Links 5/12/2022

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

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


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

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The Population of Vaquita Porpoises Has Dwindled to Ten, but a Rebound Isn’t Out of the Question Smithsonian (DL).


The Biggest Potential Water Disaster in the United States The New Yorker

“They Don’t Know What They’re Doing”: The Plan to Dump Radioactive Water From the Pilgrim Nuclear Plant Into Cape Cod Bay Counterpunch


Designing infectious disease resilience into school buildings through improvements to ventilation and air cleaning (PDF) The Lancet COVID-19 Commission


Modeling transmission of SARS-CoV-2 Omicron in China Nature. “We find that the level of immunity induced by the March 2022 vaccination campaign would be insufficient to prevent an Omicron wave that would result in exceeding critical care capacity with a projected intensive care unit peak demand of 15.6-times the existing capacity and causing approximately 1.55 million deaths. However, we also estimate that protecting vulnerable individuals by ensuring accessibility to vaccines and antiviral therapies, and maintaining implementation of non-pharmaceutical interventions could be sufficient to prevent overwhelming the healthcare system, suggesting that these factors should be points of emphasis in future mitigation policies.” Low vaccine uptake among the elderly is a key problem, but haven’t seen an explanation for this. Dominance of “traditional medicine,” a sacred cow, untouchable by the CCP? (There are a number of “tsunami” stories now; this article is the source.)

Coronavirus: Shanghai posts falling Covid-19 infections, symptomatic cases and death toll as city takes another tentative step towards recovery South China Morning Post

Shanghai re-tightens on COVID, frustrating trapped residents AP. “Escape from Shanghai is all but impossible, but that didn’t stop an unofficial how-to guide — detailing how to navigate lockdown controls and nab a seat on the few trains and planes leaving the city — from circulating widely on social media.” Because freedom?

China attacks ‘irresponsible’ WHO criticism of its zero-Covid policy FT. Tedros: “We don’t think [the zero-Covid strategy] is sustainable.” Not “sustainable” in what sense, and for whom? Are a million deaths in the United States, many post-Biden’s “Let ‘er rip” with more to surely come, “sustainable”?

* * *

Major China Developer Sunac Defaults as Debt Crisis Spreads Bloomberg


‘It’s certain that the military is losing ground’ (interview) Yee Mon, Myanmar Now. The rainy season has started, and the junta wasn’t able to destroy the NUG.

In Myanmar, a new ‘criminal’ State is rising. And China is paying to build it The Print

Morrison’s strategy a political masterstroke or moral failure Sydney Morning Herald


IDF Sniper’s Cold-Blooded Murder of Palestinian-American Al Jazeera Journalist Tikun Olam. Witness:


UK risks reputation if it breaches Northern Ireland protocol, warns May Guardian

Life After Loving a Met Police Spy Tribune

New Not-So-Cold War

Tucker Carlson on $40 billion to Ukraine:

Of Akron and Youngstown, represented by Tim Ryan (D): “Take a look at Akron sometime. It’s like a warzone itself. These are the cities that built America crumbling and desperate now from total neglect. But don’t you worry. Tim Ryan is totally committed to rebuildng Kiev.”

“Blue-and-yellow obsessions.” Patrick Lawrence, The Scrum

* * *

Economic War and the Commodity Shock Phenomenal World

Zelensky Calls for Lifting the Russian Blockade of Odesa Maritime Executive

China’s independents find hard to resist temptation of discounted Russian crude Hellenic Shipping News

* * *

Finland’s president and prime minister back Nato membership FT. From reader digi_owl:

So right now Finland’s prime minister and president released a joint statement in favor of Finland joining NATO. As in they favor it, but there is still no final statement from Finish parliament or anything like that.

Yet I see news outlet after outlet, and all over social media, with headlines claiming the application has already been submitted.

What The Flying F*ck Is Going On?!

It is as if the whole of western leadership has gotten collective dementia, and is hell bent on going down in glorious nuclear conflagration fighting those evil commie hordes like it is the 60s all over again.

Kherson’s military administrators to call for Russian annexation Guardian

* * *

The Ukraine-South Korea comparison – a world-systemic perspective Events in Ukraine (PD). Weird flex, comparing rebuilding Ukraine to South Korea. More wistful thinking:

US Envoy To Russia Visits Russian Foreign Ministry To Discuss Bilateral Issues: Report Republic World

Polls show Lula’s first rise this year in Brazil presidential race Reuters

Biden Administration

Biden hosts Southeast Asian leaders at the White House today. Here’s what to expect CNBC

Biden and Xi Struggle to Compete in Asia Foreign Policy

* * *

Republican lawmakers push bill to dismantle new DHS disinformation board NBC. Now do the DHS.

Senators introduce legislation to create Space National Guard The Hill

The Bezzle

Tether breaks $1 peg as pressure mounts on world’s biggest stablecoin FT. A restaurant called “Mom’s”:

Luna price collapses below $5 as UST slides further from dollar peg The Block

Coinbase warns its 98 million customers they may lose ALL their crypto if company goes bankrupt after shares plunged 27% this week Daily Mail. From the Coinbase user User Agreement (dk):

Hodlers are “general unsecured creditors” in the case of bankruptcy (i.e., at the end of the line).

Supply Chain

Black Sea agribulk exports fall 35% in April due to Ukraine war Seatrade Maritime News

Drought threatens hopes French wheat could ease Ukraine shortfall FT

Rice exports dry up due to forex restrictions, rising prices Frontier Myanmar. In 2021, Myanmar was the world’s sixth producer (less than a tenth of China, but I don’t think food shortages of any kind are good right now).

Biden: Double Crop Because ‘We Can’t Take Any Chances’ AgWeb

* * *

Toyota warns profit to skid 20% as raw materials costs pile up Reuters


Whistleblower warned FDA about formula plant months before baby deaths Politico. Commentary:

Electricity Shortage Warnings Grow Across U.S. WSJ


Assessing the Claims in the Alito Draft Opinion Overturning Roe NYT

Obama and Liberals Killed Abortion Rights Black Agenda Report

Health Care

Hospital overwhelmed with kids in crisis being dropped at ER doors Star-Tribune

US Overdose Deaths Soared 15% to Top 100,000 Last Year, CDC Says Bloomberg. AIDS is now 13,000 a year. Drugs, 100,000 a year. Covid, 1,000,000 over two years. I’m sensing a pattern, and I don’t like imagining what the next item in the progression might be.


A Respected Perkins Coie Lawyer Mixed National Security With Campaign Politics. Now He’s on Trial. National Law Journal. Sussman.

Imperial Collapse Watch

Too Fragile to Fight: Could the U.S. Military Withstand a War of Attrition? War on the Rocks

Class Warfare

The Smash-and-Grab Economy Mother Jones. From an issue devoted to private equity.

Column: Disney allegedly has cheated hundreds of writers out of pay for Star Wars and other properties Michael Hiltzik, LA Times

New York construction industry ‘flaggers’ allege rampant wage theft City and State

Antidote du jour (via):

Bonus antidote:

See yesterday’s Antidote du Jour and Links here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. griffen

    As one is prone to say, it is nearing that time to start the work hours. So, I will come back to finish viewing the above Carlson video linked today; I just passed the portion discussing Akron and Pelosi with her timely usage of the New Testament. The line of thought I am left with is summed up below.

    FFS. Who the hell will remember all this in November 2022.

  2. Alyosha

    I’ve worked on 3 coal plant decommissioning projects since 2018 and was tangentially involved with a fourth. One didn’t supply much to the grid. It was our municipally owned plant; replaced with a gas plant for which we’ve seen a 30% rate increase to pay for the new gas plant.

    In my city of 20K we lost probably 500 jobs because of the closures and the very lowest pay rate was $25/hr with the next lowest being $29/hr. The big plant paid 25% of the city’s property tax revenues. The replacement gas plant is not inside city limits.

    The nice thing about coal is you can just pile it up outside. In the decade I was closely associated with the big plant in town there was one coal supply crunch and that was because superior was frozen over hard later than usual. Had to use a coast guard ice breaker to escort a coal boat into the harbor. Now we’ll be at the mercy of natural gas prices while our state politicians try to shut down a controversial pipeline that supplies something like 90% of our natural gas.

    Being at the end of the earth already makes everything cost more. We don’t have an excess of good jobs. At least we’ve got plenty of water.

    1. flora

      Yep. When Enron was screwing CA and Grandma Millie, we in my area were mighty glad to still be using coal power plants. (Yes yes, Co2 bad. on the other hand, going broke bad and freezing bad.)

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        Who cares about the climate change emergency? If we have coal power plants, we can just turn up the air conditioning the next time one of those 120 degree heat domes arrives.

        1. flora

          We have competing “goods”, a balanced approach instead of climate absolutism might be worth considering. (Especially since China’s coal burning outpaces the Wests reductions.) Driving prices so high that people are in danger of cold related death in winter or heat related death in summer shouldn’t be ignored or dismissed as unimportant, imo. (adding: EU is in a world of hurt right now because they decommissioned both their coal and their nuclear power plants, and now RU is refusing for geopolitical reasons to send gas to EU. The EU has a very brittle power generating structure, as we’re finding out.)

          1. JTMcPhee

            There is no “we” in any of this. It’s all about “me and mine,” and “we” are sooo good at justifying and rationalizing why “we and ours (“ours” being very narrowly defined)” ought to be able to escape the results of millennia of “me” now coming home to roost.

            “I” sure don’t want Duke Power (emphasize “power” as in control of th legislature and regulatory apparatus) to be browning me out in the summer heat that’s coming or the occasional cold snaps on winter here. “I” can “afford” (at least for the moment) the electrical energy that feeds my little abode and its small drains, so why should “I” be penalized for the greedy behaviors and lack of future concern about “me and mine”) shown by all those “other people?”

            Really heavy lifting to get the kinds of people who in Southern Droghtland California have actually increased their water use by 19% in the face of a drought to even take baby steps toward lessening, let alone chopping consumption to levels needed to even stabilize the destruction.

            And I see articles now touting how the plastic trash mats in the ocean are actually providing wonderful habitats for various species, so it’s all good, right?

          2. Henry Moon Pie

            The time for a “balanced approach” was 30 years ago, or much better, from the beginning of the industrial age. What we have been doing is completely unbalanced, so badly so that we have reached a point where the world’s humans must collectively reduce carbon emissions by 7.6 % per year for the entire decade of the 20s. We met it in 2020 because of Covid, but have been failing ever since.

            What’s the big deal about reducing carbon now? The whole point is that when we break that 1.5 degree C point, we enter into unknown territory. During the Holocene, going back 60,000 years, we have never had the average temperature higher than that. Human’s have thrived and built their civilization during the most stable, temperate (from our evolutionary standpoint) and benign period in Earth’s climate history. We’re delicate creatures, not able to survive in harsh climates without very specialized skills that are built over the course of generations among cultures like the Inuit or the aboriginal people in the Amazon. Our protections from harsh conditions, including those coal and nuke plants, depend on technology and complex social structures that developed in a time when humans have been able to grow food in surplus, in large part because of this benign climate period.

            We’re now enjoying “balanced approaches” in all kinds of areas from Covid to the climate. And you’ve put your finger on it. The “balance” always seems heavily weighted on making money, or as you put it, not going broke. It’s not surprising that a society that thinks myopic focus on next quarter’s bottom line to be some kind of pragmatic virtue, is hurtling headlong to disaster.

