Links 8/11/2022

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

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


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

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

* * *

‘World’s biggest cat’ stands as tall as two-year-old child – but is a ‘gentle giant’ Daily Star (Re Silc).

Fed’s Mary Daly says it is too early to ‘declare victory’ on inflation fight FT

Curb Your Enthusiasm on the Good Inflation News John Authers, Bloomberg


Flooding in the Sacrifice Zone Tarrance Ray, The Baffler. A must-read.

Rhine River Withers to Crisis Level as Europe Craves Energy Bloomberg

Tesla’s German Gigafactory Demonstrates the Difficulty of Delivering Green Industrial Jobs The New Republic

Botanists find one of ‘the world’s worst weeds’ spreading in the Boise foothills High Country News

Billions in Feds’ Spending on Megafire Risks Seen as Misdirected Bloomberg

The search for an AC that doesn’t destroy the planet Vox


Impact of Lifting School Masking Requirements on Incidence of COVID-19 among Staff and Students in Greater-Boston Area School Districts: A Difference-in-Differences Analysis medRxiv. A natural experiment. “Before the statewide school masking policy was lifted, there was no statistically significant difference in case rate trajectories between school districts. However, weekly and cumulative case rates were significantly higher in students and staff in school districts that removed masking requirements, compared to districts that had not yet lifted requirements. We estimate that lifting of school masking requirements was associated with an additional 44.9 (95% CI: 32.6, 57.1) COVID-19 cases per 1,000 students and staff over the 15 weeks since the lifting of the statewide school masking requirement, representing nearly 30% of all cases observed in schools during that time.”


9 Monkeypox Myths to Stop Believing, Including a Major One About Symptoms Good Housekeeping


China Ends Taiwan Drills WSJ

Beijing removes pledge not to send troops to Taiwan in new policy Axios

China’s Military Was Built To Defeat America In A Taiwan War 1945

What-If DC War Game Maps Huge Toll of a Future US-China War Over Taiwan Bloomberg

China hits Big Fund chip executives with corruption probes FT

Taiwan security officials want Foxconn to drop stake in Chinese chipmaker FT


The Myanmar Military’s Roadmap to Survival The Diplomat

Myanmar’s poisoned mountains Global Witness. Rare earths.

The Koreas

Korean Department Store is the Worlds’ Biggest Luxury Goods Seller The Blue Roof


The Indian labor market, a thread:


EU to cease Greek budget surveillance, marking end of debt crisis Deutsche Welle

New Not-So-Cold War

Ukraine says 9 Russian warplanes destroyed in Crimea blasts AP. Includes satellite photos.

Crimea airfield blast was work of Ukrainian special forces, official says WaPo. Single-sourced in the lead to a “Ukrainian government official.” The headline implies to me the blast was not the work of Ukrainian special forces; Ukrainian officials, after all, have form. That could mean a strike from the air*, or special forces, just not Ukrainian. Or, as the Russians have said, an accident. Anyhow, that’s Pravda on the Potomac. From Izvestia on the Hudson–

Explosions Rip Through Russian Base on Crimea NYT. Single-sourced: “The senior Ukrainian official said the attack involved partisan resistance forces loyal to the government in Kyiv.” Could even be the same “official” who fed WaPo the same story. But maybe not! “Special forces” and “partisans” aren’t really the same thing.

NOTE * Although apparently the locals didn’t spot anything.

* * *

IAEA Says Shelling At Zaporizhzhia NPP Caused No ‘immediate Threat To Nuclear Safety’ Republic World

CBS Wanted To Do Critical Reporting On Ukraine’s Government But Ukraine’s Government Said No Caitlin Johnstone

Blast Effects London Review of Books

What ever happened to the ‘rules-based international order?’ Responsible Statecraft

Biden Administration

Why does the IRS need $80 billion? Just look at its cafeteria. WaPo

They Did It Stephanie Kelton, The Lens. Modified rapture.

Congress Just Passed a Big Climate Bill. No, Not That One The Atlantic (DL). The CHIPS Act.

Biden signs PACT Act, expanding health care for veterans exposed to toxins PBS

EPA Whistleblowers Provide New Evidence of Ongoing Failure to Assess Dangerous Chemicals The Intercept

Biden says Trump should no longer receive classified intelligence briefings CNN


The FBI’s Mar-a-Lago ‘Raid’: It’s about the Capitol Riot, Not the Mishandling of Classified Information Andrew McCarthy, National Review. “As long as agents are conducting a legitimate search, they are authorized to seize any obviously incriminating evidence they come across.” I won’t use the word “fishing expedition,” but feel free to think it.

Exclusive: An Informer Told the FBI What Docs Trump Was Hiding, and Where Newsweek. Source in lead: “two senior government officials.” Tossing the apple of discord into the Trump camp?

Trump lawyer who was at Mar-a-Lago for FBI search describes the scene CBS

Did Donald Trump Bait the FBI? Larry Johnson, A Son of the American Revolution

U.S. joins other democracies in investigating former leaders WaPo. Remember when Pelosi impeached Bush after the Democrats took both houses in 2006? Good times.

Enlightened Trump Takes Vow Of Silence Babylon Bee

The Bezzle

California DMV accuses Tesla of falsely advertising Autopilot and Full Self-Driving features LA Times (dk). From April, still germane.

Sloppy Use of Machine Learning Is Causing a ‘Reproducibility Crisis’ in Science Wired


Walgreens played ‘substantial’ role in San Francisco opioid crisis, judge finds Guardian

Class Warfare

We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Harvard: Why the Crew, and not the Captain, Will Save America Black Agenda Report

Workers Strike at Medicare, ACA Call Centers MegPage Today

Mystery ingredients in ancient recipes for bronze objects deciphered by researchers CNN

Earth’s Aunties Noema

Antidote du jour (via):

“Bibi and her—as yet unnamed—baby hippo are respectively the mother and brother of world famous hippo, Fiona.”

Bonus antidote:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Carla

    Good Housekeeping: “Myth: Monkeypox is an airborne virus.”

    The Charlotte Observer: “According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, monkeypox can spread through “respiratory secretions” when an infected person coughs, sneezes, talks, or laughs. Airborne transmission occurs when small virus particles are suspended in the air and stay there for periods of time, the CDC said in a statement. These particles can spread through the air and can infect people who enter a room after the infected person has exited.”

    1. Lex

      Amazing how the last two years have completely upended basic medical science on disease transmission. Now disease are transmitted based on how we would prefer them to work rather than common scientific knowledge. Or, we’ve dumbed down the population enough that propaganda word play works well. Who has the time to explain to readers the difference between airborne and aerosol?

      1. CGKen

        My employer, a university, sent out its first monkeypox email yesterday. On our campus, it turns out it doesn’t spread through the air so we don’t have to make any special plans for it. Lucky us!

    2. RA

      Relax. I’m in the SF Bay Area.

      Watched the local news on ABC7. They had a story about students going back to college. A short part of it was about Monkeypox.

      UCSF guidance strikes again.

      This time not Monica Gandhi, who we love for wise Covid news, but rather George Rutherford MD, epidemiologist at UCSF. He tells us about monkeypox.

      I couldn’t find a video link to the story, so I transcribed this short section myself.

      ABC7 TV, SF Bay Area
      Story about college and Monkeypox
      Aug 9, 2022

      [stating accepted fact]
      But monkeypox is not like covid which generally spreads through the air therefore a mask would not be beneficial.

      Dr Rutherford:
      [speaking from his home office]
      And this is about prolonged skin to skin contacted. By prolonged I mean like an hour. You know this is not something that you get by brushing by somebody. You know, that has to be, you know, the vesicles have to be ruptured. The virus has to be abraded into the skin… of the other person. This is not subtle stuff.

