Links 5/31/2022

Posted on by

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

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


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

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

* * *

Wild animals evolving much faster than previously thought ANU (resilc)

Unusual neutron star spinning every 76 seconds discovered in stellar graveyard PhysOrg (Kevin W)

Dene filmmaker turned away from Cannes red carpet for wearing moccasins CBC (William T)

A US Government Agency Accidentally Revealed The Strategic Danger Of GMO Crops One World (Micael T). This seems to be more about quasi monoculture risk but GMO seeds do facilitate delivery.

The Great Debasement Tablet Magazine (Anthony L)




Beijing man sends 5,000 people into quarantine after breaking Covid isolation Guardian (resilc)

How China’s lockdown policies are crippling the country’s economy Financial Times. “They would say that, now wouldn’t they?”

Hong Kong’s Omicron crisis: ‘It took just 10 days for everyone to be infected’ BBC (resilc)


Covid-weary Americans enter Memorial Day with little effort to contain a still-raging pandemic Washington Post (resilc). Speak for yourself! I chilled out and wore a mask the very few times I was with people. But it helps to be a chronically overworked introvert.


Giant Deep Ocean Turbine Trial Offers Hope of Endless Green Power Bloomberg (David L)

Climate Change Is Creating Ghost Forests YouTube

Plastic Recycling Doesn’t Work and Will Never Work Atlantic (resilc)

Vanuatu declares climate emergency Bangkok Post (furzy)


Chinese Researchers Publish Strategy to Destroy Elon Musk’s Starlink Gizmodo (Dr. Kevin)

What a shrinking China means for the world Asia Times (resilc)

UN’s Bachelet wraps up Xinjiang trip without seeing where China locks up Uyghur activists Politico and US ‘concerned’ after UN human rights chief visits China Agence France-Presse (furzy) v. By trying to pressure Bachelet, the US and West are unable to create an ‘iron curtain’ of human rights: Global Times editorial Global Times. Note I have had Western businessmen who’ve had manufacturing operations in China virtually from the minute it was let into the WTO and for whom it is not in their commercial interest to speak up, tell me that the Chinese are running Uighur prison camps and the numbers incarcerated are not small. However, it is also possible that China got everything tidied up for appearance’s sake before the Bachelet visit, as in things were not hidden by denying her access but by distributing the detainees and guards temporarily to other places in China.

Samoa signs ‘collaboration’ pact with China Bangkok Post (furzy)

1B Meth Pills: East, Southeast Asia Drug Industry Hits Ominous Peak The Diplomat (resilc)

New Not-So-Cold War

Empire Solves Ukraine’s Nazi Problem With A Logo Change Caitlin Johnstone (Dr. Kevin)

* * *

Ukraine is a millstone around Europe’s neck Indian Punchline (Kevin W)

Six million homes could face winter power cuts due to energy shortages – report Sky News

Russia suspends gas deliveries to Dutch trader GasTerra Al Jazeera (Kevin W)

EU admits impact of 2/3 Russian gas cut ‘not assessed’ EURActiv

Oil breaches $120 a barrel as petrol and diesel prices soar Financial Times (Kevin W)

* * *

“The tactics chosen are correct, but they do not provide for quick victories”: Colonel-General Georgy Shpak on the progress of the special operation RT. See original here.

Ukraine Bits: Russian Artillery – Counter Attacks – New Missile Systems Moon of Alabama

I must confess I’m only 12 minutes into this segment, but even just that part has some eye-opening takes on Russia’s progress in Ukraine. I want to slap my forehead about not appreciating the full significance of the famed unmolested 40 km line of tanks and armored vehicles:

Russia Moves into Severodonetsk, Ukraine Suffers Heavy Losses in Kherson, EU Split on Russia Oil Ban Alexander Mercouris, YouTube

AL-QAEDA ALREADY SELLING U.S. JAVELINS IN IDLIB FOR $15K A POP Bitchute (Kevin W) Admittedly only one but hardly unreasonable to assume more.

Kremlin divulges Eurobond payment arrangement similar to gas-for-rubles system TASS

* * *

Georgia’s breakaway region of South Ossetia ditches referendum on joining Russia France24 (furzy)

Russia, Ukraine & the Law of War: Crime of Aggression Scott Ritter, Consortium News

WHAT I GOT WRONG AND WHY Patrick Armstrong


On Memorial Day, let’s get the 900 US Troops out of Syria and away from any War with Russia or Iran Juan Cole

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Clearview AI fined in UK for illegally storing facial images BBC

A Face Search Engine Anyone Can Use Is Alarmingly Accurate New York Times

Imperial Collapse Watch

Tackling the controversial NGO law Bangkok Post. Lambert:

As readers know, I have followed protests and insurrections round the world, starting with the Arab spring. NGOs funded by foreign powers have been involved in all these events depending on local conditions (in Hong Kong, very little; in Eastern Europe and the Balkans, a lot). NGOs are an expression of soft power by the States that fund them (and sometimes not-so-soft, as we see in Ukraine). As such, it is natural for any State concerned with preserving its sovereignty to regulate them. The pretense that NGOs are an expression of universal (i.e., Western) values should be dropped entirely. And don’t get me started on the NGOs in the United States.

In case you missed it. Note also that the White House announced that Fiji was the first to join the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, which it announced unilaterally and Fiji (at least as of Sunday evening) had said no such thing:


Is the US really committed to its new Indo-Pacific economic initiative? ASPI Strategist (Robert C)

No Surprises Act Blocked 2 Million Medical Bills in 2 Months: Report WebMD (furzy)

Pentagon under pressure to protect abortion access The Hill

Travel Aid for Out-of-State Abortions Is Already Drying Up Bloomberg

Scoop: PAC to spend $1M to oust ‘Squad’ member Tlaib Politico (Chuck L)


U.S. marks Memorial Day weekend with at least 11 mass shootings MSN (resilc)

“We Cannot Sanitize These Killings”: News Media Considers Breaking Grimly Routine Coverage of Mass Shootings Vanity Fair (Dr. Kevin)

The Science Is Clear: Gun Control Saves Lives Scientific American. Resilc: “USA USA only cares if unborn students are murdered in the classroom.”

Handguns: Canada proposes complete freeze on ownership BBC (furzy)

The Texas Law That Has Banks Saying They Don’t ‘Discriminate’ Against Guns New York Times

Our No Longer Free Press

Ten Times Empire Managers Showed Us That They Want To Control Our Thoughts Caitlin Johnstone

Supply Chain/Inflation

Hunger games: How the world’s farmers have become collateral victims of sanctions against Russia RT (Kevin W)

Eurozone inflation hits record 8.1% Financial Times

How San Diego secured its water supply, at a cost ABC (ma)

Class Warfare

How Starbucks ‘Connection Scores’ leave workers at the whims of customers NBC (furzy)

Thousands are estimated to be living on the streets just a few miles from gates of Disney World Daily Mail (resilc)

Illegal Immigration Is Down, Changing the Face of California Farms New York Times (resilc)

Walmart to begin America’s first large-scale drone operation in 6 states Axios (Tom H). I recall that property owners have air rights up to a certain height, and therefore a drone going over your property too low = trespassing. But that does not give you the right to shoot a drone (unless you can perhaps argue you thought it posed a threat to safety….)

World’s top graduates get new UK visa option BBC. Resilc: “Not worth as much with Brexit.”

Twilight of Tech Gods: era ends with recession, stock market crash, layoffs Business Insider (Kevin W)

Antidote du jour (furzy, from Pattaya News):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. Toshiro_Mifune


    Well, that didn’t take long.

    1. Tom Stone

      $15K Ain’t much, that’s about what a Barrett with scope runs.
      Ukraine is notoriously corrupt, if only 20% of the MANPADS and Javelins hit the black market I’d be surprised.

        1. The Rev Kev

          You think that those Javelins should have a sticker on them saying ‘Batteries Not Included’? Not just for kids on Christmas day.

          1. hunkerdown

            *batteries not included (1987): “Aliens help a feisty old New York couple in their battle against the ruthless land developer who’s out to evict them.” I don’t know, a Hollywood holiday movie inside each box would be on-brand but a bit beyond the pale, as it were.

    2. Eureka Springs


      1. Eureka Springs

        I’ve long thought if it’s so easy and inexpensive to electronically tag a small pet then weapons should be no tagging tracing problem if our government didn’t want them distributed.

        1. wendigo

          It is all about priorities concerning possible misuse.

          It is a priority for John Deere to be able to brick their tractors in the event of misuse such as repairing them.

          Apparently unauthorized repair of these weapons is not a concern.

          1. The Rev Kev

            Saw one video clip recently of a Ukrainian soldier trying to hot-wire his Javelin into trying to work. When this war is over, I wonder who those soldiers going to hate more – the Russians or the west?

            1. Lambert Strether

              > who those soldiers going to hate more – the Russians or the west?

              That’s your dilemma when you’re a buffer state, and it only gets worse when you try to pretend you’re not.

      2. Lambert Strether

        > AL-QAEDA CIA

        So, we would be laundering the weapons through Ukraine instead of simply feeding the black market.*

        That’s an interesting theory and the CIA has form, having done something similar in Iran-Contra.

        However, if we’re going the laundry route, who’s the counterparty? To whom are we delivering the weapons? The project must be of some scale (like Iran-Contra) and what do we have cooking, really, besides Ukraine itself? Something in the ‘Stans, perhaps? The Uighers?

        NOTE * We could be doing both, of course. Ukraine has demonstrated expertise in both fields.

    3. David

      The English translation, at least, doesn’t say it’s a Javelin. There’s a missile shown at 0,59 which could be one – maybe one of our ex-military readers would like to take a look. But even if it is, Javelin is old technology, and has been used extensively in Afghanistan and Iraq. They’ve also probably been used by US forces in Syria, or given to one or more factions there, so there are plenty of them washing around the area already.
      I’d want to be convinced of the assertion that it’s from Ukraine. Who is this guy? Where is he? What’s the point of this video?

      1. The Rev Kev

        That is the problem. In the black arms industry, typically they do not issue ID badges. It is the sort of industry where you open up every case of weaponry to ensure that you are not buying a case of rocks. There is no trust and after delivery & payment you head for the nearest horizon. The US supplied ATGMs to ISIS a few years ago so why is it a stretch to believe it possible that the most corrupt country in Europe has not sold weaponry onto the black market?

          1. David

            Indeed, but my point was that there’s nothing in the video to show who this person is, where he’s speaking from, who if anyone he represents, and whether what he says is true. So before we start presuming things …;

    4. tegnost

      This story will be almost certainly be spun as russia captured javelins and gave them to al qaeda to shoot americans with.

  2. The Rev Kev

    “Beijing man sends 5,000 people into quarantine after breaking Covid isolation”

    Something tells me that that self-entitled, Beijing guy will go down in Chinese history as the first to ever have a zero Social Credit Score – for life!

  3. russell1200

    “The Texas Law That Has Banks Saying They Don’t ‘Discriminate’ Against Guns New York Times”

    That’s how they would go after this site. First label you as a foreign agent, then pressure various finance types not to process any payments. If they can do it to something as innocuous as adult lingerie stores, they can certainly get there when more motivated.

    1. digi_owl

      How they have been going after just about anyone “unacceptable” off late.

      While the conservatives of old, and maybe still, try to get things legislated out of existence, and running face first into freedom of speech, the liberals have found it far more useful to pressure the banking sector into refusing business.

      It is basically excommunication in a modern sense.

