Links 5/1/2022

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

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


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

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

* * *

The History of May Day Tribune. Eric Hobsbawm. From 2019; still germane. Happy May Day!

14 of the Coolest Earth Photos NASA Earth Observatory Featured This Month Gizmodo

The Spanish city where water defies gravity BBC

10 Beautifully Surreal Forests Fit for a Fairy Tale Treehugger

How to Be an Incipit berfrois

Tocqueville’s Uneasy Vision of American Democracy The New Republic

‘Real Life Rock’ Review: Finding Treasure in Music’s Basement WSJ


NJ Transit Rider Starts Petition for Mask-Only Cars in Wake of Fed Mandate Ruling NBC

Shanghai’s lockdown is giving China’s online grocery apps a second chance MIT Technology Review

Stomach discomfort and diarrhoea accompany new surge in Covid-19 cases Scroll

Pfizer’s Covid-19 Pill Failed Study Testing Its Preventive Use WSJ


Hepatitis: More cases confirmed among young children in UK The Herald

Basil Pesto:

New Not-So-Cold War

Indonesia invites Putin and Zelensky to G20 Bangkok Post

US Credibility in ASEAN in the Shadow of the Ukraine Conflict The Diplomat


Curfew for Anniversary of Odessa Massacre That Sparked Rebellion Consortium News (furzy)

The Maidan Massacre in Ukraine: Revelations from Trials and Investigation Social Science Research Network


Jeremy Corbyn: Now, let us talk peace Asia Times

Russia Will Quit International Space Station Over Sanctions Bloomberg


Dutch dockers refuse to unload ship with Russian diesel cargo Al Jazeera

Europe cooperates on gas, as Russia turns off taps to Poland and Bulgaria Deutsche Welle


Sitrep: Operation Z The Saker (chuck l)


An Intellectual No-Fly Zone: Online Censorship of Ukraine Dissent Is Becoming the New Norm Mint Press News

Biden’s Dangerous New Ukraine Endgame: No Endgame Foreign Policy


Class Warfare

The Death of Neoliberalism Has Been Greatly Exaggerated Jacobin

Elon Musk Isn’t a Threat to Society’s Health. All Billionaires Are Mint Press News

Disney says Florida can’t dissolve special district without paying $1B debt The Hill

Elon Musk attempts to take SEC to Supreme Court over gag order he claims is unconstitutional Daily Mail

Trump Transition

Trump grand jury ending in N.Y. with no charges against ex-president WaPo

Biden Administration

White House officials weigh income limits for student loan forgiveness WaPo

White House considers excluding high earners and those who studied professional degrees such as law and medicine from student-loan relief Daily Mail

Bernie Sanders pushes back on Romney’s comments bashing student-loan forgiveness: ‘I know he thinks corporations are people, but does he know people are people? Business Insider (furzy)

Our No Longer Free Press

Damn Good for CBS—but Really Bad for Democracy FAIR

‘You failed’: Bill Maher blasts Twitter for censoring Post after bombshell report on Hunter Biden’s laptop NY Post Bill Maher

Big Brother IS Watching You Watch

An algorithm that screens for child neglect raises concerns AP

The Next Cybersecurity Crisis: Poisoned AI Bloomberg (David L)

Climate Change

Who Will Build California’s Electric Vehicle Charging Stations and Why It Matters Capital & Main

USPS sued by states and environmental groups over purchase of 8.6 mpg trucks Ars Technical

Highest average temperature in April in North West, Central India in 122 years Scroll

La belle France

Jean-Luc Mélenchon devises plan to become Emmanuel Macron’s main opponent Le Monde


S Jaishankar: From a seasoned diplomat to an assertive and outspoken Foreign Minister Firstpost

Faiz’s verses have been dropped from Indian textbooks – but the power of his ideas will endure Scroll

India’s Economy May Take More Than a Decade To Overcome Pandemic Losses: RBI Report The Wire

India seizes US$725 million from China’s Xiaomi over remittances South China Morning Post


Attack on Chinese Dawn


The Different Ways That the U.S. and Chinese Governments Use Their Power to Regulate Capitalism Counterpunch

America Has Stopped Playing by the Monetary Rules Project Syndicate

Serbia displays Chinese missiles amid concerns in Balkans ABC

Dependence on China shrinks the US economy in Q1 Asia Times

Antidote du Jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. allan

    From Feigl-Ding’s tweet: `the @WHCA dinner tonight… at 8:20pm. A CO2 of 2233′

    That corresponds to a rebreathed fraction rate of (2233 – 450)/35000 = 5%, almost right on the nose.
    So to speak.

    That translates into, out of every 20 breaths, 19 were pure outside air
    and the 20th breath was a mixture straight out of the combined lungs of everybody in the room.
    But they were all celebrities or `our kind of people’, so it was safe, right?

    1. johnnyme

      On today’s episode of “This Week with George Stephanopoulos”, in their “powerhouse roundtable” segment, it was hard not to notice that one chair was empty — Jonathan Karl, who attended the Whitehouse Correspondents Dinner, appeared via video feed and was not present on set with the others.

    2. Gawr Gura

      If COVID doesn’t strike this gaggle of goons down then there really is no god.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        I agree. Let them all get the same Covid they all want the rest of us to get.

  2. The Rev Kev

    “How to Be an Incipit”

    I have to admit that I am very disappointed with this article. Very disappointed. Could no room have been found to mention one of the greatest incipets of all?

    ‘It was a dark and stormy night’

    1. OIFVet

      Here is my own creation: “The faith of humanity hung on the single functioning brain cell in Washington DC, a cell whose function was controlled by a coterie of advisors with Ivy League degrees.”

        1. OIFVet

          “There are lessons one can only learn by poking an angry bear with a javelin.”

          1. jonboinAR

            “I was desperately bored, enough to read an article entitled ‘How to be an Incipit.'”

            1. ambrit

              Imagine my shock when I discovered that the article was not about an emerging LGBTPDQ adjacent category. I had expected a slight dose of titillation, (but that would be sexist,) so I demurred.
              Alas, what is the Metaverse coming to? (It has to be the Metaverse since everyone is now the hero or heroine of their own story.)

      1. JEHR

        We have enjoyed this listing of beginning sentences before and it was good then and better now.

      1. LifelongLib

        All but the most isolated hermit depend on somebody’s “platform” (product, service). Most of those entities can’t refuse to do business with you because of your politics. Maybe we need to ban discrimination based on political views. Of course that runs straight into the current obsession with “disinformation”, which as far as I can tell means “ideas I don’t agree with”.

        1. Milton

          RACIST! Can’t have viewpoints that run counter to the prevaling PMC narrative. Actually, I like your idea. Maybe diversity should also include a difference in idealogical or political outlooks.

          There’s a great 2 min. Jimmy Dore video that was put together by a viewer or staffer where all of her daily misfortunes are either right-wing or racist.

          1. Bukowski

            Maybe it’s better if what’s online is *all* censored by the few. Humans will, and will have to, go local again..

            let ’em have the elec-stuff- all uselessly emaciated, dessicated, finally dead..

    1. fresno dan

      Anatole France: The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.
      It is an axiom that in the US that every man is equal before the law, as well as free to speak. In a society that worships money, preventing access to money is tantamount to prohibiting speech.

    2. Democracy Working Someday

      I have been feeling recently that FAIR has been declining in quality, and the article linked to today was particularly eyebrow-raising. There’s much to criticize in the practices of for-profit corporate media (some of which the author gets to) but to begin by defining the prior administration & the Republican Party in general as “antidemocratic” and “fascist” and implying that the true function of journalism in a democracy should be to suppress their voices, is an ideological position that runs completely counter to FAIR’s mission.

      Not at all surprised to see such a perspective articulated by the media critic of the Washington Post (who is approvingly quoted in the piece) — but it’s disturbing to see it being advanced by an organization devoted to exposing bias and censorship and “scrutinizing media practices that marginalize public interest, minority and dissenting viewpoints.”

    3. LawnDart

      This dose of newsish adds to the ugliness– more “narrative” control, or what the spawn of RussiaRussiaRussia! hungers for next: same play, claims, that the dems used in 2016, dusted-off and rewrapped, thinking that we have the memories of goldfish. This article reads like the fruitcake that’s been passed around during holidays for decades (but not in a joking way).

      I hope you enjoy this– some easy target-practice for Sunday morning… …PULL!!!

      ‘Troll factory’ spreading Russian pro-war lies online, says UK

      Russian internet trolls based in an old arms factory in St Petersburg are targeting world leaders online and spreading support for Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, the British government has said, citing research…

      The Foreign Office was not identifying the researchers behind the work amid concerns over their safety for conducting work critical of the Russian president’s regime.

      The study details how the Russian president’s regime is trying to manipulate public opinion on social media, as well as in the comments sections of major media outlets.

      I hope that our hosts are making progress on their server-relocation effort, because it’s pretty clear where things are headed.

      1. LawnDart


        You didn’t provide a link, and I was looking to call “Bullshit!”


        Found a link, and my tune’s changed to “Oh shit…”

        PayPal Cancels CN Account; May Seize Balance

        What’s really screwed in that Consortium is mostly objective and non-partisan, so the democrat/neocon statists are pushing us hourly into that world we laughed at not long ago– “You’re either with us or against us.”

        Yeah, that’s the “liberals” channeling their inner “Dubya.” WTF?

        1. CoryP

          Lol I’m trying to close my acount but I have a balance of 1.95 that prevents me from doing so but which is also too small to transfer

  3. fresno dan

    A truck loaded with thousands of copies of Roget’s Thesaurus spilled its load leaving New York
    Witnesses were stunned, startled, aghast, stupefied, confused, shocked, rattled, paralyzed, dazed, bewildered, surprised, dumbfounded, flabbergasted, confounded, astonished, and numbed.
    one word….wait, that is two words….gobsmacked

    1. griffen

      Dazed and confused leads me to think…Alright, alright alright.

      Wonder if the director (was that Linklater) had Matthew try other phrases. Ok, ok, ok ?

      1. ambrit

        I think they only live above the Arctic Circle. Perhaps related to reindeer. Ask a Finn, they’d know.

  4. matsb

    Michael Hudson seems to be saying, if I understand correctly, that this whole NATO-expansion Russia-bashing thing is concious US policy with the aim of wrecking most nations’ economies. Energy and food prices going up causing starvation and uprisings, leading to IMF and World Bank and similar organizations getting even more control. (Also, the Davos Men apparently think that culling 20% of the human population would be a good thing.)

    On the other hand,

    Scott Ritter seems to be saying, if I understand correctly, that the US Ukraine proxy war with the Russians is caused by the nincompoops in charge in Washington D. C. not knowing what they are doing, the old school people competent in foreign affairs matters having been replaced with careerist know-nothings, who have also been accustomed to getting away with any and every stupid move they have made.

    So, which is it? Is it a malign wellcrafted plot, or is it the incompetents in D. C. not understanding what the consequenses of their actions will be? Or can it be both?

      1. Polar Socialist

        I gather one man’s purposeful strategy can appear as idiotic hubris to another man.

        For example, “wrecking most nations economies” in order to rule them can easily be both at the same time.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        They really had it out for Steve Guttenberg.

        In regards to the Stonecutters episode, the head writer discussed the genesis of the story pitch. He kept odd hours, so he would be on his way home listening to AM radio at 4 am. Being the kind of guy who becomes end writer for The Simpsons during the shows golden Era, he would listen to apocalyptic preachers and conspiracy theory types. He said he found these guys starting to make sense. For the head writer, Josh Weinstein (no relation to the New Line guy, and I’m fairly certain he’s implied the producer was a bad guy before) the only thing keeping him from falling down that hole was he never gets invited to the international Jewish conspiracy meetings. He said if he could fall for it almost anyone could.

    1. dftbs

      I think they are each speaking to their area of expertise, the Professor to the economic realm and Ritter to the military. But I tend to think Ritter is more accurate in his characterization of the Western military response being planned by nincompoops with a long record one nincompoopery.

      As to Professor Hudson, I think he’s trying to make sense of a series of insensible events. A master plan of the US elite that tightens their already white knuckle grip over their European, Japanese and Australian vassals could be in the works. But it’s not much of a master plan if it leaves that elite poorer. I’m sure the brain squad in Wall St or DC (or wherever master plans are concocted) didn’t imagine they’d be paying more for steak at Mastro’s if they picked a fight with Russia. Which leads me to the conclusion they didn’t think very much at all. So no master plan, nincompoops all around.

      I’m going to repeat myself, but the only way our elites are more capable and evil than evil and stupid, is if you believe they are demonic. Because there is no material payoff in this earthly realm that puts them in a better position after this war is over.

      1. JohnA

        “I’m sure the brain squad in Wall St or DC (or wherever master plans are concocted) didn’t imagine they’d be paying more for steak at Mastro’s if they picked a fight with Russia. Which leads me to the conclusion they didn’t think very much at all.”

        Chances are those brain squaders eat out on expenses and therefore can’t imagine even paying for a steak at Mastro’s, let alone paying more.
        That surely is for the little people?

        1. dftbs

          That’s absolutely true, funny money is the rule. But I suspect they will have to cut back on the apps! Happy May Day!

        2. digi_owl


          They will only notice the problem when the waiter informs them that they can’t have their favorite dessert thanks to supply issues.

          It may well be that USA have entered a similar state to that of pre-revolution France. After all, didn’t Pelosi manage to pull a “let them eat cake” moment early on in the pandemic when she showed off her freezers stuffed with ice cream?

        3. wilroncanada

          They don’t pay more for steak. they own the cows, the slaughterhouses, the reefer trucks, the butcher shops, and the restaurants. But, you and I will pay more, a lot more, or not have steak at all, because none of us now have a stake.

      2. OIFVet

        A master plan of the US elite that tightens their already white knuckle grip over their European, Japanese and Australian vassals could be in the works.

        They either had it and are already applying it, or they accidentally stumbled into it. Regardless, US control over the EU is now tighter than ever before and its dependence bigger than ever. I disagree it is simply about material payoffs, it’s about control and maintaining the empire from disintegrating. From that POV the material gains are immaterial, most of the costs will be borne by the colonies and the domestic plebes anyway. It’s about control and survival. They cannot allow under any circumstance allow the combination of Euro engineering, Chinese production, and Russian natural resources to happen. That landmass from Vladivostok to Lisbon and from the Arctic Circle to the Bay of Bengal, if allowed to function in economically complimentary manner, will exert unparalleled control and influence over the Earth. The US knows that much, however stupid it’s elites may be. Whereas Putin can’t imagine a world in which Russia doesn’t exist, the US elites cannot imagine a world not controlled by the US. It’s a possible apocalypse when these two worldviews collide for real.

        1. Bukowski

          Grear comment- thank you.

          > I disagree it is simply about material payoffs, it’s about control and maintaining the empire from disintegrating. From that POV the material gains are immaterial, most of the costs will be borne by the colonies and the domestic plebes anyway.

          You betcha.

