russia too well to have a romanticised view of it. I have lived there, worked there and visited often. I have very frequently expressed my frustration that many of those in the West who understand the ruthless nature of Western leaders, lose their clear sight when looking at Russia and believe it is different in that regard. In fact Russia is even less democratic, has an even less diverse media, even worse restrictions on free expression, and an even poorer working class. The percentage of Russian GDP lost in capital flight to the benefit of oligarchs and Western financial institutions is hideous.
      Very trenchant ovservation – I know I get so angry at Western perfidy that I begin to think Russians are better. But they are not better, just different.

      One of the truths about the Ukraine war which western media is suppressing is that, if Russia cannot take on Ukraine without serious embarrassment, then Russia could not possibly take on NATO. It is a ludicrous proposition, outwith full scale nuclear war. It is fascinating to watch the western militarist establishment in full cry, simultaneously crowing over Russian military inadequacies while claiming that the West needs massively to increase the money it pumps in to the military industrial complex because of the Russian threat. The self-evidently fatuous nature of this dual assertion is never pointed out by mainstream media journalists, who currently operate in full propaganda mode.

      Another Russian asset has proved as unreliable as its military: Putin’s brain. On 16 December 2021 Ukraine and its US sponsor were not just diplomatically isolated, but diplomatically humiliated. At a vote at the UN General Assembly, the United States and Ukraine were the only two countries to vote against a resolution on “Combating glorification of Nazism, neo‑Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance”. They lost by 130 votes to 2, on a motion sponsored by Russia.
      The United States, crucially, was split from its European allies and, almost uniquely, from Israel on this vote. Everyone knew that the vote was about Nazis in Ukraine, not least because the United States and Ukraine both said so in their explanation of vote.

      One particularly unsavoury aspect of all this – and here we come back to Finland/Russia and the goodies/baddies narrative – is that all the massive problems of Ukraine are now utterly whitewashed by the western political and media class. There was general acceptance previously, albeit reluctantly, that the “Nazi problem” exists. It is now almost universally reviled as a Russian fiction, even though it is undoubtedly true.
      One of the most pernicious aspects of MSM emphasis on narrative or analysis is the inability to NOT sing to the choir. Once it was determined that Ukraine was the good guys, no negative past accepted fact could be acknowledged. Reminds me of how Russia threw the US election in 2016 (while democrats were in charge) while the 2020 election was the fairest in history (while republicans were in charge…)

      1. Yves Smith

        I have to confess not to have read the piece, but Murray is a big time victim of propaganda. Russia is winning. Russia is in complete control of the battlefield and is dictating the timing and pacing.

        And the comment on Russia’s poor working class? As if Western looting in the 1990s had nothing to do with it?

    2. jonboinAR

      He’s right about that in your last paragraph. There’s a powerful tendency to pick the “a” team or the “b” team all the way through while vehemently denying the other, either its existence, or if that’s not feasible, its significance. I’ve been a little shocked during the present conflict at how pervasive this can be. I guess it has something to do with why, as the saying is, we can’t have nice things.

  11. Tom Stone

    What will the consequences of humiliating the President of the United States in his own home be?
    And by extension the President’s wife, in HER home.
    Jill is not a happy camper and not a forgiving woman.
    JRB does sit on the throne and is suffering from senile dementia.
    How rational and sensible are the sanctions badass Joe put in place?
    How proportionate, rational and sensible do you expect his reaction to being very publicly humiliated in his own home will be?

    1. JohnA

      Can she be a Lady Macbeth who urges Joe to kill his rivals after they’re no longer sitting on the throne? I would suggest the title Joe Macbeth, but that is already taken by a 1950s film.

    2. Geo

      I remember late in GWB’s term it seemed he had realized his VP and inner-circle had played him for a fool. The switch to Condeleeza Rice from Rumsfeld, his outreach to Africa to somewhat salvage his humanitarian reputation, and even the way he handled his post-presidency, all appeared to be reflections of that. Heck, even his daddy ripped Junior’s team in his bio.

      Sorta feel Biden is in the same situation. Placed in a position by his betters so they could steer the ship while keeping him safely away from the controls. He may have moments of clarity when he realizes it (W was a dolt so it took him a few years to realize his costume dress-up wasn’t real leadership, Biden probably just forgets by dinner time).

      Don’t feel bad for either of them. But, also don’t think Biden has any real leverage over the string-pullers just as Bush (and Trump with his neocon circle) didn’t.

      To this day I think Grover Norquist defined the modern presidency most accurately:
      “We are not auditioning for fearless leader. We don’t need a president to tell us in what direction to go. We know what direction to go. We just need a president to sign this stuff. We don’t need someone to think it up or design it. […]
      Pick a Republican with enough working digits to handle a pen to become president of the United States.”

    3. Louis Fyne

      Jill Biden is probably the most powerful woman alive right now, perhaps in modern history

      And most people would walk past her in a grocery store and not even notice

    4. mistah charley, ph.d.

      With regard to Jill Biden, whom it is reasonable to believe is a person of great influence, the latest news about the arrest of two men who ingratiated themselves with her Secret Service detail raises many questions:

      Namely, who is behind these guys and funding them, and what are their objectives?

      Daily Mail also has an article with photographs.

    5. Brian (another one they call)

      I prognosticated that Joe would give up his job for health reasons, Kamala would become pres, and she would appoint the clinton as VP, then resign. This was before the old sick guy was installed as dictator. The odds are climbing as the VP has demonstrated a total lack of fitness for the job of blob queen. Our number one and two both smell, and cause public health crises when allowed to discharge their waste on television.
      I am still afraid of my guess. They will always insist they are not insane.

      1. Pat

        I will wait on the make up of Congress before I buy the Clinton appointed as VP bet.

        They may have enough dirt, but Clinton is toxic for most Republicans. It will be hard to impossible to get enough of their votes for her to get the gig even for a simple majority. Even if she gets by the House, a majority Republican Senate…

      2. Questa Nota

        Pardons, secret or otherwise, loom in the background, too. There is so much accumulating dirt around the administration that they need some way to prevent more PR and other problems. In the meantime, life lurches on for the average person.

  12. Rolf

    This, from the Craig Murray link (thanks to Lambert for posting this, today’s must read):

    As the West has entered more and more extreme stages of neo-liberalism, the general trend is that the West has become more and more like modern Russia. The massive and ever burgeoning inequality of wealth has seen western oligarchs now overtake their Russian counterparts in terms of the proportion of national GDP represented by their personal fortunes. In the West, multiplying limitations on free speech and assembly, the reduction in diversity of the mainstream media landscape, internet suppression of views through corporate gateways like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, increased direct or indirect reproduction of security service initiated content in the media, these are all making the West more Russia-like. To me, it feels like Western leaders are learning from Putin’s book.

    1. Carolinian

      Sorry but that strikes me as balderdash. Russia taught the west to be neoliberals? Seriously?

