Links 9/13/2022

This is Naked Capitalism fundraising week. 829 donors have already invested in our efforts to combat corruption and predatory conduct, particularly in the financial realm. Please join us and participate via our donation page, which shows how to give via check, credit card, debit card, or PayPal. Read about why we’re doing this fundraiser, what we’ve accomplished in the last year,, and our current goal, karōshi prevention.

* * *

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.

–Yves

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.

* * *

Humans and Cockatoos Are Locked in an ‘Arms Race’ Over Trash Gizmodo

Operation Butt Plug, Enema, and Colonoscopy One: Here’s what (unsurprisingly!) happened when the internet was asked to name a probe for Uranus Daily Mail (Kevin W)

Photographer Captures the Vast Beauty of Alaska Through Breathtaking Mountainscapes My Modern Met (David L)

The Nemo Personal Submarine is Beautiful Core77. Resilc: “No water in Mississippi, no heat in EU, but plenty of war and rich toys.”

A breakthrough discovery in carbon capture conversion for ethylene production PhysOrg (Chuck L)

#COVID-19

Science/Medicine

UK/Europe

EU regulator backs Pfizer/BioNTech BA.4/5-adapted COVID booster Reuters (furzy)

US

2020-2021 Excess Deaths in the U.S. General Population by Age and Sex: Updated August 2022 Society of Actuaries (JS)

President Biden Announces Intent to Appoint Dr. Renee Wegrzyn as Inaugural Director of Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health White House

Climate/Environment

These are the four largest fires currently burning in the Western US The Hill

Climate Change Is Making People Angrier Online Bloomberg. As if that’s a very important outcome.

China?

China’s Covid Lockdowns Are The Single Biggest Threat To Oil Markets    OilPrice. As we’ve been saying…

India

Cut made at Dadu’s Badani-Bhan Road as more villages at risk of inundation Dawn (J-LS)

Low Testing And Climate Change Hamper India’s Fight Against Dengue And Malaria India Spend

‘Lack of Measurable Progress’: India Castigates Sri Lanka on Finding Solution to Tamil Issue The Wire (J-LS)

Anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats celebrate election gains Financial Times (Kevin W)

Old Blighty

Craig Murray: That’s Enough Monarchy for Now, Thank You Consortium News (J-LS)

People Are Being Arrested in the UK for Protesting Against the Monarchy Vice (resilc)

Former royal insider reveals how Queen’s death unfolded, what happens now 9 News Australia. Has photos of her in her last meeting, with Liz Truss. You can see how she deteriorated since her husband’s death.

World leaders to travel to Queen’s funeral by bus as state cars, helicopters and private jets banned Daily Record (Kevin W)

‘Biden would never ride a bus’: UK and US play down strict rules for Queen’s funeral Guardian

Massacre at the Munich Olympics, five decades on Revisited (furzy)

New Not-So-Cold War

Narendra Modi, Xi Jinping, Vladimir Putin come to the table: What to expect from crucial SCO summit? Firstpost (J-LS)

DIANA JOHNSTONE: The Specter of Germany Is Rising Consortium News (GramSci)

* * *

Why Ukraine’s successful offensive is such bad news for Vladimir Putin The Hill

Russia ‘takes off the gloves’ Gilbert Doctorow. I differ with Doctorow’s revised take that Putin got Xi’s backing. First, if Putin is obsessed with anything, it is Russian sovereignity. Second, even though it does look like Russia prepared for the worst (allegedly 3 years of artillery stockpiled for a full on war, which this is not, plus most troops held back for the case that NATO does something stoopid), Russia still looks to have been blindsided by speed and ferocity of the initial sanctions, which were imposed AFTER Russia recognized the DPR and LPR but BEFORE Russia attacked. Third, Russia’s military is much better than China’s, particularly in ground operations, and Russia makes a point of keeping weapons design as consistent as possible over time to reduce training and simplify logistics. So the points of cooperation/support are going to be important mainly in the economic sphere, for import substitution…and Putin would not have anticipated how important that would be at the start of February.

Russian regrouping in Kharkov will speed up Battle of Donbass Indian Punchline (Kevin W)

Ukraine’s Offensives: Tactical Victories Can Contribute to Strategic Defeat New Atlas. Goes through the math of Ukraine losses per Western sources (at 15:00). Also notes less than meets the eye in much ballyhooed NATO package: lotta training, few weapons.

Russia Attacks Ukraine Energy Infrastructure Inflicts Heavy Losses; Kiev Seeks to Maintain Offensive Alexander Mercouris, YouTube. Note at 8:00 Mercouris describes, per a contact, that since the war had started, Ukraine had built up new reserves equal to ten brigades. Per Berletic above, this is still less than what Western sources say Ukraine has lost.

Conservative Groups Urging Lawmakers To Vote ‘No’ On More Ukraine Aid Defense One (resilc)

SCOTT RITTER: Why Russia Will Still Win, Despite Ukraine’s Gains Consortium News (signet). Yes, he has priors. That does not mean his argument is unsound.

* * *

From Beer to Tomatoes, Europe’s Energy Crisis Is Spilling Over Bloomberg

First local utilities in Germany struggle due to high power and gas prices – media Handelsblatt via Clean Energy Wire

Record U.S. LNG Exports To Europe May Not Last OilPrice (resilc)

Olena Zelenska′s Vogue cover sparks backlash DW (resilc) “‘I don’t remember Saddam Hussein’s wife being on the cover of Vogue when Iraq was illegally invaded,’ stated another tweet.”

Syraqistan

The faceless mass Times of Israel (guurst)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Imperial Collapse Watch

A modest proposal: Fire all of the post 9/11 generals Responsible Statecraft (resilc)

1/6

Justice Dept. Issues 40 Subpoenas in a Week, Expanding Its Jan. 6 Inquiry New York Times (furzy)

Justice Department subpoenas more than 30 people in Trump’s orbit in January 6 probe CNN (furzy)

Trump Raid

Commentary: Time to Scrap the Espionage Act of 1917 Ohio Star (Li). Note that this originated with a conservative wire service but is getting picked up.

Justice Dept. Says It’s Open to Trump Pick for Special Master New York Times (furzy)

Biden

Biden hopes ending cancer can be a ‘national purpose’ for US Associated Press. Kevin W: “I am positive that he did this before about a year or two ago.”

Our No Longer Free Press

Patrick Lawrence: Unmaking History Scheerpost. From last week, still very much germane.

‘Wildfire of disinformation’: how Chevron exploits a news desert Guardian (furzy)

Fire outside Miami Dolphins game destroys 11 cars WESH (resilc)

Roundup Litigation at Turning Point as Bayer Rejects “Global Resolution Plan” Organic Consumers (furzy)

Judge Allows McFlurry Machine Repair Lawsuit to Proceed Vice (resilc)

The Bezzle

After Blue Origin’s rocket explodes, its spacecraft makes a dramatic escape ars technica (furzy)

Blue Origin Mission Aborted After Fiery ‘Anomaly’ Vice. Resilc: “Abort Jeff.”

I hate to sound like the snob I can sometimes be, but instinctively I knew this was wrong. Even allowing for Harvard having gone to hell, no way was Columbia #2. Perhaps #5….:

Fire destroys 12 “Tiny Homes” at a Los Angeles encampment Boing Boing

Theranos fraudster Elizabeth Holmes makes a SECOND bid for a new trial claiming prosecutors in ex-lover Sunny Balwani’s case painted him as holding ‘strong influence’ over her – but told jurors in her trial he was an ‘equal’ Daily Mail

Goldman Sachs to kick off Wall Street layoff season with hundreds of job cuts this month CNBC

Class Warfare

America is already feeling the consequences of a looming nationwide rail strike CNN

‘Understaffed and overworked’: Thousands of Minnesota nurses go on strike Reuters

Possibility of railway and port strikes threaten supply chain recovery Axios

Uber Eats ditches delivery drivers as it rolls out self-driving cars in weeks in 2 states – is it coming to your city? The Sun. Resilc: “Uber going down the toober…….they will be robbed or kill people.”

Antidote du jour (Chet G):

And a bonus (guurst):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

245 comments

  1. Antifa

    WE ARE A RACE OF GIANTS
    (melody borrowed from Simon & Garfunkel)

    We’ve brought the planet to a boil
    Stripped the oceans, killed the soil
    Blue water poles that no longer freeze
    Greenland has melted and that raised the seas
    Now the hurricanes — land at Category Eight
    We calculate
    We Are A Race Of Giants

    We cleared the jungles to grow soy
    When we create we first destroy
    We’ve burned wood and coal for centuries
    Dumped trash and sewage anywhere we please
    We are demigods — standing tall in our own waste
    Brazen-faced
    We Are A Race Of Giants

    To get disposable income
    We used to pump petroleum
    Burned it all, didn’t shed a tear
    Profits came before the biosphere
    Yeah, the flora and the fauna on the planet didn’t have a prayer
    No one cares
    We Are A Race Of Giants

    We still have lots of atom bombs
    And we will launch them with no qualms
    Diplomats can go talk and schmooze
    If that won’t work we will light the fuse
    Then the world — picks sides, and goes to war
    We Are A Race Of Giants

    If we plan to stick around
    We’ll have to go live underground
    We’ll live down there with our hyperloops
    For our civilians and our honored troops

    We will wait for the planet to cool off
    Then come up, and get right back
    To the attack
    We Are A Race Of Giants

    Reply
    1. Janie

      The parodies are brilliant; they are worthy of a collaborative downloadable collection. As a plus, they’ve introduced me to new music.

      Reply
  2. Sibiryak

    The SMO is over! Now it’s “real war”! No holds barred. Critical infrastructure, government buildings, etc. across the whole of Ukraine should now be hit. That’s the new hyper-bellicose message of numerous commentators and analysts on Russian MSM today.

    Reply
    1. Louis Fyne

      The NYT says Russia gained ~2000 sq miles (sorry metric) of land in the past 5 months, and lost ~3500 sq miles last week.

      So net loss of ~1500 sq miles, or less than the size of tri-state NYC (or metro London)

      That should put everything into perspective for both sides. war moves slower than even baseball

      Reply
      1. Yves Smith Post author

        If you population or local GDP adjust it, results look awfully different. That area of Kharkiv is about as densely populated as the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

        Plus as I’ve been trying to convey for a while, this map obsession assumes the aim is territorial conquest. It’s a framing that benefits Ukraine.

        For the SMO, the one not even stated territorial objective was clearing Donbass since Russia came in to defend the DNR and LPR. As far as the SMO is concerned, if Ukraine keeps brining its men and materiel to the Russians and the Russians can take them out, that’s actually easier in terms of demilitarization than running all over Ukraine to rout them.

        Now that it’s clear that Ukraine will fight to pretty much the last Ukrainian, Russia will need to take the Black Sea coast, both for Russian political reasons (Odessa is now a necessary conquest given the perceived cost) and to assure that whatever is left of Ukraine is very weak.

        Reply
        1. Werther

          Clearing Donbass and defending the DPR and LPR. I never read much about the reason for taking the Melitopol and Kherson Oblasts. For myself, I thought it to be intended to gain some defendable depht for the Crimean Peninsula. To be negociated when the outcome could have been a ‘reasonable’ government in Kiev…

          Reply
          1. Lex

            The southern area is the geostrategic priority for Russia. It establishes a land bridge to Crimea, gives it the defensible depth you mention and secures fresh water supplies for Crimea. The Azov coast is important too, but that actually falls into the original territory of Donetsk Oblast so is “included” in liberation of Donestsk. I assume that at this point Russia will go all the way to Odessa because the West is unwilling to negotiate and at this point Russia cannot really tolerate a NATO presence in the Black Sea with any good basing options.

            IMO, NATO will ditch Ukraine as soon as Odessa’s gone and if there’s a rope-a-dope strategy here it’s Russia not striking Odessa yet. It would be a difficult objective to date, but as long as there’s a chance for a NATO base on the Black Sea, the US/UK can’t give up. Almost all of this going back to 2014 can be boiled down to a NATO naval base on the Black Sea, preferably Sebastopol, and effective denial of the Black Sea to Russia.

            Reply
            1. Maxwell Johnston

              Bulgaria, Romania, and Turkey already belong to NATO and abut the Black Sea, and Turkey controls the Bosphorus. I’m sure that RU would like to own all of UKR’s coastline, up to Transnistria, but I wouldn’t overstate the coastline’s military importance to a land power like RU.

              Reply
              1. Jay Francis

                The coastline is important because it controls the economy of Western Ukraine, which is based on the export of bulk foodstuffs. No ports, no exports, economic collapse. That way the Russians don’t get locked into a low level border war for the longterm. Kyiv plays nicely or the Russians switch off the lights.

                Reply
            2. spud

              Joe Biden is setting up the E.U. which is fascists, to full blown fascism, and the fascists will try to invade russia, and take what is theirs by divine rights.

              the fascists will fight to the last E.U. army is exhausted. the fascists will kill or jail millions of their own citizens in the drive for purity, and the divine right to take what they view as theirs.

              https://www.huffpost.com/entry/nationalism-is-rising-not_b_10281138

              “Fascism differs from nationalism in two profound ways. First, fascists did not consider self-determination a universal right. Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini and Francisco Franco, to mention three obvious fascists, only endorsed nationalism for Germany, Italy and Spain. The rights of other nations to a nation-state of their own was, at best, unclear to the fascists.

              In a very real sense, Hitler and Mussolini believed in multinationalism, albeit with other nations submitting to their will. Fascism was an assault on the right of nations to pursue their self-interest, and an elevation of the fascists’ right to pursue it based on an assertion of their nations’ inherent superiority and right to rule.”

              “Arguing that being part of the European Union is not in the British interest, that NATO has outlived its usefulness, that protectionist policies or anti-immigration policies are desirable is not fascist.

              These ideas have no connection to fascism whatsoever. They are far more closely linked to traditional liberal democracy. They represent the reassertion of the foundation of liberal democracy, which is the self-governing nation-state. It is the foundation of the United Nations, whose members are nation-states, and where the right to national self-determination is fundamental.