        2. RobertC

          OIFVet — They cannot allow under any circumstance allow the combination of Euro engineering, Chinese production, and Russian natural resources to happen. That landmass from Vladivostok to Lisbon and from the Arctic Circle to the Bay of Bengal, if allowed to function in economically complimentary manner, will exert unparalleled control and influence over the Earth.

          I’ll lead with The Rev Kev March 22, 2022 at 11:07 am

          And follow with Sausage Factory March 27, 2022 at 5:44 am

          Then add China’s outreach to India RobertC March 11, 2022 at 6:22 pm, RobertC March 23, 2022 at 5:11 pm and RobertC March 28, 2022 at 12:48 pm

          Some seasoning RobertC April 5, 2022 at 11:43 pm and RobertC April 15, 2022 at 2:48 pm

          Time to look at a map Eurasian Economic Union

          We are in Mackinder’s The Geographical Pivot of History territory.

          BTW I don’t think India is going to make the cut. It has serious attitude and self-image problems that make it commitment-incapable. Being under time pressure China will move on.

          1. RobertC

            I’m so embarrassed. I didn’t note the AT authorship.

            Who is NC commentator Jan Krikke, a former Japan correspondent for various media, former managing editor of Asia 2000 in Hong Kong, and author of Leibniz, Einstein, and China (2021).

            Other essays by Jan Krikke

            And I’m buying Leibniz, Einstein, and China tonight.

          2. JEHR

            RobertC, this is a very good summary of what might happen in the future with the re-alignment of countries which seems to be taking place right now. The Mackinder information it a real eye-opener of what the Russians may have in mind about being the dominant power in the world. Thank you very much.

        3. The Rev Kev

          ‘That landmass from Vladivostok to Lisbon and from the Arctic Circle to the Bay of Bengal’

          Funny that as Putin was talking about such a thing in a major speech back in maybe 2008. He was talking about an economic union stretching from Vladivostok to Lisbon to the EU and all the benefits that that would achieve. I guess that Washington saw that as a threat that had to be destroyed.

      3. JTMcPhee

        Davos Man has apparently said that there’s currently a 20% surplus of population (humans/useless eaters) that needs to be ‘excessed.’ Paul Ehrlich said that the max sustainable human population is between 1.5 and 2 billion (this back in 2012) and we’re currently at around 8 billion, so a 70% reduction. The rich may be stupid, in many ways, but they have feathered some nice nests for themselves, and many of them think that they can survive and indeed prosper from a nuclear war.

        On stupidity and cupidity of the looting class and their adherents and minions, anyone else notice that Nancy “Gelato” Pelosi supposedly went to Kiev late last week, to meet with Zelensky, either to kiss his ring or for Zel to kiss hers, and then to Poland to pontificate on how the Western Entitleds will not be “bullied by Russia?” What is up with that?

        And on stupidity, I always refer back to first principles, as enunciated by Cipolla in his humourous but accurate summary, “The Five Basic Laws of Human Stupidity” (with salient examples, in this version:

        I’m almost to the point of hoping, before I die, to see the glorious nuclear detonations… Russia, in announcing their “Poseidon” giant 100-megaton nuclear torpedo, noted Tampa Bay, my home waters now, as a fitting target,

        1. Mildred Montana

          >“The Five Basic Laws of Human Stupidity”

          Interesting link. Thank you.

          1. Bukowski

            It has struck me as odd, for some time now, that said persistent “stupidity”, “incompetence”, “hubris”, and so forth, consistently and *inevitably* work to the benefit
            of one tiny, tiny, already exceedingly well-off Class.

            It’s really confusing, or something.

            1. JEHR

              A person who obtains a large amount of money is not necessarily smart; stupid also makes lots of money usually at the expense of many, many others.

      4. NotTimothyGeithner

        I tend to think Biden and BoJo are simply failed domestic leaders moving into foreign policy because that is what happens. Biden wants to hide behind “politics stop at the waters’ edge” nonsense instead of doing anything where people might be mean to him. With student debt, he wants to cut the baby, so no one will be mean to him. Naturally, he empowers the usual suspects because like Obama he didn’t clean house of the neocons.

        Merkel wasn’t there to manage Europe, and my gut is Macron overestimated Western military abilities and couldn’t conceive the Russians meant what they said. Scholtz is new. Everyone is too small or disinterested in foreign policy to do much. Yeah, Warsaw is going nuts, but when are they not? No one like Merkel is there to manage, just a deranged US President trying to get a win and droning on about cool weapon systems pamphlets from Lockheed Martin.

        1. Bukowski

          > I tend to think Biden and BoJo are simply failed domestic leaders moving into foreign policy because that is what happens.

          I disagree: I think they’re mere functionaries, and they haven’t failed at all, at least for the short or middling term. Not sure I get the “..because that is what happens” part, maybe.
          Mister Biden and Mister Johnson are doing what they are well-compensated to do, which will not benefit 90+% of us..
          much of that involves providing “clueless, incompetent” cover,
          I think.

      5. Carla

        @dftbs — Re: “there is no material payoff in this earthly realm that puts them in a better position after this war is over.”

        I think all our elites care about is their position RELATIVE to the rest of us. Since, as is the case after all wars, they will have it hundreds, thousands, or millions of times better than the remainder of any survivors, and the rich only very rarely face any negative consequences for their criminal behavior, even if they’ve lost a few billion here and there, they still will come out on top as WINNERS!

        1. Dftbs

          Perhaps. And if they came to this conclusion consciously then it’s the sort of evil that verges on the “demonic”. This isn’t to say that I believe it’s supernatural, although who’s to say what Biden and Pelosi believe while getting their directives at black mass (I kid).

          But if all they “care about is their position RELATIVE to the rest of us”. I recall a chap in a poem by Milton who expressed this sentiment perfectly: “better to reign in hell than serve in heaven.”

          Here’s the thing. If American elites were executing a plan to destroy European productive capacity and be the 21st century masters of an economically, materially and militarily depleted “collective West”, they may be better off than the rest of us trapped in that “West”with them. But it seems obvious they would have ceded the vastness of Earth outside that “west”, and history, to the vast mass of humanity outside their reach.

          So, while it wouldn’t surprise me that the whole American senate, and British Parliament, and all the other elites greet each other with a kiss on Kundalini or say their nighttime prayers to Baphomet; their stupidity seems to outmatch their evil.

          Maybe that changes nothing for us, or maybe it’s a sliver of hope.

          Trailing thought, praying to Baphomet seems quaint compared to what we know was happening at Little Saint James.

      6. fringe element

        “But it’s not much of a master plan if it leaves that elite poorer.”

        Well, they will become poor compared to wealthy people in the eastern hemisphere, but they will not be poor in absolute terms. They will never have to worry about the price of steak.

        Being parasites is how they create their wealth. The pool of nations and people they exploit will be large enough to keep them rich. They will also keep being allowed to do business with the merchants of the eastern hemisphere no matter what crimes they commit to stay rich because that is how business works.

    2. Safety First

      I would come back to John Mearsheimer’s 2015 lecture on Ukraine, which now has something like 25 million views on Youtube.

      Mind, there are issues I have with the (neo)realist school in general and with some of Mearsheimer’s stuff in particular. However – one of the points he has been flogging in a number of talks since at least 2015 is that after 1991, the US found itself in a unipolar world where there were absolutely no consequences meaningful to the people in charge of foreign policy from any mistake or failure. And so, for 30+ years, they did what they want without even admitting to, let alone learning from, having made a boo-boo. This is basically how you institutionalise idiocy, and, looping back to Mearsheimer, until a multi-polar world is re-established and the policymakers realise that mistakes have consequences (for them, personally, as well as for the ship they are steering), Victoria Nulands and such will just keep on happening. [And note that Nuland and others like her began their policy careers in the 1990s.]

      And so in this particular instance, as in many others, I would say the ratio is something like 90%-95% stupidity and maybe 5%-10% actually having a thought of some kind, though I think Hudson’s version is much more well-developed than what might actually be rattling around inside their heads…

    3. gc54

      Idiots being manipulated by competent psychopaths is my default for DC politicos

      1. amechania

        Perhaps they are playing 4d chess.

        It occurs to me that we are looking at red colored fear maps again and don’t even realize it like we did in 2003. Domestically and globally.

    4. VodkaTom

      I’ve heard it said acting on class interest doesn’t require collusion (evil cabals plotting sin the dark). For example if you’re a homeowner you know the mortgage interest deduction is good without consulting other homeowners (even though it’s bad polices for providing housing imo).
      I do agree with the Occam’s razor that incompetence explains how we end up suffering the unintended (but foreseeable) consequences of bad polices.

      But it does seem that financial interest and shared ideology can coalesce around policies that seem planned, but are destructive for the greater whole. At least that’s how I imagine the MIC and the blob work.

      1. Tater

        A modern and apropos corollary to Occam’s “rule of parsimony” is Hanlon’s (Heinlein’s?) Razor which states “never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.”

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          On the other hand, stupidity is the best all-around cover that malice ever had.

    5. David

      In my experience, Ritter’s view is a lot closer to the truth, not just recently, but of the US for some time now, and of other parts of the West as well. The confusion arises of the human desire to find patterns in things – apohenia, which I’ve mentioned before. It’s been well observed that the only thing more frightening than the belief that everything is part of a plan is the belief that there is no plan at all.
      A lot of the confusion arises from a basic logical error. Thus, if some idiot (X or Y) argues that something (Z) should happen, and Z indeed does happen, and if X and Y are important or influential, then it will seem to many that X and Y must have caused or contributed to Z. Likewise, if Z is in the objective interest of X and Y, they must have brought it about.

      When you think about it for a moment, you realise that this is about as logical as saying that it rained this morning because you did a rain dance yesterday. The problem is that in the chaos of modern politics, so much is said by so many, so often, and so frequently repeated and misquoted, that you can construct almost any theory of causation that you like. But proving it is rather different.

      It would be nice if governments these days were that organised and competent.

      1. The Rev Kev

        ‘The confusion arises of the human desire to find patterns in things – apohenia’

        Funny you should mention that. After 9/11, the US government started to use a computer program pushed by the neocons. This program would sift through a huge database of information and would pick out ‘patterns’ that a human analyst would not see. And from that program’s conclusions, it would be turned into ‘actionable intelligence’. But from what you say, all they really did was build a computer program that simulated apohenia. As you can imagine, the results were less than stellar.

        1. digi_owl

          Yeah i seem to recall joking online about how it would produce a long list of farmers if it was told to look for terrorists based on who purchased large quantities of fertilizer and diesel.

          Never did i imagine that someone would actually use a farm as cover for their terrorist bomb plot a decade later.

          1. Anonymous 2

            Thank you David et al.

            Interestingly, I know of a hedge fund which specialised in looking for patterns in financial market behaviour using serious computer power and trading off the results of their research. They made a whole stack of money and the founder is now believed to be a billionaire. Make of that what you will.

            I understand that modern psychology findings are that people’s explanations of the causality of events generally tell you more about the people than they do about the causality of events.

            1. Greg

              Making money on trades has a second level to it, where if other people find the same pattern and act on it, but more slowly than you did, you can make money. Regardless of whether the underlying pattern is a useful reflection of reality, money can be made if you’re faster to the patterns that are there.

    6. ex-PFC Chuck

      I vote for both-and. The dependency of non-American economies has long been Wall Street’s strategic objective, who then used their big dollar hold on Clinton and Obama to “suggest” they bring the Straussian/neoconservatives into the Democratic Party’s foreign policy communities to handle the tactical piece of getting it done. People who either themselves or their recent ancestors came from eastern Europe are heavily over-represented among the neocon clique, and they carry with them inter-generational grudges against the legacy empires that washed this way and that over their homelands over the centuries. They are tenacious as hell pursuing their objectives, but unfortunately Leo Strauss fostered an atmosphere of group-think within the clique as it coalesced. As they gained power this has rendered its members unable to critically analyze their proposed actions’ possible downsides. They are especially unable to foresee possible asymmetric responses by adversaries. Thus they are caught flat-footed by responses such as continuing to offer gas for sale to what the Russians call “unfriendly” countries, but insist on payment in Roubles. The money people apparently think the benefits of using the neocons outweighs the downsides. However if at some point a downside leads to a nuclear exchange they may change their minds; that is if there any minds left on what had once been Wall Street.

      1. Tater

        “People who either themselves or their recent ancestors came from eastern Europe are heavily over-represented among the neocon clique, and they carry with them inter-generational grudges against the legacy empires that washed this way and that over their homelands over the centuries”

        I too have thought this to be an ingredient in the soup.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          What percent of these people are/were Jews like Kagan and Newland, and what percent of these people are/were White people like Zbig-knee-you Burr-zinsky?

    7. Carolinian

      There is a master plan and it was Hillary’s master plan (not the kill off 20 percent part) and Hillary is an incompetent mediocrity so both are true. Blinken is a Hillary protege.

      Personally I think most wars are started out of incompetence and the realist “nations have only interests” position is merely an excuse for “we get to do what we want.” Of course there’s always a plan (i.e. “thousand year Reich”) but it rarely turns out like they wanted.

    8. PlutoniumKun

      I’ve seen very little evidence over the years that there is the capacity within the US (or most Western countries for that matter) for that type of long term malign strategy. Only smaller countries (and arguably China and Russia) are capable of this, although its an arguable case with the latter two as we rarely get to see the arguments beneath the surface. So I definitely fall more on the Scott Ritter side.

      That said, big institutions often default towards the policies with the least resistance. Most people are lazy, most people are at some level careerists. This can make large organisations prone to being hijacked by small groups of ideologues with a long term vision and an ability to win internal bureaucratic dogfights. The neocons certainly fall into the latter category. If they can set the imperative (and the imperative can be something simple and banal like ‘in every area of conflict, the US must win, whatever the cost), then the entire bureaucracy can just fall in line, even if most of the people who make up the bureaucracy can see the policy is stupid.

      So if I was to set out a theory of Washington foreign policy I would say that its almost entirely composed of not terribly smart but very ambitious careerists, who have unwittingly been manipulated over the years to become part of a system that has become neocon to the core (and remember, even George Bush I thought the neocons were a bunch of loons), not so much in ideology, but as part of the group identity. Even people who see themselves as freethinkers within the system have unwittingly bought into many of the core assumptions. Because the system has developed in such a way that there is no price ever paid for being wrong (the only price you pay is if you attach yourself to the wrong internal clique), then policies that would have seemed insane just a decade ago become mainstream.

      I used to be an avid reader of histories of mid-20th Century Japan. I was fascinated by how such a sophisticated culture could end up on a path where pretty much everyone, including ‘moderates’ and ‘leftists’ had bought into the notion that declaring war on the rest of the world was a sensible policy option. The bureaucracy has simply lost its ability to find its brakes, and flew into disaster like a runaway train. Most historians have assumed this is somehow tied to the Japanese character, but increasingly it looks to me like a model of US foreign policy.