      1. Tom Stone

        I hereby nominate Dr Rutherford for the Joseph Mengele Award for public service.

        No Nation has ever had a problem finding MD’s willing to supervise the most heinous forms of torture in order to ensure that the victims do not expire too quickly.
        If Dr Rutherford wants a Government Job I’m sure they can find a place for him at that tropical paradise Guantanamo Bay.

        1. hk

          Mind you that US military installations in Cuba WERE major institutions involved in medical research at the turn of 20th century. (This is how Dr Walter Reed became famous, among others…)

      2. anon in so cal

        Too bad, as Rutherford was one of two UCSF physicians who early in the pandemic publicly called out Fauci’s bad mask messaging aka “noble lie.”

      3. Anthony G Stegman

        What is it about UCSF and their medical staff? They are all so eager to be interviewed, and they are often so misinformed and providing terrible guidance. What a terrible institution!!! Shameful to say the least.

    3. ambrit

      I call attention to the venue of this “article.” Good Housekeeping is still, as far as I can ascertain, considered a reliable source of information, especially for middle class and aspirational women and mothers. So, my idea is that this venue was chosen so as to influence exactly the population that will be dealing with school age children. Short version; this is yet another promotion of a “let ‘er rip” strategy.
      Next up, polio. After that, what? Scarlet Fever? Yellow Jack? The population culling “tools” are well nigh endless.
      Whether intentional or not, The Jackpot is well and truly being implemented today.

      1. Michael Ismoe

        Hey, if it wasn’t for polio, we wouldn’t have had FDR. Maybe polio will finish the job Bernie started and it doesn’t cost $27 every two weeks.

      2. Anthony G Stegman

        Sometimes it is true that one must destroy the village in order to save it. FDR came along just in time to save the village for the capitalists. It should have been destroyed by the Great Depression, and then rebuilt much better, one brick at a time.

  2. griffen

    The only thing funnier lately than the Babylon Bee are the real headlines. But that is a worthy and funny take, I will say.

    I thought of another one, analogous to a New Testament anecdote. Donald has seen the light on the road to Damascus, and will be known as Apostle Ronald in the go forward. Vote for Ronald Trump in 2024. A kinder, more somber and updated version, because well this is satire after all. \sarc

    1. JTMcPhee

      Further parallel: Saul the Scourge became Paul the Hypersalesman, creating a personality cult that obscured the apparent teachings of humble yet angry carpenter from Nazareth. And since embroidered upon by hucksters for fun and games.

      1. ambrit

        Will we be reading in future history books, (assuming that there will be a Terran human history,) about the Council of Davos where the Books of the Law were codified and regularized?

        1. griffen

          I think there will be a convention, more like a convening of kindred spirits among the elves, dwarves and men and so forth. A fellowship will be decided upon.

          Forthwith, the fellowship of the ring will march in perpetuity to destroy Sauron and to defeat Mordor. Pot smoking hobbits who eat 10 times per day are there for comic effects.

  3. Lex

    Satellite photos of Saki show a number of craters that correspond to sheds on the airfield, although one corresponds to a plane. I would assume the sheds held munitions and the one plane crater was of an armed plane. Ignition in one could certainly lead to ignitions in the other sheds. Russian MoD did lie about damages (no surprise, departments of defense lie) but the question of sabotage vs accident may never be known. I still lean towards accident just because it’s the more simple explanation. And because there was not a large increase in missile attacks, which seems to be the Russian response when Ukraine gets a good punch in.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I was watching a video which, using satellite imagery, indicated over a dozen air-frames destroyed. And there may be three major impact points but I am not sure what from. I have also heard reports too that the British were involved in the planning for this strike. Will it change the course of the war? No. The Donbass front is still collapsing and if anything, this will make the Russians more determined to push through to the end. But it will be interesting to see how this attack was done and how it was carried out- ( 2:50 mins)

      1. ambrit

        If the British were involved in this “strike,” if it is one, then I certainly wouldn’t want to be anywhere near the Rock of Gibraltar in the near to medium term future.

      2. Old Sovietologist

        Will it change the course of the war? Of course not. Since Feb 24th there was only going to be one victor.

        Such attacks do serve a purpose from a PR perspective and ensure that NATO will continue to supply Ukraine with the means to destroy itself.

        By big fear is that once the Donbass front does colipase then the Ukrainians with help of outside forces will use a ‘dirty bomb” and blame Russia.

    2. Anthony G Stegman

      Russia will likely do nothing but flap their jaws much like the Chinese. If Russia were to attack “decision centers” they fear direct NATO involvement which they wish to avoid at all costs. Ukraine is not going to stop hitting Russian forces until Russia forces them to stop. That will require Russia to take risks they fear taking. And so the beat goes on. More attacks on Crimea, more cross border raids by Ukrainian forces, and little in the way of responses by Russia. Over time these attacks will seriously degrade Russia’s military capabilities. Exactly what the US intends to happen. Biden can smell victory just in time for the mid-terms.

      1. Socal Rhino

        If you possess the ability to read minds, surely there are profitable uses of your time than posting comments here.

      2. Lex

        Everyone has assumed that “decision making centers” refers to at least the Ukrainian capitol if not NATO military bases. But Russia never said that. Recall that in the earliest days of the conflict, the Russians were actively attempting to get the Ukrainian military to turn on its political leadership and western sponsors. What if, and I’m not better at reading minds than you, the “decision making centers” Russia was referring to are Ukrainian officers and their posts? True, Russia has not sent many missiles at the highest echelon buildings of the Ukr military in Kiev that we know of, but the missile strike in Vinnetsiya was a gathering of high ranking officers as was the recent kinzhal strike at the bunker command post.

        Of course Russia is hesitating to strike NATO decision making centers. Russia has been the one trying to keep this from escalating out of control because it’s behaving in a relatively rational and adult way. It’s the west that keeps escalating but is afraid to take the risks of entering the conflict directly and getting whooped for it. But no, this level of attack will not seriously degrade Russia’s military capability. It is not applying enough of that capability currently for this level of attack to change things one bit.

      3. jsn

        This was exactly the logic that got me surprised when the Russians actually attacked in February.

      4. Roland

        RF gov is in too deep on this war. From the perspective of those in the RF high command, the future of not only those currently in power, but of the federation itself, is at stake in this conflict. For them, this is not a mere regional war. The RF commitment level is high. If it ever looks like they’re gonna lose, they’ll escalate instead.

        Don’t you understand, Stegman, that given the high level of RF political commitment, the inadequacy of RF’s conventional forces makes the world situation more dangerous, rather than less? If they start losing conventionally, they won’t stop fighting, they’ll just keep fighting with their unconventional forces instead, come what may.

        Of course, the UKR commitment level is also high (else the fighting would not have already raged for six months). But the problem for UKR gov is that if they really find themselves losing, they don’t have the same escalation options as their enemy.

        In other words, UKR might fight just well enough, for just long enough, and receive just enough help, to get themselves well and truly pulverized, like a 21st century version of Paraguay. What price honour?

        Warfare in the nuclear era presents some paradoxes. In a strictly conventional war, the weakness of an enemy is usually a better thing, and a safer thing, than their strength. The downward trend is some sort of continuous curve. But an enemy who, while conventionally weak, has powerful nuclear striking forces, might present a familiar downward curve, but then a sudden, vertical, scale-breaking, spike.