      I’m sure Taibbi is right that Putin is no boy scout and comes from a long standing Russian autocratic tradition. But what I don’t believe is that he is some kind of irrational malign force and that the Ukrainians are “heroic.” Guess we’ll find out which view is correct.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        I don’t read it that way at all. I read it as Murray saying that neoliberalism has brought about western oligarchs as powerful and malign as the Russian ones. Same destination, different routes.

        1. nippersdad

          There were a lot of holes in that piece, one of which is that the Soviet Union had no oligarchs (of which I am aware) prior to the neoliberal invasion of the former Soviet Union in the Nineties. How can one differentiate oligarchs that were created by the same system?

          And why would one want to?

        2. Carolinian

          But the article is purportedly about Ukraine, not the West. We all have to depend on our BS detectors in this situation but I believe that Putin–wrong or right–did what he did for exactly the reasons he said he did. And it’s hard to dispute that he offered a path to not doing it before he did it. I’m no Russia expert as Murray claims to be but having lived in this country for a number of years I’d say it’s all on us. We had oligarchs long before Putin and leaders like LBJ who committed mayhem in other parts of the world far worse than that which is going on in Ukraine. If our increasingly out of control ruling class wants to bring peace to the world then look in a mirror. Russia is really none of our business. You could argue it’s Europe’s business but they are too intent on being our satellites.

  13. Geo

    “U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is scheduled to visit Taiwan, according to media reports, a landmark display of American support that triggered a diplomatic protest from Beijing.”

    I’m looking forward to Pelosi’s articulate and nuanced speech on the subject of diplomacy and foreign relations. Can’t think of anyone better to handle this complicated situation and showcase America’s sturdy leadership than an unintelligible oligarch best known for steering the Dem party into impotent irrelevance.

    There’s that old line about “They’re playing Chess and we’re playing checkers.” This feels more like they’re playing Chess and we’re having a stroke. Can we put the Dem leadership in a retirement home already? Seriously, they are a danger to the country.

    1. Wukchumni

      {advance press copy of Taiwan speech}

      cc: NP

      We shall go on to the end. We shall fight using sanctions in finance, we shall fight oligarchs on the seas and oceans by seizing their yachts, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in our propaganda on the air, we shall defend this island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender the place where we get most of our semi-conductor chips from!

      1. Mildred Montana

        Never, in the history of human politics and economics, have so few done so much to so many.

    2. Yves Smith

      The Chinese will lose their minds. This is beyond “not agreement capable”. From the readout of the Biden-Xi phone call:

      Biden reiterated that the US does not seek a new Cold War with China; it does not aim to change China’s system; the revitalization of its alliances is not targeted at China; the US does not support “Taiwan independence”; and it has no intention to seek a conflict with China…..

      President Xi stressed that he and President Biden share the view that China and the US need to respect each other, coexist in peace and avoid confrontation, and that the two sides should increase communication and dialogue at all levels and in all fields. President Biden has just reiterated that the US does not seek to have a new Cold War with China, to change China’s system, or to revitalize alliances against China, and that the US does not support “Taiwan independence” or intend to seek a conflict with China. “I take these remarks very seriously,” said President Xi.

      President Xi pointed out that the China-US relationship, instead of getting out of the predicament created by the previous US administration, has encountered a growing number of challenges. What’s worth noting in particular is that some people in the US have sent a wrong signal to “Taiwan independence” forces. This is very dangerous. Mishandling of the Taiwan question will have a disruptive impact on the bilateral ties. China hopes that the US will give due attention to this issue. The direct cause for the current situation in the China-US relationship is that some people on the US side have not followed through on the important common understanding reached by the two Presidents and have not acted on President Biden’s positive statements.

      At that time, Xi was objecting to retired US officials, clearly with wink and nod backing, going to Taiwan.

      The US repudiated this “Let’s be friendlier” posturing by imposing new Uighur-related sanctions only about a week after the call. The US just approved $95 million in weapons for Taiwan.

      And now a Pelosi trip, the number three in line to be President, less than a month after the call?

      If I were the Chinese, this would triple my interest in helping Russia. This is totally disrespectful as well as profoundly stupid. The Chinese take disrespect very badly.

        1. Geo

          First they’d have to win a war before they could win multiple wars. Considering the losing streak we’ve been on it takes a special kind of psychopath to rile up this many nations at one time.

          Maybe this is how they plan on stopping the impending GOP wave in 2022? Hard to have an election when we’re an irradiated wasteland.

          1. Synoia

            It appears to me that being “in a war, or set of wars,” is far more profitable than winning wars.

            I’d not hold my breath for any outright “wins, as that would really impact some cash flows.

            1984 appears to contain the best outline of “eternal war.

        2. Geo

          Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Wednesday that the United States was prepared to impose sanctions on China if it were to invade Taiwan.

          “I believe we’ve shown that we can in the case of Russia,” Yellen told the House financial services committee. “I think you should not doubt our ability to resolve to do the same in other situations.”

          Would love, even just once, for one of these maniacs to tell us of a time when sanctions worked.

          “As of March 2022, countries or regions subject to U.S. sanctions (either unilaterally or in part) include Afghanistan, the Balkans, Belarus, Burma, Central African Republic, Cuba, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Hong Kong, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Mali, Nicaragua, North Korea, Russia, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, Ukraine, Venezuela, Yemen, and Zimbabwe.”

          I don’t know of any positive outcomes from sanctions in a single one of these countries.

          I lost a lot of hope for the US when we almost unanimously laughed at and rejected Dennis Kucinich and his Department of Peace proposal. We truly are a sick society.

          From 2008: “Kucinich won just 1 percent support in a recent Washington Post/ABC News poll of Democrats, compared to 45 percent for Sen. Hillary Clinton and 30 percent for Sen. Barack Obama.”

      1. PlutoniumKun

        I think they will be utterly baffled by it. Its an obvious provocation, and entirely unnecessary. I think that its less a case that they will lose their minds over it – it will reinforce their belief that the US is losing its mind.

        I suppose there can be an advantage in having your adversaries think you are crazy (it sure worked for Nixon and Kissinger), but this is beyond stupid. I wonder are there any grown ups anywhere now in the State Department. Who would have thought we’d look back fondly at the days of Trump?

        From what I can tell, the deeply held belief within the Chinese upper hierarchy (and in many other Asian States) is that the US is a decaying power and that patience is needed to allow it to fall back to its core border and natural hinterland, as Britain and France and Russia have done in the past in various ways. They see establishing their own security rings as a slow and steady project. But they (by ‘they’, I mean the ROK and Japan and Vietnam too) must be deeply alarmed by what must seem to them to be irrational and dangerous behaviour. When those countries talk about the value of harmony, they generally mean what they say.

        1. KD

          I have seen analysis that China considers a confrontation with the US now, before it completely collapses, to be less risky than later, when it might be more inclined toward a bunker mentality.

          On the other hand, witnessing Ukraine, I would hope the adults in Taiwan would make a serious bid for some kind of unification or neutrality agreement and not listen to the Hawks in the United States. I don’t know what that would look like (Chinese basing rights, Taiwan keeps its government and security forces, independent guarantees of security?), and I don’t know it would be stable, but it would prevent the total destruction of Taiwan (and possibly the world) that an invasion scenario would entail. There is nothing to prevent Taiwan from falling, and even if after a long sea/land war, America took it back, it would be a pile of rubble.

