Links 6/17/2022

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.

* * *

Invasive Green Crabs Turned Into Whiskey By Tamworth Distilling Forbes (Re Silc).

Post-Lehman Path Makes a Case for Buying the Rout John Authers, Bloomberg

Ever Given insurance claims could exceed US$2 billion Container News

Musk offers billion-user vision but few details to Twitter staff Agence France Presse

Leaked Internal Slack Messages Show Twitter Employees Reaction to Elon Musk’s #TwitterAllHands Call (video) Project Veritas


Baby formula production at Abbott plant delayed after flooding from severe storms CNN

Climate Change Threatening Industrial Facilities Along Lake Michigan Indiana Environmental Reporter

Nepal to move Everest base camp from melting glacier BBC

* * *

Greenwashed: Electric Pickup Trucks Are Dirtier Than You Think The Drive

Car Shoppers Seeking More Fuel-Efficient Vehicles Come Up Empty WSJ

Tesla Won’t Stop Catching Fire Weeks After Crash Manufacturing. The deck: “They decided to drown it.”


WTO Nations Agree to Ease Patent Rights to Boost Covid-19 Vaccine Supplies in Poorer Nations WSJ

New WTO Text Wouldn’t Improve COVID Vaccine Access, Excludes Treatments, and Even Adds New Limits to Existing WTO Flexibilities Allowing Production of Drugs Without Patent Holder Permission Rethink Trade. Lori Wallach, now at American Economic Liberties (which speaks well of them).

* * *

Immune boosting by B.1.1.529 (Omicron) depends on previous SARS-CoV-2 exposure Science. At the end of the Discussion: “In summary, these studies have shown that the high global prevalence of B.1.1.529 (Omicron) infections and reinfections likely reflects considerable subversion of immune recognition at both the B, T cell, antibody binding and nAb level, although with considerable differential modulation through immune imprinting. Some imprinted combinations, such as infection during the Wuhan Hu-1 and Omicron waves, confer particularly impaired responses.” Well, so much for herd immunity. Natural immunity, too.

COVID and smell loss: answers begin to emerge Nature. “Unlike COVID-19 vaccines, which were tested at unprecedented speed because of tremendous government support, treatments for post-COVID chemosensory dysfunction are plodding along.” Well, it’s only brain damage. Nature cites to this study, among others–

SARS-CoV-2 is associated with changes in brain structure in UK Biobank Nature (belated hat tip, LawnDart). n = 975. From the Abstract: “The participants who were infected with SARS-CoV-2 also showed on average a greater cognitive decline between the two time points [(two brain imaging tests 141 days apart). Importantly, these imaging and cognitive longitudinal effects were still observed after excluding the 15 patients who had been hospitalised. These mainly limbic brain imaging results may be the in vivo hallmarks of a degenerative spread of the disease through olfactory pathways, of neuroinflammatory events, or of the loss of sensory input due to anosmia. Whether this deleterious effect can be partially reversed, or whether these effects will persist in the long term, remains to be investigated with additional follow-up.”

* * *

Hawaii and Maine have scored highest on health care during pandemic Bangor Daily News


Chinese Slowdown Pushes Youth Unemployment to New Highs WSJ

China’s Newest Aircraft Carrier Shows Xi Jinping Catching Up With US Bloomberg. Having bought the piano, China must learn to play it.

China bank protest stopped by health codes turning red, depositors say Reuters


The Myanmar Opposition’s Message to ASEAN Defense Ministers: We Will Prevail The Diplomat

When Think-Tanks Get Terrorism Wrong: The IEP and Myanmar The Irrawaddy


Lord Geidt quits as Boris Johnson’s ethics adviser BBC. BoJo does seem to go through ethics advisors rather rapidly:

“This request has placed me in an impossible and odious position.”

UK to Kill ‘Irritating’ Cookie Pop-Ups in Brexit Data Plan Bloomberg. Sunlit uplands.

Pensions: Millions receive wrong amount ‘for decades’ BBC

* * *

Something Extraordinary Is Happening in France NYT. Perhaps our readers in France will share their views.

Eurogroup green-lights Greek exit from enhanced surveillance Ekathimerini. Commentary:

New Not-So-Cold War

European leaders back Ukraine’s bid to apply for EU membership FT

France’s Macron says up to Ukraine to decide on potential territorial concessions Reuters

* * *

Ukraine says it hit Russian tugboat with two Harpoon missiles Reuters

Two US Vets Reportedly Captured by Russian Troops in Ukraine as Families Scramble to Learn More “Drueke was a ‘chemical operations specialist’ with a deployment to Iraq and one to Kuwait.” Oh.

* * *

Romanian port becomes key transit hub for Ukrainian grain Al Jazeera

Nation With No Refinery Is Shipping Fuel to Biggest Oil Exporter Bloomberg

Google’s Russian subsidiary submits bankruptcy declaration -Ifax Reuters

* * *

Germany’s New Resolve on Russia Is Already Flagging Foreign Policy. Personally, I think Merkel was right. Is integrating Russia and Europe commercially through Nordstream such a bad idea? Especially when the alternative is being a satrapy of the United States, and worse, a United States run by lunatic, agreement-incapable Atlanticist goons?

Biden Administration

Transcript of AP interview with President Joe Biden AP

Stopping inflation is going to hurt Vox

Pentagon official says Beijing ‘act of aggression’ against Taiwan will draw response like Russia has seen South China Morning Post. Don’t encourage them.

Supply Chain

Argentina’s wheat export quota cut by 31% for 2022/23 marketing year Hellenic Shipping News

The Irreplaceable London Review of Books. Palm oil.

The Bezzle

Musk, Tesla, SpaceX Are Sued for Alleged Dogecoin Pyramid Scheme Bloomberg

Bitcoin miners stung as fallout from price collapse widens FT


A new study claims Medicare-for-all could have saved more than 200,000 lives during the pandemic Vox

The high price society pays for social media FT


Troops suffer thoughts and prayers shortage in wake of mass shootings Duffel Blog

The big idea: could the greatest works of literature be undiscovered? Guardian

In Defense of Polonius JSTOR

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. Safety First

    Probably not link-worthy, but Priti Patel just signed the extradition order for Julian Assange. I am guessing there will be responses from the “non-systemic opposition” community forthcoming later today…

    …I do wonder how the US will play this. Quietly shuffle him off to prison for life, with maybe one or two quick blurbs on CNN here and there, or try to play the matter up like a new round of Mueller Report, Jan 6 hearings, whatever?

    Also, Putin is scheduled to speak at the Saint Petersburg World Economic Forum in about an hour – they pushed the speech from 14:00 to 15:00 Moscow Time because of, and I quote, “powerful DDOS attacks” against the forum’s website/webcast/whatever. I am guessing there will be much grist for the links tomorrow, but we shall see…

    1. JTMcPhee

      Maybe just terminate him with extreme prejudice en route, and to all the shouting ineffectual protests, as the Dark Gov so artlessly has done so many times before, just smirk and extend the middle finger and say “So what you gonna do about, midget?”

      There’s people in the Dark Gov, one can bet, whose careers are invested in impelling and delivering Assange to one of their pre-assigned hells. Never going to give up the plan, just a bunch of faceless gutless effing bullies…

    1. Basil Pesto

      I suspect it will drag on for some time yet. They will prob lose the High Court appeal at which point they will make an application to the European Court of Human Rights (for ECHR applications, domestic court appeal system needs to have been completely exhausted before an application can be made), which I think they would have a good chance of ultimately winning if it went to the Grand Chamber, which it should. I feel sure that ECHR jurisprudence is why Baraitser initially ruled as she did. They’ll presumably make the same argument as in the Abu Qatada case, an experience which humiliated Theresa May when she was Home Secretary.

