Links 6/15/2022

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

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


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

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

* * *

Corgi Con returns to San Francisco’s Ocean Beach this weekend after three-year hiatus hoodline (David L)

Native bee key to social evolution: Bridge between flying solo or as a colony PhysOrg (David L)

More than 20 million farm animals die on way to abattoir in US every year | Animal welfare Guardian (resilc) :-(

In ‘Seed Stories,’ Photographer Thierry Ardouin Unveils the Stunning Diversity of Plants Colossal (furzy)

New Milky Way Visualizations Show the Dance of Millions of Stars in Incredible Detail Gizmodo (resilc)

Photographer Spends Two Years Building Enormous Wet Plate Camera and Turning Bus Into Darkroom MyModernMet (David L)

How Light and Noise Pollution Confound Animals’ Senses Atlantic (resilc)

Research into falling sperm counts finds ‘alarming’ levels of chemicals in male urine samples Euronews (furzy)

The First Authoritarian: Popper’s Plato The Hedgehog Review (Anthony L)



Newest Omicron Covid-19 lineages gaining ground in United States STAT (Dr. Kevin)

So now this MD says he is being careful again…


Long Covid is a ‘national crisis.’ So why are grants taking so long to get? Science (resilc)

IM Doc flipped out when he saw this tweet. And GM confirmed that it’s not true, that more died under Biden even if you give him a one-month grace period after he was sworn in:

In a Rush to Supply PPE, U.S. Importers Were Scammed for Millions Undark


World Health Organization will rename monkeypox because ‘it’s RACIST and discriminatory towards Africa’ Daily Mail


Intense helicopter footage shows why Yellowstone National Park just closed Mashable (David L)

Floods May Leave Yellowstone Landscape ‘Dramatically Changed’ Forever Bloomberg (David L)


Taiwan-US security talks to discuss weapons, strategies to defend island South China Morning Post

Chinese depositors left in dark as three local banks freeze deposits Reuters (furzy)

Entire Sydney suburbs plunged into darkness as more power outages loom 7News. I would have been spared in my old stomping grounds. But this is early winter down under. Daily highs in Sydney in mid-upper 60s and lows in mid 40s. What gives? I gather it has to do with price caps. But why are those being triggered now>?

Sri Lanka government workers get Fridays off to grow food ahead of shortages Guardian (resilc)


Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin says UK does not ‘fully get’ Good Friday Agreement amid plans to override parts of Northern Ireland Protocol Sky (resilc)

Beyond the Brexit sound and fury, a legal quagmire awaits Politico

Old Blighty

The British rail strike: Mobilise the entire working class against the Johnson government! WSWS

Nicola Sturgeon unveils case for Scottish independence BBC (resilc)

‘Everywhere. Everything. Everyone’: Drugs are back in the EU Associated Press

Bolsonaro Asked Biden For Help Against Lula Who “Threatens US Interests” BrasilWire (Judith)

New Not-So-Cold War

Why the West Lusts After Ukraine Larry Johnson (Chuck L)

* * *

Ukraine Shells Donetsk, Russia Demands Surrender in Severodonetsk, Economic Crises Ukraine, West Alexander Mercouris, YouTube. Note his first section on non/mis reporting in the West.

Ukraine – Killing Surrendering Soldiers, Shelling Civilians Moon of Alabama. FWIW, the Russian Ministry of Defense tends to be conservative in what it says.

DC shifts to damage control as Ukraine defense fades Asia Times (resilc)

* * *

This is what Germany gets for stealing the German Gozprom assets (as in the infrastructure) and then not taking care of them: Gazprom to cut pumping via Nord Stream by 40% owing to Siemens delaying repairs and maintenance, gas prices exceed $1,000/1,000 cubic meters in EU Interfax (guurst) resulting in: Europe’s Gas Prices Surge 13% As Russia Reduces Nord Stream Flow OilPrice

Freeport LNG Gives New Timeline for Restarting Exports From Gulf Coast Plant Hit By Fire qCaptain. Key part:

EU looks to Israel as it battles Russian energy ‘blackmail’ Financial Times. Note:

While Israel says the field lies in an area recognised by the UN as its exclusive economic zone, Lebanon says the area is disputed…

Hassan Nasrallah, leader of Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hizbollah, said earlier this month that his group was ready to act if Israel began drilling before an agreement was reached.

Serbia’s president warns oil imports from Russia could come to a halt in Nov Interfax (guurst)

* * *

GT Investigates: Western freelance journalists expose NATO propaganda fomenting Ukraine crisis, suffer merciless attacks by ‘civilized’ West Global Times. Remember that Global Times is a China house organ.


Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Hacking Tesla’s Remote Key Cards Bruce Schneier


Jan. 6 committee abruptly postpones Wednesday hearing NBC (furzy)

GOP Clown Car

Trump-Backed State Rep. Russell Fry Defeats Rep. Tom Rice in South Carolina Race Wall Street Journal

Democrats en déshabillé

Democrats Who Want to Replace Biden in 2024 Have Lost Touch With Reality New Republic

Do Democrats Already Have Their Own Trump That Could Win in 2024? Yahoo. Resilc: “OK, OK, Liz Chaney is starting to look better.”

DACA turns 10 with Dreamers no closer to solid ground The Hill

Reps. Lee, Pocan want to exact the largest single-year budget cut in DoD history Responsible Statecraft. Resilc: “The few in Congre$$ worth a damn.”


U.S. Supreme Court insulates federal agents from accountability Reuters (Dr. Kevin)

Disney’s animated film with same-sex couple will not be shown in 14 countries France24 (resilc)

Murder-Suicides by Pilots Are Vexing Airlines as Deaths Mount Bloomberg (BC)

Supply Chain/Inflation

ECB Is Discussing Crisis Strategy as Well as Pandemic Program Reinvestments Bloomberg

Supply chains: DHL boss warns port congestion will remain in 2023 (resilc)

Wall Street is on a one way trip to misery until Fed hikes stop, market forecaster Jim Bianco warns CNBC (Kevin W)

The Bitcoin Crash Is Taking El Salvador’s Big Bet With It Vice (resilc)

Coinbase to cut almost a fifth of staff as crypto crunch worsens Financial Times

Bitcoin’s Unrelenting Selloff Puts Prices on Verge of $20,000 Bloomberg

Margin Debt Unwinds Further amid Massacre of High-Flying Stocks and Forced Selling Wolf Street

Class Warfare

How Do We Get a Wage-Price Spiral When Wage Growth Is Slowing? CounterPunch (resilc)

Antidote du jour. Winter is coming, eventually:

And a bonus (guurst). My kind of cat!

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. griffen

    Tweet from Biden is priceless. It is so nice I think I am trying to post the thought twice.

    Dang it skynet. Better get coffee.

    1. Dr. John Carpenter

      If it had been from Trump, it would have gotten flagged by “fact-checkers”, if not outright deleted, and we’d have a week of cable news aghastitude about it.

      1. Geo

        I would often remark about Trump that it wasn’t his lies and lunacy that bothered me, it was that millions of people bought into it. Made the mistake of reading some of the replies to that Biden tweet. Wow. Same type of brain dead bootlicking going on. Seemed the only pushback was from the prior loons who still believe Trump is a forth branch of the holy trinity that saved us from all evil.

        Not defending our indefensible elected misleadership, but how does any representative government have a hope of functioning productively when it’s populous has the critical thinking skills and emotional maturity of a caldron of boiling tar?

        1. Dr. John Carpenter

          Valid points. I’m afraid that a significant number of people will believe anyone with a platform, be they politicians, celebrities, “influencers”, and so on. Platforms infuse authority. My problem is always the hypocrisy and the lack of self-awareness that one side is the mirror image of the other. I’m sure the bootlickers on Biden’s tweet have plenty of choice things to say about the MAGAs, etc. and no idea they’re following as blindly.

    2. Jason Boxman

      At least Trump was honest that he didn’t care about citizens’ lives. Bumbling Biden saved everyone in his own mind only.

  2. Toshiro_Mifune

    Photographer Spends Two Years Building Enormous Wet Plate Camera and Turning Bus Into Darkroom
    Read the title and thought “Hey, I remember this guy” then read the article and it turns out to be someone else entirely. So there’s multiple people doing very large format wet plate collodion.

    1. square coats

      The title reminded me of an airplane hangar that was turned into a pinhole camera. Knowing nothing about what wet plate cameras are, I thought maybe this guy had made essentially a pinhole camera out of the back of a bus that could be driven around and aimed by means of operating the bus…

    1. hunkerdown

      An empty, vague, 100% implied “threat” to the proceedings makes the ritual more real.

