Links 5/18/2022

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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.

* * *

This 715-song playlist is scientifically verified to give you the chills, thanks to “frisson” Big Think (David L). Annoyed the list is monetized on Spotify, so I can’t even see it. But from the ones in the article proper, Metallica does not do it for me. Generally it takes vocals for me to get frisson, not instrumentals. This is why I like big bombastic choral pieces. Readers?

Ancient human tooth discovered in Laos cave may be first Denisovan fossil from South-East Asia ABC Australia (Kevin W)

How to Write Software With Mathematical Perfection Quanta (David L). Notice apparent original headline from URL: computing-expert-says-programmers-need-more-math

Stimulating Brain Circuits Promotes Neuron Growth in Adulthood, Improving Cognition and Mood Neuroscience News (David L)



Flu vaccine could cut COVID risk Nature. Lambert: “Big if true”. Moi: 1. Possible sample bias, since you have to be in pretty good shape to be a health care worker (you are on your feet a lot). 2. In 2020, so wild type. May not hold much/at all for vastly more contagious Delta and Omicron variants.


Shanghai extends streak of infection-free days in non-quarantined zones South China Morning Post


Apple Delays Plan to Have Staff in Office Three Days a Week Bloomberg


China diverts anti-poverty funds to Covid testing as crisis deepens Financial Times

Pakistan facing bankruptcy as the economy crumbles Asia Times. Resilc: “Failed state for ages cooking in 50 c, well done.”

UniCredit and Commerzbank merger talks derailed by Ukraine war Financial Times

Old Blighty

Three ways EU could retaliate if UK ditches Northern Ireland protocol Guardian

Eurotunnel restrictions on coaches draw angry response Route One (guurst)

The Tripwire of Irish Borders CounterPunch (resilc)

UK inflation jumps to 40-year high of 9% as food and energy prices spiral CNBC

New Not-So-Cold War

Vikas S per the item below: “Wow. The FT goes full Goebbels.” The soldiers surrendered unconditionally. The government in Kiev tried to pretend they had agreed to it so as not to look out of control of the situation.

Azovstal Surrenders as Russia Continues Offensive in Donbass Alexander Mercouris, YouTube. Instructive media report, on what he could best infer re developments as they happened v. press accounts and how they changed over time.

* * *

Russia will likely be shut out permanently from global energy markets, top oil execs say Business Insider (Kevin W). Wow, “global” = EU. Plus many experts believe any effort at significant self-sanctioning will simply result in quite a few years of Russian oil laundering with cutouts making very nice profits at EU consumer expense.

US to suggest tariffs on Russian oil as alternative to embargoes Reuters

EU diplomat: ‘We are reaching our limits with sanctions against Russia’ EurActiv

Serious conversation – Ukraine and Grain Lots of charts from the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service.

* * *

NATO has long taken Finland, Sweden into account in its military planning — Lavrov TASS

Erdogan says Swedish, Finnish delegations should not bother coming to Turkey Reuters. From yesterday, but all that means is Turkey isn’t looking for bribes concessions from them. Another take: Turkey threatens to block Finland and Sweden Nato bids BBC

Right on schedule, just after putting the item above together: Turkey’s list of demands to NATO revealed by Bloomberg RT (Kevin W)

Finland’s Gasum refuses to pay for Russian gas in rubles, ready to halt supplies, going to arbitration Interfax

* * *

US Set to Block Russian Debt Payments, Raising Odds of Default Bloomberg (Kevin W). A default is irrelevant since Russia does not need foreign financing and to my knowledge no private sector parties have foreign short term debt they need to refi. Russia would prefer to stay current. But the idea that Russia is defaulting when the West has stolen $300 billion is silly. So this is a talking point default.

Russian Econ Ministry sees GDP shrinking 7.8% in 2022 and 0.7% in 2023, 3.2% growth in 2024 Interfax. This a reduction in the estimate of 2022 contraction in 2022.

* * *

Congress Approves 40 Billion Dollar Ukraine War Bill CounterPunch (resilc)


Pro-Hezbollah bloc loses Lebanese parliamentary majority Al Jazeera. Resilc: “A sad day when Lebanese have a more vibrant democracy than USA USA.”

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

ICE Is Tracking Your Every Move Intercept (furzy). Keep in mind license plate readers are on interstates and some (many?) state highways. Take local roads.

Imperial Collapse Watch

Texas’ grid operator told a power plant to delay repairs ahead of a May heat wave. It was among six that crashed. Texas Tribune (Kevin W)


>Michael Sussman: Clinton lawyer ‘lied to manipulate FBI over Trump’ BBC (David L)


Baby Formula Industry Lobbied to Weaken Safety Standards Intercept

US president Joe Biden, White House extend warm wishes to Buddhists with second annual Vesak celebration Lion’s Roar (furzy)

Biden, Calling on Americans to ‘Take on the Haters,’ Condemns Racist Rhetoric After Buffalo Massacre New York Times

Paging Nina Jankowicz:

UFOs: Few answers at rare US Congressional hearing BBC (David L)

Mastriano wins Pennsylvania GOP governor primary despite party concerns The Hill

As of after midnight EDT: Steve Irwin, Summer Lee race for Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional district too close to call Pittsburg Post-Gazette

Cawthorn concedes in North Carolina House GOP primary The Hill

Pennsylvania May Be Democrats’ Best Hope for a Senate Pickup in 2022 New Republic (resilc)

The Supremes

Michigan judge blocks enforcement of state’s pre-Roe v. Wade abortion ban Reuters (furzy)

Swiss Billionaire’s Mega-Influence On U.S. Politics Real Clear Politics. Resilc: “The only certainty is my little one vote in NC is less than worthless.”

Supply Chain/Inflation

The Global Fertilizer Crisis American Conservative (resilc). We’ve warned about this for a while….but good detail here on America’s few and poor options.

Fish Farm Startup Hopes Deep-Ocean Technology Can Fuel Growth Bloomberg (resilc)

Hacker shows how to unlock, start and drive off with someone else’s Tesla Fortune (David L)

A deep underground drug-smuggling tunnel linked Tijuana to San Diego discovered Boing Boing. Resilc: “Hector Salamanca lives.”

More roadkill along the blockchain highway: Miami Mayor’s ‘MiamiCoin’ a disaster Boing Boing (resilc). Waiting for NYC mayor Eric Adams to need a bailout.

Walmart’s Black Swan Moment Heisenberg Report

Powell: Fed to keep hiking rates until it controls inflation ABC (Kevin W)

Class Warfare

Real Scarcity Informed Buffalo Shooter’s Racist Conspiracy Intercept. Resilc cites this part:

Addressing this violence, though, also requires considering the role of scarcity — not a conspiracy theory, but a very real system of extreme inequality and ecological destruction. It is a system in which the most wealthy and powerful continue to see their wealth and power grow — at the expense of the masses. Faced with actual strained resources and environmental calamity, some of these forsaken people are turning to dark fantasies like the “great replacement theory” to make sense of it all.

Is the Typical CEO Really Worth $15 Million? New Republic (resilc)

The Isolation of Social Media Harvard Medicine Magazine. Resilc:

I went to buy lunch at the Readsboro VT general store. I saw Tim and his wife, the owners, Lindsey the baker, Justin the UPS driver (who said I have something on his truck), hippie dude, the Fedex driver with my trees and Joe, my lumber guy. All in 15 min of meet, greet and chat to pick up lunch….no smart phones involved

Antidote du jour. Robert H: “Betsy finds a mysterious saprophyte along the Potomac River.”

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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    1. britzklieg

      Yves might like this: “Seht die Sonne” final chorus from Schoenberg’s pre-dodecaphonic masterwork Gurrelieder

      Gurre-Lieder calls for exceptionally large orchestral and choral forces (approximately 150 instrumentalists and 200 singers):

      4 Piccolos (doubling Fl. 5–8)
      4 Flutes
      3 Oboes
      2 English Horns (doubling Ob. 4, 5)
      3 Clarinets in B♭ & A
      2 E♭ clarinets (doubling A Cl. 4, 5)
      2 Bass clarinets (doubling A Cl. 6, 7)
      3 Bassoons
      2 Contrabassoons
      10 Horns (Hns. 7-10 doubling Wagner tubas in B♭ and F)
      6 Trumpets in F, B♭ & C
      Bass trumpet in E♭
      Alto trombone
      4 Tenor trombones
      Bass trombone
      Contrabass trombone
      6 Timpani
      Tenor drum
      Snare drum
      Bass drum
      Large Iron Chains
      Soprano (Tove)
      Mezzo-soprano (Waldtaube)
      2 Tenors (Waldemar & Klaus-Narr)
      Bass-baritone (Peasant)
      3 4-part male choruses
      8-part mixed choir
      4 Harps
      Violins I, II (20 for each section)
      Viola (16)
      Violoncello (16)
      Double bass (12) (wikipityfullia sometimes gets the facts right)

      1. Mikel

        Orchestral/Symphonic types of musicians and composers are masters of dynamics and arrangement.
        Look at that huge list of instruments and performers.
        Each has to be heard and blend tonally.

            1. CaliDan

              But only to 11! Acoustically, it’s difficult to turn up the volume. Case in point, to double the loudness of one violin requires eight more. Now I don’t know offhand about harps, but my guess is that doubling the loudness isn’t nearly as easily achievable.

          1. britzklieg

            Ha! Ol’ Arnie was a romantic at heart so how could he resist.

            I actually think the final chorus is the weakest part of Gurre-lieder, and it seems he was simply determined to end the piece with as much C major as possible. Now, there are plenty of color notes coming from everywhere in this, but the relentless “sound” of C major wipes everything out and renders it a bit stagnant, imho, compared to rest of the work.

            Waldemar’s opening is spellbinding and the hints at Schoenberg’s 12-tone future in “Klaus Narr” and sprechstimme in the narration of “Sommerwindes Wilde Jagt” are outstanding! The other choruses bring to mind Berlioz “Damnation of Faust” and are far more interesting than the final one.

        1. midget

          For me, the second movement of Beethoven’s Fifth is one of the biggest frisson-inducers in existence, at 11:08, and especially at 11:28. I can’t easily think of another example of quiet, flowing, airy harmony that is as good as this one. All parts are distinctly separate; all parts weave together in perfect balance; not a single instrument can be taken away without disrupting everything. It’s a few moments where everything isn’t just good, but is perfect.

      2. Tom Bradford

        For vocals giving ‘frisson’ – Tenebrae’s ‘Miserere Mei’ (Allegri) and ‘Versa est in Luctum’ (Lobo), and with some grunt, the soprano emerging from the choir to rise above it in Mahler’s Third or the spine-tingling response from Mater Gloriosa delivered from the heavens in his Eighth.

      3. Yves Smith Post author

        Yes, that did it for me in just the first few bars, while Metallica did not.

        I suspect frisson reactions are more personal than the list-maker presumed.

        Also the over the top orchestra is reminiscent of William Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast (double brass choir! eight choral vocal parts!) which we featured earlier.

      1. Mildred Montana

        I notice that Metallica has three songs on the list. I get it. I’d be very surprised if Pink Floyd isn’t well-represented in the compilation. Always liked their less-is-more songwriting although, strangely, I’ve never bought any of their stuff.

        I suppose another way of saying “frisson” is, does the song move you? Many songs from many genres move me, except for classical. That’s for background music only, when I’m reading. Apologies to any classical fans here.

        1. Stick'em

          First heard Wish You Were Here as a teenager. This hippy girl named Allison whose father had died in Vietnam turned me on:

          Still gets me teary. The nostalgia of who and where you were when you began listening to this stuff is a huge piece of the frission effect, IMO.

          1. skk

            I heard “Wish you were here” later in life than you but I knew Pink Floyd was for me from “Atom Heart Mother”.

        2. Jeff W

          “I suppose another way of saying ‘frisson’ is, does the song move you?”

          I was interpreting frisson [also known as “aesthetic chills” or “musical chills”] to refer to a specific psychophysiological response to auditory or visual stimuli (or both) that often induces the sensation of chills. One study found that high-density EEG results showed an increase of theta activity in the prefrontal cortex correlated with reports of the subjective state of chills.

      2. Stick'em

        PlutoniumKun ~

        I know it’s going to sound odd, but if you grew up on metal, what you need is some “amplified history” Viking music. The lyrics come right out of the sagas as the singer is a librarian who can read the Old Norse and so on.

        So anybody into the heavy should try Heilung:

        Best 10 minutes I’ve spent in years!

        1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

          If I Ever Leave This World by Flogging Molly just popped up in my head.

        2. PlutoniumKun

          Thanks, I’ve seen clips of them before, they look like they’d be amazing live.

          1. Stick'em

            Good job! We probably have similar tastes.

            Wife bought me tix for Heilung’s first American tour in at the Filmore in MD. Then COVID came and she wouldn’t let me go. Lord giveth and lord taketh away… Weird to talk about heavy metal in bands where there’s no guitar and bass, but Heilung is one of the most metal bands I’ve heard.

            Another fantastic Scandanavian Viking band is Wardruna. This is Helvegen (The Path to Hel) played in a rocky alcove on the fjord. Frisson indeed!


            1. PlutoniumKun

              I’ve long suspected my occasional fondness for watching YT clips of strange Nordic metal groups is why the algorithm keeps shoving far right wing material at me.

              But yes, I thought I’d grow out of this stuff (I was listening to metal as a teenager when that was considered very uncool, I grew up in the New Romantic era, everyone I knew loved the Smiths except me – I’m happy to have been proven right about them).

