Links 6/20/2022

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.

–Yves

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.

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Meet the Best Bird Dads and Learn How They Help Out Around The Nest Birds and Blooms

Polar bear population discovered that can survive with little sea ice Nature

Recession Probability Soars as Inflation Worsens WSJ

Fed’s Mester warns returning inflation to 2% will take ‘a couple of years’ FT

#COVID19

Anti-Covid nasal spray ready soon Bangkok Post (Furzy Mouse). The second after Bharat, linked to yesteday.

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Policy stringency and mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic: a longitudinal analysis of data from 15 countries The Lancet. metastudy. I find the death resuls more interesting than the mental health results, although those are important too. From the Results: “Because early and targeted action resulted in lower levels of virus circulation, average policy stringency was lower in countries that pursued elimination strategies than countries that pursued mitigation strategies in the 15-country sample… and the Nordic countries subset…. Countries pursuing an elimination strategy also had fewer daily deaths (per 100 000 population) in the 15-country sample…. and the Nordic subset…. Thus, the COVID-19 policies implemented by countries pursuing an elimination strategy and near-elimination strategy, particularly higher levels of contact tracing …., might have allowed these countries to avoid a trade-off between policy stringency and COVID-19 deaths .”

Modelling long-term COVID-19 hospital admission dynamics using immune protection waning data (preprint) medRxiv. Model study. The Abtract: “Immune waning is key to the timely anticipation of COVID-19 long-term dynamics. We assess the impact of periodic vaccination campaigns using a compartmental epidemiological model with multiple age structures and parameterised using empiric time-dependent vaccine protection data. Despite the inherent uncertainty, we show that vaccination on its own, especially if restricted to individuals over 60 years old, seems insufficient to prevent a large number of hospital admissions.” Oopsie. Handy chart:

Look! Up in the sky! It’s an air taxi. They’re coming to Los Angeles LA Times

It’s Time to Consider the Broader Socioeconomic Impact of Air Taxis Aviation Today. From 2020, still germane.

Once-Spurned Superjumbos Return to Skies as Travel Roars Back Bloomberg. The A380.

NASA is worried SpaceX’s Starship could destroy its iconic launch pad 39A Interesting Engineering

China?

Bitcoin crashed, the wealth of the richest Chinese shrunk by 89 percent What China Reads

‘Mind-reading’ device to detect porn could speed China’s policing of illicit content, say researchers South China Morning Post

Indonesia Tunes Out the U.S. WSJ. #4 in world population, so Atlanticists, good job.

India

Thousands ransack railway station as protests intensify over India’s military hiring plan Guardian

The Bezzle

Bitcoin Teeters Around $20,000 Amid a Volatile Crypto Winter Storm Barron’s

The Coin That Could Wreck Crypto NYT. Tether. Commentary:

Miners as intermediaries: extractable value and market manipulation in crypto and DeFi Bank of International Settlements. “Since [validators or “miners”] can choose which transactions they add to the ledger and in which order, they can engage in activities that would be illegal in traditional markets such as front-running and sandwich trades. The resulting profit is termed ‘miner extractable value’ (MEV).” Regulatory arbitrage.

New Not-So-Cold War

Russia says eastern attack is going well, strikes Ukraine with missiles Reuters. About that missile strike:

So how did Russia know where the meeting was?

Personally, I think it was was the command post cleaning crew, some of whom may have had relatives in Donetsk.

Hummus On The Front: Volunteers Feeding Ukraine’s Vegan Troops Agence France Presse. Scraping the bottom of the barrel on propaganda, here.

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China May oil imports from Russia soar to a record, surpass top supplier Saudi Reuters

Italy’s Eni joins giant Qatar gas project after Russian cuts France24

Germany to fire up coal plants as Russia turns down the gas Deutsche Welle

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West at inflection point in Ukraine war M. K. Bhadrakumar, Indian Punchline

How the US Could Lose the New Cold War Project Syndicate

China ready to supply components for aircraft to Russia, says envoy Tass

Ukraine’s Possible EU Accession Not Universally Welcome Der Spiegel (Re Silc).

* * *

St. Petersburg sets the stage for the War of Economic Corridors Pepe Escobar, The Cradle

The Return of Industrial Warfare Royal United Services Institute (Re Silc).

Colombia’s new leftist president Petro promises to fight inequality Reuters

Our Famously Free Press

Network of Syria conspiracy theorists identified Guardian. Commentary:

Emails confirm pro-NATO warmonger Paul Mason works with intelligence agencies WSWS. From earlier this month. Commentary on this continuing controversy:

Listen all the way to the end.

What Makes Censors Tick? Los Angeles Review of Books

UK/EU

Britain set for biggest rail strike in decades France24

Northern Ireland Protocol: No off ramps, only cliff edges RTE

The deafening silence over Brexit’s economic fallout FT

Assange

The UK’s Decision to Extradite Assange Shows Why The US/UK’s Freedom Lectures Are a Farce Glenn Greenwald. Commentary:

Intelligence Community

What Spies Really Think About John le Carré Foreign Policy. “But what about the successes?”

Imperial Collapse Watch

As jurors deliberate in the Fat Leonard case, Navy culture that spawned the bribes is unchanged KPBS

Navy relieves itself of command Duffel Blog

UK troops filmed having orgy at barracks, barred from NATO deployment NY Post (Re Silc).

Guillotine Watch

Silicon Valley’s Horrible Bosses The Atlantic

Class Warfare

Americans Pawning Items to Buy Gas, Survive Inflation: Pawn Shop Owners Newsweek (Furzy Mouse).

Thomas Piketty’s Case for ‘Participatory Socialism NYT

Chasing Cicadas Emergence

65,000-year-old ‘stone Swiss Army knives’ show early humans had long-distance social networks The Conversation

Do we need a better understanding of ‘progress’? BBC

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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

223 comments

  1. Alice X

    Gustavo Petro, Colombia’s new president. does not have a majority in the assembly, as the Reuters piece states. Compromise with the ‘centrists’ may be the foil that has undone so many elsewhere who might have aspired to social progress. Still, he should watch his back carefully. The empire of lies is not quite done for yet.

    Reply
  2. Lex

    Ever so slowly the picture of our shared history of humanity painted by English Victorians to match the world they wrought and soothe their sense of superiority is being overturned. Academia still isn’t willing to openly say that if we found evidence dating back 65,000 years, then whatever we found is likely far older as a concept. That’s implicit in the evidence but not discussed. The likelihood of us finding the oldest example of anything is vanishingly small, yet we proceed as if it is because we must be “scientific”.

    Never underestimate our ancestors.

    Reply
    1. digi_owl

      It was one thing old humans had in abundance, time.

      I recall running into some history show on BBC or something, ages ago, that talked about some elephant armor from India. A whole lot of metal plates held in place by metal rings carefully fitted to the animal. And the curator claimed that it was made by a whole village between sowing and harvesting seasons. Meaning that each villager would be tasked with something like smith plates, rings, attaching them to each other, etc etc etc.

      It is deeply ironic that as we have gotten more and more machines, the one thing we seem to be constantly short of is time.

      Reply
    1. timbers

      They said they were going to regime change Russia, but they themselves are getting regime changed instead.

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        ‘but they themselves are getting regime changed instead.’

        There seems to be a lot if this happening. First there was the government of Estonia, then the Bulgarian government, then Boris in the UK had a near death moment as PM and now the government of France has lost its ruling majority. I somehow suspect that this was not part of the plan.

        Reply
        1. mistah charley, ph.d.

          “Up First” – NPR podcast – today had a Latin American correspondent saying that elections there are tending against incumbents – leftists elected where rightwingers were in charge, and vice versa.

          Reply
      2. Mark Gisleson

        A regime change in the USA would sound great if one of our two options was actually a better choice.

        Reply
        1. hunkerdown

          That’s not a regime change. To defenestrate both factions of the bourgeoisie and the Senate would start to constitute regime change, and we see how tetchy they are about even talking about such things.

          Reply
          1. digi_owl

            Even having the hoi polloi wandering the “temple” unguided for a few hours have turned them rabid.

            Reply
        2. Mikel

          With lack of viable political options…people will just begin to stop cooperation in many ways. A death by a thousand cuts type of thing.

          Reply
      3. Old Sovietologist

        Even before the Ukraine crisis France was in a pre-revolutionary situation was evident in a number of Western European states. The economic shockwaves incoming for this winter will see class conflict at level that we haven’t seen since the 70s. At least one country will collapse France, Spain, Italy the most likely contenders. As new government’s emerge, new positions vis-a-vis Russia will also emerge. We may even see some of the leave NATO and that organisation collapse in the next couple of few years.

        Reply
            1. upstater

              Nope. That domain was already claimed by big tech AI; they’re going to resurrect all those that died too young and have new catalogs. If you want to “go” to a concert, you gotta buy their goggles and pay the admission.

              Reply
          1. digi_owl

            Comes an even colder winter after a brief spring.

            After all, it is the supposed 68-ers that has gotten us into the present mess.

            Reply
        1. Lex

          Well said. I agree. And it’s why I don’t really subscribe to the idea that all this is a deliberate move on Europe. To cleave Europe from Russia, yes, but not to destroy Europe in the process. Maybe the elites think that it won’t happen, but it will. Maybe they don’t care and the capital fleeing Europe will prop the US up a bit longer (for the elites at the casino). And my agreement with you is why I don’t think Russia needs (or plans) to push NATO back to ’97 borders by military force. It’s likely to happen no matter what now.

          Reply
    2. H. Toin

      The situation in France this morning is indeed unique, pretty good summary from this Politico article.
      The bit about foreign policy is again disingenuous though : no laws are ever passed concerning that domain, and seeing as the Macronist parties represent the majority in the Assemblée, it’s a Macronist government that will be nominated.

      The article states that dozens of conservative votes will be needed to pass legislation. Considering the political inclinations of many Socialist Party and “Green” (EELV) party members, I rather expect that it’s those députés which the government will try to sway.
      As it is, there probably won’t be a unified NUPES parliamentary group, each of those two parties being able to create their own group (a group needs 15 députés minimum, a group gives extra powers and financing).

      The battle in the coming days will be for the powerful Commission des Finances, whose head goes traditionally to the first opposition party. Le Pen and the Rassemblement National are arguing that they are that party, which will be true if the NUPES separates in different groups, France Unbowed having less députés alone than the RN. The head of that Commission is very strategic in that it gives access to many confidential economic and fiscal informations to which the other parliamentary parties are not usually privy. But the head is voted in by the Assemblée, so expect heavy wrangling and under-the-table deals until then.

