Links 5/25/2022

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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.

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Stop Doomscrolling and Look at These Photos of the Milky Way Instead Vice (David L)

One step closer to making terahertz technology usable in the real world PhysOrg (Kevin W)

Why a sculptor pivoted from gallery installations to big-box stores design aeon (Chuck L)

The Lingering Mystery of Gulf War Syndrome CounterPunch (resilc)

What’s in your weed? You might be surprised PhysOrg (Chuck L)



Reports of ‘Paxlovid rebound’ have Covid experts looking for theories STAT (J-LS)


The Wetlands Are Drowning Wired

The Climate Crisis Is Messing With Earth’s Water Cycle Treehugger (resilc)

Wax Worm Saliva Contains Enzymes Capable Of Breaking Down Plastics Eurasian Review (David L)

A New Enzyme Found in Compost Just Set a Speed Record For Breaking Down Plastic Science Alert (Chuck L)

As liquified gas exports surge at Port Everglades, risk of catastrophic accident rises Florida Bulldog. Chuck L: “LNG Ground Transport = Catastrophic Accident Futures.”

IPEF will be a hard sell in Indo-Pacific Indian Punchline (J-LS)

North Korea Fires Suspected ICBM as Biden Wraps Up Asia Tour Bloomberg


China should move reserves out of US Treasuries Asia Times (Kevin W)

Canada bans Huawei equipment from 5G networks, orders removal by 2024 The Verge. From a few days ago…

Airbnb to close in China amid repeated Covid lockdowns Guardian (resilc)

Photos: Deadly floods cause havoc in Bangladesh, northeast India Al Jazeera (resilc)


In Modi’s Talks with US, Australian, Japanese Counterparts, Ukraine, Defence, Technology Dominate The Wire (J-LS)

India imposes restrictions on sugar exports from June 1 Hindustan Times (J-LS)

Assam floods: ‘Unusual’ pre-monsoon rains and human activity make a deadly combination Scroll (J-LS)

Old Blighty

Exclusive: Prime Minister Boris Johnson pictured drinking at Downing Street party during lockdown ITV News (J-LS)

New Not-So-Cold War

Henry Kissinger: Ukraine must give Russia territory Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

Ukraine invasion may be start of ‘third world war’, says George Soros Guardian (Kevin W). This is rich. I saw Soros in person, in an interview by Chrystia Freeland, take some credit for the 2014 Maidan coup. Said his Open Society Foundation had provided grants to every member of the coup government, either directly or through an immediate family member. Recall that that administration had 15% neo-Nazi membership, versus 1-2% in the population as of then.

Soros says ‘defeat Putin ASAP to preserve our civilization’ RT. Moi: How many divisions does Soros have? Kevin W:

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?

* * *

‘Russia Had To Begin Special Operation To Stop Genocide In Ukraine’: Russian Defence Min Republic World (J-LS)

* * *

The Secret American Plan to Make Russia Great Again Dimitri Orlov, The Saker (Chuck L). Ouch!

War porn types will like this site, see latest video: Ukraine. Military Summary And Analysis 24.05.2022 Military Summary, YouTube

In the Kherson region, they spoke about the goal of becoming part of Russia:
Deputy head of the Kherson VGA Stremousov announced the plans of the region to become a subject of Russia (Michael W). Original here.

Russia set to stop surrogacy for foreigners South China Morning Post (J-LS)

Viktor Orbán declares state of emergency over crisis caused by Ukraine war Financial Times. Seems not to be paywalled.

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Twenty-Two House Republicans Demand Accountability on Biden’s $40b War Spending Glenn Greenwald

* * *

US tries to force Russian default RT (Kevin W)

Harsh Winter Could Force Europe to Ration Gas, Global Energy Leader Warns New York Times (Kevin W)

Mountain labs turn Honduras from cocaine way station into producer Guardian (resilc)


Iran: Arrests Amid Economic Protests: Attempt to Suppress Growing Social Movements Juan Cole (resilc)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

The Surveillance State Is Primed for Criminalized Abortion Wired (Dr. Kevin)

Imperial Collapse Watch

Stumbling Toward War On Two Fronts American Conservative (resilc)

US ‘uses Terrorists As Geopolitical Tool’ Against Moscow, Claims Russian Security Official Republic World (J-LS)

A Hot, Deadly Summer Is Coming With Frequent Blackouts MSN (resilc)

Kemp defeats Perdue in Georgia, delivering loss for Trump The Hill

But: Sarah Huckabee Sanders Wins Primary for Arkansas Governor Bloomberg

New York House map spurs anger, chaos The Hill

The report on Southern Baptist abuses is a portrait of brutal misogyny Washington Post (furzy)


Horror turns to fury over Texas school shooting The Hill

Inflation/Supply Chain

Natural gas market is hurtling toward historic winter shortages Bloomberg

Solicitation for Public Comments on Factors that May Have Contributed to the Infant Formula Shortage and Its Impact on Families and Retailers FTC. You can weigh in!

India limits sugar exports at 10 million tonnes Reuters. India is the world’s second biggest sugar exporter.

US New Home Sales Plummet, Inventory Rises To The Highest Level Since 2008 Better Dwelling

The Future of Drugs Is a Synthetic Cocktail From Hell Vice (resilc)

Can ‘self serve’ save the small town grocery? MPR News. Chuck L: “This could be game changing for small town America.”

The Crypto Kings Are Making Big Political Donations. What Could Go Wrong? New Republic (resilc)

Guillotine Watch

Elon Musk accuses Bill Gates of funding his critics as feud between the billionaires deepens Daily Mail (J-LS)

Antidote du jour (Tracie H):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Hickory

    I wonder how long till the phl7 plastic eating enzyme becomes integrated into a wild bacteria that starts eating all plastics old and new. How awesome would that be?

    Now to look for enzymes to eat pfas.

    1. Paradan

      It would pretty much be the end of modern medicine. No more hospitals, no more surgery…

      1. Hickory

        I would take that trade. If modern medicine depends on massive amounts toxic materials that will pollute the planet for centuries to come, then it’s time for a reboot.

    2. JTMcPhee

      How about enzyme that eats belly fat?

      Judging by flash and banner ads in my feed from NC, that seems to be a serious global problem (leans forward and attempts to gaze at navel…)

    3. Watt4Bob

      IIRC, at the end of the Andromeda Strain, the deadly organism from space quits killing people because it evolves into a plastic-eating version of itself.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Yeah, I remember how that book ends. The Andromeda Strain migrates to the upper atmosphere and then it is revealed that ‘a crewed spacecraft Andros V was incinerated during atmospheric re-entry, presumably because Andromeda had eaten its tungsten/plastic laminate heat shield and caused it to burn up.’ In other words, the space age was over and we could never leave the planet again.

    4. Gordon

      ...eating all plastics old and new. How awesome would that be?

      Including water and sewerage pipes, electrical insulation and more. Very awesome!

      1. chris

        What can change?

        There’s even less appetite among our leaders for enacting “gun control laws” than there is to protect “rights” like abortion. Most representatives and senators don’t know anything about guns and they don’t have any clue how to write good legislation that would even help the problem at the margins. There are still numerous lobbyists and a lot of money for “gun rights.” And even the latest pushes to address what supposedly is a mental health crisis driving these tragedies will be quickly forgotten. Until it’s a senator’s kid I don’t think anyone in our government will get serious about this.

        We’re a well armed, violent, people. Citizens have any number of reasons to lash out with the weapons they have. I’m shocked these horrible mass shootings aren’t more common than they already are. I honestly don’t know what could be done in the US to prevent this from happening. Certainly nothing that has any political constituency behind it.

        1. Wukchumni

          Hear, here.

          My brother in laws who both voted for Trump twice and never owned a gat say 20 years ago and now employ several @ their disposal, and at our family xmas last year, I inquired under what circumstances both would deploy their index fingers-the tips in particular?

          They both told me that somebody trying to steal their stuff, would be grounds for high velocity.

          These are guys in their late 60’s-early 70’s, both engineers with long careers, willing to kill over material goods… nothing personal.

          1. LaRuse

            You just described my dad. I grew up in a home with firearms. I recall early lessons on how to live with and around guns respectfully and safely. 35 years later, my dad now boasts about his modified AR15s and blowing up stupid stuff in his back yard. If he and I were to talk today in the wake of yesterday’s massacre, he would almost certainly blame the kids and teachers for not firing back or the lack of bullet proof vests on the kids or decide that the shooter was an illegal immigrant and if only we had no illegals in the country, those kids wouldn’t be dead. Fortunately, he and I won’t talk and rarely do anymore.
            On this bleak, gray morning, I dropped my daughter off at school where she walked past the flags so low they nearly brushed the ground. There were two cop cars at the school this morning instead of just the usual one. And apparently Richmond City schools, just to the north of my county, are conducting “enhanced searches” on every kid that walks into school today. My dad’s modified AR15 has more freedom than the kids in the Richmond City School system this morning.
            This is the solution, I guess. More lock down drills, more bullet proof backpacks. More searches. More firearms in teachers’ desks. More terror. And inevitably, more dead kids.
            I want out of this timeline.

            1. Wukchumni

              I mentioned yesterday that the murderer’s generation had only known the veneration of guns-and by that, the damned things ended up having more rights than humans, winning every court battle.

              1. TimH

                There’s a lot of rhetoric in the gun mag I get written by LEO types along the lines of ‘dropping the bad guy’. I’m sure the Judge Dredd attitude rubs off on some of the readers.

              2. jr

                YouTube is stuffed with pro-gun videos. Some are safety and training videos. But a lot of them are just grinning jacka$$es tearing apart tree stumps or panning their cameras across their collections. It’s idolatry.

                Then there are the video game style CG videos of Russian helicopters being shot down. Totally fabricated and super realistic. Pornography.

                Orlov’s article was really compelling. I might try applying for Russian citizenship. Sounds like a relatively same place.

            2. Chris

              This makes me think that we don’t even have much to show in anti-violence or de-escalation campaigns running on our hyper-media platforms and screens. Probably because violence gets more clicks and views

        2. Dr. John Carpenter

          I believe gun violence is seen as a public health issue anymore. So expect nothing to ever be done about it.

      2. upstater

        Uh, there must be some reason why military recruiters hang around gaming sites:

        The US military’s attempts to recruit Gen-Z gamers on Twitch is predatory and problematic

        Young people interacting in a violent playland, snuffing out victims day after day, disconnected from reality and pain. There is no way this is healthy behavior.

        And gun control is a canard, given 20M semi automatic rifles and even more semi auto hand guns. You can’t get that toothpaste back in the tube. Payton Gendron lives in NY State, which has tough gun laws and does not allow for guns with more than 6 round clips. See how that works?

        1. CarlH

          The reality check a kid raised on first person shooter type combat games that joins the military in a combat MOS and ultimately finds themselves in actual combat has to be indescribable. Total disconnect from the reality these games try to portray. I really feel for any kid that that goes through that experience. Combat is a surreal, indescribable shock to anyone, so to add that psychological factor in to the stew is horrifying.

          1. digi_owl

            Anyone remember America’s Army?

            It was developed and released after they tried to recruit from FPS players, and found most had no concept of friendly fire.

      3. anon y'mouse

        but what will be our new Satanic Panic?

        please note: it has been my longstanding wacky theory (well, one of them anyway) that the Satanic Panic was created by intelligence at various levels. it was dispersed throughout police departments where they got training on how to spot “satanic” crimes, and “experts” who had received diplomas from mail order diploma mills would then be allowed to testify that the defendants had carried out various “signs” of Satanism while committing the crimes. judges were on board. we also had the accusations against Judas Priest, various almost all blameless day care centers, and Tipper Gore at the tail end sweeping up crumbs.

        please do remember that the writer of The Exorcist was a former middle east intelligence worker. and a number 2 of the Satanic Church in S.F. was also counterintelligence in Vietnam. and that book by Bugliosi on the Manson killings was almost entirely to cover over a concocted theory of the crime and having suborned perjury from one of the witnesses by pretending to give her a deal.

        this has been your friendly kooky conspiracist public service message of the day. remember–tin foil is still pretty cheap!

    1. Kevin Smith

      “Hopes and prayers” should more properly be “Hoax and prayers” in view of repetitive, manufactured and ceremonial posturing of the American leadership class.

      1. griffen

        Unicorns and rainbows. The above phrase used most often implies a simplistic I am thinking of you and yours in this time of sorrow. Works okay for most of us that are not elected officials. Otherwise the people in leadership most capable to implement change should not use the phrasing.

    2. Stick'em

      The same thing will happen that always happens:

      1. Easy access to guns allows an angry white right-wing guy to shoot up a school full of children (or room full of black people)
      2. Politicians pretend to be shocked, discuss doing something this time (think and pray a bunch)
      3. Gun sales go through the roof in response to discussion of gun limits
      4. Gun manufacturers make heaps of loot, pay lobbyists to own politicians, no gun limits
      5. Go back to #1, rinse, wash, repeat

      Why it’s almost as if the pattern is intentional

      1. Hickory

        At my university Va Tech, while I was enrolled, an Asian guy shot up 32 mostly (maybe all?) white people. And jack-all happened in response except security theatre. So the racial angle isn’t as plain as you say.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Then former Governor Mark Warner went to all the Virginia Tech memorials and then proceeded to earn an A- rating from the NRA in 2009 and 2010 as a Senator. There will be many crocodile tears shed by Pelosi et al, but they will shift to celebrating their GOP friends for “strong” statements in under 72 hours.

        2. digi_owl

          It is class related stresses basically.

          Shit all social safety nets + economic and social stressers up the ying yang = someone is bound to lash out at something/someone sooner or later.

          The politicians with their upper crust enclaves and bodyguard entourages will never really care, because it will happen, and keep happening, on the other side of the railroad/river/highway line.

          1. Fraibert

            I don’t trust those statistics, and information about the sources is behind a paywall.

            The freely available materials are fatally flawed for the purposes of fair argumentation because they do not define “mass shooting” and there’s no standardized definition to draw upon. Without that information, one cannot assess whether the propounded racial/ethic makeup conclusion is reasonable.

            To me, it’s pretty obvious that a restrictive definition of “mass shooting” was adopted. The Statista resource claims a total of 128 mass shootings between 1982-May 2022, but a NPR (meh, but useful for making my point) article from May 15 claims there was 198 mass shootings in 2022 alone. ( Both of these claims are consistent only with different definitions of “mass shooting”.

            My guess is that broad definitions of “mass shooting” greatly affect the racial/ethnic distribution of the shooters because broad definitions capture gang-related shootings in the cities.

            Bottom line: the Statista claims must be based upon some specific, secret criteria. It may be that this selectivity (i.e., probably excluding gang-related violence, and perhaps even domestic violence?) bolsters your argument, but I can’t say it clearly does. I’d be curious to see a better source.

            1. Stick'em

              Not going to do the identity politics thing with you any longer today.

              Moved on to the “what to do about it” stage.

              1. hunkerdown

                “What to do” is disinformational framing. The solution is to abolish partisan politics. They maintain this problem for their own reasons. Anything else is a mendacious non-solution designed to preserve parts of the problem for particular, special people. “It’s complicated” is almost always an admission of guilt.

        3. anon y'mouse

          the exception more strongly proved the rule.

          white and only white supremacism is the Bogeyman. that’s why it’s allowed and even promoted.

          so, what IS Elohim City about, really? what was that OK ’95 bombing really about?

          and whatever happened to Operation Gladio?

