Links 8/4/2022

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.

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Oldest DNA from domesticated American horse lends credence to shipwreck folklore ScienceDaily (Kevin W). Misty of Chincoteague lives!

Geometric Analysis Reveals How Birds Mastered Flight (David L)

Why So Many Cars Have Rats in Them Now New York Times

Influential music executive Mo Ostin has died at 95 NPR (David L)


The unintended consequences of COVID-19 vaccine policy: why mandates, passports and restrictions may cause more harm than good and Evaluating potential unintended consequences of COVID-19 vaccine mandates and passports BMJ Global Health

Memory problems after covid-19 more common in people with smell loss New Scientist

Ancestral SARS-CoV-2, but not omicron, replicates less efficiently in primary pediatric nasal epithelial cells PLOS Biology

You’re Traveling Abroad. You Test Positive for COVID. You Board Your Flight Anyway. Slate (resilc)

Eli Lilly’s Covid-19 Antibody Treatment to Be Sold Commercially WSJ


How is monkeypox spread? Your Local Epidemiologist (Dr. Kevin)

U.S. Could Have Had Many More Doses of Monkeypox Vaccine This Year New York Times (Kevin W)

From Politico’s morning European newsletter:

Monkey see, monkey doesn’t do: While in the U.S., Canada and Britain, tens of thousands of people have already been vaccinated, in the EU, doctors are having to turn patients away because there are no doses available.

Why this matters: As we learned from COVID, doctors see vaccination as the most effective way to stymy a broader spread of the disease and prevent new mutations.

Take Madrid, which last month hosted Europe’s biggest LGBTQ+ pride parade, which doctors identified as a hotspot for transmissions. The city has to date only been able to administer 790 vaccine doses — meanwhile, around 2,000 people have already tested positive for monkeypox in Madrid, and two people have died of monkeypox in Spain.

Or Brussels: The city is registering a rapid increase in cases, but is lacking doses. (Belgium received 3,000 for the entire country via the EU.) “The vaccine is not available in Belgium at the moment, despite the public announcements,” said Dr. Jean-Christophe Goffard of the Erasme Hospital.

“These past two weeks, we’ve had a growing demand for tests … and close to 90 percent of the cases prove to be positive. We don’t have the impression that we are currently able to control the epidemic well.”


Troubling new research shows warm waters rushing towards the world’s biggest ice sheet in Antarctica PhysOrg (Kevin W)

How Siestas Might Help Europe Survive Deadly Heat Waves Wired (resilc)

A race to save fish as Rio Grande dries, even in Albuquerque Associated Press (David L)

Japan Is Getting So Hot That Dogs Have Their Own Mobile Fans Vice (resilc)


China’s Solution John Robb (Chuck L)

China’s C919 poised to challenge Boeing, Airbus Asia Times (resilc)

US, Indonesia Hold Joint Military Drills Amid China Concerns The Diplomat

Pelosi Aftermath

PLA drills around Taiwan continue to ‘rehearse reunification operation’ after Pelosi’s visit, ‘exercises blockading island to become routine‘ Global Times. Important.

China Says US ‘Responsible’ for Taiwan Crisis After Pelosi Visit; Chinese Military ‘Rehearses’ Alexander Mercouris. A discussion of official and quasi official statements from China. Also shout out to NC at 44:10.

China set to begin effective Taiwan blockade hours after Nancy Pelosi concludes visit South China Morning Post

China Signals Plan to Launch Missiles Over Taiwan in a Dramatic, Troubling Escalation US News (David L)

Nancy Pelosi, China and the Slow Decline of the U.S. Military Matt Stoller. Important. And no wonder we suck in Ukraine. This looks to apply to Russia too: “’In purchasing power parity,’ he [military bureaucrat Cameron Hold] said, ‘they spend about one dollar to our 20 dollars to get to the same capability.’”

20 Percent Of The USAF’s B-2 Force Is Deployed ‘Down Under’ The Drive. Kevin W: “Great. In case of war, China’s primary nuclear attack target will only be about 20 kilometers away.”

A Democrat more dangerous than Nancy Pelosi Alex Lo, South China Morning Post (resilc)

How a missile in Kabul connects to a Speaker in Taipei Pepe Escobar, The Cradle (Chuck L)

‘Take down Pelosi’s plane’: Chinese react online to Taiwan visit FT

‘Hoopla and yellow journalism’: Taiwanese Americans bemoan media fearmongering over Pelosi visit The Guardian (resilc)

‘Very serious interest’: Indonesia wants AUKUS submarines monitored by UN watchdog Sydney Morning Herald

The People in Hiroshima Didn’t Expect it Either CounterPunch (resilc)

Old Blighty

Banned Russian oligarchs exploited UK secrecy loophole BBC

Dover disruption – is this the new normal for Britain’s border? UK in a Changing Europe

UK inflation will soar to ‘astronomical’ levels over next year, thinktank warns Guardian

The Lives and Deaths of Tory England The American Conservative

New Not-So-Cold War

Ukraine: Ukrainian fighting tactics endanger civilians Amnesty International. Confirms long-standing charge that Ukraine is using civilians as human shields. Paul J-H points out:

The good thing here is that Amnesty for years has been a vocal critic of Putin’s regime, so it has moral credibility as well.

I hope EU/NATO draw conclusions from this or at least drop their blinders.

Senate votes 95-1 to add Sweden, Finland to NATO The Hill

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Months into war, Ukraine refugees slow to join EU workforce Washington Post

European gas storage facilities more than 70% full; Gazprom gas transit request via Ukraine 41.9 mcm Interfax

* * *

Volodymyr Zelensky seeking ‘direct talks’ with China’s Xi Jinping to help end Russia’s invasion of Ukraine South China Morning Post

Ukraine SitRep – On The Ground Report – Ukrainian Frontline Collapses Moon of Alabama

Ukraine war: IAEA says Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant out of control BBC (Kevin W)

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UK Labour Party expels Audrey White after confrontation with Sir Keir Starmer BBC

Taoiseach says ‘time to move on’ from Sabina Higgins controversy, defending right to free speech The Irish Times


Iraq is a ‘Jenga Tower’ That Will Soon Collapse The Wire

The Taliban’s black gold: militants seize on coal to reboot economy FT

Senate Republicans threatened to burn a bill that would have helped veterans. Here’s why. Vox (resilc)

Imperial Collapse Watch

Why It Is Critical to Understand What the Other “guy” Thinks Larry Johnson

UH Task Force Detects Fuel In Navy Water After It Was Deemed Safe Civil Beat

Biden Administration

The Democrats’ Weak Bench The American Conservative (resilc)


After Kansas defeat, what’s next for abortion bans? BBC (Kevin W)

Calpers Transfers $600 Million Of State Workers’ Wealth To Wall Street Forbes (Kevin W). A more pointed headline for our report of a month ago: CalPERS Cooks the Books While Taking an Unnecessary Loss to Exit $6 Billion of Private Equity Positions.

Walmart Lays Off Hundreds of Corporate Workers Wall Street Journal

Lollipops Hustle on Amazon Costs Family Candy Business Millions Bloomberg (ma)

The Bezzle

Michael Saylor Bet Billions on Bitcoin and Lost Wall Street Journal

Class Warfare

A WeWork for the .01% is Coming to New York Bloomberg

‘American Cartel’ authors go inside the opioid industry NPR (David L)

Antidote du jour (via):

And a bonus (Chuck L):

More animal athleticism (Chuck L):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. The Rev Kev

    ‘AFU is shelling the center of Donetsk again, at least four people have been killed so far, many wounded – like I said on the last episode, this is a reaction to the successful offensive near Donetsk, the Ukrainians are baiting Russian forces into moving faster than they should’

    This was actually more despicable than the tweet lets on. The Ukrainians were also targeting a drama theater which was hosting a funeral ceremony for a female militia commander – Colonel Olga Kachura – who had been fighting with the militia from the beginning. So highly was she regarded that President Vladimir Putin posthumously awarded her with the Hero of Russia title. Trying to strike a funeral service? Yeah, I can buy that. Said before that now that the front is collapsing in front of of Donetsk, that the Russians and the DPR forces will not be interested in taking any prisoners from this sector-

    1. Martin Oline

      They are also shelling their own troops when they try to do a tactical retreat, er, withdraw, um, run like hell from Pisky to Vodiane. (See the August 3 Military Summary at 18:33) Reports may call it “friendly fire’ but there is nothing friendly about it. Ukraine has set a new low for the way it handles the military; denying wives of POWs support because their husbands are traitors for surrendering, shelling Ukrainian POWs in detention (could these be related?), and wiping out their own battalions when they don’t fight and die to the last man. I hope someone is keeping score because I would hate to see the criminals who run that government living comfortable lives in luxury when this is over.

