Links 7/4/2022

Happy Fourth. Here’s a good way to celebrate: Help out Betty Jo, who helped take care of Yves’s mother. As Yves wrote:

Please help. She’s become important to me. I hate seeing someone who has no malice and is industrious and conscientious wind up in such a desperate state due to how our medical system places profit over people. Go to GoFundMe, or click on this button:

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Secrets of the Moon’s Permanent Shadows Are Coming to Light Wired. “Water ice,” pronounced wooder ice.

Fourth of July

PBR Has Gone Big Again, This Time Releasing An 1844-Pack. Forbes

4th of July and pets: Dogs, cats go missing on the holiday more than any other day FOX

Fourth of July 2022: What’s open, what’s closed on Monday, July 4? UPS, FedEx, banks, mail delivery, stock markets, stores, restaurants

Crab city:

Maryland Limits Male Blue Crab Harvests For The First Time Ever Amid Population Crisis DCistu

Fluffy’ crab that wears a sponge as a hat discovered in Western Australia Guardian


Climate Change Is Shifting How Plants Evolve. Seed Banks May Have to Adapt, Too Gizmodo

How heatwaves are creating a pollen crisis BBC

The Limits to Growth: Ecosocialism or Barbarism Monthly Review


Evaluation of a Wastewater-Based Epidemiological Approach to Estimate the Prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 Infections and the Detection of Viral Variants in Disparate Oregon Communities at City and Neighborhood Scales Environmental Health Perspectives. From the Abstract: “The greater reliability of wastewater SARS-CoV-2 concentrations over clinically reported case counts was likely due to systematic biases that affect reported case counts, including variations in access to testing and underreporting of asymptomatic cases. With these advantages, combined with scalability and low costs, wastewater-based epidemiology can be a key component in public health surveillance of COVID-19 and other communicable infections.” Meanwhile, here is how a serious country (Ireland) does wastewater reporting:

There’s no variant coverage, but the reporting covers the entire country and is published weekly, reliably (unlike CDC).

Monitoring occurrence of SARS-CoV-2 in school populations: A wastewater-based approach PLOS One. From the text: “Sixteen schools (10 primary, 5 secondary and 1 post-16 and further education for a total of 17 sites) in England took part in the School wasTEwater-based epidemiological suRveillance systeM for the rapid identification of COVID-19 outbreaks (TERM) study… [T]he lead/lag analysis between the weekly positivity rates in schools and community cases shows a maximum correlation between the two-time series when school data are lagged by two weeks.”

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Exacerbation of COVID-19 mortality by the fragmented United States healthcare system: A retrospective observational study The Lancet. From the Abstract: “Our study demonstrates that a significant share of COVID-19 mortality in the United States, and much of the excess mortality in the United States compared with other countries, is due to our reliance on a system of market-driven healthcare.” Rule #2.

Universal healthcare as pandemic preparedness: The lives and costs that could have been saved during the COVID-19 pandemic PNAS. From the Abtract: “The fragmented and inefficient healthcare system in the United States leads to many preventable deaths and unnecessary costs every year. Universal healthcare could have alleviated the mortality caused by a confluence of negative COVID-related factors. Incorporating the demography of the uninsured with age-specific COVID-19 and nonpandemic mortality, we estimated that a single-payer universal healthcare system would have saved 212,000 lives in 2020 alone. We also calculated that US$105.6 billion of medical expenses associated with COVID-19 hospitalization could have been averted by a Medicare for All system.” But on the bright side, think of the culling!

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Serious Adverse Events of Special Interest Following mRNA Vaccination in Randomized Trials (preprint) SSRN (norm de plume). Quoting a slab of the Abstract:

Methods. Secondary analysis of serious adverse events reported in the placebo-controlled, phase III randomized clinical trials of Pfizer and Moderna mRNA COVID-19 vaccines (NCT04368728 and NCT04470427), focusing analysis on potential adverse events of special interest identified by the Brighton Collaboration.

Results. Pfizer and Moderna mRNA COVID-19 vaccines were associated with an increased risk of serious adverse events of special interest, with an absolute risk increase of 10.1 and 15.1 per 10,000 vaccinated over placebo baselines of 17.6 and 42.2 (95% CI -0.4 to 20.6 and -3.6 to 33.8), respectively. Combined, the mRNA vaccines were associated with an absolute risk increase of serious adverse events of special interest of 12.5 per 10,000 (95% CI 2.1 to 22.9). The excess risk of serious adverse events of special interest surpassed the risk reduction for COVID-19 hospitalization relative to the placebo group in both Pfizer and Moderna trials (2.3 and 6.4 per 10,000 participants, respectively).

Discussion. The excess risk of serious adverse events found in our study points to the need for formal harm-benefit analyses, particularly those that are stratified according to risk of serious COVID-19 outcomes such as hospitalization or death.

Funding. This study had no funding support.

From June, still germane. The paper, needless to say, generated some controversy. Members of the Brain Trust may wish to comment.


Chinese state airlines to buy almost 300 Airbus jets Reuters. Oof.

“Clearly, China has become a target of NATO” What China Reads

Why inland regions hold key to China’s continued ‘common prosperity’ push South China Morning Post

Credit Suisse struggles with backlog of new wealthy client accounts in Asia FT


China calls on Myanmar junta to hold talks with opponents Guardian. Depends on whether “opponents” means the NUG, Aung San Suu Kyi, or both.

Myanmar military reveals a brutal weakness Globe_

The Koreas

Samsung Electronics starts 3-nanometer chip production ahead of TSMC TechCrunch

Walking the World: Hanoi (part 1) Chris Arnade, Walking the World

Plastic from greenhouse boom blights Vietnam’s vegetable basket The Third Pole

New Not-So-Cold Cold War

Lysychansk Falls, Russia Takes Control of All Lugansk Region as Ukrainian Resistance Collapses (video) Alexander Mercouris. Well worth a listen. Grab a cup of coffee, because it takes an hour. Mercouris also mentions the following two articles, both worth a read–

Avoiding a Russian Quagmire, the Improbable Ukrainian Peace, and the Risk of Direct Russo-NATO War Gordon Hahn, Russian and Eurasian Politics. I don’t know why the only creative thinking about Ukraine is being done by conservatives, while all left-liberals do is add Urkaine flags to their “In This House” signs, but here we are.

How to Lose Big in Ukraine National Review

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Ill Prepared for Combat, Volunteers Die in Battles Far From Home NYT. Perhaps sending more weapons — hear me out — won’t solve the problem?

Germany’s Union Head Warns of Collapse of Entire Industries Bloomberg. Worth it, though! Right?

Ukraine: Scholz warns war could last a ‘really long time’ — live updates Deutsche Welle

EU Seeks Ways to Help Ukraine Rebuild Amid Gas-Cut Fallout Bloomberg. Fantasy.

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Anatomy of a Coup: How CIA Front Laid Foundations for Ukraine War Kit Klarenberg, Kit’s Newsletter

Biden Administration

Biden moves on abortion haven’t quieted progressive anger The Hill. Weak:

Becerra is wrong.

Five times Congress overrode the Supreme Court The Hill and 10 ways to fix a broken Supreme Court Vox. Examples of Congress over-riding Supreme Court decisions.

Democrats en déshabillé

NSFW (dougiedd):

Debacle -> Fundraising -> Election -> Betrayal -> Debacle1 …. Debaclen

The Supremes

Will Biden defend his own office from this court? Carl Beijer. West Virginia v. the Environmental Protection Agency seen as a return to the Lochner era. “Recall that Lochner vs. New York was a case in which the court decided that it was unconstitutional for legislatures to set basic limits to the workday. Today, we are seeing the exact same economic forces at work.” Worth clicking through the free trial stuff for a read.


Michael Lewis: ‘The thing that really works for Trump is: the system’s rigged’ FT

Police State Watch

Ohio police officers on paid administrative leave after fatal shooting of Jayland Walker CNN. Commentary:

The Bezzle

Remember RadioShack? It’s now a crypto company with wild tweets. WaPo

Crypto’s Domino Effect Is Widening, Threatening More Pain WSJ

Basel Committee publishes second consultation document on the prudential treatment of banks’ cryptoasset exposures Bank of International Settlements. They’re still working on a standard: “Unbacked cryptoassets and stablecoins with ineffective stabilisation mechanisms continue to be subject to a conservative prudential treatment, with a new limit proposed on gross exposures.” One would hope so.

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Wirecard’s former top accountant admits forging documents for KPMG special audit FT


Assange lodges UK appeal against US extradition International Business Times

Supply Chain

Containers: Market Questions Peak Season Scale As Consumer Sentiment Drops Hellenic Shipping News

Ships going dark: Russia’s grain smuggling in the Black Sea FT

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Flawed oxygen readings may be behind Covid-19’s toll on people of color Politico

How Generations of Black Americans Lost Their Land to Tax Liens Bloomberg

Imperial Collapse Watch

We live in the stupidest timeline:

OK, OK, I plead guilty to classism and regionalism, and stupid can be fun. But stupid is stupid. (Just to be clear: I see this clip as a metaphor for elite behavior in everything, and for America in general.)

Class Warfare

“There was blood everywhere”: Former Caterpillar worker speaks out on lack of safety WSWS

Gut the comms department:

The Futility of Utility Napkin Math. From April, still germane. “Why couldn’t I behave like a rational, utility-maximizing individual?”

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Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. none

    Once people see what the Democratic Party really is, it can never be unseen.

    The tweet from here a day or two ago is still in my mind: the Republicans are like the mass shooter, and the Democrats are like the Uvalde cops.

    1. Questa Nota

      My survey and perusal indicate the following:

      Dems tell their constituents one thing and then use some creepy misdirection to do something else.
      Reps are spineless when not being heartless.

      DC Model 2.0 – gin up real or imagined controversies, raise money, siphon off a share, get re-elected.
      That works for both parties, with massive support from media. The latter get repaid, as with those pharma ad revenues. The controversies criminal acts get wilder and more amoral over time

      In the meantime, all that DC brain trust enriches the select few while countless people live in cars or tents, suffer lousy healthcare and see their rights and dignity eroded.

      The 4th of July celebrations this year are bittersweet for so many.

      1. Mildred Montana

        In my opinion, the Republicans fight dirty and the Dems don’t fight at all. The Uvalde analogy above is accurate. How the Dems get any donations at all, given their on-going duplicity, is one of the great mysteries of life.

        1. griffen

          Democrats fight for sure. They are always fighting, “to save our democracy”, or “to ensure everyone has access to health care.” That last one is especially galling to many Americans, and for all the good reasons. And as to donations, well the elites of Wall Street sure do like for themselves to keep Chuck Schumer around. That’s a simple example.

          I also like to think of these distinctions to the US two-party system in this way:
          “I’m a politician, Dr Ryan, which means I’m a cheat and a liar. When I’m not kissing little babies, I’m stealing their lollipops.”

          Pelt, National Security Adviser ( ok hypothetical, but The Hunt for Red October holds up)

          1. tegnost

            “to ensure everyone has access to health care.”

            I am astounded that you don’t think hospitals need doors! #OMG…

        2. jr

          Years ago, a Polish buddy living in NYC asked me why Americans get so worked up over elections. In Poland, everyone despised politicians, there were no illusions. She was genuinely perplexed.

          She was gay and we hung out in a gay bar and Democratic vote-wranglers would always come peddling their wares during election times. The chatterers would go on about how the lesbian Democrat running for city council was going to turn the tables in their favor. Hillary was going to save the world. The fact that none of these fantasies had materialized in the past didn’t dampen their enthusiasm a bit.

          I told my friend she was witnessing the US civic religion in action. I discussed themes of exceptionalism and magical thinking. She would shake her head and we would order another round.

        3. playon

          The Democrats can fight — they fight hard against socialists, and they fight hard to keep 3rd party candidates off the ballot. They fight for their donors but they don’t fight for you.

    2. Mikel

      Oh, people finally getting the clue that you don’t elect people that “need to be pushed” and send you the fund raising emails that prod them?
      You elect people that are going to hear the issues and DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. Not give you campaign rhetoric about how they understand and then get elected and then say “you need march up and down some street like a fool to make me even pretend to address the issue.”

      1. Pablo

        Proposal: Go into your nearest Starbucks and congratulate the people working there on rejecting a union that would have parasitized their earnings with dues. Make sure to mention to them that Howard Schultz is worth $3.9 Billion. They could do that too with hard work and putting their nose to the iPhone.

        Inform them that it is their moral responsibility, as working people, to prioritize and send, ahead of student loan, car, rent and medical payments, a reasonable sum to the Democratic Party each month, even as little as $5. (Autopay is a hassle free method)

        That way, 89 year old senior senator Diane Feinstein, who worked her way up from her family fortune to $88 million, and Speaker of the House Pelosi, enjoying her well earned $115 million, can continue to fight important battles for:
        People’s medical right to choose abortion,
        promoting and funding the fifth war in their first two decades of their worker drone young lives, all to
        protect the Free Market™
        project the neocon agenda,
        enable the free press
        and protect young women in foreign countries.

        Remind them that’s there’s always the military that can train them for useful things like helicopter door gunner, burn pit disposal manager or harnessing their videogame skills to fly drones for freedom.

        SHED, Stay Home Election Day!

    3. tegnost

      “[effin] call your guy, you call him every week to do insider trading…”

      So true, but probably more like multiple times a day…

    4. Noone from Nowheresville

      Book Quote:
      All governments suffer a recurring problem: Power attracts pathological personalities. It is not that power corrupts but that it is magnetic to the corruptible. Such people have a tendency to become drunk on violence, a condition to which they are quickly addicted. – Missionaria Protectiva

  2. jackiebass63


    1. digi_owl

      I honestly expected it to tip over sideways at some point.

      There is also the beautiful contrast between the people waving up top, and the drivers getting ready to bail down below.

      1. Michael Ismoe

        I’ll bet that the truck had a “Trump 2024” bumper sticker on it and that 95% of the occupants will show up in two years to vote if Trump is on the ballot. What do the Dems have?

        1. JBird4049

          I liked the man holding to the rail with one hand and a 25? oz can of beer in the other as the rear half of the platform’s riders slide into the mudwater.

          1. QuicksilverMessenger

            I was suspicious too. Not really getting an America vibe there. Yes, not ‘Mericu’- Lots of comments naming Brazil as the country. Here’s just one: “Most comments here are funny and the criticism very valid. But I’m sorry to say that is Brazil, not the US. Likely the south, given all the Araucaria trees in the background. The car is a Willys Rural, a local classic SUV.”

      1. orlbucfan

        Reminded me of the typical aggressively stupid and proud of it, redneck, white trash. Pathetic.

        1. anon y'mouse

          you should get that racism tic worked on.

          “white trash” is essentially saying “lower than the N word”. the implication is that these people are too stupid and useless to live. i guess invoking Godwin’s Law here won’t do any good.

          signed, your local white trash NC denizen

          1. Raymond Sim

            “white trash” is essentially saying “lower than the N word”

            Speaking as trash to trash, that ain’t how it is. I grew up hearing ‘nigger’ in white peoples’ casual speech day in and day out. There is no epithet we use for one another that carries anything like the same weight of malice.

            ‘Common white trash’ described the white rural poor as field trash, i.e. the residue left after crops are harvested. It’s light colored, and after the harvest it’s everywhere, just blown about by the wind.

            1. Rebecca

              There’s something worse, in actuality, than poor white trash;
              Rich white trash that supports the two parties of greed.

          2. A concerned person

            Is it just me, but who trashes fellow members of a social class based on skin color besides whites? I don’t think I ever heard a Black call other Blacks “Black Trash” etc. Is this “white trash” label reserved for those Hilary called ‘deplorables’? I saw a book once titled White Trash that explored this whole issue, and I got the idea they were Southern Whites who didn’t own slaves and were born poor. These were people who, owing to the lottery of birth, were not descendants of more important people like Al Gore, George Bush, JFK, and others whose fathers, were, owing to the lottery of birth, were born rich, and therefore important. Aren’t we supposed to have feelings for our fellow man (or woman as the case may be) who are less fortunate?

            1. Fiery Hunt

              Oh, you oughta reseach “light black” vs “dark black” racism.

              Vicious and widespread.

              Every “race” has it’s own special inner race racism.

          3. John

            Insecure, TDS socially transmitted disease infected minds frequently project their hallucinated thoughts as though they were reality. “I bet” followed by fantasies about assault rifle ownership, bumper stickers and other intangibles serve as an important reminder why education matters.

            1. Fiery Hunt

              Will ya feel better if denigrating “white trash” isn’t as bad?

              Aren’t we supposed to let the oppressed decide how deeply we’ve offended them?

              If you wanna play in the frick’n victim Olympics., ya gotta play by the rules.

