Links 8/22/2022

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.

* * *

Of meat and men: why the American barbecue is about friendship not food The Economist (KS)

A Global Tsunami: How Did the Tonga Tsunami Jump From Ocean to Ocean? SciTechDaily

Medical error: An epidemic compounded by gag laws STAT (KS)

Docs Not Talking About Anal Sex May Put Women at Risk Medscape (KS)


Scientists hope nasal vaccines will help halt Covid transmission The Guardian

Antibody “master key” discovery could neutralize all COVID variants New Atlas (DL) FWIW the Covid brain trust does not buy this. Among other things, the underlying work was done pre Omicron and they’ve tried to force fit Omicron into their thesis, not very convincingly.


Monkeypox vaccine not ‘a silver bullet,’ WHO says, as breakthrough cases emerge ABC (GB)

For the first time, monkeypox has been reported in a minor in New York state CNN (KW)


EU carbon price hits record as gas shortages force return to coal FT


The plunge in dry bulk shipping: Ominous signal on China’s economy? FreightWaves

China Seeks to Stabilize Property With Loans, Lower Rates Bloomberg

China plans to use chemicals to generate rain to protect its grain harvest NPR

With Burns crossing the line, Chinese will not indulge such words and deeds: Global Times editorial Global Times


India buys discounted Venezuelan petcoke to replace coal Mint

India’s $3 billion Predator drone deal with US at advanced stages, certain issues being sorted out: Report Times of India

India likely to approve emergency acquisition powers for defence forces Mint

Singapore to repeal colonial era law criminalizing sex between men, says prime minister CNN

Old Blighty

GPs could prescribe money off energy bills under Treasury plan The Guardian (KW)

Sizewell C nuclear plant funding approved despite Tory split The Guardian

Mitsotakis celebrates end of EU ‘enhanced surveillance’ but debt burden remains Neos Kosmos

New Not-So-Cold War

Biden discusses Ukraine nuclear plant fears with European leaders The Hill

Ukraine Bought Weapons, Drones With Crypto Donations CoinDesk

Ukraine war veterans on how Kiev plundered US aid, wasted soldiers, endangered civilians, and lost the war The Greyzone (KW)

US taunts Russia to escalate in Ukraine Indian Punchline (KW)

Top Russian diplomat dismisses hopes of negotiated end to Ukraine war FT

Turkey and Ukraine sign agreement for reconstruction of war-torn country Middle East Eye

* * *

Ukraine calls on Canada to cancel gas turbine sanctions waiver as German chancellor set to visit CBC. Yves adds: “And here you thought Russia was silly to insist on getting it in writing.”

Gazprom to Shut Pipeline for Three Days in New Shock to Europe Bloomberg

Germany rules out delay to nuclear phaseout DW

Germany likely to miss gas storage targets, warns energy regulator Reuters

* * *

Dept. of hhhm:

Imran Khan: Pakistan police charge ex-PM under terrorism act BBC


IMF loan to help Egypt absorb shock of global economic crisis, attract FDIs: Head of parliament’s budget committee Daily News Egypt

Egypt: Sale of state assets to Saudi and UAE wealth funds divides opinion Middle East Eye

UAE ambassador to return to Iran after six-year absence France24

GOP drops scathing review of Afghanistan withdrawal, White House reacts Responsible Statecraft

Trump Raid

The Final Days of the Trump White House: Chaos and Scattered Papers NYT

Weeks before Mar-a-Lago search, ex-Trump DOD official vowed to publish classified documents from National Archives ABC

Donald Trump Hints at Fourth Amendment Violation in Mar-a-Lago ‘Break-In’ Newsweek

Schiff suggests Justice Department share Trump affidavit details with Congress The Hill

Other Trump

Trump Wants Concentration Camps and Presidential Control of Domestic Troops Defense One (KW). Trump: “The next president needs to send the National Guard to the most dangerous neighborhoods in Chicago until safety can be restored.”

The Complete Guide to All the Ways Donald Trump Is Legally Screwed Vanity Fair (furzy). To see how many times we’ve been there before, cue Jimmy Dore, starting at 1:50 if you must skip ahead.


2024 meets 2022: Trump, Pence, others ramp up for allies in midterms WaPo (KW)

GOP Clown Car

Appeals court temporarily blocks subpoena to Graham in Georgia election-fraud probe Politico

“Disgusting and Appalling”: Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene Introduced A Bill That Criminalizes Performing Transgender Medical Care Vanity Fair (furzy)


Louisiana board stalls New Orleans flood aid over city officials’ position on abortion Insider (KW)

The Sins of the High Court’s Supreme Catholics The New Yorker (furzy)

Texas schools hanging ‘In God We Trust’ signs after new state law requiring donated signs be posted Fox News


How U.S. gun laws and South Florida ports help fuel Haiti’s escalating gang violence Miami Herald

Supply Chain/Inflation

Indonesia looks to sorghum as wheat substitute as noodle lovers worry about price increase Straits Times

We need to start routinely tracking the ways in which insurance companies’ red tape affects patient care BMJ

Investors warn of ‘disconnect’ as markets price in early Fed rate cut Financial Times

Class Warfare

2,000 workers begin eight-day strike at UK’s largest container port in Felixstowe WSWS

AL Coal Miners Must Pay $13 Million in Damages for Strike, Biden’s NLRB Rules Truthout (DK)

Antidote du jour (via):

And a bonus:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Sardonia

    As Zelensky realizes he’s been suckered in, WAY over his head, I can imagine him singing the song of his sad tale – to the melody of “Lola” by The Kinks:

    I met them at a banquet up in Brussels town
    Where you eat mignon with a golden brown
    Baked potato
    T…A…T…O, ‘tato
    They walked up to me, and they asked me to dance
    I asked for their name and in a voice of romance
    They said, “NA-TO”
    N…A…T…O, NATO
    Na na na na, NATO

    Well. I’m not the world’s most physical guy
    So when they said I might join, it brought a tear to my eye
    Oh my NATO
    Na na na na, NATO
    Well, I’m not dumb but I didn’t understand
    Why they’d encourage a war but wouldn’t send us a man
    Oh my NATO
    Na na na na, NATO
    Na na na na, NATO

    Well, they bought champagne and we drank all night
    Under electric candlelight
    They picked me up and sat me on their knee
    And said, “Little boy, let’s go make History!”

    Well, I’m not the world’s most passionate guy
    But when I looked in their eyes
    I almost fell
    For my NATO
    Na na na na, NATO
    Na na na na, NATO
    Na na na na, NATO
    Na na na na, NATO

    I pushed them away
    I walked to the door
    I fell to the floor
    I got down on my knees
    Then I looked at them
    And they at me

    Well, that’s the way that we started to play
    And I guess it’s just gonna be this way
    With my NATO
    Na na na na, NATO
    Into a proxy war I was hurled
    It’s a mixed up muddled up shook up world,
    In bed with NATO
    Na na na na, NATO

    Well, I left Kiev just a week before
    And I’d never ever seen Kinetic War
    But NATO smiled and took me by the hand
    And said, “Dear boy, we’re gonna make you a man!”

