Links 6/11/2022

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

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


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‘Fantastic giant tortoise,’ believed extinct, confirmed alive in the Galápagos PhysOrg (furzy). Handsome!

Polar Bears and Grizzlies Keep Mating and Could Evolve Into New Species Newsweek (resilc)

Light Pollution Can Interfere With Butterfly Migration Treehugger (resilc)

The Earth moves far under our feet: A new study shows that the inner core oscillates PhysOrg (Kevin W)

Japan Is Dropping a Gargantuan Turbine Into The Ocean to Harness ‘Limitless’ Energy Science Alert (Chuck L, David L)

AI Trained on 4Chan Becomes ‘Hate Speech Machine’ Vice

Professors Warn That Creeps Might Start Stealing DNA From Celebs For Dark Purposes Futurism

Superworms Capable Of Munching Through Plastic Waste Eurasia Review

The age of outbreaks: Experts warn of more animal disease threats France24 (resilc)



The effects of contracting Covid-19 on cognitive failures at work: implications for task performance and turnover intentions Nature (Dr. Kevin)

A Negative COVID Test Has Never Been So Meaningless Atlantic (resilc)

A comparison of SARS-CoV-2 and influenza cytokine storms (Kevin W)


U.S. death rates show how politics are affecting public health STAT

U.S. to drop COVID testing for incoming international air travelers Reuters (BC)


‘It wiped us out’: history of US forest mismanagement fans the flames of disaster Guardian (furzy)

A huge Atlantic ocean current is slowing down. If it collapses, La Niña could become the norm for Australia ZMEScience (Dr. Kevin)

An Oil Spill Shut Down a Great Lakes Shipping Route, but You Probably Didn’t Hear About It Gizmodo (David L)

India water: Hundreds jostle to reach well BBC (resilc)


China draws security red line to US at defense ministers’ longer-than-expected first meeting Global Times

Patrick Lawrence: Will Biden Provoke War with China? ScheerPost (fk)


The odd and worrying situation of the legal advice on the Northern Ireland Protocol David Allan Green (guurst)

Old Blighty

‘Worse than half-baked’: Johnson’s food strategy fails to tackle cost or climate Guardian (Kevin W)

New Not-So-Cold War

Ukraine’s high casualty rate could bring war to tipping point Guardian

Washington Starts Blame Game Over Defeat In Ukraine Moon of Alabama. From mid week, but includes some very revealing excerpts from remarks by former Deputy Commander of the United States European Command Stephen M. Twitty at a panel at the Council of Foreign Relations. Also a nice shout out to NC!

Since everyone asks “what’s the Russian air force doing?” Jacob Dreizin. Important discussion of cruise missiles late in the post.

Russian Defense Minister Shoigu says land bridge complete, which may signal phase 3 Odessa The Duran. Good overview. However, one caveat. Both Mercouris and Christaforu are convinced of the necessity of Russia taking Odessa to satisfy domestic expectations. The problem is Russia very much depends on the continued willingness of China, India, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and the Global South to see Russia as the less bad guys up against hypocritical colonialists and ignore various threats from the US and EU, like secondary sanctions. If Russia looks like it is engaging in a war of territorial acquisition, as opposed to defense of the DPR and LPR and maybe populations in Ukraine at risk because friendlies, it’s going to be harder to enlist support in the UN. Admittedly Ukraine has done things that bolster Russia’s case, like continuing to shell civilian areas of Donetsk (the excuse it to turn the locals against Russia) and having cut off the fresh water supply to Crimea (arguing for Russia needing control the sources). I’m not sure how Russia makes a case to the wider world for capturing Odessa.

* * *

Briefing by Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, Moscow, June 8, 2022 Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation. Search for “mercenaries” or click on “Foreign mercenaries in Ukraine” for the Q&A where Zakharova responds to questions about the death sentences (with appeals exepcted) for three mercenaries in the DPR. “Ukraine update” has some broader background material.

Izvestia: Can foreign mercenaries facing death penalty in Donbass appeal verdict. English summary of the story per TASS.

Ukraine’s silence on the topic of these mercs is noteworthy. They obviously do not want to engage with the DPR/LPR governments, since that would serve to recognize them. But if these mercs had any claim to being regular soldiers, the trial would have made for a perfect bona fide PR, as opposed to propaganda, opportunity. Ukraine could have presented actual or even fake documents publicly and let the defense team make use of them. John Helmer concurs with my take that the bigger fish will be prosecuted in the expected war crimes trials:

The propaganda perspective that counts at this stage is the domestic one — to demonstrate in the Donbass and at home in Russia that these British are indeed small fry, defeated and demoralized ones. Depending on what officers have been captured and what they are saying, yes, I agree — they will be put on war crimes trial in Moscow. The indictment will be planning the attack on Russia for the past several years strategically, and tactically, the operation they intended before Feb 24.

By opening and closing the cases against Aislin and Pinner so swiftly, the Russians and DPR are doing Her Britannic Majesty, the Cabinet Office and MI6 the favour of not producing (yet) all the evidence they have given in their interrogations — how they were recruited, by whom, how they were paid, what they signed, what contacts they had with British officials, agents, active-duty military, what they did in action, where, when, against whom, etc. The Dutch law grounds for the murder indictments of Pulatov, Girkin et al. in the MH17 case are not forgotten by the Donetsk and Lugansk coroners, prosecutors and others involved in the recovery of the victims and the subsequent falsification of all the evidence, including the postmortem evidence. Then there is the legality of the British handling of the two Skripals — denial of consular access, fabrication of evidence, etc. Quite a rules-based disorder.

* * *

How Monsters Who Beat Jews To Death in 1944 Became America’s Favorite “Freedom Fighters” in 1945—with a Little Help from their Friends at CIA CoverAction. Scott Ritter has discussed this sordid history, but only at the 3-4 minute of detail level. Good to see this laid out in gory detail.

Russian propaganda efforts aided by pro-Kremlin content creators, research finds NBC. Lambert: “Research my ass.” Whacks Eva Bartlett, Patrick Lancaster, and Gonzalo Lira.

Meeting with young entrepreneurs, engineers and scientists Kremlin. The Putin talk where his mention of Peter the Great (following his much longer discussion of national sovereignity) looks to have been mightily distorted by the Western media.

* * *

Russia’s central bank cuts interest rates to prewar level Associated Press (Kevin W)

Russia’s new McDonald’s reveals logo before relaunch AlJazeera (resilc)

Actually not quite since Ukraine’s wheat is not enough to make a dent in global food shortages, and it can be exported just fine by rail. Still:

‘I’m trying to keep my @*#% together’: Being a surrogate mum in Ukraine Sydney Morning Herald (skippy)

* * *

Russia’s Duma mulls revoking recognition of Lithuanian independence LRT (Dr. Kevin). Not that I have been keeping close tabs on Lithuania, but this likely contributed:


Imperial Collapse Watch

Washington’s Failed Push for Anti-Russian Global Consensus American Conservative (Kevin W)

Congress Ramps Up Efforts to Increase $813 Billion Military Budget for 2023 AntiWar

Recent string of deadly military crashes is no accident Responsible Statecraft (resilc)


6 takeaways from the Jan. 6 committee’s first prime-time hearing Seattle Times (furzy)

‘Comes Across as a Cult Guy’: The Pennsylvania Candidate Freaking Out Both the Left and the Right Politico (resilc)

Our No Longer Free Press


Facebook allows 10 strikes before booting gun sellers from platform: report The Hill

What Growing Up in Rural Germany Taught Me about Guns ReasontobeCheerful. Resilc: “But we live in USA USA. We like killin’ injuns, runaway slaves and 5th graderzzzzz.”

Supply Chain/Inflation

Why are nuclear power construction costs so high? Part I ConstructionPhysics. Resilc: “$8-9 diesel adds up.”

Inflation rose 8.6% in May, highest since 1981 CNBC (Kevin W)

Inflation Hits New Forty-Year High on Broad Price Gains Wall Street Journal

Valuation Trauma Is Refusing to End for S&P 500 in Free Fall Bloomberg

US workers speak out as May inflation hits 8.6 percent, rips household budgets WSWS

Meta Scrutinizing Sheryl Sandberg’s Use of Facebook Resources Over Several Years Wall Street Journal

Class Warfare

Why Farmers Are Getting Priced Out of the Hudson Valley New York Times (resilc)

Cooking Robots Can Replicate Your Recipes, Provide “Restaurant-as-a-Service” Core77 (resilc)

Antidote du jour. How I often feel! From Steve C:

This image was captured by Tyler Bronstein who currently resides on Haight Street in SF. Considering that it/’s an “officially western banned” Russian Blue Feline (that may very well have clandestine ties with its ‘mother’ country), I thought that this image might well have a bit of satirical political content as well as just being a great cat photo.

And a bonus (Wayne W):

Sisterly Licks from Sidney Weinstein on Vimeo.

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. JohnA

    Re Professors Warn That Creeps Might Start Stealing DNA From Celebs For Dark Purposes Futurism

    Twitter has been agog with tabloid stories about Putin travelling with his own porta potty. Sounds like Putin is at least one step ahead on the poo front as well.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I guess the stories about him dying of cancer had to be dropped for now since he continues to appear in public regularly with no sign of weight loss or other tells of bad health.

      1. Pat

        They will have the Russians stealing Disney’s animatronic secrets for their super duper top secret Putin robot meant to fool the Russian people so no one sees the shrinking and wasted cancer ridden shell that he really is….

        1. The Rev Kev

          Wasn’t there rumours a few short weeks ago about Lavrov being at death’s door or something like that? Fortunately the Leader of the Free World remains in robust health and is sharp as a tack. Well, maybe the flat end. And on a good day. Maybe.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            This version of creating our own reality isn’t working so well. Sergei Shoigu, the head of the Ministry of Defense, has both been dying and about to be turfed out by Putin for months. He was just on TV in some sort of staged big deal presentaton.

            1. Art_DogCT

              I’m reminded of the many, many times this or that leader of Al Qaida or Daesh was claimed as killed by US prowess, intel, and force of arms, only for the dead person to reappear alive and well after a few months. It seems like the cycle of claimed deaths to evident resurrection was something of a Friedman Unit in its own right. Memory is too foggy (and I’m disinclined to seek clarification) whether there was any sort of actual synchrony.

              And who can forget the stories of Bin Laden’s advanced kidney failure, lugging two dialysis machines into the Tora Bora? Those really were the days, eh?

                1. drumlin woodchuckles

                  Well, since OBL did not pop up to say that reports of his death had been exaggerated, I expect in this case that he really was killed.

                  Or maybe told that if he didn’t “play dead” for the rest of his life, that he would be killed for real. But his ongoing silence leads me to think he really was killed.

              1. rowlf

                The Moon of Alabama blog had a fun time a few years ago noting all the resurrected North Korean functionaries the US news media had said were killed.

                1. amechania

                  The US president also has a port a potty

                  Since the 60’s I believe, to protect his medical privacy after a leak said there had been a plot to pinch a loaf, if you’ll forgive the scatology.

            2. Tempore procedente

              I am a physician focused on biochemistry and pathology.
              I have followed Russian politics and leadership for quite some while now.

              Having looked at both televised and live events with them I have recognized a few rather clear symptoms they show like motus, cedere, dicere and even ridere.
              Putin, Lavrov and Shoigu suffer from a condition called Vita in Latin. It is deadly for everybody struck by this disease. It has a 100% fatality rate. My studies indicates that it seems to be hereditary as it is in most cases transferred from the parents.
              We don’t have any remedy for it yet.
              The problem is that we do not know the mechanisms for exactly when the Vita kills. It can only be confirmed retrospectivly or at best in the immediate time before the time of death.

              I believe the reports: they are dying and they are suffering the same progress of this horrible disease that kills everybody that is struck by it. The time of death is rather difficult to predict.

              1. Pat

                Lavrov is 72, Putin is 69 and Shoygu is the spring chicken at 67. Let me guess, the dread disease is better known as aging, aka getting old.

                Whatever the Russian treatment is, looking at Biden, Pelosi, HRC, etc., the American treatment isn’t as effective.

                1. Tempore procedente

                  Yes, age, Vetustas, is another symptom I have seen on these politicians. There are many symptoms of this condition. Vita is the disease and it is the reason why you die. Would you not suffer from Vita, you would not die.