      The dragging on of legal proceedings is part of the inhumane treatment, of course.

      1. Cocomaan

        To me, Assange had one chance to get clear of this, and that was during the Snowden period where the eye was on US intelligence. He should have announced he was leaving the embassy (where he was holed up at the time) and dared the authorities to stop him.

        1. ambrit

          From what we now know, Assange would not have survived any attempt to leave the embassy on his own. I can even see the present lot of ideologues ‘arrainging’ a mass traffic accident to take Assange out as he enters the public space, “collateral damage” be d—d.

      2. JohnA

        The dragging on of the proceedings is entirely the point. The US/UK regimes want Assange dead, either by his own hand, or via a stroke or similar. An actual show trial would be an embarrassment for them. He is apparently a shadow of who he was, has mental issues, phyisical issues, locked up 23+ hours a day. Poor food, little natural light, torture in other words. The prison staff even confiscate notes and drawings from his very young children, allegedly.
        And don’t forget that Pinochet, who during extradition proceedings from London to Spain, was housed in a luxury gated community and had the extradition refused for the sake of his health by a previous Tory government.

        1. Colonel Smithers

          Thank you, JohnA.

          Was it not Blair’s government pulling a fast one with regard to Pinochet?

          The UK owed Pinochet big time for Chile’s assistance in the Falklands war.

        2. Dr. John Carpenter

          Yep. I’m convinced if they wanted a trial, they’d have had a trial. They’re trying to run out the clock and they aren’t close enough to Epstein him yet.

      1. petal

        And from NH. You and the boys are in my thoughts. I lost a parent to cancer at 19. It makes your head spin. Very important to take time and digest everything. It takes as long as it takes.

    1. Big River Bandido

      Thank you, John. I just scanned the comments and yesterday’s Water Cooler for a news item that I missed but I don’t see anything. Is his wife okay?

        1. griffen

          Drats, fully regret not knowing this sooner since the more recent updates were of the hospice experience and the final stages of a cancer diagnosis.

          I’ll salute with a proper beverage this evening. Cold if possible. This is saddening even if one knows the time on earth is ending / has ended.

    2. LaRuse

      I feel that caring for someone to their last moments is the ultimate expression of love and care. I am glad we have Amfortas in our community and I wish him and the family peace and respite in the days ahead.

      1. juno mas

        Allow me to humbly second this expression of care and concern. Amfortas, please revel in the life you shared.

    3. Eclair

      Thank you, John, for the reminder and request. I missed reading links on June 13th and so missed the report of the death of Amfortas’ wife, only 48 years on this earth. So young. We can only hope that wise and lovely Amfortas will return to us when he is ready.

    4. John Zelnicker

      I also missed the sad news of Amfortas’ wife’s passing.

      May her memory be for a blessing. zi’iv

    5. wol

      I’m so sorry. I imagine him sitting outside at night listening to music through the speakers in the trees.

    6. Avalon Sparks

      So sorry Amfortas, you gave her the best support possible, she was very lucky to have you. I’m sorry life is so unfair. You and your boys are in my thoughts.

    7. PlutoniumKun

      I’m late to this, but god bless and godspeed to you and your family, Amfortis.

  2. SocalJimObjects

    I clicked on the following: Leaked Internal Slack Messages Show Twitter Employees Reaction to Elon Musk’s #TwitterAllHands Call and it appears the Youtube video has been taken down …..

    1. notabanker

      Works for me. If it is still a problem, go to any NYT article and read the comments, same thing. These people think they are the guardians of thought. The whole thing should be dismantled.

  3. Deb Schultz

    Reading the transcript of Biden’s AP interview was an exercise in stamina. I’m positive it alone had a negative impact on my mental health. The braggadocio, the grandpappy bonhomie, the blindness to the chasm between his view of the power of the position of President of the US and his inability to do a damn thing make reading this agony.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      The current dopey, optimistic routine out of the White House is just appalling. The country is falling apart, and he’s gone full “what me, worry?!”.

    2. griffen

      It occurred to me earlier this week, with inflation and then all this jawboning activity at the oil & gas industry. Absent the price increases and lack of real excess capacity in US refinery as a whole, the tone of his administration’s letter to these CEO was just an attempt to browbeat them to eat it and lose money.

      Not pretending that I care about the incredible profit margins for those companies, but where in the heck has this politician been the last 40 to 50 years? Oil prices and markets fluctuate. Sometimes low when these companies lose or exit the business. Does he not know or is just that clueless about this key industry functions? I get that they’re not consumer finance companies headquartered in DE. He just came across as beyond useless in what he expected from the oil and gas industry.

      Clueless. Absolute absurdity as real life theater.

    3. RobertC

      Deb — thanks for the health warning and the superb characterization. I didn’t have your stamina and bailed early before the pain became agony.

      China was lucky with Bush and Trump. Russia was lucky with Obama and Biden. I don’t think they’ll be needing any more luck from US presidents but looking forward to 2024 it appears we’ll be ready to accommodate them if they do.

    4. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Reading the transcript of Biden’s AP interview was an exercise in

      Biden on Ukraine:

      I made it clear with helping Ukraine, and organizing NATO to help Ukraine, that this was going to cost. There was going to be a price to pay for it. It was, this is not going to be cost-free, but we had, the option of doing nothing was worse. If he in fact moved into Ukraine, took hold of Ukraine, and Belarus, where it is, and he’s been a threat to NATO, all those things would have even been more dire.

      Then comes several paragraphs of domino theory. Maté comments:

  4. griffen

    Tesla vehicle fires and the scrap yard solution to finally bury it in a pool of water. These stories sorta remind of the varied scenes in Terminator 2, whereby the T1000 just could never be conquered by a mere mortal solution.

    Tesla evacuation procedure 1: crash burning electric vehicle into a nearby large body of water. Procedure 2, exit vehicle prior to doing so.

    Procedure 3, please complete all NDA and liability waiver documents \sarc

    1. solarjay

      These reoccurring fires are pretty normal with NMC lithium batteries.
      Most car wrecking yards, put all EV in an open space so nothing will catch fire when they reignite.

      I’ve also seen, but couldn’t find the link that some places actually have a “pool” that they drop the car in for hours, seems to do the trick, but of course the car is destroyed if the fire didn’t do it already.

  5. The Rev Kev

    “China’s Newest Aircraft Carrier Shows Xi Jinping Catching Up With US”

    ‘Having bought the piano, China must learn to play it.’

    Knowing that something has been done before solves a lot of problems in learning to cope with a new technology. And the Chinese have been using their first two carriers to shake down what problems need to be solved. Back during the First Cold War, the US Navy said that they could hand over one of their top carriers to the Russians right down to the chalk for the boards and it would still take them ten years how to properly use it. Through their hard work, I do not think that it will take the Chinese that long. Seems that the Chinese are determined to have a blue water navy so that they are not pinned down to their coastlines by naval warships from the US. NATO, AUKUS or whoever. And to modify a saying of mine, just because they are Chinese doesn’t mean that they aren’t any good-

    1. Carolinian

      Maybe the Chinese just like to build stuff. They must surely know that their aircraft carriers are vulnerable and out of date as ours are.

      There was a post here yesterday about the Russians using railroads–that 19th century institution–for their military and subsequent criticism from American “experts.” Meanwhile our Navy continues to build these retro monsters so that Tom Cruise can have something to make movies about.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        They will be useful to instruct the little countries in China’s maritime “near abroad” about how to behave regarding China. Those countries don’t have, and won’t have the missiles to kill a carrier.

        So Chinese carriers will simply be colonial imperial carriers. They won’t be meant for Korea or Japan which will pose a different problem requiring different slow strangulation approaches.

