Links 7/11/2022

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

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


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

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

* * *

Animal senses and animal dreaming: Ed Yong’s An Immense World, reviewed. Slate (Anthony L)

Mexico’s President Plans to End Daylight Saving Time Associated Press

Natural selection may be making society more unequal PhysOrg (Dr. Kevin)

Van Ghosts The Smart Set (Anthony L)

Percy Bysshe Shelley at 200: How the Poet Became Famous After His Death The Wire (J-LS)



Move over, measles: Dominant Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 could be the most infectious viruses known to man Fortune

Does BA.5 cause more severe disease than earlier Omicron subvariants? New Atlas


Schumer tests positive for COVID as Senate set to reconvene The Hill


How Pfizer Won the Pandemic, Reaping Outsize Profit and Influence KHN


Investments in plant-based meat can help cut down carbon emissions: Report WION

Alaska’s wildfire season is the latest climate change-fueled disaster Grid (resilc)

Portugal deploys 3,000 firefighters to battle heatwave blazes Al Jazeera (Kevin W)

Reader sanity checks appreciated! I am always leery when I see caveats like “Those numbers are rarely achieved in practise.”

Problem is we need fewer people on the planet, so I am bothered by the “We must have population groaf” posture:


NASA Head Warned China May Try To Claim the Moon. That’s Unlikely. The Wire (J-LS)

‘We will stand up for Australia’: Albanese rejects China’s 4 ‘demands’ South China Morning Post


Powerful voice needed when nation is divided and unity destroyed, says Amartya Sen The Scroll (J-LS)

Why Twitter row refuses to die down in India, and how government can handle this FirstPost

Sixty years after Algeria’s independence, will surging prices bolster its dependence on oil? France24. Resilc: “Of course, what kind of a q is this????????”

Old Blighty

Tories seek to narrow leadership field quickly as rancour grows Financial Times

Boris Johnson accused of trying to derail Rishi Sunak’s bid to be next PM Guardian

Things Fall Apart The Debatable Land (resilc)

Johnson’s Resignation and the Consequences for Europe: We Can’t Do Without Britain Der Spiegel. Resilc: “The Tories will serve up another war monger, nooooooo problem.”

Misinformation About the Dutch Farm Crisis Atlantic Sentinel (PlutoniumKun)

New Not-So-Cold War

Remember that Corriere della Sera also profiled a dozen “Putin lovers,” which backfired, with many Italians assuming it was based on state-collected dossiers and seeing it as McCarthyism and proscription. Italy-based reader DLG has been keeping Lambert and me updated on even more signs of fracture in Italy over Ukraine:

Fearing Russian gas shut-off, France’s industry turns to oil Reuters

Le Pen blasts reverse effect of anti-Russia sanctions RT (Chuck L)

Canada to return repaired Nord Stream turbine to Germany TASS (guurst). So now it’s official.


* * *

Meeting with State Duma leaders and party faction heads Kremlin. From a few days ago. Remiss for not having linked to it sooner. Needless to say, Putin’s address has been very much cherry-picked in Western reporting.

Briefing on the results of analysing documents related to the military-biological activity of the USA in Ukraine The Saker (Micael T). Readers have speculated that it was this post that led to the DDoS attack on the site.

Guerre en Ukraine : Lech Walesa suggère de «ramener» la Russie à «moins de 50 millions d’habitants» Le Figaro. Translation: War in Ukraine: Lech Walesa suggests “reducing” Russia to “less than 50 million inhabitants”

* * *

Zelenskiy does not declare villa in Italy, campaign denies wrongdoing Kyiv Post

25-Year-Old Girl Without Any Experience Appointed Deputy Minister Of European Integration In Ukraine SouthFront (JTM). Yes, I know, SouthFront, but even the recitation of facts about her and other recent Ukraine appointments suggests they have a lot of experience…

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Private security groups regularly sent Minnesota police misinformation about protestors MIT Technology Review (resilc)

Defense Firm Said U.S. Spies Backed Its Bid for Pegasus Spyware Maker New York Times (David L)

Imperial Collapse Watch

The Fakery of the NATO Summit, continued: Joe Biden’s Fake Press Conference Michael Tracey


Stephen Bannon Agrees to Testify to Jan. 6 Panel New York Times (Kevin W)


Joe Biden: Why I’m Going to Saudi Arabia Asharq AL-awsat (furzy). A recap of Biden’s Washington Post op-ed. Presupposes readers have no knowledge of facts.

Most Democrats Don’t Want Biden in 2024, New Poll Shows New York Times. Overall approval down to 33%

Medicare could save $3 billion by buying drugs like Mark Cuban Washington Post (resilc)

Judges as Party Animals: Retirement Timing by Federal Judges and Party Control of Judicial Appointments American Sociological Review (Dr. Kevin)


Don’t let real-world evidence be used for abortion-related prosecution STAT (Dr. Kevin)

John Turturro: An Illegal Abortion Killed My Grandmother Rolling Stone (furzy)

A 911 dispatcher who refused to send an ambulance to a bleeding woman unless she agreed to go to a hospital has been charged with involuntary manslaughter Business Insider (Kevin W)

Episode 180 – The End of Dollar Diplomacy? with Steve Keen and Michael Hudson Real Progressive (Chuck L)

Self-Driving Cruise Taxi Crashes With Passengers On Board The Drive

Investors pull $50bn from emerging market bond funds in 2022 Financial Times

Stuart Kirk (Frmr HSBC) Resignation letter LinkedIn (BC). Former head of “responsible investing”. Of interest because aside from effectively saying most ESG investing is a con, it’s consistent with the trajectory of the Jackpot in The Peripheral. Gibson has “only” 80% of all people dying in a 40 year period of everything going to shit (including rampant infections diseases) was because science “popped”.

Some Surprising Good News: Bookstores Are Booming and Becoming More Diverse New York Times (Kevin W)

Uber broke laws, duped police and secretly lobbied governments, leak reveals Guardian

Leaked Uber docs reveal bare-knuckle expansion tactics: investigation France24

Uber leak: Company used violence against its drivers to win favor over taxis Washington Post (furzy). Surprising to see that the Post has the most pointed headline. Running this story in triplicate to show it is getting traction.

Class Warfare

Max Alvarez: The Chronic Understaffing Running Workers INTO THE GROUND Breaking Points (margaret r, Glen)

Baltimore police fielded multiple calls involving squeegee kids before fatal shooting Fox5 (chris)

Antidote du jour (Tracie H):

This smiley Western Fence Lizard lounging in the petals and leaves lives at the South Coast Botanic Garden in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. When I was a wee one, I saw a lot of these in our backyard that backed up to the Santa Ana Riverbed, and was always amazed by that deep blue throat.

And a bonus (dk):

And another from dk. I’ve never seen a grey skinned Rex before. Admittedly these are flattering angles, but it looks less space-alien-like than the pink ones:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Sardonia

    “Canada to return repaired Nord Stream turbine to Germany”

    Once Canada sends it, were I Russia, I’d claim that porch thieves apparently snagged it.

    “Gee, it didn’t arrive.”

      1. RobertC

        Russia hasn’t forgotten US software ‘blew up Russian gas pipeline’ Software supplied to run a Russian pipeline was deliberately planned to go haywire, causing the biggest non-nuclear explosion the world had ever seen, says a book published today

        …”In order to disrupt the Soviet gas supply, its hard currency earnings from the West, and the internal Russian economy, the pipeline software that was to run the pumps, turbines, and valves was programmed to go haywire, after a decent interval, to reset pump speeds and valve settings to produce pressures far beyond those acceptable to pipeline joints and welds,” Reed wrote. “The result was the most monumental non-nuclear explosion and fire ever seen from space.”