      1. ex-PFC Chuck

        “the liberals have found it far more useful to pressure the banking sector into refusing business.”

        Perhaps it’s the banking sector pressuring the liberals.

        1. russell1200

          Understandable to think that, but I have spoken with some of the bankers. This all started with anti-money laundering initiatives. It absolutely is not in their best interests as they perceive it.

  4. The Rev Kev

    “Russia, Ukraine & the Law of War: Crime of Aggression”

    I am afraid that I am going to have to say that this is a disappointing piece by Scott Ritter as he forgets the concept of ground truth and by quoting multiple instances of US history only fogs up the picture as the US has acted outside international law for twenty years and more. So let us go back to February, just before the war began, and see what the situation was. The Ukrainians had gathered about the best third of their NATO-trained army on the Donbass border and were in fortified position not seen outside Korea’s DMZ. From the casual murderous artillery strikes they were doing, they ramped up mass artillery to soften up the Donbass defenses. The people in the Donbass knew what was coming and had ordered out the women and children to the Russian Federation for safety. Military aged men were ordered to stay in-country and to join local forces. Blind Freddy could see what was coming.

    One thing that I will credit the Russians with is always trying to act within a legal framework and under international laws. So they finally after eight years recognized the Donbass Republics as being independent from the Ukraine on 21st February. At that point the Russians asked if they wanted to sign a mutual aid pact and they said ‘Hell yes.’ At that point the Russian Federation was legally obliged to come to their aid. Should the Russians have waited for the Ukrainians to invade first? I believe that that attack was scheduled for March 8th. I’m gunna say no. So the Russians and their Allies pinned them in place, did the same to Ukrainian reserves around Kiev, and then really got stuck into their plans. Some time ago Putin said something about what he learned as a kid and I have little doubt that most Russians know this. He said ’50 years ago, the streets of Leningrad taught me one rule…If a fight is inevitable, you have to hit first.’ And I don’t care if Ritter quotes a Bush-era lawyer to say that it ain’t so.

    I am sure that Ritter would say that the scope of this action is beyond defending the Donbass Republics but he himself said in a video several weeks ago that there was no sense in defeating that Ukrainian invasion force unless you took out the rest of that military that would send replacements, reinforcements, equipment, ammo and fuel. But there was also the elephant in the room. That Zelensky said he wanted nukes. The fact that Kamala Harris was there too was only a coincidence. And no Russia – federal, monarchist, dictatorship, republic, capitalist or whatever – would never, ever tolerate a Ukraine with nukes who is controlled by Nazis. And the UN, US, EU and all the rest were silent when Zelensky said this when they should have told him to STFU- (12 seconds)

    1. Louis Fyne

      Violations record by OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) pre-war. Hundreds of violations per day. Almost all from the Kyiv side. Russia has all the legal justification. Being blind to this evidence shows just how programmed media and pundit are right now.

      Do you remember when the Left was anti-war? Pepperidge Farm remembers.

      (an old TV advert reference for those outside the US)

      1. GramSci

        The report itself doesn’t seem to establish that “almost all from the Kyiv side”. Per the tables, most ceasefire violations were in “government-controlled territory, whatever that might imply.

        1. Acacia

          I looked at this report and counted. Looks like 14 “events” recorded at non-government-controlled positions, and 34 from government-controlled positions, but the actual event locations seem to be elsewhere (e.g., “5-8km SE”), and they are estimates.

          Without a map or additional very detailed info about front lines, I’m not sure how to say which side is responsible. I can say that there was a heckuva lot of activity for just one day.

      2. ThePodBayDoorsAreClosed

        Stopped by, found head-of-pin-angel-dancing instead of good old Occam. Ukraine is just Afghanistan: find a faraway sh*thole country, make their problems our problems so you can fleece untold sums from taxpayers and divert them to your friends. (Ditto Obama’s first act in his third term, make Mexico’s problems our problems by dissolving the border). No Metternich or Machiavelli required. Amazing how few see this despite the glaring evidence: if your war is in the economic and strategic interest of your country you don’t need to advertise it at the Grammy Awards.

        And the lovable but brain-dead Europeans have *still* not figured out UK’s foreign policy for the last 500 years: keep The Continent weak, divided, and in disarray. War in “Ukraine” is a two-fer, smashes Germany and covers for the results of their “green” economic suicide pact. Take Jim Jones’ KoolAid, add some green dye, and your cult members will drink it up with real gusto.

        Inquiring minds want to know which country gets to host the next Pax Americana festivities after Ukraine, some say it’s Taiwan but the Taiwanese are not really playing along. I suspect it’s the dark horse: Australia. WEF have just installed their man here, their previous satrap Morrison did the ground work by wink-winking the Solomon’s CCP deal and giving away the country’s source of income to Greta. Scotty’s pal Peter Costello made sure Australia never got submarines, the country spent $5B on subs but now has neither the subs nor the $5B, a massive chunk went to Costello’s “consulting” firms. If it walks like and quacks like, etc: I’d call us a Sitting Kookaburra.

        Maybe I’ll do a Fred Astaire, sit in a race car up on blocks, open up that last bottle of Margaux ’64, swill down that little triangular black pill, and raise a toast to Kalki as the curtain falls…

    2. Safety First

      So here is a perspective for you.

      LDNR were officially recognised, and mutual support and assistance agreements signed, on February 21. Crucially, these agreements were almost identical in language to ones previously signed with South Ossetia and Abkhazia. At that point, every public (!) observer in Russia, whether pro-government or anti-government but excluding the US-supported liberal opposition (because, frankly, they have no opinions of their own), assumed two things: one, that Russian troops would be moved into LDNR as per the terms of these agreements; and two, that the conflict was over. The logic was – Ukraine would not be stupid enough to attack Russian (as opposed to LDNR) troops directly, or to give the Russians an excuse, e.g. via long-range shelling of Donetsk, to launch a replay of the 2008 raid into Georgia. In other words, LDNR would become the new South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and, notably, since the events of 2008 those regions have been exceptionally quiet.

      The only point of discussion as of February 21-23 was – did Moscow recognise LDNR within their current or original borders, and, in the latter case, what does this mean. Some thought it was a negotiating tactic, others suggested some sort of a limited offensive as soon as Ukraine gave the Russians an excuse. But again, no-one of the popular media or Youtube figures, whether pro- or anti-government, really thought there’d be anything more to it. This is why the actual commencement of hostilities on February 24 was such a shock – inside Russia, I mean – across the ideological spectrum. It did not fit the logic of events as they had unfolded on February 21-23.

      To belabour the point – let us suppose Ukraine was, in fact, about to attack LDNR pre-February 21. I have a very, very hard time believing that, had the Russians simply deployed a few brigades on LDNR borders – and in a highly public fashion – that Ukraine’s leadership would have proceeded with this attack. Even if the US pushed them, they surely would have thought it suicide to get into a shooting war with Russia directly (pre-February 24, in any case). Not to mention that this would have made the anti-Russian propaganda case rather more difficult to make. [Parenthetically, this echoes what had happened in 1941 – the Soviet Union absolutely had to let the Germans move first, so as to play the victim rather than be cast as an aggressor.]

      And if one accepts this logic, even in part, then the whole rationale of preempting a Ukrainian attack on LDNR kind of falls apart. Mind, it is still a highly convenient propaganda point. But I highly, highly doubt that is the real reason for why the Russians moved when they did.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Um, there seem to be several other issues.

        Lambert and I notice a big change in Putin’s tone from his Feb 21 to his Feb 24 speech. In the latter speech, Putin seemed annoyed, as if he’d been put in a position that he didn’t like. And Putin makes a point of avoiding emotional displays save not suffering fools.

        It seemed as if facts had changed, as in he’d gotten new intel and felt his hand was forced.

        Commentators have mentioned several issues as the motivation/justification for the invasion. One is the argument by Putin that he basically had two choices, a minimalist or a maximalist response. The minimalist response, of merely clearing Donbass, would not end the conflict. It would simply move the line of conflict back to the borders of the LPR/DNR, which would still be subjected to attack, although arguably the parts of the oblasts closer to the Russian border might now be somewhat safe.

        Fourth, Victoria Nuland came to the Kremlin in October 2021 and met with Lavrov and others. Some source claim she dressed down the Russians in the most vulgar sailor-like language (in Russian), saying that if they did not pull out of Donbass and let Ukraine take it, the West would destroy Russia’s economy.

        The second was that merely clearing the LPR/DPR would not achieve security for Russia. Ukraine could still shell major Russian cities pretty much as well from a new contact line as the old one. They’d still be in the same position as with the Cuban missile crisis. So a hope was that a bigger assault would bring Ukraine to the negotiating table, which it did, in Istanbul, and Ukraine made big concessions but the US and UK made Ukraine renege.

        The third was the IIRC February 17 threat by Zelensky to get nuclear weapons. Putin spelled out that it would not be hard for Ukraine to do that, particularly with the unstated presumption of US assistance. And one source claims that Ukraine still has some of its old Soviet nuclear missiles, that are supposedly useless because Russia has the launch codes….but that’s a big assumption.

        1. Safety First

          Yves –

          I think we are talking a bit past one another.

          I agree that Russia’s security red lines were crossed, and this is why February 24 happened. The issue is whether the stated point of Ukraine preparing to go to war against LDNR was one such red line. The view I tried to communicated above – not only mine own, in other words – was that after February 21, but before February 24, the prospect of Ukraine attack against LDNR became minuscule, because Ukraine would be extremely unlikely to launch a conventional attack on Russian military formations.

          Incidentally, I do not understand your point about Ukraine “shelling major Russian cities” – before February 24. Unless you mean Donetsk and Lugansk, but that brings us back to the above.

          Stepping back – from Russia’s standpoint, “security” means, first and foremost, the preservation of nuclear parity viz. the US. The major issues in this regard as far as Ukraine goes were:

          a) Ukraine going nuclear. This would be unpleasant, but possibly not critical, since the US has had nukes within 5 minutes’ flight time of Moscow for a while now. [E.g. subs off Norway.] Unless Putin believed that Ukraine was not a responsible actor, nuke-wise, unlike the US.

          b) Anti-missile defence. As far as anyone can tell, countering US missile defence remains a big deal for the Russians so as to preserve parity. Meanwhile, at least according to one February-vintage lecture by a former officer of the Strategic Rocket Forces (in Russian, alas, but I can link if anyone wants), placing US THAAD radar modules near Kharkov would place most of Russia’s missile bases west of the Urals – currently unreachable from Poland or the Baltics – under a US AMD “umbrella”. Any intel they might have had indicating that such a deployment were imminent would be one hell of a trigger.

          Parenthetically, this is why Phase 3 has to, in my view, involve at least an encirclement of Kharkov if not of all of eastern Ukraine. Logically, the Russians likely wish to maul as many Ukrainian formations in the Donbass as they are able beforehand.

          c) Ukraine joining NATO – without taking any other nuclear or AMD measures. Because doing this first would mean the Russians would have to accept anything that followed, just as they had to accept US AMD batteries in Poland and US bases in the Baltics.

          On top of that, there also might have been logistical considerations – a limited time window in which to act before you had to return the troops to quarters for a couple of months, for example. But in any case, those can be regarded as “legitimate” security issues. But I highly, highly doubt that anyone in the Kremlin was ever worried about Ukraine’s conventional capabilities, irrespective of where the line of engagement was.