    2. johnherbiehancock

      I still don’t understand why they’d go through the expense of building and maintaining one when missiles have rendered large surface ships basically obsolete against any half-decent military force. And that’s been demonstrated since the 1967 Arab Israeli war, when the Egyptians sunk a Israeli destroyer with a couple speedboats and an anti-ship

      Where are they going to use them?

      1. Gawr Gura

        How many of the US’s client states have half decent navies? I thought what makes aircraft carriers obsolete was the hypersonic missiles that China and Russia have. Does the Philippines? Australia? Korea?

      2. The Rev Kev

        Carriers are for power projection. More to the point, having a coupla Chinese carrier task forces sailing around the Pacific will stretch western navies trying to cover them. Certainly the US Navy will get nervous if a Chinese task force sailed within striking range of Guam or Diego Garcia while they exercised their ‘freedom of navigation’ rights. So it is all about the Chinese not wanting their navy pinned against their coastlines.

      3. hunkerdown

        War isn’t about what you did once. War is about what you can do right now, on command. How are Egyptian speedboats going to make it within 100m of a destroyer today?

        The Belt and Road project has a leg down the Indo-Pacific as well as an East African maritime center along Kenya and Tanzania. How to bring home the resources without Smaug of Diego Garcia butting in? Friendly ports with roads to China are needed, to receive the goods and to base a carrier. And that’s why Pakistan is having drama right now.

  6. Ignacio

    RE: Immune boosting by B.1.1.529 (Omicron) depends on previous SARS-CoV-2 exposure Science. At the end of the Discussion: “In summary, these studies have shown that the high global prevalence of B.1.1.529 (Omicron) infections and reinfections likely reflects considerable subversion of immune recognition at both the B, T cell, antibody binding and nAb level, although with considerable differential modulation through immune imprinting. Some imprinted combinations, such as infection during the Wuhan Hu-1 and Omicron waves, confer particularly impaired responses.” Well, so much for herd immunity. Natural immunity, too.

    It is a pity that all subjects in the study had been all vaccinated with three boosts so it does not allow to evaluate the immune imprinting of vaccines against all VOC. It only evaluates immune imprinting by previous infections. If for instance, multiple vaccination had an effect on the immune response after Omicron infection, an “imprinting” that might result in higher susceptibility to Omicron re-infection. If this is so, (speculative) then the rate of omicron re-infection among the vaccinated and vaccinated+infected might increase with time relative to the unvaccinated uninfected + infected once with Omicron.

    If you can understand what I mean ;)

    1. ambrit

      that’s actually a scary thought.
      I get the feeling that the world’s health ‘authorities’ couldn’t have bungled this better if they had intended to.
      Stay safe!

  7. Noone from Nowheresville

    Off-topic question: My relies’ latest medical crisis has lead to a bad outcome in an admittedly already severe stage diagnosis. My fear is that the bad outcome is only a symptom of what’s going on. These last 4 months, all of the symptoms tagged chronic, unrelated to the severe stage diagnosis and therefore discarded as irrelevant to what’s going on, have been front and center in some shape or form during the body’s current crisis. Even with drugs to alleviate the pressure & pain, the chronic symptoms still persist in a state of numbness.

    Is there a way to get medical specialist professionals in a teaching hospital into zebra hunting mode? To get them to at least ask what if this crisis is a symptom of a larger whole. Or would it be better to try to convince the local rural GP to take another look?

  8. flora

    Another large food processing plant is destroyed. This one sells to large supermarket chains and Walmart.

    70 firefighters battle blaze at Festive Foods frozen pizza plant in Portage County, as Red Cross volunteers provide support

    How many large food processing plants have been destroyed by accidents or shut down this year?

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Cuts to federal inspections. Even though, they may not check for fire, hazards get cleaned up if someone is coming to check other issues.

      2. Mikel

        People are noticing.
        I’m not buying the excuse going around that food processing mishaps are common and nothing to see here.
        This many in a tighter time frame is something that should raise eyebrows.

        1. Skip Intro

          Two times is happenstance, 3 times is enemy action, 7 times is widespread PASC brain fog combined with neoliberal infrastructure looting.

    1. Wukchumni

      Frozen pizza factory catches fire…

      I always find mirth in stories such as this one which is tantamount of
      nadir hanging out with zenith on account of the extremes.

      I get the feeling with so many sources being wiped out that there’s an opportunity for Foodcoin, a stomach investment vehicle similar to the Snickers bar I had a year ago that was emblazoned with the words ‘Limited Edition’ on the wrapper and after half a dozen bites, it certainly was.

    2. Duke of Prunes

      I’m thinking it has more to do with the “great resignation”. The older employees who actually understand how the plants work (as opposed to how they’re supposed to work) have left the building. Now, the junior spreadsheet jockeys have taken over and things can rapidly get out of hand.

      I was speaking to a young industrial engineer the other day who was lamenting how people keep retiring and the company isn’t hiring anyone new, but rather giving him their responsibilities, but never bother to train him on their roles as “there’s no time for this”. Almost like these aren’t skilled positions…

        1. Bakes

          I often think we need a 21st Century version of Henry Ford. And yes, I well know how despicable he was in many facets of his life. So save your comments. I already know.

          But… once he identified a method for mass production of his “quadricycles”, he also realized he would require “mass customers”. And he did endeavor to create them. Maybe not perfectly. But then, who is?

          Just as I would have done a deal with Stalin to avert Hitler’s holocaust…

          Just as I would do a deal with Putin to avoid nuclear holocaust…

          I would do a deal with a 21st century Ford to restore the middle class.

  9. Victoria

    Something Extraordinary Is Happening in France NYT. My brother in law lives in France and there is a definite swing towards the unified left. People think well of Melenchon. And in France (which actually tries to educate its people), Macron can’t just jump up and down and scream “Ukraine!” and expect to impress anyone. That said, my personal observation: once again, the Left has managed to increase its power just as the West’s economy careens toward collapse, so that it will surely be blamed.

    1. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you, Victoria. One hopes and prays so, and hopes that NC’s French contingent, especially David, pipe up.

      I watched the France 2 news on Monday evening. There was a report about turn out amongst under 30s, including an interview with some students. The youngsters said the presidential election was the main, if not only, contest for them and were not / no longer paying attention.

      Melenchon was interviewed soon after and sounded exasperated by the young complaining about things, especially education and housing, but not turning up to vote for candidates who want to do something.

      It’s the same in the UK, BTW.

    2. David

      Today’s opinion polls, the last that will appear, show a slight swing back to Macron’s party. This is probably because NUPES, the electoral alliance headed by Mélenchon, was over-hyped, and some right-wing voters contemplating not voting if their candidates have already been knocked out, will be voting for Macron’s LREM to keep the Left out. In a 577-seat Chamber, a government needs 289 seats to have a bare majority. The latest projections by Ipsos, which is generally well-regarded here, put LREM and its allies at somewhere between 265-305 seats: ie, a reasonable chance of an absolute majority, but far from a guarantee. They put NUPES at between 160-210 seats, the Republicans (the traditional party of the Right) on only 60-80 seats, and Le Pen’s RN between 20-40. The last would be something of a breakthrough and enable to RN to form a proper parliamentary group, with access to funding and support.

      It’s important to understand that this doesn’t amount to a swing to the Left: the “Left” in the widest sense of the term, from Trotskyists to Greens have polled in the 25-30% range for some time now. The electoral alliance this time means that they are more likely to be able to translate this percentage into something like the equivalent number of seats. It’s unlikely that the parties will form a unified bloc in Parliament. The most likely result is that Macron’s alliance will have the largest number of seats but not a majority, and this will produce a political stalemate, at least in the short term. This possibility in itself is causing some voters to consider voting for Macron.