        We have no worthwhile models for this sort of discontinuity, only abstract speculation. Perhaps, Stegman, the spirit of pure empirical science is strong within you, and you are keen to gather much real experience of the phenomenon. But if you were on the ethics committee, reviewing such a gallant research proposal, would you approve it? What price knowledge?

        As I keep trying to tell people, there is but one Great World Interest in this Ukraine War, and that is to bring an end to the fighting at once, irrespective of any other consideration. Every other attitude is either pride, or folly, or negligence.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Well . . . a Paraguayed Ukraine really would be NATO-unready for a long time. So if Paraguayification of Ukraine is what the RFgov feels it has to do to assure that Ukraine is NATO unready for many years to come, that is what the RFgov will do.

          1. Ignacio

            Let me indulge with a Spanish style tongue-twister.
            Ukraine has been paraguayed, the deparaguayator that deparaguayates her, good deparaguayator will be!

        2. VietnamVet

          This is the conundrum the West ignores. It is better to settle the war now before the risks spike to infinity with the start of a global nuclear war. So much wealth has been skimmed off to the top 1%, the only actual defense the West has to stop a Russian invasion is NATO’s tactical nuclear weapons. At some point, either side, if facing a defeat, will use them.

          LBJ sent US troops into Vietnam to protect the airbases after the Viet Cong on July 1, 1965 staged a mortar attack against Da Nang air base and destroy three aircraft. A replay of earlier aircraft losses in the Central Highlands. The Kremlin’s best and brightest are now in a similar situation with the attack on the airbase in Crimea. The Ukraine Russia War keeps escalating yet a victory by either side is impossible.

          1. Yves Smith

            Russia is winning. Just because they are not winning on the Western press timetable does not mean they are not winning. And mind you, they are winning with a peace time, expeditionary army and aren’t even eating into their weapons stores. They are manufacturing weapons and artillery at a rate that is pretty much equal to consumption. The fact that Russia is regularly rotating troops at its convenience shows how much they dominate the battlefield.

            Russia says it was an accident. It’s too far for it to have been a missile strike by any missiles Ukraine possesses plus no one local saw any missiles. Ukraine is not taking credit.

            A military expert opined that the most plausible explanation is that planes were being loaded with ammo. One set of bombs went off and triggered explosions in nearby bombs. It’s still a bad look.

  4. The Rev Kev

    “China Ends Taiwan Drills”

    Russian Foreign Minster Lavrov accused of Pelosi of creating a crisis out of thin air but now I am beginning to wonder. Maybe it was all intentional and part of a plan. Washington regards China as the main threat with Russia as a secondary one. Well they tried to take Russia out which has led to enormous blowback and a looming defeat in the Ukraine. So perhaps Nancy’s stunt was a way of getting the US fixed on the main target again and to relegate the Ukraine as a lost cause. The US gave China the word that they are next and Taiwan will be the excuse which was clearly understood in Beijing, hence all those fleet maneuvers and drills. So going forward, expect to see the US constantly pushing China and especially through Taiwan. And here is does not matter what party has power as the real ruling power in the US wants that confrontation with China. Why would they want that? Because the unipolar world has irretrievable broken down now but this elite is desperately trying to put it all back together again. There is too much money at stake to do otherwise.

    1. Carolinian

      But how much money stands to be lost by starting a war with China? Here’s suggesting there is no plan–especially since this “pivot to China” seems to have started with Hillary and her acolytes. A commenter here called Trump a pathological narcissist and that may well be true but the problem is that they are all pathological narcissists. Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan may have been about nothing more than “look at me.”

      Yves has called DC Versailles and I’d say the analogy is exact. Just as then we are ruled over by members of a lucky sperm club whose ability or lack thereof has only had to face the test of getting into an Ivy League institution. To be sure there are others like Lindsey Graham who come from a lower class background but it doesn’t take them long to figure out how to blend in. It’s the elite mentality that matters, and unlike the aristocrats of yore they don’t even have to fight the wars they like to start. Call it Versailles plus.

    2. Yves Smith

      You are assuming way too much design. Nancy went to Taiwan as a matter of right. Remember all those Congresscritters who said who was China to tell her what not to do? Any consequences are of secondary importance.

    3. K.k

      Pelosi visit seems to me to be continuity of policy and posture from day 1 of Biden’s administration. If you all recall US openly poking the Chinese in the eye began with Biden’s inauguration. Biden’s administration invited Taiwans “de facto us ambassador” to his inauguration. This is something which had not happened in over 40 years. China took this as a serious provocation and carried out small military exercises around Taiwan.

      Speculation in January 2021 was that the US would carry on Trumps policies but would do it privately as not to piss of the Chinese needlessly. Except the very next month top diplomats from Taiwan met with officials from State department and decided to publicize it very openly. Another poke at China.

      Couple other links worth a look over again…

  5. Robert Gray

    Re: Ukraine says 9 Russian warplanes destroyed …

    From the article:

    > … foreign ministers of the Group of Seven industrialized democracies [sic] demanded that
    > Russia immediately hand back full control of the [Zaporizhzhia nuclear] plant to Ukraine.

    Oh, my! They demanded ! That’ll shake up those weakling Russkies! Anticipated follow-up headline:

    Putin, Lavrov et al. roll on floor laughing

    1. The Rev Kev

      ‘the Group of Seven industrialized democracies’

      The way that things are going, some of them may have de-industrialized themselves within a year’s time.

      1. jsn

        I keep thinking someone’s plan must be to take all the factories from Germany and move them to the great plains to re-industrialize the US quickly.

        On the current path, it looks like the German leadership is onboard for that.

        1. Old Sovietologist

          An unusually dry winter and spring means water reserves in reservoirs in the south of the Norway are at a record low. The Norwegian government has decided to restrict electricity exports until they are full.

          “This could be a problem for countries such as Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, which have imported a significant amount of electricity from Norway via cables for many years,” the Financial Times emphasizes. The energy crisis in the Scandinavian country shows how severe the approaching winter could be in Europe.


  6. fresno dan

    My reserve status, after my success in undermining Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, as a Russian agent has been changed from sleeper (literally) back to active (i.e., one less nap per day). I suspect that this change in status fortells that Trump will run for president. Thanks to my pink bunny slippers with the rabbit eared antenna, and communications I have received at my (actually, it belongs to my mom) basement lair, I have gotten top secret communications from RUSSIA, and through covert double agents in the FBI, I am going to reveal what was found at the FBI raid/search at Mar-a-Lago:
    agents found a couple of matryoshka dolls, a portrait of Vladimir Putin, a Young Pioneer scarf, two icons, a parachute and a chained bear with a balalaika.

    Many elderly Floridians missed naps and prune cocktails to bring you this information…
    Now it is time to get out of the garage the Yugo, aka you go girl automobile that served my nefarious scheme to undermine the Hillary Clinton campaign, and WILL again…

    1. ambrit

      Question Comrade Fresno Dan. Does your wife’s Bunny Slippers speak to her in her natal tongue, I assume it is Spanish? Mine keeps trying to communicate to me in Erse. [What that says about my family’s involvement with the Fourth International does not bear close scrutiny.]
      I too sense a disturbance on the Force.
      My sources add that the Agents also found a map of the path to the Room Where the Dry Powder is stored underneath the Capitol Building. If so, this is huge.
      [Any truth to the rumour that it was Epstein who tipped the Agency off from his “Vacation Home” in the Negev kibbutz?]

