Links 8/30/2022

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.

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Japanese Shrine Creates Custom Water Sanctuary for Honey Bees To Stay Hydrated My Modern Met (David L)

A man paddled 38 miles down the Missouri River in hollowed-out pumpkin CNN (furzy)

The British islands that disappear every day BBC (furzy)

Artemis I launch scrubbed due to engine issue NBC

‘Man of the Hole’: Last of his tribe dies in Brazil BBC (Kevin W)

It took everything’: the disease that can be contracted by breathing California’s air Guardian (resilc). Eeek!

Microscopy technique finds hidden nanostructures in cells and tissues Mirage (Kevin W)

Wrinkly ‘sac’ with no anus probably isn’t humans’ earliest ancestor. (Thank goodness!) Live Science. Anthony L: “If I had any taste I wouldn’t send this.”

Why Commonsense Knowledge is not (and can not be) Learned Walid Saba (David L)




US cuts off free COVID-19 rapid testing WSWS

My right wing contact says this is a big deal, hence the tweets above to show Covid measures are of continuing interest to some:

Climate Change/Environment

Building a backyard ‘frog hotel’ could help species recover from bushfires (David L)

Elon Musk Says World Needs More Oil and Gas As Bridge To Renewables Bloomberg. So much for saving the planet

People are still moving to hot, dry places like Phoenix and Las Vegas Vox (resilc)

How Safe Is the Salmon on Your Plate? Bloomberg. Yours truly eats pretty much only boring but fairly safe wild canned sockeye from Alaska. There was a big expose in the early 2000s in NYC where the intrepid New York Magazine bought wild salmon from all sorts of supposedly reputable vendors like Citarella. They DNA tested it. Only one place sold actual wild salmon, a Zabars family breakaway, EAT on 3rd Avenue. That place has gorgeous fish and meats, lovely baked items, very good selection of fruit and veg….and is always so empty I wonder what business it is really in….

UK looks to Sweden for a solution to nuclear waste BBC (David L)

Zombie ice from Greenland will raise sea level 10 inches Associated Press (David L)

Does California have enough electricity to ban gas cars? Quartz. Resilc:

It’s like magic. It just happens. Our normal mail person is on vacation so only priority mail likely gets delivered for two weeks, so i am now told. UP drives a temp in a 75k$ new chevy monster pick up to deliver two “priority” books today. Point is, if we can’t staff the USPS, how can we staff grid builds???

Climate activists damage frame of a Rubens painting in Munich DW (resilc)


Mahathir Mohamad urges Asean to move towards China after Taiwan ‘provocation’ Financial Times

Young and out of a job in China: how Covid-19 is creating an unemployment crisis South China Morning Post

Germany wants EU to cancel national vetoes RT (Kevin W). To facilitate EU expansion. As if that was such a bright idea.

Old Blighty

Dinosaurs extinct because they voted Tory Daily Mash

New Not-So-Cold War

Pentagon stockpiles ‘uncomfortably low’ due to Ukraine arms transfers: DoD Responsible Statecraft (resilc)

Kherson: Ukraine claims new push in Russian-held region BBC

“Kherson Offensive” Announced by Western Media New Atlas, YouTube

How Ukraine is using resistance warfare developed by the US to fight back against Russia CNN. Alex Christaforu flagged this story, pointing out that this amounts to an admission that Ukraine has lost the conventional war. And as far as I can tell, this “resistance operating concept” is old color revolution wine in slightly less old bottles.

* * *

Europe’s Economic And Social Suicide – Provoked by The U.S. And Helped Along By Europe’s Leaders Moon of Alabama (Chuck L). Shout outs to Michael Hudson and your humble blogger.

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Britain’s financial support for Ukraine to run out by new year – Sunday Times RT. Kevin W: “Original Sunday Times article at

Putin is trapped and desperate. Will his friends in the west rescue him? Simon Tisdall, Guardian (Kevin W). This would be funny except he believes it and some people listen to him.

The Mysterious Murder of Darya Dugina Masha Gessen, New Yorker (Kevin C). Your humble blogger does not buy this thesis, and my contacts who know Gessen and Russia don’t either. For instance, I have seen officers of big financial firms you heard of take credit for trades they didn’t do to present themselves as top dogs in a hot product (I knew they hadn’t done them because my client had). Ponomarev similarly has every reason to take credit to get more Western funding.

* * *

Finland confiscates cash from Russians returning home – media RT (Kevin W)

From Politico’s morning European newsletter. Note Alexander Mercouris worries in his Monday video that the ban will go forward; the tone below suggests not:

GERMANY AND FRANCE POUR COLD WATER ON VISA BAN: Berlin and Paris are attempting to defuse a plan seeking to ban Russians from entering the EU on tourist visas. Leaders of eastern and Nordic countries have in the past weeks loudly called for the EU to close its borders to Russian travelers. But France and Germany are warning that could be counter-productive, strengthening President Vladimir Putin’s autocratic hold over his population rather than undermining it.

The conflict will come to a boil on Wednesday, when EU foreign affairs ministers meet in Prague. Ahead of that meeting, ministers from the pro-ban countries will gather separately to come up with a common position and decide how strongly they want to push for the travel restrictions, before heading to the full 27-minister meeting, according to several diplomats.

Fighting for Russian hearts and minds: France and Germany have circulated a memo to EU capitals, making clear they oppose a travel ban and warning against the unintended consequences of such a measure. “While limiting contacts with regime representatives and authorities to areas of vital EU interest, we need to strategically fight for the ‘hearts and minds’ of the Russian population — at least the segments not yet completely estranged from ‘the West,’” Paris and Berlin write in the memo, seen by POLITICO.

Battle lines: Pro-ban leaders argue emotionally that it’s unfair for wealthy Russians to be allowed to travel to Europe, seemingly unconcerned by the war on Ukraine. “I personally find it deeply provocative that Russian tourists can spend their vacation in Europe while Ukrainian cities are being shelled and destroyed,” Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod told my colleague Stuart Lau. “Seeing tourists here in Europe, Russian tourists, it’s like the war has no consequences … I think it’s wrong.”

Don’t stop the brain drain: France and Germany, however, argue that allowing Russians to leave their country is a good thing. They insist they “wish to maintain a legal framework that allows in particular students, artists, scholars, professionals — independent of whether they are at risk of prosecution on political grounds — to travel to the EU.” The memo warns “against far-reaching restrictions on our visa policy, in order to prevent feeding the Russian narrative and trigger unintended rallying-around the flag effects and/or estranging future generations.”


Pakistan floods: One third of country is under water – minister BBC (furzy)

IMF approves $1.1bn bailout package for Pakistan to help stave off default Financial Times


Buildings stormed after Moqtada al-Sadr, Iraqi political leader, retires BBC (furzy)

PALACE COUP Watch as furious protesters storm palace and take dip in presidential swimming pool as police open fire on crowds The Sun (resilc)

Residents of Misafer Yatta being — Slowly Ethnically Cleansed by Israel — take Refuge in Cave Juan Cole (resilc)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

FTC Sues ‘Massive’ Data Broker for Selling Location Info on Abortion Clinics Vice (Kevin W)

Civilian AI Is Already Being Misused by the Bad Guys SpectrumIEEE (David L)

Imperial Collapse Watch

Why US hegemony is incompatible with a ‘rules-based international order’ Responsible Statecraft (resilc)

Free Speech Doesn’t Matter If Propagandists Determine What People Say Caitlin Johnstone (Kevin W

Trump Raid

Justice Department says it found “limited set” of potentially privileged material in Trump search CBS (furzy). Um, finding ANY attorney-client privileged docs is bad and could be used to argue that either the search was conducted improperly or that the warrant was overly broad and therefore a “general warrant” which is prohibited by the Fourth Amendment. But Trump seems to have a pretty weak legal team these days.

THE START OF THE UNRAVELING OF THE TRUMP MAR A LAGO RAID Larry Johnson (spud. Recall Johnson is former CIA…..


A ‘radical shift’ at the border is making things tougher for Biden CNN (furzy)


Supreme Court Justice Alito’s Crusade Against a Secular America Isn’t Over New Yorker (furzy)

Democrats en déshabillé

Ruy Teixeira on the Democratic Majority That Never Emerged Wall Street Journal (furzy)

Hackers have laid siege to U.S. health care and a tiny HHS office is buckling under the pressure Politico (resilc)


‘The Least Safe Day’: Rollout of Gun-Detecting AI Scanners in Schools Has Been a ‘Cluster,’ Emails Show Vice (resilc)

Police v. Prisons Barry Ritholtz (resilc)

When Private Equity Takes Over a Nursing Home New Yorker (resilc)

American Real Estate Was a Money Launderer’s Dream. That’s Changing. New York Times (resilc)

The Bezzle

Martin Shkreli claims porn virus cost him $450K in crypto tokens Input (Anthony L)

Trading Volume On Top NFT Marketplace OpenSea Down 99% Since May Fortune

The ‘Flashy, Gimmicky’ Student Debt Piñata Heisenberger Report (resilc)

Fed rate hikes won’t curb inflation if spending stays high, paper says CNBC (furzy). You cannot make this stuff up.

US Fed’s wrecking ball slams Asian markets Asia Times (Kevin W)

Antidote du jour (Tracie H). Your humble blogger is a skunk fan:

And a bonus (guurst):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Antifa

    (the posh talk back to UK strikers)

    You lot need to get back on the rails
    These strikes lead directly to low gross sales
    How you whinge about wages and destitution
    But paying you more is not a solution

    You lot need to get that your future’s revised
    Think big, think gig, think of jobs downsized
    Think of more work landing on the few we don’t fire
    And on the immigrant wage slaves we hire

    You lot need to sort this, it is your bind
    You’ve no idea of the things we must mind
    Treaties, futures, currencies, war
    So the money’s not there to offer you more

    You lot need to not be so brassed off
    You’re essential workers — you can’t piss off
    ‘Cause your weekly wages go up the spout
    There’s a war on, you louts, there’s a bloody drought

    You lot need to think of the owner, the Boss
    Is a blessing to you, not an albatross
    Your place is to work in obscurity
    Invest if you want some security

    You lot need to get right back in the ranks
    Go for the dole, go to food banks
    Stop chuntering on about your bills
    If you want a new deal, learn new skills

    You lot need to live like proper proles
    Stop wasting your wages at watering holes
    Inflation is high, but we’ll muddle through
    Let’s put this off for a decade or two

    You lot need to hear your oligarchs
    Stop marching and singing and reading Karl Marx
    There are no rentiers, if there were we’d know
    It’s time to get back to the status quo

    You lot need to hear Messr Macron
    The age of abundance is over and gone
    Margaret Thatcher tried to teach you this
    You’re well in it now — here comes the abyss

    You lot need to get that you are muggles
    The losers in any and all class struggles
    You tatterdemalions shall get no more
    For you aren’t, and you never will be top drawer

    You lot need to grasp that you are beaten
    Your hourly rate will never sweeten
    The profits shall stay in our pudgy hands
    To hell with you lot, and your wild demands

    1. Sardonia

      Nice. And belated thanks for your new lyrics on Roger Miller’s “England Swings”. What a totally quirky song to work with, and you nailed it! “A Great White Queen with a gimlet eye” LOL. Loved that one….

  2. Arizona Slim

    Got a funny story to tell you about skunks.

    Here in Arizona, recreational marijuana is legal and let me tell you, I know plenty of people who enjoy that legality to the fullest. This includes one of my best friends.

    Best friend likes to come home from work and smoke a bowl. It’s his way of relaxing and winding down for the evening. His wife, another one of my best friends, is more of a beer and wine person, but that’s a tale for another time.

    Well, one fine evening, the wife and I were chatting away. And then I smelled it! A skunk!

    My friends keep a flock of chickens, and, if there’s a skunk in the area, that’s bad news. Two of their chickens are quite aggressive, and you can imagine what kind of a disaster that can be if a skunk is involved.

    Well, the husband found my skunk detection skills to be rather amusing. There was no skunk anywhere near our part of Tucson, Arizona.

    But the husband was smoking a bowl, and it smelled a lot like S-K-U-N-K.

    1. Lex

      Arizona Slim accidentally unlocks a massive argument that’s ongoing in weed world. Where does the skunky smell of weed come from. Why doesn’t it smell like fresh road kill the way “it used to”. It all smells like skunk, but from about a mile away some smells more like that than other types. It used to be a more common marijuana odor because of varietal popularity and several varieties were named after it (although the most famous didn’t really smell like skunk and wasn’t supposed to). It appears to be an odor associated with varieties from Central Asia / Afghanistan rather than Central America, India or Africa. Is it a combination of terpenes or is it that certain plants produce thiols (the actual chemical family that gives skunks their smell) is classic stoner argument.

      I’ve been around long enough to remember when it was a popular smell but also live in skunk country and last summer did the test. At 1.5 miles down the road from fresh road kill it did smell like weed but up close there’s never been a weed variety that smelled like actual road kill at close distance. On the flip side, most weed can produce the vague smell of skunk. It was problematic in the early days of homegrowing. People loved the smoke that smelled that way but it was also a rather dangerous odor to be coming out of your house.

      1. hondje

        Terroir matters immensely when it comes to smell and taste! Outdoor weed smells much less pungent and more like straw.

      2. Copeland

        I’m quite familiar with the smell of ‘not so fresh’ road kill, but what does ‘fresh’ road kill smell like?

        In my youth I used to be a hunter, so I remember the smell of a deer being field dressed, but I can’t imagine cannabis smelling like that.

    2. The Rev Kev

      I have a theory. You know that extremely expensive Kopi Luwak coffee is made from coffee beans plucked from civet’s poop, right? Well suppose – just suppose – that those corporate marijuana growers are trying to find out if they can make a premium product by having their marijuana also go through the digestive tract of a local animal. I will let you guess which one.

