Links 9/10/2022

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Lambert and I, and many readers, agree that Ukraine has prompted the worst informational environment ever. We hope readers will collaborate in mitigating the fog of war — both real fog and stage fog — in comments. None of us need more cheerleading and link-free repetition of memes; there are platforms for that. Low-value, link-free pom pom-wavers will be summarily whacked.

And for those who are new here, this is not a mere polite request. We have written site Policies and those who comment have accepted those terms. To prevent having to resort to the nuclear option of shutting comments down entirely until more sanity prevails, as we did during the 2015 Greek bailout negotiations and shortly after the 2020 election, we are going to be ruthless about moderating and blacklisting offenders.


P.S. Also, before further stressing our already stressed moderators, read our site policies:

Please do not write us to ask why a comment has not appeared. We do not have the bandwidth to investigate and reply. Using the comments section to complain about moderation decisions/tripwires earns that commenter troll points. Please don’t do it. Those comments will also be removed if we encounter them.

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Interesting Facts About One of the Ocean’s Smartest Animals: Sea Otters The Animal Rescue (David L)

Scientists Are Using These High-Tech Tools to Study Bird Migration Smithsonian Magazine (David L)

Some Wisconsin quarters have an error. The rare coins could sell for far beyond 25 cents. USA Today (BC)

Wow! Here’s Webb’s View of the Tarantula Nebula Universe Today

Chinese scientists for the first time discover a new mineral on moon; new mineral named Changesite-(Y) Global Times (Kevin W)

Ingenious “Wind Turbine Wall” Could Power Your Entire Home Unofficial Network (David L)

Navy Says All UFO Videos Classified, Releasing Them ‘Will Harm National Security’ Vice

NASA Working To Repair Fuel Leak On Moon Rocket, Plans To Launch Artemis Mission Later This Month CNBC

New York declares polio state of emergency to boost vaccination rates CNBC (resilc)



Is SARS-CoV-2 an oncogenic virus? Journal of Infectious Diseases (cheryl a). KLG was Not Impressed:

Look at the values on the y-axes (Normalized expression of TP53; p53 is famously involved in detecting DNA damage and defective p53 is common in cancers of virtually all types). The points are mostly between 10 and 11 or centering around 10 in (A). Not that much different in (B) and (C). It is not clear to me how they normalized their gene expression, and I don’t have time to look up reference 7. Their statistical analysis is laughable, and their graphs could be used in the 57th printing (or whatever the number is) of How to Lie With Statistics). Those lines are pretty much flat if the y-axes are from 0-10. Even the 3 green points in the far right panel of (B) would make a pretty flat line. The 2 decimal points on the y-axis of the left panel of (C) are precious, too. If I had a student come to me with statistics attached to a line defined by 3 points, my response would be measured but it would not happen again. No different from using 97.32974563 in a biological assay that might have been accurate to 97, “because that is how far the calculator went.” Which I actually heard once. Could have heard a pin drop.

Scientists identify a single antibody that may fight all COVID strains DW (resilc)


Companies are dropping vaccine mandates Axios (resilc)


This reminds me of the University of Maine study that found that lobsters didn’t mind being steamed to death:

Ethanol Plants Are Allowed To Pollute More Than Oil Refineries Reuters

The Disaster Consultants The Verge (resilc)

As Wildfires Grow, Millions of Homes Are Being Built in Harm’s Way New York Times (resilc)

Oregon Adopts Calif Fire Tactic, Shuts Power Amid High Winds Bloomberg (David L)

Photos: California fire emergency declared over Fairview, Mosquito blazes Axios (resilc)


European giants buck US decoupling from China Asia Times (Kevin W)

EU to unveil forced labour ban amid pushback over Xinjiang South China Morning Post


In Face of Rising Domestic Prices, India Restricts Rice Exports The Wire

Eurozone interest rates must continue to rise, says European Central Bank Guardian (Kevin W)

Does Australia Receive Enough Cocaine To Meet Demand? Inside Crime (resilc)

Old Blighty

What will happen to the queen’s royal pack of corgis? New York Times (David L)

These Brands Are Very Sad About the Passing of the Queen Vice (resilc)

Germany to introduce ′green card′ to bolster workforce DW (resilc)

New Not-So-Cold War

Europe’s Energy Crisis Brings Calls for 5-Minute Showers. Not All Are Keen on That. Wall Street Journal

EU Backs Off Russian Energy Price Cap AntiWar (guurst). I believe von der Leyen is having another go next week. She’s been enormously successful at getting the EU to Do Something About Russia repeatedly, no matter how un or counter productive the idea. So I’m not sure this is over.

Europe sounds ‘full mobilisation’ after Kremlin shuts key gas pipeline Financial Times

EU spars over proposal to cap Russian gas prices Financial Times. Kevin W: “I read that is was more of a shouting match.”

* * *

Russia welcomes lifting of European Commission restrictions on Russian fertilizer supplies, but ban on supplies to Asia, Africa, Latin America unacceptable – Putin Interfax (guurst). ZOMG.

* * *

Russia Moves Reinforcements to Kharkov Region to Counter Ukraine Balakliye Offensive Alexander Mercouris, YouTube. A good long form rundown. Note that Mercouris also has a strong track record on his commentary despite Mercouris regularly saying he’s not a military person. He is very good at not getting het up about the developments of the day and being mindful of sourcing. He goes through that at length today, as well as reviewing who Russia had defending the area (not serious infantry, consistent with my belief that this isn’t a strategically important). Mercouris thinks even with optimistic assumptions re Ukraine progress, the advance is unlikely to threaten Izyum, but provocatively suggests the Russians may no longer care much about holding Izyum. Earlier in the war, it was intended to be the launching point for an assault to the south, but the Russian forces have been blocked at a very well fortified “Sherwood Forest”. But it would be bad optics to let it go even if Russia isn’t terribly invested in it any more. Not also that the Russian side does not appear to have incurred meaningful casualties, but there is a second order problem, that Ukraine recapturing towns and small cities will make civilians in other “liberated” territories nervous.

Ukraine Counterattacks! Big Serge (guurst)

Ukraine’s Offensive Coincides with US $3 Billion+ Aid Package – Russian Ops in Ukraine Sep. 9, 2022 New Altas. YouTube

U.S. ups the ante: are we indeed headed into WWIII and what can save us? Gilbert Doctorow. Note the key point from the Berletic (New Atlas) comment above: the same Russia bloggers who are agitated about this Kharkiv offensive were the same ones that were worked up about the last one that didn’t mean much over time. This is a not heavily populated area that Russia has never bothered to man to keep a tight hold on it. I have yet to see evidence that Russia took meaningful costs but instead simply pulled back, as they did before and in Kherson before they responded. If its established there were real Russian costs, that’s a different story. I also don’t buy the “feint” view for Kherson. You don’t sent in 15,000, have them take ginormous casualties, then send in another 10,000, have them very badly beaten up too, and have your intended main operation be only 9,000 men, with no air cover, very near Russia where it’s easy for them to send in planes and troops. In other words, there looks to be a lot of overreaction to what is likely to prove to be a short-lived, but well timed, PR win. Separately, it does reveal that the hawkish Russians are champing at the bit and the Russian media is eating it up.

Military briefing: Ukraine gains momentum with Kharkiv offensive Financial Times. Below the fold, and well below the article on the EU energy emergency meeting,

Ukraine will retake Crimea in a year – ex-US general RT

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‘We got too comfortable’: the race to build an LNG terminal in north Germany Guardian (resilc)

Ukraine announces ‘filtration’ for civilians RT (Kevin W)

Poland wants more land – media RT (Kevin W). Not in Ukraine, though.

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Rights Groups To FTC’s Lina Khan: Please Kill Amazon’s iRobot Acquisition Gizmodo

How Shady Ships Use GPS to Evade International Law New York Times (resilc)

Imperial Collapse Watch

Pentagon’s acquisition chief talks inflation, Ukraine, ‘Vampires’ DefenseNews

Oz tries to tighten the screws on Fetterman The Hill. Note the thin US political news. Looks like no one wants to compete with the death of the Queen if they don’t have to.


South Carolina senators reject a near-total abortion ban Associated Press (furzy)

Yeshiva University Can Bar L.G.B.T. Club for Now, Justice Rules New York Times (David L)

Our No Longer Free Press

The Historic Collapse of Journalism Patrick Lawrence, Consortium News

Whither the ESG Revolution? Project Syndicate (David L)

United Airlines plans to buy up to 500 electric flying taxis Engadget (Kevin W)

Tesla considering lithium refinery in Texas, seeks tax relief Reuters. Resilc: “More scams than Steve Bannon.”

Health insurers just published close to a trillion hospital prices DoltHub Blog (resilc)

Fed Economist Warns of “Severe Recession” From Rate Hikes Intercept (resilc)

When bitcoin plunges, Buttcoin cheers: the online community praying for the end of crypto Guardian (resilc)

Class Warfare

With one week left before potential national rail strike, showdown building between US railroaders and Biden administration WSWS

Antidote du jour. Tracie H:

My husband gave a carrot to a rabbit that’s been bouncing around the neighborhood. I photographed the rabbit eating the carrot in the driveway, and then left it alone so as not to scare it off. When I came back, the neighbors cat seemed to be guarding the carrot until the rabbit could return. She soon sat down beside it and batted it gently a few times.

And a bonus (Chuck L):

A second bonus:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Sardonia

    Lambert posted yesterday about a new Covid-sterilizing nasal vaccine from India’s Bharat Biotech. Will we get it in the US? Hah! So, I can imagine THE NOVEL CORONAVIRUS ITSELF speaking TO US – using this slightly lyric-tweaked (but rapid-fire cadence-maintained) version of Gil Scott-Heron’s classic 1971 spoken-word piece “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”. (the song is linked in the first reply, well worth a listen if you’ve never heard it):


    You have been unable to stay home, brother.
    You have been unable to mask up, wise up, or lock down.
    You have been unable to keep away from crowds
    And skip out on seeing Phish concerts live, and so
    My Evolution will not be Sterilized.

    My Evolution will not be Sterilized.
    My Evolution will not be brought to heel
    By Pfizer in four parts or five or six without interruption.
    My Evolution will not be seen as Rochelle Walensky trumpets “Victory!”
    By blowing a flugelhorn from her a@@ while being interviewed on CNN
    And telling Anderson Cooper that the most comfy mask is made from single-ply Kleenex.
    My Evolution will not be Sterilized.

    My Evolution will not be brought to heel by the bought-and-paid-for FDA
    That will never approve a nasal vaccine that kills both Me and Pharma profits.
    My Evolution will not be seen while you watch the NFL.
    My Evolution will not be sung by Taylor Swift.
    My Evolution will not be live-streamed on the Internet, and so
    My Evolution will not be Sterlized, brother.

    There will be no pictures of My genetic form
    Morphing its building blocks to evade outdated jabs
    And trying to slide that new RNA into new cellular homelands.
    NBC will not be able to predict which mutation
    Will be the one that makes Me just as lethal as Ebola.
    My Evolution will not be Sterilized.

    There will be no pictures of Me clotting up platelets all throughout the bloodstream.
    There will be no pictures of Me clotting up platelets all throughout the bloodstream.
    There will be no pictures of My legions
    Being run through aortas inflaming your myocardium.
    There will be no slow motion or still lifes of My numbers
    Strolling from nose through olfactory bulbs and entering your brains
    And making everything smell and taste like a rotting corpse.

    Jeopardy, The Wheel of Fortune, and American Idol
    Will no longer seem so damn relevant
    And women will not care if Dick finally got down on Jane
    On The Hung and the Listless
    Because Cognition will be as foggy as a San Francisco day.
    My Evolution will not be Sterilized.

    There will be no highlights on the eleven o’clock news
    Of Public Health agents being arm-twisted by Big Business
    To prioritize profits over health.
    The theme they will push will be “We can only pre-treat the symptoms.”
    And a vaccine made abroad that will kill Me
    Will be quietly strangled in the womb.
    My Evolution will not be Sterilized.

    My Evolution will not be set back
    By any message about Bharat Biotech,
    Bharat this, or Bharat that.
    You’ll be told not to worry about the threat of Long Covid,
    Or disability, or adverse effects of Pfizer’s jabs.
    My Evolution will not be NPR’s concern.
    My Evolution will not even be mentioned at all.
    My Evolution WILL…knock you on your goddam seat.