        1. The Rev Kev

          C’mon, man. It’s always been about the horns. Remember when George Bush use to give people the ‘Hook ’em’ horns sign?

          And he wasn’t the only one. So did Barbara Bush, Ronald Reagan, George Bush Snr., etc. so the guy wearing the buffalo horn headdress was all part of this. That is why the media insisted on calling him the viking man instead. /sarc

          1. FreeMarketApologist

            Not that I really want to defend George & family, but at least they are nominally Texans, and that is the hand signal for showing support of the U. Texas football team, which, unless you’re an Aggie, everybody uses all the time. And they certainly were supporters, the team (and the school, because of it’s political power) being the ‘right’ sort of team to support.

            Still, it’s a significant symbol of tribal identity, though I’ve never known any finger-horn waving person think that it has anything to do with Vikings (the people or the team).

            1. Ed Miller


              My brother in-law in Minnesota has requested that Vikings linemen be his pallbearers at his funeral so they can let him down one last time. (A popular joke in MN)

              Not at all like the horns tradition in Austin, TX.

        2. marym

          They’re doing live interviews and showing taped interviews of elite Republican insiders saying there was no evidence of fraud and that they told Trump what he and his cronies were trying to do was possibly illegal.

          Whether or not efforts of the cronies and the rioters was coordinated, and whether or not people find it interesting or important, at least some of the testimony now isn’t just about the cosplayers.

          1. IM Doc

            So when are we going to get around to investigating and arresting and imprisoning those who rioted at the White House in 2020? – It appeared to me to be just as much or more violence than Jan 6th from videos I have seen? And had the added benefit of not having one of the protesters killed by the police.

            When are we going to get around to having a public censure of Chuck Schumer for publicly threatening two Supreme Court Justices by name in front of hundreds/thousands of angry protesters at the Supreme Court? When you listen to what he actually said – it is indeed a threat……Why was he not immediately stripped of his leadership role?

            Why did we just have 27 Dem members of Congress vote against protection of the Supreme Court Justices the very week one of them had a protester show up in the wee hours of the morning with a gun to kill him? And have almost not a peep about it in the press?

            I am all for decreasing violence in the Capitol…. ON ALL SIDES….Unless and until we stop playing the old “it is OK for my side to do this – your side goes to jail and gets investigated” game – I will laugh this entire thing off as foolish theatrics from a party that has completely run out of ideas.

            Just my two cents and a couple of observations from out here in the heartland. Unless we are going to start taking all of these things seriously, this farce must stop immediately. This is nakedly political theater and is being done at the expense of the trust that regular people have in their institutions. I would expect nothing less of the Democratic Party and what it has become. My elders who bleed and died Dem would be so ashamed of the joke this has all become.

            1. marym

              That Democrats have no moral authority to investigate nor plans to prevent these or other problems doesn’t mean the investigation isn’t important, or that the 2020 Republican attempt at outcome manipulation isn’t an on-going pursuit for future elections.

              If people still think voting can be part of a path to change for the better, the consequences of this pursuit will further diminish the role of voting in favor of increased elite authoritarian control.

              On the SC justice family protection bill, I’m not following closely. I think arguments against the bill were that Congress isn’t interested in protecting ordinary people from being shot; SC justices already have 24/7 US Marshall protection; and lack of including SC staff and their families in the new legislation. This is one of those cases where if AOC, etc. vote yes on insufficient or evil legislation that’s going to pass anyway they’re sellouts, and performative if they vote no or abstain to make a point or adhere to a principle.

              The link below was originally published 01/2021 and doesn’t have numbers for subsequent Capitol arrests, but it has some numbers for the June 2020 protest-related arrests in DC and at other protests across the country.

              1. IM Doc

                Your first paragraph is making my point – they have zero plans to do anything about it.

                I think we all agree that violence in the Capitol is not appropriate. That “all” does not apparently include our Democratic Congress at this point.

                Furthermore, a true investigation requires questioners from both sides to be able to ask questions. The very second that Pelosi refused to seat the Republicans that the House members on that side had chosen was an indication to all that this was not serious. We cannot have any hard questions. I am sorry – but having the ability for all sides to ask questions is critical to our system. The Dems have completely subverted that. I am not saying the GOP is good in this regard either – but for the Dems to pretend that they are on the side of the angels in this issue is just laughable.

                Instead – she picked her own two GOP – both of which seem to have many other axes to grind.

                No – this is a farce through and through.

                  1. IM Doc

                    Since when does a plaintiff or defendant get to pick the other side’s counsel? That is what our entire system is based on. You get to ask your opponents hard questions.

                    They do this type of clown show when they do not want “inappropriate” questions asked….

                    Pelosi should pick the Dems, McCarthy should pick the GOP – that is the way a functional investigative committee would work. That is until now.

                    Sorry, it is a farce.

                    And as the Dems seem congenitally unable to understand, this is going to come back and bite them in the future. Just like when Harry Reid was so brave and stopped the filibuster for judicial appointments. How did that work out for the Dems when McConnell rammed through three justices in no time.

                    As a Dem myself, one thing I have learned is that the party never learns from its mistakes. It just makes future ones that are much worse.

            2. anon in so cal

              When are we going to get around to discussing the pre-election 2020 collusion between the CIA, MSM, Biden, and Big Tech to suppress the Hunter Biden laptop imbroglio?

              Glenn Greenwald:

              Here is our new definitive video report — in light of the new proof from Politico’s @SchreckReports that the key Biden emails from Hunter’s laptop were authentic — on the gigantic pre-election fraud from the CIA, Big Tech and the corporate media:

              * It was obvious from the start the Hunter docs were authentic.

              * They concerned *Joe’s* activities, not Hunter’s.

              * CIA lied, saying it was “Russian disinformation.”

              * Big Tech & media united to *censor* the reporting to protect Biden.

              More on Big Tech and election 2020:

              ”We hear about dark money and corporations buying ads, but never have we seen 100s of millions of private dollars going into conducting of elections. States didn’t have any laws on the books to stop it”


              1. pjay

                Maybe we’ll get around to that investigation when the Republicans take over the Congress. Let’s see if the Democrats boycott those hearings.

        3. hunkerdown

          From anything, the less definite the better for the story. These hearings are not a rational attempt to identify and surmount a problem. They are a sacred fraud we are acting out, a performance of the highness of elites.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        There is no dog food. A couple of promises a day rehashing stuff that should have forced Biden to replace Garland for inaction isn’t going to cut it long term.

        Besides the lack of point of watching these things, Team Blue isn’t interested in red meat but praising republicans. It’s risen above over the top. Robert Reich’s paean to Lynn Cheney was so deranged I’m convinced he’s suffering from long covid or some other ailment. I know he is a dweeb, desperate to be loved by the cool kids, but even knowing this, the ode was deranged.

        1. Mildred Montana

          “…replace Garland for inaction…”

          Garland? Merrick Garland? Oh yeah, that guy. The Attorney-General, the top law-enforcement official of the United States of America. Funny, I’d forgotten about him. ;)

          I am mystified by his lack of action. Is he simply holding his fire, waiting for the opportune time to open up? Or is he afraid (my theory anyway), literally afraid of stirring up Trump’s millions of crazies? Or, less likely but always possible, are the Republicans holding some dirt on him?

          Whatever, I just don’t get him.

          1. Ed Miller


            Reminds me of all the Dry Powder the Dems are storing for the future, as described by the Daily Kos in 2007 “In The Vaults Where The Dry Powder Is Stored”. When will Garland recognize that his moment of courage has passed.

            Frankly, maybe all that Dry Powder will be used in conjunction with the Repubs to blow up the Constitution. Makes life easier for them as lies to the public lose meaning.

        2. Rainlover

          Don’t you know, Liz Cheney is the new white hope amongst progressive Ds. I just spent too much time on the phone with a friend of mine who could not praise her enough. Wow. New narrative coming up in 5-4-3-2-1…

    2. Lee

      Such a disappointment. I was looking forward to not watching it on principle.

      In unrelated news of some interest, an author interview:

      Jack Welch Broke Capitalism & Ushered In an Era of Distrust

      The brutality of corporate America and the malaise of the American labor market are being traced back to one businessman: former General Electric CEO Jack Welch. Walter Isaacson speaks with author David Gelles about the legacy of America’s first celebrity CEO — referenced in the title of Gelles’ new book as “The Man Who Broke Capitalism.”