            1. flora

              My “not going broke” idea is weighted toward individuals, the financially powerless individuals, toward the Grandma Millies, not toward the corporations and their bottom lines. Of course, how corps misappropriate this idea is legion. / ;)

              1. Henry Moon Pie

                The problem with carbon emissions is not with Grandma Millie but with the world’s richest 10%–your WEF and their top servants–who are responsible for 50% of humanity’s carbon emissions because of their outrageous consumption patterns.

                How the burdens of degrowth are allocated–and degrowth is the only hope of addressing this crisis at this point–is a political matter. You can just let the Invisible Hand handle it after you’ve jacked up energy costs with taxes. That’s what Macron tried in France, and of course, working people and the poor will suffer and many will likely die. The impact works similarly to “let ‘er rip” with Covid. The burden falls on the weakest.

                But that’s not the only option. One example would be to ban private jets and reduce air travel by 90%. We once had a federal government that divvied out air routes. That’s not so impossible. Ban vehicles over a certain weight unless an essential use was shown. Ration. Don’t permit new construction without a showing of necessity.

                There are many ways to approach what would be a very difficult political and social effort, and preserving some kind of equity is a choice.

                What is not an option is to talk about a “balanced approach” and including coal power plants. Holding onto this “middle class lifestyle” that’s been programmed into us is suicide.

                1. Fiery Hunt

                  Enough with the clear-eyed, real insightful comments, Henry Moon Pie.

                  We need real bullshit, handwaving nonsense these days!

        2. Alyosha

          I certainly care about climate change and am well acquainted with coal producing 50% more CO2 per MwH compared to natural gas. Though it’s much harder to find good data that includes CO2 and methane emissions for the entire fuel cycle.

          I don’t think anyone (except the coal mining industry) would suggest we rely on coal for electricity generation. But we do need to consider second order effects including how we get the natural gas used to fire the replacement generation facilities. And we must consider things like base load for the grid, etc. etc. etc.

          I do a lot of work for power generation companies. They don’t decommission the coal plants over environmental concerns or potential EPA regulations. They do so because it is much more profitable to build and operate natural gas generation plants. Instead of 500 people you need 50. All the fuel handling/preparation and emissions control equipment is deleted in a gas plant. Comparing efficiency numbers isn’t very accurate either because almost all of the US coal plants are at or beyond their designed operational lifespan. Modern designs might be capable of efficiency gains. This could be especially true if we capture the externalities of US natural gas production.

          Of course we need to build out renewable infrastructure to the full extent we are able. That’s probably most effective in a decentralized manner that reduces baseline grid loading in order to enable grid level renewable generation. There’s simply no simple or easy answer, nor do we even go after the low hanging fruit of say, reducing the DoD budget to reduce the CO2 production of the military or rebuilding rail transport to reduce the number of OTR trucks hauling over-packaged, disposable plastic crap shipped from China.

          1. JAC

            “There’s simply no simple or easy answer”

            People keep saying there is no easy answer and then do not follow up with actually implementing the hard answers.

            At Extinction Rebellion we are implementing the hard actions.

            1. hunkerdown

              PMC passion posturing is neither hard nor active. It’s a trite formula meant to protect upper-middle-class entitlements against the lives of the working class, and the carefully graded strident determination is nothing more than a performance of economic class.

              Normalize throwing food at people who have ambition without engineering experience.

            2. Alyosha

              Agreed. We don’t even follow up with actually implementing the relatively easy answers that would help make the hard answers a little less hard.

              Like electrifying the rural south via the TVA, the answers will require significant federal government effort. Not tax credits to potential solar panel manufacturers and the like. They’ll require forcing for-profit generating companies to make decisions within a framework of addressing climate and emissions. They’ll require directing and funding ATC (the company that operates most of the large transmission lines) to upgrade the long distance grid. They’ll require overruling NIMBY arguments against development of renewable energy and improved transmission.

              So people like you and I can discuss these issues but we’re not going to get anywhere until people like representatives, senators and presidents start acting on implementing any answers, easy or hard.

    2. Oh

      Whether it’s coal or gas most people will be at the mercy of the crooked coal, oil and gas companies that will grab your wallet. In addition, when you burn fossil fuels you will celebrate today buy will cry tomorrow due to the consequences.

      Is’nt it all about “me”? People also want more, and now! This is the USG (United State of Greed)

  3. Toshiro_Mifune

    Re: Tucker Carlson… He mentions this in the video above and its been cited before, largely as justification for more funding for the Ukraine; “They’re going through a week’s worth of anti-tank missiles in a day”.
    Now, excluding this being hyperbole to bump up the funding costs, what are they doing with the weapons we’ve been sending? Assuming the above is correct I know I certainly haven’t seen evidence of hundreds of destroyed T-90s/etc. Certainly there are pictures and videos of BMPs/BRDMs/T-Whatevers being destroyed, but… on a large scale? You would think if they managed to knock out 20-30 tanks in a weeks time it would be all over the press as evidence “Russia is losing”. So far though, none of that.
    So what are they doing with the weapons we’ve been sending?
    Are they just stockpiling them for some future offensive?
    Are they selling them on? ….. That would certainly be frightening

    1. The Rev Kev

      It’s 2022 so Americans in search of what is really going on in their country and in the world go to – Tucker Carlson. I bet that that was not on many people’s bingo cards just a few years ago. :)

      1. petal

        Definitely wasn’t on mine, Rev. I think I started watching him about a year ago? His videos come up on YT. Don’t agree with him on everything, but I appreciate he has Greenwald on, and sometimes TC hits it out of the park. At least someone is asking questions.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Just wait until 2024 when Tucker Carlson has been booted from the air by the DemRats forcing Americans to find truth and understanding of the general situation from – Alex Jones!

          1. Jacob Hatch

            Let’s play “Clue”: It was the CIA, drugged in a hotel room, with a dead woman in the same bed.

            “Character assassination. What a wonderful idea. Ordinary assassination only works once, but this one works every day.”

            ― Terry Pratchett, The Truth

            1. The Rev Kev

              As Governor Edwin Edwards of Louisiana put it in 1983, ‘a dead girl or a live boy.’

              I do wonder if there is not an active program of finding Kompromat on new figures in the media. Gonzales Lira said recently that when he was starting to make a name for himself talking economics, that one ‘fan’ that contacted him said that she was 13 years-old. As this was some obtuse form of economics that she was interested in, he found that hard to believe her so never followed her up. But if he had been the type, then the State would be able to nail him at anytime. So I do wonder how often this happens.

              1. John Zelnicker

                Thanks, Rev, for bringing up that old quote, but it was Huey Long, governor and senator from Louisiana, who said it first.

                1. ambrit

                  And look at how he ended up.
                  I worked once on a layup farm in St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana.
                  Across the (gravel) street was a twenty acre place with an old house right in the middle. The place was surrounded by thick brush and barbed wire fences. The gate was of survivalist bunker strength. The man who lived there was a recluse. He never left the place. To tresspass there was worth your life, literally. The old man living there was one of Huey Long’s bodyguards on the day Long was shot. He was there at the time. He refused any and all ‘requests’ for interviews and, I was told by someone who should know, that he had defied a State subpoena and gotten away with it.
                  That quote would better describe Huey Long’s little brother, later State Governor, Earl Long.

              2. Mildred Montana

                Here’s how Eliot Spitzer got taken out (quotes from The Guardian):

                “…the Bronx-born Spitzer won himself a national reputation as the “Sheriff of Wall Street”. He was New York’s tough-talking attorney-general, who fought banking corruption [strike one], enforced environment law [strike two] and won rights for low-paid workers.[strike three].”

                Three strikes and you’re out, although in his case strike one would have been enough.

                “…he left office in disgrace three years ago [2008] amid a flood of tabloid headlines that recounted salacious details from his repeated use of a high-end escort service.”

                While Spitzer was allegedly paying up to $80,000 for prostitutes over a period of a few years, bankers were stealing billions.

                The moral of his fall from grace? Make bank, not love.

                1. Pat

                  Just a side note, I was acquainted with someone who worked in the AG’s office under Spitzer and under Cuomo. They were partially responsible for my recognition of how corrupt Cuomo was and is.
                  Upon entering the office Cuomo rapidly shut down all investigations into banking and investment crimes, this included at least a couple of years long cases that were close to being filed. To make this clearer, as was pointed out to me by my acquaintance, Spitzer’s team was extraordinarily thorough and their success rate was very high. The lawyers were sure they had the goods for those cases. Within a year, those lawyers were either let go or resigned. He not only stopped the investigations, he crippled future investigations by making sure the AG office did not have the personnel necessary to fight these cases.

                  IOW they didn’t just take out Spitzer. And looking at how lightly Cuomo got off makes it even clearer how fixed the system is.

          2. ambrit

            Alex Jones, broadcasting to the world, along with Snowden and Rogan, from their hidden mountain fortress. Routed to the Internet through a constantly rotating stable of Second and Third World servers.

            1. Wukchumni

              I’ll admit to spending far too much time watching Alex Jones, but in my defense I was trying to catch him spontaneously combusting on air, as he was wound up tight a 2-bit wristwatch.

              1. Alyosha

                Thanks to Jones I have an amazing collection of ducks. I never knew that they were free at the park and can’t believe the elites kept this from me. A three duck egg omelette a day keeps the lizard people away.

      2. Otis B Driftwood

        When MTG starts making more sense than Barbara Lee, we’re lost as a country. Totally lost.

      3. russell1200

        Tucker is a POS. But the establishment (in this case united Repub+Dem) are serving up absolute softballs. That he would scream bloody murder if the Dems actually tried to spend that money on US citizens is beside the point: low hanging fruit is low hanging fruit.

        Interesting at the start that he talks about learning your parents don’t care about you. According to the recent NYT hit piece, this is what he has spoken about happened with his mother growing up.

        1. K.k

          I thought it was comical when he mentioned the homeless among other groups of Americans being denied support as the money is spent to support Ukraine. It was just a few months ago or last year when he did a dehumanizing segment on the homeless in California. According to him the dems were responsible as they were supporting them with services and such and essentially tearing asunder the fabric of society by encouraging homelessness. Insinuating the solution was to remove them from the streets using law enforcement and the drug war as they are all just addicts anyway.

          1. Oh

            I don’t believe his fake rightousness. He’s a scumbag who wants to increase his ratings and he’ll say anything to get that. Plus maybe he was a neglected child.

            1. LawnDart

              Don’t really give a damn about who he is as long as he’s asking the right questions and letting them be known.

    2. doug

      ‘So what are they doing with the weapons we’ve been sending?’
      If the past is any indication, the weapons are stolen and resold by (thugs, warlords, entrepreneurs) and will be around for years to come doing harm.

      1. Polar Socialist

        To be frank, some of the weapons are sold to the troops, too. Some even to the combat troops. So at least until the end of the conflict they will be off from the streets.

      2. Gawr Gura

        I’m just wondering how long until some Kievan synagogue is blasted to bits by a bunch of javelin toting totenkopfs.

      3. Oh

        It’s total recycle and it comes back to the warehouse of the arms manufacturers who sell them to the USG again. Chaching! Chaching!

    3. Yves Smith

      Russia is blowing up equipment before it even gets to the front. It’s hit numerous ammo and equipment dumps with very impressive secondary explosions. Russia took out nearly all Ukraine fixed wing aircraft early on, for instance. They are down to not many helicopters and sacrificed some recklessly trying to get men out of the Azovstal factory and more recently, in the disastrous attack on Snake Island.

      Remember Ukraine is basically a mafia state, so a lot are going straight to the black market.

