Links 4/9/2022

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.

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The secret life of fungi is weirder and wilder than you can imagine Financial Times (David L). More on fungi.

First Light says it’s hit nuclear fusion breakthrough with no fancy lasers, magnets The Register (David L)

Newly Measured Particle Seems Heavy Enough to Break Known Physics Quanta Magazine (David L)

World’s largest International Dark Sky Reserve created PhysOrg (Chuck L)



Protection by a Fourth Dose of BNT162b2 against Omicron in Israel New England Journal of Medicine

XE and why we may want Omicron to mutate Your Local Epidemiologist (Dr. Kevin)


Covid infections remain around record levels in most of UK, figures show Guardian (Kevin W)


In pictures: Shanghai and its 26 million people under lockdown to curb the spread of Covid-19 France24 (resilc)

Shanghai, Guangzhou Plan More Mass Tests as Covid Cases Rise Bloomberg


Methane emissions soar to highest level ever recorded Grist

Brilliant Planet is running algae-farms to pull carbon out of the air TechCrunch (David L)


Aerial Photos Capture the Mesmerizing Enormous Solar Farms Around the World MyModernMet (David L)

NATO to Engage in Asia-Pacific to Counter China NTD. Kevin W:

They are saying on the news that NATO has to do this because China refuses to attack Russia. I guess that the idea of a Indo Pacific Treaty Organization (IPTO) wasn’t working.

Israel reaches out to China, again India Punchline (Kevin W). It is often forgotten that prior to 1967, the USSR was Israel’s patron and the US tried to be the fair broker in the region.

The White House is freaked out that Putin’s next big win could be in Paris Politico. As if French citizens have no agency and indeed might rationally vote for Le Pen or not vote for Macron (turnout is expected to be low in both rounds) because they see no reason for ordinary citizens to suffer for Ukraine. I’m not keen about Le Pen, but the US idea that its interests should take primacy over what citizens of EU states want is profoundly anti-democratic.

New Not-So-Cold War

The End of the European Age Ecosophia (Chuck L). A must read.

Sit back and watch Europe commit suicide Pepe Escobar, The Cradle (Li). Scroll down to the discussion of LNG.

Call for ‘Urgent’ Four-Nations Talks on Impact of Ukraine War on Food Security Bloomberg

Ban European flights and car use in cities to hurt Putin, report urges Guardian. BC:

Is possible anymore to have a crisis without Shock Doctrine brigades rushing to the scene to unwrap their prefabricated agendas? Why be against war when it can be so useful to corral public support of grand plans? A meme keeps echoing in my head “EVERY war is a proxy war”.

Note US oil imports from Russia reported at zero after Russian and others twitted the 43% week on week increase the prior week. Probably true given self as well as hard sanctions:

Why US is angry at India buying Russian oil Asia Times. Kevin W:

Key line – ‘So while the US finds it difficult to persuade its own alliance partners to stop passing on petrodollars to finance Russia’s military operations, it finds it convenient to try to browbeat New Delhi.’

* * *

The Dog that Ain’t Barking in Ukraine Larry Johnson (guurst)

Russia AND the US Miscalculated In This War Gonzalo Lira, YouTube. Lira makes some calls and also explains how the SBU took out some Ukraine officials who would have stood aside or helped Russia. He anticipates one or maybe two big battles after taking out the cauldron, one on Nikolaev, the second if it happens in Kharkiv, not because the Russians want it but because the Azov and Right Sector types represent about 10% of the army, and they will kill anyone around them who wants to surrender. He is way too chatty but he is trapped in Kharkiv now. Ukraine isn’t letting anyone in the city leave and has even mined the roads.

* * *

Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin’s Address to the State Duma, 07 April 20 Gilbert Doctorow. Sounds awfully bullish, but note what amounts to multi-tiered credit system, with mortgages and many other priority areas getting access to credit at way below the official 20%, now 17% rate.

A less positive take on the Russian economic response: Principles of Russia’s Anti-Sanctions Policy Revision Vildai Club

Russia Drops the Policy Rate – What Does It Mean? Menzie Chinn

China’s yuan is replacing the dollar and euro in Russian bank accounts amid Western sanctions, report says MarketWatch (Kevin W)

* * *

Jerks Consortium News (Chuck L). Important. Another sane voice silenced.

Outrage as Azov Nazi Addresses Greek Parliament Consortium News (furzy)

Fleeing Ukrainians wait in Mexico to enter U.S. Reuters. Resilc: “Will be interesting to see how this plays out.”


Turkey suspends Khashoggi trial, transfers it to Saudi Arabia Al Jazeera (Kevin W)

As Imran Khan’s fate hangs by a no-trust thread, Pakistan stares at uncertain future Firstpost

Why are African governments blocking phone lines of citizens? Al Jazeera (Kevin W)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

The US is trying to fix medical devices’ big cybersecurity problem The Verge (David L)

Imperial Collapse Watch

Navy wants to retire the $440M USS Detroit after only five years. Here’s why Detroit News (ma)


Trump’s Two-Month Primary Test Wall Street Journal (furzy)

Donations Steered to Trump Super PAC by Canadian Deemed Illegal New York Times (furzy)

GOP ‘no’ votes on Russia measures prompt pro-Putin accusations The Hill

‘Really?’ Pete Buttigieg shocked by Charlamagne Tha God’s claim Democrats haven’t ‘kept their promises’ to black Americans and insists party isn’t ‘slow’ because they passed infrastructure bill Daily Mail. Oddly the clip is blocked on Daily Mail; you can find the segment here.

Whitmer kidnap plot: 2 men acquitted, hung jury for 2 more Associated Press (Kevin W)

Idaho Supreme Court temporarily blocks state’s new 6-week abortion ban CNN (Kevin W)

‘Unbearable’: Over 800K customers in Puerto Rico without power for second day NBC

Our Famously Free Press

LEAKED MEMO: The New York Times has issued a Twitter ‘reset,’ urging reporters to ‘meaningfully reduce’ how much time they spend on the platform Business Insider (Li)

Supply Chain

Walgreens starts RATIONING baby formula as supply chain crunch hits new parents: 29% of the top-selling formulas are out of stock at stores across the US Daily Mail (Kevin W)

World food prices soar to record high amid Russia-Ukraine conflict Xinhua

This Ain’t Your Daddy’s Inflation Steve Keen (Chuck L)

Four week average of jobless claims makes all-time 55 year series low Angry Bear

CalPERS to sell downtown Sacramento’s ‘hole in the ground.’ What happens now? Sacramento Bee. Perhaps more on this soon. This was clearly a politically motivated investment and never made any economic sense.

Class Warfare

Amazon files its appeal of historic union vote at New York City warehouse CNN (Kevin W)

Amazon Completes Merger With Washington David Sirota

The Kids Guide to Fighting Socialism Gift Bundle (resilc)

Antidote du jour (Tracie H):

And a bonus:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Pat

    , but the US idea that its interests should take primacy over what citizens of EU states want is profoundly anti-democratic.

    Not for nothing, that is SOP. Why should the US, as shorthand for the parties that own and control the American government, show more respect for the wishes of citizens of the states of the EU then they do for citizens of the United States of America. The government of our country shows itself to be profoundly anti-Democratic daily both at home and away.

  2. fresno dan

    Tim Hogan 浩勤
    We need to deport all non-immigrant Russians living in places like Miami, LA and NYC.
    What? So, don’t deport immigrant Russians, but children of presumably Russian immigrants (unless you are a native American, your ancentors were immigrants) should be deported??? Uh, people born in the US, of immigrants, are Americans, i.e., US citizens. Deport US citizens? Civics – is our children learns?

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          I wonder how non-Native Hawaiians would react if Hawaiians starting featuring the following slogan on buttons, bumper stickers, big signs, etc. . . . . ” Welcome to Hawaii — America’s Baltic State.”

    1. SocalJimObjects

      Hm, those Chinese characters besides Tim’s name definitely caught my eye. I am guessing 浩勤 = Hogan. Tim apparently minored in Chinese back during college days (Twitter says so). Before calling for deportation of innocent people, Tim should probably give some thought to what might happen to him if war with China were to break out. Will he get accused as an enemy sympathizer?

        1. jsn

          I can’t speak to other traditions, but in the Western one pogroms and witch hunts tend to revolve around the property holdings of ethnic minorities and women.

          It’s a perineal.

    2. Safety First

      I am guessing “non-immigrant” in this context inartfully refers to “Russian nationals without US passport or Green Card”. The reference to Miami, NYC and LA is not accidental, as there are a bunch of businessmen and pop stars and their families living slash buying posh properties in those areas. [At least as of a couple of years ago, the record for priciest NYC apartment was set by a Russian oligarch who bought it for his daughter to use. Neither would be American citizens, natch.]

      Of course, then he throws in the “anchor babies” line, which just shifts things to a different plane of morality altogether.

      1. TimH

        Turnabout: let’s apply collective guilt to US and UK civilians for their countries’ actions since WW2.

        Let’s start with the number of civilians killed in the Korea War (US) and Partition (UK).

        1. Oisin

          Just as well you have the UK cutoff at WW2. They had most of the damage done at that point.

  3. The Rev Kev

    “Navy wants to retire the $440M USS Detroit after only five years. Here’s why”

    In a moment of whimsy, I had the idea that the US Navy could donate all those Little Crappy Ships to the Ukrainian Navy as they don’t have ships anymore. What the Russians did not seize or sink, the Ukrainians themselves scuttled. In fact, the ships that the Russians did seize are being donated to the Donbass Republics as the nucleus for their own navies. But upon reflection, this may be a moot point. By the time the war is over, the Ukraine may lose control of their entire coastline and will be then a landlocked country with no need of a Navy.

    1. griffen

      I’m curious if those ill suited ships can have a next future starring on bad James Bond villain knock off movies. It may be a national security concern, as the foes of freedom may learn about the crappy technology and fear further the US military might. “See they can win in spite of wasting $ billions on this silly effort!”.

      I’m not tagging my response with a sarcasm tag, since we all know that ship is sarcasm for realz.

    2. Wukchumni

      Watched a decent 1941 movie with Errol Flynn the other day: Dive Bomber and it struck me that similar to a lot of WW2 armaments, it was only useful for that that one war, as aircraft carriers were-but what have they done lately? Any warship on the open seas is a sitting duck, don’t need no PBY Catalina or code breaking to find a fleet these days.

      Tanks are another must have WW2 item, but oh so vulnerable against modern technology that costs a pittance in comparison.

      So when do we send out our war robots to fight the other guy’s war robots?

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Aircraft carriers are still the best way to project power. The Chinese, South Koreans, Indians and others are investing massively in new large carriers. So either all their military establishments are stupid, or they still see a strategic role for them and presumably think they can neutralise the threat of subs and guided ballistic missiles. What they are largely useless for is in big power confrontations (this was always the case, even in WWII the US used them very sparingly up until the Japanese navy was shattered). But they are still very useful for bullying weaker countries.

        As for tanks, the impact of javelins, etc., has been hugely exaggerated. Most Russian losses have been to General Mud and to old fashioned artillery. Tanks are still the best way to assault on open ground. Once soft and hard kill devices become more common and countries become better at using drones as scouts to protect formations they’ll minimise the threat. There is always an ebb and flow in these things. Many people thought the tank was dead in 1918 when the first armour piercing anti-tank shells were developed.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Maybe what is needed is smaller carriers – something like the ‘jeep’ carriers of WW2. If there was a shooting war, look at what would happen if the US Ford aircraft carrier was sunk by hypersonic missiles for example. So for a start, you could have up to 4300 officers and crew killed which is tragedy enough. And about 100,000 tones of actual raw materials end up on the ocean floor. And then you think that that carrier took years to build and cost $13.3 billion to build Then add in the billions more for the aircraft, bombs and all the equipment to maintain it at sea. One carrier sunk like that would be worse than the time that the Japanese sunk the HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse back in ’42. So maybe smaller carriers might be the better way to go in the present age of missiles.

          1. JTMcPhee

            Smaller carriers just means adding a few more ship-killer missiles to the defensive or offensive mix. Carriers are sitting ducks, and one of the biggest reasons the US builds them is so admirals have a place to fly their flag and get sea time while being waited on like ancient potentates.

            Here’s a painfully topical article on why carriers are an especially bad idea, especially as “force projectors” in places like along the Donbass coastline:

            But stupid, arrogant, greedy humans will pretty much always fins ways to do stupid, greedy, arrogant things like poking sticks up each others’ noses to “provoke a response.”

            1. Anthony G Stegman

              Aircraft carriers provide a means for Navy captains to become promoted to admiral. In particular aviator captains. Without sea command it is nearly impossible to become promoted to admiral. So, all aircraft carrier captains have aviation backgrounds, not surface warfare officer backgrounds. As long as the carrier captains stay out of trouble and have a smooth 3 year term commanding a carrier they are nearly always promoted to rear admiral.

          2. Paradan

            Smaller carriers require VTOL planes, and VTOL planes pretty much suck. Don’t get me wrong, its an amazing technology, but it requires extra mechanical contraptions that add weight and take up space. That extra weight results in a reduced payload and range. Also there’s the maintenance issue, depending on the plane, roughly 1/4th of a squadron is gonna be down for maintenance at any given time, and require extra room in the hanger.

              1. wilroncanada

                I assume you mean carriers to replace planes with drones, not that replace admirals.

