Links 9/6/2022

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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.

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‘Fur shortage’: San Francisco costume shop does big Burning Man business SFGate. Resilc: “I was there in 2007. The art is something, but not worth it overall. Like living in the dust bowl.”

Enormous Solar Storm May Create Auroras Across Northern U.S. States Newsweek (Dr. Kevin)

Education and Indoctrination Point Magazine (Anthony L)



No Clear Evidence That COVID-19 Was Transmitted From Bats Eurasia Review. Note it took over a decade to establish pretty firmly that SARS-Cov-1 went through an intermediary species.

This nanoparticle could be the key to a universal covid vaccine MIT Technology


Brawls break out and shelves stripped bare as Chinese city heads for ‘strictest lockdown’ Daily Star (resilc)


Smallpox vaccine proves to be dead end in monkeypox fight Bankgkok Post (furzy)


The Amazon rainforest has already reached a crucial tipping point New Scientist (David L)

As the Fish Move Away, the New Zealand Māori Face an Uncertain Future The Wire (J-LS)

The energy historian who says rapid decarbonization is a fantasy Los Angeles Times (guurst)

California Ratchets Up Grid Emergency as Blackouts Loom Bloomberg (Kevin W)

Excessive heat warning extended as Bay Area swelters under heat wave CBS (Kevin W)

How to Green Our Parched Farmlands and Finance Critical Infrastructure CounterPunch. Resilc: “Who will build all this?”

Want To Win the Climate Fight? Tackle Inequality, Among Others. The Wire (J-LS)

3D-printed living soil walls by University of Virginia can grow plants YankoDesign (David L)


China slams US over alleged Trojan horse attack on university servers South China Morning Post

US-China in a war for tech standard supremacy Asia Times (Kevin W)

China’s Foreign Investment Data Distorted by Hong Kong Flows Bloomberg (furzy)

Old Blighty

How Liz Truss, Britain’s next prime minister, went from anti-monarchist rebel to the next Margaret Thatcher ABC Australia (Kevin W)

When S Jaishankar had tutored UK PM-elect Liz Truss FirstPost (J-LS)

Diplomacy Watch: Did Boris Johnson help stop a peace deal in Ukraine? Responsible Statecraft (resilc). Pretty well known but now officially confirmed.

Chile votes overwhelmingly to reject new, progressive constitution Guardian (Kevin W)

New Not-So-Cold War

OPEC+ agrees on oil output cut Indian Punchline (Kevin W)

As Russia Chokes Europe’s Gas, France Enters Era of Energy ‘Sobriety’ New York Times (Kevin W)

End of an era Eurointelligence. Resilc: “We have no doubt that France and Germany will be among the first to seek normalisation with Russia.”

In Prague, It Begins American Conservative (resilc)

Around 70,000 People Protest Against Czech Government, NATO in Prague Antiwar

Slovak government loses majority as ministers quit Reuters. Kevin W: “Another EU/NATO friendly government falls.” Moi: Sort of falls. Article notes no easy path to snap elections.

World’s largest particle collider at risk over EU energy crunch RT (Chuck L)

For the love of mustard: Hoarding and cheating as French grapple with nationwide shortage France24

Why Europe’s Dependence On U.S. LNG Is Risky OilPrice (resilc)

Meta Platforms Exempted Russian War Crimes From Graphic Content Takedowns Intercept. Resilc: ” How about merikin war crimes????”

Why Gorbachev Was One of the Greatest Failures in History CounterPunch


US Sets Up Third Base in NE Syria Antiwar (resilc)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Tech tool offers police ‘mass surveillance on a budget’ Associated Press (resilc)

Google’s Project Nimbus is the future of evil Android Central (David L, Paul R)

Imperial Collapse Watch

‘These Kids Are Dying’ — Inside the Overdose Crisis Sweeping Fort Bragg Rolling Stone (J-LS)

Trump Raid

Federal judge grants Trump’s request for a special master to look through docs seized in the FBI’s search of Mar-a-Lago Business Insider (Kevin W)

Democrats en déshabillé

The Rise of the Liberal Hawks Atlantic (resilc)

Can you drown government in an empty bathtub? The Berkshire Eagle

Amazon Closes, Abandons Plans for Dozens of Warehouses Across the US Bloomberg (furzy)

Comedian Sandy Honig Decided to Barf Outside Of Insurance Company After Treatment Was Denied Vice (resilc)

El Salvador Had a Bitcoin Revolution. Hardly Anybody Showed Up Bloomberg

Class Warfare

Labor Day Was Established After a Deadly Railroad Strike Jalopnik (resilc)

One of the biggest strikes in US history is brewing at UPS CNN (Kevin W)

We’re ready to strike’: UPS workers and Teamsters prepare for contract fight Guardian (resilc)

Mississippi’s Dry Run for Eco-Apartheid New Republic (resilc). Longstanding issue and conveniently not noticed. See this Sanders campaign video from Lowndes County, Alabama of a woman living next to a septic field. She has since died of Covid. BTW Lowndes County also has had the highest Covid case and death rate in Alabama.

Antidote du jour (Tracie H):

And a bonus (guurst):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. The Rev Kev

    ‘The Sheep human Contest in France. This is the festival I need right now.’

    Soooo, what we are looking at are….the ‘sheeple’ we keep on hearing about?

      1. Revenant

        Wales. The sheep-botherers live in Wales. Or New Zealand.

        Scotland does not have any national stereotypes of inappropriate sexual relations. Unless you count bagpiping.

  2. Sardonia

    Love the cat in Schrodinger’s box, but instead of doing math, shouldn’t he be reading Hamlet?

    “To be or not to be…..”

    1. Polar Socialist

      Theoretically “to be and not to be”. And no peeking!

      If Schrodinger knew anything about cats, his thought experiment would only involve an empty box. At some point in time that box will inevitably contain a cat (or any representative of feline species), but you won’t know until you check the box.

        1. Nikkikat

          Cats also love circles. Always has to immediately sit on a circular rug or place mat. Never bothers the square ones.

          1. nycTerrierist

            I had a cat who loved a Target commercial a few years back – with
            a rotating ‘Target’. He’d watch it, rapt.

    1. hunkerdown

      Fake, but an impressive and surreal experience. Dear right-wing memelords, your self-own is ringing.

      1. JTMcPhee

        I’m trying to imagine the Chicago cops, the FBI, even the US Military, running with this… Nope, not bloody likely.

        “Just because you’re Russian it doesnt mean you’re all bad…”

  3. zagonostra

    >The Rise of the Liberal Hawks Atlantic

    WTF?! The Atlantic is still with the Russia Russia line that Trump was a Putin puppet?

    Today, the pendulum has swung back, and the left sees the march for freedom in America and the battle to defend Ukraine as elements of the same global fight for democracy. After all, the aggressor in Ukraine—Putin—also meddled in the 2016 election to help Trump.


    In 1967, King was right to see Vietnam as a catastrophe for America, at home and abroad. “If America’s soul becomes totally poisoned, part of the autopsy must read: Vietnam.” But today we face a different world, and a stark choice. Zelensky, Ukrainian progressives, and the European Union? Or Putin, Trump, and Tucker Carlson? The left picked the right side.

    This Atlantic article is important. It shows just how far the Democratic Party has been poisoned by the permanent state , i.e., “establishment.” The fact that not 1 single Democratic Senator voted against the recent 40 Billion aid package to Ukraine was an historic event, the DNC is dead to anyone who has looked below the headlines and studied the antecedents to the Russia’s operation in the Ukraine. There is no organized effective progressive party in the United States. The war mongers are fully in control of the political parties and the MSM/Corps. that mold public opinion.

    1. fresno dan

      I agree.
      I’ve mentioned it about a billion times – I came of age in the 60’s and 70’s and I was imprinted with the idea that if there is a “left” or a “peace” party, it would be composed of democrats. Well, it was republicans who freed the slaves, but they ceased being the civil rights party a long, long time ago. Democrats have LONG ceased being the anti war, pro worker party – they just aren’t anymore. Liberal is like so many advertizing slogans – pretty much a designator of the opposite.

      1. Dftbs

        I saw this comment on Reddit and it struck a simple but clear chord:

        I think the heart of sh*t like this is the simple fact that what mainstream media outlets deal in and refer to as ‘politics’ is really just the manufactured dynamics of the culture war (what Hedges refers to as ‘anti-politics’), and within that culture war are two primary groups that share three major things in common: their hatred for the ‘other side,’ their total lack of real moral, philosophical, or political principles (two side of the same coin, really), and their neverending deference to authority figures (which couples with their total inability to think for themselves).

        Liberals are now pounding the war drums because the people who they look to as authority figures told them to. That’s it. There is nothing curious about it.

        1. Robert Hahl

          Another phrase which Hedges has used is “politics without politics,” which is similar to our racism without racists. I think it comes down to de-industrialization and monopolies over everything else of systemic importance. Once you are failing to produce, and only consume, you lose all political power.

        2. semper loquitur

          A nice summary. It recalls flora’s high value comment last night linking to Tucker’s interview with Mathias Desmet, conveniently relinked here:

          We have the mindless hatred of the “other”, the lack of an ability to view themselves critically via the principles mentioned, and their deference to their preferred authorities above all else. It all smacks of the “point” of focus that Desmet describes, where all other perspectives fall away, akin to hypnosis. Perhaps a precursor to that point, to be more precise. But I wonder if what we are seeing here is a kind of, let’s say, automated version, where the technology of various media platforms catalyzes this mass formation and holds it in place with steady streams of righteous anger and fear mongering.

