Links 8/10/2022

Yves here. Your humble blogger got wrapped around an axle, information-wise. By virtue of getting caught up in the time sink of listening to some fresh YouTube videos (the lack of transcripts is killing my productivity), I was late to come to the story of the explosions at the Russian airbase in Crimea, depicted as a possible Ukraine missile strike, which if it had been that, would be seen by Russia as the US engaging in an act of war (the distance from Ukraine to that spot would require the 300 km HIMARs which the US supposedly was not giving to Ukraine, plus US assistance in targeting).

Haha, silly me, I thought it was fresh because it hasn’t hit my inbox till just then. In fact, as I finally worked out from Military Summary, which presented a timeline of who said what when, a Russian official first said it was a strike but the MoD in pretty short order walked it back and said it was a series of explosions, as in a accident or sabotage. That seems plausible because reasons below, although it’s still not a great look for Russia. However, the Russian MoD position means no promised strikes on “command centers,” as in potentially outside Ukraine. However, Ukraine sources were flogging the idea that it was a Ukraine hit, to the degree that Zelensky and the leadership went to hide in bunkers.

Needless to say, this frisson, even though it thankfully was a false alarm, was on top of the Taiwan escalation of recent days and the Trump “raid,” was more adrenaline than I need. So I must retire to my fainting couch rather than produce an original post.

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

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Vital Signs of the Planet NASA (David L)

Giant Magellan Telescope is Completing Soon Thanks to Recent $205M Funding, Future of Space Surveillance Tech Times. “Space surveillance”? Not “Space exploration”?

Breathtaking Film and Photos of Iceland’s Recent Volcanic Eruption PetaPixel

Locusts Can Smell Cancer, And It Could Give Us a Brilliant New Way to Save Lives Science Alert (Chuck L)

As billionaires race to fund anti-aging projects, a much-discussed trial goes overlooked STAT

The Human Mind Is Not Meant to Be Awake After Midnight, Scientists Warn ScienceAlert (Chuck L). I guess yours truly is not human. I’m much more anxious during the day than at night.

Explicit Content History Today (Micael T)

Fish Oil Is Good! No, Bad! No, Good! No, Wait Atlantic (Kevin W)

New Langya virus infects 35 people in China (David L)

A Zoonotic Henipavirus in Febrile Patients in China New England Journal of Medicine. IM Doc: “Lord have mercy.” But Ignacio points out: “So far, those virus tend not to transmit well human to human.”

A Lyme disease vaccine is in its final clinical trial NPR



Double mRNA COVID-19 vaccination found to increase SARS-CoV-2 variant recognition


Norwegian Cruise Line Drops Pre-Voyage COVID-19 Testing Cruise Industry News (Kevin W)


U.S. moves to stretch out supplies of monkeypox vaccine STAT

Covid Sewage Surveillance Labs Join the Hunt for Monkeypox KHN

Climate Change/Environment

California’s cliffs are falling into the sea. This map shows the spots where they’re eroding the fastest SFChronicle

Flash flood closes Palm Springs Aerial Tramway for a week as monsoon slams California deserts Los Angeles Times (David L)

High tide flood warnings throughout WA state predict dangerous sea levels in these cities Bellingham Herald (David L)

Bicycle graveyards: why do so many bikes end up underwater? Guardian (Micael T)

Pelosi Aftermath

PATRICK LAWRENCE: The Pelosi Fallout Consortium News (Carolinian)

Taiwan: the US has been strengthening support for years – now it needs a way to ease tensions with China The Conversation (Kevin W)


A prescription for India greatness Asia Times (Kevin W)

Old Blighty

Thames Water plans to introduce hosepipe ban ‘in weeks’ BBC (Kevin W)

UK Plans for Blackouts in January in Emergency Energy Plan Bloomberg

US not trying to ‘outdo’ other world powers for influence in Africa, says Blinken France24 (resilc). Pathetic. These guys can’t even lie well.

Mexico: A development puzzle Noah Smith. Proof of economists’ lack of interest in reality. An admitted puzzle yet nothing even dimly resembling inquiry. Nary of a mention of corruption, drugs, or gangs.

New Not-So-Cold War

Ukraine. Military Summary And Analysis 09.08.2022 YouTube. The first five minutes very very helpfully lay out a timeline. It shows the Russian MoD pretty pronto walked back an initial claim by apparently a single official that the base was hit by a Ukraine strike. However, Dima does caution that actions speak louder than words. If the Russians conclude the first take was correct, expect them to unleash hell, either militarily or economically.

Ukraine war: Blasts rock Russian airbase in annexed Crimea BBC (furzy). If this were a strike, it would be with US consent and participation. Russian warned it would strike “decision centers” if Russian territory were attacked (beyond the pinprick attacks Ukraine had been making a while back). That was understood to have the potential to include targets outside Ukraine. If this was a strike, Russia will hit back hard and in not too long. But it might not be a military response. They could dial the sanctions up instead. No gas or fertilizer or oil or aluminum or titanium to you, EU!

However, Russian S-400s can intercept HIMARs and ballistic missiles. Given that the base is in a not-nice neighborhood, you’d think it would have some. Note:

But Russia could also hoist Ukraine on its taking credit for the strike, if it does so (which on Twitter some former officials have done; it’s very frustrating not to be able to read Russian/Ukraine sources).

* * *

Russia requests UN Security Council meeting over Ukraine’s shelling of NPP — source TASS

Russia warns of Polish plans for Ukraine RT (Chuck L). Economic looting underway, a Ukraine specialty!

U.S. Audacity on Brittney Griner CounterPunch (resilc)

Russia-Turkey reset eases regional tensions Indian Punchline (Kevin W)


Palestinian workers forced off Israeli bus to make way for Jewish passengers Middle East Eye. Kevin W: “Where is Rosa parks when you need her?”

US occupation loots most of Syria’s oil: Ministry Al Mayadeen


Legal options running out for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange DW (resilc)


Mastriano, Pennsylvania’s GOP Nominee for Governor, Cuts Short Interview With Jan. 6 Panel Time (furzy)

Trump “Raid”

Welcome to the Third World Matt Taibbi

Donald Trump is spotted arriving at Trump Tower one day after shock FBI raid of Mar-a-Lago – as it emerges agents ransacked ex-president’s office for HOURS and even went through Melania’s wardrobe Daily Mail

Will an FBI ‘raid’ supercharge Trump? BBC (resilc)

Trump raid, Biden DOJ crosses the Rubicon w/Robert Barnes YouTube. You can try to dismiss Robert Barnes, but this is very informative (I cringed at his early mentions of the Alex Jones case, but when he finally gets to that, he demonstrates conclusively how procedurally rancid it was top to bottom. But you can stop after Barnes makes his points on l’affaire Trump. In the Jones case; Barnes winds up going on overlong because there are so many layers and as a lawyer it appears he wants to show he really has the goods. Regardless, it’s also disconcerting and depressing that the libertarian right is better at calling out abuses than the cowed and dispirited left.

Donald Trump to be deposed Wednesday morning in New York Attorney General’s probe of his business Business Insider. Timing v. the raid a bit too cute.

“He’s More Popular Than Ever”: Former President Donald Trump Handily Beats Gov. Ron DeSantis in CPAC Straw Poll For 2024 Vanity Fair (Dr. Kevin)


Trump ally Rep. Scott Perry says the FBI seized his cellphone one day after Mar-a-Lago raid Fox


Joe Biden Supporters Embrace ‘Dark Brandon’ Vice (resilc)


This Is the Data Facebook Gave Police to Prosecute a Teenager for Abortion Vice

Our No Longer Free Press

How to spot a deepfake? One simple trick is all you need ZDNet

Supply Chain/Inflation

Shrinking U.S. cattle herd signals more pain from high beef prices Reuters

The Bezzle

How effective altruism went from a niche movement to a billion-dollar force Vox (Micael T). The fact that some people believe in it does not make it not a scam.

Elon Musk sells $6.9 billion worth of Tesla stock Axios

Tesla Absolutely Trucks Child Dummy in Stoppage Test. reddit (drumlin woodchuckles)

Class Warfare

Amy’s Kitchen closes San Jose facility after workers seek to form a union Prism Reports (ma). Boycott time!

Chipotle to Pay NYC Workers $20 Million to Settle Case Alleging Workplace Violations THE CITY

Antidote du jour (Tracie H). This cat wants to be included in a still life.

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Samuel Conner

    > “Space surveillance”?

    My view into this field is very stale now, but I think the concept of “surveillance” relates to the importance of timely study of transient or brief-duration events. An example that immediately comes to mind is supernovae in distant galaxies, but there are many others. A soon to be completed facility, the Vera Rubin observatory, will survey the entire sky visible from its site on a multi-day time scale, which is often enough that every supernova will be detected; all sorts of other interesting transient phenomena will be detected. Other large ground-based telescopes, presumably including the Giant Magellan telescope, will be used for spectroscopic and other follow-up studies of events detected in the Synoptic Survey performed by the Rubin observatory.

    “Surveillance” is an appropriate term, I think, though of course in the present context the term has a negative connotation.

    1. cfraenkel

      Fair enough, but in this case, it seems it’s “surveillance” because that’s a more SEO useful(?) word. The entire article only barely qualifies as English, it scans as machine generated. Looking at other articles by “Isaiah Richards” finds gems like
      It is one cunning technology, and there is a significant technology to creating the flying submarine, especially as it is one complicated device to create.
      According to Car and Driver, the new Manx 2.0 electric vehicle will debut with only 1,500 pounds in total and comes with a 40 kWh battery pack. It debuts up to 300 miles of range for the EV but is said to bring a bigger battery for more power.
      No idea what the source of this mangled language is, but it wasn’t a human writer.

  2. Sibiryak

    Russia requests UN Security Council meeting over Ukraine’s shelling of NPP

    The Guardian reports today:

    The head of Ukraine’s state nuclear power firm warned of the “very high” risks from shelling at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in the Russian-occupied south and said it was vital Kyiv regains control over the facility in time for winter. Energoatom’s chief, Petro Kotin, told Reuters in an interview that last week’s Russian shelling had damaged three lines that connect the Zaporizhzhia plant to the Ukrainian grid and that Russia wanted to connect the facility to its grid.

    So Russia is supposedly trying to disconnect the NNP from powering Ukraine and connect it to the Crimean power grid while simultaneously shelling it?

    1. LawnDart

      Don’t forget, according to Kyiv, Russia is using it as a base for their troops and equipment too… …can artillery pieces be pointed straight up in order for one to bomb his own position?

      Note that Ukraine reportedly will not allow the IAEA to visit the site because “that will lend legitimacy to Russia’s occupation.”

      1. jr

        “…can artillery pieces be pointed straight up in order for one to bomb his own position?”

        According to a former Army guy I spoke with, the answer is yes. He told me about an artillery crew drilling at one of the big Mid-western forts who pointed their gun straight up and fired. I think they assumed it would detonate like a firework. It fell back into their position and then went off.

          1. jr

            Beats me, that’s the story I was told. Although I suppose it could be that the shell fell close enough to kill the crew but not exactly into the pit. Perhaps the storyteller was engaging in a bit of fudging for effect…

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        What I have heard is that Ukraine demands that the IAEA travel from Kiev to the plant. What Ukraine will not allow is for the IAEA to visit the site by coming from/through Crimea. And if Russia will not allow the IAEA to visit the site coming from Kiev, then the site will not be visited till someone blinks.

        Maybe Turkey will offer to let the IAEA base in Turkey and visit the site from directly in Turkey.

    2. The Rev Kev

      The Russians may have been waiting to see what the reaction of the US would be to the shelling of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. If so, they got their answer which led them to going to the UN Security Council. The US waffled about who was actually shelling that plant and then said that the only answer was for the Ukrainians to take over control to ‘minimize nuclear and radiation safety risks.’ You could read that as the US giving the Ukraine a green light to keep on shelling this plant as some sort of leverage.

      It came out about all those US biolabs that winds tend to blow towards the east over the Ukraine. So switching over to my Dr. Evil Mode, this tells me that the hope is that any radioactivity not only spread to the Russian speaking regions – including the Donbass region, but also Russia as well. I don’t think that it will work like that. I seem to recall that days after the Chernobyl disaster, that they were dumping milk in I think Wisconsin because of the radioactivity. Would the Ukrainians actually seek to create a radioactive disaster? You bet they would. Well, the Nazi part of the population who now find that they won’t be marching on Moscow after all-

      Forgot to mention. Another example of this mindset-

      1. rob

        that story reads like someone trying to get out a secret note…
        someone is putting together such obviously false statements, juxtaposed in a way that says, “don’t pay attention to what this says,,, but what it doesn’t say”.

        The killer quotes being … in march… the russians took control.. .. another says..since then they have been storing munitions and personnel…. then right after.. it says.. now(aug).. they are shelling the position….
        you have to say?WTF?…
        Are they just DARING the reader to believe the propaganda… and ignore the real threat of the ukranians shelling a nuclear station ? Is the monkey writing this trying to say their families are being held hostage and they have to write this made up BS… but really don’t want to?

    3. Darthbobber

      BC coverage of this has been useful largely as a case study in bad journalism. (The sort that would cause you to fail a high school journalism class. To try to avoid undeniable lies, they use tiny snippets within quotation marks (often as little as 3 or 4 words), with tendentious claims strung between them. And they inevitably leave out known facts (like the Russian offers of all possible cooperation to the IAEA and the Ukrainian refusal to allow that from their side). The Pravda of the 40s and 50s contorted itself in to no worse pretzels than these people now manage on a daily basis.

    4. ChrisPacific

      I got the sense that the story about Russia shelling a plant in territory that it currently controls was a bit much for even the Western media to swallow. Most of the framing was along the lines of “each side blamed each other” and the Russian accusations seemed to be getting as much air time as the Ukrainian ones.