        2. Raymond Sim

          Though I remonstrate with anon y’mouse a bit, your remark is indeed offensive. In my experience there’s nobody more aggressively stupid, and proud in that stupidity than people who denigrate white trash.

          The denigration and degradation of white working class men has been key to the campaign to undo the New Deal and establish a permanent American oligarchy. They were the one demographic group the would-be hereditary aristocracts really had to fear.

        3. Pelham

          I don’t know who these people were. But the video is wonderful material for metaphors. Personally, I like to imagine the crowd on top as our Ivy League-led PMC cheering on Ukraine. And the truck itself is Ukraine, while Zelenskyy is the driver crawling out the window (missing only his go-bag filled with stacks of $100 bills).

          We could conjure similar metaphors with the official US Covid response, the 50 years of Dem fundraising based on Roe while they took no action, globalization, financialization with crypto currencies and NFTs. The list could go on. But always it’s the cheering PMC riding on the top.

          1. Eclair

            Thanks, K.k. Read this a couple of years ago. Upsets a lot of the mythology around the early settlers, among other things. Recommend highly.

          1. Yves Smith

            “Deplorables” includes people with money who favor Trump, like the flyover car dealer who had a gold Cadillac and has curtains in his house in the same color. A friend of mine actually knows a lot of people like that.

    2. Lemmy Caution

      Seems like a pretty good metaphor for every war of choice ‘Merica has gotten involved with in the last 30 years.

    3. jr

      If they had made it across successfully, it still would have been an act of monumental stupidity. What did they think they were accomplishing? A moon landing?

      1. kareninca

        Well, it was fun for us to watch. And they weren’t risking harming anyone but themselves.

        I think of the clip as being an instance of modern folk art.

    4. Darius

      Enjoy it for the public stupidity. Sounds like no one was hurt. Rural white people don’t have the monopoly on stupidity. Some can even joke about being rednecks.

        1. ambrit

          You think that we peckerwoods here in the North American Deep South are racist? You should go and see how it’s done in the real Down South. (Hint: To start a fight anywhere south of the border, call someone an ‘Indio.’ Then duck.)
          I once had a co-worker from Brazil. He laughingly remarked that you can subtly insult someone from El Norte by referring to them as a “Person Without Colour.”
          One day, before the dining room opened, he bought in some records by Bonfa. A revelation.

      1. Alice X

        My understanding is that the term red necks originated with the battle of Blair Mountain with some 10,000 coal miners fighting to unionize. They wore red bandanas and would be called by some the Red Neck Army.

        Much better yet is Scott Noble’s Metanoia Films Plutocracy – the first segment deals with the lead up to and the battle of Blair Mountain.

        The film is free to watch online.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Rooinek – red necks – was also a term that the Africaans used to describe the English in the 19th century. As the English were careless with protecting themselves against the sun they quickly got sunburn on their necks. Also, where the Africaans lived was higher in elevation from the coast so it was easier to get sunburn. During the Zulu War of 1879 it was not unknown for a newly arrived British battalion to march from Durban up to the highlands and have to be rested for a day as they had gotten sunburned from the higher elevations of Natal. Same happened to me when I went to kwaZululand and got pretty bad sunburn on the face and hands.

  3. The Rev Kev

    “We live in the stupidest timeline:”

    ‘Why yes. Alcohol was involved.’

    1. Randall Flagg

      The words spoken by the driver before heading into the water ” Hey, Hold my beer”
      Happy Fourth to the Citizens of the USA

      1. jefemt

        Last five words of the redneck (Hat-tip to Darwin)

        Hey, y’all watch THIS!


        Clear-eyed nihilists just having fun and seeking happiness, in a non-traditional way – as humanity goes out?

        Many disparate data points all indicating an inescapable conclusion about humanity’s trajectory?

      2. Mikel

        I’m laughing at the people who didn’t stop to say to someone, “Hey, hold my phone.”
        But, yeah, alcohol will be preserved before taking on the danger.

    2. griffen

      Lee Greenwood should be a required accompaniment to that idiocy on display. And if you are not American, or you just really don’t recall country music from 40 ish years ago, just trust me and do a separate search for him.

        1. MT_Wild

          So wait a minute, you’re saying it was brown trash in the back of that truck?

          Are we still allowed to be snide about their choice of enjoyment and be classist about how they play in the mud instead of going to brunch? Lol.

          1. Stick'em

            Yep. I dunno if you can have a redneck when you’re brown… but I do know indentity politics stereotypes always collapse eventually under scrutiny.

            In this case, the basket of deplorables in the ship of fools monster truck river crossing speaks Portuguese, not Ritz Crackers ‘n’ Cheeze Whiz.

            The word “Monstro” on the door – Jeff Foxworthy says “there’s your sign!” – it ain’t English…

          2. Larry Carlson

            Were they wearing FBGN hats? (“Fazer o Brasil grande novamente!” is what Google Translate suggests, but I can’t judge the quality of the translation since I speak Spanish rather than Portuguese.)

      1. Brian (another one they call)

        I remember he was very popular where violence and American heritage met. I think he flew in all over the land when someone needed a good whipping into fervor. It was like a riot that didn’t have a cause.

      2. Pat

        I don’t know. Having an instrumental “My Heart Will Go On” from Titanic as the musical accompaniment was pretty damn snarky.

          1. Screwball

            That article was so hard to get through. But once you know who the writer is, it all makes sense.

            Douglas E. Schoen is a political consultant who served as an adviser to former President Clinton and to the 2020 presidential campaign of Michael Bloomberg

            So it begins (Hillary). I can hardly wait.

    3. OnceWereVirologist

      My question is, where’s the fun ? It’s a slow-moving monster truck ponderously wallowing its way through a muddy pond. I could have more fun with a sheet of plywood and a snowy hillside or a tarp, a hose, and some liquid soap.

      1. caucus99percenter

        Works for me as apt metaphor for the EU / NATO / German establishment’s excellent Ukraine adventure.

      2. Louis Fyne

        a crowd is only as smart as its stupidest person, lol.

        dunno if that is a real quote from someone credentialed, but I read it in a random comment somewhere and it stuck withme as 100% correct “grandpa wisdom”

      3. Tom Stone

        FAMILY BLOG!

        I worked in SF during the early 80’s so I get everything except the plywood.
        Sometimes it’s better not to know…

        1. Janie

          Kids slide down slick (dry fall grass or snow) hillsides on plywood scraps. They get fewer splinters from plastic or cardboard. Sometimes they let their parents slide, too; it’s fun.

  4. Samuel Conner

    Ah, but why would we want to know how prevalent a virus is in the population?

    1. Samuel Conner

      > much of the excess mortality in the United States compared with other countries, is due to our reliance on a system of market-driven healthcare

      Working as planned, perhaps.

      Our time-line isn’t just stupid; it’s sociopathic.

      1. BeliTsari

        They’re only JUST figuring out how best to monitize constantly mutating VOC’s acute infections. PASC (Rochelle’s “pre-existing comorbidities”) will just remain the help’s “psychosomatic malingering” & ascribed to substance abuse, obesity or our insistence upon living next to fracked well-pads, refineries, crackers, peaking plants (energy independence), industrial farms, CAFO & our monoculture GE diets. We’ll hear less & less about air, water & food contamination in red-lined areas?

  5. LawnDart

    Re; China/Airbus
    I wonder how long until the Chinese source Russian or domestically-produced airliners? Anyway, none here in the West should be surprised by this, as China produces much of our crap too.

    Russia Replaces Disappearing Western Gadgets With Chinese Brands – Reports

    Chinese smartphones and home appliances are replacing major Western brands that have exited Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, the Kommersant business daily reported Monday.

    1. digi_owl

      Or maybe Brazilian.

      As for replacing western brands with Chinese, likely they are the same products anyways…

    2. LawnDart

      More China/Airbus
      (Oof is an understatement)

      Boeing is disappointed? It’s not China’s fault: Global Times editorial

      According to a previous assessment by the American Chamber of Commerce, if the US engages in a comprehensive “decoupling” with China and completely cuts off sales to China in the field of civil aviation, this would cause US output losses ranging from $38 billion to $51 billion and cause the US civil aviation manufacturing industry to shed 167,000 to 225,000 jobs. Boeing also said last year it expected that Chinese airlines will require 8,700 new airplanes in the next 20 years, valued at nearly $1.5 trillion. If the loss of a $37.2 billion order now has made Boeing feel pain, then let some American politicians continue to advocate decoupling from and build a high wall against China. By then, what American companies including Boeing will face will not be short-term but long-term pain.

      225,000 good-paying jobs gone should help us tame the labor-market and get inflation back under control… …and may I have some more Kool-Aid please?

      1. paul

        Labour and the Oriental brought to heel in one policy move?

        That’s an irresistible double bubble.

        A few politicians might be unseated, but if you don’t like our politicians, we have others.

    3. Mel

      Well, China has trillions(?) of US$ and Euros, and if those US$ and Euros sit in the bank, they get confiscated. Best try to pick up the most useful assets they can find. Airliners, why not?
      We saw yesterday that Chinese were buying U.S. farmland, but it’s risky because that can be confiscated too. Maybe when the pushing and shoving starts, the farmland gets used for some kind of bargaining leverage.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Confiscating Chinese-owned farmland would create a precedent for confiscating Bill Gaits-owned farmland. Bill Gates and his butlers will work their hardest to prevent confiscating Chinese farmland in order to prevent confiscating Bill Gates farmland down the road.

    4. Mikel

      The 4th of July is a symbol now, not of independence, but a symbol of dependence on overseas manufacturing.
      Over 90% of fireworks (ironically, symbols themselves of “bombs bursting in air”) are produced in China.

      You can’t make this %$#! up.

      1. Wotan

        It has been this way for a long time. I am an old guy and remember pre-WW2 going to Chinatown in San Francisco and buying fireworks for the 4th of July. That was before China went ‘red’ etc. I’ll bet we had a thriving fireworks trade with China for a long time before that too. Didn’t China invent it?

        1. JTMcPhee

          For us bad kids in northern Illinois and Wisconsin, relief for that itch to have something potent to use to create loud noises, scare the neighbors, blow up mailboxes and such was just across the IL/WI border. Or on one of the several Indian reservations (the old framing for them). Several of the biggest bangers had names that would really work up the people offended by any kind of unwoke language. M80s, M100s, cherry bombs, aerial bombs, things the size of a Quaker Oats carton full of flash or gunpowder, some even bigger. This was early days for ATF, then a much smaller thing — they would not have been amused.

          And my ex’s family, who were dirt-floor-and-outhouse country people in western WI, and were pretty much poor white trash as I understood the phrase, used actual explosives — dynamite and C-4 stolen from construction sites and the nearby Army base where a lot of them had civilian jobs, and weather balloons filled with oxygen and acetylene from a welding rig and fitted with a long fuse, because those suckers would simulate the burst of an 81mm mortar round (a too familiar sound for me, back before time sanded the sharp edges off the military experiences),including the size of the hole they blasted. Using C-4 to blow anvils up into the air has long been a popular thing out in flyover country, along with a lot of privileged people going to gun ranges where they can hose down car bodies and refrigerator carcasses with 7.62mm and 30mm miniguns at 3000 rounds per minute, .50-cal machine guns, squad automatic weapons, 20, 30, 40, 57 and 75mm cannons and a host of other noisy and deadly firearms.

          A whole lot of people get off on blowing sh!t up. Including the ATF employees, a lot of them.

      2. Fiery Hunt

        The 4th of July is , and has always been, a symbol.

        But not all Americans are ignorant of history, particularly our own history.

        Chinese fireworks are not the important part of remembering the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Except perhaps recognizing that fireworks are symbols of the fact that war is the only path to freedom. Hence, the sounds of war as celebration.

        Any freedom you have is because someone went to war to secure it.

        1. Mikel

          Any freedom I have is because of everyday citizens fighting here in this country for their rights…often with the US military guns aimed at them.

    5. PlutoniumKun

      Airbus has a major manufacturing facility in China and has long been engaged in a war with China over espionage and leaking of key manufacturing technology. So far, Airbus has stayed ahead of the game, mostly by ensuring that key elements of the aircraft are kept well away from their facilities in China.

      China has its own domestic airliner, Comac, based to a large degree on Bombardier technology – the Chinese have spent 10’s of Billions of dollars on it. Its not a success though, its such a crappy outdated design that even the Chinese discount domestic carriers don’t really want it. Russia’s main attempt at the market was the Sukhoi Superjet 100, which has been a disaster. Its a very good, very advanced design, but it was rushed to market too quickly, and a lot of people died. Irkut (formerly Yakovlev) are working on what seems an advanced design but it will be a while before its available.

      Russia has always been very reluctant to work on aviation with China because of China’s repeated reverse engineering of everything they sell them, as a result of which they have caught up fast, especially on engine technology. But now that China has caught up in most areas, and the circumstances, they will probably have to get together with them – most likely now as a junior partner as China has the cash and better customers.

      However, both are a generation behind Airbus. Embraer of Brazil are in trouble because they staked everything on a deal with Boeing which Boeing reneged upon. Bombardier has also been swallowed up. Even the Japanese have failed with their Mitsubishi design.

      Building modern airliners is very, very difficult. Boeing and Airbus are the only companies in the world who have been consistently able to design, build and market a full range. Boeing of course have cut their own throats, leaving just Airbus as the dominant player. They will not be easy to knock off their perch. Buying Airbus is simply the easy option for most airlines, including Chinese ones.

      1. Oh

        So what’s gonna happen when the US sanctions China from buying airliners (to support Boeing)? Will the EU comply or flip the US the bird?

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Airbus is dependent on US made products for all their aircraft (even those made in China), so its hard to see how they could sell any if the US was serious about sanctions. But if the US was serious about this it would be tantamount to setting off a trade war with Europe. Any attempt by Nato to pull the EU along would be vetoed by the French.

          I doubt Washington would be stupid to push things that far, but given their record for stupidity, its hard to be sure.

      2. Polar Socialist

        In Russia Tupolev-214 is getting a second chance as it seems to be the stopgap airplane of choice with production ramping up to at least ten per year. The design is old enough not to depend on foreign parts, but still young enough to be updated to relatively modern standards – and most importantly Tupolev still has the construction line and tooling.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          I’m sure that would be fine for Russian internal use and, as you say, as a stopgap until they can get newer models, but its hard to see anyone else (including the Chinese) actually buying any of those, apart maybe for Cuba. But it will certainly keep Russian airlines ticking over.

          The problem for anyone trying to break into the market is the sheer number of good quality Boeing and Airbus second hand aircraft available on the market. Its like trying to sell Kia’s when there are a glut of 2 year old BMW’s available for the same price.

          The Chinese made the mistake of thinking a cheap ‘just good enough’ aircraft could compete, but they blew a lot of money on the Comac and I wonder if they are willing to keep throwing cash at the problem. Even the Comac is very dependent on imported parts, especially engines. They will catch up, but it will take years – the Chinese are just now catching up on Russian engine tech, and the Russians are still significantly behind on commercial engines.

          1. Polar Socialist

            You have to define “significantly”, because The Internet says Aviadvigatel PD-14 delivers the same thrust with the same fuel consumption and same weight than CFM LEAP. And has over 20 indigenous new composite materials.

            Discalimer: I really do know very little about jet engines.

            1. PlutoniumKun

              I’m not an engine engineer either, but from what I know Russian engines have a significantly shorter operational lifetime than western engines. They need lots of replacement parts at regular intervals to keep going and while this is acceptable for military use, its not popular with airlines. Since the PD-14 is one of the first purpose build commercial engines from Russia (previous engines are usually based on military power plants), it could be a genuine competitor.

              Its possible the latest engines have caught up, but its always hard to compare with overlapping generations of designs. But its noticeable that Russian aircraft have always offered western engines as an option when they can, and these generally prove more popular.

              1. Polar Socialist

                Thanks for the quick reply.

                And indeed, they also offered western avionics as an option, too. I wonder how much is/was due to airlines already having established maintenance vendor lock-ins, and how much is/was about perceived or real inferiority.

    6. RobertC

      Imperial Collapse Watch

      Alezic and I discussed the Airbus buy yesterday at RobertC July 3, 2022 at 2:43 pm

      [I didn’t appreciate the significance of this event until I read TheHill article]

      Certainly China was sending Biden a message by announcing the purchases as he was flying home from his NATO Summit conquest.

      But this is a US-France-China conflict with two parties being NATO originating members and the third being NATO new “… challenge [to] our interests, security and values.”

      Some items of note:

      (1) Reuters: Airlines typically receive substantial discounts to list prices and China Eastern said these were larger than usual.

      (2) Me: [The big money is the 25-year service contracts.]

      (3) Reuters: The deal is subject to Chinese government approvals.

      Item 1 indicates the US can’t undercut France on purchase price.