        2. David

          Yes, the “tanks are obsolete” meme has been going around for fifty years now, since the 1973 Middle East War, when the Israelis made unsupported tank charges against well dug-in infantry, with the inevitable result. But quite quickly after, the British revealed the compound armour they had been working on, which would withstand hits from missiles of the day. It’s been up and down ever since. There have only been short and temporary episodes (such as France in 1940) where tanks could be used independently of infantry support, and most military doctrines have long acknowledged this. And of course the original idea of the tank was to counter the machine gun, which then dominated the battlefield, and enable infantry to advance. In essence this is still the case, and at least tanks are protected. I remember saying to an Armoured Corps officer decades ago that I’d been reading about some of the exotic ways modern tank rounds could destroy other tanks, and I wouldn’t like to be on one. Well, he said, it could be worse, you could be outside one.

            1. LifelongLib

              When the late actor Peter Ustinov was being interviewed by his draft board, he expressed an interest in joining the tank corps. Asked why, he replied that he preferred to go into battle sitting down. IIRC he spent the rest of WW2 guarding an English beach.

        3. Dftbs

          I don’t think the PLA navy is making carriers in order to fight a battle of midway 2 vs. the USN. They are being built to project power against non-peer threats when they protect their own national and commercial interests. Imagine some post-American world where the PLAN has to sail their carriers off the coast of Latin America to prevent and ethnic Anglo- Saxon (children of retirees and yoga instructors) coup attempt in Costa Rica. Or as the Solomon Islands showed last year, maybe closer to home.

          1. Polar Socialist

            I believe the Chinese carriers are meant to create an “access denial” zone in East-China and South-China seas. The Chinese do apparently have “carrier killer” missiles with range in hundreds of kilometers, but no sensor system (yet) to provide targeting information.

            Thus they need surface fleet with BARCAP and SCOCAP to locate enemy carrier groups and either screen them, block them or sink them.

            If there are 4 Chinese carrier groups between Taiwan and US carrier groups, Taiwan may need to fight off possible invasion alone.

            1. dftbs

              Taiwan will fight it alone. Not because Chinese carriers would be at the forefront of some vast A2AD zone. Likely cause we won’t have the resource capacity to help. Ukraine shares a land border with 4 NATO states and we can’t supply and support them against the “evil Ruskies”. Go a even a few months forward, after sanctions blowback and inflation, and imagine how we’d do anything to “help” Taiwan. Their carriers and ours will both spend that conflict in port. Theirs out of caution and ours for lack of ability to get them out of port, which the brass will pass of as caution.

              1. Anthony G Stegman

                The US Navy is developing aerial refueling capabilities using drone tankers. This will allow carriers to operate beyond the range of Chinese anti-ship missiles. At least that is the plan.

          2. JTMcPhee

            Missiles are a lot cheaper than carriers. If the PLA is dumb enough to fall into the “carrier trap,” they will find they are facing the same deficit spending and asymmetric vulnerability that makes the carriers of the USN such sitting ducks. Note that these “assets” have to be protected (as if that’s possible) by billions, maybe trillions of dollars/RMB of auxiliary ships, aircraft, submarines and “systems,” and the USN has been sort of careful about bringing their “we own the ocean blue” power-projection devices into any kind of “narrow waters.” A set of geographies that thanks to ever-improving anti-carrier missiles that even our admirals acknowledge there is no defense against, gets to look like a pretty small puddle.

            Too bad all that wealth and brain power aren’t directed toward actual productive endeavors, like figuring out how to dial back the idiocy of the Game of Risk(tm) thinking that drives so much of current human behavior. But that’s assuming that the nature of that wealth and those brains is capable of being redirected at all…

            Some thoughts on the nature of human stupidity:


    3. Verifyfirst

      No need of a Navy??!! Oh my. Grift will always win over reality.

      Anyway, even Switzerland has a Navy. Well, a dozen gunboats, but still.

      When I attended 9th grade in Switzerland in 1976, one of our classmates’ father was said to be an Admiral in the Swiss Navy, which I always found pretty funny.

      1. wilroncanada

        Is that military spending like Andorra, per the Pete Seeger song:
        ..they spent 4 dollars and 90 cents
        on armaments and their defence,
        Did you ever hear of such confidence,
        Andorra hip hoorah.

    4. RobertC

      USNI summarized, with link GAO Report on Littoral Combat Ship Maintenance The following is the April 29, 2021 Government Accountability Office report, Littoral Combat Ship: Unplanned Work on Maintenance Contracts Creates Schedule Risk as Ships Begin Operations.

      Heavy reliance on original equipment manufacturers.

      LCS includes numerous commercial-based systems that are not used on other Navy ships. However, the Navy lacks sufficient manufacturer technical data to maintain many of these systems. This can lead to longer maintenance periods due to extra coordination needed for the manufacturers to assist with or complete the work.

      The emphasis on acquisition cost reduction that began in earnest after the Berlin wall fell kicked off the Commercial-Off-The-Shelf mandate of today. Little thought was given to matching military service lifetimes to commercial technology lifetimes. And since technical data packages added 10% or more to the already underestimated acquisition cost they were eliminated from the Contract Data Requirements List. Together with mandated manning and training cost reductions, the life cycle military-industry paradigm has irrevocably changed.

      PS I’m looking forward to when the discussion gets serious about US-China naval comparisons and strategies. I have a few thoughts on that.

      1. Greg

        That is hilarious detail that I’m sure warms the hearts of anyone who has worked near commercial tech projects. Cut the documentation to save cost! Classic move, can’t believe they pulled it in systems that are meant to last for decades.

    5. RobertC

      I posted at RobertC April 7, 2022 at 4:38 pm on Cdr (retired) Bryan McGrath’s analysis of Biden’s Integrated Deterrence strategy. His BLUF is The problem is that the strategy is bad.

      Cdr Salamandar is a popular home for navalists spanning policy, acquisition, life cycle and operations. They are furious about Biden’s Integrated Deterrence strategy. One of the milder comments:

      airider • a day ago

      Here’s the thing Bryan. Neither the Defense Department nor Congress are going along with the Biden Administration. JCS Chairman Milley already alluded to that with his public disagreement with tactical nuclear weapons cancellations. Congress is not letting this administration move forward with its deconstruction plans or shift in strategy.

      Biden has already demonstrated in Afghanistan and now Ukraine that their policies and strategies are failures.

      Meanwhile China proceeds apace with building and operating its three prong national security fleet.

  4. timbers

    Gonzalo Lira

    Almost 2 hours long. Actually watched this yesterday. The surprise to me is Lira’s apparent expectation that Russia may take Kharkiv. But as in taking Kiev was assumed by many, this may not make sense IMO unless Russia has reconsidered her game plan in light of all she has seen coming from the West. Maybe it too is a feint? On the other hand it’s 2nd largest city and though Wikipedia says mostly Ukrainian Lira says it’s mostly favorable to Russia.

    Best guess is once all territory is secured in Donbass and UAF is ejected from those actual boundaries, Russia will turn more to air power to finish remaining AUF off. Perhaps brutally so in comparison to how she is behaving now. Once the AUF is outside Russian/Donbass territory…if AIF does not raise a white flag…I wouldn’t want to be in their shoes that’s for sure.

    Regarding Russia taking all the coast as Lira says, I remain up in the air on that.

    1. Louis Fyne

      imo, the lower the odds of a negotiated cease fire, the higher the odds Russia occupies the entire Black Sea coast and Kharkiv and of the east side of the Dnipr River, like the West Bank.

      And given how NATO insists on pumping more weapons into Ukraine, the West wants the war to continue

      1. timbers

        Either way, I’m stocking up on food – including dog food which is heavily grain, 25lb bags of low arsenic California grown rice and organic black beans, lots of high oleic safflower oil (same benefits of olive oil but more versatile for cooking and I mix it into my dogs meals too)…anything that stays good for long periods of time.

        I think the “PMC” crowd is mostly totally clueless just how strong the blow back could be from these higher costs that are coming, and Europe is even less aware of what they face it they don’t wriggle out of their obedience to the US.

        1. The Rev Kev

          The “PMC” crowd will know it is real when they go to Starbucks in a few months time to get their usual Super Venti Flat White only to find the place closed due to lack of supplies.

            1. Ignacio

              Sorry for stupid commenting but both TRK and TS coffee registered trademarks made me expel most of my pathetic expresso macchiato with brown sugar.

            2. TimH

              Super Venti Flat White sounds like a neo-Nazi who’s been shot a few times, and then run over.


              1. John

                I have no idea, nor do I wish to have an idea, just what those concoctions might consist of or taste like. Surreal. When I think of Starbucks I think burned coffee.

                1. KLG

                  I’ve never been able to bring myself to order anything in a Starbucks in the two dozen times I have been in one but a “large” Pike Place with no room for cream. And a slice of the lemon pound cake.

          1. timbers

            And yet, when their party does poorly in elections and we probably get a Republican Congress and maybe even a Republican President…they won’t connect any dots as they dutifully move onto new outrages because Republicans, fed to them by MSM.

          2. Skippy

            Never understood the whole takeaway coffee “I” was served/bought something consumerist dependency thingy …

            How much less expensive, better tasting, and over all enjoyable experience it is to brew up some Sonora Estate Red Catuai Costa Rica Natural beans in a Brikka moka pot and full cream milk in a manually frothed milk server – at home. Both come to temp at the same time, 5 min-ish on the stove.

            Best thing is with a Brikka you get the aroma and crema [raging debate] of an espresso machine for a pittance of the cost, no moving parts, clean up is a rinse, last forever, and any sufficient heat source works. Not to mention you can source beans from all the small farms around the globe and side step all the monopoly players/extractors.

            Recently gifted a couple hundred grams of above coffee to some South African expat clients over 60 and they have now ordered two Kilograms of the stuff. Blew their minds, excited to make superior coffee in the morning or latter on in the day – brand new world.

            Oops now I’ve done it, urge to say something about how easy and fun it its to low and slow smoke meats on a Weber using the snake method on a Sunday. Must resist and take beasties for a walk …

        2. Wukchumni

          You can really learn a lot about how things are going by asking the cashier @ PetSmart if they are experiencing shortages of anything, and the last time I inquired as I was Fancy Feast’ing up on clearly diminished supplies for those who I am essentially a glorified butler, in this case running errands for them.

          She kept droning on about this or that cat or dog food, and only when I pushed the cart away did she run out of things they had run out of.

          1. caucus99percenter

            Just wanted to mention, in the past you would refer to your place as “the all cats & no cattle ranch” and I would have to laugh every time, it just sounded so cute.

            … Oh, just saw that you kept up the tradition, down below! Long may you be surrounded by furry head-bunts and contented purring noises.

      2. digi_owl

        I do wonder if Ukraine will end up being split, like Germany after WW2.

        The problem is that i am not sure how much love Russia gets outside of the south-east (Donbas etc).

        Thus such an arrangement may be a hard sell long term.

        If nothing else, we will get some new spy movies out of it.

      3. Ignacio

        ‘the west wants the war to continue’

        This made me recall, I think in one of Ritter’s videos, he was saying something in the line that the longer the war runs, the worse it gets in brutality. Military codes forgotten. Fear & anger dominate. This should be a strong incentive for our elites to push for agreement if they were really worried about Ukrainians. Shouldn’t it?

        1. jsn

          Were that the case, yes they would.

          On the other hand if they’re on board with Zelinsky’s joint de-Nazification program he’s running with the Russians, they’ll get as many fighting age Western Ukrainians killed as possible. Not saying Western Ukrainians are all Nazis, sounds like the ideologues are a small minority but one highly motivated to get themselves killed in this instance and while they’re at it taking as many of their brethren with them as possible.

          I suppose one way to take over a mob state is to get all the goons to kill one another.

      4. drumlin woodchuckles

        The Ukraine gov is demanding those weapons. If the Ukraine gov asked for ” no more weapons please”, would NATO insist on sending in weapons anyway?

        Russia may get Ukraine as thoroughly conquered and occupied as Israel has gotten Palestine thoroughly conquered and occupied. But Russia won’t beat the “Ukraine” out of the Ukrainians any more than Israel will beat the “Palestine” out of the Palestinians.

        That is a prediction, and events will prove me right or wrong over the decades to come.

    2. Robert Hahl

      His argument is that too many Russians have died at this point to not finish the job, that Russian public opinion supports it, and that they have more than enough military means to do so. Sounds right to me.

    3. Robert Gray

      > … once all territory is secured in Donbass and UAF is ejected from those actual boundaries,
      > Russia will turn more to air power to finish remaining AUF off. Perhaps brutally so in comparison
      > to how she is behaving now.

      I get the softly-softly approach vis-à-vis civilians and infrastructure but doesn’t it seem that this cauldron thing is taking an awfully long time?

      1. The Rev Kev

        I think that it was a matter of priorities. They wanted to secure Mariupol while advancing on other fronts. As well, a large force was needed to pin down the Ukrainian army around Kiev so that it could not break through and reinforce the Donbass. Now that Mariupol is only a mopping up operation, they have pulled most of the forces out from there to be sent to the Donbass. In addition, they have pulled their forces from around Kiev as they are no longer needed and sent them to the Donbass as well. The Ukrainians no longer have the ability to send large forces anywhere, especially from Kiev. And according to Gonzales Lira, that battle in the Donbass is already underway. Unless those Ukrainians surrender, the Russians will unleash their massive artillery against them but the commander there has said that he will fight to the last.