  3. Lex

    The info on the Saki airbase explosion(s) is literally all over the place. The initial statement of no casualties was specifically about military personnel; the updated casualty count covers civilians. There is definitely footage of windows blown out of nearby apartments and burned cars. Telegram posts from official Ukrainian channels bounced back forth form “haha, we did it!” To “wasn’t us” to “maybe it was us”. While sabotage remains a possibility, it almost certainly was not a long range strike. IMO, a munitions handling accident is the most probable cause.

    At this point there is no hope in discerning the truth from any statement coming out of Kiev. Statements from various officials don’t have any internal or external consistency. Whether it’s all planned disinfo/psyops or just chaos is pretty impossible to sort. The Bankova gang is coming apart at the seams.

    1. digi_owl

      It is worrying how much this conflict has demonstrated Russia to be the sane and patient party in world politics, even as western media keeps trying to paint Putin as some Ivan the Terrible reincarnation.

    2. Polar Socialist

      Readovka news refers to Russian MoD when stating the cause was violation of fire security rules at the ammunition storage. Mostly there seems to be discussion about which is worse for the Naval Aviation: sabotage or accident.
      I can only assume that due to the legislation banning spreading disinformation about the special military operation, the news media is not really speculating the issue, but seems to be content at waiting for official statements from Crimean administration and Russian MoD.

      1. Old Sovietologist

        It it possible that incoming missiles were shot down by air defence, but fragments fell on the base and caused a fire, which led to later events?

        1. The Rev Kev

          Since there were at least three separate large explosions across the area, one of which destroyed a Russian aircraft, I am thinking of a sabotage team using a mortar or something similar. After all, It was only a coupla days ago that a Ukrainian team in Crimea used a drone to bomb Sevastopol and wound six people.

          1. Old Sovietologist

            Just as you posted this I noticed the Ukrainians are claiming it was carried out by their Special Forces. Given Pat Lang was saying Green Berets are now embedded with them I think we can make a educated guess that they played a role in the operation.

            1. juno mas

              …so now that the US military sees itself “outgunned” it is resorting to insurgent warfare? Who knew Iraq/Afghanistan would become a “teaching moment”.

              1. The Rev Kev

                Always has. One of the first things that the US did after the Maiden was to start teaching units of the Ukrainian army assassination and sabotage techniques. Same in Syria where US Special forces in the occupied area of Al-Tanf teach ex-jihadist the same and then send them into Syria to try to wreck havoc. The Russians just nailed one of those units the other day as a message to the US. I would not be surprised to learn that a lot of those Ukrainian soldiers in the UK right now are being taught the same.

          2. Lex

            Absolutely possible, but a handling mistake is also absolutely possible. No matter how many safety protocols you have and how well they’re followed, quickly moving huge amounts of explosives around a lot and over a long period of time increases the chances of an accident. I make my living partially on dealing with other people’s terrible accidents as well as how to prevent them. On a long enough timeline, there will always be an accident. The flip side of that is the base being so close to civilian areas that sabotage would be “relatively” easy.

        2. Darthbobber

          You’d see footage by now of the missile trails if this were the case. I wouldn’t totally discount a quadcopter with a grenade and a local handler. Doesn’t take all that much to set off either ammo or aviation fuel, and then that would almost inevitably throw off enough hot stuff to set off others.

          1. Andrew Watts

            The Russians had to deal with repeated quadcopter and drone attacks on their base in Syria. It’s hard to say that their security would be lax enough to allow one to happen on a base in Crimea. I’m guessing it was an accident with munitions.

  4. LawnDart

    Re; Russia requests UN Security Council meeting over Ukraine’s shelling of NPP

    The Ukrainians might be carrying the “burning the fields and salting the earth” thing a little too far. If they succeed in causing catastrophic damage, the DPR is likely to glow for generations.

    Is this a trap, an attempt to force Russia to go “all in”?

    1. Polar Socialist

      AFAIK, “mere” artillery (be it shells or rockets) can’t cause catastrophic damage at Zaporozhye nuclear plant, the reactor building can take it. A really, really lucky strike on the spent fuel storage could possibly cause some radioactive leak, but likely in a scale that the personnel has been trained to contain quickly.
      What it can do, is make life harder in Eastern Ukraine by forcing the plant to lower the energy generation (in anticipation of Ukrainians managing to shut down the cooling system). Which combined with the fear of an actual accident can force people to evacuate and not vote in the coming referendum.
      Furthermore, whether the plant ends up being Russian and Ukrainina when the dust settles, somebody else will pay for the repairs – EU or Russia.
      What’s not to like?

      1. Skip Intro

        If they lose power/generators and cooling the reactors and fuel pool fails, things can get out of hand quickly. (see Fukushima).

          1. amechania

            Fukushima was a repurposed design for a niclear sub (which is normally in the water) and chernobyl was ‘experimenting’

            I dont know that plants design but if its not built by idiots you should be able to drop the cores manually in extremis.

            1. Polar Socialist

              They are all PWR reactor of model VVER 1100 series production from the 80’s. They have sensors automatically preventing running the reactor too hot, and in case of emergency the automatic system (or manual trigger) will drop control rods all the way down, seal the whole system (double steel container) from the environment completely and start dumping boric acid into the core.
              Apparently there are also enough passive cooling outside the second steel container to prevent the core from overheating for 24 hours or so.

              1. Tom Bradford

                Nonetheless I’d assume all these automatic interventions if the core goes feral depend on pumps and power supplied from outside the reactor and which weren’t built with artillery barrages in mind. I believe it was the damage to such facilities by the tsunami at Fukushima that caused even emergency control of the reactors to be lost. Armies in retreat have a track record of destroying facilities and infrastructure as they go.

                I’d speculate that the Ukranians aren’t trying to cause a nuclear meltdown &tc, but forcing the Russians to shut the plant down, if they haven’t already, purely for the nuisance value.

    2. The Rev Kev

      You know. it is always the obvious things that we do not see, even if it is right in front of our faces. I was just reading a Scott Ritter article when the penny dropped. This attack on a nuclear power plant. It happened just as we have the anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings. And that tells me that this is why it happened now. It’s all about the PR efffects-

        1. A Literal Midget

          Incidentally, have you ever noticed how the name “Bucha” sounds so very much like “Butcher”?

    1. Paul Jurczak

      China never really needed TSMC, they need ASML. It’s getting a fish vs learning how to fish. EUV is the prize.

  5. Jean-Louis Piraux

    “Russian warned it would strike “decision centers” if Russian territory were attacked (beyond the pinprick attacks Ukraine had been making a while back). ”

    Crimea is not Russian territory, according to internationally recognized borders.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Not according to Zelensky. He just said ‘The war in Ukraine began with Crimea and must end with its liberation, President Volodymyr Zelensky has said.’

      To quote George Foreman on behalf of the RF – ‘If you want it, leave your excuses behind and come and get it.’

        1. The Rev Kev

          Crimea has been Russian since before there was a United States of America. And as I have said previously, Texas will be returned to Mexico before Crimea goes back to the Ukraine.

          1. Daniil Adamov

            You said that according to Zelensky, Crimea is a part of Russia. You then cited a statement that seems to mean the exact opposite. I don’t follow.

            That Crimea used to be Russian, just as Texas used to be Mexican, strikes me as quite irrelevant. (Although, we originally conquered it in 1783, seven years after the US was formed.) I do hope we won’t end up giving it back (it would be disastrous for a lot of people living there), though I have little faith in our current rulers. But that is that and what you said earlier is something different.

            1. The Rev Kev

              OK, what I meant was that Crimea has always been Russian except for a coupla decades due to the – illegal – whim of a Russian president. All attempts by the Crimeans to go back to Russia were crushed but now that it has gone back by their own vote, the Russians will never give it up. It is too embedded in their history and culture. It is as much a part of Russia as Texas is to the US (though some Texans may disagree). If it had not gone back to Russia in 2014, then we would not only have been hearing about fighting in the Donbass the past eight years but brutal fighting in Crimea as well.

              1. Daniil Adamov

                There are many more semantics and technicalities I could get into, but meh. Fair enough, I don’t disagree on the substance as far as that goes. In particular, on what would’ve happened if we hadn’t moved back in 2014. Considering that Crimea had violent escalations even before 2014, violence and loss of life would’ve been basically inevitable. The annexation itself wasn’t all that rosy, though it is true that it was welcomed by the majority. However, I think the people there got off lightly so far.

                But as for not giving up Crimea because it is so embedded in our history and culture (it is – but so is Odessa and so is Kiev, “the mother of Russian cities” as it has long been called here)… Well, you yourself said that an illegal whim led to us giving it before. No reason why that can’t happen again. It just seems very unlikely at the moment, but so did the demolition of the Soviet Union – before it happened. Never underestimate the stupidity and malice of people in power, whether in Moscow or in Kiev or in Washington.

                1. K.k

                  Crimea is home to Russias one of only two warm water ports. Its a matter of national security. They were more or less fine with leasing it from Ukraine till 2014, when it became clear that the coup government could potentially attempt to renege on the lease.

            2. tegnost

              (it would be disastrous for a lot of people living there)

              I don’t know about that, they could make a pile on medical tourism and the citizens could go work in el norte in one of those “ten to a room” situations so they could remit their el norte wages back home so they could support their extended family who are living on the cheap. Heck, one of AtH’s kids could probably support the whole farm and it would be a self esteem boost as mexicans work way harder than any gringo ever could…I’ll tell you what, let’s throw in southern california and call it a deal!

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      Russia used a better version of the procedure used in Kosovo. There the US declared Kosovo to be independent based on a mere legislative vote. Russia had a full scale referendum. Over 90% turnout and IIRC 83% approval. And before you try saying “fixed,” see this from Jacques Baud, formerly a NATO official in charge of small arms control (as in weapons smuggling) in Ukraine in 2014 and 2015:

      On 20 January 1991, before the independence of Ukraine, the Crimeans were invited to choose by referendum between two options: to remain with Kiev or to return to the pre-1954 situation and be administered by Moscow…. 93.6% of Crimeans agreed to be attached to Moscow….

      On February 26, 1992, the Crimean parliament proclaimed the “Republic of Crimea” with the agreement of the Ukrainian government, which granted it the status of a self-governing republic. On 5 May 1992, Crimea declared its independence and adopted a Constitution….

      ….on 17 March 1995, it [Ukraine] forcibly abolished the Crimean Constitution. It sent its special forces to overthrow Yuri Mechkov, President of Crimea, and de facto annexed the Republic of Crimea, thus triggering popular demonstrations for the attachment of Crimea to Russia. An event hardly reported by the Western media.

      Given the history and the legitimation of the Kosovo process by the US, Russia’s claims are far more legitimate that our actions vis a via Taiwan, when Taiwan itself does not say it is independent.

    3. Darthbobber

      When it comes to Russian retaliation, the only interpretation that governs is the Russian one.

    4. Daniil Adamov

      True, but internationally recognised borders really don’t count for much. Taiwan, for instance, is a part of China as far as internationally recognised borders are concerned. Lots of other internationally recognised borders do not reflect either the reality on the ground or the foreign policy of nations, including many of the ones doing the recognising/non-recognising. I suspect there will be more such unrecognised borders in the future – that or the governments of the world will get better about recognising reality, which I think would be more good than bad.

      Anyway, what matters for the purposes of that warning is that the Russian government considers it to be Russian territory and has repeatedly stated as much.

      1. Offtrail

        Lots of other internationally recognised borders do not reflect either the reality on the ground or the foreign policy of nations, including many of the ones doing the recognising/non-recognising. I suspect there will be more such unrecognised borders in the future – that or the governments of the world will get better about recognising reality, which I think would be more good than bad.

        That sounds rather Israeli. In fact, there were very few such “unrecognised borders” until the US started its de facto support of Israel’s unrecognized borders. And there are far fewer such situatioms than you suggests. That includes Taiwan.

  6. Lex

    This is making the rounds and has been summarized by Newsweek. Apparently Dan Rice is a private sector leadership guru with a consulting firm and is a special advisor to the Ukrainian military command. One wonders how he interfaces with Dmitro Yarosh who has the same title, probably pretty well because Yarosh has been associated with US intelligence since at least 08.

    One wonders whether these people believe the things they say. My favorite bit is where rice insinuates that Russia is having trouble because it is fighting so far from home and that makes logistics complicated. Apparently maps are optional for special advisors to the Ukrainian military command.

    1. rob

      That “article” was so bad…. it is meant to sway only the most hopelessly delusional among us….
      Considering that the entire assessment is so factually oblivious to reality…. it makes it sound more like some high school freshman “making SH&T up”… for a paper, one morning on the bus… for a paper that they completely blew off, but is due in 3rd period… so, anything goes… don’t forget to make the 500 word count.

  7. digi_owl

    “Norwegian Cruise Line Drops Pre-Voyage COVID-19 Testing Cruise Industry News (Kevin W)”

    That company name trips me up every darn time…

    And regarding the antidote, i think the joke on Reddit goes something like “i fits, i sits”

    1. Festoonic

      If the ships all stayed out to sea indefinitely, à la the Flying Dutchman, I wouldn’t care. But dozens of them start arriving in Maine this week and will be spilling their idiot cargo to mingle with the natives. Humans are so greedy and stupid they’ll risk sickness and death for an 24-hour open buffet.

    2. Wukchumni

      Over the past couple years i’ve linked utterly ridiculously low priced cruise deals such as a week for $249 with free booze and more, obviously the proles had to be cajoled into going on death ships, and you got the idea the cruise lines were losing money hand over fist over the port side, musta been a real carnage asada to the bottom line.

      But now on the basis of everything being back to normal, they can perhaps get $999 for that same week, and drinks are on you.

  8. griffen

    This time they got him. No, for sure, they got the goods on Trump. Trust us, love us.

    SMDH. Cthulu in 2028. Delaying the inevitable is a thin strand of hope.

    1. flora

      From Taibbi’s article:

      The hugeness of the story has become part of its explanation. An action so extreme, we’re told by expert after expert, could only be based upon “pulverizing” evidence.

