Links 5/24/2022

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

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


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

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

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Have you seen — or herd — about the goats roaming the UC Santa Cruz campus? Lookout (David L)

‘Democratic’ jackdaws use noise to make decisions BBC (David L)

A hero dog beats back a mountain lion that attacked her owner NPR (David L)

Hundreds of endangered baby giant turtles released into Cambodian river Bangkok Post (furzy)

Chimpanzees have their own language — and scientists just learned how they put “words” together Salon (David L)

Watch out for comet SW3, Monday May 30 & Tuesday 31 which might cause a meteor shower in late May New Scientist (Dr. Kevin)

Man who designed X-wing and other iconic ‘Star Wars’ ships has died NPR (David L)

Colombian farmers offer rare view into the dangerous, lucrative world of coca production France24 (resilc)

Neuroscientists Have Discovered a Phenomenon That They Can’t Explain The Atlantic (David L)

A history of punctuation aeon



How Rapid Reinfection Has Changed the Covid Fight New Republic


U.S. health officials releasing some Jynneos vaccine doses for monkeypox -CDC Reuters (resilc)


HSBC suspends banker who joked ‘who cares if Miami is underwater’ and about ‘nutjobs warning of the end of the world ‘ in climate change speech that had been AGREED with bosses two months earlier Daily Mail

Warmer Climates Lead to Loss of Pollinator Diversity, Research Finds EcoWatch (furzy)

Cooler weather helps firefighters battling New Mexico wildfire Los Angeles Times (David L)


Drone swarms may be key to defending Taiwan Asia Times (resilc). Lordie. Assumes an invasion, as opposed to a simple blockade. How long will Taiwan last without imported energy and food?

China’s Big Tech sees new wave of job cuts as Covid lockdowns hurt economy South China Morning Post (resilc)

Uyghurs urge UN rights chief to ask hard questions in Xinjiang Bangkok Post (furzy)

SIPRI: From climate to war, world entering a critical era DW (resilc). Gee, ya think?

AUKUS fallout: double-dealing and deception came at a diplomatic cost Sydney Morning Herald


Yes, Indian Foreign Service has changed, it is called defending national interest: S Jaishankar’s retort to Rahul Gandhi Economic Times of India (J-LS)

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka defaults on foreign debts, prepares to implement IMF austerity WSWS

Sri Lanka is running out of food, medicine, gas, and money — but the tourists just keep coming Business Insider (dk)

How the world’s first all-organic farming nation has led to hunger, riots and economic ruin… The consequences have been nothing short of catastrophic, writes TOM LEONARD Daily Mail (dk). Readers discussed this topic earlier…..I believe the issue was bad implementation, but I must confess to not retaining the details.

New Not-So-Cold War

EU will not find replacement for Russian oil in event of embargo – former Lukoil head Interfax (guurst)

German cars can’t run without Russian gas – BMW production chief RT

Germany to Reactivate Coal, Oil Plants if Russia Cuts Off Gas Bloomberg. I thought it was the Greens that were the hawks?

* * *

Starbucks Exits Russia, Shuts Down 130 Coffee Shops Gizmodo (Kevin W)

The impact of Western sanctions on Russian musical life Gilbert Doctorow

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Austin about VSU, some facts from the front, larger geopolitical issues. ISR, targeting. Andrei Martyanov, YouTube

NATO member will send Ukraine anti-ship missiles RT (Kevin W). As we indicated yesterday, it is Ukraine that is blockading its ports (see last footnote for the confirming link and quote from the International Maritime Organization). Sending more arms in is going to make the ports more of a war zone, making it even more difficult for commercial carriers to get insurance.

UK backs Lithuania’s plan to lift Russian blockade of Ukraine grain Guardian. Vikas S: “A coalition of magical thinking.”

* * *

Ukraine endgames 2.0: Can either side ‘win’ this war? Grid News (resilc)

Per gli italiani il primo obiettivo è la tregua La7 Attualità. DLG, Reality Czar:

Brief, and in Italian, but you can figure out the pie charts.

There is no appetite here for war (and I’m wondering about French polling…).

I note, in the last bar chart, that the Partito Democratico is the most bellicose. What a surprise. They’re Dems.

A breakdown of the Ukraine aid bill Speaking Security

Swedes Ask if NATO Membership and Pacifism Can Coexist Wall Street Journal (David L). A little late to be asking.

Ukraine Will Grant Poles A Special Legal Status SouthFront. Kevin W: “I know that you do not like this site but it is giving a detailed story of this development. In short, Poland wants Galicia back again and this is the first step. Looks looks Gonzalo Lira was right.”


Imperial Collapse Watch

Republicans plot foreign intervention pullback Axios (Kevin W)

30 Years With No Strategy Brought Us the War in Ukraine Libertarian Institute (resilc)


NYT’s Friedman: Biden worried he can’t ‘reunite America’ The Hill (resilc)

New York City mayor declares state of emergency over nationwide infant formula shortage CNN

Pete Buttigieg: Hungry Babies, Regrettably, Are Just the Price of the Free Market Jacobin (furzy)

Progressive Jessica Cisneros is trying to oust Henry Cuellar, the last anti-abortion House Democrat Vox (furzy)

Police State Watch

Do Algorithms Help to Reduce Crime? Project Syndicate (David L)

Our No Longer Free Press

They’re Worried About The Spread Of Information, Not Disinformation Caitlin Johnstone (Kevin W)

Pressure Mounts on Patel Over Assange Decision ConsortiumNews (guurst)

SEC prepares to crack down on misleading ESG investment claims Financial Times

New York City removes the last payphone from service CNBC (Kevin W)

Terra Collapse Triggers $83 Billion Decentralized Finance Slump Bloomberg

Crypto links with banks pose threat to financial stability, says ECB Financial Times. This never should have been allowed to happen.

Class Warfare

$28 for a beer? New York airports crack down on ‘exorbitant’ food and drink Guardian. Resilc: “$250 for baby formula.”

Antidote du jour (furzy):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Alyosha

    Well some Poles are pointing out that Duda’s grandfather was a OUN-UPA fighter. I’m not surprised because the Polish right and the Ukrainian neo-fascists (especially Semenyaka) are big fans of the intermarium idea. The argument between Poland, Ukraine and Lithuania on implementing the concept is usually who gets to be boss. Duda has the Ukrainians over a barrel and used the moment.

    IMO, Russia’s main goal of Phase III (I assume this starts once DPR and LPR are liberated) will be Odessa to nip the intermarium implementation. I think Moscow would have left Ukraine with a port. But it won’t/can’t leave one for Poland/NATO.

    Polish-Ukrainian relations will get real bad though. The idea that Poles will do police duties so Ukrainians can be sent to the front is a recipe for disaster arising from current and historical resentment. Will poles issue draft summons to Ukrainians? How is the refugee situation to be handled, even a cursory glance at Polish social media and media show a rising resentment. Does Poland force them back to Ukraine where they’re controlled by Polish police / peace keepers? Must we replay the 20th century of central-eastern Europe? The OUN was officially organized in 1929 as an ant-Polish force.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Gonzales Lira put out a video the other day saying that if Poland tried to grab Galicia back, that it will turn the area into Poland’s Vietnam and he makes a good case. This is the heartland of the Ukrainian Nazis, particularly Lviv, and when the Russians have established control over the Russian-speaking areas, all those nationalist nutters will go back to Galicia to attack the Poles whom they hate in any case. And it is not like this region is short of weapons or anything- (13:20 mins)

      Makes you wonder about the 156,000 Hungarian-Ukrainians and if they will demand that Hungary absorb them. As it is, Hungary has been giving them Hungarian passports for years now.

      1. William Beyer

        I was spotty on the history of Galicia, so checked Wikipedia for an overview. First paragraph notes that the area’s geography has been named in eight languages, including two varieties of Yiddish. Surely, a cluster(family blog) waiting to happen.

        1. Lee

          It’s a veritable melting pot. The question being, who is melting whom at any given time.

        2. JustAnotherVolunteer

          The Pale of Settlement – so much history of displacement and intolerance. Still playing out globally 300 years later.

      2. Bob of Newton

        ‘ and when the Russians have established control over the Russian-speaking areas, all those nationalist nutters…’ So if I understand Russian nationalists good, Ukrainian nationalists ‘nutters’. Got it.

        1. The Rev Kev

          When Russian nationalists are under threat of genocide and mass murder while Ukrainian Nationalists are actual, literal Nazis then in this case I am going to say yes.

    2. DJG, Reality Czar

      I note Yves Smith’s skepticism about the source, but I watched this report from Alex Christoforou yesterday, in which he also tries to make sense of the information.

      It’s the first five minutes or so his report.

      EU law experts? How is this not a violation? I can’t think of another EU country with interchangeable citizenship with a non-EU country.

      (Maybe with Spain with Andorra, notorious super-power, and Italy with San Marino, another empire in the making, but not Ukraine, thieves’ paradise and proving grounds for comics.)

      Yves Smith mentioned the Polish government having a hissy fit the other day about the Norwegian sovereign-wealth fund. Now Poland just can’t stop interfering in a situation that is potentially dangerous for another ill-equipped country on the easily traversed Great North European Plain (that would be Poland).

      We all witnessed Blinken thinking of himself as a real cut-up at Georgetown U the other day. But with the Polish government, the jokes just keep writing themselves.

      1. The Rev Kev

        ‘I can’t think of another EU country with interchangeable citizenship with a non-EU country.’ Hey, you are dead right. But these are not two EU countries but an EU and a non-EU country. How does that play out with the EU with freedom of movement for example?

    3. Jacob Hatch

      Some 100,000 ethnic Poles were slaughtered in Volhynia and Eastern Galicia from 1943 to 1945 by the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA)

      One keeps hearing about how the Lviv Nazi / Banderites were/are Catholic, but in reality they are not the same kind of Catholics we associate pedarastry as it’s major crime. The Ukrainian Catholic Church is much worse. It was a nationalist organ set up hundreds of years ago to foster ethnic tensions as a bulkwark against Orthodox Church/Russia, which backfired later on Austro-Hungarian empire, who could not merge it into the Roman Catholic church. The hate, it’s like the salt that is offered with bread in these areas. Not a spice but an essential part of life. They play a large role in anti-first nation actions in Canada. How many have heard about the Tiki-torch parades in Canada, lots of shameful acts suppressed by Canada’s corporate media. They have to find something to hate to keep control over their community.

      1. scarnoc

        The present conflict has deep religious roots. Religious divisions predate the rise of modern nationalism, and in many part of Europe that nationalism was birthed out of the blood spilled by religious fighting. Uniate Catholics in what is now Ukraine killed Orthodox for centuries, and vice versa. There are Orthodox saints martyred by Catholics and Catholic saints martyred by Orthodox. The lizards who run the American security state understand the meaning and power of this religious division very well. Notice that when politicians in the west visit a ‘Ukrainian Church’ it is always Catholic, even though the majority of the population of the present state of Ukraine are Orthodox. And, check the tattoos in pictures of ‘western’ national battalions like SS Galizia – Often Catholic imagery is mixed in. This is contrast to Azov and Aidar battalions who seem to have embraced paganism and an anti-Christian aesthetic.

        1. digi_owl

          Likely Azov etc cargo culted the symbolism from the Nazis, who in turn made extensive use of germanic/norse symbology (Himmler’s SS in particular).

        2. lyman alpha blob

          RE: Azov embracing paganism

          This was posted in links a coupe days ago –

          The article talks about the racist white supremacist origins of Azov but goes on to claim that they’ve mellowed over the years and they just aren’t like that any more. One of the apologies was the following, and it’s hard to tell whether the author is just naive, stupid, or both –

          “But it is no longer a practically or ideologically racist organization, any more than the U.S. Army could still be called segregated after 1948. I myself have drunk with Scandinavian former volunteer members of Azov—they were Pagans and Odinists, and had the rune tattoos to show for it.”

