Links 5/21/2022

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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.

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Pfizer CEO Discusses His Next Breakthrough Technology – CPU Pill That Makes Sure You’re Compliant BitChute (furzy)

Our Original Founders Were Indigenous Women Who Controlled Their Own Bodies RSN (furzy)

Scientists discover ‘ghost’ fossils beneath a microscope CNN (Kevin W)

Bad therapy aeon



Genetic variants may help explain the variability in COVID-19 severity, study suggests (Kevin W)

Putting this here because scientist GM remains convinced that the odds are very high the childhood hepatitis is Covid related but the officialdom cannot go there because Covid is supposed to be over:

U.S. reports 180 cases of unexplained hepatitis in children STAT (Kevin W)

GM seriously not happy about this: U.S. CDC says adenovirus leading hypothesis for severe hepatitis in children Reuters. Follow the Twitter discussion below to get an idea why:


European airlines warn they’ll bypass Hong Kong if Covid travel curbs remain South China Morning Post (J-LS)



Monkeypox: 80 cases confirmed in 12 countries BBC

CDC monitors 6 people in US for possible rare monkeypox, says public ‘should not be concerned’ CNN (Kevin W)

Concern grows as more countries detect monkeypox DW, YouTube. GM: “And the ‘mild’ rhetoric is already in play.”


Historic heatwave poised to hit dozens of US states this weekend Guardian

The Annihilation of Florida: An Overlooked National Tragedy Current Affairs (guurst)

Environmental Advocates Say Public Comment Is Taking a Back Seat in Biden’s Push to Export More LNG DeSmogBlog


China seeks more island security pacts to boost clout in Pacific Financial Times

How China uses global media to spread its views — and misinformation Grid. Resilc: “Soooooooooo, USA USA would nevah do dat.”

The Australian election map has been lying to you ABC Australia


When Indian mangoes returned to the United States Hindustan Times (J-LS)

Despite Talk of Free Agri Market, Modi Govt’s Export Policies Are Ad Hoc and Whimsical The Wire

Sri Lanka could face food shortage from August, warns prime minister The Scroll (J-LS)

New Not-So-Cold War

Russia’s Energy Giant Rosneft Announces Germany’s Ex-chancellor’s Departure Amid Scrutiny RepublicWorld (J-LS)

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Turkey’s Erdogan Accuses Sweden Of Aiding Terrorists Amid Stockholm’s Bid To Join NATO RepublicWorld

US experts skeptical of Finland, Sweden NATO bid Asia Times (resilc)

Nato Expansion and Turkey Craig Murray. Sadly Murray’s reading of how we got here is more proof of the depth of lack of understanding/vulnerability to propaganda of people in the West who style themselves as independent thinkers. Putin has not had designs on Ukraine. The proximate cause of the Maidan events was that Yanukovich wanted to sign an association agreement with the EU, when Russia had long had what amounted to a FTA with Ukraine, which included no tariffs. If Ukraine proceeded, it would mean EU goods could enter Russia tariff free via Ukraine, but not the reverse. Putin said to Ukraine, “You can do whatever you like but we aren’t going to pay for it” meaning the FTA would be cancelled if Ukraine stayed on course. Russia ALSO offered to negotiate with the EU and Ukraine to find a solution but the EU refused. Yanukovich paused, not nixed, moving forward on the EU deal. That led to the Maidan protests, which were peaceful until Right Sector and other muscle showed up. Oliver Stone’s documentary Ukraine on Fire provides a good overview of the Maidan coup.

Putin was opposed to the Donbass republics declaring independence. And Jacques Baud, who was in charge of NATO’s weapons containment program in 2014, said NATO found no evidence that Russia was supplying arms, that the Soviet materiel was due to the separatists capturing Ukrainian equipment, which was similar in type to Russian.

Russia may have supplied weapons later but the point is that claiming Russia ginned this conflict up “over a decade ago” out of expansionist desires is a fabrication. Russia also got the separatists to come to the negotiating table for the Minsk Accords, something they did not want to do, and accept a mere exemption from the anti-Russian language and other laws and practices designed to harass ethnic Russians, as opposed to independence.

I also believe Murray is wrong about Russia surrendering territory. Russia is likely to legitimate facts on the ground by holding referenda as they did in Crimea, building on the precedent the US used in Kosovo (I would assume the best path for Russia would be to construct an independent state or statelets, but who knows what happens next). The only way they might give territory back (and then it would have to be not strongly ethnic Russian; Putin and the leadership would face a lot of domestic opposition otherwise) would be for a big rollback of the economic sanctions, which I don’t see happening. The West will try screaming that the vote was fixed, but the fact that Russia can take cities like Mariupol in 1/4 or less the time it took the US to clear similar-sized cities like Mosul and Raqqa (when the buildings in those cities were also less sturdy and thus would have been somewhat less defensible) is indirect confirmation of significant local support.

Russia To Set Up 12 Military Units Near Western Border Amid Finland And Sweden’s NATO Bid Republic World

Moldova should be equipped to Nato standard, says UK’s Truss BBC

Russia To End Gas Supply To Finland From May 21 After Helsinki Refuses To Pay In Rubles Republic World

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Russian rouble rallies to March 2018 level against dollar Reuters (resilc)

Four Ways to Understand the $54 Billion in U.S. Spending on Ukraine New York Times (furzy)

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Russian army takes control of Mariupol’s Azovstal steel plant Guardian (Kevin W)

Минобороны России заявило о полном освобождении территории «Азовстали» Izvestia. More on Azovstal. John Helmer sent me a translation, but Google Translate refuses to process the URL, so you will need to cut and paste the text into the translator of your choice if you can’t read the original.

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Blinken Says Putin Is Using Food Shortages as a Weapon of War Vice. Resilc: “Like we have no skin in the blame?????????”

Can Africa replace Russia as the EU’s main source of gas? RT (Kevin W)

ATP, WTA over Russia, Belarus ban Metro (Kevin W)

Revealed: CIA-Trained Militia Used US-Made Weapons in Deadly Attack Vice (resilc)


Constantly on the verge of Collapse: How Palestinians became the Linchpin of Israeli Politics Juan Cole. Resilc cites:

Though the Israeli right has dominated the country’s politics for many years, especially since 1996, it remains fractious and opportunistic. The constant need to feed the insatiable appetite of the country’s powerful right-wing constituency keeps pushing Israel’s right-wing parties further to the right. They are merely united around such values as the racial and religious supremacy of Israeli Jews, their hate for Palestinians and Arabs, the desire to expand the illegal Jewish settlements and the rejection of any mediated solution that would provide Palestinians with their basic human rights.

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

FBI Provides Chicago Police With Fake Social Media Identities Intercept. Furzy hoists: “Internal documents also reveal that police can take over informants’ social media accounts and pose as them online.”

Imperial Collapse Watch

Grid monitor warns of U.S. blackouts in ‘sobering report’ EnergyWire

Google ‘Private Browsing’ Mode Not Really Private, Texas Lawsuit Says Reuters

Tesla Asking Owners to Limit Charging During Texas Heatwave Isn’t a Good Sign The Drive (Kevin W)


Federal Judge Blocks Biden Administration From Ending Title 42 Wall Street Journal

2020 Census miscounted 14 states, survey reveals Washington Post (Kevin W)


Oh no. Is Jeff Bezos preparing to run for office? Guardian (J-LS)

Elon Musk ‘voted overwhelmingly for Democrats in the past’ Daily Mail

Oklahoma Legislature Passes Bill Banning Almost All Abortions New York Times (Kevin W)

San Francisco Archbishop Bars Pelosi from Receiving Holy Communion RT (Kevin W)

Our No Longer Free Press

Twitter To Ramp Up Censorship Of ‘Misinformation’ About The Ukraine War Caitlin Johnstone (Kevin W)

Misinformation About Misinformation Bryan Caplan (resilc)

Supply Chain/Inflation

German producer prices soar 33% annually in April, highest increase on record MarketWatch

UK pharmacists to offer alternatives to out of stock HRT products Guardian (Kevin W). Opaque as to why the supply is short.

U.S. Consumer Spending On Gasoline Has Doubled In 12 Months OilPrice

Tesla’s golden moment is over Unherd (resilc)

Crypto Trades Raise Questions About Inside Knowledge Wall Street Journal

Hashed Wallet Takes $3.5 Billion Hit, Delphi Digital Discloses Loss After Terra’s LUNA Collapse Coindesk

Lagarde Says Crypto Is ‘Worth Nothing’ and Should Be Regulated Bloomberg. She has the guts to say this only now?

Class Warfare

GM who lived abroad as a child, added:

My mom was a nurse, and I practically grew up in the hospital.

It was unthinkable for the healthcare system to not take care of its own workers even during the darkest moments of the 90s, they always got priority treatment and usually without any payment even for things that others had to pay for.

But that has changed now there too, because we are following the enlightened lead of others. Thank you, America…

Court Throws Out Woman’s $300,000 Hospital Bill YouTube (HotFlash)

Antidote du jour. MarkT: “Catching a ride with mom.” Photo taken by family visiting Kruger National Park a few days back.

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Samuel Conner

    Perhaps in future the mystery hepatitis will be called “hepatitis of intentionally unknown etiology”, acronym HOIUE, pronounced “hooey”.

    I think that our pandemic response will provide a lot of research material in future for scholars interested to understand ‘what went wrong,’ not only in public health, but also political economy.

    1. Verifyfirst

      Just to state the obvious, tens or even hundreds of thousands of children dead or severely and horribly disabled from Covid, and……meh. Not to mention the quarter of a million Covid orphans in the US.

      Denial is clearly the most powerful force in the universe…..

    2. Lexx

      At least its being referred to as pediatric hepatitis now, and the children weren’t perfectly healthy, when – ‘Whammo! Out of the blue!’ – fatally sick children.

      Their common ages are interesting. There’s something that Blaser writes in his book, ‘Missing Microbes’ that set off my alarm bells*. Speaking generally*, he says that by the time children are three, they have built a microbial community in their guts that mirrors adults, even if they start out behind by being born via cesarean and are not breast-fed.

      All children? Our microbial introduction is more like the Headstart Program that now gives an increasingly smaller number of children an immune advantage to be born vaginally and breast-fed. Not all children are equally armed against the outside unfriendlies nor have they been equally challenged by the Enemy. And we all live in communities with quite different criteria for identifying friend from foe. Blaser also writes that by the time we’re twenty, we’ve taken on average 17 rounds of broad spectrum antibiotics, several of those 17 before the age of 5. I think that number is too conservative. He gets points for outlining what he thinks are the probable long term consequences for having killed off so many microbes, identifying them as foe when they were friend. Very, very old and essential friends.

      Blaser works for the CDC.

      *BS detector

      1. Samuel Conner

        Perhaps in future in addition to saving ‘cord blood’, they’ll be saving ‘Mom poo’ for use in re-inoculating children (‘fecal transplant’) whose colonic microbiome has been damaged by diet and medical therapies.

        Of course, that assumes that Mom had a healthy microbiome.

        1. Lexx

          Along with a vial of vaginal microbes.

          I did a poo test in January and later subscribed to their line of probiotics. I’ll take them for a year and repeat the test to see if daily dosage makes any difference at all. Since then they have come out with new lines, one meant to address vaginal microbial imbalances. They have a kit for that. This is new and I would happily share my results to get a peek at the results of those women who chose this path to vaginal health. (Yeah… ‘I’ll show you mine’… I really tried to make that sound less dirty.) What kind of imbalances are they trying to address? Are they trying to change a community of microbes equally implacable?

          ‘Hooey’… loved it!

      2. marieann


        Did you recommend this book on NC….if so Thank You. I just finished reading it last night, very interesting.
        It gives a good explanation about the increasing numbers of children with diseases that weren’t all that common years ago.

        As a 73 year old I remember “years ago”

      3. Fiery Hunt

        !7 courses of antibiotics by age 20?

        I can’t imagine that.
        We’d just rub some dirt on it and keep scrubbing til it healed.
        Sometimes the old ways are best.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          I was on low dose antibiotics for years in my teens due to really bad acne. I still had some mild scarring but I would have been pockmark city otherwise. Point is this was a common treatment when I was young.

          1. Stick'em

            “I was on low dose antibiotics for years.”

            Same here. Courses of tetracycline and erythromycin. A dash of Accutane and Retin-A to make sure I got my vitamins. I could viscerally feel the antibiotics nuking my gut, but you know how teenagers are and rationalizing goes. I think my adolescent mind normalized it as safer than nicotine and caffeine, those “harmless” drugs many of the teenagers around me used as appetite suppressants.

            On one hand, I am really grateful for medicine. Because without it (especially vaccines & antibiotics), human life expectancy might be half of what it is, and quality of life suffers too. On the other, we’ve become living experiments with our identities shaped by this dependence, with all sorts of unforseen consequences and known side effects.

    3. Skunk

      Although I agree that the “hepatitis in children of unknown etiology” is probably caused by SARS-CoV-2 infection, it’s reasonable to consider other potential causes. It’s worth pointing out, first of all, that the findings of adenovirus in some of the patients has been found across the world, not just in patients in the U.S. Also, there is an adenovirus that causes infectious hepatitis in dogs:

      So investigating adenovirus might be HOIUE, but it’s not entirely unreasonable.

      On the other hand, it could well be caused by earlier COVID infection in the children that damaged the gut barrier thus leading to liver damage.

  2. digi_owl

    What frustrate me the most about the whole Ukraine thing is how even the supposed “left” in Europe keep claiming the Russian attack was unprovoked.

    1. SocalJimObjects

      Well they must be Chinese left. In China, the left are conservatives, and the right are liberals.

      1. mookie

        Liberals are the right wing just about everywhere, but here in the US the meaning has become muddled, and the word is used most often to mean socially progressive, not right wing. Liberalism, broadly defined as the philosophy of individualism and private property rights, is the philosophy of capitalism. America is a thoroughly liberal country whose politics are dominated by two liberal political parties.

        1. digi_owl

          For all the bullshit memes it has gotten over at Reddit etc, i find something like the dual axis political compass concept a way to get a bit more clarity when it comes to political labels.