    My Evolution will not be Sterilized.
    Will not be Sterilized.
    Will not be Sterilized.
    Will not be Sterilized.
    My Evolution will be a free run, brothers.
    My Evolution will be live.

      1. Art_DogCT

        Brilliant! Thank you!

        In the Far Ago and Long Away, I had the good fortune to attend a concert he gave in Detroit in 1980, if memory serves. ¡Compañero Gil Scott-Heron, presente!

  2. Antifa


    Anchors aweigh, boys! Off to Taipei!
    We’re sailing cuz the Beltway buzz says get underway
    Cast off the bow line, we’re Formosa bound!
    Thirty thousand sailors take ten minutes to drown!

    Victoria Nuland has issued dire threats
    Our Congresscritters visit Taiwan with no regrets
    Everyone in Washington swears dark epithets
    None of these poltroons will be on hand to launch the jets!

    I only joined the Navy for three meals a day
    To my surprise they’re happy guys and gen’rally gay
    We’re off to fight with China in our floating pillbox
    But their hypersonic missiles fly at multiple Machs!

    Our radar cannot see them, they come in so fast
    The first sign of danger is a ginormous blast
    Then up go the flames, and down goes our ship
    I haven’t any interest now in making this trip!

    We build super weapons, nifty ships and new planes
    Shiny high tech hardware from the world’s biggest brains
    But China doesn’t spend the cash to follow our road
    All they do is make what makes our high tech explode!

    They just make scads of missiles to obliterate our stuff
    We’ll steam in range and for a change they’ll call our bluff
    We haven’t any weapons that can counter this threat
    So if we sail on over there, we’re going to get wet!

    The moment China sinks our ships, it’s nuclear war
    Endless hopeless winter for our final encore
    No one wins at anything when mushroom clouds bloom
    Just billions of us starving in endless, chilly gloom!

    Nancy Pelosi has lived eighty two years
    Deep in the Beltway Bubble like the rest of her peers
    They all think that war just means more jobs for each state
    When they learn nukes don’t work like that, it will be too late!

    It isn’t even gonna be a typical fight
    We’ll be destroyed, then nukes deployed, then nuclear night
    We’re playing Russian Roulette with all six chambers packed
    This world will end the very moment that we attack!

  3. jackiebass63

    There is a lot written about the MS water problems. I feel bad for the people but much of this is due to how they run their state and towns. They brag about low taxes trying to attract people from other states. The reality is taxes pay for many of the the services we need and use.This event is an example what happens when you neglect critical things to save money.Years of neglect produced this. I believe you get what you pay for.

    1. The Rev Kev

      As a kid I heard American tourists ask on TV shows whether it was safe to drink the water when going to visit other countries. Just goes to show you what forty years of neoliberalism can accomplish. Cutting taxes became like a mania, especially with Republicans, and I guess that the assumption was that the ‘market’ would make up for all those lost services. Yeah, nah! Like you said, you get what you pay for.

      1. JBird4049

        As a kid, I heard first Japanese and then Chinese stuff as garbage while my family saw the Eagle landing on an American made TV. This while my mother made waffles with Westinghouse (or was it G.E.?) in a house rented in the Bay Area on worker’s pay with some help from the Fed. Then honest hope of buying a house with that free degree; today, it’s all a dream, a fantasy I can amuse the kids..

        And now about that water or me ever owning a house…

        Heck, I would be happy to buy a Ford that I can afford that would last at all and not mock me with endless out of warranty repairs. But that’s insane and so it’s Toyota for me.

        Some complain about the MAGAnuts and it’s true that are insane, but really, what is so wrong with “Make America Great Again?” We could start with making waffle makers, again.

        And how about that drinking water? It’s only been a thing since the Bronze Age.

        1. ambrit

          Look at Boston. Some of their water mains still in use date back to the middle 1800s. Repairing this has been a ‘work in progress’ since 2000AD.
          My favourite is the city of Segovia in Spain. They used a Roman aqueduct built around 100AD for their municipal water supply until the mid 1800s.
          Alas, groundwater contamination is a major problem throughout North America; the legacy of a barely regulated Industrial Revolution.

        2. digi_owl

          The family’s old microwave is a electromechanical Electrolux, made in USA and imported some time in the 80s. It may not have fancy timers or spinning plates, but it sure heat a cup of joe still.

          Similarly their washing machine kept going for some 30 odd years, until the case rusted through. Locally made, and again ran on electromechanical programming.

    2. B flat

      NYC’s water system is barely operative for the same reason. An added complication is how ya gonna shut the damn thing down for repairs without causing other parts of the system to finally crack?

      1. Wukchumni

        My biggest investment is in surface water, which is becoming rarer all the time as luck would not have it.

        We’re perhaps 39th in line in the foothills from the purple mountain majesties before it hits the fruited plain. and the 5 forks of the Kaweah River have the steepest drop of all rivers in the USA, so you’re assured to get some no matter how dodgy the drought has made things.

        I’m into redundancy so we also have a hard rock well as our primary water, along with our cabin in the higher climes being in between a couple of spring-fed creeks, with springs all around in the vicinity.

        So far-so good, and then climate change threw a spanner in the works in the guise of toxic algae blooms in tiny town this summer…

        Potential toxic water near Three Rivers could force residents to shut down their taps and stock up on bottled water.

        Residents who rely on getting water directly from the Kaweah River are urged to use caution, county officials said. Potential toxic algae in the river has been found on more than one occasion this summer.

        Tulare County Public Health officials recommend that community members not use tap water for drinking, cooking, showering, or brushing teeth until more information is available.

        Local and state water experts say there is no easy fix if your primary water source comes directly from the Kaweah River and that boiling or adding chemicals in the water does not eliminate the toxins.

    3. BeliTsari

      The THEY doing the bragging ain’t EVER the they doing the dying? Not unlike NYC’s elite, skedaddling to upstate ‘vacation cottages’ as 32K uppity essentials’ loved-ones died & Cuomo, Trump & de Blasio upwardly-redistributed homes, uninsured, indentured labor & equity; making us ALL virtual share-croppers as Mr Market had a feeding frenzy.

    4. Carolinian

      From what I’ve read white (and some middle class black) flight from central Jackson left a poor people city in the middle without much in the way of a tax base. A Southern version of Detroit? And Mississippi in general is hardly a bastion of billionaires. Perhaps a Federal program is needed to help poor towns out with their water problems. Lots of taxable billionaires in our coastal cities. We could even ask Ukraine to help out by giving back some of that money that Biden sends to them to run their government.

        1. Mr.Skeptic

          $70-80 billion? For Ukraine, pennies for Jackson.

          How about Kentucky flood relief? The place that fueled America’s war efforts and steel making via coal for coke.

          Don’t worry, not much federal money wasted there, gotta sent it to Ukraine. There’s is a gofund me type charity fund you can donate to:

          Maybe residents of Kentucky and Mississippi should just divert their federal tax payments to their own states’ treasurer?

          1. ambrit

            Alas, I think that both Kaintuck and Mississip get more “tax” money from the Feds than they contribute. [There is also the case of they being the source of so much of the American Cannon Fodder Class; so useful to the idiots populating the MIC PMC.]
            Where these benighted states make their mark is in their function as ‘test beds’ for the neo-liberal drive towards neo-feudalism.
            Be safe and consider giving Kevlar for Kristmess.

        2. KLG

          Perfect, Rev! As a college freshman I was the only one in my circle to attend a performance by Marcel Marceau. Who, they asked? Philistines! While Bip the Clown was perfect, his man-in-a-box/cage was absolutely stunning. Democrats are also stunningly predictable. As long as their status in DC remains unchanged, they are happy. While they prattle about Trump’s threat to something called democracy and the world burns.

          1. You're soaking in it!

            My nomination for best cameo evah: Marceau in Silent Movie! If you haven’t seen it, see it!

        3. digi_owl

          Same crap everywhere. Only it is not filibusters, but government debt or inflation that will be the excuse for doing nothing.

    5. Wukchumni

      We got notified in a fever, drier than a dusty spout
      We’ve been talkin’ ’bout Jackson
      Ever since the water went out.
      I’m talkin’ to Jackson, don’t mess around
      Yeah, I’m talkin’ to Jackson
      Look out Jackson town

      Well, go on drink in Jackson; go ahead and wreck your health
      Go play your hand you big-talkin’ man, make a big fool of yourself
      Yeah, go to Jackson; have Brandon drink a glass there

      As if water shortages gonna snowball aside from Jackson

      Stay tuned out there

      When they bring bottled water into that city, people gonna stoop and bow (Hah!)
      All that H20 is gonna make do, teach ’em about the here & now
      Joe’s goin’ to Jackson, your turn to pull an Obama Flint feint
      is Joe goin’ to Jackson?

      “Goodbye” that’s all she wrote

      But they’ll laugh at you in Jackson, and dancin’ a.dry jig
      They’ll lead you ’round town like a scalded hound
      With your tail tucked between your legs
      Yeah, go to Jackson, you big-talkin’ man
      And I’ll be waitin’ in Jackson-adjacent, hanging out on the wi-fi lam

      Well we got notified in a fever, drier than a dusty spout
      We’ve been talkin’ ’bout Jackson, ever since the water went out
      Joe’s goin’ to Jackson, and will toss a glass of water back
      Yeah, he’s goin’ to Jackson, probably never comin’ back.

      We got notified in a fever, drier than a dusty spout,\
      We’ve been talkin’ ’bout Jackson
      Ever since the water went out…

      Johnny Cash & June Carter – Jackson

      1. griffen

        Well done, that is a pretty solid effort! I also have the original tune in my head for the rest of the day.

        Joe and Jill go up the hill. No Joe, the water is not for you!

        1. ambrit

          Joe and Jill go up the Hill,
          To fund Jackson some water.
          Joe bends down to sniff her crown,
          While Sinema plays the spoiler.

          America desperately needs a Regent to take care of business while Joe the First rusticates.

            1. ambrit

              I’m an English ex-pat and I’ll guess that making such a suggestion would be considered “fightin words” by Whitehall. [Could you imagine it; the Royal Marines fighting alongside the Spetsnaz in the Ukraine?] “Take that you bloody Yanks!”

    6. JTMcPhee

      I doubt the mopes who have toxic sludge coming out of their taps have had any say in now the place they live is “managed,” and how expenditures are determined by the corrupt “government” there/ Any more than We The People have any say about how the ruling elites at all the other state and federal levels flood out the money that is based on the labor and creative efforts of the mopery.

      Don’t be blaming the lady with the crap coming out of her tap. There is no way she can direct the flow of the little wealth that the impoverished public space in Mississippi, not her and not her neighbors. We do not live in a democracy, and “voter preferences” demonstrably have zero effect on what the rulers do. That kind of kicking down is just what they want us to do.

      And I doubt very much that she and her fellow “citizens” have the option to “just move somewhere better,” where everywhere else is on the same trajectory.

        1. JBird4049

          While we all justly mock the city of Jackson, I still just don’t understand why anyone would let the water system fail. No water, ultimately no city. You just cannot have a city with water and taxes pay for it. It always does. Bottle water merely delays this.

          “Hi, I’m from Mississippi. A state that decided to kill its capital because reasons.”

          1. Wukchumni

            When I lived in LA water mains didn’t all of sudden bust open as they do these days, and the issue is probably similar to Jackson in that the infrastructure is ancient and needs replacing, but sorry we felt arming Ukraine is of utmost importance, you can wait until the 12th of never and in the meantime, lose ever more precious water that sadly goes down the drain and into the Pacific ocean.

            The first break, in Universal City, occurred Monday afternoon. A cast iron water main, 87 years old and installed in 1934, failed due to a “split,” the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power said.

            It’s one of three leaks that particular water main has sprung over the past five years, according to a LADWP spokesperson.

            The second break, in Venice, occurred around 2 a.m. Tuesday morning, according to the LADWP spokesperson, when a six inch cast iron pipe sprung a leak.

            The water in that area was shut off around 3 a.m. Repairs are expected to take anywhere from six to eight hours, the LADWP estimates.


          2. ambrit

            We here in Mississippi have always been vying with neighbour Louisiana for the title of “Northernmost Banana Republic in the Americas.”
            Louisiana has a stretch of the Mighty Mississippi River between New Orleans and Baton Rouge that hosts a dense concentration of chemical and petrochemical plants and refineries. It has always been called “Cancer Alley” by the locals. [We used to live right by there and know whereof we speak.] It used to have the highest per capita rate of cancers among the population in the country. Most of the municipal water supplies along that stretch of the river use the river for their water supply. New Orleans does so. Cause and effect? (That would explain a lot about ‘moderne’ New Orleans. It’s in the water!) Really though, New Orleans is known worldwide for having probably the best public water filtration system in the world.
            Mississippi of course has the underground atomic test site in Baxterville, just south of where we live. The tests were performed in an underground salt dome. Tritium is still being emitted from out of the test site into the local groundwater.