              2. Skip Intro

                Snarcium non olet!

                This condition is very widespread in the US leadership, with Biden, Pelosi, and Kissinger being noteworthy exceptions.

    2. The Historian

      Apparently Prince Charles has been doing that for years too. I wonder how many others of the elite do that!

      I needed to get some self-closing toilet seats because I had a cat who like to play in the toilet. I had no idea at the time that toilet bowls came in different sizes and I had to go back and measure mine before I bought the seats. I wonder, does Putin and Prince Charles have dedicated staff that call ahead to make sure where ever they are going that they have the right sized toilet bowls?

      Just something to think about when your mind is tired of thinking about war, shootings, famine, climate change, etc….

      1. .human

        Ah, yes. Time to think about sh1t! I’m so old that I remember a morning when in my 40’s I first appreciated a very satisfying “constitutional.”

        I don’t see this celeb activity as paranoia, but as a necessary privacy manouevre. How else do you protect your health and (prescription) drug use from paparazzi.

      2. Pat

        Been Thinking about this and what we know about germ and virus exposure in restrooms. Public leaders and figures with extensive travel and public meetings probably should be able to limit the need to make use of more public facilities just for health reasons, forget DNA capture.

      3. Eric Blair Kagwa

        Mitterand’s cancer was discovered by agents collecting his stool, same for the Shah so this happens a lot and for a long time. David Owen “In Sickness and in Power”.

    3. Dr. John Carpenter

      Stealing celebrity poo made me think of Priscilla Queen of the Desert. Of course, I don’t think that was dark purposes so much as fandom gone really overboard.

    4. Robert Hahl

      I have read about poison on toilet seats in spy novels. I suppose it’s a real thing.

  2. griffen

    Creeps might steal DNA from celebs for dark purposes. What or who is going to stop them, or infringe on the right to be creepy albeit from a safe or court ordered distance?

    In twenty years the sky is the limit if I can just get some TB12 certified DNA(!) Tom Brady, for clarifcation. \sarc

    1. Michael Fiorillo

      You’re forgetting the most important thing about Brady: the contract he signed with Satan in exchange for his phenomenal success.

      1. griffen

        Well Satan and his minions do stay busy. Super Bowl appearances, championship rings and a supermodel wife; for the record in my book Bridget Moynahan is not chopped liver either.

        And for the above video clip shared by Rev – that is priceless. Oh goodness, some of those early season episodes were incredibly funny.

        1. Milton

          If by Satan you mean Roger Goodell where the NFL and league competition committee has a deal to overlook Brady pumping his body with the next generation of HGH and other PE medicines, then I would certainly agree.

          1. griffen

            No objection to Satan being an all inclusive description of enablers. As far as I can ascertain, I have not heard mention of those methods being used by the NFL star quarterback.

            But I’m sure, quite likely, that fans in Miami, or Buffalo, having suffered in the AFC East can hope and wish it so. The fans of the J E T S have their own kind of suffering, Brady or not.

            1. Milton

              Because 46 YOs always excel in pro leagues–playing better than when they did in their 20s. The closest a player did that was Barry Bonds (in his late 30s) and he was drummed out of the league even though he never tested positive for anything.
              Signed, bitter Bay Area fan

              1. Anthony G Stegman

                Tom Brady is the most charmed man in the world. His entire life from birth to present day has been a series of good luck, good fortune, good genes. As far as anyone knows Brady has never suffered any real discomforts his entire life. Everything comes up roses. It’s easy to dislike a person like this since the very vast majority of people globally have never had (and never will have) the charmed life that Brady continues to enjoy. Even Hollywood celebrities and billionaires envy Brady. One can only be amazed and look in wonderment.

    2. jr

      Can you imagine Brian Stelter, Chuck Todd, Rachael Maddow, and Chris Hayes being cloned repeatedly? Or Amber Heard and Johnny Depp? Oprah and “Dr.” Phil? Think of that, a stadium of Oprahs and Dr. Phils endlessly affirming one another!!

      *goes back to tremulously peeking through the blinds

  3. Donald

    Regarding Patrick Lancaster ( who I watch sometimes) and the rest, I wonder if the next step is going to be a ban by YouTube.

    I know Patrick is biased— he doesn’t hide it. But it is valuable seeing ordinary people over there who clearly hate the Ukranian government. I mean, this is just basic— no matter what the overall rights and wrongs of a conflict you should expect that ordinary people are going to be split in their opinions, depending on which side has been hurting them. But listening to the Western press you would never know that anyone in Ukraine supports the Russian side or alternatively, dislikes both sides— Lancaster has filmed people saying they were disgusted by both Putin and Zelensky. Does the Western press ever do this?

    1. Carolinian

      a ban by YouTube.

      NBC is pushing the idea going by that article in Links. But perhaps it’s just the NBC author, the famous Brandy Zadrozny. /s

      Shorter MSM to Youtube–how dare your amateur reporters compete with our amateur reporters. Of course way back in Syria the networks loved social media “news” reporting that pushed the proper line.

      Last night watching a 2010 film from Roman Polanski called The Ghost Writer. It pushes the then popular movie biz line that the CIA is everywhere and that a scandal involving a politician and secret torture sites could be a worldwide front page scandal. Cut to 2022 and such a story would be called Kremlin propaganda. Hey maybe the CIA is everywhere. Trump seemed to be scared of them. Biden too.

      1. hunkerdown

        One wonders whether calls to nationalize PayPal would have more of a concentrating effect on Lord Peter of Bathory’s mind.

        1. Acacia

          Chinese maker Naomi Wu. Following a spat with Vice, they got her Patreon account nixed.

    2. timbers

      Most Americans have zero knowledge of recent Russian, Ukraine history say from 1990 onward nor does it remotely occur to them it would be helpful in putting current events in context if they did. For example it’s inconceivable to Americans that some majority Ukraine Oblasts prefer to be part Russia vs Ukraine like the coastal south that had their water cut off by Kiev to spite Crimea which may partially explain why Russian troops entered almost 2 entire southern Oblasts with minimal to no resistance from the locals. Add to the blunder of Kiev cutting off water to her own people the widely known corruption and changing winds Kiev gets being a puppet regime of Washington, and Moscow ends up looking a pillar of stability and sanity.

      1. digi_owl

        Sadly Americans are far from alone there, sadly.

        It is like the collective journalist class went from trying to be unbiased reporters of facts, to authors of purple prose novellas on the most ordinary of events.

        I wonder how many articles i have seen in recent years that spend more time talking about someone’s wardrobe, (grand)parents, the lunch they shared with the journalist, and more, than the actual headline reason for the article (often some statistical oddity in the social sciences or similar).

        1. The Rev Kev

          It has been noted how in the past, many people could aspire to be a journalist but now it is a career that is more or less reserved for the children of the professional managerial class. Poor people need not apply nor their thoughts and opinions.

          1. JBird4049

            And I am thinking that like with some other professions, it is also about going to the right Ivy or Ivy adjacent university. For example, all current and most recently retired Supreme Court members are only from an Ivy League university with one or two exceptions. In the news biz there are some few Ivy adjacent universities that really count, but still no Podunk U.

            It is not only the PMC, it is also going to the right ubër Blue super upper class university mainly in the Northeast United States leaving the other five or so regions and their two hundred and fifty million people out. There are thousands schools of higher education, but they are not worthy, I guess, which might be overstating it, but…

  4. Stick'em

    re: Polar Bears and Grizzlies Keep Mating and Could Evolve Into New Species

    Much of what I learned in public schools turned out to be crap once I got to college and learned a more sophisticated understanding of how things work. One major moment in understanding happened when I learned supposedy “distinct” species such as tigers and lions can in fact, interbreed and produce viable offspring called tigons and ligers.

    So now it isn’t surprising to learn coyotes, wolves, and dogs can interbreed. It isn’t weird when grizzlies and polar bears mate. Nature is simply much more fluid than they taught us in science class when we were kids. This isn’t a “woke” intersectional identity poltics fueled thing; rather it’s an observation on how the business of the birds and the bees works at a fundamental level.

    If you like pondering the deeper level of what’s going on, here’s an excellent summary of this problem of how to define what “species” actually are in the real world:

    1. The Rev Kev

      I wonder if the implication of this article might be that in thousands of years if the Earth cools off, that the descended polar bear/grizzly might have a new species split off them from it. One whose fur is white which would be an adaption to the new cold, frozen lands. After all, the genes for white fur would still be in that DNA pattern somewhere. So in appearance it would look like a polar bear but it would not actually be one. It would be a new type of bear that resembles the present polar bear.

      1. Stick'em

        Hybridization is one process of evolution, as in grizzly + polar = ?

        Another processes causing speciation is geographic isolation. It’s what Darwin originally saw in finches in the Galapagos. From a common ancestor, different species of birds on different islands evolved different beak shapes and sizes related to what foods were availble on each island.

        An example of this with bears and coat color is the Kermode spirit bears. A population of black bears became geographically isolated in British Columbia. Some of these Kermode black bears became white. These aren’t albino black bears who lack the black pigment, melanin, but rather leucistic bears who have an autosomal recessive thing going on that produces a white pigment.

        So if we are guesstimating what might happen with polar bears and grizzlies, conceivably due to climate change, one or even both might have significant migration into the other’s normal geographic range.

        Then this hybrid population also might become geographically isolated from other bears somehow due to topographic changes in the landscape. So it isn’t hard to imagine both processes combining to result in something new, as in a hybrid Kermode white version of a polar/grizzly. Just like with human identity, our vocabulary has a hard time keeping up…

        1. jsn

          My wife and I decided on our morning walk grizzly + polar = pozzly bear.

          We’ve got Coywolves in our neck of the woods along with black bears, pozzlys would pose whole new order of challenge!

          And I expect they’re heading south, our way.

    2. griffen

      I couldn’t finish that article without this weird notion in the back of my mind. That I had seen this topic covered before, albeit in context this is definitely a comical spoof. Leave it to South Park to run an episode featuring Al Gore, presenting a speech to the school about the imminent danger of a cross bred organism.

    3. Lee

      The two critters (I’m trying to avoid the word “species”) have very different hunting and feeding behaviors. If, as they appear to be, polar bears are obligate carnivores while grizzlies are omnivores, it could be possible that these hybrids might suffer from prey and food preference confusion and chronic dyspepsia. OTOH, perhaps the hybrid will be able to successfully adapt to both arctic and subarctic environments if omnivory, the more adaptive trait, is dominant. As with all things, time will tell.

    4. Ignacio

      Inter-species breeding, homosexuality and sexuality change, descendants with or without sex, recombinations, the young deer having fun with females while the big dominant male is fighting with others, associations between organisms from different “kingdoms”… Parasites, pathogens, pathogens to the parasites, molecular parasites, molecular chaperones Uaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! Nature is crazy!!! And good it is so!

      Nature could be considered the opposite of what many would believe is “the natural order”.

      1. Miguel

        If homosexuality is as claimed genetic,

        with gay liberation, it will be a self extinguishing gene.

        1. Lee

          If it’s a recessive gene in enough members of a population, heterosexual carriers will pass it on indefinitely.

    5. digi_owl

      The bigger question is if the offspring of these matings can have offspring of their own.

    6. KLG

      Traveling so unable to look carefully, but: Yes lions and tigers can produce offspring. But can these “ligers” mate and do the same? Or are they like mules? I have no idea. Ditto for the Pizzly Bear. If so, they are an F1 dead end. As for the meaning of species, this can be an issue of terminology and biology, mostly settled during the ascendance of the Modern Synthesis. Ernst Mayr and Theodosius Dobzhansky come to mind. Not too unlike the definition of gene, though the latter is a more protean concept.

      1. Stick'em

        “The trouble with this view is perhaps clear if one considers the most popular such proposal: the so-called ‘biological’ species concept (what concept of species would not be biological, one wonders?) originally articulated by Theodozius Dobzhansky and Ernst Mayr in the 1930s and ’40s. The idea is members of the same species are recognizable as such because they can actually or potentially interbreed with one another.