          So insofar as the point that February 24 was a pre-emptive strike to forestall an attack on LDNR, we are basically left with…altruism? But, fine, let us suppose that Russia really wanted to stop Ukraine from shelling Donetsk and Lugansk. How many times had Georgia shelled, or even fired a single shot in the direction of, South Ossetia since Russian troops openly deployed there after the 2008 conflict? Why wouldn’t the same logic have worked with LDNR? Are we to believe that Ukraine would launch a military attack against Russian formations in the Donbass and expect to, you know, survive as a consequence? [Since pre-March, no-one really had thought Ukraine would last for very long against a full-on Russian onslaught.]

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            I don’t see how you can say that regarding an attack. The press had been braying that Russia was going to attack for weeks, to the degree that many like me took it as Chicken Little. Remember they were definitely going to attack Feb 16, then Feb 20? And if the fact of an attack being expected or known is a deterrent, then why didn’t all this noise about the Russian troop massing stop the invasion?

          2. David

            Perhaps you can help resolve a question that’s been bothering me for, oh, thirty years now, based on the remarks of the SRF General. Why are the Russians so obsessed with the (largely mythical) US ABM capability? All the US has are a couple of dozen KE interceptors of dubious value, intended for use against hypothetical attacks from Iran or North Korea. I don’t think that even Lockheed Martin would claim that THAAD is any defence against multiple ICBM warheads with penetration aids. Its operational range seems to be around 200km max, so for a city it’s effectively a point defence weapon. You would need incalculable numbers to protect the continental US, even if they had the capability. On the other hand, the Russians do have the world’s only fully deployed strategic ABM system around Moscow, and have had for fifty years since the US gave theirs up. I take the point about radars, but there are other methods (notably satellites) of getting warning about launches already. If this is just a question of Europe, then there’s been a Layered MD programme within NATO for the last twenty years. I still don’t understand.

            1. Lex

              Because the US has always maintained a first strike posture. The ABM systems can’t stop a full salvo, but if the US strikes first and knocks out most of Russia’s ICBMs, then the ABM defenses may be enough to largely negate a counterattack.

              1. David

                Don’t understand, I’m afraid. A “first strike” posture would be a public declaration of intent and willingness to launch missiles at either Russia or China, without warning and without provocation just because they felt like it. To my knowledge, this has never been US policy. First-strike has been a suicidal strategy anyway since the widespread deployment of nuclear missile submarines in the 1970s. The US has no ABMs that could cope with the inevitable counter-attack, although the Soviet and then Russian nightmare since the 1980s has been that they might. This does’t make it true though.

            2. PlutoniumKun

              The Chinese too have had an obsession with ABM that goes well beyond its actual utility. They reacted very strongly when ROK accepted THAADs intended to intercept DRK missiles, despite them having minimal impact on China’s deterrence. It was an overlooked episode that managed the rare trick of souring ROK relations with both China and the US (the latter because the US for some bizarre reason refused to give ROK support when China sanctioned Korean businesses).

              I suspect that their calculation is based on a fear of a genuine technological breakthrough that would make ABM viable against conventional ICBM’s. I think the issue of THAAD is a thorn in the side of conventional nuclear war strategising and so has become something much bigger in the minds of Russia and China than makes any real sense. In my limited experience, both the Russians and Chinese have an exaggerated sense of the real operational capabilities of the US and allies. Maybe they are too inclined to believe Lockheed advertising.

              1. Polar Socialist

                Russia has had an operational ABM system around Moscow since 1970’s (A-35, A-135 and now A-235)), so while they may be as sceptical about THAAD as the next guy, they also know it’s possible to build a working system (of which THAAD could, perhaps, be a part of).

          3. Vomkammer

            I agree that Ukraine would not want to invade the Donbass after the Russians move in, because they could not stand alone against Russia.
            But there is an alternative hypothesis. The US/NATO might have sold to Ukraine a “master plan” to win the war, where each partner would do its part.

            1) On the kinetic front, Ukrainian forces would invade and entrench themselves in as many Donbass cities as possible (e.g., Donetsk). We have seen in Mariupol how effective are such defensive positions ,using civil buildings and human shields. That would make any Russian counter-attack very expensive in lives and material. The US would make things harsher by providing satellite surveillance and some kind of no-fly-zone (remember Zelensky repeated requests?). That would be the perfect “Afganistan in the Donbas”. As a bonus, Crimea would be difficult to re-supply and therefore exposed to an eventual conquer.

            2) On the economic front, the UE/US would apply SWIFT blocking + sanctions. Knowing the EU decision-making process, I was personally astonished with the speed at which the EU decided and agreed to such important measures. So, I suspect that they were already prepared.

            3) On the PR front, the US and friends would start the media and diplomatic barrage (quote: “worst informational environment ever”).

            All these fronts would cause severe attrition to Russia and eventually force them to negotiate.

            The pre-emptive Russian attack invalidated the point 1) and forced to Ukrainians to flight on their own land. Also note that the Phase 1 ended when Crimea was secure (supplied by land and with the sea of Azov firmly under Russian control).

          4. Lambert Strether

            > (b) Are we to believe that Ukraine would launch a military attack against Russian formations in the Donbass and expect to, you know, survive as a consequence? [ (a) Since pre-March, no-one really had thought Ukraine would last for very long against a full-on Russian onslaught.]

            (a) It doesn’t matter what the conventional wisdom in the Western Press was.* It matters what the Ukrainians thought.

            (b) (1) Are we do believe that the Ukrainians have a realistic appreciation of their own operational capacity, given subsequent events? (2) Ukraine may have overestimated the willingness of NATO/US to be involved, i.e., they may have thought — based on our protestations of support — that we would allow ourselves to be dragged deeper into the quagmire than we were actually willing to be.

            And of course, if you view war as a gigantic looting opportunity, then bring it on!

            NOTE * And to be fair, my own. I over-estimated the Russians, based on memories of the Great Patriotic War and their recent track record of success. I under-estimated Ukraine, because I didn’t understand how much of what you might call “nation-building” had gone on in that fascist incubator Ukraine since 2014. I also didn’t understand Russian doctrine. None of this affects the correlation of forces, but does affect timing.

        2. David

          I think the Russians always had two options. One was as Polar Socialist described, and, frankly, it is what I expected over those few days in February. In practice, it would have meant moving a smallish force into the LPR/DPR and making it very clear to the Ukrainians that the game was over, and that any more attacks on the Republics would be met with a forceful response. That would have solved the immediate problem.

          The other option had a much grander strategic objective: redraw the map of Europe, remove US influence, show NATO and the EU to be useless organisations, and establish Russia as the undisputed military power in Europe. This other option is indeed at grand strategic level: Ukraine is almost certainly not the only component.

          I think the Russians decided, in the end, that if they were going to act decisively, now was the time. Sending troops into the Republics was likely to provoke a fresh crisis with the West, which would have accused them of “invading,” for very little actual gain. Since they evidently felt they had the forces and the capabilities, they decided that it was time to act, and to try to reconfigure the political geography of Europe for the next 25-50 years.

          That’s why I don’t think there was any particular concern in Moscow about an increased threat. I suspect it was more that they finally decided there was simply no point in pursuing the diplomatic option any further, either with Zelensky, or with the West. Zelensky’s nuclear comments, I suspect, were not taken seriously by the Russians, but rather regarded as an index of the degree of detachment from reality of the government in Kiev, and yet another indication of their unwillingness to negotiate. (For the record, the missiles in Ukraine were ICBMs targeted on the United States, and were all removed nearly thirty years ago now. The former locations are known and they have been looked at many times. I don’t think even Washington would be stupid enough to help Ukraine acquire nuclear weapons, in what would be a flagrant and public violation of the NPT.)

          1. Polar Socialist

            I gather you mean Safety First, not me. Even though I mostly agree with both of you.

            On the other hand, there is that Arestovich’s comment from 2019, that in order to join NATO (and EU) Ukraine has to fight a war with Russia. And all the tension in spring 2020, when Ukraine made all the moves, but was stared down by the Russians.

            1. David

              Oops, I did mean SF. A number of us think alike, it seems. I don’t think the two options are mutually exclusive, in the sense that there clearly were those in Kiev who thought that, and the Russians would have been aware of how widespread (or not) this idea was from their intelligence services. But I don’t think the Russians would have seen Arestovic’s comments as necessarily changing anything at the practical level: if the Ukrainians provoked a war, so much the worse for them.

          2. bwilli123

            I don’t believe it was the possibility of Ukraine utilizing a nuclear weapon, as popularly understood, that galvanized the Russians on this particular issue.
            It was the much more likely scenario of a “dirty” bomb. That is, some byproduct from a reactor swapped in to a non-nuclear warhead and launched across the border.
            This may have been why the Russians showed such active interest in Chernobyl early in the SMO.

        3. Raymond Sim

          I think Russia is following what you could call the Great-Power-Adjacent-to-Ukraine Rules for Success:

          1) Ukraine’s geography makes it almost impossible to hold permanently, but also very difficult to seize rapidly. Therefore, use it as a buffer.

          2) Establish as fact that you have peremptory power in Ukraine, or some portion thereof.

          3) Secure control of areas adjacent to your borders in the hands of militarily competent, friendly, thoroughly subordinate client groups – your ethnoreligious brethren if possible. Any desireable clients will probably have mortal enemies. Crushing them in a way your clients could not hope to should be part of establishing peremptory power.

          4) For Ukraine to function as a buffer your adversaries must understand it as such. This means that it is in your interest to accord their own regions of control to Ukraine’s other powerful neighbors, so long as they play nice.

        4. Adam Eran

          I’d like to hear from the NC commentariat (or those not Caitlin Johnstone) about what has motivated the “left” (AOC, Bernie, etc.) to vote for arming Ukraine. I know politicos are cagey about taking on battles they don’t need to fight, but their votes have been a disappointment for me. I thought surely there were some peaceniks in the U.S. The total media blackout of anything questioning the rush to war may make that number of peaceniks artificially small, but still, is there no representation (Rand Paul?) lobbying for a less aggressive U.S. foreign policy?

          As Chomsky says, we’re in the odd position of finding Trump as the antiwar candidate.

          1. The Rev Kev

            I think that the most that you had was Rand Paul who wanted some sort of accounting of that money and he is hard Republican. And that demand went down like a fart in an elevator. And the supposed left went MIA and voted for the war i order to keep their jobs safe.

          2. PlutoniumKun

            I think its a simple case of picking your battles. I suspect Bernie came to the conclusion years ago that its impossible to fight on both domestic economic issues and foreign policy when you are going against the mass ranks of establishment concensus. So if you want to make progress, chose one or other of the battlegrounds – Bernie, etc., has chosen domestic economic issues, Tulsi went for foreign policy.

            1. Lambert Strether

              > I think its a simple case of picking your battles.

              In a way, Trump did the same thing. Instead of trying to delegitimate the 2020 election by showing how — to adopt his likely framing — The Blob’s behavior was “treasonous” starting before election day 2016, he went for election theft (probably irretrievably besmirching the case for paper ballots because of bad lawyering (since no Beltway lawyers would work for him)).

              Sadly, the case for “treason” (his framing) would have had the great merit of being true and based on information from open sources (e.g.., The Blob refusing to withdraw troops from Syria even when ordered to do so), and the case for election fraud is highly technical and hard to prove. Further, Trump could have done the first himself, personally; for the second, he was dependent on yarn diagram-type and lawyers (see above) he didn’t have. An enormous, enormous missed opportunity, given how the at-best not-proven election theft theory has colonized the minds of his base.

