Links 10/14/2022

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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Humans and parrots battle in an ‘arms race’ over trash in Australia Science

Inside the war on urban coyotes in Southern California LA Times

Despite Everything, Private Equity Dealmaking Is Still Going Strong Institutional Investor

With Just 26 Days of Heating Oil, US Households Face Costliest Winter in Decades Bloomberg

Meet Kastle Systems, the Covid-Era Kings of Back-to-Work Data Bloomberg


First Martian life likely broke the planet with climate change, made themselves extinct Live Science

Chevron chief blames western governments for energy crunch FT. Cheveron CEO Mike Wirth: “The reality is, [fossil fuel] is what runs the world today. It’s going to run the world tomorrow and five years from now, 10 years from now, 20 years from now.” Ah, reality.

Like Manchin, Obama tried to fast-track transmission. Nope. E&E News


Los Angeles is running out of water, and time. Are leaders willing to act? LA Times

Florida water “looks like root beer, smells like dead fish rolled into compost” as environment reels from Hurricane Ian CBS


Missing science: A scoping study of COVID-19 epidemiological data in the United States PLOS One. From the Abstract: “While we found authoritative estimates for most expected transmission and disease severity parameters, some were lacking, and others had significant uncertainties. Moreover, most transmission parameters were not validated domestically or re-assessed over the course of the pandemic.” And: “We identified 283 published epidemiological reports authored by investigators affiliated with U.S. governmental public health entities. Most reported on descriptive studies. Published analytic studies did not appear to fully respond to knowledge gaps or to provide systematic evidence to support, evaluate or tailor community mitigation strategies. Unsurprisingly, since that’s not the CDC’s goal. More: “The existence of epidemiological data gaps 18 months after the declaration of the COVID-19 pandemic underscores the need for more timely standardization of data collection practices and for anticipatory research priorities and protocols for emerging infectious disease epidemics.” Just the Centers for Disease, doing its job.

Alpha to Omicron: Disease Severity and Clinical Outcomes of Major SARS-CoV-2 Variants Journal of Infectious Diseases. n = 2779. “Disease severity associated with alpha, gamma, and delta variants is comparable while omicron infections are significantly less severe. Breakthrough disease is significantly more common in patients with omicron infection.” “Frequency of hospitalization, ICU admission, and death” are the metrics for “disease severity.”

Remember, do no harm? Science

Medium COVID Could Be the Most Dangerous COVID The Atlantic

Who’s Left Out of the Learning-Loss Debate The New Yorker

Air and surface sampling for monkeypox virus in a UK hospital: an observational study The Lancet. From the Abstract: “These data show contamination in isolation facilities and potential for suspension of monkeypox virus into the air during specific activities. PPE contamination was observed after clinical contact and changing of bedding. Contamination of hard surfaces in doffing areas supports the importance of cleaning protocols, PPE use, and doffing procedures.” Note that CDC’s bias against airborne transmission is so extreme that its monkeypox case collection form doesn’t even include a field for changing bedding (let alone other, less obvious transmission pathways).


The Party Elders Who May Challenge Xi Foreign Policy

China ‘under pressure’ like never before after Joe Biden unveils national security strategy, analysts say South China Morning Post

HCMC’s Gasoline Market Mess Vietnam Weekly. Ho Chi Minh City.

Southeast Asia’s delivery ‘riders’ brave dangerous roads with limited insurance protection Globe_


Globalisation & Greco-Buddhist Art Madras Courier


Saudi Arabia Swings Toward Russia Project Syndicate

Dear Old Blighty

Liz Truss ‘has 17 days to save her job’: Chancellor jets back early from US trip for crunch U-turn talks with PM as mutinous Tory MPs round on her over mini-Budget debacle and ‘line up Rishi Sunak and Penny Mordaunt as a joint ticket to replace her’ Daily Mail

Former independence strategist Stephen Noon questions de facto referendum plan Holyrood. I see “national conversation” was leaped across The Pond.

European Disunion

Europe is still quietly importing Russian nuclear energy CNBC. Oh.

With Leaps and Bounds, Parkour Athletes Turn Off the Lights in Paris NYT

New Not-So-Cold War

Kyiv hit by Iranian drones as Russia targets dozens of Ukrainian cities Axios

Russia to evacuate Kherson residents as Ukrainian forces advance Al Jazeera. Except, so far as I can tell from Dima’s Russian and Western sources, the Ukrainians are not advancing,

France to supply air defence systems to Ukraine after wave of Russian strikes France24. But:

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Exclusive: Musk’s SpaceX says it can no longer pay for critical satellite services in Ukraine, asks Pentagon to pick up the tab CNN. Commentary:

Ukraine’s Starlink problems show the dangers of digital dependency Gillian Tett, FT

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Does the United States Have a Plan in Ukraine? (excerpt) Matt Taibbi, TK News:

Like the Times, the Post moved back and forth between reporting information in its own voice and attributing information to anonymous sources. It seemed odd when they noted “recent events have only added to the sense that the war will be a long slog,” and “all of this adds up to a war that looks increasingly open-ended.” However, much of the rest described White House efforts to keep other nations backing Ukraine, which seemed uncontroversial enough. Then the paper dropped a stunner:

Privately, U.S. officials say neither Russia nor Ukraine is capable of winning the war outright, but they have ruled out the idea of pushing or even nudging Ukraine to the negotiating table. They say they do not know what the end of the war looks like, or how it might end or when, insisting that is up to Kyiv.