      2. Geo

        Thanks for this additional context. Makes it all even more insane that Pelosi would be making this trip.

        They really do think it’s still 1994 and they run the planet unopposed. We literally are governed by addle-brained egomaniacs.

        1. Anthony G Stegman

          Pelosi’s planned trip to Taiwan is a political move and aimed squarely at the American electorate. She is smart enough to know that the Democrats weak position in the upcoming mid-term elections requires something sure to garner tremendous media attention. Pelosi is also smart enough to know that the average American voter is ignorant and easily swayed by photo ops and sound bites. Standing up to China’s President Xi will make (she hopes) Pelosi look strong, and by extension make the Democrats look strong. China will continue to play the long game, and likely will not overreact to Pelosi’s grandstanding.

          1. jonboinAR

            In this thesis, the American voter’s famous (infamous) ignorance and incuriousness about the external world is a real hindrance for effective policy. If it’s stupid shit that garners votes, then stupid shit will be done.

          2. c_heale

            I can’t see how visiting Taiwan is going to impact inflation, the price of gas, or any of the other problems with the US economy. Which if I were a USian, is what I would be pissed about.

        2. Conrad

          One of the (many) downsides of a gerontocracy is the failure of those in change to realise the world has changed since they came of age.

    3. SocalJimObjects

      Once again, let me say this. Real hostilities will not commence until Xi’s daughter has finished her studies at Harvard. If war were to break out now, there will be a new Chinese idiom which says the following: “Those who sent their cubs to the lion’s den deserve everything that follows”.

      Harvard now has a real chance to prevent war with China through the following means:
      1. They can keep finding “problems” with Xi’s daughter’s thesis.
      2. They can entice her to take additional programs.

      1. tegnost

        “Those who sent their cubs to the lion’s den deserve everything that follows”
        I commonly think the US and China are vying for the same territory. China is willing to compete, the US is willing to command/control…
        Your hypothetical saying does not have the ambiguity necessary to be a chinese idiom

        1. SocalJimObjects

          Granted I am still learning Chinese, but at this point in my study, I know and can say (albeit with substandard tones) around 100 Chinese idioms. Are there Chinese idioms that are ambiguous in meaning? There’s plenty for sure, but I would say most of them are pretty straightforward, at least the ones I have learned. Anyway, what I can’t comprehend is someone like Xi sending off his offspring to a foreign country after what happened to Huawei’s Meng Wanzhou. Putin’s daughters as far as I know are safely ensconced in Russia.

          “The US can’t be that stupid” someone will opine. Pardon me for not believing it. Say Xi’s daughter is taken into “custody” by the US, I wonder what that will do to Xi’s standing in China. Perhaps everyone will rally behind him, but then again who knows?

  14. lyman alpha blob

    Zelensky talks to Arnab Goswami on (English language Indian broadcast) Republic TV live –

    Just starting to listen and I may have missed the Zelensky interview but the crawl is currently saying he wants to have direct talks with Putin, and it sounds like he is willing to make concessions on territory. We’ll see if Uncle Sugar lets him. My guess is Zelensky doesn’t get to be a real boy just yet. Have Raytheon and other defense contractors announced their quarterly profits yet? We can’t have peace until profits are at or above where they were before Afghanistan withdrawal. I mean, the US has got to be promoting a war somewhere, amiright?

      1. lyman alpha blob

        Goswami asks Zelensky at the beginning of the interview to respond to Russian claims that the Bucha videos are faked. Through a translator, Zelensky goes vaguely ad hominem regarding Lavrov and handwaves the claims away. Not very convincing to this listener.

      2. lyman alpha blob

        Zelensky says he wants negotiations soon and doesn’t want the war to drag on for one or two years, which seems eminently reasonable. It’s also at odds with predictions from his US handlers from recent days who are predicting a lengthy conflict.

        1. GramSci

          Yes, he said wanted negotiations soon, and then promptly demanded the Russians withdraw to January borders. I.e., surrender.

          I was at first impressed by Goswami’s follow-up questions, but after a while it seemed Goswami was just milking the stand-off while as lyman notes below, Zelensky just kept asking for more weapons.

          I only lasted an hour, by which time Goswami had not yet got around to asking the question everybody should be asking both Putin and Zelensky:

          Will you accept a cease fire and begin negotiating today?

          1. Michael Fiorillo

            Having made their commitment and triggered the consequences (whatever they may be) in Ukraine, why should the Russians agree to a ceasefire before they’ve minimally achieved some of their objectives?

            Putin and Co. seem to have made a conscious decision to ignore the external,information war, which the Ukrainians and the US have handled very well so far, preferring to establish facts on the ground, but they still need to appear to be negotiating and giving Zelensky some legitimacy. As Scott Ritter has said, they need him alive and with sufficient political juice in order to legitimize an eventual,agreement… unless the Azov types murder him first.

            The Russians know that Ukraine won’t be allowed to make a deal until the US realizes that all has been lost militarily and domestic political pushback in Europe and the US begin.That hasn’t happened yet, even if it’s inevitable, so they’ll jaw-jaw and war-war simultaneously for a while yet.

            1. juno mas

              When the actual bombardment of the Ukie’s in the Donbass area begins then maybe there will be talks. My belief is that destroying those forces was the goal of the SMO.

              As an aside: If Russia gains control of all the coastal land of Ukraine, then they don’t have to occupy all of Ukraine.

            2. jsn

              Google, “map of nations participating in US sanctions of Russia.”

              The Russians are fighting and winning an information war elsewhere, where it matters to them.

              They appear to be winning it.

        2. c_heale

          The longer the war drags on, the more likely it is that he will lose power, or even his life. Wars are not conducive to long political careers, if they are happening on your territory.

      3. lyman alpha blob

        Lots of begging for weaponry from Zelensky – he doesn’t care how old, where from, just give them to him. Goswami questions him on the apparent contradiction of wanting a burgeoning arsenal and wanting the war to end quickly. The answer is not particularly convincing given that accepting large quantities of Western weapons and pointing them at Russia played a large part in starting this conflict.

        1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield

          Thanks for posting this. The interview is well worth your time and Goswami, although respectful, asks tough questions. Not by any means the love fest Zelenskyy may have been expecting. Zelenskyy resorts to word salad and often appears a bit befuddled, but that may in part be due to the interview being live, and of course, translation issues.

          I’ll be sure to tune in for tonight’s two Arnab live debates, which I believe begin at 9 p.m. IST. This is quite the scoop for Republic TV and I’m sure he won’t be able to resist a victory lap or two.

          Republic’s stock has certainly gone up as the Western MSM has descended into propaganda. Republic has news crews on the ground reporting from Ukraine. I imagine there’s a demand at minimum throughout the global south for some less obviously biased coverage.

  15. The Rev Kev

    ‘WHAT NEXT, @LiberalAus @AlboMP @ScottMorrisonMP?@ all the CHOs &health advisors?
    Where’s the grand plan?
    This isn’t “living with the virus”; this is “slowly killing ourselves for ignorant employers’ profit margins”.
    Australians need a better plan or we’re on a f-ing roundabout.’