          Maybe I missed something over the years, but I thought it was fairly common knowledge that the white supremacist/Aryan nation types had an affinity for Norse/Pagan/Aryan symbolism. And I hadn’t realized it before, but Tablet is explicitly catering to a Jewish worldview. You’d think they of all people would know better.

          1. DJG, Reality Czar

            lyman alpha blob: Ahhh, the Davidzon article.

            He’s a naif. He’s stupid. And he’s a poseur. And that “I have drunk with” stuff–fascipretentious.

    4. Safety First

      Moscow has explicitly stated that the goal of Phase 2 (not Phase 3) is to take Nikolaev-Odessa regions under control, which would also link Russian territory with Transnistria. Presumably this will happen after the Donbass area is cleared and the assault groups involved are transferred to the Kherson area.

      In other words, Ukraine was never going to be left with any maritime access no matter what the Poles do.

      I am also going to hold off on the Duda ancestry thing for the moment, until I find some confirmation. Remember how a month or two ago someone was trying to link Scholz the German chancellor to Fritz von Scholz the Austrian SS general. “Verify before trust” being the operative motto here.

      That said. I maintain that, from Moscow’s perspective, the most logical outcome is a partition of Ukraine along the Zhitomir-Vinnitsa line, with anything west of those two cities being occupied by a Polish-led “peacekeeping contingent”. This would a) considerably shorten the line to defend against NATO; b) produce a domestic political success with the seizure of Kiev; c) avoid having to capture and then control Galicia; and d) leave “Ukraine” as a state with virtually no economic capabilities and far enough removed from Russia’s pre-war borders for any new NATO bases and radars not to matter much.

      From the Polish side, as long as they do not do something stupid like talk about annexation, this can work out quite nicely as well. Keeping “Ukraine” nominally independent but occupied by Polish troops and controlled by Polish administrators means that, on the one hand, an “insurgency” is unlikely – after all, we are here to protect you from the evil-bad-no-good Russians – and, on the other hand, Poland gets a ready source of ultra-cheap labour.

      On the other hand, Interwar Poland was in no way shy about repressing the hell out of its minorities. The Russian Youtube channel Держать Курс has just recently put out a massive video on Interwar Poland’s political economy (in Russian, but highly recommended if you do speak the language), about halfway through which they touch on the “national question”. Unmitigated brutality does not quite begin to describe it…

      1. BlueMoose

        In addition to being a source of ultra-cheap labour, there will also be a lot of young women of child bearing age without a husband. Poland needs the labour and more children.

        1. Jacob Hatch

          Merkle’s sponsors need the cheap labour, and they needed it in Poland, Romania, and some skilled labour a bit cheaper than German in Germany itself. Duda is just forgetting who holds the leash because Germany fell down over pushing NordStream 2, and got concussed. Right now there is a gamble about how to work this to advantage, how long to let things go badly, so that the Greens get permanently wrecked while not completely scuppering Germany. I don’t like the odds.

      2. Maxwell Johnston

        My initial thought on 24 February was that RU would go all the way to the Polish border, but in light of subsequent developments I agree with you: RU will leave a rump UKR (without a coastline) as part of a peace agreement brokered with the main EU powers (not USA). This way RU gets what it wants, and the EU has a legal means to send the 5m+ refugees from UKR back to their homeland. EU and RU will agree on mutual diplomatic recognition of the situation on the ground, and on using some or all of the stolen RU bank reserves towards rebuilding UKR. Poland will be bought off with de facto control of rump UKR. EU troops (Poland, maybe France and Germany) will guarantee security of rump UKR, and RU will agree as long as no USA troops are involved. EU sanctions will gradually be lifted. Rump UKR will be fast-tracked to EU membership. The USA/UK won’t be happy with this solution, but the pain of RU counter sanctions will focus the brighter bulbs in the EU into finding a solution before winter sets in.

        1. Irrational

          Assumes EU leaders are smart and can adjust. From what we have seen the last 3 months, I would be skeptical. Still, it seems like the least-worst option right now.

      3. Bob of Newton

        ‘ This would…considerably shorten the line to defend against NATO;’… Does anyone truly believe that if a war broke out between Russia and NATO that shorter lines would be of any real value? This assumes that nuclear weapons won’t be used. I fear that this type of ‘military thinking’ will lead to disaster.

      4. Garden Breads

        Five years ago the film Volhynia (Hatred) by Wojciech Smarzowski portrayed the historic massacre of tens of thousands of Poles by Gallician Ukranians in 1943 plus thousands of Ukranians who were friendly with Poles. In Chicago this was shown at the 2018 Polish Film Festival of America and the audience were familiar and reacted strongly. Poles also know that many of the work/concentration camp guards were Ukranian and that hundreds of thousands of non-Jewish Poles died there in addition to larger number of Jews. My late wife had a teacher in Krakow who was a refugee from Ukraine and had lost family. Even though many Poles hate Russians, we still can’t believe the huge support for Ukraine and why Poland would want to reincorporate Polish-hating Gallicia.

      5. Alyosha

        There was the general who said that about the goals of phase II, and launched a bunch of potential escalation around Transnistria but I don’t remember it being official Russian policy. I don’t feel like there’s ever been a statement on what phase II is, and have concluded that phase III is fluidly dependent on how Ukraine and the west behave. All the actual military operations suggest phase II is Donbas centric. But we don’t know if there’s just a phase II or a phase IIa and phase IIb either. Those Russians are inscrutable.

      6. VietnamVet

        The real crunch comes with Phase II of the Ukraine War. If Russia can take Odessa and seal off Ukraine from the Black Sea, this is a bridge too far if there is ever going to be an armistice and peace. Russia will still have a failed rump state on the border of its conquered lands. Phase III occupying Western Ukraine becomes inevitable. Hungarian and Romanian ethnic areas will secede from Ukraine. If Poland takes over Western Ukraine with Russia’s agreement, it can only be done if it is divorced from NATO. The USA, UK and Canada will support the Ukrainian resistance. A perpetual war engulfs Europe just as it runs out of food and energy, industry shuts down, and winter arrives. This is utter chaos and risks a nuclear war.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          If Poland eats part of Western Ukraine, the remaining neo-Nazis, who have Lvov as their center, will “resist” Poland, not Russia.

          1. VietnamVet

            True, but Ukrainians won’t forget who destroyed their nation and will fight to get it back.

            Poles, Russians and Ukrainians have a history in the Balkan’s cauldron of ethnic/religious hatred.

            Ironically, Poland’s occupation of Western Ukraine would stink like the 1939 Soviet German partition of Poland. UK, Canada and the USA can’t let it happen. NATO will fall and the Empire splinter apart.

            A peace treaty is needed now before Odessa is seized.

            1. Yves Smith Post author

              Russia is going to take Odessa. The will probably do it slowly because Odessa is a beautiful city and they don’t want to damage it more than they have to.

              They have important reasons to do so aside from its strategic location and that capturing it would presumably be the final step in taking the Black Sea coast. It is also the site of one of the most horrific acts of the 2014 Maidan coup. Some anti-Maidan protestors under assault were chased into the Trade Union House in Odessa. It was set on fire and those who tried to flee were shot at they exited. Russia has been investigating the incident for years and its main perps are on Russia’s list of 400 high priority targets for its war crimes trials. Separately, Odessa is a key Azov Battalion stronghold, so Russia wants to eliminate that nest too.

              The West is too high on its “Russia is losing’ PR to negotiate in the next few months if ever, and Zelensky is countermanding his own military leaders by ordering his troops to fight in place (just like Hitler did) rather than retreating to reduce human costs to his own men. So the army in the east, which is the bulk of the army and contained its best forces, is starting to collapse. That will be over in a month tops. Russia will need to keep only much reduced forces there for mopping up and will redeploy, probably after a rest and rotation, along the Black Sea coast.

              As for the sentiment of the public, the ethnic Russians in the east who were attacked by their own government since 2014 (14,000 deaths + >1.5 million refugees fleeing to Russia and Belarus) do not see it that way. How do you think “Russia” (actually the militias and the Chechens) were able to take Mariupol, a city similar in size to Mosul and Raqqa, in <1/4 the time it took the US to take them? And remember the buildings in Mariupol were much sturdier too. And no, Russia did not have a greater manpower advantage. It was that they had support of the population.

              Kherson, an oblast partway between Mariupol and Odessa, adjacent to Crimea, has its political leaders already saying they want to join Russia, forget this Donetsk/Lugansk independent republic halfway house.

              And speaking of Chechens....did you miss that Russia fought not one but two wars in Chechenya....yet the Chechens are playing a major role on the Russian side in this war?

              1. Soredemos

                My understanding of the Odessa massacre is even worse than that: the thugs followed them into the building, shot and stabbed, and in at least one instance (a pregnant woman) garrotted 30+ people to death, then set a fire, possibly as a lame attempt to cover up evidence of their crimes. Given how western media happily reported it as ‘people died in a fire in Odessa’, obviously that was the right move for the Nazis.

            2. Soredemos

              Basically, there is no nation of Ukraine. Most of the ethnic Russians consider themselves Russian (as historically has every state entity in Ukraine, from the Kievan *Rus* on down), and most of the regions that could be said to have anything resembling an authentic Ukrainian identity, well, they fled across the border into Poland in their millions. The only reason the fighting has lasted this long is that Ukraine has managed to keep its troops and citizens under impressively tight information control.

        2. Lambert Strether

          > the Ukrainian resistance

          I think post-war “Ukrainian resistance” is a placeholder for American fantasies and little more. If we characterize the North Vietnamese/Viet Cong as a successful “resistance” movement to American imperial domination, they had a command structure and doctrine that Ukraine simply does not have. And a lot more experience in battle. As for Afghanistan, the terrain and social structure is nothing like Ukraine. Ditto the battle-hardening.

          Ukraine would also have to conduct “resistance” (which I take to mean guerrilla warfare) with middled-aged-on-up men, and women, Ukraine’s young men having fled the draft and moved to London, where they’re working as hotel clerks and already have British girlfriends and bank accounts. Why would they come back?

          I think the right precedent for post-war Ukraine “resistance” is the various Resistance movements in WWII, which AFAIK had no material effect on the outcome whatever, feel-good though they were.

          1. Soredemos

            La Résistance was famously tiny and ineffectual (Speer at one point quipped “what resistance” and said they had no impact on German operations in France), but the partisans in Eastern Europe absolutely did matter. But those were also genuine people’s wars.

            (I’ve always considered the ‘cheese eating surrender monkey’s’ critiques of the French to be nonsense. But that they lost in 1940 can be explained. That the French then seem to have collectively shrugged and gone back to their wine can’t be, or at least not in any that isn’t utterly damning of the French. Effectively, they really did just sit there for four years until the Americans and Brits saved them)

          2. Polar Socialist

            A good precedence could also be how the Ukrainian nationalists were defeated in western Ukraine in 1920’s and 1940’s. In the latter case they were even supported by USA, and yet great majority of Ukrainians chose rebuilding and peace instead of continuing terror and mayhem.

      7. Lambert Strether

        > a Polish-led “peacekeeping contingent”.

        I’ll probably get in trouble for saying this, but IMNSHO one should never get Poland involved in anything. EU expansion (hat tip, the UK) was just as bad an idea as NATO expansion.