          I’ve recently considered shutting down my Youtube account. The reason is they have these “shorts”, I understand it’s their attempt to compete with Tik-Tok. They are insidious. You click on one and before you know it you have wasted half an hour flipping through them, one after another. Of course, I could just not look at them but if one catches your attention you have to force yourself to break the pattern. It’s sooo easy to fall into that hole. They have these videos of volleyball ladies, you see…

          There is all sorts of garbage presented but what’s actually scary is how these shorts of Right and phony Left wingers spouting hate and intolerance get worked in. Videos of Karen’s getting their comeuppance, idiot drivers running into other cars on purpose, people of color enjoying “psychological reparations” by being rude to whites, and the double whammy of public education coming under attack by presenting some narcissist talking about how they explain their sexuality to their 7 year old students, for a sampling.

          It’s rage porn, lacking all perspective and whipped up by the narrators whose channels must get a lot of views due to the emotional pull. I’ll find myself angry about them for an hour or so afterwards, even though I have the conceptual framework to look through the medium and the content alike. It has to be some kind of dopamine trigger, some algorithm that knows what to feed you.

          My point is that if I can find myself drawn in, as someone who knows full well what’s going on, how deeply does the average uncritical and unaware consumer of the MSCNNBC or FOX or Twitter or Meta loop fall in? And how long do they boil in that toxic mélange of generalized hate and fear and loathing with a dopamine “hook”? And when does a “point” for them to focus their wanton emotions emerge? Social and mainstream media seems like the perfect mechanisms to keep the masses in a holding pattern, waiting for the right demagogue to emerge to make it all go away with the promise of clarity and meaning.

          1. hk

            It’s funny that this is actually about the best argument in favor of (what I’d consider) real Critical Race Theory! You need to be able to evaluate critically how the world looks from “the other side.” Sadly, the perversion popular in the US is never about putting yourself in the perspective of “the other.”

            1. semper loquitur

              I agree completely. We desperately need a critical discussion of race and other social justice issues, as well as beefed up critical thinking skills in general, like yesterday. Instead, we have charlatans like DeAngelo and Kendi and people identifying as their favorite animals.

        3. Mike

          When can we stop calling right-wingers “liberal”? Back in the 60s, it was well known on the “left” that you could scratch a liberal and reveal a fascist. While our politically correct Democrats are not full-on fascists yet, they are tending toward excusing all the fascist moves in the coming years. They are the last bastion of defense for the established order, and walk hand-in-hand with corporate power and control of the government to defend against any “left” you can imagine.

          Let’s name them the Democratic right-wing to identify them. They are no longer liberal, and taint any real movement to the left (should one arise in the future). Oh, and Progressives are in the same hole.

          1. hunkerdown

            Never. Both “wings” are liberal, as in capitalistic, individualistic, and moralistic, and neither the “wings” nor the bourgeois “bird” of property between them are of any value.

      2. Pavel

        Like them or not, but after following US politics for decades (and as a previous supporter of the Dems) I now realise the only true pacifist/anti-war party is the Libertarian Party. At least the purist side (anti-interventionist) has been consistently against all foreign “interventions” (i.e. wars). Cf various speeches and podcasts/Youtube videos by Ron Paul, Daniel McAdams, Tom Woods, Dave Smith, and the excellent Scott Horton. (Look up his debate with lifelong neo-con warmonger Bill Kristol; Scott destroyed him.)

        Your may disagree with their views on their economic policies but nobody else (even the Greens, or at least their party leaders) comes close to their consistent and outspoken pacifism.

          1. pjay

            “They’re not “anti intervention” in any way.”

            This is simply a false statement if you apply it to (what I would consider) authentic libertarians who have held a consistent view of US foreign policy over the years, such as those Pavel mentions.

            Like many (most?) NC readers, I’ve spent much of my life critiquing the myopic economic views of “libertarians.” Many of these were just providing ideological cover for corporate shills, though some were honest. But with regard to US *foreign* policy today, or our rapidly growing domestic “security/surveillance/censorship” state, I’m afraid Pavel is right. The few rational “leftists” remaining are thrown into the “red/brown” “dirtbag left” pile so that “good” progressives know to ignore them.

            In the last few days I’ve read some excellent overviews of our controlled demolition of Ukraine and Syria – thorough and well-documented. Each was by a “libertarian” writer.

              1. pjay

                Not sure if this is directed at my comment or the previous one. But just in case it refers to me, let me acknowledge that “authentic libertarian” is about as useful today as claiming any other political label as “authentic” — liberal, conservative, leftist, whatever. But what *I* consider “authentic” is a position that is both internally consistent and applied consistently over time. With regard to the “anti intervention” claim, one can identify those who meet this criteria. And along with a shrinking number of “authentic leftists” (ironic quotes intended), some of them have been among the best analysts of our horrendously destructive foreign policy over the last few decades. As Pavel says, “like them or not.”

                1. skippy

                  I thought that was because insurance companies as private businesses would sort things out one way or another and at the end of the day it was all about private property being forcefully taken away – divine rulers hangover.

                  Yet before I even begin to evaluate notions of authentic or internally consistent ideological positions I note that the whole group was and is a MPS Lippmann press project kicked off long ago by elites as a tool to attack FDRs era social agendas/policies.

                  Then again I can remember the days when many held the view that the neocons were the militant wing of the libertarian party/group, so there’s that to contend with. I mean they were fundamental in advancing the globalist free market agenda for corporatists and force was not an issue when applied on lessors [see Locke use] and even internally like support for the 14 city crack down on Occupy et al. So yeah synergies thingy …

                  Lastly I know more than a few recovering libertarians from yonks ago that worked their up through that cult at a state level only to realize it was all a scam e.g. just a PR front for corporatist machinations and the plight of the commoner was moot. This is why mobs like Von[????] Mises have written pro Robber Baron or Mugabe land redistributing good but money printing bad articles. I mean come on the key authors were imported from across the Atlantic back when they all thought it was on the road to serfdom so they could opine from the shining light on the hill ….

                  Anywho its all a blender of whatever elites think will advance their collective advantage and the flow of funds to achieve/retain privilege, here is where history echos. Has everyone forgotten old Fox News after the over night liberal coup and in a blink of an eye went the full Powell memo, war in Iraq support, hand wringing over sharia law. tainted racial blood, Beck, Gary North, Summers defense of Hopple, sorry but the confusion over the multiverse battlefield of myopic ideologies in this day and age of full spectrum PR Marketing through digital devices has the unwashed splintered and bull ringed at the same time depending on topic all over the place. Then some notice the so call mean crazy spreading ….

              2. hunkerdown

                Just good old recuperation. Murray Rothbard, The Betrayal of the American Right:

                One gratifying aspect of our rise to some prominence is that, for the first time in my memory, we, ‘our side,’ had captured a crucial word from the enemy. ‘Libertarians’ had long been simply a polite word for left-wing anarchists, that is for anti-private property anarchists, either of the communist or syndicalist variety. But now we had taken it over.

            1. Col 'Sandy' Volestrangler (ret)

              I think it’s rather well established that the New Democrats were captured by Wall Street interests during the Clinton years and that this was far from accidental.
              The neocons got their nose under the tent flap around the same time. After being publicly hammered for their part in the Iraq Special Military Operation, it’s amazing that people like Kagan and Samantha Power could get control of the foreign policy apparatus but there they are all the same and no one asks the questions about the clear continuity of agenda save some few lonely voices like Max Blumenthal or the guys from the Duran.

    2. Sibiryak

      It shows just how far the Democratic Party has been poisoned by the permanent state , i.e., “establishment.”

      It shows even more how the party’s progressive base has been poisoned by deep state narratives, identity politics, and manufactured polarization.

    3. Lex

      That the Atlantic can’t see the similarities between Zelensky’s Ukraine and the regime(s) of south Vietnam should be stunning … it isn’t. In fact, democratic aligned media is performing the same function that media performed in the early days of the Vietnam war. The arguments are all the same except replacing communism with Putin and adding the domestic threat of boogeyman trump to the mix.

      I saw a political cartoon yesterday that used Nazi symbols for anti-trump purposes and then had the Ukrainian flag in the corner of the picture with “vote blue no matter who” superimposed over the Ukrainian flag. I could feel my brain breaking.

      1. Sibiryak

        similarities between Zelensky’s Ukraine and the regime(s) of south Vietnam

        Ukraine 2022

        President Zelensky receives Winston Churchill Leadership Award

        Johnson insists Churchill’s ‘spirit walking with’ Ukraine president Zelensky

        NYT: Zelensky Doesn’t Know the End of His Story. Churchill Didn’t Either.

        George W. Bush calls Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky the ‘Winston Churchill of our time’

        South Vietnam 1961

        U.S. Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson visited Saigon and enthusiastically declared Diệm the “Winston Churchill of Asia”. Asked why he had made the comment, Johnson replied, “Diệm’s the only boy we got out there.” Johnson assured Diệm of more aid in molding a fighting force that could resist the communists. [Wikipedia ]


        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Ouch. Remember the US assassinated Diem. It was so well recognized in the US that my not terribly political mother sputtered about it. Not that she thought Diem was a good guy, but that wasn’t what the US should do to a leader, let alone an ally.

