Links 9/26/22

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

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


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

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

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Natural Inspiration Science. “Far from being passive vessels at the mercy of their circumstances, organisms can influence evolution directly.”

Nasa’s Dart probe to smash into asteroid in first Earth defence test Guardian

Ravi Menon: Critical economic uncertainties Bank of International Settlements. Menon is Managing Director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

Beware the ‘Cover Curse:’ How to Tell When a Market Meltdown Is Overdone Bloomberg

Crypto industry is not as ethical as private equity, says buyout billionaire FT. Holy moley!


Exxon’s Long-Shot Embrace of Carbon Capture in the Houston Area Just Got Massive Support from Congress Inside Climate News

Salmon are nosing at the riverbanks trying to escape the Klamath River High Country News


‘The tools are getting picked off’: An ever-mutating mix of COVID variants means fewer and less effective treatments this fall Fortune

Why Omicron Might Stick Around NYT. Next two from this article–

Omicron sublineage BA.2.75.2 exhibits extensive escape from neutralising antibodies (preprint) bioRxiv. From the Abstract: “In recent serum samples from blood donors in Stockholm, Sweden, BA.2.75.2 was neutralised, on average, at titers approximately 6.5-times lower than BA.5, making BA.2.75.2 the most neutralisation resistant variant evaluated to date. These data raise concerns that BA.2.75.2 may effectively evade humoral immunity in the population.” Note the Competing Interest statement.

Imprinted SARS-CoV-2 humoral immunity induces convergent Omicron RBD evolution (preprint) bioRxiv. “The interaction between convergent evolution of escaping variants and less diversified antibody repertoire would ultimately lead to a highly escapable variants, posing a great challenge to current vaccines and antibody drugs. It could even be worse that infection with the predicted final convergent evolution variants may lead to increased disease severity due to the limited number of neutralizing antibodies elicited immediately after infection. … [O]ur results suggest herd immunity established by natural infection could hardly stop [Receptor Binding Domain (RBD)] evolution and end the pandemic, and vaccine boosters using BA.5 may not provide sufficiently broad protection against emerging subvariants harboring convergent mutations.” I’d be interested to hear what the Brain Trust thinks of these three links.

Vancouver mother lodges regulatory complaint against school district over ventilation CBC. For more on school ventilation, see NC here.


Xi’s Core Status Reaffirmed as Party Unveils Congress Invitees Bloomberg

About those rumors of a “coup” Sinocism. I believe this New York-based account was the epicenter of the rumors, which were all over my Twitter feed for a day or so:

I thought this was the funniest take:

Not sure about Falun Gong, though.

* * *

What is China really doing in the Global South? The China Project

* * *

Here to stay? China’s cityscapes transformed by thousands of COVID test booths Reuters. Well, that’s the approach a serious country would take.

* * *

Here’s the strategy to prevent China from taking Taiwan The Hill. RAND and Brookings.

Defeat China’s Navy, Defeat China’s War Plan War on the Rocks

The Defence Strategic Review: China is not a military threat Pearls and Irritations. Australia.

The Koreas

Presidential Election Through the Lens of Participation and Cynicism The Blue Roof

Sophisticated scams lure job seekers into South-East Asia’s lawless corners The Star


18 men rescued in Kolkata as police bust interstate job racket Hindustan Times


Hundreds of protesters clash with riot police across London over death of woman, 22, arrested in Iran for breaking country’s hijab laws: At least five cops wounded in demos outside Islamic centres and embassy in UK capital as global fury turns violent Daily Mail

The Exiled Dissident Fuelling the Hijab Protests in Iran Dexter Filkins, The New Yorker. I must say that I’m very dubious when convenient narratives suddenly appear, especially when the evidence is mostly video, especially when we have form with regard to the Axis of Evil, and especially when the narratives confirm the priors of an important Democrat constituency, PMC women. Sadly, however, reverse engineering the truth out of bullshit is very, very difficult. That said, the deck: “Since 2014, Masih Alinejad has published videos of Iranian women removing their head scarves. When a twenty-two-year-old died last week in the morality police’s custody, the country exploded.” Alinejad’s funding over the years:

Alinejad is a vendor for Voice of America, US Agency for Global Media, etc. Apparently the vaunted New Yorker fact-checking department missed this detail when the article was first posted, as the correction at the end of the article shows.

* * *

Libyan Held at Guantánamo Bay Is Approved for Transfer NYT. The deck: “The move continues the Biden administration’s efforts to reduce the population of the wartime prison and find nations willing to take in the detainees.”

European Disunion

Italy on track to elect most right-wing government since Mussolini Politico. Commentary:

* * *

The EU is sleepwalking into anarchy Unherd

European industry buckles under weight of soaring energy prices Irish Examiner

Germany Secures Just One Tanker of Gas During Scholz’s Gulf Tour Bloomberg

* * *

Berlin Has a Surprising Soft Spot for Its Soviet Memorials Bloomberg

Dear Old Blighty

Can “It” (1976) Happen Again? Stephanie Kelton, The Lens. A sterling crisis.

Grief Totalitarianism (podcast) London Review of Books

New Not-So-Cold War

In Ukraine, the US is dragging us towards war with Russia John Pilger, Guardian. From 2014, still germane.

Putin just escalated his war in Ukraine. Here’s your expert guide to what’s coming next. Atlantic Council

* * *

Ukrainians scared by Russia’s preordained referendums AP. Not sure I like the house-to-house balloting much. But I like the prospect of Azovs blowing up a few polling locations even less. And as I’ve said, I’m flabbergasted that Ukraine’s tactic of shelling the Donbas hasn’t proved to be a vote-getter, at least in the Donbas. ‘Tis a puzzlement!

Kazakhstan snubs Russia, says it won’t recognise referendums in Ukraine Hindustan Times

* * *

In Ukraine’s South, Fierce Fighting and Deadly Costs NYT. “The Ukrainian government does not usually disclose casualty figures, but the soldiers and commanders interviewed in the past week portrayed the battlefield losses as ‘high’ and ‘massive.’ They described large offensives in which columns of Ukrainian tanks and armored vehicles tried to cross open fields only to be pounded mercilessly by Russian artillery and blown up by Russian mines.”

* * *

News from the home front: Russia under conditions of partial mobilization Gilbert Doctorow

Military briefing: How will Russia’s mobilisation affect the war in Ukraine? FT

All the Tsar’s Men Foreign Affairs

Biden Administration

Wildly Popular And Under Attack: The Political Battle Over America’s Public Lands HuffPo

Supply Chain

Ukraine ports have shipped around 4.7mn tonnes of food under grain deal Hellenic Shipping News

Police State Watch

FBI misled judge who signed warrant for Beverly Hills seizure of $86 million in cash LA Times. The FBI? Surely not.

Woman seriously hurt after Colorado police car she was placed in is hit by a train NBC

Imperial Collapse Watch

Why trade couldn’t buy peace FT

Nimitz Drinking Water Contaminated With Jet Fuel, Navy Acknowledges

Class Warfare

U.S. rail agreement was presented as a done deal. Now that they’ve seen it, workers disagree Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Two biggest rail unions won’t tally contract votes until the middle of November Trains. Mission accomplished!