      1. mrsyk

        “You know that extremely expensive Kopi Luwak coffee is made from coffee beans plucked from civet’s poop, right?” We really are doomed aren’t we.

        1. Art_DogCT

          If Kopi Luwak is a sign of our species’ doom, then we have been so consigned since the 1600’s when the Dutch introduced coffee trees to Indonesia, and people began finding civet scat which contained those new berries those Dutch love so much. It gained whatever popularity it has because, it would seem to me, someone provided some Dutchman with civet-processed coffee beans (perhaps as a joke?) and he liked it. Apparently a lot. If crazy white people from Europe wanted to pay good money for such a rare forest product, why not get in on it? For at least two centuries, it was collected in the wild in areas that hosted coffee trees, appropriate native palm trees, and the obligate Asian palm civet. The production practice today is, to me, vile:

          “Kopi luwak is a coffee that consists of partially digested coffee cherries, which have been eaten and defecated by the Asian palm civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus). It is also called civet coffee. The cherries are fermented as they pass through a civet’s intestines, and after being defecated with other fecal matter, they are collected.[1] Asian palm civets are increasingly caught in the wild and traded for this purpose.[2] […]

          “The traditional method of collecting feces from wild Asian palm civets has given way to an intensive farming method, in which the palm civets are kept in battery cages and are force-fed the cherries. This method of production has raised ethical concerns about the treatment of civets and the conditions they are made to live in, which include isolation, poor diet, small cages, and a high mortality rate.[4][5][6]”

          The last paragraph is the one which illustrates our self-damnation, and rightly so.

      2. lambert strether

        > digestive tract of a local

        Non-unionized Starbucks baristas? Closed loop, style-o-fing….

    3. Louis Fyne

      I am agnostic on the marijuana, but lemme tell you…..I was downwind from one of my neighbors who was emitting the nastiest, skunkiest ganja that I have ever smelled.

      It was revolting and would have single-handedly held back the legalization of marijuana for decades!

      Even marijuana is not like it used to be—-Old Man shakes fists at clouds!

      1. Questa Nota

        Blazers ruin concerts and other outdoor experiences, even strolling along a shopping area, for many others. What could be a pleasant or at least neutral experience gets degraded by intrusive smells.

        People can do their thing, but should be aware of how that thing may impact others.

        1. Mark Gisleson

          If you can smell what kind of pot I’m smoking, I must be doing it wrong. No reason for others to smell your smoke, at least not first hand.

          Haven’t had any skunky weed for quite a while but it’s def a thing. As are strains that smell and/or taste of citrus, sunday dinners, berries, candy, etc. Most strains now do not induce the munchies, but the strains for cancer patients will make you ravenous. Other strains calm palsy, soothe damaged nervous systems, help with PTSD.

          Cannabis is a wonder drug, but the real wonder is that govt is schlepping inadequately tested vaccines while ignoring less patentable remedies.

          1. Copeland

            I was looking in to using cannabis for pain, so I consulted a long-time user. He said: if you vape cannabis there is no smoke, no smell, your neighbors will not even know you’re using. He also suggested the ‘Silver Surfer’ table-top home vaping device. He claims that you get way more bang for your buck vaping that smoking, and its better for your lungs.

          1. griffen

            Actually the smell of tobacco once cultivated and curing in large warehouses can be quite a significant aroma, it is very unlike the acrid result from a cigarette. It is a distinct smell I recall from my youth in a small town, eastern NC.

            I’ve always viewed smoking cigarettes a personal choice, and personally it just is not for me. Dad smoked and discouraged us from ever starting.

          2. Joe Renter

            Tobacco smell. I recall reading that the smell of the eastern tobacco on the front lines of WW1 and 2 was a sign the axis troops were nearby. As Americans smoked the sweeter Virginian variety. When I was a young man my buddies and I really enjoyed the Balken Sobranie cigs that came in a tin with a scene from the Balkens printed on the case. They were amazingly smooth smokes. You can only get pipe tobacco version of it nowadays. Glad I never was really hooked on nicotine. I hear it’s a real hard monkey to kick.

        2. AndrewJ

          So does the industrial smell of wet paint – Lord only knows what chemical horrors are found there – and of someone rolling coal or with a deleted cat. Or the smell of two-stroke in the forest, or city for that matter. Or Axe body spray. Or tobacco. Compared to those, I’d take the weed smoke any day.

          1. Joe Renter

            Epoxy paint is the worst. I still remember the smell of if when my stepfather used in in a bathroom setting in the 60’s. Need a half mask for that stuff. I was a painting contractor for 20 years. Had my days filled with gassing-off fumes.

      2. Lex

        Depending on variety, it can have aromas that range from sweet and fruity, to garlic, skunk, body odor, rotten fruit, meat, etc. (there was a variety that was briefly popular that smelled like cat pee) Lots of plants produce terpenes, few plants produce the variety and quantity of terpenes that cannabis does. The current trend is towards sweet and fruity so you likely are neighbors with an old school dude.

        1. Lexx

          Inquiring minds want to know…

          Occasionally I’ll hear my husband exclaim, ‘Cat piss!’, as in he can smell it and it’s strong, and then my nose will go up as though maybe this time I’ll be able to pick up this mysterious smell, but no, I smell nothing new and stinky and feel vaguely disturbed like my smeller just lost power and I’m ‘nose-blind’.

          So, who are they hybridizing for, those who can smell the odors they’re breeding for or those who can’t? I imagine they have a target consumer in mind, but maybe either way’s good.

      3. FreeMarketApologist

        The overwhelming majority of the stuff that’s being consumed on the NYC streets on which I travel smells vile (midtown and UES). Certainly a scent that wouldn’t encourage people to try it out.

      4. Angie Neer

        I smell skunk pretty much everywhere along my daily bicycle commute. I work in a low-rise office building across the street from several apartment buildings. One time there was a fire nearby that brought a lot of curious people out of their apartments, and me out of my office, and several of the local residents were casually smoking joints as we chatted about the goings-on. It’s common to smell it in my own snooty single-family-zoned neighborhood, too, and in the public parks I pass, and from passing cars. I would say it’s more common than cigarettes now, and just as noxious.

    4. griffen

      Here I thought we might discuss whether or not skunk was a worthwhile animal to consume. I would not want to think about trying to clean that animal or what happens if the knife clips the stink organ. When in doubt I am going with a definite no.

      Living in an apartment building, every so often that weed induced aroma can be hard to miss.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        I’ve eaten many types of game, but no way skunk even before you get to the prep problem. Skunks have lovely personalities and are playful. You could be very nice too as a critter if you could wander about and not worry about being prey. They are supposed to make for fine pets if deodorized…but then you have to keep them indoors and I doubt they take to housebreaking.

        Having said that, they are related to otters and badgers. I’ve never heard of either of them being good eating.

        1. timotheus

          There is at least one skunk in my neighborhood that moseys about at night looking for a late snack. It once passed under my feet while sitting on a park bench. It is perfectly cool as long as one doesn’t make threatening movements. Unfortunately, a passing dog typically will go bonkers with the predictable result that lingers in the air overnight.

        2. The Rev Kev

          They are also supposedly related to polecats and other members of the weasel family. They must have come as a huge surprise to the first colonists to North America who came across them and decided to get a closer look. Surprise!

        3. Bugs

          My father had a deodorized pet skunk named Pierre. He was adorable, liked to sleep in your lap, but didn’t get along with rabbits at all.

        4. savedbyirony

          Growing up, a neighbor had a pet skunk. She was friendly and playful. The neighbors had trained her to use a litter box and she was a clean pet to have in the house; much easier and calmer to live with than the ferrets another neighbor kept.

      2. Glossolalia

        Reminds me of The Simpsons: “Most folk’ll never eat a skunk, but then again some folk’ll, like Cletus The Slack Jawed Yokel.”

    5. Sardonia

      I saw a fun cartoon – 2 ladies walking past a fence, one says “It smells like a skunk here – either that or someone is smoking marijuana.”

      On the other side, sitting back against the fence is a skunk smoking a bong.

    6. Lexx

      We were outside one winter afternoon and smelled the distinctive odor of skunk. Puzzlement… while the odor of a spooked or pissed off skunk was uncommon in the summer, it was downright odd in winter. Days passed and we kept smelling skunk and were growing alarmed, mostly for the sanity of the skunk. What was repeatedly annoying this skunk in winter?! And why did it seem to be getting closer to our house?

      Then one day Husband was walking past the house across the street where our neighbors were having some remodeling done, and at the end of the day the workers were smoking outside near their vehicles to wind down… we assumed tobacco and we assumed wrong. Later he would learn that the variety is actually called “Skunk”. They were paying for dope intentionally for the smell that broadcast its presence for blocks… and probably thought that was funny or funnier, depending what kinda shape they were in at the point of purchase. It is Colorado. ‘Hide our activity? No! Let’s share the smell with everyone in a four block area! Hahahahahahahaha… I can’t even breathe… hahahaha…. we’ll take two buds… hahahahahaha!’

      I actually said within their hearing, ‘Is that a skunk? WTH, it’s winter!’ They probably pissed themselves holding it all in until we were out of earshot. We aren’t just old partakers but from a generation when hiding the smell was tantamount.

      When pot became legal here we went out and bought some bud and a pipe. Husband went first; we’d read the modern strains were a lot stronger, so he alone smoked the first small bowl, out on the patio. He could barely stand up after about twenty minutes and went straight to bed. I decided to pass altogether. We’ve also tried the gummies… many, many gummies and many, many dollars later I must report they did little for us but make us thirsty, so we let it go.

    7. Pat

      I find the skunk smell helpful. 1) I have an allergic reaction to cannabis, which includes nausea from second hand smoke. 2.) I live on a lower floor.
      I know it is time to replace my air filters if I smell skunk and it is more than a whiff. I like to keep the window open, and now it isn’t just my marijuana sensitivity and general pollution I should worry about.
      Small favors of a previous large annoyance.

    8. Nikkikat

      Whenever my husband and I have been at relatives while on vacation or vise versa. We have a code for taking a little walk and having a smoke. I would tell him “the skunk walks at 9:30”. We would then slip off and enjoy ourselves.

    9. Anthony G Stegman

      That is not all surprising to me. Here in suburbia some residents grow marijuana in their backyards. Other residents complain of skunks, but it turns out the marijuana is the culprit. There are often lively discussions on Nextdoor about the “smelly neighbors”.

    10. skk

      skunk smelling MJ is very much old-school – a strain named Skunk #1 goes back several decades. You can get quite oddly smelling MJ – a diesel smelling one is quite well known. Not just any old diesel, but sour diesel. All of these come as seeds, easily bought online.

    1. DJG, Reality Czar

      lyman alpha blob:

      What Johnson asserts is eye-opening.

      It’s a marvel, I tell you, Mister Blob, that Trump is now a defender of civil rights and civil liberties. Yet this wouldn’t be the first time that support for the Constitution came from unexpected quarters.

      Johnson ends by indicating that the removal of Thibault will lead to implicating the Clintons and Obama. May Hermes take that message to Zeus, so that he can sharpen some lightning bolts.

      Meanwhile, it is going to be interesting to see people getting all twisty about civil rights, like the fourth, fifth, and sixth amendments. Curious, I went into the “redacted” (censored by the FBI) document and discovered some fifteen pages of black marks and a big mention of the Espionage Act.

      Yes, the same act used to try to convict Edward Snowden. The same act involved in the torture of Chelsea Manning. The same act used to railroad Reality Winner.

      I wonder if Charlie Pierce is still in favor of repealing it:

      I know that I am in favor of getting the unconstitutional act off the books.

      1. voteforno6

        Johnson strikes me as being a bit of a nutter. I remember him complaining the quality of spooks has gone down, essentially because of being woke, or some such nonsense. He did this, while being oblivious about the quality of work produced by the CIA while he was in the agency.

        Unraveling? The government claims that they found classified documents there, and the trail of correspondence has made it rather clear that they’ve been trying to recover them for quite a while now. That seems much more relevant here. Were those documents classified? Has Johnson addressed that? If he did, I doubt that he was being honest about it. What’s more, those documents are not Trump’s personal property. He had in his possession something that belongs to the government. Frankly, the feds were being much more deferential towards him than they have to any number of lower level people.

        I think the single most glaring issue here is the one that no one wants to admit, but is obvious to everyone – Donald Trump is a giant manbaby, who lacks the emotional maturity to serve on a junior high student council, let alone as President of the United States. Pretty much everything that’s happened can be explained by that undeniable fact.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          First, Johnson has a lot of his work at the CIA was planting US favoring and not very/at all true stories, and he’s said many things that are critical of the CIA and FBI back in his day. He has also argued that the classifications were made invalid under an Obama executive order if they were made or continued to hide government bad acts. Johnson has thus posited that if Trump did have Russiagate docs, their classified status is invalid separate and apart from whatever claims Trump made about his own declassification authority.

          The Obama executive order also has an affirmative obligation to declassify (‘Information shall be declassified as soon as it no longer meets the standards for classification under this order.”) Johnson further notes:

          Donald Trump ordered the declassification of the Crossfire Hurricane material on December 30, 2020. You can read his order here. Donald Trump followed the law and acted in accordance with Barack Obama’s Executive Order.

          Having said that, his knowledge of classification procedures isn’t on point with declassification even though per the Obama executive order, this is supposed to happen all the time. In fact, I’ve seen zero commentary on what the supposed “normal” process for declassification is, save the type when stuff is supposed to become automagically declassified after a certain # of years have passed. This suggests that that apparent lack of a normal process is a feature, not a bug.

          He also points out that the FBI does not generate classified documents; they aren’t one of the agencies that has the authority to do so, plus classifying information conflicts with prosecution, so they don’t like to generate classified material.