    5. begob

      Thanks for that reference to intermarium, which led me to the contemporary and complementary policy of Prometheism (from Wikipedia):

      A key excerpt from Piłsudski’s 1904 memorandum declared:

      Poland’s strength and importance among the constituent parts of the Russian state embolden us to set ourselves the political goal of breaking up the Russian state into its main constituents and emancipating the countries that have been forcibly incorporated into that empire. We regard this not only as the fulfilment of our country’s cultural strivings for independent existence, but also as a guarantee of that existence, since a Russia divested of her conquests will be sufficiently weakened that she will cease to be a formidable and dangerous neighbor.

  2. Stick'em

    re: One of the first targets of SARS Cov 2 is nerves

    Over a decade ago, my wife got sick with some sort of infection, perhaps Lyme, perhaps something else. This lead to her developing dysautonomia/postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome. Daily life has been a nightmare ever since.

    For whatever reasons, POTS affects women more often than men. This is one of the reasons this condition hasn’t received as much attention in the medical community as it should. Because there is nothing really visible on the outside sometimes especially men (even MDs) just blow it off as some newfangled form of hysteria.

    Expect similar reaction from the medical community re: COVID-19. My wife started showing symptoms of COVID on Mother’s Day.

    Thanks to all the public chuckleheads who declared “the pandemic is over,” people in our town decided to pretend it doesn’t happen any longer, which spread the infection amongst people like us who were thus far super-vigilant COVID-vigins, who didn’t believe the “it’s a miracle, it’s over!” bobblehead doll hype.

    Her POTS symptoms – such as passing out while standing – are exacerbated by COVID. There will be a cohort of people who have neurological symptoms of dysautonomia following infection with COVID. If this happens to you, it is real and there are medicines (such as beta-blockers) which help. Take it seriously.

      1. Maritimer

        “This is from Johns Hopkins, which has been one of the few reliable sources of info….”
        Each to his own but I strongly disagree. See
        The usual failed nostrums and no prophylaxis or early treatment.

        Compare to FLCCC:
        “I-MASK+ Prevention & Early Outpatient Treatment Protocol for COVID-19”

        Prevention and early treatment, what radicals! These folks sound like Doctors.
        Just one reason we should all be allowed to make our own medical decisions.

    1. Brooklin Bridge

      So sorry about what your wife is going through and as if that isn’t enough, now COVID!

    2. Carla

      Thank you very much for sharing your wife’s experience. It’s a valuable heads’ up.

    3. The Rev Kev

      So sorry to hear about your wife as I can only imagine how hard it is for both of you. What really gets me is that we are in the third decade of the 21st century and any health problem that is shown to doctors without obvious signs can easily get waved away as hysteria – which was what they did in the 19th century.

    4. Pat

      My sympathy for you and your wife as well. I hope that the exacerbation caused by Covid is transitory.

      Unfortunately the chauvinism of our medical community is unlikely to change in time to help.

      1. Stick'em

        Whatever the infection was originally, the explanation seems to be her immune system over-reacted to the pathogen and attacked her own nervous system. Definitely autonomic and pain nerves affected, perhaps motor nerves as well. So it’s really complicated, this autoimmune/dysautonomia thing. My wife went on a diagnostic odyssey. Took awhile for the docs to figure out what what was going on.

        The thing is, my wife’s POTS is severe, so she had apraxia. She couldn’t really tell any of the docs what was going on. It took me going to the medical appointments and describing what we observed at home for the docs to understand. So yes, there is some disbelief in women describing their symptoms, but also the symptoms are fight-or-flight related, which looks exactly like anxiety. Hence, anxiety is a legit differential diagnosis. It isn’t all chauvenism…

        Awareness of this previously obscure condition is going to go up as long COVID makes the prevalence go up. Usually the catalyst is when some celebrity gets it so people have a face to go with the condition. Michael J Fox made everyone aware of Parkinson and Ronald Reagan showed everyone what Alzheimer is. I wouldn’t wish POTS on anyone; that said, when someone like Taylor Swift gets long-COVID/POTS symptoms, my guess is the rest of the world will become familiar.

    5. Lexx

      From The Guardian this morning:

      And then, if you follow the links back:

      And there’s this little beauty:

      Pretty sure we’re on the same page, but dropped some groundwork anyway.

      My self-diagnosis after 64 years and many, many docs and tests is hypochlorhydria with IBS (Constipation)… probably genetic with an autoimmune component… probably from my father’s side where predominantly autoimmune problems rule and worsen with age, leading to the demise of a vital organ, to be shortly followed by death. Seemingly prematurely… since no one in the succeeding generations has managed to outlive grandma and all five of her surviving children were substance abusers, because just on a daily physical level they had a lot to cope with.

      Last Friday I’m driving back from Costco, when I get a call from my NP regarding the cover letter and some material I’d just left at her new office regarding my self-diagnosis, and I decided to answer the call. And in the course of that conversation she refutes my claim that 20 years of chronic severe anemia, where the hematocrit could not be raised no matter what I ingested, was not normal but more attributable to a life time of low stomach acid. She counters that it is “normal” for thousands of women experiencing heavy periods until menopause (or surgical equivalent). Then before I launch into my definition of the word ‘normal’ as it’s applied to women as patients, I remember I’m driving and talking on the phone in heavy Friday afternoon traffic (never a good combination) and I’ve only seen this young woman twice and may have further need of her services in the future… so best not burn that bridge yet.

      What I might have said until anger got the better of me was that all that afflicted humans and especially women was normal until it wasn’t, usually about the time a highly profitable answer to that normal was found and ready to be marketed, and then it became odd, unusual, not normal … a problem! … and only then there’s a diagnostic code*, tests, medicines, and maybe in the future – a cure. But let’s not be too hasty… decades more research and more profitable off-label use of existing drugs and therapies. Ka-ching!

      Sigh. I feel ya, Stick’em. My sympathies to you and your wife. It was tough; Covid made it tougher.

      *There’s a diagnostic code for hypochlorhyria, but docs weren’t looking for it infants in 1957(and maybe not now), when they diagnosed ‘failure to thrive’ in a newborn girl and told a 19 year-old mother to switch to ‘formula’.

      A History of Baby Formula

      1. Basil Pesto

        Unfortunately, a study dropped yesterday, publicised by Eric Topol, that downplays long covid. It has been seized on with tedious predictability (and I have made the point for some time now that LC sufferers were going to be accused of malingering.) The study is apparently badly limited, and many are angry. But biases may, of course, be at play.

        Topol’s tweets here

        A thread from Elisa Perego whom I believe coined the term ‘Long Covid’ (she’s a PhD, not a medical doctor I don’t think. She’s been a patient activist since 2020). She discusses/criticises the study.


        Sending my regards as well to Stick’em and his wife.

      2. ArvidMartensen

        I have had experience of some very average but opinionated young female GPs. Where I go has a number of doctors and if you want to see one fairly quickly the new, young doctors are more often available.
        First memorable consult was when the first, very confident, teenage doctor told me my bones were a bit lacking in calcium, and I should drink more milk. I told her that I was allergic to milk (causes wheezing and coughing, and runs in the family as same for both father and son). Her reaction, she semi-rolled her eyes. For a while I tried to drink a bit more milk.
        Second memorable consultation a year later when I was wheezing, probably something to do with trying to drink a bit more milk plus all of the bushfire smoke (hundreds of times above safe limits). As part of the consult, second teen doctor told me she thought I had COPD, which scared the life out of me. Saw my regular doctor who put me on inhaler, I stopped the milk, and the problem was almost resolved so not COPD.
        Looked up Dr Google and found that bones are strengthened through weight bearing exercise and running. Hope thats doing something.
        But none of the doctors mentioned this, young or old. You’re on your own baby, in a lot of this stuff.

    6. JAC

      So this could explain why my psychosis appeared before my other symptoms. I have been having dizzy spells ever since as well but they seem to me minimizing.

      The article says it is acting maybe through the destruction of neuropilin-1 (NRP1), a cell receptor that SARS2 uses along with ACE2 to enter the cell. Neuropilin is linked to schizophrenia. I am wondering if Omicron binds more tightly to NRP1 than ACE2.

      The POTs I would think would be more linked to destruction of ACE2 than NRP1, yeah?

      I pity all the poor people who will join me in the ranks of the mental ill. If you thought heath care was bad, wait till you get a load of mental health care…

      More reading to do!

    7. jr

      My sympathies to you and your wife. A close friend has contracted it while trying to care for his mother who has it, as well as a serious infection as a result. He’s alone and despondent, Mom’s in the ICU. Masking around here is minimal.

    8. Garden Breads

      Covid has been related to onset of both POTS and simple postural orthostatic hypotension. In 2020 after recovering from what I believed was COVID (no testing available) I began falling down, sometimes several times a day. I started taking ubiquinol after reading obscure article “Coenzyme Q10 Supplementation in Orthostatic Hypotension and Multiple-System Atrophy: A Report on 7 Cases”. As a PhD statistician and health researcher of 40 years I am not impressed by a case study with N=7, nonetheless my condition improved immediately and has remained manageable. Of course it may have been coincidental. I wish someone would do a proper trial, but funding would be difficult.

    1. Louis Fyne

      This is going to happen to the US. Not quite literal shortages, but reduced supply to send pasta, bread, etc. soaring.

      Biden really needed throw out zero-interest, non-recourse loans to farmers to buy fertilizer, seed, diesel, maintain machinery. Farmers needed working capital to plant.

      Now it’s too late, the window closed. Odds are soaring that the world will be up the creek at harvest time

      $40 billion for the weapons industry and Ukraine. $0 to make sure that this year’s harvest goes gangbusters.

      1. Wukchumni

        Eull Gibbons claims that if you spice them up enough, a Stinger really doesn’t taste bad… but make sure you use lots of Tabasco.

        On the local food front, our Lapins cherry tree is loaded, and Stella who had previously been stingy doling out delights, has come into her own with about 5x as many cherries as last year.

        They’re both about a week away from being ripe, and of course the twitter feed in the nearby oak trees is highly cognizant of that too.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        Biden is largely lazy and reactionary with no genuine vision for the US beyond wanting to have lunch with segregatioinists. He’s surrounded by people with no core vision beyond there is profit of be had, so his White House is just listless. He’s also a coward, fearful he won’t be invited to lunch with the segregatioinists if he follows through on campaign promises.

    2. Henry Moon Pie

      Yes, flora, the WEF-adjacent media are spinning Sri Lanka’s crisis for all its worth. I found no one trying to counter this, so I took a look at a few articles to get a better idea of what is happening.

      1) Sri Lanka still finds itself in the position of a colony. The country is heavily dependent on agricultural exports, particularly tea and rubber, to acquire foreign exchange. As you might expect, the amount of land devoted to these cash crops displaces growing local food, and Sri Lanka is heavily dependent on imported food:

      The Sri Lankan economy is heavily dependent on imports for meeting its basic food and medicinal requirements domestically. In 2020, Sri Lanka imported US$ 396 million worth of cereals, US$ 335 million worth of dairy products, US$ 276 million worth of sugar and US$ 352 million worth of vegetables. The country also imported US$ 496 million worth of pharmaceuticals. The depletion in forex reserves has impacted imports of all these commodities, causing a steep rise in the prices of basic commodities domestically, and a consequent shortage of supplies.

      2) Local food production was dropping before the institution of this chemical fertilizer and pesticide import ban. Check page 31 of this PDF for a chart showing increasing dependency on food imports, especially cereals, from 2013-2017. My speculation: this is due to increasing acreage used for those cash crops.

