Links 4/8/2022

Lambert and I, and many readers, agree that Ukraine has prompted the worst informational environment ever. We hope readers will collaborate in mitigating the fog of war — both real fog and stage fog — in comments. None of us need more cheerleading and link-free repetition of memes; there are platforms for that. Low-value, link-free pom pom-wavers will be summarily whacked.

And for those who are new here, this is not a mere polite request. We have written site Policies and those who comment have accepted those terms. To prevent having to resort to the nuclear option of shutting comments down entirely until more sanity prevails, as we did during the 2015 Greek bailout negotiations and shortly after the 2020 election, we are going to be ruthless about moderating and blacklisting offenders.


P.S. Also, before further stressing our already stressed moderators, read our site policies:

Please do not write us to ask why a comment has not appeared. We do not have the bandwidth to investigate and reply. Using the comments section to complain about moderation decisions/tripwires earns that commenter troll points. Please don’t do it. Those comments will also be removed if we encounter them.

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Language of fungi derived from their electrical spiking activity Royal Society Open Science. From the Abstract: “Assuming that spikes of electrical activity are used by fungi to communicate and process information in mycelium networks, we group spikes into words and provide a linguistic and information complexity analysis of the fungal spiking activity. We demonstrate that distributions of fungal word lengths match that of human languages. We also construct algorithmic and Liz-Zempel complexity hierarchies of fungal sentences and show that species S. commune generate the most complex sentences.” More from the Guardian. “Fungal sentences.” Neat!

Tanis: Fossil of dinosaur killed in asteroid strike found, scientists claim BBC


Increase in atmospheric methane set another record during 2021 NOAA

Politics is the barrier to tackling climate change FT

Climate scientists are desperate: we’re crying, begging and getting arrested Guardian


‘Pokemons’, WhatsApp chats: Lawsuit reveals inner workings of nationwide COVID testing operation USA Today


Summaries, Analysis and Simulations of Recent COVID-19 Epidemics in Mainland China (preprint) medRvix. Simulation model. From the Conclusion: “It is not wise strategy to withdraw all prevention and control measures before the number of the all infected people have been cleared. 100% blocking the speed at which COVID-19 infection spreads is key. Strategies forearly clearance or reduction of epidemic spread [are] possible.”

China’s lockdowns put working class, poor provinces at risk of ‘falling back into poverty’ South China Morning Post

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What Lessons Does China Take From Putin’s War? Foreign Policy

Russian MP: Russia is fully willing to use RMB for settlement and has started negotiations with China What China Reads

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China Rips Pelosi Over Reported Taiwan Trip, Setting Up Showdown Bloomberg

China warns US over arms supplies to Taiwan TASS

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Sudden loss of power while driving! Tesla recalls nearly 130,000 vehicles and announces price hikes What China Reads

Taiwan to move away from zero-COVID strategy: Health minister Channel News Asia

New Zealand’s leading health officials resign as COVID deaths mount WSWS


Junta-appointed Myanmar central bank deputy head shot Reuters. Sending a message.

Sketches smuggled out of Insein prison expose harsh conditions Al Jazeera


I don’t know how representative this reaction to the US muscling India might be. Nevertheless:

Sri Lanka: Gota needs to go – but so does the ethnocratic state Al Jazeera

India sends over 270,000 MT of petrol, diesel to Sri Lanka under credit line Mint. Commentary:

The Street Has Spoken. Will Sri Lanka’s Strongmen Listen? Bloomberg. Commentary:


Emmanuel Macron reckons with anger and apathy as French election day looms FT

2022 presidential election: The dangers of an uncertain ballot Le Monde. From their new English edition. Give Thomas Frank a column!

Why Viktor Orbán keeps winning The Spectator

New Not-So-Cold War

Ukraine’s President Zelenskyy speaks to Arnab Goswami about Russia’s invasion (video) Republic. India. Zelensky, 2:13: “I can tell you and your people I’m not ready to uh have any answer to minister Lavrov saying that the situation in Bucha was a fake. Well, look at the rhetorics of the person.” Not impressive. 9:38: Zelensky wants to negotiate one-on-one with Putin.

Ethnic Greek Azov Fighter Overshadows Zelensky Speech at Greek Parliament Greek Reporter. Well, when Zelensky finally makes it to the US Congress, let’s hope he’s less careless. If careless he was.

Whitewashing Nazis Doesn’t Help Ukraine Branko Marcetic, Jacobin

* * *

US shale gas, LNG firms meet European countries over supply crisis Reuters

In the Blind Spot on Friday (Yergin, Nukes, Democracy) Izabella Kaminska, The Blind Spot. Quoting Daniel Yergin:

I remain utterly perplexed as to why the serious people of finance Twitter can’t grasp the basic fact that shutting out Russian gas/oil will hurt us more than it will hurt them. Or to what degree leaders will end up accountable for causing global famines and mass poverty if they go ahead with this policy.

I am not convinced at all that the rest of the world will ever be willing to make the necessary sacrifices to make this a viable long-term policy.

Yes the impact on Russia is likely to be more painful for them than us in the immediate term. But the slow burn effects for the rest of the world may be much bigger. The idea we can plug the gap with US LNG exports and renewables is laughable. It’s going to take a minimum of 2-5 years to realign the energy system, and in that time far too many people may die from the imbalances that are going to be caused by this policy.

US diplomat: Mediterranean gas pipeline to Europe not viable AP

* * *

Collecting Bodies in Bucha The New Yorker. “A team of Ukrainian volunteers say that, since the Russian retreat, they have picked up three hundred corpses.”

Happy anniversary:

If we really had a “rules-based international order,” this is what we would be doing:

U.N. suspends Russia from human rights body, Moscow then quits Reuters

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In a break with the past, U.S. is using intel to fight an info war with Russia, even when the intel isn’t rock solid NBC. “‘It doesn’t have to be solid intelligence,’ one U.S. official said. ‘It’s more important to get out ahead of them [the Russians], Putin specifically, before they do something.'” So, those who make the propaganda drive the train. Good to know.

US Officials Admit They’re Literally Just Lying To The Public About Russia Caitlin Johnstone

Whitewashing Ukraine’s Corruption The American Consservative

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Ukraine appeals to Nato: ‘Weapons, weapons, weapons’ The Irish Times

US training ‘small number’ of Ukrainian troops on Switchblade drones The Hill. Since last fall. Only a dozen. In the United States. “For military training.” Really? Where? The School of the Americas?

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The US will be the ultimate winner of Ukraine’s crisis Janan Ganesh, FT

The State Department Failed To Prevent The War. Will It Now Prevent The Peace? The American Conservative. The State Department is in the business of starting wars, not preventing them. But the text is much better than the headline.

Russia suffered significant losses in Ukraine, this is ‘huge tragedy’ — Kremlin spokesman TASS

Biden Administration

To Protect Its Reputation, the Court Must Overturn Roe in Full National Review. Too bad Democrats never codified Roe v. Wade into law. On the bright side, they raised a lot of money off “fighting for it.


Exponential Risk: The Only Two Black Swans That Matter AgWeb

Guest Post: America’s stainless steel shortage Metal Miner

Our Famously Free Press

What If Fox News Viewers Watched CNN Instead? Matt Yglesias, Bloomberg

Health Care

Judgment Under Uncertainty Barry Ritholtz, The Big Picture. “Making good investment decisions and making good health care decisions are not all that different.” Because markets….

Zeitgeist Watch

Jerks Consortium News. Well worth a read.

Class Warfare

Biden Offers Amazon Workers Rhetoric, But No Action The Lever

Instacart claims it’ll now protect workers’ tips even when *sshole customers bait and switch The Verge

The Antitrust Case Against Gig Economy Labor Platforms Marshall Steinbaum, Law and Political Economy. Important!

Peter Thiel claims ‘finance gerontocracy’ is holding back bitcoin FT. Micheal Pettis: “I am all in favor of a “revolutionary youth movement” that will overturn finance and threaten the billionaires, but must it involve bidding up the price of an asset of which a middle-aged billionaire is a major holder?”

Antidote du Jour (via):

Musical interlude.

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. Dave in Austin

        1941. neutral US destroyers off Ieland use sonar to identify German subs, sit over them, coll in the British navy to drop the depth charges on them. We are outraged when the USS Kelley is fired on and the USS Rueben James is sunk.

        Nothing new here…

        1. LifelongLib

          Well, in fairness the U S. Navy Neutrality Patrol did broadcast the positions of both British and German vessels — in plain English, which sorta benefited one side more than the other. I don’t think the U S. Is pretending to be neutral with respect to Ukraine though.

      2. Paradan

        We have Synthetic Aperture Radar satellites that provide data that allows for the rough identification and location of vehicles as they pass by. If you live in the US go to google maps, set to globe view, and satellite layer. Zoom in on your house, and you should see a crappy 3d version of your car in the driveway. The military version is much better. Also we’ve got JSTARS, which are planes with fancy ground mapping radar, flying along the border. Plus we have various SIGINT satellites that pick up all radio communications, they are bearing only, but as they fly, the bearing changes and you can use it to pinpoint where the signal is being broadcast from. All of this stuff see through clouds just fine.

        1. Polar Socialist

          The fighting is beyond the radar horizon* from Polish border and most of the fighting is beyond the radar horizon from Romania or Black Sea.

          I think it must be mostly satellite derived intelligence. In any case we can assume Russians do have more accurate and recent intel than the Ukrainians.

          * for an aircraft flying at 40,000 feet.

      3. Yves Smith

        Ukraine is out of gas, military vehicles and even ammo. The shells they use are a bit smaller because Russian equipment and the stuff NATO can give then won’t fit. So they are the military equivalent of beached whales. More and more vids of Ukie soldiers in consumer vehicles (not reinforced to withstand fire) and on foot.

    1. Stick'em

      Uncle Ronnie’s repeal of the Fairness Doctrine plus Barry O’s repeal of Smith-Mundt openly greenlit the way for government/media gaslighting the public for cash and prizes as the new great American pastime. The result is now there is no meaningful difference between vintage ’80s Soviet Union disinformation and what we see in 2022 on mainstream American media outlets like MSNBC and FoxNews and CNN.