          Second, I hate to tell you but old school military types are very critical of the woke recruiting and even more important, statements that = trans and other non cis types are being preferred in promotions. And this is not a crazy observation. The big recruitment pool is lower income men, most often from rural or semi rural areas. Among men, whites are way over-represented among the enlisted relative to their level in the population, and blacks, only somewhat. Hispanics are underrepresented.

          Non-cis-favoring recruitment strategies are not going to help with the historical main target population. And I sincerely doubt there are enough from these historically “out” communities to make up for the shortfall. Being in the military is conservative. You have to believe in hoary old ideas like patriotism.

          Which military do you think the sort of people who are willing to kill other people for their country would want to join, of the three presented in this video?

          1. Stephen

            I guess this video that a former US marine is reacting to does not get shown to the Chinese and Russian militaries either.


            The Duke of Wellington summed up the professional military value proposition for the rank and file very well. Other than the unfortunate choice of words, it has not changed so much:

            “ The French system of conscription brings together a fair sample of all classes; ours is composed of the scum of the earth — the mere scum of the earth. It is only wonderful that we should be able to make so much out of them afterwards.”
            Speaking about soldiers in the British Army, 4 November 1813

            The military is your road out of a life of drudgery to enable you to be proud and make something of yourself.

            1. Yves Smith Post author

              Some people benefit from a lot of structure. And look at how (of all people) Edward Snowden. Didn’t finish high school, got a GED, joined the Special Forces but was sidelined due to an injury, yet a remarkable autodidact. Aside from his computer skills, studied Japanese and also claimed to have some competence in Mandarin.

              I hate to belabor the point, but I grew up in the era of peak feminism and am more inclined than most to think that women can do what most men do. But there is a complicated issue. With classes as large as men and women, the differences within a class will be bigger than the differences between classes. So there are women who can outperform most men in strength and speed.

              But the military is dealing with huge populations. And they are, or should be, trying to recruit robust candidates of both genders. It’s trivial to point out that men have more muscle mass, much more upper body strength, denser bones, and tighter joints (as in better able to take stresses) than women. No amount of gender affirming testosterone administration later on will make a difference in joint laxity and upper body strength, or basic size.

              So women can be very useful in the military, including in front line roles (snipers, pilots, sappers). But on average, they can’t play all the roles men do. Similarly, how many female firefighters are there? They have to be able to wear 70 lbs of gear and climb ladders and steps in it. Official stats say 9%, but I suspect most of them are EMTs in big urban firehouses where they have role specialization (here in my tiny suburb, the firemen are all EMTs too and mainly do EMT duty, More strokes and heart attacks than fires).

              And you have a further problem that men may rebel against female leadership in a pinch. A good fictional depiction is Courage Under Fire, where Meg Ryan played against type (you have to fast forward though the useless Denzel Washington plot).

              1. Stephen

                These comments make a lot of sense. A commodity that western leaders and institutions today need a lot more of!

              2. John Beech

                Good grief . . . that was remarkably cogent and hangs together well. I have no nits to pick. Bravo from this man who is always in favor of letting any woman do any darn job she pleases if she can take away from a man.

                And while I hate the mere thought men would rebel against orders from a woman ‘because’ she was a woman, I suspect this is more a matter of leadership. Point being, if she earns the job and the men know she’s earned the job, then I believe they’ll as blindly follow her orders as those of a male commander because it’s down to trust.

                Me? I trust the military is at least as aware of this as me and women in positions of command, 100% of them, have earned it. So other than that maybe-nit . . . all I have to say about your mini-rant, Yves, is well done. Truly.

              3. juno mas

                Yes, very good explication on the physical differences between genders as individuals vs. as a group.

                As for strength (muscle mass) the difference is not just mass, it’s muscle type (fast/slow twitch). Men as a group have more explosive muscle power than women as a group. Even at the elite level. Watch any NBA or WNBA basketball game, it’s readily apparent.

              4. Anthony G Stegman

                I can say from my own personal experience that there are intelligent, thoughtful, talented, and competent people who have served and continue to serve in the military. The services are not full of dolts (certainly not more so than exist in the general population), though the leadership at times can seem so.

          2. KD

            The great Italian political theorist Gaetano Mosca posited that there are two types of elites: lions and foxes (this much taken from the great Italian political theorist Machiavelli). He proposed a cycling of elites, as Lions and foxes are mutually antagonistic, and over time, elites tend to become homogenous, with one type pushing out the other. However, the result of their “success” is the creation of a counter-elite against which they cannot defend themselves. Lions use force, foxes use deception to attain their ends (in Machiavelli, they are good at laying “traps”). If Mosca is right, the American elite has become almost exclusively foxes, and are obsessed with even filling their most-lion functions with foxes, which will end in failure. This would mean that a new cycle of elites will likely commence.

            1. Daniil Adamov

              Hang on, wasn’t that Pareto? Though I suppose they both will have gotten that from Machiavelli…

              1. KD

                You are correct. Its Pareto’s residues I suppose, but Mosca is similar enough to invite thesis topics distinguishing them.

          3. voteforno6

            There are documented procedures to declassify information. There are also documented procedures to challenge classification decisions. Information regarding this is provided to people who hold security clearances. Whether is is followed or not, who can say. I do know that people in senior positions or held to a different standard than those at the worker-bee level, for various reasons (and some of them are very understandable). Handling classified information is different across the various branches of government – how DoD does it is different than State, Justice, etc. It may be that the FBI doesn’t generate classified material on their own, but they definitely do handle classified information. There have been efforts to bring these agencies in line, but I don’t think that has been successful, or is even possible.

            We don’t know what was in those documents – the only thing they’ve said officially is that they found highly-classified documents. A lot of rumors have been floating around about the actual content, but I don’t put much stock in that, as there are undoubtedly separate agendas driving them. What constitutes classified information can be rather nuanced. It may be that some of those in Trump’s possession pertained to information that he declassified, yet the documents themselves are still classified, as they refer to collection methods that are classified, or some other factors have led to that determination. We don’t know, and I think it’s highly unlikely that we will know at any point in the near future. Also, keep in mind, these documents were not Trump’s personal property, so he should’ve turned them over a long time ago. I think that, had he done so, that would’ve been the end of it.

            Also, I do have rather sharp memories of the old-school types fighting against allowing people to openly serve as homosexuals in the military. That was back in the ’90s, so those old-school types would probably be considered mummies now. Back then, there were still some of the old-school types around that hadn’t accepted women serving in the military, either. So, I’m very skeptical about some old-timers complaining about social engineering in the military.

        2. John Beech

          voteforno6 . . . respectfully, politics is the art of getting along and getting your way through cooperation. But President Trump, apart from not having to go along because he was rich, and accustomed to getting his way due to money and the power of coercion (lawyers at his beck and call), along with the personality of a bully, won. I voted for the guy despite you being able to take it to the bank I’d never invite him over for dinner.

          Me? I believe you misunderstand why a certain portion of the electorate vote for the guy. He is an imperfect tool, a monkey wrench serving as a hammer because there’s no proper hammer at hand. Or more to the point, he’s a stick in the eye of the body politic. Major point being, unless you like being a tool, you’d be wise in my humble opinion to question who is pulling your levers (and why). Did you watch Rachel Maddow and cheer? Then begin to wonder why this floated your boat. Do you cheer the raid on Mar-A-Lago? Wonder some more. Are you breathless in anticipation of Trump being taken down a notch? Why?

          Look, the guy is despised by many (me included), but he is a hammer being swung at the crystal palace raised on the Potomac. He’s the best hammer I’ve got. Nay, he’s the only hammer I’ve got. Me? I wonder if you’ve ever been in need of a hammer and reversed a screwdriver for purpose. Bottom line? At some point you learn to make do with the tools at hand. And with this President, I was making do. What’s more, I hope the dirt bag runs again in 2024. I’ll support him out of sheer desperation and pray that he wins ‘and’ can successfully grievously-wound the beast known as the blob.

          He deserves a clean shot at draining the swamp. We the people deserve it.

          1. fresno dan

            I agree with most everything you say…except, I don’t think Trump will do any swamp draining. This is a guy who very much enoys the design of the US legal system that allows rich people to evade the law. I think the most we can hope for is some shuffling of the muskrats and allegators in the swamp so that there is some slight diminishment of the power of the oligarchy at the tippy top. Pretty sad…

          2. juno mas

            Well, I can agree that politics is the art of getting along. And I agree that US politics has become fetid water. But I’m not certain electing old men with limited political skill is going make life better.

            A nation that deludes itself into thinking it is not in decline will continue to do so.

    2. wendigo

      Darn, l thought I retired but it turns out I was ousted. Company policy, escorted exit out of the building as your classified security clearance has ended.

      Whether he retired or was fired he is not going to be walking around secured areas unescorted anymore.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        Funny time to retire though when your office is just about to get the goods on the Bad Orange Man.

    3. marym

      Conflicting descriptions of Thibault’s role:

      Johnson: “The head of the FBI’s Washington Field Office” CBS: “a top-level FBI agent” Fox: “Thibault was one of 13 assistant special agents in charge at the Washington field office. He was not involved in the FBI raid on former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate earlier this month at any level.”

      1. lyman alpha blob

        Hmmm. If you look at the link in Johnson’s article, it goes back to a piece from John Solomon’s website which says –

        “Former FBI Washington Field Office Assistant Special Agent in Charge Tim Thibault was reportedly escorted out of the bureau on Friday, amid whistleblower allegations that he showed political bias in his handling of politically sensitive investigations.

        The Washington Times reported eyewitness accounts that “Mr. Thibault was seen exiting the bureau’s elevator last Friday escorted by two or three ‘headquarters-looking types.'” The article appears to have been updated and now states that Thibault “abruptly resigned” but that he was “forced to leave his post” and cites two unnamed former FBI officials.”

        So maybe the “In Charge” bit was just part of his official title and Johnson was confusing that with him being the head of the office. Either way, it sure sounds like someone wanted this guy gone. Wonder if he’ll get to keep his government pension?

        1. fresno dan

          so I do a search about this Tim Thibault, and the ONLY MSM article I get is one article from Politico. An FBI agent resigns amid allegations that he is biased against Trump, and that is not worth one article? Now, maybe when Google searches, it won’t come up with articles from WP, NYT, or MSNBC??? – but I do read articles from such sources.

          1. flora

            If the FBI fired him it would be an admission of both his failure to do his job correctly and the FBI’s failure of oversight on this high-level employee. That doesn’t prevent the FBI from doing a forced resignation, as in: “We want your resignation today. Resign and you get to keep your pension and no bad paper on your resume. If ya make us fire you for cause, however,…”

        2. Karl

          Johnson also links to a “Just the News” report that said Thibault was escorted out due to Whisleblower allegations of partisanship against Donald trump, but that these allegations were vintage 2020 and

          unrelated to the raid, according to information made public by Sen. Charles Grassley.

          Reading Johnson carefully, he doesn’t say outright that he was escorted out due to any new revelations related to the raid or the warrant. He implies that the timing is more than just a coincidence. He may be right, but at this point I’ll wait for more news.

          Johnson, responding to a comment in this piece, says his sources in the FBI says the Washington Office is in a “panic.” Hmmm. It will be interesting to see what develops, and how the MSM treats this story (if it eventually gets around to it).

    4. Tom Stone

      When I first heard of the raid on Mar A Lago I thought that the FBI surely had all their ducks lined up in a row, they wouldn’t do something so provocative without making sure all their “T’s” were crossed and “I’ s” dotted.
      Then the articles from “Real Clear Investigations about who was involved and the news that Trump’s passports (!) were seized.
      Now it’s revealed that Attorney/Client privileged material was also seized.
      This is the domestic equivalent of the Russia Sanctions, reckless to the point of insanity.
      The “Brady Disclosures” exposed as a result of putting Auten or Thibault on the stand would be a hoot, I’d love to be the defense Attorney who had a chance to cross examine them under oath.
      ” Agent Auten, I understand that you are actively under investigation by the DOJ and the OPR for your role in altering the documents used to obtain a warrant to spy on the Trump campaign, is that correct?”
      “Agent Auten, do you agree with the presiding Justice of the FISC that the FBI has an “Institutional lack of Candor”?
      Agent Thibault, what criteria did you use to determine that the Hunter Biden laptop was “Russian Disinformation”?
      “Is that still your opinion, and if so, why?”

      ISTR that the DEA seized two containers containing 20 tons of pure cocaine each a year or so ago, one at the port of Baltimore…
      If you need a quick “Pick me up” that makes you feel focused coke is just the ticket, with a few minor drawbacks like Cocaine Psychosis.
      When I see the quality of the decisions made throughout the beltway and not just the FBI and Justice departments I wonder just how popular Cocaine is in DC.

    5. flora

      I was glad to read the article. Thanks to NC for linking.

      It’s encouraging to know there are FBI whistleblowers coming forward – no doubt at risk to their careers.

      As for the ousted spook, I look for him to show up as an “analyst” on one the the big MSM news networks. (Isn’t that where disgraced spooks go after their intel career?) / ;)

  3. Henry Moon Pie

    Punkin Paddler==

    Talk about a mode of transportation with a low carbon footprint!

    The battle continues between George Monbiot’s advocacy for bacterial Soylent Green feeding billions living in dense, urban cities vs. dispersing humans to small farms to engage in regenerative agriculture.

    1. Gregorio

      The surest way to reduce the reliance on industrial agriculture is to reduce that birthrate even further down to some negative number for a couple of centuries, which will most likely be the ultimate result of the unsustainable way we have been living since at least the dawn of the industrial revolution.

  4. The Rev Kev

    “A ‘radical shift’ at the border is making things tougher for Biden”

    Well there’s good news and there is bad news. The good news is that all these migrants coming in from so many places proves that a lot of people still think that the United States is still a worthwhile country to come to. It would be a bit of a worry if you had people like that trying to sneak out of the country. And the bad news? With the US having lost over a million people to the ongoing pandemic, those aren’t migrants. They are actually replacements.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Not those sort of replacements! Replacements as in wartime replacements. Not everything is about the Republican-Democrat tussles.