      2. fresno dan

        it is gobsmacking how The Atlantic could take the words of King and turn them around 180 degrees to defend war in Ukraine. War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength.

      3. anon in so cal

        Pretty sure the Atlantic is a mouthpiece for CIA Dems.

        Example #8762:

        “First 3 images: what @TheAtlantic said when Trump announced that the US/Saudi partnership must continue despite the murder of Jamal Khashoggi

        Last image: what @TheAtlantic said when Biden announced that the US/Saudi partnership must continue despite the murder of Jamal Khashoggi”

        “the people who have spread far more destructive and murderous propaganda and conspiracy theories — but on behalf of ruling class ideology and interests — are all thriving at the Atlantic, New Yorker, NBC, CNN, with book contracts and late-night appearances.”

        “The easiest, surest way to rise in US corporate media is to be an unvarnished cheerleader for US wars. Jeffrey Goldberg was the leading Iraq War liar at @NewYorker in 2002. Rather than being run out of the profession, they made him Editor of the Atlantic.”

    4. chuck roast

      The “A”as they call it these days. Fortunately The Atlantic of the old 19th century abolitionists and anti-imperialists is not tainted by these creeps. Break out the stake and the hammer, because a multitude of re-education camp will fail to clue them in. I’ll have to pick up the hard copy. I’m curious who advertises in there.

      1. artemis

        I used to be a subscriber back in the day, but at a certain point I began to realize that the advertisers were all wealth management companies — then came the cover illustration closeup of Saddam Hussein holding up hands dripping blood, about the time of launch of the War on Terra. I cancelled immediately. Before long they dropped their cryptic puzzle which was one of the reasons I read it anyway, so good riddance.

  4. fresno dan

    In Prague, It Begins American Conservative (resilc)
    The Czech PM dismissed it all as a conclave of Russian sympathizers and dupes. Are the Russians exploiting this? Of course they are! But the fact remains that life has become very hard economically in Czechia.
    This is not going to be the last such demonstration we see over the coming months. Wait till it turns cold.
    Meanwhile, in the UK, 60 percent of British factories may fail, crushed by exorbitant energy prices. If six in ten British factories fail, Britain is going to be crippled, and probably will have a depression.
    Putin is an SOB, for sure. But you can’t heat your home or run your country’s factories with anger at Putin, however red-hot it burns.
    There is another post today about Europe and energy. The obstinate refusal of European goverance to accept reality is actually quite common in Europe (and among humans). Look back at the rule of Europe by the Church, and the wars after wars. We have had recently a few decades of peace, but somehow I don’t think that the current governments will be supplanted and santions lifted. I see a much more stringent propaganda blizzard that there can be no peace, no justice until Putin is overthrown.

    1. tgs

      From Twitter:
      “The New Donbas
      BREAKING: The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry has called for EU countries to outlaw opposition protests and rallies for the duration of the war, as discontent over energy prices grows.”

    2. Foy


      Not sure I’m keen for Putin to go to the G20 in Bali in Dec, kinda asking for trouble methinks, don’t give a sucker an even break and all that, I get the feeling there’s going to be a lot people that would be happy to see an accident to ‘solve all’ their problems.

      Unless of course G20 has by then become a capitulation and signing ceremony

        1. Paradan

          Remember when Macron wouldnt let the Russians test him for COVID, and he said that he didnt want them to get his DNA? Thats like conspiracy type thinking you’d get from deplorables, but Macron is a f’n world leader and has an entire secret service giving him advice on things. My guess is that someone(gee I wonder who) figured out how to trigger Pancreatic cancer if you have the BRCA mutation. Macron’s worried the Ruskies might have figured it out too.

      1. LifelongLib

        My (very shallow) understanding is that Putin is on the mild side of the Russian leadership. People who think the West would be better off with somebody else running Russia had better think again.

  5. Louis Fyne

    US experts surprised that Russian weapons use 1990’s-level (ie, cheap) electronics.

    (note that electronics is only half the story, you need metallurgy and propulsion expertise too)

    the classic Tiger panzer tank (complex and cutting-edge) v. T-34 (simple, robust, cheap) schism.

    In my crazy opinion, widgets should be complicated only enough to reliably complete their jobs. Guess I’ll never fit in at Lockheed Martin

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      This is beyond silly. I have not heard of any T-34s being used in Ukraine. T-72s have been upgraded and hardened. The T-90 is a newer design and very robust.

      More important, these guys love to natter on about Russia using rough and rugged equipment in the field, when Russia also has multiple types of hypersonic missiles deployed, when the US has yet to test one successfully, the S-400, which is better than any Western missile defense system (and they are on to the S-500) and better signal jamming.

      1. Stephen

        A bit like your comment on European governments with respect to energy: western analysts are still at the anger / denial stage when it comes to Russian military kit. Just cannot accept that it is probably more fit for industrial warfare than the high priced delicate, low volume stuff that we produce.

        I would like to think that they have a better understanding in private behind closed doors and I am sure some junior guys get it. But if the senior guys do then they sure act as if they don’t. In exactly the same way as they are behaving with respect to sanctions.

      2. Paradan

        They(the Serbs) did roll out a couple of T-34’s during the Yugoslavian wars. Also the T-34 actually was cutting edge technology in the late 30’s early 40’s. It was the reason the Germans had to keep fielding newer higher tech designs. If anything was “simple, robust, cheap” that would be the M4 Sherman.

        Their was a successful test of a hypersonic a few weeks ago, but it was unclear as to whether it was a boost-glide, or a SCRAM.

        1. hk

          The Sherman was, fwiw, also cutting edge in 1942 and was far more sophisticated than anything in the world when it came to things like radio equipment, turret rotation gear, and various gadgets that helped with crew both in combat and otherwise–like some degree of gun stabilization. Even compared to the Panther, say, the Sherman was NOT that much inferior and actually had many advantages that were not obvious, as evidenced by often favorable combat results. In a sense, the Sherman was embodiment of what American production was good at: not necessarily the best guns and armor, but plenty of useful supporting equipment that made their operation simple for the crew, even if they added to the complexity. T34, otoh, may have focused on guns, armor, and general simplicity for construction and maintenance, but they were beast for the crew to operate–very tiny beasts at that, due to cramped and badly laid out

          1. Paradan

            I agree with you on the Sherman(totally forgot about the stabilizers) and want to add that the Sherman Jumbo, the one with the 105mm in that huge turret, it actually had “Tank Parity” with the Panther, and could slug it out with them.

            1. Stephen

              My understanding is that the 105mm was a howitzer designed for close fire support, not so much slugfests with other tanks.

              The Sherman Firefly with the 17 pounder British anti tank gun was that modification. I think only the Anglo-Canadians deployed it. One Firefly per tank troop became the standard model. The gun could not fire high explosive rounds so this mix and match approach was needed to retain overall versatility.

          2. Roland

            Col. Dmitri Loza was in a Soviet Guards Mechanized unit, which at various points in the war was equipped with either T-34’s or Shermans. He preferred the Sherman for a variety of reasons. He published two volumes of war memoirs, available in translation:

            Commanding the Red Army’s Sherman Tanks, and Fighting for the Soviet Motherland.

            An interview with him is transcribed (along with many others) at this excellent website:


            n.b. one of the best interviews at that site is the one with Degon Ion Lazarevich, which offers some rare perspectives on a number of historical questions.

            On YouTube, Nicholas Moran made a series of “Inside the Hatch” videos on many different AFV, including both T-34 and M-4. While the series is sponsored by the game “World of Tanks,” nevertheless the videos are packed with information, both giving design background and showing the vehicles from each crew position. Moran has some of his own shtick, but it’s not too irritating.

      3. Louis Fyne

        I did not express my point clearly. Yes, there are no Russian T-34 tanks in service right now.

        Today, there is a design philosophy schism between Russia and Europe/US, which is analogous to the WWII contrast between the Russian and German output.

        Russians prioritize simplicity, robustness, cost (like the old T-34), partly due to history and partly due to budget constraints. While the Pentagon is undeterred from using more levels of electronics, complexity (like the Germans with their Tiger tanks) as Pentagon programs are rarely stopped if they go over-budget.

        The NYT article reflects the shock that Russian cruise missiles are primitive. The question should be reformed as: are western weapons needlessly complex?

        1. Paradan

          The Russians have better Explosive Reactive armor then we do, they have a functioning Active Protection system, IR and laser dazzlers, fancy smoke that auto deploys when it detect a targeting laser, thermal sights and targeting computer on par with ours, main gun rounds that can be set to explode as they pass over a trench or through a window(I’ve heard zero mention of these being used.) Oh and in the 60’s the autoloaders had some issues, but they work fine now, maybe 1 shot every 4 seconds. T-90s have all of this stuff (except the APS as they are super heavy and very expensive) T-72s can be upgrade with most of whats here.

          Russian Military reform started after poor performance during the Georgian War, then Maiden happened and they really kicked it up into high gear, but they decided, wisely in my opinion, to prioritize their strategic forces first. So I think its like 80% of the military budget has been going into new ICBMs, ALCMs, SLBMs, submarines, some new ships, S-400 and S-500 systems. The Sarmats should all be deployed by the end of the year, and most of the new mobile ICBMs are out doing their thing. That should free up some cash for T-14s, SU-57s, SU-75s, etc.