      3) The economic crisis in Sri Lanka has nothing to do with organic farming. It’s largely the result of decreased tourism (another colony trait) because of Covid:

      The outbreak of Covid-19 in 2020 severely impacted the Sri Lankan economy which depends significantly on its Travel and Tourism sector. The sector contributed 12.6% to the Sri Lankan GDP in 2019, and the third largest contributor to Sri Lanka’s foreign income. The sector took a major hit because of the ongoing travel restrictions owing to the pandemic. Sri Lankan economy contracted by 3.6% in 2020, the largest contraction for the country in years, While Covid-19 has been the immediate trigger for the ongoing economic crisis, experts attribute the prevailing situation in Sri Lanka to certain structural infirmities in the country’s economy, coupled with the recently announced policy measures by the Sri Lankan Government.

      It seems to me that it would be worthwhile to inquire whether the Sri Lankan government’s hastily announced ban on chemical fertilizers and pesticides, all of which are imported, was really a response to their dire financial situation to which a “green” cover story was added to try to make lemonade out of lemons.

      In the first week of September 2021, the President of Sri Lanka, Sh. Gotabaya Rajapaksa declared a state of emergency in the country, as the foreign exchange reserves depleted to dangerously low levels, below US$ 2.8 billion in July 2021, down from US$ 7.5 billion in 2019, with the value of Sri Lankan rupee depreciating by 8% so far, in 2021. The foreign exchange crisis triggered by this resulted in the Sri Lankan banks running out of foreign currency to pay for the imports of even basic commodities including food, fuel and medicines. Earlier this year, the Government of Sri Lanka had already put a ban on the imports of non-essential goods such as cars, spices and cooking oils. The dearth of foreign currency for imports of food items has resulted in massive food shortages across the country, and quite unprecedentedly, the army has been called in for rationing the supplies of various essentials including food items.

      So Sri Lankans are not in danger of starving because of organic agriculture. They’ve been dependent on importing food for a long time, and now they have no money. None of this complexity matters to the press now touting the Bill Gates/WEF line that people will starve without Frankenplants and glyphosate.

        1. Henry Moon Pie

          Thanks for these. The third video, at the 3-minute mark, seems to confirm my speculation that the impetus to ban fertilizer and pesticide imports was a lack of foreign currency to pay for these inputs.

      1. Bsn

        Well stated. If one considers the long view, organic is the only option for survival. It did us well over the last 40 million years or so. Relying on a petrol (Co2 and methane producing) based food system while the planet burns from overuse of petrol doesn’t seem real clever.

      2. CuriosityConcern

        I found a Modern Farmer link from 3/26/2022 that feels clear-eyed to me:

        The transition to fully organic agriculture was a pillar of Gotabaya’s 2019 campaign, during which he proposed the move be phased out over a 10-year period

        The ban started on 4/26/2021. Article says 1/3 of farmland was left fallow, but without further elaboration, protest or letting it rest?
        Article mentions rice production down 20% within 6 months, prices rised. Country has food shortages, government will subsidize farmers.
        Ban partially lifted in Nov 2021.

        Here is an article from The Hindu from 4/3/2022 discussing Sri Lankan situation in the perspective of Kerla:

      3. Drukpa Kunley

        I think you’ve got a lot of this right, but I have some first hand background on this to add.

        Gotabaya Rajapaksa had the intentions of transitioning towards organic from the start. Initially there were talks of building up Sri Lanka’s capacity to produce and distribute organic inputs to offset the reduced/eliminated use of agrichemicals. The sudden move to ban import of agrichemicals in 2021 was partially fulfiling this campaign policy, but also due to a perception that private chemical importers were undermining the policy (impossible to verify, but I heard stories of everything from scaring farmers at the prospect of organic growth to outright contamination of the few organic input producers in the country). This was made without proper preparations, either on the input side or on the training side. Indeed the government ministry itself does not have adequate expertise in organic farming, let alone the type of extensions services that could support farmers. They were putting out back channel requests for support from international organic experts almost immediately.

        This was clearly going to fail from the start, the implementation was almost non-existant. The DM article’s suggestion that organic production results in 30% yield reduction is incorrect, but to make it work you must have (i) very heavy touch extension services for farmers that focus on soil quality and crop nutritional needs and (ii) a transitionary phase where there is support for smart use of advanced fertilizers to meet crop nutritional requirements, and this is particularly true in places with significant soil degradation like Sri Lanka (or as in Andhra Pradesh, where a very good intention of moving towards ZBNF is failing). They had neither of these – and both of these ignore issues related to pest management which also require addressing. For most of the places that are attempting to go towards organic practices (Sri Lankd, Andhra pradesh, Bhutan), a move towards Global GAP makes more sense to support both better practices and food security, even if only as a transition point towards organic farming. But this is not how any of them have decided to go.

        Back to Sri Lanka – part of the problem is that they largely imported agrichemicals from india and so were getting the lowest quality inputs, and there were none of these more advanced fertilizers on the market. This might have been part of the issue with reducing productivity – they likely were loading soils with NPK or even just urea and potash, and were not replenishing secondariy or tertiary nutrients. Couple this with soil degradation and it feels like the government missed out on a golden opportunity to partner with these agrichemical importers to move towards better quality fertilizers while developing organic knowledge and extension services to help transition farmers towards more sustainable practices (which at least for some time involved smart use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides).

        They have long had import bans of many fruits and vegetables which they can grow locally, but they are reliant on imports for many other food needs and staples. As banks have no foreign currency, they can’t provide USD loans to private sector who rely on these to buy on foreign markets. Most of these food importers are locally owned, and so they will have difficulty finding a source of USD to buy this year. Wheat is obviously up next and I think its likely they miss the upcoming harvest/export cycle, maybe the same for maize, etc. Doubt they have supply to last until the next harvest periods for these, so food security is definitely going to be a problem.

    3. lance ringquist

      sri lanka ran out of money to pay for imports. free trade so ravaged sri lanka’s industry and agriculture, and lowering tariffs to boot. that they only way to increase foreign reserves to pay for all of the imports, they went the typical free trade way, cash crops, to raise foreign currency to buy the stuff they used to make and grow, pure economic lunacy.

      so they ran out of money, and could no longer afford to buy fertilizer, they had no choice but to try organic farming.

      but organic farming takes years of soil prep. but free trade has so impoverished much of the world, that i am afraid sri lanka is but the tip of the iceberg, it looks like pakistan and bangladesh are next.

    4. PlutoniumKun

      I was trying to find primary sources when this story popped up – the facts appear to be quite straightforward – Sri Lanka had a long term plan to go all organic, but to reduce dependence on imports and to boost the value of its food exports. It had a sensible 10 year plan for transition in target areas of crop production. But the crisis in foreign currency meant a sudden ban on fertilizer inputs that no farmers had planned for and this had a catastrophic impact on outputs.

      But the usual suspects will turn up claiming that the financial crisis is all the fault of organic farming.

  3. Jacob Hatch

    Secret Service Agents – Assaults in Seoul
    Apparently a agent and a “armed physical security specialist” went bar hopping and beat up a taxi driver over fare dispute. The interesting point is Korean media did not report the incident until after it showed up on overseas press reports on internet. Sounds familar.

      1. Jacob Hatch

        Reports on exceptionalism/arrogance is an everyday event. What I found interesting is the toadying of the corporate mass media, and even the so called independent media in Korea. Says where Korea’s monied interest see their future lies, vs. the common people who are starting to spiral down the drain, just like the sheeple in USA.

        1. OIFVet

          US imperial arrogance on full display in Bulgaria today. Today is the day that Bulgaria’s greatest contribution to civilization, the Cyrillic alphabet, is being celebrated. The US Embassy had an FB post this PM celebrating the winners of an English spelling bee. The kicker is, the spelling bee took place on May14th, I wonder who is the PR genius at the embassy who thought it was a good idea to run with this today, of all days. That some of the Bulgarians see nothing wrong with this picture is a given, those are the ones who know who butters their bread.

          1. DJG, Reality Czar

            OIFVet: Residence in Europe has been clarifying indeed, as Lambert Strether reminds us.

            You will recall the U.S. embassy in Kyiv (or Kiev) publishing a photo of a glittering Orthodox cathedral in K from early medieval times. Then the devastating (mic drop! fer sure) photo of Moscow in the same era, a swamp. Of course, a proper comparison would have been up the trade routes from K to Pskov or Novgorod in their medieval glory or downstream to Constantinople.

            Orthodox Christianity and Novgorod are events 98.5 percent of Americans have never heard of and can’t be bothered with. Hey, there’s a new Chick-fil-A in town.

            It’s all marketing. Is it time for the National Conversation in the U S of A on how marketing has ruined everything?

            [Also, real Americans use the American alphabet, from America, not something made up by some guys named Cyril and Methodius. Methodius, get a load of that.}

            1. OIFVet

              I was told today that Americans are trusting and naive people, as it would be the only reason why they would give someone like me a citizenship. Honestly, there is a reason why Malcolm X had such disdain for the ‘house negro.’

  4. The Rev Kev

    “The designer of the X-wing and other iconic ‘Star Wars’ ships has died”

    This is sad to hear this and he was truly an imaginative man. His ship designs were part of my youth with his epic X-Wing fighter design something that impressed & stayed with me as much as the design of the USS Enterprise ship design- (3:52 mins)

    1. digi_owl

      I can’t help think that people were more imaginative back then, because they had a grounding in actual mechanics. And that they had to build actual scale models.

      Nowadays more and more of the entertainment industry is its own world, separate from any concept of engineering or similar.

    2. GramSci

      What purpose should one imagine an extra pair of wings serve in the absence of an atmosphere?

      1. ambrit

        They were the support structures for the ion cannons. There is speculation, the actual details are considered a “secret,” that the propulsion system utilizes the “expanded” wings as some sort of energy harvesting system. (Some theorize that the “expanded” wings act as conductors of magnetic fields of force.)
        I trace it all back to the original Dan Dare spaceship designs. Attention to detail and feasibility was originally stressed by the artists involved in producing the comic strip.
        Dan Dare even has a Haynes Manual covering Space Fleet ships.

      2. digi_owl

        Much of the space combat in the original movie was built around WW2.

        Them Falcon turrets were basically copies from WW2 bombers, and the cockpit window from the nose of same.

        And the whole final Death Star attack was basically a carbon copy of pacific theater carrier combat, complete with the hero braving the AA enroute to target.

        Lucas borrowed liberally from everything from Japanese samurai movies to Sunday morning matinees of his youth.

        If you want a more realistic take on zero g combat, take a look at Babylon 5.

      3. albrt

        From Wikipedia:

        The T-65B X-wing’s distinctive strike foils or “S-foils” are opened and closed by powerful servo motors in the spacecraft. When in the open or ‘attack’ position, they provided a greater range of fire to the laser cannons mounted on the end of each wing. They also serve to distribute energy to enlarge the deflector shield, shed waste heat, and function as stabilizer surfaces during air travel.

  5. digi_owl

    I wonder, was it the internet killing the local newspaper that turned the journalism profession into a cloistered elite?

    And that Russian rocket artillery barrage, that is a serious “fuck you” to anyone within the target area. Just watching that from afar could give someone PTSD.

    1. JCC

      I think Seymour Hersh covered the change well in his book “Reporter” He says the change was noticeable after Woodward and Bernstein covered Watergate. Suddenly, for a whole new generation, Investigative Reporting was super cool and Journalism Schools at the most elite schools became very popular. He says he started seeing the changes in the 80’s. Papers were no longer hiring people from Blue Collar Families that worked their way up through the ranks but instead young credentialed graduates from the most elite schools.

      It sounded pretty accurate to me, particularly since the observation came from someone in the thick of reporting during those times.

    1. Louis Fyne

      things could have been tolerable if someone in the White House (Jill Biden, Chief of Staff Klain) was arranged to reality and could have guided policy proactively.

      Nope we have an entire class of bubbled septa-octagenarians and their courtiers.

      Let them eat gelato and Doordash!!