      The MSM reporters are falling back on the “where there’s smoke there’s fire” rationale instead of questioning what is going on, exactly as they did about the fabricated Steele dossier being “pulverizing” evidence to issue FISA warrants during T’s admin.
      From the longer article, about the boxes of papers claims:

      The instant reporters got hold of that limited information (and the top outlets seemed sure enough that “Focus Said to Be on White House Files” was in the Times lead headline), they should have been asking: is there anything weird about dozens of FBI agents executing an Entebbe-style raid of the home of a former president over a records issue?

      Do we recall anything so dramatic in cases involving people like Bill Clinton’s former National Security Adviser Sandy Berger (who was stuffing classified documents down his pants)? How about when Dick Cheney claimed an exemption to classification procedures and one of his aides, Leandro Aragoncillo, admitted in court to stealing classified info to pass on to coup plotters in the Philippines? For Christ’s sake, one of the core principles of the Trump-era media is that the press erred in over-covering Hillary Clinton’s mishandling of classified information. Do these news outlets think audiences won’t notice the difference in attitude?

      Note: I’m not defended T, I’m alarmed by govt/FBI/intel apparent overreach here.

      1. griffen

        I suspect anyone questioning the FBI intention herein might be viewed as somehow, rightly or wrongly, being supportive of Trump. I think these developments will just act as a clarifying signal, of sorts, of where the rule of law is really applied in this country and where it is decidedly not applied. I am not defending the 45th President either, necessarily.

        Arbitrary rules are nothing new, as the powerless and the poor can attest. I can’t get wrapped around this or I will spend much of my day following rabbit holes. This is Keystone Kops territory, but the need for the smoke to clear will likely take weeks, if not months.

        1. bassmule

          And this, too:

          “I worry particularly about the reported presence of counterintelligence agents at the raid, raising the specter — which numerous sources told me is theoretically possible — of parts of this investigation remaining secret. If any of this happens, the Biden administration will have achieved the impossible, turning Donald ‘Grab ‘Em By the Pussy’ Trump into a victim.

          Moreover, they’ll have guaranteed that the next Republican who wins the White House, if such a thing is allowed again, will tug at every rein of power to prevent ever having to leave and risk this kind of prosecution. Ask anyone who grew up in autocratic societies how that dynamic works.”

          1. anon in so cal

            Taibbi: “Those cheering this move on apparently don’t grasp that unless this case turns out to be a lot more serious than what’s been reported, the next Republican President will be under intense political pressure to criminalize the opposition.”

            Glenn Greenwald: “Last March we reported on how vague and broad is the Homeland Security definition of “domestic extremist.” It encompasses almost every meaningful anti-establishment political movement on the right, left and otherwise. See for yourself:

        2. Carolinian

          Perhaps it’s time to fire up the Wayback machine and talk about how the FBI has always been to some extent a rogue agency. Hoover wouldn’t have kept all those blackmail files on politicians if he didn’t have something to hide. Getting the FBI not to mention the CIA (Brennan) involved in domestic politics is very scary indeed.

          1. fresno dan

            maybe what it happening now just used to be more hidden in the shadows – ever thus. Or what I believe – that the beliefs we had so deeply indoctrinated, inculcated, instilled and enforced by every US institution that this was the greatest country in the world, that we had THE BEST national police, everything was the biggest, best, greatest, without question are falling by the wayside – all done to hide the less than savory aspects of this country. It seems amazing to me that it has taken people this long to see that bull of “this shining city on a hill.” Unfortunately, it seems to being replaced by my party of angels, your party of devils…
            AND Getting the FBI not to mention the CIA (Brennan) involved in domestic politics is very scary indeed. for they have sown the wind, and will reap the whirlwind

            1. Bruno

              It’s not just Liberals raving over how great the FBI is. Mercouris is lamenting how the “institutions” of government are discrediting themselves. But the big cake is taken by the pseudo-trotskyist sect calling itself “WSWS” and “Socialist Equality Party”:

              ” The raid was based on a judicial warrant, which a federal judge would only issue against a former president on the most compelling evidence of a major crime, not some technical violation of the rules regarding document handling.”

              Trump Derangement Syndrome is thus an integral part of “Orthodox Trotskyism-A Senile Disorder”

                1. Michael Fiorillo

                  We can argue about Trotsky himself, but with very few exceptions, his followers in the US have been a divisive/entropic force in what was or still presents itself as the Left. They compulsively get involved in mass organizations – in my most recent experience, an opposition caucus in NYC’s teacher’s union – and undermine them by using them as vehicles to “Build The Party.”

                  My understanding is that the Trots I tangled with – the ISO, which disbanded over a leadership rape coverup – are all now in DSA, which does not bode well.

                  PS: this is coming from someone who was a politically precocious freak and joined a Trot youth organization – the Young Socialist Alliance, youth wing of the FBI-riddled and led Socialist Workers Party – at age twelve. I can smell them a mile away.

                2. lyman alpha blob

                  Ice-ee what you did there.

                  Neither one of us deserves a rimshot and we’ll have to settle for this instead.

              1. Carolinian

                WSWS is a mixed bag. Perhaps calling themselves the world’s source for socialism reveals at least a touch of megalomania. They have long and informative articles on union matters but also opine on matters ranging from women’s rights to Covid to Trump search warrants.

        3. flora

          I keep thinking if the Dems don’t want T to run again and win then the Dems ought do something like concrete material benefits for the voters. Is that too much to ask?

          1. notabanker

            “Dems ought do something like concrete material benefits for the voters”

            There is no money in that.

          2. Jason Boxman

            Ha. Speaking of material benefits, The Inflation Reduction Act or whatever caps the cost of drugs for seniors, but I learned it doesn’t take effect for years. Some seniors WILL BE DEAD by the time this ‘historic’ bill goes into effect. And some of the seniors will doubtless be dead because they had to choose between food and medicine…

            What a joke.

            Liberal Democrats! Delivering almost nothing… and late to boot!

        4. fresno dan

          of where the rule of law is really applied in this country and where it is decidedly not applied.
          I look at what I was taught er, indoctrinated to believe: a nation of laws, not men.
          I had a problem with the phrase soon after I first was introduced to it: don’t men (i.e., people) enforce the law? Once you become involved in law, you somehow are cleansed and born anew, never lie, never are unfair? It seemed like plenty of examples, but the fact that you had to have civil rights laws because the murder laws (the laws were fine, the people just weren’t enforcing them) in the south when it came to crimes by whites against blacks were not being objectively followed. Many other examples.
          And an unrelated point: there are some republican politicians who have publically and vehemently opposed Trump. Are there any dem politicos who have defended Trump with regard to Russiagate (and now this)???

          1. Fraibert

            At our best, man aspires to make the law blind to social position. As humans, we always fail.

            It’s telling that an original purpose of the infamous Star Chamber was to create a venue where the powerful could be tried and punished for their crimes. Yet, for the last several hundred years the term “Star Chamber” has meant an arbitrary and abusive tribunal that the powerful can use to subdue their enemies, etc.

          2. The Rev Kev

            ‘a nation of laws, not men’

            Cheney used that phrase after 9/11 but he said that we must now become a nation of men, not laws. And of course he was the sort of ‘men’ that he meant.

        5. Martin Oline

          I believe, with absolutely no facts to back it up, that J. Edgar Hoover made the Federal Blackmail Institute work this way because he learned from the pros. The Mafia had photos of him doing a fashion show and threatened to release them if he messed with them. This is why Hoover maintained throughout the 1950’s there was no organized crime in the United Snakes.
          This is what I truly believe. Ignorance is bliss and I’m a happy guy!

      2. Bart Hansen

        Re: ‘Pulverizing’

        Yes, I saw this word on Taibbi this morning and traced it back to “David Laufman, a former top official in the Justice Department’s national security division who prosecuted cases involving allegations of mishandling classified documents.” quoted by the Insider.

        Laufman: “If I were a senior department official who reviewed this prior to pulling the trigger on presenting an affidavit to a magistrate judge, I would’ve wanted a sufficient quality and quantity of evidence that was so pulverizing in its effect to simply neutralize any arguments to the contrary,”

        Let’s see if we have a new media word here in ‘pulverizing’. After all, the overused ‘Sweeping’ came from Robert Mueller’s work on Russiagate.

        1. Daniil Adamov

          I still remember when Trump was repeatedly “destroyed” back during the 2016 campaign. I’m shocked there’s anything left to pulverise at this point!

          1. fresno dan

            after we’re down to the the nano particles, they will start ripping the electrons off the nucleus…than we’ll have him!

      3. fresno dan

        great article! few edits by myself to make it truthier
        We’ve reached the stage of American history where everything we see on the news must first be understood as political theater. In other words, the messaging layer of news now almost always dominates the factual narrative, with the latter often reported so unreliably as to be meaningless anyway.

        We’ve reached the stage of American history where everything we see on the news must first be understood as political theater. In other words, the messaging layer of news now almost ALWAYS dominates the factual narrative, with the latter often ALWAYS reported so unreliably as to be meaningless anyway.
        We have reached neoliberali nirvana – where the market is end all and be all, and everyone can see what it has done to truth, honor, any sense of fair play, and objective and disspasionate reporting. Where everything ONLY depends on making money, the modern US press offers the inevitable outcome

        1. ThePodBayDoorsAreClosed

          This is a regime led by a man who made a long and storied career of mendacity. Obama and his acolytes of course run the day-to-day and every last thing is just a “messaging” problem to them. So every utterance can be found somewhere on the continuum from spin, through to propaganda, over to outright and blatant falsehoods. They have an institutional inability and fear of just telling the truth, about anything, it’s just not part of their operational toolkit or DNA.

          Yesterday the White House insisted “we had no prior knowledge of the raid!”. Today in Latvia, Def Sec Lloyd Austin intoned “NATO does not seek to confront Russia and is not a threat to it”. Nancy also helped yesterday too: “China is a very free and open democracy!”. OK, thanks.

          My sense is that the Lie_About_Everything_They_Are_Too_Stupid_To_Know strategy works really well….right up to the time when it completely falls over

      4. Screwball

        My PMC friends are giddy with excitement. Laws be damned, they don’t care about laws, procedure, anything, as long as they get the Orange Man.

        We have now gotten to the “what’s in the safe” part of this spectacle. The PMC are convinced this “pulverizing” evidence are the notes from the secret meetings between Trump and Putin. This is connected to the 2016 election AND the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which Trump helped Putin plan.

        Trump is going to be spending the rest of his days in prison. The bad news is, the “Red Hats” as they like to call them, are going to start killing judges, FBI agents, or any other person/people who try to stand if the way of justice.

        All we need now is Geraldo to put the cherry on top of this shitshow. I would prefer and a large dose of sanity for about half our population (both sides).

        1. fresno dan

          maybe you can remember, like me. A certain phrase. Seems quaint now. I can’t really remember the last time I heard it.
          Innocent until proven guilty

        2. CanCyn

          To do the necessary qualification first, I am no fan of Trump, but this kind of disregard for the actual law “Laws be damned, they don’t care about laws, procedure, anything, as long as they get the Orange Man.” has happened in society before and will happen again. It isn’t just TDS that is causing this. It is often the case that once people see someone as bad, they just want some kind of ‘justice’ regardless of the actual wrongdoing. What I don’t understand is how the Dems don’t see that turnabout is fair play and they’re setting a precedent that will see the GOP doing the same thing to them in future. Not to mention allowing Trump’s fans to get riled up in his defence. How stupid are they really? That bar seems to get lower every day.

        3. Wukchumni

          I heard rumors about Trump’s pantry raid and how 5 or 6 Little Debbie’s were violated when nobody was looking, along with a pint of Häagen-Dazs and Hershey’s chocolate syrup repeatedly slathered on top to wash it all down.

      5. fresno dan

        another point about the article:
        the Biden administration just took the world’s most reputable police force and turned it into the American version of the Tonton Macoute on national television.
        un, some of us lost our faith in the FBI a long, LONG time ago…
        But I will say the general feeling of most people in the country that the FBI was above board has been eroding for years. People forget (may they will remember) was that the vast majority of the constitution is to protect citizens from governmental authority, and in practice that means the POLICE. Unlike the blatant 24/7 propaganda that pervades US television, the police are NOT always good, noble, truth tellers. Now, if only repubs could acknowledge that plenty of NON rich people get treated as badly as Trump does by the police…

        1. Fraibert

          I think some of the “new right” types (completely different group from the neoconservatives we all know and hate) get that the police are not their friend, but rather are a necessary evil. It’s a hard realization I think for some there. Also, the “new right” is still in a mortal struggle with the old-style Republican elite over which faction will control the party.

          At the same time, I think the Democrats and the PMC more generally have great enthusiasm for the FBI not only because the FBI seems to be overtly anti-Trump but also because of a love for federal power and centralization more generally. Federal X (where X is any organization, agency, entity, etc.) is in the Democratic/PMC mind simply more prestigious, important, and deserving of respect (or reverence in some cases) than any similar state or local apparatus. Therefore, (and I am not really being sarcastic, I think this is really true), the FEDERAL Bureau of Investigation must be the best police force in the country.

        2. Stephen T Johnson

          Yeah, that line got to me, too. The Feebs have been of dubious constitutional legitimacy from jump street, and, as often as not, their actions fit their Genesis.

        3. K.k

          “Biden administration just took the world’s most reputable police force and turned it into the American version of the Tonton Macoute on national television.”
          I think the victims of cointelpro would like a word with you. Oh wait, they are dead or slowly dying in prison. Must be nice to tap into the massive national reserves of historical amnesia. Yes , what a pity years of hollywood propaganda is about to go down the drain for a segment of the population.

      6. neo-realist

        Berger was convicted for the classified documents theft and prevented from holding government office. Sounds like Taibbi sucking up to the righties.

        1. griffen

          Having followed Matt’s work for years now, primarily starting during and after the GFC in 2008, he strikes me as more genuine in his work and somewhat capable of reflection on where his work has taken him and he’s gone before. He famously spent years in Russia during and after the USSR collapse and the Yeltsin regime, so he know collapse when he sees it. And the grifting that such political settings entail.