          After all, the original left-right axis stems from how people split themselves in the room when meeting the French emperor. And that split was mostly about being for or against said emperor (those on the right side of the room being for and thus for conserving the existing social order).

          But since the industrial revolution, economics have become detached from that as landowners (largely the aristocracy) lost much of their power.

          Thus someone can be a liberal in the social sense, while at the same time a conservative in the economic sense.

          1. Stick'em

            Socially liberal and fiscally conservative is an oxymoron.

            If someone cares about progressive issues, but is also against the government spending any money to make actual progress happen in said issues, that’s called being a hypocrite.

            This is exactly why so many people hate “liberals” and the Democratic party. Their hypocrisy makes everyone’s head hurt. At least Republicans don’t claim to care about anyone before their check bounces.

          2. Swamp Yankee

            Re: left right distinctions. Quick corretion: These were not from the French Emperor (Napoleon I, I am assuming), but rather from where people sat in the meeting of the National Assembly in 1789. Supporters of the King and the Ancien Regime, as you note, sat to the right of the President of the Assembly. Opponents of the monarchy and supporters of the Revolution sat to the left.

        2. Dftbs

          Well said mookie. Yes. America is a Liberal country with two dominant aesthetics of Liberalism.

          1. Swamp Yankee

            America is a liberal country today, but liberalism only decisively won out, I and many historians would argue, after the Civil Car. The Revolution and Civil War/Reconstruction were both characterized by civic republicanism.

            This is, to be sure, an active historiographical debate (liberalism vs. republicanism in American history). But I think most historians would agree with this take.

    2. hemeantwell

      Frustrated here as well.
      It’s hard to reconstruct the combo of moral logic and concrete analysis holding the “unprovoked attack” thesis together. On day 1, it’s clear that many people felt that they hard to side with the civilians living in areas under bombardment and concern >> indignation. I’d guess that even if people had some appreciation of Ukraine’s provocation — the years-long assault on the would-be autonomous areas, the mid-Feb increase in shelling and the Ukrainian military buildup — there’s still a vague fantasy about the option to take the dispute to some Reasonable Organization and hash things out that the Russians blew off. In this respect they refuse the moment of realism that acknowledges that in the absence of such an organization threatened states and peoples have grounds for engaging in a preemptive strike. And they do that despite the fact that the Russians made a number of bids over decades to get included in somesuch Reasonable Organization and were given the finger.

      But that risks being too explicit. I’ve been just saying no to the MSM since 2/24 and so I’ve may have missed it, but I’m not aware of *any* argument framed around the question of a ‘right’ to a preemptive strike. It seems to have gone missing from the universe of discourse. So along with the enormous social pressure that the propaganda campaign has moblized, were facing a collateral conceptual deficit.

      1. Alyosha

        Russia spoke against (but didn’t veto) the concept of responsibility to protect ginned up Clinton’s state department. So at this point Russia will point to Article 51 and the US precedents of Kosovo and R2P. It is amazing that Russia is described as impossible to negotiate with by the US. I assume that’s because Russia has asking for negotiations and legally binding treaties on all of the geopolitical flashpoints for a solid decade … and always being told “no”. It’s always a matter of projection with DC.

        1. digi_owl

          Russia already did. Putin, at the eve of the special operation as he called it, referred to a all the interventions that USA and NATO had been allowed to undertake since the 90s. But nah, it was blankly dismissed as propaganda and whataboutism by the MSM.

  3. The Rev Kev

    “Russian army takes control of Mariupol’s Azovstal steel plant”

    Laughing my Azov.

    1. Bugs

      I think it’s the most accurate and concise summary of the conflict that I’ve ever read. Brilliant.

    2. paul

      Surely both of these cannot be true?

      Erdogan will do what’s good for Erdogan.

      He grasps the leverage that the pivot of NATO Turkey allows, and will be happy to exploit it.

      No one has demanded the Turkstream pipeline be closed, as everyone in the know, knows that would be real trouble.

      From spookipedia:

      The TurkStream project replaced the South Stream project that was cancelled in 2014.[1] Following the shootdown of a Russian fighter jet by Turkey in November 2015, the project was temporarily halted. However, Russia–Turkey relations were restored in summer 2016 and the intergovernmental agreement for TurkStream was signed in October 2016. Construction started in May 2017 and gas deliveries to Bulgaria via the pipeline began on 1 January 2020.

      He’s no Ursula Gertrud von der Leyen, and will be indulged according to necessity.

    3. super extra

      +1. I’ve had to stop reading a lot of people, Murray among them, since the SMO began because their own biases and inability to see or accept what actually happened has rendered most of the rest of their writing suspect. Maybe just a further recognition of how most people need to ‘stay in their lane’ instead of assume they can contribute on topics outside of their specialty.

      1. hunkerdown

        And yet, diplomacy is Craig’s wheelhouse. It would be a better idea to strongly discourage norm-setting behavior and speech on the part of the entitled middle class.

        1. JohnA

          Craig Murray served at the British embassy in Poland and learnt Polish, plus he says some Russian. As Poles tend to be fervently and historically anti-Russian, I wonder if he picked up unconscious bias there. Remarkably as an ardent supporter of Scottish independence, he opposes the will of the Crimean people to rejoin Russia and the Donbass their independence.

      2. John Zelnicker

        super extra – I’m not picking on you, but you bring up a point that has bothered me for almost 30 years.

        Folks are very quick to reject someone’s overall credibility based on one or more statements they make. It seems mostly to happen when the writer/speaker gets outside of their wheelhouse. I did this myself with my second ex-wife, but later, on reflection, realized that it’s just not right.

        There needs to be a more discriminating analysis in these situations. For example, Craig Murray is great (generally) on the issues with which he is intimately familiar, not so much when he ventures farther afield.

        Skepticism is appropriate, but I think we need to be very careful about throwing out the baby with the bath water. No one gets everything right, and it’s important to distinguish between someone’s areas of expertise and their forays into areas where they lack such expertise.

        None of us is totally immune to propaganda.

        1. Ignacio

          Well said J.Z.! I had exactly the same feeling when I read the comment. May be Craig is not best choice on Ukraine but surely he is still an interesting read and there are many other interesting reads elsewhere even if you don’t agree with their opinions. Continue use of NC leads you not to discard sources which are next to opposite to you.

          1. Ignacio

            Murray… should not have used his name as if I really know him personally which is not the case.

        2. Donald

          Very good point. I have realized this myself. There probably isn’t anyone who gets everything 100 percent of the time.

          With the Ukraine War, I suspect it will be years or decades before we really know all the relevant facts. I still think Putin’s invasion was immoral—I could see going into the Donbas to stop the Ukranian shelling and to prevent a possible assault, but going in full bore— well, if every country which felt threatened reacted that way the world would have even more wars than it already does. There has to be an overwhelmingly good reason to start a war that will kill many thousands and create millions of refugees. I do blame the West for provoking Russia, but to me both sides are at fault.

          I hasten to add that Westerners are in no position to criticize Putin. The US and Britain just spent the last seven years supporting an utterly inexcusable war in Yemen which killed 400,000 people, the majority of them children dead from starvation. The excuse was that the Saudis needed reassurance after the Iran deal. It is hard to state just how morally depraved this is, yet I have seen numerous liberals and even a few leftists who said nothing about Yemen suddenly showing their moral outrage about Ukraine.

          The West is just a complete joke on human rights and this applies to other Western countries not involved in Yemen. They saw no reason to get excited about it.

          My church has added prayers for the people of Ukraine to that part of the service where we pray for the sick and others. We never ever prayed for Yemen or Gaza. I don’t remember praying for Iraqis. We aren’t praying for Afghan children in danger of starvation because Biden stole money from their Central Bank. I am going to write the Rector ( politely) about this. People mean well, but should not let their feelings of compassion be determined by what the press tells them is important.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            Please read Putin’s Feb 21 and Feb 24 speeches.

            There are two issues that the West likes to ignore.

            One is that there was no realistic way to limit the conflict to Donbass. Even if Russia had “cleared” just those territories, the effect would have been to move the line of contact to their borders. The West would try to take it back or as least constantly attack it. Remember that Ukraine had twice agreed to the Minsk accords, which would have protected the Donbass population from anti-ethnic-Russian persecution and given them a bit more autonomy, and yet continued to attack Donbass.

            Two is the failure to recognize the “if anything more so” parallel to the Cuban missile crisis. The US deemed it unacceptable to have nuclear missiles in Cuba. Ukraine was already NATO-lite, with the US training its troops to NATO standards, providing weapons, and the installation of missile systems that NATO kept presenting as defensive but where the missiles themselves could be swapped out for much more potent ones in mere hours. Putin said specifically that Russia could not afford to make the mistake it had made in World War II, of leaving itself vulnerable to attack at a time of an opponent’s choosing. Russia has been insistent on the need for a neutral Ukraine for its protection. We would not tolerate China arming Mexico and talking regularly about fomenting regime change in Washington, which is the analogue here.

          2. John Zelnicker

            Thank you, David and Ignacio.

            David – You may have noticed that the Ukrainians are considered to be white Europeans and the other countries you mentioned are populated by brown people.

            The difference in the way that European countries have treated Ukrainian refugees versus those from the Mideast is a stark example of the racism that still continues to pervade the West.

    4. lyman alpha blob

      I agree with the comment talking Murray to task over the origins of the current conflict, however the larger point about Greece arming its islands near Turkey is something I hadn’t heard before and very important. From the article –

      “Yet Greece had proceeded and is still proceeding with the militarisation of the Dodecanese islands on a large scale, involving tens of thousands of troops in total, military aircraft, and in particular long range surface to surface missiles. Turkey and Russia both regard these as a threat. The Turkish government are privately convinced that this militarisation is being carried out with active United States cooperation, participation and perhaps instigation.”

      If this is true that the US is helping Greece militarily to provoke Russia and Turkey, it may not turn out the way the US expects. I’m quite sure that the US would rather have someone other than Turkey in charge of a very strategic position like the Dardanelles as Turkey is not considered the most reliable member of NATO by the US due to its relationship with Russia. But as with all geopolitical issues these days, one has to wonder how much historical knowledge of any situation the US diplomatic elites retain. Does anyone in the state department have any recollection of the US backed junta in the late 60s that put a brutal military government in charge of Greece? I guarantee you the Greeks do. I’ve heard stories from older Greeks who remember friends being disappeared during that time. Does anyone in the US state department understand that both Greece and Russia are Orthodox Christian countries and what that implies? And an anecdotal account from being in Athens in the 90s when NATO was dismantling Yugoslavia and sending refugees into surrounding nations like Greece – I remember seeing posters thrown up all over Athens, thousands of them, with pictures of Bill Clinton with a red bullseye painted on his forehead.

      So while the US may be able to pay off the right foreign elites to get treaties and deals in place (something i suspect is going on in Finland and Sweden right now) , that doesn’t mean the US has the support of these countries’ populations, and if things get hot the US may be surprised at how the chips fall. Nothing like some well known US duplicity to make old enemies join together against a bigger threat.

      1. Young

        The British Empire failed in Afghanistan.
        The British Empire failed in Dardanelles.

        The USA failed in Afghanistan.
        It is the USA’s turn to fail in Dardanelles.

        1. The Rev Kev

          I think that in that rules based order that it says that ‘it is OK when we do it’. That is why I prefer international law myself.

            1. hunkerdown

              Remember those TV dramas “based on a true story” that unspool as condescending, tendentious humbug? That’s what I think when I see the term “rules-based” international order. “Well, we had to punch the script up a bit, and nobody was going to buy that ending…”

            2. Samuel Conner

              IIRC Lambert occasionally cites an aphorism “He is sovereign who decides the exceptions”.

              In which terms, it would appear that the rulers of the US demand sovereignty over the entire planet.

              Me thinks the Rs may have a point in their stated concerns about unipolar world order.

  4. flora


    Here’s the Nov. 2021 Tabletop Exercise paper:

    You can skip down to chart ‘Figure 1: Scenario Design Summary’ on page 10 of the paper ( page 12 (?) in the pdf).

    Look at the gamed out date of the initial theoretical attack. Spoiler alert: the November 2021 paper designates May 15, 2022 as the initial appearance of the disease. That’s this week!
    How could they predict this so perfectly even to the date/week in a what-if gaming out hypothetical of unknowns and responses? A “lucky” guess?

    How did they perfectly guess it would be a Monkeypox outbreak? And now WHO is calling an emergency meeting due to the appearance of this disease, (from where, no one knows).

    After a certain number of extraordinary coincidences I start to wonder.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      same general thing as before/during 911….and just prior to Covid….and numerous other things i could enumerate.
      but such things imply a level of competence that i no longer implicitly believe in.

      1. flora

        And yet their games keep unfolding as they predict. Are they gifted with foresight? Maybe I should keep an eye on their what-if games in order to know what’s coming in 6 months or a year from now. / ;)

        1. Ozz

          I wonder if any of this has anything to do with the over 100 biolabs the US has or sponsors all over the world. They have been around a long time. After the years and investment they have to have come up with something. Otherwise why keep them open?

        2. ArvidMartensen

          Has one of the maPHia just developed a new vaccine for monkeypox that they need to make money from?
          Will we see soon in the msm that, lawdy lawdy, a Pharma godfather has got a vaccine ready to go 2 weeks after working out the monkeypox genetic code?
          You could be forgiven for thinking that the US oligarchs have a plan for not only solving the world’s environmental crisis, but making shedloads of money on the way.
          And us ordinary people all have our own small part to play.
          New academic books ready to go to print: “Pandemics for Fun and Profit”. “Virus Innovation in Third World Countries”. “You too Can Create a Pandemic in Your Garage”. “US Free Enterprise – Pandemics for Entrepreneurs”.

      2. hunkerdown

        Pushing schedules is the only competence I trust a bureaucracy to have. “Under American fxscism, even the epidemics run on time.”

        1. flora

          And the big corporations make huge profits with no govt anti-profiteering laws to get in the way. Big oil, big pharma, the mic, Amz, etc. I feel like I’m living in Enron World… and I’m “Grandma Millie.” / ;)

            1. Mikel

              Their greedy stupidity and short-term thinking doesn’t negate the issues a pox virus will cause in conjunction with a pandemic already in progress.