        1. digi_owl

          Yeah, for a cauldron/pincher to work you have to make sure the enemy can’t thin/breach your line from outside.

        2. timbers

          Doctorow suggests Russia may think NATO personal is trapped in Mariupol steel plant and wants them caputured alive.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            Yes, they could have flooded the steel mill. Or just gone in with God’s bulletproof gear and machine guns and killed everything that moves.

            The problem is my guess would be the Azov leaders will kill any NATO guys when they think things are completely hopeless. And then the Ukie government will blame it on the Russians. The last thing the Ukies want is NATO officers and mercs hauled up for Russian war crimes trials.

            1. Acacia

              State Duma deputy Adam Delimkhanov in an interview with RT about this:


              Delimkhanov estimates there are around 100 NATO instructors stranded in Azovstal, and it sounds like there is some kind of negotiation happening.

              If this is true and there’s any French contingent in those 100 trapped officers, the timing could be really bad for Macron.

              1. Yves Smith Post author

                Given that Macron has called Putin 2x to ask for a “humanitarian corridor” or somesuch at the steel mill, sure looks like it.

                And I suspect a reason the Russians are being tardy about wrapping this up is that if they couldn’t do so about a week before the first round, then right before Good Friday or right after Easter would be optimal timing from a PR perspective. If they manage to get this right, it will substantially offset all their propaganda fails.

      2. Tom Stone

        The purpose of a cauldron is to cut off resupply and weaken an opponent both physically and morally.
        Every day the UKr forces become weaker and the Russian forces become stronger.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          The Russian strategy in Syria was to let surrounded areas stew for a while and chip them away bite by bite (each bite involving a huge air/artillery assault first). The defenders need know when or where the next attack would take place. The problem with ‘defending’ a cauldron is that you have a huge front to defend and you never know the direct of attack. It was death by a 1000 cuts. Slow, but effective.

          1. hemeantwell

            It’s reassuring that the NATO bloc is remains assured about the eventual effects of sanctions. If they weren’t my worry is that they’d feel obliged to try to save the encauldroned Kiev army, just too much egg on too many faces. Confidence in sanctions might, just might, be beneficial to the encauldroned, as a longer time line creates room for surrender. At some point the out of gas commanders will have to shift into fight another day mode.

            1. juno mas

              …the rank and file (non Azov) may be permitted to surrender. The leaders? Not so much.

              1. drumlin woodchuckles

                If the rank and file are seeded by some Azovians who are tasked with killing any rank-and-filer who may want to surrender, in order to keep the other rank-and-filers obedient to Azov, then the rank-and-filers would somehow need to rebel en masse and all at once and exterminate every Azovian in their midst.
                Then they would be free to surrender, if surrender is what they wanted to do.

                1. ambrit

                  To most of the conscripts in the Ukie army, “surrender” is code for “go home.”
                  Remember that the Azov troops are like our own, home grown PMCs. They cannot fail. They can only “be failed.”

      3. NotTimothyGeithner

        Despite Western propaganda, Russia has been limiting civilian deaths or they simply don’t subscribe to Curtis LeMay’s bombing philosophy. To deal with the cauldron, they have to kill or take prisoner, an estimated 60,000 men. Since Azov types were concentrated in Mariupol and given promotions, these guys, with the exception of certain officers, in the cauldron aren’t the stated enemy, and they aren’t interfering with the “special operation.” Ideally, they march out in their own non combat vehicles as part of negotiations.

        The theory behind the cauldron is the guys in a cauldron will run instead of trying to fight out when they can’t stay in place either from hunger or firepower coming to bear. Either they starve and leave piece meal or leave in a panic and get slaughtered with no command and control or surrender. How much food and potable water they have is probably part of the equation. It comes down to managing 60,000 men all at once.

        The other side is “denazify”. It’s meaningless except what the Russian Security Council decides. We can’t know their aims unless they tell us.

      4. timbers

        The Russians are planning on being in Donbass for a long time as in forever. Along with her brothers/sisters/family who are already there. And I bet the Russians would also like to see as little damage to the Azov steel plant as possible. Hence the gentle, slower and much riskier (for Russians) extraction of UAF. This isn’t Iraq or Syria where Americans bombed anything they wanted and had no plans on living there aside as foreign troops during stationing.

        If the US had done this, it’d be over now and with probably Ukraine cities leveled like the US did in Raqqa. Unlivable, but “victorious” much quicker for sure.

        1. digi_owl

          Also, anything bombed would be rebuilt by US contractors (Iraq today is one of the few nations outside of USA that use Qualcomm’s patented mobil network protocols) paid by Iraq using those airlifted pallets of newly minted USDs.

          Basically Iraq was a case of Bush getting to one up his father, and the MIC getting yet more pork barrel transfers.

      5. jimmy cc

        get the softly-softly approach vis-à-vis civilians and infrastructure but doesn’t it seem that this cauldron thing is taking an awfully long time?

        yes. as I said 4 weeks ago here when others were saying Russia was moping up and be gone by the weekend, Russia does not have the capability that others here think they do.

        1. timbers

          Well not gone by weekend, especially since I’d expect Russian troops will need to stay in Donbass to protect her. That’s you saying that (gone by weekend). But mopping up yes. Mopping up Donbass is plausible. But there is reason for Russia might be realizing she may need to enlarge her capturing territory to the Dnpiper because of the extreme belligerence of the West. But that too is speculation.

          1. jimmy cc

            i believe i said it would be at least 8 weeks before anyone could judge the success of the Russian operation.

            we still have a 2 or 3 weeks to go.

            it is only 100 or so miles to close the cauldron in the east. it could happen before my 8 weeks is up.

            but it has been slow for the Russians. we will see what happens after they’ve regrouped and have another try at it.

        2. Tor User

          The Russians still have an enormous amount of military power left. They just have not been using it as effectively as they could have (in theory). They now seem to be correcting that with the appointment of one general to oversee the entire war.

          The Russians have called up 60,000 reservists. The Russians have a very deep bench beyond that.

          That said, I don’t know about the cauldron thing either. It certainly hasn’t happened with the speed some on these pages thought. Even the breakthrough at Izium seems to have been slowed down.

          There has been very little insight into the condition of the Ukrainian losses (certainly greater than advertised), organized reserve units (8 or 9 brigades?, where are they?), unorganized reservists (have they formed new units?) and the Territorial Defense Forces (have some been partnered them with regular units like the KATSUA program the US Army used in the Korean War?)

          I disagree with the comment that Ukraine can’t move forces down towards the southeast. It certainly takes more effort but it seems to be happening. The train tracks have been bombed but they have been repaired more than once and it appears the trains are still running to some extent. The fighting around Kherson seems to have identified some new Ukrainian units arriving at the front.

          With the UK PM’s visit to Kyiv today promising anti-ship missiles may end the threat of the Russian fleet staging a landing behind the Ukrainian lines near Odessa. This would likely release a few more Ukrainian troops from those areas.

          Speaking of Boris, I almost fell of from my chair when I read the comments on one the stories about Boris’s surprise trip. “His ex-wife’s’ can attest to Boris’s skill in sneaking in and out of places.”

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            Longer wait = fewer Russian deaths. Ritter pointed out Russia is in complete control of the battlefield and timing,

            Longer time allows them to really very fully destroy remaining war-making capability.

            And now that things are where they are, longer delay allows the sanctions blowback to really start hitting Europe. Russians view politics and war as integrated. Ukraine was moving towards settlement terms that were acceptable to the Russians, but they reneged on some things they had conceded. This is almost certainly US/UK doing.

            So it looks like Russia will have to wait for Europe to start to break. If Le Pen were to win the French election, that would be the sort of event that would underscore what a bad idea the sanctions were and lead the rest of the EU (ex Hungary) to start to doubt the wisdom of being America’s poodle.

            That could take months. They really don’t want to have to occupy anywhere save areas like Donbass and Mariupol that would and could vote for independence or joining Russia. So slower war also means not having to run an occupation in lieu of a signed settlement of the conflict.

      6. VietnamVet

        The Russian Federation is not fighting Ukraine with the Red Army. The Russian Army has been privatized just like the U.S. Army. Both are used to support oligarchs; not the best interests of their people. Both are corrupt Empires.

        By invading, Russia turned the Ukrainian people against them. The Kremlin’s stated goals are quite clear; demilitarize Ukraine and eliminate neo-Nazis. There is a real question if Russia has the manpower, equipment and the will to seize all of Ukraine without a total mobilization which is a neoliberal heresy. I have a very old gut feeling that Russia, right now, cannot drive hundreds of miles across Ukraine to the Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania borders and subjugate everyone still alive.

        This leaves two possibilities; 1) the West drags Russia into a never-ending forever war. Or, 2) Russia keeps its conquered land bridge between Crimea and Donbass and then signs a peace treaty/armistice with Ukraine. Eastern European nations guarantee and man a DMZ along the line of contact giving Russia the land east of the Dnieper River and Donbass that they already have conquered. Ukraine keeps Odessa and access to the Black Sea and Kiev. The West is left out in the cold but a nuclear holocaust is avoided.

        1. RobertC

          VV — my possibilities match up to yours although I think (2) is more likely as the West is distracted and weakened by the effects of commodity prices and shortages.

          Your Eastern European nations guarantee and man is a thought-provoking alternative to the UN.

          I agree it’s essential Ukraine keeps Odessa and access to the Black Sea so its wheat, etc commodities can remove the starvation and refugee threat to Europe from MENA and other nations.

          And Yes let Ukraine keep its shiny ornament Kiev.

          The West is left out in the cold will not happen because there’s money to be made RobertC March 31, 2022 at 7:08 pm but NATO’s sting will have been removed.

    4. Tutti

      There is a problem: Russia’s withdraw from Kiev region liberated more Ukrainian troops to go to east and they are conscripting everyone. NATO is supplying all kinds of weapons and money, clearly intending to prolong the war.

      1. OnceWereVirologist

        Delivering more bodies to the trenches of the Donbass is just going to result in even greater bloodshed in the end. What they need to be able to deliver, is diesel tankers and heavy equipment. If they can’t do that then they’re just throwing more soldiers away. There are instances where the Ukrainians seem to have tried to concentrate their dispersed and concealed armour to make counteroffensives, i.e on Kherson, and on Izyum, and each time they got spotted and smashed by artillery and from the air, so I’d be surprised if anything but man-portable weapons made it to the Donbass from the Kiev region.

    5. John k

      Imo lira is correct.
      In the 2014 election 68% of the Kharkiv oblast voted for the Russian leaning candidate. This same map shows the logical ukr split based on voting preferences would be Kharkiv-Odessa axis. Kiev was clearly a diversion or intended to prevent ukr army elements from joining up, but Russia has a much stronger basis to mean it with Kharkiv.
      Also… imo the invasion is new facts on the ground for the 10 Russian leaning oblasts. They’ve already seen how they were treated post 2014 by ukr, they might think things will get worse if they stay with ukr. A new plebiscite among these oblasts might show even higher percentages wants to split. Plus Kharkiv oblast would be one of those looking at Odessa… if odessa leaves and Kharkiv remains, Kharkiv will be part of land-locked ukr.

  5. dftbs

    I wish I could live in Mike Huckabee’s world; where socialists are actually taking over America.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I thought that is was like something from the Babylon Bee or the Onion but found after checking that it is actually for real. Maybe some young socialist could write a kids book called ‘Socialism is as American as Mom’s Apple Pie’ and Bernie could write a foreword for it. It would suit him. And Bernie in the past has never approached a flock of pigeons without first being equipped with a fresh cat.

      1. jsn

        We can only hope this is as effective as typical American evangelical propaganda.

        The evangelicals have managed to alienate the children of their congregations in large enough numbers to start seriously eroding Americans self identification as “religious”, or Christian, not that US evangelicalism ever had much to do with the teachings of Christ.

        May be good DSA recruiting stuff.

        1. amechania

          Actually read the start of one of his books. He uses a moose as a metaphor for the deep denialism of the fear of “small plane crashes” actually.

          Very similar to Al Gore on mind control.

    2. griffen

      Wish I had not clicked that, but the images and messaging look all too familiar. I spent much of my 16 years of education receiving the right wing versions of US and world history. I was quite good at studying and learning that history. Fundamental and also independent Baptist leaning world view is the angle I am talking about. Think the Jerry Falwell’s, etc…

      In the ’70s and ’80s, it was the Commies and very bad Soviet Russia that was out to get us, and destroy our freedom loving America. An impressionable young kid can be permitted to believe it was all very true.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        yeah. makes me feel old, and nostalgic for all the ear-pulling and attempted shearings that accompanied all that rot.
        my folks made the mistake of gifting me the ’76 edition of the deluxe encyclopaedia britannica….and my dad the further mistake of giving me a shortwave(Granma,lol)….so by the time the overt indoctrination began in earnest, i was vaccinated by britannica(a sort of pre-internet, macro and micropedia, seven language dictionary, and “Annals of America”).
        didn’t make my life easier, by any metric…but i at least had the tools and materials to make my own decisions in such matters.


      I always get a big laugh out of their proclamations that Obama and Biden are socialist and are the radical far left. If only!