    1. GF

      When it does arrive it will require a thorough testing period that will end around April 2023/s.

      1. ambrit

        The Russians will probably emulate their Soviet predecessors and install reverse gears in those turbines too.

  2. Steve H.

    > Reader sanity checks appreciated!

    Well, I’ll start:

    >> it may be simpler to repurpose gas infrastructure than it is to lay hundreds of MW of new lines.

    The smallest molecule is the diatomic hydrogen (H2), with a bond length of 0.74 Å. It’s colorless and odorless. Hydrogen embrittlement is a reduction in the ductility of a metal due to absorbed hydrogen. Hydrogen atoms are small and can permeate through solid metals. Once absorbed, hydrogen lowers the stress required for cracks in the metal to initiate and propagate, resulting in embrittlement.

    That’s the wiki stuff. The deep point is that when the smallest molecule in the universe can move through the crystal lattices of metals, the idea that you’ll just kludge up the old lines is… Asinine doesn’t cover it. Something would blow up before the infrastructure went too far.

    Octane has a higher energy density, and liquids are easier to transport and store than gases. The unique nature of hydrogen is an entirely different dimension. Some solutions work better in non-Terran/non-biotic environs, and this is one of them.

    1. Solarjay

      I agree that liquid fuels are amazing. Easy to transport, store, flexible temperature usage and the list goes on.
      Unless we are talking Efuels, then kinda bad for the planet though.

      As to hydrogen. Most NG pipelines are lined with special linings to prevent leakage and corrosion etc. there are planet of linings to reduce losses for hydrogen. It’s just engineering that they know how to do.
      And there are numerous studies showing that a fair amount of NG leaks from wells, main pipelines and even in houses.

      Methane (natural gas) is colorless and oder less, it’s why they add scent.
      But because it’s a relatively heavy gas it can hang around at ground level vs hydrogen which goes up up up.

      The anti hydrogen loop continues to ignore the hard facts that batteries cannot compete on weight or space for energy density for mid sized things. Laptops, phones etc batteries are the only choice. For cars, trucks, heavy vehicles hydrogen has every advantage except cost.

      I for one have always said that we need multiple energy storage technologies for different applications and as long as we try to fit everything ( cars, planes, trains, trucks, boats, heavy equipment, utility scale storage, )into “lithium” batteries we have blown an opportunity to have multiple energy storage/usage mediums for the appropriate purposes.

      1. BeliTsari

        ID lining is far less about suppression of HIC, or corrosion in general, than flow characteristics*. Don’t get your hopes up, as turnover in 1099 coating plant hands is even worse than API 5L pipe mill & API 1104 DJ rack welders. Constitution & ACP pipe have been rusting away, HOW long? Betya, somebody’s fixing to weld them up, between all the new fracked wells and scores-of-thousands of new gas-fired NYC apartment building boilers.
        *It’s red oxide, paint, not FBE. The OD’s wire-brushed & never jeeped without CDTs.

      2. TimH

        Pipeline operators are not renowned for for maintenance/inspection expenditure.

        It just takes one leak of hydrogen to have a high explosion risk. Unlike fuel oils and gasses.

      3. RobertC

        batteries cannot compete on weight or space for energy density for mid sized things

        Gasoline-powered vehicles only carry about 1/9000th by volume the fuel needed for internal combustion.

        It seems similar for hydrogen-powered vehicles, fuel cell or internal combustion.

        The battery energy density equation never made sense to me for anything larger than a Compact car.

    2. Paradan

      So lets say they a made a four door coup with a fuel cell or some other type of hydrogen engine, the gas tank would be so big it would take up the entire back seat and trunk, guess you don’t really need four doors. Hydrogen is bulky, look at the Space Shuttle as compared to a Saturn V that uses kerosene.

        1. Oh

          If they can expand the number of re-fueling stations that would the car I’d buy!
          Fuel cell is the way to go!

    3. digi_owl

      Now you got me wondering if there is some way to produce butanol from hydrogen.

      After all, the thing is basically a spine of carbon studded with hydrogen.

      And it has 98% the energy of gasoline, and can replace with virtually without modification.

    4. BeliTsari

      The issue is twofold: The Russian invasion of Ukraine was blatantly baited to save US fracked LNG/ oil exports from competition. Whatever end-products are glibly promoted, slick water hydrofracking methane will now unleash exponential/ run-away AGW due to hundreds-of-thousands new leaky, soon to kick & re-re-fracked wells; abandoned and impossible to plug. Lethal contamination of air, aquifers, streams, farms effects poor/ “minority” invisible & unrepresented by our duopoly klepocrats, media or NGOs. The canary is never heard, as any economically viable alternatives are intentionally crushed by government edict, funded by misinformed rate/ taxpayers. Any additional diversion from AGW mitigation is simply contributing to catastrophe, but methane, ethane, oil fracking, coal & bitumen are just intentionally murdering our children?

    5. JohnnySacks

      If there’s a solution to the problem, is there really a problem? Elon Musk’s lithium ion ‘everready energizer’ solution to just about everything energy related seems to be every bit if not more unrealistic. The most plentiful atom in the universe, zero global warming impact, seems to be a reasonable path for the future.

      Said it before, say it again. Saudi Arabia, boundless center of innovation and forward thinking (NOT), all the wealth of a generation or two, broiling in the equatorial sun almost 365 days a year, could be the world center of green hydrogen, instead, a theocratic repressive monarchy.

    6. drumlin woodchuckles

      Well . . . . why not ship NH4+ through the pipeline to the destination. At the destination, strip one H off of each NH4+ and then send the NH3 back to the place where the H is renewably generated, probably from water via electrolysis. And when the NH3 gets there, put an H onto every NH3 and send the NH4 back to the target again, for H strippoff and use, and then back the NH3 goes again again, and round and round and round.

      Would that solve the ” H can’t be contained” problem?

  3. Hacker

    Re: “Medicare could save $3 billion by buying drugs like Mark Cuban”

    I didn’t know that they had packaged Mark Cuban up as a drug. This could change everything, and not for the better.

  4. The Rev Kev

    “Canada to return repaired Nord Stream turbine to Germany”

    An RT article says that the turbine will be repaired and returned after 14th July – Bastille Day as it turns out. Russia has shut down the Nord Stream pipeline for 10 days for scheduled maintenance as previously agreed so would be opening up again about on July 21st. And that gives them only one week to transport it from Canada to Germany, from Germany to Russia and then to install and test that turbine which sounds like they are cutting it close.

    Of course it is always possible that for ‘mysterious’ reasons that that turbine might fail. If so, that will give the German government only two choices. One, open up Nord Steam 2 and get things moving again or two, tell their people to start breaking up their furniture so that they will have something to burn to keep themselves warm this winter. There are no other options-

    1. timbers

      Wouldn’t be surprised if once Russia has turbine in hand, she closes all gas flow ot Europe siting the blockade of Kaliningrad. Also if I were Russia I’d require both turbines be returned before even thinking about plating nice.

    2. nippersdad

      Pure speculation on my part, but….

      IIRC, NS I, the pipeline itself, is old and leaky. It has many other problems, and one of the reasons for the building of NS II was to eventually replace it. It was also reported a while back that the long term contracts going through NS I lapsed right about the time that new parts of The Power of Siberia open up; right around September, Just spitballing here, but they might just decide to close it down early and repurpose the newly rebuilt turbines for the Power of Siberia pipeline to China.

      If they really wanted to up their economic game, who knows what they could find when they close down NS I for repair? Maybe the closure of the CPC oil pipeline from Kazakhstan was just the opening act of something larger.