    Well, I’m not the world’s most intelligent man
    But now I know I’m just a pawn, I’m a sacrificial lamb
    To my NATO
    Na na na na, NATO
    Na na na na, NATO
    Na na na na, NATO
    Na na na na, NATO

    1. Old Sovietologist

      The Russians have blamed Ukrainian Security Service for the murder.

      They also have named one the perpetrators as citizen of Ukraine who left Russia for Estonia in August 2021.

      It looks like a very professional hit with the perpetrator likely to have returned to Estonia.

        1. Mark Gisleson

          Extraordinary. I cannot imagine our authorities unraveling anything like this so quickly or thoroughly.

          1. Dermotmoconnor

            Not so. 911 they were able to “identify” the attackers within 4 hours. Nothing suspicious about that, just a testament to the skills of us intel. Weren’t good enough to prevent the attack, mind

      1. Michael Ismoe

        Even the Mafia doesn’t go after family members. Our “leaders” are actually worse than The Mob.

        1. LawnDart

          Even the Mafia doesn’t go after family members. Our “leaders” are actually worse than The Mob.

          Irish and Italian, at least, and believe me, I know… but our ruling class has a whole apparatus of security agencies dedicated to their protection, and this may lend to a sense of invulnerability, and occasional errors based upon this sense, which sometimes proves false.

          The Ukies could hardly have picked a better girl to make a martyr of. But I suspect that Ze will be in Miami before the Russians get him, unless the CIA gets to him first.

    2. The Rev Kev

      I was listening to the TV news here in Oz about the murder of Dugin’s daughter and in the two or three minutes that it was on, it was a masterpiece. I think that it would have taken a small team to write it and I wish that I had a transcription. It started of by calling Dugin as Putin’s propagandist and went down from there. It mentioned the possibility that it was a Ukrainian bombing but then went on to talk about how it may have been some Russians who did it for some unknown reason, how bad Dugin’s daughter actually was, etc. By the time this news piece was finished, the conclusion was that Dugin’s daughter had it coming to her and it should have been her dad instead.

      Meanwhile in breaking news, the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) has said that the bombing was orchestrated and carried out by Ukrainian secret services. And in the Ukraine Zelensky has advised government workers to stay away from their buildings. Somebody just kicked the donkey.

      1. vao

        Yesterday’s radio news programme (European country) reported fairly extensively on the case. The conclusion is that the bomb was probably intended for Dugin and not his daughter (although she was nevertheless a “staunch proponent of Putin’s war of aggression against Ukraine”). Two highlights:

        a) Listed among the possible culprits were the Ukrainian secret service, sympathizers of Ukraine (“partisans”) acting on their own initiative, and… Russian nationalists who wanted to scare Putin into being more aggressive in Ukraine! Yes, this was seriously considered as a possibility.

        b) The report stated that (paraphrasing) “remarkably, the Russian government immediately asserted that Ukraine had organized the attack, and this even before any proper investigation has been carried out.” Well, what about Bucha? Kramatorsk? Olenivka?…

        Not only do Russians bomb the prisoners’ camps they manage, or the nuclear power plants under their control, they also assassinate their own thought leaders. Those Russians are immensely devious! Propaganda has reached truly stupendous levels of brazenness.

          1. vao

            Guess what is the latest interpretation from the MSM about the case?

            a) It could hardly be the Ukrainian SBU that killed Dugin’s daughter, even by mistake. After all, “everybody knows Dugin is actually not that important“. But yesterday they were saying… Oh, I suppose it’s all right then.

            b) The attack is most probably not the work of the Russian opposition — no matter what one of its representants exiled in Kiev states — because it is hopelessly splintered into powerless factions and because the surveillance of the FSB is so pervasive that nobody could have pulled the action off without being immediately detected.

            c) Therefore the most probable explanation is that it is a false flag from the Russian government in order to scare the population into supporting the special military operation, and into seeking the protection of the FSB.

            Yep, that looks very logical.

            1. Old Jake

              Looking in the mirror, eh? And kudos to you and Michael, I haven’t decided if you two get a double “whoosh” or credit for some of the most subtle irony I’ve seen in a while.

      2. LawnDart

        Russian right-wingers are demanding retribution, so the Kremlin may be forced to respond. Ukraine might find that bringing the war into Russia, and the targeting innocent civilians, was not such a good idea.

        I do not think Russia will respond directly in-kind, but will be very selective as to who will pay the bill, and how. Perhaps coordinated strikes directly upon Ukrainian intelligence services?

        1. digi_owl

          It may well be that Zelenskyy is beyond caring at this point, and is trying to rile the situation in order to rekindle the idea of a no fly zone.

          Because it seems like Biden had been promising air support from day one, should Russia start shooting, without clearing it with Pentagon or NATO first.

          So when things finally escalated, and the pundits start demanding a no fly zone, Pentagon blindsided them by reminding them that such a thing could rapidly escalate to nuclear war.

          All in all, it seems everyone but Trump was treating Ukraine as just another Libya or Syria.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            I don’t know if it was Biden, but I suspect State promised the no fly zone. Harris met with Zelensky at Munich, the same time he started talking about building nukes, and Harris was a fave of Hillary alums.

            I’m reminded of Albright’s line about what good is the military if you don’t use it. I suspect much of US foreign policy elite simply don’t even have a grasp that planes aren’t magic, never mind anything like combat ranges. Even if cooler heads prevailed in regards to nukes, the Iraqi no-fly zone in 1991 required something like 2000 fighters with much closer bases to the theatre and safe air craft carriers. The USAF has 2800 total planes (some hypernole but 3.5 planes per foreign base) and would need to operate from bases significantly out of the war zone. Every operation would have to be shut down.

            1. digi_owl

              They may have figured it would be another Balkans, with the jets being backed by a mass of tanker planes.

              Checking adsbexchange to see what military flights are in the area can be enlightening (and something i have been neglecting lately).

              Right now there is a K-35R tanker in a holding pattern over Poland. And a B-52 no less passing over the Balkans, after having flown from UK all the way to the edge of the Black sea. Never mind a mix of cargo planes and smaller stuff that are likely civilian designs retrofitted for signal intelligence.

          2. Michaelmas

            digi_owl: Zelenskyy is … is trying to rile the situation in order to rekindle the idea of a no fly zone.

            Then Zelensky is a fool — as he may well be. It’s 2022, not 1990 or 1995, and NATO/US no-fly zones and air support and strategic bombing are simply impossible — have no chance — in the face of Russian missiles, never mind the threat of a nuclear WWIII.