      There is indeed already talk of dissolving the Assembly in a year’s time to hold new elections. That might not be a good idea for the Macronist parties though, with the economic recession coming our way. The results in a lot of counties were very very tight which means that a bigger defeat for the Macronists could well be the result of new elections (in my county, the Macronist won against the NUPES candidate with only 78 votes more out of approximately 30 000 total).

      Very interesting times ahead.

      Reply
      1. ChrisRUEcon

        Thanks for this summary.

        The battle in the coming days will be for the powerful Commission des Finances, whose head goes traditionally to the first opposition party. Le Pen and the Rassemblement National are arguing that they are that party, which will be true if the NUPES separates in different groups, France Unbowed having less députés alone than the RN.

        I would suspect that JLM is making the requisite pleas to NUPE’s composite groups … that’s a huge reason to maintain unity.

        Reply
      2. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, HT.

        78 votes?!

        I watched Melenchon’s interview on the France 2 evening news a week ago. He sounded exasperated by the youth who complain about the cost of housing and access to education, but don’t turn out for candidates who want to do something about it.

        The interview by Anne Sophie Lapix was preceded by a report on under 30s not voting and interviews with students who had voted in the presidential election, but were not interested in or bothered by the legislative election.

        Reply
        1. H. Toin

          Yes, 78… and it was like this in many many “circonscriptions” (constituency).

          It is exasperating because with just a few hundred more votes in each constituency from the 18-34 aged crowd, the final composition of the Assembly would have been very different, with probably a majority for the Nupes coalition.

          And following on the Commission des Finances, what I gather this end of afternoon is that Mélenchon is pleading for a unified group but that the other coalition parties are going to go with their own one. Which makes sense in a way, but is going to create a big stir. The Rassemblement National having been branded a fascist party, the designation tradition will have to be broken, no mainstream party will vote for their candidate, and then all bets are off.

          I heard this morning on the news a Macronist say they were going to vote in a Republican head for the Commission (unsaid : if they join the governmental majority). But Les Républicains are only the fourth party in the Assembly, so this would be uncharted waters.

          Reply
        2. Old Sovietologist

          I don’t take Melenchon seriously. His alliance will fracture it’s just a case of how quick it does so and it looks like it might have already.

          https://twitter.com/annesaurat/status/1538871261383868416

          The PS are far closer to Macron than Melenchon. Possibly the Greens too. And as for the PCF working with a trot…really ;)

          A pure marriage of convenience. And to be fair it worked for them all. The Left as a whole has far more representation now than they would have had sans NUPES.

          Reply
    3. Ignacio

      Élisabeth Borne: “The (new) situation is a Risk for our country”

      A risk? TINA at its best, Isn’t it? Time to put an end to democracy is arriving?

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        Since she capitalized the ‘R’ in Risk, could she have been making a reference to the quasi military board game ‘Risk?’
        For Risk, see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Risk_(game)
        If so, she is suggesting a lot more than she seems secure enough to state outright.
        As for the fate of Democracy; I direct your attention to the varied and fraught history of Catalonia.

        Reply
      2. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, Ignacio.

        That was mild in comparison. You should have heard the nonsense about Melenchon last week and, on this morning’s BBC, about Melenchon and Le Pen.

        Reply
    4. David

      Politico, as you might expect, is stuck in the old clichés of “left” and “right”, which no longer reflect the reality of politics in France. (To be fair some of the French media have fallen into the same trap) In reality, a good proportion of the RN’s support comes from former Communist Party voters. This was an anti-Macron vote: the middle-classes who had supported him in 2017 drifted back to their habitual parties of the wider Left, but in some constituencies where there was duel between the Macronists and the Le Penists, the latter won because of tactical voting which went beyond their normal supporters. Some right-wing voters who had supported Macron in 2017 went back to the traditional Right, but others went in the opposite direction. On the whole, though, there is evidence of tactical voting to get Macron out, as well as disappointed Macron supporters from 2017 abstaining.

      One piece of unambiguously good news for a change. Rachel Kéké, an immigrant from the Côte d’Ivoire, was elected on the NUPES ticket. A working-class candidate, former chambermaid, she led a strike at the Ibis hotel in the 17th arrondissement of Paris which eventually forced Accor, the owners, to accede to the strikers’ demands. All of the strikers were women, nearly all immigrants. Unsurprisingly, the strike attracted not a word of public interest and support. No feminist, no anti-racist, no politician, no journalist, could be bothered to come to the plush area of Paris and find out what was going on. The first almost all French people knew about it was a few words in parts of the media when the strikers had won. It’s a genuine working-class victory, for a change. And she beat a female Minister in the last Macron government. What fun.

      Reply
      1. Ignacio

        To counter those good news the conservatives (PP) have won big in Andalusia. Historic in a traditional PSOE feud.

        Reply
      2. JTMcPhee

        Have to wonder what, if any, effect the Yellow Vests have now or in the future? Seems like they are pretty much officially erased from the discourse. Is that warranted?

        Reply
  3. Lex

    From the usual and not verifiable telegram info stream, Lithuania claims that the blockade of Kaliningrad was decided by the EU leadership rather than being Lithuania’s idea. (Is this why Lithuania wanted 15K NATO troops?) Given that Lithuanian borders are based on treaty obligations to allow land transport serving Kaliningrad, this is a massive escalation in the war with Russia.

    Not sure I believe the Lithuanians on this since before 2/24 they had refused Belorussian transport of potash to sea ports and single-handedly kicked off the global fertilizer crunch that’s only worsened. On the other hand, this level of miscalculated escalation is also completely believable from the EU, which resembles a murder-suicide pact more than an economic-political union.

    Or it’s not the “EU” at all but related to Johnson’s weekend in Kiev to undermine the Franco-German plea for negotiation and part of the brilliant US/UK plan to form a new union to fight the Russians. I haven’t seen any official government statement from Russia, but semi-official statements are worrying. Somebody needs to read a map and come to terms with the strategic isolation of the Baltics. For good measure they might research demographic statistics on the number of Russian speakers in them. Maybe we’re ready to fight to the last Lithuanian too?

    Reply
    1. timbers

      As an indication of the Russia’s waning patience towards nonsense like this, Lavrov make some unusually sharp comments in a BBC interview. Some of Lavrov’s points during the interview (I am paraphrasing):

      “You are a clever man. Crimea was not annexed. You can’t cancel what happened before February 24 of this year (day of Russian SMO). A 2004 coup, Kiev bombing it’s own people in civilian areas in Donbas, Zelensky saying if you think you are Russian you should leave. You speak English? How would you feel in English was banned in Britain?”…..just a few points Lavrov got in.

      And this:

      BBC guy: “In the eyes of the West, Russia…

      Lavrov: “It does not matter what is in your eyes. What matters is International law. France Germany the West betrayed Russia by not honoring the Minsk agreement to protect Russian lives being lost due the the 2004 coup which installed the (N word).”

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        The Minsk agreement were never going to succeed. Ex-President Poroshenko did an interview this week saying that they only signed those agreements to stop the war that they were losing and to give the Ukraine several years to build up a powerful NATO-trained army to invade and take back the Donbass. France and Germany knew this but did nothing which makes them responsible for this war as well-

        https://www.rt.com/russia/557307-poroshenko-comments-minsk-agreement/

        Reply
        1. John

          And now as the “powerful NATO trained army” is being ground fine, we turn to Lithuania with another brilliant sure to succeed ploy. Are the so-called leaders of UK and US truly idiots or have they simply drunk so deeply that there are no possible outcomes but what they fantasize?

          Reply
          1. ambrit

            Leaders like ‘ours’ are always drunk on the Koolaid, up until they go in front of a firing squad.

            Reply
      2. Lex

        My favorite from the interview was Lavrov saying, (not exact quote) “Truss and Johnson have said they want to bring Russia to its knees. Well go on then, do it.”

        Reply
          1. ambrit

            NATO to Russia: “Here. Hold my beer.”
            Russia to NATO: “Yo, have some vodka to kill the pain.”

            Reply
            1. The Rev Kev

              Did you hear that the British Army now has a new commander named General Sir Patrick Sanders? He came out and said that the UK must put together a powerful army capable of fighting the Russian Army in a land war. I know that he is new to the job but does he have to come out with stupid stuff like this on more or less his first day?

              https://www.lbc.co.uk/news/british-soldiers-ready-fight-russia-world-war-3/

              I am reminded of what Otto Bismark once said when asked what he would do if the British landed a force to fight alongside the Danes against Prussia in the 1864 war. He said that he would ‘send the police to arrest them.’ He said that as he knew that they could send only a tiny force. And now the British army is a lot smaller than it was in 1864.

              Reply
              1. Polar Socialist

                I’d say that’s the point of Sir Patrick’s comment: more money now, the Army needs to expand to a several hundred thousand and have supplies for 3 months of constant firing… Oh, wait, make that half a million and 6 months… Oh, wait again, make that a million and then some.

                Reply
                1. David

                  He’s making a serious point, which is that if the UK government is going to continue to strike aggressive poses, and continue to be a vociferous member of a coalition which says it is ready to fight Russia militarily, then it has to give the military the tools to do it or (implied) shut up. The Army is now half the size it was in the Cold War, and has little or no capability for sustained high-intensity operations in Europe. If I were in the military, I’d be very worried that this generation of politicians, pig-ignorant as it is about the military, would get the country involved in a disastrous foreign war which decades of spending cuts and force reductions would then make it impossible to fight.

                  Reply
                  1. ambrit

                    I wonder how ‘reliable’ said army would be if deployed at home to quell rioting and civil disturbance? That seems to be the implied second job of the military everywhere we go.
                    As for foreign adventures, well, those often run on wishful thinking and the dumes from past glories.

                    Reply
                  2. Colonel Smithers

                    Thank you and well said, David.

                    Michael Jackson, who you may know from Kosovo, challenged Cameron along the same lines and concluded that “it’s not the playing fields of Eton”.

                    Unfortunately, many posts in the police, armed forces and civil service are dependant on being sound on austerity in interviews.

                    Reply
              2. Wukchumni

                Well, we did get the word balaclava out of the Crimean War when the Brits were last in the ‘hood, which always helps when describing typical bank robber garb, that is when they aren’t skiing and avoiding freezing their face off riding the ski lift up.

                Reply
        1. Martin Oline

          I wonder if that comment by Lavrov caused Boris the spider to blow a fuse?
          This from RT today: UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was briefly hospitalized under anesthetic on Monday for what his office called a “minor and routine” sinus operation.
          Then again the surgery was for functional endoscopic sinus surgery for chronic sinusitis. The procedure widens the sinuses without making any cuts to the face. I wonder if (Z)elensky is doling out rewards other than cash in Kiev.