    4. dftbs

      It’s even more comical when you realize that in 2022, the Chinese communist have actual gone through with Kruschev’s once empty boast. They have buried us. If Huckabee and the heartland consumers of red, white and blue pornography want to save any part of the material lifestyle they associate with the USA, they better get red fast. Not even Bernie Sanders pink; he won’t be able to keep new cat when there’s no cat food in the shelves.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        It wasn’t “China” that buried us. It was the International Free Trade Conspiracy, using China as a production-export-aggression platform. it was Clinton and Pelosi and their Republican Free Trade Comrades and that sort of people who buried us.

        1. dftbs

          While the off-shoring crowd was certainly happy to see their stock portfolios go to the moon, fueled by the bio-mass of US labor; I wouldn’t take agency away from the Chinese. The CPC could’ve certainly become another comprador class, and for a while we behaved as if they had. But they took the market mechanism and subverted it to socialism. You don’t have to take my word for it, just see what they did with their poverty and contrast it to our poverty. Lenin supposedly mused that the capitalist would sell the communist the noose on which they would hang; we shouldn’t begrudge the Chinese for consummating the transaction.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            You are correct. The CommuNazi ChinaGov Regime saw an opportunity to advance its own agenda of total extermination of all industrial thingmaking from the American economy. The Clinton Administratin supported that agenda as a way to exterminate industrial labor unions by exterminating the industries wherein they labored.

            I do begrudge the ChinaGov for consumating the transaction. Just because it is understandable and desirable from the ChinaGov standpoint does not make it acceptable from my standpoint.

            But the only way to reverse it over the decades to come would be for a Protectionist movement to take such total power within America that it could first round up and exterminate the million-or-so most active opponents of Protectionism so as to remove them as a source of opposition and obstruction, and then re-institute Protectionism step by step, re-infilling American Survival Industry behind the Protectionist wall.

            The ideal end state would be zero exports to China and zero imports from China. Actually zero economic exchange between “America” and ” not America” altogether, but that will never be feasible or entirely attainable.

            1. Skippy

              Labour leverage in Government was the biggest fear as the Powell memo notes because of its law/s creation and enforcement, wages as a share of productivity is down the list of importance as everything flows from the former.

              China understood its situation was untenable in the long term and facilitated others desires in the short term for a more secure future geopolitically, without any wars or aggressive international moves. Don’t forget the U.S. had/has a huge toxic legacy wrt its industrialism – see Larry Summers memo et al. So it was a two’fer in exporting externalities whilst pushing the FIRE sector economy, of which, lower prices were sold as negating wage increases [inflation] and offset by forced/unforced participation in the stock markets for income streams.

              All of which is the buy product of ridged ideological notions about hyper individualism and success as a framework for a superior society – currently folding in on its self as it doubles down on legacy failures to remain in control.

              I distinctly remember the stampede back in the day, everyone and their dog raced over like someone just discovered and new untouched continent where one could make squillions in a blink of an eye and ascend to the BSD table. Best bit is China had no commerce laws or judiciary to facilitate disputes. It smacks of McNamara’s cognitive malfunction at the end of the mea culpa Fog of War when asking his opposite number why they sided with China when they were offered everything to end that relationship. Only to be informed they took material support from China to off load the colonialists, their one and only agenda was self determination.

              Then some ponder why the West is hysterical in its propaganda at the moment …

              1. drumlin woodchuckles

                The joke is on anyone who thought they were exporting externalities to China, because China merely re-exports those externalities back to the outer world. For example, the amount of mercury falling into the Blue Pacific from Chinese coal-burning has been rising for decades since the start of Chinese fast-forward industrialization. The percent of mercury in pacific tuna has been rising by 4% per year over the past few decades . . . . Chinese mercury from Chinese coal burning. This is why I have sometimes expressed the hope that Pelosi is eating as much pacific tuna as possible, for her health. In fact, every free trade supporter should be eating as much pacific tuna, specifically white albacore tuna most of all, for their health. And as China moves to exterminate every fishery around the world by aggressive strip-mine fishing, that will be another externality re-exported to the outer world.

                Everybody and his dog was in the stampede? No. Only the business racketeers who planned to work the differential-costs-arbitrage-rackets all the way down. But you are semi-right in that enough of society’s current commanders believe in the hyper-individualism that the only realistic way to defeat them would be in a civil war, either hot or cold, culminating in a systematic extermination program designed to kill the several million leading free trade supporters and facilitators so that they would be no-longer-alive to obstruct a return to Survival Protectionism.

                As to those people and their dog who did support Free Trade with China, Australia’s social and political and business commanders were prominent among them, and still are. After all, a world-ruling China is a good market for Australian coal. So as China exports Global Warming back to the rest of the world, it is only fair that Australia experience its fair share of the global warming which it eagerly helped to cause as much as Australia possibly could cause it by selling all the coal to China which Australia could possibly sell.

                1. drumlin woodchuckles

                  And if you decide to note how hypocritical it is of me to advocate the “physical liquidation” of several million Free Trade supporters and operatives within the United States when I am too squeamish to kill anyone myself, you would be correct. I merely note that such a “physical liquidation” program is the only cure I know of to the Free Trade infection within American society.

            2. dftbs

              If it’s not “feasible” then it’s not “ideal”.

              The government of China is just that, the government of China. They have no responsibility to the US or it’s citizens; certainly not more responsibility than those US citizens should demand from their own US government.

              Lost in the American bemoaning of the “powers that be” is our responsibility for allowing ourselves to be victimized. The American “middle class” or “labor” was crushed as much as it allowed itself to be crushed. And if it was by some philandering snake oil salesman from Arkansas, then more shame on us. We shouldn’t shed our historical responsibility, particularly to ourselves.

              As to the CPC’s role in “consummating the transaction” the evocation of Lenin was meant to characterize the transaction as inevitable.

              1. drumlin woodchuckles

                Can you suggest anything that traditional and ongoing opponents-at-the-time of Free Trade Agreements could have done short of well-coordinated and well-targeted political assassinations and riots and insurrections? And if they had tried assassinations and riots and insurrections, would that have worked?

                And if you are not retro-advocating such measures, do you have any retro-suggestions as to what would have “worked” , short of assassinations, riots and insurrection?

                Your pride in how guilty you can display yourself as feeling over this outcome is just more Royal Liberal ” We”-mongering.

        2. RobertC

          2nd paragraph of Michael Hudson: The Dollar Devours the Euro

          …Despite China’s helpful role in enabling corporate America to drive down labor’s wage rates by de-industrializing the U.S. economy to China’s benefit, the latter’s growth was recognized as posing the Ultimate Terror: prosperity through socialism. It is that clash of economic systems – socialist industrialization vs. neoliberal finance capitalism – that always has been the great enemy of the rentier economy that has taken over most nations in the century since World War I ended, and especially since the 1980s.

          Seems straightforward to me.

    5. jonboinAR

      As card carrying members of the rural-red-Republican side of the urban-Demo versus rural-Repub culture wars, most of the good folks that I know around here will heartily join Huckabee’s anti-socialist parade, I imagine. It’s sad and somewhat disheartening to realize that most, seemingly, will buy into any kind of silly BS so long as it’s what the leaders of their side are promoting. I seem to be on a kick of noticing this phenomenon, first with the differentials in reaction to Covid, then Ukraine. Both have turned out to be quite predictable on all sides. It kind has me of discouraged at the moment. Somewhere in the gospels, I think, is an image of Christ saddened or made compassionate by the animalistic behavior of the crowd. We like to read literature of times past and think, “I’m glad I’m (we’re) not like that. Think again, buster!

  6. Wukchumni

    Drove into the CVBB for provisions, and geeze oh pete did it brown up in a week’s time in the lower climes under 98 degrees, and looking back at the Great Western Divide (initially thought to be the crest of the Sierra Nevada, only hundreds of feet lower than the Whitney crest in the east) in the distance-only patchy snow left @ 13k, and closer in, the white elephant to the left of Alta Peak is missing body parts, melted out.

    Here’s what the elephant looks like sans snow:

    We’re in a hell of a fix, the key large reservoirs in the far north are 1/3rd full and the snowpack that feeds them was 30% of average this winter. All that tiny amount of snow melting out this early allows for more evaporation, aka the water rapture.

    Restrictions on H20 use on Cali are a given, but how draconian do they dare go before the elections?

    Newsom was reluctant to address the drought when the recall election loomed, if he ignores the big dry until after November, might be too late to stop it.

    I’ve called in twice in order to be an honorary Fresno citizen vis a vis Federal jury duty, but both times the recorded message told me to try again next week, setting up nicely for my last foray on frozen water with the other dartful codgers.

    {music interlude} They Don’t Want Me, by Wall of Voodoo

    It was 69 degrees @ 8k in Mammoth yesterday, as awful of conditions as you could have for spring skiing unless attired in Hawaiian shorts with matching short sleeve shirt, and whatever you do, don’t crash as snow rash happens. Thankfully for pretty much our entire 4 day skein Mon-Thurs, the temp barely reaches 40 degrees during the day, how cool is that?

    …praise Ullr!

    1. The Rev Kev

      You’ve talked about how in the past you found local sources of water that were long forgotten. Are they still flowing then?

      1. Wukchumni

        Not so much forgotten-but not found on any maps. A spring fed perennial creek flows year round less than a mile away from this QWERTY for instance. Another creek in the higher climes runs for about 1/2 a mile flowing from a cave and eventually into a sinkhole, and yet the creek doesn’t exist on topo maps.

        There are springs everywhere in the Sierra Nevada once you start to look for them, and in a summer such as the one coming up its easy to tell if it’s spring water, as it’ll be around 40 degrees with nothing to melt up above.

        Our cabin community almost ran out of water from our spring-fed source last summer, and it’ll be challenging again this year, although the conditions are different, as the snow we did get came early and percolated into the ground, recharging springs.

        1. Tom Stone

          We are having our first “RedFlag” fire warning starting at 5AM today.
          It’s going to be a fire season unlike anything seen in many hundreds, perhaps thousands of years.

          1. Wukchumni

            I’ve gotten most all of the downed wood on the ground on the all cats and no cattle ranch burned up, and am now progressing to dead limbs within the purview of a 14 foot pole-saw, some need only the hook of the blade and a tug to prove Newton’s theory, while others branches refuse to leave the office and must be coerced down by back and forth motion as I dance on the pole below.

            It took me 3 days to clean up a couple adjacent live oaks-which come with a family of trees in that you’ll get 5-8 nearly foot wide trunks that all want to do their thing, and seldom straight as they emanate from the trunk akimbo.

            The next step requires a little backcountry counter balance food hanging experience, in that the higher dead branches out of reach only need a parachute cord with a suitable rock tied on one end thrown over the branch and then a tug ought to do it, but if it doesn’t, you send up stouter rope.

            1. hemeantwell

              Ever try a slingshot launching a big nut strung with light cord? Made up for my laughable accuracy throwing vertically.

            2. Amfortas the hippie

              yeah. i’ve been clearing the dead beebrush close to the house.
              of course, the “woods”…an 100’wide, 600′ long strip of trees and brush along the north side of the front pasture…needs to thinned, too.
              but that’s too big a job for just lil old me.
              and i can’t burn the trimmings anyways…burn ban since late january.
              latest version of the ban includes enclosed bar-b-q pits.

              i’m set up, having cleared brush away, and installed a large,100′ radius, sprinkler on one of the poles that’s part of the Bar….so i would be comfortable cooking on the big pit, there…if not for the $2k fine,lol.
              we have yet to have any large fires out my way…a few small ones were jumped on right quick.
              but all the counties around us have had large range fires(we’ve been doing mutual aid for those)…rough country…hard to get the brush trucks in to…forest service helicopters swarming around…even a few C-130’s dropping that pink stuff.

              outside the range of my sprinklers, the entire countryside is bone dry…there will be dead trees if this continues.
              a pall of dust hangs all over…all the way to san antonio.

              1. ambrit

                Return of the Dust Bowl?
                What’s the ‘real’ status of the Ogallala Aquifer?
                Past time to stop the measure of the water usage of commercial agriculture in acre feet.
                Be safe.

                1. Amfortas the hippie

                  i’m tapped into the Hickory Sand Aquifer…as are all the rest of the people around here.
                  so far, safe from municipal piracy.
                  (long way to build a pipeline that would matter, and the local gentry had a whisper campaign for decades about the radon in the water)
                  there’s little ag around here any more…aside from hay…whether for fodder(grazing) or for sale.
                  and grapes(the wineries i’ve passed by look like shit right now…utterly dependent on the most quickly shrinking demographic: the PMC, with discretionary income to blow on wine tours)
                  neighbor that surrounds us used to be in peanuts, til the subsidy went away(the reason for the turn to the GOP, locally)…now he grows cows, and makes his own hay for them.
                  he’s been holding off on the watering until today,because there was a very slight chance of rain….which indicates that he’s near his limit for watering(long rolling sprinklers)…but whether this is due to regs, or fuel cost(dsl engine runs the pumps) or the water table is unknown to me, as yet.

          2. Leroy R

            If you think the disinformation effort surrounding the Ukraine war is “unbelievable” wait until the serious effects of global warming start to hit regularly, and we have 500-year storms every week instead of 6 times a year. California is still an amusing sideshow (especially for those who prefer the name “Commiefornia,” until it is all reflected in the price of food) but maybe some will start to wonder when high tide in Miami comes up to their wheelwells, or 10,000 die in one day in Phoenix when the grid goes down on a 120° day. Hurricanes in the eastern US will probably be the biggie — when a 30 ft storm surge wipes out the Gold Coast here in Connecticut (anyone remember how Hurricane Sandy got people’s attention?) or elsewhere it will be hard to miss. And pity the poor insurance companies… It is almost the government’s “duty” to calm the populace with misinformation — this Ukraine business may be a good practice run for what will be needed in future.