          3. digi_owl

            The people in charge are likely living in some gated community with a private supply, so they are not affected.

      1. Paradan

        Hey Yves, remember a couple weeks ago when I said the Russians had moved over 300 combat aircraft and 300+ helicopters to forward bases in Belgorad, and you said there was nothing to bomb?
        Looks like there stuff to bomb now.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          The reason for my skepticism was that none of the sites I follow, which do watch Russian Telegram pretty closely, corroborated your account. Hence the challenge as to what they might be up to. I dimly recall your or someone else’s response was as a show of force/solidarity for Belarus. That was plausible.

          Russia usually uses its air force for close cover for ground operations. Having air assets operate in isolation at scale (as opposed say for a small rescue or paramilitary operation), as in w/o tanks/infantry isn’t their order of battle. As I am sure you know, they use missiles and artillery to soften up targets when possible, not bombs from airplanes. They treat fixed wing aircraft as a specialized tool.

          1. Paradan

            Yeah, I didn’t mean that to sound so “smart-assy, told ya so” kind of thing, but to add a point of evidence to the planned withdrawal argument. Right now I’m hoping that the rumors of the Russians evacuating the civilian population are true, as the back and forth isn’t a big deal for the army, but Ukraine has shown itself to take revenge on the helpless.

            1. Yves Smith Post author

              No, I agree. In fact, this would be exceedingly clever because perhaps at least some Ukraine and Western advisers made the same mistake I did, of assuming Russia (which is very sparing in its use of fixed wing aircraft) would use those planes only to support a full bore advance with tanks and whatnot.

              The reason Russia has a distaste for using planes is missiles are better and cheaper for most purposes, plus Russia is just too damned big to protect with planes. But so close to the border, Russia can deviate from form and use planes as its big weapon in an attack.

              if the MoD account of deaths so far are accurate (2000 Ukraine troops killed

      2. A Literal Midget

        Apparently Russia decided to pull out of Kupyansk and Izyum. So far both the Russian General Staff and the President’s Administration have been mum.

        Source: telegram @Rybar

        1. The Rev Kev

          Brian Berletic of The New Atlas has just come out with a short video in which he says that no matter how successful the Ukrainians have been tactically, that it is a strategic blunder as they have concentrated what is left of their best units and concentrated them into one small region which the Russian will target. It seems that fundamentals still count-

 (16:52 mins)

        2. Yves Smith Post author

          Jacob Dreizen says Russia “collapsed”:

          The problem is this isn’t consistent with an advance of only 9000 troops. Russia was apparently holding the terrain so thinly that they were vulnerable to having to pull back in the face of any concentrated push. That’s what happened in the earlier Kharkiv offensive, but Ukraine deployed fewer troops against smaller target areas. But then on a map the advances looked very good.

          This also seems to be a sparsely populated area; the reports talk about towns and settlements, not cities. This isn’t Donbass.

          Dreizin says that Russian losses are low.

          Not that I am an expert but I thought that Russia advancing again toward Kharkiv/partly encircling it didn’t make much sense, save for the areas where Ukraine had gotten close to the Russian border. Kharviv (the city) should not be a priority now. Way too big to take now and will fall to Russia in due course.

          Mercouris did argue that Izyum was disposable, that it lacked the strategic importance that it was earlier thought to have, that Russia wan’t able to advance through the “Sherwood forest” to its south at any acceptable cost.

          But the optics will be very very bad in Russia if Russia cedes Izyum unless this is a very big trap. Even then, a successful baiting operation could easily take weeks to play out. It’s also going to be very bad for any civilians who were friendly to Russia in those formerly “liberated” towns.

            1. Yves Smith Post author

              For those not up on personages, Mercouris explains who Strelkov is. He was a very effective early leader of the Donbass resistance but was pushed aside when Russia got more involved and has been super critical of Russian ops since then. So he may be accurate re details on the ground but needs to be taken with a big dose of salt.

              That intel seems pretty incredible. Donbass has been supplied by Russia for years and heavily of late. Why a holdup now? Any explanation? At best, this sounds like a lame excuse for a logistical screw up higher up the chain….or for resources being diverted to other areas (to Nickolaev?).

              1. Old Sovietologist

                No explanation as far as I can see. I find it an astonishing claim at this stage but I seem to remember some issues with Russian customs earlier on in the SMO.

            2. Old Sovietologist

              To achieve the goals of the SMO, it was decided to regroup troops in the areas of Balakleya and Izyum to step up efforts in the Donetsk direction – Russian Defence Ministry.

            3. Scylla

              My take on all this fwiw, is that the Russians are deliberately allowing back and forth trades of territory in areas that have two features:
              1. They are either thinly populated, or depopulated due to the previous 8 years of conflict.
              2. The terrain is flat, open steppe.
              This allows them the ability to freely use heavy, destructive weapons on the enemy while containing destruction to more limited areas with minimal civilian casualties. I think, even the Ukrainian offensive toward Izyum still fits this bill. The Russians appear to want the Ukrainians to leave their trenches making them easier to destroy. Remember how everyone keeps saying that this is about destroying the Ukrainian military for the Russian high command. For Girkin/Strelkov, it has always been more about the territory and people on it, so his interests diverge from Moscow’s in that respect (not to say he is wrong to think that way-just pointing out the difference in apparent goals).

          1. Polar Socialist

            Going by the videos and images available, the civilians have learned from Bucha and taking the road. The are brand new refugee camps on both sides of the border north from Kupyansk.

            1. anon in so cal

              “There was an official comment of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation about what is happening:

              In order to achieve the goals of the NMD, a decision was made to regroup troops in the areas of Balakleya and Izyum in order to build up efforts in the Donetsk direction. Within three days, an operation was carried out to curtail and transfer the Izyum-Balakliya group of troops to the territory of the DPR.

              A number of distracting and demonstration activities were carried out with the designation of the real actions of the troops. In order to prevent damage to the troops of the Russian Federation, a powerful fire defeat was inflicted on the enemy using aviation, missile troops and artillery.

              The RF Armed Forces destroyed more than 2,000 Ukrainian and foreign fighters, as well as over 100 pieces of armored vehicles and artillery in three days.

              @Boris_Rozhin comments: Where exactly the new lines of defense will pass is still unclear.

              But in fact, in addition to Balakleya and Izyum, one can expect the abandonment of a significant part of the controlled territory of the Kharkiv region.”

              In the past few days, my sense that I had some understanding of the strategy and tactics of the SMO has been shaken due to some of Mercouris’ latest videos and additional telegram accounts (besides CC, Intel, Slavy, Rybar, etc.). It had always been my understanding that the slow, steady, successful grind was deliberate. Now it seems it may be due to RU using the more limited (inadequate?) LPR and DPR militias to conduct the bulk of the work, with RU forces providing support. Yes, there is the Wagner group, National Guard, etc.. Also reading about various other issues, such as communication snafus within the LPR militias between infantry and mechanized units, inadequate supplies for the LPR, etc. Questions have also been raised about why, once an area is liberated, the surroundings are not transformed to preclude any Ukraine advance, to ensure continued safety of the inhabitants.
              There are also increasing reports that actual US and NATO forces are involved on the ground, with rumors of NATO routinely swapping uniforms.
              It is fine to criticize Strelkov, but some of his insights have proven correct. This is pushing me into the camp that thinks RU needs to mobilize for actual war. RU has to push through to Odessa and prevail decisively.

              1. digi_owl

                “There are also increasing reports that actual US and NATO forces are involved on the ground, with rumors of NATO routinely swapping uniforms.”

                Big, and risky, if true.

              2. Yves Smith Post author

                Late to this. If Russia killed 2000 troops, this “counteroffensive” is a turkey shoot. The conventional narratives are 100% wrong.

                There’s some confirmation in the Big Serge link above, that a Ukraine reporter on the front lines reported heavy air assaults, Wagners coming in, lots of carnage to Ukraine troops. Worried the whole operation might be a trap.

                2000 dead means best guess also 6000 wounded.

                So ~8000 removed from the fighting when there were initially supposedly only 9,000 Ukraine troops. More recent estimates are close to 15,000.

                Losing more than half your forces??? In the first day or two of fighting???

          2. Stephen

            Hi, I posted that article to yesterday’s Links very late so the party had obviously moved on!

            Was very surprised at the stance Jacob Dreizin took. But there is some consistency I think if we look beyond the Kharkov offensive in isolation.

            There is a longer term issue that is very similar to the one Scott Ritter pointed out before and which I think you have raised too. In the face of constant western escalation, how does Russia ever end this in a way that satisfies her security requirements. Hard to see how short of the total and utter defeat of the collective west to an extent that has not happened since possibly the final mediaeval Crusades.

            The Gilbert Doctorow article highlights the new commitments made by the latest Crusader Conference at Ramstein. The west just will not stop. Russia will for sure defeat this latest Battle of the Bulge, Tet or 1918 Spring Offensive. But what next? It’s a rhetorical question. I have no idea either….but it is a scary thought and consistent with where Dreizin gets to.

            1. Old Sovietologist

              Stephen – Others will disagree but there is no way Russia can achieve its goals without a full mobilisation and ‘Total War’ with Ukraine.

              The collective west isn’t going to give up and I suspect much of the present Ukrainian offensive is being over seen by NATO officers.

              1. tegnost

                It seems to me that “let’s just wait for winter” has been a pretty unbeatable russian tactic, regardless of which ubermenschen are assaulting them. Total war with ukies is definitely the wests preferred gambit. Especially now with no one freezing to death. No doubt the west will pay the utilities to produce power and are positioning themselves now to make bank on the chaos. As M Hudson points out…
                In England, for instance, you can see this energy crisis. They announced the last week that I think the average electricity bill per family is going to go up by about £5,000, which means about $6,000 a year, just to heat the home, just for families.

                And for businesses like pubs, banks have asked for a $10,000 deposit so that the pubs, if they go bankrupt, can’t wipe out the amount of money that they give to the banks.

                So the banks have right away said, well, we’re going to make sure that as energy prices go up, we don’t have to suffer the end of abundance. Certainly the large companies aren’t.

                And from the US point of view – and basically the sanctions of Europe are a US policy – this is a bonanza for American companies that are replacing the German industrial companies in Europe.

                The collective west will collapse…it’s anyone’s guess how long that will take…

                1. OIFVet

                  The plebs’ quality of life will, but he collective Western elites will not. Short of a collective popular refusal of populations to comply and pay bills, as well as bringing down governments wholesale, I don’t see anything that would qualify as Western collapse. I don’t yet see the euros in the mood to become disobedient and to take to the streets in large enough numbers. That may change come January-February but we will see. Regardless, I think it’s beyond cliche at this point to say that winter is a strategy. It’s a season, followed by spring and summer.

                    1. lyman alpha blob

                      No kidding. Saw a woman the other day in broad daylight on one of the main streets of Portland who appeared to be defecating in an alcove. Homeless encampments in the public parks. Someone got murdered there the other day. This is a centrally located park where people gather to watch ducks, shop at the farmer’s market, etc., not some forgotten back corner of the city. And this in the richest city in the state where all the PMC NYC types have been escaping to the last few years. That’s probably part of the reason the homeless problem has grown so quickly – all the people from away buying up property has made it largely unaffordable for most locals.

                      People are not going to put up forever with dishing out billions to promote war in foreign countries while our own rots. Keep it up and the riots of 2020 are going to look like child’s play.

                    2. Wukchumni

                      Calgary has the same population as San Diego and I saw like 4 homeless people on the not so mean streets. The google sez there are 300 homeless there.

                      Yeah, it’s wicked cold 5 months a year, so there’s that.

                      Maybe the other extreme will drive the homeless out of SD, as in long heat domes such as this epoch that just concluded which included much higher humidity levels and we in Cali don’t do humid.

                      Of course, it might force out home owners and renters, the sliver lining.

                2. Mr.Skeptic

                  Some damn clever strategists at Davos, WallSt, City of London, Soros HQ, etc.

                  First they convince Europe to commit cultural suicide with refugee admittance, now ongoing economic suicide.

