Links 8/5/2022

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.

* * *

Fifth endangered Bengal tiger born in Cuban zoo Reuters (Furzy Mouse).

The weird contradictions rendering the US economy inexplicable Quartz

Bank of England raises interest rates in bid to tame inflation Al Jazeera. Commentary:


Wildfires destroy almost all forest carbon offsets in 100-year reserve, study says FT

Coral levels in some parts of the Great Barrier Reef are at the highest in 36 years NPR

Inefficient Building Electrification Will Require Massive Buildout of Renewable Energy and Seasonal Energy Storage Nature

Climate Endgame: Exploring catastrophic climate change scenarios PNAS


Will anti-vaccine activism in the USA reverse global goals? Peter Hotez, Nature

Update: The Number of People Not Up to Date on Vaccination in Counties with Elevated COVID-19 Community Levels is Growing KHN

And Then There Were 31…The Latest 10 Covid Vaccines to Reach the Phase 3 Results Milestone Hilda Bastian, Absolutely Maybe

* * *

Post–COVID-19 Symptoms and Conditions Among Children and Adolescents — United States, March 1, 2020–January 31, 2022, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. “Compared with patients aged 0–17 years without previous COVID-19, those with previous COVID-19 had higher rates of acute pulmonary embolism (adjusted hazard ratio = 2.01), myocarditis and cardiomyopathy (1.99), venous thromboembolic event (1.87), acute and unspecified renal failure (1.32), and type 1 diabetes (1.23), all of which were rare or uncommon in this study population.”


Biden will keep aircraft carrier group in the South China Sea but postpone missile test CNBC

How are the Taiwanese not worried? Taipology

An invasion of Taiwan would shut down global chip production as ‘nobody can control TSMC by force.’ PC Gamer (Re Silc).

China sanctions US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi AP

* * *

Wall Street CEOs Want Zero Quarantine for Hong Kong’s Big Summit Bloomberg

Apple supplier Foxconn expands India iPhone production, further diversifying supply chain away from mainland China South China Morning Post

How and why China is centralizing its billion-tonne iron ore trade


Russia’s foreign minister makes official visit to Myanmar AP

New evidence shows how Myanmar’s military planned the Rohingya purge Reuters

The skeptics are wrong: The U.S. can confront both China and Russia Josh Rogin, WaPo

The US-Led Drive to Isolate Russia and China Is Falling Short Bloomberg. “Fog in Channel, Continent Cut Off.”

New Not-So-Cold War

Military Briefing: Himars fuel Ukraine hopes of ‘limited’ counter-offensive FT. Oh.

Ukraine forces endangering civilians: Amnesty France24

* * *

Keeping Europe Warm This Winter Comes Down to Asia’s Weather Bloomberg

‘The turbine works’: Germany’s Scholz blames Russia in energy row Al Jazeera. Photo caption: “German Chancellor OIaf Scholz stands next to a gas turbine meant to be transported to the compressor station of the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline in Russia during his visit to Siemens Energy’s site in Muelheim an der Ruhr, Germany.”

Will a New War Crash Europe’s Azerbaijani Gas Dreams? Foreign Policy

* * *

Who are the Winners in the Black Sea Grain Deal? International Crisis Group

* * *

Zelensky ‘not all he’s portrayed as’ by Western media (video) Sky News, YouTube (Andrei Martyanov).

New clashes over Nagorno-Karabakh signal ripple effects from Ukraine Responsible Statecraft

What kind of economy are we building? Julia Svyridenko, Events in Ukraine. Privatization. Svyridenko is First Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine and Minister of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine.

Brittney Griner: Russian court jails US basketball star on drug charges Deutsche Welle


Truth About Beirut Port Blast Cannot Be Hidden, Pope Says Maritime Logistics Professional

Atlantic Council panel on 2022 African Economic Outlook pushes for ‘Africa agenda’ at COP 27 Maravi Post

Biden Administration

White House to Establish Office on Long Covid Rolling Stone


US 2022-23 spring wheat output seen at bumper levels on higher yields Hellenic Shipping News

Prenatal exposure to famine and the development of hyperglycemia and type 2 diabetes in adulthood across consecutive generations: a population-based cohort study of families in Suihua, China The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. From the Conclusion: “Prenatal exposure to famine remarkably increases hyperglycemia risk in 2 consecutive generations of Chinese adults independent of known T2D risk factors, which supports the notion that prenatal nutrition plays an important role in the development of T2D across consecutive generations of Chinese adults.”

SoftBank Emerges as a Big Loser of the Tech Downturn. Again. WSJ

The Bezzle

Coinbase Asks Supreme Court to Halt Account-Holder Suits Bloomberg

BlackRock Teams Up With Coinbase in Crypto Market Expansion Bloomberg. Seems legit.

Our Famously Free Press

Most Of The “Fact-Checking” Organizations Facebook Uses in Ukraine Are Directly Funded by Washington Mint Press

New Media Are As Intertwined With Imperial Power As Old Media Caitlin Johnstone (ctlieee).

Imperial Collapse Watch

Patrick Lawrence: Language and Its Enemies Scheerpost

Zeitgeist Watch

“A Good Life” From the Forests of Arduinna (DJG).

How Crazy-Ass Tom Cruise and “Top Gun” Saved America Matt Taibbi, TK News

Girl chewed through restraints in bold escape from week of captivity in Alabama NBC. So, optimism!

Antidote du jour (via):

Bonus antidote:

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. Toshiro_Mifune

    Lest there be any doubt, I’m making a policy observation not a policy recommendation…. Deliberate. Coordinated. Global recession.
    I’ll echo one of the people on that Twitter thread…. To what purpose?
    Is this being engineered to impact Chinese exports? That would time-in with the Foxconn story above and, well, all the other anti-China moves we’ve seen lately.

    1. Susan the Other

      I’m guessing, for what it’s worth. 2 cents. A “deliberate, coordinated, global recession” is not aimed at China any more than it is aimed at the the USA. These are unprecedented times; as Uncle Joe reportedly said, “this is a catastrophic transition.” We have to stop CO2 production; we must stop overconsumption; we must mitigate all the damage to the planet; we must still feed and house ourselves; we must still maintain the ever-more frustrated peace; we must maintain social services and trickiest of all we need to trust each other politically to get through this. Not only is this recession deliberate (imo too) it will have a certain permanence going forward. We are right in the thick of a financial remodeling – one that creates two separate trading blocks based on two separate standards of value. Ours is the old one based on the value of the dollar as a reserve currency – the value of money; the BRICS are starting their trading block not based on a reserve currency but a basket of sovereign currencies based more on natural resources it seems. Everybody on the planet wants to prevent the worst. And lots of us are cheating our way through this for lack of better methods. Not just the West, but also every country that overfishes the oceans and over pollutes with mountains of garbage; etc. So, “To what purpose?” I’d say reorganizing the planet so as not to go extinct. It’s getting interesting.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > I’d say reorganizing the planet so as not to go extinct.

        Culling the herd with pandemics would fit neatly into this picutre, of course.

        Plus a good long recession might nuke all that pesky union organizing. “Nothing fundamental will change,.”

        > Everybody on the planet wants to prevent the worst.

        I wish I believed this.

  2. fresno dan

    So essentially there is no rain in Fresno Ca in August.

    In Fresno in August, there’s a 1% chance of rain on an average day. And on the average day it rains or snows, we get 0.00 in (0.1 mm) of precipitation. In more common terms of how much that is, some would describe it as not rainy at all.,(0.1%20mm)%20of%20precipitation.

    So I get up at 2:30 am (my sleep is really variable), and about 3 am I hear this splashing – I’m thinking did the sprinkler system spring a leak? So I go outside and it is a downpour. Weather reports say there will be a tenth of an inch. Now, that doesn’t sound like much, but it is equivalent to any other place in the continental US getting 6 inches of snow. Intellectually I accept climate change is true – but now I really believe it. Something really screwy is going on….