              1. Stick'em

                PK ~

                It’s not just you. The YT algorithm is designed to turn you into some kind of voodoo doll by intentionally pushing people towards willful ignorance. Glancing at the suggestions on my feed right now as a sample, and there’s mulitiple hits for asshat Jordan Peterson, UFO gubment conspiracies, and assorted FoxNews gibberish. Never watch any of that kind of stuff, so no idea why the not-YouTube consistently peddles it to me…

        3. Yves Smith Post author

          Wow, the horns sound like didgeridoo lite, and it also sounds like they had a chorus of them, as opposed to one, the way didgeridoos are normally played.

      3. Chris

        Where’s the frisson if the lyrics suck? I think the list includes some songs that would induce some experience of frisson in me, but many others would induce me to change the channel. Also notice that the list is top-heavy on classical music. That’s okay, I guess, but for the diehard rocker there’s probably no frisson gonna happen.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Planxty were wonderful, and morphed into some other great bands. I saw Donal Lunny (ex Planxty) play live last month at an outdoor gig with a pair of Japanese Kodo drummers. Somehow, they all synched in together and it was terrific.

    2. Mark Gisleson

      I was big into mixtapes in my youth but eventually I outgrew them because it’s very easy for them to become emotionally over the top. Top 40 radio which is fine for short drives but you don’t want to do a cross-country trip to Top 40. Nebraska alone would exhaust you.

      Over 700 consecutive really great songs scientifically seguéd together? Sounds like 99 Bottles of Beer for grownups. “Wow, best song ever. No wait! this one is!”

    3. Konstantin

      About effect of Russia default: a potential issue could be withoutstanding corporate debt which might contain clauses about sovereign default. But it’s unclear which debt is actually affected, if any.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        There have been some posts at Credit Slips on Russian sovereign debt. Quite a few issues have weird clauses that would normally muddy the question of a default (like ability to pay in other currencies in certain circumstances) but I should have looked to see if they’ve issued a new post covering the particular issues that come due in the next month or two.

    4. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      Excellent Song!!!!

      Hurt always gets me too. Reminds me of my cousin. RIP.

      Tbh I experience more frisson watching movies.

      Millions, a film by Danny Boyle, is one of the those. Slumdog Millionaire and Trains potting are another two.

      Rudy, underdog football story! The intro to Top Gun! The ending of Schindlers List, Saving Private Ryan, Wreck it Ralph, First Reformed, Dune!

      I could go on and on but that’s just a few!

      1. Eudora Welty

        Just popping in to say I agree with Millions. I don’t know why it is so overlooked.

    5. CaliDan

      Speaking as a composer with a cognition background, the main claim of the title (and the playlist) smells of the same pseudo-science sensatationalism of the Mozart will make you smarter ilk. It’s also a bit crass to insinuate that concensus is anything like:

      “Aesthetic chills correspond to a satisfaction of humans’ internal drive to acquire knowledge about the external world and perceive objects and situations as meaningful. In humans, this need to explore and understand environmental conditions is a biological prerequisite for survival.”

      This stretches, to the point of ripping, what even the cited author claims. In his article, Knowledge, curiosity, and aesthetic chills, the author says, “The empirical study of aesthetics in general and that of aesthetic chills in particular can shed light on some fundamental aspects of human nature and on the primordial role of music for the cognitive system.” And don’t get me started on empirical aesthetics, blecht!

      Anyway, the best discussion here is in the second half about David Huron’s research as well as anticipation/expectancy violations. Still a ton of conjecture (in the article) but much closer to the nuts and bolts of more reliable research. Huron’s book, Sweet Anticipation (2006, MIT Press), is one of the best cognition books around (not too technical if I recall). Highly suggested.

    6. jonboinAR

      If one wants to include Neil, I’d put “Down By the River” up over “Only Love Can Break Your Heart”. The famous 1 note guitar lead is somewhat frisson-inducing. Also, “Four Dead in Ohio”, as an American who grew up in that time, I find the whole song and the incident it evokes chilling, these several decades later.

    7. pjay

      I realize that “your frisson may vary” from person to person. But 700 songs with no Zappa?? Bogus. Especially if you are going to include a bunch of Cold Play, Genesis, Bon Jovi, etc. And while I think I did see a Joe Satriani song, was Jeff Beck on the list?

  1. Colonel Smithers

    Thank you, Yves.

    Further to the Brexit links posted today and the Gray Zone one posted on Monday and Tuesday, readers will be interested to hear that the UK MSM have yet to pick up the story and, with the exception of the foreign born City fund manager, none of the remainers targeted have spoken out publicly, which has puzzled not just the fund manager, but some in the City.

    The fund manager and others suspected dirty tricks from neo con “securocrats”. Their associates in the MSM dug for dirt on her and her husband, as both were married before, and their firm and her family overseas.

    Many of us (socialists) with an interest in the matter have long suspected that the likes of Catherine Belton, Carole Cadwalladr, Jolyon Maugham and Femi Oluwole were more interested in grandstanding, for personal gain, and sabotaging Corbyn’s efforts at a soft brexit under cover and unseating Corbyn from the Labour leadership. In addition, the neo con securocrats had the remain campaign penetrated and neutered.

    We suspect that the SNP is getting the same treatment.

    1. paul

      I think the process is all done and dusted with the SNP.

      Witness the First Minister calling for a no fly zone over ukraine recently (showing her deep insight into no fly zones) and declaring, next to your representative Pelosi, that Scotland would be foursquare with the EU and NATO in the unlikely event of independence.

      No doubt she will stop to lay a flower on Albright’s grave before she leaves, as a mark of respect for all the money she, alchemically, made out of misery.

      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, Paul.

        Isn’t one of the SNP leading activists a former US intelligence official?

        It’s interesting how many Scottish politicians have been studied in the US at US government expense.

        1. paul

          I wasn’t aware that there were any activists in the SNP anymore…I’m not sure who you are referring to.

          The Crown Agent (clue in the job title) in the procurator fiscal’s office certainly has spookiness going all the way back to the murk of Lockerbie.

          The FM’s dauphin, Angus Robertson, is a nailed on bet for agent status.
          His new young wife has certainly played a role in recent shenanigans.

          I could go on at some length…..

          1. Colonel Smithers

            Thank you, Paul.

            The lady in question is an American. She came to study in Edinburgh after a stint at Langley and joined the SNP, saying she was inspired by Sturgeon.

            Former Deutsche Bankster Ian Blackford is also suspect.

      2. PlutoniumKun

        The ease with which the SNP have been bought off is sickening. And still there is deathly silence in the English media about the whole Alex Salmond affair.

      3. jonboinAR

        We who are ordinary citizens need to combine and, the next politician anywhere who advocates for a no-fly zone anywhere Russia flies, or who suggests in any way that a nuclear exchange is an acceptable option, we need to let them know, let the world know, and then make sure, that they are voted out of whatever office they may hold at the very first opportunity. Those people are either disgusting nihilists or simple idiots. In any case, they’re barely fit for dog-catcher. I cannot believe I’ve been hearing suggestions of war with Russia as a policy option. Cannot believe it! Lord, have people gotten filled with some kind of cognitive or spiritual illness? Can we actually be nearing the end? I’m starting to become pretty scared. /rant. Thank you.

        1. Colonel Smithers

          Thank you, J.

          With regard to nihilists and idiots, it’s both and sometimes embodied in the same person. It’s sometimes eugenicist, too, as per some of the people associated with Boris Johnson and even the Greens (are the new browns).

          1. jonboinAR

            There used to at least a speck of connection to common sense in the public expressions of our “betters”, those who either have influence or who may represent it to us. Lately, not necessarily. They’re saying some actually crazy stuff. It’s frightening. Thanks!

    2. PlutoniumKun

      The story is remarkable, it really is like something from ‘A Very British Coup’.

      The thing that surprised me is the Brexit aspect. I assumed that this was something of a far right fantasy thing and the ‘real’ blob disapproved. It does show that in many respects Blairite neoliberals are more useful idiots than real insider operators. I suspect its the same with Democrat warmongers in the US.

      Its many years since I read it, but the Paul Theroux book Dr. Slaughter features the eponymous character who thinks she is an insider power player, but finds out too late she is just a puppet for the people who really make the decisions. I think there are a lot of Dr. Slaughters around various hotspots in London.

      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, PK.

        Your second and third paragraphs are spot on.

        I was aware of the differences, say, between Ricketts, McDonald and Sedwill on the remain side and Brexiteers Meyer, Dearlove, whose son I crossed swords with a dozen years ago, and former head of the armed forces Field Marshal Lord Guthrie. The Brexiteer blob stay in the shadows and are more ruthless.

        The likes of Cummings, the North family and UKIP are useful idiots. Please see my comments on yesterday’s links.

        The real blob is neo con, not neo liberal, and more concerned with the Anglo sphere than with Europe. Within the Anglo sphere, they see themselves as Ancient Greece to America’s Ancient Rome, British brains allied to American brawn.

      2. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, PK.

        I reckon that these securocrats are the heirs, if not more, of the ones who helped loyalists bomb the Republic in the 1970s.

        You sound too young to remember Operation Countryman. NI farmer, former Unionist MP and later Duke of Westminster Colonel Robert Grosvenor drafted a plan and put it to his cousins, two generals / brothers, the elder of whom became Duke of Norfolk, who got it adopted and named.

        This permanent state calls the shots.

        The suspicion is that Starmer does their bidding and sabotaged Corbyn’s plans for a soft Brexit. Throughout 2019, including a few days before the 2019 elections, Corbyn met Barnier and made progress towards a Norway Plus deal. Starmer torpedoed everything.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Oh, I do remember Countryman. I regularly walk past one of the bomb sites where some school kids were killed by a loyalist bomb in 1972 although, to put it mildly, the real origins of the bomb are murky. There was of course the whole weird and horrible Kincora School scandal and what that seemed to reveal of the links between politicians and loyalist death squads and various intelligence agencies.

          Over the years I began to think that a lot of the supposed links were chimeras, but looking at what is happening in Scotland I really do wonder now. There has long been a lurking fear that the real wild card in Northern Ireland over Brexit isn’t loyalist paramilitaries, but certain security elements. Its long been rumoured that the small Irish intelligence service has been trying to warn the government of certain ‘links’ between a very senior Garda and British intelligence but… well, its been ignored.

          1. Colonel Smithers

            Thank you, PK.

            Isn’t the current head of the Gardai ex RUC / PSNI?

            The former head of Strathclyde police is current No 2 at and acting head of the Met(ropolitan Police) and alleged to have Glasgow gangland and Orange Order links, but was promoted and moved to the Met. One wonders.

            I have read about Kincora.

            1. PlutoniumKun

              He is indeed. He has been an impressive administrator, although during the covid lockdown there was an embarrassing incident when a car accident revealed he was sharing a car with some PSNI colleagues in Dublin. Nobody could explain exactly what was going on with that little incident.

          2. Colonel Smithers

            Thank you, PK.

            If you have a look at Jolyon Maugham’s Twitter feed and his somewhat belated commentary, marvel at the naivete or even self delusion of his #FBPE audience. It’s no wonder remain lost.

  2. digi_owl

    Looks almost like we are setting ourselves up for another “arab spring”, but this time it will be bigger and nastier.

    1. SocalJimObjects

      “american fall” might be what’s coming. Couple that with a stock market and housing market collapse, and it’s not going to be pretty.

      1. Wukchumni

        C’est la guerre, I say profit generator

        The germ’ans schvitzkrieg tactics stymied us at first with its fastest facets out in front leading the way, but luckily we declared victory and that was that. Attendance was tight as a ticker-tape at the celebration parade with an uptick in positivity for once.

        Food prices will be rising dramatically by the fall, and here in Cali we’re going to be running on empty nearly with water resources stretched thin.

        But I betcha real estate prices go up in spite of it all, thats how we role.

        1. SocalJimObjects

          Water shortage? Print more money!!! Show nature who’s really in control.

        2. jonboinAR

          You guys really gotta do something about those pistachio groves. Of course, money talks…

            1. jonboinAR

              I don’t know anything about pecans, beside that they’re grown in my area of the country. I don’t know what kind of damage growing them commercially might cause.

      2. Mikel

        “Couple that with a stock market and housing market collapse…”

        I’m watching for an increase in layoffs as well.
        Then while many are getting laid off, cutting their spending, and drawing down on savings…interest rates will be cut again.

        The already well-off will get first dibs on the new round of low interest rate loans.
        They will get the best low prices on assets before tgey begin to rise again.

        Somewhere a new bubble, then another will appear…

        It’s. All. They. Got.

        1. Wukchumni

          Coming soon on one of the networks…

          Formula Flippers

          Follow Betsy and Veronica as they scour SoCal in search of product to profit from. Both are single with no kids so they have to borrow infants occasionally in order for the sympathy plea to have any effect @ Walgreens, et al.

          1. The Rev Kev

            Say, what’s the deal with personally ordering baby formula from overseas countries? Is that allowed? Years ago when shonky baby formula makers in China also screwed up big time, lots of Chinese-Australians made a nice living buying up baby formula in supermarkets here in Oz and shipping it to clients in China arranging it all over Chinese social media. In the end, the supermarkets had to limit baby formula sales so that people here could find some-


            1. Wukchumni


              A cabin owner in our community is a long haul truck driver in Cali and one of his frequent runs is picking up milk powder from the massive dairies in the CVBB and trucking it down to San Pedro en route to the middle kingdom, but there’s a hitch in the giddyup now with ports closed in China.

              I’ll have to ask him what’s up with that, next time we talk.

            2. PlutoniumKun

              I used to regularly box up Irish baby formula for sending to China for friends. I became an accidental expert in the topic as a Chinese friend was doing her Masters degree in supply chain management on baby formula and she asked me to proof read her English.