  7. Tom Stone

    If the FBI raid was a fishing expedition someone should have reminded them that fishing with a hand grenade is not legal.
    It was an insanely reckless thing to do and barring Trump’s lawyers from observing the search was incredibly stupid.
    It casts serious doubt on the validity of anything they claim to have found.
    Years ago I picked up a book about the FBI lab scandal, not only was cross contamination routine, FBI agents testified in court about the results of tests that they had no ability to perform.
    “Trust me,I’m an FBI agent” passed its “sell by” date in 2016.
    And the WH coming out with “I know nothing” is just mind boggling.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Who’s going to get it through Trump’s thick, orange head that he’s not like every other president / ex-president in recent history if not the fbi? They’ve been trying to school him for the last 7 years and he just won’t listen.

      The FBI raid was also purportedly justified because Trump possessed classified documents. Classification is one of DC’s biggest con games. A federal commission headed by Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan lamented in 1997, “Secrets in the federal government are whatever anyone with a stamp decides to stamp secret.” Yet any information that is classified is treated as a political holy relic that cannot be exposed without cursing the nation.

      Obama White House lawyers repeatedly invoked the Presidential Records Act to “delay the release of thousands of pages of records from President Bill Clinton’s White House,” Politico reported. At the end of his presidency, Barack Obama trucked 30 million pages of his administration’s records to Chicago, promising to digitize them and eventually put them online — a move that outraged historians.

      More than five years after Obama’s presidency ended, the National Archives webpage reveals that zero pages have been digitized and disclosed. People can file requests via the Freedom of Information Act (a law Obama helped wreck) to access Obama records, but responses from presidential libraries can be delayed for years, even more than a decade, if the information is classified.

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          So you’re saying that the NYPost is wrong and the records were not taken to Chicago?

          Your link is from 11/1/16. (And cnn, just sayin’.) Election Day was 11/8/16 and, if I recall, obama and his merry men and women were pretty sure how that was gonna go. Maybe there was an abrupt change in plans when it went the other way.

          Anywayzzzz, obama would be president for a few more months, and, “rumor” has it, there was some pretty creative CYA going on after the orange revolution that could have included a hasty reroute.

        2. hunkerdown

          Obama loved Reagan, so why wouldn’t he follow suit.

          You know, maybe partisanship is a toxic distraction from class and ideology, which forces actually motivate and coordinate consolidated action, and this tiresome little religious ceremony, like every other institution, is actually a project to preserve the conditions it pretends to fight.

          1. marym

            Sorry if I wasn’t clear. My point wasn’t partisan. It was meant to convey that documents from presidencies since 1978 and until Trump were “trucked” to the National Archives and Records Administration, not to their residence/resort.

      1. flora

        The Dems are looking more desperate every week. Astonishing. They’re starting to look like the ‘revenge’ party. Not a good look. My 2 cents.

        1. anon in so cal

          Do their tactics work, though? In this article posted yesterday on AE, Paul Sperry (whose Twitter account was suspended many months ago) states,

          “The Select Committee to Investigate Jan. 6 has adjourned for a well-deserved summer break. Misleading the public is exhausting work. A careful review of the official transcripts of its eight long hearings shows the committee repeatedly made connections that weren’t there, took events and quotes out of context, exaggerated the violence of the Capitol rioters, and omitted key exculpatory evidence otherwise absolving former President Donald Trump of guilt. While in some cases, it lied by omission, in others, it lied outright. It also made a number of unsubstantiated charges based on the secondhand accounts—hearsay testimony—of a young witness with serious credibility problems.

          These weren’t off-the-cuff remarks. Panelists didn’t misspeak. Their statements were tightly scripted and loaded into teleprompters, which they read verbatim. In other words, the committee deliberately chummed out disinformation to millions of viewers of not just cable TV, but also the Big Three TV networks—ABC, CBS, and NBC—which agreed to preempt regular daytime and even primetime programming to air the Democratic-run hearings. And because Democrats refused to allow dissenting voices on the panel or any cross-examination of witnesses, viewers had no reference points to understand how they, along with the two Trump-hating Republicans they allowed on the committee, shaded the truth.

          This charade of an honest investigation appears to have had the desired effect. Polls show the Jan. 6 hearings hurt Trump, who plans to run again, with independents. Unaffiliated voters have grown more likely to blame Trump for the Capitol riot and to show support for Democrats in the midterms, according to a new Morning Consult/Politico survey.”

          1. ThePodBayDoorsAreClosed

            No matter how many times Benny Thompson says on live TV that Trump supporters killed four policemen or Liz Cheney insists dozens of firearms were seized from the crowd…neither of those things will ever become true. Q1: Who killed Ashli Babbit? Q2: Why are the 14,000 hours of video evidence being withheld? Q3: How many FBI agents were in the crowd and what were they doing there? Q4: Why did Trump’s request for 20,000 National Guard troops get denied? Q5: When do the BLM hearings commence (37 dead, $2B damages including 150 Federal buildings)?
            Banana republic

            1. ThePodBayDoorsAreClosed

              Stalin’s show trials had the questioning of evidence and the cross examination of witnesses, which this circus does not. So really it’s not a kangaroo court show trial, it’s a struggle session.

    2. LawnDart

      Selective enforcement and overlooking the transgressions of its informants is a bit problematic too. Like most any Internal Affairs division, they’re a political police that gun for potential embarrassments or enemies of the powers-that-be, while letting real criminals operate with impunity.

      Don’t let the nice suits and great PR fool you– theirs is a dirty world.

    3. Gregorio

      I’m not aware of any FBI policy that would allow non-law enforcement entities to observe them as they execute search warrants. The first thing that they typically do is remove everyone from the site who isn’t part of the raid.

    4. Anthony G Stegman

      The FBI raid was not intended to find anything incriminating. It was political theater and intended to further weaken Trump by making it appear that he must be guilty of something if the FBI came in full force to raid his estate. Though we are all presumed to be innocent until proven guilty, in reality once charges (or the appearance of charges) are leveled many among us presume the accused person is guilty. I am doubtful that any formal charges will be drawn up due to anything seized by the FBI at Mar-a-Lago.

  8. Tom Stone

    I do wonder if whoever was in charge of the FBI raid on Mar A Lago was arrogant and stupid enough to think that barring Trump’s lawyers from observing the search was a good idea, or if that decision was made to potentially discredit whatever the Feebs claim to have found?
    If the raid was (More or less) on the up and up I’d think they would want as many disinterested observers as possible.
    Apparently the security cameras were still running and undoubtedly quite a few of the agents involved took selfies and videos of the proceedings in order to cover their asses.
    As those begin to leak things will get even more interesting…
    The Biden Admin has proven to be not only insanely reckless but stupid as well, are they trying to provoke a response that would justify Martial Law?
    If that seems far fetched remember what the “Adults in the Room” have been doing in Ukraine and Taiwan.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        That’s not how it happens on Law and Order which, by now, has more credibility than the doj or fbi.

        1. flora

          Your comment made me think of all the 3-letter agencies I don’t believe anymore: doj, fbi, cia, cdc, fda, nih… the lists keeps growing.

          The worst part is, I think loss of public trust in govt institutions is exactly what the neoliberal money parties want so they can … um.. “reform” govt even more to their liking.

          1. Billy

            Add IRS to that list–pay cash for everything in small businesses whenever possible. Let other people provide the funds to throw at Ukraine.

      2. nippersdad

        That criminal defense lawyer may not understand that this is a special case; these people believe that Democrats eat babies in pizza parlor basements. If this involves anything less than trading nuclear secrets with the Chinese for a tax break for Hong Kong hotels, they are going to have a problem on their hands.

        This is not a typical case. It plays into a long standing issue of butthurt that has been carefully cultivated now since Gingrich convinced his District that Max Cleland lost the Viet Nam war through his sheer cowardice. Facts don’t matter to these people, and if you want to go after the King you best make sure that he ends up dead to rights.