  5. DJG, Reality Czar

    A shocking development reported in today’s NY Times:

    Death in Navy SEAL Training Exposes a Culture of Brutality, Cheating and Drugs
    By Dave Philipps
    The elite force’s selection course is so punishing that few make it through, and many of those who do resort to illicit tactics.

    I’m shocked, shocked to discover that they are clowns and torturers.

    The Navy SEALs have been overrated and overwrought for years. Undoubtedly, they have bought into their own press releases as Marvel heroes.

    Time for some civilian control of the military?

    1. Louis Fyne

      admitting clowns also happens when an “elite” force gets expanded so much that it isn’t so elite anymore (relatively speaking to pre-9/11).

    2. Anthony G Stegman

      Navy SEALs are often cowardly. They conduct night raids, kidnapping or killing mostly unarmed civilians. Osama Bin Laden was likely unarmed when he was killed by the SEALs, and family members at his compound who were killed were also likely unarmed. In this respect they aren’t a whole lot different from cops.

  6. Sardonia

    “California’s Legislature on Monday approved a bill that would allow regulators to punish doctors for spreading false information about Covid-19 vaccinations and treatments.”

    Great! So my long-time doc retired and I’ve been assigned a new one – who in our first Zoom appointment recommended that I get a Covid vaccine because it’s safe and effective. I’ll be reporting her immediately for spreading false information.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I guess that if a doctor is not repeating what comes directly out of the CDC, that they could find their license yanked. At least California did not put into that law a reward for any person reporting a doctor for giving non-CDC advice – like recommending the drug that cannot be named. But the net effect will be to break even more the trust between doctors and patients.

      1. Arizona Slim

        Breaking trust? Already happening.

        It’s to the point where one of my thirty-something friends informed me that she quit going to the doctor. Her husband was sitting right next to her, and I believe that he also is a medical dropout.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Lost trust with my own doctor for refusing to believe me when I tried to report that I had a reaction to AstraZeneca. Also lost trust in the medical establishment here when they were saying stupid stuff like masks can be dangerous to wear. Jee-zuz. And it was this that put me onto the line of thought that trust is the glue that holds a society together and without it, people get atomized.

          1. Daniil Adamov

            Honestly, the medical authorities have only themselves to blame for the collapse of trust in doctors and healthcare campaigns. Others affected by the indirect results of their at best clumsy, at worst malicious messaging have them to blame also. There is also a lot of unscientific misinformation around masks, vaccines, etc. coming from the enemies of the medical establishment, but those people would get nowhere without the hard work done by the establishment itself.

            1. ambrit

              I think it might be useful to subdivide the Medical Worker Population into Front Line Care Givers, and Back Room Medical Managers.
              There is absolutely no place for MBAs in direct medical care.
              Remember that all of these “official” medical pronunciamentos are being disseminated by Medico-political Apparatchiks.
              I have kicked back so often when “encouraged” to get vaccinated that the medicos at my local clinic have stopped trying. My most useful tactic has been to ask for the experimental support for any demands that I “take the jab.” My response to the several admonitions that I am being anti-social and selfish by refusing to be ‘vaccinated’ is to mention the very high proportion of sociopaths and narcissists in high positions in the socio-economic elites.

    2. Anthony G Stegman

      I don’t see how this law can be enforced. In court the state will have a difficult time proving what information is false and what isn’t. This law is just a bullying tactic that once challenged in court will be rendered null and void.

      1. ambrit

        I think you are being a bit optimistic here. Off the top of my head I come up with the countervailing example of the Espionage Act, a WW-1 era law designed to suppress political opposition to the Ruling Elites of that day. The law is still on the books and still being used to suppress dissent. Sending political opponents to prison is a bit more than ‘bullying.’
        In best circular logic style, I can see the Government asserting the efficacy of an “Anti-Disinformation Act” with ‘secret’ testimony and claims of National Security to hide sources and evidence. Whenever I see an assertion backed up by quotes from “secret” sources, I automatically discount it by half. Then I start to wonder why someone would want to promote such an assertion. That can often lead down a “Rabbit Hole.” At which point I wonder, who lives down this particular ‘Rabbit Hole?’
        Cynic that I am, I am of the opinion that today, we here in America are living in a Post Reality Socio-political System.

  7. Lex

    So much freedom and democracy in Iraq. Obviously the positive effects of 30 years of American foreign policy. Imagine where those poor Iraqis would be without us bringing them civilization. The videos from the Green Zone are wild, including the US embassy firing air defense systems. I’m deeply enough versed in the particulars of Iraqi domestic politics, but I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that certain three letter agencies are all good with an intra-Shia conflict against Iranian aligned factions in Iraq. It’s the kind of stupid stuff we do because we’re just that short sighted.

    1. Louis Fyne

      Yes! does smell like Mossad has its hands involved somehow…

      Sadr is Shia but anti-Iran, perfect agent for an external party to discreetly use as a tool to stir the pot

    2. John Wright

      “Democracy” is a USA brand, just like Coca-Cola.

      Installing a democracy in any country does not necessarily lead to a good outcome for citizens.

      With this in mind, I wish Amy Goodman would retitle her show from “Democracy, Now!” as, to me, this implies there is a simplistic and quick fix for governance issues around the world.

      The USA has enough problems with its own form of democracy that advocating for democracy overseas seems suspect.

      1. Eureka Springs

        What democracy? There are a few trappings, such as a voting day. But there is no obligation to represent. All efforts from the Constitutional convention forward are dedicated to making sure there will be no democracy. It’s like claiming a glass of pure white vinegar is coca-cola. Only thing that amazes me is how many continue to believe it.

        1. hk

          I’ve always thought “democracy” is a topic that people have both thought too much about and too little. There’s an almost infinite number of characteristics that different people think a “real democracy” should have, but it is not difficult for just a handful of them to start contradicting one another logically. Real people can and do use various kinds of psychosocial voodoo (and I mean this with sincerest admiration) to paper over the illogic and differences and make things work, but this has limits that we don’t understand because they aren’t “logical,” practically by definition and, in fact, we have gone far subverting these both at home and abroad, often in the name of “Democracy ™.”

  8. DorothyT

    California’s Valley Fever

    This fungus is prevalent when California’s earthquakes stir up the earth. A friend contracted it in Los Angeles after a big earthquake years ago when testing for it wasn’t routine. The medication at the time was terribly expensive.

    1. The Rev Kev

      People should be wearing masks in the middle of a pandemic. I wonder if wearing one would also protect against this fungus – though it would probably get on your clothes. Sounds like nasty stuff this fungus.

      1. Lex

        Masks like an N95 are generally very effective against mold spores. Spores can be carried around on clothing, but most are windborne and unless you were actively impacting a large growth of the fungus you probably wouldn’t severely contaminate clothing. The article does a good job of illustrating how individualized reactions to mold exposure are. The vast majority of temperate climate molds that have any human health impact produce hay fever like allergic reactions in most people. A few species of certain genera can have much more extreme health effects, but usually require a pretty significant dose and it needs to get deep into the lungs. Tropical mold types are a different story, many of those are mean and nasty.

        Valley fever is one of the standouts of temperate molds, but still unlikely that exposure will lead to significant, negative health symptoms. Most of the other stories about mold in temperate climates are anecdotal and not backed up by research. “Black mold” for example should refer to Stachybotrys which was linked to health effects in Cleveland decades ago but more modern research suggests that the epidemiology in that instance was wrong. Unfortunately for me, most molds when exposed to light turn brown/black so everyone thinks “Oh, God, I’ve got the evil black mold … let me check the internet”. They end up paying me a lot of money to explain mold biology. (This comment written during taking a break from writing a mold investigation report. And also by a guy who’s reached the conclusion that fungi are the real apex biological group and they’re just farming everything else.)

    2. Sin Fronteras

      Valley Fever is all over Arizona, supposedly about a third of Tucsonians have it. I have it. It encapsulates in a nodule in your lungs, and if you are lucky (most are) you have no symptoms. I do extensive humanitarian aid work on the Mexican border, am out hiking 3 times a week, and have no symptoms. Some people DO get symptoms and wind up on anti-fungals.

      1. Joe Renter

        @Sin Fronteras. Thank you for your work on the border. I spent 5 months on a bike trip in the SW and saw some the care packages left for those who need it. I also saw way too many border police. I also witnessed 15 teenage males turn themself in to the local sheriff after crossing the Rio Grande. The border area has the feeling of being occupied by a police state. Which really is the fact of the matter.

  9. The Rev Kev

    “Climate activists damage frame of a Rubens painting in Munich”

    I’m sorry but I think that these people are idiots. Well-meaning ones perhaps but personally I don’t care. These stunts accomplish nothing and typically alienate those that might be sympathetic to their cause. After all, who wants to be associated with art vandals? Who more importantly put them up to it? If they want my respect, then let them glue themselves to the doors of major energy corporations or protest outside the homes of executives of those corporations. No point in doing so for government ministers as they are only following their donor’s demands. But they never go after those targets. Instead they concentrate on disrupting the lived of ordinary people that have no power. I wonder why that is?

    1. Daniil Adamov

      The only charitable explanation I can think of is that 1) art vandalism is more likely to make the news and harder to overlook; and 2) the awareness it raises might outweigh the backlash it would naturally inspire. I think 1 is probably true, but 2… not necessarily.

      Though, on that note, why not go after politicians? (To be clear I am not advocating assassination or bodily harm, not even hypothetically. I do not think that would be justified and it would almost certainly backfire.) I think that 1 would still apply, and it would automatically engender more sympathy, possibly even among people who do not care about environmental issues. On the other hand, those people are better-protected than paintings.

    2. Louis Fyne

      because many of those people come from top 1% – 5% upper bourgeoisie families.

      In their world vandalizing art = meaningful action (w/little chance of getting man-handled by security).

      I doubt many Dutch farmers associate Rubens paintings and protest. They tend to be more practical and actually take to the streets.

      speaking of which…what ever happened to the Dutch farmers? They seem to have fallen out of the news.

      1. hk

        Except when wogs do it, I guess. (Thinking about the Taliban and the Buddha statues.). Have these people no perspective?

    3. Hickory

      Ordinary people would have power if they chose to use it. Those protesters are doing their best to tackle an insanely hard problem, galvanizing society for massive voluntary change. They’re doing things, making mistakes, learning and trying new things. You’re complaining in a comment on a blog. If you’re dissatisfied with their tactics, find a better way, and I bet they’d be happy to learn from you.

      Also, it’s a painting. They’re trying to avert a future of mass death. Have perspective!

      1. The Rev Kev

        Protestors have decades of history of protesting to draw on to see what works and what doesn’t so is not a matter of ‘making mistakes, learning and trying new things’. In military terms the idea is to attack your opponents center of gravity and I am here to say that it is not an art gallery but a corporate headquarters for an oil company instead. As for ‘Ordinary people would have power if they chose to use it’, I don’t suppose that you ever heard of that Princeton study by any chance-

          1. Daniil Adamov

            This is very tentative, but from reading about British political history over the years I get the impression that the working classes in Britain were more powerful before they got the vote (i.e. before universal manhood suffrage). Back then the elites feared them and were willing to make concessions on everything from voting rights to social safety networks and work regulations. After they got the vote, there were some worries about Labour, but eventually it was safely co-opted into the system – and the elites could no longer worry, leading to the collapse of, say, trade union power.

            1. Stephen

              Not sure if this is the full story for why working class people have less political traction today than in the past. The decline of the traditional Trades Union movement and the trades associated with it has for sure been a major factor. Various twentieth century politicians were working class and came up through that route. Jim Callaghan and John Prescott come to mind in particular. The large factory enterprises and mines of the time also fostered collective solidarity that gave political power independent of voting.

              But, your point makes sense as a factor too. Worth noting that extension of the franchise via the various Reform Acts of 1832, 1867, 1884 and then finally after World War One to give women the vote was very much intended as a way of co-opting the working class into the system. It was seen as a way of avoiding revolution. In fact., the 1867 Reform Act that first extended the vote to the working class was put in place by Disraeli and the Tories explicitly as a way of delivering Conservatism. He saw working class people as patriotic and amenable to appeals based on imperialism. Nothing changes I guess! Although the Labour Party was an outcome of the vote being extended, the Conservative Party has very much endured, is seem as the most successful political party in the western world and attracts working class votes. Johnson’s 2019 victory was just the latest manifestation of this.

              A Marxist might well say that the right to vote is an opiate for the masses!

              1. Daniil Adamov

                Individual working class politicians did arise, but does that necessarily increase the power of the working class as a whole?

                Agreed that this is not the whole story. It is something of a contrarian take. But at the same time: the co-optation did happen and was successful.

                Re: Disraeli, it is worth remembering that his enemies were the Liberals, for whom small government and free trade were articles of faith. Meanwhile Disraeli himself, and many Conservatives at the time, were inclined towards paternalism. An alliance with the working classes against the Liberals made a lot of sense for both sides under those circumstances. Patriotism and imperialism were a big part of the emotional appeal of this alliance, of course, but interest, feigned or real, in the wellbeing of the general population as opposed to loyalty to economic doctrines was important too.

        1. nippersdad

          I would suggest that, in going after works of art in museums they ARE going after the center of gravity that they can reach. It would be very difficult to get at oil executives hiding behind their former Mossad security details, but gluing yourself to an object that is largely only valued by PMC types will get you the press that being shot at the gates of someone’s estate will not.

          Who, after all, is invested in fossil fuels if not the PMC you are trying to reach? The one percent buys its’ own art, the other nineteen can only afford to visit it and the rest are just wondering how they are going to heat the house this Winter.