          Ok so I went into rant mode and didnt answer your question…

          No, western weapons are not needlessly complex. They are complex just enough to secure IP rights, and long term repair contracts. Western weapons are no longer just heat-seeking, they are now some of the best rent-seeking weapons ever produced.

          1. hk

            And the Georgian War should have been an eye opener to the West at how efficient and professional the new Russian military has become after the Chechen wars, despite some teething problems!

          2. Polar Socialist

            The Russians have better Explosive Reactive armor then we do

            Anectodally I just saw an image of a mauled Russian T-72B2, that allegedly was hit by 7-8 RPGs, 2 missiles and a Javelin and still managed to return on it’s own power with the crew intact.

            Of course it was a mission kill for the Ukrainians, as they say. But I can assume the crew will trust their weapon system with new respect. And they survived to learn to never again expose their tank that way.

      4. hk

        Part of this, I imagine, is the carryover Cold War mentality. Until 1990s, Russian electronics industry WAS much less sophisticated than the West and their gear was almost invariably bulkier and less efficient (although it did not stop clever Russian engineers from coming up with stuff like the Archer air-to-air missiles that outperformed their Western counterparts). One thing that I’d been impressed by was how much sophistication the Russian industry has gained in the post-Cold War era (and, by the same token, how much relative sophistication the West has lost) in the electronic and computer technology. All the Russian engineers who had exposure to Western (and increasingly, East Asian) electronics in the past 30 years has produced a lot of results and these include, clearly, military applications, too.

      5. Vandemonian

        …and the guidance system for the Minuteman ICBM which the US is planning to test still uses floppy disks, apparently.

        1. hk

          8inch, too, or so I heard–not completely sure if the person who told me this was kidding. But there are certain advantages for using “outdated” tech, one of which is that they can be hardened more easily. I do know that electronics used on spacecraft were usually at least a decade out of date for this reason.

    2. Lex

      Copium from the people who were sure Russia would run out of everything by the end of March. It doesn’t help that coverage of the US military is driven by defense contractors’ claims of super weapons and technological superiority. These people still believe in stealth as if it’s a cloaking device. And you’re correct in how Russia approaches military equipment, it long has: rugged, repairable and lots of it.

      The US side discussion still looks at comparing airframes and pilots without bothering to actually examine Russian doctrine of not trying to compete directly but to have put its resources towards air defenses and missile production to equalize. Willful ignorance is a dangerous drug and the US is hooked.

    3. PlutoniumKun

      The classic example was the Mig-25. It was feared originally as a wonder weapon by Nato, and then mocked when a pilot defected and they discovered that the radio used vacuum tubes. It was several years before they realized that vacuum tubes were a deliberate choice as they were much more resilient in the event of electromagnetic jamming.

      That said, the Soviets weren’t always consistent – the Mig-23 was a notoriously overcomplicated hanger queen, although its had a long life in many other air forces.

      Incidentally, to be fair to the Germans, the Tiger was never intended as a main battle tank, it was originally designed as a breakthrough tank to be used only for highly specific missions, so reliability and easy maintenance was never part of its specification. The Panzer III and IV and Panthers were fairly reliable and easy to maintain, they were always supposed to be the backbone of the armoured forces. In reality, the former two were the T-34’s for the Germans (the Soviet equivalent, the IS-2. was arguably a much better tank than the Tiger).

  6. The Rev Kev

    “World’s largest particle collider at risk over EU energy crunch”

    Regretfully I cannot see that particle collider getting the power it needs to be operated. The demands are just too huge. And how many politicians will tell their voters, err people that they have to go without light or heat in the middle of winter for scientific experiments that can wait until the situation sorts itself out? So perhaps now might be a good time for those scientists to perform not only maintenance on that device but maybe to make as many upgrades as they can rather than just let it sit in mothballs. Maybe too have a rethink in their planning while they take a breather.

    1. vao

      I wonder whether the ITER will be affected too. That project is supposed to generate enormous amounts of energy through nuclear fusion (in whatever long term expressed in numerous decades), but has been just gobbling up vast amount of electricity for experiments so far, and will do so for the foreseeable future.

      1. GC54

        No ITER experiments for years, still assembling and delayed by Covid. When it does run experiments it will at best put out a fraction of what goes in while it fuses for several minutes after accounting for the magnets, cooling, RF drive, etc.

  7. Old Sovietologist

    How can you tell the Ukrainian’s want to liberate the people of Kherson?

    They attack community centres, hotels and bridges with rockets. Oh and destroy an Orthodox church.

  8. Old Sovietologist

    In other news the German media is reporting that Russia has now started to mobilize homeless people for the war effort.. Joseph Goebbels says hi.

    1. OIFVet

      Just you wait, in a month or two they will report that Russia has begun mobilizing bears.

      In a future true news, European NATO armies will offer recruits heated accommodations as part of the signing bonus package.

    2. The Rev Kev


      ‘Women liable for military service will be banned from leaving Ukraine from October, according to the Ukrainian edition of Suspilne.’

      In addition-

      ‘Women whose specialties or professions are related to the relevant military accounting specialties had to be registered for the draft from Oct. 1, 2022. The change to conscription legislation came into force under an order of Ukraine’s Defense Ministry of Oct. 11, 2021.

      As of today, the updated list contains 14 specialties and professions, including: food technology, medicine, nursing and pharmacology, veterinary medicine, accounting and taxation, psychology, social work and social security, and others.’

      Next on the list will be all those grannies from February wielding Molotov cocktails.

      1. KD

        This is all great, but who is left who can work in the factories or on the farms? Its not like the Third Reich, they don’t have a large pool of slave labor.

        1. hk

          Unlike the Third Reich, Ukraine expects stuff to materialize out of thin air, courtesy of the Collective West ™ if they say the right magic words. TBF, the cult has been mostly justified by the cargo so far.

        2. hunkerdown

          Wage labor developed out of slave rental in multiple times and places throughout history. There is no real difference, other than a diffusion (not abolition) of the exclusionary right to an individual’s labor, and a lot of humbug.

      2. Old Sovietologist

        “The counterattack on Kherson is going well. In just a couple of days, the Armed Forces of Ukraine managed to occupy all the morgues from Krivoy Rog to Odessa.”

        Social media black humour – Taken from Telegram.

    3. chuck roast

      I’m currently reading a Bernie Gunther novel where he trots back from Smolensk and after a conversation with “Joey” he trots forth yet again to Smolensk. The dialogue between them is hilarious. Actually, Bernie didn’t say a lot. He felt that he had been, “…crushed to death by some evil troll.”

  9. fresno dan

    Sep 3
    I know for a fact, cause I was in the room, when we told talent on CNN to NOT lean in on Citizen United.
    In retrospect, I stayed 5 years too long cause I’m disgusted of what happened to the company Ted built.

    Sep 3
    But when the AOL Time Warner merger happened, he (Ted Turner) lost all control and the separation between Church and State was obliterated.
    It was Ted that kept business and content apart from each other.
    Sep 3
    This is ‘THE’ singular reason why no one in news talks about Citizen United.
    We made the decision in 2012 when $770 Million was poured into News by CPACs.
    After that, we told the anchors to stop talking about it.

    Sep 3
    *don’t know why wrote CPACs (cringe), just PACs lol

    Sep 3
    Close your eyes and imagine CNN, MSNBC FOX NEWS without PAC spending
    You can’t
    They can’t
    If they lived in a world where PACs couldn’t spend money at will they’d all be out of jobs. Simple as that
    They’ll never want it gone.
    I’ve seen the books.
    The business would shut down

    Sep 3
    The biggest hypocritical media story of the 2020 election was the cable networks shaming the social media giants not to accept political ads leading up to the election while they ran Trump/Biden and Citizen United protected Ads up to midnight on election night.

    Sep 3
    + It was greatest sales job ever.
    Do you understand that these Campaigns MUST SPEND THE MONEY by election night or they’ll get in big trouble.
    So shit, Tech is eating our lunch. Let’s shame them to stop taking the money, thus THEY HAVE TO COME TO US.
    brilliant if you ask me.
    It shouldn’t surprise anyone that a market based system of “news” is not going to have as its bottom line objective reality – but profit. And you are their profit, and you are increased as a profit the more you watch them, which generally means the less reality you get…

    1. Carolinian

      In fairness it was Murdoch, Ailes and Fox News that led the way to 24/7 cable political infotainment just as it was Gingrich and the Repubs who set the template for the current Dem/Biden Manichean style of politics. Turner in turn could be blamed for creating the very concept of a constant news network that would turn current events into a couch potato spectacle for TV obsessed Americans. His version of CNN was already diluted by the merger but couldn’t cope with the Fox competition.

      Turner did some good things–TCM for example–but I’m not sure CNN should be included among them.

    2. GramSci

      I blame it on Rush Maddow, but Wikipedia says he was only possible because of Ronald Reagan:

      «The FCC’s repeal of the fairness doctrine—which had required that stations provide free air time for responses to any controversial opinions that were broadcast—on August 5, 1987, meant stations could broadcast editorial commentary without having to present opposing views. Daniel Henninger wrote, in a Wall Street Journal editorial, “Ronald Reagan tore down this wall [the fairness doctrine] in 1987 … and Rush Limbaugh was the first man to proclaim himself liberated from the East Germany of liberal media domination.”»