      “The Fairness Doctrine mandated broadcast networks devote time to contrasting views on issues of public importance. Congress backed the policy in 1954. By the 1970s the FCC called the doctrine the single most important requirement of operation in the public interest, the sine qua non for grant of a renewal of license.”

      “The Smith-Mundt Act was bolstered in 1985 by Nebraska Senator Edward Zorinsky, who argued such propaganda should be kept out of America as to distinguish the U.S. from the Soviet Union, where domestic propaganda is a principal government activity.”

      1. hunkerdown

        There is a meaningful difference: whereas before the propaganda was obvious, earnest, and just sort of poured at them, people now seek out empathetic “hits” from the social media hyperreality they live in.

        And, to be fair, “contrasting views” is an aesthetic matter, and whatever the establishment deems sacred will be exempted from interrogation. It’s a neoliberal feint.

      2. Questa Nota

        Neo-liberalism’s greatest hits, to the American, and world, populace.

        There is ample evidence that humans, if not dissuaded, can gouge, manipulate, cheat, steal, lie and otherwise act harmfully toward their fellow humans. When the types of checks and balances like those in the Fairness Doctrine and in Smith-Mundt get removed, that opened the door, window, roof and everything else for enterprising people to see just how far they could go.

        Examples abound:

        Commentators being forced to admit that they have been lying, exaggerating or otherwise straying from objective, verifiable truth;

        Social media platforms that apply policies to silence critics and amplify liars;

        The odd pharmaceutical executive who jacks up prices without regard to the welfare of patients, or worse, pushes deadly drugs on them;

        Politicians who take back-handers from donors, then hide the loot offshore and push legislation written by lobbyists while lying about the impact of said laws.

        You can add your own.

        There are so many bad actors in the public and private spheres that it takes extra work to shield oneself from their machinations. That can be done with enough patience and resources to investigate and survive. Those aren’t readily available for so many people.

      3. Carolinian

        The Fairness Doctrine was an offshoot of the public ownership of the broadcast frequencies and the licensing requirements therefrom. Of course cable and satellite have their own barriers to entry but these might fall more under antitrust rules if these hadn’t been gutted by the Telecom Act of 1996.

        The Act was claimed to foster competition. Instead, it continued the historic industry consolidation reducing the number of major media companies from around 50 in 1983 to 10 in 1996[27] and 6 in 2005.[28] An FCC study found that the Act had led to a drastic decline in the number of radio station owners, even as the actual number of commercial stations in the United States had increased.[29] This decline in owners and increase in stations has reportedly had the effect of Radio homogenization, where programming has become similar across formats.

        So blame Ronnie but also Billy Clinton for signing the above. We owe him so much.

        1. JBird4049

          The crapification of radio music as well as news comes from this. Whatever the Borg, Clear Channel iHeartMedia buys up a station or now a podcast, it strips out the local talent or buries it under ads all while homogenizing, blandifying, and reducing it to the least controversial of everything.

          It has gotten to where I can hardly listen to the radio anymore especially with the neoliberalization of NPR. It is a wasteland.

        1. Rolf

          Or, perhaps even more effectively, weaving lies and truths, partial-truths, half-truths, truths-but-only-in-context, and other embroidering to produce a magnificent quilt of obfuscation.

      1. Sardonia

        First, I challenge you to find a lie in that Carlson segment I posted.

        But more to the point – in another link above, Caitlin Johnstone also writes a piece about the admission by officials and the media that they’re deliberately and proudly lying in their newscasts to the American public, and does a nice takedown of it.

        BUT – Carlson does a segment on the same thing which is even more scathing and paint-peeling about how outrageous and damaging this whole Propaganda Project is – to an audience of close to 4,000,000 viewers – a number that I doubt Caitlin reaches. That makes a bigger difference.

        I suppose you can hate on the man, and then go find someone you like better who has a Twitter following of 50 people, and feel like being the 51st is striking a blow to The Empire. Me, I’m just concerned about Who Is Getting the Word Out, especially to people who wouldn’t ordinarily run across this kind of passionate critique.

        1. DanB

          I stipulate that Tucker was [actually] making sense about the info war, but he either lied or was blindly ideological in his snide references to the efficacy and political correctness of masks and his insinuation that Covid was flu-like and, presumably, no big deal. More than a million dead and her’s still an ignoramus or porpagandist re public health…

          1. Sardonia

            He is most definitely an ignoramus or a partisan demagogue when it comes to masks, or both.

          2. Mr. House


            “Covid was flu-like”

            How do you know it wasn’t to many people? If my personal exp. with it differs from yours, who is right? I do not personally know a single person who has died from it which shall not be named over the past two years. So does everybodys reaction to it seem frothing at the mouth insane to me? Yes. But i also understand that perhaps your exp. is different then mine. But i’m not the one forcing my viewpoints via government dictate on everybody else. Isn’t it funny how we keep having “crisis” that we didn’t cause, and the end result is we lose more freedom?

            1. Otis B Driftwood

              I personally know someone who died from it, as do millions of others. 1 million + people in the US have died from this disease.

                1. Mr. House

                  Lets look at it this way: Most here admit the healthcare system is almost criminal. The insane expense it charges people, that many of the products sold to us from other big biz leads to many of the unhealthy lifestyles that then force us to use the corrupt healthcare system in the first place. Why do they do these things? Money and power, so if they’re willing to lie (and this isn’t condemning the doctors or nurses who work in the belly of the beast, many of them are just following orders) for power and money and it seems to be the common rider in all industry these days (healthcare, higher ed, tech, media, ect ect) why would you ever give them any opportunity to consolidate that power even more? Vaccine passports, not being able to have a job unless you use their product? We live in a very far decayed corrupt society where making more money and sticking it to your fellow man is the rule of the day. If i try to plant something in a terrible environment will it grow?

            2. Darthbobber

              On aggregate, individuals have been far more likely to have fatal personal experiences with Covid than with the flu. If we’re going to take the radical subjectivist position of stopping at individual experience and ignoring statistical data then epidemiology itself becomes pointless.

              1. Mr. House

                Usually i’d agree with you, but these aren’t normal times, and truthfulness was thrown out the window a long time ago, even before 2020. How do you regain trust from a person who no longer has anymore to give to you? Thank you for taking a stab at the predicament i find myself in, and i think many others also find themselves in.

                1. ChiGal

                  I honestly can’t decide if you’re a troll or just have a massive sense of entitlement that allows you to respond to someone telling you they lost someone to Covid not by acknowledging their experience but by carrying on about your own, badgering them with your sophistry.

                  since you’re all about bad mouthing the ‘man’ for not caring about the little people, how about showing a little solidarity?

                  sorry but I don’t think you’re adding anything to the conversation here.

                  and yeah, Yves & co, I know that comes dangerously close to an ad hominem, but I hope on reflection this comment will be seen as a plea for thoughtful engagement.

                  1. Yves Smith

                    No, he’s being banned for gratuitous nastiness and selling disinformation about Covid. Agnotology is not on and he’s compounded his rule violation with cruelty wrapped in condescension. And he’s engaged in another violation, hogging bandwidth (as in commenting way out of proportion to any substantive addition).

            3. Yves Smith

              Anecdote is not data. And on top of that you have no idea if you in fact have been harmed. And you are trying to wrap that in libertarian tropes?

              Disinformation is not on here. Saying that Covid is no worse than a normal bug is false and I have no tolerance for you harming others by promoting complacency.

              Even those who have gotten asymptomatic Covid get long Covid )20% to 30%), show Alzheimers-like brain damage, get heart inflammation, kidney damage, etc.

              You are a danger to health and accuracy.

            4. Basil Pesto

              “Covid was flu-like”

              How do you know it wasn’t to many people?

              I know he’s gone but boy, that is truly one of the stupidest things I’ve ever read. Hats off.

        2. marym

          That retired military guy calling for war: “Call it peacekeeping, call it what you will…”!

          Carlson’s wrong and eliminationist about a lot of things, in ways that will hurt a lot of people, but if he supports an anti-war movement from the supposedly anti-interventionists on the right, that’s willing to find common cause with whatever still exists of an anti-war left, that would be worthwhile.

      2. Stick'em

        Gone are the days of my youth when Walter Cronkite would state “And that’s the way it is” without editorializing.

        It isn’t just Tucker Carlson who is an admitted character actor doing infotainment. Alex Jones’ lawyer also came out and admitted he’s an actor playing a role on the YouTube to escape prosecution:

        I imagine Rachel Maddow’s attorney would use a similar defense were she sued for her lead role in “Russia, Russia, Russia – Trump peed the bed!”

        The first person I can remember really doing an obvious soap opera character in the politcal arena was Rush Limbaugh. Rush somehow played a character right up there with Hulk Hogan and the Iron Sheik on WWF, yet people took him seriously enough for him to make $100 million from his show.

        The notion people are “too smart” to fall for this stuff simply isn’t true. The Illusory Truth effect is real:

        “Repeated information is often perceived as more truthful than new information. This finding is known as the illusory truth effect, and it is typically thought to occur because repetition increases processing fluency. Because fluency and truth are frequently correlated in the real world, people learn to use processing fluency as a marker for truthfulness.”

        1. jsn

          From links last month on how scale empowers stupidity.

          This is why complex technology/society requires equally complex governance.

          When complex society doesn’t have that, it empowers stupidity. Deregulation has produced a triumph of stupidity in my lifetime.

      3. Darius

        It’s a hell of a note when Tucker Carlson is lying less than anyone else covering an issue. It’s kind of like how Republicans are staking a claim to be the party of the working class based entirely on optics because the Democrats have surrendered the field.

        1. Mark Gisleson

          Don’t forget that pro-Republican news sources are practically the only folks reporting on Durham’s investigation. For the most part, they’re playing that close to the vest on facts and are not sensationalizing breaking news like they do with other topics.