    1. barefoot charley

      The Mckinney fire in far northern California, now up to 60,000 acres and 10 percent controlled, got 1 to 3 inches of torrential downpour on one side as it spread through drought-stricken forest, causing flash floods that impeded firefighting:

      But we’re back to normal now and . . . it’s still out of control. The other side of the mountain got not a drop.

  3. griffen

    Antidote. Big cat has good company. Feels like a good day to lie around and appear disinterested.

    Alas, my TPS reports are calling me soon.

      1. griffen

        Peter, it seems like you have been missing a lot of work lately.
        Bob, I wouldn’t say I’ve been missing it!

        And yes I enjoy the video as well. That one is welcome and worthy.

  4. Sibiryak

    ReL Zelensky ‘not all he’s portrayed as’ by Western media (July 29)

    The simple answer to this conflict is to allow the Minsk Agreement…

    A little late for that, I’d say.

    1. Foy

      It’s a scary day in hell when I mostly agree with the Australian Christian conservative right wing ex Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi….but here we are. The world is definitely off its axis! It seems to me with Bernardi’s comments on Sky News, the release of the Amnesty International Report, someone is realising Ukraine is nearly cooked and they are now starting to foam the runways.

      1. Irrational

        I find myself agreeing with lots of unexpected people on Ukraine.
        At least somebody is saying it!
        As for the Amnesty report, the Frankfurter Allgemeine reported that Zelensky vehemently denied the report, but the article has conveniently disappeared.

        1. Jonathan Holland Becnel


          Anne Coulter.
          Marjorie Taylor Green.
          Matt Gaetz??

          You go with the players you have, right??

    2. The Rev Kev

      ‘A little late for that, I’d say.’

      You can say that again. Especially in light of the recent interview with previous Ukrainian President Poroshenko when he said that the Ukraine had no intention of ever fulfilling the Minsk agreements and only wanted to use the time to build a powerful military to destroy the Donbass republics.

  5. Stephen

    FT “HIMARS fuel Ukraine hopes” article.

    Thought the HIMARS hype had faded away like an old soldier. But Gosh. These wunderwaffen still seem to be seen as salvation.

    I rarely read the FT these days and the thrust of the article did not surprise me, given their orientation and ownership. The comments were mainly depressing though.

    Even FT readers (or at least some who comment) seem broadly ill informed and bought into the anti Russian narrative. So many people do seem to struggle with nuance and the reality that life is not a morality play of good guys versus evil guys.

    1. timbers

      Given its been confirmed Zelensky moved AUF troops out of Donbas and sent then to Kherson area, and the Russians noticed this which allowed Russian breakthrough in the famously fortified UAF Dontesk line….the question begs has the same depletion of AUF troops occurred in Kramatorsk the so called last defendable stronghold? If so it could be a nice bonus for Russian forces.

      1. The Rev Kev

        The Russians are supposed to have about thirty battalion tactical group in the Kherson area which not only means that the Ukrainians would be unable to break through the Russian lines but that the Russians have the numbers to go after the Ukrainians if there was any attack and that they had to retreat. It is only the 5th August and I suspect that the picture in the Ukraine will look completely different by the end of this month.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            I looked at the Yorktown Institute, an NGO of which the author is Founder and President. I hesitate to use the phrase “bottom feeder,” but it looks like a sketchy one-man operation. On the bright side, Joe Lieberman is an advisor.

    2. Skip Intro

      They cue the stories up well in advance, especially around holiday time, so you have to be understanding when the narrative is outpaced by reality. Remember how long it took them to scrub ‘Soviets’ or ‘KGB’ from the stories about Russia?

  6. The Rev Kev

    “Brittney Griner: Russian court jails US basketball star on drug charges”

    Because the case was novel and the defendant an American, the Russian Court sought guidance how she would be treated under American law and when they found the right legislation, used it as guidance on how to decide on that nine-year sentence. Now that the case is finished, the Russian judges would like to send thanks to the author of the US 1994 Crime Bill, whoever it was.

    1. fresno dan

      Those Russian judges just don’t undertand how US jurisprudence really works – long story short, the rich and elite athletes get off…

      1. The Rev Kev

        As in Hunter Biden who shows off guns, hard drug use, etc. in online videos and records illegal transactions in his laptops – and yet the FBI or police never go knocking at his door.

        It’s good to be the son of the ‘big guy’.

        1. paul

          He really is a great character, an exemplar for young folk:

          Be rich
          Be well connected
          Be bailed out.

          I do remember,according to the hayes code, ferris bueller learned something.

          Hunter just remembered what he was told, and was off the races!

    2. Bugs

      I don’t see why this is such a cause célèbre in the USA – if a Russian hockey player were caught bringing, for example, MDMA, across the US border at JFK, would s/he expect to get off lightly? I can’t imagine Lavrov would be on the horn to Blinken asking for their hockey puck to be traded for a convicted US arms dealer in Russian custody.

      Moreover, If there’s any place in the world I don’t want to have drugs on me, even by mistake, it’s at an international border crossing. Heck, I even check legality of prescriptions before I go somewhere overseas. Some prescribed meds are illegal in the Middle East or Asia that would just be considered banal in the West.

      And Fresno – you’re right on the money with who gets away with it in the USA. Affluenza strikes again.

      1. nippersdad

        And why would they even want this arms dealer back? Seems like incarcerating him was doing them a favor. If they really wanted to do the PR war properly, they would publicly demand the release of Julian Assange.

        Though I doubt any of that was real to begin with. Blinken prolly wanted to find a way out of the blind alley of his own making in Ukraine and just used the prisoner swap as a cover story.

        1. Michael Ismoe

          If she had been convicted of the same “crime” in Texas, she would be looking at life imprisonment. Maybe Blinkin can contact Governor Abbott?

          1. orlbucfan

            Was Griner too dumb and/or lazy to do a little homework on Russia? A lot of Russians including their “elites” are not LGBT tolerant. And drugs? The outcome didn’t come as a surprise. Just the usual stupid.

            1. nippersdad

              I believe she has lived there, working for a Russian team (?), in the off season for four years now. I sincerely doubt that she was unaware of the drug laws. I am betting entitled: she just thought that her status as a celebrity would ensure her getting away with something.

      2. Bakes

        If there’s any place in the world I don’t want to have drugs on me, even by mistake, it’s at an international border crossing.

        OK, I’m a little older. But I remember the movie “Midnight Express”. There were also many public service messages back in the day warning young Americans in print and radio to do your homework. And check on the legality of even the most common prescription drugs when crossing international borders. Because bad things could happen to you.

        I cannot understand how someone like Griner could make such a mistake. Was it foolishness, or was it arrogance?

        NOTE: I feel the smuggling charge is BS. But possession, yes, they have her dead to rights.

    3. AndrewJ

      Is this actually true, Rev?? If so that’s familyblogging hilarious. Any references I can point my shirt-rending Russia Derangement Syndrome friends at?

      1. The Rev Kev

        Naw, just satire. Old Joe Biden has always taken pride in his Crime Bill which has probably helped send millions to prison over the past coupla decades – to the eternal gratitude of the prison industry.

  7. Solarjay

    Nature article:

    Weeks or months or electrical energy storage is currently not possible except for hydro or maybe compressed air in old mines and these are site specific.
    current battery technology while technically possible would be soooo expensive ($ and environmentally) it’s not actually possible.

    I mean it’s good there is starting to be some recognition of seasonal electrical load and production differences and maybe getting away from “averages”.

    1. Rod

      current battery technology while technically possible would be soooo expensive ($ and environmentally) it’s not actually possible.

      ummm-well–The National Lab had a good thing going–
      They were building a battery — a vanadium redox flow battery — based on a design created by two dozen U.S. scientists at a government lab. The batteries were about the size of a refrigerator, held enough energy to power a house, and could be used for decades. The engineers pictured people plunking them down next to their air conditioners, attaching solar panels to them, and everyone living happily ever after off the grid.

