Links 9/17/2022

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

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

–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.

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Moose crash test dummies, constipated scorpions and the most optimal door knobs: Meet the 2022 Ig Nobel prize winners ZMEScience (Dr. Kevin)

Burning Man’s Black Rock City as seen from space Boing Boing (resilc)

Mushroom leather: How fungi became fashionable Quartz (furzy)

Chaos Researchers Can Now Predict Perilous Points of No Return Quanta (David L)

Chess player denies using sex toy to help him beat grand champion Evening Standard (Dr. Kevin)

Making an Enemy of Luxury Lapham’s Quarterly (Anthony L)

Gallup book: Global rise of unhappiness preceded COVID Axios (resilc)

#COVID-19

Science/Medicine

How Bill Gates and partners used their clout to control the global Covid response with little oversight Politico. Former conspiracy theory now confirmed.

Imagining COVID is ‘like the flu’ is cutting thousands of lives short. It’s time to wake up The Conversation (guurst). A little late for this messaging…

US

Hundreds of Americans Will Die From COVID Today Atlantic. Resilc: “No problem unless starting players for an NFL team”

Climate/Environment

Reviewing the Effects of Wildfires on Water Quality Aazocleantech (Kevin W)

Rising seas could submerge hundreds of thousands of buildings in the US by 2050 ZMEScience (Dr. Kevin)

From Kevin W. I can’t vet the specific claims but electronic vehicles require not only the use of a lot of environmentally costly materials but also the construction of new infrastructure. We’ve repeatedly said radical conservation is the only hope for limiting climate change

China?

China and the Lore of American Manufacturing New Yorker (resilc)

US Senate picks up where Pelosi left off on Taiwan Asia Times

Why Right-Wing Mayor Robert Ménard Is So Popular in France Der Spiegel (resilc)

Old Blighty

Pound hits 37-year low against dollar as UK recession fears mount Financial Times (Kevin W). I was working in London at the time. That low was brief. But sterling was generally cheap that entire summer, so many American tourists visits.

Trust In Institutions Is Eroding On Both Sides Of The Pond, And The Queen Was Not Exempt FiveThirtyEight (resilc)

Liz Truss is turbocharging bankers’ bonuses. What a gift for Labour Guardian

Operation Shamrock: How Sinn Féin was front and centre on King Charles’ visit to NI RTE. PlutoniumKun:

Just a link here to highlight just how good Sinn Fein are at outmanoevering the Unionists and how they even used the Queens death to their advantage. There have been pictures floating around social media the last few days showing the frostiness of the new King towards the DUP’s Jeffrey Donaldson and his friendliness to ex-IRA prisoner Alex Maskey. A real lesson in how to do politics from the radical left.

New Not-So-Cold War

Draft US Russia Sanctions Bill Risks Punishing African Continent – South African President Sputnik (Kevin W)

The EU brought to its knees by the Straussians Thierry Meyssan (Chuck L)

France makes grim prediction about European energy prices RT

‘Selfish’ Norway accused of Ukraine war-profiteering Politico (Kevin W)

Putin insists on lifting EU restrictions on Russian fertilizers for developing states Interfax (guurst)

Zelensky names terms for transport of Russian ammonia RT (Kevin W). Ammonia is an important part of many fertilizers.

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Video Reveals How Russian Mercenaries Recruit Inmates for Ukraine War New York Times (furzy). Grey Lady gets some credit for accurate signposting in headline. A lot of accounts have succeeded in giving the impression that this was recruiting for the regular army.

FIRST FINNISH XA-180/185 PERSONNEL CARRIERS TRANSFERRED TO UKRAINE Bitchute. Note not yet confirmed, so treat as speculative.

Germany Military Must Become Europe’s ‘Best Equipped’: Scholz Defense Post (Kevin W). Germany as the new Greece: a newly poor country spending a disproportionate percentage of GDP on US hardware

Army Wants to Double Or Triple Some Arms Production As Ukraine War Continues Defense One (resilc)

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Ukraine – Dissecting Some War Propaganda News Items and Ukraine – Dissecting Some War Propaganda News Items – Addendum Moon of Alabama

Chinese President Xi Jinping seeks to open doors in Central Asia as Ukraine war leaves Russia diminished South China Morning Post (resilc)

Contrast the above with Russia Encircles Bakhmut, Ukraine Offensives at Standstill; Samarkand Putin Meets Xi, Iran Joins SCO Alexander Mercouris, YouTube. The SCO part begins at 25:20. If nothing else, listen to the bit where Mercouris recounts long form how the recent and presumed-US-installed Pakistan prime minister verbally prostrated himself before Putin at 42:50 (you will see this characterization is not an exaggeration). Yes this is from a Kremlin readout, but it would be deadly to attribute words to a government leader that he didn’t actually say. Sad that some people just won’t stay bought.

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Härte und Kälte Overton (guurst):

At the funeral of Mikhail Gorbachev, the German government is conspicuous by its absence. A highly symbolic act: This government relies on military, confrontation. Goodbye diplomacy.

Hundreds of thousands sleeping in open after Pakistan floods Reuters. Resilc: “But it’s God save the King vs special masterzzzzz.”

Syraqistan

Iran’s new Fath 360 looks and acts like a HIMARS Asia Times (resilc)

Caucasus conflict highlights US hawks’ reckless support for Azerbaijan Responsible Statecraft

Kyrgyz-Tajik border conflict escalates with use of heavy weaponry Reuters. Resilc: “All of a sudden lots of love in that general area, on the Russian flankkkkkkkk.”

Pelosi going to Armenia amid renewed clashes with Azerbaijan Politico. Kevin W: “Because her trip to Taiwan was so successful.”

UN officials denounce Israel’s “illegal and unacceptable” war on Palestinian civil society Mondoweiss (guurst)

Imperial Collapse Watch

From resilc, subject line “Me on Amtrak”:

4 hours to go 35 miles
The engine broke
The new engine software broke after 5 miles
Backed up back to Albany
Doors broken
More money for Ukrainian freedom is needed
I blame Biden for settling strike
However I could still be stuck during ratification vote

Trump Raid

Breaking News: Justice Dept. asks appeals court to restore access to Trump raid documents Politico (Kevin C)

Justice Dept. Appeals Part of Special Master Review in Trump Case New York Times (furzy)

Biden

Top Biden aides quietly laying groundwork for a potential 2024 presidential campaign, a new report says Business Insider (Kevin W)

2022

Before Midterms, Election Officials Increase Security Over Threats New York Times

How Abortion and Inflation Will Affect the Midterms Atlantic (resilc)

Do Debates Really Matter in Senate Races? New York Magazine

L’affaire Martha’s Vineyard

GLORIA ROMERO: I’m a Latina Democrat – if libs think I’m appalled by DeSantis, they’re dead wrong! Daily Mail (BC)

Florida Boasts About Sending a Plane Full of Venezuelan Immigrants to Martha’s Vineyard Esquire (furzy)

Democrats en déshabillé

DNC changes bylaws so it can overrule convention Intercept (Paul R)

CalPERS approves $750m commitment to Blackstone Mileway entity Real Assetts (Kevin W)

FedEx is in serious damage control mode Quartz

Goldman Cuts US Growth Forecast for 2023 After Rate Path Change Bloomberg

The 2022 North American International Auto Show Was a Depressing Ghost Town Jalopnik (Kevin W)

Class Warfare

Important SMART-TD statement on the tentative agreement (Sept. 16, 2022) SMART Union. Lambert is apoplectic: “There is no contract, hence no agreement, hence no deal.” This is either to further muscle the members by pretending there’s one (as we’ve said, in negotiations, creating the perception of inevitability is important to preserving momentum) and/or drag things out so if there is a preliminary deal, the voting period extends beyond the midterms.

A US Rail Strike Was Averted—but the Crisis Is Far From Over Wired

Antidote du jour. Chet G: “Attached is my small contribution for fund-raising week: a very dynamic red squirrel going all out.”

And a bonus (guurst):

And another bonus of sorts (Tom H with “the human animal in one of its natural habitats”):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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201 comments

  1. Antifa

    THE BIG ROCK CANDY UKRAINE
    (melody borrowed from The Big Rock Candy Mountain)

    The Western press is such a mess
    All the lies that they keep churning
    How they fudge the facts about attacks
    And claim the tide is turning
    They recite what we write at the CIA
    All the lies our people puke
    Well, let’s go see this fantasy
    Of The Big Rock Candy Ukraine

    In The Big Rock Candy Ukraine
    Eating MRE’s is fun
    Eleven different flavors
    Though we only get the one
    We like our water muddy
    We enjoy our mud quite wet
    It’s a life of ease
    Doing as we please
    None of us die
    Nothing goes awry
    In The Big Rock Candy Ukraine

    In The Big Rock Candy Ukraine
    The Russian troops can’t fight
    Their tanks are tin with holes built-in
    And their rockets fail in flight
    Their fighter planes are slow as trains
    And their pilots blind as bats
    O combat’s fun
    Cuz the Rooskies run
    White flags on poles
    From their hidey-holes
    In The Big Rock Candy Ukraine

    In The Big Rock Candy Ukraine
    The Chechens have no clue
    The Wagner Group’s all nincompoops
    And they fight like they’re brand new
    We launch patrols from our fighting holes
    And our patrols all come back
    O we rule the skies
    To protect our guys
    As we organize
    Mountains of supplies
    In The Big Rock Candy Ukraine

    In The Big Rock Candy Ukraine
    We don’t need winter clothes
    Just a camo shirt in the cold and dirt
    And we can’t wait till it snows
    We have so many soldiers
    That we have to fight by turns
    When we march with pride
    All the Russians hide
    They drop their stuff
    Cuz we’re just too tough
    In The Big Rock Candy Ukraine

    We’ll win it all this coming fall
    In The Big Rock Candy Ukraine

    Reply
    1. HotFlash

      Thanks for this, my day just got real good and I will definitely be singing this while I work today. Antifa, Sardonia, and Wukchumni — NC’s Paragons of Political Parody. NC has the best commentariat evah. Missy Yves, you run an awesome salon.

      Reply
    2. Skip Intro

      Brilliant, I think it would scan as well with ‘Blackrock candy Ukraine’.

      Monsanto and BlackRock are Buying up Ukraine

      The Ukrainian land reform law, which after 20 years was passed by the Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada in 2021, made it possible for international agricultural conglomerates – belonging to the western zone of influence – to buy up large amounts of Ukrainian soil. At the same time, ordinary people were led to believe that ultimately the opposite was true: The sponsors of the bill brazenly lied about the alleged protection of Ukrainian farmers and their fertile land.

      Reply
  2. Sardonia

    The good people of Martha’s Vineyard, signs everywhere supporting unauthorized immigrants, got 50 (50!!!) of them sent there (of the millions crammed into US border towns) and they completely lost their minds, called the National Guard, and got them kicked out in 48 hours. Here’s their little song – melody from the 1963 #1 hit by Steve Lawrence, “Go Away, Little Girl.”

