Links 6/19/2022

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.

* * *

The Dandelion and the Meaning of Life: G.K. Chesterton on How to Dig for the “Submerged Sunrise of Wonder” The Marginalian

Private equity chiefs fear waking up with ‘a terrible hangover’ FT

This European airline just ordered a fleet of airships CNN


La Niña heads for rare “triple dip,” dampening global temperatures Axios

Pollution from California’s 2020 wildfires likely offset decades of air quality gains Los Angeles Times

As Po dries up, Italy’s food and energy supplies are at risk Associated Press

Yellowstone flooding rebuild could take years, cost billions Associated Press. Let’s privatize it, starting with the naming rights!


Persistent circulating SARS-CoV-2 spike is associated with post-acute COVID-19 sequelae (preprint) medRxiv. n = 63. The Abstract: “The diagnosis and management of post-acute sequelae of COVID-19 (PASC) [“Long Covid”] poses an ongoing medical challenge. Identifying biomarkers associated with PASC would immensely improve the classification of PASC patients and provide the means to evaluate treatment strategies. We analyzed plasma samples collected from a cohort of PASC and COVID-19 patients (n = 63) to quantify circulating viral antigens and inflammatory markers. Strikingly, we detect SARS-CoV-2 spike antigen in a majority of PASC patients up to 12 months post-diagnosis, suggesting the presence of an active persistent SARSCoV-2 viral reservoir. Furthermore, temporal antigen profiles for many patients show the presence of spike at multiple time points over several months, highlighting the potential utility of the SARS-CoV-2 full spike protein as a biomarker for PASC.” Important; a “viral reservoir” is certainly a plausible mechanism for Long Covid. And it would sure be nice to have a biomarker instead of having to rely on symptom checklists. Covid mavens please weigh in.

* * *

COVID-19: Bharat Biotech Completes Phase III Trials Of Nasal Vaccine; DCGI To Review Data Republic World. Finally!

US opens COVID vaccine to little kids, shots begin next week AP. Walensky signs off.

* * *

“We Have to Get Out of This Phase”: Ashish Jha on the Future of the Pandemic (interview) The New Yorker. Only the most glancing mention of ventilation, nothing on masking, or indeed any non-pharmaceutical interventions. Making Jha’s role as America’s Chief Pharmaceutical Salesman™ pretty clear (in this case, Evusheld for the immuno-compromised).

Monkeypox Testing Shows the U.S. Learned Little from the COVID-19 Pandemic Time. That depends on who you talk to:

Monkeypox: Avoiding the Mistakes of Past Infectious Disease Epidemics Annals of Internal Medicine


China’s property troubles have pushed one debt indicator above levels seen in the financial crisis CNBC

The Tiny Loophole That Understates the Trade Deficit With China WSJ

Leaked Audio From 80 Internal TikTok Meetings Shows That US User Data Has Been Repeatedly Accessed From China Buzzfeed


‘I had to cut off the head, bro’: Myanmar soldiers swap slaughter stories Radio Free Asia. Horrid source, plausible story,.

Fuel crisis: Sri Lankan government announces shut-down of offices and schools from next week The Tribune

The Koreas

I’m not surprised BTS split The Sunday Times

Picasso’s “Massacre in Korea” Visits Seoul The Blue Roof


Heathrow’s great mountain of uncollected luggage gets BIGGER: Airport admits it has an ‘issue with baggage system’ as thousands of suitcases pile up and passengers are told it could be days before they are reunited Daily Mail


Biden says he is not meeting Saudi Arabia’s crown prince; they will just be at same event Middle East Eye (Furzy Mouse).

New Not-So-Cold War

With scant options in Ukraine, U.S. and allies prepare for long war WaPo. “[O]fficials have described the stakes of ensuring Russia cannot swallow up Ukraine — an outcome officials believe could embolden Putin to invade other neighbors or even strike out at NATO members — as so high that the administration is willing to countenance even a global recession and mounting hunger.” Madeleine Albright: “We think the price is worth it.” Meanwhile, a report from the front:

Perhaps all Ukraine’s NATO-trained units are depleted by this point? In that case, the war might not be that long.

Kaliningrad sanctions to take effect, Lithuania says Reuters Reactions from Larry Johnson (ctlieee) and Gonzalo Lira. Read this piece inside out to see one path toward the escalation The Blob would like to engineer. However, as its governor points out, Kaliningrad can be supplied by sea.

* * *

The causes and consequences of the Ukraine war (video) John Mearsheimer, The Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies. Long, but fast-moving.

There Is A Reason I Don’t Take Mearsheimer’s “Realism” Seriously. Andrei Martyanov, Reminiscence of the Future…

* * *

Ukraine turns to EU as Russian invasion cuts off regular fuel supplies FT. Yves: “I found an English language UKRAINE business site over 6 weeks ago saying only one gas station in three open.”

Biden Administration

Washington Just Failed the Nation on Covid Funding Bloomberg. But we can shovel billions out the door for Ukraine in days, no problem.

Corporate Bribery Just Became Illegal Again Matt Stoller, BIG

Bipartisan ‘Fighting Foreign Influence Act’ targets think tank funding Responsible Statecraft

Gappy shelves:

(HEB is a supermarket chain with stores in Texas and Mexico.)

Republican Funhouse

Texas Republican Convention calls Biden win illegitimate and rebukes Cornyn over gun talks Texas Tribune

UPDATES: Dan Crenshaw & Staff Assaulted by Right Wingers Shouting ‘Eyepatch McCain’ and Saying He Should be ‘Hung for Treason’ Mediaite. Eating their own….


So we’ll be seeing gun control pretty soon now?


Federal government lobbying behind the scenes for Assange’s freedom Sydney Morning Herald. Oh.

MTG and not AOC:

Police State Watch

Source: Police never tried to open door to classrooms where Uvalde gunman had kids trapped San Antonio Express-News. More:

When a custodian brought a large key ring, Arredondo said he tried dozens of the keys but none worked.

But Arredondo was not trying those keys in the door to classrooms 111 and 112, where Ramos was holed up, according to the law enforcement source. Rather, he was trying to locate a master key by using the various keys on doors to other classrooms nearby, the source and the Texas Tribune article said.

I’ve been a custodian, with a couple of dozen keys at least. First, the keys should be labeled. Second, the keys tend to be recognizable, from wear, replacement, etc.

Uvalde Hires Private Law Firm to Argue It Doesn’t Have to Release School Shooting Public Records Vice


A Brief History: The Significance of Juneteenth Stanford Law School

The Problem with Juneteenth Black Agenda Report

What Are Other Names for Juneteenth? The U.S. Is Betraying the Spirit of ‘Jubilee Day’ Teen Vogue

Imperial Collapse Watch

The Navy has fired a dozen leaders but won’t explain why NBC

Guillotine Watch

From the Department of Schadenfreude:

Tax excess margins Interfluidity

Class Warfare

The Fed Can’t Fix What’s Driving Inflation. But It Can Start a Recession. J.W. Mason, Barron’s. “If wages aren’t what’s driving inflation, why are we addressing inflation with tools that act mainly on wages?”

This Is Going to Hurt NYT (Re Silc). “Policymakers are engineering this slowdown. Then, the problem was a global pandemic; now, it’s stubbornly high inflation, and the main way the government knows to solve that is by inflicting some economic pain.” Remember the pandemic? Good times.

Apple workers vote to unionize at Maryland store Associated Press

Labor Notes Headliner Covered Up Sexual Assault & Retaliated Against Chicago Union Democracy Activists Payday Report. Yikes.

Amazon builds property empire, quietly buying land across the U.S. Seattle Times (Furzy Mouse).

Facebook Says Apple is Too Powerful. They’re Right. Cory Doctorow, Electronic Frontier Foundation

Antidote du jour (via):

The Creation of Adam,” except for cats.

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. SocalJimObjects

      Forever, until the Empire of Lies gets taken down. Ukraine today, somewhere else tomorrow like Taiwan. Or maybe the world will run out of oil first, and then it’s back to horse, carriages and catapults to decide who will rule the world for the next hundred years. If the later happens, the upside is George RR Martin might get inspired enough to finish Winds of Winter.

      1. Martin Oline

        George is like a mediocre Hollywood actor who decides he wants to be a director instead of act. Mr Martin has decided he would rather produce than write. Just as well. I recommend reading two books (of a long promised trilogy of The Kingkiller trilogy) by Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind and the Wise Man’s Fear. Who knows, perhaps the third book, The Doors of Stone, will be released be the time you finish them.

        1. TimmyB

          While I enjoyed reading the first two books of the Kingkiller trilogy, I would not recommend anyone start reading them for the same reasons as I would not recommend anyone start reading the Game of Thrones books. Neither author seems interested in finishing the series and I doubt either will ever be finished.

        2. NotTimothyGeithner

          George is fairly unique. He’s a technically proficient writer who wrote a soap or comic book that catapulted to popularity on the back of the Lord of the Rings movies and scored a really well acted HBO production. It’s just he has no way of sticking the landing as he isn’t really saying anything particularly important and has too much of a winding mess to deal with. His criticisms of Lord of the Rings missed the point.

          I think he is a smart guy who knows his famous series only works as a comic book where new stories are constantly introduced as he isn’t saying anything other than feudalism sucks. The Red Wedding was fun, but he wiped out so many characters he effectively turned half of his books into something that could have been told through the reactions to the news of those events. In the end, it’s best not to try.

          1. jr

            Michael Moorcock’s Von Beck saga is wonderful. I read The City in the Autumn Stars years ago and it was filled with memorable characters. His Elric series never held my attention, though.

            1. chris

              Moorcock’s Elric stories are fun pulpy fantasy with a dark twist. His descriptions of Melnibone could easily pass for DC these days.

          1. chris

            We are all still waiting for the Gaiman/Rothfuss romance collaboration, “The Wise Man’s Butt”…

            The best part of reading something from Rothfuss is that he genuinely enjoys writing and creating but he also understands being a storyteller these days is a weird kind of whimsical endeavor. He doesn’t seem to take himself too seriously. He’s fun to listen to when he talks about writing or D&D.

          2. Douglas

            I thought the first two were great, but I’ve been waiting for the third one so long, I will not buy it. It appears Patrick like Gorge Martin, really prefers to not write if they can avoid it.

          3. Paradan

            Slow regard is awesome. I’m a little late to the thread tonight but if we’re throwing out fantasy suggestions I’d like to recommend Scott Lynch’s “The Lies of Locke Lamora.”
            Three books, first two are great, con men in a fantasy city kinda thing.

        3. Socal Rhino

          The Broken Earth trilogy is complete, and generally considered the finest work of recent speculative/fantasy fiction. I recommend highly.

    2. Dftbs

      They can buy the beer. Doesn’t mean anyone has to show up to their party. The Russians seem to be firmly in control of the pace and the escalatory steps within Ukraine. The risk isn’t that Biden is willing to gamble with “global recession and mounting hunger.” Those two chips have already been wagered and cashed. The one chip that remains is, will Biden trade New York for Kiev. That’s the only escalatory step left to us. It seems that the managers of the Empire have realized they can’t hang with the Russians. We’ll get a bunch of stenography about how weak they are and how much we are doing to help the Ukraine and hurt Russia. That is until the Russians win and all those words get flushed down the memory hole.

