Links 8/28/2022

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.

* * *

How Two Dozen Rabbits Started an Ecological Invasion in Australia Smithsonian

Do spiders dream? A new study suggests they do. National Geographic. Original.

How a scandal in spider biology upended researchers’ lives Nature

ECB officials warn of ‘sacrifice’ needed to tame surging inflation FT. Jackson Hole.

A story of tailwinds and headwinds: aggregate supply and macroeconomic stabilisation Bank of International Settlements. More Jackson Hole.

How Much Did Supply Constraints Boost U.S. Inflation? Federal Reserve Bank of New York

Was the Paycheck Protection Program Effective? Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis. From June, still germane.

U.S. Mortgage Lenders Are Starting To Go Broke Bloomberg


A new concept for low-cost batteries MIT News (Ignacio).

A Clean-Energy Future Might Not Be Far Away Lever News. ‘Tis a consummation devoutly to be wished.

Climate litigation threatens to push up companies’ insurance costs FT

Private Jet Shortage Hits English Football’s Pre-Match Prep Bloomberg. People keep assuming that the air travel system can remain as it has been. Considering that it is a ginormous superspreading event, I don’t see how this can be.

The Three Maritime Value Chains: Decarbonization Playbook Maritime Executive. Part 1.

Pakistan’s south braces for deluge from swollen northern rivers RFI


Did a Random Person on Twitter Name the Latest COVID Variant ‘Centaurus’? Vice. Yes! From the “random person”:

Did an accidental ‘blood plague’ in World of Warcraft help scientists model COVID better? The results are in The Conversation

The PMC love homework, both doing it and (if hegemonic) assigning it. Your “personal risk assessment” is homework:


Coronavirus in China: Tibet punishes more than 100 officials over zero-Covid failures South China Morning Post

What’s in Store for China’s Mortgage Market? Michael Pettis, China Financial Markets. Part two.

‘We Own It’: The Chinese Homeowners Squatting in Unfinished Buildings Sixth Tone

Red Lights at Hong Kong Crosswalks Are Helping Phone Zombies Cross the Street Bloomberg

Soviet History Offers Clues to China’s Naval Strategy in Indian Ocean Maritime Executiv

China, Indonesia, and Malaysia: Waltzing Around Oil Rigs The Diplomat


Modi Is Rewriting India’s National Narrative Foreign Policy


These are energy bills many Britons simply can’t afford. Some will pay with their lives Guardian

Brussels agrees to ‘Iberian exception’ allowing Spain and Portugal to cap electricity prices EuroNews (Ignacio).

Now our water bills will go up too! Firms will pass price of sewage crisis on to their customers with bills increasing by £12 a year Daily Mail

New Not-So-Cold Cold War

German state leader ‘not wanted’ in Ukraine after war remarks Deutsche Welle. But did Ukraine put him on their hit list?

Ground beneath Zelensky’s feet is shifting Indian Punchline. Always has been.

Ukraine – ‘Game Changing’ Policy Moves That Ain’t Game Changing Moon of Alabama

Zelenskyy Hails Pilots On Ukraine’s Aviation Day, Avers ‘invaders To Die Like Dew On Sun’ Republic World. Next, kamikazis….

* * *

Live Updates: Inspectors Set to Visit Besieged Ukrainian Nuclear Plant NYT. Amplified by TASS.

Ukraine tries to sow chaos behind Russian frontline FT. Meaning no southern offensive, what a surprise.

* * *

Putin decree on increasing the size of Russia’s Armed forces, in the original Russian:

So then I go to the site, which has interesting maps. Being the cautious sort — even if “UA” is said to stand for “Universal Awareness” — I go to their About page:

Guys. Come on.

Canadian Media Once Called Azov Neo-Nazis. Now They Hide That Fact Internationalist 360°

Bolsonaro and Lula fight it out in Brazil’s swing state FT

Intelligence Community

CIA Realizes It’s Been Using Black Highlighters All These Years The Onion. 2005, still germane.


8 First-Time Voters Discuss Roe v. Wade, Abortion Access, States’ Rights, Protesting Teen Vogue


Release of redacted affidavit heightens political crisis after FBI raid on Trump compound WSWS

The Bezzle

Twitter Whistleblowing Report Actually Seems To Confirm Twitter’s Legal Argument, While Pretending To Support Musk’s TechDirt

Imperial Collapse Watch

Watch for Halliburton to crank up training in European languages:

Class Warfare

Why Not a Jubilee? The American Conservative (!).

This is rubbish, Nicola! Scottish residents start putting their trash bags in their BATHS and hiring skips as pressure grows on Sturgeon to end bin strike after unions reject 5 per cent pay rise Daily Mail

At $249 per day, prison stays leave ex-inmates deep in debt AP. And you didn’t even get a mint on the pillow….

How the Physics of Nothing Underlies Everything Quanta

Get Ready for the Magic Mushroom Pill Bloomberg

Five Lessons from History Collaborative Fund. Interesting, despite the Niall Ferguson epigraph. (Couldn’t the writer have chosen a historian?)

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Sardonia

    So, Lambert posted about Hillary’s new “Gutsy” road tour – apparently on one more try for the Presidency. And while Lambert “can’t even”, I can – because at some point I just start to feel sorry for her, obsessed with a dream she’ll never reach. So out of compassion I offer this suggestion, with a re-wording of Eminem’s signature anthem, “Lose Yourself”.

    (Spoken intro)
    Look, you had your one shot,
    your one opportunity
    To seize everything you ever wanted,
    in one moment
    Did you capture it,
    or did you let it slip?

    (Music begins, builds, then rap begins)

    Your palms are sweaty,
    knees bad, arms are heavy
    There’s something on your sweater already,
    Unused confetti
    you’re prepping words for us,
    looking calm and ready
    To run again,
    but you keep on forgetting
    You lost to a clown,
    how the hell do you live that down
    You wanna go another round,
    but the country’s sick of your sound
    Your choke was renowned,
    it’s a joke to rebound
    The clock’s run out, time’s up,
    over, you drowned.
    Snap back to reality, ope,
    here comes gravity, ope.
    Just go back to Hope,
    but you won’t have it be, nope
    Cuz Power’s been your dope,
    addiction’s a slick slope.
    When you lost you couldn’t cope,
    Foaming like a rabid antelope.
    Too dumb to just take it and mope.
    Nauseate us with lame trope after trope.
    Went home to Chappaqua,
    back to the lab again,
    Blamed everyone but the Vatican
    Tryin’ to recapture a moment
    But it’s gone! Blam!
    Please try to heal your soul
    Here’s how to let it go
    Slip into the beat, and flow.
    Flow for your life,

    You better lose yourself
    In the music, the moment,
    Just own it
    You better never let it go.
    You’ve only got one shot,
    Do not miss your chance to flow
    This opportunity’s
    Your very last lifeline
    You better lose yourself
    In the music, the moment,
    Just own it
    You better never let it go.
    You’ve only got one shot,
    Do not miss your chance to flow
    This opportunity’s
    Your very last lifeline.
    You better….

    Your soul’s escaping
    Through this hole that’s gaping.
    The world was yours for the taking.
    You lost to a white Don King.
    As we move to a new world order
    A normal life is boring
    But Superstardom’s
    Close to post-mortem.
    Forget it, enjoy your daughter.
    Forget your dreams to be Leader.
    Fame is cool, ‘til you meet Her.
    Then you find She’s a star-beater
    You’d be sorry you fought Her.
    Give it up! Fame’s got scabies.
    Just enjoy your grandbabies!
    Go ahead, write more books
    But lose the rabies.
    Why you wanna be a Globetrotter?
    Schmoozing from banquet to banquet?
    Leave Bill alone? He’ll never quit.
    Seen Monica’s new anklet?
    Maybe keep your nose where you oughta.
    Think being Prez brings immortality?
    Your name in books every century?
    Maybe a statue of you at Wesley?
    Well, here’s your bucket of cold water –
    History won’t care ‘bout glass ceilings,
    won’t give a f*** about your feelings
    It’ll talk of your dirty dealings
    And war-torn places that need healings
    And your Power Plays that led to slaughter.
    Now’s the chance to heal your soul
    Give it up, let it go
    The Beat goes on, let it flow
    It’s your Last Chance to lose that poison.

    You better lose yourself
    In the music, the moment,
    Just own it
    You better never let it go.
    You’ve only got one shot,
    Do not miss your chance to flow
    This opportunity’s
    Your very last lifeline
    You better lose yourself
    In the music, the moment,
    Just own it
    You better never let it go.
    You’ve only got one shot,
    Do not miss your chance to flow
    This opportunity’s
    your very last lifeline.
    You better….

    You can heal anything you put your mind to….

      1. DJG, Reality Czar

        Sardonia: I’m going to go with sixties hippy-happy pop:


        Who’s peeking out from under a stairway
        Calling a name that’s lighter than air?
        Who’s bending down to give me a rainbow?
        Everyone knows it’s Gusty

        Who’s tripping down the streets of the city
        Smiling at everybody she sees?
        Who’s reaching out to capture a moment?
        Everyone knows it’s Gusty

        And Gusty has stormy eyes
        That flash at the sound of lies
        And Gusty has wings to fly
        Above the clouds (Above the clouds)
        Above the clouds (Above the clouds)

        Meanwhile, below the clouds and the airwaves:
        Gusty’s stormy eyes
        are flashing at a benjamin
        and making up
        stuff about Vlad Putin.
        But it’s all about lying for the benjamins,
        lying for the benjamins
        lying for the benjamins

        [[Will the Association ever forgive me?]]

          1. jonboinAR

            That silly, sappy hippy-dippy music was considered full-on rock in those days. The musicians were thought of as counter-culture leaders. One has to remember that the parents they were rebelling from were straight ahead traditional Americans of a sort we don’t even know any more. So what, to us, are very mild suggestions of alternative ways of thinking and being were quite radical, even shocking, at the time.

    1. Robert Hahl

      “Americans hate Hillary so much, they elected someone they hate more just to spite her.” – Norm Macdonald

      1. Sardonia

        Of the millions of words written and spoken about the 2016 election, that line of Norm’s has always been my favorite.

        1. Lexx

          My favorite was from Christopher Titus, that went something like… ‘Americans were so opposed to having a vagina in the White House, they voted for the other side of the taint’. In the video you can hear the effect of a joke so funny the audience is stunned by it’s accuracy and then they explode with laughter. Stand-up comics probably have a word for that kind of joke, like “It killed.”

          1. Devo

            Seen the image of the woman that looks like Hillary, grinning, jackal like, wearing her signature arrow pointing campaign slogan shirt–with the arrow pointing down at her crotch?

          2. drumlin woodchuckles

            That’s just repacking Clinton’s cynical slurs about “misogyny”. Americans were so opposed to having a Clintonite in the White House, they voted for the other side of the Force.

            1. Lexx

              I liked the joke because it was vulgar and managed to insult both candidates at the same time. I loathed them both equally, but especially the former president just offstage: Bill.

              Elizabeth Warren disappointed me. I thought she was better than Hillary. But she played the misogyny card as her campaign floundered… ‘the boys aren’t playing fair!’… ‘Bernie says I can’t win because I’m a woman’. It was Hillary all over again, trying to use gender to muscle onto The Team without the help of a male (with affirmative action? shame?! the righteous anger of female voters?). Her opponents were beyond being embarrassed. It didn’t matter that it was true or truthy. I knew she’d lost as soon as her campaign played the female card. I could smell the desperation. They had her on the ropes.

              I’m pretty sure we’ll never see a female president who pulls that stunt and demands special treatment, like it was a handicapped parking space. ‘Can’t you see my affliction!’

              That’s playing from a perceived weakness while bidding for one of the most powerful political jobs on the planet. Gah!

    2. griffen

      That was pretty epic, really good! And to combine hope with antelope. That is some real talent on display.

    3. John Wright

      HRC may also be haunted by the ghost of Richard Nixon.

      Nixon was also widely disliked and suffered an embarrassing defeat when running against Democratic California governor “Pat” Brown for the California governorship..

      Nixon held what is known as his “last press conference” on November 7, 1962

      At this “an embittered Nixon lashed out at the media, proclaiming that “you don’t have Nixon to kick around any more, because, gentlemen, this is my last press conference”.

      HRC may believe that if Nixon could come back from this voter rejection and later become President in 1968 then it is only reasonable that HRC could do the same.

      Her time will come…

      1. Questa Nota

        Gotta admire grudgingly acknowledge her commitment to a futile cause, against long and mounting odds and near universal hatred.

        Whistling past the graveyard takes on new meanings given Bill’s turn toward the cadaverous.
        Once he keels over, whatever potential rational counterweight dies.
        So, a two-fer.

        1. CanCyn

          Never forget the pink pussy hats. There are a lot of PMC women who admire that awful woman and who would vote for her in a heartbeat given the chance. Probably not enough for her to win but enough to encourage her to try – just in case her colossal ego isn’t enough.

      2. jonboinAR

        Tricky D had an advantage over Hellary in that, through all of his unlikeability, he was generally considered to be competent.

          1. LawnDart

            Betty, how in the blue hell did you arrive at this conclusion? Are you freaking mental, delusional, or something? What kind of crap are you trying to pull putting words into their mouth? Jon neither said nor insinuated such a thing. Although if Jon did, they (those people, who incidentlty had penises) at least did succeed at becoming president.. …unlike that haughty POS.

            HRC was and is nakedly corrupt, a charlatan and a liar, and her arrogance blinded her and prevented her from conducting effective or successful campaigns– the two-time loser, she never learned from her losses . The entitled bitch was a sick joke and the epitomy of identity politics– “vote for me because I have a vagina and IT’S MY TURN!!!” And her followers are nothing but a bunch of angry, ignorant, bleating pack animals.

            You owe jonbonAR an apology.

            1. John Wright

              I’m not a fan of these lists as I believe historians are biased toward ranking US Presidents by their bold, and possibly misguided, actions.

              For example, Donald Trump makes the list of ten worst at #2, while George W. Bush, with his massively destructive wars in lives lost and property damage, destruction of US civil liberties and US reputation does not.

              Warren G. Harding makes the list at #6 while Woodrow Wilson, who did much more harm in my view than the Harding administration’s corruption, does not.

