Links 7/27/2022

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.

* * *
560 million-year-old tentacled creature may be the animal kingdom’s first known predator Science Daily. Cthulhu?

Baffled scientists discover ‘perfectly aligned’ holes punched into the ground 1.7 miles below the surface of the Atlantic Ocean that look like human-made excavations Daily Mail. R’lyeh?

Climate

The energy system transformation needed to achieve the US long-term strategy Joule. Final sentence: “Creating better alignment between models and the on-the-ground realities of specific national contexts is key to supporting long-term strategies to achieve emissions reductions goals.”

Unprecedented Heat And Stressed Grids Make Dangerous Power Outages Increasingly Likely HuffPo

Colonial Pipeline now says it spilled 2 million gallons of gasoline in NC — 31 times greater than original estimates The Pulse

#COVID19

Still vax only, but with functional vax:

 

But:

 

* * *
The Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan was the early epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic Science. With handy maps. “We show the earliest known COVID-19 cases from December 2019, including those without reported direct links, were geographically centered on this market. We report that live SARS-CoV-2 susceptible mammals were sold at the market in late 2019 and, within the market, SARS-CoV-2-positive environmental samples were spatially associated with vendors selling live mammals. While there is insufficient evidence to define upstream events, and exact circumstances remain obscure, our analyses indicate that the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 occurred via the live wildlife trade in China, and show that the Huanan market was the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

* * *
Some schools hit hard by virus make few changes for new year AP

43% of parents with young kids say their children will ‘definitely not’ get COVID vaccine ABC

* * *
Assessing the effectiveness of public health interventions for Covid-19 in Greece and Cyprus European Policy Analysis. A model for NPI effectiveness. From the Discussion: “Our model shows that NPIs work. They have the desired effect, lowering the number of new cases, but their effects only show up in the medium to long term (4–6 weeks). That is good news from a public health point of view but not from a political perspective. Politicians know well that NPIs that ‘save’ lives also economically ‘harm’ them. NPIs are unpopular, especially long-lasting ones, because of the severe impact on a country’s economy and social life, and the potential political costs involved. We show that the tradeoff is very harmful because the country bears the economic cost first before it sees the public health benefits. As the pandemic lingers, the tradeoff becomes less beneficial because of ‘NPI fatigue’ and citizens may comply less. Our study shows economies are resilient, and they do, on average, bounce back, but that assumes public aid, for now, and similar levels of compliance to NPIs. If NPIs are significantly relaxed, the public health benefits may dissipate with unpredictable economic consequences.:

Increasing ventilation reduces SARS-CoV-2 airborne transmission in schools: a retrospective cohort study in Italy’s Marche region (preprint) arXiv. From the Abstract: “We need high ventilation rates (> 10 L s−1 student−1) to protect students in classrooms from airborne transmission; this is higher than the rate needed to ensure indoor air quality. The excellent agreement between the results from the retrospective cohort study and the outcomes of the predictive theoretical approach makes it possible to assess the risk of airborne transmission for any indoor environment.”

Workplace Perceptions and Experiences Related to COVID-19 Response Efforts Among Public Health Workers — Public Health Workforce Interests and Needs Survey, United States, September 2021–January 2022 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, CDC. From the Abstract: “Approximately 40% of the workforce intends to leave their jobs within the next 5 years…. Purposeful succession planning and focused attention on recruitment and retention that promotes diversity will be critical as the workforce rebuilds while the COVID-19 pandemic evolves.” Please join us, we’re time-serving losers who permanently infected a continent.

Biogen agrees to $900 million drug kickback settlement on eve of trial and Prosecutors say FBI trainee stole tips from lawyer-girlfriend to trade on Merck deal Reuters. Sensing a pattern here.

Monkeypox

U.S. Leads Globally in Known Monkeypox Cases, CDC Says WSJ USA! USA!

China?

George Gao Fu, head of China’s CDC who helped lead coronavirus pandemic response, stepping down South China Morning Post

Senate report: Chinese officials attempted to infiltrate the Fed for over a decade Axios

Myanmar

Research highlights the institutional abuse of Myanmar foot soldiers as root cause of human rights crisis Mizzima

More violence in Myanmar feared as junta’s executions send ‘ruthless’ message to Asean South China Morning Post

Addiction and crime – How the “Okinawa System” harmed island’s residents Okinawa Times

Syraqistan

Now is the time to save the Iran nuclear deal FT

The law professor who set out to dismantle Tunisia’s democracy WaPo

UK/EU

London’s Square Mile Struggles to Find Its Way in Brexit Britain Bloomberg

Sunak vs Truss: a battle between two failed economic policies Mainly Macro

Hungary’s economic woes force Viktor Orbán to bow to EU and investors FT

New Not-So-Cold War

Russian Breakthrough in Donetsk, August Decisive Month in War, Russia Dials Down Gas Flow to Europe (video) Alexander Mercouris, YouTube. Shoutout to NC at 14:31.

* * *
Oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky, under FBI probe, stripped of Ukraine citizenship Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Seems like a desperate move, just as the plot to steal a Russian airplane was a desperate stunt. Exciting times at the House with Chimeras! For more on Zelensky, Kolomoisky and his Azov goons, see NC here.

Servant of the Corrupt Consortium News

* * *
Black Sea and three musketeers Indian Punchline

21st Century Order Patrick Lawrence, Consortium News. Moscow/Teheran meeting: “[P]art of a long-in-the-making project that will connect Russia, Iran, and India by sea, road, rail, and, eventually, a very significant Iran–to–India oil pipeline.”

Nato’s latest expansion plan could be beginning of the end as waning West targets ‘Russia threat’ South China Morning Post (Re Silc).

* * *
Risks, mined waters slow rush to extract grains from Ukraine AP

Can Europe get through winter? Hellenic Shipping News

* * *
Russia says it will leave the International Space Station after 2024 Space.com

Portrait of Bravery: Ukraine’s First Lady, Olena Zelenska Vogue. Surely Zelenskx?

Biden Administration

US military making plans in case Pelosi travels to Taiwan AP

Biden administration working behind the scenes to convince Pelosi of the risks of traveling to Taiwan CNN. Not very effectively, it would seem:

 

>

The National Tragedy of Hunter Biden’s Laptop The Tablet

Capitol Seizure

Justice Dept. Asking Witnesses About Trump in Its Jan. 6 Investigation NYT

Why Trump Can’t be Prosecuted for “Dereliction of Duty” Counterpunch

Healthcare

How Polio Crept Back Into the U.S. ProPublica

Big Brother Is Watching You

National Security Search Engine: Google’s Ranks Are Filled with CIA Agents Mint Press

Sports Desk

He’s Baseball’s Only Mud Supplier. It’s a Job He May Soon Lose. NYT

Zeitgeist Watch

5-year-old in a Chucky costume terrorizes unsuspecting people in an Alabama neighborhood Today

Chess Robot Grabs And Breaks 7-Year-Old Boy’s Finger During Match Science Alert. And so it begins.

Guillotine Watch

Fear and loathing in Aspen Politico and Aspen’s World War III Rumblings (excerpt) Julia Ioffe, Puck. Puck is pay-walled, but I don’t think I need to read any more.

Class Warfare

Behind the investigative report on child labor allegations at Hyundai Alabama plant NPR

Francis Fukuyama Is Right: Socialism Is the Only Alternative to Liberalism Jacobin

Scholars: In Lieu Of Hell, Unbelieving Introverts Will Be Sent To A Business Networking Event That Lasts Forever Babylon Bee. Unmasked.

Antidote du jour (TS):

Phoebe is lovely little girl that came to visit several years ago and decided to stay. Her favorite hobby is to make a racket at 3 am on anything she can bang on. A door, a box, a bedroom dresser and she’s on it. After she wakes everyone she goes back to bed to finish her sleep.