      1. Lucy Cooke

        You mentioned beer…
        The Sierra Nevada Brewing Company is following the crowd.
        “Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. has joined the resistance in Ukraine. As part of a worldwide fundraising effort organized by Drinkers for Ukraine, the brewery released RESIST, an “anti-imperial” IPA, and will donate all profits from its sale to Red Cross humanitarian relief efforts as the country continues to suffer losses due to the Russian invasion.”
        Like most well meaning companies and individuals they don’t know any better, but their action not only supports US stupidity in refusing to participate in negotiations that would have prevented this US proxy war with Russia using Ukrainians as cannon fodder, but their action is seems racist. Have they done anything to support the huge refugee crisis all over the world, 26 million, mostly not white, with many of them fleeing from their US destroyed countries.
        I will not be buying our usually weekly case of their pale ale.
        AND I will contact them to suggest that they make amends by creating a Negotiation Ale, meant to enhance negotiations that prevent war and other violence.
        I visualize a can design with hands shaking in agreement against a background a globe.
        The funds raised could go to aid for all refugees…
        If you like the idea, contact Ken Grossman at the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, an explain your objections to their carelessness in “supporting” a truly unnecessary US proxy war with Russia, and the racism of supporting just Ukrainians, when there are over 26.6 million refugees worldwide, most of them not white…

        1. Stick'em

          Tsk, tsk, tsk. Wagging finger of political correctness. Seems Sierra Nevada Brewing Company makes a Russian Imperial Stout they call Narwhal:

          Their virtue signal game is weak.

          We should probably use our great collective consumer super powers and boycott said forms of brew. Because my dastardly Russian Blue Cat named Rasputin drinks his White Russians, made from Stolichnaya and the milk from Communist yaks… or something.

        2. IM Doc

          Oh well, used to be our favorite beer.

          Not another drop will enter our home.

          I long for the day when companies just sold products and kept the virtue signaling to themselves.

          Plenty of other beer out there.

          1. Wukchumni

            I predicted well before the war started that fast food places would be pitching the ‘Chicken Kiev combo’ hard, with 10% of all sales donated to buy new batteries for Javelins.

            Gladly, this hasn’t come to pass… yet.

            1. Skip Intro

              I think you mean Chicken Kyiv…. with a ketchup and mayo melange they call Freedom Dressing.

          2. eg

            Corporate beer is mostly branding, which is its own sort of virtue signalling. If you wish to avoid the latter, best avoid the former …

        3. The Rev Kev

          There is some city in Florida which is having a gun buy-back scheme. Perhaps Miami. The best weapons that they receive will be sent to the Ukraine.

        4. GF

          Ken may have been feeling some pressure from the thousands of USMCs living in close proximity to the brewery in North San Diego.

      2. E.J.

        World War III, the end of sentient life on earth, mass starvation in the third world, the destruction of what’s left of the middle class, destroying small business in America, poverty, all worth it to preserve the LNG, GMO and weapons exporters, Cargill and oil company profits, patent holders, SWIFT bankers and vulture capitalists wanting to feed on Russia, and most importantly, to allow Trotsky’s grandchildren in the State Department to finally get even.

    3. timbers

      Years? Well the 2 recent Russian MOD clobber list looked almost too good to be true and have to reserve judgment for the moment until confirmed – 50 generals/officers killed in a strike, parts of a Ukraine Battalion scattering running away out of amo and fuel, untrained Ukrainian soldiers attacking their own killing 40. The Russians seem to be taking their time as they head towards Kramatosk. Are we approaching the point at which the Ukraine forces dissolve and Russian forces are mostly unopposed but for nationalists holed up in fortified areas waiting to play out another Mariupol?

      1. Milton

        Would be nice if the Russians went all Chernobyl on the Nazi mole people and just encase locations such as azotstal (azovstal before that) under a massive mound of concrete.

    4. ACPAL

      Many years. There’s still a lot of the EU and NATO left to throw into the fire. For example, Biden could route missiles through Poland bringing Poland into a direct shooting war with Russia. Once Poland is ash other EU and NATO nations could be thrown into the fire one at a time until, years later, Europe is a wasteland. The longevity of this war is easily controlled by how fast or slow European nations are chucked into the furnace.

    5. Wukchumni

      Was watching the rather amazing Generation War yesterday and in one of the scenes Jews are being rounded up by Ukrainians for the Nazis and @ 4:40 in the video you can see one of them is wearing a blue and yellow armband…

      Gott Mit Uns – part 2 of 9 (all army edit of Generation War)

    6. drumlin woodchuckles

      That could be re-written as > Please make Ukraine war last for years, pleads NATO chief.

      This shows that NATO is an independent conspirator for war on its own. I think a political party devoted to taking America out of NATO would really get somewhere in the US.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Well . . . . since Assange was born in Australia, I think, he can’t be President here.

          And he is in no physical or mental condition after years of functional padillafication to be a functional President.

          So it would be a purely performative run, like an unfunny version of Pat Paulsen for President.

          Ventura could run for President and mean it on a platform including this and things like it. If he ran with Tulsi Gabbard as running mate, he and she could inflict pain on the mainstream.
          They would lose, but they would lose like winners.

  1. GramSci

    When I click through to the Severodonetsk tweet I get this warning:

    “The following media includes potentially sensitive content.”

    I was expecting gory video, but the “sensitive content” turned out to be text that didn’t fit the official narrative.

    1. Melvin

      Do yourself a favor and just go to

      Plenty of videos and articles in any language you want, no advertising, amazing footage. You need diversity of propaganda you see.

  2. deedee

    Though he seems like an affable grandpa I’m starting to get tired of Andrei Martyanov. His patriotism for Mother Russia is a blind spot to me. He loves to call anyone without technical military training an idiot.
    I trust Scott Ritter, whose views on what is going on right now seem a lot more nuanced.

    1. Lex

      I think he’s very good on some very important facets of the current situation, and not very good on many others. His criticism of western elites is correct, but settling on “humanities” education is woefully misinformed. It’s not what they went to school for, and being “serious military scientists” or even just scientists wouldn’t change their behavior. He misses the actual problem with our leadership by calling the cause their subject of education.

      I’ve been impressed with Putin and Lavrov recently talking about what Russia needs to do better and where it has failed. Andrei misses those things in his analysis because of what you point out.

      1. deedee

        Good points, Lex. I agree. I do still watch him. He [still] has me at “well hhhhhello …”

        1. Lex

          Me too. He not only looks like my late grandfather but sounds like him too. I wish he’d cop Curtis Mayfield’s line about educated fools from uneducated schools rather than short cut it with “humanities”. He’s not wrong in principle but in description.

      2. hunkerdown

        Education is a critical Systempunkt for the authoritarian. Martyanov seems to align with the alt-right (or the alt-right aligns with him, hard to say which). Martyanov being a member of the middle class, following the individual life-cycle of the middle class, dressing like the middle class, celebrating the values of the middle class, it’s fair to say that he believes in the Puritan idea of an authoritarian-technocratic middle stratum.

        1. Know and Know Your Enemy

          The right and the access to high quality education as well the transfer of knowledge in order to understand how the world works and thereby being able to act to close the gap between workers and the elites was a corner-stone for every socialist up until the 60s.

          The idiots today in the identity circles that have been lowering the knowledge requirements instead of adding resources to the educational system should be chained to a MacDonads stove until they die.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            And put that MacDonald’s stove in an Amazon Fulfillment Center while you are at it.

      3. Mark Gisleson

        Martyanov’s remarks about the humanities are tempered with respect for the “hard” humanities. I can’t remember exactly which of the humanities he loathes and which he respects, but I’ve never heard him knock English majors so I think I’m OK with him.

    2. David

      He’s a representative of a particular school of European political thinking which sees all defence and security questions as technical issues to be decided by the military. That’s incompatible with a democracy, but also frequently leads to technocratic solutions and bad management. He ignores the fact that political leaders in the West have plenty of expert military advice available to them, even if he thinks the advice is wrong. He actually doesn’t understand how the defence function is supposed to operate in a democracy.

      1. chuck roast

        I’m seeing him blindly confusing tactics with strategy. I wouldn’t argue with any of Mearshimer’s strategic thinking, and Martyanov’s idea about “escalation dominance’ could be scary accurate. Mearshimer does not get into the weeds on this issue, but given the direction of his thinking he probably wouldn’t disagree with Martyanov. Martyanov is borderline ad hominem. This discredits him IMO.

        1. square coats

          I think Martyanov has a very very specific definition of what is/should be considered “tactics”. Having nothing of the sort myself, I won’t venture to qualify his definition, but I’m just recalling a semi-recent interview he did with Russians With Attitude. They were talking about what possible lessons Russia could learn from their operation in Ukraine thus far. They seemed to get into a disagreement about it but then, as I understood, it ended up being mostly/entirely due to different definitions of what are “tactics” as opposed to strategy. So after reading your comment just now I’m thinking maybe Martyanov has an uncommon way of distinguishing between the two? The interview is up on the RWA youtube channel in full, if you haven’t listened to it and are so inclined it might help you understand Martyanov’s definitions of tactics vs strategy (however right or wrong they may be).

    3. pjay

      I agree. He is a very good source for certain types of information, but his constant criticism of “humanities educated” elites in the West is grating for the reasons everyone mentions. For one thing, I’m stumped as to what specific kind of “scientific” training is required to avoid ideological or geopolitical bias. I’ve known many ignorant social scientists and philosophers over the years, but if anyone believes an engineering or physics degree prevents this I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you. And we all know that the value of “military science” depends on whose training we are discussing.

      I’ll gladly leave the specific capacities of particular weapons systems or military tactics to the proper technical experts. But if we are discussing broader geopolitical issues – social, political, economic, historical, cultural – then I refuse to defer to the authority of some general or military engineer, any more than I would defer to the “expertise” of some career “diplomat” like Anthony Blinken,

    4. ex-PFC Chuck

      AM, as well as most other observers, miss the most insidious trait of the neocons at the steering wheel of foreign policy: the only thing they excel at is bureaucratic politics, especially when it comes to pushing anyone and everyone with views that differ from their group-think out of the conversation.

    5. Stephen T Johnson

      Don’t forget, no-one (Not even our awesome hosts) is infallible, and Andrei is no exception.
      He is, however, almost always interesting

      1. Keith Newman

        Martyanov, Meirsheimer, Ritter, etc. have expertise in some areas and are very interesting to listen to when they discuss those. The analysis on military affairs is interesting to me as I have no knowledge in that field and what Martyanov and Ritter say makes a lot more sense to me than what is in the mainstream media.
        That doesn’t mean their views outside of their areas of expertise should be taken at face value. We have to weigh what they say against our own observations and experience. For instance when Meirsheimer speaks glowingly of liberal democracy, I keep in mind he is a senior prof at the U of Chicago and has high income and prestige. Liberal democracy works very very well for him and probably almost everyone in the top 10% of incomes. But it doesn’t work at all well for, say, the bottom 50% and many others as well. Liberal democracy has been entirely taken over by moneyed interests and is failing in every country that I follow. I live in Canada and while its failure is not as acute as in the US, it is failing nonetheless, albeit more slowly.

    6. Socal Rhino

      The theme across his books is that the West has been losing its competitive edge in military matters, despite extravagant consumption of resources. Ukraine at least so far seems to be confirming that. He has been among the earliest to warn that this weakness magnified the risk that any escalation would go nuclear.

      His views are not inconsistent with ideas I’ve seen on this site regarding the hollowing out of technical and industrial expertise in this country.

  3. timbers

    Biden says he is not meeting Saudi Arabia’s crown prince; they will just be at same event Middle East Eye (Furzy Mouse).

    In case anyone is wondering, I would like to also clarify I that I will not be meeting Biden, I just live in the same country.

    Good quick summary from one of our better US military guys – Douglas Macgregor – who does get some time on MSM over at The American Conservative.

    Has anyone noticed Gonzo Lira’s video warning off moves to sharply escalate/widen conflict w/Russia by interfering with rail transport to Kaliningrad thru Lithuania governed by treaty? On top of that, am noticing conflicting reports alternately claiming Biden wants to de-escalate on the one hand vs he wants to escalate and fight Russia forever on the other. Is a power struggle over policy going on in DC?

    1. xformbykr

      yes I saw the GL video last night. I fear that his prediction is correct.
      Like you i hear the mixed messages regarding escalation. Maybe they are due to the multiple hydra-heads of the MSM?