              My degree is in electrical engineering, so perhaps my view of presidential history is flawed, but I like to view presidents by the harm they did and did not do.

              That is why I view Harding and Trump as not in the 10 worst list, while GW Bush having a lock on #1.

              Watching HRC over the years (Libya, healthcare attempted launch, Clinton Foundation, Iraq war vote, financial industry favoritism, emails) leads me to suspect that she would have been a poor president.

  2. Mr. Magoo

    Re: “Ukraine tries to sow chaos behind Russian frontline FT. Meaning no southern offensive, what a surprise.”

    Not sure the reason for the derision. It would seem given the lack of Ukrainian resources, not mounting an offensive, and just chipping away from a distance, seems to be the smart move. We have all seen what being over-confident can lead to.

      1. square coats

        I confess to not reading the article but I had a similar reaction to just the headline itself. It could be interpreted something along the lines of “Ukraine tries to sow chaos in places it claims are part of its territory and is demanding to see returned to its sovereign control” or “Ukraine drops butterfly mines* in places it claims are part of its territory and is demanding to see returned to its sovereign control, ensuring years of terror to come since it has a horrible proven track record for cleaning up its own mines*”….

        *feel free to replace with your own examples of chaos-sowing and likely results

      2. Mr. Magoo

        Only Russians believe Crimea is Russian.

        Even given that, if attacking another country was considered an act of terrorism, thus…

        1. tegnost

          What do you call blowing up people that live within the borders of your country?
          Re Crimea?

          Crimea voted to join Russia, but that runs counter to the intentions of globalists based in NYC and DC and you know globalists gotta globalize.
          Judging from the state of america with it’s homelessness, monopoly concentration, socialism for the rich, the ACA, the CARES Act (billions for buddies!), Wall st….I mean right now the fed policy is to destroy americans capacity to survive in order to bring russia to heel, what is so great about our system that other countries should even want to be ruled by wall street? Why? Enlighten me. What is already great about America?

          1. Mr. Magoo

            I don’t disagree with all the issues you bring up wrt the US. I am not sure anyone, other than the same Russian media, agrees with the legality, nor conduct of the vote/referendum in Crimea though either.

            Neither of which have justified this ‘special operation’. Please apply the same/equivalent level of critique and analysis equally. Whataboutism is just kinda lame.

            1. Yves Smith

              The US used precisely the same procedure in Kosovo. So we set the precedent. Actually Kosovo was less democratic. Only a vote by its legislature, not a full blown referendum.

              Ukraine has been attacking Donbass since 2014, killing 14,000 and producing 1.5 million refugees. Russia made clear that Ukraine joining NATO and arming further (its arm was already trained to NATO standards, as Scott Ritter and Jacques Baud have confirmed).

              Russia backed the Minsk accords rather than encouraging Donbass separatism. Russia was still willing to back the Minsk Accords. But at the very end of December, Biden told Putin he would not longer stick to a promise not to sent missiles to Ukraine. In February, Zelensky repudiated an attempt to revive the Minsk accords and expressed a desire to have nukes. Ukraine’s guarantee of independence by Russia depended on no nukes. Russian intel also showed Ukraine was planning a major offensive for March.

              Do you forget the Cuban missile crisis? If Mexico formed a tight military alliance with China, China was arming and training Mexicans and Monterrey Mexico declared solidarity with the US and Mexico started shelling Monterrey and targeting Americans all over Mexico, do you think we’d sit still?

              Funny how provincial and self-serving American views are. The Monroe Doctrine is that everything in the Americas is part of our security interest.

        2. The Rev Kev

          ‘Only Russians believe Crimea is Russian.’

          You do know that Crimea was Russian before there was even a United States of America don’t you? And back then the Ukraine was only a small patch of land that was landlocked. And that the people in Crimea voted twice to get away from the Ukraine. Back in 2014 they were ready to fight for their freedom as they shared little with those in Kiev that were put into power by the US/NATO.

          1. Daniil Adamov

            “Back then” Ukraine was divided between Poland and Russia. I do not think there is any point in talking about late 18th century Ukraine in the political sense, as it had lost all independence by that point.

          2. Daniil Adamov

            Incidentally, Kiev has been Russian for much longer than Crimea or Odessa (17th century if we consider “Russia” to be “the Muscovite state”, far longer if we are talking about historical Russia whence come modern “Russia”, “Belarus” and “Ukraine”). If that is the important part, then we should obviously take it too, and no one would have any right to complain.

            1. The Rev Kev

              For Washington, getting the Ukraine and Russia to fight each other in spite of the fact that a huge number of families have relatives on both sides of the border, has been a massive win for them. They were even able to make it a partly religious war by setting up a Ukrainian Orthodox church. Of course once the Ukraine has served its purpose, they will drop it like an oily rag.

        3. Yves Smith

          No, Colonel Douglas MacGregor and Alexander Mercouris and Alex Christaforu, among others, share that view. And Crimeans believe Crimea is Russian. They voted it in a referendum with over 90% participation and over 80% approval.

        4. Karl

          Ukraine’s borders were a creation of Lenin & Co. shortly after the Reds won the Civil War (ca. 1922?) and the USSR was established. Before that time, under the Tsars and before, it was just a land mass that switched between Poland, Hungary and Russia. Then Germany got in the act during WWI (Treaty of Brest-Litovsk).

          So, we are supposed to hold as crucial to Europe’s future a territory created, almost as an afterthought, by the Bolsheviki?

          Gonzalo Lira thinks that the Poles will grab Northwestern Ukraine if the rump that’s left after Russia takes Odessa makes Ukraine a non-viable state. Hungary could conceivably do likewise with the few scraps of what’s left. Both Poland and Hungary have significant ethnic populations in Ukraine to use as a pretext for such land grabs.

          Every state’s viability is a function of the borders it is able to grab or defend by force of arms or treaty. And if history is a guide, 100 years from now the borders of Europe’s nations will look quite different in any case.

          No European or American is willing to “die for Kiev.” By contrast, we can see that Russians are quite willing. Partly for this reason, with each day, Ukraine’s future looks more and more grim.

          1. Daniil Adamov

            Does Poland have a sizeable diaspora in Ukraine? In the past, yes, but I was under the impression that Bandera and Stalin between them had taken care of that.

            1. Polar Socialist

              In official census of 2001 around 150 thousand, according to Polish ethnic organizations in Ukraine around 2 million. You take your pick.

              Before Bandera and his merry gang about a third of the Western Ukraine population identified as Polish (or Masurians, as the old folks said).

              Many also took the opportunity and emigrated in the 1990’s, as did many ethnic Ukrainians and Russians, too. So now the Polish population seems to be concentrated on the Zhitomir-Vinnitsa area rather than on the border.

      3. Daniil Adamov

        Frankly, that would’ve made sense for them to try, if they (i.e. any Iraqi resistance group) had the capacity to do so.

      4. K.k

        I dont know if you have seen this. It ends with “Dugina’s death has shone a light on one aspect of this operation. “They are doing this task differently,” he said. “(But) they are different parts of the same body.””

        I cant help it feel its meant to justify this act of terror. Effectively saying people like Dugina are fair game as they an extension, an appendage of the Russian state. Madness! Imagine if the shoe was on the other foot and “our” propagandists were being murdered for justifying our endless wars and the trail of dead we leave behind. Madness.

        1. Yves Smith

          She was never part of the Russian state. Lordie. Her father was fired from Moscow State University for calling for Russian intervention in Ukraine in 2014. He and his daughter have been way more hawkish than the Kremlin.

    1. Stephen

      I think that is true, although we are only “expecting” the offensive because they said they would do it.

      Negotiating peace and recognising reality might be an even smarter approach though from a national perspective!

      Individual leadership incentives may differ though.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        If the leaders of Nato Eufuckustan are working with the Ukranazis to remind Zelensky that they will assassinate him and every member of his family if he negotiates peace with the Russia side, then he will not dare to negotiate peace with the Russia side.

        It is not Zelensky’s decision. Not in the least bit. The decision lies primarily with Nato Eufuckustan and secondarily with Nato Eufuckustan’s pet nazis carefully seeded and dispersed throughout Ukraine.

    2. jsn

      Five Lessons From History

      “This is true for countries, particularly empires. A country determined to expand by acquiring more land is unlikely to be run a person capable of saying, “OK, that’s enough. Let’s be thankful for what we have and stop invading other countries.” They’ll keep pushing until they meet their match (usually Russia).”

      1. johnherbiehancock

        I can think of surprisingly few modern leaders of empires who fit that bill. Maybe… Bismarck… and… that’s it?

        There were more during the Roman Empire for all its faults. But that covered a much longer historical period

        1. eg

          I think you will find that on balance the verdict of history is that Bismarck was very cautious. Emperor Wilhelm II, not so much …

        1. jsn

          It’s possible. I suppose NATO may be playing a long game here and holding some secret resource in reserve.

          I doubt it. But if not now, latter? Sure, I think there’s something like the Minsky cycle in politics where success breads incompetence.

          In Ukraine however, Russia is occupying culturally Russian areas, so I don’t expect Nemesis to intervene on NATOs behalf.

        2. Daniil Adamov

          Russia’s greatest enemy has always been Russia itself, so perhaps. I am not sure that overextension was ever our problem, though. I suppose the Warsaw Pact and the expensive occupation of eastern Europe was a part of what brought down the Soviet Union, but IMHO it was a less important part compared to elite infighting.

      2. Art_DogCT

        A good example of a leader of an empire declaring “enough” would be Hadrian. He abandoned territories conquered under Trajan, and set fixed borders in Britannia and Germania. His immediate successor, Antoninus Pius, did try twice to extend Rome’s control over the Picti north of Hadrian’s Wall, but neither expedition was successful in the long term. Rome retreated behind Hadrian’s Wall and stayed there until Rome evacuated their cadre circa 410 CE. As far as I recall, I don’t think Rome tried to extend the boundary Hadrian set with Germania.

      1. Mr. Magoo

        So no basis then?

        Sometimes the places that claim to be open to opinions, or facts that do not fit their agenda, are not.

        1. John Beech

          Hmmm, strikes me like not agreeing is not the same as not being open. After all, your post is up for all to see, which seems to expressly be the contrafactual to what you are positing, e.g. that there’s an agenda against your expressing your thoughts. Or am I missing something?

        2. Yves Smith

          That is an attack on the site. The fact is that the Western press breathlessly promised for months a Ukraine counteroffensive in August. You use Lambert pointing that out to smear him and now the site. You are the one here with bias, buddy, refusing to admit that Ukraine is losing this war.

          We tolerate differences of views but we do not tolerate attacks on the site or site writers. I trust you will find your happiness on the Internet elsewhere.

        3. K.k

          Not that it matters what I think but you are totally off base with this comment. I have seen and been allowed to post comments which i have no doubt were plenty disagreeable to our gracious hosts. But you cant expect them to continue to humor people acting in bad faith and attacking the site and making things needlessly personal.

    3. Daniil Adamov

      I do think that is probably the best that they can do under the circumstances, unless the Ukrainian army is in much better shape than many official Russian and alternative Western media sources assume. In other words, them focusing on such tactics suggests that their army really isn’t up to more. The thing with the southern offensive, though, is that the pro-Ukrainian media has been talking it up a lot, even after Ukrainian officials began to walk it back.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Turns out that there is going to be a southern offensive. But it will be Russian and not Ukrainian.

        1. Daniil Adamov

          We shall see either way… I am leery of triumphalist proclamations and predictions from either side, though they show no sign of abating.

          1. The Rev Kev

            Heavy equipment has been spotted going into Crimea by train for use elsewhere and there is talk of a Russian corps (the 3rd?) getting ready to deploy. Something is coming up so I guess that we will have to wait and see.

  3. timbers

    ECB officials warn of ‘sacrifice’ needed to tame surging inflation FT. Jackson Hole.

    Reportedly, French President Macron was vacationing on yachts in the Mediterranean Sea just prior to addressing his subjects to get ready to downsize their standard of living in the coming months. I recall the tidal wave of derision Jimmy Carter received regarding his speech on malaise and the need for sacrifice, but he didn’t precede that speech with a similar display of luxuriant living.

    Wonder if the French will react to this in your face hypocrisy. Or have they been sufficiently beaten down like so many other Europeans and Americans?

    Tighten your beats, plebs

    1. hunkerdown

      Let’s sacrifice establishment economists for food. They are otherwise devoid of use-value.

      1. Mildred Montana

        If all the economists in the world were laid end-to-end….that would be a good thing.

      2. griffen

        Put them on an island and then divulge they must find the one item(!) to sustain their life. Supply the island with a pallet of canned goods.

        Their journey begins to find the can opener. It’ll be like Hunger Games but even more of a riveting story.

        1. Mildred Montana

          >”Their journey begins to find the can opener.”

          For those unfamiliar with the well-known joke:

          Three men are stranded on an island with only a giant unopened can of tuna for food:

          Chemist: We can build a really hot fire and melt it open.
          Physicist: We can build a catapult and crack it open by hurling it against a rock face.
          Economist: Assume a can opener….

    2. Janie

      The Duran’s second upload today (can’t link, sorry) 13 minutes long, summarizes the economic fall of Europe, leading with Macron and his yacht. Doesn’t tell us anything we don’t know, but it’s a sufficiently depressing way to begin the day.

    3. Fred

      Meanwhile the husk-puppet for the Liberal World Order, LWO, has at least informed we Americans that we will pay the price for “as long as it takes” to defeat the competing economic system.

      We won WWII in less than 57 months, Pearl Harbor to V.J.Day.
      Iraquistan was like 250+ months– and we lost.

      Wonder how long the LWO will expect we American tax mules and consumers to “Pay the price?”

    1. griffen

      Isn’t there a promotional effort to find a decoding pen in 1 box out of every 1 million boxes of sugary cereals on offer from Kelloggs? \sarc

      Used to enjoy finding those hidden toys in the cereal boxes. As for the movie clip that is a really well done film. She nails her portrayal.

    2. John Beech

      Re: Hidden Figures movie, Netflix doesn’t have it and Amazon Prime wants more money, so I’ll find something else to watch tonight. Looks like a nice movie, but . . .