      1. timbers

        “I hope someone is keeping score because I would hate to see the criminals who run that government living comfortable lives in luxury when this is over.”

        That would be the folks in Washington/NATO (the criminals who run that government). As much as I would like to see Russia “target” those decision makers and hold them accountable for their actions, I know she will not because she is rational.

        However, I do take solace knowing that Russian and now also without any further doubt, China too, understand exactly what type of people they are up against.

        The days of American nice words of deception, are over. That strongly suggests any inroads the US makes with is usual tactics will be come at a very much higher price, if at all.

        1. nycTerrierist

          Can’t say nobody told ‘us’:

          “There’s an old saying in Tennessee — I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again.”

    2. Shellbay

      Disagree about them not taking prisoners. Firstly they want evidence about who ordered these attacks. Secondly they aren’t that interested in killing as many Ukranians as possible – there have been quite a few occasions when desperate retreats with light weapons haven’t been attacked.

      I personally think Russia intends to fight Ukraine to the last NATO weapon (& that’s why they’ve been forced to slow down so much recently).

      1. The Rev Kev

        Normally I would agree with you about prisoners. But you have to remember what it looks like for the local DPR forces. They can see that the Ukrainians are not using their limited ammo at shooting at them but to kill civilians instead in terrorist attacks. Here you are talking about their wives, their kids, their parents, their siblings and their neighbours as well. There is absolutely no military gain to be had but this is just a matter of the Ukrainians trying to kill the DPR troop’s families out of vengeance. And they have been doing this for eight years.

        1. Polar Socialist

          Your post reminded me of an article I read a few years ago, about global right-wing militants taking adventure vacations in Azov positions in Donbass, where they got to wear uniforms, live in bunkers and shoot howitzers and machine guns towards Donetsk city for a week or a weekend.
          Might explain some of the animosity DNR seems to hold towards foreign combatants today.

          1. Kouros

            In the 13th century or abouts, the German knights were practicing their fighting skills against the still pagan Balts every summer, in a never ending crusade, with anyone willing free to join…

            1. ambrit

              Until Alexander Nevsky beat the Teutonic Knights and came to an accommodation with the Golden Horde.
              How very much like today that scenario is…..

            2. Polar Socialist

              Yes, I’ve read about those. The Sword Brothers even advertised their summer crusades around Europe. They were likely the first all-inclusive vacations: feasting in a castle, arms bearer to carry your stuff and a semi-pagan village to pillage.
              Why go to the holy land, when you could get your indulgences within a weeks travel and have fun instead of hardships.

    3. timbers

      It was only a month or two ago that Putin explained – to irate citizens asking why nothing was being done to stop the shelling in Donetsk – that to do so would is not the proper military approach as it would lead to high troop casualties, and for this reason encirclement was best way to neutralize.

      But it appears there was a Zelensky order to thin AUF away from Donetsk to the north and West fronts. This was one, of two, military “mistakes” mentioned on MS that Zelensky made, making it possible for Russia to punch holes at the Donetsk line and other locations in the AUF line of defense. Or maybe just a fancy way of saying, the AUF is being steadily culled and something, somewhere has to break eventually. And so it is.

      Add to this, Russian troops recently sent to the southern coast not far from Mykolayiv and Odessa look to be actual additions to the expeditionary forces seems to indicate these two Oblasts are part of the “expanded” territorial acquisitions Lavrov spoke of.

      Am fairly certain this is how the Russian’s plan to end their campaign but do still wonder if and how much to the Dnieper River they might take.

      As to western Ukraine, the part west of the Dnieper…if the US insists on arming that part it to the teeth even after Russia claims all of the above, we might see a situation similar to the Middle East, in which Russia reserves the right to use long range missiles at will to take out any target she deems threatening in that area that some call “Banderastan”..

      1. hunkerdown

        Or, getting their fingers far from a hypothetical planned incident at Zaporozhzhiya set up by MI6 and IAEA, according to the BBC link.

      2. MILLER

        On the culling of the AUF from (for whatever its worth) sourcing
        “Abstracts from Zaluzhny’s report for President of All Ukraine Zelensky appeared in the Ukrainian segment of the Telegram. The essence is Achtung! on Achtung!, and driven by Achtung!
        Judge for yourself:
        – The staffing of the Armed Forces of Ukraine remains at the level of 43-48%, despite the mobilization;
        – Losses among military personnel – more than 191 thousand killed and wounded;
        – More than 80% of the reservists from the fifth wave of mobilization have already been killed, wounded or deserted;
        – Statistics on missing persons are not maintained;
        – Medicine is working to the limit, the seriously wounded are taken through Poland for treatment in Germany, France, Italy and other countries;
        – Stocks of small arms and bulletproof vests are sorely lacking, one out of three servicemen is equipped and ready for combat operations, while the rest have to fight with whatever they have;
        – Payments to the mobilized at the place of civilian work have stopped, combat delays (these) up to three months;
        – The resource of some samples of equipment transferred by the allies is ending. We are talking mainly about the first batches of the American M777, M109, and, oddly enough, the fairly new Panzerhaubitse 2000 and MARS II;
        – Lack of qualified specialists in the operation of Western weapons. Trained military personnel work 24/7 and cannot physically be in multiple locations. For this reason, equipment is trusted by people without a deep understanding of the materiel, therefore, breakdowns occur due to improper operation;
        – Problem with consumables, especially hydraulics and liquid nitrogen, required for M777 howitzers. In addition, the titanium design of the gun requires special conditions for repair;
        – In the field, an automated fire control system does not last long, fragments and dust are killed quickly enough; there are no opportunities for repairs on the spot, you have to send it to Poland, where there are spare parts and specialists.”

        Author’s comment:
        This is a bomb!

        Screenshot of the reaction to the report:

        It is known to everyone in the General Staff that the report of the commander-in-chief provoked from Zelensky irritation and, to put it mildly, hysterics. The President rudely demanded not to play it safe, to stop sowing panic and to organize a counteroffensive in the east of the country. In short, he somehow received this report in an deluded manner. If he does not want to decide such things, then we must take matters into our own hands. I hope for understanding and that everyone will know about this, and not just Zaluzhny and Zelensky. Glory to Ukraine!

        1. Skip Intro

          Zelensky is betting on Steiner’s counteroffensive! That bunker scene just gets more relevant every year.

    4. Oh

      They’re being trained by the best by a country whose name starts with a U and ends with an A whose specialty is bombing (or droning) funeral processions.

    5. fringe element

      I heard that it is the U.S. that doing the targeting. I don’t think Ukraine has the technical capacity to do it.

      1. nippersdad

        Which segues nicely into this piece of CYA:

        “U.S. says Russia aims to fabricate evidence in prison deaths
        Russia is looking to plant false evidence to make it appear that Ukrainian forces were responsible for the attack, U.S. intelligence officials determined.”

        I don’t think it is going to work, especially after Amnesty International has now openly said that the Western Media was lying about Ukraine’s use of human shields.

  2. Hickory

    Hey, I read the article on airplane Covid transmission late and have a question for commenters: has anyone done DIY manual sprays, such as making your own xylitol solution? Or making your own alcohol solution?

    I have dry xylitol sugar crystals and could get those past the tsa liquid check, then make a solution with water and spray/inhale that. Does that seem feasible/effective? Any other thoughts or recommendations for specific nasal spray strategies? Thanks for any ideas.

    Incidentally, I have xylitol because it’s great for tooth/gum care. Highly recommended.

      1. sinbad66

        Hey Yves,

        Just happen to have povidone iodine for a foot infection I had. What ratio do you use and is this with distilled water? Thanks in advance!

        1. Yves Smith

          The normal OTC is 10%, do check that that is what you have.

          Studies say it’s OK to use it in eyedrops (eek), nasal spray, and gargle at concentrations of up to 2.5% for 6 months as long as you do not have a hyperthyroid condition. Note the test only went to 6 months.

          0.45% is widely used in OTC gargles.

          I use 1% because easy dilution math.

          1/4 cup of 10% iodine to 2 1/4 cups water. Not exact but close enough.

