Links 6/22/2022

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.

* * *

Kitten Survives 60 Miles Under the Hood of a Car Animal Rescue

Olive trees were first domesticated 7,000 years ago, study finds ScienceDaily (Kevin W)

Galactic Belly Flop: Mysterious “Blue Blobs” Reveal a New Kind of Star System SciTech Daily (Chuck L)

Physicists Say They’ve Built an Atom Laser That Can Run ‘Forever’ ScienceAlert

What are PFAS, and why is the EPA warning about them in drinking water? An environmental health scientist explains The Conversation

#COVID-19

Science/Medicine

Proving GM’s longstanding position, that each Covid infection has a health cost and they accumulate:

Outcomes of SARS-CoV-2 Reinfection Research Square. The underlying paper, courtesy Tom H. Important. Key section:

Compared to non-infected controls, assessment of the cumulative risks of repeated infection showed that the risk and burden increased in a graded fashion according to the number of infections. The constellation of findings show that reinfection adds non-trivial risks of all-cause mortality, hospitalization, and adverse health outcomes in the acute and post-acute phase of the reinfection.

A reinfection red flag: Why a new report is so troubling Eric Topol (Dr. Kevin). On the study above.

Despite Another Covid Surge, Deaths Stay Near Lows New York Times. Resilc: “Nooooooooooooooooooo problem, we have full confidence in the cee/deecee and byedone based on past performance.”

Asia

The End of Pragmatic China Atlantic (resilc). Yet more proof that the US is determined to drag everyone down to our level of horrid performance on Covid. The (predictable, as shown by GM predicting it from the get go) health care cost of repeated Covid infection, plus long Covid, shows that China has the better idea. It wouldn’t matter except we made China our manufacturing base. And whose fault is that? Not China’s.

US

Broadway Will Drop Mask Mandate Beginning July 1 New York Times Resilc: “Covid righhhhhhhhhhht here in River City……..”

Climate/Environment

Heavy Industries in Australia’s Regions Could Cut Emissions by 80% and Create a Jobs Bonanza, Report Says Guardian

Ben & Jerry’s Is Putting Their Cows on a Low Methane Emissions Diet EcoWatch (furzy). Lead cow in the picture looks sorta skinny! Making milk is apparently hard work.

‘We worry about it disappearing’: alarm grows over Italy’s drought-hit Po River Guardian. From last week, still germane.

Gather them now: the documents you’d need to file a FEMA claim Yale Climate Connection

Forest Service Details Errors That Led to New Mexico’s Largest Wildfire Wall Street Journal (David L)

China?

US-China détente on the horizon Indian Punchline (Kevin W)

29 Chinese military aircraft enter Taiwan’s ADIZ Focus Taiwan

US ‘forced labour’ law bans goods from China’s Xinjiang region AlJazeera

Old Blighty

Labour Front Benchers Banned From Joining Picket Lines Amid Rail Strikes Politics Home

No 10 to set out sweeping plans to override power of Europe’s human rights court Guardian (Kevin W)

From Politico’s morning European newsletter:

THE WESTERN BALKANS ARE BALKING at the idea of attending tomorrow’s EU-Western Balkans summit, with the leaders of Serbia, Albania and North Macedonia threatening not to come to Brussels, four officials told Playbook. With Bulgaria vetoing the next step in North Macedonia’s accession path to the EU, Serbia and Albania are considering expressing solidarity by boycotting the meeting.

Confirmation at noon: Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vučić appeared to confirm the threat on Tuesday, tweeting that he had consulted with Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama and the Prime Minister of North Macedonia Dimitar Kovačevski about whether to attend the summit. “We have decided to announce our decision tomorrow at noon on whether or not we will attend this meeting,” Vučić said Tuesday.

“Latin America’s turning tide.” Patrick Lawrence

New Not-So-Cold War

Ukraine Russia War Update – Col Douglas Macgregor YouTube (guurst)

Western Military Analysts, Including the CIA, Dazed and Confused Larry Johnson

* * *

IEA chief warns Europe to prepare for total shutdown of Russian gas exports Financial Times

Explainer: Why Germany is reviving dirty coal to counter Russian gas cut DW. Resilc: “Because the wind blows toward Russia?”

Germany may call next stage in gas emergency plan in next 5-10 days – Die Welt Reuters

Poland tells citizens to gather firewood as energy prices increase Anadolu Agency

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Lithuania limits truck transit between Kaliningrad region, rest of Russia – regional authorities Interfax

* * *

London sent note to Moscow over captured mercenaries in DPR, Russian envoy says: “They sent a note, which was written in an arrogant and lecturing manner,” Andrey Kelin noted TASS. Aside from the point that this is a DPR matter, not a Russian Federation matter (and no one wants to talk to the DPR because not recognized), I’m surprised that if these mercenaries actually were part of Ukrainian armed forces (as in legitimate POWs and therefore entitled to proper care and feeding), why has Ukraine been silent?

Attorney General Merrick B. Garland Visits Ukraine, Reaffirms U.S. Commitment to Help Identify, Apprehend, and Prosecute Individuals Involved in War Crimes and Atrocities Department of Justice

Networks covered the war in Ukraine more than the US invasion of Iraq Responsible Statecraft (alex f). From April, still germane. Because blond Europeans?

Putin: S-500 already sent, Sarmat to be delivered soon Sputnik

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Smart jacuzzis hacked Boing Boing (resilc)

Hidden Anti-Cryptography Provisions in Internet Anti-Trust Bills Bruce Schneier (David L)

The Open Secret of Google Search Atlantic (David L)

1/6

‘What the F-ck Is This?’: Team Trump Blindsided by Jan. 6 Committee Getting Doc Footage Rolling Stone (David L)

EXCLUSIVE: Police Report Proves Plainclothes Electronic Surveillance Unit Members Were Embedded Among Jan. 6 Protesters Epoch Times (resilc). Just because it’s Epoch Times does not mean it can’t read a police report and summarize it.

Biden

GOP Clown Car

FOX News host reminds Dr. Oz that he is losing to a candidate who isn’t campaigning Boing Boing

Challengers against pro-impeachment Republicans smell blood in the water The Hill

FDA Targets Removal of Most Nicotine From Cigarettes
Wall Street Journal

Connecticut Put A Probably Innocent Guy Behind Bars For 70 Years Cracked (Bill F). :-(

Gunz

Senators reach final bipartisan agreement on a gun safety bill NPR

Our No Longer Free Press

The Local News Hung Up On Me For Asking If They Asked a Doctor Whether You Can Die From Touching Fentanyl Alex Pareene (Randy K)

WAPO DEMOTES Taylor Lorenz After Lies Breaking Points with Krystal and Saagar, YouTube. I don’t understand why she has a job, although I assume the Post is trying to get her quit. Why is it so unacceptable to fire lousy white collar employees?

Supply Chain/Inflation

“Timber prices going up daily” in Europe due to Ukraine war Dezeen (resilc)

UK inflation hits 9.1% as food prices jump Financial Times

German producer prices rise at record speed in May Politico. From start of the week, still germane.

Old Is Gold: Sky-High Cost of Ageing Ships Sounds Inflation SOS qCaptain (guurst)

Bayer: US Supreme Court rejects chemical maker’s weedkiller appeal BBC

Blockchains Vulnerable to Centralized Control, DARPA Report Finds Gizmodo (dk)

The World’s Bubbliest Housing Markets Are Flashing Warning Signs Bloomberg

Class Warfare

South Korean Truckers End Eight Day Strike – Tunisia Nationwide General Strike – Japan’s Amazon Delivery Drivers Unionize Mike Elk

Protest on the runway: Southwest Airlines pilots line up in anger at poor staffing and long hours as airport chaos continues across the nation with 200 flight canceled today after 14,000 over the weekend Daily Mail

Airbnb Rentals Turn Into Real Estate Goldmines With Easy-Money Mortgages Bloomberg (resilc)

Tesla broke US law by not providing 60-day notice before mass layoff ars technica (Kevin W)

Antidote du jour. Timotheus send a pride kitty:


And a bonus (Chuck L):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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256 comments

  1. John Beech

    Busy with life it’s easy to forget one of ours suffering a terrible loss. Thoughts for Amfortas the hippie, and especially, a prayer for his wife.

    Reply
    1. Carla

      Amfortas, you and your family are in my thoughts every day. My husband died in 1997, so I have some awareness of the journey you will be making.

      Reply
    2. ChiGal

      Thanks, JB. I must have missed the formal statement, but if it has happened, my heart is heavy for you, Amfortas, and your boys. May the fortitude that is your nature stand you in good stead now when you most need it. It takes time, but the acute absence will resolve into a comforting presence: she will always be with you.

      Peace.

      Reply
    3. Michael Fiorillo

      Amfortas, may love and strength guide you through the Unfathomable.

      My beautiful wife, who never touched a cigarette to her lips, died of lung cancer at age 58, so I know what it’s like to have your heart torn from your chest…

      Peace and consolation to you, brother, wherever you may find it…

      Reply
    4. Janie

      Amfortas, deepest sympathy to you and your sons. Your comments have added much to our conversations; you, and others here, have become friends we’ve never met but would like to.

      Reply
    5. Geo

      Amfortas, there’s no words I can say to console such a loss but just know if the weight gets too heavy you can always reach out to this community for support and uplift. Your compassion is admirable and your voice here treasured. Take care of yourself and know we’re here for you.

      Reply
    6. Steven A

      My heart goes out to you, Amfortas. I lost my wife/life partner/soul mate to breast cancer in 2014 so I’ve been to the place you are now. I wish there were some magic words I could say to ease the pain, but the only counsel I can offer is that there is nothing you can do to prepare for what you will go through in the next few weeks. Peace be with you.

      Reply
    1. David

      It was essentially the involvement of (actual) foreign mercenaries in the independence wars and civil wars of Africa from the 60s to the 80s that provoked the Mercenary Convention. Angola, where large numbers of foreigners fought in the ranks of the FLNA, was a particularly notorious example. But as we’ve discussed, these people are not mercenaries by that definition. It’s not uncommon for foreigners to join the militaries of other nations anyway. France has an entire Foreign Legion, and the British Army actively recruits personnel from the Commonwealth and the Republic of Ireland. What the Russians believe is not the point: it’s a matter of legal status, and if the men were officially recruited and have identity cards, they are entitled to PoW status. If they didn’t, then they are still entitled to the protection of AP1 of the Geneva Conventions. As I’ve said before, I have never seen any explanation from the Russians of the legal basis for what is being done.

      As to Ukraine’s silence, I think there are two fairly obvious explanations. One is that they don’t recognise the existence of either of the two breakaway republics, and they can’t communicate officially with them without undermining that position. The other is that it’s very much in Ukraine’s interests that these trials should be held, and death sentences pronounced, because it keeps Ukraine in the news, and keeps the pressure on western countries. The purpose of recruiting these soldiers was always political – to draw the West more deeply into the conflict, and to give western populations feeling of vicarious personal involvement.

      Reply
      1. timotheus

        U.S. citizens can serve in the Israeli armed forces and not only escape sanction (such as loss of citizenship) but be rewarded with high political office afterwards.

        Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          A friend from upstate NY served in the IDF in the 1990’s as a tanker and then consequently became the ‘narc in the park’ rooting out Mexican drug trafficking operations in Sequoia NP that suddenly sprang up like weeds after the turn of the century.

          He was quite dedicated and earned the nickname ‘Serpico’.

          Read all about him (he fills a full chapter) in the hilarious tome: The 188th Crybaby Brigade: A Skinny Jewish Kid from Chicago Fights Hezbollah–A Memoir, by Joel Chasnoff.

          Reply
            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              If you get it from crooked cops or crooked police departments, it is a good thing from a moral cleanliness standpoint, even if it is bad from a personal survival standpoint.

              Or am I wrong?

              Reply
              1. Wukchumni

                The Serpico I speak of didn’t fit the profile of a parkie in the NPS, he didn’t give a fig about the survival of yellow legged frogs and was no good at hacky sack.

                His purview sometimes was being slung on a line below a helicopter looking for gardens and sometimes in a Ghillie suit, waiting em’ out in plain sight.

                He clashed with the other parkies for the most part, he wouldn’t have had it any other way.

                Reply
                1. Wukchumni

                  p.s.

                  One of the ideas I implanted in his head was to put up bilingual signs @ trailheads warning of Chupacabras which had been seen in the foothills, and describe the sound they make as what will be coming out of a battery powered speaker-think 1950’s bad sci-fi movie screams and more!

                  This in theory would have scared the bejesus out of the campesinos manning the marijuana gardens, but as if NPS would ever allow such a thing?

                  Reply
      2. Polar Socialist

        Probably not the explanation you seek, but in case it opens up the thinking in Donetsk, These are comments of Alexander Nikulin, who I presume presided the DNR supreme court panel hearing the case:

        “The panel of the Appeals Chamber of the DNR Supreme Court considered the criminal case against British citizens Sean Pinner, Aiden Aslin and Moroccan national Brahim Saadoun, accused of mercenarism and of committing acts aimed at seizing power and overthrowing the constitutional order of the DNR.”

        “In passing the sentence, the court was guided not only by the prescribed norms and rules, but also by the main, unshakable principle – justice. It was this principle that made it possible to take this difficult and haevy decision to impose an exceptional punishment of death penalty on the convicts.”

        “The evidence presented by the prosecution allowed the court to reach a guilty verdict”.

