Links 5/15/2022

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

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


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

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

* * *

A total lunar eclipse will turn the moon red. Here’s how to watch  CNN

The Story of Robert Southey and the Three Bears Berfrois

The Untold Story of the White House’s Weirdly Hip Record Collection Washingtonian

The Birth of the Egghead Paperback American Scholar

‘What the Ermine Saw’ Review: A Da Vinci Painting’s Journey WSJ

The rise and fall of the literary bloke New Statesman

When Animals Shed Their Wings Quillette

Going to the ends of the earth The Critic


Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly vetoes GOP bill aimed at banning all future mask mandates Kansas City Star

Preparing for wave of pandemic-related wrongful death, personal injury lawsuits Waste Dive

The ‘five pandemics’ driving 1 million U.S. Covid deaths Stat

Biden curges cities to spend Covid relief money on police, crime prevention NBC

Travel Velocity The Baffler

Is Paxlovid, the Covid Pill, Reaching Those Who Most Need It? The Government Won’t Say Kaiser Health News

Switch to Moderna booster after Pfizer shots better against omicron in 60+ ars technica. But note the small sample size.


When India’s Arguments Against COVID Report Left WHO Scientists ‘Frustrated’ The Wire

Why Is the Pandemic Death Toll among Workers Still a Mystery? The Walrus

China withdraws as 2023 football Asian Cup host due to pandemic Agence France-Presse China’s leadership understands that covid ain’t over.

New Not-So-Cold-War

Ukraine war: Heartbroken wives and mothers of Azovstal garrison say heroic battle is almost over Sky News

Why Ukraine war has no winners Indian Punchline


G7 warn of global food crisis, vow indefinite supply of weapons for Ukraine Deutsche Welle

G7 warns of global hunger crisis unless Russia lifts Ukraine blockade FT (The Rev Kev)


Russia-Ukraine live news: Russia warns Finland over NATO move Deutsche Welle

Russia Cuts Off Electricity to Finland as Tensions Grow Over NATO Expansion Common Dreams

Coup to oust Putin is ‘already under way’: Ukraine’s spy chief believes tyrant will be deposed by August – as oligarch claims Russia’s leader has blood cancer Daily Mail’

Last week, IIRC, Yves linked to the pink paper’s transcript of the following discussion. I don’t think we’ve previously linked to the video, and if we have, other readers, like myself, may not yet have got ’round to viewing the video. Note that interviewer Edward Luce is a former speechwriter for Larry Summers. Married to an Indian, he once served as the FT’s south Asia bureau chief, based in New Delhi. He wrote a book about India,  In Spite of the Gods, which I read at least a decade ago, when I was learning about India, and at the time, I thought was quite good. The book is not to hand so I’ve not confirmed that today I would stand by that initial impression. Luce is now the FT’s U.S. national editor. Without further ado, here’s the YouTube link:  Henry Kissinger: ‘We are now living in a totally new era’ | FT

Class Warfare

The Union-Busting Crime Wave at Starbucks and Amazon Is Getting Worse Jacobin

Chicken Prices and Chicken Shit BIG Matt Stoller.

Michigan Supreme Court scrutinizes grand jury process in criminal Flint water cases M Live

Several States Are Taking the Lead on Restoring Overtime Pay Capital & Main. Last segment in a four-part series.

Celebrities Are Such Scumbags Because They’re Invested In The Status Quo Caitlin Johnstone




Boris Johnson backs away from Northern Ireland protocol threat ahead of talks Guardian

Climate Change

Climate chaos certain if oil and gas mega-projects go ahead, warns IEA chief Guardian

Scotiabank’s exit from lobby group is a blow to oil and gas industry The Narwhal

Hundreds escape flood waters in Queensland as state lashed by severe thunderstorms Guardian

Waste Watch

No sea serpents, mobsters but Tahoe trash divers strike gold AP

Big Brother IS Watching You Watch

Thousands of Popular Websites See What You Type—Before You Hit Submit WIRED (BC)

Our No Longer Free Press

The Lawyers Who Ate California: Part I TK News. Matt Taibbi.

The Supremes

Supreme Court ethics bill advances out of House committee after party-line vote SCOTUS Blog

Clarence Thomas says Roe draft leak has changed court, eroded trust The Hill

Biden Administration

Is the Biden Administration Serious About ‘ASEAN Centrality’? The Diplomat

Trump Transition

Trump: I Don’t Believe Elon Musk Is Going To Buy Twitter Real Clear Politics


Monsoon to hit India’s Kerala coast earlier than usual, weather office says Reuters

India Bans Wheat Exports With Immediate Effect In A Bid To Control Domestic Prices The Wire

In India, poachers hunting peacock kill 3 police Reuters

An Indian community’s journey to becoming a major financial player in Singapore and Malaysia Scroll

India Bans Wheat Exports in Growing Wave of Food Protectionism Bloomberg

India Bans Wheat Exports 2 Days After Announcing Massive Trade Goal NDTV

Chidambaram Hits Out at Modi Govt on Economy, Calls for ‘Reset’ on Liberalisation Policies The Wire

No market, pest infestations and low yield: How organic farming along Ganga in Bihar is floundering Scroll


The strange detention of EU diplomats returning from Tehran Responsible Statecraft

The Last Way Out of Afghanistan Der Spiegel

Modest improvement in U.S. coverage of Abu Akleh killing — but most reports remain biased Mondoweiss<

The killing of Shireen Abu Akleh Columbia Journalism Review


China restricts travel abroad to keep money at home Asia Times

Nairobi tollway an example of China’s new belt and road financing approach in Africa South China Morning Post

Antidote du Jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. noonespecial

    Re DW link on G7 Meeting

    DW’s piece: “She and her counterparts vowed to ‘support Ukraine in keeping up its agricultural production, storage, transport and processing — as well as support Ukraine and its regional partners in restarting exports.'”

    Possibly showcasing the blob’s war gaming, National Interest published a pice by Joseph Bosco, whose bio info at the end of the article includes these bits: “[he] served as … a nonresident fellow at the Atlantic Council of the United States. He is presently a member of the advisory board of the Global Taiwan Institute and a fellow of the Institute for Corean-American Studies (ICAS).”’s-black-sea-blockade-202419

    Below the title of the article this sub-head: A successful Black Sea operation of this nature would help millions and send a strong message far beyond Europe.

    And then Bosco claims that, “A Black Sea rescue operation could conceivably trigger a naval confrontation with Russia, though the loss of Putin’s flagship to Ukrainian fire should temper his appetite to take on a maritime confrontation with NATO…Biden could even propose a joint NATO-Russia Black Sea humanitarian operation to facilitate Ukraine’s grain exports to the world. Of course, this would be a transparent face-saving gesture to Putin, since he would merely have to end his blockade of Ukraine’s ports to eliminate the problem.”

    In the concluding paragraph, Bosco suggests, “A successful Black Sea operation of this nature would also send a strong message to China, which has increasingly aggressive designs on Taiwan and endorses Russia’s claims on Ukraine”.

    So you see, G7s promise to arm Ukraine for as long as necessary may just be the holding pattern until the blob pinpoints the historical moment to unleash the dogs of war on their next meal.

    1. Louis Fyne

      Montreux Convention? That treaty regulates the ships in the Black Sea.

      And beyond that the Black Sea is essentially a Russian lake. It is a militarized death trap for any ships unfriendly to Russia.

      Media gives too many mouthpieces to chickenhawk-fools who just will shrug if hundreds of other people’s children get killed.

      Looks like Ukraine is the hill that they want to proverbially fight/die on. 2022, 24 elections will be interesting. grab your popcorn

    2. The Rev Kev

      I hope Bosco remembers the 420-odd Soviet-era naval mines that the Ukrainians deployed around their coastline, some of which have come loose and are proving a hazard to Black Sea navigation. Apparently one ship was sunk several weeks ago at anchor by one of these things so any Black Sea operation would need several mine-sweepers. Oh, and a local no-fly zone as well over this region would have to be in place or those ships would be sunk. And of course the Naval Base at Sevastopol would have to be “neutralized” as well. Otherwise, totally doable. Hey, maybe the Nazis at Mariupol could hitch a lift with this fleet.

      1. JohnA

        Plus the permission of Turkey to pass through the Bosphorus, special rules apply in times of war.

      2. Gregorio

        The mines aren’t a problem, they’re a feature. If a ship gets blown up, we can just blame Russia and use the outrage to get congress to approve more funding.

    3. OnceWereVirologist

      Biden could even propose a joint NATO-Russia Black Sea humanitarian operation to facilitate Ukraine’s grain exports to the world.

      Nice idea (if commercial shipping could be found willing to take the risk of mine-infested waters) but I guarantee that the Biden admin (and for that matter the author of this piece) has not the slightest interest in conducting a joint humanitarian operation to facilitate grain exports, i.e. one involving only bulk grain carriers jointly escorted by the Russian and US navies.

    4. Dftbs

      I think at this point the Russians, and the Chinese, are rather grateful for the plethora of rubbish “strategy” the West pays for via these “think tanks”. Whereas we also have to supplement this with an all-encompassing non-stop propaganda machine to get our publics to believe Russia and China threaten us, their governments have it easier. They simply show their public what gets the creatures in DC go from six to midnight, and in those creatures’ own words.

      Moreover, they get an insight into the (shallow) depths of our strategic thought. This always gets a laugh out of me when reading about our well publicized Pacific strategy which depends on our navy’s ability to choke off trade to ourselves and further impoverish Americans.

      If the Russians feel their commitment to the SMO diminishing, show them a clip of Steny Hoyer, third in line to the presidency, saying we’re at war. If the Chinese don’t know the score, there are countless sound bites that will do the same. This also applies to the genius leadership of irrelevant countries like the UK or Australia.

      One of the great comic ironies of our time is that the mass of Western “strategists” are a strategic liability. Any serious strategic proposal from any think tank would call for the abolishment of these institutions. They’ve not only failed at their stated mission of preserving Western ascendency, but are actually responsible for its destruction, seppuku seems appropriate.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Like Hollywood celebrities, the strategerists are Hollywood for Ugly People celebrities. Look no further than the head of the New Ministry for Truth. She just wants to sing in public and get paid for it.

        They aren’t going to push for policies that will upset their position.

      2. John Zelnicker

        Dftbs – “This always gets a laugh out of me when reading about our well publicized Pacific strategy which depends on our navy’s ability to choke off trade to ourselves and further impoverish Americans.”

        We have become quite skillful in shooting ourselves in the foot.

        1. JTMcPhee

          Don’t know about you, but “I” am no part of that postulated “we” that are shooting all of us in the feet and now maybe the head. “I” just am a ride-along on the black carriage labeled “Empire,” which is driven by insane self-pleading nihilists toward what looks not like a “fair horizon” but the edge of a sudden-fall cliff.

          The “think tanks” are just end-stage capitalism or whatever more accurate descriptor might be, on bit of how the Fokkers end up running things, which is maybe an application of a corollary to Gresham’s Law, “bad drives out good,” coupled with the Peter Principle, “shit floats,” added to Murphy’s Eternal and Inflexible Truth, that things always go wrong, at the worst possible time, and in the worst possible manner.

          One has to wonder at the Slavs — what combination of fortuitous location of resources and history led to their present situation, holding a “royal flush” in controlling resources and having a winning military and still some kind of apparent decency and notions of comity or maybe just recognition that killing the “Collective West” by war both kinetic and economic is also a defeat over the long haul.

          One has to laugh at the hubris and idiocy of “our” war leaders and politicians, calling up Shoigu and demanding that the Russians immediately declare a “humanitarian cease-fire.” As the Russian Army and the armies of the new LPNR and DPNR flatten the vaunted “NATO-trained and interoperable” VSU. And then to plunge ahead with sticking out their tongues and putting their polished shoes over the other “red lines” Russia (which does not apparently bluff any more) by bribing the rulers of the Swedes and Finns into exposing themselves and their populations (agreeable or not) to Russian “technical and military responses.”

          Too bad “we,” at least the people who have wormed their way into all the poser positions in “our” governments, don’t have the collective gray cells to perceive the cliff and at least try to figure a way to engineer a soft landing.

          One has to hand it to Rand Paul, maybe the last honest man in the Senate and I would never have thought I would entertain such a thought. How dare he stand in the way of shifting another $40 billion to the Looters’ pockets, and spare me any crap about how it is money to Help the Brave Ukrainians Fight For Democracy ™?

          Jeebus, what is happening, here in what might be the End Times for real?

          1. John Zelnicker

            Thank you, JTMcPhee, for an excellent comment.

            I was being a bit sloppy there. I am not part of the firing squad either and I try to do my little part to slow the country’s descent into chaos (hell), assuming we don’t go nuclear before we roast or drown.

      3. LifelongLib

        “preserving Western ascendency”

        This was always a pipe dream though. Being first to industrialize (Britain) or the only major power that wasn’t devastated after a major war (U.S.) were historical blips. Unless you somehow stopped other nations from industrializing and/or rebuilding it was inevitable (and predictable) that “Western ascendancy” would eventually fade away.

      4. Alice X

        The presidential line of succession is:

        1 VP
        2 Speaker of the House
        3 President pro tempore of the Senate
        4 Secretary of State
        5 Secretary of the Treasury
        6 Secretary of Defense
        7 Attorney General and so on through the other cabinet members.

        1. Dftbs

          Apologies, I thought Steny Hoyer was speaker, not just majority leader. Next time I’ll dig up a crazy Pelosi quote.