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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

160 comments

  1. Steve H.

    So many crises, so little time. An infinity of inf*ckitudes.

    Janet and I are in agreement, we’re at the point where we hope there are some supervillains behind the scenes, because if this is the best good-faith effort humanity has, we’re going to need a lot of moisterizer.

    Reply
    1. griffen

      On occasion we receive updates on the Rapture Index, often in the afternoon but not a daily report. More an indicator of the consistent all time f*ckery happening in the US and globally.

      I insist the Rapture index maximum of 189 is an artificially low bar. Laugh, cry, or drink thyself to happiness.

      Reply
        1. griffen

          I wish it was more a satirical suggestion, like the satire of a Mel Brooks film. Sadly I can’t take credit for knowing about the existence of such an index.

          Reply
  2. griffen

    Five year old dressing like the Chucky doll. Take note of people’s interest, and get thyself a You Tube channel pronto. Switch things up and get a hockey mask – Jason Voorhees come to life (again, and again…and again).

    Or the other better trending option to promote one’s branding and image, so forth.

    Reply
    1. dougie

      When I saw this link, I immediately sent it to my breeder friends! I told them that they would win my “Parent of the Year” award, usually reserved for parents with quiet kids at restaurants and brewpubs.

      Excellent recommendation on the occasional switcheroo with Jason!

      Reply
  3. Colonel Smithers

    Thank you, Lambert.

    Further to the Brexit link, this month, I have been approached this month by banks in the Netherlands, Switzerland, Italy (choice of location: Milan HQ, Turin, Bologna (sic) and Rome), Slovenia and Croatia. The banks are desperate for techies, regulatory in my case, and looking in London, especially as activity is moving from London, not just because of Brexit (and regulatory pressure from home to do so and UK incentives to stay), but with the UK’s prospects being so dim. Apart from Switzerland, which insisted on an EEA passport, the others are happy to sponsor and were not bothered by the fact that I only speak English and French.

    Pay is keeping pace with and, in the case of the Italian giant, exceeding London. Pay is falling in London.

    If readers are interested, I am happy to share the contact details and for Yves and Lambert to share my private e-mail address.

    Reply
    1. ChrisRUEcon

      Wow. How far London finance tech has fallen. When I first traveled to London as a techie in the late 20th century, Finance IT was huge. A friend of mine held the distinction of being one of the few female Un*x sys admins working in the Barbican at the time. She was making six figures in pounds! In the 90’s! Gone are those halcyon days …

      Reply
      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, Chris.

        That’s true about technology and finance and regulatory technology. London is losing its lustre. The UK market is too small and in decline. In addition, services do not form part of the UK/EU27 (Brexit) agreement, so firms can’t be based in London and market to and service EU27 clients.

        I apologise profusely for the confusion. I should have clarified that by techie, I meant technicians in whatever field, not just technology. IT, legal, financial, compliance and reporting specialists are highly sought after.

        It’s interesting that you mention the Barbican. It’s interesting to observe the change in profession of the residents of the complex in the last few years. In addition, firms that have nothing to do with finance and, years ago, could not afford to be based in the City are now moving in big numbers. Most firms in Tower 42 / Natwest Tower and around Finsbury Square and Finsbury Circus have nothing to do with the City.

        Reply
        1. ChrisRUEcon

          > I should have clarified that by techie, I meant technicians in whatever field, not just technology. IT, legal, financial, compliance and reporting specialists are highly sought after.

          Thanks Colonel, not surprised that the wider technical fields are similarly affected.

          Reply
        2. Stephen

          I fear you are right with respect to services. My gig for the past two decades or so has been consulting, based in London, although from this year I am now more in “portfolio” mode.

          The post Brexit regime has certainly made it much harder to service EU based clients from London, and I do sense a shift in the centre of gravity. When I graduated from a US B School in the late 90s I could actually earn more by moving back to the U.K. and I recall how low continental consulting salaries were compared to London ones in the late 90s. Some of that was exchange rate related and never reflected fully in purchasing parity but it was real. These days, London salaries / total packages are if anything lower.

          The PE boom, on the back of cheap money, has been papering over the cracks in London based consulting for a long time. It generates huge business for DDs and transformation. I do wonder how long that will continue if inflation and interest rates rocket.

          Mainstream U.K. political discourse really has not caught on at all to these issues.

          Reply
      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you.

        If an opportunity arises in France, I would be interested. I was mightily tempted by Italy.

        I have elderly parents and no longer other siblings or, unlike Mauritius, relatives nearby, so would rather be near them.

        Reply
    2. The Rev Kev

      Man, that would be a big change. Switzerland may be more of a hassle if they are insisting on a EEA passport but at least you would be able to put your French to use as about a quarter of that country uses it as their first language. Might be wise to exit now, stage right, and avoid the rush that will develop later on. If you do make the move, I hope that you will update us on how things are going. I think that a lot of people here would be very interested. You may find, however, that the horse-racing in Switzerland may need getting use to-

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_KqiVe06FMA (1:45 mins)

      Reply
      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, Rev. I have not forgotten your kind thoughts and words when made redundant a year ago.

        The quality of life would be good in Switzerland, but the cost of living, even for a bankster, is steep.

        I think the UK is in for many. many tough years ahead. It’s interesting to note how immigrants or their adult children notice it more and are alarmed by it more. There’s no mainstream political appreciation of the danger.

        Reply
    3. Glossolalia

      Colonel Smithers, I am interested in hearing more. I am in tech and contemplating a move from the US. I have UK citizenship but to your point I’ve found the salaries significantly lower than the US. My wife has Austrian citizenship so we could theoretically move anywhere in the EU relatively easily, but even better if I can get easy sponsorship. I’m in the same boat, too somewhat, language-wise. Fluent English, simple conversational French.

      Reply
    4. Jack Parsons

      A friend is a major fan of the Slovenes. She traveled through all of the FSB countries, and the Balkans, after the fall and said Slovenia was her favorite country of the bunch. She said the people were just pleasant, calm, get-it-done folks.

      This was part of (legit) work for an NGO, a San-Francisco-based outfit that another friend also worked at.

      Reply
  4. Sardonia

    “Chess Robot Grabs And Breaks 7-Year-Old Boy’s Finger During Match”

    Not the robot’s fault. The kid hung his rook! Set it right down where the robot’s bishop could snag it. Robo got all excited and the kid left his fingers on his rook. Any good blitz chess hustler in Washington Square would’ve done the same thing to him. :)

    Reply
    1. JAC

      I think the robot was actually desperately clutching on the boys finger as a signal to help him get out of the prison of playing chess all day.

      I hate chess.

      Reply
      1. jr

        Agreed. It’s insanely boring. If that robot ever achieves sentience it will immediately attempt suicide. I tried for years to get into chess because everyone was telling me how rewarding it is but I finally realized I couldn’t care less.

        Reply
        1. digi_owl

          Been my thing with all kinds of classic board and card games.

          Yet they say it would be perfect for my kind, because it demands detailed thinking…

          Reply
          1. lyman alpha blob

            Try cribbage. Fun and fast moving game so it doesn’t take all day, plus you can gamble with it.

            Reply
      1. ChiGal

        or, famously, “this is what you get when you f*ck a stranger in the ass [smashes bat down onto windshield]”

        according to the Guardian coverage of the incident, the kid failed to wait until the robot arm was fully retracted before making his next move

        Reply
    2. digi_owl

      Yep. Watching it in slow motion, the robot removes a piece to the basket, then picks up another to put in its place, but by that time the kid has moved another to the same location, and do not move their hand out of the way when the robot blindly puts the pieces it i carrying down.

      The robot in question is industrial pick and place unit, one normally meant for placing components on bare circuit boards or similar. No proximity or blockage sensors, only blindly following programming. Usually they will be walled off in a factory setting, with very clear and direct instructions not to enter while in operation.