      But the actual result will be massively affected by abstentions (at a record level) by local factors and by all the different combinations of parties in the second round.

      1. Ignacio

        I think it is interesting to see that when a left party (in that wide sense you mention) becomes nothing but an artificially edulcorated version of the establishment or the Right (in wide sense) as it happened with the French PS, in times like this, dissolves in nada, disappears. Yet, historic precedents suggest that grand left alliances are not durable and these have yet to stay for long enough to convince some voters they are not lunatic fringes to be afraid of but serious contenders that want you “see the light” or realise the mistakes being made by the establishment. They must show united and don’t look like a hen house. Frequently difficult for the Left to do so.

      2. Bugs

        This is the first time I’ve felt any subjectivity in one of your comments here.

        I think we can count on the weather to predict this Sunday’s vote more than anything else. If the rain starts before 3PM, I think we’ll have an LREM massacre. If after, I think LFI has a good chance to meet the top of the predictions. The RN is going to definitely get a parliamentary group.

    3. JohnA

      Melenchon has announced that if elected PM, he will grant Assange French citizenship and a medal. Russia has stopped gas pipeline to France since Macron cuddled (literally) Zelensky in Kiev yesterday. The effects of this will be too delayed to cause A/C blackouts when much of France is in an upper 30s, 40 degree heatwave, however.

    4. ChrisRUEcon

      Thankful for all the local (France) contributors here. I am but a humble (election) tape watcher peering in from the outside, but I am hopeful if for no other reason that “the beast is wounded”, and I sense the presence of those with “steely knives”. They may not be able to kill it, but dear ${DEITY} yes, please … stopping its further advance is possible.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “Troops suffer thoughts and prayers shortage in wake of mass shootings”

    Well of course they are short of thoughts and prayers. Most of them have already been packed up and sent off to the Ukraine in a flight of Boeing C-17 Globemasters.

  11. Lex

    The drive link is weird. It’s all true and points to what we rarely talk about: for all the material engineering that has shaved potential weight from vehicles and could improve fuel efficiency, we’ve seen almost no gains since the 90’s because vehicles have just gotten bigger.

    On electric trucks, the market needs to be divided. The Lightening has a base price of $35K but that won’t get you the futuristic electric vehicle. In fact, it has the interior and dash of the base F-150 (a work truck). And the target market isn’t personal transport. What we’ll see is adoption of electric trucks for local fleets. Ford sells that base lightening with a home charger and software for fleet management that automates reimbursement for electricity. The reduced maintenance of electrics is a huge pro for fleet managers.

    Since a family member runs a testing lab for a major automaker, I can say confidently that the 150K mile number quoted in the article is when everything becomes a crap shoot, not as the article puts it just another day in the life of an ICE truck. 150 is the cutoff for destructive testing. All components need to make that; if the component significantly exceeds that it is re-engineered for cost savings. It’s not designed failure, just a practical cutoff.

    I’m not an electric car stan. But I do know that contractors are salivating over the power boost f-150 and even the lightening. Both allow ditching bringing a generator to the work site. (Maybe that should be counted towards emissions savings.) The power boost can run a fricking welding rig in the bed. The lightening also has the added bonus of a closed, lockable area for tools that isn’t in the bed.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      The comments on that article are interesting and informative, particularly with respect to battery production which is being done mostly in China using coal. Here’s one:

      80% of the bats Li comes from China, yes there are mines world wide, but the refining and distribution of the bat quality Li comes from china. China brings a new coal fired plant on line EVERY WEEK. One disturbing fact has recently come to light, if 50% of all cars World-Wide we suddenly EV’s, this would offset 10% of the pollution produced by china! The Politicos (taking $$$ from china) don’t seem to want to address this issue, but, will screw down on the American public to look woke, but mostly to get rich.

      And, while I usually skip videos, this 13-minute TED talk on the subject was linked and praised several times in those comments so I spent the time. It was well worth it.

      Everyone wants to be Tesla. These electric monster trucks are gimmicky in the great american tradition of salesmanship and “green” if you don’t look too hard, but, at this point, they’re anything but “clean” and “sustainable.”

    2. hunkerdown

      > In fact, it has the interior and dash of the base F-150 (a work truck)

      Threaten me with a good ride, will you.

      I’ll be interested to see how these electric pickups serve as snow pushers. An ex-landscaping guy once told me how plow trucks burn through transmissions. Apparently, the electric motor’s high torque at low speed is better suited to pushing snow around.

      1. TimH

        Do snow pushers have auto transmissions? The torque converter element is lossy to the cube or square of the torque multiplication, so going slow with heavy loads overheats the oil, even in freezy weather.

        1. hunkerdown

          I assume so. They are generally the same medium-heavy pickups used to haul landscaping gear and crew during the summer, with a blade and hydraulic actuators mounted on the front. I haven’t seen a manual transmission in a pickup since last millennium, and that was a Mazda.

  12. Ignacio

    So Ukraine might apply to EU membership, which means apply, not comply. To what end? Has this any political significance on the war? Let me think:
    – Pouring millions and millions more on a corrupt state and a lost and possibly fascist cause?
    – Introducing a fascist group in the europarliament?
    – Preventing any territorial claim, let us say of Poland in Galitzia? –Galicia is in Spain and Galitzia in Ukraine in my language–
    – If you are accepting exceptions in the EU, procedures might be broken and the EU is all about procedures. EU risks turning a hen house.

    1. DJG, Reality Czar

      Yep: Scholz, Macron, Draghi, and a whole gang of others in Ukraine.

      What is Zelensky’s appeal? He’s endlessly yammering for guns. Now he wants instant EU membership (although he claims to understand how long it will take to comply with the rules to be accepted).

      I don’t get the mentality. A bunch of jamokes show up and accept the most corrupt, poorest, most ravaged (and that was before the current conflict), and politically most dubious country in Europe into the EU?

      And Ursula von der Leyen promises to rebuild it, too?

      And when do they demand that he go into peace talks with Russia to salvage his EU application?

      This all may come back to bite them: I can’t see how it will go down well in domestic politics in most of Europe.

      1. MarkT

        Any publicity is good publicity, especially if it involves a “completely unprovoked” war which the commercial propaganda machine can use to press the emotional buttons of the masses.

      2. OIFVet

        In the meantime, Turkey is looking at this and thinking, “The EU threw up all kinds of barriers to prevent our application for membership.” Meaning, in the long-term a key NATO member is likely to look East and realign while causing havoc on the EU at will by turning the refugee spigot on and off at will. The stupidity of the EC and the key EU heads of state is breathtaking.

        Also too, look for trouble in Bulgaria next week. It is a Ukraine-in-the-EU preview in terns of what happens when a country is allowed to join the EU before it tackles its rule of law problems. The mafia is in the process of a effecting a rolling coup as we speak, and the Russian hand in bringing down the government is showing in some of the things going on. It’s going to be a massive headache for the EU as it will create a very unstable situation in the Balkans too, particularly in regards of EU’s wish to lift the Bulgarian veto on Macedonia’s ascension. It’s going to be a summer of street unrest here before potentially blowing up in winter as the price of our new US gas supply begins to be reflected in the heating bills.

      3. lance ringquist

        what ever you think of brexit, the U.K. can now chart their own course. right now they are being run by a idiot, but that may not always be the case.

        but if you lost your sovereignty to the fascist E.U., or any other free trade outrage, fascist idiots will always run you with no recourse. see greece.

        and under sovereignty like what mexico was given back by trump, now mexico gets to sue fascists corporations, not the other way around.