    Go away, immigrants.
    Go away, immigrants.
    You’re not…supposed…to be…among…our kind.
    We know that your plight is dire,
    But property values must go higher.
    We support you…but this is not,
    What we had in mind….

    Go away, immigrants.
    Go away, immigrants.
    It’s hurting us more each minute
    That you delay.
    When you are near us like this
    It mocks our Virtuousness!
    So go away, immigrants
    Before the…end of the day.

    Go away….
    (“But we like it here.”)
    Please don’t stay….
    (“You’ve nothing to fear.”)
    It’ll never work out!

    We know you’re…all good with mops,
    But now we’ve…brought in the cops!
    Here comes the bus…that we called,
    That will take you all….
    Far away….

    Go away….

    Reply
    1. Sardonia

      What a contrast between the 2 stories in today’s links on this event:

      First, Gloria Romero, the former Democratic Majority Leader of the California State Senate, supporting the move by DeSantis 100% as a wake up call to her fellow Democrats to Get Real about the immigration issue, which is alienating more and more Latinos/Latinas from the Democrats.

      Then comes the piece from Kate Storey, free-lance “style writer” (and sometimes current issues writer) for Cosmopolitan, Vogue, and Esquire, in which she decries the inhumanity and evil of sending immigrants to one of America’s richest communities – clutching her pearls with one hand, while wagging her finger with the other, apparently thinking that it’s far more humane to let these folks sleep on a piece of cardboard on an El Paso sidewalk.

      Quite “clarifying”.

      Reply
    2. timbers

      Maybe next time Florida can send some to Beacon Hill and Back Bay here in Boston, and the neighborhood our Governor Charlie Baker lives in. Also Boston’s mayor Michelle Wu. Then Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnel’s neighborhood, then the White House, then Hillary Clinton’s (she grabbing headlines over this yes?), then…you get the idea.

      Perhaps the people of Martha’s Vineyard should be rounded up by the US military and required to undergo weeks long training on cultural woked-ness.

      At the end of their cultural sensitivity re-education, they can also be quietly informed that a large stream of these folks is needed to keep wages suppressed and their stock portfolios inflated.

      Reply
      1. Lupana

        As someone whose parents immigrated to the US from Mexico in the ’50s, I just want to put in my two cents. My parents were human beings, not pawns to be manipulated to score political points on one side or the other. To be treated as equals and with respect. In my opinion, the solution lies in fixing decades of oppressive foreign policy as it relates to Latin America. If you break someone’s country, making it difficult to make a living, support only the most corrupt of governments and do nothing to allow for progressive national development then it should be no surprise that people head for the only exit available. It’s like with the American response to most things – looking for the easy answer – more walls, more military on the border, sanctions, politicians making incendiary statements – People will keep coming until the US addresses its past and present behavior and starts supporting governments in Latin America that address the needs of their people. It’s the hard, long term solution but anything else is ultimately doomed to fail. Neither party in my opinion has it right because both are based on maintaining US control and supremacy. It’s just different faces on the same failed world view.

        Reply
        1. albrt

          Agreed 100%. As a lawyer who has represented asylum seekers in the US system, the only solution is for the US to stop treating Central and South America as plantations to be exploited and testing grounds for the CIA’s latest modes of color revolution.

          Reply
          1. Amfortas the hippie

            yeah.
            the loudest most spittle flecked yellers about “illegals” never ever mention the frelling death squads our benevolent empire set up in so many of those “shithole countries”.
            a leading trumpy nee “Libertarian” yells frequently about MS-13…but ‘we” went so far as to create them,lol.
            and all this is to say nothing of the upper level machinations like nafta.
            this “problem” is due to policy, made intentionally…not least so that the rabid right has people to blame for their own policy outcomes.
            it’s hypocritical and cynical and ugly as hell.

            i just got back with la lunche for my guys out here…from, as near as i can tell, somewhere down Queretaro way…
            their neighbor in town is my buddy, and he says that they say that i’m the best jefe in el norte,lol.
            the work gets done, and i get to practice mi espanol.
            wife’s former boss in ESL turned me on to a decent translation app, for when i get discombobulated and switch overmuch into latin.

            Reply
        2. Sutter Cane

          Yeah, I can’t believe people are buying this cruel stunt. The Daily Mail article by “Latina Democrat” Romero (who happens to own a charter school company) is odious.

          Instead of shipping 50 people to Martha’s Vineyard as a cheap political ploy, Republicans could instead propose taxing the rich residents of Martha’s Vineyard enough to be able to take care of these folks adequately, or to rebuild their countries that the US and CIA destroyed. There is plenty of money there to do it. But that’s the one thing Republicans and Democrats can agree to never consider.

          Reply
          1. Michael Fiorillo

            Yes, I was suspicious of her – on the East Coast and don’t know anything about her tenure in the legislature – but when she said Latinos want school “choice,” I knew what she and the article were about.

            Reply
        3. Dave in Austin

          We didn’t break these countries; their birthrates broke these countries.

          The Mexican birth rate has gone from 6.5 children/woman in 1970 to 2.1 in 2020 (https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SP.DYN.TFRT.IN?locations=MX and is probably below 2.0 in 2022.

          2.5 children seems to be the magic number. Mexico hit that in 2004. That cohort is now 18 and there is enough capital/person to create sufficient jobs in Mexico so the kids don’t have to sneak across the border and clean toilets for people who speak a different language.

          Gloria Romero is not an outlier. Instead of listening to the NYT ask the next Hispanic person you meet from Texas, Florida or California “What do you think of immigration?” You’ll get an ear full.

          Reply
        4. spud

          https://listverse.com/2014/02/05/10-reasons-bill-clinton-was-secretly-a-terrible-president/

          Bill_Clinton_signing_Nafta

          “The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was supposed to be the jewel in the Clinton crown. Created to allow free trade between the US, Canada, and Mexico, it was supposed to create jobs for America, boost the Mexican economy, and generally make the world a better place. Instead, it proved an unmitigated disaster for everyone involved.

          NAFTA was meant to be a shrewd economic move by the US, but after two months, it had created a combined trade deficit of $132 billion with both Canada and Mexico. Prior to NAFTA coming in, the US had been running a trade surplus with Mexico. It also screwed over workers. In 2011, the Economic Policy Institute estimated the agreement had cost America nearly 700,000 jobs.

          It wasn’t just the US that suffered. Before NAFTA, Mexico’s economy had been growing at around 3 percent every decade. After joining, growth fell to a measly 1.8 percent. Meanwhile, the follow-up Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) forced poor countries to eliminate tariffs, resulting in widespread poverty and even starvation. Clinton has since expressed regret over the policy, but that probably isn’t a great comfort to those unemployed and starving people the agreements affected.”

          Reply
        1. timbers

          Wouldn’t surprise me if 50 Cape Verdians entered my town a day, every day (it’s known as a gateway for Cape Verdians). But we don’t have wealthy connected residents like Martha’s Vineyard.

          Reply
          1. Brunches with Cats

            Well, that’s what I don’t get in this whole mess. You’d think they would have jumped at the opportunity to get even cheaper under-the-table housecleaners, landscapers, day laborers, farm workers … Then again, the media attention would have freaked them out. Maybe their overreaction was an instance of “thou doth protest too much?”

            Reply
              1. Dave in Austin

                One summer a decade ago I was biking on Martha’s Vineyard and met four Russian kids who were living under an upturned lifeboat in a backyard. They were saving a bag of money to take home, totally illegal and lot cheaper to hire than the locals. And they were so… White!

                Plus they weren’t going to stay the winter, get on food stamps and send their kids to the local school.

                With an election coming in 60 days we will see a lot more stunts like this… and I approve. Hippocratic behavior is fun to watch. Illegal Nigerians need not apply.

                Reply
            1. Kurtismayfield

              They don’t need cheap.labor after Labor day. The locals take care of the nine months that aren’t summer. And the living expenses bankrupt most normal folks

              Reply
        2. semper loquitur

          Tucker has been loving this as well. He had a segment last night that broke down the timeline from ostensibly open arms to one resident of the island comparing the refugees to dumped trash to the National Guard shipping them off. Tucker framed it as the “gift” of diversity coming to the homes of the Obamas, Oprah, Amy Schumer, and all the other liberal elites who have been finger waving and nattering on about how immigrants are our strength. All this was larded with his usual scaremongering and his willful myopia regarding structural issues.

          Reply
          1. Pelham

            Tucker has had a couple of great nights on this subject. Hope Florida, Texas and Arizona keep up the diversity shipments. (Interestingly, I saw an analysis somewhere that revealed more Democrats watch Carlson than watch any primetime show on CNN or MSNBC.)

            Separately, the story notes that many of these migrants pay thousands of dollars to get themselves across the border, and I’ve read similar accounts elsewhere. Really? Where do they get the money and, if they have it, why do they need to cross the border? Average Americans can’t cough up as little as $400 for an emergency. How do these supposedly impoverished and desperate migrants afford the trip?

            Reply
            1. JBird4049

              Family and friends are the source of their funding. It is often a community or at least family project to get someone shipped here.

              That and the ostensibly human coyotes, who act as loan sharks using the family, and perhaps the friends, of the migrants as collateral if not the immigrants themselves. “Oh, you can’t pay this installment? Sure, we can renegotiate… that’s a lovely daughter-sister-wife-aunt-mother-neighbor-friend you have there… maybe they can help help?” Or “I heard that you arthritis in your knees. You don’t? That is good. Now about renegotiating that note.”

              The remittances sent back are often the main source of cash for an area. Living expenses are are often the least of their expenses.

              Reply
    3. marym

      The Republican governor initiated state emergency management procedures, including use of an existing emergency shelter facility and assistance from the National Guard.

      “JBCC is a facility already designated by MEMA as an emergency shelter in Barnstable County, and its existing infrastructure provides a safe temporary accommodation appropriate for the specific needs of families and individuals. Additionally, the facility can provide dedicated space for access to legal services and other essential services such as basic healthcare. JBCC has historically housed and cared for displaced individuals, including Louisiana residents fleeing the impact of Hurricane Katrina, as well as an alternative care medical site for Massachusetts residents during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

      No “side” has the policies or commitment to address the root causes, or domestic impact of immigration, or the humanitarian needs of would-be immigrants. However, in this case, the middle and working class year-round residents of MV who showed up, and the state political establishment which stepped in, provided at least a reasonable short-term alternative to the DeSantis approach of using of vulnerable people to own the libs.

      https://www.mass.gov/news/baker-polito-administration-announces-coordinated-support-for-newly-arriving-families-and-individuals-to-the-commonwealth

      Reply
        1. timbers

          But there are no immigrants coming to the US. At least across the border. Or at least not walking across the border. The White House spokes person said so.

          Reply
        2. marym

          No “side” has good policies, so it’s not clear what Biden will be forced to do by the DeSantis stunt.