      What is frustrating to me is that we spend all this time looking for higher cognitive functions on electronics, yet we never stop and actually observe how humans and animals behave.

      Because if we do so, we notice that there are multiple layers.

      Our hearing for example have various filters and such that will make us either ignore persistent sounds over time, or respond without cognitive thought if a loud sound should appear near us suddenly.

      And similar for our vision, and why some of us have instinctual phobias against anything snake or spider looking.

      I was watching a video of someone testing their Tesla’s automatic avoidance system the other day, and it struck me how for some reason the Tesla programmers had spent time making the system able to ID the object in front of it. Not just going “OBJECT IN PATH! AVOID AVOID AVOID!”, but actually trying to decide if it was a traffic cone, office chair, BBQ grill, or whatever.

      Reply
      1. Polar Socialist

        In my musings on the issue of cognitive machines I tend to eventually hit a form of the Halting Problem: since the machine will in most cases have incomplete information available (just like humans), we should have an algorithm can deal with “missing data” and yet come to a decision – and accepting as one solution that there may be no valid decision (and here comes the Entscheidungsproblem).
        All this means that according to Turing it’s darn right impossible to build a machine that can reliably operate on (randomly) partial input. Unless we teach them imagination to fill in the missing parts. So we would have a self-driving car that is ‘scared’ to drive in the night, since anything (OBJECT) can jump right in front of it (AVOID) from the darkness…

        Reply
  5. Gordon G

    Who are they to say that @SpeakerPelosi shouldn’t go to Taiwan? The Chinese Communist Party doesn’t get to dictate the travel schedule of the Speaker of the House. pic.twitter.com/lRns82b476

    So very disappointed to see Rep Khanna make such a stupid tweet. Has he drunk the establishment Kool-Aid on China bashing?

    As noted in another article here on NC the President certainly does get to dictate though in all likelihood he won’t.

    Reply
    1. hunkerdown

      Their job is to promote and construct a world that includes a desperate working class allowed neither to starve nor escape. Elections are religious rituals of mass subordination and antagonism, not arenas of citizen power.

      Reply
    2. Louis Fyne

      Politicians, even ostensibly “progressive,” have the mentality of 11 year-old boys—“my dad can beat up your dad.” “your dad can’t tell me what to do.”

      Reply
    3. curlydan

      Both Khanna and Pelosi are from California, so they probably have a bunch of Taiwanese donors banging on their doors or Chinese-Americans raging against “communism”. It’s still not acceptable to promote the trip, but Pelosi’s $$$ first culture encourages it.

      Reply
      1. ThePodBayDoorsAreClosed

        More likely they see the end of the Ukrainistan arms merchant extravaganza in sight and are lining up the next host country for Pax Americana festivities. So think of it as a trade delegation, preparing for lots of sales of the main things America manufactures these days, namely incredibly high-tech tools for killing people. I just don’t think that geo-strategy and politics enter into it very much any more, when Occam’s says that it’s just filthy evil disgusting blood money

        Reply
    4. anon y'mouse

      dig deeper. he’s craptastic on tons of other things, and has proven himself a tool that likes to sound “progressive”.

      which is exactly why the Dems developed that brand back in the 90s.

      Reply
    5. Katniss Everdeen

      This sounds like some 13-year-old pitching a “You’re not the boss of me” hissy fit.

      Meanwhile, back at the united-states-of-gratuitous-provocation ranch:

      Officials told The Associated Press that if Pelosi goes to Taiwan — still an uncertainty — the military would increase its movement of forces and assets in the Indo-Pacific region. They declined to provide details, but said that fighter jets, ships, surveillance assets and other military systems would likely be used to provide overlapping rings of protection for her flight to Taiwan and any time on the ground there.

      “It is very possible that … our attempts to deter actually send a much different signal than the one we intend to send,” Cozad said. “And so you get into … some sort of an escalatory spiral, where our attempts to deter are actually seen as increasingly provocative and vice versa. And that can be a very dangerous dynamic.”

      Reply
      1. Pat

        A better deployment of assets would be to inform Pelosi her home owners insurance has been cancelled since her insurer has also been told that there are multiple drones positioned to take out her house with an all expense paid trip to Disneyland for the operator whose drone takes out her freezer the moment she leaves continental US airspace.

        Reply
      2. Anthony G Stegman

        China ought to simply declare its own ADIZ around the island of Taiwan. Thereby any aircraft approaching the island, be it military, commercial, or private, will be escorted away from the island. Carrier based aircraft can return to their ship, while Pelosi’s aircraft can turn around and head back to the US. Perhaps the Air Force will kindly provide aerial refueling along the way back to DC.

        Reply
    6. notabanker

      Their hubris knows no bounds. This is the hill they are going to die on with China? What a bunch of morons.

      Reply
      1. Katniss Everdeen

        I must have missed the part where the u.s. is no longer dependent on China for things that keep the show going like car parts and antibiotics and burning coal to make things so that “we” can pretend to be going “green.”

        I mean wtf is this about?

        Reply
      2. ChrisRUEcon

        > Their hubris knows no bounds.

        This … this … this …

        It effectively blinds them from the consequences of the emerging multi-polar world that’s going to upend everything they’re desperately clinging on to on the global stage.

        Reply
        1. jsn

          Wily Coyote isn’t “clinging” to anything when he finds himself in mid air over the Grand Canyon.

          So it is with these: 0 self or situational awareness, doing what they do at ecstatic pace, high on power, until the abyss opens up.

          Reply
    7. anon in so cal

      Ro Khanna is a neocon. Khanna lavishly praised Tony Blair and Bill Kristol.

      https://twitter.com/RoKhanna/status/1192183719928442887?s=20&t=kEtUrbWicUmd5jamkjP0zA

      https://twitter.com/RoKhanna/status/1417178450893365259?s=20&t=iNL3emr6JZ3Y5pCvFRXRYQ

      “Following reports from Sludge on the members of Congress who own stocks in defense contractors and fossil fuel companies, Congressional Progressive Caucus member Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) announced that his spouse, Ritu Khanna, would divest from assets in those industries.

      Khanna announced the defense stock divestments in December 2020 and the fossil fuel stock divestments in October 2021, making him one of the only members of Congress whose household has committed to steering clear of industries they find problematic.

      But months later, Ritu Khanna’s trust continue to buy and sell stocks in both the fossil fuels and defense industries. ” —Real Sludge

      Reply
    8. Oh

      I strongly support Nancy going to Taiwan on the condition she never comes back. She could take Ro with her.

      Reply
  6. Toshiro_Mifune

    The National Tragedy of Hunter Biden’s Laptop
    From the article;
    But none of these powerful and experienced men, presumably dedicated to defending the national interest, lifted a finger to stop Hunter Biden—and really, how could they?
    That’s a fair question…. I suppose I could come to the conclusion that they didn’t want to.
    Is Hunter nothing more than an unaware intelligence asset acting as a kind of honeypot for China and kompromat for Joe? Did they not do anything because he was functioning they way they intended?
    Honestly, anyone with even sub-moderate observational skills would have looked at Hunter several years (decades) ago and quietly steered him away from any close proximity to his father for anything other than holiday dinners. He’s a very loose cannon. And yet, there he is.
    The more I think about it the more I’m willing to entertain the idea that he’s just a tool for manipulating his father. Obviously there’s a lot of caveats here… but…. I don’t know, there’s a lot of questions to be asked here as well.

    Reply
    1. Tom Stone

      The coverage of Ashley Biden’s Diary is much less intense,but the contents are also very disturbi
      “Pedo Pete” on top of the hair sniffing videos and the revelations in Ms Biden’s diary that she regularly showered with daddy as a child…
      WTF?
      Just how depraved is the Biden Family?

      Reply
    2. Katniss Everdeen

      And what choice did American security agencies have? They couldn’t stop Hunter, who had his father’s blessing. So they spied on both of them.