        “Apart from the fact that all the defendants without exception pleaded guilty to all the charges, (…) the prosecution was not built on their confession of guilt alone.”

        So, I think there’s some retribution (“these a-holes chose to come here to kill us for fun”), but mostly I believe it’s about making UK to deal with DNR directly, in the interest of saving Pinner and Aslin. They may even believe, with good reasons, that international conventions mean very little when dealing with UK.

        Reply
        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Russia has made pretty clear that mercs would be dealt with very harshly. Their contention would be these “volunteers” were plenty well warned.

          If the UK is dealing with Pinner and Aslin, and not Ukraine as their employer/commander, IMHO that’s an admission they were mercs, so all that there is to be negotiated at most is their sentence, not their status.

          And Ukraine or the UK does not have to deal with the DPR. As indicated they could have presented evidence in public before the trial, to make the case in the court of opinion (this is a matter the Global South and China would care about, Russia’s compliance with international law, not the other “collective West” versus Russia economic war beefs).

          But I’m not sure how appeals work in a civil law system (I assume Russia copied French civil law principles). In the US/UK system, appeals courts can overturn decisions only on questions of law, not questions of fact.

          Reply
          1. Pstuartb

            In the US court system, factual findings can be overturned on appeal if the appellate court concludes that the factual finding is “clearly erroneous.” Conclusions of law by a trial judge are reviewed “de novo,” meaning that the appellate court takes a new look at the legal conclusion, without giving any deference to the trial judge. All findings, both factual and legal, can be overturned on appeal, the difference is the standard of review.

            Reply
      3. Yves Smith Post author

        I disagree. There is no evidence that they were members of Ukrainian units. Being paid by Ukraine and/or being part of a Ukrainian chain of command are critical tests.

        They cannot be combatants if these soldiers were recruited by and were part of command structures that are outside Ukraine. No country has invoked the UN collective defense provision (Article 51?) as Russia has to join in along side Ukraine. They cannot be combatants in a UK or NATO reporting line because neither the UK or NATO is at war with Russia. This is specifically what the Foreign Ministry spokewoman Zakharova alleged in a news conference: that foreign embassies had been openly recruiting the mercs.

        Recall the report from the Le Monde Diplomatique reporter who came to Ukraine with two French volunteers. He and they were shocked to find Americans in charge, that they were NOT reporting to Ukrainians.

        Ukraine would be hugely motivated, both to discredit the DPR court as being a kangaroo court that disregarded “evidence” and to please the countries from which the mercs came, to publish and issue statements and documentation that substantiates that that they were operating as part of a Ukraine fighting force. They would not have to interact with the DPR to do this; they could make public statements and post supporting documents. The failure to do so strongly suggests the DPR has the mercs dead to rights (pun intended).

        Reply
        1. David

          No, I think there’s a risk of over-complicating something which is basically quite simple. The distinction between combatants and others was introduced to differentiate between uniformed, disciplined troops on the one hand, and “freedom fighters”, “terrorists” or whatever on the other. Combatants have extra rights as PoWs if detained, but also higher standards of required behaviour.
          Some countries have legislation enabling foreign nationals to enlist in their militaries: I’ve given some examples above. In that case, they are combatants, and under the command of the forces in which they enlisted. The ICRC notes that “a national of a neutral State who enlists in the armed forces of a party to the conflict is not a mercenary,” and anyway there is no definition of “mercenary” which would cover the situation of these people. Place of recruitment is not a factor: Gurkhas are recruited in Nepal. Command and control is not a factor either: it’s common for groups of soldiers of one nation to be under the command of someone from another nation. There are British helicopter crews in Mali under French command, but they are still British personnel.

          The British government has responsibility for its own nationals, irrespective of where they are and who they are fighting for. It’s therefore normal to make these approaches. An analogous case would be a British national working in the European Commission, or in the UN Secretariat, or seconded to another government, where there’s the same distinction between nationality on the one hand, and reporting responsibilities on the other.

          Essentially, this is about politics. The Russians have been clever enough to recognise an ambiguity which can be exploited. It sounds very much from PS’s comment as if the DNR simply rushed through a law making it a crime to be a foreign national in the UA in Donbas, and of course it’s tautologically true that they must be guilty. But I don’t know of any other code of law in the world under which what they did would be a crime. The Russians are no doubt going to exploit this situation for all it’s worth, to put pressure on western governments.

          Ukraine has no interest in saving the lives of these people: indeed, it would prefer to see them executed, in order to benefit from outrage in foreign capitals, which it can then leverage for more weapons. The whole “foreign volunteers” thing was never about military support, it was to acquire credulous foreign pawns who could be deployed as needed.

          Reply
      4. digi_owl

        It may well be that Russia is trying to throw DC’s ongoing justification of Guantanamo back in their face.

        Russia keeps pointing to all the interventions etc that USA and NATO has been allowed to indulge in since the cold war “ended” as precedence for allowing Russian activity in Ukraine.

        Reply
      5. drumlin woodchuckles

        If these two Britons are indeed volunteer recruits and not mercenaries, then the continued use of the word “mercenaries” to describe them is a partisan slur and is a deliberate spreading of disinformation about what they are, which would fall under the “agnatology” provisions of this blog, would it not?

        So maybe people should get very clear on whether these two Britons are volunteer recruits or mercenaries, because they are not both at the same time . . . . and then make that information very unambiguously clear to the rest of us.

        Reply
      6. Procopius

        Errr… The Russians are not the ones who captured them or are holding them. Their captors, and the ones who are going to decide whether or not to try and execute them, are the DNR. Of course, the Russians do not seem to be strongly inclined to beg for mercy.

        Reply
    2. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you, OS and David.

      Memories are short in Blighty, so this grubby, if not bloody, episode is never recalled. NC’s Jams Blonde brought it up a few days ago when commenting about bad behaviour in the British army.

      The more recent expedition organised and part funded by wannabe and failing oligarch Mark Thatcher is also forgotten.

      Reply
    3. The Rev Kev

      Col. Douglas Macgregor talks about those mercs in today’s video called ” Ukraine Russia War Update – Col Douglas Macgregor” and it starts about the 17:55 min mark so near the end. I note that when the subject was brought up, that Macgregor did a serious eye-roll about these guys. I guess going safari hunting for Russians was not like Iraq or Afghanistan after all-

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e4rWfPPR-V8

      Reply
      1. Polar Socialist

        Luhansk militia is making claims that may indicate a change of mood among the foreign fighters. According to them 40 or so wounded foreigners have been evacuated from the Lisitshansk area and a group of ‘mercenaries’ was ‘liquidated’ when they tried to break out from Zolote-Gorske encirlement.

        It’s as if the outsiders to this family feud are getting that surrendering is not an option for them. I mean, meanwhile Ukrainian POWs can apply for Russian citizenship to avoid being exchanged back to Ukrainian army.

        Reply
  2. The Rev Kev

    “Poland tells citizens to gather firewood as energy prices increase”

    Yeah, this won’t be just a matter of just making a phone call to obtain permission. After all, Poland has their own PMCs. So-

    ‘“It is always possible, with the consent of foresters, to collect branches for fuel,” Deputy Minister of Climate and Energy Edward Siarka was quoted by Next Gazeta as saying on Monday.

    Those wishing to gather wood must first undergo training and obtain permission from the local forestry unit. The report went on to clarify that people can only take branches already lying on the ground, and cannot cut down trees.

    “Only branches can be gathered. At the same time, the collected branches cannot be thicker than seven centimeters,” said Katowice Directorate of State Forestry official Marek Mroz.

    He explained that branches should be taken to the local forester, who will issue an invoice. Collectors will have to pay between seven and 30 zlotys ($7.02) for approximately 0.25 cubic meters of firewood.’

    https://www.rt.com/business/556674-poland-firewood-heat-homes/

    Reply
    1. JohnA

      Plus firewood should be seasoned for at least 6 months or more, otherwise it is far less energy efficient and more polluting.

      Reply
      1. Grumpy Engineer

        Even when seasoned and burned in a modern wood stove, burning wood generates a lot of pollution. When wood stoves became popular in the UK as a “green” solution back in 2017 or so, they came to regret it. Per https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2018/feb/22/wood-diesel-indoor-stoves-cities-pollution (emphasis mine):

        Cars and trucks get more attention but nationally, domestic wood burning is the largest single source of PM2.5. According to one analysis of government data, it produces more than twice as much as all road traffic. While concerns about diesel vehicles focus largely on the nitrogen dioxide they produce, the evidence tying particulates to death and disease is even more powerful.

        According to Leigh Crilley, an atmospheric chemist at the University of Birmingham, wood smoke also carries more carcinogens than diesel or petrol exhaust.

        And when untrained people, desperate to fight the cold, start burning unseasoned wood in ordinary fireplaces? The smoke is gonna get thick out there.

        Reply
    2. Eureka Springs

      “Only branches can be gathered. At the same time, the collected branches cannot be thicker than seven centimeters,”

      Around here we call that kindling. A big pile might last a few hours if the fire is small. You wont sleep much due to needing to feed it constantly. So good luck with that, might want to be nicer to Putin…) It’s not THAT hard.

      Reply
      1. Michael Ismoe

        The average low temperature at light in Warsaw in October is 40 degrees F. That’s three months away. The only way there’s going to be enough fuel to keep warm is if bullshyt is combustible.

        Reply
      2. Raymond Sim

        Around here we call that kindling.

        Purely a guess, but traditionally constructed homes in a lot of cold places feature heavy masonry stoves designed to efficiently utilize such material, as well as similar fuels like field trash.

        They’re a lot of work to remove, and often also serve as work surfaces or beds, and thus tend to remain in place even if no longer used for the original purpose.

        If you can just keep your pipes from freezing, and have a spot where you’re not too cold to fall asleep – that ain’t nothing.

        Reply
    3. Wukchumni

      We need crack teams of Polish twig enthusiasts looking to up their game in the Sierra Nevada. Each ‘Polish Lumber’ (no relation to Polish Plumbers as far as I know) can pick away at our bountiful slopes full of downed wood that is practically begging to be burned in Łódź.

      Forget twigs by the way, i’d be highgrading all the 6 inch wood everywhere, and said enthusiasts can take back as much as the hold in a 787 will allow-a win-win!

      Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          I never saw anything like the winds aloft up high the day the Creek Fire got going, and it wouldn’t have mattered how carefully a prescribed burn had been in its path, for it came @ an all avenging angle taking out everything.

          That’s one of he writer’s reasons for not doing prescribed burns and thinning out the forest of too much.

          Not all blazes have 60 mph winds fanning them in all directions as did the Creek Fire. and i’d rather err on the side of caution in putting the surroundings on a forest diet.

          Reply
    4. drumlin woodchuckles

      If we are extending the word PMC to bio-expert foresters in the field, then the word PMC has become a meaningless slur.

      Reply
      1. LifelongLib

        There are legitimate questions about who can claim expertise and (even more important) what relationship “experts” should have with the rest of society. Unfortunately “PMC” has become what Chomsky calls a term of abuse, largely a way of bashing people whose knowledge claims we don’t agree with.

        Reply
        1. The Rev Kev

          Take a look at the requirements listed in that article. They have taken a simple exercise of picking up dead wood into one where you need to take a tape measure to make sure that you are doing it right, transporting this dead wood to another place for inspection, getting a receipt for said wood and then having to pay for the privilege.

          Reply
  3. Lex

    Sharon Lerner’s “bad chemistry” series at the intercept is the best lay discussion of PFAS you’ll find. The link is good for a brief history and usage/sources of contamination. But it’s call to action at the end about what you can do to protect yourself is unhelpful. Because you can’t do anything to protect yourself from the levels EPA is saying are dangerous. If your water source is known to be contaminated, you can install filtration but it won’t be cheap (good RO systems appear to work, but RO as your source of water is problematic). If you want to find out if your water has PFAS contamination, good luck. Don’t call me and I assume I’m not the only one in the field that doesn’t want to deal with it because it’s next to impossible. It’s also outrageously expensive. As I told a poster here recently, I have to have the sample collection bottle analyzed for PFAS before I receive it to collect the sample. I should have nitrile gloves and the tyvek suit worn during sample collection analyzed too but the former is disposable so I can’t and the latter could be, but then I’d need to protect that particular suit against contamination until I used it, which means I should have whatever I’m holding it in analyzed first. And that’s just the beginning of problems in sampling. It’s doable, but awful and almost impossible to determine whether we found PFAS or contaminated the sample. Not a result I want to defend in court.

    For scale, a trillion dollars in ones stacked would cover like 68,500 feet (I think) and I’m looking for 70 bucks in that stack. But the world is littered with $1 bills too.

    Reply
    1. Carla

      Glide dental floss is coated with PFAS, as are probably all “waxed” flosses. Since learning this after seeing the excellent film “Dark Waters” which was the last movie we saw in a theatre before the shut-down, I have used only unwaxed dental floss — sometimes a little hard to find.