I tried replacing Google with TikTok, and it worked better than I thought The Verge. I just installed it. I will say that the onboarding is very easy (and you can search and watch right away easily). I did a search on “N95” and found 3M Aura videos right away, along with fit-testing some duckbills. The results pages wasn’t crapped up with ads, either. OTOH, the short video world is alien to me. But maybe I need to give up the unequal battle….

Antidote du Jour (via):

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Double Bonus Antidote:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. Antifa

    (melody borrowed from The Battle of New Orleans by Jimmy Horton)

    In 2014 we took a little trip
    To help the Banderistas in Kiev grab ownership
    Of all of Ukraine’s government by a Koodee Tat
    Their President he vanished, and our guys came to bat

    We had ourselves a color revolution
    There wasn’t any voting without fascists shouting NO
    We forced them to rewrite their Constitution
    We blew it all to pieces like the walls of Jericho

    We went with Vicki Nuland as the leader of the coup
    She brought the means and money and had people in a queue
    She knew her stuff, she put snipers on the roof
    She said the cops and protesters were hardly bulletproof

    And we had ourselves a color revolution
    There wasn’t any voting without fascists shouting NO
    We forced them to rewrite their Constitution
    We blew it all to pieces like the walls of Jericho

    Then Vicki said, We can take ’em by surprise
    If we shoot a few from either side, they’ll blame the other guys.

    We shot at random people till we’d fired every shell
    The crowd got fighting mad and then the whole thing went to . . .

    Well, we had ourselves a color revolution
    There wasn’t any voting without fascists shouting NO
    We forced them to rewrite their Constitution
    We blew it all to pieces like the walls of Jericho

    Yeah, we got ’em all so angry screaming at their opposition
    That nobody noticed Vicki picking people for each role
    She selected who she wanted, they all got an audition
    But no one got a job who didn’t sell her their soul

    She settled for old Yatsenyuk as President to start
    A man who hates all Russians and keeps Europe in his heart
    It only took a day to get the documents all signed
    A Banderista government carefully designed

    We had ourselves a color revolution
    There wasn’t any voting without fascists shouting NO
    We forced them to rewrite their Constitution
    We blew it all to pieces like the walls of Jericho

    Yeah, we got ’em all so angry screaming at their opposition
    That nobody noticed Vicki naming people for each role
    She selected who she wanted, they all got an audition
    But no one got a job who didn’t sell her their soul

    Hut, two, three, four
    Sound off, three, four
    Hut, two, three, four
    Sound off, three, four
    Hut, two, three, four
    Hut, two, three, four

      1. Janie

        His home town of Mountain View, Arkansas, is a fun visit. It has the national folk music center, pickin’ porches all over town, music pavilions in the park for anyone who wants to jam and great scenery nearby.

      2. Janie

        PS. James Morris write the song. he was the high school principal; he wrote songs for students bored in the history classes he taught.

          1. Janie

            According to local history, yes. His students, especially the boys, expected a rural life and thought history was a waste of time. His stage name was Jimmy Driftwood. He cultivated the folk music fans in colleges during the Vietnam era and promoted a folk festival in his home town. To the locals’ amazement, it was a huge hit. He got Wilbur Mills’ backing for a folk music center and tourism revived the town.

        1. Antifa

          As a journalist I could not adhere
          To the Who-What-When rules they hold dear
          No one at the Times
          Likes quatrains on high crimes
          And soon I was out on my ear

    1. Mildred Montana

      Antifa: For your consideration another Johnny Horton song, “North to Alaska” about the gold rush at the end of the 19th century.

      I long ago posted a brief and totally inadequate parody of this tune. I called it “South to Atlanta” and it ridiculed the pharmas and the current vaccine gold rush:

      “Where the government’s buyin’
      Big profits we’re findin’
      South to Atlanta
      We’re goin’ south the rush is on”

      Perhaps you’d like to lend your talents to an extended parody of this song.

    2. GT

      The battle of Mariupol

      Well we fired our guns but the Azovs kept a-comin’
      There wasn’t nigh as many as there was a while ago
      So we fired once more and they began to runnin’
      Down the Kalmius river to the gulf of Mariupol.

      The Azovs ran through the briars and they ran through the brambles
      They ran through the bushes where a rabbit couldn’t go
      Oh they ran so fast, so the Russians couldn’t catch ‘em
      Down the Kalmius river to the gulf of Mariupol.

  2. Cocomaan

    Kids these days get everything from TikTok and don’t do nearly as much Google searching. It’s hard to emphasize how much time
    They are on the app. Interesting how Chinese intelligence did a better job at capturing the youth than American.

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          I really don’t know how accurate this is, but Tucker Carlson did a segment awhile ago on the differences between american TikTok and the Chinese version, which is, apparently, called “Douyin.”

          The “expert” Tucker interviews contends that the algorithms for the Chinese version push educational, scientific and historical content while the non-Chinese algos are designed for the rest of the world to “become imbeciles.” The Chinese also impose age and time limits on the use of the site.

          1. bonks

            It is true but not in the way he’s framed it. Tiktok algorithm is unregulated so the feed will show whatever the algo thinks you’re interested in. Douyin on the other hand has recently been told to focus more on “healthier” content so the algo is steered towards science, math and family-friendly content with a periodical reminder that they’ve used the app for x amount of time.

            This policy kicked in around the same time when the government introduced regulations on online gaming for minors. Obviously when the announcement was made the western press had a field day. It was too easy to frame the entire exercise as another authoritarian policy rather than the government’s broader policies to make parenting and child education a little less stressful in the age of social media.

    1. Lex

      To be fair, googling things is a borderline exercise in futility unless you’re looking for what google wants you to find. Even constructing librarian level searches in google mostly gets you a firehose of the same information that’s really what you’re looking for and is repeated by all the hits on the first three pages. Duck Duck Go is now even worse. I have no idea what searching on Tik Tok is like but I’m almost ready to try it.

      1. CanCyn

        I spent a lot of the years of my career as a college librarian trying to teach students to use google effectively, I would hate to be trying to do it now. Google is totally onboard with the neoliberal agenda – I would add to Lambert’s rules:
        3. If you’re alive, buy stuff.
        That is all google seems to want me to do, buy stuff. I am no longer surprised by all the ads at the top of my searches but I do hate them very much.
        I hate video only content and I avoid apps as much as possible so I am not yet ready to go to Tik Tok. I sometimes think the day will come when NC is the only website I visit!

        1. Carla

          All Google OR Duck Duck Go want me to do is buy stuff FROM AMAZON.

          I refuse to buy from Amazon, so my online purchase options are extremely limited to say the least. Fortunately, I’m not much of a consumer and have been able to get most things I really need locally.

      2. GramSci

        Brave has been working ok for me. It has improved over the last six months. Tuck Tuck Ko relies upon SicroMoft Ping! and refuses to acknowledge “Garen Karcia” or “sardonic-key”. (She must have really gotten under Gill Bates’ skin.)