            If State — and Clinton/Harris and Biden — promised Zelensky such a thing and believed
            it actually possible, then such US policymakers are — to adapt Hegel’s phrase — world-historical fools, fools on the level of the half of the French male nobility who got slaughtered at Agincourt by English yeomen with longbows or the generals of WWI who sent their men to be slaughtered by the millions by machine guns and artillery.

        2. The Rev Kev

          I’m just listening to the latest Alex Christoforou video and he showed a very brief clip to illustrate that there is right now a mass exodus of traffic going out of Kiev. However much the Zelensky regime and its handlers thought that this was a bright idea, the citizenry realize otherwise and are acting accordingly.

      3. digi_owl

        I am sorry for the civilian population that is caught in the middle of all this, but i can’t help envisioning roaches and rodents scattering in the face of a threat.

      4. Tom Bradford

        I have the TV news on as background in case something something local and relevant should come up and thus cannot report the context, but I did hear a reference to Russian’s ‘annexation’ of Crimea. The fact that the 2014 referendum in Crimea voted overwhelmingly in favour of joining Russia, much as the New Mexican’s voted to become part of the US when they were asked, was not considered relevant.

        1. Daniil Adamov

          Last I checked, “annexation” does not mean “acquisition of a territory contrary to the wishes of its populace”. I’m fine with saying that we annexed it, just as many other countries have annexed other territories in the past.

    3. Stephen


      Mark Sleboda was on a Gonzalo Lira video yesterday. He is an American living in Moscow who worked for Mr Dugin and knew Darya Dugin. Obviously, he was rightly very saddened by what happened. Explained that Mr Dugin has never met President Putin and that in reality the Kremlin had made sure he was marginalized because his views were so anti western. Back in 2014 Putin wanted the Minsk Accords to work and so people such as Dugin were not helpful. Apparently, the Kremlin even engineered things so that he lost his post at Moscow State University and made sure he did not appear on state media (sort of thing that happens here).

      According to Mr Sleboda, if I recall correctly he did appear on one channel owned by an oligarch: showing as an aside that there is pluralism in the Russian system! He was a critic of Putin but was not imprisoned or sent to a gulag……

      Of course, lying western corporate media is consistently saying that this gentleman was either Putin’s Rasputin, his close adviser and then (amazingly) speculating that the Russians did this as a false flag. The Telegraph article below was circulated on Twitter. Shocking. I used to be a subscriber to my current deep disgust with myself.

      Behind a paywall but the headline is more than enough.

      The Dreizin Report also had an informative piece on this posted today. Along with other commentaries. Seems that Ukrainian TV had a story about Mr Dugin the night before his daughter was murdered. Also has pictures of mass groups of young people partying with Russian flags in Crimea; suggesting by implication that they are getting on with their lives, not worrying about missile attacks and not itching to rejoin Ukraine.

      1. Lex

        Dugin isn’t even influential in the Russia right, much less the government. He’s a western creation because he speaks English so he’s accessible. There’s video of the talk he gave earlier in the day, not more than 100-200 people listening.

        This was an optics operation for the benefit of the handlers from Oceania so that the media could blare about the destruction of Putin’s brain. A Google search for her is mostly dominated by headlines that refer to “Putin’s Brain”, the architect of the Ukraine war, Putin’s top propagandist, and similar constructions. But a stroll through Russian social media ends up with a lot of “I’ve never read Dugin, but this is beyond the pale” or “Dugin’s an idiot / I disagree with him, but someone needs to pay for this”. And everyone in Russian social media is disgusted by assassinating a 30 year old woman. As the story develops (assuming we’re getting near truth) and it becomes that the bomb was remotely detonated after the assassin followed the car from the festival, the understanding in Russia will be that they knew it wasn’t Dugin in the car and still blew it up.

        1. hunkerdown

          Dugin is Bannon’s philosopher, not Putin’s. I don’t think many outside of the neo-reactionaries know Dugin from Nugan. Maybe the Dugina hit is politics continued by other means.

        2. Stephen

          Yep. The entire western media narrative is pure fiction. Just like we were told TASS was in Soviet days.

        3. Daniil Adamov

          Dugin is/was an extravagant and foolish ideologue with some small amount of followers, mainly among the conspiratorial right-wing intelligentsiya if my experience is anything to go by. I agree his importance is vastly exaggerated. His politics are nonsense – some sort of post-modern ecumenical theocratic totalitarianism, last I checked. (“We are in favour of any [political] project, so long as it is great and terrible!” is a quote that I recall.) Of course that makes what happened all the more outrageous, as whoever is behind this set out to kill someone objectionable but basically harmless and killed an innocent bystander in the process.

    4. jrkrideau

      It is not clear that Putin has ever met Dugin or read any of his writings.

      The philosophers behind Putin

      It is a bit like being a close associate of President Putin. At last count 7.356 million Russians and 150,000 Chinese Party members are close associates of the President, as reported by the Western media. /sarc.

      It is not clear that 99% of Western reporters know anything about modern-day Russia. I was very impressed back in the spring to hear a CBC reporter in Lviv describing Mariupol as being on the Black Sea. I assume he studied Geography with Liz Truss

  2. digi_owl

    “India’s $3 billion Predator drone deal with US at advanced stages, certain issues being sorted out: Report Times of India”

    Now why do i have a bad feeling about this deal?

    1. Old Sovietologist

      Whilst Russia continues to win on the ground in the Ukraine. They can expect more acts of terrorism by SBU/NATO on the home front as the conflict enters a new nasty phase.

      Dugin’s daughter was a nice soft target but they have shown they can now strike in Moscow itself. They want the Russian public to be scared but also want them to react and demand Putin does something about it.

      Its a tough call for Putin but he cant let this go unchallenged or he can make expect more acts of terrorism.

      The stakes have just been raised massively by NATO.

        1. Lex

          Not only that, but car bombs were a form of business negotiations in 90’s Russia. You’re right that very, very few Russians are going to be terrified by acts like this. Maybe if Ukraine/US/UK pull off a more public terrorist attack. But the reaction won’t be fear from Russia, it will be serious vengeance.

      1. urdsama

        This actually is a bit of a blessing for Putin.

        The average Russian was already feeling like they were being vilified for just being Russian, regardless of how they felt about their government. Now this.

        NATO and the west make Putin out to be “evil”, but he may be one of the few elements left preventing hell in Ukraine.

        Big, big mistake – by NATO.

        1. Daniil Adamov

          I certainly wouldn’t pray for democracy in Russia, were I them. The demos hates their guts.

          That said, is it a blessing for Putin? Do you really think he enjoys being under pressure?

    2. Lupana

      The blog post ends with – “World has gone mad.” Couldn’t agree more. I honestly at times feel like I’ve lost any ability to understand people. It feels like we’re all in one big car with a clear view of innumerable disasters in the distance and those driving are just pressing as hard as they can on the accelerator.