          Reply
        2. Yves Smith

          It wasn’t just the words. It was the complete lack of a change in affect in Lavrov, as in “I’m not going to get agitated over this stupidity, these people are beneath contempt.”

          Reply
        1. pjay

          Possibly. But for Russia the “Orange Revolution” in 2004 is often also seen as a coup and certainly as part of the long process of Western intervention. So it still makes sense.

          Reply
    2. DJG, Reality Czar

      Lex: Astute

      “On the other hand, this level of miscalculated escalation is also completely believable from the EU, which resembles a murder-suicide pact more than an economic-political union.”

      The Lithuanians like to say that they speak the oldest, best-preserved Indo-European language in Europe, and Lithuanian foreign policy for the last few hundred years has been to avoid the tender mercies of the Poles, Russians, and Germans.

      Now, Stoltenberg or some other incompetent has decided that they should suicide themselves.

      My grandfather G came from a Lithuanian village smack dab where the tanks are going to be rolling through. I’m glad that he had the foresight to leave. When he was born in 1893, his village had about 4,500 people, a Catholic church, a Lutheran church, and a synagogue. Now there are some 600 people left. No synagogue, I can assure you.

      And after this latest EU idiocy?

      Reply
      1. super extra

        re: Lithuanian culture wars

        I nearly married into a family of Russian Jewish extraction from the former Polish-Lithuania Commonwealth borders that had been absorbed into the Russian map by the interwar period. I had no, literally none, zero, understanding of the historic issues there prior to my involvement with this family. What an education! I thought some of the vicious comments they made about the Lithuanians and Latvians were a type of ‘fake excessive hatred’ you see between similar societies in the shadow of larger ones. I was wrong, the family I nearly married into had previously held the historic patronym of “Boyarski” (a name with Russian power connotations even if the time of Boyars was gone) and at least 8:10 of them were killed either in the lead up to WW2 or the war itself.

        Reply
      2. upstater

        A second cousin lives in Kazlu Ruda, in middle of the “Suwalki Gap”. It is a railway junction on the Kaliningrad line between Belarus- Vilnius-Kaunas with west to Kaliningrad and South into Poland. The line into Poland and up to Kaunas is dual Russian (1520mm) and standard (1485mm) track gauges (the rest is 1520mm Russian gauge). Point being if there is a wider war, Kazlu Ruda will be a strategic location (ie., target). NATO obviously needs the standard gauge rail line to move heavy weapons into the Baltics. It suffered terribly WW2.

        Regarding the Lithuanian language, there are 3 regional dialects even today. There was no written language until 150 years ago, Polish and Russian were lingua franca for the landed gentry and elites. Yiddish was for commerce. Ethnic Lithuanians were mostly peasantry, very few lived in cities or towns. The vast majority of commerce was managed by Jews. The coastal areas were primarily Prussian; perhaps they should return Klaipeda to Germany as Memel? There were hardly any ethnic Lithuanians in their historic capital of Vilnius until it was cleaned out. That claim was based on Vytautas the Great 500 years ago, who ruled from the Baltic to the Black seas. Rampant ethnic cleansing, most often by the Lithuanians themselves. In reading history I wonder if the Baltics would even exist if not for France and Britain and their allowing Freikorps goons to rape and pillage after WW1 and the revolutions there. It seems all roads began in Versailles…

        BTW, the cousin’s sons are in the paramilitary Lithuanian Riflemen’s Union. I think these people are crazy enough to want WW3.

        Reply
        1. Dave in Austin

          ” I wonder if the Baltics would even exist if not for France and Britain and…”.

          Forget the Freikorps; it was the British naval intervention that tipped the balance and insured that LL&E would join Finland and be independent until 1940 while GA&A (Georgia, Armenia …) pould be incorporated into the USSR. 1917 to 1921 is a little-understood period in Post-Czarist history and each of the victorious allies had a different goal.

          Reply
    3. timbers

      So…after skimming thru some sites, my take is the “Ukraine must negotiate” of the past several days is gone, replaced by “Ukraine will be fighting for years.” How long that will last, don’t know. Maybe Biden and the political folks got a bit panicked and pushed negotiations to end this before November. Then the neo-cons got upset, pushed back, and adjusted Biden’s meds towards a more tranquil/less conscious state of mind to get him out of the loop. Then dispatched new instructions to the Euro poodles to push hard line, escalate. That’s my best guess at this point.

      Reply
      1. jsn

        That assumes Ukrainians, or someone, to fight.

        Facts increasingly not in evidence.

        When your world is PowerPoint and a spread sheet, the facts you’re attending to are malleable. When you’re the unquestioned global hegemon, facts can be forced to fit your representations. That’s not really been working for going on 20 years, but the feedback loops have all been cut so there’s been no cost for being wrong. Costs are coming due.

        Reply
      1. polar donkey

        “Are you thinking what I’m thinking Blinky?”
        “Asian economic integration, which will turn the west into an economic, cultural,and political backwater, Nuland?”
        “No Blinky, the same thing we do every night. Try to take over the world!”

        Reply
    4. Maxwell Johnston

      This is a very provocative step by Lithuania. I suspect that Brussels is in fact behind it, not Washington, but we will see how events play out. As per Star Wars, “I have a bad feeling about this.”

      Lithuania is dying. Even by the dismal standards of East European demographics, it takes some doing to reduce one’s population from 3.7m in 1990 to 2.6m today, without war or pestilence or genocide. Credit a slavish adherence to neoliberalism and the Washington consensus.

      Reply
      1. Dave in Austin

        I note that the “embargo on goods” list was politiely ignored in one respect. Closing down the railroad is one thing; cutting the Kaliningrad natural gas pipeline through Luthuania would have been a valve-to-far.

        Almost nothing from old Konigburg survived 1945. The first capital of Prussia. Kant’s home town. Rated among the most pleasant Russian cities to live in.

        But Kant’s Catagorical Imperative remains: “Don’t mess with the natural gas”.

        Reply
    5. digi_owl

      This brings to mind when the USSR closed the road and rail connection to west Berlin.

      That was condemned then, so this should be condemned now. But watch MSM and the UN play “wise monkeys”…

      Reply
  4. JohnA

    Re Paul Mason controversy. Instead of denying or defending his actions, Mason has been more intent on attacking his various ‘targets’ by focusing on the alleged claim that his emails were ‘illegally’ hacked and therefore inadmissable evidence.

    And as for the barrel scraping vegan Ukrainian soldiers, I read one Ukrainian soldier complaint was that all they had to eat was potatoes, which are definitely acceptible to vegans. I was also amused at the Kiev ‘heroine’ behind the vegan ready meals saying how she wanted to kill Russians too, without any eye raising from the fawning reporter.

    Reply
    1. wilroncanada

      JohnA
      So maybe she should be making vegan meals and “donating” them to the Russian army.
      (I have nothing against veganism, my youngest daughter is a vegan.)

      Reply
  5. Wukchumni

    Americans Pawning Items to Buy Gas, Survive Inflation: Pawn Shop Owners Newsweek
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    I always termed Texas as the ‘Loan Star State’, as I never saw more pawn shops per capita in any of the other 49 possibilities…

    What you never see in these stories is what the back room of the pawn shop looks like looks like, with oodles of big inch HD TV’s they loaned $50 to $100 on (in the past, redemption rates used to be 75-80%-as in customers getting their stuff out of hock) as that’s the most common item.

    I’d stop in pawn shops once in awhile back in the pre-internet days in search of numismatic items, and I found them to be jacks of all trades and masters of none, they were real fraidy cats who often asked 50% more than something was worth, because they really knew nothing, the majority of them.

    There’s a reality tv show called Pawn Stars which is completely fake (one of the experts they call to come take a look at things @ their pawn shop in Las Vegas, lives in Orange County and usually the item he ‘comes to look at’ is actually from his inventory of things for sale in early Americana collectibles) and you would never see them doing a $50 loan on a 65 inch TV, as that isn’t exactly exciting content and a bit self defeating, if they sell it, how are the proles going to watch a bogus reality show on tv in all it’s 4 foot by 3 foot glory?

    I was friends with a guy with a few pawn shops in the SF Bay about 30 years ago, and back then he related that some of his clientele would get a loan on a VCR for $25 on Monday and pay around $35 to get it out of hock on Friday so they could watch movies on the weekend, only to pawn it back on the following Monday. We’re not talking people with a whole lot of financial acumen going on upstairs, ha ha.

    Reply
    1. Bugs

      On an episode of Joe Frank’s KCRW show back in the 90s, he dissected the personality of a pawn shop owner and the machinations of the business in that unique way he had of reaching the dark side. Brilliant. Miss him.

      Reply
    2. flora

      I filled up my old, small engine car this weekend and was shocked at the price. I also noted the pumps had new price display fronts, the per /gal price now has an extra digit for prices into the $10’s/gal (should gas go that high) and total purchase price$ display can go into the $1000s (should prices go that high). I didn’t find this change reassuring about where gas prices are headed.

      Reply
      1. ChrisRUEcon

        > the per /gal price now has an extra digit for prices into the $10’s/gal (should gas go that high)

        Oh wow … a most concerning harbinger.

        Reply
        1. JohnA

          One of the reasons fuel stations in Britain switched to litres (about 4.5 l to a gallon) was that the pumps could handle the price better. Time to introduce litres to the US?

          Reply
          1. Wukchumni

            In theory we were supposed to go metric by the bicentennial, but it didn’t take. Heck, we can’t even rid ourselves of the 9/10’s of a Cent on the end of the price that was a clever dodge when go-juice was 2 bits way back when and it represented kind of a hidden in plain sight extra 4% to the cost.

            Gasoline is one of the few retail things that hasn’t been downsized, you don’t see a price listed for 118 ounces of gas, always per gallon.

            Liters would both assuage us with the new lower cost and also kindle fear that socialism was upon us when we realized it still cost the same for a fill up. It’s a weird country.

            Reply
            1. JP

              One of my first jobs in the 60’s was in a tool and die shop in Oakland. My foreman’s brother was a wheel with Berkeley rad labs. He assured us that the US would be all metric in just a few years.

              Reply
          2. Colonel Smithers

            Thank you.

            I think Brexitannia / Borislavia should insist that efficiency be measured as furlongs, not miles, to the pint.