              Liberal democracy does not dictate whether a nation should be a member in a multinational organization, adopt free trade policies or protectionism, or welcome or exclude immigrants. These are decisions to be made by the people – or more precisely, by the representatives they select. The choices may be wise, unwise or even unjust. However, the power to make these choices rests, in a liberal democracy, in the hands of the citizens. “

              Reply
        2. Old Sovietologist

          The main goal of the Ukraine and NATO is the complete defeat of the RF Armed Forces in the Kherson and Zaporozhye regions. Once achieved then they move on Crimea at the same time attacking the LDNR.

          After the “territorial integrity of the Ukraine is restored, then NATO will order an invasion Russian territory.

          Now these are the Ukrainian/NATO war aims. They can only be stopped by a move away from the SMO to total war footing with NATO. A full mobilisation won’t be necessary but a part one will certainly be required.

          Compromises, mutual concessions, agreements are impossible. Only the victory of one of the parties.

          Reply
          1. Yves Smith Post author

            But NATO is not a unified body. Each country decides whether to commit troops. Turkey has the biggest NATO army in Europe. Think they’re gonna send troops? They need Russian grain and fertilizer. Russia just did a big economic deal which should when purchases start help shore up the terribly weak lira and Erdogan. Think NATO is going to test NATO by asking Turkey? How can it ask other countries if not Turkey?

            And as discussed, by contrast, the very gung ho UK has only ~10,000 front line troops it could provide.

            And as Scott Ritter has discussed, another Western disadvantage is their militaries are set up to fight insurgencies, not peers. They’ve been at that for 30 years.

            So the NATO involvement will not be hidden much but is self limiting, even before getting to Russia’s superiority in missiles and artillery.

            Reply
            1. semper loquitur

              I wonder if the West’s militaries skewed anti-insurgency because they thought they had the world “in the bag”. Nothing left but mopping up. Seems to jive with the rampant egoism and the “words = reality” approach of it’s leadership. Then along comes Russia with the “industrial military = reality” method. I’m not claiming some original insight here, in fact upon reflection I think I heard something similar said during the Iraq and Afghanistan invasions….

              Reply
              1. NotTimothyGeithner

                In general, I don’t think politicians or State types understood what happened in the Persian Gulf War and simply think they can create those results through will power. Pentagon types continued on knowing missiles and airpower would prevent WW2 style map painting. Who cares if the Russians for whatever reason took the whole of Ukraine? If they went farther, the bases they would need would be in range all of a sudden.

                This fight isn’t in West Germany. Its outside the Russian Fort Hood.

                To a large extent, the SMO is a demonstration of what would happen if someone tried a major, World War II style map painting adventure. The supplies would be ground down and supplies that made it past would be destroyed along with soldiers with insufficient air cover.

                Russian forces were close enough to launch a snap war where they could cut down and achieve objectives, but if they went farther, everything would be a radically different situation. I remember all those people screaming about a no-fly zone. No-fly zones are nonsense we cooked up for countries with no air force where we could enforce them with little effort. We would need virtually every plane to seize the skies from the Russians.

                Reply
                1. spud

                  the west has been fighting bill clintons yugoslav war ever since. they are so incredibly arrogant, and stupid, they do not realize or understand russia bailed out the dim wit bill clinton in yugoslavia.

                  even the dim wit bill clinton did not understand the mess he made, and it was full steam ahead for nato up to russia, then into russia.

                  that was the plan folks, and still is.

                  Reply
              2. vao

                The re-orientation of European militaries towards counter-insurgency varies from one country to another, and has very deep roots.

                France, for instance, faced non-guerrilla forces in the last phase of the Indochina war, in Korea and in Egypt, but otherwise it was all counter-insurgency (Algeria, Tunisia, Madagascar, Cameroon, Congo, Central-Africa, Mali, Chad, Comoros…); the only “modern war” experience was the turkey shoot in the first Iraq war, over 30 years ago.

                Great Britain is a bit different: Suez intervention, Korea, first Iraq war — but there was the Falklands war (and it lies 40 years back). Otherwise, it is all counter-insurgency in Kenya, Malaysia, Yemen, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan, Iraq…and Northern Ireland, of course.

                Several other NATO nations such as the Netherlands, Portugal, and Spain were only involved in colonial wars (i.e. counter-insurgency) and that was long ago. Greece briefly fought once, against Turkey, almost 50 years ago.

                The European tropism towards counter-insurgency is therefore rooted in a long practice of colonial and neo-colonial wars, with a simultaneous dearth of experience with conflicts against “peer” adversaries (and whatever experience it is, it lies many decades in the past).

                Reply
            2. spud

              they will do as they are told, because the E.U. leadership is fascists.

              stupid yes, risk no. the people who came to power in 1993 view the world this way,the fascist world economic forum has really outdone itself.

              its a generational organization that has been trying for world domination for well over 100 years. woodrew wilson was a adherent who cemented it into america.

              so there should be no confusion at all. today is their rapture.the people who came to power in 1993 are not imperialists, they are fascists.

              under fascism whats mine is mine, whats yours is mine, and there will be no discussions period. they are the hammer, everything else is a nail.

              when you understand this, then you can see why there was NAFTA and letting china into the W.T.O. and above all, white supremacy. that is why they thought it was safe to let china in, but they are to stupid to understand what they did, it ended their reign of terror. china and russia are not sub human as the free traders thought they were.

              https://www.huffpost.com/entry/the-bill-clinton-legacy_b_106089

              “Free trade, democracy promotion, and the use of force to uphold global norms comprised the core of Bill Clinton’s foreign policy – and they remain the central ideas of today’s Democratic foreign policy establishment.”when bill clinton signed nafta, destroyed GATT and replaced it with the W.T.O., then let china in, was the equivalent of hitlers operation Barbarossa.

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Barbarossa

              hitler never attempted peace with the soviet union when it became apparent he would lose, because he viewed them as sub humans, and what was theirs, was really his.

              once you understand this, then you can understand what appears to be irrational.i cannot think of one thing the bill clinton democrats have done since 1993, that is not blowing back on us.

              https://jacobin.com/2022/07/free-market-neoliberalism-state-intervention-socialism“

              Neoliberal politicians like Bill Clinton presented globalization as “the economic equivalent of a force of nature, like wind or water” that it would be stupid to try to reverse.”

              “Barack Obama in 2016 framed it in similar terms as “a fact of nature.” Politics was presented as the management of the necessity of globalization, with economic decisions limited to those acceptable to international investors, with some sections of the moderate and soft left broadly accepting these ideological premises.”

              http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/55000.htm

              “April 01, 2020 “Information Clearing House” – Diana Johnstone’s just published book, Circle in the Darkness: Memoir of a World Watcher, is the best book I have ever read, the most revealing, the most accurate, the most truthful, the most moral and humane, the most sincere and heartfelt, and the best written. Her book is far more than a memoir.

              It is a history that has not previously been written. If you want the truth of the last 60 years in place of the contrived reality constructed for us by controlled explanations, it is in this book.

              This book is so extraordinary in its truthfulness and conciseness that it is difficult for a less gifted writer to do it justice.

              It is a book without a superfluous sentence.

              Herein I will provide some of the books message. In future columns I hope to present some of the history in the book.In the Western World the legitimate national interest of people has become identified with racism and fascism.

              Corporate globalism requires open borders, and the left has aligned with globalism and has become the most zealous enforcer of open borders, which has come to mean the right of refugees with victim status to other peoples’ countries. The left has abandoned the working class and anti-war activity.

              Today the left is pro-war in order to enforce “human rights” on alleged dictators by bombing their peoples into oblivion, thus producing refugees and tag along opportunistic immigrants that flock to the Western aggressor nations.Self-styled moral censors, such as Antifa, denounce hate while violently hating those they denounce.

              Everything is settled by controlled explanations that cannot be questioned or examined in debate.Those who engage in critical free thinking are censored, shouted down, beaten up, fired, and cancelled.

              The cancel culture permits no debate, only enthusiastic acquiesce to explanations that have been settled in advance.”i think Diana Johnstone once described the modern left as nothing more than trampoline jumpers, that was their lifes accomplishments.

              corbyn, sanders, the new guy in chile, true dough, etc., are not whats needed today. they are enablers that further degrade the left.

              Reply
              1. JBird4049

                The cancel culture permits no debate, only enthusiastic acquiesce to explanations that have been settled in advance.”i think Diana Johnstone once described the modern left as nothing more than trampoline jumpers, that was their lifes accomplishments.

                This “Left” is the creation of Elites just as is the modern Black Misleadership Class is. The Left from before the 1970s, just as the movement under Martin Luther King, Jr., would Not recognize, nor accept, the designated IdPol Left of now.

                I could make similar arguments about the Right, the Conservatives, Liberals, the Moderate Center. Much of the old time NGOs like the American Red Cross have also been emptied of the old leadership and members to be transformed from service organizations to active grifts.

                For something not American, just look at the official, government recognized “unions” in countries like Mexico. Unions that have been either created by, or have had the leadership of co-opted, by the government.

                Reply
            3. Jay Francis

              >But NATO is not a unified body

              Yes and no. No, no one can make the Turks attack Russia. But the reality is that NATO relies on the US and therefore the US sets a lot of effective policy.

              >And as Scott Ritter has discussed, another Western disadvantage is their militaries are set up to fight insurgencies, not peers. They’ve been at that for 30 years.

              This is somewhat misleading if you look where the big ticket money went…

              Reply
              1. Yves Smith Post author

                “Big ticket money” does not go into training. Ritter stresses that you fight the way you were trained.

                And those much touted pricey toys are not outperforming Russia’s mix of mainly rough and rugged but also some very impressive high end weapons: its hypersonic missiles, the S-400 and S-500, its signal jamming capabilities. American style weaponry requires a lot of training and is prone to breakdown. This is not well suited to large scale, kinetic wars.

                Reply
            4. Cetra Ess

              I wonder if Scott is looking at this wrong. Isn’t Ukraine effectively fighting like an insurgency here, romping around in technicals, small roving gangs, and even with the big flags, communication by iPhones and walkie talkies, doing the IED thing and convoy attacks, targeted and revenge killings of civilians, etc? They’re only one step removed from doing beheadings or pushing people off buildings. They even have a hitlist site, Daesh style, and they rather like to photograph and make vids themselves amplifying and glorifying their deeds, with the same delusions of grandeur.

              And wouldn’t these NATO nations with their decades of expertise in invading, occupying, then fighting insurgents be precisely what the Ukrainians need? Because if there’s one thing they know from having had to fight insurgencies, it’s how to create them?

              Reply
              1. Yves Smith Post author

                No. They moved 10 BTG equivalents into Kharkiv. This was a conventional armed advance, minus the air support.

                I do agree that Ukraine is using an unseemly amount of terror, which the West refuses to notice, but the Nazis did that in their conventional war too. The Blitz of London, hitting civilians, was unheard of at that time. Jonathan Glover’s Humanity, which should be subtitled “A Hard Look at the Big and Mainly Bad Shit that Happened in the 20th Century” points out that it was precipitated by the RAF hitting Berlin, apparently not much and by mistake (hard to drop those bombs precisely; the claim is they were after military targets). Hitler was outraged and had the Luftwaffe shift from destroying RAF infrastructure to pounding London. Had Hitler not gotten his manhood in a wringer, he might well have won WWII, since had he continued with the destruction of the RAF, he could have invaded Britain. He would not have had to subdue the country, just then destroy naval assets and facilities.

                Glover depicts WWII as the shift in “civilized” posture towards bombing cities. As with Berlin, there were accidental hits that were rationalized as “shit happenes”. But after London, firebombings were perceived to be defensible.

                Reply
                1. The Rev Kev

                  Speaking of Ukrainian terror. They are now arresting teachers in Kharkov who taught the Russian curriculum and are saying that they will face criminal charges-

                  “They have committed a crime against our nation,” Vereshuk said, adding that “a court will determine their … punishment.” The deputy prime minister accused the detained teachers of engaging in “illegal activities” without elaborating which specific crime they had committed. According to Strana, Vereshchuk said they could be charged with “violating the laws of war” – a charge typically used against those engaged in torture, killings of civilians and looting.
                  Detained teachers would not be eligible for prisoner swaps with Russia, Vereshchuk added, arguing that “they are not combatants” and are thus not covered by the Geneva conventions.’

                  https://www.rt.com/russia/562663-ukraine-russian-teachers-criminal-charges/

                  Reply
                  1. Sibiryak

                    FWIW, “The Ministry of Education denied statements about the detention of teachers from the Russian Federation in the Kharkiv region” –TASS 13 Sept.

                    “All the teachers who previously went to teach in the liberated territories are now where the situation is controlled by the Russian military and the military of the Donetsk and Luhansk people’s republics. Statements that they have been prosecuted in the Kharkiv region and face a prison term do not correspond to reality This was stated by the Minister of Education of the Russian Federation Sergey Kravtsov,” the message says.

                    The press service added that teachers from the Russian Federation working in the liberated territories are safe.

                    “Russian teachers are under protection. The provocative statements of the Ukrainian regime once again underline their true attitude towards the inhabitants of the liberated and liberated territories. Russian education has no borders. To intimidate teachers with their work is obviously another madness,” the press service said. . [Google translation]

                    https://tass.ru/obschestvo/15733121

                    Reply
                    1. IsabelPS

                      I do regret the lack of quality control of the info on this subject in this site. I’m not used to it from NC. It should be obvious that there is a info war raging and one must be extra careful when passing on “facts” from official and non official sources, like numbers of casualties from MoD and the like and extrapolate from them. I now come here every now and then to check what the cheerleading for one side is saying, to balance with the cheerleading for the other side. Not for legit info anymore.

                    2. The Rev Kev

                      @ IsabelPS

                      I’m not sure that you realize what is going on in this part of the world. I remember this video clip after the Maiden where this newly appointed education minister was visiting a school class of young kids and she was asking them their names. If they had good Ukrainian names, she was praising them but if they had Russian names, she made it clear that they were ‘the other’. For the neonazis, education of the young in their ideology is of prime importance to raise ‘good’ Ukrainians. See this link-

                      https://mronline.org/2022/08/31/from-nurseries-to-nazis/

                  2. IsabelPS

                    @ Rev Kev
                    I read the next comment, by Sibiryak, as a denial of the info you gave, from the Minister of Education of the Russian Federation. I have absolutely no way of knowing which of of the sources is truthful or credible (the fog of war, remember?), and that is exactly my point. The description of previous nefarious actions from Ukraine or Russia is by no means a good way of checking if some news are credible or not. If anything, the news that confirm our preferences should be taken with a much bigger bag of salt. Occam’s razor is also a good tool when dealing with uncertainty, generally speaking. But hey, we are just bunch a monkeys behind our keyboards, isn’t it?