        1. Mildred Montana

          >”…why this neverending mass murder spree happens in America…”

          The very first mass shooting I recall was in 1966 when Charles Whitman climbed the University of Texas clocktower and started firing. I recall none before that. Whitman’s rampage happened at the height of the Vietnam War and the shootings and America’s wars have been going on ever since.

          That recollection has led me to the theory that the militarization of US society and its glorification of weapons and war, is a fundamental cause of the problem. With it comes Hollywood’s reinforcing propaganda (Rambo), soldiers in training and returning vets (Timothy McVeigh), and easy access to guns.

          All those, combined with the social isolation of modern media (lots of time to watch, read, and brood), make for a poisonous stew and lead some troubled vulnerable people to think, “Got a problem? Grab a gun.”

          They are fortunately few but the victims are many, and their pain is tragic, immense, and long-lasting.

          1. Stick'em

            My parents were students at the University of Texas and were walking around on campus the day Whitman became the American sniper prototype.

            1. Yves Smith Post author

              OMG, and he used what had become a classic among terrorists: stage an incident that will draw first responders and community members, then launch a bigger second attack.

          2. playon

            Hollywood propaganda is usually much subtler than “Rambo” — how many American films have you seen where the US military is the bad guy?

            For that matter, how many where the cops are the bad guys? There are a few movies about corrupt cops, sure, but think of all the TV shows and films where they are the heroes.

          3. Dave in Austin

            I live in Austin and know a number of people who were here in 1966. The University of Texas Whitman killings happened during summer school. They just swept up the broken glass and debris and the next day summer school reopened. There were no little crosses and stuffed teddy bears where the victims had died; No “How could this happen”; no weeks of news shows speculating on Whitman’s motives; no first anniversary NYT articles. No memorial was even considered; why memorialize an incomprehensible madman doing evil things? But in the modern American way one was built 50 years later. The general sensethen was: “Horrible. Life moves on.”

            Terrorists, revolutionaries and crazies have very little imagination so they repeat whatever they hear about in the sensationalist press. And the press wants to sell so “If it bleeds it leads”. For some reason one-time incidents that kill 20 people (school shootings, airplane accidents, night club fires) are news for weeks and months but plagues like Covid, Oxycotin, car accidents and even accidental gun deaths that kill more than 20 people every day aren’t news; no half mast flags, no Presidents on TV. This is a significant cultural change in the past 50 years and is never discussed or analyses. I have the feeling it has something to do with the loss of faith in an afterlife and the traditional belief that “bad things can happen to good people”, but I’m not sure

            The press understands copycats. When a poor newswoman reporter doing a stand-up was killed on air a few years ago it didn’t turn into the usual week of “How could this have happened?” The press understands that press coverage causes copycats and that is one cat they didn’t want copied.

            I think the whole thing is weird; understandable as a press extravaganza and an emotional human reflex by the public, but still weird. A million deaths makes a great tragedy and no picture can capture it; 20 deaths makes a great story and fits nicely on a TV screen.

      2. Louis Fyne

        the shooter was Salvatore Ramos.

        shooter’s race has nothing to due with guns, no national mental health care, lousy social services for kids-young men/women, lousy educational outcomes, atomization of society, extreme income inequality, destruction of cohesive communities,the nuclear family and multi-generational families, toxic violence-oriented, media and culture.

        just saying.

        1. digi_owl

          And then you have the likes of Pelosi flaunting her freezer dedicated to expensive ice cream on national TV, like a real life “let then eat cake” moment.

          Makes you wish it really had been a coup, and not just a drunk frat reunion…

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            Yes, so convenient. I hate to be morbid/clinical, but otherwise the alternatives for the determined to commit mayhem would include:

            1. Use of cars as weapons (driving into crowds, car bombs)

            2. Flamethrowers

            3. Arson

            4. Alternate to #1, suicide bombings, but you’d need a lot of explosive

            5. Planting explosives at a target site, remote or timed. Takes access at off hours.

            6. Theoretically nerve agents but in practice they are a bust. The AUM cult in Japan had extremely high functioning members (highly educated and technical skilled) and they were discovered to have raised a shockingly large amount of money (no joke, on the order of $1 billion), yet their peak hours sarin attack killed “only” IIRC 41

            7. That nasty fertilizer that created a nuclear-level explosion in Lebanon is an underdeployed weapon

            8. One bit of good news is dirty bombs don’t do more damage than conventional bombs, more a terror device since you need to decontaminate and the public will distrust that the job was done well enough

            Etc. Point is guns are easy, like suicides are well suited to impulse. Other means of creating carnage or making statements take a lot more planning and often access to materials that are harder to procure.

              1. TimH

                Mass mayhem, sure, particularly in cultures with poularised sword action.

                But I’d say that in heated row with the significant other, it would be easier to pull a trigger than stick a knife in. Mind you, the thought of a nasty slicing wound gives me the shudders. Domestic crime stats Europe vs USA?

                1. Anthony G Stegman

                  One needs to get up close and personal in order to kill someone with a knife. A gun can kill neat and clean; no fuss , no muss. Usually, when someone kills with a knife it is personal, unless the killer is deranged.

            1. PlutoniumKun

              As you say, there are plenty of ways to carry out a mass murder/suicide, but thankfully its very rare. You don’t need to be a chemistry major to build a large crude explosive device or to drive a heavily laden vehicle into a crowd. Yet the number of times non-political murder/suicides have used this is thankfully very, very rare.

              I would hypothesise that for those people there is something satisfying about pressing a trigger while pointing the gun at the object of your hatred/resentment/jealousy. Its personal, while not being too personal (knives are a little grisly and too close up).

              But its undoubtedly true that easy access to quick loading weapons means that murder suicides end up with more victims in the US than in most other countries. There are dangerous people everywhere, but usually the number of victims are far lower than in the US. And when they are high (such as the mass shootings in Norway and Dunblane in Scotland) they usually involved the shooter managing somehow to get a gun despite restrictions.

              1. CuriosityConcern

                object of your hatred/resentment/jealousy

                I wonder if those that do this are even driven by an emotion, or at least some maybe have no emotion at all? In a functioning society(natch Thatch) perhaps teachers/parents/friends may have had time, energy and resources to intervene and perhaps mitigate these awful events.

              2. Fraibert

                I know the general thinking about knives is that they’re too personal, but perhaps that’s somewhat of a western cultural condition (see my comment just above). I seem to recall knife violence becoming an issue in the UK as well.

            2. Stick'em

              I mean, you can get a knife down at the Wal-Mart and kill multiple people with it. This is the latest example of knife-weilding maniac from the Google:


              But a knife isn’t nearly as efficient as using a Glock or AR-15 or whatever the most common gun to use us in one of these killings, because you gotta get close to people to stab’em. People like to run away from knife-weilding maniacs. You’d have to have some skill to murder a room full of 20 people with a knife.

              On the other hand, you can stand still and just point with a gun, much easier.

              As Yves points out, the convenience of a gun is that it is both efficient and readily available, without necessitating much in the way of skill to use. Translating impulse into action is fast.

              Now, to move the convesation towards potential solutions, here are some:

              1. Limit the amount of ammunition any given firearm can hold in a clip

              2. Limit the rate (bullets/minute) at which firearms can fire

              3. Limit firearm purchases to owners who have undergone some sort of standardized training and licensing, similar to what we have down at the DMV for people who want to drive a car

              These are just 3 possibilities. And note, not a damn one of them includes the “coming to take your guns” scare words.

              There are other possiblities too. The point is to do something other than to childishly pretend John Wayne should be hired to teach every 3rd grade class in America.

              It is entirely possible to be a responsible gun owner and expect this cycle to end. It begins by holding lawmakers accountable for some reasonable changes to be made to this system of gun violence –> rise in profits for stockholders because that’s just how things work in America.

              1. Fraibert

                I think one useful way of cutting off that loop of gun violence leading to gun purchases (presumably out of psychological insecurity) is to hire more police. It’s true the US has one of the largest (largest still?) prison populations in the world but the country has significantly fewer police officers per capita than other countries. I can’t imagine that does not have an effect on psychological security, as well as actual physical security in the form of deterrence.

                (Source for policing number:, graph on page 45, showing that in 2007 the US had 34.6% less police per capita than the world average)

              2. the last D

                I wish that someone would come to get their guns. When we lived in western Pa., on thirty-five acres of rural countryside, every hunting season was an open season on us, despite our numerous ‘No Hunting’ signs posted on our trees and property. Some ir-responsible hunter even put up a tree stand in our woods without so much as asking for our permission. Our neighbor’s house, screened by trees, was often a target for these american backwoodsmen. There’s few things in life so entitled as rural americans belief that what’s yours is theirs, and that if you resist their coming on your land to kill this, or that, then you’re being unamerican. I was happy with that, at least. And the killing didn’t stop with deer. I remember the young sons of some good christian parents, who lived at the beginning of our lane, shooting songbirds in our pasture, and being miffed when I sent them away.

                I think that violence is nurtured by the myths that americans believe about themselves. And while there’s not a critical bone in the average american, there plenty of poison in the mother’s milk.

                1. John

                  My impression has always been, as an old country boy, that the rural hunters were less of a problem than those from the suburbs and cities who more often parvenus and did not think through their direction of fire or see any patch of woods as anything but ownerless land.

                  I once found a tree stand in a park in Westchester county, NY … and a hunting broad head in my lawn.

              3. Tom Stone

                Mass murderers are not law abiding people.
                It’s something to keep in mind when proposing solutions.

              4. Aninnymouse

                Of course it’s politically not possible, but if we’re talking solutions to gun violence:

                Create a federal tort whereby civil liability is strict, joint and several.

              5. Anthony G Stegman

                There is legitimate concern that once additional restrictions are placed on gun ownership it will be relatively easy to prohibit their ownership entirely. This is the fight that plays out over gun restrictions. One side actually wants gun ownership to be prohibited even if they don’t come out and say that exactly. Not unlike abortion rights.

            3. NotTimothyGeithner

              Harder to procure, and “successful” bombs and so forth aren’t easy to make especially with what you can get. Shows like Mythbusters skipped steps for a reason. They require a great deal of care. Militias are scary for this reason as they can teach this, but these lone wolf shooter types aren’t putting bombs together successfully without blowing themselves up at a rate as buying assault rifles. The Columbine shooters had ambitions about propane bombs that fizzled.

              Ted Kazynski could build bombs, but he wasn’t a random yahoo or Harvard legacy. Many of these mass shooters would be significantly limited by no access to guns.

              1. KD

                I don’t want to offer a how-to, but I think any person proficient in reading with a high school level knowledge of chemistry and a library card could figure out how to make a bomb with a little elbow grease. Further, plenty of ex-military who already know how.

                1. Randall Flagg

                  Don’t forget the two guys that blew up a bomb at the Boston Marathon years ago. Bomb was made out of a pressure cooker I believe. Talk about east to get products

                2. NotTimothyGeithner

                  Knowing and doing are two different things. The reality is many of those people will devices that don’t work or blow themselves up prior to the big event using home brewed products. The problem solves itself.

                  Guns don’t have those problems.

                  1. LawnDart

                    Not really napalm– sticky and plenty of suck but not like napalm which combusts upon contact with air.

            4. JohnA

              Re Yves point 7, Anders Behring Breivik used home made fertilizer bombs to blow up government offices in Oslo, killing 8 and injuring dozens more before going to Utøya to murder many others with firearms.

              1. digi_owl

                Irony being that Norwegian police was warned by their Polish counterparts that he had made a online purchase of certain chemicals. So they sent a couple of uniforms to the farm he was renting, looked around for a bit outside and decided to drop the case.

          2. Soredemos

            It’s not the guns. It’s the fact that we’re a declining imperial power, with a garbage economy, and this is manifesting at the personal level in any number of weird ways.

            I have zero sympathy for gun culture (I don’t even own one), but there are other countries that also have extremely high levels of gun ownership that don’t have even a tiny fraction of the shootings that we do. Mass shootings, and in fact shootings of any kind, were very much the exception, not a recurring norm, for most of US history. Something has changed in the last 50 years or so. There’s something more going on here that ‘ban guns’ isn’t going to solve.

            Also, there’s the whole issue of practicality. Fine, pass your Toyotomi sword hunt law. Now how are you going to enforce it? Because guns have been in the US for longer than the country has existed. The right to own a gun is in the Constitution, however much people may dislike it or try to ‘interpret’ it into something more politically palatable. They’re part of our culture.

            There are now more guns than there are people in the US. And isn’t just some vocal minority that owns all the guns and is completely indoctrinated by the NRA. Back early on during the COVID panic buying, a huge number of liberals were among those emptying the gun stores. Any serious attempt to ban firearms in the US is going to be politically infeasible in all but maybe a couple states.

            I also feel compelled to point out that for all the attention that the ‘military style assault weapons’ get, they’re used in maybe 2% of shootings in the US. So periodically a mass shooting like this happens (and they are horrific, make no mistake) and a bunch of people die quickly all at once. But the vast majority of gun crime in the US is with handguns, the prevalence of which as far as I can tell literally nothing is ever done about, even when cops could often be literally policing them off the streets easily under existing gun laws. At least as many people die in drips and drabs (1 in this city, 2 in another the next day, etc) every week or two in the US as die in any mass shooting. Yet it’s considered out of sight, out of mind.

        2. Wales

          I agree. My cohesive community has almost completely disappeared under a sea of Subdivisons, and shopping malls. When I look at google earth I see there’s just a little island left. I went the expat route when I was still in my twenties more than a decade ago. It seems like it was a good decision.
          I did love what we had but now even local newspapers admit that it’s gone for ever. There were photographers and painters who saw what was coming and preserved for posterity what they could.
          I wonder if all this woke hatred for the past comes from envy. I think the Republic was excellent and exceptional, but maybe I’m too nostalgic.

        3. AdamK

          + culture of cruelty, treating people according income, glorifying violence and so forth.
          I cannot accept from Dems any criticism of the Reps after their swift vote for 40Billions for more violence and more guns.

      3. scarnoc

        The Texas shooter was a Latino and apparently LGBT. This nation has had high rates of gun ownership for centuries, yet atrocities like school shootings were extremely rare until the 1990s. High rates of gun ownership leads to high rates of gun use by people perpetrating crimes, and USA has always experienced a lot of gun violence by criminals. Something other than gun ownership itself drives this turn to highly transgressive atrocity. Radical right-wing politics only explains a portion of these atrocities. The shooter yesterday killed his own grandmother before slaughtering children. There is nothing political about that.

        1. hunkerdown

          Radical right-wing politics like Cuellar’s probably explain why one would do mass murder on an election afternoon.

          Also, blood is thinner than property.

        2. TBellT

          apparently LGBT.

          This is a lie. Someone found a random trans redditor and said they were the shooter to the point it got picked up by Congressman Gossar. The person was not the shooter. But now the Pepes are trying to find every trans person who looks like the shooter and connect them.

          1. Aumua

            It is in fact a rumor started on 4chan and propagated by those types for whatever reasons they might want to link such things. I have yet to see any convincing evidence that it’s the truth.

            Also: his grandma is not dead. But there is an interesting connection between this kid and the Sandy hook shooter, who also shot a close relative (his mother, who died) before heading to the school to shoot that up.

        3. John

          “Something other than gun ownership itself drives this turn to highly transgressive atrocity.” But subtract the gun and whatever drives the atrocity is less likely to be as lethal. If the store in Buffalo and the school in Texas has been attacked by a person with a knife, even a sword, or pick anything but firearms, the toll of death and wounding would have been far less. Is that a comfort to the dead, the wounded, their families? No it is not, but at a minimum the damage is reduced.

          Just as there is no excuse for the manner in which the Pandemic has been dealt with in the USA so there is no excuse for our continued indulgence of what I think of as the gun fetish.