      More succinctly, fans of the Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy can see that the inhabitants of the Planet Kricket are a very good analogy for Washington today. They were the inhabitants of a very cloudy and foggy planet. Whenever evidence arrived of a universe outside their narrow mist shrouded lives appeared, they simply decided ‘its gotta go’, and declared war on it, because it was easier to do that than to accept that maybe their own world wasn’t the only one.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        In the case of political careerists, Josh Gottheimer is the only federal or statewide Clinton White House alum. People like Neera wouldn’t be near the White House if Sanders was President. Obama more or less dumped his underlings for Tom Hanks. David Axlerod was disinfected from Obama’s influencer party.

        All these people are terrified of losing their place in DC, and being attached to a former President hasn’t brought them accolades. With foreign policy misadventures, they don’t have to engage with Christian Smalls or Sarah Nelson. Official DC types can denounce criticism as treason and move on.

      2. Tater

        I fancy your soup. Likewise the commentary above including ex-PFC Chuck and Safety First.
        Dining at Cafe’ Oasis.

        1. amechania

          The problem with a thesaurus crash is that nobody had the words to describe it.

      3. drumlin woodchuckles

        The moderates and leftists in Imperial Japan did not buy into the plan of declaring war on the rest of the world. They were assassinated or otherwise driven out of power and influence so that only the immoderates and non-leftists in Imperial Japan who all supported the concept of declaring war on the rest of the world were left in power.

        Same as with mid-Twentieth-Century Germany. The Nazis had to de-non-Nazify German society and political-social command structures first before they could go on to declare war on their part of the rest of the world.

        1. Lambert Strether

          > The Nazis had to de-non-Nazify German society and political-social command structures first before they could go on to declare war on their part of the rest of the world.

          Invoking Godwin’s Law here, but this would seem to have contemporary relevance to the United States. Consortium News, ffs? A tiny outlet? It’s like an elephant panicking at the sight of a mouse.

        2. PlutoniumKun

          I would beg to disagree on this. The opposition to militarism in the 1920’s and 30’s was noisy and loud, but always a small minority. I suspect its had a disproportionate attention from scholars because it shines a light on how Japan of that period worked. But, a little like CND in Europe in the 1980’s, it was quite easily sidelined.

          The assassinations and intimidation obviously had an impact, but it did not drive moderates out of the administration or army or navy. It encouraged them to keep their mouths shut and just go with the flow. There are plenty of contemporary accounts of how many opponents of militarism had simply accepted by the late 1930’s that they’d lost the argument and saw the coming war as inevitable. Some leftist contemporaries even described the news of Pearl Harbour as a relief. It meant the wait was over.

          The post war Kurosawa film ‘No Regrets for our Youth’ is a really interesting illustration of this, as it follows the lives of youthful radicals before and during the war. The only one who stuck by his beliefs paid with his life. The rest compromised in some respect or another. Kurosawa would know, as a former leftist who (albeit reluctantly) kept his head down and even made some half hearted propaganda films. His more conservative near contemporary, Ozu, never opposed the war, but conspicuously refused to make any film during the conflict.

    9. KD

      From a US Corporate perspective, the most important time is this quarter, and long-term and less important is 3-5 years, after which nothing exists. From an elected politician perspective, the most important time is the next elections cycle, and then maybe the one after that, so 2-4 years. Elected politicians, influenced by lobbyists, make decisions with a 4-6 year time horizon at the maximum.

      Thus, from a long-term perspective, everything DC does is idiotic because they don’t care about the long-term. The only time it is not idiotic is if the short-to-medium term happily lines up with the long term, e.g. when there is no strategic dilemma or tradeoff.

      However, if we look at the short to medium term, these decisions are obviously good for Defense Industries, as well as the Pentagon, Big Tech (who is downsteam of defense spending), and US Oil and Gas Companies. Friendly-relations with the above is obviously good for the next election cycle. So it is not particularly irrational on the right time scale, the time scale employed by the decision makers.

      The ultimate question is can this system survive against a system like state capitalism with Chinese characteristics, which does appear capable of conceptualizing the long-term, planning for it, and implementing policies which will bear fruit long into the future. Its an open question right now, because there are a lot of defects in the Chinese system, despite this clear advantage. I suspect that more nations will experiment in the direction of the Chinese. Even the West is rapidly adopting the Chinese system of social credit and totalitarian control, even if the capitalist engine remains untouched.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        If the DC FedRegime tries mixing Chinese social credit and totalitarian control with outlaw capitalism under anarchy . . . . without having thoroughly de-gunned and de-ammo’d American civilians first, the DC FedRegime and the outlaw capitalist anarchists may face a sudden heavily armed social explosion beyond their ability to control. And, one hopes, beyond their ability to physically survive or escape.

        1. KD

          You can see with the online censorship to parrot only U.S. disinformation and shut down alternative voices–similar things have been done in China. ESG ratings for businesses, and now banking used to target individuals and organizations viewed as dissident, both in connection with the Canadian truck protests and now dissident journalist outfits. Digital ID is coming with fully digital currency, no cash so they can track everything. Chinese-style totalitarianism with American characteristics. However, Wall Street, Silicon Valley, Oil and Gas, Defense Contractors are going full bore ahead with cartel capitalism. I’m not seeing the armed bands anywhere, even though you can see the footprint, and it will only get worse, not better.

          I suppose the GOP could do something about it if they cared, but they are members of the uniparty in good standing for the most part.

          1. KD

            It is beginning to look like the new normal is going to include the totalitarian features of communism without the economic security combined with social darwinist cartel capitalism without the individual freedom you would have in Victorian times. Libertarianism without liberty combined with socialism without social contract. Conform, consume, work, and be happy if Alexa lets you eat rice for dinner. NPC’s all they way down.

    10. Adam Eran

      I’m voting for ego. It’s idiotic to think a bank profits from making bad loans, but plenty of subprime CEOs made out like banditos (nearly a half a billion dollars for Countrywide CEO, Angelo Mozilo). Destroying a lender that was once the gold standard in mortgage-making was very profitable, but only for Angelo.

      So…some small portion of the elites will profit from more, better and different conflict. That’s what Biden gets for withdrawing from Afghanistan!

    11. digi_owl

      Can be both, in that the former group goads the latter group into action. And then feign shock and horror when the latter group overshoot their objective in pure fervor.

      After all, during WW2 US industry was happy tro trade with fascists via “neutral” Spain. And then after the war sued DC for damages to factories and such that they owned in Europe (and won no less).

      Consider this, i swear that before the invasion Iraq was using the GSM system same as most of the world. After the invasion, mobile coverage was rebuilt using Qualcomm’s CDMA2k system. A system that was largely only used by USA and Saudi Arabia.

      As the line goes, capitalist will sell the rope used to hang them.

      Or in other worlds, to them the broken window (or nation) is not a fallacy but a way to goose their revenue.

    12. Michael hudson

      Well, it’s true that Biden, Blinken and others are, as Scott Ritter says, idiots and “nincompoops,” but they are placed there by strategists who know just HOW their destructive policies will benefit the United States and increase its financial and economic leverage over countries that remain in a satellite position in the Dollar Area.
      The dynamics that I’ve outline are obvious: higher oil and food prices, and higher US interest rates raising the $’s exchange rate, squeezing Global South countries and others.
      Not to mention the Jesus freaks who actually welcome atomic war.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        I am just a third tier commenter and a total layman, but shouldn’t we be overtly drawing and making distinctions between the US’s upper class minority as against its lower class majority? Higher oil and food prices will be higher for Americans too. That will benefit the US’s upper class minority but it will dis-benefit the US’s lower class majority. The same squeeze which the DC FedRegime plans to put on the Global South countries and others is the same squeeze which the DC FedRegime plans to put on the US’s own lower class majority.

        So I don’t think of the “US” as doing this-or-that anymore. I think of the DC FedRegime as doing this-or-that. And the DC FedRegime is the most deadly enemy which the majority of American people currently face.

        Or am I wrong? ( as Billo Reilly might ask . . . )

      2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        POW POW!!!


        HAPPY MAYDAY, BRO!!!


  5. timbers

    Sitrep: Operation Z The Saker (chuck l)

    There’s a lot in here and hard to tell what the plan is of he who is moving the pawns in Washington. If the pawn movers ultimately want a nuclear war with Russia, they look to be doing a fine job.

    Regarding the suggested plan to have AUF troops slowly (because “weakening” a bleeding Russia) withdraw to western Ukraine and declare that a victory, and then jackup what remains of Ukraine on US/NATO military steroids to create a western FrankenFascist that can re-take southern and eastern Ukriane at it’s leisure later, a lot of things can spin out of control because local agendas.

    Like the new western jacked up western Ukraine (Bandarastan) having it’s own agenda which could turn west not just east.

    Like Poland wanting her part of western Ukraine which devolves into a shooting contest with what jacked up western Ukraine for taking her land.

    Poland’s apparent desire to attack Russia directly.

    Drawing in Romania too (and NATO) into a WW3.

    There are a lot of local scores to settle. I know of only a tiny few of them. Events could move swiftly out of scope the geniuses in Washington think they see and go in completely unforeseen directions.

    This is increasingly not a war the Ukrainians are fighting. There are increasingly fewer Ukrainians surrendering or being captured by Russian forces. It’s more and more becoming US/NATO funded mercenaries vs Russia – US/NATO vs Russia.

    Russia has said she will target locations of the decision makers. Well those decisions are being made in Washington, London to name a few. Kiev, Berlin, Paris maybe also.

    1. NYG

      “Russia has said she will target locations of the decision makers.”
      That’s real serious. Our military doesn’t win wars. Rather after waging Afghan and Middle East war for years, creating chaos, and killing uncountable numbers of locals (terrorists?) we walk away and declare victory and declare ourselves virtuous because we unilaterally ended another too long and too expensive war that over time lost almost all public support.

      But even though a particular extenuated unwinnable war loses most public support, this manner of waging war still has a lot of long term support in the US as a major source of good paying and highly respected jobs.

      However, the problem with our newest war is that Russia is not a weak, poorly armed third world country. It is a superpower. Not only is this war likely to become unwinnable, we might lose not just the war over there but a lot more at home. We might have been able to close the war down before we escalated our objective to regime change in Russia and escalated our rhetoric against Russia and Putin. But now neither side can afford to lose. And unsurprisingly, Russia has identified the US as its primary enemy. And, for the fist time ever we are effectively at war with a country that has the unquestioned capability of escalating the war to the level of thermonuclear war.

      1. JBird4049

        >>>And, for the fist time ever we are effectively at war with a country that has the unquestioned capability of escalating the war to the level of thermonuclear war.

        The United States was arguably in a shooting war with the Soviet Union/Russia for much of the Cold War.

        It is just both sides never said that they were directly in a war with each other or to where their militaries would directly fight or invade each other’s home ground. Supply their client states, help or sabotage countries based on their allegiances, even send advisors and sometimes actual combatants like fighter pilots during the Korean War, yes, but never directly at war with each other. Further, after the fun that was the Cuban Missile Crisis, direct communications were set up between the White House and the Kremlin and trade continued between the two empires.

        We almost blew the planet up several times, but there was an awareness of the possibility and of its consequences with steps down to reduce the chances, which I do not see in the current bunch of yahoos in the West. No long term thinking whatsoever.

        1. digi_owl

          Further, after the fun that was the Cuban Missile Crisis, direct communications were set up between the White House and the Kremlin and trade continued between the two empires.

          And where the F is that phone line now?!

    2. ex-PFC Chuck

      Before dropping missiles onto places like DC, London or Paris, perhaps the Russians will respond asymmetrically that would be less likely to incite a nuclear response but would have an impact felt by all US citizens. For example Russia might put its eastern seaboard to use by popping half a dozen or so missiles at loaded container ships eastbound in the northern Pacific over the course of a week or so. If the US doesn’t get the message just keep launching them once a week or so. This would vastly exacerbate the USA’s supply chain problems, and the effects would be felt by the American public within weeks. It would also spike shipping insurance rates and make it a lot harder to sign up crews for the ships. Since the ships are flagged in places like Liberia and Panama it would be a challenge to justify the actions a casus belli a la World War I.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Or maybe also sink a few cork-in-the-bottle ships in the Suez canal and the Panama canal.

        And maybe cutting all the physical internet cables between America and not-America.

        That would be preferrable to having the PutinGov decide to incinerate a few million American hostages in New York and DC. Which would probably lead to the DC FedRegime incinerating a few million Russian hostages in Moscow and Petrograd. And away we go.

    3. Boomheist

      It seems to me, here, that much depends on a certain balance and its timing – Russia, while still battling in Donbass, can bomb and destroy all that equipment arriving in western Ukraine, thus keeping Ukraine from becoming re-militarized without (perhaps) triggering a broader NATO conflict even if some NATO trainers are killed in Ukraine; while NATO may be hoping Russia “takes” Donbass and declares victory after which then NATO and the remaining Ukraine can massively build up a western Ukraine force without being flattened by Russian strikes because idf Russia strikes them after declaring victory then that will be at attack on NATO…in this sense, it sort of pays for Russia not to finish its Donbass job so Russia can keep destroying all this new equipment being shipped. I am wondering if the Azov people, if they emerge as Saker suggests, end up including a lot of NATO advisors, this will not play well in the west at all, as this absolutely can buttress the Russian claim this whole thing was initiated by NATO. Yet, on the other hand, I can also see, based especially on Pelosi’s comments from Kiev just now (“we will win”) we may be at the point where the West and NATO simply own what they are doing, just say, we gotta do this and we will, nuclear risks notwithstanding, because Putin is so bad…..

      Dangerous times….

      The only thing right now that might cause a hiccup to this headlong rush to WW3 is an organic, enormous anti-war statement by everyone everywhere, a huge nearly spontaneous pouring into the streets of millions of people just holding up a sign that says “NO”, everywhere, millions and millions, silent, just there, in every country, every city, everywhere, something ten times what happened before Iraq.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        The domestic population of the West is something of a sideshow. This is more about newer democracies and their perceptions. The US isn’t maintaining the tech edge it had in the 90’s. See the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 2006. Burma has been pushed off the front pages because the US isn’t the country it was even in 2008.

        When you compare the 13 Colonies to the other American countries, the other American countries were like the South. Reserve extraction, cash crops, no industry, elites traveling for education. A certain machismo culture. They’ve had reasonable governments for quite some time, even if you don’t like the more temporal politics, whereas the US has had Reaganomics. The imbalances that allowed the colonial empires and the US post war empire aren’t there anymore. There are problems such as SWIFT, but we aren’t discussing peasants and roving bands of soldiers anymore.

        Then the treatment of Ukrainian refugees compared to the brown refugees the US loves to create but doesn’t want.

        The US has Jamaica and Tongo, but China is dominating trade in real countries. Lula is likely going to be President of Brazil this October (I don’t the inauguration date). Not only has he reported to want to develop a relationship with China similar to the Russian relationship to China, he has personal issues with the current administration. Next is Mexico? Following suit. We are talking about countries the size of the US South administered California and the western states, not Lichtenstein.