      Item 2 indicates the US would have to publicly expose and commit to service contract costs to undercut France.

      Item 3 indicates this conflict is no longer Boeing vs Airbus but rather US vs France and China.

      I know I’m tiresome about I believe Putin and Xi gamed out and are executing a confrontation with Biden in Europe, splitting the Atlantic alliance but this is a pre-planned conflict.

      And France is still sensitive about the secret behind-its-back AUKUS agreement.

      Pouring additional salt in the wound, Australia had asked France to convert its latest French nuclear propulsion attack submarine, the Barracuda class, to conventional propulsion. Then Australia cancelled the purchase in favor of unobtainium US/UK nuclear submarines rather than asking France to keep the Barracuda‘s nuclear propulsion. France has neither forgotten nor forgiven.

      Two additional points. First, France still has national interests in Oceania so why isn’t it a member of the English-speaking AUKUS? Second, why isn’t France a member of the English-speaking Five Eyes intelligence alliance?


      My assessment is France will work closely with China to ensure the success of these A320neo purchases and all future purchases.

      How can the US counter or modify these A320neo purchases in favor of the 737 MAX?

      Twist France’s arm to share the purchases? Which would weaken the Atlantic Alliance (China’s goal: see NATO Strategic Concept #13).

      Sanction US technology used in the A320neo? Ditto above plus expose (confirm) the US as an untrustworthy supplier.

      Raise tariffs? Contributing to shortages and inflation — don’t think so.

      Seize Chinese assets? Better read TheHill article I cited above.


      In summary, China executed a master stroke with perfect timing.

      1. super extra

        Thanks for your ongoing links and commentary!

        Something I’ve been wondering about regarding the software aspects of this is how Dassault will deal (they make Catia which I think is pretty important in aerospace; also Solidworks, which is important in CNC manufacturing), especially considering the Airbus issues and the AUKUS f**kup. Basically Dassault makes some of the most critical software that would really impact things globally if it were unable to be used because there aren’t going to be replacements for a long time. They’re so major I have a hard time imagining Macron would bargain them off following the AUKUS thing, for example.

        1. rowlf

          Catia was used by Boeing for designing and manufacturing the 787 airliner. Wild that a major US industry needed French software.

        2. RobertC

          super extra — I concur. Few analysts look beyond commodities or even semiconductors to examine software sanctions. But China has been establishing engineering centers in Russia since 2006, both to access additional engineering talent and to preempt the US “long-arm” sanctions. Dassault has a future and it’s with Russia’s drive to the East and South.

          1. Glen

            I won’t go into details, but you should assume that many other counties have legal and illegal copies of all the commercially available software. A colleague of mine was able to buy CatiaV5 while traveling to a foreign country, and when I asked him what it cost, he said 50 cents for the disks with no label and a buck for the disks with a fancy label. When I asked what else was for sale he said everything, all with the same pricing.

            And it’s not like American companies don’t know this when they decide to do business overseas. American CEOs and Wall St decided outsourcing America’s technology, factories, and jobs was a good way to get rich (and they did). They really don’t care if it leaves a smoking hole in the ground where America previously had a much larger industrial base with a trained work force.

            1. super extra

              The “issue” isn’t really acquiring the software as it is now. It is that long-term Russia and China are looking to shift their primary chip usage to RISC-V (rather than the western x86/ARM, what the west sells for computers and mobile respectively) to get around sanction-ability to destroy national champions at a whim.

              Dassault’s stuff runs on Windows now (as you point out below, it was migrated from IBM workstations since most industrial computing until recently ran on thin clients and mainframes or similar ‘big servers), but if long term China and Russia are blocked from the chips, they couldn’t run Dassault’s stuff on their RISC-V machines. They couldn’t make their own planes in 10-15 years after all this runway and planning. It would be dire without a software replacement.

              Dassault’s software is critical for high-precision manufacturing. There isn’t an open source knock off anywhere near the same capability even with pirated copies of the end user software. It would be a major, major blow to a lot of manufacturing industries worldwide if Dassault were for some reason sanctioned themselves from working with the majority of the world. It will be a major, major sea change when Dassault begins porting Catia and Solidworks for use on RISC-V chips. Think about what Linux did to Windows by ~2008. This will be bigger!

              1. Glen

                I’d be interested to know what the Russians and Chinese use for CAD/CAM. There are more than just Catia which can be used for aerospace, and some of the open source CAD/CAMs are getting quite capable.

                China has quite a few chip foundries as you can see from the list:

                List of semiconductor fabrication plants

                Zhaoxin is licensed to make X86 chips although I’m sure these are not as near state of the art as those designed by AMD or Intel:


                And it does look as if there is development being done with RISC:

                Sunway TaihuLight

                Way, way, back in the day when I worked with the DOE, a study was conducted by the DOE at the request of the DOD about the potential defense implications of allowing the chip industry to move manufacturing off shore (which they had just started doing in a big way – so this dates the study), and the short answer the DOD got was pretty much “game over dude”. This was back when computer technology, chip making technology, and even critical CNC technology (the 5 axis machines) was much more rigorously and tightly controlled. At some point, almost all of those restrictions were dropped. There still is some controlled technology, but it’s a pin prick compared to what it once was. I think it would be very difficult to get the toothpaste back into the tube at this point.

                To say that I’ve been involved with and concerned about this stuff for a long time is well, everybody around me is tired of hearing about it. But I am also working in an industry that has had one overriding trend for the last twenty years – MBAs that know how to outsource and downsize, and I still don’t see that trend stopping.

                1. digi_owl

                  So that is where the VIA license has ended up.

                  The x86 licensing history is a bit fascinating.

                  Back when IBM made the PC, and opted for a third party CPU, they basically demanded that Intel license the x86 ISA to third parties. This so that IBM had a second source for parts, should Intel fail to deliver.

                  This is how you ended up with AMD and others making x86 CPUs.

                  But at some point, likely after the PC clones outcompeted IBM, Intel was no longer required to license the x86 ISA to third parties.

                  So over time various competitors to Intel has folded.

                  One such competitor was Cyrix, that specialized in making low cost CPUs that used a up-clocked version of the last gen ISA (386 to compete with 486 etc). It seems that when they folded VIA snapped up the remains, x86 license included.

                  But as best i recall, VIA has focused more on the industrial side of the market with low power products rather than try to keep up with the Intel v AMD grudge match.

              2. RobertC

                super extra — you may, like me, enjoy and learn from reading The Register. Here’s a sample article China rallies support for Kylin Linux in war on Windows

                …These industry partners will contribute to several special interest groups to improve various aspects of the operating system over time. Examples include optimizations for the latest generation of Intel and AMD processors, where available; support for emerging RISC-V CPUs; development of an x86-to-RISC-V translation layer; and improvements to the Ubuntu Kylin User Interface (UKUI) window manager for tablet and convertible devices.

          2. digi_owl

            I seem to recall that Putin himself declared early on that Russia would not enforce copyright claims from foreign companies, thus effectively sanctioning software piracy in order to keep the Russian economy going.

        3. Glen

          Dassault Systemes bought SolidWorks in 1997. The big change from CatiaV4 to CatiaV5 was grafting Solidworks to Catia (which seriously improved the GUI and the user experience) and moved Catia from IBM Unix workstations to Windows workstations. Catia is used in aerospace and automotive.

          Going from the CAD/CAM model to the CNC machine typically requires post-processing (generally shortened to just “post”) which converts the solid model to G code which can be run on a CNC machine:


          And now throw in Additive Manufacturing which is making rapid strides:

          3D printing

          And you get CNCs like this:

          Hybrid Manufacturing Inconel Impeller With Mazak and Seco

          Additive manufacturing is now being used to do things which were almost impossible with traditional CNC machines such as adding complex cooling to jet engine impellers:

          Metal additive manufacturing in aerospace: A review

      2. Foy

        Your commentary isn’t tiresome RobertC! Keep up the good work, I always look out for your comments

    7. Anthony G Stegman

      Huawei cellphones are excellent. If I could buy one and get it connected I’d do so in a heartbeat.

  6. timbers

    “Clearly, China has become a target of NATO”

    Well, China of course is not even remotely in the North Atlantic (as in North Atlantic Treaty Organization). Probably that does not matter to the British Foreign Secretary (below).

    There are various reports that British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss – the lady who went to Moscow and dazzled Serge Lavrov with her challenged/inability to find Russia on a map without unsolicited interruption from an aid at her side, and not knowing the difference between the Baltic and Black Seas – saying what NATO has learned from Ukraine, is that the West must arm Taiwan quicker, more, and with better weapons before the West starts a similar – she didn’t use this word but I will – war against China.

    You’d almost think Truss is actually a Kremlin spy that has infiltrated the UK government. And if she is not, do you think she has any awareness how much she is helping Russia and China by saying things like this out in the open?

    1. SocalJimObjects

      Hoo boy, the headline will have you believe that Asian nations west to east, north to south are all jumping on NATO’s bandwagon except it’s just the usual suspects (Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand) barking loud, I mean, can’t they at least get some new cast members?

      Speaking of the Fed, they’d better be careful. If they raise interest rates too high, they might end up blowing some of the above economies sky high. Japan and South Korea for example look mighty shaky too me.

    2. jrkrideau

      I have long thought that one could make a good case that George W Bush was an Al Qaeda agent so why not Truss as a Kremlin spy? Oh course in both cases a combination of stupidity and ignorance is a viable alternative explanation.

    3. RobertC

      Observe South Korea’s and Japan’s Sea Lines of Communication: East to the US and South past China. NATO can’t fix geography.

      Australia and New Zealand? China has bigger cities than Australia (Shanghai) with corresponding GDP, technology level, etc and New Zealand is … a great place to make fantasy movies, both of which are far far away from where the action is and neither with the budget excess NATO wants.

      Cat Laugh

      1. Tom Bradford

        China is comfortably New Zealand’s biggest export market and supplier with a trade balance of NZ$6 billion in our favour – that’s NZ$1,000 per New Zealander according to my unreliable mathematical skills. So I do hope NZ isn’t about to go all-out European and agree to cut off its nose to save the US’s face.

  7. super extra

    The “Walking in Hanoi” link is great! By far and away the most fun people I have encountered while traveling have been Viet and if I could handle the humidity I would love to live there. That is my kind of cacophony and vibe.

    1. Carolinian

      That is good.

      Hanging out with people you’re supposed to feel sorry for, who are fundamentally more content, happy, and generous then American elites, makes it hard not to wonder if we (the American elites) are the ones missing the point of life.

      Which, at a simple empirical level, is to be happy rather than miserable.

      1. c_heale

        Yeah too many people are missing the point of life, especially the elites around the world, which because they are obsessed by greed, lust, and power, are ffing things up for everyone else.

    2. Oh

      Well written piece replete with lovely pictures! It’s amazing that the Vietnamese have forgiven the Ugly Americans and have moved on while we keep screaming “Russia, Russia, Russia” and foment more wars and foist misery in the world.

      1. Anthony G Stegman

        Back in 2008 I vacationed in Vietnam traveling from north to south. I met an older man who told me that he holds no grudges against Americans. “Let bygones be bygones” he said to me. I found that amazing considering the horrors the United States perpetrated in Vietnam. Vietnamese people are some of the nicest you will ever meet anywhere.

        1. Janie

          Repeat anecdote: a friend who did business in Viet Nam asked a Vietnamese national, how is it that the Vietnamese are so happy when they so little. Vietnamese asked, how is it that Americans are so unhappy when they have so much.

        2. Polar Socialist

          This, I believe, stems from having a long history with highs and lows, wins and losses. It tends to give people sense of a continuum which then gives a perspective longer than one generation or two. And allows them to enjoy the good times and not dwell in the bad times.

          Younger nations, like mine, do seem to get stuck in one-upmanship and carrying grudges often for no reason – or both for the same (mostly imaginary) reason.

      2. playon

        His conclusions about Hanoi remind me much of my feelings about Thailand where we lived for 7 months in 2012. Mainly how the people seemed so much happier than the average American. I heard more laughter on the streets of Chiang Mai and Bangkok in 7 months that I have heard for the last ten years in the USA.

      3. drumlin woodchuckles

        ” We ” don’t do that. And Us here at this blog don’t do that. Them does that. Them. The Clintonites. The neoconservatives. The neowilsonian liberals. etc.

        A first step towards Us tearing Them down is to stop thinking of Us and Them as ” one big We”.
        There is no “We”. There is Us and Them and one side will win by making the other side lose.

  8. DJG, Reality Czar

    Kit Klarenberg article on the Coup(s) in Ukraine is worth your while for every corrupt detail about U.S. involvement in subverting the government for years. And Klarenberg has loads of details and embedded cross-links.

    A quote:

    So it was that on March 19th, representatives of the far-right Svoboda party – which has been linked to a false flag massacre of protesters on February 20th, an event that made the downfall of Yanukovych’s government a fait accompli – broke into the office of Oleksandr Panteleymonov, chief of Ukraine’s state broadcaster, and beat him over the head until he signed a resignation letter.

    That wasn’t the worst mayhem. One of the reasons for the revolts in the Donbass was a pattern of political murders, torture of suspected dissidents (very often, just rather typical Russian speakers), and banning of opposition organizations.

    As in the case of Chile, the U S of A made plans to be on the wrong side, that is, the side of the oppressors, largely because it was profitable to U.S. elites.

    And the Ukrainians get Zelensky and a “victory” in the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest.

    1. Carolinian

      It’s a familiar story to anyone around here but worth reviewing in detail. Perhaps the real coup happened in 1945 when the anti-imperialist Roosevelt was replaced with the unqualified and easily manipulated Truman who gave us, in many ways, the first Cold War and its bull in the china shop CIA. I’ve been reading a book about Richard Helms’ reign back in the ’60s and early ’70s and the same regime change agenda was going on back then, also in secret, and is the very antithesis of the “democracy” they are always talking about (and therefore why they are always talking about it). So blame it all on Truman and his power hungry advisers including Jimmy Byrnes whose one time home is down the street from me.

      Gore Vidal said it was WW2 that turned the US from a republic into an empire. This gave prosperity to my generation but since Vietnam the chickens have been coming home to roost with ordinary Americans some of the biggest victims of our elite folly.

      1. Lex

        I don’t have linked sources handy, but I recall a story about late in life Truman penning on op-ed on his great regret at allowing the formation of the CIA. In the archives is a forgery Dulles had crafted for the permanent record that Truman told Dulles he didn’t really mean that. IIRC, the op-ed ran in only one edition of the WaPo before it was memory holed. Allen Dulles was the worst, and he was a Nazi collaborator before the war (we shouldn’t forget his rogue attempt to sign a separate peace with Germany against FDR’s orders either). I still agree with you on Truman. No excuses because “the buck stops here”.

        1. pjay

          Ray McGovern’s take:

          Truman expressed his regret long after the horses were out of the barn. Eisenhower gave his famous “MIC” speech as he was *leaving office*. Kennedy did try to reign in the CIA after the Bay of Pigs, but as I recall his term ended before he was able to do much along these lines – a fortunate coincidence for the Agency, of course. Nixon also had his difficulties with the CIA, and there is pretty good evidence (in my opinion) that this contributed to his demise. Watergate did lead to the only public attempt at imposing some transparency and accountability – which was skillfully diluted and derailed by the CIA. We all know what happened to the bumbling outsider Trump.

          Presidents are selected from a narrow field of acceptable candidates. Stray too far from the status quo and it’s “six ways from Sunday” time.

            1. pjay

              That was a fine speech at the beginning of his administration. But he then proceeded to turn the Dulles brothers loose on the world. The CIA was created under Truman, but it really came into its own under Ike. I think he probably had some regrets as well, but damage done.

        2. Anthony G Stegman

          There is a major international airport named after Dulles. That tells you all you need to know about the United States.

          1. Janie

            It’s named after his better- known brother. See the youtube of Carol Burnett singing, “I made a fool if myself over John Foster Dulles”. Sorry, can’t link.

      2. Jason Boxman

        If you read Bomb Power by Gary Wills, the national security state germinated from development of the atomic bomb.

        War seems to be the precursor to a lot of evils.

      3. EricT

        You should check out the account of the democratic convention when Truman was forced on the representatives. They suspended voting when they realized that Truman wasn’t going to be selected. If there’s a time you could pinpoint when the us government was overthrown that would be it.

        1. Tom Stone

          Truman came out of the Prendergast machine in KC, which was as corrupt as machine politics can get.
          And of course that was “Outfit” territory, midwest regional organized crime,Kennedy’s connsctions were through daddy the Bootlegger, Nixon,the La Costa Country Club, Reagan,the LA Mob through MCA.