                  If there isn’t a crisis to not let go to waste, you gotta create one for looting opportunities.

                    1. lyman alpha blob

                      Maybe, but it is the same Davos crowd starting the wars, or imposing the sanctions, or bringing in the IMF to “help” that create the refugees in the first place.

                      Cultural suicide may be a bit much, but you can’t have millions of people moving from one area to another without causing some major friction, friction which could be stopped if the Davos types weren’t so intent on restructuring the world for their own benefit without consulting the rest of us.

                      I’d wager the vast majority of immigrants/refugees would rather stay put and visit other countries as temporary tourists, if only the West would stop impoverishing or outright destroying their nations.

                    2. Expat2Uruguay

                      “Cultural suicide through refugees.”

                      This seems like xenophobic hyperbole, to be honest.

                      I suppose it could seem like xenophobic hyperbole if you’re primed to think that way, but refugees are people without any resources, and if tons of them arrive in your community it could be a problem.

                      What are homeless people other than refugees? And are they welcomed in the cities of the US? No, they’re not. And it’s not because of xenophobia either.

                      I’m not saying it’s right, but I’m not going to blame the people that feel that way either. If everyone suffers from the deprivations of capitalism, then we are all at each other’s throats, and it’s not xenophobia, it is a unthoughtful reaction to predation. Education together, not devisive blaming

                    3. Soredemos

                      But Expat2Uruguay, we aren’t talking about economics. We aren’t talking about the potential material danger of people with no resources. We’re talking about a claim of ‘cultural suicide’. Are you yourself some massive danger to the culture of Uruguay?

                  1. digi_owl

                    Both may be attempts at “disciplining” the labor force.

                    After all, the whole time during COVID the refrain has been that the locals are “lazy” (aka will not put up with back breaking manual work for shit pay).

                3. Greg

                  It will be interesting to see the effectiveness of foreign mercs in Ukraine during winter. I suspect the locals might be a little better adjusted.

              2. Michael Fiorillo

                People mock Russia’s term for its military intervention in Ukraine as an Orwellian euphemism, but it’s inarguable that they’ve conducted this war with far more restraint than they (or the US, for that matter) customarily would. Chechnya and Georgia in 2008 immediately come to mind, to say nothing of their war against Germany.

                For example, they have obviously made a conscious decision to keep the water, lights and Internet on in Kiev (and Kharkiv, next to the front, for that matter). The railroads running west and bringing the military wares being used against them remain unsevered.

                Perhaps it’s time for the Russians to show what they can really do, and take out some key infrastructure in Western Ukraine, if only as a means of discomfiting their power center and surrounding populations.

                A century and hemisphere removed, but it’s a great line so I’ll use it anyway… during a critical moment during the 1937 Flint sit-down strike at General Motors, John L. Lewis, head of the CIO, asked the great UAW organizer Bob Travis a tactical question. Travis responded, “You’ve got them (the company) by the balls: squeeze a little.”

                It may be getting to the point where the Russians need to do likewise.

                1. Old Sovietologist

                  Yes, the Russians have treated it like it isn’t a war and their restraint is actually unique in modern warfare. However, it is as you say time to turn the screw on the Ukrainians.

                  1. Greg

                    Given how loudly the Russian’s I read on telegram are shouting for blood in the wake of the current “catastrophe”, I imagine Putin’s hand will be somewhat forced on this matter. The kid gloves will have to come off.

                  2. The Rev Kev

                    The Ukrainians are now turning the screws down on themselves-

                    ‘The supply of electricity from the [facility] to the territory controlled by the [President Vladimir] Zelensky regime has been cut,” Vladimir Rogov, a member of the Zaporozhye Region administration, announced on Saturday.

                    The energy flow was “unilaterally stopped by Ukraine,” Rogov clarified, adding that the plant’s capacity to power areas under Kiev’s control remained. “They deliberately refrain from receiving electricity,” he said.’


                2. Anthony G Stegman

                  I’m willing to bet that Russia does not have the capability to wage full scale war against Ukraine (and ultimately the US). Russia likely has at best defensive capabilities only. I will say the same with respect to China vs Taiwan. This is why you see both Russia and China talk big (if not boast), but take little action. They both prefer to keep their adversaries guessing. Against an aggressive adversary such as the US this won’t work for too long.

                  1. Yves Smith Post author

                    Russia does not want to wage full scale war against Ukraine. And it does not need to.

                    It’s taken out its air force. Ukraine can run only the occasional attack and can’t provide air cover for its infantry. It ran out of most armored vehicles a couple of months ago and its soldiers were regularly using civilian vehicles. The country is low on gas, only 1/3 of gas stations were open three months ago, as reported in Ukraine business media. Ukraine is having to ration ammo and can fire only about one round for every Russian five or more.

                    The US provided only a comparatively small # of HIMARS. Ukraine had many more of similar weapons earlier. Didn’t stop Russia. And at the rate they are firing even the ones they have, they are using up what Raytheon can produce in a year in two months. This gets to the industrial warfare point made in RUSI. You need to read this paper. The entire West lacks the capability to beat Russia in ammo and artillery production and it would take them 10 years to get there:

                    The US is not putting meaningful numbers of men on the ground in Ukraine. It does not want to be officially at war with Ukraine. They’ll keep it to “advisor” levels. And its weapons and funding haven’t turned the tide.

                    Russia does have a big problem as to what to do about Western Ukraine after it takes the majority Russian areas. I pointed that out as a problem from the very outset. However, it appears Russia will prosecute the war until the Ukraine military collapses, as it promised (demilitarize) which is likely to occurs since Ukraine keeps throwing forces against Russian positions. Once that happens, Russia has made statements to the effect that it will set terms. How it secures cooperation or perhaps more accurately subjugation, re the western part of Ukraine is over my pay grade

                    1. Soredemos

                      I’m sorry, but I think it’s time to second guess a lot of the things we’ve been repeating for months about the state of the Urkainian military and logistics. The people assuring us of all these ‘facts’ also assured us that Ukraine had no fuel and no transport network left. And yet they’ve managed to put together and launch two major offensives within about two weeks of each other.

                      The automatic argument would be ‘they could move because Russia is allowing them to move, to walk into a trap’, but Russia is not currently behaving like it had any kind of clever ambush planned. It’s scrambling to respond. And for the fuel point specifically, this seems to me to be pretty binary: either Ukraine has fuel or it doesn’t. I don’t for a second buy any 11-dimensional chess notions that Russia can somehow micromanage how much fuel its enemy has or how they use it. Ukraine was able to put together a bunch of fuel to launch a major offensive. We’d been being assured this was impossible. Someone was either honestly wrong, or lying.

                      I think this will amount to being yet another failed Ukrainian offensive, maybe even their Battle of the Bulge in that losing will so cripple them that they can never attempt another one. But it doesn’t seem to have been an intentional Russian trap either. Russia didn’t see this coming, despite numerous internet commentators seeing the signs of it ahead of time.

                      Let’s say though that this was planned, that plan doesn’t seem to have accounted for evacuating civilians ahead of time, despite it being abundantly clear by now what Ukraine does to collaborators. Which is inexcusable, and damning just by itself as to the competence of Russian leadership.

                      Right now I’m having a hard time escaping the notion that the SMO is a very clever plan badly executed by incompetents. I don’t have much patience left for the Martynov-style notion that the west is run by idiot poo-poo heads and Russia is led by megamind geniuses. The West is indeed led by morons. But Russia is looking pretty stupid right now as well.

                    2. The Rev Kev

                      @ Soredemos
                      I’m afraid that it is all about a numbers game here. Take a look at a map of the lines of battle for the Ukraine which stretch from Kherson all the way to about Kharkiv. That is a helluva distance that and the fact that in terms of troop numbers, the Ukrainians have more. The Russians are seriously outnumbered and cannot outgun them everywhere and so depend on militias and the like to man the line.So what happens is that they have to wait for the Ukrainians to launch an offensive and then concentrate forces to destroy them in place. You concentrate your forces early in the wrong place only means that you have thinned out your line elsewhere which NATO will be sure to spot and change plans accordingly.

                    3. IsabelPS

                      “Russia does not want to wage full scale war against Ukraine. And it does not need to.”

                      What was this thing about the fox and the grapes of old Aesop?

                    4. Yves Smith Post author

                      See my comment above about reported losses. If the MoD figures are accurate, and most commentators have taken the MoD as accurate or at least not very exaggerated, they killed 2,000 men in a day or two. That implies another 6,000 wounded. Out of 9,000 to 15,000 troops. 15,000 is the highest number I have heard attributed to the Ukraine side. So more than half taken out in at most two days.

                      If this is true, the misreporting/cognitive capture is massive. This “counteroffensive” will have been a worse slaughter than Kherson, but since Russia has not yet moved its troops in to retake ground, and instead is taking them out largely from the air (not the normal Russian order of battle, BTW) this will be the biggest PR headfake in a very long time.

                    5. IsabelPS

                      Yves, I have absolutely no qualms with your sentences structured as “if… then”. But I see way too many present tenses in this subject.

              3. Stephen

                I fear you are right. So even more people get killed in this imperial war.

                The US / NATO gets to fight a war with Russia where they do not care about casualties. For a US General this is a dream come true. They must all be salivating.

                Why on earth Ukraine would go along with this when peace was an option in March boggles belief though.

                But a combination of American money, elite corruption and effective propaganda aimed at non elites is no doubt part of the explanation. Just a well trodden path that other client states have followed. This is on a bigger and scarier scale though.

                1. Soredemos

                  It’s an Imperial war going both ways. Russia thinking it can dictate the foreign policy of a smaller neighboring country is by definition an Imperial attitude. It can have plenty of genuine reasons and security concerns, but Imperial it remains in the end.

                  “Why on earth Ukraine would go along with this when peace was an option in March boggles belief though.”

                  The government because they were promised NATO aid and assured they could win everything back. But many of the Ukrainian soldiers doing the fighting are doing it it out of a sense of duty. It is, in the end, their country that has been invaded and they’re defending it.

            2. timbers

              Regarding Ramstein.

              Yesterday, I speed read this and mistook if for actual weapons build up…but in fact it’s planning to do this, not yet actually doing it.

              This is what Doctorow wrote which I agree with:

              “So, what did Solovyov have to say? First, that Ramstein marked a new stage in the war, because of the more threatening nature of the weapons systems announced for delivery, such as missiles with accuracy of 1 to 2 meters when fired from distances of 20 or 30 kilometers thanks to their GPS-guided flight, in contrast to the laser-guided missiles delivered to Ukraine up till now. In the same category, there are weapons designed to destroy the Russians’ radar systems used for directing artillery fire. Second, that Ramstein marked the further expansion of the coalition or holy crusade waging war on Russia. Third, that in effect this is no longer a proxy war but a real direct war with NATO and should be prosecuted with appropriate mustering of all resources at home and abroad.”

              to repeat: “this is no longer a proxy war but a real direct war with NATO and should be prosecuted with appropriate mustering of all resources at home and abroad.”

              I would further add, Russia should consider taking all Western surveillance she is able to, and to put actions to her words to target decision making centers in Ukraine and perhaps the West, also.

              The Western Leadership Class / neoliberals “have no reverse gear.”

        3. Mayor of Candyland

          Lt General Andrei Sychevoi is the highest ranking Russian officer captured since WWII. It took UA less than two days to capture the Iyzum railroad junction. It took the Russians thirty days to do the same. Izyum fell immediately because the RA infantry and arty units had no idea a counteroffensive was approaching; they simply were not told. As a result, UA was showing off some very sophisticated counter-battery arrays captured and anti-IED jammers still in their boxes. Second, RA could not reinforce Izyum by helicopter; AA missiles were riding with the vanguard. Also on-point were 16 T-72’s in formation on the western approach that would have denied the area to mechanized infantry had the attempt been made.

          The Russian Army is as archaic as it is corrupt. Is there another modern military that would withhold knowledge of an approaching advance for fear of desertion? A basic prepared fighting retreat would have spoiled the victory and allowed for reinforcement and medevac east of the village, leaving behind a thoroughly mined and in-occupiable urban terrain. Instead Russian media was broadcasting video of Wagner troops boarding giant helicopters not equipped with the countermeaures to go anywhere near Ukraine, let alone Izyum. The level of contempt the Kremlin shows for its own people is jaw-dropping, which is why a former colony is humbling a former regional power.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            Russia is claiming Ukraine advanced into a planned withdrawal by Russia and Russia killed 2000 of the 9000 Ukraine forces. If os, that’s a punishing kill ratio. However, I concede that they’ve hung the local population that supported them out to dry.