      I don’t by the one guy theory but many good points are raised regarding the hollowing out of our material productive capacity in favor of financialized capitalism and its socially corrosive effects.

      1. Mikel

        Yes, good points. But to your point in the last sentence: that was also the era of the beginning of Trump’s celebrity among many others.

      2. Anthony G Stegman

        It isn’t just the damage that Jack Welch did to General Electric; it is important to note that there were many Welch acolytes across the business world. In the early 2000s I worked at Sun Microsystems when Scott McNealy was the CEO. He was friends with Jack Welch – they were big golfing buddies. McNealy followed many of Welch’s management practices. Ultimately, McNealy ruined Sun Microsystems, just as Welch nearly ruined General Electric (it is now hanging on by the barest of threads).

  3. The Rev Kev

    “Nicola Sturgeon unveils case for Scottish independence”

    If I lived in Scotland, I wouldn’t get my hopes up. I have seen what Nicola Sturgeon is all about over the past few years so will say that she will fight for Scottish independence in the same way that Democrats in the US will fight for healthcare for all. She may come close to achieving that aim, but wouldn’t you know it, there would be some last minute complication or political leaders will switch to a no vote at the last minute, darn it.

      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, Chuck. I had not been on the site for some time, so your highlight was most welcome.

        @ readers: Chuck’s link is well worth a read, especially if one suspects that Sturgeon is more interested in currying favour with Guardianistas than fighting for independence.

        BTL there are very good comments about Brexit and how remain blew themselves up. Recently, evidence has emerged, some, but not all, published by the Gray Zone, to show how remain was outplayed by some serious Brexiteer elements and, documented elsewhere, the venality of the remain camp.

  4. fresno dan

    Mr. Dracula is his name
    I always play prey under the covers with my cats, but I have to say, none of them ever throws their heads back so theatrically….

    1. The Rev Kev

      Yeah man, what the hell? Did that cat happen to catch some old Christopher Lee films on late night TV?

  5. US war on Germany

    Drugs in the EU.
    All you need to do is to read Die Macht des Clans by Meyer-Heuer & Heise to understand how things works and put that together to the following facts: in Mexico, CIA runs the drug traffic, in Afghanistan CIA were involved in the opium trade. If you grow drugs you must also sell them.
    In Germany the growth of these criminal clans was detected on an early stage by police. Proposals for legislation and police resources were put forward but never approved. On the contrary the relevant departments were cut. SInce Germany is occupied by the US it is not a far fetched idea to assume that CIA has told Germany to let these criminals be. These clans are doing the work of CIA to keep the drugs and money flowing.

    1. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you.

      I work for a financial institution from a neighbour on Germany’s western border and, a few months ago, was told by a colleague, a former British government official, about the scale of such activity there and the money washing through the system, but certain connections that can’t be explored.

      1. Lex

        During the US occupation of Afghanistan, it became (again) the world’s largest producer of opium. Traditionally, raw opium was exported, but refining to at least morphine base was common during the US occupation. Afghanistan had the lowest rate of cross-border drug interdiction amongst the major, drug producing nations. All this while under the watchful eye of multiple US agencies tasked with abating opium/heroin production and distribution in Afghanistan.

        Prime export destinations for Afghan opium were Iran, Russia and Europe. The first two as tools of potential destabilization and the third being for the bennies. Kosovo has long been a prime entry point for drugs entering Europe under the watchful eye of US intelligence agencies. But I would imagine that the bulk of distribution to the EU happened through Ukraine. Bankers love international drug dealers; they’re always willing to take a bit of a loss for clean money on the backend. And cash is only king until you’re weighing it instead of counting it, then it becomes cumbersome. Even a grocery bag of cash is a PITA in the real world, though I have seen a house purchased that way.

        1. digi_owl

          I recall reading about someone making a point by paying a transitory customs fee (the items would be in port for many a day or two at most, and then the fee would be reimbursed) using a wheelbarrow of coins.

    2. Grateful Dude

      Lyndon LaRouche used to proclaim that the Queen of England was the world’s largest heroin ( or was it opium? ) trafficker. I remember when he was a lefty radical in the 60s/70s. I believe he had some Intel cred.

      There was Air America, and of course, Iran Contra. I recently watched a semi-documentary about Freeway Rick Ross – there are a couple of these on Netflix and Amazon, about a very sober and successful (grossing a million a day) cocaine distributor in LA (from Panama maybe) who was eventually busted, only to discover that he was getting his drugs from the Contras in LA. He’s apparently free now, and is himself in at least one of the films. Noriega probably wouldn’t play ball.

      And, CT alert, I recall a deep link I ran across 20 or more years ago when I was onto Dave Emory and Mad Cow Morning news claiming that during an Iraq invasion that Halliburton had H warehouses in Kosovo. Maybe that was the real reason we took Afghanistan. I didn’t buy it at the time, but …

      Please excuse my uncertainties about this. But my point is that this has never been a big secret. No other business produces so much cash so easily.

  6. The Rev Kev

    ‘Mexico City. June, 2022.
    If you’re not worried, you’re not paying attention.’

    Yeah, that doesn’t look good. I have been reading how there is all this excessive heat across the continental US but there is also snow in Mexico City? In June? There was so much snow that another tweet said that the roof of a Mega supermarket even caved in near Mixcoac. Funny how we have been warned about climate change for decades but now we are actually getting to live through it. And these are only the opening moves. Better buckle up – it’s gunna be a rough ride.

    1. petal

      It said it was hail-a massive hail storm.
      The other day my brother in Michigan said he heard the hail cannons going off to protect the orchards.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Thanks for the correction, flora. Come to think of it, if there was excessive humidity in the air across the US and some of that air was pushed into Mexico where it met the cooler air of thunderstorm clouds, could that excess moisture have been turned into that hail?

        1. super extra

          as a hail connoisseur (the southern plains in the US is where the gigantic wizard of oz-style tornado alley is, and those usually ride with hail-producing thunderstorms), let me just add that a massive buildup of small hailstones like what happened in Mexico City is very unusual! A lot of people don’t know that Mexico City is very high elevation – 1.5x as high as Denver – it is already prone to thunderstorms, but I noticed they were weirdly cool over the weekend. So I wonder if a big rainstorm had some interesting/unique mesoscale action as a result of the high elevation and the weather patterns up north with the heat dome causing some strange event where a 4-5″ rainstorm was recycled up into the hail-producing elevations before dumping it all on the city.

          1. Henry Moon Pie

            I experienced this type of hail at 7.400 ft in the Sangre de Cristos back in ’82. We had just hired a backhoe to dig the footings for an adobe we were building. A storm dumped 6 inches of pea-sized hail on the construction site and turned the ridge behind it white. The melt run-off washed a lot of the dirt back into the footings trench, and we got to dig it out by hand.

            Back then, whenever we got a bad thunderstorm like that, the soil was covered with sulfur afterwards.

            1. elissa3

              Yeah, not astonishing in June/July at altitude above Santa Fe (7,000′).
              c. 2002 at around 8,500 feet, on a hike, we had 30 minutes of hail that accumulated amounted to 8″.

  7. fresno dan

    Do Democrats Already Have Their Own Trump That Could Win in 2024? Yahoo. Resilc: “OK, OK, Liz Chaney is starting to look better.”
    Of course, column writers aren’t great at spotting winners and losers. Few people in 2014 would have predicted that Donald Trump—a reality TV star!—would be the Republican nominee in 2016, much less the next president. This is to say that crazy things can happen. And actually, maybe that is ironically the best hope for Democrats.

    I have spent a lot of time and energy decrying the celebritization of politics (the calamity of Trump being a good example of what concerned me about the trend), but the horse is out of the barn. We live in the age of celebrity; and while mixing entertainment and politics can result in a toxic brew, not all celebrities behave like Trump, and entertainers can sometimes make terrific communicators and effective leaders.
    I say we go with Jennifer Aniston. Jerry Seinfeld for VP – I mean, can he be any worse than KH? Or we could do an all female ticket – the all Jennifer (Jennifer Lawrence) ticket would be ground breaking, for women as well as Jennifers…

    1. The Rev Kev

      Well you wouldn’t want Jerry Seinfeld as the Prez obviously. Remember how his show “Seinfeld” was described as ‘a show about nothing?’ You already have Biden doing that now. So what is wrong with Madame President Kim Kardashian?

    2. Milton

      Well here’s one that is really a Left populist version of Trump. From Nick Brana of the People’s Party:
      I have some of the most thrilling news I’ve ever shared. Jimmy Dore is considering a run for president with the People’s Party!