          3. Lambert Strether

            > I’d like to hear from the NC commentariat (or those not Caitlin Johnstone) about what has motivated the “left” (AOC, Bernie, etc.) to vote for arming Ukraine.

            The most charitable explanation is that they foresaw that when The Blob lost, the blame cannons would be pointed at them. (We already know the liberal Democrats are viciously McCarthyist, but when the question of the day becomes “Who lost Ukraine?”, “you ain’t seen nothing yet.”

            Frankly, I don’t think this is true; see Matt Duss, Sanders’ foreign policy advisor, here. I think that just as liberal Democrats cower in fear at Republicans, the “left” cowers in fear at liberal Democrats. These calcuations take place at a pre-conscious level, and aren’t even rationalized.

          4. anon in so cal

            Early on, AOC and The Squad voted to give the CIA new domestic powers.

            Storm troopers for the nat sec state?

        5. Kouros

          The US/EU rebuttal to all Russian diplomatic proposals, including a new security framework based on the latest OSCE accords…

        6. Lambert Strether

          February 22: U.S. Announces Sanctions Cutting Russia Off From Western Financial Institutions Radio Free Europe

          The two banks designated are Russia’s Promsvyazbank, the bank of the armed forces, and Kremlin-controlled VEB bank, the nation’s development bank. Together the two banks hold $80 billion in assets, a senior administration official said in a call with reporters after Biden announced the sanctions.

          From the US Treasury announcement, also February 22:

          Today Treasury is targeting Russia’s ability to finance aggression against its neighbors by sanctioning the Corporation Bank for Development and Foreign Economic Affairs Vnesheconombank (VEB) and Promsvyazbank Public Joint Stock Company (PSB), along with 42 of their subsidiaries. VEB is crucial to Russia’s ability to raise funds, and PSB is critical to Russia’s defense sector. These sanctions ensure VEB and PSB can no longer do business in the United States and are cut off from the U.S. financial system. All assets under U.S. jurisdiction will be immediately frozen and U.S. individuals and entities are prohibited from doing business with these institutions unless authorized by OFAC. This will immediately impair the ability of VEB and PSB to perform basic functions in the international financial system. Today’s action constrains Russia’s ability to finance defense-related contracts and raise new funds to finance its campaign against Ukraine. Treasury is also designating influential Russians and their family members in Putin’s inner circle believed to be participating in the Russian regime’s kleptocracy, including the Chairman and CEO of PSB.

  5. Louis Fyne

    –I must confess I’m only 12 minutes into this segment, but even just that part has some eye-opening takes on Russia’s progress in Ukraine. —

    There is no point. Whether by genuine love of Ukraine which is causing blind spots or incompetence, a big chunk of war “analysts” and supposedly competent think tanks are totally detached from reality.

    It is made worse by social media which drives traffic-engagement with them regardless of whether they are right or wrong. Self-reinforcing cycle that appears everywhere there Ukraine, QAnon, random viral kitten video.

  6. Lex

    CIA/State (I’m not sure there’s enough of a line between them to differentiate anymore) really ruined NGOs. Many of them do a great many good to great things all over the world. But if you lead a nation how can sort them? How can you be sure that any individual NGO isn’t shot through with governmental influence from the US? The awarding of grants and funding, maybe but it’s not hard to make the chain of funding opaque. If you allow all NGOs you do have to worry about which ones might be plotting to overthrow the government or destabilize the nation.

    Most western NGOs are going to be a form of western soft power regardless. It’s western people working with local populations, etc. Turning them into a cutout for CIA/DoS has only marginal benefits related to open and direct control, but a whole lot of negatives related to undermining western soft power and beneficial NGO activity. Perhaps a symptom of unipolarity. In the old days it would have to be CIA under diplomatic cover covertly communicating and funding upper echelons of the proxies. You couldn’t have a high level state appointee on the streets of a foreign Capitol whipping up the protests.

    1. hunkerdown

      Liberal individualists do like to appeal to grand morality in order to save themselves from punishment. But this is the first time I’ve seen the opposition to collective punishment extended to imaginary friends and “their” moral turpitude, as if the flex-nets that form and staff these organizations were not an overarching and narrowly interest of their own.

      On the contrary, I suggest that the very existence of the NGOs opposed by the early “conspiracy theorists” is a danger to human life so great that every one of us should be urgently acting to disorganize and destroy everything that would allow them to form. None of these organizations would be necessary were it not for the suicide pact of private property making them necessary.

        1. jsn

          Not abolish, but make contingent.

          Your claims for clean water, air, food, education, health care, education and a roof over your head take precedence over my private property claim.

          Once the conditions of public good are met, private property is a useful institution to arrange for the distribution of other things.

    2. anon y'mouse

      in sociology, it was mentioned that many of these “helping” professions are merely ensuring a continuing stream of needy people that they must service. much like the recent comments on doctors/pharma/medical advancements, there’s no (continuing) money in curing people.

      a never ending stream of funding, donations, grants etc and most of their time is wrapped up in securing all of that. then what little is left is for “helping”. basic job security interests at work subconsciously–these people have a conflict of interest before they even fully enter the field.

      with all of the money spent on these kinds of things over the last century by individuals, governments, and philanthropists, isn’t it interesting that the problems simply grow ever larger?

      1. Laura in So Cal

        My husband and I saw this first hand about 10 years ago. He was layed off and as part of applying for unemployment was informed of a special seminar for veterans that he was strongly encouraged to attend. We assumed that it was about resources like job set asides for vets or the standard “how to get a job”. However, most of the seminar was about this state sponsored program on how to apply for disability as a vet and that you needed to sign up for this program so that it would stay in existence. The presenter worked for this program. There was a lot of talk about which types of disability had objective testing vs subjective diagnosis with the implication about faking disabilty. It was a good thing I was there or my husband might have decked the presenter. He was so angry about them pushing dishonesty in order to maintain their funding.

        1. Irrational

          Amazing! Compare and contrast: my father-in-law who has good reasons to file (too many Agent Orange issues to list, you name it – he’s got it) was denied, denied, denied disability and had to get a lawyer. More like a lottery.

        2. JTMcPhee

          Lots of us veterans have real disabilities which the VA is institutionally resistant to recognizing. The agency has processes that involve “examinations” by outside physicians who are encouraged to find against veterans’ claims of disability. No doubt there is some feather bedding, but there’s way more valid claims that get denied via a stacked process that seems to rely on exhausting the veteran’s resources and putting them off until they die. Like the Agent Orange injuries that it took an act of Congress to get recognized, or the burn pit diseases and poisoning by contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune and many others. There’s a reason vets have to resort to “force multipliers” like Disabled American Vets to help them through this “workers claim process, which is what the VA disability comp system is. The burden of proof is on the veteran, and the amount of compensation you might get may not, because of the arcane rules, actually compensate for the disability. A lot of vets disabled by volunteering to serve the Empire are living in poverty or on the streets.

          VA has routinely “lost” vets’ records and claim files, among other tactics to effectuate the apparent presumption of denying claims.

          That particular program helps vets who are unaware of possible claims they may have, and VA only recognizes claims as of the date you file your claim, not when the injury and disability started. Like workers comp.

  7. jefemt

    Accelerated evolution of animals: wonder if Human beans- (Homo sap- oh the irony of the sap…)
    might see some unprecedented stress this next autumn and winter unleashed on the 8 Billions.
    Will it be enough? Enough for precisely what?
    Will the frogs-at-simmer get boosted to a roiling boil, and prompt some action?

    How to adapt, how to adapt, which choices, what actions, what consequences….. hmmmmm

    Is the frog saucepan called a jackpot?

  8. Tom Stone

    Anecdata, a close friend of my Daughter has been attending UCSC and living in the dorms,she fled to her parents place in Sonoma County because “Almost everyone I know has caught Covid in the last few weeks,it’s everywhere”.
    This is a sensible young Woman,not prone to impulsive actions.

    1. Brian (another one they call)

      Sensible? She was exposed to it and went home to give it to her parents. I would disagree with you and call that an impulsive move of an entitled child that could care less about those around her. I don’t think she is rational at all.
      If she was exposed, why not hunker down? She chose to pass it along in a very selfish way.

      1. Gawr Gura

        Yeah man she definitely should have just stayed in the dorms that’s a much more rational plan.

      2. Darius

        One answer for the friend would be testing everyday, along with her parents. Masking until three days of negative tests. She was right to exit the UCSC Petri dish. She sounds like someone who was already taking precautions anyway.

  9. The Rev Kev

    “Dene filmmaker turned away from Cannes red carpet for wearing moccasins”

    Anybody else find it strange that an international film festival that shows off art, creativity, ingenuity, passion and talent maintains a portal in which participants must enter through that has the standards of the early 20th century? I mean black tie for men and evening gowns for women? Are these the same standards that were decided on in the first Festival back in 1938? So they will allow Scottish kilts or Indian saris but not women wearing flat-soled shoes instead of high-heels. I suppose that they would have knocked back Liberace or Elton John on sight-

    1. Safety First

      I suppose that either we are dealing with institutional inertia, or they are taking the “whitelist” strategy (limiting acceptable clothing options) so as not to have to deal with every conceivable idea for an outfit the “creative” types in attendance might come up with.

    2. hunkerdown

      Cannes is an elite festival about film, not a film festival “open to” elites. Photography (still or moving) is the art of capturing time. The purpose of the elite film festival is to “show off” imagination in the same way elites show off deer busts, as trophies of subordination to supposed higher principles. SXSW has its own purposes and its own ideas, which do not include upholding the forms of French high society. Cannes’ purposes and ideas likewise do not include upholding the forms of progressive neoliberal rule.

    3. Maritimer

      The Canadian Blather Corporation (CBC) at it again with their pompous criticism of those who discriminate via moccasins. In Canada, play the Native Card. Meanwhile, CBC encourages discrimination, segregation, intimidation, othering of the Uninjected in their own country. As for the Ukraine, same thing. Get Injected and Ukrainianized, Canadians, or else!

    1. cfraenkel

      Different problem in Canada. The biggest issue here (in BC anyway) has been gang related drive-by type assassinations. AR-15s aren´t very useful if you´re trying to approach someone without raising suspicion.
      (there have been rifle style mass shootings recently, but thankfully they´ve been the alarming exception and we haven´t (yet) been infected with the weekly drumbeat of tragedy)

    2. TimH

      Because handguns are concealable. AR-15s are just another semi-auto rifle, and the black rifle scare factor is BS when you take into account the other rifle calibres legally available.

      Italy doesn’t allow civilians to own firearms with military calibres… and that includes 9mm.

    3. Daveb

      I think it’s part of incremental control. Hand guns are already a huge pita to use legally. So there is a smaller group who freak out about getting rid of them. Most fire arms up here are rifles and shotguns….so larger natural pool of people invested in keeping them. Administrately the fed police (RCMP) chooses weapons they don’t meet criteria so some weird prohibitions pop up occasionally. They could probably slowly tighten the noose on some rifle feature to further ‘cook the frog’ in firearm control.

  10. fresno dan

    No Surprises Act Blocked 2 Million Medical Bills in 2 Months: Report WebMD (furzy

    In December 2020, the No Surprises Act was signed into law, and most of the provisions took effect at the beginning of 2022. Under the law, when anyone covered by private health insurance is treated for emergency services or at an in-network facility by an out-of-network provider, the provider or facility can’t charge a patient above the in-network cost-sharing price.
    Earlier this year I detailed my run in with medical billing after I was admitted to a hospital emergency room. to recap, the actual physical paper bill I received was so poorly written, the font and layout seemed so amateurish, that I thought it was a scam. The return address on the envelope was in Sacramento, but the return address on the bill was a PO Box at a UPS store. here in Fresno After several go rounds, the bill was put in the hands of a collection agency, and I concluded it was a real company with a legitimate (though outrageous amount) bill (about one thousand dollars). After I paid the bill, a short time latter I got a refund of 750$. I never got an explanation for the reason for the refund. It appears to me that my circumstances fit the parameters perfectly of the new law.

