Links 8/31/2022

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.

* * *

The Netherlands Is Building an Ark for Its Bees Reasons to be Cheerful

Tough economic times lie ahead Martin Wolf, FT.

2022 U.S. Cropland Values Hit Record $5,050 Per Acre, Up 14% from 2021 AgWeb

This Is The ‘100-Trillion Dollar Question’ The Heisenberg Report

Is this chart going up or down? The Reformed Broker

Private-equity firms including KKR, Apollo, and Thoma Bravo have unleashed a stampede as recruiting for junior investment bankers seeking 2024 associate jobs begins Business Insider


Reversing the Freight Train: The Case for Degrowth London Review of Books

Underwriting decarbonisation: Financing key to steer shipping towards a green future Hellenic Shipping News’

China drought highlights economic damage wrought by global warming FT

Environmental Group Reports ‘Unprecedented’ Algae Bloom, Fish Dying Across SF Bay NBC Bay Area


‘Do Not Drink The Water’: Jackson Water System Failing For 180,000 People Mississippi Free Press


COVID cases at Chicago schools jump in first week back Chicago Chalkbeat

COVID drives down U.S. life expectancy for the second straight year – CDC data Reuters

The curious case of the 471-day coronavirus infection Science Direct. Plenty of time for mutations.


Strategies Adopted by Gay, Bisexual, and Other Men Who Have Sex with Men to Prevent Monkeypox virus Transmission — United States, August 2022 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, CDC


China’s zero-Covid rules spark social media storm as article recalls ‘isolationist’ Ming, Qing era South China Morning Post. See at “the past is not dead“, Links 8/27

China property: Country Garden feels frost that will wilt bank returns FT

China Sets Mid-October Start for Congress to Extend Xi’s Rule Bloomberg


No, Iranians aren’t negotiating from a weak economic position Responsible Statecraft (Re Silc).

A Very Quiet Bombing Jesse Ventura, Die First then Quit. Somalia.

New Not-So-Cold War

IAEA team heads for Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant Reuters

Military briefing: Ukraine makes its move with Kherson counter-offensive FT

Senior Defense Official and Senior Military Official Hold a Background Briefing U.S. Department of Defense. Odd body language on the Ukraine offensive.

Russia Claims Ukraine’s Kherson Counteroffensive Defeated After Ukraine Troops Suffered Heavy Losses (video) Alexander Mercouris, YouTube. Shoutout to NC. Not seeing any Ukrainian flags waving over Kherson, for sure.

Russia deepens Europe’s energy squeeze with new gas halt Reuters

* * *

The West’s False Narrative about Russia and China Jeffrey Sachs. “The relentless Western narrative that the West is noble while Russia and China are evil is simple-minded and extraordinarily dangerous. It is an attempt to manipulate public opinion, not to deal with very real and pressing diplomacy.” This is, to some, apparently not a truism.

The Moscow-Berlin Line Policy Tensor

‘A consequential but ultimately tragic figure’: last leader of the USSR Mikhail Gorbachev dies aged 91 The Conversation

Lula retains lead over Bolsonaro in Brazil’s election – poll Reuters

Biden Administration

Inflation Reduction Act’s Real Climate Impact Is a Decade Away and First Solar to Invest $1.2 Billion in U.S. Plants, Spurred by Climate Law WSJ. I don’t play the ponies, so my opinion should carry no weight, but I think any firm with “First” in its name is like a restaurant called “Mom’s.”

Student loan relief limited for many by US drug war’s legacy AP

Top agent exits FBI amid charge of political bias undermining Hunter Biden probe, sources say Washington Times


Feds cite efforts to ‘obstruct’ probe of classified documents found at Trump’s Florida estate AP. From the DOJ filing:

That rug really ties the room together.

Trump’s possession of intelligence documents raises fears for national security The Hill

Trump hires ex-Florida solicitor general Chris Kise to lead his FBI raid defense NY Post

Realignment and Legitimacy

The Accelerating Threat of the Political Assassination War on the Rocks


Biden’s Disinformation Dependables: Bash Joins A Line of Biden Officials Who Pushed False “Russian Disinformation” Claims Jonathan Turley. The story continues.

Big Brother Is Watching You

Micky Dolenz Sues FBI to Get Full File on The Monkees Billboard (Re Silc).

Supply Chain

A US Freight Rail Crisis Threatens More Supply Chain Chaos Wired. The deck: “Federal regulators and the White House have been scrambling to prevent poor service and a possible strike from jamming up a vital but often overlooked network.” Mayor Pete’s busy or out of the office?

The Bezzle

Crypto’s Real Value Was Never $3 Trillion Bloomberg. The deck: “The true value of the crypto market isn’t what its believers suggest, but it’s nothing to sneer at, either.” I would never sneer at zero. It’s a very important number.

Sports Desk

‘It’s an epic saga’: An exotic beetle, Barry Bonds, Joey Votto and the end of ash baseball bats The Athletic

Groves of Academe

Worried about Student-Loan Debt? Start Firing Administrators National Review

UCLA professors allegedly charged certain students extra fees. They want to hide the scheme LA Times

Guillotine Watch

Mercedes-Maybach Has Risen Gloriously From the Dead, Again Bloomberg

Class Warfare

Neronian Ruling Class Fiddles While West Burns The American Conservative

Graduates of Elite Universities Dominate the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, Study Finds The Intercept. That’s why reporting should be a trade, not a profession.

Chomsky’s puzzling PR strategy Carl Beijer

Cryptic 4,000-year-old writing system may finally be deciphered LiveScience. Linear Elamite stans rejoice!

The AI Researcher Giving Her Field Its Bitter Medicine Quanta. Tenser, said the Tensor.

Antidote du jour (via):

And a bonus antidote. Time for Maru again:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. vao

    Strategies Adopted by Gay, Bisexual, and Other Men Who Have Sex with Men to Prevent Monkeypox virus Transmission

    Who are those men who have sex with men, but who are neither homosexual nor bisexual?

    1. Terry Flynn

      It’s well established in countries in Africa and the Indian subcontinent that there are lots of men who have sex with men (MSM) classify as heterosexual – cultural or other reasons. Clinical studies typically use MSM as a much better term when it comes to research.

      Furthermore the trichomisation in nomenclature is obviously ludicrous if you watch a movie like Kinsey. The Kinsey scale is primitive but still a vast step forward on current wording. Betcha most people would assume a “bisexual” persuasion as being 50/50 when a technically bi person could be 95% one sexuality but once in a while have had their head turned by someone of the other gender.

    2. Michaelmas

      Who are those men who have sex with men, but who are neither homosexual nor bisexual?

      Guys in it purely for the money?

      1. vao

        When things were binary, the world was easy. As soon as the woke introduced octal, we have been wallowing in confusion.

        1. DJG, Reality Czar


          I would argue that things never used to be “binary,” noting Terry Flynn’s mention of the Kinsey scale, which was once influential.

          I’d argue that the woke, being Puritans, and addicted to digitization, took the computer term “binary” and applied it inappropriately. It should have remained a math and computer-science term only.

          One only has to look at Plato’s Symposium to see that the idea of “binary” has been in trouble for many years. Likewise, Herakleitos, who sometimes put terms in opposition but who is not likely to have thought of sexuality as “binary.” Can I throw in Ovid’s great work, The Metamorphoses?

          And as a writer, I note the effect of that puritanism–sexuality as “binary” is about the least poetic thing imaginable.

          1. Terry Flynn

            Thank you. Sexuality is a scale…… But we haven’t “caught up” yet.

            Maybe in future we quote percentages (very clinical and not exactly “sexual” but does give a lot more info about a person)….. I don’t say that’s the solution but the current one is definitely flawed.

            1. Daniil Adamov

              While I think it is for the best if people are more honest and less conformist about their sexual and gender identities (what an awful PMC-ish thing to say, I know – but I think the alternative is worse), the labeling mania does not seem very helpful in that particular regard. It is still slapping a broad label on a wide variety of actual individual human preferences and inclinations. On the other hand, it might just be human nature to want seemingly clear-cut labels and groups, so perhaps we will never be rid of some form of “binary” or “binary plus”.

              1. Mikel

                But with that in mind, it should make people think twice about allowing children make life changing decisions about their bodies too soon.
                Not only can identies be different, but they are fluid over time as well.

          2. JEHR

            Yes, the answer is Metamorphoses because we will soon run out of letters in the alphabet and numbers too!!

      1. Michael Ismoe

        Can someone help me understand why this is a “gay disease”? Apparently, you can get monkeypox from rubbing skin against skin or rolling around on the same sheets as someone who has lesions during sex. How is this confined to gay sex? I’ve had hetero sex that entailed skin contact and sheets, have I been doing sex wrong all this time? Can lesbians catch monkeypox?

        I remember when only gays could catch HIV and no one gave a whit about it until Reagan’s donor caught AIDS from a blood transfusion. Confusing people is surely a goal of the CDC. Mission accomplished.

        1. Terry Flynn

          Exactly. It isn’t a “gay disease”. It’s an “intimacy disease”.

          It’s just that “rubbing around together” tends to happen first among gay men – when going for my checkups at STD clinic in Bristol they were always attentive to Pride events in Gran Canaria etc because there was more body contact etc.

          Yes it has higher prevalence among younger gay men but but without prompt action it’ll soon be endemic amongst EVERYONE.

          1. Art_DogCT

            Think about circumstances where numbers of people are involved in close physical contact, particularly skin to skin contact. There is a vastly greater pool of potential transmission than sexual contact between MSM. Child and adult sports teams and some competitive events, for example, or crowded dance parties wherein most are bare armed, contact with the mass around you lubricated by sweat. We’ve so far dodged the bullet of outbreaks in child care centers, pre-schools, K-6 districts. I think that is pure, dumb luck. And because this isn’t a serious country, that luck will sooner than later run out.

            I admit that I haven’t tried to chase down what detail may be available about the first outbreaks. I recall that the initial cases were linked to summertime gay events. Without question sex was definitively the vector in a number of cases, i.e., oropharyngeal and anorectal lesions. It would be very informative to know what the incidence is of transmission via non-sexual skin-to-skin contact. The number of MSM who attend public events like the ones cited in those first reports who don’t include sex in their participation is certainly non-trivial, and quite plausibly more than 50%.

            A weeklong annual clothing-optional men’s gathering that concluded a couple of weeks ago resulted in at least three monkeypox infections. These were overwhelmingly well-informed men, many veterans of the HIV pandemic, many professionally active in health care, public health, and social services. In two of the cases, the initial lesions presented as otherwise unremarkable, routine, and in only one of the three was the ordinary-seeming initial lesion present during the event itself. It’s certainly possible that those three had sex during their stay, but it’s equally possible that they didn’t. What they all shared was varying degrees of bare skin, high temps, communal dining, and activities that included possible physical contact (dance, bodywork, ritual, simply hanging out together around campfire).

            This story illustrates just how much dumb luck is the only thing that has, as of August 22, seen “only” 18,417 monkeypox cases recorded in this oh so very exceptional country.

        2. jr

          It would seem that one reason to label it a “gay disease” is to calm the fears of the non-gay population regarding the reality of another pandemic burgeoning in the midst of COVID. At least until it’s grown so widespread that that story doesn’t work anymore. It’s an idea that people in power could utilize as well as the “man on the street” seeking to comfort himself about brushing up against all those people at the ball game last night.

    3. Mikel

      There are many guys in the USA on the DL (down low). They have wives, girlfriends, and children but don’t classify themselves as bisexual or homosexual.

    4. Kouros

      Gore Vidal had a scale that was quite flexible. So much so that he had a go a couple of times with some ladies at his residence on the Hudson Valley….

    5. ArvidMartensen

      Isn’t this language insensitive and incorrect?
      Women are now “people with vaginas” according to the Lancet
      So then shouldn’t CDC guidance be changed to people with penises having sex with people with penises – so as not to exclude all of the people with penises who are transitioning?
      But then under the CDC guidelines, can “people with penises” who are transitioning to “people who identify as people with vaginas” even catch monkeypox?
      And the second question is – Is this erasure of gender identity of the biological type only reserved for erasing “women”, “girls” and “female” from the language?
      So that when we fill out forms in the future we will get to tick one of people with vaginas or men.
      The downgrading of the concept “female” from the public sphere dovetails nicely with the Roe vs Wade male power grab. Hi-ho, hi-ho, it’s back to the 1800s we go.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      At least he got through an entire piece without blaming the hippies for something.

      And that Tucker clip. Tucker is a very clever propagandist. He leaves the viewer confused whether Europe’s disaster is because of our sanctions on Russia or efforts to get away from fossil fuels while dancing around calling the climate crisis a fraud or hoax. He handles segments on Covid in a similar fashion.

      1. barefoot charley

        The party out of power has freedom to draw deeper from reality than the party in charge. It was noteworthy that Trump continued to sometimes make sense more often than the Democrats did even when he was in office, since he wasn’t actually in charge. Biden of course isn’t in charge either, but then he never made sense.

      2. Harry Haller

        The “new right” is much better at propaganda, recruiting converts and capitalizing on public discontent and disillusionment with politics as usual than the Bernie Sanders/DSL left which has a lot of trouble reading public sentiment and thus ends up shooting itself in the foot by sounding too much like the neoliberal left.

        The right has been very successful at convincing many disgruntled Dem voters that it provides a serious alternative to Biden/Harris and the Democrat camp. Someone like Carlson, and even a genuinely kooky character like Marjorie Taylor Greene, making noises about freeing Assange or ending the forever wars always results in left-leaning folk on Twitter making comments how these people are “challenging Biden from the left.” Because politicians and activists (which is what Carlson is) never say things for effect or deliberately try to attract new followers.

        Yes the neoliberal Democrats and their decades of lies and bait and switch are to blame for things getting to this point, no argument there. What’s disappointing is how many ex Dems seem to honestly and genuinely believe the GOP will deliver what the Democrats didn’t. It’s a weird thing because in my experience these tend to be smart people who are very aware of propaganda and dissembling when it comes from the left but they never, and I mean never*, call out the right for deploying the same tactics. Instead it’s endless rote condemnations of cancel culture, wokeism and the usual Democrat cringiness while Carlson, Greene and others can say the most bizarre and sinister stuff and get a free pass because they sometimes pay lip service to ending war, freeing Assange and protecting free speech.

        The takeaway here is that the “new right” is much better at messaging and coming across as credible than the Democrat left and better able to bypass people’s bs filters.

        (Would be very interested in hearing other perspectives on this.)

        *with Roe v Wade being a possible exception

    2. Karl

      Rod has been saying the same thing about our leadership class for years. He is very distraught about modernity in general. “Neroizing” is a new name for an old complaint. But this time his contrary view of the dominant paradigm has been fruitful. I particularly liked this quote of Victor Orban’s, about all four pillars of U.S./NATO strategy having crumbled:

      As a result of this excellent strategy, however, today the situation is that we are sitting in a car with four flat tyres. It is absolutely clear that the war cannot be won like this.

  2. DJG, Reality Czar

    Cryptic Elamite script deciphered.

    Noting: “A mysterious ancient writing system called Linear Elamite, used between about 2300 B.C. and 1800 B.C. in what is now southern Iran, might have finally been deciphered”

    I like to point out that from the Iranian point of view, being the heirs and descendants of more than four thousand years of civilization, the U S of A and its pretensions look pretty darn silly. (Compare: Those inscrutable Chinese.)