      But, yknow, Stuff Happens:

      put it up in Water Cooler yesterday, hoping it might snag your interest–and comment
      The Press Release:
      the story seems to getting some traction

    2. Grumpy Engineer

      Agreed. It was nice to see some recognition of the problem (i.e., renewables produce less in the winter when energy demand is higher), but apparently they didn’t do the math to see how large the problem truly is. To quote:

      Long-term electricity storage would allow excess electricity generated by renewables in summer months to be stored and used for heating in winter months, potentially reducing the increased deployment of renewable electricity necessary to meet this new demand with renewable electricity. However, storage capacity of this scale would require an expansion of the current design space, and may require advancements in chemistry, physics, or materials to develop technology capable of meeting this demand.

      May require advancements? Storing a month’s worth of electricity would require ~400 TWh of energy, which is nearly 700 times the 0.55 TWh we have deployed today (93% of which is pumped storage hydro that was built decades ago, per

      Do we really think we could scale that up by 700X in one or two decades? Especially when the US has lost significant capability when it comes to doing large-scale projects quickly? No way.

      For example, permitting for the 20+ GWh Eagle Mountain pumped storage facility in Southern California (where such a large slab of energy storage capability would be quite useful) began in 2007. But at least as of September of last year, they still hadn’t commenced with construction. 14+ years for permission to proceed? Sheesh.

      1. Synoia

        Not much water in So Ccal and environs these days. Does the was the water source for this project still exist?

        1. Grumpy Engineer

          That’s a good question. And to be honest, I don’t know the answer. But it’s worth noting that the Eagle Mountain facility would be a “closed loop” system, and it would only require enough water to make up evaporation and seepage losses. I live fairly close to the 24 GWh Bath County pumped storage facility, and it’s store of water is maintained by a surprisingly small creek.

          1. RGF

            Method of operation
            Water is released from the upper reservoir during periods of high demand and is used to generate electricity. What makes this different from other hydroelectric dams is that during times of low demand, power is taken from coal, nuclear, and other power plants and is used to pump water from the lower to the upper reservoir. Although this plant uses more power than it generates, it allows these other plants to operate at close to peak efficiency for an overall cost savings.

          1. Grumpy Engineer

            Oof. 400 TWh at $1300/kWh implies a price tag of $520 trillion. That obviously won’t happen.

            Of course, when you ramp up production to a much larger volume, you can sometimes reap “economies of scale” and have things get cheaper. But on the other hand, you can sometimes run into resource or raw material shortages and have things get more expensive. The price of lithium has risen 5X in the past year alone (per, and there’s little reason to expect vanadium to behave differently.

            Lithium and vanadium are relatively rare elements in the earth’s crust. 20 and 120 ppm respectively. I figure the only way we could ever hope to deploy batteries on a 100+ TWh scale is to use a chemistry based on sodium, which (at 24000 ppm) is orders of magnitude more prevalent than lithium or vanadium. But sodium-ion batteries are heavier and currently can endure fewer charge/discharge cycles, so nobody’s using them.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Especially when the US has lost significant capability when it comes to doing large-scale projects quickly?

        And such capability as we have will be devoted to developing weaponry for our hopeless two-front war with Russia and China.

    3. digi_owl

      Only if one focus on battery in the classical sense.

      There were recent news out of Finland about a heat “battery” using sand.

      And i have also read about similar using a special formulation of concrete.

      Never mind the age old molten salt variant.

      Other options include using it to electrolyze water into hydrogen and oxygen.

      Where the hydrogen in turn can be made into fertilizer or alcohol, the latter then functioning as an alternative to petrol or diesel.

  8. The Rev Kev

    “SoftBank Emerges as a Big Loser of the Tech Downturn. Again.”

    I always like it when Lambert throws in a good news story into the mix.

  9. Lexx

    As long as you were over reading the article in the Rolling Stone, did you happen to catch this article?

    ‘In Exchange for a Climate Deal, Joe Manchin Demanded a Terrible Price’

    It’s what I wanted to know… what did Manchin get out of the deal that he so “suddenly” signed off on Biden’s climate package?… because he must of gotten what he was holding out for or he wouldn’t have bothered.

    ‘What makes this attempt to ram the pipeline through so damning is that it’s yet another example of the fossil fuel industry failing to hold its own in the rapidly-changing energy market and relying, as it has for many years now, on favors from paid-off politicians and good ‘ol boys.’

    1. notabanker

      Fox ran a story yesterday on the $6.1M in political donations Manchin received right after introducing support for the bill. $65K came from West Virginia donors.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      And speaking of that, schumer is triumphant at having gotten the last senate hold out–kirsten sinema–on board by agreeing to protect the carried interest loophole so cherished by private equity.

      Sinema said her support came after Democratic leaders agreed to remove a provision on closing the so-called carried interest tax loophole that enables wealthy hedge fund and investment managers to pay lower taxes.

      I wonder if bernie or warren will notice what got gone.

      The boys on cnbc’s “Squwak Box” are perplexed that sinema was so passionate about preserving the loophole, since very little of the private equity “industry” is headquartered in Arizona, the state whose voters’ “interests” she purports to “represent.”

      Apparently they don’t realize that you don’t have to live or work in a state in order to buy its politicians. I hear that’s one of those “norms” everyone’s so desperate to preserve. I have also heard the that sinema is interested in a career in PE when the citizens of Arizona kick her out on her sorry ass, and is keepin’ her CV current.

      1. tegnost

        The dems need a bill that’s title is “Climate bill”.
        It does not matter at all what is in the bill.

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          No kidding. Still wondering what hundreds of billions of dollars “for climate change” even means. It could mean a helluva lotta things that no one’s ever even thought of, and I’d be willing to bet that the word “climate” is “doing a lot of work here.”

          But I suspect the real sense of urgency to pass the “climate change / ‘inflation reduction’ act” comes from the part that’s getting the shortest shrift–yet another obamacare bailout extension of “healthcare” insurance subsidies. These are set to expire right before the midterms, and reportedly would pack a wallet wallop big enough to be visible from space for those unfortunate souls who buy their “insurance” on “the exchange.”

          No way a repub majority house or senate bails out that sorry money pit if they’re in charge. Sooner or later the dems are going to run into synched up timelines that they can’t manipulate, and the piper’s gonna have to be paid.

      2. Lexx

        We’re reminded once again, in case one of us woke up this morning and forgot, that people go into politics for the money… their own and that of their besties. It has nothing to do with what the people’ want, and/or democracy. That’s just the framework for outright (legalized) bribery. I can’t understand why we’re still bothering to vote in any election other than a local one.

      3. anon in so cal

        Speaking of Schumer: From Scott Ritter on CN:

        “The Senate majority leader pushed through a funding bill that now supports a structure under which U.S. citizens and politicians — including a challenger for his own seat — are being targeted as “information terrorists.”

        Some three weeks after Schumer helped push the bill into law, on July 14, Andriy Shapovalov, a Ukrainian civil servant whose salary was paid for by U.S. taxpayer monies, convened a “round table” in Kiev on “countering disinformation.”

        Shapovalov, in his role as the acting head of Ukraine’s Center for Countering Disinformation, published a list of the names of 72 people whom he accused of deliberately spreading disinformation about Ukraine. Shapovalov labelled them “information terrorists,” adding that Ukraine was preparing legislation so that such people can be prosecuted as “war criminals.”

        (apologies if this was already posted, not sure where I first read it)

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Could use some detail on the funding bill. Meanwhile, we used to launder the intelligence community’s “meddling” in domestic politics through the UK; now, it seems, we have sunk to laundering them through Ukraine. Well done, all.