          People forget that propagandists are the best writers. It’s easy for them to switch gears and play it straight. When Durham breaks everything wide open, Googlers will find solid reporting from Fox and friends, but the rest of the media’s going to look very, very bad to anyone who cares enough to look.

        2. Aumua

          Yes and you can bet if a republican / right wing administration were in office that you wouldn’t hear a peep of criticism about their handling of the Ukraine war (or anything else), and plenty of war drum beating and anti Russia/china sentiment instead. It’s been fun to watch the right media do a little dance around their natural war mongering bloodlust and close ties with the MIC and state power in general, in relation to the Ukraine.

          If Carlson and the like’s rhetoric happens to coincide with the truth here and there that still doesn’t mean you can trust a gd word they say.

      4. Katniss Everdeen

        Given the article that spawned this thread, it’s pretty rich that somehow Tucker Carlson’s veracity becomes the issue.

        No wonder the “intelligence” community feels comfortable not only pulling this shit but openly admitting it. Not to mention cooking up some sort of whacked-out “foreign policy” benefit from flat out government lying to the american people. As if Putin pays absolute attention to what nbc or cnn “reports” about Russia and conducts himself accordingly.

        I’d be willing to guarantee that Russia, China and probably most of the nato allies knew what was going on long before the revelation to ma and pa america of this genius “strategy.” I’d also be willing to guarantee that their first thought was what a pathetic mess this once great country has become.

        From Caitlin Johnstone:

        Just as the smear campaign against Julian Assange trained mainstream liberals to defend the right of their government to keep dark secrets from them, we may now be looking at the stage of narrative control advancement where mainstream liberals are trained to defend the right of their government to lie to them.

        jeezus h. christ.

    2. integer

      I like how someone felt the need to begin the article’s headline with “in a break with the past”.

      “Isn’t rock solid” is putting it pretty mildly, too.

      Nevertheless, NBC’s credulous readership will likely come away from the article feeling pretty good about how they played a part in defeating Putin by being lied to.

      This article is actually a pretty good example of a “limited hangout“:

      “Limited hangout” is intelligence jargon for a form of propaganda in which a selected portion of a scandal, criminal act, sensitive or classified information, etc. is revealed or leaked, without telling the whole story.

    3. Robert Hahl

      Let me get this straight. Our purpose in accusing Russians of doing things that they are not doing is to prevent them from preparing to do things that they are not preparing to do. I get it, I think.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Not quite. So we prepare and do such things in the west but first accuse the other side of doing them, especially if they aren’t. That way when they protest what we have done, we can claim that it is a lie as they are doing it already and claim the high ground. It’s Sociopath 101.

      2. Sardonia

        Ooo, so close. What you’re “getting” is the misdirection, rather than the magic trick – which is using the accusations to make $14 billion appear out of nowhere (Congress) to be given to Ukraine to prolong the war for US imperialistic purposes, despite the damage and death it will cause to the Ukrainians.

        1. Polar Socialist

          While the money is technically for Ukraine, most of it stays in the good ol’ USA. It pays for the weapons and other material, it pays for courses in Social Media Warfare for Victory (or some other essential issue like “Nongendered Military of the 21st Century”) by Atlantic Council or some lesser organization, it pays for the transfer of back and forth of the material and personnel and probably even a hefty amount of consulting on how all this can be done.

          1. jsn

            Yes! Of course it does.

            It’s a competitive economy and if “no where” (Congress, I like that) can produce trillions for the death, disease and insurance industries to mint new billionaires in response to a virus, of course “no where” should be happy to mint new defense billionaires for murdering Ukrainians and Russians.

            Leave no MOD behind (merchant of death). When they cook up the right propaganda to murder people outright for profit here, we’ll make even more billionaires.

              1. Mr. House

                OP is of course correct, but do you think they only do this with regards to the Ukraine?

      3. Zephyrum

        The comments above really nail the dynamic. When they talk about the rules-based international order, these are definitely high on the list of rules. It’s “the playbook”.

    4. pjay

      Remember when Donald Trump used to lie with impunity, and gleefully? The Establishment would go nuts and fact-check the hell out of him, and it didn’t matter. He’d just double-down – gleefully – and drive them even more crazy. Then they turned the tables on him, making up all kinds of s**t about Trump being Putin’s puppet. You could say the Establishment got the last laugh.

      But “Russiagate” was always about much more than Trump, or Hillary’s loss. We are now seeing its real purpose. And as Caitlin Johnstone points out in her article, the “liberal” media seems almost gleeful in their ability to lie with impunity to mess with Putin’s mind. Noble Lies for a higher cause, of course.

      1. Mr. House

        “the “liberal” media seems almost gleeful in their ability to lie with impunity to mess with Americas mind”

        Fixed it for you.

        1. pjay

          Yes. “Messing with Putin’s mind” is *their* rationalization. But we all know to whom this propaganda is really addressed.

            1. Skippy

              And what makes the Conservative neoliberal Brand any better or superior to the Liberal neoliberal Brand n’est-ce pas …

              Reminds me of an old Slurpee brand drink ad on the back of a bus I saw whilst driving, fit of hysterics took epic amounts of control driving in heavy flowing traffic.

              “The fruit shown is not indicative of real fruit or fruit flavors”.

              Disclaimer under the fruit explosion and dripping cool water advertisement taking up the whole of the back of the bus.

              The best bit is this is portrayed as a “Choice” to the unwashed …

      2. Skippy

        No one or nation is allowed to compete for dominate brand in the global market place of ideas. You may do so as long as it never threatens the dominate brand and its failures natural or induced can be made to highlight the dominate brands superiority e.g. you may partake of an alternate brand but suffer for its qualities and poor choice[tm].

        It should be noted that Americas #1 export for quite a long time has been media in gaining eyeball share globally via radio and television, most popular shows on the planet, now we have personal digital devices down to smart phones and algos directing eyeball traffic to the unaware.

        This is why I find the whole Tucker thing so surreal, like the FN Business that did some of the most egregious things to promote and vindicate the first ME and following wars, now seeming, has seen the light[tm] when it comes to the Russia/Ukrainian conflict. No Mea Culpa about the past and nary a word about why this time its – all the sudden – a completely different story. Especially the fixation on the individual T/F aspect when everything they say and do is what pops out of meetings before its aired. I mean what if its just to take the opposite side of an issue being peddled by the liberal media in retaining its core viewership, and nothing more, strategically placed to launch attacks of us vs them.

        Personally all these people are just the cheap plastic PR/Marketing wrapper applied by a machine back at the Mfg plant, after a bunch of MBAs and the C-Suite decide what good for you [supply-side style] and whats best for them = $$$$$$[.] The Idea that a Tucker or his flexian ilk really care about something is silly, then you have the useful breathers that get the flick when their use buy date expires and they attempt to retain income flows through pod casts or some other venture using other peoples money …

    5. CaliDan

      Is “In a break with the past” entering into this year’s World’s Strongest Man competition? Because it’s sure doing some funking heavy lifting.

    6. Maritimer

      “In a break with the past,…”
      What absolute drivel! “the past” includes all the lies, deceit, obfuscations from Vietnam, Panama, Grenada, Iraq 1&2, Twin Towers, Afghanistan, Serbia….
      MSM total disgrace.

  1. caucus99percenter

    Ah, the (gn)awesome Capybara as antidote — Rodentia Corp.’s top-o’-the-line model…

    1. Maritimer

      Unlike disadvantaged and crapped-on Humans, those capys don’t fool around in Brazil:

      “Nordelta is Argentina’s most well-known gated community: an enclave of spacious homes for the rich amid a dreamy landscape of lakes and streams north of Buenos Aires….

      In recent weeks, the community has been invaded by capybaras, who have destroyed manicured lawns, bitten dogs and caused traffic accidents.

      “They not only destroy gardens but their excrement has also become a problem,” one local man told the daily La Nación, complaining that local wildlife officials had prohibited residents from touching the large rodents.”

      A few of these dropped into the Hamptons with a box of fertility pills would do a world of good.

      1. Acacia

        Heh. “rodent vanguard of the class struggle”. Feral hogs they ain’t.

        As for the “problem” excrement, I thought(?) capybaras only poo in water. Maybe it doesn’t sound so good to say that your posh swimming pool was invaded by carpinchos?

        1. caucus99percenter

          > rodent vanguard of the class struggle

          The theoretical underpinnings were all laid out in The Bearded One’s “Gnaw Valley” series of zoo-topian novels for children, Das Capy-Tal

  2. Safety First

    Few things.

    1. Clarification on Peskov’s statement about “significant losses” – Peskov then clarified ( to Sky News (!) that he was talking about the March 25 Defence Ministry figures of 1351 dead and 3825 wounded. I believe this does NOT include the LDNR figures – DNR briefing on April 5 said they lost 760 dead and 3550 wounded (military) plus 180 dead & 820 wounded civilians. LNR I don’t know off hand, but probably something similar. So in total let’s say it’s about ~3k dead & ~10k wounded thus far. Chechnya 1 was officially 5732 KIA/MIA, Chechnya 2 was 4572 KIA. This is a much bigger war, but there is the context for what the Russian society is willing to tolerate at the very least (Chechnya 2 remains popular, Chechnya 1 is perceived as “we won the war but lost the peace” sort of thing) – PROVIDED they get some kind of a public victory out of the Ukraine war.

    2. Speaking of losses. DNR has just installed a new mayor of Mariupol’ (where fighting still continues), who said that approximately 5000 civilians have been killed (population 431k prewar), and the city will allocate 3 hectares (7.5 acres) for the burials. Blame in Russian social media is on Ukraine (natch!), but it seems to me this is kind of a bare minimum death rate in any city assault. So to me, personally, this is an enormous tragedy, but looking at it from a distance maybe it could have been a lot worse if the Russians had really wanted to kill a lot of people? Also tells you what we would be looking at with some of the larger cities if those had been assaulted directly.