          I’ve read his book the Great Derangement. He was not sucking up to right wing types in that one, I can assure you. Maybe he sniffs the wind and it smells like turds wafting in the air, the familiar arome.

        2. Yves Smith Post author

          Do not Make Shit Up and cast bogus aspersions about Taibbi.

          Sorry, big difference between “government office” as in within an administration, and elected office. Administrative positions can set all sorts of requirements, like educational and other fitness criteria. And of course some appointed position in the Administration are subject to Congressional approval.

          As Barnes explained, and you do need to listen to him, requirements for running for President are in the Constitution and can only be changed by amending the Constitution. Nothing about convictions. Founders were probably familiar with political crimes. Looks at Nelson Mandela.

          Only requirements are being over 35 and native born.

          Eugene Debs ran from prison in 2020. Won 3% of the vote, fer Chrissakes. He had previously been imprisoned for sedition.

  9. The Rev Kev

    “US not trying to ‘outdo’ other world powers for influence in Africa, says Blinken”

    Whatever Antony Blinken is telling those countries, US ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield told those African countries that the US would allow them to buy ‘Russian agricultural products, including fertilizer and wheat’ but anything else and the US would sanction them. Yet for some reason, the all-stick-and-no-carrot school of diplomacy is not showing the desired results-

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Blinken’s line after his Africa trip last November to form an anti-China bloc amounted to “they expect the US to do stuff in exchange for strip mining”.

  10. PlutoniumKun

    Mexico: A development puzzle Noah Smith

    Glad to see that he does base his analysis on Ha Joon Chang’s work, so this is a little better than I’d expect from Smith.

    Apart from the obvious problems of crime and drugs and internal structural issues, one aspect of regional developed that is so often overlooked (including by Hoon) is that proximity to developed countries is a two edged sword. In the right circumstances, as with, say, Poland or the Czech Republic, you can have an overflow of investment and know-how which can act as a catalyst for further development. But in the wrong circumstances, proximity means that a region or country simply loses its best people to the main growth pole and it becomes locked into a pattern of being a supplier of raw materials and cheap products.

    According to standard models, Ireland should have thrived between the early 19th Century and the mid-20th century. It was adjacent to, and heavily integrated, with one of the most advanced nations on earth, and one hungry for a range of imports. But Ireland actually went backwards economically by nearly all measures. It wasn’t due to lack of investment – a vast network of railways was built in the mid-19th Century and there was an incredibly efficient ferry system, in addition to unwanted hard currency in the form of soldiers wages. It wasn’t due to regulatory factors – Ireland had a pretty similar bureaucracy and judiciary as the UK. It was primarily because Britain – or more precisely England – drew off all higher tech development and Ireland had to compete with even poorer countries as a supplier of cheap labour and goods. I suspect that Mexico is trapped in a similar situation. Its best and brightest are attracted by the US and while it makes lots of mid level goods like cars, the high productivity and high earning elements are in the US. It may take several generations of workers for car assemblers to become car designers (it will happen eventually, its just a slow process).

    Another overlooked element is that when you move into higher productivity production, you end up with a big surplus of people who are unable to work in the new sectors and fall into poverty or crime. Most Asian nations have dealt with this by way of developing a deliberately unproductive business sector (usually retailing, sometimes farming) as a means of soaking up this surplus and keeping the population acquiescent. This is something that generations of economists never seem to get their brains around as they advice the Japanese and Koreans to ‘liberalize the service sector’. This will never happen, because the governments would then have to deal with hordes of angry, unemployed and poorly qualified people. European countries have usually gone the other way – either using direct government employment (southern Europe) or social schemes (northern Europe) to mop up all these surplus workers. China – so far – is using massive infrastructure investments to achieve this. In the absence of either option, you either get mass emigration (Ireland) or gangland crime (much of South/Central America).

    1. Darthbobber

      And there was that wee famine thingie. After which a huge fraction of the Irish working class could be found in Liverpool, Glasgow, London and the United States. Any analysis that overlooks that Ireland was a colony and governed as such inevitably misses the boat. Neither the the UK government nor the great landowners of Ireland were interested in “developing” Ireland as such.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        The economy of Ireland had effectively gone into chronic decline about 20 years before the famine. It was actually Napoleon’s fault. His defeat at Waterloo (ironically, by an Irishman) led to relative peace in Europe which meant that Ireland was no longer the only place with the labour to intensively grow grain. Most of Ireland then revered to pasture which was a disaster for millions of rural tenants (and bad news for the Anglo Irish aristocracy too, which lost its easy source of income).

        The loss of the Irish parliament was a huge blow, which meant in practice that Ireland was subject to colonial law vagaries, such as changes to duty which destroyed the Irish distilling industry in favour of Scotland (150 years later you can still see the hollowed out remains of old distilleries, even in Dublin). Also, for a variety of reasons Ireland lost its traditional trade with France and Spain. But in reality it was the penetration of railways that destroyed nascent Irish industry. There was a whole network of small industrial towns along the inland waterway network that disappeared under the weight of cheap goods coming in from England. If you look at a map of the Irish railway network it makes very little sense from the point of view of moving people. It was designed to bring cows from rural areas to the ports. There are still many railway stations in rural villages that barely exist, while large towns went without a service. Much of this wasn’t malign policy from England – it was just the way capitalism worked, and Ireland didn’t have the political clout to mitigate the damage.

        But independence made everything worse if anything, at least for the first few decades. Being stuck with sterling meant an overvalued currency. The attempt at an economic war in the 1930’s did immense damage. It was only a focused attempt to develop wider markets in Europe from the 1960’s onwards that allowed the country to move beyond being little more than an island off Wales.

        So yes, colonialist policy was very significant – there is no doubt that there was an implicit policy to make ireland a source of cheap labour and beef and little else. But similar process occurred elsewhere in Europe, so it wasn’t all malign policy, much of it was the unexpected outcome of sometimes well meaning policies and investments.

        1. Patrick Donnelly

          What about the overgrowth of the banks? Bond holders kept stuffing that goose and eventually got all their ammunition back with interest.

          Banking can be used as a weapon. Since 1977, the policies were finely honed to lead to that destruction.

          Removing Economic History from the Leaving Cert and keeping ‘economics’ was a way of ensuring ignorance.

          Lessening land taxes increased lending for more expensive land.

          Prime Ministers with unlimited bank overdrafts also played a role.

          Eventually 80% of Colonel level civil servants held bank shares, making recommendationms to increase lending growth to 30% pa.

          Yes, it is all just capitalism…. NOT!

          1. Wukchumni

            From 1977 to 1992 in Mexico, the Peso went from 12.5 = 1$, to 3,300 = 1$, which is nothing compared to Weimar hyperinflation in terms of severity, but look at it another way…

            …a 1992 Peso was worth 1/264th of its previous 1977 value when measured against the almighty buck

            That’s the primary reason there are so many Mexcian immigrants in our country now in every state-many of them sending remittances down under, whereas when I was a kid they only typically lived in TX-NM-Az-Ca.

            It’s the economy-stupid

              1. Wukchumni

                3,300 old Pesos = 3.3 new Pesos in 1993.

                In the 30 years since, it has gone up to 20 new Pesos = 1$ US.

  11. kriptid

    RE: Robert Barnes on Alex Jones

    I want to pull on a thread regarding Jones to see if anyone else remembers this version of Alex Jones.

    Must have been 2004-2005 when I first discovered Alex Jones. He was a guest on Coast to Coast AM with George Noory. At that time, he was hosting his show on public radio (in Austin, I believe?) and InfoWars was a relatively new thing. He was just starting to distribute his documentaries through and post content on the internet.

    I will never forget the first broadcast I heard. This man went on an absolute tear, and at a blistering pace went through US foreign policy in the Middle East from WWI through the present day, detailing the Sykes-Picot Agreement, the founding of Israel, the coup against Mossadegh, the Iran hostage crisis, the Iran-Iraq War, Desert Storm, 9/11, and connected all of those things together in an entertaining way in the span of about 15 breathless minutes. I remember writing names on a notepad because he just spewed information at such a pace it was impossible to keep up.

    Whenever Alex Jones was a guest in the few years following that, it was stay-up-late appointment listening.

    Then, there was ‘The Secrets of the Bohemian Grove’ where he infiltrated this secret gathering with the help of someone on the inside. He was the first person I heard talking about the Club of Rome, the Bilderberg Group, and the Trilateral Commission.

    He was the ultimate anti-establishment figure. He hated Bush, he hated Clinton, and the only politician he had a single good word for was Dr. Ron Paul.

    Ultimately, he became tied to Trump, but I actually have fond memories of him before he became this celebrity where he was sort of this bombastic truth-teller who loved a conspiracy and always needed a fact check, but was nonetheless an excellent source of ‘searchable topics’ if you will, even if you couldn’t always trust everything he said.

    I guess a lot of people won’t remember him that way, but I always will, even if he’s veered from that path and become kind of a cult-like figure. I think there’s something weirdly and uniquely American about him that must be protected, even if it makes me wince sometimes.

    1. Jessica

      I am not a fan of Alex Jones and suspect that few on this site are. You have let me see what someone would see in him. Thank you for that. The person you portray is one worthy of listening to.

    2. rob

      I remember alex jones coming into the spotlight a few years after 9/11.
      At the time of the turn of the century, people like mike ruppert and peter dale scott were “in view”.. on websites like COP vs. CIA .com…. talking about the lost rights of americans, and the collusion of the CIA and the drug war… as mike ruppert was akin to gary webb in linking the cia to funneling coke to the crips and bloods… and using the money for black ops in the us and abroad. Back before 9/11 when the bill clinton was covering for the fbi “carnivore” and the cia “eschelon” spying on americans programs, and keeping questions of oklahoma city bombing details, and the 93′ trade tower bombing by the fbi…. which is when biden et. al. wrote the patriot act and the 9/11 pretense wasn’t carried out yet…
      jones was a late comer, and a waterboy.. for those who really were “on to something”

      After ruppert’s book… Crossing the rubicon(about the reason why policy makers may have sought to “let 9/11 happen”) in @ 2002… before the architects and engineer’s group started documenting evidence of the demolition of the trade towers(which is now even further proved with the university of alaska @ fairbanks 4 year long examination and proving of building 7’s demolition and the fact that NIST’s explanation was impossible and false);
      This was when someone from the US gov’t was sending around US gov’t created anthrax to scare the reluctant members of congress to go all in after 9’11 for the patriot act. A case against the gov’t is still in the courts … about the chemical fingerprint of the anthrax being from US arsenals.. at fort dietrich, and dugway proving grounds. And the dead guy they finally “convicted ” of this was just a patsy.
      alex jones followed that circuit for a moment… but then seemed to realize, these people were getting persecuted and “suicided”, so he seemed to make the decision to be a shock jock like rush limbaugh… and just be an a-hole with bombast and a slick forked tongue…. so.. by 15 years ago.. he was spouting bs.. and making a lot of money.

    3. tooeazymate

      I had a similar experience as a young boy. Found him through Coast to Coast AM. Got really into conspiracies but eventually kind of expanded to other more legitimate media. I sometimes think about how that experience shaped me, without Noory/Jones I probably wouldn’t be reading NC.

      1. kriptid

        Here, here! I was really hoping there would be at least one other reader who discovered him in the same way.

        Have similar sentiments to you. I think Alex Jones was a ‘gateway drug’ into alternative media for a lot of people who have since left him behind, myself included. And honestly, I think that’s why he’s seen as such a threat by the establishment.

    4. Carolinian

      Guess I’m out of it since I don’t even know who Alex Jones is. I do know who Alexander Cockburn is, or was, and he once did an amusing column on the Bohemian Grove. Without a doubt there is a shadowy world of think tankers and megarich who like to get together and plot or at least have toga parties. Tom Wolf satirized them as the Masters of the Universe with Bill Gates perhaps being a poster boy in current times.

      It’s Hofstadter’s “paranoid” style, perhaps, but also perhaps just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get you.

      1. griffen

        Count your wins where you can. My impression, Jones and his efforts at pontificating are a lot like Limbaugh but with a greater amount of cross selling and cross promotional efforts.

        1. Wukchumni

          The idea that a droog such as Alex could accumulate as much as $275 million, signaled to me that nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people, except perhaps some of your listeners.

    5. fringe element

      Last night The Duran posted a conversation with Robert Barnes that ran almost 2-1/2 hours, and I can’t recommend it highly enough.

      Barnes went to town explaining the raid on Trump and the outrageous kangaroo trial Jones has been subjected to. Being a sharp attorney, Barnes rattled off all of the amendments and rules of judicial procedure that were brazenly trampled.

      That was the first I heard of Jones’ early days of being remarkable. Barnes mentioned that he supported Assange and Snowden. I won’t be taking the time to dig up any of those old podcasts, but appreciate learning about the guy’s real history.

      Barnes also thinks that the Trump raid was about something very incriminating that Trump has on some of his enemies. He said that the Feds did not find what they were looking for even in the safe. He speculates that Trump has left this incriminating material with others who will keep it safely hidden unless something “unfortunate” happens to Trump, at which point they will release it. I’ve heard that anyone who does much big commercial construction in NYC deals with the actual Mafia at some point, so maybe Trump knows a gangster when he sees one and knows how to protect himself from people like that. Sounds like a useful skill set if the State Dept is out to get you.

      Here’s the link to the Duran show –

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        We linked to it in Links just above AND discussed it, that is why readers are talking about Alex Jones in the first place. Our policies state you are to read a post in full before commenting. How hard is it to read a bunch of links????

  12. .Tom

    The Facebook chat bot twitstorm is hilarious. Interesting to think that the same technology is still being hyped as ready to drive cars for us. They just need enough compute power and a good enough corpus of training data.