              The main reason for Chinese importing was partially that they didn’t trust domestic supplies due to rampant fakery, but also very high domestic taxes. Each tub was one quarter the Beijing price in my local grocery store. There was though an ‘entry’ tax to China – my friend in Nanning (she now lives in Australia) would ask for 5 tubs of infant formula for her baby, and one ‘up to 4 years’ tub in the box. The latter was for her husbands friend who worked in customs, who would intercept the box and accept the sixth tub as the ‘tax’. He had a 3 year old who liked formula….

              Incidentally, the limits on purchasing in shops (a real pain for me, as I had to spend my lunch hours wandering around half a dozen shops), was nothing to do with shortages. It was all about the manufacturers controlling supply to keep the prices up.

          2. Mikel

            I keep thinking that while some may be able to put together a decent formula for their children, they still have to buy more than one product to make it instead of just having to buy one product. And all this inflation is going on.

          3. Mikel

            Something else the baby food situation brought to light: too much dependence on one manufacturer.
            Monopolization strikes again.

          4. ambrit

            Shouldn’t that be “Betty and Veronica?” They fit your description.
            This sounds like a case for the Scooby Gang.

      3. Franny

        Went shopping for various things yesterday. No wood screws, no replacement electronic parts, what I could find at least 200% more expensive than when last bought it in the Obama administration.

        Then the supermarket: People just standing there looking at the prices as though they were seeing a two headed dog or something equally strange.

        Biden’s choice of sanctions to protect his donors certainly is, as he said, hitting Americans. No one seems happy to be paying those prices for Ukrainian Freedom.™

        At least our credit card balances will disappear when we are vaporized by Russian hydrogen bombs.

        Filed an exemption from withholding last week. Another step in overthrowing the empire of lies.

        1. marku52

          I commented earlier about vacuum tubes getting in short supply as so many manufactures are in Russia, behind the new Iron Curtain.

          Yes Sovteks did immediately disappear. But surprise, surprise, they are back again.

          At about 2-3X the previous prices. I suppose someone is routing them through India or some other cutout.

    2. Joe Renter

      Interesting you say that. An astrologer I follow said that the current we may repeating that very thing. Take it as a working hypothesis if you dare.

  3. Polar Socialist

    Regarding FT and Mariupol, I don’t think even Goebbels had the chutzpah to claim “Germans rescued Paulus’ 6th in Stalingrad in an agreement with the Soviets”. He went on to give the Sportpalast speech and declare a total war as the only way to save Germany and Europe from the barbaric hordes of the East.

    Interestingly enough, Mr. Goering did speak of the Stalingrad as the Thermopylae of the 20th century, just like the western media were framing Mariupol as Thermopylae of the 21st century.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Going by the reception that the Ukrainians are receiving at the Cannes Film Festival, I think that it would be very easy to drum up support in making a film about these defenders. I can see it now. Instead of the “Rats of Tobruk”, you would have the “Rats of Azovstal” and I know just who could play the role of the Azov commander – Matt Damon. So in the film Russia forces explore deeper into that complex that the defenders have just evacuated from. Bomb specialists deactivate mines and booby traps as they make their way down to the 8th level. Finding their way stopped by a huge door, they rig explosives to blow it. Nearby, Russian forensic specialists wait in case they find torture chambers while other specialists wait in NBC suits in case there are chemical warfare labs behind that door. Just then, Matt Damon charges out yelling ‘Noooo!!’ while shooting but they cut him down. As he slumps over, he hits a lever which opens that metal door revealing – a Bitcoin mining operation.

      1. begob

        Surely the door blows, the dust settles , and within they find … on a red velvet cushion at the centre of a circle of Norse runes, the bones of Hitler’s middle finger. Raised.

        1. Pat

          Between actors who have not and never will know they “lie for a living”* and producers who never saw an angle they couldn’t embrace, this is a perfect audience for his act.

          Don’t get me wrong, I do think artists of all types can shine a light in the darkness, but a market at the level of Cannes is a place where you are overwhelmingly going to find business not art is the main concern of the participants.

          1. marku52

            Gurf Morlix, after watching the Country Music Awards:

            “I saw a lot of people that sold their soul to the devil, but not a one of them could play like John Lee Hooker”

        2. JustAnotherVolunteer

          More interesting will be the screening of Sergeï Loznitsa’s latest:

          If you haven’t watched his “Maidan” I highly recommend it – streaming on Kanopy.

          He works with found footage and carefully crafted sound to create compelling narrative without interjecting much in the way of actual historic detail. Born in Kiev, trained in Russia, now in the Netherlands. He won best documentary last year for “Babi Yar, Context”

          I’m looking forward to this.

      2. vao

        I think that it would be very easy to drum up support in making a film about these defenders.

        What the Ukrainians would have loved is the Azovstal siege to end like the Alcazar siege during the Spanish civil war. The mussolinian cinema even made a large historical production (“L’assedio dell’Alcazar”, 1940) retelling the story of the heroic franquist garrison resisting the onslaught of the Russian-supported republican hordes till it is relieved by the Mussolini-supported nationalist army.

      3. Safety First

        I would be surprised if a film hadn’t been in development starting back in March.

        If “Five Days in May” is to be any indication – that was the Andy Garcia vehicle about the 08/08/2008 war in South Ossetia – then whatever film, or films, we do get about the conflict may well end up being completely divorced from whatever is happening militarily, even going by Ukraine’s own propaganda.

        In fact, they can just take the “Five Days” script*, swap every mention of “Georgia” for “Ukraine”, rework a couple of costumes (Heroic Prez in T-Shirt vs. the old Heroic Prez in Suit & Tie), and voila. The only question is who is going to play Zelensky…

        …and keep in mind, you need someone who is not tall. Benedict Cumberbatch is apparently just one or two inches shy of six feet, so that’s out. Daniel Radcliffe fits though! And it isn’t as if he is doing any blockbuster films at the moment…

        * – for those who haven’t seen “Five Days” – basic idea is: a) evil Russians show up in peaceful country and start murdering civilians in multiple extended sequences; b) heroic American journos are documenting the atrocities and trying to smuggle the evidence of said out; c) equally heroic Georgian troops periodically pop up to decisively win a firefight, rescuing said journos from said evil Russians, then disappear into thin air. Throw in a president that only ever wants peace (and liberal democracy), a local girl educated in the US as the spunky love interest, and “the one good Russian” who shoots his CO rather than follow criminal orders, and there you are. Just shoot the same movie with different faces…

        1. GC54

          “who is going to play Zelensky?”

          Didn’t we agree at the start of this that Jeremy Renner gets that role? Admittedly too muscular and a bit tall at 1.73 metre

      4. DJ Forestree

        Regarding movies, war, the Nazis, Russia (and Belarus), I am not sure if anyone has previously mentioned here “Come and See” (1985) directed by Elem Klimov. If you decide to check it out (it takes some mental strength to watch it from beginning to end), most likely you will have to find a DVD or a tape at your local library. This is the Soviet film school at its best; I don’t think there is a more powerful film than this one when it comes to the depiction of war. This take is from the ‘’ site:

        “It’s said that you can’t make an effective anti-war film because war by its nature is exciting, and the end of the film belongs to the survivors. No one would ever make the mistake of saying that about Elem Klimov’s “Come and See.” This 1985 film from Russia is one of the most devastating films ever about anything, and in it, the survivors must envy the dead.”

        1. Polar Socialist

          Seen it. Had no idea what I was in for. Made a very strong impression and I don’t think I ever want to see it again. I’m afraid it’ll be as strong as I remember it to be.

            1. rowlf

              Brother 2 (2000) is fun.

              Two brothers, Russian gangsters, go to Chicago to rescue a friend’s brother who is an indentured servant.

              One brother, going through ORD, hears men (Ukrainian gangsters) hanging around the baggage area speaking in Russian.

              “Are you fellow Russians?”
              “No, we are not.”
              “Are you Nazis?”
              Runs away.

              Brother 2 also shows USians from a Russian viewpoint.

              Still trying to find a 1990/2000 film about a group of scientists in eastern Russia working on a superman project and they fight among themselves.

        2. begob

          A pan ‘n scan version used to be on youtube. A sequence of stunning set-pieces. The Odessa fire of 2014 is reminiscent of the church burning scene, which I believe recreates a recorded incident in Belarus in1941.

          1. Dave in Austin

            My two bits on the “Azov” surrender UTube. First of all two of the girls were wearing “Border Police” outfits; not Azov. All the guys had neatly trimmed beards. Some seems to have the regular army pants(paras?). They all looked calm and not like the POWs from intense battles. This was an old-time seige; when the wall is breached you surrender. They all brought out their sleeping bags. No Ukrainian arm bands or insignias on the jackets. They all looked well fed.

            Not sure what to make of this. There may be a few Nazis in there and a few “terrorists” who can be identified from the Odessa fire videos, but mostly they looked like average guys resigned to being POWs.

            The searches were pretty cursory; no shoes off, no pat-down the back of the pants, no checking the small of the back at the beltline. I’ve gotten worse at a typical US airport and for a real non-nonsense search by pros get pulled out of line at the Frankfurt airport.

            I wish them peace and a nice bed to sleep on.

            1. Stephen T Johnson

              I saw the ladies sin the police outfits, and they may actually be police. Don’t forget the Azovstal basment dwellers were a hodge-podge of Azov, regular VSU, border guards, and a whole grab bag of odds and sods, Some of the people on those buses looked like married couples of well above military age.
              By way of trivia, one of the lady soldiers had a duffel bag with US ARMY clearly stenciled on it. I had an almost identical one (minus the stencil, I’m Canadian) when I was doing the olive drab pajamas bit.
              PS I’m not saying / don’t think she was US army, just that she’d somehow or other acquired a duffel bag that was, presumably, once in the service of Uncle Sam

            2. Yves Smith Post author

              Per Rev Kev’s report, they were all strip searched. That may have happened earlier and this was a second check to make sure no one somehow got something in a pocket…or the entire thing was just for the cameras.

              There was never a water shortage in the factory. It probably had showers. But one wonder what they would have used for soap.

            3. Polar Socialist

              Of the approximately 2500 Ukrainians in the factory, only 800 are from Azov battalion. Rest are from 4-5 different units of the Ukrainian army.

              When Mariupol was encircled, there were some 8000-10000 Ukrainians. 4000 surrendered, 4000-6000 perished.

              And yes, when they come out, the first check is very basic, then they are marched in small batches to a full strip search and identity check. This is because there are less then a thousand Russian Marines and DNR militia in the city and they don’t want to take risks.

              Wounded are taken to a hospital in Novoazovsk, members of Ukrainian armed forces to Elinka(?) POW camp and Azov members to a prison in Rostov.

              1. The Rev Kev

                I’ve heard that there were only a 1,000 or so Russian/DNR forces that were blocking in those fighters which is remarkable. So that legend that these fighters were tying down huge Russian forces was just that – a legend. I can believe that they will thoroughly investigate all the identities of all those people, including the women. I can see some Azov fighters pretending that they are Ukrainian Marines or something to get out. Saw a video of the latest bunch of Azov POWs coming out and believe me, they were not happy campers.

  4. Stephen V.

    Wait what? We have a Foreign Ag Service? I thought the spooks crunched those numbers. Help me.

    1. Steve

      Yup, the USG has 3 departments with their own respective “foreign services”: State Department, Commerce Department, and the Department of Agriculture.

  5. Kevin Smith

    re: Spotify frisson …
    You can open this list on the web, you shouldn’t need a paid Spotify account to see the list.

    Of course, one person’s frisson might be someone else’s cringe, but maybe the pieces on this list have a higher individual probability of producing a frisson, so different subsets of this list will appeal to different individuals. Good starting point, perhaps. 

    1. Stick'em

      People love lists. Neil Young’s Only Love Can Break Your Heart is #1 on the frisson one:

      I can read the list but a popup stops me from playing the songs. Wants me to download and app, which I don’t do any longer as a general rule.

      Chris Cornell’s voice does it for me like this one about Dubya:

      When I was in collge, we saw Soundgarden at this club called the Cat’s Cradle, which held maybe 200-300 people SRO. There’s something about being there live which makes the frisson event much more likely, in my experience.

      1. griffen

        Would that by chance been a venue in Carrboro, North Carolina? Could be just a coincidentally named venue where you were to see Soundgarden.

        As time passes those bands like them, AIC, and others just have a strong hold on me. Signature voices and great lyrics!

        1. Stick'em

          Griffen ~

          The Cradle was on Rosemary St in Chapel Hill back then. We saw Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Sonic Youth, and so on there back in the late ’80s/ early ’90s.

          This is the Nirvana show:

          Tix were $6-8 back then before MTV ruined it all. Kurt Cobain jumped off the stage and got passed to the front wall and back. At one point I swear he was standing on his head screaming. My buddy Travis had liberty spikes and was prolly 6’6″ so he jumped up and grabbed the track lights and swung from them for minutes at a time. We prolly wouldn’t last a month if we acted like we did then now…

          1. QuicksilverMessenger

            Gawd that’s a ripping version of ‘Aneurysm’. This was just a few weeks before the Halloween show at the Seattle Paramount which has been immortalized on film (though if you ask Charles Cross, they were already in exploitation land).
            I grew up in Tacoma in the 80s then moved to Seattle in ’90. For any that remember Tacoma in the late 80s, there was the Community World Theater that was a venue for a ton of punk, pre-‘grunge’ etc. We saw some great shows, some not so great, but always a ton of fun. “Nirvana” used to play there well before the Nevermind days. But under different names. Here’s one show when they were Ted Ed Fred! We had no idea who the hell they were!

            1. Stick'em


              Most excellent! Took me a minute to realize that’s not Dave Grohl…

          1. lance ringquist

            awesome song. from what i understand, it was live only, jimi never made it into the studio to record it for records.

    2. ChiGal

      makes sense there are multiple entries from Radiohead, Pink Floyd, and Led Zeppelin.