        Even a superficial critical analysis of this concept cannot fail to notice ‘potential’ interbreeding opens up a Pandora’s box of conceptual problems. But one need not go that far in order to find trouble. By this definition, all bacteria, many plants, and a wide array of living forms simply cannot have species, because they don’t reproduce sexually (and therefore cannot ‘interbreed,’ potentially or otherwise). This is a spectacular case of throwing out the baby with the bathwater.”

    7. eg

      Are the offspring of those inter-species matings themselves reproductively viable (biologically fit) or are they “mules”?

  5. Craig H.

    The memory has almost totally faded it’s so old but Madonna was doing this at least 20 years ago. She may have been doing this before google.

    Does the German language have a handy compound word for (vanity + paranoia)?

      1. Ignacio

        If you know Spanish this is funny (and quite old).

        Public bus in German: Subanempujenwagen
        Metro in German: Subanempujenestrujenwagen.

        1. Lee

          Would it be too much to ask for an explanation? My high school Spanish long ago left the room.

          1. Miguel

            Bus “Jump on and push the wagon”

            Metro “Jump on push, and squeeze into the wagon”

  6. griffen

    Inflation hits a high mark not seen since December 1981. Well what is old is new again, after all isn’t this Top Gun sequel the hot new film until proved otherwise? And this weekend we get another Jurassic Park movie; I remain partial to the original film myself.

    Energy prices are going to remain stubbornly high. And on the TV this morning, the best our leaders have is blame Russia for the decision to invade Ukraine. And those greedy oil companies. Drilling today would generate a beneficial reduction in what, 12 to 18 months? Political leadership does not have a clue or a real plan.

    I also read or heard this week that US refinery capacity is going all out. I defer to others if that is a great signal or perhaps not.

    1. The Rev Kev

      If US refinery capacity is going all out, then that might suggest that they are deferring maintenance and you can only do that for so long until it comes around and hits you in the back of the neck.

      1. Synoia

        What is the “maintenance” of which you write? We are too busy making money to waste time on “maintenance ” in the work place.

        Maintenance is for our Trophy Wives.


      2. griffen

        Maintenance. We don’t need no stinking maintenance. \definitive sarc

        Will no one think of the children, er, excess profits?

    2. Mildred Montana

      “Inflation hits a high mark not seen since December 1981.”

      Here in my west-coast Canadian city, food-price inflation seems to be running well above the reported 8% or so. Things that cost $3 a year ago are now $4 and produce items that went for $1 a pound are now more like $2 a pound. That ain’t 8% inflation.

      Good news though! Booze prices here seem to be stable. My favorite beverages are the same price they were a couple of years ago. I have no idea why.

      So I’ve come up with a plan to combat the rising price of food. If things get much worse I’m going to switch to alcohol for my calories and take a multi-vitamin for the necessary nutrients. I’ll be saving money, feeling good, and no longer worrying about inflation. ;)

      1. Bart Hansen

        On that 8% number, remember that the CPI excludes food and energy because they are ‘volatile’.

        I always thought that excuse was invented to protect a current administration from blame.

      2. ambrit

        Booze prices have definitely risen here over the past six months. Generally about a dollar a fifth for ‘hard’ liquors. In Mississippi, retail outlets must purchase booze from State run warehouses. The friendly checkout person at my local “self abuse supply centre” stated a few months ago that the wholesale prices have gone up, with an added dollar per case lot for no apparent reason.
        I must add that you live in a civilized nation, which makes your observation twice as troubling. Here in the North American Deep South, such corruption is both ubiquitous and Traditional.
        If you do ‘enable’ your Liquid Diet Plan (LDP,) consider beer and ales. They have lots of vitamins already included. I have seriously known several alcoholics who lived entirely on beer for extended periods of time. So, fear not! There is precedent for what you propose!
        Stay safe. Stay sloshed. (Don’t forget to hydrate.)

        1. Mildred Montana

          Back in my “bad old days” some wise person told me that hard liquor drinkers don’t last and I believed him. So I take your advice to heart, not that I plan on implementing my LDP any time soon.

          Also, from what I understand, alcohol prices are much higher here in Canada than down there in your neck of the woods. A fifth of hard liquor goes for anywhere from $24 to $30 depending on type and brand, while beer is about $12 a six-pack (including the high Canadian taxes).

          Those prices present a problem for my LDP (a fruit fly in my beer you might say) and a serious obstacle to “staying sloshed”. ;)

      3. playon

        Here in WA state, last year I could buy a rack of baby back ribs at a local supermarket for $11-12, this year they are $18-20.

      4. Anthony G Stegman

        The local Costco in my neck of the woods has a botte of scotch in nice packaging for $5,999.99. That price has remained the same for quite some time.

  7. elgoog

    Do you suppose there’s any viable Elvis DNA left on any of the many scarves he threw out to his adoring fans? (I once met someone who caught one.) Imagine running into a clone of Elvis? Or a bunch of them?

    1. jr

      True story: Years ago a buddy and I were driving through Oklahoma. We passed a battered blue pickup truck, circa 1950. Elvis was driving it.

      He was heavy set, with jet black hair and mutton-chop sideburns. Black Wayfarer sunglasses and a look of serene indifference on his face. We gawked in amazement and told anyone who would listen when we got to our destination.

  8. SlayTheSmaugs

    Brexit continues to break my heart and hurt my head. Now the UK government is going full Orwell, as explained by “The odd and worrying situation of the legal advice on the Northern Ireland Protocol David Allan Green” above.

    As has been blindingly obvious from the beginning, as I’ve occasionally commented over the past years here–saying nothing original as many others have been willing to note the same– Brexit is impossible without either a hard border in Ireland, or the re-unification of Ireland within the EU, or re-unification of Ireland within the UK. To pretend otherwise is to insist on an end to borders–if goods can stay in the EU in Ireland, then enter the UK without crossing a border, then there is no border between the EU & UK, and they are unified territories operating under wholly separate legal regimes. This logic is ironic given Brexit is all about imposing borders between the UK & the EU.

    The biggest unknown, to me, has always been whether getting to either resolution–a hard border within Ireland or a unified Ireland under either legal regime (surely the EU’s) would involve war between the EU and the UK, or merely a war within Ireland.

    The easiest way to avoid war between the UK and EU, while achieving Brexit, would be to have war localized to the island, i.e. a hard border. That a hard border would instigate internal island war is not hypothetical. But it’s not obvious the UK has enough of the world on its side to manage that. (Just as the US struggles to organize the world w/r/t its proxy war with Russia in Ukraine).

    The best way to avoid all war is to give up on Brexit and reunify, but that can’t happen under the current government.

      1. SlayTheSmaugs

        Thanks Yves.

        I have been reading links & water cooler regularly, though more lightly the past couple years, taking in the information but not engaging with it. As a mental health strategy, and integrally relatedly, as a mother of a teen and a tween, and a spouse, and a full time employee–all roles that would be profoundly undermined by my being in poor mental health–I have retreated from all the aspects of the world that enrage me while making me feel as impotent as an infant.

        I avoid the word “Ukraine”; I eschew tv and radio news–print (digital or otherwise) is the only medium I can tolerate–I consider Covid purely on a local level, and neither I nor my family are traveling or hosting much.

        Through my day job I indirectly work on legislation related to elections–fwiw, I’m in the camp of easy to vote, secure, accurate, reliable counting–I reject the ‘hard to cheat’ frame b/c it’s branding akin to the idea that consumers would solve the plastic waste problem, individual voters are not the cheating problem that matters. I also support primary candidates I like, mostly with my time–and I work on local elections. So I haven’t abandoned attempting to make government better; I believe it’s on all of us to try to be a part of the solution (however we define it).

        But the Iraq War, and the uselessness of all the protests I joined and organized, along with watching Obama give the bankers a pass, Hillary’s ego derail meaningful public discourse in the wake of her loss, Trump normalize overt corruption in new ways all the while railing against the swamp, Biden and the DNC, via Hunter & more (Menendez & others) make overt corruption fully bipartisan–all these, and most grotesque, the ongoing climate crime, have accumulated in my mind and soul such that I know that I, personally, am totally impotent to make any dent in any of it. So I get explosively angry and I cannot reliably, consistently, channel that anger only at the sources of my anger.

        As a survival strategy, I’ve tapped into the skill I gained growing up in New York City: Controlling where I invest my intention.

        In general, privacy in New York City is an act of will, a creation of ignoring all the strangers around you.

        I’m using that will power to tune out everything that gives me impotent rage. Instead, I focus on my family, my home, my job, and my gardens. But for Covid I’d be going to yoga studio a lot too. I decompress with a little intoxication most evenings and weekends–weed not alcohol–and only if I don’t have to drive.

        So in short:

        I’m doing very well, thank you. I and my family remain among the very lucky. Two of us have had covid, but mildly, and no signs of long covid or neurological damage. My husband and I remain employed–he’s an “essential worker”, but mostly works outdoors, and my job is professional and was fully remote before the pandemic.

        I value Naked Capitalism highly, and evangelize about it to friends; this site is one of my connections to the outside-my-home-and-broader-family world.

        Thank you for all you, Lambert, and Jeri do

        1. SlayTheSmaugs

          Above I mentioned a skill I learned growing up in New York City, where the daily commute could include having my body pressed into strangers on a crowded subway car. I described it slightly differently in the post than I was thinking at the time, a subconscious editing decision. Either way, the statement is an accurate description of a skill I’ve consciously developed, but they are different and have different sources.

          Above I defined the skill this way: “Controlling where I invest my intention.”

          and I sourced the skill to:

          “In general, privacy in New York City is an act of will, a creation of ignoring all the strangers around you.”

          The skill I was consciously thinking of, the one that I gained because I had to learn to will privacy into existence in my experience of the world, was:

          Controlling where I invest my attention.

          The former is about focusing my purpose in acting; the latter is about deciding what I will notice and just letting everything else run in the background, unmonitored.

          In creating privacy, I learned how not to notice any of the other humans. They could’ve been pillars; I became completely unselfconscious. I subtracted all of my attention from the world outside my body, beyond the attention necessary to monitor how close we were to my stop, and to the general vibe of the subway car to monitor for risk, my attention would be totally inward.

    1. David

      I’m not sure there’s much new left to say, really. The problem is one that NC identified at the very beginning of the negotiations, and we all agreed that logically there had to be a border somewhere. Johnson sold the Tory Party the lie that there was no need for a border, and now that need is becoming apparent after all, and people don’t like the consequences. We’ve all been warning about this problem for literally years. Just two things.

      For all the talk about “breaking international law,” then unless I’m missing some Convention the UK has signed, it’s largely a question of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, and more specifically Art 26, which says:
      “Every treaty in force is binding upon the parties to it and must be performed by them in good faith.”
      and Art 27, which says:
      “A party may not invoke the provisions of its internal law as justification for its failure to perform a treaty.”

      It’s hard to be clearer than that. Now admittedly there are no explicit sanctions for a country that doesn’t perform its treaty obligations in good faith, but there’s going to be an enormous political price to pay for this.

      Second point is what the links suggest about the Law Officers. In the past they have been very influential, and traditionally British governments respected their advice on what was and wasn’t legal. As with all lawyers, if you asked them to make a case they would do so to the best of their ability, but there was a very clear distinction between advice and advocacy. That seems to be disappearing now, if the government is really shopping around for opinions it wants. It’s a shame to see the Uberisation of the public service in Britain has reached this point.

      1. Anonymous 2

        Thank you David. Your comments are sensible, as always.

        There have been a few voices recently starting to float the idea that the UK re-join the Single Market. This may mean nothing but, I suspect, is probably people testing the waters in advance of a battle over the succession to Johnson, whose days now seem numbered. Single market membership for the UK would of course not solve all problems regarding Northern Ireland but would considerably mitigate them.

        There are probably people in the Tory party who think this may be the way forward if enthusiasm for the Brexit project is starting to wane.

        We shall see.

      2. Hickory

        Don’t those treaty clauses seem redundant? Put another way, “when you make a promise (treaty) you have to keep it” and “you’re not allowed to use other promises you’ve made be an excuse for breaking THESE promises”

        It’s called integrity! Maybe the Integrity Initiative can help Britain better keep its word.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      When you say “give up on Brexit and reunify”, do you mean Britain should reunify with EUrope?