    The grand plan is to do away with all restrictions and protective measures and go back to the 2019 economy. Big business demands it. FYI

    ‘@LiberalAus is the party that is running the country at the moment.

    ‘@AlboMP’ – is Anthony Albanese, head of our other main party who does a good impression of the invisible man.

    ‘@ScottMorrisonMP’ – is Scotty from Marketing of course and

    ‘CHOs &health advisors’ – are all those medicos who have backed whatever the government wants, no matter how many people get killed. And by my count, 5, 580 people have died since the government decided to open up the country again several months ago.

    1. Synoia

      Aha, I see Scotty from Marketing’s sinister plan.

      Stay in his position for as long as possible, by whatever means possible. A dastardly clever plan, which has never influenced a political leader in the past, to any extent. (Except the odd eEglish King).

    1. Geo

      “Fabricating solar cells and panels is a major and significant operation that will take years to establish in the US.” Yet, Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam can do it. America truly is exceptional. If by exceptional we mean incompetent.

      “The trade body said the investigation comes as the industry is “fighting for legislation that will substantially increase solar deployment”, referencing US President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better (BBB) Act. More than 60 clean energy organisation have called for more progress on the Act, which is currently being stymied by opposition from Democratic Senator Joe Manchin.”

      Have they tried bribing Manchin? Seems to work well and has proven ROI for gas, coal, and pharma companies.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Building solar panels is not rocket science. A determined effort to massively roll out solar cells fab plants using existing technology would be entirely possible within 2 or 3 years if the US addressed it as a national security issue. There is enormous potential to construct solar farms in large arrays quickly within existing grid capacity constraints – this would mostly be at the expense of natural gas generation load. Europe could likewise do this (although off-shore wind is actually more cost effective in most areas, although it would probably take a few more years given the heavy engineering requirement).

        The issue is entirely one of political and institutional will.

        1. Geo

          “The issue is entirely one of political and institutional will.”

          And because Americans won’t work 16hr days for $0.25 an hour so that Silicon Valley VCs can make hundred of $billions instead of tens of $billions.

          Seriously though, you are spot on. It’s things like this that so clearly expose how hopelessly incapable we are of accomplishing anything beneficial for society. The rot is so deep and wide that even amputation wouldn’t resolve it. It’s a societal psychological ailment as much as a systemic and structural one.

          1. Solarjay

            Modern solar panel manufacturing is extremely automated. Not a lot of labor force.

            Labor costs vs shipping?

            I think the reason there are no US companies is that solar panel margins are extremely small. iE not much profit in it.

        2. KLG

          A nearby rural EMC (member owned electric cooperative) has built a 1000-acre solar farm that is providing a major fraction of the power supplied to their members. The sun does shine brightly in Middle Georgia. Almost nothing from the Southern Company (Georgia Power), which after 20(?) years is still working on a nuclear plant on the Savannah River south of Augusta, at a cost that cannot even be reckoned. Nothing to see here, move along. And yes, I am aware that many think nuclear is an answer. Get back to me when you come up with a safe method to store the waste for much longer than the Pyramids of Giza have been sitting there.

          1. Dr. Uranium Tacolette

            Always baffled by the waste argument brought up against nuclear. There is at least a serious plan and effort to safely dispose of ALL of the nuclear waste produced by energy production. Meanwhile, unsafe, unregulated emissions of coal, gas, oil proliferate and boil the planet. Solar/hydro and other green options are great, but nuclear works in any weather, any landscape. There’s no political will to tile the Sahara with solar panels, so why not include nuclear as one of the options that at a bare minimum get us away from fossil fuels?

            1. juno mas

              It’s not just waste management. While small nuclear reactors have smaller problems than big nuclear reactors—they still have problems. See:

              The cost of solar PV is dropping so fast that nuclear is an expensive option. And as Amory Lovins has remarked, greater efficiency in power consumption is easier yet. He makes the argument against nuclear here:

              1. Michael Fiorillo

                Lovins was a frequently sought-after commenter on energy issues in the 1970’s, when nuclear was a big political topic, owing to the energy crises of that era. I loved his simile that using nuclear fission to boil water is like using a chainsaw to cut butter.

            2. c_heale

              Where is this serious plan? The only one I’ve seen is bury the high-level waste somewhere deep underground. For millions of years. Where are all the deep underground burial sites that we are using now…oh…

              The current nuclear powerplants do not work without large amounts of cooling water. Some nuclear plants, have already had to shut temporarily in our increasingly hot world.

  16. Patrick Donnelly

    Lookalikes look like the target they safeguard.

    But they are not that person.

    They have different memories and reflexes. Their responses may not be as nuanced.

    Fooling most of the people, most of the time …. but why? Is he disposable? What great event is to be laid at the door of Joe Biden, POTUS?

    1. Geo

      Can Covid damage a brain that hasn’t been functional in decades? It has appeared for a while now the Botox needle went too deep and lobotomized the frontal lobe.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        There is that, but the rot and decline in the foreign services means there aren’t enough people to stop the ilk of say a Neera from giving wretched advice.

        Blinken for all of his stupidity was out quickly to clarify what Biden meant during what was billed as big speech, now not mentioned at all. My guess is Blinken approved a version, and the White House staff just added the last bit for the domestic audience. It’s abruptly at the end, so it wouldn’t interfere with what Blinken signed off on.

      2. Acacia

        When only two neurons are left in the entire brain, taking out one of them is kind of serious.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Well, to be fair, FDR got America out of a Depression even if he did get it into a world war. Old Joe is going to get America into a world war and a depression at the same time.

        1. Michael Ismoe

          Hoover was actually a very smart and accomplished private citizen. He didn’t screw up until he became president. He’s more like Jimmy Carter than Biden.

          “Past performance is not an indicator of future results.”

  17. super extra

    I found the Craig Murray piece difficult to get through. This is because I am too young to have Cold War-associated Russophobia and am not from Northern Europe, where apparently it is impossible to have a sane conversations on the actions of Russia without significant prologue and ritual disassociations. I realize that this is a minefield similar to American racial and identity issues, and I am also by American standards a ‘Russophile’ because I spent ~3 years trying to learn the language of my own volition over a decade ago. The piece really threw into relief just how much of these current events are manipulated by media and politics, and how intense the ‘market vertical’-ization of current events has become. Just a content flag for the other Russophiles, it’s really a piece more for those who have a perspective where there can only be a manichean good-v-bad world. I am glad he wrote it because it made me realize that my biases are far stronger than I thought so there is that, I guess.

    1. Synoia

      Honest, and relevant. What is the truth? I do not know, and saying so makes me an Iridemable cynic.

      One has to has to choose the set of lies with which one can continue, kiss your children and protect your family as best you can.

    2. nippersdad

      Even for those who do have cold war associated memories it did have the effect of making one’s own biases evident. I remember when the Soviet Union fell and how that was taken advantage of in the Nineties, so my first reaction to the Ukraine mess is that I would have walked out of the room the minute the word “Nazi” came up. Everything else flows from that.