          Meanwhile, in June the SC ruled 5-4 that it was ok for Biden to end Trump’s Stay in Mexico policy requiring asylum seekers to stay in Mexico until their cases were decided, but reversing that policy didn’t start till August. Trump’s Title 42 policy – expulsions due to the public health situation – remains in effect. Some 700 separated families are still not reunited, so maybe it’s not a good idea to reinstate that policy.

          “Bi-partisan comprehensive immigration reform” for whatever it was ever worth passed in the Senate during the Obama years, and was rejected by House Republicans; and no resolution was negotiated for competing House and Senate bills during the Bush years.

          Using vulnerable people as props doesn’t seem any more likely to lead to decent policy than using them as cheap labor.

          Reply
    4. The Rev Kev

      Shipping those migrants to Martha’s Vineyard really struck a deep nerve it seems. The White House accused the Republicans of adopting “smuggler’s tactics”, were “just disrespectful to humanity” and were “un-American.” OK. Biden went off at the Republicans in a speech as if he had a mansion at Martha’s Vineyard himself. I found the interesting bit of it was where he said ‘We have a process in place to manage migrants at the border’ which sounds like that that is precisely where he want them to stay and not end up in other places – like Martha’s Vineyard and the Hamptons-

      https://twitter.com/TPostMillennial/status/1570605053022445568

      Reply
      1. timbers

        The town I live in is a “gateway” for Cape Verdians. I know of a factory in Hanover that is almost entirely staffed with Cape Verdians. Doubtless there are others I don’t know of. To my knowledge the US has not done much or nothing at all to Cape Verde to justify allowing an unlimited flow of impoverished immigrants take jobs in the US and drive the down wages of American workers. Arguably South and Central America is a different story.

        Reply
      2. chris

        The replies from the people on Martha’s Vinyard aren’t doing them any favors either. I saw an interview this week with a community leader telling gathered media that they didn’t have room and affordable housing for everyone who works on the island so how could they accept 50 migrants? Having seen what passes for apartments in the area… I believed her. It was embarrassing to see that she didn’t understand how that made things look even worse.

        It is true that there are people other than the Obamas on that island, and they shouldn’t have to put up with political stunts. But it’s also true that political stunts like these seem to be the only way to get anyone’s attention about what has been happening at the southern border. My only regret is seeing the migrants shipped around like Amazon packages no one wants to receive.

        Reply
      1. John

        I have read that there are thousands, tens of thousands(?) hundreds of thousands (?) of empty houses owned by outfits such as Black Rock. They could be put to use as a stop gap and Congress could get off its collective backside, put their ideology, their political calculations, and their inertia aside and write a sensible immigration law and the put up the money to actually enforce it. Oh, and include a provision that fines, jails, your choice, businesses that employ undocumented persons and pay them s— wages … and make the fines large enough to really hurt instead of the slaps on the wrist that are considered a cost of doing business. Using people as political playground balls demeans them and demonstrates that the users are thugs.

        Reply
  3. Wukchumni

    Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale
    A tale of a fateful trip
    That started from this tropic airport
    Aboard this DeSantistized ship

    The Governor was a mighty selling man
    Like Abbott brave and sure he was right
    52 passengers set sail that day
    For a three hour flight a three hour flight

    The political atmosphere started getting rough
    Sour grapes were tossed
    If not for the courage of the fearless crew
    The payback would be lost the payback would be lost

    The ship set ground on the shore of this summertime illionaire isle
    With Larry David
    Bill Gates too
    An ex-President and his wife
    A bunch of movie stars
    Spike Lee & Letterman
    Here on Martha’s Isle

    So this is the tale of our castaways
    They’re here for an unknown time
    They’ll have to make the best of things
    It’s an uphill climb

    Reply
        1. John Zelnicker

          Ok. I decided to do it myself.

          I need help to find the ones from the last few weeks.

          Antifa, Sardonia, Wukchumni and any other song birds: Please send me links to your song comment so I can collect them, or send me a copy.

          Send to zelnickertaxservice [at] comcast [dot] net

          Thank you for your help.

          Reply
    1. HotFlash

      All three NC Parody greats on a fine Saturday morning. We need some production here — urblintz, any ideas? I know a banjo player…

      Reply
  4. The Rev Kev

    ‘At the funeral of Mikhail Gorbachev, the German government is conspicuous by its absence. A highly symbolic act: This government relies on military, confrontation. Goodbye diplomacy.’

    There seems to be a lot of this diplomatic pettiness going on. First Putin was denied permission to attend the funeral, though I doubt that he would want to attend this super-spreader event among all those world leaders. But then the British refused permission for a Chinese government delegation to attend the lying-in-state of Queen Elizabeth II. So now the Chinese are considering giving the funeral a bit of a miss-

    https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-62922758

    Reply
    1. Bugs

      The best British trolling is telling the Gulf autocrats that they have to all get on a bus together to attend. Where’s the IRA when you need them.

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        Are they taking their seats in the Cathedral alphabetically come the day of the funeral? If so, you might have have Jordon being sat next to Israel. At least having Iran next to Iraq is no longer a problem these days.

        Reply
        1. hk

          Jordan has been, unofficially, a de facto ally of Israel for decades, possibly since early 1970s and everyone knows it. It wouldn’t be all that odd to have the king of Jordan and the president of Israel (it is the president and not the PM that goes to funerals, right?) next to each other.

          Reply
    2. Revenant

      I am disgusted that Parliament is turning a state funeral into a geopolitical football. A confident legislature would be above this pettiness, rather than sulking about Ian Duncan Smith’s self importance. Parliament is putting its amour propre above the Crown That is exactly why Cromwell’s head was dug up and displayed on a stake by the last King Charles. In another age, the Speaker and Ian Duncan Smith would have their collars felt….

      Reply
    1. Sibiryak

      NYT: “The Biden…plan to stem migration by building the rule of law in Central America…

      More neoliberal “law” — that will do the trick!

      Reply
      1. John

        Maybe the United states could simply stop trying to arrange things for Central and South America. You know butt out. Alternatively, take the profit out of bad government and bad business. Oh wait, that goes against the gospel of “free markets” and the sanctity of profit, first, last, and before any other value. Nevaah happen.

        Reply
    2. chris

      Yes.

      If you have a few minutes to waste, try to search for articles describing Biden’s 2012 and 2014 tours of central and South America when he was the public face of our ad campaign to turn back all the tres veces mojado (“three times wet”) migrants coming north. Unless you are very precise, it is hard to get any hits. I remember seeing article discussing this in the NYT and on NPR. I can’t find them anymore.

      But if you do try, and refine your search a few times, you’ll see that what Biden advocated for during the Obama administration is similar to what was said during the Trump administration. It’s also similar to what Kamala was dragged for when she was put in charge of the border issue. We told migrants that there was no place for you here, that they would likely die during the crossing north, and if they didn’t die they’d be turned back, also if they brought children with them they’d be separated from them. “There is no place for you in the north” – that’s been our message for a long time now.

      Here’s an article describing Biden’s role in things back in 2014. I believe this was covered on NC too. But the details of what he said and the ad campaign the US created to discourage people from coming north have been memoryholed. Buzzfeed still has an article that describes the ads.

      The worst part of the way the internet has become our collective outsourced memory is that you can’t even begin to discuss things like this with acquaintances without sounding crazy. Like, first you explain why you use Brave or Firefox, and then DDG or some other less corporate less crappies search tool to get results and that’s why you saw this but when the acquaintance tries to duplicate your efforts you see the original site hosting the article has taken it down or closed so they just look at you like you’re crazy. Or they’re using an Apple device. Or they have some filter in place. So they can’t see what you’ve seen. And after a while you believe them, you must be crazy!, because why else would it seem like no one else can find what you claim to clearly remember? I think that’s part of the reason why people like Noam Chomsky are considered such kooks these days. They have real memory or what has happened and how things used to be different. Because they’re so rarely given a chance to explain that they end up speaking about things in a kind of short hand that few people understand. Things like this are why I sincerely doubt a directly jacked connection to the net via any kind of neuralware wouldn’t produce more intelligence. It would only download the collective sludge we can truth faster and make it easier for you to recognize RightThink.

      I think about this topic when it comes to Russia and Ukraine a lot. What will I think I know, what will I claim to remember, what will I be able to prove to another person was real, in the future? Will I be left tracing over the letters on page in a passage in a journal, going over details like prayer, repeating a list of good search terms like beads on some digital rosary, so that I can feel better about what I think happened and how I believe I can to find out about it?

      Or will I give up and accept that no one else cares and it probably didn’t happen like I remember it?

      Reply
      1. Vandemonian

        … part of the reason why people like Noam Chomsky are considered such kooks these days. They have real memory or what has happened and how things used to be different.

        “It never happened. Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening it wasn’t happening. It didn’t matter. It was of no interest. The crimes of the United States have been systematic, constant, vicious, remorseless, but very few people have actually talked about them. You have to hand it to America. It has exercised a quite clinical manipulation of power worldwide while masquerading as a force for universal good. It’s a brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis.”

        – Harold Pinter, Nobel Prize acceptance speech

        Reply
      2. Oh

        When talking to people who are/were Democrats when you discuss Putin, the immediate reaction is that he’s a bad person. So I ask how do you know that? Have you met him? Then you hear crickets or a retort “he invaded Ukraine”. They don’t want to know why. They don’t know that the Azov crowd is neo-nazi. The propaganda in the US is so thick that you can cut it with a knife. No room for any alternative viewpoint in the mass media. Very sick! We’re not crazy; the propaganda makes these people one sided.

        Reply
        1. John

          Biden is Trump with lower decibels and less neediness. The policies? remember: “Nothing will fundamentally change.” The Uni-party rolls on.

          Reply
  5. Ignacio

    Liz Truss is turbocharging bankers’ bonuses. What a gift for Labour Guardian

    Nah! The Labour, being just the other brand of the PMC in offer and not very much willing to be seen at the wheel doesn’t accept gifts.

    Reply
  6. The Rev Kev

    “First Finnish XA-180/185 Personnel Carriers Transferred to Ukraine”

    Can now be confirmed. Alexander Mercouris mentions them in the video in today’s Links at about the 8:30 minute mark on. Also, the following article says that the Ukraine Weapons Tracker has identified them being handed over to the Ukrainians a coupla days ago-

    https://en.defence-ua.com/weapon_and_tech/ukrainian_troops_uses_finnish_sisu_xa_180_apc_at_the_front-4233.html

    From what that article says about the Finns, it looks like that they are all in on giving their weapons to use against the Russians. At least there won’t be any repercussions about this later on.

    Reply
    1. vao

      And maintaining the proud European tradition of dumping outdated equipment onto hapless Ukrainian soldiers, the Finns donated vehicles of a type that entered service when Andropov was at the head of the USSR.

      Since then, Finland’s Patria produced two new generations of personnel carriers: the AMV (early 2000s) which replaced the XA-18*; and the subsequent 6×6 (early 2020s). I interpret the fact that the Ukrainians are accepting equipment that is much older than their own production, comparable BTR3 vehicles, as a sign of desperation.