                    Reply
                    1. The Rev Kev

                      @ IsabelPS
                      No worries. It is a part of the world where you have some really bad things happening and some of the stuff that I have seen in videos is nasty enough. Anyway, I’m just off to go get a banana now. :)

                    2. Sibiryak

                      @IsabelPS I agree with your basic point about the “fog of war” and the difficulty of verifying conflicting claims.

                      In this case, though, certain facts are fairly well-established.

                      The RT article cited by the Rev Kev quotes statements made by Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Irina Vereshchuk to the Ukrainian media outlet Strana. Those statements are verifiable.

                      Vereshchuk threatens long prison sentences for teachers that taught local children “under the Russian curriculum”. That threat is a verifiable fact. Nobody has denied the threat was made.

                      What the Russian Minister of Education has denied is the additional Ukrainian claim that an unknown number of teachers in the Kharkov region have actually been detained.

                      The Minister of Education’s statement, however, cannot be verified at this point; therefore, while the Ukrainian threat to the teachers is a verifiable fact, we can’t say with any certainty how many, if any, teachers have actually been arrested. Maybe some have been arrested, maybe not.

                      But the fact alone that Ukrainian officials are threatening teachers should be disturbing enough, and, as the Rev Kev has pointed out, completely consistent with the deplorable past actions and ideology of Ukrainian ethnonationalists.

          2. KD

            Even if Ukraine rolled up the Donbas and re-took Crimea, Russia has 1.0+ million plus active duty, and 2.0 million in reserves, without even expanding conscription. They have a 10-1 material advantage in most places, and 5000 nukes. If Russia is choking in Ukraine, it is simply a function of not committing sufficient ground troops. Further, Ukraine is not going to be able to get resupply of ammunition or planes or any heavy material from NATO, which lacks the supplies or the industrial capacity to re-arm Ukraine.

            There is no reason Russia has to go from 15 mph to gunning it at max speed. They can mobilize some of their reserves to patch up defensive lines. Unless Ukraine can get across the Oskil River, or take Lyman, Russia can hold the northwest and are in a better strategic position to do so. Kharkiv doesn’t actually change much in terms of the ground game.

            That being said, it helps the morale on the Ukrainian/Western-side and vice versa, and also, which gets lost here, is that Ukraine will not win by attrition because the numbers don’t work. Russia is unlikely to give up on their war goals, because Ukraine is in their back yard. The war will end in a negotiated deal (because Russia doesn’t want all of Ukraine if they can help it) and this counter offensive greatly increases the likelihood that Kharkiv stays in Ukraine, and the territorial gains really matter in this regards (tacitly, the Russians seem to be signaling that Ukraine can have Kharkiv, which they undoubtedly realize). Now, I don’t see this deal as imminent, as there is too much going on on both sides, but even if it takes four years, it will eventually happen.

            In some sense, you can see these battles as a negotiation between the Ukrainians and the Russians as to what the long-term map of Ukraine will look like when things freeze in place.

            Reply
        3. Telee

          Alexander Mercouris points out that while the Russians ( mostly militia ) gave up territory
          there losses were not great while the Ukrainian committed 10 battalions of their best trained and equipped troops lost around 6 to 7 thousand out of 30,000 men. He also stated that the offensive was not supported by Ukrainian generals who were overruled by Zelensky. While territorial gains are emphasized, the western press has little to say about the losses of soldiers. Mercouris considers the offensive a psychological gain but means very little in determining the wars outcome. He compares this to the numerous offensives launched by the Nazis near the end of World War 2 which did not change the outcome of the war.

          Reply
      2. Lex

        Yeah, the NYT is lying. I assume they’re massaging the numbers to use the early deep operations as territory gained and lost even though those clearly weren’t implemented as territorial acquisition operations. And all the real news at this point strongly suggests that Russia wasn’t even trying to hold Kharkov oblast, at least not in any situation where it was physically contested.

        Reply
        1. Yves Smith Post author

          I said to Lambert repeatedly and I wish I said it in comments, I didn’t understand why Russia was putting (what on a map looked like) a lot of troops around Khariv, the city. Recall after pushing back the earlier Kharkiv offensive, Russia looked to be putting a semi-circle around Kharkiv. I said this couldn’t be a priority, Kharkiv is a really big city, hard to take the hard way, but still in an ethnic-Russian dominant area and near Russia. It would fall to Russia in due course. No need to do much there except not let meaningful Ukraine forces get near the border.

          Looks like that line of thought was not crazy.

          Reply
          1. Lex

            It was not. I think some analysis that Russia intended to use the area and Izium as a launch point for operations to the south may well have been correct but it appears that was given up some time ago. I assume that since they had taken the territory they decided to keep it as long as Ukraine didn’t try to get it back, but didn’t offer much resistance when Ukraine did try. I agree with you on Kharkov and believe that the south is far more important from Russia’s perspective; that does not appear to be lightly defended.

            Was it a “trap”? I don’t think so, at least not exactly. Although pretty good Ukrainian sources are now saying that up to 40% of the equipment used in the Kharkov offensive is gone now and that something like 70% of what Russia left is unusable in real terms. That was always territory with mostly militia forces so they would have gotten the old Soviet stock. So it did draw out Ukrainian forces from entrenched and well-defended positions to get hammered and the initial reports of material capture appear to be overstated.

            Reply
            1. Jay Francis

              >Was it a “trap”? I don’t think so, at least not exactly.

              It wasn’t, war is too complex and that the Ukrainians would attack there not really predictable. But it was something that could be turned into a trap.

              Reply
        2. Mark Gisleson

          I’m taking screenshots and so far the winner is the WaPost headline, “As Russians drop rifles and flee, liberated villagers are left stunned.”

          Reply
    2. amechania

      I was reviewing old notes and came upon a mere mention without context.

      “Imperfect War”

      https://brill.com/view/journals/grot/41/2/article-p255_255.xml?language=en

      “The interplay between just and regular war and between public and private war opened a mental space wherein categories of use of force could emerge that did not amount to full regular war, but were nevertheless just. The writers of the early-modern law of nature and of nations, and the writers of modern international law from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, would explore and fill these spaces.

      On the one hand, they would indicate and define categories of use of force that were irregular because war had not been declared, but were nevertheless just, such as self-defence, reprisal or auxiliary force. These became known as imperfect wars, or later in the nineteenth century, as measures short of war. ”

      What is new is old again? New Not-So Westphalian Concert of Europe?

      Edit: Japanese futurists debate “sustainable war” openly. Its really time the West caught up.

      zagonostra clearly read my mind. ;)

      Reply
    3. The Rev Kev

      If I was a Russian, I would be asking why my country is asking a small force to fight the entire NATO/Ukrainian army and are constantly having to scramble by moving reserves to fight off each offensive. And that maybe some of the 300,000 troops that have just finished the Vostok 2022 war games might not want to go help their mates out at the front by evening up the numbers some.

      Reply
        1. The Rev Kev

          Thanks for the correction. Google threw me a number that turned out to be from the 2018 games which I should have checked for (shakes fist – ‘Damn you, Google!’).

          Reply
          1. Yves Smith Post author

            Also, the timing wound up being poor optics-wise (Putin and Shoigu being in Asia when this mess was starting to go critical) but canceling a war games would have been treated by Kiev and the Western media as at least as serious an admission of weakness. You just don’t cancel war games when you’ve invited other countries.

            Reply
      1. Jay Francis

        But would your questions be smart ones???

        Firstly, reserves are for moving. That’s the definition of a reserve. It’s not a sign of inadequate numbers.

        Secondly, troop numbers mean nothing unless those troops can be supplied. Supplies are limited by the capacity of road and rail links. If you put in more infantry then you can end up having to cut back on how often you fire your artillery, because you can’t feed those troops and then guns – and this is an artillery war.

        …I suggest that you Google how many thousands of tons a division needs a day to stay in combat and then go look at road and rail maps of eastern Ukraine. Real modern wars don’t work like the ones in Civ. Or even ACW campaigns. You need to configure your force around logistics.

        Reply
    4. Ignacio

      Indeed escalation is the word. And as Russia proceeds, then the NATO will find more “reasons” to get more and more involved possibly to the point of making it official some day: NATO vs Russia. Almost certainly not all NATO nations would agree but yet. It is very possible all this escalation was already baked in the minds of our less-than-human leaders here and there. In fact, it might explain Habeck’s nihilism regarding energy and German industry and it also might explain why Putin was reluctant to escalate in the first place, now forced by recent events.

      I am feeling more pessimistic with the day.

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        Unfortunately it could get worse. There is talk in Russia about upgrading the Special Military Operation into an Anti-Terrorist Operation. That is a major difference that with quite a few implications. Consider this – if a country supplied tanks or training or financial support, then they can be found guilty by Russia of aiding terrorists and can be sanctioned. So if Germany supplied more tanks or the US more money or Spain more training, then they will be guilty of aiding terrorists. So legally, Russia would be entitled to sanction them through oil, gas, metals, etc. What is more, if you have members of those countries helping the Ukrainians, then they will be legally a military target. So how about the CIA HQ in Lviv? They were nervous enough to abandon Kiev at the beginning of the war and go to Lviv as it was near the Polish border. You can bet that all those NATO officers helping the Ukrainians will become priority targets if they are not already. And it will let the Russians target and assassinate members of Zlensky’s circle. And those are some of the first things that I can think of at the top of my mind. And certainly they can justify these accusations of terrorism to the third world with the targeting of a nuclear plant as just one such example.

        Reply
        1. Lex

          I think that’s the direction, though I don’t know that it makes the situation significantly worse. NATO (for lack of a better, encompassing phrase) has already escalated to almost its limit to do so. The ability to impose sanctions or undertake military action against nations supporting Ukraine doesn’t necessarily mean that they will be imposed or undertaken. The most serious danger would be if the US then designated Russia a state supporter of terrorism, but that’s going to be tricky what with the US dependence on several Russian materials and its current unwillingness to live by the sanctions it developed when it comes to materials like refined diesel. But I would think that Russia already has the ability to impose economic sanctions should it choose to do so.

          I think that rather than designating Ukraine a terrorist state, Russia may limit it to the Ukrainian military to free the hand of the Russian military in Ukraine. But I guess I still don’t see Russia going full NATO on Ukrainian civilian infrastructure. I kind of assume that hitting the Kharkov heating plant directly was a targeting error because otherwise its been substation/switchyards/ground transformers which are relatively easily replaceable infrastructure while the generating equipment itself is not. And while I can’t speak to Soviet power plant design, they’re super soft targets where a missile strike to any operational equipment would initiate a whole bunch of destruction from rupturing of high temp/high pressure steam lines to full boiler explosions to explosions in coal mills and bunkers.

          Reply
      2. Old Sovietologist

        I have been pessimistic about the future of humanity since February.

        The US still believes that nuclear weapons can be kept within limited limits, for example, in Europe. And America will sit it out again.

        The collective west will not give the command to Ukraine to capitulate, this winter sorry its not going to happen and to base a strategy on that is doomed to failure.

        Surely its clear to all now that NATO will only be satisfied with the surrender of the Russian Federation. Any other option is death for them.

        Granted if a civil war breaks out in the USA, and in Europe the proletariat comes out in solidarity and powerfully against their governments, then there may be a different turn of events. But after all, capital will not sit idly by, it will suppress and suppress harshly.

        Reply
        1. nippersdad

          “Surely its clear to all now that NATO will only be satisfied with the surrender of the Russian Federation. Any other option is death for them.”

          Does it really matter whether NATO will be satisfied or not? We don’t have the troops or materiel to go up against Russia, and no one here in the US is going to tolerate moving to a war economy and a draft. At some point reality should be knocking at the door, and even pudding-for-brains Darth Brandon should be able to recognize that. I really do not know what the deal is with Europe, but all of that will be a no-go here.

          There are some severe limitations to governance by PR firms, and I think we have reached them.

          Reply
          1. Jay Francis

            >Darth Brandon

            Darth Diaper would be funnier if you’re going to make fun of the senile..

            The USA wouldn’t move to a draft to fight Russia even if it wanted to fight: you need lots of conscripts for a Vietnam style war or ww2, but modern western peer to peer combat relies on weapons too expensive for WW2 style armies.

            Reply
            1. nippersdad

              But is Darth Diaper the image that Biden’s consultants have settled on? The senility part was when he allowed them to adopt that public persona for him.

              Reply
        2. anon in so cal

          ” this winter sorry its not going to happen and to base a strategy on that is doomed to failure.”

          Guessing you are referring to the notion that the EU will come to its senses this winter. I agree that is not going to happen. People are too propagandized.

          People keep asking why EU leaders are sacrificing their populations. Answers vary, including that EU leaders are fully socialized to advance US neoliberal and neocon agendas. My guess is that EU leaders think the collective West will prevail, allowing them to march into Moscow and take over all access to Russia’s oil, gas, etc. Short term pain…

          My view from the beginning is that the Russiagate scam was a geopolitical project and that Biden was installed to start the empire’s all-out war against Russia. My personal view is that the US is over. The question is, will it take the northern hemisphere with it.

          Reply
          1. JBird4049

            >>>Short term pain…

            I think that was is really messing people’s heads are not just the ruthless, but the lack of common sense, as what our current Western leadership is doing will not only endanger, it will enrage an already increasingly desperate population. Major powers like Russia and China are the hammer with the general population as the anvil with the Elites between; all the propaganda and police state tactics will not prevent enough people to see what is happening and those hungry and cold especially when it includes one’s family and friends tend to react violently.

            Maybe not this Winter, but what about this next Summer when the weather is good and people have had time to suffer, think, organize, and react? And if not this Summer of 2023, what about the Summer of 2024 when all political and social illusions held by the people and the remaining legitimacy held by our institutions are finally gone?

            None of this is hidden and while the details and possible results can be argued, the ultimate causes and probable results are clear as day, but our leaders willfully refuse to see it. This is what is making many people crazy. The lemmings are in charge and they don’t want to see that they are lemmings.