    2. flora

      Next week, between May22 and May 28, the WHO country members will vote on the pandemic treaty changes that, if passed, will create a worldwide, anti-democratic power grab by WHO.
      Another extraordinary coincidence.

      1. ArvidMartensen

        Hmmm, that was quick. And under the radar too. Almost like a drive-by.
        US business enterprises have a lot of experience with organising people – In the 1930s Maranzano, the first leader of the American Mafia, “established the code of conduct, set up the “family” divisions and structure, and established procedures for resolving disputes.[10]” –
        I imagine there will be procedures for resolving disputes in the WHO treaty?
        Also “Criminal empires which had expanded on bootleg money would find other avenues to continue making large sums of money.”. Just a few substitutions like software, vaccines etc and if history is not exactly repeating, it certainly is rhyming.

    3. anon y'mouse

      a certain message board i frequent which definitely has psyop merchants from the government on it (leaked info from early covid that definitely had to be from those “in the know” which wouldn’t see the light of day until 6 months later for the general public) is already portraying this as a planned attack by Russia.

      so, there’s another thing “they” are gearing themselves up for to blame on Russia aside from the 2016 election results.

      whereas my partner’s comment was this “this is how they’re going to do that passport vaccination scheme thing and push it through, since the last attempt ran out of steam”. seems like an accurate assessment

      we’ll be locked within our own countries like criminals unless we participate in all of this “mandatory vaccination” very soon. worse than feedlot animals.

    4. Juneau

      I understand your skepticism One theory (per Dr Been immunologist on YT) is that this has been spreading for a while. Community spread (human to human to human) would explain the multi-centric independent outbreaks being reported. If there were community spread that was being misdiagnosed as other vesicular diseases (like chicken pox or herpes) or was asymptomatic, it might take a while to get noticed at this level. Pure speculation here, but my alternate theory for this outbreak exercise is that perhaps there were those who knew about monkeypox cases last year and wanted to prepare. How long did it take for China to fess up about Covid? .

      1. GramSci

        NTI looks to me like a goofy outfit that trolls for MIC think tank bucks. Here’s there “Leadership”:

        I suspect the authors chose the term “attack” because it was in their stylesheet. Then, on May 14 they issued an alert to The WHO and, sure enough, cases of monkeypox were found, as expected.

        Because the existence and transmission of monkeypox had been known, it will be hard for the MIC to false flag this outbreak, but I suspect the authors’ grants have been renewed.

      2. flora

        That sounds reasonable. If the gamers knew this was already circulating, and picked this week at a date for the MSM to start sounding the alarm, etc, that could have happened. The interesting question for me is: why is WHO making a huge anti-democratic global power grab with this? I note the pdf game paper calls the hypothetical outbreak as started by a an act of terrierism – a political act requiring a “global centralized undemocratic” political response. Should that be WHO’s role? Should we agree to anti-democratic control?

        1. jefemt

          It seems as though the USA is trending toward agreeing to anti-Democrat control, so why not the world, anti-democratic?
          Even the Dems don’t like democracy!

          1. Samuel Conner

            It may be possible to salvage the remainder of the day if you can immerse yourself in something that has a future. For me, that is ‘gardening’, which definitely has a future in a world of resource scarcity. And it’s known to be therapeutic. I think of it as literal ‘planting seeds of sanity’, which is a nice complement to the ‘community of reason’ (credit to IM Doc for this lovely phrasing) that NC and its commentariat are.

        2. Mikel

          A pox is a chaos creating virus.
          Anyboody can weaponize it.

          Their miscalculation is probably the speed with which it is going to mutate in this larger than ever global population that travels faster and further than ever.

    5. Bart Hansen

      We need Senator Tim Kaine to get the pox so that vaccines will be available to all.

    6. Mikel

      A pox isn’t a good virus to have on an upswing.

      Beyond the toll it could take on an immune system during a time with another pandemic virus out there and STILL evolving, a pox can easily be weaponized by people without any med or science background.

      And then think: smallpox vaccination came along before the global population reached the levels it is at now.

      Now this pox is about to get-reintroduced to the human body in a mass way – still knowing it’s old tricks – but with a
      population of billions upon billions to wotk thru.

      1. flora

        Data is a useful antidote to fear. With data you know what you’re facing. Fear is magnified in the absence of data, imo. I left this link below to an earlier comment. It’s a good data post, imo.

        I’ll leave the link here, too. (Hope a double post isn’t breaking any rules.)

    7. Louis Fyne

      9/11, 3000 dead : international passenger ground stop = reasonable.
      Covid + Monkeypox: 1,000,000+ dead Americans = must keep the planes flying.

      1. Samuel Conner

        Ah, but 9/11 was at least in part directed against organs of US state power. The pandemic is indiscriminately killing or incapacitating the demos. There’s no real comparison, and the difference in State responses, when one attempts to view them from a sympathetic ‘inside’ perspective, look less outrageous (though still IMO objectively quite outrageous).

  5. timbers

    Environmental Advocates Say Public Comment Is Taking a Back Seat in Biden’s Push to Export More LNG DeSmogBlog

    Me says everything is taking a back seat to the push to maintain/extend USA’s 15 minutes of unipolarism
    fame. It’s probably been that way for a long time but now it’s completely out in the open – $54 billion at the speed of light for grifters under the banner of “Ukraine” but no one in Washington can be bothered and barely ever a peep about record suicides/addictions/falling life expectancy/incomes for hundreds of millions of voters. And coming on the heals of being told for 2 years and 4 years before that and 8 years before that, that every single penny of govit spending must be “paid for” is the topping to it all. Maybe Andy Warhol can be genetically re-created and put in charge of the WH or if he has empire building skills in charge of the MIC/Blob? Perhaps a portrait of a of map of the Russian bear in blown out color very unpleasing to the eye in back of him as he holds press conferences about Putin’s inflation. Rachel Maddow can be his Chief of Staff or side-kick at public events.

    Covid, public comment, public policy, healthcare, global warming, nuclear war, Social Security, public education, rising inequality, Medicare, wages, deficits, supply chain (unless it affects unipolarity), inflation, housing affordability, trade, human rights. All swept to the basement for the paper pushers to deal with plus corporations and lobbyists who change the process for their own benefit. To name just a few.

    Even The Squad seems titling that way, hopping onto the Washington band wagon of only by their increasing silence.

    (but then…there IS Bernie Sanders on occasion talking about what no one else talks about like stuff that voters actually care about…bless his heart)

    The last big example being Covid which was complicated and required thinking and making decisions and doing stuff. That’s hard. Why bother when The Empire is much more pressing and profitable for those running the show.

    Covid losses vs all that gravy handed out in the $54 billion for “Ukraine.” Seriously, what is there to think about? The choice is obvious for the folks in Washington.

    1. Quentin

      Why keep calling them ‘folks’ as if their so many ah-shucks down-home loafers hanging out somewhere downtown. Obama seems to have popularised this conversational affectation as in ‘We the Folks…’ to signal he was a regular guy who was also struggling to make ends meet by tightening his belt. Isn’t it time to retire this pretence of familiarity by the ruling classes.

      1. anon y'mouse

        i’ve seen the usage of “folx” to mock that very masquerade in various places online. a nice inversion/hoist on their own petard to “latinx” that they tried to foist on hispanic people recently.

      2. jr

        I hate that word. It’s so manipulative and fake. Unless you are referring to people you actually know, using it is a red flag for a psyop.

      3. rhodium

        Haven’t you noticed that people tend to use the vocabulary du jour in their speech? Some words are also the cereal grains of political rhetoric. Folks are what you call the average voter, who is generally considered a simpleton, and that is my general take on them as well.

      4. Anthony G Stegman

        I’m with you on this. The use of “folks” is overdone and is a sign of laziness and a lack of articulation.

    2. Mel

      A couple of weeks ago, somebody asked in a comment, what if America had to endure the privations that Russians endured in the 1990s?
      Fact is, Americans are enduring those privations. But politically, for the Russians, it was other people stealing their resources and their lives; for Americans it’s a handful of Their Own stealing from the rest of them. How that difference plays out …I guess we’ll get to see.

      1. ArvidMartensen

        Dmitry Orlov said that if Americans, who waddle from their cars to their supermarkets, had to endure the privations of the Russians (walking miles to find a shop with meat or bread), then they would “blow out at the knees”

  6. The Rev Kev

    “The Annihilation of Florida: An Overlooked National Tragedy”

    You do wonder. Is there a calculation that as south Florida is going to go under the waves in the next several decades, that it does not matter what you do to the forests there (and no, I’m not happy to have written that). So maybe some business people are saying to themselves why not cash in while it is still possible.

    1. DorothyT

      Re: The Annhilation of Florida

      Yes, Rev. Kev, it does matter if, for no other reason, FL Gov. DeSantis may be our next president.

      We’ve visited relatives with a cottage on the Rainbow River in semi-rural Dunnellen — the most gorgeous spring fed river area I’ve ever seen. Yet infectious disease was diagnosed after recent trips: antibiotic resistant pseudomonas, E.coli, Klebsella. At first a NY doctor claimed these things couldn’t be related to these FL trips. Then I found research by the Florida Springs Institute. Here’s one recent account that appeared in FL newspapers: Bob Knight: The next fatality in Florida’s springs fatality

      The FL business/tourist community led by DeSantis is working hard to refute Florida and other scientists. Bob Knight has several links online regarding increases in cancer from the FL nitrate loaded springs and rivers. The causes? Agricultural runoff, fertilizer and animals, leaking septic tanks, and much more). Then there’s the blue-green algae …

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        FWIW, my bet is on Youngkin. Pretty new to politics, so not a lot of baggage, from private equity, so huuge ability to raise money, plus present himself as a sane R (even if not true, he’s comparatively sane) and he’s 6’6″ while DeSantis is 5’9″. He’ll be recruited aggressively by the anti-Trump business bunch. Not that I like him but the pickings are piss poor.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          My sense is he’s been out off by the idea of actually governing, being governor is already an idiot proof job. We don’t have a budget yet. His office didn’t bother to prepare the proposed budget.

          Trump had just been President. The previous GOP nominees were Ken Cuccinelli and Corey Stewart, both repulsive creeps, so I feel like Virginia Republicans were more willing to tolerate Youngkin’s style. I’m not sure the “sane R” will be as popular in GOP primaries.

          I’m sure he will have cash, but I don’t see him going anywhere. He’s griping about the Supreme Court leak.

          1. LaRuse

            It didn’t help that he ran against TMac, who was even less palatable than his previous go at Governor. I was feeling a little tin-foily last year and felt like the Dems in VA ran TMac expressly so they COULD lose to Youngkin and then campaign on a bounceback for the Midterms this year.
            From my perspective, Youngkin is not doing a great job governing so much as he is retaliating against any measure that was pushed forward in the last couple of years. My company worked on some legislation that we (numerous legislators, business, energy, and regulators) came to an agreement on with all parties, including the enviro groups in the state, and when the legislation hit Youngkin’s desk, he modified it to be even more punitive to the enviros than what had been agreed to. That’s not governing, it’s punitive.

        2. Mildred Montana

          My bet is on Trump. De Santis and Youngkin are not dumb enough to appeal to a significant number of Americans. Plus they’ve both got no sense of humor, which is so important in winning over people in the TV-internet age. Trump for all his failings (or strengths, depending on how one looks at him) at least has that.

          At this point in American history, with all its problems, many people don’t want talk of policies or any such boring nonsense. They want simple, understandable faux-solutions delivered in an entertaining package. (Trump’s yet-to-be-built-wall is a perfect example.)

          The Donald’s their man. Americans are crying out for a demagogue who promises to lead them out of the current wilderness. De Santis and Youngkin ain’t demagogues. I see no challengers to Trump in the Republican field, and when it comes to 2024 I don’t see any Democrats either. At least not yet.

          I say all this as a Canadian looking south, so I could be completely ignorant or, on the other hand, able to look at the situation objectively.

          1. Carolinian

            My tardy two cents: Trump will win the nom if he decides to run. Do you think the press aren’t just aching for him to run?

            So speculation about others has to be on the assumption that he won’t run.

        3. chuck roast

          Youngkin…the sane Republican. I’m reminded of a small Cottonwood tree I tried get going in the front of my house in New Mexico. I wasn’t having a lot of luck and then I noticed that ants were ‘farming’ aphids on the leaves. I had never seen such a thing. Us USAins are kind of like aphids, and charm-boys like Youngkin are the busy ants. So, the sanest amongst them are less predatory, rather they just feed off of us. Weird but this biological behavior is seen as symbiotic…gawd help us as my mom used to say.

    2. griffen

      Florida and state politics catch a lot of grief and with good reason. But the state itself is pretty diverse, when it comes to nature and wildlife habitats. And it is pretty unique having the Gulf to the west (okay south of the panhandle) and the Atlantic to the east.

      Politicians would pave the Everglades if there was profit to be had. That might even provide a little morbid fun, hey kids let’s catch a python to take home !! Relax he “squeezes tight” because he really loves you.

    3. Henry Moon Pie

      Will this slow development in Florida?

      As climate in Florida sets ‘new normal,’ cost of property insurance will separate haves, have-nots“:

      The consequences of climate change not only include catastrophic — and increasingly expensive — weather such as hurricanes and wildfires, but also more everyday events such as storms that pelt residential and commercial properties with straight-line wind and hail.

      Add in fast population growth in Florida, high demand for high-risk areas such as coastal communities, higher prices for construction and labor, and alleged abuse by contractors who lure policyholders to file inflated damage claims, and you have what one prominent insurance executive calls “total collapse of the overall Florida marketplace.”

    1. barefoot charley

      Duh, that’s why we call it the Putin food crisis. War is peace. I’m so old I remember when Democrats thought they were the smart party. As usual the Republicans dragged them down to their level, while innovating new depths of stupid.

  7. Stick'em

    re: Google ‘Private Browsing’ Mode Not Really Private, Texas Lawsuit Says

    The suit says “in reality, Google deceptively collects an array of personal data even when a user has engaged Incognito mode.”