            Reply
            1. ambrit

              Bring back the horse cavalry! (Then I have to think of all the innocent horses killed in running an army, much less a war. Perhaps petrol fuelled machines are better, from an ethical standpoint.)
              I do see a viable niche for shire horses and percherons in farming the Midlands when fuel prices go ballistic. (I just discovered that there is a community of Amish farms north of here which run their farm machinery exclusively with horses.)
              Be safe.

              Reply
              1. Wukchumni

                They named a stretch of the Generals Highway in honor of Colonel Young-the 1st Black Superintendent in the National Park Service circa 1903.

                In 2019 I went to the ceremony in Sequoia NP, and was talking with a Buffalo Soldier reenactor, and i’d watched some 1950’s cowboys & indians western the night before with hundreds of actors riding horses at speed together, or against one another, and I mentioned to the Buffalo Soldier, where could you find hundreds of riders that talented these days? He laughed and agreed what a struggle it would be.

                Here in tiny town, i’d reckon there’s in excess of 300 horses that almost never get ridden, as far as I can tell.

                Reply
      2. Lexx

        I’m down to my last two bars in the Prius. It’s a kinda game I play with myself to see how long I can go between fill-ups. The price per gallon then was $3.49. It’s been a couple of months, a lot has happened to the price in the interim… filling up again should be an enlightening experience.

        Maybe I’ll return the favor and take my Husband; we’ll call it a ‘date’. Last Friday he took me with him to Lowe’s. I didn’t need anything, just to feel the wind in my hair and to see the Big City.

        Reply
    3. Objective Ace

      his clientele would get a loan on a VCR for $25 on Monday and pay around $35 to get it out of hock on Friday so they could watch movies on the weekend, only to pawn it back on the following Monday. We’re not talking people with a whole lot of financial acumen going on upstairs

      Isn’t 10 bucks about the cost of a movie–should we look down on them for going to the movies? I’ve stopped belittling others who have different preferences then me based on totally different lived experiences. If you grew up in a neighborhood with no expectations of a good future, no banking ability, you’ve seen many of your friends end up in jail or even dead, wouldn’t it be logical to spend money now when you know you’ll enjoy it? I’d like to think I’d act differently in a similar situation, but i cant know for sure–given that, how can I judge someone else?

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        It comes with the territory as pawn shops are about the only way to get money for the kind of items they give loans on in a face to face physical basis. I doubt anybody on here would ever hock something, it’s a low end type of business that attracts low end humans, sorry.

        The interest rates are regulated in each state, I think it’s capped @ around 30% in Cali, with lots of other add on costs which take it up to 40%, that is until you get to the magic number of $2500 on a loan and then there is no limit on interest rates, which is why you’ll see higher end pawn shops trying to give loans on more expensive items, so they can put the hurt on their customers by charging whatever shylock rates they feel like that day.

        Its a really sordid business.

        Reply
        1. Pat

          I made use of a high end one, while dealing with the expenses of my mother’s passing. It was a bad time for me financially and some of her debts had to be paid until we could sell her house. I hocked her diamond ring. Paid interest on it for a couple of years until I could face selling it. Probably just broke even (the market had recovered so the ring sold for far more than I would have gotten if I sold it outright, but that was a twist of fate.)

          Reply
        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          > I doubt anybody on here would ever hock something, it’s a low end type of business that attracts low end humans, sorry.

          Ahem. When I was down and out in Philly, I had a laptop that I cycled through a South Street pawnshop on numerous occasions. And long, long ago I bought a Leica II in a Central Square, Cambridge pawnshop. Long gone, sadly.

          I don’t know what the pawnshop business is today, but back in the day, they were full of interesting items, some even genuine.

          Reply
    4. jr

      I’d wager half those pawn shops are located near military bases. Like ticks on a dog’s a$$, the pawn shops and used car dealerships feed off of the financial naiveté and hardship of the service members. Modern day camp followers.

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        Reminds me of what U S Grant did to the corrupt ‘factors’ following the Union troops during the Vicksburg campaing of 1862-1863. This was overbroad in effect and created a huge political backlash. However, anti-semitism was rampant in America and Europe then.
        See: https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/grant-expels-the-jews-from-his-department
        On the same front, Grant wrestled with the problems of the “freed” slaves.
        See: https://www.nps.gov/articles/000/general-grant-and-the-creation-of-contraband-camps-during-the-vicksburg-campaign.htm
        Nothing is ever as simple as it is presented in the ‘official’ history books.

        Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          Around 15 years ago they passed a law capping the interest rates that payday lenders and the like could charge to the military @ 36%, as so many GI Joes & Janes were getting into financial trouble, but the little people civilians are so much chopped liver.

          I once walked by a payday lender in Hurricane, Ut (pronounced hirry-kin) that proudly had a newspaper clipping in it’s window from the SLT fish wrap that had it @ the lowest APR in the state at 312%, versus as much as 740% for the competition!

          Reply
          1. The Rev Kev

            They also had a law that banks couldn’t foreclose on members of the armed forces serving overseas as they were not in a position to take action – so the banks ignored that law and foreclosed on them anyway.

            Reply
      2. mistah charley, ph.d.

        Fifty years ago my father was assigned to Fort Lee, VA, south of Richmond and we lived in a small suburban city nearby, predominantly middle class in character. A few years ago I was there again and was dismayed to see all the check cashing stores and pawn shops along the main boulevard (named the Boulevard, by the way). Our own then single-family home now has a paved-over front yard where the inhabitants park their cars. As the saying goes, you can’t go home again.

        Reply
    5. digi_owl

      Sounds like your friend basically started a video rental shop, as i recall those often lending a VCR alongside the tapes early on.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        He had an all purpose old school pawn shop with lots of Snap-On Tools, musical instruments and the usual human debris field of desirable items, now forlorn and for sale.

        I think I laid out 400 clams for my 1st VCR circa 1985

        Reply
  6. jsn

    Nice to see Green Coal getting traction in Germany.

    Maybe Joe can make Manchin Consul there to give himself a little breathing room here.

    And to show those German Greens how to really do it right.

    Reply
  7. DJG, Reality Czar

    The anti-Covid spray article and what’s going on in Thailand:

    Well, it isn’t just a nose spray. The Thais are at work on another vaccine, and they are at work on still another, an mRNA variant.

    I am going to assume that the first vaccine mentioned, “HXP-GPOVac, which has now gone through its first and second clinical trials,” may be a more traditional “attenuated virus” vaccine.

    Not to take away from the achievement of the Thai government and researchers, but this kind of work doesn’t seem to be going on in the U S of A.

    But when everything is marketing, the U.S. drug companies are off now to the Next New Thing. After all, marketing matters most. Covid is endemic, but I hear that toenail fungus is wildly profitable.

    Reply
    1. Dean

      HXP-GOPVac appears to be an inactivated (avian Newcastle disease virus with a COVID-19 spike protein) vaccine.

      “Not to take away from the achievement of the Thai government and researchers, but this kind of work doesn’t seem to be going on in the U S of A.” ? Clinical trials.gov show 336 clinical trials for Covid-19 within the US.

      Some of interest:

      “Safety and Immunogenicity of an Intranasal RSV Vaccine Expressing SARS-CoV-2 Spike Protein (COVID-19 Vaccine) in Adults”
      “A Synthetic MVA-based SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine, COH04S1, for the Prevention of COVID-19 Infection”
      “Safety and Immunogenicity Trial of an Oral SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine (VXA-CoV2-1) for Prevention of COVID-19 in Healthy Adults”
      “SARS-COV-2-Spike-Ferritin-Nanoparticle (SpFN) Vaccine With ALFQ Adjuvant for Prevention of COVID-19 in Healthy Adults”
      “CORVax12: SARS-CoV-2 Spike (S) Protein Plasmid DNA Vaccine Trial for COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2)”
      “A Live Recombinant Newcastle Disease Virus-vectored COVID-19 Vaccine Phase 1 Study.”
      “A Ph 2 Trial With an Oral Tableted COVID-19 Vaccine, VXA-CoV2-1.1-S”

      And the list goes on

      Reply
    2. Parker Dooley

      Vick’s Vaporub is fabulously effective against toenail fungus — just takes time (as does Lamosil at a much higher cost).*

      *Personal experience, n=2 (toenails)

      Reply
  8. smashsc

    Re: Germany to fire up coal plants

    I was always a bit puzzled when viewing the Limits to Growth graph that showed Pollution peaking well after Industrial output plummeted. This news about the coal plants, along with Poland encouraging their citizens to forage in the forest for branches to burn during the upcoming winter, starts to make sense. Desperate measures for desperate times…

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      I finished John Perlin’s A Forest Journey: The Story of Wood and Civilization the other day, and societies that race through their wood resources historically, haven’t been long for the world.

      Highly recommeded!

      What a contrast between the forests of Poland and here, we’re absolutely choked with downed wood on the ground in the Sierra Nevada, and nobody cares. It just keeps accumulating.

      Reply
      1. Charger01

        Pine beetles will do that, if unchecked.

        I remember hiking on the south side of Tahoe by Harlan peak about 5 years, they had created gigantic slash piles after the beetles/disease nuked the pines.

        Reply
    1. Pat

      Damn. I may think the methodology is tortured, but the outcome is right.
      I have no respect for the Kardashian Jenner grifting circus, but I do give Jenner some props on this. there was pushback to saying this was a problem. Unfortunately it can be milked for awhile.

      Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      When I was pushing old metal, you’d kind of rely upon antiquated persons to bring stuff into your coin store to sell, and if you saw a little old lady with what we termed ‘purse droop’ coming through the front door, well, you’d drool a little over the possibilities.

      Even if they had a whole lotta nothing other than say the silver value, there was still some money to be made in an arbitragers whet dream of a business where buying was as important if not more so than selling.

      Occasionally the then ancient ones born around 1900 to 1910 would have some amazing coins squirreled away with mucho numismatic value, and talking to friends still in the business, it isn’t the same anymore-in that today’s 70 year old had no reason to have put away silver coins when they were a teenager in the mid 60’s, so unless their parents had some old coins and gave them to the said 70 year old, they’ve got nothing, as there isn’t anything really worth that much from 1965 onwards except partial silver 50 Cent coins from 1965-69, everything else is worth face value.