            And the United States being finished, this American does not think so, but it’s going to be a very rough time with the ultimate shape of the country being anyone’s guess; this is both a hopeful and terrifying reality. Just look at the other major traumas like the War of Independence, the Civil War, the Great Depression, or the 1960s. The country has been both extremely lucky and extremely blessed with leaders. That is not guaranteed in the future.

            Reply
      3. JTMcPhee

        The idea that there might be significant numbers of, ah, “non-Ukrainians” filling out the ranks of the new battalions got Pooh-pooh’ed recently. Don’t have the links to hand, but there’s reference to a lot of videos of dead and captured Ukie-side troops that carry American and other NATO passports and speak a lot of American.

        The sickos that run NATO, and who have essentially claimed king/queenship of EU, seem to be all-in now on dismembering and looting Russia. And it looks like there’s significant creep, if not “mission creep” which has always been defeating Russia, then “involvement creep.” First, the creation of the neonazi drivers in the Ukrainian polity, paralleled with raising up the army of Ukraine with its significant Banders component, then full-spectrum C4ISR support, then tactical and now strategic authorship by Brits and US and German and likely Polish senior military personnel running a Full-NATO-quality armed force. All driven by all the interests in play, including individual political and career-military ambitions, financial interests hoping for future paydays in a defeated Russia and a deflated Europe, and lots of people invested and getting rich in the present profit centers in the MIC and war-adjacent business.

        Thank goodness that the Russians seem to have a big stick indeed, and one might hope that they swing it a little harder when whipping the butts of the “Combined West.” Of course there is that nagging little voice that whispers to me, But the crazy people who run US policy and are embedded in the military chain of command still have several thousand nuclear weapons to bring to the battlefield,” and looking at the degree of commitment to the domination of Everything, there’s a seemingly significant readiness to Push The Red Button: “If we can’t have everything, and those people refuse to ‘say Uncle,’ then screw it all, the planet is dying, let’s just get it over with and maybe we’ll survive and at least own the ashes and shards…”

        Nah, that’s just crazy talk.

        Down with Hegemony.

        Reply
    5. LawnDart

      “This situation cannot continue, because the future of Russia and Russian civilization is at stake. Russia must start fighting for real, until complete victory and complete occupation of Ukraine, or we will lose our country and our future.”
      –Mikhail Osherov, proza[dot]ru

      Yeah, this episode ain’t playing well in Peoriava, and pressure’s mounting on the Russian government to shut-down Ukraine’s infrastructure and to strike the “decision-making centers.” From a military-strategic view, Russia may have all the time in the world, but from an internal-political perspective, the hawks are growing impatient.

      A few months ago, I noted that one of the hardliners wanted to nuke the Nevada desert as a warning to the US, but I haven’t seen calls like that repeated as of late. So far, Russia is keeping the gloves on and their strong hand behind their back, but it must be tempting to deliver an eye-gouge via a few anti-satellite missiles with a non-subtle message that AWACs might be next. That and a few smoking-holes at the Ukraine-Polish border in case the Westerners really are that dense (OK, smoking-holes it is)… But a part of me would really hate to see Ramstein AB go: there was a restaurant there that served jägerschnitzel to die for.

      Reply
        1. hunkerdown

          Nor does it need to be. Crushing Puritan sensibilities ought to be job one right now. Without them, the war mongers have nothing.

          As for you, I suggest you read up on “joking relations” and spare the world the cringe of moral performativity.

          Reply
    6. britzklieg

      As I have posited before, over a month ago, no one seems willing to admit that WWIII has begun.

      One could wish, almost, that Trump, actually, had been a Russian mole.

      Reply
    1. zagonostra

      When Western leaders speak of “economic war against Russia,” or “ruining Russia” by arming and supporting Ukraine, one wonders whether they are consciously preparing World War III, or trying to provide a new ending to World War II. Or will the two merge?

      The preparation has been decades in the making and we are well into initial phase of a new war or the continuation of an old one, in a sense it doesn’t matter. These “Western leaders” have their own reasons whose long antecedents remain obscure. What is plainly out in the open for those with eyes to see, is their complete disregard for the needless death of thousands of young men, the immiseration of a nation, and the inability of populations to see past the propaganda and allow these “leaders” free reign to waste billions and kill millions.

      A little over a hundred years distance from WWI and we are on the cusp of WWIII, mankind just does not learn. If my religious friends are correct, then the great “Chastisement” is not far off.

      Reply
    2. Lexx

      Here’s the paragraph, among several such, that stood out for me:

      ‘The tactic of the anti-communist entrepreneurs was to demand that references to the Holocaust be accompanied by denunciations of the Gulag. This campaign had to deal with a delicate contradiction since it tended to challenge the uniqueness of the Holocaust, a dogma essential to gaining financial and political support from West European memory institutes.’

      I was watching ‘The Last Vermeer’ and wondering why and how these stories are still getting made… especially the how. I had listened to Matt Damon explain to the host of a show featuring hot chicken wing eating, why movies he’s been in in the past couldn’t get made now because investors have become too risk adverse. They want stories that guarantee a good ROI, and good stories involve high risk and so we’re getting a lot of crap to watch in the theaters, often going directly to streaming*.

      So who invested in ‘The Last Vermeer’, and all those other little stories we’ve seen over the last twenty years, sixty to eighty years after the broad strokes of that one war had been thoroughly covered by the entertainment industry? Why is WW1 and WW2 still a thing, some movies going on to win Oscars even now? There’s hardly anyone left who was alive then, and very few who might have been considered adults.

      I don’t think it’s human nature to revisit trauma endlessly. In fact I think the opposite is true, healthy humans are inclined to let it go and move on and when we don’t, won’t or can’t, there’s the opening paragraph:

      ‘The European Union is girding for a long war against Russia that appears clearly contrary to European economic interests and social stability. A war that is apparently irrational – as many are – has deep emotional roots and claims ideological justification. Such wars are hard to end because they extend outside the range of rationality.’

      Ideological justification uber alles. Also the claim of victimization to justify any behavior to survive. Who was pursuing the truth about what happened to the paintings sold by Meegeran? A Jewish Dutch colonel before he’s relieved of his authority to complete the task. Meegeren is innocent of the crime for which he’s on trial, but guilty of every other one. His real crime was that he didn’t have a conscience, before/during/or after the war, but he did have an ideological cover for behaving in a socially repellent manner. The conscience-free thrive in war and politics. The conscience-free are usually in power.

      I once read a paper written by a couple who suggested it was in the best interest of humanity to root out every psychopath and eliminate them from the gene pool by exterminating them. Yet another notion on eugenics. Were it not for the slippery slope, I might agree with them. Gawds have mercy on my soul, I watched the ‘Divergent’ series too. Yeesh.

      *Here’s the Critical Drinker on ‘Moonfall’ asking how did that absolute shite of a movie get made?

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        Why is WW1 and WW2 still a thing, some movies going on to win Oscars even now? There’s hardly anyone left who was alive then, and very few who might have been considered adults.

        There’s relatively few WW1 films, but WW2 films have an interesting niche in that there are very clearly defined good guys and bad guys, which is unusual in most wars.

        WW2 also moved people around the globe in a way like no other event, I would probably be generation #53 in my family in Prague if the deal didn’t go down.

        WW2 movie tip:

        Army of Shadows, an amazing French film about the resistance, from 1969.

        Reply
          1. communistmole

            One of the best WWI movies is La vie et rien d’autre (Life and Nothing But) by Bertrand Tavernier with the late Philippe Noiret in one of it’s best roles. It plays in the aftermath of the war and is centered around an officier, whose job it is to identify dead soldiers.

            Reply
      2. Kouros

        Robert Sawyer in his Hominids Parallax series explains how that rooting out can be done very humanely, without anyone having to die….

        Reply
        1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

          I understand the Drinkers logic here, BUT Moonfall is a decent disaster flick. His fans (of which I would consider myself one) focus too much on movies making sense when they need to suspend disbelief for a second and let the characters act out their absurd situations. In Moonfall the main character is kicked out of NASA for not toeing the line and lying about what he saw in space. Sam well Tarley is the troglodyte open source nerd who cracks the code and must link up with Main Character to spread the bad news. It’s a formula that works for me in Moonfall and many other Emmerich Disaster movies like 2012, DAY After Tomm, ID4, and Stargate.

          We need more Moonfall and less Marvel.

          Reply
    3. nippersdad

      It really is. So much of that Yugoslavia situation flew under my radar at the time, and it made sense of the patchwork that I managed to retain.

      Reply
    4. CaliDan

      I verily second that! A must read. Such a trove of forgotten recent history which has dark and deep implications for the events we witness daily.

      Reply
    5. Mikel

      She dares to point at the elephant in the room (and it’s in more rooms than she mentions):
      “…Incited by Western powers, Poland, Lithuania and the Habsburg Empire, the key to Ukrainian nationalism was that it was Western, and thus superior. Since Ukrainians and Russians stem from the same population, pro-Western Ukrainian ultra-nationalism was built on imaginary myths of racial differences: Ukrainians were the true Western whatever-it-was, whereas Russians were mixed with “Mongols” and thus an inferior race. Banderist Ukrainian nationalists have openly called for elimination of Russians as such, as inferior beings.

      So long as the Soviet Union existed, Ukrainian racial hatred of Russians had anticommunism as its cover, and Western intelligence agencies could support them on the “pure” ideological grounds of the fight against Bolshevism and Communism. But now that Russia is no longer ruled by communists, the mask has fallen, and the racist nature of Ukrainian ultra-nationalism is visible – for all who want to see it.

      However, Western leaders and media are determined not to notice….”

      Yet, I’m having trouble figuring out what’s so high and mighty about the “European standards” she keeps referencing, especially within the framework of this article.

      Reply
      1. nippersdad

        “Yet, I’m having trouble figuring out what’s so high and mighty about the “European standards” she keeps referencing, especially within the framework of this article.”

        I suspect that the rationale has been lost to time. The Eastern and Western Slavs have been doing this for centuries, and it always seems to boil down to “just because”. It is said that Eastern Europe and Asia have long memories, but I doubt that even theirs is that good when they have been at war since history was first recorded. They are like the Hatfields and McCoys of Eurasian relations and the point of the exercise has become the exercise itself.

        Reply
    6. marku52

      Her book on Yugoslavia “Fools’ Crusade” was a stunning pre visit of everything going on in UKR. Even some of the characters are the same. Soros and the German Greens, for example.

      Reply
    7. Stephen

      Thanks for pointing that out. It is an excellent article.,

      “Curiously, Baerbock, born in 1980, has referred to her grandfather who fought in the Wehrmacht as somehow having contributed to European unity. Is this the generational pendulum?”

      That stood out for me. European and broader western “unity” is almost being consciously forged as Russophobia and (potentially) Sinophobia. Building on the “Anti Terror” phobia of the past two decades.

      Scary times.

      Reply
  3. Wukchumni

    Biden hopes ending cancer can be a ‘national purpose’ for US Associated Press.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~`

    The thing is, we don’t have a ‘national purpose’ now. If somebody asked me what the USA stood for i’d be a bit flummoxed for an answer, other than keeping the almighty buck as the world reserve currency.

    It was fairly cut & dry as I was growing up. get thyself to the moon (and beyond!) but then we did it half a dozen times and it became old hat, been there-done that.

    The arts is always a good entry point to aspire to, but have you noticed that since the turn of the century there really hasn’t been any notable painters, writers or film makers that have come to the forefront in these not so united states?

    Our vaunted military in which we spend so much of our resources on is the equivalent of of a pro sports team always in the cellar in the standings, and now they’ve essentially run out of legacy recruits whose daddy fought on the sands of Iraq in the first war, and whose grandfather was a REMF in Saigon, and great grandfather nearly froze to death in Korea mid-century.

    Hell, even the 20 year olds know its a place for losers as that is all we’ve done since they’ve been around, who aspires to that?

    As much as i’d like to single us out as having no national purpose, pretty much every other of our peer countries is in the same boat, albeit w/o the emphasis on the military.

    Reply
    1. Louis Fyne

      being anti-cancer makes great headlines but heart disease causes the more premature deaths.

      if cancer disappeared today, the average person only gains ~7 more years of life (obviously tell that to someone with juvenile cancer).

      that being said,some of the cancer theraputics out there now are amazing stuff. giving 5+ years of life when 20 years ago, you’d only have 5 months.

      cancer will not “be cured” in 25 years, but 25 years from now people will live a lot longer with cancer, with or without this initiative

      Reply
      1. hunkerdown

        I seem to remember talk of COVID (acquired or administered) depleting anti-cancer immune cells. The “national project” could be an attempt to get out in front of it with stolen altruism.

        Reply
        1. t

          T cells get a good kick and apparently don’t recover for at least some Covid cases which most likely means some cancers that would have been crushed by Ts before taking hold will not be stopped. Remains to be seen if this happens but apparently oncologists are worried.

          Reply
        2. hk

          Yes. “Ending Covid” would actually be a more meaningful “national purpose” than “Ending Cancer,” methinks. But, wait, Covid already ended, right, and millions of people are only dying of imagination?

          Reply
          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            “Ending Covid” would be very hard to force into existence as a “national purpose” when the current “government purpose” is to give covid to everyone as many times as possible, deliberately and on purpose with malice aforethought.

            “Conquering government” to use it to “End Covid” would be a good project for the Lower Class Majority to attempt, whether achievable or not.

            Reply
      2. griffen

        Seven more years of life is significant, I’d think, especially if me, or anyone really has just turned 70 and received a diagnosis. I don’t keep pace too much with advances in the space for the medicinal treatments available, but to my limited knowledge chemotherapy remains the prevalent end stop treatment to knock out the cancer. And that chemotherapy treatments are often worse, perhaps, if the cancer patient is in a compromised state or is just unhealthy in general.

        I could add so much more but I am inclined against sharing too much of personal history. Cancer has wrecked many families.