  13. tgs

    Trump raid, Biden DOJ crosses the Rubicon w/Robert Barnes

    Very interesting discussion of the Alex Jones trial. Jones’ travails seem to be a preview of what is coming for all dissenters. He was one of the first high profile social media bans. This latest case suggests that one can now be sued for expressing views that cause psychological harm to others.

    Barnes and Mercouris are both extremely sharp, informed commentators on many matters. However, their discussions of Trump as a man and a political figure border on the delusional.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Yes, that is sad. They take the area where Trump has had some fairly good reflexes, foreign policy, but his strategies were quite another matter. For instance, tariffs v. China made sense only as a part of a big reshoring/industrial policy push, and that would have to take at least 10 years to bear real fruit, when lack of continuity in the Executive makes that impossible even if Trump had tried to do something sensible.

      There’s one part where Mercouris acted as if Trump is concerned about the welfare of ordinary people which was cringe-making. It’s not impossible that he might actually be, once, in a while, but as anything other than a gesture, it seems to rank below #10 on his list of priorities.

    2. flora

      Glenn Greenwald interviewed Alex Moyer on her new movie ‘Alex’s War’, and in the second half of the interview interviews Alex Jones – the subject in ‘Alex’s War’. The second half with the Jones interview is on Rumble. I won’t link. If you’re interested you can search it on Rumble. It’s a pretty interesting interview given right before his trial.

      1. .Tom

        The Red Scare Podcast interviewed Jones last year and it was fascinating. My respect for Jones was elevated a from very low to low. My fear of the increasing use of punitive coercion in America’s traditional PR approach to social control grew. But overall it was just amazing to listen to this media whore so wrapped up in himself that he almost can’t control himself and often crosses a line, a dangerous one, considering his influence.

        1. flora

          So “they” go after Julian Assange and the right cheers, nevermind journalism, prior restraint, and free speech.
          “They” go after Alex Jones and the left cheers, nevermind free speech.

          Once the left and right agree that giving offense is punishable with extreme penalties, what remains for civil dissent by either the right or the left or even those in the middle?

          adding: we already have laws against incitement to riot, to intimidate or threaten. That is not protected speech. Speech that only gives offense or reveals things others find embarrassing is protected speech.

          1. Carla

            I don’t think it was only the right that cheered when they went after Assange. Plenty of Dimocrats supported his persecution as well, and it seems to me just a tiny fringe of people of any political persuasion supported Assange, at least in the U.S.

            1. .Tom

              I roughly agree. At no point was it mainstream to applaud his WikiLeaks publications. I don’t know if you’re right that only a tiny fringe of people supported them but only fringe media did.

            2. fringe element

              The folks over at Daily Kos absolutely hate Assange. One of many reasons I left that place and never looked back.

          2. magpie

            I finally bought Assange’s book. I discovered NC around the time that Assange was first confined to the embassy. It’s been a long time and the treatment of dissidents has not improved. Given how the state and media are doubling down on coercion, they will come after NC again.

            It’s embarrassing, but I was so intimidated by the level of depth and experience in the comments section here it took a decade before I had the nerve to post anything. Yet the truth is, I’d really miss reading what you all write.

            Does it go without saying that I have never found an analogue to the NC comment section in real life?

            1. ThePodBayDoorsAreClosed

              This week here in Assange’s home country his parents attempted to bring said book into The Parliament for some meetings and it was confiscated at the door as “subversive material”. The new Labor government, after trumpeting for 9 years out of power in opposition that they would immediately bring Julian back home, categorically refused to meet with his parents (their fig leaf is that they must wait until he is sent to the US to legally file a formal transfer request, LOL). Meantime, China officially announced that Australia had *violated the U.N. Charter* for the new clueless Foreign Minister’s comments supporting Pelosi’s trip. We’ve gone from being a pugnacious partner of The Empire Of Lies to being simply an appendage of said monster.

              1. Basil Pesto

                The new Labor government, after trumpeting for 9 years out of power in opposition that they would immediately bring Julian back home

                They did? News to me

    3. marym

      The latest case was due to his 10 years of lying about the SH massacre and the harassment inflicted on the parents by his followers. If he wants to be taken seriously, and even defended, as a “dissident” a bare minimum ought to be that he not use ordinary people who have suffered a terrible loss as his foils.

      1. flora

        Well, I agree with you, but the court’s pretrial order that he could not plead innocent — isn’t every defendant allowed to plead innocent and the state’s duty is to prove guilt according to law — seems to put a very large and new legal thumb on the scales of justice. Given the record, which should have been enough for the prosecution, the judge issuing the pleading order went overboard and made the trial look less than impartial. My 2 cents.

        1. flora

          adding: I doubt we’ll ever see leaders of 2020’s BLM movement held responsible for the fires and other destruction their followers caused. This thought exercise is offered only as a what-if-the-shoe-was-on-the-other-foot idea, which seems to get lost in these days of righteous indignation on both sides. “It [whatever] is OK if you’re on my team” doesn’t bode well for law or for the future. My 2 cents.

          1. Michael Fiorillo

            Come now, Flora, be fair: BLM leadership was far too busy amassing luxury real estate for us to blame them for those “mostly peaceful” events…

        2. marym

          I’ve read media reporting that the judge issued a default judgment because of his non-compliance with the discovery process. I don’t know if that’s the same as your reference, or whether would be generally be considered a common or justifiable ruling.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            Listen to Barnes. Judge demanded he produced evidence of his guilt (not making this up, the judge was monstrously and openly biased). Jones said he was innocent. She immediately declared a default judgment.

            This makes kangaroo courts look good.

      2. fringe element

        Whatever mistakes Jones made as a public figure, the points Barnes made in the Duran podcast were that multiple large glaring violations of judicial procedure and even several Bill of Rights Amendments were committed. Going after someone unpopular is a calculated way to hide the many real transgressions of honest legal procedures they practiced in the trial.

  14. voteforno6

    Well, one thing that this latest Trump to-do has demonstrated is the unfortunate tendency for too many Americans to treat politics as a spectator sport. I’m guessing there isn’t much overlap between those complaining about this FBI raid at Trump’s “home” in Florida, and those complaining about what the FBI did to Hillary Clinton during the 2016 campaign, and vice versa. Or, for those who remember, some of the crazy things the Republicans accused the Clintons of during the ’90s.

    1. Duke of Prunes

      What the FBI did to Hillary Clinton during the 2016 campaign? Could someone refresh my memory on this? Or provide a link?

      1. tegnost

        They locked her in an office with her lawyer and since the two of them didn’t have anything else to do they went through her emails from the secret server and erased everything that had to do with “yoga”…? That’s unlawful imprisonment! /s

      2. voteforno6

        They had a very public investigation, and then a week before the election, announced publicly that they found a new laptop that they needed to investigate, regarding her emails. But I doubt many Republicans were complaining about the FBI’s behavior back then. To be honest, people on this site weren’t, either.

        Which goes back to my main point – Americans tend to treat politics as a spectator sport. What might otherwise be considered to be hypocritical makes more sense when you understand that they’re rooting for / against particular people.

        1. tegnost

          OK, I had to go check the archives and hoo boy what a $&i!show the clinton campaign was… if only dems had this much dirt on trump maybe they could get some traction outside of the true believers!

          Scroll down to Clinton email Tar Baby…
          Such sleaze…
          But by that point I was so sick of hearing “but TRUMP!!!” I almost voted for hills…(…No.) Didn’t vote for either so definitely my fault….Little did I know what the future held…

          As to people were not on this site either, see…
          Anne at 10:27 am nov. 2 2016

          Our system of justice is still supposed to be based on an innocent-until-proven-guilty metric; this is infinitely harder to maintain when agencies such as the FBI make public not just that someone or something is under investigation, but make public details of that investigation. The fact that the people involved in this particular investigation are public figures does not exempt them from a presumption of innocence, and dumping all kinds of information into the public square does little but weaken that presumption. It also doesn’t change just because Clinton brought this on herself – we don’t give up our rights just because we do something stupid.

      3. griffen

        They held her captive and prevented her from visiting a handful of key rust belt states that she went on to lose. Those meanies. \sarc

        IIRC, and others mileage may vary I’d always thought she got the white glove treatment once she handed over the server stored in a broom closet somewhere near or in Denver. A very poorly guarded server as it turned out. I reserve an ability to be wrong here.

        Gary Larson at the Far Side could not make this up.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I think I heard this as a joke, that the Russians, having no sentencing precedent for this type of substance, looked to US legislation…that 1994 crack cocaine act. Regardless, a lot of countries have strict laws (ie everyone gets treated the way we treat young men of color or worse). I believe Russia is a civil law system (they admired France and likely took over many of its bureaucratic systems, including its ideas of jurisprudence), so they’d look to their (and if the probable joker was actually on to something, US) statute. They would not have the inclination or horsepower to look at US precedents.

      Despite the press acting as if the vaping stuff was not consequential/was medical, one reader who seemed knowledgeable about the product said the reverse, with some detail. If anyone who knows who can weigh in either on US sentencing practices or what the hell Griner had and whether her claim it was medical is plausible, I’d very much appreciate it.

      1. kriptid

        I couldn’t say for sure because it may vary from state to state, but it seems highly implausible that a vape pen was prescribed. As far as I know, prescriptions are mostly for flower or for infused edibles. Vape pens and cartridges are generally available through recreational vendors, but this is still relatively new. A lot of the medical laws were passed before vape pens were even really a thing.

        Vape pens are quite easy, typically, to get through TSA security. Throw it in a pouch with some pens or a make-up bag and no one is going to notice unless they do a search by hand. She likely did something like this.

        No idea how it works in Russia, but she’s been playing ball over there for a few years, so she knows the drill with their airline security. She had likely done it before and didn’t anticipate getting caught.

        That said, if they’re going strictly by mass and charging based on a misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance (marijuana), most cartridges only contain 500 mg of distilled oil. So even if she had several, she likely only had a few grams. You typically need more than an ounce or so to have significant criminal charges in most places in the US. Less would get you little more than a fine in most US states, possibly probation in the more strict states. Jail time is unlikely unless you’re a repeat offender, and even then only in the most strict states.

        It’s definitely not on par with what they sentenced Griner with in Russia. For that type of possession in most of the US, you wouldn’t even get arrested. You’d get the contraband confiscated and a summons with a minor fine, likely less than $1000.

        So while I can confidently say Griner isn’t too bright for getting caught, the punishment by Russia is in no way commensurate with the punishment for a similar crime in most US states.

        1. jr

          Weight isn’t the best metric re: the severity of legal trouble for pot possession. I’m not sure about distillates, but edibles can carry a much heavier charge than flower in some states. It’s considered compounded when it’s made into food and in some places even a small amount is a minor felony.

        2. Nikkikat

          Doctors do not prescribe weed in particular forms. In the old days in California after it became legal for medical purposes. You went to a doctor and got script for medical marijuana. The dispensary let you buy it in what ever form you chose. It doesn’t matter how you want to use it. You did not have to pay tax.
          When legalized you still get a doctors script and pay no tax. Doctor script for one year ran about 45.00 dollars. If you bought recreational you paid huge taxes, State and local city tax. Talking about state law doesn’t matter. If Griner had been at the airport here in the US of A and been caught either coming or going, it would be a Federal crime. Doesn’t matter what laws the state has on the books. It is Federally illegal. Griner knew after years of being in Russia that it was illegal, much like here in a federal sense. She used the vape pen because it’s easier to hide. It also doesn’t smell when you smoke it, unlike a joint. So she could easily use it in her room or where ever and no one would know.
          I am sure that these people coming in for sports are warned before they even go there the first time. The United States would have done the same thing and she would have most likely been arrested here as well. When you go to another country you must live by their rules.

      2. JohnA

        I understand that cannabis is still banned by the Olympics. If Griner claims she takes it for medicinal purposes, did she need this in 2021 when she won an Olympic gold medal and found some runaround, or simply endure the pain for gold glory? As a chronic pain sufferer myself, I know this does not arise overnight.

      3. Lex

        It probably was medical to the extent that any cannabis is medical. The vape aspect is just that the THC was extracted from the biomass and then purified via fractional distillation. My local dispensary is selling vape cartridges ranging from 60 to 91% THC, but 99% THC distillate carts exist. If the report of 0.7 g of distillate is true and it was a 99% THC cart, she would be carrying 700 mg of THC. That’s roughly equal to an 1/8 (3.5g) of “flower” at 20% THC. 20% is a reasonable potency because 30% is about the maximum the plant can produce.

        Usually it’s just personal preference of vape vs. a loose concentrate vs. “flower”. Kind of like choosing a mixed drink over beer/wine. If the quantity reported is true, it is not a question of distribution or anything. That’s a personal use quantity for sure. That said, in some states the penalty for a vape vs those for “flower” is significantly higher (IIRC, Texas has such laws). Quotes around flower because it’s a seedless (mostly) fruit, not a flower in the technicalities of botany.

      4. rob

        Whatever the product is, if the “cannabis oil”… hash oil,vape juice or any other derivative of the cannabis plant is called.. it is all the same thing. There is no distinction between “medical” and “recreational”, as it is all the same stuff… just in different forms. and any and all forms can be medical(if it was purchased through someone whose license allowed them to sell it as medical or as recreational; if that what their state laws allow)
        It is only an administrative framework that means nothing.
        the black market has been selling “medicine”… for a long time.. and still in states where it is illegal.. the cops are gonna call it “a controlled substance”… when they bust you for it. or a schedule 1 drug.
        in the phase before recreational pot was allowed… people got to call it medical… so as to gain exemption from the federal law.
        Just like in days of old when people taking sips of moonshine , called it “medicinal”.

      5. Polar Socialist

        The article 229.1 of Russian Criminal Code says that transporting narcotics* over the border of the Russian Federation is punishable by 5 to 10 years of imprisonment and up to 1 million rubles of fines. In case the amount of narcotics is large, the imprisonment can be from 10 to 20 years.