  5. griffen

    Self driving taxi in SF was hit by a speeding Prius. Apparently stopping mid-turn was not the optimal choice by the self driving Chevy Bolt. I’ve got my good chuckle to start the day.

      1. jefemt

        How about sharing the road with them, right now?!

        Between self-drive and txt/drive, being on the road with the Idjut Tribe is getting to be a Darwin-territory activity.

    1. The Rev Kev

      They weren’t passengers in that self-driving taxi. They were crash-test dummies. They just didn’t know it. Getting into such a vehicle obviously run by Beta software is an automatic chance to pick up a Darwin Award.

      1. ambrit

        Is it true what I heard, that the new design for the Darwin Award is a gold plated double ender dildo?

  6. timbers

    A new rinkle in the war, is that Hymar missiles which the US keeps extending the range of and is now almost about 300 kilometers, are having some success at hitting Russian military targets. This is based on Military Summary. I’m expecting US to continue to extend the range because doing so is consistent with its announced policy of inflicting maximum damage upon Russia. Hope Russia makes good on its threat to hold decision makers accountable.

    1. Milton

      I liken the Ukraine’s launching of these missiles to Germany’s V2 campaign during the latter stages of WWII. A defeated country bent on inflicting as much devastation on civilian targets before their leadership is held to account.

    2. The Rev Kev

      US General Philip Breedlove – onetime head of NATO – is trying to encourage the Ukrainians to hit the bridge linking Crimea with the Russian mainland and won’t shut up about it. You could, kinda, argue that that bridge is a military target but too often the Ukrainians are using their HIMARS to hit the civilian city of Donetsk-

      Breedlove was a nutter when he was head of NATO and he still is.

  7. Colonel Smithers

    Thank you, Yves.

    Further to the Uber expose, why now, one may ask?

    For years, London cabbies, aided by insider sympathisers, have highlighted the malign influence of Osborne, his former adviser Rupert Harrison and their later employer BlackRock and their investmnent in Uber, but to no avail.

    When Macron resigned as finance minister, he came to London, emulating Sarkozy a decade earlier, to meet donors, not just the Thatcherite French business community, and raise his profile. Not only did he lobby on behalf of Uber, but on behalf of ATOS Origin, too. Macron lauded what ATOS does in the UK, means testing and fitness testing and administration for welfare payments, but also wanted to replicate the Blairite and Cameronian reforms.

    I have often thought Macron will join Osborne’s advisory firm, Robey Warshaw, after his second term ends.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Thank you, Colonel. I was reading earlier how the French opposition are attacking Macron over the information in those files. It seems that backing US corporations to attack and impoverish French workers is not considered a good look. One of the typical reaction to this news is when Jordan Bardella, acting president of the right-wing National Rally party, tweeted out ‘Emmanuel Macron’s career is marked by a cliché, a common thread: serving private interests, often foreign, putting them before the national ones’ and she is not the only one attacking him. I don’t know French politics but I would guess that this would seriously undermine him going forward-

        1. Dieter

          I find to be a surprisingly good source of articles and long videos about Latin America, Europe and the U.S.

          Like algebra where one eliminates common factors i.e. “It’s propaganda!” (U.S.), or (Russian), it’s just another resource.

          No ads which is nice. And, you can read articles or watch videos in French or other dubbed languages which makes it ideal for second language learning.

      1. Bugs

        Since the legislative elections and their big gain in seats, the RN has really upped their game. Marine Le Pen last week made it clear that she’ll support parts of the ruling party’s cost of living legislation (“we’re here to work, not block”) and when Bardella comments on things like this, it gets coverage without the usual disclaimers about it coming from the “extreme right”.

        Bardella is a man, btw.

    2. David

      Thanks Colonel. As you’ve probably seen, this is all over the French media. The Left (sort of) is taking the lead in denouncing his behaviour, which is made worse by the fact that he was Minister for the Economy at the time, not Minister responsible for Transport, and these demarcations are very strict in France. Not only did he not really have any business doing what he was doing, but it also turns out that a lot of the negotiations were conducted in secret by text messages, lunches in posh restaurants etc. Macron put a tremendous amount of time and effort into trying to bring Uber to France, although it wasn’t his job.

      I think this just adds the widespread feeling that Macron is somehow just not worthy of being President, and indeed seems to have no idea what that job really entails. He often seems to think he’s a French Bezos or Musk. But a lot of French people will be thinking “Presidents just don’t behave like that.”

      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, David.

        Firstly, I hope you feel better.

        I have not seen today’s news from France, but will.

        Macron often used the phrase “start up nation” and in English when speaking French. He seemed like a sick puppy, trying to win over Anglo-Saxons. BTW his former employers, the Rothschilds David and Edouard, are not like that and must have been bemused when his mentor Jacques Attali sent him to Avenue de Messine for some real life work experience.

        I should have added that Macron and Osborne are friends, hence my suspicion of where Macron will go in 2027.

        Having worked as a bankster lobbyist from 2007 – 16, I hope the public is paying attention to how this works and malign it is.

    3. Jesper

      About the ‘why now?’
      then I suspect that it could have been reported before the elections in France but that might have influenced the election -> doing it before the election might have made the reporters look like they were trying to influence the election but the press is never used for that by anyone anywhere. We know that the press never do such things because they tell us they never do such things.
      Since so many were given access to the materials then it was sure to be published by someone somewhere and sooner rather than later but the timing still appears odd, why now?

      1. David

        Le Monde was one of the consortium of newspapers involved with the Guardian, and they were desperate to prevent Le Pen from being elected President, or her party from doing well in the parliamentary elections. Now that’s over, and he’s looking weak, they reckon they can put the boot in.

        1. Colonel Smithers

          Thank you, David.

          Did you see the recent evidence of Nathalie Nougayrede, who writes for both, consorting with the sort of media arms of the UK’s security apparatus?

    4. JohnA

      Surely Macron can also have a stint as editor of Le Parisien on leaving office even with literally no journalistic experience? He can, of course, combine that with several consultant gigs in finance.

      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, John. :-).

        How about Liberation, formerly owned by his boss Edouard de Rothschild and now owned by his friend, Patrick Drahi, and his debt ridden house of cards?

      2. Bugs

        Le Parisien/Aujourd’hui en France is actually the only “real” people’s paper in the country imho. I’ve known reporters there, and they do journalism. They’re mostly not from elite families and they’re serious about their work. Please keep that foolish person far, far away from it.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      Thanks for that. What I found most interesting was that the word “organic” did not appear in the document, and “green” only appeared once when it was applied to a hydroelectric project, not farming.

      There appears to be quite an effort to paint Sri Lanka’s problems as the result of trying to go all-organic agriculture. In fact, it seems that Sri Lanka’s leadership was just more neoliberalism with its long-standing goal, as Michael Hudson points out in that excellent podcast with Steve Keen, of eliminating local subsistence–and generally organic–farming and substituting neoliberal chemical farming for export.

      1. Dieter

        Shiploads of Ukrainian and Russian grain or fertilizer being blocked by the “U.S. and it’s partners”, i.e. The U.S., probably has more to do with food scarcity than whether they douse crops with biocides.

  8. DJG, Reality Czar

    France 24. Celebration of Algeria’s independence.

    Algeria’s gas and petroleum estimates are indeed quite big. Further, Mario Draghi has been making nice, because Italy has that embarrassing shortfall of natural gas deliveries to deal with, now that the U.S. of A. is encouraging national/economic suicides. (See under Germany.)

    So I’m wondering if this is the feeler for a revolution:

    While surging oil prices mean the government is once again able to apply such Band-Aids, experts have voiced concern that the short-term gush in revenues will make it easier for the autocratic regime to deal with any hint of popular discontent while failing to diversify the economy.