      We’ve been discussing it with him and Stef for several weeks and he’s talking about it on tour and on his show. He would be the most popular comedian to ever run and the first person with his own show and a million subscribers. A Jimmy Dore campaign and presidency could revolutionize this country!

      Every time he’s brought it up the crowds at his shows and in the live chat have exploded with excitement. Let’s show him what an incredible candidate we think he would make and how much support he would have.

      Why the not? Sure would be a lot better than some Hollywood bubble head.

        1. fresno dan

          June 15, 2022 at 9:50 am
          As I’ve said before, Pat Paulson now* would be better than 150% of the presidential candidates of the last 3 decades…
          * YES,i’ve said it before and I’m saying it now – Pat Paulson dead would be a better president than any conceivable current plausible nominee. And actually, the constitution doesn’t actually say the nominee HAS to be alive…

      1. Jeff Hails

        “He would be the most popular comedian to ever run”
        I think the correct statement would be Pat Paulson at least he would be my pick.

      2. hunkerdown

        Jimmy Dore isn’t the George Carlin we need, but he might be the George Carlin we deserve, or however that meme goes.

    3. NotTimothyGeithner

      Uh…Shrub, Romney, Gore, and Hillary only made it big because of famous last names. Obama was a celebrity. I would argue Biden was elected via celebrity more than anything as his record is damning, but I mean he is the first nominee to not be a celebrity since Kerry. 2000 was two celebrities. One even promised he would just be a figure head for his daddy’s friends.

      1. Carolinian

        If you are going to run a kabuki theater then you might as well hire an actor. But not Oprah….;please no.

    4. Katniss Everdeen

      Alec Baldwin was once seriously considered a “viable” dem alternative to Trump, but I guess that idea’s been shot down now.

    5. Geo

      I say we elect fictional characters. Maybe a Dirty Harry/Ronald McDonald ticket?

      That way we can fully embrace the vapidity of our electoral candidates and get ones that truly represent our social intellect.

      1. Stick'em

        True story, the first time I voted, I wrote in the names “Ozzy Osbourne” and “Kermit T Frog.”

        Figured unlike the politicians on the ballot, at least my choices are upfront about it. Everybody knows ahead of time Ozzy worships the devil and Kermit has a hand up his ass that makes his mouth move, so there’s no surprise later.

        18-year-old logic. I stand by this decision.

    6. Aumua

      At this point I’d vote for pretty much anyone who isn’t a giant douche or a turd sandwich, but it doesn’t seem like those candidates are ever going to make it to the general any more.

  8. cocomaan

    How Do We Get a Wage-Price Spiral When Wage Growth Is Slowing? CounterPunch (resilc)

    “Wage-price spiral” is just banker speak for the workers getting too uppity. God forbid we see workers begin to demand higher wages.

    1. digi_owl

      Ding. Better to have them compensate for wage stagnation with consumer credit.

      Stagflation? shush!


    1. Geo

      For my entire adult life I’ve heard the Dem strategists talking about demographics leading to a permanent Dem majority. Always knew it was as realistic as planning on continental drift to increase your land value, but it’s really kinda of funny to see it backfire on them this spectacularly. Who knew minority groups had their own independent thoughts and views? Those target marketing consultants we hired said they were all docile pets that would be loyal no matter how much we abused and neglected them?

    2. lyman alpha blob

      Heh – something tells me Nancy Creamsicle won’t be celebrating this latest “first”.

  9. The Rev Kev

    “Gazprom to cut pumping via Nord Stream by 40% owing to Siemens delaying repairs and maintenance, gas prices exceed $1,000/1,000 cubic meters in EU”

    I think that Siemens will now find itself on a list of unreliable contractors with the Russians from now on. If they ever tried to go back into Russia, it will make it a tough slog for them as they have trashed their reputation. There might be a bit more to that story. So according to an RT article-

    ‘According to Gazprom, five out of eight gas pumping units taken by Siemens for repair from Gazprom’s Portovaya compressor station in Vyborg, near St. Petersburg, were not returned on time. Also, problems arose when the pumping units were connected to the pipeline, as their engines had malfunctioned, which prompted industry regulator Rostekhnadzor to issue a temporary ban on their use.’

    I don’t know about you but it sounds like to me that Siemens tried to sabotage that pipeline with the three pumping units that they did return. If so, that was spectacular stupid and having Germany have its gas as a consequence cut by 40% is going to have major effects in the industrial sector. And I bet that Russia lets other Siemens customers know what they are capable of too-

    1. scarnoc

      Russia also cut gas to Italian EDI by 13% today, but I’m not sure what the reasoning is. It would not surprise me if the Russian plan is to step energy exports to hostile nations downwards toward zero between now and September.

        1. digi_owl

          It really seems that western politicians are so used to being on the sellers end of the (housing) market, they have completely forgotten what it means to be at the buyers end during a sellers market.

    2. Polar Socialist

      The reason to drop throughput from 167 million cubic meters to 100 was that Siemens sent the pump to Montreal for repairs, and Canada refuses to deliver it back – because sanctions.

      Meanwhile Gazprom took another pump offline today due to delayed maintenance, thus dropping the throughput to 67 million cubic meters per day. So now apparently only 40% of the max capacity is in use.


        1. Revenant

          Turbines are also for liquids, in hydroelectricity. And you pump up your bike tyres with air.

          Get to the ecumenical church of fluids and save yourself from confusion!

      1. RobertC

        Too funny — Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller “There is no decision on the Portovaya compressor station right now. We have reduced gas supplies to Europe by dozens of percent, but prices have increased severalfold. If I say that we are just fine with that, I would not be dishonest.”

    3. Kouros

      Apparently the pumps were sent for servicing in Montreal Canada, and the Canadians have blocked the return of the pumps due to sanctions… Canadians also have gas and oil that would like to bring to the world market…

      1. digi_owl

        And a political class saturated with descendants of Ukrainian expats, apparently.

        It has been a wild ride seeing Canada, and Australia, stoop to US grade antics regarding international politics.

    4. vao

      But there is more on the gas front in Germany, and costs for the German State are piling up.

      Remember that story with Gazprom Germania taken over by the Bundesnetzagentur as trustee? Well,

      1) After being placed under the administration of the Bundesnetzagentur, Gazprom embargoed supplies to its former German unit, i.e. Gazprom Germania and its host of subsidiaries storing and delivering gas in Germany. This means that GG has not yet managed to re-fill its storage tanks.

      2) Furthermore, since GG had contracts to fulfil, it had to acquire gas elsewhere at much higher prices — which proved totally unprofitable, so much so that GG is nearly bankrupt.

      3) The German government is now embarking on a reorganization to avoid the cessation of activities by GG. GG will be lent up to €10bn through the KfW to ensure the continuity of operations.

      4) It is not yet certain whether the government will back the loan with a State guarantee, or whether it will convert it to equity (in which case the German State will become a shareholder of GG).

      5) The trusteeship will be converted from October onwards to a permanent administration, and Gazprom Germania renamed to “Securing Energy for Europe GmbH”.

      6) In another step, the Bundesnetzagentur has decided to grant a 40% rebate on the fees to be paid when feeding the German gas distribution networks from LNG supplies.

      So it is not just the German industry and households that are feeling the pain because of high gas prices — the State budget is getting directly hammered as well because of the consequences of the spat with Russia.

  10. Stick'em

    re: The First Authoritarian: Popper’s Plato

    Talking with a friend recently who is intelligent but caught up in the machine. Let’s call him David.

    We discuss vaccines for COVID and how from their inception, it was clear these are not sterilizing vaccines capable of “ending the pandemic.” We don’t know if vaccines can block transmission rather than ameliorate symptoms, new mutations would arise the vaccines have unknown efficacy against, waning immunity continuing the problem, and so on.

    In the beginning the situation seemed analogous to the flu vaccine, with its host of attending concerns.

    In sum, COVID vaccines “don’t work” if “ending the pandemic” is what we are expecting from their use.This realization was clear in the scientific community, though this message was not relayed to the public by the government. The NC community is well aware of this.

    So I said to David “They lied to us,” with the “they” meaning Biden, Fauci, CDC and so on pitching this message “all you need to do is get a shot” almost as if they are pharma salesmen.

    And David replies, “How else you gonna get people to get vaccinated?”

    This is the modern justification for The Noble Lie prescribed by Plato. It’s OK to lie if it is in people’s “best interests” to be lied to, right? Karl Popper went ballistic about it in the Open Society.