      Surprised not to see whatever the song is from Tommy that has the refrain, See me, feel me, touch me, heal me—not a big Who fan but that always gave me chills.

      Also surprised not to see Christo Redemptor from Donald Byrd since there were other Blue Note label classics.

      Some of the classical selections are favorites I would highly recommend, like the Albinoni Adagio, Dvorak’s New World Symphony, L’Apres Midi by Debussy. Dreamy stuff.

  6. gsinbe

    The saprophyte in the antidote de jour is “Bear Corn”, Conopholis americana. It’s an oak parasite, a flowering plant, and, apparently, bears do like to eat it.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I love the look of curiosity on Betsy’s face. She is really concentrating on what is in front of her.

  7. Lexx

    So, ‘frisson’ is getting high on music?… and Kanye West made the list? Nevermind.

    Just scrolling through our iTunes library… there’s a kind of pattern in the Top 25 Most Played. First of all ‘volume’, it needs to fill the room and I have to feel it with my whole body, not just my ears, from a very good set of speakers.

    If singing, then the singers are probably black. There’s a ass-kicking drummer, the tune is jumpin’ with irresistible rhythm. Maybe there’s a horn section with great chemistry or a sax player so poignant it defies my ability to fully describe…. transcendent maybe? If the blues, then raw and working through it like therapy, one day and one song at a time.

    Gospel, the old stuff.

    The songs I loved in high school…

    Today, frisson for me is a fusion of memories set to music… tomorrow, who knows?

      1. Polar Socialist

        The first minutes of Mozart’s Requiem always get me.

        Another surefire is the last 15 minutes of Beethoven’s 9th. Anticipation and release, anticipation and release until it’s almost too much. Wife used to sing in a good choir and she said once that after a performance of the 9th one is physically and emotionally totally exhausted. The only composition to make her feel she was not singing anymore but channeling something bigger than the universe. I envy her for that.

        Sissel singing Solveig’s song is a good one, too.

        And not be so totally “classical” one of my most frisson experiences was a gig by a Swedish folk ensemble called TRE. I was tired to the bone, walking to my lodgings, but this magical voice of a young lady accompanied by a violin pulled me in and I listened the whole set completely hypnotized.

        1. Stephen V.

          Love this ! You might also enjoy *Finlandia*

          And the original lyrics are especially poignant given the current situation. From the Comments–
          By the way, the original Finnish lyrics by Koskenniemi go like this:

          O Finland look
          your day is dawning,
          the threat of night’s already deported
          and the lark of morning sings in brightness
          as if the canopy of sky would ring.
          The powers of night are conquered
          by the brightness of morning;
          your day will come o fatherland.
          O Finland rise and lift up high
          your head wreathed by great memories.
          O rise Finland, you showed the world
          that you deported slavery
          and didn’t bow under oppression.
          Your morning’s come, o fatherland.

          (Rough translation by Ray Bird 2013)

          1. Polar Socialist

            Thanks! I was exposed to Finlandia already in the early childhood, so while I do enjoy it a lot, the frisson depends on the situation.

            Anecdotally, according to Finns, the are indeed good performances out there, but only Finns can do it like it should: with orchestra.

            Even more anecdotally, I once saw documentary about how music affects people, they did measure pulse, stress and other things while playing music
            to people. One of the pieces was Finlandia, played to the three people – two young non-Finns and one Finnish war veteran. The metrics were completely opposite when compared: veteran had anxiety when kids were calm or enjoying and vice versa.

            Then they asked from these persons what they felt they felt and were they thinking during the piece. Turned out that while the “battle” didn’t trigger him at all (he knew the music well and just enjoyed it), but when the hymn part started he suddenly remembered all his fallen comrades and stressed out totally.

  8. The Rev Kev

    “This is how the elite Ukrainian battalion Azov surrendered…for them the war was over…”

    On the TV news a few hours ago Zelensky was saying how he was having Ukrainian officers and intelligence people organize the “evacuation.” Say, does anybody remember reading how back in 1781 that British officers organized the “evacuation” of British & German troops from the Siege of Yorktown? No, me neither.

    Meanwhile, some guy left a comment at MoA listing the procedure for those Azov guys-

    ‘A post at Defence Politics Asia YouTube channel reports the following process is being utilized”

    The thing to remember about ANY/EVERY single person who leaves Azovstal previously, presently or in the future is this:
    1. The Russians are not stupid or sloppy.
    2. First they are taken under guard to a processing place. Wounded are under guard during treatment until fit for normal processing.
    3. They are scrupulously checked for real identity by their papers and every civil database the Russians have access to. Local Mariupol LDPR investigators are also there to use their local knowledge to verify all claims of civilian neutrality.
    4. They are stripped to look for any fascist sympathetic tattoos, men and women alike, it has been reported by one woman evacuee.
    5. They are FINGERPRINTED AND PHOTOGRAPHED and their future intended residential address documented as they may be called as witnesses to war crimes in future criminal trials. The LDPR and Russians are fkn serious about legal retributions for the 8 year war and about making sure that not a single nazi sympathiser ever gets back into social circulation.
    6. They are interrogated about all personal matters and all knowledge about what is going in inside Azovstal. Obviously, anyone NOT completely forthcoming is held for future interrogation.
    7. Only after all the above tests, they are sorted into:
    * free civilians to go home, their choice of Uk or LD or RF territory or to refugee camps;
    * harmless Ukrainian Regular soldiers who go to LDPR POW camps awaiting exchange for Regular Russian POWs as per Geneva Convention;
    * foreign low level mercenary fighters who go to LDPR POW camps awaiting criminal prosecution;
    * high level foreigner (eg NATO staff), who most probably go to FSB Headquarters in Moscow for future intel and political purposes;
    * Azov fighters who will all get kept as non-swapable POWs to be prosecuted by the LDPF for war crimes. The LDPR Public Prosecutors have publically clearly stated their guilty punishments may be as high as the death penalty.

    So that’s the strict filtering regime. So have no fear that any of the “Rats of Azovstal” will escape their rightful fates. Even after another 1000-2000 surrenders, the exact same processing will be done to each and every one. The LDPR and Russian military jails are gunna be real full, real soon.’

    1. Michael Fiorillo

      “The LDPR and Russian military jails are gonna be real full, real soon.”

      No biggee: the NYT today has an article about the cuisine in Mariopol, and states that, “Every time a Ukrainian dish is prepared in an American kitchen, it’s an act of resistance,” so US liberals can continue conflating their consumer choices with politics (as with morons lining up to eat at Veselka in the East Village, because I Stand With Ukraine).

      That’ll teach those Russkis a lesson they’ll never forget.

      But I’m still waiting for that perky, upbeat article about Stepan Bandera’s favorite borscht recipe, or a feature on The Einsatzgruppen Cookbook.

      1. Safety First

        Considering that for many decades there has been a huge overlap between Russian, Ukrainian and Belarussian cuisine* – not the least due to the many, many reforms of the Soviet era (from changing the nutritional mix for the overall population to publishing a single “master” cookbook that just about everyone had in their kitchen) – the whole “Ukrainian dish as act of resistance” thing is, to me, both confusing and amusing simultaneously.

        I suppose this does allow for additional opportunities with which to troll people at dinner parties. You know, accusing them of actually serving Russian, not Ukrainian, dishes, and producing screens from Russian-language cooking sites as evidence…

        1. Alyosha

          One must be discerning to detect the difference between autocratic and democratic borscht. Pelmini is even more difficult.

    2. Polar Socialist

      For those “keeping score” DNR reports that so far 1750 Ukrainians have surrendered. The top ranks are said to be last ones to come out, after they have destroyed all the computers and documents.

      The local DNR commander Aleksandr Khodakovsky revealed that there are actually way less Russian/DNR troops in Mariupol than there were Ukrainians.

  9. Colonel Smithers

    Thank you, Yves.

    Further to Finland and Sweden’s applications to join NATO, it’s not just Turkey objecting. Croatia has linked the applications to developments in Bosnia.

    One hopes Erdogan plays hard ball and suggests EU membership for Turkey as a quid pro quo. I am sure that “Kemal” Johnson (Kemal Atabrexit?) will support such a trade.

    Hopefully, the Atlantic Council will mobilise its blossoming network, especially former envoy Gerard Araud and academic Benjamin Haddad in France, to lobby for Turkish membership of the EU in exchange for Finnish and Swedish membership of NATO.

    It’s win win. What’s not to like?

    1. PlutoniumKun

      What I find astonishing is that the collective intellectual might of Nato/EU/Swedish/Finnish leaders didn’t foresee this little ‘problem’ arising. Did it really not occur to them that Erdogan and others wouldn’t see this as a gift horse? It will be an epic humiliation for them if they have to refuse the applications.

      Incidentally, according to a scandal mag here in Dublin, the only reason the Irish government has not joined in the fun and put in a Nato application is that our President Mickey D, a long time peace campaigner prior to being elected, has made it plain he will refuse to sign in any legislation, which would force it to a referendum. And the opinion polls show that any proposal would be crushed by the electorate.

      The Irish government is also quietly negotiating to buy some second hand Gripens from the Swedes (much to Irish government embarrassment, they’ve had to call the RAF to chase away Russian Bear bombers that have regularly intruded into Irish airspace). One wonders how all this is impacting on the negotiations, as the Swedes may decide they will need all the Gripens for themselves.

      1. liam

        We should get a radar first.

        To be honest, I’m not so sure it’s the Irish Gov calling in the RAF, as they have no way of knowing if the Russian’s are there, (at least once the transponders are off). It’s the RAF telling them that they’re there and probably not being all that pushed about the permission aspect of using our airspace. They should also get some drones just to monitor our waters for fishing violations also. And some vessels to respond when they spot those violations, and they should probably get the personnel for that also. And while they’re at it, pay them a living wage.

        Embarrassed, never!!! Their necks are brass!

        1. PlutoniumKun

          A few years ago I was talking to a friend of a friend who works at Shannon ATC and he said they regularly tracked aircraft without transponders and could usually work out who they were from altitude and speed. I don’t know if there was any formal live notification to the government, it would all be a bit irrelevant anyway as Ireland doesn’t have interceptors. But certainly, incursions into Irish airspace by Bears has always been commonplace. As you say, it was probably the RAF which took it upon itself to do the interceptions. That said, there is a liaison body for the RAF and the Irish Coast Guard for helicopter rescues at sea, so maybe that includes monitoring air as well.

          It should be said that its not unknown for military aircraft to use civilian transponders. This is how the Iraqis managed to accidentally put a big hole in the USS Stark. The Iraqis had been using civilian transponders on aircraft rigged with Exocets to attack Iranian tankers. So the Stark had no idea there was a threat in the area.

          1. digi_owl

            Any bear entering Atlantic airspace has likely been tracked since it left Russian airspace up north, and shadowed by Norwegian jets until relieved by UK or whoever is taking their turn over Iceland at the time.

          2. The Rev Kev

            US military aircraft also use civilian transponders out east as well which doesn’t fool anyone. Not a good practice though.

          3. ArvidMartensen

            Perhaps this is how MH17 got shot down?
            But nobody was going to admit to shooting it down in error because they thought it was military (maybe Putin’s plane)?

            1. Yves Smith Post author

              The plane’s fight path was directed away from the normal route for that flight to over what was effectively a war zone. And I would have to check, but my recollection is that it was the only plane that day who had its flight path redirected over an area where fighting was taking place, as in there was no weather or other apparent reason.

      2. Alyosha

        The sanctions, NATO enlargement, weapons supply … none of these seem like they were at all planned. It’s shocking. You would think that all of the details would be taken care of behind closed doors so that announcements like “Sweden and Finland to join NATO” wouldn’t be immediately met with Turkey saying “Now wait a minute …” Or remember the Polish MiGs to Ukraine when the US said, “we’re sending MiGs!” and Poland said, “We’re not sending MiGs” and then the US said, “We should send Polish MiGs!” and the Poles responded, “We’ll send the MiGs to Germany and you deal with them, also, give us F-16s to replace them”. And then the whole matter was quietly dropped.

        These are not serious people.

        1. Henry Moon Pie

          Agree strongly. All this is improvisational and driven by a “double down” mentality. Those who find WEF masterminds planning all this years in advance are giving these a-holes too much credit. Not that they wouldn’t like to have that level of control. They’re just not capable. No one is.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Back in November before Ukraine started getting heated, Blinken went to Africa to start forming an anti-China bloc. He keep back and his statement on his trip amounted to these countries now expect stuff in exchange for doing what we tell them.

            It’s been said ad nauseum, but it never stopped being 1995 for these people.

            Then of course, especially in the US, the “free traders” moved the US’s major strength off shore (industry) and effectively strengthened all the countries they now can’t simply dictate terms. We cut Russia off from the same 3 Marvel movies we make every year.

        2. digi_owl

          That said, Sweden has been practicing alongside NATO for some years now.

          I recall reading in the last year or so that they even let a B-2 pass through their airspace, flanked by a formation of Gripens no less.

          Ugh, now i remind myself that opening up Swedish and Finnish airspace for “NATO” will allow US bombers to massage the Russian border from St. Petersburg to Murmansk. Do wonder how many feathers that will ruffle.

        3. jonboinAR

          We seem to lack statesmen, certainly. Putin appears to have some of the stuff in his deliberate mode of acting, not enough to save him from his initial dreadful error, although severely provoked. Is there no one on our side who might step up before things get unthinkably horrible?

      3. Polar Socialist

        I think the collective leadership has been navel-gazing for decades and is completely unable to contemplate that there are other actors with their own agendas.

        Just like less than 20% of the globe counts as “The World”. Nobody else can have any agenda, resources or means than the Washington-Brussels axle. It’s inconceivable!

      4. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, PK.