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        Would you believe that the Australian Army, among others, shipped M113 APCs to the Ukraine? And we have had them since 1964 which was what, 58 years ago? In combat, I reckon that it would be safer sitting on top of one than inside one.

        Reply
        1. Lex

          They were death traps in Vietnam, hence US troops riding on top rather than in. They’re actually still in service with the US and Israel. I gather mostly because procurement can’t replace them with something better. Aluminum seems like a bad choice for the modern battlefield, even with supplemental armor.

          Reply
          1. The Rev Kev

            When the Israelis went into Gaza the time before last, they lost a whole bunch of their troops when one of their M113s was hit. I remember reading how US troops in ‘Nam not only sat on top of them but packed the top full of sandbags to sit on for extra protection in case one was hit. Saw a clip today of a Russian BTR-82a going up against one of them and that thing is supposed to have a 30mm automatic cannon – against an M113 with aluminium sides. Those M113s should have been scrapped a long time ago and turned into something useful – like beer cans.

            Reply
        2. vao

          Germany also sent BMP-1 (from inherited GDR stocks), Gepard, and Leopard-1 vehicles to Ukraine — all of approximately the same vintage as the M113. So there is indeed a well-established practice here. Germans at least delivered Dingo vehicles dating from the early 2000s.

          That “donating obsolete stuff stowed away in the attic” while highly touting the unwavering, unconditional support for Ukraine is grotesque.

          Reply
          1. Young

            I am wondering if the Russian Forces are using an algoritm to match the vintage of the ammunition to match the target’s age. They wouldn’t want to waste expensive ammunition to blow useless equipment.

            OTOH, this may have been NATO’s plan to deplate Russia’s arsenal while creating opportunities for USMIC.

            Reply
    2. Polar Socialist

      Actually the Finnish media has been somewhat confused about these claims, since the Finnish MoD refuses to answer to any questions regarding Finnish help to Ukraine.

      The same with Estonian MoD, which uses the same APCs (donated by Finland) with pretty much same camo schema.

      They could even be used Finnish XAs delivered to Sweden or Norway, to be further delivered to Ukraine.

      So public doesn’t know where they are from or how many there are, and officials refuse to come clean. In a functional democracy that should be an issue.

      Reply
      1. vao

        There was a kind of similar issue with the BMP-1 supposedly donated by Germany to Ukraine. They actually were GDR vehicles inherited by the FRG after reunification, then sold to Sweden, which then re-sold them to a Czech firm, which subsequently delivered them to Ukraine — all the while Germany retaining a veto right as to the successive transfers of the equipment.

        For some reason, Germany did not want its old Marder IFV to be sent to Ukraine, but only accepted to deliver them in the framework of some kind of “compensation” transfers with other NATO countries.

        Reply
      2. digi_owl

        Norway was recently doing something similar with some MLRS that has been mothballed since the cluster munition ban.

        Supposedly they were to be modified to use non-cluster munitions, but the budget for that never materialized.

        So instead they are now being donated to UK, who then donate some of their already modified MLRS to Ukraine.

        Reply
        1. Petter

          Rumor has it that Norway is going to donate slingshots. Slingshots are illegal in Norway, so I assume these are confiscated slingshots. But it’s just a rumor.

          Reply
  7. timbers

    US Senate picks up where Pelosi left off

    WASHINGTON – On September 14, the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) approved the Taiwan Policy Act of 2022, a measure co-sponsored by hawkish committee chairman Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC).

    Wouldn’t it be easier to just petition making Taiwan the 51st state?

    Reply
  8. ArkansasAngie

    “radical conservation”

    Tell me … how does radical conservation work in a large city like NY or Mexico City. Under what circumstances could it be implemented and not result in food shortages and death.

    Reply
    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Apartment complexes and high density areas are much more efficient than dispersed single family homes in terms of heating. Delivery of anything to a densely populated area will be more efficient than to dispersed homes. Very very few people can do subsistence farming. Even IM Doc, who has a large spread and puts his wife and kids to work, raises only 85% of the food his family eats.

      Reply
      1. herman_sampson

        Also, my suggestion:$10 a gallon gas simultaneously with expanded bus service at 25 cents a ride. Not good for rural people not sure how to help them.

        Reply
      2. ambrit

        “…puts his wife and kids to work…” Thinking like a true pre-industrial farmer there. Let the mortality rates return to pre-industrial medicine levels and we will have old fashioned “sustainability.”
        One side effect of the “slowdown” in distribution of ammonia fertilizers from Russia and the Ukraine will be a return to pre-industrial rates of agricultural production. Could we possibly say that the ongoing 1960’s “Green Revolution” is a bubble? I’m not quite sure, but the part of it that relied on heavy fertilizer use on field crops certainly looks to be so.

        Reply
        1. digi_owl

          I’d say it is, as part of the process involve NG.

          Frankly if not for the oil industry, ol’ Malthus would have been bang on target. And may well be vindicated down the road.

          Because petroleum contributes both massively to fertilizer production, and to drive modern mechanized farming.

          Reply
      3. Greg Taylor

        My 2BR 1250sf 3rd floor south-facing unit in North Carolina uses about 200kwh per month ($30 from Duke Energy). Only the south wall is exposed, floors are thick concrete from when it was a tobacco factory. I use the heating or A/C less than 10 hours per year and the unit stays between 66 and 78 degrees. Few detached dwellings could match the energy efficiency..

        Reply
      4. John

        Radical conservation however structured is the only answer to climate change. It means giving up some of our toys and it definitely means higher density. And by the way, electric vehicles are not the answer. You simply move the use of resources and resultant pollution to a different location. Radical conservation will come when everything else has failed and, for example, lower Manhattan is regularly inundated by high tide. By that point a good part of Florida and Louisiana will be under water at low tide.

        Reply
    2. JAC

      A friend and I have been having long conversation about how to “raise” both class and environmental consciousness and the only answer we came up with is that some of us have to live in the extreme as an example, to pull the Overton window to a place where when people look at us they can only see that they can do more.

      There is more than enough food for the planet, I am tired of that myth being pushed around when it comes to conservation. our problems lay in most of the other areas of consumption. We have become so conditioned to a way of life that the addiction is never ending. The only way through is without.

      So we have been looking at the lives of others who have lived on this level of extreme, like St. Francis, Ajahn Chah, and we are ashamed that we cannot come up with more people besides a guy on YouTube that has a channel called 123Homefree.

      No protests, no evangelicalism, no internet presence, just encounters with people in the real world.

      Reply
      1. CanCyn

        Seriously, if it were not for my few remaining family members and a very few dear friends, there are increasingly often times when I think I could easily chuck it all for an ascetic life. Maybe not dwelling in a cave but meditating, maybe gardening, in a monastery somewhere doesn’t seem unimaginable to me. There is little to recommend about the conspicuous consumption aspect of our lives isn’t there?

        Reply
    3. amechania

      Telework. Bikes. E-bikes. That’s a good 10% of the carbon. Arguably more. Electric trains and trolleys.

      Make it illegal to sell products that last less than 5 years, especially if its just a con to sell you the same junk twice. Ban plastic clothes. Take money from the rich and give it to actual laborers and farmers. Give the subsidies to the people and not the middlemen.

      Cutting out the insurance industries from healthcare alone could build efficient community housing…

      Just replacing all the Fords with Nissans would go a long way…

      Reply
    4. Mikerw0

      Actually quite easily. Ban street cars in places like Manhattan, the Chicago Loop, Central London, etc. Replace them with bike lanes, street cars/trams. Move commercial traffic and deliveries to nighttime. Our cities are effective parking lots for about 16 hours per day. Just cars and trucks idling. Just a start.

      This would make cities much more livable. However, the elite classes will never let it happen.

      Reply
  9. John Beech

    The deep shot was awesome – but – I’m quite impressed with the other dude’s footie skills in passing him the basketball. Win-win!

    Reply
  10. Lexx

    ‘Constipated scorpions’

    And I thought chemo was bad… well, it was bad, but bowel movements (while excruciating) were still possible.

    There was this scene in the book ‘Mercy’ where one guy decides he needs to get some information out of another guy as quickly possible, and the form of torture he chooses is to plug all the exits, stick a hose down his victim’s throat attached to a faucet and turn on the water full blast. The body goes into overdrive trying to get rid of the excess water but the rate of water pouring in exceeds the body’s processing, the exits are plugged, and the water pressure grows. Described in the book as the worst pain a human body can experience and survive, and of course, the guy talked because the pain was greater than the endurance of the most hardened operative. It’s also why in addition to the time pressure, that particular form of torture was chosen.

    It takes an anal retentive to get a nasty nugget like that stuck in their brains for twenty five years, no real use for it, just kinda fascinating…. like watching a cobra or a scorpion.

    Reply
    1. ambrit

      There was a real RAF operative who had that torture inflicted upon him by the Gestapo and lived to tell the tale.
      Today America uses similar “enhanced interrogation” techniques and calls itself, unironically, the ‘Defender of Democracy.’
      Authoritarian regimes the world over follow similar paths, use similar methods, enable similar outcomes.
      “Are we the baddies?”

      Reply
        1. Procopius

          The trouble is, the guy is sure to talk — eventually — but what he says is not reliable. It may be true, or it may be something he made up to get the pain to stop. Maybe he told the truth earlier in the process and wasn’t believed, as was the case at the CIA black sites. The only thing torture can reliably be used for, and that not always, is getting confessions. Believe it or not, there are people who will die rather than confess falsely.

          Reply
    2. semper loquitur

      Brings to mind that classic Caligula:

      https://archive.org/details/Caligula1979_201905

      in which a prophet is force fed wine with his penis tied off.

      This film archive site has thousands of films and shorts for free. It’s got a movie my ex starred in:

      https://archive.org/details/AttackOfTheGiantLeeches

      I present it as an act of penance. A few months ago I posted a link to what I thought was the movie Rikyu but in fact was Death of a Tea Master. It’s a decent film featuring Toshiri Mifuno but Rikyu is sublime, orders of magnitude above most films:

      https://samuraidvd.com/rikyu/

      Reply
  11. The Rev Kev

    “France makes grim prediction about European energy prices”

    This is already having an effect in European countries. In Italy for example-

    ‘According to the (Italian business association) survey, 73% of Italians said they are having difficulty or are simply unable to cope with the rise in energy bills. Meanwhile, in order to pay their bills 92% of respondents said they plan to cut spending, starting with restaurants, bars, holidays and clothing.

    “The shadow of high bills and inflation extends over Christmas and beyond. The reduction in household purchasing power will translate into a sharp slowdown in consumption.’

    So you can imagine the knock-on effects with businesses, employment, consumer demand, etc. which will shrink the tax revenue base as well. And it’s not even winter time yet-

    https://www.rt.com/business/562871-italians-cut-spending-energy-bills/

    Reply
      1. Revenant

        This is not setting an assignment (I read the rules!), more of a plea. Would it be possible to embed Russia Today content in the links? Access is banned in Europe and my work arounds don’t work….