    So I said, “When the chickens come home to roost, and people are still getting COVID, like we are now some 2 years later, why should anyone believe the government?’

    Trust in the media and politicians is at an all time low for a reason:

    And unfortunately, this leads the public to look for an authoritarian strongman to lead. Say what you will about Karl Popper’s street cred as a critic of ancient Greek philosophy and George Soros appropriating the Open Society term for his own uses. Thing is, Popper’s not wrong about this Noble Lie –> authoritarianism.

    1. pjay

      A very interesting comment, because while you are not wrong, you can also blame Popper himself, at least in part, for our current “trust” issues.

      The article was very useful in pointing out the crucial importance of (1) Hayek, (2) the British positivists, and (3) the Cold War, in guaranteeing Popper’s success. Whether or not Popper himself was entirely to blame, his Open Society argument was used to construct other Noble Lies about economics, the West, and “Science” itself. While other idea systems, say Communism or Marxism, were depicted as ideology or “myth,” the myth that the West was the epitome of the “Open Society” built on science (and objective, scientific economic ideas) became our own Noble Lie. Our philosopher-kings were Scientists – or at least the legitimacy of our elites was based on The Science.

      Whatever other sins we can assign to the Frankfurt School critical theorists (also Jewish exiles), they all understood how Popper’s ideas could, and would, be used to construct a type of scientism that undermined the capacity for critical thought while depicting historical alternatives as utopian myths. Ironically, now that The Science (as opposed to real scientific inquiry) has failed, people may well turn back to those Noble Lies against which Popper was fighting.

      1. Stick'em

        pjay ~ We agree. What Fauci is shilling as “The Science” is just one more form of the Noble Lie.

        People figured this out, and sure enough, our trust in Scientists and Medicine is gone as well:

        The thing is, none of the Congressmen, Senators, and Presidents in the United States are scientists or medical doctors or even philosophers. They’re all attorneys and MBAs. So they make arguments from conclusion –> premises the way a lawyer does by assuming his client is guilty, then summarily collecting and promoting any evidence which supports this conclusion, while ignoring and denigrating everything that doesn’t.

        Hence, attorneys and polticians are doing logic backwards because motivated reasoning.

        The logic of science is premises –> conclusion, which is supposed to be objective reasoning.

        Do you think Nancy Pelosi understands science better than Donald Trump does? I don’t. They both make whatever claims based on what it will get them, not based on empirical reality. Fit the narrative to suit the desired outcome.

        So what science actually is and what “The Science” is we are sold by “liberal” politicians are not the same thing.

        tl;dr is being “liberal” does not equal scientific literacy:

        1. Stick'em

          *typo: So they make arguments from conclusion –> premises the way a defense lawyer does by assuming his client is not guilty,

          1. LifelongLib

            I’ve seen interviews with defense attorneys who readily admit that most (sometimes all) of their clients were guilty as charged, yet who still did their best to create reasonable doubt or make a deal for a lesser charge, because that’s their job. It could be argued that politicians are in an analogous position. The “science” is just one factor in their decisions; there are also considerations of what is politically possible, what the overall effects of a policy might be etc. In the case of covid though it seems like politicians not only rejected the science but tried to hide it.

        2. GF

          “The thing is, none of the Congressmen, Senators, and Presidents in the United States are scientists or medical doctors or even philosophers.”

          My congresscritter is a dentist – does that count?

          And, pretty soon PA will have a Trump-backed real doc as senator /s.

        1. pjay

          Thanks. An interesting article. Many observations relevant to Stick’em’s comments as well given its focus on biology. I love the discussion about how the Popperian notion of the simple apolitical “falsifying” scientist was used in the 1960s to counter the image of Dr. Stangelove!

          1. Stick'em

            When Popper says “falsifying,” I think of logic class, being able to label any meaningful statement definitively as True or False. There’s a dichotomy produced with no ambiguity in Popper logic/science.

            When describing science, I would rather use the term “fallibility” meaning, “I could be wrong.”

            When doing science, it’s not so much the case that I know beyond any possible doubt any given statement or theory is right or wrong. Rather, it’s that I’m self-aware enough to know even if I’m really convinced a statement is True (or False), it may turn out I made a mistake somewhere or my understanding (or our collective human understanding) is not there yet.

            So in my opinion, scientific knowledge is provisional rather than falsified (as it seems Popper would have it).

            Subtle difference but a meaningful one.

      2. digi_owl

        I do wonder how many times i have seen his “paradox of tolerance” thing from Open Society being swung as a rhetorical cudgel in recent years.

        1. Stick'em

          There is something to be said for not allowing Nazis to throw a rally in Madison Square Garden:

          That said, my concern is “liberal” people misappropriated this “no tolerance for the intolerant” principle such that it became cancel culture. Can’t trust’em to know the difference between the guppies and the sharks.

          Here’s the meme version:

    2. David

      Not your interlocutor…. But I read this a couple of days ago, and it confirmed what I vaguely remembered from Popper’s book when I first read it. His argument is a kind of Chronicism, that is, trying to project onto the past anachronistic concepts and distinctions from today, and so sit in judgement on our ancestors. It just seems to me that concepts like “authoritarianism” or “totalitarianism” are so far away from what the Greeks were interested in that they aren’t helpful. Plato, after all, was concerned with how to live a virtuous life, since only by being virtuous could we be happy. Since people were not necessarily capable unaided of living a virtuous life, and therefore of happiness, they had to be guided towards it by the kind of political system which would promote virtue. The fact that Popper thought he perceived echoes of this in the totalitarian ideologies of the 1930s is really just a historical footnote.

      1. hunkerdown

        I find it interesting that people in this very commentariat have told me that Republic was not intended to present a model of political governance. Is someone pulling Weberian esotericism on me, or is that ambiguity part of the grand Myth?

        It’s only a kind of chronicism, though. All value systems are totalitarian because the business of value systems is to compare and situate things within a whole, i.e. a totality. Neo-Platonism is a live philosophical tradition, possibly the most salient one in producing the world we live in. It is absolutely fair game to evaluate the kind of persons (and in turn, the world) Plato’s thought (by way of Plotinus) sought to produce and does actually produce, and to decide whether we are interested in reproducing the thought that entails the production of those kinds of persons, or whether we are rather interested in curbing the reproduction of that thought so that different kinds of persons are made.

        The verdict on henology is that it is trash. These centuries of virtue-chasing have developed vast structures of violence and ignorance; produced an arrogant, murderous world religion or two (maybe three) to project them the world over; and destroyed in high style quadrillions of hours that could have been spent on vulgar hedonistic subsistence. After quite a lot of Graeber, I think that the right answer to the value question is “No”.

      2. Stick'em

        David (who is not the person in the OP) ~

        I understand what you mean about judging the past by today’s standards. I think we can make a case communism existed in some form before Marx and Engles wrote the Communist Manifesto, though people may not have called it such:

        My guess is people in ancient Athens knew something about authoritarianism. They may have called it tyranny, as in government by one for himself. Tyranny isn’t exactly the same thing as authoritarianism, but neither seems meaningfully different from what Trump is selling these days.

        Chronicism… I learned a new word today, thanks. Strange to remember Athens in the time of Plato contained how many slaves? Perhaps almost as many as there were citizens. Yet here we are talking about basing the current US government on a mixture of an Athenian democracy and a Roman republic…

    3. Bruno

      As usual, total misunderstanding of that so-called “Noble Lie.” Anyone who has spent even a minute reading the *politeia* would see that the *gennaios pseudos* was to be told exclusively to those children being educated as future Guardians, and for a very specific purpose: to reconcile themselves to a future life of “poverty” in which they would not be permitted any form whatever of private property, especially the monetary metals gold and silver. They are being taught that because their *souls* contain a wealth of “gold” and “silver” they are entitled to live a philosophic communist life in contempt of the mere material representation of those precious substances.
      As for “authoritarianism,” Sokrates is very explicit that the *economic” life of his soul-image city (the “market regulations”) is under the exclusive jurisdiction of the civil society itself. And as for Plato being anti-democratic, anyone who bothers to read the *politicos* (“The Statesman”) will see that Plato’s protagonist for that dialog (the “Guest from Elea”) argues (with Sokrates present and not dissenting) that the best *practicable* form of human governance is Constitutional (“law-governed”) Democracy.
      In sum, as Soros goes to show, Popper is the philosopher of choice for ignorant and illiterate billionaires.