        I’m forced to speak in code because Watt Wullenweg’s sensor, used by this platform, seems to also depend upon Ping!

          1. GramSci

            Yes, thank you. TuckTuckKo and Brave both buy indexes from Ping! Apparently Brave also now buys synonym files and possibly blacklist files from Ping!. A week ago a search for “Garen Karcia” (properly spelled) on Brave returned numerous hits downpage linked to her blog “sardonic-key”. I just tested again now, and it no longer shows these.

            However Brave does still link to the blog as its top hit on the term “sardonic-key” (if you spell it properly).

            Google also seems to still yield hits on sardonic-key, but we’re running out of search engines.

      3. Mark Gisleson

        Yandex works pretty good even though Firefox won’t let me use it as my default browser. Yandex image search is clearly working from a different database than Google/DuckDuckGo, and so far as I can tell, Yandex Translate does much better with non-Roman alphabet translations and does automatic corrections when you pick the wrong language.

        1. YankeeFrank

          Craig Murray mentions in a recent piece that if you search for “Swastikas on Ukrainian Tanks”:

          “It is also worth noting that while the Google results totally exclude any material about Nazi symbols used by Ukrainian troops in the current conflict, the search does include images from pro-Ukrainian sites that claim to debunk these images, rightly or wrongly.”

          I have been using DuckDuckGo for over a decade now but it is ruined.

      4. C.O.

        Alas, the latest word among search engine afficianados is that DuckDuckGo is now pretty much a skin on Bing. I think originally there was an agreement for DuckDuckGo to use Bing’s image search results, but if so that is not where things stayed.

      1. Mildred Montana

        >”Personally I really hate Youtube and other video how to explanations.”

        I’ve found them very helpful on occasion.

        1. I removed, dismantled, cleaned, re-assembled, and remounted an oven door using a YouTube video. After talking to several people who didn’t know how to do it YT became my last resort, especially for the remounting which was quite difficult. In this case, YouTube was a godsend.

        2. I removed and replaced the agitator in a washing machine. Again, I don’t think I could have done it without the video. Believe me, I tried.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          I’ve found YT videos are usually very useful for things like home appliance or bike repairs – far better than the usual manuals for these things. I’m often amazed at how some videos on apparently very obscure products can have many thousands of views.

          1. barefoot charley

            As an off-gridder I’m a slave to owner’s manuals–which are going extinct. If I luck onto a human on the ‘help’ lines now, they tell me to google what I’m looking for and, sure enough, the manufacturers themselves make shorts telling you how to program and troubleshoot stuff. Hosted by young women with lovely polished fingernails pushing the buttons, no less!

          2. hk

            Yes, with regards to fixing stuff, youtube videos are wonderful.

            With regards anything “conceptual,” youtube videos are often worse than useless.

            In hell, Google will track down incomprehensible wordly pdf’s for all fix-it instructions and videos for everything conceptual.

        2. Nikkikat

          I had water damage from a leak in drywall. YouTube video showed how to cut out bad piece and fix wall. Turned out great. I have fixed my dishwasher, fixed my car and any number of things around the house. I hate YouTube’s censorship and try not to use it unless there is a need such as making a repair. I never use google but as most have said here, duck duck go isn’t what it used to be.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      I devote some time every day to language learning clips on YT and its notable that many of the best language content creators have migrated from YT to either TicToc or the new short clip feature YT uses to compete. Even some quite technical-oriented channels seem to be making the move or experimenting with it.

      Many are surprisingly good and very creative – the restrictions imposed by the short format seems to make content creators work harder (especially in comedy). But it obviously triggers the ‘just one more’ click impulse which is so annoying, but also so profitable for them.

      I am still a refusenik for TicToc (its terms and conditions for signing up make even Google look like a model for good practice), but right now it seems to be eating FB and YT’s lunch, and maybe Twitter and Instagram too, which is no bad thing.

  3. Lex

    Iran published a video purporting to show the woman collapsing at the meeting she attended and being carried out by stretcher to an ambulance. I’m skeptical but I’m also skeptical of the western reaction.

    Neo-fascism will be the response to the collapse of neo-liberalism simply because the real left has been hollowed out in the west. Also, US intelligence agencies are always willing to support neo-fascists, just like they always had a soft spot for original fascists.

    1. digi_owl

      more like neo-fascism is neo-liberalism doubling down.

      After all originally fascism was embraced as an alternative to communism for dealing with the great depression, as it allowed the monied to keep their holdings (as long as they played nice with the dictates on high).

  4. The Rev Kev

    “Hundreds of protesters clash with riot police across London over death of woman, 22, arrested in Iran for breaking country’s hijab laws: At least five cops wounded in demos outside Islamic centres and embassy in UK capital as global fury turns violent”

    CCTV footage has emerged from the Iranian Police Station where Mahsa Amini died which is telling a different story over the circumstances of her death. Of course people are asking why a 22-year old girl would collapse & eventually die and some people have their own suspicions-

    1. psv

      As to Masih Alinejad, Lambert is quite correct to be suspicious of her, and the funding chart is useful.

      Twitter again has suggested over time that many men and women in Iran are very skeptical of her and see her as a foreign agent, among them those who are against compulsory hijab.

      Just as an example, here is a tweet from today from twitter account “Godofpersiian” which has received over 23k likes and 12k retweets in less than half a day. The translation:

      Friends abroad
      Don’t listen to the words of Masih Alinejad
      Do not attack the embassies
      Only peaceful protests
      We’ll lose our support from abroad
      Don’t be deceived
      Be our voice

      Hey, if God says so…

    1. Polar Socialist

      Do they mean a segregating state run by zealots, funded by The West and a source of constant instability in the area?

      Sounds about right, but I doubt they need a plan for that, since the transformation has mostly happened already.

    2. YankeeFrank

      Or a tiny Israel, depending on where the Russians decide to stop.

      My wife has been saying for weeks now that regardless of the outcome the US will say “we” won the war and its already happening. Apparently the WSJ editorial page and Peggy Noonan have given the outlines (via comments at Gilbert Doctorow’s site):

      “We won the Ukrainian war, but we had to negotiate a surrender in order to save the world [from madman Putin and his nukes]. We are the world’s saviors twice over.”

      So the outcome for Ukraine the nation is irrelevant, it’s Ukraine the idea the west will promote.

      To quote a famous American composer also allegedly done in by the CIA: “And so castles made of sand, melt into the sea, eventually.”

      1. digi_owl

        US/NATO pretty much set its win condition from the get go by going hard on Russia heading for the Atlantic before Putin’s SMO signature was even dry. Thus Russia stopping anywhere short of that will be a “win”.

    3. The Rev Kev

      I saw a tweet in that article saying ‘More and more Israeli soldiers are showing up in Ukraine, ready to fight against the Russian Army.’ I hope that those guys remember that unlike the Palestinians, the Russians have massive artillery formations. And they get to shoot back – as those ex-NATO guys found out. Also, a coupla days ago the Russians nailed 300 mercs and a day or two later nailed another 50. So I ask them – is this wise?

      1. Mark Gisleson

        The Western news media gives them a cloak of invisibility which keeps everyone but Russian artillery from seeing them.