      1. Oh

        Don’t you realize that the “invisible Hand” is making and implementing policy? The strings on the invisible hand will lead you to the shadow govt.

        1. Wukchumni

          I heard the invisible hand had relations with Schrödinger’s cat, but they aren’t seeing each other any more.

    2. Pat

      I do not know why I am suddenly remembering George H. W. Bush and his unfamiliarity with a supermarket scanner.

      Transitions can be incredible when nothing in your life are transitioning, same is war is not hard as long as others are fighting in it and paying for it.

      1. The Rev Kev

        There was a story told that when Tony Blair became Prime Minister in the UK in ’97, after the Conservatives being in power for nearly twenty years, that a former high-ranking Conservative Minister realized that he would have to go shopping for food in a supermarket if he wanted to eat and was actually unsure how to proceed, what he had to do and how much he would have to pay. It had been that long.

          1. Mildred Montana


            “We don’t pay taxes; only the little people pay taxes.”
            —-Leona Helmsley (1920-2007)

        1. Jacob Hatch

          Very British. Carrie Lam, the last CE of Hong Kong, was kept a great height and distance from the unwashed masses she helped the UK rule through ’97 and there after for the mandarins in Beijing(and not so secretly for HSBC/Standard Chartered). During her fraud of a campaign for CE she took the MTR for the first time in her life and in front of cameras had to be taught how to work the ticketing machines, and she didn’t even grok how to use a chip credit card reader nor that she should carry cash, when she went shopping at a supermarket, again in front of the press.

        2. Big River Bandido

          I worked in advertising in NYC in the 90s and 00s; most of the people I worked for were completely incompetent, unable even to buy themselves food for lunch or book a plane ticket. Not from laziness (although many were that as well), just utter incompetence.

          1. LifelongLib

            My brother does some side work as a handyman in the Seattle area. He says he encounters people who literally don’t know how to do anything except code. He goes to these million dollar homes that are littered with takeout containers. The residents can’t even handle basic housekeeping, much less cooking.

            1. Lambert Strether

              > He says he encounters people who literally don’t know how to do anything except code.

              Victorian physicist Oliver Heaviside worked with the telegraph and cables, the most advanced technology of his day. I read an article in Scientific American years ago but I can’t break the paywall; here is the relevant snippet:

              A hacker avant le lettre. Does make you wonder if being around strong electric currents for a long period of time + heavy intellectual activity has some sort of effect that manifests behaviorally.

        3. JohnA

          There was another story from about the start of the Blair era, when members of the House of Lords were encouraged to take public transport to the Palace of Westminster rather than taxis. One such lord dutifully got on a local bus and when asked his destination, told the driver ‘take me to the House of Lords’.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            I loved the story of Peter Mandelson being given a tour around his newly adopted home – he was gifted a safe labour seat in the deepest darkest north by Blair for his ‘services’. He famously popped into a fish and chip place to hob-nob with the locals. He asked for fish and chips, then pointed to the mushy peas and asked:

            ‘Ill have some of that avocado dip please’.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        Just a pet peeve of mine.

        In the case of Biden, he is a reactionary. Industry despite lobbying is preparing for changes towards renewables. The shale revolution never occurred. Its too expensive and requires the national guard. Biden is largely stuck, not that he isn’t responsible, but he doesn’t have a switch to simply lower energy prices. The establishment is largely use to a care free life, and so he doesn’t even know how to communicate a different path.

        So like Rat Boy at Transportation, Joe simply shrugs his shoulders and whines.

        1. Pat

          NTG, I’d say mea culpa, but quite honestly neither Bush or Biden has/had any real intellectual or emotional understanding of the reality of existence for most Americans, which is the point. It doesn’t matter that Joe is a ‘reactionary’ or if he is or isn’t whining. He isn’t trying to communicate a different path. He is doing what the Democrats have been doing for most of the last couple of decades, putting a pretty name on something that will cause great pain that they have no intention of doing anything about and hoping that people don’t see past it. And yes I think they are stupid enough to think that might work. I don’t think they have fully accepted that they have run that game out about as far as they can.

  6. Chas

    Sri Lanka is not “the world’s first all-organic farming nation.” Cuba holds that honor. When her revolution triumphed in 1959, the USA’s effort to change the world over from organic farming to chemical farming was just getting underway. Then the USA imposed an economic blockade on Cuba which prevented importation of chemical herbicides, chemical pesticides and chemical fertilizers. It also prevented the importation of tractors and other mechanized farm implements. Cuba doubled down on its traditional organic farming system and today I estimate based on two trips to the island that Cuba produces about half of all the food it consumes and increasing. It is striking to see in Cuban cities large complexes of apartments surrounded by acres of organic gardens. In the countryside, farmers use bulls and oxen to plow and tend their fields as has been done for hundreds of years. US “big ag” scoffs at this use of animal traction, but it is amazing what it produces, not to mention that agriculture provides work for thousands of Cubans. Before Sri Lanka moved into organic agriculture it should have studied what Cuba is doing. And the way the food crisis is unfolding in the world, before long we may all be Cubans. Or Sri Lankans.

    1. Oh

      Something tells me that Organic Farming is being blamed instead of the ieptitude of farmers to use it and the stupidity of the Rajpaksa’s government.. Until the 70’s most rice fields did not use chemical fertilizers in South Asia.

      1. digi_owl

        It seems it is the same problem as with many African nations. Money crops over food crops, and the reliance on imports to cover the calorie deficit.

        Basically no better than a nation that has hinged its economy on the export of raw minerals or hydrocarbons.

        1. lance ringquist

          “The game of Darwinian economics and the enshrinement of market-miracle
          theology is really the systematic looting of the pockets and purses of
          the middle class”
          Jerry M. Landay of Bristol

          if you read the article, and have at least one functioning brain cell, you will see the fraud that is called free trade, its simply destroying sovereignty, for the purpose of looting.

          Ending Famine in malawi

          complete economic nonsense,

          “In the 1980s and again in the 1990s, the World Bank pushed Malawi to eliminate fertilizer subsidies entirely. Its theory both times was that Malawi’s farmers should shift to growing cash crops for export and use the foreign exchange earnings to import food, according to Jane Harrigan, an economist at the University of London.”

          1. digi_owl

            Ah yes, the world bank and IMF. delivering the banana in banana republic since WW2.

          2. Alyosha

            But they weren’t allowed to grow cannabis, a world famous product of Malawi, for export …

      1. Chas

        Thank you for this. I think Cuba is the world leader in organic and sustainable agriculture.

    2. Lambert Strether

      > It is striking to see in Cuban cities large complexes of apartments surrounded by acres of organic gardens. In the countryside, farmers use bulls and oxen to plow and tend their fields as has been done for hundreds of years.

      An interesting island to be on — or off — when the Jackpot really gets rolling.

    1. flora

      Thanks for the link. Looks like the Dem estab is again undermining a Dem candidate they don’t want. / ;)

      1. Heidi's Walker

        Biden doesn’t want to unite the country. He wants just enough republicans to change sides to re-elect him.

        “To defeat Trumpism we need only, say, 10 percent of Republicans to abandon their party and join with a center-left Biden, which is what he was elected to be and still is at heart. But we may not be able to get even 1 percent of Republicans to shift if far-left Democrats are seen as defining the party’s future,” Friedman wrote.

        1. marym

          The party has no far left Democrats. This is a useful (to both sides of the establishment) fiction promulgated by politicians and pundits as an excuse for Republicans who think they’re not far right to vote for far right Republicans anyway; and a scapegoat for center-right Democrats to blame when they lose to Republicans because they failed to do anything to win.

          1. albrt

            As a far-left individual, I can confirm that I want nothing to do with the Democrat party and will not vote for them.

        2. Mildred Montana

          >”center-left Biden, which is what he was elected to be and still is at heart”, Friedman wrote.

          Center-left Biden. LOL. He’s just another Dem right-winger masquerading as leftist.

          I was wondering how Friedman’s patent disinformation got through the fledgling Disinformation Governance Board and past the eagle eye of Nina Jankowicz.

          Then I discovered the reason. The DGB has been “paused” for 75 days and NJ has quit. LOL!

    1. flora

      Look like twit took down the embedded clip. It was a short clip from this week’s Davos/WEF of a small panel, 5 or 6 members, discussion where the Aussie member said things are getting polarized and it doesn’t have to be that way. “We” (meaning ‘they’) will need to “recallibrate human rights” (her exact words), things like freedom of speech and freedom of movement…. The panel participants all nodded in agreement.

      Caitlin Johnstone is right; they don’t want us to share accurate information.

    2. The Rev Kev

      If one of Russia’s Sarmat missiles accidentally “got away” and blew away the World Economic Forum, would people really care? And who would politicians take their orders from then? Asking for a friendly nation. ;)

    3. Acacia

      In other “unwelcome” news from the WEF, Kissinger apparently stated that the Ukraine should accept its place as a buffer state.

      1. Lambert Strether

        > Ukraine should accept its place as a buffer state.

        I know it’s a category error to conflate nation-states with persons. That said:

        “[M]uch will be gained if we succeed in transforming your hysterical misery into common unhappiness.” –Sigmund Freud

  7. Craig H.

    New York City removes the last payphone from service

    The last time I saw a pay phone is a memory as indelible as Elvis Presley dying. It’s at the Redwood Gate at Reinhardt Redwood Regional Park and you can still see it on google street view!

    37.80145631843445, -122.14457746228263

    It took me 40 seconds to find it.

    1. jr

      NYC’s pay phones have been falling apart for years, however they made decent urinals for drunks who didn’t want to be too blatant about public urination.

      Which reminds me of a recent in incident with a parking meter, the kind that dispenses the paper receipts. I was attempting to use one but couldn’t get it to work. Two traffic cops were approaching and I informed them it was broken. They simply said to download the app. They knew it was broken. I suspect purposeful neglect on the city’s part.

    2. ChristopherJ

      Here in Oz, payphones have been owned and operated by Telstra for years. You rarely see one outside of the local shops, but some in the poorer areas too.

      They are no longer payphones, all calls are free. They saved big time on that decision

  8. Wukchumni

    The 5 rivers here (we’re modest in only claiming 3 of them as our namesake) peaked weeks ago, and there’s an old saying in tiny town that is usually prescient in a normal year of snowpack in the higher climes:

    ‘If you go in before July, you’re gonna die’

    Took my first dip in our swimming hole yesterday and it was a bit nippy, but its really about the outside temperature and we struggled to get in the high 80’s yesterday, but no problemo as 102 is forecast for tomorrow.

    The best feature is a tight space between boulders where a rock seat on the bottom is, and you maneuver yourself into it, and about 5,000 fingers of whitewater caress your backside, a 55 degree jacuzzi.

    I’m worried about the big heat sure to visit this summer when it seems blackouts are inevitable. Got cave?

    1. The Rev Kev

      I take it that you are preparing a bug-out bag too in case of fierce fires accompany that high summer heat. From what you say, it looks like it is going to be a bad summer this year.

      1. Wukchumni

        When we were under mandatory evacuation for almost a fortnight, you realize that its just stuff in terms of what you might lose to the conflagration, wrangling up a posse of pussies is paramount.

        We really ought to take them on drives other than to the vet, I think we’ve traumatized four legs good.

        If Mother Nature rolls a 128 in the CVBB, you’ll find me just inside a failed copper mine that goes back about 50 feet with a standing 6-9 inches of water coursing through it and a chaise lounge with me in it.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Might be wise to take a coupla cartons of tinned cat food into that cave with you or you will never leave it.

          1. Wukchumni

            I can hear the plaintive wails from the inside of their cat carriers now, meowwwwwwwmeoutta here!

