Links 5/23/2022

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

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


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

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

* * *

Mind-Altering Parasite May Make Infected People More Attractive, Study Suggests Science Alert

The Cantillon Effect and Stock Market Crashes Matt Stoller, BIG

Private equity moves into the antitrust spotlight FT

Special Report: How Wall Street banks made a killing on SPAC craze Reuters

The Math Prodigy Whose Hack Upended DeFi Won’t Give Back His Millions Bloomberg. Fascinating story with “Code Is Law” implications.


The U.S. is in a sixth COVID wave—but it doesn’t look like it on a new CDC map Fortune

As cases rise, Americans are ‘checked out’ on COVID-19 The Hill

The Normalization of “Working Through Covid” Culture Study

* * *

A call for an independent inquiry into the origin of the SARS-CoV-2 virus Neil L. Harrison and Jeffrey D. Sachs, PNAS

* * *

With old-school technology, can Novavax win over COVID vaccine skeptics? Los Angeles Times

The Smallpox Vaccine – What You Need to Know New York State Department of Health (Re Silc).

Brownstone Institute is at it again. Thread:

* * *

Routine Surveillance and Vaccination on a University Campus During the Spread of the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron Variant JAMA. From the Discussion: “Cornell’s experience shows that traditional public health interventions were not a match for Omicron. While vaccination protected against severe illness, it was not sufficient to prevent rapid spread, even when combined with other public health measures including widespread surveillance testing.” Maybe. I’m not seeing anything about ventilation (see under “Swiss Cheese Theory”). And when I look at “Campus Policy Shifts in Figure one, they look to me like they come much too late. (Also, one wonders if wasterwater detection would have provided earliier and more pinpointed detection.) So, I am not persuaded by the thesis of the article, and would be interested to hear from schools — if any — that succeeded. I’m also not persuaded that a college campus is anything like a microcosm for arger society.”

The neurological sequelae of pandemics and epidemics Journal of Neurology. From 2021, still germane.


Coronavirus: Shanghai to expand app tracking to guard against Covid-19 resurgence, as city marks third day without community spread South China Morning Post. Progress in China:

The Koreas

How North Korea Went from ‘Zero COVID’ to 1.2 Million Cases in 72 Hours Vice


The India Fix: Why is Indian politics not waking up to the existential threat of climate change? The Scrolls


Commission to extend EU debt-rule suspension to 2023 Politico


Israeli Investigation Into Killing of Palestinian American Journalist Ends Before It Begins The Intercept

New Not-So-Cold War

Ukraine peace deal: Kyiv rules out ceding land to Russia BBC. That $40 billion must have been quite a head rush.

Russia-Ukraine War: Ukraine’s EU Bid Won’t Be Finalised For 15- 20 Yrs, Says France Republic World. Oof.

Debating Scott Ritter and Desna Is Just One Disaster for the Ukrainian Military Larry C. Johnson, A Son of the New American Revolution

McKinsey & Co. worked with Russian weapons maker even as it advised Pentagon NBC

How to Prepare for the Next Ukraine Michelle Flournoy, Foreign Affairs

Peru’s President Replaces Four Ministers as Crisis Escalates Bloomberg

Biden Administration

Biden Asia trip:

Biden in Japan to launch regional economic plan to counter Beijing Reuters. Not really an FTA. No ISDS, but that won’t stop corporate stakeholders from trying to get it in.

Explained: What is the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework? The Indian Express

With IPEF Launch Imminent, Here’s What You Need to Know About the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework Public Citizen

US Picks Negotiators for Biden’s Indo-Pacific Economic Framework Bloomberg

Taiwan not part of new Indo-Pacific economic initiative: White House Focus Taiwan

Biden vows military defence of Taiwan if China invades Agence France Presse. He went there:

Kishida, Biden to call for China’s nuclear disarmament in joint statement Japan News. From the Department of Fat Chance.

* * *

Bush is Biden is Bush TK News

My Lunch With President Biden Thomas Friedman, NYT

78,000 pounds of infant formula arrives in US AP

Capitol Seizure

AP source: Giuliani interviewed for hours by 1/6 committee AP


Hillary Clinton Did It Editorial Board, WSJ


“He is a publisher who published true information.” See, there’s your problem:

Sports Desk

Tennis tours strip ranking points at Wimbledon over decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players CNN

Zeitgest Watch

This Is the Southern Baptist Apocalypse Christianity Today

Imperial Collapse Watch

A surge in Navy deserters could be a sign of a bigger problem for the military NPR (Re Silc).

What Will It Take for Momfluencers to Speak Up About Abortion Rights? New York Magazine

Class Warfare

You Have to Be Very Persistent’: Lessons from the Starbucks Union in Chile Labor Notes

The past two weeks in US unions, May 7-21, 2022 Who Gets the Bird

Inequality hysteresis Bank of International Settlements

Tesla Sedan Burns For 4 Hours After Crash, Fire Near Fillmore CBS

Did NASA find a mysterious doorway on Mars? No, but that’s no reason to stop looking The Conversation

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Guest Post, Links on by .

About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Mikerw0

    Great article in the NYT yesterday debunking Jack Welch. He was a public figure promoting neoliberalism and CEOs as demigods. I had many run-ins with him during my time at a major asset manager. If one was willing to do the work it was not hard to see the shenanigans he was playing with the numbers to produce an earnings result at the cost of consuming the GE Capital’s balance sheet. He got out at the right time and left GE a hollow husk of what it once was. There is also an indictment of how inherently lazy what are supposed to be very smart people working in asset management are in actually doing the work, which is repeating itself this year and how hard it is to go against the prevailing story on Wall Street even if you know it is wrong (which also applies to many other stocks then and now, such as Enron, Tyco, Worldcom, etc.).

    1. amused_in_sf

      The Economist once had an article about him and the company, and it showed that he wasn’t even one of the top 3 CEO’s in the history *of GE*! (And this was based on an uncritical measure of his performance, not taking into account the damage he was doing to get those numbers)

      1. Mikerw0

        I’ve long had a theory that Welch got the job due to his hardball tactics in dealing, or effectively not dealing, with the PCBs they were dumping into the Hudson River. I can’t prove it but the timing fits.

    2. Jacob Hatch

      A more effective evil version of Albert J. Dunlap was Jack Welch, or the Obama style Dunlap.

    3. Troglodyte

      I believe Jeff Bezos in hindsight will be viewed as the next Jack Welch – impeccable timing in leaving a metastatic “growth-at-all-costs” Amazon, profitability-per-division be damned.

  2. Louis Fyne

    —Debating Scott Ritter and Desna Is Just One Disaster for the Ukrainian Military Larry C. Johnson, A Son of the New American Revolution—

    The persistent accusation from RU-friendly watchers is that Kyiv undercounts its war dead and counts dead UA soldiers as “missing”. Zelensky publicly put the Desna death toll at 87. RU-friendly watchers say it should be in the hundreds

    .–Russia is still pulling its punches rather than erase the base at Desna from the earth. Why?— Presumably there is a hope in Moscow that a military coup will take out Zelensky. Wipe out the entire UA military brass, any apolitical leadership is gone, UA devolves into a European 1990’s Somalia or 1980’s Lebanon lead by the SBU (UA’s FBI-CIA) and the ultranationalists.

    The rate of change of RU progress in Donbass is increasing. But this news is being memory-holed like the final days of Avovstal. to be conservative, by the 4th of July, the western media narrative re. the progress of the war will collapse. Though I presume US media will just ignore UA during the summer to focus on abortion/US congressional elections.

    1. Yves Smith

      Others make a different argument re why Russia has not been more brutal. Ritter has argued and many of the Ukraine skeptics agree that it’s in Russia’s interest to leave Zelensky be, they need someone to agree to a peace deal if there ever is one. A second reason they don’t mention is a coup or assassination would be blamed on Russia even if they had nada to do with it and would be used as justification for escalated measures against Putin personally or alternatively, other very top figures in the Russian government.

      Russia’s stated objective is demilitarization and denazification. That does not mean killing every soldier, in fact Russia has been encouraging soldiers to surrender. More Ukraine deaths of anyone but Nazi types or other hopeless ideologues/loyalists isn’t necessarily a good idea. One point of view is that if rump Ukraine is to be anything other than an utterly failed state, it will need some sort of functioning police force and at least enough of a military to deal with disaster relief (think our National Guard).

      Plus Russia can surveil those training centers and wipe out arms shipments and merc arrivals (it killed something like 300 on one of its early missile stikes). So if it wipes out these centers, the same functions will need to be reconstituted elsewhere, and that new somewhere might be more distributed or otherwise harder to take out (like underground!)

      Frankly, I’d flip this: why are Ukraine and NATO still using places Russia struck before? That is way weirder than Russia not oblitherating them.

      1. paul

        Ritter has argued and many of the Ukraine skeptics agree that it’s in Russia’s interest to leave Zelensky be

        Something that would be of Russia’s interest will obviously not be in the interests of its antagonists.

        Has comedian Z factored in martyrdom?

        1. BeliTsari

          When everything is basically theater (and the performance gets out of hand). It helps to have professional comedians at critical points; so we can resist the urge to imagine the little men behind the curtain, twisting levers & throwing knobs. Frack, baby FRACK!

        2. David

          The West has invested so heavily in Zelensky that it cannot now drop him: too many influential and powerful figures would be embarrassed if that were to happen. Precisely by going so heavily on Zelensky, the West has ensured that there is no alternative candidate available. If he were to be assassinated, for example, the most likely result would be a brutal power struggle and a civil war of some kind. Both the West and Russia need a figure-head for the next stage, and there isn’t anyone else.

          1. paul

            That comedian Z’s latest pleas have moved half way down the mail’s front page for the first time in the campaign suggests a rather brutal plan B.

            Not peace is the goal, who cares who the local front person is.

            He’ll be down there with bandera

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              Americans love a winner…
              …and will not tolerate a loser.
              Patton, the movie, though I’m sure he said this.

              I’m assuming you meant the Daily Mail, but the principle is still the same. The Ukrainians aren’t producing footage CNN can run as “America eff, yeah!”, so Zelensky is getting dropped. People clearly cared more about Will Smith than Zelensky will he or won’t he at the Oscars.

            2. David

              The West is starting to adjust to the idea that the Russians will win, at least in terms of their own objectives, if not in terms of the West’s fantasies. De-escalating is going to be extremely tricky, and Zelensky will be needed to make any story of western “success”, or at least avoidance of total failure, credible. From the West’s point of view he’s not the ideal leader, and I’m fairly sure he’s caused a lot of headaches in western capitals with some of his wilder antics, but he is the elected President, and the West is stuck with him. He’s an object lesson in a mundane but often ignored lesson of international politics that the more heavily you invest in a foreign leader, the more you open yourself to being jerked around by them, and you being their client, rather than the reverse. (See the last couple of Presidents of South Vietnam, for example).

              The falling-off of interest in the Ukraine is real enough, as the possibility of victory recedes, but that’s not to be confused with a lack of determination to support Zelensky. There is no plan B.

              1. paul

                De-escalating is going to be extremely tricky,

                Depressingly I have to disagree, approval is a turnkey operation these days.

                I can almost remember the whole covid thing

                I think that the information space is devoted and organised to the old idea of learned helplessness.

                Imagine what a pseudo carrington event could achieve?

                The ultimate rug pull!

        3. BlakeFelix

          Eh, the longer the war the more money for the blob, I’m not sure what its incentives are…

      2. The Rev Kev

        Maybe Russia has taken up the lesson from the US experience in Iraq when L. Paul Bremer completely dissolved the Iraqi military, intending to replace it with a 40,000-man border patrol. This gave the Iraqi resistance all the air that they needed to breathe as well as tens of thousands of recruits-

        A Ukraine without an effective military would be a Ukraine over-run with gangs of angry, armed war veterans as well as ultra-nationalist groups which I would wish on no country.

            1. paul

              The Minsk agreements according to spookipedia:

              The Minsk agreements were a series of international agreements which sought to end the war in the Donbas region of Ukraine. The first, known as the Minsk Protocol, was drafted in 2014

              he agreement failed to stop fighting,[4] and was thus followed with a revised and updated agreement, Minsk II, which was signed on 12 February 2015.[5] This agreement consisted of a package of measures, including a ceasefire, withdrawal of heavy weapons from the front line, release of prisoners of war, constitutional reform in Ukraine granting self-government to certain areas of Donbas and restoring control of the state border to the Ukrainian government. While fighting subsided following the agreement’s signing, it never ended completely, and the agreement’s provisions were never fully implemented.[6] The Normandy Format parties agreed that the Minsk II remains the basis for any future resolution to the conflict.

              The Minsk Protocol was drawn up by the Trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine, which consisted of representatives from Ukraine, Russia, and the OSCE

              From what I can gather, there has only been a fly tipping of lethal weapons so far, and what you suggest, may be behind the reality.

              But what the fuck do I know.