        Reply
      3. Nikkikat

        My Mother recently died of cancer. She survived 12 years. Most of that time her quality of life was pretty good. She spent a fortune on her supplemental insurance and drug plan so she was covered for everything along with her traditional Medicare. Had she been on one of the lousy medicare advantage plans like her sister, she would not have made it that long. Mostly all the newest procedure and drugs are expensive and my aunts plan denied most of these more expensive options.
        My mothers Doctor maintained that diabetes was more more deadly for people than cancer these days.
        I have always doubted that big Pharma and the medical profession would ever want to cure cancer because it’s such a lucrative area of medical treatment. So old Joe is probably gas lighting once again. Might be better if he actually tried to do something real like lowering the cost of cancer treatment, or forcing advantage plans to accept medical procedures or treatments and pay for them.
        How many die every year or have to raise money on GO Fund me site? Joe could help millions just by giving them universal health care. He could have saved thousands just by admitting Covid is airborne and having a credible CDC.

        Reply
        1. Rainlover

          I agree Nikkikat. Big pharmacy doesn’t want to cure cancer because they make a fortune from “treatment”. I am in a four drug protocol and just one of those drugs costs $ 1200 for 21 pills. I thank dog everyday that I have a good Medicare supplement and help from a foundation that pays my copays for the pills. Cancer treatment is an industry disguised as a charity. But I am grateful for each additional day that poisons provide for me.

          Reply
          1. Nikkikat

            God speed on your treatments. I hope you gain the years my Mother was able to do. You are correct when you state treatment is an industry disguised as a charity. Pink ribbons and all.

            Reply
      4. Robert Hahl

        Perhaps that means the average person with cancer gains seven years. In 1983 I heard a Merck executive say in public that if cancer disappeared entirely, the average US life expectancy would rise only two years, compared to antibiotics which had already raised life expectancy ten years.

        Reply
      1. petal

        Rev Kev, this “cancer moon shot” was one of the things he spoke about at his campaign town hall here in Hanover back in August 2019. Don’t ask me what I think of it.

        Reply
    2. Questa Nota

      Synchronicity, where Biden Cancer Probe, Uranus Probe and Public Health Concerns intersect.

      Visualize, or not, the new mandate for real-time health tracking.
      Concerned about Monkeypox? check
      Covid questions? check
      Dating app questions? check
      Anything else? check

      It should be a joke, but isn’t. /s

      Reply
      1. John

        Looks to me like Biden’s cancer initiative is just a retread of Nixon’s War on Cancer from 50 years ago. If they were serious they could stop by shutting down all polluting industries, do serious environmental cleanup, shutting down all crap food suppliers, provide universal health care including preventative and so on.
        Cancer is just another externalized cost of capitalism in America. Another profit center in the health care grift. It ain’t going nowhere. The million plus deaths from covid should give a clue as to what’s going onm

        Reply
    3. Carolinian

      Things wear out–countries too maybe. When I was a kid it was common to ascribe America’s success to our vast natural resources rather than some special virtue or exceptionalism. In fact democracy itself with it’s “all men are created equal” is almost by definition anti exceptionalism. Eventually our great wealth may have corrupted us into an autocracy. Meanwhile other countries like Russia and China become the go to source for resources and manufactures.

      Easy for me to say but perhaps we should take our decline with good grace and stop trying to run the world.

      Reply
    4. Mikerw

      I hate to be a killjoy, and never deny the cancer industrial complex money, but why don’t we consider basic things like getting crappy chemicals out of our food and environment, promoting general health as opposed to subsidizing the foods that cause obesity? And maybe reduce the rates of lifestyle and environmentally caused cancers?

      Reply
    5. nippersdad

      I have noticed that Biden always brings up the cancer moonshot when he feels the need to humanize himself, and with only a couple of months until the mid-terms he will need all the humanizing aspects a PR firm can supply to stop the Republicans from nationalizing the race.

      I find it extremely irritating how he always weaponizes Beau’s death with a few well timed sobs and winks to the gallery even as his blood soaked hands are throttling some other helpless mass of people. The man is just trash.

      Reply
      1. Nikkikat

        Oh, and the endless, endless times we have had to hear the story of his suffering thru the death of his wife and daughter in that car accident. But, as you said above; his blood soaked hands have brought misery and death to masses of innocent people.

        Reply
        1. nippersdad

          Yep. Nearly everything that man says makes me want to pull his hair plugs out (in the most non-violent way possible, of course). Corn Pop was less staged than that guy.

          Reply
    6. eg

      Cancer already got my Dad and two of my closest work colleagues; it’s currently working on another friend. It damn near claimed my baby brother, but so far it’s had to settle for the stunting effects on his torso left behind by radiotherapy — and that his life will inevitably be shortened.

      But for all of its personal emotional valence, analytically I see zero prospects for its elimination. For a start it has too many manifestations to credibly stand in for much more than the symptom/outcome of any number of failed replication control systems.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        There I was, just another spermatozoa on the make in the naked city trying to get to the other side, and then she asked me out on a date…

        Life is fickle and shift happens, Our family doesn’t really have many cancer issues through the generations, but that said, my brother gets brain cancer spread thickly throughout his grey matter when he’s 32 and they zap him with chemo & radiation in a goes to 11 on a 1-10 scale and he survives that and goes onto live another 25 years in a much lessened capacity, but still able to see his kids grow up.

        His doctor called him ‘my miracle patient’.

        Coulda been me instead, gotta play the hand dealt.

        Reply
  4. The Rev Kev

    “Craig Murray: That’s Enough Monarchy for Now, Thank You”

    If you had a monarchy in place for centuries, there will always be those that will defend it. But imagine trying to introduce this idea to a country that does not have it? So for example. Biden gets up before the press and announces that he is going to introduce Monarchy into America. When asked for a definition, he would say that just one family is going to selected to be a Royal Family and would be given untold wealth and land holdings. And that from now on, kids will have to swear allegiance to the senior member of that Family instead of the US flag. Also, everybody will have to bend their knee to them and call them titles like Your Majesty. And to cap it off, when the present generation swears their allegiance to the Royal family, they will also swear it on behalf of all their descendants for the rest of time so that if any oppose them in centuries time, they will be regarded as traitors or seditionists. Sounds like a reasonable idea to me.

    Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        I’ve never been to a Trump rally, but i’ve seen him dry hump an old glory draped on a flagpole so many times, you almost get the idea that dog will hunt.

        Reply
    1. Mikel

      The story about the two arrested for comments show the mess has run its course and belongs in the dustbin of history. They are scared and it shows in the heavy handedness.

      I almost want to pull a Sardonia and write a little ditty about the French giving the British advice to the tune of “This Is How We Do It” by Montel Jordan.

      Reply
    2. Stephen

      That is exactly the point though. History, continuity and context do matter.

      I suspect Edmund Burke is not deeply popular on these pages but his thesis against the French Revolution was precisely aimed at the challenges of attempting to introduce seemingly rational forms of government and of ordering society from scratch while ignoring the context and history. In our current era, the desire of the US with its ‘exceptionalism” (aided and abetted by the wider west) to impose its image of itself on the wider world is a major cause of our wars.

      So, it would make zero sense to impose a constitutional monarchy where there is no such tradition. By the same token, seeking to imprint the US Presidential system or Chinese Confucian one or whatever system elsewhere is equally doomed to failure. Personally, I would hate the American Presidential or Chinese Confucian models in England but I understand why they might work where they are.

      Reply
      1. hunkerdown

        History, continuity, and context only matter to those who have property in it. Those who don’t, see all this belief that “Order” is indispensable as the permission slip for their own exploitation and, quite legitimately, have no interest in its continued existence and all interest in its abolition. The real question is, should the Anglo-American ideology be allowed to exist, and if so, why shouldn’t it be abolished for mere aggression, as containing the whole of evil?

        Reply
      2. The Rev Kev

        Greece may be instructive here about bringing in a foreign system. After they achieved their independence from the Turks, the Great Powers gave them a Bavarian Prince as their king who lasted 30 years till they chucked him out. So then the great Powers looked around and found a branch of the Danish royal family to bring to Greece as their rulers. Prince Phillip was descended from this Danish family which was why he was nicknamed “Phil the Greek”-

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Otto_of_Greece

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greek_royal_family

        Reply
      3. Mildred Montana

        >”I suspect Edmund Burke is not deeply popular on these pages…”

        Not here anyway. A couple of quotations which support my view of him:

        “The sycophant—who in the pay of the English oligarchy played the romantic 𝘭𝘢𝘶𝘥𝘢𝘵𝘰𝘳 𝘵𝘦𝘮𝘱𝘰𝘳𝘪𝘴 𝘢𝘤𝘵𝘪 [one who praises past times] against the French Revolution just as, in the pay of the North American colonies at the beginning of the American troubles, he had played the liberal against the English oligarchy—was an out-and-out vulgar bourgeois.”
        —–Karl Marx

        “The Revolution of France does not astonish me so much as the revolution of Mr. Burke. I wish I could believe the latter proceeded from as pure motives as the former…How mortifying that this evidence of the rottenness of his mind [Reflections on the Revolution in France] must oblige us now to ascribe to wicked motives those actions of his life which wore the mark of virtue and patriotism.”
        —–Thomas Jefferson

        Reply
    3. Paradan

      Actually I’m all for this, but on the condition that all the eligible dynasty’s kill each other in hand-to-hand combat until there’s only one dominant family left.

      Reply
  5. timbers

    Alexander Mercouris, YouTube…Mercouis makes the point that NATO is very open in its intent to destroy Russia, that Putin himself told Russia at the beginning of SMO that Russia faces an existential threat, yet Mercouis is baffled why Russia holds back her best punches as the US and NATO constantly escalate. If Russia loses it will only because Putin constraints on the military. I was gobsmacked at hearing Military Summary say it takes Ukraine a 10th the time to move troops around vs Russia, yet only yesterday did she target electricity and yet still her mostly electrified railways are fully operational and giving superior mobility and allows Western arms to flow unimpeded to the front lines. That Russia has not taken down Ukraine rails electricity etc and destroyed government and military decision centers is beyond the pale. Mercouis suggested if she will not do that, it may be best for Russian leadership to revisit their decision to launch operations in Ukraine.

    Reply
    1. Yves Smith Post author

      First, Russia is winning. Kharkiv was a planned withdrawal. They were even getting civilians out last week. Mercouris is way overreacting to the optics. Russian citizens were upset by the bad look but the temperatures have cooled a bit due to the grid strikes. This changes nothing as to the outcome of the war. The NATO package has been overhyped: pretty modest in total and thin on weapons, mainly training. In fact, it could accelerate the end by the high cost of troop losses in return for nothing accomplished in Kherson and a strategically unimportant gain in Kharkiv. Even the FT has pointed out Ukraine took a sparsely settled area and was coming awfully close to questioning the importance of the terrain.

      Second, the more Russia hurts civilians, the more it will win the war at the cost of losing the peace. Go listen to Berletic. He has twice discussed how Putin similarly went to lengths in Syria to reduce civilian casualties, to the degree that the rebels benefitted too. Much upset in Russia at the time. Berletic argues this was the right move strategically, since Russia was reable to restore relations with Turkey, which could not have happened if Russia had engaged in bare-knuckle fighting.

      Third, Russia is playing to China, India, and the Global South. Being measured has earned Russia a ton of support there, which is essential in the sanctions war.

      Reply
      1. timbers

        I agree but not regarding taking out Ukraine rail systems and targeting decision centers. The longer this goes on the more time the West has to escalate plus unforeseen circumstances can happen.

        Reply
        1. Yves Smith Post author

          No, Russia need to win the peace. I said from the outset that was the biggest risk of this war and remains so.

          Ukraine was 43 million people. Would probably be more like 30-35ish in event of Russian full conquest, which they do not want. Say 60% of the remaining Russia hostile. That’s 18-21 million people. Russia has 144 million people. It can’t garrison Western Ukraine.

          And the decision centers are Washington, London, Brussels. Kiev is not in charge. We saw that when the West scuppered the peace talks after they were making real progress

          Are you seriously suggesting Russia hit them with hypersonic missiles? That’s a fast track to nuclear war.

          Reply
          1. Paradan

            Maybe they could just send a Kinzhal into Bellingcat’s office late at night. They could call London and give them a 15 min warning to clear out any cleaning ladies. The Western media would spin it as Russia hates freedom of speech, but it might make a bunch of OSINT trolls think about finding a new job. If were gonna head down the path to nuclear war, we might as well have some fun along the way.

            Reply
          2. timbers

            I disagree. Your approach invites more escalation by dragging it out….”no reverse gear”. Decision making centers in Kiev, government and military. And taking out rail systems should have been day 1 priority. Big mistake that was not. The war would probably be over by now had it been.

            Reply
            1. Yves Smith Post author

              Time is on Russia’s side. Mercouris today said the force in Kharkiv counter offensive came in some (large?) measure from forces in the Donbass, including around the linchpin city of Bahmut. Mercouris, who sometime lets his antiglobalist sympathies show a bit much, has now gone from declaring the decision by Russia to abandon Izyum as a disaster to merely deeply cynical, as in Russia had drawn down from 10 BTGs to only one at the time of the withdrawal. Mercouris is also now declaring the Ukraine decision by Ukraine to pull troops out of Bahmut to go to Kharkiv boneheaded (not his word but his level of opprobrium is equivalent).

              The big point for mentioning the movement of troops from Bahmut to Kharkiv to help prosecute the offensive is that it’s proof that Ukraine is running up against manpower/other resource limits. Russia just needs to keep grinding.

              Russia also uses rail more than any other means to move artillery, tanks, armored vehicles, and other supplies. It would never take out the train system. It’s important for Russia’s purposes.

              You could argue it should take out the transformers as it did in the West, which would reduce the number of trains they could run (most are electric, something around 15% are diesel) and force them to use more diesel which comes at the expense of fueling tanks and other vehicles. But I think they have done that at least in Kharkiv.

              Reply
  6. Stephen

    Craig Murray: That’s Enough Monarchy for Now, Thank You.

    Do not always agree with Craig Murray but it is an interesting piece. I personally feel that the monarchy will endure because it is less bad than the alternatives for the UK, has historical continuity (change is always hard) and offers some positive benefits such as the Head of State being above politics.

    Murray puts his finger on the issue though: not clear that Charles understands that a large part of the Queen’s popularity and the public’s acceptance was precisely because she did not express political views. The monarchy works as “spectacle” but that requires the incumbent to resist the urge make it into more than that.