      2. Polar Socialist

        Me thinks that without a clear, actionable political program they are just vandals who like to spout pseudointellectual poppycock about art and nature.

        If they asked people to join them in celebrating energysabbaths by spending every Saturday without home appliances (TV, computer, phone, microwave etc) or they purchased a thermal imager and offered to come to your house for free to show where it leaks heat – then I would be happy to join or fund them.

        But as long as their message seems to be that art galleries should combat climate change, because governments aren’t, I pity them and the people they inconvenience.

        1. The Rev Kev

          ‘or they purchased a thermal imager and offered to come to your house for free to show where it leaks heat’

          That is a brilliant idea that and works on so many levels. Sort of like the climate change equivalent of taillight repair events. It’s great publicity, shows people that taking action actually saves them money and shows them where to look for problems. And it would definitely get people onboard with what you are trying to tell them.

    4. Michael Fiorillo

      Well, what should we expect?

      These are people who think that climate change can be ended by shutting down the London subways, as they did in October of 2019.

      Attacking mass transit and preventing working people from getting to their jobs, yup, that’ll cure the illin’…

  10. Carolinian

    Re the Guardian on Valley Fever–I believe this is more notoriously an Arizona problem than CA and may even be named after the Phoenix “valley” as they describe it. A friend long ago had it, although not the chronic variety, and it is related to soil disturbance as well as dry conditions. If the disease is coming more to the fore it could be due to the raging real estate market in a place where high winds and dust storms are already common.

  11. The Rev Kev

    “The British islands that disappear every day”

    I suppose that in the future if a war ever broke out between France and the UK, that this island will become the new Snake Island.

  12. Daniil Adamov

    “Free Speech Doesn’t Matter If Propagandists Determine What People Say”

    Reminds me of the derisive late Perestroika/early 90s line here: those people want freedom of speech for what? What use is it if they are just going to talk nonsense and/or suck up to those now in power? (As was the case with many formerly repressed intellectuals, “creatives”, etc.)

    Though while I am sympathetic to the exasperation underlying that sentiment, I do think both that sentiment and its current Western reproduction are somewhat in error. When people are given any degree of “freedom” (alias “power”) in any sphere of their lives, the way they are going to use it will be all over the place – depending on the person and their other circumstances. Many will not make any particularly good use of it, but it may still be worth it if some few will put it to good use without fear of legal retribution. Also, for my money, it is better if people are not punished for talking nonsense than if they are, outside of directly and provably damaging cases (actual incitement to violence, say). Better to err on the side of mercy.

    1. Kouros

      That is not happening on may platforms, that will kick one out for daring to speak against the approved narrative. Happened to me in quite a few occasions now.

  13. t

    “Kochava sources 100% of the geo data in our data marketplace from third party data brokers all of whom represent that the data comes from consenting consumers.”

    That’s should be too weak as a legal defense, but we’ll see.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Right, consenting customers via agreements you can’t negotiate and are often written incomprehensibly.

      There are complete horrors in medical land. I’ve had to get 2 procedures in the last year. Each time, with the main consent forms, you signed a signature screen. No document presented, You might as well be signing away your entire net worth. This in NYC, a town full of wealthy lawyers and finance people.

      I had to make a very big stink to get them to print out paper forms to sign.

      I also routinely strike out sections of consent forms.

      To the credit of NY Cornell, when I went in there was some sort of silly outpatient form I had to sign as soon as I walked in the main door. It was drafted backwards, with inpatient language for outpatient billing and vice versa.

      I had a hissy again. To their credit, the admin types printed out the forms, and let me edit and sign them.

      1. .human

        LOL. I often make a stink at medical offices when asked to sign a blank “signature capture.”

        My last time at the ER, for a dental emergency, I was eventually “registered” by a nurse with a rolling laptop. Most of the questions were simply answered, however, my response to, “If you are admitted, do you wish your emergency contacts to be notified?” was, “Only if I am not able to do so myself.” This was apparently not a choice she was presented with. A several minute explanation by me of this problem resulted in her making her own decision.

    2. GramSci

      Somehow I find it hard to believe that Brandon really gives a fig about a pregnant woman being chased by the abortion vigilantes. So why, besides the optics, would his “Justice Deportment” have had this suit against Kochava cocked-and-loaded? Cui bono? Who might Kochava’s competitors be?

      Just because users consented to cookies for some of the data in Kochava’s database, it doesn’t mean they consented to geolocation and time data derived from web beacons–which are basically any third-party image or ad.

      So, assuming it can be shown Kochava also uses beacon data, outlawing the sale of such data as non-consensual could demonetize lots of third-party competitors.

  14. Colonel Smithers

    Thank you, Yves.

    Just a couple of comments.

    Further to Ukraine, readers may be interested in this interview with the former professional head of the British armed forces,, Richard Dannatt.

    Former British diplomats and service personnel are rarely on British air waves, unlike their French counterparts on French air waves, as the British media fear them talking out of turn and, in any case, like to suck up to Uncle Sam, usually David Petraeus or James Stavridis (or on the odd occasion Mark Hertling and Ben Hodges), without ever pointing out their Wall Street connections.

    Dannatt was on a few times as the Russian operation started, but has not been on since. It’s the same with Tony Brenton and Rodric Lyne, former UK envoys to Russia. This interview has not been picked up elsewhere, even by the rest of the Murdoch media.

    The lack of former British diplomats and soldiers on the air waves, especially at the BBC we pay for, annoys many from these circles.

    One hopes David pipes up.

    Further to David’s conclusion that Russia’s failure to capture Kiev can be spun as a Russian defeat, I agree with that and think the avoidance of Kiev (and Lvov) could be a useful off ramp and just add that von der Leyen and Borrell and outgoing NATO boss Stoltenberg could be scapegoated.

    Further to private equity running care homes, it’s the same in the UK. Not only are these scoundrels running care homes here, but they are also doing adoptions, fostering, temporary placements and respite care, and eye gouging the long suffering British taxpayer and fleecing carers. Some foster carers get a few hundred pounds a month for their efforts, but the private sector intermediary / pillager will get ten times that amount. There’s more money to be made from sucking the taxpayer teet / looting than from innovation and enterprise.

    What about animal spirits, I hear you ask. What about them? Just bribe a British politician or official for a contract! That sounds like corruption, I hear you say. That’s right. There’s no need to go to the tropics!

    1. Stephen

      I had not seen the General Dannatt video and agree it is not highlighted at all in UK media. Probably the most sensible piece about Ukraine by a well known UK establishment figure that I have seen.

      It is still in Alice in Wonderland territory on a few points (eg shared values, Zelensky having any independent decision rights given Uncle Sam pays the bills, stalemate in Donbass measured in territory rather than relative casualties etc.) but no doubt he has to support the overall ideology of “helping” Ukraine, or else be accused of being a traitor. Goes as far as anyone in his position would feel able, I guess.

      I wonder if he is speaking purely out of personal volition or whether there is a cadre of military types who now realise that the whole Ukraine thing is a disaster. Back in June (time flies..) the current Head of the Army was saying that British troops must be prepared to fight in Europe again.

      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, Stephen.

        “I wonder if he is speaking purely out of personal volition or whether there is a cadre of military types who now realise that the whole Ukraine thing is a disaster.” My father and godfather are RAF veterans and catch up a few times a year with former comrades, including from the army, but not the navy, and especially this year as the anniversary of the Falklands took place over the spring. It’s the latter and has not changed since the first week or two when Russian forces took control of the air and played their feint around Kiev.

        With regard to what the new army commander, Patrick Sanders, said upon his appointment in June, this was more aimed at the politicians who talk a good game on the air waves, but won’t loosen the purse strings, or, not pay for unglamorous stuff that the armed forces really need.

      2. David

        I think what distinguishes Dannatt from many other senior officers is that, as his Wikipedia page indicates, he’s both studied and practiced the command of large-scale combined arms units on operations. Quite a lot of even very senior figures in the military today haven’t done that: I remember some Australian (I think it was) General sounding off a couple of months ago about Russian mistakes. It’s unlikely that he ever commanded more than a battalion on operations.

        The British Army was historically not good at understanding and conducting large-scale warfare. In 1914, they had well-trained troops and competent tactical leaders, but no idea of how to manage the kind of lengthy, complex, and multi-faceted operations that their French and German counterparts had studied and trained for. It took them several years to learn. In WW2 they went through much the same process. I was surprised to learn that the Operational level of War wasn’t formally studied at all in the British Army until 1988. The fact is, to understand the structure and grammar of what the Russians are doing, you need to have studied and trained at the Operational level, as I see Dannatt has, because that’s the level they’re working at.

        That said, I think the current head of the British Army was probably just being prudent. After twenty years of expeditionary warfare, the British may find themselves back on the Continent quicker than they expect (remember they were in Bosnia for a decade) if things get really rough over the next couple of years. If I were him I’d be less worried about fighting the Russians (unlikely to happen) than being sent to do some sticking-plaster job along a collapsing border somewhere.

  15. Lexx

    ‘Why Commonsense Knowledge Is Not and Can Not Be Learned’

    Well, yeah… doesn’t everyone know that?


    1. GramSci

      As I understand the argument, it says that commonsense knowledge cannot be learned because, if it were, people would sometimes misunderstand one another.

      Am I the only person who doesn’t understand the author’s point?

      1. Steve H.

        His use of ‘common’ may be more linguistic than simple wisdoms. What we have in common.

        John Robb:
        > Another interesting limitation, and perhaps the most restrictive limitation, is recursive mind-state mapping. In short, mind-state mapping involves modeling the mind-state of other people in order to anticipate their actions/reactions… The human limitation for on-the-fly mind-state mapping is ~5 states. We can exceed this only when they are woven together in a narrative or story…

        So common experience allows easier mind-mapping. But that gets political:

        > Identity politics tends toward an excessive particularization and partitioning of knowledge, but now along the lines of race or ethnicity, for example, as well as gender. For such experience-based accounts of knowledge imply an epistemology of provenance: that is, the claim that knowledge arises from an experiential basis that is fundamentally group-specific and that others, who are outside the group and who lack its immediate experiences, cannot share that knowledge.

        So common can mean exclusionary.

    2. Louis Fyne

      after going through parenting, imo, there is a window during which commom sense (among many other things) can be imprinted on someone…..say ages 3 to 15.

      after that window shuts, good luck! it’s an uphill battle

  16. GramSci

    re: AI and Chemical Weapons

    An interview on the referenced study [which is itself behind a paywall].

    “If somebody were to put this together without knowing anything about chemistry, they would ultimately probably generate stuff that was not very useful. And there’s still the next step of having to get those molecules synthesized. Finding a potential drug or potential new toxic molecule is one thing; the next step of synthesis — actually creating a new molecule in the real world — would be another barrier.”

    Let’s just hope that if the US decides to protect us against these potential weapons, they site their research well-away from important civilian populations. For example, they could site the research in Wuhan, or in Ukraine.

  17. Lexx

    ‘People Are Still Moving To Hot Dry Places Like Phoenix and Las Vegas’

    So far it’s been a quiet wildfire season in Colorado. No orange skies. I was going to replant for fall but the daytime temps have remained in the low 90’s (the nights are growing much cooler though = good open window sleeping.

    However, the summer rains have disappeared from our extended forecast, so a major fire is not only possible, it’s likely.

    1. Anthony G Stegman

      With the exception of one large fire near the Oregon border California has not experienced multiple large wildfires as in the recent past. Luck changes eventually, so perhaps California won’t burn down after all. Or dry out. The rains and snow will come eventually. Perhaps this winter.

      1. Mikel

        Everything is still burnt up from the last big blazes. Give it time to grow back willy nilly, with no plan or attention paid for the disasters to repeat. The way we do it in the USA.

      2. Raymond Sim

        Unfortunately the return of winter rains will probably mean the return of big fast-moving fires that threaten lots of people.

        The scrublands regrow fast. They’re not as impressive to look at as the forests, but they generate dangerous fires.

  18. antidlc
    As Americans ditch Covid measures, pandemic worsens for the vulnerable
    Older adults, immunocompromised and the very young are paying the price for the mask-less freedom of many

    n the last few months, Dr Jeannina Smith has seen organ transplant recipients who have been very careful throughout the pandemic venture out for one activity, contract Covid-19 and lose their transplant.

    “I have been at the bedside of a transplant recipient” who “was very ill and in the hospital, and she got Covid the second time in a healthcare setting”, said Smith, medical director of the infectious disease program at University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics. “She was sobbing because she said, ‘It’s so hard for me to see that people care so little about my life that wearing a mask is too much for them.’”

    While much of US society has breathed a collective sigh of relief at no longer having to wear a mask in public, that freedom has placed people who are immunocompromised at risk, such as Smith’s patients. Nor are they the only ones. Older adults, the very young and those with long Covid are at greater risk too. So while for many Americans the pandemic increasingly feels over, for others – often the most vulnerable – it rages on.

    As Smith puts it, “What troubles me as an infectious disease specialist with an interest in public health is the abandonment of the idea that public health exists to protect the most vulnerable.”

    Andy Slavitt 23:00

    Yeah, no, and I’m thinking about your story at the beginning, which we’ve all felt, which is you walk into a room wearing a mask, you feel a little bit, the center of attention a little bit foolish when other people aren’t. Even the strongest of us can have this moment where we’re like, what the heck, I want to take it off, something probably won’t happen. And then I put that on an eight year old kid, right 10 year old kid, where people you know, love to tease and love to mock and love to point out differences and how hard that must be. And so I understand people’s feeling challenged at a moment like this, and it’s and when you’re the CDC is your obligation to normalcy or it’s your obligation to protect the people who are most at risk.

    Tony Fauci 23:47

    It’s a tough call, and as you said, so appropriately. You can argue either side of it cogently? You know, you can.

    “The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members.”