            And they may have caught Russia from behind and forced the withdrawal to be hasty and result in the loss of some equipment. By all accounts, Russian losses were very low, which is not what you’d see in a rout.

            You forget that the Russian objective is not to take any particular terrain. It is to destroy the war-making capability of Ukraine.

            And the Russian army is not archaic. It has 27 weapons systems the West does not possess, including 7 hypersonic missile systems in the field while the US has none, better missile defense, and better signal jamming. You call into question the rest of what you said with that statement. The West likes expensive, fussy systems that require lots of training and are prone to breakdown in the field. Ukrainian soldiers have complained that our weapons are hard to use and not terribly reliable.

            Russia looks to have been hoping to prosecute this war without using its own infantry much/at all. That was the concept of the SMO, that it was coming to the defense of the DPR and LPR. Now that it looks like it will take the Black Sea coast, it may have to rethink its manning.

            1. Midget

              I really doubt the ‘all part of the plan’ thesis. There are numerous reports from Russian war correspondents of mass airlifts of reinforcement to withen a few kilometres of the front line. As far as I can see, you simply don’t do that unless you’ve been caught with your pants down and have no time to use more efficient transport.

              Also telling is the fact that the MoD released no updates about Kharkov for a day or two after the Balakleia breakthrough, indicating that they didn’t have anything good to say, and so said nothing.

              The ‘advanced into a planned withdrawal’ really is putting lipstick on a pig, even if the withdrawal was organizedly done.

    1. Stephen

      Another commentator was likening these series of Ukrainian offensives (will there be others too?) to the Tet Offensive in the Vietnam War. The German 1918 Spring Offensives, also carried out over a period in multiple places may be another analogy. Both were defeated.

      Of course, given that Vietnam was not an existential threat to the US, Tet had the ultimate effect of undermining the desire to prosecute the war. It showed that the Vietcong were still able to fight. But the 1918 Offensive was followed by the 100 Days and Germany’s collapse. My sense is that what we may be seeing is more akin to that.

      1. The Rev Kev

        To use my analogy of the Battle of the Bulge that I made yesterday, it officially ended on January 25th and it was only 102 days later that Germany surrendered. Will the same happen for the Ukraine? No. But what it will mean is that they will no longer have a trained reserve with its own equipment and which means that the Russians will be able to start taking more territory in a long push and the Ukrainians won’t have much left to stop it.

        1. ambrit

          “…left to stop it.” Unless actual NATO units start showing up, suitably disguised as “foreign volunteers.” We could also see Ukrainian ‘reserve’ units sent to the front with Polish and Hungarian formal units replacing them in the West of the Ukraine. Both NATO states would have the lure of having units in place on the ground if and when they deign to formally establish protectorates over their spheres of interest in the Ukraine.
          Strangely enough, it can be said of the Ukraine that: “It cannot fail, only be failed.”
          I’m imagining that Kaliningrad will be the real flashpoint if a formal Russian vs. NATO War breaks out.
          Do not forget China. The People’s Middle Kingdom might find it in their interests to back Russia up if ‘things’ come to a formal war. China has a robust intercontinental missile fleet of their own. Washington could be faced with a true dilemma. Atomic Russia on their East, and Atomic China on their West.

          1. Anthony G Stegman

            If things really heat up between the US and China there will be little that China can do to defend its heartland. The US military bases in Japan and S. Korea can hit all of China’s major cities and manufacturing hubs quite easily. China can reach the US only via ICBMS which can be shot down and likely will be. The reality for China is they have few answers to the 400 or so US military bases in the Far East that form a noose around China. Russia faces a similar dilemma. Putin can’t up the ante in Ukraine without putting Russia in grave danger. At some point Russia will have to withdraw from Ukraine. If the West are wise they will provide a face saving means for that. The alternative may well be nuclear war.

            1. Polar Socialist

              At some point Russia will have to withdraw from Ukraine

              Why? In 1654 left-bank Ukraine* swore allegiance to Russia. The right bank was ‘given’ to Russia by pro-Russian Polish (I know! But they do exist) in 1793.

              So Russia has some experience in staying in Ukraine. And if the planned referendums happen, they may actually have to stay, should the locals choose to join the federation.

              * got that name only in 1663

              1. Soredemos

                Those votes will be interesting to watch, given how Russia just revealed the degree to which it doesn’t give a shit about the people in areas it controls (if we accept the notion that this was a planned trap). Join the Russian Federation, but be prepared that its troops may leave you to the wolves at the drop of a hat.

                1. The Rev Kev

                  You mean like how Union troops had to pull out of areas during the Civil war where the Confederacy was taking over and they could not protect the Union sympathizers there until they could return? Pennsylvania in 1863 for example.
                  But at least the Confederacy did not have ‘filtration’ units. I’ll give them that.

                  1. Soredemos

                    That comparison doesn’t work, if the Russians are intentionally withdrawing as part of a planned trap. They knew they would (or at least might need to) retreat, but made no allowances to evacuate collaborators despite knowing full well what has happened to such people in the past when Ukraine took back territory.

                    1. The Rev Kev

                      I think what it comes down to is that they do not have the troops to waste by doing useless last-stands, especially in places that are about to be surrounded & taken. The troops in that part of the front were Donbass militias and Russian National Guard and so they cannot afford to throw away thousands of troop’s lives like the Ukraine just did in the Kherson.

                    2. Basil Pesto

                      So they either failed to adequately and competently prepare for a counteroffensive, putting the people there in the shit, or they’ve done a 4-dimensional chess tactical withdrawal in order to later polish off those Ukrainian forces, but in the meantime putting the people there in the shit. Soredemos’ point therefore still stands about the votes being interesting to watch, although even if Russia failed them, ultimately if it’s the Ukrainian forces doing the harm, one suspects that would largely sway voting.

                    3. PlutoniumKun

                      Yeah, I don’t buy the notion that this is all part of the grand plan. There is a very long history of gigantic battles around Izium for a very good reason – its a highly strategic gateway for the wider area. Even if, at the present moment in the war, its not strategically valuable does not mean it won’t be in a few months. Plus the abandonment of people there (not just civilians, also the local tripwire forces) will create very significant problems elsewhere, its more than just a a ‘bad look’, its strategically inept. There is no sensible reason for the Russians to have given it up without a fight.

                      In terms of historical analogies, the best example I can think of is Operation Ichi-Go in the summer of 1944, when the Japanese surged into China in a last ditch hail mary throw to seize supply lines to SE Asia and its rubber and oil. Although it eventually ran out of steam, it was tactically very successful, mostly thanks to the incompetence of the US generals in the region and that the Chinese forces were otherwise occupied fighting each other. Apart from resulting in gigantic casualties (mostly Chinese), it has become largely forgotten because it didn’t really change the strategic balance. But that was as much down to luck on the Allied side as much as calculation.

                      Only time will tell what this means, and why Russia failed to react adequately, but my guess is that it had already been decided that they do not have the manpower to fight three simultaneous battles. So the decision to only offer light resistance was effectively made before the assault started. They may come to regret this deeply – this victory – and it certainly is a victory – will be used to funnel in even more men and arms in support of Ukraine. This will greatly strengthen the hands of those in the West arguing that Russia is straining to support the special operation – and they may well be right to argue that it indicates that there are limits to Russian logistics, and they may already have been reached. Logistics are not just a matter of numbers – its also a matter of organisation and depends on multiple interrelating factors – any one of which can cause havoc right through the chain. Russia may have tripwired one or more of those variables and is struggling more than everyone realises.

            2. TheRetailClerk

              China can reach the US only via ICBMS which can be shot down and likely will be.

              I’m not so confident about our ability to shoot down ICBMS. The American Physical Society released a report called Ballistic Missile Defense: Threats and Challenges earlier this year that expressed deep skepticism about the US anti-ballistic missile systems. Their conclusion was: “no missile defense system thus far developed has been shown to be effective against realistic ICBM threats” all the details are inside. Unfortunately, the direct APA link is dead now but you can still look it up on web archive.

    2. dingusansich

      Scott Ritter wrote much the same yesterday on Telegram.* Ritter’s prediction:

      At the end of the day, this counteroffensive will end in a strategic Ukrainian defeat. Russia will restore the front to its original positions and be able to resume offensive operations. The Ukrainians, meanwhile, will have squandered their reserves, limiting their ability to respond to a new Russian advance.
      This doesn’t mean the war is over. Ukraine continues to receive billions of dollars of military assistance, and currently has tens of thousands of troops undergoing extensive training in NATO nations. There will be a fourth phase, and a fifth phase…as many phases as necessary before Ukraine either exhausts its will to fight and die, or NATO exhausts its ability to continue supplying the Ukrainian military. I said back in April that the decision by the US to provide billions of dollars of military assistance was “a game changer.”
      What we are witnessing in Ukraine today is how this money has changed the game. The result is more dead Ukrainian and Russian forces, more dead civilians, and more destroyed equipment.
      But the end game remains the same—Russia will win. It’s just that the cost for extending this war has become much higher for all parties involved.

      *The link is to the first of three long Telegram messages. If you read the first in a web browser, click the Context button to see the two that follow.

      1. JTMcPhee

        How many of the people manning the trenches and “advancing” on the Ukie side are not Ukrainian? Pretty obvious that there are lots of outsiders adding to the manpower and even woman power of the Ukies, including probably controlling, as much as Ukraine does, the “battlespace.” So a lot of native Ukies, of varying degrees of neonazi defect and nationalist pride, get killed and wounded — but somehow there’s another 10,000 and another 10,000 and another 10,000 getting spewed out of “NATO training camps” in the UK and Poland and wherever, conscripts and
        “Volunteers” and who knows what else, sent to the “front” and kept in place by neoNazis in the rear guard who will shoot them if they waver and try to surrender or flee.

        So the meat grinder of Russian industrial warfare is compelled to grind on, since “demilitarization and denazification) will not be complete until the long, long tail of the BanderNiuland dragon is finally squashed, and all that huge flux of NATO hardware and insurgency gets extirpated. Talk of negotiations is just hot air, far as I can see, since if the Russians are serious about those stated objectives, they are a long way from de-de.

        Maybe if the actual new great reset that spits out the “Free World” like a rotten asparagus spear gets realized before, as Dreizin prophesies, tactical and then strategic nukes start detonating. I do worry he may be right about the increasingly desperate West doing a false flag, as their Ukie project to destroy Russia falls deeper into the hole they keep on digging for it… The Elite obviously do not give a sh!t for what the “citizens” need and want — no constraints on their death cult. Though maybe the French will show the way, or the Italian populi…

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Ukraine had a force of over 600,000 before the war. It immediately started conscription and just increased it to include women. So they could easily have added another 100,000 and maybe a lot more. They even told Poland to return all conscription age men who’d fled. They have a lot of people they can get killed or wounded and seem entirely willing to do so.

          Remember the unusual feature of this conflict is that Russia is prosecuting an offensive with far fewer troop numbers than the defenders. So if Russia is not able to induce desertions or surrenders (it was getting a lot of surrenders earlier but Ukraine looks to be shooting any deserters it finds, there were reports of a big Kraken kill of Ukraine soldiers in the last month). So it looks like Russia will have to kill a lot more Ukrainians before this is over.

          I think word has gotten out about how awful it is to be shelled so the number of foreign volunteers was reported to be falling a while back. The MoD makes a point of saying whenever it has caught or killed foreigners, presumed mercs and you don’t hear those claims all that often. I will listen more carefully but I don’t have the impression Russia has been getting furriners at a higher rate than in the past.

      2. Gavin

        Instead of battle of the bulge or something Vietnam, I’d make this localized offensive more of an analogy to the “Rzhev meat grinder” series of ww2 battles that often get overlooked. Perhaps the entire conflict is analogous to this because of the constant plans for more phases, more counterattacks?
        The same ground went back-and-forth for nearly a calendar year, with the end effect of depriving other areas of manpower&materiel that could have been crucial. Fun fact: In 1942 despite the axis offensive being in the south.. the most reinforcements by far were sent to army group center because of Rzhev.
        Fast forward to today: If Russia truly didn’t value that area, all they have to do is let UKR roll as far as they want, pinch the flanks, and destroy more high-dollar equipment in the ensuing salient. Of course Russia gives up space for time in war..