      2. Chas

        That’s interesting because Israel didn’t send even a single soldier to help the USA in its wars against Iraq and Afghanistan and the USA didn’t even care. Now Israeli soldiers want to fight Russia.

      3. PlutoniumKun

        I’d love to be a fly on the wall in the training unit showers when the Israeli soldiers can see for the first time some of their new comrades hidden tattoos.

        1. Oh

          With the exception of a few hundred thousand people the Israelis only care about themselves and are warmongers. They don’t want to get along with their neighbors and want to grab their resources.

  5. Sibiryak

    Giorgia Meloni is a danger to Italy and the rest of Europe –The Guardian

    Meloni’s moral and economic inspiration is Viktor Orbán , the man who in recent years has destroyed the opposition in Hungary and achieved legitimacy by weaponising popular consensus.

    Hmmm, “weaponizing popular consensus”? Is that the essence of “electoral autocracy”?

    Or is the liberal establishment simply weaponizing the word “weaponizing” again?

    1. Ignacio

      Mario Draghi was the weapon of EU’s PMC in Italy. Monetary policies are weaponised against the populace… anything is a weapon these war days.

    2. foghorn longhorn

      And they haven’t even called her a putin puppet yet, they must be losing steam on their fastball.

      1. Sibiryak

        Meloni is too “ambiguous”, apparently, to be a pure Putin Puppet.

        Meloni appears the most dangerous Italian political figure not because she explicitly evokes fascism or the practices of the black-shirted squadristi (militia), but because of her ambiguity.

        During the election campaign she promoted a democratic, liberal-conservative side. She condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and has been vocal in support of Nato and military aid for Kyiv.

        But she opposed EU sanctions on Russia after the annexation of Crimea in 2014. And in her 2021 book I Am Giorgia she wrote that Putin’s Russia “defends European values ​​and Christian identity”.

        Matteo Salvini, the leader of the League, gets the blame for his admiration of Putin, but the radical right in Italy more broadly has positioned itself close to Putinism. Meloni avoids Salvini’s mistakes. Yet they were both, together with Berlusconi, part of the political alliance that most supported closer economic ties with Russia.

        –the Guardian

        1. BillC

          It’s going to be amusing watching the Anglosphere press try to get a handle on Meloni and her coalition. I’ve lived in Italy for 18 years in 3 stretches since 1980 and concluded early on that ambiguity is wired deep in Italian genes. Even on the road, folks like to straddle lane markings. It’s tough to pry out a clear, unambiguous answer to any question more complex than “is the sun shining?”

        2. JP

          Been reading a history of the life and times of the Borgia pope. Today’s enemy becomes tomorrows ally. The day after that they are again the enemy. Ever shifting bedfellows and never ending skullduggery.

          Not a lot has changed in Italian politics since the 15th century.

    3. flora

      The neoliberals are unhappy with this outcome which isn’t going according to their TINA plan. There are cracks starting to show. Can’t say I like the winning side. Also can’t say I like the neoliberal side.

      1. Michael Ismoe

        I thought the picture above of Meloni was very interesting. Her right arm raised was a nice touch. Apparently, our guys don’t like losing. The Orbanization of Italy has begun.

        Stay out of small planes and the Saudi embassy in Ankara, Sweetie.

        1. ArvidMartensen

          And, on behalf of the President, let me just say that those reports, to be published next year, of US help with scientific “experiments” done by US owned social media and US owned search engines to nudge Italians towards voting for Meloni, is more Russian disinformation.
          And in 5 years time when the big Z(ucker) finally appears yet again in front of Congress to apologise for oversights and to promise to do better in the future, I will absolutely believe it was all just a giant mistake and there was absolutely no plan to influence the voters of Italy towards voting for a fascist supporter of Ukraine.
          Who was to know she would do a reverse Zelenskiyy backflip?

  6. Tom Stone

    If the US is a wealthy Nation why can’t we afford to feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, provide basic medical care for the populace, repair failing levees, bridges and schools?
    These issues have become too obvious to be ignored and “RUSSIA” is wearing thin as an excuse.
    “Because Markets, Go die” may be the reason but it;s hard to sell.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      I think you’ve stated an important and fundamental question. It leads to one of those even bigger Questions about the goal/destiny/purpose of humanity along these lines:

      Should humanity be focused on lifting up a few as high as possible or on making sure everyone has their basic needs met?

      The former is a Pharoah-type society. We make bricks with straw to build pyramids for the Pharoahs. In more modern terms, we dine on sh-t sandwiches so that Elon and Jeff can go to Mars. Lao-Tzu writes about the impact of such a mindset and the sources of the human urge to be “great:”

      The great way is low and plain,
      but people like shortcuts over the mountain.

      The palace is full of splendor,
      and the fields are full of weeds
      and the granaries are full of nothing.

      Tao te Ching #53 (Le Guin rendition)

      That last verse describes our current situation very well.

      That predilection to seek ever greater challenges, sacrificing equity for the perceived benefits of competition, leads inevitably to the kinds of rot we’re experiencing now.

    2. John

      All excellent questions for which you provide the answer. Don’t some insist the USA is a Christian nation? Are some the the items you cite echoes of well-known verses in Matthew’s gospel? Do I detect a strong odor of hypocrisy?

  7. The Rev Kev

    “Nimitz Drinking Water Contaminated With Jet Fuel, Navy Acknowledges”

    I understands that in the US Navy that you can still smoke aboard surface ships but not submarines. But maybe it might be wise to ban all smoking in the ‘head’ until the situation sorts itself out.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      Rev, if you were watching sports or news on American TV right now, you would see ad after ad from plantiff’s lawyers seeking clients in the class action suit that arose out of the contamination of the water supply at Camp Lejune from the 50s through the 80s.

      Some things never change. Troops are always cannon fodder, even when they’re not being shot at.

        1. doug

          Those stories do not make it to the nearby local paper around the bases. They appear to have a policy of no bad news about Ft. xxxx from my personal experience living near a large base.
          Maybe one of the TV stations might carry a short segment, but no real journalism allowed.

        2. John

          And to think how loudly the shout of “Support the Troops” rings across the land and echoes in the halls of Congress. But when it comes to actually supporting the troops, the purse snaps shut. Meanwhile there is an unending supply of ‘pork’ and largesse for the weapons purveyors. On the other hand ‘pork’ is part of getting re-elected and the once-upon-a-time ‘merchants of death’ own stock in the government.

        3. Bart Hansen

          How? One reason is that the PMC keeps the civilian minimum wage below $15 an hour, a figure that is not livable.

          The military gives young people a sign up bonus, room and board, along with camaraderie and some money to save up for a car. Lately that does not tempt enough qualified volunteers to meet quotas.

          1. Brunches with Cats

            “Kids these days” don’t want any job requiring them to pee in a cup on demand. Plus, the military services won’t let them text their friends all day or — gasp! — wear their hair however they want. (There was a big flap some years ago when one of the services was accused of racial discrimination for not allowing AA women to wear corn rows. As a result, the regs were relaxed substantially, both for men and women. Back in the day, I got dinged just for pulling back my flyaway hair in a neat ponytail. Nowadays, ponytails are OK, but no frosts, blue streaks, or purple hair.)