    We’re all familiar with this. Wreck Libya. Wreck Syria. Sanctions on Iran. All to the advantage of U.S. foreign policy and the multinationals that sponsor U.S. foreign policy.

    1. Mori Calliope

      >We’re all familiar with this. Wreck Libya. Wreck Syria. Sanctions on Iran. All to the advantage of U.S. foreign policy and the multinationals that sponsor U.S. foreign policy.

      When will the world finally be rid of this wicked land?

      1. Dieter

        When residents of That Land are made aware that the globalist’s sanctions have turned inward?

        “Putin’s price hikes”

        A distracting name for and triggered by

        “Puppet Biden’s imposing sanctions on Americans”

    2. David

      The one reasonably good feature of this crisis is that it hasn’t involved the US, and isn’t likely to.
      The France24 article is not a bad summary, actually. If some of the steam has gone out of the Hirak, the mass mobilisations that shook the country from 2019-21 and forced some limited political changes, there’s still widespread popular discontent, focused on a generally well-educated population and a very developed civil society.

      The regime (because behind the facade that’s what it is) is based on an Army whose entire legitimacy comes from an independence struggle in which virtually none of its current leadership participated. Endless re-hashings of the “struggle” and vitriolic attacks on France don’t impress younger Algerians at all: they mostly just want to emigrate.

      A rise in gas and oil prices will help plug budget deficits for a while, but it may actually obstruct the hard work of diversifying the economy, which the regime has failed to do for sixty years now. A few years ago I was in a car in Algiers with a government official who pointed to a poster advertising orange juice. “You realise” he said “that we grow oranges here but we have to export them to France and then re-import the juice.” Until that sort of problem is at least addressed, Algeria will remain just an extractive economy.

      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, David.

        Your final sentence is spot on and applies to the likes of Greece, which imports olive oil from Germany, and Cote d’Ivoire, which imports chocolate from Belgium and Switzerland. There are many like them. Russia and to a lesser extent and at a slower pace Saudi Arabia is moving on from that model.

  9. The Rev Kev

    “25-Year-Old Girl Without Any Experience Appointed Deputy Minister Of European Integration In Ukraine”

    There was that phrase from Game of Thrones that said that ‘Chaos is a Ladder’ but I never thought that it might also apply to Ukrainian stockings as well. Seems to be form here. That article mentions that ‘In July 2015, Mikhail Saakashvili, who was at that time the governor of the Odessa region, appointed 25-year-old girl Yulia Marushevskaya to the post of head of customs.’ but does anybody recognize that name? Here she is from 2014- (2:04 mins)

    When Saakashvili appointed her, he said that Marushevska had previously spent a year of training at Harvard and Stanford universities. Wait, what? She’s still out there doing her part for the war. According to Military Summary, the first drafted girls have started to turn up in the war zone so she may eventually get drafted as well. If not, she is living in Odessa right now but may have to reconsider what to do when the Russians head her way-

    1. digi_owl

      More and more i wonder if them ivy league places function as some civilian version of School of the Americas…

      1. IMOR

        Nailed it! Higher percentage deployed domestically, is only difference. (School of A guys hit the lower 48 in ‘security’ and business positions here only after police state and quasimilitary years of damage back home; Ivy MBAs and lawyers pollute both sets of pools from degree award forward.)

      2. hunkerdown

        Of course. Elite schools serve to produce elites who reproduce elite society and its conceits. They teach the “elect” how to manufacture narratives and have attitude problems.

    2. Betty

      What’s this with “25 year old girl”? I did not think of myself as a ‘girl’ at 25. Is there such a thing as a “25 year old boy”? Would the coversation change at all if it were a 25 year old woman?

      1. The Rev Kev

        Yeah, the term “girl” is a bit of a moveable feast these days. They would have used the term “woman” but might have gotten into more trouble for not using terms like ‘birthing people’ or ‘menstruators’ and even ‘people with vaginas.’ Simpler and safer to just go with the term “girl.”

        1. TimH

          I agree with Betty. The use of ‘girl’ is patronising and implying the target’s lack of experience/competence.

          1. ambrit

            In politics, and especially with such important offices, such an attack is justified. The implied ‘slight’ is the main point of the comment.

      2. hunkerdown

        Everyone’s a kid until their first Saturn return. Those are the cosmic rules, not mine.

        Besides, why should bourgeois authoritarians not have their dignity destroyed and their agency discounted simply for using the leadership tone of voice, or for upholding neo-Platonist values? Do you believe the middle-class has an exclusive right to moral dictatorship or something? Any right whatsoever?

        Really, this notion that rank and office are sacred is risible and something humans need to get over, quickly. Ideology is for growing plants. People in societies shape one another and call each other people or not people because that’s how societies continue themselves. When she stops working toward the neoliberal order or some other infantile ideal, then we will extend personhood to her, and not before. That is our capacity as people. We can do that. No “rights” are needed.

        1. Joe Renter

          Nicely done on Saturn return. There are old souls who stand above the fray. Usually not found in her chosen line of service. IMO

      3. Mikel

        But let an 18-year-old female make an accusation of assault and she will be a “woman”.
        It’s shameless.

      4. Lex

        Yes, because there are very, very few 25 year old men. They’re almost all boys. Your point still stands, because it’s a good one.

      5. Revenant

        I would have said we were, both sexes, all callow youths at 25 and the boys still, er, boys at 30, among my peers. More practically, we would speak of each other as girls and boys. I think we saw ourselves as men and women when we became parents.

  10. digi_owl

    Plant based meat. Unless it came about via ruminant digestion, I’d call that an oxymoron.

    Oh, an a Keen and Hudson tag team podcast?! Time to ready the kettle!

    As for inverted population pyramids, on its face they are not a problem given our strained planet. but the issue is that much of the western world bet the farm on them staying the right way up into the future. I guess one could call that plan the mother of all pyramid schemes…

    Anyways, trying to process all these links brought to mind a line from Sir Clarke. He linked the world wide web to drinking from a firehose, using that as a way to explain why his only use of the internet was email.

  11. LawnDart

    A reliable source of information to NC and us is back– it looks like this battle has been won, but keep in mind that there are more to come.

    Dear Sakerites, Saker’istas and Cafe’istas – welcome back to your favorite Saker Blog (UPDATE!)

    Yes, we will have a captcha. Yes we are under ddos protection. This is both excellent, but also frustrating.

    I will say, seemingly this time the intent was to take us down, forever. It was a new world to watch the server statistics, see The Saker Blog being restored, and within 2 or 3 minutes after that, the take-down starts, with ease. But do remember, the Russian hacker group just took down most of Lithuania, so it is all part of the new warfare.

    I do not have much more to say, except thank you so much for all the wonderfully supportive emails and thank you for the donations. We could do with some more of those at this stage and always your prayers.

    Thank you to certain unnamed techs for the supportive work with Herb, and thank you to Herb for running just about round the clock to solve this.

    We may hear from Andrei (The Saker) as well.

    Kindest regards to all

    Update: We are still fixing things, so patience is still a virtue.

    1. caucus99percenter

      The political discussion forum “JackPine Radicals” (JPR) has been malfunctioning for me since yesterday. Front page comes up, but individual topics don’t.

      Despite being relatively unknown, JPR apparently managed to get under some Deep State person’s skin enough for JPR to be included (= flat-out libelled, as was NC) in the Washington Post’s PropOrNot list as an alleged tool of the Russians.

      So I wonder in this case too if there’s perhaps more going on than meets the eye.

    2. Alex Cox

      The very interesting-seeming link to Russian news re. biological experimental stations in Ukraine required one to download and install Telegram. So I did. But I still couldn’t open the articles. Instead Telegram required me to have my cell phone take a picture of their bar code.
      I like reading the news but WTF?
      Telegram uninstalled!