  13. BillS

    Re Germany’s resolve on Ukraine conflict (and Europe’s “resolve” in general): The blame cannons are being readied and aimed – especially on Italy, whose support of the sanctions was already weak and Italy is already easy to blame for “changing sides”. If the EU eventually abandons the USA-instigated Ukraine adventure (and I hope it does), the USA will conveniently project its facepalm fail onto those feckless and cowardly Europeans.

    1. DJG, Reality Czar

      BillS: I believe it was Marco Travaglio (among many others) who pointed out that Italy is not on the Atlantic. Italy is in the Mediterranean and has different interests. Likewise, many, many commentators, including some Italian semi-Atlanticists, are pointing out just how much U.S. interests diverge from European interests.

      U.S. projection is just something that we will all have to live with. As I remind my Italian friends not to make a habit of americanate, because americanate are undermining Italian culture.

      Maybe those great strategists who plunged into war (baying at the gates of Russia) could have noted that Italy has no energy supplies. It’s like Japan: No oil to speak of, a lousy gas field off Sicily, some coal mines. So the prospect of a 40 percent drop in natural gas supplies concentrates the minds of even Draghi, Letta, and Salvini.

      I’m sure that the Italian public, who saw through the posturing (except for the big newspapers and their lists of traitors) early on, will have to endure lecturing by those imbued with Northern European Moral Rectitude.

      And I don’t mean Pope Francis.

      It’s the lectures from Boris Johnson that are going to be highly amusing. And telling.

    1. jr

      It’s funny how the Right’s identity politics serve to consolidate their energies while on the synthetic Left’s identity politics serve to wreak chaos and dissension in their ranks. I think I’m going to buy Caleb Mauphin’s book about the synthetic Left. I want to dig into the roots of the manipulation of the Left:

      This is where “Cultural Marxism”, a contradiction in terms and therefore intellectual red meat to the Identitarians, got it’s start. It all flows back to the Congress of Cultural Freedom according to Mauphin, a CIA and oligarch backed effort to first attack the Soviet Union but which grew into a general assault on the Left. It is all intentional, although most of those causing the in-fighting and destruction are doubtless clueless to these objectives. For them it’s about careerism and liberal moral onanism.

      1. LifelongLib

        I don’t know enough about Marxism to have an opinion about it worth reading, but it does seem to me that the idea that average peasants/workers are too stupid/ignorant to know how to fix things on their own, and need leadership from the better educated i.e. middle class or above, is hardly unique to the U.S. after WW2. Looks like the CIA wasn’t so much sabotaging the Left from scratch as taking advantage of a strain of thought that was already there.

        1. jr

          I didn’t claim such sentiments are unique, but their crystallization under the banner of “Cultural Marxism” almost certainly arose from this period of synthetic Leftism or ensuing ones. (If dung can in fact crystallize.) And I suspect you would but need a cursory glance at Marx to see that “Cultural Marxism” merely purloined his name. I’m not very well read in Marx either but it’s intuitively obvious that a thinker who grounded his understanding of society in material conditions would have no time for a conception of his work that gave precedence to a nebulosity such as culture. Culture flows from material conditions for Marx, ergo there is no Marxism that ignores them. This smacks of an attempt to retain the “Lefty-ness” of Marx without the implicit critique of the economy of the West which is exactly what the Congress of Cultural Freedom was designed to do.

          I welcome any criticisms from real Marxists who care to comment. Now I have to go pray to the archangels. 😉

          1. marym

            Based on random comments here and there (no expertise) Cultural Marxism can refer both to an academic perspective and a catch-phrase for stuff the right doesn’t like in modern culture.

            I found this link with some history and critique that wasn’t at the same time a defense of itself by the cultural/identity oriented left against what the right says it is.

            It seems similar to Critical Race Theory as an academic approach and what we’ve seen recently in the right’s use of CRT as short-hand for whatever they don’t like about the history and legacy of racial issues, diversity initiatives, etc.

            1. jr

              “ a catch-phrase for stuff the right doesn’t like in modern culture.”

              Agreed, I see a lot of this usage on the Right-wing ‘tube channels I lurk on. The discussion, the terms, the players: everything that is popularly considered the Left decidedly is not. I think anon’ymouse said the other day a new term is needed, that may be true.

      2. Mel

        I didn’t think it was funny (as in odd, uncanny). Seemed to me to be opposite basic strategic attitudes. One side believes in concentrating power — monopoly, autocracy — the other side believes in distributing power — democracy, multipolarity.

  14. The Rev Kev

    “Romanian port becomes key transit hub for Ukrainian grain”

    This is an interesting article in that they go into the problems that had to be resolved, the logistics of the whole operation, behind the scenes look at what is involved in transporting all that grain but there seems to be a major omission. Not once does it mention where all those grain ships are headed for. I mean, once those ships clear the Dardanelles, where do they go exactly? Do any of them go to a country that is not in the EU? Inquiring minds want to know.

  15. H. Toin

    Chiming in on the NYT France article. It’s a surprisingly balanced picture of the situation and overall correct. The NUPES will probably not get a majority in Parliament because I’m not convinced participation will rise much from last Sunday, but the situation has certainly sparked a huge panic in the ranks of the Macron regime. Yes, we’ve got all the expletives : North Korea, Chavez, Putin-lover, ruin and desolation, Soviet tanks on the Champs-Elysées, etc. Macron even warned in his pre-Ukraine trip speech that the Republic was in danger, and that only a vote for his party could save it (the Democrat playbook).

    If the left do win a majority though, things are going to be very interesting and hard to predict, because it’ll be the first time that a left coalition takes power centred on its most radical party (France Unbowed). Every time a left coalition has won before, it was led by the neoliberal neoconservative Parti Socialiste, so Mélanchon as prime minister will certainly be a first in the Vth Republic. And Mélanchon makes Bernie Sanders look like a mild right-winger.
    On the other hand, the coalition will be one of compromise on a number of subjects, because there are a lot of topics where France Unbowed won’t have the votes of the other coalition members to pass their own ideas in legislation.
    So we’ll have better protection for workers, higher taxes for the rich, defence of public services, that kind of thing. But there won’t be a new position on the EU, a discussion of nuclear energy, or about NATO, because those topics would make the coalition explode.

    One thing though which will be up in the air. The article states that foreign policy is controlled by the president. This has been a tradition until now in past cohabitations, but it actually goes against the Constitution which states that the government (prime minister) is in charge of all decisions regarding all policies of the Republic (defence included). Previous times, the president and the prime minister, even though they weren’t of the same party, were in agreement on the EU, NATO, and such, so the tradition was established and held. This time it could get very heated because Macron and Mélanchon definitely don’t have the same vision of France’s role in the world and the conduct of its foreign policy. And maybe not because see the end of my second paragraph.

    1. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you.

      One hopes and prays so, and hopes that other members of NC’s France based contingent, especially David, pipe up.

      I watched the France 2 news on Monday evening. There was a report about turn out amongst under 30s, including an interview with some students. The youngsters said the presidential election was the main, if not only, contest for them and were not / no longer paying attention.

      Melenchon was interviewed soon after and sounded exasperated by the young complaining about things, especially education and housing, but not turning up to vote for candidates who want to do something.

      It’s the same in the UK, BTW.

      1. David

        See above, Colonel!
        This is entirely consistent with what the number-crunchers have been saying about turnout last Sunday. It was bad, but it was particularly awful among the 18-35 group, which is the one where support for LFI is highest.