  3. The Rev Kev

    “Volodymyr Zelensky seeking ‘direct talks’ with China’s Xi Jinping to help end Russia’s invasion of Ukraine”

    For a comedian, this is fabulously bad timing on his part. Either that or Zelensky is snorting the same stuff that Hunter is. It was only yesterday that the US humiliated the Chinese leadership using Nancy’s visit. If there was ever a doubt that the US is now gunning for China, all doubt has now been removed. A major reason that the Chinese did not take a counter measure with extreme prejudice against this drubbing is that they know that they are not yet ready to fully defend themselves. And there is only one country capable of helping them with both their defences and their naval development – Russia. And Putin put out a statement that the Russian Federation was behind China in this ‘incursion.’ So what that means is that not only does Russia need China, but China now knows that they need Russia. So for all intents and purposes these two blocks will be bolted together as they help each other.

    And right at this point, Zelensky pips up and says to China how about using your weight to lean on Russia to make them quit. Limit their trade with Russia and isolate them. And if this war goes on, it may effect the world economy. It would be a shame if that had a bad effect on China’s economy.

    1. Polar Socialist

      Just watched a video of a train loaded with PLA equipment in Rostov railway station today, 100 miles from the frontline in Ukraine. The comment was something like “I guess they’re here for the Army Games 22…”

    2. KD

      Been a lot of “US mistrusts Z” in the news. This could be fishing for Chinese patronage, and obviously, Russia will accept Ukraine as part of the BRI. Probably a bluff to tell the Americans that he can play ball for the other team. Obviously, probably pretty desperate but I think he realizes what part he is going to play in Act IV of the adapted Italian Opera if America remains the Director.

    3. Carolinian

      If there was ever a doubt that the US is now gunning for China, all doubt has now been removed.

      Last night I got to hear the rest of that Yves group discussion and think she was right to talk down the “war looms” warnings. If the Chinese really do believe this they are mistaken. While it’s true that our current politicians seem indifferent to the public–talking as they do only to each other–that’s only up to a point. If told that we are about to have a war with China most Americans would be astonished since we are perfectly well aware that everything we buy comes from China. IM what it’s worth O the elites are just trying to mess with China because it makes them look like they have a plan when they really don’t.

      The press and the politicians did get Americans onboard to some degree with Ukraine but most are already bored with that and don’t like the inflation results at all. For America with our bread and circuses and two oceans all politics really are local or famously “it’s the economy stupid.” The Great Game was always Britain’s thing, not ours.

      1. Robert Hahl

        I think China got exactly what it wanted by building up tensions over Nancy of Taipei’s visit. They sent a clear message that trouble is coming, the USA is bringing it. and the world must prepare.

        1. Simple John

          Same thoughts I’ve been having.
          The world may go for Mutual Assured Destruction – no way of knowing.
          Given that, why not take Taiwan now and beggar America and its followers for chips and as Robert Hahl, most everything else.
          Swap me for Xi Jinping and that’s the game I would choose.

      1. Mike Hampton

        It’s notable that since I wrote that, that the USA has shifted its interest to China, as if taking a step away from Ukraine. Makes no winning sense to have two fronts of attention. Whether that is conspiratorial or incompetence (due to American division) is my biggest question.

        Compassion fatigue may become indifference but some will not want to feel guilty, The Vogue shoot’s attention may offer an excuse for the Public to step away.

        The result of both is unlikely to favour Ukraine.

    4. hunkerdown

      Oh did they? By other lights, the USA humiliated themselves and left a stinking miasma trailing behind them. But that depends on which audience one thinks matters. Here’s a great tear by a former TW ambassador to NZ, addressing the US by the pronoun “you people” (!), telling them to “support your [own?] arse”, and generally calling the US an ill wind.

      It’s also possible that Speaker Formosi was there to provision a planned color revolution in TW once the machinery of empire has been fully equipped and back-stocked with whatever leading-edge semiconductors might be required. It is too common that, after visits to contentious regions by US officials, “fings break, dunnay“.

  4. The Rev Kev

    “Japan Is Getting So Hot That Dogs Have Their Own Mobile Fans”

    They may want to consider booties for their dogs as the ground would also be burning hot for the paws of those dogs. Maybe somebody should be measuring the heat of the different surfaces to get an idea of how bad it can be for those dogs as well.

    1. ambrit

      Walked to the local grocery store yesterday, which route passes through the City Park and Zoo complex. A youngish woman was putting baby into a stroller to wheel baby around the zoo. The stroller had a battery powered fan mounted on the stroller handle, aimed at baby. The mother said that she could power the fan with her iPhone if needed.
      On same trip talked to a City work crew that was fencing off the crawlspace under the 1912 era large bandstand and gazebo. A quite nice looking wooden lattice work ‘screen’ was being installed around the base of the structure. “We were told to seal it off from the tramps and homeless that regularly sleep under it,” I was told. I have seen said “tramps and homeless” sleeping on top of the picnic tables inside the gazebo at various times of the day. This is going to get ugly.

      1. jr

        There is a homeless man who has stationed himself on the stoop of an empty storefront on the nearby avenue. I bought him some water the other day, he seems nice. He also seems to have settled in. He isn’t living there but he is there all day long.

        While walking the dog today in our relatively bucolic neighborhood, I noticed a man sleeping on a gym mat. A woman was walking her dogs and they were sniffing at him. She pulled them away and looked both concerned and sad as she headed towards me.

        There is a homeless man who wanders the busier sections of the neighborhood, usually by the intersection of two avenues a few blocks away. He is always covered in sores and dirt. He is obviously unhinged as he swears to himself non-stop and sometimes stands in the street talking to no one. Women instinctively veer away from him as he comes down the sidewalk. Everyone is leery around him.

        Under the nearby overpass there are homeless encampments. Nothing as extensive as what I’ve seen from LA. Some are cardboard with tarps kind of structures and others are actual tents. Around the living quarters are aggregations of junk and bags, I’m assuming metal collected to be sold and things they can use. Shopping carts with broken fans in them, plastic buckets filled with random stuff.

        1. ambrit

          Down in South America those ‘impromptu settlements’ are called “favelas.” We are becoming a full fledged Third World country.
          We too see the visibly unhinged wandering the streets, arguing with invisible friends. One in this town is known for stopping dead suddenly and screaming out at the sky, shaking his fists. I have seen this. In “ye olde dayes,” these people would have been snatched from off of the streets and sent to the State Asylum, for observation and perhaps treatment. Now, the Neo-liberals, starting with Reagan, may he rot in H—, have emptied the asylums and ‘repurposed’ the facilities for something or other more profitable.
          As has been said here many times before; we live in the end stages of an Empire.
          Stay safe out there.

          1. Ana

            Speaking of our late great Governor Ray-gun and the State Hospitals for the disabled….

            I know one of the people who worked on Ronnie’s project to shut them down. Never forget he was owned by a major developer in Orange County Calif I dare not name. Keeping track of the death rate was very important and it had to be managed.

            An enormous percent of the disabled, and not all of the clients were mentally ill, died after being transfered to a “community based board and care” facility.

            The death rate was known so the rate of hospital closures was controlled in order that the death rate could be spread over time and not end up on the news.

            Developers who got the property were happy, NGO’s who pushed for the disabled to live in “the least restrictive environment” were happy, politicians with campaign contributions were happy.

            The grieving parents were isolated from each other and never saw there was a pattern.

            I guess in a way a coffin is, for it’s resident, a kind of least restrictive environment. Depopulation beginning with the disabled is time honored.

            Ana in Sacramento

    2. HotFlash

      Don’t even have a dog, but I measured temps on walking surfaces ystrdy.
      74.8F / 23.8C front walk (brick, in shade of the lush front yard jungle
      108.4F / 42.4C front public sidewalk (concrete, in direct sun)
      114.0F / 45.6C street (asphalt, in direct sun)

      Official weather reported air temp of 25C / 77F at the time.

  5. Terry Flynn

    Re memory problems after COVID. Am technically on holiday (and struggling with possibly another bout of COVID – no LFT kit with me) but have been recruited for another round of a big UK covid study looking at long covid and this type of issue.

    Interestingly, they feed back to you the quintile you are in when you’re above the median in the online tests but not when you’re below. (An issue of the ethics of feedback when the person scores badly that I grappled with professionally in former career.)

    Suffice to say, memory and a bunch of other things NC has reported on regarding longer term effects of covid were VERY OBVIOUSLY BEING TESTED TO SOMEONE LIKE ME. I’ve had 20+ years of experience knowing what any survey is REALLY about (since few are designed correctly using Latin Squares etc to stop respondents from picking up on cues) and suffice to say I’m mildly encouraged that key research hypotheses are being tested when it come to covid.