      1. Carla

        Good film — “inspired by” the book of the same name. While I thoroughly enjoyed the dramatization and the excellent cast of the movie, it did take some dramatic license. Hollywood, after all. The book provides so much additional context that I highly recommend it. While the writing is pedestrian, the three women and their remarkable achievements shine through. making it well worth one’s time, IMO. Many used copies available for cheap and shipped free at my favorite online bookstore:

        If you can, I would watch the movie first and then follow up with the book. Really compelling.

  4. timbers


    Something is a bit different lately. In the last 2 Military Summary’s, there were no advances by the Russians in Donbass. At first Dima said the Russians have stalled. Later he revised that to a change in Russian strategy, of felling Ukrainian positions, allowing them to replenish troops, then felling them again. Rinse wash repeat, no advances. On the other hand It could be troop rotation among Russian front lines. Or are the Russians intending to something different? Dima has mentioned several times his thoughts that Russian leadership is evaluating options for something to speed things up, but nothing conclusive. Also, there appears to be slivers of realization amongst the “leaders” that Europe faces real economic collapse this winter if they don’t change their policies…is Russia choosing to wait for more panic to set in?

    1. KD

      Ukraine is coming apart at the seams.

      How does Ukraine get foreign currency to buy foreign goods as what economic output do they have right now? Are you going to buy war bonds given Ukraine is slated to lose its greatest areas of petroleum and grain production? Who is going to bail out Ukraine after the war when it no longer serves any geopolitical value? They are being propped up only by foreign handouts, which could end tomorrow, and then the war ends.

      What is the status of the Ukrainian military? How many NCO’s and Officers have been killed? What is the quality of the remaining forces? Hard to get impartial analysis on this issue, but getting pounded day and night by artillery barrages probably has degraded their capacity permanently.

      Europe is about to blow up over inflation, energy and food prices.

      It is hard to see the disadvantage to Russia to just sit there and blast the Ukrainian army with artillery, with the Ukrainians simultaneously back-filling lost soldiers with new soldiers, and just waiting and turning the Ukrainian forces into hamburger, with minimal losses to the Russians. Its also highly destructive to Ukrainian morale. Whatever the costs of the war to Russia, they are asymmetric to the costs to Ukraine and Europe.

      1. timbers

        “How does Ukraine get foreign currency to buy foreign goods as what economic output do they have right now?” My guess is from you and me – the Pentagon slush fund and perhaps other slush funds known or not known, the countless arms funding bills, etc.

        1. Keith Newman

          If memory serves, I believe one (or more) of the earlier US subsidies for Ukraine included payment of government payroll and other expenses. It was quite explicit, no slush funds needed.

          1. KD

            According to the article, Ukraine is running a $5 billion dollar deficit per month. A lot have foreign countries have promised aid but little has arrived.

    2. Petter

      It might be a question of resources. According to participant (can’t remember who) on a recent Gonzola Lira podcast, Russia was expending 60,000 artillery shells per day. How long can they keep that up on a daily basis? As for manpower, reports of recruitment at prisons, very generous signing bonuses but few signing.

      then these representatives of the intelligentsia need to study Russian society at least a little. Well, what militarism? Even in the poorest regions, they cannot recruit contract soldiers even for huge, unprecedented salaries – 200-300 thousand rubles each. per month. This is 8-10 times more than the average commoner in such places receives. And for the death of a commoner, the authorities promise 7-12 million rubles each. Whereas the usual fee is 2-3 million rubles. ) and for a death at work they may not pay anything).

      For the first time in the history of Russia, the authorities are showing unprecedented generosity for the proles. The maximum unemployment benefit is 13 thousand rubles, for children in poor families they pay 6-12 thousand. And here we have – 200-300 thousand at once.

      But even with such money they cannot collect proles. The authorities are forced to travel around the zones, recruit penal battalions, and also – for money. In the Great Patriotic War, soldiers were recruited from the Gulag for free (more than 1.2 million people were recruited), they were given an amnesty solely for being wounded (or posthumously), and now they have made super comfortable conditions even for maniacs and murderers (amnesty after 6 months of the contract) – and they can’t get them to sign up.

      1. LawnDart

        Your statements are unsupported by the link that you have provided, an article by an author who cites anonymous sources for his information.

        Here around these parts we call that bullshit.

      2. Chris A

        If I read u correctly, u r drowning in ukr/nato bs. Rus has been running out of missile, shells, men and precision weapons for months, and yet they still have them. Worse for natostan, it seems it’s nato and Ukraine that r lacking men, weapons and ammo due to a permanent elimination of industrial base, and ukr sufferring large casualties in field.

      3. Tor User

        I have never believed that 60,000 number. It was put out by the Ukrainians to get the US to send more stuff. I think it was closer to 15,000 – 20,000 a day. Still at least 3x what Ukraine was doing.

        I arrived at the my disbelief by watching the Russian MOD. They often throw up a graphic on “fire missions” for the day. If you subtract some percentage of the fire missions being covered by rockets/missiles and use the remaining number as artillery to be divided into 60,000 or 50,000 it seems way to high a number for a fire mission.

      4. Roger

        Ever since the beginning of the war we have been bombarded with constant stories of the imminent crash of the Russian economy (didn’t happen), the Ruble being turned into rubble (the very opposite happened), the Putin regime being overthrown (his positive ratings went up), Russia running out of ammunition/supplies etc., (didn’t happen) and now the Russia military having recruitment problems. I would tend to utilize a high skepticism filter on such stories, even more so with the complete reversals of reality of Western media “reporting” of Russia shelling its own POW camp and a nuclear rector which they have full control over. We also have the Western “expert” statements that the Russians won’t carry out Winter campaigns, which is utterly ridiculous to anyone with knowledge of Russia’s extensive Winter campaigns in WW2.

        Russia seems to be just fine, running an extremely cost effective war funded by all the extra fossil fuel revenues (“thanks for the sanctions and refusal to pay in Rubles” Putin may be thinking). One of the areas of manufacturing that survived the 1990s crash was the Military Industrial Complex and it is very good at pushing out huge numbers of relatively straight-forward munitions (just like the venerable AK-47), very different to the small numbers of very complex and expensive ones in the West.

        The web site you refer to is the personal blog of Jeremy Morris, a Danish professor, sourcing this story from a Russian liberal researcher who left Russia in 2005 at the latest and a relatively small Tip Tok channel. Not exactly top notch research and referencing, but what has become normal it seems in Western MSM and academic circles (I am myself a Western academic and am appalled at the complete lack of basic professional standards being used in both fields).

        1. jsn

          Yes, but he did find an Atlanticist academic blogger in Russia, as best I can tell, to link to to validate his Ukr propaganda.

          Which effort I appreciate.

          1. Petter

            Seriously? I’m now a UKR propagandist? This will come a surprise to the (few admittedly) people with whom I discuss the war. Incidentally, lapping dog journalist of Moscow Leonid Ragozin, reported on recruitment problems recently, specifically the Wagner Group and recruitment of prisoners. I read it in in the Norwegian weekly newspaper Morgenbladet. Can’t find the English version.


            1. Polar Socialist

              Wagner Group is volunteering to fight in Luhansk, because it was founded in Popasna 2014, by a LNR militia leader Dimitry “Wagner” Utkin. Even if they are mercenaries, they are reportedly fighting on their home turf “pro bono”.
              Informnapalm is anti-Russian and anti-Donbass source, so take it with a lot of salt. Same people seem to be behind Myrotvorets “hit list” site. At least according to the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence.

        2. Petter

          Thanks Roger for the recap and summation. Question – is Russia experiencing recruitment problems? Are they offering 200-300 thousand rubles as recruitment bonus for contractors?

          1. LawnDart

            Which contractors? As in, infantrymen, officers, avaition techs, etc. Bonuses for specific job classifications are widely used in USA military too.

            And before you bring it up, the age limits in certain jobs was raised to bring expert-level professionals into fields where needed.

            Contract personnel (aka “Active Duty”) must still have clean criminal backgrounds (no juvenile offenses either).




            “I read it in in the Norwegian weekly newspaper Morgenbladet.”

            Link it, we’ll translate– no problem.

            So far you have not provided a single link that would support your statements.

              1. LawnDart

                It’s behind a paywall…

                No dice. And I’m not paying 10 Kroner for it.

                If the Russian army is doing this it, a lot of Russian inmates would welcome the news– and it would be BIG news, a remarkable departure from modern standards by the RF.

                Surely you have other, reputable sources?

                  1. Petter

                    It’s Petter, Real first name. Norwegian. Same name I’ve been using on this site since I discovered it in 2008 or thereabouts. The r’s in the name at rolled BTW. And it’s not pronounced Pee.
                    Still here? I wasn’t- am in Norway and we’re six hours ahead EST. You posted at 9:16 pm EST, which is 3:16 here. I was sleeping, or trying to.

                1. Petter

                  Well you don’t you know of it’s a reputable source, do you, since you or the “we” you mentioned haven’t downloaded Firefox with UnPaywall extension or some other paywall buster posters helpfully post here off and on.
                  Got to cop that I just downloaded Firefox the other day due to some Links here are NC being behind a firewall.

                  1. LawnDart

                    Well then, good morning!

                    I use “internet archive” and a 12-foot ladder to help me across paywalls– sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t.

                    For translations, there’s Google, Yandex, Deepl, and many more– I’ll jump from one to the next if I’m uncertain of the translation.

                    So, got any primary sources for the recruitment of prisoners, especially by Wagner Group, in a scenario that is impermissible under Russian law? Or who or what positions qualify for recruitment or retention bonuses? Not bullet-catchers or cannon-fodder, which Wagner doesn’t want anyway, but I’m pretty sure they want techs with prior military experience.

                    Come on, support your “facts,” man!

                    1. Polar Socialist

                      It’s already 3 weeks old, but here’s an article (via Kommersant, in Russian) about how Russian army is dealing with over 40 volunteer units (from 90 to 400 in strength) that are popping up everywhere in Russia.

                      There was another news in Russian newspaper (sorry, lost the link) that if you really want to fight in Ukraine, contact LNR or DNR militias – Russian Armed Forces have more positions in Russia than in Ukraine, so participation in SMO is not guaranteed.

                      I doubt situation has changed so dramatically since then that recruiters have to break the law to fill the ranks. But I may be wrong.

      5. chris

        Yeah… I’m not sure who you’ve been reading or talking to, and surely there is wartime fog, FUD, and BS going around, but! Russia has all the raw materials to make what it needs, the factories to use those raw materials, and the fuel to keep the factories running. Europe and the US do not. Europe and the US are the main suppliers of materiel to the Ukrainians. And really, it’s just the US. According to recent statements, the US is having trouble spending money to make more supplies to keep for its own use, let alone Ukraine’s.

        So, how long can Russia keep up shelling with thousands of rounds per day? Much longer than we can supply Ukraine to survive it.

        1. tegnost

          but! Russia has all the raw materials to make what it needs, the factories to use those raw materials, and the fuel to keep the factories running. Europe and the US do not.

          …seems like a wee problem, that…

    3. Revenant

      I mentioned this in the Links comments yesterday but so late the caravan had moved on.

      A discussion with a London cabbie produced the interesting story that his regular Russian fare, who drops her daughter at school, has a 35 yrd old husband who has just received ready-for-call-up papers. The next papers he receives will be to report to barracks. He is probably military or ex-miitary rather than a draftee but it seems interesting that Russia is now preparing to summon its citizens home for duty.

      Military Summary thinks the increase in permanent soldier numbers is to cover the volunteer brigades that have been raised but perhaps some of the new men were volunteered instead…?

      MS also thinks that the referenda in the Russian controlled territories will.approve union with Russia, enabling the regular conscript army to be sent there to handle duties in the rear and free up all the contract soldiers for a new offensive.

      1. Polar Socialist

        The increase is precisely for contract soldiers, not conscripts. According to Russian media it’s for three reasons:
        1. to integrate all the recent volunteer units into a regular army (proper training, integral heavy weapons, international law etc),

        2. the new areas that will soon hold referendums to become federated parts of Russia will need garrison troops (we’re talking currently an area the size of Belarus [which has 62,000 men at arms]) and

        3. because Sweden and Finland have chosen to increase the tensions in the Baltic and Kola areas, where the number of the Russian troops had been declining in last decades but now have to be brought up to proper strength. Especially air-defense and tactical missile troops (and yes, with nukes).

        1. digi_owl

          About number 3:


          From July:

          As best i recall, even during the height of the cold war Norway tried to avoid holding exercises in Finnmark to not antagonize Moscow. Not that it stopped Moscow from ordering troops right up to the border on at least one occasion (giving some Norwegian conscripts the fright of their life).

          On a more “humorous” note, there is apparently an V-22 Osprey stuck in Norway thanks to a busted clutch (article in Norwegian, though much of it is about the Cold Response accident):

          1. LawnDart

            We got stuck in Bermuda on an run to deliver parts for another broken-down aircraft. Got “stuck” there for several days. I chatted-up the concierge at our hotel and this man did hook us up, like almost-free scooters, cheap-eats, dive bars, and directions to sights only known by the locals– totally mind-blowing.

            Guy refused to take a dime from us– he knew who to make his money from. He seemed to take care of us just for the shear enjoyment of it. And yes, I try to pay it forward.

    4. NotTimothyGeithner

      I don’t think going to Odessa makes sense or would require more Russian troops than have been committed. Separatists forces have been fighting in their homes for a long time and are doing heavy lifting. The soldiers may not be so keen to go beyond the borders of the oblast or beyond the dnieper river with a crimean land bridge, maybe Kherson and those other areas regardless of politicians statements.

      Kiev is sending guys into the grinder, but when that stops or they run out of men, there will still be a state of war which isn’t a tenable position long term. I think the next step would be to prep for a shorter shock and awe style event to send a message to those around Zelensky that it’s time to negotiate. Kiev can keep Odessa as a port or keep Odessa but it won’t function as a port, RRs get knocked out occasionally, and troop formations get blown to smithereens. Not everyone has bug out spots. The US and Europe are running into a spot where theyve run out of weapons and can’t resupply, especially with their own inflation problems. Biden is dangerously close to realizing popular policies are good for him versus worrying about David Brooks’ feelings.