  10. GramSci

    Re: Chilean constitution

    What did I read it was? 388 articles?? Why would anybody vote for a constitution that is too long to read? What were they thinking when they drafted it?

    1. hunkerdown

      I wonder if there was a “progressive stack” that log-rolled a bunch of progressive PMC properties into it. 1 (+) 1 = 0. Maybe it is all XOR.

      1. GramSci

        That’s what I’ve read: an article for every indigenous tribe and fifty gray shades of transgender: something for everybody to hate! I wonder if the ghost of Pinochet wasn’t in the constitutional assembly, egging the PMC on to lard the draft with indigestible detail?

          1. JTMcPhee

            Too bad they didn’t get around to legislating a “right to abortion on demand…”

            Wonder why not? Would have choked off all that fundraising and NGO crap?

        1. chuck roast

          Pinochet banked at Riggs Bank in DC. His laundry of choice. I hit their ATM on the way by one time for $200. I left my debit card in the machine…uff. There was a bad vibe in that neighborhood. Pinochet blew up Roni Moffitt and Orlando Letelier just up the street.

    2. jefemt

      Movement afoot and gaining ground in the US for a Constitutional Convention in USA USA.

      Can you imagine?

      Who’ll get / buy a seat at the table?

      Between this and the LA Times article/ interview with Vaclav Smil on oil… wow.
      Starting the short week on an even lower-than-normal low note.

      1. Mildred Montana

        I thought the interview with Vaclav Smil was interesting. Is he really a “tool of Big Oil” as some suggest? I don’t know. I know nothing about him, but he has written many books. I’ve got a bit of reading ahead of me.

        Be that as it may, I found myself agreeing with a lot of what he said and I liked these two quotes of his from the article, which seem to say that he is no dogmatist:

        “Nothing can be more counterproductive than any certainty regarding complex affairs”
        “Uncertainty and unpredictability will always remain the most fundamental attributes of human existence.”

        Several days ago I commented that just because one owns an EV, that doesn’t mean one can continue to drive as if everything is peachy. In support of my comment, I note that this interview was published in the Times of Los Angeles, where residents are currently being asked to restrict recharging of their EVs.

        1. JTMcPhee

          On that “uncertainty,” maybe Smil read Dune all those years ago, where the polymath planetologist Keynes gets swallowed by a spice blow, thinking as he dies on the words of his father — “The most persistent principles of the Universe are accident and error.” Frank Herbert had more than a nodding acquaintance with Murphy and his absolute Law…

        2. JCC

          I recently finished Smil’s book “How The World Really Works” and thought it was very good. No politics, no apparent agenda, just a survey of various aspects of science, technology, trade, and more over the last couple of hundred years.

          Worth the time to read, I think

          1. Mildred Montana

            Thank you for the brief review. I noticed that his books seem to be quite popular, ie. lots of holds on them at the library.

    3. PlutoniumKun

      If you have 388 articles, you are giving a voter 388 potential reasons to vote no. Only one is needed if the person feels strongly about it.

    4. Kouros

      That obviously didn’t help. Especially a good deterrent from allowing people to check whether the provision on nationalizing homes was really there…as the scare mongering suggested.

  11. Detroit Dan

    Re: “Note it took over a decade to establish pretty firmly that SARS-Cov-1 went through an intermediary species.” My understanding is that it was determined to come from civets in about a year. From Wikipedia:

    On 16 April 2003, following the outbreak of SARS in Asia and secondary cases elsewhere in the world, the World Health Organization (WHO) issued a press release stating that the coronavirus identified by a number of laboratories was the official cause of SARS… In 2004, scientists from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention of the University of Hong Kong and the Guangzhou Center for Disease Control and Prevention established a genetic link between the SARS coronavirus appearing in civets and humans, confirming claims that the virus had jumped across species.

    1. JAC

      They will find that the “intermediary species” in this case was a bunch of humans o the genus “scientificus”.

  12. Katniss Everdeen

    zelensky rang the opening bell virtually at the nyse this morning.

    The bell ringing was preceded by his pitch, in English, for “investors” to bring their dollars to ukraine and take advantage of the unprecedented opportunities to rebuild its economy and share in its victory over the tyrannical forces that would destroy its freedom and democracy.

    He concluded with a determined “slava ukraini!”

    I’ll say this for the guy, he’s got a tremendous set of brass ones on him.

    1. Basil Pesto

      This transcends satire. Maybe he’s starring in a sequel to his (apparently quite funny) show that we just don’t know about yet.

  13. KD

    “We have no doubt that France and Germany will be among the first to seek normalisation with Russia.”

    But by that time, will Russia seek normalization with France and Germany, or will they pursue markets to the East? Gas and oil require a large distribution infrastructure, why keep it in place for Europe if they are going to play these geopolitical games? Aren’t India and China more reliable long-term partners?

    1. nippersdad

      Russia has an historically aggressive Western front to patrol, and doing so economically will be preferable to doing so militarily in the long run. They can service both markets, and will if the incentive structures are made clear to all parties involved.

    2. Maxwell Johnston

      I think the first EU countries to break ranks will be Italy and Hungary, not France and Germany. As for timing, my bet is that EU solidarity will hold for this winter only, but the pain will be so intense that individual countries will start cutting deals with RU in 2023.

      1. jsn

        Collapse is a logarithmic process with exponential self expression.

        When business closures begin feeding on themselves, it won’t be long before the power starts going off all over the place.

        When the power goes off, the AI enabled social media and corporate propaganda goes with it and people will be left with human solidarity, or the lack of it, to decide what to trust. It could get pretty interesting pretty fast: there isn’t some circuit breaker, the Central Bank can’t call for a three day end to reality.

    3. Roland

      I’m pessimistic. I think the Sunk Costs Fallacy will prove to be the ruling logic. The sufferings felt by the contesting nations will lead to wounded pride, hardened hearts, and escalation. The stronger the pain, the weaker the reason.

  14. Wukchumni

    Goooooooooooood Moooooooorning Fiatnam!

    The platoon was part of close to 20 regiments that had descended upon the desert in formations in a coalition of the willing to endure dust storms lasting most of the day once in awhile, hunkered down in a recreational drug vehicle warding off scurvy with fresh applications of lime based beverages and the occasional daiquiri when we ran outta tequila.and/or mixer. Fully 1/3rd of group strength was ensconced in a Winnebago during maelstroms with visibility down to a few feet outside the anti-alkali personnel carrier.

    The root word of funghi is of course fun, and to cap things off indulgence was a given in order to raise esprit d’ corps and keep morale decay on the down low while smiling like so many Cheshire cats @ amazing art possibilities scattered about in our midst.

    Our platoon was a multi national force dominated by Swedes with about a dozen, a couple of Aussies, a Dane, and an Indonesian to be named later. The rest hailed from as far afield as Maryland, Detroit, Chicago, along with the usual suspects in the SoCalist movement.

        1. Wukchumni

          We left Sunday @ 11:30 on account of one of our young Chicago campmates breaking his tibia falling off a bar stool (we all thought the story needed to be gussied up somewhat into a more fantastical tale of woe…) and needing much assistance, so we shuttled 4 of their group to the Reno airport, and our wait to leave Burning Man was closer to 2 hours, no big thang really with the same 10 lanes of traffic turned into a lone lane when you hit the blacktop.

          One of the coolest things @ the 2022 Burning Man, I thought…

          Been there-drone that!

          1000 Drones Flying at Burning Man 2022

  15. Carolinian

    LAT interviews the expert in above link

    In managing our energy affairs we should constantly favor doable steps: not wasting 40% of our food grown with high energy expense, not to heat or cool the universe in poorly designed but oversize houses, not to waste fuel and materials driving SUVs (nearly two tons of mass to move, usually, a single body), not to design cities that demand lengthy commutes, not to keep amassing rarely used products, not to travel mindlessly.[…]

    Instead we continue, and expand, our wasteful ways while trying to come up with miraculous — and in the near-term most unlikely — solutions, everything from running on hydrogen to controlled fusion. Good luck with that.


    There are no EVs. They are battery vehicles reflecting the electricity’s origins. If I were to buy an EV in Manitoba, it would be a 100% hydroelectricity, truly zero carbon energy, car. In North China it is a 90% coal car, in France it is a 70% nuclear car, in Russia mostly a natural gas car and in Denmark a 50% wind car et cetera.

    and finally

    But so far, we are not even seriously trying — see the ascent of SUVs, the pervasiveness of excessive flying, and food supermarkets that now average 40,000 items. That all requires plenty of carbon.

    In other words common sense may have to triumph over the utopian expectations of liberals and the growth obsession of conservatives. The above statements seem so obvious that even I might have said them but criticizing my neighbor’s SUV, their lawn obsession, their large house or their exotic airplane vacation would hurt somebody’s feelings and so remote scapegoats must be found. But gestures in the right direction won’t be enough

    1. fresno dan

      Its not that long ago, really, that there were no automobilies. People got around fine (and probably healthier). I will be gone when it happens, though I would really enjoy seeing it, but in decades (or sooner) mass automobile culture will end – maybe people will tool around in golf carts. But the massive 4 door pickups/SUV;s will no longer be viable. It will happen – it may not happen as soon as I want, but it will happen sooner than many want.

      1. hk

        Cities and towns were organized very differently back then, though, and people knew how to work with horses. (And there was horse manure everywhere.)