        Or if any other readers have the time to post such articles, a lot of Right Pondians would be grateful! There is usually an RT link every day with a promising headline….

        Reply
  12. Wukchumni

    Now look here Joe, quit acting smart
    Stop being that old malarkey sort
    Don’t you go sellin’ half this country short
    No, no Joe

    Just because you think you’ve found
    The political system that we know ain’t sound
    Don’t you go throwin’ your weight around
    No, no Joe

    ‘Cause Trump tried it and DeSantis tried it
    My Kevin tried it too
    Now they’ve caused dysfunction and did you know something?
    They’re just as bad as you

    Now Joe you ought to get it clear
    You can’t push folks around with fear
    ‘Cause the right don’t scare easy over here
    No, no Joe

    What makes you do the things you do?
    You gettin’ folks mad at you
    Don’t bite off more ‘n you can chew
    No, no Joe

    ‘Cause you want a scrap that you can’t win
    You don’t know what you’re gettin’ in
    Don’t go around leadin’ with your chin
    No, no Joe

    Now you got think tanks, some fair size think tanks
    But you’re acting like a clown
    ‘Cause man we’ve got a mess, a mess of political ranks
    And you might get caught with your think tanks down
    Don’t go throwin’ out your chest
    You’ll pop the buttons off your vest
    You’re playing with a hornets’ nest
    No, no Joe

    You know, you think you’ve found somebody we should dread
    Just because you’re seein’ red
    You better get that foolishness out of your head
    No, no Joe

    And you might be itchin’ for a WW3 fight
    Quit braggin’ about how the Russian bear can bite
    ‘Cause you’re sitting on a keg of dynamite
    No, no Joe

    Hank Williams – No, No, Joe (1950).

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V_m3GVys3s4

    Reply
    1. Revenant

      Looked like a grey squirrel to me. Reds are much bushier and more gracile with markedly tufted ears. Think Squirrel Nutkin

      Reply
  13. Henry Moon Pie

    Fifty per cent (50%) of carbon emissions are attributable to the world’s richest 10%. That’s where the “radical conservation” can begin without adversely affecting those who are already at a subsistence level. A good start would be banning private jets and steep taxes on air travel. The tough nut to crack is food production, and “radical conservation” in that arena will require replacing fossil fuel energy, soil-destroying pesticides and chemical fertilizers and extravagant use of water with human and maybe even animal labor.

    Reply
    1. HotFlash

      maybe even animal labor

      Work plus fertilizer, win win! I have some Mennonite neighbours here in Ontario who have been doing that for many decades. Mennonites are pacifists, and many intentionally live below the poverty line so as to not pay taxes that will be used to fund wars.

      My old food coop/CSA (now defunct, alas — bad management, IMO) used to order from Mennonite farmers by fax to a nearby gas station as many Old Order Mennonites eschew electricity, let alone phone or internet. One of the ladies or older kids would hot-foot it over to the gas station on Saturday am to pick up the fax, the produce would be picked fresh on Monday for pickup and transport to the coop. Last time I was in the Kitchener area on a Sunday I was tickled to see the buggies going home from church, and many of them driven by bonnet-wearing ladies.

      Living Energy Farms is pretty close to self-sufficient, they have electricity but make it themselves.

      We live frugally here in the city (“Honey, was any of our stuff ever new?”). We get around by bike, rent or hire vehicles when we need stuff moved, and can live happily without a car because we live in a well-designed neighbourhood, which would be illegal in most NA cities today.

      Reply
    2. chris

      Paolo Baccigalupi’s “The Water Knife” has been mentioned on here. If you like his stuff, I recommend you also try “The Wind-up Girl”. The engineered mastodons that they use to drive factories and the blimps and the sci-fi style tall ships are all plausible IMO.

      Reply
    3. Petter

      To make the top 10% you have to earn more than $35,000 a year, the top 1%, more than $100,000.
      From The Guardian (2020:
      —————
      The wealthiest 1% of the world’s population were responsible for the emission of more than twice as much carbon dioxide as the poorer half of the world from 1990 to 2015, according to new research.
      ———-

      Reply
  14. The Rev Kev

    “Operation Shamrock: How Sinn Féin was front and centre during king’s visit to NI”

    Thanks for that link, PlutoniumKun. I have to confess in reading it that it brought a smile to my lips as I saw Sinn Féin outmaneuver the Unionist at nearly every turn here. Bonus points because it seems to be due to the obstinacy of the Unionists that set up the situation where they were basically out of the picture leaving the filed clear for Sinn Féin who showed what they were capable of. Hopefully the Unionist will realize that if they do not stop playing political games and come to the table in good faith, that they may end up being sidelined out of Irish politics and end up in the political wilderness for good.

    Reply
  15. The Rev Kev

    “Chess player denies using sex toy to help him beat grand champion”

    I heard that when nobody was looking, that he taped a vibrator to the bottom of the table. And when things were looking not so good for him, turned it on causing the pieces to be shaken across the board into different positions. As he was using his hands to cup his chin after switching it on surreptitiously, nobody suspected him at all of doing anything.

    Reply
    1. YankeeFrank

      Good point. Its not like cards where you can have someone behind your opponent see their hand and communicate it to you.

      Of course all he needs to get assistance from his “behind the scenes chess genius” is a tiny earpiece, or an agreed upon code and tiny electric buzzer in his pant leg. But no, its gotta be vibrating anal beads. We’re surely in the saddest of all timelines. As in, sad!

      Reply
    2. pjay

      I hate it when a headline absolutely forces me to read an article no matter how much I try to resist. Kudos to the writer. I was surprised, however, that the headline actually reflected the story in this case. I guess I lacked sufficient imagination.

      Reply
    3. Michael Ismoe

      You forgot the follow-up story.

      After the match, the dildo was elected to Congress. It soon learned how to use Twitter and is now a leading candidate for the 2024 presidential nomination.

      Reply
  16. Petter

    Re:Greedy Norway
    Hanson’s party, The Greens, have 3 representatives in the 169 representatives Parliament.
    From the article:
    He called it “morally wrong” to profit from price rises driven primarily by war and argued that Norway also risks damaging relations with key European trading partners by forcing them to pay such high gas prices.

    Really Hansson? morally wrong, forcing them.
    Question – what is Europe paying for American LNG?

    Reply
  17. Roger Blakely

    RE: Imagining COVID is ‘like the flu’ is cutting thousands of lives short. It’s time to wake up The Conversation

    Some good points from the article:

    We now know immunity from Omicron infection is relatively poor and short-lived and is outpaced by rapid viral evolution, even in the face of vaccination. Although vaccination vastly reduces the risk of serious illness, waves of infection continue to sweep through large populations, with many susceptible to reinfection within months. This continues to damage our short and long-term health, our health system, and our society.

    Then there is all we know about long COVID and its effects on the lungs, heart, brain, kidneys and immune system. It affects at least 4% of those infected with Omicron, including those vaccinated and those with mild initial illness. We are being warned to prepare for what is effectively a mass disabling event with no known cure or end point.

    Reply
    1. Basil Pesto

      Given the Australian context of the authors, Yves doesn’t know the half of it when she writes “A little late for this messaging…”

      Everything that has happened in Australia this year, which they describe, was predictable and predicted, including by me, a complete non-entity, in a frantic missive to Victorian DHHS just over a year ago (not that I was expecting *that* to make a difference, but I didn’t know what else to do when staring such an obvious disaster-in-the-making in the face).

      Yet the authors express mystery, befuddlement as to how we allowed this to happen. But the explanation is simple and obvious: we used doomed-to-fail (per the literature and real world evidence) coronavirus vaccines to rationalise abandoning our successful and optimal containment strategy (“vaccines are the road out of the pandemic”, “pandemic of the unvaccinated”, we were told), which had been going very well, except that it neutered imports of tourism and cheap migrant labour. I repeat myself but faced with the choice between making overseas departures/arrivals difficult, and making everything difficult, we chose the latter. Strip away all the bullshit and it’s hard to imagine Australians would have voted for the actual outcomes that our surrender has entailed. And the authors playing dumb about how this has happened, about how these vaccines were used as a harmful political tool, thereby betraying the historical public health mission of vaccination, is frankly nauseating.

      Reply
  18. rkka

    re: Germany Military Must Become Europe’s ‘Best Equipped’: Scholz

    How is Germany gonna do heavy vehicles & combat aircraft without a steel and aluminum industry, both now being shut down by high energy costs?

    And where will they get the diesel & other fuels & lubricants to run them without Russian heavy oil?

    Reply
    1. Polar Socialist

      If Scholz doesn’t count Russia or Turkey as part of “Europe”, then the “best” is not that high a target to achieve, since Germany is basically third right behind France and UK.
      They don’t really need to even built that much new stuff, merely just figure out how to rank military equipment quality in a way that puts Germany at the top. Like don’t take the navy in to equation, or something like that.

      You can do that with an Excel sheet.

      Reply
    2. The Rev Kev

      Maybe they can consult an economist who will advise them to ‘Assume steel, aluminium, diesel, fuel, lubricants, etc…”

      Reply
  19. Karl

    RE: Hundreds die of Covid-19 every day (Atlantic)

    Who are these people? As most of the NC readers know, there is a strong age skew, but let’s be specific because I think there is a broader problem with how U.S. society prioritizes across generations.

    One quarter of these deaths are in the over-85 age group. These deaths are mostly associated with co-morbidities, and therefore these people have a lower-than the average 6 year remaining lifespan for this group. Another quarter of these deaths is in the 75-85 age group. Thus, the median age of death is around 75 years. Another quarter of deaths is in the 65-75 age group. So, three quarters of Covid-19 deaths are from those over 65 years old. Perhaps most of these deaths are actually from “covid-19 and other causes.”

    IMHO, I think all of the resources of U.S. society towards extending the lifespan of the >65 population including Covid-19 measures, while spending so little on the <25 population (e.g. quality education) is pretty foolish. So much of the economic and social cost of Covid-19 lockdowns falls on the young, in order to benefit the old. Society also leans on the young to fight its wars and take other risks in behalf of the rest of us. And the young will face the problems of climate change and disinvestment in infrastructure generally. In short, we are investing too little in the young (and the future), and too much in the old. Isn't this skew quite stupid?

    We speak of economic inequality a lot, but intergenerational inequality–not so much. I'm speaking as one in the over-65 age group myself.

    Reply
    1. Jason Boxman

      But what’s best for the young is best for the old in this case: Eliminate the virus. This can be done, and has been done in China. But it requires a reordering of the social contract to an extent the elite in America cannot fathom. So we’re all screwed.

      Reply
    2. Basil Pesto

      Most NC readers I think know that the negative consequences of endless Covid infection go far beyond the mortality cost of acute infection, and that morbidity (which will also feed into mortality long after one’s first SARS2 infection) will be the primary burden of the disease. This, of course, is and will continue to massively impact the young, who will now find themselves getting older, sooner. The question of quality education, incidentally, becomes rather fluid when you repeatedly subject children to a viral illness with a proven and non-trivial risk of brain damage.