  4. The Rev Kev

    “NASA working to repair fuel leak on moon rocket and plans to launch Artemis mission later this month”

    Time was when I use to read about such missions as part of the broad movement to go into space and was excited. Since then, that feeling has been killed off and here is one of the reasons why. So Vice President Kamala Harris visited the NASA Johnson Space Center and was talking about Federal policies for space and it was as bad as you could get. The key quote was when she said-

    ‘As activity in space grows, we must also establish international rules and norms to reaffirm the rights of and demand responsibility from all space-faring nations.’

    So, not international law but the rules-based order is what the Biden regime wants for space. Washington will set the rules of space commercialization and every nation will be expected to follow those rules or else they will be cut out of space. Harris also mentioned that 21 nations have signed up to the Artemis Accords but as I have noted earlier, this includes such space-faring nations as the Isle of Mann. I imagine that the EU will buckle to these demands but not Russia or China so now instead of nations following international law in space, you will have two or three blocks all following their own laws and it will be a mess-

    Biden and Harris! So what is the opposite of the Midas Touch again?

    1. digi_owl

      “we can’t loot Siberia so we will instead renege on previous treaties and loot space” by the sound of it.

  5. griffen

    While I’m not terribly sure how Domino’s Pizza ties into the passing of Queen Elizabeth, fairly certain these brands mentioned in the article have a social media person / team controlling the narrative about their publicity efforts. So yeah, go ahead and send a tweet. And on the other hand she lived to be 96, which to me implies she probably skipped on the doughnuts.

    Next week Domino’s can run a promotional. 10 days to mourn, 10% off your order lads! Really it’s consumerism at it’s highest level, or lowest level depending on your perspective.

    1. Steven A

      My son texted me that post and commented, “Translation: ‘You will be too busy watching coverage of the Queen to cook tonight, so order from us!’ “.

  6. .human

    Navy Says All UFO Videos Classified, Releasing Them ‘Will Harm National Security’

    Of course it would. It would impede their ability to press for additional funding for “research.”

    1. Yoghurt

      All classified information is defined as information that will harm national security if released. Do not read more into it. It is just re-stating the definition of classified and not adding any more importance to it.

      Now, people can have legitimate opinions about whether this or that information is actually sensitive and what level, if any, of classification it should have. Over-classification is a thing. But this is just the plain definition not the decision about what classification is appropriate.

    2. LifelongLib

      I took it to mean that the videos might (say) reveal info about drone tech and/or the U.S. Navy’s sensors. Still leaning to the view that it’s something earthly rather than aliens.

  7. griffen

    Do the Australian coke addicts have to make do with less? That’s a totally appropriate headline to read on a Saturday over here on the US east coast. Also it reads more along the lines of you can’t trust what you are buying based on the samples reviewed. And if you are the end buyer, what exactly is the recourse; it is doubtful that complaints go back to the corporate office!

    There are all manner of movie and film references to make. Would be hard to pick just the right one, to be fair.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Perhaps “The Sting”? I am shocked, shocked that international drug dealers have totally failed to implement Quality Control in line with the requirements of ISO 9000. Such a blatant oversight that.

      1. griffen

        A little before my day, that could be right. I was thinking more recently, of the well done American Gangster. And though I am deferential to the fact it’s about a family of brothers from North Carolina, then again the character Frank Lucas in the film was a real life drug dealer so that’s the end of my affinity!

        And how Crowe pulls off a Jersey accent as the lead investigator is, I thought, pretty believable.

    2. InThePines

      My closest scrape with Australians in this corner of the world was with a group of business students in for a conference, at a house party near Saul Goodman’s stomping grounds. They had abandoned beer in favor of the old marching powder which they had readily found, and found to be exceptionally pure and impossibly cheap. I was DDing for other friends and gave these lads a ride to their quarters and my goodness, what a defense of monetarism they made on the way. Impossible to get a word in edgewise. Scotty from Marketing could have held power indefinitely if that energy had been available and harvested down under.

      1. hunkerdown

        Cocaine generates ruling classes. IMO, that’s reason enough to extinguish Erythroxylaceae and go full Duterte on users.

          1. Mikel

            I also think of the original Coca-Cola formula that contained cocaine.
            Back in the day, Coke was in heavy supply at plantation stores for sharecroppers. Helped the workers work longer and curbed appetites.
            Headquartered in Atlanta, GA to this day.

    3. Wukchumni

      I’m ever thankful never to have tried any South American agriculture exports, as experience was a dear teacher for somebody else and a cautionary tale for yours truly.

      He was 10 years older than me and had made a pile dealing in coins & bullion during the Hunt Brothers silver bubble, it was like shooting ducks in a barrel for 6 months.

      Fast forward to 40 years ago, he’s got a beautiful wife, a thriving business, a quarter million in the bank and a Ferrari like the one on Magnum PI…

      18 months later… no wife, no business, no money in the bank, and was driving a Pinto with mag wheels-a sinderella story.

  8. B flat

    NYC’s water system is barely operative for the same reason. An added complication is how ya gonna shut the damn thing down for repairs without causing other parts of the system to finally crack?

    1. Lex

      In Flint the legionella outbreak almost certainly came from the shutdown to switch sources. Municipal systems are full of dead legs (like when a building is demolished or a section of pipeline reworked/replaced). System pressure keeps these dead legs full and segregated from the main flow of water. So it’s in these spaces that biofilms accrete and bacteria start growing, but system pressure keeps the nasties where they are. The minute you depressurize, all those dead legs empty into the main system. You can (theoretically) flush the system but at the municipal level it’s unrealistic. So now you have legionella (or similar) everywhere. Now it’s in the biofilm at the bottom of home hot water heaters, trapped in the aerators on faucets, finding everywhere in the system with structure to support it or low enough flow to allow it to survive.

      1. ambrit

        What is weird about all this is that we had a Legionairres outbreak in Bogalusa when we lived to the south of that place. We shopped at the Winn Dixie store where it was finally figured out that the outbreak had originated from. I spoke to the manager of the store after the dust had settled and he told me that the actual contamination had occurred in a wet leak pan underneath a commercial air handler part of the air conditioning system. The compressors are outside, the air handlers are inside. The legionairres buggies had grown in the puddle in the pan under the air handler. The water was from condensation dripping off of the radiator used to circulate the cold liquid. Humid interior air hits very cold radiator fins. Condensate results and drips into pan. Even worse, the return air to the circulating fans flowed over the contaminated puddle. The evil pathogens were thus taken up in moisture from the puddle and circulated far and wide throughout the store.
        As you will notice from the news report linked below, the Powers blamed the outbreak on the produce mister machines. The version of reality I got was from a top person in store management. Why the divergence, I know not. However, a cynic would guess that the transposition of the blame onto a third party vendor could have been for insurance purposes.
        Terran human nature does not change.

  9. KD

    European giants buck US decoupling from China . . .

    Europeans really went to town after the Iran Nuclear Deal if memory serves, only to have to back away when Trump rescinded the deal and threatened sanctions against European businesses doing business in Iran.

    I wonder how long the China market lasts. Washington does not buy long leashes for its pets. (At least they were warned about Nordstream 2 being a bad idea.)

    1. CBBB

      Export dependent economies are always going to be at the mercy of their biggest customer. The Europeans can never be independent of the US until they develop a strong, sustainable economy that does not require foreign demand for growth.

  10. Craig H.

    Navy Says All UFO Videos Classified, Releasing Them ‘Will Harm National Security’

    1. Vice calls them UFO’s. Navy writes UAP.
    2. everything about UFO’s has always been classified. Or propaganda misinformation.

    Like when they get some agent to do the “if you knew what I know” or “they have much better data which is still classified” spiel which is always complete utter horse poop.

    There are some fine books on the subject. Start with Jacques Vallee. If I ever find out the CIA was paying him it is going to ruin my day. It would be a hundred times worse than finding it out about Peter Matthiessen.

    1. Eureka Springs

      If UFO’s threaten our national security I think we should know everything. Perhaps Russia is conspiring with aliens to come take us all! How else could it be just our national security at risk? It’s long been a frustration of mine in the Sci Fi world how it reinforces the government secrecy for our safety meme. Seems like at least on occasion some writer would change it up just a little.

      1. t

        Travis Taylor seems like more of a threat and it does seem his ilk is behind all this, for some reason. (The reason is money, not neccesarily his. Just like the Koch and Mercer being behind so much of the news.)

    2. Michael Ismoe

      These are the top secret files Trump had a Mar-a-Lago. Alien secrets. (No, not illegal aliens, interplanetary aliens.) He was going to build a Trump Hotel and Casino on Pluto and took the name and phone number of the ruler of Pluto to start the negotiations. Trump is in bed with the aliens and they were going to help him get the White House back in 2024. The election interference was obvious. Kusher even looks a little alien-ish. And Don Jr.? Don’t get me started.

      It makes as much sense as Merrick Garland’s case.

      1. Wukchumni

        I saw the video where the saucer sized vessel lands on the east lawn and they had a Ring doorbell camera which announced:

        ‘Lead me to your takers…’

        …and then this golf cart comes up and drops off Trump and a door opens on the craft and Donald gives them his trademark thumb’s up Kodak moment, followed by small talk such as ‘I hear you have a fabulous universe and i’ve heard great things about your planet, maybe the best of all planets.’

    3. LifelongLib

      My impression is that the CIA is not a monolith with a master plan, but a bunch of (mostly) guys with more money than sense. It’s been played for a sucker plenty of times (remote viewing etc). I wouldn’t automatically dismiss someone who took money from the CIA as a front. They could just as easily have been taking it for a ride.

  11. The Rev Kev

    “Russia welcomes lifting of European Commission restrictions on Russian fertilizer supplies, but ban on supplies to Asia, Africa, Latin America unacceptable – Putin’

    Every now and then I will see an article that will actually make my jaw drop. And this is one of them. Are they f****** kidding? Putin just blew the whistle on the EU grabbing virtually all the grain coming out of the Ukraine which was a real bad look. But now the EU is saying that they will let Russia export all the fertilizer that they want to the EU itself but if they try to ship it to poorer countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, that those shipments will still be banned – whether they are shipped out of Russia or Belarus. As justification, they say that ‘This discriminates against our partners’ so I checked who the world’s top exporters of fertilizers are-

    Going by that list, it seems that it is more about protecting the profits of the corporations from the US and Canada. But you can bet that there is going to be hell to pay for this in the third world. The EU has just told them that they intend to throw them to the wolves and take everything that they can for themselves. Something tells me that the EU will be losing all sorts of contracts right across the board which will be going to other countries instead.

    1. Tom Stone

      Rev, who is holding all the beers?
      I’m used to the USA saying “Hold my beer and watch this!”, then the UK followed suit with Brexit and now the entire EU is following suit.
      Were they all drinking bud lime?
      Are they doing a lot of good coke?
      Or sniffing airplane glue?
      I read about 20 tons being seized in Baltimore a while back which is Beltway adjacent, what’s the dope trade like in Brussels?

    2. Karma

      You forget that third world can just buy from U.S. and Canadian resellers of the stuff. That along with treating American and Canadian citizens like exploitable coolies with good credit ratings and a beat up Grand Prix sitting in the driveway, who now pay 40% more for food and energy and who knows what, allows feasting off what’s left of not only America, but the third world.

      Go long guillotines and whetstones.

      1. digi_owl

        Heck, IMF has been forever instructing the global south to focus on cash crops while importing staple foods from the north.

        Makes for quite the Roosevelt style stick when the south gets uppity.

  12. LaRuse

    Thank you for the Michael Sheen vid. That was absolutely fantastic and he is a treasure. Now I am off to go re-watch an episode of Good Omens because I need that kind of positivity in my life today. :-)

  13. KD

    Does Australia Receive Enough Cocaine To Meet Demand?

    How are you going to get money to buy guns off the books to funnel to insurgents in the Solomon Islands if you can’t traffic cocaine to Oz?

  14. flora

    Janet Yellen:

    U.S. Treasury’s Yellen Stresses Need for High-Impact Projects to Rebuild Ukraine

    How about some high impact projects to rebuild US water systems and infrastructure here at home? No? Is the plan to let everything here fail and then sell it off to private global corporations? (I see the Word Economic Forum is suddenly verrry interested in water and water supplies.)

    1. griffen

      We must aid and assist the country in order to rebuild. By the way, just ignore our imperial wake of destruction around the world. Or our third world cities here in the US, which teeter on the edge of basic deliverables like clean water and sanitation.