  9. The Rev Kev

    “The search for an AC that doesn’t destroy the planet”

    We could always go back to punkahs. Don’t get much more environmentally friendly than that. And for a punkah wallah, I am sure that Silicon Valley would be able to come up with an app to summon a student trying to pay off their student loans for that-

    1. hunkerdown

      That would imply that keeping the world around bureaucrats, gentry, and other useless symbol manipulators cool is a legitimate use of human labor power or technology. I would rather not encourage that conceit.

      Unforced air convection is not an efficient mode of heat transfer, especially where wet bulb temperatures reduce evaporation effectiveness. Peltier coolers have a low coefficient of performance, but a personal cooler needs to move an order of magnitude less heat than a small window unit. By way of example, not endorsement (although I think Teamsters/UPS should pay some thought to a less bourgeois, i.e. futile solution than trying to cool an open van):

    2. Polar Socialist

      Or, we could build houses oriented in a way that some part is always bearable and live in that part when season so dictates.
      Or, we could build in passive cooling and be cooler for cheap.
      Or, we could manage the micro climate inside the house with a stepped well.
      Or, we could just shade the windows. Or the whole building, for that matter.
      Or, returning to the theme of punkahs, use a handheld fans, like humans have been doing for thousands of years. My wife never leaves the house without one in the summer.

    3. Grumpy Engineer

      The search for an AC that doesn’t destroy the planet

      I’m personally waiting for the article that discusses “the search for a furnace that doesn’t destroy the planet”. It’s not just people in hotter climates who have big carbon footprints.

  10. oliverks

    Regarding the world’s biggest cat

    I tell you they are evolving. They must be sensing the end of human dominance. It is not clear what their end game is, are they looking to domesticate another species, or are they just sizing up to survive in the wild again?

    1. Lee

      One of our normal sized cats is fond of jumping up on the bed and meowing in your ear when you’ve overslept and it’s time to wakey wakey and feed her. I’d hate to wake up with that big guy looming over me. I’d be concerned that it was me on the menu.

  11. MT_Wild

    Cogongrass in Idaho – Ugh. I had know idea that plant could survive in the west since I associate it with places like Florida and Alabama.

    On top of all the other symptoms of lack of governance, the continued failure (based on resources deployed) to address biosecurity in the U.S. is depressing.

    1. jr

      I found this bit of bright-siding darkly humorous:

      “ I’m 100% confident that we’re going to knock this thing out everywhere we find it,” he said. But he’s less certain that it hasn’t already spread elsewhere, or that weed managers will be able to find all of it…”

      So he’s 100% certain that he’s not certain they can control it. Check. Also, the bit about the “sterile” ornamental versions becoming un-sterile would be a lesson if anyone paid attention but something tells me the ornamental plant lobby will be fighting that 15 month ban tooth and nail, cause commerce…

      1. Copeland

        They will “knock out” (spray with something very toxic) 100% of what they find. This is Idaho after all.

  12. Colonel Smithers

    Thank you, Lambert.

    @ Readers: Some of you may have read yesterday’s China and KSA post and noted PK’s reference to NEOM.

    KSA is looking for banking regulators to roll out the off shore finance part of NEOM and paying a good package for it. If readers are interested, I have details of a hot off the press vacancy, the initial stage of the programme. I am unable to apply for family reasons. Yves and Lambert have my private e-mail.

  13. The Rev Kev

    “Mystery ingredients in ancient recipes for bronze objects deciphered by researchers”

    Always like a story like this. Sort of like a cross between a detective story and technological thriller.

  14. Lexx

    ‘Botanists find one of ‘the world’s worst weeds’ spreading in the Boise foothills’

    ‘He thinks it’s possible that it hitched a ride with someone who moved to Boise, one of the fastest-growing cities in the nation, or that a cogongrass variant had been planted nearby on purpose: A subspecies, sold under the names Red Baron or Japanese bloodgrass, is typically sterile but can revert to the original, fertile type and spread.’

    ‘Fastest-growing cities’? We lived there for two years and moved away, because “Boise”. We’ve never lived anywhere more tribal than that and try not to imagine that it’s possible… and they want to break off from the U.S. and form their own territory/state/country along with eastern Washington and Oregon? If the noxious weeds can get in, the wildfire can get out, and whose resources will they depend on to put it out?

    Bought a clump of Japanese bloodgrass from a nursery last summer and planted it in the sideyard (cuz ‘pretty’), surrounded by a low fence to keep the bunnies from wiping it out. It survived the bunnies and the cold of a Colorado winter, but it was not happy when it peeked out of the ground this spring. Again we put up a fence because bunnies particularly like any new and tender shoots, gave it fertilizer and water and waited to see if it would pull through. It’s alive but I wouldn’t call it ‘thriving’. I’m gonna guess this is one of the infertile varieties and want to reconsider ripping it from the landscape and salting the earth. The white loosestrife in the backyard also seems to be minding its own business so far.

    And now it’s one of ‘the world’s worst weeds’?! Kill it before it takes over your yard, then escapes?! We have two traps out for the Japanese beetle infestation trying to suck all the juice out of the roses up and down this block. See what happens when we take our eyes off of countries we consider allies. What did Taiwan send us this year? /s

  15. ambrit

    I walk bt the Maximus call centre whenever I toddle off to the local “Ghetto” WalMart. As of last Sunday, I saw no evidence of a strike at the facility, nor signs of attempts at organizing the workforce. I’ll keep my eyes and ears open the next time I pass the place. It is big. The interviewed woman’s comment about the length of time needed to get to the bathroom sounds accurate. The bathrooms at that building, if I remember correctly, are out in the main hallway, not inside the office/cubicle farm. So, some travelling required, plus restrictions in bathrooms available. Code and Zoning have smaller numbers of stalls required for public access places, such as malls, which this place once was, than for stand alone office buildings. The idea, as it was explained to me once, is that malls are designed for high levels of transience, not all day stable high populations. The detail about being docked for ‘extended’ bathroom breaks sounds exactly like stories I read about the implementation of Taylorism at the Ford Motors assembly plants back in the 1930s.
    Secondly, I have not heard that the Maximus facility here is “Organized.” The attempt to ‘organize’ this facility several years ago was a failure. The locals, and for this facility, ‘local’ covers quite a wide swath, are classically “downtrodden.’ The autos in the employee parking lots shows this. The cars on display are mainly five to ten year old sedans and compact cars. Almost no pickup trucks. Around here, pickup trucks are class markers. The beat up trucks mark you as solidly precarious working class, and or ‘Rednecks.’ Newer, detailed and spotless pickup trucks mark one as a middle class, solidly in the PMC and adjacent class.
    One indicator of workplace ‘satisfaction’ that I find missing whenever I have passed through the Maximus parking lot is laughter. Almost everyone I have observed leaving the place has been “blank.” No joking around, no banter, just “get in the car and leave” behaviour. (How common such behaviour is in general I invite members of the Commenteriat to chime in about. I have been out of the work world for several years now and might be out of touch.)
    I won’t even get into how dumbfounded I am about that “Living Wage” calculator. [We are on Social Security and don’t make even a half of what this ‘calculator’ says a two family, one working, needs to get by. Sheesh!]
    This looks like a “wildcat” strike in it’s purest form.
    Stay safe and don’t cross a picket line!

    1. jr

      It was blank faces, no laughter, junk food, and worn out clothing at the Lowes I visited a month back or so.

      1. Ana

        At my Safeway surrounded by newer upscale apartments the staff dress poor and look ragged. Most lanes are self check out.