      If there is one thing that has me rooting for the Russians it is their determination to “de-Nazify” their neighbor, and I cannot listen to an American pol extolling Ukrainians without thinking of them as Nazi collaborators. From my perspective there is only one rationale for the existence of Nazis, and it is categorically opposed to what we are actually doing with them. That may be a Manichean POV, but only one of them can win the war.

  18. Wukchumni

    We seem to be in the phony war part of the money conflict, and imagine what havoc a digital Operation Bernhard would have on the coalition of the not willing to do business with Russia?

    Think inflation is bad now?, what if you flooded modems with money…

    Operation Bernhard was an exercise by Nazi Germany to forge British bank notes. The initial plan was to drop the notes over Britain to bring about a collapse of the British economy during the Second World War. The first phase was run from early 1940 by the Sicherheitsdienst (SD) under the title Unternehmen Andreas (Operation Andreas, Operation Andrew). The unit successfully duplicated the rag paper used by the British, produced near-identical engraving blocks and deduced the algorithm used to create the alpha-numeric serial code on each note.

  19. The Rev Kev

    ‘Benjamin Wittes
    One of the oddities of the current debate over Russia and Ukraine is the shared certainty of the American Left and Right that confronting Russia inevitably risks World War III. This is bewildering. It’s like we don’t have 70 years of managing nuclear risk with Russia or something’

    Always be careful of an account that features the current thing – in this case, the Ukrainian flag. I seem to recall that there were a series of treaties to put a lid on nuclear weapons and to have mutual inspection measures during much of that 70 years, especially when the world nearly fell into WW3 in the early 60s and the early 80s. Now those treaties are nearly all gone and we are shipping sophisticated weapons into the Ukraine with the exclusive purpose of killing Russians. Does this guy think that they will forget? That there will be no consequences for those actions? He is like those reporters demanding that the US go to war with Russia because they will never suffer the consequences of this happening. Idjuts all.

  20. Stick'em

    re: Tucker Carlson – The Democrats move to replace Biden

    The Democratic party became the Inauthentic Opposition Party (IOP) with the rise of Bill Clinton and triangulation. Clinton wanted to ape Reagan’s big win over Mondale, so the Democrats became Republican Light Beer.

    The result of this is the Red vs. Blue WWF cage match portrayed on Tee Vee and social media is basically kabuki theater to entertain the masses. Whooo! In reality, the two parties are basically tag team partners for the same Neoliberalism Corporate Power Party (NCPP) with different job descriptions, described in detail here:

    ^ Note Hartmann, while being a big brained guy who sees much clearly, still pulls the homer move and wrongly blames this all on the Red team in his essay. But once you see the cooperation between the parties and the sham of the fight, the blame rightly falls on both sides of the aisle. The Red team is supposed to give tax cuts and spend $. The Blue team is supposed to impose austerity and clutch pearls for not being allowed to do anything to help regular people because the coffers are empty and budget must be balanced, yet they can do trickle down identity poltics wins. These are the assigned face/heel roles.

    With Biden, the IOP party was astute enough to realize the only candidate who couldn’t beat worst candidate in history Trump is an identity politics match up. So you gotta run Joe, the old white dude, because he doesn’t rile up the Trumpets the same way a female or black candidate would. Can’t run Kamala the identity fetish yet, even thought she’s what the party really wanted to do. The dotard state is normalized by Trump’s performance as King Lear, so Biden’s dementia seems not so different after all. Both are 75 year old fossils, so time to blame Bernie for being old with the projection smear move. Above all, can’t let Bernie into the throne room because he might just be Authentic Opposition to the NCPP.

    The longer term game being Biden is the one associated with the plague, so let COVID be the reason his adminstration couldn’t get anything (like the New Deal we were campaign promised) done. The real measure of success for party cult members was anyone but Trump, and that got accomplished. Now throw Biden away and up comes Kamala from the VP spot, just as Biden succeeded Obama on Game of Thrones. When Kamala fails to do anything for the people during her term, she blames misogyny + racism, just as Obama blamed the Republicans for their racism for his impotence prior.

    Wash, rinse, repeat. The formula is clear and most importantly, there’s no authentic candidate within a decade of the throne. There is no solution from within the NCPP, only fake opposition. Therefore, it will take a third party to affect any meaningful change, which won’t be allowed by the NCPP.

    1. Jason Boxman

      I haven’t heard anything about that Biden New Deal since about 30 days after inauguration. The Establishment press has a very short memory. I’m still owed $600 as well.

      1. c_heale

        The first thing the Dems did when they got into power was break a promise to put a certain amount of money in people’s hands…

        You can’t fix stupid.

    2. hunkerdown

      I suppose it’s meant to be self-evident that electoral competition is material or important, and totally not just liberalism’s most important institution of social and intellectual violence.

  21. Jason Boxman

    Notice how prominent and disarming Obama’s smile is in that photo, and you understand why masks are a scarlet letter.

  22. Tom Stone

    I have a suggestion about the best way for Jill and Joe to respond to their public humiliation by the hopey changey dude.
    I’m sure they can pull it off because one of the minimum requirements for success in American politics is the ability to suck a basketball through a garden hose.
    Have Joe start off by giving Barry a call and asking him to lead a special mission to Yerp,’Murika’s allies are faltering and only someone of Barry’s standing can restore their faith in AMERICA’S!!! commitment to Truth,Justice and the Rule of Law.
    A little riff on how war Criminals need to be held to account with the implication that it’s “Vlad the Impaler” being discussed.
    Lay it on thick, use a front end loader,grovel a bit.
    And a little finesse will be needed to convince Barry that the trip needs to be kept quiet at first until it’s time for him to return triumphantly waving a piece of paper that guarantees Peace in Our Time.
    Send him in Air Force 3 with a carefully selected group of SS agents and the hottest stewardesses the AF can provide.
    Treat him like the third coming of Jeebus until you are 45 minutes out of Schipol and then hit him with the Ketamine.
    Have him stripped, bagged, cuffed and shackled when you hand him over to the Hague to be prosecuted for the war crimes he’s been bragging about for years.
    I can think of no better way to demonstrate America’s commitment to Truth,Justice and the Rule of Law.

    1. Wukchumni

      I frankly can’t see why the Donkey Show would approve apportions in supporting candidates in the mid-terms, not to be defeatist in regards to their chances, but the GOP could run a length of used dental floss as a candidate and beat them.

      1. Mr. House

        A well earned disaster, they worked hard for it! I haven’t voted since 2008, never even voted for the orange golem, but i’m going to vote this year and not for a single Dem.

  23. Lex

    The “doctor” is a constitutional lawyer, not a doctor. He founded the volunteer medical battalion to support the volunteer military groups. He’s also a fellow at the Wilson Center, spent time at the Planck Institute and did a year at Indiana University as a visiting scholar in the last few years. He was a cabinet level minister who was in charge of drafting the post-Maidan ethnic laws. Last I checked, his CV was still available online.