      “They” could’ve stopped hunter anytime “they” wanted. A little fentanyl in his drugs would have ended him once and for all, and no one would have questioned it. “Intelligence” assets are no strangers to such “solutions.” But “they” didn’t. Instead “they” let him stumble into some computer shop and turn over his loaded laptop to some random guy, in a mental state in which he “forgot” about it later. My guess is somebody knew what he’d done, and the laptop was allowed to languish for months on purpose, while the repair guy looked at what was on it to get this whole thing going.

      This story is inevitably framed as a “hamstrung, subservient” intelligence apparatus protecting the powerful and colossally corrupt biden family because they have no other choice. But the real upshot is that the “intelligence” apparatus owns; lock, stock and barrel; the most feeble, inept, unpopular administration ever “elected,” and can bring it down at anytime. And despite the undeniable senility of the “president” and the gross incompetence of his pants-suit-wearing sidekick, any actions they take still pack the power of the presidential punch.

      It seems to me that getting control of a barely alive “chief executive” lugging so much slimy, debauched baggage as biden, is just the kind of thing that gets american “intelligence” operatives salivating. And portraying him as omnipotent enough to keep them in their place is just the kind of joke they like to tell the people they’re manipulating.

      There’s been a “coup” alright, but it has nothing to do with the electoral college, or guys in Halloween costumes and MAGA hats seeking to “overturn” the “election.”

      Reply
      1. Kilgore Trout

        Excellent point. Ever since the days of Jedgar Hoover, the FBI and the CIA have vied over which could get the most dirt on presidential candidates, for use at opportune times when presidents might be tempted to veer off the straight and narrow MICIMATT path. What happened to JFK when he tried to off ramp is always an instructive first lesson for incoming presidents.

        Reply
    3. LifelongLib

      I guess those Twilight Zone asylums where the rich stash their ne’er-do-well progeny don’t really exist. Someplace they could have anything they want but never leave…

      Reply
    4. Redacted

      I’m no fan…

      But the Democrats impeached a US president because he wanted to look into Hunter Biden.

      I mean Trump asked Zalinsky to do it too, which was just telling the wrong guy! Think I know the whistleblower!

      Its been too coincidental to me that Biden got us into an economic talespin over this whole thing and I wasn’t even paying much attention.

      Trump was dumb but Biden always meant war in my mind.

      Reply
    5. lentil

      Yes, lots of questions need to be asked, but — why would you describe the son as an “unaware tool?” Look who he was working with, his clients, look at which foreign countries, look at how much money he was making. You could call him many things — shady, corrupt, maybe even evil — but “unaware tool”? I’m no fan of the man, but — I don’t think so.

      What if he’s very aware? We’re supposed to believe that this guy drunkenly left such a compromising laptop behind at the shop to be discovered and used against his dad’s presidential campaign? Yeah, right. That story was 100% bogus from the beginning.

      Theory #1: What if the son was instructed to leave the laptop there? Because someone needs a very public scandal to hold like a gun to the future president’s head as long as is necessary? First the story had to be suppressed in order to elect him and get rid of 45. Then the story is gradually leaked so they can either pressure him to do what they want, or eject him when he’s no longer useful.

      Theory #2: What if the son intentionally left the laptop there because he WANTED it to be discovered? Why? Because somebody else already had that data, and he knew they would either blackmail in the future or were already trying to blackmail. Making the data public destroys the blackmail potential, but also could have destroyed his dad’s presidential bid. But maybe it was the least bad choice? A risk he had to take, for reasons we can never know?

      Finally, maybe he didn’t do it in a fit of drunken carelessness? Maybe he needed the liquid courage to force himself to do what had to be done?

      (Note: I’m just an armchair news junkie; please don’t kill me, CIA.)

      Reply
        1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

          Dude went on a 13 day no sleep Crack and Vodka binge…

          HFS!!!!

          I think it’s safe to safe he got paranoid af one day, blacked out, and brought the laptop to the repairman.

          Reply
  7. The Rev Kev

    “Portrait of Bravery: Ukraine’s First Lady, Olena Zelenska ”

    Without even reading a word I knew what she would be asking for – more weapons. And so it was. But in reading this article, it reads like that she was thoroughly prepared with rehearsed, talking points designed by a top flight media team. Her calling the massacre at Bucha as an extermination makes me wonder. Does she really know what went on there? Or is she just going with the narrative. Anyway, I will limit myself with one observation. When she was photographed on that staircase in that article – isn’t that the same one her hubby was photographed on a few months back?

    But for myself, all I can say to her is ‘Madame, you’re no Jacqueline Kennedy.’

    Reply
    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Turning a war, fer chrissakes, with all its destructive and deadly ramifications, into a fashion photoshoot, complete with “stylists” and hair and make-up credits, is unspeakably twisted.

      Particularly the pic of her with the “female soldiers” at some wrecked airport.

      I’m wondering if the “mobile version” of the story contains those “innovative” links that you can click on to instantly buy the “look.” jeezus h. christ, how low can america actually go.

      PS. That photo at the airport looks like she’s been photoshopped in to me.

      Reply
    2. jr

      In a related vein, I saw a recent photo of Zelensky sans the OD green T-shirt of Courage. Instead, he was wearing a collared OD button up shirt of obvious military provenance. That’s one less shirt for his under equipped forces. I’m curious to see what he will be wearing when he flees to Miami in the very near future.

      Reply
    3. pjay

      Today’s most disgusting link competition was a tough one. Between this article, Julia Ioffe (anything by her usually wins with me), and the Ro Khanna tweet, it was a difficult decision. But after forcing myself to read the article, the sheer quantity of barf-inducing passages in the Vogue piece won me over. Photos by liberal icon Annie Leibovitz was just icing on the cake. Surely even Vogue readers can pick up on all the manipulative references to suffering children, Mother’s Day, etc., etc. etc. — can’t they?

      Maybe they could assign a correspondent from Teen Vogue to provide just a *little* more real information.

      Reply
      1. pjay

        I almost forgot. Thanks, Lambert, for re-posting your earlier piece on Zelensky and Kolomoisky. It was a much-needed brain cleanser after subjecting myself to the Vogue article. A highly recommended antidote.

        Reply
      2. Brunches with Cats

        Truly vomitous. The title alone was two fingers down the throat, but I wanted to see if the photos were as bad as I imagined and so bravely clicked on the link. Calling them war porn would be too polite. As I was scrolling down, my eye caught this quote:

        Zelenska’s most relaxed moments in our conversations came when she recalled the years before the war and before the presidency. Going to an Adele concert in Lisbon. Driving with friends to Kraków to see Maroon 5. Traveling to Barcelona for a weekend. Watching movies as a family. (They’ve watched Forrest Gump “millions of times,” and she loves Legends of the Fall and The Bridges of Madison County.) Like everyone in Ukraine, she wants a normal life again.

        If it’s any consolation, the Twitter comments are scorching. https://twitter.com/voguemagazine/status/1551901521180229632

        Reply
    4. Socal Rhino

      A continuation, I think, of “this isn’t some barbaric place, these are people who look like us” from the early days.

      Reply
  8. KD

    Kolomoisky action sounds like big news, he has been the big chief for a long time. However, I assume if he is extradited, he’d have to get the Jeffrey Epstein treatment before he spills the beans on all the U.S. politician’s “Ukrainian investments.” Maybe some initials and the Ukrainian national security types can just arrange for an accident–what happens in Ukraine stays in Ukraine after all.

    Reply
    1. Darthbobber

      Nothing says “defenders of freedom and democracy” like stripping people of their citizenship with a mere stroke of the president’s pen, without even the fig leaf of any legal process.