      2. ambrit

        I am afraid that we are well past the point where demonstrations of any size ‘matter’ to the power elites of the West. We will have to organize either a General Strike or a series of strategic smaller strikes; say, an over the road trucker’s stoppage or slow down for a set period of time. These elites are so self deluded that only “concrete and material” threats will get their attention. As to what ‘their’ response will be, well, I’d say, prepare for hard times.
        America and the West are coming to the end of the Post WW-2 socio-economic “boom.” That situation would tax the talents of a serious, competent set of pro-social managers. We have neither any more. It is beginning to look like the Jackpot is inevitable.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          John Robb’s ” global guerillas” blog offers some advice on how to do that.

          Is Jackpot inevitable? It is certainly what the DC FedRegime and its social class masters and owners have been planning and working to carry out.

          If you can’t stop a tree from falling, can you still influence the direction it falls? Can we figure out how to make Jackpot select the Davos Class and its DC FedRegime running dog lackeys, flunkies, stooges and etc.?

          Can we the little people figure out how to help eachother increase eachothers’s survival chances for getting through the Jackpot alive and coming out the other side?

          ” Decisions, decisions, in the Valley of Selection” . . .

        2. Bukowski

          > I am afraid that we are well past the point where demonstrations of any size ‘matter’ to the power elites of the West.

          Yes- when they say “organic, enormous anti-war statement” I think
          “kettling opportunity for the ruling class”, myself.

          deludere, deludere..

    4. David

      Just thinking back to PK’s comments above about organisational politics (with which I agree by the way) I think what’s happening here is that the West, and perhaps the US in particular, has had a recent history of not just getting what it wants but more importantly controlling the narrative of success and failure, that there is no mechanism by which failure can actually be absorbed and processed.IN the case of Afghanistan, the reaction was to effectively pretend it never happened. That’s not an option for Ukraine. But in such an environment, nobody wants to be the first to talk about defeat, because the system will destroy them. I wonder how long the illusion can be sustained.

    5. Yves Smith

      You have taken that remark out of context. Russia said it would target decision centers, and that was in Ukraine. That means things like its legislature building, the building where its Pentagon equivalents work, the presidential palace.

      Putin also said that if Russia were attacked, it would respond with lightening speed. Commentators who are not up on Russia’s weaponry assumed nukes. Putin almost certainly means hypersonic missiles, The larger ones can do almost as much damage at the blast site. Russia also has very precise targeting, they can hit specific buildings from very long distances.

      1. Oisin

        That was my reading of the comments. The US and UK clearly have significant logistics based in kyiv. I suspect that Russia also means destroying power and rail targets. All of which have significant risks

  6. SocalJimObjects

    Re : Indonesia invites Putin and Zelensky to G20.

    Will there be a Red Wedding in Bali come November? My overactive imagination has a bunch of the G-20 leaders holding Putin down while Zelensky drives a stake through Putin’s heart. How else can the West “win” otherwise? Xi Jinping might want to bring some top level Kung Fu masters along just in case …..

    1. The Rev Kev

      They may be in for a handful with Putin. The guy was awarded an 8th dan in judo several years ago which is supposed to be pretty high. He even helped co-author a book on judo – “Judo: History, Theory, Practice”

      1. OnceWereVirologist

        I think he’s probably a little long-in-the-tooth these days to single-handedly fight his way out of the Frey’s castle.

          1. Oisin

            When you look at the list it’s probably 2 cheering. 2 quietly cheering but all of them wondering when putin will come to his senses.

            1. ambrit

              A hidden part of that group will be wondering; when will America come to it’s senses?
              Putin is acting in what most Russians would agree are the best interests of Russia and it’s people. He has already lived through the dysfunction and corruption of the Neo-liberal Devolution of the old Soviet Union. He obviously wants to avoid any more looting and civil unrest “at home.”

    1. Jacob Hatch

      She missed his most important relationship, with Ihor Valeriyovych Kolomoyskyi, who took a minor oligarchic side kick lawyer specializing in money laundry and would be comedian and turned him into a useful tool. Kolomoyskyi is the media mogul who created the TV show “Servant of the People” and owned the TV network it ran on. Kolomoyskyi was (is?) a fixer for the CIA, is known to have exchanged many phone calls with Vicky Neuland over the years and involved in cover for air transshipments out of Afghanistan of drugs, weapons, cash, etc (see wikileaks). Kolomoyskyi funded the creation of Azov from a group of soccer hooligans he used as enforcers early in his career. How did she miss this?

      1. OIFVet

        Another important relationship of Zelensky’s not mentioned is that with his Colombian connection.

      2. ex-PFC Chuck

        Since she stated her father still lives in Ukraine even as her mother and sister have emigrated, she may have reluctant to possibly put a target on his back.

      3. Alice X

        It seems to me that Ms. Baysha’s indictment of Zelensky is substantial even without the relationship you cite. Perhaps it is in her book, I cannot say. Zelensky’s actions speak clearly about his anti-democratic nature, in much in contrast to the Western narrative.

    2. Bart Hansen

      As for part of the $33 billion going to independent Ukie media, see the Grayzone piece above. There is no such thing, as Zed closed it all down, according to this reporter.

      1. Michael Ismoe

        They are talking about media outside of Ukraine. You know, like ABC, CBS, Washington Post, New York Times, The Guardian.

  7. John

    Why not the Michael Hudson formulation (conceived, perhaps willy-nilly, to suit the predilections of the neo-cons for power and the neo-liberals for profit) recently in the hands of ignorant and willful incompetents.

  8. John

    Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. The collective west, NATOstan as Pepe Escobar has dubbed it, sees Russia as the enemy of the moment. Each party has nuclear weapons. A nuclear war might not sterilize the planet, but it would end civilization as we know it. Why are we not sitting down and talking to the Russians? But why do I ask? The collective West has been ignoring the legitimate security concerns of the Russians for 30-years. Are profit, power, and hegemony the sine qua non of existence?

    1. JTMcPhee

      The Collective West has been laboring to dismember and subjugate Mother Russia and loot her wealth for way more than 30 years, more like 300. One invasion every 42 years or so. Terrain and tenacity and Slavic stubbornness seem to have overcome both external and internal enemies of the people. But all bets are off in event of nuclear war.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Too many bad actors got away for so long. Look at the current President, not Joe Manchin but Jill’s ward. There isn’t anyone capable of even redirecting course. The Pentagon types who have to make the lack of policy of outfits like State work push back because no corporate board wants to have the guy in charge of a disaster.

      1. Bukowski

        I think that what’s occurring geopolitically cannot be adequately accounted for by predilections of individuals’ personalities: “Jill”, “Joe”, “Boris”, and so on.

        1. Bukowski

          Adding: I don’t know any of them except though the heavily-mediated ethernet, so I don’t use their first names other than in

    3. Screwball

      Why are we not sitting down and talking to the Russians?

      According to my PMC friends it’s because we must save our democracy. There was a bill on the senate floor that all but 10 members voted yes. I think the bill was for more money for Ukraine. My PMC friends said those 10 people were on the payroll of Putin, and how it was soooooo obvious. Yes, they actually believe Putin is controlling part of our congress, and of course this goes back to Trump, because he was controlled by Putin as well. They really do believe this.

      They want no less than a regime change to oust Putin, even if it takes “tactical” nukes. They also think we are kicking Russia’s butt big time, and Biden has put together a all star team to save our democracy from the evil Putin, Vicky Nuland included.

      This is the base of the democratic party, or a large part of it – the vote blue no matter who people – who will vote and defend this administration to every last dead Ukrainian, every last dead COVID victim, and every other stupid thing Biden does and says. They can do no wrong.

      When you have an unhinged base hell bent on revenge for the 4 years of Trump they had to endure, detente is not in anyone’s vocabulary. The sale of this war was easy to these people. The problem is the rest of us, hence the over the top propaganda campaign waged against the less rabid.

      Of course the war toy makers love it, and the politicians will benefit from the campaign donations and insider trading. There is no reason to stop the war.

      1. Jason Boxman

        As terrifying as this is, it shouldn’t come as a surprise. These are probably the same people that are certain that Trump and Putin colluded to defeat Clinton in 2016, and that Trump is a Russian asset.

        So much for the “reality-based” community of the early aughts.

        1. Screwball

          They are exactly the same people. They truly believe Putin installed Trump in the Whitehouse. They think Russiagate was legit, and if you didn’t believe it, read Muellers book. They also think the Biden laptop story is fake news, Rachel Maddow is a top notch journalist, Machin and Sinema are the only thing keeping the democrats from doing whatever they want, along with those nasty knuckle dragging mouth breathing red neck hick republicans. Elon Musk and Joe Rogan are evil, but the Washington Post is gospel, along with the NYT, CNN, MSNBC, and Jen Psaki.

          Zelensky is currently the worlds greatest leader. Russia is losing the war. Putin has ALS or something physically wrong by looking at a recent picture of him sitting at a desk, but Joe Biden being accused of early stage dementia is an outrage because you are not a doctor.

          If everyone would have gotten the jab the pandemic would be over, and they are perfectly safe. The only people who didn’t take them are Trumpers. All the deaths are Trumps fault, even the ones happening now. Fauci and Walenski are hero’s of science. The same science that decided it’s OK to not wear masks now.

          Speaking of Trump, he was the biggest fascist to walk the planet, along with his family, and the only reason he ran for office, but Hillary’s foundation is as squeaky clean as fresh snow. Same with St. Barry and Michelle (who they want to run for president).

          IOW, they have been wrong on just about everything for the last 5 years. I have been told every last bit of that and then some by more than a few. This is what propaganda does to people, and these are educated people working good jobs, some even in academia.

          Orwell would be proud.

          1. Skippy

            If one looks at how Christianity changed from pre neoliberalism to post neoliberal ideas and agendas, in the U.S. alone, its not difficult to to understand how the population can be managed so easily and over such a short span of time.

            The advent of the big church investor group, mega/prosperity church, or its CEO leader [these businesses[tm] are administrated as Corporations IMO] which then establishes an internal rise from the bottom to the top mentality within its vertical political structure [flexian mfg/supply chain].

            I would think our own home grown Hill Song Church would be a good example, but one can look at any of the warehouse size churches that have sprung up and their national sprawl. Imagine watching a HSC media offering where a young man tells his older mentor that he has accepted Jesus as his personal savoir …. but … just needs to sort himself out for the creators business plan for his personal success.

            Its just so 10,000 maniacs … living in Eden has its has advantages … as a marginalized member of a spectator democracy you ***Choose*** you own dependencies – don’t think of it as manufactured consent[tm] …. think of it as the Candy everyone wants …

          2. kriptid

            This is what propaganda does to people, and these are educated people working good jobs, some even in academia.

            Not to pick apart your statement too much here, but as someone working in academia, in a STEM discipline, no less, I find that academics are actually much more likely to believe in the Ukraine propaganda than other professionals, and the same statement is true of recent Trump-era propaganda aimed at the PMC in general.

            I surmise this is because of all the other statements in your post: by and large, you will find no larger demographic swathe than that in academia which is completely beholden to the Trump == Russia narrative. This is not unexpected, given that whispering conservative views in the academy during the Trump era is seen as something akin to suggesting we all start worshiping Satan.

            I find that the increasing bureaucratization of academia, including in STEM, has severely dimmed the collective ability of the intelligentsia to call “BS” on any narrative with origins in the establishment. The days of the academic polymath (which Chomsky embodies in modern times) are over in favor of the expert careerist/bureaucrat which takes their ideological marching orders straight from the MSM Gospels (WaPo, NYT, MSNBC) because they understand implicitly it is in their interests to do so (even if they project ignorance towards this motivation). For a recent victim in this war on traditional academics, see Cornel West.

            They’ve fallen into a trap similar to that modern politicians have: chasing the next dollar all the time until eventually there’s no time left in the day except to sleep. Professors spend most of their time doing paperwork and little time in the lab, just like politicians are out at fundraisers, not at home or in the office reading policy. Forget having time to read the news and form a coherent, informed view on a topic from multiple sources with different biases, especially when there’s an army of people waiting to take my job who are willing to work every waking hour to get my position. Just let me gulp down the WaPo/NYT line while I slam my latte and off I go to the next function.

            I think this culture is a foundational aspect of the phenomenon you describe so well.

            1. Yves Smith

              This is very helpful. Thanks for taking the time to unpack the roots of this behavior, which Lambert and I have also noted (academia increasingly becoming the diehard supporters of Team Dem orthodoxy)

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        I assume your PMC friends are all typical Pink Pussy Hat Clintonites. And they would all love a chance to be able to vote for Clinton again in 2024.

        I sincerely hope that Tulsi Gabbard runs for President as an Independent in certain key electoral college states which if won by her could deny a victory to either/ both Clinton and/or Trump. That would be a good prelude to further torturing of the DC FedRegime GoverSystem by her and her movement . . . . if there is one.

        1. Bill7

          > I sincerely hope that Tulsi Gabbard runs for President

          I have read that Ms. Gabbard is/was a WEF Young Global Leader, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

          1. Grebo

            Not mention an acolyte of an extremely right-wing cult leader and a supporter of RSS/BJP/Modi.

            I predict that if she runs again it will be as a Republican.

            1. Robert Gray

              I’m afraid I have to jump in here. I enjoyed as much as anyone Tulsi Gabbard’s humiliation of Kamala Harris in that debate. Having said that, however, there’s something about Ms Gabbard — above and beyond her fervent support for Modi and his BJP — that doesn’t seem right. A lot of people are impressed by her military record (‘She’s walked the walk, so she knows!’), as if (career-reservist) service in the imperial war machine is somehow a good thing. But if you look closely at that military record, it is decidedly odd.

              The following details are from Wikipedia. I’m taking them as accurate; otherwise, one expects that she or her people would have corrected them.

              In April of ’03, several weeks before her 22nd birthday, she enlists in the Hawaii National Guard. A little over a year later, she goes to Iraq, where she spends a year.

              In early ’07, after less than four years as an enlisted reservist, she attends an 8-week training course and receives a commission. This is passing strange. Consider the four-year service academies, or four-year university ROTC programs, or even your ordinary OCS. Eight weeks?!? And, even fishier, at this point she’s not yet a college graduate. In the current era, have you ever heard of an officer without a college degree of some kind or other (except, perhaps, for a battlefield commission: and do they even do those any more?)?

              It’s not until two years later, 2009, that she receives a Bachelor’s degree but by then her military career is well and truly hypersonic. Her promotions from O-1 to O-2 and O-2 to O-3 are not mentioned in the Wikipedia article, however it notes that in October of ’15 — only eight and a half years after being commissioned — she is promoted from captain to major (i.e., from O-3 to O-4). This is astounding; this is a superhero rate of advancement. (Even Golden Boy David Petraeus took 11+ years to make O-4.) Thus, we really have to ask ‘Why?’ What has she done to deserve this?

              After less than six years as a major — and only 14 years after receiving her second lieutenant’s bar — she’s promoted again, to her present rank of lieutenant colonel (O-5).