      1. nycTerrierist

        “A Klee painting named ‘Angelus Novus’ shows an angel looking as though he is about to move away from something he is fixedly contemplating. His eyes are staring, his mouth is open, his wings are spread. This is how one pictures the angel of history. His face is turned toward the past. Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe which keeps piling wreckage and hurls it in front of his feet. The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed. But a storm is blowing in from Paradise; it has got caught in his wings with such a violence that the angel can no longer close them. The storm irresistibly propels him into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward. This storm is what we call progress.”

        Walter Benjamin, from ‘Theses on the Philosophy of History’

    3. Louis Fyne

      Allegedly Russian intelligence identified the owner of the trailing car and the occupant of the trailing car.

      Allegedly that person is a UA intelligence officer who fled to Estonia. Name/Info/pics/social media of the accused are all public and floating around Russian social media.

      1. The Rev Kev

        That TASS article says that the Ukrainian agent – Natalia Vovk – also had her 12 year-old daughter with her. At that age, was the daughter just useful camouflage or is she already a dedicated follower?

      1. Mark Gisleson

        It did sound familiar. The tonal quality was what surprised me. It sounded like electronic music slowed way down.

        As with most interstellar phenomena, I’m sure our brains will find ways to make sense of all the colors and sounds. I’m just sorry I’ll miss that concert (or maybe we’ll all have front row seats, Crazy 8 Ball says “Better Not Tell You Now”).

      1. skk

        Yup Pink Floyd but I thought it was the B side of Atom Heart Mother – where Syd Barrett really showed his mental state.

  3. Nikkikat

    Drama Queen cat: I had a dog that figured this out too. Very funny when he would limp into the house on the left foot and then limp on right.

    1. Lexx

      I’m wondering why the cat feels compelled to fake an injury to gain admittance? Isn’t cuteness sufficient anymore? It’s always worked so well for our furry brothers and sisters in the past. Does the cat actually live at that house? If not, that would make more sense. ‘I’m not sure of my welcome. Maybe I’ll go for a little sympathy first.’

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I’m not sure it’s faking an injury as much as a cat doesn’t really understand how windows work (supposedly squirrels do) and is holding it’s paw in reserve to find the window/door.

      2. The Historian

        I know from my own experience that cats are amazing drama queens so I wouldn’t waste much sympathy. I have this one cat that puts on quite an act when she wants wet food. First she is all lovey-dovey. If that doesn’t work, then she barks at me (yep, just like a little dog). If that doesn’t work, then she does the most amazing starving cat routine you’ve ever seen. She acts so weak she can barely walk – the most pitiful thing you’ve ever seen. And it isn’t as though there isn’t food for her. She and her sister get fed wet food three times a day and there is always a bowl of kibble out for her to nibble on. And if I don’t put out the exact food she wants (she has a routine, chicken in the morning, salmon for lunch, and beef for dinner), then she won’t eat it and throws a snit and won’t let me near her for several hours.

        1. Lexx

          We’re dog people these days, but we started out with cats. We got none of that drama… or we weren’t paying attention, hard to say now. Yours sound like real characters who work for their treats. Mousers?

          1. Wukchumni

            We’ve got our hair’m under control @ the all cats and no cattle ranch, but that isn’t the problem as gangs of frankly wild turkeys have taken over tiny town and are quite aggressive in particular when it comes to real estate holdings. They’ve quit-claimed so many properties from right under the noses of in theory-human owners, and as much as i’d not like to admit to also being a victim, gobbles-the propaganda minister, has given me 30 days to clear the premises.

    2. BobW

      My sister had a dog with an injured leg from a car, the other dog would be scolded if he tormented him. We heard the injured dog whimpering, but I happened to be looking out the window at the time–the dog was telling a lie, hoping to get the other one scolded.

  4. Quentin

    Putin has always had and still does have a perfectly functioning brain. He has never needed someone else’s and still doesn’t. Remember George Bush Jr.’s brain was Karl Rove? That’s where today’s lazy pundits and influencers found the inane locution they’ve brought back to life. But now any mention of the notion is filled with hate and bile for Vladimir Putin, Alexander Dugin (forget his daughter) and anything Russian that disagrees with ‘the collective West’. Then Bush and Rove were presented as marvellously clever and inventive, George even had a codpiece he could be proud, prompting a male TV anchor to feel goose bumps. Remember those glorious days of WMD and vials of anthrax being cavalierly displayed at the U.N. Security Council? How could anyone forget them? Putin stands intellectually head and shoulders above any western leader of today, regardless of what you might think if his actions.

    1. Big River Bandido

      Sorry, didn’t mean that to sound snitty, just that Colin Powell was such a phony MF that even thinking of that episode makes me angry.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Happily, after that episode of lying at the UN, his formerly high reputation became trash and to this day he has never been rehabilitated.

        1. Tom Doak

          Amazing how that worked. Powell was previously considered a possible Presidential candidate and one of the few former military brass who wasn’t a complete hawk. Then they had him go in front of the UN to do their bidding, and he ruined his reputation in the process. Coincidence?

          1. juno mas

            Wasn’t a complete hawk? Colin Powell was deeply involved in Vietnam slaughter. Colin Powell helped cover up the Mi Lai Massacre and assure the perpetrators went unpunished. Perfect presidential material. Fortunately, he died in 2021.

              1. Karl

                Perhaps the most important part of the Powell Doctrine is “Know the Exit Strategy.” Maybe 2nd most important is “go in with overwhelming force.”

                We know (now) that there was no pre-invasion exit strategy. And, Shinseki advocated for 2x the invasion force that Rumsfeld insisted was sufficient. Did Powell bother to advocate for either?

                Even Brent Scowcroft said before the invasion that decades of chaos would be unleashed, and an exit strategy was vital.

                Powell could have single-handedly stopped the rush to war with a principled resignation. It’s hard to buck your President, Tony Blair, Joe Biden, the Clintons, Netanyahu, Tenet and the NY Times.

                His support was vital to the whole PR effort. But he could have said: “I ain’t giving that speech!” No way would he have been fired.

                It’s hard to turn down center stage when you’re offered the role. But from that moment, he left center stage forever. He wasn’t needed anymore.

        2. Anthony G Stegman

          There are many in the mainstream media and the political arena who revere Colin Powell. He is considered by some to have been a great man and a splendid servant of the people. Madeleine Albright is considered to be similar by the same people.