    3. Verifyfirst

      I have no tried to parse out what is really in this bill (so I am just like all the Senators!), but it seems to be small beer–$43 billion/year for 10 years of whatever it is….Ukraine got $49 Billion for one year and that took about 10 minutes.

      Instead of offering amendments which will fail, why doesn’t Bernie threaten to kill the whole thing unless it is changed to his liking? Clearly that strategy works. And if the whole thing dies, so what?

    4. Bart Hansen

      That pipeline runs through a beautiful part of Virginia, Nelson County, not far from where we live. Last year we thought the Atlantic Pipeline had been abandoned, but Manchin’s pipeline may have an impact. It’s tough to fight coal, power and gas all at together.

  10. Worf's Prune Juice

    That Josh Rogin piece is a perfect distillation of current Beltway foreign policy thinking: Russia and China as “autocratic regimes,” Russia’s Ukraine invasion is “brutal and unprovoked,” the US has a “duty” to provide “active leadership” abroad, and perhaps the biggest howler, that “strengthening NATO actually lessens America’s burdens in Europe.” No evidence needed, just confident pronouncements and a very stern voice when discussing our adversaries abroad.

    I first heard this Rogin guy on a podcast describing a book he wrote about China about a year ago. Keep in mind, he doesn’t speak the language or know the culture at all. As I recall, he pointed out how he noticed all of the great work his WaPo colleagues were doing on the Russiagate stuff and figured he’d better find his own lane. Hence, China. I’m sure the book is as informative as this guy is creative.

    1. JohnA

      During the troubles in Ireland, when it came to labels, it was mandatory to describe protestants as ‘staunch protestants’ and catholics as ‘devout catholics’. Similarly it is mandatory to describe the Russian invasion as an ‘unprovoked invasion’. Invasion on its own is not sufficient, it has to be prefixed by ‘unprovoked’ in western media.

      1. Bart Hansen

        Good eye. I’ve also seen some places where ‘brutal invasion’ was used. You have to imagine that newspaper employees have a bunch of yellow stickies at their desks for inserting phrases in articles. Who can forget ‘poisoned the Skripals’, ‘Russian aggression’, ‘annexed Crimea’, and ‘malign influence’?

  11. The Rev Kev

    “‘The turbine works’: Germany’s Scholz blames Russia in energy row”

    The Russians complain that they don’t have the proper documentation to accept that turbine and I think that I know what they are talking about. I don’t have an engineering background but I would guess that after a major job being done to overhaul and perhaps fix a major piece of machinery like a turbine, that the company would have to issue some sort of paperwork that the turbine is now good to go and that there is nothing wrong with it. Sort of like a warranty. But suppose that this is the missing paperwork? If so and the Russians take it back and put online and something goes wrong, then it is the Russian corporation on the hook for all consequences and not the Canadian corporation that serviced it. And it would not matter that the Canadian mob deliberately sabotaged it either.

    Personally, I think that the Russians have given up on that turbine because of this two month long saga. As far as they are concerned, it can rust on the spot to the ground.

    1. Polar Socialist

      From what I can gather in Russian media, it seems that they’re just being scoundrels by following EU, British and Canadian sanction regime to the tee. As in turning the incoherent stupidity of it against itself.

      Basically Gasprom is saying they can’t receive the turbine until they have the documentation that proves, beyond doubt, that Gasprom is not violating any sanctions regime by accepting it. It’s quite possible that such documentation doesn’t exists, because the whole sanctioning has been done in horrible haste and without a second thought. It would probably require a separate legislation in EU, Germany, UK and Canada.

      Sometimes the most efficient way to fight idiotic rules is to start following them literally.

      1. Grumpy Engineer

        Sometimes the most efficient way to fight idiotic rules is to start following them literally.

        Oh, how I wish I could do that more often, but said approach works best when the rule-writers themselves are the ones who suffer the most pain from pedantic compliance to pointless (or even conflicting) rules. But when I’m the one who suffers, all I can do is get annoyed.

        But idiotic rules? Oh, yes. They exist in legions and cause all sorts of delays. I’ve seen utterly mundane sheetmetal brackets get held up in customs for a month because the person who classified them picked the wrong entry out of a confusing and poorly organized 200-page export control reference. I’ve seen customers insist on seeing results from penetration testing on waterproof cabinets, even though they were being used indoors and were only picked because they were cheap. I’ve personally burned months gathering documentation to prove that we followed EU-approved design processes on equipment.

        And every year, the rules (laws, regulations, and standards) get lengthier and lengthier. I went to engineering school because I wanted to design stuff. But in recent years, I’ve felt like I was supposed to be an attorney who specialized in compliance and contract law.

        No wonder we can’t get anything done quickly.

        1. TimH

          Where I work, most products are export controlled (space, defence applications) and if I want to ship anything NON export controlled from the US to another part of the same company in the US, the same scrutiny occurs and bills of material etc required. One size fits all.

        1. digi_owl

          Yep, something i suspect Russians have a long history of pulling off.

          I still recall them suddenly rising a stink about Norwegian farmed salmon at the border when the negotiations about a sea region stalled.

    2. Rod

      It’s been a bit but Guys working out of my Local Hall on Turbine Rebuilds used to describe the (pita) Documentation required on the Tradecraft end–
      Individual Fan Blade Mfg #s and their Install Sequence, same as well for Bearing Mfg #s and then the Re-Assembly Sequence –everything double sign-offs(Installers and QC Engineers)
      Thousands of parts and steps.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Individual Fan Blade Mfg #s and their Install Sequence

        As a long-ago tech doc dude I’d expect this. However, I’m not sure I understand — maybe it’s in the Russian press — precisely what documentation is missing. I’d like a title and a number of some sort. It would be hilarious if the sanctions hold-up was not the turbine per se, but its supporting documentation — “We can’t let that through, it’s a three-ring binder,” or “no CDs, I’m afraid.”

    3. JohnA

      The Russians also want to be assured that there is no software feature installed that can disable the turbine remotely or something else that could otherwise render the turbine inoperative or somehow invalidate the warranty/insurance cover etc.
      The Canadians apparently have only offered a time-limited sanctions-waiver for the turbine.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > The Russians also want to be assured that there is no software feature installed

        Entirely rational, given what we did the the Iranian centrifuges (and, IIRC, the Guri Dam in Venezuela).

        Unfortunately, all that can be given is assurance; see here. Because the Russians aren’t stupid, they know this.

    4. Stephen

      I feel sorry for the turbine.

      It has had more attention than any turbine in history. Has traveled widely and enjoyed exotic vacation destinations that other turbines do not even dream of. Even been feted by Heads of State and been shown on the evening news.

      All for zero. To be allowed to rust. It is tragic.

      Someone should start a petition on its behalf. Rights for Turbines.

  12. jsn

    Quartz author needs to read “From the Forests of Arduinna” and understand the Ukraine war is a war to equalize the EU standard of living with the US, or make it worse ideally.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > the Ukraine war is a war to equalize the EU standard of living with the US….

      … and the US standard with the so-called Third World (except for elites, of course).

  13. flora

    Re: Stephanie Kelton tweet.

    Ed Dowd has been predicting a planned, coordinated recession across the West starting this fall. He thinks the central banks will use that as the excuse to roll out CDBCs. We’re now in August. We’ll see, I guess.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Central bank digital currency i.e. digital cash – and the elimination of all paper & coin cash as a consequence.

        1. Terry Flynn

          And when they do, expect MASSIVE riots in UK cities like Bristol which have demonstrated time and time again that they won’t accept this kinda treatment.

          Nottingham also had restoration in early days as “riot central” – we’ve only just managed to shake off the moniker “Shottingham” but other crime here (economic based) is rapidly spiralling out of control.

          The poll tax riots are sufficiently recent that it gives me hope that us Brits will do what is necessary.