      1. Stick'em

        If I am reading you correctly, your position is the Noble Lie is a one time thing, specific to this passage in the antiquity Plato’s Republic:

        Whereas my position is in general layman usage, there is a Noble Lie in the modern sense used here, in which a journalist says Fauci tells Noble Lies about COVID:

        I can buy the take ^this journalist is not using your strict definition of Plato’s Noble Lie.

        That said, I do think Fauci convinced himself his own lies were in the best interests of the people, therefore justifying to himself his decisions to lie repeatedly to the public are “good,” which is a much broader definition of what constitutes “Noble Lying.”

          1. Stick'em

            Plato is a curious mix of idealist and pragmatist; it is not hard to move from ‘the ethically right action leads to the most desirable results’ to ‘the action which leads to the most desirable results is the ethically right one.’


      2. lyman alpha blob

        I.F. Stone, the muckraking journalist of “All governments lie” fame, would disagree with the assessment of Socrates being in favor of democracy, considering his support of some extremely undemocratic Athenians.

        Socrates had it coming.

    4. square coats

      FWIW, I had a professor for an undergrad history of philosophy course who told us (as an aside, as I recall), while we were reading The Republic, that he was of the minority opinion among Plato scholars that Plato wrote The Republic as similar to what we would nowadays consider a work of dystopian fiction, ala 1984 or Brave New World (the society in the latter certainly has some things in common with the society described in The Republic). Since he said this without much by way of elaboration, I can’t say what his arguments for that interpretation are.

      1. Stick'em

        Thanks to everyone for giving takes on Popper, Plato, and authoritarianism. Am now reading this paper called Plato’s Noble Lie in which the different takes of Popper, Levi Strauss, and John Rawls are considered on the subject.

  11. Tom Stone

    The World may be going hell in a handbasket but I have a King Snake visiting my yard and it cheered me up considerably.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      About two weeks ago, I saw a cottontail bunny hopping down a pretty busy street in front of the house (it’s way set back due to being on a ridge above the corner; the ‘hood is super suburban looking but all the locals know these two streets are a shortcut between two busier streets…..).

      I’d never seen a cottontail before and they really do have little white cotton ball tails. And no one I know here has ever seen one. This is a lesser version of the coyote who made his way into in Manhattan years back.

      I did my good deed and went out into the street to chase him off the tarmac into a yard.

      Also have been seeing fireflies in the evening which I normally enjoy but sort of sad because fewer than as recent as last year.

      1. Jason Boxman

        Last year the field down the street was filled with hundreds of them at night; They actually extend all along the tree lines where Johnathan Creek runs, and all up through the golf course. They seem to like the moisture. Years before that, there was one small yard in Somerville that had just the right mix of vegetation, and we had fireflies in the city. Never expected that. Probably 2019.

      2. skk

        Ahh yes, fun memories of sitting in a back yard on a very hot, humid, late night near Atlanta with two very young kids running around with jars shouting ” Lightning bugs, Lightning bugs”

    2. antidlc

      A few weeks ago I looked out the bedroom window and looked out into our fenced yard. There was a fox staring at me through the window. Scared the bezeesus out of me. We watched through the windows as it walked across the back porch and then went to the other side of the house and then left the yard. It turns out there was just enough room for it to get in/out under the gate.

    3. wol

      Congratulations! Two days ago I thought I saw a small copperhead and closer inspection revealed it to be an Eastern Fence Lizard. I haven’t seen one here for two decades. They used to be plentiful.

      1. anahuna

        A couple of weeks ago, while strolling along a path that borders Brooklyn’s Gowanus Canal, I saw a flash of white in the sky, which turned out to be, when it settled on a tree next to the Third Street bridge, an egret.
        There it stayed for a while, unperturbed by traffic and by my sneaking closer to it.

        1. vegasmike

          When I lived in Brooklyn, I often saw egrets in Marine Park. This was back in the 80s.

    4. LawnDart

      I have a new, slithery-friend as well. For years, mice have been the bane of my existence: they eat my food, poop in the pantry, and don’t pay rent. Last winter, for the first time, I saw none– not a one! Come early spring, I surprised a 3’er of reptile sunning itself only feet from my door, slithering away quickly towards the gopher condos– mostly buried construction debris pushed towards the headwaters of a spring out back. I was very pleased: mi casa, su casa, Mr. Reptile.

      1. square coats

        I had a similar experience last week on a much smaller scale. I went out to sit on the front porch and saw a rather furry spider about the size (including legs) of a nickel stopped mid crawl across a windowsill. I moved my chair a bit away to give the gal her space and when I looked over a few minutes later she was skillfully stalking an ant crawling up the doorframe. Next I looked she’d caught it in her mouth! I whispered to her “good job, spider!” and fervently hope she makes the porch her long-term home (I hate ants)!

  12. The Rev Kev

    “Serbia’s president warns oil imports from Russia could come to a halt in Nov”

    Serbia’s President is having a tough slog at the moment. A few days ago German Chancellor Olaf Scholz went to meet him and demanded that Serbia adopt the EU sanctions packages but Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic had to tell him that that is not going to happen. Blind Freddy can see that these sanction do nothing to Russia but do succeed in blowing up the economies of the countries doing the sanctioning so what is the point? Why should Serbia destroy their economy for what, the gratitude of Chancellor Scholz?

    Serbia maybe playing a longer game here. They say that oil imports may end in November but that is a long, long time from now. Almost certainly the NATO/Russia will have finished its military phase but more to the point, all those EU countries will have their economies slowly grind to a halt. Already a few countries have been destabilized and when the winter weather starts and people start freezing, all bets are off. So perhaps Serbia is calculating that by then the EU will have to relent on oil/gas sanctions which will make it unnecessary for Serbia to have to be concerned about their oil supply.

    1. LawnDart

      I don’t know if it will be over, in military terms, by Winter: the Russians still must capture Odessa (home of the Azov post-coup bbq) if for nothing else, to sate the desires of Russian public opinion. From my limited knowledge, that looks to be Mariupol X 10, especially considering that it was one of the first hotspots to be heavily-reenforced by Kyiv, and that preparations for defense/siege continue to this day.

      Sure, the Russians could level it, but it’s full of friendlies/human shields, and to this point, that’s not the Russian’s style– so more long, painful and drawn-out surgery is coming due.

      1. Polar Socialist

        There’s a good chance that by September Ukraine doesn’t have an army left to defend any city with. Even by their own numbers they will loose around 42,000 men more by then. More realistic estimate of irrevocable total losses after 150 days of war would be more than they started the war with.

        They are already allegedly shooting their own, so we can only guess how low the morale will be in a month an a half.

        1. Louis Fyne

          every more important than losing cannon fodder, it is a reasonable assumption that Ukraine has no coherent junior officer corps or NCO enlisted soldiers.

          Those two are the backbone for any army; without competent lieutenants and sergeants, all you have are a bunch of armed guys against experienced Russian/Donbas soldiers

  13. Tom Stone

    That tweed by Bob Wachter is significant because He and his Wife are movers and shakers in SF society, They are very much a part of the Aristocratic wing of the California Democratic Party.

  14. bassmule

    Elon The Pioneer: His customers get the arrows in the back.

    “ETROIT (AP) — Tesla reported 273 crashes involving partially automated driver-assist systems, according to statistics about the industry released by U.S. safety regulators on Wednesday.

    The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration cautioned against using the numbers to compare automakers, saying it didn’t weight them by the number of vehicles from each manufacturer that use the systems, or how many miles those vehicles traveled.

    Automakers reported crashes to the agency from July of last year through May 15. Tesla’s crashes happened while vehicles were using Autopilot, “Full Self-Driving,” Traffic Aware Cruise Control, or other driver-assist systems that have some control over speed and steering. The company has about 830,000 vehicles with the systems on the road.

    The next closest of a dozen automakers that reported crashes was Honda, with 90, but Honda says it has about six million vehicles on U.S. roads with such systems. Subaru was next with 10, and all other automakers reported five or fewer.”

    US Report: 273 Teslas With Automated Driving Systems Crashed

  15. Lex

    I feel like this Foreign Affairs piece was linked here already but it’s stunning.

    “Looking at the big picture, however, things look less than rosy for Moscow. The list of Ukraine’s military achievements is long and getting longer. Ukrainian forces won the battle of Kyiv; successfully defended the southern city of Mykolaiv, keeping Odessa out of reach for the invading armies, at least for the time being; and prevailed in the battle of Kharkiv, a city right across from the Russian border. Russia’s recent gains pale in comparison. And unlike the Kremlin, the government in Kyiv has a clear strategic purpose, buttressed by excellent morale and widening assistance from abroad.”