      I suspect DuPont was behind the lack of publicity “Dark Waters” received. Highly recommended!

      https://www.slashfilm.com/570564/todd-haynes-dark-waters-interview/

      Reply
    2. rob

      and here in north carolina,
      the dupont spinoff…chemours

      is still “dumping” pfas in the river… even while they fight the yoke of the state mandating paying for hundreds of households around their factories/dumpsites,getting their water/wells tested and paying for contaminated household residents’ water to use.
      Even though we know this is polluting wells, the fact that they have been dumping these chemicals for over thirty years, doesn’t stop them from getting a pass from any agency/entity like the epa or state protection versions; to keep doing business as usual.
      That is mind-boggling

      Then to keep all things equal,
      our local military bases, also have contaminated water, and we know it has been for thirty years. But the military , only begrudgingly; tells the military families they are drinking contaminated water… nothing about an alternative…SSDD

      Reply
  4. schmoe

    On the comment about “blond Europeans” explaining media coverage of Ukraine v. Iraq./Yemen/Syria/[long list], I know that was an off-hand comment, but similar comments bother me. The 3,600 Russian-speaking Donbass civilians killed by shelling 2014-2022 are just as blond as other Ukranians, and the Serbs are just as white as the Croatians (and Christian, as opposed to Bosniaks).

    The disparate treatment of white-complected Russians v. white-complected others highlights that this is really about economics, and in particular about Putin crushing of the 1990s vintage Oligarchs, as well as his refusal to let us remake the Middle East as we see fit.

    Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        I notice in that tweet that he mentions 1.4 million people internally displaced but does not mention that about a million of them went to Russia. Why would you go to a country that is attacking you? You don’t which shows the lies. That tweet links to a really weird “truth” site that flashes from white to black to white and is hard on the eyes-

        https://stories.state.gov/this-is-a-warning/

        Reply
        1. John

          Blinken needs a long long vacation … now … far from the cares of the world. If he has a depth, he is out of it.

          Reply
    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Err…this is the kind of thing that is hard to explain. I’m assuming you are a yank, but my ancestors were called “white n****s” in the frozen wasteland called Canada. Racial hierarchies exist in virtually every culture. Certainly, most notably with the 1956-60 elections, there was an expansion of what constituted “white” in the US, but don’t pretend racism isn’t alive and well because it doesn’t match the US experience.

      The German racial theories of the 30’s and 40’s weren’t cooked up by Addie. People are always coming up with these ideas.

      Reply
      1. Raymond Sim

        Anybody know if “Hunky” is ever still fighting words in Pennsylvania? Fifty years ago it still sometimes was.

        Hunky = Ruthenian

        Reply
  5. Root Cause Analysis

    RE: “WESTERN MILITARY ANALYSTS, INCLUDING THE CIA, DAZED AND CONFUSED”.

    O.K., I opened this link to see what Larry might say. He opens his piece with a completely-gratuitous attack on what he calls “:sexually degenerate” young “purple-haired” people being recruited into the intelligence agencies of the U.S. Rather than make his case in detail and based on specific observations, he slams an entire class of people for choices that seem unlikely to reallistically impugn either their intelligence or sincerity.

    Independent of my own feelings about individual’s choices as they relate to sexual identity and preference, I find Larry’s phobic opening discredits the balance of his analysis. I am surprised that this piece passed muster to be included in N.C. links. I’m not saying that Larry shouldn’t be allowed to voice his opinion; rather that this particular emission does not pass the smell test.

    Reply
    1. Chromex

      Strongly agree. This is ignorance and hatred writ large. ( Larry seems unaware of the sexual history of some of the “best” intelligence agents from another era.)Larry is free to peddle this garbage but why would NC promote it?

      Reply
      1. reprobate

        You can find the way Johnson made his point to be offensive, but it looks like you were both so badly triggered that you missed or worse are choosing to misrepresent his point. His contention is that the CIA now cares more about checking diversity boxes than hiring people with necessary competencies: “no military experience and no foreign language skills”.

        He’s ex the agency and almost certainly has good contacts. Can you disprove his contention, that the CIA now cares more about demographics than critical expertise in hiring?

        Reply
        1. The Rev Kev

          See my comment above. They have a decades long problem of promoting people that tell their bosses what they want to hear. Dangerous in an intelligence agency. This diversity business only goes back a few years now and has yet to play fully out. In any case, diversity is needed. Didn’t the intelligence agencies once upon a time mostly recruit from Ivy Leaguers? And didn’t the FBI once upon a time heavily recruit from Irish-Americans?

          Reply
          1. Yves Smith Post author

            Did you actually read what Johnson said? You really are straw manning him. His beef was lack of foreign language skills and military experience.

            And the reason that the CIA historically has tended to focus on elite schools is they need assets who can go and mingle in social settings with people from elite backgrounds. Look at AOC. She was perfectly comfortable at that Met gala because she had gone to a fancy Westchester private school before college. From my experience at Harvard, those fancy private high schools do the best job of polishing people to be comfortable in fancy settings. They learn to affect affability, make the right kind of chit chat.

            Reply
            1. The Rev Kev

              Partly agree here but my point was that the intelligence agencies have more structural problems to worry about. The checking of diversity boxes problem is new and has yet to work its way through the system.

              Reply
            2. MILLER

              One has to add that since 1991, when the USSR was demoted from its former status as a superpower to an also-ran, “Russian studies” in American universities, has also seen its fortunes seriously decline in favor of other disciplines. (I did my PH.D. work in Russian history at Columbia and have seen this process at first hand.) When visceral Russia-haters like Michael McFaul or Victoria Nuland are touted as the United States “premier experts” on matters concerning Russia, we are being extremely poorly served. To be sure, institutional bias within the national security state – aided by a servile national press corps – will act to block the accession of more nuanced views, but as regards what used to be a strong tradition in Slavic studies, the academy appears to have surrendered its position or to allow free rein to the intellectual heirs of people like the late Richard Pipes, Polish émigré and Harvard’s long serving Russophobic specialist on Tsarist and Soviet history. What Larry Johnson justly decries as a lack of expertise in the “intelligence” community is ultimately rooted in the conclusions drawn in the West from the events of 1991 and the general triumphalist view of Russia as a defeated power whose interests could safely ignored. Big, big mistake.

              Reply
            3. MILLER

              One has to add that since 1991, when the USSR was demoted from its former status as a superpower to an also-ran, “Russian studies” in American universities have also seen their fortunes seriously decline in favor of other disciplines. (I did my Ph.D. in Russian history at Columbia 1982-1992, and saw this process first hand.) When visceral Russia-haters like Michael McFaul or Victoria Nuland are touted as the United States “premier experts” on matters concerning Russia, we are being extremely poorly served. To be sure, institutional bias within the national security state – aided by a servile national press corps – will act to block the accession of more nuanced views, but as regards what used to be a strong tradition in Slavic studies, the academy appears to have simply surrendered its position or to allow free rein to the intellectual heirs of people like the late Richard Pipes, Polish émigré and Harvard’s long serving Russophobic specialist on Tsarist and Soviet history. What Larry Johnson justly decries as a lack of expertise in the “intelligence” community is ultimately rooted in the conclusions drawn in the West – in academia as elsewhere – from the events of 1991 and the general triumphalist view of Russia as a defeated power whose interests could safely ignored. Big, big mistake.

              Reply
          2. NotTimothyGeithner

            The complete lack of oversight has been a problem for decades. Diversity isn’t the reason for the cricket hoax. Mark Warner still has not managed to get around to that.

            Johnson doesn’t want to acknowledge this because he would have to address his own time. “Classified” and any other anti-democratic sentiment is the problem.

            Reply
            1. Jeff H

              You might remember former Senator Bob Graham, back in the early 2000’s he commented on a radio show that the idea of civilian oversight of intelligence is a complete fantasy. It’s not just that you have to have the answer to any question before you ask it, you have to know enough to ask the right question in the right way to remove all opportunity for misrepresentation.

              Reply
      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        Larry Johnson was the very first person I know of to promote . . . and promote . . . and promote . . . the Birther Conspiracy Theory about Obama on his No Quarter blog. He was pro-Clinton at the time.

        I heard about Obama the Kenyan from Larry Johnson months before I ever heard about it from Donald Trump.

        ( Larry Johnsons blogging has long smelled to me like one long string of Information Operations. For example, he remains wedded to the theory that George Floyd committed suicide by fentanyl overdose, and the knee on the neck is an irrelevant distraction. One can see material like this at Colonel Lang’s Turcopolier Blog, assuming Colonel Lang hasn’t scrubbed it. At some point Johnson got himself banished from Colonel Lang’s blog.)

        But if one is strictly and rigidly pro Russian Invasion in one’s orientation, Larry Johnson is just as good a support-source as any other partisan-for-Russia analyst or blogger.

        If one is going to invoke the concept of “information fog” around Ukraine relevant material, one might well apply it to pro-Russia “information” just as much as to pro-Ukraine “information”.

        Reply
    2. Lex

      It’s hard not to pass judgement on the quality of analysis when someone openly proclaims how their analysis is clouded by emotion. Sometimes that’s a good caveat to help the receiver process your analysis. But in cases like this it suggests emotions will cloud the analysis no matter the facts.

      And in this case it’s not as if US intelligence was significantly better when it was a den of Ivy educated crew cuts. Which perhaps leads to the meta analysis that our intelligence agencies start from a point of bad assumptions that cloud their analysis, no matter the hair style choices.

      Reply
    3. Steve H.

      “Our Goal is to Promote Critical Thinking”

      Linking has never implied promotion, and articles are often chucked on the barbie to roast.

      More important is the anti-intersectionality of consensus. Different breeds of dog not eating the same dog food. For example, in the half-dozen writers I look at daily, there is little correlation of opinion on isolation, masking, and vaccines. So when they all agree, the red thingee pops on my screen.

      Reply
      1. Amfortas the hippie

        yes to this.
        when learning to get all around an issue, and drag yer net through as many waters as possible, you hafta get used to the diversity(lol)…during the ferguson protests, i even sampled the thought of klan sites(daily stormer), so as to get a read of all sides.
        yes it was disgusting, but fundamentally not different from reading Foreign Policy or the WSJ to determine the shape of that cohort’s thinking.
        “purple haired limp wristed rentboys” in cia etc has been this Larry guy’s dead horse for a while, now.
        sift out the useful datapoints and discard the rest.

        Reply
        1. Dave in Austin

          I used to have a list of fringe sites like the Daily Stormer I’d visit once-a-week- left, right, religious, environmental- plus the North Koreans. Then somehow the US government grabbed the DailyStormer.com site. And they no longer even admit it. Give it a try: Type “Daily Stormer” in the Google bar. You get nothing but the usual “The court ruled the site’s victims are owed 19 million dollars” and a Wikipedia entry with no site address.

          But there was a mirror site in “SU”- the old Soviet Union domain registry. So type “DailyStormer.su” into the google bar and you get “Hmm. We’re having trouble finding that site.”. Then type in https://dailystormer.su/ (force the request) and you get a site which appears to have been hijacked. It contains a list of “related searches”. Hit the first block (Daily Papers) and the first link sends you to “Farfetch”- a “daily paper for women” at farfetch.com, which contains adds for women’s clothing. So the dailystormer.su is now an add referral site which sends you to adds from farfetch.com. The farfetch domain is registered in Jacksonville, FL (https://www.whois.com/whois/farfetch.

          Typing in “Whois DailyStormer.ru?” informs you that the domain has been “Delegated” to a “Private person” in an unknown state. Somehow I don’t think it was “Delegated” by the folks in Moscow.

          The domain servers are at parkingcrew.net which bills itself as the market leader in monitizing parked domains. All versions of “dailyStormer.” have been safely sold and parked. The DailyStormer.com is now registered to Mars Pod Prime Limited on Ajeltake Island, MH (Marshall Islands).

          If you ask google “Are the “.SU” domains blocked in the US?”, you get adds, a note saying: “these sites are dangerous” and a reddit post:

          Are “ru” domain websites being blocked by the US Government?
          https://www.reddit.com › AskARussian › comments › a…
          Mar 25, 2022 — Nope,. What is likely happening is .ru is blocking other countries ips from access because they are getting hacked too much.

          So if you want to believe that the US is not covertly redirecting “.SU” traffic to a US-controlled site, you must believe that my browser request for the .SU site is going to the old USSR domain registry located in Moscow, Russia. They in turn redirect my request to the Daily Stormer site’s “new owner”. The new owner in turn makes a profit serving adds selling women’s clothing in the US.

          What happened to the US trade embargo? Did the US officially confiscate the site and auction it off or did it go to “friends”? Who gets the referral fees? Are the skirts nice?

          Thank God the US isn’t censoring the internet.

          Reply
    4. Katniss Everdeen

      Here’s what Johnson actually did say:

      The problem with the CIA is simple–when you prioritize hiring people because of their embrace of pronouns and degenerate sexuality over recruiting accomplished, genuinely educated people equipped with critical thinking skills, do not be surprised that the juvenile mediocrities perform poorly. How is a gender fluid “them” with no military experience and no foreign language skills going to predict the military outcome of a conflict where the attacking force is outnumbered 3 to 1?

      …The CIA has become a purple haired clown show….

      This administration has made no secret of its hiring priorities, and competence and experience are rarely mentioned, let alone emphasized. The obsession with “gender,” in all its currently fashionable iterations, is as relentless as it is inexplicable, particularly with an issue of such critical importance.

      The results are undeniably miserable–an entire country is being decimated, millions are being killed or displaced, and billions of sorely needed american dollars are being squandered. Not to mention the economic devastation and trampling of free speech to hide the piss poor performance being visited on the “homeland.”

      Under the circumstances, your choice of “victims” is “interesting” and, unfortunately, uniquely american.