      2. jefemt

        Central Bank Digital Currency.

        Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine returns like a prescient bad penny.
        Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine returns like a prescient bad penny.
        Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine returns like a prescient bad penny.
        Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine returns like a prescient bad penny.
        … as they say in The Mikado, et cetera et cetera et cetera…

        1. Synoia

          CBDC – who pray,, controls it’s’s value? This appears to me as further Control-by-currency of the US.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I can see which way this is going and it is not where we want to go. Ordering takeaway in future will not be so good anymore either-

      ‘Hello? Yes, I would like to place an order for two portions of mealworm bolognese, uuhhh, two fly larvae milkshakes and a cup of roasted lake flies. Oh, and a packet of assorted crickets thanks. Deduct that from my CBDC.

      1. Late Introvert

        34-year vegetarian here, and Beyond Meat is f’ing gross. Not even good for you, made in a factory. Yuck.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      I confess to having very little sympathy with Irish dairy farmers. They have embraced (with the active encouragement of government and Big Ag) an entirely unsustainable strategy of maximising milk outputs. Every year they complain about a winter feed shortage without seemingly realising that this does not indicate that there is not enough hay, but that they have far too many cows. The overstocking is visible to the casual observer and enormously destructive. Irish farming organisations have been monopolised by big dairy ranchers and smaller more sustainable mixed farms have been shut out of real representation.

      Agriculture is by some distance the most polluting sector in Ireland, and any attempt to reduce emissions (CO2 or otherwise) is impossible without cutting the herd significantly. As so often, the farmers complain and the politicians sign them a big cheque to stop them doing what they shouldn’t have been doing anyway. As a friend of mine put it recently ‘maybe I was stupid not to develop a habit of s**ting on the street every day and demanding that the government pay me to stop’.

      1. Bsn

        Do you think fossil fuel’s release of Co2 and methane is lower than agriculture? Do you have any links supporting that if it is your premise?

          1. Bsn

            To clarify, I wonder if the agricultural industry, for example, emits more Co2 and methane than any other industry. For example, coal extraction and burning, non agricultural industry, the military, etc. I’m in the US and of course the military use of fossil fuels is “off the chart” though I doubt the Irish military is on the same scale.
            I’m sure is one separates various industries then yes, agriculture could be a larger emitter. However ag vs “other”, non farming industry I don’t think would be close. Am I wrong?

      2. Stillfeelinthebern

        Isn’t the emission problem methane from the animals? In the US, the large dairy producers are installing digesters that capture the methane and then putting that up for sale. This is a result of policy in California. Isn’t that more sustainable than fracking? or other methods of mining methane?

        In addition, the application of the animal waste to the fields is highly changed. They are recycling the fiber as bedding and what goes on the field is essentially liquid fertilizer so it can be applied to fields with plants. Mostly the plants to feed the cows. Seems sustainable. It should mean less risk of groundwater contamination. Not a fan of CAFOs, but they do seem to be moving in the right direction as far as sustainability.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          The problem, as always, is in definitions and how you break down the impacts. Inputs (nitrogen fertilizer in particular) is a huge contributor. Methane comes from animals, but also from drainage and vegetation change. Much depends on soil structure. In Ireland, pasture and tillage can be quite bad for methane emissions as much of the land is quite wet and prone to anaerobic breakdown if poorly managed.

          Capturing methane from digestors is pretty effective, but anaerobically digested poo is not as good a fertilizer as aerobically composted or raw material. Arguably, if you have too much animal waste to dispose of on your land, then you have too many animals, full stop. Anaerobic digestion is widely used in Europe for pig/hog farms, but not for cattle, as generally there is sufficient land to take it for landspreading, although the whiff can be pretty overwhelming, as many an urbanite who bought their dream country cottage has discovered too late.

          1. Revenant

            I wrote a long comment about this on a previous post. Irish dairy farmers are killing the countryside. NI is 1.5m people producing food enough for going on 15m people!

            My in-laws literally wrote the book on the botany of Fermanagh, the Irish lakelands. This summer for the first time they banned us from swimming in the lakes, because of their observations on water quality and the aquatic and marginal habitats. Nationally important wildflower sites, low in nitrogen, are being list because of the nitrate pollution (liquid and aerial). Fields are bright green from fertiliser and slurry nitrogen because the farmers are pushing for three silage cuts a year (we think two is greedy in Devon).

            Intensive dairy farm has accelerated through the pandemic. The slurry cannot be disposed of safely, under EU rules for water. Some farmers break the rules, others are exporting it to the south to dispose of! Cattle are housed in barns permanently and the grass is used as a dumping ground for slurry, often trickle spread using long leaky pipes across the fields.

            We had to abandon a visit to a distant cousin’s estate and renowned garden because of the overwhelming stench.

            One of the cattle operations was fined a large amount for unacceptable kevels of dead calves left to rot etc and it turned out the absentee owner was the Chief Veterinary Office of another Commonwealth nation – oops….

      3. flora

        Irish farming organisations have been monopolised by big dairy ranchers and smaller more sustainable mixed farms have been shut out of real representation.

        I expect the small, non-monopoly, more sustainable mixed farms with small herds will take the biggest hit, even to the point of being put out of business. After which the monopoly farms can move in and acquire even more control. My 2 cents.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            Indeed. Farm concentration in the UK is particularly bad by European standards. There are relatively few smaller mid sized farmers left. Mind you, they nearly all still vote Tory, much to the despair of a friend of mine who lives high in the Yorkshire/Durham dales.

            1. Revenant

              Partly true. Western UK livestock farms (wet climate, permanent pasture) remain relatively small. Eastern UK arable farms are huge and owned by great landed estates or modern aspirants (Dyson) or farm companies.

              Our farm has a traditional barn where until the 70’s the farmer kept his SIX cows. Now on the same farm you would keep 200….

      4. Lexx

        First of all, funny!

        Can we assume that this has something to do with why we’re seeing so much “Irish” butter on our (U.S.) store shelves these days?

        I can’t recall seeing a single cow while we were in the west of Ireland, but a lot of candy-colored sheep… and no lamb chops on the menus, just Irish stew.

  14. fresno dan

    How Crazy-Ass Tom Cruise and “Top Gun” Saved America Matt Taibbi, TK News
    I much as I admire and respet the work Taibbi does, I have to say I profoundly disagree with his take on this movie. Sure, the movie is a fantasy on par with the Marvel Cinematic Universe (Naval aviators as mighty as Thor). But unlike Thor, there is a US navy, and the vast majority of US military actions, at least in the last 60 years, have been dismal failures for the US as well as the world.
    In another post on this site, the sheer lack of reality with regard to Taiwan is documented. The almost universal media environment of non critical examination of why our policy toward Taiwan is so wrong can partially be explained by our absurd belief in the US military. We can’t prevail in Afghanistan, yet somehow we can prevail against a much, much, MUCH stronger country (i.e., China) – it is beyond insanity. The US believes something so unbelievable because we are indoctrinated through our media by unrelenting bullsh*t that our military is invincible. DESPITE overwhelming evidence that more often than not it fails (the failures probably are due to the goals of changing hearts and minds are impossible).
    AND my own bete noir – the ridiculous propaganda that Hollywood is liberal when it is the number one purveyor of the propaganda of US virtue and rightiousness. But of course, propagandists will deny that they are propagandists…

    1. jefemt

      Seems to me it really doesn’t matter whether our military forays are a ‘win’ or ‘loss’. No war is a win or loss, right?
      I’d argue the MIC, and it’s pop pom shaking cheerleaders like the WaPo, would say there were wins, and more importantly crucial that we intervene and be a perpetual wrench in everyone’s works.
      We sure have a rationalization to Build More Bullets and Bombs.
      A real lot of money on the line if we were to, mmmmm —say, re-tool and turn swords into ploughshares…

      Funny thing- why can Raytheon do the re-tooling? Keep those jobs, just re-direct the effort to life and love and Mouther Erf instead of destroying everything everywhere cyclically?