    He’s the poster child for how deeply ideological Nazis were inserted into Ukrainian governance post-2014 and how widely accepted those ideas were at the highest levels in the West. Randoms don’t get to be Fulbright-Kennan fellows at the Wilson Center; that only comes from the right connections and support.

  24. The Rev Kev

    ‘Larry the Cat
    Martin Lewis used to do guides on the best mobile phone deals. He’s now doing them on how to avoid freezing in your own home. That’s not a good sign.’

    One can only wonder at the sort of advice that will come out of a Boris government whose people started off their education in elite boarding schools. Perhaps tell people to rub two boy scouts together?

  25. nippersdad

    The Murray piece was very interesting; It would be great to see a debate about Ukraine between Craig Murray and Scott Ritter. At one point he appears to be obliquely critiquing Ritter’s analysis of how Russia is prosecuting the war, and he makes no mention of the history of the conflict that led to the invasion. Murray doesn’t even attempt to address the Minsk Protocols or the Article 51 rationale for Russia having gone in on the side of the Donbass, something he should be very aware of.

    The Venn Diagram of their views as a diplomat vs. a military expert would be interesting to see.

    1. JohnM_inMN

      That stood out to me. Murray seems to (largely) buy the MSM’s version of how effective each side has been in prosecuting the war. I hope the truth is closer to Ritter’s analysis, as that would seem to at least have a chance of bringing this mess to a quicker conclusion.

      1. jimmy cc

        rittera analysis has been wrong at every turn.

        January. it will take Russia hours to do in Ukraine what it took America months to do in Iraq.

        February. Putin will not invade Ukraine.

        March 4th. its all over for Ukraine.

        April. Ukrainian army has 600,000 men… suddenly we ARE counting old women filing bottles with gasoline as soldiers.

        Ritter needs to take a breath and think.

        1. nippersdad

          Which brings us to the point that Ritter has routinely made that he does not have the Russian play book, and that he can only extrapolate from what they have previously done and what he would have done.

          I have found his insights to be a lot more nuanced than you are letting on.

          1. Michael Ismoe

            Scott Ritter will become more “right” as the war goes on. His “predictions” have been spot on and his geopolitical instincts are vital and lucid. Was watching the MSM crow about how the “Russians have retreated from Keev” ad the Ukies are “on the move.” Those of us who have been exposed to Ritter know exactly why they “retreated” because their usefulness has been served because they have already won.

            BTW – if you search for him on You Tube, some bullshyt court appearance from 10 years ago shows up in the results to defame him even though he’s given dozens of interviews (but none of them tow the company line). I wonder how that happens?

            1. nippersdad

              I agree with you wholeheartedly; Ritter has been an invaluable resource for understanding what is going on in Ukraine. Last night Medhurst had a very good (and very long) interview with Ritter that was, perhaps, his most straightforward yet.


              Perhaps his, (shortlived) banning from Twitter irritated him, but I have never seen him lose his cool even when he was being smeared prior to Iraq II. Something about this has really gotten under his skin.

        2. Harold

          I may be wrong but I think he did predict Russia would invade Ukraine. He was certainly wrong about the time table, though.

        3. Yves Smith

          Ritter clearly gave the breakdown when he said about 600K: 260K regular military, about 30-40K border police and other forces that were trained and could be brought to bear, and 310K reservists. Given that Ukraine at the time was ALSO conscripting all adult males, it did not seem crazy to throw in the reservists.

    2. JTMcPhee

      My thought is that a colloquium with Murray and Ritter would be a very good thing. Mutual reinforcement and augmentation of truth-telling and analysis, from two who have been in the belly of the Beast and have really good understanding (based on problematic source material in many cases) of what is really driving this effing “conflict.”

      Is Putin and his entourage really as bad, evil and self-serving as Murray depicts? How “weak” and corrupt and demoralized are the Russian armed forces, really, especially vis-a-vis the Ukrainian forces stood up by the sneaks and death cult players of NATO? Is there any indication that “we” humans can somehow sneak past this existential crisis of conflicting “interests” armed with nuclear and other mass-death weapons and driven by locust-like consumption patterns? Where behaviors and beliefs of the toiling masses are owned by the kataskopocracy (sp.?). Those people who stated that they “will know that our program of disinformation is complete when nothing the American public believes is true.”

      Ritter and Murray seem to me to be among the very few relatively honest people attempting to explain the history, structures and current realities, political-economic and military. In constant danger of being choked off by the “security forces.” God bless ‘em.

  26. The Rev Kev

    “Germany stages country-wide raids against ‘neo-Nazi networks’ ”

    You wanna know who is going to have the toughest jobs in the years to come? European police chiefs. They have the chaos of the war in the east which has lead to a Ukrainian diaspora throughout the continent. They have the Ukrainian mafias which will be able to spread their influence through this network of people. There will be the problem of the black market in arms being awash in weapons from the Ukraine which can equip everybody from gangs through to nationalists and right up to terrorists. It is going to be a nightmare for ordinary police chiefs in Europe to try to stuff this malevolent genie back in the bottle.

    1. GramSci

      I’ve known a few police chiefs who would view this as an opportunity. I’m afraid the entrepreneurs among them will be well-rewarded.

    2. Force Count

      I suspect that it is more of an inventory rather than a round-up or crack-down.
      Since our dear misleaders are killing the German economy there will be mass unemployment and starvation. The government need reliable Nazis that don‘t think twice about killing people, just like in Donbass. The Ukrainian soldiers refused to slaughter civilians so they sent the Nazis in.

  27. russell1200

    About those Javelins –

    You have indications even earlier that the Main Battle Tank (MBT) is not worth its expense.

    In 1991, the Iraqis were also found to be abandoning their armor when faced off against modern anti-tank systems. Israeli armor in Lebanon had problems, Russian armor in Chechnya, and most recently Armenian armor against drones. They are fuel hogs that are too big and too attractive of a target and the counters to them are too inexpensive. Which is not to say that no armor is an alternative, just that smaller more mobile systems might be more appropriate.

    1. Maritimer

      I remember during the Iran-Iraq War, a US military analyst writing that the most effective weapon was the Honda Motorbike! Using disposable Humans equipped with bazookas and setting them on a fleet of Hondas was very cost and damage effective against armor. Keep it simple stupid warfare, not available in the US.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I’m cynical enough about Pelosi that I bet she received a phone call from the White House about her Taiwan trip and now she has had Covid as a result.

      1. Pat

        The inner battles going on must be epic. On one hand you have the gang that couldn’t shoot straight making stupid statements and moves daily. Then you have the group with some semblance of reality trying to pull them back. You would think with each set back the gang would learn or at least get put on a leash, but no they double down and are allowed to do so. Short of the donor class making the call and most of the advisors being fired and a few elected officials told to retire I don’t think group two will be able to stop us going over the cliff.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Biden has too many dolts and the vaguely competent, stressing vaguely, people are too few. He has Susan Rice running his domestic policy shop. Biden is supposedly ticked at Garland for being too conservative in nature. The dude was picked by Obama to please Mitch McConnell. I’m sure the Clintonistas especially sold Biden on the idea that bringing back Garland would annoy McConnell.