              Seriously, what is going on here? It’s not like she is winning battles, after all. She wears 12 ribbons (all of the ‘service’ or ‘trophy for participating’ variety), the highest of which is the ho-hum Meritorious Service Medal. Number five in precedence of her 12 is the ‘firewatch ribbon’ (National Defense Service Medal) which they give to everybody, so you can imagine what the remaining seven are for.

              She has either become very good at playing the games of political intrigue for which the officer corps is well known (looking at D. Petraeus again) or … what? Now, there may well be a convincing explanation for all this; if so, I hope someone will present it. I have to say that my respect for her would be bolstered if she resigned her commission, on principle, now — before becoming eligible for a pension (as that Marine colonel did last year).

              1. drumlin woodchuckles

                All the negative material about Gabbard written about just above may well be true. But given that the Clintonites were the very first people to front-and-center it when it looked like Gabbard might pose an annoyance to the Axis of Clintonism, I have my doubts for now.

                Especially about claims which push all the Wokeness Buttons like ” she followed a right wing cult leader” or “she was homophobic” or etc. Considering the sleazy sewage-ness of the people making those claims, those claims have the perhaps paradoxical effect of enhancing Gabbard’s credibility in my own mind.

                And anyway, you got to electoral war with the tire iron you have, not the tire iron you wish you had or would prefer to have at some later time.

  9. John Beech

    Tolstoy, it has an ‘ess’, Paul . . . you pretentious prig.

    There, my incipit for the day.

      1. JBird4049

        >>>Is there any chance the people at Medicare for All can come up with some made-up shit so we can get that passed in record time?

        Even with Covid and (so far) one million plus dead, we ain’t got Medicare for All. Maybe, perhaps, with Smallpox II, This Time its Realz or a resurgent Black Death, the End Times Edition, they might act. However, some of them might be happy for the chance to remove the excess population. “What? Us die? We got healthcare!”

          1. skippy

            Ukraine get wages for services rendered, after everyone else gets their cut, whilst Free anything is the pathway to socialist/communist ideas and fought to the death lest freedoms and liberties might suffer [subjugation of lessors] …

  10. dani

    Can we just stop with the Glenn Greenwald already?
    His constant cheap potshots are nothing worth promoting.
    He’s done a lot for state accountability, but at this point he’d rather sit back and use his cache to spew Flak into every issue to keep clouding it.
    Noam Chomsky wrote along time ago about the way these useful idiots get traction from those willing to pay to make any conclusion impossible.

    1. Yves Smith

      You have no business policing our content.

      We expect readers to be adult enough to skip over sources and topics that don’t appeal to them.

    2. Bukowski

      > Can we just stop with the Glenn Greenwald already?

      No. Why should “we” do that? You don’t speak for me, and surely vice-versa..

      Why not quote what Greenwald actually said that got your ultra-precious dander up- or would that not fulfill your present objective?

    1. jefemt

      Reminds me of the visibly shaken Al Haig. “I am in control….”

      Hoo boy this is a tar baby. Good thing we have Communication Age clear, fact-filled opinion free reportage from all over the globe in the at our fingertips!

      Between covid fog and war fog, I feel like I am waking too early from a night of wretchedly excessive raucous debauchery….

      1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        Haven’t heard that whistling sound from the shelling since Afghanistan. Fn Terrifying. I’d be in that in that basement pronto. And that poor dog ☹

  11. The Rev Kev

    “Europe cooperates on gas, as Russia turns off taps to Poland and Bulgaria”

    I suppose that the real fear for the EU is the creation of a PetroRuble. In other words, a currency backed by commodities rather than the present fiat currencies based on – nothing? Well, faith maybe. So here is the thing. Since the Russians don’t want payment in a bank in the west where it can be stolen again, they have said to pay it in Russia and that they will convert it into Rubles. The EU is saying no, no – that is not possible. And yet, if those EU countries go to Saudi Arabia to buy oil, they have no problem first going out to buy US dollars to buy Saudi oil from that country – that actually uses the Riyal as their currency.

    1. OIFVet

      Well, the BG finance minister admitted that most of that Greek gas that will replace Russian gas US in fact…Russian. Only difference is that BG will be paying a solid premium to replace Russian gas with Russian gas. One gets the feeling that it’s not a matter of sheer incompetence but of fighting over who gets to profit internally. There have been lots of brawls beginning in December over control of the state gas monopoly, Bulgargas, and the war appears to be a convenient means to displace the entrenched PTB while scoring brownie points with the US and the EU. Harvard is truly in charge of BG.

    2. Skippy

      Kelton has talked about the erroneous notion some have come to believe, over the USD Petrodollar, based on the notion of commodity money views. If anything its more about VoM and getting others addicted to USD and not about the commodity per se.

      I could point out the USD is backed by the Z1 which factors in all natural resources physical and financial.

      It might be a point of cognitive bias to see the Russian play more in the framework of trying to lessen the impact of SWIFT antics and nothing to do with commodity backed money, especially some singular asset, still open to other various market based attacks.

      Don’t forget the E.U. et al needs more than energy from the East so making it all about energy is blinkered. How about Russia as the seller its just doing what happens in most other market transactions and is just setting the currency used in exchange so it can manage its currency as a Sovereign Nation. Lest we forget the USD was weaponized long ago, see Hudson on Brazil not long ago and the IMF bond holder bailout.

      Lastly as we can see the veil has been pretty much removed from all the international agencies which once helped developing nations to just insuring punitive extraction for the right sorts.

      I think we can leave commodities out of the currency equation, its just an ideological/political choice that has never addressed the bigger socioeconomic problems.

  12. Lexx

    ‘Stomach discomfort and diarrhea accompany new surge on COVID-19 cases’

    People (friends, family, acquaintances, and complete strangers) don’t like to talk about their poopers and so pooper problems tend to stay under the radar. But when ‘poopers’ do come up for discussion, the subject flies under the broader banner of ‘”gut problems”… often mumbled while avoiding eye contact. Since I will go where others fear to tread, I will cheerfully and with an innocent wide-eyed facial expression* ask, ‘What kind of gut problems?’, hoping that will be read as, ‘No, really, tell me everything, spare no detail.’ The response is as mixed as they’re bowel habits have become. Some will dig into their reluctance to talk further and shut the conversation down, but many more will look relieved that someone else finally showed an interest. The wall of disinterest includes their “team” of health care professionals.

    If halfway through the outpouring of anecdotal report I get something to the effect of, ‘Why am I telling you this? Are you a doctor?’, I’ll ask them if they have had such a discussion with their doctor and how that’s working for them? The answer is almost always ‘no’, there has been no or little discussion. The COVID gut problems have been there all along (and prepandemic), exacerbated by the virus and the vaccines taking up residence in what have to be, as a country, the most unhealthy gut microbiotas on the planet. We eat crap… GIGO. Who wanted to go to their physician at all over the last two years, and/or whine about their tummies and poopers? People were/are dying of COVID or suffering long COVID to awful affect on both their lives and that of their families.

    However, it is exactly our poopers we should be talking about, since that is the fount of our immune systems. So, there is an upside to the latest variant.

    *I’m at that difficult age, between Dewy-eyed Maiden and Compassionate Crone. ‘Innocence’ is difficult to pull off. Also, nonjudgmentalness. Judgmental is built into middle-aged resting b**** face… lucky Jesus, dead at 36.

    1. WobblyTelomeres

      If you really want to discuss movements, hang out with some older folks. Trust me on this. Imagine two 88yo men, one complaing about how he has to use a plunger every morning, the other responds, in his best Roy Scheider voice, “You’re gonna need a bigger toilet.”

      1. Lexx

        I’ve hung, substitute bowling for years in the senior leagues. Poopers never came up and some of the players were over 90. They’re a competitive lot too, so go figure.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Experienced doctors will tell you that young people can get very shy and bashful about such problems but a little old granny will come right out and say what the problem is in graphic and explicit detail. :)

      1. Lexx

        Somewhat the exception to the rule, Kev. It’s built into the her status – granny. She’s had a lifetime of experiences in being physically uncomfortable (in stirrups) while being peppered with awkward questions. ‘My pooper? Sure, what would you like to know?’

      2. wilroncanada

        Yes! You’ll get the straight poop from someone with lots of experience. I’m nearly a decade beyond sexagenarianism.

    3. Roger Blakely

      SARS-CoV-2 attacks linings; e.g., lung linings, stomach linings, intestine linings, colon linings. The virus gets inhaled. The mucociliary clearance system gets the virus up and out of the lungs. The mucous gets swallowed. The virus attacks linings all the way through the tube, from mouth to anus. The immune system flushes the colon with white blood cells rounding up the virus. The colon pushes the mess out the anus to get it out of the body.

      I wear a respirator in all public spaces in an effort to minimize gastrointestinal discomfort and diarrhea.

    4. drumlin woodchuckles

      Since glyphosate disables the shikimic acid pathway of plant-cell metabolism, and bacteria, including gut bacteria, use the same shikimic acid pathway that plant cells do, how much of the population’s pooper problems might be due to near ubiquitous exposure to background glyphosate traces in food, water, etc?

      And if so, what might people do to dodge some of the glyphosate fallout which the Jackpot Design Engineers in authority are very deliberately exposing the entire population to . . . deliberately and on purpose?

      Here is a link to an article about some disease states in the population rising in close correlation to the rise of glyphosate use and glyphosate exposure. The article itself implicates ” GMOs” as being part of the problem because glypho is used on glypho-resistant GMO crops. But glypho is also being used on all kinds of other crops too, including deliberately on beans and grains just before harvest to make them all ripen up and dry down all at once, for ease of one-pass harvest. Thereby putting even more glypho into the beans and grains. Anyway, here is the link to that article.

      And here’s a bunch of images on that same subject.;_ylt=A0geJaSxDG9imnQAMxBXNyoA;_ylu=Y29sbwNiZjEEcG9zAzIEdnRpZANMT0NVSTAxOV8xBHNlYwNzYw–?p=graphs+of+diseases+and+glyphosate+use+images&fr=sfp

      Something to show to people who confess to ongoing pooper problems?

  13. The Rev Kev

    “Serbia displays Chinese missiles amid concerns in Balkans”

    Serbia is right now under pressure to come out and not only sanction Russia but to ship their armoury to the Ukraine. The Serbians are resisting however as they want to sit this stupid war out. So maybe that display of arms is a statement that they will maintain their independence from both sides. And that is why the Chinese weaponry as it is sourced from neither side-

    1. JBird4049

      Plus, the Serbs have had the Russians as their patron for quite a while, going back, IIRC pre First World War. One of the triggers for that war was the Russian Empire’s support of them against the Austro-Hungarian Empire, which eventually triggered those pesky defensive treaties, getting all the major European powers into a war with each other. Maybe that is another reason that they don’t want to ship weapons to Russia’s enemies for this war.

      1. Anonymous 2

        Yes, the activities of Baron Hartwig, Russian ambassador to Serbia, are interesting. Did he play a part in triggering WW1? He almost certainly will have discussed policy with Apis so did he play a part in the Archduke’s assassination? We shall probably never know and of course he died on 10 July so if he did play a part he did not live to see the consequences.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      So many of these people are just desperate to be seen as “cool”. When they aren’t seen as cool, it must be disinformation.

      1. JTMcPhee

        The problem is, these “cool kids” get to hold loaded pistols and run with unsheathed Japanese katanas, in among and over the mopery.

        This is “funny” stuff in a very limited sense. I, for one, am not laughing, knowing that the hammer is probably likely to fall soon, on my favorite web site and all the sites and sources from which correct information and insight can be drawn.

        What’s the “plan of succession” for when NC gets disappeared from its current location?

        1. ambrit

          That is a very good question.
          I speculate that “wrongthink” groups will be reduced to local and regional circles. Most of the “action,” as it was in the pre-electronica ages, will be in the major population centres. Just like the old time Imperial Russian elites experienced, being sent to the provinces will be a form of internal exile. Unless, of course, you like “Official” propaganda for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

          1. JBird4049

            Well, hopefully those sites NC is looking at in Iceland will be available by then. It’s nauseating to think of that, but that is the reality.

            1. ambrit

              My worry is that the “Powers” here will interdict any ‘outside’ sources of information.

              1. JBird4049

                So it might be time for American samizdat? Here is where most printers hidden identifiers will be useful for the authorities trying to “protect” us.

                1. Bukowski

                  I’ll again suggest that anyone or anything that matters will be Going Local, very soon.

                  more tech = further enslavement (it was a blip)

        2. Oh

          The model to follow are the Korean/Japanese/Chinese drama and movie streaming sites that keep changing their URL constantly to be ahead of the DRM bandits. Dramacool is a good example.

          The Bidet minisry of truth will keep pursuing them but can’t erase their servers which are located out of reach of these bastards.

        3. drumlin woodchuckles

          About a year ago Colonel Lang moved his blog from its American hosting location to a hosting location in Iceland, where it now is. ( And he changed its name to Turcopolier).

          Would our bloggers be able to move their blog to a location in Iceland when it is physically banned and outlawed from any hosting facility in America?

    2. Pelham

      So right out of the box Jankowicz is calling into question the number of Sanders’ followers. It sounds to me as if she’s suggesting that Russian bots are in play here, tarring Sanders with “RussiaRussiaRussia” by implication. Lovely.

      Maybe the appointment of someone so flagrantly horrid as disinformation bloodhound is intended to send a message.

      1. ambrit

        I’ll jump in here with both feet and say that the appointment of this person to this post is policy in action. The very establishment of this instrumentality is the real point. I see no serious push back from the elites against this. The Police State is now an up and going concern.

        1. Bill7

          > I’ll jump in here with both feet and say that the appointment of this person to this post is policy in action. The very establishment of this instrumentality is the real point.

          I agree; I’d add, maybe too obviously: “arbitrary, nonsensical enforcement of generalized fear”, myself.

          Incompetence? maybe.

          1. ambrit

            As any competent authoritarian knows, the very arbitrariness of the “rules of the game” is a major ‘influencer’ of personal conduct. People naturally withdraw from the agora under such a strain. Soon, only “approved persons” are being seen and heard. Job done.

            1. Bukowski

              > Soon, only “approved persons” are being seen and heard. Job done.

              In the short term, and for some uneasy few.

              My tiny garden’s doing better, and my neighbors the same.

            2. drumlin woodchuckles

              I read once there was a saying in Washington DC . . . ” personnel is policy”.

              I have been predicting for years that the internet will be shut down and abolished in due course. This looks like a first step.

              Perhaps people should go back to using the post office to send vast numbers of letters and pamphlets and etc. around. If email is not abolished, perhaps people can use email trees and list-serves and etc.

              Perhaps millions of people can have millions of stand-alone desktop computers and send memory devices around by personall courier, carrier pigeon, etc., thereby catapulting the samizdata.

              Perhaps if enough people want true news, they might be willing to pay for a whole new generation of true newspapers. Or perhaps they won’t.

              How did people communicate before the computer? Do it that way again.

              But that means accepting the idea that all the information currently findable on line will be effectively erased and destroyed from existence.

              perhaps millions of computer owners should set up millions of “desktop publishing” systems and begin copying every webly thing they think is valuable onto acid free paper so that it still exists in analog meatspace after it has all been erased from digital existence.