        1. Skippy

          Wellie guys from my French friends [50+ yr] here in Oz with farm and crumbling ancestral land holdings back in France, working as small business owners or PMC they view Mélanchon as a lunatic …

          This is made even more absurd by the acknowledgement that Macron is a GS neoliberal poster boy, but hay my income streams from AirB&B or something about tall spires to the sky built way back thingy …

          Lmmao at story’s about AirB&B and recycling bins or temp of the farm cottage from tea bags et al …

    2. JTMcPhee

      Any readout on whether the yellow vest set will have any effect on this election? I read that most seem too disaffected and wary of central govt BS to even vote.

  16. Mikel

    “Post-Lehman Path Makes a Case for Buying the Rout” John Authers, Bloomberg

    Basically, there is no more certainty than there was from March 2020 to March 2021. Remember? They were saying the market rises because it is “forward looking”. Now fast forward and Covid and it’s associated issues are still a problem with all the other issues left festering.
    We’ll all see what that money grab by the 1% was all about soon enough…

    Meanwhile, the Fed “Fun” rate (why not call it “fun” instead of “fund”? A good time has been had by some…) is still low by historical standards. Wouldn’t that suggest that the biggest degenerates of gamblers in the markets and then people “buying” what they can’t really afford are the main ones being affected and shaken out by an interest rate rise that is still extremely low in the grand scheme of things?
    That may be the only “bull” case needed instead of the hopium about the larger state of the global economy.

    Just spitballin’…

    1. Reaville

      I like Authers, or at least I used to, when he had a frequent video on the Financial Times (?) that made sense to me. However, Authers is talking about a look back period when the Fed lowered interest rates and pumped liquidity into the financial system, causing stocks to rise sharply.

      In the new inflationary reality and future, low rates/QE should not happen again (not saying that the Fed might flip flop to go back to easing but inflation…) so Authers is not comparing like to like in terms of finance.

      Finally, and I am aware that I am being repetitive on this, we are in a limits to growth era where minerals, food, and energy are getting more expensive. Inflation from these rising cost categories is not that susceptible to Fed machinations. It will be with us for the rest of our lives.

      When the stock market realizes this, investors will reprice stocks lower due to lower earnings margins. In fact, “margins” are a catch-all phrase with many meanings in the current punditry. I think that some of the talking heads are aware and this is not bullish.

      1. chuck roast

        Well said, particularly about Authers. The fact that the financial pages have read like Crime Scene Confidential for the last 20 years seems to have entirely escaped him. But then again, maybe turning a blind eye has kept him employed these many years.

  17. Wukchumni

    Bitcoin miners stung as fallout from price collapse widens FT
    1,643 trapped in cave-in @ Bitcoin mines…

    As much as I can possibly mock Bitcoin I feel it isn’t really enough, but feel lucky to have witnessed something along the lines of the Mississippi bubble or South Sea bubble from the sidelines in complete safety from profit or loss, but I gotta tell you, I fear the repercussions to come from young adults who were a twinkle in their grandparents eyes when Dylan penned this line…

    When you ain’t got nothing, you got nothing to lose

    They’re used to raging using the machine, er going on social media and doing what they do, but will something more sinister be afoot when the saga of cryptocurrency goes away sort of like the giant fish you caught but slipped the line and all you can do to describe it is hold your arms apart at a long distance?

  18. LawnDart

    If this was already posted, I apologize for the redundancy; adding this to the pile:

    Studies find breakthrough SARS-CoV-2 Infections are more likely in cancer and Alzheimer’s patients

    Breakthrough COVID-19 cases resulting in infections, hospitalizations and deaths are significantly more likely in cancer and Alzheimer’s patients, according to two new studies from researchers at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.

    People within these diseases are often more susceptible to infection in general, the researchers explained, and are among the population’s most vulnerable to severe health outcomes from COVID-19 infections as well. The studies come as the U.S. total of COVID-19 deaths since the pandemic began surpassed 1 million.

      1. hunkerdown

        Not that the GM truck face shouldn’t be recalled as a public safety hazard and eyesore, but the religious overtones in these articles, suggesting we are sinners in the hands of an angry PMC, seem to be part of a larger trend in propagandizing the value of managerialism, and the narrative deserves fierce and scorching opposition.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > that eminence front was designed by a guy in Mumbai

        “Eminence Front” is a song by The Who, which seems thematically relevant:

        That’s a great link, too. The designer of the original GMC Sierra, which started the trend:

        “The front end was always the focal point. The rest of the truck is supporting what the rest of the truck is communicating… we spent a lot of time making sure that when you stand in front of this thing it looks like it’s going to come get you. It’s got that pissed-off feel, but not in a boyish way, still looking mature. It just had to have that imposing look,” explained the GM designer.


        “There’s something about the scale of a heavy duty truck. When you put a design theme on that scale, you have to keep it looking big. I think it’s quite easy to get caught up in nonsensical styling and kind of lose the point. But if you look at the GMC Sierra HD, it’s very purposeful. If you look at the body, it’s like the barrel of a gun, it’s got a very strong section through the doors, and powerful fenders… it does justice to that scale.”

        I hate those things. I’m right to hate them.

    1. Lex

      Brodozers. I drive a Ranger (company vehicle) and it’s non-American aspects are pretty striking even for a truck. I actually just went outside. It’s parked next to a slightly older F150 and a Yukon. The tallest hood point on the ranger is at about bicep level on me (5’9″) and there’s a pretty obvious slope at the front, so the “contact” edge with a pedestrian of my height would the midsection. Not ideal by a long shot. The F150 has a hood height of my shoulder and a contact point of just below that. The Yukon is a bit worse than the F150. Both trucks are 4×4 but on stock tires/wheels, etc.

      I assume the Ranger’s rating in the Eurorequirements, but it is sold in Europe and the front end shape/height may be dictated by that. I have no idea what Australia’s rules are like, but perhaps more similar to the Euro rules given that the Ranger is the Austrialian F150 and at least for the first generation it’s really the Australian truck. They didn’t even both to move the entry grab handle to the left side for US production.

    2. flora

      Ford used to make a nice, small, basic pickup. Think it’s the Ranger model. Japanese manufacturers also used to make even smaller, nice little trucks. Whatever happened to those? I’m not a contractor, don’t pull a big camper or boat, don’t need an extended cab with all the electronic bells whistles. A friend and I were talking about how those small pickup trucks have almost disappeared. My guess is the profit margins on the ‘mongo’ trucks are better for the manufactures. Ford has stopped making cars except for the Mustang model. (Wonder what $5 /gal gas will do to the big SUV/truck market. I expect to see a lot of relatively new, big SUVs and big pickups on the used car market soon.)

      1. hunkerdown

        A few months ago, in my nearby Ford storage lot, I saw a hundred or so 4-door pickups with tiny cargo beds about as long as wide. The crossover/SUV category might have almost eaten the sub-compact pickup truck.

        The Ford Courier was older still. I’ve got fleeting memories of winding mountain drives to and from town, me sitting between the grands on the bench seat.

        1. Jeotsu

          I have a 2004 Courier as a farm truck in NZ, and I love it.

          The Rangers, while still small by US comparisons, are way too big for conditions here (IMO). If I need more than my Courier’s flat deck, it is time for a trailer or renting a ‘real’ truck.

      2. JBird4049

        I have noticed that too. I had thoughts about buying one about a decade ago and even then I could not find any. I think that there is a market for them, but the manufacturers decided to stop producing them and switch to the more profitable monsters.

      3. LaRuse

        I drove a 1999 Ford Ranger for 14 years and it was a fantastic truck. Light, good gas mileage (for a truck), useful for my purposes, and crazy reliable. I recalled hearing when Ford said no more Rangers – they didn’t meet the “American demands in a pickup.” All I could think was they weren’t giant projections of a man’s reproductive organs, therefore not “American” enough. I wish I could have gotten one of the European Rangers with a diesel motor.
        Ford brought the “ranger” back to the US around 2018 and I recently spotted one. It’s nearly as big as my 2002 F-150, which is just ridiculous.