    2. Anthony G Stegman

      I found it odd that jet fuel contaminating drinking water on an aircraft carrier is even news. It is very common, and nearly unavoidable. I served on an aircraft carrier. The potable water was often tainted with JP-5. So much so that everyone joked about it. I guess in the age of social media incidents like what happened on the Nimitz get blown out of proportion. Back in the day it was no big deal.

      1. Lex

        Back in the day before that it was super common for naval ships to be heavily insulated with asbestos on the pipes. The primary epidemiological discovery that led to the lawsuits that changed asbestos use was that the first major group of people who got sick were WWII Navy vets (many went on to post war construction jobs which didn’t help).

  8. griffen

    So the tentative agreement with the railroad companies, to avert a strike from the union, is seeming less tangible and settled. I am shocked at this outcome! \sarc

    I’m not a railroad worker, but if I were I would also be a little skittish on agreeing to those terms. 30 days in advance for a medical appointment? That approach already put someone in an early grave and it just seems likely that would not be an isolated occurrence.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      From the Fort Worth Star-Telegram link:

      Now that he’s read the tentative agreement, Hauger feels the agreement was the result of behind-the-scenes political deal-making aimed at protecting Democrats ahead of the midterm elections. “This was 100% a way to avert a strike by an industry that is the very backbone of this nation’s economy prior to the midterms,” he said. “It would have been an absolute death knell for the Dems had we gone on strike.”He plans to vote “no” on the agreement. Many of his coworkers both at his terminal and among communities online are planning to do the same.

      So, speaking of ploys to staunch democrat bleeding in November, have those student loans been “forgiven” yet?

      1. Lex

        My wife got $20K forgiven last week, but that may have been related to non-profit employment rather than Biden’s forgiveness plan. Don’t know.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        If the railroad workers begin a real industry-wide strike before the midterms, such a strike would offer
        voting-ponderers a way to separate the paleodemocrats ( if any ) from the neodemocrats. Any paleodemocratic office-seekers would support such a strike in public as part of their campaign and be prepared to lose over that support. If someone were looking for a New Dealish type Democrat to vote for, that would be a minimal litmus test.

        The neodemocrat officeseekers will find a way to oppose such a strike, either overtly or with cleverly Nixonian non-opposal opposals. Wind-sniffing New Centrist Democrats would keep sniffing wind while making their minds up. If one wanted to purge and burn the DemParty officeseeker cadres all the way down to a purified paleodemocrat stub ( to then rebuild from), that might be a way to begin doing it this November.

        ( In these terms, I would generously hope that someone like Sanders or Kucinich or Kaptur might reveal themselves to be paleodemocrats) in such a scenario.

        If three Democratic Congressional Officeseekers this November supported a rail strike ( if there becomes such a thing ) , then that would be three paleodemocrats. If those three paleodemocrats
        were the only DemParty members elected to Congress, then they would be a stub to build back from, if one were to regard the DemParty as a Clintonoma patient to be cured rather than a corpse to be buried.

        A few Red Gingriches.

        1. JBird4049

          I have no good knowledge about how the union members feel towards a strike, but what is to stop them from wildcatting? It looks like the union leadership along with the railroads and the federal government has just about put a shiv in or at least not acted in good faith. Yes, I suppose the workers could be fired, arrested, or fined into bankruptcy, but so what? Doing so just means that the trains would not run for a long time. The workers are already being driven out. Who would want to work for the railroads?

  9. The Rev Kev

    ‘Mark Ames
    We’re only 7 months into this wretched war, and already the neofascists are back in power in Italy for the first time since Mussolini, and neo-Nazis are in power in NATO’s newest member Sweden.’

    I’m not sure that Ames has a handle on the situation. No matter what choices are offered their electorates by the different parties, usually they are agreed on three things – total support for the Ukraine, full support for the EU and full support for NATO. It’s like that old magician’s trick where they say ‘Pick a card – any card’ knowing that the deck is stacked. But maybe what people are doing is choosing parties that totally frustrate what the elites are pushing for. If that sounds familiar, think about the US 2016 election when it was agreed by all the right people that Hilary would ascend to the Presidency as the first Madame President. So enough people jacked up and chose Trump as being the lessor evil which caused many right-thinking people’s heads to explode. Same here. The left and greens in Europe seem to be happy to see their peoples impoverished and freezing in a dark apartment come this winter because negotiations can never be considered. So it seems that people are choosing parties which freak the EU elite out as a form of counter-strike.

    1. Lex

      I’m not familiar enough with Italian politics to comment on it specifically, but in addition to your point, the “left” in the west has become so thoroughly establishment that it offers no alternative to the status quo. Consequently, any real protest vote has to go to the far right.

      1. John

        I am not familiar enough with Italian or any other European country’s politics to comment sensibly on the prospects for neo-fascists or anything else, but as the self-imposed energy squeeze really begins to bite, I thing going short on European political stability is a winning position to hold.

      2. Werther

        And that protest vote doesn’t prelude any change in the basic geopolitics. It might make things considerably difficult for the EU-institutions to function. But the Atlanticist and NATO-orientation seems not to be in discussion. At least, considering what I sense in the Netherlands. About a third of the electorate now favors protest- and far right parties. All of them want changes in the EU-status, all of them want to re-invest in the military and support further military aid for Ukraine. I should be more nuanced, there are some differences, but that might be too detailed here. Next election up; Provincials march ’23… if the actual government can hold out that long?

      3. Chas

        I think we may see some Italians attempt to establish a real left wing party if they are cold and hungry enough this winter. The corporate parties have been able to destroy the frameworks of the established left parties but hopefully not the spirit of people just trying to survive.

        1. digi_owl

          That would be interesting, as supposedly right after WW2 the communist party was so strong in Italy that USA rigged the system against them.

    2. BillS

      The Italian election result, IMO, was due entirely to the lack of any alternative. The Partito Democratico has shown itself to represent the worst of the groveling Third Way center left that would be recognizable to observers of the rotting corpse of the Democrat Party in the good ol’ US of A – Pro war, anti Russia. anti worker, PMC thru & thru. Having a Wall Street banker as PM for the last few years I’m sure played well to Giovanni 6 Pack on the street. There are small left and green parties that were not trumpeting the Atlanticist line, but these are really small groups on the margins, and hence, can not really influence policy in any meaningful way. In Italian politics, the parties are experts at blowing a lot of hot air about what they are going to do, but when they achieve government, they rarely achieve much more than a lot of talk. FdI will probably suffer the same fate, as there is always the possibility that Matteo Salvini’s Lega could blow everything up if he is not satisfied. (He will probably get the Interior Ministry, hence if you even look like a migrant or a dirtbag protester, you will have a higher probability of getting your head bashed in.)

      People voted for FdI because Meloni seemed the only one with any clear conviction. Many people who would be otherwise suspicious of FdI’s fascist background voted for them because of the lack of any other viable alternative. The old PCI (Partito Comunista Italiana) may have done just as well, had they still existed.