          Organized crime is a significant portion of GDP ( 5% would be a LOT of $) and money is the “Mother’s Milk” of Politics, I have often wondered how much influence Organized crime has had on the American acceptance of sociopathy as normal.
          Jake Arvey and Sidney Korshak had a great deal of long term influence and so did Murray “The Camel” starting in the 1940’s.
          They had a lot of early influence on the NFL and Hollywood…
          It’s part of our culture and should be given its due

      4. Bruno

        How can one forget that it was the “anti-imperialist” Roosevelt (with his “Manhattan Project” approaching completion) who *IN 1944!* purged the (nominally) anti-imperialist Henry Wallace from his presidential succession and replaced him with the reliably imperialist hack Truman?

        1. LifelongLib

          My understanding is that by the end of 1940 the U.S. had bankrupted the British Empire by demanding dollars or gold for war materials (we only started making other arrangements after the British were out of money). So the U.S. had been throwing its weight around before Truman came along.

        2. ambrit

          Don’t underestimate Truman. He faced down MacArthur during the Korean War and kept the New Deal going.
          The best thing I like about Truman was that he did not die a very rich man. He understood limits. Try teaching that concept to the politicos we have today.

        3. MichaelC

          It’s easy for one to ‘forget’ that Roosevelt purged Wallace, bc it was the D party, not the dead man walking President that made that choice. Roosevelt didn’t replace him w Truman.

          Would that the party hadn’t done to Wallace what they later did to Bernie, (IIRC Wallace was the most popular candidate going into the convention in FDRs final election) we likely wouldn’t be living in terror that the neocons running foreign policy for the last 2 or 3 generations have brought us to the brink over Ukraine FFS.

          Sometimes it’s helpful in the current environment of ‘ 2 months is a generation ago’ news cycles to realize just how shallow and callow and hollow neocon foreign policy is. Given the events of the last week almost everything describing the foreign policy rationale described in this article has been thoroughly debunked and every source cited as an influencer has been exposed as a fraudster who should be laughed off the stage.

          Not gonna happen, but it sure is a nightmare realizing what awful clowns hold our fate in their grip.

          ‘They were careless people, Tom and Daisy- they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made’

          F Scott F The Great Gatsby

          Tom=every politician w FP responsibility
          Daisy=every oligarch, think tank yanking Tom’s chain.

          1. michaelC

            And every time I see a picture of Victoria Nuland,
            I can’t help but think, Damn, Nurse Ratched must be her twin sister.

            W apologies to Louise Fletcher for the comparison.

      5. Big River Bandido

        This entire thread reads like the video transcript from the party deck in the “timeline” video. A gish gallop of “charges” at historical figures, using heavily loaded (and undefined) terms, very selectively interpreted, with a plot line seemingly based of source material from Hollywood blockbusters. So interesting to learn that FDR was an “anti-imperialist” while Truman was an “imperialist hack”.

        “Historical fiction” would be about the nicest way I could describe this thread.

        1. caucus99percenter

          Whaddaya expect in an era where the New York Times, ostensibly the country’s “newspaper of record,” is all in on Nikole Hannah-Jones’s 1619 Project?

          Look around. In every field of human endeavor and scholarship, including the sciences and mathematics, people and institutions are scrambling like mad to come up with new and different stories about the past — most often in the name of diversity, equity, and inclusion, but, particularly in Germany, also in the name of self-accusation about institutional conduct 1933-1945

      6. ex-PFC Chuck

        Frank Costigliola in Roosevelt’s Lost Alliances: How Personal Politics Helped Start the Cold War argues the turning point can be pinned down to the hour of 10:00 pm July 20, 1944, when the Democratic National Convention was adjourned against the will of the vast majority of delegates who were about to renominate Henry Wallace for vice president by acclamation. The adjournment was engineered by an alliance of bourbon Democrats of the south and big city machine bosses in the north. Wallace was publicly committed to continuing FDR’s agenda, both domestically and internationally. The latter, according to the author, envisioned a closer relationship with the USSR and a more distant one with the UK. Truman had differing views.

        1. MichaelC

          Thx ex for that citation.

          The O wing of the party that neutered the (till then) self identified majority D part who supported Bernie’s policies ( if not his candidacy) got thrown under the bus at the nominating convention directly paralleled the 48:machinations

          And they lost.

          Screeching aside, they also got what they deserved, a delay w war w Russia for at least another 4 more years.

          And now we’ve got it
          And lost it

          What nxt

  9. digi_owl

    Ugh, why oh why did it take me this long to connect Shultz with Hogan’s Heroes?!

    Also, i think the antidote is having a bit too much fun on the front page…

    1. ambrit

      That would be a really good jape. Run a video loop of the politico of one’s choice and play John Banner intoning: “I know nothing, nothing!”

        1. Wukchumni

          Loved Hogan’s Heroes which combined WW2 with humor, but daddy-o who spent 6 years of occupation under the jackboot in Prague, couldn’t stomach it.

          I can still see him making a momentary weekly lapse walking into the living room where the cathode tube loomed large that lasted as long as he could utter ‘The Nazis weren’t dumb, you know!’ before fleeing the scene.

          1. LifelongLib

            My dad had a friend who IIRC was on a Norwegian whaling ship that was captured by a German raider, and lived through the rest of WW2 in occupied Norway. The friend told him that the Germans mostly left people alone but were really tough on anyone that gave them a problem. Suspect Norway wasn’t as bad as Prague, although I heard from someone that cats were called “roof rabbits” which suggests the food situation was not the best…

            1. Wukchumni

              I was walking through Prague with him in 2000, a couple years before he passed away, and he casually pointed to a very nondescript wall, which was where 10 innocent citizens of Prague were lined up and shot in reprisal for a soldier of the Reich floating with a shiv in his belly in the Vltava, or other such unhappy ending.

              I couldn’t even begin to relate that to anything in my life.

              1. flora

                I think, looking back on it these many years later, our fathers and mothers tried to shield us from the horrors they went through. They meant us to have a better life in our future where such horrors would be unknown. All respect to them for their hopes and efforts to shield us from the worst of mankind when we were young. If they let on when we were no longer young that all was not all guaranteed goodness and light, who can blame them.

                1. Wukchumni

                  ‘Bulldog Bob’, one of the residents of my mom’s assisted living place, died @ 101 I think, and when he was a spry 97 I hit him up over breakfast with a ‘tell me about your WW2 experience?’ and information flowed like a 500 year flood as he described a Kamikaze attack on the ship he was on that lasted till the 4th cup of coffee, and a 5th if necessary.

                  I doubt you’d have got a peep out of him until he hit his 90’s though, and yes in retrospect they were doing the impossible-relegating horrors into the vast interior of their craniums.

                2. rowlf

                  As a military brat, usually actual veterans do not talk very much. When they do, it is good to listen. Same when they quietly take you aside and give advice.

                  I stand on a lot of their shoulders.

            2. digi_owl

              While i have not heard about anyone eating cats, i recall hearing about using pine bark as a coffee replacement or some such.

              So yeah, not fun years even if the locals got away far easier than those in the east.

              That said, Jews etc were rounded up and sent south. And a fair bit of infrastructure up north was built using soviet POWs as forced labor.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “EU Seeks Ways to Help Ukraine Rebuild Amid Gas-Cut Fallout”

    I read about an example of how this is going to play out but with a country that is no longer in the EU -the UK. So Boris blackmailed Scotland and Wales and said that if they did not cough up some big money for the Ukraine as part of that £1 billion package, they he would have their budgets cut. So Scotland had to cough up about £65 million and Wales had to hand over £30 as well. This was from their own budgets so no doubt there will have to be cuts in areas like health and education. And so I have no doubt that a similar pattern will be followed in the EU countries-

    1. Louis Fyne

      ironically, the Eurocrats still haven’t learned the lesson that Brexit was caused, in large part, by all the EU subsidies that diverted money from depressed places like northern England to Spain, Poland.

      To be conservative, the EU will not exist in 2050 as we know it.

      Putin with lots of help from Biden-Johnson-Macron-Leyden did it. They destroyed the EU.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        To be fair, the UK got a disproportionately better deal than most countries thanks to Thatchers ‘rebate’. The north of England was considered a backwards area and as such qualified for EU funding. In my experience, English regions were mostly at fault for not maximizing EU funds, they never had much of a clue in how to get them or make the most of them. You can’t get grants if you don’t bother applying for them.

        Farmers in the UK did very well out of the EU, and most then went and voted for Brexit. A good friend of mine lives high in the Durham Dales and all his sheep farming neighbours voted Brexit, and all are now in very dire straits as they can’t sell their lamb.

        1. c_heale

          A lot of the funds weren’t used, since for many projects the EU money had to be matched with the same amount of money from the UK, to receive the EU funds. Thatcher etc. refused to match the EU money with UK money.

    2. paul

      It wasn’t blackmail, it was just a decision by the government.

      Given the scottish first minister’s NATOphilia and general what ‘would my heroine hillary do?’ outlook, resistance would be very out of character.

    3. GF

      Russia will surely use that rebuilding money to bring Ukraine up to their standards. The first round of funding can go to Donetsk and Luhansk.

  11. tom67

    Re: Flawed oxygen readings may be behind Covid-19’s toll on people of color Politico
    I call bullshit. It is a well known medical fact that you can only get vitamin D thru sunlight. Vitamin D is essential for the immune system. But the darker the skin the less you can synthesize vitamine D. Lack of vitamine D means respiratory problems in the winter. But there is no money in providing people with Vitamine D. It´s dirt cheap and you can´t make money of healthy people.
    Here in Germany it is also people with dark skin who are disproportionally affected by Covid. In fact during the worst waves in some hospitals 90% of covid patients had darker skin than the average German. I find it unconscionable that there weren´t public service announcements to make people take vitamin D. That is not to say that Covid could have been completely prevented. But the effect could have greatly lessened.

    1. chris

      It is possible, and as referenced in the Politico article, has been somewhat studied for quite some time. In fact, one of the articles from 2007 concludes that there’s a need to understand the bias in these tools for variations in both skin pigmentation AND gender.

      However, the results in that small study were for oxygen saturation levels well below what would be considered an emergency based on the information doctors gave me when I was sick with COVID in 2020. My understanding is if you’re already at 80% or less, you need to be in the hospital. So if the sensor was accurate to, say, 90%, but not accurate below that, then problems with the sensor aren’t the biggest issue. Given the coverage we’ve all seen on this blog for 2+ years, I’d assume the issues come from lack of information, being overweight, and being poor. If you get a bad number and don’t understand what it means, or don’t have the ability to pay for medical care, or don’t have the option to take off work, then a more accurate tool isn’t going to help you.

      Anyway, engineers and scientists use light receptors and transmittance sensors in many different kinds of tests. Quantifying bias when using those methods is essential. It’s amazing to think that we’ve let this tool become widely used without developing some kind of bias adjustment for the wider population because how hard would it be for the manufacturer of a device to run a study and publish an adjustment factor with the sensor? And why isn’t that a requirement for selling such a device to people over the counter in the US?

  12. Louis Fyne

    if you like witty, pro-truth types, follow this guy on Twitter. (you don’t need an account, just bookmark the address)

    Black in the Empire
    Biden sold us all out almost a half century ago and people still haven’t figured that out

    1. Pat

      I love him pointing out that Biden can’t brag about saving us $0.19 this July 4th.
      (I missed that that happened last year. Glad I missed that agita inducing stupidity so I could enjoy the schadenfreud this year.)

    2. chris

      Wow. Thanks for sharing that voice. The one tweet, “If the goal of your Army is to take back land then you’re losing,” encompasses just about everything that’s wrong with UKR coverage these days.

  13. A Good Day for a Lynch

    That Mick Lynch is the future! I love the way he slaps down twaddle and with belief, conviction and uttermost clarity explains his socialists views. Not bad ones neither.
    Hope he and the Union will get whatever they ask for and that he takes on a larger role in politics. He has balls and don’t allow BS. He is a better Corbyn.

    1. paul

      The best since the late bob crowe whom he must have learned from:

      When a Daily Mirror reporter asked him in February 2014 if he felt sorry for commuters, he responded: “Course I feel sorry for them. But they know our fight isn’t with them. It’s with Transport for London. And what do they expect a trade union to do? If you join one you expect it to fight for your rights and your job – and that’s what I’m doing.”

  14. flora

    Dems. From WaPo. Yep, they’re still trying to fund GOP’ers in the GOP primaries hoping to get an opposing candidate the Dems can win against. See Illinois and Colorado for recent examples. They’re pouring millions of dollars of Dem campaign money into the far right wing candidates’ campaigns running against the moderate candidate in the GOP primaries. (How’d that work out in 2016?)

    Democrats must stop promoting Republican extremists

    1. Stick'em

      re: How’d that work out in 2016?

      For HillBillary, it worked like intentionally contracting an STD. Internal memos show the DNC campain chose Trump to run against with strategy codename “Pied Piper” because they thought he’d be so easy to beat. Bill even encouraged Trump to run with a phone call.

      So they got their media contacts to promote The Donald with attention. Hubis is as hubris does.

      The media were only too happy to go along with it because clicks’n’views = cash’n’prizes. What followed was buffoonery and tomfoolery, the likes of which the world had never seen!

      But hey, KACHING! she turned it into a NYTimes bestseller blaming everybody else for her own un-electability, amIrite?

  15. The Rev Kev

    “Germany’s Union Head Warns of Collapse of Entire Industries”

    I wonder what the results of a general strike in Germany would be? With the collapse of so many industries, you will likely have several hundred thousands if not a few million people with a lot of time on their hands all of a sudden. Sure, the German government could use public money to try to bail out those industries but if it came down to a choice of doing that or sending that money to the Ukraine instead, I have little doubt that Scholz and Baerbock will always opt for the later. Their political identities are too wrapped up in that country but unfortunately, not their own. They are already talking about rationing energy this winter and will just expect people to get use to a frozen apartment. Optimistically, this will be a chance for the Germans to clean house of these muppets. Worse case scenario the German State uses their power to crack down on people (like Macron did with the Yellow Vests) and over ride their rights – which opens up a wide lane for Germany’s AfD party.

    1. vao

      The last general strike in Germany occurred in 1948. For more than 20 years now, workers have been cowed into accepting wage freezes and overtime, as well as renouncing strikes for fear of seeing industry relocate to foreign countries. I rate the probability of a general strike as negligible.

      More realistic is that powerful SPD barons concoct a backroom deal with the CDU to restructure the governing coalition by evicting the rabidly russophobic Greens as a prelude to finding an arrangement with Russia. Probably this would take place after trade unions start agitating because of job losses, the outcry in the industry because of the impact of sanctions becomes unmistakable, households loudly protest rationing and price increases, and the regional elections in Lower Saxony (9th October — again that October horizon) turn out to be markedly negative for the ruling coalition.

      The problem is agreeing on the replacement for Olaf Scholz as Kanzler — which will require endless haggling, manoeuvering and back-stabbing inside the SPD.

      Of course, re-establishing working relations with Russia would not be cheap. Russia would not pardon the shenanigans of Germany without exacting a price and requiring solid guarantees and possibly reparations. Baltic countries, Poland and the UK would scream murder and agitate against Germany (but Italy, Hungary and France would breath sighs of relief). The USA would probably loudly threaten with sanctions. But all that would probably be better than the economic catastrophe Germany (and the rest of Europe) is heading to.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Thanks for that report. I really hope that it plays out the way that you suggest. Germany does not deserve what is coming their way this winter. Maybe the price that Russia would extract would be the approval and opening up of the Nord Stream 2 project. Not only would that get much needed gas to Germany – and other countries too – but it would screw those Russophic, eastern European countries out of all those transit fees as well.

        1. CBBB

          I disagree. Germany does indeed deserve what is coming — although I have to say, what is with this idea of cold winters, those are things of the past, I haven’t seen a cold winter for 3 years now.
          Any way Germany has spent the past 20 or so years running a low-wage, beggar-thy-neighbor economic strategy to boost exports by squeezing workers and the other EU countries. Their economic strategy is entirely dependent on foreigners buying their energy-intensive manufactured goods – well boo-hoo, they were warned about the vulnerability for years. For people puzzled about why Germany lets itself be pushed around by the US, well what choice do they have? Who the hell do you think ends up buying those Volkswagens? This economic strategy was always unsustainable.

          The other thing is a decade plus of massive domestic under-investment and debt-break madness. You have an energy intensive economy in the precarious position of heavy reliance on one partner for energy. Extremely low investment in public transportation, so much of the country using an American-style car dependent development style with poor public transport options, a car-obsessed culture almost as bad as the US – in Europe which does not have the level of energy security of the US (which of course does not have full security but Europe is even in a worst position).

          No the Germans deserve all of this for years of poor planning, beggar-thy-neighbor, and scolding everyone else.

          1. Irrational

            Maybe the German elite deserves it, but the people – like everywhere – are just being shafted. The Germans in general definitely don’t deserve this.