            1. albrt

              !0,000 won’t die from a power outage in Phoenix in one day. It takes a couple days for the concrete pad under you to heat up. Third day is when it gets really bad.

              Anyway, I don’t think the “public health” establishment will have too much trouble obfuscating those death statistics the same way they have with Covid.

            2. ArvidMartensen

              The looters in charge of the US know global warming is real. They also know that US control of gas, oil and coal supplies (backed up by nuclear threat) has let them loot and run the world since WW2.
              So, the looters have no intention of stopping climate change.
              Instead they intend to take over energy rich countries Russia, Iran, etc. So we have the US Ukraine Special Operation to take over Russia.
              But the looters also know that ordinary people will get really pissed with having their houses burnt and flooded on a regular basis. To looters this is just a threat that has to be managed.
              So they are managing it by a combo of propaganda, repression and force(turning police into the local occupying military). This operation will continue to ramp up as the climate becomes dangerous. Ever more draconian laws and action to stop public gatherings and action. Just see what happened to the truckers on Covid.
              Propaganda is always the best option, you win in the shadows. Get people to blame those burnt and flooded out, and those who can’t afford food. How stupid were they to build where they did? Farm where they do? The fact that I’m not burnt or flooded out just goes to show how much smarter I am than them.
              As more people lose their homes through fire and flood, as farms fail for lack of irrigation, there won’t be help coming. There will be no cavalry. Nope, just divide the voters and conquer them. There will be no concerted climate action by ordinary people, it will always be subverted.
              That is what we will get as a result of the strategic planning on climate action by the “elites” They do have a plan.

                1. drumlin woodchuckles

                  Their plan is to get the rest of us to punch eachother in the nose while they make their getaway to their bunkers and hideaways and so forth.
                  Thiessen to New Zealand, Bush to Paraguay, etc.

    2. Glen

      It hailed and snowed today on Puget Sound, and we have snow in the forecast for tomorrow morning.I will try to send the wet and cold in your general direction!

  7. The Rev Kev

    “US oil imports from Russia reported at zero”

    Hmmmm. So if Russia exported so many millions of barrels to Country B, and Country B sold millions of barrels from their reserves to the United States, does that count as sanction-busting, even though officially imports from Russia to the US would be at 0? Asking for the Big Guy.

    1. Polar Socialist

      There was a rumor that some actors in the business are cutting non-Russian oil with Russian oil, 51%/49% ratio, so it kinda sorta stays non-Russian. False rumor, I’m sure. No-one would be that dishonest, even if huge money is involved.

      Seriously though, after reading NC lately I assume mixing crude from different sources is a science onto itself, not just done for the fun of it.

      1. LifelongLib

        In “Supership”, a book from the 70s about life on an oil tanker, there was a time when the ship was loading two different types of crude oil and the crew had to be very careful with the pipes and tanks to keep them separate. Mixing them would have been a hugely expensive mistake. I assume customers have to know exactly what type of oil they’re getting…

        1. John

          Answer to “does that count as sanctions-busting”: It does, but we prefer not to mention it.

    2. Michael Ismoe

      Of the Top Ten oil suppliers, the USA has invaded 9 of them. Trinadad and Tobago – Soon to be our 51st state.

  8. Stick'em

    re: Jerks on Consortium News

    Brenner states: “It is self-evident our national leaders, elected or appointed, are equally incapable of sober deliberation, of intellectual honesty (with themselves as well as us), of elementary logic, even of acknowledging factual realities. Consequently, the resulting behavior defies rational analysis.”

    The struggle is real. I feel the author’s pain. Makes my poor noggin hurt to contemplate the beliefs and actions of most any given individual when it comes to politics. To be more careful in my description of what ails me, it hurts whenever I try to use a rational analysis that begins with an assumption the observed beliefs and actions are individual in nature.

    The reality is the bigger the perceived stage, the more social conditioning erases any given individual’s adherence to rational processes. Hence, to relieve this hellacious headache, I must cease trying to understand any given political behavior as being individual in the first place. Instead, to avoid the unholy hammer of cognitive dissonance ringing in my ears, I must always remember people are first and foremost always a member of a group. Be it a Red herd or a Blue one or some other group requiring conformity of word and deed. To paraphrase Forrest: Herd is as herd does. Only then does the pain subside and the world resemble something understandable.

    Acceptance of this fact does not equal my own approval of its consequences, but rather a recognition the herd is what it is, not what I wish it to be.

    “Not only will the individual be responsive to impulses coming from the herd, but he will treat the herd as his normal environment. The impulse to be in and always to remain with the herd will have the strongest instinctive weight. Anything which tends to separate him from his fellows, as soon as it becomes perceptible as such, will be strongly resisted.”
    Instincts of the Herd in Peace and War (30)

    1. The Rev Kev

      I think that I may have seen an example of this herd group-think on TV here in Oz this morning. So they had on this old, fat establishment guy on spouting his opinions about the war. Near the end he said that what needs to happen is a sort of Nuremburg trials and that when Russia throws out the people responsible for this war, Putin, his generals and his diplomats will all be sent by Russia to the Hague for war crimes. Does he think that this will actually happen or was he just saying it to make himself popular on the TV? But I do have a suspicion that somewhere, this is part of the end-game desired by the west for Russia – along with its break-up into smaller countries. That this fantasy is at the back of their minds as what they want to happen to the Russian leadership so of course it actually will happen.

      1. Pat

        I can’t talk about Oz, but when I was reading that column and a few responses something did occur to me. Everyone referenced in the column are people who are never wrong. Oh sure, we know that isn’t true, but they have never had to admit failure or mistakes. And short of being out in the speaker, ngo, think tank circuit whenever their party is out of power, no one is ever fired. There are no real consequences for any disaster they have wrought. So of course it would never occur to them to worry about them for any one else. Yes they still know they have to lie to get agreement but when has living up to their agreements been required. Hell the Governor of NY had to resign after killing nursing home residents, using staff and resources to write a book about his brilliance that made him millions and reports from dozens of women about his inappropriate behavior. Sure the harassment took the lead in his resignation, but all of it is being forgotten as he tries for a comeback using funds he had previously raised. This is as close to being canceled that I have seen recently, and it is now becoming evidence that if you belong to the right group there are no long term consequences.

        And yes that applies to our media in America as well. Judith Miller still has a job. The only time consequences apply is if you actually report the truth.

    2. hunkerdown

      It is interesting how the professional-managerial class need to believe that the unlanded aren’t important unless they are being subsumed under someone’s land in a relationship much like property. That’s not far from the core principle of fascist social organization.

      The more effective and somewhat less polemic ideology of materialism observes the relations between persons, not the mystical essences of neo-Platonism, as the stuff of social behavior. By its lights, there is nothing inherent, special, or sacred about a leader. It’s just a role, a particular personal relationship to social reproduction, that some people are allowed to develop through practice (and stimulants) which others are denied.

      1. jonboinAR

        The “special” thing about leaders is that they get to have a ginormous amount of influence, while most of the rest of us don’t have jack-####, truly.

    3. LifelongLib

      Well, of course the people who agree with me are well-informed independent thinkers, and the ones who don’t are a herd of dumb sheep. Everybody knows that. /s

  9. Carolinian

    New Andrew Cockburn on the F 35

    However, if the Russian leader may not lose sleep over the F-35s currently poised on Nato’s front line, the same can very certainly not be said for families living around Burlington International Airport, home to the Vermont Air National Guard’s 20 F-35s. Though the plane may be signally lacking in offensive capability vis-a-vis foreign enemies – the gun, for example, still doesn’t shoot straight and probably never will – it has a unique capability to inflict domestic damage, thanks to its shattering noise, far louder than any other airplane in the inventory, and surely an existential threat when inflicted on well-populated neighborhoods such as those surrounding Burlington’s airport.

    One simple set of numbers makes the case. The air force itself defines noise levels of 65 decibels or above as “incompatible with residential use.” According to the air force’s own calculations, at least 6,000 people living close by the airport fall within the 65 decibels-plus zone. Every 10 decibel increase is perceived by the human ear as a doubling in sound level. Burlington’s F-35s regularly generate levels of 110 decibels or more. They do that four days a week, Tuesday through Friday, as well as once a month on weekends.


    1. Wukchumni

      I always hear the F-35’s from NAS Lemoore flying overhead and occasionally see them, as they are quite aways above, say around 15k.

      A stealth aircraft you can hear coming from a long way out isn’t really that stealthy, but the Edsel of the air wouldn’t have it any other way.

      1. Carolinian

        During the World Wars British spotters would use acoustic direction finders with big gramophone type horns to amplify and directionalize the sound. The Russkies can revive this low tech approach versus our “stealth” fighter.

        Perhaps the Pentagon should have gotten a clue from the incredibly long gestation of the plane. When I lived in Atlanta some years ago its predecessor was in development and could be seen taking off from Dobbins Air Reserve base near where I lived. A giant Lockheed factory is next door.

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          The Air Force needs to get its act together. The Army’s Future Combat Systems program had the good grace not to actually produce hardware.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        Presuming it’s top combat speed is accurate, you won’t hear it coming. It’s supersonic.

        1. Carolinian

          Yes but fun to talk about. Like most jets it’s probably noisiest when taking off and using full power. There used to be an AFB at Myrtle Beach and those F 100s would come screaming over the beach with their afterburners lit. We kids thought that was great–but very noisy indeed.

        2. Polar Socialist

          Just a few points: it’s doesn’t have supercruise, so going supersonic it’s using afterburner which depletes it’s fuel in minutes, not hours, so it’s not that feasible. Also, being F-35, in supersonic speeds it’s sensors seem to heat too fast, so the time is limited. But regardless, the main point would the listening station being everywhere in hostile airspace, not just at the target for today. So an integrated air defense network would know the location with enough precision to either warn missile defenses or direct interceptors close enough for electro-optical targeting or even radar lock.

          1. Anthony G Stegman

            The F-35 is akin to the million dollar super cars that collectors acquire. They aren’t meant to be flown in combat. Mostly for show the F-35 is designed to intimidate by its mere presence. All the bells and whistles are meant to bedazzle the enemy without actually being functional. At the same time, it must appeal to the American taxpayer who is paying the trillion dollar cost for the F35 program, so all the fancy and expensive headgear, head up displays, stealth technology, etc…doesn’t actually need to work as long as it is convincing enough to bamboozle the masses including a fawning media.

      3. digi_owl

        Stealth is not about being not noticed, it is about making it harder to get a usable missile lock (or at least until you yourself is in a position to fire).

        I do wonder if the mission planners learned something from Bosnia though, where a F-117 was downed because they used the same bloody ingress route every night. Thus the battery could more or less fire blind into its path.

          1. digi_owl

            I am constantly bemused that a site ostensibly about cars have such a detailed M-I section.

        1. Polar Socialist

          Serbians also had old Soviet Nebo VHF radar from the 50’s, that actually can see the stealth planes. It can’t be used to fire control, but it can be used to provide interceptors with situational data.

          1. digi_owl

            Yep, but the commander of the SAM battery that landed the kill was the one that highlighted that the F-117s used exact route to and from target each day.

            So he had spotters placed along said route that would inform him when they heard a jet passing by, and then light up the area just long enough to get a missile going in the right direction before packing up and running to avoid the HARMs.

            I do wonder if that was the last time USA/NATO faced a competent and invested (i know there is a better term, but my brain is stuck in a loop right now!) opponent.

            1. Anthony G Stegman

              Something similar happened in Vietnam with respect to B-52 raids in the north. Early on many were shot down by SAM batteries because they would take the same route to and fro. Eventually, the Air Force caught on and varied the routes flown. The numbers of downed B-52s dropped dramatically.

              1. rowlf

                There was a bit more to that if you are talking about Linebacker II were most B-52 losses occurred. SAC used B-52Gs that did not have the same electronic counter measure packages that in theatre B-52Ds had, as well as using doctrine post nuclear delivery turn-outs that blanketed the ECM coverage.

  10. haywood

    Re: Whitmer kidnap plot: 2 men acquitted, hung jury for 2 more

    Good. More people ensnared in these awful FBI orchestrated terror plots should take their chances with a jury trial.

    These federal set-ups inevitably become clear for what they are so it’s not hard to find a sympathetic/smart juror or two. And if you can’t, you’ll get plenty of ammunition to win on appeal through discovery.

    1. GramSci

      If you can afford to appeal. The FBI preferentially targets poor, credulous marks who can’t afford to appeal.

    2. Screwball

      Funny how this all worked. This went down prior to the election, after they were caught the endless babbling on the PMC TV screens kept them in a frenzy for months over this, and they wanted blood. Then we find out the FBI “might” have infiltrated this group. Anyone saying that part out loud would be shouted down immediately as a Trumper, conspiracy theory nutjob. Now we find out there were FBI people involved, and had a large part of prodding these people along.

      Why did they do this? Is anyone in the FBI accountable, or is this what they do? The head of the Detroit FBI was a guy named Steven M. D’Antuono, who was then moved to DC. Strange?