    We know the NSA’s PRISM program gives the spooks direct access to Google’s servers:

    So in all seriousness, my guess is going “Incognito” on Google is probably a red flag to the NSA’s surveillance algorithms to watch what you are doing more closely than it usually would, rather than giving a user some actual privacy.

    “Don’t be evil” was a PR spin job from the onset rather than any sort of true value statement. You know, because Google is a corporation and a corporation is a person and person has values, ahem, something something, it’s not creepy spyware, this corporate person values National Security.

    1. digi_owl

      The incognito thing only really made sense back when there was a single PC pr household with no user accounts.

      After all, even with that engaged your ISP can still tell what you are connecting to.

      Now if you were to use something like TOR in combination with incognito then maybe. But then the recommendation is to use their browser rather than your everyday one to ensure minimal (meta)data leakage.

      I think so high flying tech thinker referred to it as “porn mode” because that was pretty much the only use for it. And then only just so you didn’t get weird looks when someone was shoulder surfing while you were looking something up.

      1. anon y'mouse

        wasn’t it revealed that Tor was some kind of privacy honeypot for the security state almost a decade ago? i could have sworn i remember all sorts of “reveals” that users of Tor were actually being more closely tracked for the very reason Stickem points to above: if you want or need to use Tor for privacy, that means you’re up to no good according to the NSA and pals.

        or did that ultimately come to nothing?

        1. digi_owl

          The basic concept came out of the Office of Naval Intelligence.

          Beyond that i can’t say for certain, except that the computer security world turns paranoia into a virtue.

        2. Stick'em

          The NSA certainly is looking for Tor users:

          The NSA creates “fingerprints” that detect http requests from the Tor network to particular servers. These fingerprints are loaded into NSA database systems like XKeyscore, a bespoke collection and analysis tool which NSA boasts allows its analysts to see “almost everything” a target does on the internet.

          Using powerful data analysis tools with codenames such as Turbulence, Turmoil, and Tumult, the NSA automatically sifts through the enormous amount of internet traffic it sees, looking for Tor connections.

      2. Stick'em

        Presuming this is the California version of the same lawsuit:

        “Google is ordered to face a $5 billion lawsuit alleging Chrome’s Incognito browsing mode collects users’ web history.”

        My understanding is Incognito is indeed “porn mode” in that it hides the browsing data locally, so someone else using the browser on your phone/PC/laptop can’t find your freaky-deaky searches for “sex with farm animals” in the local version of your browsing history and cookies.

        However, Google still collects these data and sells ’em or passes them to the FBI or whatever they wish to do with ’em. These data make their way to the NSA through PRISM (or whatever they call the if-you-aren’t-doing-anything-wrong-then-don’t-worry-about-us-spying-on-our-own-citizens program now) and are housed in the Bumblehive in Utah:

        Because of the sheer magnitude of these data – because the NSA collects it all – identifying what any given “bad guy” up to isn’t the easiest needle to find in this haystack. Thus, using something like Incognito mode probably can get you noticed in the same way visiting certain Facebook pages or websites will draw attention toward your online activites.

        For example, since Naked Capitalism was on the PropOrNot list of websites targeted by the government for telling the truth:

        I wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest if commenting here got me on some sort of NSA kooklist. It’s probably impossible not to get on some sort of kooklist if you are the kind of person who does anything on the internet that doesn’t jive with the suggested level of conformity.

    2. hunkerdown

      Incognito mode isn’t a Google feature. It is a state in which the browser treats cookies and other identifying data set in the browser in non-incognito mode as sacred, not to be touched. It’s like doffing one’s lanyard, name badges and proximity cards. But they can still recognize you by your face, your browser window dimensions, your IP address…

      No conspiracy theory is necessary, necessarily. Just a normal commercial eagerness to increase the value of collected data by attributing it to a self-identical process (i.e. you or me) which can then be better managed and predicted. The improved knowledge of that process creates value to be realized in satoshi-sized crumbs several times per minute over the course of that user’s lifetime, even offline. It’s not a perversion of commercialism. It’s the premise.

        1. hunkerdown

          While the amended complaint at 141-148 accuses Google’s Incognito mode and lack of browser UI disclosures specifically, according to the expert at 151-156 “Chrome or other” browsers perform the same interactions that enable that gathering of user activity data and its association to a profile, without any fair notice or option. So I read it as synecdoche.

    3. Maritimer

      “So in all seriousness, my guess is going “Incognito” on Google is probably a red flag to the NSA’s surveillance algorithms to watch what you are doing more closely than it usually would, rather than giving a user some actual privacy.”
      Detection by Omission. This is a serious privacy/security challenge. Say you don’t have any anti-social media accounts, no or low cellphone usage, a lot of cash withdrawals and transactions, use VPN and secure email, etc. Well that alone designates you as a Problem. So, a strategy is needed to build a Profile that will melt you into the Internet Weeds.

      1. Skunk

        We’re not kindergartners. We have a legal right to use incognito mode, withdraw cash, etc. if we want to, and no one with any sense would draw definitive conclusions about doing so. In fact, it’s clearly a false dilemma fallacy to say (as stupid people do) that no one would advocate privacy unless they had something to hide. Privacy is a basic human right and is necessary to human happiness and dignity

        It sounds to me like a certain amount of propaganda is being circulated to encourage behavioral modification. I suspect that putting out the idea that people will be doubly scrutinized for utilizing their right to privacy is just a way to encourage them to stop those activities. It’s an attempt to make people fearful and thus willing to give up on protecting their rights.

        Instead, I’d advocate doubling down on all choices that protect privacy. Make every choice based on a commitment to reinforce privacy. After all, do you remember voting to give up your privacy rights? I don’t either. So, um, it’s not something wrong with ME if I value my right to privacy; it’s something wrong with YOU that you’d be stupid enough to claim that all privacy advocates have identical clone motives and all want to do nefarious things.

        Show me where the voters agreed to abrogate privacy rights. Show me where it’s written into law, Then maybe I’ll reconsider. Meanwhile, expect me to err on the side of privacy in my choices, no matter how much noise you make or smoke you blow.

  8. The Rev Kev

    For what it is worth, it looks like Scotty from Marketing in Oz is gone. Labour needs 76 Seats to win and they already have 71 while the Coalition has only 54. Remains to be seen who has lost their Seat.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Keeping my fingers crossed. Odds of Australia doing Something Stupid in the Solomon Islands drop if Scotty exits. Did he actually lose his seat too??? That would be delicious.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I think that he retained his Seat but it was always a safe one. It’s gunna take a while to get solid numbers as there are still some marginal seats that will have to wait till postal votes are counted but at least his government is toast. One thing that I am not seeing in either the Labour or Coalition parties is face masks.

        1. Terry Flynn

          Agreed. The Australian election results are pretty understandable if you look at what began to happen at their previous election and the false sense of security the LNP coalition gained from that unexpected victory. I no longer keep up with the details of Aussie politics so had no firm predictions beforehand but if I’d extrapolated the trends in social-economic and political beliefs that were forming from when I lived there in the heart of LNP territory, then the “shock” results there are not so shocking in hindsight at all.

          It was unfortunate that I moved back to UK shortly after I got my Australian citizenship as I missed the chance to vote in the election that caused the “mad monk” former PM to lose his seat. This was a truly seismic result and although the LNP coalition should have paid attention to this result, rather than the Australia-wide result, they did not. Thus the “Boris-like” old boys had 3 years of breaking promises, acting dreadfully and generally driving whole groups of core supporters (right of centre but social progressives in places like Sydney’s North Shore) away. I lived in the constituency of Warringah, held by Tony Abbott, the former, and many hoped soon-to-be-again, Prime Minister. It contained a postcode that had for decades been the richest in Australia until the rise of Perth dethroned it. However it remained a LNP stronghold. Ironically, during my time in Australia (2009-2015) it had begun to change, however. Older stalwarts were dying off, to be replaced by people who were still LNP but less susceptible to “dog whistle” politics on social issues whenever the LNP was in trouble and found it useful to blame the immigrants/gays/subgroup of choice. These also often skewed female – have you looked at the profiles of the “Team Teal” new MPs? Is there a 3D printer that churns out female youngish charismatic right-of-centre but socially progressive people (quite a few are physicians) they’ve been using? Ideal kind of people to counter every point of annoyance with the LNP 2019-2022 government.

          Warringah was an ideal early warning system for the LNP. Rich and naturally right-wing it may be, but it has the distinction of having two of the only four officially sanctioned naturist beaches in the Sydney metropolitan area. One is the “gay one” whilst the other predominantly straight (and IMHO saw the most egregious examples of totally OTT behaviour – particularly bad as it is far more accessible to kids – indeed there is a kids sports centre almost overlooking it!) Anyway the local council would repeatedly run campaigns against “them” – but concentrating on the gay beach. Win or lose, they had no effect since the beaches were under State jurisdiction but it made for good politics in getting out the vote. That stopped working during my time there. People who were economically right-of-centre but socially progressive (liberal would be my word of choice but that gets confusing with the naming of Aussie parties) were getting antsy at out-of-touch representatives who didn’t talk about the things that worried them. Hence Tony Abbott lost his seat in 2019 – a seismic event. An independent won it. Now it has been held this time round, it seems to rub salt into the LNP wound. Even worse for the LNP, as of now it looks like the neighbouring constituency of North Sydney (where lots of young right-of-centre but socially progressive people live and which I went through on my commute into the centre live) has fallen to an independent. The North Shore “Blue wall” is collapsing, to become “teal” – MPs who are blue economically but chose teal as their colour to show off their green views and extreme hatred of the current blues in Parliament.

          The postal votes will decide whether Labor rules as a minority or majority government but as of now the ABC is predicting 76 seats – technically an overall majority but if true, awkward as they must nominate the speaker which, to use US parlance, puts them AT, not OVER the line. Thus the Guardian is wondering if they’ll nominate someone “friendly” from the minor parties to be Speaker (we’re getting into the minutiae of Westminster based systems here) so that they rule as a majority government. Anyway too soon to make firm predictions but it will be interesting.

          Finally – Boris over here in UK should be paying attention. Given the local election results, we might be heading towards something not the same but equally dire for the Tories next time round. On current form Labour won’t retake all those red wall seats. But suppose the Lib Dems win a load of “true blue” seats down south? Labour here might be in government next time round but forced to finally grasp the idea that they’ll never govern alone again so it’s time for electoral reform once they team up with the Lib Dems and others (LDs learnt their lesson about working with Tories last time so won’t make that mistake again). Very interesting all round. Two-party systems are breaking down.

          PS Indeed Scotty was always safe but looks like the Treasurer may be gone! That might be Australia’s “Portillo moment” (look up the 1997 UK General Election).

      2. Skippy


        Oh its bizarro world these days as ABC [Auntie gone the full BBC] Leigh Sales was still shilling for the Libs even after they had conceded. Tanya Plibersek had to remind them that Labor was winning the election. Leigh Sales still doesn’t understand what an independent is.

        Basically all the MSM in Oz now is pro liberal and its talking heads PMC sorts with a side of the mystic vibrators on the far right like Scomo

        Even then Labour did not have a classic victory since the Teal parties had solid gains and one of the first acid tests of this Labour government will be passing a strong Federal ICAC [Independent Commission Against Corruption] which was just supported by 30+ retired judges of note. So strong is the need to end the epic levels of Gresham law corruption flowing through the public and private sectors that failing to do so will have members of the electorate considering mobs like Clive’s UAP party [spent 100M of his own change on it].

        BTW hope you had a peek at the freindlyjordies video on some of the activities of the LNP, over a protracted time, especially since he and a co worker were politically targeted by a federal – persons of interest – goon squad that seems to be tasked to move along anyone that dares point out corruption and is not a member of the credentialed PMC corporate news establishment.

        BTW I would not be worried about the Solomon Islands as Australia basically abandoned it with all the foreign aid cut backs yonks ago and after Nippon looted it for a short payday for a few roads/buildings. All of which resulted in a health crisis as the locals mistook western processed food as a Veblen good and abandoned traditional farming and food, luckily a ethical Oz Prof went over and sorted it, not to mention a client of mine went over to assist in sorting out its governments financial officials.

        Now for those interested in the regional game of RISK I would suggest that if PNG started having convos with China – THAT – would be really interesting. Just on the flows of money between banks here in Oz and the gold mines in PNG. Old family friend going back to the bush days did some time on yachts in Florida, came back to Oz, did a computer course [only HS grad], got a job with one of the big 3 Oz banks and was – the guy – that handled all those transactions by himself. That work facilitated in his CV to a move to Singapore and a huge upgrade in financial work. So if PNG started playing footsie with China one way or another [wink wink] that would not only ruffle some feathers here in Oz, but have reverberations via the banking system outside Oz.

        Side note … wow at the amount of people getting sick over here, covid, hard flu, respiratory illnesses related to the increasing mold/fungus from the constant wet [sugar soaping/chlorinating the inside/outside of the house and have to repaint ceilings and other stuff/any thin layer of dust is a medium/even the kitchen cabinets], stress brought on by the unknown, on top of all that the die off of the 70 to 90 year olds is a sight to behold and all that comes with that social dynamic.

        1. Savita

          Some clarity for the US readers on the jargon ;-) Now you know what it feels like for us south of the hemisphere reading you ( took me ages to figure out what a ‘Benjamin’ was :-) So, Liberal Party is the right wing conservative party. They are coloured blue, but it’s not a useful reference (its not one used in Australia) as the alleged left wing party ‘Labor’ the historical opposite of Liberal, also uses blue. ‘Clive’ refers to Clive Palmer a billionaire mining magnate who doesn’t have a good public reptutation but has spent his personal fortune on attempting to being nominated for parliament. And has tried to take politicans or the government to court on a few occasions. ‘Friendlyjordies’ is the youtube posting individual who was taken to court on a defamation/libel prosecution by the allegedly second most hated individual in Australia politics – Peter Dutton. Just watch and listen to him speak for a minute and you will comprehend why. Leigh Sales is a journalist for the public broadcaster who appear to be really cut throat and astute in her interviews – refusing to let Clive Palmer off the hook for why he wouldn’t pay his workers for example. Until you see what she is made of, when witnessing the brown nosing cowardice in her interview with Madam H. Clinton. So, the Liberals appear to have lost a lot of their strong and highly coveted seats. And there are a number of independents in parliament. But nonetheless one third of the vote yet to count. There is still talk of a hung parliament whereby no single ruling party has majority and the cross-bench must be relied upon to form parliament.