      So much of the economic and social cost of Covid-19 lockdowns falls on the young, in order to benefit the old.

      Setting aside that now, today, as in when that Atlantic article was written, virtually nothing is being done for the dying – young or old – anyway, the United States underwent mockdowns that were tantamount to pissfarting around, which in the long run benefited no one; the point is not locking down for the sake of it or to ‘buy time’ for vaccines (which seemed to be the aim in the US and UK from early on in 2020); the aim needs to be to use the myriad tools at our disposal, including necessarily strict temporary lockdowns, to contain and eliminate the disease to a small enough level that we can easily get on top of subsequent outbreaks. Any serious country should be able to do this (and, obviously, the more countries that do it, the less challenged by subsequent outbreaks they will all be). Obviously, this is not going to happen, bar an unignorable high IFR strain of this or another virus. Another reason it’s not going to happen now is because to reverse policy and successfully adopt containment then begs the question: why, exactly, have we let all these people die and made all these people sick?

      Anyway, to the extent that restrictions of the lockdowny sort were implemented in 2020, their cost was in fact borne disproportionately by the working poor; immense social spending is required to alleviate that burden, which is why there was no chance of it being done seriously in the dominant austerian ghoul oligarchies like the US and UK. The benefit of a containment strategy is axiomatically universal, both in terms of health and (sigh) ~the economy~. If there is any credible historical literature showing that infectious disease suppression is worse for meaningful economic performance than being as laissez-faire about it as possible, I’d be curious to see it. Keeping in mind that SC2’s disruption of supply chains and the labour crunch caused by endless waves of illness and consequent long term disability (sustained, it bears pointing out, by young people!) are making an unignorable contribution to inflation. Something which also presumably impacts the young.

      I’m 34 and want no part of this infinite covid whirlpool of stupidity. As with the climate change you invoke, it is going to fuck up human life in very unpleasant ways for a very long time for an enormous amount of people. But of course, this won’t be such a problem for the over-65s, who, in the developed world at least, got to enjoy the post-war, pre-covid golden years of human control over dangerous infectious diseases and all the benefits that entailed for humanity. It’s intergenerational… something when these elders apparently have no compunction about throwing their successor generations under the bus having reaped the benefits of this health prosperity which is now gone, if not forever, then for the foreseeable future.

      Forgive my terseness but these basic points I’ve covered have been made repeatedly and convincingly here over the last two years and I have no patience for this fatuous and flatly wrong “it’s only bad for old people” line of bullshit.

      Reply
      1. ArvidMartensen

        Yes you are absolutely right, we oldies have had golden years of carefree health and younger people have lost that. But fairness for ordinary people is a drag on profits.
        I fear for my children who are in their thirties who have had Covid.
        One has a visible form of long covid where her fingers now get painful chillblains whenever she goes out into the cold. Never had this in her life before. GP has no treatment. So, no more running outdoors in winter, soccer etc. So, less exercise is another impact on health.
        Another had it and there are no visible aftereffects, but at the time suffered an excruciating headache. Has there been any subtle brain damage? Don’t know.
        That this virus is most likely a result of good ole American know-how just makes my blood boil.

        Reply
    3. CanCyn

      How about when it comes to people we don’t think in terms of money at all? I concur that we need less war and more publicly supported education and healthcare. BUT for everyone. Do not divide and categorize.
      I cannot agree that we’ve spent too much on elders during the pandemic. Co-morbidities and advanced age do not make one dispensable.
      If you want to be part of just society you cannot be forced to choose between the young and the old when spending on the social safety net.

      Reply
      1. Karl

        I wasn’t attempting to divide but to shed light on an intergenerational imbalance. I like the Buddhist doctrine of the “Middle Way”. If we are willing to spend so much to extend the brief remaining lifetimes of the old, we should also NOT be willing to spend so little on our youth. I would like to see us re-prioritize in favor of more balance. If this can be done by increasing our >65 spending, I’d be in favor of that. But in a world of trade-offs, that is probably not realistic. We must choose. I would say that, at this moment of history, when we need to make wise choices, developing the young are a much higher priority than the old. I know that sounds cruel, but so be it.

        Ultimately it come down to time horizon: do we care about future generations, or don’t we? I think, by our public policy choices, the answer is clear: we don’t; or at least, those who vote don’t (who are disproportionately old, alas). But we should, yes?

        Reply
        1. Mikel

          A well-functioning healthcare system would benefit all.
          Neoliberal clap-trap and a health care system that’s all about profits over people makes people think there has to be a “choice.”

          Reply
        2. Basil Pesto

          Ultimately it come down to time horizon: do we care about future generations, or don’t we?

          Of course we should, which is why implementing the known solutions to Covid should be so urgent. But from your initial post you seem to be arguing from false premises: every single dollar spent on meaningfully fighting the pandemic (and I do have to stress meaningfully) is not money spent predominantly for the over-65s to the exclusion and punishment of the youngs: it would be of a universal benefit. Or to put it a other way, I doubt China is doing what it’s doing solely because it has a neurotic preoccupation for the wellbeing of old people (even though I understand Chinese culture holds the elderly in higher regard than other cultures). I mean, what is it that you imagine would have happened if we had just done what we’re doing now (absolutely nothing) from the beginning? Do you think the labour crunches caused by Covid all over the world would somehow be less of an issue than they are now? Again, that is disproportionately not an over-65s problem.

          Moreover, our future generations will one day be old themselves. They deserve to live longer and less shit older lives to the greatest extent possible, no? Covid will put that out of reach. On multiple levels, the “old people should just grin and bear it” argument doesn’t make much sense.

          Reply
    4. britzklieg

      It was an argument I was making from the beginning – to no avail – and I’m an old person: the young were most likely to survive and so their health should have been prioritized. Instead we got tear jerking hallmark card stories of the elderly stranded in nursing homes and retirement facilities, unable to touch and hug their concerned families. I’m not even an advocate of the half-ass vaccines but the young were the last to get them.

      When my mom was languishing away in such a place I didn’t see many of these concerned family members visiting, touching, hugging. Indeed, most of her fellow inmates were alone, staring at the walls or watching bad TV, eating crap food served by underpaid slaves, hoping the overworked and underpaid nursing staff (who probably couldn’t afford health insurance themselves) would not be late for their turn at the lift which helped them in the bathroom (doing little, I would add, to preserve some dignity for their charges)… and all to the tune of $6000 a month (which doesn’t include the high priced down payment required to get in to begin with). If it weren’t for my sister attending to her EVERY DAY, my mother would have died of loneliness. When I’d fly from NYC to FL to give concerts for anyone who could or wanted to attend, there were no family members helping them to their seats and passing an hour with them listening to good music, they were mostly just alone. And this was, possibly, the best facility in the state. In the other rooms there were former college deans, and astronauts, lawyers and successful artists – people who had led distinguished and well remunerated lives

      I dare say many photo-ops of visits through windows, zoom or cell phone were some of the only times “concerned family” had made contact as it’s too easy to forget/deny that anyone in that situation is already dying, regardless of the pandemic.

      So yes, I’m painting with a broad brush. I’m certain there are many examples of concern and care by others equal to my sister’s saintly efforts (and neither she nor I are persons of faith). Nor am I arguing that the elderly should have been abandoned. But abuse of and disregard for the elderly didn’t start with covid. Being old is a reckoning we all face and hopefully will accept with grace and forgiveness to counter the existential anxiety. To have turned it into a political scorecard as to which side did “better” with the pandemic (they both sucked) is appalling and as you wrote: “spending so little on the <25 population (e.g. quality education) is pretty foolish." Foolish and ghastly… and sadly, to be expected in a world run by neo-liberal psychopaths who promise a hollywood ending while doing everything possible to make sure it doesn't happen.

      Reply
    5. Mikel

      And you totally miss the long term health effects of re-infection with Covid over and over again.
      It’s a cumulative toll being taken on immune systems and organ function – at all ages.
      But that’s probably okay in your “Logan’s Run” imaginings…

      Reply
    6. VietnamVet

      The Atlanta article and the one on Bill & Melinda Gates foundation with three other NGOs seizing the global response to the coronavirus pandemic go together. They explain how the coronavirus disaster happened. It starts with the ruling theology that wealth shows one’s worth. These NGOs support the private “for-profit” health care system and the privatization of public services. Their founding belief is that the unwealthy are unworthy no matter ones’ age — old, middle aged or kids. Their 10 billion dollars usurped and killed all government responses except for the warp speed RNA vaccine campaign (unlike China that has continued their public health push against the virus). Off-patent treatments were ignored. Non-pharmaceutical interventions trashed. The public health systems collapsed. The White House, public school rooms, and any unventilated, unfiltered, unscreened, and mask-less indoor space is a virus spreader site.

      The daily death toll is documentation that coronavirus pandemic has not gone away. The USA is one variant away from clogging up the already stressed, understaffed, and patient killing healthcare system.

      In addition, because the ruling ideology prohibits it, the missing workers and the energy/commodity/goods shortages are never identified as the actual cause of inflation in the USA.

      Reply
  20. semper loquitur

    I used to live by those basketball courts in the linked video. They are in the West Village by the West 4th Street station. The players there are fantastic and people gather to watch them jam. One of the regular players is a little person who makes long shots I would miss if I were aiming for an empty swimming pool. There are some handball courts there as well, a game I’d love to get into.

    Reply
  21. Carolinian

    Roe is not in Links but this is good.

    https://www.counterpunch.org/2022/09/09/let-roe-go-winning-abortion-rights/

    Roe pre-empted an offensive strategy of growing a mass political movement for abortion rights, and channeled it into defensive, system-reaffirming, judicial and partisan “politics.” The abortion rights movement complacently placed its trust in an alliance with sympathetic magistrates and Democratic politicians, and forewent the task of non-partisan persuasion—continually making its case and strengthening its support among masses of people whose support cannot be taken for granted or written off. While “pro-choice” liberals were playing with their RBG dolls, 15-year-old girls (and their parents) throughout the country were being talked to, and shown pictures of dead fetuses, by conservative pastors. Who’s approach was more effective?[…]

    What we’ve witnessed in the abortion-rights battle is another failure of the liberaloid tendency—which happily marries what Hunter calls “the framers’ skepticism of popular sovereignty [and] mass politics—of securing elite support rather than persuading the minds and securing the support of the people.” It’s time to recognize, once and for all, that SCOTUS-imposed progressive reforms based on “judicial subtlety and clever interpretations of superannuated texts” (Of course there’s no clear abortion right in the 1789 constitution.) are thin ice that will melt under heated political assault—”precisely because they were made through elite deliberation rather than mass mobilization…[and] usually lacked broad constituencies that could be mobilized to defend them.” Because, end of day, Supreme Court decisions are “ratifications of accomplished political facts.”

    Of course that necessity of defending Roe by partisanship rather than persuasion was a feature not a bug to the Dems.