        I was wondering about the application from Ireland and how it had gone quiet.

        With regard to your question, the likes of Carl Bildt have been pushing this for years and not thought about it, so caught up in the moment and with the opportunities are they. Having Scandinavians at the helm of NATO makes the task easier.

      5. David

        As far as I know, Ireland has never operated fast jets, or even high-subsonic ones. I’ve been told authoritatively that to go from nothing to a real operational supersonic capability can take up to ten years. It is, of course, a complex and expensive task. You first have to find the pilots, and put them through a selection and basic military training process. Actually producing a fast jet pilot generally takes at least two years, after which you need operational conversion training and then operational experience before a pilot can be considered combat ready. Of course, you also need experienced fast jet instructors to train the new pilots: where are they coming from? If the Irish were to buy one squadron (say twelve aircraft) with spares and two-seater training aircraft, as well as an advanced trainer along the lines of the Hawk, then I suspect they’d be lucky to have an operational capability by the end of the decade. You could speed things up a bit by having the training done by the Swedes, I suppose, so long as they had the spare capacity, and all the instructional materials were available in English (this isn’t the export version of the Gripen).

        But that’s only the beginning. You will also need to recruit large numbers of technical specialists on everything to enable at least first and second line maintenance to be done. These will be headed up by experienced officers with degrees in aerospace engineering. You’ll need to construct a complete new air base, or massively expand a present one, with all the infrastructure that goes with it. The the base needs to be defended from aircraft and missile attack, with hardened shelters, missiles and the like. And of course none of this is any use unless you know the Russians are coming. That requires an advanced radar system, with people to man it and maintain it. How many trained Fighter Controllers do the Irish have?

        The only way I can see this working at a minimally acceptable cost is effectively for the Irish to contribute a squadron to the RAF, and make use of all the radar and other assets. How popular that would be in Ireland I leave to others to judge.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Yes, thats the complication. Ireland has never had anything beyond some antique French jet trainers (much in demand for making movies) which would struggle to catch up with a DC-3, let alone a military bomber. The air force as it exists seems to be largely a pilot draining arm for Ryanair.

          The idea, so far as I can see, is that Ireland would essentially lease the Gripens off the Swedes in a package that would include training and support. Sweden was the obvious choice as it would be considered constitutionally dubious to get them from a Nato supplier if there was integration with air defense. But the integration has been going on quietly for years anyway, the government just wouldn’t want it to be too obvious. The Irish preference has always been to buy from countries like Sweden, Switzerland and Austria to avoid these complications.

          The one exception was the Navy, where Ireland has always bought from a Devon shipyard. Ironically, its said that the Royal Navy expressed a lot of interest in the small corvettes designed for the Irish Naval service as the yard offered a blown up version as a quick and cheap solution to the RN’s Frigate problem (never really an option of course, but it does indicate what a pickle the MoD found itself in when it realized it had let British shipbuilding skills fall so far behind).

          The Irish military at the moment has a well equipped army, a legacy of its UN work in the past, with a tiny and poorly equipped airforce and navy, which is of course the wrong way around for a small island nation. The air force is a conundrum as nearly every aircraft available on the market is far too sophisticated for simple interceptor ability, and even the most gung ho types acknowledge that this is all Ireland needs (hence the interest in stripped down older Gripens). They’ve been sending fact finding missions to NZ, as they’ve built up a small Navy on the cheap (including using a Dutch shipyard to turn a ro-ro ferry design into a sort of ad-hoc amphibious assault vessel). No doubt plenty of minds are at work trying to build in purchase commitments which will require a huge long term increase in military spending.

          1. liam

            Forgive my ignorance PK, but wouldn’t an AA system combined with radar not prove cheaper and just as effective. Use drones for reconnaissance. To be honest I’ve always thought that our independence was best protected by being inoffensive. If it works for the Iranians.

            1. PlutoniumKun

              An AA system would be fine in a war, but a missile only has two modes – fire and don’t fire. If someone wants to call your bluff, there is little you can do about it. There is also of course the problem that if you detect an intruder, without very sophisticated radar its impossible to know if the blip is a threat, a friend, or just a private plane with a broken transponder. The Iranians have of course, shot down one of their own civilian airliners by accident.

              So there is no real alternative to having a high performance manned aircraft that can go up and have a close look, and ‘escort’ anyone out who is breaching your airspace. But it is an expensive way of showing you are sovereign and don’t want anyone messing around in your airspace.

              1. liam

                Good points. Thanks. What you wrote about NZ was interesting by the way. We can learn a lot by studying what others have done.

            2. David

              It’s the difference between defence (point or area) and actually policing your airspace. You wait for them to come to you or you go and shoo them away. The UK has been playing this game for a good 70 years.

            3. RobertC

              Liam — if you edge a bit out of the box then Yes there is an affordable AA solution.

              Start with something like the FK-3 (export version of HQ-22) which China recently airlifted six into Serbia.

              Then when an intruder of concern approaches change the radar mode from Surveillance to Fire Control, the universal warning of imminent danger. And if the intruder foolishly doesn’t leave, then an intercept will encourage greater care on the part of future intruders.

              I’m sure China will offer Ireland excellent terms as well as air delivery. And maybe free replacement missiles.

          2. Polar Socialist

            I think there’s only one interceptor-by-birth jet available on the market: Mig-29. It’s latest iteration, Mig-35, has some multifunctionality baked in, but it’s still in its core a manned missile, climbing high and accelerating to mach 2 in a few minutes, ready to engage.

            Probably a no go, for Ireland, though. And a lot of them have been retired lately. India still has them, $50 million a piece (used from Russia).

            1. PlutoniumKun

              Yeah, its the obvious choice, but even before Ukraine it would have been a no-no. It would have been amusing though to see Migs being used to chase away Tupolevs.

              Used F-16’s can be had for loose change these days, but the whole maintenance thing probably rules it out. They were talking about getting an armed supersonic trainer, like the Korean T-50, but that gets all very political, and Irish politicians absolutely hate making any decision that makes bigger EU and anglosphere nations angry.

              1. Polar Socialist

                Maybe Italian M-346? Has radar, can carry a few missiles and tag along with a Bear. But not much else.

                And S-400 system to back it up. One of them in Dublin could “monitor” the whole UK airspace…

                1. PlutoniumKun

                  Thats never been mentioned, probably for the Nato link (oddly enough, in Ireland French equipment is considered ‘not quite Nato’, for all sorts of reasons). But as always with these things it will be political, and the desire will be to buy from an EU nation that isn’t in Nato, which narrows things down a hell of a lot.

                  As for an S-400…. even mentioning something like that would have every Irish politician running for cover. But if Sinn Fein come into power….

    2. SocalJimObjects

      Or perhaps NATO will kick Turkey out. So what if the later is the second strongest NATO member? Germany is going to pick up the slack right?

      1. Louis Fyne

        One Turkey is worth 10+ Sweden-Finlands when it comes to Great Game power politics.

        ironically, Turkey being kicked out of NATO would be a good step to a stable, multipolar world as NATo will be called out as the White Man’s Burden Imperial Country Club that it really is.

        1. digi_owl

          Indeed. Turkey is in because it covers Russia’s south, and is the largest standing NATO army after USA.

          After all, they have had repeated hissy fits with fellow member Greece for as long as NATO has been around.

          1. Synoia

            Turkey (Or the locale) had hissy fits with Greece (or the inhabitants) since before Helen of Troy.

          2. The Rev Kev

            Greece does not have to worry anymore. It seems that they want to buy a squadron of F-35s so problem solved.

      2. Stephen T Johnson

        I don’t think NATO actually has an expulsion mechanism. Doubtless the US could just muscle it through, but then so much for Incirlik airbase, eh?

    3. RobertC

      Oh my my I visited Cdr Salamander and found Turkey Skunks the NATO Party. The conclusion

      Alliances, like friendships, have obligations as well as benefits. Actions have consequences. Turkey needs to know she can’t be a bully with her friends … or that friendship might not last.

      was mild compared to the Comments section. There’s LCS-level anger. Here’s one

      Finland and Sweden have essentially zero military power. A strategic liability. They are just two more on the long list of security parasites in Europe who will spend trivial sums on their own defense and demand American protection.

  10. FreeMarketApologist

    In the ‘slightly good news’ department, Allianz is pleading guilty and paying up over the way they ran one of their investment funds:

    ” A unit of Allianz SE will plead guilty to fraud and pay $5.8 billion after misrepresenting the risk posed by a group of hedge funds that collapsed amid pandemic market gyrations.

    AGI US’s Structured Alpha hedge funds were designed to provide protection against a market crash. Instead, the funds ended up losing $7 billion during the tumultuous early days of the pandemic in 2020, spurring multiple lawsuits from pension plan investors.

    Gregoire Tournant, the former chief investment officer and co-lead portfolio manager of the funds, was arrested in Colorado and separately charged with fraud. His lawyers said he will fight the charges. Two other executives with the funds agreed to plead guilty and are cooperating with authorities.

    AGI will plead guilty to a single count of securities fraud. The agreement calls for the firm to forfeit $463 million and pay $3.2 billion in restitution to victims of the fraud as well as a $2.3 billion penalty. It will get a credit for $1.9 billion that has already been paid to victims.

    There’s some frisson for you!

  11. Henry Moon Pie

    What gets my frisson going are songs I call “shifters.” Somewhere in the song, there’s a shift in rhythm and/or tempo.

    My premier example is the appropriately titled “Perpetual Change” by Yes that includes a number of these shifts. Another from the Golden Age is Hendrix’s “One Rainy Wish” from the Axis album that moves from a waltz to a hard-driving rock two-beat and back again. An especially famous shifter is “Stairway to Heaven” and the shift that takes place after the acoustic opening that was stolen from Spirit’s “Taurus.” One more example is the Steve Miller Band’s “Kow Kow Calqulator.” When the shift takes place in these songs, I find it hard not to get on my feet and get out my air guitar. As a nearly seventy year-old geezer, I limit listening to these tunes to when I’m alone. Just trying to preserve a little dignity. Also, no more than one per hour is recommended out of consideration for the circulatory system’s fragility at my age.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I’m no musicologist, but this seems to be a common thread in the music scores that try to bring on that frisson. Ones that come to mind are recent scores for the anime Demon Slayer and the animated film Your Name by the Radiwimps. There are also of course plenty of classic film score examples – the Godfather, Days of Heaven (of course, anything by Ennio Morricone, including the Metallica version of Ecstasy of Gold!). Also, the wonderful and overlooked music of Marin Marais is used brilliantly in the French film Tous les Matins du Monde.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          I’m glad to see there are other fans of that movie here – its near cinematic perfection.

      1. David

        Aah, what a film. Gerard Depardieu in his prime, and his son, who tragically died a while ago. And the music of Marin Maris (and JB Lully at the start).
        “Tous les matins du monde sont sans retour” = you can’t go back again.

        1. Joe Renter

          Is Depardieu a citizen of Russia? Left France due to owing taxes. If memory serves me.
          If I could get citizenship there I would leave tomorrow.

    2. britzklieg

      Laura Nyro, who, inmo, is the most underappreciated artist of her generation (wrote superior music to C King, J.Taylor, etc) filled her songs with what you call “shifters.”

      One encounters “un petite frisson” in the fab Stoned Soul Picnic (made famous by The 5th Dimension).
      Here’s her original recording
      You’ll hear it first at around the :50 time stamp and again at 2:50

      It is a small, subtle shift from a duple to a triple feel (without actually changing the meter) that delivers the chill everytime!

  12. Otis B Driftwood

    Mercouris has provided excellent analysis of the war in Ukraine, not so much the military developments (an area he frequently admits is not his area of expertise), but particularly the geopolitical and economic aspects of the conflict.

    I am not so impressed with The Duran as it often strays into “Trump Won!” conspiracy nonsense and climate denial. Unfortunately, it seems this is where a majority of their subscribers lean.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I agree. Mercouris makes an effort to consult many sources, sanity test them, and he’s always tells readers whether what he has found is pretty solid or speculative or his extrapolation. He also seems to have additional insight from his prior life and said he’s taken to studying Russian military history (he knew some of the famous battles but seems to be working to get himself further down the curve), so he can offer interesting analogies. I’m not keen about the rest of the Duran bunch but sometimes they bring on good guests.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      I’m not a regular watcher, but the Duran seems to fit into that weird space where right and left wing non-conformists come together to agree. I think its less a matter of ideology than just the way the best independent analysts have been driven out of the MSM and seek a home, and there are plenty of overlaps of agreement in foreign policy between various strands of nativist conservatives and progressives. Jacob Dreizen seems a very good level headed analyst of the military situation, although he largely seems to depend on second hand sources.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Yes, I only recently started paying attention to Dreizen. You have to ignore his occasional US political asides, but he’s very good on the military stuff, both in giving informative detail and being good at exposition.

        Re right meeting left….I decided to listen to Gonzalo Lira the other day when I was looking for some distraction to see if he had changed anything as a result of his fling with the SBU (he seems to be doing shorter clips). This one was on the cypto meltdown. He gave a very bro-friendly explanation of how taxation makes fiat currencies valuable. A self-professed right winger explaining MMT.

        1. prism

          Based on yesterday’s thread, wasn’t he also used to be friends with Steve Keen, who in turn is good friend with Michael Hudson and Stephanie Kelton?

          Looks like he is already semi-familiar with the MMT crowd, though it is still a very strange connection to me because I would never take him as someone who would know the MMT people.

          1. paul

            From what I have read, used to be friends with steve keen is very much the right tense.

            I look at his stuff on ukraine but view him as something of a cute character.

      2. Leftist Mole

        Has anyone else checked out videos from Brian Berletic of New Atlas on YouTube? I’ve found his opinions and explanations on the Ukraine/Russia/the West war informative and interesting. Berletic appears to know a lot about current weaponry.