          1. Skippy

            Shades of the past where Julia Gillard got a up vote/ tic of approval for a PR stunt in Parliament about the misogynistic tenancies of the LNP whilst simultaneously fronting a Corporatist/Industry gathering after stabbing Rudd in the back that she was their gal …

            Same neoliberal PMC credentials and flexian tendencies which transcend political affiliation yet some people are compelled to rudimentary tribalism.

  9. griffen

    Tesla shares on fire not unlike that tweeted image. Well pretty much any public technology is having a serious sad, unhappy time of it thus far in 2022. I would quibble somewhat with the direct comparison to shares of Uber, as the drive sharing service presents a slightly different model for reaching profitability (aka, one day it just might be a thing). To my knowledge, Uber has yet to report a positive net profit since becoming public.

    As for Elon Musk, I weep not for his lost net wealth.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I did see that but thanks for including it. We criticized Ritter’s recent takes in

      Lira’s signal to noise ratio in many of his vids is less than ideal, and here he had more speculation about Ritter’s possible motives than was needed. I would Lira is wrong about Ritter being under financial stress. He’d retired, which guys in the military don’t do (absent injury or other reasons) until they’ve hit full pension age, and military pensions are pretty good. He was called back for the weapons inspector post. I believe he lives in upstate NY, so his cost of living isn’t high by US standards.

      Ritter did have some valuable commentary early on, most importantly about the Kiev fixing operation, about how targets are identified, and about Russia’s “grinding” approach. But he was repeatedly too bullish about how quickly Russia would progress.

      And disconcertingly, he’s done a 180 on some of his earlier positions, particularly of introducing major weapons now. Ritter had said earlier the best propaganda Russia could engage in would be to get the West to believe that sending in a bunch of different weapons systems would be a game changer. Ritter said it would be hard to train people, hard to manage the logistical tail, and hard to maintain them (particularly since all of the Ukraine military’s repair depots have been taken out by Russia; it was reported weeks ago, IIRC by Andrei Martyanov, that Ukraine was having to send armored trucks and tanks to the Czech Republic to be fixed). Yet he’s now taking the Pentagon line that the new deliveries will be game changers and that Russia will need to take west Ukraine (why exactly?) and Russia will find itself in an Afghanistan.

      If I remember the timetable correctly, Ritter’s Bucha tweet that got him banned, and then the cancellation of Paypal’s Consortium News and Mint Press accounts, which I think had a lot to do with them featuring Ritter regularly and prominently, was just before Ritter’s weird call on Lira and then Finland. That was followed shortly by a shift to pessimism about how things were going for Russia. I recall Ritter had a book coming out soon. Maybe his publisher backed out? But that’s more personal speculation….see how easy it is to get sucked in.

      1. digi_owl

        If it is one thing the neolibs have learned from watching the conservative pearl clutchers getting nixed time and time again, is to go for the wallet (payment processers) rather than the court.

        Modern day excommunication (cancellation) means being made an economic pariah. If you want to be an independent thinker these days, you first need to be damned sure you can survive without a credit card.

      2. Louis Fyne

        A potential problem with Ritter and all non-Cyrillic people…..we are relying on the same universe of UA-RU social media sources, western think tanks, and NYT-NPR-BBC news.

        Alas the NC commentariat can’t order some commercial satellite photos of various UA sites to prove-disprove certain war narratives. The NYT could, but doesn’t unless the imagea fit certain narratives (see commercial satellite photos that purportedly support the story of the UA shellacking by RU at Snake Island from Russian social media account “rybar”)

        And it is entirely possible that Ritter honestly got sucked into a rabbit of hole outlets with one slant and cam’t see his own blindspots

        1. Jacob Hatch

          Ritter was (is) fluent enough in written Russian to do archive dives when he was part of the USA/Russian intermediate range missile elimination / Megatons for Megawatts program.

        1. Skippy

          Pretty much JEHR … so much of that action is driven by incentives for eye ball traffic and not much more e.g. all are seeking more than just putting opinion out there. Heck Lira has a past and its not a stretch to imagine a short disappearance to burnish is credentials as a wanted man for speaking truth because it translates to a business[tm] outcome.

          That is not to say that one cant pick out the peanuts from the corn from the offal as they might bring points out that one might have not known of before, but, you never allow yourself to be sucked into whatever narrative they might be promoting.

    2. Jacob Hatch

      Ritter has had a relatively hard life, in terms of mental pressure. I think he is a man of integrity, but he has difficulty with separating his emotions from his analysis at times. I can’t imagine going into Iraq knowing that Madeline Albright and beast like John Bolton, with the support of POTUS were scheming to so inflame the Iraqi government that they would take him out. If I had to decide who to trust between Lira and Ritter, because I could not work from facts, I know who I’d use to make my decision.

      Could this be a publicity move by Lira, if we’re going to cast aspersions?

      1. Jacob Hatch

        New Atlas has video of M777 battery being taken out of action before they can even fire off first round. He also discussed why it’s much cheaper for Russia to wait, and much more expensive for resource constrained Ukraine to have them crushed there than in Western Ukraine. This fits in with my own past comments about using internal lines to best effect.

        Scott Ritter is spot on that the flood of money weapons would make moving into Western Ukraine hell for Russia. He either forgets or doesn’t want to believe they have far more cruel options.
        Russia does not have to do that to de-nazify Ukraine, they can simply reverse NATO/Ukraine policy of depopulating Eastern Ukraine. Simply make life hell for the rump state until it empties. Poland / Romania will then suffer another “invasion” by armed NAZI thugs.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          It is Ritter who has posited that Russia intends to take the western part of Ukraine. There is no evidence of that. It is not consistent with their aims plus they know holding hostile territory is costly and corrosive. The very fact that Ritter is suggesting that is one of the reasons I have come to doubt him. It’s an extrapolation with no foundation.

          At best, the Pentagon and NATO are promoting the “western Ukraine” narrative so they can claim a win when Russia does not go there (they will depict it as the result of their/Ukraine’s aggressive defense, as opposed to it not being a Russian objective). Why is Ritter promoting it unquestioned?

          1. Jacob Hatch

            agree, as per my comment they don’t need to do it, just empty the place. perfect buffer zone and Russia even has automated landmine laying devices, and plenty of mines placed in Transnistria too, so they could start at both ends of any line they choose.

        2. c_heale

          I think a long term conflict could possibly be an Afghanistan for Western Europe. Especially if Russia takes Eastern Ukraine and stops there. Key resource shortages, gradual escalation of involvement, no realistic military options on the table even in the medium term, major economic problems leading to the collapse of the EU and then maybe even NATO.

          The USA doesn’t appear to want to get involved in boots on the ground, except clandestinely, and I can see the Autumn elections there further decreasing the likelihood of direct US involvement.

          1. Jacob Hatch

            This is probably the long term goal of the USA, as Michael Hudson put it, the USA ruling eilites wants to do to Europe what it has done to it one people/lands. Europe should have read the Peter Duvorno memo.

    3. Dftbs

      I think the criticisms of Ritter from a set of presumably pro-Russian geopolitical analysts does more to cast doubt on those analysts’ conclusions than Ritter. That’s not to say that Ritter was right in claiming Western arm shipments and Ukrainian military reconstitution in the West are “game changers”. But the reflexive rejection of Ritter’s theses, because they aren’t 100pct pro-Russian, makes his critics’ analysis seem less level headed and more like cheerleading.

      For instance, Andrei Martyanov, who is regarded as a highly competent military analyst disagrees with Ritter because in his estimation Russia has the capacity to destroy Western arm shipments ad infinitum. I don’t think Ritter ever claimed that Russia couldn’t do this. Rather his claim was that if Russia didn’t move West with a more aggressive posture, then they would have to destroy these weapons shipments ad infinitum. This would mean that the conflict in the West could be frozen and perpetual; and that, presumably, would not constitute a Russian victory. I think it was this position calling for a more aggression which earned Ritter some very level headed criticism from our hosts here.

      I think Lira comes off a bit silly in the posted video. But alas, whether Ritter, Lira, us here at NC or countless others, including the “professionals” in northern Virginia, think the Russians are doing things the right or wrong way, it matters little. The Russians are going to do things the Russian way. What that means I don’t know, their actions now will define it for posterity.

      1. Brian (another one they call)

        I have been reading and listening to both Lira and Ritter. Lira has yet to explain how he got away from the azovites that he alleges captured him. He roasted them to char broil, but they didn’t touch him. This is a major part of the story that is yet to be known. There is something wrong with the picture he paints.
        Scott Ritter tells what he knows when he can. He certainly still has NDA’s pending so he can’t talk about things he knows. He provides facts. He has been correct so far.
        But what he says isn’t always popular. The truth does that do a conversation.

        1. Michael Fiorillo

          I agree: as far as I know, there’s no independent corroboration of Lira’s abduction, and his seemingly untouched return and now-frequent posting undermines the thesis he continues to present. Also, he apparently doesn’t speak the language, despite living in Ukraine for years. That alone should make his opinions transact at a high discount… at best.

          As for Ritter, while I trust him more than Lira, he too seems to have gotten high off his own supply, which, forget Covid, is the real endemic condition afflicting everyone. As Malcolm said, those who know don’t say (and I wonder if anyone really knows at the moment), and those who say don’t know. Anything approaching objective truth is likely to be retrospective, and gained over years.

        2. Yves Smith Post author

          Lira never said he escaped, he was released to house arrest and had all his devices confiscated except one old MacBook Air. I don’t know if he is still under house arrest but I would assume soe.

          Lira says he has shown documentation to certain close contacts to verify that he was detained. He says he is not about to post them but he’s been vouched for.

          The folks at The Duran got their followers to call the Chilean Embassy in their home countries and Poland, the nearest outpost to Ukraine. They ginned up at a bare minimum hundreds of calls. That I think made the difference.

          Plus denying him access to his old accounts by getting his passwords (they didn’t even ask him, they plugged a device into his iPhone that opened it in <3 mins) and forcing him to set up new accounts has reduced his following to only about 1/4 of its old level.

      2. digi_owl

        So far, all NATO has done is empty their old stockpiles of mothballed weapon systems. I have yet to read of any spinning up of weapon production in order to supply Ukraine. Closest i have seen is a worry that this clearing out of old stock is leaving NATO vulnerable should someone decide to expand the conflict beyond Ukraine.

      3. Jonhoops

        Great comment Dftbs. From what I understand listening to Ritters latest analysis, he is just stating that Russia needs to deal with the reality that the US is signaling that it is in this for the long haul. Russia may achieve most of the goals of the SMO but fail in achieving the main goal , a neutral buffer in Ukraine. Further they now have to contend with NATO presence in Finland. He feels that they can’t achieve the main goal with the limited manpower of the SMO. I think if the Ukrainians collapse in Donbas we will have to see what happens before we can really tell if he is right.

        1. Detroit Dan

          “the US is signaling that it is in this for the long haul” [Jonhoops]

          The U.S. does not have the best track record in this regard — see Vietnam, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan. Russia has no choice but to stay in Ukraine for the long haul. The U.S. comes and goes according to the vagaries of domestic politics.

        2. Yves Smith Post author

          With the US not willing to put boots the ground, this “long haul” is posturing. Keep in mind per Jacques Baud, the Ukraine army was so weak in 2014 (recall the militias beat it in 2014 and 2015) that Ukraine, presumably with US/NATO assistance, hired mercs, and the ones who signed up were overwhelmingly neo-Nazi aligned. Again per Baud, they constituted 40% of the Ukraine army.

          There are anecdotal reports that the mercs and volunteers got their idea of war from the Middle East. They did not expect to be on the wrong end of sustained artillery fire.

          The point it the mercs mostly likely to like Ukraine duty already signed up. I doubt they can find as many or similar caliber men to replace them.

    4. Anthony G Stegman

      All of a sudden Scott Ritter is now considered a kook. How did this happen? Has the Blob infiltrated most of the non-mainstream media (including Naked Capitalism) in order to cast aspersions on Ritter and discredit him? If not Ritter, whom are we to believe regarding the comings and goings of the Russia-Ukraine conflict? Is there a new celebrity “journalist” we should all now pay homage to since Scott Ritter is now on the outs?

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        That is a straw man. I did not link to the Lira post and I made clear in my comment on the link above that Lira’s speculations about Ritter’s character and motives were besides the point and therefore unhelpful.

        You are already in moderation for past violations. You need to stop or you will be blacklisted. I almost blackslisted you last week. I am not having you smear this site or the commentariat.

        Ritter has been repeatedly wrong. He was vastly too bullish on Russian progress, every friggin’ time. He would make specific calls about when the Russians would be done! His level of inaccuracy and now his flip flops are why people are cooling on him.

        Relying on him has made this site look bad. I trusted his early very bullish take on the prospects for a speedy Russia victory. Every time I would cite him again, at least one wise guy in comments would point out that Ritter had first said Russia would wind up its campaign in days. Even after that, Ritter’s calls on Russia’s progress continued to be way too Russia-optimistic.

        We take great pride in being early and accurate, and Ritter was pulling us into “Fool me once, shame on thee, fool me twice, shame on me” territory.

        I’ve had repeatedly in comments to defend his bad calls. I can no longer risk our reputation on him. He is clearly NOT looking at granular action, as people like Jacob Dreizen are, or closely monitoring comments on Russian and Ukrainian sites, as Alexander Mercouris is. Mercouris, a totally non military person, now has a much better record than Ritter merely by being diligent and very clear about the limits of his knowledge and where his info comes from. That should not be possible.