      1. SlayTheSmaugs

        I said that the surest way to avoid war either between the UK and the EU, or on the island of Ireland, is to abandon Brexit and rejoin the EU.

        I didn’t say that was what the UK should do. I can only imagine how punitive the terms of re-entry would be.

        If I could waive a magic wand and solve the situation the way I presently imagine would be best, I’d have England peacefully, humbly end its colonization of Ireland and have a united Ireland within the EU.

        But I don’t pretend to know if that’s actually the best resolution. I’m not making a recommendation, I’m making an observation.

        1. Tom Bradford

          I believe most of the problem blossoms from Johnson’s ploughing through with a so-called ‘hard Brexit” – tho’ in truth it was also the easiest Brexit as, at least initially, it enabled him to avoid all the problems a competent politician/administrator would have known needed dealing with. Johnson instead went for Alexander’s solution to the Geordian Knot and basked in the immediate adulation of those seeing success where others had failed. Unfortunately for him, and the Brits, that solution to the problem leaves you with things falling apart and nothing to tie them together with!

          A ‘soft’ Brexit with the UK remaining in a customs union would, I believe, have avoided the NI problem, but it wasn’t flashy enough for the narcissistic Johnson and would have required the application of brain cells he clearly lacks.

          1. SlayTheSmaugs


            Remaining in the customs union would have avoided this border problem entirely.

        2. The Rev Kev

          After the NATO-Russia war is finished, I am not sure what state the EU is going to be in. In Germany alone they are telling them to be ready for a bad autumn and an even worse winter because of energy problems. People will recognize that all the problems that they are experiencing with food and energy shortages are almost entirely ones self-created by the EU itself. EU governments are already starting to collapse so not sure what effect that this will have for the EU as an organization and its tone-deaf leadership.

          1. SlayTheSmaugs

            Maybe that creates an opportunity to reverse Brexit on non-punitive terms, and renegotiate the EU social contract more generally. Of course, even if the opportunity existed, the EU and the UK would need to want to take the opportunity, and there’s precious little sign of that.

            Still, what you say is very grim, but not really surprising.

            I can’t deal with my government choosing this NATO-Russia war at the price of destroying the purchasing power of the 99.9%.

            It’s got to be the apotheosis of the military-industrial-government complex.

          2. lance ringquist

            free trade is dead, it died under its own enormous weight in 2008, and all of its trappings such as the fascist e.u. is coming down quickly.

            gravity is taking hold, people all over the world want their freedom again.

            what can’t go on, won’t go on.

        3. drumlin woodchuckles

          Thank you for helping me understand what you meant. Actually, I couldn’t tell whether you were referring to Northern Ireland giving up on Brexit and joining Republic of Ireland . . . or United Kingdom giving up Brexit and joining EU. That was the level where my confusion was at.

          Part of my confusion came from this: I assume that if UK were to even hint at wanting to rejoin EU, that EU would respond with rage, hate and revulsion. So maybe you didn’t mean UK seeking to rejoin EU but might be meaning NI seeking to rejoin R of I.

          1. SlayTheSmaugs

            What’s become clear from other commenters above, is that I’ve been unnecessarily dark.

            The easiest way to solve the biggest problems, by far, is to rejoin the customs union.

            I love discovering I’m too dark, thanks

    3. lance ringquist

      ah, reunify with the E.U., you must be willing to end up like greece. you have a mess, but you have the sovereignty to sort this out someday.

  9. Solarjay

    Nuclear building costs.
    It’s one of the best overviews I’ve read about construction.
    What I didn’t read in it, maybe second article is that in the US, every single power plant is unique. Adds a staggering amount to time and cost. So that 17% engineering alone costs carry over to each one. And all the design screwups ( pipes through beams as they say, which really gets back to poor design, with todays 3/D cad drawings there should be few screwups like that) are able to be redesigned in build 2-10 which will reduce cost overruns.
    The British are building a few new plants and are spending a lot of time to design with a Lego, modularity for construction. And to quickly update the construction design to speed up #2-X.
    Also the training of the on the ground engineers for additional projects.

    I’m not saying these are inexpensive projects, but economy of scale works.
    Buying 50 X the number of pumps etc really brings the cost down. And now each plant doesn’t need every part as a spare because there are 50 plants that use the same part.

    Also they mention that most are LWR, and then list it’s danger of running out of cooling, except that Gen 3 designs have passive cooling in case of complete power failure, Gen 4 don’t have meltdown possibilities because of their design.

    I was really amazed to see that the OM cost is the same for solar and Nucs.

    1. The Historian

      I agree – it was a pretty good article. One thing I have to say though is that they mention that South Korea is lowering the cost of building nuclear power plants but they don’t say why. Maybe this article explains that:

      I’m not sure we want to follow South Korea’s example to save a few dollars.

      Actually there aren’t that many unique designs in power plants in operation right now. Westinghouse made most of the PWR and GE made most of the BWR. It takes the NRC a long time to approve a new reactor design so most of the power companies have stuck to tried and true designs that have been already approved.,at%20least%20one%20operational%20reactor.

      Because Westinghouse and GE have had their own corporate problems, it has allowed for new players to enter the field so I expect that there will be more and more unique designs approved.

    2. Glen

      I interviewed for a job with PG&E coming out of college. I actually had a sit down talk with an engineer running a group performing NASTRAN seismic analysis of the pipe hangers in the containment dome of Diablo Canyon. Only time I’ve every been interviewed by a guy at work, at his desk, on the 20th floor of the PG&E building, right on Market St in downtown San Francisco wearing his bath robe and slippers, and looking like he hadn’t slept well in a month. He looked like complete $hit. But he was able to tell me succinctly and quickly how the engineering FU had occurred.

      It was only later that I heard the whole story of Diablo Canyon, and could put all the pieces of what I had saw together.

      But it was the interview with the big boss that convinced me I didn’t want to work there. He told me they were loosing a million dollars a day for every day that Diablo Canyon was not on line. And that the days of being a good little public utility were over. [Family blog] the regulators and their customers, it’s all about the money from now on out. He didn’t use quite those words, but the intent was crystal clear.

      I’d say PG$E has been a successful at attaining their goals.

    3. Alex Cox

      Add to those costs the fact that no private insurer will cover nuclear, and that the insurance, cleanup and waste disposal are all the responsibility of the taxpayer.

    4. Cat Burglar

      During the WPPSS nuclear plant construction back in the 70s in Washington, I remember reading that on one project, a wall was constructed and demolished five times as successive design change orders required rebuilding it to the new specs. Change orders were the single largest source of construction delays on the plants, about 30%. Regulatory changes caused about 10% of delays.

      Big nuclear projects tested the ability of the contractors and agencies to monitor and manage construction. Computers now might make the information flow easier to track, maybe, but it does not appear that skill at managing complex tangible construction projects is still present in this country.

      1. rhodium

        If you’ve ever worked in or dealt with the construction industry you may know that 2/3 of project managers are just type a with giant egos and are otherwise thoroughly mediocre in intellect. It was always interesting to see a large job go sideways and instead of solving a problem that was literally in their job description, it just devolved into screaming at their underlings. It was rather toxic, and then it seemed obvious to me that this was one reason why the industry deserved its reputation. It’s hard work, and most people would rather see their children do something else with their lives, because otherwise they might become alcoholics with excessively thick skins.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “AI Trained on 4Chan Becomes ‘Hate Speech Machine’ ”

    Yeah, this was probably not a good idea this. It’s like having a bunch of biologists decide to combine the common cold and the plague to see what the result would be. But I can see a fantastic abuses possible to these AIs online. So imagine this scenario. A Silicon Valley contractor is given a contract by the government to develop an online AI to ‘nudge’ people in the right direction in speech online. It is sophisticated enough that most people do not realize that they are swapping text with an AI. The AI would match its words and style to the website that it is on and if arguing with a particular person, quickly consults their entire social media history to use more effective words with that person and maybe semi-quoting words that they have written before to get them to agree. People too would be ‘nudged’ to support political candidates that are deemed harmless and steered away from real progressives and free thinkers. Tell me this could never happen.

    1. hunkerdown

      Could happen, but remember your dialectics! Where would these messages be injected, and by “whom” (what kind of persona)? What will that have done to the medium qua battle space? Does the people’s idea of “untrustworthy” mainstream media move to encompass the blue-check gentry that symbolizes the attitudes being reflected? In that case, having taken, held and cleared the online space, now they are “forced to” reconnoiter bars every night to hear what’s really going on out there, where foes are more easily identified and excluded.

      I’m more worried about what happens when they train AIs on the NYC bourgeois magazines to automate the #resistance. Online political debate will resemble a Turing Test International Championship.

      1. jr

        “ I’m more worried about what happens when they train AIs on the NYC bourgeois magazines to automate the #resistance. Online political debate will resemble a Turing Test International Championship”

        One could hope it results in better writing than Liz Breunig’s and Molly Jong-Fast’s…

      2. digi_owl

        Already taken place, only the AI is an ongoing wave of “tweens” regurgitating the shibboleth of said magazines.

        Never mind the age old problem of Poe’s Law:'s_law

        Where you can’t tell if the other person is being honest or just trying to get a rise out of you for laughs. And as i hear it, 4chan is a feeding pit for such antics.

      1. digi_owl

        Much of that seemed to be similar to schoolyard antics where kids find the most naive one in the yard, and teach them out of context offensive words etc to shock the teachers and parents with.

  11. super extra

    Here in Oklahoma, one of our longtime senators (Inhofe) announced his retirement at the end of the year, a few months back. Check out the rogues’ gallery of scoundrels who are jumping in to the race:

    – Inhofe’s chosen successor is his former chief of staff, Luke Holland. His first commercial attempts to tap into the very specific white evangelical christian strain that Inhofe also championed – I’m not christian so I can’t recognize which specific church type this is other than they are from a power faction not normally aligned with Trumpists. When this commercial comes on the people in the house tend to make fun of the goofy “guide us… guide us!” line. Odds of winning: 25%
    – The earliest hat to jump in the ring after the Inhofe announcement was Markwayne Mullin, who is attempting to jump from representative to senate. His first commercial featured 3 Percenters in combat drag shaking his hand and his second one is pretty much just a culture war red meat salvo against transwomen in sports. He is very Trumpist and aligned with that faction already in congress. Odds of winning: 55%
    – The funniest return is Scott Pruitt, Trump’s EPA appointee (remember how he made his interns go around to find a specific lotion for him? ah, innocent times). His ad features some real classics: a Churchill quote, namechecking his appointment by Trump, “they tried to cancel me!”. He’s universally reviled in the east (populated) part of the state for a lot of reasons, like his involvement with the Tar Creek Superfund site. Odds: 20%

    Will we get more entrants as we get closer to the primary this summer? We’ve only got a couple weeks left to go so I’m doubtful. I’m not even sure which of these would be the ‘least bad’; the consensus in the house is that Holland would be the most destructive because he is intent on that Christian Sharia stuff without being distracted by the Trumpy dramatics. Mullin is just embarassing, but he also seems to be interested in taking a Trumpy path to the national level, not just staying in the backwater. Pruitt is just looking for another easy job since he doesn’t have any employable skills otherwise.

    1. griffen

      I’ve no dog in this particular fight, so from an outsider perspective I took a quick glance at some of those political ads above. I’d suggest the first listed, Holland, seems like he could do well following in Inhofe’s footsteps if he somehow gets name recognition. That resume does seem kinda thin, though, nothing listed after he completed his degree from the Univ. of Arkansas. Other than going into politics.

      Oklahoma may be more conservative leaning in their state politics, than Texas. If that is possible, I could be wrong and reserve the ability to be wrong. Last point, you are accurate about Pruitt.

    1. EGrise

      His quotes are great: You can knock on a door – you want a damn prize or somethin’?

  12. The Rev Kev

    “Washington Starts Blame Game Over Defeat In Ukraine”

    I can already see which way this will be going. They are going to blame it all on the Ukrainian soldiers for not fighting hard enough. No, seriously. That they ignored all the advice given to them by NATO military experts and that the soldiers themselves were not sophisticated enough to learn how to use western weapons, unlike western troops themselves. It will not matter that each and every one of those statements is the diametric opposite of what has been happening. Say what you will about the Ukrainians, they have been putting up a helluva fight and plenty of times have been giving the last full measure. But somebody will have to be blamed for this epic failure and it sure as well won’t be anybody connected with either NATO political or militarily leadership.