              Accept that we are now living at the start of a New Dark Age, brought to us by the Cyberbarians and the Digigoths.

              1. Bukowski

                > Accept that we are now living at the start of a New Dark Age

                I recall someone mentioning that here several years ago- prescient commenter, I guess.

    3. Mildred Montana

      Nina Jankowicz? The fledgling Doyenne of Disinformation? Wow! I am, literally, speechless. Things in Washington just keep getting curiouser and curiouser and absurder and absurder.

      Here I sit (apparently not so speechless after all), seventy years old, college-educated, fairly well-read, wondering daily what is true, what is false, and about the various degrees of truth and falsity on that continuum. I often have to admit to myself, ? ???’? ????. In my opinion, Truth (or the closest thing to it) takes years to surface and the best facsimile of it will be written decades from now.

      Yet Nina Jankowicz, a callow 34-year-old, presumes to know what is true. She has either the omniscience of the gods or their hubris, and I won’t be betting on the former.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Dates and geographic details are accurate. This is where propaganda slips. The dates don’t make sense. It’s like how the Ukrainians were winning in the narrative but the locations of battles indicated they were losing. Getting a handle on those is the first step.

        1. Bukowski

          > Dates and geographic details are accurate. This is where propaganda slips. The dates don’t make sense. <

          It's not *supposed* to make sense: it's about the arbitrary exercise
          of power by the few, with no available recourse.

          I think that's a much better fit with the facts, or "facts".

      2. ambrit

        From what I have read so far about the woman, she is a “true believer” in the classic religious fanatic mode. She will not question her actions or motivations up to, and probably after the “Official” firing squad does her in for “Conspiring Against the State.”
        This is a counter revolution against the concept of the Public Good. As with all revolutions, ‘they’ will sooner or later “eat their own children.”
        Human nature does not change.

        1. dftbs

          Very elucidating comment. Thank you.

          I think you’re prescient in describe the ironic circumstances of Jankowicz’ possible demise.

          But I will quibble slightly with the aphorism about all revolutions eating their own. I think that Saturnian quality arises more from counter-revolution, and as you brilliantly identified this is a “counter revolution against the concept of the Public Good.”

          1. ambrit

            Ah, you’ve read du Pan’s book. The minds were just as good then as they can be today. We look down on the Ancients in peril of our own lives. Useful lessons can be gleaned from a close reading of history. Especially the original sources.

      3. Questa Nota

        Gaslighting the whole country, gotta say that is audacious.

        Alternative theory is that she provides misdirection and consumes media air and print time and eyeballs, so people don’t think about what is falling down around them.

        Meanwhile, revelations keep popping up.

    4. Bukowski

      Thank you for that link to our new, thirty-two year old arbiter of Truth, flora.

    1. Michael Ismoe

      Coming soon to a city near you. You may want to delete your browsing history before Nina Jankowicz comes a-knocking on the door.

      One branch of the government hired this woman and you al think that The State Department “might be” filled with morons? this kinda proves it, doesn’t it?

    2. Brunches with Cats

      Holy [family blogging] [family blog]! And comments overwhelmingly support the police, although hard to know how many are real, given that a vid like this is guaranteed troll bait. FWIW, this is how Gonzalo Lira described his arrest. He said eight heavily armed men came to get him…

      I can’t find a word in the thesaurus to adequately convey my sense of dread as the officially declared war on “disinformation” escalates beyond all reason, totally out of control.

    3. Yves Smith

      You notice how AP cleverly conflated social media activity of a child pornographer, um Putin fan, with that of someone allegedly sending intel to Russia (as if Russia doesn’t know where their missiles landed, for the big ones they sure do and for shellings, it’s a matter of numbers…unless this guy was sending shots of probable/actual Ukraine shelling of residential ‘hoods to Russian contacts to be shown on social media there as more evidence of Ukraine bad conduct). So we have presumed actual military collaborator put on the same plane as someone engaged in wrongspeak.

  14. Ben D.

    White House officials weigh income limits for student loan forgiveness

    This is how you know they’re not really interested in you and your life.

  15. flora

    May day. When I was a child May day was the day little school children, grades k – 2nd or 3rd, went around town leaving little dixie cup “baskets” of candies on the doorsteps of their little classmates. (Moms in cars ferrying the kids and candy baskets around town. ) That May day festive custom for young children was much older and had nothing to do with workers or parades in red square. I always thought dixie cups of candies was a much better thing than boring old army parades. / ;)

    1. Janie

      I am at least a generation older than you. We made May baskets from construction paper and pipe cleaners, decorated them and picked flowers for them. We left the baskets at the front door of neighbors, usually the elderly, and ran away after ringing the doorbell.

      1. LifelongLib

        Had friends who did that, c. 1961 in the Pacific Northwest. I don’t recall it being a widespread custom though.

  16. The Rev Kev

    So that Nina Jankowicz doesn’t believe that the majority of Bernie’s 15.5 million followers are authentic and real people? If not, because of the number and scale of that follower base, there must be a government behind it and I bet that Nina knows who it is. Russia! So maybe Bernie should be removed from Twitter for Russian-based disinformation. What’s that you say? That you can’t do that to a sitting Senator? Of course you can. After all, it was done to a sitting President and all the good people cheered that happening. Poor Nina. I guess that she spent too long in the Ukraine and sees Russians everywhere now.

    1. flora

      Remember, she *is* the chief of disinformation, the chief ‘disinformationtor’. / ;)

      1. orlbucfan

        She sounds like more of the same: a nutcase yahoo. Jonathan Swift hit the nail on the head when he came up with that term for human.

        1. Bukowski

          > She sounds like more of the same: a nutcase yahoo

          But with institutionally-backed Power.

          should be fine

      2. Bukowski

        There has been some really interesting phrasing regarding information and its variants in these recent, ruling-class articles about the new-to-us Ms. Jankowicz, I think.

        “Disinformation Fellow..” might not have been a slip-up, as an example.

    2. MRLost

      Perhaps the Democrats are trying to get Bernie to reveal who his followers are … so she can have them all arrested. Joke only. The Dems need those names for their potential financial contributions.

      I’ve given money and my name and email address to Bernie and while he and his little progressive cohort hit me up for donations rather frequently he has clearly not given my contact info to the Democrat machine.

      1. Bukowski

        > I’ve given money and my name and email address to Bernie

        Me too. In retrospect, I think he functioned *precisely* as intended, though not by us. At least I didn’t buy into “The Squad™”.

        “Abandon Hope, all ye..”

        1. Michael Ismoe

          > I’ve given money and my name and email address to Bernie

          Me too. Just letting you know that I got a lot more from that “Nigerian Prince” than I ever got from Bernie.

          1. Bukowski

            I hear you, MI.

            Sanders’s disappearing act in 3/2020 is etched in this memory, along with a couple of other curious events.

    3. Pat

      I think it may come from having found out how many of Hillary Clinton’s 3.4 million followers are bots and fear that Sanders count is close to accurate.

      For almost every famous person with a press agent and an agenda I automatically eliminate half the followers as being media, bots etc. Maybe it is because I cannot stomach the thought that so many people are really that caught up with the Kardashians…or Clinton and the Obamas. But it is too easy and cheap to up those totals for people who thrive on popularity, whether it is as an influencer or a politician. The difference between me and Jankowicz is that I want my bad examples to be hoist on their own petard, not silenced by an entity. (What good does it do for Kim K or HRC to become martyrs, much better others somehow see that they are full of it.)

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Wasn’t it Ashton Kutcher who had more followers than CNN long after his cultural relevancy? His box office draw wasn’t there at the time, and he did a wretched sitcom on Netflix more recently. But a far cry from his “dude, where’s my car” days.

        So I figure the ad algorithms were cooked up when he was doing movies, that 70’s show, and Punk’d which would have had audiences dominating the internet in the late 00’s. At that time, I could understand him crushing institutional social media accounts, but when it happened, it made no sense. My memory is there was speculation about bots at the time.

        1. Pat

          Kutcher might actually have a tech and finance following, not enough to account for those totals, but something not entirely connected to his acting career. He was an early investor in a fair number of tech innovations, many of which are still with us. But yeah you would think the numbers would be more fluid based on current popularity.

          There are so many questionable totals in Twitter/Instagram/Facebook lands. Not sure which has more inflation those seeking political relevance or those seeking marketing deals.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            My hunch is he had a high Q rating with young women, traditonally the most likely to switch brands, and didn’t say anything offensive. He’s the type that would tweet, “pizza is good.” So the bots rushed to his platform and then kept chasing the other bots.

            Someone like DiCaprio might tweet something that would offend fossil fuel companies. He might have a higher Q rating, but he could break a brand. So the bots weren’t set to follow him at the same rate.

            1. Bukowski

              This general seeming-obsession with names and celebrity and their doings is quite a curiousity to me.

              “so-and-so just said such-and-such..”

              drearily useless

  17. fresno dan

    So I just got back from the grocery store. Vons is not my usual grocery store, I only go about once a month, but they have produce, multigrain bread, and deli stuff that I like to get so I go once in a while. When I go, it is almost exactly the same stuff in the same amount every time. Usually it runs between 60 and 70 dollars. This time it was 107$. I actually found a old receipt and checked for what did I get – more stuff??? more expensive? different? Other than the organic hummus (they were out of non organic) everything was the same or less (quart of milk instead of half a gallon, etcetera). Lots of prices 20, 25, or more per cent higher. Who knew Ukraine was the hummus capital of the world…

    1. Carolinian

      I think the grocery inflation over the past few weeks is kind of shocking. I buy small and go often and every time I shop these days certain items have gone up again. While I can afford the increases I suspect many are struggling or at least starting to hoard–making the problem worse.

      1. ambrit

        I worry about this fall and next spring. When the fertilizer “shortage” works it’s way through the agricultural cycle, what sort of crop yields will we see?

    2. jr

      Went to my corner market for a bag of sweet peppers, usually 5$ a pop. The bin was empty. I asked the kid and he said they carry them “for now” as they are 5$ wholesale. I doubt I’ll see them there again.

    1. flora

      adding: Diesel for Dinner.

      No such compromise underpins the decision to use foodstuffs as replacements for diesel, a policy that will make the unfolding global food crisis substantially worse if it is not soon overturned. Unfortunately for those near the bottom of Maslow’s pyramid, many cooking oils – liquid fat isolated from various crops used extensively in frying, baking, and other types of food preparation all over the world – have a molecular structure quite similar to that of diesel. It does not take much chemical magic to transform previously edible cooking oils into workable substitutes for the valuable fuel. Now that the environmental lobby has convinced government officials worldwide that “renewable carbon content” is prima facia a desirable thing – a fallacy that deserves its own Doomberg piece – various mandates exist to literally take food out of the mouths of the hungry and pump it into our trucks for burning. For the planet, and whatnot.

  18. Vikas

    The Article from MintPress on Intellectual No Fly zone is well worth a read. I nearly skipped it because so much of what’s going on has been obvious. But the second half gets into details that are jaw dropping.

    Facebook using the Atlantic Council to vet content?!

    Seems like a good time to build some samizdat networks.

    1. Mark Gisleson

      No PayPal but I upped my monthly donation on Patreon. Everytime I think Taibbi and Greenwald are being suppressed, I think about how much better they’ve had it than Mint Press who did yeoman’s work exposing Epstein and got zilch for credit from the “news” orgs who had successfully avoided that story for decades.

    1. Pat

      I was going to say that I was only surprised how fast it was, but then realized the Patriot Act is over 20 years old. It only seems fast. I’m guessing that methods of information spread out ran the increasing controls for a very long time. Unfortunately it is now being strangled and crushed.
      Part of the more recent acceleration I do attribute to TDS, many of the same people that should be horrified are now big proponents, largely because of a misinformation campaign meant not just to discredit Trump but to exonerate the selection and performance of Clinton. (God forbid that anybody admit she was a terrible candidate much less a god awful choice for President AND that not everybody’s reasons for voting for Trump were racist.)
      I am thinking that after the midterms and certainly after 2024 a number of people not currently horrified may suddenly realize how bad so much of this is.*

      *Because no I don’t think this can save the Democrats or liberal PMC favorites.

      1. Michaelmas

        Pat: God forbid that anybody admit she was a terrible candidate much less a god awful choice for President

        God forbit that anybody point out that she’s an incompetent but murderous psychopath, and utterly repulsive to boot.

        Hillary Clinton “We Came, We Saw, He Died” —

  19. juno mas

    RE: NASA Earth Photos

    These photos are very high resolution. If you open them in a separate tab (window) in Firefox you can zoom in much closer and see much more detail. The 3rd photo (Dune) when zoomed into shows that what appears to be water in the dark sand is actually sun shadows created by the depth of these dendritic patterns.

    1. John Beech

      I remain perplexed by the red arrow in the Spanish salt lagoon, what’s with that? Anyway, re: dendritic patterns, yes, fascinating stuff. And opening in a separate tab is only bettered by saving and using a photo app to zoom in.

      1. juno mas

        The “red arrow” appears to be concentrating salt ponds. (The pond is segmented, if you zoom in close enough.) Click on the “Dunaliella salina” link in the text below the photo and it will explain the color within this specie of algae gets darker (redder?) as it’s saltwater medium gets more concentrated.

        Also, remember this is a satellite photo and the angle of light reflection will affect the apparent color intensity. (This is why the larger “pink” area north (up) of the “red arrow” has different shades of pink.)

  20. chris wardell

    HAPPY MAY DAY! ‘Capitalism…is no longer the progressive force described by Marx’; the free market era ‘has been followed by a new one in which production is concentrated in vast syndicates and trusts which aim at monopoly control’. Giant multinational technology companies ‘freeze out other competition to forestall independent technological innovation’. Financial control ‘has passed from the industrialists themselves to a handful of banking conglomerates – the creation of a banking oligarch. MARX

  21. The Rev Kev

    “US Credibility in ASEAN in the Shadow of the Ukraine Conflict”

    I wonder how those very same ASEAN nations feel now that NATO has announced that they are moving into the Pacific region. I guess that the Quad and AUKUS were not doing it for them. And it should be noted that some of those NATO nations were, within living memory, the “colonial masters” in that region. The real fun and games happens when the US convinces the Japanese to rewrite their Constitution so that they can not only send their military all over the world but that they can also arm themselves with nukes as well. I’m sure that those ASEAN nations appreciate having the Pacific being turned from a sort of quiet backwater to a new Militarized Zone – and potential battleground.

    1. RobertC

      TRK — some Indications and Warnings from the FT front page

      >> US holds high-level talks with UK over China threat to Taiwan

      >> China meets banks to discuss protecting assets from US sanctions Officials concerned that measures taken against Moscow could also be applied to Beijing

      >> Western multinationals sound alarm over China’s Covid lockdowns Extension of strict virus curbs dents US and European groups’ results and weakens outlooks

    2. SocalJimObjects

      I live in Indonesia. It’s all anecdotal, but I have not seen a SINGLE Whatsapp (Indonesians get a lot of their “news” from Whatsapp) message that’s supportive of the United States’ position regarding Ukraine. All the messages have been Pro Russia.