  11. .Tom

    The Indian Punchline article is interesting. A lot of it is consonant with what I’ve gleaned elsewhere but the part about Washington’s plan to merge Poland and Ukraine is news to me…

    To be sure, Zelensky and Duda acted with US approval. In effect, Ukraine’s sovereignty over its western regions bordering Poland is eroded. Kiev has also announced plans to grant special legal status to Polish citizens. Plainly put, a de facto “merger” is under way.

    Do we have other sources?

    1. Louis Fyne

      IMO, it’s more of a plan to have more Polish citizens in Lviv and Ukraine, so that if Poles get caught in a crossfire, Poland will have an excuse to intervene with or without NATO

        1. John

          Take back Galicia a slice at a time? Annexation by infiltration? Stealth NATO? A combination of Polish desire with the input of some of the geniuses within the DC Bubble and Echo Chamber who have brought us this snappy foreign policy that, as far as I can see, is failing … root and branch.

          1. jsn

            Right, Galicia has a radical Ukrainian Nationalist problem.

            Sending in a bunch of Poles will certainly fix that!

            From an “Empire of Chaos” perspective, there aren’t even poppy or coca fields to plant behind the cover of violence. Hard to figure except reality detachment syndrome.

  12. Carolinian

    That’s an interesting NYT story about farm labor. Here in my section of SC peach orchards once covered the land and farmers would bring in immigrant labor gangs to harvest. Or alternately poorer farmers might grow their own gang (my mother was one of eleven) to help with the farm.

    Now Mexicans are building houses instead of picking fruit and probably making considerably more money. Although toting building materials as opposed to stoop labor is not for the weak.

  13. fresno dan

    Ten Times Empire Managers Showed Us That They Want To Control Our Thoughts Caitlin Johnst
    The single most overlooked and under-appreciated aspect of our society is the fact that immensely powerful people are continuously working to manipulate the thoughts we think about the world. Whether you call it propaganda, psyops, perception management or public relations, it’s a real thing that happens constantly, and it happens to all of us.
    Nowadays the CIA collaboration happens right out in the open, and people are too propagandized to even recognize this as scandalous. Immensely influential outlets like The New York Times uncritically pass on CIA disinfo which is then spun as fact by cable news pundits. The Washington Post has consistently refused to disclose the fact that its sole owner has been a CIA contractor when reporting on US intelligence agencies as per standard journalistic protocol. Mass media outlets now openly employ intelligence agency veterans like John Brennan, James Clapper, Chuck Rosenberg, Michael Hayden, Frank Figliuzzi, Fran Townsend, Stephen Hall, Samantha Vinograd, Andrew McCabe, Josh Campbell, Asha Rangappa, Phil Mudd, (and the list goes on and on and on – I ran out of pixels…)
    We got billionaires controlling the media for the same reason we got billionaires controlling the government – they are essentially one and the same, i.e., we are a Plutacracy. I can remember a time before the sudden, widespread use of the word entrepreneur, when the rich were reviled. Funny how that word became ubiquitous.

  14. Louis Fyne

    NYT changes its tune and allows dissenting voices to have a say (as long as the dissent stays within the Overton Window and ignore the pre-war conflict in Donbass)….

    “……Henri Guaino, a top adviser to Nicolas Sarkozy when he was president of France, warned that Europe’s countries, under the shortsighted leadership of the United States, were “sleepwalking” into war with Russia. ….Naturally, Mr. Guaino understands that Russia is most directly to blame for the present conflict in Ukraine….”

    “The War in Ukraine May Be Impossible to Stop. And the U.S. Deserves Much of the Blame.”

    1. Boomheist

      Yeah, this seems to be the second “crack” in the Gray Lady’s overall endorsement of the group think rush to war, but even this article is carefully couched to emphasize that Russia’s action was unprovoked, even as the piece itself explains clearly why the attack WAS provoked. The Overton Window is shifting, albeit slowly…..

    2. Bugs

      And the comments are by a vast majority, pathetic, war mongering Russophobia or gross overestimates of Ukraine’s virtues.

      The dogs aren’t used to the new food yet.

  15. anon in so cal

    Perplexing, but maybe I need more coffee.


    Nabiullina and Kudrin?

    Prevail over US/NATO assault from Ukraine only to be decimated, once again, from within….

    When President Vladimir Putin announced at his meeting with state officials on May 24, that he proposes “red tape needs to be scrapped” and “additional adjustments to the regulatory framework”, the phrases were not new. In the war economy, however, they signal deregulation and privatization — more freedom for the oligarchs, not less. When Putin added: “the Russian economy will certainly remain open in the new conditions”, the meaning, at least as the oligarchs are interpreting it, is that the president is promising more freedom from the state, not less.

    Glazyev (61) is the best known government official in Moscow opposing this line, and proposing instead a fully fledged alternative strategy. Glazyev, a trade minister during the first Yeltsin administration; a member of the anti-Yeltsin coalition of 1996 led by Alexander Lebed and Dmitry Rogozin; for many years that followed Glazyev was an official economic adviser to Putin. Currently, he is minister for integration and macroeconomics of the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC, aka EAEU ), the bloc of former Soviet states coordinating customs, central banking, trade and fiscal management policies together.

    In March Glazyev led the public campaign to replace Elvira Nabiullina (58) as the governor of the Central Bank; Putin decided against Glazyev for Nabiullina….

    Nabiullina was reappointed to run the Central Bank of Russia (CBR) on March 18. Three weeks later, Glazyev published his most detailed plan yet for the war economy; it is also a comprehensive attack on everything Nabiullina stands for…..

    Glazyev is particularly critical of Nabiullina’s manipulation of the CBR interest rate for the purpose, she says, of combating inflation.,,,,

    “Now the Bank of Russia, on the contrary, has sharply raised the key rate, and blocked the operation of the exchange, giving commercial banks the opportunity to speculate on the foreign exchange market without restraint. Thus, [the Bank] blocked the increase in credit to enterprises which could increase the output of import-substituting products, and instead allowed banks to profit from currency speculation. The government, not having sufficient opportunities to stimulate the growth of production and investment, has taken the path of deregulation of imports to the detriment of domestic producers. Instead of increasing the output of domestic products now to replace European and American goods which have left the Russian market, the bet is on filling it with substandard cheap imports from other countries.”

    Remaining in office as a powerful advocate for the oligarchs, Alexei Kudrin appeared on May 25 before the State Duma to provide his annual report on the work of the Accounting Chamber, the state audit agency

    1. Samuel Conner

      Helmer’s economics reporting has been interesting.

      Recently he had an item that sounded like there is advocacy for expansionary fiscal policy and for worker ownership of enterprises (perhaps of the enterprises that Western multinats are abandoning).

      I’ve come to think of Russia as a possible fruitful laboratory for demonstration of what monetary sovereigns can accomplish when they recognize and exploit the full extent of whatever fiscal policy freedom they have. Russia, a near autarky with abundant resources, ought to have a great deal of policy space.

      And maybe that’s part of why the West prefers that Russia be assimilated (or, if that can’t be done, crushed) rather than allowed to go its own way — if it were to thrive in a non-neoliberal fashion, that might be highly inconvenient for the rulers of the West.

  16. Carolinian

    Re those drones

    Hobby drones have to stay below a certain altitude and avoid restricted airspace so as not to crash into airplanes. That will undoubtedly apply to those Walmart drones as well. I can’t say I’m looking forward to drones buzzing around my neighborhood and given my upscale neighbors I undoubtedly will.

    Isn’t this just another example of Walmart trying to me too Bezos (who himself has seemingly given up on the idea)?

    1. Objective Ace

      For what it’s worth: The company behind these drones has been flying medical supplies in Uganda and other 3rd world countries for awhile now. It’s not something walmart created.

      I agree though that I can’t say I’m thrilled about a sudden influx of drones flying overhead and dont know what issue they’re trying to solve here in the US

      Ps. The reason bezos gave up on it is because unlike 3rd world countries planes in the US aren’t required to have a monitoring device so the drone company employees people to literally look up at the sky to see if there’s any planes around

  17. The Rev Kev

    “EU admits impact of 2/3 Russian gas cut ‘not assessed’”

    Going by this story, I think that you will find that nobody gamed out all the possible consequences of an economic attack on Russia which has led them to coming unstuck. It seems to be a common fallacy. Several days ago there was a link to a US-China 2027 wargame on NBC News and which was organized by the Center for a New American Security. After listening to them for a few minutes I gave up as the whole thing sounded so unrealistic. In any case there was a missing element. They should have also had two teams of economists as well to follow the moves. So it might have gone like this-

    Team US: ‘We seize all your money reserves in the US.’

    Team China: ‘We stop all imports of all medicines and spare parts, particularly military parts.’

    Team US: ‘We seize all property that you have in the US.’

    Team China: ‘All your corporations in China belong to us.’

    1. Mikel

      I laugh at the saber rattling against China. To your point, they have hostages. Starting with Exhibit “A” in every sense of the word.

    2. Lex

      I don’t think it’s even necessary to have economists involved. Serious geo-political (amateur or professional) analysts would do a better job than what we’re seeing from our best and brightest.

      Team US: “We’ve got a sanctions package that will isolate Russia completely and crush it.”
      Random person with functioning grey matter: “Is that going to raise the price of gas in Omaha?”
      Functional analyst: “What’s that going to do to world oil/gas markets? Can Europe survive without Russian gas in case Russia’s response is to turn off exports? What other responses might Russia take? Could they do something like demand Yuan or Rubles for the gas?”
      Team US: “It won’t matter! In two weeks the Ruble will be 200 to the dollar, the shelves will be empty and the deep longing for European enlightenment will cause the citizens of Nizhnevartosk to march on the Kremlin and depose Putler.”
      Random person: “What about filling my tank?”
      Functional analyst:

      Six months later …
      Team US: “It wasn’t possible to predict the failure of our sanctions package nor the second order effects from the implementation. How could we have possibly known that russia would demand Rubles or that the price of oil would skyrocket on world markets?
      US President: “I think it’s important to look forward, not back.”
      Next US President: “I’m appointing most of the incompetents who screwed up before. We’re sure that it will be different next time.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Oh man. Your ‘Six months later’ sounds so true. That is exactly how it will go.

        1. Lex

          I accidentally used recognized code. The last statement of the analyst before 6 months later was: “insert sponge bob – I’ma head out meme”

  18. Mikel

    Meth/Southeast Asia

    “…Methamphetamine is easy to make and has supplanted opium and its derivative heroin to become the dominant illegal drug in Southeast Asia for both use and export.

    The Golden Triangle area, where the borders of Myanmar, Laos and Thailand meet, was historically a major production area for opium and hosted many of the labs that converted it to heroin. Decades of political instability have made Myanmar’s frontier regions largely lawless, to be exploited by drug producers and traffickers…”

    Opium is not conducive to working harder, longer, and cheaper.
    Something had to be done…

    1. playon

      Back 2012 when we lived in Thailand for several months, meth use was a big deal, the Thais call it “yaa baa” which translates to something like “crazy-making drug”. I was surprised initially as my vision of northern Thailand was that of Buddhists and maybe some opium… turns out some Thais prefer booze and speed. We heard in Chiang Mai was that there were big illicit meth labs across the border in Myanmar (and also China) run by Chinese gangs. While we were there there was a news item regarding a seizure of something like a million doses of meth found on a train bound for Bangkok.