      1. LawnDart

        Funny you should mention that:

        The next stage of the special operation in Ukraine is the liberation of the Mykolaiv region and Odessa
        Alexander Ivanov, Alexandra Prokhorova
        August 25, 2022

        The information that was voiced at today’s briefing of the Ministry of Defense confirms the idea expressed by the head of the Department, Sergei Shoigu…

        “Our troops are already on the border of the Mykolaiv region, and beyond the Mykolaiv region, which we must certainly liberate in the near future, will be Odessa. After Odessa and the Odessa region, we will cut off Ukraine from the Black Sea, and this will be the end of its connection by sea with other countries.”

        (Ukraine will remain limited only to communication via rail and road with Poland and Slovakia, and a little with Romania.)

        “In other words, the actions of our armed forces bring closer the final defeat of the Ukrainian armed forces and the fulfillment of tasks — in particular, the demilitarization of the country, which Vladimir Putin spoke about on February 22.”

        Source: 360tv [dot “Arrrgh you”]

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Revenant makes this point above:

          MS also thinks that the referenda in the Russian controlled territories will.approve union with Russia, enabling the regular conscript army to be sent there to handle duties in the rear and free up all the contract soldiers for a new offensive.

          That would bring in proper soldiers solving the problem of using local militias.

          1. LawnDart

            My understanding is there are already a lot of militia from Odessa in Donbas, but have only been recently reconfigured as specific Odessa-regional units in anticipation of the advance.

            My guess is they’ll have payback on their minds.

      2. Roger

        Odessa is where the nationalists burnt to death scores of the opposition in an administrative building, which Putin specifically referenced in his speeches at the beginning of the SMO. It has a heavily Russian ethnic/speaking population and its position on the Black Sea is strategically important. Cutting Ukraine off from the sea is also an important part of turning into a much less threatening rumour state.

        The Kherson bridgehead is on the Western side of the Dniepr, extending that to Odessa and to Transnistria etc. would both severely undermine any Dniepr defence line and put pressure on Moldova and Romania to “play nice” – as well as being a huge propaganda victory for Russia.

        With its Russian ethnic/speaking population, the whole area could be incorporated into Russia/NovoRussiya.

    5. Lex

      Dima is good at describing what is happening, but less good at his predictions. Less than a week ago he was sure the Duma would meet to give Putin the ability to use nukes. What he’s not great at these days is admitting when he’s wrong. He’s gone to simply changing his predictions without acknowledging the previous prediction.

      Everyone seems to be pining for the return of maneuver warfare without realizing how costly it is. And today, with drones and US satellites capturing everything on the ground in Ukraine, maneuver warfare is even more costly. I won’t argue that everything is going according to plan for Russia, because I don’t think that it is. But currently the US is obliging Russia in the current strategy of just sending more Ukrainians to the front to get blasted apart. This costs Russia little more than artillery shells and Russia still has the I in MIC; they aren’t running out.

      One side is being very careful about how it spends manpower and the other side is being profligate. I wouldn’t bet on the latter over the medium or long term.

      1. Stephen

        I think you are right.

        Popular support in Russia is on side and shows every sign of staying that way. Winter is coming and Europe will get cold, while Zelensky / the US run out of weapons and men prepared to join the meat grinder.

        If I were President Putin I would be in no rush. The Russian Army is there to win. Style points by copying the Wehrmacht with Blitzkriegs that ultimately were not successful anyway do not count.

        1. Keith Newman

          I agree. Why stop now when you are destroying your military enemy handily and your geopolitical enemies are into extreme self-harm, especially those in Europe (+the UK)? Why not keep it going at least through the winter and see if political opposition emerges? The truly cold weather (sub zero Celsius) in Northern Europe only lasts three months – December to February.l

          1. Robert Gray

            > The truly cold weather (sub zero Celsius) in Northern Europe …

            Sorry, but nobody in Northern Europe thinks that merely ‘sub zero Celsius’ is ‘truly cold’. Remember that -5 C is a fairly balmy 23 F. You need to get down to -15 or -20 C (i.e., 0 F, give or take a few degrees) before it is considered actually cold.

            1. Late Introvert

              Exactly, I try to explain to my California friends the huge difference between 20 F vs. 0 F.

        2. Keith Newman

          I agree. Why be in a rush when you are handily defeating your military enemy and your geo-political ones, especially Europe and the UK, are into extreme self-harm? Why not let it go through the winter and see if political opposition develops. It only gets truly cold in Northern Europe (sub zero Celsius) for three months – December,January and February.

          1. Stephen

            Exactly. In the south of England you can survive without putting the heat on pretty much until early November most years. That’s still a fair ways off!

        3. Lex

          And what people conveniently forget about the Wehrmacht/Red Army, which were both doing massive maneuver warfare, is the scale of losses for both sides regardless of who was on the offensive. I’m sure the Russian general staff would love to send tank columns racing across the steppes with big arrows on the maps, they’re generals. It may even yet be in the cards if Russia thinks Ukrainian forces have been sufficiently depleted.

          I think it’s also worth pointing out that in 2003 the US went around and past large Iraqi formations to take Baghdad. The arrows on maps generals are fond of and photo ops for the politicians. They got a large scale insurgency for it. Russia still might get one of those, but not because it left the Ukrainian army in the field to effectively fight another day.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            The Western Iraqis deserts were tailor made for racing modern heavy tanks with air cover. The US was also getting real time information on deployments for all intents and purposes unlike the Iraqis. Even in ’91, Iraq’s army was strung out in Kuwait, the oil fields, and Basra, awaiting a Marine invasion. The coalition had been bombing the place for nearly six months before the army was sent in which had been given a pr push as a defense for Israel and Saudi Arabia.

            The 73 war is a better example. The Egyptian/Syrian forces lost something like 2500 tanks largely because they didn’t have air support. Despite Israel’s numerical inferiority, they could blast away freely. This was didn’t even last three weeks. Then the terrain where fighting occurred was rougher or involved water, so the tanks had to bottle neck at places which isn’t dissimilar to what the Dneiper river does in Ukraine.

            1. David

              I was told by a participant (a young officer at the time) that it was because the Egyptians became carried away and advanced beyond the air defence umbrella which largely protected them from Israeli air attack. He was an Air Defence specialist so he may have been biased, but the point has a general application, I think.

              1. Tor User

                I also have heard / met several participants at various levels and they said the reason for advance was to pull some of the Israeli attention away from Syria. At that point Israel had driven past the 1967 cease fire line and and Damascus within range of their longest range artillery.

                It was a political decision.

          2. Alex Cox

            Russian generals are expected to lead their troops, as opposed to staying far behind the lines to encourage them, NATO style. So I doubt that any Russian generals are pushing for exciting tank attacks.

            By the way, there’s an excellent tank movie called White Tiger on the Russian Film Hub. It ends with Hitler being interviewed by the devil in hell…

        4. Samuel Conner

          > copying the Wehrmacht

          It’s my understanding (based on past reading that may be dated by the standards of more recent studies of WWII) that the German preference for swift victory through maneuver was due at least in part to limitations of the German economy, that was not well configured to support long-term wars of attrition. Blitzkrieg was the only way they could win again peer adversaries. I have the impression that civilian support for the regime was also a consideration in NSDAP leadership thinking (not out of humane considerations, simply ‘regime legitimacy’).

          1. Stephen

            I think that is right.

            Robert Citino’s various books detail this well. He traces this back to the heritage of Prussia and Frederick the Great. The need to win wars quickly before enemies got into gear arose from the geo political weaknesses of that predecessor state and became part of German General Staff culture, as well as an imperative for Germany.

            Manstein and Guderian then also wrote the early histories of the WW2 Eastern Front that became accepted western belief.

            The Russian General Staff have a very different heritage and defeated those German Generals!

          2. David

            That’s my understanding as well. A quick war was all they could manage, especially lacking raw materials as they did. See Adam Tooze, The Wages of Destruction.

            1. Polar Socialist

              Most of the art of war since the Egyptian chariots and Greek phalanxes has been about how to break trough the enemy formation, brake his cohesion and capability to resist. Then begins the slaughter.

              Basically blitzkrieg, deep battle and maneuver warfare are just the latest iterations of the same principle.

              And throughout the history leaders have always preferred a short war, armies have always been expensive to upkeep. Maybe with the exception of certain knightly orders, which existed for eternal war.

              That said, German preference for swift victories mostly rose from a need to avoid two front war at any cost, due to the lack of manpower as much as of resources.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Dima is good at describing what is happening, but less good at his predictions.

        Exactly. I listen to Military Summary for what’s happening on the ground day by day. I take everything else he says with a truckload of salts, from the lesser (Russian’s next tactical moves) to the greater (grand strategy). There are a lot of interesting speculations out there, so he’s not alone.

    6. Skip Intro

      I think time is still on the side of the Russians. If the Ukrainians keep sending fresh troops to defend shattered fortifications, the Russians advance the demilitarization without needing to raze more towns. Dima seemed to think the winter would be a significant deadline, but failed to articulate tactical reasons that might be.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Russian forces and proper NATO forces were always too distant to ever engage. With missiles and air power, Ukraine can’t manuever just kind of run guys up on certain routes. At some point, Ukraine will run out of munitions. Europe blew its load and ran put of munitions. The US relies on a Navy and wonder weapons that can’t be brought up or operated by yahoos.

        One of the calculations for older artillery outfits was keeping in reserve sufficient munitions to cover retreats. Either Ukraine has to fall far back or it runs out of ammunition. The large cauldron is in the most fortified spot on the planet. Falling back may not be seen as an option as it would mean surrendering everything east of the dneiper without corresponding trenches. The older Soviet munitions that Ukraine might be able to produce can’t compete with modern Russian artillery. The wonder weapons of the West are supposed to work with air power.

        Then Ukraine as to deal with business cycles, insurers, etc, and European electorates who will be angry with no outlets but their own governments. Talk of an “economic blunder” is expanding beyond the usual suspects. Macron is trying to get ahead by promising he will be the French Jimmy Carter, Reagan’s blue print despite the time Jimmy wore a sweater.

        Then you figure the people with bug out spots are preparing to bug out. The most recent update I have on Poroshenko is a call for planes and blockades, missing the sanctions and the lack of ability to enforce those blocades. He’s yammering on about international legality, so Ukraine is clearly getting excuses when the whole plan required China sanctioning a near autarky and domestic populations upset about losing McDonald’s. Poroshenko might stay if patriotic fever has taken hold, but it’s a more pathetic version of the pleas from the winter. I imagine Zelensky is having a similar issue, but Will Smith was the talk of the Oscars, not Zelensky. The goodwill is wearing out.

        I do think US State peddled all kinds of tall tales.

        1. ambrit

          “…Will Smith was the talk of the Oscars.”
          He took the spotlight away from Zelensky, thus, he must be an evil, Putin loving Russian agent! Cancel him! Now!
          Freedom and Democracy demand no less from you.

    7. Robin Kash

      Or does such stasis reflect the Russian objective of denazification and destroying the Ukraine’s military capability? The replacements Ukraine sends are reduced by Russian artillery, thus reducing the pool of the militarily able.

    8. Yves Smith

      Military Summary too often goes beyond the maps.

      Russian forces have advanced within shelling distance of Nickolayev. It would be logical for them to pause to get their logistical tail in place since Nickolayev is a Mariupol-sized city. Although they may not decide to fully take it at once, just clear out enough Ukie troops and pin the rest so they can go on to Odessa without worrying about an attack in what would be their rear.

  5. Henry Moon Pie

    Nate Hagens thinks Macron’s “end of an era of abundance,” coming from a G7 leader, is a watershed moment: 9 minute Video. I’d agree that Macron’s statement goes far beyond the Ukraine war and Russian natural gas.

    1. timbers

      Maybe it DOES go beyond the war and Russian gas, but IMO if so its only purpose is to latch onto it and other rationalizations any rationalization that The Little People must shut-up and submit and know their place.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        Two narratives are currently being fed to Westerners. The first is that there is no climate emergency. This makes people very happy in the short term, like eating a Snickers, but the facts around us are making it harder and harder to believe. The second is that we’re headed for marvelous Tomorrowland with electric cars, “no-guilt flying,” and ever “smarter” McMansions. That too is a lie, but it can only be exposed by actually running the numbers that show that such a conversion requires too many resources already in limited supply and that the massive effort, using mainly fossil-fuel-powered machinery, will put us over the top on carbon before the conversion is even completed.

        The “end of an era of abundance” is an important admission. It’s a Western leader finally ‘fessing up that he and his fellow elites are not going to be able to pull it off. We can’t get anywhere until that fact is widely known. Once enough of us realize that the fossil-fueled party is coming to an end, then we can talk about how to “land the plane,” i.e. how we can drastically reduce fossil fuel use. It will be far more difficult for elites to do what they currently doing–continuing on their private-planing orgy of waste while granny freezes in an apartment where the utilities have been cut for non-payment.

        We’re all going to have to give up things, either through a planned degrowth or through collapse. There’s no hope of even discussing planned degrowth with people while so many continue to believe in one of the two false narratives I described above.

        None of which is to say that Macron is a good leader or honest. He may, however, be the most realistic among current G7 big shots about how long they can get away with pretending everything will be fine once Putin is put in his place. The yellow vests may have taught him that.

        1. timbers

          As Modonna’s song lyrics go “strike a pose and let’s get to it.” As did Macron preaching less for us, The Little People, as he just finished his yachting vacation in the Mediterranean.

          1. Susan the Other

            Macron was eloquent. And truthful, but he chose his words carefully. The end of “abundance” is actually the end of “profit”. That hasn’t been touched on yet. We do need a new way forward. It’s all so tricky now because we pound our fist for personal freedom; we jab our index finger into the table and say “these are my things.” Etc. But the bottom line is that if there is no profit there can be no taxes on that income; no government can function without its revenue. If governments cease to function the whole world falls into chaos. So what’s the plan, Manu? How do we achieve sustainability and well-being? By changing the definition of “profit” from monetary gain to ecological and social gain? By changing the word “equality” to “equal distribution” and define “freedom” more in terms of free thought/speech, but not free to take whatever you want. Etc.

            1. Amfortas the hippie

              Adam the Namer meets Nietzsche’s Fool in the Square.
              we’re gonna hafta redefine lots of things…like “Markets”…and re-learn that they are not holy mountains or deities.
              humans made them, however serendipitously…ergo, humans can remake them….and will, in fact.
              the only question is who gets to do the redefining, and what definition eventually remains after the others have failed

        2. Mildred Montana

          >”We’re all going to have to give up things, either through a planned degrowth or through collapse.”