    3. JohnM_inMN

      Yes! Many of these views come to light when they are answering questions from the live chat. The other day when Alexander appeared to agree with a commenter who referred to the 2020 election being stolen, I asked the chat what evidence the Duran had on the subject. The answer I received went something like, “It’s obvious. Everyone knows this.” More recently Alexander made a comparison between the Jan. 6 rioters and the people protesting at the homes of some of the Supremes by stating the right wing trope, “the ‘Left’ is never held to account.”
      And the climate denial means that no measures to limit fossil fuel extraction should be taken seriously. Perhaps I’ll skip the question and answer portion and stick to the geopolitical analysis, which as you started, is excellent.

    4. dftbs

      I would echo all these sentiments with regards to the “politics” of the analysts mentioned, and it creates an itch driven by the realization that Left/Right American political dichotomy is largely aesthetic. When it is tested in the real world it often fails to provide any meaningful analysis and prescriptions.

      For example the Ukraine war shows a complete breakdown of these aforementioned American political prejudices. The liberals, Democrats, and self-proclaimed leftist (often of the identarian variety) are the most ravenous warmongers and supporters of domestic authoritarianism, in stark contrast to their purported values. “Conservatives” like Dreizen, Lira, and the Alexanders of the Duran seem to be peaceniks. Add to them the more ideological of the MAGA crowd; notably congress-critters like Boebert and Taylor who, sincerely or not, are highlighting the hypocrisy of sending billions to the Ukrainian blackhole.

      A more useful dichotomy for the US is elite/populist, which already had some traction, and perhaps Imperialist/anti-Imperialist. I prefer the latter, as it is at once more challenging to the inert characterization of Left/Right, and IMO is a better analytical lens for diagnosing the ills that plague this country and developing prescriptions for them.

  13. The Rev Kev

    ‘Ireland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs @simoncoveney has said the European Commission has been working hard on solutions that would distinguish between goods going to Northern Ireland from GB and staying there, compared to those goods entering NI but destined for the Republic.’

    Thinking this over, would a solution be that goods must remain in containers sealed by Customs from the originating country. And maybe each container should contain some sort of beefed-up form of an AirTag tracker so that all these containers can be tracked and traced by the importers and exports and the countries that they land in digitally? But of course I bet that it is much more complicated than that.

    1. ambrit

      There will always be smugglers. The old cigarette smugglers in America come to mind. Cartons of smoke used to show up regularly with fake tax stamps, supplied, for a fee, by organized crime. The big hang up was generally the onerous taxes imposed on certain goods by regional and local authorities for various reasons.
      Close to home, agricultural diesel is not taxed. So, to limit cross driving, agricultural diesel is dyed, a red colour, to differentiate it from highway diesel. So far as I know, no one has figured out a way to “remove” the red dye.

        1. JohnA

          Cigarette smuggling was especially big out of Ukraine where cigarettes are incredibly cheap by European standards. Though I suspect that trade has taken a hit recently.

    2. JohnA

      They were thinking more on the lines of highly perishable foods such as sandwiches. Why there is a need to ship sandwiches across the Irish Sea is beyond me but. Basically, with such a short shelf life, it is unlikely there would be much cross border sandwich smuggling between north and south Ireland. However, it would appear that Liz Truss is determined to find any spurious reasons to reject all such compromises. The woman vies with Ursula von Leyen in the stupidity stakes.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        It really comes down to the size of the markets. When there was free movement, it made sense for many companies to organize on a Britain plus Ireland scale. It was often just random factors that made companies decide to have, say, their manufacturing plant in one country and their distribution warehouse in another, back when the border didn’t matter. Quite a lot of British milk would go to Ireland for processing and return as fake Italian mozzarella or whatever.

    3. PlutoniumKun

      I don’t think there are huge issues with individual container loads of homogenous products. The problem comes because processing and distribution of so many products (especially food) is done across the borders. For example, a lot of milk gets moved across the Irish border and the Irish sea border as it moves between cow to processing plant to consumer.

      When it comes down to the micro level, it is hugely complex. The constant complaints of Marks and Spencers is a particular sign of just how difficult it is when dealing with processed goods with multiple ingredients.

  14. Mikerw0

    An interesting anecdotal observation on back to the office policies. I notice a distinctive split among the people I speak to. Those that talk Neo-liberal ideas (even if they don’t know them to be as such) and see owners and/or management as superior in the hierarchy and employees as completely subservient want everyone back 100% of the time and that if people don’t want to follow that policy tough.

    The other side sees it as much more nuanced and flexible and that workers and owners should strike a balance or accommodation that works.

  15. super extra

    Thanks for the Quanta piece on Leslie Lamport (Computing Expert Says Programmers Need More Math). Distributed is my wheelhouse and Lamport’s work is fundamental and I personally have always found him to be a person with a lot of meat in his comments. I’ve spent most of the last decade working within problems he describes and I agree with his main thrust, which is also the same logic underlying the functional vs objective language split that has gotten larger and larger over the recent years.

    I’m not sure really how accessible/relevant his comments are to non-system programming, though. At this point we now have two disinct programming ecosystems that are layered together to form what normal humans think of as ‘software’: the distributed and concurrent backend systems running on the cloud servers that control application logic, and the non-distributed, non-concurrent UI presentation layer (which now has its own data and caching layers, so it also has its own distinct model/logic separate from the backend). There are infinite tools to test the conditions Lamport is discussing within that front end layer, but they can never reach the end state he wants with his verification language without changing their own logic structure, into something less object-oriented and more functional.

    I’ve spent the last month or so trying to improve my skills with what I think of as an object oriented programming pattern (model-view-controller) that has been designed for a functional language and it has been extraordinarily frustrating to remap old patterns to fit someone else’s idea of better readability or idiomaticism. We’re talking tantrums like I haven’t had since I was a teenager. So if there is to be a sea change like this that will affect, um, React and Node, it is going to take a long time.

    1. Glen

      Ha, very similar to what I’m going through too. We switched to C#/WPF on a huge project, and I find myself having to spend massive time troubleshooting GUI problems, instead of just getting the instrumentation to do good data acquisition and control. The programmers we brought in to help have made the formally easy peasy GUIs complex as all get out, but they don’t read drawings/schematics, don’t “do” instrumentation, and don’t understand how the product works so core functionality on the new system is worse than the old one we need to replace.

  16. Tom Stone

    “Growing evidence of Military Disaster pierces pro Russian bubble”.
    According to the SF Chronicle.
    “If you don’t follow the news you are uninformed, if you do follow the news you are misinformed”

    1. super extra

      Tom, you just gotta replace some parties in statements like this:

      “Growing evidence of Military Disaster pierces pro Russian Ukrainian bubble”

      Yesterday I saw something like “Russians losing so badly they wish they’d sued for peace on March 15” and I did the appropriate substitution, “State Department losing proxy war so badly they wish they’d sued for peace on March 15”, before consuming any more ‘news’ on the war. Everything I read after was much more palatable!

    2. Screwball

      I have come to the conclusion that whatever the MSM tell us – the opposite is more likely the truth. Same with the pols. Question everything.

      1. tegnost

        that’s why we need a disinformation czar, someone needs to get a grip on all this bs and craft a more manageable narrative FFS…

    3. Safety First

      There is an old Russian saw that translates roughly as:

      “The thoroughly defeated enemy is advancing in a cowardly fashion.”

      Or I suppose you could just dig up that minister of Saddam’s who kept insisting to the press that “there are no Americans in Baghdad”, whatever his name was.


      There is a real issue at hand here, however. For the past…whatever, Western media and Western governments have been shouting from the rooftops about the Russians being comprehensively defeated whilst taking huge casualties. To wit, the Defence Ministry in the UK has just come out with an assessment that pegged a third of the “initial invasion force” – so somewhere in the range of 50k? – as “losses”, not sure if they mean casualties in general or just the killed and missing.

      Now, just suppose, for the sake of argument, that in a few weeks or months, the Russians successfully complete Phase 2. Western governments and media have been saying this is impossible, in part as they are being pushed back with heavy losses. Ergo, how do we explain the Russians seizing the territory they said they were going to seize? Do we double down and claim that the Russians have wasted >100k troops while the Ukrainians merely “straightened out the front”? Or do we start a new game of “who lost China” and try to find some…I don’t know, traitors, scapegoats, someone whose actions, despite the evident Russian defeats and casualties, nevertheless permitted the Russians to claim territory and victory?

      It is the latter scenario that concerns me, but I suppose we have to get there first…

        1. rowlf

          Meh. Jen Psaki would use him as a door mat. New times, stronger denials of reality are needed. We have reliable social media supported news versus ugly muckraking.

          Stay safe out there. /s

      1. Polar Socialist

        I believe the western media already has this down to a pat: “we made a mistake in believing the information we were given”, “we should have been more sceptical”, “we must make sure we’re never fooled like this again”.

        Then they collect their bonuses and prepare to do it all over again.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          I’ve noticed a few articles along the line of ‘things are going bad in the Donbass – but they are advancing in Kherkov!’ Its slowly dawning on them that the south-east is a lost cause, so they’ll hype any minor advance elsewhere for all its worth.

        2. rowlf

          Didn’t we (us here) already see the back of the western media’s baseball card for performance expectations season-over-season? Maybe audacity was the only metric to trend up.

          Or to paraphrase the People’s Front of Judea: What has the western media ever done for us?

  17. The Rev Kev

    ‘Christian hate-preacher Greg Locke told the people in his Tennessee tent church today, “You cannot be a Christian and vote Democrat in this nation!” He later threatened Democrats watching him, “You ain’t seen [an] insurrection yet.” ‘

    Just spitballing it but how about that if you use your church to spread political messages or to threaten people with, then your church loses its status as a church both legally and tax-wise. Your free speech is still in use but you just lose the right to hide behind a church while using it. Just sayin’.

    1. FreeMarketApologist

      How about having no tax exemptions for religious institutions at all? You can preach whatever you want from your pulpit to whomever you want. Everything brought in at the plate, ‘donated’, or invested is taxed at the relevant corporate rate. No tax deduction to individuals for donations, gifts, or services. End. Period.

      We need to stop treating superstitious fanatics as some financially protected class.

    2. orlbucfan

      I’ve been fed up with the organized religious troublemakers paying no property taxes my whole adult life. Plus, the yahoos making threats. They need to spend a night or several in a genuine jail!

  18. Wukchumni

    $4.01k update

    Fortune favored Matt Damon as it turned out, but lets not get despondent over the swoon in the room and celebrate the idea that through the e-maelstrom Bitcoin has held @ around $30k, leaving my investment at $2.22, after buying in @ the $56k level.

    1. Pat

      I think humans react differently to things for all sorts of reasons. Like me, the author may know the original, but it was Cash who delivered the punch to the stomach with his version.
      For others it was the original.

  19. JAC

    This Omicron BA.2 is no joke. Worst sore throat I have ever experienced, and the weird headaches! Third day since testing positive and still have a fever. Cannot imagine society going through this every year and how it will effect employment and productivity.

    1. super extra

      BA.1 gave me weird headaches that felt more like intracranial pressure than a migraine. Very scary stuff. I found daily 50mg of benadryl (just normal generic OTC diphenhydramine, I take it before bed) helped a lot. Wishing you a speedy recovery!

    2. threeskies

      Concerning to read this. Not a medical professional, and this isn’t meant to be medical advice; still, The FLCCC Alliance website, the “protocols” tab, might offer some options you may be interested in. Horse paste based? Yes, but D3/k2 and other vital mines of life (vitamins) too.

    3. PlutoniumKun

      Sorry to hear this. I was talking earlier to a colleague who had a nasty bout from it, off work for a week, and he is worried that he still hasn’t fully recovered. His wife has been sick since January following a New Year dose of BA-1 and is now officially a ‘long covid’ sufferer.

  20. pjay

    Re “Congress Approves 40 Billion Dollar Ukraine War Bill” – CounterPunch

    These days, whenever I see a Counterpunch article on Ukraine, the first thing I do is check the author. If it’s Draitser, St. Clair, or Cockburn, I usually don’t bother to read it. If it’s anyone else I might skim it to see if there is anything worthwhile. In this case, the first two paragraphs pulled me in. The author slams the fake progressives in Congress while giving qualified praise to Rand Paul for at least challenging the bill. After that, however, the article degenerates into the usual BS on Putin’s “smash and grab imperial campaign” and the deluded “retro-Stalinists” and “tankies” who fail to condemn it loudly enough (Max Blumenthal is singled out by name here).

    These articles are a dime a dozen nowadays. If you read the article carefully, you find that it contributes absolutely nothing to the actual understanding of what’s going on now in Ukraine or what led up to it. Its vague call for a “class conscious campaign for peace across national borders” sounds more like a Pepsi commercial teaching the world to sing than a serious proposal. So what is its purpose? I can only conclude that it is just a form of “left-wing” virtue-signalling that makes the author feel superior in his “curse on all their houses” wisdom.

    I’ve become a very cynical realist in my old age.

    1. cnchal

      > So what is its purpose?

      Filler. There’s an exponentially growing digital hole that swallows zeros and ones. Moar power sucking data centers are on order.

    2. super extra

      a lot of people are writers because they wanted to be paid to write for others, not becuase they have something to say. then if you go long enough as a writer it becomes just another job or hustle, and you still have to crank out the words even if you have nothing meaningful to contribute (student loans still gotta get paid). this was happening for years before the war started so a lot of these people thought they could shift to war reporting from social commentary or whatever they were doing before. and then after years of seeing the world through whatever lens was used for social commentary it is impossible to refocus when looking elsewhere. I find it to be a great relief to think about how much of this written trash will just disappear when the various servers holding the data shut down for the last time.