  5. The Rev Kev

    “Russia rules out peace deal to end Ukraine war”

    How can there be peace when there are no negotiations? I heard mention that a diplomat at the UN – possibly from Nigeria – was wondering why the west was not committing to negotiations to end this war. Even without any negotiations Zelensky is already trying to set conditions for one. The DPR are beginning to arrange trials of people accused of war crimes – especially the Azov guys and gals – in Mariupol by the end of summer. But Zelensky has called these “show trials” and said that if they go ahead, that there will be no negotiations. In a video address he actually said ‘If this despicable show trial takes place… This will be the line beyond which any negotiations are impossible. Russia will cut itself off from any negotiations.’ I can understand why Big Z is getting nervous. Some of those Azov prisoners have been spilling the beans and have said that some of the war crimes that they committed were as a result of direct orders coming out of Kiev.

    1. Stephen

      The whole Ukraine thing is pure Alice Through the Looking Glass. Russia is winning the war but Ukraine wants to dictate whether or not there are negotiations over a “settlement”. Russia though will be in a position to dictate terms. I guess this is what happens when you fight a proxy war and the local elites really do not care about the people of their country but are 100% in the service of America.

    2. Old Sovietologist

      On the 24th, its Ukraine Independence Day. Zelensky needs a big propaganda win on that day. Its going to be interesting to see what his UK handlers have got planned.

      1. Polar Socialist

        At the moment Ukrainian officials, including Zelensky, are banning all public celebrations and declaring curfews on 24th so that Russians can’t “target the masses” or something.
        Added to that this latest escalation may be failing to create an atmosphere of victory, though.

      2. Stephen

        Allegedly according to some blogs, nobody in Russia even knows that the 24th is such a day. Agree that Zelensky will want a propaganda win and I suspect it will be aimed at US audiences: “look we did this, on Ukraine’s 4th July”.

  6. Lexx

    ‘The Completer Guide To All The Ways Donald Trump Is Legally Screwed’

    When all else fails, there’s always the court of public opinion… and it has, and is likely to do so again. No sitting or former president will ever be imprisoned for his deeds, in or out of office. A very attractive deal for the criminally inclined.

    Do you suppose Dore knows how creepy his mirthless smile and fake laugh have become? It’s particularly creepy coming from a comic. Yeesh!

    To Rob Reiner: One word… ‘lasers’.

    1. The Rev Kev

      There are any celebrities that need only one name for people to know who they are. People like Madonna, Eminem, Oprah, Banksy, Fergie, Shakira, Pink, Sting, etc. But there is only one Meathead.

    2. jr

      Dore had COVID and says that he was seriously injured by the vaccine he took. I wonder if that has played a role in his bitter and sardonic demeanor. He used to be a bit more lighthearted as I recall. I must admit I enjoy his show, he talks like I feel, minus his absolutely terrible coverage of COVID.

      1. Return of the Bride of Joe Biden

        Some perverted, soulless, sad, impotent, scumbags (me, for instance) enjoy sardonic humor.

      2. Gravity Falls

        I enjoyed Dore in a number of levels, but he was and is at best mercilessly critiquing the two political parties. Now the left is left to wander in wilderness or to chase phastasms like the Peoples party until another Occupy or other movement emerges to latch onto.

    3. Carolinian

      When the is game getting down to the fourth quarter a hail mary pass may be called for. I wouldn’t put put it past the Dems if Trump staging another of his comebacks..

      As for that other Vanity Fair story, this too is a debate the Repubs would very much like to have and the Dems would be wise to leave alone. Taibbi has talked about this.

      When it comes to fashion magazines Teen Vogue may be smarter than Vanity Fair.

  7. DJG, Reality Czar

    The Gray Zone on Ukraine, by Snell and Popp: The Ukrainian government isn’t even serious about fighting the war. If this article is any indication, this is a war of inertia, as we all wait for Ukraine to collapse.

    Read it all just for one detail after another of constant theft. A culture of everyone stealing from everyone.

    Two enlightening portraits:

    Ivan is not optimistic about Ukraine’s chances to win the war. “There won’t be a Donbas left,” he said. “The Russians will destroy it, or they’ll control all of it, and then they’ll move on to the south. And now, as it is, I’d say 80% of the civilians who have stayed in Donbas support Russia and leak all of our location information to them.”

    “It is obvious that the US doesn’t want Ukraine to win the war,” said Andrey*, a Ukrainian journalist based in Mykolayiv. “They only want to make Russia weak. No one will win this war, but the countries the US is using like a playground will lose. And the corruption related to the war aid is shocking. The weapons are stolen, the humanitarian aid is stolen, and we have no idea where the billions sent to this country have gone.”

    What Ivan says is an anecdote, but in the rest of the article, he comes across as a sharp-eyed observer. Most likely, if the Russians have 80 percent support, and tellingly, if plenty of information is being leaked to them, you can count on a series of referendums as these republics (and others) join the Russian Federation.

    1. Karl

      Alex Mercouris said yesterday that Russia is now in the suburbs of Nikolaiev, the last major city before Odessa.

  8. Toshiro_Mifune

    Texas schools hanging ‘In God We Trust’ signs after new state law requiring donated signs be posted

    If I remember right Oklahoma had a similar law which allowed conservative Christian groups to donate a ten commandments statue so it had to displayed on the state capital. This led the Satanic Temple to donate a 7ft tall Baphomet under the same laws*. This should be a fun one to watch. I don’t remember if Church of the SubGenius/Ivan Stang are still located in TX but they could have some fun here.

    *Yes, this is some epic level trolling

    1. Matthew G. Saroff

      I need to start donating, “Religion is the opiate of the masses,” signs.

      Or maybe, “Unabashed atheist, not afraid of burning in hell,” signs.

      Even better, donate signs containing the story of Judah and Tamar to elementary schools. (Tamar marries Judah’s son, who dies, and marries another son, (Onan) who is struck down for Onanism, and then she deceives and seduces Judah and conceives a son. This is presented as a good thing. Genesis 38)

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        In at least one sense, it is a good thing. Tamar’s only hope of a home and food in her old age was to have a son. Onan refuses (it’s more a case of using withdrawal as a birth control method than masturbation), thus frustrating Tamar’s goal. Tamar’s claim on Onan was backed by the law of levirate marriage which obligated a brother to give his widow a child to support her, but that was of no practical value.

        So Tamar uses her wit and knowledge of her patriarch’s weaknesses to get the child she needs. And it was daring. If she hadn’t kept the ring to prove it was Judah, she would have been stoned. What’s surprising is that this story ended up in the Torah. It’s pretty subversive in such a patriarchal context.

  9. The Rev Kev

    “Turkey and Ukraine sign agreement for reconstruction of war-torn country”

    Turkey is once more playing it very smart. Virtually all the fighting and all the damage is taking place on territories that the Ukraine has lost or is about to lose to the Russians. At this rate, the only help that Turkey will have to give in reconstruction will be that for the area around Kiev which got hit at the beginning of the war. And it return for that, Turkey gets themselves embedded into the Ukraine and its economy. Smart, very smart.