          I agree. There’s no free lunch when it comes to energy, and just because one happens to own an electric car doesn’t mean one can continue to drive as if all is well. That electric car was manufactured using fossil fuels and is most likely recharged using fossil fuels.

          The longer the current state of things persists, the more the EROEI ratio (energy returned on energy invested) will shrink. The glorious Age of Oil, with its high EROEI, is coming to an end and the only alternative at the moment seems to be to consume less—of everything.

          Unavoidably, that means consuming less energy. As I said, no free lunch. Until, at least, those sci-fi dreams of cold fusion and anti-gravity come true.

        3. Mikel

          I listen to that claim about “abundance” and think about the Covid response.
          The economic lifelines thrown out during the early part of the pandemic were all about providing some level of basic sustenance for a very broad range of people.

          One of the first times this global economic order made an attempt at broadbased prosperity in the last 40-something years and it goes into meltdown and freakout. Supply chains, turns out, weren’t even geared for broadbased “abundance.” Resources had their limits all through the period of “abundance.” The extreme wealth disparity began rocketing off the charts in the 90s.
          But as they talk about sacrifice and shortages, as has been said, the fat cats have been set up on their perches to preach about what everybody else must now do.

    2. Robert Hahl

      I have worried for a while about what “they” would do after deciding they didn’t need us anymore (i.e., useless drivers). Now we know: make energy unaffordable and unavailable. But I don’t suppose that NATO bases will be cold and dark this winter. If I were trapped in Europe I would start gaining weight now just to get through the winter.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        primed for “collapse first, and avoid the rush!”(Archdruid), i incrementally arranged our poverty, then near poverty such that we could heat entirely with wood…which can be picked up on the side of the dern highway, or in the city park, with nobody caring, if need be.
        also obtained long johns for everybody, and house shoes and woolen socks.
        this is central texas, mind you…not the frozen north.
        we’ve done lots of similar things over the years, with the same goal in mind…undoing a dependency; replacing it with an independency.
        “Think like a state”, and all.

        from food on the hoof, and growing wild…to kerosene lanterns and abundant kerosene in storage…to obtaining a minisplt, thereby cutting the lightbill by more than half.

        1. ArvidMartensen

          Careful with using kero heating though. From my childhood kerosene conjures up images of charred and burnt timber boards in sheds where kerosene heaters were used for baby critters on our farm.

    3. vao

      At times, Macron expresses a position that goes against “business as usual”, opens up new directions, and is each time presented as a “watershed”.

      Before the “end of abundance” there was the “NATO experiencing brain death” speech, the one to mobilize the nation against the coronavirus pandemic “whatever the price”, the “letter to the French people” in the midst of the “gilets jaunes” crisis.

      Those grand declarations of intent about new policies and promises of reform plans are rapidly toned down and forgotten, and Macron actually never departs significantly from the course he always followed: France never questioned its role within NATO; supplementary resources allocated to an exhausted health care system were measly and insufficient; the strict minimum was made to calm down the “gilets jaunes” while the fundamental objectives (reducing taxes for the wealthy, forcing pensions and labour law reforms) were vigorously pursued; finally, Macron largely neglected the outcome of the “great national debate” he convened himself.

      Now as then, I do not expect Macron to walk his talk.

  6. Sardonia

    On the person who got tired of seeing every new Covid variant designated with just numbers, which minimizes its problems, and just named the latest one Centaurus on his own, and now…
    ” the media is using Centaurus all over.”

    Good for him! But just in case, we should probably keep the name “Maximus” in reserve…..

    1. The Rev Kev

      Personally I was trying to push the name Coughy McCoughface but nobody seemed interested.

      1. Sardonia

        Well, Coughy McCoughface covers all of the variants. Maybe the best way to go would be to name each variant after its main focus of damage-infliction.

        “Lung grinder”

        “Vascular Sandpaper”

        “Brain De-Neuronator”

        And so on….

    2. Mel

      Ob Jorge Luis Borges: Funes the Memorious

      Debian took to naming its releases after Toy Story characters, in no particular order. So they’ve created questions like “I’m running Biffin. Is that more or less up-to-date than Wheezy?”
      “Yeah, it’s more or less up-to-date, I guess.”
      And I worry that giving variants neat names instead of numeric codes (I think Eric Feigl-Ding mentioned some time back that this could happen) will encourage some people to try to collect the whole set.

  7. KD

    The more Ukraine plays out, the more it is clear that Michael Hudson is right: Russia destroys Ukraine, and in exchange, America destroys Germany (and the rest of the EU with it). Relying on the US for national security, Russia for cheap gas, and China for your export market is not going to be possible. Austerity Uber Alles!

    I believe that Macron likely understands the chess game, but is impotent to do anything to stop it. The Germans, being self-hating, probably feel that they deserve to be destroyed economically anyways.

  8. Stephen

    “Deutsche Welle. But did Ukraine put him on their hit list?”

    Great question, Lambert.

    Reading the Indian Punchline article (these are typically always very insightful) I wonder if the Pope may be put on the list too. There cannot be so many common lists that he and Roger Waters of Pink Floyd are on so that would definitely be a first.

    The always excellent Brian Berletic was analysing the $3billion draw down yesterday. Very disparaging about what you actually get for $3billion. Vampire anti drone rockets with a range of 1.6km that can be mounted on pick up trucks seem to be the photogenic wunderwaffen element of it but pictures of these just conjure up Mujahideen style images for me.

    I exaggerate but surely a few Toyota Land Cruisers and a few other bits and bobs of kit plus shells cannot cost this much money! Maybe the package is partly a gift for the MIC plus likely to be intended for use elsewhere, given this particular war will likely be over before the defence contractors produce the first units, or even sign off on the revised drawings.

    Wonder if we are about to see a hard handbrake turn in western policy, which of course will be presented as carrying on regardless and “nothing different to see here.” Given how deep they have dug the hole, it feels unlikely but stranger things have happened. We live in hope. Possibly a coup in Ukraine may be a vehicle for this as MK Bhadrakumar suggests. Obviously, any coup in Ukraine will only be sustained if the US wants it, just as with South Vietnam in the day.

    Here in the UK and the rest of Europe though the propaganda is not going to sustain popular support (or even acquiescence) of any form if we have a hungry and cold winter which inevitably and unfortunately will kill people, either directly or from increased susceptibility to all the winter ailments.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Considering the fact that it will take months or even years to build the weapons that that $3 billion is paying for – and considering the fact that the war will be over in the Ukraine by then – perhaps those weapons will be for the Taiwan conflict. Stocks have been running so low in the US that they have even been taking weapons off serving US troops rather than just from stored stocks. And you can’t start a drive for war if your gas tank is empty.

      1. Ignacio

        Well.. if the coup has the support of Russia would be quite a different thing. Woundn’t it?

        (Intended as a reply to Sardonia below)

    2. Sardonia

      “Possibly a coup in Ukraine may be a vehicle for this as MK Bhadrakumar suggests. Obviously, any coup in Ukraine will only be sustained if the US wants it”

      The speculation in that article was the it would be a coup by the Ukrainian Military, who would then negotiate with Russia. If it’s the military staging a coup, I don’t think the US would have any say – what would the US do in that case? Send troops to fight the Ukrainian Military?

      A Military coup would certainly short-circuit the US desire to have this war drag on “to the last Ukrainian” to degrade Russian military capability – but it would seem that if the Ukrainian Military steps in and says “NO”, there’s nothing the US can do about that….

      1. Michael Ismoe

        There is a potential benefit to a coup in Ukraine. If, during the coup, Zelensky gets shot in the butt, then Boris Johnson will take one to the head.

      2. Stephen

        You may be right.

        My only caveat is that the US / UK / others? may be so infiltrated in the decision making within Ukraine that to organize something without news slipping out to them first would be super tricky.

        In reality, we do not know for sure, of course.

        1. Stephen

          Additionally, the regular army who may be keen to get behind peace is mainly on the front line I suspect.

          The regime has no doubt made sure that committed militia types are engaged on internal security. I suspect too that US operatives of one firm or another are very much part of Zelensky’s own bodyguard.

          A coup without US orchestration or complicity feels super hard. Of course, that would never be admitted to either.

  9. pjay

    – ‘Ground beneath Zelensky’s feet is shifting’ – Indian Punchline.

    Most of this seems to ring true. But I was taken aback by this statement:

    “As in Germany, there is a huge amount of anti-war pressure in the US too, especially among Democratic Party and the academic elite, as well as retired high-ranking officials and business executives, calling on the administration to stop heating up the situation around Ukraine.”

    A huge amount of anti-war pressure?? Especially among the Democratic Party??? Bhadrakumar seems to be dreaming here. Have I been missing something?

    1. Sardonia

      That WAS a weird line. Sounded like Bhadrakumar was just making s*** up. Why, I have no idea. Just lazy reporting? Or was that deliberate to persuade his readership towards a more anti-war sentiment?

        1. jsn

          I expect M. K. B. probably has well informed professional contacts in various parts of the Blob who can see the havoc our incompetence is wreaking on our own prospects in general, not just within Ukriane.

          These are the people, like our COVID Brain Trust, who cannot speak up publicly or within their institutions for reasons of personal survival. MKB seems to think they’ve found a broader voice.

          Maybe coming soon to Tucker Carlson, but no where near the Dems.

    2. The Rev Kev

      He apparently has a lot of professional contacts so perhaps one of them was feeding him dodgy info on what the situation in the US actually is. Hard to explain otherwise.

      1. albrt

        Perhaps he got the information from his cab driver the last time he was in the U.S. I have been told that cab drivers are an excellent source of journamalistic content.

        And to be fair, by this time next year I expect to see many people claiming they were against the war all along.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        The line jumps from anti-war to oppose escalation, so he has an out. They may not be code pink types, but the Pentagon is effectively anti-war in a way on this issue.

        I suppose once people realized where Ukraine actually was and limits of planes, they realized it’s a lost cause. The distance from Poland to Kiev is 960 km. Ramstein to Berlin is 500+ km. A C-47 has a flight range of 1,600 km, the round trip. Modern fighters max out at 800 km. We don’t have the planes to refuel a major operation. Even if we worked out logistics and had bases, we are talking about EVERY plane being needed to enforce a no-fly zone and prevent resupply when you compare it to Iraq style operations.

        People can stomp and moan, but eventually people have to glance at maps. Republicans by comparison will accuse Biden of surrendering and scream bloody murder, so Team Blue will sound like hippies by not advocating for nuclear war. The Ukraine flags have come down. The tip jars are gone.

        Then the gas station with nukes didn’t collapse because we’ll even if it was just a gas station with nukes, gas stations are fairly recession proof for a reason.

        1. Randy

          C-47. You are dating yourself ; ).

          I think you meant C-130.

          I knew what you meant, sorry to nitpick.

        2. fresno dan

          In our modern media society, it is the exact opposite of speak softly and carry a big stick. It is outlandish hyperbole twenty four seven, e.g., Trump has nuclear codes at Mar-a-lago? A supposedly serious news organization reports something like that.

          It seems to me it is an odd time when something as serious as conflict with a nuclear armed power (Ukraine OR Taiwan) is reported with less momentousness (and less knowledge) than baseball in the AL central. Even though “facts” make up a vanishingly small quantity of what is purveyed in the MSM, and it is supposedly mostly analysis, any NC commentator could have shot holes through the idea that we could or should get involved in Ukraine. Yet…after Iraq…after Afghanistan…the media asserted that the US people were ready to get into another war as well as pay any price for gasoline. No wonder people believe its all fake news…

        3. digi_owl

          One thing to keep in mind is mid-air refueling.

          Checking adsbexchange from time to time show tanker planes in holding patterns over both Poland and the Balkans.

          This was also how the F-117 were operating over the Balkans back in 99, with tankers sitting there to top them off for their return to Ramstein.

          One interesting note is that after the USSR collapsed, Russia plugged the refueling ports on their bombers while USA retained theirs.

          Also, you may be thinking of the C-7, as the C-47 is (hopefully) long retired from duty.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            The Berlin airlift was done with C-47’s. The actual flight ranges haven’t really improved, and I think proponents of activities like no-fly zones don’t really grasp what the Berlin airlift was or what the Libyan no-fly zone was. They are just magical spells willed into existence by “leadership”.

            Mid-air refueling isn’t going to support an Iraq style no fly zone. We simply don’t have the planes. Its fine for a stunt like the F-117 to hit maybe hard to hit targets. The US has 13 of these air tankers. If they started doing that, they would likely get hit.

            1. Tor User

              I do not disagree with your central premise. ->That a no fly zone isn’t practical over Ukraine by NATO.

              “The US has 13 of these air tankers”

              But I read up to figure out what you meant by the US having 13 of these air tankers and could not find a context.

              The US in service as air tankers: HC-130, KC-10, KC-130, KC-130J, KC-135 and the KC-46. Not counting buddy aircraft refueling (FA-18 E/F) the US has several hundred of these aircraft.

      3. VietnamVet

        How cocked up the news is today is shown the headlines that the Democrats could win the House by a narrow margin. This is only possible in Wonderland where there are no wars, no inflation, no shortages, 2 to 4 million Americans with long COVID are not out of the workforce, and coronavirus is no longer one of the top four leading causes of deaths of Americans. The Democrats remaining in control of Congress depends on women turning out to vote to regain reproductive rights that were taken away by the current conservative catholic packed US Supreme Court.

        It is plain as day that a proxy world war is underway between nuclear armed superpowers (NATO and Russia) right now in Europe. In WWI and WWII, the wars on the Eastern Front lasted three to four years. With astronomic heating bills and energy blackouts, the current status quo will not last through the winter. The question is who breaks first. Russia has the resources. China has the industry. North America has been efficiently depleted. It may have enough resources left to support itself but not Europe. One possibility is an armistice but if Russia takes Odessa, the war goes to NATO’s borders. The longer the conflict lasts the greater the chance of the collapse of civilization.

        1. ArvidMartensen

          Maybe they know something about the voting machines. As an ex-tech, I would never never ever trust a piece of software for any decision that gives someone unbridled access to a huge pot of money.

    3. Bart Hansen

      What about any national polls on the war? Lot’s of political polling is done, and lots of support for the poor Ukrainian people, but I don’t recall any poll on support for the war done in late August.