            2. Jacob Hatch

              The period from 2014 to Now, if we only consider starting at Minsk 2. If you consider starting from the point of Maidan protestors being shot by Azov’s Kolomoskyi street gang stage, well…

              1. The Rev Kev

                I think that there was a major difference and that was the fact that the Donbass Republics bordered Russia and vitally needed military supplies like ammunition to survive. So Russia was able to keep them on a tight leash and when like they tried to get ahead of themselves (such as when they tried to go to Mariupol about 2015) the Russians slowed down supplies to stop them. Also, those groups that did not listen to Russia’s advice would have their supplies cut as well. In exchange, the forces of the Donbass republics received fine training which enabled them to fight off the Ukraine for eight years which also included two full-fledged invasions. In short, because of the constant threat of invasion and Russia’s help, these Republics maintained law and order and did not break down to free for alls.

                1. Jacob Hatch

                  I hope Paul was referring to the Ukraine Kiev mafioso regimes, ala pogrom’s on Roma people etc. But it is tricky trying to read between the lines these days.

                  1. paul

                    I hope I was as well.

                    That a rancid,corrupt and hate drenched polity, which comedian Z’s election refuted is a big sport bet.

                    He compromised, as most of us would, at the point of a gun.

                    My reply to kev is in moderation, but I do not take that as a slight.

                    1. Jacob Hatch

                      Joe Biden lied to get elected. Trump lied to get elected. Why would Ukrainian Pols be any different.

                      Z was compromised long before he was elected. Kolomoskyi, his owner, spotted a gap, all the other mafioso were putting up right wing puppets for President, leaving the Russian speaking vote wide open for anyone who had enough cover to fake it and enough muscle(Azov gang) to keep the puppet alive through the election. After his election he caved on every promise because he never meant to keep them in the first place. This isn’t the first time I’ve made similar comments, but yeah too wild to be believed I guess, “A politician lied? Right, who are you trying to fool?”

                      Why would anyone take a politician’s word, an actor to boot, when they run for election? His entire entertainment carrier he worked for Kolomoskyi, who created his TV show to promote his tool, and I mean tool. His legal career was mostly working for Kolomoskyi’s money laundry, and upon his election 1.5 Billion of Kolomoskyi’s off-shore CIA drug money was put under his name to give it sovereign immunity, disclosed in the Pandora Papers.

                      Kolomoskyi is the real brains of the operation, and he is no Ukrainian patriot, he’ bleed the place for every penny he can get, and then move on.

                    2. The Rev Kev

                      Missed your reply to my question as it had not made its way out of moderation by the time I went to bed. Time zone differences. :(

                2. Yves Smith

                  In 2014, the militias got no weapons from Russia. All ones already in the region they stole or captured, per Jacques Baud, who was at NATO at the time and in charge of keeping track of such things.

                  And they still beat Ukraine twice, in 2014 and 2015. That was when NATO took notice, again per Baud, as to how terrible the Ukraine military was and decided to Do Something, which included having Ukraine hire a ton of mercs drawn from nasty right wing groups.

                  And Putin did not want the separatists to declare independence.

        1. digi_owl

          Sounds like a problem as old as time.

          Best i recall, Rome had similar issue when trying to reduce the number of legions.

      3. Louis Fyne

        most major military bases have a footprint equal to small cities. as an example, the first round of Russian attacks on the Yavoriv training complex appeared to be focused on the barracks. Latest attacks on Yavoriv seemed to be focused on the arms depots. (can only be confirmed via commercial satellite images).

        Moving so many arms shipments needs workers, equipment, fuel, trucks etc. While all of this activity could disperse to industrial parks, that would reduce the efficiency of deliveries.

        UA needs to send every piece of equipment to the fronts as soon as possible.

        1. Polar Socialist

          UA should pull troops back (probably too late already) on the west bank of Dniepr, train them to use the new stuff – or at least train the new recruits to use any stuff and then prepare to counter-attack in due time either in Kharkov area or Kherson area.

          Anything else is useless waste of men and material. I understand that to political leadership it appears to be most important to stand fast in Donbass to deny a crushing victory for Russia (as it’s stated aim), nothing destroys army’s morale more thoroughly than useless waste of men.

          1. The Rev Kev

            Totally agree. The Ukrainians could trade space for time while new formations trained up. That is what the Donbass Republics did in 2014-15 so when the Ukrainians invaded the first time, they got ground up by those new formations. Instead Zelensky has ordered no retreat but to fight in place to the last. The Austrian Corporal gave such an order back in 1941 which led to huge irreplaceable losses for the Wehrmacht. What a waste. Zelensky was claiming that 50 to 100 Ukrainians are getting killed in the present intense fighting but I think that he is off by an order of magnitude.

          2. Louis Fyne

            —UA should pull troops back —

            (Pretty sure we’re on the same page but for everyone else….) there are have persistent accusations from UA and RU social media that US and/or UK advisers are directly feeding Zelensky military orders on a strategic and regional level.

            The rational strategy for Kyiv would have been to abandon Donbass-Mariupol and trade land for time. Politically this strategy was/is impossible given the hyperbolic pro-UA narrative during the first month of the war and rabid anti-Russianism of the ultra-nationalists.

          3. NotTimothyGeithner

            Even early by day 5 I believe, the Russians had all but two bridges under artillery. The other two are fairly close, one has since been destroyed. I’m not sure they ever had a chance to pull the Eastern forces out without a bottle neck which is the point of the cauldron philosophy.

            I don’t think surrounding Kiev was a feint. It was about controlling men and material moving across the river.

            Based on their locations and the continued use of large bases, I’m guessing the promises of an air shield were made at least by US advisors, former soldiers but disconnected from logistics. I feel the warrior propaganda about the US army has wrecked minds. They don’t understand armies march on their stomachs.

            1. digi_owl

              US doctrine is all about complete air dominance and thus airlifted supplies.

              Their last great ground offensive was likely when the Abrams rushed across the Iraqi dunes. And even then they had AH-64s and A-10s clearing the way.

              Everything else have been Vietnam aircav reenactments (Ride of the Valkyries optional).

          4. PlutoniumKun

            As I’ve said before, I think the Ukrainians are caught in the contradiction between strategic and tactical objectives. Presumably they have plenty of officers who are fully aware of the tactical need to fall back to a stronger position. Its possible they are not doing this from incompetence or groupthink or external pressure. But I think its most likely that the strategic imperative for them is not to conceded any significant areas of territory, even if this means keeping just a tiny foothold in areas like the south-east. Once they leave, the partition of Ukraine becomes a fact on the ground, and so their negotiation position is severely weakened. Their front line becomes the starting point for negotiation. There is also of course the propaganda necessity to maintain residence in multiple areas.

            The Russians are probably aware of this (they may even be encouraging this idea) and are using it to enact a meat grinding strategy. They may actually hold back from completely taking all areas – why not just use remaining Ukie forces as bait? They will keep on grinding the Ukrainian war machine to dust until it collapses.

            The precedent for this is German strategy in WWI, both on the Russian front and in Verdun. The Germans parked themselves in areas where they knew the Russians/French could not concede (Verdun was highly symbolic for the French). They then simply set up defences to grind down whatever came to them. It worked on the eastern front. It very nearly worked on the French – the latter were only saved by the British carrying out assaults on the Somme and by Berlin insisting on trying to take Verdun rather than just sitting back and letting the French do the work.

            The most recent Russian strategy seems designed to stretch the Ukrainians as thin as possible and force them out of defences so they can inflict unsustainable daily assaults. They seem to be attacking sequentially around the front, forcing the Ukrainians to constantly move their defences, which is suicidal when the air is full of drones and you are within artillery range. The mobility of the Russian army is now coming to the fore – this is exactly the sort of war they have equipped and trained for, and nobody does it better than them.

            I have no idea how long the Ukrainian army can keep going – if you look at WWII, at various points the German and Soviet armies kept on going, and even attacking far beyond the point where they were logically supposed to give up. But if and when it does start to collapse, my guess is that it will be extremely rapid and catastrophic once word spreads to the regular recruits and ground officers that every extra hour spent fighting is pointless.

            1. David

              That sounds very convincing to me. The fact is that everybody understands that territory that is given up now will never be recaptured, and from a political point of view, that cannot be allowed to happen. I’d add that there must still be people in Kiev who believe that finally, finally, in the end, the West will come to their assistance if they only hang on a bit longer, not because they really believe it, but because they can’t bring themselves to face reality.

              Given that the Russian operational objective is the destruction of Ukraine’s military capability, that can only proceed by large-scale surrender, or wholesale attrition. The first hasn’t happened, so necessarily the second is being used, and I think the western inability to understand what’s going on is due to a complete failure to understand what attrition warfare is, and how it works. It did, as you say, work in WW1, where the British offensive on the Somme and the French resistance at Verdun effectively broke the German Army, although this wasn’t actually obvious for another year or so, and was partly disguised by the victory in the East. But by the start of 1918, the Allies had reserves and the Germans didn’t.

              1. digi_owl

                In particular as the land given up would be the parts providing most of the grain and also the most industrialized. Thus there would be little left for the Davos pack to loot once the dust settles.

            2. Darthbobber

              Though Falkenhayn’s Verdun gambit was nearly as costly for the Germans as for the French. (Total French losses about 400,000, German about 350,000)

  3. Mikerw0

    Re: the Tesla fire… this is a real issue for multiple reasons. Fire departments are set up to handle them, they release very toxic chemicals. It also points out that transition to EVs is not just the vehicles but entire support systems.

    1. anon y'mouse

      i don’t want to horn in on your action, but i’m wondering about golf carts.

      as in, what if the push had been to replace mass driving with communities based around no vehicle bigger than one of those being necessary.

      anyone ever witness a golf cart fire?

      1. paul

        Most likely explanation is that they use different batteries.

        If you have seen a Lithium battery, even a double a size, shorting into thermal overload, it’s something of a worry.

        I am not aware of a lead acid battery acting that way.

        1. digi_owl

          Lead acid also do not come close to the capacity and output of lithium batteries.

          That said, there is ongoing research into solid state lithium batteries that may offer a solution.

          But chemical science moves at a very different pace to electronics and software.

        2. jefemt

          My dad lived in an over-55 community in St. George, Utah. Not a mandated golf cart development, but the cars sat a lot, and carts were the ubiquitous vehicle of choice.
          Lead acid batteries that dried out in the desert air… constantly adding water. Amazing.

          But it does point that we can adjust and adapt intermodal appropriate technologies for transport.

          bicycles aren’t for all climates / transpo needs all the time, but boy, if we would ponder bike racks, baskets, and ask the, “Could I ride my bike instead” as we reached for the car keys, we’d be happier, healthier, and using a lot less oil.

        3. Jacob Hatch

          I had a lead acid battery do an hydrogen gas explosion, the shrapnel cut a hole through the hood lid. No fire, but plenty of hot acid sprayed all over the engine compartment. Luckly I was at home and could flush the compartment or I would have had no ride to school for some time.

          1. digi_owl

            Another risk is the generation of hydrogen sulfide, as the acid used is sulfuric acid.

            I have heard the odd story of system administrators at companies dying in the server room because they were not aware that the smell of “rotten eggs” was a very bad sign.

          2. Anthony G Stegman

            Years ago my car battery popped in the engine compartment. I turned the ignition and heard a popping sound. Upon opening the hood I noticed that the sides of the battery had popped, spreading acid in the vicinity. There was no fire or explosion. What had happened was the battery was the original one when the vehicle had been manufactured. They aren’t made to last too long, and I had been remiss is replacing the battery. AAA came out and replaced the battery and I was on my way. Note to self: With new cars replace the original battery within 5 years (perhaps 3), regardless.

      2. RobertC

        Golf carts are sold with FLA and LFX battery options. However the batteries aren’t integrated with the chassis (they’re usually mounted near/over the rear wheels) and if there are any doors they are easy to open. We have a Polaris GEM E4 with the 72V LFX battery option.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Looking at an image of a GEM E4, it looks like the version with doors could be rededicated as a short-range suburban runaround vehicle to do shopping with and go to appointments. At 25 MPH (40 KLM) it way not be fast but in suburban streets would that matter?

          1. digi_owl

            Around here there was some news coverage a few years back about parents buying their teens UTVs for such usage.

          2. RobertC

            Almost two years ago my acquisition manager friend walked into Preby’s Cardiovascular Institute on her own two feet and wheel-chaired out a week and a half later with an infusion pump and continuous oxygen. We told her she can no longer live alone and moved her into our guest room.

            She owns two cars, a Lincoln MKS and a 50th Anniversary Mustang Convertible, both fully-optioned and neither with seating suitable for her to drive. So she bought a fully-optioned GEM E4 and I built an O2 mobility cart which fits in the back where the rear seats were. But the GEM is kinda rough compared to her cars.

            The GEM is categorized as a Neighborhood Electric Vehicle or Low-Speed Vehicle. It’s governor-limited to 25mph and access-limited to 35mph-signed roads. But neighborhoods matter. While full-tilt driving on Robinson Ave, which is marked 25mph for its entire length, she has been passed on double-Yellow-striped sections by 3ton SUVs.

            We’re in the process on modifying her house for a future when she needs a caregiver and will be moving there this Fall. Her neighborhood is much more amenable to the GEM although it will probably be the only one within a 5 mile radius.

            On a pet-related note, about a month before she moved in a skinny Black cat walked in our back door and, long story short, ended up living with us. My friend absolutely dotes on him, possibly the only reason she wakes up in the morning. When he and I sit outside for beers every night, he wears a harness with flashing lights, a tracker and often a leash. His safety is more important than mine.