          1. JTMcPhee

            Like her recent enthusiasm to bring back the kinder gentler Republican Party she knew in her dementia-and-gelato-addled brain, draped in Kente Cloth?

    5. nippersdad

      This looks like a transparent plan to ship arms into Odessa in grain ships and take out those western generals, or whomever, that they are so desperate to keep out of public show trials under the cover of a humanitarian operation. It does not appear that they have considered there might be obstacles to such a plan, the chief of which is its’ downright stupidity.

      What happens when those ships are searched before they reach the Bosphorus and the “Strong message” to the world ends up being that we used the excuse of starving people to ship weapons to Ukraine? Then there is the problem with threatening countries even as we are asking them for favors. Truly, one has to wonder how so many people can fail upwards all at once to achieve such towering heights of mediocrity.

    6. Alyosha

      I keep wondering what about feeding Ukrainians. The west is terribly worried about getting grain out of Ukraine but that almost has to rely on the hope that Russia takes the whole country and the responsibility to feed it. And what are the odds that the plan to lower world grain prices with Ukrainian exports will work as well as the release of oil from the strategic reserve has done for fuel prices?

      1. lance ringquist

        you can only imagine how many derivatives and manipulation of commodity prices are associated with the ukraine harvest.

        after all, out of control deregulated derivatives, and commodity deregulation because of nafta billy clintons criminal policies, may have put many in danger on wall street because of the war.

      2. Polar Socialist

        Many Ukrainians are also worried. Ukraine is exporting grain as we speak, trough Moldovan and Romanian ports, at about half the normal rate. So there will be a slight delay to get that all that Ukrainian goodiness to the hungry of the world.

        “All that” being 2-3.5% of the worlds exports, while ol’ Joe and his sanctions on Russia are blocking the 18% that Russian exports represent for countries that have only dollar to use.

        But indeed, since there are issues with diesel for agriculture at the moment, and tractors hitting mines planted on the fields, some Ukrainians feel that Ukraine should not be exporting grains right now.

    7. Acacia

      Re DW’s article “G7 warn of global food crisis, vow indefinite supply of weapons for Ukraine”

      The title could be simplified to:

      “G7 vow indefinite weapons for Ukraine, global food crisis for everyone else“

  2. Glen

    re: Clarence Thomas says Roe draft leak has changed court, eroded trust

    If one works for an organization where showing average Americans how the organization works internally would “erode trust” then I dare say the problem is not average Americans, or “the leak” (we used to call this just “reporting the news”), it’s the organization that has a problem.

    But I suspect there are currently many other organizations in America that have this very same problem.

    1. Michael Ismoe

      Ask Wikileaks. Juliam Assange is a bigger threat to our “beloved institutions” than Putin.

  3. digi_owl

    Hmm, editing tweets.

    In recent times i have found myself learning more about tumblr, and starting to wonder how big an impact it has had on the present state of things.

    For example commenting on someone’s posting there would involve copying it and then adding one’s own take over top. This very similar to the retweet with comment behavior over on twitter.

    All in all while 4chan gets a whole lot of attention for being the spawning ground of Anonymous and various other antics, i can’t help wonder if tumblr had a “deeper” impact on the present political and cultural discourse.

    1. SOMK

      Someone I know pithily described the recent Batman as 4chan vs Tumblr.

      Tumblr was the last of the social media sites that gave the user some modicum of aesthetic control, where if you were a creative you could have your work placed side by side, but it involved a little bit of craft and taste to get it right. If (extremely) reductively Tumblr is the arty woke goth kids and 4chan is the disenfranchised quasi nerds, the goth kids won Hollywood and the nerds won the White House, but I don’t think we live in a world where either even remotely got what they wanted.

      Would be suicide for Twitter to actually implement that, but they’ve already done it in kind in terms of ‘government sources’ flagging et al. Her body language is veritable fire works of strangeness as she’s delivering that, lots of blinking, head movement, eyes going up and right (indication of lying) and also all over the place, nervous laughter and repeatedly touches her nose (disgust).

      1. digi_owl

        Not sure if the nerds have won anything, but that may just be me quibbling over terminology.

    2. griffen

      Now I’m thinking about “fresh” approach to mindful policing and making sure only goodthink is worthy of approval…I recall the film “Demolition Man” featuring Stallone, Snipes and quite a few others.

      Stallone is awaken from his frozen slumber where his words and actions and powerful verbs are penalized. Oh and relations with the Sandra Bullock character are in cyber helmets. John Spartan is rightly freaked out. Being hostile is no longer a thing or supposedly not necessary.

      Be well, John Spartan ! That’s a fun film actually.

        1. griffen

          Given the right flavoring and maybe a little sauce mixed into the meat, one supposes that rat would not taste much different than a trusty McDs modern single hamburger..which I do not plan on undertaking as a test.

          It’s like the classic hot dog discussion. Do we really want to watch how it’s made?

          1. PlutoniumKun

            Field rats are commonly eaten all over South East Asia. Years back at rural bus stops in Laos people would hold up grilled rats on sticks for people to buy as snacks. I witnessed several backpackers buying them thinking they were getting grilled chicken (they didn’t seem to notice the additional pair of grilled claws). They seemed to approve of the taste.

  4. griffen

    Much of the celeb worship can ideally be bifurcated into different segments. I say ideally, since as a young kid I worshipped basketball players. And there was none higher then or today than Michael Jordan. His famous quote about politics is well known, and honestly not an untruth. Jordan has his faults, is a billionaire athlete turned owner and quite philanthropic.

    Midler, Bono….the virtue signalling is occasionally (ok, frequently) out of step with everyday struggles many here have expounded on and likely been featured ever so often. The documentation is on display on every social media signal. We may like them and enjoy their life’s work, but I’m not cajoled into thinking they would actually care about daily struggles of most Americans.

      1. griffen

        I need that memory eraser contraption that Agents J and K were using from Men In Black.

        Gah. A commercial for Goldman Sachs “Marcus” just ran…the horror…

    1. Eureka Springs

      I used to think Bette’s best performance was her half laugh out loud funny and half extreme cringe role in Drowning Mona. Now I realize she wasn’t acting.

    2. Carolinian

      It’s been years since I even thought about Bette Milder. Hard to believe there are people who care about the opinions of these 80s celebrities who ghoulishly hang around like latter day Norma Desmonds. It’s over Bette–stick to enjoying your quarter of a billion.

      1. hunkerdown

        Bette Midler is what every #resistance girl “should” want to be: an opinionated bully and rentier. Everyone has to want that for PMC class consciousness to work.

    3. Mikel

      But some do start to question the system within which they became famous. And they may be remembered by their still living peers for their talents, but they don’t talk much about the questions they raised.

      1. griffen

        Sure, that is a fairly salient point. Now I’m thinking of recent examples during the previous administration, where all the right thinking celebs and elites were decidedly unfavorable in the words and actions directed at Trump or Pence or heck, honestly anyone affiliated with Donald Trump (to be fair, public office attracts deserved scrutiny).

        Flip those Rs to being Dem’s and choosing the same words spoken for all to hear, would the laughter and hilarity be at all the same? Highly doubtful that Stephen Colbert would earn whatever he continues to earn making the same / comparable comments about Sleepy Joe.

  5. The Rev Kev

    “Henry Kissinger: ‘We are now living in a totally new era’ ”

    In short, this was disappointing. And either he is seriously misinformed or being deliberately obtuse. Hopes that one day that Russia and China will fight over Siberia – just like in the 70s – even though their political system have radically changed. Thinks that Putin has a chip on his shoulder about NATO moving to Russia’s border as if it was no big deal. Doesn’t mention what the west did to Russia in the 90s leading to millions of deaths. Doesn’t recognize that the EU totally destroyed all relations with Russia the past few years and that there is nobody to talk to there. Acts as if the US has nothing to do with what is going on in the world but just reacts to things like this war. I could go on but sorry, Kissinger has well and truly passed his use by date and should retire from the public scene before his vaunted opinions are taken too seriously. There are easily half a dozen commenters here on NC that could come up with a more reasoned analytical analysis of current affairs and who I would rather read.

    1. Donald

      Thanks for saving me the trouble of listening.

      It is interesting how the history of US- Russian relations from the 90’s on has been completely rewritten in U.S. political culture. You don’t need a totalitarian government to do this— just social pressure placed on everyone to talk the same way.

      I never get used to just how dishonest our society is. There are a few brief moments of partial hope, like with Sanders and the “Squad”, but then they either get crushed or co- opted— as Greenwald pointed out, the only people who questioned the Ukranian aid package were Republicans. I would never vote for Rand Paul but on foreign policy sometimes he is one of the sanest people in D.C. Which is a bar so low you could clear it and still be underground.

    2. chris

      The moderator did try to get Kissinger to respond in a more relevant fashion. He asked good questions and he adapted his questions by carefully listening to what Kissinger said. But the old dog either didn’t know how to deviate from his script or didn’t hear the moderator. Either way, your summary is accurate. It goes to show what we’re up against. The ruling class and their puppets in government haven’t changed their thinking in 50 years. It will be a miracle if the US doesn’t utterly destroy itself in the next few years.

    3. jr

      I tend to avoid reading whatever Kissinger is drooling on about these days but isn’t he always saying something like “It’s a new era!” or similar quasi-prophetic declarations? Baby killers gotta eat too, I guess.

  6. fresno dan

    Celebrities Are Such Scumbags Because They’re Invested In The Status Quo Caitlin Johnstone
    While we’re on the subject of Ukraine, U2’s Bono and the Edge recently played a concert in Kyiv in support of the world-threatening US proxy war against Russia, because of course they fucking did. Bono, who says he has “grown very fond” of war criminal George W Bush and praised capitalism at the World Economic Forum and teamed up with warmonger Lindsey Graham to promote US empire narratives about Syria in 2016, would of course be seen singing “Stand by Ukraine” in support of US empire narratives in a Kyiv subway in 2022.
    The very idea that Hollywood is liberal or progressive is the greatest feat of propaganda. Hollywood – a flase flag operation…

    1. digi_owl

      Bono has also in the past praised China’s great firewall, and wanted the west to adopt something similar. This because it was an excellent tool for protecting his copyright.

      I have seen far too many “rebel rockers” turn very pro-establishment as they grow old and successful.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Bono’s rebelliousness amounts to spending way too much time on his public costume. He’s the Obama of music. There is a spectacle, but does anyone actually remember a U2 song? Bono “supports” popular and well known charities by encouraging others to give. Wow.

          1. Dr. John Carpenter

            My SO is Irish. She has a lot of choice things to say about U2, Bono and how they avoid doing anything to help out at home while they are out working for much trendier causes. Tax evasion is a big part of it. (Their manager is also one of the most ruthless in the biz.)

      2. HastalaVictoria

        Totally agree I was young in the 60’s and always thought
        The Stones the biggest con act out as MCC member Sir Mick and his pals rode Street Fighting Man through the student riots of the 60’s on to evermore lolly

        1. wilroncanada

          The Beatles were actually the lower class kids. The Rolling stones were actually bourgeois offspring playing punk.

            1. digi_owl

              Music being an escape from the UK class structure in one decade, computers in another.

    2. Lexx

      Actors and celebrities are creatures of capitalism. They love “stuff” in ways that would slap the grin right off The Buddha’s face. I can’t find it in me to be disappointed when they fail to live up to my expectations. Isn’t projecting our expectations on to them really our problem, and worse, theirs to manage? They have people – lots of people! – to do that for them.

      They’re deeply flawed human beings, who shine brilliantly in just one small way, made globe-sized by the medium they work in. They’re about 110 pounds of spit and polish with big, giant heads filled with a mental illness we – the fans – do our level best to further engorge. If we want to bring them back down to Earth, we should stop celebrating them… and prepare to read about a lot of funerals shortly after their feet touch the Earth.

      If you know what you’re looking for, you’ll find that quite a few are on the spectrum, which means their average intelligence is quite high. Biting the hands that feed them would be stupid. And besides, again looking from C.J’s worldview, can any real changes be made on the scale celebrities might like to effect, without sucking up to the even more powerful movers and shakers… who are themselves, fans?

    3. anon in so cal

      —Gayle Smith…..

      —And, U2’s The Edge’s long-running battle with environmentalists to destroy all 140 acres of open space in Malibu, CA, USA

    4. Questa Nota

      When you understand that the entertainment industry is run on blackmail, then you see why celebrities say and act the way that they do.

      Celebs and pols have that in common, although the latter enjoy bigger payoffs.

    5. Brian (another one they call)

      Funny how a group with one song, one sound, always repeated ad nauseam would constantly show up in places where the CIA needs warm and fuzzy support? Tedium on steroids
      One day the poor fools will parachute into a combat zone and it will all be over. I will never forget South Park’s characterization of the turd. Is there a crime for interfering with humanities progress?

      1. jr

        I was a mohawked punk in high school when Boner Cox and his crew of posers hit the scene. They were adored by the “preppies”, the surfers, and the jocks for their faux authenticity, their artfully ragged leather and denim schtick, their super-conformist rebelliousness. They were deeply despised by the metal heads, the punks, the skaters, and related species of outsiders. I can’t think of any other band from that era that generated that kind of division.

        1. QuicksilverMessenger

          I like to ask this question to people sometimes: “If you are listening to the radio, what band or singer will make you turn the channel the fastest when they come on?” For me? U2

    6. jonboinAR

      I’d be happy to ignore completely whatever any given celebrity has to say about the larger world. They always present the danger though, that because they’re celebrities ordinary citizens will pay attention to their drivel and be influenced by it.

    7. Geo

      Will never understand why so much of the national discourse is focused on celebrities of any kind. They are people, for better and worse.