      Gresham’s Law

      Reply
  9. The Rev Kev

    “The Return of Industrial Warfare”

    It never really left. It’s all fun and games chasing insurgents in Afghanistan and Iraq but the God of Logistics still rules. Remember that time that Obama was bombing so many people that the US military actually ran out of bombs? Or how Israel was gleefully bombing Gaza and the only reason that they stopped was because they ran out? The article mentions the Iraq war where stockpiles of ammo was running out so they drew on reserves from the Gulf war, then the Vietnam war, then the Korean war and finally WW2 stocks. You read the article and it is obvious that western militaries are designed for only short sharp wars. How many F-35s & F-22s would be flying after three months of combat for example? Not hard to guess why this is so. Stockpiling the logistics of war is boring with no glamour. But funding the latest toy like the Zumwalt, LCS, F-35 or Ford-class aircraft carrier is full of lots of lucrative contracts with plenty of kickbacks to Congress people and all sorts of other parasites.

    Reply
    1. Lex

      The stories of logistical problems in Iraq (03) are almost exactly what the US was saying were happening to Russia in March. Once again, the US excels at projection. I did a quick lookup this weekend and saw that Russia has/had 18,500 artillery pieces, while NATO combined (but minus Turkey) has <8,000 and 4,000 of those are US stocks. The numbers are similar for tanks. I imagine that Russia is currently producing as many pieces of equipment as possible. I haven't seen any news that any of the NATO countries are upping production of equipment.

      I believe that a few weeks ago the French military told the government that if it were at war with the intensity of the conflict in Ukraine that it would deplete its ammunition in less than a week. Unfortunately for everyone, almost all of the antimony necessary to make lots of ammunition is sourced from … you'll never guess … Russia and China.

      Reply
      1. Ignacio

        Shit! Calls for rearming. And those lots of ammunition are to defend ourselves from countries well supplied with nukes… or it is to supply other countries that will be sacrificed for the sake of values like Ukraine?

        Reply
      1. Objective Ace

        I think this is partly a reflection of how numerous/expendable human life was to Russia. Germans were vastly outnumbered and needed every advantage they could get their hands on. They didnt have enough forces to man all of the tanks the Russians did (without sacrificing some other critical aspect of their armed forces)

        Reply
        1. Polar Socialist

          At the beginning of the Barbarossa, Germans had the numbers on the front, even if it’s not often mentioned.

          But regardless, the German tanks were indeed too smart by half, and most importantly designed before they learned that Soviet Union had 76 mm anti-tank gun both in infantry and armored use. Pz III and IV were seriously underarmored against Soviet guns, which resulted in the crews and maintenance shops bolting any extra steel plate or even captured Soviet tracks on their tanks.

          Which meant that the engine, transmission and tracks were under way much stress than expected, so any amount of travel outside of roads – or even on bad roads – resulted in most of the tanks being out of action for days.

          Soviet tanks did not need extra armor until they already had the next generation coming off the production lines. A thing that did not go unnoticed by the German tanks crews with the resulting complaints about the superior Soviet tanks.

          German optics and radios were much better than their counterparts had, which at times allowed them to outmaneuver the Soviets. Although the Stug officers kept complaining that they were used as tanks way too often, always suffering needless casualties.

          Reply
        2. LifelongLib

          My understanding is that the German army in the east was somewhat larger than the Soviet one when the war began, but that the Soviets had a 14 million man reserve and the Germans didn’t have anybody. The Soviets could take enormous casualties and kept fighting but every German was basically irreplaceable. In view of the gratuitous atrocities they inflicted on civilians I doubt that the Germans had greater respect for human life per se.

          Reply
          1. digi_owl

            I seem to recall also that USSR had forces out east that they didn’t send west until after USA started island hopping. This to ward of any attempts by Japan to head north. After all, Russia/USSR and Japan has quite the history after the latter industrialized.

            Supposedly it was more soviet forces entering Manchuria than the nukes that scared the Japanese to accept the surrender.

            Reply
            1. John Steinbach

              Check out Japan’s Longest Day by Pacific War Research Society. They make a compelling case that the A-bombs had nothing to do with the surrender decision & the Soviet entry into Manchuria everything.

              Reply
            2. LifelongLib

              IIRC the Soviets and Japanese (after some fighting c. 1939-40 where the Japanese were soundly defeated) had signed a peace agreement that held for most of WW2. Stalin wouldn’t allow Soviet bases to be used by the Dolittle raiders and interned U.S. airmen who landed in Soviet territory after attacking Japan. For most of the war both sides seemed to feel they already had enough to deal with. As you say the Soviets took Japan by surprise when they broke the peace agreement near the end of the war.

              Reply
      2. Cat Burglar

        “Built for the Russian Winter,” was how simple effective design was praised in the family of a German-American friend. His Dad had served on the eastern front. The German guns were superior, but the tolerances were close, and they jammed when full of frozen mud or ice. During the Autumn, the German soldiers would start looking for discarded Soviet guns — they were rattly, but kept firing.

        Reply
    2. RobertC

      From the Conclusion “This situation is especially critical because behind the Russian invasion stands the world’s manufacturing capital – China. As the US begins to expend more and more of its stockpiles to keep Ukraine in the war, China has yet to provide any meaningful military assistance to Russia. The West must assume that China will not allow Russia to be defeated, especially due to a lack of ammunition.”

      Last winter Russia and China conducted an all-domain exercise, including strategic, where Russian soldiers used Chinese weapons (as well as their own) and China provided overall Command and Control.

      Just like China is not going to allow USFK to approach its border with North Korea any closer that it already is, neither is China going to allow NATO approach its 2,600 mile border with Russia any closer than it already is, starting with Ukraine. Putin and Xi have made repeated joint statements on the sanctity of sovereign borders and there should be no doubts they intend to enforce that sanctity.

      Reply
    3. RobertC

      Keep them flying? GAO has a report on that Air Force and Navy Aviation: Actions Needed to Address Persistent Sustainment Risks

      Despite spending billions of dollars annually, the Air Force and Navy have struggled for years to maintain their aircraft due to the age of their fleets, a lack of parts, maintenance delays, and other problems. By the Air Force and Navy’s own measures, aircraft readiness has worsened since fiscal year 2015.

      Of particular concern is that neither service has completed required “sustainment reviews”—a critical tool to assess performance and help increase readiness throughout an aircraft’s life cycle.

      We recommend prioritizing and completing these reviews, then reporting to Congress on how identified problems will be fixed.

      The Air Force and Navy aircraft in our review—including the F-22 Raptor shown below—totaled 1,355 aircraft that cost about $13.6 billion a year to maintain.

      Reply
  10. Mikel

    “UK troops filmed having orgy at barracks, barred from NATO deployment” NY Post

    Must be more to this story than presented.
    Probably more than one woman over time or the age of “the woman” is questionable.

    Reply
    1. Darthbobber

      Troops will take note that being deprived of all the fun that deployment involves is the punishment.
      “Really? It’s that easy?”

      Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          I never flew in from Miami Beach BOAC, or anywhere they went, but took Pan Am a number of times.

          It was back when you were kind of expected to dress up when flying.

          Reply
    2. Jams Blonde

      It must also be borne in mind that the British parachute regiment contains the absolute dregs of British society and that they have a long history of depravity stretching from Northern Ireland to Angola (Col. Callan and co.) and beyond.

      Reply
    3. amechania

      They may not like the loss of control implied, but its probably not a matter of Army Values. Not to speculate, but it might be the as simple as VD. 30 times 30 is bad odds, after all.

      Reply
  11. Art_DogCT

    Something odd is happening for me when I open NC on my computer, it displays in a new format and layout. Which is fine. The problem I’m having on the desktop version is that comments are not there at all. Obviously the mobile version retains comments, as that’s how I’m posting this. I hope this is but a glitch which will be ironed out.

    Reply
    1. ambrit

      Not happening here on my desktop model. (I don’t use mobile.)
      I had something similar happen to my ‘feeds’ for the stock market data. New format and a lot less useable information, in a much more confusing layout.
      Did you reboot your machine? That’s what “caused” my problems. (Bloody Windows did another “upgrade.”)

      Reply
    2. lambert strether

      If you shrank the window to be extremely narrow, the layout changes to mobile, even on the desktop. Perhaps that’s what happened.

      Reply
  12. The Rev Kev

    “As jurors deliberate in the Fat Leonard case, Navy culture that spawned the bribes is unchanged”

    Can you imagine what would have happened if Fat Leonard was Chinese instead of Malaysian and that those US Navy admirals were sending ships of the US 7th Fleet to go to docks in Shanghai and Shenzhen for servicing? Hilarity would have ensued.

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      I resent the way the US Navy has stereotyped Leonard in such a way that we associate him with say a Bill Cosby* character.

      * I would spend one weekend with him every year for about a decade when I went to the Playboy Jazz Festival. He was the MC and you got the feeling the musicians really disliked him.

      Reply
    2. digi_owl

      Makes me think of when Denmark sent coastguard ships to Poland for maintenance, only to discover that there were North Koreans working at the shipyard.

      Sometimes it seems like Poland is playing both sides in the ongoing turmoil.

      Reply
  13. Samuel Conner

    After reading the “Return of Industrial Warfare” article, I consoled myself with the thought that “well, at least we can build up our defense industrial capacity by pulling on our boot-straps, since the DoD made sure that US preserved a robust domestic machine tools manufacturing industry.”

    Oh, … wait.

    ——-

    The thought occurs that globalisation was in effect a surreptitious conventional weaponry disarmament movement. Unfortunately, it was not accompanied by a peace movement among the elites who control foreign policy. It seems that, instead, they simply downsized the adversaries they were willing to engage by military means.

    Reply
    1. BobW

      Not a problem. I’m sure there are a lot of 89 year old tool and die makers looking for some extra work.

      To me it seems like not a lot of younger workers can do things not associated with a keyboard. Anecdotal, for sure, and exaggerated maybe, but a kernel of truth there.

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        Agreed. The hands on industerial workforce needed will have to be trained up from scratch. The old guys, (mainly men,) who are the remnants of the old industrial skilled workforce are on our last legs and are really pissed off in general about how the FIRE sector stole more than all of the “added value” to the economy that accrued from the gains in efficiency. Many of us are now in a “burn it all down” mind set.
        There’s a reason why so much of “Flyover Country” is so heavily gunned up. And it ain’t because of ‘our’ loyalty to the Elites. Organized rsistance may not be in the cards, but low level anarchic anti-authoritarianism will do the trick nicely.
        Stay safe.

        Reply
      2. Martin Oline

        “a lot of 89 year old tool and die makers” I know that was sarcasm but I, for one, am only one year short of my allotted three score and ten years and Ambrit is correct about my sentiment. Screw ’em all. I’m not going back to work to pull the FIRE brigade’s chestnuts out of the fire. Let it burn.