    Reply
  22. Reply

    Straussian used to be just a way that Tyler Cowen finessed his economics article nuances and intimations.
    Now it takes on new political meanings that are chilling.
    Iraq, Ukraine, other vanity projects that ruined countless lives.

    Reply
  23. Maxwell Johnston

    Re sanctions on Russia:

    Having spent a week in Moscow (back in Italy again, finally have some time to post this), I hereby share my observations re life in Russia under sanctions, with the caveat that Moscow is much richer than the rest of Russia. Hadn’t been there since March.

    Short version: situation normal, but prices are up broadly (both in ruble and USD/EUR terms).

    Long version follows:

    Domodedevo airport was busy, even though I arrived and departed late evening. Both my incoming and outgoing flights (Emirates, via Dubai, an A380) were packed, didn’t see any empty seats in economy class. Lots of families with children. Passport control was routine.

    Road traffic is as bad as always. Gas station prices have not gone up much since March, if at all (one wonders if gasoline prices are being regulated downwards to keep the masses happy). The subway was as crowded as always, with mask usage at the usual 1% or less.

    Food shopping is the same. Plenty of everything, no empty shelves, fruits and veggies and dairy products galore. Some western brands have disappeared (Nestle is one I noticed), so they’ve been replaced by competitors (Nesquik cocoa has been replaced with a local variant). There was even coca-cola for sale (maybe remaining supplies from the pre-sanction era, or maybe the local bottler is producing bootleg coca-cola without authorization from Atlanta), and it tasted normal to me. But prices are up, big time, I would guess 30% across the board in ruble terms, and basically doubled in USD/EUR terms. Data point (yes, I remember the price of wine): a bottle of Argentinian malbec that I bought for about 800 rubles in January (about $10 then) now costs about 1100 rubles (almost $20 now, so much for the ruble genuflecting meekly before the USD/EUR).

    Visited the local electronics superstore, everything seemed to be available. Prices again up by 30% or so, maybe a bit more. The local computer geek quickly replaced my aging Ipad battery and installed a nice new cover, spare parts seem to be no problem.

    Much attention in the western media about companies that have quit Russia, but many remain. McD’s is gone (the restaurants themselves continue under a new logo, and McD has a 15-year buyback option), but the other fast foodies remain for now: Burger King, KFC, Dominos, Papa Johns, etc. Coca Cola is out, but not Pepsi (ironic historical note: Pepsi entered first in the détente 1970s, Coke came later). I visited Leroy Merlin (French version of Home Depot) which was crowded with shoppers, full parking lot. Across the street from Leroy is Metro (German warehouse-style supermarket), didn’t go in but the parking lot was crowded. BP is gone, but the gas stations themselves remain (Rosneft). Ikea said it was pulling out, but then changed its mind and said it’s “pausing” its operations for 2 years (don’t know what “pausing” means, but the Ikea storefronts are still there). Auchan (French supermarket) and Obi (German hardware and garden center) are active. Renault sold its Moscow car plant, but with a 6-year buyback option. Drove past several shopping malls, did not enter any but the parking lots were full and the outside lights were blazing with the usual imported brands.

    Availability of medicines: my only data point was from my mother-in-law, who is a robust 83 but has a medical issue which requires an imported medication. She was worried about its availability after 24 February and even went on a bit of a panic-buying spree in early March. She told me it’s now widely available again, no shortages. Also her pension was increased to 32000 monthly (about $500), not fantastic but not so bad either considering how low her monthly expenses are. I don’t watch Russian TV but mother-in-law does (like most Russian pensioners), and she says the news programs are overwhelmingly dedicated to the SMO (and no more Covid coverage).

    A dog that didn’t bark: I had expected to see visual signs of the SMO, like patriotic billboards or cars with flags or the letter Z. In fact, I saw no patriotic or SMO-related banners at all (but lots of billboards exhorting Muscovites to vote in municipal elections). I saw one (1) car with a Z written on it, and it was not a Moscow license plate (69, Tver, flyover city between Moscow and St Pete). In general people are just living their lives; it’s not as if everyone is talking about UKR all the time. It only came up in conversations when I specifically raised the subject. People expressed puzzlement as to why Europeans (whom Russians traditionally admired somewhat, western Europeans anyway) have become so stupid. The recent stories about Finnish border guards seizing cash euros from Russians under the guise of EU directives got widespread media coverage.

    Re the SMO (don’t mention the war!), people seem resigned to it; whereas in March there was a sense of shock that it was actually happening, now there’s more of a sense that it’s something unpleasant that has got to be done, not unlike a long-postponed root canal. Nobody I spoke with thought that the March attack towards Kiev was a brilliant feint, they all think it was a matter of incompetent senior officers making a mess of things, and then competent officers taking over and changing tactics. The UKR counter-attack near Kharkov was underway as I was leaving; again, it’s seen as the senior officer leadership being incompetent. (I don’t necessarily agree with this, I’m just reporting what I heard). I did not sense opposition to the SMO, but I did sense impatience with its slow pace.

    Two more anecdotes re the SMO. First, my wife’s attorney (a Russian woman in her 50s, quite the battleaxe) comes from a military family (father and brothers were/are officers), she says there’s a shortage of drones, to the extent that military families are pooling resources and buying commercial drones and somehow sending them to their men in UKR. I understood this to mean inexpensive observation drones. She’s not the type to panic, so I don’t think she was making this up. Second, two people told me of acquaintances in the reserves (i.e., men of military age who have already done their active duty) who have recently received registered mail instructing them to be available. Not orders to mobilize, but warning orders to be ready. So perhaps something is afoot, or maybe it’s just army bureaucrats trying to look busy.

    Banking and x-rates: the official rate is about 60 (both USD/EUR), but if you want to buy USD/EUR banknotes you pay about 70 (better rates are available if one looks hard enough and wastes sufficient time). No more cash USD/EUR banknotes are being imported, so there’s a premium. Back in January, my bank’s ATMs distributed rubles, $, and EUR; now it’s only rubles, and if you want $/EUR banknotes (at my bank, anyway) you must order them 1 week in advance. My wife’s Visa card (issued by Sberbank) expired in July, so in early August she visited the local Sberbank to obtain a new card. Instead they told her that “your card still works”. And indeed it does; Russian banks are simply treating locally issued Visa/MC as not having any expiry date. Since Visa/MC have their servers in Russia (to comply with post-Crimea legislation), that’s that.

    Our local Chinese restaurant is still in business (fancy new menu with higher prices), and they’ve resumed selling Tsingtao beer in 66ml bottles (yay!). We had a great meal. The manager recognized us and was happy to see us again after 7 months, which was nice. Life goes on.

    I cannot stress how much I was struck by the sense of utter normalcy. Definitely not what I expected after 6 months of western media noise. If the wheels are going to fall off the RU economy, it might take a while. Sorry for so many words, but I thought the granular detail might interest some of you.

    Reply
    1. Revenant

      Your point about the “first call” papers echoes what I heard from a London cabbie about his regular passenger’s husband who is aged 35; next letter will be orders to report to base.

      As you imply, preparation does not imply follow through….

      Reply
    2. Jason Boxman

      don’t watch Russian TV but mother-in-law does (like most Russian pensioners), and she says the news programs are overwhelmingly dedicated to the SMO (and no more Covid coverage).

      It is interesting that the SMO has also been a great excuse to not cover COVID in America as well. Given Ukraine is in Europe, not North America, you’d expect this to be less the case. But any distraction will do!

      Reply
    3. Tinky

      Thank you for the informative report! Not surprising to me, though I have been benefitting from similar Sitreps through Andrei Martyanov’s Blog.

      Reply
    4. Polar Socialist

      military families are pooling resources and buying commercial drones and somehow sending them to their men in UKR. I understood this to mean inexpensive observation drones. She’s not the type to panic, so I don’t think she was making this up.

      This has been an ongoing theme in Russian/LDNR telegram channels. There’s a constant need for binoculars, hand-held radios and off-the-shelf drones.

      Especially during the battle of Mariupol the DNR troops said the small, short-range, “tactical” drones were really handy at peeking behind the corners and checking upper floors. They are not “military grade” so they can’t take the abuse always present in war for very long, nor are they usually repairable.

      Reply
    5. The Rev Kev

      Thanks heaps for that detailed report. The fascinating thing will be to compare how things are in Moscow and some of the cities in the EU in December/January. By then that is when the situations will be really skewering in each place.

      Reply
    6. procopius

      “… Tsingtao beer in 66ml bottles …” Is that a typo? 66ml == .066 liter ≈ .066 quart == 2.112 oz. That’s an awfully small bottle. 660 ml ≈ 21 oz. seems better, but I’ve never been to either Russia or China. Thanks for the description of the countryside.

      Reply
  24. Mikel

    “Hundreds of Americans Will Die From COVID Today” Atlantic. Resilc: “No problem unless starting players for an NFL team”

    Reslic’s comment reminded me of an encounter with a friend last week. He works for a sports network and they went from work from home to two days a week in office a few months ago. Now they are hearing rumblings from higher ups about making it three days (caveat – management has the option of working from home at will and I could only imagine what that would do for morale).

    As one form of pressure, my friend says to me that it was thrown out there about how it’s not fair since players still have to take the field.

    I said, “Yeah, but the office employees don’t have a medical team and medical facility at their beck and call at the slightest sniffle.”

    Reply
  25. Mikel

    “FedEx is in serious damage control mode” Quartz

    The insiders must have reduced their risk in the stock in time. It was only a few months ago that the company presented a 2023 outlook that caused a jump in their stock. Imgine that!
    And these plans and changes now mentioned sound to me like something that would have had to be in the works or in consideration for longer than the last couple of weeks or so.

    Reply
  26. Mikel

    “Goldman Cuts US Growth Forecast for 2023 After Rate Path Change” Bloomberg

    Lots being said to try to soften what these forecasts means.
    The “mild recession” spin sounds alot to me like the “transitory inflation” spin.

    Reply
  27. Mikerw0

    RE: the Twitter piece on EVs. –> it is spot on.

    Polestar has released the most data on their EVs. Estimates based on their data is that you have to drive 65,000 miles to achieve CO2 neutrality.

    More importantly, the demand for the critical metals will push the price up which means EVs need even larger subsidies. Right now most EVs are subsidized cars for the rich. Unlikely this really change anytime soon.

    And to preempt the argument that a major battery breakthrough is just around the corner — not. These have been being worked on for decades, there is no magic formula of metals that hasn’t been tried.

    Reply
    1. Jason Boxman

      Indeed, EVs were gonna save the world for, what, 20 years now? As it stands, if we let “the market” dictate how this goes, most Americans will be driving gasoline powered cars for another 25 years as these things make their way into the used market, slowly.

      A solution to climate disruption it ain’t. It’s always been a fantasy. Taking away rich people’s private jets would do more for climate in a year than any of this magical thinking.