    1. Michaelmas

      suffice to say I’m mildly encouraged that key research hypotheses are being tested when it come to covid.

      Yeah, but that’s the UK you’re in.

      1. Terry Flynn

        True….. But given the deterioration in research methods here I’m actually surprised things have gone this well….. (or, at least, were less bad than I feared…… I’ve already had to go private to get my covid related alopecia seen to). Cardiologist next week.

    2. Paul Jonker-Hoffren

      I am 43 and I had covid in June. I wasn’t tested – diagnosis based on home test and consultation with doctor via Internet (that is how it’s done in Finland).

      Now, I still have memory issues, especially when I get interrupted I forget what I was doing. Also difficulty reading (I am a researcher so a real PITA).

      I will see the occupational health doctor soon again and the next step would be neurological testing, because there is no cure..

  6. The Rev Kev

    “How Siestas Might Help Europe Survive Deadly Heat Waves”

    People think that this is something only to be found in Latin cultures but not so. A long time ago when I first went to Switzerland, I was very much surprised that they too had a siesta. At the time the Swiss were such workaholics that when there was a referendum to decide to cut hours from the working week or not, the populace firmly rejected it. For them it worked out very well as the long lunch break gave them time to enjoy their meal and socialize or go home to their families. The truth of the matter is that going forward, that Europe may not have much of a choice but to adopt this way of working/living.

    1. Polar Socialist

      Even in the Nordic countries, when most of the people still worked in agriculture, people usually ate and had a collective nap in the shade of trees or a building during the hottest hours of the day.

      1. Mark Gisleson

        It’s a natural break time if you do physical labor. At the tire factory, you didn’t need to be a time study engineer to notice that most pieceworkers built 2/3rds of their production by lunch. Then, after eating, they slowed down considerably.

        The natural cycle of things would be for skilled workers to have shorter work days capped by a siesta (workers were always drowsy after lunch at the factory). Are there any workers more productive than restaurant wait staff? Mealtime rush hour lasts three hours at most, then owners who get to pay “tipped” staff LOWER wages get to send everyone home because why pay them when the customers are gone? (sometimes I think the restaurant industry was invented by management consultants)

        The people who run things have always privileged brain power over back power. They did away with siestas and have always thought hard labor should be sun up to sun down when the truth is that no matter what kind of work you do, you do most of it in one or two productive surges and then coast the rest of your shift but there will always be a very smart person to point out how much more productive you’d be if you slowed down and maintained a steady pace (the kind that numbs your mind and hands and results in errors and accidents).

        Slaves work at a steady pace, people with a passion for their work do more in less time but then have to stand around looking busy for the rest of their workday.

        1. JBird4049

          Slaves work at a steady pace, people with a passion for their work do more in less time but then have to stand around looking busy for the rest of their workday.

          Which is what much of the management and the owners feel if not think of their employees.

      2. JohnA

        As dawn is very early in the summer months in Scandinavia, people have often started work very early and then finished for the day early afternoon, especially with the advent of flexihours.

    2. CanCyn

      I have been a fan of afternoon napping ever since my uni days when a crazy class schedule of morning and night classes one semester allowed me to adopt the habit. Lost it for the most part during my working years and have found it again upon retirement. We are generally up before or by 6am and the house rule has become if it’s not done by noon, it’ll wait until tomorrow. After lunch naps are a way of life for us.
      I agree that things need to change, especially for outdoor workers, you just can’t be doing physical labour in 40ishC heat! Just not sure how we’ll make the change over though. M-F, 9-5 is a real thing. I am surprised by how many retirees still do errands and chores on weekends, tied to their working life schedules & habits.

    3. Robert Hahl

      Should it really be called a siesta if one leaves work afternoon for a leisurely lunch, and then never comes back to the office until 10 AM the following day? This was my impression of lawyers in southern Europe about 25 years ago.

      1. Mildred Montana

        Twenty years ago I was in the small town of Melsungen in the province of Hesse in western Germany. Same thing there. Most places seemed to shut down for a couple of hours after noon.

        And according to the aunt I was visiting, Sundays were sacred days of leisure. Washing the car, painting the house, cutting the lawn on that day? Verboten!

  7. The Rev Kev

    “You’re Traveling Abroad. You Test Positive for COVID. You Board Your Flight Anyway.”

    ‘What’s “right” and “wrong” in this situation? Some travelers aren’t so sure.’

    Ooohh! That is a toughie, that one. Let’s see. I’m infected with Covid but have my plane booked. So should I lie and get myself aboard, potentially infect other people who will infect more, have some people die or suffer life-long injuries as a consequence – just so that I do not inconvenience myself…or just quarantine instead. Man, that is a tough one that. I’ll have to get back to you guys on that one.

    1. Mikel

      The article was sickening through and through.
      They keep talking about those allegedly “great” airplane air filtration systems – which do not get turned on until take off.

      But I did note: they didn’t ask or mention people’s “vaccination” status.
      Remember all the lies about the shots are what sparked all these airline bookings.


    2. GF

      The bigger incentive to fly than being inconvenienced is you loose your money from the ticket purchase if you don’t fly. That is unless the airlines now are refunding if you tell them that you have Covid and don’t fly.

  8. KD

    There was an uproar that China basically choked after Nancy of Formosa served up the mother of all provocations. In fact, it looks like Taiwan is going to experience a blockade, and its not clear that it will last only 4 days. Further, if Taiwan attempts to defend itself against the blockade in its territorial waters, that will trigger a casus belli for China to escalate, and if they don’t defend then China has no incentive to lower the blockade. Taiwan has only two options: i.) go to China, hat in hand, and seriously discuss reunification, or, ii.) follow the path of Ukraine, which the US has promised it will ensure.

    One wonders what kinds of infrastructure the Chinese have in Taiwan national security circles, and whether this de-stabilization can trigger a coup from a faction of pro-China KMT officials, which would certainly end the crisis for Taiwan and avoid a nuclear confrontation. Ukraine doesn’t seem that appealing right now, and rainbow clown world isn’t that appealing to the old school Chinese Nationalists.

  9. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Lollipops Hustle

    So DumDum arbitrage is a thing now. How long before that becomes a meme epitomizing the general stupidity of “free market” capitalism?

  10. NotTimothyGeithner

    -cuts to food shipments
    -ban on exporting of sand used in concrete
    -likely sky rocketing insurance rates
    -the new and more pro-US South Korean PM not interrupting his staycation.

    Nice. All so Nancy could look tough, probably to kill momentum on the STOCK act.

  11. The Rev Kev

    ‘The xenophobic rhetoric about and over all racist caricatures I’m seeing of Chinese people on Twitter right now is wild and disgusting. Liberals and conservatives have fully unified into a mass behaving exactly like their racist counter parts from the 1920s-1940s.’

    If there is one thing that I have learned in the past five years is that so-called Western values can be dumped at the drop of a hat when convenient. I don’t think that those people have a handle on what a ‘value’ actually is. Some examples? Prejudice against gays is as stupid as it is reprehensible. Unless it was about Trump when the New York Times could then do a cartoon film of Trump having a homosexual relationship with Putin which was just “icky”. And you shouldn’t discriminate against the people of a whole country because of the actions of their leaders. Unless it was Russia when anything goes. Can you imagine if everything that was done against Russia was done against another country and how it would look? Norway for example. Or New Zealand. Or Israel. And certainly racism is something that you should never indulge in as that is a red card that one. But it looks like pretty soon it will be OK when you are doing so to the Chinese. Might be hard for Hollywood to have Chinese villains as they depend so much on sales to China. No wonder other countries despise the west and out touted values. Certainly the Russians are disgusted with the collective west. What a world we live in.

    1. jr

      I think it can be boiled down, as much as these things can be boiled down, to a moralistic framing of reality. This is where the Right and the other Right, or synthetic Left, are joined at the hip. There are the just and the unjust; the saints and the sinners, the elect and the outcast. Gray areas abound but they are only employed in service of the righteous. For everyone else there is an assignment to monolithic categories of unworthiness.

    2. digi_owl

      In-group signaling is to them far more important than any semblance of coherent values.

      This kind of behavior used to stop in school, then it crawled into high school, then university, and now it has reached politics.