    3. Mark Gisleson

      Good strategy but everytime I click a Ukraine article not by them, I find that no matter how promising it seems, it loops back on itself and tosses out some red meat for the Russia haters. For the most part I stop reading when I see “Russian atrocities,” and yes, I stopped reading a Chris Hedges post for that reason (but I’ll still read Hedges on non-Ukrainian stuff).

      1. pjay

        Actually I think you are right; that is my experience as well. This example is pretty typical. Perhaps an obligatory “Putin as evil imperialist thug” statement is the price of admission to serious “non-Stalinist” discussion in CP.

  21. David

    I (and Polar Socialist), commented on the Al Jazeera article about the Lebanese elections yesterday, so I won’t repeat myself here. Just to add that, as usual in Lebanon, things seem to be moving glacially slowly, if at all, on the political front, but a bit faster on the street. There have been tense scenes (though as far as I know no actual violence) between the partisans of Hezbollah, and those of the Forces Libanaises, the Christian Party that has aligned itself with the Saudis. One of the awkward things about the election result is the both the biggest winner (the FL) and the biggest loser (Hezbollah) were involved in shooting incidents last year that led to a number of deaths. Hezbollah and Amal leaders have called for calm, but neither they, nor any of the other political leaders, can be sure that they are in control of the situation.

    Meanwhile, the Lebanese political system is in its habitual configuration: totally ****ed. No Sunni politicians has so far indicated he wants to be PM, so no government can be formed. Parliament will have to elect a (Maronite) President by the end of the year, and Aoun, nearly 90 and one of the thugs from the Civil War, can’t last much longer. Meanwhile, I’ve found this article from Al-Monitor, which is a workmanlike summary of where things stand.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      There is a classic paper from decades ago on decision making theory called ‘The Science of Muddling through’, and somehow that always pops into my head when Lebanese politics comes up. Its a platypus of a country, somehow it shouldn’t still exist, but somehow the impending collapse never quite happens. But I wonder if the economic crisis is the final nail in the coffin. You can’t have an extractive political class when there is nothing left to extract. And the Syrians no longer seem to have the willingness to hammer heads together to keep things going.

      1. David

        I think the fundamental point about Lebanon, and one which most westerners never grasp, is that the political system, as such, is not very important. The easiest way to understand it is as a kind of superstructure: the visible components of a complex and divided system. The difficulties in forming a government are a kind of shadow on the wall of the divisions within the society, and the way it actually operates.

        As to the future … it’s hard to be optimistic, much as I’d like to be.

  22. The Rev Kev

    “Hacker shows how to unlock, start and drive off with someone else’s Tesla”

    They should hold a hacking contest for vulnerabilities in Tesla cars to improve their security. First prize is a brand-new Tesla. Second prize in two brand-new Teslas.

    1. David

      The first is from William Christie’s outfit, Les Arts Florissants. Christie almost single-handedly rescued French Baroque Opera and vocal music (Lully, Charpentier, Rameau) from neglect in the 1980s, often working from manuscripts in museums. They then went on to the Baroque more generally, and I think have been sighted in the eighteenth century as well. Essentially, anything by LAF will send shivers up your spine.

  23. flora

    I don’t remember if this was linked earlier at NC. (For some reason I think about CalPERS when reading these articles although CalPERS has nothing to do with the legals in this story.)

    From Matt Taibbi, public excerpt:

    The Lawyers Who Ate California: Part I
    Part One: The Feds. A small group of regulators out West tests out a new theory of corporate enforcement, with disastrous consequences.

    and part 2:

    The Lawyers Who Ate California: Part II
    The Activision Case, and the beginning of Tesla. Taking a strategy imported from the Department of Labor, the DFEH launches a series of media-centric cases

  24. The Rev Kev

    “Serious conversation – Ukraine and Grain”

    Noticed an oddity about two of the maps on that page. If you look at the one where winter wheat is planted, it is obvious that wheat is heavily planted in the Russian-speaking areas. But if you look at the map at corn production, the heaviest areas for corn planting are in the Ukrainian-speaking areas. It would be interesting to know if this was a cultural thing or whether it is a matter of the local climates. The Ukraine is a huge country after all and is about as big as France so you would expect different areas to have different climates.

    1. Safety First

      It isn’t really a cultural thing, unless they’ve chosen to make it so in the past couple of decades.

      Historically, corn hasn’t really been planted at all in the “Eastern Slavic” areas until the late 1950s. Khruschev was the one who started large-scale corn planting, but a lot of that was intended as livestock feed, which means it was often allocated to the less fertile areas (even the far north!). If you look at the maps in the article, the “winter wheat” areas are basically the ones with the best soil – and they just happen to be more “Russian”, mostly as an accident of history more than anything else. But in any case, in the Soviet era it would have made sense to shift any corn plantings further north, in the centre of the country, where the soil is still decent but not quite as good. Whether this is the reason today or not I have no idea, but again, this isn’t really a Russian vs. Ukrainian thing.

      Incidentally, the historical “range” for corn had been to the east and west of modern-day Ukraine – in the Caucasus and in Romania slash Moldova. Even local folk and fairy tales feature a certain corn-based porridge (so thick you literally have to cut it with a knife or a piece of string).

    2. Polar Socialist

      It can also be something as prosaic as corn being a better import product but requiring investments to convert into, and the regime after 2014 being – for the lack of a better word – stingy in it’s investments on the areas populated by the “wrong kind” of Ukrainians. And naturally large parts of that area have not been under the government control, so can’t blame them there.

      I really don’t know, but I wouldn’t find it surprising, either. It seems that the corn production came out of pretty much nothing in a short time. So some subsidies/investments were made, certainly.

    3. PlutoniumKun

      Just a guess, but it may be that the more maritime climate of southern Ukraine is more suitable for winter and spring crops like wheat and barley.

  25. Ignacio

    EU diplomat: ‘We are reaching our limits with sanctions against Russia’ EurActiv

    Think this looks like an indicator of the beginning of EU cacophony on… everything? I have stapled the EurActiv in bookmarks to check.

    1. Polar Socialist

      I don’t think EU has diplomats, otherwise there wouldn’t be a war in Europe right now. EU should be thinking now, publicly, what went so wrong in their efforts instead of lamenting running out of things to sanction.

      Unless this was the results EU wanted. In which case they should admit it, with pride. Isn’t that how liberal democracies operate, everything above the table?

  26. Big River Bandido

    I’m a professional composer and I’ve never heard the word “frisson” before — like “anacrusis”, this strikes me as the kind of pretentious word spoken by pretentious graduates of the most pretentious conservatories when deliberately trying to impress others with their diploma. That said, I have experienced the sensation often — the first time at the age of 5 when I heard The Beatles’ I Want to Hold Your Hand.

    And of *course* some data-driven boor — probably a McKinsey consultant — would have to create a *playlist* (on Spotify, natch, to deprive the composers of their royalties) that purports to quantify the statistical factors creating this effect. As though the richest, most complicated language for human emotional communication could be mathematically distilled into an equation that a computer or political consultant could then automate, synthesize, and mass produce.

    There is no magic ingredient that will create “frisson” in a piece of music. That’s why good music is truly “magical”. Every piece of music — if it’s musically valid — is its own universe, and by definition, YMMV with musical effect. No one listener will ever *feel* the exact same sensation from a piece of music as another. That’s the *virtue* of it! This is why some composers are really, really good — they write music that triggers a basic emotional response in LOTS of people. Duke Ellington had many, many composition techniques he used to create sensation in his listeners…not everyone responded to each touch, but he packed his music full of these moments, and nearly every listener walked away feeling blissed out because of how Duke managed all that musical incident. Mozart, like Duke, was another master of human psychology and knew exactly what musical buttons to push and how each move would affect large numbers of people emotionally.

    Great composers think of these things while they write. Mediocre composers aren’t very aware of these things at all, and cannot intentionally achieve these effects, although they might inadvertently do so here or there. Suffice to say that Artificial Intelligence won’t be able to, either. (In music, “artificial” anything usually flops — think of how even many non-musicians recognize and are repelled by drum machines and “canned horns”.)

    Also, like a drug, “frisson” can wear off with repeated exposure to the same piece over time. I still love I Want to Hold Your Hand — it’s a great song, with all the composition, performance and production elements that set it apart from your run-of-the-mill 1963 pop. But I don’t get the same effect at 55 as I did at age 5. This is what leads me to continually seek out new musical inspiration. Created by musicians, not statisticians.

    1. Zephyrum

      Thank you for that perspective. My experience matches your nicely articulated description of how music works.

      It’s hard for me not to be skeptical about any framework that praises Metallica as worthy of a listen. A few years back after finding myself increasingly switching stations or turning off the radio, I took the time to figure out what was in common with the songs that brought on the irritation. They were all Metallica.

      For years now the pop music airwaves have been dominated by a peculiar style of sing-song melodies; I’ve wondered if that’s a feature of statistical analytics. It sure isn’t a feature of creativity, imho of course.

    2. jr

      “ As though the richest, most complicated language for human emotional communication could be mathematically distilled into an equation that a computer or political consultant could then automate, synthesize, and mass produce.”

      The ghouls think they can do it with consciousness itself because a few talking dummies swap sound-bites. They think they can do it with food with artificial flavors in a can. They think they can do it with graphic art. Why not music?

  27. The Rev Kev

    “Finland’s Gasum refuses to pay for Russian gas in rubles, ready to halt supplies, going to arbitration”

    Another dead-beat nation. Received their order of gas and then turned around and said nah, we’re not gunna pay for it – while trying to claim the moral high ground. If Finland hopes to supply gas from Estonia, won’t they be in competition to buy it from other nations like deep-pocketed Germany? If they cut oil from Russia too, I would go long in axes in Finland for the winter. They will need them to chop down their trees to burn for warmth. Meanwhile, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has a plan and it features energy rationing and compulsory solar panels on homes. Good luck with solar panels for Finland. They will need car windscreen wipers to sweep the snow and ice away-

    1. Polar Socialist

      Gasum wants to try arbitration because Gazprom is trying to chance the long term contract. They don’t say who is supposed to arbitrate, but I doubt it will matter much. You pay, or you don’t get gas is the “new normal”. The company is warning clients that gas will be cut on Friday.

      While Gasum is 100% owned by the Finnish state, due to the rampant neoliberalism in the last decades it’s not certain to what extent the government can direct the company’s actions. They can be morons own their own right.

    2. vao

      The Olkiluoto nuclear power plant has just entered service and will start regular production in September. It is huge (something like one seventh of the total electricity produced in the country). It is also an example of why atom is not the solution to energy woes — its construction started in 2005…

      Perhaps the Finns assume this new plant will help them withstand cuts to gas supplies by Russia.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Yeah, the 1600MW unit 3 is a notorious disaster. It killed the EPR, the design that was supposed to be the standard all over Europe. It is far too complex a design, a total dud, 13 years behind schedule and counting (and will almost certainly bankrupt all the companies involved). Notably, Siemens bailed early from that project – the Germans realised first that these plants were not going to work, which no doubt influenced the German governments decision to walk away from nuclear energy.

        Ironically, the other main nuclear power plant in Finland (Loviisa) is an old Soviet design, the VVER, which they will be increasingly dependent upon for power. The Finns will probably have to double down on nuclear, but its hard to see what they can build after that fiasco.

        1. Polar Socialist

          There must be a joke somewhere there about a thing designed by the French, build by the Polish and inspected by the Finns…

    3. JohnA

      “They will need car windscreen wipers to sweep the snow and ice away”

      Or have heated solar panels that automatically melt the snow and ice.

        1. Polar Socialist

          Sorry to spoil your fun, but snow is actually quite transparent while the solar panels work more efficiently in cold. So the drop is not that dramatic, I’ve been told.

          Bigger problem is that during the midwinter there’s no sun to speak of. The drop is quite dramatic, I’ve been told. Of course, you get that back in the summer, when it stays up all night long.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            Yes, solar works pretty well in the winter, even with a little snow and ice, so long as there is not a big snow build up.

            I don’t know about more continental areas, but solar and wind are an excellent complement in northern maritime climates. Wind is highest in stormy winter weather (low pressure zones coming from the sea), while you get solar during the long summer days without wind (high pressure zones). You also get a reasonable amount of solar during the day in winter when there is a low wind high pressure zone (i.e., cold, clear days).

  28. Bart Hansen

    Coming in late on music. The other day there was a brief thread on Slovenia. For some time I have been tuning into a youth orchestra based in Kranj, which is just NW of the capitol.

    They have everything: a girls choir, two harpists, classical pieces, and young women singing pop songs.

    Here is a guy on trombone:
    When it comes up on YouTube you can check out other of their videos.
    Look for Je t’aime and the cinema paradiso theme.

  29. Wukchumni

    I went to buy lunch at the Readsboro VT general store. I saw Tim and his wife, the owners, Lindsey the baker, Justin the UPS driver (who said I have something on his truck), hippie dude, the Fedex driver with my trees and Joe, my lumber guy. All in 15 min of meet, greet and chat to pick up lunch….no smart phones involved

    My cadre of hikers all walk at talking speed and we’re typically out all day and most have a smartphone only used for taking photos or pointing the way to somewhere off-trail via gps, there’s no connectivity in the wilderness here unless you’ve got a satellite phone. Back of beyond signal.

    From what I see in the connected parts of the world is that smartphones give you a leash on life…

  30. John Steinbach

    Opening 12 years past schedule & ~$8 billion over budget (Final cost ~ $11.5 billion) And this was a French built generation 3 reactor designed to reduce cost.

  31. Jason Boxman

    Didn’t see this yet; Well known to NC readers though:

    Over 75 Percent of Long Covid Patients Were Not Hospitalized for Initial Illness, Study Finds

    Researchers analyzed the largest database of private insurance claims in the United States in the first four months after a diagnostic code for long Covid was created.