What??? If the White House doesn’t think the war can be won, but also refuses to negotiate itself, or “nudge” others to do it for them, what exactly is its end strategy? Waiting for things to get worse and then reassessing?

How did we avoid a Cuban Missile ‘Armageddon’? Strategic empathy. Responsible Statecraft. Know your enemy and know yourself….

How Russia Views America Philip Pilkington, American Affairs (Amfortas the Hippie). Review by former NCer Pilkington of Andrei Martyanov’s Disintegration: Indicators of the Coming American Collapse. Well worth a read.

Biden Administration

U.S. extends Covid public health emergency even though Biden says pandemic is over CNBC

Biden to Gig Economy: Stop Stealing Wages The New Republic

Capitol Seizure

The Trump Subpoena Will Be the Headline, But the Real Washington News Was Elsewhere Politico. And:

Wait. The FBI knew something was up. The Secret Service knew. The Capitol Police knew. And Pelosi had her own videographer — her daughter (!) — on site on the day? Something’s not right….

The Inevitable Indictment of Donald Trump Franklin Foer, The Atlantic

Police State Watch

Hot pursuit Searchlight New Mexico

Iowa to dramatically cut back on some restaurant inspections Iowa Capital Dispatch. What could go wrong?


Gabor Maté: Capitalist Society Is Making Us Physically and Mentally Unwell Jacobin

U.S. Experts Weigh In on Colonoscopy Status in Wake of European Trial MedPage Today. “European trial” is not Ukraine, obviously.


FDA confirms Adderall shortage as largest manufacturer warns of delays through end of the year NBC


Team of flying robots builds structures using 3D printing Physics World

My Weekend with the Martians Astra. Curtis Yarvin’s metaverse.

Class Warfare

Apple to Withhold Latest Employee Perks From Unionized Store Bloomberg. Just like Starbucks.

In the WWE, Wrestlers Say Labor Abuses Are Everywhere Jacobin

Medieval Times Sues Its Workers’ Union Alleging ‘Trademark Infringement’ HuffPo.

There Are No ‘Five Stages’ of Grief The Atlantic

Antidote du jour (via):

Winter is coming.

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. Robert Hahl

    Re: Saudi Arabia Swings Toward Russia Project Syndicate

    The story fails to mention that MbS is now the Prime Minister of Saudi, as reported by Alex Cristoforou this morning, presumably because it would be harder to take out a PM than a prince. Is it too soon to ask who lost Saudi Arabia? I doubt it was Trump.

      1. Michaelmas

        Ask Lizzie Truss to find it on a map. She’ll lose it.

        Truss already lost Kwasi Kwarteng. One down, one to go.

        ‘Kwasi Kwarteng sacked with Jeremy Hunt set to be named chancellor as Liz Truss expected to U-turn over mini-budget – live’

        ‘UK’s Liz Truss fires Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng in a bid to save her premiership’

        1. Stephen


          When it comes to PM’s the Tory Party effectively removed or lost three Prime Ministers mid Parliament in controversial ways since 2016: namely David Cameron, Theresa May and Boris Johnson.

          Circumstances and precise mechanism were different in each case but they are definitely on a roll. It is seriously getting to be a habit. Will they extend their hat trick? Are they going for a double hat trick?

    1. Daryl

      > Re: Saudi Arabia Swings Toward Russia Project Syndicate

      If the US SA relationship gets destroyed by this whole thing there’ll at least be a silver lining.

  2. Etrigan

    Pilkongton’s material assessments are so excellent and specific that I wish his analysis of neoliberalism and sham meritocracy and American elite character scratched the surface even a little deeper. Specific monied interests and economics thinkers had a plan and enacted it to financialize and deindustrialize the country. A lot happened in American politics and economics between Nixon and Clinton and I’m not sure postmodernism is the center of that particular dart board

    1. Michaelmas

      Etrigan: I wish (Pilkington’s) analysis of neoliberalism and sham meritocracy and American elite character scratched the surface even a little deeper. Specific monied interests and economics thinkers had a plan and enacted it to financialize and deindustrialize the country.

      Pilkington is a Brit and has, as far as I know, neither had actual contact with American elites in DC nor lived in the US for any length of time. Thus, the international media narrative about the US and doings there — tropes like Democrats better than Republicans, Obama good, Trump supporter are simply knuckle-draggers, etc., etc. — is all he has to work with, even if he disbelieves it.

      Specifically, forex, no reports emerged overseas of stateside matters like ‘robosigning’ after the 2008 GFC — when the Obama administration conspired with the banking industry to forge up to one million chain-of-title mortgage documents so as to foreclose on ordinary Americans and so protect the banks from facing criminal proceedings and, in turn, preserve the existing US wealth structure.

      Pilkington thus cannot have full understanding of the extent to which the US is now simply a full-on, hardcore kleptocracy run mostly by rather stupid psychopaths and narcissists.

    2. Sibiryak

      Garden People vs Jungle People

      … Bruges is a good example of the European garden. Yes, Europe is a garden. We have built a garden. Everything works. It is the best combination of political freedom, economic prosperity and social cohesion that the humankind has been able to build – the three things together. And here, Bruges is maybe a good representation of beautiful things, intellectual life, wellbeing.

      The rest of the world – and you know this very well, Federica – is not exactly a garden. Most of the rest of the world is a jungle, and the jungle could invade the garden. The gardeners should take care of it, but they will not protect the garden by building walls. A nice small garden surrounded by high walls in order to prevent the jungle from coming in is not going to be a solution. Because the jungle has a strong growth capacity, and the wall will never be high enough in order to protect the garden.