      The Russian MoD courteously every day lists their equipment kills in battle. But I think those updates are only in Russian. I can’t access to see if there are any docs. Alexander Mercourius listens to them pretty much every day. He thinks that they are pretty accurate, that the Russian side lies by omission (not taking about their own losses save of men which he thinks are accurate; you can’t undercount by much and not get caught out).

      1. Jacob Hatch

        This is a slight rewording of what I’ve written before but Russia has every incentive now to make this war go as slowly as possible. It reduces their own deaths, and every week the USA throws even more free equipment into their grasp so that when it becomes payback time, a load of insurgencies in Syria, Iraq, Africa, South America, and Asia will be armed with US weapons to kill occupying forces from USA, and the blame can be put onto Ukrainian mafia. If this keeps up, Russia and the DNR/LNR will be bumped up in military spending ranks(thanks to USA funding).

        Next, Americans get to see their government in fully skirt up/pants down mode to the MIC-IMATTS. This will undermine American moral the longer it goes on, and of course domestic spending must be cut to restrain the money supply(snark) so the domestic infrastructure will collapse even faster the longer it drags on.

          1. Jacob Hatch

            The Battle of the Red Cliffs – arrows shortage solved by enemy donation.
            Napoleon’s March on Moscow – French Artillery, Worlds Best, gifted to Russia during retreat, and used to effect to remove Napoleon.

          2. Acacia

            Dien Bien Phu. 1954. French surrounded by Viet Minh guerrillas, who are equipped with several dozen U.S.-made 105 mm howitzers provided by China, that had been picked up during the Korean war.

            Surrounded and under heavy shelling, the French ask the U.S. for help. U.S. Army G3 Section offers to give the French two nuclear bombs to wipe out the Viet Minh. The French refuse the offer, and Dien Bien Phu falls.

            1. ambrit

              I have read that Dulles offered the “force de frappe” to the French Foreign Minister in a private conversation. The French were wiser than anticipated and turned the offer down. France didn’t test their own first nuke until 1960.

      2. Vandemonian

        Yves, have you tried the Russian MOD Telegram channel – @mod_russia_en ?

        Maybe using Opera’s inbuilt VPN?

        Here is todays Sitrep:

        ⚡️Briefing by Russian Defence Ministry

        ▫️The Armed Forces of the Russian Federation continue the special military operation in Ukraine.

        💥High-precision air-based missiles of the Russian Aerospace Forces have hit 4 command posts, 38 areas of manpower and military equipment concentration, 4 ammunition depots near Soledar in the Donetsk People’s Republic, and 1 US-made counter-battery radar station near Kharkov.
        The attacks have resulted in the elimination of more than 170 nationalists and up to 41 armoured and motor vehicles.

        ✈️💥Operational-tactical and army aviation have hit 45 areas of manpower and military equipment concentration as well as 1 fuel depot for Ukrainian military equipment near Vrubovka, Lugansk People’s Republic.

        💥Artillery units have hit 14 command posts, 7 artillery units at firing positions and 358 areas of Ukrainian manpower and military equipment concentration.

        ▫️In addition, 1 S-300 anti-aircraft missile launcher has been also destroyed near Dolina, Kharkov Region.

        💥During the day, air defence means have shot down 5 Ukrainian unmanned aerial vehicles near Glubokoe, Liptsy in Kharkov Region, Aleksandrovka and Donetsk, as well as 10 rockets from Smerch MLRS near Polevoe in the Donetsk People’s Republic.

        ▫️In addition, 1 unmanned aerial vehicle has been shot down in the air over Snake Island and 3 Ukrainian Tochka-U ballistic missiles have been intercepted.

        📊In total, 164 Ukrainian aircraft and 125 helicopters, 827 unmanned aerial vehicles, 304 anti-aircraft missile systems, 3,022 tanks and other armored combat vehicles, 366 multiple launch rocket systems, 1,479 field artillery and mortars, as well as 2,832 units of special military vehicles were destroyed during the operation.

        1. Yves Smith

          I don’t do Telegram because it now requires users to provide far too much identifying information. My impression is it was more permissive with earlier users. And I don’t do VPN. It has a time cost (getting search results in foreign languages and then having to switch it off it you want to search) and I do so many searches every day (hundreds) that t I can’t afford the hit to my productivity. I know thqt may sound inconsistent with my privacy concerns, but I am am extremely slow and inaccurate typist, so I can’t take any additional impediments. And the content of posts and Links already makes clear that I regularly survey sites the officialdom does not like.

          1. Bugs

            If you point the VPN at a server in India, the language problem is solved and lots of other sites formerly excluded from search suddenly start showing up. I’d suggest a commenter send a mail with a list of good VPNs. They are useful for watching TV too.

          2. playon

            I have a VPN but I don’t join Telegram for the same reasons as Yves, particularly because they ask you to put an app on your phone — no thank you.

    4. hunkerdown

      There are anecdotal reports that (some of) the materiel being sent is years past its pull date and not dependable for use in combat. Stingers popping 50m in the air after launch, if they power up and launch at all, etc. It’s reasonable to think of it as a clearance sale with big Samuel Colt energy, or is it Colt 45 Mr. Freedom energy?

      1. Darthbobber

        I saw images of a couple of Bofors guns they got from somebody. State of the art antiaircraft in the late 1930s.

      2. Darthbobber

        Well, at least one of our M777a2 howitzers made it as far as the Donbass. because it’s already being showed off as a captured trophy.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Found an interesting comment on this piece-

          ‘On paper, the M777A2 looks impressive, and the Ukrainian army is supposedly getting 100 of them (90 from the US, 6 from Australia and 4 from Canada) with about 40,000 of the standard high-explosive fragmentary 155mm munitions, but not the (very expensive?) laser-guided M712 “Copperhead” and GPS-guided M982 “Excalibur” rounds. The gun is very light for a towed howitzer, weighing in at 4,200 kg (9,300 lbs) as opposed to its predecessor, the M198 towed howitzer, which weighed 7,154 kg (15,772 lbs). Therefore, it’s ideally suited for airportable movement as well as road transportation. Also, the guns can engage targets 29 km (18 miles) away. However, there is a downside to operating these things. Firstly, each howitzer requires a properly trained crew of 8 to 10 artillerymen. And, at 100 guns, the Ukrainian army needs a comprehensive programme to train between 800 and 1,000 men, plus replacements if any of them become casualties. The other disadvantage is that the gun can only fire a limited number of shells before maintenance is required for the tubes. That means you need trained maintenance technicians, field and base repair facilities, and lots of spare parts as well. Another matter to consider is how long will 40,000 rounds last under extreme battlefield conditions? Standard rate of fire for the M777 is 2 rounds per minute, with a experienced crew managing 5 rounds per minute. If we split the difference at 3 rounds per minute, one gun can expend 45 rounds during a 15 minute fire mission. At 6 x guns per battery, that’s 270 rounds. And let’s say three fire missions per day, then that’s a whopping 810 rounds per day for just 6 guns.’

          And just for a kicker, another guy commented that the US does not manufacture them but they are made in the UK. Surprised, I checked and that guy is right-

          ‘The M777 is manufactured by BAE Systems’ Global Combat Systems division. Prime contract management is based in Barrow-in-Furness in the United Kingdom as well as manufacture and assembly of the titanium structures and associated recoil components. Final integration and testing of the weapon is undertaken at BAE’s facility in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.’

          1. ambrit

            Oh boy! Camp Shelby trains people to use the M-109 self propelled howitzer. I didn’t know that they also had a munitions factory as well. Stennis, down in Hancock County also has military training facilities, along with the NASA engine test stands. The Navy Seals train in riverine warfare on the Pearl River near there. The old Panama Canal Zone jungle warfare training base was moved up to Stennis after we gave the canal back to Panama.
            The South is a gunned up place. No lie.

    5. Oisin

      Russia seems to be advancing slowly in the Dombass/popansa and back-peddling in Kharkiv. I assume this is a result of taking a long strip that isn’t easy to hold and advance at the same time. I would assume that some of the weapons being used near Kharkiv are superior to what they were using. A lot of the stuff sent may never get to the front line, either being destroyed or held to use at a later date. Who is to say that many of the Ukrainians have the necessary expertise to use the weapons.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Back-peddling in Kharkiv? Last night on the news that were announcing this as a great Ukrainian victory and one which will see the tide turn as the Ukrainians take back their country until they evict the Russians from their land. I was so-gob smacked at all this oo-rah that I forgot to study the face of the news reader.

      2. Darthbobber

        It looks like around Kharkov/Kharkiv/Kharfluff there was a Russian salient and some other areas that it made little sense to hang onto unless you were going to assault the city. Like the earlier Ukrainian “counterattacks” around Kiev, which involved moving into towns after the Russians had voluntarily abandoned them, the bulk of this seems to be feel-good advances into areas being vacated by a Russian line-straightening reorganization. If they reach a point where they’re successfully offering a threat to Russian supply lines, that will be meaningful. This isn’t, terribly.

        And if the Russians DO have future designs on K-ville, having as many of the Ukrainian forces there as possible moving further out to the front would not be a bad thing from the Russian perspective.

        1. Polar Socialist

          According to the Russian Telegram aggregates, the Russian front north and east of Kharkov is basically held by Rosgvardiya (borderguards), LNR militia reservists and Russian special forces.

          Especially the LNR reservists are somewhat inexperienced and quite lightly armed, so if the Ukrainians push, they are told to retreat rather than stand and fight. It seems that the special forces then do some night harassment to drive the Ukrainians back. Especially to east and southeast of Kharkov there are forests where the Ukrainian Territorial Battalions are no match for the special forces.

          North of Kharkov the Ukrainians are firing rockets and artillery to Russia proper, apparently trying to force Russians to move forces back there from the Donbass area.

    6. flora

      What if (adjusts foil bonnet), what if (and we know Ukr is an expert money laundering place), what if the $40 billion is largely a bailout of EU banks? A bailout by other means? (foil bonnet off) / ;)

      1. Robert Hahl

        If the war were to end now people would start talking about the bio-weapons labs found operating in Ukraine, especially who was funding them. For this reason I expect the western war effort to continue for many years, even if they have to start sacrificing other European countries to do it.

      2. Stephen T Johnson

        Well, if sufficient cash were flowing to Ukraine, that might be true, but I suspect most of the money is going to US weapons vendors, US NGOs, and a cut for the oligarchs. If 1% were to flow to EU institutions, that would be about it (at a guess) – my two cents worth

    7. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Are they selling them on?

      We have no hard evidence, but Ukraine does have form. I hate to quote Cato, but needs must:

      According to the 2021 Global Organized Crime Index, Ukraine has one of the largest illegally trafficked arms markets in Europe, especially when it comes to small arms and ammunition. About 300,000 small arms and light weapons were reported lost or stolen between 2013 and 2015. Of these, only slightly more than 13% are recovered, while the vast amount remains in circulation in the black market. This says nothing of major weapons, such as radar systems and Javelin missiles also sent to the country.

    8. Safety First

      There are multiple factors here, each worthy of examination.

      Factor 1 – the number of shots necessary to “kill” a modern tank, Russian or otherwise. One remembers an interview with an LDNR volunteer back in 2014 where he stated that it took his unit on average 7 RPG shots to kill a Ukrainian tank, because some would miss, some would have no effect, and so on. I am not suggesting it takes 7 Javelins, but if the US had been assuming one shot = one kill, whereas the reality is, say, 3 shots, this is a factor.