          1. Soredemos

            Well that fetish is a legal right. So first you have to get the Constitution amended. Then you have to figure out how to round up every firearm in a country where there are more guns than people.

            Good luck.

      4. KD

        1. Plenty of angry people of all races. You had the police shootings in Dallas, the Virginia Tech
        shooter and some “incel” incidents in Ca, Ft. Hood shooting, etc.

        2. Media coverage attracts narcissists seeking fame (there were some school shootings in the
        1970s that did not get national coverage and so no copy-cat phenomenon).

        3. Even with no guns, its pretty easy to manufacture explosives (remember McVeigh and Uncle
        Ted?), and you can do a lot of damage with knives and other weapons.

        4. If you look at US homicide rate, these mass shootings are a drop in the bucket–it only gets
        magnified by media and the fact that the victims are helpless (like the perception that flying is
        more dangerous than driving). Its handguns, not AR-15s, that are causing homicides.

        5. Turchin had a nice piece on mass shootings, and concluded it was a barometer of social
        disintegration. How many deaths of despair and mass shootings does it take before
        democratically elected politicians finally do something to help their constituencies?

      5. IM Doc

        I feel I must say a few things about what I see as a primary care doctor every day. I do take care of teen-agers all the way down to 13. Mostly young men.

        I have seen stress and anxiety in these young people my whole career. It has been growing more common and more strong in a straight line for decades, and then the bottom just dropped out about two years ago. I am seeing things I never dreamed I would be seeing in my life. Nothing I did in training has prepared me for this in any way. There are many days I feel like a clergy. I myself have repeatedly had to seek out help from my own clergy to help give me wisdom to help these kids.

        These kids are under enormous stress. So often, I compare this in my mind as a microcosm to the bigger world. There is an elite. They get to make up all the rules. They bully relentlessly any and all who stand in their way. This milieu is literally super-sized in the high schools of America.

        All the bullshit talking from the wokesters about decreasing bullying is just that – talk. If anything this problem has drastically accelerated since “wokeism” has taken over.

        It is very very easy for the left in this country to blame everything on guns. In the same way, they blame everything on Trump. The problem is the issues run much much deeper and wider than any gun control will ever solve. I am sick and tired of everything being boiled down to someone’s pet political project.

        We are losing huge percentages of an entire generation of our kids and all we talk about is guns. We ignore the speck in our neighbor’s eye while having a mote in our own. It is yet another reason why I will never vote for my life long Dem party again – until there is a massive enema.

        The reports are already coming out – this kid was from a very disturbed home life. Maybe some gay issues going on. Very poor. And relentlessly bullied by his classmates. And he found solace in violent video games.

        In my experience, it is very likely he was on some kind of medication. Here is another thing that is NEVER talked about in these things by our Big Pharma controlled media. For all the talk of “evidence-based” medicine in the past 2 years – this is a field of medicine that goes full throttle on all kinds of meds FOR KIDS – without any evidence at all. Many of these psych practitioners are doing hocus-pocus hoodoo on these young brains – and has nothing to do with science or medicine. They are often on multiple drugs that have never been fully tested on kids. And they swap them out constantly. One thing we know for sure. These meds have a very severe withdrawal issue. In adults, you get to be cranky for two weeks when you withdraw. In young men with hormones and anger raging, it is documented in the medical literature that a certain very small percent of them will go nuclear with violence. This issue has of course been suppressed by media and Pharma – because the money just keeps rolling in. But just like with VAERS suppression with the COVID vaccines that we have all been witness to the past year, these companies have become masters at subverting the truth into propaganda.

        So, as a primary care provider who deals with this worsening anxiety in our kids every day, I am at a loss to know what to do. This is a moral and spiritual issue. This is something that is telling us there is deep rot at the emotional core of our society. As is the case with human behavior and history – it is very easy to focus on guns – and ignore the underlying problem. And unfortunately this will never be solved until we do address the monster that is staring at us from the mirror.

        1. TBellT

          Maybe some gay issues going on.

          Once again there is zero proof of this. From all we know according to coworkers and other contacts he was mostly misogynistic.

          1. IM Doc

            The reports I read from one of his classmates, directly from his own mouth last night on the news, were that the kids relentlessly bullied him about being gay – the favorite bully tactic of the jocks in high schools everywhere. In my experience dealing with these kids, it is very easy for them to lash out at all those around them and that is often misinterpreted as misogyny when directed at women.

            It seems he had a dearth of positive male role models in his family as well. Not certain about that – but I get that idea.

            Unfortunately, I have now had 2 young men this year who were labeled as misogynists by the adults at school when nothing further could have been true.

            I am here to tell you that being chided as “gay” is so common in these situations. It is one of the single most confusing and tormenting aspects of these situations for the young men who are being bullied. I have little patience for those who do not understand what is happening to these kids.

            And of course it fits into all kinds of narratives that the kid was a “misogynist”. I would urge you to consider the fact that maybe high school age for anyone is a bit too young to be labeled with terms for adults. I think it is fair to say that he clearly had a very hard family life and maybe that was being directed at others as misogyny. In a high school kid, that needs to be addressed with aggressive compassion. Not with scorn.

            I have no quarter for what this kid did. It is pure evil. But this did not happen in a day. And our society is completely ignoring what is going on all around us every day.

            There are those of us all over this country in the trenches who can clearly see the problems, have no ready solutions and are trying to do everything we can to help.

            Unfortunately, there are so many everywhere who have no clue what these kids are going through who approach everything with a political agenda or narrative.

            1. TBellT

              I am here to tell you that being chided as “gay” is so common in these situations.

              Yea you don’t have to tell me that I lived it. That does not make the kid gay. It’s completely orthogonal.

              1. IM Doc

                That does not make the kid gay. It’s completely orthogonal.

                Nor does it make him misogynist.

                The issue is the bullying and the soul-wrecking problems that causes.

                1. TBellT

                  lmao, that’s why you should have sticked to addressing the bullying in your post. You’re the one who brought sexuality out of left field.

                  I merely wanted to add the actual behaviors he displayed according to those that knew him.

                  1. flora

                    No, he brought up the bullies’ name-calling.

                    Several decades ago I saw young men in my high school who weren’t athletic and were not in the high school “in crowd” get bullied mercilessly by the jocks, I guess the one’s targeted looked like “easy targets” for the bulliers. Physical assaults happened, kid getting thrown down a flight of stairs, eg. Teachers knew it was happening and turned a blind eye. The book “Lord of the Flies” plot line isn’t as far-fetched as it seems.

                    1. TBellT

                      The original comment:

                      Maybe some gay issues going on. Very poor. And relentlessly bullied by his classmates.

                      The “gay issues” fragment is separated from the “bullied”. He was making a list, speculating on the shooter’s sexuality was a distinct item on the list.

                    2. ambrit

                      I was one of those “non athletic” kids who was bullied by jocks in college. I started taking Judo classes, supplied by a Japanese professor who had been a young man during the end of WW2. He served the Emperor faithfully.
                      Anyway, this professor despised the jocks. He taught we “put upon” kids how to seriously knobble a jock. (Hint: It involves knees.) He taught us to show we knew how to permanently disable the jock, but not actually do it. (A difficult feat when rage and fear are in play.) After several examples of potential career ending injury had been demonstrated, the school’s coaching department told the jocks to stop the harassing behaviour. It did stop.
                      One big lesson I took from this is that such bullying behaviour is aften tacitly approved of by the higher powers involved.
                      Stay safe. Don’t take s–t from anybody.

                  2. Yves Smith Post author

                    You are straw manning what IM Doc said, He was admittedly imprecise in his comment but then explained the kid was bullied including charges of being gay, which among teen aged boys pretty much everywhere in the US is pejorative. His clarification should have been sufficient for you. You need to back off. You are now way into “shooting the messenger” terrain.

                2. digi_owl

                  One may wonder what bullying a certain whistleblower endured during those years in the brig.

                  1. ambrit

                    From what I’ve gleaned from various sources over the years, the entire process of training a field level soldier involves very sophisticated “bullying.” How else could we break down a person’s character and then reassemble it to the GI Model?

              2. anon y'mouse

                i didn’t take IMDoc’s statement to mean that the shooter was gay.

                “gay issues” can mean being bullied in a homophobic atmosphere where status is essential, even if one is not actually gay and to be called gay will have negative impacts on one’s possibly already low status.

                it would not be unrelated entirely. the underlying issue would be both bullying and homophobia present in the school.

                i had my own reputation in school that had nothing to do with reality. the true reality was i that i was an easy target because i was the poor bussed kid who wasn’t an ethnic minority (the well off multicultural set did NOT pick on ethnic minorities visibly, although that could well have been going on quietly), so it was “fair game”. word quickly spread of my sexual conquests, desire to harm others, carrying weapons and drug taking/drug dealing when i was a suicidal virgin that had never touched even a glass of wine at that point and generally a pacifist.

                we’ve all been there. unless we were the ones doing the bullying.

        2. lyman alpha blob

          I do think we need to rein in gun ownership – doing so in other countries has severely constrained mass shootings there – but your point about medicating kids is a great one.

          A few years ago I had a minor problem and thought there might be something wrong with my ear, and I have an irrational fear of the doctor’s office. My own doctor wasn’t available so I had to see a different one. When I explained the issue, she asked if I was feeling anxious lately and I admitted that I was, because I was at the doctor’s office which makes me extremely nervous, and mentioned my anxiety would abate as soon as I left her office. She refused to look at my ear and prescribed some anti-anxiety pills for me. When I questioned the wisdom of this, she rather defiantly asked me if I wanted to get better or not, and not wanting to start a fight, I wound up with a prescription. At the pharmacist, I asked when I could stop taking the pills, and they said I could not just stop, I would have to gradually wean myself off of them. I took the pills home and immediately trashed them.

          What the hell kind of medical treatment was that? That doctor was hell bent on giving me a pill, and I can only assume the reason was the usual one in these cases – kaching! And so due to profit motives, we’re giving untested drugs to any kid who can’t pay attention in class, or has some other minor issue that is due mostly to simply being an adolescent, all the while teaching them “Don’t do drugs” from a very young age.

          Even an elementary school kid can see the hypocrisy in that.

          1. anon y'mouse

            addendum to your situation: if you go for publicly provided health care, such as medicaid/MediCal for any mental health issue, they will process you through to a psychiatrist for medications and then place you on a waiting list of a year or longer for “group therapy”. resource limitations are cited.

            i don’t know what it’s like for children, but if you really needed help then you’d probably have to get locked down in a psych ward temporarily. i would ASSume they also give you meds there, and then turn you loose for similar reasons—no resources to do much beyond that.

        3. Michaelmas

          IM Doc: This is a moral and spiritual issue. This is something that is telling us there is deep rot at the emotional core of our society … it is very easy to focus on guns – and ignore the underlying problem … this will never be solved until we do address the monster that is staring at us from the mirror.

          And there it is.

          As you say, the force-feeding of meds to high-school kids, enforced by those high schools on PMC kids at least as much as on the proles, is frightening.

          I’ve just left the US (and am not US-born), but before I left I stayed for two years with my brother and his American-born wife in an upper-middle-class enclave in the outer SF Bay Area. I witnessed the pharmaceuticals they consumed in this society-wide effort to pretend that the US isn’t a very sick society and concluded those kids have a poor chance of ever functioning normally.

        4. Linda Amick

          You are completely correct. Additionally Gentrification even in small college towns pushing the underclass into invisibility. Divisiveness in every topic due to the awful media. Violent video games. Parents gone working multijobs to survive. and then 2020 to the present. Public health with its lockdowns and divisiveness on all levels including sexual identity. It is an awful life living in a gigantic, global corporation where profit for the few is the god. I am sad everyday.

        5. marym

          The cultural celebration of guns and glorification of the ability to threaten violence is itself an underlying problem. It’s a world view of some in our society that’s actively promoted or studiously ignored by elites.

          There are numerous tragic responses people can have in a society that fails to address bullying, economic well being, mental health care, or other social ills. That the range of responses in the US includes mass shooting is a function of both the availability of guns and the underlying problem of a culture that promotes them as a way for people to be free as individuals.

          1. IM Doc

            It’s a world view of some in our society that’s actively promoted or studiously ignored by elites.

            I would add that my very first political lesson as a younger adult was in the mid 2000s. Very much a Dem. And very much worked very very hard to get Obama elected. Assault rifles on the streets was one of my core issues. One has to spend one day in our inner-city hospitals to see what happens to the human body with them.

            I worked and gave and donated with every ounce of my being. Obama was elected. Before ever sworn in, it was apparent to anyone with functioning neurons that he was going to be to biggest con man in American history when he appointed Geithner. And, oh did he ever talk about guns. But then with a massive filibuster proof majority in Congress – not a finger was lifted about assault rifles – or really ANY issue that myself and friends cared about. Many of these same Congress critters are still there. But their pleas of action needed on this issue and many others are just laughable. They had their chance and their time – but chose to do absolutely nothing.

            I will not be stupid enough to vote or support any of them again.

            So all of the talk these people do is just clanging gongs. They are not serious about anything. And shame on anyone who thinks they are.

            Because of the inaction of the elites on both sides, our country is literally rotting to its core.

            1. Tinky

              Preach, Doc!

              Couldn’t agree with you more about Obama, and the broken political system in the U.S.

            2. Noone from Nowheresville

              My expectations were set when retroactive immunity for FISA / telecommunication passed.

            3. Skunk

              Kindness is the answer. It’s denigrated as a sign of weakness by many, but society can’t function properly without it.

          2. playon

            “How many deaths of despair and mass shootings does it take before democratically elected politicians finally do something to help their constituencies?”

            Politically there doesn’t seem to be any limit, or any consequences – these people keep getting elected.

            I have a good friend who has two 15 year old kids, a boy and a girl. Both kids are very intelligent and attend public schools in a large east coast city. Since 2020 it has been very difficult for both of them. The boy threatened suicide at one point, but he is now on some kind of medication and is doing much better. The girl had been a terrific student up until the lockdowns and remote schooling, now she can’t complete homework and is failing. Needless to say my friend and his wife have been through the wringer with this and are very anxious for their children. My wife and I chose to not have kids but this has to be an extremely difficult time for American parents.

            1. Skunk

              The whole idea of medication seems like a “blame the victim” approach in most cases. If bullying has become a structural part of the class dynamic, then giving a kid medication is essentially like saying that there is no social problem and blaming the kid. It’s quite a scam, and it goes like this: 1) Create a bullying class system 2) When young people are distressed after being bullied, give them meds and tell them it’s their fault 3) Widen the class gaps still further after Big Pharma rakes in the profits.

        6. rps

          This is a moral and spiritual issue. This is something that is telling us there is deep rot at the emotional core of our society..And unfortunately this will never be solved until we do address the monster that is staring at us from the mirror

          +1000 percent. I’d even go further and say civilization is in a moral and spiritual crisis and guns are a symptom of a much more insidious disease. I would hypothesize the deep rot and monster is found in the indoctrination and reinforcement of ‘victimhood.’ The past 40 years has nurtured victimhood and created a psychological maelstrom in the early emotional development of children. These ‘outlier’ childlike adults who have worn the cloak of victim upon their shoulders since early childhood are unable to cope or function. Their emotional growth has been stunted through conditioning and self-naming as the victim, the persecuted. In turn, their agency is replaced with disempowering self-labels. Thus, negating their potential abilities and resilience to resolve life’s obstacles and learning to run life’s challenging gauntlets because they never acquired the emotional and social skillsets.