    3. YankeeFrank

      The only reply to neoliberal fascism is traditional fascism apparently, given the terminal decline of the left thanks to woke/trans ideology which really put an end to a movement that felt like it was returning in 2016. I know I sound like a crackpot these days but good job CIA (the chaos that woke and trans bring to our society has MKUltra perversion written all over it).

      The GK Chesterton quote Meloni uses at the end of her speech is good but it leaves out the subtlety of his statement, which begins:

      “Truths turn into dogmas the instant that they are disputed. Thus every man who utters a doubt defines a religion. And the scepticism of our time does not really destroy the beliefs, rather it creates them; gives them their limits and their plain and defiant shape. We who are Liberals once held Liberalism lightly as a truism. Now it has been disputed, and we hold it fiercely as a faith…”

      He is of course referring to classical liberalism, not the compromised second draft, which oddly or not seems to contain much of the original implicitly, but I digress.

      So it turns out traditional fascism is no cure for neoliberal fascism but it sure makes for stirring speeches. The tragedy of it all is there are important ideas in both socialist and fascist ideology but we only get the worst of each, never the synthesis and moderation of the best.

      1. An Alt

        I’m a long-time reader (since the beginning, I think?) and occasional commenter here and I feel compelled to respond to some of the language you’ve used here.

        The only reply to neoliberal fascism is traditional fascism apparently, given the terminal decline of the left thanks to woke/trans ideology which really put an end to a movement that felt like it was returning in 2016. I know I sound like a crackpot these days but good job CIA (the chaos that woke and trans bring to our society has MKUltra perversion written all over it).

        Political parties and politicians may be using causes and issues related to transpeople in a manner that sows conflict. This may be counterproductive at times. Reasonable people may disagree with the right amount and shape of public policy support for particular trans issues. But “trans” was not brought into our society by anyone in the past century, the CIA or otherwise. Transpeople and others not fitting ascribed birth gender have existed in cultures on earth for millennia. Many transpeople don’t want to be singled out as trans. They live, as individuals, the way they choose, feeling more comfortable in their skin one way than another. The current culture of anger at politicos over related issues should not overshadow the right of people, transpeople or otherwise, to self-determination, to living their lives as they choose.

        Why speak up? The very same people I describe above, who are just trying to live their lives, are at increased odds of harm and attack when the window of acceptable discourse shifts to “trans” bringing “chaos”. Disagree on the issues (and attack politicians as they deserve), but show respect the people in the middle of the issues. I am particularly fearful of what the backlash of the next several years will be. Politicos may use trans issues opportunistically but not provide the people affected with safety and support. Someone living their life five years ago, quietly minding their business in a manner harming nobody, might now find themselves a target of attack due to this shift in acceptable discourse.

        1. Offtrail

          A good, thoughtful response. Well said.

          Without question people should be allowed to be who they are, full stop.

          The problem that some people, including myself, have with this issue is that it has been blown up to overwhelm more important issues that affect more people. Further, the topic of gender has become so ideologized and so conceptual in some progressive circles that it has become unintelligible to most people. Or worse, an excuse to use a whip on others.

          Circling back, that does not conflict with recognizing the importance of accepting individuals’ personal experience.

    4. KD

      It is not clear that Italy has a path forward if it remains in the currency union, as it has its hands tied under the Maastricht Treaty. Its not clear that Italy has a path forward if it leaves the currency union, because it has so much Euro denominated debt, it is basically owned by the German banks. The de-industrialization of Germany means that the entire EU is going under, but the choice is go down with the ship or jump into freezing arctic waters without a wet suit and try to make the 500 mile swim. If this is the reincarnation of Italian fascism, it is coming to power right in the late stages of a Russian roulette game.

      My guess, they will be forced to implement all the austerity measures the masters demand, then serve as the scapegoat for the blow back. Rah, rah, Immigrants bad won’t save them. The problem is no longer geopolitical but a total destruction of the politico/economic post-war order of Europe.

  10. Hip Priest

    I guess any doubts I had over whether the US elites believed their own propaganda are laid to rest by that Atlantic Council piece. Do none of these idiots know that most of the Russian infantry has been kept out of Ukraine?

    It’s not that hard to find out how the Russian army is structured, or what a Russian reservist actually is. But apparently beyond these clowns.

  11. FlyoverBoy

    After staying secluded and clean the whole of the pandemic, I got Omicron last month (almost certainly from my wife’s dental hygienist’s kids. What are you gonna do?) I must say, Paxlovid treated it very effectively. But do the new variants evade Paxlovid?

  12. KD

    Putin just escalated his war in Ukraine. Here’s your expert guide to what’s coming next

    The US and Ukraine should double down to win the war while deterring nuclear use. . .

    I would have never guessed.

    The reality is that all the models show limited nuclear strike become total nuclear strike pretty quickly, so if the Kremlin ordered nukes, they likely wouldn’t use tactical, they would just launch everything they had at NATO, as retaliation is coming anyways, so knock out as much capability as possible.

    So much cope, so little numeracy, as if the cheerleaders could win the football game without the players.

    1. YankeeFrank

      Which brings to mind the great Twilight Zone episode where the spook says about the response to a first strike:

      “Not so many, nor so well aimed.”

      As if they’re not already aimed and as if even a tiny fraction of successful strikes wouldn’t destroy the world. Putin clearly knows this but I’m sure Russia has their Strangelovian characters as well (so let’s pray for his health): with their poseidons and hypersonic missiles they may think they have the upper hand.

      So let’s pretend we won and call it a day. How ’bout a beer fellas?

      1. KD

        Martyanov had a discussion claiming that Russia’s air defense and anti-missile capabilities could survive a (counterforce) strike from the U.S. I am skeptical but he knows more that I do, it just sounds like Russian chauvinism.

        I also saw an article the other day (can’t find it), claiming Russia’s nuclear arsenal is fake and doesn’t work. Sounds like a bet that someone shouldn’t take, but people can convince themselves of all kinds of crazy things. However, it would not be surprising if there are plenty in the Russian security establishment that think i.) Russia can win a nuclear war, and ii.) America would be toast, iii.) China would be the remaining superpower, so much for the Taiwan dispute.

        Hopefully Phillip K. Dick was actually crazy and not channeling voices from the post-nuclear future.

        1. Old Sovietologist

          Here’s something for commentators to ponder on.

          With the threat of nuclear war being pumped up especially by the Americans. Are we about to see an October surprise.

          Biden saves the world from nuclear holocaust and comes to an agreement with Russia to end the Ukraine conflict just before the mid terms.

          Fanciful of course. Will it happen? Not really but such a deal would likely help the Dems in the elections and would be met by delight in European capitals. It’s a win win for all.

          Joe Biden the man that saved the world from nuclear annihilation. One for the Hollywood scriptwriters. Its just a shame that Biden is in office but not in power.