      I’ve known and met a few over the years. The ones we don’t see in the news are often the ones who are actually doing good. An actor, I will leave unnamed here as he’s very insistent on privacy, but will say has won oscars and been in the spotlight his whole life, is one of the most compassionate and generous people I’ve ever met. And, he puts his actions where his words are.

      But, have also met some who were vapid, selfish, and self-aggrandizing. Again, they’re regular people who happen to have fame, fortune, and a platform that often goes to their heads. I’d probably be an insufferable *familyblog* if I had a platform too. But, their opinions are of no more value than our non-famous friends and family. They often are informed by the same MSM sources.

      The problem is that we place so much value on celebs (and the wealthy in general). Seems we still need gods even if we don’t really believe in the religious ones anymore.

    8. dermotmoconnor

      Always good to find a superior musician who was memory holed. Hm. Wonder if said memory holed musician’s politics had anything to do with said memory-holing? Phil Ochs wouldn’t have been seen dead hanging out with Nixon, just saying Bono.

      “LOVE ME I’M A LIBERAL” (hasn’t aged a day beyond some of the pop culture refs).

  7. anon y'mouse

    on “Preparing for wave of pandemic-related wrongful death, personal injury lawsuits”, it has been my theory that this is exactly why the virus was not contained in this society.

    within the article we find this quote:

    High hurdle
    At a practical level, the California case and any others to follow face a steep hurdle if only because of the difficulty of proving the employee was infected with the virus while at work.

    “With COVID, people are potentially exposed all over the place – other family members, outside at the grocery store,” said Kollross, who runs Clausen Miller’s Appellate Practice Group. “So, there are going to be huge issues with breach and with causation.”

    It’s different with something like asbestos, where the source of the disease-causing agent is traceable.

    “If your spouse breathed it in, you can say the only place he was exposed to asbestos was in the workplace,” she said. “That’s been a common one historically.” COVID-19 is different because exposure could have occurred anywhere.

    this is EXACTLY my two+ year theory on why the virus went essentially uncontained throughout the rest of the society—businesses did NOT want to have to face these lawsuits and always wanted there to be an out with “you could’ve gotten COVID in line at the grocery store”, and did not want to have to take the many preventative measures that would, in essence, turn every work location into a site of more extreme OSHA-like oversight the way that chemical and other industrial places are now. this is also, i believe, why the work vaccine mandates were put through. the companies absolved themselves of any responsibility by doing what had been agreed upon by the “science” and government officials as reasonable (“we require all workers here to be vaccinated, thus ends our responsibility and our risk. you can’t prove you caught it here nor that the workplace represented any more of a significant risk than any of the other activities and locations you expose yourself to, so getting sick is back on you–the individual. we made sure with our shots that you likely wouldn’t die of this virus, so back to work making money for us you go!”).

    it is the same reason colleges weren’t allowing any escape from their mandates, even for students doing online ed. can you imagine the parents suing because their kid got sick living in the dorms and died? it fully explains the weird policies that some colleges had, with essentially keeping their resident students on lockdown through Christmas vacations and so forth. they knew exactly that being there on campus was a risk and wanted to prevent angry parental lawsuits, which had at least a passing chance of being won in court because our country goes nuts over anyone claiming their children were harmed in any way. the public relations war on lawsuits must be heavily in favor of any parent due to this societal fixation.

    i am not expressing myself clearly, as usual, but i strongly believe that the need to force this down to the individual’s sole responsibility was purely about avoiding liability on the part of the companies and managers of colleges, schools and so forth. these places were not going to allow themselves to be held responsible and take a financial or image hit from the deaths, and didn’t want to take the measures and have the regulatory oversight to try to prevent those deaths either. it was a turf war of regulation and liability insurance on the rest of us. notice how the government dithered except by passing rules and so forth which did essentially nothing to help the citizens prevent infection, but ensured that the places they would be forced to work at or learn at or attend for a significant amount of time each day would not have to do much beyond mandate “vaccines” and wash their hands.

    every step that was taken within the first six months told me what the fallout would be because the officials so obviously were dragging their feet on all of the most obvious things that could be done to genuinely prevent spread. i had text messages to those in my circle to this effect in February 2020 based upon the maneuvering by officialdom and the hedging public statements they were all making: they are going to do nothing, and if you get infected while at work or school, that will be on you. because they don’t want to get sued for you having caught it after 10 hours in their buildings, they will let the virus run wild in the society to obscure that the most dangerous location for anyone trying to avoid infection is the place they spend the most time with others in.

    1. Basil Pesto

      not entirely unreasonable, and here’s the thing. To repeat from the section you quoted:

      It’s different with something like asbestos, where the source of the disease-causing agent is traceable.

      SARS2 chains of transmission actually are traceable up to a point, but once cases exceed a (relatively small) threshold, contact tracing simply becomes unsustainable. One happy corollary of letting it rip is that we can no longer meaningfully trace cases. And, of course, if everyone is to blame for onward transmission, then no one is to blame.

      1. anon y'mouse

        Your final point is somewhat the point I was making, badly as my usual.

        A big throwing up of hands resulting in a quagmire of unsolvability on their part.

        Then a reiteration of why we can’t be like China, because we are “free”.

        1. Basil Pesto

          Then a reiteration of why we can’t be like China, because we are “free”.

          to that end, I find it hard to go past this tweet

          and many will of course dismiss that as Chinese propaganda or whatever. But it rings true, because that was close to Australia’s exact experience (with the exception of an unnecessarily long lockdown in Victoria in 2020 to fix a hotel quarantine cock-up) until we used the vaccines to rationalise abandoning our half-hearted elimination policy.

    2. Verifyfirst

      Interesting resource on covid liability from the National Association Of State Legislatures (no I don’t know who they are, hopefully not ALEC!).

      I always thought if hospitals and other medical settings had been told upfront they had to contract trace every case they ran into, especially for patients who tested negative at admission, and that they would be liable for any transmission within their facility, they would have done much better. Instead hospitals are now mostly permanent super spreader sites, nationally.

      What I don’t understand is why medical professionals didn’t rise up to try to protect themselves (or even educate themselves about aerosol spread, which was obvious even to lay people right away!). Baffling–they and theirs were/are at greatest risk from an unsafe workplace. And they have real power if they were to use it. So the professional consensus that shabby blue masks and not much else are sufficient comes from where?

    3. Mikel

      “we made sure with our shots that you likely wouldn’t die of this virus”

      The mass experiment is barely over a year old.
      This claim – rather mantra – should be revisted
      in the next few years.
      At that point now after over two years of propaganda. The list of BS scientific claims
      is too long. They didn’t want to believe and even wanted to deny that it was airborne.
      There couldn’t possibly be a drug developed to address transmission when the basic fact about how it is transmitted was denied.

      Thus, I’m looking sideways at all the claims until more research is done over time.

      1. tegnost

        We’re fast approaching, or have even arrived at the point of “…everything the american public knows is false.” (h/t william casey, venerable CIA leader 1981-1987, so heavily involved in the early days of the neoliberal adventure)
        My “liberal” friends afflicted with severe TDS are now spending an unhealthy (IMO) amount of time watching what they call “war porn”…I strictly avoid the visuals in this conflict and think it very disturbing in the light that US combat fatalities are strictly forbidden to be shown in the media.

      2. Maritimer

        “Thus, I’m looking sideways at all the claims until more research is done over time.”
        Ed Dowd, ex Blackstone employee, who is working on Injection Investigation, recently stated in an interview with Naomi Wolf that all for all these studies, it is rare indeed that anyone ever investigates the underlying data.

        It is easy to see why: it is incredibly expensive to do so and, in the case of the PFI data, one needs expensive lawyers to do FOI and compel disclosure. As verified by the FDA request for a 75 year lock on the Pfizer data.

        I see all these studies published and the first thing I want to now know: has the data been verified by a, yes indeed, trusted source. Apparently others think differently discussing such studies ad nauseum without anyone ever having seen the underlying data. This medical engineering very similiar to financial engineering from which it may have been spawned.

      3. anon y'mouse

        Please note: I don’t agree with the claim. I present it merely as the argument of the Status Quo-tarians.

    4. Mikel

      Everything possible has been done to take the focus off the workplace as a place of transmission.
      They tried to make it look the virus had a racial preference in order to avoid talking about workplace conditions. This was most useful for getting people to unmask.

    1. Louis Fyne

      IMO, the US replaced its failed nation building in Afghanistan with another nation building quagmire in UA. without even a summer break.

      Regardless of when the war ends, the US is going to be literally paying to run the rump Kyiv government.

      Thought $1, $2 trillion in Afghanistan and Iraq was a lot? that money will look like a trip to Goodwill when compared to the cost of nation-building Ukraine. And the West can’t drop everything ns walk away from a country in Europe, like Afghanis

      That is a win for Russia.

      1. jsn

        The war Keynesianism for Ukraine, domestic Austerianism play will wear thin as the Fed hikes and inflation bites.

        So far everyone from ASEAN, which doesn’t mean much but does men something, to AMLO is just munching popcorn.

        What sort of political spark would be required to get Beijing and Moscow to coordinate counter-sanctions? And how long do you think it will take the Blob to try it? The tide is out, it’s ugly who’s swimming naked, are they (we) fit enough to slog out of the tidal muck before the tsunami rolls in?

      2. SocalJimObjects

        Might as well make Ukraine the 51st state. With Zelensky as Senator/President, President Manchin will have to take one step back, and Roe will finally become law. Heck Build Back Better now has a chance of being passed. Winning!!!

        1. tegnost

          The ugly corporation friendly, parts of the BBB will eventually be trotted across the line, but anything for the population will have to be scrapped as you know we can’t afford it, especially not in a time of war when sacrifices must be made…

      3. Telee

        In an interview with Scott Ritter by FOX news’ Judge Napolitano, Ritter revealed that the US is paying all the salaries to the Ukrainian troops as Ukraine is out of money. Probably paying for everything else as well. As Ritter said, “the US is running the show.”
        Also relevant is the view Ritter has that this is the most dangerous situation he has ever experienced in terms of expansion of Ukraine into WW3 and the possibility of a nuclear war. Col. Black, another critique says that the US is leading the world to nuclear war. I suppose that it is more important that Biden appears strong and wins political support than any concern about a nuclear holocaust.

        1. GF

          US troops are next to be supplied as they will run out of Ukrainians soon.

          Can’t Biden just use the confiscated $300+ billion to pay for rebuilding, feeding, defending… Ukraine? At the rate the money is currently being used up, the $300+ billion might last a month.

          Also, something that isn’t covered, except once on Democracy Now! a couple of weeks ago, is that 1,000 Ukrainian refugees per day are crossing, and being processed, at the US southern border. The brief video of some Ukrainians at the border showed healthy young men in the crossing group. Maybe they should not be given asylum and deported to fight for their country so we don’t have to.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Can’t say that I agree with his take for several reasons and certainly not his idea of Russia opening up a second front with Finland. Sure the Ukrainians got some hits in with artillery brought in from the west but it was a secondary part of the front. Probably they brought that gear up in civilian transport but whatever, they are going to need truckloads of artillery shells daily to properly use them. Assuming that a Russian drone does not find that artillery first. And when the crews are killed, you need more trained replacements with new artillery. Let’s get down to some basics. So the Ukraine is big and I mean big. It is bigger than France and bigger than Alaska. Gonzales Lira said it took him four days to travel across it by bike. And the Russians are only using a small army so are only undertaking one priority at a time. Mariupol is done so now they are working on clearing out the Donbass of those forces that still have no better use for their artillery than to shoot it at Donbass villages instead of, oh I don’t know, Russian forces perhaps? Yes, the Russians are taking losses but the Ukrainians are losing about 400 to 700 men per day. That is like their army losing a battalion a day. Think that the Ukrainians will be able to keep this rate up going into next year? Because that is what London and Washington are demanding. So what I am saying is that the military maths will tell sooner or later and strategic depth will not matter if they do not have the troops to secure it. Just my take of course.

      1. Polar Socialist

        From what I’ve been able to read from Russian media during the last 3-4 weeks when possibility of a Finnish NATO membership has been suddenly relevant, the initial reaction will be worsening of relations between the two, and Russia having to treat Finland as a threat from then on.

        Because limitations on the Russian capabilities currently (according to Russian analysts) the first actions from Russian side would be to militarize (again) Gogland (or Suursaari) less than 100 km from Helsinki. It will become a permanent base for missiles capable of “decapitating” Finland in less than a minute.

        Also Baltic Sea Fleet and Northern Fleet will receive tactical nuclear weapons to stop any attack against Russia in Baltic Region on it’s tracks. Pretty much like NATO approached Fulda Gap since the 50’s.

        Eventually, in 6-8 years, Russia will be able to militarize the border area with enough firepower to neutralize Finland when the need be.

        Yet, for some reason I can’t quite fathom, the thinking in Finland is that “nothing will fundamentally change”. Maybe it’s an unhealthy dose of hopium and decades long habit of not listening to Russia.

        1. LawnDart

          Poland wants to “demilitarize” Kaliningrad and return it to the name of Konigsberg

          Polish military expert and former Deputy Defense Minister Romuald Sheremetyevo said that Sweden and Finland have strong armies that will strengthen the eastern flank of NATO, as well as help the alliance to dominate the Baltic Sea. At the same time, he expressed the opinion that the Kaliningrad enclave, located on the Baltic Sea between Poland and Lithuania, may become a problem in the new balance of power.