        And Russia indeed has civil law system, so after she admitted, it’s basically “them’s the rules, here’s your sentence, you may appeal to a higher court. Next!”

        * the Ministry of Justice of Russian Federation keeps an up-to-date list of banned narcotics and psychotropic substances with apparently three thresholds of amount. Cannabis/hash oil has been on the list at least for 10 years.

        1. juno mas

          Hmmm, maybe the Griner situation needs to be perceived from a larger view: The Russian flag is not displayed at the Olympics because Russia is “sanctioned” over systematic use of banned performance enhancing drugs (by some athletes). At the Winter Olympics the Russian star ice-skater was hounded for trace appearance of “restricted” substance.

          Maybe the Griner drama is simply payback.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            No, civil law systems are based on the application of statute. The only way they were potentially being extra punitive was in her sentence being 9 as opposed to 5 years. In the US, crime shows suggest you get leniency for confessing and not wasting everyone’s time. That may not be how Russia rolls.

            The only way this might be payback is if border guards were alerted when prominent US athletes come through and to inspect their luggage carefully.

      6. albrt

        Griner lives in Arizona. Arizona was early to recognize almost any cannabis product as medical and prescribable by a doctor. Then Arizona gave up the pretense and just legalized cannabis for all purposes. Many users of my acquaintance consider whatever form of cannabis they like to be a medication.

        1. Fred1

          As a criminal lawyer, I follow this blog to stay as current as possible about sentencing issues. This is the only mention of the Griner case.

          Be that as it may, the reason I’m linking to this blog is that it has a virtually limitless set of links to other sources that address sentencing, including but not limited to marijuana sentencing, for those who want to take a deep dive into these issues.

  15. russell1200

    Countries do occasionally throw their ex-leaders in jail for legitimate reasons. I don’t see why this is unprecedented except maybe in the narrow sense of specific U.S. examples.

    So the least exciting story is that Trump wandered off with a bunch of documents that weren’t his to keep. The Feds got tired of asking for them back and went in and got him. It seems Trump’s stubbornness is as much an issue as anything else. And it doesn’t seem that different to Hillary having to turn over a hard drive (or whatever it was) to the FBI.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Robert Barnes contends the US hadn’t even come close to going through the normal legal steps before seizing docs. They are supposed to demand in some formal manner and Trump gets to go to court to object. Then a judge decides. Nothing even remotely like that happened.

      1. neo-realist

        Trump gets to object in court to the seizing of documents that he legally wasn’t supposed to take, an unprecedented snatch at that?

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          No, you are assuming guilt. Courts assume innocence. Guilt has to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

          More specifically, I understand it is customary for Presidents to take personal records with them, with the proviso that they are expected to return it eventually (if nothing else when they die) or to a Presidential library.

          Second, the President has the power to declassify records. If they are declassified, anyone can have a copy. The other contention from Trump defenders is that he had declassified them but some still had outdated “classified” stamps on them.

          Third, a defense I’ve not seen mentioned is that there’s been a huge vogue in the Federal government to way overclassify, that a lot of documents that historically did not contain information that legitimately warranted classification now are to thwart FOIA.

      2. fringe element

        I think Barnes also pointed out that this would be illegal 90 days before an election and the raid happened 91 days before, so maybe they were in a hurry because somebody made the decision to do it at the last minute.

    2. JohnA

      Winston Churchill wandered off with a whole load of official documents. Instead of seizing them, the government paid the Churchill family millions to release them back to the nation a decade or two ago! I guess it depends on which side of the establishment fence a president/prime minister happens to be.

      1. Michael Ismoe

        Classified papers? That’s nothing. I found an ex-president who took multiple gifts of varying value, And they admit it. I’m waiting for the FBI to show up.

        The collections encompass works of fine art, cultural artifacts, books, clothing, domestic furnishings, sporting equipment, and other materials that represent the era and accomplishments of the Obama Administration. These materials were predominantly gifted to President and Mrs. Obama by Foreign Heads of State and private citizens.

        You may view highlights from our collections, including gifts from world leaders as well as charming and whimsical items handmade by private citizens, in the Highlights Gallery below.

        1. John

          Obama. Sigh. I was deluded from the start by the rhetoric. He was the disappointment of the century starting with banks before people and compounded by the rhetoric of bipartisanship with Mitch McConnell as an opposite number.

          1. Carla

            Much as I detest, deplore and denigrate Obama, it’s kind of early in the century to make that claim, isn’t it? Very sorry for the next generation, because things can always get worse. A lot worse…

        2. marym

          It gives me great sorrow to defend anything about the destructive blight on public space that will be Obama’s privately operated not-a-library monument to himself, but these are still owned by the people of the United States and administered by the National Archives and Records Administration, a federal agency, as they should be, as are the holdings of other presidential libraries.

          “NARA continues to retain legal and physical custody of the records and artifacts.”

    3. Henry Moon Pie

      I think a lot of people assume that Trump took off with documents that might incriminate him. If so, why would anyone think such documents would survive twenty-four hours after they were removed from the White House?

      Perhaps what Trump took instead were documents he could use to blackmail his enemies. Such a trove might include personally incriminating information about figures from the Bushes to the Clintons to the Cheneys to the Obamas. It might include items embarrassing to the Blob generally. These are the kinds of things that Trump would hold onto this long after 1/20/21. They would be the kind of things the FBI would expect Trump to hold onto. And they might be the kind of things so consequential that even the DOJ/FBI would risk a search warrant on a former President.

      1. Screwball

        I think this is as plausible as any other explanation, sans using this as another nail in the coffin keeping Trump from running.

        If this were the case, turn them loose. I double dog dare you. I think that would be a real hoot.

        But, we will probably never find out.

      2. the last D

        The same thing occurred to me. Having the right kind of ‘dirt’ on certain people enables other people the appearance of clean hands. This is a weapon that the fbi, under j. edgar used to control its own list of enemies. I repeat, the fbi. How the worm has turned on the facist american right. And using political dirt to control one’s enemies, and friends, was not lost on israeli intelligence, and on one of trump’s best pals, for a time, the late, great jeff epstein, who met a strange death while lodged, one might say, in a federal prison which I’ve chosen to call, the trump tower of blood.

        1. flora

          Oh dear, I’m somewhat embarrassed to go on commenting on this topic, never the less:

          Was Epstein one of T’s best pals? A better pal than Prince whats-his-name or Clinton or that Harvard law professor guy or (do we have the johns’ list yet)? Was a downtown Manhattan prison one of T’s towers of blood?

          It doesn’t really add up, but it’s great gossip.

          1. the last D

            It is great gossip, and that’s too bad, really. Climate catastrophe is here, and unlike these miserable politicians, it isn’t going anywhere. I believe that human life is hanging in the balance, and the ruling capitalist class is owned lock, stock, and barrel by the super-rich who rule this world, and are quite content to throw everyone, and everything else, away. The singular beauty of this world means absolutely nothing to them, unless it is able to provide them with a little more wealth, or a little more power. The guilt lies with the political elites, the rich who rule, and each of us who cede it all to the first two. Epstein and trump and clinton and all others are a pitiful waste of time, and deserve to get thrown into the ash heap of history. Their stories are the gossip and opium of the masses.

          2. fringe element

            I think that has been debunked. What I heard was that when Epstein was a guest at some Trump shindig he was caught making moves on the underage daughter of one of the guests and Trump asked him to leave.

            1. flora

              Oooh, very sly: “What I heard was….” / heh

              (You’ll notice that I ignore gossip that might make a counter case.)

      3. fringe element

        That’s what Robert Barnes thinks, that Trump has held on to material that incriminates his enemies and that is what the FBI was looking for and did not find.

      4. Yves Smith Post author

        There is no way that Trump could have taken all documents that incriminated him, if there were such documents and have it be a mere 15 boxes. You can’t expunge a record that way, particularly in the government.

        Multiple parties are on every communication. He could not get them back from all the counterparties. Not even remotely possible. Plus most if not all likely also exist in electronic form.

        This would have to be documents where single copies would be powerful. That would either be material that exculpates him or proves bad conduct by others, like that Russiagate was substantially/entirely made up and the perps knew it or found out it was and yet persisted.

        1. flora

          Oy. I just hate it I might seem to be defending T. At this point on these govt over reaches however, it’s not about defending T; it is about something much much larger that has the potential of becoming “a way of doing business” to affect everyone in the US long into the future unless checked, imo. I guess we the voters are the check on govt over reach now.

  16. Tom Stone

    The magistrate who signed the Mar A Lago search warrant has formally recused himself from the case.
    It appears from what has been published that this is a lawyer who is acutely aware of which side his bread is buttered on, someone who is always willing to help out a “Friend”.
    I suspect he might have misunderestimated the reaction he’d get and over estimated how much his “Friends” would back him up.
    “What do you mean WE, white man” is the phrase that comes to mind.
    This is going to be a hoot!

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Not, that was a different but recent case, Trump v. Clinton.

      His recusal strongly suggests he has a legal or business relationship with Clinton. If the conflict that led to the recusal was with Trump, it would presumably be improper for him to engage in any judicial activity vis a vis him, including signing a search warrant.

      1. flora

        an aside: I think every defendant in a criminal case deserves the best legal representation they can get, regardless of what I think of the defendant. I also think attorneys who defend their clients are doing their jobs which are necessary for a publicly accepted criminal courts system, and doing so does not automatically taint said attorney because they defend a despised client. (See the book ‘To Kill a Mockingbird.’ ) This is a long way of saying that who the judge defended when in private practice doesn’t make be automatically doubt the judge’s reasoning in this case. I’d like to know more about how *this* case was handled.

        1. Michael Fiorillo

          I agree with you, Flora – which probably dates us both – but the political optics are awful.

    2. Skip Intro

      I thought he was Epstein’s lawyer, and thus a ‘made’ man in the Clinton/Trump/Epstein orbit.

      1. ambrit

        Better send your local Extension Service a soil sample. Something’s not quite right with that picture. As usual, the details are fuzzy.

  17. John

    The Trump kerfuffle: Is it, “This time we’ve got him.”, or yet another damp squib? I confess I have lost faith in all these shenanigans. They look amateurish.

    1. Big River Bandido

      It’s 90 days before a midterm election in which his party is going to be (deservedly) routed. Brandon needs to *appear* to be actually accomplishing things…this was his last chance to grease the skids on Trump Derangement Syndrome before the DOJ is legally enjoined from such action.

      No doubt the $79 billion “inflation” bill (ha ha ha) was spawned in the same fetid pool of infirm molasses.

      1. Screwball

        No worries, Joe’s rating just went up to 40 and he told us a little bit ago there is no inflation in July. It’s all good now. #blueMAGA

        1. lyman alpha blob

          I hear the rona is cured too and monkeypox actually helps people lose weight. Everything’s coming up roses!

  18. PlutoniumKun

    Re: twitter photo on the lithium ‘leach field’s’.

    There is no such thing as a lithium ‘leach field’. Those photographs are of artificial brine ponds – essentially lithium rich salt evaporated out by the sun. This is little different from the natural salt fields or salt lakes found in upper altitudes of Bolivia and elsewhere. In some places – at lower concentrations – they are considered health spas (e.g. the Dead Sea). I’ve waded in natural brine pools in northern China – there are weird concentrations of crustaceans that actually thrive in them – this is what flamingos enjoy about them.

    They are not particularly toxic – no more toxic than regular salt. Lithium does not bioaccumulate and requires quite high concentrations to be dangerous, and those natural brines come nowhere close unless you try to eat them (even then, the salt will kill you first).

    There are plenty of reasons to be concerned at lithium mining. Birds dying in brine baths is not one of them.

    1. c_heale

      Why can’t we be concerned about birds dying in lakes of lithium brine. Or lakes of toxic waste, or mine tailings.

      Those lakes aren’t natural, they were made by humans. Just a another sign of how little we care for the natural world.

  19. The Rev Kev

    “The Human Mind Is Not Meant to Be Awake After Midnight, Scientists Warn”

    Not sure that I am buying what is in that study. Especially when it ends with the sentence ‘Whether asleep or awake, the mind after midnight is a mystery.’ That is not a scientific conclusion. That is just hand waving with a possible future appeal for more funds to study sleep in mind. The fact of the matter is that we are nearly a quarter of the way into the 21st century and it seems that we still don’t have a solid idea of what sleep is and how it plays out. And this was really brought home to me when, some time ago, NC linked to an article called ‘Sleeping Through the Night Is a Relatively New Invention’-

    1. Wukchumni

      I’ve always been a go to bed @ 8 pm type and when I was in high school in the 70’s, Saturday Night Live really dominated in a way that’s incomprehensible compared to today, along with no replay possibilities-a 1-shot deal which started @ 11:30 pm…

      I would struggle to stay awake and then often i’d make it until say 11:51 pm before conking out, and the following Monday in school everybody would be talking about the skits and whatnot, and i’d have to bullshit my way through the patter not having seen it, and got pretty good at it based upon others comments and playing off it. (wasn’t that fake commercial with Belushi the bomb!?)

      I feel fortunate the Perseid meteor shower tonight will be a bust (even though it’s pegged to be pretty good) on account of a full moon ruining the show, and i’ll turn in around 8 pm instead, ha.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I was the sort that loved staying up till 2:30 in the morning. You could read, watch TV, listen to rain if it was falling. It was a quiet time of night and I found it relaxing. You’ll note my use of the past tense ‘was’ her. What happened? I got married, that’s what.

        1. Anonymous 2

          I thought we were supposed to be divided up into owls and larks. The owls were the night watch, the larks the dawn patrol?

    2. Lee

      “The fact of the matter is that we are nearly a quarter of the way into the 21st century and it seems that we still don’t have a solid idea of what sleep is and how it plays out.”