      If the US can “convince” Japan to carry nukes, then Russia/China can certainly convince Indonesia to carry nukes on their behalf as well.

  22. Corina


    Elon Musk attempts to take SEC to Supreme Court over gag order he claims is unconstitutional

    Re Foster never getting royalties from Disney for Stars Wars novels, someone stole the mouseketeer’s ears.

    1. Raymond Sim

      …is that a Cooper’s hawk?

      If it were here in Central Valley California I would say yes – and very likely be wrong. There’s an intermediate size range where an intermediate sort of plumage also seems common.

      Our forebearers predilection for naming North Amercian raptors for the kind of birds they chase has come to make a lot more sense to me since I came to live in the Sacramento Valley. For me, in day-to-day observation, Coopers Hawks and Sharpshinneds form a continuum, as do Peregrines, Prarie Falcons, and Merlins.

      On the other hand, I once saw what I’m pretty sure was a Merlin chasing seagulls and snow geese, apparently just for the hell of it.

    2. KB

      My guess is it’s a Besra hawk mostly in eastern Asia?…sure does look like our Cooper’s hawks I agree.
      I have many Cooper’s hawks, red tails, and bald eagles in my neighborhood in Minnesota so at first glance I thought so too.
      Anyone else venture to guess?

  23. Raymond Sim

    The ‘Adenovirus 41 Hepatitis’ fraud is truly despicable, something I would not have thought possible two years ago. Health officials in the UK are also peddling the idea that a rash of Scarlet Fever/Chickenpox double infections is ongoing right now as well.

    I don’t have sources to hand, but I’m quite confident that hepatitis has been documented as a sequel to Covid. My recollection is that this came after Delta – so perhaps it was Indian research the UK investigators couldn’t be bothered to read?

    Additionally, and I speak subject to correction, is hepatitis not a predominant feature of MIS-N? How does that fit into the “Lockdowns are enfeebling our children.” narrative?

    Ominously, Angela Rasmussen and Muge Cevik have been resurrected for this round of information war. Those two are the public health counterparts of the War Harpies in the national security establishment. This, and the fact that ridiculous lies are being peddled so very very hard, leads me to fear something terrible is upon us. Much more widespread MIS-C would seem the most likely scenario.

    1. Bukowski

      > I don’t have sources to hand, but I’m quite confident that hepatitis has been documented as a sequel to Covid

      “Quite confident”, eh? Good enough for me..

      Let’s see- has anything else changed in recent memory? Could the grossly undertested and still underscrutinized “vaccines” have possibly played a role in the recent, highly unusual outbreak of hepatitis in children?

      just a thought.

      1. Raymond Sim

        “Quite confident”, eh? Good enough for me..

        Actually if you knew me it would be good enough. Or you could Google ‘pediatric hepatitis sequel to covid india’:

        And you’d immediately see, from June 2020, i.e. before the vaccines, ‘COVID-19 and coronaviral hepatitis: evidence of collateral damage’:

        Which looks like a fine place to maybe start educating yourself. Sheesh it took me so much longer to type this than to find that.

        Now it’s your turn. How confident are you about your unevidenced insinuation of vaccine-related causation? Can you adduce a plausible mechanism for such causation that wouldn’t implicate infection a hundredfold more?

        To everyone else reading this: I chose the “I’m confident.” phrasing deliberately, sort of like switching on the porch light to see what sort of moths are around, and how many. The breaches of medical ethics involved in this coverup, combined with high-level Covid infowar operatives jumping in to talk an establishment line that consists of truly pitiful lies, has me very uneasy.

        1. Bukowski

          That’s quite smooth stuff, “Raymond Sim”. The so-called
          “vaccines”- grossly undertested, underscrutinized, carefully overlooked- are still the first, obvious, clearly-definable
          place to look.

          You’re ok with injecting this stuff into *children*, when it does not keep one from contracting ****, or transmitting it; and neither you, nor I, nor anyone else knows its long-term consequences to the human body? I’ll await the result of your long-term trials..

          You and your cohort are either 1) Morons, or 2) and much, much likelier: Sponsored Content.

          1. Yves Smith

            This is not on and you are no longer welcome here.

            Raymond Sim dealt with your far more courteously that you deserved, and since you have no factual response, you descend into sneering and abuse.

      2. Basil Pesto

        No, most if not all of the children afflicted by the recent juvenile hepatitis outbreak have been unvaccinated. Don’t be a lazy idiot.

        And Mr Sim is correct in his recollection: (SARS1) (SARS2 – in India)

        Of course, if you’re going to wallow around in the stinky Cure-Is-Worse-Than-The-Disease CovIdPol mud, then one can’t dismiss the role of Ivermectin in the Juvey hepatitis outbreak:

        of course, my knee-jerk reaction when reading that thread was “oh, bollocks” (partly because while possible
        liver damage of bad IVM dosages is well known, this outbreak surely would’ve been happening much sooner if it were the cause, during Peak Ivermectin in Q3 2021). just a thought, tho.

        1. Yves Smith

          Scientist GM, who has been following Covid like a hawk, says odds are 99% that the hepatitis is the result of Covid. Additional detail:

          It is highly unlikely it is anything other than COVID. A wave of hepatitis was seen after Delta in India, and serious liver damage was observed after SARS1 too.

          They are doing everything possible to hide that obvious causation because this is kids getting really seriously sick and it might cause alarm. The ones that die directly of COVID they have been able to hide because that happens slowly on some vent, but acute hepatitis and the need for transplants is more visible. At least for now.

          1. Basil Pesto

            Yep, that would not surprise me at all (and my bringing up Ivermectin was a touch of ironic cheekiness on my part – we have to get our kicks where we can these days – I didn’t take that hypothesis seriously)

      1. Big River Bandido

        What if even half of those people get sick?

        From your lips to God’s ears.

  24. Carolinian

    Re Intellectual No-fly Zone–Of course the problem is that online commentary is very dependent on Google and the complacent assumption that their growing power wouldn’t corrupt them in the way it tends to corrupt everyone. I include myself since I assumed that Google’s obsession with growing their business would keep them neutral.

    But now their dominance has reached a point where they don’t have to worry about competition any more, or at least not very much. And this goes for Facebook and Amazon and Apple as well. The only real threat these days is from the government which can pass laws to break them up or control their businesses. So indeed the real problem is our government which in its Dem guise now creates a new Ministry of Truth to suppress criticism and be assured with the ball rolling the Repubs will likely do the same when they return to power.

    St.Clair of Counterpunch wrote a piece a couple of weeks ago about how he had grown tired of Orwell even as Orwell’s once far fetched predictions are becoming ever more real. The one ray of light may be that the internet, and computers in general, are designed to offer alternate pathways to accomplish any particular task. This may be a difficulty for Big Brother that Orwell did not predict.

  25. Chris

    You can’t say Biden didn’t warn us on his inauguración day:. AMERICA. IS BACK. (be afraid, be very afraid) !!!

    1. britzklieg

      whoa… Chomsky has said many unexpected things during the past few years, many of them dismaying, but this is the most unexpected by far and whereas I too regard Trump as a bridge way too far, he did say what Chomsky comments on and I don’t hear any other “statesman” coming anywhere close. Curious times indeed and getting curiouser and curiouser.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        And yet if election 2024 is Trump versus Hillary, Chomsky will definitely tell everybody to vote for Hillary. That is my firm prediction if that is who is running and if Chomsky is still alert enough to be giving advice.

      2. Bukowski

        Trump’s just been part of the Theater, meant to identify and kettle the disaffected Many, and heighten polarization among the citizenry.
        If the tiny ruling class hadn’t wanted him there, he would not have been
        installed. I kind of like the guy, actually- great chutzpah..

        How are all those “investigations” of him going, anyway? Walls closing in soon? ;)

  26. Mikel

    “Tocqueville’s Uneasy Vision of American Democracy” The New Republic

    Not uneasy enough.
    Do any of the well-read NC crew have any 18th/19th Century writers’ observations that weren’t PMC 1.0?

    1. marym

      Frederick Douglass? I’m not well read on this at all, but he wrote a lot, gave many speeches, travelled, served in public office. The first link below is a discussion by Eric Foner of Douglass’s life/work, and a review of the biography by David Blight. The second link is the 5-volume collection, with an overview of what’s in each volume.

  27. Andrew Watts

    RE: Tocqueville’s Uneasy Vision of American Democracy

    Tocqueville didn’t find the political system in America to be democratic. He wrote that the origin of democratic life of society came from outside the political sphere. It’s why the lack of participation in social life and the decline of political legitimacy is intertwined, The devolution of society to our present state is a development that Tocqueville would find distressing. Especially considering how he stressed the importance of associations in deciding how a country is governed. Perhaps even working associations of people who sell their labor for a living.

    The author is cherry-picking their interpretation of Democracy in America for their own reasons, He definitely wasn’t using his observations as an argument for “building up their own aristocracies, and erecting ideological firewalls against popular sovereignty.” as the author would have us believe. If anything this is a recipe for the dissolution of the United States. By further isolating themselves into their own bubbles of self-affirmation America’s political class will be marginalized as a stabilizing force.

    The imposition of their narrow views through censorship, underwritten by their unacknowledged self-interest, will further rob the system of legitimacy. The result of this action will convince the masses that only the most radical course of action is desirable and only the extremists who are outside the system are trustworthy. It’s how Le Pen made it to the second round twice even while this outcome was completely unthinkable a decade ago.

    1. Carolinian

      Thanks. As with 1619 there’s a lot of crackpot revisionism designed to shoehorn the founders into current preoccupations. And I’m sure you are right that diminishing interpersonal contact is making people even less in touch with their fellow Americans. Also the decline of upward mobility means fewer nouveau riche to shake up the society bigwigs.

      1. Carolinian

        Just to add that having now read the article I think more of it than you do while claiming no expertise on Tocqueville. And to enlarge your above quote

        Tocqueville’s most telling observation, still true, is that so-called democracies are usually something else. They stabilize themselves by evading democracy, building up their own aristocracies, and erecting ideological firewalls against popular sovereignty. Whether that evasion of democracy is something to be cherished or to be overcome is another question.

        In other words it’s a description (and a pretty good one of current conditions) rather than advocacy.

        1. juno mas

          Yes, same as it ever was.

          The Founders were not interested in a popular democracy. They were concerned with ”representing” the people through “leaders” (landed Gentry) in a Congress that structurally tilted in their favor. The Senate is the most powerful, undemocratic, political body on the planet. (Where else can Wyoming (500K pop.) have equal vote with California (40M pop.))

          Over time a “two-party system” developed to “represent” the democratic choices of the population; despite its renowned diversity. These two Party’s have come to be controlled not by the landed Gentry but powerful, monied Corporations (who are considered people, too). So the democratic choice is choosing amongst “representatives” who really are not prepared to represent anything at all.

          Same as it ever was!

        2. Andrew Watts

          It doesn’t surprise me that Tocqueville is being used in that manner. The dominant minority of our time is looking to whatever justification it can to support their rule. While they conveniently ignore their own many failures that are being compounded over time.

          Despite that Democracy in America is a classic and a masterpiece. It has both the most lavish praise for America and it’s people and some of it’s harshest criticism. As such I find it to be a blueprint for national renewal or a dire forecast of it’s unfortunate demise.

      2. Andrew Watts

        I think Tocqueville, like Adams or Jefferson, hoped that a natural aristocracy of smart and talented people would arise. As opposed to a system of entrenched privilege as the author advocates. Nor do I think they’d favor the alternative rule of an economic class of the nouveau riche. Tocqueville wrote about American’s obsession with money with a certain amount of shock and contempt.

  28. caucus99percenter

    Nina Jankowicz … clearly a real-life version of that famous fictional credentialed expert and PMC careerist Dolores Umbridge.

    Behind the simulated smiles and forced mirth, implacable thirst for power…

    1. The Rev Kev

      I was always impressed by Imelda Staunton’s portrayal of Dolores Umbridge. There was always a hint of “brittleness” at the edge of raving insanity.

  29. Louis Fyne

    IMO the war in the Ukraine is hitting the home stretch….rationale?

    Social media of newly dug UA defensive trenches…..long and straight.

    Death traps for UA troops (likely new, hastily trained conscripts) from artillery. but no one with experience is there to tell the UA troops that they are breaking rule #1 of trenches

    1. Michael Ismoe

      $33 billion divided by 43 million Ukrainians = $800 each (Hey, Lambert, there’s the $600 Brandon owes you.)

      $33 billion divided by 21 million Ukrainians = $1600 each.

      I’m pretty sure that those straight-line trenches are there for a reason.

  30. Carolinian

    Re those USPS vehicles–another controversy is that they plan to make them–somewhat improbably–in my little town and are already setting up in an existing building. Wisconsin, home of Oshkosh, thought they should be built there using union labor.

    Of course our county does have a giant BMW plant and thus provides some excuse for building a vehicle here. And the local newspaper claims that the Wisconsin appeal has been turned back and it’s full steam ahead.

    However the choice of ultra Repub SC may be yet another reason all those Dem governors are suing.

    1. Louis Fyne

      pet peeve and classic government contracting…instead of either choice, someone should have licensed the hybrid powertrain from Toyota and created ” high-top” cargo version of the Sienna minivan.

      Cheap, simple, scalable, green. But simple = little profit.

      1. Bukowski

        Honda made a Civic model- Vx- that had a lower lifecycle impact
        than any of these so called ‘hybrids’- and that was close to thirty
        years ago. 51 mpg city, better on the hwy, drove like a little rocket.

  31. ChrisRUEcon


    Well … F***


  32. Jason Boxman

    And liberal Democrats continue to fail those they claim to serve:

    Ms. Howard, the dishwasher, said her frustrations getting and affording health care were adding up. Her ailments were not improving. After a recent primary care appointment, she wondered aloud how she would come up with the $10 for her visit. “I don’t want to just be seen or heard,” she said. “Without any money, it’s hard.”

    (bold mine)

    Loss of Pandemic Aid Stresses Hospitals That Treat the Uninsured

    Keep fighting, weary Democrats! That victory must be just around the corner, I’m sure of it!

  33. drumlin woodchuckles

    Trevor Noah’s joke at the White House Correspondents Dinner would have been even stronger if he had been wearing a mask his own self while he was giving the joke. Since he himself was maskless, it appears he took the threat to his own health and safety to be theoretical rather than real.

    If he had been wearing a mask his own self, he could have followed up on first question about “having learned nothing” with a further question addressed to the no-mask-freedom members of the audience: ” Seriously, are you bucking for a Herman Cain Award? Are those of you without children bucking for a Darwin Award?”

    Those two questions would have made the joke even stronger, if Noah had been wearing a mask while delivering them.

    1. Late Introvert

      Agreed. And will we ever find out how many servers and other wait staff were infected? Will future historians read this blog in the Library of Congress?