    The Art Institute of Chicago has this remarkable Elamite sculpture of a vigorous god, although we are not likely ever to know his name, given that he’s 5,000 years old. Seeing it years back made me check just who the Elamites were:

    1. DJG, Reality Czar

      When I was reading the article about deciphering Elamite glyphs, I recalled the story of the deciphering of Linear B by the ill-fated Michael Ventris.

      And yet, there are opportunities out there: Linear A. Cypro-Minoan. Cretan hieroglyphics. They were busily writing for centuries in Crete (and Cyprus).

      Wikipedia sez: “Linear A belongs to the group of scripts that evolved independently of the Egyptian and Mesopotamian systems. During the second millennium BC, there were four major branches: Linear A, Linear B, Cypro-Minoan, and Cretan hieroglyphic.[3] In the 1950s, Linear B was deciphered as Mycenaean Greek. Linear B shares many symbols with Linear A, and they may notate similar syllabic values, but neither those nor any other proposed readings lead to a language that scholars can read.”

      Group project among the commentariat?

      1. ambrit

        “Group project….?”
        It’s hard enough to decipher the maunderings of the “Financial Priesthood;” today’s practitioners of “Fun With Numbers.”
        Not being among the “Wealth Effect Acolytes,” I console myself with an occasional perusal of Sum Zero’s “The Art of Poor.”

    2. Louis Fyne

      Western history books were written/influenced by the Greeks-Romans. And the Persians unfortunately had the misfortune of being labeled as the “barbarous others” since the Greco-Persian/Romano-Parthian wars.

      even though arguably the old Persian Empire was more tolerant and just than their Greek contemporaies.

      1. Daniil Adamov

        “Tolerance” is something of an anachronism (I don’t think the Greeks or, say, the Babylonians were especially “intolerant” in the modern way?), but it is hard to be less just than Athens or Sparta.

      2. witters

        See Gore Vidal’s novel “Creation” for the Persian view of the barbarian marginals that were the Greeks.

      1. DJG, Reality Czar


        The gods are snazzy dressers. Comes with the theological territory.

        I have a feeling that the shoes are to go fast, divinely quickly–the statue is a proto-Hermes fleet of foot and messenger of the gods.

        It’s a reminder that the quality of the work of ancient artisans and people in the crafts was very high. The museums are filled with exquisite work that they made more or less by hand–I recently saw a smallish show with discoveries made in the last few years at Pompeii. The jewelry is remarkable.

      2. jr

        I seem to recall reading somewhere that exaggerated shoes and clothing were/are a way of demonstrating wealth to others. Especially in the eras before industrialized fashion. Think of things like super-frilly Elizabethan collars and long, colorful conical caps and shoes in Medieval Europe. More material equals more disposable income. I believe I read that claim in a book by Fernand Braudel years ago. Those curly shoes would have cost at least three times as much as what a utilitarian pair of shoes would have, from an eyeball estimate. Combining that with the goat’s horns I’d guess we are looking at a randy dandy of some kind…

    3. Kouros

      And the translations will reveal some very boring stuff, like bushels of wheat owed, sheep and goats, and maybe some war spoils and some very interesting names….

  3. Henry Moon Pie

    Degrowth in London Review of Books–

    Wow. Degrowth is getting more mainstream. The article is a good survey of the debates between “Green Growthers” who dream of decoupling growth from ecological damage by means of technological wonders and Degrowthers who reject the false hope of Tomorrowland and urge us to land the plane safely ASAP rather than crash and burn.

    The article would have benefited from including Kate Raworth’s Doughnut Economics but with Jackson and Hickel, degrowth is fairly if not completely represented. Also, the article is couched in term that assume that degrowth would be implemented within the context of our current neoliberal system, in effect saving as much of the current system as possible, and that’s a very unlikely prospect. Instead, degrowth should be thought of as two things. First, it’s a psychological watershed for each individual. We have all been thoroughly indoctrinated in growth, consumerism and career. Deep down, we cling to the conviction that the history of our individual lives and the society we live in will be one of ever increasing abundance, convenience and “fulfillment” in the form of Viking river cruises and a second house on the beach. To accept degrowth is to throw that conviction into the trashbin of history where it belongs. Second, to accept degrowth is to also accept that our current system will not survive and that what emerges in its place will be radically different. These are changes at the individual level because there can be no change as radical as degrowth at the societal level until enough individuals have accepted the reality of our situation.

    Perhaps the most powerful obstacle to the widespread acceptance of degrowth is the deep resentment nearly everyone feels at being told the party is over. A common reaction is to consider the whole thing an elitist ruse to get us to accept lower living standards. Considering the way that elites preach conservation for the little folks while engaging in an orgy of planet-destroying waste, that’s an understandable reaction, but Neoliberalism’s gross levels of inequality and our oligarchic political system are not the source of the limits. The Earth’s carrying capacity, both in providing resources and absorbing our various emissions, is limited. Looking around at our weather, it’s clear that those limits are in hailing distance. What degrowth seeks to do is to recognize our predicament in its full and terrifying reality and begin an often local and democratic process of deciding what we want to keep and what we can do without.

    I’m afraid I’ve come to the conclusion that our political system is incapable of dealing with any kind of serious challenge whether it be a pandemic or the climate crisis. Degrowth and Deep Adaptation are more likely to be philosophical underpinnings for communities that seek to survive and help others within the interstices of the coming Collapse.

    1. hk

      The fundamental problem with degrowth is that it almost invariably becomes “degrowth for the weak, moralizing by the powerful.”. The almost inevitable hypocrisy and the credibility problem means that very few ppl want to be the suckers who get actually degrowthed so that the pmc elites can sanctify themselves without giving up anything.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        Actually, what makes it easiest for the private jetsters to continue in their profligate ways is pretending that degrowth is not necessary. Business as usual, with an annually increasing GDP, will just mean that the rich will be able to buy their way our of some of these problems for a while, while the poor will be left to suffer in YOYO land.

        In any case, people who begin to act as if degrowth is coming are not “suckers.” They are just crashing early to avoid the rush, a clever thought I’ve seen attributed both to Dimitri Orlov and John Michael Greer.

        1. Boris

          “Crash now and avoid the rush” was definitely used by Greer, and a lot of years ago…I read it on his Archdruid Report. Of course he could have stolen it from Orlov, but I dont think that would have ever been his style.

    2. jr

      ” A common reaction is to consider the whole thing an elitist ruse to get us to accept lower living standards. Considering the way that elites preach conservation for the little folks while engaging in an orgy of planet-destroying waste, that’s an understandable reaction….”

      This is a very common notion on the Right, from it’s leaders to the average Joes, if Right-wing Youtubers, commenters, and Right-wing commentators are any metric. I just watched Tucker talking about EV’s. He noted, correctly, that those calling for EV’s the most are also those flitting around in super-polluting ICE private jets. These are very likely the same people who burn through their water allotment in a half a week to keep their estates green. He also pointed out that the extraction process for the raw materials to build an EV are intensely polluting. Couple what he said with that article I posted yesterday about the bazillion charging stations that would be needed to make the “transition” to EV that those in authority are calling for and increasingly mandating. (Does anyone think the US could successfully pull off a project as big as that? I don’t.) Also, he provides a quote from a Swedish guy who says that with the increasing cost of electricity it’s costing him around 100$ to fully charge his Tesla. So much for breezing by the costly gas stations without a care.

      Now heaven knows that the Right is happy to lie to promote their ideological goals. I take Tucker provisionally, at best. But there is truth there. And that’s the problem. The Right has taken over the mantle of truth telling, because, well, the synthetic Left lies like cheap carpeting at an Econo-lodge: everywhere and on everything. Whether it’s Green-washing fantasies, children being misled and maimed for profit, Adolf Putin the Terrible and the liberation of Ukraine, or break-neck lunatic COVID policies enacted by the fashionably unmasked, the synthetic Left has the Right looking like the adults in the room. Which means when real change is required, large swaths of the population are going to resist as best they can, slowing and even stymying any necessary adaptations. Green Growth will be viewed, and often rightly so, as just another elite scam. It’s Collapse and localized Degrowth that’s in our future. One I frankly don’t want to be around for.

    3. Mildred Montana

      >”I’m afraid I’ve come to the conclusion that our political system is incapable of dealing with any kind of serious challenge whether it be a pandemic or the climate crisis.”

      Your entire comment is well said, Henry Moon Pie, and I cannot disagree. Our political system is incapable of dealing with any kind of serious challenge because 𝘤𝘰𝘭𝘭𝘦𝘤𝘵𝘪𝘷𝘦 action is required and those in charge are unwilling to become part of the collective. They refuse to sacrifice in the way they expect the rest of us to do or to set an example that will encourage and inspire the masses to follow. So I don’t expect anything from “them”, the solution will probably be up to “us”.

      Thirty years ago I was quite confident that technology would save us. Now I’m not at all sure. Will we be reduced to desperate geo-engineering and the unpredictable and uneven consequences of that? I hope not, but unfortunately that seems to be the direction in the long term.

      I think the water problems in the southwestern US present an interesting microcosm of collective action at work. Can the states work out a sharing agreement and an equitable system of water restrictions or will the whole attempt collapse in squabbling, cheating, and “Every state for itself”? The water disputes, if they come, will be a case study in the possibility of 𝘢𝘯𝘺 successful collective action, on a scale small or large.

  4. LawnDart

    Re; Sanctions are working

    Of some vindication of Western Leadership and consolation to the hungry and cold masses, investors will likely need to pay taxes on any gains they see…

    Gazprom shares rally on huge profits report

    The stock soared more than 30% as the company announced dividend payouts to shareholders

    Russian energy major Gazprom’s stock jumped 31% on Wednesday to 267.25 rubles per share (just over $4.43) on the Moscow Exchange, following the company’s announcement of bumper profits and dividend payments to shareholders.

    Source: “Arrgh Teee…”

    1. Daniil Adamov

      For context, Gazprom announced they would not pay dividends for 2021 back in the end of June. This was largely expected among people I talked to here, but their stock still fell considerably. Now they have announced they will pay dividends for the first half of 2022. I do not really understand those things very well, but might guess that 1) it is possible because they really are making extraordinary profits and 2) they want to restore their credibility quickly? Unlike the first decision, this one took many people by surprise, not least because Gazprom has traditionally paid out dividends for an entire year rather than for half a year. Also, the sum for the first half of 2022 is apparently very close to the sum for all of 2021.

      1. LawnDart

        My only guess is that they wanted to keep “dry-powder” on hand until the dynamics affecting their operations became more clear.

        The resumption of the dividend would seem to indicate a resumption of more normal (albeit, new normal) business activities– there were a lot of immediate unknowns, uncertainites and other concerns to work through.

        I really like that “Gazprom plans to stick to its dividend policy that envisages paying out at least 50% of adjusted net profit as dividends.” I typically won’t invest in things/companies that cause direct harm to people or the overall environment, but recognize than natural gas is a necessary evil that we will have to live with for some time. OGZPY treated me very well as a small investor, and GAZP is continuing to do so– I just wish that I could purchase more.

          1. LawnDart

            More specifically, on Monday, 25.08.2022…

            That’s when GAZP began this upswing. And I’m not sure– I may have missed something.

    2. LawnDart

      Don’t want cheap energy? No problem. Russia turns East…

      Gazprom starts designing pipeline to China from Russian Far East
      31 Aug 2022 06:25

      “The Eastern Program, of course, is in no small measure aimed at expanding our export opportunities to supply gas to the Chinese market. We know that the Chinese market is the most dynamic market in the world, and over the next 20 years, according to forecasts, gas consumption growth in China will be 40% of global gas consumption growth…”

      Source: interfax[dot]com

      1. digi_owl

        It would be “hilarious” if the coming years ends up vindicating Marx.

        A resurgent Russia paired with industrial power house China, against financially overburdened NATO. Cold war round two, and what a comeback!

        1. VietnamVet

          The proxy world war is all about the boundaries for the new multi-polar war. The Kremlin moved first to take back the Czar’s Russia lost during the breakup of the USSR. With China’s industry, Russia’s resources and Iran’s petroleum, the Axis will be the richer half in the second Cold War for the coming decades if climate change is addressed and a nuclear war is avoided. The EU needs to restore democracy and mobilize its people and industry to sign an armistice and build a defensive line in depth from the Arctic Ocean to the Black Sea to avoid becoming a medieval backwater, a depleted zone, ruled by the East.

          1. Yves Smith

            Huh? The US has repeatedly admitted it has been waging a proxy war in Ukraine since 2014 with the intent of looting Russia, either by regime change and replacing Putin with someone more Yeltsin-like, or by so weakening Russia it could be broken up into small, weak states. Russia does not have territorial ambitions, but it will take territory if necessary for security reasons. Why has Russia been trying since 2014 to get the Minsk Accords accepted? Why is it prosecuting this war only with a peacetime, expeditionary force?

    3. Drake

      On Nero: “I can’t stress this strongly enough to American readers: this is really happening in Europe. What if you were facing the winter with the prospect of rolling blackouts, not knowing if you will be able to heat your home or cook your food? What if you were facing the prospect of economic collapse taking your job away? What if your small business — or the factory where you work — is going to have to close because it can’t afford energy?”

      News flash, in the U.S., commuting more than 40 miles one way, thanks Fed! for the making it impossible to rent or own closer in, is now prohibitive for most workers as the cost of gas, driven by Biden’s chosen energy policies, which make it cheaper to stay home after bridge, toll, gas, tax deductions taken into account. This is why there is a shortage of workers and businesses hammered by the useless lockdowns, now face their own Europe of higher energy, delivery, restocking prices, plus a lack of in-commuting workers.

      All going according to plan as their market share now handed to big corporate donors of the assholes in power. If this keeps up, it’ll be bullets, not ballots, in 2024.

      1. JBird4049

        Embarrassingly for this Californian, I had not considered the increasing length of commutes and the cost of gasoline. I guess being the frog in the pot my entire life, I cannot readily see when it really is starting to boil over.

        I have know of people commuting from Sacramento to San Francisco, which is around 90 miles one way. That is not to include the time of getting out of the city. It could easily be thirty minutes to get to a freeway and then an hour and a half for the drive. Or the adjunct commuting from north of Santa Rosa and down to Half Moon Bay with several different colleges along the way because that is what was offered.

        It is crazy, but yes, affordable housing is further away and gas is over four, sometimes five dollars a gallon. It has been over two years, but Northern California already looked broken with all the “well paying” jobs in the Bay Area, usually towards the Southbay, and all the affordable housing especially for families way up north or east. No wonder there are help wanted signs out.

        From my limit experience, Southern California is the same, only with worse traffic. Of course Los Angeles traffic has been an experience for half a century. And the same with housing and transportation.

        1. Laura in So Cal

          The last few times we changed jobs, the commute was one of the primary decision factors. It wasn’t only cost (gas, wear and tear, insurance), but time and most importantly stress. Type of commute matter as well.

          The last time my husband changed jobs he took the close job (6 miles-15 minutes) vs the far job (30 miles-45 minutes on a good day) even though it paid 10K/year less.

        2. Anthony G Stegman

          A significant portion of people who have long commutes do so because of their desires for a certain type of housing – lots of square feet, big lots. Land is cheaper the further east of the Bay Area one goes, so housing is cheaper. There is affordable housing available closer to jobs, but it may well be condos and townhomes (roughly for the same price as the big house in Manteca, Los Banos, or Stockton).