      There a very few if any organisms that do not experience periodic partial shut down. Even plants and microorganisms do it, from which one might reasonably infer, that the requirement is related to cycles of darkness and light, cold and heat, food abundance and scarcity, and as such is deeply rooted evolutionarily. Asking why we sleep is like asking why we eat. We do it because we must and those who see it as a waste of time or something to be done away with have lost their fucking minds. If science has a problem with it, I’ll settle for the poetic description:

      “Sleep that knits up the raveled sleave of care,
      The death of each day’s life, sore labor’s bath,
      Balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second course,
      Chief nourisher in life’s feast.”

      ― William Shakespeare, Macbeth

      1. Wukchumni

        Wildfires used to go to sleep overnight when humidity levels were at a certain point and activity in fire spread minimal, practically corresponding with the need for firefighters to catch 40 winks @ the same time.

        I was @ Saline hot springs in the wee hours one fine morning in 2018 soaking in the dark with the incident commander for the 2017 Pier Fire (centered around the area where the action takes place in Lucifer’s Hammer) who really taught me a lot about his line of work in our few hours immersed, and one thing he couldn’t stress enough was how the Pier Fire was the first wildfire he’d ever seen that didn’t go to bed at night in his 35 years of fighting fires in the wilderness.

        1. Lee

          Sounds like the ground up there has been thoroughly wrung out. You seem to love it where you are. But absent some serious amounts of precipitation in coming winters, does the question of viability in your current location arise?

          1. Wukchumni

            If monsoonal systems such as the one that has lingered for almost 3 weeks now were to become the new normal as far as climate change goes, we might see nearly as much precip in the summer months as in the winter.

            My ‘savings’ is largely in the guise of surface water and well water, which are infinitely more valuable than any carats or karats, in that we all require it to live.

            You’re seeing the effects in Europe of the rivers drying out there, but they don’t have 14,000 foot snowcatchers behind them like I do.

            Everything is going great in terms of flow and all that, can’t complain.

            Water is everywhere here, and i’m maybe 43rd in line for the largess from the source.

            But, best laid plans and all that…

            Did not see this coming, although the algae blooms looked like green underwater smurfs the past couple years, so i’m not surprised I suppose.

            VISALIA – As the heat of summer continues to roast the Valley, Three Rivers continues to see the formation of Algal Blooms throughout the waterways. Residents are now cautioned against using water straight out the Kaweah River for daily use.

            Due to observations of potentially toxigenic algae in the river, Tulare County Public Health is recommending that residents with drinking water intakes that draw water directly from the river not use their tap water for drinking, cooking, showering or brushing teeth until more information is available. There is not an easy fix to make the water less toxic. Boiling or adding chemicals in the water does not eliminate the toxins.

            “We are encouraging residents to utilize bottled water or other water resources,” Carrie Monteiro, public information officer for Tulare County said. “It’s also important to know that the public water systems are not impacted by this, because we have confirmed that the depth that they are sourcing the water from the river are below the levels of concern as well as those that have been under regular testing.”

            Local public health and state water quality experts are concerned there may be health impacts of those who are using the water for daily use, according to Tulare County Health and Human Services. Residents receiving water from local water companies are not included or impacted by this health advisory.


      2. Petter

        A while ago I came to the realization that life, or my life at least, comes down to three essentials- eat-excrete-sleep and then whatever else I do.
        Eat – lost my sense of smell after Covid and it’s still not fully back – maybe a third back. I don’t even know but food tastes better or as food anyway.
        Excrete – I’ll skip the details, let’s just say problematic.
        Sleep – managed to get to sleep at 9am this morning. This is even for me, a life long night owl, something I need to work on. I did discover a new band about four in the morning though, Pavlov’s Dog, an obscure seventies stadium prog rock group. They’re still touring,. Eleven dates in Germany and Belgium this fall.
        Oh, I almost freaked reading the title of that article in Links today. Flashes of another trip to the hospital to get my pulse down, the doc informing me before injecting the medication into my vein, “you may feel that your heart has stopped for about ten seconds but it’s normal and you’ll be fine.”

    3. c_heale

      The mind is concept that comed from Descartes wholly artificial separation of mind and body. Afaik it still doesn’t have a good definition after all this time.

      Imo mind is a bullshit term.

      And I don’t have a high opinion of this research either.

  20. Tom Stone

    I’d really like to see the selfies and videos the SS and feebs took during the raid on Mar A Lago.
    There are undoubtedly quite a few, some taken to CYA and some because stupidity is infinite.
    Apparently they went through Melania’s wardrobe which will not play well with a lot of people especially if there are pics of agents holding up her spongebob undies.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Wouldn’t it be funny if Trump said that he thought that he had a coupla thousand dollars put away in a desk drawer or even Melania’s wardrobe but now can’t find it after the FBI raid. Now that would cause a squawk and when the dust settled, he could in all honesty say that he said that he thought that he had a coupla thousand hidden there, not that he did have a coupla thousand dollars hidden away. His mistake. But his fans would lap it up.

      1. flora

        I think this was a crossing the Rubicon moment for the FBI and their managers. I think this is way beyond simple partisan responses in the US – MAGA boos and Dem cheers sort of thing. That it looks exactly like political harassment of a former pres who might run again, harassment by the opposing party already on record as looking for a way to disqualify him from running again is truly alarming. It would be equally alarming if the 2 parties’ roles were reversed. Welcome to the Third World.

        1. Skip Intro

          The FBI, in its majestic equality, will raid political enemies whether they are elderly rich ex-presidents, or elderly poor ex-panthers.

              1. hunkerdown

                But who directs? I nominate the late Joel Schumacher in the style of Falling Down (1993) to walk that comedy-horror line effectively.

                1. Wukchumni

                  Include the guy with Swingline from Office Space and make it a buddy film and you gotta deal.

    2. lyman alpha blob

      If there were surveillance cameras at Mar-a-lago, which one would assume there would be, you might get your wish. Did the g-men turn those off before busting in?

  21. Alex V

    Regarding the tweet that lithium evaporation ponds kill birds within minutes, I’m a bit skeptical of this claim (made with no citations or references). His tweeting history does not make me believe he has any type of scientific background (or knowledge of lithium production) to make this unsubstantiated conclusion.

    I believe the author of the tweet is relying on seeming plausibility and the color of the ponds to mislead us into assuming they are toxic.

    Some googling of “lithium evaporation ponds” and “birds” or “toxic” brings zero results saying this is a known problem.

    Some further googling on “lithium carbonate” (compound extracted from the ponds) and “avian” however brings up this study where toxicity to broiler chickens was found after ingesting lithium in water, and after 10-12 days, not after minutes of skin contact:,%202018.pdf

    Take the image in this story as a reference for human toxicity:

    I know safety standards are frequently ignored, but I find it hard to believe a picture of a human in such minimal safety gear in an environment as allegedly neuro-toxic as this would be allowed out in a mainstream publication.

    I’m in no way saying that lithium mining has zero environmental or health impacts – this tweet however seems to be a bit fishy in its extreme assertions.

  22. tooeazymate

    The Human Mind Is Not Meant to Be Awake After Midnight, Scientists Warn ScienceAlert (Chuck L). I guess yours truly is not human. I’m much more anxious during the day than at night.

    I strongly feel this. Wonder if it’s from the all nighters during uni or gaming during high school. Something about being alone in the night and working on something is relaxing to me.

    1. hunkerdown

      Our “higher values” are the neuroses we believe people should kill for, nothing more or less. Everything else is a permission structure.

      No surprises, given such lofty BS, that this guy’s neoliberal CV matches the neoliberal drapes:

      Deals primarily with the topic of buying and shopping, i.e. trade, online and offline. He was on parental leave for two years, correspondent in Paris for the SZ and Die Zeit and SZ state correspondent in North Rhine-Westphalia. He studied in Konstanz, London and Tel Aviv and did his doctorate in Berlin on the Middle East conflict. In addition to his dissertation, he graduated from the German School of Journalism.

  23. GramSci

    @ Rev Kev op cit on sleep:

    Thanks for the rerun, Rev. I wondered then–and still do–why the article doesn’t mention “fire”. Until the advent of central heating, it was always someone’s responsibility to tend the fire.

    Similarly, until contraception, most of most people’s adulthood was spent waking in the middle of the night to tend the children.

  24. Wukchumni

    My truck is a manual transmission and it’s perfect for around here where traffic is slight and mountain roads accentuate the feel of actually driving when downshifting, you really have fun, not to mention that it’s a potent anti-theft device in that so few young adults know how to drive a car so equipped. I really ought to get a break on my car insurance for loss of vehicle on account of it being purloined.

    That said, a year ago I was stuck in SoCal traffic going nowhere fast on a freeway where you get to advance 20 feet every 30 seconds, and it was tantamount to leg aerobics torture (give me 1,352 more clutch presses-feel the burn!) and no way-no how would I consider owning a manual tranny in the Big Smoke, nosirrreee Bob!

      1. Wukchumni

        Once upon a time on the 405 in one of the lanes of the rat race, I think I went 2 miles in 3 hours.

      2. Henry Moon Pie

        I like to go about “3/5 of a Mile in 10 Seconds” (video out-take from “Woodstock” of Jefferson Airplane doing it live at the break of dawn after a long night)

        I had not seen this before today, and think it’s much better than the portion of their performance used in the movie. Maybe it was cut because of all the bleary-eyes attendees just waking up to the sound of Grace and Marty singing.

        On my eldest son’s recommendation, I did watch “Trainwreck: Woodstock 3.” He was coming of age at the time of that concert, and he was really struck by the doc. The theory of the case in “Trainwreck” is that management’s gross mistreatment of the attendees combined with music seemingly designed to create an angry crowd was what turned that concert into a terrifying riot. But I reminded my son that the original didn’t have high-priced crappy food. It had no food. The only real infrastructure was the stage; and it was a miracle no got electrocuted, especially with all that rain and mud. But Lange did relent and call ’69 “free.” And there was Wavy Gravy. And Joan Baez singing “I Dreamed I Saw Joe Hill Last Night” accompanied only by herself on guitar is not Limp Bizkit.

        The crowd at Woodsock ’99 was ripe to become a mob. It wasn’t the same “raw material” of the hallucinogen-preferring, antiwar, generally privileged crowd at Woodstock. In those 30 years, there had been Altamont, Kent State, the Fall of Saigon, Ronnie Raygun and Monica. Now that sleazy time of defining “is” seems almost quaint and innocent. Did anybody other than those poor folks at Waco and Ruby Ridge, did anyone feel their government was at best indifferent to them dying? Did we feel then like we were being herded to the slaughterhouse?

        Anger and fear are crowding out trust and love more than usual these days. Will those in control, who could change all this on a dime, finally relent in their drive to vacuum up anything of value still left? Or will they wield their awesome power to destroy as long as it exists, and force us to rebuild from scratch?

    1. Lex

      I’d be a manual demander if I didn’t drive a company truck. My wife is deeply committed to three pedals though. She currently drives a Fiesta ST but did order a new Bronco because she loves the look. She wouldn’t have done so if it wasn’t available with a manual. She’s having second thoughts now due to the vehicle size and gas mileage. Some automatics have gotten very good, but I’d still prefer to row my own. Though I’m in agreement with you; if I lived in a heavy traffic city it would be tough decision. Not that it matters, they’re pretty much gone. At the high end performance car the dual clutch automatic is faster shifting and in any other range the take rate for a manual is too low for the manufacturers to build them.

      I assume the Bronco only got one because it would have some takers and the base engine is the same as in the Mustang which already has a manual option (oddly, no manual available in the Ranger which is the same architecture as the Bronco and the same base engine).

    2. Carolinian

      All my life I’ve driven manuals but now have an automatic. I wanted to get a manual this time but they are increasingly hard to find. And yes the clutch thing is murder in long traffic jams.

      1. Anthony G Stegman

        I continue to drive a 1995 Honda Accord wagon with a 5 speed manual transmission. The shifting remains very smooth. A mechanic at my local Honda dealer offered to buy it from me. He planned to replace the engine with a Prelude engine which he says meshes very well with the transmission. I declined his offer.

      2. Angie Neer

        My wife still refers to manuals as “standard” transmission, but they haven’t been standard for a long time. I grew up driving stick in a frugal family where the automatic was viewed as a costly luxury and maintenance nightmare. However, my recent experience is that modern automatics are pretty durn reliable. I’ve only ever had serious problems with one transmission, and it was a manual.

  25. t

    Jeeze. A study about how people should go to bed early that contradicts human history up to the industrial revolution and all other recent science on the topic. All kinds of animal who are hunter tend to have a few of the herd awake at any given time, and they do get up and do stuff throughout the night.

    I can think of reasons to be on higher alert when it’s dark, and what follows is not just sleep. It’s like these scientists have never had to wait for a bus at night-time.

  26. Tom Stone

    I wonder if the Senate Parliamentarian was responsible for the raid on Mar A Lago?
    He might consider that Trump’s wilfull violation of the Public Records Act to be an existential threat to “Our Democracy”.
    It makes more sense than some of the explanations that have been floated…

    1. ambrit

      (Sarcasm alert.)
      That’s so un-woke dude! Don’cha know the Senate Parliamentarian is a non-penis equipped consumer? I read that “her” preferred pronoun is the ‘Royal We.’
      Oh, and said arbitrix of taste gets paid $172,500 a year. Good work if you can get it.
      The Parliamentarian serves at the pleasure of the Majority Leader. So, if the ‘R’s take control of the Senate this fall, expect a new Arbitrix?

    2. Young

      Is it posssible that a loose-cannon agent with authority took a page from Stork’s book, put together a dream team of like-minded agents, found a friendly judge to sign the search warrant and went ahead with this?

      Now, the higher-ups don’t know what to do with him since he has the goods on everybody.

  27. Lexx

    ‘High Tide Flood Warning Throughout WA State Predict Dangerous Sea Levels In These Cities’

    We humans get attached to stories with simple, easy-to-identify heroes and villains. We’re the heroes and the villains are ‘the Other’. A hundred years later, writers are still referring to the 1918 influenza as ‘the Spanish Flu’, even though the origin was most likely in southwestern Kansas (migratory bird flyway) and spread by soldiers during WWI.