  12. Lexx

    ‘Alexander Berger’ South Korean population pyramid

    ‘Demand for the over-60 female models is down, sir. We’ve tried chucking them into the bargain bin, but those units just sat there and cried. Potential customers were put off. Maybe we could pack them up and offer them to retail discounters like ‘Tuesday Morning? If they stick the right price on them, our team is confident they’ll move quickly, given the popularity of our brand. A temporary glitch, sir. Customers have short memories.’

    1. Louis Fyne

      Country with ridiculously high housing per sq meter costs/declining discretionary income (Korea. among others) wonders why few people are having kids.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Thought the same too based on comments about life in South Korea that appeared yesterday. So it looks like life under a neoliberal society typically ends up in a reduced population and lots of older people about. Not just in Asia either. Lithuania went full neoliberal with a capital N and young people abandoned the place in the tens of thousands annually.

        1. Objective Ace

          Russia and China have similiar population pyramids so I’m not sure you can blame neoliberalism.

          1. digi_owl

            Supposedly there is a correlation between higher female education and reproduction slumps. After all, biology is rigged for a hunter gather life. Not studying well into the later 20s. I guess one way to alleviate it are on campus kindergartens.

            1. ambrit

              My old High School has had an on campus childcare centre since the 1980s. Childcare for the students’ offspring.

          2. The Rev Kev

            Don’t know about Russia but China is a hyper-capitalist country whose effects on their workforce resembles Neoliberalism. Remember that iPhone (?) factor that had to install nets to stop their workers from throwing themselves off the roof?

      2. digi_owl

        In particular as the expectation is that the kids have their own room(s), rather than the whole family bedding down in a single one room shack.

  13. The Rev Kev

    “China-Australia relations: Albanese rejects Beijing’s 4 ‘demands’ after Wang Yi-Penny Wong meeting”

    I said in a comment a coupla years ago that Albanese is a political “hack” and his recent actions has not changed my mind. As Leader of the Opposition, you would see him saying in reference to some new Scotty from Marketing power grab him saying ‘I completely agree with the Prime Minister and my party backs him fully.’ And now as Prime Minister he is still weak. Told Lavrov that he won’t be polite to Putin and give him a piece of his mind in words that could have been written by Antony Blinken.

    So here China tried to lay the groundwork for rebuilding relations in four actions-

    -First, stick to regarding China as a partner rather than a rival.
    -Second, stick to the way we get along with each other, which features seeking common ground while reserving differences.
    -Third, stick to not targeting any third party or being controlled by any third party.
    -Fourth, stick to building positive and pragmatic social foundations and public support.

    Sounds reasonable to me but Albanese rejected them. Like most western politicians, he will always be a politician but will never raise himself to become a statesman. A hack he was and a hack he still is.

  14. super extra

    > Mexico’s President Plans to End Daylight Saving Time Associated Press

    Once again AMLO showing who is the real leader of North America!

    1. Louis Fyne

      Pet peeve. When daylight savings is more than 50% of the year, just move the clocks forward permanently.

      Insane….that even with daylight savings, there are interest groups that lobby for/against change.

      Candy companies lobbied hard in W Bush administration to make sure daylight savings ended after Halloween

      1. LifelongLib

        A bill to make daylight savings time permanent passed the U.S. Senate, but the House hasn’t acted.

      2. John Anthony La Pietra

        And thereby shifted the fall-back position to just before Election Day. . . .

  15. The Rev Kev

    ‘Ukrainian soldiers setting up mines and building fortifications on the border with #Belarus.’

    Wait! Is that a goat that I see approaching those soldiers and those mines?

    1. Lee

      Thanks for the link. I have ME/CFS and it shares many similarities with long Covid in terms of symptoms, and scientific theories as to their respective causes and mechanisms of action. That it appears that long Covid will affect a much larger fraction of the population than ME/CFS is truly yikesworthy. The only good that may come out of this vast increase in the number of the afflicted is if there is more money for research than the pittances that have been made available for the study of ME/CFS. For more on ME/CFS featuring those who have the condition you might find the film Unrest of interest. It’s available on Neflix.

  16. The Rev Kev

    ‘Chinese Luna moth, emerging from pupae’

    Totally worth the wait. It was amazing.

  17. Wukchumni

    Yosemite NP only has a token amount of Giant Sequoias in comparison to Sequoia NP and other groves south of YNP, but their destruction in the ongoing fire there currently could prove to be the determining factor in finally fixing the error of putting every fire out that has been de facto policy since the Big Burn of 1910, which allowed so much buildup on the ground, not to mention the overcrowding of trees of all kinds, not dissimilar to a gardener who plants 100 carrots where there should only be a dozen, you end up with a forest of greenery up top and a bunch of pencil-thin carrots for your effort.

    In the 19th century, a rider on a horse could negotiate their way through Sierra forests pretty easily as the trees were all spread out, but don’t dream of doing that now as you’d get nowhere fast, we have to get back to those days if we want to save these extraordinarily large canaries in a coal mine.

    Thankfully carrot tops aren’t likely to burn, but 6 inch wide trees in a congested forest most certainly can and will.

    Historically before we showed up, fires have come through Sequoia groves about every 20 years, never allowing lesser trees (Do I come off as too tree’ist?) to grow very tall and thus no threat to Sequoias which generally don’t have branches lower than 30 to 50 feet, but that was then when 10 foot tall trees too close to Sequoias were consumed by wildfires and were never a problem. But now there are tons of 100 foot tall trees living cheek by jowl next to the Brobdingnagians and lots of other fuel all ready to be burnt leading to their demise. We’ve lost nearly 20% of the population of Monarch Sequoias (4 feet wide or larger) in just a couple years. The obvious path is to thin out the trees that don’t matter in the groves which is frankly everything other than Sequoias.

    Compounded in the problem is the idea that there’s no money or will to really accomplish anything, with My Kevin (since ’07) leading the SOS (Save Our Sequoias) effort, you know nothing will happen, as his long suit is renaming post offices and is largely despised by those in the Donkey Show and a good many in his party. Absolutely the wrong guy @ the right time to make a difference.

    So here comes a bipartisan coalition of (mostly California) congressional representatives with a legislative effort to preserve and protect these majestic trees. The Chronicle reports on a new bill being introduced called the Save Our Sequoias Act, which would fund and support preservation of the some 75 sequoia groves in California. The bill’s authors are San Diego Rep. Scott Peters, and oddly, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, whose Bakersfield-area district does have sequoias that have been killed by fires.

    “These natural wonders have stood tall for thousands of years, and their loss is a devastating blow to our communities and the environment,” McCarthy said, according to a statement his office provided to the Chronicle. “This bill would make commonsense reforms to forest management practices to reduce the risk of catastrophic fires.”

    As the Chronicle adds, “Over the past two years, nearly a fifth of all giant sequoias, once considered virtually immune to wildfire, burned so badly they died.”

    The exact legislation has not been introduced publicly, though the Chronicle says it has “obtained an advance copy.” The bill calls for an emergency declaration, and $325 million of foresting and reforesting efforts over ten years. It also allows that, as the Chron explains, “the existing Giant Sequoia Lands Coalition, a group of nonprofit, tribal, local, state and federal land managers who oversee many of the burned areas, could expedite forestry projects aimed at boosting fire resiliency in the standing groves, such as cutting fire lines, thinning brush and prescribed burning, as well as reforesting places where sequoias have died.”