    1. nippersdad

      Did you read the CFR transcript as well? While there were moments of lucidity on the part of a couple of them, the peer pressure to conform to a narrative that is totally at odds with reality was clear. If these are the people we expect to run the railroad then we should be happier with the slow moving coal trains they have provided. After reading that, nothing comes as a surprise anymore.

      1. Charger01

        All those weapons we sent will cause blowback on the US and her allies. Literally and figuratively.

        1. Gawr Gura

          It would be glorious if the stingers sent to Ukraine by the US were used to blow up the astair horse won.

    2. Skip Intro

      Their convenience as scapegoats will be magnified immensely when the first few of the fancy weapons systems we sold them show up in headlines from other regions!

    3. Susan the other

      I forgot to have any sympathy for the Ukies whatsoever. But I do appreciate the timely link to Covert Action summarizing all the nauseating activities of the Snotzies in that hotbed called the EU since 1938. Maybe this war will turn out to be a useful purge. I also like Helmer’s take on the Russian war crimes sentencing of British mercs underway and how the Russians will widen the investigation into crap the UK has been up to for several years, including the whole Scripal mess.

      1. digi_owl

        The fun part is that if UK etc wants to argue they should be treated like POWs, then Russia can point to Guantanamo and the whole “enemy combatant” crap.

        I’m sure Lavrov is hoping for the opportunity, as that guy seems to play international politics like a fiddle.

        1. foghorn longhorn

          It does appear one side is playing chess and the other side is playing chinese checkers.

          Noticed the senile one has stopped squawking about ‘war crimes’ for some strange reason.

          Guess it’s about the old, people living in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones deal.

          Interesting times for sure.

  13. Otis B Driftwood

    True, Lancaster is biased in his sympathies. But his latest report includes lenghty interviews with Russian speakers in Kherson who are pro-Ukrainian.

    It is one of his best reports to date.

  14. Bazarov

    Per the Odessa issue–

    In May 2014, around 50 Russia supporters (I believe they were trade unionists!) in Odessa were burned alive by right wing radicals.

    This event has gotten tons of play inside Russia. It’s an important element of their propaganda justifying the special military operation. Though I can’t find the article (thanks, Google), I remember reading that the massacre was commemorated in Moscow this May.

    Russians therefore might consider it as a matter of course that the operation to protect the LPR and DPR from reconquest extends to other Russian speakers or sympathizers in peril–especially those in Odessa.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      It’s an important element of their propaganda justifying the special military operation.

      It’s not propaganda if it’s true. And it is.

      1. Bazarov

        Propaganda can be true.

        If a state (or corporation, political party, etc) systematically emphasizes and promotes a story to achieve its ends, it’s propaganda whether or not it’s true or whether or not the desired end is “good” or “bad.”

        For example, it’s true that people have a “carbon footprint” owing to consumption, but that idea is used by corporations to place the blame for climate change on individual behavior rather than company policy. It’s a propaganda effort.

        The campaign against smoking is an example of a truthful propaganda effort to achieve something good.

        Often times, states or political organizations will promote one true outlier story, even when most other instances of the circumstance in question turn out quite differently. A classic example of this propaganda is to harp on a sensational true instance of a crime committed by a prisoner after their release. The propaganda’s purpose is to convince the public that releasing prisoners or giving them shorter sentences is bad.

      1. Mr.Lucky

        Thanks for that. I thought RT was banned? TV only I guess.
        Just watched it ONLINE, no problemo.

        Man, that is some great video. Why can’t we have video channels like that on PBS?

        1. caucus99percenter

          In the EU, by government decree, the Internet servers that convert domain names into actual IP addresses are forced to pretend that RT websites like don’t exist.

    2. Kouros

      If Ukraine doesn’t sit at the table and negotiate a comprehensive peace, that will leave room to the Russians to push to take Odessa. And then they might have a referendum to join Russia… That might succor China, India, etc…

    3. Red Douglas

      I watched the Odessa massacre in near-real time in 2014, in dozens of bystander videos, many of which are still scattered about on YouTube, as are many later, retrospective productions. The Daltamai documentary is quite accurate and reliable.

      The tl;dr summary: Protesters who opposed the coup and were demanding a referendum were assembled outside the trades union building. They were attacked by gangs of right-wing thugs, many of them football ultras who were bused from Kiev for just that purpose.

      Many of the assaulted protesters fled into the building, where they were bombarded with Molotov cocktails. Many burned alive. Others tried to leap or climb down from the burning building. Some of those were fired upon by attackers with handguns (at least one of whom appeared to be a police officer), or were beaten to death on the pavement in front of the building.

      There is no question that justice for the victims of that massacre is on the list of Russian goals. It is certainly an important goal for large segments of the ethnic Russian population of Ukraine and the Donbass and much of the population of the RF. Whether it’s reason enough to risk support of international friends by seizing Odessa . . . who knows.

      1. Red Douglas

        “. . . who knows?”

        I hate it when I look back to see I’ve ended a question with a period.

  15. The Rev Kev

    “Russian Defense Minister Shoigu says land bridge complete, which may signal phase 3 Odessa”

    That is not the only land bridge now complete. In the far east, the Russian and Chinese have just opened up a major bridge connecting the two countries with an expected boost in trade- (1:15 mins)

    What is that saying again? The dogs may bark but the caravan moves on.

    1. Mel

      More, I think, like

      The dogs bark and the caravan moves on.

      Because the dogs get to say
      “Yeah, we sure scared those guys good!”
      “Yeah, you won’t see them around here again!”

      The caravan just keeps moving on, until it gets to Damascus, or Xian, whichever way it’s going.

      1. barefoot charley

        I found the French ‘original’ (no doubt taken from something Berber or Arabic) so haunting I remember it 50 years later, it works in English too:

        Les chiens abouient, la caravane passe.
        The dogs bark, the caravan passes.

        I love the picture it conjures, of so much unmentioned.

  16. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: U.S. death rates show how politics are affecting public health STAT

    Shorter: Save yourself, vote democrat!

    As death rates in Democratic counties declined 22% between 2001 to 2019, Republican counties saw on an 11% decline, with almost no improvement since 2008.

    Why is this gap widening? Health policy is one possibility our study points to. Based on statistical testing, the gap in mortality appeared to particularly widen after 2008, which corresponds to the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, a major part of which was Medicaid expansion. Our prior work showed that Medicaid expansion led to significant gains in health insurance among at-risk individuals and was associated with widespread improvements in health outcomes, including saving lives….

    So, if the rural deplorables had just expanded Medicaid, they’d have had better health insurance. Does anyone remember this 2013 study from Oregon, not exactly a bastion of republican intransigence:


    This randomized, controlled study showed that Medicaid coverage generated no significant improvements in measured physical health outcomes in the first 2 years, but it did increase use of health care services, raise rates of diabetes detection and management, lower rates of depression, and reduce financial strain. (On whom?)

    And just a few observations on the time period 2001-2019–In 2001, the consequences of dem savior william jefferson clinton’s wto/china policies, with all of the “health” ramifications of that deindustrialization of vast swathes of the country that have since come to pass, was just ramping up.

    And one significant ramification, aided and abetted by the newly minted corporate democrats, was the opioid epidemic, which is still killing americans today in rural america in increasing numbers. Here’s how another dem savior addressed that lethal issue during his tenure as chief executive:

    In 2014, after two years of painstaking inquiry by nine DEA field divisions and 12 U.S. Attorneys, investigators built a powerful case against McKesson for the company’s role in the opioid crisis.

    Our reporting turned up the leader of the DEA team, David Schiller, who tells for the first time how his investigators hit a brick wall in Washington when they tried to hold the powerful company accountable.

    David Schiller: This is the best case we’ve ever had against a major distributor in the history of the Drug Enforcement Administration. How do we not go after the number one organization? In the height of the epidemic, when people are dying everywhere, doesn’t somebody have to be held accountable? McKesson needs to be held accountable.

    But hey, if the bums would have just voted democrat so Medicaid would have been “expanded,” everything would’ve been OK.

  17. The Rev Kev

    “Patrick Lawrence: Will Biden Provoke War with China?”

    I think that you can count on it. The Democrats have only 150 days till the midterms and they have yet to put up a win on the board. On the domestic front, inflation and price rises are concentrating people’s minds wonderfully and no amount of trying to label it as Putinflation is gunna cut the mustard. The Jan 6th show trials are only going to satisfy the true believers and won’t help at the polls either. On the international front they are about to suffer an epic defeat at the hands of the Russians and most of the world wants nothing to do with this fight in any case. True, they have wrecked the EU as a present and future economic competitor but that is not something that they can boast about in public. The Summit for South American nations is an ongoing train-wreck and they can’t work out what to do about Iran or Venezuela. So there is only one thing to do – double down and start a fight with China. Maybe they can get China to buckle under to Washington demands. Because when you get down to it, what else have they got?

      1. WobblyTelomeres

        And, and, China will pay for it. We know they have the money as we’ve got the receipts.

  18. Eclair

    RE: Comes across as a Cult Guy: The Pennsylvanian Candidate Freaking Out both the Right and the Left.

    Doug Mastriano, candidate for Pennsylvania Governor.

    Two weeks ago, I spent a hour walking about Youngsville, PA, while my Amish friend shopped in the popular Restore, a second hand place, every item 50 cents, run by a local church group (along with a cut-rate grocery store featuring out-of-date crackers and bulk flours and spices.) I took photos, because my words cannot convey the destitution of this once flourishing small town. Agriculture, along with brick and furniture manufacturing, brought a nice middle-class existence here in the Brokenstraw Valley, as witnessed by the older, comfortably substantial domestic architecture, now literally falling apart.

    The main street is lined with boarded-up small stores and restaurants, along with a vacant winery. The regional North West Bank branch office is flourishing , along with a chain grocery, which is not exactly flourishing, but it exists. The lamp posts and power poles are decorated with banners, provided (at a price starting at $50 each) by Hometown Heroes, an organization that has dug itself deep into the these sad little Pennsylvania ex-coal mining and manufacturing towns. Each banner features the photo, name and rank of a military veteran, from WW2 through all the subsequent conflicts. Our town exists to provide bodies to fight your wars.

    At the end of the downtown, at a crossroads, is the local bait, hunting and boot store. Out front are two enormous signs: Trump Pence Keep America Great! 2020. And, Doug Mastriano for Governor.

    Last night, my spouse listened to Biden’s speech at the Port of Long Beach, while I tried to read in the next room. Bits of Biden talk drifted in and out of my consciousness. He addressed some important matters: corporate greed and stock buy-backs, Social Security, growing union movement and increasing wages. All mixed in with inflation, Ukraine, supply chain, great job creation numbers. Overall, it was like listening to the obsessed uncle at Thanksgiving, who, after a few drinks, just spews forth a steam of consciousness jumble of what’s been on his mind for the last decade, a never-ending monotone, until everyone has desperate visions of gagging him into silence. Depression overcame me and I thought, if this is the best the (supposed) left can do to convince the working and precariat classes that they have our back, we’re doomed.

    Hometown Heroes banners will be blossoming on your town’s main drag any day now.

    1. Rod

      Recently in Alliance Ohio, which sounds like it could be Youngsville’s Sister City, has a similar display.
      Lots of Banners hanging also, many of which I read. Medal of Honor recipient included.
      Local Cemetaries really show out for Memorial Day.
      Amtrak stops here, as did Joe Biden after the convention–Station tells the story(streetview):,-81.0949545,3a,75y,93.54h,90t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1sRxIWC4tnms1EwVNLO656EQ!2e0!!7i13312!8i6656!4m10!1m2!3m1!2sAlliance+Amtrak!3m6!1s0x8836b4b8cb64b793:0xb13235a1669f926!8m2!3d40.9211939!4d-81.0926046!14m1!1BCgIgARICCAI

      1. orlbucfan

        Mastriano is beyond corrupt nuts, religious Christian Fundamentalism and all. Even down here where stealing elections (FL) at all levels is SOP, he would not win. PA’s Dem governor plays his cards right, he will coast to re-election. Plus, add in the factor of the Fetterman vs. Oz race.