    1. Quentin

      The Rev Kev, You assume that Kiev and the western half of Ukraine stays intact. Erdo is too clever by half.

      1. Matthew G. Saroff

        I expect Poland to seize de facto control of Galicia, and repatriate Poles to the region, particularly if the PiS remains in control of government.

        1. Karl

          Neighboring States (e.g. Hungary) with ethnic populations in southwest Ukraine will surely want their piece of rump Ukraine too?

          Let the feeding frenzy begin!

          1. Matthew G. Saroff

            Not so sure. Elements of the PiJ hav been making Eastern Galicia an issue for some time, and places like Hungary have not.

            Then again, I can see Orban wanting to do this.

    1. Randall Flagg

      I would speculate that making them likable is EXACTLY what the display is all about. Same thing with the Boston Dynamics humanoid robots. Promote them as harmless, hey, think of all the jobs they can do that saving humans time, doing the jobs we can’t hire humans to do, avoiding putting people into dangerous situations, etc., etc. the list is endless and quite worthy. And it’s all fun and games until they bolt some firearms onto them and use them for crowd control, enforcement of martial law, combat, and on and on. How many movies have we seen these scenarios?
      I would also have little hope that Isaac Asimov’s three laws will be programmed into any of them. Yes, I am being pessimistic, but take a GOOD look at the world around us today.

      1. doug

        Russia recently showed off their robotic dawg. It had a missile strapped on top. They are not trying to be cute.

      2. jr

        I tend to agree and upon ruminating on it I have to wonder if one of two scenarios are playing out here. Either the f00ls who made the video think the stuffed animals will soften the image of those things or they know no one likes them and it’s an intentional, mocking middle finger to the masses. They didn’t put bunny ears on them, those are the faces of monsters.

  10. SocalJimObjects

    “Indonesia looks to sorghum as wheat substitute as noodle lovers worry about price increase”. This article does not tell the full story. Heck, Fransiscus Welirang who is quoted in the article never said that the Ukraine war was solely responsible for the increase in the price of wheat as implied by the article. He said in the following interview with MSNBC Indonesia (in Indonesian), that:
    1. The price of wheat was already increasing before the war. He cited the effect of climate changes leading to wheat crop failures in both the US and Canada in 2021.
    2. Indonesia imports most of its wheat from Australia due to proximity. In fact he thinks Indonesia is the number one destination for Australian wheat export.
    3. Indonesia does not rely on just one big producer for wheat. Domestic companies have risk management practices in place to ensure a stable supply of wheat to Indonesia.

    In another segment of the same interview,, he also said that the whole thing about the price of instant noodles going up by 300% was overblown.

  11. The Rev Kev

    “Imran Khan: Pakistan police charge ex-PM under terrorism act”

    So let me get this right. The deep state of a country succeed in getting rid of the leader of their country. There follows an investigation of this ex-leader and some time later, there are charges of terrorism bandied about against that ex-leader. That country’s media also seeks to censor that ex-leader and not let him be heard. In spite of this, his faction succeeds in taking over important political seat showing his continued popularity with voters. The ex-leader’s supporters rally around him and vow to protect him against this travesty against justice.
    Are they sure that this is Pakistan that they are talking about?

  12. Fastball

    Of course, there is another way to get rid of unnecessary administrative hurdles involving health insurance companies — get rid of the insurance companies.

  13. LawnDart

    Re: Docs Not Talking About Anal Sex May Put Women at Risk

    Although a British study, in USA, our puritans historically have put public health in harm’s way, and especially now that abortion’s on the way out in many states, I can see a lot more young ladies travelling the back roads, playing “alter boy,” or inviting their companions to follow Augustus Gloop: statistically-speaking, a lot more starfish are getting speared these days.

    Reckless enthusiasm and a lack of knowledge can lead to much, much worse than a tender tush. But I doubt that we’ll be seeing any taxpayer-funded PSAs addressing the matter, and doubt too that states cutting abortion have much, if any, sex-ed in the classrooms where relevent education can take place (entire school boards could be lynched if pupils were found being taught proper sodomy techniques, and étiquette).

    That said, I realize that anal sex can be an uncomfortable subject, but I can’t get through the paywall to the punchline: why are clinicians reluctant to discuss the harms of anal sex? Is it a British-thing?

    1. ambrit

      “Rum, sodomy, and the lash.”
      “Care to see the Golden Nail in the bilge that holds the ship together mate?”
      It has been noted that the Pre-conquest Incans had a predilection for “the back way.” Numerous depictions of mixed gender buggery on Incan pottery. Someone mentioned that most pottery made in Incan days was produced by women, and so, such depictions were a subtle method of promoting a form of birth control. Curious idea, but well within the realm of possibility.
      Stay safe. Don’t drop the soap.

    2. Fiery Hunt

      All very crude and all pretty damn funny.
      Speared starfish…ha!

      But now I’m wondering what exactly “LawnDart” means…


    3. Bugs

      I had to go check it out. The comments on the article were not edifying in any way on the condition of the general medical professional in relation to the reality of human sexuality.

  14. The Rev Kev

    “Ukraine calls on Canada to cancel gas turbine sanctions waiver as German chancellor set to visit’

    It’s OK for Big Z to go say this but the other day a senior (Green) German politician suggested to their people to skip showers and just to use a washcloth instead. Didn’t they call that once a whore’s bath? This saga has been going on for three months now when all it would take is an agreement between Germany and Canada to officially give all present and future turbines a waiver from the sanctions packages. But they just can’t do it somehow. Siemans hasn’t been making themselves much useful here either. The other day they tweeted out the following on their official Twitter account-

    ‘Our famous turbine is still not where it should be. It’s standing around lonely at our site in Mülheim. Let’s do the poor thing a favor and create a Spotify playlist. What should be included? We’ll start with “So Lonely” by the The Police Band … what are your suggestions?’

    It probably took someone with an MBA to come up with that bright idea and pretty soon they had to delete that page-

  15. chris

    The article on Germany asking the public and industry to cut energy usage by 15-20% so that “there’s a good chance” they won’t have energy problems this winter is mind blowing. Especially in light of the earlier articles on the situation.

    The earlier reporting says that businesses are asking employees to work from home, pushing the costs of heating onto the citizenry. The state is also limiting heating to 66 F. That’s just cold enough to be a problem for people if you’re not under blankets and sleeping. Regardless of how many restrictions people are able to bear, the estimated yearly energy bill for Germans, based on this reporting, has risen to about 3500 €, which for the purposes of scale they say is equal to a typical monthly income. So the full set of expectations the German state has asked German citizens to accept is to be cold all winter, and have the lights out in most public spaces, all while losing one month of income paying for increased energy costs, so that NATO gets to have it’s proxy war.

    Do the people in power really think this is going to work? That they’ll get polite acceptance of a situation that I have to imagine some will find intolerable?