      The gardeners have to go to the jungle. Europeans have to be much more engaged with the rest of the world. Otherwise, the rest of the world will invade us, by different ways and means.

      Yes, this is my most important message: we have to be much more engaged with the rest of the world.

      We are privileged people. [ETC]

      — Joseph Borrell, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Oct. 13

      1. The Rev Kev

        Saw that earlier today and could hardly believe that the EU’s supposedly top diplomat said that. Can you imagine how racist that would come across in the rest of the world outside the EU? How many messages are in that short text? We are the gardeners of the world because of the white man’s burden. We have to keep all the apes of the world out of our garden. We have to dominate the rest of the world or they will dominate us. We are better people than you.
        He seriously has to go.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          I will always stand by my position that orientalism is the guiding light of Western foreign policy. He’s just saying this out loud in frustration as they can’t force the Third World to join them. The recent flurry of statements by Western leaders (NATO isn’t a threat, rules based order, etc) reflect the failure to go beyond the G7 and the Isle of Mann. The Cold War was never a fight. Eileen good and evil, just two empires. Wit hit the threat km a people’s vanguard icing the local potentates, the West doesn’t offer as much as it used to except chaos. I think addressing these realities is too much for imperial elites.

          1. tegnost

            Eileen good and evil, just two empires. Wit hit the threat km

            don’t you just love spel chek?
            For “eileen” you hit the period then missed the “B” , then with it becomes wit hit, but I can’t figure it came up with km…artificial intelligence FTW, is artificial…

                1. wilroncanada

                  Hey! You’re talking about two of my favourite people; Eileen Dover, and her husband Ben Dover. (h.t. Norm Grohman, 1970s Vancouver radio.)

        2. Revenant

          I don’t see the racism. I see the comment in the tradition of Voltaire, “Il faut cultiver nos jardins”.

          Europe is a cultivated space, like a garden, and unless tended it will decay and be reclaimed by nature. I think the bit about the walls is an unfortunate mixed metaphor. I see it as no garden is an island, it relies on importing nutrients and plants and labour and one would hope it exports its harvest. However, the walls bit does rather sound like Fortress Europe or, more fittingly, Stockade Europe, defending its position by clearances of the surrounding terrain.

        3. Irrational

          Absolutely unbelievable. Imagine what happens now when the EU comes along and says that to get some EU funds you have to comply with our Russia sanctions. What will the response be now?

        4. vao

          When I read that, I thought it was a caricature written by somebody else lampooning eurocrats. Then I saw a video clip of Borrell’s disquisition.

          Similarly, Ehud Barak liked to refer to Israel as the villa in the jungle. His and Borrell’s metaphors are not neo-colonial — they are thoroughly late 19th century colonial. Such a mentality explains a lot about the policies followed by Israel and by the EU.

      2. Darthbobber

        Pity the rest of the world also gets to hear this. How better to kick off your engagement initiative than letting those to be engaged know exactly how contemptuous you are of them?

      3. Stephen

        Sounds like a metaphor for HG Wells “The Time Machine” with Europeans in the role of the Eloi and everyone else as Morlocks. Things did not work out so well though for the Eloi.

        But European behaviour seems consistent: the Eloi would not even save one of their compatriots from drowning; a further metaphor for self destruction of our societies through lack of energy perhaps.

        Wonder which group he sees America as part of?

            1. ambrit

              I’m curious about the proposed derivation of the term “Eloi” from the proper name ‘Elon.’

      4. Michaelmas

        Sibiryak: We are privileged people. [ETC] — Joseph Borrell

        If you’re suggesting that Brussels and the EU aren’t also run by rather stupid psychopaths and narcissists, I don’t disagree.

        But it’s the stupid psychopaths and narcissists in DC who are currently pulling the strings of those in Brussels.

        1. Old Jake

          I suspect you’re short a negative in there somewhere ;-)

          If this shows up twice or even more times, it’s because it seems to simply disappear, not even into moderation, when I click “Post Comment.” I suspect one of my many browser extensions (on FireFox) is blocking something.

        2. ambrit

          “They were privileged people, Joseph and Ursula-…”
          The ‘Entitled’ line goes way back in Terran human history.

      5. OIFVet

        Chrystia Freeland got a bad case of envy when she heard Borrell, and tried to one up him: Africa needs a Zelensky. I mean, sure. Africa needs a Kurtz 2.0. After all, unlike the original Kurtz, who was only created by all of Europe, Kurtz 2.0 is created by all of Europe, the US, and Canada.

        These people shouldn’t be put in charge even of municipal dog pounds.

          1. OIFVet

            But none of them were white and some of them were too friendly with the Soviets. Hence the need for Kurtz 2.0, a hero with impeccable democratic credentials (fact checked by Western MSM, of course) and proven commitment to keeping Russian influence out of Africa regardless of the blood price. IOW, they need a Zelensky. A pliable and easily controlled puppet who will ensure that the exploitation of Africa’s resources by the West proceeds and kept safe from anti-collonial influences and moods

    3. Socal Rhino

      I think this misses the point, which is that Martynov’s analysis may provide insights into the thinking within Russia, China, and other countries beyond Nato.

  3. fresno dan

    Macron: France won’t strike Russia if it nukes Ukraine.