      2. ambrit

        That street view could be any small town in the Deep South. The de-ing of America seems to be a national phenomenon.

          1. ambrit

            I just thought it up when wondering how to form a class of actions related to the de-industrialization, de-educating, de-supporting, de-classeization of the American society. All my cases began with de-, so, de-ing it became. Technically, de-ing is the reversal of previous trends.

  19. JAC

    I have a friend, much smarter than me (as in a real biological science degree) who has suggested I try Riboflavin for my ongoing mood instability and fatigue after my COVID and Psychotic episode four weeks ago. He sent me this to look over but it is a lot…

    Riboflavin: The Health Benefits of a Forgotten Natural Vitamin

    …but it is fascinating as heck.

    He also sent this “observational study”…

    …in which they injected people with Riboflavin.

    So are we just neglecting basic human biology to sell more pharmaceutical cures and treatments? I hate the world.

    1. Grateful Dude

      uh, like duh. Modern medicine primarily does pharmaceuticals and surgery. It’s completely captured by the pharma money flow, as in vaccines, vaccines, vaccines …

      I have had a naturally slow pulse (48 bpm) with a slight arrhythmia for decades. Recently the arrhythmia became much worse and the finger pulse reader was reporting higher and higher rates over a couple of weeks, up to 100 bpm, which oddly did not alarm my MD. I was puzzled however thinking that the instrument was foiled by arrhythmia.

      One day I had an epiphany to see if potassium levels had some effect, as I was using yerba mate for my morning wakeup beverage, and it’s seriously diuretic. Mate is like a slow caffeine drip, so I would refill my mug several times.

      In my 20s I was into macrobiotics: potassium is the yin mineral, sodium the yang. Macrobiotics is all about balance. Yin is the feminine, soft, expansive, yielding principal, and yang the male, hard, dry, tight one, which intuition, I think, caused my suspicion of that imbalance having some ill effect on electrical pulses to my heart chambers.

      So I looked it up. Sure enough, diuretics deplete potassium, and low potassium causes arrhythmia. So I gave up caffeine a couple of months ago. My heart is back to normal now. I’m a little slow in the morning, so I get up earlier.

      I didn’t even bother to tell my Dr, I’m sure he’d just roll his eyes.

      1. JAC

        Interesting you bring up Potassium. I have episodes of hyperkalemia that the doctors can not explain so the just ignored it until my kidney function started to become too low. It all seemed to normalize once I started eating more fish. I also have “reactive Hypertension” and high potassium is also linked high blood pressure. Maybe I need to think more about diuretics…Thanks!

      2. Skk

        30 years ago, Wwen I was prescribed a diuretic as part of a hypertension control regime, I was told about potassium loss and the remedy was “eat a banana”. It’s done the job. Just as well I like bananas.

      3. Samuel Conner

        This can also be an issue after outdoor exertion in the heat.

        I suspect that my diet is deficient in potassium and I’ve taken to “topping up” with “oral rehydration salts” a few times a month, and especially after perspiring a lot in the garden.

      4. Oh

        Smart! There’s nothing like analysis and natural cure. Screw the drugs which are only temporary. I avoid modern medicine and its cures.

    2. DJG, Reality Czar

      JAC: Years ago, my chiropractor put me on Vitamin B Complex. The B 50 Complex, which isn’t at prodigious doses, is what he recommended. (Look at the labels on the bottles, as the B Vitamin “complexes” do vary quite a bit.)

      The B vitamins are nicknamed “nature’s tranquilizers.”

      Vitamin B 12, if low, can lead to a form of dementia. Anecdotally, the mother of a friend of mine was hospitalized for dementia till everyone finally figured out that it was low B 12.

      So take a look at the B vitamins together. They are benign, too–you are unlikely to have side effects. Anecdotally, I haven’t, and I’ve taken B complex 50 for years.

      But do more research to see what is right for you. What is right for me may not be right for your body.

      1. JAC

        Thanks, yes, my B12 was tested with a MMA test because of some neurological issues, both were great, probably because of all the fish I eat. I take B6 which has helped with my depression in the past. B50 complexes are sometimes troubling for me. Thiamin can tend to make me a bit off the rails.

    3. Laura in So Cal

      My son’s daily meds for his Depression include both fish oil and a Super B Complex which contains the more absorbable forms of all the b vitamins including riboflavin. Studies gave been done on folinic acid (aka folate’s absorbable form) and depression with good results. The nutritional intervention and therapy stopped the crying jags and suicidal ideation, but we finally did add Wellbutrin to address the chronic depression with good results.

  20. Antifa

    Odessa and its environs are ethnically Russian. Not making the Black Sea exclusively Russian, and leaving a port on the Black Sea to the machinations of NATO and some rump Ukraine country would be utterly foolish. Russia already has a thousand soldiers in Transnistria, to keep the Moldovan military from ethnically cleansing them. In short, Russia will claim Odessa because it is full of Russians, and so is the entire region surrounding the city, including Transnistria. There will likely be a referendum there on whether to stay within Moldovia. There will be a referendum in Odessa.

    It helps a lot that Ukraine’s current government flatly refuses to let grain move through the port. The world wants food far more than it wants Russia to refrain from repatriating its own people.

    1. Kouros

      The issue was never that Moldovans were going to cleanse the Slavic speaking people in Transnistria but that they were going to have political power over them. Ethnic Hungarians / Magyars in Romania are not doing that bad, despite 900 years of abuse and domination. Why argue that the ethnic Russians would be mistreated in Moldova (which is a Romanian enclave)?

      1. The Rev Kev

        Normally they wouldn’t and from what I have read, it is a live and let live situation by the people there. But NATO is now eying off the place and wants them to buy more military gear and I think that they want to have a much more bigger NATO presence there as well, just to poke the bear. Tough luck if you live in Moldova and just want to live a peaceful life.

    2. lance ringquist

      agreed, if they do not take it, it will be a historic blunder in russian history, right up there with gorby selling out the nation.

      i think russia is not worried about what china and india think, if i was india and china i would say in back channels, take it, otherwise nato will move in along with nuclear missiles/subs. i am betting india and china will not abject to it and understand. in public make a few grunts, but thats it.

      and its russian military might that is exposing the tiny american paper tiger economy. if russia fails, china is next.

      so take it.

  21. JAC

    > How ‘Fairy Tale’ Farms Are Ruining Hudson Valley Agriculture

    I grew up in the Hudson River Valley and worked as a deck and and tour guide on the MV Commander in the late 1980’s. Such a beautiful area. Back then it was wealthily but it was not really that exclusive. The last time I was in the area I could not believe how much it has changed. The farm trucks is what I noticed. In the past the trucks were all old and beat up. Now? It’s all brand new Dodge Ram 3500’s. Farmers do not farm anymore, they hire farmers to work on their farm.

  22. hoonose

    Fentanyl has been used to induce anesthesia for a long time now. It is safe, effective, and what they gave me at my last surgery. Gallbladder in 2015. What is your worry?

      1. orlbucfan

        Fentanyl is a synthetic opiate. It’s based on the biochemical patterns in opium & heroin. That pattern was figured out by a European biochemist back in the 1950s. A mild version has been used successfully in all forms of invasive surgery for a long time. But, now cheap dangerous copies are on the street. The US opiate crisis is real. Add in the Deathcare Health System. Viola.

        1. ambrit

          Man, I really do miss the days of a pipe of Mexican brown opium and a bowl of ‘blonde’ Lebanese hashish. (Some of those days I don’t remember very well either.)
          Legalize it all.

  23. forigner

    Re: Odessa
    I think Russia has more political support now than at the beginning of the war since the US/NATO proved that they were after regime change all along. The problem is economical, the longer the war goes on the more economic harm Russia inflicts on its supporters. In that regard, time is not on Russia`s side. That is one of the reason the US does not want to allow Russia to exit the war. So, in that sense Odessa is a secondary issue for the Global South, but a major one for Russia. If they don`t take the city, it remains a thorn in their side the same way that the whole of Ukraine has been. But I don`t see how can Russia take it without bombing it to the ground. For that level of violence, I don`t think they have the necessary support either domestically or internationally. So the fate of Odessa comes down to the fate of the war itself.

    1. Skip Intro

      What steps do you imagine Russia could take that would cause Washington to lift sanctions? I think the sanctions were the goal all along.

      1. Miguel

        Sure, look how much more American oil and natural gas producers can charge, plus all those new markets for LNG. Downside, gas generated electricity is more expensive, as is natural gas, plus the peons that have to drive to work, and who can’t afford an electric car, are spending the equivalent of a month’s pay to fossil fuel companies now.

      2. forigner

        Re: I think the sanctions were the goal all along.
        I beg to differ. The US`s problem with Russia is similar to its problem with China, namely, that they go around the world and demonstrating that there is an alternative to US subordination. But Russia`s role is more bothersome because, at least so far, it was the only one who could provide military support ( as A Martyanov states arms, communication, recon integration) as well. Just look at the support they could give to Venezuela. Also, the German-Russian axis provided security and peace in Europe. So, the EU did not need and want to contribute more to NATO. I remember reading a quote from the usual unnamed US intelligence official complaining about Russia picking up the chips fallen from US foreign policy mistakes. Now in Ukraine, the US saw a Russian mistake, a crack, and moved in for a clean sweep, regime change. I think the Russian made the strategic mistake in believing that the Germans would fold to protect their economy at any cost. So in essence the Ukraine war is the collapse of the German – Russian axis in Europe, which is essential for the US to make sure that its north-atlantic flank is secure and the EU follows order, finance and does the heavy lifting containing/fighting Russia. So then the US can move on to financing the south-pacific NATO replacement against China. Consequently, whether there will be any significant lift of sanction depends on how well and how long Russia`s own sanction work on NATO. But whatever comes out of it it will be only temporary. The dust will not settle.

        1. Skip Intro

          I’m not sure what Russian mistake the US saw.
          By sanctions I meant the entire range of economic warfare deployed against Russia, going back at least as far as sanctions based on the bogus airliner story or Crimea. I think we agree that the US is seeking continued hegemony, and working to divide the EU from Russia for its own benefit. Nordstream2 has been a target for years, and the US via NATO and it’s Ukrainian puppet government has been escalating provocations against Russia since 2014. I believe that this US war on Russia will go down as an even bigger foreign policy catastrophe than Iraq.

    2. Alex Cox

      Doesn’t what happens in Odessa depend on the fate of the (currently suspended) negotiations?

    3. Yves Smith Post author

      You have some poor assumptions.

      I suggest you go to the Kremlin site and read the transcript of the meeting between the head of the African Union and Putin, as well as the articles we’ve posted here by top development economists By Jomo Kwame Sundaram and Anis Chowdhury with titles like US Leads Sanctions Killing Millions to No End.

      China, India, and the Global South are very clear that the economic pain they are suffering is due to Western sanctions, not Russia. And if you think the West is going to end them even if there were a negotiated settlement in Ukraine, I have a bridge I’d like to sell you.

      1. forigner

        Thank you for your reply and for letting me comment on your blog. I`m a frequent visitor so I am familiar with the information you are referring to. To clarify what i said: Russia, just by being a party of the Ukraine war, is forced (by NATO) to inflict unwanted economic harm (grains/food) to its supporters ( per US plan) until it is able to ensure the flow of commodities. The Ukraine war is just another opportunity for the US to try to pluck Russia out of the Global economy and to destabilize the governments and punish the population for their disobedience of said countries even more. Re: sanctions, as I said, I could only imagine a temporary, quid pro quo type of sanction relief and that the US war on Russia would continue, hence “the dust will not settle”.

  24. Jason Boxman

    Back in Boston before the pandemic right on Washington St near Downtown Crossing T, there was a robotic meal place that opened. At least on front end, it wasn’t arms. Their setup was a spinning cooking receptacle built into the wall, a series of them. There was still a full staff it seemed to prep and feed the machines, though, and to add the final garnish. This cut out some of the staff, I guess, for the cooking part.

    So it seems the most self-automated part was the ordering iPad or whatever.

    That said, I thought the output was rather good.