    The other article about arrests for protesters highlight the reality of our times: we criticize Russia for allegedly being authoritarian and even “fascist” but our own state enforces conformity to its own ideology just as (or even more) ruthlessly. People seem not to like putting up a mirror to their own society. My belief is that in the past these people would never have been arrested but just accepted as protesting. A state that has less genuine inner strength feels the need to flex its power more than a self confident one.

    Reply
    1. hunkerdown

      Capitalism, like all authoritarian ideologies, requires the continuous “progression” of moral reformism. If there are no sinners to redeem, they must be created. If the moral bottle return stops, the “entire world ends” (which just means property claims and relations are voided and renegotiated, but “owners” whine like stuck pigs about any possible slight to their accounts).

      Also, please don’t anthropomorphize the state. It’s a category error and it contributes to produce the sociopathic qualities of organizations. “Inner strength” is a particularly sadomasochistic formulation.

      Reply
      1. Robert Hahl

        It is said that if the politicians get crazy enough, the king can always step in and set things right. That is the hope anyway. Seems like a more trustworthy system than democracy if you.ask me.

        Reply
        1. kson onair

          >Seems like a more trustworthy system than democracy if you.ask me.

          yes let us rely on the inbred pedophile warmongering murderers to save us that is a great idea you’re right monarchy is so great

          Reply
        2. Mikel

          Too much depends on what one person thinks is “right”. And some of what they do make things crazy in the first place. “Wars of succession” and such. No, thanks.

          Reply
        3. Tom Bradford

          On the other hand if the politicians get crazy enough you can always rely on a piece of paper headed by the word ‘Constitution’ in flowery letters and – oh what is it now, 27 amendments? – to step in and set things right.

          For my part I’d rather hope that a human being with the flexibility to respond to things as they are rather than as the draughtsmen of a constitution tried to anticipate, independent of the political system, sufficiently wealthy to be unbribable, with a voice undeniably to be heard and a very burdensome, very long history of being ultimately responsible for the state of the ‘State’, might step in and if not ‘set things right’ at least ameliorate what is going wrong.

          Is that guaranteed? Of course not. And an intervention now by the Monarch is a nuclear option – very much a last resort. But it is there. It is rumoured that the Queen was able to apply some brakes to Margaret Thatcher’s enthusiasms for dispensing with ‘society’ as no-one else could have done because she was the only person Thatcher had to listen to, and her very existence limited what a more Trump-like Boris Johnson might have been able to do with an 80-seat majority in Parliament and the excuse of a World-wide pandemic and a land war in Europe – exactly the kind of “Emergency Situation” that written constitutions are liable to find themselves ‘suspended’ in?

          How well would your piece of paper have dealt with the Jan 6th situation in the US had push really come to shove.

          Reply
    2. CanCyn

      When I think about the day to day of the Queen’s life, it sounds restricted, tedious and boring. Reading her red box papers every day, having to coordinate any outing. Grand openings and ribbon cuttings and ceremonies to bestow medals, etc. stilted conversations with strangers. Yeah, sure, the Royal family is rich and live in the lap of luxury but at what cost to their personal lives? I wouldn’t do it if it were offered to me. I don’t know how much freedom Charles had before but likely more than he has now. I’m half-interested in how it all turns out. Does he have his mother’s patience? We shall see

      Reply
      1. Robert Gray

        I heard a wonderful story once, told by a friend of a friend. About 30 years ago, when the Sultan of Brunei was the richest man in the world, this chap taught at the university in Bandar Seri Begawan. He was selected to serve as private tutor to the crown prince, Billah, who was then around 18 years of age. One day at a tutorial, my friend’s friend, making small talk, asked ‘Did you have a nice weekend? What did you do?’ The eldest son of the richest man in the world replied ‘Watched videos’.

        Reply
        1. lyman alpha blob

          The Sultan stayed at the Four Seasons in Seattle in the 90s while I was working there. Never saw the guy personally, but he left a massive tip of tens of thousands of dollars to be divided up between all the hotel staff. I’m assuming he probably did that everywhere he stayed.

          Not a big fan of sultans or kings or any other royalty and I am greatly sympathetic to Diderot on that subject, but that little extra in my paycheck was still more than I’d ever received from my own government.

          Reply
          1. Wukchumni

            When I did physical foreign exchange in LA, incredibly beautiful women came in over the course of a year or so, each with a Brunei $10,000 banknote, maybe 6 or 7 gorgeous supermodel types-and when I got the call would be really competitive, as I wanted the action.

            The Sultan’s men were combing LA nightspots for hawties, and the US $6k gift er, stipend, went a long way.
            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

            In fact, their recklessness reached a head in 1997, when Shannon Marketic, a former Miss California and Miss USA, sued them both for $90 million for causing “mental anguish, nightmares, difficulty sleeping, and other trauma.”

            In court filings, Marketic claimed a talent agency brokered a $3000-a-day job for her in Brunei that required her to do “personal appearances and promotional work.”

            Instead, she said she was held as a sex slave, forced to dance every night in Jefri’s private disco, called a whore, and groped at random.

            In the lawsuit, which was filed in a federal court in Los Angeles after she returned from Brunei, she also claimed she had been drugged and molested, and that Miss USA 1997 Brandi Sherwood was also one of the brothers’ victims.

            The allegations were categorically denied by the Sultan and his brother, who eventually escaped prosecution after 18 months of litigation when a judge dismissed Marketic’s suit on the grounds that they had sovereign immunity as heads of state.

            https://meaww.com/the-hypocrisy-behind-brunei-imposition-of-death-penalty-for-homosexuality-and-adultery/profile/los-angeles

            Reply
  7. griffen

    I know that the Blue Origin failed launch was an unmanned craft but just can’t help wonder if there was a saboteur afoot prior to launch. Dare I say, someone under the direction of a very evil person. He does have a slight semblance to the Bezos after all!

    https://youtu.be/vj8f5amIQwY

    Reply
    1. cfraenkel

      The Vice article is a sad commentary on what passes for journalism.

      The condition of the rocket from the aborted flight is unclear.

      I suppose it just brushed off the dust from the fall and reported back for duty?
      And this one:

      Video of the incident shows the rocket momentarily engulfed in flames as the capsule separates and flies away. The rocket can briefly be seen seemingly falling to Earth.

      Seemingly?!?! Did someone repeal gravity for the afternoon and not tell anyone?

      Reply
  8. griffen

    Darwin award candidate, is there a candidate available in the football stadium today? Please report to the nearest ticket booth to claim your qualifying ticket.

    Cars burned after a football fanatic placed a recently used fire or barbecue pit underneath the vehicle. Hilarity ensues. Someone didn’t pee on the likely still warm, burning embers!

    Reply
  9. The Rev Kev

    “Narendra Modi, Xi Jinping, Vladimir Putin come to the table: What to expect from crucial SCO summit?”

    So an Indian, a Chinese guy and a Russian walked into a bar…

    Talk about your tectonic shifts. All of their countries are making fortunes right now but of course there are political moves behind it. So Russia starts off by saying that right now they are fighting the entirety of NATO. China responds by saying that they are next and so are preparing accordingly. So then both turn to India and say that it is time to make up their minds. If they join up together with the majority of the world’s countries, that there are absolute fortunes to be made and prosperity to be had for the peoples of those nations. Or they could be used to fight China as they are the only one, you know, that has an actual land border with China. Furthermore, if the west so chose, that if they are willing to destroy a country like Germany then they will not hesitate to destroy India by using radicals in their minority populations. So, time to choose. The fact that India and China are demilitarized that territory that they got into a fight about a year or two ago may indicate that India has made up their minds.

    Reply
    1. KD

      India will remain like Turkey, happy to play both sides off each other at great profit to itself. Nations have no eternal friends or perpetual enemies, only eternal and perpetual interests, to bastardize Lord Palmerston (who hopefully has a better reputation than poor Mr. Burke in these warrens).

      Reply
  10. Henry Moon Pie

    We already have a world purpose: stop putting more carbon in the air and start to take it out. No, that’s not something we don’t have to worry about until 2030 or 2050 or 2100. How are you enjoying the weather at 1.2 degrees C warming? Do we have any reason to think the heat waves will be less intense, the downpours less of a deluge, the hurricanes weaker and less frequent if we move on past 1.5 degrees C? We’re adding energy to the atmosphere by adding Green House Gases that soak up photons. The more GHG, the more energy, the more storms, floods, fires and death.

    In order to have a 50% chance of not going over 1.5 degrees C warming, we had to cut carbon emissions by 7.6% per year every year between 2020 and 2030. We got “help” from Covid in actually meeting that requirement in 2020. The Chinese are helping with the Covid lockdowns, but the billionaires continue to fly private and the middle class continues to jump into Covid tubes to live the dream.

    If we were rational in our priortizing, cancer would not be at the top.

    Reply
    1. Rod

      We already have a world purpose: stop putting more carbon in the air and start to take it out.

      and if that Carbon links to Petroleum, we could could work on both simultaneously, because Petroleum is linked to Cancer in so many ways(including Profitability).

      Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among women worldwide, and endocrine disrupting chemicals are partly to blame. One such chemical is DEHP, a phthalate chemical commonly used in plastic hospital intravenous bags and medical tubing, and studies have shown that it’s interfering with breast cancer treatment and augmenting the odds of relapse.

      https://www.loe.org/shows/segments.html?programID=22-P13-00032&segmentID=2

      Reply
  11. Wukchumni

    These are the four largest fires currently burning in the Western US The Hill
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Been so quiet here after a couple years of large fires, that when a lightning strike hit up in Sequoia NP in early August, I never even heard about it until recently as it is of the sleeper variety.

    It’ll turn out to be a useful fire of less than a thousand acres more than likely, which is pretty unusual in this day and age where the Mosquito Fire went from nothing to 50,000 acres in a week.

    The Summit Fire was ignited by lightning and discovered on the afternoon of August 3, 2022. It is burning at an elevation of approximately 9,000 feet in southern Sequoia National Park. The fire received significant moisture and showed little to no growth until August 23. Growth since then has been moderate. The fire is burning in an area with recent fire history, including the 2020 Castle Fire.

    The fire does not currently threaten any people or infrastructure. However, fire managers have decided that the best way to manage risk in this situation is to suppress the fire using an indirect strategy. This indirect strategy protects firefighter safety by allowing them to engage the fire from favorable terrain, takes advantage of existing burn scars and natural features, and limits impacts to land managed as wilderness.

    Beginning September 8, low intensity backfires are being ignited along trail systems, the edges of green meadows, and fire scars to strengthen these areas as containment features, and then consume fuels between them and the main fire. As these low intensity backfires are ignited, the total fire size will increase daily. Within the proposed indirect containment lines, crews expect to take 8 to 10 days to fully implement the strategy. Monitoring and patrolling of containment lines is expected to last for several weeks afterwards.

    https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/8408/

    Reply
    1. playon

      Our valley in central WA been full of smoke for the last 4 days, and the entire state other than the edge of the pacific coast has been covered with unhealthy air. Was in Seattle over the weekend for a gig and the smoke was worse there than east of the Cascades, which is unusual. Historically most wildfires have been on the eastern slopes of the mountains which are generally drier, but they are now beginning to happen on the west side. The current fire near mount Baker is polluting the entire Puget Sound area. Looking at NOAA satellite photos, most of Washington, Oregon, (and virtually all of Idaho) are covered in unhealthy smoke:

      https://cdn.star.nesdis.noaa.gov/GOES17/GLM/SECTOR/pnw/EXTENT3/20222561636_GOES17-GLM-pnw-EXTENT3-2400×2400.jpg

      All we can do is stay indoors and run our air filters, which work well. While in Seattle I saw people jogging, riding bikes, driving convertibles etc in the smoke. To my knowledge there have been no lightning strikes so I assume most of the fires here in WA were started by stupid humans. Welcome to the future.

      Reply
  12. Rob Urie

    One problem with the Excess Deaths paper is that the underlying process has a non-stationary mean.

    The more embedded excess deaths become in the US, the less they will be reflected in this type of analysis.

    In contrast, the benchmark approach provides a stable relationship by design.

    Using this method, excess deaths since Biden was sworn in are about 1.1 million human beings.

    Covid deaths represent about half of this number.

    https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2022.06.29.22277065v1.full

    Reply
    1. albrt

      If I understand correctly the actuaries excluded 2020 from the 2021 calculation, but you can’t keep using 2015-19 as your baseline forever.

      The numbers in that paper are certainly interesting. Lots of allegedly non-covid excess deaths in younger cohorts. The numbers are in the same ballpark for 2020 and 2021, so the vaccines would not seem to be a plausible major cause.

      Reply
      1. Rob Urie

        The premise in using the MA is that it separates signal from noise.

        But no effort appears to have been made to ascertain that the signal is stationary.

        The second paper proves that it isn’t.

        Reply
  13. Mikel

    Re: Cars on fire/Miami Dolphin’s game

    “It took crews about 30 minutes to extinguish the flames.”

    Ah, no Teslas involved.

    Reply
  14. Mikel

    Re: Aretha Franklin/FBI files.

    Should have also requested the files on her father the Rev. C.L. Franklin at the same time. May have filled in some holes.

    Reply
  15. Wukchumni

    How do you hunt a wealthy, well-connected fugitive like ‘Fat Leonard’? Find his weakness (Tijuana-adjacent Tribune)
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    This was a headline in the SD fishwrap, no introspection about all the navy brass that went along with his schemes-nosireebob, turn it into a bounty hunter gig for your subscribers as there is $40k up for grabs!

    Reply
    1. griffen

      Flipping channels on the TV last week, and came across the film Italian Job. Well this was the remake of course, with Mark Wahlberg and Charlize Theron playing the safe cracking roles to take some gold bars. A few scenes included a character named Skinny Pete. Alas, the dude was not “skinny”.

      I say that to ask the question. Is there a reasonable chance Fat Leonard was not permitted to continue living, knowing what he knows about contracting and straight up lining his pocket on US contracts? I really have no clue. Seems like if the US of A wants him found they could do so.

      Reply
  16. Lex

    The Hill piece is something. And by something I mean no better than a comments section on a blog given that it’s loosely sourced from sometimes not even identified telegram channels. But it does make good use of MoT approved language like “indiscriminate attacks”. I’d point out that just popping the switchyard of a power plant is very discriminate, given that they’re always right next to and often directly attached to the generation buildings.