        Reply
        1. hunkerdown

          On the other hand, find that one kid around the neighborhood who displays the sort of mechanical aptitude and tool-making behavior, and give him some (conceptual) dynamite in the form of everyday mechanical technology. The FIRE brigade can DIAF, for all I care, but the capacity to see things as modifiable might be worth keeping alive as a matter of cultural survival.

          Reply
            1. rowlf

              Make one. When he was 12 I gave my son a cleaned up car engine on a stand (~$300) and his grandparents gave him some Craftsman tools. Some friends gave him manuals. I also showed him when he was in kindergarten how to use a Fluke Model 12 multimeter to check batteries.

              I didn’t push him but he took auto shop in high school and now he is in tech school. He often has a friend’s vehicle tucked away behind the house as he swaps engines or transmissions.

              Reply
        2. Screwball

          Same here. I have been retired for 3 years and in the last 6 months I have been bombarded with e-mails from head hunters telling me it’s urgent they find someone who can do the job. I’ve haven’t had so many e-mails in the last 10 years.

          I do talk to some still in the industry and places I used to work. They can’t find anyone who can either 1) actually do the job 2) are qualified to begin with. No $hit Sherlock? Wonder why that is??????

          They didn’t want to listen to me when I was working, and told them they needed to plan for the future, you know, for when I was gone and we had trained absolutely no one to take my place (or others).

          So yea, screw them, especially when they ran me off early to begin with. Because….money

          Reply
          1. Wukchumni

            I’ve been retired for 17 years and always get the jitters when head hunters call from New Guinea looking to place me in their organization due to employee shrinkage.

            Reply
          2. The Rev Kev

            Next thing you know, you’ll be saying that loyalty works both ways. But those are the words of an older generation so of course are no longer relevant.

            Reply
          3. Glen

            I signed enough papers leaving Uncle Sam and was told they could call me back up if our country required it. I think my snap answer at the time was “all h3ll would have to be breaking lose for that”, but now i wonder.

            Reply
    2. RobertC

      Bombshell book that explains the many ways our high technology industrial base has been brought to its current, sad state ‘Get your boy Elon in line’: NASA tell-all recounts turmoil over private space race An unfiltered memoir by the agency’s former No. 2 rips NASA’s administrator and a “male-dominated” culture for wasting billions on a government-owned moon rocket [the Boeing/Lockheed Martin Space Launch System*].

      …She notes, for example, that NASA is paying Aerojet Rocketdyne to refurbish engines for the SLS that the government initially developed under the Space Shuttle program — at $150 million apiece.

      “Since the SLS throws four away each launch, taxpayers will spend $600 million per launch for engines they paid for already,” Garver writes. “By contrast, SpaceX sells a Falcon Heavy launch for $90 million, reusable engines included.”

      * NASA on Monday [20 June] again had to prematurely halt the practice countdown for SLS [aka Senator {Nelson} Launch System], including fueling the rocket, in what was its fourth attempt.

      Reply
  14. jr

    The “progress” article is filled with the usual sociopaths but the claim that we will, easy breezy, “control” the climate with nanobots was really funny. These people must be stopped. Preferably with lead supplements…

    Reply
  15. Colonel Smithers

    Thank you, Lambert.

    With regard to Paul Mason, he has been suspected for years, which is why he got a gig on the BBC’s Newsnight, but, sadly, many on the left indulged him.

    His smears and take downs take many forms. For example, in the campaign to succeed Jeremy Corbyn in early 2020, he (and that nice and electable Starmer) organised the harassment of Catholic socialists Rebecca Long-Bailey and Richard Burgon by having them challenged, even jostled, at hustings and other campaign events on whether their social and even foreign policy would be dictated to by Catholic teaching and the Vatican, the sort of nonsense Al Smith and JFK had to put up with.

    Good authority has it that this will be used against Andy Burnham should he run to succeed, if not challenge, Starmer.

    Reply
    1. Old Sovietologist

      It was Ho Chi Minh who said:

      “The Trotskyists are not only the enemies of Communism, they are also the enemies of democracy and of progress. They are the most infamous traitors and spies”.

      Paul Mason remains a Trotskyist.

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        And you dig into the history and you find that the first generation of American neocons began life as – Trotskyists.

        Reply
        1. Jim

          But if you dig into history, you will also find that a central, crucial force organizing the massive movement against the US war in Southeast Asia, was Trotskyist. Read Fred Halstead’s book “Out Now,” if you weren’t around at the time.

          Yeah, many of the original Neocons spent some of their youth in the Trotskyist movement. Plenty of CP’ers turned their backs on actual leftist politics, too.

          Reply
  16. The Rev Kev

    “Network of Syria conspiracy theorists identified”

    The Guardian really has become a garbage publication. Sight unseen I knew which names would be smeared in that article and when I read it, there they were – Vanessa Beeley, Aaron Maté and Eva Bartlett. People who had actually gone in on the ground and were showing people what was really going on in Syria. Like how the White helmets were headquartered right next door to the Jihadists. At this point, if the Guardian went out of business, a lot of people would consider that a mercy.

    Reply
    1. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you, Rev.

      Unfortunately, since the paper / group was taken over by its City creditors in the late noughties after years of financial mismanagement and fecklessness, including having a concern pianist in the reception, Bloomsbury literary demi monde style offices and paying for the country estates of executives, it has become a mouth piece for the establishment. It always was except for the 1960s – 1990s and then only for commercial reasons.

      The group gets money from readers, who don’t know of its ownership, HQ in Cayman and charitable arm for collecting money online based in Delaware. The British government and Gates Foundation donate, too.

      The group has over a billion in cash at the bank.

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > HQ in Cayman and charitable arm for collecting money online based in Delaware. The British government and Gates Foundation donate, too. The group has over a billion in cash at the bank.

        Thanks for this depressing information. Explains a lot about the defenestration of Corbyn.

        Reply
        1. Colonel Smithers

          Thank you, Lambert. Your final sentence is spot on.

          I have had the pleasure of crossing swords with some of them. This was at an event to address Islington Labour Party, a favour for a friend / former activist, in 2019.

          Reply
  17. Mr. Wizard

    Just going to throw this out there: 50 officers, really? It wasn’t a command center that was hit; it was a convention. The Rus MoD spx first said several units had gathered for a meeting. And that becomes 50 officers. So there was also, somewhere nearby, 600 enlisted soldiers, min. This type of story detail without granule info isn’t even supposed to be believed. It supposed to discredit any type of reporting, so soon after a June 7 report suggested Russian lost its 50th colonel in the war.

    Being forced to publicly protest the prospect of having to supply missile-laden Konigsberg by sea, there’s no reason why Russia shouldn’t be able to open a new front by traveling through a NATO treaty country. It’s not like there’s a war on with rules about interning belligerents traversing third parties to a conflict. Maybe Europe doesn’t want Russia to bring it’s war halfway to Brussels by diesel locomotive. Try DHL.

    Reply
    1. Lex

      Ukrainian MoD confirmed it today. And their number is 57 officers, including members of the general staff. The only way that happens is if someone very high up is playing for the other team, because that would only be done to really hash out plans for whatever counter-offensive Ukraine can muster. I didn’t believe Russian MoD when it was first reported. I assumed an exaggeration in numbers and ranks.

      Reply
      1. Leftist Mole

        I personally like to think the waitstaff quietly took to their cars and drove far away at a certain pre-determined time.

        Or you’re right and maybe a Ukrainian Col. Bonaparte just got rid of his rivals.

        Reply
      2. The Rev Kev

        A lot may depend on who exactly those officers were. Were they for example officers of extremist formations? They and the regular Ukrainian army got along in the same way that soldiers of the Wehrmacht and the SS got long – as in not at all. Over the years on the Donbass front, the Novorussians would sometimes report how firefights would break out between regular Ukrainian army formations and those of the Azov formations.

        Speaking of which. I read yesterday how two top Azov commanders captured in the surrender at Mariupol have now been flown to Lefortovo Prison in Moscow. Ruh row!

        Reply
  18. antidlc

    https://www.smh.com.au/national/it-s-been-horrific-long-covid-patients-face-months-on-waiting-lists-20220617-p5aug6.html

    ‘It’s been horrific’: Long-COVID patients face months on waiting lists

    Soaring numbers of Australians seeking care for debilitating symptoms of long COVID are struggling to access crucial treatment and being put on public waiting lists for more than six months.

    Others are forced to pay hefty out-of-pocket costs for specialist care, such as neuropsychology, as long-COVID clinics across the country are crushed by demand.

    Reply
  19. Lee

    What Spies Really Think About John le Carré Foreign Policy…

    “We’ve all enjoyed enormously reading the Smiley books. … However, he is so corrosive in his view of MI6 that most professional SIS officers are pretty angry with him. Intelligence organizations are based on trust between colleagues. … His books are exclusively about betrayal.”

    I wonder how SIS officers feel about Mick Herron? Rather than foreign intrigues and adversaries, his books focus more on gross betrayals as a result of bureacratic infighting within the security services, fueled by careerist ambitions and corrupt motives leading to lethal results.

    Reply
    1. ambrit

      Horrors! That sounds a lot like Washington, DC.
      Someone cue up a “fictionalized” account of the careers of the Dulles brothers. (Mailer’s book, “Harlot’s Ghost” does a fairly good ‘job’ on Dulles and the CIA.)

      Reply
    2. David

      The Smiley books are set in the early 1970s, and were inspired by the treason of Kim Philby, and possibly Anthony Blunt, whose identity was an open secret in Whitehall in the 1970s. Although the character of Bill Haydon was supposed to be based on Philby, there’s an argument that it might also be partly based on Blunt, who was Surveyor of the Queen’s Pictures at the time: Haydon is described as an aesthete and art-lover in the book. Le Carré was personally greatly shocked by Philby’s treason (he was working for SIS at the time) and made it clear that he saw it as representative of the decline of a whole echelon of British society, which had proved itself to be corrupt and incompetent. It’s hard to disagree with him. At the time, SIS seems to have had no vetting system: officers were recruited from Oxford or Cambridge as “good chaps” who could be trusted. Philby and co showed otherwise.

      Reply
      1. Lee

        A key difference between Le Carre’s traitorous villains and Herron’s is that the former are motivated by a social ideology that transcends pure self interest, whereas Herron’s, set in the post cold war period are ruthlessly self-interested PMC types whose bad intentions are aimed primarily at decent and/or hapless fellow members of their own institution. The obligate predator, absent suitably compelling foreign targets, is now set upon to eating its own.

        Reply
  20. Wukchumni

    I’m quite concerned over the various heat domes across the world showing up so early in the summer, and wonder why we don’t treat them like we do hurricanes in the USA, where you get out of harms way by driving or flying away from where it is gonna hit.

    This isn’t always possible if the heat dome covers a wide area, but often only a few hundred miles can be a world of difference. Here during the 100 days of 100 degrees (an exaggeration-Fresno only had 64 days of 100 or over-breaking the previous record of 63, congrats!) driving to Pismo Beach 175 miles away will net you a temp around 40 degrees cooler.

    Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        I was just reading that Minnesota is gonna hit 105 this week which is way more than it should be this time of year, and my all-time high temp in the CVBB was 118, and I was driving and opened the window to see what life was like outside my air conditioned cocoon and me oh my was it something.

        Could we get a ridiculously high heat dome here of 125 for a few days, I don’t see why not.

        I was shocked when the chi-chi choo-choo I was on went by Lytton BC where it hit 121 last summer, no way-no how would I have ever expected a place like that to sizzle so.

        Could the 666 million fruit and nut trees in the state mostly here tolerate that sort of heat before their cell structure breaks down?

        …probably not

        That would solve one of the issues in Ag here, the average age of a fieldworker is 43 now.

        Reply
    1. Ignacio

      Me too. Last week was, even if not without precedent, an awakener in Spain. Particularly the very high daily minimum temperatures well above 25ºC. The dome was the whole peninsula now moving to the EU. We had record Natl. gas consumption for air conditioning, how opportune!
      The valleys were hit the worst. Particularly the Ebro river valley.

      Reply
    2. Maxwell Johnston

      Here in northern Tuscany, there is no rain for a month now and little to none forecasted. The heat is oppressive, the weather in general is August-like but two months early. Even the locals are disturbed. It bodes poorly for the olive harvest. A local farmer half-jokingly told me that if this trend continues, he’ll switch from growing olives to avocados. The Tuscans are survivors and know how to blow with the wind.

      Reply
    3. fresno dan

      Wuk
      Lucky for me, my new wife’s son lives in Pismo! I am still waiting for my Father’s day gifts…

      Reply
  21. Mikel

    ” ‘Mind-reading’ device to detect porn could speed China’s policing of illicit content, say researchers” South China

    At least they have the headline written “mind-reading,” but more BS. Sounds like comepanies on China and US having a laughable “mind-reading” tech race. Grifters gotta grift everywhere.

    Reply
    1. Mikel

      “companies in China and the US”…

      But the idea pays for itself if people censor themselves because they think they are being mind-read.
      It’s like how machines won’t really have to be created that have or react to emotions. Humans are well-versed in emotional transference to inanimate objects.

      Reply
      1. amechania

        Mind reading remains a grift. I will not attempt it. I am strictly off the books. Not unbuyable, but currently above it.

        I googled the costs of several wars recently. A week ago, if I recall correctly, they gave me only what I wanted. Dollar figures. This week, they seem to have recalibrated, and give me dollar figures and lives lost.

        On the internet, we are all stories and inanimate objects. Until we aren’t.

        Not too impressed by South China. Were they American or French in the century of humiliation? Maps of China have been contentious, and it doesn’t pay to speak of it.

        *edited in the question mark, pardon*

        Reply
    2. digi_owl

      My initial thought was that it is EEG wired specifically for arousal.

      And that China will now learn the hard way the myriad fetishes and dirtiness of the human mind.

      Was it not some supreme court judge that said something akin to “i know obscene when i see it”?

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Potter Stewart. Jacobellis v. Ohio. The test today is Miller v. California:

        Miller v. California (1973), the US Supreme Court famously laid out its current three-part test for determining whether a work is obscene. According to the Miller court, the First Amendment does not protect works that satisfy the following elements:

        1. An average person, applying contemporary community standards, would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to “the prurient interest” (the definition of prurient interests is a whole ‘nother can of worms that will probably be addressed later in this obscenity series);

        2. The work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct or excretory functions specifically defined by applicable state law; and

        3. The work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value

        Reply
  22. Henry Moon Pie

    Mad Max, meet the Surveillance State–

    So this is my little report about the state of things on the East Side of Cleveland and more widely. About 6:30 this morning, my spouse heard loud arguing going on in the house behind our lot. A few minutes later, we both heard more than a half dozen shots. My spouse saw a young man running through the back yard of the house on the other side of the house in question. That neighbor and we called the police, and the dispatcher, who used to just ask for address and name, also demanded my spouse’s SS number.

    The cops did show up in about 15 minutes. They found 10 shell casings in the front yard of this house, but when they knocked on the door and talked to the middle-aged woman inside, she claimed to have heard and seen nothing. Since there were no bodies lying in the street, the cops didn’t bother with any CSI: no photos; no marking the casing locations, etc.

    Now for the Surveillance State. After my spouse called 911, she had a strange orange screen on the phone. An email arrived from Verizon that they had given access to her phone. All the blocks she had entered of phone numbers of marketers were gone. She had to follow some instructions in the email to get rid of the orange screen.

    Strange days.

    Reply
    1. Screwball

      Strange for sure. I would be worried about that phone now.

      I’m also in Ohio, and probably a few hours from you. I’m in a small rural town of about 15k. The cops are not our friends here, and would have probably done the same. Our crime is going up, overdoses are still ongoing, not getting better, and no end in sight. People are hurting, the signs are everywhere.

      One of the best things I have done over the last few years was installing 4 security cameras. I can see all around my house day and night. They trigger by motion and record for a pre-set period of time. It gives me comfort knowing I can see my property and if something happens, chances are I have it recorded.

      Reply
      1. Henry Moon Pie

        So this is a bizarre twist. My spouse checked out the transfer history on this property where the shooting took place. The first owner, who had almost lost it in ’19 on a tax foreclosure, sold the property to an LLC for $1,500 in spring of last year. A crew of three came in early in the summer and worked on cleaning the place up (it was in horrific condition–stories) for two work weeks. Late in the summer, this house sold to a different LLC for $65,000. Two days later, it sold to a third LLC for nearly $80,000.

        A house across the street from us, in as good a shape as this one, sold for a little over $10,000 last summer.

        This sounds like the kind of scams run in this neighborhood in ’05 or ’06. Anybody have any idea what is going on with this?

        Reply
        1. Tom Stone

          Mortgage Fraud.
          Look for connections between the buyer’s and sellers and check to see if there are other transactions in that neighborhood involving the same people,or their spouses and relatives.
          It’s similar to a”Pump and Dump”, artificially inflate prices in an area then borrow the max against each and scoot.
          Zillow’s AVM ( Algo) might show you whether that’s happening,look at the neighborhood trends.

          Reply
      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Strange for sure. I would be worried about that phone now.

        Agreed. (I wonder if there’s a way of wiping all that stuff out of your phone and starting clean, so you don’t have to buy a new one.)

        Reply
        1. ChrisRUEcon

          I would recommend the following:

          • Go to Verizon and get a new SIM Card, just in case cops have been allowed to SIM-jack the old one.
          • Changing your # would be good too, but I realize that might be really inconvenient.
          • If it’s an Android or iPhone, back up all apps you care about, photos etc and factory reset the phone.
          • If your spouse uses any browser based apps that let her know where she is logged in or active, have her check to make sure only her sessions are active and use any “Log out All Other Sessions” option to nuke extraneous activity (Gmail, FB, Twitter, for example have this).

          Reply
      1. amechania

        I got rid of a spam call by speaking low-grade Spanish into the phone today. The machine didn’t even bother to sell me a pitch. It hung up on me. So rude. Could be a fluke, I’ll keep it up and see if that works.

        Reply
        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > I got rid of a spam call by speaking low-grade Spanish into the phone today.

          Better yet, this would be the upside of getting flagged in the database: No more calls.

          Or…. Let’s see if you get Spanish-language spam calls.

          Reply
    2. JBird4049

      >>>That neighbor and we called the police, and the dispatcher, who used to just ask for address and name, also demanded my spouse’s SS number.

      Between that and the mucking about the cellphone, it is almost like that they don’t want you to call them. Was getting the police assistance contingent on giving them your wife’s social security number?

      I realize that the Fourth and Fifth Amendments are more suggestions than real especially for the poor.
      It could be that cellphone shenanigans are illegal. And before anyone says that “they” would know, or ruled, or even been challenged. The state of Michigan has had an unconstitutional practice of runnin debtor’s jails. Judges would routinely send people to jail for not paying their bills and only letting them out after they had paid them. This has been illegal since the 19th century. When challenged by pro bono lawyers, the judges said they did not know and had always done it that way. If you are poor and can’t afford a lawyer, stuff just happens to you even if illegal because that’s the way it is.

      I do wonder what some people think of the United States. It probably does sound like Mad Max.

      Reply
      1. Jim

        This brings to mind one of Bob Dylan’s great lines, from “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues”:

        “If you’re lookin’ to get silly
        You better go back to from where you came
        Because the cops don’t need you
        And man they expect the same.”

        Reply
  23. Carolinian

    Re LA Times and “e-vtol”–the story goes on at some length without addressing the central question: i.e. how could a human carrying quadcopter service possibly work? If Bezos with his billions hasn’t yet been able to provide battery powered craft routinely delivering five pound packages then how will the near future feature the same conveying two hundred pound humans, not to mention a possible pilot? Wake us when it happens, or at least talk about the practicalities of making that so.

    Reply
    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Re LA Times and “e-vtol”–the story goes on at some length without addressing the central question: i.e. how could a human carrying quadcopter service possibly work?

      My question was capacity. “Central arteries” in the air surely wouldn’t come near the capacity of a freeway, let alone rail. However, they seem to envisage having a lot of miniature airports on the top of buildings or in parking lots, scattered about the city. Leaving aside the issue of flaming air taxis crashing into tall buildings or the RVs in a Walmart lot, will the air taxi companies really be able to match where they can go to where people need to go? Carrying five or so passengers?

      I don’t think it makes sense unless the fare is a lot more than $50, and mostly rich people use it to avoid the proles on the freeway, maybe to and from the airport or the Laker’s game. The whole thing seems like the last gasp of the stupid money era.

      Reply
  24. juno mas

    RE: Kinzal missile striking Ukraine military command meeting

    There is a link on The Saker site that purports to show the missile strike. The impact/extent of the explosion and subsequent fireball is astounding! (If, in fact, it is the attack in question.) The phone video shows the missile arriving out of the sky. This person who took the video MUST have known the attack was imminent to capture it so clearly. (The video is much like the one months ago that documented the Kinzal attacks in Lviv.) Russia’s intelligence staff seems to be everywhere in Ukraine.