    The seemingly full automated fast food experience depicted in the early 1980s Earth Star Voyager at the beginning on Earth isn’t actually something I look forward to. (Disney has never freed this; I had to find a VHS copy someone hilariously in Russia made, up on the Internets. Terribly grainy and distorted. It does make one wonder when this actually aired in Russia? In the 1990s? Or this itself an instance of someone downloading this off of Western satellite TV at the time? I digress.)

  25. jr

    Per yesterday’s exchange, here is Michio Kaku on Rogan discussing the evidence for UFO’s:

    He specifically addresses the balloon/wind question, the fact that our physics has a long way to go, and why his original skepticism has given way to genuine curiosity.

  26. Jason Boxman

    In early May, 27-year-old Hayley Furmaniuk felt tired and a bit congested, but after rapid-testing negative for the coronavirus two days in a row, she dined indoors with friends. The next morning, her symptoms worsened. Knowing her parents were driving in for Mother’s Day, she tested again—and saw a very bright positive. Which meant three not-so-great things: She needed to cancel with her parents; she had likely exposed her friends; a test had apparently taken three days to register what her vaccinated body had already figured out.

    (bold mine)

    I don’t get it — So if you’re sick, it’s okay to go out and infect people, as long as it isn’t SARS-COV-2?!

    If you feel sick, why are you going out at all?

    This country is screwed up.

    1. Mikel

      And there has been more realization by many about the long-term effects of alot of the other viruses that are endemic.
      The flu is still killing people too and causing other long-term effects, etc…

      So much unnecessary exposer for people.
      And those friends could also have parents coming in for Mother’s Day and even if she thinks her friends will be “fine” then she hasn’t even CONSIDERED what co-morbidities her alleged friends’ families may have.

    2. Oh

      Remember. It’s all about ME; I want it NOW; I want MORE. This is the society we live in.

      1. Anthony G Stegman

        Give the woman a break. For Millenials fear of missing out (FOMO) is their Number One fear. It drives every important decision in their lives. Dinner out with friends can never be missed. What if something important occurs or is said and she isn’t there? Imagine the anguish?

        1. Skip Intro

          I wonder if that arises from a subconscious realization that, in fact, they have already missed out on the world they were promised.

    3. IM Doc

      I get to see minor superspreader events 1-2 times a week because of this exact same issue. “I am vaccinated and the pandemic is over! My classic Covid symptoms could not be Covid because I have tested negative three times in a row. Therefore, I will go to my choir practice, bridge club, book club, Rotary meeting, etc. and I am obviously perfectly safe and sterile. “


      To be fair, in the pre Covid time, people often had to go to work sick and infect everyone in the office because lots of employers out there really do not care how sick the employees are.

      I thought Covid may have remedied that situation. How wrong I was.

  27. jr

    Jimmy Dore presents Danny Haiphong from the Black Agenda Report discussing the Tiananmen Square “massacre”. According to Haiphong, the claims of massacred students were part of a Western psy-op:

    I’d really appreciate any insights into this the group cares to provide. I have thought for years that it truly was a slaughter. Haiphong notes that the “tank guy” apparently walked away from the confrontation unscathed. Mind blown here.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      Yeah tank guy got away –

      Not only that, this happened the day after the main protests ended and the square was cleared, so this wasn’t really even part of the protest.

      Regarding the “massacre”, according to reports at the time there definitely was some violence, it just didn’t happen the way the US portrayed it. There was a link here discussing it recently and I’ve seen other stories over the years. Can’t put my finger on the article I’m thinking of right now, but there’s plenty out there available with a quick search.

  28. Cat Burglar

    OK, time for basic intellectual hygiene after reading NBC’s Russian Propaganda Efforts Aided By Pro-Kremlin Content Creators, Research Finds.

    What authority is the source for the article?

    The Institute For Strategic Dialogue. They identify themselves as an independent non-profit working against political extremism and disinformation. They “partner” with governments and create networks of “influencers,” which I read as them being a security contractor that creates shill networks, but maybe I take Confucius too seriously about rectification of names.

    Who owns the Institute?

    Everybody from Bill Gates and Pierre Omidyar to the US Department of Homeland Security.

    So, as a thoughtful reader would expect, the article is oligarch and government-funded propaganda, exactly the type of thing it purports to expose.

    1. Miguel

      Fastest antidote: Watch to watch some balancing propaganda, with great production values, no ads.

      1. Cat Burglar

        I like reading good, written propaganda, because you can watch their hands work. Growing up during the Vietnam War and Watergate was a great time to learn how to follow events and the decoys and stories being put out. (I find the DC Beltway-speak term “narrative” to be amazingly frank: they are, as an old sheepherder might put it, “Tellin’ you a story.”) But I put the Judy Miller NYT story about the discovery of the machinery used to make Saddam’s WMD, sourced to a man in a baseball hat, still at the top.

        Even from a wholly false story, you can learn at least one thing true: what they want you to think and feel, and often what they don’t want you to think.

        The conservative former CIA official Philip Giraldli — who might have actually made propaganda — had a good point: some of the most effective propaganda is largely true. The real point might actually be slipped as a seemingly inconsequential detail in a true story about something else, and is often the way a meme is first introduced in a credible setting, and then can be echo-chambered into the narrative as a given truth.

        My favorite in the NBC story is where it contends that a conspiracy theory claims the Syrian White Helmets were staging fake attacks during the war there. As far as I can tell, this is an attempt to discredit reporting on the Douma chemical weapons incident staged to discredit the Syrian government, and the exposure of UK intelligence creating the White Helmets. The writer was able to discredit both reports using a single countercharge, but without wising up the reader about what they were really attacking. Even better, it is flourished as evidence that Eva Bartlett has no credibility. I wonder how long the meeting was when they figured out that one?

      1. Cat Burglar

        The CNN analyst kept right on the “everything is about Putin” meme — do not direct your attention at anything else about Russia! No!

        Understand Vladimir Putin Using This One Weird Old Tip: he wants an empire. That’s the level they are pitching this at.

        Now, perhaps he does — he is certainly a nationalist. But I figure Gina Haspel probably believes the US should be A Shining City On A Hill — but how relevant was that to moving those torture victims through the facilities, assembling the confessions, and destroying the video evidence afterward? I think a bunch of realpolitik calculations, more like the things openly stated in Putin’s speech, were on the torture director’s mind. But they want our attention directed elsewhere.

  29. drumlin woodchuckles

    In the ” China security red lines” article, I noticed China’s ” three bottom-line conditions” Two of them seemed reasonable enough but the third one . . . ” stop trade sanctions and technology blockades, and take real actions to stabilize China-US relations and promote peace, Cao said.” is just the perfumed pig of Forced Free Trade between China and America.

    An Autarkamerican Survival government would reject that particular ” red bottom line” as “Corporate Globalonial Plantationism with a Chinese Face” and firmly reject Chinese Colonialism in America. An Autarkamerican Survival Government would pursue strict and rigid protectionism against all Free Trade Aggressionists and seek the goal of the absolute least possible trade between America and the Outside World ( including China) in either direction.

    1. lance ringquist

      sovereignty, protectionism, and nationalism is our goal. without it, we cannot feed, house, nor create productive living wage jobs.

  30. drumlin woodchuckles

    About the foreign combatants in Ukraine ( or in Russian hands), if they are not/ were not paid, then they are not mercenaries. So, were they paid to go there to fight? Does anyone claiming they were paid to go there have the receipts to prove it?

    Because if they went there for free, they are foreign volunteers just like the Lincoln Brigades members who went to fight in the Spanish Civil War, in structural terms. The difference of the causes does not change the identicalness of the structures . . . if they went there for free.

    1. David

      As I’ve pointed out in the past, the foreign fighters in Ukraine don’t meet the criteria to be defined as mercenaries under the Convention. I’ve seen statements suggesting that they have been incorporated into the UA and are paid the same salaries. If so, then they have the same PoW status as any other Ukrainians captured. If not, then, though they don’t qualify for all of the protections of the GC, they do have a right to be treated with humanity.
      I have to say I haven’t been able to find any details of what they were actually accused of. But it’s fairly clear that they’re being used to put pressure on foreign governments, who as a result will be reduced to asking the Russians to do things, rather than trying to tell them. Should be interesting.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        I don’t see how you can assert that. You do not know whether they were part of the AFU hierarchy. Recall the French volunteers who were accompanies by a reporter from Le Monde Diplomatique and found the US was in charges. Also recall that the Territorial Defense Force, which is a regular unit of the military, is being sent in as a separate group and is not well integrated. It’s possible the merc were outside the regular command structure, given the poor integration of the AFU generally.

        I find it hard to believe that the guy who also served in Syria (I think Aiden) was not a merc. Why would you go to places like that other than for the money? In his original interviews, he also claimed he was a medic, which didn’t seem credible.

        And Ukraine would have every reason to make a public statement that they were part of their forces and didn’t. They would be highly motivated if nothing else AFTER the verdict to discredit the court.

        They could just name the units and their immediate commanders. The failure to do so is pretty damning.

        This is from the Convention:

        A mercenary is any person who:
        (a) Is specially recruited locally or abroad in order to fight in an armed conflict;
        (b) Is motivated to take part in the hostilities essentially by the desire for private gain and, in fact, is promised, by or on behalf of a party to the conflict, material compensation substantially in excess of that promised or paid to combatants of similar rank and functions in the armed forces of that party;
        (c) Is neither a national of a party to the conflict nor a resident of territory controlled by a party to the conflict;
        (d) Is not a member of the armed forces of a party to the conflict; and
        (e) Has not been sent by a State which is not a party to the conflict on official duty as a member of its armed forces.
        A mercenary is also any person who, in any other situation:
        (a) Is specially recruited locally or abroad for the purpose of participating in a concerted act of violence aimed at:
        (i) Overthrowing a Government or otherwise undermining the constitutional order of a State; or
        (ii) Undermining the territorial integrity of a State;
        (b) Is motivated to take part therein essentially by the desire for significant private gain and is prompted by the promise or payment of material compensation;
        (c) Is neither a national nor a resident of the State against which such an act is directed;
        (d) Has not been sent by a State on official duty; and
        (e) Is not a member of the armed forces of the State on whose territory the act is undertaken.

        1. David

          That’s the Convention I was referring to. The language comes, I think, from GC AP1. Last time we discussed this I linked to (I can’t find it now, sorry, I did try) a technical legal blog about the subject which suggested that foreign fighters had been incorporated into the UA at the same rates of pay, presumably on the advice of someone who knew the terms of the Convention. But this is not a command and control issue, it’s a status issue. Foreign fighters with UA IDs, no matter who they report to, and no matter where they are taken prisoner, are considered as combatants under the GC. That said, combatants have a higher status under the GC but not by much.

          If these people were not formally part of the UA, even if operating independently, then there would be more of a case. But if you look at the definition above, you’ll see that the definition of a mercenary is cumulative. That’s to say that if a given individual fails to meet even one of those criteria, then they are not a mercenary. They are rather a civilian taking part in hostilities, and therefore not a PoW with certain extra rights.

          But all that’s a bit beside the point. The local prosecutors can use any existing legislation that applies in their jurisdiction, and they aren’t obliged to follow the Convention definition of a mercenary. (The LPR and DPR are not signatories. Neither is Russia, though Ukraine is, interestingly). They might have a law that simply says it’s a crime to be a foreigner fighting in the UA on their territory. Unless and until we have more details about what the charges were and what the evidence is, we simply don’t know.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            I have yet to see a single Western press account cite the evidence any of the three mercs produced to show they weren’t mercs but actually part of the UA. They’ve named units they were supposedly part of but being in Azovstal for weeks, they’d have heard the names of the regular units there, so that counts for little.

            Given that the British ones (or at least their families) have gone to the Foreign Office, you’d expect the Government or media allies to offer a substantive rebuttal. Claiming you are part of the UA (which they are guaranteed to do whether or not true) versus being able to substantiate that are in different universes.

            The Russian Foreign Ministry did invoke the GC on mercenaries, and other international law standards, so their position is the the DPR court ruling didn’t run afoul of those principles.

            And as I also said, the silence of Ukraine is damning. All they’d have to do is make a public statement with some concrete details. They should be motivated to do so to keep foreign enlistees coming.