      Factor 2 – ATGMs and RPGs are used against all kinds of targets, including light vehicles (even civvie ones), IFV’s and APCs, bunkers and emplacements, snipers, or even infantry concentrations. It is, in a way, a universal infantry weapon, like giving every unit its own howitzer. Especially if your own artillery and armoured support are spotty, as they seem to be for many Ukrainian units, when push comes to shove you are going to use whatever you have on hand as ersatz artillery.

      Factor 3 – wastage. At least some Ukrainian troops have complained on social media that a number of Western weapons that they have received are past their due date – things like drained batteries, deteriorated fuel, and so on. If even one or two out of every 10 Javelins is defective, then this is going to contribute to the depletion of overall stocks.

      Factor 4 – operational losses. LDNR units are regularly posting on social media captured Ukrainian weapons stockpiles, often including Javelins, Milans, LAWs, the Swedish anti-tank weapon (forget the name), and so on. One especially tends to abandon one’s heavy weapons when retreating under heavy artillery fire. And it probably does not help that, at least on occasion, the Russians rather unsportingly are blowing up weapons shipments while still in transit.

      Factor 5 – corruption. Even Western media has been making noises in the direction of – we have no visibility of where the weapons we are shipping to Ukraine are going. Are some being resold to, say, some cash-paying-no-questions-asked customer in Africa or wherever else? It would certainly not surprise me. Probably a bit more difficult to pull off with a tank, but with a crate-full of ATGMs? Absolutely.


      More broadly speaking, what I suspect happened – the Pentagon had been using a certain usage model for these kinds of weapons for a long time, but the model was never operationally tested. This, the Ukraine conflict, is giving you some real-world data that shows whatever assumptions had gone into the model were flawed. Whether this means the Pentagon adjusts its usage models for different weapon types in the future, of course, remains to be seen. Plus, as I said, corruption, on a much grander scale than if you’d been giving these weapons to, say, Sweden.

      1. playon

        There were unverified reports of Israeli arms dealers buying up some of the weapons sent by the US.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Well it’s not like Al Qaeda arms dealers can turn up in person to buy those arms. They still need a go between.

    9. Alyosha

      Almost certainly selling them on the black market. But we’ve also done a lot of work in arming the DPR and LNR military. Piles of those small(ish) arms are captured every day. Whether they’re worth much on the battlefield is a different question.

      1. Polar Socialist

        I did see a video of DNR militia training in the use of NLAW, which they claimed were much more usable than Javelin.

        They also claimed elsewhere that the several helicopters shot down in Mariupol were destroyed with captured Stingers.

        Both could be clever propaganda, so go figure.

    10. CaliDan

      Per the usual indy analysts, the weapons headed to Ukraine are often junk (i.e., tanks with outdated armor, weapons that require ammunition that’s no longer manufactured, etc.), they require too much training to be useful anytime soon, or the transportation lines are cut off or limited. That’s not to forget the frontline cauldron, wherein Ukraine fighting forces in the Donbass are increasingly surrounded and cut off from resupply, Azovstal being an example on a small scale.

      I’m certainly no expert (an expert cynic maybe) but I feel that this is more about the West offloading obsolete/unsalable inventory and scoring PR points at the same time. Where will the arms end up, you ask…?

    11. Samuel Conner

      There are anecdotal reports on R-friendly sites of complaints by captured U soldiers that many of the anti-tank weapons coming in from the West are older inventory and are malfunctioning before or after launch.

      There are also reports that it can take multiple strikes by Javelins to knock out a single R tank. Perhaps the reactive armor has improved since the time the Javelin warhead was designed.

      If both of these are true, it might take a week’s worth of launches to get a day’s worth of effective strikes. That could be part of the problem (not to discount the possibility of diversion into other uses).

    12. jrkrideau

      Now, excluding this being hyperbole to bump up the funding costs, what are they doing with the weapons we’ve been sending?

      I believe most are being blown up by Russian missiles soon after they cross the border into Ukraine.

      The rest are probably being flogged on the black marked. I have seen one unconfirmed report that the French Gendarmerie have found a few Javelins.

  4. allan

    Southwest Airlines More Influential in Early 737 MAX Training Than Previously Known, Legal Filing Suggests [WSJ]

    … During the development of 737 MAX training, the carrier agreed with Boeing to remove from pilot manuals references to a version of the automated flight-control system that in its later form was blamed by accident investigators for two fatal nosedives of the jet, according to the filing, made in a federal lawsuit in Texas. …

    In April 2016, according to the filing, Southwest and Boeing representatives discussed a plan to install the alert on a single current 737, and then deactivate it once the new MAX model entered service, according to the filing. The plaintiffs’ filing characterized the plan as an effort to “outflank the FAA’s” training officials by misleading them into believing the alert wasn’t a new feature.

    Former Boeing engineers said in interviews they recalled hearing of the plan. “I didn’t believe they would get away with it,” former Boeing engineer Rick Ludtke said. …

    Like Uber Coinbase. But for air safety.

    1. sd


      I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating, there is nothing more sacred to me than the safety of our Employees and Customers. The changes made and the measures taken, by literally thousands of experts around the globe, have convinced me that the MAX is ready for us to safely fly once again with our proud and beautiful Southwest livery and our Pilots’ collective stamp of approval.
      How often do you think the CEO flies on a 737 Max? Guessing he flies private jet.

  5. Dr. John Carpenter

    More Disney vs. Republicans incoming:

    For me, this is a great example of doing the right thing for the wrong reason (notice how he calls Disney a “woke” company). The copyright laws they’ve lobbied for are a huge mistake, imho. If they were able to roll those back, that would be a gigantic thing.

    But…I agree with the idea that this is a Republican PR stunt. They’ve wrapped it in culture war and it’s Hawley bringing this up. That’s a hot button pushing a hot button. And the idea that “ the age of Republican handouts to Big Business is over” is laughable.

    Still, for whatever reason, it’s interesting to me that anyone is even suggesting rolling the copyright laws back. I have no delusion that this will go anywhere but, if nothing else, it’s going to be funny watching the Dems stand up for Disney’s obscene copyright laws because if the Republicans are against it, they have to be for it. (It should go without saying the Dems should also be against the copyright laws.)

    1. Big River Bandido

      Hawley’s bill itself will go nowhere. But Disney copyrights will begin to expire in 2024 regardless, as long as Con-gress does nothing. Disney can’t buy another copyright grab from Con-gress without Republican support. I hope Disney has shot themselves in the foot over this, and as a gay man I find the irony delightful that it’s from trying to dance to the tunes of the trans lobby. They deserve each other.

      1. Anon

        “… as a gay man I find the irony delightful that it’s from trying to dance to the tunes of the trans lobby. They deserve each other.”

        If I misunderstand your words, forgive me, but: Anybody on the left, should cringe at this.

        After all, at least a decade of political capacity was absorbed by the gay rights movement. As I told a friend of the previously gay, and now trans(?) persuasion: it’s great that you can get married to the person you love, but if you can’t find a living wage, what good is it… when the country is falling apart around you, how is your relationship status the (national) priority? They basically eliminated Habeas Corpus and everybody was cheering “Adam and Steve! Adam and Steve!”.

    2. Carolinian

      Since when have Dems, Hollywood’s favorite political party, been against excessive copyright laws? Good Dem Ben Affleck even gives lectures about how it’s the “little people” who are hurt by all those pirates.

      Louis B. Mayer once said the great thing about the movie industry was that you can sell something while still owning it. Later Silicon Valley and especially Microsoft picked up on this with the resulting billionaires you see. As recent Disney stories and witnesses indicate the “little people” don’t really factor in.

    3. Ranger Rick

      Had a nice chuckle at the quote about how reducing copyright term lengths is “illegal under international law”. Everyone knew at the time that those treaties were fig leaves for implementing the same locally.

  6. Cocomaan

    The baby formula situation is truly frightening and the lack of any solution is also the sign of how sclerotic our society is.

    To a great extent, formula is a product of a hungry economic system looking for more workers. Breastfeeding is inconvenient when your sole goal is efficiency. A woman breastfeeding generally can’t do much else when it comes to paid work. Even knowledge economy work is super hard when the baby wants to eat multiple times an hour.
    That’s fine, naturally, but if there’s an unnatural preoccupation with profit, breastfeeding turns into something akin to sleep: a waste of time. Think of all the profits you could be making!

    There are exceptions. Women who can’t breastfeed, illness/medical reasons. But in my opinion we have created an economic system that despises the necessities of making more healthy humans. We lean on formula factories to keep it all going. Now we are watching the system break into many long tail parts.

    1. JohnA

      Anecdotally, it is a class thing in England. When our children were babies, we lived in a mixed area of London, gentrified properties and social housing, side by side. My wife breastfed, as did most local ‘middle class’ (for want of a better description) women, if they could. Women in social housing almost universally used formula milk and would not dream of breastfeeding, despite efforts by midwives, community health visitors etc., encouraging breast is best.

    2. flora

      In the 1950’s and ’60 many many new moms were given a recipe for homemade formula by the hospital before they left the hospital with baby. I bet over half the baby boom generation in the US was fed homemade formula as infants.

      1. Carolinian

        I was reading elsewhere this morning that cow’s milk will do on a temporary basis (lacks iron)–that doctors don’t recommend mixing your own.

        1. flora

          I recall from watching mom prepare younger siblings’ formulas that cows milk was part of the formula, but it wasn’t dairy case cold milk. It was some sort of canned milk (sterile and concentrated, still available in stores, plus boiled (again for sterility) and cooled water and some other common grocery store ingredients). There are probably online images of old hospital formula recipes. I certainly wouldn’t use plain dairy case milk in a baby formula. But what do I know? Not much. These are old memories. sigh….

          1. flora

            There are two kinds of canned milk – evaporated and condensed. They are very different. If you want to try, this please do find an old hospital recipe that indicates which to use. Don’t guess. My 2 cents.

            (Still remember mom measuring out the boiled water and the canned milk and asking why she did just use “our” milk – aka regular dairy case milk. She had a good answer that I don’t remember because I was too young to understand what she was telling me.)

            1. Carolinian

              Yes certainly moms should do their research and not go by my offhand comment. Without a doubt there’s tons of such info on the web. Allegedly the baby formula factory will be back up and running in a couple of months.

              1. amechania

                I saw a beddraggled woman at the supermarket with a sign. It claimed Biden sent ‘pallets’ of formula to the border.

                She wanted to mean well, but foxes guard the information hen house.

        2. HotFlash

          The formula — 1 16-oz can evaporated milk + 1 can water (some sources say 20 oz) + 2 Tbsp corn syrup or sugar + 1 dropper of infant vitamins. My mom didn’t use the vitamins, don’t think there were any back then, but it’s a good idea, I think. For sure what the baby won’t won’t get is Mom’santibodies, but wouldn’t get that in Enfalac, etc. anyway..

          My brother and I were raised on Carnation brand milk, boiled water, and Caro corn syrup, light and were schedule-fed, as that was the medical wisdom at the time. The nurses would bind the breasts of new mothers so they wouldn’t engorge She had a thing called a sterilizer, looked kinda like this, which steam-sterilized the bottles, nipples, and rings. She would apportion the formula into the bottles and cap them with the nipples inverted and covered with a disk-thingy, the ring would screw down over the nipple and disc. She would put them in the fridge and at feeding time put the nipple right-way-to and put the bottle in a pan of hot water to heat it. Test for temp — shake a few drops on your wrist, should feel neither warm nor cool. When I was 13 my mom got pregnant again (the dreaded menopause baby, happens to Catholics often). By now the bandwagon had rolled on and my sister was breast-fed.