          1. Richard

            And sparrows, dining on the grain that went through the horses undigested. There was a long piece about NYC’s pre-car sparrow plague in The New Yorker many years ago, in the 70s maybe.

      2. JBird4049

        As cities grew bigger, horse poop started to become a serious problem. It was a very real concern that the growing cities especially the largest like London and New York would be choked off by both the pollution and the inability to just deliver enough food.

        That is one reason that gas powered vehicles became popular. The ability to deliver enough food and everything else needed for survival without producing gigantic mounds of noxious, literally street blocking horse poop and dead horses as well.

    2. Anthony G Stegman

      I had an odd thought this morning while taking a walk. Rather than building semi-permanent residential structures – aka suburban tracts, we build structures that can be disassembled and removed when their need no longer exists. The global human population is currently roughly 8 billion. It needs to shrink down to 3 or 4 billion. What happens to all of the infrastructure built to accommodate 8 billion people when there is only half that number in the future. Is is just left to decay in place? Wouldn’t it be better to remove it and restore the land upon which it rests? Structures designed to be easily taken down would enable this. This will save energy and reduce waste. Over the next few centuries there is so much that we need to think about and start doing as Vaclav Smil says.

  16. antidlc
    How nasal-spray vaccines could change the pandemic

    Vaccines inhaled through the mouth or nose might stop the coronavirus in its tracks, although there’s little evidence from human trials so far.

    Are sprays the future of COVID-19 vaccines?

    That’s the hope of dozens of research groups and companies working on new kinds of inoculation. Rather than relying on injections, these use sprays or drops administered through the nose or mouth that aim to improve protection against the virus SARS-CoV-2.

    This week, an inhaled version of a COVID-19 vaccine, produced by the Chinese company CanSino Biologics in Tianjin, was approved for use as a booster dose in China.

    It’s one of more than 100 oral or nasal vaccines in development around the world. In theory, these vaccines could prime immune cells in the thin mucous membranes that line cavities in the nose and mouth where SARS-CoV-2 enters the body, and quickly stop the virus in its tracks — before it spreads. Vaccine developers hope that these ‘mucosal’ vaccines will prevent even mild cases of illness and block transmission to other people, achieving what’s known as sterilizing immunity. A few mucosal vaccines are already approved for other diseases, including a sprayable vaccine against influenza.
    Bharat Biotech’s intranasal Covid-19 vaccine iNCOVACC becomes world’s first to get EUA

    HYDERABAD: Bharat Biotech’s Covid-19 vaccine candidate codenamed BBV154, which has now been rechristened iNCOVACC, on Tuesday became the world’s first intranasal Covid-19 vaccine to be granted emergency use authorisation (EUA) after the Indian drug regulator approved it for a two-dose primary immunisation of those aged 18 years and above.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Interesting how “emergency use authorization,” like so many other formerly limited exception notions, has grown to swallow the silly notion of following the precautionary principle, so that “first, do no harm” is now “first, secure the intellectual property rights and distribution chain.”

      And it’s a portable business model, now playing in China and India — we should be proud…

  17. The Rev Kev

    “The energy historian who says rapid decarbonization is a fantasy – Los Angeles Times’

    This guy is right. The mathematics of resources is always telling but the only real conclusion from this all is that as a civilization, that we are going to have to reduce our usage of energy. There is no choice and you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to work that one out. But it seems that we are determined to keep our present lifestyles, no matter the cost. As an example, I have always thought of EV cars as a way of keeping personal cars and driving season a thing when what we should be doing is public transport and more localized supply systems. Anyway, this guy really nails it when he says-

    ‘Old Romans knew it well: Where difficult matters are at stake, the change is best affected by slow but relentless progress.’

    That is how you do it. Not spectacular programs that look good on paper and make politicians look good but a steady program of working towards long terms goals. You can’t do a big project overnight but you can always do a piece of it every day until it is done. The Japanese used this philosophy in their businesses – called Kaizan – and I cannot see why it can’t be adopted across the board here-

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      The war in the Ukraine worked a step change in the amount of fossil fuel energy, and petroleum feedstocks for materials, available to Europe. I think the ongoing and pending impacts of that sudden change offers a preview of how well rapid decarbonization might work.

      There is an important class of materials for which I believe petroleum is an important feedstock: elastomers — like gaskets and rubber tires. I suppose they might be included under Smil’s category of plastics. Many silicones are also elastomers that I do not think come from petroleum. I do not know what is used to make them, nor whether silicone rubbers could substitute for other elastomers when petroleum runs low. Other than plant based latex, or silicone I am not sure there are replacement materials for many elastomers. If I were a young person I might seriously consider the study of chemistry and biochemistry as a viable career for the future.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      Smil has been arguing for natural gas as the ‘bridge fuel’ to renewables for decades. His arguments haven’t changed for a long time, despite rapidly changing real world realities. Unsurprisingly, he was the frackers favourite ‘energy historian’.

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        Smil is the frackers favourite ‘energy historian’ and he also counts Bill Gates among his most famous fans. But just to play Devil’s Advocate, if Smil truly believes that humanity is deeply dependent on fossil fuels and it will be difficult to give them up and that humanity is making a real effort to give them up — what should Smil argue for as a ‘bridge fuel’ to renewables? This assumes some bridge fuel will be needed. The set of existing sources of energy includes wood, coal, oil, gas, nuclear, wind, and solar, and I would add hydro- and geothermal energy. Of these, coal, oil, and gas are the fossil fuels that humanity must move away from to halt greenhouse gas emissions. I believe nuclear, wind, and solar energy — and add hydro- and geothermal energy — these are the power sources humanity most move to for the future. Which of the fossil fuels, coal, oil, or gas is the best choice for a ‘bridge fuel’? — Assuming a ‘bridge fuel’ is necessary. Of the four choices natural gas seems the least useful as a materials resource, although synthesis of plastics needs natural gas and oil as feedstocks and fuel.

        But a bridge how far and how long? The link asks the question: “What are the chances that after going from 86% to 83% during the first two decades of the 21st century the world will go from 83% to zero during the next two decades?” I believe the realistic answer is that baring some unforeseen epiphany by the powers that be, the transition from fossil fuels to ‘renewables’ will not happen suddenly nor is the progress of the transition likely to rapidly accelerate. I might change that belief if the government’s subsidies for fossil fuels and new drilling approvals suddenly stopped. That would signal a sea change … for which I see no signs on the horizon. The idea of a ‘bridge fuel’ makes the assumption a bridge will be needed to transition to renewables replacing fossil fuels, and there is some real intent to make that transition. There may be some magical way to shift the mix of energy sources, stop burning fossil fuels and continue to grow the amount of energy humanity produces and uses, or at least some way to continue to produce and consume the same amount of energy as humanity uses now. If no magic is found — what is the chance the powers that be will and humanity will intentionally work toward producing and consuming less energy?

        Little-by-little might have worked for the Romans, but I believe we are past the point when that was still an option. Little-by-little at this juncture is little more than a way to continue as before while painting a happy face on the diminishing returns to our efforts — a way to call declines in fossil fuel production a progress little-by-little to the ascension of renewables. I greatly fear we are in for a rough ride. The only hope I hold is that somehow the renewables that are built will be sufficient to provide the energy needed to build their replacements at the end of their useful life — currently 25 – 30 years for solar and wind power generators.

  18. notabanker

    So Pelosi is going to become Ambassador to Italy if the Repubs take the House? Nice gig if you can get it. Apologies to my Italian friends.

  19. JAC

    Any one here in Montana? Was thinking about heading tether and doing some gold prospecting near Helena but when I checked the weather the air quality was horrible, near 180, from all the wildfires.

    1. Polar Socialist

      So the Ukrainians are following a Soviet doctrine of rolling, synchronized blows to keep the opponent busy and off balance? Or at least trying to.
      So far, according to Kharkov (occupied) area administration Ukrainians have not reached Balakleya, but have only reached Verbivka (suburb) on the left bank of Serednaya Balakiivka river.

      Here’s a Rybar map about the situation in Kharkiv region a few hours ago.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        I think it was Alexander Mercouris who predicted that in the true spirit of compromise, the Ukrainian high command got their permission to assault Izium in return for conceding on the Kherson offensive. No doubt, the usual suspects will be claiming this is the ‘real’ battle, the Kherson one was merely a tactical distraction.

        As you say, the manner in which they are attacking seems more akin to classic Soviet Deep Battle rather than any Nato doctrine. When early Deep Battle assaults failed due to poor organisation the Germans though they were facing human wave attacks. That’s perhaps what it must seem like to the Russians.

        Human nature being what it is, I wonder if the Ukrainian generals have put their best people on the assault in Kharkov, just so they can say they were right to argue in favour of it.

        We’ll soon find out I guess if the Russians have been caught on the hop. I doubt it.

        1. Old Sovietologist

          Looking at Telegram it seems this a very serious battle. It looks like your right PlutoniumKun and the Ukrainians have put their best into this offensive.

          We should know more tomorrow but it also looks like the Russians are bringing some big forces across the border.

        2. Polar Socialist

          I don’t think it was a surprise. The Ukrainians have been moving reserves in the area for a month or so.
          Here’s the latest Rybar map of the situation (in English). It looks like the Ukrainians have penetrated 3 miles into the Russian lines. Rybar is reporting that this is due to the DNR militia withdrawing under the initial Ukrainian artillery barrage.