        1. Roland

          The 1997-2011 Rangers, the last true compact pickup sold in US and Canada, were not going to meet the latest collision safety requirements, and the sales didn’t justify developing a replacement.

          Ford also suspected people bought Rangers simply because they were inexpensive. Ford has been moving its product line upmarket.

          Foreign-made compact trucks are also kept out by various regulatory barriers. However, in Canada you can import almost anything over 15 years old. I notice a fair number of Japanese kei trucks in Vancouver nowadays. They just make so much sense–I envy foreigners who can still buy efficient, utilitarian vehicles.

      4. Tom Stone

        I still have my 2 WD ’98 Tacoma with 327K miles on it.
        I have someone ask me if it is for sale at least once a Month.

      5. Eclair

        Flora, my father-in-law drove Ranger pickups for years. I owned a nice little Chevy S-10 for 10 years when we lived in LA. Great for hauling bikes, but we ditched it when we moved to Denver, after spinning out in the I-25 in a snow-storm. Time for an all-wheel drive Subaru!

        Last night, after dinner and a beer at our local tap house here in Chautauqua County, NY, we stood in amazement in the parking lot, then circled around the shiniest, reddest, most ginormous Chevrolet Silverado turbo-diesel-powered 4 x 4, with …. dual rear wheels! The bumper was level with my chin (OK, I’m short) And side mirrors the size of a pier glass! Farm trucks around here are dusty, rusty, with owners probably not hanging out drinking beer this time of year. Peak planting, cultivation and haying time. A big fat finger at inflationary gas prices and the local environmentalists?

      6. heresy101

        If we can get the US government to stop blocking the entry and US production of BYD vehicles, I plan to buy a BYD pickup which is estimated to be the size of a Ranger or my Honda Ridgeline.
        BYD is the third or fourth largest battery manufacturer and it’s blade batteries don’t explode or catch on fire even if a nail is driven through them.
        They are going to add “vehicle to load” like the Ford F150E.
        Since they have very automated and low production costs, the electric pickup will likely be lower cost in 2023 than an ICE vehicle. Their Corolla equivalent EV sells for about $25,000.

        1. hunkerdown

          Look, if we stop setting people on fire in NMC battery ruptures, my cobalt mining futures go to zero, so I’m afraid the barbecue must continue. /s

  19. The Rev Kev

    “Two US Vets Reportedly Captured by Russian Troops in Ukraine as Families Scramble to Learn More”

    There will be a lot more of these guys getting captured before long. There must be at a minimum of several hundred Americans, British and Canadians fighting in the Ukraine and I have seen videos of them fighting. But there was something that I wondered about the other day. The Russians have taken the city of Severodonetsk except for the Azot chemical plant where Ukrainian soldiers are holed up along with the obligatory civilian shield. Point is, during the fighting the Ukrainians sent their International Legion there to fight for the city. So what if a lot of these guys are at that chemical plant and are fully aware of their dodgy prisoner status? Lavrov has already re-stated that mercs will be tried as such so being part of the Ukrainian army won’t help them-

    1. Michael Ismoe

      On the bright side, that’s two less gun totters going to the Pride Parade in Idaho

    2. Skip Intro

      Apparently a corridor was opened to allow some surrenders, and the nazi nationalist enforcers showed up in time to shoot their surrendering compatriots. I imagine that will either increase the troops’ resolve, or remind them of the importance of fragging their political officers first.

    3. David

      The strange thing about all of this is that neither the Russians nor their allies have never said what the British nationals captured were actually charged with, or under what law. I’ve seen a video of the Prosecutor reading the charges, but only by reference to articles the Donetsk legal codes.
      Assuming that Ukrainian statements (as repeated here) about their status and recruitment are true, then the men are certainly not mercenaries under the only generally accepted definition, which is the UN Convention.

      Assuming also that they are wearing uniform and fighting as part of a Ukrainian unit, then they are combatants under AP1 of the Geneva Conventions (1977), of which Russia, as the successor state to the Soviet Union, is a signatory. A combatant is defined in Article 43, and, under Article 44, has the right to PoW status. The original Third Geneva Convention has a long list in Article 4 of those who qualify for PoW status, including “members of other volunteer corps,” so even if they were somehow a separate unit, they are still covered.

      So I have no idea (with due deference to any IHL experts who may be passing) what Lavrov means, or under what law they could be charged, or with what. Of course it would be possible to knock together a law making it a crime to be a foreign national in the Ukrainian Army, but that’s about it. It’s true that the DPR/LPR are not signatories of the GC, but there’s still a very strong presumption that governments of self-declared states should abide by customary law in such cases.

      As I said before, I think this is quite a shrewd move politically, since it puts pressure on western governments and makes them look helpless, but it’s hard to take seriously as a legal process.

      1. JTMcPhee

        In this context, the Ukraine/NATO thing, it’s pretty silly to be talking all seriously about “legal process.”

        The Free World Combined West is “rules-based,” Calvinball rules that is. Gave the finger to “rule of law” a long time ago.

        Sauce for the goose, sauce for the gander.

        That said, I think the Russians have a lot less “illegality” to answer for than the Empire I was dumb enough to enlist to “defend” back in the TonkinGulf-“justified” undeclared war.

      2. Polar Socialist

        I honestly don’t know how the DNR “legal process” works in this case, but they could be trying to equate “foreign mercenaries” with ISIS foreign fighters – who have been prosecuted in the West – to gain some kind of moral high ground. Both sides of the civil war in Ukraine considers the other as terrorist, plain and simple.

        Or maybe just equate them with Ukrainian Nazis, which they will seek revenge against, and it’s wholly for internal satisfaction during a bloody civil war. Kinda “you actually traveled from abroad here to torture and kill us, so we shoot you like the vermin you are”.

        Or maybe they’re just setting an example to make the foreigners think long and hard if Ukraine is the place they want to be.

        1. JBird4049

          >>>In this context, the Ukraine/NATO thing, it’s pretty silly to be talking all seriously about “legal process

          >>>Or maybe they’re just setting an example to make the foreigners think long and hard if Ukraine is the place they want to be.

          Maybe, but I think it smells like our government’s use of “enemy combatant” to dodge treating the people it captured as either soldiers or criminals as either status give them protections by national and international law. A cute way as well for feeding your supporters. See, we’re tough on the criminals. None of this international law nonsense.

          IIRC, if a person is wearing a uniform as part of an army, then by custom, expectations, and international law, they are treated as prisoners of war unless they have committed war crimes. Much of the Geneva Conventions were merely putting into the writing what was expected. Anyways, to do otherwise is to make it easier for your soldiers to be treated not as POWs, which is why the rules are often followed, as not doing so might get you hurt. Let’s hope that that the Ukrainian army does not capture some more Russian soldiers; if they are put on trial, the Russians will have less justification for complaining.

  20. SPIEF Putin

    The main points from Putin’s speech at SPIEF

    “The EU has finally lost its political sovereignty. The current situation in Europe will lead to a surge of radicalism and, in the future, to a change of elites”

    “The third and fourth principles for the development of the Russian economy are balanced macropolitics and social justice. Already this year, it is necessary to achieve a reduction in the level of poverty and an increase in the income of citizens, this is the main indicator for assessing the authorities.”

    1. juno mas

      Thanks for the link. While the translation is in bulletin point mode, the essential elements of the speech are comunicated. Anyone who thinks VVP is a stooge, and Russia isn’t primed to be a leader in the new multi-polar world, is only fooling themselves.