    “Our doctrine is based on the fundamental interests of (our) nation, and they are clearly defined. If there were a nuclear ballistic attack in Ukraine, these interests would not be called into question,” said Macron.
    Could anyone (other than Trump*) in the US political system say the same, or have they ALL drunk the kool aid?
    And will Macron’s statement be the crack in the dike that unleashes the flood???
    *What does it say about the US political system, that apparently all US elected representatives would be OK with nuclear armageddon?

    1. David

      This is traditional French doctrine since De Gaulle: French nuclear weapons are the ultimate guarantee of France’s security, not anybody else’s. This is why there has never been much of an anti-nuclear movement in France. The corollary is also true, of course; the French never expected any other state to use nuclear weapons on their behalf.

      1. jochena

        When Jaques Chirac authorised nuclear weapons tests in the pacific in 1995, France faced international criticism. As part of the attempt to manage the situation France offered to extend its nuclear shield to Germany. I have a quote in my memory, no idea if it was a government reply or a single politician, stating that Germany is already under NATOs nuclear shield (and doesn’t require the shield of France).

        But this offer may have been made without expectation of going through with it. And according to an old newspaper clip (TAZ) I just found in preparation of this reply, an interviewed SPD politician mentioned this had happened before. Usually in similar situations regarding nuclear activities.

    2. timbers

      Maybe Putin should tell France, Russia will not nuke Ukraine if Ukraine/USA blows up critical energy infrastructure in France as was on Germany’s Nord Stream. Marcon is such a zero.

      1. c_heale

        From my reading of the speeches by Putin, his threat was to use nuclear weapons against the countries (USA, EU) that are supplying weapons and organising this conflict. There was no threat to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine. This is just NATO propaganda.

    3. The Rev Kev

      British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace was seriously unhappy about this when told about this. He actually said ‘It reveals President Macron’s hand’ so I guess where nuclear weapons are concerned, Wallace thinks that the more ambiguity the better.

        1. The Rev Kev

          As Private Hudson said in the film “Aliens”-

          ‘We’re on an express elevator to Hell – goin’ down!’

          1. griffen

            So many quotes from that film, such a great sequel. Who would know that Cameron was just beginning to churn out excellent films.

      1. Polar Socialist

        Of course, since nuclear deterrence as a bluff is so much less risky and of higher moral than clear cut declarations of intention.

      2. LawnDart

        Who’s the nuclear talk actually directed towards? Us, the domestic audience.

        People who are largely time-starved, propagandized, and ignorant (sometimes willfully) of objective information will not be aware of Russian nuclear policy and will not understand that nukes will not be used unless the West uses them first.

        People who are afraid are more easily led– in this case, it’s “threat and rescue,” similar to “good cop/bad cop.” As such, I call bullshit on all this nuclear-talk– just more Western misleadership intended to keep the proles in line by keeping them focused on a far-away boogyman, distracted from their more immediate problems… …and the true causes of these.

        1. Anthony G Stegman

          It is foolish for any nuclear armed nation to declare a no first strike policy. The reality of nuclear war is that a nuclear first strike is very advantageous to the nation that strikes first. Waiting to be struck means the likelihood of losing most of one’s nuclear forces and so also losing the capability to respond. In nuclear war good things don’t happen to those who wait.

          1. ambrit

            That’s why the two main nuclear powers have so many warheads. Some will get through in a counter strike and sterilize the planet.

      3. Lex

        Well obviously the Russians don’t speak French so how would they possibly know France’s published nuclear doctrine? Just like Biden doesn’t speak Russian so he can’t possibly find out what the legal nuclear doctrine of Russia is and how nothing happening in Ukraine – including the Crimean bridge – possibly qualifies.

    4. OldLion

      Not sure everyone understood clearly.
      I was listenning to Macron, as many french were.

      He did not say : France will not strike Russia if it nukes Ukraine.
      He said :
      France will not use the nuclear weapon to strike Russia it it nukes Ukraine. He also said there was no way France would not act militarily if Russia nukes Ukraine.

        1. Polar Socialist

          No, France would call back all legionnaires currently unofficially fighting in Ukraine and then sent them back officially.

  4. paul

    RE: tory parliamentary party having second thoughts.

    It is extraordinary that the most elongated and well publicised, yet hardly scrutinised, leadership campaign will now be overturned.
    One where previous GE manifesto promises were swept aside in a peculiarly vapid catfight.

    The senility voted for truss.

    She has hit the ground tunneling.

    Her sponsors will get as much as they can, and then dispose of the recycled material in favour of someone like blair starmer.

    There is no statecraft left, merely stagecraft.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Presumably Gove will be the man given the task of minimising the damage in the next election. I would guess they’ll do everything they can to avoid an early election, a lot of Tory MP’s having cashed in fully yet.

  5. thoughtful person

    What??? If the White House doesn’t think the war can be won, but also refuses to negotiate itself, or “nudge” others to do it for them, what exactly is its end strategy? Waiting for things to get worse and then reassessing?

    Just reading about the new sanctions on chips and aluminum as well. Same thing right?

    Seems to me that rather than defusing the crisis in Ukraine all the “West” has done thus far is to add fuel to the fire. So who benefits from WW3?

    The MIC of course. Additional possibilities: Some sort of way to deal with debt? Possibly just trying to remain global hegemon? Or maybe some sort of warped population reduction plan to reduce emissions and climate change?

    Or maybe it’s all long covid insanity amongst our elites?

    1. JohnA

      That should truthfully read ‘Ukraine is not capable of winning the war outright,’ and then, sotto voce, but we will continue to bleed them and Russia for as long as possible.