          3. johnnyme

            Having never seen a Renault Twizy in action, they seem to me like a viable solution. I know I’d be taking a serious look at one if I lived in a place where they were available.

          4. fringe element

            There is a suburb well south of the city here that was built so that residents can use golf carts instead of cars for getting around the community. To get to the city or another suburb a person must use a car and drive considerable distances. But within the community itself they even have paved paths for the carts everywhere because the place was deliberately designed to work that way. When I visit friends down there I always find myself wishing my part of town had that feature.

      3. PlutoniumKun

        All sources of concentrated power are a potential fire or explosive risk, whether a battery or fuel tank or compressed gas source. This is basic physics.

        Lead acid batteries do go on fire, there are recorded incidents on boats, planes, cars and even on an electric wheelchair.

        Lithium itself is of course flammable, which adds to the hazard. But the do not have the other hazards (such as skin damage and toxicity) of lead acid batteries, and don’t have the explosive potential of gasoline or compressed gas or even compressed air. IMO the biggest upcoming risk is cheap badly made battery scooters and bikes stored indoors and often charged haphazardly. The lack of clear standards for these vehicles is a major issue, especially as its common now for people to download software to soup them up so they can exceed the design speeds.

        The question is not whether Teslas can burn up. The question is whether its a bigger hazard for drivers or bystanders or firefighters than regular car fires. We rarely hear about conventional cars burning up because its so common its not newsworthy, even if someone dies in the fire. In 2020, 173,000 vehicle fires were reported in the US alone. How many of these were Teslas? Certainly much less than 1% of them. One colleague of mine had two cars spontaneously combust on him (he is a devotee of aging Mercedes and Saabs).

        IMO the biggest potential problem of EV cars is on underground carparking standards. Fire regulations on containing fires within carparks is based on gasoline fires, which don’t burn as hot or for so long. Even then, they can cause enormous damage – I know of one aging multistory mall that had to shut for 18 months to repair the damage caused by a conventional vehicle fire in its carpark.

        1. paul

          In 2020, 173,000 vehicle fires were reported in the US alone. How many of these were Teslas?

          Who knows?

          How many were spontaneous combustion?

          From an industry source:

          721,885 vehicles were reported stolen in the United States in 2021.

          How many of these were nicked,dumped and set on fire?

          EV vehicles, as an aspirational good, will be well maintained by that sliver of life allowed to buy them.
          When a second market develops, then we can look at the pros and cons overall.

        2. heresy101

          The Teslas with fires are probably early ones with lithium ion batteries that can burn in an accident. New Teslas, at least in China, use lithium iron phosphate batteries which are not likely to burn or explode. See the BYD (8% owned by Warren Buffett) display of their LFP blade battery being pierced by a nail: start at 36:30

          Two years from now the largest battery manufacturer in the world, CATL, will begin providing sodium ion batteries.

          They’re also non-flammable, meaning EV owners wouldn’t have to worry about their cars spontaneously catching fire — a pretty major added bonus.

    2. RobertC

      Mikerw0 identified the essence of the successful transition to EVs: appropriate vehicle construction, shipping, operating, and storage standards, enforcement and government services.

      Just like my SCTA-car friend discovered, the transition from gasoline to methanol is more than bigger jets. After 57 pulls on his dynamometer he went 208mph on his first run at El Mirage last weekend. Next month I expect he’ll set a new record. Yeah I’m stretching the analogy but I wanted to brag for him (and me because I’m the wiring guy).

  4. Samuel Conner

    re: the 6th COVID wave,

    the “Omicron wave” peaked in the aggregate US statistics in mid-January. The pattern in the prior 23 months had been that the interval between waves was generally 4 to 5 months. The factors that control this interval may eventually be determined; one suspects that waning acquired immunity and the dynamics of perceived risk and individual protective habits interact in predictable ways and that this interval might be close to a ‘fixed parameter’ for the US population.

    On this pattern of 4 to 5 months between peaks in the (detected) case counts, one would expect the wave after the January ’22 Omicron peak to itself peak in mid-May to mid-June, all else equal. It was knowable back in February that there probably would be a strong late Spring ’22 wave. IIRC the talking heads were, in late Winter and early Spring, instead ruminating on the likelihood of a Fall ’22 wave. Idiots.

    1. hunkerdown

      Perhaps they were worried about their careers more than public health. “We can always dissolve the working class and breed another that loves us, can’t we Muffy?”

      1. BeliTsari

        Nope… all they have to do is label 1099’d PASC-indentured virtual share-croppers, “the Middle Class” as “both” parties and complicit media had, seven decades ago!

        “If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.”

      2. anon y'mouse

        your statement here is what i think is the Real Theory behind the racially miscast “great replacement theory”.

        our overclass wishes to have no citizens that remember what it was like to have rights, labor laws, or benefits attached to work.

        they will import by whatever means however many people from crappier countries than here (an ever shortening list) to make sure that happens.

        a few politicians about a decade back were, if memory serves, saying this out loud. immigrants have pluck and they want to capture it. by the 2nd or 3rd generation, after the immigrants kids and grandkids become americanized, they lose the pluck and are assimilated into americanness. their overwheening desire to work every hour of their lives for pittance pay making massah rich declines.

        you can see the desire to churn and burn will never end, as long as the churnables keep coming from the rest of the world.

    2. Donna

      This analysis by a Fractal Therapeutics CEO about where “let it rip” policy will lead seems very credible. The numbers are disturbing and of course Mr. Chakravarty is having trouble getting this analysis out.

      I would also like to add that the docs at the FLCCC seem to have already developed the treatment protocol that Chakravarty is recommending. The right hand never seems to know what the left hand is doing. Or is it the right hand has been brainwashed into believing the left hand is wrong? It seems to me that Chakravarty ought to have a conversation with Drs. Kory and Marik. But I could be wrong about this of course.

  5. Juneau

    I want to apologize for my completely senior moment in my monkeypox posts yesterday. I think I got the start date all wrong. I will blame brain fog but seriously will refrain from posting for a while and be much more careful in the future. Have a great week everyone.

  6. BeliTsari

    Toxoplasmosis, ractopamine, meth & bars: former explanation of Nazi ‘Bagger men or SATC women. Glyphosate scented cat-box, sudden maskless Happy Hour, Narziß und Goldmund orgies, PASC-indentured brain fog & denial-ridden gig-serfs all hooking-up? Are we seeing a whole new marketplace for PhARMA, psych therapists, cults & megachurches?

        1. BeliTsari

          My partner had a C diff scare, newly PASC from D614.G as I’d got her to dump SwheatScoop (Glyphosate flavored kitty-litter: my very first COVID allergy!) It kinda DO boggle the mind; how rill ‘spensive skool’d yuppie ladies AND us death o’ disparity deplorables, ruled by microorganisms, spread by spores, sex, sociopathic schmoozing (& likely a Congressional majority?)

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      Nice to see someone remembers old Herman.

      “I can think. I can wait. I can fast.”

      Siddhartha, Herman Hesse

      Good skills to have these days, even if you’re not ferrying people across the river.

  7. The Rev Kev

    “Ukraine peace deal: Kyiv rules out ceding land to Russia”

    If it wasn’t for the fact that several hundred people are being killed each and every day, this would almost be funny. The Ukraine is not going to have a choice in the matter. Sorry, but that is just the way that it is. You can only ignore realty for so long until it comes up to you and b****-slaps you in the face. But it is not just the Ukraine here. France, Germany and Italy are saying that this is going to have to end in negotiations which is quite correct. But then Washington, London and Poland are demanding that nothing less that a Ukrainian victory will be tolerated with Russian forces not only pushed out of the Ukraine but the Donbass Republics and even Crimea. Not going to happen so this tells me that this will only end when the Ukraine has been partitioned with Russia holding on to the Russian-speaking areas in the east and the south. Maybe then some counties will be ready to negotiate. And that $53 billion given to the Ukraine? As Newt from the film “Aliens says: “It won’t make any difference.”- (2 secs)

    1. Carolinian

      The Taibbi is paywalled but we do get this gem of a graf

      Biden is just a less likable, more deranged version of Dubya, a political potted plant behind which authoritarians rule by witch hunt and moral mania, with Joe floating on a somehow even fatter cloud of media protection than Bush enjoyed after 9/11. Today’s Biden is Bush, a helpless, terrified passenger dragged on a political journey beyond his comprehension, signing his name whenever told to appalling policies, like a child emperor or King George in the porphyria years. It’s obvious, but no one will bring it up, for the usual reason, i.e. because Trump.

      Thing is even King George had opposition but he bribed enough MPs to have his war in America. Our current ruling class seem to be terrified of admitting the truth about Biden and being tagged as deplorables on Twitter. The madness of King Joe (just now volunteering 300 plus million for a war with China) is bolstered by the madness of crowds.The willingness of all those Germans to go along with Hitler was once viewed as a big mystery whereas it was really situation normal. You just have to make the lie big enough.

      Of course lots of people don’t like Biden–in fact a majority–but they are powerless just as most of those Germans were or the English lower class under George 3. We are spectators as it all goes off the rails.

      1. digi_owl

        That is selling Dubya short, as i recall hearing he was the one pushing to link Iraq to 9/11 by any means possible. I guess he was looking for some way to one up his dad.

        1. Carolinian

          Yes Jeb–the “smart one”(?)–was supposed to be the dynastic successor. USA one big psychodrama.

          1. .human

            Do people know of Marvin Bush, the youngest brother, and his role in the greater story of 9/11?

            1. anon y'mouse

              i would love a link, unless you think searching at random in this google/bing driven world will get a poor fool somewhere fruitful.

      2. Henry Moon Pie

        “We are spectators as it all goes off the rails.”

        Generally agree, but someone might be able to put a penny on a rail here and there.

        1. juno mas

          Yes, American’s are generally pretty passive when it comes to politics, except for the quadrennial vote on appearances and not substance. However, that “penny on the rail” could become a pick-axe when electricity, gas, food, gets too expensive. With sooo many guns is sooo many pockets/households the train wreck could be bigger than evah!

          1. Anthony G Stegman

            I’m very skeptical that there is anything that will wake the average American from its comatose state. Most people are cowed by the massive police presence virtually everywhere in this country. Law enforcement has no qualms whatsoever with killing large numbers of people in order to maintain “order”. The vaunted middle class bourgeoisie almost always take the side of law enforcement. There is very little solidarity among the American people. By design of course.

            1. Oh

              Yup. I remember when Obama rolled out the armored vehicles and a full cadre of ‘armed to the teeth’ police to find the alleged Boston Marathon bombers and the city of Boston was under curfew.

          2. LifelongLib

            Most nations seem to go through some massive governmental crisis every 30-odd years which forces their citizens to take politics seriously. The U.S. has largely avoided that, at the price that many here in the U.S. see politics as increasingly irrelevant. Same with our international relationships. The U.S. has no great geographic or strategic weakness that has dictated our foreign policy for decades or centuries. Hence our policies mainly reflect the goofy notions of whoever happens to be in charge at the moment…

            1. Bazarov

              “The U.S. has no great geographic or strategic weakness that has dictated our foreign policy for decades or centuries.”

              I would argue that America’s strategic weakness to nuclear strikes has indeed “dictated” our foreign policy for about 60 years. It has placed a hard limit on how far the American establishment can go without risking total destruction of the civilization it rules.

              Hence, no “no-fly zone” or counter-invasion of Ukraine.

      3. BeliTsari

        Most of those “good Germans,” bought in to PJ’s propaganda. Knitting sweaters & proud of kids, defending all from Asiatic Bolsheviks… until Stalingrad & Tobruk… They’d not been told how Benito screwed up Hitler’s schedule. How Tojo brought in the Yanks’ industrial might, or thousand plane raids were doing to the Rhur & Hamburg.

      4. Alyosha

        Nope. Biden’s been an imperialist war monger most of his entire career. Remember how mad he got when the US didn’t war crime Serbia enough for his liking? Or the fact that Ukraine was his brief as POTUS, likely tied tightly to Clinton at state. And he took all the people from state who made the mess in 2014 and gave them more power when he became president. He’s no puppet.

      5. Oh

        It’s really a disgrace for America when Bush can make a freudian error mistaking Iraq for Ukraine and spewing Putin hate and people still are not aghast with horror at this criminal being free.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Well . . . . since Pelosi ( “Impeachment is off the table”) and Obama ( ” Look forward, not backward”) are the people who immunized and impunified the Cheney-Bushites, including Bush himself; people would have to be aghast at Pelosi and Obama if their aghastitude were to have any sincerity.

          And how many Pink Pussy Hat Clintonites are prepared to be aghastified at Pelosi and Obama at the same time? Maybe they would hide their hatred for Obama at usurping the rightful throne of God Empress Hillary as righteous aghastitude, but they would never be aghastified against the Historical First Woman Speaker of the House.

          So why bother being aghastified about Bush? Michelle Obama likes George W. Bush. So who are the little people to be aghast about it?