      Going back to 2008 and the lack of bankers going to jail after blowing up the markets, the FBI didn’t arrest anyone. They obviously had a part in this Michigan thing, and perhaps Jan 6 as well. From my point of view, their failings far outweigh their accomplishments. Maybe it’s time we defund the FBI, and at minimum, hold some people accountable.

      I know, I know, this is America, where there is liberty and justice for all.

      1. Bruno

        But don’t you know that the pseudo-trotskyist WSWS (“Northites”) denounces the verdict as yet another victory for the ongoing fascist insurrection?

    3. lyman alpha blob

      According to the article, a couple of the “conspirators” did plead guilty, are currently serving prison sentences, and turned government informant and testified against their former companions in this trial.

      I bet they’re feeling pretty stupid right about now, watching the others walk free.

  11. griffen

    Amazon merger process is complete. Clicking through you get a photo of our sitting US President; I can’t help but say he looks an awful lot like a fictional villain from any number of films. The Joker, sans cosmetic make up, in all seriousness. Others mileage may vary.

    Amazon is sweating bullets? Yeah, I don’t think so. It’s well known how many ties into former Obama admin officials exist. Let alone ties into the current Mr. to the Madame Vice President, Doug Emhoff. White shoe law firms united!

  12. GramSci

    The Kids’ Guide to Fighting Socialism

    I drilled down to the fine print:

    Approximately 30 days after we send your first Kids Guide, we will begin to send you a new Kids Guide, … every 3-4 weeks for the low price of $21.90 per set. We will also send you the latest issue of EverBright Kids monthly magazine for just $6.49 per issue when each new issue is released. These items will be automatically billed to your credit or debit card on file, plus sales tax where applicable.

    Freedumb isn’t free.

  13. Michael Ismoe

    Mayo Pete appearing on Charlamagne tha God. It’s the first time I ever saw collard greens and Wonder Bread on the same menu. Was it part of some sort of cultural exchange program?

  14. cnchal

    > Amazon files its appeal of historic union vote at New York City warehouse

    Bezos is fighting for the right of whip cracking sadists to keep cracking the whip.

    1. Michael Ismoe

      If the appeal doesn’t work, Jeff and Lauren intend to shell the warehouse with their battleship-size yacht until morale improves. Serfs are so uppity these days. Chris Smalls better invest in dragon eggs if he’s going to win this “game of stones”

  15. PlutoniumKun

    Sit back and watch Europe commit suicide Pepe Escobar, The Cradle (Li). Scroll down to the discussion of LNG.

    I’m not sure that I’d agree with that discussion on LNG. Gas pipelines can’t happen without strong contracts between producer, supplier, and infrastructure provider. LNG is pretty much a fungible product and can be bought on the open market, like regular oil shipments. The problem for LNG is that it can’t be profitable if it is competing with pipeline gas as the latter is always cheaper in normal times. So any investor will insist on some sort of assurance of a minimum supply.

  16. Mikel

    “The White House is freaked out that Putin’s next big win could be in Paris” Politico

    As I read that, I heard the dog whistles being prepped for the Russian election interference playbook – French style -,if Le Pen wins.

    And then I thought about a blog post I read earlier this year:

    “…After a four-month parliamentary inquiry looking into lucrative contracts granted to consultancy firms like Accenture, Bain & Company, Boston Consulting Group (BCG), Cap Gemini, Deloitte, Eurogroup, EY, McKinsey & Company, PwC, Roland Berger, and Wavestone, the French Senate Commission has released its findings – and the outcome is rather damming. The inquiry was lead by senators and the French government opposition bench.

    The use of consultancy firms by the French administration has more than doubled since the beginning of Macron’s five-year presidential mandate. According to the Senate commission report, a noticeable 45% increase in 2021 has been identified, some of which can be attributed to the Covid-19 pandemic….”

    While alot on the discussion focuses on how business consultancy firms had more to do with global Covid policy than actual science or concern for public health, this influence is seen throughout Europe and its elections.

    1. Daryl

      A few days ago, I posted pondering whether the French polls might also have the “shy tory” effect.

      What I found fascinating was the inversion of the age there, Le Pen’s support is highest among the young.

      I don’t know much about French politics, but here in the US it certainly seems like the Dems are trying to drive young people to the right.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        aye. my french is terrible(too many extra letters, mostly)…and, it’s just not something i’ve allocated attention to.
        that said, were i french, i’d be voting for Melanchon, prolly.
        interstingly, if you shave off le Pen’s racist, antiimmigrant and hypernationalist parts, her domestic economic policy is not that far from my own….at least when i looked into it, some years ago: things like producerism, localism, subsidiarity,a more autarkic ag policy etc(top of head, after many years)
        of course, this particular lefty gets along quite well with russel kirk conservatives, front porch conservatives, and…given enough beer, weed and quiet…with almost every barstool conservative i’ve run across.
        …and i don’t hide my newdealerism, nor my fondness for the Zapatistas, from these specimens, either,lol.
        we just agree to disagree on the more Maga type things(replacement theory, masks kill, etc)

        if she’s what it takes to help end nato/otan and further the demise of usaempire hegemony, i’m willin for the french to take that risk,lol….since my vote(or abstention) seems to have so little effect towards that end.
        i see my own country as the biggest threat to the planet, hands down…and this is not a new sentiment.

        1. David

          The vote for Le Pen is less for her proposed policies than it is a vote against Macron and all he stands for. Many French people now appear to believe that the best way to get Macron out is to vote for whoever is in the second round against him. Many who might vote for Le Pen would vote for Mélenchon if circumstances were different.

          Watch this space tomorrow night. We should have a reasonable idea of how things are going by late afternoon your time. I will try to post some thoughts if I can.

        2. Bugs

          You’re right my friend, if you could shave off the ideological inheritance from Le Pen père, she’d be a very good candidate, only slightly to the right of JLM, and a woman to boot. Tomorrow I’m voting for Jean-Luc Mélenchon and we’ll see what I do if he doesn’t get to round two. I’ll post here. Exciting times in Europe! Sadly, there’s also this war; Russia should be at very least an ally not the pariah it’s become.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            yes. her daddy was a real sob…during that minor research frenzy, i had to read about him in order to understand her(i went all the way back in french history to the Second Republic…but it was, as i said, just a gloss).
            she seems to have grokked that all that winging about how its all the ferriner’s fault and hating on gays and non-xtians might not be the best way to gain votes(much like certain goptea righties in usa have started to learn(rubio, esp.))…started to tone all that down even during the last contest.
            and her daughter’s pretty hot.
            neither of them would get my vote…but, much like trump, i’d welcome the conniptions they’d induce in the masters.

    2. Maritimer

      I thought that Macron’s “piss off” the Unvaccinated quite remarkable. It seemed to be a very calculated statement based on polls showing demonizing the Unvaccinated was a political winner. So maybe some political consultant miscalculated.

      It seems also that the Prime Injector of Canada Trudeau picked up the same songbook for the Unvaccinated. Demonize them.

      Must be a bit of tossing, turning at night wondering if the Covid Chickens may come home to roost.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Hopefully all the new and improved Covid variants will infect the vaccinated Elites just as effectively as the unvaccinated non-Elites.

  17. Louis Fyne

    that fusion article: be skeptical of any progress touted by a company that needs venture capital funding

  18. The Rev Kev

    “The White House is freaked out that Putin’s next big win could be in Paris”

    Maybe they can send Obama over to France to tell those uppity French who to vote for – if they know what is good for them that is. Obama did the same when he went to the UK and told the British to vote against the Brexit vote or else he would punish them and after all, people love being told by a foreigner how to run their country.

    1. Judith

      I interpret that as a suggestion that the U.S. is considering interfering withe French elections to prevent Le Pen from being elected. She may want to watch her back.

      1. Bruno

        This media focus on Marine is pure Macronite propaganda. The latest polling puts the likelihood of a Mélenchon-Le Pen final round well within its margin of error.

          1. Bruno

            The WSWS today said “The BVA polling institute estimates that Macron could get 20.5 to 28.5 percent of the vote, Marine Le Pen 19 to 27 percent and Mélenchon 14.5 to 22 percent.”

  19. The Rev Kev

    “Ban European flights and car use in cities to hurt Putin, report urges”

    Idjuts. In France they are already talking about ration cards like was done in WW2 because of looming food shortages. Rationing! So not taking that plane trip to Ibiza or driving into the center of town is not to be compared. If food shortages hit the US it could be worse because of the political system. So Republicans would refuse to give food to starving areas in America lest it encourage them to become welfare dependent and will send them boot-straps instead. The Democrats, on the other hand, will try to get a scheme underway but insist that it be administered by a private corporation and be means-tested using a brand new database that will be built on the fly by Silicon Valley.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      “… If food shortages hit the US it could be worse because of the political system….”

      if by “political system”, you mean “amurka is filled to the brim with overgrown toddlers with handguns”…then, yeah…
      one of the trueisms i’ve gleaned from 35+ years of close fieldwork is that those who yell the loudest about “entitlements”(ie: help for poor and/or brown/black people)…are themselves the most entitled creatures since versailles just prior to the revolution.
      we had the merest taste of whats to come with the first 6 months or so of pandemic.
      my county(last in line, just in time, warehouse? whats that?) ran out of everything in short order…so, since we were still going to san antonio, i doubled the utility by doing supply runs down there.
      stores in the poorer parts of town were just as bare as we were out here…but those adjacent to the rich enclaves were still stocked.
      the bougies were something to see, indeed…yelling and clawing and spittle-flying tantrums about greentea/acai, bagels and TP being unavailable or rationed…and not just TP as a platonic form…but “my brand” of TP…
      and when the housekeeper, yard guys, pool guys, etc etc wont come because of fuel cost….
      well…it should be pretty interesting.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        If you don’t currently look too poor to be worth looting, you might consider learning how to look that way. And make your house and land look too poor and food-bare to be worth attacking and looting for food or anything else.

        And make sure that your family is visibly represented in any food lines or at any food banks, otherwise your friends and neighbors will think you must have food, otherwise you or a family member would be in the breadline or the foodbank, right? If they don’t think you have food, they won’t come to take your food.

    2. JBird4049

      IIRC, one of the triggering events of the French Revolution was rising food costs.

      The United States and Canada are a big, big part of the world’s food supply and if their harvests goes away, or is restricted to just to them, I do believe some governments will fall. I agree our ruling sociopaths and chuckleheads would try to ship food overseas or deny areas of their countries because “Profit!,” but I am sure that there would be plenty of very violent “protesting.” The question is whether our dear leaders would understand this. Probably not.

      1. ambrit

        Something similar happened in England and Ireland back in the 1800s. Demonstrations against the “G–given rights” of Capital to starve locals for profit were violently put down by troops, at the government’s command. The French in ’89 just went that extra step and advanced from ‘demonstrating’ to ‘revolting.’ The Arab Springs were similarly sourced.
        I don’t know where the tipping point is, but I can envision an ‘American Spring’ regime change event.
        Traditionally, getting the middle and lower level officer corps of the army on your side is the defining action. That idea is probably a major argument used to abandon the conscript army of the Vietnam Era . A “professionalized” army is much more difficult to radicalize.

        1. wilroncanada

          Right now, the US armed forces, professional as it may seem, would have to be un-radicalized first.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            i don’t know very many current troops(holy), but those i do know are…toa person(save one), True Believers.
            likely a function of local demographics…ie: no democrats to speak of…their kids go to college and intern for dem pols.
            lumpen don’t generally sign up…
            but the children of the local goptea mandarinate, do.
            now…vets of previous wars, in my experience, are much more sanguine about all the flag waving, etc.
            especially vietnam vets.
            they are orders of magnitude more likely to be “conspiracy theorists”, etc.
            the older korean war vets, on the contrary, were flag waving superpatriots, in my circles, at least.

    3. SocalJimObjects

      “Join the armed forces and you will never starve!!!”

      It’s all going to plan.

  20. Ghost in the Machine

    I agree with the arguments in posts like the ones in Ecosophia and Pepe Escobar’s that the current geopolitical situation is one of Western decline. But, I am not so sure how far the old Asian belt of civilizations (Ecosophia) or the new ‘rising’ blocs (BRICS, Belt and Road etc.) will rise. All of this is happening in the context of global climate change and a world where the easy resources have largely been harvested/extracted. I am kind of surprised Greer did not mention this. Many of these nations are overpopulated relative to their national resources and with their own increasingly restive populations. It may be true that there is currently plenty of food for the world population theoretically but that assumes a smoothly functioning globalized industrial food system not run by sociopaths (we already have the sociopaths, the globalization is going away, and industrialization will follow). Russia seems relatively well situated resource wise but they have had their droughts and such as well. Can China continue to rise if their export markets contract? China has bad pollution problems and has its share of climate disasters. Its working population, like the US, seems increasingly angry. Maybe there is not just Western decline, but general decline with some temporary risers. Maybe there is not enough resources left for another great power. Just an increasingly fragmented and declining world. Well, I guess, something like the Jackpot.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I’d agree – the death of Europe has been a favourite topic for more than a century. In the late 19th Century lots of people thought that Brazil and Argentina would be future superpowers along with the US (this was also a theme in the 1960’s). Europe pretty much blew itself up twice in the 20th Century and recovered. Bookshops were full of ‘The Asian Century’ and ‘Japan Rising’ type books in the 1980’s. I’ve been reading about the coming bankruptcy and collapse of France and Germany since I was 12 years old (my only reading material in my home being mostly Readers Digest). All had pretty good arguments. All were wrong. Even within Asian, not many people thought that South Korea would roar past Japan and China in technology and wealth.