    3. playon

      I was raised partially with breast milk, and partially with formula. My two younger brothers were exclusively given human milk but in the early 50s when I was born my mother bought into the whole Nestle campaign for awhile. I am the only one in my immediate family to have allergies, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence.

    4. playon

      I was raised partially with breast milk, and partially with formula. My two younger brothers were exclusively given human milk but in the early 50s my mother bought into the whole Nestle campaign for awhile. I am the only one in my immediate family to have allergies, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence.

  7. smashsc

    Re: Double cropping. Let’s hope that “Precision Agriculture” isn’t the same disaster as “Precision Scheduled Railroading”. I get that Biden wants to show that the US can produce more food, but has anyone thought about where the additional water, seed, fertilizer & diesel are going to come from?

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Nope. Biden put Harkin in charge of agriculture after his previous tenure. The country is living off of fumes of last glories.

      I’m sure Pelosi’s bible study will conclude that instead of preparing for seven years of famine we study hold all were technicolor dream coats.

      1. Wukchumni

        The worst part about Pelosi going faux evang is that she realizes that come the demise of the Donkey Show in November, the crazies will be in charge, better fall in line.

      2. Mark Gisleson

        I think you meant to say Tom Vilsack who is also from Iowa. Harkin retired in 2014, only chaired Senate Ag cmte for two years (2007-2009).

  8. The Rev Kev

    “Too Fragile to Fight: Could the U.S. Military Withstand a War of Attrition?”

    I think that we already have proof that the US military cannot stand a war of attrition. So suppose that old Joe is so worried by oil shortages, that he decides that it would be a great idea to invade Venezuela because what could possibly go wrong? Several weeks later, US troops find themselves in Vietnam 2.0 in the jungles of Venezuela. As weapons stocks are being run through so rapidly, US troops are issued Stinger and Javelin missiles from reserve stocks. The same ones that are fizzling out in the Ukraine or whose batteries are flat or where they explode before hitting their target. Surprise! So what other weapons held in reserve stocks are in a similar condition?

    1. Jacob Hatch

      No worries, they can try to capture back from the insurgents some of those Javelins and Stingers (fitted with new batteries) that the Russian security service will have sent Venezuela, Syria, Iraq, etc. dressed up as a gift from the Ukraine Mafia.

    2. The Historian

      I’ve been reading (mostly scanning) Mark Esper’s book: “A Sacred Oath” and in Chapter 2 (about page 27) he states:
      “… Studies were telling us that 71 percent of the 34 million seventeen-to twenty-four year-olds in the United States could not meet the military’s entry requirements, most often due to obesity, drugs, physical and mental health problems, misconduct, or aptitude. Worse yet, only around 1 percent of the population that could qualify – the other 29 percent – had some interest in serving. When you did the math, it meant that the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines were all competing for the same three hundred thousand to four hundred thousand young Americans…”

      If Esper is correct, there is no way we could fight any serious war, much less a war of attrition.

      BTW, that book is a real doozy of a vanity book, aka – how Mark Esper saved the military and the government. Apparently Esper has a bigger ego and is more of a braggadocio than Trump – hence my scanning instead of close reading. He did include some tidbits about Trump between his long episodes of bragging but not much we didn’t already know or could figure out on our own.

      1. Louis Fyne

        —When you did the math, it meant that the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines were all competing for the same three hundred thousand to four hundred thousand young Americans…”—

        And then the Pentagon decided to alienate 1/3 to 1/2 of those 400k younglings by going full IDPol woke.

      2. The Rev Kev

        And now Coronavirus is steadily and relentlessly reducing that pool of recruits even further.

      3. VietnamVet

        This is no coincidence. The end of the draft, and a volunteer army, mercenaries, and proxy forces doing the Western Empire’s fighting, there is no need for a healthy U.S. population. The life expectancy of Americans has been declining since 2014 and accelerating downward the last two years due to the failure to mitigate coronavirus.

  9. Wukchumni

    The Biggest Potential Water Disaster in the United States The New Yorker
    Marc Reisner’s last book before he passed away, was A Dangerous Place: California’s Unsettling Fate, which centered on the California Delta and how rickety it all was, and that was 30 years ago.

    A repeat of the 1868 Hayward earthquake would put about 30 million of us in deep kimchi, rather instantly.

    Oddly enough, the local evang-political-Ag meisters actually want this to happen if you were to believe any of the 638 signs along the 5 & 99 that proclaim:

    ‘Stop Newsom from dumping farm water in the ocean!’

    If we didn’t continually dump freshwater into the ocean, there’d be salt-water intrusion and game so over, man.

    What’s the value of a bitchin’ place in Beverly Hills when you turn on the water and nothing comes out?

    1. Carolinian

      I wasn’t aware of the later Reisner book and just checked it out from the library. Thanks for the tip.

    2. Anthony G Stegman

      The Resnicks have their own water supply courtesy of the state legislature. The Kern Water Bank is controlled by the Resnicks, though contains majority public water. A salted up Delta would have little impact on their operations.

  10. kriptid

    RE: The Bezzle

    I want to add some effortful commentary here, as I must shyly admit that I am a person into crypto, which I realize is an unpopular position here. I agree that most are in it strictly for financial grift. I have more idealistic/technological reasons myself, that perhaps I could share elsewhere at another time. My intention here is to demystify some of this news. The events surrounding the dramatic fall of the Terra blockchain is something that has become an overnight legend. Never has a collapse in the crypto space been so spectacular.

    First, just a comment on the Tether piece: Tether’s opacity with the financial assets backing the stablecoin is something that concerns a majority of people in crypto, but there is little risk of a catastrophic depegging in this case. The volatility in the stablecoin market right now is because of the billions that are currently being absorbed into the wider crypto market due to the Terra meltdown that started a couple of days ago. As I type this, Tether has recovered to 0.99 after briefly dipping to 0.94 on most major exchanges a few hours ago. Some of the other stablecoins have been similarly volatile in the past two days. So while there is a lot of upheaval, I think the damage spreading beyond the Terra blockchain has mostly already been contained.

    There is also a general de-risking going on throughout crypto. Many people are lowering the amount of leverage and moving from riskier/speculative ‘altcoins’ to safer positions in Bitcoin and Ethereum, or reliable stablecoins that are backed by overcollateralized reserves, like DAI and USDC. This has resulted in a dramatic loss of 30-40% of value in many of the cryptocurrencies seen as more untested or speculative. Bitcoin is also down as many likely panic sell across the board in anticipation of more chaos coming or to compensate for recent losses on altcoins.

    LUNA, the primary coin used on the Terra blockchain that was recently more or less liquidated by the de-pegging of its associated stablecoin, UST, is now trading close to $0.12 which represents a 99.5%+ drop in value over the course of a week. This was the result of what appears to be a coordinated attack that occurred sometime on May 7. It appears that some entity borrowed 100,000 Bitcoins (over $1 billion) and bought UST. They then sold this UST shortly after at a critical time. It’s a bit hard to explain without going all crypto-techno here, but let me draw an analogy by saying that there was a sort of critical ‘update’ going on with the Terra blockchain that was going to cause a lot of UST liquidity to disappear for a brief period of time. It was at this time that the mysterious buyer dumped the $1B in UST on the market, causing the initial de-peg. Some large players saw what happened, and started pulling out of their UST and LUNA positions on late May 8/early May 9. This resulted in more downward pressure of UST as demand for it plummeted, and the LUNA price started to crater in an effort to compensate for the de-peg of UST (for a crypto-techno reason I’ll avoid), eventually leading to the so-called ‘death spiral’ that LUNA is now experiencing.

    The Terra blockchain administrators held over $1 billion in Bitcoin as a reserve to prop up the value of UST should it become necessary, but this was less than 20% of the total market capitalization of UST at the time this started. By the time they dumped their Bitcoin (sending Bitcoin down, as well) to save the UST peg, the ‘run on the bank’ had already started on UST, and it made little difference other than dragging the entire crypto market down with it as leveraged traders of all sorts of cryptocurrencies started getting liquidated.

    It should be noted that there was a lot of skepticism in crypto about the sustainability of the LUNA model. It grew very quickly due to the ‘too-good-to-be-true’ economic model that presented the attack surface necessary for this to happen. The undercollateralization of the stablecoin ultimately led to its failure and is responsible for the failure of most other stablecoins in the past. However, this lesson will be felt by orders of magnitudes more people than previous collapses due to the size of Terra’s market cap, and given the current environment, is certain to catch the eye of regulators.

    While this is all around a bad deal (the Terra subreddit was shut down because of so many people posting about losing everything and contemplating suicide), I think it will be a good jumping-off point for more skepticism about new blockchains and new stablecoins that are untested. It will also serve, I hope, as the basis of a reasonable conversation about regulation. Stablecoins should definitely have some rules regarding collateralization and should have open books or be subject to regular audits. I just hope the hammer doesn’t come down too hard on the industry as a whole because the wild-eyed technologists are still in the experimental stages and my take is that we still need a little bit of pain and experimentation before this tech is ready for more mainstream adoption in 10+ years. My personal view — I think if the lawyers and regulators take over too early and turn crypto into an extension of the PMC state, introducing central bank digital currencies, that is an even worse outcome for humanity than if crypto is left in the hands of the idealists and grifters until it’s ready for mass adoption.

    RE: Coinbase

    The number one adage of crypto is “Not your keys, not your coins.” For anyone with a sizeable investment, they likely only hold a tiny fraction of their assets on an exchange like Coinbase at a given time. In fact, the outflows of crypto from exchanges to offline wallets has been steadily growing and shows little sign of slowing down. The reality is exchanges that double as custodial wallets are even worse than a bank because they offer no consumer protections (another place regulatory presence might be welcome). But it’s worth mentioning that most serious crypto people are fundamentally against banks, anyway, and are waiting for the time when they can hook their Visa card to their self-custodial wallet rather than their bank account or a crypto exchange, or, better yet, pay their merchant P2P with a QR code and cut out Visa and the banks completely.

    1. Skip Intro

      What if the ‘wild-eyed technologists’ in your fantasy are really just grifters fleecing rubes with big shiny words?

      In a scoop published shortly after the catastrophes began with TerraUSD and Luna, CoinDesk reported that Terraform Labs CEO Do Kwan had also previously led a different failed stablecoin project. Using the pseudonym “Rick Sanchez”, Kwon created “Basis Cash” (BAC), another algorithmic stablecoin. Basis Cash also aimed to peg to the US dollar, but never actually achieved this value. The coin has traded far below $1 for most of its existence, dropping and remaining below $0.01 in early 2021.

      I guess ‘pegging’ isn’t such a big word, but cryptofans swoon for it anyway. Could be currency envy.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        Hear hear! And if the wild-eyed technologists are still in the experimental stages, then why in the [family blog] are real people allowed to spend real money on this crap?!?!?

        The elites in this country will go out of their way to regulate speech for everyone’s own good, but when it comes to finance it’s a complete free for all because capitalism, and if you don’t understand the myriad scams out there, many of which are legal (the push to sell ARMs and ALT-As back in the aughts comes to mind, to name just one), well it’s your own damn fault for not understanding the arcane legalese or reading the 100 pages of fine print.

        Damn right the crypto industry needs to be regulated. It needs to be regulated out of existence and then killed with fire.

        1. Rebecca

          Were you similarly in favor of burning down the Internet during the speculative crash?