      1. timbers

        Hmm escalation won’t play very well in November if cost of living keeps going up. But maybe better propaganda will help. How Democrats use a re-election slogan like this: “Buy Russian fertilizer to whip inflation now (WIN) but start WW3”

          1. HarveyWeinstein's Ghost

            World War Three, your children vaporized (if they are lucky), well worth the price for
            “The Price of Freedom in Ukraine™”

            Add that to,
            “Empowering women in Afghanistan”
            “Weapons Of Mass Distraction”
            “Potential Mushroom Clouds”

            “Police Actions”
            “Fighting Terrorism Against Civilians”
            “Dismantling Biological and Chemical Laboratories”
            “Overthrowing Tyrants That Break Treaties”

            Cancel the last four, that’s what Russia is doing.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Biden is weak, and everyone knows it. This could easily be the Baltic nutjobs thinking they can force Biden into confrontation. The Baltic countries are little, out of the way haunts. They aren’t going to suddenly jump to the head of the line for limited lng supplies.

      1. Janie

        It’s hard for me to believe that Lithuania decided solo to kick Russia in the shins by abrogating the treaty.

        1. Yves Smith

          Except Lithuania gets 63% of its energy from Russia and 4% from Belarus.

          They picked the wrong country to mess with.

          I believe that a broad interpretation of Russia “special retaliatory economic measures” would allow for turning off the lights in Lithuania if Russia wanted to do that.

      2. Old Sovietologist

        I will hazard a guess that by the end of Russia’s SMO. The Baltic nutjobs won’t be in NATO. If they are clever they will be neutral states, if not, they will shall we say be client states of Moscow.

        I think the US /UK is putting just enough into the mix to keep the Ukrainians in the fight for a fair bit longer and allied to the fact that Russia has time on its side and you can see why this will drag on.

        I hope I’m wrong and the Ukrainian army collapses capitulates quickly but I don’t really see it happening yet. Maybe there are individuals in the Ukrainian military high command who will do a Claus von Stauffenberg on Zelensky. Again I’m not convinced.

        Having chatted to more knowledgeable on the subject and it seems the the Ukrainian military leaders are all with NATO and even defeat will see them safely in a condo in Florida or a swanky pad London with full bank accounts. Potentially unreliable types have been moved out in the last 8 years.

        There are only two ways this ends. well three but the last is to horrible to contemplate. Either Zelensky is overthrown by the Ukrainian Army in a coup which seems unlikely or Russia eventually takes the whole of Ukraine.

    3. Culp Creek Curmudgeon

      Biden says he is not meeting Saudi Arabia’s crown prince; they will just be at same event. And if our eyes should happen to meet; and I see that sudden, mischievous twinkle; and my breathe catches, oh so slightly; and the crowd disappears as we move closer and closer together; and our hearts start beating as one, filling all the space around us; then I’ll know — I’ll know! — you’re the one.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Biden had better hope that Obama does not turn up for this event or else he will be relegated to being a wallflower again.

      2. Wukchumni

        Joe has tentatively agreed to go from ‘I Slam’ Saudi Arabia to Islam in exchange for oil, by attending Mecca in period garb and bowing to a higher power.

    4. John k

      Does this mean more oil is not forthcoming? And if so, might this mean saudi is wondering what it’s saving dollar credits for? Haven’t we made it clear if they piss us off those credits might disappear?
      Maybe that’s not what it means, cause if it is, why would Biden visit?

      1. Yves Smith


        Seems highly likely that MbS snubbed Biden again and refused the meeting in Riyadh.

        MbS has no reason to lower the global oil price to help us out. Or more accurately, he wants a way bigger bribe than we have been willing to offer.

        His last move was almost entirely optical, moved a production increase up by mere weeks.

        1. Roland

          Didn’t KSA do the oil price war thing back in ’14 ? It was unclear to me at the time whether KSA’s intention was to hurt Russia, or to hurt higher-cost producers such as US shale or Canadian tar. Maybe all of them.

          But if that price war was mostly about Russia, then KSA may have felt jilted when Obama gave little support for the Saudi-favoured factions in the Syrian War during the critical 2014-15 phase. This time, KSA might prefer not to sacrifice its own revenues in order to court Western favour.

          I’m not a MbS fan, but I’m trying to think about how the grievances would line up from his point of view.

    5. digi_owl

      So it was not OK (and for the record, i agree) when the soviets blocked off land transport to west berlin, but it is OK for NATO do to the same to Kaliningrad?

      And they say Putin is the bad guy…

      The longer this goes on the more respect i have for that old bulldog Lavrov, that seems to not only keep a cool head under the most frustrating of times but also find time so deliver some glorious deadpan barbs in the middle of it all.

      Too bad our leaders are so convinced of their own sanctity that they fail to see their complete hypocrisy of action.

  4. flora

    When a custodian brought a large key ring, Arredondo said he tried dozens of the keys but none worked.

    The custodian didn’t know which key to use on the door? Didn’t know which key was the submaster? The custodian couldn’t point out the right key when handing over the key ring? No one asked? Sorry. This doesn’t add up.

    1. jo6pac

      Right, I worked in office building and call centers. I was facility services and we had a master key/card that opened every door.

    2. Pat

      This. No one can tell me that the custodian didn’t hand that ring over by the necessary key, or at least attempted to do so.
      Sinister possibility, since they seemed to be more interested in making sure nobody went in, they grabbed the keys to make sure no one else had access not to gain access to the shooter themselves.

    1. JBird4049

      This is not surprising, at all. I am not sure if I should be angry over the continued destruction of the news media, or more politicization and falsification of reality, or the lack of coverage of the abuse of the most vulnerable.

      It is only the disposables being raped and abused, and for Identity Politics, so they are not worth reporting on; it is only about prison rape after all. /sarc This is my state of California, the Land of Pseudo-Liberalism, Faux Tears, and Performative Outrage that is being written about. Actually, because it does deal with identity politics, this might be the only reason that the story is getting any coverage.

      I have brought this up before, but roughly every fifteen years, I find another story of systematic illegal, hidden, sterilization of women prisoners. IIRC, back in the 1980s the first and only stories I read on the first case, came from the San Francisco Chronicle, the Los Angeles Times, and surprisingly from the Sacramento Bee back when they actually were real, functioning newspapers. I only found and remembered each successive incidents because of being shocked by the preceding ones.

      The stories were small blurbs beneath the fold with the followups, if any, on the back page. These were in addition to the semi regular gladiatorial fights that also happened, get mentioned, covered up, and then forgotten, only to restart a few years later somewhere in the state prison system. I used to keep looking for more examples. (The San Francisco Sheriff’s department had two separate cases of ongoing fights only about decade apart.) Each newer one was covered less, meaning harder to notice.

      If I can remember a total of at least six separate examples of either forced sterilization or involuntary combat in the state and county systems, in five separate locations lasting from weeks to years, over four decades with extremely poor media coverage, partly due to the prison guards’ union fantastic power and partly due to the perceived disposability of the victims involved, well hell, this is… well, it is normal.

      I hate to say it, but I wish that I could be shocked.

      1. Roland

        I watch some US ex-con YouTube channels (e.g. Big Herc Fresh Out, OG Badger, Lockdown23&1, Jessica Kent). One thing I learned from them that surprised me was that the California state prison system is one of the most racially segregated.

        Also, some prisons in all states are openly referred to by the ex-cons as “gladiator schools.”

        1. JBird4049

          Over the years, I have read some studies suggesting that the prison system is a major cause of racism in the country; if you were not a racist before entering the system, you will be one after having a black, hispanic, or white gang try to beat, rob, rape, and even try to kill you and being forced to join a gang of your own color just to stay alive.

          In America, since at least the 17th century, there has been a chain of efforts to separate and weaken different groups by creating antagonism between them.

          1)It started with the Natives and poor whites, then blacks and poor whites,
          2)Then the various European ethnic groups,
          3)Finally the various gangs, clubs, and organizations trying to organize across the various lines.
          4)If you want to step out of racial and ethnic categories, class and sex have been used just as much.

          This has included political assassinations, illegal convictions, assault, beatings and general abuse into the 21st century; the South and Midwest is particularly noteworthy.

          You can find examples in every single reform movement. For example, in the Suffragettes, Blacks were pushed out and working women efforts were diminished; the efforts of Whites to include Blacks and upper class women to include lower class women strongly discouraged and of course Black and poor women were directly challenged.

          Propagandist, including those of the 1619 Project like to say that racism in particular and bigotry in general in the nation is an endemic evil in our collective soul without mentioning the the centuries of wealth, effort, and sheer, often lethal, violence put into creating and maintaining it by those who benefit from their existence. And it is not the poor of any race that are the ones benefiting.

    2. B flat

      Thanks for this. He’s written a couple of pieces now on these issues. Prior to this bizarre turn the US is taking,I was very like Taibbi in my attitude, what City Journal has called ecumenical niceness.

  5. Samuel Conner

    IIRC, NC principals have propounded an aphorism something like, “if someone else controls the platform on which your business depends, you don’t really own your business”.

    The thought occurs that this principle could be extended to the supply chains on which national economies depend.

  6. Petter

    Re Yellowstone -let’s privatize it, naming rights.
    Reminds me of David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest, with the subsidized year names.

    Year of the Whopper
    Year of the Tucks Medicated Pad
    Year of the Trial-Size Dove Bar
    Year of the Perdue Wonderchicken
    Year of the Whisper-Quiet Maytag Dishmaster
    Year of the Yushityu 2007 Mimetic-Resolution-Cartridge-View-Motherboard-Easy-To-Install-Upgrade For Infernatron/InterLace TP Systems For Home, Office Or Mobile (sic)
    Year of Dairy Products from the American Heartland
    Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment
    Year of Glad

    1. Stick'em

      I was thinking something similar for holidays.

      Today is the day formerly known as Father’s Day.

      Now known as “Purdue Pharma OxyContin Man Living Under a Bridge Day™”

      1. Some Ol Guy

        Yellowstone flooding rebuild could take years, cost billions Associated Press. Let’s privatize it, starting with the naming rights!

        “Welch’s Jellystone National Park”, Boo-Boo!

    2. Brian (another one they call)

      Shouldn’t we give it back to Yogi and Boo Boo? They never had any problems except for Mr Ranger.
      Jellystone it is then.

    3. Eclair

      1965, Walt Disney almost built a ginormous ski resort in the Sierras. Woulda been an iconic public/private partnership, probably with a six lane highway and all mod cons, but the Sierra Club stepped in and nixed it. Mineral King lost its chance to become another Anaheim.

      1. Wukchumni

        The Sierra Club certainly had a part in Mineral King not becoming a ski resort that would be able to handle 10,000 skiers a day, but there were other determining factors, the key being that Walt Disney dies in 1966 and he was a skier and had the most interest in getting ‘r done, while the rest of the Disney braintrust was more into developing flat land in Orlando. Another key factor was Disney having a team of 5 experienced ski-mountaineers winter over in the 1968-69, and they couldn’t have picked a worse time to do it, as it was the winter of record in Cali with oh so much snow that it caused 14 avalanches in Mineral King Valley where in theory those 10,000 skiers would be staying, and one of the team died from asphyxiation when the cabin he was staying in was literally encased in so much snow that when he tried to light a fire in the chimney, game over.

        Then the Sierra Club shows up and throws a legal spanner into the works…

          1. Eclair

            Would the flooding at Yellowstone, with its resulting eviction of humans, be the work of the trickster River Gods? The gods are awakening. And they are grumpy.

      1. ambrit

        Rather than think of the former “Old Faithful” as the “Sildenafil Wet Zone,” (who else could have expected a “virility” drug to have an Elven Name,) I imagine it would sound better as the “Flowmaxx Fountain.” With a bonus side effect of knowing that when the flow stops, something explosive is near.