    2. Brian (another one they call)

      When faced with the decisions that will make their nations…… they choose to destroy themselves. They fear Russia when the invader is the US. Alarmingly stupid.
      Is that what you get when you have unelected tools sponsored by the US as a governing body? You know, “when in the course of human events” type of reaction from an impoverished citizenry.
      Then we will find out who hates who more than they like Europe. Because there is only one savior for Europe, and they will be begging him and his nation to help them when the ridiculous claims that the continent will find energy enough to run the business as usual. What is the US offering theses people to betray their own?

    3. Sibiryak

      The Rev Kev: “France, Germany and Italy are saying that this is going to have to end in negotiations which is quite correct.”

      Not necessarily. One scenario: Russia takes the territories it wants, then there is a cease-fire, but Kiev/ USA refuses to negotiate a peace agreement that would recognize any Russian gains. The result is another “frozen conflict”.

      1. Polar Socialist

        That may be, but my guess is that when 30,000 Ukrainians are POW, 70,000 perished or seriously wounded and there’s no army on the Dniepr left (besides the 15 year old kids with their Green Beret instructors), Kiev will be under serious internal pressure to sign anything to “get the boys home” and start reconstruction.

        Without at least armistice the 7 million or so refugees won’t come home, fuel will be sparse, businesses will lack employees and patrons or other resources, Ukraine can’t feed itself and more people will leave. There’s already an official petition by the people to allow conscript-age males to leave the country.

        Ukraine was the sick man of Europe even before the war, now with it’s economy and infrastructure mostly collapsed, to me it’s very likely that without resemblance of peace there will be no Ukraine to speak of by the end of the year. On the other hand, I’m not very good at predicting.

        1. Safety First

          I do not believe we should attribute agency to Ukraine in this conflict. Or, rather, we should assume that whatever government exists and has existed in Ukraine since 2014 will, irrespective of its own interests, follow the Washington line, whatever it might be. Washington, in turn, has now for a solid three months been making nothing but “unconditional surrender” noises, with literally no room for any negotiations whatever unless the Russians are prepared to capitulate. And so whatever anyone in Kiev might be thinking, they will not actually be signing anything.

          Thus it should remain until at least 2024, or, if Biden is reelected (not a mathematical impossibility), 2028. From that standpoint, it is perfectly possible that the Russians take the territory they wish to take – and there is a debate to be had over what that fully constitutes – and that will be that. A new Berlin wall somewhere, I would speculate, on the Zhitomir-Vinnitsa axis, with the Poles taking the western rump under their “protection”.

          The real question is twofold. One – where does Moscow believe it should stop. And two – how long will it take to reach that line. As of now, I am having difficulty seeing how Phase 2 can be successfully completed before autumn-winter (securing Odessa, two and a half times the size of Mariupol, by itself looks to be a lengthy exercise). So we are likely looking at a 2023 time frame, and at least a Phase 3 afterwards since Moscow would be supremely stupid to go through all this and yet not push Ukraine back from its borders around Kharkov.

        2. Sibiryak

          Polar Socialist: at least [an] armistice…

          I agree, but The Rev Kev referred to a “Ukrainian peace deal” which would necessarily involve Ukraine/USA formally ceding land to independent republics and/or Russia. An armistice, in contrast, is merely:

          “a formal agreement of warring parties to stop fighting. It is not necessarily the end of a war, as it may constitute only a cessation of hostilities while an attempt is made to negotiate a lasting peace.” (Wikipedia)

          As you suggest, nobody at this point can predict the outcome of the war with any certainty, but I don’t believe rump Ukraine/USA will ever be willing to cede territory to Russia (giving Russia a huge victory, rewarding “the brutal aggressor, war-criminal Putin”), nor do I see Russia willing to go back to some kind of Minsk-type framework.

          Therefore, I don’t see much chance for negotiations leading to a comprehensive peace agreement. More probable (but not at all certain) is a frozen conflict lasting for decades.

      2. ACPAL

        It is my opinion that the U/R war is merely an opening play in a much greater game that will not be allowed to end. If it looks like it’s slowing down then the war will spread. A good candidate for this is Poland which seems ready to jump in. If that isn’t enough to ruin Europe and Western Asia (WA) then NATO will be brought in. If this war ever ends it will only be when Europe and WA are in the state that Iraq and Afghanistan were in after we destroyed their nations and took over.

        While Biden has said that the US still clings to the one-China policy he also says that we will intervene militarily should China try to take Taiwan. The US’s sending high ranking politicians to Taiwan, providing powerful defensive weapons, sailing war vessels throughout the area, and conducting a propaganda campaign are all intended to provoke another war. As with Europe, this will be fought by Japan, Australia, and other Western-aligned countries while the US sits back. The goal, again, is to destroy Asia through Australia with the US mainland untouched.

        So many people are trying to guess how the U/R war will go but it cannot be understood or predicted without understanding the greater context and overall goals of the prime player, the US. Stop staring at the trees, the forest is burning down around you.

        1. jsn

          Who is going to supply this larger war effort?


          I’m sure what you say is what the brain geniuses at State think, but then they think steak comes from cellophane wrapped styrofoam trays in the refrigerator section.

    4. Anthony G Stegman

      I have a different view. Unless Russia is willing (and able) to significantly up the ante by literally destroying Kyiv (among other important places in Ukraine) the Ukrainians can fight the Russians for a very long time. A few cauldrons here and there will not subdue Ukraine when it can be repeatedly rearmed by the West. For Ukraine to be a safe space for Russia it may be necessary to turn most of Ukraine into a depopulated wasteland. This of course would greatly increase the risk of nuclear war. The big question I have is who will blink first.

      1. Soredemos

        They’ll rearm with what weapons, what military industry, and they’ll be arming what soldiers? They’re already down to the dreg conscripts. Most of the ‘donated’ western gear gets blown up in warehouses, and Ukraine has no military industry left to manufacture its own stuff.

        The Russia goal is demilitarization. You can’t build up a military if every day cruise missiles destroy scores of your installations and troop groupings.

        1. Jacob Hatch

          I suspect the USA isn’t training Ukrainian soldiers on advanced weapons in Germany, but CIA behind the lines sabotage, etc. USA is stupid enough to apply old tricks that worked in a different world.

          I bet Russia will be willing to let this happen, because USA will be training up agents who can be turned against the USA. Russia isn’t the USSR, they are not constrained by the same anti-racist, anti-fascist, pro-equality among the masses ideology. They’ll turn them by the handful into EU and USA’s problem, particularly when they see the USA used their homeland as toilet paper.

      2. Jacob Hatch

        Russia is doing more or less what Merkle, or the “masterminds” behind her wanted(flooding their off-shore factory areas in Poland, Romania, etc with cheap white labour). Where they royally screwed up is in underestimating US neocon /big sisters agenda setting. They, the German brain trust totally balled it up when they pressured Putin into building Nordstream II, when he should have gone ahead with initial plans to pipe it to North Asia. It’s this sort of internal contradiction that gives me hope that the EU will have a revolt, and break with the USA, or break up so that some states can turn away.

        Joe’s pack of neo-liberal string pullers are Asia focused, and are in a funk because he can’t get anyone other that Japan to accept their nuclear tipped medium range missiles, so they are trying to coop Myanmar, Thailand, and trying to take over the Philippines from the inside. Not looking good, and now even the lowly Solomon Islands are wavering even after NED extensive efforts. Maybe Myanmar might be the weak link, certainly some here are hoping NED/CIA pull it off. But so what if USA wins over Myanmar, the state department will be incapable of holding on to it, their last project, Aung San Suu Kyi, dropped them and got too close to China. My guess is based on internal lines and being on the right side of the economic model will see Russia and China win out in the long run. So, will USA accept it, or burn the whole place down on it’s way to Catholic/Evangelical heaven?

    5. RobertC

      I believe the essential tensions are:

      (1) The US/EU desire to exploit Ukraine’s resources.

      (2) The Russia need for a neutral barricade protecting the newly independent republics.

      (3) The US need for Russia to be weakened so its resources can be exploited with NATO positioned at the 2,600 mile border with China.

      There may be negotiated solutions for (1) and (2) but not for (3).

      1. RobertC

        Professor Sergey Karaganov, honorary chairman of Russia’s Council on Foreign and Defense Policy:

        But the task is wider: to build a viable system on the ruins of the present. And without resorting to arms, of course. Probably in the wider Greater Eurasian framework. Russia needs a safe and friendly Western flank in the competition of the future. Europe without Russia or even against it has been rapidly losing its international clout. That was predicted by many people in the 1990s, when Russia offered to integrate with, not in, the continent’s systems. We are too big and proud to be absorbed. Our pitch was rejected then, but there is always a chance it won’t be this time.

    6. VietnamVet

      MAD – nuclear deterrence has shaped the whole framework of the proxy WWIII. The scary bottom line of the current western neo-liberal/neo-con alliance is that it is intentionally poking the Kremlin into another regime change. They believe this won’t provoke the use nuclear weapons like the last time in the 1990s. But the Kremlin has quite clearly said that it will.

      The West wants a long war to keep up the pressure. However TINA corruption and incompetence has whacked both Ukraine and the Russian military. After three months Russia has not broken through Ukraine’s defense in depth. The question is which army folds first. If Russia can seize Odessa it will make Ukraine a rump state without access to the Black Sea. But if Russia doesn’t seize Western Ukraine; just like Iraq after Desert Storm was to Bill Clinton, a rump Ukraine will be a thorn in the side of the Kremlin.

      The rational plan would be to sign an armistice right now and a establish DMZ on the east side of the Dnieper River and the current line of contact in Donbass. Neither side appears to be at that point. Unfortunately, as things go south fast, the last thing human beings do is rational. The US Secretary of Defense has already called for a cease fire.

  8. Wukchumni

    78,000 pounds of infant formula arrives in US AP

    You import 39 tons, what do you get?
    Another week of reprieve, babies not upset
    Hey Abbott why can’t you make more
    So parents can buy at the grocery store?

    Babies were born one mornin’ where the sun didn’t shine
    I got onto a forklift and I drove to the C-17 on the line
    I loaded 39 tons of infant formula
    And the straw man chief executive said, “Well, a-bless my soul”

    You import 39 tons, what do you get?
    Another week of reprieve, babies not upset
    Hey Reckitt why can’t you make more
    So parents can buy at the grocery store?

    Babies were born one mornin’, it was drizzlin’ rain
    Thanks for the mammaries was their silent refrain
    Raised in the bosom by a young mama lion
    No pacifier is going to satisfy their urge this time

    You import 39 tons, what do you get?
    Another week of reprieve, babies not upset
    Hey Biden why can’t you make them make more
    So parents can buy at the grocery store?

    1. Michael Ismoe

      I remember when I was growing up in the 50s, my mom used to tell us to clean our plates “because children were starving” in Europe. USA! USA!

      1. Mildred Montana

        I suggest a swap: Guns (which of course USA! USA! never runs out of) for baby formula. Fewer guns, more baby formula, a double-win for USA! USA!

        1. Henry Moon Pie

          With commonsense thinking like that, I can guarantee that you will never be selected as a preferred candidate by the DCCC or the DSCC.

          1. Mildred Montana

            In these times, I am probably a preferred candidate for the loony bin. I can assure you I am completely unqualified for that too.

            1. Anthony G Stegman

              I’m curious to know how much of the 39 tons of baby formula will be diverted to Ukrainian babies.

      2. digi_owl

        And later the same one would replace Europe with Africa.

        I do wonder if i will see the day when the African Union bails out a drowning EU or USA.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Remember all those Republican fantasies/nightmares where the United Nations would be sending in troops into the US to keep order….

        2. Carolinian

          I thought it was India.

          As for baby formula, I believe I was raised on the evaporated milk version and don’t appear to be stunted.

      3. Wukchumni

        When I was growing up in the mid 60’s I was told to clean my plate because children were starving in China, with their Mao fad diet.

    2. The Rev Kev

      I think that there may be a case of dogs not barking here. So Biden finally got off the pot and is bringing in baby formula from overseas using Air Force planes as ‘no commercial flights were available.’ Not sure I believe that last bit but whatever. So here is the thing. Even Old Joe admits that in regards to billionaires that ‘there are about 790 of them or so in America (and) has an average federal tax rate of 8%.’ So my question is why not one billionaire piped up and said that they would be willing to chart a cargo plane to bring in baby formula? Not one. Are they so divorced from public needs as a class or did they not want to be in a position where they embarrass old Joe? For that matter, could not one of the fifty State Governors use National Guard planes to bring in baby formula either for their respective States? During 2020, weren’t they bringing in medical gear as they got jack waiting for Trump to do so?

      1. Mildred Montana

        >”So my question is why not one billionaire piped up and said that they would be willing to chart a cargo plane to bring in baby formula?”

        Excellent question. Furthermore, why didn’t one or several of them offer to buy the formula and give it away? They cannot be unaware of the need, and such a gesture would be good publicity and tax-deductible to boot.

        So why not? Here’s my quess: The 1% have decided they are leaving Biden and, by extension the Dems, twisting in the mid-term winds.

      2. Anthony G Stegman

        One doesn’t achieve billionaire status by being generous. You’d have more luck organizing a raffle to raise money for baby formula.