          1. kriptid

            I don’t think anyone here will be swayed by this, although your analogy is somewhat apt.

            I’ll throw this out there for food for thought, since you have an open mind on the topic:

            TCP/IP is to the internet what Bitcoin could be for international financial settlement.

            But it’s really, really, hard to get people to consider Bitcoin as a superior technology for instant, global financial settlement when they’re absolutely sure it is an elaborate Ponzi. Crypto has not done a good enough job of selling that point.

            But I think with the Canadian truckers and Russian assets being seized, a few light bulbs are turning on.

      2. kriptid

        You’ll note that I stated at the beginning that I believe the majority of people in crypto are in it to make money. Most people in any line of work that has anything to do with finance are in it for money. Crypto certainly does not have a monopoly on that type of person. I’m not here to defend Terra or Do Kwon. I thought my post, while intentionally written in a neutral tone, more or less reveals I’m not a fan. It might be hard to swallow, but there is actually a wide diversity of opinion and politics in crypto and grouping everyone together is an error, sort of like how grouping all Trump voters with racists is an error.

        The first block mined on the Bitcoin chain contained the following message:

        “The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks”

        Certainly the message of an idealist. Can’t control who or what comes after.

        1. Yves Smith

          Watch your flip generalizations.

          The overwhelming majority of people in “finance” include banking and retail asset management. And in turn, the overwhelming majority of them work in routine jobs like being tellers, clearing and settlement, customer service, IT, accounting, etc.

          1. kriptid

            Fair enough. I was writing on mobile while on the subway so a bit more flip than intended.

            My point is not to denigrate those working in financial services, and especially not in the support structure. My general take is everybody needs a job and shouldn’t be morally judged for it unless they show morally questionable behavior while doing it.

            But the Cantillon Effect of working in finance is real and so is the societal Brain Drain it cultivates. I don’t think crypto has a monopoly on that anymore than modern finance (speaking about the professionals and Wall Street-types, not the support structure).

            I think there is a certain class of hard left libertarian socialists in crypto, that, as a group, generally don’t exist in the financial class or the PMC generally. I see a lot of overlap between the views of that group and the views of many commenters on this board on issues of economics and geopolitics. There’s probably more of them than you think who visit NC daily.

  11. Otis B Driftwood

    Regarding Carlson clip, I was devastated to see Barbara Lee, my Congressperson, stumble through her rationale for voting for this terrible aid package for Ukraine.

    “Disinformation” she stuttered.

    What has happened to the progressives in this country? We are doomed.

    1. Big River Bandido

      What happened to the “progressives” in this country?

      They’re all warmongers now.

    2. Henry Moon Pie

      That was very sad to watch. But at least Barbara Lee stood up to the machine once. Ilhan Omar crumbled the first time she was put to the test. I found that very sad as well.

      The Squad, after having caved on the bipartisan (ain’t it always) Billionaires’ Bonanza Bill, now is shamed by MTG. They’re dead to me. If bringing us to the brink of nuclear war is the kind of compromise they think will get us to M4A or any other worthy goal. then they’re either fools or sellouts trying to rationalize their betrayal.

    3. amechania

      Heard a progressive today on the radio. If we’re discussing misinformation (how quickly the tide turns!) then so be it.

      Corporate misinformation describes half the news above. Nuclear disposal, food safety, the environment, ‘justice reform’ etc.

      They dont know we might win that debate, and they literally cant help themselves. Lies are where the money is.

      Also, its sarcasm, but I had ‘ministry of truth’ on my empire collapse bingo card. The obsession with ideological purity is inherently religious in nature. However, I think ‘they’ cant deliver.

    4. Katniss Everdeen

      It should be noted that in the clip, Carlson was just as critical, if not more so, of republicans in both the house and senate for supporting ukraine while ignoring america. He called out mcconnell, romney and graham et al. in the senate, as well as kevin mccarthy, steve scalise and other repub house leadership.

      He calls for “a billionaire” to fund primary challengers to all of them.

      If it weren’t for “cray cray right wingers” like Tucker, there’d be no “news” at all.

      1. Tvc15

        I consider myself a leftist…anti empire, war, oppression, capitalism etc. And very oddly at the time found myself going to Fox for coverage on Bernie in 2016 because he was persona non grata for the “left” leaning media. We all know the reasons why. Bring on the comet.

      2. GramSci

        And we know, of course, the “billionaire” to whom Tucker is dog-whistling. Unfortunately, that billionaire donates only to himself.

  12. The Rev Kev

    “Zelensky Calls for Lifting the Russian Blockade of Odesa”

    When Zelensky says stupid stuff like this, then I know that it is only so that he can keep his name in the news. To do so would require a no fly-zone and a NATO occupation of this region. How do they plan on bringing in all those troops and equipment in as the Black Sea is closed to military warships. And not forgetting that the Ukrainians have mined their own coastline with a few mines getting away. Guy walks around giving orders to countries from Finland to Cyprus as if he was the President of Europe or something. I look forward to the day when he is forced to share a roach motel-room with Venezuela’s Juan Guaidó.

  13. Wukchumni

    I can see the end game for Bitcoin et al, it’ll look similar to what happened in Albania 25 years ago when pyramid schemes unraveled…

    In lieu of large interest rates sucking in the populace as in Albania, it was the ‘value’ of the cryptos going up all the time that was the catalyst.

    The pyramid scheme phenomenon in Albania is important because its scale relative to the size of the economy was unprecedented, and because the political and social consequences of the collapse of the pyramid schemes were profound. At their peak, the nominal value of the pyramid schemes’ liabilities amounted to almost half of the country’s GDP. Many Albanians—about two-thirds of the population—invested in them. When the schemes collapsed, there was uncontained rioting, the government fell, and the country descended into anarchy and a near civil war in which some 2,000 people were killed. Albania’s experience has significant implications for other countries in which conditions are similar to those that led to the schemes’ rise in Albania, and others can learn from the way the Albanian authorities handled—and mishandled—the crisis.

    The proliferation of schemes had baleful effects. First, more depositors were drawn in. Although VEFA had the largest liabilities, it had only 85,000 depositors. Xhafferi and Populli between them attracted nearly 2 million depositors—in a country with a population of 3.5 million—within a few months. Second, the investment funds felt pressured to compete and began to offer higher interest rates on deposits. In July, Kamberi raised its monthly interest rate to 10 percent. In September, Populli began offering more than 30 percent a month. In November, Xhafferi offered to treble depositors’ money in three months; Sude responded with an offer to double principal in two months. By November, the face value of the schemes’ liabilities totaled $1.2 billion. Albanians sold their houses to invest in the schemes; farmers sold their livestock. The mood is vividly captured by a resident who said that, in the fall of 1996, Tirana smelled and sounded like a slaughterhouse, as farmers drove their animals to market to invest the proceeds in the pyramid schemes.

  14. The Rev Kev

    “Finland’s president and prime minister back Nato membership”

    It’s happening. ‘The Swedish government is expected to resolve all differences on NATO membership by the end of the week and send its application on Monday, the same day as Finland, local media said on Thursday, citing sources.’

    The UK has promised to militarily protect both Scandinavian countries until they are in. Then again, didn’t they do the same for Norway back in 1940? Still, I think that all NATO countries have to agree to this happening and not give a veto. And I should mention that Sweden is different to Finland. Finland has a very long vulnerable border with Russia while Sweden does not share a border with Russia at all but are protected by the buffer zone of – Finland.

    1. digi_owl

      More like UK wanted an excuse to invade northern Norway, and maybe Sweden, in order to cut off Germany’s iron ore supply. Because Norway, much like in WW1, had declared itself neutral.

      Anyways, while Sweden do not have a land border with Russia there is the Baltic sea to consider. In particular because of Kaliningrad. Also, during the cold war there was the whole Whiskey on the Rocks incident. And if you go further back then Sweden and Russia has a history of fighting over the region. Finland used to be Swedish territory, then lost it to Russia.

    2. Louis Fyne

      So I guess it’s official, DC and Brussels are ready to possibly fight WW3 over 5.5 million Finns.

      No offense Finland.

    3. Alyosha

      Apparently Russia has threatened to cut off gas to Finland if they join NATO. WWIII here we come!

      1. Oisin

        I doubt if they give a Fig. Much like the Swiss story, <10% gas. Mainly renewable energy and nuclear power generation.

        1. Jacob Hatch

          Energy isn’t as fungible as some believe, 1% loss in total energy, but from a single source could be 100% loss to a critical industry or sector.

    4. MRLost

      But what about the Swedish defense industry? Those sales are a hefty chunk of cash for Sweden’s economy. If they join NATO, they’ll be more or less forced to join the team and buy American. Somebody is being bought off because this would kill an entire industry. I don’t get it …

      1. Jacob Hatch

        You don’t buy off a nation, you buy off the conmen, oh, let’s be Nordic, the con-people, who got their hands on power. You might not even have to pay them, just con them into believe they will be paid, after all they are not members of the Harvard/Yale club. Merkle though the chairmanship of the World Bank was hers. It may be, but I think I hear a shaft being shoved.

  15. Tom Stone

    Justadriveby hello.
    I’m spending my time pruning trees,dealing with the healthcare and housing bureaucracies and sitting in the sun reading trashy novels while watching badger dens.
    I do check in to download links and find out if the world has ended most mornings.
    I gotta say that the US empire has outdone the habsburgs in stupidity,arrogance and incompetence to an extent I would not have believed possible.
    The best I hope for is that we will avoid Nuclear armageddon.
    Stay safe and be lucky!

    1. The Rev Kev

      Good to hear from you, Tom and great to hear that you are keeping well. If you want a book recommendation, how about any book by Jerome K. Jerome – a 19th century British author. Maybe start with “Three Men In a Boat.”

    2. Henry Moon Pie

      Good to hear from you, Tom. I miss Amfortas too when he’s not around for a while.

      Funny you should mention pruning and animal dens. I’ve been pruning like crazy–blackberries, grapes, ivy, roses and the Devil’s own bush, the goji. I’ve accumulated so much brush, I’m going to try using them in Hugelkultur mounds.

      My dens are occupied by ground hogs. They’ve lived under a little deck since before we were here, and that’s right next to our back garden. So I put up an ugly, 4 ft high chicken wire fence. I also drove some steel poles into tunnels they have close to the bed. So far, it’s discouraged them sufficiently, but they’ve resorted to the front garden and nibbling on snow pea vines and the spinach that’s started. They do seem to have a reluctance to enter more enclosed spaces if they don’t have a sure escape, so I put a pitiful little remnant of a border fence at the easiest entrance. We’ll see if it helps.

      1. lambert strether

        From my experience with the goddamned ground hogs, make sure the fence goes down like two feet in the earth, otherwise they dig under it.

        Hugelkultur mounds are interesting and good. I had a patch where the soil was just no good at all, so I put a mound there. Tomatoes liked it.

        1. Henry Moon Pie

          What will underlie most of this is the backfill they brought in to fill the foundation of the house that was demolished. I was digging some today, and it’s sludge mixed with fist-sized rocks and gravel. Awful. But it’s not as bad as another adjacent lot we “acquired” (for $100) where the foundation was backfilled with construction and demolition waste, complete with head-sized chunks of concrete and rebar. Lots of fun digging a posthole there.

      2. HotFlash

        A back-to-the-land hippie in the 70’s found that he effectively discouraged his groundhogs by gifting them with the contents of the family thunder mug every morning, into their holes. Bonus! Ready-made and well-fertilized holes for planting trees into the next year! I still remember how he began the article: “Yes, Virginia, there is a devil, and he eats exactly what I want to eat, just before I want to eat it.”