    Reply
      1. Old Sovietologist

        Love the American’s reaction.

        From the impact that looks like a large ammunition dump being taken out of action.

        Reply
      2. midget

        For what it’s worth, none of the big Russian telegram channels have shown it. This makes me suspect that it’s false, since verified videos of such wunderwaffen in action would be both a propaganda coup and fantastic content for the viewers, and the authors of the channels have very good sources.

        If you look at handheld videos of Iskander strikes, you will see that first there is the flash and fireball, and then a massive ‘BANG’ as the shockwave reaches the observer, almost always causing them to physically stagger and sometimes even drop the camera.

        Furthermore, I have to assume that, with an impact and explosion that big, one would see effects from the shockwave on the surrounding area, but the house is virtually untouched and there is no ‘BANG’ that would indicate that the shockwave had reached the reporter. Since we hear various rumblings, we can assume that sound has had enough time to travel that far, but the camera merely lightly shakes with constant amplitude. Even during the Beirut port explosion, various videos showed the impact of the shockwave, but then rapidly stopped shaking after the shockwave passed.

        Reply
  25. Jason Boxman

    Silicon Valley’s Horrible Bosses

    On Friday, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong tweeted through a crisis in his workplace. He was reacting to an anonymous petition, supposedly from Coinbase employees, asking for a vote of no confidence and removal of the cryptocurrency exchange’s chief operating officer, chief product officer, and chief people officer. The petition accused those three leaders of “executing plans and ideas that have led to questionable results and negative value” and laid out eight examples of their bad decision making, including: “The failure of the Coinbase NFT platform”; hiring unsustainably while also messily rescinding job offers; poor communication; and instituting a controversial “rate your coworker” real-time feedback system, which led to “a toxic workplace culture”—all of them carried out with “a generally apathetic and sometimes condescending attitude.”

    I dunno, I think if you decided to work at Coinbase as an employee, you’ve made a questionable life choice anyway. Crypto has always seemed to be obviously a scam; What sensible financial universe includes what are lovingly referred to as sh*tcoins?

    “If you have no confidence in the execs or CEO of a company,” [Armstrong] wrote, “then why are you working at that company? Quit and find a company to work at that you believe in!”

    Honestly, kinda true. Too many tech workers are high on their own privilege as the best and brightest.

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      Mutiny on the iBounty, with help of a pirate talk translator online…
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      HelloOn Friday, Coinbase CAP’N Brian Armstrong tweeted through a crisis in his workplace. He was reactin’ t’ an anonymous petition, supposedly from Coinbase employees, askin’ fer a vote o’ no confidence ‘n removal o’ the cryptocurrency exchange’s chief operatin’ officer, chief product officer, ‘n chief scallywags officer. The petition accused those three leaders o’ “executin’ plans ‘n ideas that ‘ave led t’ questionable results ‘n negative value” ‘n laid out eight examples o’ thar bad decision makin’, includin’: “The failure o’ the Coinbase NFT platform”; hirin’ unsustainably while also messily rescindin’ job offers; poor communication; ‘n institutin’ a controversial “rate yer coworker” real-time feedback system, which led t’ “a toxic workplace culture”—all o’ ’em carried out wit’ “a generally apathetic ‘n sometimes condescendin’ attitude.”

      Reply
    2. ChrisRUEcon

      Lured by big bux! LOL

      Nothing to do with confidence in anything! The fact that people are joining crypto unicorns like Coinbase is testament to the general ignorance of the nature and functions of money. But hey, they’ll give folks a nice bump over Silicon Valley stalwarts, so there you go.

      I actually know people who went there. Waiting to see if they make moves soon.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        The irony of young adults flocking to ridiculous operations all centered around various ‘coins’, is that I could see it coming 25 years ago as far as coin collectors go, there were fewer and fewer kids & young adults that were interested.

        When I was 12 circa 1974, I attended a coin club meeting held once a month in SoCal that attracted 100 of all ages, my mom used to go well into the 1990’s and it got disbanded when only a half dozen would show up, maybe.

        It’s a dying thing, the hobby of kings.

        Reply
  26. Jason Boxman

    Google Says It’s Time for Longtime Small-Business Users to Pay Up

    When Mr. Sajanlal told Mr. Jiwani that Google would start to charge for each of their email addresses, Mr. Jiwani said: “Are you serious? They’re going to start ripping us off?”

    Mr. Jiwani said he stored transaction data for his 3,000 clients on Google Drive, so he began to pay for the company’s services, though he is considering a switch to the software provider Zoho. Mr. Sajanlal moved away from Google in March, setting up his business emails on a server hosted by Nextcloud.

    Stian Oksavik, who has a side business called BeyondBits in Loxahatchee, Fla., that sets up computer networks for clients, moved to Apple’s iCloud service, which he already had access to as part of an existing subscription package.

    “It was less about the amount they’re charging and more about the fact that they changed the rules,” Mr. Oksavik said. “They could change the rules again at any time.”

    (bold mine)

    Wow. That’s some violent reaction there. To think that Google was going to offer this forever for free, to my mind, strains credulity. And I say this as one of these users; Been running my email on G Suite since 2006.

    But free forever, seriously?

    The real outrage people have had, which the NY Times conveniently ignores for some reason, maybe because it’s complicated to explain, is that many people signed up for family (non-work) email domains, which apparently Google encouraged at the time, and later had Google Play Store purchases tied to this, sometimes in thousands (yeah, spending money on apps is weird, but people do it) of dollars.

    And when you transfer to the new paid subscription, these purchases were originally non-transferrable. Totally lost. So that sparked legitimate outrage, at the lost of hundreds or thousands of dollars in legal purchases on the Play Store (Android) across an extended family.

    But just the free email service going away? That you’re using for your business? Calm down. It’s not like personal G mail went paid-only.

    Granted I was annoyed when I learned of this too, and did my research, and finally decided my Google setup works so well, I’d pay the relatively nominal (less than $100 annually) fee to have Google ‘just do’ email so I don’t have to. They’re cheaper in fact that almost anyone else, and almost no one is going to reject inbound mail from Google servers, so I don’t have a care that some random place will reject my email silently. (This happened when I ran my own mail server; horrible business, don’t do it!)

    Reply
    1. super extra

      This was the line that got me:

      Mr. Sajanlal moved away from Google in March, setting up his business emails on a server hosted by Nextcloud.

      I am assuming this means Mr. Sajanlal relied on the Google Drive aspects of the service rather than purely email because if dude is going to self-host his own email server out of spite to Big G, mad respect I guess, and also I hope he’s a decent sysadmin and is happy paying like double per year for the pleasure. I hate Google’s tendency to change/backtrack/cancel their services after they’re in heavy rotation but I am a sysadmin and don’t want to manage my own email, so I pay for the services from someone else that isn’t quite as annoying. To each their own!

      Reply
      1. Jason Boxman

        Oh, the joys of email. Then I’m sure you’re well acquainted with fiddling with endless SpamAssassin rules, configuring thread-safe dspam, endless DNS blacklists, graylisting plug-ins, and the like. Oh, and DKIM, and SPF, oh my!

        I certainly don’t miss it, and mail server administration was the bane of my existence at one time. I moved to Google and never looked back, and never had any issues.

        As to the angered Google user, he could actually keep using Drive for free; Google is now only charging for G Suite Legacy users that want to _also_ keep doing email, as far as I know. So much is on fire in the world, I finally stopped paying attention to this particular kerfuffle.

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  27. Susan the other

    About the Spiegel article on the disagreement within the EU on fast-tracking Ukraine for membership – there was no mention of Turkey. Unbelievable. The EU are talking about appeasing Georgia and another Balkan applicant – sort of a package to also contain Ukraine. Erdogan could dump NATO over this one. Ukraine doesn’t pass any of the requirements to become a member of the EU. No problem. Ukraine is corrupt. So what? Ukraine is at war. Oh that’s just a technicality. Ukraine (Zelensky) seems to be talking blackmail. Whatever. Ursula is probably busy rewriting the EU constitution with an amendment for special emergencies like Ukraine. Potential existential disasters? I can’t believe I’m reading this stuff. But it’s the Spiegel. So there must be more to the war for Ukraine than meets the eye. And if the EU annexes Ukraine they can force a settlement with Russia? Maybe also force Poland (and therefore the UK) to back off? Or Biden?

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  28. Wukchumni

    Polar bear population discovered that can survive with little sea ice Nature
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    White privilege?

    It seems as if our native Black bear population is on the upswing, a good number of sightings in Mineral King, and my buddy who runs sightseeing tours in the main part of Sequoia NP related that he is up to 26 seen so far along the Generals Highway, with no doubt a bunch of reruns of previously seen bruins in the total.

    The 2012-16 drought and pine tree die-off really decimated the population, with one of the trees that died in huge numbers was the Sugar Pine, which has the largest of all pine cones and the most nutritious of pine nuts of any Sierra tree, so a prime source of food for bears went away.

    I had many years where I would get into the 30’s as far as sightings go, but have struggled to get into the double digits per year the past 5 years, with only 7 seen in 2021.

    Reply
  29. John k

    Surprising to me is that Russia hasn’t cut off sales of everything to all unfriendlies that won’t sell Russia what they want, especially if the 2/3 jump in gas to China is accurate. Shoes dropping slowly… Poland, Italy, but not yet Germany. And I think sales are at spot as eu previously refused long term contracts. Plus putin worrying the rouble getting too strong.
    And… I wonder if Russia sees a silver lining in baltics cutting rail access to Kaliningrad, daring Russia to attack a nato country… certainly an opportunity if they’re looking for a good excuse given access is, as I understand it, guaranteed by a 75-year old treaty signed by us/gb/Russia. Granted they’re busy at the moment.
    West’s decisions over the past decade have certainly been interesting.
    I read recently saudi and I think japan’s dollar holdings are down a bit. If so, ideas of what is best to hold may be changing. Gold is traditional (I hold 2 British sovereigns in the vault), though maybe other commodities would be more useful.

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  30. MarkT

    Great photo of a Cape Buffalo. Rightly described as “dangerous”. NEVER get between a mother and her calf! I once lost track of time during a leisurely game drive on a beautiful winter afternoon in Kruger National Park. In the subsequent rush to get back to Lower Sabie camp before the gates closed at 5:30pm, I rounded a bend on the dirt road only to find myself in the middle of a very large herd of buffalo. With many calves. All I could do was switch the engine off and wait patiently for them to move on, which took some time. The ranger at the closed camp gate was understanding when I finally arrived and explained the reason for my lateness. An angry mother can do serious damage to a vehicle.

    Reply

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