  12. KD

    A little Mao before lunch:

    Every Communist must grasp the truth, “Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.” Our principle is that the Party commands the gun, and the gun must never be allowed to command the Party. Yet, having guns, we can create Party organizations, as witness the powerful Party organizations which the Eighth Route Army has created in northern China. We can also create cadres, create schools, create culture, create mass movements. Everything in Yenan has been created by having guns. All things grow out of the barrel of a gun. According to the Marxist theory of the state, the army is the chief component of state power. Whoever wants to seize and retain state power must have a strong army. Some people ridicule us as advocates of the “omnipotence of war”. Yes, we are advocates of the omnipotence of revolutionary war; that is good, not bad, it is Marxist. The guns of the Russian Communist Party created socialism. We shall create a democratic republic. Experience in the class struggle in the era of imperialism teaches us that it is only by the power of the gun that the working class and the labouring masses can defeat the armed bourgeoisie and landlords; in this sense we may say that only with guns can the whole world be transformed. We are advocates of the abolition of war, we do not want war; but war can only be abolished through war, and in order to get rid of the gun it is necessary to take up the gun.

    1. Anthony G Stegman

      Brilliant. Martin Luther King Jr. should have listened to Mao. Or at least considered it.

      1. JBird4049

        MLK was the good cop and Malcom X was the bad cop; Gandhi was King’s model for resistance and reform, which might have been easy to ignore except Malcom was the warning. It worked until both were assassinated with assistance by the police and the Black Misleadership Class was co-opted, much like the Democratic Party, blocking anymore effective (economic) reform.

  13. flora

    This para from the Matt Stoller piece on US military caught my attention.

    Nothing Holt said is a surprise. Everyone knows how screwed up U.S. procurement is, the warnings come in almost daily. For instance, the U.S. can’t replace its stocks of Javelins and Stinger missiles sent to Ukraine, it’s going to take years to restart some of the assembly lines. Raytheon and Lockheed are having supply chain issues, and are unable to deliver weapons despite strong orders. We can’t even make the chips for weapons systems like the B-2 bomber, because semiconductor firms are shutting down the fabs that made the old parts. One could argue these are anomalies, unusual situations, but war is the ultimate moment of supply chain disruption, so that’s cold comfort.

    All true, of course. The reason this para is interesting to me is how well it fits in with yesterday’s WC Jacobin link about the trajectory of the Dem party for the last 45 years, where heavy industry manufacturing was dismissed as old and unimportant to the US future and outsourced to other countries. That crippled US ability to manufacture war materiel at home. It’s almost like the Watergate babies and the Atari kids that went into Dem politics had no understanding that manufacturing is a national security issue. Maybe it’s fitting the end of that generation’s time in politics closes with sudden worries about how the US military materiel production ability is being outpaced now by other peer or soon to be peer countries. My 2 cents.

    1. flora

      correction: instead of “boomer generation” I would more accurately write “first wave DLC / 3rd Way thought collective”. There are younger 3rd Way Dems following in their footsteps. I’ve seen the DLC estab work overtime to block New Deal-type younger Dem pols from winning at both state and national levels.

    2. curlydan

      Stoller’s article definitely reinforced my belief that in any non-nuclear confrontation with China, China would kick the U.S.’s butt. They can simply out-manufacture us left, right, and center with way better quality. We might have an initial upper hand in some type of military conflict, but after equipment breaks down and needs replacement, the U.S. could not keep up with China’s capabilities.

      1. digi_owl

        And that is why we see the talk about B-2s in south Asia being able to reach china within hours. Because much like Russia after USSR dismantled, USA only have nukes left to rattle. And that show both desperation, and an inability to act in a graduated manner.

        1. Anthony G Stegman

          One has to wonder what is going on in Australia. Does the government there actually think they can survive a nuclear war launched from bases there? it’s suicide. Australia should follow the Swiss path and not take sides in any Big Power conflicts.

    3. Lex

      I think it goes back a bit further and is a bipartisan consensus that’s based on destroying the American workers and their power. American military power was a sort of given, divorced from the realities of production and logistics. And then, as Stoller has repeatedly written, the Clintons came along and replaced the I in MIC with an F because why not make everything FIRE. Short, sharp wars of the 90’s and 00’s reinforced the idea that it was fine. (Here I assume that anyone who pointed out the folly had their career stop at colonel.) And now the folly is hard to ignore but also too late to correct.

    4. spud

      and they are outraged that americans turned to trump, and if trumps runs again and wins, the outrage will be heard in outer space.

      “Pennsylvania has lost almost 40 percent of its manufacturing jobs since NAFTA — a deal signed by Bill Clinton and supported by Hillary Clinton,” Trump said during a Tuesday rally in King of Prussia. “The City of Philadelphia has lost more than one-third of its manufacturing jobs since China joined the World Trade Organization — another Bill and Hillary-backed disaster.”

      “Indeed, as Bernie Sanders’ campaign pointed out earlier this year, Pennsylvania has been devastated by Clinton’s trade policies:

      The North American Free Trade Agreement cost 850,000 good-paying jobs in the United States, including 26,300 in Pennsylvania. Normalized trade relations with China which led to the loss of 3.2 million jobs including 122,600 in Pennsylvania. Sanders opposed both agreements while Secretary Clinton supported them.”

  14. Stephen

    Nancy Pelosi, China and the Slow Decline of the U.S. Military

    This article on defence procurement is a good contribution but I fear it does not get fully to the heart of the issue. Complex procurement happens to have been, by the way, my specialism for nearly 25 years, so an area I like to think about. But defence procurement is a hornets nest so I do not claim expertise but will contribute some thoughts.

    Agree fully with the article that supplier consolidation has probably not helped and that contract structures have no doubt not been optimal. However, defence procurement is very analogous to construction or building IT systems; both of which often result too in cost overruns, poor value for money and a limited range of contractors. So what are the issues, without considering politics?

    There are a few fundamentals: large multi year design, build and maintain programs where the specification is unclear even after the supplier has been selected, the client often changing his or her mind about what they want throughout the programme; and typically it just not being feasible to change supplier midstream, given the mutual IP that has been created.

    Understanding supplier cost structures, identifying profit gouging and so forth can create embarrassment mid program but given the high degree of supplier power, then the negotiation impact is typically going to be marginal and, of course, the ingoing position can be gamed so that “savings” can be claimed.

    So, there is a major moral hazard and the initial commercial terms end up being close to worthless over the multi decade life cycle. This is a very different world to a retail buyer at Wal Mart negotiating to buy shampoo that has a fixed spec, the ability to delist and immediate delivery.

    Very tricky area to fix. Three thoughts:

    First, creating more supplier options has to be part of the solution, as the article says, but different contractors and individual factories have different specialisms so breaking up a specific contractor may not help so much anyway to create leverage for any particular weapons system that depends on a specific ordnance plant. More fundamental industrial policy would be needed and multiple competing plants may not even be feasible;

    Second, the programs and specifications themselves may need to be less ambitious, or “pie in the sky” if we are unkind. The F35 is an obvious case. Smaller, quicker, more numerous programs with tighter specifications give more supplier selection options, more pricing certainty and also would create lower cost opportunities to change supplier midstream as a signaling mechanism to encourage the others. The Russians, for example, clearly have focused cutting edge systems such as hyper sonic missiles but much of their equipment seems much more in the category of dependable, reliable and usable rather than “complex”. Reflects their T34 tank heritage versus the Wehrmacht mentality that seems to have infected western arms procurement;

    Thirdly, think about splitting the procurement of the design from production and repair. This enables more pricing certainty after design and creates additional competition options. This is likely anathema to the industrial complex who will cry foul over “design for industrialization” but there is a self serving reason to protest too. But, if this can work in high tech (design often in house, production external) then why can it not work in defence? My recollection is that the Soviets used to follow this model with their design bureaux and I think I saw that the Russians might have a similar approach today. Someone with more sector knowledge may know the reality here. It would certainly require a more fundamental shake up of the western defence industries than a few mergers being prevented.

    Overall, you do get the suppliers you deserve! Buy side behaviour is the critical thing to change.

    Large, complex, multi decade programs are no doubt good too for Pentagon / military careers. Contractors are also effective at political lobbying: when push comes to shove will we really take work away from a factory in Nancy Pelosi’s district?

    Ultimately, this really takes us back to a key point that seems to come up a lot in this site: how to get the capitalist system to serve the interests of society rather than the other way around. I also thought I saw an announcement that Russia is effectively now moving to take the defence industry out of the “for profit” world. If so, I can see a rationale for that, although I am not usually a fan of state run industry.