  19. Mikel

    “They are Covid+ and the only place that they could have been exposed was at an OUTDOOR gathering.”

    No. It’s not. Was there a public restroom for use??????

    1. LifelongLib

      I generally don’t mask when I’m outside, but I do try to avoid standing downwind of anyone or just getting too close. Fingers crossed…

    2. GramSci

      Public restrooms are among the best-ventilated public spaces. Porta-potties, not so much.

      1. Mikel

        Not necessarily. Look at an airport bathrooms or a quick stop bathroom.
        Basically any bathroom not near an outer wall with windows that can open. Offices come to mind too…
        No lids? Red flag too…

  20. upstater

    I didn’t know NY State “produces” more bitcoins than any other state! 20%! We’re #1!

    This describes emissions permitting for new and expanded bitcoin mining. The ball is in Hochul’s court…

    NY should follow the science on climate and ban crypto mining (Guest Opinion by Anthony Ingraffea)

    Greenidge Generation, located on the shores of Seneca Lake. Greenidge is a power plant originally re-permitted to burn fracked gas and produce power for the grid in times of high demand, like during the summer when many New Yorkers are running our air conditioners. But only operating sometimes isn’t the most profitable, especially for a power plant that is now owned by a private equity firm. So Greenidge changed its business plan — after receiving an air emissions permit — and now emits greenhouse gases 24/7/365 to power its nearly 20,000 energy-intensive Bitcoin mining machines, with even more machines being installed. The greenhouse gases it emits are equivalent to those of at least 78,000 of its neighbors and their businesses combined — or three-quarters of Tompkins County.

    1. John

      Private equity will go after anything that appears to be in anyway connected to profit for them. Once sucked dry, the husk can be discarded

  21. The Rev Kev

    “Walmart to begin America’s first large-scale drone operation in 6 states”

    I was wondering how privacy rights fit into the equation. So as Walmart is not sending their drones out, who is to say that they are not snapping images of all the homes that they pass over, especially people who shop at Walmart, for digital analysis later? So it might, for example, fly over the home of a Walmart customer which they know by their database. It IDs the presence of a pool but perhaps not deck chairs. So the next time that customer goes online with Walmart, it might put ads for lawn deck chairs, pool cleaners and the like onto their page. It could very easily happen.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Walmart drones may fly out. There is nothing to say that they have to fly back. Just sayin’.

        1. Daveb

          I immediately wondered about those emp guns being developed by the military. No doubt some enterprising diy hackerspace type will figure out how to crash drones over short range quickly.

          1. Objective Ace

            An incredibly fun activity would be taking my drone and running into a Walmart drone with it. The fun aspect alone would probably be worth the price of the drone.. plus the satisfaction of sticking it to walmart

            1. lyman alpha blob

              Why waste your drone? Just equip yours with a net that can be dropped on the Walmart drone below, crashing it to the ground. You can probably order a net from Walmart…

          2. Amfortas the hippie

            here ya go:

            i can’t speak to this particular device, but the little pain field generator i got from them for my shop works(makes ya sh&t yer pants and run away(sypara)…nothing you can do to Not sypara)
            i blew it up by being relatively incompetent with small electronics….but i had already demonstrated it to the kids of a local crimen familia.

            they have lots of…interesting…products.

            1. Amfortas the hippie

              and for capturing the intruder into one’s personal airspace*:

              unsure about the range.

              *to my knowledge, personal airspace isn’t a thing yet in usa jurisprudence…but it sure as hell could be.

              we’ve got a “neighbor”…weekend “rancher” wannabe with too much money and an airstrip and an old crop duster plane that he occasionally takes out to fly loop de loops and pike maneuvers(!) and buzz the cattle.
              it is currently illegal to disturb cattle with aircraft…but it’s hard to enforce…and i have watched this guy whil;e daydreaming about flak guns

        2. Vandemonian

          It’s a good job that random grumpy individuals in the US don’t have unrestricted access to unlimited firearms, including shotguns and AR15s.

          Oh, wait…

    1. Oh

      They’ll all kinds of data once you request something to be delivered. They’ll sell your information, not to worry!

      It’s not inconceivable that these drones can run out of power, hit an obstacle, have some other problem (encounter an ion gun) and may not be able to return!

  22. Jams Blonde

    Re: American Death Cult of Gunz

    The mass shootings will continue because night follows day and the US values dollars over its children’s lives. The country is quite clearly in terminal decay. I guess you either love it or, if you are sane, somehow try to escape. Good luck everyone.

    1. hunkerdown

      No, the purpose of states is to value ideology over life, to give each other stylized excuses to kill people we don’t like. I’ve learned to never take seriously the judgments of those who treat mysteries as universal perspectives, which can be seen as a monopoly on intellectual force.

  23. The Rev Kev

    “Is the US really committed to its new Indo-Pacific economic initiative?”

    It is sort of like a Seinfeld treaty. It’s about nothing. No, wait there is. It seems that the US is not really offering anything. But with this treaty, they want those countries to accept US standards and rules which I would assume copyright as well as over-riding local data protection. Remember when Obama was talking up the TPP and said ‘…we can’t let countries like China write the rules of the global economy. We should write those rules, opening new markets to American products while setting high standards for protecting workers and preserving our environment.’ It is this same idea at work of having all those countries subordinate all their own laws in order to make it easier for the US economy to dominate them. In short, this treaty, with no benefits, is just a poison poll.

  24. fresno dan
    A fifth-grade student in Florida was arrested Saturday for threatening to pull off a mass shooting via text messages, police said.

    The 10-year-old boy, a student at Patriot Elementary School in Cape Coral, was handcuffed and walked into a police cruiser Saturday evening for making a written threat to conduct a mass shooting.

    “This student’s behavior is sickening, especially after the recent tragedy in Uvalde, Texas,” Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno said in a statement. “Making sure our children are safe is paramount.”
    If you go down the list of mass shootings at U.S. schools, most of the killers turned the guns on themselves after killing classmates and teachers. Several others were killed by police, and a few were taken into custody alive.
    But only two are now out of prison, one of whom was arrested with a gun after his release, while the other has since applied for a concealed carry permit.
    Not only that, but because Mitchell Johnson and Andrew Golden were minors at the time of the 1998 shooting – 13 and 11, respectively – when they killed five people in what was then the second-deadliest U.S. school shooting, Arkansas state law mandated that they be released on their 21st birthdays, with their records sealed.
    I would say it is only a matter of time before a mass shooting is committed by a 10 year old. The only question would be, how low can the US go…

    1. Objective Ace

      >”This student’s behavior is sickening, especially after the recent tragedy in Uvalde, Texas,”

      He’s ten years old. How about a little compassion. Something like “We’re worried about his mental health and want to ensure he gets the treatment he needs” rather then doubling down on bullying behavior which im guessing is what led to the child’s behaviors in the first place.

      1. John

        If your only tool is a hammer everything looks like a nail. If you have nothing but law, law, law no empathy, no common sense, no compassion, then of course you arrest a ten-year-old.

        Why were handcuffs necessary? To protect the police from a boy, because its SRO?

      2. Henry Moon Pie

        Something like “We’re worried about his mental health and want to ensure he gets the treatment he needs” rather then doubling down on bullying behavior which im guessing is what led to the child’s behaviors in the first place.

        Why not the reasonable approach you’ve suggested? Essentialism. Remarkably, seen by its adherents as based on Darwin. Even the old version–“demon-possessed”–was better. At least exorcism might bring one back within the human community. But when you’re a “predator,” then the goal becomes to just catch ’em early before they do too much damage.

        “It’s all in the genes” will justify a lot of reprehensible behavior.

  25. Asher Miller

    Can we please be a little careful about painting all NGOs with a broad brush? The vast majority of them (there are 1.5M in the US alone) are tiny, locally focused, and serve essential needs.

    “As readers know, I have followed protests and insurrections round the world, starting with the Arab spring. NGOs funded by foreign powers have been involved in all these events depending on local conditions (in Hong Kong, very little; in Eastern Europe and the Balkans, a lot). NGOs are an expression of soft power by the States that fund them (and sometimes not-so-soft, as we see in Ukraine). As such, it is natural for any State concerned with preserving its sovereignty to regulate them. The pretense that NGOs are an expression of universal (i.e., Western) values should be dropped entirely. And don’t get me started on the NGOs in the United States.”

    1. hunkerdown

      There are other theories of property besides Locke’s. “Doing good works” is not a license for anything nor an alibi for the reproduction of oppression they enable.

      Put another way, the holes which NGOs selectively fill exist because those holes are the reproductive instruments of the state. NGOs only enable the state’s will.

  26. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Illegal Immigration Is Down, Changing the Face of California Farms New York Times (resilc)

    Illegal immigration is down.

    Why is the nyt still a going concern?

    1. flora

      They have a huge subscriber base, according to their stats,(thus higher ad revenues), but have you ever tried to cancel your subscription? Not kidding. Subscriptions appear to act like the childrens’ toy the chinese finger trap.

      1. anon in so cal

        I canceled ours a few years ago. Was not easy. At one point during the overly long phone interaction, whle on hold, the tape recording emitted one of those ear drum-piercing mechanical sounds.

  27. Alex

    Re the NGO involvement in protests and regime change I think there is a grain of truth in it. I would just add that the Israeli government uses the same reasoning when restricting the activity of various foreign-funded NGOs. Hopefully next time there will be more understanding of such actions here.

  28. antidlc

    Starting around the 2:30 mark, discussion on long COVID:

    From the CNN transcript:

    Not only will you not be able to stop this pandemic but there’s consequences now, which I’m really concerned about with the long COVID.

    QUEST: When you say long COVID, not everybody suffered from long COVID today.

    SOON-SHIONG: Well, I don’t know if we know what — when you say not everybody suffered from long COVID.

    QUEST: I mean, I suffered from what I, you know, and I wrote it — I wrote and written about it, where I will suddenly become extremely confused. I

    will have a mental fog that will just descend upon me. I will be grasping for a word that’s quite obvious. And it might last a day, it might last a

    week. But then it just throw away. Is that what you’re talking about or are you talking about some physiological disease ailment, whatever that might

    be afflicting us in the future?

    SOON-SHIONG: The latter, unfortunately. And, you know, now’s not the time to create fear or concern. But the science that we are looking at, let me

    give you some example. I’m working very much with Dr. (INAUDIBLE) in Mount Sinai. He’s done more autopsies in patients who have died without having

    been infected with COVID. And what we’re finding now is months, seven months, 10 months, now as a paper showing 15 months that this virus resides

    in the body in every vital organ, brain, gut, pancreas, lung, for months and months and months.

    A virus that persists, or genomic sequences that persist, have known long- term consequences, which — at a later time we should discuss.

    QUEST: I mean, the one I immediately think of of course, is HIV, which lives in goodness knows how many cells in different types of the body which

    is why it’s almost impossible to eradicate it.

    SOON-SHIONG: Exactly. It’s now been shown that this virus goes into thing called monocytes deep into the bone marrow. So the concern for that is

    there are seven known viruses that cause cancer.