    Our loathing of Kevin McCarthy aside, it’s probably a good thing for this bill, and for these magnificent trees, to have his name and reach on this legislation. The Porterville Recorder noted last month that the bill “will be introduced on the federal level in Congress in June,” (though it may be getting late for that?), while the Chronicle points out “the item could get pushed to next year and bundled into a broader package, such as the Farm Bill.”

    1. The Rev Kev

      I saw on the TV news that on the ground that they were setting up a coupla water sprinklers around some of those Sequoias to protect them. That doesn’t sound like a real plan that. Maybe they should try those foil blankets around those trees again.

      1. Wukchumni

        Wrapping the trees in foil (not actually aluminum foil-its the same stuff they wrap structures in to save them) last year in the KNP Fire was largely to draw attention to their plight and it worked pretty well. I was talking to the superintendent here and he was practically inundated with press from all over the world that was suddenly more interested than before the Reynolds Wrap was applied. It was pretty much all about the visual, as it only covered 1/25th of the trees.

    2. Lexx

      Is tree thinning still done in the national parks, Wuk? We had 33 acres in Thurston County once upon a time. Half of that was a hillside that had been logged and replanted. It was backed by thousands of acres in commercial forest owned (it was rumored) by a German industrialist, whose management company sent crews in regularly to ‘thin the crop’. So I know it’s done on at least one commercial property.

      I’m wondering what has happened to that vital job in the national park forests.

      1. Wukchumni

        Is tree thinning still done in the national parks

        Environmentalist groups stopped Yosemite NP from doing it by filing a lawsuit just in time for a fire to show up and show them how stupid they are by being stuck back in the 1970’s before climate change came along. One of the environmental groups main arguments was that Yosemite NP was profiting from the cut trees, the horror.

        Last year here in Sequoia NP, precedence was broken in that fire retardant was dropped extensively on the KNP Fire, along with about 40 miles of bulldozer line being cut. Yosemite NP is embarking on the same course. These efforts would have been quite simply unthinkable in the 70’s, but that was then and this is now when wildfires don’t go to bed at night and rage 24/7.

        Tinder-dry conditions in Yosemite National Park have prompted firefighters battling the Washburn Fire to call in both air tanker planes to drop fire-retardant chemicals on the wildfire and bulldozers to help create containment lines. Both the tankers and the ’dozers are considered unusual for firefighting efforts in a national park, where the vast majority of the acreage is designated as wilderness, said Nancy Phillipe, a fire information spokeswoman for Yosemite National Park. “Obviously this is a full-suppression fire for us,” Phillipe told The Fresno Bee on Sunday. “For us, using retardant (chemicals) is a huge deal because this is wilderness.” National wilderness laws contain strict rules for when such chemicals can be used, she added, and the same is true for the bulldozers.

    3. Anthony G. Stegman

      You keep repeating the same discredited trope that foresting thinning and the removal of understory, along with prescribed burns will prevent large wildfires. Large wildfires are driven almost entirely by the combination of high temperatures, low humidity, and strong winds.

        1. Wukchumni

          Anecdotally yours…

          5 years ago after a bountiful winter that kept the ground wet longer, a prescribed burn was prepped below Cabin Cove in Mineral King in Sequoia NP.

          A friend and I did a walk through after they’d finished and it was a work of art, everything carefully cut with burn piles stacked so as to ignite but do no harm aside from burning the understory of 75 years of buildup, which was considerable as you can imagine. All of the work was hands on, we figured it must have kept a dozen diligently working at it over a fortnight, you could see daylight now.

          Conditions have to be just right to ignite and the the burn boss let ‘er rip I think in November after MK is shut down for the summer with 2 locked gates only accessible to cabin owners and NPS.

          I didn’t hear about it until the following spring how it went, and what occurred was the prescription strength was a wee bit too much having gone over the planned parameters by as much as half a mile in places overlapping the trail from Atwell Mill to Hockett Meadow for around 300 yards, including the scorching of a trio of Giant Sequoias along the trail-including a dozen foot wide model you can walk through-thanks to previous brushes with flames, the newfound scorch marks were 25-30 high and the broccoli top still green years later… but it didn’t survive the KNP Fire, and that’s right as far as the KNP Fire went as luck would have it and it’s a goner now, rip (as if you have a choice)

          The rear echelon of the KNP Fire line obliterated most everything in it’s wake above the east fork of the Kaweah, but the vanguard ran outta ammo when it ran into Rx.

          I’m glad that shift happened.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Was reading up about the Crimean war the past few months and in some ways, you could say that it was the Vietnam of those days – but with a severe icy winter tossed in. Allied incompetency was actually cancelled out by Russian incompetency, which was not good news for the troops no both sides. When it came time to negotiate a peace to finish it, the British wanted to keep the war going but as by then the majority of the soldiers in Crimea were French, they had no choice but to agree. There was no question back then that Crimea was a part of Russia but now the “west” wants to pretend that it belonged to the Ukraine all along.

      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, Rev.

        Lord Cardigan owned an estate around where I live, mid-Buckinghamshire. I live on what was one of their tenant farms. There are roads and pubs named after the family.

        There are Mauritian villages and roads named after Sebastopol and Inkerman. All of these interesting names have been retained, including Edith Cavell in Port-Louis.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Thank you Colonel. We have a few places named after Sebastopol and Inkerman here in Oz too. Then again, in the 19th century we were so into the British Empire that we named two of our States for Queen Victoria – the States of Victoria and Queensland. I guess that Vicky was tickled about this personally.

  18. Wukchumni

    Our former teetotalitarian leader calling Elon a ‘bullshit artist’ is rich in irony, but for once the Donald might actually be telling the truth which isn’t his style.

    The idea that Musk has been oh so quiet online the past fortnight is quite telling in it’s own way. What sort of effect would the collapse of his ’empire’ have on the economy?

    1. anon y'mouse

      he’s been too busy introducing half of his pod of children to the Pope.

      which should make everyone wonder. i had no idea the Pope was just like Hill & Bill. what next? “Dinner with the Pope”?

      what’s the church’s stance on cloning?

    2. Michael Ismoe

      When a New York City real estate tycoon calls you a “bullshit artist” is that praise or condemnation?

      1. ambrit

        It’s just professional courtesy.
        (As an example of the degradation of the Google, I just looked up the spelling of a word and got a first page of results consisting of all ads for businesses using that word in their name. It’s like rushing to find out what to do for a rattlesnake bite and getting pages of ads for herpetologists.)

  19. anon y'mouse

    i can’t see those telegram posts the Saker has up, because it’s not an app i use.

    does anyone have a link to a screenshotted version or a text rundown on what is shown?

  20. Tom Stone

    The allegations about Hunter Biden’s involvement in biowarfare research through his investments appears well documented.
    Last week it was Joe leaving a voicemail on Hunter’s phone about one of Hunter’s business schemes that was attracting too much attention.
    WW3, illegal sanctions that are causing a worldwide depression, inarguable evidence that Biden lied about never talking to Hunter about Biz deals (Shocking news!), a pandemic raging uncontrolled,inflation in basic goods…
    Heckuva job,Joe.
    Can the USA move on before Joe decides to find out what that big red button does?

  21. begob

    Ben Wallace, currently in the running for Tory leadership, kicked off his war with a rah-rah pep talk about how the Brits made the Russians run away in Crimea in the 1850s. That triggered some tart online remarks about the Light Brigade, and how the Brits were chastened by French superiority.

    1. The Rev Kev

      The UK is writing checks that their Army can’t cash. They are already down to an abysmal 82,000 troops but now Liz Truss wants to cut them back a further 10,000 troops to 72,5000 troops. Hell, there are about 55,000 people in the UK Salvation Army. Just to put that number into context further, there are currently about 182,000 people in the US Marine Corps-

      1. Wukchumni

        Truss but verify, and really no reason why the kettle wardens in the Salvation Army couldn’t be pressed into service unless there is a war on cash, rendering them useless.