    3. Not Ukraine related – per (, the Russian Ministry of Finance has submitted a draft bill to the Duma on regulation of cryptocurrencies. Quote – “comprehensive regulation of the cryptocurrency market, including transaction and issuance rules”. Taxation is also mentioned. Interestingly, the article states that the Central Bank wanted to ban the things outright, while the MinFin guys want to regulate and tax them. It will be interesting to see what ultimately happens, especially as it might be one of the first big regulatory laws on crypto anywhere? [Have not kept up with the legislative front.]

    1. Yves Smith

      To your point about what Russians will tolerate, I would argue that the LNR/DNR figures should not be counted. Those are ethnic Russians living in Ukraine. They are completely separate from the calculus for Russia as Russia.

      The people in Donbass have been at war for eight years. This is not elective. If they win, even at pretty high cost, I assume most will regard the outcome as better than ongoing bleeding and destruction.

      So for human costs to Russia, it’s the 1351 dead and 3825 wounded. You could be generous and add 10% of the DNR/LDNR losses on the assumption that some Russian soldiers were in the mix before the war broke out. But countering the idea that many Russian forces are with the militias is that some of them went back to Donetsk and Lugansk during the battle for Mariupol because those cities were under heavy attack and they went home to defend them before returning to Mariupol. That temporary reduction in manpower slowed the advance in Mariupol. I doubt you would have seen a defection of sorts like that if it had been a significantly Russian force.

      Patrick Lawrence has been filing a lot in Mariupol and talking to people on the street. Skeptics will say that his interlocutors have to blame Ukraine now that Russia has won, but his subjects (many) seem far too animated and specific in details as to what Ukraine hit when for this to be locals toadying to their new masters. They are uniform in saying it was Ukraine that repeatedly shelled the residential areas (they describe the trajectory of the shells as originating from Ukraine-held areas). And there’s not much reason for Russia to have done that, since the city is ethnic Russian.

      1. praxis

        Patrick Lancaster?

        Given the apparent mistreatment of residents by the Ukraine armed forces, I wouldn’t be surprised of a significant hesitancy to talk to, and criticize, the victorious group of armed forces. I’m pretty sure Patrick is escorted by DPR men.

        He has uploaded some reports of citizens critical of both sides, so i tend to think, while he has bias, he is a good source.

        Some of the Chechen videos i have seen, suggest a significant amount of Russian/Chechen caused property damage. So far I have not seen videos critical of the Chechen forces (i think, given bigotry and language differences, residents may be more likely to identify and criticize them).

        1. Lex

          Agreed. His bias is apparent but he’s not producing propaganda. I’ve seen the same thing where he doesn’t edit out the people who are angry at everyone. His bias towards humanity is also apparent. It appears that lately he’s been making trips into Mariupol to evacuate babushkas on his own dime. He’s also been in the DPR for quite a long time now, I assume his bias is from empathy.

          There’s definitely a lot of damage caused by “Allied” forces since Mariupol has Russian Marines, Chechen national guard and DPR forces. It is a war. I’ve noticed a lot of interviews (Lancaster and others) indicate that their apartment was shelled by Russian forces, but that those were response shellings from Azov putting units near the buildings and firing.

          I think there’s a lot of on the ground “propaganda” we don’t see. I’ve seen a fair number of videos of Chechens covering evacuees who are on foot and then loading them directly into their armored vehicles. Plenty of stories (though I doubt representative of all situations) where Russian/Chechen/DPR guys evacuate basements as soon as its safe to do so. The Chechens have also started delivering their own humanitarian aid. Also seems to be a concerted effort to contact families in Russia with news that their Mariupol residents are alive and safe.

          1. Yves Smith

            No, Lawrence (sorry my sloppiness re names strikes again, I don’t bond with them easily) is not embedded or escorted. He’s walked into some spots he thought was safe and had to run and no soldiers aiding in his rapid retreat.

            If you want a mouthpiece for the DPR, that’s Russell Bentley, and he’s up front about it.

      2. hemeantwell

        Early on I had seen reports that Mariupol was considered politically unreliable by the Ukraine regime and so Azov units were stationed there. This makes sense given that the ethnic distribution tilts Russian in that part of the country. This leads me to think residents expressions of relief are credible.

        1. jrkrideau

          IIRC Mariupol voted for independence along with the rest of the Oblast and was captured by Kievian forces at the beginning of the civil war. Certainly on a map it is part of the Donetsk Oblast though I am not sure of its administrative status. I would tend to see it as a city that has been occupied by the other side since early in the civil war.

        2. Paul Jurczak

          Mariupol is a key Ukrainian city on the shore of the Sea of Azov. Ultranationalist paramilitary groups were stationed there since the beginning of conflict in 2014. Azov Battalion acquired their name and infamy there. Definitely a relief for Russian speaking population.

      3. Dave in Austin

        Patrick Lancaster not Patrick Lawrence. See: With all his faults, he is the only real voice on the ground we have.

        But this is the truly disturbing event today. Supposedly two rockets hit the Kramatorsk rail station, killed 39 refugee civilians and wounded 87 more. The casualties appear to be real. In the past I’ve had serious doubts about the photos and claims in this war. But the pictures of this incident lead me to believe we are looking at a murderous fabrication.

        The first picture in the Guardian this morning (8192 credited to Fadel Senna AFP/Getty) shows three-or-four burned cars in front of the station and no damage to the station at all, none of the usual “peppered with shrapnel” marks on the wall or puncture damage on the cars. From the article, this was supposedly an air burst of shrapnel (thus no impact crater) but there are none of the artifacts of shrapnel.

        The second picture, the rear half of the rocket showing the rocket motor section with “for our children” painted on it, lying in front of the station (also labeled 8192 and from Fadel Senna), is unusual to say the least. It is the rear 10 feet of a rocket which according to the story is a Tochka-U. It is laying in the grass. According to Wikipedia, the Tochka-U rocket is a ballistic missile, 21 feet long and 2 feet wide that weighs 4,000 lbs and travels at mach 5 (3,000 mph). It has a circular probable error of 150 meters (meaning that half of them hit within 150 meters of the target). Even though it would have been traveling at 3,000 mph and heading down at a very steep angle, the rocket shown is almost undamaged, barely disturbed the grass and left no impact crater. We’ve have all seen pictures of 80 mph car wrecks and pictures of civilian airliners that hit the ground at 500 mph and leave a crater. Imagine what 4,000 lbs coming almost straight down and hitting the ground at 3,000 mph looks like?

        A third image credited to “Anadolu Agency Getty” at: shows about 20 pieces of luggage 50 yards down the platform from the station. Clear blood stains on the ground. But not one bit of shrapnel damage to ANY luggage. No damage to the luggage at all and no marks or indications of damage to the brick pavement. There are blood stains next to the only piece of luggage that is knocked over (the pink one in the center) but there is simply no actual damage to anything in the area. And no crater.

        The idea that two relatively inaccurate, 4,000 lbs missiles traveling at 3,000 mph would happen to hit two places where groups of innocent refugees are on a rail platform, and that the two 100 lb fragmentation air burst magically leave no marks on the walls, don’t puncture the sheet metal on cars, don’t damage the fiberglass luggage on the ground next to the blood, and barely dent the rocket body is well beyond unlikely.

        This article also has a fourth image (5586) which shows the rocket (labeled in the photo as a “Tochka-U”) from the rear next to three small trees. It lies at about a 30-45 degree angle to the front of the station on Railroad Avenue, again with no damage to the ground. Based on the angle and the Google earth picture which shows the three trees and the white roofed station with two wings at:,+Donetsk+Oblast,+Ukraine/@48.7256885,37.5394139,371m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x40df97a4c0ea9b9b:0x6cfddec1592678ec!8m2!3d48.738967!4d37.58435)

        the missile, if it actually flew in from the shown direction, came from about 260 degrees- slightly south of due west. This isn’t Russian-controlled territory. Personally, from the lack of an impact crater, I think it was just placed on the ground.

        But there are real dead and that is real blood. I have the sickening feeling that standard, non-shrapnel, explosives- terrorist bombs- were set off in the crowds on the train platform. Then a missile body was dropped on the ground nearby and the photographers were called in. If there are folks on Naked Capitalism with real, professional photo-interpreting experience, please chime-in.

        This is truly an atrocity… but by who?

        1. The Loan Gunmen

          Cluster munition scatters multiple bomblets over a wide area yielding the maximum amount of anti-personnel fragmentation. The weapon is designed to indiscriminately saturation kill formations maintaining combat spacing. Or a large crowd.

          Smerch (9M55K5) is a 300mm rocket with 600 submunitions which Russia previously used in Ukraine in 2014-2015.

        2. PlutoniumKun

          Thats an interesting catch.

          The Tochka is also used by the Ukrainians – probably older variations. The latest versions can apparently take a non-ballistic (cruise missile) mode if needed. The Guardian video certainly shows the mid-section of one, the fins are quite distinctive.

          It has a wide variety of warheads, maybe including some we don’t know about. As you say, there is no way this was either a HE or fragmentation warhead judging from the photographs – both leave unmistakeable damage (the railway station would have been entirely flattened). Cluster munitions likewise leave a very distinctive pattern of damage (multiple pockmarks or lots of shrapnel damage if they are air burst). Its inconceivable that any of that type of warhead could kill multiple people without apparently leaving a mark in their suitcases.

          The only type of warhead I can think that could kill while leaving so little obvious material damage is chemical or some sort of airburst HE or thermobaric weapon that detonated several hundred metres above the station. Or possible a HE weapon that provided a sufficient shockwave to kill, we just haven’t been shown the crater. The Iranian missiles that hit the US airbase a few years ago caused serious injuries to US personnel who were under cover and quite some distance from the blasts.

          I wouldn’t read too much into the state of the missile case – if it went directly into the ground it would of course vaporise, but sometimes the warheads detach prior to impact and the remainder spins and loses its momentum. I vaguely remember seeing photos of scuds and Houthi missiles that left identifiable remains of the boosters. But it does look suspiciously unmarked.

          1. Polar Socialist

            The Tochka is also used by the Ukrainians

            They were phased out in Russia years ago. Russian MoD says they have none anywhere near Ukraine.
            And yes, the engine of Tochka separates before impact, but obviously has the same trajectory.