  21. Tom Stone

    It’s time to PARTY!!!.
    Yes, tomorrow will be the “Town Party” celebrating Sebastopol’s 120th anniversary as an incorporated town.
    Live Music!
    Dancing on the grass at Ive’s park!
    Thousands are expected at the coolest superspreader event of the year to date!
    Take something special home to Grandma and get your inheritance early…

    1. JBird4049

      Oh great. My fellow lemmings Californians are going on the Covid Train. This reminds me that I have to keep reminding (pestering?) my Mom to wear her mask as all the propaganda outright lies news pushes The Vaccine and nothing on wearing or doing anything else. Since she is vaccinated and boosted, why should she be that worried? F——-. Sometimes, I am just purely angry at my government’s fecklessness and uncaring.

  22. Michael Ismoe

    Instead of Impeachment 3: The Third Times the Charm currently going on in the House, why don’t the Dems just nominate someone who can beat Trump?

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Biden is and was a better politician than anybody else on the Democrat bench (Sanders not being on the bench). That didn’t make him a good President, of course. But that is where we are.

  23. Elizabeth

    Amfortas, I offer my deepest condolences to you and your family for the loss of your beloved wife.

  24. WillyBgood

    That’s nothing, come on down to the city for the parade down Market street on Monday. It is the celebration of two years of effort to bring it on home ;)

  25. Jason Boxman

    The wheels have finally come off the bus:

    This Is Going to Hurt

    Inflation is expected to remain high later this year even as the economy slows and layoffs rise. Already, signs of financial stress are surfacing.

    Pay gains have been falling behind inflation for months. Credit card balances, which fell early in the pandemic, are rising toward a record high. Subprime borrowers — those with weak credit scores — are increasingly falling behind on payments on car loans in particular, credit bureau data show. Measures of hunger are rising, even with unemployment still low and the overall economy still strong.

    “This should not be an abstract conversation,” said Michelle Holder, president and chief executive of the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, a progressive research organization. “This is a very real burden for families, particularly low-income families. People are making tough choices in terms of what do they cut back on, and for lower income families there’s not a lot of wiggle room there.”

    “I think we are starting to see indications that the good times are coming to an end for some people,” said Karen Dynan, a former Treasury Department chief economist who is now at Harvard University. “There will be some generalized pain.”

    1. Mikel

      “Subprime borrowers — those with weak credit scores — are increasingly falling behind on payments on car loans in particular, credit bureau data show. ..”

      As I said would happen when there were discussions about the booming car market.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > This is a very real burden for families

      God forbid the burden should be seen to fall on the working class, but this is a DC NGO.

      > the good times are coming to an end for some people

      But not for others, eh?

  26. JTMcPhee

    Amfortas — so sorry for your loss. May the wellsprings of your spirit, so evident from your posts here, serve you well in this transition. And thank you for all the wisdom and encouragement we have gleaned from your witness here over the years.

  27. drumlin woodchuckles

    . . . ” “Drueke was a ‘chemical operations specialist’ with a deployment to Iraq and one to Kuwait.” Oh. . . .

    One could take that 3 ways, either someone sent Drueke to Ukraine to help Ukraine launch chemical attacks, or someone sent Drueke to Ukraine to advise US immediately upon detecting signs of Ukraine preparing any chemical anything, or someone sent Drueke to Ukraine to help Ukraine defend itself from Russian chemical attacks.

    There. There’s a theory for every taste in theories.

    1. David

      He was trained in CBW detection and protection, which is a speciality that most armies have had for a long time. The Russians have a long history of the use of and defence against, such technologies and here is an article about their Ukrainian equivalents doing decontamination in NBC suits.
      Interestingly, this individual was not a front-line combatant, but a rear area technical specialist. It’s been noticed that a disproportionate number of such people who put themselves forward as “trainers” haven’t actually done operational deployments.

  28. Balakirev

    … when the alternative is being a satrapy of the United States, and worse, a United States run by lunatic, agreement-incapable Atlanticist goons?

    Succinct. Precise. Accurate. I don’t think our clique of armchair warmongers has ever been so clearly delineated.

  29. RobertC


    Indian diplomat (retired) M. K. Bhadrakumar hammers down with Why India must decouple from I2U2 [India, Israel, UAE, US]

    Indian diplomacy is descending from the sublime to the absurd. Such wild swings signal rank opportunism. These are extraordinary times when to be smart is equated as being opportunistic.

    …Plainly put, Americans estimate that Indians have no “staying power,” or “big picture.” They probably estimate that the Indian government would grab the I2U2 platform to burnish its international image. But if there is any sanity left in the Indian foreign policy establishment, a subaltern role to serve US and Israeli interests cannot enhance India’s prestige in West Asia [MENA] where, as it is, Modi government is perceived as an Islamophobic regime backed by religious fanatics.

    In the life of individuals and nations alike, there are moments when one has to learn to say “no.” This self-serving, cynical overture from 78-year old Biden is one such moment. That’s why, despite zero chance of India turning down Biden’s invite, not to urge Modi to say “Nyet” to I2U2 will be a serious lapse.

    South Block [Ministry of External Affairs] is underestimating the gravity of its folly. India never ever got entangled in the intra-regional issues in West Asia. It never acted as the surrogate of extra-regional powers, either. Most important, it never sought the “containment” of any regional state. That’s how it held its head high in the choppy waters of the Persian Gulf.

    India’s future is with its East Asia neighbors. China and Russia have extended the RIC framework hand of welcome. The RCEP and CPTPP are ready to accept India’s membership. Partnering with China in the BRI will strengthen both nation’s ability to deal with troublesome Pakistan, Afghanistan, et al. And if I’m correct about Russia’s permafrost loss due to climate change, then rebuilding 11 time zones of infrastructure will go far to solving Modi’s unemployment/underemployment problems while ensuring access to agricultural and mineral resources.

    But I think India has lost its way. And its future.

  30. The Rev Kev

    People might remember the Russian pranksters Vovan and Lexus who ring famous people up and get them to say stupid stuff. Well they just did it to J. K Rowling. From the article-

    ‘ “I certainly support much harsher sanctions against Russia,” the author added, insisting that the country should be subjected to both cultural and economic pressure.

    However, Rowling seemed completely shocked when the pranksters pointed out that the lightning-shaped scar on Harry Potter’s forehead resembled the letter ‘Z’, which has become a symbol of the Russian operation in Ukraine.

    They suggested that it should be changed to a symbol more like the Golden Trident, which features on Ukraine’s coat of arms. “It would be good for me to do something about this on social media,” the writer responded.

    The fake Zelensky then revealed that Kiev’s troops had been writing the words “Avada Kedavra” on missiles fired at the cities of Donetsk and Lugansk in Donbass.

    “I love the joke! I love the joke!” Rowling said, giving her interlocutor a thumbs up.

    “Avada Kedavra” is a magic spell that causes immediate death in the Harry Potter universe.’

  31. RobertC


    An excellent description of the new Russia-China relationship Ukraine’s losses are China’s gains

    The conflict in Ukraine will have major strategic consequences for Chinese foreign policy in the Indo-Pacific.

    ++ It will promote the deepening of Russian–Chinese economic cooperation that will make both countries more resilient to Western economic pressure.

    ++ Long-term instability in Europe will make it more difficult for the United States to boost its Pacific presence for years to come with significant US financial and military resources being drawn toward supporting Ukraine.

    …China will be the main beneficiary of the Ukraine crisis.

    …On the economic front, China has seized the major strategic opportunities provided by the war.

    …China is in line to supplant the European Union as Russia’s main economic partner.

    …By 2023, most or all bilateral trade is expected to be conducted in renminbi.

    …With the expected expansion of the logistical infrastructure, China will obtain a major source of strategic commodities.

    There are other excellent articles available at the East Asia Forum website.

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