      2. truly

        Yes, this. In one long rambling talk Ritter gave (aren’t they all?) he closed with a statement like this: “Don’t believe me. Hear me. Then keep an eye on things and see if my narrative makes sense. I have failed you if you go away from this talk deciding to ‘believe me’. Just hear me.”
        He has not been 100% correct on everything, but what war prognosticator is? I have heard him and much of his narrative makes sense.
        Also, at some point recently you could tell Ritter hit his stride in enjoying listening to himself. He seemed to love doing one interview after another. As a listener I knew I had to hear him understanding that. Just like I heard Bill when he said “I did not have….”. It was obvious what Bill was saying. I think so long as we hear Ritter but don’t “believe” him he is a great asset. He has to be listened to in context.
        I like hearing Lira as well, but understand he lives on clicks, and must be listened to in this context.

  10. Colonel Smithers

    Thank you, Yves.

    Further to your mention of Craig Murray, his sort of blind spot is odd. He neglects the first, not second, referendum in Ukraine, that of Crimea and its wish for independence or reintegration with Russia. He also neglects how Ukraine was beefed up with Russian speaking provinces to the east and south in 1922.

    Murray claims that Putin wants northern Kazakhstan, but there’s no public evidence of that. He also claims Tatars and other Turkish speaking areas, as far their Altai birthplace, want out of the Federation. Again, there’s little or no evidence of that secessionist tendency.

    When war broke out, a reader, claiming descent from the Habsburg nobility of Galicia and Volhynia, explained the region’s complicated history and how the Habsburgs had stoked up a Ukrainian identity as a bulwark against Russia, which is how the reader’s family had risen in prominence. Murray studiously ignored the comment.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Yes, thanks for filling out the picture. Unlike Ukraine, where Murray might not have been attentive and/or swayed by the Western press, he’s supposed to know better re the ‘Stans. He like many appears to have gotten a case of Putin Derangement Syndrome.

      The problem is I pick up many tidbits and then due to the state of search engines can’t find them again. One credible seeming article (a lot of detail) pointed out that it was the USSR itself that also promoted Ukraine identity, doing things like teaching the Ukraine dialect in schools (I’m not sure how different it is from the czar’s Russian, but I have read that there are very distinctive pronunciations of basic words like “bread” that the UkoNasties can quickly use to sort their friends from foes. No idea if also a distinctive vocabulary, which I believe is true of Japanese dialects).

      1. Polar Socialist

        The history of supporting minorities within Russian Empire and Soviet Union is, as one would guess, very complicated. I guess it can be simplified into the idea that ethnicity has been fine and good, nationalism evil and bad.

        In Russian Empire it was the ethnic elite’s loyalty to the Czar that was the defining factor of whether there was support for national schools, literature, media etc. While it’s not as clear cut as we may think, we can still assume that in Soviet times it was the loyalty to the Central Committee that was the defining factor.

        In any case, it is not wrong to say that Russian Empire did nurture many a nation during the national romantic period in European history. Even it there at times there was repression against expression of nationalistic ideas, it rarely lasted long or was meant to Russianize anyone. Nor was it ever generic – while Poles were violently oppressed, arrested and sent to Siberia, Finns were given their own currency and literary Tatar language was elevated for communication with all Turkish tribes in the empire.

        All and all, both Russian and Soviet Empires were, as far empires go, more of the center supporting the periphery type than the looting type. Which is precisely why Yeltsin took Russia out of Soviet Union – the new elite did not see the point in Russia keeping paying the bills.

        1. Jacob Hatch

          Excellent analysis, I’d only change “Which is precisely why the oligarchs behind Yeltsin took Russia out of Soviet Union – the new elite did not see the point in Russia keeping paying the bills.”

          1. GramSci

            Andt o balkanize the remains of the USSR so that they could be individually “liberated” more easily?

        2. Alfia

          All Russia’s satellites were supported: factories, schools, hospitals, universities were built and staff/specialists/engineers/doctors/teachers trained and supplied. For example poor Kyrgyz nomads in Kyrgyzstan received hydroelectric power, non- ferrous metal mining, complete cities with infrastructure from Russia. Similar story with Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tadzhikistan, Turkmenistan.

      2. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, Yves.

        That’s true about the Soviet regime went hand in hand with the 1922 territorial set up. Putin has referred to that when he speaks of decommunisation.

      3. Alyosha

        Traditionally, Ukrainian was a dialect of Russian. In the north-central part of Ukraine (formally Malorussia, or part of it) the two dialects are mashed together. It was considered a rural, spoken dialect, with many of the negative connotations urban people give rural people the world over. Ukrainian had a burst of popularity in the Russian literary scene during the Romantic period when Petersburg poets would compose in Ukrainian for that idyllic, rural romanticism. On the Russian side, that was the earliest significant writing in Ukrainian.

        In the now Ukrainian west, when it was part of the Austrian Empire Ukrainian as a language was promoted and developed. It served a good tool to split the ethnic grouping of Slavs straddling the border of Russia and Austria. Some of it’s pretty simplistic. Replacing the O with I is a big one, Russian sol becomes sil (salt). Ukrainian didn’t really become a huge deal until the 2000’s, which is why you could have Ukrainian presidents apologize for giving speeches that mangled their “native” language. AFAIK, only in the far west is Ukrainian really the common tongue.

        I don’t know if a soviet policy that impeded use of Ukrainian. Russian was the lingua franca but ethnic languages were generally taught in schools as well. In the early USSR there was some preferential treatment of Ukrainian based on making the revolution more international. But that wouldn’t have affected the ethnic Ukrainian heartland as it wasn’t soviet until 1939.

        The RF retains the dual language education policy for ethnic populations. I’m not sure how it works if you’re say a Yakut family living in Moscow. I think that in some place trilingual education is policy with English being standard curriculum too.

      4. garden breads

        Western Ukraine was part of Poland-Lithuania for centuries and also had a large German population which actually increased during the Polish years. I understand some Polish (my late wife was from Krakow) and also a bit of Russian and have worked with Ukranians. To me Ukranian sounds similar to Russian but with very many Polish and German borrow words which are totally dissimilar to the corresponding Russian words. So it’s not so much a matter of pronunication/slavic variation like Polish “do widzenia” versus Russian “das vidaniya (До свидания)” for goodbye but totally different words. Others have told me that my interpretation is directionally correct.

      5. Alex

        You’re probably referring to the Korenizatsiya policy under which the culture and language of various “native” ethnic groups were actively promoted. The autonomous republics which still exist in Russia date from that time, as all sufficiently numerous peoples got their own regions. This was very different from Tsarist-era policies which veered between indifference and Russification.

        In Ukraine the active phase of korenizatsiya was over by mid-1930s. The Ukrainian language continued to be taught but Russian became clearly dominant.

        The Ukrainian language was certainly not invented by the Soviets. It developed separately from Russian in the lands belonging to Lithuania, Poland and then Austria and has its own literary tradition.

      6. Raymond Sim

        One credible seeming article (a lot of detail) pointed out that it was the USSR itself that also promoted Ukraine identity, doing things like teaching the Ukraine dialect in schools (I’m not sure how different it is from the czar’s Russian,…

        The Soviets had a Rusyn problem. ‘Ukrainian’ as an ethnonym is, so far as I can tell a comparative neologism, which, again so far as I can tell, was coined by Rusyn nationalists in order to identify themselves with a national territory. The Rusyn (Ruthenians) were dispersed rather widely in regions formerly controlled by the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, but were most particularly concentrated in current Ukraine and Belarus. I’m not sure when the distinction between Ukrainian and Belarusian Rusyn people came to be seen as cultural rather than just location of domicile, but in older English-language usage ‘Ruthenian’ could mean either or both.

        Ukrainian shares more vocabulary with Polish than with Russian, but more with Belarussian than either Polish or Russian. In its other structure it is clearly an East-Slavic language.

        Anxiety over the loyalties of the Rusyn predates the Soviet era and afflicted all their foreign rulers, not just the Russians. Dividing them into two nations, and making sure that those two nations understood themselves as most definitely not Polish, German, Hungarian or Baltic in character, that they might serve as bulwarks against the territorial ambitions of the bordering countries made a lot of sense. Something similar seems, at least at times, to have been the Austro-Hungarian approach to Galicia as well.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Thanks. I was not sure to what degree Ukrainian is truly a separate language. For instance, Alexander Mercouris clearly understands it (he comments on what he has picked up from Ukrainian sites) and I doubt he studied it formally, just Russian. Note Japanese dialects are really very different from each other, so my impression also is the difference between dialects and languages is not exactly clear cut.

          1. Polar Socialist

            The Standard Ukrainian is defined as Middle Dniestrian dialect, spoken around Kiev area all the way to Poltava on both sides of Dniepr. With Slobozhan dialect to the east (all the way to Voronezh and Belgorod in Russia) it forms the Southeastern group of Ukrainian dialects.

            It’s also the area that around 1820-30 was know as Small Russia (malorossiya), Southern Russia or Slobozhan Russia, superficially defined as the area of the cossack Hetmanate.

            In 1840’s the term Ukraine appeared as interchangeable with the above, and it began common habit of people of that area to think of each other as “countrymen” (zemliaki) no matter where they lived in Russian Empire.

            So, while the terms Ukraine and Ukrainian were in use long before the Rusyn/Ruthenians started to use them in the 1880s, it’s pretty much like Raymond Sim says – they denoted a Rusyn with nationalist ideas absorbed from the forming Ukrainian intelligentsia. It still took until 1920’s or so for the Ukrainian to become the dominant term for self-identification in any area we can consider to be Ukraine.

          2. PlutoniumKun

            The old joke of linguists is that the difference between a language and a dialect is that the former has an army.

            Nearly all European languages bleed into each other along the borders and the distinctions are almost entirely arbitrary. Travel slowly from north Portugal into northwestern Spain and into north Spain and you will hear ‘Portuguese’ bleed into Galitian (not related to the Ukrainian Galatian) and then various northern dialects of Spanish. Even when you get to Basque country it sounds to the untutored ear like Spanish, while going north of the Pyrenees the Basque sounds a little French on first hearing it. Unless you are a local and very fluent, its hard to tell the difference as you go from village to village. Patrick Leigh Fermors wonderful trio of travel books about his walk from the Netherlands to the Black Sea describes this wonderfully.

            It even happens with unrelated languages. For a long time I thought Vietnamese was related to Cantonese because several Vietnamese people I met told me they could understand it spoken, although they could not speak it. But they are actually different language groups, its just that the overlapping of people have meant a lot of shared borrow words, and people growing up with neighbours speaking either just develop an ear for it (there is a technical word for this in linguistics that escapes me right now).

    2. Darthbobber

      And any of Crimea, the DPR, or the LPR have larger populations than several pieces of the former Yugoslavia that US/NATO insisted deserved the right of self-determination.

      The Ukrainian/US position in this conflict strongly resembles the Serbian position in those.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Wait a minute now (looks suspiciously). How do we know that that was a real girl in that video and not an AI generated video clip? And her accent was to disguise the voice too. But seriously, I see that DW is still being DW and so is using psyops. Look at the three examples. The first was a Palestinian girl that was supposedly killed during Israel’s bombing of Gaza and it turns out to be a fake. But in doing so, it throws shade on the scores and scores of children that actually were killed in Israel’s bombing of Gaza. The second was of a crowded Railway station in the Ukraine which turned out to be real. But of course it was as people were trying to get out at the beginning of the war so why did DW choose such an obvious example? To make other claims coming from the Ukraine more respectable? The third was just eye candy and was to make you – consciously – forget the first two and leave it simmering in the unconscious.

  11. Colonel Smithers

    Thank you, Yves.

    Further to the Ukraine links, have a look at today’s Daily Mail and the comments BTL: and

    When I saw the headline from Reuters about the royals, I thought they had erred and their hosting of Ukrainians could upset some as they don’t do that for other equally deserving cases. The comments at the Mail suggest a misstep.

      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, Rev.

        Please see my comments on the UK post yesterday. I get the feeling a backlash is brewing.

        One hopes OIFVet pipes up from Bulgaria. It’s happening there.

        Please enjoy a decent brandy after supper and the defeat of Scotty.

    1. paul

      I have lately wondered how grateful normal ukranians must be to the beast vlad.

      Their access to the joys of the EU were severely limited during the civil war at home.

      The mail has had a few tragicomic(more tragedy I have to say) about the ‘homes for ukranian heroes’ policy.

      It takes a hard look in the opposite direction to ignore that anyone of conscription age (12-∞), able to clear off under this golden passport, has done so rather than join the goons on the other side of that rich ukranian soil.

        1. paul

          I do what I can, for an honest nco such as your self, and those who have known and remember

      1. paul

        ..and the successful emigres will tell tales to their children how they were betrayed by a lack of conviction, never of themselves, but of others.

        A great affluent arrangement to all!

    2. c_heale

      I think the nationalism unleashed (it was increasing well before 2016) by Brexit is going to do yet more damage to the UK’s institutions.

      1. paul

        If there is anyone left, rachel jane reeves will be more than happy to bayonet the survivors.

        If we are abroad with war, we must have stability at home.

        An awful lot of stability.

  12. The Rev Kev

    “Russia To End Gas Supply To Finland From May 21 After Helsinki Refuses To Pay In Rubles”

    If things go south with their new gas supply this winter, they may have to ask Russia to turn the tap back on again. Thing is, Russia may want them to settle first for the gas that they received and never paid for and it may be that they may have to pay ahead before getting their new gas. After all, how could they trust them? Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Friday that Russia will not supply gas to anyone for free-

    1. Polar Socialist

      The Finnish company, Gasum, is betting on Baltic Connector pipeline bringing enough gas (from Russia, trough Baltics) for summer needs. With an Estonian company they have rented LNG terminal ship to be able to receive LNG deliveries – but nobody knows from where and for how much. Baltic Connector does not have the capacity for seven or eight fold winter consumption.

      The irony is that the industry can and will replace gas with oil, and The Greens in Finnish government are actually touting this as a “climate revolution” and “Finland going green”.

      1. digi_owl

        Proving once more than the greens are more about posturing than action.

        As long as nothing will affect their urban lifestyle, as best they can tell with zero interest in logistics etc, they are all for it.

      2. Nikias

        Finland replaces Russian gas with Baltic link

        On Friday the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Ministry of Finance held a briefing on Finland’s preparations for the shutoff of Russian gas. The same day, Gasgrid Finland signed a deal with the Texas-based Excelerate Energy to lease the LNG terminal vessel Exemplar for 10 years. The ship will help cover Finland’s gas needs in the event of any shortfalls.