      2. MT_Wild

        My Type 1 IMT team has tried to roster (check if we had enough people available to go out on assignment) twice so far this spring and had to pull ourselves out of the national rotation.

        It’s way early and I’m sure that’s impacting peoples availability, but still an ominous sign. I think multiple historic wildfire years back to back are really wearing thin on the workforce.

        1. Wukchumni

          A 25 acre wildfire broke out today on Case Mountain above us, its way too soon for such things to happen, or used to be.

          Looks like it’ll be contained…

  9. Raymond Sim

    I’m short of time this morning, but I believe that comparison of the older epidemiological findings discussed in the WHO smallpox eradication compendium with more recent work makes for a pretty clear picture of a virus adapting for human-to-human spread.

    This is the Twitter page of Anne Remoin, who seems to be Queen of the Monkeypox, academically speaking:

    Links to more recent epidemiological and genomic studies can be found there.

  10. Nikkikat

    Love the antidote today, my cats never miss a bag or a box. Set one down and they are in heaven! Thanks NC.

  11. The Historian

    If anyone wants to understand why Biden will probably lose in 2024, that Friedman article explains it in explicit detail. I’m sure that wasn’t his goal, but he is so tone deaf that I don’t think he understands what it is that he is written.

    Friedman lauds Biden for taking us nearer to WW 3 – and Friedman apparently thinks that is a good thing. I’m betting most of the people in the US disagree.

    And then he opines that Biden thinks he can’t unite the country. Duh? Has he ever even tried? But of course Friedman thinks it is about social issues, abortion, racism, etc. Got news for Friedman – VERY FEW people plan for abortions and they only think about them when they need them – it is NOT something they think about every day. They don’t say: “I’ll plan for an abortion in 6 months”, but they do say: “Will I have enough baby formula for my children in 6 months? Will I be able to find clean peanut butter for my kid’s lunches in 6 months? Will I have a home or be able to heat it or be able to drive to work in 6 months? Will I be able to afford food or medical care in 6 months? Will I be able to pay my student loan in 6 months?” True to form, none of these things are on either Friedman or Biden’s radar – and Friedman and Biden are worried that they can’t ‘unite’ the country.

    And of course, Friedman spends a lot of time on “Trump BAD” but seriously? What has Biden done on any of the serious economic issues we face? If Trump BAD, isn’t Biden BAD also? Apparently that little gem has just flown over Friedman’s head too! I don’t think Trump BAD impresses many people these days when they see how their lives are going.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Back in 2008, Biden was doing fluff pieces as the presumed soon to be VP, and he told a story about going to a DC socialte’s Georgetown house with Ted Kennedy when Biden was a new Senator. While, the great and powerful spoke, Biden began fumbling with the table decorations. When they left, Ted informed Biden it was a fabrege egg. Biden took a “imagine, little old me” lesson from the story and nothing else. He’s a simpleton, desperate to be liked by the right people. Herbert Hoover is responsible for much of the opulence of the czars surviving. Two Irish Catholic guys kissing the a of some doofy WASP in Uber conservative Washington, anything South of the bridge by the zoo.

      You mention abortion, but he won’t even go to war with Manchin on Roe, a position largely supported by the whole country. Friedman and guys like him never hated Trump. They hate McDonald’s at the White House and not guy setting these interviews.

      We have so many crises, and Biden has largely fled to foreign policy so Republicans can’t be mean to him. He kept reiterating he was a capitalist last year. It’s such a bizarre line, but he’s really desperate for a lunch invite from the rich. He can’t even understand why they are mean to him over his lukewarm policies.

      1. super extra

        To your point, I had the inescapable feeling when I saw him at the White House Correspondants’ Dinner making shitty jokes that “this” – the feel of celebrity like what Obama got all those years and he was adjacent to, always a supporting actor, never the star – this was why everything had to happen the way it did. If he hadn’t participated in shafting Bernie, if he hadn’t declared covid over so he could kick off the proxy wars, if more than a million people hadn’t died – he wouldn’t have gotten that.

    2. lance ringquist

      you have to understand the mindset of a free trader,

      Significantly, Rambouillet stipulated:

      “The economy of Kosovo shall function in accordance with free market principles” and “There shall be no impediments to the free movement of persons, goods, services and capital to and from Kosovo.”

      During the war, Bill Clinton elaborated:

      “If we’re going to have a strong economic relationship that includes our ability to sell around the world Europe has got to be the key; that’s what this Kosovo thing is all about… It’s globalism versus tribalism.”

      In a March 28 New York Times article, Thomas Friedman wrote:

      “For globalization to work, America can’t be afraid to act like the almighty superpower that it is… The hidden hand of the market will never work without a hidden fist. McDonald’s cannot flourish without McDonnell Douglas, the designer of the F-15. And the hidden fist that keeps the world safe for Silicon Valley’s technologies is called the United States Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps.”

      “It’s not a single person that’s at issue, there’s a regime in place in Belgrade that is incompatible with the kind of economy that the World Bank… has to insist on…”

  12. The Rev Kev

    ‘💥Massive artillery work💥
    💥The assault on the Lyman continues: Russian “Торнадо” attacking the positions of the UAFnear the city,supporting the offensiv
    Large-scale artillery fire was conducted before the assault she helped a lot to break through the enemy’s defenses💥’

    Just to go with that video, here is one of the same town being hit with a TOS-1 thermobaric salvo on AFU positions- (22 secs)

  13. Ancient1

    I have a question for Commenters. It appears that Russia will achieve in’s goal of political and military victory in Ukraine. The question: What steps do you think the US/NATO will take when they see this happening? I follow Alexander Mercouris on his UTube site. He brought up this question yesterday along with a long analysis of happenings among some NATO members and some shadowing of events in US. I have a lot of concerns as Biden’s Administration has a lot of HRC’s Alum in State, NSC and CIA who are determined to destroy Russia and Biden refuses to use diplomacy to end this war. Thanks.

    1. Safety First

      Going to take a few stabs here…

      One – I think another question to add here is, at what point will the White House realise what is happening. Remember the Michele Flournoy article from Foreign Affairs linked-to yesterday. At least some of the “well-regarded policy experts” in Biden’s orbit seem to be full-on convinced that Russia is losing (or has lost), and its capitulation in some form is just a matter of time. I would not put it past a few of them to even think that with enough NATO-provided weapons Ukraine can launch a counteroffensive and roll back Russia’s gains in Kherson/Donbass.

      In a way, it’s kind of like Syria, where Russia’s intervention was viewed as ineffective and desperate until, all of a sudden, it was realised that no significant opposition enclaves existed outside of Idlib.

      So what this might mean is that US policy will look like something of a step function – we are doing A because we assume that Ukraine is winning, then, suddenly, we lurch to B because we have realised that it is not and we need to do something else.

      Two – if history of US policy in the past few decades is anything to go by, Washington’s response to just about any setback has been to double down.

      In other words, if sanctions and an economic blockade isn’t working, we need more sanctions and more economic blockade. If pumping Ukraine full of weapons and mercs (the Russian defence ministry now claims something like six thousand “foreign mercenaries” in the country, though who knows what the real figure is) hasn’t led to a victory, we need…to put in more weapons. And so on.

      In a way, I do not see them do anything different – just more of the same – until and unless Ukraine’s capacity for independent military operations is ended. Which, again, I do not see happening until most of the country, except for the western-most portion, is under Russian control. So in the interim, more sanctions, more weapons, and maybe someone at the CIA can push through some funding for “insurgency operations” in Russian-controlled area, though given the CIA’s own track record on this at least half the money will just disappear into a black hole never to be seen again outside of expensive Swiss resorts.

      Three – but let’s say they realise that Ukraine is losing, and they realise that they need to do something else because Ukraine’s own military isn’t cutting it. The next phase will probably – possibly – be something like what happened in Syria, where much of the country is controlled by Assad, but several enclaves controlled by either the rebels or the US still exist. [As of last year, there were still circa 900 US troops stationed on Syrian territory – not a lot, but something.]

      The most logical thing here is to let the Poles occupy the western portion of the country. It’s a NATO contingent, so the Russians are unlikely to attack it unless forced to, and it would involve few, if any, Americans, meaning that if any fur were to fly it would be the “colonials” taking the resulting casualties, not the “white sahibs”. This western portion would then be a) used to justify continued economic and diplomatic warfare viz. the Russians, since it would be still a nominally independent Ukraine; b) used as a base of operations for propaganda and insurgency initiatives in Russian-controlled Ukraine; and c) used as a highly convenient place for Pentagon and the CIA to wash billions of budget dollars through. Again, these people – the White House and its advisers, I mean – seem to be utterly convinced that Russia is weak, that Russia is unable to withstand a lengthy attritional conflict, and that Russia can and will be ground down without direct US military intervention. Well, ok, let’s double down then. They’ve kept up sanctions against Cuba and North Korea for over a half-century each, so it’s not as if there isn’t precedent for them playing the ultra-long game, if you will.

      In other words, I do not think that the US wants to escalate to open war between NATO and the Russians, though there is enough ingrained stupidity there to leave that as something of a possibility. But I also do not see the Americans, certainly not this administration and not the Democratic Party as a whole, backing down. They have almost never backed down, this is why withdrawal from Afghanistan was met with such rage by the Washington elites, and this is why no-one wants to remember something like Somalia. The question is, will they just keep “feeding” Ukraine until the Russians grind down the last nub of resistance, or will they say “screw it” and just send the Poles in at some point to “freeze” the conflict along some geographic boundary, and here we’re back to the question of how quickly are they even capable of recognising and reacting to changing military circumstances.

      So there are my thoughts this morning. Personal opinion and all that.

    2. Ranger Rick

      Win or lose, what happens to international relations with Russia afterwards? It’s too, shall we say, “rich” to remain a pariah state forever a la North Korea. And in the event that relations are re-established, what message does that send to other revanchist nations pondering military adventures?

      1. Lambert Strether

        > t’s too, shall we say, “rich” to remain a pariah state forever a la North Korea.

        Look at a world map of our sanctions. Many many countries are not participating at all.

      2. Polar Socialist

        Russia is the most powerful country in Europe and second in Asia. It has more natural resources than any other country in the world. It can not be made into pariah, but a global instability can be created by trying.

    3. Raymond Sim

      I’m inclined towards Michael Hudson’s view: The war is a US war against Europe. I think the US would be willing to see Poland, Hungary, and Turkey hive off of NATO if the rump were sufficiently incapable of resisting US dictates.

      Thus I wouldn’t be suprised to see Ukraine dismembered in a way that induces bordering countries to enter into some new sort of nonaggression pact type of security structure in Eastern Europe, with Russia guaranteeing the peace. I think something similar involving Turkey might come to prevail in the Caucasus and Balkans.

      The elephant in the room here is the fact that this idiotic foreign policy is being concocted by dimwitted Israel-firsters. Not that it’s in Israel’s long-term interests either. The Russophobia and obsession with unipolar US power all comes down to the fact that Israel’s continued existence in its current form has, since ’73 at the latest, been contingent on US writ being world law. Only dimwits would think that situation could be made to last forever, and it takes some sort of super-ultra dimwit not to notice that they’re hastening the process they’re trying to prevent, but here we are.

    4. Bsn

      One step will be to not let the average person see what has happened. There will be endless articles and interviews with resistance fighters, grandmothers and children warriors and a groundswell of insurgency stories, both current and past. We will hear quite a bit about Russia’s “mock trials” that will be held as well. Also, when the heavy artillery and filmable battles have ended, the MSM will declare victory in that Ukraine has not been completely conquered. Then comes the rebuilding.

      1. Lambert Strether

        > resistance fighters

        That word “resistance” somehow snuck in.