      1. Alex Cox

        The polls I’ve seen ask questions about inflation, the economy, abortion — all US domestic issues. The questions ‘how do you feel about subsidizing Ukraine to the tune of $40 billion?’ And ‘do you support a nuclear war vs. Russia and/or China?’ are apparently not asked.

    4. Mikel

      “..At home, the Ukrainian president, who is celebrated abroad as a war hero, is under pressure… The comedian has become a warlord… The 44-year-old has so far been able to switch and act freely with his team, which is partly made up of colleagues from his television production company…”

      I keep seeing images of Faye Dunaway in Network talking about ratings to staff, the meeting with the Ecumenical Liberation Army (ELA) and negotiating their new docudrama series, and convincing bosses to leave Beale on the air yelling “BS….”

    5. responseTwo

      The article also states “His drug addiction is out in public view”. You can find this kind of talk on some websites but it all seems questionable.

    6. Kouros

      He seems to be reading too much responsible statescraft from Quincy Institute and nothing else…

    7. Karl

      Clearly no public pressure is coming from Dems whose careers require aping the Party line, i.e. everyone in office or on the gravy train. Retired generals and others, not so much.

      My guess is the private pressure is growing. More of the academic elite, business executives, and voters are connecting inflation, high interest rates, recession and the sanctions (which clearly aren’t working). If the midterms look very close, and the economy weakens further, R’s will add to the pressure, albeit from the jingoistic Right, to send over even more weapons.

      If Bhadrakumar republishes this article in about a month it may then be accurate.

  10. griffen

    Prison costs money, well that is not a shocker. Nothing is free. But I really was not expecting to read that state governments would pursue the former inmates for “occupant stay expenses owed” or whatever Onion-like accountant category one desires. I mean it’s bad enough to be in there, especially if you get busted holding a minimal amount of marijuana. And you’re poor without proper representation.

    Everyone needs a rock hammer and a big damn poster. That just worked the one instance.

    1. Will

      Mortgage, credit cards, car loans, medical debt, student debt and now prison debt.

      Not being very smart, I thought “debt slave” was an exaggeration meant to make a point. Nope. Turns out it’s an accurate description of American freedom. No wonder our overlords here in Canada are always looking south for inspiration.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        There really is something very creepy and sinister about this country’s apparent need to create a permanent underclass that can never be allowed to get their heads above financial water, while those who profit from this endless economic struggling flaunt their “worthiness” and prowess.

        The same goes for the people in foreign countries whom we force to live in perpetual states of war and destruction, again for profit, power and “righteousness.”

        It’s all just too twisted.

        1. hunkerdown

          Essentially all class systems do that. The idea of class mobility, a myth drawn from the household economy and life-cycle class system of the Calvinists, has been allowed (or rather staged) to work just well enough to make it seem like a genuine social law of motion that cannot be failed. Once all the humbug is stripped away, Zappa’s brick wall stands at the back of the theater just as it always has.

          Class systems are twisted.

          1. Henry Moon Pie

            And Calvinists put a peculiar twist on the whole meaning of financial success. Being Double Predestinarians, they believed they had no real say in whether they were saved or not. God had elected them either to heaven or hell, and there was nothing they could do about it. Understandably, it was of considerable interest to them whether they should invest in a flame-proof suit to wear in the coffin, so they looked for “signs” that they were among the elect. Now, membership in a church was a good sign, but there were people who turned away from the church at some point in their lives, even after years as faithful Christians. So it would be reassuring if there were other signs that one was headed to heaven. Since it was reasoned that God would bountifully bless his elect, financial success was taken as another sign that one would end up in The Good Place.

            It’s funny how religions evolve. The Hebrew Bible is full of prophets like Amos who rail at those who lie on ivory couches, and the Greek Bible features a guy who asks those who believe his message to take up their crosses and follow him. And yet here’s a group of Christians who think the fat cats are going to be rewarded by the same god who appears in those texts.

            1. JBird4049

              “Double Predestinarians” Pardon me, just what the Holy Flying Spaghetti monster is that? It’s nothing that I every read of Jesus saying, I’m just saying. And there is the whole money changers episode. People really do look for good excuses to be lying, thieving, slime molds don’t they?

              1. Henry Moon Pie

                So Christians have long puzzled over two questions in their theology:

                Why are some saved?

                Why are some damned?

                The Calvinists argue that the answer to both questions is that God pre-ordains some to be save and some to be damned. Methodists argue that the answer to both questions is human choice. Lutherans argue that God pre-ordains some to salvation, but that the damned have only their own choice to blame.

                Thus Calvinists believe in Double Predestination.

          2. John

            Is it not more like sustain rather than create a permanent underclass? Before the ramping up of the counterattack against the post-war mixed economy in the 1970s, there was the possibility of shrinkage of the underclass. One of the objects of that campaign was keeping labor as cheap as possible which requires as large an underclass as possible. Off-shoring later took that even further by removing the jobs and depressing the underclass even more.

        2. Questa Nota

          Public prisons have such limited, uh, potential for funding.
          Private prisons are where the equity returns can really get juiced.

          Look at the opportunities, from the relatively pedestrian to the truly inspired sadistic and diabolical.

          1. Those collect call cards
          2. Laundry fees
          3. Meal fees
          4. Shakedowns, which may or may not involve guards
          5. Infirmary fees
          6. Resort fees, for Club Fed?
          7. FU fees, for the rest of the prisons
          8. Civilian clothes storage fees
          9. Omnibus, general purpose catch-all fees
          10. And don’t forget what you signed away and agreed to during intake

          p.s., Visitor fees, and save up for those so-called conjugal visit fees, too!

          1. JBird4049

            It just goes well with the whole slavery prison industrial complex. The ACLU has been fighting debtors prisons for just over a decade and they are getting somewhere slowly. But this is just like the Homeless Industrial Complex especially in California under its ruling “liberal” families. They say that they are Blue when really they are green blooded.

    2. Kouros

      We should all start re-reading Charles Dickens. After all, it seems that past is coming back to life at a fast clip…

      1. C.O.

        I just finished reading Sublette and Sublette’s *The American Slave Coast.* An incredible, gruelling in the best way read, and it struck me as a careful and nuanced history that unpacked many elements of Calvinist ideology as reflected in both slavery and wider class politics in the U.S. (Plus lots of references to now publicly available online docs, so you can read them yourself.) Being up north in Canada, I also appreciated their explanation of the electoral college, which made no sense at all to me before. Now I at least better understand the history and mechanics of it, and how it contributes to a property qualification to have a meaningful vote.

  11. Dr. Phips

    Re “Why Not a Jubilee?” When he says “we might start by repatriating the hundreds of thousands of U.S. acres owned by the Chinese communists (our gravest national-security threat), and extend the principle to other predatory actors foreign and domestic”, that’s when I stopped reading. It’s clear now that for the few old-school conservative and/or right wing voices in this country that see through the neoliberal fog and also refuse to hop on the anti-Russian bandwagon, there is a even bigger threat: China. When one sees statements like the one above, it becomes clear that this country will never ever find peace, externally or internally. Apparently we cannot just Live and let Live, knowing that we have everything in our power to make this a truly great country, that we don’t need to look for problems and enemies outside our borders. I really don’t expect anything going well here in the future. Pretty sad.

    1. Eclair

      ” ….. and extend the principle to other predatory actors foreign and domestic….”

      Like Bill Gates, 2nd (?) wealthiest person in the world, and the single largest owner of American agricultural land (242,000 acres) mainly in Louisiana, Arkansas and Nebraska. Or, the Fanjul Family, formerly sugar barons in Cuba, run out by Fidel Castro, but who popped up as sugar barons in South Florida (142,000) acres.) Ted Turner supposedly owns about 2 million acres, raising cows, bison and sustainable forests, but not all of that land is termed ‘agricultural.’

      My spouse’s Swedish emigrant relatives were ecstatic with their 60 acres of Homestead land in Nebraska. Turns out it was enough to keep a family, if you didn’t mind unrelenting labor and grinding poverty. The only way to make money was to buy up your neighbors’ grants after they went under and moved to town.

        1. JBird4049

          Secret real estate purchases are a driving force behind the offshore economy

          They were also a cause of the last wars that ended the Roman Republic

      1. spud

        all linked to free trade.

        The costs of a secretive ‘wealth defense industry’ of shell companies, offshore tax havens, and empty luxury condos
        When oligarchs and ultra-wealthy around the world game the system to hide riches in Boston and other cities, everyone else pays.
        By Chuck CollinsUpdated April 1, 2021, 11:55 a.m…

    2. RockHard

      You made it further than me. My eyes glazed over in the first paragraph: “concentrates capital in the coffers of anti-American institutions”, it’s clear that he’s constructing a fine straw man, explicitly called out later as “There is no reason a working mother with three children should be struggling to pay her mortgage while a McKinsey consultant’s Princeton loans are wiped out of existence”.

      From what I’ve seen, the college student loan machine is centered around low wage jobs. Certainly there are people who spend ridiculous amounts on an Art History or Philosophy degree. But the trade schools are the ones pushing 1 and 2 year associates degrees in Cosmetology (which is at least a profession that generally requires licensing), or a certificate to work as a Medical Assistant or Phlebotomist. They troll the lower strata of society, sign up people from precarious situations with little ability to repay, either themselves or their families, and then find students dropping out because of family disasters, unplanned pregnancies, unstable households, or any of a host of ills that affect American society. Before I went to college, I answered a classified ad for security guards, it turned out that it was a recruiting event where I could sign up to go to school to learn to be a security guard and eventually use their job placement service. Even without a college degree, I could see that I’d be working for years to pay off a degree that offered only marginally better prospects than delivering pizza.

      Some of these schools offer ostensibly useful degrees (Game Development… learn to code!) that translate poorly to the real world needs (the world doesn’t need that many video game developers, but the real demand lies in people who can do full stack web development or work on enterprise systems like SAP or Salesforce).

      Princeton claims that something like 80% of their graduates require no student loans, and that their massive endowment is what makes this possible. Consider also the fact that PU and all the Ivies have only around 5-6k students enrolled in any given year, the numbers don’t add up and taxing their endowment, while no doubt a punitive measure that would be politically popular among conservatives, doesn’t address any of the problems.

      Maybe Declan Leary should ask his alma mater for money back, he clearly didn’t learn math or logic.

    3. Burritonomics

      I actually stopped reading myself after laughing at the first line: “The American government exists to serve the American people.”

      1. Bart Hansen

        But, the rest of the piece goes on to say that not all people are being served and instead are fed a ration of scams and kept in debt.

        1. Louiedog14

          Yes,I actually audibly guffawed at agreeing so much with an article that recounts what God told Moses.I don’t care so much how he got there, just that he did in fact get there: Debt Jubilee!

      2. Carla

        @Burritonomics: If there were such a thing as a copy editor anymore, that line would surely have been corrected to read: “The American government should exist to serve the American people.”

        1. hunkerdown

          Most myth and rhetoric are powered by the torture of temporality, causality, and/or taxonomy. In the oratory of church and state alike, such “errors” are the message.

          1. JBird4049

            I dunno. I keep hearing the phrase “It’s a cookbook!” when someone or something says that they serve others.

    4. digi_owl

      USA need an external enemy to distract the masses with, always has, always will.

      Without it, the nation will rip itself apart.

  12. The Rev Kev

    “How a scandal in spider biology upended researchers’ lives”

    That Jonathan Pruitt did so much damage and people like him are the bane of science. More so because nobody was checking his work who should have been. It did not help that McMaster University was trying to protect him as well because they were so embarrassed. Where is Jonathan Pruitt now you ask? Why he went back home and has now taken a job where he can’t do much damage – as a Florida high school science teacher.

  13. Carolinian

    Re The American Conservative on jubilee–being TAC there is a religious take on this.

    It is worth recalling, in the grand scheme of human events, how abnormal our status quo really is. For the vast majority of history people have understood that usury is not just immoral but profoundly dangerous. It is the kind of thing that kills civilizations.

    Since time immemorial, protections against it have been written into law. It is condemned in Scripture in no uncertain terms. But the Bible goes further than just denouncing the sin of usury. It mandates a jubilee year, once after every 49—seven Sabbath cycles of seven years, roughly every generation—in which, among other things, debts are forgiven. God is wiser than man, and the rules He gave to Moses are both just and good. True, this is a Christian country, not a Judaic one. But the New Covenant unbinds us from the letter of the old law, not from its eternal and divinely ordered principles.

    Or perhaps they have been reading Michael Hudson and don’t care to give him credit. In any case the article says jubilee should be extended to everyone and not just students. It also says this may take generations. No kidding.

    1. jefemt

      Methinks the writer also neglected to consult with Jamie, Larry, Bobby Rubin*, Hank*, and Lloyd* (*”retired”)

      Where is Corzine? Little Timmy Geithner?

    2. Amfortas the hippie

      adjacent, and even more weirdly out of place:

      one could have found the same dern arguments in papers from the Roosevelt Institution, since its founding.
      hell, i’ve seen similar arguments from the Fred Hampton Institute.

      to see the same thing from TAC indicates a Phase-Change, somewhere below the waterline.
      I’m all for it.
      come at the twoparty duopoly from both ends.
      my feral anthropology indicates that such things have very broad support, below whatever yer local Bougie Level is.
      so long as it’s explained/story told in a manner that can be understood by the people right in front of you.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        and adjacent to that!:
        “But the main hurdle is convincing 25 percent of the country to embrace land work.

        On the one hand, that is a pipe dream. On the other, it is our only chance of making it through another depression. So, we probably won’t. When the United States falls apart, it will be for nothing more than laziness and lack of foresight. The republic will die on a mountain of iPhones and Hydro Flasks and polyester.”

  14. The Rev Kev

    “Live Updates: Inspectors Set to Visit Besieged Ukrainian Nuclear Plant”

    What is the bet that there is some nationalist group in the Ukraine right now thinking that if they manage to kill those inspectors, then they will be able to blame it all on the Russians. Certainly western media will play along with it all the way and the US State Department will blast Russia for being so guilty, that they won’t admit their guilt. Tough luck for those inspectors though. Safer for those inspectors to go to that plant via the Crimea I would say.