      Reply
      1. GramSci

        The locution “degenerate sexuality” tells you everything you need to know about Johnson’s priors. He’s from that epoch when CIA “intelligence” meant “enemy military plans”. He’s good at that, but that’s not the new CIA’s new job. Now “intelligence” means “information”, and not in Shannon’s sense. Pentagonia gets all this “information” it needs from the Twitter.

        Military intelligence is unnecessary when nuclear powers square off in proxy wars. In modern warfare the CIA needs people of color and “sexual degenerates” to infiltrate and disrupt dissident movements.

        Reply
        1. JTMcPhee

          CIA’s job is DYSinformation, deception and chaos. Color revolutions, rat-lining weapons to terrorist organizations, and don’t forget running large-scale drug trafficking to support other activities. And lying to the public and co-conspirator Congress critters to cover its rackets. And if you read the CIA’s own web site and job postings, they are institutionally proud of their record and present practices.

          So is Johnson right or wrong on his observations of CIA incompetence (like not even seeing the coming collapse of the Soviet Union while puffing up the Soviet Threat even as the Evil Empire evaporated)?

          Actual democrats who looked at agency abuses 40 or 50 years ago held that the damn thing should have been sh!t-canned as an evil failure.

          Reply
      2. Brian (another one they call)

        Well put. We see incompetence leading the way in this administration. Evidence of nepotism is ignored when it involves billions of dollars and the hand in hand with the most accomplished terrorists in the world. All of whom we support to do dirty work we don’t want anyone to see because it is a crime against humanity. So our government really is in the terror business, because it is the last one remaining when no one in the world trusts you.

        Reply
    5. Yves Smith Post author

      These comments are textbook examples of a cognitive bias, halo effect. of needing to see people as all good or all bad. That bias is the same reason that pretty people are attributed as having more IQ points than they do.

      Somehow most of the people here were on board with war criminal Henry Kissinger, who one can deem to have significant responsibility for napalming farmers in Cambodia, telling the crowd at Davos that Ukraine needed to negotiate. By contrast, Johnson made an ugly slur, yet look at the rabid tone policing attacks. Awfully revealing.

      Here, as reprobate above pointed out, first, just about all of you got so bent out of shape by Johnson’s trans-promotion-bashing that it looks like you misread what he said: that the CIA is now hiring people who lack what were formerly essential technical chops to fill other perceived staffing needs. Do you, for instance, think anyone could be a competent Russia analyst if they weren’t fluent in Russian?

      Second, per halo effect, you completely ignored everything else he wrote. Big time proof of inability to ignore a gratuitous provocation and miss the meat.

      Reply
      1. Carolinian

        One should point out that while Johnson has recently come to prominence with his own blog he was for years one of the crew at Pat Lang’s website and Lang has made it quite clear that he is a Fox viewing conservative. And this also, presumably, applies to Johnson. If that info gives one the hives then so be it, but I don’t see that his views on LBGT have much to do with his expertise on intelligence gathering or the war in Ukraine even if it was he who brought the subject up.

        When it comes to the web refusing to keep an open mind means you miss a lot.

        Reply
      2. nippersdad

        I don’t think anyone actually lauded Kissinger for being a humanitarian. I think the point was “when you have lost Kissinger”, which is a totally different kettle of fish.

        “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”

        The problem in the intelligence/state departments is that they hire due to how supple their viewpoints are; everything is subjugated to the narrative. In our late stage empire it doesn’t matter if one can speak Russian as long as you can speak Washington cocktail party. If one hires for years based purely upon how far one is willing to go in order to further management narratives then you will end up with Blinkens, Sullivans and Nulands. Not to mention the hanger-on Strzoks, Pages and Sussmans.

        This is the same reason that the MSM doesn’t have to actually threaten anyone to follow the narrative; they know what will get them ahead, and they will do it until it no longer works for them. Johnson’s slur is indicative of the age in which he came up within the CIA; no one ever accused the J. Edgar Hoovers that created the culture within his own era of intelligence services of being gay or hippie friendly, and that is the lens through which I viewed his own biases.

        Reply
      3. Lex

        I see both sides of this. The cognitive bias is in both Larry and the original comment. I certainly won’t discount the rest of Johnson’s analysis because of the gender comment, but it does affect my analysis of Johnson’s analysis. It shows a blind spot he has, because it is not like the quality of US intelligence analysis has plummeted under this “woke” generation he’s uncomfortable with. It’s always been pretty bad, he seems willing to give historically bad analysis a pass because it fits his social/political ideology. It was all classical men and a handful of women (plus that one Polish waiter) who devised the grand plan to expand NATO and provoke Russia.

        Some of his criticisms of current intelligence analyst qualifications may be valid. I can’t speak to the language skills of CIA employees precisely, but I don’t get the impression that 50 year old USG employees have such fantastic language skills in regions of concern either.

        I don’t want to be in complete agreement with any analyst, and I actively seek out analysis that questions my own assumptions. I also analyze the analysts as it were for incorporation into my own analysis. And my biggest red flag is when I find myself in complete agreement with any individual analyst because it suggests that my cognitive bias is at work.

        Reply
        1. Yves Smith Post author

          As Douglas MacGregor said in one of his recent videos, the reason the US seems to get bad analysis is that the analysis that gets accepted is the one the President wants. He was very confident there were people in the various agencies who knew exactly what the score was. He pointed out that before WWII, FDR was told very clearly that restricting Japan’s access to oil would lead them to attack, and not necessarily on far away assets either. The Pentagon Papers showed that for decades, since WWII (as in even under French Indochina), the US knew that supporting the anti-imperialist/anti-communist side was a losing proposition. But we still took up the mantle of defending democracy, and would not back down because American prestige.

          Having said that, there have been reports that the US has not had enough analysts that are competent in all the relevant Middle Eastern languages. But we sure do have plenty of people over 50 who are fluent in Russian. You can easily keep it up by watching Russian language TV. And Victoria Nuland, who most assuredly is over 50 and has a very full plate, visited the Kremlin in person and gave an apparently outrageous dressing down to Lavrov in Russian, including sailor-like language, telling him that Russia needed to stop supporting Donbass and let US backed forces attack and clean it up (as in pogrom the Russian speakers).

          Reply
      4. Raymond Sim

        Having read Johnson’s contributions to Patrick Lang’s site over a long stretch of time, I take everything he says with a grain of salt. And it does indeed seem to be his culture warrior tendencies and affinity biases that lead him astray when he goes astray.

        But between SARS 2 (I’ve decided to fly that flag.) and the war with Russia, scarcely anyone I read regularly has avoided significant error, in fact just now I can’t think of even one who has, and it’s usually a matter of preexisting biases colliding with a very novel reality. Under such conditions people with different biases than my own are often especially useful sources of insight.

        I recall that it was Steve Sailer of all people who I first saw describe Obama as, first and foremost, a Chicago politician.

        For myself I prefer discourse where the biases are open, among other things it lets you see who somebody like Johnson is playing to.

        Personally I’m cool with purple hair. Shakira looked great with purple hair.

        Reply
  6. flora

    re: Bayer: US Supreme Court rejects chemical maker’s weedkiller appeal

    Should be interesting to watch if this breaks Monsanto/Bayer’s choke hold on soybean production, especially on smaller farms, with its current ‘Roundup Ready’ seed domination. Farmers have complained for years about then Monsantos’ draconian practices and glyphosphate’s effects.

    Monsanto was a US company with political pull, it sold to Bayer in 2018. Bayer is not a US company. Did that make the difference in this lawsuit’s outcome? No way to know, but an interesting question. I hope this frees small farmers from Monsanto/Bayer’s grip.

    Reply
    1. John Zelnicker

      As part of the merger of Monsanto and Bayer, Bayer took on all of the potential and contingent liabilities of Monsanto, including this lawsuit.

      If I understand the legal concepts correctly (IANAL), that means that Bayer has agreed to the jurisdiction of the American courts and will have to accept the final decision, regardless of the location of it’s home office.

      Reply
    2. Michael McK

      I suspect Bayer has as much political pull in the US as Monsanto. They already had a huge American footprint (I know at least 2 people who work for them in the US) and now have all Monsanto’s lobbing infrastructure with even more cash. Perhaps they now will have the German government weighing in for them too.
      I too hope this helps small farmers, and the ecosystems they farm with.

      Reply
  7. Jackiebass63

    I’m a hunter who owns several guns. The senate bill about guns is garbage. It is simply to temporally pacify the gun industry. In the long term it will do nothing to curb gun related violence.

    Reply
      1. flora

        Not quite entirely, imo. The red flag provision could be abused for political reasons. Not that any govt would ever abuse a law intended for one purpose, like the no-fly list, for something else entirely.

        Reply
        1. Tom Stone

          Any law that can be abused will be abused.
          Who will determine what constitutes a “Dangerous Person”?
          And how do you think the cops will approach the home of someone who has been determined to be armed and dangerous?

          Reply
    1. LaRuse

      I was amused to see on my local NBC news channel’s website the bill called the bipartisan “Gun Violence Bill,” which seemed vastly more accurate than “Gun Safety Bill.” Near as I can tell, this legislation will do not one iota to improve safety for anyone, anywhere. But both sides can campaign this summer into November that they “did something.”

      Reply
    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      This is merely my observation, but my general sense was the legislation managers that passed major changes were only concerned with the minimum number of votes 50+1. “No” votes would flip for fear of being on the wrong side. Bipartisan consensus so building has always been a farce.

      Reply
  8. The Rev Kev

    “Timber prices going up daily” in Europe due to Ukraine war”

    ‘Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the EU and the UK banned the import of wood from Russia as part of a growing package of sanctions against products including steel and cement, which are now rapidly increasing in price.

    The EU also applied these sanctions to Russia’s ally Belarus.

    Taken together, Russia, Belarus and Ukraine accounted for nearly a quarter of the worldwide lumber trade and 53 per cent of the EU’s timber imports in 2021.’

    I guess that timber is yet one more commodity that you can add to the ever-lengthening list of commodities from this region that to a large extent, the world economy is dependent on. What intrigues me is how many people knew this and stockpiled accordingly back in February. People who were smarter than the average bear. Maybe they can soon source new supplies of timber from India. But don’t ask where India is getting all this timber from.

    Reply
    1. Samuel Conner

      I wonder whether timber from species prevalent in the Amazon basin is suitable for construction.

      Not a snarky question; a genuine possible additional negative consequence of the EU sanctions.

      Reply
      1. Rod

        Building Construction is governed by Building Codes which are based on the Engineered Capacity of materials to counter the Loads placed on them.
        Our Codes in USA and Canada are based using abundant Native Species— primarily Pine. Yellow Pine(species category)) has different capacities than White Pine (species category).
        Code now allows substitution Species from said Engineered Loading Table Codes if proven similar characteristics of other Species are demonstrated using Engineering calculations.
        The above applies to Structural Wood Products not Appearance Graded Products.
        All Wood Products in USA/CA used in Structural Application must carry a Stamp signifying it’s Grade for Application.
        So not just a generic—wood is wood— swap out.

        Reply
      2. GramSci

        Grind it up using fossil fuel enerty, glue it together with petroleum by-products, and it will support any load you need. Not for long, perhaps, but IBGYBG. See Lambert the other day on Grenfell.

        Reply
        1. TimH

          Actually OSB (oriented strand board) is used because the load carrying is much higher than natural structural wood…

          Reply
            1. TimH

              OSB/3 – Load-bearing boards for use in humid conditions
              OSB/4 – Heavy-duty load-bearing boards for use in humid conditions

              But not wet..

              Reply
    2. WhoaMolly

      Construction lumber at the local lumber yard (Northern California) has gone up about 50-100% in the last year. I just bought lumber, fasteners and brackets for a small deck. The total cost was $30 a square foot. Two years ago it would have been $12-15 max.

      Reply
    3. digi_owl

      I suspect that it is not so much “dependent on” as being the cheapest source for so long that the industry elsewhere has been left to wither. Particularly frustrating when one live in a nation that used to pride itself on its domestic timber industry.

      Reply
  9. jinn

    “Liberals are happy to be governed by CIA because CIA was where Russiagate came from and they see CIA (correctly) as their political ally. They’ll never admit it explicitly — nobody on the center-left wants to say they see CIA as the Good Guys — but this is their worldview.”

    What is astounding to me is that so few (and that includes Greenwald) see this outcome as a result of an obvious alliance between the CIA and Trump…

    What seems obvious to me is that if the CIA wants liberals to jump they need only to have The Donald say “don’t jump” and the liberals will respond in unison “how high”.

    To get liberals to hate Putin and Russia all you need is for Trump to say a few oblique kind words in that direction and the job is done.

    To get liberals fully behind sending arms to Ukraine to attack Russians all you need is for The Donald to withhold weapons from Ukraine for a few weeks and the job is done. Without Trump’s help the notion of sending weapons to Ukraine to use against its own citizenry would have been a tough sell, but with the help of The Donald its a piece of cake. With Trump’s help the CIA had liberals crying real tears on national television that the poor Ukraine government was being denied their God-given right to poke the bear and start a war.

    EDIT: for some reason this message appeared here rather than in the post titled “Charlottesville, COVID, Trump and the War on Free Speech” where I clicked reply…

    Reply
    1. begob

      You in denial? If you spend enough time around liberalism it can’t but sink its fangs into your jugular. Fantasizing about Trump and the CIA is the kind of projection that liberalism survives on.