        I’m convinced one reason all the “In This House” crowd lost their minds over Ukraine is that they have a “resistance”-shaped hole in their heads, and they identify their “resistance” to Trump with “resistance” by Ukraine to Trump’s puppet master, Putin.

    5. David

      I’m sticking with my prediction that the West will redefine any likely outcome as a victory, or at least the avoidance of a defeat, and congratulate itself on what it has managed to save. The point is that, in a conflict like this, victory and defeat are asymmetrical: a Russian “victory”, in terms of their announced objectives, can still be spun as a “defeat” by the West, in terms of the most lurid western fears of a major Russian thrust into Europe intended to occupy Ukraine, the Baltics and, for all I know, Poland. To the extent that the absolute, absolute, worst conceivable does not happen, the West will be able to praise its own resilience and dedication, the bravery of the Ukrainians etc.

      The problem, of course is what comes next. In a sense, it doesn’t really matter. NATO/the US and even more the EU are a busted flush, reduced essentially to spectators: the boxing manager yelling encouragement from the ringside while their fighter is having seven shades of sh*t kicked out of him by his opponent. The US and NATO are militarily inferior to Russia in and around Europe, and for that matter in the Middle East as well. It would take ten years, unimaginable investments in technology and infrastructure, and the return of compulsory military service in Europe to change that. In the interim, the US/NATO might be able to constitute a nuisance via what remains of Ukraine, but nothing more.

      The really interesting question is the political reaction in western capitals, especially after the fantasy-based war which western publics have been sold. I’m not sure NATO will survive in anything but a shadow form: what’s the point of a military alliance which has very little actual military capability, and can only manage economic sanctions? The political consequences in the US I leave to others, but I can’t imagine the sudden realisation of powerlessness will be very pleasant.

      1. Petter

        Jens Stoltenberg, the head of NATO, spoke at Davos and warned about economic ties to Russia and China.
        “Freedom is more important than free trade. The protection of our values is more important than profit,” Stoltenberg told the World Economic Forum.”
        I’m not going to even bother to critique what he said but given that he gets his orders from Washington, it implies that China may be next (which others have pointed out.)
        If he was still Prime Minister of Norway he wouldn’t be making these statements, for economic reasons.

        1. lyman alpha blob

          RE: values are more important than profits

          Did the Davos crowd lose their top hats and monocles due to excessive laughter when he let drop those bons mots? The article doesn’t say…

        2. JohnA

          Stoltenberg had been lined up as the next head of the Bank of Norway this autumn. But has since been given a 12-month extension by Nato. Not sure if the bank seat is being kept warm for him in the meantime, it was a political appointment anyway, but he would have to wear two hats if that were the case.
          Of course, he could also as Nato SG, agree to the crazy Polish suggestion that Norway donate its war-related gas profits to plucky little Ukraine.

      2. Lambert Strether

        > to save. The point is that, in a conflict like this, victory and defeat are asymmetrical: a Russian “victory”, in terms of their announced objectives, can still be spun as a “defeat” by the West

        Not, I think, if Russia takes Odessa* and the Black Sea coast. That would be an unequivocal, highly visible defeat, and undeniable for (in order) Azov (put in charge of Odessa by Zelensky), Ukraine, NATO, the United States, and The Blob. It seems to me that the sudden queasiness of the adults (e.g., Kissinger) is a realization that this could actually happen if the Ukraine Donbas line cracks, which it will when sufficiently attritted, and if Russia is willing to invest the resources. Indeed, from my armchair at 30,000 feet, it would strike me as extremely curious and disconcerting if Russia does not do it. (Kiev is nothing besides the Black Sea coast; some pretty buildings and no more.)

        NOTE * Have to starve them out to avoid shelling the Opera House, etc. Odessa has tunnels, too. But IIRC siege warfare, scientifically conducted, always ends in defeat for the defenders, all other things being equal.

        1. David

          Agreed that would be a defeat, and I think it’s likely (Odessa is a lovely city so I hope there’s no actual fighting). But if you watch carefully and have the stomach for it, you can see a western narrative being road-tested which says something like ” Putin’s original aim was to take Kiev and annex the entire country. But he was defeated because brave Ukrainians/western aid and so has lashed out violently destroying everything in the east of the country. Hurrah for us, stopping aggression, moral victory etc.” I saw a piece this week by Anatol Lieven saying pretty much this, and he’s enlightened compared to most of the hacks writing on this subject. In a lifetime of being in and around politics, I have yet to see a defeat that cannot be presented as a victory, even a moral one. People still mock Emperor Hirohito’s address in 1945 (“not necessarily to Japan’s advantage”) but he was an amateur.

    6. lyman alpha blob

      The US will futz around for a while with useless arms and sanctions, pretending victory is just around the corner until a better war opportunity shows up, at which point it will leave with tail between legs, stop talking about Ukraine, and pretend it all never happened. See: Afghanistan.

  14. The Rev Kev

    “Germany to Bring Back Coal Power Plants If Russia Cuts Gas”

    I would not be surprised if the Germans Greens soon demanded that nuclear power plants be re-activate and brought online to deal with the energy crisis that Germany will be facing – which they helped cause. And when this happens, they will have the hide to declare that it has to be done because it is more environmentally more friendly than coal or oil.

        1. flora

          Biden expects big oil to pass along their corporate production savings to consumers? hahahaha.

          1. lance ringquist

            not a chance, just like everytime we will suspend the gas tax. the parasites drool when ever that is brought up.

      1. Pat

        At some point I would love to see the maps on this. I admit to wondering if his acreage has as much control over water as I would bet.

  15. Carolinian

    Despite the pearl clutching “plot” in the headline “Republicans plot foreign intervention pullback” has some interesting info.

    we all share a sense that the foreign policy that was dominant on the right prior to Trump was not making America safer and was becoming increasingly unpopular with the GOP base

    To be sure the notion of a political party that cares about what the public thinks is at odds with the “thought leader” mania of the Dems and their desire to suppress all skepticism regarding their off the wall foreign policy. One can count off the minutes before articles mentioning America First and Father Coughlin begin to analyze this as a throwback to those dangerous 20th century populists and their xenophobia.

    But even if one assumes the Repub politicians are being cynical and insincere, the cynical and insincere Dems are setting them up by leading with their glass jaw war rationalizations. Chomsky has said that dictators too have to worry about the consent of the governed. The warmongers in Congress are on very thin ice and it’s cracking.

    1. pjay

      Yes. This “plot” is specifically linked to Trump so as to associate such “pullback” with right-wing extremism. The Father Coughlin parallels are already common, given that Trump loves Putin and Putin = Hitler, etc.

      I’m not sure how unpopular warmongering is yet with the GOP base, or any base. It still seems to be a pretty successful political strategy. Perhaps not so much “popular” as very easily manipulated. However, if a popular (pseudo) “populist” like Trump pushed an antiwar narrative hard enough, and honestly enough, it would be. That’s the real threat of such a “plot” to the Establishment. Given the overwhelming opposition by the “MICIMATT” complex (see Ray McGovern), I’m not hopeful this will amount to much. Nice of Axios to warn us of this danger, though.

      1. Carolinian

        Trump was always a populist threat with his talk about the swamp and criticism of the Iraq war and the Republican establishment. Of course the problem was that Trump simply wanted to be popular, not one of those old style commie populists. At heart he’s another rich guy defending the interests of his class.

        And yet…..he would be on a mission of revenge if he ran again and still might make the swamp’s collective head explode. And for all of his world wrestling trash talk he doesn’t seem to be a war guy (WWE itself just a big show). If he had been re-elected I don’t think we would have had this war in Ukraine.

        Which is not a wish that he does run. Enough with the lesser of two evils. There must be another way out.

        1. ambrit

          “There must be another way out.”
          There is, and one approved by the International Elites: The Grave.

  16. Mikel

    “Neuroscientists Have Discovered a Phenomenon That They Can’t Explain”

    I’m absolutely mortified by this statement:

    “If such flux is common, “there must be mechanisms in the brain that are undiscovered and even unimagined that allow it to keep up,” Schoonover said.

    These fools are out there prognosticating and such under the notion that there WEREN’T parts of the brain undiscovered and unimagined?
    Do you have to be a neuroscientist to know that?????

    I’ll bet these are the types of fools Meta likes talking to…

  17. The Rev Kev

    “Neuroscientists Have Discovered a Phenomenon That They Can’t Explain”

    I can’t really see the problem here when they say that the cells containing a memory change location over time. You would expect that. So suppose that once a memory was made, it stayed in the same place forever. But that would mean that if the brain was damaged, that memory would be gone as in forever. It could have been the memories of how to walk. But we know that people with damaged brains learn to rewire brains in order to function again. As to why they move, it may be that the brain is doing so to better organize what it knows. Do you really need a childhood memory competing for priority space with a new skill? That is the strength of a brain. The fact that it is flexible so what those scientists report is what is supposed to happen. Maybe those scientists should junk their ideas and find new ones that match the collected data.

      1. Mikel

        Ouch. Never heard that one before. Is that statement on a plaque in Musk’s office, too?

        1. ambrit

          It’s right up there with Bohr’s retort to Einstein.
          Einstein said, “G– doesn’t play dice with the universe.”
          Bohr replied, “Einstein, stop telling G– what to do.”

    1. Susan the other

      Makes me wonder a little about the mechanism that causes autism. Autistics have trouble being flexible. They have less than optimum “drift” in their synapses, no doubt.

  18. Mikel

    “$28 for a beer? New York airports crack down on ‘exorbitant’ food and drink” Guardian

    Never had a meal that was decent at an airport. Something always has something “off” about it.

    1. albrt

      I’ve had a few that were comparable to what you can get off the roller machine at one of the better truckstops in Oklahoma around midnight, so could be worse.

  19. Wukchumni

    About 10 days ago my Sequoia hunter friend and I found a tree of size on a steep slope in the Atwell Grove we hadn’t seen before with an amazing 34 foot wide fluted base on the backside, where 1/3rd of the base of the tree had burned off in a fire eons ago…

    He’s attempting to see the 100 largest giants, and this one intrigued us so we went back for another walk on Saturday to do more precise measurements in his bag of high tech tools. It takes about an hour to size them up and this specimen is 220 feet tall which isn’t as tall as you’d like them to be in order to make the list, but you go with the tree you have-not the one you want. In the baum’s favor, it didn’t taper much-a plus.

    He has a computer program he feeds the info into and came up with 26,047 cubic feet, which places it as #82 on the list of 100 largest*, congratulations are in order!

    *a very temporal list, as there’s always some new ancient Sequoia muscling in on the action in the #50 through #100.

      1. Wukchumni

        Any reason to wander in the Sierra Nevada only adds to its allure, searching for Sequoias of size… spectacular

  20. Mikel

    NYC – LinkNYC

    These public kiosks have me thinking of outdoor ATMs.
    The outdoor, sidewalk ATMs have been said to be the most least secure use.

    Even gasoline pumps have become a target.
    Some banks have security features that text alert when someone uses a pump that is out of their ordinary routine.

    1. flora

      Thanks for the link. I wonder if subsoil compaction slows groundwater recharge rates in the corn/soy/wheat belts of farming? Does it make droughts worse for residual soil moisture?

    2. Late Introvert

      Um, tiling does far, far more damage. As in, let the soil run down the creek to the river to the Gulf, along with all the hog doo and fertilizer and pesticides. Next time you eat cereal think about that.

  21. Jason Boxman

    A future where people get Covid several times per year could have major implications for the immune-compromised and anyone seeking health care in a perennially stretched system. And it will ripple through schools and workplaces strained by illness. “It’s very disruptive to the functioning of society to have repeat surges and repeat infections with new variants every few months,” Abraar Karan, an infectious disease specialist at Stanford University, told me. Resurgences are “very, very disruptive—you’re still sick enough to be out of work, to have to be at home.”