            1. CBBB

              Yes you are right. But they happily voted for Merkel election after election. But you are right, the German elite has repeatedly made mistake after mistake but they will suffer the least

          2. caucus99percenter

            That might be fair if Germany were sovereign. But after living in Germany for 45 years my observation would be that policy is still pretty much subject to approval by the U.S. and France, with Israel having additional veto power and Turkey and Saudi Arabia also having influence due to the ability to stir up Germany’s Muslim minority.

            Many former East Germans in particular recognize that, although less openly oppressive, the new system is often just as unresponsive to bottom-up citizen pressure (populism = Nazis = bad!) and just as intolerant as the old one was of views outside a very narrow, pre-approved band.

            For example, public media, whose remit used to require them to at least feign openness and neutrality, very seldom has actual dissidents on, and when they do, the disfavored figures are liable to be defamed from all sides and hardly allowed to get a word in edgewise. The for-profit media owned by huge U.S. or multinational conglomerates are even worse.

            1. CBBB

              Germany has its own multi-national conglomerates, I don’t really buy the idea that it has been the US dictating Germany’s economic policy for the last few decades.
              Germany has its own elite, and like the elite everywhere they influence policy for their benefit. In the Germany case the manufacturing barons and wealthy Mittelstand families who dominate the country’s politics pushed for policies to benefit exporters and insure compliant unions and a steady supply of cheap, skilled workers to keep wage pressure down. The debt-break and associated lack of public investment which is partially responsible for the energy crisis was part and parcel of these policies.
              The German media and the business and political elites bamboozeled the public into thinking that the mighty trade surpluses were a cause for national celebration even though they simply represented German workers continuously getting ripped off.

              1. caucus99percenter

                You underestimate the power over German policy U.S. neocons and neoliberals wielded, and continue to wield, through Atlanticist think tanks, U.S.-affine big media, the pro-business FDP (for generations the CDU‘s preferred coalition partner until the Green party started filling that role), and now those very same Greens.

                Germany must become more like America and less like Euro-sclerotic France, went the mantra. Markets! Privatization. Deregulation.

      2. JohnA

        Surely the next chancellor of Germany will be Ursula VDL. She has failed upwards all her career and that trajectory will surely continue.

      3. RobertC

        vao — I’m going to be a bit contrarian here WRT “Russia would not pardon the shenanigans of Germany without exacting a price and requiring solid guarantees and possibly reparations.”

        I think Russia will offer little “o” ostpolitik — precisely what Brandt undertook in 1969, a policy of de-escalating tensions without preconditions.

        After several decades of rapprochement attempts with the West, Putin is turning Russia’s future East and South. And I believe he would like Germany to join with this effort without exacting a price, not even an exit from NATO or buying Nordstream 2 gas. It’s time to move on. The Atlantic Alliance isn’t one any more.

        1. vao

          I cannot believe that Russia will let expropriations pass without reparations. Especially if the expropriation of Gazprom tanks, pipelines and ships, Rosneft refinery, Nordstream 2 infrastructure, central bank assets are finalized. Either those assets will have to be returned to their original owners, or be paid for. Confiscations affecting private Russian citizens will have to be compensated too. We are talking about many €bn here.

          Furthermore, I presume that Germany would have to agree to Russian payment conditions — roubles, possibly via the conversion route, on Russia banks, for all goods and services.

          Basically, Western countries, including Germany, have lost most of their trustworthiness — and I cannot imagine this will not have tangible consequences.

          But of course, this is only relevant if Germany gives up confrontation for some accommodating posture, which is not yet a given.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            > But of course, this is only relevant if Germany gives up confrontation for some accommodating posture, which is not yet a given.

            German voters would have to make a clean sweep of their current political leadership. Of course, with no heat — and food rationing? — they might feel forced to do just that.

  16. Alice X

    I gave my mite. Good health to you, Betty-Jo. I have a special place in my heart for home health care workers. When I cared for my dad for seven years, long ago, their help was invaluable.

    1. Pat

      $20,932 as of 10:40 am July 4th. My admiration for the NC community just grew three sizes.
      That this holiday finds Betty-Jo with the ability to secure some housing and her medication and some relief from the stress is probably the best reason for a celebration and some fireworks I have seen for some time.
      Thanks, Yves for letting us help.

      1. Art_DogCT

        Wow! Thanks for checking, Pat. I’d thought to stop at the gofundme page and then got lost in the Links. I second your admiration, and your thanks to Yves for the opportunity to help Betty-Jo. When I chipped in, some $4,500 had been donated. I fully expected that the fundraising goal would be exceeded, but the current total is genuinely awesome.

        NC is, I think, the very best example of what the internet can be, in fostering important writing (I include both Links and 2:00 Water Cooler in that category), critical thinking, and giving rise to a very rare and remarkable community via the Comments — Commentariat, Brain Trusts, I don’t remember when I first wandered in here, but very soon NC became indispensable. Since the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 I can say without exaggeration that the degree of mental and physical health I’ve been able to maintain is due in very large part to the information and analysis I’ve found here, as well as the examples of care, concern, and support for each other. My gratitude to everyone involved, including those who never/rarely comment, among whom I’m confident a good many are in the ranks of those who pitch in monetarily to support NC and 2PMWC. Honor to you all.

    2. playon

      My mother died in April at the age of 95. She lived long and died quickly (we should all be so lucky). Having caregivers allowed her to live in her own home right up until the end, and our family is so thankful for them. My mother paid them very well and they were worth it.

  17. Samuel Conner

    Listening to the Mercouris analysis of the fall of Lysichansk.

    @ ~ 15:40 he discusses a significant contrast between US and R warfighting theory — commanders (above battalion level, I think) in US manage battles from the rear; in R armed forces, they lead from the front.

    This might shed light on complaints that one has seen in social media that U soldiers feel “abandoned” by their leaders.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I noted that too and there seems to be history with this idea. In Vietnam it was quite common for commanders to be in helicopters above the battlefield directing their troops on the ground below. Sometime they would shout down the radio at their troops for not going fast enough while the troops were trying to push their way through impenetrable jungle that defied machetes. Of course it was risky for those commanders in their helicopters as they might take fire from the VC. Sometimes though, when those helicopters returned to base with bullet holes, those holes did not always match up with AK-47 fire.

      1. jr

        Years ago in the National Guard in Florida we had a generator tech who gave us a class. He was a Vietnam vet and we got him talking at lunch. He told us about tossing a ‘nade into a 2nd lieutenant’s tent once in retaliation for taking his platoon into dire danger to score glory points.

        1. ambrit

          An old friend of ours was a helicopter pilot in Indochina. (It was either that or prison.) He tells of securing steel plate from the repair shop to put under your bed in the hootch because the “Little Brown Brothers” would sometimes come running through the camp tossing grenades under the beds.
          He’s the one who several times flew helicopter support for Air America DC-3s on “trips to Nowhere, and back.”
          I remember meeting an ex-Colonel who served in Vietnam back in 1968, including Tet. His words were that; “The insanity went all the way to the top.”
          Today I get the same vibe. It’s Insanity all the way to the top. And now we are suffering our own Tet in the Ukraine.

      2. Anthony G Stegman

        In Vietnam, more often than not, those commanders circling above gave orders to the troops below to commit war crimes. In some cases the commanders committed the war crimes directly themselves.

    2. Samuel Conner

      > in R armed forces, they lead from the front.

      I should add that I think “lead from the front” is also present practice in US/Western doctrine at least up to battalion level. So in a high intensity conflict there will be high attrition among lieutenants up to lieutenant colonels.

      (And in view of this, I suspect that part of the ‘sense of abandonment’ reported among Donbass front U infantry might be due to the already high attrition among the “from the front” small unit leadership of those units. There aren’t enough trained small unit commanders in reserve to replace the low-level commissioned officer losses. One gets the impression that communication is not good between the dug-in units and their higher level HQs (radios jammed, field telephone lines cut by incessant artillery bombardment, civilian phones not safe to use). It might be hard for rear-area HQs to even know enough about what is happening to give timely orders for withdrawal of units about to be overwhelmed or encircled. “Hold until relieved” might be a default given the difficulty of making situation-appropriate adjustments to unit dispositions.)

      1. midget

        There is another aspect to this: Russian war-correspondent Telegram channels say that Ukrainian standard practice is for officers to leave a unit behind at almost the first sign of danger, with the conscripts being left to hold ground until one end or another. On a strictly practical level, this makes sense: a lizard can grow tails so long as the head is intact, and conscripts are, by definition, interchangeable. However, it sure as hell sucks for the abandoned grunts.

    3. Polar Socialist

      It’s kinda hard to tell from outside, but it seems that at least for a decade the Russians have been developing a network centric automated command system.
      Actually this all goes back to 2000 or so, when president Putin ordered development of new Unified Tactical Level Command and Control System. I’m not sure, but I believe the development has been done in multiple simultaneous and overlapping paths, since one can find all kinds of terms and names – and often very little else – like Polet-K, Manevr, Akatsiya, Akvedukt and Andromeda-D. Again, I assume Polet-K and Manevr were first generation attempts, Akatsiya and Andromeda-D were second generation and Akvedukt is actually more of a product family of radio equipment designed for data networks.

      In the 2008 war with Georgia it became apparent that the first generation was not up to par with western stuff, but the understanding seems to be that by 2011-15 the second generation was equal to US or Israeli C2 systems.

      Especially Andromeda-D, which was originally just for paratroopers, seemed to work extremely well in all weather and climate conditions and offer the best platform for growth and improvement. The word is that new tanks come with Andromeda-D preinstalled.

      The main point, though, is not a good C2 system (everyone has them, right?), but the fact that Russians have implemented AI in the system to perform the mundane staff functions, which means that at any level a Russian military unit has much smaller staff than a respective western unit. Thus allowing for greater mobility and even leading from the very front, since a battalion, a brigade or a division commander can have his whole C3I system and staff traveling in one vehicle and stay on top of the situation 24/7 even while on the move. A few years back, I think, the Russians were boasting the BTG OODA loop (or the Russian version of it) was shortened to 6 hours – including all the gathered intelligence in the operational area.

      And of course, one of the most revered officer in Russia, Vasili Chuikov, the defender of Stalingrad and conqueror of Berlin, led pretty much from the frontline (as in several hundreds meters from Germans). He also “strongly suggested” his officers shared their slightly bigger rations with their men. Nor did he hesitate to adopt a good tactical idea from even a private, if and when he came across one.

      1. hk

        This is a fascinating development. Historically, Russia generally lagged behind the West in electronic gizmos, b/c Soviet electronic industry was not as good and outfitting an army of up to 5 million with the gadgets was intolerably expensive, afaict. Something happened after Berlin Wall fell: I had the sense that Russian computer and electronics industries, particularly software development, had made huge strides while the West, for all the giddiness over high tech stuff, lagged more than it seemed–certainly the US. So Russians now have a high tech army of the “future,” outfitted with better electronic gizmos than the West, possibly? So they are smaller, nimbler, and more flexible, even while retaining the traditional Russian/Soviet touch, eg preeminence of artillery? This strikes me as a big game changer, certainly one that goes against all stereotypes of the Russian military from past few centuries.

        1. super extra

          it is SO fascinating!! one of the reasons I attempted to learn Russian language years ago (genitive case did me in) is because there are a number of parallel scientific and technology developments alongside the western equivalents that went different places. Like bacteriophages, or synthesizers, or even garment drafting – I had a few vintage tailoring handbooks and they seemed to use a geometry-based method where the platonic form was constructed in the pattern and then modified from there to create the base garment pattern, like starting with an inverted cone and truncating the pointed top off to create a skirt (as opposed to western methods, which draft the pattern shape directly using algebra based on measurements).

          > but the fact that Russians have implemented AI in the system to perform the mundane staff functions, which means that at any level a Russian military unit has much smaller staff than a respective western unit

          I had a brief professional brush with DoD-affiliated AI projects maybe 5 years ago and it was much less functional than this. Mostly image and video analysis. No doubt they’re trying to apply the ML chatbots to their work but who knows how useful that could ever be.

          1. Polar Socialist

            I doubt it’s marketing brochure kind of AI.

            Given the Russian-Soviet-Russian approach to war as a science – those who follow Martyanov will be more than aware of this – they do actually tend to compile their knowledge into tables and functions and then test and rewrite those when new weapon systems or tactics appear.

            So from their point of view it’s relatively easy to externalize a lot of staff work to a computer, since it’s much faster at checking the tables and solving functions, and then outputting the orders accordingly.

            Basically, as I understand it – and that’s a huge caveat – the commander gets to see the situation regarding his forces, the neighboring forces and the enemy, makes his decisions and then the few staff personnel merely tick the right boxes and choose the appropriate menu items in the system which then takes care of the rest.

            All battalion tactical groups and their elements have trained the same tactical maneuvers of some limited (but not small) set*, so the task of the staff (human element) is to turn the commanders vision into a sequence of those basic elements and the system then distributes the appropriate commands, information and resources to each unit.

            So not really AI or even ML, but using automata to do the repetitive and calculable tasks. Maybe the system is gathering data for ML to chew on, and that is the part mentioned as AI, but I really don’t know.

            * The main purpose, I understand, is that even if a supporting element is operating with the BTG for the first time, it’s familiar with the standards every other unit is operating to, so the friction should be minimal.

            1. super extra

              This is really interesting. Thank you for sharing, lots of food for thought..

        2. tegnost

          I had the sense that Russian computer and electronics industries, particularly software development, had made huge strides while the West, for all the giddiness over high tech stuff, lagged more than it seemed–certainly the US. So Russians now have a high tech army of the “future,” outfitted with better electronic gizmos than the West, possibly?

          It’s a fit for purpose thing…the f 35 is fit for the purpose of wall st getting paid, and probably a lot of silly con valley patented/patentable govt paid for tech/AI/lidar et al. giveaways
          hypersonic missiles are fit for the purpose of blowing stuff up.

        3. caucus99percenter

          I could see an asymmetrical competition where Russia’s or China’s best young software talents get channeled into systems and projects that strengthen the nation as a whole, while much of America’s talent is frittered away manipulating consumers, promoting social media addiction, and harvesting personal info for ad targeting or sale to data brokers.

            1. caucus99percenter

              Great article. A further cultural factor not mentioned is recreational drug use. Do defense companies still require employees be drug-free, as regularly confirmed by urine tests or chemical analysis of hair?

              In the West, recreational drugs are associated with freedom, experimentation, adventure, creativity, multiculturalism, youth, even a form of spirituality: hippie freakdom ≈ computer freakdom. Whereas in China, drugs evoke — what? evil Western imperialists’ opium trade and attendant wars…

              1. RobertC

                Generally the permissible drug requirement depends on the drug; the mission-criticality (eg, safety) of the position; and the information security (eg, classification) for the position.

                An example is the mechanics working on the new presidential 747 need high security clearances for access reasons and therefore a more stringent drug compliance and monitoring regime than their skills would otherwise require.

                But I never paid much attention to those rules when I was working (I’m was rather boring) and I’m been retired for almost a decade (and I’m even more boring).

        4. RobertC

          hk — here’s what happened Why are Russian programmers the best in the world?

          [There might be a touch of chauvinism but it’s a good read anyway.]

          They regularly win international informatics olympiads, work for IT companies all over the world and create popular online games and mobile apps, ranging from Tetris to Telegram. We look into how Russia has become one of the main production lines for turning out the best programmers in the world.

          …All these are just the most outstanding achievements by programmers from Russia and together, they fit into a coherent system that can be traced back to Soviet education.

          …The main reason for the development of applied mathematics and programming in the country was the USSR’s desire to surpass the U.S. and its allies in the nuclear arms race, according to Mikhail Gustokashin, director of the Center of Student Competitions at the Higher School of Economics. To achieve this, good technical specialists were needed, and so olympiads in mathematics were held throughout the USSR.

          …Russian children take part in olympiads from primary school onwards, beginning with the simplest district-level Russian language olympiads and continuing to national olympiads in different specialisms, including programming and computer science, in which the country’s leading higher educational establishments are involved. Those who come top in these kinds of olympiads can enter, for instance, Lomonosov Moscow State University or other prestigious higher educational establishments without having to take the entrance exam.

          …“The majority of Russian graduates also stay in Russia and work for Russian companies or branches of foreign companies. They can then pass on their expertise to new generations of Russian programmers,” Gustokashin believes.

          Russia produces about 250,000 STEM graduates yearly, the same as the US. Starting in 2006, China established regional engineering centers to obtain access to this talent. China has won the trifecta.

        5. digi_owl

          The soviet era electronics industry is a history all its own.

          I dunno how accurate my understanding of it is, in particular the military side is lacking, but at least early on they were keeping up with western tech in terms of quality but not quantity.