    It doesn’t get any better as the article goes on. I had to look up the authors (Liana Fix and Michael Kimmage) and they’re the pretty standard “Russia experts” of modern, western foreign policy. It’s no wonder that we keep stepping on rakes.

    1. OnceWereVirologist

      It’s all part of the effort to convince the average Westerner that we’re not egging the Ukrainians on to fight the Russians to the last able-bodied Ukrainian and that such a policy isn’t as morally depraved as it first appears.

      1. Kylie

        Linked from that great find,
        Why the West Lusts After Ukraine thanks N.C.!

        “This confiscation of private Russian accounts and assets on the theory that their country is doing something that offends another is the complete collapse of civilization and it appears to be just getting started as we head into this ominous target of 2032. If we just look at Europe, savers and investors have been abused with negative interest rates since 2014, the assets have been devalued for years, and now with inflation of over 7% in Europe, there is complete drastic destruction of European capital.

        The wise have been pouring money out into anything tangible. Everything from collectible cars to art, antiques, coins, and stamps have been rising. A gold Aureus of Brutus with a hole that had previously sold for under $100,000, was just sold for 2,200,000 CHF! A Mercedes Gullwing brought $142 million.”

    2. Louis Fyne

      — successfully defended the southern city of Mykolaiv, keeping Odessa out of reach for the invading armies, at least for the time being; and prevailed in the battle of Kharkiv, —

      Someone needs to ask the writer to re-visit their article around Labor Day

  16. The Rev Kev

    “Entire Sydney suburbs plunged into darkness as more power outages loom”

    Yeah, Oz is an energy rich country with coal, gas, oil – the lot. And yet we have this cluster**** on the east coast. So from what I can see, the reason for all this is, wait for it – market forces. Electricity was deregulated decades ago and the energy market was allowed to run free. And in doing so, it has now become necessary for the energy regulator to impose total national control of the electricity grid as it all blew up. We have a very cold snap at the moment because air from Antarctica is reaching up the east coast, you have some coal plants down for maintenance but worse was that on the east coast, there was a spot market for energy prices that was updated every five minutes. So though the energy was created here, the set up was that we had to compete with world prices so that we could use it lest it be exported. Yeah, good way to crunch your own economy. Apparently Western Australia never went along with this approach so they don’t have this problem. Meanwhile the new Coalition opposition and their media lackeys are blaming – renewable energy! No, seriously. You have all these opinion pieces saying that renewables would have made it much worse when the fact is that it was unfettered market greed which caused it. Gee, even I can fix this problem. So the local energy market has to supply enough energy to the country at a set price. That which is left over they can sell for whatever they want. Problem solved.

    1. Jeff W

      “Meanwhile the new Coalition opposition and their media lackeys are blaming – renewable energy! No, seriously.”

      Not all that surprising. It’s the same playbook used by “[f]ossil-fuel industry groups and elected officials across the country [the US, that is]” in claiming falsely that renewables were the source of the problem in the “devastating failure of the electricity system and about 250 deaths” in Texas in February, 2021.

    2. Vandemonian

      The market is set up so that the regulator (AEMO) can cap prices if they get too high. Energy producers are then subsidised by the regulator so that they’re not operating at a loss.

      However, if the energy producer stops generating electricity, and is then instructed by the regulator to re-start, they receive a larger subsidy, and make more money. Hence, the government regulator operates in a way that encourages energy producers to shut down when the market is tight.

      A perfect example of a neoliberal rort, set up by the previous tight-wing government to benefit their dodgy mates.

  17. The Rev Kev

    “DC shifts to damage control as Ukraine defense fades”

    ‘One possible outcome: a Korean-style armistice, with a line between East and West Ukraine but no peace treaty’

    And with that line I gave up on that article. It’s not going to happen. Ever. The Russians have spent too much blood and treasure to just go back to the way that things were at the beginning of the year but with the border further east. NATO has already said that when the war is over, they want to flood the Ukraine with weapons and turning it basically into another North Korea – but with less competent leadership. Right now, the Ukraine is in the fight of their lives so what do they do? Launch artillery barrages on the civilian city of Donetsk and this includes some of those 155mm Howitzers that the west sent them. So under this article proposal, it would still keep on happening but to other captured cities like Kherson. No, an armistice will not work as the word of the Zelensky regime is worth nothing – as is that of NATO. Time is on the Russian’s side so they are going to do the job right and make sure that the Ukraine cannot again be turned into a weapon aimed against them.

    1. Art_DogCT

      I think the more apt analogy would be Ukraine as South Korea, with respect to world power blocks. ROK was founded in a different time and has managed to stay, from an imperial perspective, more ‘stable’ than post-1991 Ukraine ever had a hope of becoming. The south has been exceptionally fractious in electoral politics, never far from far-right military intervention in government, and has form, as they say, for brutal repression of domestic political parties and civilians in general. Ukraine came into the orbit of imperial predatory neoliberalism in the era of world scale looting of productive capacity and natural resources. The task at hand was and is the pillaging of Ukraine, as opposed to the task the empire had when it imposed the ROK on the south. While initially just a frank garrison state, the compliant regime was more than willing to be made into one of the first beneficiaries of the deindustrialization of the US.

    1. bassmule

      I don’t think this is going to play out.

      “From 1999 –2000 through 2017 –March 2020, US obesity prevalence increased from 30.5% to 41.9%. During the same time, the prevalence of severe obesity increased from 4.7% to 9.2%.”

      CDC Adult Obesity Facts

      1. The Rev Kev

        It actually reminded me of ancient Greek triremes where one line of rowers had the buts of the rowers in the line above in their faces. Bad luck if the guy above you had wind and yes, this was mentioned in at least one ancient text.

    2. digi_owl

      I swear i recall some snarky jokes going round back when post-9/11 flight restrictions were fresh, that passengers would in the future be told to strip, dress in airline provided coveralls, sedated, and stacked like wood for maximum carrying capacity.

      Frankly with how obnoxious travel is becoming, i wonder if i should snub all family gatherings from here on out and conduct interactions over the net.

  18. Screwball

    Speaking of power outages; Massive power outage continues in Columbus area, leaving residents to struggle with heat – Columbus Dispatch


    More than 230,000 American Electric Power customers were without power Tuesday afternoon after intentional outages were conducted to protect the power grid, including outages affecting more than 169,000 in the Columbus area, according to the AEP outage map.

    From various reports this outage is in some of the “not so good” parts of Columbus, but I cannot confirm that – kind of – as I have family without power right now. They have been out since yesterday and are told it could be Saturday before they get it back. They live on a nice street but there are areas not far (a few blocks) that are not very good.

    So AEP just shuts off peoples electric, selectively, during the highest temps we’ve seen this summer. Incredible, but not surprising.

    In other news, many Tweets this morning saying the administration to ask for more money for war toys to Ukraine. Up to 1bn.


  19. Wukchumni

    Bitcoin’s Unrelenting Selloff Puts Prices on Verge of $20,000 Bloomberg
    Experts agree that $19,983.42 is a key resistance level and should the time honored investment dip below that number, $17,468.37 will be the new level of support until $14,373.28 comes calling.

    Buoy the dip, cryptocurrency advocates all agree…

  20. Del

    “U.S. Supreme Court insulates federal agents from accountability”

    And what did Cliven Bundy’s followers have, that the government is desperate to take away from Americans?

  21. Mel

    Re Schneier’s note on the Tesla key cards:
    It smells like the kind of thing developers put in so they can test their new feature in the absence of some prerequisite feature that isn’t finished yet.
    The the car goes into production and “Omigosh! Nobody took that out!”

  22. Wukchumni

    Seeing as it was mostly young adults playing cryptocurrency, will they be filling all those job openings as the plunge continues on eventually to nadir?

  23. jr

    Had to order 5.50$ worth of equipment for work today. I chose ground shipping. Total shipping cost came to 16$ from Pennsylvania to New York. Unreal.

  24. Jason Boxman

    Justice Neil Gorsuch, who wrote a concurring opinion that in fact urges making it impossible to sue federal officers, said candidly that “the Court’s real messages run deeper than its case-specific analysis” (Justice Clarence Thomas has also said that he would close court doors to lawsuits against federal officials altogether).

    I didn’t realize Originalism was compatible with a police state. But maybe I don’t understand our Founding documents correctly.