    QUEST: I — I’m going to — I know you said earlier and you said at the beginning that you don’t — you want to be alarmist and you’re not making

    the claim that it is. Is it — are we moving to a situation that life looks normal, except in China, but we just don’t know the long-term ramifications

    of this virus.

    SOON-SHIONG: Unfortunately, when you say we just don’t know there are few people who do know. And that’s what some of them —

    1. Basil Pesto

      the clip is worth watching (it is more coherent than the transcript) and fair play to Soon-Shiong, but I have to say that I do find this belated Overton-window-shifting when the long term harms have been known or at the very least strongly, plausibly suspected for two years now, to be rather frustrating. And there has definitely been an Overton window shift on the nature of Long Covid and what a serious problem it’s going to be, in western journalism in the last month or two. Now that the acquired learned helplessness has well and truly calcified, of course.

      And then of course the interviewer – presumably an actual journalist – descends into inept Dark Continent nonsense with his “except in China” aside (which I took to be mocking and contemptuous, but perhaps my reading is uncharitable). just as the areas of the country that had been recently afflicted by an Omicron outbreak (by no means a majority of the country) eliminate it and… return to normal life. Which most of the country has been enjoying, free from these concerns, for most of the time, since 2020. Again, the concerns raised very gently and tentatively by Soon-Shiong are not going to be experienced by the majority of Chinese. This will be a huge competitive advantage for their (comparatively healthy, happy) workforce, and military. Why this isn’t freaking out those who have been ominously prognosticating about the rise of China for three decades now is beyond me. Or maybe it is and that is why we are seeing the relentless assault on their strategy from the financial press in particular. Maybe China will give up on the policy, who knows. But I don’t see why they wouldn’t “wait and see” for another few years at least.

      This is maybe a weird tangent to go on from that one aside in the interview, but it’s not just that journalist. Even the (often lame, it has to be said) anti-covid liberals of twitter, after pointing out some western ineptitude or other, will make some daft remark about “oh no we must never be like China I would never support that” (which is setting aside that I strongly doubt that the USA of the 1940s – 1970s would ever have allowed the problem to get as far as it has). Sometimes I wonder if I’m losing my mind. I have carried no particular candle for China in the past and I hold them in no special regard in general as a State, but, getting past tepid tossed off talking points informed by propaganda of the most generic sort, I fail to see how their solution isn’t axiomatically superior in terms of freedom, health, ~the economy~ and all that good stuff, on timeframes that go beyond financial quarters.

      1. antidlc

        Sorry about the transcript. It did not copy over well.

        I’d like to know what Soon-Shiong was going to say when he was cut off. He said, “Unfortunately, when you say we just don’t know there are few people who do know. And that’s what some of them —”
        and then he was cut off.

        Would love to know the last part of the sentence if he had been allowed to finish.

        1. Basil Pesto

          oh, no worries, the transcript was faithful, it’s just that words without tone in interviews like that can lose a bit of meaning.

          Yes, one wonders

        2. Raymond Sim

          Would love to know the last part of the sentence if he had been allowed to finish.

          Cancer, dollars to doughnuts, he was trying to unseal that topic for public discussion, and was prevented from doing so. Our probable future is one where cancer is much more common in much younger people. That’s something the PMC hasn’t been told.

  29. Mikel

    “Twilight of Tech Gods: era ends with recession, stock market crash, layoffs”

    Don’t look at me…

    “Certain words had become magic to investors…In this cycle the magic words are “blockchain,” machine learning,” “AI,” “algorithm.”

    He forgot “smart.”

  30. Mickey Hickey

    Europeans and Americans have been exposed to anti Russian propaganda continuosly since 1945. I met my father-in-law around 1960 in Germany, he had been a POW in Russia from 1944 to 1955. He spoke fluent Russian and told me that Russians were a civilised and well educated people who treated him as if he was Russian. He was well aware that lebensraum meant Poles and Russians would be destroyed but not totally because Poland and Russia would be Germany’s potato and cabbage patch. While Versailles led to WW2 the fact that the German population increase was butting up against food production capability was also a factor. In 1960 Germans had a high opinion of Americans, when I tried to explain to them that W Germany was now seen by the USA as a buffer state between the USSR and the “West” and would benefit from the Marshall Plan while the UK was shaken down to repay its debts to the USA, They were reluctant to accept that it was anything but altruism at work. This is where the Scholzs’ and Von Leyens’ come from. Quite incapable of recognising that cheap Russian natural gas, coal, minerals and wood were the foundation of the German economic miracle (Wirtschaftswunder). Even worse as China makes inroads into Germany’s overseas export markets the German Gov’t bureaucracy does not recognise that the USA pushing Russia onto China’s lap means Germany is becoming Bolivia on the Rhine. We are now at the stage where Scholz and Von Papen are administering the Coup de Grace from which Germany will take over a century to recover. I must say that Orban of Hungary, Heger of Slovakia and Draghi of Italy seem to understand how important Russia is to the EU. Macron of Rothschild fame seems to be under the US thumb but the Gilets Jaune are quite capable of taking care of him, hopefully. I am Irish and see the world through emerald glasses.

    1. Jams Blonde

      Interesting. I am from the same part of the world. My wife’s grandfather was a card-carrying Nazi. He should have died on the Eastern front, but a Russian soldier took pity on him (he had an arm blown off) and carried him on his back many kms to a field hospital. He came back from Russia (after a spell as a POW) an anti-Nazi. The Russians are a highly sophisticated people and I am very thankful that I have a beautiful daughter today that would not be here only for that kind Russian soldier who should have by rights put a bullet through old Opa.

  31. Mikel

    “Twilight of Tech Gods: era ends with recession, stock market crash, layoffs”

    On Zuckerberg and Metaverse: “…It’s unclear what problems the technology will actually solve.”

    Ultimately, FB was not really a “tech” company. With advertising/marketing long having been its bread and butter, the Metaverse is just one more tool they sell to offer even more of a CAPTURED consumer.
    They are interested in the captured consumer, not the one with a lot of choice.

  32. Bellongine

    The Great Debasement

    “So pervasive was the watery idea that art means whatever you want it to mean, that all opinions on art are equally valid, the public needed reigning in. ”
    Ha! Artists, not hucksters, have long laughed at the semioticians of the art world:

    “The main engine of most “successful artists” today is not a quest for beauty or a desire to perfect talent but rather to produce commodities for speculation.

    A young artist cannot build a reputation unless they are artificially assisted based on speculation. Thus a business model influences artistic styles and vice versa.

    Who are the speculators? They are not artists-but rather-hustlers following a business driven model based on gambling, self-promotion and hype, similar to certain aspects of the stock market or used car lots. These promoters add zero value to the art, but plenty of zeros to the price and parasitically skim profit from the work of the artist and gullibility of the buyer.”

  33. antidlc

    Warning: RANT

    I am ready to spit nails. I feel like I’m living in a Twilght Zone episode or The Matrix, or something.

    The antidlc household has tried to play it safe during the last two years — no restaurants, only use grocery delivery or curbside. The few times I actually went into a grocery store in the last two years I tried to go right at opening or closing, hoping to avoid people. We had a list, split up, and literally raced through the store to get in and out as quickly as possible. (Had an incident with a store employee who insisted on “helping” me at the self checkout even though I repeatedly screamed at them, “I GOT THIS. I DON’T NEED HELP.”) Very few store employees were wearing masks even though it was the “senior hour” before normal store opening.

    We have had to cancel multiple doctor and dentist appointments because we do not feel safe

    Family member had avoided going to the eye doctor even though she really needed a checkup. Case counts were down, so she checked the eye doctor’s mask policy. The message on the recording said masks were required. She gets to the appointment, opens the door, and encounters a maskless patient.
    No enforcement of masks in the waiting room. Some of the staff maskless. There is a sign on the door saying masks are required in the examination room. She decides to wait outside in the hall and asks the staff to text her when the doctor will see her.

    She gets called, goes into the exam room, and the assistant who checks your eyes comes in maskless. Then the doctor comes in — no mask — and proceeds to ask her if she wants to take her mask off. She felt like just walking out but didn’t know what would happen with insurance.

    Fast forward a couple of weeks. Another visit that was going to require a two-hour exam (different provider). No masks required in the waiting room, couldn’t see if the staff and provider were wearing masks. Decides to go back to the car, calls the office and cancels on the spot, saying not comfortable.

    This morning we cancelled two dentist visits because masks were not required and was told staff did not wear masks, But the dentist and hygienist will be wearing masks in the treatment room, I was told. (Like that really helps you avoid whatever the staff and patients in the lobby are spewing out. At the last visit, dental hygienist was wearing a flimsy surgical mask.) I told the office to cancel the appointments — did not feel comfortable.

    Today, family member really needs medical attention. When you call, the message says masks are required. Family member shows up — no masks on the people in the waiting area. Didn’t stay long enough to see if the staff and doctors were wearing. Goes back out to the car, calls the office and tells them the appointment was made because the message when you call the office says masks are required.
    Cancels the appointment. Don’t know if a cancellation fee will be charged.

    Someone please tell me I’m not the crazy one. What is it about these doctors and dentists? Do they not know COVID is airborne and they are putting themselves, staff, and patients at risk by not requiring masks in their offices?

    So to assess our own “personal risk” per CDC, we get to decide whether we are going to get medical/dental attention, or we put ourselves at risk being around a bunch of people not wearing masks.


    1. Mikel

      ” What is it about these doctors and dentists? Do they not know COVID is airborne and they are putting themselves, staff, and patients at risk by not requiring masks in their offices?”

      I keep saying a harder look needs to be taken at getting Covid and possible servere sickness or death and Getting Covid, getting hospitalized, and possible severe sickness or death.
      Even if one already had Covid before arriving, it’s not the only grimy and airborne thing around. Get in a hospital with that kind of “attention” to hygiene and you’ll get a whammy to your immune system that makes the Covid worse.

    2. Objective Ace

      >Someone please tell me I’m not the crazy one. What is it about these doctors and dentists?

      They’re comparing apples and oranges. Theyre comparing the odds of getting covid in that instance vs the annoyance of wearing masks all the time. Its psychologically easy to trick yourself and say whats the pont of wearing a mask into the movies or grocery store if it only reduced my odds of getting covid from 0.005 percent to 0.003 percent during this trip: “Thats such a small amount and these masks are annoying”. The true math they should be doing though is 0.005^number of potential exposures vs 0.003^number of potential exposures but thats generally not how the human brain functions

      1. Oh

        They’ve fooled themselves into thinking that once they got the 2 shots and boosters, they’re not going to get COVID. There’s a friend who comes to the rec. center who asked me if I got the booster. I said “No, and I don’t believe it does anything, just lines the Pharma’s pockets”. He said “but it’s free” and I asked him to wear a mask. I also pointed out that the unknown effects of the vaccine are a risk and I asked him to wear a mask. He said the only mask that works is an N95. (convenient change of subject w/o telling me why he’s not wearing one). I left shaking my head.

        1. Basil Pesto

          don’t forget the obverse of that particular coin: the herd/natural immunity hucksters

    3. JEHR

      I did not feel uncomfortable going to the grocery store although my husband did all the shopping for the first few months, as I am immunocompromised. Everyone in the grocery store wore masks, the six-foot distancing was all taped on the floor. The co-op where we shopped opened an hour earlier when older people could shop. After the first year my husband and I shopped together. We got groceries for two weeks each time we shopped. Every second two-week period we phoned in our order and picked it up (at a different grocery store).