    1. David

      Military systems are inherently complex to build, because they are designed to meet conditions when they come into service perhaps a decade in the future, and then to perform their missions for 25-30 years after that, with a built-in capability for upgrades and the addition of new missions. Even under ideal circumstances, there’s a tendency to want to over-insure by adding bells and whistles, and to guess what technology a likely comparator might be fielding in a decade’s time and try to go one better.

      That said, there’s also a pervasive belief in western states that quality is what matters, and that (almost) any price is worth paying for a qualitative superiority. This leads to only small numbers of equipment being purchased, and these in turn have to be very sophisticated and expensive so that they can carry out many different missions. Ukraine, I would suggest, has shown that’s not so. Individual Russian systems are highly capable, but often simpler because limited to a few functions. As in the Cold War, a lot of Russian equipment is “good enough,” to be produced in large quantities.

      I suspect the Russians are still influenced by the Marxist-Leninist military science view of war, which among other things emphasised that beyond a certain point, quantitative changes produce qualitative effects. Put simply, numbers matter; logistics matters and reserves matter: not things, on the whole, that the West wants to invest in. We’re seeing the old Soviet tactic of echeloning at the moment: the first echelon takes casualties but inflicts a lot and is withdrawn. The second echelon takes fewer casualties and finishes the enemy off, and when the third echelon arrives, even if it’s weak, it has no opposition.

      The only point I’d disagree with in the article is that I don’t think the US (or Europe for that matter) can ever actually mass-produce military equipment at an acceptable price again. Too much has been destroyed, and you’d need either wartime-level mobilisation or twenty years of patient rebuilding funded by the taxpayer to get that capability back.

      1. Stephen

        Agree that the Russians clearly have a different mindset and their equipment does seem fit for purpose for high intensity war, to the extent we can tell.

        I guess my questions would then be (am not a military expert):

        Are our systems really better in a real war, given the complexity we engineer in? It is not clear that systems such as Javelins (for example) and other western wunderwaffen in Ukraine have worked so well in a real conflict.

        Do these programs really need to be over 25-30 years? People spend their whole careers working on just one program! That may still not be finished. Back in WW2 the US engineered new systems in 2-3 years that were then superseded quickly in a flexible way. Today, it takes decades and then you find that (for example) the chip technology is multiple years out of date because civilian technology has advanced in the meantime.

        I think that some very radical change is needed to make progress, given how broken this all seems to be.

        Fully agree though with the point about us not being fit to mass produce cheaply in the future. Doing so also needs a whole industrial supply chain down the tiers that we seem largely to have lost.

        1. hunkerdown

          Advanced semiconductor production isn’t necessarily that important to effective military technology. The Russian strategy of dumb bombs in smart launchers calls for fewer and less advanced chips. In general, fire is made by big chonky trailing edge products, not GPUs. Seriously, except for signal processing (like whatever is going on inside the plasma envelopes of those Kalibrs or up in space), what exactly is leading-edge semiconductor production going to enable? To date I have seen only one iFixit-style partial teardown of a weapons system. “The Drive” epistemology is militarily and socially useless.

          1. Lex

            I’ll add that Russia doesn’t exactly “retire” systems in the same way. A tank chassis may be surpassed as a tank, but that doesn’t mean you can’t mount an MLRS on it. Then you get to not fully retool a factory, make use of all those spare parts, etc. The bulk of the Russian wheeled MLRS aren’t on the old Studebaker truck chassis of the original Katyusha, but those trucks aren’t much newer than a 60’s design. Lots of spare parts, easy to fix. Design criteria for combat environments rather than spec sheets and brochures.

        2. David

          It’s really all about how far quality can do the job of quantity. I think the general consensus is that western equipment may be superior to Russian equipment in performance specifications, but that its total effect on the battlefield, when numbers are deployed, but not be any greater. A common complaint is that western equipment is over-engineered and prone to failure. This isn’t just true of major systems – there’s the disaster of the British SA80 rifle,which essentially didn’t work and had to be re-manufactured. Talk to anyone who fought in liberation movements in Africa, and they’ll tell you about burying AK47s under the mud of rivers or under sand on the beach, and going back years later to collect the weapons, clean them and find them usable. The parallel isn’t exact, of course, but still.

          The point about service life is mostly economics. The investment to make a modern aircraft, for example, is now so enormous, that there are practical limits to the number that can be made each year. Typically, delivery programmes might stretch over 5-10 years, with upgrades and improvements. They are such immense investments that they have to earn their keep over the course of many years thereafter.

          1. Stephen

            The SA80 was a total disaster.

            Sad thing is that in the past we made durable kit. One hears stories of Afghan tribesmen still using late nineteenth century Lee Enfield rifles against the Russians in the 80s.

            1. The Rev Kev

              If you like a story about durable kit, after the Battle of Omdurman in 1898 the British found that more than a few of the Mahdists were wearing armour that could only have come from Crusader times.

      2. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you and well said, David.

        With regard to your conclusion, I agree (and observe regularly as I live near RAF Halton in Buckinghamshire and sometimes drive near what were the Royal Ordnance and Westland factories) and just add that austerity is still the order of the day and influences top brass ambitions. Even something as basic as small arms is perverted by penny pinching. The poor bloody infantry want the L129A1 sharp shooter rifle, perhaps adapted into a carbine, but the bean counters channel their inner Ian Paisley and have limited supplies to the best shot in each infantry section.

        The infantry did not want the SA80, preferring the M16 (to the SLR / FAL / L1A1) and later AR15, but these were limited to special forces.

        One still hears that drones and cyber capability, including dominance of social media (sic), is what 21st century warfare will be about. No one is reacting to how Russia and its allies are performing and how and using what.

        1. hunkerdown

          Russia’s got heavy expertise in systems programming, a fundamental skill for the computer security exploiter or defender. There isn’t too much of that level of thinking left in the USA, and what there is, is often foreign-born.

      3. tindrum

        back in the 90’s I designed electronics for military applications in the UK and two things struck me – the first was that most of the people involved in the project were involved in generating documentation and discussing documentation and secondly the Mil-Spec requirements for parts that really didn’t need Rad- Hard capabilities caused major headaches in purchasing and of course cost. However, the decimation of manufacturing in the UK means that only the documentation departments remain. The US also has no depth in manufacturing so they are never going to solve their problems. Add to this the fact that corporations do not give a f*#k about the nation states in which they are incorporated and you have the perfect storm.

    2. Samuel Conner

      Is there anything to be learned from the way Russian Federation procures (I guess “design” is also an important issue; their systems tend to be simpler than ours) its materiel? It was mentioned today that they get their systems for about 5% of the PPP cost equivalent of ours.

      1. Stephen

        I think there is. More an overall approach though of which procurement is one dimension. To Russia, preparing for war seems a serious exercise for national survival. The legacy of the Great Patriotic War may still even be relevant. For the west, it seems much more a luxury consumption good to project power. British aircraft carriers sum that up for me!

      2. Polar Socialist

        their systems tend to be simpler than ours

        Not necessary. For example the P-700 Granit anti-ship missile had a swarm mode, which is pretty good for 1970’s design considering that it’s still a novelty regarding drones.
        Also Soviet/Russian submarines have much more automatization than their US counterparts and thus smaller crews.
        And Mig-31, a 1970’s interceptor, had data networking (it could serve as AWACS for older generation fighters) and other cutting edge tech.

        Of course, in general level their weapons are simpler, but that actually allows some rather complex systems (see: layered air defense). If the weapons are designed for one main purpose, it’s easier to use them to build even complicated networks of different weapons to always have desired capability available. Or replaceable.

        I think the main difference between Russia and and the West is that they design weapons for a certain purpose, to solve a particular problem or fulfill a task. This has a tendency to keep them relatively simple, cheap, maintainable and astonishingly good at staying relevant or at least usable for a long time.

        But when the operational concept requires complexity, Russians don’t seem to be afraid to build complex weapons.

        1. Stephen

          I think that is right and was where I was also coming from too in referring to the F35 in my comment.

          My main reflection is that for Russia war is a deadly serious matter. They lost ~25 million people in WW2 and have had a history of repelling invasions, as well as expanding across the Eurasian hinterland (the latter not so different to Manifest Destiny, I guess).

          But for the west (especially Anglo Americans) war has been an expedition that we inflict on other people’s turf.

          That rubs off. The Russians are more focused at a societal level whereas our state, military and industry complexes have far more opportunity to be dilettantes.

      3. Skip Intro

        “You go war with the thing the market-based solutions optimized for, not the thing you thought you bought.”