    3. Amfortas the hippie

      i’m with you in rockland, Tom.

      limit my newsgathering to once or twice a week, save for daily assessing what the Countdown Clock is.

      and for me, no dens or warrens, but 3 baby(weaned…teenagers) goats that showed up at the gate last week.
      they’ve discovered that my part of the place is lush and tasty…i encourage nibbling on the cedar elms and greenbriar..but i’m attempting to train them to leave the figs, peaches, etc alone(mostly by scolding, when i’m around(they think i’m momma)…and spraying fish emulsion)

      Wife is home(rather, here at mom’s next door) for hospice.
      so no more driving all over for Amfortas for a time….just being on 24/7, and sleeping(Ha!) in mom’s fancy front room in a beautiful hardwood bed that is prolly the most uncomfortable piece of furniture, ever. we set up stepdad’s hospital bed in the front fireplace room…big winders, view of the woods and pasture and sunrise.
      she’s still lucid…wobbly as a colt…and doped to the gills.
      sepsis and newly aggressive cancer…they tell me “a few weeks”, at most.
      it’s a hard old road.

      1. DJG

        Amfortas the Hippie:

        All the best to you, which I know is hardly adequate given your circumstances.

        Check in when you can check in.

      2. pasha

        you’ve warned us it was coming, but is still hard to hear. know that you have friends here who feel for you and that hard old road

      3. marku52

        Sorry to hear of it. Best thoughts. Thanks for all the thoughts you have shared with us here.

      4. Adrienne

        Damn, Amfortas. Hard old road indeed. I have no words that are adequate, just sending prayers for a peaceful heart your way.

      5. griffen

        Damn that is unfortunate to read this. Wishing all the comfort to be had, in all it’s best forms.

      6. CitizenSissy

        Words are inadequate. Wishing you and your wife peace, comfort, and the distraction of baby goats.

      7. Ellery O'Farrell

        Will be thinking of you and your wife, and your sons. It is indeed a hard road.

        I found C.S. Lewis’s A Grief Observed comforting, a little. It’s a journal he kept after his wife died, leaving him with two nearly-grown boys. Not much like his apologetic works, it’s by a man wracked with pain. He’s quite raw in describing his grief as he lived through it.

      8. playon

        I’m very late to NC today but I also want to wish you the best Amfortas.

        I lost my mother last week, but she was 95 and went quickly, and was lucid up until the last 2+ hours. We should all be so lucky.

  16. antidlc

    Why some of Biden’s top doctors are wearing masks in “low” COVID areas

    Two of the Biden administration’s top doctors now say they are now choosing to wear masks indoors even in communities officially deemed to have “low” levels of COVID-19.

    “I’ve been masking more, partially because I’ve really had engagements that I’ve really wanted to get to, and didn’t want to have to cancel,” Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said last week at an event hosted by the Milken Institute in Los Angeles.

    Photos posted by Walensky during her trip out West showed her masking during several stops in Southern California, including meeting with CDC staff.

  17. Charlie Sheldon

    Re: Covid and building construction report story: Out here in the PNW my wife and I met a contractor on Vashon Island who had developed a highly successful business refurbishing schools built in the 1970s – 1990s. It turns out that after the energy shock of 1973 everyone thought the best way to warm a house and building was to seal it air tight, so they did, using impermeable sheeting, materials, etc etc, only to discover that air holds moisture and the old houses of wood breathed and enabled the moisture to get outside (at the cost of some draftiness) while the new houses and buildings were rot sandwiches, and now, a generation on, everything is becoming toxic and rotted. Hence the need to go in and rebuild everything. We even went to a full one day class by a Massachusetts builder who teaches this stuff – how to build a structure that breathes and stays warm too – So this Vashon contractor has work for the rest of his life making the schools safe, and by the way also enabling them to cycle air faster. I will guess that if you studied Covid outbreaks in schools across the country you’d find that the outbreaks were minimal in buildings built before 1975 and maximal afterwards, because it seems it may all be about air transfer and the aerosol nature of the bug.

    We are learning that all these new materials used for building, or many of them, in fact worsen water capture and rot, and mold, such that these days retrofitting big buildings built after 1975 is probably a huge national need only now being really seen…..

  18. Jason Boxman

    The joint force, and the nation that supports it, should prepare to deal with significant losses of both personnel and equipment, and relearn how to regenerate combat power, perhaps in a multi-theater fight.

    Given that the United States military has outsourced all support functions, it isn’t clear how this might be possible in the middle of a hot war. But no one ever accused anyone in Washington of having foresight.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Maybe “We” the people need to weigh in on whether fielding a “competent military force” in the same league as the Russian Army is showing itself to be, all just to make the world safer for rentier looting, is a sensible use of dwindling resources. Most, I would say ALL, of the “threats” defined by the existing incompetent corrupt idiotic MICIMAC, and used to justify the reality that half the nation’s real economy is take to feed the gluttons of MICIMAC are created by the pretty evil looting political economy that hides behind the screen of patriotism.

      But of course “we” have no real voice, now the First Amendment has been topped by recourse to legislation that says protesting outside the houses of government officials is verboten…

  19. Wukchumni

    I’m proud to announce the launch of KvetchCoin, whose value goes up every time a cryptocurrency advocate claims that the latest downturn is just a temporary thing and Bitcoin will soon be over $100k, you’ll see.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      I just sent you a squillion dollars for one through my new fintech app, FFD (Five Finger Discount). Did you get it yet?

  20. NYG

    The Ukraine war has settled into a WWI style artillery battle from relatively fixed positions. Both sides use mainly Russian style artillery shells costing $100-$200 each aided by UAVs to improve accuracy. The combination of dumb artillery and UAVs is sufficiently accurate at up 2-3 miles. Russia has an effectively unlimited free supply of dumb artillery shells from its soviet era stockpile. A lot of soldiers on both sides are being killed and wounded in this war, although Ukraine is suffering worse. But Russia has a manpower issue in that without military conscription it will have difficulty replacing its casualty losses. Very soon Russia will have to initiate military conscription or use tactical nukes. The US/NATO side waited with high expectations for Russia to initiate conscription on May 9th, but were disappointed.

    Ukraine has Uncle US, far less artillery, far less effective UAVs, and assistance from civilian hobbyists and their UAVs (resulting in many civilian deaths). Now Ukraine has received or will receive a number of very accurate precision guided (PG) artillery systems which the US expects will have the effect of increasing Russian casualties. These are not cheap as the PG consumable shells cost rich Uncle US $5000 each. Ukraine does not have an obvious manpower issue.

    1. digi_owl

      Ukraine does not have an obvious manpower issue.

      Because they effectively pressganged every adult male outside of Donbass into fighting for Kiev. Unless you can show that you are medically unfit to fight, you can’t leave the nation full stop. And i think there was a recent discussion in the comments about how Ukraine had a serious recruitment issue after 2014, and that is in part why Azov battalion and like was enrolled.

      1. Maritimer

        “Unless you can show that you are medically unfit to fight,…”
        Finally, somewhere in the world, medical exemptions! Trumpko and Bidenshak know all about it.

    2. Jacob Hatch

      It’s interesting that you can project Russia will need to start conscription when it already has conscription. Where are you getting your data from which you make your projections?

      1. NYG

        My reference to military conscription is related to current casualty losses. Whatever system Russsia has in place does not appear to be able to replace its casualty losses.

        1. Polar Socialist

          Then you must have sources we don’t have access to. All I know is the complaint by the Ukrainian combat troops that for each of their shell the Russians fire 100. So one would expect, by sheer luck, the Ukrainian casualties to be much, much higher.

          Anyway, I’ve heard rumors that there was a silent mobilization of Russian reserves in January, but that concerned the contract reservist Russia has, and only a fraction of those were called in – apparently to fill the ranks to a wartime strength for the units assigned for Ukraine.

          Also, after the February mobilization the Donbass militias are now around 100,000 strong. If we also consider 15,000 or so Chechens, it almost seems that the majority of the Russian invasion force is not actually Russian at all.

          Most intensive fighting at moment happens in northern Donbass, where most of the front is held by the LNR fighters. These were the ones who withdraw east of Kharkov.
          They are also the ones who took Popasna, with support from Chechens.

          Russians are certainly suffering casualties, but it would be impressive if they were anywhere near the Ukrainian casualties given that the Russians only seem to be engaged in serious fighting South of Izyum at the moment. Which is where they have that above claimed hundredfold advantage in artillery.

          1. NYG

            “Complaints by … Ukrainian combat troops”
            ” rumors that there was a silent mobilization of Russian reserves in January”


            1. Yves Smith

              NYG is totally making shit up.

              1. There are far more conscripts on the Ukraine than Russian side. Ukraine went to mass conscription as soon as the war started, leading to mass exodus of young men to neighboring counties. I’ve read claims I have not been able to confirm that they even extended the age range on the high end to over 70.

              Confirmation comes in many Ukie capture/surrender vids by RF/militia which show a surprisingly high representation of middle aged and even older-looking soldiers.

              2. Russian regular, scheduled conscriptions (IIRC of 135,000 every six months) have been widely misrepresented as extra/emergency.

              1. Old Sovietologist

                The sad thing watching all these videos of surrendering Ukrainian soldiers is none look like professional troops. There may be the odd one amongst them, but all in all they just look like ordinary confused guys. It’s them and their families that will suffer. Will the corrupt politicians in Kiev and their puppet masters in London and DC pay any sort of price?

                1. Old Sovietologist

                  Apart from the first three weeks of the SMO there has been huge drop in videos showing captured Russian soldiers from the Ukrainian side, which tells you all you need to know how this going on the ground.

                  As has been pointed out by numerous commentators here in the past. The massive infusion of weapons into the Ukraine will jeopardize the security of Europe and the Middle East for a generation.

                  Blowback from previous Western interventions. I suspect Western Europe hasn’t seen anything yet.

        2. LawnDart

          NYG, I’ve been looking for good sources on casualty numbers– do you have any links?

        3. Jacob Hatch

          You missed something. “Where are you getting your data from which you make your projections?”

            1. Jacob Hatch

              A lot of soldiers on both sides are being killed and wounded in this war, although Ukraine is suffering worse. But Russia has a manpower issue in that without military conscription it will have difficulty replacing its casualty losses

              Ukraine does not have an obvious manpower issue.

              1. Darthbobber

                If Ukraine had no manpower issue, you wouldn’t be seeing guys in their 40s being fed into the front lines with cursory training, I suspect. A large number of prime military age men started departing in 2014, and an exodus has continued since, even now among those willing to pay the requisite baksheesh to exit.

                And they’re already seeing demonstrations in the west of women protesting the deployments of their significant others.

                1. The Rev Kev

                  What if the Zelensky regime is sending these older guys in order to protect certain units of their “friends” from being sent. Ones that like a guy named Adolf. Ones that will be needed after the war is eventually over to keep themselves in power.

                2. Jacob Hatch

                  I’m copying the points where I’d like NYG’s data source, at his request. Please see his original post.

                  1. Anthony G Stegman

                    All the photos and videos of Ukrainian soldiers broadcast in the US show uniformed men in their 40s and 50s for the most part. In Vietnam the average age of the combat soldier was 19. In Ukraine it’s 40. That tells you something.

          1. LawnDart

            Well jacob, I could have told him that he was simply full of shit, but I was trying to be fvckin diplomatic about it.

            1. Yves Smith

              He’s not provided a single link or even named an unliked source.