    4. wendigo

      “several years before the park is back to normal”.

      Never going back to normal as long as they keep rebuilding the roads.

  7. The Rev Kev

    “Leaked Audio From 80 Internal TikTok Meetings Shows That US User Data Has Been Repeatedly Accessed From China”

    Kinda funny when you think about it. Remember when Washington threatened the EU because the later wanted the information of EU citizens kept in the EU instead of being sent to the US? So what is the difference here? Rules for thee but not for me?

    1. Pat

      That was the reason I thought America had such a problem with Huawei. IIRC Didn’t necessarily have the approved back doors, but might have ones for China.

      1. digi_owl

        Funny thing is that Chinese companies operate with two firmwares. One for domestic consumption, one for exports. I have in the past seen some end up with Chinese phones with the domestic firmware by mistake.

        On a different note, i owned a Huawei phone for a few years back when they were a newcomer to western markets. And frankly it was the closest to an out of the box pocket computer i have had since the Nokia N800.

        Even when the automated firmware updater failed, i could get it all sorted manually on the phone itself thanks to shipping with a fully featured file manger that could open up the zip file i downloaded from Huawei’s servers directly to the phone. And initiate the update from the file inside.

    2. Darthbobber

      Pretty safe to assume that US user data has been repeatedly accessed from pretty near everywhere. And by no means just from Tiktok

  8. BeliTsari

    Posted to Long hauler’s Twitter:
    3rd time for us. This was the nastiest. But new BA.1 PASC took >30 days to hit. So, who knows what novel symptoms will arise? Nattokinase, NAC, Serrazimes (with Quercetin, Nicotinamide riboside, zinc, Bromaline, phyto-polyphenol rich diet) started early. Need a mucosal vaccine & masks!

    The uncharacteristically cool, dry spring has pollen counts high enough, it’s difficult to discern what’s simply our hijacked immune system, overreacting to Riverside Park and phthalates, fabric softener, fragrance, or yeast, mildew, fungi, bacilli (Toxoplasma gondii or Glyphosate flavored kitty-litter?) growing in tau protein, micro-clot clogged brains?

  9. The Rev Kev

    ‘Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene
    If we really care about the 1st Amendment then we should care about Julian Assange.’

    AOC would have sent out her support in a tweet but unfortunately she is too busy voting tens of billions of dollars to go to the Ukraine while retweeting Liz Cheney and Bill Kristol tweets. To paraphrase Obi-Wan Kenobi – ‘She is not the Progressive that you are looking for.’

    1. Boomheist

      I will take truth from wherever it comes these days. I never thought, EVER, there would be a circumstance wherein MTG is right and AOC (or anyone else) is wrong, but the numbing silence about Assange from the Democrats is, frankly, shocking. But so was the vote by all of them to send 40+ billion (and rising) to Ukraine while wringing their hands about continued covid help and student loan relief. We now seem to be in a world where people I had grown to loathe are the only MSM quoted people to speak truth – Tucker Carlson, Rand Paul – while the paragons of the supposedly liberal, democratic institutions are raving for war, silent about press censorship, and spending all their time virtue signaling instead of doing anything helpful. Even Bernie, who of all of them has remained consistent, climbed on the bomb Ukraine train and supported the 40 billion.

      Imagine what things would be like if Biden hadn’t gotten out of Afghanistan now. At least he did that, and there was no way to end it well. But since then…….

      But, when MTG is the only member of Congress speaking truth, and on Assange she seems to be, what does that mean?

      1. digi_owl

        It seems like the Clintons have taken over for the Kennedys in terms of cult of personality inside the party. In particular after the Trump win that they still can’t compute as anything other than external interference.

        After all, a gender platform while the common people was still reeling from a recession that created tent cities should have been a slam dunk win in their PMC-addled minds.

        1. Dr. John. Carpenter

          Regardless of Taylor-Greene’s reasons, Bernie, AOC and the like aren’t saying it, even though it is in line with the convictions and principles they claim to have.

          1. Futility

            True that, but MTG would have never said it, if AOC or Bernie had said it first. It’s all just pretense. All of them are empty vessels to be filled with whatever is deemed to produce more clicks.

    2. jr

      The Right out-Lefting the “Left” again. I hear Conservative Youtubers and Tucker criticizing corporate America on Youtube quite a bit as well. I’m sure it’s opportunistic and an inch deep but still, strange days.

      1. lance ringquist

        the real left knows: Trump, for all his faults, poses no existential
        threat to the republic. dupes deeply underestimating the damage a
        Biden presidency will cause. The Republican Party has become what it
        is because of Democrats like Joe Biden. These Democrats are pushing
        the Republican Party further and further right, and a Biden presidency
        will make the Republican Party even more dangerous going forward. Let
        me show you how it works.

        When Americans vote for Republicans, they’re often voting against the
        consequences of the right wing policies of Democrats.

        this is what nafta billy clinton and obama did to us: Biden will
        slug the ordinary American in the face. The American people won’t
        forget the black eye given them.

        Benjamin Studebaker

        About Politics Economics International Relations

        Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things
        The Left Case Against Supporting Joe Biden in the General Election
        by Benjamin Studebaker

        1. jr

          Agreed and thanks. It’s sad to read of conservative voters who are totally aware of the corruption of the Democrats and the ever-burgeoning power of the corporations but who think Trump is the answer, environmental issues are “Marxist” propaganda to make you poor, and that pseudo-genius Elon Musk is a hero. A case in point: in a Youtube comments section related to a video discussing what was then thought to be Musk’s certain purchase of Twitter, one commenter opined that he couldn’t wait to celebrate his freedom of speech when Twitter became “ours”. As if Musk was going to share it with the conservative thinking world. As if Musk wouldn’t engage in censorship of his own.

          The Right is being cast as the defenders of children, as the wielders of rational thinking, as the champions of freedom. The sad part is that they are in certain ways. As the Democrats continue to march to the right, as they support cultural issues that alienate the majority of the population, and as they become more and more authoritarian they, as you say, empower the Right.

        2. digi_owl

          In essence, USA is in desperate need of a new left wing party. One that is deeply economic left, while moderate on the social issues.

          The alternatives is that the fascists drop all pretense, and start goose stepping all over the nation.

    3. Felix_47

      I read that her net worth now is 5 million in about 2 years. She is holding off on paying her student loans that are less than 50K. Maybe she figures she will get them forgiven either in the blanket amnesty or because she is sacrificing for government service.

  10. dk

    Persistent circulating SARS-CoV-2 spike is associated with post-acute COVID-19 sequelae (preprint)

    There has been considerable study of how coronaviruses sustain low-level infection of bats prior to 2019, many cited in this Jan ’21 paper:

    It was my guess from day one (Dec 31 2019) that sequestration in the gut biome/microbiota was characteristic of coronavirus in bats, and that absent other evidence this would be a likely vector for human infections. And we’re reading steady levels of ‘rona in human waste sample data, a window into that corner of our bodies.

    1. BeliTsari

      Trying to find an entirely different study* on mRNA triggered inflammatory symptoms experienced a year after D614.G unlike anything during acute or immune hijack, but with me through 2 additional Omicron PASC onset stages. LPR, POTS, diverticulosis (not to mention additional cognative & memory impairment, arthritic & blood oxygen stuff?)

      * NOPE, if it mentions mRNA or spike protein, it ain’t on Google!

  11. Dftbs

    I agree with Martyanov’s characterization of Mearsheimer. I’ve always found the latter’s realism to be about the limits of American exceptionalism and its moral leadership, as opposed to a refutation of their place in any geopolitical analysis. This seems to be a perversion of the term, realism is about capacity constraints, and the ability to define and meet national goals under those constraints.

    Happy Father’s Day to all

    1. AGR

      Happy Father’s Day to all as well…

      I’m only recently familiar with Mearsheimer, and by no means can say that I fully understand his theories, but a lot of what he presents makes sense in trying to understand “international” conflicts. There seems a perversion in the use of “national” and “international” in a context of obscuring “transnational”. He has argued that “nationalism” has proven to be a more powerful ideology than “liberalism”. There seems an interesting parallel with the “promise” of what he refers to as “liberal hegemony” and the “neoliberal/Washington consensus” project in the context of the timeline of the “uni-polar” moment.

      1. digi_owl

        The basic thing is that “liberalism” is completely values free outside of “expressing” oneself through conspicuous consumption.

        “Nationalism” can provide people something to bond over. But it has the inherent danger of the militants and fascists coopting the bond and turning it rabid.

    2. Kouros

      The fish cannot see the water is in properly… He does believe in certain declared characteristics of US and he believes in the meme, but also accepts that Russians or Chinese believe in their memes as well, good or bad as they might be and that they will act in order to defend their core interests, one of which is sovereignty…

  12. flora

    re: Corporate Bribery Just Became Illegal Again – Matt Stoller, BIG

    Thanks for the link. Good article with some good news.

  13. DJG, Reality Czar

    Report on the Mighty Po.

    In antiquity, the Po was also called the Eridanos. It is the River of Heaven.

    I live about six blocks from the Po, which is down Via Mazzini, past the chocolate shop (Toc), the Thai restaurant, and the indy grocery store with the good selection of wines from this region.

    There is a weir in the Po near the Gran Madre di Dio (that church being one of Torino’s most mystical spots), which keeps the river at a level that it can still be used by the many rowing clubs built along the banks of the river.

    On the other hand, there is much vegetation, too much vegetation, including plants growing up from the riverbed to the surface of the water. Some of the volunteer groups that clean the Po are talking about pulling out the “alga,” because it gets in the way and has become a pest.

    Downstream from the weir, the banks are overgrown and encroaching on the river. Some low-lying “islands” have emerged. The birds like them, but they should not be there. They are signs of drought, as the river becomes more shallow.

    Carlo Petrini, who founded SlowFood, has been sounding the alarm for months and months. The dilemma in Piedmont is that this is the third year of scant rainfall. An irony is that the drought in Piedmont is worse around the Torino metro area, which was a big orange spot on a map in yesterday’s LaStampa. Yet the paper also published a distressing photo of a ricefield north of Torino–a famous rice region–with ailing plants and cracks in the soil.

    Downstream, in Emilia and Romagna, where the drought is just as bad, you see the results–the many photos in the article of dried-up riverbed, wrecks reappearing, and thirsty fields.

    The irony is that the Italians have been good about energy policy and use, and they can’t catch a break. To wit:

    EU per capita energy use is half that of the US of A. Italy’s per capita energy use is 20 percent lower than the EU average.

    Further, here in Piedmont, many farmers have taken Petrini’s exhortations to heart. There are many farms engaged in careful “best practices.” There are still farmers up in the foothills and mountains around the city where the herders take the cows, sheep, and goats up to higher pastures in summer, transhumance, bringing their charges down at the end of the season. It is an ancient tradition, and people still wonder at it (all those animals, and their bells).

    And there are all of those famous wines.

    So I may have to take a walk later to the esoteric basilica of the Gran Madre di Dio (rumor has it that the Holy Grail is buried under it) to ask the Theotokos for five or ten days of rain.

    1. Henry Moon Pie


      I am so relieved that you are not one of those heretical Nestorians. ;)

      Thanks for the report from a beautiful if currently afflicted part of the world.

      1. DJG, Reality Czar

        Henry Moon Pie: Because I thought that I had lost the comment, I took a walk to check on the Mighty Po. Here, today, midafternoon, with much sun, there are many coots (folaghe) in the river, although they had congregated in some floating “alga” that looked unappetizing to me.

        As to the Theotokos, we are talking serious power here in this city: The main pilgrimage church is la Consolata, Mary the Consoler. Then there is the large Maria Ausiliatrice, Mary Who Helps. Then there is the Superga, Mary Who Protects the City from the French (Invaders).

        And the Gran Madre di Dio, with its statues of Mary looking suspiciously like Juno.