          We have become a society fostering victimhood. IMO, this path leads to a persecution mentality and inturn, stagnates personal and spiritual growth and higher consciousness. The outcome is an emotionally underdeveloped childlike adult who is unable to function and engage in social settings and personal relationships. The one skill they have is to blame everyone else for their ills in life.

        7. fringe element

          The only writer I found who talked about this from the perspective you are sharing here is Mark Ames in his book Going Postal. This link is to a review of the book.

          Although Ames was astute enough to see the culture of bullying that made vulnerable people snap, he was not aware of the reckless use of medications you describe. I understand why you might need the attention of clergy yourself after dealing with this in young patients. I feel like I need some time with a minister myself just reading about it.

          Moving from microcosm back to macrocosm, I suppose it is no coincidence that our current foreign policy is clearly the work of unhinged bullies.

      6. ArvidMartensen

        The power of gun manufacturers on blatant display.
        What could that power possibly be? Do they by any chance donate to US politicians?

      1. LaRuse

        Sadly, Lambert nailed it, didn’t he.
        And I think, at least from what I saw this morning (or course, n=1), that parents preformed those personal risk assessments. The parent drop off line at my kid’s middle school had about a third fewer cars in line than a normal morning.

        1. Stick'em

          Gasp! You don’t think these school shootings are met with such indifference and inaction by people like Greg Abbott in part because politicians want to decrease enrollment at public schools?

          Charlie Johnson, a reverend who directs Pastors for Texas Children, calls the state “ground zero” for what’s shaped up to be a nationwide war against traditional schools. “If they can destroy public education in Texas, they can destroy it in America and privatize it for their own personal gain, financial and otherwise,” Johnson said.

        2. Larry Carlson

          On an annual basis, there are currently about 500K COVID deaths, 100K drug overdose deaths, and 50K firearms-related deaths (roughly 100 of these are related to mass shootings). So what should we spend our time worrying about and performing risk assessments on?

          1. Paradan

            I think about 2/3’s of the firearm deaths are suicides. I’ve always felt it’s important to separate those from homicides. Of course there would be less without easy access to firearms, it still represents a growing level of despair.

            1. John

              Saw numbers this morning which IIRC had homicide and suicide nearly even with the reminder being accidents

            2. ACPAL

              Less what, suicides? As if it’s the guns that cause suicides. Someone who is serious about committing suicide will find a way and there are oh so many ways. Guns make it easy but if the suicidal can’t get a gun it only delays the inevitable.

              If this country was seriously concerned about suicides by guns the Red Flag Laws would include psychological help rather than just take their guns away and tell them they’re on their own.

      2. Glen

        Yes, I agree with you, Lambert and IM Doc. We live in a society that is failing it’s people on many, many levels, and we have ready access to guns with which to lash out. I don’t see that changing anytime soon. We cover all the various aspects of this here every day.

        To be brutally honest, I think the elites that run the country have decided that mope on mope violence is necessary and OK as an outlet for the societal mayhem they are imposing on us all, and as long as the mopes don’t start targeting the elites, the violence will continue.

        But I have to admit being surprised, the one place I run into open carry every time is the local Ford dealer at the parts counter. Why is that? If you had told me that was going to be happening even two years ago, I would have thought you were nuts.

    3. super extra

      Did anyone catch Biden’s speech afterwards? I was in a different room from the tv but caught a line something like, “they will never get to jump in bed with their kid and kiss them again” or something and then overheard the family member who had been watching it (it had preempted whatever they had been watching) go “WELL that’s enough” and change the channel. This morning I overheard a different family member, who watched clips of the speech later, mention the same line with revulsion. I can’t bring myself to watch it directly or put on waders to go through a fever swamp to see if it was picked up and ran with by the usual suspects. I just thought it was yet another example to point to that the guy is completely not there and what is there is gross and unfit for office.

      1. mistah charley, ph.d.

        Newsweek’s transcript says

        There are parents who will never see their child again, never have them jump in bed and cuddle with them. Parents who will never be the same.

        Biden’s remarks don’t say “kiss”, they say “cuddle”; and unlike the approximation you quote, it is clear that it is the kids jumping into the parents’ bed, instead of vice versa.

        1. super extra

          Thanks, I should have found a transcript for my comment (as I said, I wasn’t in the room with the tv and was more surprised by my very blue family’s reaction to Biden of late)

        2. Anthony G Stegman

          I can visualize Obama uttering the same words. Just typical presidential pablum after yet another horrific crime.

          1. Basil Pesto

            maybe so, but what it ain’t (therefore!) is

            yet another example to point to that the guy is completely not there and what is there is gross and unfit for office.

    4. JTMcPhee

      Might help to look at mass killings by reference to the phenomenon of “amok” or “amuck.” Seems to be related to anomie, which so many of us appear to be experiencing these days,

      Amok syndrome is an aggressive dissociative behavioral pattern derived from Malaya and led to the English phrase, “running amok.”[1] The word derives from Southeast Asian Austronesian languages, traditionally meaning “an episode of sudden mass assault against people or objects, usually by a single individual, following a period of brooding, which has traditionally been regarded as occurring especially in Malaysian culture but is now increasingly viewed as psychopathological behavior”.[2] The syndrome of “Amok” is found in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV TR) but it is important to make note that there is new information regarding the syndrome due to the DSM-V and the improvements or changes that have been made.[3] The main change regarding the condition is that Amok syndrome is no longer considered a culture-bound syndrome in the DSM-V, the main reason being that the category of culture-bound syndrome has been removed.[

      All related to “societal pressures,” say the shrinks. What pressures could there be on people (almost exclusively males, of course) in our “society” which Thatcher assures us from her neoliberal perch does not exist?

      Not that picking a name for this demon affords any hope of banishing it back to Gehenna, the “Valley of Death” that surrounds the city of Jerusalem,

      Rich symbolic territory, way beyond my ability to explore and map.

      And given maybe 300 million guns in private hands in the US, and practically infinite amounts of ammo, not a snowball’s chance in light of lobbying and profit-taking and the fact that American culture is steeped, over-steeped, in violence.

      Just think about how many people reading about or watching the teevee “reporting” in this and other episodes of running amok/amuck fantasize about how, if only they were there on the scene, they could draw their weapons and shoot the shooter down before he could really hit his stride. And how many of us fantasize about legging it to the place formerly known as Ukraine and be the turning point in the War on Russia, killing Slavs like Captain America…

      And of course any legislative “fix” will involve moar surveillance machinery and bureaucracy, and wealth transfers to some favored NGO/“stink tank”to study the phenomenon and propose ranked so solutions favoring their other clients.

      So fundamentally nothing will change, nothing will change will change will change…

      1. anon y'mouse

        the pressure isn’t just on males.

        women internalize and destroy themselves or displace their anger on friends and children.

        women also kvetch and release some of these tensions, or reach out to each other for a support network before we really lose it. women who do go off the deep end tend to kill their kids, and they appear to be very isolated within their marriages or communities. that is from my own informal survey of serial killers, and looking into the differences between male and female family killers.

        women are under pressure from an early age to put up with crap and not go ballistic, because that’s our lot and our role in life and doing elsewise is “letting everyone down”.

        so, no—women tend to do differently with the stress that all in society are facing. and we lack the testosterone that seems to be a contributing factor to everything male-crime related which decreases as testosterone decreases over the lifespan. everything from reckless driving, vandalism to robbery, rape and all else appears to be linked to rise and fall of testosterone.

        no expert, but took criminology and did some of my own informal studies on killers, serial killers, and why parental child killers do what they do (men in family killings do it to maintain control, for revenge, or for some kind of inability to face losing status, women tend to do it because they’re mentally ill and can’t handle childraising responsibilities). i am always willing to be corrected, of course.

      2. Vandemonian

        Just saw this on Twitter:

        Christian Christensen
        May 25
        26 years ago, a gunman entered Dunblane Primary School in Scotland, killing 16 kids and a teacher. The UK govt responded by enacting tight gun control legislation. In the 9400+ days since, there have been a total of 0 school shootings in the UK.

    5. JAC

      Spare me the bullshit of mental illness,” says Sen. Murphy of the United States. “We’re not an outlier on mental illness, we’re an outlier on firearms”

      I read a quick bio of the kid. Single, drug addicted parent, he had a speech impediment that he was bullied about, sent to live with his grandmother not too long ago because his mom’s house was not safe.

      Yeah, we have way too many guns, but we have way too many guns and way too many kids suffering like this. I think neoliberals love the gun angle because it means they do not have to do anything substantial.

      This country is filled with mentally ill people, and most of them are running things.

      1. Dr. John Carpenter

        Couldn’t agree more. I am all for increased gun control or whatever it takes to make them harder to access and use in situations like this. But I see guns as a symptom of a bigger problem, as much as anything. All people are going to talk about is the gunz and not the conditions that would lead someone to a mass shooting. The gunz are obviously a part of the problem and if they weren’t so easy to get and efficient mass shootings would be much harder to do. But, even if we could take every gun out of someone’s cold dead hands and melt them into a sculpture, that wouldn’t change the factors which lead up to any mass shooting.

        To be clear, flippantly saying “mental illness” as if this was just some “bad apple” isn’t right either. In typical American fashion, we just go for the hottest, most tribially divisive issue and dig in. I know it’s much easier than really looking at society and our infrastructure and assessing more complicated issues. Gun culture didn’t spring up over night and taking away all the gunz won’t rid us of it either.

      2. John

        But a mentally ill person without a gun is not as dangerous as a mentally ill person with a gun.

      3. playon

        Actually I think we are an outlier on both counts. American medical professionals make up names for illnesses that don’t exist in the rest of the world such as AADD, ADHD etc. For all the talk about individuality in this country, there is precious little tolerance for those who don’t seem to qualify as “normal”. I have been to countries that have much greater tolerance for a wider range of individual eccentricities.

        1. ArvidMartensen

          Have come to the conclusion that medical doctors in the western world are now basically taught three things:
          1. How to diagnose medical conditions that can be treated by (2) or (3).
          2. How to send the patient up the line to a more expensive medical doctor
          3. If (2) not possible, how to get out the prescription pad and scrawl off a script for a pill of some kind.

          For things not readily identifiable, tell patient to come back in a month or two if not better(men), or query whether they are under a lot of stress/may be depressed (women) – in which case go back to to step (3).

    6. Bugs

      Went to Google Maps to look at this town. These are poor and working class people. The main street has some efforts at culture and you can see that there’s a sense of community. The little airport there takes diversions and apparently the staff are lovable.

      The USA has got to wake up someday to the fact that all those unmanaged guns circulating are simply a mortel danger to the average law-abiding citizen. You can’t wish it away, these massacres are not going to stop and moreover, it’s going to keep getting worse.

      And the reflexive concern of the USA right wingers for mental health care every time there’s an unregulated arms-related massacre is so precious. Bless their little hearts.

      1. Mildred Montana

        >”And the reflexive concern of the USA right wingers for mental health care every time there’s an unregulated arms-related massacre is so precious. Bless their little hearts.”

        Yeah, Texas Governor Abbott was just speaking on CNN, exhorting troubled people to seek mental health care. Beautiful. If he weren’t so out of touch (or disingenuous) he’d know that good help is unavailable, and if it’s available it is unaffordable.

    1. DJG, Reality Czar

      Basil Pesto: Thanks for this. It is indeed a great interview because Chakravarty is an excellent explainer and also keeps pointing out why, ethically, even selfishly, we have to do things to minimize transmission.

      His three-part way of examining things, a rubric of sorts, is good, too: How contagious is the virus? Very–and getting worse. How helpful are the vaccines? They buy time but aren’t a solution. Can we allow everyone to “return to normal” and control the pandemic? Well, no. He applies these criteria more than once: Our adversary the virus. One treatment, vaccines. Behavior, has to be modified.

      Highly recommended, even if a long read.

      Representative quote: So now, that means you have a 5 percent risk of getting Long COVID each year, to be conservative. The average American is 38 years old. Say you can expect to live to be 78. So, after 40 years of “learning to live with COVID,” you have an 87 percent chance of “learning to live with Long COVID.”

      That’s his working definition of “infinite Covid.”

      And note how he contrasts “infinite Covid” with zero-Covid tactics. Enlightening.

    2. CanCyn

      This article was featured here recently. Can‘ remember if links, water cooler or commentary but we’ve seen it. Still worth highlighting. It is a good one to share with those “I am done with COVID” and ”I’m vaccinated so it’s all good and back to normal now” types.

    3. PlutoniumKun

      Thats a really good interview, its good to see that behind the scenes there are still some scientists who haven’t decided their careers are more important that standing up for public health. Maybe its significant that he works for a company that is a little apart from the mainstream Pharm or public health complex.

      It is interesting (in a depressing way) about how hard he found it to get published with what seems to have been very interesting papers, when you consider the vast mountain of irrelevant or junk science thats been accepted by peer review over the past 2 years. They are still at it, as the horrible paper on Long Covid doing the rounds this week has shown (they used ‘close contacts’ as the control group for studying people with Long Covid!).

      1. Basil Pesto

        Particularly Science rejecting his “uhh, vaccines probably aren’t going to work the way we’re saying they are” paper. I mean, it’s not at all surprising at this point, but consider the rationale they gave as well. Yikes.

    4. Brian (another one they call)

      I read the first paragraph, fear porn. Then the second, misrepresentation of science and claiming powers to cure that are known not to cure, and and to deny any other treatment? And third, right back to fear porn and a sales pitch. In it you will find what you need to know about denial of facts and reality. Mr. Mateus, the author is basing this article on facts not in evidence. The party he quotes is also firmly for conversational science, rather than the real thing. They make assumptions that are in opposition of science, as though to avoid real science and a serious discussion.
      There was never any benefit to the MRNA product, and little benefit to the adenovirus formulations. Each has set up the volunteer with problems that may be permanent. We already know this and if you don’t believe, read the Pfizer docs.
      This reminded me of a commercial for a new wonder (useless) drug that someone makes a lot of money on. Hope is one thing. But science tells us you can’t hide the false claims under the rug forever There is some hope that the False Claims Act will allow the people harmed from this nonsense some relief. Regulatory fraud looms large.

      1. hemeantwell

        What kind of “porn” are you peddling? Confusion porn? Near the outset of the interview they quickly
        run through a series of papers published in the first year of the pandemic containing predictions that were, unfortunately, later confirmed.

  2. Anonymous 2

    The Johnson photograph:

    The important point to realise here is that, as you can see, Johnson was working.

    No party here, absolutely not.

  3. flora

    Blackouts, winter gas shortages, big price hikes at the gas pump, spiking inflation, food shortages, baby formula shortages…I thought life was supposed to get better after we voted out T and voted in B. What happened?

    1. chris

      Fortunately, Ukraine. None of our leaders have to pay attention to the dirty little people in the USA anymore. They have to save babies in Kyiv.

      With a little luck, just about the time Ukraine is no longer the useful distraction it’s become, we’ll walk into war with China over Taiwan. Then our leaders can have an even better reason to ignore citizens! It’s a beautiful thing…

    2. John

      The only change I have noticed is the decibel level would be just a touch lower were is not swamped by war drums in congress and gunfire in the streets, grocery stores, and schools.

    3. John

      Nothing happened. Remember hearing, “Nothing will fundamentally change.” … and nothing has changed. We still have war (very profitable for some) and mass shootings, which are caused by anything but too many guns.

    4. Noone from Nowheresville

      A new billionaire every 30 hours, while 1 million enter extreme poverty in that same time period. I think the US policies which went into overdrive at the start of the pandemic (pre-existing framework to fully dismantle all new deal policies and restrictions and grab as many global resources as possible) are working just fine regardless of whether T or B are the designated figureheads.