    1. nippersdad

      The reaction to Partygate was only a blip on the radar compared to what HeatingGate is going to look like. The first picture of Haabeck not wearing a fur lined coat indoors is going to cause riots.

    2. Kouros

      In April 1945, a former German leader was promising his countrymen a great victory… Present day leadership has opened the wrong book to follow…

      1. Wukchumni

        We’re in an age of weather extremes, so why not throw a winter of 1709 @ Europe?

        The Great Frost, as it was known in England, or Le Grand Hiver (“The Great Winter”), as it was known in France, was an extraordinarily cold winter in Europe in 1708–1709, and was the coldest European winter during the past 500 years.

        During the Great Northern War, the Swedish invasion of Russia was notably weakened by the severe winter. Sudden winter storms and frosts killed thousands during the Swedish army’s winter offensives, most notably during a single night away from camp that killed at least 2,000. Because the Russian troops were more prepared for the harmful weather and cautiously stayed within their camps, their losses were substantially lower, contributing heavily to their eventual victory at Poltava the following summer.,during%20the%20past%20500%20years.

        1. Lex

          The first winter during the siege of Leningrad was a “100 year winter”. There’s something about winter being the worst during conflicts.

  16. JBird4049

    AL Coal Miners Must Pay $13 Million in Damages for Strike, Biden’s NLRB Rules Truthout

    Why yes, you can strike, but only as long as that “strike” doesn’t inconvenience any business in “making” more money.

    It’s at this point, I remember all the very many company goon squads and government soldiers that have crippled, murdered, and imprisoned strikers in the many strikes of the past two centuries because “law and order” and ability to extract as much wealth as possible from their bodies must be preserved. It is the right and proper law of the universe. Ordained by Creator himself and to do otherwise not only goes against Him, but is the communism besides. /s

    1. Fiery Hunt

      We really are, as a species, that violent and shortsighted and ignorant of history and cruel and cowardly.

      Think about anything, anywhere: US politics/society, global economy, War, Climate (let’s use chemicals to fix Nature, says China!…), Drugs (cartels shut down border towns for 3 day?..yeah…)

      We are too vile to survive our own nature.


    2. marym

      It may not be over yet.
      The United Mine Workers of America today made it clear that it will vigorously challenge an outrageous assessment of damages made by the National Labor Relations Board Region 10 regarding the UMWA’s 16-month strike against Warrior Met Coal in Alabama.

      Thread with some links
      The @NLRB Region 10 board (which covers GA, KY, and Ala.) has ordered the
      @MineWorkers to pay $13.3 MILLION in costs to coal bosses Warrior Met, where workers have been on strike for the past 16 months. If upheld, this will hurt all U.S. workers’ ability to strike

      1. marym


        Those were the most recent links I found. The Truthout post is dated 08/21 and doesn’t mention an appeal. So I don’t know where things stand today as far as an appeal.

      2. Mark Gisleson

        Made me do the math. In 1976 a local judge ordered us back to work (local strike began immediately after the national Rubberworker’s strike ended). He was going to fine us $10,000 a day ($49,000 per the Inflation Calculator) for each day we didn’t go back to work (something like an inflation adjusted $30 per striker per day).

        Joe Biden’s showing Gerald Ford how union busting is done.

  17. Oguk

    not sure if this was flagged earlier (it’s from June) – just saw on Twitter Saudi water deal threatening water supply in Phoenix
    “Groundwater is unregulated in most rural areas of the state. Fondomonte [Saudi water company] pays only $25 per acre annually….One of the things being grow on the farmland is alfalfa, which is being sent back to Saudi Arabia to feed their cows. However, alfalfa can be very water intensive which is being supplied by the ground water coming from Western Arizona.

    “It’s one of the most water intensive crops there are and just with the conditions out there, they’re able to do eight to nine cuts, harvests a year of alfalfa.”

    1. Carolinian

      I’ve heard about the giant Saudi farms–not a new thing–but didn’t see anything in the article about threatening Phoenix.

      The recent Colorado cuts may threaten Phoenix pocket books though. I’m told their water rates are going up and a minority portion of their water does come from the Colorado River via the CAP

  18. Petter

    Germany and logistic problems.
    My wife forwards me har daily Bloomberg Supply Chain email and in today’s it read:
    Germany’s logistics problems are worsening an economic slowdown, with shallow rivers for barge traffic exposing fragile inland supply routes, an under-invested railway system that can’t take on the extra capacity, and seaports that are still heaving with cargo.
    I focused on one word “under- invested”
    Underinvestment. That word explains so much. A word of our Times.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      Some things must be sacrificed so that there’s enough money for the billionaires to research going to Mars and living forever. First things first.

  19. fresno dan

    We need to start routinely tracking the ways in which insurance companies’ red tape affects patient care BMJ
    It takes a village to care for a patient. That village encompasses many partners, including, in the United States at least, the patient’s health insurer. Increasingly, however, I’m aware of the many ways that such companies obstruct my capacity as a physician to provide the best and most timely care possible. After all, to the insurance company our care is considered a minus sign in the accounts log, a financial cost stacked up against the drive to increase profits.

    !’m not alone in finding these processes onerous and worrying about their impact on patients. In a 2021 survey of more than 1000 physicians, the American Medical Association found that 88% of doctors described the burden associated with prior authorizations as high or extremely high, and 34% reported that a prior authorization had led to a serious adverse event for a patient they were caring for.1
    My view is that an insurance company can deny or preauthorise care IF I get examined IN PERSON by another board certified physician (a second opinion as it were) who specifically addresses the issue at hand and documents their findings (which may include ordering more tests and examinations) – I think that would soon put an end to insurance companies trying to practice medicine. Of course, this is covered in full by the insurance company…

    1. Anthony G Stegman

      I recall that Walter White (Heisenberg) purchased a car wash in order to launder his meth lab revenues. Perhaps private equity has similar ideas.

  20. Wukchumni

    Gooooooooood Moooooorning Fiatnam!

    Orders came in via walkie-talkie and the platoon was being sent to an another potential torrential where Big Hair was teetering and the grassy knoll threatened with inundation, not to mention the difficulty of digging a foxhole.

    Luckily a bunch of guys in the platoon had laid some serious jackage on Dallas-adjacent getting hit with double digit inches of rain @ sweet 100-1 odds @ a weatherbook in Vegas… although I think they got rooked, as now they’re calling it a 1 in 1,000 year event.

  21. LY

    So, China is in a large drought too. It’s impacting hydroelectric (power shortages and more coal burning), and affects Yangzte river navigation, where over 400 million people live in its river basin. It’s impacting crops, and shutting down all kinds of factories.

    The receding waters in Chongqing also revealed Buddhist statues believed to be 600 years old, carved into what was an island reef.