        So you get who “really” runs the place…

        1. super extra

          DJG, I love your evocative reports from Torino! I am sure you’ve read The Twenty Days of Turin, your comments on the statues of Mary looking suspiciously liked Juno reminded me of several sequences in the book. Might have to re-read it later this summer when I need some spooky vibes, I was thinking about it a few days ago when the heat set in and I couldn’t sleep.

    2. Eclair

      Thank you, DJG. Your description of walking down to the Po, aside from turning me green with envy, brought back memories of the 90’s, when we lived near Modane (the gritty French Alpine city no one has ever heard of), and we would drive up the Val de Cenis, over the col de Mont Cenis, where the border between France and Italy lies, then down to Tornio.

      As soon as we entered Italy, the air became different, softer; objects were less sharply defined, the houses a bit more crumbly around the edges, old guys with pot bellies lounged around, shirtless. The food and coffee were better. And, I am a confirmed francophile. But, Italy was ….. magical. France, rational. Miss them both.

      1. DJG, Reality Czar

        Eclair: Modane, on the other end of the Tunnel of Fréjus. I suppose Wonders of Engineering do lack some romance.

        Here in Torino, it is said that under the Monument to the Engineers and Builders in the Palazzo dello Statuto is the Entrance to Hell. (And not just metaphorically.)

        And Modane is still a gateway to lovely Lyon and Chambéry.

        The Piedmontese tend to be rational-magical, which is scary.

        And I do recommend the article that Lambert Strether posted about the dire happenings in the Po Valley, which is a paradise of agricultural production, cradle of many handsome cities, and (reputedly) the most densely populated and richest area of Europe. The photos in the article will show you why Italy will eventually “bug out” of the NATO adventure in Ukraine. All of that magic requires a lot of maintenance.

        1. Janie

          We spent some time in the area decades ago, the year when the Shroud was on display. We visited Milan, the Certosa and the lakes. Lovely memories.

      2. anahuna

        That reminds me of a Goytisolo poem from many years ago. Crossing from Spain to France. The part I can remember goes (in my translation):

        Disheveled Spain

        A fan
        Slightly Cartesian.

    1. hunkerdown

      And when the top 10% are disgorged of some of their fake claims on flows from the real economy, they’re going to get a little less distinct from everyone else, i.e. more equal. It doesn’t look that way in the Gini coefficient, but I don’t consider power over the lower, residual classes to be a good thing.

    2. playon

      He uses as an example how Elon Musk’s wealth has decreased to $200 billion. If you have $200,000,000,000 if you were to spend $200 million a year it would take you 1000 years before you ran out of money — so much for equality.

    1. Bart Hansen

      Long ago my first government job was a year with the Bureau of Labor Statistics working on the Consumer Price Index. I was in floor coverings, darlings!

      Their process in calculating price inflation was by comparing last year’s product with this year’s. At that time there wasn’t much shrinking going on, so we mostly dealt with new and supposedly better materials coming up. God knows what fun they have with the current environment.

    1. Wukchumni

      I’m elated to announce the launch of Sarcophaguscoin, a different kind of cryptcurrency to be sure, and slated to be quite a limited edition.

  14. Mikel

    “Private equity chiefs fear waking up with ‘a terrible hangover’” FT

    “…What went largely unspoken, at least in public, was the enthusiasm that some cash-rich buyout groups and distressed debt investors felt about the prospect of turning any crisis to their advantage by swooping on hard-hit companies.

    “I’m excited, I’m looking forward to this environment,” one dealmaker said privately. “Some of the best, most interesting deals will be done in the second half of this year.”

    And there it is…

    1. Revenant

      I just came back from Superventure in Berlin (the venture capital creche alongside the Superreturn PE conference) and the general sentiment was:

      – the tourists have gone home (bye bye, hedge funds and asset managers investing in growth VC at nosebleed valuations!)
      – valuations are normalising quickly in VC
      – there is a lot of dry powder (18 $5bn+ funds raised in private equity last year; lots of VC capital too)
      – the coming market dislocation will made 2022 and 2023 great vintages for returns

      On the other hand, there was a growing terror of a full-blown recession led by consumer collapse because of inflation and high interest rates.

  15. Screwball

    US opens COVID vaccine to little kids, shots begin next week AP



    In studies, vaccinated youngsters developed levels of virus-fighting antibodies as strong as young adults, suggesting that the kid-size doses protect against coronavirus infections.

    However, exactly how well they work is hard to pin down, especially when it comes to the Pfizer vaccine.

    Two doses of Moderna appeared to be only about 40% effective at preventing milder infections at a time when the omicron variant was causing most COVID-19 illnesses. Pfizer presented study information suggesting the company saw 80% with its three shots. But the Pfizer data was so limited — and based on such a small number of cases — that experts and federal officials say they don’t feel there is a reliable estimate yet.

    This article links to another about the FDA approval, but unless I missed it, I don’t see any links to the studies themselves. I would like to see those since the above paragraph doesn’t give me warm fuzzies about this (cough, cough) “vaccine.”

    1. Brian (another one they call)

      The documents that Pfizer wanted to keep secret for 50 years should be printed for all the world to see. I would like to be wrong on this assumption but it now appears that the vaccines do nothing except harm the individual taking them. In perpetuity.
      I wonder where the Moderna documents supporting their claims are hiding?

      1. Screwball

        Of course, and from the article posted in links;

        In a statement Saturday, President Joe Biden urged parents to get them for their young children as soon as possible.

        What it didn’t say was “Sponsored by Pfizer” but it probably should.

        Ok, maybe I’m too cynical.

  16. marcel

    Regarding “Kaliningrad sanctions to take effect, Lithuania says Reuters” and escalation. I think Russia has given its first reply. From Telegram, apparently from the Russian Mod,
    “The Armed Forces of the Russian Federation continue strikes against military facilities in Ukraine.
    Over the past 24 hours, high-precision long-range sea-based Kalibr missiles at 12:30 a.m. struck a command post of Ukrainian troops near the village of Shirokaya Dacha, Dnipropetrovsk Region, at a time when the command staff of the Alexandria Strategic Operational Group of Forces was holding a working meeting there.
    As a result of the strike, over 50 generals and officers of the AFU, including the general staff, the command of the Kakhovka troop grouping, the airborne assault troops and formations operating in the Nikolaevsk and Zaporizhzhya directions were destroyed.”

    1. Michael

      RF said they would strike at command and decision making centers, Check!

      Maybe they should have used Zoom, oh wait

    2. ex-PFC Chuck

      The significance of the Lithuania action should not be underestimated. The free access agreement goes back the the Potsdam Conference, Stalin, Truman and Churchill. I would expect the RF to challenge it aggressively, but in some way that would require Lithuania/NATO to fire the first shot. If/when that happens the s**ts on.

    3. Boomheist

      If Kalingrad can be supplied from the sea, I would expect the RF and Putin to do that, initially, while continuing to now pound command centers in Ukraine. In other words, avoid the direct confrontation the West seemingly wants while going down the UN international law route. The problem is, to supply Kalingrad by sea will require a lot of ships, and the voyage from say Murmansk would take at least a week, maybe two weeks. The Russians could perhaps find other ships, charters, to supply Kalingrad, that is assuming the people there can hold out for a few weeks until the ships arrive. It seems to be in Russia’s interest that this conflict carry on for a bit longer, amping up the price of the sanctions in the US and Europe, making it increasingly obvious to all how stupid the West has been, and furthering the new G8 and non US dollar system now being imposed.

      On the other hand, Biden is under huge pressure here to hold fast, because if he agrees to anything to stop this war he will be immediately be blamed by the Republicans for losing Ukraine. Guaranteed. On the other hand, arguing for our votes while simultaneously arguing we need misery at home to support Ukrainians, for years to come, isn’t going to work very well….

      Biden showed courage when he pulled out of Afghanistan (though our subsequent rewfusal to release their money for their own use was a near crime) because it was the right thing to do. Maybe he will do the right thing again and move to stop this war, which he could do in a phone call to Zelinsky. It is also the right thing to do. I continue to have this hope that Biden is torn between the warmongers and good sense, and maybe, just maybe, good sense might win……

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        The dynamics are different. Biden was largely elected by people in a primary who believe Putin stuffed ballot boxes and made blackmails Lindsay Graham into being evil, they can never explain his nature before 2016.

        The MSM made have hated it, and Biden made mistakes with the withdrawal such as learning about the state of Afghanistan in March of ’21. He is a disinterested and lazy man. It may be the first time he learned where Afghanistan even was. Biden’s electorate largely approved.

        Its fine to stroke Biden’s ego if the goal is to get him to do something, but there was no courage in his withdrawal from Afghanistan. Now he has a situation where his base thinks we should simply impose a no-fly zone.

      2. Robert Gray

        > … to supply Kalingrad [sic] by sea will require a lot of ships, and the voyage from say Murmansk
        > would take at least a week, maybe two weeks.

        Sorry, but what does Murmansk have to do with anything? Surely they would sail from St Petersburg.

        (Edited to add: pipped by Kouros!)

      3. Michaelmas

        Boomheist: Biden showed courage when he pulled out of Afghanistan (though our subsequent rewfusal to release their money for their own use was a near crime) because it was the right thing to do.

        Come on. Biden’s controllers drew down in Afghanistan because the TPTB in DC wanted to kick off in Ukraine against Russia. It’s that simple.

        Current events have been planned since 2013-14 and V. Nuland’s visit to Ukraine, and were initially scheduled to kick off in 2016 after Hillary’s ascension.

        Thus, the latter’s otherwise implausible fixation on Putin and the Russians as the explanation for her failure to succeed Obama to the presidency. Thus, too, the overamped, somewhat desperate rush to carry out those plans against Russia now, ignoring the accompanying conditions — low global energy prices, for one — that the RAND paper on ‘Extending Russia’ stipulated would be necessary for taking on Russia to be successful.

        From the viewpoint of DC, Putin and Russia have had four extra years to prepare, develop a new generation of weapons, and — as it’s turned out — preempt US aggression with Russia’s own ‘Special Military Operation.’

        I’m not a betting man. But I’ll take a bet that shadowy figures from the backrooms of State and CIA have been going around doing presentations for DC policymakers that feature over-amped comparisons of the US position now with that of, say, the UK in the pre-WWII days when Hitler’s Germany was building up its military. These presentations will include lots of graphics showing how with each month and each year China and Russia are pulling ahead, gaining an insuperable advantage over the US that the latter will ‘soon not be able to overcome.’

        In other words, TPTB in DC know — just as we do — that it’s fatuous to simultaneously take on Russia, the world’s biggest exporter of commodities and resources, and China, the world’s biggest manufacturer, to which the US offshored its manufacturing. But they also feel that it’s now or never, because with every day the US position grows weaker vis a vis Russia, China, and the rest of the world..

        This is an empire that knows it’s on the slide, whether it’ll admit it to itself or not.

  17. GlassHammer

    Local farms are raising prices next month for all meat because it’s costing them more ship it to the USDA packaging facility.

    Keep in mind that the margins these small farms make on selling meat is very modest and they primarily sell to locals who don’t have much disposable income. There is a very real limit to how many price increases can occur before buying and selling stops.

    1. jr

      There is a great butcher and provisions shop in Williamsburg that features mostly local and regional foods. The eggs, poultry, and meat are humanely raised and slaughtered and the prices reflect the quality. I’ve noticed that the prices haven’t gone up; I wonder if the proximity had something to do with that.

  18. RookieEMT

    Welp, my attempts at the right to repair ended in failure and my Z2 Play is now out of commission. I’ll admit I ordered the wrong kind-of battery but trying to remove the screen killed the device.

    Directions said warm up the screen glue with a hair-dryer and that worked until glue that was deeper inside the phone was encountered. Should of used the hair dryer again and not force it. Too easy to break.

    I liked the Z2 but Motorola stopped software updates years ago which felt way too early.