      2. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, Rev.

        There are more estate agents / realtors than soldiers :-). That tells you a lot.

        In 2019 and 2020, leadership candidate Jeremy Hunt, son of an admiral and relative of the queen mother, Anthony Blunt and Oswald Mosley, refused the post of defence secretary, saying it was not important and preferring to chair a backbench committee.

        1. ambrit

          Ouch! How the mighty have fallen! A Mosley refusing a military related office?
          Time for a return of the BUF? (British Union of Financiers.)
          It’s a curiously evocative example of the incestuous nature of the English “Upper Classes” that.
          Stay safe. Enjoy the great outdoors, (preferrably at a track,) as much as you can.

          1. Colonel Smithers

            Thank you, Ambrit.

            I hope Phyllis and you are ok.

            I was at Newmarket for a long week-end, their July meeting and when racing switches from the Rowley Mile to the July Course.

            An all weather oval is planned for the town.

            Vineyards are going up around there, too.

            1. ambrit

              Vinyards, in Suffolk. If there was any question about Global Warming, this will dispell such doubts.
              In Roman days, I have read, the climate was in a warm spell and so encouraged viticulture. Now, warm times are back, and so is domestic wine production.
              I wonder if Brexit is a net plus for British Vinyards or a net minus.
              Looking at a map, (I must admit I had to look up the physical location of Newmarket to assess the vinyard comment,) I have to laugh at the pseudopod thrown westward by Suffolk to envelop the town, [The cynic in me says it was all about the tax revenues.]
              An all weather oval now. That is a big endeavour. I wonder of a part of the gaming taxes from the project will be hived off as “future profits” for the developers.
              Phyl says hi and to enjoy yourself. She’s not a Sybarite, but does partake of some the easy going nature of the New Orleans culture. (The place isn’t called the “Big Easy” for nothing.)

              1. Colonel Smithers

                Thank you, Ambrit.

                In terms of domestic consumption a plus, but production and quality are increasing, so Brexit is a minus. Add the availability of labour and techies, Brexit is another minus.

                Vineyards are going up in Shropshire, Yorkshire and the west country, too.

                The garden of England, Kent, has a wine garden route, but the plan is to extend the route from Kent to the Cotswolds.

                The big landowners around Newmarket, the Earl of Derby and the Duke of Sutherland, are at odds with the Jockey Club, another big landowner, over some housing developments. The town is caught between the two.

                The town has long wanted to join Cambridgeshire. Cambridge is expensive and has a commuter belt that extends to Norfolk and Bedfordshire.

                1. Revenant

                  The greensand ridge runs both sides of the Channel. In France, it is under Champagne. Guess who has buying up the cooler northern ridge between the Kentish Downs and East Devon…?

    2. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you.

      He wasn’t good enough to go to a proper school, Millfield being a bit of a joke, and staff college.

    3. David

      It was the professionalism of the French officers that really shocked and impressed the British, and led to the wholesale reforms of the British Army under Cardwell (and indeed the Northcote-Trevelyan reforms of the public service as a whole). The Light Brigade fiasco was actually caused by incompetent staff work.
      Don’t they teach anything at Staff College these days?

      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, David.

        If you think that is bad, how about the subalterns rising in the Tory party, none good enough to make staff college?

    4. Wukchumni

      It’s difficult to imagine Boris leading a charge of the right brigade, but there’s no telling how a stiff upper lip will do combined with a quivering lower lip.

      1. ambrit

        I’d almost prefer Flashman to Boris if it came to it. That’s a book Fraser never wrote, “Flashman at Whitehall.” That would have been a fun read.

  22. Michael Ismoe

    War in Ukraine: Lech Walesa suggests “reducing” Russia to “less than 50 million inhabitants”

    What is it about the Nobel Peace Prize that turns its recipients into mass murdering psychopaths? Kissinger, Obama and now Walesa – I guess Hitler is next (right after Zelensky).

    1. digi_owl

      Sadly the prize have been a way for Norway to signal its allegiance to the North Atlantic zeitgeist ever since WW2.

    2. hunkerdown

      The “Make a Desert Prize in Memory of Publius Cornelius Tacitus” doesn’t have quite the same ring to it.

  23. The Rev Kev

    ‘Old Blighty’

    Personally I suspect that a major factor in the demise of Boris was his obsession with Zelensky and the Ukraine, no matter what the cost to the UK. The last time he went to the Ukraine, he should have been really attending to important party business but just blew it off to go visit Zelensky instead. The reason that I mention all this is that earlier I was listening to The Duran and Alexander Mercouris said that about the very last thing Boris did before going out the door of No. 10 to resign in public was to – wait for it – was to ring his buddy Zelensky.

    1. ambrit

      “..ring his buddy Zelensky.” Probably to tell Zed that the safe house at No. 10 was no longer usable.

    2. digi_owl

      Makes you wonder what tail it is that wags the dog these days.

      Zelensky seems to have a downright crazy amount of pull.

      1. foghorn longhorn

        He’s just a barking dog clown,
        this has deep state fingerprints all over it.
        USA can’t print money fast enough for that hellhole.
        Should be a hot war by September.

      2. Alex Cox

        Perhaps he, Bojo and colleagues share a common propensity for a certain expensive powdery stimulant?

    1. Wukchumni

      Over there, Uber there,
      Send the word, send the word over there,
      That the leaks are coming, the yank is coming,
      The stock short-running everywhere.
      So prepare, say a prayer,
      Send the word, send the word to beware,
      It’s over, we’re talking over,
      And taxis will come back when it’s over over there.

    2. Glen

      Never forget that Amazon got started as the web site where you didn’t pay sales taxes, and then morphed into sucking off the government teat with AWS (which propped them up for years before normal Amazon made a profit):

      10 years of government cloud innovation with AWS GovCloud (US)

      That’s the “innovation” in the “business model”: ignore the law, suck up government bucks whenever possible, and just don’t ever pay your fair share:

      Amazon Avoids More Than $5 Billion in Corporate Income Taxes, Reports 6 Percent Tax Rate on $35 Billion of US Income

      But no reason to harsh on gangsters – I think they generally have a sense of honor which seems to be completely lacking in places like the C suite of Uber or Amazon.

      1. digi_owl

        Now you got me wondering how much under the table money Microsoft, Amazon, Google etc are getting in order to stay on top of the market.

        After all, it provides the TLAs and inside edge.

        Also put a new spin on the bruhaha around Huawei etc…

  24. Mikel

    Looking at all the Uber stories.
    NC, have you called Hubert Horan?

    Title of his next piece can be: “I Told You So”

  25. ChrisRUEcon


    “It’s All Over But The Crying” (The Ink Spots via YouTube)

    And perhaps the crying hasn’t started yet, but yeah … he’s done. I see no way out for him, regardless of midterm results. One need only contrast all the “best economy/recovery ever” nosh coming from the POTUS Twitter account to the results of the poll in the article, eg:

    Among those who are typically working age — voters 18 to 64 years old — only 6 percent said the economy was good or excellent, while 93 percent rated it poor or only fair.

    He and his administration have failed at EVERY important task, and worse yet, have led the country and the west to brink of super-power confrontation with global inflation of energy and food as a side effect. He deserves to hard boot!

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      As dumb and cruel as Biden is, I feel a great deal of his failures are the result of valuing his perceived friendship with Joe Manchin over any other policy accomplishment.