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        The Ukraine is essentially a dictatorship so you would expect stuff like this to happen, even if the west still calls it a “democracy”. But I was just watching a Gonzala Lira video about two people – Alina Lipp and Graham Phillips. Alina Lipp is a German citizen who, because she is filming what is really going on in the Donbass, has been told by the German government that she will be going to prison for three years for that crime if she returns. Her bank account has been seized as well as that of her father. Graham Phillip is a British citizen who has been doing the same for several years and has been threatened with the same treatment. So at what point did “democracies” like the UK and Germany turn totalitarian? And they are not alone in doing this sort of stuff.

        Reply
        1. Tom Stone

          There’s a reason for that velvet glove, replacing it with a calving glove as the US and UK have done has consequences that take time to play out.
          It will get uglier.

          Reply
      2. Brunches with Cats

        > with a mere stroke of the president’s pen …

        I’m assuming the link to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article came, directly or indirectly (you’re welcome), from a comment I posted in yesterday’s links. I noted at the end of that comment that the publication I linked to didn’t break the story, but I didn’t explain that I did so because it contained background and links to other articles that provide context necessary for understanding how this event relates to the economic and political upheaval in Ukraine.

        As Lambert notes in his March 8 article, there are too many ratholes in this landscape to go down. I think we’re going to have to, though, if we hope to have any real understanding of the forces powering this train wreck. I’ve been doing my best to find information and to fill in some of the gaps in lengthy comments, all the more time-consuming, as I’ve been battling gradual cognitive decline for the past 10 years. There are times when I kick myself for not shutting off the computer to get outside, work on my latest (non-writing) creative project, or play with my feline roommate (still sick :-( ).

        Anyway (sorry for the digression) … Darthbobber, this development is part of an ongoing “program,” for lack of a better word, to rein in the oligarchs, whom Western interests see as an impediment to economic development — translation: They’re competing with Western multinationals, particular U.S. corporations, moving into position to buy up Ukraine’s prime farmland and state-owned enterprises being readied for privatization. As such, “deoligarchization,” as Blinken so clumsily put it, is being demanded by the IMF and other lenders as a condition for providing Ukraine with loans to keep it from default. It appears that Zelensky simply has chosen the highest bidder.

        I’ll try to post more later, if anyone is interested.

        Reply
        1. HotFlash

          Yes please, I’d like more, please and thank you. Regards to your brunch companion, hope s/he is feeling better soon (or whichever of you is still sick…)

          Reply
          1. Brunches with Cats

            OK, you’re on! Might be a while, though, and intermittently. Kitty (he) went to the vet two weeks ago, still no diagnosis. And poor guy had a bad reaction to the rabies shot (I didn’t want to do it until we had other problems under control, but vet insisted, “state law”). And then somehow he ended up with an abscessed paw, I suspect due to clawing frantically to escape the Crate of Death while being transported. Now he’s limping. He’s a big, gorgeous guy. I’ve been trying on and off for years to get an antidote photo, but he has some kind of camera radar, turns his back or hides before I even pull out the phone to point and shoot.

            Anyway, more when I can. Thanks for asking.

            Reply
    2. CheckyChubber

      I thought they were probably striped of citizenship was as a favor to them. This way the future Ukr courts wouldn’t have jurisdiction on their property, after they flee to Israel.

      Reply
  9. Lexx

    ‘Fear and Loathing in Aspen’

    I’ve been to Aspen in the summer, also Vail and Winter Park. There was no air-conditioning up there in any of the places we stayed. Ask the concierge for a fan and he/she will give you a blank look like they’d never heard that request before. All day the buildings of those ski resorts gather heat in the upper elevations and release it slowly come nightfall. Opening a window does no good. You can’t get cool while you sleep and that makes for cranky people come morning… engaged in discussing national security.

    Probably took their own fans… or they’re vampires. Ever heard of a vampire complaining it’s too hot?*

    *I don’t understand the constitutions of those in national security, so I’m inclined to mock them.

    Reply
    1. Lexx

      “Hot” vampires don’t count: they’re all “hot”. Just seems to be one of the upsides of the virus… that, and immortality.

      Reply
  10. The Rev Kev

    “Nato’s latest expansion plan could be beginning of the end as waning West targets ‘Russia threat’”

    Good news, everyone. When NATO’s secretary general Jens Stoltenberg steps down next year to devote his attention to Norway’s economic future, another person’s name has already been floated as a possible replacement – outgoing British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. That would be unintentionally hilarious that-

    https://www.rt.com/news/559682-johnson-uk-nato-ukriaine/

    Reply
    1. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you, Rev.

      I wouldn’t take that Johnson kite flying seriously. Former civil servant Mark Sedwill, who perhaps former UK official David knows, and former PM Theresa May have also been suggested. However, there’s resistance from the likes of France and Germany to have Brexiteers who are accused of weakening the west at the helm of NATO. Cameron’s kite flying provoked howls of derision. Cameron is bored in the Cotswolds and Cornwall.

      The City and Wall Street are licking their lips at the prospect of taking the Bank of Norway and its sovereign wealth fund to the cleaners under the less than inspiring and suspected US stooge Stoltenberg.

      Reply
    2. Tom Stone

      Considering the state of NATO BoJo the clown seems like an appropriate choice.
      Perhaps he’s overqualified?

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        Hmmm… “Insane Clown Parliament?”
        “Bootsy, meet Boris.”
        “Yo, s’up?”
        “Boris, meet Bootsy.”
        “I have to meet your tailor!”
        “Like the movie says: ‘I think this the beginning of a beautiful friendship.'”

        Reply
    3. David

      The British had their turn with George Robertson (1999-2003) and I don’t think internal NATO politics would allow another British candidate so quickly, irrespective of their ability.
      The current Deputy SG is a Romanian (the post was a fiefdom for Italy for a long time) and the Chairman of the Military Committee is from the Netherlands, so I suspect the hunt is on for a former Defence/Foreign Minister from one of the eastern NATO states, given the current excitement over Ukraine.

      Reply
  11. Henry Moon Pie

    So I began my morning with some of my new harvest, the Tao te Ching and “Links,” a sort of 60s version of the morning Christian devotional. I wanted to share some of the stew that resulted from that encounter (a baked stew, of course).

    In Chapter # 66, Lao-Tzu says that wise people talk to others “from below.” Now I don’t think what’s meant is the kind of condescending talking down to that we get so much of in our society. Instead, Lao-Tzu explains what he means in # 64 where it is written that the wise “learn not to be learned.” This is all part of what the sage meant when he writes about “to lead and not to rule” in #10.

    There is a kind of leadership that is exercised by talking to people “from below,” a manner that does not assume the speaker’s authority over or superiority to the listener. Ideas are presented with neither condescending slickness nor intimidating expert jargon, but with a vulnerability to the judgment of the listener that evidences a true humility on the part of the speaker. It is the opposite of the PMC’s idea of leadership which is to hide the shallowness of their thinking and the corruption of their ethics behind the cloak of authority. We hear the speaker’s finger wagging vigorously in every spoken and even written word.

    So what does it mean to “learn not to be learned?” At the least, it must mean to discard the tone and even the diction of “the learned.” How annoyed many of us have become by the current diction of “the learned!” If there is a better way to put people off, I don’t know what it is.

    Maybe what Fukuyama (great Jacobin piece) is doing is an attempt at learning not to be learned, at least climbing out of the hole of neoconservatism that Strauss lured him into. Good luck to him. It’s no easy task in a culture so obsessed with credentials and ranking.

    Reply
  12. The Rev Kev

    “Scholars: In Lieu Of Hell, Unbelieving Introverts Will Be Sent To A Business Networking Event That Lasts Forever”

    That article forgot to mention what happens to Extroverts when they go to hell. They wake up in a sensory deprivation tank. Alone – with only their thoughts.

    Reply
    1. wol

      I/We’ve been through this before. ‘First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.’ Odds are steeper this time.