      Russia is clearly winning despite the western media propaganda, and it is only a matter of time until either what is left of Ukraine is totally destroyed, or a military coup overthrows Zelensky and negotiations with Russia can start.

      1. Will

        If I recall correctly, there was speculation/reporting here on NC that the plan was to bleed Russia dry using every last Ukrainian as was done to the Soviets using Afghanistan. If true, then a forever war is the end game.

        And if there are lucrative arms contracts to help Ukraine in their noble cause then all the better. Or at least for the betterment of the few that matter.

        1. Lex

          Clinton was on TV in March talking about giving Russia an Afghanistan. Which raises an interesting question about the cycle of afghanistans in foreign policy (and how giving Russia the first Afghanistan was giving it a Vietnam). But it suggests a lack of clear thinking. For both the US and Russia, Afghanistan is a relatively distant place without obvious nor clear reasons. Never mind that our myth of Afghanistan’s role in the collapse of the USSR is overblown.

          It might be possible to bleed Russia dry in Ukraine, but given the location and importance in Russian history it’s unlikely that Russia will just give up at some point. Aside to that, the plan looked like giving Russia an Iraq which was dependent on Russia overthrowing the government in Kiev without dealing with the military in the east. Regardless, the “trap” was stupid because it’s now obvious that the trap has been reversed.

          The US has put all its chips on a place half a world away that requires constant infusions against what’s still a small percentage of Russian strength. If the US backs down it has lost all “face” and if it doesn’t it gets sucked deeper into the quagmire for which there is no realistic way it can reach the stated parameters of victory. And at this rate we all have to hope that Putin does not want to march to the channel because the military might of NATO on its home turf is being quickly eroded.

        2. Oh

          I think that’s what the Biden Admin and the MIC want. Keep dragging it out hoping to outlast the Russians. The people in the US need to stop this war.

    2. Sibiryak

      Matt Taibbi playing dumb:

      The Russian side of the war never particularly made sense.

      American aims are also becoming difficult to grasp.

      If we don’t think a military solution is feasible, why are we continuing to pump the place full of weapons? Inertia? Because we don’t want to be a bummer?

      No matter what Ukraine policy you favor, you should want our government to clarify its goals, or at least make sure we have some. This is one situation where no plan would be more frightening than a bad one.

      This kind of shallow a-pox-on-both- their-houses rhetoric has become the norm for anyone struggling to formulate an “anti-war” position that won’t be immediately dismissed as being unacceptably pro-Putin or pro-Neo-Con.

      1. chris

        Why do you think that kind of opinion is shallow? In the face of our leaders saying the American people should be prepared for suffer for as long as it takes to help Ukraine, asking people to come up with actual goals and plans seems pretty radical. I understand it’s a low bar. However, the position we’re in is how do we support a people that we’ve been supporting for years, who are currently under siege, and not break the world. The best way to do this is to stop supporting Ukraine. But we all know the people involved will never agree to that. We also know that because of winter logistics for military and civilian purposes we do not have a lot of time before things get much worse in Ukraine and Europe. So how do we at least publicly move the discussion towards something that has a chance of promoting a peaceful resolution while there are still Ukrainians left in Ukraine and no one is fingering their big red buttons?

        1. Lex

          We haven’t been supporting them, we’ve been using them. If we’d been supporting them, Ukraine wouldn’t have been a black hole of corruption and ethno-nationalism wrapped in an effectively failed state for 30 years. We’ve had thirty years to help the people of Ukraine in real and tangible ways and just didn’t.

          1. Oh

            If we’d been supporting them, Ukraine wouldn’t have been a black hole of corruption and ethno-nationalism wrapped in an effectively failed state for 30 years.

            You forget that the only kind of countries we have always supported are corrupt dictatorships.

      2. vao

        Formulated in that way, the position of the USA is reminiscent of what happened during the long Iraq-Iran war: massive support in favour of Iraq, though insufficient to win the war, but largely enough to bleed Iran white (the existential enemy), while weakening Iraq (and thus make an annoying actor with nationalized hydrocarbon resources ready for looting by US corporations).

      3. Teejay

        Sibiryak: Sounding like your saying something without really saying anything. Friedmanesque. How ironic is that?

    3. David

      “Winning the war” means achieving your objectives at the expense of the other party, who by definition loses. The Russian war aims set out in February have now largely been met. The Ukrainian war aims – recovery of national territory – stand no chance of ever being met. Ukraine has therefore lost. Russia has still not achieved all its aims, and has perhaps added some more, but it cannot now lose. The best it can hope for is survival as a weak, landlocked state under Russian tutelage.

      The problem the West has is that, since the beginning, it has presumed to say what victory means, and by extension who is winning. I have been saying for months now that in the parallel universe the West inhabits, there will come a time, at the end of the war, when it can claim that Ukraine and the West “won”, because fantasy victory conditions for Russia invented by the West have not been fulfilled.

      1. timbers

        I agree in part with you David, but for 2 of the three things that Russia stated as her goals from the beginning.

        1). Demilitarize. 2). De N word. These 2 things have not happened. The only way I can figure these can be accomplished is:

        1). Seriously destroy Ukraine infrastructure to render it military insignificant for the next 10 years or so. This should a goal in and of itself. Any doubts on that, just see US announcements for major eternal war making military infrastructure for Ukraine aimed at Russia to be located in Germany and other locations. It’s additional benefit would also be, allowing for an easy and swift Russian military victory on the field. 2). Decapitate and destroy the Ukraine leadership.