    Hmm… I’m having a philosophical debate to get a new smart-phone or get a ‘semi-smart’ flip-phone. Maybe with more basic features. A reputation for reparability. Doesn’t collect data on behalf of the NSA. Does the Naked Capitalism crowd have any recommendations?

    1. doug

      I have ruggedized flip phone from Kyocera that I have had a while and like. It can take a fall from a roof or a dunk in the toilet. I can not own a smart phone as I would be one the idiots staring at the screen all the time.

    2. expr

      A year or so ago, I had to replace my LG flip phone due to 3G going away. I got a Nokia 2720 vflip which appears to want to be “smart”
      Now 2 pages of icons.
      Instead of one click to the phone book, I have to navigate to the icon then select
      It has checked out several times and I have to turn off, wait and turn on (back to 1980’s DOS)
      I get text messages with embedded links I cannot click on
      once I get to the phone book, it is not very responsive I hit a key to go to a (set of) numbers. it is so slow, I hti the key again and instead of ‘d’ I get ‘e’

      1. digi_owl

        Even “featurephones” run Linux these days, same as Android (Samsung, Huawei, Motorola, etc) smartphones. The interface on top is different. It is branded KaiOS, but was originally developed by Mozilla as FirefoxOS.

        Surprised they let the kernel show during boot though, as they could easily have put some sort of graphic on top.

        1. square coats

          I recall hearing that Huawei was going to develop a brand new phone OS after google stopped doing business with it or whatever. Not sure what ended up happening with that, or whether they had any plans to somehow ditch not only android but linux as well.

          1. digi_owl

            Brand new? Nah. Android is partially open source, via what is known as the Android Open Source Project. Huawei just need to add alternatives to the Google middleware and app store to that, and i think they already have that going over in China.

            Also, Huawei is far from the first to do so. Amazon has been doing it for years for their tablet devices, calling it Fire OS. Likely why Google has over the years let things like the AOSP keyboard stagnate, while pushing Gboard via the Google Play app store.

            Right now the biggest leverage Google and Apple have over the mobile world, is their push notification services. That is what makes a modern smartphone able to keep up with all the traffic from Facebook et al, while still able to maintain a all day battery charge.

            And frankly, it is more likely that Google ends up ditching Linux and Android. They already have an experimental OS in the works called Fuchsia. We may well see them transition to it at some point, much like Microsoft did using XP back in the day. Meaning that it will have some android compatibility layer in there, but it will no longer sit on top of Linux, and it will likely be left to stagnate in order to get people to program directly for Fuchsia.

  19. cnchal

    > Amazon builds property empire, quietly buying land across the U.S..

    The 193 acres just outside Round Rock, Texas, were coveted by some of the biggest developers in the U.S.

    Located a few miles north of the booming city of Austin, the raw parcel could be used for virtually anything given the state’s lenient land-use laws. . . .
    – – – – – –
    In March 2020, the company shelled out $30 million for 63 acres in a bustling industrial area between San Diego and the U.S. border with Mexico. Then it built a 130-foot tall, state-of-the-art facility that can process a large assortment of products for same-day shipping. The company was opening new logistics facilities at the rate of about one every 24 hours at the time, so few realized the transaction represented a departure from standard practice.
    – – – – – –
    Buying land is a major shift for Amazon, which historically relied on a handful of developers to find property, build fairly simple warehouses and rent them back to the company. Now Amazon is increasingly taking parts of the development process in-house, often bidding against longtime partners for the best space.
    – – – – – – –
    “People are pissed off,” said one real estate developer who has done business with Amazon and had a recent deal fall through. “They’re just cutting their partners out who helped them get to where they are right now.”

    Real estate developers haven’t been paying attention. Amazon eating them should not be a surprise.

    The question now is how Amazon will adapt a boom-era strategy to current economic conditions. Online sales growth is slowing, interest rates are rising, and some analysts expect a recession in the coming months. The company has already reduced the number of new multistory warehouses it plans to build in the coming years to about 10 from as many as 40, according to people familiar with the matter.
    – – – – –
    Executives also are debating whether to unload some of the real estate they don’t immediately need or hang on to it for the day that demand picks up again . . .
    – – – – – –
    The 193-acre property Amazon bought last fall in Round Rock captures the potential promise and peril. . . . Amazon was moving expeditiously to prepare the land for construction, hosting community meetings to win over local residents, and was slated to begin the permit application process this summer. Then, on May 19, an Amazon economic development manager told city officials the company was putting the project on hold indefinitely. . . .

    Peak Amazon is in the rear view mirror. Combine this with the leaked internal memo of running out of potential exploitees to abuse in the warehouses, the messed up supply chains and screwing that third party sellers get, most of whom are in China (can’t hear them scream from there either), from fee and ad extortion, and the big picture is a hot mess, propped up by whip cracking sadists and grotesque government subsidies.

  20. Mikel

    “…The powers that be are ignoring this disease, and I am getting OUT of the nursing profession.

    — NurseShark (@NurseShark4) June 18, 2022

    This summer going into the beginning of next school year are going to be serious danger zones. This pox isn’t on enough people’s radar.
    But let it get to a point of Covid like cases and you’ll see people locking themselves down without any mandates.
    See, this country has accepted mass death, but they won’t tolerate mass UGLY. This disease disfigures and disables.
    And you won’t be able to run around with lesions, in people’s faces or up in an office saying dumb %!&* like “it’s just a cold” or “allergies”.
    People will kick your butt if you come around them because it means about 2 weeks quarantine.

  21. John Randolph

    Well, this is rather interesting. A paper
    just came out of the Wuhan Institute of Virology on the efficient assembly of a large fragment of the monkeypox virus.

    You can’t make this stuff up…

    Virologica Sinica Volume 37, Issue 3, June 2022, Pages 341-347

    Efficient assembly of a large fragment of monkeypox virus genome as a qPCR template using dual-selection based transformation-associated recombination

  22. Mikel

    Look at Teen Vogue talking about “jubilee.”
    Now they have to understand the spirit of jubilee needs to be expanded and inclusive and don’t be afraid to teach the children two words: “debt jubilee”
    That’s my advice for future generations: don’t pay for a party you didn’t attend and weren’t invited to.

    Start over and invest in rebuilding something other than rentierism, over-financialization, and assorted ways of skimming from other people’s financial transactions.

  23. The Rev Kev

    “With scant options in Ukraine, U.S. and allies prepare for long war”

    The Washington Post, also known as Jeff’s Neocon Newsletter, really lays it out. I can see lots of moving parts going on. Western European countries like France, Germany and Italy went to the Ukraine to tell him it was time to negotiate. But then Boris jets over to demand that the fighting must go on. So it seems that Poland, the Baltic States, the Netherlands, the UK and the US want this war to go on for years to bleed the Russians. No idea where the Ukrainian army will come from that will be doing all this fighting. The present one is being rapidly melted away. The neocons in Washington are ascendant at the moment and they cannot tolerate the idea of Russia winning. It cannot be allowed. If it looks like the Ukraine will collapse, then they will try a provocation to keep things stirred up. Maybe try a no-fly zone or perhaps a Ukrainian attack on Transnistria.

    But this war has an international dimension and the US has just announced that they are going to send the world into recession along with tens of millions of people starving in order to ‘win.’ Maybe the idea too is that as all these businesses collapse all around the world, the US can go in and buy them up on the cheap. But if anything, a lot of non-western countries will realize that they have no future with the US block whereas with the China-Russian block they stand a chance to get ahead. So if the US tries to put together another Coalition of the Willing, very few will be found to sign up now. The western block has tried to isolate Russia (with China later) but it may work out that the western block has now isolated itself from the rest of the world.

    1. Wukchumni

      You would think the Donkey Show would be all over Transnistria, engendering trust but verify sects.

    2. digi_owl

      Yeah, it helps to have something tangible to bribe with when doing economic warfare…

    3. ChrisPacific

      Boris Johnson unintentionally(?) equates ceasefire with Russian victory:

      “It would be a catastrophe if Putin won. He’d love nothing more than to say, ‘Let’s freeze this conflict, let’s have a ceasefire’”

      Wouldn’t that mean that Russia has ‘won’ the conflict up to this point? Doesn’t exactly square with all those stories we hear about how well Ukraine is doing.

      1. digi_owl

        The last thing Oceania wants is another Korea situation. In particular as this time, their half will likely go “best Korea”.

    4. bwilli123

      “No idea where the Ukrainian army will come from that will be doing all this fighting.”

      Can’t find the link on MofA, but Male refugees in Poland are being told their refugee status is being cancelled and they have to go back.

      1. digi_owl

        Yeah that is one thing that has been glossed over since day one by MSM.

        If the people was so enthusiastic about the nation state known as Ukraine, why did the government have to forbid fighting age men from fleeing?

        You would think they would throw themselves at the chance to fight for the survival of their glorious nation.

  24. Poopypants

    I’ll be the first to vaccinate my unborn in the womb, I mean why take the chance on the mother getting Covid and losing the baby?

    After that I’m gonna see if they can prevaccinate my sperm, just to be safe.

  25. Wukchumni

    They are the largest trees in the world, living monuments with massive trunks and towering canopies that can thrive for 3,000 years. But ancient sequoia trees, which have been decimated by severe wildfires around California’s Sierra Nevada, are struggling to keep up with ever worsening conditions. And this summer, they could face their worst fate yet.

    The trees, which grow in a narrow band of the Sierra Nevada, are accustomed to frequent wildfires — their tree rings show fire recurring every six to 30 years. But the worsening intensity of recent blazes have been too much for them to handle. Since 2020, three fires have resulted in the loss of 13 to 19 percent of the entire population, said Christy Brigham, chief of resources management and science at Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks.

    In August 2020, the Castle Fire killed up to 10,600 trees. And as many as 3,637 sequoias were killed or will ultimately die as a result of the September 2021 Windy and KNP Complex fires in the southern Sierra Nevada, according to the National Park Service.
    Giant Sequoias succumb by falling over eventually, and i’d liken them to giant corporations in that they have shallow roots (outsourced jobs) and tend to be top heavy (upper management earning outrageous salaries) and a good many of the trees are crooked as well. It isn’t unusual to see some with a 5-10% tilt, as in leaning towers of treeza.

    One thing i’ve noticed this year is that i’ve seen about 10 mature Sequoias that have fallen over not from fire or anything, and can’t remember ever seeing so many topple in such a short time span, and whats it all about? There has been an incredible drying out of the soil from the drought, is that to blame?

  26. Wukchumni

    Fed chief Powell wants to go back to those halcyon daze of 2% annual inflation, and in the Soviet Union candidates up for office would often win with 98% of the ‘popular vote’ which everybody knew was bullshit, kind of a Bizarro World gig, the dueling 2% lies.

    1. Wukchumni

      Oh more Bizarro World parallels…

      Gorbachev was all about openness-whereas Trump was just the opposite, and in regards to their successors, Yeltsin was a raging alcoholic, Joe is a teetotaler.

      Both Boris & Joe gave away the country to the oligarchy in the bargain…

      1. digi_owl

        I can’t help wonder if said oligarchs are right pissed at Joe for those knee jerk sanctions imposed. Because they may well have exposed the nakedness of said oligarchs.

        1. Wukchumni

          Joe is that awkward uncle who in theory you love dearly, but are terrified what comes out of their mouth @ Thanksgiving.

          The fun part is watching the puppeteers scramble to reverse something dumb he has uttered, I can’t remember a President with as many precedents as Biden.