      Life has indeed gotten better at the top which are the only “people,” real or fictional, who seem to count on a long-term basis. While everyone below is about to find out what the game is really about. Any remaining trust in government or neighbors is about to be broken.

      The world is being remade as we type. Think of all the possibilities. How said policies, and those to be created, can further amplify the current success remaking reality. Every widget of the global financial elite has their own role to play. Even their failures are learning opportunities for those who remain standing.

      And WE, the plebs, allowed them to be created in our name without really understanding the bait and switch which was taking place. Who could we when the reality of it all was so far from our own.

      Now if only that excess global 20% would die quickly and quietly. That could the start of something “amazing.” Yeah, we plebs aren’t nearly cynical enough.

      1. LifelongLib

        For most of the rich, the extra wealth is just numbers on balance sheets. They don’t actually live better because of it — they were already at the peak of human material enjoyment. They’re making the rest of us worse off for nothing…

        1. anon y'mouse

          not for nothing.

          for further entrenching their control and power. and if not for them, then for their children and grandchildren.

          for some misguided idea about “overpopulation” which may well be numerically true, but for which their solution is that people on the bottom need to consume less while they jet around the earth and maintain 5 homes and a yacht for their yacht.

    5. Louis Fyne

      Media protects two incompetent empty suits.

      Administration sits on its hands and ignores obvious kitchen fires that will burn/are burning down the entire house.

      for the longest time. I thought that the Republicans would self-destruct first. Then came ID politics, and now my bet is that the DC Dems implode first. Let’s go B.

      I would be fine turning over the government to a dictatorship of the NC commentariat—wouldn’t agree with everything, but would be more competent than what is on offer

    6. Henry Moon Pie

      Mr. Harold Chasen gives his interpretation of the 2022 Democratic Party. Unpredictable consequences to follow.


    7. griffen

      We’re on our own and the supposed adults are not really serious adults after all. True for Dems, True for Repubs as well. Ok a rare example exists of a serious adullt. Just seemingly not enough examples.

      And here I thought the year 2020 was plenty weird. Looks like the phrasing is true, and the weirdness has turned professional in 2022.

  4. Colonel Smithers

    Thank you, Yves, particularly with regard to Chinese holdings of US Treasuries, partying at Downing Street and Ukrainian territorial integrity.

    Just a bit of background for readers:

    Soon after his retirement from the Bank of England in the summer of 2013, Mervyn King was invited to lecture, publicy and privately, Chinese officials, academics and students, and held meetings with Chinese officials. He suggested that it was unwise for states likely to become adversaries to maintain savings in potential adversary states and counselled a reduction in such reliance. Few people and states paid attention.

    Many, if not most, of the civil servants at Downing Street (No 10 / PM and No 11 / Chancellor [aka finance minister]) and at the Cabinet Office (70 Whitehall, next to Downing Street) are political appointees (often party workers, lobbyists and media types [often wannabe politicians] and some from academia and business, but all political sympathisers). They tend to be less circumspect than career civil servants. They also get in the way. When the going is good, one does not notice their less than constructive presence, but, in times of stress, they are much more than a nuisance. As most have little or no qualification to be in these roles, they must jockey for position (sometimes literally, e.g. who sits nearest the PM’s study, as Carrie Johnson’s gay husband did for a while) and trade gossip. There are over 100 of these advisers around Whitehall, double that of Tony Blair, who increased numbers significantly.

    Rumours persist that the evidence of such parties took months, if not over a year, for the media to expose as so many media types attended and need to be protected or given time to construct an alibi or excuse. Names like Laura Kuenssberg, Harry Cole (Carrie Johnson’s former BF, which makes Whitehall wonder why Boris J allows him and another former BF of hers anywhere near the premises, but their interests and circle of friends are different), Robert Peston, Alex Wickham and Dan Hodges (son of actress Glenda Jackson) crop up.

    Finally, with regard to Ukraine’s territorial integrity, it was significant that, upon her appointment as French foreign minister, Catherine Colonna was congratulated and warned to keep up the fight and maintain Ukraine’s territorial integrity by UK foreign minister Fizzy Lizzy Truss (as she is wooing Tory MPs with champagne receptions). Ukraine has become a political football outside Ukraine.

    1. digi_owl

      Thank you, Yves, particularly with regard to Chinese holdings of US Treasuries, partying at Downing Street and Ukrainian territorial integrity.

      Reading it all bunched up like that really gives it a “fiddling while Rome burns” feel…

      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you. That is true.

        I was rushing between office meetings, hence bunching very different comments.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      I can remember when it used to be argued that civil service mandarins were out of touch in their ivory towers and you needed people with real business experience to make decisions. It hasn’t worked out very well.

      The type of person who insinuates themselves into the mid-high layers of government (without doing the hard work of being qualified) are often the very worst types. It used to that there were layers of Chinese walls precisely designed to stop this happening, but it seems to be considered a quaint old style notion now.

      As for the financial aspects – it has somewhat surprised me that the Anglosphere geopolitical decision makers have been so clueless about the potential financial implications of some of their sanctions, much to the horror it seems of people who understand the basis of the City of Londons wealth. I suppose we should be grateful that they aren’t networked enough to avoid that mistake.

      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, PK.

        I agree with your first point and hope former British officials Anonymous 2 and David pipe up as they have worked in Whitehall, whereas I am the son of a Whitehall official and have worked with Whitehall.

        With regard to your second point, as with many professions, not just the civil service, and including staff officers in the armed forces in the past two decades, being a sociopath is the way to get ahead. One need not be qualified.

        Central or private bankers, whether in London, Frankfurt or the US, have little influence on sanctions and Russian policy. It’s the same with professional soldiers.

        Speaking of sanctions and finance, the Ruble is doing well.

        1. Anonymous 2

          Thank you, Colonel. I am afraid I retired far too long ago to have anything useful to offer.

          The past is a different country.

          In the UK’s case it seems to be becoming a very different country.

          1. David

            It’s been a while since I was there either, but I do remember the sniggering that went on back in the seventies about career mandarins detached from the real world. The theory (faithfully represented in the Yes Minister series) was that a powerful and devious Civil Service was manipulating decent but rather dull Ministers. There were lots of proposals for a “Prime Minister’s Department” and for a much larger role for political advisers. Now look.
            It struck me the other day that a newly-appointed Permanent Secretary aged, say, 50, would have spent their entire career in a system where this kind of nonsense was already visible when they joined, and rapidly became the norm.
            I find it hard to think of an example in history of so much being destroyed for so little by so few and so quickly.

  5. The Rev Kev

    “Henry Kissinger: Ukraine must give Russia territory”

    ‘Negotiations need to begin in the next two months before it creates upheavals and tensions that will not be easily overcome. Ideally, the dividing line should be a return to the status quo ante.’

    Yeah, this isn’t going to happen and Kissinger should know better. This is not realpolitik here. When he talks about a return to the status quo, what he means is a return to January of this year when Crimea was a part of Russia and the two Donbass Republics were informally controlled by Russia. It may be a bit more realistic than Zelensky’s demand that Russia hand over Crimea and the Donbass Republics but that isn’t saying much. The Russian Federation has spent too much blood and treasure to return to a situation where the Crimea and the Republics goes back under constant threat by the Ukrainians and these fortified positions in the east were rebuilt and re-manned. And should Russia wait for the Ukraine to build up a nuclear capacity? And for that string of bio-labs be rebuilt? It does not matter what Russia does now as the western sanctions will never, ever end. They are permanent. So Russia is drawing a line in the sand. The constant threats, border military exercises, aircraft incursions, arrests of Russian citizens, etc. have gone too far. Would you believe that while this war is going on that NATO is holding huge military exercises in places like Estonia and Germany right now? To help the Ukrainians? To try to tie down Russian formations? Because tensions aren’t high enough already? This war is going to only end one way and the only realistic mechanism to do so is negotiations with reality based politicians. Good luck with that one, matey.

    1. John

      I respect your analysis of the situation. Can you name a reality based politician in the “international community?” I know of none, save a couple of pariahs, in the USA.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Ummm, errrr, uhhhh. Let me get back to you on that one. Maybe what is needed is a touchstone question for them. So each candidate would enter a room for his interview. They would then be asked if the Ukraine can militarily defeat the Russian Federation. If they say yes, you pull a lever and they drop down through a hatchway in the floor. It could work.

        1. Carolinian

          There ya go. If Putin is the hothead that is claimed he would have taken down Ukraine in 2014 and had an easier time of it. Instead for all these years he kept talking about “our partners” and kept trying to come to an accommodation with the EU and US.

          Meanwhile in the US our leaders have power in inverse proportion to their ability. Putting war making in the hands of one man (or woman) was never supposed to be the plan. Our entire ruling class needs some serious therapy.

        2. JTMcPhee

          Are they part of the “international community?” I know you and I are not, in any real sense. Following your structuring, I would nominate Lavrov. And in a different sense, Shoigu. Nothing even approaching their level amongst what used to be called “the Free World,” do you remember that trope that has been Orwelled out of memory…

        3. albrt

          I think the premise of the question is that they are not part of the “international community.”

          1. orlbucfan

            You mean Kissinger is still alive? Whoops, I forgot that the malignant yahoos last forever.

      2. Safety First

        Years ago, Mearsheimer – and I have my own issues with neorealists, but that is neither here nor there – was pointing out in his lectures that close to three decades of unipolarity have so hollowed out the foreign policy establishment in the US that there literally isn’t anyone left in there who isn’t a liberal-interventionist-democratic-peace-theory loon. In part as, under conditions of unipolarity, there are never any consequences deemed to be significant of any mistakes, personal or strategic, and the worst thing that might happen to anyone pushing a frankly stupid policy decision is a sinecure at a prestigious university or a well-funded think tank.

        I mean, Michele Sodded Fournoy. A Looney Tune in La-La Land who’s never met a potential military intervention she did not like, and whose analysis, even if one assumed her facts were correct, which they almost never are, is less logical or rational than LSD-flavoured ravings of a lunatic, spent the last two Democratic administrations overseeing strategic planning at the Pentagon, whereas this one wanted to elevate her to SecDef and I have no idea who it was that complained about this fact but that might have been the last person in Washington with two functioning brain cells to rub together. So if these are the so-called experts we have, and not just in the States, imagine what their clients – the elected politicians, most of whom have zero actual knowledge or experience in any area of life outside of the second-rate law school they had attended decades ago – are capable of.

        I am on a roll this morning…but yes, the point is, there has not been a reason to produce, elevate or retain anybody who isn’t part of the cult, so to speak, since Gorby and his merry band of morons decided to wave the USSR bye-bye in 1985. “You go to war with the army you have,” and all that.

      3. Stephen T Johnson

        Victor Orban is reality based.

        Feel free to hate him (not a big fan myself), but he’s addressing actual issues (National sovereignty, not freezing in the dark, etc.) rather than various fantasies of “sticking it to Putin”

        As far as I can see, he’s the only one in all of Europe or the collective west behaving in a reality-adjacent manner.

        Scary that.

      4. Darthbobber

        As with many of our variant of Realpolitikers, Henry is a day late and a dollar short. Real implementation of the Minsk accords, acceptance by Ukraine and its sponsors of Russian annexation of Crimea, and a cessation of the efforts to make Ukraine into a western military bastion MIGHT have stopped this war from beginning, but now that its rolling it certainly wouldn’t suffice to end it.

        As the slaveholders discovered with Lincoln, what someone might agree to to avoid a prolonged and bloody struggle is one thing. What they’re likely to agree to once they already have the prolonged and bloody struggle in any case is a different matter.

    2. Hickory

      In fairness, the war might not end with negotiations. It might escalate to nuclear apocalypse and end that way.

      1. David

        I’m not at all sure it’s going to end in negotiations anyway. With whom? About what? The Russians will have possession of the ball, and they’re not going to give anything up, certainly not in exchange for promises. I think they’re creating facts on the ground that can’t be negotiated away.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          David might recall the details of what happened in Syria. Didn’t Russia and Syria more or less say the war was over and declare victory? I think there is still some hay to settle with Turkey but no one sees that as part of the primary conflict.

        2. PlutoniumKun

          I assume that at some stage the Russians will want their prisoners back, and it will be part of a deal including the tens of thousands of POWs they are likely to have on their hands. I assume that any deal involving them has the potential to widen into other issues.

          Its possible of course also that lots of small deals (prisoners, management of Chernobyl, water access negotiations over shared watercourses), could over time take the form of a bigger deal. This seems to be what is happening in Syria.

          1. David

            Yes, I think there will be a lot of small deals, and a final set of accords will be created from the bottom up, rather than the top down. This gives the Russians effective control over the pace and content of the negotiations, but it also means that progress can be quite rapid. PoW exchange (which is anyway foreseen in the GC at the end of a war) is an obvious case, the more so if there are any foreign nationals. If I were the Russians I’d prepare to put half a dozen foreign nationals on trial, and just stand back to see what the West offered me for their freedom.

    3. lyman alpha blob

      It might not happen, but he’s not wrong either.

      I can’t believe I’m agreeing with a [family blog]ing war criminal this morning. What bizarro world are we living in? I feel like I need to go wash my mouth out with soap or something.

    4. RobertC

      Signs of realism EU cracks widen over Ukraine as Italy, Hungary urge truce

      BRUSSELS, May 25 (Reuters) – Italy and Hungary have urged the EU to call explicitly for a ceasefire in Ukraine and peace talks with Russia, putting themselves at odds with other member states determined to take a hard line with Moscow ahead of a summit next week.

      …At a meeting of EU envoys on Friday, Italy’s ambassador proposed changes to the text saying it should refer to peace talks and set out an immediate ceasefire as one of the EU’s first goals, according to people who attended the meeting.

      …Italy last week proposed a peace plan that would involve the United Nations, the EU and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe as facilitators to initially arrange localised ceasefires.

      1. Balakirev

        Italy and Hungary have urged the EU to call explicitly for a ceasefire in Ukraine and peace talks with Russia…

        Alas, $40B too late. Zelensky no doubt would have been more amenable before his US check arrived via digital mail.

        1. The Rev Kev

          I think that Gonzales Lira mentioned that the Ukrainians will only see about $6 billion of that. Maybe. The rest goes to US corporations and interests. The whole thing is a slush fund and goodie bag.

      2. Polar Socialist

        If Italy and Hungary are so concerned, they could state clearly that a) they will never allow Ukraine into NATO, and b) proceed with EU membership talks before Ukraine totally denazifies (as in forbids, in constitution, all commemorations or reinstitution of organizations banned by the Paris peace treaty etc. It’s not complicated).

        Then we could start talking about ceasefire and which state people actually want to belong. As in, finally handle the dissolution of Soviet Union like it should have happened, actually trying to find the configuration that has least residual conflict build in.

      3. ACPAL

        The EU is not running the war, the US is, the EU and NATO are just US poodles. Even Putin is just responding to US led provocations. The real question is “what is the US’s goal?”

        1. The Rev Kev

          One is probably the elimination of the EU as a competitor in the world’s market for goods and services. That goal is proceeding nicely, thanks to the European elite.

      4. Yves Smith Post author

        I hate to have to rely on the YouTube boyz, but Alex Christaforu had a reader find a Telegram response from Dimitri Medvedev, former President of Russia and now deputy chairman of its Security Council. Christaforu reads out a translation of Medvedev’s response to the Italian proposal. He REALLY pissed all over it. For instance:

        But no, it’s just pure stream of consciousness by European graphomaniacs….One has the feeling it was prepared not by diplomats but by local political analysts who have read too many provincial newspapers and use only Ukrainian fakes., see starting at 6:50. Medvedev is admittedly a hawk, but this proposal is indeed nuts.