  15. TroyIA

    Reading between the lines Russia is telling Europe that as long as there are sanctions then expect reduced gas deliveries. Gonna be a long winter.

    Russia’s Gazprom: sanctions make delivery of Nord Stream turbine impossible

    “The sanctions regimes of Canada, the EU, the UK and a mismatch of the current situation with the existing contractual obligations by the Siemens side make delivery of the 073 engine to the Portovaya compressor station impossible,” Gazprom said.

  16. timbers

    Walmart / Amazon and crappy customerservice – Amazon is getting trickier over time by learning out to make returns difficult to impossible. Purchased Beem oil product for pest removal from garden plants online from Amazon as it was out of stock ay Home Depot and Lowes. The picture was small but thought it stated 90% Beem oil. When it arrived I could see it was 0.9%. Amazon website said it ineligible for return. Using the online customer service robot put me in a circle always ending in can not be returned. This happened once before with a vacuum cleaner that broke the first time I used it, but at the time Amazon phone number was easily listed which enables you to speak to a human who can issue a credit for non returnable items. Yet now no matter what I did I could not locate that phone number. Eventually I used a different computer and quickly got the customer service phone, and used to get a refund.

    1. JBird4049

      >>>Yet now no matter what I did I could not locate that phone number. Eventually I used a different computer and quickly got the customer service phone, and used to get a refund.

      About twenty years ago I found a list maintained online for getting a human being at many companies, which I used at work regularly. I really wish that I hadn’t lost the address.

    2. Yves Smith

      Always pay with a credit card. Dispute the charge on your card. It’s not acceptable in credit card rules for a merchant to reject the return of a mis-represented, defective, or incorrect item.

      This is what people miss with eBay merchants too. They use the PayPal system for payment and then try to get you to rely on deficient eBay/PayPal protections. Do you use PayPal save to pay by credit card.

      Also if you are in a one party calling state, where it is legal to record your calls without getting the consent of the other party, do that too.

  17. The Rev Kev

    ‘The moment Alex Jones finds out his incompetent lawyers sent Sandy Hook parents’ lawyers all his emails and texts is incredible’

    When I was listening to this deer-in-the-headlight performance, my mind drifted back to a TV ad for underwear that ran on Aussie TV back in the 80s and which seemed appropriate- (30 secs)

    Alex Jones should spend time in the slammer for what he put those parents through.

    1. GEH

      What is scary, and not being covered in the press, is how many people believe him. That right there – the lack of critical thinking – is the problem facing all of us. The other interesting, or disappointing thing, is that of the MSM, Fox is the only one completely ignoring the trial.

      1. .Tom

        Idk. The amount of work you need to do to get an informed independent view of things is huge. It’s not realistic to expect that many people will be critical thinkers, nor is it fair to demand it.

        Otoh, it is disappointing how some people invest themselves in charismatic media types like Alex Jones, acting like soldiers for him, automatically becoming the enemy of anyone that goes against him. That’s gross.

      2. ArvidMartensen

        Stepping back from the cultural fray, it is interesting to see how easily people can be mesmerised by all of the self-serving bs that comes from governments and the press and a lot of the internet commentariat.
        The people who blindly followed Ms Clinton as the saviour of all women
        The people who blindly followed Biden, until gas prices went up etc.
        The people who blindly followed Sanders, even after he funnelled all his votes to Clinton then Biden
        The people who blindly followed Fauci and all his bs about vaccines and most other things.
        The people who blindly follow the anti-maskers.
        The people who blindly follow Trump
        The people who blindly follow Jones
        The people who will blindly follow ———–, and ———– at the next elections.
        Does it mean that Biden, Trump, Fauci, Sanders, Jones and anyone after power use gaslighting and manipulation and straight out lies to gain power? Probably.
        What does it say about us? Gullible? Lazy? Scared? Confused?

    2. ArvidMartensen

      I find it hard to believe that Jone’s lawyers gave the prosecution smoking gun evidence “by mistake” and then sat on their hands when alerted to that and didn’t privilege the evidence.
      The question immediately comes to my mind – who are Jone’s lawyers really working for?

  18. John

    Pelosi to Taiwan! Zelensky asks for talks with Mr. Xi! Senate votes 95-1 for the admission of Sweden and Finland to NATO! In the face of such brilliant, inspired, Machiavellian maneuvering, why would anyone believe the DC Bubble and Echo Chamber was brain dead? Inquiring minds want to know.

  19. Dr. John Carpenter

    Mo Ostin was an old school record man. At the risk of indulging in empty nostalgia, that’s an endangered species and the major record biz is worse for it. I doubt the conditions exist for someone like him to come up these days.

  20. Leroy R

    “Distillate fuel oil remains the tightest part of the market, with inventories at the lowest for the time of year since 2000, and before that 1996, and they show no signs of increasing.
    Distillate stocks usually increase in the third quarter as refineries produce more diesel and heating oil as a by-product of processing more crude to meet summer driving season demand for gasoline.
    But stocks have risen by less than 1 million barrels so far this quarter, one of the smallest increases in the last 40 years, pointing to a persistent shortage, which is unsustainable.”–from Column: Low U.S. oil inventories imply deeper economic slowdown will be needed

    Then this: Farmer’s Almanac declares parts of U.S. ‘hibernation zone’ with predicted ‘glacial, snow-filled’ winter
    The Farmer’s Almanac’s annual winter forecast is hinting at a particularly harsh winter across much of the North with “real shivers”.

    Isn’t cheap, plentiful natural gas a primary source of electrical power in parts of the USA?

      1. Leroy R

        Here in New England natural gas is used a lot for electricity — tankers even bring it:
        “Does New England import natural gas?
        Since 2018, LNG imports into New England during the peak winter months were delivered on 11 to 14 tankers: Winter 2018–19: 14 tankers (7 to Everett, 4 to Saint John, and 3 to Northeast Gateway) Winter 2019–20: 11 tankers (7 to Everett and 4 to Saint John)Jan 20, 2022”

        Fuel oil, diesel’s kissin’ cousin, is a primary source of heat for many here, as well as electricity, so things could get pricey. Let’s see how high the Germans bid natural gas.
        The percentage of households heating with oil is 64.2 in Maine, 46.1 in New Hampshire, 43.8 in Vermont, 43.7 in Connecticut, 32.6 in Rhode Island, and 29.2 in Massachusetts. The national average is just 5.5 percent, driven up by New England.Nov 2, 2015.”

        1. ambrit

          Yep. I can see the “New Normal” for the New England states being the “Old Normal” of the late 1800s. Little to no whole house heating. Dedicated heating systems for the potable water lines. Kitchens as a main heating source during the day in winter.
          Living with less. It’s the coming thing.
          Oh, and did I mention shorter life spans?

  21. Daryl

    > UK Labour Party expels Audrey White after confrontation with Sir Keir Starmer BBC

    My knowledge of the UK political system is close to nil and I only learn about it through NC links, but I’m curious how this situation plays out long term. It seems maybe fundamentally different from the Democrats in that they’re just expelling everyone they don’t like rather than subverting their efforts. Eventually you’d have to be able to make a party out of all the people they get rid of, no?

    1. Stephen

      Periodically, Labour purges / removes people and associated organisations whom it sees as too left wing. There has been a specific issue in Liverpool (where Audrey White hails from I believe) associated with a group called Militant Tendency going back at least to the 80s. This expulsion has immediate triggers but is linked to that, it seems.

      The British system trends very much to the two party system in each defined geography, given the first past the post system in each constituency. So there is an ongoing Labour internal struggle between the conscience of socialism and being seen as moderate enough to get elected. Militant Tendency as a stand alone would get zero MPs elected, even in Liverpool, hence why their supporters joined Labour.

      Others may have more up to date details and nuance but this is all well furrowed ground!

      1. Terry Flynn

        Thoughts from the Midlands. Blairite local Councillors (north of Nottm metro but effectively part of the city) are leader and deputy leader of local council. Totally (and I don’t personally like this word but it serves a purpose) woke. Deputy is allegedly gonna be Labour candidate to win back this HIGHLY marginal seat from the Tory who captured it in 2019 from Labour.

        He Must take it back if Labour are to stand chance of getting back into govt. The Tory who won it in 2019 is very very young, not well known or liked yet quickly got onto the influential 1922 Committee of Tories. I personally was EXTREMELY surprised.

        Labour locally is fractured between Blairite and “old Labour”, some of whom are socially conservative……. The BNP was significant force right up to mid 90s! Personally I hate both party candidates so will spoil my ballot next time.