          1. JBird4049

            To a point, it is a desire for a detached house, 2.5 kids, yard, and a dog, but a good, not fancy, one bedroom apartment can easily be three thousand dollars. Apartments or townhouses sized for a family are often much more. Paying 36k per year just on a one bedroom is a lot.

            Housing in a good school district is obscene and no apartment there is going to be cheaper. Most often the good district is zoned for detached houses anyways. So, if you have a family and you want to live in an “affordable” school district, it is commuting.

  5. Colonel Smithers

    Thank you, Lambert.

    Further to ivy league graduates dominating the Washington Post and NY Times, it’s similar, if not worse, in the UK as per,, and

    It’s interesting to see the BBC and Grauniad journalists who head Oxbridge colleges after retirement, vide Bridget Kendall, Alan Rusbridger and Will Hutton.

    In the UK, it also explains why, other than the decline of trade unions, only the Press Association (an agency) retains an industrial / labour correspondent, there are often more columnists than reporters (and the former are better paid and do TV rounds, too) and few press journalists ferret out stories (or know know how to) when they can rely on press releases and PR contacts. At some newspapers, reporters, often youngsters, are on zero hours contracts, so only get called when something is happening and needs writing about. Such journalists do not have security of employment and benefits like pensions and healthcare.

    British newspapers rely increasingly on sponsored content, so will get funding, staff and stories from social media and technology giants. The giants will outline to recipients what to write, so it’s rare, but not unknown, for them to pick up the ‘phone and get a story killed.

    1. digi_owl

      I can’t help feel that the ivy league thing is spreading beyond the “anglo” sphere.

      At least when some oddly angled article catch my attention back home, and i look into the journalists background, i invariably find that they have spent one or more years studying in USA.

      Never mind that even outlets that should not need to, thanks to their non-advert revenue stream, ends up going for the emotional pang in their headlines again and again.

  6. The Rev Kev

    “Neronian Ruling Class Fiddles While West Burns”

    Not much to disagree with in this article though I take issue with a lot of what Tucker Carlson goes on about in that video clip. The interesting thing is that it is appearing in the American Conservative. If this article had appeared about a month ago I’m not sure they would have dared printed it. When the article said that the world is giving this war a miss and are not lining up behind the US/EU, they were not kidding. A coupla days ago there was some sort of vote in the United Nations to criticize Russia and if I remember right, only about 54 nations voted yes. Apart from the fact that is only a quarter of all nations in the UN, it has to be remembered that 30 of them are just the EU nations alone. Chuck in countries like the US, Canada, Australia, Japan, etc. that is mostly the nations of “the west” and you can see that the bulk majority of the nations know that is where they and the west part company and will start to look to their own futures.

    1. Stephen

      I agree.

      Did not have the energy or time to watch the Tucker clip but did read the linked Viktor Orban speech. It is over a month old and may have been discussed before but it is super interesting.

      Do not agree with all of it, and some of the views on nationality and the family are not to all tastes. However, it is super clear and is a level of analysis / nuance that you just do not get these days from any English language politician whom I am aware of.

      This particularly struck me:

      “But it is very important to make a moral distinction between understanding something and accepting something. What this means in concrete terms is that it is important to understand why the Russians did what they did; but it does not follow from this that if you understand what they did, you accept what they did. The Russians have made a very clear security demand, and have even written it down in a way that is rare in diplomacy, sending it to the Americans and NATO.”

      He even seems to treat the audience as though they are intelligent and can think.

      1. Kelly

        Best outcome for Americans and Europeans, not in the Uberworld:

        Russia wins and a peace treaty is signed.

        To hell with the Liberal World Order, Globalism, The Rule of Law, whatever you call this giant ponzi scheme looting opportunity.

        When the elite don’t give a damn about normal everyday Americans, why should we give a damn about protecting the elite, their businesses, families and following the Ten Commandments, when it comes to them?
        More power to looters at Tiffany’s, Bulgari and other Uberworld outposts.

        I want my damn middle class life back that my ancestors fought and died, got wounded, paid hundreds of thousands in taxes for and have a right to retake peacefully or otherwise.

        Around here, people are going to start throwing rocks at expensive luxury cars pretty soon.

    2. nippersdad

      That vote at the UN very clearly delineated the coalition of the bought and coerced in a way that was undeniable, which is perhaps why one sees very little about it in the press here. Compared to the similar vote in March they have lost about a hundred countries. Given the number of abstentions even then it should come as no surprise that the “collective Wests'” position is not gaining luster over time.

      The US ambassador to the UN, Thomas Greenfield, is just about the worst representative we could have had at this time. Even now she seems utterly oblivious to anything but the failed narrative they have tried to throw over the transom, which is clearly rubbing most of the world the wrong way and exacerbating an existing trend.

    3. Polar Socialist

      only about 54 nations voted yes

      Are those countries perhaps the same that abstained when UN General Assembly against glorification of Nazism?

  7. Solarjay

    First solar.
    Yeah never thought about the name.
    But they are by far the largest US solar panel company, have been for lots of years.
    And I think they might be the largest thin film panel company in the world.

    They are the real deal.
    They produce all over the world, only some of it here in the US.

    1. Questa Nota

      FSLR and SPWR, two early solar companies.
      Fizzler and Spewer.
      Indicative of the environmental problems with their panels.

      Here is another version of toxicity.
      Californians get the joy of receiving robocalls daily, often in multiples, from random numbers pushing solar rebates. Those seem like marketing gimmicks to get people to sign up with contractors, with vague promises and big bills. Just commit to $10-20K or whatever up front and don’t worry about the savings that will never pay off, especially if when you or your successor homeowner has to pay to have the junk hauled away to burden future generations.

      1. jefemt

        My Tax Attorney friend chatted me up to update the new incentives with the Inflation reduction act.
        He and wife are doing a full rooftop pv array, and a new efficient furnace (nat gas :( ) with heat pump exchange. says that new tax laws, rebates, all are as aggressive and inducing as they have ever been. Waaaay under-reported if so.

        Lets get that green soft energy path going! Jobs! Less carbon! Domestic energy security!! Sounds like a political platform to promote.

        I have no reason to not believe him… math whiz, accountant, and very sharp lawyer mind.

        Jan 1, 2023 is his D Date.

    2. Yves Smith

      There’s a ton of valuation fraud in the solar business. I have a very dense report from one of the top subprime fraud guys, a mortgage securitization expert who found a legal path for unwinding the mortgage trust and even had Fannie and the Fed on board until someone intervened….likely Treasury because restructuring the firsts would have required zeroing the seconds, which would have come close to zeroing out the equity at some TBTF banks.

      He says this is the worst fraud he’s seen. He describes the losses in Madoff units.

      He’s worked it up one one company but says it’s industry-wide. I don’t understand how the sales by securitization of the tax credits work, but that’s how its happening.

  8. ProNewerDeal

    Does the NC Covid Brain Trust or other NCers have any advice on Novavax? Or experience with Novavax?

    The sole vaccine I’ve taken is the Johnson vaccine in 2021-May, so it presumably provides no protection at this point.

    I never tested positive for Covid, and never have been “flu-like” or worse sick in this 2020-now Covid era. It is possible I had an asymptomatic case.

    It is worthwhile getting the Partial protection that Novavax (or any of the 4 US approved vaccines provides) for Limited time? And what is this limited time, 5 months?

    Perhaps if it is useful, a good time to get Novavax is now, while the vaccines are still free, and not neoliberal-privatized soon?

    Afaik Novavax seems safter than the other 4 US vaccines. It is newly approved in the US, but has been in use for 6+ months in Canada and several other developed nations, seemingly without the Vaccine Adverse Reaction risk documented for the other 3 vaccines.

    peoplescdc dot org is recommending being “up to date” on vacccines. In contrast, flccc dot net is as of a few months ago anti-vaccine for the 4 US vaccines including Novavax. FLCCC recommends the I-vitamin and other vitamins like Vitamin D as prophalyctic.

    I have been taking prophalyctically Vitamin D/Vitamin C/Quercetin daily, and Zinc every 2 days, since the Covid era started. I have not tried yet to acquire the I-vitamin.

    I get frustrated that this Covid pandemic continues indefinitely. My questions and uncertainty do not diminish with each passing quarter.

    Thanks to the Yves/Lambert and NC Community for the Covid information in this era.

    1. Yves Smith

      From what I see from the CDC site, it is not available as a booster. It’s available here only as a primary vaccination for vaccine refusniks. Of course, you can just book a shot, play very stoopid your prior vaccination, and THEN present your CDC card. I don’t think the database of who got what is very good, but it may be better for Medicare and Medicaid patients.

      1. Terry Flynn

        FWIW the “booster” shots in UK are similarly regulated – few “traditional” ones used. If I’m offered 4th shot I’m demanding AZ or nothing.

        Again, and I HATE to go on incomplete data, I don’t want spike protein based boosters.

    1. Louis Fyne

      We’ve surpassed Monty Python-levels of truth distortion a long time ago. Funny if it wasn’t for the waste of human lives.

      Kherson area is the worst place for Ukraine’s style of fighting—sending tanks/men piecemeal over open terrain with no backup. the “counter-offensive” appears to be a purely political decision with Z-man trying to score PR points so that the West sends more aid.

      Ukraine military coup is coming once enough military men decide to take their chances with Zelensky and his secret police.versus certain death at the front

      1. lambert strether

        offensive -> PR -> more weapons -> black market -> ka-ching

        One hates to be cynical, but Ukraine has form….

        1. Daniil Adamov

          I dislike inferences that paint people, especially enemies, as criminally stupid and/or cartoonishly evil. It seems a little too gratifying and over-the-top to be true. Nonetheless, reality has a way of making some of those inferences turn out to be true. All this is to say that I fear you could be right. Ukraine is at least as corrupt as any other post-Soviet country and likely more dysfunctional than most of us. War (of the existential sort, rather than, say, American wars of choice) does have a tendency to force elites to shape up in order to retain power – unless it seems to go so badly that they decide to loot everything and flee.

          1. digi_owl

            Reality is far more often either well intentioned extremist, or economic egoism.

            Of the two i dear say the former is the far more dangerous and unpredictable kind.

            1. Daniil Adamov

              I’d say the former often don’t really have “good intentions”. They just say they do, but in practice their intentions are, at best, “materially selfless”. Think Nazi true believers who are acting out of their good intentions that involve killing people for belonging to the wrong demographic – for the greater good of course. I am not sure that it is accurate to call them “well-intentioned” though they may well be sincere.

              Otherwise, agreed – but the economic egotists can be plenty damaging too, in a pinch, and they can get downright grotesque at times.

              1. JBird4049

                Something people do not see with eugenicists is their need to dehumanize their victims with the ideas of dehumanization spreading far outside of the original group and their victims.

                The notions of deserving and undeserving poor, white trash, blacks, slavery, racism, social darwinism, redlining, and so on, all reinforcing or justifying each other. I think often without proponents being aware of it and who would be horrified to realize this.

                Then add that the advocates of eugenics are usually not personally seeing the results of their beliefs. The Pinkertons, the einsatzgruppen, or the modern death squads usually did not have field members from the upper classes. Of for that matter, the executives closing the factories usually do not live in the communities with those factories. They certainly did not go to the same churches.

                1. digi_owl

                  What is the saying again, three generations from riches to rags?

                  We are likely seeing a massive example of that playing out right now.

                  And the forth power is failing us, thanks to having been professionalized and dear i say gentrified.

          2. Yves Smith

            Ukraine is fabulously corrupt. GM hails from the post-Soviet part of the world:

            Ukraine is one the absolute most corrupt societies in the world, on all levels. The “oligarchs” barely scratch the surface of it — every daily transaction involves corruption there, education, healthcare, administration, whatever you can think of. Nobody can be trusted under any circumstances. On top of that. prior to 1989 probably one in ten people was working with/for the KGB in some capacity, and a lot of those links still remain.

            There is something extremely off about having dozens of US-funded labs doing bioweapon R&D there given that background. Such an operation would involve hundreds, even thousands of people, almost all of them Ukrainians. How can you ensure security of the operation if it is really sensitive?

      2. Michaelmas

        Louis Fyne: Kherson area is the worst place for Ukraine’s style of fighting—sending tanks/men piecemeal over open terrain with no backup. the “counter-offensive” appears to be a purely political decision with Z-man trying to score PR points so that the West sends more aid.

        Larry Johnson addresses this subject in his piece today, saying the same thing.

        I strongly recommend Johnson’s piece as educational reading not for this reason, but for his account from the POV of being CIA’s Honduran analyst in 1988 when CIA managers wanted to show DC policymakers that they were doing their job sending Contras into Nicaragua.

        “That is when I learned that the Contra forces were entering Nicaragua without weapons. One of my buddies who was involved in the logistics effort to supply the Contras tipped me off that the AK-47s the Contras were supposed to carry had not arrived. But, the Chief of the CIA’s Central American Task Force was under pressure from Congress and the White House to show progress. The Contras were refusing to cross the border without weapons and ammunition in hand. The CIA did not have any to give them. What to do?

        “The perfect bureaucratic solutionn–shutdown the Contra camps in Honduras and stop feeding them until they cross the Nicaraguan border …. As a result, the hungry campesinos, grabbed their back packs and trudged across the border while the CIA Chiefs briefed the politicians downtown that the Contra invasion was underway. Victory!

        “What do you think happens to a 1000 unarmed guys wearing camo marching along a jungle trail in northern Nicaragua who are considered the enemies of Nicaragua?”

      3. Ignacio

        Mercouris in his video speculates that the offensive was pushed by the UK and Johnson in his recent visit to Kyev as “essential” as they were noticing the war was loosing support from the electorate.

      4. Old Sovietologist

        In general, the danger for the Ukrainians is that they do not take into account losses at all and genuinely seem happy ready to exchange 1 for 100.

        It look like Kiev has gone for broke, if this offensive fails as it seems like it will, then it will be very seriously weakened, because it will lose the most combat-ready and motivated parts of the reserve and a lots of new technology.

        Looking at Telegram it seems like the first of the wounded have arrived in Odessa as appeals are going out for blood donors. Meanwhile they may have left more than 1,250 corpses on the battlefield.

        1. Old Sovietologist

          Ignacio – I think Mercouris is right.

          About six weeks ago I was listening to Mark Urban on BBC Newsnight. For those of you who don’t know Mark Urban he’s very close to the British Security Elite.

          He said that the Ukrainian’s needed some wins by September or the donors would start to get (my words) “a bit twitchy”.

          1. Karl

            Will the occasional “offensive” by Ukraine provide a sufficient “win” to sustain UK PR? The fact that no ground is gained along with heavy losses will eventually be noticed by the U.K. electorate, even with the best PR Oxbridge grads can provide. So the PR game is at best a short-term feint. Surely the “donors” are already twitchy (not just starting). And once-reputable media outlets are cashiering what’s left of their reputations for being such faithful parrots.

            When this is over, how will they handle the bad PR from “how did we all get this so wrong for so long?” Will heads roll? Will there be a period of self-reflection, confession and repentance? Doubt it. But maybe the NY Times will, after much angst, bring back its Public Editor….?

            1. Revenant

              I consider it my duty to engage London taxi drivers in frank discussions of Ukraine. Today was another full house, the response being that the Ukraine is nothing to do with the UK and the NetZero mob will have us all eating cold food in the dark. Today’s cabbie was considering starting a business reopening fireplaces in London houses so people can burn wood or coal….

    2. Daniil Adamov

      Likewise. Can anyone explain what that was and why they published it? Is this normal for them?