        These are what Putin said were his goals.

        Russia has finally started on infrastructure though given Putin panache for half measures, am not yet convinced he will finish the job or even to the extent it allows for what already should have been a swift and easy Russian military victory. On taking out Ukraine leadership, Russia still has a long way to go.

        1. digi_owl

          It depends.

          Seemingly Zelensky is starting to lose favor within Ukraine itself. And that is what Putin may be betting on.

          As for demilitarize, it could mean anything. One interpretation is to forever remove the option of having the hardware on Ukrainian soil that could be used to invade Russia, NATO hardware in particular.

          Because Putin, and likely the Russian military, seems to still operate with the idea of NATO being poised to first strike Russia, same as during the cold war.

          1. The Rev Kev

            NATO has already announced a ten-year plan to rebuild the Ukrainian military into a NATO army with NATO weaponry and a war-making industrial capability. So the Ukraine will be a defacto NATO member which the Ukrainians have already boasted about and will be launched against those territories that they lost this time around-


            Think that the Russians will just sit around while this is happening or will they sort it all out now?

            1. digi_owl

              That with the expectation that they get to pick the leaders from here on out. Stoltenberg being a bit hasty to declare win is as old as his political career. Just observe the “oh snap!” response back when the slam dunk Norwegian EU vote resulted in a NO.

            2. NotTimothyGeithner

              Grasping at straws, the vaguely rationale know any treaty will demand this not happen or there will be an immeidate resumption of hostilities or there will never be a stop to hostilities. Whether Russia takes Odessa or not, I dont see a scenario where Ukraine isn’t reduced to the stone age without a treaty. Look at the chaos from two days of bombing.

              Without combined arms, the next batch of soldiers trained will simply be slaughtered if the follow orders to march into Russian artillery despite whatever cool pamphlets they received from Raytheon.

              Then the inflation numbers.

            3. Darthbobber

              NATO has announced more things than I can count. Ten year plans from anybody are pure pr exercises at this point. The one week plans give them enough trouble.

            4. Katniss Everdeen

              Considering that “nato” is just an alternate spelling of “united states,” the incoherence from the white house noted by Taibbi may be related to zelensky’s most recent Christmas list,

              Zelenskyy (
              ): Ukraine needs $38 billion to cover our budget deficit next yr; we need $17 billion to “rebuild the critical infrastructure”; we need $2 billion to rebuild our “electric energy infrastructure”; & we need “not less than $5 billion” for gas & coal purchases


              and Aaron Mate’s highlighting of a wapo “news” story:

              According to a former White House official, Biden told Zelensky “that it would be hard for him to keep asking Congress for money if Zelensky appeared ungrateful and kept saying it was not enough.”


              Of course with biden in the white house, the source of “incoherence” is a moving target.

        2. Tom Stone

          The Ukraine War is also about soft power, especially in the Global South.
          Russia has won that vitally important battle.

            1. anon in so cal

              Huge Russian advance in Bakhmut:

              “Ukrainian army units have begun retreat from Bakhmut, and Russian forces who encircled the city on 3 sides are preparing to enter. Massive defeat for Ukrainian military. Bakhmut is lynchpin of Kiev’s defence line in Donetsk & communication hub for supply.”

        3. David

          I didn’t say they had won, in terms of their war aims, but rather that they now cannot lose. Remember, we’re talking about a set of aims which range from the unvarying super-strategic (change power distribution in the world) to the daily-varying super-tactical (retake Liman). Demobilisation falls, I would guess, at the operational level, and means permanently reducing the AFU to a level at which they can’t pose a threat, and stopping other nations’deployments in the country. I think that is well under way. Martyanov (who sometimes overdoes it) is quite right to say that this is something the West simply doesn’t understand.

      2. digi_owl

        Indeed. From the day the Russian Army crossed the boarder, western media hammered the idea that Putin was heading for the Atlantic.

        So anything short of that can be declared by as a win by the same “intelligentsia”.

        Selling the skin before the bear is dead has become a MIC staple.

      3. PlutoniumKun

        I think ‘winning the war’ has become a moving target for all sides. Russia itself does not seem all that clear about its strategic objective (most likely, they have a sliding scale). But they surely have a more focused set of ideas than the west. For that matter, Ukraine seems to have lost all sight of what a ‘victory’ would mean for it.

        1. digi_owl

          Well the Russian goals was primarily to safeguard the Donbass Russians.

          But thanks to western meddling etc, Putin et al may be under pressure to escalate even if they know it to be a bad idea.

          In the end everyone seems to be talking past each other, putting words in the others mouth etc. Thus the mentioned statement from Macron is refreshingly frank (heh), as it clarifies the French escalation conditions. And perhaps also the first solid crack in the EU “wall of unity”.

          1. The Rev Kev

            Unfortunately Macron is a bit of a weather-vane. A few days ago he demanded that Russia return to the negotiations table when he knew full well that Putin had just offered to but had his offer shot down by Biden and Zelensky who refuse to negotiate at all. And while demanding negotiations, the same day Macron announced that he was sending radars, systems and missiles to the Ukraine.