      You can obviously make a strong argument that Europe is in chronic decline, mostly self inflicted. But as you say, China has chronic upcoming problems with population changes, land degradation and the possible middle income trap. For all the talk of its rise, its wealth pp isn’t that much different from a poorer South American country. It still has a long way to go. If you look at the long history of China, its been one of periods of growth and expansion followed by catastrophic collapses.

      But while its common to talk about declining and collapsing empires, what is often forgotten is that even rotting empires often survived and occasionally thrived for centuries after their zenith. Sometimes its just sheer momentum of power and wealth. Catching up on a rival is relatively easy (you just copy what they do). Overtaking them is another thing.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        i am admittedly a declinist…”doomer” in the common tongue.
        more toynbee than spengler, but still…
        i agree with much of what greer says…always have(happened upon him long ago)
        i can forgive a little historical fast and loose when its incidental to the broader points…but yeah, i get it.
        i reckon such flubs on the fly are forgivable, because then there’s things like this:

        “The United States these days is a Third World country catapulted by a chapter of historical accidents into a temporary position as global hegemon. Its Europeanized elites, in the usual Third World fashion, are a small minority maintaining a tenuous temporary mastery over restless masses that don’t share its ideals and its interests, and are beginning to sense their potential power. ”

        tasty and nutrient rich meat of nut, right there.

        in my own ruminations, i put less emphasis on the distinctions between europe and usa…the latter is the inheritor of the reins, as he says…but it’s still the same civilisation, in my view.

        regardless, we’re the heart of the empire…and i’m thinking about dmitry orlov a lot, here lately.

        1. Anon

          Me too concerning Greer. He has lots of great insights, but this is one of his weaker posts. He argues for a slow decline which I agree with, but then he confuses generational time with geologic time. He also picks and choses – comparing a Mosque in Africa (built built by the present day people living in Egypt) to a mud hut in England. Greer gets criticized and then claims the counter arguments of comparing a Cathedral to a Mosque means he is correct!!! His readers are also looking for some real estate around Old Crowe. Disclaimer – been to Old Crowe. Maybe in 500 years it will be a great agricultural area……

          Greer has many great articles – but this is not one of them.

    2. Bruno

      “Maybe there is not just Western decline, but general decline with some temporary risers. Maybe there is not enough resources left for another great power. Just an increasingly fragmented and declining world.” Yes indeed. Many seem to regard “Western” as synonymous with “capitalist,” but the fact is that capitalism is an all-pervasive planetary fossile-fuel-based industrial system and the general decline and fall is that of our planetary industrial system.

    3. .human

      Let’s keep in mind that Russia spans 11 time zones with a population less than 150 million.

      Of course the West wants to prise those resources for itself.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Twice I have read of European officials complaining to their Russian counterpart’s face that their country is too big. Imagine that. Looks like, going by what they are doing at the moment, that they intend to ‘fix’ that little problem.

    4. David

      I read Greer’s essay a few days, ago, and more or less gave up when I came to this assertion:

      “It took only four decades after 1914 for the rest of the British empire to come crashing down, reducing Britain from its previous status of global hyperpower to the ignominious role of US client state propped up mostly by money laundering operations in the City of London ….That wealthy Englishman Keynes imagined at his breakfast table in 1913 was a lot less wealthy in 1933, and by 1953 he was a good deal less wealthy still.”

      I have literally no idea what Greer thinks he is trying to say. Any randomly chosen representation of GDP per capita, like this one, the first I found, shows that living standards went rocketing up after WW1and continued to rise thereafter. Indeed, the generation after WW2 saw the greatest rise in living standards for ordinary people ever recorded in British history, at a time when the country was still a major industrial power, and a major exporter, with excellent public services and free education. The myth of postwar British decline is just that, a myth, and historians like David Edgerton have shown that the real decline only really began after Thatcher got her hands on the nation’s windpipe in 1979.

      It’s a very American delusion that the Empire came “crashing down.” It certainly hadn’t by 1954: the vast majority of it was still intact. But the British gave it upon because they realised that the economic burden it imposed was simply not worth it, and decided to focus on the Atlantic and Europe. At the time, as I dimly remember, this was a very controversial decision with my parents’ generation, but it was obviously the right one.

      I always find Greer interesting and read his various blogs, but the problem is that, whilst he knows a great deal about many things, he doesn’t realise what he doesn’t know, and he has a rather sycophantic readership who don’t always point out where he goes wrong. In one of his articles a few months ago, for example, he suggested that the Church in Europe had never had any political power. He was good enough, though, to later accept he was wrong.

      1. KenP

        Spot on. I stopped reading him when his (and the commentators) colossally bad takes on covid just got to be unbearable, and his comment section is too echo-chamber for my liking.

        Plus he’s trashed this blog more than once, which is disappointing.

      2. lance ringquist

        the proper question to be asking now, is that who gets the GDP? the u.k., america, and much of the west, gdp is being captured by a tiny few, and living standards are falling.

        so do not be to surprised that the U.K. standard of living is stagnant or falling, and the U.K. might still be devolving.

  21. Phenix

    I have a question about China’s currency. Its been years since I followed any of this closely but is there any indication for how China will handle it’s appreciating currency? It is my understanding that China has manipulated it’s currency to make it weaker but what happens when it can no longer maintain this position and it’s exports become more expensive?
    Has China planned for the increases in food prices? I’ve read about China’s purchasing of land in other countries to produce food for China.

  22. Raymond Sim

    We may want Omicron to mutate? This is Dunning-Kruger stuff.

    One thing the scientific method is good for is showing you when your imagination has failed you. But you do have to be willing to see the evidence. Trevor Bedford, who’s quoted in the piece, is someone whose Twitter explanations were of great help to me early in the pandemic. But he deprecated the virus’s capacity for adaptation at a time when he damn well should have known better. He should have known better because an ignoramous like me could see the gaping holes in his reasoning*, and because clinical observations from China pointed to different conclusions.

    And now? Sweet Chundering Australians! Even knowing their relatively recent ancestry we’re groping in the dark to figure out how the Omicrons could have evolved, let alone nailing down where the process will lead to.

    That “Space” that another Omicron-like event would have to occur within, and which therefore supposedly limits the liklihood of such events is purely hypothetical. Predicting the future based on such an idea is even dumber than prediction based on structural analysis of the virus was back in 2020 – that (mostly very wrong) analysis was based on much less abstracted concepts and, it’s a safe bet, many, many, many more relevant data points.

    *To wit:
    ~ “Critical parts of the virus’s genome are error-protected.” is not the same thing as “The virus’s genome changes slowly.”
    ~ Without knowing what sort of bottleneck transmission imposes, the rate of genomic change observed in clinical sampling can’t tell you how quickly adaptive change may occur.
    ~ The idea that the genomic changes being observed could confidently be said not to be at sites relevant to virulence or immune evasion was pure hubris on the part of virologists.

  23. Mikel

    “Sit back and watch Europe commit suicide” Pepe Escobar

    “…A US Deep State old pro, now retired, and quite familiar with the inner workings of the old OSS, the CIA precursor, all the way to the neocon dementia of today, provided some sobering insights:

    “The whole Ukraine issue is over hypersonic missiles that can reach Moscow in less than four minutes. The US wants them there, in Poland, Romania, Baltic States, Sweden, Finland. This is in direct violation of the agreements in 1991 that NATO will not expand in Eastern Europe. The US does not have hypersonic missiles now but should – in a year or two. This is an existential threat to Russia. So they had to go into the Ukraine to stop this. Next will be Poland and Romania where launchers have been built in Romania and are being built in Poland.”

    I couldn’t let that bit at the end of the article slide by without notice.

    1. Steve B

      Yeah, Escobar’s point about ‘hyperspace geonomics’ really stands out, the idea that US intends to install hypersonic weapons on launchers in Romania and Poland. Probably also Baltic states and Finland, if its NATO bid successful. US hypersonic missiles due by October 2023:

      Even if US does not intend hypersonic missile deployment on Russian border, Putin might think they do. Giving him a window of 18 months to extend his war from Ukraine to other countries in Eastern Europe. Uh oh!

      1. digi_owl

        FFS, can someone stop that senile old man from poking the bear already?!

        Oh, and someone get Cuba on the line. Maybe they have a place to park some spare Iskanders before this gets completely out of whack.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      Its also nonsense. The US does not have a land based hypersonic missile programme – only air based ones, so they can be based anywhere. As the Russians have demonstrated, air based hypersonic missiles are much more useful militarily.

      After a number of failures, the ARRW project, which is at early prototype stage has been cut back.

      The US does not need hypersonic missiles in Eastern Europe. B1 stealth aircraft, plus the massive arsenal of submarine and air launched missiles are more than sufficient, hypersonic missiles only provide marginal possible military benefits.

      As so often, Escobar picks up a casual comment he hears and expands it into some grand statement to back up whatever theory he is trying to expound. There are plenty of reasons for paranoia about US intentions without simply making stuff up. Escobar made stuff up there that could have been disproved with a few minutes on google.

      1. GramSci

        Yes, but the U.S. doesn’t want to use its own weapons. It wants for Ukraine and Poland and Lithuania and Latvia to (1) buy and (2) use the weapons against Russia (or Iran or Afghanistan or …). Every war is a proxy war.

        1. Steve B

          The proxy war is also an information war. Hypersonic weapons are the new shiny objects of war. They have propaganda value.

        2. Minsky

          Except, y’know, for the Ukrainians fighting against an invasion of their country by a neighboring power. For them there’s no proxy war; just a war to defend their country.

  24. Vasall Speak

    Just to give you an idea of the quality of our misleaders doing everything they can to commit economical suicide, I present the current German Vice Chancellor Ribert Habeck, also Minister of Economics and Climate Change. This interview, from a year ago, is golden. Just look and listen to him. The interview is from the time not too long after when he and his colleague Baerbock were presented as the Green Candidates for the elections. He has apparently already had the talk with the handlers.

    As of lately he has applied himself. This genius could not stand the Russian attack on human rights in Ukraine so he went to look for some Fairtrade oil to… Qatar.


    – will sich eine Grüne Regierungbeteiligung genau so wie bei Navalny für anderen Dissidenten wie zum Beispiel für Assange einsetzen?

    – Will a Green government engage as much, just like for Navalny, for other dissident like for example Assange?

    – Ja.
    – Yes

    – Forderst die Freilassung von Julian Assange? Genau so du forderst die Freilassung von Navalny? Fordert ihr auch die Freilassung von Assange?
    – Do you demand the release of Julian Assange? Like you do for Navalny? Do you demand the release of Assange?

    – Einen fairen Vorfahren fordern wir
    – We demand a fair process

    – Warum nicht Freilassung?
    – Why not the release?

    – Julian Assange muss unter das was dazu gehört aus den Haften lassen muss einen fairen… einen Verfahren bekommen, dass nicht politisch motiviert ist.
    – Julian Assange must, as required, in order to get out of jail undergo a fair… a process that is not politically motivated.

    – Aber es ist sehr politisch motiviert Verfahren. Es geht um Geheimdienstverrat. Es ist ein Angriff auf die Pressefreiheit. Forderst nicht die Freilassung?
    – But it is a very politically motivated process. It is about treason of state secrets. It is an assault on the press freedom. Don’t you demand the release?

    – Doch. Ich fordere die Freilassung von Julian Assange.
    – Yes. I demand the release of Julian Assange.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      After reading the news and reading its trends, I think the greatest silliness is not producing the ethanol — but wasting it as automobile fuel.

    2. Tom Doak

      A friend in NZ reported that the price of urea fertilizer has gone up 600% in the past year. That’s some real inflation, there.

  25. antidlc

    High-flying medical graduate killed himself after struggling with long Covid

    An Oxford University -trained doctor whose life was shattered when he caught long Covid took his own life because he could not cope with the illness anymore, an inquest heard on Wednesday.

    The high-flying medic, who joined the world-famous McKinsey management company after graduating, was found by his doctor friends who went looking for him on the middle of the night.

    I can’t find any other reports.

    1. WobblyTelomeres

      Hitler would be 132 (133 on 4/20). Unless he and Peter Thiel share a physician, I doubt it is he.

  26. lance ringquist

    the article on the age of europe is over is spot on. its what i surmised in the mid 1960’s if we went down the free trade route once again.

    i wiped my brow when reagan and bush could not get free trade through, then along came nafta billy clinton.

    anyone who is befuddled, confused and is outraged about whats happening today, its quite easy to understand, its happened twice before

    only frauds are for free trade, its a historically and economically accurate statement

    under nafta billy clinton free trade, america is heading into pauperism: That’s what happens to nations that get too dependent on economic globalism(free trade)

    what are the dim wits going to do when they no longer can afford a trade deficit?

  27. digi_owl

    So apparently ol’ UK Boris is in Kiev, promising anti-ship missiles to a nation about to be land locked.

  28. drumlin woodchuckles

    About sources of methane emissions . . . . I notice that no one has ever mentioned coal mines, either current or abandoned. But coal mines leak methane, too. It is one of the sources and reasons for coal mine explosions.