      Nutty Old World, if what we do in 2022 is The Best We Got

      1. digi_owl

        The age old problem of capitalism is overproduction. We have seen this at least since WW1, where in the aftermath they had to turn to Bernays to get people to buy on lust rather than logical need.

        David Harvey has this lovely line about how the capitalist system runs on building houses and filling them with stuff.

    2. Socal Rhino

      I think maybe you under appreciate the references to cheese whiz, pickups carrying other pickups up piles of rocks, boobs and weightlifters. It’s a stupid, fun, advertisement for the military, with the emphasis on stupid and fun.

    3. Carolinian

      Cruise has another airplane movie called American Made where he plays a Cessna pilot running drugs for the Contras so he is willing to tweak the CIA when not playing a CIA in all those Mission Impossible movies. He has said his only goal is to give the audience its money’s worth and doesn’t seem to be particularly political in the manner of Eastwood. Of course if he didn’t suck up to the MIC to some extent he would get those F-18s to play with.

      Taibbi is just being tongue in cheek and maybe Cruise too to some extent in new flick which I don’t have much interest in seeing. Our Wuk has talked about how fighter pilots like to play these Star Wars games for real over in Death Valley and sometimes smack into a cliff. Karma is a bitch.

      1. fresno dan

        I saw American Made and it is a great movie. I imagine at least 10 times (a hundred times???) as many people will see the latest Cruise movie as saw American Made. Of course, Cruise is rich because – I am not going to say Cruise is a supplier feeding people’s bad habits…

    4. Questa Nota

      Hollywood liberality means liberal paychecks, and backend residuals.
      Much acting, even high dudgeon, can be found before following the money.
      How else to rationalize those getaways, fancy meals, designer duds, etc.
      If it puts butts in the seats, or these days, eyeballs on the screens, then it is good.
      It is a fantasy business, with actors, effects and scripts, after all.

      1. orlbucfan

        Taibbi wasn’t totally tongue-in-cheek in his TG sequel article. He got a macho Americano rush off it. Go back and read what he wrote, slowly. You couldn’t pay me to see that hi-tech slop even at home. Nothing worse than watching hi-tech MICC ads…and paying for them.

    5. CanCyn

      Like Carolinian, I’d like to believe that Matt is just having some fun. I can’t blame him for wanting to do something light and talk about fun and entertainment. But if forced to bet, I’d bet his intention is satirical.
      Adding, the Scientology aside, I like that Cruise understands that his role is to entertain. Not all movies are art, in fact most aren’t, he gets it and does what he does best – grins and stunts.

      1. fresno dan

        I see you’re point. I don’t mind that Cruise wants to entertain. Its just that the whole country, particulary the news media, in going after the almighty buck, will practically never bring up that the whole country lives in fantasy.

        1. CanCyn

          For sure FD…. It is money chasing neoliberalism that will be the death of us. No doubt about that.

    6. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      Top Gun: Maverick is my favorite movie of the year. Hands down. It’s fn amazing. Wayyyy better than the original.

      Rev Kev might understand what Taibbi is implying because he watches the Critical Drinker on YouTube. Taibbi is celebrating a return to big budget (believe it or not) non political popcorn flicks. There’s no Idpol nonsense aka THE MESSAGE preaching to you about Social Justice. Just good characters. A good story. A good score. AND a Christopher Mcquarrie one at that! Mcquarrie is one of the last great screenwriters in Hollywood.

      Yes. It’s a Navy Promo Ad. Yes. It’s an MIC wet dream. Top Gun 2 can be all these things AND THE BEST MOVIE OF THE YEAR!

      It’s Top 10 domestic all time. It’s TC’s highest grossing movie of all time!!! After 40 years in the business and Tom Cruise is as big as ever. 1.3 billion dollars at the global box office.

      Taibbi AND Tom Cruise?!!! One of the greatest modern political writers writing about one of the greatest actors all time????


      And just so yall know, Dune was my favorite movie last year!

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Very insidious.

      Mind you, this morning on opening NC I was greeted by an advertisement offering me a discount to visit the Trump golf course in Co. Clare. I’m still trying to work out what I searched for to provoke that ad (for the record, I have zero interest in golf and don’t frequent either golfing or resort hotel websites).

      1. ambrit

        We are “retired” pensioners in the Great North American Deep South who are “house poor,” yet we have recently been getting tons of ads for “Exotic Getaways.” [If you obviously have trouble meeting current expenses, why would you want to jet half the way around the world to hang out on a beach in Bali?]
        I do wonder how much of advertising is “targeted” to the individual ‘consumer,’ and how much is driven by economic sector needs. Our suspicion is that much of the current ad regime has adopted the strategy of “creating demand” through extensive repetition and stridency.

        1. cfraenkel

          The customer for “targeted” ads isn’t you, the viewer. The “targeting” is a “feature” designed to get marketing C-suite types to agree to spending more $$. Sure, there’s always *someone* out there who only needs a little nudge to purchase your product. Problem is, there’s only one of them, and a hundred advertisers who want his purchase. So what’s a poor ad platform to do?? Have an auction! See which marketer wants that consumer more by paying more for that one crucial ad. But then what to do with the other 99 ads? Well no sense letting good revenue go to waste…. look over here – how convenient – here’s another 99 ‘consumers’ who sort of match the ‘targeting’ – they’re breathing no?

          1. ambrit

            So, online advertising platforms are a big South Sea Bubble. American business running true to form.
            I did miss the element of misdirection in the advertising schemes.
            Live and learn.

        1. marku52

          I get DJT silver coins. Not much interested, as they are way overpriced to bullion value.

        2. HotFlash

          Oddly enough, F’Dan, they want to ‘chat’ with me, too. They send me their photo and their interests. A lady named Violet (a typical Russian name, I think) says she is interested in bowling. What I am interested in is to know how she bowls with those stiletto fingernails. Are they removable? Did she have extra-deep special holes drilled in her ball? Maybe I should ask her.

  15. Lex

    That Rogin piece is something. I filled up my whole imperial American bingo card with just one link. Got my RDA of US foreign policy projection too. I wonder if these people feel it all slipping away, not recognizing it but just sort of an uneasy feeling that it’s fading somehow.

    1. jr

      Yeah, it’s pretty obvious from that piece that Rogin just says what he thinks his audience wants to heat, sans analysis. It’s basically a list of “nuh-uh!”’s. Grifter.

    2. Magpie

      I’m intrigued about your imperial American bingo game! Are you willing to share it? I have my own NeoCon bingo I recently started.

      Guess I should read the article and see how my game holds up. Wait, I have to read that?

  16. The Rev Kev

    “An invasion of Taiwan would shut down global chip production as ‘nobody can control TSMC by force.'”

    There are three main players here – China, Taiwan and US and each would have their own ideas what to do about TSMC.

    The Chinese would say that if they can’t take Taiwan, then they will bomb TSMC.

    The Taiwanese would say that if the Chinese try to invade, they they will bomb TSMC so that it will threaten China’s growth.

    The US says that if China invades, that they will bomb TSMC so that it does not entirely fall into Chinese hands.

    If there was a war and I worked at the Taiwan’s Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), I would put as much distance as I could between myself and that place.

    1. Steve H.

      From 2015:

      : Americans are developing a huge, rapid global combat system: using ballistic missiles and supersonic aircraft five times or ten times faster than a supersonic cruise missile, it can quickly hit any area of high concentration of capital. Now the US claims it can hit any part of the world within 28 minutes, so no matter where capital is concentrated, it can hit anywhere in the world. As long as the United States does not want a particular place to have capital, a missile can get there in 28 minutes. And when the missile goes down, capital can be still quietly and nicely withdrawn. This is the reason why a fast global combat system will replace the carriers.