        Last week while waiting for Paratramsit, I saw a middle aged frail woman was hunched over, pulled out a crack pipe and had a smoke sitting 15 feet in front of the main entrance. Store security ignored her.

        Ana in Sacramento

    2. griffen

      Unfortunately for those call center employees, I can’t fathom their options to leave for better employment experiences or better pay are vast. They are also fighting a corporate behemoth, not the likes of an Amazon or a Wal Mart or Starbucks, but the company’s history page was worth a quick review. And not to defend them, but their immediate managers on site are just following the playbook and likely are in no position to push complaints or arguments up the chain of command. Stuff don’t roll up hill, as many here know.

      A simple anecdote. I once joked with a small town bank employee in Texas, I forget exactly where this bank was but a small city or town. She joked back, to me, that the Dairy Queen was really the only other choice.

  16. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Did Donald Trump Bait the FBI? Larry Johnson, A Son of the American Revolution

    The outrage generated by the FBI’s unlawful and unwarranted assault on the residence of Donald Trump may have been because President Trump baited them. What do I mean? President Trump managed to convince the FBI that he had sensitive information about Cross Fire Hurricane hidden in his cellar that could destroy the FBI. The criminal Wray no longer cares about the rule of law. Protecting the FBI is his number one priority. Rather than wait and risk exposure by Trump, Wray, with the support of Garland and Biden, gave the greenlight to attack Trump’s Florida residence.

    Wow. That’s just off-the-wall enough to be as good an explanation as any.

    So far Trump seems to be winning this one. He used it to justify his taking the fifth in his nys deposition on Wednesday, saying there’s an obvious witchhunt. Lefty media is running away as fast as it can from the word “raid,” which just gets critics shouting it louder. biden is doing his best Sgt. Schultz imitation.
    Legitimizing the fbi RAID by saying that wray was appointed by Trump got no traction, and he looks slimier every time he “refuses to comment on an ongoing investigation.” Even andrew cuomo got in on the act.

    And, rightly or wrongly, hunter biden’s escape from similar treatment is back with a vengeance.

    Sundance at The Conservative Treehouse is keeping a running tally of how the 10 repub reps who voted to impeach Trump are faring in their bids for reelection. Seven out so far, from either having lost in a primary or just quit. Most recent primary loss to a Trump endorsed candidate is jaime herrera-beutler this past Tuesday in Washington state.

    liz cheney must be ready to shoot herself in her own face, what with the Wyoming primary on Tuesday.

    Dunno. It’s beginning to look like this deserves the Oscar for most colossal fuckup evah.

    1. Bart Hansen

      I believe it was Robert Barnes who suggested that the papers may have included the real info on the JFK murder.

    2. jsn

      Maybe he told “someone” he got Epstein’s guest book from Barr after the “suicide” and had it in his safe.

      1. jsn

        And maybe he really did and that’s why there was “nothing” in the safe. It’s all a perfect paranoid fantasy generator!

        Our governing class has become a giant narcissistic, paranoid, and deservedly so, Gordian knot which can only be cut from the outside. The Russians are taking a decent hack at it, but watch now as The Return of the Orange Zombie eclipses, eclipses what? What were we talking about?

        Maybe if the Chinese take out a bunch of our satellites that’ll get through.

  17. Mikel

    “Flooding in the Sacrifice Zone Tarrance Ray” The Baffler.

    Environmental degradation from mining. Don’t worry, people of the world. More mining is on the way to “save the planet”.

    1. Laura in So Cal

      In the post Hurricane Harvey analysis of flooding in the Houston area, I remember that many were talking about similar issues associated with development where natural areas and wetlands that would have absorbed the water were replaced with buildings, concrete and asphalt which didn’t.

      1. nippersdad

        I remember that.

        IIRC, there was a story here a few years ago about an Athens, Georgia, firm that threatened to sue the Houston city government if they were not allowed to develop their floodplain land. Houston said that they could not afford to defend against such lawsuits, and then allowed them to put subdivisions there.

        It was pointed out at the time that the developers would be long gone when the enhanced flooding would present itself, and that the lawsuits would have to be against the city for allowing the permitting in the first place.

        1. jsn

          That’s why real estate developers wil pay whatever they have to pay far a government small enough to drown in a bathtub.

  18. Ignacio

    Today we have the idiot in charge err, the EU high representative for foreign affairs, our esteemed Josep Borrell, saying that “Europeans must be ready to pay a price for supporting Ukraine” and says Russia, ups, Putin, committed two big mistakes: underestimate both, the resistance of the Ukrainians and the unity of the west. He says that “our objective is” that when time to negotiate finally arrives, Ukraine can do it in their best conditions. And this is what demands our sacrifice. Spain should show solidarity with those countries more exposed to Russian energy supplies he adds. Blah, blah, blah. In the interview conducted by El País, Borrell shows fears about Italy, where in September the current government “highly pro-EU credentialed, and very much compromised with the defense of Ukraine” might change and bring a government with a different position. The interview is vomitive. He is asked for instance if the UE has aligned excessively with the US in this conflict and he replies: there has been absolute cooperation with the US, would have this been the same with a President like Trump? – Doesn’t this raise some eyebrows?- The interviewer makes then a question that made me think: He says, “we have the impression that previously, the US and the EU were arming Ukraine to give the country equal opportunities in war, but now, Ukraine is being armed to provide negotiating ability in equal terms. -This made me think whether the US is ready to provide Ukraine with nuclear weapons or something.

    1. David

      Ah, another sighting of my long-anticipated graceful shuffle by the EU away from any idea of victory for Ukraine, or even mutual exhaustion. Now, it’s about providing the “best conditions” for Ukraine to negotiate in. There aren’t enough weapons in the West to put Ukraine on an equal footing with Russia, and even if there were, and at the cost of disarming itself, they couldn’t be sent to Ukraine in time. There aren’t going to be an “equal negotiations”, and the longer the war goes on, the more unequal the sides will be. A few western systems here and there can only make up very partially for the ones they are losing every day.

      In the end, though, the EU will be able to say that, thanks to its efforts, the disaster that will be the Ukrainian position in negotiations (if there are any) won’t be as big a disaster as it would otherwise have been. And that will be a triumph for Europe.

      1. Lex

        Which is bitter laugh funny given that if Ukraine had negotiated before the war it would have kept all its territory. If it had negotiated a few weeks into the conflict, it probably could have kept most of its territory. It did neither not in pursuit of its own best interest but because its sponsors in the EU and the US told it not to do so. Now it will be lucky if its “best conditions” allow it to keep Odessa.

    2. Maxwell Johnston

      “Vomitive.” I like this word, thanks for using it (had never heard it before, checked it on the ‘net and yes indeed, it’s in the dictionary, seldom used but hey….). I will start working it into my daily conversations.

      I’m with you on Borrell (clumsy as usual), and yes, Very Important People are getting nervous about what might happen in Italy on 25 September. But I don’t think the USA will be sending any nukes to UKR, that’s a bridge too far even for Blinken and Nuland.

      1. ambrit

        I believe you underestimate how delusional the ‘Rabid Neo-Cons’ can be.
        They are ratcheting up the provocations constantly. First it was small arms, then heavy weapons, then aircraft, now multiple missile launchers with CBW and Nuclear capabilities. Now they are sitting idly by while some yahoos shell the largest nuclear power station in Europe.
        Insanity is it’s own reward.