    5. Oh

      Kissinger has not realized that his time has come and gone and he’s still trying become relevant with comments like these. He’ a murderer and should be frog marched to Guantanomo along with Bush, Cheney et al.

    6. John k

      Kissinger knows better, I give him credit for speaking out, he still has capital in some rep quarters. Reinforces the trump,wing that wants fewer foreign adventures. At least he’s sane.
      If us/eu won’t sell Russia what they want and used to buy they have little use for us/eu currency, maybe restricting sales to friendlies would bring in enough. In that case why not help eu cut off fossil and other imports from Russia? There was a rumor to that effect a couple of weeks ago from a Chilean living in Kharkov. One us objective is to split Russia from eu, but us has a habit shooting itself in the foot; if eu becomes a basket case it strengthens us vs eu, but overall weakens the west. If Russia discounts sales to the not-west, the west will be at a competitive disadvantage with higher inflation.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        FWIW, Mercouris argued that Kissinger was dispensing the most this audience could handle, that he likely knew this wouldn’t fly with Russia but you need to start talking Western expectations down and get them to realize that continuing to focus on military outcomes will just mean more territorial acquisition by Russia.

  6. The Rev Kev

    “The Lingering Mystery of Gulf War Syndrome”

    Yeah, I’m not buying this easy explanation. Nice map showing the formations of Operation Desert Storm but why not a map showing where the US bombed those Iraqi caches of sarin gas which prevailing winds added in. Has there been a study of those suffering from this syndrome to see if they were downwind of those sarin gas stockpiles? Where are the studies that have been done to prove how much diluted sarin gas is needed to instigate that syndrome? I mean that they have only had what, thirty years to put any studies like that together? And this explanation is based on a Pentagon-funded study in a Texas University? And I don’t care how top-rated it is nationally. Would not a study through veteran hospitals been a better choice for accumulating raw data? Maybe in coordination with the equivalent hospitals in other nations whose troops also suffer from the same syndrome.
    Nope. Not buying it.

    1. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you, Rev. You are right to wonder about this and more…

      That was the last action my father saw after a quarter of a century fighting for Queen and Country, in his case the Royal Air Force. Dad retired soon after, served 18 months in southern Africa, heading aid projects for the Foreign Office, and then went to work in Saudi Arabia, as doctor to the royal family and public health adviser / professor. The next twenty years were as interesting and eventful and made us very distrustful of the so-called foreign policy establishment and MSM, including Syria. Having Mauritian passports was also useful as one can visit even more places, including a country whose ancient Greek and Roman ruins make Italy and Greece’s ruins look like a Hollywood set.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Thank you, Colonel. Being serious here – have you ever thought of writing your autobiography using your encyclopedia knowledge of so many of the players are in the present world and their connections? To be published posthumously of course. But something that I suspect would be a valuable resource for future historians as they try to sort out just what the hell happened to the world. When you mentioned ancient Rome it reminded me how I often thought that it is a pity that some player did not leave behind a personal who’s who of the other players at the time. Can you imagine what it would be like if we had Suetonius’s personal knowledge written out on some scrolls and being found at a dig somewhere? Just a thought.

        1. Polar Socialist

          I’ll second that!

          Reminds me of when as a kid I was reading about Greco-Persian wars and my dad stopped to tell me that it’s all based on Greek sources, all the Persians ever said about it was “unrest in the western provinces”.

          Almost the same as trying to understand the “Russian way of war” based on von Manstein’s (blame shifting) memoirs.

        2. Colonel Smithers

          Thank you, Rev.

          That would be a worthy undertaking.

          I regret not spending enough time with my paternal grandfather and his brother and their cousins as they left Mauritius to serve with the RAF in WW2, largely in East Anglia, which is why dad followed twenty odd years later. Other relatives fought in North Africa, but with the British army. None served with the Free French etc, but fraternised with them, including Saint-Exupery.

          You can google a distant relative, Amedee Maingard de la Ville es Offrans.

          1. The Rev Kev

            After reading just his Wikipedia entry, if he did not exist in real life, then some action-adventure novelist would have to have invented him.

            1. Colonel Smithers

              Thank you, Rev.

              He was modest and rarely talked about the war, preferring business life after an initial career as an accountant in the City of London before WW2.

    2. ex-PFC Chuck

      There was also a lot of ammo bulked up with depleted uranium used in that war, shot from tanks, A-10s, etc. Although it was fired in the direction of the adversary, the infantry and other arms following up those barrages likely inhaled a fair amount of the dust the impacts of those projectiles created.

      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, Chuck. Please see my reply to the Rev above.

        When that stuff mixed with the dust and sand in wadis, the Bedouins who live in that border area soon came to grief.

        Dad wrote a paper for the Royal Air Force on the use defoliants by the US in Viet Nam. Some of the photos are shocking. These are photos of US personnel and their descendants.

      2. Nikkikat

        EX PFC,
        I also read about this issue of depleted uranium being the likely reason for the gulf syndrome illness. The area is also a cancer cluster zone. Huge numbers of civilians also having these health issues of rare cancers. Vietnam is also a country with generations of cancer victims, due to a multitude of chemicals being used there during the war. I had a Vietnamese doctor that told me this was one of the reasons he became a doctor here in the states. He had lost most of his family, grandparents and parents all got some form of cancer.

      3. Joe Renter

        This is a little bit off the subject, but my mechanic served in the Iraq war and was stationed near where there was incessant burning of tires and other toxic substances. The military gave him 3/4 of a total disability for inhaling such fumes during his service.

    3. Safety First

      Hadn’t this particular mystery already been solved, decades ago?

      I mean, I remember Seymour Hersh putting his articles on the Gulf War Syndrome into a book in the late 1990s – in fact, I still have the book. Granted, it wasn’t a peer-reviewed double-blind study (of whether parachutes prevent death in skydivers), and the Pentagon will continue to deny anything and everything until Washington DC turns into a Logan’s Run-like post-apocalyptic ruin, but how is this still a thing?

      Also, they didn’t just bomb the gas stockpile, in at least one instance they literally dragged a bunch of shells together into a pile and blew it up. Because science!

    4. David

      I can’t remember how many different explanations have been offered over the last couple of decades: here’s another, although, since Sarin is actually a liquid, not a gas, and propagates slowly through the air, you’d need to be close by to be affected. But the big problem is that there is no “syndrome” in the classic sense of the term, which is to say no standard set of symptoms, still less one that can be linked to any particular source. At one point around the turn of the century, when there was a lot of interest in the subject, new theories were coming out all the time, about what the “syndrome” was, and what caused it. And unsurprisingly, as explanations changed, different groups of people came forward each time to say, yes, they had this or that symptom and they had been in this or that situation. And of course the situations were different and often mutually exclusive.

      The most likely explanation is that it’s a statistical artefact. In the UK there was a large and long-term study which looked at Gulf War veterans and compared them with a comparable cohort who hadn’t been there. Curiously, there were actually fewer deaths and illnesses among Gulf veterans than in the control cohort, although the difference wasn’t significant. There was also no obvious patterns to deaths and illnesses. What they realised (as was re-learned with Covid) was that in any group of a certain size there will be a number of people who are ill and who die of various diseases every year, many more than most people realise, and there isn’t necessarily a pattern. That appears to be the case here.

  7. JohnA

    Apropos events at Davos, Kjerstin Braathen, Head of Norwegian financial services group DNB, said there “The energy transition will create energy shortages and inflationary pressures but the pain is worth it”.

    Braathen earned (or more like was paid) NOK 13.7 million in 2020 and 15 million in 2021, so I guess the pain for her will be relatively painless. I wonder at what point, the pitchforks will really start appearing with no Obama to stand between the elite and the unwashed.

    1. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you, John.

      I hope Saturday’s demo was good.

      There’s a lot of this Braathen nonsense at the moment. British journalist and property multi-millionaire Will Hutton and Dutch PM Rutte said similarly last week, the former including about food prices.

      1. JohnA

        Thanks Colonel
        Yes, there were several excellent speakers, and according to the organisers, there were around 20 similar demonstrations around Sweden.
        A few points:
        Sweden had reforendums on joining the EU and also joining the Euro, plus even a referendum on switching from driving on the left to on the right (mid 1960s) which was very definitely not as important a decision as joining Nato. There is a general election in September, but the main parties are determined to rush the decision through as a fait accompli before then, even though that would be an excellent way to measure public opinion.
        The speakers included a high profile freelance journalist, who was recently fired from a contract with a main media when an article she wrote was spiked because it was not suffiently pro-Ukrainian, a woman from Amnesty, a former social democrat politician who is opposed to the party line, and a young student organisation speaker. Here is the utube video of the speeches. Subtitles do not appear to be available but I will be happy to provide a summary of all the speeches etc., if anyone is interested. Tomorrow (Thursday is Ascension Day, a public holiday, so will have the time)/

        1. Jacob Hatch

          Hi JohnA: Are they in contact with Vijay Prashad’s Tricontiental Institute, People’s Dispatch, and Eat Nato For Breakfast?

    2. Darthbobber

      The people experiencing the pain and the people for whom it is worth it are very different groups.

  8. Tom Stone

    The United States doesn’t have a serious Mental Health Crisis going on?

    I’m sure there’s a perfectly rational reason to slaughter kids if I could just think of it, and I’m sure there’s a sensible reason Biden started WW3.
    I’m just not woke enough to see it.

    1. Joe Well

      Britain has just as many sociopaths trying to start WW3 and yet gun deaths are rare.

      But maybe I’m just not conservo-libertarian-gun-nut enough to see all the dead Brits.

      1. Wukchumni

        The multitudes of Walter Mitty Sobchaks in the USA always have some ulterior reasoning as to why there are so many gun deaths in the USA, its what they do.

        1. ambrit

          I was going to include a link to the Danny Kaye film version of “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” but all youTube would throw out were snippets of the 2013 remake! What utter gall! This is proof positive that Hollywood is bereft of any creative impulses.
          Finally, a clip that includes “tapokkta, tapokkta, tapokkta.”
          I may be an old, cynical geezer, but some things should not be defiled by being “reimagined.”
          “Walter Mitty cleansed the world of a few more “unspeakable deplorables.” His AR went ‘tapokkita, tapokkita, tapokkita’ as it rid the world of the ‘degenerate scum.’ A few less Woke Scouts to pollute the gene pool!”
          Stay safe. Avoid public gatherings.

    2. hunkerdown

      Cuellar up by 177 votes was worth any number of dead children to the Democrat Party.

      Values are a mental health problem.

  9. The Rev Kev

    “US tries to force Russian default”

    Just had an idea. Moscow is now planning to make foreign debt payments in rubles. So here is an idea. The west stole about $300 billion from Russia and I believe that it was all in foreign currency. So what if Russia gives those debtors an instrument of authorization to withdraw the required funds from one of those bank accounts to meet those debts? At that point, Russia can say that they have fulfilled their obligations and it would be up to western debtors to chase western bans in western courts to get that money back. It could be fun.

    1. Paradan

      I think the idea here is to run up the amount that Russia owes, so that when Putin is finally ousted and a proper puppet installed, they can use the penalties and accumulated interest to strip all wealth from the country, reverse all of the redevelopment Putin has achieved, and push the entire country back into poverty and despair like it was in the 90’s. Added Bonus: You can use all the unemployed Russian men as fodder for a proxy war on China!

      So if Russia tries that, count on them saying something like the current Government is undemocratic and therefore they can’t give authorization in regards to those funds.

      1. KD

        Its all fun and games until some banks and some pension funds blow up and start a financial contagion.

  10. Ignacio

    RE: A New Enzyme Found in Compost Just Set a Speed Record For Breaking Down Plastic Science Alert (Chuck L)
    It is a pity PET is small part of total plastic produced, known to be the most easily degrades. Polypropylene and polyethylene being so far nearly intractable with enzymes. Those recalcitrant plastics are still a worry and are precisely those produced in highest amounts.

    1. Mel

      If we think of these forever plastics as sequestered carbon, maybe we can be more cheerful about them.

    2. Fraibert

      I know the article focuses on PET bottles, but I think it’s also noteworthy that “polyester” thread (used individually in sewing and woven, often in combination with other kinds of thread, for fabrics) is also PET. It seems to me this might provide a way of recycling all that clothing with some polyester content, which I view as great news.

      1. Rob

        This is just a new version of the recycling distraction to prevent people from having to confront the insane amounts of plastic waste we are creating.

  11. david

    From Matt Stoller commenting on Davos, “it all makes sense if in the back of your mind a voice is screaming, ‘it’s a cookbook.’ “

    1. flora

      Stoller’s reference to the Twilight Zone episode “To Serve Man” is apt. / ;)

      “Michael Chambers recounts recent events on Earth after the arrival of a alien space craft. The aliens, known as Kanamit, seem friendly and assure everyone they have nothing to be afraid of. In fact, they offer to share wonderful technology that will provide limitless energy, cure all disease and convert deserts into lush gardens. For the people of Earth, paradise has arrived. Chambers is an encryption specialist and they try their best to decrypt a book the Kanamit left behind. The book’s title seems benign – but it’s not what they think it is. —garykmcd”

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I sometimes wonder if people felt the same way about Merry Melodies as I did watching The Simpsons the first time around, knowing this will last forever.

    1. Brian (another one they call)

      Many military viewers of that image have said it is so unlikely that the military would misuse a flag that it had to be planned. Flag protocol is part of the training.
      And, it is the way the Azov and other nazi’s display the Uke flag. Some military people suggest that it demonstrates a display of support for the nazis by the head of our military.
      Does that tell us anything?

      1. voteforno6

        Sometimes people just screw things up. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t the CJCS who put the flag there, and he probably barely noticed it when he sat down.

      2. Polar Socialist

        It seems that only Ukrainian Liberation Army ever used the yellow-on-top. That was an umbrella organization for all the Ukrainian units in German Armed forces in 1943-45. Including SS Division Galizien.

      3. Bart Hansen

        What part of ‘the blue sky over the yellow grain fields’ did not sink in to the flag installers?

  12. bassmule

    More Supply Chain news: We’re last! USA! USA! (Bloomberg)

    “The supply-chain crisis that has clogged the US logistics network has made the country’s two largest ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach the least efficient trade hubs for handling containers worldwide, a new report showed.

    Responsible for about 42% of all US containerized trade with East Asia, the southern Californian twin hubs ranked in the final two positions of the World Bank and S&P Global Market Intelligence’s 370-member Container Port Performance Index for 2021, the companies said in a report released Wednesday. A majority of the busiest US sea gateways — including Georgia’s Savannah, New York and New Jersey and California’s Oakland — ranked in the bottom half of the list.”

    Biggest US Ports Rank As World’s Least Efficient

  13. Tom Stone

    After reading the article at the Saker about “Making Russia Great Again” my thoughts turned to Ronald Reagan, a most peculiar man.
    He made very serious efforts to join the Communist party before WW2, it was what the coolest people in the arts were doing ( Mac McChesney and Jane Brown are two I knew who did that,and paid a price for it later. An unexpectedly expensive marketing ploy)
    His simultaneous roles as FBI informant and head of the Screen Actors Guild are indicative, as are his close ties to the Mob through MCA ( Remember Sydney Korshak?).
    So…Saint Ronnie as Russian agent is not as far fetched as you might initially think.

    America did have the opportunity to be a Great Empire and pissed it away with an almost unprecedented degree of stupidity and incompetence.
    The brutality has unfortunately been equalled before and the corruption as well, the stupidity and incompetence show the true American Genius.