      Lastly, we should send our best to help. I hear our DOT Secretary would be a perfect fit!

      1. The Rev Kev

        Ten years there in occupation and they could never get the electricity running again like it was before the war. Electricity supplies was still a shambles in spite of the billions spent trying to repair what they destroyed during the invasion. Like you said, pork for Wall Street but it seriously undercut support for the occupation forces. And the same could be said for other basic services like water, sewerage, etc.

  15. The Rev Kev

    ‘The woke kids using the Queen’s death to dunk on the British Empire probably don’t know that Britain banned slavery in all regions of its empire long before the US Civil War, via laws passed in 1807 & 1833. It was empire that enabled this sweeping reform.’

    And woken adults forget that it was the British Empire that helped set up the Triangular Trade centuries before and whose Navy helped protect those slave ships-

    But I will give the British Empire solid marks for not only stopping it eventually but having the Royal Navy hunt down slave ships for the rest of the century.

    1. flora

      It’s fine to remember history and hate the terrible parts of the old B.E. Something that is imo equally bad or worse is being created now in the new Great Reset globalists empire of unaccountable actions by global corporations and billionaire oligarchs. The somewhat over-the-top idea of “in the future you will own nothing” and “you will eat bugs” seems worse to me.

      Shorter: bury the past then fight for a decent future for all of us.

      adding from Shakespear guy: “The evil that men do lives after them, The good is oft interred with their bones.”

      So what good came out of the old B.E? Magna Carta? Common Law? Free speech? Some of the Enlightenment philosophies? Engineering? Modern manufacturing? etc.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Fully agree with what you say. That is why I am all for a multipolar world rather than a western-dominate unipolar world. The later is all about total domination of their populations through the various surveillance states and the end of freedom through such planned measures as digital ID and digital currency. That way lies dystopia. And in this regime you can see being discarded common law, the Enlightenment, free speech and all the rest of it that you mentioned.

        1. flora

          Thank you. That’s a good point.

          As an aside: I’ve started wondering if the 1960’s and 70s idea going around on college campuses and among the young in general that the young shouldn’t trust anyone over thirty, and the young should “up the establishment” as in bring down the establishment, I’ve started wondering now if that was a very clever campaign by big business to undo all the govt regulations against monopoly power and other financial predations reined in by western govts after the Great Depression and the 1940’s. Yes, if it was an idea constructed in boardrooms it would take a generation – until the arrival of the Clinton and Blair age of govts – to come to fruition (if plan it was). The Clinton and Blair- age boomer pols were certainly good at tearing down the old govt establishments that acted as a check on unbridled corporate power. Just a stray musing….

          1. digi_owl

            May have been, in part.

            The initial crack may have been the usual youthful hubris (how many world problems have been “solved” in half-drunk dorms, with the caveat of “if only…”?), but that was enough for the monied to get their leverage in and start prying it all apart.

            The problem is trying to explain to the younger ones why some rule or stricture exist, when they have not experienced the other side of the coin themselves.

          2. HotFlash

            Are you referring to the Powell Memorandum, perchance? I suppose I am a boomer, born just post-war, 1949. I remember the SDS and the Port Huron Statement, I remember Walter Reuther, Fred Hampton, on and on and on. I am pretty sure that the Powell Memorandum was a response to All Those Liberal Hippies. They organized, and we didn’t. I dunno, I guess we went to university, or got married, had kids, or both, and lost our focus? I apologize to Young People often, about the climate, the wars, the cost of housing, the cost of education, the healthcare situation, the gig economy, lots of things. They think I am weird.

        2. flora

          Thank you.

          “The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting”

          ― Milan Kundera

        3. John

          In all the talk about the sins of empire, the role of corporate monopolies should not be forgotten. The British East India Company founded in 1600 c.e. and corporate excess in general is responsible for a lot of the sin. Still true today.

          1. digi_owl

            I guess the world has improved some since then, as at least corporations do not field their own armies these days (i think).

            1. ArvidMartensen

              True, they use the the military and mercenaries of the US/NATO, just as they are right now in Ukraine.

              1. Yves Smith Post author

                “NATO” cannot commit troops. The decision lies with each NATO member.

                Turkey has the biggest army in the area. You can guarantee they aren’t sending forces.

                The UK only has 10,000 soldiers who could serve in front line capacities.

                Plus you have the non trivial issue of not speaking the local language…or each other’s languages. You can’t easily mix troops from different units in a real war, let alone different countries.

    2. Stephen

      Right. History is messy. People who seek to use it in a one sided way to paint country x as inherently virtuous or country y as uniquely evil create the type of wars we are now seeing! We ought to explain the past, understand why things happened and judge what people did by the morality of that era, not our own.

      After all, it was only from around 1700 that people in the English West Country no longer had to fear the slave raiders from the Barbary Coast. The Royal Navy then hunting down all slave ships in the 1800s was also an early form of asserting extra territorial jurisdiction, that many of us dislike when it is carried out in the name of other causes! We often forget too that the French Revolution of 1789 outlawed slavery before the British Empire.

    3. Paleobotanist

      However the British navy protected their ally’s, the Omani empire, running the East African slave trade throughout most of the 1800s. They did one thing on the west African coast and the opposite on the east African coast. Reference “The world that plague made” James Belich.

      (The book is a good read. I think he really overargues his thesis, that the black plague was responsible for the European expansion and colonialism, but has lots of fascinating info on the non-western colonial imperial empires: the Omani, Moroccan, Russian and Mughal. High recommendation).

      1. flora

        However and also more recently than the slave trade, it was the B.E. that held the line against Herr Mustache’s dreams of world conquest glory in the late 1930s. It held the line until the western allies could organize an effective military push back. (Not forgetting RU which came in afew years later.) WWII cost the B.E its empire in the long run. No matter how much the US populace in general held the B.E. at a distance for obvious reasons, I can’t help but think that the B.E., of all then still existing European 1930’s empires, made a profound difference for the good in the development of Europe and the West after 1940. I don’t think this idea is mere romanticism.

          1. flora

            The Kenyan political movement began in the early 1950’s, post WWII. As I said, the B.E. holding the line cost them the empire.
            Why they held the line I cannot say. I cannot attribute motive.

            1. fjallstrom

              The why is rather simple, the strategic interest in avoiding any one power dominating the continent of Europe (as that would be a threat to the imperial core) combined with not trusting Hitler at all after he broke the Munich agreement.

              In the book “A failure of a mission” Sir Neville Henderson (his majesty’s embassador to Berlin) described the twist and turns preceding the Munich agreement. Though the world mostly remember it as a give away to Germany, at the time Hitler was furious at being forced into it. When Germany a year later broke the agreement – despite already having all the German speaking population – it proved that no agreement with Hitler could be trusted. So after that the British government had no choice but to hold the line.

        1. Stephen

          Peter Hitchens “The Phoney War” is worth reading on this period if you want a revisionist view of British government motivations and the real drivers of why they did what they did.

        2. Kouros

          BE went to actual war against Germany not in September 1, 1939, but many months later, in 1940, after Germany attacked Denmark and Norway.

          And Russia was attacked in June 1941, so it just about a year between Dunkirk retreat and Operation Barbarossa. So not a couple of years later, but just a year later.

          Also, the German Army was defeated on the Eastern Front (75% destruction) not in the west.

          The BE sided with the fascist colonels in Greece, despite the fact that it was the Greek communists that bled in fighting the German and Italian occupiers and that the population would vote for them (same as in Italy)…

    4. David

      There was no proper Empire then (see maps of its historical evolution) and no organised Navy. Under strong pressure from what we would now call NGOs, churches and the nascent Left, the British and French Empires effectively stopped slavery in Africa in the nineteenth century, including the large and lucrative trade to the Gulf and the Ottoman Empire. From 1822 onwards, the British tried political pressure to stop the export of saves from Zanzibar. Finally, in 1873 it was closed down after threats of humanitarian intervention by British warships.

    5. Alex Cox

      However the English supported the slave owners of the Confederacy during the Civil War. While Lincoln and the North had the support of a rather large country to the east of Europe.

  16. LawnDart

    Unthinkable. Unspeakable. “No” means “no” except for when it means “yes.”

    What if the 2024 ‘Whispers’ Are Right?

    Queen of Chaos: Her record, and her own words, show us exactly what we can expect from a Hillary Clinton presidency

        1. pjay

          I agree. But if Hillary runs, it may lead me to do the “unthinkable” and “unspeakable” – cast a vote for Donald Trump.

        2. griffen

          America, we love a comeback kid such as in so many boxing films. Rocky II, where he finally beats Creed in the rematch. Or in Rocky IV, where manages to defeat Ivan Drago after such a violent end to Creed’s life.

          And hey, Rocky came back with a few more! Fiction or real, what’s not to like about her running again. \sarc

          1. ambrit

            What are the chances of convincing Sylvester Stallone to play Hillary in drag? It could work. Both now have that “rugged” look.
            With theme music by Danny Elfman.

        3. Tom Stone

          As long as Hillary loses I’d be fine with a reprise of Trump Vs Clinton.
          It would be the Shitshow of Shitshows!

          At this point in the Empire’s decline it seems appropriate,
          “Neither” party has anyone better to offer and it would be great for ratings, what’s not to like?


  17. CBBB

    About the German “green card” as is always the case if there is indeed a critical shortage of workers real wages would be rapidly rising which is not at all the case. German companies only want dirt cheap labour and German landlords want to be able to charge high rents.

    1. vao

      The complaint about a shortage of skilled labour has been a permanent fixture of the economic discourse in Germany for decades.

      And addressing that supposedly burning issue with a “green card” has already been attempted — in 2000. Because the results were rather mixed, the scheme was abandoned in 2004.

  18. The Rev Kev

    “A trillion prices”

    ‘Health insurers just published close to a trillion hospital prices’

    A 100TB file? Seriously? You know, in all the years I have been reading NC, I don’t think that I have ever heard a good word about the American healthcare system. Not one. So I was flipping through YouTube waiting for links to come online when I stumbled across the following video. There were a series of Tik Tok videos – now compiled on YouTube – which asked the following question to Americans overseas-

    ‘Americans living abroad: what is one time you realized America really messed you up?’

    So this YouTuber in Illinois was reacting to some of those clips. Need it be said that a lot of them had to do with healthcare? (17:51 mins)

    1. digi_owl

      Sadly many places in the world wants to water down their public services and implement something semi-US on top.

    2. Skk

      It says something when PC level distributed computing projects like seti@home and leela chess zero that are for non critical projects like ET searches are now suggested for Healthcare price extract, transfer, load projects. And that’s before we can query them meaningfully. Yeah I’ll join as it starts up.

      Hmm where’s Google, or perhaps AMZN ? Maybe Mark Cuban?

      1. foghorn longhorn

        Cuban has joined the fray in a somewhat favorable manner.
        15 percent over cost.
        It’s a start.

  19. Quentin

    Two sayings for this moment:

    ‘If you don’t succeed, try, try again.’ Ursula von der Leyen and the whole EU nomenclatura/politbureau.

    ‘All good things come to those who wait.’ George 3.

    As we take one deeper turn into the time warp engulfing us, looking back blindly with darkness in our eyes. trying to maintain balance at the same time.

    1. ambrit

      Balance implies parity. This is heresy. There can only be one, overwhelming Neo-liberal Empire. All else is false doctrine.

  20. Questa Nota

    Journalism Collapse – there are comments to make about that Consortium News article, so here is one.

    Note that David Rhodes, formerly head of CBS, and not mentioned in the article, is the brother of Ben Rhodes, formerly of the Obama White House. Journalism declined while ‘journalism’ accelerated. That is in no small part due to the over-reliance on connected insiders, of which the Rhodes bros are only one sad example. The word connected once had Mafia overtones, so everything old is new again.

    Objectivity, another casualty of neo-liberalism. I’m old enough to remember Karl Turd Blossom Rove making his own reality. A bi-partisan effort, well-done, A**holes.

    1. fringe element

      “I’m old enough to remember Karl Turd Blossom Rove making his own reality.”

      I’ve been thinking about this since the debacle in Ukraine launched. Seems like the hubris of our rulers thinking they create reality just ran into some hard limits.

  21. Wukchumni

    Some Wisconsin quarters have an error. The rare coins could sell for far beyond 25 cents. USA Today

    Coin collectors are a weird mob in that defects are worth a lot more than normal strikings, and even more so with banknotes.

    A $20 bill with a Del Monte sticker on it that was printed over, fetched $400k last year, gad zooks!