        1. Stephen

          I guess this might be Gedling or Ashfield. In the 90s I lived near Alfreton (an old mining district, of course) and know that general area well. Would imagine that the Labour fracture you describe is quite a general one in the region.

      2. David

        If this is the actual Militant Tendency then good riddance. They did a lot of damage to Labour in the early 1980s, through entryism into local parties with relatively few members. Neil Kinnock sent them off to be guillotined when he became leader, and with only slightly better luck it might have been Kinnock as PM in 1992, rather than Blair in 1997.

    2. Balakirev

      Fair question. As in the US, though, the field is stacked in the UK against individuals of like mind and heart forming parties with any hope of gaining power. Here are a few specific article links that cover a range of reactions to what has become New Labour 2.0:

      It’s interesting to observe that the Guardian, which was pretty much pro-Starmer and deeply anti-Corbyn for years, has lately run several pieces that are pro-Corbyn, and numerous others that are heavily critical of Starmer. Change of position based on the ownership, or maybe the editorial board? -I’ve no idea. But to a Green like myself, it’s heartening.

      1. Norm de plume

        I’ve picked up on that too, and wondered.

        Perhaps the terrifying sight of Mick Lynch and Eddie Dempsey calmly annihilating the neolib sock puppets of both parties and the media has the establishment’s West Wing shitting bricks, the gormless Corbyn suddenly looking ‘electable’ again and certainly a far more plausible prophylactic against the resurgence of a genuine left than that hapless hairdo Starmer.

        I know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover but take a good look at Starmer’s face and tell me it belongs to someone who can lead, let alone oppose. It seems designed, when not worrying, to please and to submit. It is I suppose to his credit that he can’t hide his recognition of the truth of Audrey White’s tirade, but is this the best Britain’s progressive party can do at a time like this?

        Faces and voices that evince conviction and determination and which appear unlikely to kowtow to elites cannot be permitted to rise to within a bull’s roar of real power. Perhaps Starmer’s role-playing has under the weight of current stressors become too obvious and a more plausible faux progressive is required. I would like to think Corbyn could rise to the occasion but his meek acceptance of his own defenestration does not inspire confidence. Maybe a team including the likes of White, Lynch and Dempsey could help provide the requisite steel.

  22. Mikel

    Re: Monkeypox

    Is anybody as interested as I am in China’s response once that country starts having any alarming outbreaks?
    It’s only a matter of time. I’m thinking before the holiday season, too.
    We’ll see.

    Maybe their Covid policies have spared them somewhat.

  23. Mark Gisleson

    From the American Conservative’s Weak Bench piece:

    In times past, Jack Kennedy, Bill Clinton, and other successful Democrats not only fended off far-left primary challengers with much larger followings, but welcomed these contests as an opportunity to strengthen their respective appeals to swing voters in the subsequent general elections.

    In the late ’70s in Des Moines this is exactly how the party thought. Our county party chair believed strongly in contested primaries because it was the only way to get the Des Moines Register to pay attention to your candidate during the summer months. As an officer of the local party, I would help recruit and encourage challengers. Our thinking was that if you wanted to challenge the local party’s candidate, go right ahead! If you beat them, you must be a better candidate!

    It was a good strategy and Iowa Democrats punched way above their weight for years because of it. Then Jimmy Carter and the neoliberals started gutting the manufacturing sector, the party was wholly taken over by third-rate grifters who ran out of NGO jobs for their cronies’ kids and professionalized the Democratic party to house more of the unworthy offspring who gave us the Iowa Caucus reporting app, Pete Buttiegieg, Kamala Harris, and weaponized identity theory.

    To thrive, a political party needs contested primaries. When the same crowd gets their way on everything, they doom their party to irrelevance.

      1. Mark Gisleson

        I still miss Kaul. He should have been syndicated much more widely and his “How to Light a Water Heater and Other War Stories” is a classic example of old school political humor. His running schtick of Richard Nixon as fast-talking Harold Hill from The Music Man was comedy gold.

  24. Mikel

    “Ukraine: Ukrainian fighting tactics endanger civilians Amnesty International. Confirms long-standing charge that Ukraine is using civilians as human shields. Paul J-H points out:

    The good thing here is that Amnesty for years has been a vocal critic of Putin’s regime, so it has moral credibility as well.

    I hope EU/NATO draw conclusions from this or at least drop their blinders.”

    Did this include or did it not include training in fighting tactics?

    1. Polar Socialist

      The cynic in me wants to say it was mostly about “social media multichannel domination”, “inclusive and dynamic leadership” and “adopting purposeful military posture”.

      In the real world, though, I’ve seen videos of DNR troops showing captured Ukrainian booklets on how to use human shields in defense. Somewhere there were even images of buildings in Severodonetsk (after capture) compared to the images in said booklets. There was obvious correspondence.

    2. ArvidMartensen

      More likely that Amnesty will be severely reprimanded by the EU/NATO/CIA/US for spreading “misinformation” and will be forced to retract in the coming week.
      Or somebody at Amnesty will be asked to find new opportunities somewhere else.
      As if USNATO doesn’t know what is happening in Ukraine snort, snuffle.

  25. Carolinian

    Re Counterpunch on The Bomb

    Presidential advisor James Byrnes had told Truman that dropping the bombs would allow the United States to “dictate the terms of ending the war.” Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal wrote in his diary that Byrnes was “most anxious to get the Japanese affair over with before the Russians got in.”

    That would be South Carolina’s Jimmy Byrnes. Who says nothing ever happens around here? Leo Szilard came to my town to try to talk Byrnes out of the use.

  26. Del

    We Work for billionaires…

    Well connected billionaires…back from the dead:

    The posh pals of billionaire widow Lily Safra — whose ailing 67-year-old banker-husband died of smoke inhalation in a suspicious 1999 fire at his Monte Carlo penthouse — turned out in force this week to help her celebrate the National Institutes of Health’s naming of the Edmond J. Safra Family Lodge…Major donors to the Clintons, synagogues, ethics center at Harvard.

  27. Carolinian

    Good links today.

    Re The Lives and Deaths of Tory England–the author uses the phoenix bird as his key image. But perhaps, in our digital age, we are really living through the Century of the Re-enactors where various chancers try to reproduce the conflicts of the far more vivid 20th century. These include race conflicts and world war. One needs a lot of scenery to play Winston Churchill or MLK, not to mention the inconsistency of embracing these opposite characters.

    But it’s all virtual after all. Just put on your headset.

  28. ArvidMartensen

    Anyone wanting to sight-see in the Red Centre of Australia should perhaps rethink their plans if the war with China looks like hotting up.
    Because the US Pine Gap Station in central Australia runs the US drone warfare via satellites. It would be one of the first targets for Chinese attack. And if the worst came to the worst, any fallout would waft across half of eastern Australia.
    That plus the B-2 bombers at Amberley airbase. So also put off going for a holiday in south east Queensland – Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, all of that.

  29. MichaelC

    There’s been a lot of noise about Biden’s strength/weakness /ineptitude re Ukraine,Taiwan etc strategies.

    There’s little debate about his strength, etc but lots of uncertainty about who’s pulling his strings,

    I’m pretty sure it’s concentrated in the hands of his NSA chief Jake Sullivan..

    If there ever was anyone who needed to be eliminated from the neocon nexus of power, he’s the boy to send packing, along w his legacy team of supporters at State, CIA and the Dem PMC.
    It’s clear to me from the NPR interview that the belligerence he projects is official DMC PMC policy and he and his ilk are unperturbed by their disastrous foreign policy choices until they are thrown out of power.

  30. The Rev Kev

    “Ukraine: Ukrainian fighting tactics endanger civilians”

    Zelensky went nuts when he heard this and accused Amnesty International of aiding terrorists.

    ‘“Today we saw a report by Amnesty International, which unfortunately tries to amnesty the terrorist state and shift responsibility from the aggressor to the victim,” Zelensky said in a video address on Thursday evening.

    “If someone makes a report that puts the aggressor and the victim on the same level, this cannot be tolerated,” he said, repeating three times that “Ukraine is a victim,” and adding that “anyone who doubts this is an accomplice of Russia – a terrorist country – and a terrorist themselves and a participant in the killings.””

    1. tegnost

      I think he needs some of that stuff Aaron Rodgers was taking
      arakawacckala or something, I think it’s in the toobs somewhere but I’m not looking…
      Seems it makes you feel loved completely and you become less of a pain to the people you’ve been berating for years. He says he’s happy now!

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