    2. JAC

      If there was a war and I worked at the Taiwan’s Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), I would put as much distance as I could between myself and that place.

      Hell yes, me too.

      It is obvious that the U.S. sent that geriatric to Taiwan because they are afraid of this microchip manufacturing vulnerability.

      I am currently looking for a scooter/motorcycle/car that uses a minimum of microprocessor chips. And if you feel like you need a computer/smartphone and have an old one I would suggest buying a new one now.

      1. albrt

        I suggest a pre-1990 Toyota pickup. I have a 1987 and love it. Still enough of them around that parts are generally available (not true for my other car, a 1996 Escort wagon).

    3. Karl

      I was curious about how dependent DOD was on Taiwan chip production, and got this factoid:

      The Pentagon has become largely dependent on the commercial market for computer chips and 98 percent of the commercial microelectronics the Pentagon needs are assembled, packaged, and tested in Asia….Taiwan is home to 66 percent of the chip foundry capability in the world, including 92 percent of the world’s advanced chip production. The second largest chip supplier, South Korea, accounts for 18 percent of global output…

      The folly of global capitalism is the doom loop of economy of scale and specialization driving concentration in a politically fragile place like Taiwan. And why that place? I wouldn’t be surprised if Pelosi’s silicon valley friends were steered toward Taiwan for decades because, “friendship”….

      Incidentally, according to Alex Mercouris, China’s missile firing drills amount to a de facto naval “blockade” of Taiwan for as long as these drills last–ships can’t get in or out. But my guess is chips exit Taiwan via air. Also, he says that China has blocked exports to Taiwan of a variety of inputs to chip production on which it relies for almost 100% of its supply.

      So, in the proxy war, as usual, the proxy is the one that suffers most. And polls seem to indicate that the people of Taiwan know they are the pawns in this rapidly unfolding (unravelling) drama.

      As with Ukraine, Biden seems incapable of a sensible (as in de-escalatory/rational/diplomatic) response to this situation. Because that would be weakness and appeasement! And his PR people seem pretty inarticulate. So, the situation gets worse; this portends deeper global recession; and Biden’s standing in the polls continues to deteriorate.

      1. Yves Smith

        Wowsers, is National Interest Making Shit Up.

        China is the largest producer of semiconductors. It accounts for 24% of the world’s semiconductor production, followed by Taiwan at 21% and South Korea at 19%, according to the latest report from the Semiconductor Industry Association.

        The United States and Europe account for 10% and 8% respectively.

      2. Anthony G Stegman

        I worked for many years in the semiconductor industry. From near Day 1 assembly and test functions were outsourced to Asia. There were two main reasons given for this – lower labor costs, and more dexterous Asian women versus American women. Chip assembly was (perhaps still is) labor intensive with very fine wires being manually attached to the thumbnail sized chips. At some point beginning in the 1990s Silicon Valley began losing its fabs due to cost concerns and environmental regulations. New chip companies started as completely fabless. Jerry Sanders, who founded AMD, quipped at one point that “real men have fabs”. AMD eventually went fabless as well. It was always a huge mistake for American technology companies to outsource chip manufacturing. Taiwan, and later China learned much from running wafer fabs. Over time they progressed from merely manufacturing semiconductors using recipes provided by American companies to designing their own chips with their own recipes. The $50B giveaway to Intel (the primary beneficiary of the CHIPs act) won’t make much difference as the horses have already left the barn.

        1. Booboo Bear

          I worked in semiconductor factories for a few years. Workers in wafer fab were always Asian women.

    4. digi_owl

      Some news that went woosh by most people recently, likely because it was a few years behind the highest of tech, was that China was now able to make 7 nm chips domestically.

      That is where TSMC was back in 2019.

      Also, a Chinese company was recently showing off a home grown GPU.

      Yes, it was laughably behind what the big brands are making right now. But it showed that China had the capability.

      Now combine the two and you have a China that may no longer need TSMC in a working state.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Eleven years ago the Chinese were told that they would never be able to send their taikonauts to the International Space Station. And now they have their own. And it will be still there when the ISS is sitting at the bottom of the South Pacific in the spacecraft cemetery.

        1. digi_owl

          Then again i seem to recall that USA was considering cutting funding for the ISS some years back, while Europe and Russia wanted to keep it going.

  17. The Rev Kev

    “What kind of economy are we building?”

    How much of the Ukraine’s economy will be left? I heard, though I cannot confirm it, that about 80-90% of the GDP of the Ukraine was generated in the Russian-speaking regions of that country. So once they are gone, what sort of economy will be left? A pastoral one? And what about a workforce. God knows how many Ukrainian lives have been squandered in the fighting to satisfy other country’s geopolitical aims. And how many Ukrainians will want to come home to a country that will have the GDP of a sub-Saharan country? How many women will want to raise their kids there?

    And you read what this Julia Svyridenko is planning and I am seeing the outline of a supercharged neoliberal State where businesses and corporation will be allowed to run rampant and the government relegated to the background. I am sure that the Ukraine’s notorious oligarchs will be pleased at this development. She imagines that the EU has all the answers and that they can scrap all Ukrainian institutions and just use EU ones but the truth is that the EU will allow Turkey into the EU before they do the Ukraine.

    1. Daniil Adamov

      Pretty sure they speak Russian in all parts of the Ukraine, except for maybe the far west (but even there I’d imagine most people understand it just fine). They also speak Ukrainian in most parts of the Ukraine. And in many parts of the Ukraine, they speak surzhik, a much-maligned mixture of both. I’m not sure what “the Russian-speaking regions” are, is my point. It seems like a very vague term. Also, one’s language or ethnicity doesn’t really map that well to political allegiance, for whatever that is worth at this point. Many ethnic Russians (in Ukraine and Russia) support the Ukrainian government, many ethnic Ukrainians (in Russia and Ukraine) support the Russian government and separatist governments.

      1. nippersdad

        That sounds like quibbling.

        He is clearly talking about those Eastern and Southern areas of Ukraine that were historically built up by the Russians (both under the Russian Empire and under the Soviets), not those areas that used to be under the control of Poland and the Austro-Hungarian Empire pre-WWI. Why would ethnic Russians support a government that has banned their language and culture at the point of a bayonet? Why would Poland seek legislation that would amount to a back door annexation of the rump state envisioned as the aftermath of this conflict?

        Everyone in Ukraine may understand the Russian language, but it is clear that a lot of them have little respect for those who want to continue using it. The Rev is right; I, too, have seen estimates of the amount of GDP added to the Ukraine economy by the regions that are set to leave it of around sixty to eighty percent. There is going to be very little left to support all of the loans they have taken out, much less the people left there who must be taxed to pay them.

        1. Daniil Adamov

          To quibble further, I think you just mean Austria-Hungary. But areas outside of its control are nearly all of the Ukraine, aside from a relatively small western corner. Are you including Kharkov? Kiev?

          As for why ethnic Russians in the Ukraine support a government that opposes Russian culture – beats me, but many of them do, and some are in prominent positions among the nationalists as I recall. For that matter, many ethnic Russians here in Russia also root for the Ukraine in the conflict. A marginalised minority, to be sure. Still a lot of people in absolute numbers. I don’t think this conflict can be meaningfully reduced to ethnicity.

      2. Stephen

        I am sure you are right.

        The Dreizin Report seems to speak both languages and he referred to one video (I think it was him) where Ukrainian soldiers were trying to speak Ukrainian but then had to ask each other what the right Ukrainian word was for a particular expression, Russian being their first language! But it does not mean too much: for example, all Irish people can speak English, many are interrelated with us too, but that does mean they want to be ruled by the Crown. In the same way speaking Russian does not prove one wants to be in the Russian Federation.