      1. Stephen

        My understanding is that this is a regular process. Brian Berletic / The New Atlas often critiques these briefings.

        The value seems to be in what “The Senior Defense Official” does not say. Eg he is not claiming that the counter offensive is driving the Russians out.

        Both Berletic and The Duran tend to argue that The Pentagon is the one remaining sane part of the US foreign policy machine. So they probably avoid outright lies and total stupidity. They just get very close and use interesting language.

        1. Daniil Adamov

          They do seem rather more restrained compared to a lot of other Western sources. It makes little sense to me as propaganda, considering their admissions of some obvious but impermissible things (re: the Ukrainians also striking targets near the nuclear power plant, for instance), but the information value is also pretty low. I guess it is a tradition/persistent messaging policy? I can certainly see the value of preserving some credibility through such things, at least through contrast.

    3. The Rev Kev

      Back during the Vietnam war the US military use to give military briefings to the press every afternoon in Saigon but which the press themselves christened the “Five O’clock Follies.” Some reporters said that you could have the North Vietnamese First Division march down the streets of Saigon but these briefers would describe that as a ‘desperate action’. Over fifty years later and nothing has changed. No, strike that. Nowadays the reporters don’t challenge those briefers but grovel to them instead.

      1. digi_owl

        Bagdad Bob, US style.

        Only this time round the press in attendance will lap it up as gospel, for fear of loosing their access.

        Excommunication really has become a major tool for political control.

    4. Stephen


      Not just the actual details the nameless “official” gives (The Official With No Name might be appropriate as a Clint Eastwood homage) but the idea that everyone is supposed to believe that the US as the people funding this war have no idea what is going on. But you have to ask Ukraine!

      The Pentagon auditors, for sure, would be unhappy if that really were the truth.

      It’s a very tragic Monty Python style scene.

  9. dftbs

    Policy Tensor’s Moscow-Berlin line had some real cogent historical analysis, but I feel its conclusion loses itself in unfounded optimism. It is said that Bismarck once responded to an inquiry about his success, “The secret of politics? Make a good treaty with Russia.” But Bismarck was under the employ of a sovereign German nation (Empire).

    Policy Tensor seems to belive that the current German government has the same independence and freedom of action with respect to their relations with Russia, “In other words, the Germans may be in a position to follow an independent line that they think would be appropriate.” But follows up that simple prescription with the observation that, “The US should let them.” The implication of that last statement betrays the reality of modern Germany, it is not independent, it is a vassal of the US.

    The solution that Policy Tensor seeks, a “Moscow-Berlin Axis”, which was glaringly obvious to the Iron Chancellor 155 years ago and is obvious today will remain out of reach. Because the real problem isn’t that Germany (and Europe) and Russia find themselves at odds, but that the political structures of the West won’t allow for a reconciliation. Because Germany and Europe aren’t independent entities. And so even if peace is found in Ukraine, imo opinion more likely through Russian victory than diplomacy, Germany and Europe may not find entente with Russia. I believe that for the Russians, he war has clarified the nature of the European regimes as vassals of the US, and as long as they remain vassalized and the US remains antagonistic to Russia, why would the Russian’s seek friendship?

    1. Eureka Springs

      What, do we have a gun to their head? If the US is going to break you any way, might as well cut ties and learn to live without U.S. roulette. With friends like us, who needs belligerents with derivatives and really crappy expensive weapons? I wish I understood this more….

      1. Daniil Adamov

        I am sure the Americans do have various channels of leverage over any German government. Maybe it’s not a gun to their head, but they could make high-level political life very painful if anyone attempts a break.

      2. vao

        Even assuming Germany is not a vassal of the USA, it remains mired in the inextricable entanglement that is the EU — which hinders the country from re-launching a form of “Ostpolitik”.

        1. ACPAL

          As best I can tell, the “gun to the head” is two-fold. If a US vassal nation (ex. Germany) even talks of breaking away the US will sanction them like they’re doing to Russia and ruin the vassal’s nation’s economy. The US also has dossiers on every national leader, J. Edgar Hoover style.

          So, the vassal leaders can lead their nation to ruin through sanctions on Russia and save themselves or lead their nation to ruin through direct US sanctions along with their own personal destruction. Not much of a choice.

      3. Rodeo Clownfish

        USA USA does have thousands of military personnel, with accompanying guns/equipment stationed in Germany for “protection”. Not sure whether those troops are protecting Germany or protecting US interests. Seems like the same kind of “protection” offered by any mafia.

        1. digi_owl

          That is the question is it not? If the air motivator starts flinging crap in Germany, or South Korea, or Japan, how will USA respond? Will they sit still because no outcome threaten their interests? Or will they intervene, soviet style?

        2. FreeMarketApologist

          It’s a remnant of WWII: After the war Germany was broken up into administrative zones where there would be permanently stationed foreign military personnel: The US got the south, France got central Germany, the UK got the north, and the USSR what was then East Germany. In theory it was to prevent the rise of another Hitler. You may debate amongst yourselves whether the likelihood of that now is worth the effort of deterrence.

          It does, however permit the US to keep *significant* military resources (people and equipment) within quick flying / shooting distance of the Russian border, as well as various hot spots farther east, and provides employment to any number of Germans (and the gast-arbeiters) who work in those facilities.

          In 2021 WaPo said almost 34k active duty military, across 87 facilities in Germany. (For cocktail hour discussion: compare to the 53k+ active duty military currently in Japan).

      4. Kouros

        We don’t know what is being discussed under closed doors. When Iraq wanted US out, threats of blocking 35 billion of Iraqi assets were conveyed by the US.

        In Europe’s case is the double threat of removing the US nuclear umbrella protection (as if has any worth other than maybe letting one know that in 15 minutes a missile will hit) and pointing some of ICMBs from North Dakota at Paris and Berlin…

        1. Polar Socialist

          What if the only reason Europe needs that umbrella is because Europe has no independent foreign policy. Isn’t it quite obvious geopolitically that relations to Moscow define European security much more than relations to Washington?

          1. Kouros

            Will Europe build its own nuclear umbrella?? Only then they might aspire for independence. And they will continue to be energy and resource dependent on others…

            1. Polar Socialist

              If Europe “makes a good treaty with Russia”, why would Europe need a nuclear umbrella?
              I don’t think arrogance, lecturing and looting works that well in securing energy and resources. So maybe changing the Common Foreign Policy to something like detente and mutual respect would be better.

    2. Michael Hudson

      His idea of the Soviet-German condominium is goofy. I knew some of the negotiators of Brest-Litovsk and those close to Trotsky. There was no “pay-off.”
      What Trotsky DID believe was that Russia had to hold out until the German revolution would occur. He held this idea down through the 1920s. Stalin opposed this, realizing that a successful German communist revolution would shift the focus of world communism away from Russia. So in opposition to Trotsky, he ordered the German Communist Party to make a united front with the Nazis. The German party had a million men under arms in 1931. Stalin paralyzed them — and masses of Communists simply quit the party.
      The author misses the global context for the maneuverings of Russia and Germany. I hate to be crude, but “You had to have been there.”

      1. dftbs

        I do wonder if the “pay-off”, at least for the Germans post Brest-Litovsk, had no time to ripen. The treaty, its peace, and its concessions to Germany were consummated at the start of March 1918. In April the Germans did engage in the broad Ludendorff offensive on the Western front with their liberated manpower, but that stalled out and they subsequently sued for peace under the pressure of the Allied counter-attack. What if the Germans had played defense and rather than attempt to break the Allies that spring, they had instead attempted to exploit the vast Eastern European concessions gained with Brest-Litovsk.

        I have a question with regards to what you mentioned about Stalin and Trotsky. Was Stalin’s opposition to Trotsky’s “world revolution” simply a consequence of jealousy and Russian (Georgian?!?!) chauvinism? Or is there validity to a less ideological and personal interpretation of Stalin’s position, one which sees his goal as seeking to improve the security and material well-being of the Soviet people and work on “actual existing socialism” as opposed to ideological jihad?

        1. Daniil Adamov

          To me, the difference between Stalin and Trotsky seems to amount to a tactical disagreement. Stalin was certainly not averse to expanding the sphere of revolutionary government control whenever he thought that it was actually viable (see: 1945-1953). Trotsky was much more optimistic about what they could get away with, but I am not sure that the failure of those expectations can be blamed solely on Stalin’s sabotage. Also, the latter can be explained by Stalin simply having no faith in the independent viability of foreign parties and alliances rather than being more power-hungry than Trotsky (of course both of those things can be true and mutually reinforcing).

      2. lambert strether

        I didn’t think much of the detail. I do think the idea of restoring the German-Russian dynamic to a more central position analytically is a good one.*

        “Poor Germany. Too big for Europe, too small for the world.” –Henry Kissinger (paraphrase)

        * Maybe the Russians can do a “sealed train” in reverse heh heh, when the winter gets cold enough….

    3. hk

      It’s worth remembering that Bismarck was an exception rather than the rule even in modern Germany. Germany’s 19th century liberal nationalists (the 48ers) hated the Russian Empire, German leaders Bismarck turned against Russia very fast, and then there’s that Hitler chap. It’s pretty remarkable, for the supposed exemplar of “realism,” how deeply Bismarckian diolomacy was grounded on “moral” bases: commitments to legitimatist rule, strict adherence to legalism (if only to the letter) in foreign policy, etc.

      1. Daniil Adamov

        I wouldn’t exaggerate Bismarck’s legitimism. He seems to have actually preferred the Republic in France over Bonapartists or monarchists, who he thought were more likely to attempt a revanche. He also had no trouble in contacting Hungarian revolutionaries back when it seemed like the Austro-Prussian War may last for longer. I suspect that if the communists had seized power anywhere in Europe in his time, he would not have been averse to cutting a deal with them either. Just not where he lives, obviously.

      2. Stephen

        The received view of Bismarck that I learned per AJP Taylor (arguably Britain’s greatest twentieth century historian) and his “The Struggle for Mastery in Europe 1848-1918 was that he was a deeply conservative man. His intention from unifying Germany was to maintain the role of the Prussian monarchy and frustrate the wider forces of the “revolution” plus the liberal nationalists that Metternich had opposed through the Holy Alliance. To that end, he was also opposed to the Greater Germany model that many nationalists wanted and which would have included modern day Austria.

        Having succeeded in unifying Little Germany, his foreign policy goal then became very similar to that of Metternich: maintain the three monarchies of Germany, Russia and Austria-Hungary in alliance against both liberal forces and French revanchism after 1870. His support was clearly for monarchical legitimism.

        Taylor (who was quite anti Germany as a man of his times) argued that Britain and Russia was the ideal diplomatic alliance as a way of outflanking Europe and effectively bottling up trouble. This was influenced by his early Communism and is not a partnership that we have made work very often. However, it was key to victory in both the Napoleonic Wars and WW2.

        In modern times, Russia and Germany makes perfect sense as an alliance / trading relationship but if we take the Taylor line then eastern European states automatically would hate it. Taylor made the point that a strong Germany and a strong Russia inevitably leads to invidious choices for them and threats to their independence, as in the 1930s. I think this is part of why much of Eastern Europe is so keen to support the US right now in Ukraine: a weakened Russia and a weakened Germany are both outcomes they may favour. The US is too far away to threaten independence and the EU can be influenced. It may not only be the US / UK that are actively seeking to weaken Germany.

        The biggest conundrum is why Germany is going along with any of this. Not that I think the rest of Europe (including the UK) is exactly being sensible either!

    4. Ignacio

      To distinguish between vassal state or independent you would need to do some explaining on what you think are the goals of German leadership or in the other case how the Germans are limited to do, as a vassal, what the US wants.

      On the goals of Germany we recently had this rare piece of information in which Scholz discloses his views: Scholz pitches major EU enlargement — with reform that provides, IMO, a decent view about what is in the head of German PMC regarding international relations.

      EU enlargement in the Balkans and East (Ukraine). IMO the German see this as business opportunities for German companies and industry. Up to EU-36 now in EU-27.
      EU reform. He explains needed to make the monster governable. I suspect also the reform would help to advance German interests above all.

      Having these goals in mind what Germany is doing makes sense to meet their goals even if it is wildly stupid. The German PMC may be thinking that a few sacrifices for some years might not be that problematic if they end having a larger area of influence.

      IMO, Germany is following some long-term strategy to their interest, not US’s, but at the same time forgetting that tactical losses can derail everything they have in mind. I find it amusing that Germans are putting all the blame of failures in Scholz’s back while his partner in this nightmare Habeck is being reinforced. I wish German commenters chime in.

      1. dftbs

        I think that you described what seem to be the goals of the German leadership, as per their stated intentions and actions, accurately. But I think we need to analyze those goals further and determine whether they serve the national interests of Germany.

        Now the German government could certainly pretend that it is playing with history the way one would a computer game like Sid Meier’s Civilization. They could remove the immediate human costs of their actions and formulate a “long-term strategy” that allows them to postulate long-term benefits that are removed from the actual material health and well-being of their population. But could we sincerely describe government policies whose benefits are removed from the well-being of their actual populations as being in the national interest?

        If these policies are done to the effective detriment of that nation’s population, and to the apparent benefit of some other nation or group, then I think it’s fair to describe the former as a subject of the latter. So it may be that the actions of the German government under Scholz are in line with his and his party’s stated goals, but they don’t seem to be in line with the best interests of Germans. And as Professor Hudson articulated early this year they do seem to be to the benefit of the US.

        Going back to my initial pique with the Policy Tensor article, if Germany, as a putative democracy, finds a way to re-align its actions with the well-being of its population it will go a long way towards clarifying if it is a sovereign nation or a vassal. If they can find accommodation with Russia, without regard to US approval, they will most certainly prove to be independent.

        1. Ignacio

          The same applies to the US: US goals are defined by their ruling classes and may well not serve the national interests of the US or at least the interest of the general public. Does it make the US a vassal state? No.

          I think we should mint a new term substituting “banana republic” for Western states following corrupt and failing policies. Actually “banana republic” is inaccurate and offensive in some places. Saint West of the Moral Superiority? PMC United?

          1. dftbs

            I would agree that this applies to USians, and it does make the US population a “subject” peoples of its elites. What makes the Germans vassals is that in this formulation their own elites are also subject to those of a foreign power.

            At the risk of having us fall into a semantics rabbit hole I would say that a simple “banana republic” or some other corrupt polity does have some level of independence in its foreign affairs. For example Egypt has more latitude in its foreign affairs than Germany, as demonstrated specifically in dealings with Russia.

            But back to the central point, I don’t think that Germany has the political structures to execute a reconciliation with Russia, as Policy Tensor would have it. Even thought this would be to its great benefit. And while I agree that the German government may be following a path of its stated choosing; I believe it made this choice for benefit of a foreign power and individual members of government, but not its own national interests.

    5. nippersdad

      The point that the Russian government thinks of the EU as a US vassal was made pretty clear when Minsk II completely broke down and they tendered a new European Security Treaty to both the UN and the US in December instead of to the EU alone. The sanctions and subsequent war in Ukraine just clarified that viewpoint for the Russian public.

      1. Stephen

        I guess they saw Minsk II as Europe’s opportunity to prove independence given the role of France and Germany as guarantors. The opportunity was not seized so they moved on.

        1. Polar Socialist

          Well, they did ask in writing at the end of the last year from EU, USA and NATO about the collective security in Europe and got a sneer in response.
          I think at the time Lavrov said something along the lines that there obviously was no independent Europe.