    I wonder what the amount of coal mine methane emissions is. I wonder if it is so huge that no one dares to admit to it for fear of inducing terminal despair.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      We put up posts on the state of oil and gas 1-2x a week and we always mention diesel.

      I am stockpiling everything I can forward buy that gets delivered. If I didn’t have to sell this house, I’d buy even more.

      1. GlassHammer

        The “Why isn’t there more coverage of diesel?” was my amazement that I only see it mentioned here and a few other sites.

        I am very grateful you cover the topic here.

        Good on you for stocking up, I am doing the same.

  29. drumlin woodchuckles

    As I was reading the Michael Brenner article ( ” Jerks”), I tangentially noticed this interesting item.

    . . . ” Frankly, a president of the United States has to be pretty dim to talk about eliminating the leader of a strong, willful, enemy government. President John F. Kennedy went down that dark tunnel and paid with his life – and Castro didn’t possess 3,800 nuclear warheads (he later had to borrow them from Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev).”

    I interpret this to mean that Michael Brenner understands that “Oswald” did not shoot President Kennedy. If he attributes it to “Castro”, he is attributing it to the wrong source, but at least he rejects the very fakest misdirectionist official establishment line of all, that the Magic Oswald diddit with his Magic Bullet.

  30. RobertC

    China? Kevin W link: Israel reaches out to China, again

    In China’s transformation as an economy focused on quality-oriented development, Israel senses almost seamless business opportunities in fields like modern agriculture, medical devices, cybersecurity and smart cities.

    China wants (needs) Israel’s ability to transform deserts into cornucopias.

  31. Tom Stone

    Don’t underestimate the cognitive dissonance of those who went all in on Biden being the
    New FDR”,the competent adult who was going to restore America’s soul and show the world that it was just one crude, horrible orange man that was the problem.
    Now it’s Ukraine with the volume turned up to 11, very close to blowing the speakers out.
    Covid,climate change and the death of what’s left of the middle class is no longer within the Overton window, gone to wherever #MeToo disappeared.
    Except that those problems are right in our face and getting worse quickly, the effort to keep thinking and saying the right things is becoming unsustainable.
    And those that continue to flash the right signals are becoming angrier and more frustrated as time passes, the existential fear of being exiled from the tribe for having bad thoughts or saying the wrong thing becomes more worse by the day.
    Millions of Americans on the verge of losing whatever vestige of sanity they have been able to cling to and it’s going to get real messy.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      but there are many tribes.
      that’s a big part of the problem in the states.
      no unifying Agon.
      we’ll soon remedy that,lol.
      conversely, perhaps…
      where i live, i wouldn’t even know that IdPol/Woke existed if it weren’t for the web….and the grumbling from those who have a web connection and are thereby thoroughly mediated.
      would have never been a Tea Party Insanity without facebook and iphones….let alone Trump.
      sans web, the people out here are much as they’ve ever been…quarrelsome and provincial and largely ignorant of things outside of their sprinkler radius.
      bless their hearts.
      but also generous, caring of their own…to excess, sometimes.
      also bless their hearts.
      our PMC are all republicans….driven mad by reagan,then 9-11 and lil george and then a black dude in the white house…all on a continuum….
      it’s the same befuddling process at work…”liberal” or “conservative”.
      same strategy and tactics that were used to create the rabid feral hog of teabilly maga are now being used to create their “Liberal”,”Internationalist”, thoroughly (Cecil)Rhodes-ian analog on the “left”.

      1. HotFlash

        largely ignorant of things outside of their sprinkler radius

        Lovely phrase and image Thanks, Amfortas the Poet.

  32. antidlc

    Count is now up to 53

    Gridiron Club: 53 guests at annual dinner test positive for COVID-19

    The number of attendees testing positive for COVID-19 following last week’s annual gala Gridiron Club dinner in Washington, D.C., has risen to 53, the organization’s president says.

    Gridiron Club President Tom DeFrank confirmed the updated figure in statements to The Washington Post and The Hill after dozens of some of Washington’s leading political figures revealed they contracted COVID-19 after last Saturday’s elite event.

    Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack tested positive.

    1. Jason Boxman

      What is most surprising to me is that a negative antigen test was not required; Granted there is a risk of a false negative, but to not even bother with such a basic precaution, when at one point, they were held out as the promise of a safe “return to normal” is a sign of breathtaking arrogance and stupidity that only our political class can demonstrate.

  33. RobertC

    New Not-So-Cold War

    How did Akhil Ramesh, a fellow with the Pacific Forum, get this article past TheHill censors Are we witnessing the beginning of de-dollarization?

    A good, broad-scope, balanced and quick read. Recommended. It ends with:

    It is a matter of when the U.S. dollar loses its dominance among global currencies — not will. The economic sanctions following the Russian invasion could have just accelerated that downfall.

  34. Oisin

    I don’t know about you but people tend not to like being shelled 24/7. Putin doesn’t appear to have a copy of how to win friends and influence people.
    The strategy of shelling urban areas is not likely to play well either as most ethnic Russians are concentrated in urban East Ukraine, similar to urban areas in Latvia and Lithuania. Whatever about dombass, putin needs to take Odessa to fully hobble Ukraine.

    1. Procopius

      The shelling is mostly aimed at reported concentrations of Ukranian soldiers, who are using ambulances, schools, theaters, hospitals, etc. Sometimes the intelligence is wrong, but they seem to have been pretty careful. It’s not just random shooting. I’m surprised they haven’t taken Mariupol, yet. The Ukies must be pretty hungry, and I wouldn’t think they have a lot of ammo left.

      Of course, I might be the victim of psychological operations and the Ukies are actually winning.

  35. LawnDart

    Here’s a 3rd-party view (Non-aligned Movement) of current geopolitical events, from those being pressured to chose sides between West and East; this is worth the while– a longish piece, so maybe a good read to go along with Sunday morning coffee:

    This Is Not the Age of Certainty. We Are in the Time of Contradictions

    It is hard to fathom the depths of our time, the terrible wars, and the confounding information that whizzes by without much wisdom. Certainties that flood the airwaves and the internet are easy to come by, but are they derived from an honest assessment of the war in Ukraine and the sanctions against Russian banks (part of a broader United States sanctions policy that now afflicts approximately thirty countries)?

    …It appears that much of the ‘certainties’ are caught up in the ‘Cold War mentality’, which views humanity as irreversibly divided on two opposing sides. However, this is not the case; most countries are struggling to craft a non-aligned approach to the US-imposed ‘new Cold War’. Russia’s conflict with Ukraine is a symptom of broader geopolitical battles that have been waged over decades.

    The website seems worthy of a weekly gander– I’m going to make it one of my Sunday reads.

  36. Tom Stone

    It has to be difficult for the EU and NATO Countries as well as Russia right now to know who is in charge of the US Empire.
    It’s not that irascible and senile old man in the oval office, that became clear when Obama delivered the kiss of death at the ACA bash.
    And it’s not Harris yet, the hand off requires some formalities.
    It’s not a comfortable situation and it won’t be resolved for some time.
    Let’s hope that if slow Joe asks where the “Football” is that his aide tells him it’s in the shop being reinflated to NFL specifications.

    1. Tom Doak

      It’s not Harris ever. They will only hand it to her when they are 100% positive she will follow their marching orders to the letter.

      I think they have more confidence in Mayor Pete being their lackey.

  37. Jason Boxman

    From the monster sighting department, the NY Times brings us this: How to Improve Heart Health After Covid.

    Studies estimate that some 10 to 30 percent of people who have been infected with the coronavirus may develop long-term symptoms.

    Luckily, the tools to treat many types of post-Covid neuropathy already exist. “People are not going to have to live with this for the rest of their lives,” said Dr. Salim Hayek, a cardiologist and co-director of Michigan Medicine’s Covid-19 Long Haul Clinic in Ann Arbor. “The vast majority of the time, these symptoms ranging from palpitations to lightheadedness resolve within six months of treatment.”

    According to data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most people recovering from Covid-19 benefit from tailored physical and mental health rehabilitation services.

    (bold mine)

    So, go forth and get crippled for capitalism, but don’t worry, the United States health care system can put you back together again after you’ve seriously debilitated?

    This is just evil.

    At least I can say with satisfaction that our political class is enthusiastically embracing infection, and is leading out in front on this. And to them I say good luck. Let us know how that goes for you. It’s rare that such horrible people self-immolate, rather than remain aloof from the negative consequences of their policy decisions and fantasies.

    1. LawnDart

      It’s rare that such horrible people self-immolate, rather than remain aloof from the negative consequences of their policy decisions and fantasies.

      Rod Blagojevich. That was a good one.

    1. JBird4049

      That was fun reading. I am going to have to reread the paper because it is really, really not my thing. But if I understand correctly, there is a good chance of Covid being the highest cause of death, certainly more than the flu, yearly. It could get better or it could get a lot worse. The middle case scenario is only 700,000. Just how bad could it get with a more lethal version? The 1918 Flu? Smallpox? The Black Death?

    1. RobertC

      Amfortas — shortly after the Taliban defeated the US in Afghanistan, William Burns the US CIA Chief Visits Pakistan, India to Discuss Afghanistan to restore the US state-of-play in the Great Game. He came back empty-handed. From that point Khan’s fate was predestined at the hands of Burns.

      I can’t think of a foreign policy and national security headache worse for its neighbors — Iran, Afghanistan, China, India — than treacherous Pakistan. Perennially failing, nuclear-armed, increasingly Islamist, essentially military-ruled, etc etc. And then there’s Balochistan.

      The Great Game continues … and became more dangerous. While the US is again safely on the other side of the world.

  38. RobertC


    Biden’s national security team has learned nothing from Ukraine’s and Russia’s critical role in exportable commodities Make Taiwan ‘very difficult’ to invade: US

    “Taiwan is a defensible island. We just need to help the Taiwanese to defend it a little bit better,” [US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Mark] Milley told a US Senate Armed Services Committee budget hearing [April 7].

    Taiwan’s TSMC exports the critical commodity of our Innovation Technologies (IT) society — fabrication of customer-specific high-density semiconductors, sharing leadership with South Korea’s Samsung. Both the “white-collar” business and “blue-collar” manufacturing facilities and associated sea and air access are located on the East side of the island facing the mainland 159 miles away. Control the commodity flows and the territory will follow.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Taiwan imports 65% of its food and nearly all of its energy. China doesn’t need to attack. It can blockade and starve them out. And that has the advantage of not destroying any infrastructure.

      1. Phenix

        The US has the same advantage over the Chinese. Chinese imports and exports have to travel through several choke points that the US still dominates. Hopefully nothing happens with Taiwan.

        1. RobertC

          Phenix — two points

          (1) Chinese imports and exports have to travel through several choke points that the US still dominates. — This is why you want to follow the India topic. And keep your BRI map current. Fascinating to watch.

          (2) Hopefully nothing happens with Taiwan. — If the US doesn’t interfere, I think in time it’s 80% likely Taiwan will come to China (Capitalism with Chinese characteristics) and 20% likely China will come to Taiwan (Democracy with Chinese characteristics). The CCP is pragmatically adaptive and what best ensures survival of its 1.4B citizens will be the path taken.

        2. MichaelSF

          Restricting Chinese trade (which seems like it would result in Chinse naval vessles escorting convoys) results in the US not getting the usual shipments of Chinese products. But then that would appear to fit with the “shoot your own foot” sanctions going on.

  39. Hepativore

    As our political system has deep ties to many powerful companies like Amazon and the Silicon Valley tech sector influence, how difficult would it be for a sitting president or Congress to actually remove the right to unionization officially? Could a president do something like that by Executive Order, or would it require Congressional approval?

    Hypothetically, under pressure from their donors, could Congressional politicians sneak in a provision in a must-pass bill stating that all private sector employees are now “essential” and cannot strike or classify unions as “promoting domestic terrorism” and therefore would be targeted by the Department of Homeland Security or something?

    Because of the successes of a few unions here and there and how Amazon has already filed an appeal, what would be involved for corporations to use their lobbyists to successfully convince our political elite to ban unions once and for all?

  40. RobertC


    This link is for Kevin W Half A Dozen Chinese Y-20 Cargo Jets Popped Up Over Europe Last Night The flight of Y-20 transports reportedly delivered weaponry to Serbia but also served as a demonstration of China’s growing global reach.

    Reports later emerged that the planes delivered HQ-22 surface-to-air missile systems to the Serbian military.

    China has not forgotten nor forgiven the United States bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade which followed the earlier NATO bombing of the Radio Television of Serbia headquarters

    Since then China, together with Russia, blocked international recognition of Kosovo and supported Serbian governments with President Aleksandar Vučić recently winning re-election with a landslide victory.

    Serbia, along with Hungary, are key members of China’s struggling 17+1 initiative in Europe

    In 2012, during the first 17+1 summit, China promised a credit line of US$10 billion to the members. One of the important projects was a high-speed railway line connecting Budapest in Hungary to Belgrade in Serbia, about 85% funded by China.

    This project is part of the China-Europe land-sea fast intermodal transport route. This line is planned to be ultimately connected to Piraeus Port in Greece overlooking the Mediterranean. The Chinese firm COSCO owns a 67% stake in this port project and has made it the second-largest container port in Europe.

    A map of the Iron Silk Road is helpful.

    China’s airborne logistics demonstration is a warning to NATO and an affirmation to Russia.

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