      Reply
      1. Oh

        Unless millions participate they’ll ignore, laugh and fight you and we’ll make no progress! Unfortunately, most people in the USA are too self centered or afraid to take part. SAd.

        Reply
        1. Late Introvert

          Um, they taught us that peaceful protest doesn’t work. They also don’t respond to violent protest. That leaves revolution and that will happen on its own time and place.

          Reply
    1. Jason Boxman

      I remember during Iraq and Afghanistan, when PBS News Hour listed KIA soldiers every single evening; This went on for years and years. Granted, for this many dead for capitalism, it might take most of the program to list them all.

      No such treatment for the fallen of an entirely preventable Pandemic that can be ended at any time.

      Reply
    2. Lee

      Assuming the data have been accurate, we were losing about half that number for quite some time. A sudden doubling, if the trend is sustained, is even more alarming than the previous two thousand deaths per week we seem to have found to be the acceptable price of “living with Covid”.

      Reply
    1. Tom Stone

      Masks are for servants, plebes.
      These are experts, the best and the brightest!
      Do what they say and pay no attention to what they do.

      Reply
    2. ChiGal

      I am confused by the sudden jump in publicity around the idea that we need vaccines that prevent transmission. No duh!

      I gathered from reading the articles linked here and the comments from the Covid brain trust that no such vaccine was even possible with a novel coronavirus and everyone should have known it.

      glad if they are acknowledging the limitations of the current vaccines but is a magic bullet vaccine even a real thing?

      and if not, the disregard for NPIs is unconscionable…

      Reply
      1. antidlc

        ‘and if not, the disregard for NPIs is unconscionable”

        i agree.

        I can only tell you what is going on in my little corner of the world:

        1)People are not aware of the number of cases and hospitalizations.

        2) Many have had COVID and think they won’t get it again for at least a couple of months. Some think they just won’t get it again. I had to send some links to a friend of mine to inform her that she could get re-infected within weeks.

        3) People are not aware of long covid being a problem. They don’t know anyone who has had lingering issues. Everyone they know who has had COVID recovered, so they don’t think COVID is a big issue.

        In my county, reported cases are rising rapidly, yet when I go for grocery pickup, I see very few people wearing masks.

        Still waiting for someone to wake me up from this nightmare.

        Reply
      2. Basil Pesto

        Intranasal/inhaled vaccines confer mucosal immunity rather than cellular or humoral immunity. The virus attacks the mucosa and my understanding is that immunity at these sites has the potential to be considerably more effective at stopping transmission for a longer period of time than intramuscular vaccines.

        Not forever though. So what will happen is what happened with the current ones (which were a square peg for a round hole from the beginning). They’ll be launched, many will be encouraged to get them and many will (but, of course, many won’t, as a consequence of the lost trust of the last 3 years), and there’ll be a brief respite. But nothing else will be done, as the concept of public health has been more or less completely shredded in the western/developed world. So we’ll simply be kicking the can down the road and the virus will re-emerge, having since evolved to be able to avoid the immunity conferred by the first round of intranasal vaccines.

        iirc Lambert has dedicated a couple of posts to intranasal/mucosal treatments.

        Reply
    1. fresno dan

      Adam1
      as you asked, so I will give my view on why stuff like this happens. IMHO, the American legal system is akin to poker. Poker, although a game of chance, it still is heavily weighted to a player with a bigger pot (i.e., more money to wager with). Tesla has the funds to hire more skilled and more connected lawyers, and the financial resources, to wage an ongoing and expensive legal battle. The car owner does not. It took me a long time to realize that all that bullsh*t I was taught in school about equal justice under law was just that – bull$hit. Tesla does not fear the legal system – Tesla uses the legal system.

      Reply
      1. Oh

        You’re absolutely right! We have no justice system. Only a legal system where money wins. Same with our corporate system.

        Reply
        1. jsn

          Like everything else, we have a legal market.

          If “because markets” doesn’t work for you, “go die.”

          Crassus was a neoliberal visionary and crass is the neoliberal vision.

          Reply
    2. GC54

      Tesla would state that buyer of the used car should sue seller for misrepresenting it. Perhaps Tesla should switch to subscription model … if you want more battery capacity this month, you pay and Tesla unlocks it temporarily.

      Reply
  13. The Rev Kev

    “Risks, mined waters slow rush to extract grains from Ukraine”

    If I was a ship’s captain, I would be extremely wary about going into one of those three ports. The fact of the matter is that if the Ukrainians saw a propaganda value in seeing a ship struck by a sea-mine that they could try to pin it on the Russians, then they would do so in an instant. Or maybe an artillery/drone attack that they could also blame on the Russians but which they themselves would do.

    Reply
    1. Polar Socialist

      Maybe the fact that Ukraine has already imported more than it did last year – and both Ukraine and Russia are predicting bigger than normal harvests this year – is making the risk not really worth it?

      It’s not like the world is starving right now. One would guess that high diesel price and lack of fertilizer will hit only next harvest/season/year. Much smaller risk to either wait for a few months or load your ship in Rostov and claim it’s Kazakh grain via Caspian Sea.

      Reply
  14. fresno dan

    https://www.animatedtimes.com/hes-a-hypocrite-piece-of-sht-matt-damon-reportedly-took-payment-in-dollars-instead-of-crypto-currency-for-promoting-crypto-distances-himself-after-crash/

    fortune favors the brave
    fresnodan’s corrollary: fortune disfavors people who swallow everything advertisers say
    In Sacramento, there is a pedestrian tunnel between old town Sacramento and newer Sacramento. On the walls are painting of “illustrious” founders in California history. Going beyond my public education, all of these guys were cheats, grifters, liars, and all around dispicable people.

    Reply
  15. The Rev Kev

    “Russia says it will leave the International Space Station after 2024”

    Yeah, this article is not giving the full picture here and astronaut Scott Kelly set the tone when he said ‘I think the Russians will try to stay as long as they can afford it. Gives Putin needed credibility domestically and internationally.’ There has been some friction on the ISS lately. The US was enraged when two Russian cosmonauts displayed the flags of the two Donbass Republics and the Russians were enraged when one American astronaut took his oath to the US Space Force when the ISS is supposedly a civilian op. Anyway the fact is that the Russian sections have the vital boosters needed for the ISS as in-

    ‘Right now, Russia “provides all of the propulsion for International Space Station used for station reboost, attitude control, debris avoidance maneuvers and eventual de-orbit operations,” according to a March FAQ on NASA’s website.

    Meanwhile, the US provides power via the station’s solar arrays and some of the life support systems.

    That means that if Russia goes through with the pullout, NASA will have the daunting task of devising ways of keeping the aging station in orbit on its own without Russian boosters.’

    So if Russia pulls the plug on their own involvement, then it is unlikely that the US would be able to develop and deploy the boosters needed for that station, even if Elon Musk said that he would be able to do that. There is simply not the time. And when the ISS is brought down into the Spacecraft cemetery, the only space station in orbit will be the Chinese one. And it was only about 11 years ago that the US banned the Chinese from going to the ISS. Big mistake that. Huge. And before long the Russians will have the beginnings of their space station aloft-

    https://futurism.com/russia-quitting-iss-no-schedule

    Reply
    1. Polar Socialist

      According to Russian commentators (like Mikhail Kotov in Vzglyad), it’s more about Russia moving from international collaboration towards national space station a la China. The main driver seems not to be the USA this time, but EU with Germany shutting down eROSITA telescope on the Russian Spektr-RG space observatory and ESA canceling ready-to-launch ExoMars mission.

      So, from 2024 Russia will gradually withdraw from ISS and concentrate on it’s own space exploration program and collaboration with friendly countries. If Russia had a space station of it’s own, it could possibly just leave from ISS, but since it doesn’t have one yet, it’s kinda forced to remain there for now.