            1. juno mas

              The trajectory of a ballistic missile like the Tochka has parts that separate at different times during flight. The motor shown in the photos I’ve seen should not be close to the warhead(s) after falling to earth.

              The warhead maintains its general shape (air resistance) after separation from the motor; the motor is not aerodynamic and tumbles while the warhead does not. The photo of the train station seems staged, to me. The blood splotches on the ground seem too regular to be natural.

              That’s not to say that people weren’t killed from munitions landing at the train station. I just don’t think the photo depicts that event.

              PS. The Tochka is propelled at no more than 2000 mph (not 3K, 3K Km/hr. yes.)

    2. David

      The western media has only ever reported on expeditionary wars by its own forces for a long time now. And neither the US media, nor that of the UK, has any experience of reporting on conflicts on its own territory or its own borders. Thus, the constant actuarial calculations about whether Iraq, Afghanistan, Mali etc. are “worth” the number of dead bodies. The current conflict in Ukraine isn’t like that. It’s seen by the Russians as an existential conflict, intended to redraw the map of Europe for generations, to permanently weaken or even destroy NATO, to drive the US out of Europe and to dominate the continent militarily. All this in pursuit of what they see as their legitimate security interests. So what level of casualties are you prepared to accept for such objectives? The Russian argument against those who believe the “price is too high” will presumably be that any number of alternative scenarios are in fact likely to be worse, and will involve more suffering in the end.

      1. hemeantwell

        That’s exactly the point I try to make when arguing with humanitarian absolutists who cannot bring themselves to even sample realist thinking. Security calculations always relativize human life. What is the cost of a death now compared with three later? Once the myth of NATO as a life preserving endeavor goes out the window, replaced by understanding it as an alliance with an offensive capacity, the Russians become an opposing force making an estimate of the ratio of current to future deaths. What this implies about the obligatory charge that the war is ‘illegal’ is not entirely clear, but if it can be regarded as preemptive we’re getting into a very gray area. It seems that all of this flows directly from the idea of a ‘legitimate sphere of interest, but in the current screechfest the realists are hunkered down.

      2. Robert Gray

        > The current conflict in Ukraine isn’t like that. It’s seen by the Russians as an existential conflict,

        Yes. VVP said as much at the beginning, when he announced the operation.

        > intended to redraw the map of Europe for generations, to permanently weaken or even destroy NATO,
        > to drive the US out of Europe and to dominate the continent militarily.

        Really?!? Sorry, but that looks a lot like Pentagon-think.

      3. playon

        I find talk of Russia planning to dominate Europe, restore their empire and “drive out the US” somewhat hyperbolic, but the US has helped the Russians greatly by sanctioning Russian natural gas which will cause much pain for ordinary citizens of the EU. The upshot of this may be increasing social unrest and more elections in the EU being won by far right candidates.

        1. David

          I specifically didn’t say that the Russians were intending to restore their empire, although I know others have. I don’t think that’s the plan at all, and if it were, it would be beyond their capabilities.

          They see NATO as a threat, and they believe that they would be more secure if the alliance actually broke apart, or at least was badly weakened. They want the US out of Europe and out of its directing role. I think that at least the first of these is already in progress: NATO is an empty container when push comes to shove. They also want to deal with individual European states rather than the EU, which may actually find itself being increasingly marginalised on foreign policy issues.

          I think the strategic objective is simply to be the dominant military power in Europe, and to have the kind of political relationship with Western Europe that flows from that. A bit like the US and Latin America. Given the size of the country, it’s not an unreasonable objective. Which is to say that you ain’t seen nothing yet.

          1. playon

            Sorry David — I didn’t mean to put words in your mouth as far as the Russian empire comment, but I have seen people making that argument on twitter etc so wanted to include that.

          2. integer

            It’s not so much that Russia sees NATO as a threat. NATO is, and has been, actively hostile towards Russia. It’s a credit to Russia that they have been willing to engage in, and seek solutions via, diplomacy for so long with those who they know would destroy them, given half a chance.

            IIRC you used to work for the UK government. Out of interest, how much responsibility for the situation we now find ourselves in would you assign to the words and actions of your previous employer?

        2. hemeantwell

          For someone to claim the Russians want to restore an empire, sort of like acting out a Tsarist impulse — it’s hard to find words that don’t set off comment management — reflects a kind of autistic inability to put themselves in the other side’s shoes.

          I’ll probably end up overselling her book, but Carolyn Eisenberg’s thorough account of the breakdown of the Big Three WW2 accord in Drawing the Line is in a strong sense a chronicle of how segments of the US and British elites failed to take Soviet security needs seriously. After Roosevelt’s death there was a progressive inattention, or deliberate disinterest, in the way in which — and this should ring a bell — foot dragging on denazification and decartelization, along with endless dithering around on getting reparations going, led the Soviets to conclude that they had to go their own way on security provisioning. To the disinterested, Germany had to get up and running again for the European economy to work, and even when the Soviets tried to accommodate that idea but with security-oriented provisos they were fobbed off. It is impossible to read the book and not have “first tragedy, then farce” come to mind, particularly when you see how some people on the US side tried to raise the alarm but were ignored.

      4. Polar Socialist

        Just by going with what the Russians have said, they would have preferred Europe that puts the benefit of Europe before that of the USA and has good relations with Russia in regards to economy, culture and security.

        If that cannot be, they now seem to be willing to forget EU and check back in a decade or two if there’s any mood for detente then.

    3. digi_owl

      Well for one thing, it does not seem like Russia is doing any area bombing.

      Nor are there much talk about incendiaries, beyond perhaps thermobaric.

  3. GramSci

    9:38: Zelensky wants to negotiate one-on-one with Putin.

    9:39 After Russia withdraws to January borders.

      1. Screwball

        It depends on who you talk to I guess or maybe the power of propaganda.

        Example; I just read some PMC types who buy into whatever CNN, MSNBC, NYT, and the WaPo tell them. One said, “Zelensky is the strongest leader on the planet right now and it’s not even close.” It gets better. “Some have commented on the similarities to Churchill – and there are some – he is that uniquely gifted person who was in the position at a time when the world needed it most.”

        These same people want to ban Russia anything from anywhere, a no-fly zone, and it’s time to get NATO involved. If I could see them I think they would be frothing at the mouth in their blood-lust for anything Russia. Of course they are all die hard Russiagaters, don’t believe in Hunter’s laptop, and sleepy Joe is a pillar of leadership, strength, and cognitive ability.

        We are so screwed.

          1. Screwball

            Thanks for that Rev. Wow, just wow.

            What does it tell us when the spinmeisters of propaganda can take this guy and turn him into a global hero in the matter of months? Not to mention all the Ukraine flags in our yards, the flag on our avatars and home screens. People, businesses, state governments (Ohio just announced the police are donating gear to the war effort) rushing to help the war effort. It is truly amazing what we are seeing.

            I stop and shake my head. What about Yemen, Libya, Syria, the thousands we left to starve in Afghanistan, our other imperialists mis-adventures around the globe?

            Never in my life have I watched anything like this, and I’m 65 years old. Orwell would be proud.

          2. Polar Socialist

            I may be wrong but I think in a recent video his adviser (and friend) Oleksiy Arestovych said that Zelensky on purpose downplayed the probability of the Russian invasion during the countdown to specifically stop the people from evacuating the border areas.

            Evacuations haven’t really been the forte of the “Zelensky regime”.

            1. Paul Jurczak

              Good point. Add to it preventing people from using evacuation corridors from Kiev and alleged false flag strike on passenger terminal of the train station in Kramatorsk. Gotta keep the human shields in place.

        1. JohnA

          Zelensky is the weakest ‘leader’ on the planet more like. He was voted in on a make peace with Russia platform, went to Donbass to tell the Azov guys to withdraw and stop bombing, so he could implement the Minsk accords. They told him to go back to Kiev either himself or they would send him back in a box. The Americans told him not to even dare implement Minsk, and keep up the shelling. Putin said stop it or else.
          He did nothing, so Putin acted accordingly.
          Now all Zelensky does is play the statesman in zoom calls to fauning audiences. A pathetic little man whose weakness is causing prolonged death and more suffering.

          1. Screwball

            But they gave him a standing ovation at the Grammys. :-)

            I think he’s nothing but a CIA puppet put in place to help war toy companies get rich.

        2. Maritimer

          “I just read some PMC types who buy into whatever CNN, MSNBC, NYT, and the WaPo tell them.”
          Big problem: if everyone swallows all the Koolaids being pumped out, is there anyone left to detect the Koolaids might be poison?

    1. Michael Ismoe

      He also said that the Ukraine would never use the weapons to attack Russian territory. When reminded that they had struck the fuel depot in Russia, he said it wasn’t us. Perhaps our friends at NATO are freelancing?

  4. PlutoniumKun

    Jerks Consortium News. Well worth a read.

    Excellent article, and the reasoning chimes with why I’ve cut back on trying to follow all the details of whats going on with Ukraine. To understand the Wests response to Ukraine (and covid), you have to lower your IQ by at least 20 (or in modern terminology, 4 Covid subvarients).

    1. fresno dan

      from the article:
      Second, it is manifestly obvious that our society is not capable of conducting an honest, logical, reasonably informed discourse on matters of consequence. Instead, we experience fantasy, fabrication, fatuousness and fulmination. At a more personal level, this impression is reinforced by messages from persons whom I’ve known and respected telling me that I’m in the pay of Russian President Vladimir Putin, “mad,” “too clever by half,” “a Furtwaengler fan” (Netrebko=Furtwaengler=Hitler), a “closet Bolshevik,” a conspiracy monger, “never met a payroll” (? don’t ask me), and/or “crossed a line” — red, amber, green or any other damn color.
      We are no longer in a secular world, but a system of beliefs akin to religion where faith in certain precepts (Russia bad, markets good) supplants any critical analysis of these precepts is bad and makes one a heretic.