        Gazprom supplied about 1.5 billion cubic metres of gas to Finland last year. That accounted for about two thirds of the country’s gas consumption but only eight percent of its total energy use.

        There is more information in this Finnish language article.

        They say that a 10 year contract will cost about 460 million euros. They will build port facilities for it in southern Finland but they do not say exactly where. They hope it will be operational at the end of the year. they are also going to build port facilities in Estonia but they don’t know anything about the schedule there. Gasgrid says that it the port in Finland might be not be operational until Q4 2023 but they are hoping it will be functional this coming winter.

        I just wonder why they couldn’t pay in rubles for the gas until they would have everything ready with their new plan when other countries are paying.

        Last weekend Finland stopped getting electricity from Russia

        There is no longer any Russian electricity coming to Finland, as Finnish majority-state-owned utility Fortum had already suspended electricity imports via a transmission line to Imatra on the eastern border.

        State transmission system operator Fingrid had also limited remaining Russian exports in late April, so that they only accounted for about 10 percent of Finland’s consumption.

        Finland is not self-sufficient in electrical energy. But they are hoping they will be by 2023 but we will see. There just seem never ending trouble with the new nuclear reactor that was origanlly planned to be operational 2009

        Full power production at the Olkiluoto 3 nuclear power plant has been pushed back yet again, with production now scheduled for September 2022, instead of July.

        The delay is to allow for extra inspection work to be carried out on the plant’s cooling systems, the facility’s operator Teollisuuden Voima (TVO) said in a statement on Thursday.

        They also pulled the plug on a reactor that was being built with Rosatom

        Finnish energy company Fennovoima has terminated its contract with Russian state firm Rosatom to build a nuclear power plant on Finland’s west coast.

        The company cited significant delays and Rosatom’s “inability to deliver the project”, and added that the war in Ukraine has further exacerbated the risks of the project.

    2. Jacob Hatch

      The replacement fuel for the nuclear reactors in Finland will be a bigger headache.

      Gas is only a fairly small part of Finland’s energy supply. I think one larger market is gas bottles for heating on boats, bbq, etc. The key issue will be location of gas users, the % of costs for those users that gas supply reflects, and their role in Finnish economy. I don’t have that information, but time will tell.

      1. Polar Socialist

        I’ve understood that the biggest users of natural gas in Finland are paper mills and food industry, because it’s the cheapest and most versatile way to generate heat for their needs.
        Paper seems to be the number one export of Finland, which may account for the fact that the mills can easily covert to use oil instead. Unfortunately it’s way more expensive, so it could be that Finland is taking big steps towards making it’s main product uncompetitive.

        At least compared to countries less unfriendly towards Russia.

        1. Jacob Hatch

          Those are boiler driven industries, ie: they use steam / hot water to deliver process heat, with some rare exceptions in food industry. The paper industry would probably use mostly the bark and unsuitable grades of wood for fuel, but the food industry would probably be able to switch to grid electricity for boiler needs (Finns are masters of using wood as fuel, just travel by train and you’ll see the movers in side yards at every station.).

          1. Dave in Austin

            I think Yves could chime-in on turning wood into paper. From a pair of comments she made I think her father was an engineer in the business (Rust & Co.?).

            Cooking wood chips with chemicals and water to free-up the lignin is how we make paper pulp. The leftover lignin/water/chemical mix (called black liquor) was used to fire the boilers, a real cost savings. But such boilers were finicky, needed complex pollution control devices and were prone to explode, thus the present use of natural gas to heat the mixture.

            My guess is that the Finns use cheap Russian natural gas for the cost and simplicity advantage. And Finnish paper in the EU is the biggest game in town. The Finns might be able to convert from gas to oil, but a wood-fired system would be a whole new, expansive, ball game.

            I’ve wondered if the “No Rubles for gas” decision was at least in part designed to provoke this crisis in the the paper industry which is very important in rural area, areas which tend to be more “right” and nationalistic about things like NATO membership (natural gas in Finland is used for little else).

            1. Jacob Hatch

              Hi Dave in Austin. Years ago one of my first favorite Youtube sites was The Atheist Community of Austin, did you make it to one of their live call-in shows?

              According to paper industry advisory body, the Fins have licked that problem of exploding boilers. Also the amount of gas import simply would not support even a small part of their paper industry needs. They burn low grade wood even to make electricity, and one of their tech exports is the know how to do it to best efficiency. I toured one of their wood fired power plants, Jyväskylä, in 2019.

              Most n-gas is used in co-generation of heat and electricity to community districts. My guess is most of these plants will come with the option to burn wood pellets. It’s the slightly smaller % of the total that intrigues me. It may be used in a very critical process for a critical industry, or very likely not. I bet the Russians know, and if the Finns flub bringing in LNG, then we’ll know too. Time will tell.

              The houseboat we rented in 2019 used bottled gas for cooking and for sublimation/incineration of toilet waste, but I’d guess that total fleet use is a spit in the bucket. All the boats in that rental fleet had birch wood fired sauna and fire places for keeping warm,

    3. Alfia

      Russian energy sale to China increased by 75% – info on TASS website. Gas destined for Europe is getting diverted to China. Russia might think twice before starting to sell gas to Europeans again…

  13. Lee

    “Genetic variants may help explain the variability in COVID-19 severity, study suggests (Kevin W)”

    Another paper, Inflammasome activation in infected macrophages drives COVID-19 pathology, published in Nature, and discussed at length in the most recent segment of This Week in Virology, starting at minute 25, also makes reference to a genetic component in describing in detail the host response to Covid infection both in mouse models and human tissues.

    Much of this content was well beyond my ken, but I the TWIV panel was most impressed and agreed that this paper’s description of the disease/host interaction’s mechanism of action at the cellular level is quite important to understanding why some people are more susceptible to severe disease and possibly points the way toward developing more effective preventatives and therapies. I’m hoping someone here with the requisite chops might like to geek out on this and provide a more layperson-accessible rendering. This is not an assignment, but a request.

    1. JAC

      So I guess I am into the “lung inflammatory” stage of BA.2.

      From all accounts this is what happens to most people; fever, > sore throat/fatigue > fever breaks > chest coughing begins and may last a while. I think the coughing might be a clearing of viral RNA particles.

      What I got out of that article is that you better be healthy enough to fight it early.

      So I will assume the more quickly I can stop the inflammation the better. It looks like my body is doing its’ job. But it sucks. I do not feel right at all, still struggling with on and off with reality. Just having the strangest sensations as well but it might just be my anxiety,

      1. Lee

        You might find Dr. Daniel Griffens treatment guide useful. He does weekly clinical updates on This Week in Virology.

        It’s very important not to administer immune suppressing drugs during the early, viral stage of disease progression when antivirals are effective–usually the first week. However, immune suppressing drugs can be life-saving in the later post-viral inflammatory phase of the disease.

        I wish you well.

  14. The Rev Kev

    “Four Ways to Understand the $54 Billion in U.S. Spending on Ukraine”

    You don’t need four ways to understand this but only one that this guy gets-

    they literally just moved the money laundering scheme from Afghanistan to Ukraine’

    Don’t forget the brief Julian Assange video below that tweet for a better understanding of what is going on.

  15. Milton

    Even during a maelstrom that is the Ukraine war, Liberalism never sleeps…
    Under a draft law, people who work in small and medium-sized firms – those which have up to 250 employees – would, in effect, be removed from the country’s existing labour laws and covered by individual contracts negotiated with their employer. More than 70% of the Ukrainian workforce would be affected by this change.

    1. Polar Socialist

      It’s even easier when you can ban any and all opposition parties and detain their members without charges. Or make them disappear completely.

      While being hailed as the very heroes of the global war between democracy and autocracy. “We had to destroy that democracy in order to save it”:

      1. paul

        That is why ‘the west’ has so unambiguously aligned itself with the oligarch’s court jester.(as long as he does not critisise the court).

        There is job redefinition if I ever saw it.

        1. paul

          My version of the servant of the people:

          Oligarch: you’ve really got something here

          Comedian: I just want to help manage their misery

          Oligarch: If everything works out, les miserables will be gone.

          Comedian: But I will have to betray my back breaking legacy of light entertainment!

          Oligarch: We all have to sacrifice something…

          Comedian: That’s the best gig ever?

          Oligarch: You’re a nice looking guy, I have been talking with top superstars already, just sign and read out the lines.

          Comedian: But will I be still able to fearlessly challenge power?

          Oligarch: That is very much in the hands of our partners.

  16. Carolinian

    From the Juan Cole article on Israeli politics

    The left in Israel is, frankly, not a left at all. It is recognised as such, largely because of its ‘peace-process’ legacy, which died with the assassination of Labour Minister, Yitzhak Rabin, in 1995. Tellingly, Rabin was not a peacenik but one of Israel’s most militant and violent leaders. However, the erroneous association, linking any Israeli leader with the ‘peace process’, automatically classified that individual as a ‘leftist’. According to Israeli analyst Oz Aruch, this also applied to Ariel Sharon. The name of the late notorious Israeli prime minister and Army General is associated with the Sabra and Shatila massacre, along with other horrific episodes.

    Without a real ideology and without a ‘peace process’, or even the desire to engage in one, the Israeli left has become irrelevant.

    One does wonder why our own so called “left” devotes so much devotion to countries that are so reactionary in their politics. Call it not PEP but rather PEPU–progressive except for Palestine and Ukraine. Of course a smoke screen of obfuscation is deployed to disguise this plain truth and perhaps the mania for “narrative” among our current media is part of that. But it does cause one to question the sincerity of a “woke” sensibility that only seems to see evil among one’s enemies.

    1. paul

      Call it not PEP but rather PEPU–progressive except for Palestine and Ukraine.

      That is exactly as I would call it.

  17. Questa Nota

    Hillary Clinton in the news, courtesy of Robby Mook.

    Well, knock me over with a feather. Who would’ve guessed that she had anything to do with dirty tricks?

      1. ChrisRUEcon

        Paging Lambert to the #NC courtesy phone, please …

        … since he called this months ago!


      2. griffen

        I suppose anything is possible*, and if not 2024 maybe by 2028 he garners significant name recognition. And heck by 2028 maybe we get a write in candidate because we despise all the ones put before us!

        After all the Cubs having won the World Series means practically nothing is off limits. And I’m not picking on the MLB team. Just proving that anything is possible if one waits long enough.

      3. paul

        That beats out two cars in every garage.

        The library construction industry will be cock a hoop!

    1. jr

      It’s only marginally helpful if the windows are laminated. According to the Tesla knob-slobberer techie hosts in the “How not to die in your burning Tesla” video, some are and some aren’t. Cause, why not?

    2. Joe Renter

      I always have one in the vehicles I drive. I recommend everyone should. You want to exit In the worse case scenario

      1. Michael Ismoe

        Removing the headrest from the seat, using the metal part as a battering ram against the window also works.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          wife’s car…a “tundra’, i think(not a car guy)…has electric windows…and also is in the habit of locking itself…so one must always make sure the keys are well in hand before closing the door.
          my truck(2004 dodge, filthy, dented and with things growing in the bed) has hand crank windows, and manual locks and the key just stays in the ignition, so i always know where my keys are.
          i much prefer the latter…and there’s usually a hammer or a pair of dikes in or around the front seat, as well as a knife or 3…
          (the filth ,dents and horticulture in the bed are all anti-theft devices, btw…even a mouse nest in the otherwise unused glove box, just in case.)
          are hand crank windows even an option any more?

          1. paul

            If only the parking charges were not so high, that sounds like a prime airbnb opportunity here in edinburgh (a world heritage scottish themed city).

  18. Alyosha

    Sweden and Finland in NATO is/was an I’ll-considered media move with only short term, media benefits. Finland provided more security to NATO’s frontier as a well-armed neutral nation that was extra friendly with NATO. The Finnish-Russian border can now be threatened, but it also has to be defended. While it only has marginal advantages in terms of stand-off weaponry placement over already NATO nations. It does stretch Russian defenses, but within the region where Russia maintains its highest concentration of defenses already.

    It was poorly executed too. Bad form to have other members’ complaints played out publicly. I assume Turkey will be placated, but the think tanks starting to suggest ditching Turkey will be noted by other NATO members. Russia wants to end NATO. Public fractures are great russian PR and openings to drive a wedge in NATO.

  19. The Rev Kev

    “Moldova should be equipped to Nato standard, says UK’s Truss”

    Don’t do it! It’s a trap! You will bankrupt your economy buying western weapons that typically are proving not so good in the Ukraine. And you will make yourself a target for Russia who would normally not care what you do.

    1. Jacob Hatch

      Moldova is possibly the only nation more corrupt, more mafia riven than Ukraine, hence Transnistria. Even Ukraine refuges won’t stay there and push on to Romania (don’t get me started on Romania).

      1. Dave in Austin

        So far the Moldovan public (including the pro-Russian easterners) seem remarkably uninterested in being dragged into a war.

  20. jr

    The video about getting out of your Tesla in the event of power loss is mind blowing. Each car has a different method. Some are literally hidden. You’ll need an emergency hammer to break the windows out but if they happen to be laminated it seems you would have to hammer holes in it then kick it out. Let’s see an 80 year old woman do that. While smoke and flames fill the car. Or water.

    The fan-boi hosts are quick to scold you about reading the manual and taking a moment to inform your passengers about the super-secret release buttons. Like that’s going to happen when I climb into an Uber. (Which I have to do for work on occasion.) Always the personal responsibility angle.

    Why would the designers make getting out of a car so complicated?! I think the Tesla qualifies as a synecdoche for our elites. Flashy, garish, unnecessarily complicated, stupid and dangerous. Perhaps the design team could get a group “Sociopath of the Day” nomination?

      1. Dave in Austin

        Remember the 1940 New York World’s Fair “city of the future” with all those one-lane wide flyovers? The future will not have breakdowns.

      2. LifelongLib

        I have a friend who was in the car design business decades ago. He said car designers like to focus on things that are part of the everyday driving experience. Safety isn’t perceived unless you get into an accident or something. So designers didn’t pay attention to it until the government forced them to. Bad as it sounds, the Tesla bunch isn’t breaking any new ground.