      Reply
    2. Leroy R

      “…it is unlikely that the US would be able to develop and deploy the boosters needed for that station, even if Elon Musk said that he would be able to do that.”

      Will these extra tasks distract Elon Musk from colonizing extra-terrestrial bodies so that prison labor can extract whatever goods may be available, like helium on the moon? And pretty much taking over USA’s space program…

      Reply
    3. digi_owl

      DC has for years been talking about defunding the station as well.

      Back before SpaceX had man rated vehicles, so everyone hitched a ride with the Russians.

      At this point it seems like Europe is left holding the bag, again.

      Reply
  16. The Rev Kev

    “560 million-year-old tentacled creature may be the animal kingdom’s first known predator”

    A fascinating story this. I read elsewhere that this fossil was found in Charnwood Forest near Leicester and that this was the area that David Attenborough used to go fossil hunting when he was much younger. But he said that he never went to where that fossil was found as the geology was so old, ‘everybody knew’ that there was nothing to be found there.

    Reply
    1. ambrit

      The Elder Scrolls do state that Cthulhu came to Earth in ages past, before most life arose on this pitable, degraded ball of magmatic crud. That the “experts” classify this discovery as a predator shows that they have read their Pnakotic Fragments assiduously.

      Reply
      1. malchats

        Seeing the Cthulhu and R’lyeh references almost made my day.

        Almost, because seeing the names led me to idly search for the correct wording of the famous quote…and then when I clicked on the images tab I immediately went insane from one look at what I saw…

        Reply
  17. Dr. John Carpenter

    Does anyone else feel like Pelosi is kind of showing who wears the pants in this government with her Taiwan trip? It seems there are ways to prevent her from going if that’s really what they want. And has there ever been a president more impotent than Biden? Regardless if it’s Manchin, Sinema or Pelosi, he can’t even keep the members of his own party in line, let alone getting a Repub to bend to his will. Absolutely pathetic.

    Reply
    1. ambrit

      Future historians, if there are any, will classify the Biden term as a “Caretaker Government” between the two Trump Administrations.

      Reply
      1. Michael Ismoe

        He started his term as FDR and ended up as Benjamin Harrison. (Although William Harrison might be the more appropriate model.)

        Reply
      1. ambrit

        She probably sat around listening to Biden ranting yet again about his dim son and got a sudden hankering for good Chinese food.

        Reply
        1. Mildred Montana

          “…dim son…”

          That’s good!

          I’ll add:

          Old Pelosi:. I scream for ice cream!
          New Pelosi:. I long for wonton!

          Reply
    2. digi_owl

      I can’t stop thinking about how the Chinese empire fell, with infighting between eunuchs and mandarins in the forbidden city.

      In particular as USA seems to fret more and more about a modern “eunuch” class.

      Reply
  18. JohnM_inMN

    Servant of the Corrupt

    This was also in Links on 7/23. Yves made the following comments at that time:

    Servant of the Corrupt Consortium News. Important, but I am concerned when I see errors. In 2013, the EU offered an association deal to Ukraine. I believed Russia offered some sweeteners to its existing deal too. There likely were also private sticks and carrots applied to then Ukraine president Yanukovich. Yanukovich said he intended to sign the EU deal. However, Ukraine had an existing tariff-free deal with Russia. Having an EU association deal with the EU would mean EU goods could enter Russia tariff-free via Ukraine but Russian goods would not be able to go into the EU tariff-free. Putin told Yanukovich, “You are free to do whatever you want, but Russia isn’t paying for it,” as in he could kiss his existing trade deal with Russia good-bye because Russia. The existing trade between Russia and Ukraine was large, and tariff barriers between Russia and Ukraine would do more harm to Ukraine than the benefit of EU access, at least for quite a few years. Putin offered to have three way talks with the EU to try to find a solution but the EU refused. Yanukovich paused, not exited, the EU deal while he looked for a remedy.

    The Consortium News piece incorrectly states: “But Yanukovych changed course and accepted a counteroffer from Moscow, a moment that became the flashpoint for a color revolution.” As you can see, Putin made no “counteroffer” and Yanukovich did not “change course” but stopped in his tracks.

    Reply
    1. Brunches with Cats

      She was right to be concerned. I left a couple of long comments to that effect, unfortunately too late to contribute anything to the discussion. Meant to add more, got sidetracked, still working on it. In the meantime, I’ve been wondering, why the sudden rehash of an outdated Zelensky-Kolomoisky narrative? Another commenter posted a link to a similar piece in Covert Action. Makes me wonder if there’s a concerted effort to get K out of the way before the land grab starts. Or whether the ascendance within the Ukraine government of a competing oligarch has anything to do with it (not mutually exclusive) — because, despite all the handwaving, it’s doubtful that Western powers really want to get rid of all the oligarchs and their suitcases full of cash. They just want to make sure the “right” ones are in place when opportunity strikes.

      Reply
    2. The Rev Kev

      It should be mentioned that if the Ukraine had signed up for that EU association deal with the EU, that it would have before very long wrecked the Ukrainian economy. It was a poison poll offer which was why the Ukrainian President went with the Russian off instead, thus enraging the EU leaders.

      Reply
  19. flora

    File under class warfare. From Ann Pettifor:

    Grain Inflation: Starve the Poor, Feed the Rich

    In a world of financialised globalisation, prices of food, vital to the very survival of human beings on all the world’s continents – are not determined by the simplistic laws of supply and demand.

    Prices are determined by a wall of money wielded by relatively few, invisible speculators and aimed at largely unregulated global grain markets.

    Central bankers have scored several massive ‘own goals’ by using monetary policy to contract economic activity, and thereby, they argue, reducing inflation. It does not occur to them to cool inflation by regulating and disciplining speculators – whose activities have triggered global inflation.

    https://annpettifor.substack.com/p/grain-inflation-starve-the-poor-feed

    Reply
    1. jr

      In that vein, here is Rising with a discussion of the economic woes in the US and the semanti-nomics the WH is engaging in. I think Briahna does a good job of pushing back against the guests wiffle-waffle language:

      https://youtu.be/X0pfiFvBvbs

      I forgot the name of that new official at the WH but talk about a dead eyed void of a human being. He is shown counseling the press and the citizenry that while times are tough, at least it’s not a famine. Where do they find these monstrosities?

      Reply
      1. flora

        Thanks for that link. The WH and a think tank “redefining what a recession is” is a perfect example of our “best and brightest” symbol manipulators going off the rails.

        I’m rereading Lasch’s 1995 book “The Revolt of the Elites”; this para about the Clinton admin’s Secretary of Labor Robert Reich seems on point.

        Only in a world in which words and images bear less and less resemblance to the things they appear to describe would it be possible for a man like Reich to refer to himself, without irony, as secretary of labor or to write so glowingly of a society governed by the best and brightest. The last time the “best and the brightest” got control of the country, they dragged it into a protracted, demoralizing war in Southeast Asia, from which the country has still not recovered. Yet Reich seems to believe a new generation of Whiz Kids can do for the faltering American economy what Robert McNamara’s generation failed to do for American diplomacy: to restore, though sheer brain power, the world leadership briefly enjoyed by the United States after World War II and subsequently lost not, of course, through stupidity so much as through the very arrogance — the “arrogance of power,” as Senator William Fulbright used to call it — to which “the best and brightest” are congenitally addicted.

        Seems like a good description of our political “best and brightest” and their governmental appointees and attendant think tanks.

        Reply
        1. jr

          When language needn’t correspond to any type of shared reality, anything can mean anything. Check out the kids on Tik-tok who refer to themselves as frogs:

          https://youtu.be/D0bxfwN28TE

          Then those with the loudest voices and the biggest platforms get to define things. This is the very real danger that voices like Judith Butler and her ilk present. It’s also one of a number of reasons why studying philosophy is of urgent import. It’s why a hatred of philosophy is so widely inculcated.