          1. Old Sovietologist

            Judging by this map of the “Zelensky offensive” the Russian forces are doing what they did in Kherson leading the Ukie troops into a long, well-shootable trap thus “the cat continues to play with the mouse”.

            Ukrainian losses this month will be colossal.

  20. NumbersGuy

    “As Russia Chokes Europe’s Gas,”

    =”As liquor distributors choke off Mormon’s alcohol supply.”

    Wait a minute, didn’t Europe choke off its own energy supplies and commit economic suicide by joining The Coalition of the Shilling for D.C. or something?

    Biden’s March 2022 announcement that “Americans would feel the pain of his administration’s sanctions against Russia for as long as it takes…” was at least honest.

    The record profits for oil and food companies in the midst of shortages? Oh that’s mere coincidence.

    1. Ross

      So is Hunter Biden’s financial involvement with Burisima, a Ukrainian Natural Gas Company.

      Funny how these politicians’ relatives, like Biden and Mr. Pelosi, always make great investments ahead of time and know how policy is going to shift. i.e. Pelosi’s investments and selling of Taiwanese Chip makers stocks.

      The sanctioning of American’s ability to buy affordable food and energy is one hell of a profit taking opportunity for the right people.

  21. Steve

    the Eurointelligence link isn’t supposed to direct to the website’s main page, right?

    Anyone have the correct link?

  22. Lexx

    ‘For The Love of Mustard’

    Who dug this up from February? Yves, was that you?! I could not stop laughing!

    Too funny, the French are even more serious about their moutarde de dijon than I knew. But it does bolster the point I was trying to make… whatever happens to bakeries in Germany, Germany and the rest of those European countries will hold fast to their traditional foods no matter what. Sacrifices will have to be made, but they will have their mustard, and rye breads! Think of the poor sausage makers, what happens to them if Germans can’t find what they need?

    And notice the complete absence of shame throughout the article regarding their passion for their favorite condiment. Call them ‘hoarders’ if it pleases you, they don’t care and neither do I.

    I actually went to the counter with four jars (a winter’s worth) in my hand, which was two jars more than usual, because I had seen the half price signs up and down the aisle. As I set the jars down, Frau Blucher immediately began her pitch to get more money out of me, ‘You know… those are half off?’ ‘Are they?’, I replied innocently and spun around back down the aisle to grab two more. She had just given me permission! I didn’t want six jars but she was practically twisting my arm with that Bavarian accent. ‘Some warm milk, perhaps?’ ‘NO…. thank you’ … wouldn’t even have slowed her down. I wasn’t getting out of the store with just mustard! A situation the French would have dearly loved to be in. But if they’re consuming mustard at a kilogram per person per year, the supplies would hardly have been adequate.

    And as soon as I showed up with the two additional jars, she began on the sausages and the bread. They were on sale because she was clearing out old inventory to make room for their biggest profit makers of the year — German Christmas goodies. As she rang up my purchase, she’s telling me about the exact dates those items will be stocked on her shelves, and she just knew I’d want to be there. Early birds get the liquor-filled chocolates! Not my favorite, but I was trying to get out of the store without buying anything else, to go back to Scrumpy’s and kick my beloved’s butt in gin. Good times.

    1. norm de plume

      ‘the French are even more serious about their moutarde de dijon than I knew’

      Turns out the Japanese are quite keen on it too. I ordered lunch at a Japanese restaurant a few years ago and one component was mashed potato. It was the best I’d had, but quite different from the usual. The staff weren’t much help when I asked about it, so I looked it up and found that it was made with Japanese mayo, rice wine vinegar and a dash of dijonnais.

      Try it, you’ll like it…

      1. Lexx

        The preferred brand of mayo in Japan is/was ‘Kewpie’. It’s make with egg yolks only, so the texture is smoother and silkier. Super rich mayo, the company has been around for over a hundred years.

        When it comes to ingredients, the French and Japanese seem to have a growing fondness for each other’s cuisines… the umami crossover. I prefer Japanese soy sauce to Chinese, it’s less salty. What’s on the shelves of our grocery stores in the U.S. is generally Chinese. Once you go Kewpie and Japanese soy sauce, it’s hard to go back.

  23. hk

    Interesting analogue in the American Conservative piece: current situation as “Global 1848.”. For 30-40 years after the Napoleonic/French Revolutionary Wars, the “global” (well, European) order was dominated by the Russian Empire on the principle of “Legitimate” with the “Revolution” as Boogeyman. The Russian domination was accepted by the rest except UK (which was considered an irrelevant outlier to European affairs) by both a combination of fear and a not-unjustified belief that Russia was maintaining the order out of genuine conviction at considerable expense to itself (some historians thought of this as Metternich hoodwinking Alexander I).

    Aftermath of 1848 revealed that the order of 1815 rested on shaky grounds. While the Revolutionists were beaten back, partly with Russian intervention, Germany and Austria, in particular became uncooperative towards Russia when Russia sought to exploit them for its own strategic goals in the Balkans in early 1850s, which, ultimately led to blows in (irony of ironies!) in Crimea. Ultimately not a decisive military conflict, just one characterized by heavy loss of life and general incompetence by generals who didn’t understand changes in warfare since Napoleonic Wars, but Crimea did break the final pretense of Russian domination and set up a new world order that led to rise of unified Italy and Germany, etc.

    So, in 2022, roles have changed: United States in place of Russian Empire, democracy(tm) and free markets(tm) in place of “legitimacy,” but the fight is being contested yet again along the shores of Black Sea.

  24. TimH

    I’d like to coin a new motto for people to consider when analysing any promises and claims from UK’s new PM: “Truss but Verify”.

  25. Wukchumni

    ‘Fur shortage’: San Francisco costume shop does big Burning Man business SFGate. Resilc: “I was there in 2007. The art is something, but not worth it overall. Like living in the dust bowl.”

    It had been a world of Sundays* since Burning Man last felt my presence and similar to a cicada, I re-emerged last week to return to the breeding ground of much mirth, strutting wings.

    Everybody being on a mandatory 3 year hiatus between burns made it easy for me to slip into comfortable old sandals like I didn’t miss a thump=thump=thump beat, techno music still being omnipresent on the playa as it were.

    I’d harbored as it turned out baseless fears that Burning Man was all connected and had turned into just another hapless victim of being a place for people to stare into their rectangles, but alas no, as wi-fi was largely non-existent and friends texts took a day to depart the desert, usually @ 3 am when 80,000 were mostly asleep.

    In a way the feeling is similar to a backpack trip where one is cut off from outside information and has to see what is in front of nose, eyes & ears as your connection, for in days of yore.

    The big change was less tents and more RV’s, trailers, etc., and in lieu of tents of the Coleman flavor, the favored ones are called Shift Pods and cost around a grandido and weigh 100 pounds with the capability of utilizing a generator powered in-window air conditioning unit to ward off the sometimes brutal heat of a featureless dry lake bed where the only shade is what you make of it. We had a couple of Shift Pods in our camp, they were quite comething.

    When I attended from 2003 to 2009 I was always in a tent and no matter what you did, alkali dust would get in and then some, combined with the idea that forget about sleeping in after 8 am as it gets really warm quite quickly, a bake-up call.

    In my last couple burns i’d done the Russian nesting doll approach, with a tent in a tent in a tent, but the dust still duly did me in, and was a contributing factor in my long absence.

    This time around I was in my buddy’s RV and it really made all the difference in the world, in that you’re gonna get dust storms during the week and there’s no real easy way to plan for their eventuality, but it really helps being in a metal box on the inside looking out @ practically no visibility.

    There is no vehicle traffic allowed except for art cars and the speed limit is 5 mph so any old beater bicycle will do and i’d trained on my rusty circa 2007 Schwinn Sting-Ray for in excess of a few hundred feet in anticipation of the Tour de Burn and it’s like riding a bike, but the big switch was e-bikes, e-skateboards and e-scooters-none of which existed in my prior burns, and that seems like the way to go-especially during the day when its hot and exertion really ought to be on the down low.

    The art is so creative and provocative being largely of the chiaroscuro school looking one way during the day and often completely different when lit up @ night.

    Really had a blast and think i’ll go next year…

    * approx 777 of them

    1. Lexx

      Useful, Wuk. We just bought a 5th wheel and I was looking for an alternative to Husband pulling it across half the country, so he can escape the heat (average 106 this July) and get a decent night’s sleep. He’s getting too old to spending his vacation sweating in vain effort to slumber.

      And I see these are sold out until 2023.

      We were cleaning the 5th wheel this weekend and because we were running off the house, we could only run one of the air-conditioners, on days that were in the 90’s. How well were the RV’s able to keep up out in the desert in what I imagine was very toasty weather? Ours was just bearable.

      1. Wukchumni

        My buddy’s RV’s ac struggled to get us down to the low 80’s when it was 100 outside and only with the engine running…

        Thankfully the night temps were about perfect around 60 degrees, so no need for air conditioning then.

        Everybody @ Burning Man seemed to agree that Shift Pods were the shizzle…

  26. digi_owl

    Ah yes, Burning Man, the Woodstock of California’s tech bros.

    Funny how California always flee into the Nevada desert in order to hide its antics.