          What happened though was that it was decreed from on high that they should stop making their own CPUs etc, and instead clone western ones. End result was that they became damn good at reverse engineering.

          On the civilian side this resulted in most home computers were clones of the venerable Sinclair ZX Spectrum, while those that wanted something a bit more professional would have found themselves with a desktop sized PDP-11 clone.

          It is perhaps also why one of the early post cold war software success stories from there was Kaspersky, of antivirus fame.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Russians have implemented AI in the system to perform the mundane staff functions, which means that at any level a Russian military unit has much smaller staff than a respective western unit.

        Let’s just hope human knowledge of those functions doesn’t atrophy.

      1. Martin Oline

        Thanks for this link. It is nice to hear more from Dimo (Military Summary guy) and get his take on the larger picture of the Ukraine conflict.

        1. Skip Intro

          He had an interesting algorithm for assigning credibility to reports — He lent more credence to reports from offense, since they needed to show results, and results from defenders he assumed were denying or delaying losses.

    4. Oh

      With the Ukrainian war, it looks like US and Ukrainian commanders are leading with their rear!

  18. GC54

    Well “Avoiding a Russian Quadmire” was a depressing read on this fine Montreal morning, especially in that none of its realism will inform our Federal govt’s (wishful) “thinking”.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I think that Lambert may have mis-worded it when he said ‘I don’t know why the only creative thinking about Ukraine is being done by conservatives, while all left-liberals do is add Ukraine flags to their “In This House” signs, but here we are.’ I too have noticed how criticism of this war is coming from conservatives of all people but it might be more accurate to say that it is liberals that support this war and not the left. Being liberal does not mean that you with the left at all. But again, here we are.

      1. Michael Ismoe

        So AOC is now “Liberal” and not “Left”?

        She beat Joe Crowley and then transformed into him.

      2. Boomheist

        Lambert’s article is great. It struck me this morning that the last time we had Democrats full-bore on an anti-communist crusade was Vietnam in the 1960s. While there was bipartisan agreement to stop the “fall” of South Vietnam (I think there were advisers in Vietnam under even Eisenhower) the actual war build up occurred under Democratic administrations. The recent flood of money to Ukraine, the fervor and Russiaphobia, parallel what happened after Tonkin Gulf. And then a Republican ran against the war, saying he had a way to stop it, which of course he did not for many years.

        But the point here is there is an echo here of the past, Democrats lurching to a war fever and the right arguing against it. It feels familiar.

      3. Lambert Strether Post author

        > I think that Lambert may have mis-worded it when he said

        I meant left-liberal as a bucket in which to throw people like AOC (fully on board with the Ukraine debacle, unlike Marjorie Taylor-Greene, heaven help us all). I’ve been hammering on the left-liberal distinction for some years now. I assume the dominant faction of liberal Democrats is pro-war; they always have been. One would assume, or at least hope, that there would be a liberal faction that was anti-war — like, I dunno what you’d call them… The Group? The Squad? — as in the time when millions marched against Iraq, but no.

        As for the genuine left, there might be a lot of good writing, but there’s no political impact whatever.

  19. foghorn longhorn

    The Akron shooting is hideous.
    These dudes need a six shot revolver and carry one bullet in their front shirt pocket.
    Just like Barney Fife.

    1. Louis Fyne

      A person gets shot 60 days and the story isn’t national news. (i got served stories about Covid and Ukraine at

      You must only care narratives that the editorial staff at NY-DC media choose

    2. notabanker

      What gets lost in the din is that they cancelled the entire 4th of July festival downtown, which draws thousands of people a day. All those vendors had a holiday weekend worth of food, concerts cancelled, nothing. All because they were afraid of protests. It took them just a few hours to make that decision, almost like there is a playbook for these things.

    3. Charger01

      The sheer volume of shots mean they had multiple magazine changes. Thats beyond absurd to the point of sadistic when the subject is obviously down. It reminds me of that situation a few years ago when the Los Angeles police officer (Dorner) conducted vengeance killings of his fellow officers….the police went on a mega manhunt and found a pair of women with a pickup truck, delivering newspapers (with the wrong vehicle match) and shot them without warning approximately 100 times (with 6 officers involved). Apparently shooting or firing for effect is contagious for law enforcement.

      The cherry on top? No charges for law enforcement. Jail time for thee, but not for me behind the badge.

      1. foghorn longhorn

        6 of them, 15 round clips.
        There’s your ninety bullets.
        But go into a school after a kid with a gun. We don’t want to.

        1. JBird4049

          Six cops for a traffic violation. I am assuming that they knew who he was because of his license plates. What was the point in chasing him? Send the ticket in the mail or issue a bench warrant.

    4. Tom Stone

      Poorly disciplined Cops full of adrenaline after a high speed chase…
      Take a look at police recruiting videos to get an idea of the selection process that gives us such professionals.

        1. foghorn longhorn

          Brother, I am pretty sure it is the finger pulling the trigger and the effing idiot the finger is attached to.
          Like I said, six shooter, one bullet.

      1. chuck roast

        There were a number of severe beatings of young people by cops last week here in the city by the sea. Of course the kids captured it all on video, and the city will eventually have to dig deep. What will happen to the cops? Well, we shall see. I walk by the cop shop every day. Today there was an SUV parked in the front with a American flag sticker. The stripes on the flag were in the shape of bullets. Last week I saw a pick-up parked there with a number of aggressive, abusive stickers on it. I was thinking today that the cops should be made firemen, and the firemen should be made cops. It might work better.

  20. The Rev Kev

    “Ill Prepared for Combat, Volunteers Die in Battles Far From Home”

    These guys aren’t soldiers. They aren’t even militia. Sending territorial soldiers with only a bare minimum of training up against battle-hardened, professional soldiers with artillery dominance is just murder and is only being done for political purposes. Their presence on the battlefield will make very little difference. And the scars will remain in these small villages for generations. Saw a brief, brutal film of what the fighting can be like earlier today so will link to it to show the reality of what these amateurs can be facing- (5:05 mins)

    1. JohnA

      While Poroshenko is dining in an upmarket restaurant in London with his family and military age son. Polish car parks are full of luxury cars – Mercs, Beemers, Bentleys etc., with Ukrainian plates. I have also seen several in Stockholm, Spain and France. Now Zelensky is asking for another 500 billion dollars. And clowns like Johnson, Biden, VDL etc., are eager to give him. How big a % is being laundered for them, one has to ask.

    2. John k

      If they really wanted a long war of attrition/guerrilla war they woulda retreated long ago to save the men for the future, no? Maybe somebody wants to fight to the last man such that there is clearly no future possibility of long term conflict? Pretty soon people will forget about this latest fiasco and we can shift focus to the dragon?
      Just trying to make sense of otherwise odd behavior given that by all accounts the strategy is run by the us.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        State and intelligence agencies ran this thing. The expectation was NATO air power would suddenly intervene. Then that doofus Biden didn’t get the foreign policy win he expected, not even a polling smidgeon. Its just that the people most loyal to Biden think Putin stole ballots in 2016.

        Its also always 1995. Western FP elites can’t conceive the 10,000 protestors that one day in Moscow, a city of over 10 million wouldn’t overthrow Putin.

    3. hemeantwell

      My Russian is pretty thin, but it seems like most of the Russian commenters were moved by the comradeship in evidence in that video. I was as well.

  21. caucus99percenter

    Latest e-mail to me from The Economist does a hard sell on the image, complete with color cartoon, of Cassidy Hutchinson as some kind of ultra-courageous St. George battling Trump as dragon.


    To think there was a time 30 or 40 years ago when I deeply respected and trusted that rag.

    Also, reports of huge gold strike in Uganda. Consequences for world affairs?

    1. The Rev Kev

      Newsflash: The government of the United States has come out and decried the state of human rights of the long suffering people in Uganda, especially in the eastern regions. Joe Biden has also criticized the Chinese firm that has started producing gold products in Busia district in the east and accused them of holding down and suppressing the good people of Busia. Biden has stated that ‘We stand with the Busian people of Uganda!’

      1. Mikel

        That sounds like something from The Onion, but sadly it’s so stupid it has to be real.
        The Onion can’t keep up.

        Whatever one thinks of China, the country displays a level of patience worthy of envy.
        Imagine how much skill it takes to maintain their composure as the West preaches to them about “holding down and suppressing people.”

      2. Tom Bradford

        Actually I believe in the pre-edited version of Biden’s statement he said, “We stand with the Busian people of Ukraine… er, Ukranda… er, Uga… Yugoslavia? That right? Or was it Utah? That was it. The Busian people of Utah. Where that gold is. Lots of gold in Utah. That’s why the Russians invaded it. Yes, got it now.”

    2. ambrit

      I noticed that the Uganda government said that a Chinese company will be running the mines when they get up and running. A shiny gold buckle for the Belt and Road.
      Will Uganda soon tell the IMF to F-off?
      Added, these deposits cover a wide swath of the country. What about adjacent sections of neighboring countries? Uganda is talking $12T plus in probable reserves. Add in the Neighbors and what do we have?
      I always keep in mind that most of the Congo basin is still unexplored.
      Something new is always coming out of Africa.

      1. caucus99percenter

        No wonder NATO wanted to get rid of Gaddafi — imagine Uganda dovetailing with Gaddafi’s idea of a gold-backed dinar as currency in a pan-African common market.

    3. Louis Fyne

      I’ll believe the gold strike after I see Afghanistan wswimming in its supposed $1+ trillion of rare earth metals money like Scrooge McDuck

    4. JohnA

      As a rule of thumb, I make the safe and relatively certain assumption that everything the Economist writes is the exact opposite of truth and reality.

      1. chuck roast

        I first ran across it in the ’60’s in my uni library. The impression I took away from it was that they were primarily engaged in selling expensive watches to the rising third world bourgeoisie.

  22. Lexx


    Uh-huh… I’ve fallen for that ‘come hither – scratch my belly – paint me like your French tigers’ posture before, and I have the scars to prove it. Nearly irresistible, but naynay!

    1. rowlf

      There is a Calvin and Hobbes panel that states the same.

      Me, I keep cycling between Who’s A Big Kitty and That’s A Mark I Mod 0 Hunting And Killing Machine that can knock my head off my shoulders with one paw swipe and then play soccer with it.

      1. rowlf

        Some tiger observations.

        Saw a tiger in the Detroit zoo play with an empty beer keg like a soccer ball. Almost no effort for the tiger to swat the beer keg a good distance.

        At a zoo in Burnsville Minnesota there is a tiger exhibit that is about two acres-ish in size (100m x 100m?) with a raised promenade that lets you walk 1/3rd into the middle of the area. One side is hillside with trees and the other is a lower grassy area.

        I watched one of the two tigers in the exhibit stalk a robin (or similar bird) in the woods. Maybe fifteen meters of stalking in the underbrush and fifteen meters of unsuccessful lunge at the bird. The stalking was quiet: no leaves sound or twigs breaking. The lunge was almost as silent except for the sound of 500 lbs of Mk1 Mod 0 paws hitting the earth and thudding. Pretty scary stuff for a higher primate like me.

        Later the two tigers moved to the grassy area. One was just lying around in the grass when a butterfly fluttered up from behind it, startling the tiger, who jumped about a meter or so up and spun about. Hilarious to watch.

        The two tigers in the grassy area later started playing like house cats and knocked flat a lot of the grass. At about thirty meters away, with the two tigers tussling, one tiger took a swat at the other with its paw and the sound was amazing. Solid and almost concussive even at a moderate distance.

        I still don’t know all the lyrics of the Tiger Song.

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              Excerpt from John Vaillant’s The Tiger. “The first sign of trouble was the crows.” Really too good to quote!

              More here:

              During a hunting trip, we got lost in the taiga and were trying to find the path back home when our dog started barking wildly. That’s when we found the fresh footprints of an adult Siberian tiger. Suddenly our dog stopped barking and stared at one point in the darkness while walking backwards.

              There was complete silence and all I could see were some branches lit up by my lantern. It was then that I remembered the old Udege proverb, “If you see a tiger for one second, he has been watching you for one hour”, and realized that we were no longer in control of the situation. There was no sound and I felt like we were hanging in the ether, held by an unknown presence. The situation kept on for some seconds (or hours) until the dog started growling again and the feeling vanished.

              Luckily for us, the tiger kept on his path. But for a few seconds, I understood why some people still fear the dark.

              Also perhaps some insights into Russia; the Humvee-equivalent has a wood stove….

  23. Mikel

    “The Limits to Growth: Ecosocialism or Barbarism” Monthly Review

    “…Economic growth can be seen as the result of greater production capacity on the part of a particular society. To simplify, this means that a society that produces a larger quantity of product than it did in the previous year is said to have grown economically by an amount equal to the difference between the two levels of output. In this way, a country that produces ten units of food in a particular year and produces twelve units of food the following year is said to have experienced a 20 percent growth in food units. These two new food units are considered as economic surplus. The systematic buildup of economic surpluses lies behind the development of societies, inasmuch as historically it has enabled societies to become more complex.

    Capitalism as an economic system emerged around five centuries ago. It introduces a series of incentives, through competition, to discipline companies and force them to grow in each period, as well as to reinvest profits in order to raise their production capacity to a higher level, awarding a growing share of those profits to the people who supplied the capital. In this way, under capitalism, the whole entrepreneurial fabric is pushed toward boosting production capacity. This is what, under specific institutional arrangements, has driven the spectacular increase in economic activity, infrastructure, and the living standards of people over the past two hundred years….”


    At any rate, over-financialization and neoliberalism made a mockery of that “economic model” long ago.

    And in all of the 500 years, not much attention has really been paid to what to do about all the waste. Instead, “genuises” keep thinking of other ideas that create even more waste and often more deadly waste.

    I didn’t go much past this part.
    #Let ‘er Rip has done all the confirming I need about which road is going to be taken by any society that worships maintaining the extreme wealth of the few.
    As long as there are Davos-like gatherings, it can be safely assumed the road being paved is more barbarism and most likely ecofascism.

  24. truly

    An anecdote re Inflation:
    I had a nice chat with an old friend yesterday. Pretty different political views than mine, but a solid source. And a firsthand source here. Retired from a Fed job involving land use and agriculture. Now full time running a large organic (large- family size) operation. Honey, syrup, wild rice and 4-500 acres of grains. Over the last two years he has had a great run thanks to Trumps Cares Act. Forgiveable loans for small businesses means being able to make improvements that he has always wanted to. Banker calls up and says he has 50,000 with “John’s” name on it. All John has to do is use it in an applicable way. John pours concrete entries to buildings, buys a semi to haul grain, hires help to mend things that needed mending years ago. Several rounds of this size of grant/loan.
    Now the big one. Yesterday he tells me that his insurance man called and says he will get crop insurance payout again this year. AGAIN? Yes. It turns out that crop insurance has quietly gone from payments for destroyed crops (wind and hail damage, drought) to a stealth “welfare” or “vote buying” operation. Under Trump farmers started telling me how they would get checks for 100% damage on fields that had 25% damage. And if their neighbor had 25% damage they and anyone within 5 miles might get 100% payout. Now, in the last 2-3 years they have been just making bulk payments to (seemingly) all. No evidence of crop damage but WITHOUT requesting them, payments are made. So you get the full value of the crop plus a cash payment of the estimate of that crop.
    Here is the kicker- where he rents land, and he says this is pretty standard type of contract- the landowner gets 45% of all “government payments”. So “John” gets 55% and the landowner gets 45%. Most farmland that is rented out is owned by already very wealthy people. That means that massive amounts of money flowing to landowners who do not even need it.
    A reminder. Bill Gates is the largest owner of tillable crop land in this country.
    “John” tells me he knows of NO actual farmers that think this is a good idea or that really need it.
    He knows of no political push to make this happen. He does not know if it came about thru legislation or executive action.
    Money just flowing like a river towards those who do not need it. While we are told there is no money for kids lunches.
    I thought this community might appreciate hearing this anecdote. I (and “John”) have not seen anything of this in any news. Including agriculture publications.

    1. Oh

      The CARES Act was the biggest giveaway to businesses that I know of. This sounds like one avenue for the money to flow to the rich from the US Treasury.

  25. haywood

    Re: We live in the stupidest timeline

    That looks like fun! But, more to the point, I don’t think this is symbolic of anything other than country kids doing dumb stuff with farm machinery for a good time. It’s not a unique American characteristic.

    What ppl here deem to be redneck behavior can be found in agricultural areas on most continents. Across India, tricked-out tractor demos occur almost every weekend. Africans absolutely LOVE country music and country-western culture, with all the requisite hollering and showboating. It’s weird when you first hear it but it’s everywhere and eventually you realize that it makes perfect sense because the culture and lifestyle is so similar, across continents.