              We provided a clear warning at the top of Links against precisely the sort of trolling he’s engaged in. So he’s been blacklisted. If he manages to jailbreak, I will rip that thread out and will come back and remove this one too.

    3. Darthbobber

      Where you get an “up to” 2 to three mile accurate range for the “dumb” artillery is beyond me. Even the 4 deuce mortar could beat that, and the 155mm self-propelled howitzers even of my era were mighty accurate at over a dozen miles, given decent work by the forward observers and competent fire direction control people.

      The firing positions are hardly fixed. A battery that fails to move after a very few fire missions isn’t going to be a battery for very long.

      If there’s any authoritative sourcing for Russian losses or needed replacement rates I’d love to see it, but everything I’ve seen on the subject thus far seems even less credible than our old viet cong body counts.

      1. Polar Socialist

        Even the 4 deuce mortar could beat that

        It sure better beat that, since it’s maximum range is within that 2-3 miles.

        Way back when I was in a mortar company, our smallest target was defined as 10×10 meters and a safe distance to what you did not want to hit was considered to be 300 meters. IIRC.

        1. Darthbobber

          Well, do you recall what the sheaf was then? Even with 4 guns you were covering a pretty large area, with the slightly overlapping burst radii.

          As an FO, I remember that we treated calls for fire within I think 200 metres of us as “danger close” and took cover before the arrival. (If the request was for fire from an 81 mm platoon, the joke was that you should take cover regardless of the intended target.

          Variables could include inaccuracies in our own map reading, some one cutting the wrong charge for a round, badly laid guns and many other exciting things.

          1. Darthbobber

            It was always “fun” to try to keep track of which of your artillery support you had access to at a given time. We’d usually have support in theory from the light mortars of one or more of the line companies, the heavies from the combat support company, the howitzers from the artillery battery assigned for support, and sometimes the monsters from DIVARTY. But these all moved frequently, of course, as did we. So at a given time one or more would be out of action while moving and we ourselves might have temporarily moved out of the effective range of some of that support and could write them off unless and until they came forward.

            Not a problem our forces in the Mideast have faced, dealing with opponents effectively lacking artillery or other support and therefore able to stay put and ignore most modern battlefield doctrine.

            1. rowlf

              Over the years I have run across articles and descriptions of forward observers and artillery teams having outstanding results in battles. David Hackworth had high regards for a FO he worked with in Korea and there was an fire support officer at Khe Sanh that helped defend the base. Do you have any suggestions on other published accounts of influential FO or fire support missions?

              When I was living on USAF bases, one of our neighbors on the last base we lived at had been an FO in Vietnam and described what it was like to direct battleship fire, including having the rounds traveling over his airplane.

          2. Polar Socialist

            Nope, and can’t find my notes anymore. I don’t think I ever fired a live round, just training shots (which we had to then collect from the field).

            For what it’s worth my recollections are mostly from hauling some part of the 81 mm around and getting angry (I heard nowadays they have harnesses for those, bah!). I recall that a spot target (so converged sheaf) was the default unless otherwise requested.

            We usually trained with four teams, only one firing a few spotting shots for the FO, everyone correcting and then rapidly fire two to five rounds each, disassemble the bloody things and run as fast we could as far as we could. There was always the expectation of counter battery fire hitting the place in a minute or two.

            I did hear stories about teams not stamping the snow properly before jamming the base plate on it, thus causing the FO team calling for cease fire and eventually taking cover when the plate started to sink during the last rounds of rapid fire.

            I did learn the basics of correcting fire, too, but only in theory, never got to try it.

    4. playon

      Wasn’t their just recently an entire Ukrainian military unit that quit or surrendered en masse, complaining about corrupt and ineffective command, poor supplies etc?

    5. Yves Smith

      We require links. Your completely unsupported assertions are contrary to what Russian and Ukraine sources are saying about the state of the war, as confirmed by many many vids on Bitchute of Russian captures of Ukraine soldiers and nothing similar from Ukraine, which is actually good at faking video.

    6. lambert strether

      > The US/NATO side waited with high expectations for Russia to initiate conscription on May 9th, but were disappointed

      So a reluctant admission of an enormous intelligence failure, good job

  21. Wukchumni

    Tiptoe through the window
    By the Coinbase, that is where I’ll be
    Come tiptoe through the tulips with me

    Oh, tiptoe from the modem
    By the garden of the money tree
    And tiptoe through the tulips with me

    Knee deep in crypto we’ll stray
    We’ll keep the naysayers away
    And if I make big gains in the market, in the moonlight
    Will you pardon me?
    And tiptoe through the tulips with me

    Maybe it’s flowers that hold sway and will be the showers of life
    And when I make bank in the market in the moonlight
    Will you pardon me and tiptoe through the tulips with me?

  22. jr

    Here is a terrific interview by Chris Hedges featuring Dr. Kathleen Stock regarding gender identity politics:

    As I’ve been saying for years now, critical theory is epistemically baseless. It’s becoming clear that that is intentional. It’s goal is to stifle debate by leaving opponents no targets, nothing to pin down. Standpoint epistemology in it’s early form has merit, according to Stock, but it has been weaponized, taken to ludicrous extremes, in my opinion in order to pander to an individualistic, nay, narcissistic mob eager to find meaning in an age devoid of it but conditioned to expect that meaning to be as bespoke as their Tik-Tok accounts.

    1. Jacob Hatch

      Eat Nato for Breakfast – Show
      Sponsored by Vijay Prashad’s Tricontinental’s People’s Dispatch covers various organs including in Sweden.
      it’s a regular Saturday morning educational program, intended to inform on what is NATO, details of NATO‘s upcoming agenda, NATO‘s impact on peoples and environment, NATO‘s history and its purpose,

  23. JAC

    May I say, until people start talking about landlord lockdowns and corporate lockdowns, two much more deadly viruses, I do not really care hearing anymore about COVID lockdowns.

  24. Monte

    “Life After Loving a Met Police Spy”

    Amateurs! In the U.S. the FBI not only infiltrates groups long term, but provides the guns, explosive materials, provides reassurance and makes connections for, and gets the special visas for foreigners thru the CIA.

    U.S.A.! U.S.A!

  25. JTMcPhee

    “Respected Perkins Coie Lawyer”? Aromatic oxymoron wrapped in a thick layer of irony. I had dealings with Perkins years ago as an enforcement attorney for the US EPA, and at least the ones I dealt with were “respected” by the general counsels for the corporations they represented s but would not have fared so well in a test of ethical and honorable dealings as judged by the average mope.

  26. Wukchumni

    Andy Warhol’s Shot Sage Blue Marilyn sold for a cool US$195 million ($309m) today, making the iconic portrait of Marilyn Monroe the most expensive work by a US artist ever sold at auction.

    The 1964 silkscreen image shows Monroe in vibrant close-up — hair yellow, eyeshadow blue and lips red — on a rich blue background. It’s also the most expensive piece from the 20th century ever auctioned, according to Christie’s auction house in New York, where the sale took place.

    The Warhol sale unseated the previous record holder and another modern master, Jean-Michel Basquiat, whose 1982 painting Untitled of a skull-like face sold for a record US$110.5 million at Sotheby’s in 2017.

  27. Wukchumni

    If a crypto investor is devastated by losses and offs themself, do they leave a virtual suicide note?

    1. Maritimer

      Funeral financed with “exogenous capital”. (One link yesterday suggested this would save some bitcoin apps.)

    1. Maritimer

      Hmmm. I wonder if Chrystia Slaveland, CDN number two Injector and WEF Schwabbian, knows the Crooner, Nina Jankowicz :

      “If there was ever a Canadian politician who was in the right place at a crucial moment in history it has to be Chrystia Freeland.

      It’s as if her whole life to this point was preparation for this moment: she’s a powerful deputy prime minister of Ukrainian heritage as Ukrainians fight for their lives against the invading Russian military.”

      Suddenly, it’s raining Ukrainians. Coincidence only.

  28. LawnDart

    A Premature Antifascist and The Anti-warrior Warrior, Milt Felsen

    After participating in the Spanish Civil War as an ambulance driver in the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, and meeting Ernest Hemingway, Milt returns to America and his surveillance files listed him with the dreaded, “P.A.”, stamped in big red serial killer letters on his dossier, which means Premature AntiFascist.

    This is how the US government flagged union organizers and/or communist leaning citizens who opposed fascism, before the US announced its approval for opposing Fascism.

    The US checkered flag to oppose fascism was only waved when America joined the war against Germany in 1941, but if, in the 1930s, you opposed fascism before the checkered flag dropped, you were stigmatized and could not get a government job.

    1. Jacob Hatch

      Read “Mein Kamp” and you’ll see just how America informed NDS government goals and policy. Plenty of material out there on how un-American is anti-fascism.

  29. howseth

    Can’t believe I’m essentially in agreement with Tucker Carlson! (though, sure, he can’t resist picking on choice Democrats – He’s still going on and on about Nancy Pelozi – and ‘The Left’ but I do agree with him overall, and he does go off on Republicans too… though he is not nearly as tough, as he could be, on Republicans…and seems to blame them for acting like those evil Democrats.

  30. MarkT

    Frustration at the cost of housing in NZ:

    “A Wellington real estate company has found itself the target of an online spoof campaign. Three Wellington programmers created a website designed to look like agency Lowe and Co which allows users to insert their own slogans on the agency’s billboards. The doctored images have been making their way around the internet, as users share their frustration with the housing crisis.”

    Some examples. Beware, no mincing of words in the last link.

    1. Wukchumni

      Homes were around $50k in Auckland on my first trip to NZ in 1981, and i’ve watched the ultimate housing bubble unfold since. Its a bit sad as Kiwis weren’t money hungry grubbing pillocks back in the day…

      In terms of income and value, it’d be as if every tired 1966 3/2 SFH in San Diego was worth $3 million currently.

      1. MarkT

        The new generation has been priced out of the market. (Unless they have access to “the bank of mum and dad”. And even then things aren’t necessarily easy.) I am speaking based on what I see amongst my colleagues at a state owned enterprise.

        1. MarkT

          Sorry, I should have said “as a scientist” at a state owned enterprise. I can’t vouch for the minority of commercial people who govern us. They’re probably fine?

      2. Anthony G Stegman

        These days Auckland is an increasingly Asian city with a severe shortage of housing due to many mainland Chinese buying up properties there. A few years back the local government was paying people to move out of the city.

  31. juno mas

    RE; Rampant wage theft.

    Whenever a constuction project uses federal money (grants, matching funds, etc.) the federal Davis/Bacon wage rates are required to be payed to workers. The wage rates are established for caregories of tasks. Often the contractors will mis-categorized the job being performed into a lower paid one, then through accounting tricks keep the difference. That appears to be what is going on in New York.

    1. MarkT

      Very sad. Amazing how this doesn’t make the news. Russia Russia Russia. China China China.

  32. dk

    “Escape from Shanghai ….” Because freedom?

    No, because individuals (of any species) are impelled by the circumstance of living bodies to seek their own survival, and for some their situation in Shanghai raises their concerns.

    Freedom is not a discrete quality, it’s opportunities available after survival, the chance to act and make decisions unforced by emergency that the demands of the emergencies left no time for. The term is abused by separating it from its role and purpose in the living context.

    A focus on freedom distracts from more immediate considerations that must be resolved to achieve goals that enable freedoms. Civilizations attempt to create stable and persistent circumstances in which additional activities have scope for individuals and groups. These constraints and latitudes are products of physical circumstances.

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