  27. Glen

    Now being reported that NS has been shut off until the sanctions are lifted:

    Russia says it will not resume natural-gas flows via a key pipeline to Europe until the ‘collective West’ lifts sanctions against the country

    I’m not sure what the real state of affairs is, but it would seem to be logical to try to shift all blame to Russia once the reality of the sanction’s impacts on the EU start to really sink in. There is the old saying about shooting one’s self in the foot, but this seems more like putting the old six shooter right up against a major artery and blasting away.

    A question, how much of this stupidity has been enabled because our elites really no longer live in the same world as us peons? My best guess, people wonder what the Gini coefficient or the wealth divide really means, well, this is it folks. The elites will have the lights turned on, and heat, you will not.

    1. Skip Intro

      That’s a kind of misleading headline, not surprisingly. The statement was that sanctions were preventing the replacement of the compressor. Some of the headlines also engage in some world class projection in claiming that Russia is thus ‘weaponizing’ energy!
      It is a clever bit because in a way it poisons the well for anyone proposing to lift sanctions, making it direct capitulation to Russian threats/demands.

      1. Polar Socialist

        Indeed. The sanctions in question, at least in Russian media, are only about the compressors and related stuff. Not the sanctions as a whole. Gazprom is merely saying that if Germany wants gas trough NS1, it has to unsanction the pipeline and it’s parts.

        How dare they do such a preposterous suggestion?

    2. KD

      . . . and it will be a cold day in hell before the USA lifts sanctions on Russia, so the EU is screwed for 10 years while they try and replace Russian energy imports.

      1. ArvidMartensen

        During that 10 years, Europe will change into something that cannot now be imagined. Politically, financially, socially.
        The Europe of 2019 has gone for good. Just like the Europe of 1912 vanished never to return.

  28. Wukchumni

    I always thought that ‘Portly Leonard’ would have been a better nom doubloon than the one bestowed on the confidence man who loomed large in USN circles and escaped from house arrest in Tijuana-adjacent the other day.

  29. Petter

    Equinor chief fears a destruction of the gas market because of the high margins small operators must pay.
    Translated the whole article. May have a gone bit farther than Fair Use here.
    Towards the end of the article an analyst mentions demand destruction and notes that demand is already down 23% because of high prices. What is not mentioned is how much of this decrease in demand is because of businesses cutting back or shutting down.
    It was at the Gastech conference in Milan that Equinor summit Helge Haugane made headlines after the Bloomberg news agency wrote on Tuesday that he fears a collapse in the gas market. To Dagens Næringsliv, however, he is more cautious and does not want to use the word collapse.
    – As you can hear, I avoid using that word, says Haugane to DN.
    There are huge margin requirements linked to trading in the gas market, which are now causing major problems for some.
    – There is a danger that small players will not be able to operate in the market. It can create a negative spiral in the market, says Haugane, who fears that some small players will be forced to change their business model and take greater risks.
    Haugane believes the market works in the short term, but fears the long-term consequences for the market when smaller players have problems operating. Haugane reminds that large players are not affected by the liquidity problems experienced by smaller players.
    Haugane welcomes initiatives from the EU.
    – I understand that the authorities see the supply of liquidity as a possible measure, says Haugane.
    NOK 15,000 billion
    Helge Haugane, is one of the tops in the MMP business area at Equinor. Among other things, the area is responsible for all trading activities within oil and gas. Recent analyzes carried out by Equinor show that margin requirements linked to outstanding trades in the gas market add up to 1,500 billion euros, or up to NOK 15,000 billion. It is a conservative estimate, according to the Equinor top.
    – It does not include the UK or trade directly between parties, says Haugane on the phone from Milan.
    There are huge margin requirements linked to these deals which are now pushing particularly small players out of the market. They are simply unable to provide security for the trades. The consequence is that liquidity in the market dries up. There are trades in the gas market further into the future, typically a year, which are now under pressure.
    – What we see in the market is that if you are a player who wants to lock in prices a year ahead, in addition to providing security for normal margin requirements, you must pay a very high initial margin requirement. You have to come out with 30 percent of the trade to even make the trade. The insurance premium for small players has become very large. This means that many players struggle to make transactions, says Haugane and reminds that there are large amounts also tied up in the gas reserves on the continent.
    Afraid of winter
    Earlier this week, the price of gas skyrocketed after Gazprom shut down the supply of gas through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline. Haugane fears what will happen in the market in the winter.
    – I fear what will happen if the Russian volumes disappear. If you couple it with a cold winter, the only possibility is that demand has to go down. Then you will have a destruction of the demand side, says Haugane.
    This will again lead to next summer, according to Haugane, coming up with the same problems with the need for large stocks of gas to meet the winter.
    Teodor Sveen-Nilsen, analyst at Sparebank 1 Markets, follows the gas market closely.
    – We have already seen a decrease in demand of 23 per cent annually. Thus, one can say that there has already been a destruction in demand. Demand is down due to higher prices. Stocks of gas are ok thanks to high gas prices, low demand and high imports of LNG. That despite Russia’s falling exports, says Sveen-Nilsen.
    LNG is liquefied chilled natural gas.

  30. Hastalavictoria

    Re : The UK’s new P.M.

    In I974 travelling up to Oxford for my first term just after an election a large black graffiti on a railway bridge announced “THROW AWAY THAT TRUSS” which must have worked as the (I think) Conservative candidate was unsuccessful.Must be time to resurrect that slogan which always made me chuckle as I passed it many times over the years.Not so funny now I guess!

    1. The Rev Kev

      New York firefighters had a dim view of truss construction in building and this was epitomized with the World Tower buildings and what happened to them. So they had the saying ‘Don’t trust the truss’ but maybe this could be recycled into UK politics.

  31. deplorado

    “Why Gorbachev Was One of the Greatest Failures in History”

    On the right track, but no. He was “the greatest”, not “one of” – failure in history.

  32. spud

    “Duopoly politics thrive and even take on newly disguised forms under these wretched conditions. The American Left’s sickness can be largely credited to its capture within the Democratic Party. Successive Democratic Party administrations have corralled the American Left into supporting war, so long as it is pursued by a Democrat. Democratic Party-led austerity is fine, too, under the same conditions. Racism, a key struggle for any force that calls itself the Left, has nearly lost all meaning amid Democratic Party hypocrisy. Democrats have co-opted “Black Lives Matter” on the one hand while championing Joe Biden and his diligent leadership in building the racist mass incarceration regime on the other.

    Democratic Party bankruptcy has strengthened the ideological hand of the other side of the duopoly, the GOP. GOP politicians have been able to flank to the left of the Democrats on issues of war and censorship. Donald Trump and others in his camp have flirted with calling the GOP a “working class” political party. The GOP remains a corporate party, but the lack of a socialist alternative has meant that its hard right ideology has been influential on the Left. This is evident in a number issues, most prominently the crusade against “identity politics” and online censorship in the name of Russiagate.

    Make no mistake, the Democratic Party and many liberals indeed support censorship and a corporate-brand of “identity politics” that favors representation over substantive policy that benefits the working class. However, the GOP and its Trump-led faction has no interest in the working class or “freedom of speech.” Tepid support for Julian Assange and a reduction in weapons transfers to Ukraine among figures like Marjorie Taylor-Greene occur in a political environment where bipartisan support for war and censorship renders minority opposition in Washington of little consequence. Greene has no accountability to the masses of people. While the Left should support this kind of opposition, it shouldn’t come at the expense of an independent political orientation that differentiates socialist politics from duopoly politics.”

  33. ArvidMartensen

    Hardly anybody is seriously looking at what decarbonisation really means. Vaclav Smil is one of the few and like Cassandra, I would imagine he is a voice in the wilderness.
    We are in a trap. There are too many of us to survive in a no fossil fuel world.
    We westerners are dependent on fossil fuels to eat, to be clothed adequately, to heat and cool our homes, to have high quality medical care, the list goes on and on.
    Petrochemical use is soaring across the world.
    ” Petrochemicals – components derived from oil and gas that are used in all sorts of daily products such as plastics, fertilisers, packaging, clothing, digital devices, medical equipment, detergents and tyres – are becoming the largest drivers of global oil demand…” ,
    “Advanced economies currently use up to 20 times more plastic and up to 10 times more fertiliser than developing economies on a per capita basis…”
    The unvarnished truth is that if oil, coal and gas were made unavailable by 2030 say, then a huge number of us would die. And there are no viable “green” alternatives to keep us alive.

    The self-inflicted energy shortage in Europe this coming winter is a small taste. Poor people freezing in their homes for example.
    A few small glimmers of hope for the non-human world in Germany though. They are banning all fluorescent advertising from 10 pm onwards. The birds, insects and rodents will have a fighting chance to sleep.

    1. Wukchumni

      The only thing for sale is ice in block or cube form, and they just about ran out on Saturday, limiting 1 bag to a customer.

      We drank our way across the 8 or so piano bars in Black Rock City along with a host of other watering holes scattered to and fro, with one specializing in margaritas & featuring a beautiful scantily clad hawtie out front of the establishment, persuading passers by to park their bikes & indulge

      There’s also no tipping, and frankly when you do away with the money aspect, a bar is an easy thing to run.

      The one weird thing is all the bars need an i.d. proving you’re at least 21 to be able to serve you, even if the idea that i’m nearly 3x the legal drinking age wasn’t proof enough.

      My buddy who thoroughly enjoyed his first Burning Man, asked why you couldn’t have such a moneyless system in real life that perpetuated, not just a week long fling?

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