      1. ChrisRUEcon

        > valuing his perceived friendship with Joe Manchin over any other policy accomplishment

        … or what I like to call “compromise as capitulation”. Biden’s not alone in this, and Manchin is not the only excuse – see also Biden/McConnell, Schumer/McConnell, Pelosi/McConnell. Democrats are feckless in trading voter-demanded, working-class outcomes for glass beads from the GOP.

        1. hunkerdown

          It’s not compromise, it’s unity. There is expected to be a positive affect in that image of the two warring gods consummating an agreement on something. It’s not glass beads, it’s white smoke. Habemus Legem and refund the police, or something.

          I say, mock it like 1950s media mocked everything not white and middle-class.

          1. ChrisRUEcon


            Hahaha! Funny, you should mention that word … I tweeted once:

            #Unity is an empty capitulation to the political and economic interests of America’s ruling class.
            #Solidarity is the embrace of shared struggle through experience and empathy across multiple, diverse demographics.

            I get what you’re saying, and it has to do with rhetoric – the words chosen by those trying to manufacture consent; but “unity” IS “compromise”, which by extension is “capitulation”. So much of this country’s malaise is exactly this – the horrible both-sides-ism of there supposedly being some benefit to “breaking bread” with the oppressor, when there is none.

            And yes, I do mock it.

  26. antidlc

    Not in any way discounting the effectiveness of paxlovid and the critical need to increase distribution, but creepy to see Pfizer executives salivating in an earnings call about how lifting public health measures will cause transmission to rise and increase demand for treatment

    PFE.N – Q1 2022 Pfizer Inc Earnings Call
    EVENT DATE/TIME: MAY 03, 2022 / 2:00PM GMT

    And so when you think about what has happened in the U.S., you now are beginning to see that happen around the world as well. We see that
    demand is increasing. You heard Albert speak about how countries that have purchased from us are now coming back with reorders. You’re also
    seeing in, across many countries, how they are changing their eligibility for criteria for PAXLOVID as well as the number of sites where PAXLOVID
    can be accessed, much like what we’re seeing here in the U.S.

    So I think when you add all of this up, what we are seeing is the fact that there is demand for this product. We also see that the social — the removal of the mask mandate, the social distancing requirements that have been removed. You also know that in the EU that just in the last week, they’ve
    removed the emergency period of the EUA. That means that people are going to get out there.
    We know with all of that, infections are going to increase, and that’s the role that PAXLOVID can play.

    So we’re intently focused on working with national governments, state governments, in helping them to educate, to take great lessons learned from around all the different countries to help them to utilize PAXLOVID. And importantly, what we’re also seeing is that it’s not as — we don’t have any inventory on hand. Every dose that we produce is being shipped out and is being ordered. So I think all of these give us a lot of confidence that there is a demand for PAXLOVID. We know what we need to do to support the utilization of PAXLOVID, and we’ll continue to drive that throughout the year as we anticipate further surges in COVID infections

    We are one seriously messed up country.
    Every day I feel like we’re getting punched in the gut. Every day.

    1. antidlc

      And there’s this:

      Mikael Dolsten
      – Pfizer Inc. – Chief Scientific Officer and President of Worldwide Research, Development & Medical
      It was a very good response from Will. So I’ll just add as we do surveillance of patients in very large databases, and we have access to more than 300,000 PAXLOVID treated. In one of the databases, we have reports of this happening in less — in about 0.005% or less, which is less than 1 out of
      3,000 treated patients. So overall, it’s quite uncommon. But as Will spoke about, it’s not really related to PAXLOVID but more to the individuals that then need to clear the virus. And it is a virus that can either reinfect patients or that can be reservoirs left in the patients.

      Now what we also learned is that for some patients, immunocompromised, they may carry this virus for a very, very long time. And we see that area as a real new opportunity growth area for PAXLOVID to do very well, where you may need to take multiple courses over a year or even treat with extended duration, and that’s something we’re now planning to study in order to expand the use of PAXLOVID where it may be the most appropriate and life-saving drug.”

      Yes, our “health care system ” is profit-driven, but, to me, reading these comments in black and white really is depressing.

  27. Irrational

    Re. ” Plant-based meats” and ” Le Pen blasts reverse effect of anti-Russia sanctions”:
    Is plant-based meat really important when most of Europe seems to be moving to coal to guarantee energy supplies? Bizarre when Le Pen (or Orban) are the ones who make most sense among our European politicos.

  28. Wukchumni

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — Two people were killed and three were wounded in shootings at four 7-Eleven locations in Southern California early Monday morning, authorities said. At least three of the four shootings are believed to be linked to the same lone gunman.

    The shootings appear to have occurred after predawn robberies or attempted robberies at the four convenience stores on July 11, or 7/11 — a day when the national 7-Eleven brand is celebrating its 95th birthday by giving out free Slurpee drinks.

  29. spud

    loved the Keen/Hudson link. everything i predicted what would happen from 1993 onwards, has happened.

  30. RobertC

    Biden Administration

    I’m thinking it was Yellen’s Department of Dumb Ideas Treasury who proposed seizing Russia’s $300B rather than Daleep Singh: Failure to implement Russian oil price cap could jack up oil prices -U.S. official

    TOKYO, July 12 (Reuters) – The global price of oil could surge by 40% to around $140 per barrel if a proposed price cap on Russian oil is not adopted, along with sanction exemptions that would allow shipments below that price, a senior U.S. Treasury official said on Tuesday.

    …The goal was to set the price at a level that covered Russia’s marginal cost of production so Moscow is incentivized to continue exporting oil, but not high enough to allow it to fund its war against Ukraine, the official said.

    …Yellen is using her first trip to the Indo-Pacific region as treasury secretary to build support for the proposed price cap on Russian oil and answer nagging questions about its efficacy if India, China and others now buying cheap Russian oil don’t participate.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      The original story was the White House dreamed it up (in <3 hours) and consulted no one. Remember that Russia recognized the LPR and DPR Feb 21 and the US launched its sanctions Feb 22, with some more IIRC Feb 23.

      1. bwilli123

        From an interview with the EU’s point man on Russian sanctions, Björn Seibert. It would appear the confiscation of Russian deposits was planned out earlier.

        “The West also had to launch its attack against the Russian central bank faster than planned. In late February, government headquarters in Europe and the U.S. began receiving indications that the Kremlin had begun withdrawing assets from Western banks and monetary authorities.

        They had to move quick to shut down the Russian reserves. No one grasped that more quickly than Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, who vehemently promoted the plan, especially in conversations with the reluctant U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.

        In the early morning of Feb. 28, two hours before banks opened, the West moved to freeze Russian assets worth hundreds of billions of dollars. Although the reserves in Japan initially remained untouched because the sanctions decisions had not arrived there expeditiously due to the time difference, the seizure of Moscow’s central bank was probably the West’s most effective blow to date.”

        1. The Rev Kev

          Thanks for that article. When you read that article and put in the missing chunks that Der Spiegel leaves out on purpose, we in the west really come out as the bad guys here.

        2. RobertC

          bwilli123 — thanks for that quote. The Daleep Singh attribution was halfway plausible with Biden’s dysfunctional foreign policy staff but the scope seemed more like central banker size. Yellen’s “reluctance” is her work style that keeps her safe when things go wrong.

  31. The Rev Kev

    “Van Ghosts”

    ‘And now we can comfortably reap the benefits that poor Vincent never could, sweating out his lonesome visions on the blank canvas, hoping someday that someone will try to see him in full.’

    An episode of Dr. Who showed Van Gogh seeing his work being appreciated. Never forgotten it- (3:26 mins)

  32. BillS

    Tangential to the Ukraine situation: Patrick Lancaster has not posted anything to his Youtube channel for 8 days. Does anyone have any news about him? (Hopefully he is OK.) Graham Phillips is still active.

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