      Reply
      1. jinn

        IMNSHO, Trump pee’d off the CIA and FBI an therefore they were against him right from the get go.

        Ha HA HA yeah right.
        That would be why the FBI repeatedly announced right before the 2016 election that Hillary was the subject of FBI criminal investigations while not saying boo about investigating Trump.
        The fantasy story that the FBI and CIA were attempting to sabotage the Trump campaign, simply does not square with the facts.

        Reply
        1. Lambert Strether

          I don’t know how to break it to you, but our organs of state security are (to use a current word) multipolar and not monolithic. For a simple timeline of RussiaGate and the role of intelligence community operatives in it, including FBI and CIA, plus the DNI, at various points, see Taibbi here.

          Reply
          1. jinn

            see Taibbi here.

            With all due respect to Matt Tiabbi:
            I can’t agree with Matt’s assessment when he says:” We now know the initial public accusations that Trump “colluded” came more or less entirely from the Clinton campaign”

            As I understand it, the first suggestion of collusion between Trump and Russia came from Trump himself. It happened just 10 days after he was nominated when Trump told reporters:
            “Russia, if you are listening, I hope you are able to find the 30,000 [Clinton] emails that are missing.”
            Incidentally, just last Tuesday Trump again appealed to Russia to dig up dirt on the Bidens.

            Tiabbi is all upset that Clinton told reporters to dig up dirt on Trump, but does not think anything of it when Trump does the same. Tiabbi thinks that Clinton pointing reporters towards evidence that Trump’s bank dealings with Russia is equivalent to the Watergate break-ins (another fake scandal). I’m sorry, but that is just really really dumb. If lying to reporters was a crime the jails would be full of American politicians.

            But anyway, My points (before you tried to derail them with strawmen) were that Trump was working along side the CIA to further two CIA goals which are:

            1) to raise the esteem of the CIA in the eyes of the liberals (i.e. PMC class)
            2) to promote the proxy war with Russia via Ukraine

            There is no doubt in my mind that Trump has succeeded in helping the CIA on both counts beyond their wildest dreams.

            Trump is so confident that the liberal fools can’t see how he is manipulating them that he declared just last Tuesday: “”I’m the best thing that ever happened to NATO, because I made them pay. So NATO has plenty of money now,” he said.
            https://justthenews.com/politics-policy/all-things-trump/trump-calls-putin-release-info-hunter-bidens-dealings-oligarchs

            Trump is correct the current war against Russia was started by Trump, but he got the liberals to believe that its their war.

            Reply
        2. Oh

          That would be why the FBI repeatedly announced right before the 2016 election that Hillary was the subject of FBI criminal investigations while not saying boo about investigating Trump.

          So did they do anything about Hillary’s criminal actvities? Talk’s cheap. Action speaker louder than words. The FBI spent a lot of time and money on Trump’s role in the Russian connection and helping the Russia, Russia, Russia propaganda. Ask Mueller.

          Do mistake me for a Trump fan. I despise both parties.

          Reply
          1. jinn

            So did they do anything about Hillary’s criminal actvities?

            They got Hillary defeated.
            https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-comey-letter-probably-cost-clinton-the-election/

            They could have easily gotten Trump defeated by keeping mum about Hillary and blabbering about Trump criminal investigations. They could have published the Steele Dossier right before the election. The whole story that the FBI was trying to defeat Trump is just that a made up story. The facts don’t support it. Only the story tellers support it.

            Oh and Mueller was appointed by the Trump administration. The FBI had already declared the Russia collusion story to be a nothing-burger and then the Trump administration kept that fake ball in the air for 3 more years. Contrary to your claim, The FBI spent hardly anything on Russiagate, but the Trump appointed special prosecutor spent something like 30 million dollars to lead the stupid liberals on a wild goose chase for years. Here are some of the highlights :
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ppGj5FOFckM

            Reply
    2. nippersdad

      I’m pretty sure that Trump is largely an excuse, here. Trump was not even on the radar when Biden, Pelosi, Romney and Kerry’s kids were getting no show jobs in Ukrainian firms. Viewed from the perspective of lucrative jobs programs for the kids answers a lot of the questions which arise from keeping the grift going in Ukraine.

      Reply
      1. WhoaMolly

        “Biden, Pelosi, Romney and Kerry’s kids were getting no show jobs in Ukrainian firms”

        Funny how that connection never gets mentioned in the “news”.

        File under “follow the money.”

        Reply
  10. Samuel Conner

    In regard to the tweet with which Dr. Topol concludes his discussion of the ‘health implications of CV reinfection’ study,

    “How can you go from sequence of a novel virus to 2 vaccines with 95% efficacy and safety (>75,000 participants in RCT trials) in 10 months and not, in 2.5 years, go after pan-β-coronavirus and nasal vaccines with the same aggressive (OWS) template?”,

    it seems to me that a plausible answer might be that “curing the pandemic is less profitable, for the makers of cures and treatments, than treating it as a permanent chronic condition.”

    Reply
    1. GramSci

      “curing anything is less profitable, for the makers of cures and treatments, than treating it as a permanent chronic condition.”

      fixed it for ya

      Reply
    1. LaRuse

      Yes. Get rid of it. And don’t give it to goodwill. Just let it go.
      Cast iron is really your friend if you don’t have a glass topped stove or anything fancy. Stainless steel is your next best bet. Just say no to teflon.

      Reply
      1. Samuel Conner

        Tossing PFAS-laden cookware into the waste stream does not seem like a great option, either. It will end up in the environment.

        Perhaps put it in a carton labeled “PFAS” and stash it in a cooler part of the residence while we wait for technologies to be developed for detoxifying discarded products made with these materials.

        Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          Since nothing ever stuck to the previous teetotalitarian leader, i’ve donated my various teflon vessels to the Trump Library in Hoboken, as inspiration for another run in 2024.

          Reply
      2. Amfortas the hippie

        seconded.
        i love my cast iron…from little omelet like pans all the way to the 30# dutch oven.
        only issue(aside from those glass topped stoves) is if you have an iron loading problem.
        i sandblasted all the old teflon things people gave us for our wedding…once i learned about the issue…and use them in the shop and chickenyards.
        (as well as part of the distributed stealth aluminum mine)

        Reply
        1. Pat

          In a new atrocity, forget the enameled covered cast iron of Le Crueset or Staub, big thing now is cast iron with a ceramic nonstick coating. Apparently not being able to use a dishwasher or add a step in hand dishwashing is just too much for many people.

          Reply
      3. Return of the Bride of Joe Biden

        I’ve used cast iron skillets on glass top stoves for decades without issue. I don’t drop them.

        Reply
      4. HotFlash

        I, too, love my cast iron frypans (4) and griddle. I have been using glass-topped induction cookers ever since I ditched Enbridge Gas 4-5 years ago and no problems at all.

        Reply
    2. Louis Fyne

      it depends when it was made.

      If I recall correctly, current, more expensive non-stick skillets tend not to have PFAS.

      Who knows? about the cheap stuff.

      Reply
      1. GramSci

        I don’t think so. My wife is usually careful about this stuff, so I didn’t question when she bought some T-Fal pans. Per the usual clickbait, my top hit says:

        “T-fal (Tefal) cookware is safe because the PTFE (Polytetrafluoroethylene) and PFOA (Perfluorooctanoic) used don’t react with food and it has been scientifically proven by the Health Authorities that T-fal (Tefal) is free of lead and cadmium making it safe for cooking.”

        Not true. PTFE is Teflon(tm). There’s a huge vamily of these flourocarbons, and they all seem pretty noxious. But maybe one can kill them with fire?

        Reply
      2. WhoaMolly

        Swiss Diamond nonstick cookware is expensive, and may be PFAS free. Their website says: “The coating is manufactured completely without PFOA for safety” Someone with more knowledge of the process than I will have to confirm if this is PFAS free process.

        I got two pans on a deep sale, long ago. They are superb for nonstick cooking of eggs and omelets.

        Reply
    3. Michael McK

      Yes, though you may get more exposure from your GoreTex jacket which sheds PFAS microparticles (or PFAAs in the case of ScotchGuard). I think most textile fireproofing substances are similar.(PBAAs?).

      Reply
    4. Carla

      Yes, we should, but that won’t make us safe, and I still have two, used only once in awhile.

      There’s PFAS in almost every imaginable product of modern life: flame retardants used in carpet, upholstery fabric and clothing plus a million other things. Somehow cleaning between my teeth with it seemed particularly dangerous to me (it coats Glide and probably every other “waxed” dental floss) so I now use “unwaxed” dental floss.

      Reply
    5. Anthony G Stegman

      Be sure to also ditch raincoats, water repellant footwear, furniture treated with flame retardants, and so much more. PFAS chemicals are literally everywhere, and darn near impossible to eliminate from one’s lifestyle. It is estimated that more than 90% of the global population of living beings has PFAS chemicals in their tissue. Poisoned R US. All of us.

      Reply
    1. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you, Flora.

      Cadwalladr and Catherine Belton have been either useful idiots or in league with neo con, but not neo liberal, spooks to blame Brexit on Russia.

      If I have time, I will expand later, but please see my recent exchanges on this blog with Anonymous 2.

      Thank you also for the exchange on economics and the left.

      Reply
  11. Solarjay

    US, China forced labor law takes effect.
    An estimated 80%+ of the worlds solar cells start in xinjiang Provence.

    And would apply to Companies assembling solar panels here in the US. 95%+ of crystalline panels that are assembled here are from foreign parts.

    Which would mean that unless Biden does another executive order specifically for solar panels, the solar installation market just became a lot smaller.

    And if nothing else the documentation required and other confusion around it regarding penalties (huge) etc will probably prevent or significant slow down imports.

    I could be wrong, but in my solar rags everyone seems really confused.

    Reply
    1. Polar Socialist

      Wasn’t there supposed to be some UN fact finding mission in Xinjiang after the Winter Olympics? Any news about that: was it cancelled, delayed, subverted, forgotten or what?

      Reply
      1. Jeff H.

        I believe your thinking of Michele Bachelet. Her report was not well received because she saw no evidence of the claims. The UN then went all Rumsfeld with there “absence of evidence” response.

        Reply
        1. Yves Smith Post author

          It was not a fact finding mission. Among other things, a fact finding mission would have required a team to do interviews in and outside China and review documents.

          Reply
      2. Kouros

        Didn’t repeat the West’s song of genocide and mass incarceration, so was purged as not conforming with the narrative.

        Reply
      3. ghiggler

        The visit by China UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet was explicitly not a fact-finding mission. Per MILLER‘s link, she states:

        This visit was not an investigation – official visits by a High Commissioner are by their nature high-profile and simply not conducive to the kind of detailed, methodical, discreet work of an investigative nature. The visit was an opportunity to hold direct discussions – with China’s most senior leaders – on human rights, to listen to each other, raise concerns, explore and pave the way for more regular, meaningful interactions in the future, with a view to supporting China in fulfilling its obligations under international human rights law.

        So, um, she did not see evidence of the claims because it was not her remit. On the other hand, she did not clear China of the claims because the same.

        However, I read her as raising doubts through faint praise. Again and again she effectively says:

        It’s great that you said you would do that, and it’ll be great as you follow through.

        She almost never confirms the follow-through….

        Reply
    2. Louis Fyne

      If I recall correctly, 20% of the world’s cotton too.

      There is a right way to bring back production to the USA, “green” the economy—incremental steps, clear guidance, acknowledging the disruption that will follow, ideally changing taxation policy.

      The Biden Administration seems determined to do everything the wrong way.

      Reply
    3. RobertC

      Solarjay — I responded to TRK below before seeing your post — apologies. Yes Solar Power World Online and others are quite concerned. And then there’s the Auxin tariff investigation…

      Reply
      1. Solarjay

        Hi RobertC,

        No worries.
        Biden’s 2 year executive order is specifically related to the expected new tariffs from the Auxin inquiry.
        While no ruling has happened it is expected to find for Auxin, especially with the anti China sentiment ruling our politicians.

        The single biggest way to move an industry forward or backward is via stable regulations, incentives, tax laws and financing of which we have none of the above.

        And then on top of all that we exported most of the manufacturing: inverters and solar panels.

        This could be a staggeringly bad combination of self created events Which will severely harm the US solar industry. The rest of the world will probably soak up those panels though.

        Reply
  12. The Rev Kev

    “Gather them now: the documents you’d need to file a FEMA claim”

    Maybe it might be a good idea that FEMA organizes a voluntary program where people that live in potential disaster zones like Tornado Alley can pre-lodge documents. So you would go online and set up a new account with FEMA. From there you would upload digital copies of documents like IDs, insurance papers, leases, and deeds, etc. and which you would check and update on an annual basis. If a disaster happens, then you can log onto your account and forward & attach copies of any of those files that are needed by FEMA for your claim.

    Reply
    1. Amfortas the hippie

      lol.
      willingly put land titles, insurance info etc in a FEMA account?
      that implies a level of trust that is simply not there in any place i frequent.
      FEMA is, after all, the “Secret Government” (hat tip Fox Mulder)…with all the body bags and coffins and stuff.
      they’re the ones who will be running “The Camps”, too.
      this is yet another instance of the high weirdness of far right fringe becoming more and more mainstream over time, inversely proportional to the declining electoral prospects of GOP in actual “free and fair elections”.
      interestingly, i rarely saw this meme schema in Louisiana.
      and it’s rarer the closer one gets to the coast in Texas, too.
      funny that.