          1. KD

            The West is getting exactly what they want. Russian mobilization means that Russia will now pay more in roubles and casualties for their war effort. Russia is bleeding, and Russia will bleed more, and more of the economy will be eaten up in war production, and less in consumer goods. If they can now stalemate Russia for a few years, the war will become increasingly unpopular domestically for Russia, and put pressure on the regime. [Public opinion is extremely fickle.] Plus, Russia is going to have to put a lot of resources into propping up the Donbas.

            Its hard to see the West agreeing to any deal that Russia would accept without being open to partisan accusations of appeasing Putler. It is more likely to “end” like the Korean War, that is, de jure not end, because the continuing conflict serves everyone’s interest.

    2. John Zelnicker

      KD – “The reality is that all the models show limited nuclear strike become total nuclear strike pretty quickly”

      As was clearly depicted in the 1983 movie War Games.

      I simply cannot understand how these neo-con idiots, e.g., Blinken, Austin, Sullivan, and the ever-present Nuland, can think that there is a way to use nuclear weapons that won’t destroy the planet and civilization.

      Their inability to back down, even when confronted with the prospect of nuclear annihilation, is pathological to the nth degree. They really are trying to kill us all and they won’t even wait for the Jackpot.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I can only think that their thinking is that if they threaten nuclear war, then the other guy will back down and give them what they want. It is the tactic of a bully but it won’t work here. Russia has a capability to turn DC to glass and even irradiate the west coast. Also Putin has told them loud and clear that he is not bluffing. I am willing to bet that their intelligence file told them how he came to be the person that he is too-

      2. Duke of Prunes

        I’m more concerned with it being a setup for a false flag. Make it look like the evil Ruskies nuked the poor beautiful blue eyed Ukies, and then bombs away while Putin tries to explain that they didn’t do it. Not rational, but what is now days?

        1. KD

          It won’t matter who went first if there is a nuclear weapon. If the US launches nukes either in a first strike or a false flag, Russia will respond back, and tit for tat until everything gets launched. The reason this is unlikely is the US has no reason to want a nuclear war with Russia.

          As Leroy Austin said, the war is about weakening Russia, not about ending life on the planet.
          These folks in the US want to be sitting on a beach somewhere someday collecting a pension and dividends. Its the Cuban missile crisis in reverse, and Russia knows this, the Neocons know this, but they want to pretend that they would end the species in order to ensure some Neo-Nazis could continue to kick around the Ruskies in Eastern Europe, so we get the geopolitical viagra talk from the Western cheerleaders. The only way to win with a bad hand is to bluff, and hope you don’t get called.

          1. ArvidMartensen

            I don’t know, the US played the nuclear threat game of chicken against the Chinese in the early 1950s in Korea but wiser US heads prevailed.
            The wiser heads are long gone. Now there is a demented old man, and two high ranking rabid Russia haters (Blinken and Nuland) and who knows who else.
            Maybe a Dr Strangelove champing at the bit for a false flag nuclear attack in Ukraine so they can take out Russia. Yeeehaaa.
            And think of the PR, the selfies, the clips of poor Ukrainian women and children etc etc. etched into the pavement

            1. KD

              Yes, but in 1950, the Russian counterforce capability was much weaker. They started doing nuclear testing in 1949 with atomic bombs.


              The real plan in the 50’s was to get sufficiently ahead of the Soviets to have the capability to hit with a first strike and destroy the Soviet ability to strike back. Truman gave the green light to Teller in 1950 to develop the H-bomb with this goal in mind. It never happened because the Soviets managed to keep up enough, and the nuclear arsenals became so huge by the 60’s that an actual nuclear war would basically make Earth uninhabitable.

    3. Watt4Bob

      So much cope, so little numeracy, as if the cheerleaders could win the football game without the players.

      Powerful metaphor/analogy, covers so much our current predicament.

  13. Mikel

    Re: Omnicron variants/antibody

    I’m just sitting in disbelief that it sounds like the are doing studies and using non-sterilizing vaccines and herd immunity in the same sentence.

  14. The Rev Kev

    “Ukraine ports have shipped around 4.7mn tonnes of food under grain deal”

    Of course third world nations are under no illusions why half of those grain shipments headed to the EU while Russian cargoes of grain and fertilizer are stuck in the EU as they say that it can only be delivered to the EU itself. That probably partly explains why Lavrov had a huge que of diplomats waiting to meet him after his speech at the UN. Turns out too that in some places, that Ukrainian grain was used to undercut local farmers and one suspects the idea was to send them bankrupt and have the banks seize those lands-

    Pretty sure I read that the agreement that Russia and the Ukraine had about grain deliveries runs out this year so I doubt that Russia will re-sign with that agreement when it ends until those Russian deliveries clear the EU and head out to the third world. I think that by now, the EU would not exactly be popular with developing nations and may find themselves ostracized going forward. I hears that most nations were totally unimpressed with the west and its obsession with the Ukraine at that UN session and pushing off all other issues to the side. In effect, it was a case of western nations talking between themselves rather than sharing discussions with the rest of the UN members.

  15. Mikel

    “The EU is sleepwalking into anarchy” Unherd

    “Given the unlikelihood of radical reform, what will Brussels do next? In all likelihood, it will settle for half-baked solutions — such as a cap on the excess revenues made by non-gas power plants and a windfall tax on surplus profits — as well as for what it does best: austerity…”

    Not only is austerity what it does best, it’s a primary reason for the existence of the EU.

    1. Ben Joseph

      And “The fertiliser industry, which is heavily dependent on gas as a key feedstock as well as a source of power, is in even bigger trouble.”

      Sounds like manufacturing fertilizer is a load of cr*p.

  16. JAC

    RE: ‘The tools are getting picked off’: An ever-mutating mix of COVID variants means fewer and less effective treatments this fall

    Tired of this. The human body is the treatment, but we treat it like garbage. Nutrition is the universal prophylactic and treatment.

    1. The Rev Kev

      And exercise. I was recently off my feet with a broken ankle for a few months. Today I decided to start to get back into walking again and found myself puffed after about only two blocks. WTF? Yeah, if you don’t use it, you lose it.

      1. JAC

        Yes, but read this! Maybe we have all these new strains because of nutritional deficiencies…

        Viruses can mutate and show altered virulence because of nutritional deficiencies in the hosts they infect. Beck and coworkers (45) showed that selenium deficiency enhanced the heart-damaging potential of coxsackievirus. Virus strain recovered from selenium-deficient animals was capable of inducting damage in well-nourished animals. Most interestingly, there were six nucleotide changes between the avirulent input virus strain and the virulent virus recovered from selenium-deficient animals. This report of a specific nutritional deficiency associated with changes in a viral genome and virulence needs confirmation in other viruses and in other nutritional deficiency states. Moreover, the magnitude and duration of nutritional insult that has the potential to bring about these changes in the structure and virulence of pathogens needs to be defined. If confirmed, these exciting data will have far-reaching epidemiologic implications and may explain the emergence of novel infectious diseases in populations with endemic nutritional deficiencies.

      2. Mildred Montana

        >”And exercise.”

        Hear! Hear! Exercise is good for the body and as a bonus it’s good for the mind too (in my personal experience an effective antidote to depression).

    2. Basil Pesto

      The human body is the treatment

      No it is not.