    2. DJG, Reality Czar

      PlutoniumKun and fresno dan: Agreed. His assessment of McFaul is on the mark, and he skewers Ted Cruz. I think that he is too kind to Nuland (who is malign and appalling) and Antony “Banality of Evil” Blinken. They are jerks, too.

      And he closes with: “So, trying to analyze the kaleidoscopic conditions they [jerks] produce is deeply frustrating and dispiriting. I give up. That won’t make any difference one way or the other. It would allow for a leisured visit to Montevideo to listen to Russian soprano Anna Netrebko sing Un bel dì, vedremo (One fine day, we’ll see.)”

      Yes, the aria in Madama Butterfly, in which Cio-Cio-San explains to Suzuki how things will be beautiful when Pinkerton returns to her in Japan (the setting is Nagasaki, yes, Nagasaki, art as prophecy). Yet Benjamin Franklin Pinkerton is one of the great jerks of literature and music. When he does show up again, with wife Kate in tow, they confiscate the boy he had with Cio-Cio-San.

      By then, even this Reality Czar is wiping the tears off his cheeks.

      Let’s hope that Michael Brenner (and Craig Murray) just need some time off during this difficult season. And come out swinging once again (if anything, to avenge Cio-Cio-San).

  5. timbers

    “I remain utterly perplexed…to what degree leaders will end up accountable for causing global famines and mass poverty if they go ahead with this policy.”

    Well, those sanctions benefit the oligarchs and donors that run our society – many of whom become fantastically wealthier in part because of them. Think of the huge increase in earnings oil and energy companies will make. Millions going hungry and cold and dying is such a small price to pay especially when you also look at weapons manufacturing profits, too. Also, I’d wager that the Fed will use this as it’s latest excuse to spend trillions more to buy stuff that rich folks own (quantitative easing) so they can get richer by that route as well. The rich are going to need that extra help from the Fed to hoard supplies, build safety bunkers and honestly in times like these having 2 or 3 mansions isn’t enough in war times. More like 4 or 5.

    Bernie is only one person but his message has the potential to become powerful, so the more America’s empire building and fights with the rest of the world take up the headlines, the less space for Bernie. On a similar note, has anyone sited AOC and the squad recently? Have they dissapeared?

    1. gettin ready to fry

      AOC missing in action?

      I note the same thing. Suddenly she is invisible. Have the authorities (social media, news media and government) commenced canceling her?

    2. Geo

      My guess is they’ve been locked in a DNC basement by party leadership to protect the “moderates” in the impending midterm massacre.

      “Nancy Pelosi ‘blamed’ progressives AOC and Pramila Jayapal for ‘vying to be queen bee’ and claims Democrats have alienated Hispanic and Asian American by talking about socialism and abortion”

      Side note: I find it darkly funny that Pelosi is blaming a Latina and an Asian rep for alienating Hispanic and Asian voters. Also, interesting to note “talking about abortion” is now against Dem leadership doctrine. Guess women’s rights don’t matter anymore?

      1. Mr. House

        “Democrats have alienated Hispanic and Asian American by talking about socialism and abortion””

        You mean telling people for years they’re all racists doesn’t alienate the largest voting block in the country?

        “Guess women’s rights don’t matter anymore?”

        They never believed in them to begin with, since you know, my body my choice got flipped on its head last year.

        1. Mr. House

          If you look at things objectively, democrats have done everything in their power to alienate independents (like myself) from even not opposing their programs anymore.

  6. Dean

    It’s going to take a minimum of 2-5 years to realign the energy system, and in that time far too many people may die from the imbalances that are going to be caused by this policy.

    Maybe this is the desired outcome?

    1. Robert Hahl

      Talking about this idea as a real possibility seems to be the desired outcome right now, to preclude questions about whether the US really has enough excess LNG to supply Europe. With Russian supplies diverted to China, the West will probably face permanent energy shortages, and most of our gas will not be exported. This is why Michael Hudson suggested that Europeans get used to being something like Puerto Rico, and just use the US dollar as it’s currency. Sounds right. Take a look at BASF’s stock price, which has been weak for a long time and now going lower still.

      1. Dean

        There are smart people in government. They have to be screaming in to the void at the stupidity of this whole situation and the effect of the resultant policy choices being made.

        Our interests are not a priority. But then again the immediate and unwavering support for Ukraine and willingness to accept everything we’re being told and go along with it…my head hurts.

    2. jsn

      Judging from the rehabilitation (underway) of Cuomo, the governing class has as yet received no negative feedback for a million unnecessary domestic deaths.

      As Neuburger says in his post this morning, “If the wealthy had ever planned to save our species from the coming catastrophe, they’d be doing so now and we’d be watching them do it.”

      The war can be looked at as the fossil fuel industries take over of the party of finance through that parties recent infatuation with spooks, who’s aligned agencies are the worst fossil fuels spendthrifts in the world.

  7. Ignacio

    The capybara is a young one. She’s watching the photographer. Has even managed to look flirtatious. Beware. I she makes her cuiii-cuiii song you might fall in love.

  8. The Rev Kev

    “Ethnic Greek Azov Fighter Overshadows Zelensky Speech at Greek Parliament”

    A trial balloon perhaps? So Zelensky brings on a Nazi as part of his speech to see if he has made them acceptable in the west yet. Nope. The Greeks, with raw memories of what happened to them in WW2, aren’t having a bar of it because they know exactly who this guy is actually representing. And with over 90,000 Greek-Ukrainians living in the Ukraine, they would have long ago heard how they are regarded by the Azov people in that country.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I was wondering myself if it was a trail balloon for the reasons you mention or…. if its deemed to be required that he has a ‘minder’ beside him at all times outside Kiev. Just to remind him of the value of keeping to his script.

    2. Zzzz Andrew

      A Greek colleague (here in the US) tells me that her 80-year-old mother was handed a pamphlet by a young neighborhood shopkeeper: (sotto voce) “Kyria __, you are an educated woman, read this! Don’t believe the news, it’s NATO and the Americans who are pushing this war. Read it, bring it back and we’ll talk about it!” Amazing.

    3. ddt

      Next Zely went to speak to the Cypriot parliament. Never a mention of the Turkish invasion of 1974. When the president of the Cypriot parliament replied that Cypriots know of invasion and the horrors associated, the link cut away. Sudden technical issues. Not all invasions cut from same cloth perhaps?

      Was wondering re the Azovian brought to the Grk parliament, how come he tried this with Greece? It’s not like greeks haven’t toed the Nato line, opening up northern port of Alexandroupoli for arms shipments up that way.

  9. Kevin Smith

    Whitewashing Ukraine’s Corruption. The American Con⚡⚡ervative
    [fixed it for you …]

    1. Questa Nota

      That would be a bi-partisan effort with, for example, the Burisma scions like Biden, Pelosi, Romney and Kerry fils influencing their elders.

    1. doug

      powerful. thanks. Long ago we used a vulgar phrase:
      Fighting for peace is like ____ for virginity.
      She said it much nicer.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Never cross an Irish colleen with Clare Daly sticking it here to the European Parliament once again. An oddity here. That ‘MEP Angel Dzhambazki, fined one day prior for performing a nazi salute in the parliament’ is actually a Bulgarian so I would be curious to know who his ultimate financial backers are. Sounds like he would a have a lot in common with Steve Bannon-

      1. OIFVet

        Dzhambazki is a clown and a pest rolled into one. Any backing he and his party may currently have is probably in the BG diaspora in Chicago, lots of BG-Macedonians there still dreaming of Macedonia as a BG province. I have seen him in Chicago schmoozing the BG community there.

  10. Randy

    “Peter Thiel claims ‘finance gerontocracy’ is holding back bitcoin FT.”

    No matter who wins we lose on this one but hate to say I gotta back the gerontocrats.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I feel Thiel bought at the top, and the kids have no money. With the interconnected world, everyone knows about crypto or has it explained and goes that’s stupid. The old rich people who arent in crypto are the ones left.

  11. KD

    We can all argue about the clear-headedness of the proposed sanctions in the long term, but I have to wonder if part of the motivation for this stuff is that the political elites can legally trade on all these policies–knowing they are coming down the pike–and make massive profits speculating. Its a real question.

  12. Wukchumni

    While not a top enemy of Bitcoin nor part of a finance gerontocracy, I do come from old money, but not that kind. I’ve been to a few Jimmy Buffett concerts and he’s related to Warren, but that’s where my 6 degrees of separation ends.

    When it all ends in tears (curiously right around the tricentennial of the Mississippi & South Sea Company bubbles) i’m not so worried about the Thiel’s of the world going berserk, it’s the guy (i’m taking a wild stab here and would say 85% of the action is by males and 75% of that is right to hard right politically) who in theory made $785k and then all of the sudden is worth nothing, he’s gonna be really upset.

    They more than likely told everybody they knew how smart they were to buy when they did and how well they’ve done, so everybody they know is going to brand them as losers when things come a cropper.

    Cryptocoin becomes Cry P’to (the sound one makes when spitting something out) Coin

      1. Geo

        Curious how crypto retirement will work when raw materials needed to sustain the digital ecosystem run low, costs skyrocket, and climate collapse and social meltdown lead to power grid instability.

        Short version: I don’t remember Mad Max using his iPhone to buy gas and water with Etherium from his Coinbase app.

  13. The Rev Kev

    “Collecting Bodies in Bucha, Ukraine”

    As others like Scott Ritter have pointed out, without a proper exam you do not know who is responsible for all of those bodies. Certainly it is true that those in charge in the Ukraine would consider the war a perfect excuse to purify the nation of traitors, dissidents and especially Russian-speakers. Bonus points for using some of those bodies to accuse the Russians of a massacre, And western media like the New Yorker get yet another piece to tug at the sympathy strings. But I remain skeptical because of a video I saw earlier. It seems that the Ukrainians are refusing to take the bodies of their dead soldiers in combat areas. Yes, the family would like closure but by refusing to take those bodies, Zelensky and co. get to hide the true death toll among Ukrainian soldiers which would not fit the narrative that they are trying to tell. Here is that video but have no idea what those Russian speakers are saying- (2:37 mins) – Not Safe For Work

    1. Paul Jurczak

      Short version: DNR collected 2,500 bodies of Ukrainian fighters, both regular and para. Each body was registered and tissue sample was collected. Requests to Ukrainian authorities to collect the bodies went unanswered. Bodies are being burried due to limited morque capacity.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Belated thanks for that. I could see that there was some processing going on but had no idea what they were saying.