          Ode to Joe:

          Bicycle, bicycle, bicycle
          I want to ride my bicycle, bicycle, bicycle
          I want to ride my bicycle
          I want to ride my bike
          I want to ride my bicycle
          I want to ride it where I like

          You say inflation, I say negation
          You say no bite or bark, I say malarkey
          You say my popularity shrank, I say hey nation
          January 6th was never my scene
          And I don’t like Czar Wars

          You say roles, I say please upon me foist
          You say Clyburn give me a choice
          You say President, I say Oh Christ!
          I don’t believe in any Putin Plan
          A NATO Frankenstein against a Superman
          All I wanna do is

          Bicycle, bicycle, bicycle
          I want to ride my bicycle, bicycle (c’mon), bicycle
          I want to ride my bicycle
          I want to ride my bike
          I want to ride my bicycle
          I want to ride it where I like.

          Queen: Bicycle Race

          1. c_heale

            I think Biden is more like that sleazy uncle who made a lot of money doing dodgy stuff, and who is wondering why no-one comes to visit now he’s confined to the house.

  27. IMOR

    “With SCANT OPTIONS in Ukraine, U.S. and allies prepare for long war.”WaPo

    ” We’ve tried nothin’, Doc -and we’re all out of ideas!” – young Ned Flanders’ parents to his child psychiatrist.

  28. Jason Boxman

    Tax excess margins:

    There’s no reason to get too clever by half. Sure, as you’d expect from Elizabeth Warren, a so-called “windfall-profit tax” (that is really an excess margins tax) has a populist stick-it-to-the-price-gougers vibe. But it is also a well designed levy from a technocratic perspective that would enhance incentives to produce when competition is insufficient to discourage industries from seeking scarcity rents. If such taxes are imposed regularly, the threat of them would reduce the incentives for industries to consolidate in the first place. Taxing persistent excess margins is in the sweet spot where good politics and good policy intersect. We should do more of it.

    Unfortunately, in highly consolidated industries, players might have a lot of political power. They can use this to thwart any attempt at taxing excess margins. Enforcing anti-trust laws seems a good way to limit political power, not just pricing power.

  29. Wukchumni

    It’s true, it’s true, the Senate has made it clear
    The climate in DC isn’t perfect all the year

    A law was made a distant moon ago here
    July and August can be too hot
    And there used to be a 6 year limit to the show here for Kamala

    Senate is forbidden after December
    And exits not having done a lot
    By order, Senate lingered through at least November for Kamala

    Kamala: Camelot?
    I know it sounds a bit bizarre
    But for Kamala: Camelot
    That’s how conditions are

    Her Senate reign fell after election
    By January 20th, when the possibility looms near
    In short, there’s simply not a more presumptive spot
    For happily ever after in than here for Kamala

    Kamala: Camelot
    I know it gives a person pause
    But in Camelot: Kamala?
    Those are the legal laws

    The show may never be thrust upon her spot
    But if Joe wavers, an answer must appear
    In short, there’s simply not a more easy entry slot
    For happily ever after here in the White House for Kamala

    1. Wukchumni

      We’re rolling the dice in the southwest, one more drought year in Cali similar to the last 3 winters of missed content and its curtains for not only the real estate bubble here, but i’d guess 2/3rds of the denizens will have to exit, stage left.

      This video of Lake Mead by a couple of intrepid reporters from a couple days ago gives you an idea of just how quickly the basin is drying out.

      The lake went from 5 boat launching ramps a fortnight ago, to only 1 now.

      Lake Mead Drought Update!!! What’s Going On?!!!

    2. MarkT

      Forgot to add: there is an interview in the article with Chris Funk, director of The Climate Hazards Center (CHC) at UC Santa Barbara, about the climate mechanics that are involved.

  30. Alex Morfesis

    Sadly this Juneteenth stuff is really just the new Cinco de Budweiser…Florida black foke celebrated May 20th NOT June 19, but now, new to the parade and drinking the Kool juice yunginz locally are adjusting history and being told they should be celebrating the “teenth”…

  31. Wukchumni

    So much has been said about guns and being armed & dangerous in these not so united states, but let me relate a personal tale of shooting first and asking why you did it later, from 11 years ago.

    Craig Lafferty was a friend of mine, I went to Burning Man with him a number of times and he was a model citizen in that up until his 48th year on this good orb, he’d never been arrested and had no record.

    Somebody was climbing the side of his 3 story building and 1 shot rang out and it was the beginning of the end for not only the fellow he dispatched, but his own life as he went into a spiral mentally after beating the rap for voluntary manslaughter (why does that always look like ‘man’s laughter’ to me?) and finally passed away last year.

    The local guy he shot was drunk and had met his partner Sheila in a bar the week before, and really posed no imminent threat to anybody clinging to the side of a 3 story building, but Craig had to defend his ground.

    A Surprise Valley man, Kevin Scott Konz, was shot and killed June 24, in the early morning hours at a residence in Lake City. The investigation into the shooting continues, but Craig Gordon Lafferty, of Lake City was arrested and charged with voluntary manslaughter.

    Memorial services for Konz were held Wednesday at the Modoc Fairgrounds in Cedarville. Konz is a 2005 graduate of Surprise Valley High School and was back in Surprise Valley working for the Bureau of Land Management.

    According to Modoc County Sheriff Mike Poindexter, on June 24 at about 2:08 a.m., Sheila Sanford called the Modoc County Sheriff’s Office to report a possible burglary in progress at her residence located at 4669 County Road 17 in Lake City. Sanford told the on-duty sheriff’s dispatcher that someone was trying to get into her residence, that the father of her children was outside, but he could not see anyone about the outside of the residence.

    Sanford told the sheriff’s dispatcher that she had seen a subject looking in a window of the residence, but could not provide a description. She told the sheriff’s dispatcher that the father of her children had advised her that he found no one outside of the three-story home. Sanford told the sheriff’s dispatcher that they were unable to locate the person and were fine for now and they would call back if they needed anything further.

    Approximately 45 minutes later, Sanford called the Sheriff’s Office to report that a subject had been shot at her residence. Sanford told the on-duty sheriff’s dispatcher that Konz had been shot by the father of her children, Lafferty. Medical personnel and Modoc County Sheriff’s Deputies were dispatched to the scene. (Modoc Record)

  32. antidlc

    RE: “We Have to Get Out of This Phase”: Ashish Jha on the Future of the Pandemic (interview) The New Yorker.

    Lambert’s comment:
    Not a word on ventilation,…

    Jha briefly mentioned “substantially improving indoor air quality”.
    “There are things we can do to slow down the spread, like substantially improving indoor air quality and more widespread testing during surges. ”

    (Not that I expect this administration to do anything about improving indoor air quality.)

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Thanks. I was moving too fast, and should have double-checked on “air” instead of “airborne.” I tinkered with the wording after the link.

  33. Jason Boxman

    Republican Drive to Tilt Courts Against Climate Action Reaches a Crucial Moment

    Within days, the conservative majority on the Supreme Court is expected to hand down a decision that could severely limit the federal government’s authority to reduce carbon dioxide from power plants — pollution that is dangerously heating the planet.

    But it’s only a start.

    The case, West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency, is the product of a coordinated, multiyear strategy by Republican attorneys general, conservative legal activists and their funders, several with ties to the oil and coal industries, to use the judicial system to rewrite environmental law, weakening the executive branch’s ability to tackle global warming.

    LOL, so this is news to liberal Democrats, who care so deeply about climate action that they’ve been blindsided by this? Or perhaps, Democrats also don’t really care about climate, at least not enough to inconvenience their backers.

    And this:

    In total, Mr. Trump appointed three Supreme Court justices, 54 appeals court judges, and 174 district court judges. By comparison, Mr. Biden has, to date, appointed 68 federal judges.

    LOL. I guess that must be Republicans, again, blocking… oh wait, it’s a liberal Democrat controlled Congress. Oopsie.

    In any case the entire story recounts at length the extent to which conservatives take their politics seriously. I’m so glad Pelosi wants a strong Republican party, aren’t you?

  34. Wukchumni

    Notes from the overground:

    In our new climate change normal, i’d say you want to go hiking or backpacking in the Sierra Nevada early summer and get ‘r done before wildfires come calling, or the wildcard risk of a human bean starting something on fire, which is tantamount to the same thing as far as a bolt from on high.

    Once a big fire starts, the air quality goes to shit in a hurry and I once endured a 10 day backpack during the McNally Fire 20 years ago, and vowed to never do that again, as the smoke not only was way hazardous for yours truly breathing it in deep in the usually crystalline air, but you couldn’t hardly see anything in the distance, which is what the Sierra is all about, why bother going?

    Our cabin community was only 1 1/2 miles away from the the extent of the KNP fire and fire crews had gone by every cabin and cut down potential fire risks as far as anything under 8 inches in diameter too close for comfort.

    There was a veritable pile of cuttings from our community in the aftermath of the KNP being extinguished as a testament to them having done their due diligence in preparing our cabins in the sky for something wicked this way comes, and then fire service chipped the majority of the cuttings, and the new look of the community is more fire savvy, and looks as if it went on a forest diet.

    There was still a lot of slash to burn and i’ve been a busy beaver, for a fire ban can’t be far away and you can see why when you light the debris, it almost blows up on you-the flames, everything is so bone dry and aside from a few north facing nothingburger patches of snow @ 11-12k feet protected from the Suns rays, there is no frozen white stuff-all gone.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Sounds like you have been lucky in that you have not had severe fires in your community lately. Just been reading how Spain is dealing with sever temperatures as well as fierce fires at the moment and so has France and Germany.

      1. Wukchumni

        We’re going to have lightning storm possibilities from Wednesday through Friday, with “Dangerous cloud to ground lightning strikes and wind gusts near 45 miles per hour” between 11am and 5pm on Thursday when temps on the Central Valley floor are over 100.

        We seldom get lightning storms such as this one until August.

  35. drumlin woochuckles

    About the “Kaliningrad sanctions” and the ability to re-supply Kaliningrad by sea . . .

    Perhaps the RussiaGov could organize a circular conveyor-belt type of shipping resupply effort for Kaliningrad like the circular conveyor-belt type of air-freight resupply effort the Allies set up for West Berlin during the Berlin Blockade.

    The RussiaGov could call it the Kaliningrad Sealift.

  36. TomDority

    With scant options in Ukraine, U.S. and allies prepare for long war WaPo. “[O]fficials have described the stakes of ensuring Russia cannot swallow up Ukraine — an outcome officials believe could embolden Putin to invade other neighbors or even strike out at NATO members

    outcome officials – what the hell are outcome officials – do they have crystal balls? fortune tellers?? tarot cards? trained competent individuals?? are we back to Reagan years when a tax increase was not a tax increase but a revenue enhancement and the Reagans consulted with fortune tellers.

    1. TomDority

      I get an outcome officials believe – but what on earth leads them to believe what they say – it’s not like these officials have been to good when making views known

  37. jr

    Yes You Kant!

    So I finally finished the preface to The Critique of Pure Reason, Müller’s translation, and have begun the book proper. It’s magnificent and it’s definitely readable. It takes some time, the meaning he assigns certain words is different than their modern usage, for example “intuition” to mean sensory inputs. The indispensable introduction by Marcus Weigelt provides a discussion of such usages.

    But it’s powerful stuff. Literally, the first sentence of the actual text itself was of immense utility:

    There can be no doubt that all our knowledge begins with experience.

    With this statement, he demolishes the claim that language creates reality. We must first experience reality, language is an artifact of that experience, a tool to describe it. To argue otherwise to is claim that language precedes being, an obvious fallacy. I would go so far as to claim that the notion that language creates reality, so heavily abused and malformed an idea, is in fact a denial of selfhood. One must be to address, to name, to speak of what is.

  38. jr

    The Dandelion is the Meaning of Life

    The essay from The Marginalian is wonderful, as always, but I would like to offer a different perspective, an Idealist one:

    “meaning only exists in this brief interlude of consciousness between chaos and chaos, the interlude we call life. When you die — when these organized atoms that shimmer with fascination and feeling — disband into disorder to become unfeeling stardust once more, everything that filled your particular mind and its rosary of days with meaning will be gone too. From its particular vantage point, there will be no more meaning, for the point itself will have dissolved — there will only be other humans left, making meaning of their own lives, including any meaning they might make of the residue of yours.”