      I never cancelled eye appointments, or dental appointments or doctor appointments as it was the rule (for two years anyway to wear masks, distance, etc). But you see what happened at the beginning of the third pandemic year–we had a truckers’ protest where people actually camped their vehicles in our capital city and eventually had to be encouraged to move by the police. No one was injured during this process (in spite of some news reports). So the mandates were good and saved some peoples’ lives but a small group of people do not care about saving others’ lives; they only care about having “the freedom” of not helping save peoples’ lives with masking, distancing and avoiding large groups of people (especially indoors).

      So choose your poison: have mandates and protests or “freedom” and deaths.

      1. Objective Ace

        Pretty hard to pin this on a group of truckers. The CDC was encouraging people to go maskless last June..

        I dont blame the truckers.. I blame the biden administration for not making some heads role at the CDC for all their inconsistent and outright wrong messaging — Why would anyone believe anything they say now?

        1. antidlc

          ” I blame the biden administration for not making some heads role at the CDC for all their inconsistent and outright wrong messaging — Why would anyone believe anything they say now?”

          The CDC probably got its marching orders from the Biden administration.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            The CDC and the Biden Administration probably both got their marching orders from somebody much more powerful than either the CDC or the Biden Administration.

    4. Lexx

      In February my dentist’s office called to cancel my cleaning due to ‘inclement’ weather. It was going to snow in Colorado… not excessively, just snow. They were closing the office.

      Two weeks ago I got another call cancelling my next cleaning because our longtime hygienist was going on vacation. She works one and a half days a week now.

      Over the last two years when we’ve arrived for appointments that hadn’t been cancelled by their office, either our hygienist, our dentist, or both were not at work that day. We’re still expected to arrive on time for an appointment made 6 mos. earlier, call up from the parking lot to say we’ve arrived, wait for someone to call back giving us permission to ascend the stairs, arrive with masks on, check in and wait for someone to call our name. On two occasions we’ve had to call again to remind them we’re still waiting in the parking lot, only to hear someone say ‘Oh, I had no idea you were still down there. I’m so sorry.’ My husband has arrived to find he’s been given another hygienist, with no explanation as to why.

      It’s not us, it’s them. There’s a lot going on inside those offices that is seriously hurting their bottom lines, and they’re not talking about it with their patients. It isn’t just the mask issue.

      We received a survey in the mail from the city with a crispy two dollar bill enclosed. I wasn’t interested but my husband checked it out, and said later the questions were all about whether we’d seen our local practitioners and were we happy with local healthcare?

      I just got the feeling there were some very distressed conversations going on over cocktails at the country club and golf courses, about how well their practices were surviving the two year long downturn in business, and the city stepped up in one of the few ways available to them. They can’t force people to see their doctor or dentist, just ask questions and gather information.

      So, what do the doctor folk do?

    5. The Rev Kev

      This is crazy town. Those medical people should know better and have enforced mask discipline as in no mask, no appointment. It shouldn’t be up to you to navigate your way through a live fire exercise. Had something like this is a minor way here in Oz were I had to point out to a male hospital nurse that you cannot vaccinate your way out of a coronavirus pandemic.

    6. Raymond Sim

      A longtime coworker of my wife’s called her recently, wondering did she knew anything about what happened to Celeste?

      Celeste was the longtime receptionist/senior technician at our dentist. Not a young woman, but by no means elderly. To outward appearances fit and healthy. Sudden death.

  34. Carla

    N.B. — “What I got wrong and why” by Patrick Armstrong is from March 18, 2022. Of course it may still be relevant.

  35. JEHR

    Re: Wild animals evolving much faster than previously thought

    Every year when I see deer crossing the pavement, I wonder if they can “evolve” fast enough to realize the danger that roads represent to them. Once I saw a dying deer by the side of the road and a companion deer was stomping around the dying animal rather than running away until I came too close. (I phoned the the local department that deals with these deaths. For weeks I could see blood in the snow.) I watch the small herds crossing and often the largest deer goes first, and travels fast. And each animal, often in size getting smaller, runs rapidly behind the one in front until all have crossed. Sometimes I imagine that leader deer looking right and looking left (it’s my imagination, I know) but maybe someday evolution will take place and the leader will “learn” to do so. Every year I hope for fewer deaths. (This winter there were three deer killed on my short 5km walk. Every winter I worry about how many will die. When I see deer, and a car is approaching, I wave frantically for them to observe what I can see.)

  36. polar donkey

    I read a funny thing this weekend. The Poles sent like 250 old T-72’s to Ukraine with the understanding that Germany would send leopard 2’s as replacements. The Poles were still waiting and called out the Germans. A German minister got offended and said there aren’t any tanks to send. The German army only has 50 modern tanks. 50! That will keep Germany from invading it’s neighbors.

  37. Raymond Sim

    A virologist I have a high regard for remarked on Twitter that for practical purposes monkeypox is smallpox.

    I was aware that prior to the later stages of smallpox eradication human monkeypox cases would have been counted as smallpox, but this seemed like a stronger statement.

    Having done a bit more reading on orthopoxviruses I’ve come to the conclusion that in fact all the non-variola orthopoxviruses should, so far as we can tell, be regarded as smallpox-in-waiting. And we don’t seem to know enough about how long the transformation might take to be blase’ about any signs one of them might be making a run at it.

    I would be very grateful to be disabused of this view if it is false.

      1. Raymond Sim

        Smallpox is closest genetically to camelpox.

        So what? And what does the word ‘genetic’ mean?

        I’m sorrry if I’m rude, but this is ‘Shit virologists say.’ And it’s becoming clear to me that, once again, as we confront a grave viral threat, most virologists offering opinions don’t know what the eff they’re talking about.

        Most blind people would be aware that another blind person’s opinion of an elephant seen in a photo was of little value. People discussing orthopox genomics are, unfortunately, in a state of deeper ignorance.

        When you say ‘smallpox’ I assume you mean the variola viruses. They’re essentially the most stripped-down of all the orthopoxes, and the only ones without a non-human reservoir. So what does DNA overlap between camelpox and smallpox tell us about what we might expect from monkeypox?

  38. CanCyn

    But why do they care what anyone wears? I was more surprised by the fact that they even have a dress code than than the fact that they didn’t recognize ceremonial moccasins as ‘formal’

  39. CaliDan

    The Great Debasement Tablet Magazine

    This reads like it was written by Roger Scruton from the beyond, i.e., a continuation of the traditionalist/reactionary camp’s efforts to remove any semblance of socio-economic context from participating in art reception. (I can’t recommend reading the above link unless you are a certified masochist or desire more context, but it’ll certainly give you the flavor of what I mean)

    This made more sense, though, after reading more Tablet articles, like this one, still defending the notion that there couldn’t have been nazis in Azovstal because some were Jewish. It also contains my nomination for The 2022 Whitewashing-of-the-Year Awards: nazis are now to be referred to as “potentially independent-minded loose cannons”

  40. Alan C.

    Facebook won’t allow posting the article on GMOs from because it goes against their “community standards.” Reporting government findings is against their standards now?

  41. c_heale

    I have a comment on the previous post about Europe shooting itself in the foot. But comments there are closed so I hope it is okay to post it here. I’m not 100% sure of the facts, this is more of an overview.

    During the past few centuries Western Europe has been the defacto ruler of the world. The constant conflict of the Middle Ages was followed by European expansion into the Americas, Africa, Asia, etc. The two areas which remained unconquered, were Russia and China. Even after 1945, the leaders of most American countries, North, Central, and South, were of European descent. The USA has historically been led by by President’s of European descent. Israel, I think, ikewise. Nato and EU were formed to have a alliance with the USA to manage the world and its resources together. However, this has now broken down, neoliberalism being its last fling. Even now the WEF is a desperate attempt to maintain this power structure.

    Now Europe’s special status in the world now appears to be at an end. They are now caughr between the USA, Russia and China. But with insufficient resources, unlike many other places in the world (for example South America) they look likely to turn to fight among themselves for the scraps that remain. Maybe Brexit was a despairing attempt to gain an advantage in these upcoming battles. But Brexit has failed. Imo Brexit could be the model for the future of the EU.

    The USA is big enough to survive. But it probably needs to form new alliances. After 1990 it could have had one with Russia, but for the moment that appears out of reach.

    But maybe in the future there will a tripolar peace between Russia, the USA, and China. But no more NATO/EU.

    1. Lex

      Yes. This isn’t the fall of just the US empire. This is the end of 500 years of European colonial dominance. What started with the Portuguese chasing gold down the west African coast and begat a slave empire where sugar produced more value than all the gold and silver the new world produced. It spread through africa then, and the Indian subcontinent. China almost fell to it but survived. Russia almost fell in the 90’s but it survived too.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I have the solid impression that the center of power is moving from the west, where it has resided for the past 500 years as you mention, and is now moving to the east and I don’t mean just China. It’s been a good run for us in the west and there is still plenty of road to go but nothing lasts forever. And it is only with change that you get growth.

        1. flora

          move technology, manufacturing, and scientific research strength to the east (for profits) while undermining their political/economic strength in the west, and presto! center of power moves with technology/manufacturing and scientific research strength to the east. heck of a job, western globalists! (Hilarious reading in 2019 Soros declared Xi’s china a threat to the open society, as if the globalists had nothing to do with china’s economic rise.)

  42. rattlemullet

    The support I see on this site trying to justify Russias aggressive invasion of Ukraine is at most weak tea. Donbas really? Nazis really? Following international law, please spare ink. How many time has Putin change his reason for the invasion, more so than the Uvalde police. At best you have lost the understanding of what true Nazis did, minimally they invaded other countries aggressively with the same logic by the USofA invading Iraq, lies and non-justifications. Putin, like Hitler, had, have dreams of a greater land mass for their county and empire, regardless of the truth of their respective histories of creation. The shear massive destruction of villages and towns is a war crime. The deportation Ukrainian citizens is a war crime. Destroying hospitals, schools and churches is a war crime. Using rape as a weapon of war is a war crime. These all things Nazis did and Russian is emulating Nazi behavior very well. If Russia did not have energy supplies it would not have an economy to support aggressive behavior. I doubt anyone here supporting Russia would choose to move and live there.

    1. Raymond Sim

      Hey there! Are you a Nazi? I’ll believe you if you say “no”, after all you’re the expert on you. : )

      But it’s going to take more than snark to change my mind about Svoboda et al.

      Isn’t it kind of hilarious that that’s the word for ‘freedom’ Reagan said Russian doesn’t have?

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      Wowsers, this is serious Making Shit Up.

      Putin was opposed to the separatists trying to declare independent republics and pushed them to accept the Minsk Accords, which would have had them stay in a more federalized Ukraine. And they kept pushing it up to the eve of the war. It was Zelensky who rejected Minsk on Feb.15.

      Ukraine has been bombing Donbass for eight years, producing 14,000 deaths and at least 1.5 million refugees. There’s new evidence that Ukraine has been shelling Donbass cities as it has departed. Residents of Mariupol reported that the shelling of residential neighborhoods came overwhelmingly from Ukraine controlled areas and that Ukraine had been putting military targets like tanks next to apartment buildings. So who exactly is committing war crimes here?

      And it’s completely false, ex POWs, to say that Russia has been “deporting citizens”. Russia has consistently offered civilians the choice of going back home, going to other parts of Ukraine, staying with any relatives they have in Russia, or going to a Russian refugee facility, which is presumably an interim arrangement for them.

      Actually, a reader who lived all over Europe highly recommended Moscow as a candidate for yours truly’s expat future (he lived there 10 years).

Comments are closed.