    And who’s going to stay home that isn’t too sick to go to work? There isn’t any more material support for working people now that get sick than there was before. Good luck getting people to self-quarantine for free, particularly now that COVID is “over”.

  22. wendigo

    No wonder Pete Buttigieg is destined for greatness.

    Who else could pull off explaining the baby food shortage as “because markets,go die” as a virtue of capitalism.

  23. Mikel

    “In 1988 DA Henderson and colleagues at WHO published the smallpox eradication “redbook” (1473 pages, 3.1 kg!).

    𝙒𝙝𝙮?? Because they were concerned their hard-won knowledge would evaporate.”

    Narrator: Little did they know all research was in the same danger.

  24. none

    The earlier headline I saw about NY payphones said the last PUBLIC one had been taken out of service (e.g. from a street corner). That made me think there were still some in less-public spaces such as airports. Maybe I’m wrong, I didn’t check into it. It seemed like a bad development but not yet maximally bad.

  25. Mikel

    “Terra Collapse Triggers $83 Billion Decentralized Finance Slump” Bloomberg

    They keep throwing out that word “decentralized”. The collapse doesn’t seem to be “decentralized” . The way they are trying to deal with it doesn’t seem “decentralized.”

    1. Wukchumni

      Hello? (Hello? Hello? Hello?)

      Is there anybody in there?
      Just nod if you can hear me
      Is there anyone home?
      Come on now
      I hear you’re feeling down
      Well I can ease your pain
      Get your cryptos up again
      I’ll need some information first
      Just the basic facts
      Can you show me where it hertz?

      There is no pain you are receding
      A distant bunch of 1’s & 0’s on the horizon
      Sellers are only coming through in waves
      Your blips move but I can’t understand what you’re saying
      When I was on the outside looking in I had a feeling
      The bubble felt just like two balloons
      Now I’ve got that feeling once again
      I can’t explain you would not understand
      This is not how I am
      1’s & 0’s have made you uncomfortably numb

      1’s & 0’s have made you uncomfortably numb

      Okay (okay, okay, okay)
      Just a little pinprick
      There’ll be no more, ah
      But you may feel a little sick
      Can you stand up?
      I do believe it’s working, good
      That’ll keep you going through your dough
      Come on it’s time to go

  26. Wukchumni

    We McCarthyites are peeved that My Kevin wont take our calls to come to a town hall meeting here and meet his constituency, I promise awkward questions would be kept to a minimum amount in the low double figures, recorded for all posterity by something that looks awfully similar to the alien monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey, but fits into the palm of your hand.

  27. Mikel
    This is the leading theory to explain the spread of the disease at raves held in Spain and Belgium, a leading adviser to the World Health Organization said.

    Dr. David Heymann, who formerly headed WHO’s emergencies department, told The Associated Press that the leading theory to explain the spread of the disease was sexual transmission at raves held in Spain and Belgium. Monkeypox has not previously triggered widespread outbreaks beyond Africa, where it is endemic in animals.

    “We know monkeypox can spread when there is close contact with the lesions of someone who is infected, and it looks like sexual contact has now amplified that transmission,” said Heymann.

    That marks a significant departure from the disease’s typical pattern of spread in central and western Africa, where people are mainly infected by animals like wild rodents and primates and outbreaks have not spilled across borders.

  28. Maxwell Johnston

    “Per gli italiani il primo obiettivo è la tregua”:

    Italians are getting tired of the Ukraine conflict. Draghi’s recent visit to Uncle Joe was portrayed as a show of solidarity, but in fact Draghi was pushing hard for a diplomatic solution (and at the post-meeting presser he openly admitted that most EU nations would end up paying rubles for RU gas). Last Friday there was a general strike in Italy, to protest against money going to UKR that might better be spent domestically, didn’t get much press coverage in the Anglo-American media as it goes against the narrative:

  29. Wukchumni

    We still have 3 payphones (the only electricity on the mountain is vis a vis phone lines) in Mineral King, one of them @ the trailhead to White Chief Canyon, Eagle Lake & Mosquito Lakes and is on property still owned by Disney Corp and is known to locals as the Disney Parking Lot. (a buried 250 gallon single wall gas tank from the 40’s was just removed last week, in prep for re-paving the road and parking lots, starting next year)

    The others are @ the Sawtooth trailhead parking lot and Silver City.

    In other fateful news, the Marmot Cong has been spotted in Silver City, which is about 400 feet lower in altitude than where you typically see them on the Hồ Chí Minheral King trail. No radiator hoses have been violated yet, but its just a matter of time.

    Is is any coincidence that Antifa and anti-freeze have the same first 5 letters, I think not.

    1. LawnDart

      I saw a payphone in the wild last year in Cameron, WI. I made sure to snap a pic because who would believe it?

  30. LawnDart

    Re; They’re Worried About The Spread Of Information, Not Disinformation

    Caitlin Johnstone’s piece hits hard and true.

    It seems difficult to believe that we allow ourselves to be lorded-over by such scum. The “two-party system” is not a system of representation as it is a control-mechanism. We can gleefully gush over the oddball iconoclasts (AOC, Bernie, Fetterman, etc.), but ultimately these are assimilated into the Borg, serving as vent-valves that disperse potentially dangerous energies which could disrupt the functioning of the oligarch’s sausage-making machine. By participating in the system of control, they are enabling the system of control: these are not the heros that anyone should be looking towards.

    This “democracy” isn’t. It is a lie, and it is the enemy of life itself and it is killing us. Literally.

    I do have a solution. We begin by withdrawing our consent. We reduce our participation in the lies that bind us. We speak truths, and do not indulge the lies– we call it as it is. And that is how we destroy the power of those who strive to control us.

    1. Mildred Montana

      >”We begin by withdrawing our consent. We reduce our participation in the lies that bind us.”

      Already ~50% of Americans don’t participate in elections. What’s it gonna take for the facade of American democracy to be smashed? 60%? 70%? More?

      I suggest None of the Above as an alternative on all ballots. If NOTA gets enough votes, that might be a wake-up call to the smug political elite.

      1. jrkrideau

        We have a provincial eletion in a couple of weeks and I am told there is a “None Of The Above” party candidate on the ballot in my riding.

        1. CanCyn

          Assuming by your handle you’re somewhere in eastern Ontario? Looks like 3 Ottawa ridings and Carlton have candidates! Unfortunately none in my riding – Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston. Too bad. My one hope is two ultra right parties added to the original Conservative party may split the conservative vote, this riding is always Conservative. Maybe not this time.
          Link to the NOTA candidate list:

      2. Late Introvert

        Agree that NOTA is the next step. Whenever I go on and on about how corrupt the two war parties are, doing the bidding of the rich, and I’m very convincing without placing blame or building up partisan rancor, people ask me what is the one thing you would change?

        Get the corporate money out of campaigns, and everyone nods yes. So NOTA first, then that.

  31. RobertC

    New Not-So-Cold War

    NATO member Hungary shares a 549 mile border with Ukraine’s Zakarpattia Oblast Hungary’s government gets emergency powers due to Ukraine war, PM Orban says

    BUDAPEST, May 24 (Reuters) – Hungary’s government will assume emergency powers in order to be able to respond more quickly to challenges created by the war in neighbouring Ukraine, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said in a Facebook video on Tuesday.

    …”The world is on the brink of an economic crisis,” Orban also said in the video, reiterating that Hungary must stay out of the war in Ukraine and “protect families’ financial security.”

  32. RobertC


    I like this guy Taiwan radio enthusiasts tune in as Chinese, U.S. warplanes crowd sensitive skies

    SYUHAI, Taiwan, May 24 (Reuters) – Shortly after dawn on a southern Taiwanese beach, Robin Hsu’s iPhone pings with the first radio message of the day from Taiwan’s air force as it warns away Chinese aircraft.

    …”The Chinese Communist planes are like flies on your dining table. If you kill them on your plate then your meal is ruined,” said Hsu, 50, a tour guide and a military enthusiast. “All you can do is to wave them away.”

    …”I want people to know the Chinese Communist planes are very close to us,” said Hsu, who releases his recordings on a Facebook page that has attracted nearly 16,000 followers and is widely tracked by Taiwanese media.

  33. KD

    “Neuroscientists Have Discovered a Phenomenon That They Can’t Explain”

    How long will the cursed assumption of cognitive representationalism creak along unexamined, as we stand in the shadows of the ghosts of Wittgenstein and Heidegger. Representationalism didn’t even make sense when people still believed in a Cartesian mind substance, even less so once you jettison the philosophical “mind”.

    Prior to 1975, “brains” didn’t know anything, flesh and blood people “knew” things. To date, no evidence that brains know anything. If anything knows, it is the heart, followed by the gut.

    1. Late Introvert

      The brain keeps shifting, and these so-called scientists can’t measure it. Sounds about right to me.

  34. jrkrideau

    The Sydney Morning Herald did not mention that if Scotty From Marketing just had wanted nuclear submarines he could have bought the standard French model off the shelf. The Australian order involved the French firm doing some major redesign to turn a nuc into a diesel-electric.

    I wonder why Macron was a bit annoyed?

    1. The Rev Kev

      Side note – I believe that the French nuke sub used nuclear fuel that was low grade and easily procurable whereas US sub fuel is really high grade stuff and only really available fro the US. But this whole thing about Scotty back-stabbing the French was just a demonstration of how he typically worked with people. He was and is a bully and you could see the smugness on his face when he announced that the French deal was toast. He relished putting the boot into people and he seems not to have cared that this was a whole major country that this being done to – consequences be damned.

  35. RobertC


    LINK: Uyghurs urge UN rights chief to ask hard questions in Xinjiang Bangkok Post

    See also China Claims Sabotage as UN Rights Official Visits Xinjiang U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet is in China, the first such trip since 2005, to investigate abuses against Muslim minorities.

    China has long held back the fact-finding mission led by Michelle Bachelet, focused on allegations of mass confinement, forced labor, and compulsory birth control measures imposed on members of the Uyghur, Kazakh, and other Muslim minorities.

    I hope the report addresses these two topics:

    (1) Did China treat all Xinjiang-resident citizens according to law? If not, why not?

    (2) Did China single out the Uyghur, Kazakh and other non-Han Xinjiang-resident citizens to abusive treatment beyond the law? If so, what were the reasons?

    1. Jacob Hatch

      I’m sure they will be as widely read as the reports under her watch on US war crimes against Venezuela, Sudan, Yemen, etc. She use to be defense minister, so well set up with MIC-IMATTS retirement funds.

  36. LawnDart

    Too good not to steal:

    I’m glad it’s riding-season again in much of the Northern hemisphere– I hate driving a cage, and with the price of gas… that it’s 30x as likely to kill you as driving a car seems like a fair trade, so long as I get to take a header through the driver’s side window of the MF who cuts me off. Hell, if I die in my sleep, it’ll be closed-casket anyway because I am one ugly SOB.

  37. The Rev Kev

    Cranky, 91 year-old man tells WEF that Russia must be defeated quickly to save his legacy and to save the planet from climate change. Also says that that Chinese leader Xi Jinping has damaged his legitimacy with Covid-19 lockdowns in Shanghai and elsewhere as everybody knows that Let Er Rip is the only mature policy to do. Hasn’t he got some clouds that he could yell at instead?

    1. Late Introvert

      Remember when the right’s demonization of Queen Elizabeth and Soros were being mocked by liberals? Oh wait.

  38. Late Introvert

    I must say my comments that most (mis)appropriate our hosts’ snark are the most likely to head to moderation, but am grateful when they get approved. Thanks to the mods at NC.

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