      Reply
  13. antidlc

    RE: Broadway Will Drop Mask Mandate Beginning July 1 New York Times Resilc: “Covid righhhhhhhhhhht here in River City……..”

    Hugh Jackman plays the lead in Broadway’s “Music Man”.

    He tested positive the day after he performed at the Tony Awards. It is the second time has had COVID and the understudy had to step in.

    https://www.yahoo.com/news/hugh-jackman-diagnosed-covid-19-080331783.html
    Hugh Jackman Diagnosed With COVID-19 Just Hours After Tony Awards Performance

    Hugh Jackman, the star of Broadway’s “The Music Man,” tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday, according to the show’s producer Kate Horton.

    The positive test result comes less than a day after Jackman performed with his cast during Sunday’s Tony Awards, Deadline reported. It’s unclear whether other members of the cast who joined Jackman on-stage tested positive as well.
    ..

    This is the second time Jackman has battled COVID-19, per Entertainment Weekly. He had to bow out of performances for the musical to recuperate from his first bout with coronavirus in December 2021.

    It’s a very demanding role and it will be interesting to see if he returns.

    In other news, two local theatres had to cancel performances this past weekend due to “sickness” among the cast members.

    Reply
    1. Pat

      Although miked the audience should fear the cast. They may test regularly, and I expect that to be dropped, but can be contagious before testing positive. There have long been jokes about how many rows back you can be and still be showered by the wetter of Broadway singers (Jonathan Groff is notorious). That is droplet projection think about the aerosols.

      I admit there are a couple of shows I would like to see before they leave in a month or so, but…

      Reply
    2. Rod

      Sad for back stage crew that was also part of Testing Protocol.
      I found it comforting to be tested —and Negative—before Broadway load ins.
      From my Local IATSE experience, more positive tests are occurring on Crew now than a year ago. But since no one is reporting into a established data base, it’s anecdotal.
      Positive Test=no Show/no Money—go home and retest in 5 days and report so to Call Steward for next assignment.

      Reply
      1. Pat

        Sorry for that. Our overlords have failed Americans by not having a coherent Covid policy. The rules for this are good but it lacks a mandated, government supplemented, quarantine leave pay. IOW, for public health people should be paid to stay home and the cost shouldn’t be on the employers. Or on the employees when there is no mandated leave pay.

        But that would demand too much reality about the disease, how it spreads, and what are the best means of limiting it for TPTB.

        Reply
  14. Lexx

    ‘Tesla broke U.S. law by not providing 60-day notice before mass layoff’

    What irritated me most about this article is how predictable it was… the lawsuits, Musk’s response, the attorney’s public statements to the press. Is there a boilerplate for these articles? And the assholery of billionaires…. well, yes, what else could he be but a complete and utter dick? Like he popped out of the billionaire mold in contempt of the little people who work for him. ‘Now that you’re the richest man in the world, here’s your script.’

    I recall a man who sought to be more original, thoughtful, and creative. Now he’s just a media target, sniping at him to keep eyeballs on the page. I’m no fan (of anyone really) but there’s something ‘if you met the buddha on the road, kill him’ about Musk as a media figure. All gods must die as ignoble a death as we can devise. He can’t take his money or his honor with him!

    Yes, another gigantic ‘blindspot’. I’m riddled with ’em. Hate isn’t as satisfying as it used to be.

    Reply
    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Being a “genius” does not allow you to abuse the help or operate outside the law…or get away with dangerously overselling self driving capabilities. The fact that the press fawned over him earlier (as they do for the CEO of pretty much every unicorn and bigger tech wonder du jour for maybe a few years) does not mean the critique of him now is ill founded. It means the earlier hype was.

      Reply
      1. Michaelmas

        Musk is no genius. He dropped out of Stanford’s physics program on his second day and there are so many scientific implausibilities/impossibilities about his Starship/Martian colonization proposal that it’s not clear to me if he even knows how full of cr*p he is.

        In other words, if he knew more, he’d know enough to tell a more scientifically convincing story.

        Yes, we could go to Mars. Yes, we could conceivably live there. But not very plausibly in the manner that Musk posits.

        (And yes, I can elaborate at some length about chemical rockets vs. nuclear drives — though what sane government is going to let Musk futz about with nuclear drives in Earth orbit? — and time spent in transit to Mars in relation to cosmic radiation absorbed during that time. But really, most peoples’ eyes here would just glaze over and I don’t blame them.)

        Reply
        1. Lexx

          I knew a guy about Musk’s age now whose measured IQ was almost off the charts, and he was sincerely disappointed to learn that magic wasn’t real and he couldn’t be a wizard. I’m mean depressed with crocodile tears. Decades later and I could still hear the heartbreak in his voice.

          Flights of fancy go with high IQ’s. No one can convince them that their imaginations should be limited to more practical applications.

          Reply
            1. Jeotsu

              And the world would be a better — and more entertaining — place if they applied their intellect and imagination to writing excellent fiction. They might inspire others to try and turn some of those flights of fancy into practical technologies.

              Reply
        2. Mildred Montana

          Wealth=Genius? Not necessarily and perhaps not often, as John Kenneth Galbraith was at pains to point out many times. But unfortunately, the benighted public often believe the two equate, when wealth is more likely the result of gaming government subsidies, the tax system, and the stock market (ie. taking a company public).

          If he is indeed a “genius”, I would like Musk to sit down and do a couple of “thought experiments” a la Einstein, who truly was a genius and whose theories led to a greater understanding of our world and many useful inventions. Instead, he chooses to throw his billions at pie-in-the-sky schemes that have very little chance of benefitting humanity at large.

          I am reminded of a quote: “Innovations are like genetic mistakes. Most are mistakes. Most fail.” Take that, Elon.

          Reply
      2. Lexx

        A ‘genius’? – no. But a ‘genius billionaire richest-man-in-the-world‘ – yes. I think it makes him pretty much untouchable.

        I don’t think monsters are often born*; we make them, whether they want to be monsters or not. It’s probably not what his mom had in mind when she gave birth. Easy targets are those high IQ children born on the spectrum, who are already neurologically predisposed to have some difficulty connecting to other people. If they offer the world ideas that are sufficiently lucrative, then other high IQ adults step forward and offer to invest… and then the doors begin to close safely behind them. Musk was vulnerable to social criticism once, but not anymore. That’s what all that money buys him. If he lowers himself down from the stratosphere to comment on the well being of a few former minions, it’s just for fun. The think the lawlessness of that world plays to the very worst a human being can be**. It’s the only road left to great riches. No one will ever hold him accountable. The outrage-by-outrage proof appears in the media daily.

        I didn’t say the critique was ill-founded. I said both the critique and the hype served the same purpose.

        *Those born sociopaths represent just 3% of the population… allegedly, I mean have they tested everyone? I’ve known some very law-abiding middle-class geniuses, and they were tested.

        ** I did just finish Season 3 of ‘Westworld’. I get the feeling the creators of that show are trying to say something about the elites and it’s not flattering. It should alarm us but just seems to normalize their behavior through ‘entertainment’. When’s the last time you saw a rich person in a role where you liked them?

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d79qPeIt1GY

        Reply
  15. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Protest on the runway: Southwest Airlines pilots line up in anger at poor staffing and long hours as airport chaos continues across the nation with 200 flight canceled today after 14,000 over the weekend Daily Mail

    According to Krystal and Saagar, many of these cancelled flights are scheduled and booked by the airlines knowing that they will be cancelled because they don’t have the staff for them to ever take off.

    They also accuse airlines of playing games with customer payments once they’ve been made on these always-meant-to-be-cancelled flights, offering “credits” for future flights instead of outright refunds.

    Then there’s “our” illustrious secretary of transportation whose milquetoast ineffectiveness is becoming legendary.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BmR7HyEcjOA

    On cnbc this morning, the transportation reporter claimed that, given the rapidly increasing airfares, travelers are increasingly turning to the “buy now, pay later” option to “finance” their trips. If you’ve been following the saga of that “disruptive” purchase financing industry lately, a lot of users seem to love the “buy now” part, but are not nearly as enthusiastic about the “pay later” part. See innovator company Affirm.

    Reply
      1. Michael Ismoe

        Good Lord. Pete Buttigieg is screwing up a job that Ray LaHood did while commuting from Illinois three days a week. I can’t imagine what he could do if he’s elected to the Oval Office. Let’s never find out.

        Reply
    1. Oh

      Airlines are run by scumbags who’re interested in lining their own pockets after increasing fares, grabbng govt. subsidies, squeezing seat widths and narrowing row widths/aisles, making refunds and ticket exchanges impossible and being tyrants for customers. I remember the days of innumerable airlines with interchangeable and refundable tickets, genuinely cheerful cabin crews and half way decent meals. All this was with lot lower fares and non sardine can seating.

      Now the airlines screw their cabn crews with just in time (unpaid) travel to their origin of travel and much lower pay. Pox on all these airlines.

      Reply
  16. Wukchumni

    Gooooood Moooooorning Fiatnam!

    No way no how could anybody have ever expected the outbreak of Moneypox when Central Banks ended the practice of doling out trillions.

    The only cure was to go back to the digital well and conjure up more, financial doctors familiar with the malady said with some modicum of certainty.

    Those affected by Moneypox exhibit these signs: jibbering, jabbering, and a loss of appetite for risk, along with a propensity towards lack of prosperity.

    Reply
  17. antidlc

    Yaneer Bar-Yam
    @yaneerbaryam

    The very idea that there is some benefit from getting infected, i.e. gaining immunity from future infections, has now been shown to be incorrect.

    The opposite: an infection makes the next infection worse, not better.

    I”m sure the Biden administration/CDC will inform everyone of the danger. Sure they will.

    Reply
    1. Brian (another one they call)

      We have a new kind of medical system that has taken over in the last couple years. A totalitarian system for the gain of a few and the hardship of all. They knowingly mandated lethality to the citizens to make a profit.
      The idea that a doctor would state that being infected isn’t going to provide immunity is really demonstrative of the new kind of medicine. How does human history of pandemic>endemic get erased for the new idea? Totalitarian control.
      The other bizarre conflict is never mentioning the vaccine being toxic and being responsible for so many deaths and permanent impairment in Long Covid.
      But the worst part is that any attempt to make a vaccine is based on a variant that no longer exists. This is well known based on the history of this species of virus. They never admit it, discuss it, or implement treatment instead of this rush to give everyone a foreign invader worse than the disease. Same thing with the flu vaccine. A day late but never a dollar short.
      But to make a statement the doctor knows is pure BS is the clincher, I hear a well paid duck.

      Reply
    2. Ignacio

      There is a problem reducing chat to tweets and what he says is incorrect very much as it would be incorrect if you say the contrary. Twitter is not best source for scientific discussion.

      I would suggest a reduction of twitter noises on Covid to a minimum.

      Reply
  18. The Rev Kev

    “US ‘forced labour’ law bans goods from China’s Xinjiang region”

    This is not good. China saw how this region was susceptible to being turned into their own corner of Afghanistan, especially when Wahhabi-trained preachers started to trickle in. So this region would have been used as the Ukraine is used against Russia. The Chinese developed and relocated industries to this region to enable prosperity for the people there that would help against the latent poverty that breeds discontent.

    So with this law, the US wants to crush this local economy by destroying all exports from there. To meet the requirements of the Uyghur Forced Labour Prevention Act, you have to prove that there is no link that has to be “clear and convincing” to Uygher workers, something that only large corporations have the resources to do. Make one mistake and you will find yourself sanctioned by the US government and nobody wants to risk that. Tough luck for the Uyghers.

    But I am sure that the Chinese are muttering about American forced labour in US prisons where the people there have to work for pennies – and then have to pay it to prisons for services provided. I think that the Chinese can make a better case than the US about ‘forced labour’ so I expect that the Chinese will direct those goods to internal markets and other friendly countries like Russia.

    https://news.antiwar.com/2022/06/21/bill-banning-imports-from-chinas-xinjiang-region-takes-effect/

    Reply
    1. RobertC

      A major problem is proving a negative with the chain of materials and labor in your imported item. For instance, consider harvested cotton (before it is processed into cloth) as a raw material: is copper wire its equivalent? Imagine walking back your materials chain to your wire source, of which there are likely to be many and of which you are likely to be just one of thousands in a wholesaler’s or distributor’s customer list. China did this with lithium by transferring corporate ownership into Xinjiang — vao and I had a laugh about this a few weeks ago.

      As part of various government policy fads (thankfully short) we had to perform a similar trace to sources. Its difficult to secondary sources and painstaking at tertiary and lower levels.

      The UFLPA establishes a “rebuttable presumption” that any imports wholly or partially manufactured in Xinjiang is prohibited by Section 307 of the Tariff Act. This “guilty until proven innocent” presumption applies unless U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) determines that the importers have complied with specific conditions. American solar panel company Auxin is taking advantage of this political sensitivity by lodging a tariff complaint with the CBP about imported materials being used by its competitors that’s jammed up all imports.

      U.S. solar industry prepares for solar panel supply issues

      UPDATE: Biden to pause DOC tariffs for two years while investigation continues

      And then there is software…

      Reply
    2. Tom Stone

      Rev, if you bring up the Prison Industrial complex ( And especially Harris’ unstinting support for it) to most members of the PMC the response is “Yabbut”.
      Yabbut the Uyghurs, yabbut RUSSIA!!,Yabbut…
      It’s slavery,no more and no less just as “Civil Asset Forfeiture” is armed robbery under color of law.
      Being honest about what the USA has become takes both Moral and intellectual courage, both have always been in short supply.