      Is the human body also the treatment for HIV?

      Is the rabbit body the treatment for myxomatosis?

      Is the chicken body the treatment for avian IBV?


  17. Tom Stone

    Brussel’s and the EU have really damaged their Brands this year and I’m surprised they haven’t chosen the solution so many US Corporations have adopted so successfully over the years, changing their name.
    Brussels is pretty easy,
    “New Jonestown” would be a natural fit.
    The EU is a little more difficult, perhaps the Rev has an idea or two?

    1. The Rev Kev

      Stealing an idea off Star Trek, they should simply rebrand the European Union as the European Hegemony. It is certainly more descriptive of their present behaviour.

  18. Michael Ismoe

    And as I’ve said, I’m flabbergasted that Ukraine’s tactic of shelling the Donbas hasn’t proved to be a vote-getter,

    The Democrats may have to try this out in 2024 to keep Biden in the White House. HIMARRS in Sacramento can hit every corner of Idaho. I wonder how Gavin Newsom looks in an old brown T-shirt? Win-win.

  19. Carolinian

    Great LAT on those FBI deposit box seizures. Reportedly with the ending of Better Call Saul Vince Gilligan is scouting ideas for a new series Here’s suggesting a sequel to Breaking Bad where a clever high school teacher uncovers the crooked dealings of his friend the Federal agent.

  20. Exiled_in_Boston

    ‘ I’m flabbergasted that Ukraine’s tactic of shelling the Donbas hasn’t proved to be a vote-getter, at least in the Donbas…’
    Maybe those folks don’t want to be part of Russia?

    1. hunkerdown

      Why does your infantile team try so hard to prevent those people from supplying their own answers to your question, and why do you believe it’s okay to normalize mental illnesses like NATO, capitalism, or moral idealism in public? Serious question.

  21. Mikel

    “Beware the ‘Cover Curse:’ How to Tell When a Market Meltdown Is Overdone” Bloomberg

    And this is also why some analysts/pundits/stratgists say a that a true capitulation has not happened.
    Just a flip side. It’s always kept flipping like a coin, isn’t it?

    I showed this link to timbers on another thread. An oldy but goody from NC earlier this year:

    As an aside with all the talk about searches, I think NC may be glad to know that I typed in “options market nakedcapitalism” and this popped up at the top of the page on DuckDuckGo.

    And ad blockers are your friend on any search engine.

  22. Brunches with Cats

    Re: NASA’s DART asteroid smasher

    > the first mission ever to assess whether asteroids can be deflected should one ever be found on a collision course with Earth. A well-placed nudge could avert Armageddon, or so the thinking goes, and spare humans the same fate as the dinosaurs. [emphasis mine]

    The first experiment is scheduled for tonight at midnight, when they will attempt to hit a small asteroid that poses no danger to Earth. Now if they could just figure out to deflect $67 billion in arms headed straight for Ukraine …

      1. Brunches with Cats

        My subject line was tongue-in-cheek; NASA says it just wants to nudge it a bit out of its current orbit and not create a bigger problem by breaking it apart. So we’ll have to see — and apparently we can. NASA’s live-streaming the test starting in a couple of hours; impact expected at 7:14 p.m. EDT:

      1. Brunches with Cats

        Never occurred to me that I’m not cynical enough. That said, I did consider that “save humanity from extinction” could be a cover, followed by a reminder that all the talk of who’s going to nuke whom first is silly. We’ve gone well beyond that with space-based weapons. Who knows, maybe that’s even what Putin meant by “all available means?”

  23. Kouros

    Understandable that Kazakhstan won’t recognize the referendums in the four regions. But maybe they will learn some valuable lessons, as in don’t antagonize your hefty Russian minority from NorthWest, bordering Russia and rather give them political and social and cultural and administrative rights. While the Russophobe Baltic states are in NATO and treat their Russian minority in an apartheid fashion because Russia cannot do anything about it (no EU human rights court would side with the minority or if does, the Balts will just shrug and march on, with no consequences from Brussels, compared to Hungary and Poland), Kazakhstan has no serious backer…

  24. Lex

    Oh my, I finally read that Atlantic Council post about Ukraine, mobilization and nukes. We’re all going to die. Not because Putin is a crazed dictator but because the advice Western leaders get is entirely disconnected from reality. I question whether any of the authors actually listened to or read a transcript of Putin’s speech. They all appear to be entirely informed by western mass media alone.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      As botched as the Afghanistan withdrawal was, I suspect the meeting that precipitated the order was the first time Biden asked questions of Pentagon types instead of getting a daily briefing. Biden said he would no longer I lie. I suspect he realized all the reports of six more months were bs.

      1. ArvidMartensen

        Or maybe it was when the military/spooks went to the WH and put two dead rats on Biden’s desk and called them “EU – Rouble Winning” and “World – Yuan Winning”

  25. Karl

    RE: Ukrainians scared by Russia’s pre-ordained referendums

    Interesting quote:

    Ukrainian authorities have told residents of the four Russian-occupied regions that they would face criminal punishment if they cast ballots and advised them to leave.

    There are stories of pro-Ukrainians following this advice and fleeing before these regions are annexed. This actually will help the Russians consolidate control, as the residents that choose to stay will be more pro-Russian in composition. It’s so convenient, in fact, that I wonder if the “Ukrainian authorities” story was actually part of a Russian disinformation campaign. If so, it was a smart move as it also adds to the stress of more refugees in what’s left of Ukraine.

  26. ewmayer

    Does anyone here happen to know a contact e-mail address for Matt Taibbi? (I don’t see a “contact” widget at his substack feed). I have a correction I need to send him for one of his recent America This Week entries, and don’t use Twitter or Facebook.

  27. LawnDart

    Attack on Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2: Germany joins Russia and condems Ukraine/USA?

    This’ll be interesting for a minute:

    Nord Stream: sabotage on Nord Stream is unprecedented – how quickly can work be restored?

    The news that sharp pressure drops were recorded in both Nord Stream 1 pipes and in the Nord Stream 2 section caused a lot of noise in Europe. The fact is that the EU risks experiencing an even greater shortage of gas.

    The German government suspects that the incidents with falling pressure on the Russian Nord Stream-1 and Nord Stream-2 gas pipelines were the result of deliberate attacks, the Tagesspiegel newspaper reported, citing sources in federal circles.

    At the same time, sabotage of this type could not be carried out without special forces, since divers or an entire submarine are needed to reach the bottom of the sea.

    As noted by Tagesspiegel, Berlin does not consider the simultaneous disruption of pipelines to be a “coincidence”. German journalists do not rule out that the Nord Stream pipeline near the Swedish island of Bornholm was blown up by unknown combat divers or a submarine. And this was done, as the newspaper writes, by Ukrainian or Ukrainian-related forces.

    – We offer a version: Joe Biden may turn out to be a “force connected to Ukraine”. We remember how, even before the start of the Russian special operation in Ukraine, the American president, answering the question of journalists “how are you going to stop Nord Stream”, said ominously:: “I promise you, we can do it. Nord Stream 2 will never be launched, ” ironically the authors of the Tsargrad TV channel.


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