      1. John k

        Maybe 4,000,000 kids 0-1 yr old. Say 1/3 on formula?
        78000 lb… = ~1 oz per kid on formula. Pissing in the wind.
        Unless for the elites?

  9. The Rev Kev

    ‘Nationwide, overall Covid cases are trending down. Of China’s top 50 cities by economic size, only Beijing, Tianjin and Shanghai currently have widespread restrictions in place.’

    Going over this, I think that I see a chance for some good scientifiic research. Bear wih me a moment. So China is sticking by its guns and staying with zero-Covid as There Is An Alternative. Shanghai’s attempt to let the virus go has only served to reinforce the central government’s determination to crack down on this ever happening again. OK then. So that would imply that all those people that were infected are not likely to be reinfected for a very long time and I mean a very long time. So here would be a chance to study a very large group of people who were infected by the Omicron variant and see what the long-term effects would be on them and how it plays out for them. You could not do this successfully in the rest of the world as these people would be getting reinfected again and again over time which would muddy any study of them. These people may say that they suffered no further re-infection but as they could be asymptomatic, how would they know? With that group in China, this would not be an issue.

    1. jefemt

      B B But can you trust the inscrutable Chinese about ANYTHING?!?

      That was a weak attempt at humor.

      1. HotFlash

        My Chinese friend and choir-mate, Ms Lam, says, “It is not true. We are scrutable.”

    2. Henry Moon Pie

      That would be a very worthwhile study.

      While I wouldn’t want to live there, at least yet, I am feeling TFC (Thankful For China) since they are trying to battle against this fearsome adversary, Covid, along with unrelenting pressure from the U. S. and its lackeys It’s obviously damn difficult, both containing the disease and keeping essential services going, and they’re having their share of failures and adverse side effects, but they’re giving it real effort as opposed to our profit-obsessed billionaires who are trying to hand wave it away.

      Those around in ten years will have some perspective on where these diverging paths lead. Will WEIRD societies prove to be so unresilient that they don’t survive in a world changed by their devotion to the priority of markets and individual autonomy? Will they be ready to relinquish their fervent faith in the Invisible Hand even then?

      On another topic, you and Wuk gifted me with multiple laughs in the comments today. Thanks.

  10. Wukchumni

    ‘Not Being There’ plot:

    Chance the Candidate, despite mired in the polls somehow perseveres thanks to divine intervention by the other hapless hacks who pass as leadership in the Donkey Show.

    When asked about inflation, Chance replied ‘there will be growth in the spring!, elevated in fact.’ ‘All Vladimir’s fault’, he added as his handlers almost simultaneously gave the kill his feed motion by mock slitting of their throats with a lone digit.

    1. Vicky

      Problem with “it’s all Putin’s fault,”
      is that anyone with access to inflation charts,
      meaning every internet user, can see it began in February
      of last year after Biden’s inauguration.

      Gasoline prices are especially telling.

    2. Skip Intro

      Because Biden had no choice but to apply global sanctions that spike energy prices.

  11. Thye Rev Kev

    “My Lunch With President Biden” – Thomas L. Friedman

    Gawd. That was awful. It got so brown that I had to borrow a windscreen wiper from our car to keep the computer monitor clear. In an ideal world a person that holds the post that Friedman does should be sharp and analytical so that people read them to be informed of what the facts are. This was the opposite. Call it late stage Empire or whatever. What Friedman wrote was that he is an Insider who cannot tell you what old Joe told him, Russia is losing, old Joe feels for his fellow Americans, Trump is bad m’kay and the left is to blame for old Joe’s problems. You could get the same takeaway from the Daily Kos comments section.

    1. super extra

      thanks for going there so I don’t have to, Rev. I attempted to steel myself for it but was thwarted by the paywall and did the Michelle Flournoy piece in Foreign Policy instead. I couldn’t actually read it, because it was mostly from another planet where the course of the war is completely different, but I did skim until I found ‘what comes next’ to see if there was a list of countries. Relieved, somewhat, to see the horizon has narrowed completely and wholly to Taiwan/China and there isn’t an insane list of countries to keep going against as they keep failing. Unfortunately I don’t think the ‘don’t invade or we’ll GET YA’ tactic they tried with Russia will work. Do they even have a compliant oligarch-owned head of state over there?

      1. jrkrideau

        I read, well, skimmed, mot of it. It was frightening in its disconnect from reality. The screed could well have been have been ghost-written by a Kiev propagandist.

        1. jhallc

          Here is a bit of the author’s resume. She was a Clinton and Obama state Dept. policy Wonk, Harvard educated (of course) and this bit from Wikipedia:

          “In 2016, Flournoy co-authored a CNAS report titled Extending American Power, which called for increasing the military budget, approval of the Trans Pacific Partnership, weapons shipments to Ukraine and training the Ukrainian military to thwart Russia, issuing military threats against Iran should it pursue nuclear weapons, and escalating military intervention in Iraq and Syria.[17][18]”

          She also pushed for intervention in Libya under Obama and was a proponent of the Afghan counter-offensive surge.

      2. WalterM

        That was astonishing. I gather that Zelensky is about 15 minutes away from capturing Moscow, and that the only remaining question is where he will perform his triumphal piano recital.

        With regard to Taiwan, I almost got the feeling that Flournoy is hinting “Gee, it worked so well in Ukraine, maybe we can provoke China into invading Taiwan. Tie ’em up for years!”

    2. Gawr Gura

      Maybe we’ll get lucky and both these old fools will get the rona from one of their overworked waitstaff and die.

        1. ambrit

          Yes. Harris will pretend to rule, and we will pretend to follow orders.
          (Some parts of America are almost at that point now.)

  12. Jacob Hatch

    RE: Kishida, Biden to call for China’s nuclear disarmament in joint statement Japan News.

    Another salvo in Japan preparing it’s populace to accept Japan stationing nuclear missiles, first on occupied Okinawa kingdom’s soil, and then eventually in Japan having it’s own controlled nuclear nuclear deterrent program. The US MIC-IMATTS and Zaibatsu must be wetting their pants in anticipation of another market to suck dry of wealth. If I was Russia, I’d go as slow as possible in Ukraine, and watch EU/AUKUS/JAPAN turn into hollowed out corpses.

    1. Anthony G Stegman

      Japan ratified the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, so if it were to acquire nuclear weapons under its control the country would be in violation and face severe sanctions. The more likely route is for the US to quietly store such weapons on Japanese soil. It wouldn’t be the first time.

      1. Jacob Hatch

        Who’d sanction Japan? The US government (the very government which armed Israel and Pakistan, and thus indirectly North Korea)? The EU? One reason to push this is the idea of a limited nuclear war, popular in Washington. Fantasy, but a very profitable fantasy.

  13. DJG, Reality Czar

    The Southern Baptist Apocalypse.

    How unfortunate. And the article, rather than dealing with the issue of sexual abuse, and skirting the issue of sexual oppression, falls back on biblical inerrancy and missions. You know, showing up in Brazil to convert the Papists and help get Bolsonaro and friends elected.

    To quote:

    And yet the very good Southern Baptist impulse for missions, for cooperation, is often weaponized in the same way that “grace” or “forgiveness” has been in countless contexts to blame survivors for their own abuse.

    For years, Southern Baptists have not been all that subtle about insisting that they can and should definite U.S. identity. Too bad that they themselves have so little to rely on. “Grace” and “forgiveness” are thoroughly debased terms in U.S. discourse. I wonder why.

    1. Wukchumni

      The world got rid of another hack evang leader the other day when Scotty from Marketing was shown the door, thank godness!

    2. Synoia

      The Southern Baptists to define the US Identity.

      We should recognise their efforts.

      Bless their Hearts!

  14. Raymond Sim

    What’s this I’m reading about 7 children in Holland dying of necrotizing fasciitis subsequent to chickenpox? And 70 cases overall?

    Recall that UK authorities have been warning people about double chickenpox/scarlet fever that’s going around, which sounds like a crock – unless they’re actually talking about not scarlet fever per se, but bacterial infection secondary to chickenpox.

    I speak subject to correction, but aren’t such high rates of serious bacterial complications a reason to suspect monkeypox? Covid quarantines have been turning up monkeypox in travelers all through the pandemic, so it’s quite plausibly present in the UK and Holland.

    The Dutch doctors are inventing previously unknown phenomena to blame it on Covid control measures, so I think we can safely conclude they don’t have a plausible and palatable explanation.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      “I speak subject to correction, but aren’t such high rates of serious bacterial complications a reason to suspect monkeypox?”

      No expertise, but I do have some personal experience here. When he was in 3rd grade and I was in seminary, our oldest son came down with chicken pox. Recovery was going fine until one evening a pox on his eyelid looked a little reddened. Things worsened through the night, and having had nothing but awful experiences with ERs, we waited until 6 AM when the campus doctor began taking calls. By then, the eyelid looked like it had encountered Mike Tyson’s fist. I carried him into the doctor’s office, wrapped in a sheet, and the doctor immediately made calls to get him admitted to Wash U. We were met there by a team of doctors to whom we’ll always be grateful.

      For three days, our son and the doctors battled a strep B infection that threatened not only his eyesight but also his life. A team of infectious disease doctors finally resorted to penicillin delivered by IV, and that stopped it. He made a full recovery except for some stretching of the muscle that lifts the lid, something that shows up when he’s tired now.

      The docs told us that the zoster virus seriously weakened the immune system in the near term after the disease.

      1. Raymond Sim

        Thank you for what I think is a very helpful anecdote, which shows what a nightmare these bacterial infections can be, even when the outcome is good. One of my sons had scarlet fever complicated by a severe reaction to the antibiotic initially prescribed, making for two or three of the worst days I experienced as a father. It seems that something like seventy families in Holland have gone through much worse.

        For perspective, Google tells me the state of Washington’s population is roughly 7.5 million, that of Holland roughly 17.5 million, and my calculator says:

        70 x (7.5/17.5) = 30

        So if your son’s illness were part of an event comparable to what’s being reported from Holland, something like 29 other kids in Washington would have been in the same straits at right around the same time, with perhaps 3 killed and others requiring amputation of limbs etc.

        1. Henry Moon Pie

          I had grown up thinking that chicken pox was no big deal outside of the misery I experienced in being covered head to toe with what must have been hundreds of itching bumps. The vaccine wasn’t in use until after our last was born, so it was just something you had.

          That taught me that zoster is a very dangerous virus with effects far beyond a few scars.

          And so far, I’ve escaped the fun zoster has with us oldsters in the form of shingles.

          1. Duke of Prunes

            I’ve recently spoken to two older women (mid 50s) who recently had shingles, and their doctors’ attributed it to the covid shot.

      2. Jacob Hatch

        Measles will often reset your immune system, so it’s as if you’re restarting with a clean slate. I’m not too surprised that chicken pox can suppress the immune response.

        A new problem my medical doctors friends tell me is how many adults are unvaccinated against measles. having caught it as an adult are now at risk of catching infections that are far more challenging for adults than children, ala mumps, said chickenpox, etc. They roll up at the ER, get a diagnosis of not having a serious illness, get sent home and ether croak or show up again in very difficult to treat state.

        1. Laura in So Cal

          I was vaccinated for measles multiple times…First vaccine as a toddler in the late 60’s was later revealed as a bad batch so I was vaccinated again at age 12. When I was 17, We couldn’t find the record of my vaccination so I had to be vaccinated again to live in the dorms. At age 36, When I told my doctor I was planning a pregnancy, he did titer testing for measles, mumps.chickenpox, and rubella. No titers for measles or rubella at all. I was vaccinated again with MMR and it seemed to work since I felt awful for a few days. I had mumps and chickenpox as a child and those titers were fine.

          Vaccination doesn’t always work even with generally effective vaccines or they off during the years.

          1. Jacob Hatch

            I recall success rate in obtaining antibody response in 1970/early80’s goes from 93 to 98% for components of MMR, better data must be available now. you can see it’s not that odd for you to have not gotten an anti-body reaction, though your innate immune system might have been boosted. Immunity itself is more of a population phenomena, as even people with antibody responses after inoculation will have ebbs and surges in their immune health, so we more or less all depend on each other.

        2. LifelongLib

          Except AFAIK for German measles, I had the whole bunch growing up in the 60s. This was before vaccines for mumps, measles etc and I recall being told it was better to get them now than in their more dangerous adult forms. My son had all the vaccines and never caught any of them, thankfully.

          1. Wukchumni

            I had chicken pox when I was a toddler, and last year made a mistake in that I got my first Shingles vaccine shot a couple days before a 35 mile backpack trip, and oh I struggled as it can really do a number on you and I should have waited until after the walk.

            1. LifelongLib

              I didn’t have a reaction to the Shingles shot other than some arm pain (that’s a big needle). I’ve had more general reactions to the Flu one.

  15. tegnost

    Preparing for the next ukraine reads like a shopping list for armaments.
    Should be good for home values in D.C. adjacent…

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      Unless the market reacts to the deployment of the Sarmac later this year. Quite a few of our aspiring warmongers might prefer working from home in the Appalachians.

      Sorry. Been spending too much time at The Saker and MoA lately. ;)

    2. lyman alpha blob

      I didn’t read it, but my guess was going to be sanctions and bombs, because that is always the answer despite it never actually working. Sounds like I was on the money!