          1. Kouros

            Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also sent a letter to every government in EU asking them to clarify certain legal positions with respect to OECD Istanbul and Astana legal commitments, as in security for all or no one has security…

  10. Solarjay

    IRA act.
    The WSJ, well it’s a typical article that keeps the false premise that somehow the US has been the forefront of renewables, is just wrong. Even15-20 years ago we didn’t have much manufacturing.

    The US has no inverter companies to speak of and of those they are all made overseas: India, SE Asia or China. And the smaller battery based equipment is now being taken over by Chinese product as well. With prices sometimes 1/4 of US with better features too.

    Solar panels. Of the those made here it’s a very very small % of what we install and about 99. % of those use imported parts and assemble here.

    Batteries, yes some assembly here but no manufacturing, no companies except those doing initial design in labs, nothing to scale.

    Wind, only 1 US companies in the top 10, last time I looked.

    No US companies doing floating wind base work.
    The few mainland us wind manufacturing is in the heart of the country. With offshore wind hoping to grow, that probably makes for imported equipment just because it’s easier to arrive at the assembly ports.

    The IRA will bring assembly of solar panels here but not “manufacturing”

    One of the things I’ve been reading about China and other upcoming industrial countries is that as they keep improving, they train lots of people and they create an infrastructure that allows for fast implementation of new designs.
    Training smart engineering designs etc.
    And finally they are not about 1/4 by 1/4 profits.
    It’s why I don’t think we will see actual US big scale solar panel manufacturing because it’s expensive to set up ( glass, poly silicon, etc) and the ROI isn’t large enough, nobody wants to invest like that. And while some may say but it’s the new economy, we need to be more self sufficient, yeah maybe but talk is cheap.

    But I could be wrong.

      1. Solarjay

        The video about the mine could be of any open pit mine, copper being some of the largest.

        As to rare earths in renewables, they are only in those wind machines that use permanent magnet designs. Most on shore wind don’t use magnets.

        There are no rare earth metals or minerals in solar panels.

        1. Bruce F

          I wanted to tell you (Solarjay) that, in general, I get a lot from your comments on solar energy. I hope you keep making them. Thanks!

  11. johnherbiehancock

    Re: Jackson, MS water system failing

    Isn’t that the same city who’s water/sewer was the screwed up by some private equity boondoggle back in the 00’s?

    I remember Taibbi covering it, or something like it, in the “Vampire Squid” days of his reporting.

    1. Keith in Modesto

      I just read through that article and from what I can decipher, no one really knows the source of the problems at the water treatment plant, which is a startling revelation to learn about the capital city of a state in the United States.

      From the article: “While the city highlighted the potential flooding of structures at O.B. Curtis [the water treatment plant] due to the high crest of the Pearl River over the weekend, officials have yet to firmly establish the direct causes of the plant failures at the water treatment plant.”

      And: “Operational failures at O.B. Curtis are downstream from the facility’s most pressing issue—a near complete lack of qualified personnel. Class A water operators and regular maintenance staff are sorely needed at O.B. Curtis.”

      Reading between the lines and from looking at the comments to the article at the Mississippi FreePress website, my current best guess is that routine maintenance at the water treatment plant has been postponed and/or faked for years. It’s extremely alarming that a major municipal government in the United States has failed so badly at providing a basic public good.

  12. The Rev Kev

    ‘NEWS: DOJ’s new filing includes. photo of the classified documents found at Mar-a-Lago on Aug. 8.’

    Look, I know that it is a bombshell and the walls are closing but…….anybody notice that box on the right in that photo? I thought that it had a Time magazine but I was wrong. It was a Time magazine cover in a picture frame and there four other picture frames as well. And that box is to transport them with so I am assuming that the FBI either took them or planned to take them. Either way, that is not a surgical mission to retrieve “classified” documents that. That’s a fishing expedition. And the FBI seizing Trump’s present and old passports confirms that. In other words – ‘Ruh, roh!’

    1. vao

      Perhaps Trump used the old, old trick of hiding secret documents in those picture frames, between the picture itself and the back cover? Yes, that must be it. The number of frames with such mundane pictures as TIME magazine covers is highly suspect.

    2. Prufrock

      The point is that Trump’s personal items were mixed in with classified information, providing evidence that he knew the classified docs were there. The “fishing expedition” arguement is nonsense… there were clearly many opportunities (much more than a normal person would be given) to return items or at least negotiate honestly after the government had a reasonable understanding that more classified information was at mara lago

      1. Lemmy Caution

        >The point is that Trump’s personal items were mixed in with classified information…

        How can you possibly know that? You have no idea who arranged that little display of documents on the floor, where the documents came from, whether they were all mixed in together or came from completely different rooms, floors or buildings.

        What should concern you more is the deliberate leaking of pictures like this from the FBI, with little or no discussion of chain of custody or details about exactly what we are looking at or where exactly it came from.

        1. marym

          The DOJ filing says the documents in the photo (attachment F) were recovered from a container in the “45 office.” I think the scale marker, redaction blocks, and 2A (location and item id?) indicate the point in the search process when the photo was taken. Maybe that means there should be other photos provided that show the initial state of what they found. It would be ironic, though, to apply a what I agree is a reasonable “chain of custody” critique to the FBI but not Trump.

      2. Katniss Everdeen

        The point is that Trump’s personal items were mixed in with classified information, providing evidence that he knew the classified docs were there.

        Wait, what?

      3. The Rev Kev

        Sorry but that argument does not hang together. Personally I despise Trump but he is still entitled to protection under law. The FBI said that they were going after classified material but among other things, took his passports. So are you going to argue that his passports count as classified material as well? Maybe those picture frames too? The “narrative” behind this raid is already falling apart and a top FBI agent has been shown the door. And as a past mate of mine would say, the FBI just stuck their old fellows into a meat grinder – and Trump is on the handle.

        1. Pat

          I could come up with a somewhat plausible explanation of the passports. As in they could have been in folder in a bankers box where classified files were discovered in the search and taken with box. But there is no explanation for framed magazine covers, it would not have been in the warrant and there was no reason to take them.
          I can’t make up my mind if they are this arrogant and stupid or if someone within the department is actively trying to sabotage this highly questionable action. Either way, no matter how it ends it won’t be happy.

          1. anon

            So now these documents are so sensitive and highly classified that they can be spread out and viewed on a cheesy carpet (presumably outside a SCIF), photographed, and the photograph published. Did the FBI/DOJ just mishandle classified material themselves?

            1. Tom B.

              You may not have noticed the white rectangles covering presumably sensitive areas of the images. Interesting choice to not use the normal black redaction rectangles. Apparently it is possible nowadays using advanced FBI computer technology (photoshop) to apply regions of any color to cover portions of images that you wish to conceal.

    3. sinbad66

      Not a fan of the “Orange One” but it’s funny that the FBI didn’t raid Hilary’s home and seized her ‘private’ e-mail server…and you can bet even money she had classified stuff on there. But then again, when the crowd chanted ‘Lock her up’, Trump said “it will never happen. She’s protected. ” I guess the Donald isn’t afforded that luxury….

      1. nippersdad

        They admitted at the time that there were classified documents on that server, but unlike with Trump they had people at the DOJ saying that no reasonable prosecutor would go after her for something like that.* So the question on offer is why the prosecutors are suddenly less reasonable when it comes to Trump vs. Clinton. I think, here at any rate, that question has been mooted.

        * “Although there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information, our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case.”

    4. Katniss Everdeen

      O. M. G. I am really scared now. I was inclined to buy the fishing expedition explanation, but now there’s an actual PHOTO. From the FBI!! On the internet!!!

      That front one–the one with the red border that says “the secretest of the secret” or something like that–is really, really scary. That’s prolly the nuclear codes, but don’t tell anybody. And all those blank pages were prolly written in special disappearing ink so no one except adam schiff and the gang of eight can read them, in a hermetically sealed, top secret, document reading pod room in the bunker.

      I know that when colin powell waved that vial of fake yellow cake around, it wasn’t real and he was sorry later. And when john brennan found the WMDs on the satellite photos, they weren’t there and he was kinda sorry later. Shit happens. But this is way different. This is just so real. And right there on twitter. Blue checked. Everybody knows that twitter doesn’t allow anything that isn’t the god’s honest truth. They have fact checkers.

      Woe is us. Thank god it only took the fbi and the plucky, intrepid librarian at the national archives 18 months to save america from Snidley Whiplash…I mean Donald Trump…and certain disaster. We really dodged a bullet here, people.

      1. fresno dan

        I really don’t think you’re taking this seriously enough. If you take the picture, project it through 492 nm polarizing light filter, the nuclear code will be revealed.
        its 42.
        The end of the world will occur when some doob on twitter sends a tweet with the code (by the way, forget the code). Because the people in the nuclear bunkers spend all day sending and reading tweets, …I mean, what else have they got to do??? and if they read the nuclear code, they will immediately launch nuclear armageddon

      2. nippersdad

        That whole idea about nuclear codes strikes me as hilarious; like they don’t change them from Administration to Administration. Should someone tell them that you need at least six figures, some of them capitalized and a few numbers in there, to make us safe from nuclear aggression by Ukrainian troll farms?

        As Lambert says, we truly do live in the stupidest timeline.

    5. The Historian

      Trust me: Neither side has even the slightest inclination of letting us peons know what is happening with this incident or what the facts really are, so if anyone is waiting to know the ‘truth’, it ain’t gonna happen. All that will happen is that there will just be more frustration and anger – over what? This isn’t going to be decided on ‘truths’ or facts, it is going to depend on who has the craftiest attorneys and who is better at judge shopping. And no doubt, in the end, it will go to the Supreme Court, and unless Trump somehow loses his hold on the Republican Party and becomes vulnerable, you know what the outcome will be.

      I’ve been scanning the talking heads from left to right and, wow – everyone who wants 15 minutes of fame is blithering – on both sides of this thing – and the media is gladly letting them do it. And now everyone is a legal expert – yea sure!

      There are so many things to get emotional about these days – why is this farce so important?

      I like how Lambert is dealing with this – just have fun with it.

    6. fresno dan

      so I have zero sympathy for the FBI. But it is almost like a barbed wire cage mat of the quantum incompetent.
      Trump’s own spin implies that the documents really were on the premises when the FBI got there but that they’d been declassified, so who cares?
      Three problems with that. First, none of the potential charges he’s facing depend on whether the national defense material in his possession was classified. It’s a red herring legally. Second, and relatedly, his lawyers have never made the declassification claim. Third, the idea that Trump ever issued a “standing order” by which classified material would automatically be deemed declassified once it was on his person is preposterous even according to the people who worked for him.
      That’s why the DOJ included the photo in the filing, to illustrate in a way that words couldn’t just how much was left over after the second tranche and how clearly marked it was as being classified. It took the FBI only a few hours to find it. The lawyer who signed the “diligent search” attestation may now be in legal jeopardy herself.
      That filing was in response to Team Trump’s demand that the court appoint an independent “special master” to review the files seized by the FBI to make sure the feds don’t get to see anything that’s properly protected by some sort of privilege. The right time to request a special master is immediately after the government has seized documents, for the obvious reason that the FBI will begin reviewing them unless the court orders them not to. Trump’s team waited two weeks to make their request, after an FBI “filter team” had already scrutinized the material for privilege, which may mean that it’s now moot. And meanwhile, they’ve given the DOJ an opportunity to elaborate on their case against him by instigating this back-and-forth over the special master.
      That Trump and his lawyers appear to have knowingly withheld the third tranche of documents despite attesting otherwise is the main revelation from last night’s filing. It helps explain why one of the potential charges listed in the search warrant involves obstruction:

      I continue to think John Bolton’s theory best explains why Trump insisted on retaining so much classified material despite the jeopardy involved in doing so. It’s not because he wanted to sell secrets to the Saudis or because he feared that information in some of the documents might be evidence of his own criminal activity in office. It’s because the documents were valuable and prestigious, he viewed the presidency as his personal fiefdom, and he didn’t think the DOJ would have the stones to confront him knowing how he would end up demagoging that to his fans as another “witch hunt.” He miscalculated. No wonder he sounds panicked lately.
      Trump in my view could mount an irrefutable, broad, and devastating critique of the DoJ and FBI. Sure, laziness, incompetence, are important reasons Trump doesn’t, but I think the primary reason is simplier. The corruption – the corruption of the power that large amounts of money entitles one to in the US legal system – in the US is not an exclusive dem or repub behavior – anybody with money can use it!. Trump is never, ever gonna dimish the power his money gives him. And no other rich person either. A real, serious reform of the FBI, that would make the FBI capable and competent at investigating white collar crime is never gonna happen…

  13. YankeeFrank

    Re Jeffrey Sachs, he’s been on fire recently not just about geopolitics but also on the covid front pointing out the coverup of the investigation into its origins. The story is outrageous — he was appointed to head the Lancet’s “Covid Commission” and found that many of the appointees were part of the EcoHealth Alliance’s efforts to quash serious investigation of a biolab origin to covid. He had to purge the commission of these people to get anything done, and still can’t get relevant documents from the NIH and others to properly investigate what all these labs are up to w/ regard to the spike protein research and the furin cleavage site etc.

    Sachs thinks its quite likely covid was made in a US funded biotech lab, of which there are hundreds all around the world doing god knows what mad research. This research was moved out of the DoD’s purview and under Fauci a couple decades ago and its basically the wild west now. If we don’t get this under control… no wonder the Russians are freaked about all this.

  14. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: UCLA professors allegedly charged certain students extra fees. They want to hide the scheme LA Times

    UCLA is ranked as one of the top six institutions in the world for dentistry and oral sciences. The orthodontics certificate program admits from six to eight students each year, with four of those positions earmarked specifically for international students, according to the admissions website.

    Because an ostensibly american public educational institution should not have, as its priority, training students to practice domestically.

    I had not realized that america had such an ample supply of orthodontists competing with each other to make straight teeth so very affordable to the masses, that “we” can devote 2/3rds of publicly funded elite training spots to those who would create beautiful “Middle Eastern” smiles.

    1. Michael Ismoe

      You can’t charge $12000 for kids’ braces if there is an orthodontist on every corner. Scarcity keeps prices high. Like OPEC for dentists.

      OTOH – if three of those 4 “internationals” are headed to Great Britan, then it’s a good thing.

      1. Revenant

        English Mouth was very funny in Austin Powers but was thirty years ago.

        Despite cut backs, NHS dentistry has transformed British teeth in three generations. Our grandparents had to have dentures. Our children have nice smiles.

        One danger is that social media and Love Island are exaggerating these into an actinic dazzle of fake veneers (“Turkey teeth”, the go-to place for cheap cosmetic work). Another danger is that there are no NHS dentists in entire counties because they can make more money in private practice than on the NHS tariff. I was horrified that my son’s recent treatment was not free – all my checkups and procedures were until I turned 18.

  15. Watt4Bob

    Even Jeffrey Sachs’ article avoids, probably in the interest of brevity, the central reality that it is Wall $treet and the MIC that are actually in charge of the West’s plan to dominate the world.

    (I listened to Sachs on the radio yesterday, Democracy Now, he was much more expositive of the reality that our efforts are aimed at total domination of the world by the forces of Western finance. )

    Biden is just doing what he is told, like he always has.

    It’s way past time to finally admit that the folks we ‘elect’ don’t work for us, and they certainly aren’t working to spread democracy.