    1. Late Introvert

      Every person on that ridiculous vehicle was fully prepared to fall in the lake. It was part of the fun.

      Disappointed tonight with the NC Commentariat for totally missing that. The point of life is to have fun.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Every person on that ridiculous vehicle was fully prepared to fall in the lake. It was part of the fun.

        Does the word “metaphor” mean anything to you?

  26. The Rev Kev

    “Avoiding a Russian Quagmire, the Improbable Ukrainian Peace, and the Risk of Direct Russo-NATO War”

    Been thinking about the eventual peace that will have to come. No doubt the Russians will insist on a neutral, disarmed Ukraine whereas NATO will keep on wanting to pump weapons in along with sabotage training to make it a briars patch and source of instability for the entire Eastern Europe for years if not decades. So my thought is this. The Russians have hardly counter-sanctioned the west though they could do enough damage to make people scream. So maybe that is the deal. When it comes time for peace, the Russians will insist on their terms but when the west wants a militarized Ukraine instead, the Russians will keep on turning up the pain dial until the west finally agrees. And that this is why they have been holding back.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Saw that when it came out be I doubted the idea behind that. Russia would be better served with stable countries in its borders. And the Ukraine has been anything but the past eight years.

    1. VietnamVet

      The article is fairly good at looking at a future that nobody wants to face. Germany and Europe’s prosperity needed Russia’s cheap energy and resources. That’s no more. The West still wants the riches. The problem is they won’t let go and become the poor cousin to Russia and China. The only short-term fix is an armistice and a DMZ manned by Eastern Europeans separating the combatants. Ukraine keeps Odessa to remain a viable nation but out of NATO. The longer the industrial war continues, the greater the chance of the mistake that starts a nuclear war. If not and the proxy war continues to its bloody end, the winning side will eventual invade Poland or Crimea which will trigger the use of the thousands of strategic nuclear warheads and end western civilization.

      1. Yves Smith

        Ukraine will not get Odessa. That might have been acceptable a month ago. The West is not willing to talk to Russia, the Ukraine army is crumbling, and Russia will with not too much additional difficulty be able to march up to the Dnieper and/or take Odessa soon. Even though grabbing the territory east of the Dnieper has the logic of proximity, if Russia thinks the Ukraine army is done, they might go for Odessa first. The Russian public very much wants Russia to take Odessa, for its historical role and the fact that a massacre of ethnic Russians took place there in 2014. And it’s the biggest strategic prize.

        1. Sibiryak

          I agree with Yves about Odessa. And certainly the point about Russian public opinion coincides with my perceptions here in Russia.

          I would only add that the Russians would very much like to avoid seeing Odessa suffer the kind of massive destruction and loss of life that Mariupol suffered, thus it’s possible they might hold off on a full-scale assault on the city to the last possible moment, opting instead to surround and isolate it while other military objectives are given priority. (I’m not making predictions–I‘m just an аналитик на диване.)

          In any case, it seems a lot of unrealistic peace proposals are being put forward by various writers these days, from conservative realists to anti-war progressives.

          Take, for example, Gilbert Doctorow and Nicolai Petro’s, recent proposal in “Building a Lasting Settlement for Ukraine ”:

          In exchange for the cessation of hostilities and the withdrawal of its forces, Russia would be obliged to not annex the regions it currently occupies and agree to hold a status referendum there under international supervision, some ten to twenty years from now.

          Ukraine, for its part, would accept its temporary loss of control over Novorossiya (the regions of Donbass, Lugansk, Zaporozhye, Kherson, and Nikolayev) , with the proviso that their status will be ultimately determined by the referendum outcome. [Emphasis added]

          That’s never going to happen. It is now completely inconceivable that the Russians would agree to the Donetsk and Lugansk republics being put into some kind of ten-to- twenty year limbo with the possibility of returning to Ukrainian control after that.

          But what’s even more remarkable is Doctorow and Petro’s strange definition of the territory of Novorossiya–they exclude the Odessa and Kharkov regions! (Not to mention mistakenly substituting “Donbass” for “Donetsk.”)

          This isn’t just a matter of correct historical terminology; it’s about how Russia views those territories today

          In this regard, it’s instructive to look back at Putin’s views expressed in an April 2014 interview , (just after Crimea voted to join Russia):

          VLADIMIR PUTIN: Regarding the question of what should come first: a constitutional referendum followed by elections, or elections first to stabilise the situation and then a referendum. The essential issue is how to ensure the legitimate rights and interests of ethnic Russians and Russian speakers in the southeast of Ukraine.

          I would like to remind you that what was called Novorossiya (New Russia) back in the tsarist days – Kharkov, Lugansk, Donetsk, Kherson, Nikolayev and Odessa – were not part of Ukraine back then. These territories were given to Ukraine in the 1920s by the Soviet government.

          Why? Who knows. They were won by Potyomkin and Catherine the Great in a series of well-known wars. The centre of that territory was Novorossiysk, so the region is called Novorossiya. Russia lost these territories for various reasons, but the people remained.

          Today, they live in Ukraine, and they should be full citizens of their country. That’s what this is all about. The issue is not whether the referendum on decentralisation or federalisation is followed by elections or the elections come before the architecture of the state is changed.

          The key issue is providing guarantees to these people. Our role is to facilitate a solution in Ukraine, to ensure that there are guarantees. [Emphasis added]

          Russia tried for eight years to find a solution in Ukraine to the plight of all those ethnic Russians and Russian-speaking people. He wanted them to be full Ukrainian citizens with their social and cultural rights fully guaranteed. That effort failed, as we know, and we are where we are now.

          The point is that Odessa (and Kharkov) are central to Russia’s longstanding goals regarding Ukraine. Now unless “Ukraine” means a demilitarized rump state with a truly neutral or pro-Russian government, created after the Zelensky regime has been toppled and the entire country occupied by Russian forces, any “Ukraine keeps Odessa” outcome would be fundamentally incompatible with the those stated Russian goals.

          1. Yves Smith

            I agree 100% with your comment about not wanting to damage Odessa unduly. So yes, if the Ukraine army still has the men and materiel to fight, they might have to cordon it and go for a much slower capture.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Ukraine keeps Odessa to remain a viable nation but out of NATO

        I think a Ukraine on life support is a lot safer than a Ukraine that’s a “viable nation,” which implies that Russia should take Odessa.

        I agree that a rump, neutral, non-NATO, non-EU Ukraine* would be better for all concerned than a Ukraine that’s part of Russia and a sink of US-funded snipers and saboteurs for the next few decades. Kiev, I am told, is a very pretty city. Let them pay their way with tourism.

        In all this, the real question is: What is to be done with the Ukrainian fascists? A rump Ukraine controlled by fascists would be completely unacceptable to Russia, and would be to the EU, and the US, too, if we weren’t so stupid.

        My view is that the only solution for the fascists — and this has to happen before they scatter to the West and go on Cable TV in the United States — is to allow them to join their comrades from the Azov Steelworks in Valhalla. But who gets the duty? Not the Ukrainians themselves. Not the Russians, who thereby might lose the peace after winning the war. Perhaps give the Poles Galicia and Lviv, and let them deal with the fascists in exchange? There’s quite a history there….

        NOTE * It occurs to me that one reason for the Lithuanians to f*ck around with Kaliningrad would be as a trust-unbuilding exercise: Supplying Russian Kaliningrad through non-Russian territory requires complex, Treaty of Montreux-level international agreements. So would a rump Ukraine. So Lithuanian shit-stirring might have been intended to prevent that possibility. Perhaps the Lithuanians are Intermarium loons, I don’t know.,

    1. Screwball

      These studies and data are above my head, but I think they are talking about adverse events from the vax.

      I ran into a PMC friend the other day. His wife has been going through some medical issues. She developed COVID like symptoms and ended up in bed. Took two home tests which came out negative. She then went to the doctor, was tested again, negative.

      To make a long story short, her PCP could not figure out what was going on so he put her in the hospital. They did further testing and found nothing. They in turn sent her to a larger regional hospital, who also tested (negative) and also couldn’t figure out what was wrong with her. In all, she spent 28 days in hospitals and they didn’t know any more when they left than when she went in.

      She is now home, still not 100%, but better, but still having COVID like symptoms. He said the bills were in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, which doesn’t surprise me one bit.

      One thing that didn’t come up, and I wasn’t going to ask – what is her vaccination status. Knowing these two are both highly anti-Trumpers, and big time cheerleaders for the democrats, Fauci, and all thing vax (last summer when I talked to them she was in an uproar over the horse paste stuff), I have to believe she took every vax that became available to her. I have no idea when the last might have been, but I have to wonder if this could be an adverse event from those?

      Of course he didn’t bring up the vax as I’m sure there is some denial if in fact it could be, and I’m guessing all these doctors are hesitant to blame them either. Funny, a perfectly healthy women has a strange illness and two hospitals and multiple doctors can’t for the life of them figure out what is wrong after a couple of months.

      Maybe I’m too cynical as well.

      1. kareninca

        Something similar happened to my 74 y.o. aunt, on a smaller scale. She got what the doctors were absolutely convinced was covid at the beginning of the pandemic. She was in the hospital for couple of weeks, with ground glass lungs and other characteristic covid symptoms. But they never could get a positive test out of her. She eventually recovered, pretty much.

        Then she got vaccinated and boosted (two boosters, I think).

        Then last month she got sick again with what again looked just like covid to the doctors. It wasn’t so bad this time, but it was still pretty nasty. They tested her a multitude of times and always negative. She is recovering now well enough.

        I tracked down a study (which I can’t seem to find now) that found that some people just don’t test positive, even though they have covid.

    2. will rodgers horse

      that article mostly got the silent treatment from where i sit. pretty hard to attack the likes of those authors without looking foolish imo. But I will be surprised if it makes it out of preprint.

  27. Seth Miller

    Re: 10 Ways to Fix a Broken Supreme Court

    I’m just a humble Housing Court attorney, so my thoughts on these weighty constitutional matters haven’t made it to Vox or the New York Times, but I would like to put some ideas out there.

    On the very large and specific category of cases involving “takings” claims (i.e., the claim by a business that government regulation is an unconstitutional confiscation of property), jurisdiction stripping would be very effective and would not be particularly radical. Until recently, businesses could not go to federal court at all until they made a takings claim in state court, and then only when they were denied adequate compensation. The way to save rent control, land-use based environmental regulation (e.g., wetlands) and many others, would be simply to restore and strengthen, through legislation, the pre-Roberts rule: no takings claims in Federal court until all state remedies are exhausted, and no takings claims absent proof of out of pocket economic harm exceeding $50K. (In other words, reversing Cedar Point Nursery, so that the fact that California mandates that organizers have access to farmworkers cannot be a taking, since no economic harm was involved).

    Second, as with Supreme Court confirmation hearings, the discussion does not focus enough on the essentially arbitrary process whereby SCOTUS decides which cases to take in the first place. If we can’t put together the votes to pack the court, or require a supermajority to overturn a law or a precedent, there’s a much less divisive-sounding, but far more effective reform we can push for: require a unanimous vote before granting certiorari (i.e. before taking a case). Most if not all of the major cases in this revolutionary term were set-ups: carefully constructed by the right for the purpose of provoking an opinion from SCOTUS. You can see these cases coming a mile away. Let Sonia veto any such case that may be in the pipeline, and require the court to do what both parties claim is the essential work of courts anyway: decide genuine disputes that arise organically in the society. Our side can even claim that such a rule would restore bipartisanship to the court. (It would also weaken the court to the point of near-irrelevancy on issues that are more political than legal, which IMHO would be a good thing.)

    None of this is a criticism of the ideas circulating in Vox and other mainstream outlets. I just think that more ideas need to be in circulation, focused more on what we may actually be able to get passed.

    1. juno mas

      Yes, clear, thoughtful observations. It is the mechanisms of power that need to be addressed, not the arguments. SCOTUS are “approved” by the Senate. a political body that represents geography (state boundary), not proportional representation of the nation.
      (The Connecticut Compromise has been a disaster.)

      Placing procedural (legislative) hurdles before the Supreme’s would direct their attention to broader concerns: rule on real disputes, not contrived grievance.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > require a unanimous vote before granting certiorari (i.e. before taking a case). Most if not all of the major cases in this revolutionary term were set-ups: carefully constructed by the right for the purpose of provoking an opinion from SCOTUS. You can see these cases coming a mile away.

      It’s the equivalent of a silent filibuster, but when the Supreme Court. Why the Senate should require a super-majority to make law, but the Supreme Court allows a minority of one to begin the process of striking down a law… That seems a little odd.

      1. Seth Miller

        The distinction is rooted in basic ideas of democracy. Passing laws to benefit the majority should be easy and striking them down should be hard.

        And it is also rooted in the practical needs of the moment. We have a radical, right wing, obstructionist Supreme Court, demanding to overturn the entire administrative state, to disable the government from effectuating affirmative action and reparations, and determined to impose theocratic, capitalist individualistic rule. I suggest that taking away some of their power, right away, is imperative, right now.

  28. Alice X

    July 4th – time to reread Alex Carey on the Americanization project (Taking the Risk Out of Democracy) of the early 20th century when the holiday we know today was manufactured.

  29. Jason Boxman

    A democracy came under attack. The United States saw a threat to an ally and also to the entire world order, but it feared that sending troops could spark a nuclear war. So, instead, it supplied weapons. And a small number of American Special Operations trainers started quietly working with the local military.

    LOL. Whut? I guess Ukraine is like a democracy kind of like the United States is sort of like a democracy. An ally? The world order!

    Well, that settles it, then!

    The NY Times rides this war hard. I think war needs a break, it must be exhausted.

    That was the situation in South Vietnam in 1961, a few years before full-blown U.S. military involvement, when the American presence was limited to a military “advisory group.”

    It is also the situation in Ukraine today. As a bloody conflict churns on, small teams of American Special Operations veterans are training Ukrainian soldiers near the front lines and, in some cases, helping to plan combat missions.

    And how well did Vietnam turn out for us?

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > And how well did Vietnam turn out for us?

      It would have turned out great, if it hadn’t been for domestic traitors. G-D hippies, let’s go punch one!

  30. Lex

    My, what dapper crabs!

    Re greenhouses, the standard 6mil poly sheeting has a 5-6 year lifespan (tested in Israel) before UV degradation begins. It can last longer but in my experience few users go beyond 6 years. Many will reuse the sheets for smaller tunnels. “Greenhouses”, though these look more like high tunnels as greenhouses technically have heat, are a game changer for small farmers. The article even has an example of westerners showing a “better” way that failed because of weather.

    The heat island effect can’t be changed, but supporting those farmers with installation of twin-wall polycarbonate sheets instead of rolled poly would make the coverings last more like 20 years. Installing rain harvesting equipment on the greenhouses would limit the erosion issue while supplying irrigation water.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > supporting those farmers with installation of twin-wall polycarbonate sheets instead of rolled poly would make the coverings last more like 20 years. Installing rain harvesting equipment on the greenhouses would limit the erosion issue while supplying irrigation water.

      Great idea! I hope we have some Vietnamese readers….

  31. Roger Blakely

    Irish wastewater surveillance shows that Ireland has essentially been COVID Island ever since the arrival of the Delta variant in the summer of 2021. There is no rest for SARS-CoV-2.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > has essentially been COVID Island

      Like the United States has essentially been COVID Continent. At least Ireland has a decent reporting system so we can do our personal risk assessments.

  32. John Zelnicker

    Re: China buying jets from Airbus.

    The assumption seems to be that these planes will be built in Europe. Maybe not.

    Airbus has an assembly plant here in Mobile that builds the 320neo versions that China has ordered, and they are building a second assembly line right now. Perhaps that new line will be used to build the Chinese jets. I haven’t seen any reports on this, but I’m hopeful. It would be a nice shot in the economic arm of our region.

    1. hk

      I wondered if part of the bargain was significant Sinicization of the production process, ie assembly of significant amount of parts and/or final assembly to be done in China…

    2. Louis Fyne

      Airbus already has a plant in China assembling kits sent from Europe. Presumably a deal this big only gets done w/more higher value work transferred to China.

      Between Russian engine tech and western airframe-materials tech, China has enough to make big strides in the civil aircraft market by 2040—especially if Europe gets crippled these next few years by rampant energy prices thanks to Russia sanctions.

      And particularly if the West decides to escalate and sanction countries like India if the Indians don’t tow the line on Russia sanctions.

      1. rowlf

        Anyone have any info on how long Russian and Chinese turbine engines can stay on wing compared to equivalent GE/RR/P&W engines? I often see 757/A320 engines get about 15000 hours on wing and 744/A330 engines almost twice that.

        1. Polar Socialist

          Aviadvigatel company (Aviation engine, in English) seems to promise 200,000 hour between failures (with their post-sale maintenance service), and Russian Wikipedia says 20,000 hours between maintenance for their PD-14 high-bypass turbofan engine.