  14. The Rev Kev

    “The Surveillance State Is Primed for Criminalized Abortion”

    In the 20th century, finding out that you were pregnant was a cause of celebration. There would be baby showers to look forward to, friends & family would gather round you to help you out, you would start gathering all what a baby needs after being born and advice would be freely given (‘Oh no. It never hurts – and it only takes a few minutes.’). That was then and this is now. Now in some States if you fall pregnant, you will find yourself on a surveillance list with social media coming to the aid of the state to report your status. Perhaps in future, you will be required to register you being pregnant and maybe friends and families could receive financial rewards reporting your status if you don’t. Maybe too, as has happened elsewhere, if you lose your baby you will be subject to a police investigation with an ambitious state attorney wanting to lay manslaughter or even murder charges against you. And you know it could happen.

    1. dday

      Rev, I had a similar reaction. Now a pregnancy in the US will be a private affair. Women will purchase pregnancy tests with cash. They will search for options online very discreetly. I think that a network of abortion doulas is emerging, with access to medication abortion. Trips to blue states for abortions will be quick and circumspect.
      I watched The Handmaids Tale a few years back and thought, yes, this could very well happen here. It is time for a hundred Rebecca Gomperts to emerge.

  15. The Rev Kev

    “In the Kherson region, they spoke about the goal of becoming part of Russia:”

    Things are moving along alright. Take a look at Mariupol for example. The power is being restored and already a coupla schools are open again. The streets themselves are also being cleared and the bodies are being retrieved. Also, supplies and equipment are arriving by civilian trucks to restore and rebuild that city. In addition, the Russians have just announced that they have cleared the sea-mines out and are working on the whole area- (1:15 mins)

    So I would expect the same to be true of all the areas that Russia are taking over and especially Kherson, just like they did in Crimea. Meanwhile, one of those sea-mines that the Ukrainians deployed washed up on a beach in Odessa so Ukrainian sappers had to remove it and blow it up. Isn’t this the same port that the west was talking about sending a fleet to retrieve all that wheat? Or was this going to be an excuse to ship in heavy military gear and ammo?

  16. timbers

    Henry Kissinger: Ukraine must give Russia territory Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph……

    What does territory have to do with what Russia wants? No one wants to use the N word. It’s not territory Russia wants, it’s her people not being treated and ruled by Azov types. Linkedin removes any use of the N word and comment I make giving a brief history of Ukraine problems with WW2 German leadership types or Azov types that generates a nasty denial response from a PMC type.

    1. Safety First

      To be completely fair.

      If Ukraine had merely said, even as late as January of this year, that it is staying neutral, that it is not joining NATO, that there will be no NATO or US deployments on its territory, and that it has no intentions of launching an offensive to recover the Donbass – then I think that Russia would have accepted this. Even with the neo-nazis, even with the occasional shellings of Donetsk. They had accepted this for the preceding eight years. They had also accepted prior US-oriented nationalist regimes (Yuschenko). So long as the gas kept flowing and security red lines were not crossed, they didn’t really care who was doing what in there.

      Remember, the current regime in Moscow had spent much of the 1990s and the 2000s trying their own hand at Nazi rehabilitation. For heaven’s sake, Medinsky, the guy who headed the Russian delegation at the talks back in March, is the same guy who’d first personally opened a memorial plaque to Mannerheim in St. Petersburg (a city where he, Mannerheim, helped murder ~700k-800k people), and then followed up by personally ramming through several big-budget war films presenting SS officers (!) as positive, practically humanitarian characters.

      The Russian people as a whole still have issues with Nazis and their ilk, which is why Moscow immediately went to “denazification” in its pitch to the public. And no-one is disagreeing with the concept, least of all my magnificent humble self, although drilling into the possible meanings of the term raises a lot more questions than there have been answers thus far. Nevertheless, let’s please not confuse public justifications of a policy with actual reasons for said, whether with Iraq in 2003 or with Ukraine today. Moscow could not abide a US THAAD radar in Kharkov, among other things that were on the table – and was in any case itching to stake out its own sphere of influence independently of any US wishes. That Ukraine (and, implicitly, Washington) was stupid enough not to have cleaned up the neo-nazi issue in the past eight years, and lest anyone forget in 2014 one or two far-right bigwigs were literally executed in the street by the security service of the new government they’d just helped usher in, so it’s not as if they couldn’t if they’d really wanted to.

      Of course, separately from all this is the present climate of denial, which I hear is also a pretty sizeable river in Egypt, in Western press regarding the whole Bandera-Azov-SS Galicia marches. That’s just classic, kind of like the way Islamists were being whitewashed in the 1980s, including via major Hollywood productions like “Rambo III”. Hey – maybe we can get Rambo to come out of retirement, again, for at least the third time, to slap on a “trizub” insignia and run around fake Ukraine (that, somehow, looks like southern California) doing his thing…

  17. anon in so cal


    was one of those who bought up Russia’s assets at bargain prices in the 1990s after US neoliberal “shock therapy” (and Clinton’s interference in the elections)

    “any serious inquiry must go beyond individual corruption and examine how U.S. policy, using tens of millions in taxpayer dollars, helped deform democracy and economic reform in Russia and helped create a fat-cat oligarchy run amok.”

    Anne Williamson, a journalist who specializes in Soviet and Russian affairs, details these and other conflicts of interest between H.I.I.D.’s advisers and their supposed clients—the Russian people—in her forthcoming book, How America Built the New Russian Oligarchy. For example, in 1995, in Chubais-organized insider auctions of prime national properties, known as loans-for-shares, the Harvard Management Company (H.M.C.), which invests the university’s endowment, and billionaire speculator George Soros were the only foreign entities allowed to participate. H.M.C. and Soros became significant shareholders in Novolipetsk, Russia’s second-largest steel mill, and Sidanko Oil, whose reserves exceed those of Mobil. H.M.C. and Soros also invested in Russia’s high-yielding, I.M.F.-subsidized domestic bond market.

    Even more dubious, according to Williamson, was Soros’s July 1997 purchase of 24 percent of Sviazinvest, the telecommunications giant, in partnership with Uneximbank’s Vladimir Potanin. It was later learned that shortly before this purchase Soros had tided over Yeltsin’s government with a backdoor loan of hundreds of millions of dollars while the government was awaiting proceeds of a Eurobond issue; the loan now appears to have been used by Uneximbank to purchase Norilsk Nickel in August 1997. According to Williamson, the U.S. assistance program in Russia was rife with such conflicts of interest involving H.I.I.D. advisers and their U.S.A.I.D.-funded Chubais allies, H.M.C. managers, favored Russian bankers, Soros and insider expatriates working in Russia’s nascent markets.

  18. The Rev Kev

    “As liquified gas exports surge at Port Everglades, risk of catastrophic accident rises”

    Is this wise? I am given to understand that this region has been known to experience inclement weather from time to time. And it would be tough to tell the EU that they would have to wait a coupla weeks for those installations to come back online after a bit of weather-

    1. Safety First

      When was the last time you saw any private sector player of significant size and capital think, plan, act or even contemplate anything that might happen beyond the next month- or quarter-end? Even if that anything were practically guaranteed to take place at some point within the visible future?

      We’ll do the thing until the expected disaster, and then act surprised, because no-one could have predicted or imagined. Maybe I am just being especially grouchy this morning…

      1. ambrit

        Well, not to torrentially rain on your parade, but, the American Insurance companies have quietly jacked up the homeownwr’s policies all along the Gulf Coast since Hurricane Katrina took down much of New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast region. Long stretches of the Gulf front property in Gulfport proper and adjacent areas are still not ‘redeveloped’ seventeen years after the disaster. The insurance policy payments are too high there even for high net worth individuals.
        The Insurance companies deal in longer timeframes than single Quarters. It is part of their actuarial methodology.
        Stay safe. Learn the backstroke.

  19. Lexx

    ‘Disease, subclinical: An illness that stays “below the surface” of clinical detection. A subclinical disease has no or minimally recognizable clinical findings. It is distinct from a clinical disease, which has signs and symptoms that can be more easily recognized. Many diseases, including diabetes, hypothyroidism, rheumatoid arthritis, infections or cancers can be (?)* subclinical before surfacing as clinical diseases.’

    ‘Spare me the bullshit of mental illness,” says Sen. Murphy of the United States. “We’re not an outlier on mental illness, we’re an outlier on firearms”’

    ‘We can’t find what we’re not looking for.’ – Lexx

    And this was the voice for gun control on the Senate floor? Well, I suppose firearm sales can be roughly quantified… while illness – mental illness in particular – can go unrecognized, unquantified for a lifetime; it’s a matter of degrees. We tend to normalize any sign of illness that falls below the threshold of that which can be easily weighed and measured. I call it ‘picking the low fruit’.

    That normalization process starts with the patient and is reinforced by those nearest and dearest. ‘Naw, yer fine. Walk it off.’ To see may mean being forced to act. Acting is hard, possible more painful, and expensive, and so denial, our bestie ego-construct buddy steps forward. Denial means well, it just wants whats best for you. Denial and Normal are close allies. This is a country full of people deeply snuggled in loving arms of Denial and Normal.

    I’d write ‘and don’t forget Narcissism’ but it’s just redundant.

    *question mark mine

    1. hunkerdown

      Also, mental illness is defined in terms of adaptation (to the norms and relations of the order). In a neoliberal world, the Dark Triad personality traits are adaptive.

      1. Vandemonian

        One of my favourite quotes:

        “It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”
        – Jiddu Krishnamurti

  20. Mark Gisleson

    I don’t disagree with the cannabis article but I think the information probably wasn’t news to anyone who bothers to read articles about cannabis.

    Give us full legalization and this will sort out in no time. Growers are hyper-aware of what’s in their plants, how true they are to their “brand”, etc. Users can buy a USB microscope for $30. Terpenes do not have reliable color schemes, but I’ve acquire no-name cannabis that I could identify with some online research.

    Put more simply: during Prohibition you didn’t need a label to know if you were drinking homemade gin or whiskey. Likewise, if you don’t know what’s in the bag when you buy it, you’ll have a pretty good idea by the time it’s all gone.

  21. Dave in Austin

    The Ukraine-Russia public relations war continues.

    On the food front, both sides are talking about ‘humanitarian corridors” to transport badly needed grain from the south Ukrainian ports by ship. There are inshore minefields placed by the Ukrainians and reports that some mines have broken loose and are floating around the Black Sea. The The Ukrainians have not allowed trapped ships filled with grain to leave Odessa, citing the danger. The Russians have offered minesweepers to clear a path through any floating mines but only if the sanctions are lifted. There is still sea traffic in the Black Sea to Romania and the Turkish ports so it appears the danger of floating mines is limited, either because minesweepers (Turkish? Russian? Romanian?) are already operating or because the fears of floating mines are overstated. The press tells us nothing about the facts on the scene.

    On the peace front, if the most recent reports are correct, the Italian peace proposal is a non-starter. Original reports said it asked for an immediate cease fire, negotiations on the special status for the Russian-speakers in the east, neutralization of the Ukraine and security guarantees. It sounded like a reasonable basis to stop the fighting and the Russian advances. The Ukraine has turned it down, backing away from the “No NATO” pledge they made in the early weeks of the war.. Now the Russians have done the same based on an Italian press conference that said the Italian plan only calls for locally-negotiated cease fires not a general cease fire. If that is true then is would stop the fighting but not the influx of NATO weapons, a non-starter for the Russians. This may be a “needs clarification” problem or a dead end, I can’t tell.

    1. David

      I think it’s a dead end. Not because it isn’t a sensible solution, and a year ago it would probably have worked. But I think we’ve got past agreements, and I’m fairly sure that what’s going to decide this will be brute force. The Russians have the momentum and the odds move more in their favour all the time. They have to assume that any agreement will just be an opportunity for Ukraine to start rearming. What are they going to do then, invade a second time? At the moment they are in as good a position as they ever will be to dictate the terms of a settlement. There may not actually even be a formal peace treaty, just a de facto outcome after the fighting stops.

  22. vao

    As a further update on the latent energy war between Germany and Russia, here are some essential points from report on gas supply recently published by the Bundesnetzagentur. The document provides interesting information on gas flows, the geography of gas pipelines in Germany, and prices.

    1) After some wobbling, the flows from Russia via Nordstream 1 are steady. Those via Czechia (and Slovakia, and therefore Ukraine) have recently gone done, probably a consequence of Ukraine shutting off one transit point with Russia. The leg of the Yamal pipeline going through Poland has not delivered gas to Germany since mid-March, that is 5 weeks before the dramatic announcement that Russia would stop delivering gas to Poland itself. Currently, the throughput is about equivalent to 2.23 TWh/day.

    2) The gas flows from the the Netherlands, Belgium, Norway (probably all North Sea fields) have kept steady. Throughput about 2.3 TWh/day.

    3) Tank fill has climbed back from a historical low (way, way lower than the minimum of 2016-2021), but has not yet reached the average of previous years.

    The big issue is whether it will be possible to fill all tanks to 80% by the 1st October, and 90% by the 1st November, as a new law prescribes. A look at another article shows this will prove difficult.

    1) Astora, the subsidiary of Gazprom Germania, has 51.8 TWh storage capacity, and its tanks are only 10.6 TWh full.

    2) In total, Astora capacity represents more than 20% of the total storage capacity in Germany. Filling its tanks is therefore indispensable to achieve the stated storage goals.

    3) However, Russia imposed an embargo on selling gas to Gazprom Germania; whether the flows from the North Sea will suffice is an open question. It is interesting that, despite a seasonal reduction in gas usage, and an overall gas consumption that is significantly and consistently lower than in 2021, the largest Astora storage facility at Rehden is basically empty at 2% fill. It was 1% full shortly after the Bundesnetzagentur took it over as a trustee. In other words, Germany has not managed to find gas for it.

    To me, Russia and Germany look like two chess players who, after a few deft moves parrying each other’s attacks, have reached a delicate balance, and are now intently poring over the board, pondering the strategy to follow. The 1st October is not just the deadline for that 80% storage fill; it is also the date on which Germany must decide on how to proceed with the fiduciary administration of Gazprom Germania. Russia must also consider how to counteract a possible expropriation of valuable infrastructure in Germany and how not to lose untold billions with Nordstream 2 becoming a stranded asset.

    How things evolve will however depend on a number of factors, not necessarily under the control of Germany or Russia.

    1) The USA might do something truly big regarding LNG, or do something decidedly not big enough with it.

    2) Slovakia might to something that displease Russia mightily, in which case yet another supply route may close.

    3) There are new moves on the oil front, regarding boycotting Russia and dispossessing Rosneft from its refineries in Germany.

    4) Ukraine might get desperate and decide to shutt off all pipelines from Russia.

    The last event might suggest original ideas to some European politicians. Why not send an expeditionary corps to Ukraine to protect pipelines and pumping stations against some rash action by Ukrainians? Of course, this would mean NATO military forces on Ukrainian territory ostensibly to ensure the continuity of gas supply contracts with Russia against Ukraine, but this is the kind of too-clever-by-a-half scheme that would appeal to wackiest war-mongers eager to confront Russia directly.

    1. RobertC

      vao — thank you for this most excellent report.

      Your concern with NATO gas supply ‘protection’ is similar to my concern with NATO ‘rescue’ of Ukrainian grain. Wackiest war-mongers indeed.

    2. Polar Socialist

      You think it may be easier to send troops to Ukraine (and risk immense escalation) to secure the pipeline than convince Poland to transit the gas trough Polish pipelines? Because I wouldn’t be surprised if that was the case.