    1. digi_owl

      Just need to ride out the midterms, then he can step down for medical reasons and thus give them PMCs their first female (and for double whammo she will be black as well) president that trump so rudely denied them.

    2. Wukchumni

      Anybody notice that Biden seems to be going through the alphabet with Taiwan, Ukraine and Venezuela. Should Waziristan be worried?

  16. bassmule

    Biden on Taiwan: Does he really believe that cranking up World War III will get him re-elected?

    1. Jacob Hatch

      It will stop anyone replacing him as the last president of the United States. He’ll proudly wear that tag in his Catholic Heaven. What a nation, belief in a death cult a near absolute requirement for election to the red button.

      1. paul

        Remember these words:

        Courage, Duty, Honor!

        We call upon our troopers, in this our darkest hour,
        Our way of life is what we’re fighting for,
        The flag that flies above us, inspires us each day,
        To give our very best, in every way!

        It’s a good day to die,
        When you know the reasons why,
        Citizens, we fight for what is right,
        A noble sacrifice,
        When duty calls, you pay the price,
        For the Federation I will give my life!

        Well all is fair in love and war,
        That’s what my gunny says:
        You’re not alive unless you’re almost dyin’,
        These are the words I march by: Duty, Courage, Honor,
        And every single day I’m out there tryin’!

        It’s a good day to die,
        When you know the reasons why,
        Citizens, we fight for what is right,
        A noble sacrifice,
        When duty calls, you pay the price,
        For the Federation I will give my life!

        (Courage, Duty, Honor!)

        The Eagle, he flies high above us,
        The Eagle, he makes our spirit soar,
        He gives me the strength to carry on,
        To fight, and win this war!

        It’s a good day to die,
        When you know the reasons why,
        Citizens, we fight for what is right,

        (Courage, Duty, Honor!)

        A noble sacrifice,
        When duty calls, you pay the price,
        For the Federation I will give my life!

        (Courage, Duty, Honor!)

        It’s a good day to die,
        When you know the reasons why,
        Citizens, we fight for what is right,
        A noble sacrifice,
        When duty calls, you pay the price,
        For the Federation I will give my life!

        (Courage, Duty, Honor!)

        For the Federation I will give my life!

        1. paul

          From the fansite and in my personal championship of starship troopers 3:

          Omar Anoke was extremely popular celebrity psychic Sky Marshal, actor and singer.

          Anoke had a wife and two children. He wrote and sang several famous songs and instant hits, including “It’s A Good Day To Die”.

          Council used his popularity to raise support.

          At some point, Anoke came to Alamo Bay and met with the Brain Bug from Planet P that was imprisoned there. He was influenced and brainwashed by it into becoming the bugs’ ally and began to worship Behemecoatyl, the God Bug.

          He eventually agreed to shut down the electric fences around the MI base on Roku San and travelled there aboard Geronimo.

          Anoke was reported to have died in a terrorist attack on the Council and was later given a hero’s funeral on Earth to cover the truth that Anoke was actually eaten and killed by the God Bug for his knowledge of Earth and the UCF.

          Watch out comedian Z.

      2. Paradan

        Nah, 300 years from now, some warlord will unite the Eastern Seaboard, and he’ll go to the ruins of DC, where a bunch of bad poets will swear him in as the Equally American President.

        1. ambrit

          Don’t forget global warming and the sea level rise attendant thereto.
          Our future American Warlord will go to the submerged ruins of Washington and be sworn in on a Presidential Barge. Then, a suitable victim will be ritually sacrificed to Wallstreetcoatl atop the Divine Dollar Pyramid. The Demon will spit out the sun it was eating and the world will return to “normalcy.”

      3. Geo

        I’ve been of the belief since pre-inauguration that Biden will be the last Democrat president. You could be right that he may end up being the last US president if he keeps blustering his way through his foreign policy pronouncements like he’s back in the parking lot slinging chains at Corn Pop.

  17. The Rev Kev

    “Tennis tours strip ranking points at Wimbledon over decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players”

    Gotta agree with this as banning players based on their nationality could be abused so badly. As an example, what about players from Syria or Venezuela or China (it’s coming) or even Palestinians. Wimbledon chiefs may squawk and threaten legal action but it does not matter. As Wimbledon has now become a demonstration series of games, some top players are already considering skipping it so as to save themselves for more important matches that actually count in the rankings. To tell the truth, I really resent the way that some countries are playing political games to get other countries banned from sports like tennis, soccer and even the Olympics because of where they are from. Sport has to be above that or it is not sport. But as it is, because Wimbledon is now toast-

    ‘Daniil Medvedev could potentially overtake Novak Djokovic at the summit of the tennis world rankings, even if the Serbian ace wins both the French Open and Wimbledon this summer, and despite Medvedev being banned from competing at this summer’s grass court showpiece in London.’

    1. John k

      We watch a lot of tennis, seems Britain is burrowing down the rathole.
      Players are calling Wimbledon an exhibition, like the sinecure stars (often nearing the end of their career) enjoy… no points, but large financial payoff.
      But exhibition matches are just that, a three-set match, then u get big bucks, maybe a million or even more, and maybe quietly guaranteed to both players if both are big draws. This is way different, 7 five-set matches over two weeks (men’s) and this much very hard play can easily result in an injury. Likely many top players, most of whom are multi-millionaires, will skip it.
      Granted, low ranked players might see an opportunity, money can be important simply to stay on tour. Plus winning even an asterisk Wimbledon would be a draw for many. Would the joker go? Federer? Nadal? Certainly not for the money. I tend to doubt it, maybe we’ll hear soon.
      Bidding on tickets might be subdued this year.

  18. Geo

    If it hasn’t been posted here yet, the Black Rifle Coffee collapse is a fascinating read.

    Here’s a letter from a major investor who is accusing them of fraud. Too many juicy parts to choose from but this snippet gets to the core:

    “Just in case you hadn’t noticed Mr. Hafer, Black Rifle lost $4.8 billion in value (from $7.3 billion down to $2.5 billion) over the three-month period that you made tens of millions off your own stock.”

    As a commenter put it: “They quickly figured out which demographic was most likely to buy/invest into an identity politics brand then came up with a product.”

    And another: “how did a coffee and merchandise reseller become worth $7.3B? lmao it’s a couple coffee warehouses and a print shop.”

    Curious what insights the more knowledgeable people around NC may have on this.

    1. Wukchumni

      A friend went into the coffee business with a warehouse full of beans, and discovered only then how difficult it was to get shelf space in supermarkets, so in desperation ended up selling to Grocery Outlet, and at the prices they charge, turned a small fortune into pocket change.

      He told me he lost $300k on the venture…

      1. PlutoniumKun

        A little like craft beers, there seems to be more coffee roaster business these days than people drinking good coffee.

        I think the fundamental problem with the business is that its very cheap to enter – there isn’t much in the way of expensive equipment needed. So margins are fine and the only way you will make a lot of money is in very good marketing or in establishing a niche (and most early adopters will have grabbed most of those niches) Ultimately, the big profits seem to be on the retail end of things, thats where you get a healthy mark-up, and thats where established businesses have an advantage.

        1. ambrit

          Some of Phyl’s relatives went the Niche Coffee route. I think that they basically used it as a tax haven for various ‘loose’ funds they had control over. Personally for them, there are a lot of useful tax write offs available to small business owners when “money is no object.” As long as the core business limps along, the side hustles are where “the action” is.

    2. InThePines

      Not knowledgeable about their business, but I spend a lot of time in and around convenience stores. BRCC introduced a line of canned drinks that don’t sell, anywhere. Not even next to the future Space Force Base. Everything else highly caffeinated may be sold out at 0345, but their licensed cans of crap reliably line the bombed-out fridge shelves of convenience.

      1. Geo

        Interesting insight. I’ve seen lots of BRC T-shirts and hats over the years but only seen their product at an HEB in Texas (only a few varieties on the shelf). Amazing to me they were ever valued at $7Billion+ but what do I know? It’s not like having a viable product has ever stopped companies from being worth billions before.

    3. griffen

      First I have heard they were even a publicly listed corporation for the public to own the shares. Don’t know the products at all, just the commercials. One would think the SEC has been alerted, and that even the toothless regulators can figure out what is going so wrong.

  19. Carolinian

    Turley on what is now Hillary gate

    For Democrats and many in the media, Hillary Clinton has long held a Voldemort-like status as “She who must not be named” in scandals. Yet, there was her former campaign manager, Robby Mook, telling a jury that Clinton personally approved a plan to spread the false claim of covert communications between the Trump organization and the Russian bank. It was one of the most successful disinformation campaigns in American politics, and Mook implicated Clinton as green-lighting the gas-lighting of the electorate.

    Frau Clinton a one woman vast left/right wing conspiracy?

    1. Tom Stone

      it is interesting to see Mook toss Hillary under the bus.
      Mook is the preeminent Dem ratfucker, the “Birther” and “RUSSIA!!!!,OMG, RUSSIA!” are both reliably credited to him.
      And HRC just got Rf’d by Robbie Mook.
      He’s been her ratfucker since 2008, throughout the 2008, 2016 and 2020 campaigns ( House in 2020) Robbie Mook has been hugely influential in deciding on where the money went.
      And he has done very well for himself by losing…
      So, why knife HRC right now?
      The timing is interesting.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      The ease with which a fringe bunch of nutters and oddballs in the GBD got its ideas mainstream is depressing. Truly, our media is staffed with idiots. Even supposedly left and progressive media fell for it, and a lot of left wingers adopted the ideas (I’m looking at you, Off-Guardian) without realising the origins or motives.

      1. Basil Pesto

        he has a post on that, too. And of course, with the advent of the “vax and done” policy internationally everywhere except China, the GBD’s victory is now total (there seem to be anti- and pro- Vax GBDists but this is a willful distraction imo). This puts us in an extremely disadvantageous and dangerous position intellectually when SARS2 becomes even more serious or a new pandemic pathogen emerges. Again, I wander around the neighbourhood and wonder if I’m losing my mind, everyone truly believes this is no big deal anymore, talks about it in the past tense etc. It’s absolutely incredible.

        And for journalistic malfeasance, go no further than this grauniad Aus piece. 7000 have died of this disease since we shat the bed, and that’s setting aside the inevitable morbidity costs. That’s several bushfires worth of death and misery, including some children. There are serious worker shortages and wait times in many hospitals in the capital cities, especially Melbourne, and churn of healthcare workers is inevitable (a finite resource that takes years to train in what is really still a modestly populated country). During the 2020 Bushfires when Morrison went on holiday to Hawaii he was widely scorned for doing so. Per that graun piece, it feels like the whole country has gone on holiday to Hawaii now.

        one of the commenters on Bill’s piece said “but what about us social libertarians?!” Mate. It’s one thing to be doctrinaire, but if your doctrine has no response to a major human crisis like a pandemic except a) ignore it, pearl clutch about “freedom” in the most facile understanding of the word and concept; or, b) wait for a market pseudo-solution in the form of a vaccine, then repeat a) – with the consequence of this doctrine being millions dead and millions more indefinitely unwell – then perhaps the doctrine isn’t worth the now-diminishing grey matter it’s embedded in.

  20. Wukchumni

    Standing on the grassy plateau where water is piped onto his property, Josh Davy wished his feet were wet and his irrigation ditch full.

    Three years ago, when he sank everything he had into 66 acres of irrigated pasture in Shasta County, Davy thought he’d drought-proofed his cattle operation.

    He’d been banking on the Sacramento Valley’s water supply, which was guaranteed even during the deepest of droughts almost 60 years ago, when irrigation districts up and down the valley cut a deal with the federal government. Buying this land was his insurance against droughts expected to intensify with climate change.

    But this spring, for the first time ever, no water is flowing through his pipes and canals or those of his neighbors: The district won’t be delivering any water to Davy or any of its roughly 800 other customers.

    Without rain for rangeland grass where his cows forage in the winter, or water to irrigate his pasture, he will probably have to sell at least half the cows he’s raised for breeding and sell all of his calves a season early. Davy expects to lose money this year — more than $120,000 dollars, he guesses, and if it happens again next year, he won’t be able to pay his bills.

    “I would never have bought (this land) if I had known it wasn’t going to get water. Not when you pay the price you pay for it,” he said. “If this is a one-time fluke, I’ll suck it up and be fine. But I don’t have another year in me.”

    Since 1964, the water supply of the Western Sacramento Valley has been virtually guaranteed, even during critically dry years, the result of an arcane water rights system and legal agreements underlying operations of the Central Valley Project, the federal government’s massive water management system.
    Gonna be a veritable shitlode of aquagees in Cali…

      1. Jacob Hatch

        I think you mean hot tub treatments, both normal salt pool and direct chlorination pools use the same chemicals as tap water treatment plants, just more chlorine than is normal. What makes pool chemical water nasty is the stuff people coat their bodies with, or put under their arms pits and private parts.

  21. Wukchumni

    Bolivar of broken dreams…

    A pre 1965 silver Quarter would buy you a gallon of gas back in the day, and is worth about the same today in gas money equivalent in metal value, around 20x the face value.