    1. curlydan

      The CDC’s name is the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. It’s not a tough call, Tony! You control and prevent the disease!

    2. Nikkikat

      My husband and I are in our 60s we hardly go any where but for food or the bank. However, there are times I have to go to the DMV or to court as the executor of my mothers estate. No one and I mean no one has a mask on but us. I do not feel uncomfortable. I do not care what anyone thinks. I look at it like you are an idiot if you don’t understand that even if it doesn’t kill you and it just might. I do not want long Covid. I am the smarter person. I ask anyone that must come to the house for a repair or what ever to put on a mask. I give them an N95. Never had them turn me down. If they do then it’s good by. Yes, it’s even dangerous in a hospital or doctors office as they wear the flimsy surgical mask. I try to avoid these too. I just thing most people these days cannot be bothered about other people, they do not seem capable of much of anything.

      1. Vandemonian

        I do not care what anyone thinks.

        One of the advantages I find in getting older is that I care less and less what other people think. Going a coupla weeks past haircut time, faded shirt, comfortable shoes, having a chat to a homeless guy on the street. But what will people think? I don’t care.

        And yes, wearing a mask indoors and in crowds.

  19. anon in so cal

    > Simon Tisdall in the Guardian:

    Alexander Mercouris also addresses Tisdall’s latest screed in his Monday. Mercouris appears to be saying that Europe is headed toward super McCarthyism as there is already effectively an “identify” and “silence” campaign against anyone who advocates a negotiated settlement.

    In the earlier part of the video he referenced some sources that I regularly read, such as Colonel Cassad, whose nightly report on Kherson got me concerned last night.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      IMHO Mercouris is oversensitive to Tinsdall because he is in the UK and has to be alert to the possibility of increased censorship. But Tisdall is a nutter with a platform, much like Lawrence Tribe here. You can have a big audience without much actual influence. Admittedly I don’t know the ins and outs of the UK, but people who write screeds, particularly in the UK, tend to be seen as unsound.

      1. anon in so cal

        That is good to hear. Though Mercouris seemed to think Tisdall’s position was representative. But you are right that, being in the UK, Mercouris needs to be hyper alert.

      2. Kouros

        I have been blocked on quite a few platforms, including some local digital outfit, just for raising questions about the narrative and assumptions fed to us day and night.

        When there is only one message pumped, day and night, I am inclined to consider closely Mercouris’s fears, with the caveat that it might be an accepted authoritarianism by a large portion of the population, if not full blown majority…

        Growing up in the eastern block, it was gospel that the news were lies. Not so much here.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          As much as we try to be open, we block commentors who offer, shall we say, extreme views on hot topics and offer no substantiation. This site is not about exchanging personal opinion. There are chat boards for that. But our posture no doubt looks like censorship since those who hold extreme views they can’t substantiate well are often counter-narrative.

          IMHO the Mercouris issue is about YouTube since that is still a very big platform for him and almost assuredly the most lucrative. I don’t see the UK having the juice or inclination to get Google to censor him. He’s probably spooked by Alex Christaforu being suspended from YouTube for a week for something he said 18 months ago. That means it was pre SMO and my guess is about Covid. But it could have been something that could be depicted as homophobic, anti-trans…YT would be up for sanctioning on that.

  20. The Rev Kev

    “Kherson Offensive” Announced by Western Media”

    This offensive sounds like a Hail Mary maneuver. I suppose that they had to launch this offensive to prove to the west that they should keep on shipping arms – and money, especially money. From what I have seen, the attacks are being done by smaller units and it sounds like they are throwing stuff against a wall to see what sticks – at a terrible cost. Maybe the Ukrainians are using their reserves to launch these attacks but it will not matter. Even if they managed to make a major breakthough, where is the reserve forces that they could throw into that gap to make use of that tactical victory? And from what Brian was saying, the Ukrainians have stripped forces from all along the contact lines, including the Donbass. But as these units get decimated, they will not have the forces to stop the Russians in the Donbass itslef. I have heard too that the point of this offensive was also to scare people in those regions getting ready to vote themselves out of the Ukraine and into the Russian Federation to not vote. Meanwhile, Big Z is saying that this offensive will eventually lead them to take back all the territories that they have lost to the Russians, including Crimea. As we say here in Oz – ‘He must be dreamin.’

    1. anon in so cal

      The Ukrainians were absolutely decimated. But as the day wore on, things became murky. As I wrote in another comment, reading Colonel Cassad last evening was concerning. He seemed uncharacteristically ambiguous.

      On another note:

      “The former head of the British General Staff, Lord Richard Dannat, on the need for Kiev to urgently start negotiations on peace: Russia will not lose this war, no matter how I look at it. It is quite difficult for me to imagine how Ukraine can win it.”

      1. Lex

        Cassad’s a bit of a doomer, though not as bad as Strelkov. It’s war, the Ukrainians should have some successes and they may be more apparent than Russian successes because the Russian side is not in a position where they’ll feel the need to hold ground no matter what. From what I can gather, the Ukrainian “offensive” had some success in a few places and gained something like 6 km and a village (it is murky whether that village had been fully Russian occupied or in the grey zone, and Ukraine has a history of claiming victories in villages that weren’t actually occupied by Russian forces).

        IMO, the appropriate time to look at this and take real stock is a week from now. Have Ukrainians consolidated and/or added to their gains? We won’t get accurate information on the real cost of making those gains and approximating from Russian MoD statements needs some grains of salt.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Brian Berletic says the most Ukraine can do is make temporary gains and this is not a strategically important area. He said the important area for Ukraine to hold would be the fortified areas opposite Donetsk city that Russia is chipping through, and they aren’t trying to do that.

          1. Daniil Adamov

            Surely retaking Kherson (either through a direct assault or by making it prohibitively expensive to hold on to it) would be a major coup for them, though?

            But so far I see few signs of them being able to come near that. I suppose the next few days really will tell. If all they can do is take a few villages along the frontline and make no further gains, then yes, so much for the great counteroffensive.

  21. antidlc

    Very interesting…

    Letter from Senators Inhofe and Burr to Biden.

    Burr is the Ranking Member, U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.
    Inhofe is the Ranking Member, U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee.

    They are asking for a Warp Speed 2.0.

    In particular, intranasal
    products that reduce transmission and pan-coronavirus approaches that provide durable protection
    against the emergence of new variants could let us turn the page completely on COVID-19 and
    help other countries do the same

    Full letter at

    The Honorable Joseph R. Biden
    The White House
    1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
    Washington, DC
    Dear Mr. President:
    The tragedy of the COVID-19 pandemic has touched the lives of every American, but it has also
    revealed some of America’s greatest strengths. In 2020, American scientists and
    biopharmaceutical industry achieved a success on par with the Manhattan Project and the Apollo
    Program. It was called Operation Warp Speed, and it saved the lives of hundreds of thousands of
    Americans and millions around the world.
    The original COVID-19 vaccines were quickly developed, tested, approved and delivered — not
    by chance, but by a coordinated policy effort of your predecessor’s administration. This effort cut
    regulatory red tape, reduced risk and uncertainty, mobilized military operational capacity, and set
    a clear target for the private sector to hit.
    Unfortunately, the original vaccines have limitations: they do not successfully prevent
    transmission of new COVID variants, and the protection they offer vaccinated Americans against
    severe COVID cases is declining. Most worrying: since early 2021, the pace with which new
    variants emerge has increased substantially, and the likelihood that the existing vaccines will be
    ineffective against a future variants is constantly growing.
    This is why we need a Warp Speed 2.0 to develop updated vaccines. In particular, intranasal
    products that reduce transmission and pan-coronavirus approaches that provide durable protection
    against the emergence of new variants could let us turn the page completely on COVID-19 and
    help other countries do the same. There are promising efforts to achieve these goals, led by
    American scientists, businesses and the military, but your administration has neither prioritized
    them nor charted a clear path for their delivery.
    The team that led Operation Warp Speed has been disbanded, and the federal government is not
    reacting with sufficient urgency to new variants of COVID-19. We strongly urge your
    Administration provide to Congress by the end of this year a concrete proposal for an “Operation
    Warp Speed 2.0.” This would rapidly accelerate the development and deployment of the next
    generation of medical products needed to defend America from COVID-19 and future pandemics.

    We believe such a proposal should include:
    1. A review of the essential components that made Operation Warp Speed so successful,
    along with lessons learned;
    2. A plan for replicating Warp Speed’s process of accelerated regulatory consideration to
    make sure FDA review does not delay the development process;
    3. A clear description of both how the Departments of Defense and Health and Human
    Services could be utilized to execute the program and how Warp Speed approaches can be
    applied to pandemic and biodefense priorities in the future; and
    4. A structure for a public-private partnership that effectively mobilizes funding from
    philanthropic and other outside sources to ensure the burden of development does not fall
    disproportionately on the American taxpayer.
    Bottom line: Operation Warp Speed was the most successful public health program since small
    pox. It saved millions of lives, and it should be resurrected as soon as possible.

    Hmmm….they are finally starting to realize the impact of COVID on the labor force and the military???

    1. AndrewJ

      *Inhofe* talking sense?? Dear Lord, what timeline is this? I’m used to that name coming up next to all kinds of peabrained insanity.

      1. antidlc

        I was wondering the same thing!

        Maybe he’s just trying to line up his next pharma gig.

        I dunno. I just found it interesting.

  22. anon in so cal

    >Biden and a radical shift at the border

    Bill Melugin, of Fox, reports regularly from various border crossing points. Apparently, the rest of the corporate media is getting around to admitting there is a crisis at the border. The US is one of the few nations that does not have strict control of its borders. There are plenty of valid arguments why open borders is a detrimental policy.

    “CBP sources say they’re seeing massive increases in nontraditional migrants…
    DRT: 700% increase in Cubans; 275% increase in Venezuelans
    RGV: 245% increase in Nicaraguans
    ELP: 1900% increase in Turkish nationals
    Yuma: 12,700% increase in Colombians”

    “Eagle Pass, TX this morning, again, predominantly single adults. Eagle Pass is part of Border Patrol’s Del Rio sector, which had seen approx 400,000 illegal crossings since October 2021.”

  23. The Rev Kev

    “Americans keep moving to where the water isn’t”

    Of course there would be a lot of new construction but I would be very curious to hear from those people who sold out. Did they sell their homes because they did not like the heat, for family reasons, etc. Or did some sell out because they could see which way things were going and so decided to sell while they could get a good price for their homes?

    1. Michael Ismoe

      The area around Phoenix has three of the five fastest growing communities in the USA. This is all new construction. People are pouring out of Cali and moving to Maricopa County in droves. Phoenix looks like LA-lite. You go from one huge gated community to the next without ever seeing anyone walking. Ever.

      One candidate for political office half-heartedly ran for office promising to build The Wall between California and Arizona and make California pay for it by putting a toll booth at the border. He almost won.

      1. Shannon

        I’d also add that the past two summers here in Phoenix were not as brutal as they can be which I think gives the newcomers a false sense of what summer here is really like. For instance, August has mostly been in the mid to low 100’s where in most summers the temps are closer to 110 or even higher for most of the month with little relief.

        I was hoping the water issues would scare some people away but no luck with that for the moment.

      2. Anthony G Stegman

        Real estate development is a major component of Phoenix’s economy. Fears of running out of water play second fiddle to building more and more homes and golf courses. Politically, it will be impossible for Phoenix and Las Vegas to run out of water. It will be provided. And so the real estate developments continue apace.

        1. Karl

          Politically, it will be impossible for Phoenix and Las Vegas to run out of water. It will be provided. And so the real estate developments continue apace.

          I assume you mean that water will always be made available to the residential users, and probably big industrial users (like the new $1+B TSMC chip fab plant being built in Phoenix). Since the total water supply is a given, who’s ox will get gored? I’d guess the farm sector–if Arizona is like California, most of the water goes to agriculture, and they probably don’t pay much for it. Farmers are taking it in the chin in California as well.

    2. Sin Fronteras

      New construction in Tucson is going full bore. If I were driven purely by finance, I would sell out soon, but… Supposedly residential use is the top priority of Arizona water management.

      There are already almond orchards being abandoned south of here, just like I’ve seen driving down the California central valley. We have a nasty copper mine approved in the Santa Rita mountains that I would love to see shut down.

      I’d like to see a study as to whether the existing residential water use was sustainable, assuming you cancelled agriculture and mining. But as Yogi Berra said, “it’s hard to predict things, especially about the future”

  24. Lexx

    ‘How Safe Is The Salmon On Your Plate?’

    Recommendation for ‘Yours Truly’: Try the TonNino tuna, usually found in vitamin/grocery stores. Packed in small glass jars. I prefer packed in olive oil because I can pour off the oil and make a salad dressing with it (so no waste), but if you look for it on Amazon (where it is about $2 a jar cheaper – I recall it came out to $6.57 per 6-packed jar), that tuna comes in jars with a variety of preparations. They are all tasty.

  25. Michaelmas

    Re Ukraine:-

    In a war both sides should be expected to evolve their tactics and strategies continually. In the ‘Special Military Operation’s’ earliest phases, the Russians appear to have effectively knocked out all of Ukraine’s air power, and created very large holes in its air defense/detection systems.

    I want to pick up again on a claim I was hammering on yesterday. To whit:

    In early May, as will happen in war, the US/NATO side adapted somewhat to Russian dominance. And what they apparently did was set up a real-time 24-hour feed to the Kiev regime of such Ukrainian airspace surveillance as they collected.

    I received pushback from a poster called ‘Polar Socialist.’ They made a number of counter-claims arguing that, essentially, the situation remained what it was in Feb through April — e.g. the Russians retained dominance. Not only did Polar Socialist offer no evidence, but their counter-claims were provably false. I give the evidence to prove they were false below.