          Though it looks like Zients is out.

        1. jsn

          I’m pretty sure her Covid is the reason she’s going.

          Gotta stop the CCP from stopping the virus!

  28. RobertC


    I’ll be tracking the readout of the India, US to hold 2+2 dialogue in April

    The State Department said that the Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin will welcome India’s Minister of External Affairs S. Jaishankar and Indian Minister of Defense Rajnath Singh to Washington for the fourth U.S.-India 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue on April 11.

  29. .human

    Decline and Violence in France

    French society is “growing increasingly savage,” according to Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin.

    No mention of the decline of western “civilization.”

  30. Auld Yankee

    Hmmmm….I have read this blog for years now, never bothered to comment. I really appreciate lambert and yves’ background.

    But has this blog gone full red-brown? The pro Putin push…whaaa? I get bidin is cringe, but the other side is full blown its the end of the world… and while Biden is an old man, his heart is in the right place…

    Embedding a whole tucker commentary is deeply worrisome. Fox is the master manipulator, and Biden is correct that Murdoch is well on the way to toasting not just our democracy, but England and Australia’s as well…

    Altogether very sad. I will continue to read the blog, but your vax and Putin adjacent info is very suspect. Sometimes the anti-anti contrarianism just leads to a hall of mirrors dear friends.

    1. Yves Smith

      This is ad hominem fallacy. You need to rebut the source. We do once in a while run clips from Tucker who despite being on Fox occasionally calls out oligarch misconduct. Here he ran the clip of the ACA party, where Biden was dissed, and his short segment on that still showed more of the key parts of that party than any other source. Are you denying that Biden wasn’t shunned despite the evidence to the contrary? A shorter clip could be argued to be cherry-picking.

      As for the war, you again are unable to contest the evidence. The Grayzone,, Consortium News, Caitlin Johnstone and Michael Hudson are all questioning the war too and you can hardly call them right wing. Name calling is a very convenient way to dismiss evidence that Ukraine is running a massive propaganda campaign that our press is amplifying uncritically. And how is more expensive gas and food in the interest of Americans? Or more fracking and transport of LNG to Europe a leftist cause? It’s hugely destructive to the environment.

      And more generally, we are not a left wing site. We are for better pay for ordinary workers and stronger social safety nets. But we support that for empirical reasons: more equal societies have less corruption and score much higher on social indicators like longevity, crime, mental health, teen childbirth. More equal societies are better for everyone, even the rich (the rich pay a lifespan cost too). We also favor stronger regulation because companies otherwise engage in a race to the bottom of adulteration and worker abuse.

      But we don’t hew to many leftist views. We think the Green New Deal is dangerous hopium and is serving to forestall starting the only solution to climate change, radical conservation. We aren’t on board with the woke campaign since we believe it is designed to turn different demographic groups against each other and thus turn attention away from economic justice. We think some leftist ideas suffer from terrible implementation. Wealth taxes have been withdrawn all over the world because it’s too hard and costly to make them work. Higher rate inheritance taxes will whack wealth just as much and can capture “wealth” at the time it is transferred to heirs.

      1. Guild Navigator

        As a Marxist-Leninist in tendency, I agree with you on most of the above points, though I don’t think that woke-ism is left, per se, though it is common for conservatives (and even some liberals) to conflate the left with liberalism, where liberalism in either its mid-20th C Galbraithian variety or its repugnant TDS-addled incarnation, seeks to put lipstick on the pig that is the Ruling Class. I’d argue that woke-ism is a liberal obsession that is purposely divisive that attempts to steer marginalized groups to identify with the woke-washing oligarchs rather than combine forces recognizing a common enemy with their fellow workers, who may be from more rural and socially conservative communities and don’t know how to introduce themselves along with their preferred pronouns.

    2. flora

      see, the thing is, when life long (in a long life) Dems like me, eg, start to agree with Tucker on some points, (cringing even as we do so), there’s something very wrong with the Dem estab. I hate it when I agree with Tucker. It’s the Dem estab’s disconnect from their voting base that make Tucker’s focus on the Dem estab’s failings possible, imo. sigh… Shorter: don’t blame the messenger.

  31. RobertC

    Supply Chain

    Commodity prices are not only high but the commodities themselves aren’t moving Thousands of goods railcars stuck at Ukraine’s border as war hits exports

    …One key issue: the sheer volume of goods that needs to find an alternate route, which is causing shortages of everything from rail cars to staff, according to industry insiders and the government. Ukraine, one of the world’s biggest grain exporters, had prior to the war exported 98% of its cereals via the Black Sea. Typically, only a fraction of the country’s exports went by rail, where transport costs are higher than shipping.

    …Last month, Ukraine suspended exports of rye, oats, millet, buckwheat, salt, sugar, meat and livestock since the invasion, and introduced export licences for wheat. The government said it would allow free exports of corn and sunflower oil, however.

    …”We may reach 10-15% of the capacity that is actually needed,” he said. “I believe the risks for the economy are huge.”

    I’m watching the UN World Food Program but haven’t seen anything significant.

  32. antidlc

    From press briefing yesterday:

    Q Thanks, Jen. You just mentioned that COVID isn’t over. We just saw the President give remarks to a very large crowd indoors. I was hoping you’d speak a little bit to how the President views, sort of, what — when it is safer to be going to such large gatherings. Is that the sort of thing he’s trying to model for the rest of the American public? That the risks for most people from COVID now are lesser than they were a year or two ago before vaccines and treatments? Is that sort of behavior now — it’s not something that should be stigmatized or — and should be embraced?

    MS. PSAKI: Sure. I think what the President is doing is he is following CDC protocols and models, and that’s exactly what we would recommend the rest of the country do.

    That includes getting vaccinated; getting boosted; getting an extra booster if you are eligible, as the President did just last week; and obviously taking any steps or precautions that the CDC recommends to keep yourself safe.

    And obviously, in Washington, D.C., we remain in a yellow zone, and the President follows those protocols as needed.

    Q And just an update: He said — did he say when the last — the last time the President tested for COVID?

    MS. PSAKI: I suspected you would ask this. I’ve asked this question, and I will get you an answer to that as quickly as possible.

    As you know, he is tested on — he has a regular testing cadence — is usually tested a couple times a week. We will venture to get to that as soon as possible after the briefing.

  33. Mikel

    “As airports grind to a halt… how UK’s ‘Great Lie Down’ threatens a summer of chaos: Hospitality, travel and farming STILL suffer staff shortages after 400,000 people left the work force during lockdowns (and it’s all going to make inflation worse)” Daily Mail

    Don’t sleep on global war/conflict driving migrations that could help on the cheap labor front – if the energy resources are there to keep things rolling.

  34. LawnDart

    Ukraine, on having said enough:

    …I’ve said just about everything I have to say about the macro issues and I see no reason either for repetition or examining day-to-day events which others do extremely well…

    …it is manifestly obvious that our society is not capable of conducting an honest, logical, reasonably informed discourse on matters of consequence.