    But my favorite part is the press secretary talking about the administrations dislike of other countries having relationships that are unapproved of by the administration. If we don’t like Russia and China being friendly (and keeping that from happening was a pillar of US foreign policy for 50 years), then why would two successive administrations at least craft policy that’s nearly designed to push Russia and China closer together? That’s like saying, “I’m concerned I might trip given that I tied my own shoelaces together.”

    Reply
  17. Mikel

    ‘Biden would never ride a bus’: UK and US play down strict rules for Queen’s funeral” Guardian

    “Sunday after government documents emerged saying foreign heads of state would have to ride en masse in a bus to Westminster Abbey rather than using private cars…”

    More consideration for safety is given to billionaires at Davos.

    I wouldn’t get on that bus or be anywhere near it.

    Reply
    1. Stephen

      Let’s hope it is a well maintained bus with a very qualified and careful driver. Not to mention having its own internal S400 air defence system. Quite part from air filtration and all the other mod cons one may need.

      Reply
  18. Rob Whitman

    Such a great piece from Patrick Lawrence. So many people who write and comment here with a “pull back the curtain” approach to American hegemony.

    Thanks so much to contributors and commentariat

    Reply
    1. begob

      My theory of US horror movies is that they assume the kind of innocence Lawrence refers to, and generate a threat from without (zombies, Satan, rednecks … even Russia in a Sandra Bullock dystopia story) to facilitate the protagonist in reaching inside for the necessary virtue to overcome that threat: virtue horror. Yet it ignores the greatest lesson from its own genre: the phone call is coming from inside the house.

      Jordan Peele cuts across this dynamic, taking pops at liberal piety in Get Out and US. Also interesting that shoestring budget movies from the decayed part of America often map the horror on to interior struggles with drug or family abuse – psychic horror, which deliberately fails the virtue test through downbeat endings, even in a religious framing.

      Theories welcome on why so many movies in the genre are set in derelict health institutions.

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        Theory Number of the Beast: derelict health institutions are cheap to rent and easy to rig up for “practical effects.” Also, decaying institutions are creepy as H—. Lots of “hidden” places and long hallways with numerous doorways. Perfect places for the old reliable “jump scare.”
        Stay safe, and don’t open that door!!!

        Reply
  19. The Rev Kev

    “Olena Zelenska’s Vogue cover sparks backlash”

    I wonder if there are videos of her visiting the troops and bringing aid packages instead of Vogue shoots? That I could respect. She could go on an international trip around the world making speeches and raising aid for the Ukraine but I don’t think that she has done that either. Then again, maybe she doesn’t trust Z to behave himself while she is gone. :)

    Reply
    1. Tom Stone

      And perhaps she is also a hostage, as Zelensky is due to his
      “Praetorian Guard”.
      She has a better chance of a long retirement in Palm Beach or at the London flat than he does, but it is still a piss poor chance.

      Reply
  20. John

    Despite war after war, the Combined Western world stopped taking war seriously. The expeditionary wars did not disturb the “home front.” The end of the draft in the USA meant that military service was no linger a near universal expectation for young men. I was in the army just before Vietnam. My son came of age when the draft was history. My grandson cannot entertain the wild notion that he might be called upon to serve. such wars as there have been were in the service of imperial economic and political aims. For details see the history of the British Empire. At this moment the DC Bubble and Echo Chamber sees war as sanctions followed by sanctions leavened with a heavy does of psyops and propaganda. The warriors in Washington know how to fight with words; they are less able when it comes to a real battlefield.

    Russia never stopped taking the possibility of war seriously. A glance at its history and geography provide a good starting point to determine why. The Wall Street looters of the 1990s coupled with the cavalier actions of successive US presidents who acted secure in the notion that Russia would never be able to resist their demands and their actions only served to confirm in Russia’s mind that it must look after itself. Look at the last 30-years. A catastrophic decline arrested after 2000 and then patient restoration and accumulation of strength. The West looked away and failed to see what was before their eyes. Hubris is a bitch.

    And so we arrive at the present moment. US/NATO, the Combined West, are following the same playbook, to fall back on that hackneyed term. Not only is it not working as planned , it has driven the Non-West, that is most of the nations on the planet closer together and the bones of a new System of the World become clearer day by day. What will the West do? If past actions and present trends are a guide, it will be more of the same. What poverty of the imagination. If the goal of the West to watch Europe disintegrate while alienating China, I submit the plan is working.

    Reply
  21. The Rev Kev

    “EN ROUTE Uber Eats ditches delivery drivers as it rolls out self-driving cars in weeks in 2 states – is it coming to your city?”

    Ex-Uber Eats delivery drivers seen shopping for packages of caltrops on Amazon.

    Reply
    1. griffen

      The new self delivery service should be called “Robocop Deliveries”. \sarc

      Your order has been delivered, you have 30 seconds to comply with payment device. You now have 15 seconds to comply. I am sorry that particular card has been declined or is deemed inactive (self arming sequence begins ).

      Reply
  22. KD

    Looking at the Johnson link, and then the source for the alleged Rand Report, and you have to ask if this document is really authentic. If you look at the second page, with all the goobly gook trademark stuff, it is a different color from the other pages, and it is cut off, and the margins are inconsistent (possible they used different margins on one page but if its a word processed document, probably not). It wouldn’t take much to spoof the Rand Corp font and write whatever b.s. you want and take the trademark page out of a real report. That someone printed it and crumpled it to make it look authentic just makes it more suspicious. You wouldn’t be holding classified reports in your book bag with your homework and library books.

    Also, the substance–that Rand is worried that the Democrats will lose the midterms and Biden will be impeached does not sound like Rand which is bi-partisan, and all the agencies this “report” is supposedly shared with will contain partisan Republicans. I don’t think Rand is going to s#$% in their own bed, especially when the Dems might lost the mid-terms, and there are nice spooky ways to more ambiguously paint the same picture (threats to democratic legitimacy, etc.) without being nakedly partisan.

    So I call B.S. . . maybe this a legitimate document but not likely. Where is the verification? Not to mention “2nd Smartest Guy in the World” reads like he is worried he is about to be kidnapped and taken to a black site by the Illuminati.

    Reply
    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Apologies. I was sent the link by someone who is normally reliable and did not have time to read the doc. Scrubbed. I was too taken with the idea given what Hudson has written.

      Reply
    2. KD

      These are Rand reports from their website:

      https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RRA846-1.html

      https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RRA2051-1.html

      Pretty picture on cover, chapters, no “executive summary”

      But this looks like paydirt:

      https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RRA2026-1.html

      Second page–weblink to the publication, note that Larry’s “report” is missing the full link to this report–it just says “www.rand.org/” . . . also missing credit for cover art.

      Rand wouldn’t publish an “Executive Summary”, it would be part of a report, and even if they did, why would they add trademark b.s.–and omit the weblink to the actual report.

      In fact, I would be surprised if this report is the report they lifted this trademark language from, scrubbed the weblink, and covered up the cover art reference, and had problems so did the screwy margins.

      I’m a little disappointed with NC for linking to this nonsense.

      Reply
      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Michael Hudson sent this by e-mail:

        From my Hudson Institute days, reports like this could indeed be idiosyncratic. Mine certainly were often that.
        There are indeed people who think like the RAND report – nutty as it is. I couldn’t find any reference to it on the RAND site, but then it’s supposed to be confidential. I guess a lot of my reports were slapped with a classification rating.
        If a fake, maybe someone took my article and was inspired to write an fictitious “what if” elaboration of it.
        I hope you weren’t too quick to apologize. Nothing to apologize for. It’s “out there” from Mr. Johnson. All you need to do is say “real or not?” At least it’s a “think piece,” with a fun characterization of Baerbock.

        Reply
        1. The Rev Kev

          Putting my tin foil hat on, what better discredit what you really want to do by having it leaked – but in a way that can be easily discredited. Then later on when people make accusations on what the true war aim is, these same people can come out and say that that was that dodgy RAND report that they are thinking about so can’t be true.

          Reply
  23. The Rev Kev

    “Photographer Captures the Vast Beauty of Alaska Through Breathtaking Mountainscapes”

    Looking at those images, it looks like the best way to travel through Alaska would be by train but so long as it took in some real scenery.

    Reply
    1. JAC

      Honestly, I do not think those photographs are very good at all. Over saturated, way too much HDR, and the composition is lacking.

      Reply
  24. Mikel

    “Is the War in Ukraine Part of a U.S. Strategy to Weaken Germany? RAND Says, “YES”! Larry Johnson.

    The writer’s explanation of this strategy is not in the article but in the link provided within the article:
    https://2ndsmartestguyintheworld.substack.com/p/bombshell-classified-rand-corporation/

    But all the hair on fire about money being printed really does not get to the heart of the issue.
    The heart of the issue is the ideological intolerance for money being spent to improve the lives of people and other productive, sustainable measures instead of keeping the few super wealthy and in power.
    Printing money never creates an existential crisis among the elite as long as they have their hands on 99.9% of it.

    Reply
  25. Exiled_in_Boston

    ‘ IS THE WAR IN UKRAINE PART OF A U.S. STRATEGY TO WEAKEN GERMANY? RAND SAYS, “YES”!’
    I continually read about how inept the US gov’t is and yet stories about that same gov’t being Machiavellian to the nth degree seem to be as common. Is the German gov’t so feeble it doesn’t see this?

    Reply
    1. hk

      I think there are many “Machiavellian” actors in US (although I think the application of the term is inappropriate–more below), although US gov’t on the whole lacks a clear sense of direction. How much of the “Machiavellianism” among various political actors in US, though, is really grounded in some coherent strategy is not clear, though: they usually strike me as half-assed plots for short term advantage at best and often much less, and usually likely to end in long term detriment to US interest (unless you count short term jockeying for “bureaucratic” power and influence and immature schoolyard bullying and one-upmanship as serious “strategy.” Not exactly something that real Machiavelli would approve of.

      Reply
      1. Henry Moon Pie

        “Conniving” works pretty well. But I’d agree let’s not assume their machinations lead anyplace even they want to go. They’re much more about holding onto power rather than wielding it wisely, even for themselves, much less us plebes.

        Reply
        1. Mikel

          Yes, and now I’m remembering there were Rand reports about what should be done in Afghanistan and Iraq during Republican administrations as well and how they could use that to keep power.

          Reply
    2. Mikel

      I read the link the “classified” Rand report he’s talking about.
      Some zingers in there.

      Me: “Hey, Rand, tell us how you really feel about Germany’s Green Party.”

      Rand: “The prerequisite for Germany to fall into this trap is the leading role of green parties and ideology in Europe. The German Greens are a strongly dogmatic, if not zealous, movement, which makes it quite easy to make them ignore economic arguments. In this respect, the German Greens somewhat exceed their counterparts in the rest of Europe. Personal features and the lack of professionalism of their leaders — primarily Annalena Baerbock and Robert Habeck — permit to presume that it is next to impossible for them to admit their own mistakes in a timely manners.

      Thus, it will be enough to quickly form the media image of Putin’s aggressive war to turn the Greens into ardent and hardline supporters of sanctions, a ‘party of war’. It will enable the sanctions regime to be introduced without any obstacles. The lack of professionalism of the current leaders will not allow a setback in the future, even when the negative impact of the chose policy becomes obvious enough. The partners in the German governing coalition will simply have to follow their allies — at least until the load of economic problems outweighs the fear of provoking a government crisis….”

      And again, I have to be salty about all of this because it’s not like the people in Europe can’t read English. And this is hardly “classified”.
      So it’s all…we will see.

      Reply
    3. Mikel

      A cover shot of this research report dated Jan. 25 2022 appears at the end of the link to the report.
      It says distribution: WHCS, ANSA, Dept. of State, CIA, NSA, DNC

      So I’m now left wondering what kind, if any, Rand reports the RNC has commissioned or received.

      Reply
    4. fjallstrom

      I read the article hunting for the link, then followed the link to a substack. The substack author claims he got the secret RAND report sent to him.

      Looking at the text of the claimed RAND report raises warning flags for me. The language is to straight forward and contains to much right wing tropes. It reads like how a right wing conspiracy theorist would expect the report to read. That impression combined with a lack of reasons to take “2nd Smartest Guy in the World”‘s word for it, has me leaning towards a forgery.

      Reply
      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Yes, I confess to not having looked at the link (which I was sent from a normally sound reader) because this was consistent with Hudson’s analysis. I agree it does not look authentic. Too much discussion of personalities/politics in the US and Germany. Apologies.

        Reply
        1. fjallstrom

          Cognitive bias is a real thing that we all can fall prey to. I should know, I have on a number of occasions.

          Thanks for the site and the efforts for finding the nuggets of truth in this torrent of propaganda.

          Reply
  26. Sibiryak

    Is the War in Ukraine Part of a U.S. Strategy to Weaken Germany? RAND Says, “YES”!

    Hard to believe that Rand study is authentic. It just seems way too on the nose.

    Reply
  27. diptherio

    Re: Is the War in Ukraine Part of a U.S. Strategy to Weaken Germany? RAND Says, “YES”! Larry Johnson.

    Here’s Johnson’s source for the RAND claim:
    https://2ndsmartestguyintheworld.substack.com/p/bombshell-classified-rand-corporation

    I was just sent a classified RAND Corporation research report that partially exposes PSYOP-UKRAINE-INVASION in the greater context of the rapidly accelerating Great Reset program now underway.

    I ran some image analyses and reviewed the content of this report and it appears perfectly authentic.

    Seems legit.

    Reply
    1. hunkerdown

      To me it smells funny. One commenter on Substack observed that “the writers didn’t invest much in this Exec Summary – they didn’t even bother to proofread it and correct the many silly typos (which got more numerous and sillier near the end). That might sound nitpicky, but the policy-writing professionals know that text quality can build or destroy trust in the content,” followed by more substantive strategic contradictions. 2SGitW believes “it should not be in the wild” which is scammy. I think the coding of “PSYOP-*” seems a bit autistic or dramatic. Also, the merely “confidential” nature and lack of official classification caveats seem bizarre, especially for such a naked plot for such a vanguard.

      At best, it’s a partisan read on the current situation. At worst, it’s a partisan commentary of the P*zzagate flavor, intended to dramatize and mislead away from mundane, boring, real projects of state reproduction. Or, right now, it would be especially useful in the Rathergate flavor, meant to induce the public to demonstrate their supposed essential need to be PMC-managed.