    The folks in Washington are working exclusively to make a very small group of people insanely rich, and it’s obvious that they consider managing their ‘relationship‘ with us, “We the People” as a vast inconvenience.

    The real culprits have us chasing our tails in trying to change Biden’s ‘mind‘, and/or get Trump into an orange jump suit, neither of which will happen and neither of which will get the Wall Street banks and their MIC/Big Oil enforcers to take the boot off our necks.

    1. YankeeFrank

      Indeed, the geopolitical games being played against China/Russia/Iran etc serve to benefit only a very few and that only if successful, which is highly unlikely at this point. I don’t think enough people realize the anglo-dominated world economy of the last 100-200 years is ending and we’re living through an extremely fraught era: the Brezinski Brigade (a true Russia-hate blinded moronic geopolitical great gaming fool) are in denial and are pulling out every stop to maintain an already failed hegemony.

      The only thing that has prevented a true third world war at this point (and for the past 70+ years frankly) has been the assurance that the puppet masters will themselves get nuked in the process. I know for a fact that at least some of the developers of nuclear weapons in the Manhattan Project had this very idea in mind: after watching the carnage of both world wars unfold where the people who created the mess didn’t really suffer, they decided it was time to put a stop to their monstrous games. So far its worked, and their fondness for their own skin may save us again.

      So now Europe will have to economically implode with the US likely next in order for these fools to larp their ultimate failure as imperialist overlords. I feel like paraphrasing the Lloyd Bentsen line he used against Dan Quayle for these tools: I knew Alan Dulles (such as he was) and you sir are no Allen Dulles.

      1. Watt4Bob

        Sachs, on the radio yesterday, explained that in the early 1990s, he was advising both Poland and Russia on rebuilding their economies.

        He went to the folks back in Washington and all the recommendations to help Poland got approved, including a generous cancellation of Poland’s debts.

        When he advised similar actions to aid Russia rebuild, he was met with stony silence.

        He said Cheney and the folks who developed The Project for the New American Century, William Kristol, Robert Kagan, et al were firmly of the mind that they had defeated the evil empire and they were going to collect the spoils of war, and finish creating the New World Order.

        And of course, the New World Order would feature only one financial system, and among its prerogatives was the looting of Russia.

        Putin put a stop to that and that’s why he is now a target.

    2. LawnDart

      Bada-bing! Bob, I found you a soulmate: so I came across this yesterday…

      By Eric Zuesse,

      Scientific empirical studies have uniformly proven that the U.S. Government is not a democracy (not a one-person-one-vote operation, nor anything even approximating that) but is instead an aristocracy (a one-dollar-one-vote Government). The U.S. Government represents actually not persons, but instead wealth. Voters go to the polls deceived by propaganda permeating the media, and voters register there their choices that were shaped by the media that are owned either by Democratic Party billionaires, or else by Republican Party billionaires; but, in either case, by billionaires; and, so, American politics is a game that is won by one group of super-rich individuals, against another group of super-rich individuals; and, as the first of these scientific studies found…

      Source: it’s found on the South Front website, probably still around the top of the main page. I’m not sure that I can directly link to the article, but websearch the author’s name and article should come up.

  16. Tom Stone

    The Mar A Lago raid has several interesting aspects.
    The warrant is VERY broad, arguably it meets the criteria for a General Warrant.
    Brian Auten and others involved in the raid have serious conflicts and to put it very mildly, problems with credibility.
    No prosecutor in their right mind would want to expose them to cross examination.
    So what’s going on?
    Is it an arrogant and raw exhibition of power by the FBI?
    “Don’t mess with us or we will destroy you WE are the law?”
    The Feebs ( Fraud,Blackmail, Intimidation) were not subtle about their role in the 2020 Election from the FBI organized and funded “Plot” to kidnap Governor Whitmer to R.Hunter’s Laptop disappearing from view.
    Biden owes the FBI big time, he knows it and they know it.
    So…where is this mess going?
    Is it a “Shot across the bow”, a warning to the rich and powerful that they too need to get with the program or get hurt, or is it simply incompetence, arrogance and insanity?

    1. YankeeFrank

      Schumer’s “six ways to Sunday” comment referring to what happens to anyone who stands up to the “intelligence” services was a key moment in understanding the corruption and toady nature of our supposed leaders who cravenly proclaim their own impotence and admit that they are ruled by the spooks. Sad!

    2. Carolinian

      Did the FBI have some reason to feel threatened by Biden or, even, Trump? For Trump the speculation is that Comey wanted to continue under a Hillary administration and yet his pre election comments helped elect Trump. I suspect that in all these cases the FBI is being used by Biden, Hillary etc rather than vice versa. And for that they only needed a cabal, not the whole outfit. As for other FBI practices the agency has always been part PR shop with Hoover actively encouraging both movies and a 1960s television show to boost the public image. And while he did have those blackmail files and secret programs these were kept hush hush. A very public raid on an ex pres was not his style.

      Biden is the bull in the china shop on just about every front. There are reports that the FBI raid goes back to the WH.

    3. Katniss Everdeen

      “News” that hardly anybody knows about and gets little coverage is that Trump is suing a slew of dems like hillary, her 2016 campaign, and another slew of current and former fbi types like comey and mccabe for offenses committed against him in the Crossfire Hurricane operation. The action is being litigated in South Florida, and I believe it is a civil suit.

      Trump declassified documents related to Crossfire Hurricane before he left the presidency. The declassification memo is public, and has been published on various conservative sites.

      The MAGA “speculation” is that the raid was conducted to “recover” those documents, which Trump intends to use as evidence in the lawsuit, and create a dispute over his claim of “declassification.” Creating the dispute is the point. The visuals of the “recovery” are theater.

      The rest is a mueller Russiagate “investigation” redux. The documents supposedly cannot be used as lawsuit evidence while the dispute is “ongoing.” No one can comment due to its “ongoing” nature. The “investigation” will be open-ended, with no limit on the use of words like “espionage” and “obstruction” by the usual suspects, constructing a narrative that will, they hope, ultimately make it impossible for Trump to run for president again, and damage candidates whom he endorses.

      Just like with mueller, there doesn’t need to be any “there there.” The utility is in creating an immediate impression of serious, if necessarily unsubstantiated for “national security reasons,” wrongdoing. As with mueller, when it all falls apart in the end, the purpose will have been served and no one involved will suffer any consequences. It’s about Trump, after all.

      1. Carolinian

        Well I’ve heard about the suit but surely such a suit would be as much about PR on Trump’s part as any expectation of winning. As for the raid hurting him politically, the opposite seems to have happened. Which doesn’t mean that what you just described isn’t the motive. They are all the gang that couldn’t shoot straight.

        Which is why I hope Trump doesn’t run. Just because the Dems get all hysterical over Trump doesn’t make him a good choice for president. That said, he would be better than Biden who–surely–won’t run in any event.

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          So, I don’t think it’s about “winning,” but I don’t think it’s about PR either.

          I think its about getting all the defendants on the stand, under “oath,” in public, and compelling their testimony. This isn’t congress. “What difference does it make?” won’t cut it. Can you imagine? It would be quite a shit show.

          Remember when mueller “indicted” a bunch of Russian individuals / companies over Russiagate? One got a lawyer and showed up in court. Mighty mueller slunk away, tail between his legs. Something about discovery and actual evidence.

  17. c_heale

    Re: the US Cropland Values story, surely it should be Prices, not Values. The value of the cropland is probably infinite, if it could even be measured. The price is not and can be measured.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      I thought the price for California cropland odd considering its water prospects for the future. Maybe water rights are attached to the land that raises its price?

  18. Lex

    Nowhere is the disconnect between Russia and the US/EU/UK more stark than in the news of Gorbachev dying. Putin is being honorable and diplomatic on the issue, but Russian media and especially the social media aspect is borderline celebrating. The west really doesn’t understand (because it has decided it doesn’t need or want to). In an election between a refrigerator and a television, the refrigerator will always win. A lot of Russians see Gorbachev as the guy who traded the refrigerator for a television that could get western channels. Not many Russians are mad about the end of communism, but the way it ended and the price they had to pay is rightfully upsetting to them … and “Russians” means the ethnic type and pretty much all the Russian speaking soviet citizens.

    It’s also being pointed out that all the major architects of the dissolution of the USSR died this year. In the more conservative Russian circles there’s definitely a feeling that 2022 is the year of Russian rebirth.

    1. Daniil Adamov

      It is hardly surprising that the West loves someone who sold out Russia to them (whether for money, for an emotional high, for lofty ideals or for all of the above) more than the people who got sold out.

      I have lost appetite for cheering at people’s deaths of late, but I cannot help noting that Gorbachev died fairly well-off in 2022, whereas many other communist leaders of his time died in relative-to-crushing poverty long before then. The man was very good at advancing his own interests, whether as a Soviet careerist or a post-Soviet opportunist. Not so good at advancing the interests of the country he was in charge of. That he had sincere good intentions in his own head may well be the case, but if so, he was also utterly disconnected from the reality he lived in and the actions he took. He seemed to value popularity (locally and in the West), loud gestures and good feelings over practical results – something he had in common with Alexander I and Kerensky.

      The one slightly redeeming thing I read about him recently (through this site) is that he may not have been quite as ignorant about Chinese economic reforms as I long thought (which would’ve been truly damning, since Brezhnev had assigned Gorbachev to study the prospects of radical economic reforms years before the latter rose to power). Even so, he found no good way to enact something similar here. It must be admitted that he was partly the prisoner of a massively dysfunctional system, but I refuse to believe that there was truly no alternative to his actions.

    2. Louis Fyne

      interestingly Wikipedia says Gorbachev had Ukrainian and Russian heritage.

      The USSR had an interesting aspect in that non-Russians had, by far, disproportionate amount of power (Stalin, Krushchev, etc) compared to their actual numbers over ethnic Russians. With non-Russian Soviet areas (Ukraine, Baltics) benefitting at the expense of the Russian heartland.

      No wonder ethnic Russians would be happy to send off Gorbachev

      1. Daniil Adamov

        There are many ethnic Ukrainians in the modern Russian Federation. Certainly in the Urals, where I live. Quite a few ethnic Russian families (like mine) have relatives in Ukraine (as well as Ukrainian relatives in Russia!). I would not overstate the political importance of this, though, either in Soviet times or now.

        The other republics benefitting at Russia’s expense is a common narrative about the Soviet Union, though, among its Russian enemies. It may well be grounded in fact (resources were redistributed from RSFSR to prop up the republics). It accounts for why the Union was certainly much less popular, at its end, in RSFSR than in Central Asia or Transcaucasia (though majorities supported it everywhere outside of perhaps the Baltic States – its destruction was the reflection of the desires of the elites rather than the “masses”, who, when asked, voted to preserve it). A large and loud minority here wanted to get those “freeloaders” off their backs, essentially. Those same people were often enthusiastic for the shock therapy – at least up until the point when the shock had hit them too.

        Of course, there is an opposing narrative in the former republics about how those republics were being looted in favour of Russia. I am not sure as to the truth of this. Late Soviet dysfunction may have been bad enough for both of those things to be true at the same time. Also, it is true that there were economic problems everywhere, and resources were being pulled from all parts of the Union and then frequently used in irrational ways.

        1. Stephen

          The way I try to understand (probably imperfectly) it is by thinking about the Irish in England.

          Many people here (including me) have Irish ancestry, sometimes dating back to The Famine. Evidenced too by the large number of Irish names, most of which we do not recognise as such given how assimilated they are. Often origins are forgotten in the mists of time. Lots of intermarriage too, and so forth.

          These days it has zero political consequence. I am English. As with any such close relationship there has also been conflict over time too and lots of opportunity to blame each other for things. As an English person, I can be blamed for the Famine but at the same time my ancestors were victims of it! These things are messy. Far better if we all try to create peace not war, of course.

          1. Daniil Adamov

            “As an English person, I can be blamed for the Famine but at the same time my ancestors were victims of it!”

            I have relatives among both the victims of the Communists and the Communist party members involved in the Stalin-era repressions (of course, many of those overlap). I think that is pretty common if not outright universal here. I am in a similar boat even without the ethnic aspect. :) I suppose if I were looking for ethnic guilt/grievance, I could also look to my partial Jewish ancestry.

            In any case, the intermarriage is not uncommon and so many parallels apply. An difference to keep in mind, however, is that many, probably most Ukrainians in the 17th-19th centuries identified as “Russians”. However, “Russians” at the time meant what “East Slavs” means now. Thus, “Little Russians”/”Ukrainians” were a distinct “Russian” ethnicity from “Great Russians”, with their own highly distinct “Russian” language. Also, the two peoples are objectively much closer related than the English and the Irish. The boundaries were always there in some form, but they only started to be emphasised in a big, political way over the course of the 19th century, at least as far as I know. Ukrainian settlement here predated the split; Ukraine was one of the main sources of colonists for the Russian colonisation of the Urals. People are certainly aware of their roots, but it is not surprising that many of them identify with Russia more. That seems true at a glance even for those who(se ancestors) moved here in the 1930s and 40s.

            1. Stephen

              Exactly, these things are complex. All the more reason why we outsiders ought not to interfere, encourage conflict and then take sides. But the west has chosen to do so. Unconscionable.

              Your final paragraph is interesting. All of the nations within the British Isles were separate peoples and kingdoms through most of history so there is no exact parallel.

      2. Daniil Adamov

        Incidentally, one might argue that this: “The USSR had an interesting aspect in that non-Russians had, by far, disproportionate amount of power (Stalin, Krushchev, etc) compared to their actual numbers over ethnic Russians.” was true for the Russian Empire also. After all, starting with Catherine the Great, supreme power was concentrated in the hands of singular representatives of a small ethnic minority: the Germans. That did not prevent some of them from being strongly anti-German (Alexander III comes to mind, of course. It is said that when someone suggested that his ancestor Paul may have been a bastard sired by one of Catherine’s Russian favourites, he exclaimed: “Hurray, we are Russians!”. When this has been debunked, he stated rather more solemnly: “Hurray, we are legitimate”).

      3. digi_owl

        The only oddity was how close to the present it kept going.

        After all, Hilter was Austrian by birth but served in the German army during WW1.

        Napoleon was born on Corsica, at the time annexed by France.

        1. hk

          And Napoleon’s family was a fairly recent migrant from Genoa–Italian enough that Charles Bonaparte, Napoleon’s American great nephew who served in Teddy Roosevelt’s cabinet, was celebrated as an Italian-American hero.

      4. Sibiryak

        The USSR had an interesting aspect in that non-Russians had, by far, disproportionate amount of power (Stalin, Krushchev, etc

        Khrushchev was an ethnic Russian. He himself made that clear in his memoirs:

        I’ll say that the Ukrainian people treated me well. I recall warmly the years I spent there. This was a period full of responsibilities, but pleasant because it brought satisfaction … But far be it from me to inflate my significance. The entire Ukrainian people was exerting great efforts … I attribute Ukraine’s successes to the Ukrainian people as a whole. I won’t elaborate further on this theme, but in principle, it’s very easy to demonstrate. I’m Russian myself, and I don’t want to offend the Russians. [Wikipedia]

    3. The Rev Kev

      On the news here they were using his death to contrast it with what Putin has been doing and how Gorbachev’s legacy should have been maintained. There was more talk about Putin than there was on Gorbachev himself but with no recognition that he is despised in Russia itself for opening up the gates to the carpert-baggers of the 90s which led to millions of Russians dying. Apparently some Democrat Senators have been saying the same and Kissinger was moaning too and saying that he-

      ‘“performed great services but he was not able to implement all of his visions,” Kissinger said, adding that he “was in part destroyed by the developing ideas for which his society was not yet fully ready.”’