    A 1965 silver Bolivar would also buy you a gallon of gas, but things went a little awry in Venezuela since with hyperinflation being a constant since Black Friday in 1983, and the math is tricky because of so many revaluations and whatnot, but I think you would need the equivalent of about 500,000,000 Bolivars in order to buy that same gallon of go-juice.

      1. Wukchumni

        Cats are generally free, which is how they lure you in to be their willing slave, shackles and all.

        Sadly, we’re getting to the point where it’s too hot for them to pin me down when i’m sleeping, so they’ve been avoiding being bedspread accoutrements until around November again.

  22. John Merryman.

    If Assange is brought here to stand trail, there should be a Julian Assange write-in candidacy for 2024. Think of the slogans;
    “They can drink the hemlock, get nailed to the cross, burned at the stake, shot, thrown in jail for life, but history doesn’t forget.”
    If the alternatives are the deranged clown and the demented puppet, he would win.

  23. Ghost in the Machine

    No commentary yet on ‘A call for an independent inquiry into the origin of the SARS-CoV-2 virus Neil L. Harrison and Jeffrey D. Sachs, PNAS’?

    There is some very interesting information in this commentary regarding the biology of the furin cleavage site. It turns out that the SARS-Cov-2 spike protein has an exact replica of the furin cleavage site found in the human sodium channel ENaC α found in epithelial cells in places like the lung and kidney, places where membrane transport is important. The virus ends up competing with host furin, disrupting normal ENaC α expression and contributing to pathophysiology in these tissues. Not having normal membrane transport would lead to things like lungs filling with fluid. Of course, being an exact replica of a human protein amino acid sequence would lead to autoimmunity problems as well. Interestingly, the ENaC α furin cleavage site has also been studied at UNC, location of other research involved in this mess.
    This PNAS commentary references a statement in another important commentary in the journal Cell arguing against the lab leak theory that stated the furin sequence was unusual and wouldn’t be designed in these types of gain of function experiments. We now see this was written in ignorance or disingenuousness. I haven’t read that paper, but I did read another prominent early paper, The proximal origin of SARS-CoV-2 in Nature Medicine (from 4/2020 too early to know anything really), that made a similar argument. That comment also stated that there were more optimal furin cleavage site sequences for infectiousness and that a gain of function experiment would not pick the covid sequence as a design. This line of argument was always odd to me. The stated purpose of the research is to explore ways these coronaviruses could jump and/or become more virulent, infectious ect. Designing a specific nucleotide (and thus amino acid) sequence and building it is much more expensive than just ‘cutting and pasting’ an existing nucleotide sequence. A designed amino acid sequence for a specific furin cleavage site has to be built from a nucleotide sequence put together nucleotide by nucleotide. It is just more of a pain. Labs not exploring the details of protein function at a very detailed level generally don’t do this. And in the case of zoonotic origin studies it makes sense to use ‘what is floating around out there’ as that is what would be utilized by a zoonotic disease. Of course, picking a human furin cleavage site makes most sense. The PNAS commentary, indeed, cites a paper that did just this showing it was straightforward to do the insert. Although, now more labs are doing this type of work! Gah! They supposedly used a disabled virus.

    The smoking gun for the lab leak would be the original ‘backbone’ sequence in a database that matches covid but does not contain the furin site. Or lab notes of course. As the PNAS commentary states, this is exactly the type of information being withheld by both the Chinese and Americans. For the natural origin theory, it seems to narrow the focus down to species that contain this sequence like human, chimpanzee, bonobo, orangutan, and gorilla. Covid would need to pick up its furin cleavage site from one of these species. Humans mucking around in bat caves would be a good place to start. Additionally, it is my understanding that a coronavirus picking up this specific sequence and getting it in the right location is very unlikely. Like very very very unlikely to the point of a statistical impossibility. There is a non zero probability quantum mechanically that I could drop a penny through a desk, but well, it is pretty low. But, this is not my expertise and would welcome commentary on this.

  24. jr

    That article about the “doorway” on Mars is particularly weak. The writer is lazy. He beats some old drums that need to be un-beaten:

    “The sad fact is that when presented with an unclear or unfamiliar image, humans try to turn it into a familiar-looking object. Scientists call our tendency to do this “pareidolia”.”

    To be clear, I don’t think that the “doorway” is a doorway. But it looks pretty much exactly like a doorway. No stretches of the imagination needed. This is not a case of pareidolia at all. And only a scientist could call the use of the human imagination a “sad fact”. I’ve heard arch-idiot DeGrasse Tyson refer to it as a “human frailty”. I suppose the notion of inspiration is lost upon such as these. There is a word for scientists who cannot utilize their imaginations: technicians.

    The author then moves on to the realms of willful ignorance:

    “Meanwhile, we continue to be bombarded with photos purporting to show UFOs (Unidentified Flying Objects) or UAP (Unidentified Aerial Phenomena).”

    No, in fact we are being “bombarded” with photos, corroborated eyewitness testimonies, radar signatures, infrared signals, and video footage. We are waaaay beyond a few fuzzy photos of blobs of light in the sky. The author must know this, as video footage is -embedded- in the article he links, an article that appears in his own publication. So much for digging around, but hey when you already have an answer in mind, why bother? Then:

    “The vast majority of these photos are probably fakes, or mistaken photos of familiar objects such as weather balloons.”

    This is precisely why these images and claims are being examined, they have been found to NOT fit the bill of “fakes” and “weather balloons”. Weather balloons don’t drop from several thousand feet in the air to the surface of the ocean in under a second. Nor do they hold their position stock still at several thousand feet in winds that fighter pilots struggle to maneuver in. Nor do they suddenly veer off at incredible speeds at angles that would disintegrate our best current technologies. As for “fakes”, is the author seriously proposing that these military personnel somehow faked all this data? How? And why? Is there a cabal of military personnel bent on fooling everyone? It’s nonsensical.

    “It would be a terrible loss if, among all our careful searching through the data, we missed the thing we had been searching for because it was too easily dismissed as a trick of the light.”

    Which is exactly what is going on. He laughingly dismisses the whole thing then recommends we do the very thing that is being done! He just doesn’t like the direction that things are going because it breaks his brain to think the world may be bigger and more complex than his crude set of mental tools can accommodate.

    Now over to the article he linked from the same publication:

    “A much more prosaic line of thought is governments are interested in unexplained aerial phenomena – especially those within their own sovereign airspace – because they may represent technologies developed by an adversary.

    Indeed, most discussion at the recent hearing revolved around potential threats from UAPs, on the basis they were such human-made technologies.”

    Is it really shocking that the people testifying at the hearing didn’t come in proclaiming the confirmed appearance of alien technology? Is it a surprise that these phenomena were, to some extent mind you, couched in terms of being of terrestrial origin? Is the author unfamiliar with the notion of knowing one’s audience? If I were friends with the aliens and were called to testify, I wouldn’t come in spouting about aliens because I would instantly alienate the entire gathering!

    Next we are treated to another logical loop-d-loop:

    “The vast volume of the universe makes it very difficult to achieve interstellar travel, receive signals, or communicate with any potential far-off lifeforms (at least according to the laws of physics as we know them).”

    After admitting we may not have completely figured out the nature of the universe, the writer goes on to argue of the impossibility of alien visitations based upon that incomplete knowledge. We don’t know what technologies such a civilization might have. And we don’t know that they might have even come from elsewhere, perhaps they have been here, on Earth, all along. It’s not only a failure of logic but a failure of the imagination. Here’s another failure of the imagination:

    “For airlines belonging to the International Air Transport Association, the chance of plane crash is about one in a million. That begs the question: do we think an alien spacecraft that can travel for thousands of years, across interstellar distances, is more robust and better designed than our planes?”

    This begs the question that there may be differences between flying between NYC and London and traversing the abyss of space. Perhaps the technology is inherently dangerous to a degree that even the aliens cannot totally control. This comparison is meaningless. Apples and orangutans. Then on to:

    “With radars constantly scanning space, billions of mobile phone cameras, and hundreds of thousands of amateur astronomers photographing the sky (as well as professional astronomers with powerful telescopes), there should be a lot of really good evidence in the hands of the general public and scientists – not just governments.”

    First of all, this assumes we know the frequency of such occurrences. I don’t think anyone is claiming the night sky is filled with strange events, time after time. And who is to say this private corporation, LeoLabs, is telling us everything they see? Perhaps a private corporation intent on selling a service doesn’t want to tell their clients in science and industry that they see things all the time they cannot explain.The cell phone camera charge has been debunked a while ago; cell phone cameras are made for close-up imagery, not crisply capturing fleeting phenomena miles and miles away. And there are photos and videos whose owners say they are of UFO’s, for that matter, so they do exist.

    As for the scientists and their telescopes, it seems that telescopes aren’t exactly suitable for capturing such phenomena either as they are focused on small slices of the night sky as the writer notes right above, the occurrences may not be spread out evenly across the visible sky but rather concentrated in specific areas of activity such as around military vessels and sites, and as evidenced by these two articles there is a lot of lazy and prejudicial thinking regarding UAP’s. Debunkers are quick to note the ability of people to fall prey to overactive imaginations. I say never underestimate the ability of the human mind to ignore it’s own a$$ when it’s afire. Not to mention stigma, can you imagine being the scientist or amateur astronomer who shows up babbling excitedly about the bizarre globes of light you saw the night before?

    Here’s the bottom line: more and more people, from respected military personnel to public scientists to government officials, are telling us there is something going on. I don’t necessarily trust them all, heaven knows, but I do trust that these people have reputations to protect. This doesn’t mean it’s aliens but it does mean something is up. The days of “weather balloons”, “swamp gas”, and credulous yokels hooting over meteorites are over.

    1. Mildred Montana

      Nice takedown. As a witness of a UAP (me and thousands of others) I do agree with you that “something is up”. The UFO (still prefer that name) we all saw was in our sight for at least five minutes and only half-a-mile away. It was other-worldly. No other way to describe it.

      UAPs a security threat? I laugh, at the hubris of intelligence officials and that of Homo Sapiens in general. If our presumed visitors have mastered inter-stellar space travel, then they are clearly much more evolved than we and have superseded their early-evolution war-like tendencies (which Homo Sapiens clearly hasn’t). The Drake Equation predicts that most technologically-advanced civilizations destroy themselves.

      As far as Homo Sapiens being technologically-advanced, let me kiddingly point this out: We only came up with the bright idea of putting wheels on luggage fifty years ago! There’s the “man who knows” for ya.

      1. jr

        Thanks MM, and let me say I’d love for you to go into greater detail. My reasoning is that if they represented a direct threat, we’d all be dead. It wouldn’t be a war, it would be a fumigation program.

        1. Mildred Montana

          Hope you read this, jr. It might be my only chance to reply without butting into some thread that contains your name. I’ll be as brief as possible.

          It was the winter of 1966-67 in Edmonton Alberta. I and my family were having supper when the neighbor called to say to go outside and look over the North Saskatchewan River which was about half-a-mile away. We immediately went out into the cold darkness and looked.

          There, over the river, slowly following its course at a height of about 300 feet, was a strange object, disc-shaped, flashing lights, and totally silent. Standard UFO description I guess. It seemed to be about the size of a three-story apartment building.

          We all stood transfixed for about five minutes as it drifted toward a bridge that crossed the river. Then we were suddenly surrounded by an all-pervading “humming” sound that was omni-directional. It wasn’t coming from the object itself, it was coming from everywhere. I can only liken it to the sound one hears when walking by an electrical sub-station on a quiet night.

          In a matter of seconds after the humming started, the object disappeared in less than a second, straight up at an almost 90-degree angle. Poof, like that, it was gone.

          The next day (sorry, I don’t remember the date) there was a brief front-page article about the sighting in the Edmonton Journal. Thousands of people had called radio stations, the press, etc. about it. A spokesman for the local air force base explained it as five jet-fighters flying in formation. I can only assume that he hadn’t seen it, in order to say something as silly as that.

          I did a cursory search of the web but didn’t find any mention of the incident. Perhaps the Journal would still have micro-fiche of the article. And, strangely, it seems nobody had the wits to grab a camera and snap a picture. Were we all *hypnotized*? Woo-woo.

          P.S. I liked your “fumigation” crack!

      2. Wukchumni

        I was abducted by aliens and they took me to their space, chips y salsa were served on a saucer.

      3. LifelongLib

        I’m more skeptical than you that advanced aliens are necessarily benign. You can imagine a scenario where early in its history an intelligent species had to compete for survival against another intelligence. This could lead to a situation where the species is peaceful and cooperative among its own members, but has a poisonous fear and hatred of other intelligent species. So it peacefully develops, crosses space, and tries to annihilate any other intelligence it encounters. Far fetched, but I think as plausible as the advancement equals pacifism trope…

    2. juno mas

      Yes, it is through imagination that we discover, it is through science that we proof! (I just now imagined that; I dare you to disproof it.)

      1. jr

        This is an interview of Gary Nolan, a very successful scientist, UFO researcher, and entrepreneur, by Lex Fridman:

        They discuss many things but one item that stood out was Nolan’s approach to science. Unlike many who focus solely on the data to the detriment of the imagination, he and his colleagues make full use of their creative abilities. When Fridman asks him what he thinks of those who criticize such a methodology, Nolan says they should “stay in the cave”.