  14. Donald

    Here is an AP piece about the maternity hospital.

    They have eyewitnesses who contradict the eyewitness who said the Russians didn’t do it. So the eyewitnesses cancel out. They also claim the crater is too big to have been made by artillery. That last part, in theory, is something people could check. It is beyond my abilities.

    I read all the responses to my post yesterday about Russians murdering people in Bucha. I agree that the Ukranian government lies constantly and so do the Americans and the Western press is biased in an extreme way. I could almost have written the Jacobin piece about Ukranian neoNazis and the Orwellian coverage just from what I have googled for myself. ( Well, my hypothetical piece wouldn’t have been as good, but it has been easy to see the Orwellian switch if you look at past articles on that subject.)

    But I think the Russians lie too. The Airwars site says US bombing in the Mideast killed more civilians in the same time period ( after 2014) than Russian bombing. Both governments lied. The US would admit a civilian death toll that was a tiny fraction of the reality. The Russians never admitted to killing a single civilian. From that alone I don’t trust either government.

    I think it is a pretty safe rule that in most if not all wars, both sides are more brutal than they admit. Both sides will commit war crimes and lie about it.

    1. nippersdad

      The question that arises from the Russian denial of killing civilians comes down to the definition of what is a war crime, though. It has been established that the Ukrainian government has turned out the prisons and armed civilians to wage war against Russia, so technically they may be killing civilians, but they are weaponized ones which puts them in a definitional gray area that cannot be determined in the fog of war that presently exists.

      Since the inception of the war it has been said that the primary objective of the slow approach is to protect civilian populations, so the contrast of those who decry their killing with the regular approach of “shock and awe’ that they never had a problem with before is definitely something that becomes relevant when discussing who is catapulting the propaganda, here. On balance, the question should be of who is deliberately lying, and as the Russians have shown no propensity to engage with the informational war they should get the benefit of the doubt.

      1. David

        As I’ve pointed out before, “civilian” is not a relevant category here. The law distinguishes between combatants and non-combatants. A “civilian” (ie someone who is not a member of a uniformed and disciplined military force) is a combatant if they are carrying arms or taking an active part in military operations. There’s no ambiguity about that.

        1. nippersdad

          The only difference of which I am aware is the presence of weaponry. Who here believes that it is not possible to disarm a corpse prior to taking pictures and sending them to the British held UN chair of the Human Rights Council?

        2. nippersdad

          One might also point out that the US has defined enemy combatants as any male between, like, six and eighty who happen to be within the blast zone of whatever munitions we are trying to get rid of so that we can order some more prior to an election.

          That leaves quite a bit of leeway, there.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            And anyone who is part of the double tap routine. If you respond to an explosion, you must have been a terrorist.

            1. The Rev Kev

              Which takes in family members, friends, neighbours, firefighters and ambulance people.

      2. Paul Jurczak

        Precisely. Grandma with a Molotov cocktail in her hand is not a civilian. War IS hell.

        1. Anthony G Stegman

          Legally, the grandmother brandishing a molotov cocktail is a legitimate target for a Russian soldier. Killing her would not be considered a war crime.

    2. Anthony G Stegman

      The Russians have not denied killing civilians. What they have denied is purposely targeting civilians. That is a big difference that western media ignores completely. The media also ignores the numbers of civilians who have armed themselves to fight the Russians. These are not “innocent civilians”.

  15. David

    The Le Monde article in English is not bad, though you need to remember that Le Monde itself is the house organ of the French PMC, and has been tirelessly boosting Macron since the beginning. The fact that there has been relatively little coverage of the campaign so far is partly because Le Monde (and others) have decided to fill the media space with non-stop coverage about Ukraine to avoid writing about Macron’s problems, about which the article is silent too. It’s also true that, like the rest of the media, Le Monde wrote off Le Pen’s chances several months ago, in spite of what they now say. But that’s the media for you.

    That said, the article gives a reasonably fair presentation of the situation. What it doesn’t say, since curiously it doesn’t provide a tabulation of the percentage support for each candidate, is that the “anti-system” candidates now have the support of the majority of the French electorate. If you include Zemmour and Le Pen, with several very minor figures, on the Right, and Mélenchon, Roussel (the Communist candidate) and several very minor figures on the Left, you rapidly arrive at 60% of the electorate. Of the traditional parties of Left and Right, the Socialist candidate is on 2,5% and the candidate of the traditional Right is on 8,5%. Think about that. Jadot, the Ecologist, is on 6,5% but his core electorate is middle-class professionals who have done their bit to save the planet by buying two electric cars, and he’s really part of the establishment. Even Macron, who came to power precisely on a wave of disgust against the traditional parties, still reflects that desire for change among some of his electorate. Which is to say that the real message here is large-scale and long-term disenchantment with the system. If Macron wins in the second round, the situation will get worse. If Le Pen wins …. I really have no idea.

      1. Anthony G Stegman

        Is Victoria Nuland on the case? Will there be an Arch de Triumphe coup if LePen defeats Macron?

      1. PlutoniumKun

        The economist has been running this sort of article for half a century at least, you can usually rely on them to pop up 3 or 4 times a year. They love nothing better than eurosclerosis (as they used to call it) articles.

        A list of most valuable companies isn’t a good guide to a countries success. Many US ones have probably just arise thanks to mergers and monopolies. A few are unicorns. Quite a few Chinese ones I would guess are Evergreens. Although many are getting there, very rapidly, for the moment few Chinese companies are really at the cutting edge of making things that are really useful in comparison to Japanese, Korean, US and German equivalents.

        The only thing that matters in comparing countries economically is productivity per person (and even that can be deceptive for a variety of reasons). Other metrics have very little real use, imo.

        1. Anthony G Stegman

          I agree. Monopolistic companies can be very large, but there existence doesn’t mean that the economy is healthy. The US leads the world in billionaires. Should that be celebrated? I think not.

  16. Wukchumni

    My Kevin (since ’07) is leading a bipartisan delegation of lawmakers to the Ukrainian border in Poland, where it is expected if prevailing winds allow for it, Congressmen & Congresswomen will attach Javelins & Switchblade drones to helium filled balloons (along with a bill, F.O.B. Kyiv) and launch them towards the brave Ukrainian freedom fighters!

    1. Anthony G Stegman

      The Russia-Ukraine conflict is providing unlimited opportunities for taxpayer funded boondoggles. Nancy Pelosi may be going to Taiwan at taxpayer expense really to check out the latest sorbet machines. And maybe to score some silk scarves.

  17. digi_owl

    Calling on a revolutionary youth movement. Bad when the commies does it, good when the capitalists does it.

  18. TroyIA

    I’m conflicted. On the one hand at this rate Congress will need to send out relief checks to help pay for food and gas. But if they send them out before November then they are admitting just how bad things are which will hurt the Democrats election chances.

    Food prices hit record high in March, U.N. agency says

    World food prices jumped nearly 13% in March to a new record high as the war in Ukraine caused turmoil in markets for staple grains and edible oils, the U.N. food agency said on Friday.

    The Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) food price index, which tracks the most globally traded food commodities, averaged 159.3 points last month versus an upwardly revised 141.4 for February.

    The February figure was previously put at 140.7, which was a record at the time.

    1. Michael Ismoe

      “There will be no more direct payments to American citizens.”

      President Manchin

      I guess the Ukies need the money.

  19. The Rev Kev

    “What Lessons Does Putin’s War in Ukraine Teach China?”

    I would guess that China would be learning all sorts of lessons-

    -If you don’t hang together with your allies, you will hang separately.
    -Prepare to have any assets held overseas to be stolen.
    -Forget trying to get your viewpoint known as the entire western media is a propaganda operation.
    -Investigate all material & financial vulnerabilities and mitigate as much as possible.
    -If trouble develops, immediately fly all artwork on loan back to the homeland before it is seized.
    -Game out all possible sanctions, no matter how ludicrous that they seem.
    -Determine how you can turn up the pain dial on the west. e.g. medicines.

    And so on. It is coming and they know it. They are next.

    1. nippersdad

      Re: “-If trouble develops, immediately fly all artwork on loan back to the homeland before it is seized.”

      I don’t know why this has shocked me so much more than anything else. It is just so damn petty. I never had a high opinion of our overlords, but this engendered a level of disgust that I didn’t think possible at this late date in the game.

    2. Louis Fyne

      and the western media will stand aside if the crowd madness vilifies your people as subhuman.

      and unless one “Pearl Harbors” the US, no politician or citizenry in the West is willing to die for some country that they barely know or can locate on a map.

    3. RobertC

      TRK — most excellent insights, especially Game out all possible sanctions, no matter how ludicrous that they seem. I believe China, as well as Russia, had done this for the past several years. The artwork seizure is a propaganda mistake by Europe.

    4. jrkrideau

      Game out all possible sanctions, no matter how ludicrous that they seem.

      But, but, who would have thought to game the international cat sanction?

      I imagine China’s MFA has been expanding its range of political games rather rapidly and in a lot of weird areas.
      I wonder what India is doing after those not-to-subtle threats from the USA?

      To paraphrase Yves’ question from yesterday, “Has the US State Department gone totally mad?”

        1. nippersdad

          I don’t know how or where they are stored, but just imagine China donating them to starving countries to buy grain this year from the US. The PR would write itself, and food prices in the west would soar even as China sits on massive reserves and can buy all they want from Russia at a discount.

    1. RobertC

      Michael — RF is certainly challenged, but China and India watching their responses know this is the moment in history for global change. Fascinating!

      This is stunning news. Especially as UN-abstainers Israel and China are drawing closer with technology and manufacturing relationships and Israel’s ports privatization while the US looks on anxiously. It’s not clear how much longer Israel can maintain its East-West balance. I quite agree this is a historical moment.