    In ArsTechnica:

    … and about those ‘plague-carrying’ rats… the assumption we’re to accept is that our ancestors would have been louse and flea free, had it not been for those dirty rats! A vector? Yes. The only one? Hardly. We have a long history (as long as religions have existed) of trying to keep ourselves clean of moral taint. If someone(s) must bear the blame, let it be someone(s) else. Also a long history of the punishment exceeding the crime. ‘Harsh, dude!’

  28. Wukchumni

    Goooooooood Mooooooooorning Fiatnam!

    The squad was on a LRRP in Florida on a search and deploy mission deep in the southern highlands looking for dirt on Ho She Minion, and her misteress.

    We all thought it went well until the FBI showed up and an irefight broke out over who got to look through Melania’s drawers and i’m sad to say but one of our men nearly got garroted with a g-string by a g-man when combing through her unmentionables in search of soiled evidence surely leading to something or another.

  29. Goober Snacked

    “Does not write things down” describes DT’s relationship with paper. Of what does his literature consist? Contracts. The only papers not deserving of instant destruction as dictated by DT’s cognitive orientation. Contracts with foreign national business entities whose consideration includes the USG’s crown jewels in Mar-a-Lago’s custody. Instruments held indefinitely so long as he gets to be POTUS. As if.

    As if he read more he would know govt’s cannot be blackmailed for they are incapable of feeling shame or anything else. Prime gov’t directive is self-preservation. CITIZEN Trump is part of a complete NATSEC breakfast if he thought he could treat the Feds like a cement contractor.

  30. The Rev Kev

    “UK Plans for Blackouts in January in Emergency Energy Plan”

    Well that is going to suck for the UK government. Back in the 1970s they had a whole series of blackouts as well and at one point they brought in a 3-day working week to conserve electricity but back then they could blame the miners. But that was then and this is now where the miners are basically gone so it is all on the UK government now-

      1. Skip Intro

        No need to amp up the tension, it is still summer!

        Rev: If I have learned one thing in the past 5 years (unlikely), it is that you can always blame the Russians. I suspect that there were plenty in the 70’s who also blamed the Russians, albeit, via their control over the miners.

    1. c_heale

      I lived through those blackouts. But they weren’t bad. The problem for the UK government now is that the UK is almost completely dependent on imports for their energy.

      Short sighted policies driven by neoliberalism for the past 40 years have led to this situation. There is no solution imo, that won’t take years to implement. But the current government has a tax on energy that could be removed, but they so far have refused to do so. (I suspect the economy of the UK is in a far worse state than we currently know).

      There is already a Don’t Pay movement with at least 75,000 people signed up.

    1. Big River Bandido

      For awhile, at least (prior to the 2020 election), Vice was actually engaging in journalism. But both of these stories I clicked on, read about 4 paragraphs, and bailed:

      Joe Biden Supporters Embrace ‘Dark Brandon’

      This Is the Data Facebook Gave Police to Prosecute a Teenager for Abortion

      Really??? If I read any more of this crap, I’d be in danger of rolling my eyes right out of my head. The content of the abortion link was decent (and infuriating), but I lost trust and patience in the report at the first usage of “pregnant person”.

      And as for Dark Brandon??? True Democrat believers are absolutely delusional. I was a Democrat for 30 years. They frighten me now.

  31. JAC

    RE “Fish Oil Is Good! No, Bad! No, Good! No, Wait”

    Not ONE mention of how important genetics are to how good or bad Omega 3 and a animal based diet will work for people.

    They keep going back and forth because they keep testing populations with different genetics. If they tested people with the same polymorphisms in FADS1 and FADS2, which make them process PUFAs more slowly, they would see it absolutely works fantastic. (Plus the would probably need to reduce Omega 6 PUFAs because they both compete with FADS.

    I am one of these people. A fish only diet cured my familial hyperlipidemia and raised my HDL from and average of 32 up to 55. The only reason I tried this strict diet was because I saw it in my genetics.

    This is why nutritional studies always come up inconclusive. And they think there is some magic to it like they need to make a special form of omega 3 because money. Just eat fish and seafood from cold water.

  32. juno mas

    Yves, get to your fainting couch sooner! I’m certain the commentariat doesn’t expect you to be first, just the BEST at what you do: fearless, sober, prescient assessment of economics, political power, and the like. That takes time and a rested mind. Sleep is essential.

  33. jr

    The Effective Altruism article is a study in absurdity. Saving the future by donating to the Democratic party. Flying members to the Bahamas where one’s crypto-scam outfit is sequestered to avoid regulation. Spawning a network of PACs and non-profits to insure the money is well spent. And someone actually said there is too much money and not enough causes! Long term-ism? Long game is more like it. And no doubt a lot of these degenerates cross orbits with the transhumanists looking to live forever.

    The central paradox is, of course, that the economic order that allows these vast sums to accumulate into the hands of the few is what has created so much of the deprivation in the first place. They can give away billions but trillions will continue to accumulate. Not to mention making the poors ever more dependent on the largesse of these parasites. But I’m sure that’s waved off as the natural order of things, the economic “ecosystem” at work.

    1. will rodgers horse

      To think that such a force for good should still have to do his own laundry!
      Surely the universe frowns upon such frivolous use of a force for good like our EA Hero

  34. Wukchumni

    About a fortnight away from my first Burning Man in a world of Sundays and i’m geeked up for my 13 year hiatus between burns (what am I, some sort of human cicada?) and can probably offer some unique insight as to differences versus when I attended in 2003-2009, but only after the factor of being there.

    …anybody else going?

    1. fresno dan

      Thanks for that – this article I think explains more fully the implications.

      Tucked into a bill Trump signed into law in January 2018 was a provision increasing the punishment for knowingly removing classified materials with the intent to retain them at an “unauthorized location.”
      Previously, someone found guilty of this crime could face up to one year in prison. When former CIA Director David Petraeus was charged in 2015 with mishandling classified data, he pleaded guilty under this statute to avoid a felony charge, as Politico pointed out. A similar situation unfolded a decade earlier, when former national security adviser Samuel Berger pleaded guilty to removing terrorism-related materials from the National Archives in 2005.
      Now, a person convicted of violating this law can face up to five years in prison ― making it a felony-level offense to mishandle classified documents under 18 U.S.C. 1924.
      and of course, Wray (FBI director) was appointed by Trump. All those repubs giving ever more power to law enforcement and more draconian sentences to law breakers. Will they in fact start actually restrain homeland security, tough on crime, and the MIC…ouch, I hurt myself laughing? Of course, Obama went further in some aspects of “anti terrorism” than Bush. We live in hypocritical times

  35. Wukchumni

    The 2021 KNP Fire burnt out nearly 90,000 acres of mostly Sequoia NP, and try and find nourishment in a lunar landscape where everything burned down to the roots, not easy.

    Thus it is a bull market for bears in the foothills-which didn’t meet its match and is unscathed but not really stocked with the kind of edibles they’re used to, and its way too early for the acorns to be ripe for the picking (i’ve watched bears up in oak trees harvesting the bounty right from the branches-they’d rather have fresh ones than the thousands on the ground) so once they get a taste of la vida leftover burrito, only idiot bears go back to ripping apart a downed log in search of grubs, and here we are with a pair demanding to be fed, or they’ll move on hopefully.

    Our neighbors 8x hummingbird feeders along the periphery of their house have been raided twice now, and it’s curtains for the wild flappers for the time being as there is no free lunch, breakfast or dinner available 60/60/24/7/52… go get a life!

    We watched a healthy 225 brown model walking around our living room window the other day and having been away weren’t up to speed on what’s what, and a neighbor sent game cam pictures of a couple of bears who have taken up residence around these parts recently.

        1. flora

          adding: glad to see your comments. Been wondering about your silence over the past couple of days during the great fire. Hoping silence didn’t mean, well, you know. Hey-ho, and all that.

          1. Wukchumni

            I was out on a couple of boffo backpack trips, a 6 day job going to Iva Bell hot springs-our favorite backcountry hot springs in Cali, muy caliente!

            The other backpack was 5 days in Yosemite NP during the monsoon where clouds would build into mushroom shaped towering beauties-a Nagasaki around every corner-magnificent. We walked the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne with oodles of waterfalls on the river. None of us had wandered on this trail before and all thought it was one of the most picturesque we’ve been on. Waterfalls of a different sort than the ones in Yosemite Valley.

            There’s no connectivity in the wilderness which is a good time to go cold turkey on the tethers that bind, it feels good to not know anything other than what is in front of your nose.

            Smoke from the fires wasn’t an issue on either trip and mosquitoes were hardly seen-not unusual in drought years though as they have not much in the way of standing water to multiply and terrorize us.

  36. jr

    Glen Greenwald is interviewed by Reason about Tucker, journalism, politics, the state of the world writ large:

    Interesting talk, Greenwald is spot on about identity politics, if you can get around the libertarian confusions of the interviewer.That individual opines that the problem isn’t capitalism, it’s crony capitalism, but fails to grasp that all capitalism is crony capitalism.

    1. Mildred Montana

      >”…all capitalism is crony capitalism.”

      Personally, I don’t throw out capitalism with today’s so-called capitalists. I happen to believe that 𝘳𝘦𝘨𝘶𝘭𝘢𝘵𝘦𝘥 capitalism can work well with strictly enforced anti-trust and consumer protection laws. No quarter for violators, no bailouts for failures. My analogy would be our system of roads, streets, and highways. Imagine 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 with no regulation whatsoever. A disaster. Sort of like modern-day capitalism.

      I believe in a 𝘮𝘪𝘹𝘦𝘥 economy, with government controlling those resources, goods, and services prone to capitalist monopoly (banking, transportation, mining, etc.) and the private sector producing those goods where consumer choice is important (clothes, cars, food, deodorant, toothpaste, the list goes on and on).

      I read somewhere years ago that one of the reasons the Soviet Union disintegrated was the inability of its command economy to satisfy the multifarious tastes of consumers. It was good on steel and armaments, bad on cars, deodorant, and toothpaste.

      But, of course, all this is an impossible ideal now, what with Wall Street and other stock markets dominating everything, including governments. As has been said often, we no longer have pure capitalism. We have, instead, free enterprise for the poor and socialism for the rich.

      1. jr

        The thing is, how do you stop capital from eventually overwhelming the regulations? Perhaps if we had a society where money played no role in politics but is that even possible? Wouldn’t money, a.k.a congealed power, find a way to get it’s claws into politics?

        It comes back to why people seek wealth and power. For me, the big driver is human mortality, the fear of death drives humans to seek power and seek more of it when you get some. It’s why I say we need a spiritual revolution in human society, a different relationship with life and death.

        But yes, this is all idle chatter in today’s world.

  37. Jason Boxman

    Iraq broils in dangerous 120-degree heat as power grid shuts down

    In the city of Basra, where residents braced themselves Sunday for another night without power, pollution and toxic waste contaminated the entire city’s water supply in 2018, causing more than 100,000 people to be hospitalized with abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea.

    Large protests followed, but authorities crushed them with deadly force.

    I wonder how much of this is a legacy of US occupation and destruction in Iraq? I don’t even remember reading about this. And Iraq rarely graces the pages of our vaunted journalistic institutions these days. Read much about Libya or Syria lately? Me either. What of Yemen and the illegal war there? It seems Ukraine has definitely taken all the oxygen and grain out of the world.

  38. JohnnySacks

    “Where is Rosa parks when you need her?”

    Not sure if Rosa Parks expected the possibility she’d get dragged off the bus at gunpoint and beaten down on the sidewalk.

  39. ewmayer

    Belated comment on the following 7 Aug Links article:

    Nothing left in the pipes’: Europe tackles unprecedented water shortages as heatwave rages | Euronews (furzy):

    Southern France, Spain and Portugal sound very bad. Most interesting bit for me, though, was that in Germany they now have “cascading faults” – gas-fired clean power plants idled due to Russian sanctions, so they’re trying to make up the difference by ramped-up coal-fired power generation, now they’re having trouble shipping the coal due to low river levels. An epic political-economic own goal compounded by the new normal of GW-amplified droughts.

  40. flora

    re: As billionaires race to fund anti-aging projects, a much-discussed trial goes overlooked

    There’s something entirely human and desperately sad in this headline, imo. Eternal life, as we imagine it, is not to be found in the latest tech, imo. Tech as a new religion is entirely a fraud, imo, (but good for monetary
    investments. heh).

    1. Anthony G Stegman

      If you had many billions of dollars, far more than you can spend in one normal lifetime, you too would be looking to extend that normal lifetime to hundreds of years, perhaps thousands in the case of the mega-billionaires. Nobody should be surprised. One can only hope that all of their attempts to prolong life fail.

  41. will rodgers horse

    Why do i get the sneaking suspicion that it is not Trump but Desantis that the powers that be are worried about?

  42. drumlin woodchuckles

    About “Shrinking U.S. cattle herd signals more pain from high beef prices” . . . I hope some agri-journalist somewhere is studying how these prices and shortages and weather conditions are affecting the cost of raising on-pasture and feed-self-grown beef by people like Gabe Brown and Gary Zimmer and so forth.

    Are their costs going up less than mainstream-methods costs? Are their farm operations more heat and drought tolerant so far than the mainstream ones?

    Is Gabe Brown actually able to not raise his beef price at all and just let the mainstream price for mainstream beef float up closer and closer to his shinola beef?

  43. shleep

    Re: Antidote. At first glance, it appeared almost posed. Then I realized the cat is beside a birdhouse. (I’ll leave that to the resident wits.)

    Nowhere near as camouflaged as yesterday’s owl, but kudos to the cat.

  44. The Rev Kev

    Just came across the following tweet which is kinda hard to argue against-

    ‘Revolutionary Blackout Network🥋
    Why didnt Nina Turner, Jamaal Bowman, Cori Bush, and Ilhan Omar call out the FBI raiding Black Socialists?

    They stand with the Ukrainian people more than they do their own community’

    More non-barking dogs.

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