      Henry should have a nice warm mug of STFU.

      1. Daniil Adamov

        Ha, well, he did perform great services for them.

        For whatever it is worth, we enjoyed a genuine high point of free speech and democracy under Gorbachev – along with accelerating economic collapse and mounting ethnic warfare. The events that followed that showed how limited the value of free speech and democracy truly is. By themselves, at least, those glories of Western civilisation were not enough to put a dent in a social catastrophe. Nor could they defend themselves from Yeltsin once they got in his and his friends’ way.

      2. digi_owl

        His biggest “mistake” was to stick to his principles when faced with a conservative backlash to his reforms. That is what allowed Yeltsin to take the limelight, and everything unraveled from there. If anything the Russian anger should be directed towards Yeltsin as the actual misery happened under his watch.

        1. Daniil Adamov

          Well, that depends. Gorbachev was asleep at the wheel; Yeltsin was an opportunist who took advantage. I do not think the former should be absolved of his responsibility, though both deserve blame for different things. Besides, many parts of that misery started under Gorbachev and were wilfully accelerated under Yeltsin.

          1. orlbucfan

            I’m an American who has more respect for Gorbachev than I ever will for the two radioactive yahoos: Raygun and Thatcher.

            1. Daniil Adamov

              To be frank, that seems easy when one is an American and only got good things from him.

          2. Polar Socialist

            I think that the oligarchs that looted Russia during Yeltsin years were created by the reforms of Gorbachev.

            His intent on diminishing the power of ministries in “controlling” economy (and move it to regional party organs) backfired by creating an environment where bold business managers were able to take completely over state companies without having any responsibility to anybody.

            1. digi_owl

              My impression is that it happened later, when the Harvard bois introduced shock doctrine.

              As in the oligarchs formed as the industries were privatized by giving employees shares, that they then sold for pennies in order to keep food on the table.

              1. Polar Socialist

                Yes, the “oligarchisation” happened later, but those men did not come from nowhere, they were the adventurous managers and party officials that started building their positions when Gorbachev’s reforms left nobody in control.

    4. Old Sovietologist

      We in the west are going to have to put with medias lionisation of Gorbachev. “The Man That Ended the Cold War”; “The Man behind Perestroika”, etc. Nonsense of course as Andropov was the man behind Perestroika.

      There was a realisation in the late 60s that deep political and economic reforms were going to be necessary in the Soviet Union. There wasn’t much left ideologically communist in the Soviet Union in the 70s, the fact that David Rockefeller had opened an office in Moscow in 1973 was testament to that.

      It was Andropov who identified talented, open-minded young economists and mathematicians who would be the “saviours and reformers” of the Soviet economy. This was before he became general Secretary.

      From the late 70s onwards these “reformers” met their western counterparts at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Vienna. Thus, the Russian reformers met the Harvard boys. The impact of these obscure academic seminars would be felt in Russia in the 1990s.

      Andropov aim was to try to stabilise the situation, preserve the Soviet Union and leave the real reforms for the next generation of leaders. His early death meant the reform process would be left in the hands of Gorbachev. That was unfortunate as Gorbachev was naïve about the West and as a leader, he was generally indecisive, afraid of responsibility and stupidly kept silent when any action was expected of him.

      Even when Yeltsin’s fascist mafia, seized power in the RSFSR he decided to appease them, even as they openly committed treason, rather than work with Communists to save the Union. He cuts a tragic figure and in truth was a mediocre leader.

      He probably doesn’t deserve the vile he will get in Russia, but he also doesn’t much in the way of adulation either.

      Gorbachev: The wrong man, at the wrong time.

      1. Daniil Adamov

        Andropov was the man behind Gorbachev as well, of course. Gorbachev was his protege. Andropov presented Gorbachev to Brezhnev, who gave them the go-ahead to start planning economic reforms. Brezhnev and Andropov, for all their differences, were both relatively sober about the Soviet Union’s economic problems. The former in particular appears to have been openly contemptuous of the communist ideology, without wishing to destroy the Soviet Union. They all knew that market-oriented reforms were necessary, but were wary of where they might lead in terms of both political instability and the likely takeover of the economy by criminal elements, so decided to tread carefully. (Also, of course, because many other parts of the party leadership would not have accepted the reforms.) Gorbachev seemed like the best figure available to entrust with implementing those plans, I assume due to his age, understanding of the problem and general organisational skills. He failed.

      2. Maxwell Johnston

        Agreed. One of my favorite what-ifs of recent history is to think of what might have played out if Yuri Andropov had had slightly healthier kidneys. Just a few more years of decent health enabling firm leadership. The USSR reforming its economy along Deng-like Chinese lines, with parallel political repression and consistently firm foreign policy backed up with a robust military. A few disparate republics would certainly spin off (the Baltic trio and probably Azerbaijan, maybe Georgia) but the remainder holds. Quite a different world from what we’ve got now.

      3. deplorado

        I agree with everything you laid out, except the last bit: he deserves the bile. 500, 000 women from the former Sov Union ended up sexually trafficked around the world, for starters as a direct result of the total collapse he unleashed. You don’t get a free pass from history just because you have mild manners.

        Also, his homes on lake Geneva and lake Konstanz, daughter married into San Francisco finance, his Louis Vuitton ads (not just Pizza Hut), dinner with Hugh Grant (the actor)… the man was simply a petty opportunist with a taste for high life who had no business running half the world only to sell it out.

        In his best days, he was probably close to something like Obama and managed to bamboozle the people and the country leadership he knew what he was doing. Then everything unraveled.

  19. Carolinian

    Re Chomsky’s Puzzling Pr–word salad much? After many paragraphs he plainly states his “it’s all about the capitalists” point which would better have been placed, journalism style, in the first paragraph. But then we readers might have skipped over all the verbiage that brought us there. Frankly the suspense wasn’t killing me.

    1. Cat Burglar

      Beijer is right that Chomsky does not say much about non-US imperialism. When he has been asked about it, Chomsky has an answer: we are citizens of the United States, so it is our responsibility as citizens of the imperial power to stop what our state is doing.

      It is not surprising that Chomsky would take that position based on a view of individual moral responsibility, because he is an anarchist. If Beijer wanted to do some kind of thorough socialist criticism of Chomsky’s strategy and tactics — which would be worth it, and interesting — I don’t see how he could avoid honestly considering that.

      1. Carolinian

        Well anarchist or socialist do we really need a roadmap to decide about Chomsky and his ideas?

        But if that is Chomsky’s position then I agree with it and not just for moral reasons. US foreign policy is worse than a crime, a mistake. We as citizens do need to call that out. The character flaws of Putin or Xi are not our concern. The flaws of our “allies” however are a legitimate concern since they involve us.

  20. Stephen

    A Very Quiet Bombing

    Playing to one of yesterday’s discussions, I wonder if Simon Tisdall of The Guardian will write an article condemning this as a follow up to his polemic on Ukraine.

    He did write something six years ago that does not really dissect any root causes of what was happening then but presents “facts” in a certain way.

    Agree with Colonel Smithers comment. The legacy news media in the UK (I cannot speak for elsewhere) seems increasingly reliant on funding sources that have an agenda. It must influence journalists, whatever they may claim.

    I have seen this type of thing as a management consultant: we genuinely want to think we are 100% independent to call things as they are but in reality the perspective of the fee payer is always somewhere in the mix. For a start, it influences the overriding question which itself governs the answer. It’s all subtle but real. The equivalent in journalism is selective reporting of topics and then choosing certain facts plus timelines and ignoring others.

    The few exceptions to this in UK media seem to include people such as Peter Hitchens who seem popular enough and sufficiently established that they generate revenue for their paper through clicks and their brand. So seemingly able to write what they truly think.

    1. flora

      …increasingly reliant on funding sources that have an agenda.

      Say, for example, the Guardian and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation? / ;)

  21. Adam1

    “…but I think any firm with “First” in its name is like a restaurant called “Mom’s.”

    Do we smell a financial fraud here? I read your comment about “Mom’s” to be that hole in the wall joint everyone tells you has “great food” but turns out to be, at best, OK. It stays open only as long as enough people keep believing the story that it’s the best they’ve ever had.

  22. upstater

    re A US Freight Rail Crisis Threatens More Supply Chain Chaos Wired.

    Trains magazine had an excellent on-the-ground report about the BNSF transcontinental mainline in the southwest that is tied up in knots:

    It all comes down to abusing the unionized workforce and the perverse incentives for executive management. This is going to get worse, particularly if there is a Congressional cram down of the union contracts (we’re in the 30 day “cooling off period” after the presidential board made recommendations).

  23. Terry Flynn

    Apologies if this is too off the beaten track but I’m increasingly worried about books as reliable sources. Declaration of interest – I’ve co-written a book published by CUP BUT most chapters are minor rewrites of articles that went through rigorous peer review at top journals.

    I’m increasingly seeing books published by “famous” publishers that have egregious errors. One on wellbeing prompted this post. It was by LSE – supposedly top notch and open access to boot. The latter enabled me to find a terrible error quickly. People not in the know won’t realise this is a blatant v political exercise to excise me. The irony is that the finalised QoL instrument – the ICECAP-A – is crap. How do I know that? Cos i did the scoring! This was intended to be a stepping stone to better instrument….. But that never happened. Former colleagues now selling it like the dodgy covid vaccines. I’m worried as hell.

    1. flora

      Sounds like the ultimate endgame of neoliberal worship of “The Market” is fraud at every level. Left unchecked, fraud is very, very profitable.

      1. Terry Flynn

        This is partly why I’m less visible on internet. It’s still easy to search for me since I use my real name but I deliberately changed emails to stop people asking for free favours.

        The latter worked. I’m sure it’s easy to find me via (for instance) this site….. But it’s a hassle to contact me. Suits me fine.

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        Thank you! Your comment is very helpful. I cannot understand the rampant spread of obscure acronyms. What is the point of streamlining the effort of writing if that streamlining only serves to make that writing incomprehensible or at best an exercise in translation for the greater part of its readers — and attempting readers. But I have lost any inclination to return to the root comment of this thread using your translations in an effort at understanding what Terry Flynn was going on about.

  24. pjay

    Re: ‘Chomsky’s puzzling PR strategy’ – Carl Beijer

    Could someone please explain the practical consequences of Beijer’s position regarding, say, the analysis of the Ukraine conflict? If I understand him correctly, the proper “Leninist” approach is to recognize it as an “inter-imperialist rivalry” and then … what?? Sit back and watch with self-satisfaction, knowing that *we* understand the dynamics of Global Capitalism? I’m frankly confused about how this is in *any* way better than the “tankie” – or Chomsky – tactically understating the internal problems of the countries our Imperial War Machine is destroying. What “Zei Squirrel” seems to be saying is that Beijer’s level of abstraction is useless in helping us understand specific historical conflicts such as Ukraine, and that those “progressives” who insist on such “equivalency” are simply aiding the imperial propagandists. If that is the “tankie” argument, then I wholeheartedly agree with it. Beijer’s “principled” stance is indeed useless, except as another mechanism to disarm the “left”.

    Perhaps I’m not understanding him correctly. What am I missing here?

    1. Daniil Adamov

      Presumably, the proper Leninist approach is to sit back and wait for an opportunity to seize power in any of the conflicting nations, then hope it manages to kick off a world-wide revolution this time. To prepare the grounds, Leninists should attack everyone involved with whatever means are at their disposal until something gives somewhere. At the same time, they should be prepared to enter tactical alliances with the “imperialist elites” of America, Russia, China, whoever – in order to use them to seize power, first among their enemies, then among themselves.

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      I think Carolinian at August 31, 2022 at 9:32 am got it right:
      “Re Chomsky’s Puzzling Pr–word salad much? …”

  25. Big River Bandido

    Caitlin Harrington’s Wired article on the railroads is the kind of intellectual (?) laziness that has destroyed journalism in the USA. All “he said, she said,” with absolutely zero inclination to look under the hood and actually tell what is happening. Lists a very watered down summary of workers grievances and then just sets it on the scale against corporate propaganda and, lo and behold, they just balance! Gee, who knew this issue was so “difficult”?

    The entire situation is borderline farce (CHIPS Act is worthless without a functioning supply chain) and a series of tragedies just waiting to happen. Meanwhile Mayo Pete, the Cabinet member whose portfolio includes this sector, is a non entity. At least the article got that part right. Well, at least his opponents will find great fodder for teevee ads.

    1. jr

      Speaking of Petey the Powerless, here is Matt Stoller on Breaking Points interviewing airline industry expert William McGee on the chaotic state of air travel:

      Some highlights: According to McGee and other veteran airline experts, this summer has been the worst period for air travel in the industry’s history. Period. He described the industry’s overall state as the “Wild West” and it’s leaders as able to act with “impunity”. Bad weather is a convenient excuse that may or may not be true. When you swipe your credit card, you just signed a 200 page document and those contracts of carriage are not your friends. Your best avenue for redress to go onto social media and raise heck as DoT complaints go nowhere. VIPs and VIP flights get veeeery special treatment by the airlines….unless they want to give you a Middle Finger, which is what McGee said his friends in the industry revealed Buttegeig’s recently cancelled flight was all about.

      I’d love to ask him if he has any UFO stories…

  26. flora

    re:COVID drives down U.S. life expectancy for the second straight year – CDC data Reuters

    And what else might be driving covid related causes? Fit young person dies unexpectedly, cause unknown? I found out last week the 20-something healthy, fit son of friends had a massive stroke and requires permanent care now. The CDC doesn’t say much about this sudden upswing in “cause unknown” deaths that started occurring very recently, within the past 2 years. You’d think somebody would want to find out what’s causing all this “cause unknown”, unless the CDC and others don’t want to know the answer. Or, they know the cause – strokes or heart attacks in young people and act like that’s a normal thing. It is not a normal thing in young people. We’re not supposed to notice this or talk about it? I’m fed up with the silence.

    I realize this comment may never make it out of moderation, but this needs to be said.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      I don’t disagree with you about the dangerously cavalier way the spike protein vaccines were approved, distributed and mandated.

      But it is impossible to claim that these vaccines caused the astonishing nearly 2-year decline in life expectancy in 2020. I think those who opposed lockdowns under any circumstances and mask mandates have some serious self-examination to do. Hundreds of thousands of lives have been lost, and millions more may be because of the Freedom-Uber-Alles crowd providing the largely unwitting backing for the billionaires’ demand that everyone stay on their hamster wheels regardless of a pandemic.

    2. Terry Flynn

      Have had heart condition from birth…… Shouldn’t reduce my life expectancy……. But now that I’ve had COVID multiple times my heart is incredibly weakened to extent that more infections will undoubtedly bring forward my “death date” immensely.

      That’s life. I’ve gone beyond angry.

    3. Basil Pesto

      flora, I know I’m days late, but strokes in otherwise healthy young people after Covid infection were being reported in *April 2020*, for goodness’ sake. The stroke and heart disease risk of the disease has furthermore been detailed in links and original posts on this website on numerous occasions since then, including before the vaccination campaign and long after its peak last year.