    2. Basil Pesto

      While there’s been a bit of sanctimony about Noah’s bit, it wasn’t too bad imo. It made Biden visibly uncomfortable and generated a bit of “wait, are we actually just idiots?”-type uncomfortable laughter. But yes, it would have been far more forceful, and more brave (and, in the current context, rather shocking for an America that is apparently content to think the pandemic is over), if Noah whipped out and donned an N95 during the bit and kept it on all night (I say this as someone who has been getting some pretty wild looks for the last few weeks for still wearing a proper mask indoors). Still, maybe he had a “no mask” clause in his contract for the gig?

  34. Rainlover

    In his post today, Alexander Mercouris provides an interesting comparison between the US pattern of decision-making and escalation during the Vietnam war and those same factors in the present Ukrainian war. He also continues his pleas for negotiation and peace-making as events seem to cycle ever closer to actual commitment of US troops in Ukraine. Perhaps we should be flooding our congress critters with phone calls and emails expressing our objections to this madness.

  35. drumlin woodchuckles

    About more hepatitis cases in young children, is anyone asking the question yet: what percent of those children got infected with covid first back in the recent past. Well? Is anyone asking it?

    1. Bukowski

      > what percent of those children got infected with covid first back in the recent past. Well? Is anyone asking it?

      And also: what percentage have been injected with the “vaccines”?
      This seems like an obvious follow-up question, and easy to check.

    2. judy2shoes

      what percent of those children got infected with covid first back in the recent past. Well? Is anyone asking it?

      Way down in the long tweet thread Basil Pesto is credited for in Links, the tweet author says that some of children with liver failure have either have had C-19 prior to liver failure or presented with C-19 concurrently with the liver failure. Here’s one tweet from the thread:

      “It is profoundly embarrassing that major scientific bodies in US and UK are using such weak circumstantial evidence to distract the public perception from the likely possibility that recent SARS-CoV-2 infection may be driving the increase in cases of acute liver failure.”

      Link to that part of the thread:

      Anthony J. Leonardi has been all over this as well. He thinks the causative agent of the liver failure is SARS-CoV-2, too. The entire thread is well worth a read because it lays out a good case for why adenovirus is not the likely culprit.

    3. Basil Pesto

      Yes, obviously quite a few people are asking it, it’s all the rage on Covid twitter at the moment. There is a hypothesis that Covid is, if not ‘the’, then a proximal cause. And there is strong pushback against this idea from, let’s say, the usual suspects. The biases of both camps are fairly obvious (covid is serious and bad vs. covid is good actually and we should live with it. The latter mostly traffic in ad homs against the former). It’s above my pay-grade one way or the other but I suspect Covid is playing some sort of decisive role in what is happening.

      1. Bukowski

        Have you any thoughts on whether the grossly undertested and underscrutinized covid “vaccines” could be a cause of this sudden,
        very unusual outbreak of hepatitis in children?

        It’d be super-easy to check- why not *have a look* at that hypothesis?

        1. Basil Pesto

          I have addressed this above. Most if not all of the afflicted children have been unvaccinated. This is very readily available information.

          1. Bukowski

            > I have address [sic] this above.

            Where? I didn’t see that part..

            > Most if not all of the afflicted children have been unvaccinated.


            1. Basil Pesto

              Reply to Raymond Sim above.

              > Really?

              Yes. Many of the children have been under 5, and therefore ineligible for vaccination

              1. Bukowski

                > Yes. Many of the children have been under 5, and therefore ineligible for vaccination

                How many; what percentage? You’re the expert, as we can all see..

                > I have addressed this above.

                Again- where?

                1. Basil Pesto

                  As I say, this is very readily available information. I ascertained it when weighing up the early (and inevitable) claims that vaccines were responsible for the outbreak of child hepatitis. I concluded that if the majority of the children afflicted thus far have been unvaccinated, then the vaccines cannot be held responsible absent some extraordinarily strong evidence to the contrary. Strictly in my layman opinion. Doing the homework on this for myself was quite enough, I’m not going to do yours for you too, especially when it’s so rudimentary. I’m sure if you Do Your Own Research then you too will find the answers that you seek.

                  This will be a tediously recurring pattern of the pandemic. As part of the divide and conquer
                  misery shitshow that is preventing us from
                  solving the problem, all the Bad Shit that SARS2 is about to cause over the next decade will, inevitably, be blamed on the vaccines. Readers can be sucked in to that game if they so choose.

                  1. Bukowski

                    Convenient and expected framing.

                    How can one discern what has been caused
                    by *****, and what by the “vaccines”?

                    I will remain in the control group, to better understand
                    the possible answers- especially
                    since the “vaccines” do not
                    keep one from from contracting
                    or transmitting *****, as we all finally now know.

                  2. Bukowski

                    One final question, BP: are you confident the the ***** “vaccines” are safe and effective, as claimed by
                    our CDC, and Big Pharma; including the injecting of them into children, and pregnant women, as now recommended by those authorities?

                    Thanks in advance for your response.

                    1. Basil Pesto

                      My answer to this question is irrelevant to the issue at hand, and you have not-very-deftly changed the subject. I will not play your ridiculous game. Adduce your evidence – literally any evidence at all – that vaccines are plausibly responsible for the recent juvenile hepatitis outbreak. Far be it from me to point out at this point that agnotology is against site rules.

      2. Bukowski

        > The biases of both camps are fairly obvious (covid is serious and bad vs. covid is good actually and we should live with it. The latter mostly traffic in ad homs against the former) <

        that's dishonest, binary argumentation- as you know

        1. Basil Pesto

          It’s not argumentation of any sort. I am merely summarising the arguments and pointing out the biases of those making the arguments at this point in time, which is relevant because there’s not a whole lot of definitive proof one way or the other yet.

          The circumstantial evidence is, in my opinion, in favour of Covid having some, and probably a significant role to play in this disease outbreak. This is reflected in my sincere, non-dishonest opinion which I gave in the very following sentence. I certainly stand to be corrected. It is certainly a much stronger hypothesis than “vaccines did it”, from all the evidence I’ve seen.

  36. QR

    “[T]he weekly emergency call counts were significantly associated with the rates of 1st and 2nd
    vaccine doses administered to this age group [16-39] but were not with COVID‑19 infection rates. While not establishing causal relationships, the findings raise concerns regarding vaccine‑induced undetected
    severe cardiovascular side‑effects and underscore the already established causal relationship between vaccines and myocarditis, a frequent cause of unexpected cardiac arrest in young individuals.”

    Does this seem to be a high-quality study, or do you see flaws in it? Especially wondering what the covid brain trust thinks. Thanks.

  37. The Rev Kev

    “The Spanish city where water defies gravity”

    I saw a doco on this place recently and it was amazing. Those Moor engineers were brilliant and had forgotten more about hydraulic engineering than was known in the rest of Europe at the time. I suppose that the ideal for those engineers was to produce a bit of the Moorish idea of Paradise here on earth – and they succeeded.

    1. britzklieg

      It’s a truly magical place and a tribute to mozarabe culture which thrived in southern Spain during a golden era of cooperation and benevolence between very disparate cultures. I first went in 1972 when I lived in Franco’s Spain as a 16 year old know-nothing. I learned a lot that year.

    1. LawnDart

      But Obama too is beholden to Gates, Schmidt, Penny Pritzker and other billionares, though I’d say it’s probably Gates and the Google guys who are most-likely behind the censorship/message-control push– Obama’s their front, and they’ve owned him since he was a senator– state senator in the Pritzker’s case.

  38. Bukowski

    My good friend Basil Pesto said: “I will not play your ridiculous game. Adduce your evidence – literally any evidence at all – that vaccines are plausibly responsible for the recent juvenile hepatitis outbreak.”

    The onus is on the vaccinators, who have introduced a grossly undertested
    new substance into the human body. *No one knows* its long-term consequences, and the possibility of the grossly undertested covid “vaccines” having a significant role in the recent unprececedented outbreak of juvenile hepatitis is not to dismissed.

    I remain firmly in the Control Group when it comes to the “vaccines”, and will continue to urge those I care about to do the same, since said novel substance does not prevent contracting or transmitting covid.

    1. Basil Pesto

      lol, we’re through the looking glass here folks.

      Many or most of the afflicted children are too young to have been vaccinated. Therefore they were not vaccinated. In spite of not being vaccinated, they still came down with serious juvenile hepatitis. The vaccines cannot plausibly have played a role. Because these children were not vaccinated. It is therefore not physically possible for the thing that they were not subjected to to have been the cause of the thing they are now suffering. You cannot say “Oh, X is sick? It must be because of the drug that everyone except X took.” Like. what the hell are you actually talking about?

      Even assuming that the burden of proof was on “the vaccinators” to prove that the vaccines haven’t somehow caused this outbreak of juvenile hepatitis, as opposed to the dangerous SARS virus which – along with its close cousin from 18 years ago – has a history of causing post-viral hepatitis in infectees, before vaccines were a factor, then that burden is easily satisfied, and the possibility quite readily dismissed, by……… simply pointing out that the afflicted children weren’t vaccinated, lol.

      Perhaps you have evidence to the contrary. You’ve been repeatedly asked for some, and have failed each and every time to produce anything except vague incoherent handwaves.

      World class stupidity or world class shitposting. Hard to tell.

    2. PlutoniumKum

      Jeez, what part of ‘most of the children suffering from the liver condition have not been vaccinated’ do you not understand?

  39. LawnDart

    4/29 Sergy Lavrov statement on shipment of arms to Ukraine:
    [2 1/2 mins]

    Reassuring statement in a way: “Weapons on Ukrainian soil are fair game.” He seems to emphasize that Russia will not intercept arms shipments to Ukraine, but once they cross into the territory they will not be allowed to fall into the hands of Z’s regime.

    This is great news for the MIC– $30B literally is going up in smoke, and that’s more equipment that’ll need yo be replaced. And not blowing shit up outside Ukraine means less immediate likelihood of WW3 so the good-times are gonna roll for a while.

    Note that Lavrov has a much more solid command of the English language than Trump or Biden. I’ve sat through his hour-long interviews and found him to be an impressive speaker.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I do wonder if there is a bit of double-crossing going on. So you may have a country that wants good relations with both sides but find themselves in a you-are-with-us-or-against-us situation. So they decide to send their clapped-out old Soviet armaments to the Ukraine with makes the US/EU happy. But through a private channel, lets Moscow know what is being delivered as well as where and when it will be going over the border. The Russians turn it to toast and all sides are happy with the outcome. The US may have its suspicions but if that country announces that it will be replacing that gear with new American gear, would they care?

      1. Polar Socialist

        I doubt a country holding on to 40 year old Soviet stuff can easily afford or is willing to cough up money for new American gear. Maybe some used German gear, if any is around anymore.

        Unless they’re made a deal they can’t refuse.

        1. LawnDart

          But wait– we can finance you!

          Don’t forget that USA is a nation of a few hundred million used-car salesmen.

          And I wouldn’t doubt Rev’s idea for a second– it sounds like a winner.

        2. OIFVet

          Your doubts are false. Bulgaria just prepaid for a second batch of F-16s, even though the first batch is two years late on delivery. Gotta keep the imperial center and Lockheed happy, though Swedish Gripens would have given the same capabilities at lower cost sooner. Rev Kev may well be describing Bulgaria, though I doubt that it is letting the Russians know about its weapons shipments for Ukraine, which are being done through intermediaries and shipped to Poland by Ukie An-124s, multiple flights daily. The Russians have large enough spy network in key places here to know what is being sent where and when. It’s not old inventory, it’s new production and lots and lots of ammo.

      2. The Rev Kev

        Lots of funny things are happening with these arms deliveries. For example, Germany is sending 100 old Marder infantry fighting vehicles to the Ukraine. But the ammo is manufactured in Switzerland and they are refusing to send any. And it seems that it takes nearly a year of training to be any good on those Marder vehicles. But if the Russians finish winning this war in the next several weeks, no EU country wants to be known as the one that sent nothing to the Ukraine. Doesn’t really matter if it falls into the hands of the Russian or Donbass’s forces as at least the effort was made. Yeah, international performative theater.

  40. LawnDart

    Mr. Market might have a happy– this is pretty big news and may just kick off the great rotation back into China after the rout that market has seen over the past year (at least until one of our pols shoots their mouth off):

    President Xi says China will deepen capital market reform, facilitate fair and orderly competition

    Xi made the remarks at a group study session of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee on Friday.

    He said that the country will promote the establishment of an open economy and expand opening-up to increase investment convenience in a bid to attract more international capital to come to China to invest, or set up business ventures in the country.

    A meeting held by the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee on Friday stated that it’s necessary to respond to market concerns in a timely manner, steadily advance reform to the registration-based IPO system, and attract long-term investors to ensure the smooth operation of the country’s capital market.

    It looks like they’re going to play by American regulator’s reporting rules and ease the beatings on their tech firms, which were issues that had sent American (dollar) investors running for cover.

    But who knows? Xi may have a secret pact with Putin, see? Like, they sucker American investors back into China, wait a bit, and then sieze their assets and split the difference between them. Russia gets its $300B back, and China gets to kick us in the nuts before cutting-off trade relations and invading Taiwan. Awesome, right?

  41. LawnDart

    OIF, everyone wants a piece of the action, and nobody wants to REALLY piss off the Russians.

    Military aid and arms for Ukraine

    War in Ukraine is a ‘gold rush’ for Western arms makers, experts say

  42. OIFVet

    Don’t underestimate the vanity and stupidity of the yapping lap dogs. The two Harvard grads that head the BG government are prime example. It’s not enough for them to send arms through intermediaries and therefore please the US and the EU, they want it to be known in order to claim local credit with a certain small segment of the population. That’s vain and stupid bear baiting.

    Same with the gas situation, in connection to that one of them basically dared Russia to attack Bulgaria. I have no doubt there will be consequences, they will be asymmetric and at the time of Russia’s choosing. Truly, these are vain morons who see the attention that Zelensky’s shtick is getting, and they want a peace of the underdog hero status.

    Don’t believe me? Yesterday the Harvard PM was having a hero moment, describing how the Russians sent three missiles in Kiev while he was visiting, in fact he said he said he was no more than 200 meters away and saw them explode, with the implication being that the Russians basically personality targeted him. He has made a habit of telling tall tales. In this case it is not only for vanity, he knows his shelf life in Bulgaria is limited and has his eyes set on plum sinecures in some institution or NGO. Thus the extra effort to look like a manly man by poking the bear. Gotta impress the bosses.

    1. LawnDart

      Petkov, is it? Did his bake sale for Ukrainians cause a stir?

      Well, at least there were missiles going off somewhere, in the region. It kinda reminds me of Hillary bravely facing sniper-fire– a ballsy lie of a similar sort. Maybe you guys can have a “go-fund-me” to send him back to Ukraine so the Russians can get another crack at him.

      I sometimes forget to factor narcissism and stupidity into my assessments of our collective Western misleadership– stupidity alone can definately throw some unexpected variables into the equation, and send that “rational actor” assumption all to hell.

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