        1. Anthony G Stegman

          Makes sense from a marketing standpoint. Nobody likes to think or talk about death, and they also would rather not think or talk about car accidents. Accentuate the positive!!

          1. JohnA

            One big difference between Swedish carmakrers Volvo and Saab from a marketing point of view, was that Volvo focused very heavily on safety and all its innovative new safety features. Saab marketing was all over the place. Occasionally about safety, more often about being related to jet planes, turbo charging etc., being cool and quirky.
            Volvo is still going. Saab is dead and buried.

  21. Camelotkidd

    Maybe I missed it but W’s Freudian confession has to be one of the most surreal things I’ve witnessed, and that’s saying something in this milieu.
    While criticizing Russia for having rigged elections and shutting out political opposition (which would already be hilarious coming from any American in general and Bush in particular), the 43rd president made the following comment:

    “The result is an absence of checks and balances in Russia, and the decision of one man to launch a wholly unjustified and brutal invasion of Iraq. I mean, of Ukraine.”

    1. Ghost in the Machine

      He then went on to mutter ‘Iraq too’ after correcting himself to say Ukraine. It blew me away too. He actually might have a bit of remorse. Maybe. His controllers certainly don’t. I guess the decision wasn’t just ‘one man’ but he could have stopped it.

      This slip will certainly be a classic. Might eventually be in the history books.

      1. Michael Fiorillo

        Yes, that under-his-breath “Iraq, too,” was pretty amazing. He almost appeared reflective.

        1. Michael Ismoe

          Perhaps Madeline Albright sent him a message from Hell reminding him there’s a slot on the innermost ring with his name on it. She would know.

  22. LawnDart

    Re; Misinformation About Misinformation

    Target practice of the day? A test of reader comprehension and attentiveness? Instead of “Two Minutes Hate” or Maddow clips to fling poo at, we get this? Cool!

    Sure, lies can sway fools. But even unguided fools can do enormous social harm. If people are irrational enough to fall for “Nazis rule Ukraine” propaganda, maybe they’re irrational enough to independently conclude that “Warmongers rule Ukraine.”

    Hey NC readers, I think he’s talking about you!

    1. pjay

      Here’s more:

      “…The [usual] story focuses exclusively on the flaws of speakers, without acknowledging the flaws of the listeners. Misinformation won’t work unless the listeners are themselves naive, dogmatic, emotional, or otherwise intellectually defective. In economic jargon, the problem is that the story mistakes an information problem for a rationality problem.”

      Based on his examples, something tells me he is not referring to those naive, dogmatic, emotional, or intellectually defective Ivy League champions of Truth along the Acela corridor who want to protect the rest of us from disinformation. If only we were “rational” enough to understand what was good for us!

    2. Mikel

      I don’t think Nazia rule the Ukraine. I think the USA is doing the ruling of Ukraine right now. And the USA have certified warmongers within the foreign policy establishment.

      1. Anthony G Stegman

        There are also Nazis within the US Establishment, so in effect Nazis are ruling Ukraine. The American Nazi variety perhaps.

  23. Mikel

    Concern grows as more countries detect monkeypox DW, YouTube. GM: “And the ‘mild’ rhetoric is already in play.”

    So you can start the countdown to the appearance of the current 10% fatality rate variant (that already exists or this one mutating into variants more vicious because people are going to try to use getting the disease to bulid their immunity.

    There is nothing mild about
    letting another virus run rampant during an ongoing pandemic.
    And in a world of increasing global tensions and countries in various states of upheavals from within: these idiots are calling “mild” the type of virus that could be weaponized by someone with little to no science or med background.

  24. Mikel

    Re:CPU pill

    Note to self: buy microscope.

    I can’t with the dystopian non-sense anymore.

    1. djrichard

      Not familiar with bitchute, I thought it was a joke headline. Unfortunately not.

  25. Mikel

    “Just in case you happen to get a Uber/Lyft that’s a Tesla people need to know if there’s a emergency door release in the vehicle”

    Caveat: Have they fixed the sudden acceleration issue?

    1. Balakirev

      Caveat: Have they fixed the sudden acceleration issue?

      If I were considering the purchase of a Tesla, reading this sentence (minus any other cavil) would lead to a very, very long pause.

  26. Mikel

    “Tesla’s golden moment is over”
    Unherd (resilc)

    Juicy stuff here, however, this:
    “…Even before yesterday’s embarrassing revelations about Elon Musk, Tesla was having bad year. Its stock price has fallen nearly 41% since 2021 and it is showing no sign of slowing down. For reference, Ford — America’s largest car manufacturer — has seen its stock price rise by around 6% in the same period. Clearly, the problem is not the car market. So, what is going on?”

    I don’t know if I would equate Ford’s recent stock perfomance totally to fewer problems in the car market. Ford kind of became a “meme” ticker for the WSB crowd in 2021.

  27. RobertC

    New Not-So-Cold War

    Indian diplomat (retired) M. K. BHADRAKUMAR provides his perspective In the wake of Russian victory in Mariupol

    …In the final analysis, the tragi-comedy of the Azovstal event underscores that there are no winners and losers in this war. The US wants to win this war, whereas Russia is not fighting a war but is seeking a successful operation to meet certain specific objectives of national security. The Ukrainian and Russian peoples have fraternal bonds. Ukraine is Russia’s neighbourhood, whereas it is 10000 kms away from America. This disconnect threatens to prolong the war.

    The Europeans don’t have fire in the belly anymore while speaking about the war, which for them is becoming a great disrupter of the manicured, predictable life in their continent, something that they least expected when Washington hustled them into the war.

    Above all, this is an operation of necessity for Russia, not of choice. Paradoxically, the choice was entirely up to the US and NATO to appreciate that there is nothing like absolute security. Wasn’t it the former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger who once said, “Absolute security for one state means absolute insecurity for all others.”

    1. Jacob Hatch

      Hard to believe anything published out of Singapore does not carry political taint. The trick is figuring Singapore’s stake in the fight.

  28. NotTimothyGeithner

    A federal judge in Washington ruled last year that Hinckley can be freed unconditionally in June if he continues to follow the rules placed on him and remains mentally stable.

    From the AP article on Hinckley’s release…

  29. drumlin woodchuckles

    I remember offering the comment at least a million words ago that a test of the hypothesis that the CDC works to spread covid on purpose would be whether the CDC admitted to a past-covid-infection’s role in this sudden childhood hepatitis or not. If past infection with covid were officially admitted to be involved in this childhood hepatitis and the public knew it, the public would demand a halt to the spreading of covid. If the CDC wanted to prevent the public from demanding a halt to the spreading of covid, then the CDC would prevent the public from hearing about any connection between childhood covid “before” and childhood hepatitis ” now”.

    The fact that CDC is indeed suppressing any consideration of covid in hepatitis is support for my hypothesis that the CDC is forcing the spread of covid everywhere as broadly,deep and fast as it can.
    The only way to stop the CDC from driving the covid pandemic forward would be Covid Nuremberg trials which put thousands of CDC personnel to death.

    1. albrt

      This is inexcusable hyperbole. Nuremberg trials with a few dozen hangings would probably be sufficient, if they actually happened.

  30. Simple John

    Re: “”
    After the page comes up, right click in a non-active area of the web page and select “Translate to English”.
    It did translate.

  31. ChristopherJ

    Thank you, Yves. And, the entire NC community for that matter. Everyday, we get articles and links which guide us to news of the world which helps those of us who are curious to understand what is going on.

    Last night, I retired early. I didn’t want to watch the election coverage in real time as the early results suggested we could have been heading to yet another LNP government.

    I awoke at 3am and went to the ABC to find that Albanese’s Labor Party were going to form the next government of Australia. I literally had tears flowing as I watched his victory speech, making special mention of the Uluru statement and his government’s commitment to giving indigenous peoples a voice in the Parliament. Plus many other positive, non divisive messages. He was very humble.

    I reflect on my tears and came to the conclusion that it was the deep shame I have been feeling for more than a decade as successive LNP governments have corrupted the heart and sole of this beautiful country. Perhaps we can now have some progress on climate, support for local manufacturing, nurses mandated 24/7 in our Aged care homes…

    Perhaps, more than most, I hope a Labor government can restore trust and respect for our system of democracy. It’s time to step up and lead us toward ‘a better future’ tm

    1. RobertC

      I hope your new government puts AUKUS behind it and concentrates on its neighborhood. You have a wonderful start with ASEAN Plus Six, RCEP, CPTPP, etc. Your neighbors are ready to welcome you back.

      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, Gentlemen.

        BTW the outgoing French foreign minister enjoyed a public chuckle about ScoMo’s defeat yesterday afternoon.

    2. eg

      I hope the Australian Labour Party isn’t just the latest bait-and-switch neoliberal org that betrays its putative electoral constituency as so many erstwhile “parties of the working class” have become across the western world over the course of my lifetime.

  32. RobertC

    New Not-So-Cold War

    Erdoğan likes the controversy with US frustrated over ‘problematic’ NATO ally Turkey

    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is frustrating the U.S. and its allies by opposing the bid by Sweden and Finland to join NATO.

    The position is complicating the message of unity the Biden administration wants to send to Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine.

    Moscow is amused watching Biden’s Whack-A-Mole pursuit of unity as his sanctions blowback into NATO members’ economies.

  33. Dave in Austin

    Neil Hauer, probably the best freelance reporter reporting from the Ukrainina side of the Severodonetsk salient seems to have been picked up by the National Post, a major Canadian newspaper. He reports it straight.

    1. Foy

      He calls Russian spokeswoman Maria Zakharova a cretin in one of his latest tweets. I guess thats the Ukrainian version of straight balanced reporting.

  34. drumlin woodchuckles

    About Chinagov disinformation . . . ” “Soooooooooo, USA USA would nevah do dat.”

    Just because USA USA does dat . . . . doesn’t mean that China China does not do dat.

    And do people who think USA disinformation is bad also think that China disinformation is bad? Or do they think that only USA disinformation is bad disinformation? If so, why do they think that?

  35. drumlin woodchuckles

    ” Moldova should be equipped to NATO standard, says UK’s Truss.”

    Did the US gov instruct her to say that? Or did she say that on her own? I think she said that on her own.

    The British elites have long sought to co-opt America into being muscle for the British elites. If not materially any more, than absolutely in culture and in spirit. The British elite appoint themselves to be the brain parasite inside America’s skull, driving America to achieve and pursue British elite visions of empire.

    This is more evidence that NATO is a British conspiracy against America. Those Americans who are not too deeply into self-hating American intellectual superior morality display will be able to see that.

    1. Louis Fyne

      Yes, Downton Abbey is willing to fight Russia to the last Continental, the last Scot, and the last American.

  36. Maritimer

    Crypto Trades Raise Questions About Inside Knowledge Wall Street Journal
    “Public data suggests that several anonymous crypto investors profited from inside knowledge of when tokens would be listed on exchanges.”

    To avoid Insider Trading, always deal with reputable, ethical Wall Street Firms which are closely regulated and act only in the interest of the investor.

  37. Mikel

    “…In the comments, first reported by James Baxter-Derrington of Investment Week, Kirk said discussions of extreme climate impacts worldwide relied on “hyperbole,” and, referring to Miami, said “Amsterdam has been six meters underwater for ages and that is a really nice place. We will cope with it.”

    Six meters underwater is “mild”.

  38. say no more

    Perhaps Murray has always had blinders on regarding Russia? Or was he ” led to see the error of his ways ” while in prison recently

    1. Jacob Hatch

      He worked in Poland for FS. I worked with a French engineer in China who after only 2 years in Poland could hardly go one day without saying something racist about the Russians, it had been pounded so soundly in. “Death to Carthage” and all that.

      Also he was/is a director for Westminster Development Ltd, a gold mining company operating in Accra, Ghana according to that less that trustworthy source, wikipedia. Ghana is mildly bad on corruption, in the Italian ballpark, but gold mining is always a very dirty business even in places like Canada or Australia, so an odd choice that does not jib with his public stances.

    1. howseth

      I’ll look at the USA ‘Worldometer’ state tallies or the official local county statistics – and think why bother? The reporting seems hodgepodge and unreliable…more now than ever.
      Some are masking indoors – or outdoors – less now here in Santa Cruz as restrictions have eased…. I do get the general talk is “it’s subsiding”…. and Omicron is ‘milder’
      I suppose a lot matters on your age (I’m 67) – Summer season beginning in this College and tourist town

      I tested Covid positive at the end of April – tested negative six days later – then I got really sick.
      The doctors are still trying to pin down what got set off by my Covid (which damn variant was it – I don’t know?)
      So, I am still struggling with the ol’ mild Omicron – and have been put on a big dose of the steroid warhorse – Prednisone. It is helping – but it’s tough going right now

  39. RobertC

    New Not-So-Cold War

    Austin and Milley called Shoigu and Gerasimov asking for ceasefire. Ukraine said No.

    KYIV/OSLO, May 21 (Reuters) – Ukraine ruled out a ceasefire or concessions to Moscow on Saturday as Russia intensified an offensive in the eastern Donbas region and stopped providing gas to Finland.

    …Zelenskiy adviser Mykhailo Podolyak ruled out agreeing to a ceasefire and said Kyiv would not accept any deal with Moscow that involved ceding territory. He said making concessions would backfire on Ukraine because Russia would hit back harder after any break in fighting.

    …Thousands of people in Ukraine have been killed in the war that has displaced millions and shattered cities.

  40. Skippy

    Great Goats Sack ….

    Reading all the comments and links about the Ukrainian military event just makes my backside cry.

    Loads of people that have never been there or done that let alone have decades of historical references to reconcile events from not just from the military side of things, but the geopolitical that proceeds it all – hint its all about money and life upgrades. No lofty enlightened ideas are applicable.

    The West opining about Russian military operational agendas is so filled with power point cheer leader like presentations of superior thinking and abilities it numbs the mind e.g. its all predicated on a payday in the near future and the leisure life it affords and nothing else.

    On the other hand Russia can grind this out forever and suck squillions out of the West which do to their economic thinking will advance more punitive results for their great unwashed and be sold its a duty to their betters.

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