      The CDC has shied away from saying that Covid is responsible for this because 1) to do so would be impolitic for them, as it would be a tacit admission of how badly they have failed over the last 2.5 years, and 2) to do so would be to undermine all their “we have the tools and we’ve implemented them in such a way that Covid is just a flu now” propaganda. This informational vacuum has left room for this enduring misery of immense breadth and depth to be blamed on vaccines (or lockdowns, or masks). Understandable to a point, perhaps, but ultimately such positions are foolish. Repeated mass infection with SARS is the conspiracy, it is the killer, it is, overwhelmingly, what is robbing people of their health.

  27. Dave in Austin


    A few quotes from a Senior Defense Official on background:
    From the Senior Defense Official:

    “So I don’t want to mislead you here and tell you that I don’t think the offensive is underway. I — I would just — I’d refer you to the Ukrainians right now because we have seen some offensive action in that area for the past couple weeks.

    This followed by; “Tom, I’m just saying, I think the Ukrainians have a better way of telling you what they’re doing than we do. I mean, even in the best case, you know, I’m getting my reporting from the Ukrainians. So –”

    My comment: Is he seriously saying that this senior DOD official is: “getting my reporting from the Ukrainians”? And there is no follow-on from the reporter? “No comment” is honest; this is flat-out dishonesty.
    From the Senior Defense Official:

    “In the vicinity of Kherson, again, an uptick in kinetic activity over the past few days, including artillery and rockets, and as I mentioned to you before, I don’t have particulars on whether or not an offensive has begun down in Kherson, but we have seen an uptick of fighting in that portion of the battlespace”

    My comment: Is there such a thing as a downtick? Are we involved in kinetic activity in Syria?
    From the Senior Defense Official and a response from the questioner:

    “Well, I just don’t — I mean, listen, are they on the offensive? I think they are. Is this a counteroffensive? I don’t know. And the reason I tell you that is because, as I said, over the past couple of weeks, we’ve seen them making some offensive moves in and around the Kherson pocket.

    Q: Yeah, but again, it’s frustrating for us because they’re saying it’s a big counteroffensive and what we hear — see — hear from you guys is, like, an uptick in fighting. Those two don’t match, you see?
    SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL: No, I’m with you, Tom.
    Q: Yeah.”
    This is embarrassing for both of the DOD official and the reporters. It makes the Saigon press conferences during the Vietnam War look like models of logic and honesty.

  28. Exiled_in_Boston

    “Do Not Drink The Water’: Jackson Water System Failing For 180,000 People”
    Although Phil Ochs wrote the song, ‘Here’s to the State of Mississippi’ over 55 years ago, it is still relevent.

  29. Mikel

    “Micky Dolenz Sues FBI to Get Full File on The Monkees” Billboard

    “…The suit notes that Dolenz, 77, and the three deceased members of the Monkees — singer/guitarist Michael Nesmith, bassist/singer Peter Tork and singer Davy Jones — “were known to have associated with other musicians and individuals whose activities were monitored and/or investigated b the FBI, to include, but not limited to: John Winston Lennon (and the three other Beatles as well) and Jimi Hendrix…”

    An interesting tidbit I remember reading about concerns Jimi Hendix’s manager Mike Jeffries. He’s said to have bragged about CIA connections. People close to Hendrix have told writers that Jeffries did many things to undermine Hendrix’s career as he was stealing from Hendrix. Some even consider him putting Hendrix on tour with the Monkees as a sabotaging event because the audiences of Hendrix and the Monkees were very different.

    (Personally, as a guitar player, I like listening to Hendrix, but also have a guilty pleasure for some of the Monkees’ catchy tunes.)

  30. ddt

    Lambert, as far as I’m concerned, you win the internet COTD with the “That rug really ties the room together” comment :)

  31. Mikel
    Our Latest Covid Poll

    “Americans on the left end of the political spectrum have become less anxious about Covid.”

    Actually that would be the neoliberal end, but it’s the NY Times. So we know they poll alot of PMC’ers (look at me! My “brand”). They, just like the right-wing, aren’t interested in a broad spectrum of social and political beliefts. Stuck on that binary thinking.

  32. Mark Gisleson

    Bester quote noted and appreciated. The Demolished Man was one of the first books I reread when I went digital.

    For those not picking up on the significance of “Tenser, said the Tensor,” here’s a blog post.

    1. Tom B.

      Even though I had read the book at least twice, the excerpt in the blog post was startlingly cool!
      Must dig it out and read it again.

      1. Revenant

        How is using tensors a breakthrough in AI? They are just multidimensional matrices. They are literally on page 2 of matrix algebra. It is no more interesting than geometric algebra, which has improved graphics because it makes certain operations like rotation much more intuitive than matrix formalism.

        1. Polar Socialist

          AI is all about munching data, and from that point of view, tensors are just multidimensional arrays that make it relatively easy to build a network to subject the data to all kinds of treatments to tease classification rules out of it.

          I wouldn’t say tensors are a breakthrough in AI as such, but they did a lot to make AI “easy” to use with popular code libraries.

          1. Revenant

            Sorry, it was a rhetorical question! I understand the natural application of tensors. I just don’t see it as a conceptual break-through anymore than 3D graphics is a break-through over 2D.

  33. antidlc

    Update on my public information requests.

    I decided I would do a little investigation on my own regarding use of funds from the American Rescue Plan for ventilation in public schools and buildings.

    See URL:

    I submitted a public information request to the city, asking them if they received funds from the ARP and if so, were any of the funds used for ventilation/filtration. The city DID receive funds from the ARP, but none of the funds have been earmarked for ventilation/filtration. The city manager responded he is not opposed to using some funds for ventilation/filtration. I plan to take my Aranet4 into some of the city buildings and check the readings. It would be nice if I could get a reading from the city council meeting — the meetings tend to draw quite a few (mostly retired) people and it would be interesting to see what the CO2 readings are an hour or two into the meeting. (I’m almost afraid to check.)

    I filed a public information request to the local school district. I sent it certified and the online tracking shows the letter was received last week. They have 10 days to respond. I also searched their website and there is mention of funds from the ARP but it looks like the funds were spent mostly on “hygiene theatre” and not ventilation/filtration. There was reference to a survey that went out, and based on the results of this survey, the spending priorities were set. I don’t know if the survey even included any questions on ventilation/filtration, so I filed another public information request for a copy of the survey.

    One of the things to watch is the fees they can charge for the information you request. I think the fees are quite high (probably intentional). David Sirota has also mentioned how expensive it can get when you file FOIAs.

    I’ll let you know what I find out.

    I also want to file a public information request to the local community college and public university, but I will wait to see what I am charged for the school district info.

    I will keep you updated.

    I’m tired of the deaths. I’m tired of the sickness. I just want people to be able to go to work or school and be as safe as possible. There are funds available through the ARP. At a minimum, each classroom should have a Corsi box.

  34. juno mas

    RE: SF Bay Red Tide algal bloom

    It is important to recognize that the Red Tide is a mix of different types of algae. All types suck oxygen out of the water at night when there is no sunlight (killing small fish). The sharks and larger sea animals usually are killed by the toxic cyanobacteria in the “Red Tide”. (Red Tide also kills mammals—you and me.)

    Cyanobacteria (not a true algae) increases in the water as the water temp increases (hot weather is occurring in the Bay area). Cyanobacteria can pull nitrogen from the atmosphere (70% N). So the toxic bacteria “blooms” when the true algae run out of nitrogen sources in the water column.

    Sewage treatment plants are only one source for nitrogen and phosphorus. Auto emissions and urban runoff are other sources that need to be controlled to limit algal blooms.

  35. juno mas

    RE: Mercouris shout out

    Yves, that was a full, effusive recognition of your economic/political assessment of the density of EU leaders. Well beyond a shout out.

  36. Chris Smith

    Re: “The Accelerating Threat of the Political Assassination”

    Lost me at this line: “Finally, more and better training of law enforcement and aggressive prosecution of threats that attempt to hide behind First Amendment protections of free speech are urgently required.” (Emphasis added.)

    Just another excuse to shut down criticism of our failed leaders with a BS appeal to “safety.”

        1. digi_owl

          Yeah, that is a loaded term.

          In the first instance it can mean direct verbalized threats directed at some individual or group.

          In another it can be the seeding of seditious ideas that can destabilize the political and social status quo.

      1. LifelongLib

        The article uses “threat” ambiguously though, both in the sense you state and in the broader sense of something that may increase the likelihood of assassinations. It’s not clear which they mean in the First Amendment reference. Is a bit of rhetoric IIRC linked here a while ago “Advice to rednecks: join the blacks, hang the rich, and then go fishing” a threat of harm or protected free speech?

    1. Kouros

      War on the Rocks should have also considered the assassination of Iranian general Soleimani as part of the picture. State driven assassinations are still assassinations, no matter what Israel might say about that…

  37. Leroy R

    Bolsonaro is one of the most disgusting political creatures to come down the ‘pike in a long time, now hoping the evangelicals in Brazil will pull him through the next election. The deforestation in Brazil is particularly nasty, and one of the big reasons is beef production. The fast food industry in USA does not take enough heat for what they are doing — McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King, Sonic etc. flood television with their ads and I think they are doing pretty well financially. The rainforest is being sacrificed for hamburgers. The fast food companies are as bad as big oil, but seem to occupy a benign position in the hearts and minds of Americans.

    1. ambrit

      Yes. I want to see a copy of the Emperor Claudius’ grammar and dictionary of the language be discovered.
      Now that a useful method of scanning the carbonized scrolls found at the large private library at the Villa of the Papyri in ancient Herculaneum, buried and preserved during the eruption of Vesuvius in 79AD is available, who knows what has been preserved.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I know what you mean, ambrit. I would love for them to discover a library in some rich dude’s home containing a treasure trove of lost works. And I think that about 30% of Pompeii still remains to be dug yet.

        1. Polar Socialist

          No, no, no! In my line of work we have a saying that static ontology works only for ancient literature, since there will be no more of it, ever. That’s why one should leave the room whenever data harmonization is mentioned.

          Don’t take that away form us!

  38. Karl

    Question RE: Russian Strategy in Ukraine

    An NC commenter (I believe yesterday) got my head buzzing. Some expert was quoted to the effect that Russia’s strategic aspirations now go beyond neutralizing Ukraine to weakening NATO. Further, that to achieve this goal, the Ukraine conflict has to extend into the winter, when Europe will be most weakened and divided over scant energy supplies from Russia. If true, Russia has an interest in slowing its advance and keeping Zelensky in power a little longer. Another implication is that Russia will be satisfied with only incremental advances for the foreseeable future. This seems consistent with what’s happening in the Donbass and around Mykolaiv recently — seemingly minor Russian advances here and there.

    This, however, would also imply that Russia has the military supplies, soldiers and political/economic wherewithal to opt for this pretty expensive strategy. But on the face of it, given the current divisions within NATO that will only get worse over time, this strategy seems quite plausible.

    Is there much intel out there to support this line of thinking? Any thoughts on whether this strategy could succeed?

    1. Polar Socialist

      A few days ago I would have said that such grand strategies succeed only when implemented by Jeeves, but I just saw (by iEarlGray) a clip from 2018 of Mr. Putin saying:

      You know, sometimes I think that it would be good for us if those who want to impose sanctions would go ahead an impose all the sanctions they can think of and do it as soon as possible. This would free our hands to defend our national interest in a manner we deem most effective. In general, though, sanctions are very harmful, especially for those imposing them.

      That kinda underlines that Russia may have thought this out in advance and is – if not creating – absolutely not suppressing conditions that will likely lead to a big economic and political crisis in EU and will weaken The West, EU and NATO.

      That said, I assume that the Special Military Operation is following it’s own logic and schedule. Russia could stop all advance tonight, and yet EU would keep hitting itself as long as Russia doesn’t yield and Ukraine wants to bleed more.

    2. nippersdad

      They have the military Industrial complex necessary to make this go on forever:

      They have not declared war on Ukraine; they are operating on a peace-time expeditionary force level estimated at around ten to fifteen percent of their capability. And as the sanctions are brought to bear an action that was always popular in Russia is becoming even moreso. There was a price to be paid for openly admitting that the “collective West” actively hated Russians, and one can see it in Putin’s polling numbers. He has never been more popular at home.

      I would say that sitting there and acting like a sponge for everything thrown at them is not only cost effective, it is less expensive in both materiel and manpower than the kinds of maneuver warfare everyone initially expected of them. All of those cauldron maneuvers remind me of an amoeba ingesting its’ prey so I have been thinking of it as amoeba warfare for a while now, and it is every bit as deadly its’ namesake would imply.

      They are going to go until they get what they want, maybe a little more for the sake of having something to give away in negotiations. The end is a foregone conclusion, but the duration is entirely up to them.

      1. digi_owl

        The only question remaining is what is happening within the Ukrainian chain of command. Is the Kiev brass getting pushback from the front lines? Are there indications of mass insubordination?

  39. Karl

    Question RE: Russian Strategy in Ukraine

    An NC commenter (I believe yesterday) got my head buzzing. Some expert was quoted to the effect that Russia’s strategic aspirations now go beyond neutralizing Ukraine to weakening NATO. Further, that to achieve this goal, the Ukraine conflict has to extend into the winter, when Europe will be most weakened and divided over scant energy supplies from Russia. If true, Russia has an interest in slowing its advance and keeping Zelensky in power a little longer. Another implication is that Russia will be satisfied with only modest incremental advances for the foreseeable future. This seems consistent with what’s happening in the Donbass and around Mykolaiv recently.

    This, however, would also imply that Russia has the military supplies, soldiers and political/economic wherewithal to opt for this pretty expensive strategy. But on the face of it, given the current divisions within NATO that will only get worse over time, this strategy seems quite plausible.

    Is there much intel out there to support this line of thinking? Any thoughts on whether this strategy could succeed?

  40. Kouros

    The AI researcher bringing the idea of tensors in is interesting. But the nugget she expresses is this one:

    “You’ve mentioned wanting a sort of Hippocratic oath for AI research. Why?
    It’s always important to question how our work is going to impact the world. It can be challenging, especially in a large company, because you’re building one part of this huge system. But so much of the way we teach in universities is derived from military school. Engineering came from that background, and some of it lingers. Like thinking that scientists and engineers should focus on the technical stuff and let others take care of the rest. It’s wrong. We all need humane thinking.”

    I wonder if she is getting any funding from DoD, given her research on improving drones flying in turbulent conditions…

  41. The Rev Kev

    Oh no! Can it be true? ‘Washington Post in financial trouble’-

    ‘The Washington Post is in a financial downward spiral, according to the paper’s archrival, the New York Times, which analyzed its competitor’s fortunes in a report published on Tuesday. Not only is the Post on track to lose money in 2022 after “years of profitability,” but it may have to lay off as much as 10% of its newsroom staff, the exposé claims.

    Without former President Donald Trump drawing traffic, the Post has lost readers, especially online, where its ranks of paying digital subscribers have dropped below three million, reversing two years of gains. Meanwhile, digital ad revenues are down by 15% over the previous year’s numbers, according to an internal financial document seen by the Times.

    Belt-tightening measures could see as many as 100 newsroom employees let go, insider sources claimed, citing statements made by CEO and publisher Fred Ryan to newsroom leaders. That would amount to 10% of the newsroom staff. While this might be accomplished via a hiring freeze rather than outright layoffs, Ryan is reportedly fed up with “unproductive” employees who work from home instead of commuting.’

  42. KFritz

    Thanks for the Rimshot! My all-time favorite rimshots open Louis Armstrongs “Zat You Santy Claus?”

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