  25. David

    The map reproduced above refers to one of the least-publicised aspects of WW2: the degree to which the invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941 was considered an anti-communist “crusade” by very large numbers of western governments. The idea that this was an international effort was central to German propaganda about the invasion, which it presented as a preemptive defence of western civilisation against the Bolshevik hordes.

    More importantly, as well as formed contingents from countries like Italy, Finland and Romania, and large volunteer units from Spain, there were hundreds of thousands of volunteers (and sometimes also local conscripts) in the Wehrmacht and hundreds of thousands more in the Waffen SS.

    It’s hard to tell whether this particular poster was produced by the French Vichy regime or the German occupiers, but it may well be the former, since Vichy was unequivocally on the side of the Germans in this conflict, though they sensibly never deployed forces there. But there was an all-volunteer unit called the Légion des volontaries français contre le bolchevisme recruited from extreme right-wing Nazi sympathisers. Amusingly, when I looked them up on Google to see if I could find any similar examples, most of the results were about Ukraine ….

    1. Lex

      While much is made about SS Galicia, there were more than a few other SS units formed from volunteers of Europe. Of course being SS comes with certain historical reputations, though whether earned or not was more individual. All foreign fighters for Germany had to be SS because they weren’t Germans and only Germans could serve in the Wehrmacht. The Ukrainians did manage to negotiate their priests being enlisted too, which was atypical.

      The less organized volunteers were usually the most violent. Whether they were nominally working for Germany as anti-partisan forces or accepted into the camp SS groupings. Grossman’s original essay about Treblinka contained the detail that of the 250 SS guards, only 50 were German and the rest were Ukrainian volunteers. The ethnicity of those 200 was suppressed by Stalin so as to not foment inter-ethnic conflict post-war.

      1. Polar Socialist

        I believe the main point about SS Galicia is that the Ukrainian untermensch from Galicia were deemed by Nazis as a trustworthy ally in their all-encompassing hatred of Slavs, Jews and communists.

        The Wehrmacht used a lot of Hilfswilligers, so foreigners as cannon fodder or death squads was not a big issue for them.

        1. Lex

          Indeed. I may be biased, but it’s always seemed like the Nazis looked at the Ukrainians and said, “Fine, your the least untermenschen of the untermenschen.” And the Ukrainians took that to mean that they were also Aryans. They didn’t form Galicia until 1943, so I’ve always assumed it was less trust than desperation.

    2. Polar Socialist

      Finnish forces were never under German control, even though Finland provided about as much forces as all the German satellites put together and held (or helped to hold) 1/3 of the front.

      Or maybe it was exactly because of this that both Wehrmacht and Auswärtige Amt treated Finland as equal and not as a satellite. While Finland fought for it’s own operative and strategic goals, it’s participation helped the German war effort to a great extent.

      While some in the Finnish elite and officer corps did see themselves as part of the crusade and guarding the western civilization, more common attitude among the troops was at first the justified recapture of occupied areas but after crossing the old border an uneasy feeling of a plundering raid.

      1. Roland

        Finland fielded far fewer troops, and suffered far fewer losses, than Romania or Hungary.

        An important reason why Finnish forces enjoyed greater operational autonomy was that for most of the war, they fought on a secondary and relatively quiet sector of the Eastern Front. Italian, Romanian, and Hungarian armies on the Eastern Front were operationally subordinated to German command because they fought in conjunction with large German forces in some enormous, pivotal battles.

        Hungary alone suffered heavier casualties in just three months during the Stalingrad defeat than Finland lost in the entire war. Romanian losses during those same months were a lot heavier than Hungary’s. n.b. Stalingrad is best known for the annihilation of the German Sixth Army, but it was really the writing-off of a total of six Axis armies: German 6th & 4th Pz, Rumanian 3rd & 4th, Hungarian 2nd, and Italian 8th.

        I’m not trying belittle Finland’s impressive military and industrial performance during their wars against the USSR. But we do have see that performance in its correct proportions. Roadless boreal regions do not count as much as crucial bridgeheads on the Don. The Finnish army never got hit by something like “Little Saturn.”

    3. The Rev Kev

      Talked with a German combat vet once who served on the eastern front and he made the point that there were seventy nations fighting there which made it sound like some sort of crusade. I really think that we don’t know very much about this part of the war as for us, it is all about “Saving Private Ryan.”

      1. digi_owl

        Yeah that many a nation before WW2 had various eugenics programs going, that included forced/clandestine sterilization of undesired groups, is not much talk about unless the issue of restitution reach the courts.

        And if not for Poland, i suspect France and UK would have been happy to see the Axis and USSR duke it out (hopefully with the latter being utterly destroyed). And even then they hoped to redirect the fighting to anywhere but France.

        But after the war, and with FDR dead, USSR and communism in general returned to being the greater fear now that the worst excesses of fascism had been subdued.

    4. Bazarov

      If I remember correctly, one of the interviewees (the younger guy with the glasses who walked around smoking) in “The Sorrow and the Pity” was a veteran of the Légion des volontaries français contre le bolchevisme.

  26. RobertC

    New Not-So-Cold War

    Indian diplomat (retired) M. K. Bhadrakumar wanders around topics anent Turkey as NATO runs into multipolar world order then closes with this bombshell:

    …It is against this backdrop of a bruising run-in with the emergent multipolar world order that two back-to-back meetings are due today and tomorrow at Brussels — the so-called Ramstein format to be chaired by US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and the NATO defence chiefs’ meeting. The choice before NATO is whether or not to ramp up heavy armament supplies to Kiev.

    In particular, there is a pending American proposal for establishing a “no-fly” zone over Western Ukraine with the help of NATO air forces that could be used for large-scale supplies from the EU and the US. The idea has been in limbo due to the perceived risk of a direct conflict with Russia. But the US cannot afford NATO to be rendered ineffectual.

    What could go wrong? Well there’s the Special Operations C-130 Hits Target With A ‘Rapid Dragon’ Pallet-Dropped Cruise Missile Rapid Dragon is intended to offer a way to quickly turn cargo planes into launch platforms for cruise missiles and potentially other payloads.

    As it pops up on Russian’s radars, is it carrying medical supplies or

    …variants of the stealthy AGM-158 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM) family, which includes the AGM-158C Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM), as well as a novel design called the Cargo Launch Expendable Air Vehicles with Extended Range, or CLEAVER.

    Only one way to find out for sure…and now the NATO/Russia war begins.

    So which European country wants to base the “no-fly-zone” fighters or the “unarmed” cargo planes at the risk of Russian retaliation?

    While US cities are safely on the other side of the Atlantic.

  27. RobertC


    Failure to thrive Will IPEF Help the US Counter China? It is uncertain whether the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework can succeed in reshaping China’s economic influence in Asia.

    The framework indicates Biden’s hunger for greater U.S. economic engagement in this region, but lacks a positive vision of inclusive economic cooperation. The agreements will ask participators to adjust their economies in lines with a range of new rules on clean energy, taxes, data protection etc. without offering increased market access in return. James Crabtree of Singapore’s International Institute for Strategic Studies argued that IPEF amounts to an “all-pain, no gain economic deal” for Southeast Asian countries.

  28. RobertC

    Mike Pompeo is campaigning for his next job with China and Economic Security in the Shadow of Ukraine We must act without delay, for Beijing is an aggressor of similar malevolence to that which Ronald Reagan vanquished, but of greater might across the spectrum of power.

    During my tenure as Secretary of State, America’s conduct of foreign policy was based upon four principles:

    ++ the dignity of the individual,
    ++ fairness,
    ++ absolute candor,
    ++ and reciprocity.

    He’s a smart guy good at what he does and I expect him at the front of the line in 2024.

    This is NOT an endorsement.

    1. Skippy

      Sounds like the same propaganda used to justify endless wars and military adventurism which then is used to remove all government social goods so MIC et al can have more funding all whilst the unwashed can eat exceptionalism fries 3 times a day ….

      Back in the 80s in Calif I used to have a parody T-shirt which was designed like a concert tour T-shirt based on Adolf’s WWII world tour … complete with the tour scheduled on the back side – including the canceled gigs … think I should make my own for this “New American Century” tour …

      Sigh …. its probably a lot like a guy I knew back in the same day that made mad money running the promotional/F&B side of big concerts back in the day … all of which was just a front for drug trade and distribution … house in Maui, Snow Mass [Aspen lol], Apt in Manhattan/Westwood L.A, left a new Merc at L.A. Train Station, and the – only thing – that ever scared him was his BMW M1 … knew it would kill him with his lifestyle and move it on …

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