    This ties in nicely with jr’s comment from the other day on “Learned Helplessness:”

    …people can ignore almost anything, can justify almost anything, can believe almost anything, if it will allow them to maintain their illusions of stability. Their sense of normalcy…

    Which bodes ill for the troubles ahead. No one will do a thing to help themselves or others if it means breaking through the illusions they pay so much to inhabit.

    The ramifications of what is happening with Ukraine are huge, but I’m also worried that we may be paying too much attention on this “bright, shiny object” and overlooking what is taking place in the shadows.

    1. pjay

      This was very discouraging. Another sane voice on Russia – Michael Brenner – succumbs to the relentless pounding of hysterical propaganda and peer pressure. In this he joins Paul Robinson (‘Irrussianality’) and Patrick Armstrong (‘Russian Observer’) – though thankfully Armstrong is still publishing the occasional piece outside of his blog. Beyond disinformation and emotional manipulation, another effect of such a total propaganda effort in which narrative need bear no relation to reality is that it wears down good people who are trying to resist. In the face of such insanity, people give up the fight in order to preserve their own mental health.

      I understand the sentiment, but I wish he’d hang in there. Every sane voice helps.

    2. Marti61

      reminds me of the Flaming Lips/ The gash- ‘Will the fight for our sanity be the fight of our lives? now that we’ve lost all the reasons that we thought that we had….

  35. Matthew G. Saroff

    Not sure how the fox is the second antidote for the day.

    It was euthanized and tested positive for Rabies.

    1. juno mas

      The fox strain of rabies in the US is not readily transmitted to humans. Probably euthanized because it had serious symptoms and the urban population was getting out of control.

    1. RobertC

      Dang that was a close vote! China and Vietnam voted against rather than abstain — oops for Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield. Ambassador Haley wouldn’t have allowed this naughty behavior.

      1. Bill

        But just wait until Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield sanctions their daughters. Then they’ll be sorry.

  36. ryan

    Saw breaking points this morning and apparently they’re going with the
    “Russia definitely responsible for all atrocities claimed by Ukrainian government” even referred to Ukrainian murder of POW’s as “alleged”

    So their take is Russia is defniitely committing war crimes, but of course we are against the war we hate war blah blah..

    Good to know how useful they are turning out to be.

  37. RobertC


    I’m posting under China? because Defense Secretary Austin told Congress China is our “pacing threat.”

    My now-past career in Navy combat system acquisition keeps me partial to current Navy shipbuilding and related policies. Today at Cdr Salamander we have Cdr (retired) Bryan McGrath’s essay When (Bad) Strategy Drives Resources

    Well, my friends in the maritime strategy world, guess what? Our prayers and lamentations are answered. As I continue to digest the fallout from the FY23 Defense Budget (especially the shipbuilding goals and ship decommissioning plan), the publicly released statements on the classified National Defense Strategy, and the broad outlines of the Biden Administration’s grand strategy/National Security Strategy, it becomes clear that to an extent rarely seen, the Biden team has created a tight and coherent coupling of strategy to resources.

    The problem is that the strategy is bad.

  38. juno mas

    RE: Coastal Carbon capture

    While these coastal systems may have been prolific carbon sinks in the past they are not likely to be in the future. Rising sea levels will change coastal ecology substantially. We’re seeing the rate of change of AGW overwhelm the natural processes of the past.

    The mitigation of AGW is radical conservation.

  39. Soredemos

    >Revisiting The Greek War of Independence While Ukraine Fights for Its Own War on the Rocks

    Has War on the Rocks ever issued a mea culpa over having run a piece that assured us Russian logistics couldn’t handle more than a couple days of fighting and any Russian advance would stall after a couple villages?

    1. jsn

      Craig Murray sort of needs to deal with that too. Ritter’s point about the troop count they “tried to occupy Kiev with” suggests a similar misunderstanding on Murrays part.

      I’m sympathetic to JTMcPhee @ April 7, 2022 at 5:33 pm above, the two could learn from one another and a debate would educate all of us.

      But it does appear the Russians fell for the same “will be greeted as liberators” BS we kid ourselves into repeatedly. As best as I can tell, and it is hard to, there has been a fair amount of house cleaning for failure in Moscow while only promotions here. On the other hand, that could just as well be Putin clearing out a fifth column previously existing condition.

  40. Guild Navigator

    Not to be sanguine, but that NRLB letter was surprising. In 2011, I was working as a contract software engineer with US Steel (ticker: USX). USX, the company founded by Carnegie and Frick, was famous for divide and conquer strategies, pitting employees vs scabs. In the 21st Century tech fields, it was employees vs contractors. Our boss’s boss’s boss warned us that if we were seen at Occupy, we would be immediately dismissed. It was me and H1-Bs working 80 hrs a week, though we could only report 40 hrs. A few years of suffering in that hellhole later, I was fired soon after merely mentioning how it might be a good idea to start a union with my fellow contractors. Somebody must’ve been a snitch. I never made it to Occupy.

  41. whatmeworry

    Remote monitoring indeed! How many of those who died in the US had ANY sort of remote monitoring let alone Pulse oxi. Shameful. People were left to their own devices.

  42. RobertC


    MP for the Indian National Congress Shashi Tharoor asks the dangerous question Whose side is India on in the Russo-Ukrainian war?

    India’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, observed in 1946, ‘India, constituted as she is, cannot play a secondary part in the world. She will either count for a great deal or not count at all.’ Ukraine is a test case, and the jury remains out. Will today’s India count at all?

    MP Tharoor is pushing for India’s alignment with far-neighbor US (“While India’s longstanding focus on ‘strategic autonomy’ has kept it out of formal alliances, its broad geopolitical orientation has been veering towards a special partnership with the United States, notably in the Indo-Pacific.“) while discounting its geographic relationship with near-neighbor China (“But whether it can leverage China’s overtures to achieve results on the ground remains to be seen.“).

  43. LawnDart

    ‘Not a Single Russian Soldier Will be Taken Prisoner’, Says Head of Georgian Legion in Ukraine

    Mamuka Mamulashvili, the leader of the Georgian National Legion, a group of Georgians fighting alongside the Ukrainian military, has said in an interview that his unit will not be “taking any captives” among the Russian servicemen.

  44. LawnDart


    Play stupid games…

    Russian Forces Destroy Training Centre for Mercenaries Northeast of Odessa, MoD Says

    The Russian Armed Forces have destroyed a training centre for foreign mercenaries in the Odessa area with high-precision missiles from a Bastion coastal defence complex, Russian Defence Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said.–1094580896.html

    No word on how many got heroed yet. Will be checking Saker, Moon, and Intelslav later today.

    Damn Rooskies are really putting the damper on combat tourism… best retreat to the basement and practice on Call of Duty for a bit longer before trying to take those skills to the real world.

      1. LawnDart

        It could be that they were hoping that unwelcome foriegners got the message after the Mykolaiv barracks were bombed some two weeks ago. Apparently not.

        1. Polar Socialist

          Maybe they are evil and wait for the neo-Nazis ethno-supremacists gather in numbers before striking. There was something about denazification in the mission statement.

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