  19. AndrewJ

    Reading the first few paras* of “Blast Effects” from the LRB is like a dispatch from an alternative universe. Russians shelling a university and a hotel? Really?
    Or am I the one in an alternative universe? War is hell, western propaganda is far-reaching and bits on a screen may not reflect reality.
    * once I got far enough to pick up the standard “Russians are orcs” theme, I moved on with my reading.

    1. InThePines

      It was really a departure from the LRB’s standards I thought, although maybe they publish pieces of uneven quality outside of their core competency (see Hersh’s 2014 article vs. this for contrast. Although Hersh had distance and hindsight and anonymous sources.) This was pretty clearly sent to London while the Ukrainians still planned to go on the offensive in the south. Now it reads as dazed, mournful, and ill-informed as well.

    2. nippersdad

      Re: dispatches from an alternate universe.

      This was written two days ago….

      “Putin’s ballyhooed pronouncements before the war about massive Siberian pipelines to China are years away from completion. And post-war, such projects will be impossible, given Western sanctions and the mass exodus of oil and gas companies from Russia in protest…Bluntly speaking, Putin’s war is economic suicide. The late Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) once slurred Russia as being merely a “gasoline station masquerading as a country,” but it’s worse than that now. Putin has driven away all the gas station’s customers and employees and will be completely out of business sooner than he imagines.”

      ….and it really made me question whether the Atlantic Council is living in the same world as the rest of us.

      1. jr

        So if the gas companies exit Russia, what’s to stop Russia and China from working together to fill that void? I’ve gleaned from discussions here that replacing infrastructure and all the trimmings isn’t easy but something tells me Russia and China have been gaming this stuff out. Unlike our leaders, for whom every day seems to be square one. I’ll bet a rouble Russo-Sino alliance finds a pivot point or three…

        1. nippersdad

          It is not easy, but it is almost already done.

          I was hearing months ago, from Mercouris, that the Power of Siberia pipeline was already pumping gas to China, and that simply enormous, newer, lines were being added to it that would be operable by September which could effortlessly take up the slack made in the amounts sent to Europe. They involve different gas fields than the ones presently used for the European markets, but gas is gas; it really doesn’t matter which field it comes from when it comes to how much is going out. That is even before one figures in the Sakhalin pipelines in the far East destined for Chinese markets.

          As with the pipeline misinformation, one could go down her list, point for point, on where she is objectively wrong in her various analyses. Her numbers on the value of gas contracts with other countries and operable LNG plants in Europe is laughable. I fail to see how the short term thrill of downplaying the ability of Russia to pivot its’ markets elsewhere is worth the long term damage it will do to their credibility.

          1. jr

            Think of the delusion at work behind the claim that Putin won’t find customers for his resources. For ++energy++. How are these declarations made with a straight face? It’s actually a bit scary to think people will take this at face value…

      2. hunkerdown

        Intellectuals = priests. Their job is not to “live in a world”, but to reproduce elitism and create the conditions for positive control over all life on earth. That entails creating deranged myths, apologetics, jeremiads, all that totally dispensable and swiftly decampable spin. And also infiltrating social networking companies’ standards enforcement boards. Diderot was right about kings and priests and all that.

        1. nippersdad

          Words of wisdom from the inimitable Turdblssom:

          “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

          Until you can’t and objective reality reasserts itself.

  20. fresno dan

    The FBI’s Mar-a-Lago ‘Raid’: It’s about the Capitol Riot, Not the Mishandling of Classified Information Andrew McCarthy, National Review. “As long as agents are conducting a legitimate search, they are authorized to seize any obviously incriminating evidence they come across.” I won’t use the word “fishing expedition,” but feel free to think it.

    I couldn’t read the entire article because it is behind a paywall, and I don’t care to subscribe to National Review. But it was interesting that there was this link also at National Review:
    I am inordinately bored of Donald Trump.

    I’m bored of the man himself. I’m bored of his opponents. I’m bored of his supporters. I’m bored of the manner in which every last question that animates our politics is eventually plotted onto a graph that has his face at its center. You name anything Trump-related, I’m bored of it.

    It’s utterly inescapable. Before long, every political topic, every prominent politician, every historical trend becomes about Donald Trump in some way, shape, or form. Every piece of journalism does, too. I haven’t yet published this piece, and I’m already bored by the responses that …(this article is also behind a paywall)
    In all the millions of words broadcast or written about Mar-a-Lago, how many are about serious proposals to reform issuing of search warrants or reform of the FBI? Its as if what government actually does (i.e., make laws) is no longer discussed in depth (except here at NC and a few other niche sites?) The whole thing strikes me of a thesis put forth in a book written years ago (I forget the title) about amusing ourselves to death. All sturm und drang but no substance…
    The problem isn’t only that Trump is a squirrel, its that the vast majority of media of the US is only capable of watching squirrels.

    1. Andrew Watts

      We don’t even know what the FBI is after, or what the search warrant said, so I think people are jumping the gun a bit on what happened at the raid on Mar-a-Lago. It’s hard to imagine that a judge would approve of a vaguely-word and unspecific search warrant against a former president.

      The whole thing reeks of another instance of anti-Trump sentiment that people assume will bring about Trump’s end. In other words, more wishful thinking from Blue MAGA. If Trump said that the contents in his possession were unclassified then I doubt he would be prosecuted for possessing them.

      Some desk jockey exercising arbitrary authority and re-classifying material isn’t taking Trump out of the 2024 presidential election.

      1. fresno dan

        I agree with you – can’t these people see how counter productive there anti Trump schemes are?
        for me, I’ll admit consuming Trump stuff is very much like eating chocolate gelatto. Practically crack to me, shortening my lifespan, with no redeeming aspect what so ever to me or anyone else for that matter.
        There was a Simpson’s Treehose of Horror episode that advised getting rid of attention seeking monsters is best accomplised by ignoring them. I can’t always ignore gelatto, but from now on, I’m gonna try and ignore “news” (that is, speculation – maybe some FACTS I’ll be interested in) about Trump.

        1. Andrew Watts

          Trumpmania is good for the media’s ratings and entertainment value if nothing else. I hate to ruin other people’s fun, but if this is about classified information then we probably won’t ever find out anything. We can listen to the media personalities endlessly speculate though.

          In the ideal scenario there will be a leaker and we’ll get to laugh at the over-classification of material the FBI seized and Trump will sue the National Archives for his personal effects.

          And probably loses if the Nixon precedent holds.

    2. Carolinian

      Well it is the National Review. We’re bored with them.

      I believe our local tycoon Milliken used to kick money to Buckley’s rag and undoubtedly played a role in getting Firing Line on SCETV all those years. Now PBS NY station is hosting a new Firing Line with the somewhat weird Margaret Hoover (yes she’s related to that Hoover). I believe she’s even in Moyers’ old time slot. Says it all about PBS.

      But a pledge drive PBS doesn’t pay for itself. Big Bucks angels needed. Reagan did this when he evicted public broadcasting from federal support.

      BTW Grayzone has some deep dish on Hoover, her husband, Newsweek, The Daily Beast.

    3. nippersdad

      Here is a little more via Althouse:

      “I’m bored of the manner in which every last question that animates our politics is eventually plotted onto a graph that has his face at its center. You name anything Trump-related, I’m bored of it. It’s utterly inescapable. Before long, every political topic, every prominent politician, every historical trend becomes about Donald Trump in some way, shape, or form. Every piece of journalism does, too. I haven’t yet published this piece, and I’m already bored by the responses that it will engender. That’s how bad it’s gotten: I’m pre-bored — by the emails, by the analyses, by the snark, by the desire to make every last thing in American life about Trump. Nothing is safe. Bring up something almost as old as the nation itself — the Fifth Amendment, say — and within a few minutes, people will be debating whether it is functionally pro-Trump or anti-Trump. They’ll ask if it’s Trump-adjacent, or Trump-resistant, or anti-anti-Trump….”