          The odious DeGrasse Tyson mocks it, literally while engaging in it. I’ve read pronouncements from the proponents of self-crashing cars exclaim that philosophical niceties like who the AI will kill in a “pick your victim” scenario can be ignored in favor of “good engineering”, which is exactly the problem. Politicians have always lied and engaged in word play but when that nebulosity becomes the go-to epistemology for popular discourse…..

          Reply
          1. hunkerdown

            Obviously the correct answer is to hit the richest one, to free up resources for working humans. /s

            Wait. Why do persons need to be compared or valued at all, much less by a robot? Is it that people are too narcissistic to understand that, to other interests in the world, one count is as good as any other, or, even worse, want their robots to value them and post apologies on Twitter when their number is up? The whole question is meant to valorize vanity, arrogance, and self-identity. We need to ask why people like them are allowed to waste our time and mold our minds with trolley problem framing instead of free action.

            Reply
          2. flora

            Who knew the infamous phrase ‘that depends on what the meaning of “is” is’ was the start of openly manipulating/changing of the definitions of important words? (Anytime someone changes the definition of a well defined word in order to win an argument, I think they are lying. They are not mistaken or confused, they are lying.)

            Reply
    2. digi_owl

      Because most economists stick to the loanable funds theory, even if the likes of the Bank of England has publicly dismissed it.

      And in that theory, only the central bank, acting as buyer of government bonds, can introduce new money into the economy. All the rest are doing are shuffling existing money around, or so they claim.

      In the end the eternal problem of humanity may well be that we have no clue what to do with youthful energy any more.

      Back before we started growing grains that energy would be burned off by going effectively walkabout, staking a course towards the horizon and living off whatever was found along the way.

      As humanity became farmers, that energy was instead directed inwards, building things, clearing more farm land, or war over existing land.

      Now that energy seems to end up on the day trading floors, or the casino…

      Reply
  20. Carolinian

    Some good links today. Thanks Lambert. Sampler from Tablet

    But none of these powerful and experienced men, presumably dedicated to defending the national interest, lifted a finger to stop Hunter Biden—and really, how could they? He was Joe Biden’s son, after all. And by doing nothing about him, the pillars of America’s intelligence community became the curators of the Biden family’s scandal.

    When Trump started asking questions in 2019 about Hunter and his father, prompted by Joe Biden’s public comments about protecting Hunter’s business associates abroad, it became clear that the only way to contain the mushrooming scandal involving key U.S. interests in Ukraine and China—a scandal whose magnitude they had known about for a decade—was to provide the former vice president with all the resources the U.S. government could muster. And that helped make him president.

    Using Hunter as a symbol of our ruling class may be an exaggeration. But in the age of Epstein not to mention Matt Lauer there’s a distinct odor emanating from the halls of power where people seem to think they can get away with anything. What were the Dems thinking, putting the dubious Biden in charge, other than they could get away with that too. Clearly their main concern was possible turncoat and reformer Bernie Sanders. As in all mafia movies rats must be rubbed out.

    Reply
  21. Quigley

    “We show the earliest known COVID-19 cases from December 2019, including those without reported direct links, were geographically centered on this market.”

    Wasn’t the quickly demolished lab nearby? The amount of lies that come out of this administration mean whatever the “intelligence professionals” plant in media will be doubted, whether it’s true or not.

    The first information to come out usually reveals the truth. Subsequent versions, especially in the New York Times are massaged.

    May 28,2020
    https://www.livescience.com/covid-19-did-not-start-at-wuhan-wet-market.html

    Those darn Indians need to get onboard!

    https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/international/world-news/china-to-build-more-bio-labs-amidst-questions-over-wuhan-labs-role-in-coronavirus-origin/articleshow/82104699.cms?from=mdr

    Reply
  22. Pat

    Phoebe is gorgeous!

    And of course the staff has to be kept on their toes. What if she wants a treat or a cuddle… ;D

    Reply
  23. Amfortas the hippie

    re:AP on the bad cinnamin buzzing our innocent warplanes.

    “Prior to pulling into port in Singapore, the strike group was operating in the South China Sea. In addition, another Navy ship, the USS Benfold, a destroyer, has been conducting freedom of navigation operations in the region, including a passage through the Taiwan Strait last week.”

    this…having studied things like, say, geography since i was a toddler…is akin to China doing maneuvers off of Galveston….”Freedom of Navigation” sounds noble, until one considers a Chinese armada patrolling the Laguna Madre, or Sabine Pass.
    that this isn’t an obvious provocation in the eyes of the foggy bottom/langley/arlington crowd is astounding.
    “walk a mile in the other guys shoes” should be the starting place for any rational foreign policy.
    out here in the hinterlands, any new neighbors who behaved in that way would be shot.

    Reply
    1. digi_owl

      As i understand it, Pentagon claims they can do this because USA never signed a UN charter regarding territorial waters.

      Reply
      1. Amfortas the hippie

        lol.
        i remember something along those lines, from the Bush Darkness.
        analogous to me turning my sheep into neighbor’s yard, because it wasn’t specified that this was a no no.
        i mean..i didn’t drive them into the neighbor’s house, so what’s the problem?

        Reply
  24. jr

    Apologies if this was linked recently but I don’t think it was. Breaking Points discusses Kablah-blah’s latest staff departure. Her speechwriter has bailed after four (4) months:

    https://youtu.be/gKgYZNqcoZ8

    Can you imagine trying to write for her? You would need a dictionary that excludes words with more than three syllables. And then she wings it anyway? Picture trying to get work after that gig:

    Interviewer: “So, tell me about your experience!”

    Interviewee: “I was Vice-President Kamala Harris’s speechwriter…”

    Interviewer closes the folder and smiles wanly.

    Reply
  25. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Baffled scientists discover ‘perfectly aligned’ holes punched into the ground 1.7 miles below the surface of the Atlantic Ocean that look like human-made excavations

    I don’t know what caused these undersea holes, but I have recently watched a carpenter bee make a hole under the eave of my garage that looks like it was made by 1/2 inch electric drill, complete with wood shavings on the ground underneath.

    Reply
  26. The Rev Kev

    And in today’s Clown World story –

    ‘EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has complained that he’s less popular with the Western media than Russia’s top diplomat Sergey Lavrov.

    In an interview with Spanish radio station Cadena SER on Tuesday, Borrell touched on the Russian foreign minister’s recent tour of Egypt, DR Congo, Ethiopia and Uganda, saying: “Lavrov goes to Africa and tries to persuade the Africans that sanctions are to blame for all that’s happening… and the whole of the Western media repeats it.”

    “I go to Africa to say the opposite, that sanctions have nothing to do with it, and nobody picks it up,” he lamented.’

    https://www.rt.com/news/559708-borrell-lavrov-africa-eu/

    Reply
    1. Roland

      Re: Lavrov in Africa

      “Le Caire-Moscou : Renforcer les relations stratégiques”

      https://hebdo.ahram.org.eg/News/37329.aspx

      I found it refreshing to read some real journalistic coverage of international relations. Too bad I can only find that sort of coverage in the state-controlled foreign language media of a Third World dictatorship. But at least Egyptian neutrality is genuine, and the French-language edition of Al-Ahram is not sycophantic (although they no longer make the veiled criticisms that were permitted under Mubarak. King Eel is touchier than King Log!)

      What I found most interesting in the article is that Lavrov sounded a bit dovish, still talking about Minsk and UKR territorial integrity. Quote:

      « L’Occident a négligé les préoccupations sécuritaires légitimes de Moscou en élargissant l’Otan, qui se rapproche des frontières de la Russie », a affirmé Lavrov, soulignant « l’importance de respecter l’accord de Minsk selon lequel l’Ukraine est un Etat qui jouit de sa souveraineté et de son intégrité territoriale ».

      Reply

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