    1. pjay

      It has been hilarious to watch the nightly US national news accounts of “explosions” or “fires” at the Zaporizhzhia NPP in “Russian-controlled territory” which studiously avoid mentioning the *source* of these explosions. Occasionally they will note that “both sides accuse the other of shelling” the plant, but that’s as close to the obvious reality as they come.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Same here in Oz. So mysterious those “explosions”. Why would the Russians bomb themselves? Meanwhile the Russians said that they nailed another of those M777 howitzers that were hitting that plant.

        1. Old Sovietologist

          The Austrian Newspaper the eXXpressr has reported the death of the Ukrainian Natalya Vovk. They have picked up on rumour that has been doing the rounds on Telegram although they claim they have their own sources.

          The mystery deepens as the blurred picture they used seems to have dated back to 2020.

          The paper does not name the city in which Vovk has been killed, but reports that the woman was found dead in a rented apartment. According to journalists, the deceased had 17 stab wounds, and there was a note in her hand.

          The Austrian Ministry of Internal Affairs has been quick off the mark has denying it happened in Austria.

          Shades of Arkasha Babchenko?

  15. jr

    The World Computer

    So my laptop presents these annoying little “interesting fact!” blurbs when I sign on. I really need to turn them off as they are banal and often just represent some marketing angle. But a mention of the “World Computer” came up and I’d never heard of it so I looked around a bit. I thought the readers might find it interesting. Here is a Medium article talking about it:

    “For this reason, some computer scientists and inventors (myself included) are asking these same, “What comes next?”, and “What comes last?” questions about computing technology. The answer might be what I call the “World Computer”, created by the convergence of several technologies: augmented/virtual reality, the Internet of things, machine learning, cloud, edge, wearables, and 5G. The combination is far more than the sum of its parts.”

    Sounds like some technophile’s wet dream. Or Skynet. Maybe they are the same thing. Here is a line from the author’s bio which, I think, is telling:

    “…an expert on the use of immersive technologies to make the physical world digitally interactive.”

    Really? You’re going to make the world “digitally interactive”? The statement is either a wildly poor choice of words or this guy has delusions of godhood. What’s actually going to happen is that a digital work prison is going to be erected. See, like, every episode of Black Mirror

    1. hunkerdown

      “Controlling the World Computer is the biggest opportunity in high tech because it will push the Internet out into the physical world to make it digitally interactive.”

      This is exactly what I mean when I talk about capitalism getting into the physical layer, where it will be tougher to dislodge when a better idea comes along.

      In which case destroying the World Computer and stripping the personhood of people who would pursue it is the absolute imperative of every living organism. We casually did that to Bill Cosby; we can do it to literally anyone.

      1. jr

        That’s an interesting point, and a scary one. It’s bad enough that I essentially need my phone to do my banking. Imagine when your vision literally depends on some device to make your way around. There is a Black Mirror with John Hamm in which he breaks some law and is barred from seeing the faces of others due to his optical implants. Chilling.

        A few months ago I met a guy who “chipped” himself. He was obviously proud and happy to extol the benefits accrued. The onerous burden of carrying a wallet had been lifted from his aching shoulders. Convenience will kill us all.

        The group of people he was addressing were curious but not convinced. These were all 30 somethings. I worry that younger people might be all in, more or less. Or they will just be coerced, directly or indirectly, as I was coerced into phone banking.

  16. Michael Ismoe

    How Two Dozen Rabbits Started an Ecological Invasion in Australia Smithsonian

    OMG. When I first read this, I didn’t see the “T” at the end of the first noun and thought “Why is Yves giving a voice to these antisemitic rants?” Then I realized it was “rabbits” not “rabbis” and decided I needed another cup of coffee.


      1. Amfortas the hippie

        Rabbit Proof Fence was also a rather engaging, if chilling film, too.
        well worth your time, given the fortitude…like an Aboriginal ‘ schindler’s list’ or something.
        at the time….years and years ago…i had had no idea about that history.
        had to watch it twice, and wander around the web in the between, to get my bearings.

        1. Carolinian

          I haven’t seen it since it came out a couple of decades back. The premise is that some aboriginals follow the rabbit-proof fence back to their home area.

          According to my above Wiki link the Aussies would do maintenance patrols of the fence using camels.

    1. The Rev Kev

      When asked for a comment after seeing those rabbits breed by the thousands after letting those original two dozen go, the property owner said ‘It seemed a good idea at the time.’

  17. The Rev Kev

    “Canadian Media Once Called Azov Neo-Nazis. Now They Hide That Fact”

    Had a disturbing line of thought yesterday which this article reminded me of. During WW2 lots of Ukrainians signed up to join the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS (1st Galician) and who fought for the Nazis. And at the end of the war they were interned by the Allies but were protected by the Poles and the Vatican from being sent to the Soviets. So after WW was over, a lot of these guys emigrated to the UK and Canada as probably the Allies planned to use them against the Soviets and in places like Canada they were protected. In fact, an 1986 Canadian “Commission of Inquiry on War Crimes” whitewashed that Division and Canada now has two monuments to that Division itself. And they embedded themselves into Canadian society to the point that one of their kids – Chrystia Freeland – is now at the top of government and helps steer Canadian policy towards supporting the Ukraine-

    So here is the thing. Suppose, just suppose that the Ukraine loses this war. Yes, that is pretty unimaginable that. So in order to protect them from Russian justice, what is the bet that the collective west gets all those guys and gals from Nazi formations like Azov, Aidar, Kraken, etc. and gives them passports out of the country to settle elsewhere. As into western countries. And you know that it is going to happen. Like their WW2 predecessors, they too are Nazis and have taken part in war crimes but you know that our governments will protect them and give them ‘legends’ that they are persecuted Ukrainian refugees. So a generation from now, how will these ‘refugees’ change the societies that they will be living in? We already see an example with Canada. I am not picking on that country but there the effect was most pronounced.

    1. fresno dan

      But how did a monument commemorating a Nazi SS division end up being erected in Canada?

      The cenotaph at the St. Volodymyr Ukrainian Cemetery in Oakville, Ontario, is flanked by flags and set on a small, paved plateau.

      Few Canadians may be aware that this memorial commemorates a major battle fought by the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS, a unit formed in 1943 and made up mostly of Ukrainian volunteers that fought against the Soviet Red Army during the Second World War.

    2. Exiled in Boston

      I would have sworn that at the start of the Russian invasion, we were constantly told that the western press was ignoring the nazi roots of the Azov battalion. This article indicates that was not was happening.

    3. Nikkikat

      It’s not like the US doesn’t have a history of protecting Nazis. The CIA brought them to the US had them share all of their torture and medical experiments. So there’s that. You are certainly correct that the US will protect them as they are doing right now.

      1. digi_owl

        Operation Paperclip anyone?

        Heck, West Germany was pretty much governed by “ex-“nazis.

        In more recent years i read that Norway, after NATO was formed and the cold war kicked off, invited German engineers and such, that had served up north during the occupation, to help plan defensive lines against a possible Soviet invasion.

        Pretty much where the same Germans had plans for a stand against the advancing Red Army when the surrender was announced.

        A Red Army that had allowed the Norwegian Crown Prince and Norwegian forces to enter Finnmark behind them, and that withdrew to the pre-war border afterwards.

        And yet to this day our politicians and generals assume that the Russian army are just waiting for an excuse to invade.

      2. K.k

        Before ww2 was even over the US was busily rescuing all kinds of fascists including nazis and sending them into Ukraine to fight an insurgency against the Soviet Union. A bloody conflict that would go on to kill hundreds of thousands before the Soviets manage to put down the insurgency deep into the 50s.

        Here is a decent 5 part series on the Canadians, fascists and the rich history….

      3. Polar Socialist

        You mean certain Stepan Bandera who escaped to the American Zone in occupied Germany and was not extradited even if it was against the Yalta agreement and Soviet Union demanded it. All the while MI-6 was already reforming OUN-B. Except for the faction that was sponsored directly by CIA.
        Took the Soviets until 1948 to root out the ex-OUN terrorist groups funded by UK and USA in Western Ukraine. Or so they thought.

    4. Skip Intro

      Hey, it worked with right-wing Cubans! They have had an outsized influence on US politics for decades. What state will the newest round nationalist bombers with expedited immigration status take over?

  18. Tom Doak

    The study on the PPP comes up with a statistic on what % of the jobs funded by the program would have been lost permanently without the loans, and then leaps to the conclusion that all the rest of the money [though it was used for payroll] ultimately accrued to the small business owners, because it must have been profit. And of course there are no brownie points given in the study for the possibility that the PPP might have prevented mass layoffs and business closure.

    It sounds like they were just determined to find that government handouts are bad and that the people should be ready to sacrifice whenever things go wrong.

    1. jefemt

      My personal experience with PPP… I am a sole proprietor, no employees, unincorporated… with a very meager ‘living’ business.

      I was calculated to be eligible for a grant of 12K. I took the money and kept the house, family fed, local tax authorities and bankers at bay.
      Took the funds 2X.

      Don’t know where I would be without that program. Well, I don’t want to think about the myriad of possibilities.

      Every penny went right into the local and national economy within three months.

      1. Pat

        I think the majority of the smaller grants were used exactly as intended. Where I start wanting an accounting is when it was a high six figures and above. They better have been paying a number of people with benefits…

  19. Culp Creek Curmudgeon

    What brave truth-tellers Central Bankers are! How forthright! How discerning! Delivering the bad news to us while vacationing in Jackson Hole! I mean holding a conference in Jackson Hole! Here them speak to us: “We must raise the sacrifice ratio! The poors must be poorer!”

    1. Mikel

      The same after every easy money party for the wealthy. When the bill is due, the poor must pay.

  20. griffen

    Global oil and energy supply. It’s not often I get into an article here without additional effort to do so, but since the door was open I walked through. It appears based on my watching of the US-ian national news this weekend that inflation is not a front page issue for the President or his Democratic / Democidal party. Happy times here again.

    I have to reiterate this point. Inflation at 8.5% as of the recent report is not a net positive for many Americans. What or why talking heads fail to grasp about that is beyond me. Maybe the networks reimburse their travel expenses, who the heck knows. The column below talks about the real potential for higher oil heading into the fall and winter.

    1. Ignacio

      [mode PMC ON] Dear Griffin, you don’t understand anything at all. Didn’t you notice we are in war –admittedly proxy war– with Russia? We no longer bother with inflation because we are now focused 100% in war. Inflation is only distraction and by focusing on it, you show to be another Putin muppet. Besides, some sacrifices will be required and Ukrainians merit that. Don’t they? For all the sacrifices they are doing on our behalf…err… for their liberty and the values. Let me be clear: times of abundance are behind and we all have to make sacrifices. [mode OFF]

      Just to demonstrate that dialogue, rational dialogue, is not longer possible in the West.

      1. griffen

        That’s a robust response. Now I am left pondering an existential question, a question asked since time began. If I were a muppet, well what kind of muppet would I be?

        It ain’t easy being green!

        1. chris

          If you split the questions about the economy into two or more, and you don’t define what you mean by “danger to democracy”, and you don’t provide cross tabs for your study, and you bias your small population sample, and then feed the results of the survey to a highly biased media, then yes, the economy is not the number one concern of the American people. If you’re honest and not trying to BS your way to a predetermined result, then, it’s obvious the people are still very much more concerned about their ever decreasing standard of living and winter coming.

      2. Carolinian

        On our PBS last Friday the annual outdoor Vienna Philharmonic concert paid tribute to Ukraine and “European solidarity.” The music was as good as the message was lacking nuance. Perhaps if previous year’s programs had paid some tribute to dead Russians this year’s mournful tune (from a movie) for Ukrainian devastation would not be necessary.

  21. Lex

    The role of public health is to do those risk calculations, develop actionable responses and communicate those response actions to the public. The role of government is to support those response actions in word and deed. (Behind closed doors it should be challenging the risk calculations to be as informed and refined as possible, and requiring them to include factors not directly related to public health is part of that.)

    Leaving it to individuals is gross. Nobody can really do these calculations, nor does one simple metric ever, accurately inform a risk calculation. I do such things for a living and at least have a “feel” for it in practice along with an eye trained to observe things like ventilation, emissions sources and sundry weird shit that turns out to be valuable. But in a lot of ways, that makes it worse and leads me to realize that a personal risk assessment is pretty much impossible, given that the point of the assessment is to determine what’s safe behavior below the threshold of most restrictive behavior. There’s no way to accurately determine that in this case because the whole thing’s a chaotic, public health failure.

    A personal risk assessment only works within the context of an actual public health response. It cannot be a replacement for one.

    1. chris

      I agree.

      Rather than assign the country a complex problem of epistemological and scientific assessment of what we know, what can we know, and what the best response for individuals should be… we could just provide some universal guidance that actually helps people. We could put programs in place assist the most vulnerable who also seem to be the cause of much of them mutation that is splashing back into the general population.

      My kids’ schoosl have said masking is optional, isolation is not required, quarantine is not required, and in general people should stay home if they feel ill. If an outbreak in a classroom occurs, we’ll hear about it but we will no longer recieve the daily case rate summaries for each grade and school. Since I’m aware of the details of their HVAC and building systems, I can see where this has a chance of working if everyone masks. But since they won’t, I’m still telling my kids that they need to be masked indoors. And if anything changes in the status of the HVAC systems at a school I probably won’t hear about it. So, how can I attempt to develop a personal risk assessment for myself Nd my family?

    2. Jason Boxman

      Random car thought: Is there some ADA or equal protection claim for improving ventilation? Or some standing OSHA has for this, as part of the administrative state? Or EPA? Whatever dictates we filter pathogens out of our water, ought not that apply to pathogens in the air?

      This sidesteps both masking/respirators and vaccination in a country where both are politicized, and trust in public health is likewise destroyed beyond repair. (I believe in defense in depth, but you roll with the country you’ve got…)

      1. chris

        Possibly. But it depends on things I’m not sure you can rely on for definitions of disability. For example, you may be able to say that an immunocompromised individual is considered disabled, and therefore, if a courtroom does not have sufficient ventilation to protect the individual from contamination, they are denied justice under the law. However, the likely accommodation for something like this would be a portable HEPA filter or something similar before the courthouse was renovated.