    For the Idealist, the universe fundamentally consists of consciousness. The Materialist claim that consciousness arises from matter is belied by experience itself. We can never not experience consciousness, it can be obsfucated but to live is to experience and to experience is to be in a conscious state. Even the cold-cocked boxer pancaked on the mat of a boxing ring is conscious on some level.

    But then what to make of the experience of a world that seemingly extends beyond ourselves, where the dandelions live? It surely exists, as it impinges upon our consciousness, but nothing says that it is outside of consciousness. To make such a claim is to literally double reality, the one we consciously experience and the one “out there”. Rather, it is more sensible, more rational, more philosophically compact to say that the outer world also exists in a state of consciousness. Idealism takes what we know, the only thing we know with absolute certainty, and extends it to everything rather than proposing a fantastic world that we cannot ever directly or indirectly know. Not our consciousness, but one that encompasses all the known universe.

    As we are merely a part of that universe, we must view our individual consciousnesses as subsets of that larger consciousness. To claim otherwise is to propose that each of us generates our own individual universe. Rather, Idealism proposes we experience our own individual perspective on that larger consciousness-scape.

    The Panpsychist, the apologist of Materialism, holds that rather than consciousness arising from the individual brain all matter is in fact, on some level, conscious. But nothing in our experience tells us that a rock feels love, enjoys the taste of a fine wine, or pines for a long lost friend. Panpsychism fails on empirical grounds, there is literally no evidence that dead matter is conscious. This includes the matter inside our skulls.

    So if the world is of consciousness and we are differentiated bits of consciousness looking upon that consciousness at large, the dandelion does not have meaning but rather is meaning, intrinsically, by virtue of it’s mere existence. It exists and as such it is a facet of reality and therefore a facet of consciousness at large, or Consciousness as I like to think of it. In other words, the Meaning of Life is that Life is Meaning.

    1. Wukchumni

      I was hanging out with heavy duty evang cabin owners in our community the other day, and I always bite my tongue enough to produce blood, because I can learn what they’re all about that way.

      The 85 year old mom told me ‘they would live on in eternity for 1,000 years’ and oh how I wanted to make a parallel with some other 1,000 year plan, but drew 0 negative.

      1. jr

        As Consciousness precedes space/time, having created those perspectives, It is not subject to their dictates. Someone please tell Sean Carroll. The death of the body allows for the differentiated individual consciousnesses to be subsumed into Consciousness. Those holy-rollers will live for eternity! Just not with the robes and harps and cloud-furniture…

  39. upstater

    If you want to see how pathetically low the FT has become (Euan is Tony’s son)

    Euan Blair sets out global vision for Multiverse alternative to university
    Entrepreneur aims to level the social playing field by building on $1.7bn edtech start-up’s success

    ‘What we’re doing is finding exceptional talent but much, much more diverse . . . than you might get from university’
    8,000 Number of young people who have passed through Blair’s programme
    100,000 Targeted tally of apprentices in the next three or four years

    Add this sickening puff piece to “Lunch with the FT” with Hillary Clinton. And their full neocon warmongering. John Dizard, my favorite columnist, is now gone. Sorry FT, my 18 years of subscribing to the tactile print version is over.

  40. RobertC

    Garrulous insolence

    Sechin: Russia with its energy potential and Vostok Oil project will be the ‘Noah’s Ark of the world economy’

    ST. PETERSBURG/MOSCOW. June 18 (Interfax) – Russia is able to meet the world’s long-term needs for affordable energy, Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin said at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.

    “We are already seeing movement towards a new oil market configuration where two price contours are forming: for friendly countries – a fair market price, and for unfriendly countries – a premium on top of the price, which will be used to pay off our costs associated with breach of rules and obligations by our former partners,” Sechin said.

    “In these conditions it is important to answer the question: where is it the Noah’s Ark of the world economy?” he said.

    Russia, with its energy potential and portfolio of first-class projects, such as Vostok Oil, can meet the world’s long-term needs for affordable energy resources and, of course, is that very Ark,” he said.

    …”We will be happy to welcome our friends among the participants in the project to build the Noah’s Ark of the world economy,” Sechin said.

    [He discusses the following topics]

    ++ Global economic crisis gaining momentum
    ++ End to green transition
    ++ U.S. baseless accusations
    ++ Russia not obstructing BP dividends
    ++ Movement towards increasing settlements in nat’l currencies

    …”The single global market is dead. All previous institutions and mechanisms for its regulation operate in non-economic mode, in fact, in war mode,” he said.

    “In these conditions it is impossible to overestimate Russia’s role in the emergence of a new configuration for markets and new institutions for interaction by countries seeking independence from diktat and the arbitrary nature of sanctions,” he said.

  41. Wukchumni

    Truman: ‘The buck stops here’

    Biden: ‘The buck stops here, but we can lavishly front a failing proxy war…’

  42. Wukchumni

    {lifted from a Reddit page, some don’t like it hot}

    Location : Toulouse, France (South).

    For the last 3 days we have been experiencing a massive heat dome. They call it a heat feather as it look like a massive feather comming from north Africa.

    In this part of the country, the temperature went as high as 41°C (106°F) during the day and stay over 30°C (86°F) during the night. It’s higher than in the Sahara Desert and it’s usually only happening during the hotest days in August. And here most houses don’t have AC as you have in US. To add insult to the injury, in some pretty big town, the water was contaminated by a random bactery making it non drinkable,not usable to cook or wash yourself. The local government had to distribute tons of water bottle in hope people won’t die from the heat from dehydratation.

    Some people even died on the beach … If this keeps up, this summer would take a huge death toll.

    1. Vikas

      FT’s florid coverage, LOL

      “Extremist parties will now control around half the seats in parliament. Jean-Luc Mélenchon, an anti-American, Eurosceptic, Kremlin-friendly bruiser is now the undisputed leader of the opposition.”

    2. Glen

      It would be nice to see the more local commentators respond to this, but honestly when Macron is on record as wanting to raise the retirement age, lower the retirement pension, all while cutting taxes on the rich – do we have to be surprised at the result?

      If somebody had me voting on whether I was going to have to grab a handgun and blow a hole in my foot – why are they shocked when I vote no?

      Just wondering. Actually I’m wondering why it is even so close.

      1. ChrisRUEcon

        “If somebody had me voting on whether I was going to have to grab a handgun and blow a hole in my foot – why are they shocked when I vote no?”

        ::chef’s kiss::

        Such are the brain-addled expectations of our late-state-capitalism, neoliberal overlords.

        And yes, looking forward to David, and some of the others picking up where we left off a week ago (via NC thread).

  43. Tom Collins' Moscow Mule

    ‘I had to cut off the head, bro’: Myanmar soldiers swap slaughter stories Radio Free Asia. Horrid source, plausible story,.

    Or . . . .

    for everyone who has not had the opportunity to watch the documentary “The Act of Killing” . . . .

    where . . . .

    “The Act of Killing describes the Indonesian mass killings that occurred from 1965-66 and those who participated in it. After the country’s failed coup, Anwar Congo and his followers went on a murder spree that devastated the country. The mass killings resulted in a genocide that killed over a million people. Invited to speak in the documentary, Anwar describes what it was like killing for the cameras. Re-enacting the scenes where he murdered people, the former death-squad leader seems to be enjoying himself and putting on an act reminiscent of Clint Eastwood in a western movie.”

    The documentary is a representative portrayal of human brutality at its ‘finest’, a savage brutality that could only be perfected and celebrated by the planetary dominant predatory species.

  44. Dalepues

    Gustavo Petro wins the election for president of Colombia
    with 50.48% of the vote.
    Colombia will have its first left-wing government, reports
    the El Colombiano (de Medellin, Antioquia).
    Interesting map. Petro won nearly all the perimeter states (departments)
    save the small piece of Antioquia on the Caribbean.
    The easternmost states are very sparsely populated.
    A friend in Medellin called to say that the right has had control
    of the country for two hundred plus years; it was time to give
    the left an opportunity to improve the lives of Colombians.

    1. super extra

      wow! now lets get Lula back in in Brasil… could be a different world entirely by the next US presidential term, regardless of who it is..

  45. Wukchumni

    Slick Tick Trick:

    A few years ago I watched in amazement as a friend removed a tick by merely swirling a wet q-tip around it half a dozen times and off it came.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      NPR news has called Melenchon ” the Far-Left candidate” every time they mention him at all. If he becomes Prime Minister, NPR will be very angry and sad.

      1. ChrisRUEcon

        Anything to the left of Reagan is considered “far left” by US media … JLM won’t be PM, but the damage is done to Macron and his party.

  46. drumlin woodchuckles

    Here is a Beau video about some strange divisions in the Republican Party. He already did a video about how the Texas GOP said ” no Log Cabin Republicans at our convention, please” and kept saying it even when Trump tried convincing them to change their mind. They have gone beyond Trump into a more permanent posture of Christian Sharia Law Fascism, where Trump will matter less and less and less.

    And now this . . . ( Let’s talk about the Texas GOP and Crenshaw . . . )

  47. Jason Boxman

    Per Walgreens, the updated sub-variant tracker ending 6/16 has BA1/4/5 at 38%. This might be presumed. The confirmed variants tracker is still stale, from 5/28. So not sure what to make of that. National positivity rate is little changed, down 0.5% to 29.3%.

    This would have been a crisis a year ago. But I’m not seeing much in the way of any reports of any kind of reinstituted interventions. NY Times has case counts at 100,000, which we know is an undercount, and that was a crisis only a year ago.

    The bill is gonna come due at some point; it always does. I hope all those smiles are worth it.

  48. JBird4049

    >>>This European airline just ordered a fleet of airships

    (My apologies. I started with my lifelong enthusiasm over the airships, which might again be a thing! Then I started to realize that because America!, I ain’t ever going to on them. Not if I live to a hundred. However, I will always be enjoying the Golden State’s truly f—- up transportation.)

    I have been checking on the manufacturer since a decade ago when the army wanted to use something like this for their spying in Afghanistan. Partly because I could seethe over more waste in The War on Terror™ plus airships! Always have been a fan of aircraft like the Hindenburg and since flying on airplanes has gradual become a nightmare, what with it easier to drive the roughly four hundred miles from San Francisco to Los Angeles than fly. The time spent is the same and no waiting for an hour or three beforehand, no taking off my shoes, wallet, belt, phone, coins, no cancer scanners and macho TSA guards. Then there is the often hellish fight itself. At even eighty miles per hour, the Airlander trip would not be that long.

    Yes, I know that the TSA or somebody will insist that The Bad People will hurt us, unlike the cancer scanners, so take off your shoes and to the cattle chute, but I can dream, can’t I?

    And while people are whinging about gasoline and unnecessary travel, going from San Francisco/San Joe/Oakland to Los Angeles/Long Beach/San Diego is not that unusual, what with them being the five biggest cities in the state full of people, businesses, ports, etc. I will even add metropolitan Sacramento. The state mostly runs north to south along the coast, not as much west to east although with the increase in population… Last I checked, the new super duper high speed rail is going nowhere due to the same corruption that almost tanked the Bay Bridge, the regular train is not that good, God help you if you take Greyhound, and the next time I go south, whenever that might be, will end with me driving L.A.’s freeways. They are no joke to drive on. Believe me.

    Between the Kabuki Security of uniformed and armed people, CCTV, and scanners asking for our papers, everywhere at the federal, state, and municipal levels, which is really just propaganda and a massive grift, that does not keep us safe, but allows Them to keep better track of us, and the truly messed up transportation “system” that is becoming more like the medical “system” I am going to be forced to drive four hundred miles just to get from two major metropolitan areas in a state of forty million with IIRC the eight largest economy on the planet.

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