    In the process of responding to Polar Socialist, however, I found myself sharpening my thinking and possibly getting a more nuanced picture of what’s happening in the Ukraine conflict than either the ludicrous Western media account or, alternatively, the NC Thought Collective’s assumptions offer.

    Speaking broadly, the Ukraine war is a real war. It’s not all going the Russians’ way to the extent that the NC Thought Collective assumes, although, sure, the Russians will very likely grind it out in the end and by that time Europe will quite possibly have undergone socioeconomic collapse.

    For more specifics, see below. If anyone can do better than Polar Socialist in proving me wrong, please tell me where I’m wrong. I’d appreciate any specific provable information which does that.

    Polar Socialist: Because no AWACS sensor system can reach the combat zone from outside Ukraine.

    False. Provably so —

    Straight line flying distance between Kherson and the Ukraine-Moldova border, for instance, is 150 miles / 241 km flying time. The Boeing E-3A Airborne Warning & Control System (AWACS) has a detection range of more than 200 miles (320 kilometers) for low-flying targets and farther for aerospace vehicles flying at medium to high altitudes.

    Polar Socialist: Because no satellite is parked over the area, so the surveillance is not continuous.

    Almost certainly false. Again, provably so.

    Whatever the regular US/NATO military satellite capability may be–and it seems unlikely that, when setting up Ukraine as its proxy, the US didn’t also set up satellite surveillance capacity over Ukraine and Russia in advance (recall, forex, the warnings from the UK-US that the Russians were going to go into Ukraine) — the US can at any time park one of its three X-37 Boeing mini-shuttles over Ukraine –
    — either for purposes of doing continuous surveillance of the whole Ukraine battlespace itself, or else to put in place satellites for that surveillance.

    Polar Socialist: and the satellite data (for military intelligence) is not real time, anyway.

    A strikingly improbable claim, for which no evidence is again offered by Polar Socialist. Seriously: what would be the point of US/NATO not running a 24-hour real-time feed to the Kiev regime’s in-country anti-aircraft and anti-missile defenses? It defies common sense and the evidence of the Russian claims I’m seeing.

    Polar Socialist: It has to be transferred, processed, interpreted and distributed (need to know) before it’s of any use.

    No, it doesn’t. I repeat: the US/NATO is almost certainly running a live 24 hour feed to the Kiev regime’s air-defense C&C (such as that may be at this point). Again, what earthly purpose would be served by any other arrangement?

    Polar Socialist: Because for any chance of hit most anti-aircraft missiles need fire-control radar on the ground. Only IR-seeker missiles are fire and forget, all other need some guidance on the way to target, whether they have passive or active radar homing. And guidance means radar beam on the target.

    But turned on for how long? The claim in the Russian article I originally linked to was:-

    ‘…the (Ukrainian) air defense system absolutely do not need to turn on their radars to determine and identify the target, the Western allies have already done everything for them. The air defense radar is switched on at the very last moment, for the minimum time of approach to “illuminate” the target and guide the missiles ….

    ‘Naturally, after the launch, the air defense system folds up and leaves the launch area. In general … the radar, by the radiation of which it is possible to detect air defense systems, turns on for a very short time.’

    Shoot and scoot, then.

    Yes: as Polar Socialist writes, “Russian SU-25 attack aircraft was designed for, and still excels at, short-range quick dashes flying extremely low using anything that burns as fuel and any relatively flat field as a forward base. They have the turnaround time and speed to do multiple sorties in a short time.”

    No: the rest of their claim—“they’ve probably taken out their designated target long before any NATO system is aware of their activity”–-does not necessarily follow. See above.

    Some final points:

    [1] I’ll again quote the Russian article:“…this is not easy: to take and put Ukraine on “information allowance” in NATO. This suggests that there was a long preliminary preparation and training of the Ukrainian military….Considering that NATO military advisers have been working in Ukraine for more than one year, we can conclude they did a good job. And the Ukrainians, who received new opportunities, began to use them.”

    [2] If the US-NATO is not just supplying weapons systems but also providing real-time battlespace intelligence and direction, then the US-NATO is playing a dangerous game in assuming that the Russians won’t at some point lose patience and escalate by striking back at US-NATO surveillance capabilities directing Ukrainian forces from outside Ukraine.

    [3] Even if the Russians don’t escalate, they will adapt to the current situation and there are weapons technologies they can deploy that they’re not now deploying (e.g. heightened electronic warfare, more GPS jamming, increasing drone use off the top of my head). The US-NATO will then adapt in turn and this war will continue to morph.

    So, sure, the US-NATO is fighting this war to the ‘last Ukrainian.’ Sure, folks at NC assume that the last Ukrainian will be flattened by September-November, say, with Ukrainian military collapse then ensuing. But where’s the hard evidence for that? What if the Ukraine conflict is still rolling by next March?

    Because it increasingly looks like this could become a prolonged war of attrition. These have a way of turning out badly for both sides. We will see.

    1. hk

      In fact, I would suggest that things go further than these. NATO is not merely feeding Ukrainian c&c, but it probably is the Ukrainian c&c, from well outside Ukraine’s borders. Russia does not openly challenge them in part because going after these would escalate the conflict uncontrollably and partly because, regardless of c&c, it would ultimately be mostly Ukrainians that would serve as the Cannon fodder. So no real need for Russians to rush and capture the key “nerve centers”–they are London and DC, not Kiev or Lwow anyways. Smashing the Ukrainian forces on the ground works for their purposes and not moving too much saves them resources anyways. The only question to me is how long the Ukrainian nation could put up with this and how things will change in (former) Ukraine once (if) it’s all over.

      1. Michaelmas

        NATO is not merely feeding Ukrainian c&c, but it probably is the Ukrainian c&c


    2. cfraenkel

      You asked for evidence countering your claims…. You claim the US/NATO side can provide “continuous” “realtime” satellite surveillance and your ‘evidence’ is:
      the US can at any time park one of its three X-37 Boeing mini-shuttles over Ukraine –
      I suggest you read up on orbital mechanics. Orbits don’t allow you to “park” anywhere. You go around the earth, the earth turns underneath you. You fly over any region on the globe exactly once per day at the low orbits where cameras work and the X-37 can reach.

      1. Tom Bradford

        Wrong. Geostationary satellites orbit with the earth’s spin and so are effectively ‘parked’ over the same spot. Per Wikipedia-

        “Communications satellites are often placed in a geostationary orbit so that Earth-based satellite antennas (located on Earth) do not have to rotate to track them but can be pointed permanently at the position in the sky where the satellites are located. Weather satellites are also placed in this orbit for real-time monitoring and data collection, and navigation satellites to provide a known calibration point and enhance GPS accuracy.”

        Ditto spy satellites.

        1. GC54

          Irrelevant. Quite a difference in angular resolution from geo at 27,000 miles altitude vs 200. Certainly dont have optics >100x diameter of low orbit systems in geo.
          However, might get away with a slow pass from several thousand miles up but youd need a dozen large satellites for reasonable coverage. Pretty obvious for any competent military to track.

          1. Michaelmas

            Tom Bradford: Wrong. Geostationary satellites orbit with the earth’s spin and so are effectively ‘parked’ over the same spot.

            No. Cfraenkel and GC54 are correct. It has to be LEO, and low LEO most feasibly.

            I mis-spoke using the term ‘parked’ in orbit. Or, rather, spoke loosely.

            GC54: Pretty obvious for any competent military to track.

            Oh, sure. I don’t think it’s possible to hide anything up there and Russia is tracking everything the US has. But the US clearly has serious orbital surveillance capability and, simultaneously, the Russians’ options are limited without escalating.

    3. Maxwell Johnston

      I agree that it’s a real war and both sides are adjusting their tactics accordingly. But I also think that the original RU goal in this war–to wipe out UKR military as a threat, as well as to secure the Donbas plus a land bridge to Crimea–has since morphed into something else entirely. It is now, as the blogger Aurelien wrote on 15 June, “a test to destruction of both NATO and the EU”. As such, RU is in no hurry whatsoever. Let the SMO drag on for years, and the odds of provoking a US-Europe split (or an intra-EU split) increase steadily.

      As for the article you linked below (from, it’s an interesting read but IMHO overstates the importance of NATO’s electronic surveillance capabilities (let alone UKR’s ability to take advantage of this combat intel in a timely manner). US/NATO’s dominance in these areas hasn’t produced victory in any recent wars. RU will continue to grind things out in the Ukraine, and eventually some sort of negotiated solution will be imposed on the UKR government. Most likely after Zelensky is no longer a part of it, methinks.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        At which point a “lesser Ukraine” ( Banderi Galiciastan) will emerge and then in the fullness of time the RussiaGov will figure out how to help the Banderazis launch terrorist raids all over EUrope in their quest to “get revenge” on EUrope for “letting Ukraine down”.

        1. jsn

          For which Banderazis the US is bunkering munitions as we speak.

          Gotta keep the blowback breeze blowing or what will the Kagans and contractors do?

          War’s a racket.

      2. Michaelmas

        Maxwell Johnson: RU will continue to grind things out in the Ukraine, and eventually some sort of negotiated solution will be imposed on the UKR government.

        Thanks. Your read on the probable situation is my read on it.

    4. Polar Socialist

      Yes, an AWACS over Moldova could observe the westernmost end of the font. Provided that Russians play nice and don’t do any EW or ECM, not even the basic stuff which at that extreme distance would be enough. Or don’t bring their ground ECM stations to Kherson area with some serious power output. Or fly behind terrain features, rain, heavy clouds or even below an inversion layer. Anyway, we have seen from the flight radars sites that NATO planes fly in Romania and Poland, not Moldova. So they really can’t see but the missiles raining on targets in western Ukraine.

      As already stated by cfraenkel, you can’t park object on the orbit. At the height spy satellites operate, they have to move fast to retain orbit. And still they last only about two years and even less if they have to often change trajectory to cover a certain area at a certain time.

      Real time video feed from satellites if much closer to Hollywood stuff than reality. With the best cameras Su-25 would be something like 50 by 50 pixel, and you could probably tell what it was and were it was heading. The problem is getting that image, if you don’t know where the Su-25 is. You would have to find it from a much, much bigger image where it’s 1 by 1 pixels (depending on the bandwith available) – and then focus on it. Hoping it doesn’t move faster than you can send instructions to the satellite.

      Chinese just recently made a big noise about using AI in a satellite to identify US carrier from an image (can do because they are big!), so that the satellite can process the data and just send the coordinates. It was a first, and even that is not continuous, real-time information.

      There would still be intelligence people receiving that location data, perhaps directing another satellite to take good pictures from the given location, and after downloading the new data, count all the ships, their relation to each other, try to define their type, speed and course and write an intelligence estimate that would then be delivered to those who need to know.

      If you send the raw data to an admiral without providing any context, he (or she) would likely not understand what he (or she) was looking at. Or even if he (or she) did, would have no idea how he (or she) would have to interpret it, or even if he (or she) needed to interpret it at all. And he (or she) would make sure the intelligence people who messed up that badly would be transferred to Ulungur Lake in Altai mountains to record the weather for the rest of their career.

      That’s why nobody uses satellites to hunt single aircraft. Everyone uses satellites to figure out where a wing of Su-25s is located at, and maybe what is it’s service rate and operational tempo. But nobody uses billion dollar systems with tens of minutes of lag to keep track of individual planes.

      Not even USA. If they did, and managed to relay that information to Ukrainian air-defense network, and Ukraine had still an air-defense network, we would see many more Russian planes shot down. As it is now, nothing the West has done has had much of an effect on the Russian air operations.

      If there really was an all-seeing God’s Eye View of the battlefield available from space, Russians would be using it instead of the hundreds of drones and quadcopters. The Russian artillery and rockets would kill several thousand Ukrainians every day.

      And I’m awfully sorry this turned out to be such a long text. My apologies.

      1. Michaelmas

        And I’m awfully sorry this turned out to be such a long text. My apologies.

        No apology necessary. Rather, many thanks for taking the time to write it up.

        The amount of specificity–plausible specificity–is very helpful and what I was looking for.

    5. Karl

      You make this point:

      In early May… the US/NATO side adapted somewhat to Russian dominance. And what they apparently did was set up a real-time 24-hour feed to the Kiev regime of such Ukrainian airspace surveillance as they collected.

      Let’s assume that this improved airspace surveillance is as effective as you say, and this information gets to Ukrainian troops quickly enough to be useful against Russian air targets. Does Ukraine have enough anti-aircraft/anti-drone/anti-missile strength to make a significant difference, in your view? In short, how would this change the actual military balance in the air? Surveillance and situation awareness is one thing; the ability to act on this information and actually inflict damage on the enemy is another.

      1. Michaelmas

        Karl: In short, how would this change the actual military balance in the air? Surveillance and situation awareness is one thing; the ability to act on this information and actually inflict damage on the enemy is another.

        The Russians have superior missile technology. But they still need to locate and identify targets for their missiles, and they can do that primarily only with aircraft, drones, and satellites (disregarding humint on targets in population centers), AFAIK.

        If this surveillance and situational awareness supplied by the US-NATO translates into effectively targeting Russian air assets with Western-supplied missiles — and what evidence is available suggests it’s doing that to some lesser or greater extent — then the Russians are operating under constraints in terms of target acquisition for their missiles.

    6. chris

      Meh. I assume all of what NATO aligned sources says is a lie. I assume most of what Russian aligned sources say is false or poorly translated. Then, since I have the luxury of waiting this out with minimal exposure, I wait to see what reality says.

      So far, the US and our allies are consistently wrong. So far, nothing is going as the cheerleaders in the US media have reported. If the US stops supplying the Ukraine, and it is all US support, then Ukraine is done. By definition that can’t be good for Ukraine’s and NATO’s position. All our proxy wars and attempts to lead from behind fail. I hope our insulated political class learns that lesson this time.

      I doubt they will.