    3. Amfortas the hippie

      i try to keep an eye on ufo related things(as well as space related things in general)…because i am a NASA kid.
      i’ve related this before, but it’s germane to your overall point.
      My Dad…an overwhelmingly Serious Person…worked for Nasa at JSC from Apollo 12 all the way through Skylab.
      he was on the Image Analysis Team…interpreting photographs…from visible light black and white to IR and a number of other sorts.
      he very rarely talked about any of that, save for waxing poetic when we watched Tom Hanks’ Apollo 13 together(he was there, in the Big Room).
      but mom told me…so i asked him pointedly…about an incident during either Apollo 14 or 17…(don’t remember)…where their boss gathered them together, brought in boxes of material for analysis, as was usual, but forbade them from opening the boxes and getting to work until they had each signed the pre-prepared report on their findings…which stated that nothing unusual was found, just ordinary photographic artifacts and the run of the mill glossy pics.
      an NDA of some force was also to be signed…and then they were allowed to go through the material…which was…his words…”obviously alien spacecraft”, following along after our rather primitive capsules and modules.
      this was related to me and my brother when i was around 15, sitting in the jeep in the parking lot of a burger joint in Wharton Texas, on our way to the bay house in Matagorda. it was after the divorce, and he was still reeling from the crater my mom had made of his life, and was desperate to reconnect with me and lil brother…i maintain that this is what compelled him to hold forth in that way, which was completely out of character,lol.
      he also talked openly about his previous work for the DIA during Viet Nam…”that’s a rice paddy…and that, that’s opium…”…and kept talking about how they “impressed” upon him that none of this stuff would ever be talked about.

      during his Nasa years he routinely intercepted stuff from the dumpster…mostly glossy pictures of the moon and various out the window of the LEM shots.
      i’ve scrutinised this material numerous times since he gave it to me, some 40+ years ago…looking for the ufo’s…but i suppose that stuff was never dumpster-bound.
      he never spoke of this again, of course,lol…so any more mature follow up questions went unanswered.
      he did relate, when we were taking the boys through the now disneyfied JSC complex that the USA manned spaceflight effectively ended after Challenger, due to the bad press, a creeping cowardice among the plebs, and the lack of the potential for making big bucks from space…and deficits, of course.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          the idea that Earth is under some interstellar quarantine tickles me.
          like a planet-sized tiger pit, but with moronic firemonkeys with delusions of grandeur.
          written into the structure of the Oort Cloud, as seen from the outside, it reads, “keep gate closed”.

        2. rowlf

          One of my favorite short stories: They’re Made Out Of Meat by Terry Bisson

          The two characters are intelligent beings capable of traveling faster than light, on a mission to “contact, welcome and log in any and all sentient races or multibeings in this quadrant of the Universe.” Bisson’s stage directions represent them as “two lights moving like fireflies among the stars” on a projection screen. One of them tells the incredulous other about the recent discovery of carbon-based lifeforms “made up entirely of meat”. After conversing briefly about it, they both deem such beings and communication with them too bizarre and agree to “erase the records and forget the whole thing”, marking the Solar System “unoccupied”.

      1. jr

        I remember you sharing that Amfortas, thanks again. Right around the time you first told that story, another commenter posted something about his father encountering a human-like figure on a wilderness trail years and years back. He said something along the lines that his father described the entity as being unusually well dressed, friendly, having “hollow eyes”, and that there were strange lights bobbing around him. He said his father would only tell the story when he was properly drunk as it bothered him mightily. I think about that story a lot.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          and manifests in different ways…often through the unconscious lens of the observer.
          my grandad would sometimes talk about meeting the devil on the farm he grew up on, and throwing him down a well.
          he, too, was a Serious Person, not given to flights of fancy…nor prone to leg-pulling.
          this would have been in the 1920’s, and i’ve often thought of it, and wondered if there’s the bones of a child molester in an old hand dug well outside of Caldwell, Texas.
          OTH, on Mom’s side, there’s a long secret history of Hedgewitchery,lol.

          i maintain a studied agnosticism about all such things…seen a lot of high weirdness, myself, after all.

      2. LifelongLib

        “…after Challenger…cowardice…plebs…”

        I blame NASA for that. The Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo astronauts were seen as test pilots in experimental vehicles. It was sad if they were hurt or killed but it “went with the territory”. For the shuttle, NASA pushed the idea that manned spaceflight had become routine. The loss of Challenger was like an airliner crash. Plus the fact that they launched even after a top engineer begged them not to. NASA had no plausible next step after Apollo, and sadly lost its way.

      3. Joe Renter

        Thanks for that Amfortas. Quite fascinating. Call me a believer. It was reported that in 1921 Einstein said there is every reason to believe that on Mars and other planets, are inhabited by (extraterrestrials). From what I have read, they have the ability to lower their normal higher level of matter to be seen in our physical realm. Of course many would laugh at that. I am hoping more of there presence will revealed soon. They probably have some good advice on how better neighbors in the solar system.

  25. Mikel

    “The Cantillon Effect and Stock Market Crashes” Matt Stoller, BIG

    Just to add about monopolization: It is mainstream investment advice to tell people to look for companies that have a “moat” (little to know competition or threat of it or already a monopoly).

    1. flora

      That’s a good article. Stoller’s expertise is in monopolies and that’s the main focus of his article. This line hints at the importance of creating a tax code for a better and broader economy :
      Obviously, we’ll have to help people injured in this downturn. But after that, we should restore the basic primacy of commerce over speculation and monopolization.

      The current corporate tax code lets corporations speculate with profits and with debts used to buy back stocks and other share price games. So, in addition to breaking up monopolies and regulating banks, restructuring the corporate tax codes such that profits reinvested in material production facilities – expanding the plants in the US – wouldn’t be taxed, for example, but profits taken as stock buy backs or cashouts or enormous stock-share gifts to the CEO would be taxed at a high rate, for example, to encourage the kind of corporate economic behavior that’s beneficial to the larger economy. My 2 cents.

  26. Wukchumni

    COOKEVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Miranda Atnip lost her home during the coronavirus pandemic after her boyfriend moved out and she fell behind on bills. Living in a car, the 34-year-old worries every day about getting money for food, finding somewhere to shower, and saving up enough money for an apartment where her three children can live with her again.

    Now she has a new worry: Tennessee is about to become the first U.S. state to make it a felony to camp on local public property such as parks.

    “Honestly, it’s going to be hard,” Atnip said of the law, which takes effect July 1. “I don’t know where else to go.”

  27. Darthbobber

    That Foreign Affairs article by Fluornoy on getting ready for that glorious “next Ukraine”. That’s just priceless. Looks like Taiwan’s pencilled in as next Ukraine, and the lesson learned from the whole Ukraine debacle is that we should be even more aggressive, and take measures guaranteed to provoke a debacle of equal or greater magnitude on that side of the planet even as this one is still playing out. Brilliant!

  28. Anthony G Stegman

    To me the Russia-Ukraine conflict is a major distraction that benefits the elites that rule over us. Aside from the profit potential of selling arms to Ukraine, and the enhanced career prospects for the war mongers in the Deep State the conflict distracts the masses from the real bad stuff going on – the global economy in shambles, an unfolding environmental catastrophe, and a pandemic that shows no signs of being under control or going away. Millions of more lives will likely perish. It seems that the majority of people in the West are in thrall to the Ukraine narrative being peddled seemingly everywhere.

  29. RobertC


    And now it’s home heating oil as Biden officials eyeing diesel stockpile to ease shortage

    …The Northeast Home Heating Oil Reserve, created in 2000, is a Northeast-based stockpile of about 1 million barrels of home heating oil.

    …The White House official framed the crunch as a consequence of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a frequent refrain from the Biden administration as the war has thrown global energy markets into disarray.

  30. RobertC

    New Not-So-Cold War

    The term of art is Tripwire[1] Pentagon working on plans to send troops to protect US Embassy in Kyiv

    Plans to send U.S. forces back into Ukraine to guard the recently reopened American Embassy in Kyiv are “underway at a relatively low level,” Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley said Monday.

    …Milley said there are now about 102,000 American troops based in Europe, a more than 30 percent increase since the war began.

    [1] “a comparatively weak military force employed as a first line of defense, engagement with which will trigger the intervention of strong forces”

  31. RobertC


    Today’s India link asked The India Fix: Why is Indian politics not waking up to the existential threat of climate change?

    The answer is Policy Paralysis.

    The same affliction enabled China-India Border Crisis Has Quietly Resulted In Victory For Beijing Since the China-India border crisis last erupted, Beijing has secured its territorial claim by installing massive military infrastructure.

    …The strength that China has rapidly developed along these borders will severely constrain India’s ability to ever recover access to the Aksai Chin region. Despite the public appearance of the crisis being settled in a Chinese withdrawal, this withdrawal has remained negligible compared to the scale of the territory that China has militarized. As such, China has achieved a form of territorial expansion by bringing Aksai Chin from a disputed status to a de facto militarily occupied status.

    …Abhijit Iyer-Mitra, a Senior Fellow (Nuclear Security Program) at the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, a New Delhi-based think tank focusing on South Asian affairs, notes that there has been a massive drive to improve infrastructure and better interconnectivity within disputed Aksai Chin, by China.

    “This sort of development would have been a land warfare planner’s nightmare, but it offers India a unique advantage now, in the form of a target-rich environment for the Indian Air Force, the same air force that has, in the course of the last few years, replaced the army as the primary response to serious cross border threats,” according to Iyer-Mitra. “Unfortunately, the progress on the Chinese side, in his opinion, solidifies the fluid line of actual control into an actual border, one that will be more prone to friction. But on the bright side, this semi-formally ends the ‘salami-slicing’ the Chinese resorted to till around 2013.”

    …Vikram J. Singh, Senior Advisor for Asia at the US Institute For Peace, says enhancing India’s situational awareness and deterrent posture will be critical to maintaining stability.

    …As India turns to self-reliance, Singh says, it should leverage its “willing partners, the United States, as well as Europe and Israel, can provide technology India needs right now to stay on top of the challenge from China and contribute to self-sufficiency.”

    …In essence, time has been on China’s side and India now faces a (quite literal) uphill battle to restore even a semblance of control over its territorial claims in this area while it simultaneously faces similar challenges at other locations of its shared border farther East.

    India seems determined to prioritize its distant friends over its border neighbors and its non-aligned self-reliant conceit over its economic growth (and citizens food security). It refused to join China and its near and far neighbors in the RCEP. It refused to join its near and far neighbors in CPTPP (China has applied for membership). It refused to join its near and far neighbors in China-led BRI. Unlike China and its near and far neighbors, it isn’t a member of APEC.

    As the India Fix article made manifest, India’s politics and policies aren’t responding to its rapidly changing world. This is sad to watch.

    Read The Drive article linked above for the satellite photos and the two maps in Conversation.

  32. Safety First

    I must compliment myself – I’ve managed to read the entire Michele Flournoy piece straight through. I believe the most succinct summation would be to reference that infamous line from “My Cousin Vinny” – “Are you on drugs?!”

    And it really starts before addressing any specific thing that she says about Ukraine. She opens up with a strictly ideological allusion regarding the supposed differences between “authoritarian” and “democratic” warmaking. That the example she uses to illustrate this point in fact does no such thing is beside the point, the framework in which she situates her thinking is flawed from the outset. One wonders if her dissertation (or thesis or what have you) hadn’t been on the wondrous virtues of the Democratic Peace Theory or some other nonsense such as this.

    So obviously when you have someone with a fixed ideology that in itself trumps reality, plus a history of always, in every conceivable instance, advocating for direct US military intervention (even in Syria in 2017!!!! to remove Assad from office, again, in 2017 not 2011, using “limited military coercion”), then the conflict in Ukraine is going to be interpreted and reinterpreted through a very flawed prism, and here we are.

    The problem, of course, is that a) this woman is not a sole example of her breed of “analyst”, and b) she, and presumably others like her (Blinken had worked alongside her, didn’t he?), are rated highly in the Democratic Party in general and the Biden White House in particular. This is the drivel that these people are telling themselves in their meetings, one presumes, and it is on this basis that they construct their policy decisions.

    I mean, at some point reality is bound to force some kind of course corrections (without admission of any error, mind), but in the meanwhile we quite literally seem to be dealing with the level of strategic planning and decision-making last seen in Hitler’s bunker in the last days of April 1945…

  33. RobertC


    Woohoo just like I hoped India comes through on Quad leaders vow free and open Indo-Pacific, action on climate

    TOKYO, May 24 (Reuters) – The four leaders of the “Quad” group of countries vowed on Tuesday to work together for a free and open Indo-Pacific region and to fight climate change, as they met for talks aimed at standing up to an increasingly assertive China.

    Modi made no comment on Ukraine or Russia in his remarks. India has frustrated the United States with what it regards as a lack of support for U.S.-led sanctions and condemnation of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

    …India abstained in U.N. Security Council votes on Russia’s invasion, though it did raise concerns about some killings of Ukrainian civilians.

    India was the ‘spoiler’ at the last Quad meeting with FM Subrahmanyam Jaishankar stating the focus should be on regional issues.

    I’m concerned about and critical of India but this gives me hope.

Comments are closed.