      Reply
      1. Nickles

        “Robbie Hall stitched masks for 12 hours a day in a sewing factory at a women’s prison in Chino. For several weeks, Hall and other women said, they churned out masks by the thousands but were forbidden from wearing them. The fabric they used came from the nearby men’s prison, where an outbreak ended up killing 23 inmates. And their boss regularly visited both institutions.”
        https://news.yahoo.com/california-kept-prison-factories-open-120003799.html

        As California attorney general, she spent years subverting a 2011 Supreme Court ruling requiring the state to reduce its prison population. The overseeing judicial panel nearly found the state in contempt of court. She like the source of cheap labor.

        Reply
    3. Oh

      It’s so ironic that we bomb moslem countries, look away from Israeli atrocities in the middle east and Palestine and yet have virtue signalling laws that supposedly bad products from Xinjiang because the Chnese treat the Uyghers badly. What a two faced policy.

      Reply
    4. ghiggler

      So, the US has about two million prisoners out of 330 million, the highest national incarceration rate in the world. That’s ridiculous and insane.

      Out of a population of about 12 million Uyghers there are somewhere between 1.5 and 2 million Uyghers and other Turkic Muslims learning to be Han Chinese-like in facilities with no freedom to leave. These are not prisons, of course, but training facilities. Even if added to the number of actual prisoners, estimated at 1.7 million, the overall incarceration rate out of a population of 1,400 million in China is nowhere near the US rate.

      Reply
  19. Noone from Nowheresville

    Resilc: “Covid righhhhhhhhhhht here in River City……..”

    Ahh, but can you sing as well during the Tony Awards? How many infections is that now? Last Dec and now June for sure. I think River City is really testing Wolverine’s body.

    Reply
  20. Ignacio

    RE: Germany may call next stage in gas emergency plan in next 5-10 days – Die Welt Reuters

    Translation: German citizens will soon notice war in their bills. So far there was free lunch regarding utility and gas bills it seems.

    Reply
  21. JAC

    I am sorry, I am a little confused about this study in the tweet, a tweet that seems to be implying that the study found that COVID lowered testosterone. If someone else can read this, I do not think that was what the study found.

    https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2022.02.11.22270836v1

    It was not a before and after test at all because “The comprehensive test battery was administered during a single full day of testing at the University of Zürich.”

    ?

    How do they know that their testosterone was lowered by COVID if they only measured it once?

    It may be surmised from that study that people with low testosterone before COVID were more likely to get COVID. So low testosterone was not a result of COVID, but instead, a risk factor.

    So this tweet, by a doctor, is ignorant, very misleading, or a lie:

    https://twitter.com/DrCamMaximus/status/1539291205237805057

    So for all they know they could have and high cholesterol and low testosterone BEFORE they had COVID.

    Please tell me I am reading this wrong….

    Reply
    1. John

      I am well aware that I matured during the analog age, but even so, why would you connect a hot tub to the internet or am I just showing my age?

      Reply
      1. digi_owl

        Because marketing.

        Internet of Things exist for one reason only, trying to incentivize people to throw away their perfectly workable “dumb” appliances for the shiny new ones (and maybe get some rent extraction straws into their wallets in the process).

        Reply
      2. hunkerdown

        The same reason you’d get one with a remote control. To have it ready the moment you are. But also because you want to use your phone as a universal remote for everything, which is an understandable impulse leading to equally understandable technological cringe.

        Reply
  22. The Rev Kev

    “Smart jacuzzis hacked”

    ‘Security researchers discovered a vulnerability in the network backend for a range of “smart” jacuzzis’

    The article didn’t come out and say so but if they had access to that jacuzzo, would the implication be that as those things are integrated with home networks, that they might also have access to the home networks as well? I recall a casino that was hacked years ago and the entry point was actually the software that controlled the decorative fish tanks in that casino.

    Reply
    1. digi_owl

      Pretty much. Basic thing is that while these hacks on their own may not do much, they can act as a beachhead for attacking the larger network.

      A similar example for some years back was an attack on officer printers via a carefully constructed postscript (the basis for PDF files) print job, that would allow the attacker to modify the firmware of the printer. Thus turning the printer into a “redoubt” of sort for the attacker to use in the future.

      Reply
  23. Wukchumni

    Woke up this morning to what sounded like tribal drums and the Zulu on the warpath, but it turned out to be more or less continual rumble from thunder overhead with the artillery coordinates all to the east of us in terms of where lightning struck, all the while just enough rain fell to unleash scents from everything making a living underfoot without the hand of man helping, it was as if the the flora was sighing via smells after the first moisture received in months.

    The wind is whipping up something fierce to the point where i’ll pick up many wheelbarrow loads of dead wood from oak trees doing the twist so that limbs lodged loosen.

    I got a bad feeling about this system slated to last through Friday, it’s a potent potable lacking rain. It feels so similar to the September storm that started the KNP Fire, but that’s survivors bias kicking in.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      Fierce winds and fires are not your friend. There are instances recorded here in Oz where a running fire caught up with a horse trying to outrace it. If you have survivor’s bias, well, you have to be a survivor to experience it then. Stay safe then.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        The bane of my co-existence with AirBnb’s is the potential of Bob & Betty Bitchin’ from Burbank and their adoring progeny Trevor & Truly, deciding how fun it would be to have a campfire and make s’mores wreckage from the conflagration they start that takes down tiny town.

        I’d be in the deepest kim-chi now were 666 degrees to be the devil in the details.

        This in a place where our fire chief has repeatedly related to us how lucky we are to be on an island of misfit toys not known for big winds-which is true, but all you need in the new normal of climate is for 1 event to skew your way of thinking evermore.

        Reply
  24. disc_writes

    People are not worried enough about the drought in Italy.

    This is more than just a local problem. Italy has been on the brink for years. Now its economic core is running out of water.

    We are already in an energy crisis because of the war, but the drought will cause problems for hydroelectric dams and thermoelectric plants. The heat will increase airco use. We will have rationing, black-outs and deaths.

    Tourism from Northern Europe was already feeling the consequences of high gasoline prices and congestion at airports (like in Amsterdam), but I bet fewer people are willing to go on holiday somewhere with extreme temperatures and not enough water.

    In 2003, during the last drought, taking water from the German-speaking South Tyrol to replenish the Po was political dynamite. If it happens again, the South Tyroleans might as well try to secede.

    All sorts of industries need water, including the already-battered semiconductor industry: the Franco-Italian ST makes MEMS that power many popular smartphones. And think of the consequences for logistics, agriculture, healthcare, the forest season, etc.

    It is not only the Po: Rome’s river, the Tiber, is also dangerously low. Florence’s river, the Arno, survives thanks to a local reservoir. The Naples area started rationing water.

    Reply
    1. BillS

      Veneto is also rationing water. No outdoor use of water (gardens, lawns, car washing, etc.)..at least for residential users. I wonder if the idiotic midday sprinklers are still active in the fields around Treviso. (I cannot believe that such a thing is permitted!!)

      The Piave, Brenta and Adige rivers are also very low. The lack of snow in the mountains has brought a water emergency to just about everyone.

      Reply
  25. Jason Boxman

    The Open Secret of Google Search

    Instead of scrolling through long posts littered with pop-up ads and paragraphs of barely coherent SEO chum to get to a review or a recipe, clever searchers got lively threads with testimonials from real people debating and interacting with one another. Most who use the Reddit hack are doing so for practical reasons, but it’s also a small act of protest—a way to stick it to the Search Engine Optimization and Online Ad Industrial Complex and to attempt to access a part of the internet that feels freer and more human.

    True enough, Google Search is generally garbage anymore. Usually, a dozen sites turn up that seem to exist specifically to feed off ad revenue. Like, does anyone seriously think there’s a web site dedicated to dehumidifier reviews? Probably not. But my results included one; These web pages seem to generally be crafted by AI algorithms, not written by humans. (As far as I can tell, all the this vs that sites are AI driven.) What’s really pathetic is Google considers these AI-written referral link spam web sites to be top results, and relevant.

    So anymore my Google searches include a set of keywords and the name of some site or forum that is generally authoritative, or reddit if all else fails. Seems to work.

    Happy searching!

    Reply
    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      Like, does anyone seriously think there’s a web site dedicated to dehumidifier reviews? Probably not. But my results included one;

      Ha. Funny you mention that one. When I was looking for a dehumidifier about 3 years ago, I saw that site and only clicked over to see if my cynicism was correct. Turns out it’s actually a group of HVAC nerds who run their own tests and use affiliate links to make their money. Their best advice was to get the biggest unit you can afford/fit–it will run less and therefor last longer.

      But it is the exception that proves the rule, ridiculous getting top results that are just incoherent scraper sites.It’s like the Google AI is admiring the work of other AIs.

      Reply
  26. Bart Hansen

    On Garland assuming jurisdiction in Ukraine:

    That place, Mister Attorney General, is not your place.

    HT: Elie Wiesel

    Reply
    1. coloradoblue

      If Garland wants to investigate war crimes, he should start right here at home. Plenty of war crimes, crimes against humanity, mass murder and torture, just to name a few of the “highlights” of American exceptionalism.

      Reply
    2. Mildred Montana

      Rip Van Garland awakes from his slumber. Did he get tired of looking out the window of his office? Did he get tired of three-hour lunches? Or was he looking for an opportunity to appear to be doing something without doing anything?

      Reply
    3. Skip Intro

      Someone’s gotta make sure Hunter’s loose ends are well and truly cleaned up, while there is still a compliant regime in Kyiv.

      Reply
  27. Wukchumni

    Airbnb Rentals Turn Into Real Estate Goldmines With Easy-Money Mortgages Bloomberg
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    What a stark difference between Uber & AirBnB, the former allows you to share your ride and make about bupkis, while the latter has been just the opposite-in that everybody is making bank seemingly no matter how many more short term rentals come on the market, something is going to give though, and STR’s didn’t exist in housing bubble crash numero uno, but seem a clear and present danger in that by definition would-be Hiltons have no skin in the game-they don’t live there.

    Reply
  28. Milton

    New York governor Kathy Hochul recently orchestrated the second-largest taxpayer stadium subsidy ever for the Buffalo Bills. To close the deal, she froze the Seneca Nation’s tribal bank account, forcing them to pay up on a disputed casino revenue sharing debt.
    https://auth.jacobinmag.com/2022/06/kathy-hochul-ny-buffalo-bills-stadium

    Freezing and appropriating persons’ assets is not reserved for the unwashed any longer. I can envision any confrontation with the authorities resulting in accessibility to one’s funds being severed.

    Reply
  29. RobertC

    China?

    LINK: US-China détente on the horizon Indian Punchline (Kevin W)

    As usual with MKB’s analyses, recommended reading.

    …Price hikes have overtaken the coronavirus pandemic as the most discussed kitchen table topic in the US. Inflation is a regressive tax which disproportionately pummels low income groups and retirees. And the root cause lies with the Biden administration and the US central bank.

    Biden’s fiscal stimulus (American Rescue Plan) has opened a Pandora’s Box. Fiscal spending is always risky, being potentially inflationary, and more so, when coupled with the Federal Reserve’s extraordinary loose monetary policy. On the other hand, the domestic shortages of manufactured goods in the US is unlikely to improve, given the disruption of free trade, the weaponisation of sanctions against America’s trade partners, the higher barriers for technology export, etc.

    …Of course, Biden doesn’t need to be told that if history is any guide, when Americans struggle to afford necessities including food, fuel and shelter — and, when they are most likely to vote out the incumbent ruling elite.

    Without doubt, China will be open to a détente. But the Biden Administration is agonising how not to expose its weaknesses too much to China. Certainly, China will expect a quid pro quo for underwriting the American economy.

    …In the final analysis, Biden’s and Xi’s political interests converge, as for both, 2022 happens to be a crucial election year.

    …When Russia attacked Ukraine and the West imposed sanctions against Moscow, Washington threatened China that any move on its part to help Russia circumvent the sanctions would trigger severe punishment. Now the wheel has come full circle and the US needs China’s helping hand to salvage its economy. This is Thucydides Trap turned upside down — an emerging power rescuing an entrenched great power, whose extravagance pauperised it.I don’t think Biden is intellectually or politically capable of achieving this detente.

    Reply
    1. RobertC

      Oops made a serious editing mistake in the last quote which should read:

      …When Russia attacked Ukraine and the West imposed sanctions against Moscow, Washington threatened China that any move on its part to help Russia circumvent the sanctions would trigger severe punishment. Now the wheel has come full circle and the US needs China’s helping hand to salvage its economy. This is Thucydides Trap turned upside down — an emerging power rescuing an entrenched great power, whose extravagance pauperised it.

      I [RobertC] don’t think Biden is intellectually or politically capable of achieving this detente.

      Apologies.

      Reply
  30. marym

    Re: Embedded surveillance cops at the Capitol

    Protesters and activists should always try to be aware of potential surveillance cops, provocateur cops, provocateur non-cops, and informers (easier to say than find ways of doing it).

    The ET post seems to weave together the issues of a substantiated presence of surveillance cops and a still mostly speculative presence and actions of provocateurs.