      1. vao

        Well, the idea is as follows:

        1) Ukraine, in dire straights, shuts down all pipelines coming from Russia and Bielorussia.

        2) Sudden interruption of gas supply to Europe, which causes some commotion.

        3) Arguing that Ukraine is violating international agreements, and to ensure the sanctity of contracts and the continuity of supply, NATO sends troops to Ukraine. Of course, this is ostensibly an action against Ukraine, but also in the interest of Russia.

        4) The result: NATO article 5 has been sneaked in, and NATO troops are now all over the place in Ukraine, officially to secure pipelines and pumping stations. All to the great joy of the Ukrainian government and the most rabidly russophobic Europeans, for this makes the (remaining) Ukrainian territory presumably a no-go zone for Russia — except if it wishes to start a full-scale war with NATO.

        A wacky combination, but the Baltic states have proposed sending a fleet to force the alleged blocus of grain exports by Russia, Poland is asking Norway to disburse its profits from gas sales to the EU, and the EU has been ready to starve its agriculture, industry and households from the indispensible materials supplied by Russia. So I fear some might find the idea feasible and appealing.

      1. vao

        Many thanks — very interesting especially the figures and references. There is one point that is already proving problematic:

        I think the idea, also expressed by the European Commission, is to take that gas to fill our reserves so we won’t get cold next winter. We’d best hope Russia agrees with that plan, by the way.

        And as mentioned above, Russia no longer allows the former tanks from Gazprom to be filled with Russian gas. Maybe those storage facilities can be filled with North Sea gas, but, as shown by the Bundesnetzagentur, that supply has kept steady and has not increased; perhaps those sources have reached extraction limits or saturated transport capacity. If so, then the question is whether a complement of LNG import will be enough.

    3. Dave in Austin

      Or they could just open NordStream 2. The Ukkrainian “I’ll slit both our throats” possibility is remote for that reason.

      1. vao

        Provided that

        a) Nordstream 1 + 2 + North Sea + LNG suffice to supply Germany for consumption and storage, and compensate all other countries depending on Russia-through-Ukraine pipelines for gas supply (Poland, Slovakia, Czechia, Romania, Austria, Italy…) I do not have the figures.

        b) Some big players (USA) and small ones (Poland) do not lean heavily to prevent opening Nordstream 2.

    1. Late Introvert

      The group of people who did that at Scroogle have probably never read 1984, or more likely were joking about it.

  23. RobertC

    Inflation/Supply Chain

    Paging Pete Buttigieg Freight railroad slowdowns under microscope amid supply crunch

    Freight railroads are failing to keep pace with consumer demand, putting additional strain on the nation’s supply chains that have been plagued by trucker shortages and congested ports, among other challenges.

    Trade groups representing energy and agricultural producers say that rail service disruptions are delaying shipments of raw materials and driving up prices that consumers pay for food, gas and other products.

    They chiefly blame railroads for understaffing their operations. Over the last six years, the leading freight carriers laid off 45,000 employees, or nearly 30 percent of their combined workforce, according to the Surface Transportation Board. Most of the layoffs came before the pandemic, which ushered in a huge demand for shipped items.

  24. Mikel

    “Every clip from Davos makes more sense if in the back of your mind a voice is shouting “It’s a cook book!!!”

    Someone on this thread asked what is this obsession with tracking people.

    They know they are despised.

    1. JBird4049

      >>>Tracker stops working when you can afford a private jet. #Goals.

      Best response so far.

      Honestly, how much resources do they use and how much pollution does the average Elitist create, I ask.

  25. Mikel

    “Airbnb to close in China amid repeated Covid lockdowns” Guardian

    This will help China get their housing market together.

  26. RobertC

    Imperial Collapse Watch

    Bad news reported skillfully NERC Warns of Mounting Reliability Risks, Urges Preparation for Challenging Summer

    An unprecedented array of risks—ranging from capacity shortfalls, extreme weather, extended drought, supply chain issues, cybersecurity, solar PV tripping, fuel constraints, to wildfires—could imperil the reliability of nearly every North American bulk power system (BPS) region west of the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) this summer, the North American Electric Reliability Corp. (NERC) warned in a newly released summer assessment.

    NERC’s May 18–issued 2022 Summer Reliability Assessment (pdf), which presents a forward-looking evaluation of generation resources, transmission system, and energy sufficiency across the North American BPS, estimates all its 20 regions will maintain anticipated reserve margins under typical outage conditions. However, seven regions could struggle if extreme events threaten generation output or demand spikes, NERC suggested.

  27. Tom Stone

    The US domestic situation will be a good deal different by the end of October.
    “Covid is over” will be over and not happily so.
    Maybe we’ll stay lucky and not see a really nasty C19 variant.
    Maybe not.
    Inflation will have had a few months to work on people’s budgets and it is going to hurt.
    Real Estate is cyclical and the down cycle has started, that will become crystal clear.
    Holy shit.
    I’ll be very surprised if we don’t see multiple 1 MM acre wildfires across the Southwest.
    My part of California is already crispy after the last ten days of hot windy conditions…
    `Again, I’ll be surprised if we don’t lose a town like Los Gatos or Piedmont to fire this year and maybe a big chunk of a major city or two.
    I suspect that the reactions to these additional stresses will not be altogether rational,however they are likely to be interesting.

    1. JBird4049

      >>>`Again, I’ll be surprised if we don’t lose a town like Los Gatos or Piedmont to fire this year and maybe a big chunk of a major city or two.

      Nah, those are the enclaves of the Important People who have first dibs on the fire and forestry people. Money does get you power and influence. Their minions in towns like Mill Valley, which is at the base of Mt. Tam, are the ones more likely getting toasted soon.

      I use to be envious of those multi-million dollar homes between the Redwoods. Not, so much. The fires might or might not kill a Redwood tree. However, the homes are likely going to be very fine charcoal and escaping using the one and two lane roads is going to difficult.

      I have gotten stuck in a smaller vehicles like the Volkwagen bug and other older compact vehicles. Driving alone. Thinking of the ginormous SUVs during a fire… If you want a horrifying image, just look at the pictures of the lines of burnt out trapped cars after the Oakland Hills Fire of 1991.

      That is something most people either don’t realize or think about. Much of the housing, be it a shack, a double wide, or a mansion is located off of small roads. It takes just one large tree or broken vehicle to trap who knows how many people. It was a problem at Paradise even when nobody was stuck, but just moving through burning forests with the cars’ tires melting.

  28. Maritimer

    Canada bans Huawei equipment from 5G networks, orders removal by 2024 The Verge. From a few days ago…
    You can’t make this stuff up Department: Canadian Parliament uses ZOOM (connections to CCP) to hold meetings. The twist is that it’s ok to do that but just don’t be naked, note the discussion of “members”:

    ZOOM records all, analyses all, hears all, sees all but keeps it all secret unlike Bad Huawei!

  29. flora

    from the Prospect:

    The Age of Rationing

    From pandemic supply chain snarls to baby formula shortages, we forgot that physical production isn’t magic, and we need to engineer it for stability.

    “What led to our current predicament of rising prices, missing goods, and rationing was obvious if you knew where to look. Weeks before COVID lockdowns in the U.S., the American Economic Liberties Project’s Matt Stoller wrote the most perceptive and also the simplest prediction we’ve seen over the past several years. It boils down to this: Our system of production, logistics, and regulatory oversight was not engineered to handle any stress.
    Unfortunately, policymakers continue to try to solve new problems with the old methods, and the reconfiguration of commerce needed to ensure stability and resiliency gathers moss.”

  30. ArvidMartensen

    On the lockdowns in China to prevent the spread of Covid.
    The US has made it plain that defeating Russia is a warm-up act to taking down China at some point in the not too distant future.
    So do the Chinese feel that Covid could be used as a bioweapon, to weaken the country and make it vulnerable to invasion and takeover by the US? They may have more insight into where it came from, initial denial of its existence notwithstanding.
    The leadership is certainly are taking a lot of economic and political pain to keep the virus out.
    Risk/benefit says to me that they see Covid as a massive geopolitical risk to China.

  31. djrichard

    > China should move reserves out of US Treasuries Asia Times

    If China moves out of buying Treasuries, that means they no longer need to buy US dollars with the goods they sell us. In which case, they’ll need to target some other currency/country for a trade surplus. And the price of goods from China will be a lot more expensive to those of in the US (which as far as I’m concerned is how it should be).

    But I don’t think this is going to happen at all. China understands that their golden goose is stimulating their export economy and there’s no other economy that can absorb a trade imbalance like the US can. If that means they expose themselves to confiscation of their US assets, so be it.

    If we go to war with China, say over Taiwan, it’ll be fascinating to see how this would play out. If US wants a “can you hear me now” message, they would punish China’s export industry by no longer trading with China during a time of war. Is the US primed to do that? Nowere close in my mind. Would US simply confiscate Chinese assets but then continue business as usual with respect to trade? It would be surreal.

    1. JohnA

      The usual BBC anti-Putin propaganda. Most of the devastation of Donbass has been caused by the Ukrainian army. The vast majority of residents there have welcome the Russian army as their saviours. The BBC is nothing but western propaganda.

  32. Alyosha

    Re what’s in your weed,

    The labels indica, sativa and hybrid at dispensaries are 99% BS. The division of indica and sativa is mostly morphological adaptations to different environments. The former temperate climates and the latter tropical. The chemical difference is likely a founder effect. Yes, terpenes matter (when present in high enough percentages) but the main difference in type of high is likely related to THC/CBD proportions. In almost all cases, a true sativa has null CBD. CBD is actually antagonist to THC at endocannibinoid receptors. If you get a real sativa, you’ll want to clean the house. If you get an indica you’ll want to watch a movie (generally).

    Old timers will talk about how the weed they got was almost psychedelic (assuming they got flower not leaf), potentially causing jittery feelings, paranoia, etc. That’s because the old times smoked sativas imported from tropical countries. They could be and we’re grown in some locations of CA (Santa Cruz) but weren’t viable in anywhere with winter. The breeding scene in the US was all about getting the tropicals to a point where they could be grown in the US, later in Dutch greenhouses or indoor. True sativas are extra problematic indoors because they get huge.

    Being adapted to tropical climates, the flowering cycle can take 10-20 weeks for a true sativa. Commercial growers don’t do real sativas because they’re finicky, fairly rare and take a long time. Even with significant selection you’ll only get them down to 10-12 weeks. They also don’t have the super dense structure and “bag appeal”. What’s labeled as “sativa” is something which has a pedigree that’s mostly sativa, but finding stock that hasn’t been bred to an indica or two to improve structure, shorten time to harvest, etc is rare.

    The new “hype” strains will be pretty homogeneous because they’re propagated by clone. Lots of growers may have it, but they all got cuts from the finder or cuts for a cut from the original. Durban poison is an old variety that’s been worked by lots of people. Whether Mel Frank actually did selections to get the shorter flower (he wanted outdoor in NY, late 70’s/early 80’s) or crossed it is a matter of myth and conjecture. But modern Durban is usually 8-9 weeks. True Durban is a 15ish week plant.

    If you want a real sativa, ya gotta find a purist grower like me and make friends. There are a couple of Spanish breeders who do good work. A friend of mine brought back seeds from Namibia, picked from flower there by him. Heirloom, tropical sativa. It’s the real. If you’re a hobby grower, look up ACE seeds. They do very good work via selection and careful crosses. Unfortunately, true sativas also don’t work well as mom/clone line maintenance. They kind of freak out and start flowering whenever they want. It’s another notch against finding them in dispensaries. Careful breeders (a real rarity these days) can work a hybrid line to keep sativa effect/taste/smell but that takes some work to find and procure.

    We did all that you see in legal weed under cover, trust based business from grow to sale to breeding. We didn’t have space for large selection runs and lots of backcrossed generations (mostly). The only way to achieve what the article talks about in terms of chemo type diversity is to go back to the old varieties (“landrace”) and start over. Too many compounding founder effects in all the “cookies” and such. If anyone made it this far, I’ll try to check back and give recs for more breeders upon request.

    1. ocop

      This is a fascinating history. Not sure I can make use of a breeder (but would research anyway!), but do you know of any good written histories on mj breeding, development, science etc.

      1. Alyosha

        If you’re a homegrower then good breeders are like gold, and seeds are now readily available. (Mostly legal even!)

        I really wish there was such an overview history, but most of them are rumors, old stories of questionable veracity and long-nurtured beefs. Coming out of the shadows has been less than triumphant. That said, “The African Roots of Marijuana” is the best book on cannabis history I’ve ever read. Borderline academic writing. Probably not perfect but covers an important and overlooked facet. For example, dagga was well established in Southern Africa by the time the Portuguese arrived. There’s still a lot of quiet racism in the published histories of cannabis. Nobody’s really put together a modern history from the perspective of “industry” participants, which is weird since many of the biggest names are still alive. Most histories are on the social side of the drug war.

        Briefly, Marijuana breeding as far back as the 60’s was an effort to make seed from imported marijuana (Mexico, Central America and Southeast Asia mostly, and some Afghan) suitable for outdoor cultivation beyond pockets of CA, and then later to tame it for indoor cultivation. Now there’s chemical analysis but then it was all “by ear”. What was accomplished is pretty amazing.

        It’s a helpful plant, being male-female breeding it is closer to dogs than most plant breeding. And asexual propagation has been in use a long, long time. So even though the plant has an amazing amount of genetic plasticity and variety, the genetics of an individual can be easily isolated and maintained. It’s so helpful that it’s pretty easy to make a female plant produce male flowers with viable pollen. You can breed an individual back to itself. And that’s been super common. The problem with it is genetic bottlenecks. We’re unlikely to get far towards the plant’s potential by working from modern varieties (mostly) because of this. There’s a small community that seeks out the heirlooms from around the world and tries to maintain them, but time is running out because modern varieties have been introduced into those populations.

        The history of the plant is also fascinating. It was, IMO, likely one of if not the first plant we figured out how to domesticate (primarily for fiber, no matter what the marijuana historians of great repute try to say). Truly, European empire was only possible because of hemp for ripe and sail. From the Tibetan plateau 29 MYA, the plant has spread to every corner of every continent (I’m sure people are growing in Antarctic research stations). It’s the dog of the plant world. And now 100 years of science and technology are being focused on it all at one time, and mostly discovering what indigenous populations knew all along.

    2. Henry Moon Pie

      Thanks for sharing your expertise with us. I do have a question about something I’ve read about another element in the THC/CBD mix and that is harvest time. My very basic understanding is that as the resin turns from clear to cloudy white, that CBD increases relative to THC. The later you harvest, the higher the CBD content relative to THC. True? Any visual clues as to optimum harvest time to maximize THC?

  33. Dave in Austin

    Beaten but not defeated.

    My second posting in five minutes, but I think justified by the video:

    Twitter “ @Militarylandnet 3 hours ago”. Scroll down to the one entitled:

    📽️Ukrainian soldiers retreating from Lyman, #Donetsk Oblast in not exactly organized manner, finding stragglers along the way. #UkraineRussiaWar #Ukraine

    Not stragglers at all. Stragglers fall behind, often intentionally. These Ukrianian soldiers were fighting in the woods and as they realized things were falling apart- or somehow got the word- they went to the road and flagged down the other retreating soldiers… who may have lost the battle but were singing. As I said: “Defeated but not beaten”.

    1. JohnA

      Have you seen the video of Russian troops giving medical attention to these wounded stragglers that were abandoned by their Ukrainian colleagues and taking them to safety on stretchers? I doubt that would appear in western media.

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