          It’s predecessor PS-90 got only around 11,000 hours.

          But take with some salt, it’s marketing data.

          1. rowlf

            Jeez, maybe we are not using the same units for comparison. Howabout we ask if any Russian engines are on ETOPS aircraft?

            1. Polar Socialist

              Well, from what I can scrape from the Russian language sources, PD-14 has FAR-33, CS-E and ETOPS certifications.

              It seems that the pump has to be changed every 20,000 hours and the fuel injector every 40,000 hours. They promise 20% cheaper lifetime costs than “competition”, but do not define whether it’s domestic or international competition.

  33. petal

    Happy 4th of July!
    I was surprised to see the beautiful Victorian house a couple doors down had replaced their Ukrainian flag with an American one. Wondering if it’s just for the holiday weekend or a permanent change, seeing as the narrative shift has begun. Gives them an easy opportunity to quietly remove it, as if it all had never happened.

    Attended our little town parade and festivities on the green this morning. Daniel Webster was riding a unicycle(and juggling!) and Eleazer Wheelock was riding in the back of a classic convertible. There were wagon rides. On the way to the parade this morning, the 2 beautiful Belgians and their wagon drove by the house while I was out in the yard with the dog. He’d never seen a horse before. They were jingling like dog tags do, and they were the same colour as him and his late brother. As they passed in front of us, he barked once, whined, and then you could see the massive confusion set in: “Are these giant dogs,…or something else?”

    1. Jen

      My neighbors had a horse in their pasture for a few months. It would come up to the fence to say hi while I was walking the doggos. At first the dogs held back, probably wondering the same thing. Then the boy slipped under the fence and gave the horse a big kiss on the nose. The horse sniffed him over and they were buddies from then on.

  34. Tbro

    Hi, just read an article in Oil Price .com that said Saudi Arabia may join BRICS. I left the site to browse, came back to OIl Price and now I can’t find it. HUGE, if it happens.

  35. Wukchumni

    Happy birthday America!

    …will you make it intact to the sesquicentennial?

    Drove down to tiny town in the foothills and was shocked to see a number of oak trees whose leaves have turned yellow in the past week, which usually happens (or should I say ‘used to happen’) in October or November.

    Mother Nature is sending out signals, all is not well in her kingdom.

    1. Louis Fyne

      Federalism, UK-style Scottish-English-Welsh devolution is the only way to make it to 250.

      But many on the the Left don’t like federalism because of abortion or the environment, and many of the right don’t like it because of guns or religion.

      A country that can’t agree on basic existential/constitutional issues like can gun ownership, abortion, the limits of DC bureaucratic power won’t last long.

    2. Mildred Montana

      >”Happy birthday America!

      …will you make it intact to the sesquicentennial?”

      Sesquicentennial? Sesquicentennial is 150 years, which would make the start date 1872 and which, as far as I know, is celebrated for nothing. I know you like puns and clever play on words so am I missing something?

      1. Wukchumni

        Math is not my long suit apparently, I meant to say Semiquincentennial, and try and say that 5x fast!

        1. caucus99percenter

          Memory trick: think of it as America getting ready for her big “Yas, -quin-” moment…

  36. Tbro

    Hi, sorry for the confusion but I found the article concerning the Saudis joining BRICS is at a website called

  37. Jason Boxman

    Another day in America: 5 Killed in Shooting at July 4 Parade in Chicago Suburb

    The police said 16 people were hospitalized after the shooting in Highland Park, Ill., north of Chicago, and that they were searching for a suspect.

    They added that there was a perimeter in place around the suburb’s downtown, and that people were encouraged to shelter in place because the gunman was not in custody.

  38. TimH

    The excess risk of serious adverse events of special interest surpassed the risk reduction for COVID-19 hospitalization relative to the placebo group in both Pfizer and Moderna trials.

    This is just a little important.

    1. flora

      I think so. Noting that the study had ‘no funding support.’ ( So, no funding support from pharma or the Gates ‘philanthropy’ or other external sources with financial interests. That might be important, too. )

  39. rowlf

    I was at a local Wat today and the Abbot asked me to hold a US flag next to the merit table with my arms stretched out for about 15 – 20 minutes of prayers and chanting to commemorate the July 4th holiday.

    The whole time I kept thinking of George Sanders in the film The Best House in London at about the 1:20 onward minute mark.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > I was at a local Wat today and the Abbot asked me to hold a US flag next to the merit table with my arms stretched out for about 15 – 20 minutes of prayers and chanting to commemorate the July 4th holiday.

      Perhaps, via the Butterfly Effect, we will have seen this did the trick.

  40. Wukchumni

    I’d driven by Trauger’s site on Mineral King road in Sequoia NP a number of times since the KNP Fire and it got torched really bad, and i’d wondered if the apple orchard of around 30 trees which were planted circa 1890 was still intact but no dice-as I investigated today, everything burned up with nary a trace of tree left, a clean sweep.

    I feel fortunate to have seen a number of trees in blossom 4 or 5 years ago and made an apple pie from the bounty 3 years ago, rest in peace-orchard.

  41. Gunther

    The contradiction here around the regular criticism taken at DE and EU over oil embargos is baffling.

    On the one hand, we have a series of takes about how markets are a creature of the state, the regular discussion about how fossil fuels and oil cartels are bad, and the promotion of a federal jobs guarantee, and that we need a green new deal.

    And then on the other hand, we have this sort of “told you so” snark about how the democratic governments can do nothing, that the spice oil must flow, and that the market has spoken, and that there is no alternative.

    Should the liberal elites be handmaids to Russian imperialism, and see how close they can let it get to their own borders before facing consequences? All the while hoping Russia still lets the gas flow at a reasonable price, out of the goodness of their heart? (I’m sure that could generate some hot takes)
    Or should they act on behalf of their populace and make the compromised decisions that their people both want war in Europe to be over, refugees to return home, and for everyone to keep their jobs, with costs for goods kept low?
    It’s simply not very professional or reasonable to be blasting away at these decisions where every option is bad, especially without a convincing solution.

    1. Yves Smith

      Your comment contains so many false premises and statements that it is hard to know where to begin.

      First, it is hardly uncommon in life, starting with the fact that we all will die, that there are no good options. If you want a happy ending, watch a Disney movie.

      Second, your comments about Russia, particularly “Russian imperialism” are false. In 2014, Putin opposed the Donbass separatists declaring independence. He pressured them to accept a mere improvement of rights with Ukraine in the Minsk Accords, which even though Ukraine signed, it refused to implement. Most commentators assume that outcome was the result of US meddling.

      The US almost started a nuclear war in the Cuban Missile Crisis, when Russia was starting the process of arming Cuba with long range missiles. The US would clearly regard it as a threat to survival if China were to start arming and training the French in Quebec. The US/NATO threats to Russia are long-standing and not subtle. Ukraine-like, with a military of 500,000 trained to NATO standards.

      On top of that:

      1. Biden signaled increased hostility to Russia as soon as he took office.

      2. Victoria Nuland came to the Kremlin in Oct 2021 and in the most vile Russian, excoriated Lavrov, telling him that if Russia did not stand down and let Ukraine storm Donbass (as in massacre separatists), she would destroy Russia’s economy

      3. Russia tried negotiating with the US and NATO in November-December 2021, but the US refused to respond to written Russian proposals. So the US made clear it was not interested in a negotiated outcome

      4. Macron tried reviving Minsk. Zelensky nixed that on February 15. On February 17, he said he wanted Ukraine to have nukes.

      5. That week, Ukraine shelling of Donbass increased greatly, per the OSCE.

      6. Ukraine was starting to mass troops, consistent with intel that they were planning a mid-March attack

      7. After the war stared, Russia was still interested in negotiating, and the session at Istanbul on March 30-31 saw Ukraine making commitments that were real progress and consistent with a deal being likely. The UK and US immediately pressured Ukraine to renege on those commitments.

      As for your contention about Russia shutting off gas, that sounds like Western projection. Germany stole Gazprom Germania assets. Only then did Moscow engage in countersanctions aimed at Gazprom Germania companies. As we explained, and Putin actually said when he announced it, the so-called “gas for roubles” scheme kept existing contracts in place, the reason for the “roubles’ part was to force payment to be made to a Russian bank (since only Russian banks could obtain enough roubles) and prevent that bank from being sanctioned. Russia was not about to have the West buy gas and then steal the payments made to Western banks.

      In case you missed it, Russia is making the point that it is adhering to legal agreements, among other reasons for the benefit of China, India, and the global South. Russia and China published a joint 5000 word statement in early February that amounted to, “We are done with the Western ‘rules based order’ which amounts to the US making things up as it goes along, to its advantage, and regularly violating treaties. We are going to develop a new ‘law based order.'”

      The US and EU got themselves in massive sanctions blowback pain as a result of the bad assumption that the Russian economy would collapse and they could loot it. When that didn’t happen, they were stuck with the consequences of having largely economically divorced themselves from a huge resources producer, in many of which Russia is a critically important supplier, in general and/or to Europe in particular. And you act like I am to blame for calling out this stupidity for what it is?

      So this is about the ego of Western leaders, who have misrepresented the history of the effort to launch a proxy war in Ukraine, grossly underestimated the resilience of the Russian economy and the caliber of the Russian military, and are going to make the greenhouse gas crisis worse (by burning even dirtier coal than what Russia provided as a fillup for gas shortfalls) and still have businesses fail and citizens go cold and hungry. Great Depression level bad outcomes are entirely possible.

      As for the Green New Deal, this site does not support it. We think it’s empty virtue signaling. It’s meant to sell the false idea that we can preserve contemporary lifestyles and all we need to do is change energy sources. We have repeatedly said that that is false and the only way to avoid catastrophic outcomes is radical conservation. Having Robert Habeck tout 5 minute hot showers does not amount to an adequate program.

      It’s not my job to fix bad DE and EU leadership. It’s yours.

      1. midget

        Yves – for the life of me I can’t find any source that discusses in detail Nuland’s Moscow visit, and what she said there. Could you please point me towards one?

        Much obliged.

        1. tegnost

          I looked on a few pages of the g and everything is “nuland is to visit as hurdles removed” and nothing re the actual visit. You’ll need to lexus nexus it as it’s been scrubbed.
          There was this…

          Such an approach would be consistent with Washington’s long-standing habit of conducting “capitulation diplomacy.” For decades, U.S. officials have insisted on making unrealistic demands on other governments in their diplomatic interactions. Washington typically doesn’t engage in meaningful bargaining at all; instead, it tries to force adversaries to capitulate and tamely accept the resulting humiliation. Capitulation diplomacy has been especially evident in Washington’s dealings with Russia since Bill Clinton’s administration began pushing NATO to expand eastward toward the Russian border. George W. Bush dramatically increased that provocation by inducing NATO to admit not only Moscow’s former satellites in Central and Eastern Europe, but also the three Baltic republics, which had once been an integral part of both Czarist Russia and the Soviet Union. Throughout that process, U.S. leaders argued (apparently with straight faces) that NATO expansion was not directed at Russia, and that Moscow, therefore, must accept the Alliance’s increasingly intrusive presence without a murmur of protest.

        2. The Rev Kev

          That visit was in October of last year and here is one article on it-

          For her, she used the occasion as an in-your-face moment having been previously banned from visiting Russia. Since then diplomatic relations have fully gone down the toilet. A few weeks ago Washington forced dozens of Russian diplomats to return home and when Russia arranged a jet to go and pick them up, banned that jet too from flying in US airspace just to show them who was the tough guy.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > the liberal elites be handmaids to Russian imperialism, and see how close they can let it get to their own borders

      Not very close, I would think. Cf. Abraham Lincoln:

      At what point shall we expect the approach of danger? By what means shall we fortify against it?– Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant, to step the Ocean, and crush us at a blow? Never!–All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest; with a Buonaparte for a commander, could not by force, take a drink from the Ohio, or make a track on the Blue Ridge, in a trial of a thousand years.

  42. drumlin woodchuckles

    Why does NATO EUFUKUS want a long cold war with China? Because the NATO EUFUKUS leadership remembers how the last cold war helped them assert and maintain top down government social control against their subject populations ( “citizens”).

    And they want to bring that level of control back for fear of what we might do to them if we all break out of our cages at the same time. And they think a long new cold war with China will help them re-assert that level of control. Even while maintaining Free Trade with China at the very same time will help them keep us poor and disindustrialized and labor-powerless. A schizoid goal-set perhaps, but our rulers think they are smart enough to do both at once.

    So perhaps our mission, should we decide to accept it, is to get out of control and stay out of control.

  43. Wukchumni

    Walking the World: Hanoi (part 1) Chris Arnade, Walking the World

    There are some good things to be said about walking. Not many, but some. Walking takes longer, for example, than any other known form of locomotion except crawling. Thus it stretches time and prolongs life. Life is already too short to waste on speed. I have a friend who’s always in a hurry; he never gets anywhere. Walking makes the world much bigger and thus more interesting. You have time to observe the details.”

    Ed Abbey

      1. caucus99percenter

        Obvious and easy enough to do, I guess — I’ve been putting it off due to dealing with a host of other stuff, but you’re right, “Lin Biao, Lin Biao, seize the time, the time is now!” as naïve lefties once chanted in a more innocent age.

  44. will rodgers horse

    from that Arnade piece in case folks miss it:
    “I don’t want to be that decline and fall guy, who reads some Gibbons, then pronounces its all over for the West. Especially the US. But it’s hard not to spend time overseas and not start wondering if the US empire is in a pretty big period of decline, or at least a deep melancholy, brought about by an absence of meaning, a lack of community, and spiritual decay. Mostly a spiritual decay, but that’s an essay for another time. ”

    1. Carla

      Last night we went to 4th of July (eve) Festival Band Concert with fireworks at Blossom Music Center in NE Ohio. It was cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic and after that hiatus, last night it was jammed with families determined to get outdoors and party–albeit in a wholesome way. Per the local sheriff’s recommendation, the venue “checked” all bags and coolers coming into the event (probably AT least 10,000 such bags because the crowd was around 15,000 we estimate). Having experienced how cursory the “bag check” was, I began to worry. And I spent the evening expecting gunfire to break out at any moment. (It did not.) But yes, “a deep melancholy, brought about by an absence of meaning, a lack of community, and spiritual decay. Mostly a spiritual decay…” Chris Arnade nails it again.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > spiritual decay

        Generally I react badly to that phrase, because very often it’s used as an excuse to avoid dealing with the material (“He died happy,” they say, having kept our system of for-profit health care in place). It’s also in many cases cover for Christianist proselytization, a force for, well, reaction (at least with actually existing Christianity in the United States).

        OTOH, given where we are with party politics, it’s hard to see how to deal with, say, climate, or genocidal elites, without a next-level social force like a new religion capable of waging its version of jihad. Probably won’t be animism, more’s the pity.

  45. Wukchumni

    I had a harrowing experience in that I had to talk a disconsolate crypto investor from committing de-finishstration by jumping from the virtual window of their smartphone.

    1. Acacia

      Saw a commenter on another forum getting upvotes for the handle @CryptoSuicideHotline.

  46. junkelly

    Just an FYI that someone appears to be copying the entire naked capitalism site and publishing elsewhere…

    I read the “Avoiding a Russian Quagmire” link at In the comments there are pingbacks, including to at least five sites that appear to have just copied and pasted the entire nakedcapitalism links pages. One I checked,, has links and water coolers and articles going back weeks.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Didn’t CalPERS get busted a coupla years ago for the same sort of ‘flattery?’

  47. Wukchumni

    Gooooooooood Afternooooooooon Fiatnam!

    It was all about the kill-ratio back in the world, and frankly anything under double digits dead by a lone gunman wasn’t worth mentioning anymore as it had become so commonplace, but prey and spray with an assault rifle on a 4th of July parade warrants worthiness.

  48. Wukchumni

    PBR Has Gone Big Again, This Time Releasing An 1844-Pack. Forbes
    This strikes me as a clever marketing trick to make 12-pack a day beer drinkers seem like it’s just a trifling amount of barley soda they’re quaffing.

  49. Wukchumni

    Nibblin’ on let them eat cake
    Watchin’ the sum take
    All of those dead from Covid mistake
    Strummin’ my QWERTY
    On my laptop circuitry
    Smell those consequences
    They’re beginnin’ to boil

    Wastin’ away again in Coronaville
    Goin’ through my last Paxlovid assault
    Some people claim that there’s Biden to blame
    But I know it’s nobody’s fault

    Don’t know the reason
    I got Covid during ski season
    Nothin’ to show but this brand new positive attitude
    But it’s a real beauty
    An asymptomatic cutie
    How it got here I haven’t a clue

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