        Reality does seem to be though that many eastern Ukrainians do seem to speak Russian primarily, were agitated by the loss of protections for the Russian language in 2014 (amongst other things) and are fighting for the DPR / LPR militias. They seem to be doing most of the hard fighting. It seems like a civil war in many ways.

        1. Daniil Adamov

          Agreed on all points. Ireland is a good comparison, since, of course, it also has an Irish language. I have heard that it is not very popular among much of the population, but it is official. The status of Ukrainian is comparable, though Ukrainian survived better than Irish, which had to be resuscitated from near-extinction.

          The most aggrieved areas and populations in the Ukraine are perhaps best characterised as “non-Ukrainian-speaking” than “Russian-speaking”. The legislative attack on the Russian language would obviously discriminate against them.

          1. Revenant

            Irish is nowhere near as related to English as Ukrainian to Russian. A better analogy would be the German speaking parts of the Netherlands not necessarily wanting to be ruled by Germany.

      3. John k

        It’s not just language, it’s attitude. In 2014, 9 ukr oblasts voted for the Russian-leaning guy that won, though just a little later he was ousted in us coup. These 9, from Kharkov in the north to Odessa in the south, are the ones that imo are most likely to be included in the independent ‘new Russia’.
        Granted, some other oblasts might be thinking they don’t want to be part of a land-locked, non-east and non-south ukr. Perhaps, if the Russians hold plebiscites (with Indian monitors?) they will extend them to other oblasts to gauge current thinking.

  18. upstater

    File under “the dogs refuse to eat the dog food”:

    STB chairman says higher pay would help solve railroad crew shortages

    “There is a price that will get you enough workers. I don’t know what that price is. But everything has a price,” Martin J. Oberman says

    “If you need another 400 crews to move those trains that are sitting out there, pay whatever price you need to get them,” Oberman says. “Don’t come in and tell me it’s hard to hire. And it’s not like they can’t afford it. They’re paying out billions and billions every year in stock buybacks. You could use some of that to get the workforce you need.”

  19. The Rev Kev

    “Wall Street CEOs Want Zero Quarantine for Hong Kong’s Big Summit”

    The Chinese would never be so stupid as to allow all those CEOs and their staff & freeloaders to spread that virus both near and far in Hong Kong. They may, however, establish a ‘bubble’ someplace in Hong Kong. In that bubble would be all the staff, lawyers, service people, hookers and drug dealers that those CEOs would ever need. If those CEOs don’t like it, then the Chinese could go tell them to take a flying hike as if you want to make the big bucks in China, you have to follow Chinese rules. And a major one right now is Zero Covid whereas it would not be beyond those CEOs to do ‘god’s work’ by bringing in the virus with them.

  20. JAC

    RE “Prenatal exposure to famine and the development of hyperglycemia and type 2 diabetes in adulthood across consecutive generations”

    Just to be clear what is happening here, the famine changes the epigenetics/genetics of the children to prepare them for the same low levels of caloric intake as their parents have suffered. (Nature!) This means their body now favors storing food. But if the population comes out of the famine with more food (Nurture!) then their parents had the children are prone to obesity and diabetes and hyperglycemia.

    The children will only get diabetes if they eat too much, the famine does not directly cause diabetes in the children.

  21. Mikel

    ‘The turbine works’: Germany’s Scholz blames Russia in energy row” Al Jazeera

    “….European governments accused Russia of throttling gas supplies on spurious pretexts in revenge for Western sanctions after the invasion of Ukraine in February.

    Moscow denies doing so and cited issues with the turbine as the reason for lower gas flows through Nord Stream 1, which have been cut to 20 percent of capacity….”

    Did I miss the part when the USA and EU negotiatied sanctions with Russia and signed some agreement?
    So maybe it’s more of the EU/USA belief that they are the only ones allowed to deal in “spurious pretexts” and Moscow simply trolling them over their “exceptionalism.”

  22. Kouros

    For me, this is the expression of the day, from Patrick Lawrence: “This is our apple-pie authoritarianism as it is forced upon us.”

  23. ywhaz

    “Keeping Europe Warm This Winter Comes Down to Asia’s Weather – Bloomberg”

    Oh my… the article gives two bullet points at the very top:
    > A severe north Asian winter could add to global energy demand
    > Europe shunning Russian fuel means more tussle with Asia

    Yes, more hate for Asia please. It was Europe that followed the US to fuel the war in Ukraine. It was Europe that said no to Russian energy and got itself in an energy crisis. But now Asia is to blame for all the trouble that is to come: if Europe is to struggle this winter, it is because 1) North Asia is too cold; and 2) Asian countries competing with Europe in the energy market. No good solution for 1) unless Europe could break away from the Eurasian tectonic plate (join the Americas, I guess?). Maybe the solution for 2) is to let Asian counties buy Russian energy without harassing them?

  24. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: pelosi / Taiwan

    No particular link reference, but I thought the commentariat might be interested in a tidbit mentioned the other day on Rising.

    Briahna Joy Gray, Robby Soave and a guest were discussing possible reasons pelosi had chosen to make the stop in Taiwan at this particularly fraught time.

    Briahna commented (and I agree) that there was a lot of “inference” and “pieces that don’t fit together” floating around as to pelosi’s motivation.

    Then Soave drops this little nugget. pelosi’s district is 31% Asian. She is, or so Soave posited, thinking of retiring. He suggested that her visit was intended to show “solidarity” with the Taiwanese people in an effort to garner the support of the Taiwanese-“Americans” in her district, when she turns her seat over to her daughter, Christine, upon her retirement.

    OMFG. Can this possibly be true? It was all about establishing a pelosi dynasty?

    No one seemed to bat an eye at this idea, by the way, and all seemed to be aware of christine’s name and aspirations.

    1. Anthony G Stegman

      It won’t be long before Chelsea Clinton’s name is being bandied about for some high elected office. Remember, we have a ruling class, and you ain’t in it. Christine and Chelsea are.

  25. Rainlover

    #COVID19 And Then There Were 31

    Protein subunit vaxes seem to be the coming thing. For anyone else confused about what a protein subunit vaccine is, here is a simple explanation.

    Rather than injecting a whole pathogen to trigger an immune response, subunit vaccines (sometimes called acellular vaccines) contain purified pieces of it, which have been specially selected for their ability to stimulate immune cells. Because these fragments are incapable of causing disease, subunit vaccines are considered very safe.

    My bold.

    So all that mandating of mRNA vaccines was unnecessary and dangerous as was always suspected. It’s amazing how much I’ve learned about medical matters in the past two years, thanks to the internet and especially NC. Not looking forward to when the lights go out…

  26. spud

    Yves the reason why i included that dailymail article on taxes, was not that i believe the corporations should not pay more, the dailymail is of course shills for the rich.

    what bothers me is that there is a open window on making the tax burden on the 90% go up.

    look at bill clintons so called tax hike, it never touched capital gains, in fact bill clinton cut those. but the almost 40% federal income tax was applied to all.

    and of course obamas stealth tax cut for the rich.

    this looks like another stealth tax hike on those that can least afford it. even if its a minor increase.

    there should be no increase at all on us, the tax burden should be almost 100% on the rich, and increased when ever it looks like oligarchy is forming, or inflation is getting out of hand.

    the bill was endorsed by these creatures,

    “Five former Treasury secretaries — Hank Paulson (who served under President George W. Bush), Robert Rubin and Larry Summers (who served under President Bill Clinton), and Tim Geithner and Jacob Lew (who served under President Barack Obama) — signed a statement in which they supported the bill and rejected the argument that its provisions represent a tax increase.”

    that should scare us!

  27. Anthony G Stegman

    I’m happy to see that there is lots of chatter back and forth between all the world’s adversaries. Lots of name calling, lots of threats, lots of jumping up and down screaming. Keep talking, keep throwing fits, keep hurling insults. As the old saying goes, sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.

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