        2. OIFVet

          Frankly, at this point “winning the war” for Russia probably means Euros either beginning to put our needs over those of NATO (which really means the US and would de facto end the alliance) or the EU beginning to fracture from within as more states begin to go down Hungary’s path. Given frau[d] von der Leyen’s and the German Greens’ talent for sticking it to their own people, that EU fracturing appears more likely to happen than the Euros giving NATO the boot en block. We shall live and we shall see, as the Russian say. Suffice it to say, alarm bells are ringing in Brussels as Euro discontent grows. They know that this discontent will only get stronger as the winter sets in and as they see Russia escalating to the point where they may actually mean business.

          And what would winning look like for Ukraine and the US? Well, we have one side driven by delusions and nazzi worship, while the other is driven by hubris or perhaps by dawning realization that the unipolar moment has ended and is not coming back short of a total annihilation of both Russia and China. The problem is that this can’t be accomplished in the conventional way, which means total annihilation on a planetary scale. They are really in a no-win scenario as far as I can see. Retreat means losing face and power. Maintaining war intensity and economic lunacy on the current scale has already resulted in loss of power and the peeling-off of the Saudis and UAE. The Third World is not too keen on being bullied from what I can see, while just south of the border AMLO is pointedly refusing to be anything other than neutral, and that with quite a bit of barbed remarks against the US attempts to bully. So the US tried the only path left open to them – conventional escalation – and that’s not working out too well for the US, the EU, and Ukraine given the massive Russian response.

          The way I see it, it’s up to the Euros to peel off and block American attempts to escalate further, to include putting a leash on the crazies in Poland and the Baltics, or the US backing off. I don’t see the latter happening under any circumstance where the Euros are stull under the American thumb, so it really is up to the Euros to end it by telling the US to buzz off. That may happen as the discontent spreads and perhaps escalates to civil disobedience and violence.

          Again, we shall live and we shall see.

      4. GW

        Concerning “winning” the war, the hawks in the US foreign policy establishment have already achieved one of their stated goals.

        That is, to turn Ukraine into another Syria.

    4. Robert Hahl

      re: Does the United States Have a Plan in Ukraine? (excerpt) Matt Taibbi,

      In Viet Nam the plan became to just do whatever Nixon and Kissinger dreamed up next. According to Daniel Ellsburg this amounted to Nixon ordering more secret bombing of Cambodia and Laos (to persuade them to invade north Viet Nam), and Kissinger asking Hanoi if they were ready to give up yet. My point being that what is happening to Ukraine sounds very similar. The plan seems to be send in more weapons, and then ask for capitulation.

      1. digi_owl

        Because US has not had soil on the line since forever.

        For Vietnam it was a matter of life and self determination, while for US it was about money (and maybe pride).

        For some nationality is about lines on a map, for others it is about ancestral history. Subtleties is the name of the game. And sadly few, at least on the western side of the board, seem to have any patience for such these days.

    5. NotTimothyGeithner

      The plan was the Russian oligarchs would overthrow Putin. The West just pirated the liquid assets of the oligarchs effectively taxing them out of existence on behalf of Russia. Its based on the notion our own Western oligarchs arent just parasites. There was also some fantastical thinking about imposing no fly zones with no knowledge of geography or logistics, as in none. Kiev might as well be near Ottawa for the average denizen of State.

      I’m reminded of Karl Rove’s line about creating reality. I think the DC hive mind especially created a fantasy that all was well until Trump, and as a result, they and the EU quieslings desperate to cosplay as imperial citizens as opposed to subjects can’t conceive why ranting about “rules based order” is meaningless gibberish in the eyes of countries like India.

      The more sober minded aligned with Team Blue may know the reality, but they also know a significant portion of their voters were the victims of rampant propaganda aND subsequently believe Putin cheated on Saint Hillary all those years, not Bill.

  6. zagonostra

    Could Musk’s no longer offering Starlink for free have anything to do with federal investigation of his Twitter bid?

    1. Louis Fyne

      Musk wised-up and realized that when the White House is writing blank checks for Ukraine, Starlink should be feeding at that trough too

        1. hunkerdown

          Moral entrepreneurs everywhere in the world are in dire need of a massive attitude check. Elon is, unfortunately, one of the few living persons who has both the precision-turned, AI-infused brass eggs and ownership of the current Ukrainian C4ISR data link layer to deliver the attitude check they need.

    2. timbers

      Am seeing reports Musk wants the Pentagon to pay him because he is losing 20 million a month. So perhaps the Russians have not been jamming it as some speculate. Also some juicy drama about Uki officials being ungrateful and very self entitled to getting Starlink for free.

  7. Henry Moon Pie

    Martian climate disaster–

    Maybe we’re beginning to discern an explanation for why we can’t seem to get any Top 40 radio from other planets. On Mars, a species of microbe appeared that filled the atmosphere with methane and screwed the planet as a home for life. On Earth, a two-legged mammal appeared with an obsession with giant pickup trucks that filled the air with carbon dioxide, screwing the planet at least as a home for that over-indulging species.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Yes, I’ve always felt there was something really wrong about the assumption that advanced life is inevitable in many parts of the universe. If this is the case, then our galaxy would be stuffed with deliberate and accidental signals (after all, we’ve been broadcasting radio waves into space for decades).

      Its probable imo that either we are being constantly monitored by some sort of galactic federation as if we were some sort of Amazonian tribe, or we really are relatively alone in a chilly version of an overpass State. I think its credible that while life does spontaneously arise in many places, there are unknown negative feedback loops that make it infinitesimally unlikely that it will develop from a microbe to… oh, say, Biden.

      1. digi_owl

        That said, even at the speed of light those early broadcast has barely reached the nearest stars.