  26. anon in so cal

    >Americans keep moving

    “A report last year found that between 1990 and 2010, half of all new homes constructed in California were built in the wildland-urban interface, the zone most vulnerable to wildfire risk, in part because anti-development regulations elsewhere simply make it easier and cheaper to build there.”

    That sentence is the crux of the debate about housing, values, and attitudes toward biodiversity.

    California’s population is just under 40 million. How many more people can be crammed into the state, and at what expense to wildlife, biodiversity, and overall quality of life? Where will the water come from, for starters. California AB 2278, which aims to establish some protocols for implementing California EO N-82-20, the 30-30 initiative (which aims to preserve 30% of California’s land and water), is inching its way through the legislative process, but very glacially.×30%20Reporting.pdf

    In Los Angeles, there is a constant struggle to preserve the city’s remaining wildlife habitat and open space. The latest battle hinges on the City’s plan to expand and modernize the Los Angeles Zoo in a manner that would destroy 16 acres of undeveloped land in Griffith Park, known as the “California Area,” which contains native Western Sycamores, Coast Live Oaks, etc.

    1. Anthony G Stegman

      Here in the Bay Area where I live there have been calls from time to time to shrink open space preserves and convert a portion of them to housing. The people proposing this seemingly don’t care about the need for recreation for increasing populations. And they certainly don’t care about wildlife habitat. Cheap condos and strip malls are what they crave.

  27. Voter

    Los Angeles County looks like trouble.

    See the link about chummy voting machine approvals.

    How many other counties have similar issues and how are voters served by all the self-dealing and corruption?

  28. Huels

    Electric cars only in California:
    “As demand grows, it creates an incentive for utilities and power companies to invest in new generation and transmission infrastructure.”

    Cars get recharged at night, so solar recharging is not possible. Fossil fuels being phased out. Dams unable to expand and are being dismantled. Gee, thanks to Newsom, guess they’ll have to
    build more nuclear power plants.

    Looks like Gavin, already frantically pushing to extend the two reactors at Diablo Canyon is the politician that the moribund nuclear power industry is paying back, via PG&E, with present and future donations.

    “Blood money’ | California politicians and campaigns received $2.1 million from bankrupt, PG&E that pleaded guilty to the felony killing of 84 people and negotiated down the amount it paid to victims, but kept on donating to California political campaigns.
    That number is far higher today.

    1. Anthony G Stegman

      I got a good laugh reading the Quartz article. The author clearly doesn’t know PG&E. The utility is incapable of investing in safe electrical generation and transmission. It knows only how to burn down forests, kill people, and lobby politicians. Expecting PG&E to meet the demand for more electricity to power millions of electric vehicles is fanciful to say the least. Expect more incinerated communities, brownouts, and “public safety power cutoffs”.

      1. Solarjay

        Most houses in ca have natural gas for the big loads. Hot water, cooking, heating.
        Changing all that to electric, adding AC and EV?
        What the article of course leaves out is the last mile or the distribution network. Can it handle the loads?

        Remember they will all hit at once.
        In the am, showers, cooking, heating.
        In the evening, cooking, heating/cooling, EV.
        It’s a big hit and I could very well believe there will be serious issues with the grid capacity.

      2. anon in so cal

        Today’s LA Times reviews a WSJ reporter’s book that chronicles PG&E’s role in catastrophic California wildfires.

        “PG&E, the giant utility that covers most of Northern California, takes center stage, but the supporting cast includes members of the state Legislature and the California Public Utilities Commission, which deserve more scrutiny than they’ve received for the roles they’ve played in PG&E’s conflagrations….Long story short: PG&E tried to engineer a culpability coverup, failed, was charged with crimes and declared itself bankrupt….

        After decades of gross negligence, multiple wildfires, a neighborhood gas pipeline explosion, scores of guilty pleas to involuntary manslaughter and billions in property damage, the company appears at last to be taking safety seriously….None of it is enough to counter the company’s long-held reputation as an arrogant, sloppily managed corporation that cares more about stock price than safety.

        Wall Street Journal reporter Katherine Blunt tells us how the company got that way in “California Burning: The Fall of Pacific Gas and Electric — and What It Means for America’s Power Grid.”
        She begins with the spark that exploded into the Camp fire, the blaze that swept through the town of Paradise in 2018, the most destructive fire in California history — thus far. It killed at least 85 people, with damage estimated at more than $16 billion. An ancient, worn hook on a century-old PG&E transmission tower broke off and dropped onto a high-voltage wire, setting off a brush fire that spread through dry woodland and foothill towns over 150,000 acres.”

        1. solarjay

          PG&E should have been forced to bankruptcy and taken over as coop or state run.
          PG&E was Newsums largest donor by far and also to his wife.

          The camp fire was started by a broken hook, yes, but every part is supposed to be physically checked every X amount of years, nope didn’t happen and nobody is checking them!
          The trees that seem to fall on the lines, are supposed to be cleared and checked, PG&E was literally stealing money and giving it to share holders.
          The San Bruno gas explosion was because PG&E lied about maintenance.
          and the list goes on and on and on.
          But what to all of the issues above have in common, besides PG&E. Right the CPUC. California public ulitlies commission. They are corrupted beyond belief.
          The chief of staff for the head commissioner was found guilty trying to game the correct judge for the san bruno gas fire trial.
          How are they corrupt?
          Follow me here. So PG&E is supposed to clear the trees from their power lines. How long as google earth pro or other satellite real time data been available? The CPUC doesn’t even have to send anyone out for that one, they can just look at the pictures from yesterday of which PG&E said they did X tree clearing and find they didn’t because they didn’t even look.

          Or they hire outside people to check PG&E testing of pipelines etc. Nope.

          Another info: San Diego GAs/electric has had on their towers in windy areas weather monitors and cameras for like 20 years. PG&E, nada. There are some thinking companies.
          Another info: A small coop up in Tahoe area hasn’t had a fire from equipment failure or trees, and thats in a huge fire area. So it can be done, just not PG&E

          There are 3 options:
          1. CPUC isn’t funded properly to do the work which then means that the Governors office isn’t giving them the funds to do their job, Governor is getting huge money from utility.
          2. CPUC doesn’t want to know so they don’t check
          3. or they are corrupt.

          I think I go with all of them.
          Oh did I mention that the old CEO left with a 28 million dollar bonus AFTER the fire happened?

          Finally the idea that they are going to bury all the lines is just nuts and not going to happen. Its way way way too expensive and slow and actually just lines PG&E pockets as they are cost plus I think its 10% profit. The more they spend the more they make. Proper maintenance will take care of almost all of it.

          PG&E has been bankrupt 2 times in 15 years. Both times they could have been taken over for cheap, didn’t happen because corruption at the top. Ugh Its just not going to change.
          head meet wall

  29. antidlc

    RE: “US cuts off free COVID-19 rapid testing”
    How New York is entering the next COVID-19 pandemic phase

    Public health officials are gearing up for another rise in COVID-19 cases this fall and winter. And as booster shots are rolled out, pandemic guidances relaxed and COVID-19 test kits no longer available for free through the mail from the federal government, the next phase could be a major test for returning to a semblance of normal.

    This Friday will be the last day to order free COVID-19 tests kit through the mail. U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand on Monday said she expects funding for the program will lapse.

    “I think the president decided we’re in a good place right now,” Gillibrand said while touring the State Fair. “We’ve really gotten over the hump of COVID. I certainly have been able to buy home test kits in CVS any time I go.

    Has Kirsten Gillibrand ever received the NC “Sociopath of the Day” award?

  30. jr

    When is too much not enough? When flooding overwhelms a city’s water system, making water for drinking, fire-fighting, and flushing toilets unavailable, that’s when:

    The state is declaring an emergency for Jackson as it scrambles to begin distributing drinking and non-drinking water to up to 180,000 city residents, Gov. Tate Reeves said Monday evening. The National Guard is being called in to help distribute the water as crews work to get the water treatment plant back online, state officials said.

  31. Kimbo

    After living in Phoenix 30+ years we see a common experience from people building pools in the yard. It happened to our dog also but it took a while to make the correlation. Homeowners and their pets are exposed to newly dug out spores and valley fever as a likely result of the bare earth hole sitting uncovered for many weeks or months. That seldom is a concern before hand but even quite athletic people can suffer undiagnosed for some time as treatment requires different meds.

  32. ewmayer

    Future headline: “After disastrous Russia-sanctions blowback, Europe is now the sick man of Europe.”

  33. drumlin woodchuckles

    So Joe Rogan is advising his followers to vote Republican to vote against the counter-covid restrictions on their lives? How is Joe Rogan different than CDC Director Walensky advising the non-wearing of masks?

    Joe Rogan and Walensky both work to spread covid. Joe Rogan’s followers and Fox’s MAGA base drink from the same toilet as Walensky’s PMCs. If we don’t forgive Walensky etc. for spreading covid, why do we forgive Rogan, MAGA, etc. for spreading covid? What is the difference here?

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Shooting the messenger, big time.

      Did you miss the point that Rogan telling his young, very male audience to vote R is purportedly a big deal politically? Do I have to spoon feed you when I made the point clear above?

      You are already in moderation. I would not push your luck by harassing me on bogus grounds.

  34. Questa Nota

    Here is a link from Cory Doctorow about chokepoint capitalism, a likely topic of interest to NC readers.

  35. Mikel

    offers advice to Americans outraged by COVID-19 restrictions infringing on their lives.

    But no outrage about Covid infringing on lives.

    But I agree with them about the non-steriizing “vaccine” mandates. Drugs you have to shoot yourself up with every 3 to 6 months for some kind of proctection. Who knows really….

    Meanwhile, Sotomayor did a Clarence Thomas (no explanation or justification for ruling). And not a peep from those that have criticized Thomas.

  36. MicaelC

    Just had a thought about the impending collapse in prices in the US housing market 2022 v 2006-2008.

    Who are going to be the biggest losers? And how much of an effect will the current housing market price collapse have on the middle/working class? Or the economy more broadly.

    Seems to me the hysteria re collapsing RE values is going to hit the predator class (PE i.e) who accumulated defaulted assets en masse at near 0 rates and have been driving up prices beyond what would be expected in a declining financing rate environment.
    (And perhaps those top 10%ers who overpaid for their remote WFH redoubts)

    For the vast majority, I think, weathering the next decade w an underwater mortgage at historically low interest rates with marginal HE loans attached won’t be the critical hardship.

    So it’s hard for me to have much concern that the collapse in new home starts or sales should have much incentive on policymakers at the Fed to support RE especially if their policy is to rein in asset class appreciation resulting from QE.

  37. The Rev Kev

    You know, it’s hard to be a Putin Puppet. The trouble is seeing the sort of stuff like this every day and wondering if people actually believe it-

    ‘Nicholas Drummond
    There are 20 to 30 Russian Battalion Tactical Groups (BTGs) around Kherson, or 15,000-20,000 soldiers in total. If Ukraine forces can destroy them, this will force Putin to escalate or withdraw. Either way, ongoing Ukraine resistance increases the likelihood of a coup in Moscow.’

    Not some random guy either but a defence industry analyst and consultant specialising in Land Warfare. Meanwhile Pat Lang at Turcopolier is still losing it. In a recent post on the Ukrainian offensive, he ended with ‘Comment: I am holding my breath waiting to see what the real outcome will be. On a slightly different topic I continue to puzzle over the deep commitment of Tucker Carlson to the Russian cause.’ That sounded bizarre though I hardly watch Tucker Carlson. I think maybe he was referring to the following clip- (16:58 mins)

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Not good enough. Anyone seeing them violates attorney-client privilege. A fundamental concept is once something is not longer confidential, it is impossible to put that genie back in the bottle. The FBI is building a case against Trump. Having ANYONE at the FBI see potentially attorney-client privileged records is an astonishing violation of fundamental judicial protections. This idea of Chinese walls, which is what the idea of a filter team amounts to, is nonsense. They are widely recognized as a convenient fiction. And why should anyone trust the FBI, an institution long in the business of collecting political kompromat, to be trustworthy?

      And now is have been confirmed that Trump was not making shit up, erm, engaging in special pleading, in saying there were attorney-client privileged docs in the material removed. The only acceptable move was to appoint a special master. But the FBI went ahead anyhow…when what is the rush, exactly, but to take advantage of the situation?

      1. ExInferis

        Thanks for the reply, Yves. What happens if attorney-client privileged material is mixed in with the stolen documents? Along with the removal of a cover sheets, could these be a useful strategy? Also not sure why Trump lawyers waited 10+ days to ask for a Special Master? I agree with you about trusting the FBI, but I trust Trump even less.

  38. Raymond Sim

    Are the conclusions of the article on commonsense knowledge supposed to apply to machine learning via textual sources or something along those lines?

    My post-stroke difficulty reading has been worse than usual recently, so perhaps I’ve just completely misunderstood. If the author means what I think he does by ‘commonsense knowledge’, then he must be using a terrible definition of ‘learning’.

    In any case, it might be worthwhile noting that the acquisition of the knowledge we use to navigate the world daily probably requires our brains to devote a lot of effort to observing their own functioning. These processes aren’t typically something we’re conscious of, so I’m inclined to view the situation as the learning of commonsense knowledge being invisible to that haughty part of our brains that can talk, and tends to imagine itself to be our entirety.

    1. dk

      This is correct. Emotions particularly are at least as and even more affected by physical conditions and sensed information. This is easily demonstrated, for example by observing one’s own calm or unease while walking on very uneven or unstable ground. The body’s awareness (coordinated by the cerebellum) executes a lot of complex operations with little or no close management by the self-conscious process, again as in walking, or handwriting or piloting a vehicle after it’s well learned.

      In (some) kungfu training we train the body and the mind to operate separately, so that the mind can stay calm and consider strategic options while the body implements physical mechanics and makes first response to emergencies. Responsibly applied, this training increases forbearance and facilitates mercy.

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