          Sheremetyevo believes that after the expansion of the northern flank of NATO, the Kaliningrad region will require demilitarization, since it will be a ” powder keg between the legs of NATO.”

          He also pointed out that even after Finland and Sweden join NATO and the bloc has new tasks, the Polish position on the eastern flank will be much stronger.

          Speaking about the possible reaction of Moscow, Romuald Sheremetyev expressed the opinion that Russia allegedly has no serious arguments and “its threats with nuclear weapons should not be listened to.”

          Source is NewsFront (dot) info

          1. barefoot charley

            Wow. I’d assumed most Eastern European gibbering idiots had emigrated to the US State Department.

            1. Soredemos

              For Poland I find this all very whatever; I already didn’t have a high view of their leadership.

              But Finns, or at least their leadership, have turned out to be much dumber than I thought they were. Finland just made itself into a giant target. Russia has made abundantly clear that it won’t tolerate a NATO state on its border. Ukraine was only defacto NATO, so invoking Article 5 was never a risk there. The future just got a lot bleaker for humanity as a whole.

              1. Balakirev

                True. And as Finland is doing this, I have to wonder what incentive was provided for them to act this way. What did they sell themselves for, and who was the buyer?

      2. hk

        Pretty soon, most of Ukrainian manpower will not actually be “Ukrainian,” if this is not already true. Even before the conflict, Ukrainian population trended old, most of the young wanted to go abroad and certainly didn’t want to be dragooned into the army. So a legion of dubious characters have formed the real core of Ukrainian armed forces already and the trend will only continue further, except with even more of these characters coming from abroad. I do wonder how long this act can be kept up, though.

        1. Soredemos

          The rumors now are that Ukraine is increasingly sending middle-age and older conscripts from the west into the eastern meat grinder. They’re been sent in prepared with tales of the Russians being on the verge of collapse and only one more valiant push being needed. They arrive to find themselves with no fuel, no vehicles, no heavy weapons, little ammo, and no artillery or air support, against an enemy that has largely shifted to just bombarding Ukrainian positions into dust with weapons Ukraine has no ability to respond to. That state of affairs simply can’t continue for long.

          As for foreign mercs, I don’t actually think Ukraine has significant numbers of those left. There were a lot of enthusiastic volunteers for the first couple months, but a huge number of them are giving up and running since it’s become clear that this isn’t an ISIS or Taliban hunting safari. This isn’t a war where you go out on patrol, occasionally get into a firefight with some farmers with AKs, call in an A-10 strike, get a huge adrenaline high, and then go home with an exciting story about “lol, GAU-8 go brrrrrrt. Those haji must have shit themselves!” to tell all your buddies while you sit around drinking beers. Instead it’s a war where you’re on the side that gets hunted down by air support. The mercenaries can’t comprehend what they’ve walked into, and mostly very quickly get disillusioned and leave (or attempt to leave, anyway, if Kiev lets them go).

        2. hk

          PS. Here’s my sense of the medium term problem for all involved:

          1. Russians: Even if their commitment to the Ukrainian war is fairly small in terms of numbers, I’d imagine that the proportion of combat troops who are professional soldiers (as opposed to draftees) is high. While I don’t doubt their casualties are a small fraction of what Ukraine and the West claim, they would disproportionately among the professional combat troops and that is not something they can take on for too long. This is no doubt the rationale behind their adoption of the “slow but methodical” approach to warfare.

          2. While the Ukrainian loses are doubtlessly staggering, I think they (the Ukrainian gov’t, at least, not the Ukrainian people) have more cards to play than people seem to give them credit for. The regular Ukrainian army does not enjoy much political standing there–the mainstay of the regime are the ultranationalist paramilitaries whose ranks probably include a fair number of non-Ukrainians already (per Baud’s assessment). Casualties that befall regular Ukrainians are acceptable losses to them, especially if they belong to the army. So they have to believe that they can go on for a while (which probably is right, unless the Ukrainian army overthrows the regime–which I think is actually distinctly possible). Also, since the West rashly lionized the Ukrainian regime as some kind of heroes for past few months and made all manner of moral commitments, Ukrainians can force them to pay up, especially by calling on the many prominent Western do-gooders who jumped on their bandwagon (but have little or no sense of the political, military, or even humanitarian situation on the ground). Coupled with the currently demonstrated Russian unwillingness to take risks and speed things up, this gives them a lot of leeway.

          3. Probably the worst situation belongs to the Western European leaders, who have too eagerly jumped on the bandwagon without assessing medium to long term consequences. While prolonging the war is not good for the Russians, I think they can go on with it for a while, provided that they can keep the casualties down. Ukrainian gov’t has no consideration for long or even medium term whatsoever and use up whatever resources to keep itself going for now. Western European leaders face medium term crisis (as in within this year) if the situation vis-a-vis Russia don’t stabilize itself, but are hamstrung by their own words. But, I’d imagine also that they too think that they can weather it if anything based on the institutional and psychological inertia as well as the lack of credible opposition in the near term. This goes double for US, where the effect of the crisis on the general population is far attenuated compared to Europe. Biden may wind up paying political costs come November, but it won’t be (mostly) because of the Ukrainian situation, at least not directly.

          So, this does not seem to be a good combination for any sort of immediate solution. Both Russia and West seem to be thinking that they can muddle through. Ukrainian people (and army) will suffer heavily, but their gov’t has nothing to lose.

          1. Yves Smith

            Regarding 1, Russia is believed by Russia friendly sources who have military backgrounds (like Andrei Martyanov) to be holding back a lot of its professional soldiers in case someone does something stupid, like try attacking Belarus or Russia. So the assumption is that they are using way less than their capacity even before you get to their ability to increase conscription

            Your assumption 2. is incorrect. As Gonzalo Lira and others reported (and I would trust Lira on that, he has a lot of local contacts, he’s been doing business in Ukraine for a while), conscription age men started fleeing Ukraine as soon as Zelensky ordered all from 18 to 60 to serve. You can see that confirmed in the ages of the men in the surrender videos. A surprisingly large proportion are middle aged. One reader reported, but I have not seen confirmation, that as of mid-April, Zelensky widened conscription age to 13 to 79. If that it true, Ukraine is desperate.

            Alexander Mercouris (who reader Russian and follows Ukraine and Russian social media) says small scale protests have started in Ukraine in Kiev by mothers objecting to their sons fighting in desperate and unwinnable conditions. Mind you, this is taking place despite the SBU’s reputation for brutality, so there’s reason to think the sentiment is wider-spread than the level of protests indicates. Either way, this is a sign that domestic support is starting to fray.

            You are also not factoring in what happens when the army in the east collapses, which is in progress. They are losing 400 to 700 men a day and that’s before the Russians picked up the pace in the last couple of days. Those were the best units. The psychological blow to Ukraine will be large.

            You can’t fight a war with largely conscripts and modern equipment. And you are also not factoring that the Western equipment is not helping Russia. It’s old, often not reliable, and requires training which they are either not getting or not getting enough of.

            1. hk

              1. I do wonder if the need to maintain a large chunk of professional soldiers for other potential commitments would in fact constrain Russian choices in Ukraine–it provides them with all the more reason to conserve its cadre, take less risks, and go slow. But slow going does seem to have political repercussions (e.g. Finland), although it might actually work to Russia’s advantage (see below).

              2. I was trying to draw distinction between Ukrainian gov’t and Ukrainian people (or even the army). Ukrainian people and army will not be able to sustain the casualties that they are taking. I doubt that matters much (directly) to the regime whose power does not depend on them. If pushed too far, I suspect that they might do something about it (thus, me musing about a possible army coup against the regime). But, at least for now, it’s the ultranationalist paramilitary and Western aid/political support that sustains the gov’t in Kyiv/Kiev.

              3. The Western gov’ts are, as I mentioned above, the weakest link in the current crop of actors. Their support for the Ukrainian gov’t, coupled with their reckless rhetoric earlier, has cost them (and their publics) dearly. But how many of them are actually threatened via conventional (or even unconventional) politics that might actually throw them out any time soon? And will their replacements, even if they do get thrown out, have ideas other than stay the course? This is, of course, directly linked to #2: Ukrainian regime has little or no immediate reason to care about its own army or people as long as the Western aid is flowing and props them up. But is this a sustainable course for any gov’t, especially in wartime? So two potential advantages that Russia might accrue in the medium to long term if they go the slow route are 1) Western politicians somehow finding a way to cut their losses and let Kyiv/Kiev go its own way; 2) Ukrainian people and army get tired of the abuse and overthrow the gov’t in some fashion. But, realistically, how likely are these? (I am increasingly wondering if the #2 is at least plausible, given the stories coming out of Ukraine).

            2. timbers

              I read Lavrov indicated there will be more troops sent to Ukraine to “backfill” areas under Russian control. Hope this is in motion and not just in “planning.” Sorry I can’t recall the source. He mentioned that in context of Russian troops withdrawal near Kharkav to concentrate on Donbas. IMO this is not the moment for stinginess on troop deployment. But yes Russia needs to be vigilant of US attack…have also read US airforce is deploying in UK.

              1. Yves Smith

                With all due respect, this sounds 100% wrong.

                I checked Lavrov’s recent statements and media Q&As and he said nothing of the kind.

                And he makes a point of not answering any questions about military matters. He tells the interviewer that it’s not his brief.

                The only statements he makes about military operations is to reaffirm past public positions of the Russian government, like to state that any foreign arms shipments that get to Ukraine are legitimate targets. And he also objected vociferously and in some detail about how some recent remarks about nuclear war were turned totally on their head. He had to beat up on the interviewer 2x, he was so wedded to an apparently distorted version of Lavrov’s comments.

                I had to waste about 20 minutes on this. We have a big warning at the top of comments about not providing misinformation. You did just that. If you don’t have a link, please don’t provide supposed information nuggets, since ones from MSM outlets on Russia are often garbage (as in just parroting Ukraine propaganda) and ones with no source are vastly more problematic.

            3. anon in so cal

              On his blog, John Helmer early on recommended Yury Podolyak as one of several reliable sources on the war.

              Most recent Ukraine war newsreel 05/13/22 : Yury Podolyak:

              “Ukraine will not withdraw: a battle has become inevitable.
              Ukraine has decided to fight for Donbass to the end, without giving up a single city.”

              FWIW, apparently, the former GRU agent /now taxi driver that Gilbert Doctorow mentioned in his most recent blog post is not assessing the situation positively.

        3. tegnost

          So a legion of dubious characters have formed the real core of Ukrainian armed forces already and the trend will only continue further, except with even more of these characters coming from abroad.

          Just for clarity, are you implying that Azov brigade is mostly foreigners?

          1. hk

            Jacques Baud stated such in one of his articles/interviews. My sense of the relationship between the army and the paramilitary forces in Ukraine is based on his observations.

          2. Yves Smith

            Jacques Baud said in one of his two early articles in French which got him noticed on this topic, that when NATO was working with Ukraine in 2014-2015, its army was terrible. The solution was mercenaries, and the ones who would go to Ukraine were typically the worst sort of Nazi-sympathizer types. He said that 40% of the army was mercs, although not all may have been technically (as in hired as regular soldiers as opposed to mercs attached to regular units).

            As for the Azov Battalion, that term is used imprecisely and sometimes we have participated in that for reasons of convenience. The original group was not part of the army, so it was an irregular unit attached to the army. Its members were then integrated, and critically, spread across the entire armed forces (along with other neo-Nazi types who were willing to serve, such as members of Right Sector) to spread their ideology and act as stiffeners, as in among other things brutalize other soldiers who didn’t fall in with their way of doing things.

            There is a belief that the troops stationed in Mariupol were more hard core right wing than in the military overall due to the importance of the location and it being in a strongly Russian area. We’ll see how well founded that is when the last dudes in the steel factory surrender or are so debilitated by hunger than they can be easily overcome.

        4. wilroncanada

          The front page story in the local community newspaper was a “refugee” from Ukraine “escaping” to Vancouver Island for a better life. Turns out the young good looking man had already been working in Poland for close to a year. A local business owner has given him instant employment. And like all other Ukrainian “refugees” he gets free ferry travel, free bus fare, and some other perks.
          “Send us your poor, your tired, your persecuted?” HaHahaHaaaHaaa!

          1. caucus99percenter

            Everything is like CalPERS Black Lives Matter and its six million-dollar mansion now. The most privileged are the professionally oppressed.

    3. Rolf

      Thanks for this link. Lengthy, yes, very worthwhile. Given that this is a existential conflict that Russia/Putin cannot afford to lose, and given that US/NATO will continue to supply weapons plus personnel (presumably at the moment for training purposes only), never mind the hapless obsession of the DC blob to do anything re-establish unipolarity, this can only escalate. A conflict that grinds on and on.

    4. Janie

      Ex Pfc Chuck, thanks for posting link. I watched last night; it kept me awake. I trust his analysis more than anyone else’s. I dunno about Finland, Rev. If NATO on the Uke border wasn’t acceptable, neither is it on the Finnish border. As Ritter pointed out, Russia has a history with Sweden and Finland, as well as Lithuania.

    5. Yves Smith

      It’s troubling to see how Ritter likes to jump to extreme views he has to walk back over time, like his claims about the speed with which Russia would prevail.

      If you listen to the latest Alexander Mercouris talk, you’ll seem him mention two things Ritter missed. One is fairly early on (March 24) the chief of operational directorate of the Russian armed forces’ general staff, Sergei Rudskoy, said due to the heavy bunkering in Donbass, the Russians would pound them with artillery before moving in with ground troops. This would clearly imply to someone with a military background that Ukraine forces Donbass would not be subdued quickly, but Ritter appears not to be paying enough attention to key Russian source, despite him having the advantage of being fluent in Russian.