    2. RobertC

      Michael — I just learned that FM Yair Lapid is scheduled to become PM next year. His position on the safety of Israel’s civilians is “maximum Jews on maximum land with maximum security and with minimum Palestinians.” The historical moment continues…

  20. nippersdad

    Just a general frivolous observation, but if Washington is truly responsible for the Zelensky propaganda tour maybe they need to think about getting getting more camera friendly Nazis to represent their freedom fighters in Ukraine.

    One would think that Hollywood could find less thuggish looking people to cast for the part.

    1. Screwball

      I’ve always assumed Washington is responsible. Ever since I read John Perkins “Confessions of an Economic Hitman” I have assumed that is the business model behind just about everything that “we” do.

      Why not more friendly Nazis? They need to think? Given what I’ve seen coming out of DC for quite some time now, thinking is out of the question. These people couldn’t pour piss out of a boot if the directions were on the bottom.

      1. nippersdad

        I routinely see assessments that such as Nuland and her Husband are the brightest people in the room, but nothing that has transpired since (at least) Afghanistan has proven that they have any common sense whatsoever. There is nothing about our fall in the esteem of the rest of the world that could not have been predicted twenty years ago.

        Bleeding the world, and the country for that matter, for a few bucks and the opportunity to beat up other countries has proven to be a policy failure without historic parallels of which I am aware; they are going to live long enough to prove the assertion that the Hamptons are not a defensible position within their own lifetimes. Genghis at least had a plan that outlived him, Hitler and Napoleon still had a country left after trying to sack Moscow. I’m not sure the same will be said for us. I love living in Georgia, but I am not sure that I would love being governed by Marjorie Taylor Greene as president of the new Republic of the former Confederate States.

        We owe them so much, and I am in hopes that they get it sooner rather than later.

    2. Polar Socialist

      If the narrative is that there are no Nazis in Ukraine, it’s impossible to tell to Zel that his Nazis should be more photogenic. If you don’t believe in your own propaganda, why would anybody else believe it…

    3. fresno dan

      One would think that Hollywood could find less thuggish looking people to cast for the part.
      how about ILSA, she wolf of the $$?

  21. Lex

    Politico on ideological refugees from Russia

    It’s interesting in several ways, but in the end I feel bad for these young people. Most of them are disillusioned with their ability to effect political change in Russia. Unsaid is a belief that things are different in the West. We get a few quotes like, “Putin’s generation grew up in the post-Soviet era of exhilarating upheaval. They ate at McDonald’s, read Harry Potter and danced to Rihanna.” In other words, they’re mostly too young to remember what “post-Soviet upheaval” was actually like. Exhilarating is a stretch. They remember the stabilized Russia, not post-Soviet Russia. I’m not putting them down. This is how societies progress.

    I do find it funny that so many name check Navalny, who has said Ukraine should never get Crimea back and has a pretty deep streak of ethnic-Russian nationalism (mostly expressed as “mild” anti-Islam rhetoric). Still and in disagreement with them in the “old man” shaking his head at the kids who have a lot to learn way, I respect their opinions and their actions. I imagine that many of their parents had similar ideals about the West when they were young in the post-Soviet years; their folks probably have had enough exhilaration to last a lifetime.

  22. Jason Boxman

    So the vaccine mandates have been felled. From a tech company I’m familiar with:

    Effective June 1, [company] will encourage vaccination for in-person interaction,
    but will no longer require associates, contractors, or visitors to be vaccinated and to provide proof of vaccination.

    We are evolving our approach in alignment with our COVID-19 safety standards, which take into account in-country conditions, norms, and legal requirements. In the United States, caseloads have fallen and the federal contractor mandate has been paused by the courts.

    Associates who have provided proof of vaccination (~95% of our U.S. population) do not need to take any further action.

    This company was fully and aggressively onboard with vaccination as a requirement for in-person interaction long before it was a mandate, and strictly enforced vaccination as a requirement due to federal contractor status. There were several spirited, at times angry discussions about this on mailing lists that were squelched, including by those pointing out that the contractor mandate would likely get tied up in court. I assume some of these people have since left to avoid the mandate. Sad.

    Today, it is open house at the company US offices and people are free to wander about, without wearing a respirator, and I get the impression many are. In one office there was a big re-opening party. I wish them the best of luck in avoiding infection.

  23. David

    Jacobin again, pushing back on the US government making stuff up about Ukraine. Martecic is showing promising signs of independent thinking, and they are still publishing him.

    1. Ignacio

      Wll all other media that have been buying US intelligence like crazy ever acknowledge this? I cannot imagine El Pais doing the same or retracting on anything.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Most still haven’t bothered apologising for spreading deliberate misinformation before the Iraq War.

  24. JBird4049

    >>>Instacart claims it’ll now protect workers’ tips even when *sshole customers bait and switch

    It’s always nice to see how entitled and self centered people can be. “F*** you, I got mine” is the motto.” IIRC, the tips are offered as an incentive to more quickly deliver the order, and then deleted. A bait and switch. I am not sure that it even works as the delivery times are probably based on location and driver availability, not enthusiasm. Really, in the United States, tips are often the main source of the worker’s pathetic pay. On those times I have had food delivered, I always tip even though I often don’t have much money for that reason.

  25. Anthony G Stegman

    The “jerks” article in Consortium News shown in the Links is excellent and well worth reading.

  26. flora

    From The Grayzone:

    How the organized Left got Covid wrong, learned to love lockdowns and lost its mind: an autopsy
    by Christian Parenti

    It is hard to destroy your own cause and feel righteous while doing so, yet the American left has done it. After more than two centuries at the vanguard of the struggle for freedom, the American left, broadly defined, executed a volte face and embraced anti-working-class policies marketed as purely technical public health measures.

    1. the last D

      Maybe if you think of a lockdown as a kind of general strike, it might make more sense. The more prescribed the lockdown, the more effective the strike. And by the way, it’s generally been the capitalists, and the free marketeers, most eager to get the ‘people,’ back to work. Public health? Doesn’t matter. The masters want you to die hating socialism, but enthralled with the capitalism eating you and your children.

        1. Basil Pesto

          lockdowns, properly executed à la China rather than mockdowns, are pro-working class and, indeed, pro-humanity, because they stop the spread of a deadly contagion that has, empirically, disproportionately effected the poor & working class, but will ultimately effect everyone.

          They are not easy to do. They suck in fact. But they are thus far the only proven technique for achieving elimination of SARS2 in a given jurisdiction. SARS2 is a relentless adversary which needs to be taken seriously, but instead we call it
          mild, trivialise it, and slander attempts to stop it as incipient fascism for the benefit of the rich. The result is 20 million dead and counting.

          Effective lockdowns also require a certain degree of wealth redistribution and government support, most notably temporarily paying people so they don’t have to work. In a neoliberal world that has hewn to austerity policy going on 50 years, this was always going to be hard to come by. Many countries did it almost by accident, including Australia in 2020, who course-corrected in 2021 by removing JobKeeper support payments during lockdowns which, unlike the 2020 ones, were merely to stall time to get everyone vaccinated – this saved lives in the short term by preventing an acute number of preventable daily deaths. In the long term, though, we will be as in the shit as everyone else. Right now though we have a slow grind of preventable daily deaths that are considered the acceptable cost of going back to brunch. That is to say nothing of morbidity. It is worth noting that those most strenuously lobbying for ‘reopening’ Australia in a pandemic that we were pretending was solved by vaccines were a consortium of business interests including most especially heavy hitters of the travel industry. Champions of the working class all, I’m sure. Note that ‘reopening’ in inverted commas is because internally, Australia from 2020 to June 2021 was mostly actually completely open and at 2019 levels of normal (with the most notable exception of Victoria in 2020 which had to lock down for several months because of a hotel quarantine bungle; normalcy was attained thereafter). That also means mask-free, because elimination rendered them unnecessary. It was magnificent. People could go about their work and social life without fear of being infected by a very dangerous virus. Immunocompromised at high risk from SARS2 (which, it bears repeating, is not merely the flu) did not have to exist in a kind of de facto apartheid state. And this was possible thanks to lockdowns, and nothing else. But ultimately we elected to join the rest of the world in failure, when ours was the example they should have been following.

          Mockdowns done for the sake of appearing to do something or merely slow the spread rather than with the purpose of achieving elimination are cruel and ultimately poison the well against time-tested public health measures for stopping airborne disease (the last lockdown before Covid was in American Samoa in 2019 to stop a measles outbreak. TTIQ in the form of ‘lockdown’ isn’t some inexplicable novelty invented by the rich in 2020). This then leads to galaxy-brained hot takes like Parenti’s or the Unherdonauts: “stopping deadly airborne illness is bad for the poor, actually” – just the most idiotic bullshit imaginable.

          And unfortunately because we collectively did not lock down early or effectively, it’s highly likely we will need to do so again when a more virulent variant with a higher IFR evolves and spreads, unless another few million unnecessarily dead poors is somehow a boon for ~the left~.

          Billionaires did well out of the pandemic, not the mockdowns per se. Whether they did well or not, though, is a non-sequitur when it comes to the efficacy of actual lockdowns. It proves nothing about lockdowns or anything other than that we live in a deranged and sick world.

          1. Basil Pesto

            And unfortunately because we collectively did not lock down early or effectively, it’s highly likely we will need to do so again when a more virulent variant with a higher IFR evolves and spreads

            I note with interest that Boris Johnson, of all people, ran this likelihood up the flagpole today. Maybe he’s talking to scientists who actually know what they’re talking about for a change, so can see which way the wind is blowing, and is trying to acquaint people with the idea of this being on the cards.

    2. Tommy Strange

      That Parenti article is filled with so many fabrications and cherry picking ‘research’, it’s hard to know where to start. Him and Jimmy Dore, so tired. What ‘lockdowns’ are they talking about actually? Three months…two damn years ago? Sad. Parenti’s book Lockdown American 20 years ago was a must read.

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