    In evaluating a given situation, there’s a need to consider the different categories of cop or cop/aligned presence. This includes – particularly for activism on the right – the presence and role of plainclothes cops or cop-aligned participants who are there, on the clock or their own time, and who are also supporters of the cause.

    The issues raised by the presence of surveillance cops is similar to issues about the Capitol cops: whether lack of adequate response to potential or emerging violence was due to negligence, assumptions that white middle class people don’t represent a threat, or active sympathy toward letting it happen.

    Reply
  31. RobertC

    Dubious statistics

    International Attitudes Toward the U.S., NATO and Russia in a Time of Crisis Most say U.S. is reliable partner, and ratings for Biden are mostly positive – although down significantly from last year

    Scope and timing of the 2022 Global Attitudes Survey

    This report includes data from a survey of 18 nations: the U.S., Canada, Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Israel, Australia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and South Korea.

    Reply
    1. Maxwell Johnston

      Nice catch. Much along the lines of, “I’m on good terms with all my neighbors here in the Hamptons, and we all agree that the economy is doing just great!”

      Dubious indeed.

      Reply
  32. Wukchumni

    I’ve been following the collapse of a country as in so long Ceylon…

    Browsing the aisles @ Smart & Final in Visalia yesterday (they finally got some Topo Chico in, ending my supply chain kink lack of beverage @ a fortnight, frankly I don’t know how much longer I could have gone-first would issues-I know) everything seemed in place, want to buy 100x 20 pound bags of rice or ponderous piles of giant bags of flour, it was all there along with everything else and nobody was wearing a mask, it was as if I had time warped back to 2019, er except for the prices-whee doggies on that, but its a different tale of owe. I was also annoyed at the Sinclair gas pump forcing me to listen to an overly loud video in regards to things they thought I ought to be aware of in the mainstream news as I rather effortlessly transferred 150 pounds of quite flammable fluid into my oil orifice and didn’t wait in line for a few days, unlike Sri Lanka.

    Sri Lanka seems awful far away and it isn’t really though, we all live similar lives based on oil doing all the lifting in a requiem for a heavy wait.

    In human history empires came and went all the time but never really cognizant of one another, nobody in the Mayan Empire noticed that the western Roman Empire fell in 476 AD, the Maya were in their ‘Early Classic’ stage on the upswing as a culture with 5 more centuries to go before the whole shooting works collapsed.

    This is different though, there’s butterfly effects a plenty in every country on this good orb.

    COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka’s debt-laden economy has “collapsed” after months of shortages of food, fuel and electricity, its prime minister told lawmakers Wednesday, in comments underscoring the country’s dire situation as it seeks help from international lenders.

    Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told Parliament the South Asian country is “facing a far more serious situation beyond the mere shortages of fuel, gas, electricity and food. Our economy has completely collapsed.”

    While Sri Lanka’s crisis is considered its worst in recent memory, Wickremesinghe’s assertion that the economy has collapsed did not cite any specific new developments. It appeared intended to emphasize to his critics and opposition lawmakers that he has inherited a difficult task that can’t be fixed quickly, as the economy founders under the weight of heavy debts, lost tourism revenue and other impacts from the pandemic, as well as surging costs for commodities.

    https://apnews.com/article/asia-economy-south-sri-lanka-cfcf9c973d63a7c6f76e10ada8bf1591

    Reply
  33. RobertC

    New Not-So-Cold War

    Recommended for both history and analysis What Difference Does a War Make? The Geopolitics of the New Cold War by Dr Alfred W. McCoy.

    …In a magisterial sweep through a millennium of Eurasian history, Oxford scholar John Darwin found that, after World War II, Washington achieved its “colossal imperium… on an unprecedented scale” by becoming the first power ever to control the strategic axial points “at both ends of Eurasia.” Initially, Washington defended Eurasia’s western axis through the NATO defense pact signed with a dozen allies in April 1949, making the Cold War, at its outset, little more than a regional conflict over Eastern Europe.

    Reply
  34. Politics ain't Beanbag

    Lawrence and the Latin America situation. He says it is difficult to overstate the significance of the elections in Colombia. No it is very easy. Petro has not achieved anything yet.

    Outside the symbol-left, significance is measured in food on the table for people and systemic change.

    In the text he refers to AMLO in Mexico. AMLO – has he actually changed anything on a systemic level? That he is not murdered means that most likely not. Has he put more food on the table for people?

    Does anybody have reference to actual achievements of the LATAM left? In Venezuela there was real progress in terms of literacy, democratic engagement etc.etc. whence the sanctions and murder attempts.

    Reply
  35. Raymond Sim

    Their demure poses make it a little hard to tell, but those cows at Ben and Jerry’s appear to me to be very leggy unbred heifers. Or possibly exceptionally svelte dry cows who haven’t bred back.

    I’m guessing they work in public relations.

    Their condition looks spot-on for cows that aren’t in milk or carrying a calf. No pun intended. Holsteins almost always seem to do best when they look a little rough.

    Reply
  36. digi_owl

    The term “atom laser” hurts my head. After all, all laser are “atom” based in as much as they are firing a coherent stream of photons. But then i guess one could argue that photons are particles rather than atom, as after all atoms are constructed from multiple particles (simplest such being the hydrogen).

    Reply
  37. Wukchumni

    Olive trees were first domesticated 7,000 years ago, study finds ScienceDaily (Kevin W)
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    US grown eating olives used to be protected via tariff, but a few years ago they let in foreign olives and it was game over for groves here, as you just couldn’t make it pay, and Ag is swayed by the worth of something, so probably now an almond orchard instead about to add to the billion pound pile of unsold almonds, joy joy.

    They’re the unruliest of food baums, get a haircut you tree hippies!

    Reply
  38. RobertC

    Australia

    AUKUS submarines face reality check. First of two parts at ASPI Can Australia get nuclear-powered submarines this decade?Cat Laugh

    …In the shorter term, however, the USN is experiencing a submarine capability crunch. First, this decade the number of boats falls below 50, to as few as 46 in 2028, and it doesn’t get back to 50 until 2032. That’s because the older Los Angeles–class SSNs are retiring as their nuclear fuel runs out. The Los Angeles boats were delivered at around three per year and consequently are retiring at a similar rate. But for over a decade the USN was acquiring only one new Virginia-class boat per year. Now, after significant investment to improve the US’s industrial base, they are being delivered at two per year.

    …In short, for Australia to get any US SSNs this decade, the USN would have to give up some of the boats baked into its own plans at a time when it needs every single one it can get to stop any further decline in boat or missile numbers.

    From another ASPI article

    …The Royal Navy is now in the middle of a transition from the seven-boat Trafalgar fleet to the seven-boat Astute fleet. Four Astutes are in service, and the final three are in various stages of construction. The last is (rather optimistically) scheduled to enter service by 2026. Handing over even one Astute would put a huge dent in the RN’s capability.

    The history of Australia’s submarine programs is an unhappy one. I think the Hon Anthony Albanese understands this and will find a graceful way to an exit.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      Thanks for that link. When Scotty from Marketing announced that deal, from bits that I picked up it sounded like we would not get any subs until the 2040s. We would build the front ends of the boats, ship them to the US where they would weld on the rear half of the boats that has all the nuclear stuff, then ship it back to Oz. The whole project has so many failure points that there is or point trying to list them. I’m hoping that we can find an off-ramp for the whole thing.

      Reply
  39. anon in so cal

    M. K. BHADRAKUMAR’s article points toward protracted battles over Snake Island.

    “Southern Ukraine is the priority in NATO’s planning”

    https://www.indianpunchline.com/southern-ukraine-is-the-priority-in-natos-planning/

    “Clearly, the involvement of the US and UK in the planning and conduct of Ukraine’s repeated attempts to regain control of the Snake Island shows that they have given the Snake Island a vital and almost mythical status in the war. Any Russian deployment of S-400 missile system in Snake Island would of course endanger NATO’s southern flank.

    Suffice to say, the NATO’s permanent presence in the Black Sea and future expansion toward the Caucasus and the Caspian and Central Asian regions will remain problematic so long as Russia is in control of Snake island.

    Snake Island epitomises the hopelessness of the Ukraine war. Russia cannot end its operation even after a successful completion of the Battle of Donbass. Kiev is unlikely to sue for peace. Kiev is seriously preparing for a counteroffensive once the heavy weapons arriving from the US are deployed.

    “To be sure, a long war lies ahead and it cannot really end without the collapse of the Ukrainian state and abject surrender. Most certainly, Ukrainians will renew their assault on Snake Island. It is evident that unlike eastern region, southern Ukraine is the priority in NATO’s planning. “

    Reply
    1. Old Sovietologist

      Yves is right Snake Island has no strategic importance for either side. However, PR is very important especially for NATO.

      MK Bhadrakumar is correct though when he states:

      “To be sure, a long war lies ahead and it cannot really end without the collapse of the Ukrainian state and abject surrender”.

      Of course the longer it goes on the more opportunity arises for major escalation and with it the use of nuclear weapons.

      When the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists last updated the Doomsday Clock it was 100 seconds to midnight I think we’re now at 45 seconds.

      Reply
      1. Polar Socialist

        The experts and pundits in Russian media seem to think that the latest attacks on the island and oil rigs are an attempt to force the Black Sea Navy to come within the striking range of the land based Harpoon missiles.

        Russians will likely just beef up the AA defenses on the island.

        Reply
      2. PlutoniumKun

        Yes, there are all sorts of variables that make an island strategically important, not just the fact that its an island (as the Chinese are discovering the hard way with their new island chains). To be militarily important, it has to be in the right place, plus big enough to be self supporting with water/food (so it can withstand a siege) while small enough to easily defend. This is why Hawaii or Okinawa or Saipan are very strategically important in the Pacific while Taiwan (too big) or Midway (too small) are much less so than they appear at first glance. Its the Goldilocks principle as applied to military strategy.

        You need only look at the ranges of modern anti-ship and anti-aircraft missiles to see that Snake island provides only a modest benefit as a missile base for covering the Black Sea. That part of the Black Sea can be easily covered from bases in Crimea or in Odessa. But it is also too small to be able to sustain a large garrison, so in a war it could just as easily become a liability as an asset to a military in a conflict, as the Ukrainians discovered.

        So yes, it has minimal military strategic value (maybe some tactical utility), but a very high propaganda value. The Ukies are being very stupid over it, they have lost a lot of men and materials they can’t afford to lose just to get some headlines. If they did take it, they’d lose even more trying to hold it. The obsession with ‘holding’ territory is costing Kiev very dearly. The Russians know from their Syrian experience that you should never take territory you can’t hold easily. Better to use it to drain your opponents resources.

        Reply
  40. RobertC

    China?

    So what did Xi Jinping do on his 69th birthday? From China With Love: Xi’s Birthday Call to Putin The latest Putin-Xi exchange should put to bed any speculation that Beijing is reevaluating its close ties to Moscow.

    The birthday boy called up his “bosom buddy,” Vladimir Putin, to reassure the Russian leader that “bilateral relations have maintained a sound development momentum in the face of global turbulence and transformations.”

    …However, the birthday call on June 15 was more than a social and cultural engagement. It was for all practical purposes a political call, with the communist leader from Beijing leaving no one in doubt that his friendship with Putin truly “knows no limits.”

    Reply
  41. RobertC

    New Not-So-Cold War

    G7, NATO leaders to ratchet up pressure on Russia, keep eye on China – U.S. officials

    WASHINGTON, June 22 (Reuters) – Leaders from the Group of Seven rich democracies and the NATO alliance will work to increase pressure on Russia over its war in Ukraine next week, while underscoring their continued concerns about China, senior U.S. officials said on Wednesday.

    G7: near Munich 26-28 June

    G7 leaders will launch a new infrastructure initiative aimed at offering low- and middle-income countries high-quality, transparent investment alternatives, officials said, a clear reference to China’s Belt and Road project, which has been criticized for opaque contracts and onerous loan terms.

    NATO: Madrid 29-30 June

    How has Russia’s brutal and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and the new security reality in Europe affected NATO’s approach to deterrence and defence?

    What is the Alliance doing to address other challenges, like China’s growing influence and assertiveness or the security consequences of climate change?

    What will be included in NATO’s next Strategic Concept, the blueprint for the Alliance’s future adaptation to a more competitive world where authoritarian powers try to push back against the rules-based international order?

    Reply
  42. RobertC

    Paging OIFVet — you owe us an on-the-ground perspective — Bulgarian government loses no-confidence vote, early elections loom

    SOFIA, June 22 (Reuters) – A no-confidence vote on Wednesday toppled Bulgaria’s government and Prime Minister Kiril Petkov, who had pledged to tackle corruption and took an unusually strong stance against Russia.

    …Petkov sacked his defence minister in February for refusing to call the Russian invasion of Ukraine “war”, backed EU sanctions against Moscow and agreed to repair Ukraine’s heavy military machinery while stopping short of sending arms to Kyiv.

    The ensuing political gridlock may also hinder Bulgaria’s efforts to secure stable natural gas inflows after Moscow cut gas deliveries to the country, which was almost completely reliant on Russian gas, over Sofia’s refusal to pay in roubles.

    …Petkov has rejected any coalition talks with opposition parties in the chamber but will seek defections from lawmakers to garner enough support for a new government and avoid early elections.

    PM Kiril Petkov is an interesting character. Very bright, entrepreneurial, was a Canadian citizen until shortly before his election.

    Reply

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