    It’s the most succinct and dispassionate name for long Covid: U09.9 — a medical diagnostic code created last year to allow doctors to document post-Covid conditions.

    Great, a billing code! Now it exists in our health care system as a real manifestation! Perhaps next we can take it seriously?

    The findings suggest a potentially staggering impact of long Covid on people in the prime of their lives, and on society at large. Nearly 35 percent of the patients were between the ages of 36 to 50, while nearly one-third were ages 51 to 64, and 17 percent were ages 23 to 35. Children were also diagnosed with post-Covid conditions: Nearly 4 percent of the patients were 12 or younger, while nearly 7 percent were between ages 13 and 22.

      1. Raymond Sim

        I think Bloodywood is actually pretty famous in the Anglophone world now, thanks to YouTube reaction videos.

        I’ve had a lot of fun watching American metalheads discovering the band.

  32. jr

    Jimmy Dore on that Bill Gate’s front organization WHO and their pandemic treaty that supersedes your national government’s power and will create vaccine passports that will be required to buy groceries let alone leave the country. Remember when it was Trump who was going to toss out the Constitution?:

    The longer I live, I’ve said it before, the more the preppers in their bunkers are proven right.

  33. LawnDart

    Re; Ukraine, Azovstal–stop. Wait. Hold your horses– it’s not over. Via Russian media, see…

    Liquidation of”Azov “* how an important part of Bandera’s world has just begun and should be conducted in an exemplary manner

    It is noted that not the Azov fighters (there were several of them) came out of the dungeon or were taken out, but representatives of various units, a hodgepodge of border guards, police, marines and army men.

    The main part of a separate special purpose detachment of the National Guard of Ukraine “Azov” (this is what Kiev calls the blocked unit) still remains in the positions. In the face of the wounded, they have got rid of ballast and extra mouths and are still ready to continue to resist. The same Steshin, talking to the “vypolzn”, heard: “You will be awesome if you find out how many of us are there”, “we would be sitting at the factory until the New Year”, and the military commander claims that “the combat backbone of the regiment is still sitting in positions, waiting for the first day of delivery to pass. They have the Internet, and they eagerly catch every message on the Web.” However, the surrender continues and more than half a thousand people have already left.

    I found that I cannot post links from the website news[hyphen]front[dot]info without the whole post immediately disappearing into the either, which is too bad because they have some great stuff over there.

  34. RobertC

    New Not-So-Cold War

    LINK: Russian Econ Ministry sees GDP shrinking 7.8% in 2022 and 0.7% in 2023, 3.2% growth in 2024 Interfax

    Fascinating data. Good to see the Economic Development Ministry and Central Bank numbers line up so well.

    …[Ministry spokesman] also said that the “baseline scenario factors in proactive economic policy.” Specifically, the ministry anticipates the “effective implementation of the whole set of measures to support the economy, including subsidized lending programs; active reduction of the key rate by the Bank of Russia along with inflation; and a sufficient level of budget spending to support domestic demand – the ministry expects neutral-loose, closer to loose budget policy. The budget has the resources for this,” the spokesman said.

    “These measures will make it possible to not add a cyclical crisis to a structural one. The economy will be able to adapt to the new conditions and already transition to recovery growth at the end of this year. Without an adequate economic policy response, on the contrary, we risk getting a full-scale demand crisis and the economy slipping into a bad imbalance with low inflation, strong exchange rate and high unemployment,” the spokesman said.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Helps that the Russians are collecting, what is it, $300 billion in ruble receipts for petroleum and other consumables. That being a significant fraction, iirc, of the state budget. Wealth transfer from the “collective West,” until recently self-referenced as the “Free World.”

      All the masks finally coming off? To the extent that people have not seen through the BS already?

  35. Tom Collins' Moscow Mule

    Keeping up with ongoing and overt displays of hairless ape foolishness is somewhat tiring. That being the case, the Mule is reminded of an old joke, that has many variations, and seems somehow applicable to the thorny, current, situational drama involving Putin, NATO, Biden, the desire for continued global geostrategic unipolarity, proxy wars, ect. The joke:

    “A guy walks into the bar, orders a pint of larger, downs the pint in one and slides the glass across the bar. He turns to the bartender and says “I bet you £500 I can piss into that glass, from here without missing a single drop.” The bartender says “You’re on!”. Like lightening the guy jumps onto his stool and starts relieving himself all over the bar, I mean this guy gets it ALL over, he’s pissing on the floor, the stools, the bar and even the bartender himself, he makes sure to give the bartender a good soaking. By the time he’s finished the glass is empty but the bartender is drenched, his whole face is dripping with urine, but with a reassured smirk that he is now £500 the richer. The bartender says to the man, chuckling, “You absolute idiot, that’ll be £500 please”. The guy says “Absolutely, let me go get some money, here you can look after my things until I get back”. The guy empties his pockets on a dry patch of the bar and leaves. He comes back a couple minutes later, counting out £500 and this time he is the one laughing to himself. The bartender says to the man “What are you so happy about, you just lost £500!” To which the man replies “I may have lost £500, but you see those men in the window, out front? I bet them £1,000 between them that not only would you let me piss on you, but that I could piss on you and you would be HAPPY about it!”

    Putin is is obviously the one relieving himself at the expense of NATO, Biden, ect. We will see how long the Western managerial class continues to both remain and maintain the publc facade of being stoically insouciant. Perhaps forever, it seems, as long as the ability to generate profits remains intact. On the other hand, extreme privation for the larger public, as a proxy war spillover, might not be a winning policy, generally speaking.

    1. LawnDart

      They are also mounted on police cars in my city, Chicago.

      And they’re using them, too (a recent close, 2nd-hand encounter).

      However, there’s a lot of garbage and errors in the databases– a “bad-guy” may still pass, while a random civilian might get randomly flagged as some type of wanted offender.

  36. Lee

    “Russia will likely be shut out permanently from global energy markets, top oil execs say Business Insider (Kevin W). Wow, “global” = EU. Plus many experts believe any effort at significant self-sanctioning will simply result in quite a few years of Russian oil laundering with cutouts making very nice profits at EU consumer expense.”

    Mapping the “international community” we always hear about:

  37. Mildred Montana

    >Is the Typical CEO Really Worth $15 Million? New Republic (resilc)

    The question sort of answers itself, but just for some perspective:

    Assuming a 60-hour work week and a 46-week work year (CEOs will always claim that they put in far more hours than that, although they often seem to spend more time on CNBC pimping for the company stock than they do making deals), assuming this, his or her yearly salary of $15 million works out to $5435 per hour. Approximately 270 times the average hourly wage of employees.

    Yeah, those hard-working, fairly-paid CEOs:

    1. Jimmy Cayne, CEO of now-defunct Bear Stearns, earned $27 million a year while piloting it into the ground. He spent a lot of that time playing bridge.

    2. Kenneth Lay, CEO of now-defunct Enron, took in $67 million in its last year, all the while spending inordinate amounts of time encouraging employees of the company (and others) to buy its stock. He cashed in. They lost out.

  38. Joe Well

    Has anyone else noticed that Twitter now requires you to log in before viewing more than a few tweets? I didn’t think that used to be the case.

    Not good to know that they have a virtually incontrovertible record of everything I read there.

    Remember the furor back in the 20th century when the gov would subpoena library book borrowing records?

    Also, for all the debate about anonymous tweeting, what about anonymous reading?

    1. LawnDart

      Has anyone else noticed that Twitter now requires you to log in before viewing more than a few tweets?

      Click “login” or “sign up,” wait a sec, and then “back” on your browser– then scroll to your heart’s contempt.

    2. kriptid

      You can get around this by using the Twitter clone, Nitter.

      Just replace the twitter[dot]com part of the URL with

  39. Savita

    PK, Colonel, David, liam. Some light relief on the Ireland /NATO discussion. I recall hitch hiking in Ireland and being picked up by a soldier in his civvies on his way to IKEA. Was telling me about being in country – from memory I recall it was Afghanistan although a quick search doesn’t confirm to me if Ireland was stationed there. Maybe it wasn’t. Anyway we were chatting about how, internationally, everyone gets along with the Irish. But he found the Finnish soldiers would never communicate with the Irish soldiers – they would be met with silence and blank looks. The Finnish had to be given a formal briefing because they were really confused. It had to be explained that, yes, the Irish WILL say hello to you and ask if you are well, even though they saw you 5 minutes previously and asked the same question.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      That sounds familiar! There were no Irish soldiers in Afghanistan (except maybe a handful on liaison), but perhaps on other UN/EU duties. It does remind me of a Finnish girl I met here who regularly expressed her astonishment that random people just talked to her on the street in Ireland. I once read an interview with a Finnish girl who moved to Ireland in her teens. She said that in Finland, she was considered the crazy extrovert in class. In Ireland, she was the shy wallflower.

      Irish soldiers do pride themselves on getting on with other contingents, but it can be a problem. In UN duty, they got on very well with Arab locals in the Lebanon, but this made them a target for the Israeli’s and their tame Christian militias (several cases of ‘accidental’ shelling killing Irish soldiers). This has historically led to very bad blood between the Irish and Israeli army. I live close to a barracks and local shops sell Lebanese wine as so many Irish soldiers got a taste for Chateau Musar when based there.

  40. Revenant

    Conservatoire music (classical, romantic etc) can give me a frisson – Mozart’s requiem, Carmina Burana, lots of Elgar.

    However, it is strongest with songs and in particular (embarrassing revelation) musical theatre. I cannot listen to Joseph and His Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat without tearing up, or to Les Mis and “Do you hear the people sing?”.

    I was surprised Nina Simone did not make the list, for the live recording of Mississippi Goddam where she taunts the audience, or Sinnerman, or the Other Woman.

    I was also surprised Joni Mitchell was there for Both Sides Now, when Judy Collins has such an ethereal voice.

    Prince’s Purple Rain makes no sense either. I player that song on repeat when my father died in week two of University (player on my tolerant friend Ben’s stereo). But it does not give me chills. It is a warm bath for the soul.

    1. Revenant

      Hit post too early. I think the thing that triggers a frisson for me is often words. Images painted in words and accentuated by music, triggering ones own memory of being transported earlier in life. Ed Sheeran’s castle on a hill makes me cry with its reference to singing Tiny Dancer as teenagers riding in a car. :-)

      My wife has perfect pitch and a degree in music and is transported much more readily by pure music and barely notices the words in songs!

      When I play the piano, it is rather different and then individual chords or chord changes in Elton John songs will set me off….

  41. RobertC


    Biden failed with baby formula, gasoline, etc and now he’s failing with global food and fertilizer shortages: U.N. chief in talks on restoring Ukraine grain exports amid global food crisis

    UNITED NATIONS, May 18 (Reuters) – U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Wednesday that he is in “intense contact” with Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, the United States and the European Union in an effort to restore Ukrainian grain export as a global food crisis worsens.

    …”It threatens to tip tens of millions of people over the edge into food insecurity, followed by malnutrition, mass hunger and famine, in a crisis that could last for years,” Guterres said.

    …U.N. food chief David Beasley appealed to Russian President Vladimir Putin: “If you have any heart at all, please open these ports.” Beasley heads the World Food Programme, which feeds some 125 million people and buys 50% of its grain from Ukraine.

    …Blinken said Russia must be compelled to create corridors so that food and other vital supplies can safely leave Ukraine by land or sea.

    …Nebenzia said that while there were no direct sanctions on Russian fertilizers or grains, there had been a chilling effect on shipping, insurance and banking after the United States and others began punishing Russia over what Moscow calls a “special military operation” in Ukraine.

    Blinken said it was “false” to blame sanctions because the United States had created exceptions and was working to ensure measures imposed by Washington “are not preventing food or fertilizer from leaving Russia or anywhere else.”

    The solution is straight-forward although not simple: starting from the Minsk II Agreement and Russian facts-on-the-ground, Biden must force Ukraine into an Armistice that includes a freeze on weapons movement and must eliminate US/EU sanctions directly and indirectly affecting producing, shipping, marketing, etc food and fertilizer.

    But that won’t happen because Biden is failing with his NATO-Russia war.

    And tens of millions of people will suffer from food insecurity and worse.

    I’m halfway expecting the UN FAO will work a deal with China directly and Russia indirectly to reduce if not mitigate this situation.

    1. The Rev Kev

      And how does Blinken propose ships get past the 420 sea-mines that the Ukrainians planted off their coastline? There is going to be no major shipping being done from here until they are cleared away. Not forgetting that a few have broken away from their cables and the Turks and Romanians have already had to destroy four of them. Blinken should keep his mouth shut. People might suspect that he is an idiot but when he says something, he merely confirms it.

    2. Polar Socialist

      “Ukrainian grain exports” are just another PR stunt. Ukraine is still exporting at half the normal rate trough Moldova and Romania. So the food will get out, not just as fast as it used to be.

      Given that there’s no fuel for farming in Ukraine, the most likely millions threatened with food insecurity are Ukrainians themselves, while the oligarchs will make another fortune from the rising prices.

  42. LawnDart

    This is one to bookmark and keep on hand should opportunity arise to guide a lost soul out of the matrix:

    History of the Ukrainian War

    The Ukrainian war started when the democratically elected President of Ukraine (an infamously corrupt country), who was committed to keeping his country internationally neutral (not allied with either Russia or the United States), met privately with both the U.S. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2010, shortly after that Ukrainian President’s election earlier in 2010; and, on both occasions, he rejected their urgings for Ukraine to become allied with the United States against his adjoining country Russia. This was being urged upon him so that America could position its nuclear missiles at the Russian border with Ukraine, less than a five-minute striking-distance away from hitting the Kremlin in Moscow.

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