      Reply
  28. Jason Boxman

    ‘A Crisis Coming’: The Twin Threats to American Democracy

    When he ran for president himself in 2016, Mr. Trump made false claims about election fraud central to his campaign. In the Republican primaries, he accused his closest competitor for the nomination, Senator Ted Cruz, of cheating. In the general election against Hillary Clinton, Mr. Trump said he would accept the outcome only if he won. In 2020, after Mr. Biden won, the election lies became Mr. Trump’s dominant political message.

    His embrace of these lies was starkly different from the approach of past leaders from both parties. In the 1960s, Reagan and Barry Goldwater ultimately isolated the conspiracists of the John Birch Society. In 2000, Al Gore urged his supporters to accept George W. Bush’s razor-thin victory, much as Richard Nixon had encouraged his supporters to do so after he narrowly lost to John F. Kennedy in 1960. In 2008, when a Republican voter at a rally described Mr. Obama as an Arab, Senator John McCain, the Republican nominee and Mr. Obama’s opponent, corrected her.

    (bold mine)

    Heh, Gore folded immediately.

    Mr. Trump’s promotion of the falsehoods, by contrast, turned them into a central part of the Republican Party’s message. About two-thirds of Republican voters say that Mr. Biden did not win the 2020 election legitimately, according to polls. Among Republican candidates running for statewide office this year, 47 percent have refused to accept the 2020 result, according to a FiveThirtyEight analysis.

    Meanwhile, Russia and Russiagate don’t even make this 10,000 word article.

    The most promising strategy for avoiding an overturned election, many scholars say, involves a broad ideological coalition that isolates election deniers. But it remains unclear how many Republican politicians would be willing to join such a coalition.

    It is also unclear whether Democratic politicians and voters are interested in making the compromises that would help them attract more voters. Many Democrats have instead embraced a purer version of liberalism in recent years, especially on social issues. This shift to the left has not prevented the party from winning the popular vote in presidential elections. But it has hurt Democrats outside of major metropolitan areas and, by extension, in the Electoral College and congressional elections.

    Well, we know liberal Democrats have no interest in expanding the ‘base’.

    Reply
        1. Mel

          Sorry. I did know that; I just couldn’t help myself.

          Ask not what your corncob can do for you; ask what you can do for your corncob.

          Reply
  29. Greg

    Iran’s new Fath 360 looks and acts like a HIMARS Asia Times (resilc)

    I know HIMARS is the new hotness as far as media are concerned, but this looks more like the Russian BM-30 Smerch MLRS. Totally different weight class to the HIMARS and other MLRS, 150kg warhead vs the 90kg in HIMARS. That’s a lot more punch.

    Reply
  30. Mark Gisleson

    The DNC rules changes aren’t surprising. They seem modeled on the government’s declassification system. No changes unless we say so.

    Hard to call this a last straw but I can no longer see a path to reforming the Democratic party. They are wholly owned and they ain’t owned by us.

    Reply
    1. Mark Gisleson

      btw, this is a new record. It took me over seven hours to finish Links today. Very much reminded of the old NPR fundraising saw about being trapped in the driveway unable to get out of the car until the story was over except I got up lots of times, ate lunch, got the mail but mostly I sat in front of the computer today clicking on links that I just had to read and videos I needed to watch.

      And that’s my personal and heart-warming NC fundraising story. I had puppies and kittens in my first draft but then remembered where I was.

      Reply
  31. Mikel

    “The EU brought to its knees by the Straussians” Thierry Meyssan

    With these types assesments of the Ukraine/Russia war being more widely written about, I’m guessing the political establishment laid the groundwork for dismissing such views with indoctrination on what should be considered “anti-semitism” and “russian propaganda.”

    Reply
  32. Brunches with Cats

    Re: Mushroom leather
    I’m calling BS on this trend as “sustainable.” As uber-cool as it might sound to vegan millennials — those with the cash, anyway, which would be the “issue” of European aristocracy and the filthy-rich Asian kids who think nothing of dropping $3,000-5,000 on the latest bag by CELINE or Gucci — the title alone gives away the reality that this is all about creating a market for an essentially unnecessary product.

    Awesome as it is, “mushroom leather” isn’t going to save the planet. Besides being expensive — according to the story, “as low as $30” per square foot — there are other ways to make a handbag that IMO are far more sustainable. Of the supporting data in the story, I was particularly struck by the assertion that 5.5 million animal hides went to waste in the U.S. in 2019. I know, I know: Vegans would never ever carry a handbag made from a dead animal, for Dog’s sake. Further, the “wasted” hides (whatever that means — did they go to a landfill, get incinerated?) likely originated with animals slaughtered for food, and vegans don’t think anyone should eat meat, period. Shouldn’t anyone genuinely concerned about the good of the planet support using what’s going to waste before creating new products? What ever happened to our forebears’ ethic of using all parts of the pig “but the oink?”

    That’s all assuming that we even need “leather” handbags at all. I just watched some top designer’s resort 2023 show (of course I forget who it was) with fabric bags to match the outfit. I made my first dress in fifth grade and used the scraps to make a little matching bag, with braided strips of fabric for a shoulder strap. Readers of my generation might also remember the high school trend of making bags from worn-out jeans.

    Goddess knows there’s plenty of fabric going to waste. Mountains of fast fashion, much of it made of petroleum-based fibers, end up in landfills. Surely with all of our wonderful advanced technology, we could recycle it into material suitable for handbags (lots of other things, too)? All it would take would be one trendsetting, forward-thinking fashion designer to add some style, promote the bags as “earth-saving,” slap on a $3,000 price tag, and suddenly they’d be “fashionable,” too.

    Reply
    1. semper loquitur

      It all makes sense to me! Fashion-vegan elites get to appear cutting edge and in the know by sporting ‘shroom leather hot-pants to the bemusement of the uninitiated, wag their fingers and lecture the confused for some of that good old fashioned progressive crypto-liberal moralizing, and maintain the class markers denoting their high ground advantage over the economically challenged. And it’s cruelty free!

      Reply
      1. Brunches with Cats

        Yum. /s Actually, there are some incredible videos on YouTube of S.Korean master crafters rehabilitating expensive designer handbags or making something new altogether out of them. There are amazing videos by YouTubers of other nationalities as well showing the things they’ve made by taking apart outdated or damaged clothing, curtains, dishes, and more.

        Reply
  33. ArvidMartensen

    On Pakistan, this is Pakistani PM talking to Putin as reported via Telegram channel of ASB Military News.
    If accurate then the purported US supported sacking of Imran Khan might be failing to meet objectives.
    ““Your Excellency President Putin.
    It is really a great honour and a pleasure to call on you along with my colleagues, the Foreign Minister, Defence Minister and Finance Minister. My brother, Nawaz Sharif, sends you his very warm regards. I brought good wishes for you and the people of your great country, Russia, from Pakistan. The people of Pakistan convey their very good wishes to you.

    President Putin, thank you for your condolences message. We have had devastating floods because of unprecedented torrential rains in Pakistan, which have hurt the entire country: 33 million people have been affected, 1,400 have died, and hundreds of children have died. Millions of acres of crops – rice, cotton, sugar cane – all gone. Millions of houses have been damaged, partially or completely. The Foreign Minister’s province of Sindh has been most devastated, as well as Balochistan, and then other parts of Pakistan. Thank you for your support. We have received your valuable support at this critical time. We are very grateful to you.

    I just want to let you know that my fond memories with your great country go back to 1968–1969, when I was a student. That was my first trip to any international country. So, I went to Moscow – my father sent me for business training. I met companies like Stankoimport and Mashinexport – they had their office at Dom 35, Moscow. That is my memory with your great country.

    At that time, we had barter trade between Pakistan and the Soviet Union. The first steel plant was built by the Soviet Union in Karachi. His grandfather, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, laid the foundation stone. We had tremendous partnership – that is the kind of relationship Pakistan had with your great country. It is on its own, it does not need any support, it is inclusive and it is not at the cost of any other country.

    Your Excellency, we want to build our relations with your great country with full commitment and full dedication, because you are a superpower. Pakistan stands to gain from this mutual cooperation, mutual understanding, promoting trade, investment, and other areas like gas pipelines. We had signed a protocol in 2016–2017 that needed to be implemented. Unfortunately, for some reason, it could not be, but I know the potential your great country has, from which Pakistan must benefit in our own interest.

    I have come here with my delegation with this proposal for your kind consideration, Mr President. We need to further cement our relations. We need to further build our relations in the field of energy, in the field of trade, in the field of investment and of course other strategic areas.
    You are a man of action. You decide, and then you implement. I want to assure you that I want to work closely with you for our mutual [benefit].” – Prime Minister of Pakistan Shehbaz Sharif

    Reply
  34. semper loquitur

    A quick note here to thank the commenters on my recent fundraising post “The Lost World”. I just went back to look and I appreciate the kind words. Forward NC!

    Reply
  35. Wukchumni

    Hundreds of Americans Will Die From COVID Today Atlantic. Resilc: “No problem unless starting players for an NFL team”
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Could you name an A-List actor, athlete or artist under 50 who has died from Covid?

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      In all honesty, would they publicize that they had died of Covid? I am not even sure that it was Covid which pushed the Queen off the edge or not. There is form for this. Back during the early years of the AIDS spread, prominent people who died of AIDS would have other reasons given for their deaths in the media and even on official death certificates. I think that that only changed with Rock Hudson announcing that he had AIDS back about 1984 and who died the following year.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        There’s no shame in having Covid, but I grew up in a world where apparently the only gay man in the country was Paul Lynde… it was pretty taboo, even more so if you were an actor. AIDS was a different kettle of fish.

        Reply
  36. Brunches with Cats

    Unrelated to links, but just wanted to note that today is Saint Lambert’s Day. Yep, there really is a Saint Lambert, and September 17 is his feast day.

    Lambert was Bishop of Maastricht in the late 7th century, during an era when two rival Frankish dynasties were vying for parts of what is now France (named for the Franks, who were German; go figure). The old guard was supplanted, under the leadership of one Charles Martel (Charlemagne’s grandfather), whose parentage Bishop Lambert openly questioned; essentially, he was calling him a bastard, in public. That put him on the sh!t list of Charles Martel’s father, an accomplished military leader, and his father’s mistress. Depending on the source, one or both of them had Lambert murdered — hard to know, since the Catholic Church appears to have scrubbed unseemly details from the background of Charlemagne, ruler of the newly established Holy Roman Empire. The official spin is that Lambert was martyred for his “defense of marriage.”

    Per Wikipedia,* “Very little is known about the life of Lambert. … He is described by early biographers as ‘a prudent young man of pleasing looks, courteous and well-behaved in his speech and manners, well-built, strong, a good fighter, clear-headed, affectionate, pure and humble, and fond of reading.'” ;-)
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lambert_of_Maastricht

    Anyway, for those still with us at this late hour, Happy St. Lam’s Day! Not sure what we should toast with. Maybe schnapps?

    * Acknowledging its overall unreliability as a source, but I’ve found that entries on early historical events often have some sound academic research in the footnote references.

    Reply

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