      Second is that Mercouris is bold enough to explicitly disagree with Ritter, starting at around 30:00 because Mercouris read the actual US aid bill! It makes clear a lot of the dough it not going to Ukraine but to replenish the depleted weapons stocks of allies who’ve been shipping materiel to Ukraine. He further expresses doubts re lead times for manufacture, training (for use and repair) and getting the needed logistics in place in a war zone where Russia controls the air.

      1. Old Sovietologist

        Ritter can be prone to wild swings in his views of a situation. Partly, I suspect because of the perceived glacial pace of the SMO in the Donbass and to much concern of recent Russian minor setbacks at the tactical level.

        Although the fog war of complicates matters. Two things are clear. A large part of the Ukrainian army still held in the ‘cauldron’ of the Donbass and that army is slowly being degraded.

        The Russian are no hurry. They have until September to complete the task. Clearly, they will want this to be wrapped up before “General Winter” arrives but they have plenty of time until then
        It’s going to take months to grind and ‘slice n dice’ the Donbass Ukrainian forces. However, they will collapse and it will happen quickly with very little warning, for what it’s worth I expect this to happen sometime in August.

        The Russian’s are of course expecting that cracks will gradually occur among the NATO countries in the meantime. Now that may prove to be wishful thinking but it’s a strong possibility. Then there’s the chance of civil unrest in Western European countries as the cost-of-living crisis starts to become evident. Again, these are possible developments rather than certainties.

        Will Russia lose this conflict. No. If the General Staff think they are, then they will simply mobilise more troops to get the job done. Obviously, they will be acutely aware they don’t want this develop into Chechnya situation but they won that in the end.

        The Western media have got one thing right though. This conflict has become an existential threat to Putin. He simply can’t lose or he’s gone. Ultimately, he will do whatever is required to prevail.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          One factor that may come into play is that the Ukrainian forces in the Dunbass are now nearing the fourth month of intense combat bombardment. So far as I’m aware, they have had only minimal ability to switch units in and out to give relief. Most militaries reckon that a soldier can only withstand 100-150 days of constant combat stress before they become functionally useless, either from full on PTST, its also what used to be called Battle Exhaustion. The collapse of armies tends to be a little like bankruptcy – slowly at first, and then all at once. I would guess that the Russians are relying on this to save them the need to drive them out bunker by bunker.

  8. fjallstrom

    Those six plants that went offline in Texas, anyone seen any mention of which plants or which kind of power plant?

    I have tried to search for it, but only find articles obviously based on the same press release. The way the articles phrase it looks like they went offline because of the heat, which would point to nuclear. Nuclear plants are very dependant on cooling.

    But I would like to know, so if anyone seen anything concrete, I would be grateful.

    1. griffen

      Here is some info on the Texas grid operator / overseer. Haven’t seen anything about which plants or where, and one can suss out the local and state politics at work to keep that data private for as long as possible. Absent a colossal fudge of power outages. If past is prologue, we will know after the fact.

      Nuclear is somewhat down the rankings for power grid contribution. ERCOT mostly runs the power grid, or more likely they do what their power generation plant owners tell them.

        1. fjallstrom

          Thanks griffen and Chuck.

          I found the names of the plants – Comanche peak and South Texas – and from there found uptime data.

          It seems like my guess was wrong. Three of four reactors are running at 100%, only Comanche Peak 1 is at 0%.

          So it got to hot for the fossile fuels then.

          1. ex-PFC Chuck

            It’s near the end of the spring window for scheduled maintenance but that’s still a possible reason for the unit being off line.

    2. Lexx

      Nothing in cyber; they weren’t knocked offline. It’s just hot in Texas, everyone is turning up their air conditioners and straining the grid. ERCOT is trying the manage the possibility of unexpected blackouts.

      For future reference: Krebs on Security, The Register, SANS Newsroom, and Shields Up USA.

    3. Jacob Hatch

      Only one operational nuclear power plant in Texas, if my memory is correct. FYI, they are not much more dependent on water than coal plants for same size output. Combined cycle gas plants need less cooling water per unit output, but still highly dependent on decent volume of quality cooling water (vs. process water). Some of the newer high efficiency single cycle plants can nearly match combined cycle plants in efficiency by direct water injection of cooling water of a much smaller amount that is needed by a condenser equipped plant. However, as this (de-ionized) water is blown out into atmosphere and not recovered, the intake water quality becomes critical or water treatment becomes odious. Both surface and well water in times of heat stress or drought will decline in purity. One thing to remember is all thermal power, even solar thermal, requires a very large heat sink, and if it’s water then than heat sink water has to be of a decent quality or maintaining the power becomes both expensive and less available.

      1. chris

        There are two nuclear power plants in Texas: Comanche Peak and South Texas. Two additional nuclear power plants were proposed but those plans were scrapped over the last 10 years because of the natural gas from fracking. Comanche Peak still has a valid application to expand, as does South Texas. Whether either will do that depends on economics and a whole lot of other things.

        An interruption in water supply from drought or any other reason would require a lot of changes to either plant and likely result in them shutting down. The risks are too great and their licenses may not permit them to operate with significant external challenges to their coolant supply.

        1. Jacob Hatch

          Thank you, Chris. It’s been some years and I didn’t recall the name with confidence.

          I agree Comanche Peak is badly located for water supply. I agree nether plant is likely to be expanded using current commercial technology both due to uncertainty in water and commercial rights. That said, South Texas was the plant I knew of before, and they have access to the Gulf of Mexico, though they use a isolated pond as a heat sink for now. South Texas thus have the greater potential for expansion if push comes to shove.

    4. PlutoniumKun

      There are stresses now all all types of power plants. Even gas CCGT plants are suffering as most were designed and built to provide peaking energy, but have been used now for baseline power. There was a huge expansion of natural gas power plants in the 1990’s, and many are now reaching the end of their design lives. And all thermal plants (nuclear and coal) can be vulnerable to water stresses. And of course many are hitting their fifth decade of life. And that’s not even factoring in grid stresses. Europe has a much better grid system than the US, but similarly is suffering from reliance on aging thermal plants and overstressed gas turbine plants.

  9. Colonel Smithers

    Thank you, JLS.

    Further to the Trita Parsi link, his view was echoed by a former UK envoy to Moscow, Tony Brenton, on the BBC yesterday breakfast time.

    On Friday, France Info featured similarly from an academic at France’s Sciences Po: La demande d’adhésion de la Finlande à l’Otan “donne un argument en or” à Vladimir Poutine, regrette un spécialiste

    1. The Rev Kev

      Thank you, Colonel. Finland has officially announced its intention of joining the NATO military alliance and now is seeking approval from their Parliament. I wonder if the Finns realize what they will be giving up for this “security”? For a start, the mostly peaceful Scandinavian north has now become a potential conflict zone. They will have to pay heavily to develop NATO bases throughout their country and support the continuous exercises that NATO will be holding on the Russian border. They will also have to give up a large measure of their autonomy with both foreign affairs and defence policy. Probably they will have to start adopting NATO equipment as they will be integrated into NATO Command. Certainly the intelligence services of NATO will be moving heavily into Finland at least and whose tendrils will spread throughout their politics. What will Russia do? Who knows? Maybe they will just embargo all electricity, gas and oil to Finland. Already gas has been cut as the Finns refused to pay for it so then it would be on the Russians to cut them off. But if it gets really cold this winter, at least Finland has plenty of trees to cut down for firewood. Because if they expecting any help with this from the EU/NATO, I have news for them and it is all bad.

      1. ex-PFC Chuck

        As Scott Ritter notes in the video I linked earlier at 8:24, because of the Article 5 commitment Russia has an incentive to act to nip the Finland situation in the bud before the country formally joins NATO. If Ritter is correct this situation could escalate steeply and suddenly.

          1. Janie

            Ritter says the US will buy Turkey and Hungary off and Finland will get the ok at the end of June.

            1. Jacob Hatch

              So America is going to give cheap gas, cheap nuclear fuel, and of course all the tourist to replace the Russian ones that have been keeping Turkey’s nose just above water level? I’m impressed. One hopes the Turkish admin is equally impressed with USA staying power.

            2. jsn

              The economic rip tides, so far invisible but deadly below the surface, are being discounted by geo strategists.

              The make or break economic tests on both sides of the Atlanticist divide will provid drama this summer and in the lead up to November.

              Outside the controlled narrative, things are sliding around and breaking all over the place. Domestic blowback so far is limited to inflation, but there are a lot of other avenues through which reality will intrude once the Fed tightening starts to deliver unemployment.

              1. jsn

                For instance, the meme COVID is a mass casualty event, the blatant criminality of the anti union drive and the entire crypto sector, Sri Lanka analogues all over the world and whatever insanity ensues from NATO bellicosity.

                And then, there’s the weather, an increasingly unruly geo strategic partner we’re continuing to provoke.

                1. jsn

                  Oh, and thanks Mikel further down in links, there’s the whole bombs not baby formula thing too!

            3. hk

              Right, and the 4th Infantry Division invaded Iraq from the north. Other countries will stand firm if their presumed interests are beyond money

            4. hunkerdown

              With what? Hungary doesn’t seem to want any carrots the West has to offer, and has not been very reachable by stick.

        1. Tor User

          “that’s my firm belief they will not allow this to happen and that means that Russia will destroy Finland as a modern nation state before they allow Finland to join NATO”

          At about 40 minutes in.

          1. Yves Smith

            Ritter likes to paint in awfully bright colors. First, he has pointed out in the past that Article 5 means little in practice. It is not even remotely an obligation on other NATO members to defend an attacked fellow NATO member. It merely obligates them to think about responding (IIRC the exact word is “consider”).

            Second, Putin is an extremely measured man. Doing something precipitous is not his way.

            Third, Turkey is throwing a spanner. It may be possible to bribe them into going along…but Russia could quietly counterbribe them…..and Russia being able to provide wheat in an environment of wheat scarcity and hunger being very destabilizing to any government is an awfully attractive currency.

            1. Tor User

              If the Turkish Parliament has to vote take the Turkish decision on Finland/Sweden and NATO, your point could stretch things out for a very long time.

              But to the point of NATO’s Article 5 and even the EU’s Article 42, what those words result in, in an actual event could be as you say, quite surprising. It might end up as something like Jordan’s participation in the 1973 Arab Israeli war (sending limited forces to fight in the actual combat zone), to even less than that, as in the West’s participation in the current conflict (sending supplies) or even nothing beyond a sternly worded resolution. That is why a lot of the smaller countries want the ‘tripwire’ forces from other countries present, so they are in the fight from the start. And believing that might continue to keep them that way.

      2. Louis Fyne

        Finland is already essentially inter-operable with Nato. American army units are in Finland right now for exercises.

        the groundwork for Nato expansion was years in the making. the UA wr was just a good excuse

    2. David

      Thanks Colonel. I agree. I think Finns have got this the wrong way round. We’ve discussed before that the “security guarantee” is largely illusory, in that Art 5 doesn’t actually commit members to do anything in particular. Put bluntly, nobody is going to risk nuclear war to save Helsinki, but Helsinki might have to risk nuclear war to save Berlin. I’m not sure that’s what the Finns were after. More importantly, as you and others have suggested, it’s simply adding to the impression that the West is out to surround Russia by all means, and makes the Finnish situation more, rather than less, dangerous. An interesting game, by the way, is to try to remember how many of the current EU and European NATO members did not send contingents or volunteers to fight on the side of the Germans in 1941-5. Well, the British, the Portuguese, the Greeks … that’s about it, though, particularly if you count Yugoslavs who bought for the Germans against the partisans.

      That said, I doubt if there will be much actual change in practice. NATO has been closing HQs rather than opening them, and at a pinch the old AFNORTH HQ near Oslo could probably be re-opened, but there’s no reason to put it in Finland. A lot would depend on whether the Finns opted to be part of the Integrated Military Structure, and I doubt if they’ve thought through the implications of that yet, or even necessarily know what they are. They operate an eclectic mix of European and US equipment (mostly the former) so interoperability should not be a problem. I wonder how they’ll feel, though, when they’ve calmed down a bit.

      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, David.

        I was hoping you would pipe up.

        Further to your recent comments about the recalibration of the western message, the fact that Brenton was allowed on Auntiee Beeb that early and given some latitude spoke volumes. Brenton’s rarely on, but, if allowed out, is confined to Newsnight, 22:30 London time, so that those of a sensitive disposition can rest easy.

        Today, the UK MSM is spinning Ukraine’s victories on the battlefields of eastern Ukraine and Turin yesterday as galvanising the Ukrainian population into more determined resistance. NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg told the BBC that Ukraine was getting the better of the fighting and on the way to prevailing.

      2. ex-PFC Chuck

        Finland has an 800 mile border with Russia, and from the latter’s perspective the most dangerous parts are the far south and the far north: the proximity to St. Petersburg and the naval bases on the Kola peninsula, respectively. NATO missile bases near either is an existential threat to human civilization. Russia, and therefore the USA, would be forced to be on a DEFCON 2 level of alert permanently. Any launch, even inadvertent, would activate a “shoot immediately” standing order since there’s no time for verification and questions. They would come later if anyone’s left alive to ask and answer them.

        1. Old Sovietologist

          Finland formally confirms intention to get nuked.

          There was a small anti-nato demonstration in Helsinki, I think about 500 or so people. Let’s hope the fight for an independent Finland can grow further.

      1. hk

        I think the French had always written Putin as “Poutine.” My Quebecois acquaintances had a chuckles or two about it for years.

        1. Yves Smith

          Yes, the same Jacques Baud mentioned above has a book Poutine, maître du jeu ? which I was tempted to buy, it looks like writes in pretty straightforward French that I might be able to handle (my French has suffered greatly from decades of non-use). And I was taken aback too by the Poutine!

      1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

        That’s right Rev. A lakh is one hundred thousand and a crore is ten million.

        Also, fjallstrom, I fixed the bad link. Thanks!

      2. fjallstrom

        Thanks Rev.

        I have come across lakh and crore (ten millions) before, but only in articles about economics so I figured it was economics terms and didn’t realize it was counting terms.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “Hundreds escape flood waters in Queensland as state lashed by severe thunderstorms”

    Got that right. Today is the first day for nearly a week when there hasn’t been heavy rainfalls. The ground is absolutely saturated and so this results in flood waters as the rain has nowhere else to go. Walking through some parts of my block is like walking through the Somme right now. Looking outside right now (night-time here) I can see some heavy fog appearing from all this water/moisture. The town of Laidley not that far from here had flood waters go through it and some roads near us have been cut as well. But the media are not covering it that well because of more important stuff like, err, the elections this weekend. Just to add to this, the daughter got herself infected with Coronavirus and so has had to spend the past coupla days down in her room. She would love to make a Kentucky Fried run but even if she wasn’t sick, the roads were cut. Being a sympathetic dad, I have tried to help her. Told her that I would give her a brass bell that I have and whenever she goes to the bathroom, she could ring it and yell out ‘Unclean! Unclean!’

  11. Eclair

    OK, I am a bit tired and cranky this morning, having spent the last four days groveling about in the dirt, hoeing, digging and marathon planting potatoes, peas, onions and leeks, the rain having stopped and the soil having finally dried out enough to be worked.

    So, I read the Baffler piece on Travel Velocity, seeking a bit of vicarious vacation thrill, and instead was left with a bad taste in my mouth, a result of the author’s seeming contempt for the lower class Americans who take budget Planet-killing flights to warm sandy beaches and go on cheap cruises to exotic ports. Loud, shorts-wearing types who send back FB and TikTok photos to incite the envy of their stay-at-home friends.

    I would rather lick the seat of an Interstate Rest Stop toilet than sail on one of those microbe-laden floating pest hotels, and traveling to places where the brown populace make their meager living by obsequiously serving white Euro/Ameri-trash, is not my cup of tea. But to ignore the rapacious corporations that rake in billions from promoting air travel, cruises and hotel stays, and placing all the blame on the working class that is seeking some relief from what might be an otherwise miserable life back home, is mis-directing blame. Talk about ‘cheap shots’ at the ‘deplorables’

    After reading, I checked out the author. I would bet she flies routinely to conferences, lectures, book tours. But somehow the airline carbon emissions of the PMC produce no Planet-killing pollution. Sanitized at the source.

    Rant over. I’m gonna go tie up the hop vines before they engulf the house.

    1. Lexx

      Checked back to my last issue wondering how I’d missed the article, but I see it came out on Friday(?). I looked up the author too…

      Not alot of info on her but I can see the internal knots this writer must be tied up in, the contradictions. All those smarts and all that rage. She can never go ‘home’; she’ll spend her life as an outsider. The outsider perspective is frequently right in the form of inconvenient truths; they aren’t known for their tact.

      1. flora

        Kind of amazing how the self-identified “virtuous” lead such a pure and virtuous life (just ask them, or don’t ask them, they’ll tell ya with no prompting), kind of amazing that all the problems are caused by the so-called unvirtuous. How could it be otherwise? (Taking even 2 seconds considering one might not be wholly virtuous and blameless in thought and action – “human” in other words – would bring down the carefully constructed inner temple of ‘I’m not-responsible’ egotism.) My 2 cents.

        1. jsn

          IMO, it would bring an end to writing as a job.

          The recognition that our major problems are systemic requires the equal recognition the solutions are collective. This will be construed as Communism by the class that employs writers, which of course disqualifies one for a payed writing job.

          Jay Gould will always be happy to pay one half of the working class to kill the other, or for any narratives that bend in that direction, angrier the better. A little surprised to see it at The Baffler though, my sympathies Eclair, I almost fell for that one because of who published it!

          1. flora

            Krystal and Kyle interview historian Harvey Kaye and a progressive activist about the Dem party’s 50 year war on the working class. “…pay one half of the working class to kill the other….”

            50 Years of Dems ABANDONING The Working Class | Krystal Kyle & Friends


        2. dermotmoconnor

          QUOTE: “Kind of amazing how the self-identified “virtuous” lead such a pure and virtuous life (just ask them, or don’t ask them, they’ll tell ya with no prompting)”

          Aussies call them FIGJAMS (F*** I’m great, just ask me).

    2. Lexx

      You make your own beer, perhaps? What type of hops?

      We used to grow a couple of varieties (yes, for beer) when we had a farmhouse and 33 acres. Most of the land was already planted in trees when we bought it, but there was plenty more to plant whatever we liked. What we didn’t know when we planted the hops was how pungent they were.

      They’re gorgeous things though.

      1. Eclair

        Lexx, the hop vines are mainly to shade the porch. I bought the plant about five years ago and it grows like a weed, but a good weed, that does require a firm hand and lots of support. The bees love the flowers, a bird couple always builds a nest deep in its tangled depths, and it provides a fragrant shade for those hot afternoons. I have good intentions of picking the hop flowers, drying them and stuffing them into fragrant little pillows, to aid in sleep. One of these years. As for beer, there are several local small breweries that produce quite good products.

    3. midget

      “A gentleman’s hands are always clean”

      It’s really amazing, isn’t it, how the fundamental attitudes of the aristocratic class never seem to change.

  12. HastalaVictoria

    Totally agree I was young in the 60’s and always thought
    The Stones the biggest con act out as MCC member Sir Mick and his pals rode Street Fighting Man through the student riots of the 60’s on to evermore lolly

      1. ambrit

        Yep, and so were the Communist WW1 vets. Remember the German Revolution of 1918-1919?
        Political “movements” organizing military veterans into ‘kinetic influencers’ for ‘force projection’ purposes. Add in local police forces heavily infiltrated by similar ex-military cadres. What could go wrong?
        As a propaganda aside; there was some canoodling here in comments about when would the ‘Left’ in America come up with a catchy tune to ‘comemerate’ the unfortunate demise of a “street fightin’ man.” The Horst-Wessel-Lied was mentioned. Now there was a popular song about a “Street Fighting Man” if you ever heard one.
        A wonderful send up of this is Willie Nelson’s “song” from the film, “Wag the Dog,” “I Guard the Canadian Border.”
        Hear: Unfortunately, this bit of musical satire is not to be found on YouTube. Hmmm…..

        1. Steven A

          Looked and looked with no success. Apparently if you want to hear it you have to buy the DVD.

  13. chuck roast

    I’m heading down to the “A Gathering For Ukraine” at 2:00. The usual suspects will be there including the Ukrainian Orthodox Church Choir; a Ukrainian Army Colonel named Oleski Kalchenko and one of our esteem US Senators. I will be sporting my NO NAZI/NO AZOV sign and my sunglasses so all that blue n’ yellow doesn’t give me red-eye. Heh. Full report at 5:00.

  14. The Rev Kev

    “G7 warn of global food crisis, vow indefinite supply of weapons for Ukraine”

    Yeah, about that. The British are already scouring the world for Russian and Soviet equipment to send the Ukrainians. And guess what? The Ukrainian soldiers have been given an order forbidding them to criticize western weapons. For real. The Ukrainian solders have been saying that the Polish tanks are rubbish, the US M113 APCs are just death traps, the Javelin and Stingers are complicated to learn and fail far too many times and don’t get the job done. I guess that all this talk by Ukrainian soldiers must be effecting world weapon sales or something- (11:50 mins)

    1. midget

      To be fair, US soldiers have been saying that M113 APCs are death traps for a while, now. Aluminum does jack all against shrapnel, let alone an RPG.

      From the various Ukrainian telegram channels I have been reading, the Panzerfaust 3 system commands a lot of respect. There are also rumors that Russia has deployed 2S35 batteries near Kharkov. Translated comment from

      What is 2S35? If you somehow, deep behind the front line, catch forty incoming 152-mm in about a minute and a half – there it is, Putin’s fucking monster.

      Even NATO admits that these are very good. There aren’t many of them, however.

      Finally, on Russian telegram channels there are rumors that BMPT “Terminator” fighting vehicles will take part in the assault on Severodonetsk. I’m curious to see how they perform.

    2. bidule

      Not sure for weapons, but what the European Union has in “indefinite supply” is stupidity, the chemically pure form.

      The G7 is betting on an Ukrainian victory, or at least a sort of stalemate which would definitively weaken Russia and force her to beg on her knees (because Russians have no proud and a very bad army). This “indefinite supply” of weapons will be just the first of other “indefinite supplies”. Next is “indefinite supply” of money (especially money!), food, steel, coal, petrol, gas, pretty much everything which is extracted in, or produced in, or goes through, the East and South of Ukraine which (this is my opinion) the Russian army will sooner or later take control of (algebraically: this Russian army may be incompetent and corrupted, but the Ukrainian army has reached higher levels).

      The USA beside these 40 printed billions won’t provide much more (maybe these Covid masks that they do not need anymore). They will ask their European poodles to continue the fight for “values”. The European poodles will obey. It is what they have always done, what they still do, proudly doubling down to the detriment of their own economies (techno-magically tweeterized and financiarized, therefore no gaz or petroleum needed). These “Western Democracies” will have to deal with, flowing in reverse, an “indefinite supply” of refugees (and maybe some Stingers). Few of these refugees will return to the poorest country in Europe. But since they have blue eyes and blond hair, they are absolutely “European values” compatible and, certainly, will easily blend within a generous population living in luxury.

      It looks like the European Commission, which wants to get rid of the evil Russian oil “by the end of the year”, has no idea of what a refinery (or a factory or agriculture) is, nor how it works. It looks like Ursula von der Leyen has no clue of how electricity (and power in general) is produced and how much of it is needed to run a sizeable economy and not only the german electric car she is been driven in (she is really worried of global warming).

      Sooner or later, the European Commission (and many European countries), will have to learn the basics of common science such as Physics, Thermodynamics, Chemistry, Agronomy and what else… (Slightly different of what they have seen in a Marvel movie.) They could even have to sense, in their bones, what this thing called a Black Hole is and how much it sucks: the Ukrainian oligarchy (and I fear so: the American oligarchy) will happily bleed them in no time. Maybe then, probably too late, will they start to think about what they have done — and to what extent the process is somehow reversible despite the second law of thermodynamics.

      1. David

        I don’t think the G7 are betting on a Ukrainian victory, or at least only in the sense that they are betting on being able to spin the eventual outcome as a victory for the West. As I’ve suggested, there are subtle changes taking place in the discourse: I’ve seen a number of pundits recently, punditing that, well perhaps the east of the country will have to be allowed to go, but hey, the Russians can’t take Kiev, so they will be forced to compromise on their plans to overrun the whole country (and who knows, the Baltics as well). So in the end, “Putin” won’t get what he originally wanted. He will have been stopped by those brave Ukrainians, of course, but nonetheless the West can take a bow, because, if not for us they would have succumbed to the evil invader. The deliveries of arms and money have three objectives (1) being seen to “do something” (2) making the West feel good and (3) weakening Russia by prolonging the conflict. Of course all this will come back to haunt governments in a few years, but by then most of today’s performers will be writing books and making TV appearances explaining how they saved the world.

  15. Mikel

    “The ‘five pandemics’ driving 1 million U.S. Covid deaths” Stat

    Unfortunately, now there will need to be a miracle drug or treatment. Death cult economy worshippers aren’t interested in non-pharma solutions.
    But the biggest problem is the fairy tale notions sbout “immunity.”
    Stop lying to yourselves and everyone…please.
    There. Is. No. Immunity.

    There is TEMPORARY anti-body protection and/or immune system responses that are not permanent and vary from person to person and environment to environment.

  16. Jacob Hatch

    “The attack by Israeli forces against mourners at the funeral of Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh is an outrage. The United States must condemn this, and demand an independent investigation into her killing.”

    Trust Bernie’s voting record, he’ll still keep funding Israeli military even when he promised he would not. Just more smoke from burning hopium.

      1. ambrit

        Notice that all of the “settlers” look to be Orthodox. This is very much a religious phenomenon. These people literally believe that an all encompassing supernatural being has given them permission to possess the “Holy Land.”
        Read a fanatic’s assessment:
        Looking at a map of what is purported to be Judea and Samaria, this includes a lot more than the West Bank and Gaza.
        The only way to stop them is with force. Thus, we have the Intifada and terrorism. Terrorism on both sides, as the Palestinian journalist found out.
        This will not end well.

    1. Janie

      Israeli troops have been murdering Palestinians for decades with no decrease in US support. Why would this latest be any different?

      1. tegnost

        Agreed. We’re not a country that is getting nicer, we’re a country that’s getting meaner.

          1. The Rev Kev

            Sounds like Germany is getting into the act-

            ‘Hebh Jamal
            The situation in Berlin is extremely tense. Police are literally arresting anyone they seen on the street who even says “free palestine” or wears a keffiyah. An hour ago German police arrested one of the most important Palestinian activists in Germany, @RamsyKilani.


  17. The Rev Kev

    “Ukraine war: Heartbroken wives and mothers of Azovstal garrison say heroic battle is almost over”

    You know, I really feel sorry for that guy’s wife. I would like to sit her down, hold her hands in mine, look into her eyes, and say ‘Sorry, luv. You had the bad luck to marry a war criminal who is also a Nazi to boot. Bit of bad luck there. Better luck next time. But as you met him when you both served as a border guards, I am not so sure about you either. I suspect damaged goods. “Slava Ukraini!” and all that. Ciao.’

    1. Alyosha

      Unverified voracity but I saw some film of defense emplacements on the outskirts of Mariupol that were completely unused. It appears that Azov’s reputation from the ATO in Donbas continues. They ran away to Avostal and just did as much damage to Mariupol as they could. They’re geared up and taking loud, but aren’t really a fighting force. Just an ethnic cleansing occupation force that now expects some sort of miraculous intervention to save them. They could come out and fight to the death, a real last stand of heroes type thing but won’t. Nor will they do what a professional military would do in this situation and surrender (they obviously can’t because they’ll be tried and executed in the DPR).

      1. chris

        I would like to vote for the word, “Voracity”, to be added to the official lexicon in that context. I imagine the word connotes “aggressive or offensive truth” as opposed to mere veracity which simply means accuracy. I don’t care if it was a typo. I love that word. Ex: “The main stream media was forced to censor opinions from the likes of Scott Ritter in 2022 because they could not withstand his voracity on war or weaponry.”

  18. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Long covid tweet and The Hill article it references

    From the article:

    Ill effects from the condition [covid] can include fatigue, pain, neurological issues and even changes in mental health.

    Pretty vague set of “symptoms” IMNSHO, and listed as possible side effects of just about every drug of any kind ever advertised on TV.

    But the interesting part is that “long covid,” defined as symptoms persisting for some period of time after a negative test, can be “experienced” by people who had “asymptomatic infections.” So, how does that work?

    And still waiting for some way to distinguish between long term side effects of covid and long term side effects of the mRNA “vaccines” in people who’ve had both, that don’t involve unsubstantiated “assumptions” like “experimental mRNA ‘vaccines’ are completely harmless to humans.”

  19. jo6pac

    Finland is toast if joins nato. The country will now have to destroy the best education system in the world by austerity so money can be spent on useless Amerika weapons. Finland will lose their best place to live because of more austerity. It’s never ending trip down the rabbit hole called nato.

    Thanks Finland for joining and becoming another Amerikan puppet state;-) As pointed out above Amerika/nato/eu won’t be there to help only to take.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Well of course Finland’s excellent education system will have to be destroyed. You can’t have a successful example of public education existing that might give the plebs in other western countries any ideas. Same thing with zero-Covid in China.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      Finland spends 1.5% of GNP on defense – it will be expected to increase this to 2% if it joins Nato. Its hardly a massive increase. Finland also has a very developed domestic defense industry, so it may be able to supply much of its own needs. However, it can be a two edged sword as selling weapons abroad can be trickier when you are no longer ‘neutral’ as some countries prefer to source weapons from non-aligned countries. The same applies to Sweden which is a very big weapons exporter.

      1. Polar Socialist

        If Russia does what it is saying it will – militarize the 800 miles of the border – 2% is not going to cut it. South Korea uses 2.6% of GDP for a border 1/5 of the length and 6 times bigger GDP. Or, in dollar terms, SK spends $42 billion on 150 miles and Finland expects to make do with $5 billion for 800 miles. Doesn’t really add up.

        The official stance of Finland is that nothing will really change, and official stance of Russia is that actually everything will change. I wonder which one will find that it got it all wrong?

        I wonder if the first thing to go will be the conscript army? The very basis of Finnish national defense has always been a well motivated, capable, large conscript army designed to extract a heavy price of any invader by sacrificing men and area to destroy enough of the enemy enough to “win the peace”.

        And that’s not how NATO does things. As we’ve seen recently. There’s a good chance that degrading the conscription and giving up sovereignty will soon also diminish the currently exceptionally high willingness to defend the country among Finns.

  20. RobertC

    Biden Administration

    Biden’s $40B gift to Ukrainian corruption would BBB the shipyards we need to counter 20 Years of Naval Trends Guarantee a FY23 Shipbuilding Plan Failure

    [poorly written article so I edited it for emphasis]

    …Though glaring, the fleet’s numerical crisis is merely a symptom of the Navy’s 20-year institutional inability to overcome the pressures driving down fleet numbers and ship production.

    …The nature of the financial, material, programmatic, institutional, historical, and political pressures suppressing fleet growth are up for debate – but the extrapolated results of these downward pressures are not, as seen in the Navy’s failure to meet the various Shipbuilding Plans.

    …Since 2016, even enshrining the 355-ship fleet in law only produced a net battleforce increase of 19 ships over seven years, a rate by which the Navy would gradually reach 355 ships by 2041.

    …The FY23 Shipbuilding Plan proposes a 10-year drop in fleet numbers that deviates in spirit from every shipbuilding plan since 2012.

    …The FY23 Long Range Shipbuilding Plan will miss the defunct, minimum goal of 300 ships by another decade, and is less likely to meet the Navy’s legal and operational 355-ship requirement.

  21. Revenant

    Peacock hunting link goes to the Guardian. The unspeakable in pursuit of the inedible?

  22. matsb

    Just now the biggest party in my country, Sweden, Socialdemokraterna, have let us know they are for joining NATO. Which means there is a majority in our parliament for it. So our application will probably be in the mail very soon. And there is nothing I can do about it. *sigh*

    1. Jacob Hatch

      Sweden is one of the Nato nations where I could not find a clear answer about a petition for a recall vote of a local parliament member. Do you have information on this possibility. This is possible in the UK, France, but not in Spain, Germany, and others I’m not clear.

      I understand that substitute members are even picked at the time of election, which I guess means there is a very strong whip, and therefore also almost no local advocacy at the national level (at least not in broad daylight, corruption always being a useful treatment available, especially when a whip is strong).

    2. MRLost

      I am still not seeing one single word regarding the vaunted Swedish defense industry and what will happen to it once Sweden is pretty much forced to switch to NATO compatible weapons. I suppose SAAB and the like can continue to sell to 3rd world countries but I cannot imagine the US allowing Swedish made aircraft and the like to integrate w other NATO systems. Always before Sweden could use its exports to fund its own military equipment.

      1. Polar Socialist

        Most of Swedish defense industry is already owned by BAE Systems. And what SAAB makes, already comes with NATO integration, like NLAW or Gripen.

        Can’t see much to change there. Maybe they will start to make more performative weapon systems instead of capable, but that’ll take some time to achieve, since it requires a totally new company culture.

      2. Skip Intro

        I imagine all the promises and threats NATO is making include carrots and sticks for their defense industries… that is how this whole war is being orchestrated. The MIC is flexing its control of western governments.

  23. Jason Boxman

    Other reports have been more conservative, estimating anywhere between 10 to 30 percent of those infected develop long-term symptoms. Those who experience ongoing symptoms from long COVID-19 have sometimes come to be known as COVID-19 long haulers.

    And a 10% chance (from a first infection?) is an extraordinary number already, even as a best case scenario. And we’re too early to know for certain what re-infections bring, but I can’t imagine this number is going to go down with subsequent re-infections.

    In a functional society, this would be seen for what it is: A crisis that needs immediate action. So rest assured, there will be none! Look over there! Putin!

  24. Mikel

    So let me get this straight. The USA is telling millions of mothers to wing it for baby food while they come up with billions for Ukraine?
    That’s easy for people to remember as they think over the conditions in their communities as they fill out ballots.

    Suddenly, we can find billions for the manufacture of weapons and one of the biggest agricultural producing countries in the world can’t come up baby food substitutions for manufacture?

    This is BS. And meant to up the precarity to 11. They are scared and fumbling and need to throw everyone else into crisis to prevent organization against their incompetence.

    1. chris

      It’s actually worse than that. The US is telling millions of mothers that even though we could invoke the defense production act for formula, or work with Canada or the EU to import formula under a waiver from our FDA, or change WIC buying strategies to allow for the current supply constraints, we won’t.

      The thing that makes no sense to me about this (besides the casual horror of the situation) is that once the first babies start dying due to a failure to thrive, or poisoning because desperately overwhelmed parents concocted some formula substitute that killed their kid, this is instant sensational media fodder. And because in the US the people most likely to experience that kind of desperation are poor, the most likely candidates to have their kids die first will be some kind of minority (probably Black). I can’t imagine Joe Biden is volunteering to be in charge when hordes of poor black mothers get airtime due to their sick and dead babies. Even if you take for granted the inhumanity of our ruling class, this level of stupidity exceeds anything I would have expected them to be capable of. We are now light-years past the concept of benign neglect. We are pushing direct harm onto the most vulnerable. And our government is doing that against the backdrop of moving quickly to supply Ukraine with whatever it needs.

      My mind shrivel when I try to contemplate the full extent of this horror.

      1. fresno dan

        I thought it would be a decade or so before we would be reaching this point of cavalier nonchalance about dying AMERICAN babies, but then again, I have been unable to keep up in seeing the examples of defining deviance down
        I can remember when a new deviant outrage was only once every few years. Than yearly, now more frequently, and I suspect it will start occurring at an ever accelerating pace, what with social media to spur it on.

      2. jr

        Along with the coming wave of lazy, couch surfing, no job having Long COVID “zombies” to spew hatred at will be the “scumbags” who killed or maimed their children with home brewed formulas. It’s always about generating a scapegoat for society’s ills. It’s getting really hard not to construct a tin foil suit when you hear of the Gates et. al. funding divisive, anti-intellectual gender-gibberish in the media, government, and academics; when Pelosi quotes the Bible in response to needy citizens of her own land while shipping billions abroad; when BBB turns into a potlatch for the cops…social engineering? Try social demolition.

      3. GC54

        Even worse, they will pin formula limits on Russia somehow and the autoDem dolts will retweet.

      4. Nikkikat

        We have Obama care, I’m sure people die for lack of insurance. Their horrible covid response, and the almost nasty response to questions regarding babies not having food, it’s sinking in pretty well. They really couldn’t care two figs for the American public.

      5. Mikel

        “My mind shrivel when I try to contemplate the full extent of this horror.”

        This horror is going to have to take a number and get in line.
        For instance, this weekend they’ve decided to cover mass shootings again (the mess has been non-stop since Columbine, if it was only sporadic and deadly enough before).
        And we are still seeing these words actually come out of people’s mouths. This is about the Cali church shooting today:

        “The shooting came a day after an 18-year-old man shot and killed 10 people at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York.

        “This is upsetting and disturbing news, especially less than a day after a mass shooting in Buffalo,” said U.S. Rep Katie Porter, whose district includes Laguna Woods. “This should not be our new normal. I will work hard to support the victims and their families.”

        Too late. There isn’t one bit of dystopian crap these denialists won’t accept as normal.

      6. Mikel

        The squeeze won’t be on poor Black people – specifically – the squeeze would be mainly on unwed mothers in general.
        Look at it that way, in the context of alot of other mess that just happened.

  25. playon

    “Switch to Moderna booster after Pfizer shots better against Omicron”

    I’m not sure what “better” means. I’m 70 and got the Moderna booster after having two Pfizer vaccinations. I still contracted an Omicron variant, but it had been 4 months since the booster. I don’t think any of the MNRA shots are very good against Omicron. Still waiting to see the Novavax approved…

    1. Objective Ace

      The current most widely circulating variant — omicron ba.2.12.1 — is a variant of a variant of a variant from what the initial vaccines were desinged for so it shouldnt be surprising that the original vaccines arent all that good anymore

      1. britzklieg

        they weren’t very good to begin with and most of the touted benefits were lies.

  26. RobertC

    New Not-So-Cold-War

    Paging vao to expand on this story Germany Moves To Expropriate Energy Firms In Case Of Emergency

    The lower house of the German Parliament approved a bill on Thursday that could allow the government to place energy firms under trusteeship if the security of supply in Germany is threatened.

    …At the same time, Russian gas supply to a Gazprom subsidiary that Germany placed under trusteeship in April has stopped, German Economy Minister Robert Habeck told the Parliament on Thursday. [vao April 6, 2022 at 8:25 am]

    …“Gazprom and its subsidiaries are affected,” Minister Habeck said as quoted by Reuters, adding that “This means some of the subsidiaries are getting no more gas from Russia. But the market is offering alternatives.”

  27. jr

    Here is the UToob channel of Chris Lehto, a former Air Force F-14 pilot who investigates UFO sightings by military pilots:

    His guest is Ryan Graves, who was present at the Nimitz encounters. Their talk details the actual eyeball sightings of the “cube in a sphere” object that flew between two jets that were flying a mere 100’ apart in formation. This is an important claim, as many in the debunker community have charged that no one has ever had direct visual contact of the objects. I do wish Lehto was more skeptical of the NFT’s the UAP Society he is a part of is offering to it’s patrons…

  28. Dave in Austin

    I’ll avoid talking about “today’s news” from the Ukraine. But when the guy who used to head the CIA’s USSR analysis section gives his opinion we should listen. His is the best recap of the present situation I’ve seen:

    On the Kissinger interview: . This took place at the Kennedy Center in DC so it got an audience that mattered. I wish we had a transcript- Kissinger speaks slowly and thinks about what he is saying so the interview drags on. Most of the NC comments say “past his sell date”. I disagree. The second half including his discussion of his many conversations with Putin is on-point (interesting question, both Putin and Kissinger speak very fluent German. Did they talk without needing translators?).

    Finally, the first “modern” civil war was Spain 1936-9, a small country where outsiders provided most of the weapons and money to prolong the fighting for their own reasons. It has been replicated in numerous places since then. Two cats playing with the same half-dead mouse.

    The danger is that when one cat wants the whole mouse the other cat may start a real cat-fight. Spain was lucky; the USSR provided the left with weapons as long as the huge Spanish gold reserves created by supplying the Allies in 1914-1918 lasted. When it ran out so did the supply of Soviet weapons. But both Germany and the USSR got a chance to test the new weapons before going on to the main event. The new Spanish leader said: “World War? Sorry; one war was enough”.

    Finally the last three US presidents have been almost uniquely unprepared to understand the international situation. Our “modern” primary system has thrown-up three relatively unvetted accidents: Obama (the best of them in my opinion) was a lucky one-term Congressman who spent one year in the Senate after his likely opponents fell to scandal; Trump was a crude, intelligent self-funded businessman who treated foreign leaders like the corrupt politicos and Mafia tyrants that most of them are; Biden is a mediocre, overage Irish-American pol- America’s Leonid Brezhnev, who makes impulsive, unstaffed decisions based on a very narrow field of biased advisors.

    In the old days Presidential candidates had to actually pass the judgment of other politicians who had knew them face-to-face and not simply as interesting TV personalities. Say what you want about Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Nixon and Ford, but they all had smelled the bodies from a war close-up, listened to a wide variety of advisors and never did anything to push the Russians into a corner. Our present leaders lack a sense of history or any idea that war can happen to them or their own families.

    Remember, an “off ramp” is a way to slow down and it really doesn’t matter if the person using it has been speeding, is drunk, is running from the cops or is just getting away from a random ice storm. Think Kennedy and the Russians during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

    1. Lambert Strether

      > This took place at the Kennedy Center in DC so it got an audience that mattered. I wish we had a transcript- Kissinger speaks slowly and thinks about what he is saying so the interview drags on. Most of the NC comments say “past his sell date”

      I listened to the Kissinger interview and thought it was interesting (and not vacuous at all). I have a vague sense that what I might call the Outer Blob has a dawning sense that the vicious toddlers running Ukraine policy (Blinken, Newland, various Ukrainian irredentists) are out of their depth, and they are, in their terms and in their circle, raising the alarm. (Austin finally getting involved fits into this frame. And maybe the EU getting realistic about gas supplies does too.) At the end, Kissinger says, paraphrasing because with no transcript I can’t be sure, “Fit the moralizing to the situation, don’t fit the situation to your moralizing,” a pretty direct shot at Blinken’s modus operandi.

  29. Noone from Nowheresville

    John Fetterman has suffered a stroke

    Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, the leading Democrat in the state’s high-profile Senate contest, has suffered a stroke but is on his way to a “full recovery,” his campaign said on Sunday.

    The 52-year-old Fetterman, who confirmed that he has been hospitalized all weekend, insisted the health emergency isn’t slowing his campaign. But the stunning revelation, just two days before Pennsylvania’s primary election, creates a cloud of uncertainty over the Democratic front-runner’s candidacy in what may be one of the party’s best Senate pickup opportunities in the nation.

    “I had a stroke that was caused by a clot from my heart being in an A-fib rhythm for too long,” Fetterman said. He said the doctors were able to remove the clot, “reversing the stroke,” and got his heart under control.

    “The good news is I’m feeling much better, and the doctors tell me I didn’t suffer any cognitive damage,” he says in the statement.

    1. ambrit

      Bloody h—! This is too ‘convenient’ for this cynical geezer to take at face value.
      However, do not underestimate the “sympathy” vote this will bring out.
      Also, looking at the geriatric crew in the crab bucket of potential 2024 Presidential and Senatorial contenders we have now, Fetterman is still the youngest and best ‘framed’ candidate on the Democrat Party bench in a long time.
      If the clot was removed via the femoral artery in the groin, Fetterman will be stuck in “slow to reverse” for a week or two.

    1. katiebird

      How would that work? How do they imagine they would enforce it? Here for example.

      1. ambrit

        My thinking is that the American Government will enforce it on the behalf of the WHO. It will be a treaty obligation. A treaty with an international bureaucracy without a country to call home.
        Years ago, we CT types were called all sorts of ‘nutters’ and ‘wierdos’ for suggesting that there was a ‘One World Order’ movement working among the international elites. (Remember Rockefeller and the Trilateral Commission theories?) Now we see it proposed in the “real” world.
        The idea of a “One World Order” might be an unstoppable historical trend. The big question will be; who is to make the rules? Curiously enough, eliminating Nation States as effective ‘actors’ on the political stage, we remove one of the safeguards that protect the “little people” from the powerful.

    2. Lambert Strether

      Well, WHO was extremely helpful to our own “public health” establishment on aerosol transmission and masking, and hasn’t done much for the Third World either, so what’s the issue? Everything’s going according to plan….

      This strikes me as one of those issues where conservatives might advocate the policy outcome I support, for reasons I would consider horridly wrong….

  30. Wukchumni

    A long day off-trail yesterday with a fellow big tree enthusiast and perfect temperature for a walk in the park.

    We did a big loop in Mineral King from Atwell Mill up to the Dean tree (#31 largest tree in the world) the Arm tree (perhaps the oldest Sequoia of all, at least 3,000 years old), Above Diamond tree (23rd largest tree in the world) and Diamond tree (18th largest tree in the world) and then down to Conifer Gate and walked up the road to our car. We were pretty damned tired 9 hours later, lemme tellya.

    The Dean tree was nowhere near the action and is fine, and fire got within a few hundred feet of the Arm tree, and yet it was untouched-thank goodness,

    We did a lateral over to the AD tree and found a giant that had been burned eons ago on the backside and was missing about 30% of the base, and put the tape measure around it and came up with 108 feet in circumference, a biggy. It’s one of those Sequoias that’s hard to measure, we’re gonna go back and do a thorough job on it.

    The AD tree was untouched as well, and now the bad news…

    The Diamond tree had a fire enter through it’s bark-less diamond shaped fire scar about 150 feet up and it burned a chimney 80 feet high inside the tree, with a couple of burnt out exit portals on high. We spent half an hour deciding if the tree would make it, and although it was still green up top, who knows if the vascular ability to send water up has been compromised?

    Overall though, a good burn from the KNP Fire last fall, with minimal damage to Sequoias, except near the Diamond tree and environs, where 40-50 foot scorch marks were common.

    The Diamond tree, how it used to look:

    1. Lambert Strether

      Thank you for this reassuring report.

      Is there any planting or seeding project for sequoias, do you know? And what is their predicted range under global warming?

      1. Wukchumni

        It put my mind at ease, knowing that the losses weren’t so bad with the exception of the Diamond tree.

        A re-seeding project for other groves that were turned into moonscapes was proposed, but somebody got a letter writing campaign going, complaining about how the seedlings wouldn’t be native to the environs or something like that, and the project is on hiatus.

        The burn in the Atwell Grove was perfect for natural reproduction of Sequoias, opening up the smallest pine cones and stimulating them vis a vis fire.

        Their range now is quite variable, the Atwell Grove hosts the highest elevation Sequoia @ over 9,000 feet, while the lowest big one is @ 4,500 feet @ Ladybug Camp about 20 miles away.

        I don’t know the answer to their predicted range under the auspices of global warming, i’ll ask around.

  31. KFritz

    Re: Egghead Paperbacks & Jason Epstein

    A bit of trivia here. Mr. Epstein was married to the infamous Judith Miller, of the Grey Lady, for 29 years until his death this year.

    1. Lambert Strether

      I wish I had a yarn diagram of Acela Corridor power couples. Unexpectedly — or perhaps expectedly — the feminist norm of wives not taking their husband’s name obfuscated a lot of working relationships….

    1. Lambert Strether

      > the 2022 midterms will be coast to coast Brooks Brothers riots

      And just as with the original, Florida 2000 Brooks Brothers riots, nothing will be written about the actual participants until months afterwards….

  32. Wukchumni

    Was kibitzing with a cabal of cabin owners last night over a campfire, and they’re from big cities in SoCal, and talk turned to the drought, and 3 of them have swimming pools @ their houses that they all admitted to never using all that much (a swimming pool is a 10 year old’s wet dream, adults? not so much) and we got talking about evaporation rates, and all 3 of them said pretty much if the state paid for either filling them in or removing them, they’d be so on board.

    We’re talking 30,000 useless gallons of water per pool, it adds up.

    1. Lambert Strether

      > all 3 of them said pretty much if the state paid for either filling them in or removing them, they’d be so on board.

      That’s mighty gracious of them!

      1. Wukchumni

        Just the idea that the subject was brought up shocked me a little, the recognition of losing so many precious gallons of water through evaporation, not a conversation I usually engage in with others when talking about the liquid we so crave.

        1. dermotmoconnor

          I guarantee you SoCal PMC types had these conversations in the 70s and 80s. Might even (if they’re feeling collectivist) put a brick in their toilet cistern to save a few cubic inches of water, but that’s going to be where it ends. Most of them wouldn’t even pay for the brick.
          “I’ll do the right thing, if the taxpayer pays for it”.
          Jesus effin C. These people.

  33. Mikel

    “Coup to oust Putin is ‘already under way’: Ukraine’s spy chief believes tyrant will be deposed by August – as oligarch claims Russia’s leader has blood cancer” Daily Mail’

    The day is nearly over and not much comment about this rumor. I’ll take the step toward the ledge….

    First of all, the first thing to probably cross many minds is the source: “Ukraine’s spy chief”…
    Those minds are thinking, “by way of the Beltway…”

    Then remember when they first started floating that intelligence sources said Russia was going to invade the Ukraine? Lots of doubts and with good reason. However, it did happen and then the USA went on its “My Way Or The Highway Global Foreign Policy Tour”, seeing who was on board with sanctions and in general seeing what countries would go along to get along. And people have been aghast at the lack of true diplomacy.

    Well, what appears to be arrogant foreign policy makes sense if you consider the intelligence about the invasion has another part that they kept in their back pocket. So they could be convinced that Russia is on a countdown to disaster and any country siding with Russia is going to come crawling back to the post-WWII order.

    Just spitballin’…

    1. Yves Smith

      A coup against a leader with an approval rating of >80% is a death sentence for any coup meister. At most this says Ukraine is publicizing that they are trying something! Another pretext for more checks from the US!

      1. Mikel

        I could see a risky calculation being made that if the Russian people see disease as the cause of death for their leader, there won’t be too much anger

        And I wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t need a pretext for more checks.
        The whole situation is shady enough to be a type of deal where they’ve already got half the money and will get the rest on completion of the job.

    1. Bugs

      Now they’ve gone and corrupted Eurovision? Is nothing sacred?

      I’m going to have to just tend my garden now. I give up on the world.

      1. The Rev Kev

        That event has been corrupted for years. It was just the extent that they did such dodgy counting to give the Ukrainian group the win for a propaganda victory that surprised me. But I have never watched it myself. Any time spent watching it you will never get back again. :)

        1. Uwe Ohse

          I beg to differ. That ESC isn’t corrupted, it works as intended.

          The European Broadcasting Union, the organization behind the ESC, is a political organization. “Our Members strive to inform, educate and entertain all audiences – empowering societies and democracies across the globe”. Information and education are clearly political goals, and that other goal, entertainment, smells commercial.

          EBU members range from close-state ones (the german ARD/ZDF spring to mind), which are clearly political, to purely commercial ones.

          The result is a mix of polical and commercial interests with a very small niche for art.

          The best we could do would be to not honor this event by looking, hearing or commenting about it. Let it die. Fast, if possible.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Well of course the Republicans are all over it as an opportunity to snipe a shot at the Democrat’s incompetency for the November midterms. Oh wait, they are actually in Kiev getting photo shots with Zelensky.

  34. Mikel

    This is now getting good. Going to need more popcorn:
    “…Later Friday, Musk tweeted that he was conducting a random sampling of 100 accounts to check how many were not legitimate, noting he used that number because “that is what Twitter uses to calculate

    On Saturday, he tweeted: “Twitter legal just called to complain that I violated their NDA by revealing the bot check sample size is 100! This actually happened.”

    The Tesla Inc. TSLA, +5.71% chief executive again questioned Twitter’s numbers in a tweet Saturday, saying “I have yet to see *any* analysis that has fake/spam/duplicates at later added “There is some chance it might be over 90% of daily active users, which is the metric that matters to advertisers.”

    Then Saturday:
    Very important to fix your Twitter feed:

    1. Tap home button.
    2. Tap stars on upper right of screen.
    3. Select “Latest tweets”.

    You are being manipulated by the algorithm in ways you don’t realize.

    Easy to switch back & forth to see the difference.

    1. Lambert Strether

      > You are being manipulated by the algorithm in ways you don’t realize.

      All serious users know about this. I suppose f*cking with Twitter’s algo sends a message of some sort. Or else Musk’s approach to due diligence was a little sketchy.

      1. Mikel

        I think EM already knew the scope of alot of the problems. Isn’t he chummy with Dorsey?
        Seems like the drama from the board is around him wanting to make to make some due diligence public.

  35. The Rev Kev

    “India Bans Wheat Exports in Growing Wave of Food Protectionism”

    I thought that this would just be sour grapes on the part of Bloomberg because markets. It seems that the members of the G-7 are also sour on this idea and are demanding that India resume food exports due to its responsibility as a G20 member. Being a cynic, I bet that if India risked a mass famine on the level of Ireland in 1847, that this wheat would not be heading towards poor countries but would be heading to G-7 nations instead-

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