    In my travels to NZ & Australia in the 1980’s, 1916 Buffalo Nickels were a common item that turned up in an aged ANZAC’s belongings that ended up on the market, and no doubt the Kiwi & Aussie soldiers in WW1 went through the Panama Canal and US coins were circulating there, and it is a striking design with a Native American on one side and majestic beast on the back.

    These would’ve been in extremely fine to almost uncirculated condition, and pretty common and worth around $20, and i’d buy 15-25 of them each trip which was no big deal, but the big deal was a variety where the date was strongly doubled, and over the years, I bought 6 or 7 of those, now worth around $20k each.

    1. digi_owl

      It is all about rarity.

      It is basically what NFTs are trying to emulate in the digital realm.

      but as with anything else that has not practical value (or use value as some bearded fellow put it), it is all about what the market think it is worth.

  22. Bsn

    Regarding NASA. Many people don’t realize it’s owned more and more by corporations. NASA essentially rents services and equipment from large corporations. Looks like “your tax dollars in action” once again.

  23. Carla

    Re: The Disaster Consultants

    Wow. Am I going to be the first terrible, horrible person in this commentariat to ask: should Mexico Beach be saved?

    According to Wikipedia, Mexico Beach had a population of 1072 in 2010 and after the 2018 hurricane, of 1060 in 2020, and “The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) declared the community ‘wiped out’ in the aftermath of the hurricane’s devastating impact.”

    But the population is 93% white, so I guess you gotta save it? The draw was it was “old Florida,” ” … ‘a collection of 50-year-old bungalows and newer vacation homes on stilts,’ where tourists walked on white sand beaches.”

    But that’s all gone now, so just what is being saved? Surely I’m not alone in asking this question.

    1. griffen

      Well when disaster hits in such a manner, the impulse is nearly always to rebuild. Make improvements and maybe relocate a little inland, if that is suitable. I think what landlubbers like myself have realized over the last 25 to 30 years, is that oceanfront views should be limited on a sandy beach or a long fishing pier, and maybe not exactly a great location of a 2BR/2BA on stilts. And I spent summers working at the beaches of Nags Head and Kill Devil Hills in North Carolina. There is no match when it comes to a series of hurricanes to rearrange the local habitat. Also, living 2 to 3 hours inland from the beaches of NC was not far always far enough away.

      If I remember the above storm correctly, the one remaining structure in that beach town had been built to specifications to withstand a category 5.

    2. Michael McK

      No, your not. Federal flood insurance is just the sort of misplaced socialism the rich love. Furthermore, those foolish and wealthy enough to buy or build in the path of the inevitable tend to make the largest lifestyle choice contributions to the driver of increased storm intensity and sea level change to begin with.
      We have all the capital we need for a last ditch effort to save some semblance of a future most of us would want to live in. It is just a matter of wresting it from the wealthy.

      1. Anthony G Stegman

        Disaster relief in general favors the wealthy. Back a few decades ago massive fires in the Oakland hills torched thousands of expensive homes. The vast majority were rebuilt with significant federal aid. Compare to what relief was provided to those in New Orleans when it suffered catastrophic flooding. Mildew ridden FEMA trailers, if one were lucky. Million dollar homes? Only for the rich folks.

  24. TimH

    one of these walls should be enough to provide 10,000-kilowatts of electricity per year

    That’s only 1.14kWh. A lot of complex mechanics for a measly power output.

    could work wonders in urban environments.

    wind turbine walls on the side of buildings

    Errrm, don’t think there’s wind going through buildings… unless you want a very drafty building.

    1. digi_owl

      Best i can tell, the idea is that it will catch windows going along the building.

      These are vertical windmills. At times advocated as a better design than propeller ones, because they do not have to turn as the wind changes direction. But they invariably end up having problems with maintenance as the bottom bearing have to withstand the wind pushing the whole mill sideways.

      In the end this is a design before function creation. The fig leaf about practical use tries to make it something more than an art piece made in a CAD package.

    2. Tommy S.

      Depends on the city. SF is one of the densest cites in US (not saying much I know)…And there is most often enough breeze and wind year round to keep those things going. Windy even in the Mission. (a ‘valley’ kind of)..Very much so as sun sets downtown around skyscrapers…it’s often not fun to walk through those ‘wind tunnels’.

    3. Carla

      Call me nuts, but when I saw it I thought “Deer fence” to protect my garden. Bet they would be noisy, though.

  25. LawnDart

    Excerpts from:

    The Struggling Arkansas Town That Helped Stop Russia in Its Tracks

    Some of the most crucial weapons in the Ukraine war are made in Camden, Arkansas. But a shortage of skilled workers risks slowing the production lines.

    Nestled in the remote backwoods of southern Arkansas, some of the nation’s busiest weapons plants are gearing up for historic levels of defense spending and to replenish the stocks of artillery, high-caliber ammunition, rockets, missiles and propulsion systems that have been siphoned off to help Ukraine even the battlefield odds against Russia.

    And the pressure is growing to keep the production lines humming to feed what has become a surprisingly long conflict that could stretch on for many more months before it is done. Demand for munitions in Ukraine has been so high that it has drained inventories in the U.S. and Europe. Thousands of missiles and artillery rounds and have already been siphoned off from armories on both sides of the Atlantic and now there is a scramble to replenish them.

    More than a dozen conversations with defense industry executives, business and political leaders and long-time residents offered a local illustration of a nationwide struggle to fill high-tech, high-paying jobs. In short, a longstanding weakness in the U.S. workforce could have potentially serious consequences on allies’ ability to help Ukraine and delay efforts to resupply their own forces in the event of a new conflict. And it’s one reason why defense industry leaders have been warning Congress that it could take several years to replace some of the weapons supplies that have been so depleted, raising fears that the readiness of U.S. forces to deter Russia or China could ultimately suffer.

    But there are significant shortfalls in skills among the local population. Arkansas has historically ranked near the bottom of states for educational attainment. In the southern part of the state, the challenges are even more acute. For example, recent government data shows that in Camden, roughly half the adult population has a high school equivalency or less and only 15 percent have a four-year college degree. For now, the solution to the recruiting problem means making the area more attractive for workers from outside the region.

    “My friends may make a passing comment about the war in Ukraine but not often,” Daniel told me. “Same when I’m with my family. I have friends and family that work on the rockets at the various manufacturing plants out there. … Those companies sell to many different entities. It may be hard to say if this one is going to Ukraine or Taiwan.”

    He [Mayor Lott] recalled a part-time job, long before he moved to Camden, for a weapons supplier that he declined to identify. Most days it was a four-hour shift with little activity at the storage bunkers he was paid to monitor.

    “This particular day I was waiting on two different trucks,” he said. “We were standing around chatting and talking.”

    The banter turned to who the customers might be for those weapons. Lott said he got the uncomfortable feeling that the supplier might have been arming enemies.

    “It appeared to me that that one company was selling to two different sides, the same product.”

    1. digi_owl

      Reminds me that i recently read that Nammo is asking the Norwegian government to help expand production. Seems Ukrainian forces has a massive demand for M72 LAWs (recently seen strapped to cheap quad rotor drones apparently).

  26. Wukchumni

    We had a couple of trash bin bears last month but both have gone on to more fruitful pick-a-nick baskets elsewhere, as ours are bear-proofed.

    That said, there’s a new arrival in the guise of a jet black bruin of size, my neighbor thought it weighed close to 350 pounds, and it has been roosting in this one particular oak tree that is earlier than other oaks in doling out acorns, and this hungry bear doesn’t want them from the ground, it’s all about freshies and that means climbing up the tree, does he have a UFW card?

    Almost every day there’s a little pile of dead & live wood below the oak that the bear has knocked down, my neighbor related.

    It doesn’t want human food, and that’s good.

    Typically acorns don’t ripen and fall until October and that’s when we had our great bear invasion of 2015 when an estimated 100-150 famished bears from high in the back country came down for a feed.

    I wonder if this Yogi was the advance guard?

    1. Mikel

      It doesn’t matter how many or what kind of threats they assess, real or imagined.
      The current established orders have no plans nor are they making any plans that will include protecting the masses. Anything asked for or gained as a result of these musings has zero to do with making our lives better.

    1. Tom Bradford

      The Russian withdrawal from Izium and its area might make military sense but abandoning to reprisals a civilian population you’re ostensibly fighting a war to liberate and protect is a bad look.

  27. kareninca

    Raj Rajnarayanan posts on twitter; he is very good; he posted this 17 hours ago from the #covid19#variantDashboard – #United States (TOP lineages, 15 day trends).

    I’ve typed it in since I can’t copy it, so there may be a small small errors or two:

    28.68 percent: BA.5.2.1
    16.38 percent: BA.5.2
    13.40 percent: BA.5.1
    8.38 percent: BA.4.6
    6.24 percent: BA.5.5
    5.57 percent: BA.5
    4.68 percent: BA.5.6
    2.34 percent: BA.4.1
    1.83 percent: BF.5
    1.61 percent: BA.5.1.1

    There are so many versions of BA.5. We could be working through reinfections with BA.5 versions for a long time. Or not.

  28. Carolinian

    That’s an excellent Patrick Lawrence in Consortium as is this follow on

    Lawrence quotes many fathers for today’s stenographic journalism with perhaps the most recent being 9/11 when Bush Jr. proclaimed “you are for us or against us” and conjured the spectre (I had forgotten) of “Islamofascists.” With talk like that Dan Rather (always a climber IMO) was bound to put on that American flag pin pronto. Biden now seems to be channeling Bush.

    In his second column Lawrence calls current groupthink a throwback to our Puritan ancestors and their valorization of belief over evidence and proof. Some of us would contend that these tendencies are a lot more universal and hardly confined to Americans or Puritans. But it is worth talking about the “ethics of belief.” Belief alone doesn’t make you good or justify your actions. Truth does. Even religions need to promote ethical truth.

  29. ArvidMartensen

    So 9 September seems to be an interesting historical date.
    On 9 September 1776 the United States of America was proclaimed.
    On 9 September 1999 a meeting of African leaders, chaired by Gaddafi in Libya, announced a project to unite Africa financially and militarily with no US control.
    On 9 September 2011, NATO bombed the bejesus out of Libya, destroying Gaddafi and the African dream.
    Now BRICS are trying to set up a US independent financial system, led by Putin.
    On 9 September 2022 the US/NATO, using Ukraine, set out to destroy Russian influence at the very least, and the reputation of Russia as a serious country to be reckoned with.
    Given some parallels, maybe the choice of 9 September was to underline what happened to Libya as a warning to any country that messes with any financial looting systems of the US.
    I wonder if this is a very serious attempt to obliterate Russia, just as they did to Libya.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      No, the West isn’t into dates that way. NATO was having a big meeting on Sept 9 and Zelensky was told he had to deliver something by then. He actually managed to. But this is one offensive and Russia decided to pull back out of an area that it found was strategically unhelpful and costly to hold. Russia sustained few losses while Ukraine reportedly lost 2000, which is a big number relative to force commitment.

      This was a tactical win that has disproportionate PR value.

  30. spud

    “The pandemic demonstrated in the starkest possible way the vulnerabilities brought about by the de-industrialization praised by Ivy League geniuses. As noted by Tom Mahoney, a principal figure at Mforesight, a firm that studies and advocates for manufacturing innovation, the usual first answer to how to boost profits is to shift production abroad. The belief that “a manufacturing firm (can) maintain itself long-term without controlling its own production” is virtually a dogma. To this end, Mahoney contends, firms like McKinsey are “the great evil empire along with anyone with an MBA.”

    “Academic libertarians can prattle on about the glory of “free markets” but China does not embrace the same religion”

    “The dangers of overdependence on foreign imports and offshore production cannot be masked by chanting free market homilies. Indeed, as two Harvard researchers have suggested, “believing in the power of markets does not preclude the judicious use of appropriate government policies.”

    It is within the confluence of true American interests—trade unions, small manufacturers, Heartland communities, unwoke defense advocates—that hope for a more realistic China policy lies. Abandoning a dogmatic attachment to “free trade” is not a violation of American “principles” as imagined by some conservative intellectuals. Rather, it is critical to the survival liberal principles and continues a grand tradition—started with Alexander Hamilton, continued by Abraham Lincoln, and embraced during the Cold War—of strengthening our national economy to meet our global challenges. As Burke put it, what really matters is not ideology but reality: “The circumstances are what render every civil and political scheme beneficial or noxious to mankind.”

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