        What OSHA and most contracts between employers and employees state, especially for teachers, is that the employees have a right to a safe and healthful environment. However, because OSHA regs have not been updated to deal with COVID-19, and because we have national organizations like the CDC providing less than optimal guidance as to what is safe, many workplaces can comply with CDC guidance and meet the letter of the law under OSHA without having to modify their ventilation systems.

        Now, places like hospitals have been going through a lot of thinking about what they need to do to minimize spread of aerosols in common areas and surgical suites. ASHRAE has done a lot of work modeling different ventilation configurations, aerosol loads, and supply/return arrangements. But as far as I know they haven’t coalesced into a firm set of new standards yet. But I would expect things to flow from places like dentist’s offices and hospitals to the wider world. Kind of like how safety innovations in cars go from racing to stock vehicles.

      2. Lex

        OSHA would have to draft a new rule. It doesn’t even have general rules for indoor air quality. At least not anything enforceable or worthwhile. The best there is are disparate recommendations from engineer groups like ASHRAE that use CO2 as a proxy for ventilation. <700 ppm above the exterior (assume 450) is considered adequate for human comfort.

  22. Carla

    Does it seem strange to anyone else that there have been NO updates on Salman Rushdie’s condition since August 15? Or at least none that I can find. If anybody knows better, please chime in!

    Meanwhile “A Clean-Energy Future Might Not Be Far Away” may be “a consummation devoutly to be wished” but I’ll have to wait to learn about it because of the Lever News paywall.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Does it seem strange to anyone else that there have been NO updates on Salman Rushdie’s condition since August 15?

      No. Isn’t this kind of his thing?

  23. Susan the Other

    Thanks for the Quanta link. I think. I’m still trying to visualize how the physics of nothing underlies everything. If it all suddenly turns negative the universe will turn into a giant vacuum but as long as it stays positive the universe will happily keep expanding? “There is a growing multitude of types of nothing; each vacuum has its own behavior as if it is a different phase of the same substance.” Must find another Physics for Dummies and read up.

  24. malchats

    I’m wondering about something…I just got the bill for my homeowner’s insurance renewal. The yearly premium jumped from $460 to $630, a 37% increase. Is this happening generally with homeowner’s insurance now? Is it being passed off as the product of inflation? I don’t see how that could be, because I have not raised any of the coverage values on my policy (despite a theoretical rise in the market value of my house), so the company’s potential payment of a claim has not changed, regardless of general inflation or even that higher resale value. (And, being an insurance company, they’ll probably weasel out of paying any claim anyway.) That’s how it appears to me, but I’m not an expert. Perhaps there is someone here who is more economically astute and can tell me why this increase is something other than pure, raw greed and price-gouging operating under the cover of the general increase in prices. I’ll appreciate any insights.

    1. Jason Boxman

      My auto insurance with Progressive went up at least $100 this year, with no change in my driving record or vehicle. I changed companies, and let them know why. Now it’s back to where it was before. I can’t speak to homeowner’s insurance, though.

      1. chris

        All insurance is going on a wild ride lately. Everyone’s models for risk are being challenged. A great example would be insurance for young drivers. That ranges from expensive to really expensive. In my area, for my oldest daughter, we stopped around and found rates between 400$ and 700$ per month, depending on which company we went with and whether the car she drove was titled as hers or was a car we owned and let her use.

        1. Jason Boxman

          I dunno, $5k a year sounds basically unaffordable as far as auto insurance goes. That’s messed up.

          1. chris

            We were not pleased. But we couldn’t handle the option of her not being insured because she had to drive to school. Due to COVID and a few other things, they took away bus service from her during her senior year of HS.

        2. Anthony G Stegman

          Yes, even for those who don’t live in fire or flood prone areas insurance companies are using those excuses to jack up rates. Shameless profiteering using “inflation” or “natural disaster” as a cover.

    2. Randy

      I don’t know about your insurance but mine is replacement value. The huge increase in lumber prices and everything else supposedly justified an increase in insurance premiums. Mine goes up about 10% every year.

      I carry a $5,000 deductible. In the past it was $1,000 but if I claimed a loss my rates went up so that was a wash. The end result is my insurance covers fire and tornadoes, anything smaller is my problem.

      My town is the headquarters for a medium size insurance company that mainly insures churches. They also insured local property because our town is their founding/headquarters location. They were an excellent, reasonably priced insurance company that treated their customers very well. Most of our area was insured with them because it was inexpensive and the service was great.

      A tornado hit us about 10 years ago. It missed my house by a mere mile. Management was local until just after that event. Then they got a corporate bastard from Illinois for CEO and started rapidly raising local rates. Customers left. Then they just ended their local business which was the plan when he took over.

  25. chris

    Not asking for investment advice but I thought I’d share some observations of what I’m currently seeing for safer investment options lately. For example, absent from any discussion in media about the economy lately is when the regular citizens might see something that benefits them coming from these fed rate hikes. I was looking at options for moving some money around for my college age kids. I looked at what the CD rates are for amounts around 10k$ for terms ranging from 6 months to 24 months. The best rate they’d give us at my Very Large Bank was 0.03%. Local credit unions seem to offer something better, but not 1 or 2%, more like 0.5%.

    So if I want to do something useful with that money, my options are:

    (1) Keep it as liquid funds in a savings or checking account, where it will earn next to nothing in interest and be devalued by the ongoing inflation.

    (2) Put it in CD or other vehicle so that it will earn a little more than a savings account, but not enough to overcome inflation, and face early withdrawal penalties if they need it quickly.

    (3) Put it in the stock market or a fund and watch it get pissed away by market fluctuations.

    Now I know the average US citizens does not have the problem of figuring out what to do with a spare 10k$. But seriously, What the Family Blog. Just like textbook discussions of inflation state that inflation makes it easier to pay back old debts because people’s income is increased, the text book discussion of what happens when rates are increased never seems to come true for anyone other than credit card companies and loan issuing banks. Why is it that we need to support outsized profits for all these corporations while consumers have zero ability to realize any benefit from rising interest rates?

      1. chris

        That’s a good point. I got so disgusted with the CD options I hadn’t considered T-bills through my red haze of frustration. I’ll see if they make sense for my kids.

        Still. Really not happy that credit card companies get to charge 20%+ interest and we can’t even get 1% for a savings account.

        1. juno mas

          Treasury Direct has a multitude of options for “investing” your money. It won’t ever beat real inflation but it can minimize your losses to a depreciating dollar. For longer term (kids), look at the Series I (Inflation) Bond (10 year). It can be funded up to $10K/calendar year and the percent return (interest rate) parallels the US CPI (currently 8.5%). The interest rate will fluctuate every 6 months, but your initial principal investment will never drop into a negative number (guaranteed at the end of 10 years–kids).

          I use TDirect for a number of Bills, Notes, and Bonds. It beats banging with the Banks.

    1. Jason Boxman

      Hi Chris,

      I’d say without hesitation US 4-week Treasury Bills. You can setup a Treasury Direct account, and auto-invest every four weeks. If you split up your amount into 4, you can have 1/4th available at any time and just cancel the reinvest for it and the Treasury will deposit the whole matured amount back into your funding account. Rates are currently about 2.3% and it is state and local income tax free!

      Or you could search the Internet for high yield checking accounts. There are quite a few of these, but they generally come with annoying hoops for 2-3% yields and have a cap on how much interest they pay at that rate, plus direct deposit requirements, and debit card spending requirements, so kind of annoying now that 4-week T-bills have hit 2.3%. I use one of these as my regular checking account, though, because I’ve been getting 2% on my for-expenses-monthly cash.

      Another option, as rates increase, is a “no penalty” CD that you can cash in at any time. This locks in a rate, but you can still get the money without any penalty. I still favor 4-week T-bills over this, but that might change if any of these have rates higher than T-bills, taking into consideration you do pay state and local taxes on CDs.

      I wouldn’t mess with the stock market for anything with less than a 10+ year time horizon, and with climate change and COVID, who knows, honestly. I invest anyway, because maybe I’m wrong about the Jackpot, and if I’m not, the money is probably useless anyway, I’ll have bigger problems or be dead.

      Good luck!

  26. Ed Miller

    Bob Wachter twitter thread shows a morbid fear of even mentioning Swiss Cheese Model. Reminds me of the 3 monkeys and evil.

    The most disturbing revelation (to me) in this post-truth world is that the high priests of medicine are like all the other PMC silos of expertise in that they all see themselves as the highest level of authority across all “facts”. The real experts in other disciplines (like aerosol scientists) are heretics who must be ushered off to metaphysical dungeons, meaning unmentionable in public discourse.

    More cheese please!

    1. Foy

      Great article, thanks Flora. That chart of Share of Domestic Income at the bottom of the article is my go to chart when someone claims there hasn’t been a class war for the last 40 years or that workers are now looking to start a class war by wanting to tax the rich.

  27. Glen

    The airlines cancelled the Sec of Transportation’s flight on purpose?

    Will Buttigieg CRACK DOWN On Airline Travel Chaos? | Breaking Points with Krystal and Saagar

    An ex-airline scheduler discussing why we have chaos in the air. And did the airlines poop on Pete on purpose?

  28. Mikel

    “German state leader ‘not wanted’ in Ukraine after war remarks” Deutsche Welle

    That list is the canary in the coalmine about the blowback that will come from this disaster. Terrorist blowback isn’t just a phenomenon from meddling in the Middle East.

  29. Mikel

    Is any one else wondering how the “end of abundance” is going to be squared with aspirational, fear of “not enough ________” marketing, advertising, and associated media content?

  30. jr

    I don’t think this was posted here before but the subject has come up so I thought I would link it:

    “Conventionally, intelligence is seen as a property of individuals. However, it is also known to be a property of collectives. Here, we broaden the idea of intelligence as a collective property and extend it to the planetary scale. We consider the ways in which the appearance of technological intelligence may represent a kind of planetary scale transition, and thus might be seen not as something which happens on a planet but to a planet, much as some models propose the origin of life itself was a planetary phenomenon. Our approach follows the recognition among researchers that the correct scale to understand key aspects of life and its evolution is planetary, as opposed to the more traditional focus on individual species. We explore ways in which the concept may prove useful for three distinct domains: Earth Systems and Exoplanet studies; Anthropocene and Sustainability studies; and the study of Technosignatures and the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI). We argue that explorations of planetary intelligence, defined as the acquisition and application of collective knowledge operating at a planetary scale and integrated into the function of coupled planetary systems, can prove a useful framework for understanding possible paths of the long-term evolution of inhabited planets including future trajectories for life on Earth and predicting features of intelligentially steered planetary evolution on other worlds.”

  31. enoughisenough

    That American Conservative article is arguing for destroying public higher ed!!! >:(

    “The most urgent cause on student debt, then, is to stop its growth. Cut off the government dole to universities as fully and quickly as possible. Where federal involvement must be left in place, tie it clearly and inextricably to merit. Subject higher education to the forces of the market and move the American economy a little bit closer to its natural, proper state.”

    This is insanely evil and delusional.

    1. chris

      I disagree. Keeping the federal government involved since the 90s has done nothing but distort the educational market and what people think is necessary. We’re in this mess because we have the federal government involved.

      Tying funded outcomes to merit or national priorities makes a lot of sense. Now, I also agree with Noam Chomsky in his latest interviews where he says the real question we should be asking is why anyone should have to take on debt for higher education. But if we make it debt free we need to determine who is best to have access to it somehow. Which will mean rationing access or supply in some way. Merit is as good a way to do that as any.

  32. Jason Boxman

    Since time immemorial, protections against it have been written into law. It is condemned in Scripture in no uncertain terms. But the Bible goes further than just denouncing the sin of usury. It mandates a jubilee year, once after every 49—seven Sabbath cycles of seven years, roughly every generation—in which, among other things, debts are forgiven. God is wiser than man, and the rules He gave to Moses are both just and good. True, this is a Christian country, not a Judaic one. But the New Covenant unbinds us from the letter of the old law, not from its eternal and divinely ordered principles.

    So I have some benefit to look forward to as I live under American Theocracy. Hooray!

    1. chris

      Blessed be!

      Of course, this is where you find out they’re reading from the prosperity bible, in which, paying down your debt, and our leaders’ debts, is like buying away your sin. So why would we deny the faithful that opportunity?

  33. ChrisRUEcon


    This (via #Twitter) is what we’re up against, and why things are still so horrible near three years into this pandemic.

    Yes, you’re free to mix openly so long as you’re vaccinated. To pinch a phrase from AOC: this is violence. That is a promoted tweet on my timeline. The Chicago Department of Public Health is literally telling people that the vaccine alone permits them to congregate safely sans any other context. What a family-blog travesty!

  34. ChrisPacific

    Did an accidental ‘blood plague’ in World of Warcraft help scientists model COVID better? The results are in

    Betteridge’s Law.

    It did inspire a similar event a few years later, where players could get infected and turn into ghouls, at least for 10 minutes or so before they died and respawned. Once zombified, they moved very slowly but gained access to a set of abilities for infecting others (both NPC and player) and could end up leading shuffling undead armies with a bit of effort. Naturally some players decided to see how much of an army they could amass in the 10 minutes and whether they could overrun and infect key locations.

    It made for an annoying couple of weeks, after which the developers introduced some player controlled tools for infection removal and the major cities became a running battleground between self-selected player factions for a while. So while they may not have contributed to Covid modeling, they did predict the anti-vax movement to some degree.

  35. Mikel

    In addition to the ECB & FED speeches on ritual sacrifice at Tenochtitlán…excuse me…Jackson Hole, there was this for those wondering about the status of the balance sheet reductions:
    Shrinking the Fed’s balance sheet sheet is not likely to be a benign process, new Jackson Hole study warns

    Just something else to mull through with all the focus on interest rates.

  36. Jason Boxman

    But it didn’t take long for him to earn the title of Latin America’s first millennial dictator. He was tight with Trump — “We both use Twitter a lot, so we get along,” Bukele opined — and began acting in ways the former U.S. president could only dream of. In February 2020, he stormed parliament alongside armed soldiers and police officers to pressure legislators to approve a $109 million loan for increased military and law-enforcement equipment.

    (bold mine)

    Man, liberal Democrats are truly unhinged. So another example of an obvious dictator, but somehow Trump is also a dictator? Heh, yeah. Remember when Trump’s MAGA paramilitary wing took over Congress to stop the vote counting? Oh, wait…

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