      Charlie Cooke is “pre-bored” by it all. That sounds like it would be hilarious, but I, too, do not care to pay the NR to see the rest of it.

    4. kurt neff

      “Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business” by Neil Postman. It’s somewhere on a book shelf but I can’t find it. I agree with you about Trump. Death would become him.
      Then we could move on to the Next Big Thing.

      1. fresno dan

        thanks for that! The thing about Trump exiting the stage, I think the “system” will just give us another one…

  21. Andrew Watts

    RE: What-If DC War Game Maps Huge Toll of a Future US-China War Over Taiwan

    Buried beneath the lead towards the end of the article is a real gem. The worst possible outcome they could imagine is the mainland seizing complete control of Taiwan. They didn’t run any pessimistic scenario that involved the Chinese decisively defeating the Americans in the Pacific. Probably didn’t think through a catastrophic outcome where China mounts a serious attack on Hawaii or the West Coast.

    The lack of imagination that was very much present in Iraq and Afghanistan is rearing it’s ugly head. Personally, I don’t respect the military thinkers at RAND based upon their research on more recent armed conflicts.

    RE: China’s Military Was Built To Defeat America In A Taiwan War

    China has been steadily building their military with an eye on defeating the US military since 2005. None of that should be a surprise to anybody. It will probably come as a shock to Congress though. Just because you spend the most money on toys in the whole wide world doesn’t mean you have the best military in it.

    Pure bourgeoisie logic.

    1. ambrit

      Yes about China seizing Hawaii. This is often a standard military political move. Seize something that one can trade back later.
      Of interest is the status of the Philippines. They have had a, er, very conflicted history in their relations to America. China being the ‘Big Dog’ on their block, I wouldn’t blame them at all for seeking a modus vivendi with The Dragon. I wonder how many people at State speak Tagalog.

    2. David

      I do wish writers like this would stop pretending that war is a kind of chess tournament where what matters is how many pieces you take. The issue here is that the Chinese want to be left free to sort out the Taiwan problem themselves, and to do that they need to deter the US from intervening. They deter the US by developing forces which could exact such a toll on the enemy that no political leadership would consider getting involved to try to stop an invasion. That’s deterrence, or as I think Sun Tzu said, what’s the point in fighting when you can just persuade your enemy to go away?

      1. Andrew Watts

        The people who spent their lives and careers keeping the War on Terror going probably aren’t going to be partial to Sun Tzu’s advice. If anything they embraced the opposite advice by trying to rebrand it as the Long War after the first decade of hubris.

        Anyway, I completely agree with your previously stated opinion about hyping a potential war in the Taiwan Strait. It won’t help matters and it’s detrimental to Taiwan maintaining it’s self-governance.

  22. TimH

    The AC issue is not the efficiency. It’s the fact that it draws piles of power on startup and is a match for solar systems with inverters.

    An AC with variable speed brushless DC motors for fan and compressor running from the battery bank, not AC, with simple telemetry to make cooling proportional to how much solar is being generating would work well. Easy to do.

    But all installs are based on price, so it will never happen.

  23. Tom Stone

    How trustworthy is the FBI?
    The presiding Judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court ( Star Chamber) Rosemary Collyer characterized the Bureau as having “An institutionalized lack of Candor”.
    IMO the Biden administration is very close to stepping over a red line, Chaos is one stupid move away.

  24. juno mas

    RE: Flooding in the Sacrifice Zone

    I only spent a few minutes reading this article, but that was enough to see the author doesn’t understand climate change, flood zones, and rural folks believing their god will save them.

    Many rural towns are located on broad (imperceptible to many) flood zones where intense, climate change induced rainfall is definitely going to create unprecedented flood stage (water height). The laws of Physics and high water is going to sweep any home, cabin or shed inhabitants away.

    That city dwellers would say the flooding is Schadenfrude is despicable, but no different than rural folks who welcome The End because of the sins of the metropolis.

    Folks, the impacts of climate change is just beginning.

    1. Laura in So Cal

      People being ignorant of environmental risk isn’t unique to rural people. When we were looking at houses to buy 15 years ago, I had to educate my realtor on why I rejected several houses before even going inside. I could tell that the houses were built largely on “fill” which leads to much more damage in any significant earthquake. My realtor had never heard of such a thing. In addition, I wanted a house that wasn’t on the canyon floor because we live about 12 miles below a moderate sized earth dam that is part of the aqueduct system. This dam is close to 100 years old at this point and if we have the “big one” who knows. Again my realtor hadn’t even thought about it.

    2. HotFlash

      Trillbillies fan here. Tarrance is pretty up on the topics you mention. I doubt that he thinks that people who have settled in valleys, floodplains, and other areas that are now (although sometimes not previously) flood prone, are willing, likely, or can afford to, up and move after decades, generations. Hello, there are actual atheists there, and they are not depending on God to save them, perhaps they just hope that *someone* will save then, or at least explain how they can save themselves, whether it be the people and corps that profited from their labour, the govts that facilitated it, or any deity, who has not, so far as is recorded, called them ‘deplorables’. Or perhaps a demagogue?

      Pls remember that the reason for people to locate in coal-mining towns was coal-mining jobs. Black lung* and all, well, and company towns that meant you didn’t have to have $$ for rent or deposit. But in my book, the guys who made the money are liable for the damage. In real life, not gonna happen. The role of the govt, OUR govt, is to protect the people. Or, the role of the govt is to protect business. A choice was made, and all us jus’ folks lost out. Who you gonna call?

      * I was astonished to find that black lung, which I read about in my 1955 history books as a past thing, and thought a relic like The Black Plague and yellow fever, was quite alive and well and was still killing people. In Kentucky.

  25. spud

    Inflation is still wiping out the average Americans’ wage gains.

    “The Labor Department reported Wednesday that average hourly earnings for all employees actually declined 3% in July from the same month a year ago when factoring in the impact of rising consumer prices. On a monthly basis, average hourly earnings dropped 0.6% last month, when accounting for the inflation spike.

    By that measure, the typical U.S. worker is actually worse off today than a year ago, even though nominal wages are rising at the fastest pace in years.

    That’s because consumers are confronting scorching-hot inflation, which has quickly diminished their purchasing power.”

  26. The Rev Kev

    The Ukrainians still keep on shelling that nuke power plant-

    ‘Vladimir Rogov, a member of the Zaporozhye Region military-civil administration, explained that five explosives landed near the commandant’s office at the plant, next to a welding site and a radioactive substance storage facility, causing grass in the area to catch fire.
    Another five shells landed near the fire station beside the power plant, preventing a shift change.
    Rogov said this was the second time the power plant had come under fire on Thursday and suggested that the strikes were being carried out by Ukrainian forces using multiple launch rocket systems and heavy artillery positioned in Dnepropetrovsk Region.’

    So of course UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stated ‘I urge the parties to withdraw any military personnel and equipment from the plant and refrain from any further deployment of forces or equipment to the site.’ These would be the same Russians forces there to protect that plant and the Ukrainian workers inside running the plant from any Ukrainian sabotage teams. And aerial defenses as well trying to protect this plant. The US wants the Russians to withdraw from the whole area and let the Ukrainians move in or for it be be a, ahem, demilitarized zone. And as a pressure point, they are letting the Ukrainians to continue shelling this plant. I refuse to believe that the Ukrainians are being allowed to do this without a go-ahead from Washington and perhaps Brussels. But this is just nuts.

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