      Reply
      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Yes, I was sent the link by a normally reliable reader and did not check, since the thesis also was consistent with what Hudson had written about at length. Apologies.

        Reply
    2. David

      I think it’s a fake of some kind, partly because of the clumsiness of the language. No native English speaker would write garbage like:

      “The pace of the economic developments in the EU depends almost without alternative on the state of the German economy.”

      Notice the misplaced “the” before developments. And I don’t think the RAND corporation would allow ill-written stuff like this out. There are a number of places where I have no real idea what the author is trying to say.

      Reply
      1. Dave in Austin

        NC doesn’t have just one person who follows the link, understands the holes and calls a fake; it has an excellent mob that does it.

        Reply
      2. Mikel

        And I didn’t mention it earlier, but it portrayed politics in the USA as if the Democrats were just having their way and Republicans are just sitting on their hands.
        LOL!!!!!!

        Reply
  28. Patrick Donnelly

    The Rus appear to have used an “enhanced radiation weapon”, the old phrase for a neutron device.

    The Beirut blast has now been counter balanced?

    Nuclear war, without the telltale isotope trails. What fun! No nuclear winter. Let’s hope they have enough antimatter and Tritium? Pass the popcorn, Alice.

    ‘The Joke’ continues …

    Reply
  29. Dave in Austin

    I’m not willing to state this as a fact, but there are indications the so-called Ukrainian offensive may not be what it seems. Some observations.

    There was no artillery use by either side. Not a plane or helicopter in sight. The highly accurate US HIMARS missiles were not used to attack Russian headquarters, artillery positions, depots or transport links. No reported attacks at all; not one column of smoke. The narrow two-lane roads running to the Russian front were neither attacked not clogged with the material artifacts of a retreat. Except for three Russian armored cars which tried to ford a deep river and stalled-out, there are no pictures of working vehicles abandoned or destroyed.

    And the Ukrainian soldiers in their crisp new uniforms. Not one victorious soldiers has any dirt on him- they’ve never gotten down in the grass or dirt under fire. There were no mines, barricades or blown bridges to annoy the Ukrainians. The pictures of them in clean uniforms raising flags on recaptured rooftops show not one sign of smoke from fires or fighting in the background. Their armored vehicles are so clean that they’ve obviously never been deployed off the road.

    There appears to have been no fighting at all, a Potemkin Battle.

    A few months ago the Russians were not “driven back” from the outskirts of Kiev. Putin decided the military demonstration at the gates of Kiev hadn’t worked so the invaders withdrew in good order to the border. Did the Russians just do the same thing again in another Ukrainian-speaking area?

    A retreat under pressure from a lightly defended front is a well-rehearsed move. At night or under cover of smoke and artillery fire, entrenched front line troops withdraw a few miles and leapfrog past a second defensive line, which in turn does the same later. The advancing troops face pre-registered artillery fire with no fortifications to hide in. Small obstacles like creeks, villages and bridges are used to extract a high cost.

    This “battle” so far has the earmarks of a retreat from a large area planned with the passive agreement of the opposing army, which wants few casualties and no damage to the countryside and villages- no scorched earth. If at the last moment, when all but a few border guards have left, the “attacking” army charges forward they can look like blitzing German because there is no real resistance.

    Again, I’m not yet willing to state this as fact. But right now that seems to have been what happened. If suddenly the front goes quiet with no attacks by the ever-victorious Ukrainians and nothing but “Why you bad boys” attacks by the Russians turning off the lights in the cities, I’ll be much more confident in my hunch that the Battle of Potemkin Village was less than the great victory we’ve been told it was.

    Reply
    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Serge Attacks quoted a Ukrainian reporter who said there was a lot of shelling so I don’t know where you get that idea from.

      If you are reacting to some of the videos showing Americans in uniforms that look like they are brand new, welcome to Ukraine video fakery. Gonzolo Lira some months ago went through several Ukraine videos claiming to be scenes from battle. Everyone all clean, in fresh uniforms…

      Reply
      1. Dave in Austin

        I don’t trust words. I trust the usual pack of local civilian Twitter accounts which usually get reposted with of smoke rising and the talk about the loud booms and secondary explosions. None of which, so far, have shown up.

        Reply
        1. Yves Smith Post author

          This entire area was thinly populated even before the fighting. This isn’t a dense area like Lvov or Kiev or Mariupol or Donbass.

          And unlike you, Lambert does not trust video evidence, in fact he is particularly dismissive of it There has been tons of faking of videos and stills by Ukraine. Among other things, in addition to staging events (per Lira and per the famed putting of a fake border post and then taking selfies) they’ve also been caught out taking stills and videos from completely different theaters of combat.

          Russia does not allow cell phones among its forces so they don’t document from the scene.

          Ukraine just took the area. Oh, and is pogroming Russia friendlies. Think any local is gonna risk a visit from the SBU by uploading Ukraine-unflattering images?

          Biggest place is Izyum, which had only 45,000. Only 1/4 to 1/3 of the people there left. Russia was trying to get out the remaining friendlies in the last week, so remaining population lower.

          Brian Berletic says Russian MoD reports of daily kills/damage are regularly confirmed by later Ukraine admissions. Most others regard MoD reports in the range of “pretty accurate” to “not much exaggerated”. MoD says over 2400 killed in Kharkiv area in the counteroffensive through the 12th.

          Reply
      2. Tom Bradford

        The admittedly pro-Russian commentators such as Alex Mercouris and Brian Berletic claim that the Ukrainians moving into areas ‘vacated’ by the regional militias (rather than Russian military) and took a pounding from missiles and the air, being necessarily in the open.

        Even I had heard rumours several weeks ago that the Ukranians were building up forces in Kharkov, using the Kharkov metro tunnels to shelter the armour, so it’s hard to believe stories of the Russians being taken by surprise. That they voluntarily ceded the territory strategically makes sense as apart from the Lugansk and Donbass regions this has never been about territory for them, and it would be nice to think they withdrew from Izium to avoid it being flattened in an unnecessary battle for it.

        But what do I really know? Nothing, not being there.

        Reply
  30. Carla

    LNG exports–So that’s why our natural gas prices are so high.
    At this rate our business will be bankrupt by New Year.
    We’re sending American gas to Europe that was dumb enough to follow the neoconartists’ demands to sanction cheap Russian gas.

    Double the gas producers’ profits, on the backs of Americans dumb enough to elect Biden.

    Reply
  31. LawnDart

    Re; Ukraine

    It starts to get a little more interesting when Medvedev quotes Revelation:

    Dmitry Medvedev: Prologue to the Third World War

    The Kiev Camarilla gave birth to a project of “security guarantees”, which are essentially a prologue to the Third World War

    Of course, no one will give any” guarantees ” to the Ukrainian Nazis. This is almost the same as applying Article 5 of the North Atlantic Pact (Washington Treaty) to Ukraine. For NATO, it’s the same shit, just a side view. That’s why it’s scary.

    Our sworn friends-Western superiors of various calibres, to whom this hysterical appeal is addressed-should finally understand one simple thing. It directly concerns the hybrid war between NATO and Russia. If these idiots continue to rampant pumping the Kiev regime with the most dangerous types of weapons, sooner or later the military campaign will move to another level. It will have no visible boundaries and no potential predictability of the actions of the parties to the conflict. It will follow its own military scenario, involving new participants in it. It has always been so.

    And then the Western countries will not be able to sit in their clean houses and apartments, laughing at how they gently weaken Russia with someone else’s hands. Everything flares up around them. Their people will get their hands full of grief. They will literally burn the earth and melt concrete. We’ll be hard hit, too. It will be very, very bad for everyone. For it is written, “By these three plagues, by the fire, smoke, and brimstone that came out of their mouths, a third part of the people died” (Revelation 9: 18).

    But for now, dim-witted politicians and their dim-witted think tanks, thoughtfully twirling a glass of wine in their hands, talk about how they can deal with us without entering into a direct war. Dull idiots with a classical education.

    In a nuclear war, they say the only thing to survive will be cockroaches.
    Which means most countries will still have functioning governments.

    Reply
  32. Expat2Uruguay

    Resilc: “Uber going down the toober…….they will be robbed or kill people.”

    It is often difficult to know how to take these little quotes that are included with a link. (Yes, I know that these quotes are from the person who provided the link.) Sometimes the quotes seem to be informative and/or serious and other times they seem to be just Fanboy stuff or for entertainment purposes.

    Anyway, it appears that theft will not be a problem, firstly all of the cameras act as a deterrence, secondly the things are hooked up to the Internet and constantly tracked, and thirdly there isn’t a place for a person to sit in the car and drive it so it would be pretty useless even if it was successfully stolen.
    https://www.quora.com/How-would-autonomous-delivery-vehicles-deal-with-theft

    Reply
    1. Watt4Bob

      Times are bad, the hungry guys follow the autonomous delivery vehicle to its next delivery and steal the food at that point.

      Try and convince the police to watch your video and find the hungry culprits.

      Reply
    2. Pat

      Continuous internet for moving vehicles is as much of fantasy as the idea that autonomous vehicles will be able to function in an urban environment.

      I say both as a NYC bus rider. I have watched bikes, taxis and cargo vans play beat the much larger vehicle repeatedly. If you think that driverless vehicle will be able to avoid the person or vehicle that needs to get where they are going and if that means ignoring rules will do it, I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you. As for that internet thing, you are supposed to be able to track your bus, and much of the time you can. But I have watched buses disappear off the tracker, been surprised by buses that are not on the tracker, and often have the mta approximating where a vehicle is. See electronic devices fail often and there are numerous things in a city to disrupt their signals.

      And to add to Yves list, certain people in the city are speedy and accurate with spray paint, even on the move. Cameras and spray paint…

      Reply
  33. semper loquitur

    If you’re like me, you have spent many a sleepless night worrying where Brian Stelter would end up after getting canned from CNN. How will he eat? Fear not, Brian will be well able to maintain his professionally anodyne oval form:

    https://youtu.be/kKnFdnsLQAc

    It’s Harvard for Brian, where he will be analyzing “threats to democracy” for all our sakes.

    Reply
  34. cfraenkel

    The link to the Monsanto/Bayer roundup trial news is broken. The bit in Organic Consumers is just a short blurb anyway, and links to this original article by Carey Gillam that deserves the traffic in any case:
    Roundup litigation at turning point as Bayer rejects “global resolution plan”
    Sounds like Monsanto has been milking the arbitration process to lowball settlement offers and delay paying out, and the plaintiff attorneys have had enough, so proposed working out a global resolution plan. Monsanto declined, preferring the delays, thank you very much. So now the plaintiffs are requesting that the arbitration be given up and everything go back to individual state trials. The next hearing was to be on Sept 7.
    Strangely, a brief search didn’t turn up anything on the outcome of the Sept 7 hearing, only the court’s own pre-hearing info web page:
    In re: Roundup Products Liability Litigation (MDL No. 2741)

    Reply
  35. anon in so cal

    Twitter is suspending pro-Russia accounts continually.

    Today, @DagnyTaggart369 has been permanently suspended. She lives in Donbass.

    Reply
    1. nippersdad

      I wonder if “Dagny Taggart” as a Russian sympathizer ever thought about the irony of using an Ayn Rand protagonist for her nom de plume?

      Reply
    2. hunkerdown

      I believe the DNC dba NAFO is mass-reporting them, i.e. throwing them over the walll to their inside buddies in terms-of-service departments.

      Reply
  36. Petter

    So, the European Council requires unanimous vote on issues outlined on their website. Now there is talk, or a wish, by certain members to go to a majority vote on all issues. Who decides this? Does it need a unanimous vote by the member states and if so, why would they all agree to it?

    Reply
    1. fjallstrom

      As far as I know, the current mix of unanimous votes and qualified majority votes was enshrined in the Lisbon treaty. So presumably a new treaty is needed. Which would need to be approved by all member states.

      Reply
  37. britzklieg

    There Will Be No Peace

    Though mild clear weather
    Smile again on the shore of your esteem
    And its colours come back, the storm has changed you:
    You will not forget, ever,
    The darkness blotting out hope, the gale
    Prophesying your downfall.

    You must live with your knowledge.
    Way back, beyond, outside of you are others,
    In moonless absences you never heard of,
    Who have certainly heard of you,
    Beings of unknown number and gender:
    And they do not like you.

    What have you done to them?
    Nothing? Nothing is not an answer:
    You will come to believe – how can you help it? –
    That you did, you did do something;
    You will find yourself wishing you could make them laugh,
    You will long for their friendship.

    There will be no peace.
    Fight back, then, with such courage as you have
    And every unchivalrous dodge you know of,
    Clear on your conscience on this:
    Their cause, if they had one, is nothing to them now;
    They hate for hate’s sake.

    W. H. Auden

    Reply
  38. Sibiryak

    Scott Ritter: Massive Intelligence Failure […] When the Ukrainian army attacked in the Kharkov region […] Russia was taken by surprise.

    The weight of evidence strongly suggests otherwise.

    Reply
  39. Susan the Other

    Nice to hear Bacevich loud and clear: “Fire all the post 9/11 generals. Retire them with good pensions. So that a new generation can figure out where we went wrong.”

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      Bacevich is mistaken as the system that produced those types of generals would still be in place and would proceed to produce another crop of such generals. The entire system has to be ripped out, root and branch.

      Reply
  40. LawnDart

    Covid/Alzheimer’s study:

    Risk factor for developing Alzheimer’s disease increases by 50-80% in older adults who have had COVID-19
    by Case Western Reserve University

    Older people who were infected with COVID-19 show a substantially higher risk—as much as 50% to 80% higher than a control group—of developing Alzheimer’s disease within a year, according to a study of more than 6 million patients 65 and older.

    In a study published today in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, researchers report that people 65 and older who contracted COVID-19 were more prone to developing Alzheimer’s disease in the year following their COVID diagnosis. And the highest risk was observed in women at least 85 years old.

    The findings showed that the risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease in older people nearly doubled (0.35% to 0.68%) over a one-year period following infection with COVID. The researchers say it is unclear whether COVID-19 triggers new development of Alzheimer’s disease or accelerates its emergence.

    https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-09-factor-alzheimer-disease-older.html

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *