Links 8/20/2022

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.

* * *

Hallelujah and Leonard Cohen’s ‘secret chord’ Financial Times

New Zealand: Seal breaks into marine biologist’s home BBC

Artist Reimagines Cats as Royalty in Traditional Portraits of People My Modern Met (David L)

Freya the walrus: Did she have to be euthanised? BBC (David L)

Wave created by Tonga volcano eruption reached 90 meters—nine times taller than 2011 Japan tsunami PhysOrg (David L)

Algorithms Can Now Mimic Any Artist. Some Artists Hate It Wired (David L)

Spine-like floating platform harnesses water wave energy YankoDesign (Kevin W)

‘Life hates surprises’: Can an ambitious theory unify biology, neuroscience and psychology? Scroll (David L)



SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern: spike protein mutational analysis and epitope for broad neutralization Nature. GM says this is off-base:

This is a pre-Omicron paper (note the initial submission date — December 7 2021) that was then somehow adapted to include some Omicron data, and in the end became a bit of a jumbled mess.

The ab6 monoclonal they are focusing on should be destroyed by the newer Omicron variants (notice how Epsilon escapes it the most, then Delta).

One should not place too much hope on exploiting “vulnerabilities”, conserved epitopes, etc. So far basically none of the variant-proof monoclonals has survived. And that is just within 2.5 years of evolution. Sotrovimab was supposed to be bulletproof because it came from a SARS1 patient, but then first BA.1 took a dent and BA.2 fully escaped it.

So monoclonals looks like they will be an endless thredmill.

Not that it matters much for most people — the days of Florida handing out free monoclonals like candy are over, and for most of the world there was never any access to begin with.


‘Most have thrown their hands up’: has the US forgotten about Covid? Guardian (resilc)


King County declares public health emergency over monkeypox outbreak Seattle Times (furzy)


Scientists Think They’ve Found a Shockingly Simple Way to Degrade ‘Forever Chemicals’ ScienceAlert. Chuck L: “Could be big.”

Methane supercharges climate change. The U.S. has a new plan to slash it. National Geographic (David L)

Why Solar Power Is Failing Amid Record-Breaking Heat OilPrice

UK Charging Infrastructure Is Struggling To Keep Up With Soaring EV Sales OilPrice. Resilc: “Auto induced brownouts ahead.”

France’s river Loire sets new lows as drought dries up its tributaries Reuters


China’s drills to change US military assumptions Asia Times (guurst)

China jails tycoon Xiao Jianhua for 13 years, slapping an unprecedented US$8 billion fine on his Tomorrow Group South China Morning Post (resilc). We featured the Bloomberg version yesterday.

German dependence on China growing ‘at tremendous pace’, research shows Reuters (resilc)

Share of births outside marriage, by country Marginal Revolution (resilc). Lots of countries missing…

Old Blighty

Revealed: Liz Truss personally supported cuts to NHS and doctors’ pay Guardian (Kevin W)

New Not-So-Cold War

John Mearsheimer’s latest article on Ukraine in “Foreign Affairs” – a critique Gilbert Doctorow (guurst). Important.

Self-explanatory. Andrei Martyanov (guurst). Kinzhals in Kaliningrad and other matters.

Ukraine war of attrition at inflection point Indian Punchline. Kevin W:

I would disagree with his idea that a war of attrition will leave Russia weakened. The last years of the US Civil War, the Union fought it as a war of attrition and emerged as a power house.

On Russian invasion, US intel got it right — but policymakers stumbled Responsible Statecraft. On the strategy failure but note also: Zelensky ignored the early 2022 warnings. Was it because he was committed to a March Donbass offensive and convinced himself that Russia was merely bristling to try to prevent it? Or was it because US intel had also warned of a spring offensive in 2021 that never came to pass?

Ukraine war: Russia to allow inspectors at Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant – Putin BBC

* * *

How Russia is dodging Western sanctions with gray-market imports DW. Resilc: “Gee, who wooda guessed??????”

The Squeeze on Russia Is Loosening Matthew C. Klein (resilc)

* * *

Russia to Halt Nord Stream Gas Flows to Europe, Citing Pipeline Maintenance Wall Street Journal. Funny how these articles never mention that Putin has repeatedly offered to supply Europe via Nord Stream 2.

Germany Risks a Factory Exodus as Energy Prices Bite Hard Bloomberg (Kevin W)

France opposes Spain’s gas pipeline project – media RT (Kevin W)

The New World Energy Order: A Battle Of Attrition Forbes (resilc)


DEVELOPING: Details on new nuclear deal approved by Iran The Cradle (resilc)

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Montana flagged bugs in cow app exploited in alleged China hack Al Jazeera (resilc). Cows need apps??? Wouldn’t cameras in and outside barns suffice?

Imperial Collapse Watch

US Air Force grounds Osprey fleet after dangerous clutch problem DefenseNews (resilc)

US bombs Somalia for the third time this summer Responsible Statecraft. Resilc: “A trillion a year wasted…….yet the biggest news is Liz Cheney.”

Other Trump

Court orders release of DOJ memo on Trump obstruction in Mueller probe Washington Post (Kevin W)

The Donald J. Trump Guide to Getting Away With Anything Atlantic. Resilc: “Why is this just Trump? It is all rich/powerful people in USA USA.”

Liz Cheney and Trump are the Two Faces of American Totalitarianism Richard (RJ) Eskow (furzy)


A BFD Dan Rather and Elliot Kirschner (furzy). Um, not when you look at spending per year.

Armed… auditors? The IRS becomes the latest target of GOP misinformation Guardian (resilc)

Pathetically, Hillary Clinton is smearing Bernie Sanders as sexist again. Jacobin (resilc)


Judge: Prosecutors cannot enforce Michigan’s abortion ban Politico (Kevin W)

Without Roe v. Wade, what it means when miscarriage is a crime Washington Post (furzy)

HBO Max removes nearly 200 episodes of ‘Sesame Street’ Washington Post. Kevin W: “Because they were teaching kids about the letter ‘Z’?”

Twitter Tells Employees Bonuses Could Halve on Performance: NYT Bloomberg

Physicians see spike in misbehavior, report says and Bad physician workplace behavior: What their colleagues are noticing Becker Review (Dr. Kevin)

Frustrated pharmacists are opting out of the insurance system, saving some customers hundreds of dollars a month NBC (dk)

Class Warfare

A middle class holiday itinerary vs a working class holiday itinerary Daily Mash

Starbucks ordered to reinstate US workers fired amid union campaign Guardian (Kevin W)

If Everyone Is King Then No One Is Caitlin Johnstone (Kevin W)

The 2028 L.A. Olympics Are Already Creating a Housing Disaster New Republic (resilc)

Antidote du jour. Stephen T: “What the fashionable sheep will be wearing this fall…”:

And a bonus (Chuck L):

A second bonus:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. schmoe

    The Squeeze On Russia article’s section on manufacturing equipment was paywalled, but it included this pearl of wisdom re: a war of attrition: “The Russians may have started from a position of superior firepower, but the allies’ use of sanctions, intelligence support, and weapons donations has been shifting the balance of forces increasingly in favor of the Ukrainians.” A bit more data from the author on that assertion would have been helpful.

    Regarding Ukraine, an August 8 WP article had this quote: “Kosovo declared its independence from former Yugoslav republic Serbia in 2008, but Serbia refuses to let it go.” I am not sure if the author was trolling Donetsk, Luhansk and Russia, or is a total moron.

  2. Antifa

    (as played at military funerals)

    Empty taps
    Empty taps
    Forest fires on today’s weather maps
    Welcome to the age of collapse
    Empty taps

    Adam’s ale
    Adam’s ale
    Haul it home in a five gallon pail
    Best you boil it well without fail
    Adam’s ale

    Used to flow from the rain and the snow
    Used to pump it up from below

    We can’t flush
    We can’t flush
    Dig a hole in the yard, there’s no rush
    Take the phone book for wiping your tush
    We can’t flush

    We can’t shower
    We can’t shower
    The house smells so moldy and sour
    Though we all smell much worse by the hour
    We can’t shower

    It’s so dry
    It’s so dry
    Blazing sun in a brilliant blue sky
    We’re beyond caring how who or why
    It’s so dry

    Empty taps
    Empty taps
    Forest fires on today’s weather maps
    Welcome to the age of collapse
    Empty taps

  3. timbers

    John Mearsheimer’s latest article on Ukraine in “Foreign Affairs” – a critique Gilbert Doctorow (guurst). Important.

    Doctorow writes:

    “…this does not excuse Mearsheimer from basing himself on the same restricted and distorted sources of information as are used by mainstream media and mainstream academics, while ignoring other sources of information that would give greater depth to his analysis and possibly change his conclusions substantially. To be explicit, I believe he has been listening too closely to Washington and Kiev’s rosy forecasts of a counter-offensive that will result in a stalemate, possibly in a Russian defeat, and he is not listening to Russian reporting on the progress of their campaign on the ground, which points to a slow and steady grinding down of all in their path to conquest of the Donetsk oblast, meaning the capture of the entire Donbas.”

    Made this same point yesterday and believed it required he identify not Russia, but USA, as mostly likely to escalate in dangerous ways (nukes), but am glad to see I was in error in assuming Doctorow shared John Mearsheimer’s mistaken view, which he clearly does not.

    1. Lex

      Mearsheimer gets a lot of credit for being a foreign policy Realist, but it’s overblown. Realism in the US FP establishment has always been on the fringe and barely tolerated when there was no way around another nation having enough power to confront it. Containment as a policy was a sop to Realism but always “aggressive containment” and that was the last Realist foreign policy the US had. Mearsheimer does get things right and does see clearly at times; he does tell the truth (generally and as he sees it) like telling the Australians that we’ll screw them over when it comes to China so they better get on board. But he’s not a true Realist because he does not actually accommodate the perspective of other nations.

        1. Lex

          Second to next. Taiwan gets to be Ukraine before it’s your turn. You may have enough time for the empire to fall first and save you. However, when it’s Taiwan’s turn you’ll get the current EU treatment. Mearsheimer is at least honest about our SOP of stabbing our friends in the back after we push them in front of our enemies.

        2. ThePodBayDoorsAreClosed

          Been saying this for a while, we will be the next country to host Pax Americana festivities. The new globalist communist Foreign Minister made statements recently that caused China to officially protest that Australia had *violated the UN Charter*. Meantime it has come out that the former PM secretly bypassed the separation of powers to give himself multiple ministerial roles so that he could attempt to out Green the Greens as an electoral strategy. That worked not at all and his party is in a fatal downward spiral. One in three voters chose the current government and they are using that as a mandate to implement a Green New Deal (read: national economic suicide pact) that would make current U.S. President Barack Obama blush with envy.

      1. Ignacio

        I think that Mearsheimer’s article was directed to West elites so the views expressed on it may not exactly be what he thinks about war developments but what he thinks these elites would be able to stand reading without throwing the paper to the fire. We are in not position to be sure what Mearsheimer thinks on current developments. I think that he is mainly worried on political developments and he doesn’t claim to be expert on the technicalities of war.

        This say I think that Doctorow’s remarks on the unforeseen and the many possibilities and accidents that might occur driving escalation and how are correct. One of the points Mearsheimer offers: the longer it lasts the higher the possibilities of escalation, and this is a direct attack at current West stances: time is on our side and will bring us the final victory.

        Also, Mearsheimer offers too frequently the possibility of nuclear escalation by the Russian side but here again, I believe he does it because he is 🤔 Ng about his audience. As war is running currently a desperate Ukrainian side might be more prone to do things resulting in escalation. Given the state of Western politics I see higher possibilities of nuclear escalation driven by our side (by accumulation of mistakes, by doing risky things, actions taken by fringe actors etc.).

        I believe that M’s contributions might be valuable if one day, someone, uses his reasoning to bring sense to the West. I am not asking him to be a representative of the Truth but feel quite grateful about his efforts.

        1. Stephen

          That’s insightful and I think you may well be right. He may well be trying to argue in a politically correct way so as to convince people.

      2. hemeantwell

        The term “realist” hasn’t quite become unhelpful, but it’s getting there. In the US there’s a way in which it trades on a distinction that might have hit its apogee in the debates over the League of Nations, with Wilsonian aims seen as “idealistic” and more limited, self-interested aims seen as “realist.” But now the liberal internationalism of the Wilson project, which appeared to be so tilted towards the propagation of democracy and goodness etc., has been shown to be very compatible with the current push to organize the global system under a fig leaf of technocratic democracy that covers domination by transnational corporations and a parallel transnational MIC. Kinda NATO/EU writ large.

        As I’ve said here before, the key question is the extent to which the drivers of this effort are baked in and incapable of being modified in a way that allows for some areas to escape integration. Back in the mid 20th c US elites believed the US needed ever-expanding markets. That reading of system needs has been questioned, but has that driver simply been replaced, or augmented, by natural resource guarantees or, however unlikely, the need for an integrated approach to climate change? The point is that any political economic reading of the US bloc’s place in the world that requires expansion and corollary aggression is going to be “realist.”

        At this point the only thing going for the concept is that it’s associated with taking the interests of the “other side” seriously and recognizing how the dynamics of international conflict tend to erode that understanding. But then that can sound idealistic, right?

        1. Lex

          I agree fully that the terms can be, and often are, confused to the point of uselessness. Much of that uselessness is the result of the US being Idealist since Wilson (formally) and forever (realistically). It’s not possible to implement realist foreign policy over a baked in conception of exceptionalism. So, yeah, everything can be called realist if the exceptionalism is accepted axiomatically. We will always end up at TINA, and would could be more “realist” than that? Perhaps a better benchmark than “accept other nations have interests” is “accept that your own nation has limits on its power”.

      3. hk

        American realists still buy into American Exceptionalism. It’s something that always struck me as odd.

        1. LifelongLib

          Being the only major power on two isolated continents and the last man standing after a world war is certainly exceptional, but not the kind of exceptions that we in the U.S. can take credit for. The U.S. has been the beneficiary (and maybe the victim) of what are really just historical accidents.

      4. drumlin woodchuckles

        The little bit I have read about Mearsheimer is that he is an American Hegemony First supporter and just wants to be “realistic” about how to maintain it. That would make Mearsheimer one of the people which C. Wright Mills once called “crackpot realists”. Henry Kissinger would be another “crackpot realist”.

      5. eg

        I think Mearsheimer very much considers the perspectives of other nations if his lectures are any indication — that’s what recognition of regional powers and spheres of influence means.

    2. pjay

      When I saw Mearsheimer’s article was published in Foreign Affairs, I figured it would have to be watered down somehow from his earlier well-known positions. It was, as Doctorow points out (and as your comment yesterday did also). Martyanov and others have similar criticisms. Mearsheimer gets into Foreign Affairs by downplaying the origins of the war and asserting too much false equivalence in a number of areas. But I think his article is another example of the Establishment beginning to cover their ass by allowing this “hey, things could get out of hand” warning to justify some kind of pullback. I’m not certain about this, of course. Like you, I am much more concerned about our own irrational responses. But there does seem to be some sort of discussion among elites on how to proceed, mirrored by the occasional media leaks in a more “realist” direction.

      1. Michael

        I agree this was a compromise between the parties and therefore benefits both.

        If FA readers are being fore warned, they may search for other offerings and will get the 2014 paper
        at the top of the list.

        M gets a wider audience and continued airtime.

        The beat goes on

  4. Steve H.

    > Scientists Think They’ve Found a Shockingly Simple Way to Degrade ‘Forever Chemicals’ ScienceAlert. Chuck L: “Could be big.”

    While it’s good to know they have a weakness, the concern about PFAS is their presence in the environment. This technique could work on concentrations of the chemicals, in landfills for instance. But the strong base the technique uses will be quickly neutralized in the environment. No medical applications. Overkill for drinking water.

    1. rob

      I just hope someone puts together a way to deconstruct the pfas pollution… before it is dumped into the environment least; ASAP..

      the dupont spin-off company Chemours… in north carolina coastal areas…is “dealing” with the pollution of water wells near their plants… by giving drinking water to effected households…
      This deal seems to be THE MINIMUM… they could do…and they are fighting it every step of the way. I heard @ 600 households around wilmington had polluted wells ,so far.
      But I believe they are still DUMPING the contaminated by products into the river around wilmington…. because there isn’t a law saying they can’t….. WTF?
      I hope they first stop these companies from polluting in the first place… as we try to find a way to deal with the saturation of their products in our daily existence.
      But then there is camp lejune,and fort bragg… all most likely still dumping/polluting/foaming,etc… and after 30 years of knowing about it…. steaming right ahead.

    2. Lex

      One of the issues with PFAS is that no standard treatments of them work. They can be filtered out of water (it’s excessive and essentially reverse osmosis) but there’s no way to destroy them once captured. I have not seen any indications in the recent articles about the concentration of sodium hydroxide needed to effect the stripping of portions of the PFAS chain. That suggests it’s super high. Given that sodium hydroxide is a common water treatment chemical also suggests that they used concentrations that would be classified as a hazardous material.

      But it is potentially a means of disposing of unused fire fighting foam since that’s a concentrate. It would also be a pretty straightforward method of dealing with captured PFAS. Better than DoD’s attempt during the trump admin, knowing that PFAS regs were coming, when they started mass incineration and only managed to generate novel PFAS family compounds and release them into the atmosphere.

      1. Steve H.

        Good about the foam. And the end-products look really innocuous. Pretty much the opposite of incineration.

    3. redleg

      To treat anything using a chemical process, it must be removed for treatment. Therefore concentrations of treatment chemicals (and the resulting reaction byproducts) will not be introduced directly into the environment unless concentrations of pure product are involved (such as the coagulent for the Gulf oil release from several years ago, which actually and surprisingly worked).

      Biological treatments are an entirely different story, with entirely different risks.

    1. griffen

      Those allegations about his ex-wife I had read about before, however the more recent allegation was news to me. He was perhaps a little green when first making that announcement in 2015, but the approach is a singular example of how to attract and retain talent. It’s hard to think of another company in that industry or any other that takes a similar approach.

      Also, his commentary on CEO pay packages and salary rewards post-2020 were shining the light on a dark corner of how corporations really treat the rank and file. Hint, they don’t treat them generally well or even handed.

        1. griffen

          I’ve toggled around checking different sites and articles, and these articles summarize a repeat pattern for Mr. Price and it isn’t a good look. Possibly he believed all the good press and it fed an unhealthy ego, which in hindsight makes him no different than any other prominent CEO. As in, just being a regular tool to others.

  5. The Historian

    The Rhine, the Loire, the Yangtse, the Po, the Colorado, and on and on – and we still won’t take climate change seriously and do something now. What is it going to take?

    1. JAC

      I am with you on this question. I think people just cannot see sacrificing anything in their life. Did the idea of sacrifice die with religion? Is the idea of giving yourself up for something greater under the new religion of capitalism?

      1. Lexx

        They don’t believe their sacrifice will matter, and they don’t believe in anything greater than themselves or their immediate tribes. Their families are not asking for sacrifices from within.

        Show me the parents and grandparents who are telling their youngsters that the best path forward for them is less of everything, and maybe some poverty and chastity thrown in. Every generation is deeply self-centered regarding the future but for different reasons.

        There was this video on youtube that simply floored me. Mom and Dad can’t retire until they’ve paid off their children’s future. Holy Schmidt, indeed.

        1. Tom Bradford

          They don’t believe their sacrifice will matter

          As individuals, sacrifice is useless. Why go without when no-one else is. With leadership inspiring (or forcing) sacrifice on everyone, a-la Churchill’s “nothing to offer but blood, sweat and tears”, in pursuit of a cause “the people” can see the need for, I believe most people would still be willing do their individual bit.

          What we’re missing is that leadership.

        1. JAC

          I was not speaking of any individual directly but since you bought yourself up, I’m sure there is something else you could sacrifice. It’s fine if you don’t want to but you say there’s nothing else you can sacrifice is just untrue.

          1. kareninca

            Another option is to just say that a person who is on poverty’s cusp doesn’t really need to sacrifice. They don’t need to scout around for something to give up; in fact maybe they should get something extra to enjoy. That would seem the better option to me anyway.

            1. ambrit

              Actually, we could turn this idea “on it’s head” and talk about “sacrificing” the ‘responsible’ PMCs to the Great God of the Public Good. Say, something like in the very old days. When misfortune overcame the ‘community,’ the Head Man, and occasionally Head Woman, was publically sacrificed, often in conjunction with appropriate celestial phenomena. Hence, the “moderne” meme of Pitchforks and Guillotines.
              I could get fully behind that sort of “sacrifice.” As I read somewhere, imagine Aztec priests decked out in Grateful Dead tee shirts ripping the hearts out of the chests of low producing CEOs.
              Ken Lay died for our sins.

      2. hunkerdown

        It should have. Sacrifice is a lame ideology that only feeds the insipid priesthood/PMC. It is a means of reproducing working-class poverty.

        In fact, idealism is trash. Instead of employing a bunch of useless myth makers to consume and not actually solve the problem, which is what the capitalist priesthood/PMC will do, stop consuming the middle-class lifestyle and attitude complex.

        1. JAC

          Sacrifice is not an ideology, it’s an action. To say you don’t make sacrifices every day in your life even with the tiniest things would be untrue.

          It’s in fact you who has been brainwashed to think that sacrifice is bowing down to someone else. That’s what some religions might have taught, but that was wrong.

          Capitalism does not want you to know of your ability to sacrifice and do without because capitalism want you to keep buying their products.

          1. Scylla

            Saw your comment above, and I gotta say I was absolutely gobsmacked. Your attempts to shame those with the least when the sacrifices you demand should be made first and most heavily by those at the top are something to behold. The sacrifices people at the bottom (working class, cusp of poverty, poverty) could make would, in aggregate, pale in comparison to what those just in the top 5% alone can make. I won’t even bring up military and corporate contributions to this mess. The working class has no choice but to consume (via policy choices beyond their control). Those farther up the ladder are the ones that actually have agency.

    2. Rolf

      I think it is taken seriously by all but the essentially or willfully ignorant — I mean, how else could one dispute what is in plain sight? But those in a position of power to do anything are 1) making far too much money, 2) far too greedy, 3) calculating they will be gone (they assume to a better place) before they suffer any consequences, 4) just don’t care about anything else. Neoliberalism begets a fearful, nihilistic, narcissistic, zero sum despair of the future.

      I think it will take a real revolt to displace them. But I also think that there is tremendous strength in numbers and collective action. If enough people storm the palace gates, figuratively or literally, those in political control will have no choice but to flee. And I think we must think and work hard at a local and personal level to make things happen, and maintain hope that we can and will prevail. But these changes will not come from above, and I think it is folly to wait for such.

      1. jsn

        I agree. Our institutions and leadership are absolutely corrupted.

        For society to act on this will take clear sighted and active leadership, both qualities actively punished in our current configuration.

        It will take a revolt, as you say, to create a space again for positive change.

    3. John Beech

      Articles regarding hunger stones reappearing in central European rivers are not new . . . and no offense, but, doesn’t the mere fact they were placed there centuries ago (expressly to serve as a warning), not also imply we’ve had low water levels like these before? How and why else would these stones have been thusly placed if this isn’t true?

      Next, compared to the Sun’s variable output, is mankind really more than a pimple on an elephant’s hind quarters in terms of climate change? I sometimes wonder for several reasons.

      This, principally, because I know sea levels have been rising for thousands and thousands of years before man ever industrialized and began spewing CO2.

      Thus, does it ever cross your mind to wonder, or is there even the tiniest sliver of doubt regarding man’s role? Especially considering those pounding the global warming drum have some level of self-interest – meaning a dog in the hunt?

      Anyway, because there’s something in it for them (in terms of fame and ongoing funding), then I can’t but help myself in wondering. Others are so sanguine in their certainty they have not the smallest of doubts but with regard to me? Well, about all I am certain of ‘is’ doubt.

      And no, I am not denying there’s climate change, but I’m wondering if our role in all this is perhaps more than a tad overblown because, a) it provides both importance to those who wouldn’t merit mention in the news (so called 15 minutes of fame), and more funding to study this more (the well know self-licking ice cream cone).

      So I wonder this, is any of this of even the slightest concern . . . of pose any source of wonderment to the shine that may be being passed on, whatsoever? Put another way, are you really that certain?

      1. lyman alpha blob

        If the climate is changing, which we agree it is, and we know from relatively simple experiments how increasing concentrations of CO2 in a system can raise temperatures, and we as human beings are currently engaged in any number of activities that do increase those CO2 levels, and we have scientific proof of those levels rising rapidly, wouldn’t the smart thing to do be to stop those activities that human beings can stop, even if nature’s own processes might contribute to the problem?

        We know that trees can fall through natural processes on a person and kill them. So we don’t go around notching trees 2/3 of the way through and hope for the best.

        Industrialism as currently practiced makes the world an ugly place, whether it’s warming the climate or not. And it is warming the climate.

      2. kriptid

        Thank you for your comment John Beech. You’ve very diplomatically put forth arguments which I believe are often ignored in this debate.

        I often think of what someone like Ivan Illich would say about climate catastrophism today and how it relates to the Christian catastrophism of the past 2000 years.

        People moving in response to shifts in climate and waterflows is a tale as old as time. Many (Most?) of the great ancient cities were abandoned in response to climate changes or shifts in agriculture, riverbeds, etc. This was far before any humans had any measurable impact on the climate. They could conveniently blame these effects on the gods, while in our modern secular world, we have no choice but to point at ourselves, since surely the gods aren’t responsible.

        Even with a multiple-meter rise in sea levels, while it will spark massive upheaval and human migration, it is by no means a threat to the long-term survival of humanity. One need only look at the map of sea levels over the past 100,000 years to know that regardless if whether we were to snap our fingers and stop anthropogenic warming tomorrow, eventually (if humanity survives long enough) we will have to deal with sea level rises (or falls) that are significantly greater than any experienced thus far in human history — human made climate change or not.

        We have to distinguish between the collapse of coastal civilizations and their comforts and the extinction of humanity, which are often conflated (wrongly, in my view) when discussing climate change.

        1. redleg

          These arguments disregard population growth, among several other things such as resources.

          100k yrs ago, how many humans were there (both total and density), and what did they need to live their lives? Now compare that to today- where will displaced people go, who will they displace, how bad will the fighting get between the two groups, will scarce resources be allocated fairly, will most of humanity be willing or able to give up modern lifestyles, etc.?

          1. kriptid

            While I do agree that the scales, and thus the stakes, are much larger now than before, I stand by my statement: incremental climate change is absolutely a threat to civilization (as has always historically been the case), but not to humanity.

            Multiple times in human pre-history, the bottlenecks in evolution tell us that humanity was reduced by more than ~90% of its total population.

            It’s a matter of when, not if, a similar catastrophic event happens in the future. On a long enough timeline, the probability approaches 1.0, and our actions will never significantly alter this calculation.

            1. skippy

              “probability approaches 1.0”

              More bad maths and physics used to obscure some ex ante ideological axiom which enabled everything that got us here in the first place. Have some forgotten how VaR was deemed a reflection of reality, yet due to personal incentives pushed way past 3 months [normative], and ultimately skewed information data in that huge swaths of the market were infected with it – everyone was eating a dogs breakfast, but hay why stop when making bank in the here and now.

              “our actions will never significantly alter this calculation.” – just like I pointed out below this is the mindset that sets the stage for collapse, just as the ideologues that brought us the Natural[tm] world view of Boom and Bust economics as inevitable. Yet at the same time these sorts will tell everyone that any attempt to intercede in that paradigm will unleash the worst outcomes that could befall humanity.

              Its just gob smacking how much data/information is completely ignored or worse purposely excluded just to arrive at the preferred conclusion.

              PS don’t even get me started on this sort of dialectal front running to establish some notion of reasonable mental proposition before the cortex injection is offered – “You’ve very diplomatically put forth arguments which I believe are often ignored in this debate.”

              1. kriptid

                skippy — the Earth has experienced multiple catastrophic events that led to the extinction of the vast majority of lifeforms in its 4 billion years of existence. You can read about them easily on Wikipedia or with a Google search.

                What are the odds that another one happens in the next 1 billion years, based on the frequency they’ve occurred in the past?

                It approaches 1.0. That’s not bad math. It’s a fact. No data needs to be ‘excluded’ — you just have to observe the history of Earth and it’s pattern of catastrophe-induced extinction-level events and calculate a probability. And human presence will not alter that probability of this happening up or down one iota on a long enough timescale, just like our presence didn’t matter when these events happened before we existed.

                Angry words aren’t going to change that reality, and I’m ultimately not sure why you’re so upset about me saying something that is factually indisputable. I’m not advocating ‘against anthropogenic climate change’ — I quite believe it. But I also think the stakes are significantly overblown based on reality and on the Earth’s historical precedents. We have to be prepared to adapt as the Earth changes, regardless of ‘who’ we can or want to blame for it. Certainly, I hope we could agree that doomsaying doesn’t help anyone.

                1. skippy

                  Please I can see your dialectal miles away and quite aware of its source. I am well aware of what we know about this planets history pre and post our species. I fail to see where any of it is a factor of how you say odds, like were betting on something in a market like framework of reality.

                  I fail to see where you see any ***angry*** words or how that then is used to underline your argument about what – reality is – because you suggest you own it. Best bit is you completely ignored the facts I presented and then attempt to shift the conversation back to your ideological framework.

                  Too compound error you then issue this proclamation without any means to independently evaluate its state “factually indisputable” or how you arrived at it. The very idea that you could comport pre and post human history as being a simple mathematical formula is just so ludicrous, on so many levels, its absurd, especially in a not only a dynamic planetary sense, but one of the solar system too boot. The next thing we’ll all know is you’ll state DSGE models are “factually indisputable” reflections of reality.

                  Look I understand everything you observe is passed through some ideological filter that has a predetermined outcome, so the game is presenting the data/information in such a way that satisfies that outcome. The bit about authoritative statements without substantiation is just a hallmark of this group think and a huge tell. Furthermore the way you feel personally about it is moot, more so your need to project emotions on others to wrap yourself in some notion of “rational thought’ without emotion is again another huge tell.

                  The idea that you think[????] your a rational agent deliberating rationally because you consumed some reading material and got sucked into it is a sight to behold … goats sack … you can’t see the dripping ideological dialectal or the group think panache used to wrangle soft uninformed minds … next thing you’ll tell me is your and independent thinker … rim shot ..

                  1. kriptid

                    Listen, let me be frank, because you’re operating at a level of decorum below which I normally expect from commenters here — you don’t know anything about me beyond what you’ve conjured in your mind, nor do you have any idea where or how I’ve formed my views. So slow your roll there, partner.

                    I’ll distill my point into a paragraph, and leave it at that for you and others to consider.

                    It’s not a matter of if certain parts of the Earth become inhabitable, it’s a matter of when. We should get used to it and stop treating the Earth like it’s our little permanent Garden of Eden. Fixing climate change won’t stop the risk of extinction-level events. Nothing short of colonizing another celestial body will fully mitigate that risk. So let’s broaden the conversation to encompass the totality of humanity and its existence beyond myopically focusing on what will happen to our transient little civilization that will inevitably turn to dust, whether it’s our fault or not. Those problems are peanuts compared to the evaporation of every life form that could occur with an unlucky celestial event and yet nobody gives that a second thought or cares about it in the slightest. I see that as a dangerous oversight on the longest imaginable timescale, nothing more, nothing less.

                    1. skippy

                      “Listen, let me be frank, because you’re operating at a level of decorum below which I normally expect from commenters here”

                      Just stop .. I have been here on NC almost since day one, taken all kinds of treats including legal action for meddling in others projections. One and only one person on this blog can tell me how to act and that is Yves, full stop, you are not even in her league, by any stretch of the imagination. So don’t presume her rights on this blog and then project them at me. I know for a fact that if I did something she would sort me quick smart.

                      Firstly you proselytized that reality could be reduced to mathematics with a high success rate based on some notion of probably on some notion of a ball park millennia after it gets the ideological treatment.

                      You don’t even know what your talking about from a mathematics or physics discipline, but present your ideological offerings as having its gravitas.

                      Reminds me of … B’52 – Private Idaho – HQ


                    2. drumlin woodchuckles

                      Fixing this particular man-made climate change process will help fix this particular man-made mass extinction event we are heading into.

                      That won’t save us from the surprise nature-made mass extinction events which will happen a million years from now. Or a billion years from now. But that is irrelevant to the problem of avoiding the entirely man-made mass-extinction event we are currently heading into now. And since we are alive now, we should address the problems we have now.

                      Chiny squirrel object diversions about the speculative philosophy of natural problems in the natural future is a velcro-decoy tarbaby set up by the side of the road in complete and utter bad faith, to trick us into wasting our time and energy on addressing these shine squirrel object diversions.

                    3. Ben Joseph

                      Neutral observation. Kriptid overconfidently popping figures. Skippy unreasonably angry about it. For some reason long-time commenters have occasionally been hostile to names they don’t recognize. I was accused of being a DNC plant for suggesting student loan forgiveness doesn’t make sense without prospective tuition reform in March or so by ‘not Tim G’ and I almost stopped reading. So Skippy… don’t be so crappy to someone you don’t know. This ain’t a country club, it’s a blog. You aren’t superior…. unless Yves said so and we missed it.

                    4. skippy

                      @Ben Joseph

                      I’m not responding to some person standing next to me, I am responding to someone who thinks its cute to play dialectal games whilst switching goal posts on moving sand on NC. As someone that has spent way to much time studying and then conversing with various groups political/ideological its not difficult to determine what camp they come from.

                      Per se the idea that one would authoritatively state that whatever happened millennia ago is automatically transferable to now or the near future when so much is completely different. Then reduce it to numerical symbology and say your sums are empirical facts.

                      So the real question here is are some commentors just ignorant about this stuff or are they being deceptive so as to push some ideological agenda.

                      Would only add I hardly come out of my corner these days so its not like I’m barking mad all the time. You should have seen the old days on NC, very frisky.

        2. skippy

          The problem with all that framing is it makes the categorical error of confusing the historical past with the here and now – this thing is not like the other – sesame st.

          As noted below its the speed of events, global scale, dominant perspectives grounded in incentives supplied by neoliberal group think aka individual rewards of wealth/power, which all put together ignores a cornucopia of events like species die off in the plant and animal world, infectious diseases [see covid], and on top of it all more social goods are being stripped away from the most vulnerable so the haves can have even more.

        3. eg

          Your “let it rip” attitude towards the climate crisis is duly noted. Presumably you are of the same mind concerning pandemics?

          1. kriptid

            In life, I’ve learned to worry about the things that I can control, not the things that I can’t.

            1. skippy

              Here you go again suggesting that life is about individual agency in control of ones own life and anything bigger than that is beyond social organization finding solutions. Basically what your suggesting is all of humanity should just assume the position and except its fate because some ideology said we [Royal] should do so the self fulfilling prophecy comes true. All loss of life on the orb is just the price we should all pay so the new paradigm can be rung in.

              The idea that humanity could organize in a collective way to solve any problem is worse than whatever outcome might happen without.

      3. skippy

        Its the speed of this change “occurring globally” vs the historical record that highlights the human input which was not around 100s or 1000s of years ago. This is made more complicated by the classical mind which has always thrown sand into any discussion about the topic on the grounds that whatever humans do is “Natural” so its all part of some grand plan or inevitable.

        This mind set and its response to regional environmental factors in the past is well worn anthropology, once flourishing complex societies just had the wheels fall off. It is interesting to note that in more than a few cases the priest class which had so much agency in denying anything was wrong – just to maintain control of the social narrative – ultimately ended up on the menu.

        For myself I just find it so reminiscent of watching human responses when their concept of reality is blown away in a blink of an eye, like watching a motor seize.

        1. Wukchumni

          The new climate change normal so far hasn’t really included any winners, merely various levels of losing. Things are moving faster than our ability to react, and even if we had competent leadership it isn’t as if you can really do anything about it-the enemy of conventional climate wisdom being the march of events.

          1. skippy

            Per Jackpot – ***reality*** … its just not evenly distributed … yet …

            I maintain the perspective that the haves will ride this whole thing down like Slim Pickens [Major Kong] and reminisce what a good ride they had … because that is what really matters to them … their personal ride …

            1. Wukchumni

              The haves are all about exclusivity and better to live one life as a lion than 100 years as a sheep, flock that.

              1. chris

                It’s much worse than that.

                I can’t provide you my sources for this, but I can say from briefings I’ve received and discussions with very wealthy people I’ve had that a lot of our elites are excited about climate change.

                They’re excited about the arctic being open for shipping and drilling. They’re excited about water becoming more valuable than oil. In fact, quite a few large companies are positioning themselves to profit off of “big water”. They’re excited about Montana becoming great wine country. They’re excited about the coast line changing and creating more opportunities for development. They’re excited about public private partnerships for the infrastructure to protect the places we decide to protect. They’re excited about the opportunities to redesign cities to handle “chronic inundation”, “induced seismicity” and “heat challenged districts”. They’re excited about their investments in farmland and water rights paying off. They’re excited about future archeological expeditions to places that will become accessible due to climate change. Like all the land below the ice in Antarctica.

                These people absolutely see themselves as winners in climate change. They see no reason to stop making profits off the activities that are driving climate change because they see no reason to stop accelerating climate change. They’re looking forward to the world to come.

                They might acknowledge that there isn’t as much room for people like us in the future. But as long as they can keep shifting the idea of responsibility to suburban moms and granola eating college activists they’ll be happy to continue funding environmental goals that don’t achieve anything for the environment. They’ll always be able to find another Greta Thunberg to scold them while looking suitably young and idealistic. And most people will fall for it because they want their actions to mean something. Because who could believe that our leaders know they’re destroying the world and that they don’t care.

                1. drumlin woodchuckles

                  Can the global warming problem be addressed without first achieving the systematic and total physical mass extermination of every single one of the type of people you are describing?

                2. drumlin woodchuckles

                  I remember once long ago a blog invited people to predict their own most plausible end of the world apocalypse.

                  Mine went something like this.

                  Global warming will warm up the Arctic Ocean enough to where we can drill for gas and oil all over the Arctic Ocean. That will release enough skycarbon that Global Heating will melt all the ice off of Greenland, Baffin Island, Elsmere Island, etc. That will allow people to pump gas and oil and mine coal all over Greenland, Baffin Island and Elsmere Island.

                  The resultant Global Steaming will melt all the ice on Antarctica. That will permit people to pump gas and oil and mine coal all over Antarctica.

                  The resultant Global Autoclaving will turn Earth into Venus 2.0.

                  Clearly the pro Global Warming people are giving us problems. What did Stalin say to do about people who are giving us problems?

          2. Yves Smith Post author

            Winters and summers have both been milder since the 1990s in NYC and the Northeast, maybe even DC. That allows the people in power to think everything is fine.

            1. chris

              That’s a really good point. An example of the “there is no world hunger because I just had a sandwich” mindset whuch pervades the skulls of our elite rulers.

              I wonder if they will still be able to hold on to that notion when climate change and our own foreign policy decisions exacerbate the migration of people from the global south to our borders. It won’t be too long before the combination of heat and humidity around the tropics make that region uninhabitable.

      4. drumlin woodchuckles

        The man-made global warming theorists made predictions starting decades ago based on their theories of man-made carbon skyflooding-driven global warming. Those predictions have come true and keep coming true. That satisfied me that their theory has a strong reality basis.

        If you feel the man-made global warming theory is a self-serving myth and the relevant data don’t actually exist, then you should be thinking about the amazing contrarian-investing opportunity in front of you if you are correct.

        If the warming we have is merely natural-cycle and will reverse when the cycle reverses, and all the predictions based on the theory which have come true will come false again when the cycle turns, then you can make a lot of money by investing in those things which manmade-global-warming theory predicts will disappear and stay disappeared. For example, if natural cycle theory predicts that the ice-features will regrow and sea levels will retreat again, and people by the seaside are beginning to mass-flee from a rising sea, you should invest everything you have and everything you can borrow in flood-scheduled seaside property. When insurance for it disappears you will be able to buy it at pennies on the benjamin, and when sea levels retreat again you or your heirs will see your global warming contrarianism vindicated and you or your heirs will make a huge fortune when sheepish sea-level refugees admit how wrong they were and decide to buy back into the re-revealed or re-safety-established seaside land.

        If you really believe what you wrote, this is a contrarian investing opportunity you really won’t want to miss.

    4. drumlin woodchuckles

      “Us” take it seriously. Its “them” who don’t take it seriously. And specifically its the merchants of fossil carbon who take preserving their industries seriously. Us will have to destroy them’s power and perhaps us will have to destroy thems’ physical existence in order to remove them as the barrier between us and “taking global warming seriously”.

      It isn’t a war unless both sides are fighting. Till then, it is just oppression.

      1. LilD

        How much?
        Millions from COVID don’t seem to mean anything. 100 million? A billion?
        And over what time period?

  6. timbers

    Frustrated pharmacists are opting out of the insurance system, saving some customers hundreds of dollars a month NBC (dk)

    “At first I thought, ‘How do they do this?” Kitchen said. “But it turns out, if I go through my insurance, it’s going to be a higher cost for me.”

    Noticed this about a year ago when doing benefits orientation for a new job. The insurance the company offered covered meds, which included a general minimum co pay of $20 per maximum fill of 30 pills (or one months allotment). When I pointed out to the HR folks that many meds cost less than $20 for 3 (not 1 but 3) months or 90 pills, that to pay more for 1/3 to amount is a very big price increase, and asked why are you calling that a “benefit” they gave me a stone faced look.

    The solution of course, was not to play. In other words, decline the pharmacy “benefit” card and purchase prescriptions on your own without the company’s insurance.

    1. rob

      there was a family practice doctor in research triangle park NC, a decade ago ,or more who was on a radio show talking about how he didn’t take insurance anymore for his practice because he was able to make more money by just charging people a rate of $45/hr… for visits. He did all that he could do in house…all to the betterment of his patients. He was able to let go the five people on his payroll who used to do nothing but deal with the insurance company… all day, every day.

    2. Nikkikat

      I never went thru my insurance. The negotiated price is more than if you tell them I do not have insurance. My deductible would never be reached at 6,000.00 dollars. I went to urgent care
      And it was 85.00 thru my lousy insurance plan and 50.00 if I told them I didn’t have insurance. Same at the pharmacy. The Rx was 60.00 thru insurance and I got it for around 32.00 if I got a discount for it and did not claim insurance.

      1. foghorn longhorn

        This might be helpful for some,
        Mark Cuban started it, 15 percent above drug cost.

        1. Carla

          OK, this might sound really dumb. But if I pay cash for drugs, and I’m talking actual cash money, who’s going to know?

          1. ambrit

            Believe me, someone will be tracking the funds flow. One of the bits of evidence trotted out at the Pill Mill case in Biloxi, (that I was a member of the jury that heard it,) was a chart of cash deposits at several bank accounts associated with the major perp and his associates. Unless you manage to keep said cash completely separate from the banking system, someone will be able to find out. The real determining factor is political will. All else is technical.

  7. GramSci

    re Life hates surprises

    That must mean sentient beings must have memory! Who knew?

    Actually, the story brought to mind C. S. Peirce’s account of abduction being precipitated by surprising events. Which brings us back to XOR.

    1. hunkerdown

      By insisting on a stateless, timeless view of neural activity, you are proselytizing the logic of capitalism. XOR is stateless. T flip-flops are stateful. Neurons are stateful and bivalent. Do you understand what a massive category error you are making by treating -1 = 0? Or is this a reflection of PMC class culture where not having an opinion = not existing?

      1. GramSci

        In what sense is memory “stateless”? XOR occurs in cognition when a surprising event causes a memory-supported resonant pattern of neural activation to collapse, allowing a complementary (abductive) pattern to begin to establish itself.

        In vivo, XOR at the lowest levels manifests in the competition between e.g. the red-green pathways of the LGN or the interaction of octopus cells with principle afferents in the cochlear nucleus.

        That these low-level XORs replicate in self-similar fashion at higher levels of neural resonance is immediately obvious from familiar optical illusions like Rubin’s vase.

        I’m not sure what any of this has to do with “capitalism”, but this is the stuff revolutions are made of.

  8. Solarjay

    Solar power and heat.
    Oh boy where to start.
    First, solar panels are rated at 25c cell temperature, not ambient temperature.
    Second the output watts change with temperature. Watts go down with hotter than 25c cell temp, go UP with lower than 25c cell temp.
    This only applys to crystalline panels, some thin film panels the watts go up with hotter temps.
    How much is the loss? Here is info from LG

    How they are mounted effects the heat. Flush mount 3-4” off the roof are hotter than ground mount which have lots more air flow.

    Overall even the hottest days you might see 20% drop.
    You can see the performance for your area on this website. It’s pretty darn accurate

      1. Bsn

        These comments relate to the ones above by
        JAC JAC suggests ……

        “I am with you on this question. I think people just cannot see sacrificing anything in their life.”

        I agree. With all of the pro-nuclear articles we’ve read recently in NC and elsewhere, for example, it’s clear that few people are willing to cut back, much less eliminate anything. Mining, manufacturing, and adding solar panels (and nuclear power) as opposed to reducing “stuff” is an example of “We can’t have our cake and eat it too.”

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          If you can turn “sacrifice” into a way to hurt the class enemy worse than you hurt yourself by “sacrificing” something, then you can weaponise “sacrifice” and turn it from “sacrifice” into revenge.

          And as the saying goes, you attract more flies with revenge than with sacrifice.

      2. Rodeo Clownfish

        But they don’t “fail” at higher temperatures, as the article portrays. A slight drop in efficiency is not failure of the technology.

        1. redleg

          But when that “slight” drop in efficiency correlates with a large increase in demand (air conditioning, fans, water pumping, etc.), it becomes a significant problem. These things have to be examined as a system because context matters.

          1. heresy101

            In most places that have high heat and air conditioning, a slight decrease (0.5% per article) in solar generation won’t have much of an impact. Due to solar generation in California, there is too much generation during the daytime and the prices go negative to force some generators to stop generating. A small loss in the solar cells is just “noise” on the grid.

            Take a look at the impact of solar on the CA grid:

            Prices at 11:25 PDT are in the $35/MWh range in San Diego and may go negative later this afternoon.

    1. Dave in Austin

      Why the obvious solution is to just mount the solar panels in a shady area where it is cool…

    2. Grumpy Engineeer

      There’s another concern with hot solar panels. If the output voltage being fed into a low-end solar inverter drops too much, the inverter won’t be able to synthesize a proper sine wave without having the top of the waveform clipped. Such inverters will typically quit operating entirely to avoid injecting too much harmonic distortion into the grid.

      Higher-end inverters will have “boost” (and sometimes “buck”) circuits on the input that will elevate (or reduce) the incoming voltage to optimize the voltage coming into the inverter section, to make it work better. But they’re more costly and aren’t used everywhere.

      1. Solarjay

        Maybe 15 years ago inverters had a narrow operating window.
        Now string inverters have a operating voltage window of for example 125-600v.
        Just not an issue.

        As to watt drop with temperature rise, this is common. Water cooled steam turbines have to reduce their output when it gets above some temperature. ( nuclear, coal, ng.)

        We know that solar has output reduction, it’s factored into the design, yes that means you build it bigger to compensate.
        Just like solar has about a 1/2-1% drop in performance per year. It’s taken into the design of the system.

        1. chris

          Re: steam turbine systems vs. solar output at higher temperatures… it’s not the same at all.

          Solar power generation decreases with increasing equipment temperature because of physics. In steam turbine design power plants, technical regulations will control what levels of power generation are allowed based on the temperature of the coolant they use. E.G., you can’t raise the temperature of lake by more than X. The ceiling is mostly enforced by laws and technical operating criteria that plants must follow as part of their permits.

          And besides the issues with solar cell efficiency, most solar fields with racking for the panels suffer in the heat too. That’s because the racking often isn’t installed properly and it’s rarely maintained correctly. So you get all kinds of issues with the support structure holding the panels. These issues make it easy for the panel assemblies to operate like sails and collapse the racking. Many of these systems claim they’re rated to handle wind velocities of 150 mph or greater. But I’ve seen a dozen ground mounted systems on racking fail due to winds that are less than half that.

          Bottom line on solar is do your homework and make sure whoever installs it for you knows what they’re doing.

  9. Lex

    The new Iran deal won’t work because the US will not uphold it. When a GOP press walks away from it, he will almost certainly ignore the clause about Europe being able to keep doing business. Obviously Iran needs to keep trying to negotiate, but it must know that the US is not agreement capable. They should have put in a requirement for Senate ratification as a treaty and really put the ball in Ole Joe’s court.

    1. The Rev Kev

      That deal also has an inbuilt potential poison pill. The Iranians wanted to resolve a report of radiation found at a site but the US refused to let this happen. I would assume that this is so that after the deal is signed and the US lifts the sanctions, then the US can use that incident to put in a whole new raft of sanctions. It is what Obama did after the deal was signed the first time within the first few weeks.

      1. digi_owl

        It really boggles the mind that Iran keeps trying to make these deals, given how many times USA have stabbed them in the back afterwards.

        1. ambrit

          There is also the aspect of Iran playing to it’s domestic opinion. Iran is a big country with a sophisticated population. Thus, the government there needs to show their public that it is trying to defuse the situation peacefully before being able to blame American duplicity for whatever countermeasures it applies later.
          This could also be a part of Iran’s international strategy. Show the Russians that Iran is also committed to diplomacy first, and thus give Russia political cover for any help the Russians give Iran later.

          1. jsn

            I think the writing on the wall of US empire is much easier to read from a distance.

            Most of the world is playing for time now, waiting to see what catabolic collapse does to a highly financialized empire, as opposed to the Post Stalinist one 30 years ago.

            Which level of effective leadership finally asserts itself will define what kind of response is finally warranted. I expect it to take 5-10 years myself.

            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              The more Americans who can create their own separate survival lifeboats today, the more Americans who might be indifferent , or at least be able to be indifferent, to the catabolic collapse of empire tomorrow.

              The most effective thing which those Americans who want “peace” can do is to seccede-in-place from the empire economy as much as they realistically can.

              ” I will never raise a hand against the regime. On the other hand, I will not lift a finger to defend it, because I don’t have to.” That is the freedom which some Americans could earn for themselves if they are able to set up their Separate Survival Fortress-Lifeboat Doomsteads, either alone or better-and-more-plausibly, in like-minded groups.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “Bad physician workplace behavior: What their colleagues are noticing ”

    Yes, as a sometimes patient even I can see all sorts of misbehaviour on the part of physicians going on and I am getting very concerned and even alarmed about it all. Medscape surveyed more than 1,500 physicians about physician misbehavior but perhaps they should have also surveyed their patients for more instances of misbehaviour that could be added to that list. I can think of some-

    -Refusing to admit that the present Coronavirus uses aerosols as their primary transmission method.

    -Telling patients that masks don’t work and can in fact prove to be dangerous.

    -Advising that a score or more of children crowd into barely ventilated rooms for several hours a day and saying that only those directly next to infected kids need be concerned.

    -Refusing to admit that the present generation of vaccines are problematical at best and do not stop transmission of this virus.

    -Getting stroppy when patients try to report side-effects of some of these vaccines.

    And I notice that this misbehaviour is worse in those that are higher up in the ranks all the way to the top.

    1. Arizona Slim

      I have personally experienced this stroppy behavior.

      The last time I went to see a medical doctor was in October 2018. During that visit, he flat-out urged me to get a flu shot.

      No, I said, and I noted that my mother got the flu from a flu shot.

      “That’s NOT possible,” he retorted.

      Well, it sure as heck was possible for my mother, and the shot that make her sick was the last flu shot she ever got.

      Me? I’ve never had one.

      1. Pat

        I have had two. I got the flu, or reacted with flu symptoms both times. Never again. Doctors can tell me it is impossible all they want.

        1. Tvc15

          I got the flu shot once and also got the flu that year for the only time in my life. My PCP said the same thing as the current Covid messaging, be glad you got the shot or it would have been much more severe. Never again and also factored into my reasoning to not get the Covid shots.

      2. CanCyn

        It is funny how I drank the Koolaid on flu shots for years. Still don’t really doubt them but no longer as sure as I once was. Started getting them on my doc’s advice when my father and mother-law were in their waning years and both vulnerable to the flu. My doc told me that people who get the flu ‘from’ the shot had just coincidentally been exposed to the flu around the same time and got sick because the shot hadn’t had time to take effect. That made sense to me. After my Dad and MIL died, I wasn’t as diligent about getting the flu shot. In 2018, no shot, got the flu and I was seriously ill, missed a week of work. I remember the flu being bad for a lot of people that year as was 2019 just before the pandemic. Hmm.
        I am thrice COVID vaccinated: Pfizer, Moderna, Moderna. I won’t be getting another one. I fell mostly to peer pressure. My objections to the vaccine include the lack of testing and profiteering and the fact that they have become an excuse to do nothing else to fight COVID. I have a minor had bladder problem ever since I got the second dose. Got the third booster before I made the link. My doctor and my gynaecologist both looked at me like I have 3 heads when I suggested that the vaccine might be the cause of my otherwise seemingly undiagnosable problem.

      3. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        I’ve gotten a bunch of flu shots over the years whether in University or in the Military.

        Never gotten the flu or sick in any way.

        Also, back in 2012 I got my first nasal flu shot. It blew my mind. Had no idea you could use the nose and not have a needle stuck in you!

      4. Yves Smith Post author

        Research says flu shots may be effective if taken less often:

        Dr. Edward Belongia is among the scientists who have seen the picture coming into focus. He and some colleagues at Wisconsin’s Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation reported recently that children who had been vaccinated annually over a number of years were more likely to contract the flu than kids who were only vaccinated in the season in which they were studied.

        “The vaccine was significantly more effective … if they had not been vaccinated in the previous five years,” Belongia, an epidemiologist, recounted in a recent interview with STAT….

        Then in 1999, a leading influenza researcher, Derek Smith, suggested that in years when a component of the vaccine — say the part that protects against the influenza A family called H3N2 — had changed little or not at all from the previous year’s vaccine, the second year’s vaccine would induce less protection. Smith, now based at Britain’s University of Cambridge, called it negative interference.

        The idea is that the antibodies produced in year one may neutralize some of the vaccine in year two’s shot before it can trigger a full immune response, explained Dr. John Treanor, a vaccine expert at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York.

        Smith also argued that when the vaccine viruses were quite different from one year to the next the recipient would actually get enhanced protection. Positive interference, he called it.

        Skowronski started to see evidence of negative interference in the mid-2000s, when she and a fellow Canadian researcher, Dr. Gaston De Serres of Quebec’s public health agency, found the flu vaccine was significantly less effective than they had expected. Conventional wisdom at the time was that it cut the risk of catching the flu by 70 percent to 90 percent. But even during flu seasons when the vaccine was well-matched to the viruses making people sick, it wasn’t proving that effective.

        In their search for answers, the researchers considered the people they were studying. About 90 percent were getting flu shots every year. “They’re habitual immunizers,” Skowronski said.

        Figuring out whether negative interference is real and what can be done about it is important, Treanor said. But if the phenomenon really exists, researchers have unearthed a problem without an immediate solution.

        That’s because influenza vaccine protects against three or four different families of flu viruses. The vaccines only come in the combination form.

        A number of research teams are working to develop a universal flu vaccine, one that trains the body’s immune system to fight off all flu viruses. The goal is to have a vaccine people might need to take only a few times in their lives, maybe once a decade. That might solve the problem, Treanor said — but he noted a universal flu vaccine could be years away.

        In the meantime, high-dose vaccines might help ensure that vaccines don’t become less effective over time. The extra vaccine in the shot might override the dampening effect of previous years’ antibodies. But Treanor cautioned that theory hasn’t yet been put to the test. And the sole high-dose flu vaccine available in the US — made by Sanofi Pasteur — is licensed for use only in adults 65 and older.

        Likewise, an adjuvanted vaccine — one that includes a compound that boosts the immune response the vaccine generates — might prove effective. Although none is currently licensed in the United States, one may be coming.

        I had never had a flu shot and just rushed in to get one because this year’s flu is expected to be nasty and I am about to turn 65 and didn’t want to be forced to take the high dose version.

        I didn’t have a problem. But I don’t plan to get a shot again for quite a few years.

        1. CanCyn

          It would make sense to decide on your flu shot based on how much has changed from last year’s dose based on this study. Thanks for sharing it Yves. Now, just spit balling here but if this positive and negative interference is a thing, then continued boosters of the same Covid vaccine doesn’t make much sense does it? I do recall another study discussed here that looked at ‘immune system burnout’ from too many boosters. So much going on here, so much more to know. Too bad the MSM isn’t reporting any of it.

    2. Objective Ace

      I think a larger problem is corporate doctor’s offices that restrict doctors on what they can do/say/prescribe. Even if a doctor wants to prescribe IVM or write a vaccine medical exemption for an employer, they are forbidden to do so. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the problems you are seeing are related

  11. flora

    re: other Trump

    Two things:

    1. A flipant joke going around is that Trump is starring in a reality TV show called “Get Trump”, now in its sixth season. The raid was the cliffhanger ending of season six. Now we wait for the start of season seven of “Get Trump.”

    2. This serious Breaking Points episode with Ken Klippenstein and William Arken is good.

    ANALYSIS: Why the FBI Raided Mar-a-Lago | Breaking Points & The Intercept

    1. griffen

      Season seven opener, The Gang Can Finally Shoot Straight (after all, maybe). This time they get their man, and his nefarious support personnel too! Rudy Guiliani is reported that his role will be played the fictional Rudy who never played football at ND. \sarc

      My apologies to Sean Astin. Then again, Goonies never say die ! Back to your point, is this Watergate ~ 2022 but without the capable reporting and the culpable political actors being caught like deer in the headlights? I’m still thinking, maybe not. Trump is just hated and loathed and despised.

    2. Carolinian

      Well Trump does like being on television. Unfortunately “Hollywood for ugly people” isn’t very good at coming up with plausible story lines. I’d give it a thumbs down Roger.

      1. flora

        Thanks for the reminder of Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert’s “At the Movies” TV show, where I’ll add the bit that Roger Ebert won a Pulitzer Prize for his commentary on same. Those were the days. I miss those guys and there commentaries on popular cultural stuff the “movies”.

        1. flora

          And adding (and going on too long), his brief shout-out to Pauline Kael’s movie reviews, (where Kael was recognized as the then (1960s-80s) doyenne of the US’s serious movie reviewers) ,said much about Roger’s appreciation of both the art of movie making and of the cultural resonance of language and drama.

          Adding: Kael’s movie reviews are stunning. Her review of the 1960’s French docu movie “The Sorrow and the Pity” is absolutely grounding, imo. If you have a few hours to spend, and have a video shop that rents it, and are interested in that history and time, then I so recommend watching “The Sorrow and the Pity.”

          But, time and the river, etc.

          OK. I’ll stop now. / ;)

          1. Carolinian

            Have movie on my shelf. Of course it gets a big shout out in Annie Hall.

            And I’m not sure what Kael thought of Ebert but she had her clique and don’t believe he was in it. Back then people took critics a lot more seriously and she was indeed the doyenne with some dissenters. While Kael was my favorite, these days I agree more with Ebert’s attitude that what a critic has to say is just one person’s opinion. To me Kael’s glory days were in the sixties when she produced some brilliant big picture essays on the movie biz. Newspaper critics tended to be strictly reviewers.

            It’s all “gone with the wind” with the general decline of the print journalism business. Some well known critics have been pink slipped.

            1. ambrit

              Don’t ask me why, but I always enjoyed Rex Reed’s interviews with “Entertainment Figures.” His piece on Barbara Streisand is savage and wonderful.

        2. rowlf

          Hmm… now I want to try a Joe Bob Briggs review of the Trump drive-in movie film.

          “No breasts. About a hundred drone corpses. Adam Schiff freak out. FBI Fu. TPP heart punch scene. Cabinet selection flop. Inconclusive ending. Two stars. Joe Bob says check it out.”

  12. griffen

    Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen….well there are a number of reviews and articles available once you can start using which ever search function one chooses. Was just watching a cover by KD Lang, whom I recall was popular in the ’90s but lost track of what she has been up to. She has serious vocals to apply for that song. My first recall of the song is not from Cohen, but a cover by Jeff Buckley getting serious play on MTV ( yes, young child, MTV did play music videos before ~ 2006 ).

    Maybe it does receive a lot of attention for the covers, or so forth. But is flattery from your adoring followers really such a bad thing? It’s not like bands are covering “Who let the dogs out” for an instrumental backing on a serious or mood stealing scene in a movie or series. Back to the tune by Cohen, the appeal to me is a certain aspect of religious knowledge combined with doubting and a gospel feel to the song. Just incredible to my ears and mind. YMMV.

    1. playon

      The “secret chord” is actually a chord progression – in the key of C it would be
      F, G, Am and then A major (the “lift” from minor to major). Try it on the piano or guitar if you have one around… it is indeed a very “churchy” sound.

      1. Bsn

        It’s also called the “Picardy 3rd”. And regarding Leonard Cohen, I appreciate his music and understand why his music is loved by so many, but he’s a bit of a one hit wonder. Before you jump on me, can you name 2 other “hits” of his without looking it up on Brave (avoid gaggle).

        1. CanCyn

          Within 3 seconds of seeing your post
          Bird on a Wire
          Famous Blue Raincoat
          And more

          For another spectacular interpretation of Cohen, see the absolutely amazing Jennifer Warren’s album – Famous Blue Raincoat. A classic, beloved by many audiophiles and often used when testing a stereo system

          1. CanCyn

            Correction- it is Jennifer Warnes. And hits don’t define good songs IMO. Cohen was a prolific writer who wrote and recorded many great songs. In his later years, he wasn’t much of a singer (some would argue he never was) but had that special something, a presence and ability to interpret a song that was worth seeing and listening to.

            1. jax

              Leonard Cohen continues to rise in my expectations. His final album, “You Want it Darker”, wrestles with all of his demons while rising to ‘Hallelujah.’ He’s nearly at spoken word in this, but it is, as always, sublime.

              If you are the dealer, I’m out of the game
              If you are the healer, it means I’m broken and lame
              If thine is the glory, then mine must be the shame
              You want it darker
              We kill the flame

        2. griffen

          The music industry is just littered with one hit wonders, which in hindsight may really mean the act was a one trick pony. No second act or follow on smash after the original tune attracted national or even global attention.

          I can recall after the big splash from Nirvana and Pearl Jam and the many Seattle sound musical acts, every stone was dug up to find that next Cobain, Vedder, Chris Cornell or Layne Staley. But in reality, those talents and their music were just varied and unique. And, I don’t really like Pearl Jam much at all.

            1. griffen

              That’s really not tangential at all to this conversation? I don’t get the tie in. Sorry if I really don’t follow.

              Nothing to do with Cohen, or talented songwriters or anything just above about the Seattle bands of the early 1990’s.

      2. QuicksilverMessenger

        For some reason this reminded me of a talk by Randy Bachman (The Guess Who, BTO) about the “most famous opening chord in rock and roll”. Books have been written about it and he was lucky enough to meet George Martins son who had all the Beatles tracks in ProTunes. He asked Backman what he wanted to hear. He said ‘A Hard Days Night’

      1. Will

        This is pushing me down a well worn path.

        Since we’re talking about covers, might start by rewatching this Cohen tribute concert organized shortly after his death. Put on by and featuring a Swedish sister act called First Aid Kit, it includes readings of Cohen’s poetry.

        1. wilroncanada

          Interesting. Before I read any of Cohen’s poetry., or heard any of his music, I read his novel, Beautiful Losers. He has certainly been a lot more than a one-hit wonder. I could add to CanCyn’s list Everybody Knows, Firt We Take Manhattan, So Long Marianne, sisters of Mercy, I’m your Man.
          At the time Cohen was starting out, there was a(n) famous/infamous poet named Irving Layton (nee Peter Lazarovitch) making waves in Toronto and Montreal. After a burst of noise, mostly self-promotion, he pretty much disappeared into academia.

  13. bassmule

    Re: The Marine Gazette story

    I sent a link to the NY TImes when this first came out. Not a peep. Only publication I could find that picked it up was LaRouche! Seems to have been thoroughly buried. No surprise, I guess. Anybody else seen it anywhere but here?

  14. The Rev Kev


    ‘Three Mig-31 supersonic interceptor aircraft carrying Kinzhal air-to-surface hypersonic missiles have been deployed to Russia’s western exclave of Kaliningrad, the country’s Defense Ministry has announced.’

    The Kinzhal’s own range of 2,000 kilometers may take in as far as the UK but as has been pointed out by others, America doesn’t live in Europe so may not worry about this development. But there may be another reason why the Russians stationed those Kinzhals in Kaliningrad. Recently the Estonians came up with the bright idea that as Finland & Sweden are going into NATO, that those country’s missiles will cover the straights between them thus turning the Baltic into a NATO lake. Having Kinzhals deployed in their rears may be a reminder that trying to do this may have consequences-

  15. Lex

    The nuttier members of parliament and the senate are starting to talk about Article 5 if there’s a radiation release from ZNPP. Do they think it’s a magic spell?

    Lots of Crimean provocations that look like probing air defenses and Russian predictions that 8/24 will see an attempt at significant escalation in Crimea. Taken with the Article 5 statements and a slightly conspiratorial analysis, the rumbles that all along the Zelensky line Ukrainian forces are near collapse might suggest that the masters know time is short so they demand escalation.

    1. digi_owl

      Now the F are they going to justify that?!

      Article 5, if we are talking about NATO here, is invoked by a member nation in response to an attack.

      Are they trying to twist such a leak into being considered an attack?

      Sadly i suspect most member nations would go along with that charade, for fear of being ostracized (or worse) if they don’t.

  16. The Rev Kev

    ‘Breaking: This morning, Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) raided Al-Haq’s office in Ramallah, confiscated items and shut down the main entrance with an iron plate leaving behind a military order declaring the organization unlawful 1/2’

    You’d think that the Israeli Occupation Forces could at least have waited until the staff of Al-Haq’s office had left that office before closing it up with that iron plate.

    1. digi_owl

      The only thing lacking was them chucking in a few “smoke” grenades before slamming the plate closed…

  17. griffen

    Working class holiday vs middle class holiday, is kind of a hoot. Also, what the heck are the middle class holiday seekers packing hundreds of pounds of gear for hiking. They must be middle class idiots. My bad it is hundreds of pounds worth of gear. Still, slightly moronic.

    Kids, here’s a cheap backpack with some granola bars and hydration supply. You know, in case you grumble about getting zero cell reception. Also we’re not climbing Mt. Everest but (most likely) walking upwards then downwards for 5 or 6 miles.

    1. Lexx

      I’ve met both classes on vacation, and their complaining about how they should have had a better vacation. Like vacation was supposed to resolve their sense of fatigue, anger, and dissatisfaction considering the money, and it doesn’t and they’re even more ticked off.

      I have fingers crossed on both hands hoping they’ll figure out they could just stay home and order in. Don’t cook or clean. Turn off their phones and catch up on sleep. But nooooooo… where’s the bragging right and instagram photos!?

      ‘I’m tired of sharing happy places with whiners’… Lexx whined.

      We prefer looking for food in ‘all the wrong places’, e.g. pubs. It’s not just burgers, and fish and chips anymore. Brew pubs stepped up their game.

    2. LifelongLib

      Well, I like beer better than wine, but I’d rather visit a cathedral than ride a moped…maybe I could ride a moped to the cathedral?

  18. Michael Ismoe

    Breaking: This morning, Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) raided Al-Haq’s office in Ramallah, confiscated items and shut down the main entrance with an iron plate leaving behind a military order declaring the organization unlawful

    The same thing happened at Mar-a-Lago.

  19. pjay

    – ‘Liz Cheney and Trump are the Two Faces of American Totalitarianism’ – Richard (RJ) Eskow (furzy)

    I was starting to get irritated reading this article, because Eskow seemed to be saying that the “Two Faces” were the Cheney and Trump factions of the Republican Party, leaving out the Democratic/neolib/CIA faction entirely. But it started to get closer to the truth at the end, for example:

    “But this threat to Cheney and her crowd also offers them an opportunity. As Republicans fall in line behind Trump’s lowbrow totalitarianism, Democrats and liberal voters are increasingly embracing the high-tech, lexically sophisticated authoritarianism of the intelligence and military establishments. They idealize the FBI and CIA, hang onto the televised words of generals, and elevate war criminals like George W. Bush and Dick Cheney at the slightest prompting. (In Bush’s case, apparently all it took was a piece of candy.)”

    “Cheney and her colleagues are smart. If they have an endgame, and they almost certainly do, it is to build on this growing liberal support for elites – the same elites that have been eroding American democracy for decades. My suspicion is that Cheney’s new organization, “the Great Task,” will raise a great deal of money from Democrats in the name of opposing Trump and will use it to reinforce elite perceptions, institutions, and power…”

    Eskow is still a little too partisan to admit the completely bipartisan nature of the Establishment – and the increasingly obvious fact that Trump ain’t in it! But he does make a lot of good points about the hypocrisy, and/or cluelessness, of many liberals.

  20. Lexx

    Somehow not surprised to see it’s an image of Nicholas Cage’s face that’s revealed, then tossed back into the net.

    Who is the action figure supposed to be?

    1. amechania

      Not sure about the action figure, and had planned on going dark a bit longer, but the performer is michael rayner, aka broken juggler.

      Found him last month through this set. “Sneaky Pickle”

      I believe it took him significantly longer than lockdown to learn that skill. Not everything is always as it appears. Though to be fair, I have been watching alot of comedy on youtube since lockdown so… fifty fifty.

  21. The Rev Kev

    ‘Sahra Wagenknecht
    Was ist #Ampel-Wahnsinn? Einen #Wirtschaftskrieg anfangen,der uns mehr schadet als Russland. Danach Verbraucher ua. mit #Gasumlage zur Kasse bitten, um damit teures&klimaschädliches #LNG-Gas von US-Konzernen zu kaufen, die dabei exorbitante Profite machen🙈’

    Sahra Wagenknecht has an interesting history and seems to be nobody’s fool. Here she is complaining about Germany buying highly expensive LNG from the US which all helps damage the climate. I read the other day that in the US they get LNG for about $300 (I forget the unit) but when shipped to the EU, then gets about seven times that price because markets-

    1. Skip Intro

      “What is ‘Ampel-Wahnsinn’? Start an economic war that hurts us more than Russia. Then squeeze consumers among others, to buy expensive, climate destroying LNG from US corporations that make exorbitant profits”

      Ampel =traffic light, the Red-Yellow-Green CDU/FDP/SPD coalition dismantling the vassal German economy.

      1. The Rev Kev

        ‘Ampel-Wahnsinn’ translates as traffic-light madness so it must be a colloquial term. I can’t say that I have heard it used before.

  22. Wukchumni

    Those large European rivers demoted to creek status are quite something and when you consider we’re in a closed system on this good orb where the water never goes away-it merely gets redistributed somewhere else, and Texas will be the next recipient of too much-too soon, with as much as 10 inches coming in the next week.

    1. David

      Well, it’s worth pointing out that the Loire is a notoriously shallow river, and requires frequent dredging. Parts of it always dry out completely during the summer. On the other hand, there were torrential rain and hailstorms in many parts of France (including the Loire) last week, so there’s a separate series of images online now of the Loire and its tributaries overflowing their banks. Welcome to extreme weather every day.

      1. Carolinian

        I once bicycled down the Loire valley and have a picture of myself in front of Chambord, which makes our Carolina Biltmore look pitiful by comparison.

        Didn’t seem very cozy inside though. Would be better to set up a tent outside and just look at it.

      2. Dave in Austin

        During my 20-plus summers biking all acrass Europe from what was then called Leningrad to Bantry Bay in Ireland, I made it a practice to swim across all the great rivers. Dodging the Dutch 300-foot, family-owned barges on the Rhine was a bit of a chore and the Oder was a bit of a problem when it was the border between east-and west.

        But I never dared the Loire. The Loire is the last large wild river in Europe. It comes down from the mountains in torrents and then in the late summer is lazy and slow. But the average current is 4 knots and the river was so unpredictable that the French never built a canal along the route. Only the first 50 miles-or-so near the Atlantic are actually used by ships. But biking it is a pleasure because the land along it can rarely be developed so the space for rough camping is everywhere. It was the only river where I met wild horses sniffing around my tent in the morning.

    2. curlydan

      My thought is that we’ve taken/pumped so much of the water out of the ground (i.e. aquifers) that it’s now much more in the atmosphere. So we get these torrential rain events and bone dry rivers that were traditionally fed by aquifer connected springs.

      Earlier this summer I visited western Kansas to see some “badlands” like structures. The Smoky Hill River is in that area–always a “blue line” on a western map. There was virtually no blue or water of any sort in that river. Once fed by springs connected to the Ogallala aquifer, it’s all gone now as the farmers have pushed water levels so far down to feed us cheap corn, soy, etc while we see the endless sea of crop circles from the sky.

      1. Sue

        Really good observation. Especially since water vapor is the earth’s most abundant greenhouse gas. If we are adding a lot more water to the atmosphere by pumping water from aquifers to the Earth’s surface, then this must be contributing significantly to climate change—along with deforestation, since trees sequester carbon, prevent soil erosion and aid in water conservation. But governments keep cutting and clearing to the Earth’s and our detriment.

  23. Bugs

    Interesting statistical work on Covid rates vs excess death rates in high, middle and low income countries:

    “This goes to show, once again, that the impact of the pandemic on the developing world should not be minimized. The perception that the high-income countries have been dealt the most severe blow is not correct. Indeed, the results above suggest the complete opposite”

  24. MariaCid

    “This is the Loire, the longest river in France. It’s gone now. It evaporated.” No it hasn’t.
    Yes the river is low. The riverbed is meters below what you see in places. Water is still flowing through the gravel.

    Selected pictures of branches of the Loire are showing dry bars. The potential GLOCATOE! Global Carbon Tax On Everything! profiteers love this stuff.

  25. The Rev Kev

    “The 2028 L.A. Olympics Are Already Creating a Housing Disaster”

    I wonder what they are going to do with the homeless while the Olympics are on? There are over 66,400 of them in LA at the moment but you would expect there to be more by 2028. Of course they could get the US gov to open up some FEMA camps for them but if they really wanted to do the right thing for them, arrange replacement clothes for any that need them, have laundry services, give them three squares a day, arrange dental checks and treatment for all that needed it, arrange any vaccinations of ordinary diseases, try to arrange jobs for those willing to work, etc. I know that none of this will ever happen but with the billions that will be spent on the Olympics, the cost of this would be pocket change.

    1. Wukchumni

      Of course, the alternative is to have Olympic events for the homeless to compete in…


      Really small bore shooting up

      Long jump from stability to despair

      Dumpster diving

      1. ambrit

        You forgot broken field running, as in dodging the cops. This can be subdivided into different lengths of course. Much of it can be done in and around the City of Los Angeles as off site events. The infrastructure for this class of events is prebuilt and so these events will be cheap to run. A related event would be Wall Climbing. I’d give Mexican Americans an edge in the Morning Line in this.

    2. Utah

      When Salt Lake City had the Olympics in 2000, we gave our homeless free bus tickets to California. I assume it would be cheapest for LA to return the favor and send their homeless to anywhere but there. Not that places like Salt Lake City and Portland, Oregon don’t already have more homeless than we know what to do with. Friend that works on the ground with the homeless (“unhoused” as she says) says normally there are about 300. The last this summer census was 1000. We don’t even have the shelter beds for that because the state made a deal to expand Medicare to the homeless and get people treatment and get rid of 200 ish shelter beds. But then they didn’t expand Medicare, surprise surprise.

      My guess is that LA will pull a Salt Lake, pretend to make new services, cut the number of beds, and send everybody as far away as they can.

    3. Pat

      I have to wonder if any LA politicians are thinking of taking a page from Texas, past and present.
      Buses to Austin, Dallas and Houston would be far cheaper than the camps much less doing the right thing.
      (And while it is migrants now, you really could watch homeless people get off buses in Port Authority bus station in NYC that came from Texas a few decades ago. it just wasn’t considered a political badge of courage to announce it on either side then.)

      1. Carolinian

        A lot of CA’s homeless probably came from places like Texas. That sunny but not too hot climate once attracted movie studios and is doubtless also favorable to outdoor living.

        Wuk says car dealers are going out of business. Put them there. They could even bring their own cars.

        1. anon in so cal

          California Governor Gavin Newsom’s campaign apparently ran ads in Florida urging people to move to California. This is at the same time that California is restricting water usage due to a severe drought.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            He was probably doing it to troll Governor DeSantis.

            What if DeSantis returned the favor by bus-ticketing a few hundred thousand very poorest Floridians to California? He could say he was just helping along the Newsome agenda by helping those Floridians which Newsome invited to California actually get to California.

    4. Anthony G Stegman

      it isn’t just the Olympics that displace people. The Super Bowl is another event that should be cancelled, or held on some billionaire’s private island each year. When Super Bowl L came to Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, CA some of the offsite parties were held in downtown San Jose. The San Jose police ran roughshod on peoples rights when clearing out “undesirables”. Many events were also held in San Francisco where the marginalized were also mistreated by the SFPD. Of course the security around the stadium was oppressive what with the M16 toting military, the Blackhawk gunships flying overhead, and the huge cannon placed directly in front of the stadium entrance. All of this security was paid for by the taxpayers. The hoi polloi was not allowed anywhere near the stadium on game day.

      1. Objective Ace

        Unless the NFL is specifically asking for this its kind of tough to blame football. This kind of police abuse happens at just about any place of business/commerce. The super bowl is just a larger event so you see more of it. The larger culprit is the police and police practices which is what we should be outraged about

  26. Wukchumni

    Man bites dog story:

    A UK man has been jailed for eight months after he bit a police dog and assaulted an officer.

    Matthew Boulter, of Grimsby, was convicted after pleading guilty to assaulting an emergency services worker, causing unnecessary suffering to an animal, assault, criminal damage and two counts of battery.

    Police were called to arrest the 34-year-old after reports of a series of assaults last Sunday.

    As an officer attempted to arrest Boulter, the Grimsby native punched and kicked some fencing towards the officer, causing some minor injuries.

    A police dog, named PD Xander, was dispatched to assist with the arrest, but Boulter refused to go down without a fight, biting the animal on the head before grabbing and twisting its collar.

    1. griffen

      If they test that police dog for rabies and it comes back positive, what’s the plan for the above named individual who did the biting? Also, who in the hell bites a dog.

      I had always thought “Cujo” needed a sequel to the original horror flick. Instead of man in Ford Pinto vs animal it could be man in Smart car vs enraged animal.

    2. Stephen

      Grimsby was traditionally a fishing town so I always believed they bred tough people there but this sounds like utter madness!

  27. The Rev Kev

    “Pathetically, Hillary Clinton is smearing Bernie Sanders as sexist again.”

    I do wonder. Are those two now history as far as Presidential runs concerned? Hillary basically took over the Democrats and ran it into the ground in her Presidential bid. And if she ran again, I am sure that the Republicans would bring up the fact that Russiagate was her invention. And Bernie? Sorry to say that twice now he has gotten together a large movement but twice folded and told his followers to kneel to the Democrat candidate instead. First Hillary and then old Joe. Would people be really willing to risk having this happen a third time knowing that he will likely buckle again? Maybe it is time both of them stepped aside permanently from the front stage.

    1. digi_owl

      Bernie may be running more to scare concessions out of the opposition than anything, but frankly such concessions never survives congress.

      It is high time we all get through our heads that the US president is a figurehead. Outside of short term emergencies the real power resides with congress. And there the same people, like Pelosi, have been around since the 80s.

      That old Planck comment about science advancing by how fast people die may as well be applied to politics as well. In particular in places like USA that do not have anything like an enforced retirement age.

      1. marym

        “running more to scare concessions out of the opposition”

        I’ve always thought that was something like his initial intent the first time around. When it took off he tried to step up to the new challenge.

        I’m not among the critics of how he handled it within the constraints of running as a Democrat. I do think that approach has been proven ineffective against the establishment, whether he tries again, someone else who doesn’t even have his history and skill at raising issues and speaking for the people.

        Even if the Sanders candidacies had some logic and usefulness at the time, that time is has passed unless there’s a candidate with some unexpected organizing and inspirational gifts; or unless there’s a small-d democratic, class-focused, diversified movement gaining strength outside the electoral process, which a candidate can plausibly represent.

      2. playon

        I would argue that the real power resides in the State department and US intelligence agencies.

      3. drumlin woodchuckles

        A President has a lot of power through the Administrative State, which is why Bannon and others wish to deconstruct the Administrative State, to make sure no pro-Conservation President ever again has an effective Department of Interior to put a pro-conservation Secretary at the head of, for example.

        So Congress matters in its area, and the President matters in its area.

    2. John Wright

      One can wonder if HRC’s epitaph will be

      “I should have won”

      Introspection appears to not be her strong suit.

      She had many years to learn the art of politics from her husband and his associates. She should have known that using a private e-mail server, and being allowed to delete thousands of emails before turning the data over to the government, would not be seen as other than a dodge to avoid scrutiny.

      She should have known that giving Wall Street speeches for 100’s of thousands would not be viewed favorably.

      She should have known that maintaining “public positions/private positions” would be viewed as two-faced.

      She should have known that the “Clinton Foundation” would be viewed as a influence peddling collection agency.

      She should have known that the destructive Libyan intervention she advocated for was unjustified and her words after the event about Gadaffi “We came, we saw, he died” showed a cruel personality trait. .

      And she should have known how to do Electoral College vote counting after an adult lifetime in politics targeting the presidency.

      She should have been massively embarrassed to lose to Donald Trump and quietly left the political scene.

      Instead she keeps trying to garner publicity.

        1. jr

          This. She’s addicted to power like a crackhead loves crack. A friend of a friend has stories of her mistreating White House interns for a cruel laugh. Whether it’s killing people or mockinh their outfits, it’s all the same to her.

      1. ilpalazzo

        Yes but these facts are known because of wikileaks, email hacks etc. therefore Russian disinformation and irrelevant.

  28. Ignacio

    RE: France opposes Spain’s gas pipeline project – media RT (Kevin W)

    IMO, the French are right on this. The pipeline doesn’t make sense. First, it is a long term project and the main source (Algeria) is declining so it’s long term viability would depend on new developments in countries South to Algeria with known but unproven gas fields and enlargement of pilelines both to the North and to the South, the later in a not very stable region politically — this brings questions with Paris stance given they might have other political imperatives in the region.– but in any case this is not solution for next winter.

    The article referred in the article published at El País was indeed one of the most confused stories published in this declining outlet. There was in the paper a misguided discussion of pipelines for NG that could be designed to transport hydrogen later. A very stupid idea pushed by some reporter without the slightest knowledge on the theme and very possibly misguided by her corporate sources

    1. Will

      Hasn’t NC featured several links regarding the curtailing of ties between Spain and Algeria? Perhaps most importantly threats to natural gas supply contracts because of Spain’s recognition of Morocco’s claims over Western Sahara (an ally of Algeria), which was the payoff organized by the US for Morocco normalizing relations with Israel? I think there was talk of adding to Spain’s capacity for receiving LNG from the US and how that *might* make up for Algerian supply. I also seem to recall Algeria and Italy are planning a new gas pipeline.

      But perhaps it’s my memory playing tricks with me. If not, then it seems odd that Spain and France are fighting about distribution when supply appears uncertain.

      1. ambrit

        Unless the EU adopts a policy of “robust” neo-imperialism.
        “Let’s show the Americans how ‘securing’ foreign natural resources for ourselves is done!”

      2. kriptid

        The Spain-Algeria spat doesn’t make a lot of sense on its face. Until you ask if the reason Spain was willing to thumb their nose at Algeria is because the US whispered in their ear the following three letters: “LNG”.

        The spot market for LNG in Europe is about 5x what it is in the US right now. If the US were to offload LNG to Spain at, say, a 10-20% discount to European spot prices, Spain could export to the rest of Europe and pocket the premium. A tidy piece of business.

        It’s been covered previously by NC how Spain has by far the largest storage capacity for LNG and they’ve already significantly increased their business with the US since the Algeria issue started bubbling:

        Depending on the particulars, such a deal might make financial sense for Spain.

  29. The Rev Kev

    “How Russia is dodging Western sanctions with gray-market imports”

    ‘A deeper dive into the gray market has meant that Russians continue to have access to such goods as iPhones and Zara dresses even months after their Western makers left Russia. But are these parallel imports even legal?’

    Federal Customs Service of Russia: ‘We. Don’t. Care.’

    1. digi_owl

      Years ago i read about a company making high end media hardware that got a confusing support call. The called claimed he had all the documentations and receipts, except that the serial number should not exist.

      After quite a bit of detective work they found out that the subcontracted factory where they did the assembly ran unlisted night shifts. And the people involved had even set up a fake sales office complete with business cards.

      Having a shipment of phones or similar be “accidentally” marked as faulty, only to end up in Siberia rather than some Chinese dump, would be child’s play.

      1. Polar Socialist

        Some of it is not even that gray market. I did see somewhere that while Renault did close it’s factory in Russia, it did not close it’s sales network in Belarus. So apparently it’s possible to buy a Renault from Belarus with all the needed paperwork to register it in Russia and even retain the guarantee due to the two countries being in an economic union.

  30. Darthbobber
    Absolutely hilarious. A couple of Maxar images neither showing the whole area nor a close view of any part, and the talking head and unnamed “expert” tell us that this shows that there’s been no significant shelling by anybody.
    (Of course, it also doesn’t show Russian weaponry everywhere, but nevermind.
    1. No date and time identifying info shown for the images, and even if there were this crop wouldn’t let us see what we’re being told we see.

    2. If true, the absence of ANY shelling would debunk a lot more narratives than Putin’s, since shelling at the plant has been the key ingredient in the whole effort at generating hysteria.

    3. Early on she does the old eyebrow arch and mouth twist to let us know how silly it is to think that Ukraine would shell “it’s own nuclear power plant…in it’s own country.”

    How stupid must they assume the audience is?

    1. anon in so cal

      Maxar Technologies is the top geospatial intelligence contractor for the US Department of Defense, and, allegedly, the CIA. Maxar images were used to push the Bucha narrative.

    1. Utah

      I work with kids in an n95, my partner works with special needs kids and doesn’t wear one. She brings home the colds and I catch them from her. She even got mumps in the middle of covid shutdowns. Luckily I didn’t catch that one. My MMR booster from 20 years ago didn’t let me down. Too bad the same can’t be said for covid vaccines.

    2. Maxwell Johnston

      No colds since Covid started. Weird. I’m pretty good about masking, but still…. And I travel a lot (in airplanes), and live up north. Not complainin’ just sayin’.

    3. bradford

      Yep. Used to get two or three bad colds a year, none since the epidemic got rolling. I started taking 2000 IU D3, masking, and mostly avoiding people at the same time. It is of course hard to know which, if any, made the difference, but the “avoiding people” is the only one that I have much interest in changing.

    4. SES

      Same here. My partner and I got our last cold, a doozy, in late October 2019. We’re pretty careful about masking and not spending much time in enclosed public spaces, i.e., no indoor restaurant dining.

    5. drumlin woodchuckles

      I used to get 3-5 colds per years, some severe, but have only gotten 1 cold since the start of “masks up” for covid. And everyone remains masked in my hospital workplace. And I remain essentially cold-free.

      My job mandates I get the yearly flu shot. I don’t have to get it, but then I don’t have to keep my job either. So I get the flu shot.

    1. Robert Hahl

      E knew that the cone should be standing and exactly where it belonged. That bear may deserve a prize awarded in the memory of Alfred Nobel; but what category, Demonstrated Consciousness?

  31. The Rev Kev

    “Algorithms Can Now Mimic Any Artist. Some Artists Hate It”

    I can understand why artists hate this happening. There is a term for it when actual people do this. It is called ‘forgery.’

      1. vao

        What may happen is that the AI-generated “works of art” will be presented as “in the style of …”

        I wonder how much IPR lawyers are already salivating at the prospect of endless, all-the-way-to-supreme-courts processes to establish the jurisprudence or clarify the statutes.

        1. digi_owl

          Well we have already seen long dead artists hold concerts, and long dead actors appear in beer commercials, so with the estate willing they may well get away with “resurrecting” some dead painter…

    1. HotFlash

      I once heard a conversation with a fine composer and musician, Juuka Tiensuu, who had had a residency or something similar at, I think, IRCAM. The IRCAM folks are big on computer stuff in music (pls do your own trusted lookups on these people/things, search sources are so confused nowadays). Well, he explained how he developed a program, today we would probably call it an algorithm, that he fed his favourite musical structures, keys, key changes, rhythms, time sigs, transitions, yada. He explained that using the info he fed in, he tasked the computer with writing some music. “The results,” he reported, “were not very interesting.”

      That was a while ago (decades! How’d that happen?), I will check with my more up-to-date composer friends and report back.

  32. Lexx

    ‘The New World Energy Order’

    ‘Germany’s citizens — living in the world’s pre-eminent engineering nation with its flagship BMWs and Audis in manufacturing, its world leading petrochemical sector typified by behemoth BASF and much else besides — face the prospects of surviving winter as their forebears did over 2 centuries ago, huddling around a firewood hearth.’

    Does a ‘pre-eminent engineering nation’ still install hearths/fireplaces in new housing over the last 20-40 years? And if not, then only those in older housing and/or those willing to double up will be warm this winter?

    In the first phase of our housing project, the owners could opt to have fireplaces built. In the two phases that followed, the county banned fireplaces unless you could prove your case and get approval. So in a few weeks as the night time temps continue to drop, in the evenings or cold mornings, we’ll be able to smell woodsmoke in the air from the oldest homes. Everyone else could opt for a gas fireplace, most of which are inefficient. I know of one couple who very quietly removed their gas fireplace and returned it to wood burning.

    If the power is cut here, we’ll just be cold. Even the gas fireplace is dependent on electricity. This is why there’s a slow back-and-forth conversation between me and Husband about large battery purchases and installation. I’m using the ‘boondocking with the 5th-wheel angle’ as a wedge half-measure to my goal.

    1. digi_owl

      Basic thing is that goal A, reducing CO2 emissions, and goal B, improving urban air quality, collide when you want to heat homes.

    2. HotFlash

      Ms Lexx, heating is a thing I am not well versed in, but for lights and computer running, pls consider a tiny 12voltDC system. 100 watts should do for minimal. If you don’t have sun or wind to make it go, a bike or water generator may get your phone charged and your email down. A couple sources here and here. These are small, self-contained solutions to basic power needs — computer, printer, radio, DVD, lights (lights!!!) and maybe even some cooking or a little hot water. 12 volt DC will run most vitals. Anything for car, truck, boat, or RV use is 12volt DC. Heating is different, wood stoves plus lots o’insulation are pro’ly most efficient and least visible. B/c that will factor in, too, in the near future.

  33. lyman alpha blob

    RE: On Russian invasion, US intel got it right — but policymakers stumbled

    I don’t buy this narrative at all. The US warned about a Russian invasion for months that didn’t come. At one point they even gave a date certain of Feb 16 for the invasion –

    When the 16th passed with no invasion, Ukraine immediately and significantly increased shelling in the Donbass –

    Zelensky didn’t ignore US warnings of an invasion, and it wasn’t that US intelligence successfully predicted it. It was Zelensky following US orders to increase the shelling that finally convinced Russia that enough was enough. I don’t believe Russia would have invaded at all without this direct provocation.

    Rather than the spooks predicting the invasion, they and the military directly instigated it when their earlier “predictions” didn’t pan out, and they got the war they wanted all along.

    Funny how nearly every story from the Western media attempting to explain how all of this happened not only leaves out the details of the US sponsored coup in 2014, but also this more recent direct provocation from February that was well documented by international observers.

    1. anon in so cal

      Responsible Statecraft’s narrative that “US intel got it right” is misleading and inaccurate.

      The reason “US intel got it right,” according to many, many reliable accounts is that the US was fully aware that, as early as April 2021, 120,000 Ukraine forces were amassed on the Donbas border preparing another massacre.

      As lyman alpha blob mentions, above, Ukraine shelling had significantly increased in the months prior.

      Since November 2021, the Americans have been constantly threatening a Russian invasion of the Ukraine. However, the Ukrainians did not seem to agree. Why not?

      We have to go back to March 24, 2021. On that day, Volodymyr Zelensky issued a decree for the recapture of the Crimea, and began to deploy his forces to the south of the country. At the same time, several NATO exercises were conducted between the Black Sea and the Baltic Sea, accompanied by a significant increase in reconnaissance flights along the Russian border. Russia then conducted several exercises to test the operational readiness of its troops and to show that it was following the evolution of the situation.

      –The Military Situation In The Ukraine (Postil Magazine)

      April 1, 2022 Jacques Baud

    2. digi_owl

      Even better, the “brave Ukrainian soldiers” are time and time again seen sporting neo-nazi symbology.

      European newspapers etc even ran stories about the worrying growth of these groups right before the invasion. But connection A with B would mean that they had to discards years of anti-Putin rhetoric that they had copied wholesale from US media. That is a cognitive dissonance they simply can’t cope with, so don’t you dare call them Ukrainians nazis.

      1. ambrit

        I’ve been calling them the Banderite Brothers. Sadly, almost no-one “on the street” knows who Stepan Bandera was.
        The propaganda is so strong now that I have heard it asserted, (one day on the bus,) that Russia physically invaded and conquered the Crimea back in 2014.
        Read the wikipedia “article” for an example of the propaganda I am speaking of.
        See, but don’t believe:,independence%20on%2016%20March%202014.

        1. digi_owl

          I must admit i had not heard of the person until i started reading the war coverage here.

          And i think the Crimea thing is complicated by Russia’s “little green men”. But also that it seems very few knows that the Russian black sea fleet had their base on Crimea.

          At times i wonder if USA would simply up and leave if Japan told them to get the F out of Okinawa, or Germany told them to leave Ramstein.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            Well, we did up and leave when the Phillipines told us to get the F out of Clarke. But maybe Clarke wasn’t as important as Okinawa or Rammstein.

    3. VietnamVet

      Everyone is a victim of propaganda. Things as essential as peace and addressing climate change are impossible because they are outside the framework of current ideology that “only money as value”. War provides the lawlessness that allows profiteering to proliferate.

      The latest headline from Yahoo News is “New polls show Democrats could ‘win’ the 2022 midterms.” Inflation, shortages, a proxy world war, pandemics, and incompetence are ignored in order to make a US electoral race possible and to free up campaign funds for media buys.

      The only way to stop an escalating war between the West and Russia/China that is a result of them pulling out of the new world order are armistices and DMZs. By necessity, if humans are to survive on the earth, every nation must live within its means, have good government, and have strong borders to repel pirates and raiders.

    1. Expat2Uruguay

      The article says a group of 77 don’t want the Afghan Central Bank funds. 77 is what fraction of the total? I haven’t been able to discover the total number of members so I can’t say. You assert “many of the members”, so perhaps you have some idea of the fraction?

    2. notabanker

      “There are people waiting in bread lines and very poor children with malnutrition visible in public, but there are also many middle-class people rapidly falling into poverty. This is being driven in part because there’s no longer a functioning banking system and people are unable to access their salaries. It’s a problem that humanitarian aid alone is not going to be able to solve,” said Campbell. “The fact of the matter is that these reserves are the Afghan people’s money. The idea that they are on the brink of famine and that we would be holding on to their money for any purpose is just wrong. The Afghan people are not responsible for 9/11, they’re victims of 9/11 the same way our families are. To take their money and watch them literally starve — I can’t think of anything more sad.”

  34. Molly

    Armed… auditors? The IRS becomes the latest target of GOP misinformation Guardian

    Article Supported by
    Open Society Foundations (America’s dirty divide)
    About this content
    Joan E Greve

    “Supported by Soro’s Opens Society Foundations”, A real confidence builder in the veracity of the article.

    1. Expat2Uruguay

      I was speaking on the phone to some friends two nights ago that were telling me this exact story, so regardless of the sourcing of this reporting, there is actually a propaganda effort ongoing. And I agree that it could lead to violence, as my friends sounded like they were ready to pull guns on any IRS agents that might arrive.

      I generally give this couple plenty of room to express their opinions, but this time I did say that this story was just too crazy for me to believe.

      1. digi_owl

        Too bad they can’t do the Norwegian thing and pull up the ladder when the tax man was seen coming up the path (some old farms can to this day be seen clinging to a rock shelf high above the fjord).

    2. Anthony G Stegman

      Wasn’t it just a few years ago that various federal government agencies stockpiled more than a billion rounds of ammunition. These are not homeland security agencies, but agencies such as health and human services, dept of agriculture, IRS, and the like. Why would these agencies need such a stockpile of weaponry???? The US is completely bonkers!

      1. digi_owl

        Ages ago i learned that the USPS have their own investigations branch, and they carry sidearms.

  35. The Rev Kev

    “Ukraine war: Russia to allow inspectors at Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant – Putin”

    The story behind this gets really weird. UN Secretary General António Guterres was really trying to help out Zelensjky by pretending that the Ukrainians still had control of the plant and that the energy produced from it all belonged to the Ukraine though I am not sure that includes the electricity that the Ukrainians are selling the EU. That later was in response to the Russian threat to shut it down due to the constant attacks. It sounded like Guterres was also going along with the fiction that entry to that plant had to be from the Ukraine itslef which is weird as he full well knows that that is Russian territory now. The Russians want a team to go in so that they can see evidence of the strikes that show it coming from the north where the Ukrainians are – which is why Guterres has been holding back. In fact, he has been demanding that all Russian forces leave that region and that a neutral zone be established which of course would become permanent as in forever. In a few months it will not matter as the Russians will move west and push the Ukrainian artillery away from that plant but I doubt that the Russians will forget this attempted nuclear blackmail. Nor will they forget Guterres’s part in it. Nor should they either.

    1. Paradan

      I read somewhere last night that the plant is owned by Westinghouse(?). That would explain a lot. Also on a podcast it was mentioned that it would cost 40 billion to build something like that today.

      1. digi_owl

        Dunno, but it seems the company operating them was buying the fuel from Westinghouse as recently as 2020.

        The plant itself was built during the USSR, as best i can tell.

      2. Lex

        I don’t know about the ownership thing; I would think it was still in the holdings of the Ukrainian nuclear energy company. However, Ukrainian plants have been switching over to Westinghouse fuel and the US Holtec was partnered with Ukraine to build spent fuel storage at Chernobyl. It probably wasn’t finished (scheduled for 22 but behind and delayed by Covid). There are rumors that ZNPP was being used as temporary storage of spent fuel.

      3. scott s.

        Westinghouse nuclear went bankrupt and was sold by owner Toshiba to private equity. Apparently their nuclear fuels business was profitable, so that may be the link.

    2. nippersdad

      It has been common knowledge that Guterres is a tool since the beginning of the Ukraine conflict, when he refused to even countenance the new European security arrangements proposed by Russia when the Minsk II Accords fell completely through. I think he has prolly been on their radar for quite some time now.

    1. Michael Ismoe

      The Ukrainian educational system is going to be under a lot of stress soon. Just as in America, the school year traditionally starts on the first Monday in September, That’s only two weeks away. How will the Ukrainian Army move all that artillery out of the school yards in such a short time?

      1. ambrit

        Simple. Make learning how to service artillery a part of the curriculum. Add that to the already ongoing “Small Arms Handling” as part of the PE curriculum, and you have a fairly well trained Volkssturm aborning. Where are the Zelinsky Youth battalions? Easy. They’re all still in school!

        1. digi_owl

          I’m sure they will love flying the spotter drones, and perhaps also get a go at bombing “orcs” with that new drone that was doing a social media tour recently.

    2. ambrit

      Please accept our condolences Mr. (-)elnicker.
      If there is any way we can help in establishing a “Save the (-)ed Campaign,” do not hesitate to contact us here in the Low Hills Region. (How Low? You don’t want to know.)
      [Somehow, in today’s fraught political climate, painting a large Terminal Sigil on one’s vehicle might be counterproductive as a certain Foreign Military is already doing so.]
      Hi from all of us and, as always, stay safe. Adding, enjoy the monsoon weather we’re having lately.

      1. John Zelnicker


        The daily monsoons are saving me a bundle on my water bill.

        Y’all stay safe, too.

  36. spud

    its the free trade stupid.

    “But the climate and food crises are not isolated phenomena. They are the result of a global capitalist system – and a neoliberal agenda – that has prioritised big corporate agricultural profits over people and the planet.”

    “Unfair terms of trade and global lending – enforced by multilateral financial institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) – are also to blame.”

    “In addition, the priority of maize as a cash crop has led to a decline in crop variety, meaning the local population has fewer food sources available.”

    “This process instigated a shift towards farming cash crops for export, such as tea, coffee and tobacco, instead of farming key staples for the local population, such as maize, wheat and rice.”

    “Structural adjustment has made Kenya into a food exporter. In the country, malnutrition remains concerningly high, with 29% of children in rural areas and 20% of children in cities being stunted. Despite experiencing deficits which threaten its population’s food security, Kenya remains a vital food exporter, with major exports in tea, coffee, vegetables and cut flowers.”

    1. digi_owl

      It is also that the cold war rigged much of the world to depend on either USA or USSR as their grain source, while themselves provided cash crops or other raw materials in return.

      This means that if say USA either halts or reduce their cash crop purchases, the selle nation spirals into hyperinflation while trying to keep the population fed. A clean way to passive-aggressively topple uppity governments.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Could stealth-uppity governments stealth tip-toe their countries super slowly into a posture of national food sovereignty before the Forcey Free-Trade conspirators see what they are doing and have done?

  37. Michael King

    Thank you GM for your critique of the study published in nature communications. When I first read about it, real hope entered my thoughts. Oh well. Thank you Yves for the Guardian article about Americans’ attitudes toward the Covid pandemic. Dr. Salles nails it: “Every time a person is infected, they have a risk of developing long Covid. I cannot think of any other disease that has long-term negative consequences like this that people willingly expose themselves to.” Yesterday, I experienced this first hand while grocery shopping at Granville Island in Vancouver. It is a combination of market and tourist attraction. During the summer, it has the same vibe as an international airport. I had a conversation with a man from England and a woman from Iowa. The place was packed and I would estimate only 1 in 10 wore masks. N95s like mine were rare. I ran into some neighbours who caught Covid in the spring after going to a pub for the first time since the pandemic began. No lasting symptoms so far. They are both over 70 and were maskless. I was depressed all day.

  38. Jason Boxman

    From GM:

    Not that it matters much for most people — the days of Florida handing out free monoclonals like candy are over, and for most of the world there was never any access to begin with.

    I’ve been thinking about this lately, that we’re more or less run out of monoclonals. It seems like, without any further funding, and the reality that these need to be iterated upon constantly (if that is even possible) to keep up with viral mutation, it is little surprise we don’t hear much about them anymore. These aren’t easy money for the pharmaceuticals, so why bother?

    We need a national manufacturing capacity for this kind of stuff, publicly owned, along with publicly funded and owned research.

    Of course we also need to eliminate the virus.

    One can dream, I guess.

    1. m

      Monoclonal are still used, anyone that comes to ER covid + with the slightest symptoms gets them. Don’t see much remdesivir anymore. Sure covid numbers slightly up. but very few are actually sick, most don’t even have any symptoms at all.
      Biden put a halt to those FL monoclonal clinics, he said monoclonals don’t work on the variants & yanked authorization. But, here I am in a covid kool-aid blue state and that is now the first thing given.

  39. spud

    Majority of American voters now agree that the FBI is ‘Biden’s Gestapo’ after the controversial raid on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago, poll finds

    Trump allies have blasted compared the FBI with the Gestapo or Stasi
    A new poll found the idea was trickling through to American voters
    Rasmussen Reports asked 1000 lively voters if they agreed with Roger Stone’s claim that the FBI had become President Joe Biden’s ‘personal Gestapo’
    Some 53 percent of agreed – including 34 percent, who strongly agree
    It comes as some moderate Republicans call on supporters not to abuse the rank-and-file personnel of the FBI, amid a slew of threats and ugly insults .

  40. Jason Boxman

    More recently, reports have been emerging of another Omicron subvariant, BA.4.6, which is Omicron’s seventh major subvariant since the variant first appeared in Africa last November. According to health experts, BA.4.6 possesses a certain mutation that gives it an increased ability to avoid antibodies.

    Currently, BA.4.6 has a 10% growth advantage of BA.5 and experts predict that the advantage will only grow larger.

    Finally, we know at least one variant to watch for. Too bad variant tracking lags so badly. Walgreens has it as 4.5% on 8/6. Keep your eyes open!

  41. Cat Burglar

    USAHERDS is not really a cow app, it is a database tracking animal health.

    My guess is that it depends on chipping your cow first, so the animal has an individual ID, something that most ranchers I have known are reluctant to do. There has been discussion of requiring it for all livestock in the country, but that has gone nowhere so far.

    As you can read in the linked document, USAHERD is part of something called AgraGuard (“Keeping Watch As America Grows”) — a suite of Microsoft software that can be licensed to state agencies by the National Agribusiness Technology Center (“dedicated to promoting the use of advanced products in protecting our food supply chain”). They write that they want data collection under uniform standards so that research can be carried out easily and at speed, and for identification isolation of sick animals within a facility. The AgraGuard program is aimed at all animals raised for food, not just cows.

    Because it seems aimed at animals in a facility, it looks to be aimed at feedlots and processors, not producers with cows that live outside.

    It smells a little off to me. Why use advanced products to protect food when well-known basic precautions are also effective? Can you run an operation cheap and dirty if you can identify a cow with Chronic Wasting Disease quickly and get it out of the building? What would happen if it were subjected to a ransomware attack? The more I read about it, the more questions I have.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      Several years ago, in the early aughts if I remember right, there was talk of the government requiring all cattle to be implanted with RFID chips for tracking purposes, ostensibly to help with food supply chain safety. There was a big backlash at the time and I don’t believe the program was ever implemented. Hadn’t thought about it much since, but I’m wondering if this is related to that older proposed program.

      The backlash against the mandatory RFID program came from smaller farmers because while they would be required to tag every animal, massive herds owned by big agribusiness companies would only have had to have one tag per herd. The big companies were already operating on margins that squeezed smaller farmers, and adding this extra cost to them while mostly exempting the big corporations threatened their livelihoods.

      A government program that screws over the little guy while giving a big assist to the already wealthy – quelle surprise!

    1. nippersdad

      I was just watching an interview of Max Blumenthal on RBN and they pointed out things about Fetterman that I had yet to see. Apparently he is all in on Israel as well:

      Foreign policy makes such a good litmus test. As long as we have such strong support for the empire we will never be able to get what we want here. It really seems like an either/or situation, and it looks like Fetterman is just another sheepdog.

      1. pjay

        Exactly right. Foreign policy separates real progressives from the pretenders. And as far as I can tell, there are *no* real progressives in Congress. There are a few libertarian Republicans who seem to have the correct instincts on foreign policy, but that’s about all. The War Party is completely bipartisan and completely dominant.

        This won’t hurt Fetterman’ s dominance in the media, that’s for sure.

        1. nippersdad

          It is amazing to me how little bandwidth there is for anything anti-war on the left anymore. Under George the lesser we had millions out in the streets protesting this stuff. We have a lot to thank Obama for, but that one really, REALLY, pisses me off. I don’t know how he managed it, but I am increasingly of the opinion that he was even worse for the small d Democratic party than the Clintons ever dreamed of being.

          One can only hope that the gargantuan effort required to hurl Biden’s carcass over the line wore them out, because there just doesn’t appear to be much time left to fix all of the messes they have created for us.

      2. Carolinian

        The lieutenant governor backed legislation at the state level, signed into law six years ago by Pennsylvania’s Democratic governor, Tom Wolf, barring the commonwealth from pursuing contracts with companies that participate in boycotts of Israel.

        No daylight between him and Israel and him and….Nikki Haley? They are all reading from the same script on this issue. We have an identical law.

        While Fetterman said he has “always followed” developments in the Middle East, which he described as “one of the most crucial regions out there,” he confirmed that he has also sought counsel from a variety of advocacy groups, including J Street, AIPAC and Democratic Majority for Israel, to ensure he is “properly educated” on such matters.

        Mark Mellman, DMFI’s president, told JI that he reached out to Fetterman’s campaign some months ago to request an Israel position paper. He was told that Fetterman was still fleshing out his views, owing to a lack of experience in the foreign policy realm as a state official. Before he became lieutenant governor, Fetterman had been focused on even more local concerns as the longtime mayor of Braddock, a post-industrial steel town just outside Pittsburgh in western Pennsylvania.

        And for an ambitious pol where’s the downside of the above robostance? Nobody is going to challenge him on it. It’s the two party TINA dance.

        1. nippersdad

          I have not really been following the Fetterman race that closely, whatever I know about him has been vicarious at best. BDS is one of my tripwires to look more closely into candidates, and it is surprising that this has been well enough downplayed that I hadn’t heard about it. Apparently that has been by design.

          Matt Duss must be a really busy guy these days. I’m just glad that we didn’t send him any money.

      3. marym

        It would be nice to have a dissenting voice or two on foreign policy in Congress (Omar sometimes gives it a try and gets trashed-talked for it), but there’s no anti-war movement that’s being sold out. Anti-war, anti-interventionist leadership isn’t going to come from establishment Democrats.

        1. AlbaIT

          Omar talks when it suits her, while meddling and interfering in Somalia in order to benefit her clan.
          What she does is tribal and despicable, IMO.

    2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      Didn’t fetterman just hire a Dem Establishment Hack???

      I wonder if this is their dirty work.

      Bernie was terrible on FP as well. Ugh. Gross.

  42. Pat

    Every once in awhile something in the news makes me think of some truism. The return of Bernie Sanders hates women is doing that.
    I remember when useful tool John Lewis claimed that Sanders lied about his involvement in the civil rights movement. I remember when Liz Warren pulled out Sanders tried to keep me down. And before Putin pulled out all the stops, including that last minute change to the electoral college system, Hillary making Sanders out to have his work boot keeping women down.
    And what comes to mind are things like this quote from a piece inPsychology Today:” Gaslighters — people who try to control others through manipulation — will often accuse you of behaviors that they are engaged in themselves. This is a classic manipulation tactic.” It is a favorite for narcissists and sociopaths.
    And in every case, if you look closely, it wasn’t Sanders inflating his work over the years (Lewis had an impressive start, but became a top member of the black misleadership class), it wasn’t Sanders lying about his identity and resume before and after getting jobs like Liz, and it wasn’t Sanders playing political smoke and mirrors about his support for reproductive rights. Lewis, Warren and Clinton used positions that masked their own records to go after Sanders knowing most people wouldn’t look past the accusation to find they were either dead wrong, vacuous or contrary to the evidence making them questionable.
    One of my favorite spoiler tactics during the 2016 primary was to start quoting Clinton on all things female reproductive from the eight years previously where she spent her time trying to be all things to all people. I then pointed how often the hardest working woman in Congress missed doing something like votes that would put her clearly for abortion or against it. Things Sanders had a very clear record on by the way. If you thought her speech before her AUMF vote and that vote were contradictory, you should look closely at everything she said did and said about sex, contraception and abortion while she was in the Senate. Confused, schizophrenic or pandering, you pays your money and you takes your choice, but supportive it wasn’t.
    Clinton’s record on women’s issues has always been highly inflated. Clinton has been supportive about the advance of only one woman, herself.

  43. dk

    ‘Life hates surprises’: Can an ambitious theory unify biology, neuroscience and psychology? Scroll (David L)

    I have a larger theory that the “free energy” theory fits into. It is that the universe, due to its size, produces a relatively small but independently large number of unusual events and conditions. Of these unusual (not rare) events, some produce persistent and/or self-replicating structures. Within (or near) these unusual structures, further unusual events/conditions can occur, that would never happen without the initial unusual “premise” condition. For example, star formation starts out with a random concentration of interstellar hydrogen. Even given a large region of space to examine, this is a fairly rare event. And once star formation starts to develop significant local mass and pulls hydrogen and other material towards it, the probability of another formation beginning is greatly reduced, because there is less local material available for another star. However, the star itself becomes a persistent structure where complex interactions occur that cannot occur in more ordinary circumstances. The process repeats itself at smaller scales and more rapid time frames, but a (relatively) few persistent structures are produced. RNA-DNA can be seen as such a structure, occurring only on a planet of a star of a certain temperature, with an atmosphere and surface temperature supporting accumulations of liquid H2O solutions. Life itself, as we are familiar with it, is a product of this series of unlikely conditions. Note that every layer or stage of this concentration also strongly constrains what can happen within its domain (without breaking the domain, although these domains can break). This means that the range of “free energy” possibilities is fairly narrow and the range of probability of surprises is already limited. This permits durable paths for persistent self-replication, despite the ever-lurking chances of destructive surprises. We might also consider that this range of “free energy” equilibrium constitutes what we call “free will,” some discretion to select a best-guess low-energy path through the probable (immediate/short term) future.

    In this theoretical case, complex life is an inevitable eventual product, and not so much a product as a continuation of the initial condition of a persistent universe (matter/anti-matter imbalance). The initial persistence was a large enough phenomenon to permit further low-probability events to proliferate.

    I got to this theory by interrogating the sense of identity that we have, the feeling that we are the only self-aware event in the world. If we are continuations of a single (universal) series of self-referring events, our objectively spurious sensation of aloneness and singularity is merely a reflection of the condition of the universe itself.

  44. Jason Boxman

    How Pharmacy Work Stopped Being So Great

    There’s been great investigative reporting on how chain pharmacies put citizens at risk through insufficient staffing and overwork, even in the NY Times!

    What’s most amazing to me is simply how medicated American citizens are. I’d say I see a lot of prescription ready for pickup out in Western NC, when I’ve picked up the rare prescription at Walmart or Publix, but in truth at the CVS in Somerville in Davis Square, that was a ton of prescriptions ready for pick up, too! American citizens are tragically a very sick, over medicated bunch.

    Surely this must somewhat contribute to our overall winning position in COVID deaths, worldwide.

    1. jr

      Our local CVS is a circus of chaos at least half the time I am in there. I try to go mid-day and it’s ok. If I don’t make it until after say 3 PM, the line is long, only one person handles customers, and the rest of the harried and annoyed looking staff are scrambling around like maniacs. The rate of errors must be through the roof. We have had one or two to deal with.

    2. Stephen

      A few years ago I was in a meeting as an adviser at a bank here in the UK. One of my colleagues was an American who had flown in.

      When sandwiches were served for lunch he literally took out over a dozen multi sized and multi coloured pills from his bag. He then proceeded to take each one in turn.

      The look in the eyes of the (English) client as he did this was priceless!

      As with many things that are ok in moderation, my understanding is that too much medication actually kills you. Many contain toxins or allergens of one form or another.

  45. Roland

    Kevin W’s point, about comparing RF/UKR attrition to the US Civil War, is mistaken.

    Why? Because the CSA had to fight its war mostly on its own resources.

    UKR, on the other hand, enjoys lavish subsidies–which come from some very rich and powerful allies. These are the sort of allies who pull trillions out from between their buttocks, in a suitably secular re-enactment of their own mysterious and divine creation.

    So for as long as UKR people are content to get themselves proxykilled, the war drags on. It’s not rational, but when a country gets invaded, don’t expect rational. Expect War.

    And for God’s sake, why would anybody regard the fighting of 1864-65 as something to emulate? Why would one plumb the appalling? However, at least there is a reading cure for that kind of mental illness, to be found in the memoirs written by the very men who planned and won those campaigns: Grant and Sherman. Go ask them how “powerhouse” they were feeling in their hour of triumph, and read the answer in their own words, available free online.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Like the CSA in the US Civil War, the Ukrainians are running out of warm bodies to throw at the Russians. And western weapons are running out as stocks in the US and the EU have been depleted as well. They are even limiting the amount of ammo going to the Ukrainians. And if the Russians advance west eventually, it will be like Grant’s advance south in that it will use up the last of the Ukrainian reserves.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      Lavish subsidies? Only to the people selling stuff on the black market.

      Current counts are that Ukraine can shoot/shell at less than a 10% rate of what Russia is doing. Zero sign Russia is under any stress on the weaponry front.

      And of the ammo and whatnot that isn’t sold, Russia has gotten good at taking out ammo dumps. It’s also taken out most of the trains in the East (by knocking out electrical stations) and getting ammo to the front in truck is extremely inefficient.

    3. Stephen

      I think too that armies have a habit of clinging on long after the cause is dead too. The Wehrmacht is an example of that in 1945.

      The Russians rightly do not want to suffer unnecessary casualties so they eschew knock out infantry charges and mass attacks (which the west might want them to do) because they know that one surviving and motivated machine gunner can inflict a lot of loss. So they are slow and methodical, while the Ukrainian Army survives.

      For now.

  46. Pat

    Trader Joe’s illegal anti union action or bizarre corporate choices?

    Trader Joe’s abruptly closed its one wine shop last week. As noted in the story above employees were notified at 12:01 am that it wouldn’t be opening that day. Now apparently the employees had just had a successful vote to pursue unionization and were about to give management the card when all this went down.
    NY has a rather bizarre corporate ownership limit for liquor licenses, and they were limited to one, but wouldn’t t have made more sense to announce a closure and allow for the stock to be sold OR to have decided where you were going to move your one store to so you could direct customers to it. anything but open with nothing one day, and closed with no real information the next?

    This is bizarre on so many levels. (They will be hard pressed to justify it if pressed legally, with the abrupt closure.)

  47. spud

    the creature that super charged the private for profit prison industrial complex

    “After a law signed by Clinton in 1996 – ending court supervision and decisions – caused overcrowding and violent, unsafe conditions in federal prisons, private prison corporations in Texas began to contact other states whose prisons were overcrowded, offering “rent-a-cell” services in the CCA prisons located in small towns in Texas. The commission for a rent-a-cell salesman is $2.50 to $5.50 per day per bed. The county gets $1.50 for each prisoner.


    Ninety-seven percent of 125,000 federal inmates have been convicted of non-violent crimes. It is believed that more than half of the 623,000 inmates in municipal or county jails are innocent of the crimes they are accused of. Of these, the majority are awaiting trial. Two-thirds of the one million state prisoners have committed non-violent offenses. Sixteen percent of the country’s 2 million prisoners suffer from mental illness.”

    1. The Rev Kev


      ‘Several Russian soldiers involved in the military operation in Ukraine have been hospitalized with severe chemical poisoning, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Saturday.

      Traces of Botulinum toxin Type B, which is an “organic poison of artificial origin,” have been discovered in samples taken from the servicemen, the ministry said, accusing Kiev of “chemical terrorism.”’

      Moscow plans to send laboratory tests from the soldiers to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

      I guess that as the west saw no problem with the Ukrainians bombing an active nuclear power plant, that chemical warfare would be cool too. Maybe that poison was from one of those biolabs that the Russians could not get to.

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