    1. griffen

      Wonder what else his parting gift might include, aside from a rather healthy pension after these many years of service. A gold Rolex for Saint Fauci ? I think his annual pension payout was covered before, something north of $400k based on my recall.

      1. Anthony G Stegman

        Fauci will likely rake in tens of millions from book deals, speaking tours, and prize money. He’s a walking, talking gold mine.

      1. pjay

        Thanks for this link – it’s a useful overview of Sach’s argument, experience, and evidence of a cover-up.

        When such obfuscation, misdirection, smear tactics, misleading “research,” contradictory statements, conflicts of interest, and other evidence of a cover-up are so obvious, one would assume that there is something to cover-up. And if that something affects powerful people, one would assume that rather than resulting in an actual inquiry, Sachs’ efforts will instead get him cast out of the Kingdom and into the realm of Kooks and Conspiracy Theorists. Let’s see what happens.

  22. Wukchumni

    This is quite an interesting photo of what looks like Jesus and assorted disciples descending upon Bakersfield a few days after the big earthquake there 70 years ago today, but the backstory is something else…

    The pictures of that 97-degree afternoon — and there are many, in both public and private hands — capture how police, fire, ambulance, Red Cross and literally hundreds of civilian volunteers converged to help when the earthquake of Aug. 22, 1952, shook the city to its foundation. Men of all ages, some in uniform, most in street clothes, waded willingly into the chaos.

    But one photo — and there seems to be only one like it — gives pause in a different, head-scratching way: It shows a group of bearded, robed volunteers chatting casually with Red Cross workers in the middle of the city’s main commercial boulevard, in front of a department store. The robed visitors appear to have stepped through a time warp, transported from biblical days into midcentury Bakersfield.

    Who are they, and what are they doing there?

    The central character in the photo, and in the story behind it, is a self-anointed holy man named Krishna Venta. He is looking away from the others, as if lost in thought.

    For a decade, from the late ’40s until the late ’50s, Venta sent his followers wherever disaster struck in Southern California — occasionally, some in law enforcement came to notice, before the disaster had even taken place.

    They were part of an organization called the WKFL Fountain of the World, a harbinger of the postwar cult movement that would grow and mutate into darker incarnations over the next three decades.

    But on Aug. 24, 1952, the 11 members of WKFL (Wisdom, Knowledge, Faith, Love) who visited quake-rattled Bakersfield were regarded as benign and helpful — if a bit odd — visitors from the Santa Susana Pass of Ventura County.

    The Bakersfield Californian described them as “long-robed brethren who seem to spring up from the earth wherever disaster strikes.”

    The 11 of them came packed in two cars, led, the newspaper reported, “by a very tall barefooted gentleman in a yellow robe. They called him Master.”

    The Master was 41-year-old Francis Herman Pencovic, a 6-foot-2, narcissistic con man, child-support dodger and bad-check-passer who, since creating the WKFL Fountain of the World in 1949, had started calling himself Krishna Venta. He was 240,000 years old, he said.

    Those who stayed in Box Canyon one day encountered a homeless man whom they fed and gave shelter. It was a 30-something Charles Manson, who had stopped in for spiritual sustenance and ended up staying three days. Two years later, headquartered just over a hill at the nearby Spahn Ranch, Manson would lead his own cult, the Manson Family, on a murderous rampage across Los Angeles that killed nine people in four locations, including actress Sharon Tate. Like Venta, Manson also believed he was a Christlike being and that an imminent apocalyptic race war would somehow elevate him.

    Had Venta’s teachings influenced Manson? There is no way to know, but parallels between Venta’s apocalypse and Manson’s Helter Skelter are undeniable.

    1. digi_owl

      If not for it only starting a year or so later, one could wonder if they were a byproduct of MKUltra.

  23. anonymous

    Singapore decriminalizes male homosexuality.
    Something about putting men in jail for having sex with men seemed counterproductive, the Prime Minister said, adding that it was perhaps not helping matters that repeat offenders were additionally trussed up and sodomized by the entire Singaporean Olympic water polo team, as a surcharge on their sentence. The rate of crime only seemed to go up and up, he said. The stiffer the sentence the more eager they were to offend. Government officials and academic poenologists were at a loss to explain it.

  24. Lex

    The Afghan withdrawal article misses the most important facet of the situation. Leading up to it, all of the US intelligence agencies were quoted by the press and president that the Afghan Army would last months, at least. Some of the chaos would have been reduced if that assessment had been correct, but it was wildly inaccurate given that the Afghan army last less than a weekend. Many of the other issues appear to be the fault of DoD, but since POTUS is CinC, those are his problems too just like relying on bad intelligence assessments.

    I don’t buy the Biden admin’s talk about how they just couldn’t justify being in Afghanistan anymore. Everything that was wrong was wrong all through the Obama administration when most of the same people argued for staying. I assume the reality is that A. they wanted to pivot to Ukraine but B. (and more importantly) they thought that any domestic political impact of the withdrawal could be pinned on Trump “negotiating with terrorists”. For all the federal politics experience in the Biden WH, they don’t seem to have learned anything from it.

  25. Raymond Sim

    I’m late to this, but a ‘The Hill’ article from Aug 21 links, What researchers are learning about monkeypox virus, features material from the preprint: Transmission potential of human monkeypox in mass gatherings:

    Looking it over, I think it constitutes an unintentional corroboration of my hypothesis that airborne transmission has been the predominant mode of ‘MSM’ transmission or, at the very least, has been key to the superspreader events.

    The authors used attack rate data from Africa and attempted to model the recent spread at big gay get-togethers. They assumed transmission was either through sexual contact or some sort of close contact – and they had a hard time getting big enough numbers to account for the superspreading.

    On the other hand, because aerosols produce zones of transmission, even very modest transmissibility can produce big effects. And at a dance party the aerosol up at face height is likely to incorporate more, larger particles than one might otherwise encounter, and of course one is likely to be breathing heavily.

    1. Lambert Strether

      > On the other hand, because aerosols produce zones of transmission, even very modest transmissibility can produce big effects. And at a dance party the aerosol up at face height is likely to incorporate more, larger particles than one might otherwise encounter, and of course one is likely to be breathing heavily.

      That is an excellent argument.

      Also, the droplet goons have managed to get people thinking that “close contact” is a mode of transmission. It is not. It could encompass aerosols (breathing), droplets (coughing), or fomites (touching), all of which can be done in “close contact.” Also, “one of these things is not like the others,” since aerosols, unlike fomites and droplets, can fill a room. So “close contact” is really deceptive when it comes to Covid’s primary modes of transmission. Oddly.

  26. Karl

    When I reflect on the totality of today’s links, one seeks an explanation for the plight of this country. Cipolla’s 5 Laws of Stupidity explains a lot. Plus lots of other risk factors concentrated in D.C.– ambition, corruption….

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