            1. David

              This morning’s Guardian has a story in which Pinner and Aslin’s families say that they were regular soldiers in the UA, and that Pinner in particular was serving in the 36th Marine Brigade.
              But in a sense this is rather beside the point. I assume that the Ukrainians haven’t said anything because they don’t recognise the legitimacy of the court, and would be giving away too much politically if they agreed to talk to the local authorities in charge. It’s actually not a bad situation from Zelensky’s point of view, because it has provoked outrage and kept Ukraine in the headlines, and has enmeshed the UK further in the war.

              What’s clear is that these men are not “mercenaries” in the sense of the Convention. The Convention itself doesn’t take priority over the Geneva Convention and AP1, but neither does it take priority over domestic law. The text and the preamble make it clear that the Convention is aimed principally at organisers, financers and trainers of mercenary activities (remember that the background to the Convention was the use of mercenaries in Africa in the 60s and 70s) and secondly individuals who join up for pay. In the latter case, the default assumption seems to be that, if captured, they would normally be extradited to their home country and be put on trial there. It was never intended did to cover a situation like the present one.

              In any case, until we find out what the men were charged with, under what law and on the basis if what evidence, all this is speculation.

  31. Miguel

    U.S. death rates show how politics are affecting public health

    Not mentioned, the high rates of obesity, smoking, junk food addiction, exposure to pollution in the red states and counties.

    When tens of billions are at stake, you have to trust your common sense over “expert” articles.

    1. Anthony G Stegman

      There is lots of pollution in “blue” states. California is heavily polluted. Just one example. Long Island in New York is heavily polluted. Another example. Pollution is non-partisan.

    2. tegnost

      any thoughts on how political decisions may affect obesity, smoking, junk food addiction, exposure to pollution…I won’t limit it to red states because it’s everywhere? Like people who have to work all the time to pay rent don’t have time for exercise, you have a half hour lunch where are you going to eat, long commute, breathing pollution…how about the high rates of mask refusal at the grid iron affair or pretty much everywhere I went in true blue tourist town in washington? I personally don’t put much stock in either your common sense, or the experts. The modern day Archie Bunker is a PMC Democrat.

  32. drumlin woodchuckles

    We live in a post-satire age.

    I like french freedom fries and Russian blue freedom cats and Russian freedom dressing and Freedom Smirnoff vodka and etc.

  33. Mikel

    Re: Supply Chain/Inflation
    US companies sweat out labor talks ahead of possible supply-chain crisis

    There’s also a battle over automation in these negotiations. Then the last sentence:
    “I doubt we’ll see a harmonious period of thoughtful discussion once the official contract expires in three weeks,” said the manufacturer. “Ain’t going to happen. Things are going to break down quickly with hundreds of ships now being reloaded in China headed back this way with goods for the back half of the year.”

  34. Mikel

    What Growing Up in Rural Germany Taught Me about Guns ReasontobeCheerful. Resilc: “But we live in USA USA. We like killin’ injuns, runaway slaves and 5th graderzzzzz.”

    But mostly liking killing themselves. Close to two-thirds of gun deaths in the USA are suicides.

    1. Tokyognome

      The writer (wrongly) claims that “Nobody in Germany practices what to do during a mass shooting at an elementary school. Why? Because it has never happened.”

      Not at an elementary school but at a senior high school (the Gutenberg-Gymnasium in Erfurt) on April 26, 2002.
      Original in German, translation by google: On April 26, 2002, a former student at Gutenberg High School killed 16 people. The 19-year-old shoots twelve teachers, one male and one female student, a secretary, a police officer and ultimately himself.

  35. John k

    Odessa hard to justify…
    Imo China, which is most critical for Russia, is informed prior to new moves.
    Odessa oblast voted 67% for yushchenko in 2014, the Russian-leaning guy that won but was quickly ousted by us. Justification would be first preventing nato from maybe getting a Black Sea port plus leaving the ethnic Russian pop to the mercies of Ukraine. And, given the harassment of Russian speakers in the southeast since 2014, I suspect a plebiscite after fighting, maybe with Indian monitors, would result in a higher vote for independence today than for Yush in 2014.
    Kharkov voted 68% for Yush, and again a plebiscite now would likely be higher after the fighting dies down even if they were not wildly enthusiastic when the fighting began… who likes war?
    My further spec is that the global south will wait for the war to end before changing sides. Meanwhile China and Russia both know they’re stronger together and that us needs to weaken both to maintain numero 1. India/Saudi/Iran seem to want to avoid us control.
    I’m sure Putin is thinking hard on the big picture, but the pop will not think the op was a success if majority ethnic Russian oblasts ate left behind.

  36. Lex

    Lavrov is my favorite. I’m glad he’s finally allowed to speak a little more freely because he’s a funny, funny man.

    I was shocked I hadn’t heard about that spill in the St. Mary’s. If it hadn’t been on the Canadian side I might well have gotten first hand knowledge of it instead of a weekend. But the thesis of the piece is correct. There are a lot more oil spills than people realize.

    1. digi_owl

      Yeah, he can really be acerbic given the opportunity.

      Also, he has been around for some time by now. Starting out as a soviet embassy employee back in the 70s, then as part of the soviet delegation at UN, then after the USSR dissolved, deputy foreign minister of Russia, then back to UN, and since Putin took over he has been Russia’s foreign minister.

      Given his age and experience i suspect he do not suffer fools these days.

  37. flora

    From Project Syndicate, paywalled.

    Rethinking Supply Chains
    Jun 10, 2022
    Diane Coyle

    Today’s supply-chain policy challenges are a consequence of forgetting that other considerations besides economic efficiency matter, and that hands-on craft knowledge cannot be transmitted online. Unfortunately, problems that have been four decades in the making cannot be solved overnight.

  38. Pat

    I watch two local stations’ weekend news reports. My interest is in their lifestyle, human interest reporting, but I still get a brief overview of the NYC media approved zeitgeist by doing this.

    Both stations had features on food prices and inflation. Not surprisingly only one item’s percentage was as low as the consumer price index has inflation running. Eggs were almost triple. As was pointed out above, food is not measured in the CPI. Which is just one of the multiple reasons it is useless as a measure of inflation. Rents and gas are also skyrocketing. But then not even trying to hide that it was bad is a sign that reality has trumped the “it isn’t so bad, we need to think about Ukraine and January 6th instead” bull.

    I really really think that Congress would do better to find money to send to the public to buy food than more money for defense. But then I also think they should be required to meet with their constituents more often than donors and hold a minimum of one townhall or meet and greet in their home state or district every month. I’m pretty sure actual contact with average constituents would be a huge reality check for most of them.

    1. flora

      Thanks for the link. A similar change in Virginia high schools contributed to the election of a GOP gov over the Dem McAuliffe last year. Taibbi wrote a 4-part series on the Va gov’s race. Parents want their children to do well in school; parents don’t like it when the school says its not interested in how well your child does in the classroom.

      Loudoun County, Virginia: A Culture War in Four Acts
      A furious controversy in the richest county in America was about race, all right, but not in the way national media presented it. Part one of a series

  39. Revenant

    My understanding (admittedly, from the untrustworthy UK press) is that Aiden Aslin has a Ukrainian wife, lives in the Ukraine and joined the Ukrainian army as a resident several years ago, not some foreign legion fly-by-night.

    That said, he’s made some bad pro-Nazi choices….

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      The bit about the wife and resident is likely true….but all that has to happen to prove that he’s a regular soldier is for the Ukraine government to vouch for him in some way. It would be a PR win to discredit the DPR court. And they would not have to interact with the DPR government, they could just release the info publicly.

      The failure to do so suggests there is something not kosher about how he was recruited, paid, how he reported….

    1. Judith

      I wonder if the the mycorrhizal fungi that are in symbiotic relationships with plants are involved in the decision-making.

  40. Jason Boxman

    Biden seems done. Now the NY Times is airing liberal Democrat angst about his chances against Trump in 2024.

    Should Biden Run in 2024? Democratic Whispers of ‘No’ Start to Rise.

    Bumbling Biden was never up to the task of governing, and if not for the Pandemic, it seems likely the election was Trump’s to lose.

    Most top elected Democrats were reluctant to speak on the record about Mr. Biden’s future, and no one interviewed expressed any ill will toward Mr. Biden, to whom they are universally grateful for ousting Mr. Trump from office.

    But the repeated failures of his administration to pass big-ticket legislation on signature Democratic issues, as well as his halting efforts to use the bully pulpit of the White House to move public opinion, have left the president with sagging approval ratings and a party that, as much as anything, seems to feel sorry for him.

    (bold mine)

    Wait, people feel sorry for him? I feel sorry for all the citizens of the United States this guy failed, along with Pelosi and Schumer’s Congress.

    “Biden doesn’t get the credit he deserves for steering the country through the worst of the pandemic, passing historic legislation, pulling the NATO alliance together against Russian aggression and restoring decency and decorum to the White House,” Mr. Axelrod added.

    That’s a garbage list of accomplishments. What historic legislation was that? Why not name it? The Pandemic is at its worst phase yet. But, oh, the norms fairy is satisfied.

    Cristóbal Alex, who was a senior adviser for the Biden campaign and was the deputy cabinet secretary in the White House until last month, said Mr. Biden was the only Democrat who could win a national election.


    To the extent that’s true, it’s because liberal Democrats have been eating their own bench for the past 20 years, so there’s no one left to run.

    Maybe Hunter Biden should run? He’s as morally corrupt as Trump, so there’s that. What a great match up that would be.

    Howard Dean, the 73-year-old former Vermont governor and Democratic National Committee chairman who ran for president in 2004, has long called for a younger generation of leaders in their 30s and 40s to rise in the party. He said he had voted for Pete Buttigieg, 40, in the 2020 primary after trying to talk Senator Chris Murphy, 48, of Connecticut into running.

    “The generation after me is just a complete trash heap,” Mr. Dean said.


    Elizabeth Guzmán, a member of the Virginia House of Delegates, said Democrats in her caucus regret not passing a sweeping abortion rights law last year before they lost control of the state House and governor’s mansion to Republicans.

    “We wanted to codify Roe vs. Wade, and look what happened,” she said.

    How about that, someone finally wanted to do that, eh? A day late and a dollar short, to be sure.

    Shelia Huggins, a lawyer from Durham, N.C., who is a member of the Democratic National Committee, put it more bluntly.

    “Democrats need fresh, bold leadership for the 2024 presidential race,” she said. “That can’t be Biden.”

    On the record, from a DNC member. Ouch.

    What a useless party.

    1. Anthony G Stegman

      What about Chelsea Clinton? She’s a natural and the heir to the Clinton political dynasty.

    2. lambert strether

      > “Democrats need fresh, bold leadership for the 2024 presidential race,” she said. “That can’t be Biden.”

      Buttigieg/Cheney 2024

      The sad and terrible thing is that Biden’s two major debacles, one costing hundreds of thousands of lives, the other threatening nuclear war — Vax-only, and Ukraine* — aren’t even “political issues.” Oh well, we’ll fight it out on “inflation,” “crime,” and moral panics about sex. Those things, the political class can really understand.

      1. SocalJimObjects

        Sandberg/Pelosi. That way Americans will at least learn two things:
        1. How to Lean In more effectively.
        2. How to beat the stock market consistently.

  41. The Rev Kev

    That Russian Blue in today’s Antidote du jour may be beautiful but it also has that don’t mess with me look about it.

      1. Pat

        There are follow ups of him piling the kittens into his vehicle, of the setup in his backyard, and of his giving the scout kitten a bath. He admits in the bath video that he is getting a lot of advice about care, in the backyard video that the kids and dog have accepted them, and with them all that he is seeking and finding them homes.

        That little scout kitten did a really great job finding his siblings help. And the jerk(s) who dumped them should rot.

  42. Ander P

    “ISD also named Eva Bartlett, a Canadian activist who previously pushed conspiracy theories alleging Syrian rescue workers known as the White Helmets were staging fake attacks during the Syrian civil war.”

    Like the ‘conspiracy theory’ about US special forces bombing Syria’s largest dam.

    It is hard to stomach pure propaganda wherever it comes from.

  43. MarkT

    Yup so days and days of thunderstorms in Wellington New Zealand. A rarity. We’re used to gales through Cook Strait. But not downpours and thunder every 3 hours. No argument here. Just reporting things. /s

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