        Space is stupid vast.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Having TV signals and the like reaching the stars was the stuff of a lot of early science fiction like Carl Sagan’s novel “Contact.” But somebody ran the numbers and found that those signals degraded into static before they even left the system. Shame that. So alien civilizations will never get to see that transmission of Adolf Hitler’s opening speech at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin after all.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Don’t they address this? They have it go by what they see in the end. The aliens showed Ellie their operation to combat the heat death of the universe among other feats and made claims older precursor races had left messages to us they were still working out.

          2. digi_owl

            Likely didn’t degrade to static, but became so weak that they could not be distinguished from background noise.

            In the end, broadcasts is about being the strongest transmitter in your frequency range. And broadcasts strength according to something like the square of the distance. That we still have contact with them old voyager probes out past Pluto is downright magic.

            1. Tom Bradford

              Not so much ‘downright magic’ as having very large, highly directional antennas pointed at exactly the right point in the sky to ‘focus’ the signal. And that’s for a source with a known frequency on the edge of our own solar system focused back at us.

          3. Acacia

            So alien civilizations will never get to see that transmission of Adolf Hitler’s opening speech at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin after all.

            Not to worry, the Xists of the future can still get a little taste of Earth’s Nazi past, as the Golden Disc attached to the Voyager spacecraft was narrated by Kurt Waldheim.

      2. Man who fell from Mars

        So, if you cannot detect life with our 5 senses and the technology of current science, it means there is no life? We know very little of our own solar system let alone of the universe. There are many planes of existence other what we experience IMO. As far as galactic federation goes, it’s my understanding that it is hierarchically organized in scope of governance, with love/wisdom a governing influencing energy in our local solar system. Certainly not much of either on this planet it would seem currently. We are exiting the age of Pisces and entering the age of Aquarius and things are quite messy and will be for a number of years. The selfishness has to give way to collective thinking and actions.

      3. chris

        I think what we’ll discover is that there have been multiple advanced societies on Earth and the only reason why they keep growing and developing is the prior ones blow themselves up before they get to the point where they break the world. Perhaps the bacteria on Mars weren’t capable of that negatively aligned collective solution? Or maybe all the sci-fi about Mars is correct and if we get there in person we’ll discover they’re all underground…

      4. OIFVet

        Perhaps we are in a “The Left Hand of Darkness” scenario – created by an advanced civilization as an experiment, to be contacted if and when we manage to advance.

        Or perhaps we are the plaything of a perverse and sadistic Q-like being and we have Cap’n Joseph Robinette Biden and the crew of SS Beltway instead of Captain Jean-Luc Picard and the crew of Enterprise.

        Dunno, given how focked up we are as a specie, the thought that we may be unique and alone in the entire universe is quite frightening. Then again, if we are the best that chemistry, physics, and random chance can come up with, then perhaps it is best that we are unique and alone, and hopefully incapable of advancing enough to spread outside our solar system.

  8. PlutoniumKum

    Liz Truss ‘has 17 days to save her job’: Chancellor jets back early from US trip for crunch U-turn talks with PM as mutinous Tory MPs round on her over mini-Budget debacle and ‘line up Rishi Sunak and Penny Mordaunt as a joint ticket to replace her’ Daily Mail

    Kwarteng is gone. Looks like moves are already afoot to ensure Truss follows him. An editorial in the Economist compared Truss’s effective premiership as having had the shelf life of a lettuce.

    It would be hilarious except that the UK seems to be the first of the dominos in line for the much anticipated Minsky moment and its in everyones interest that someone with at least a modicum of competence is in charge.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Keir Starmer eventually perhaps? I’ve heard him described as Tony Blair 2.0 though – but with the charisma of wet cement. Like in a lot of countries, the UK political system has been very effective in removing people who have competence and who are not ideologues. And that has left a very sparse field to choose from.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Only an election can do that, and thats in the gift of the Tories. Unless they decide that it would be better to land a collapsing economy unto Labours plate and then hope everyone forgets how it stated in 4 years time, I doubt if they will see that as a reasonable strategy. I’m pretty sure the Tories will try to keep power until the last possible moment. They will seek to put an acceptable face in charge after Truss with the job of minimising the damage.

        Starmer, despite his lack of charisma, at least ‘looks’ like a PM, and he is a lot smarter than the left give him credit for. They have repeatedly underestimated him (a common failure of the UK left, they are always so convinced they are right they never bother to get the measure of their opponents). He has, after all, pretty much destroyed all opposition to him within the party. If and when he gets to be PM he would be the equivalent of the moderately competent but somewhat ruthless manager who is put in charge of the family business until the real owners stop stabbing each other and work out amongst themselves who they really want as top dog.

        1. Henry Moon Pie

          “They have repeatedly underestimated him (a common failure of the UK left, they are always so convinced they are right they never bother to get the measure of their opponents). ”

          This reminded me of the Maté interview also in links today:

          People on the Left, on the other hand, also suffered in their childhoods, and they take that anger that’s not resolved in them and they project it into the politics, which makes them not very tolerant and much less effective. When they talk to people who just don’t see it their way, who are not aware or maybe more ignorant, or not in touch with the real issues, there’s a tendency to speak in a very hostile and very demeaning way.

          1. The Rev Kev

            Biden is more the old Beta model that was tried once or twice back in the 80s & 90s but never worked. And now over thirty years later he was taken off the shelf and put into service and is having compatibility issues – while stalling from time to time.

    2. timbers

      Duran had a whole video yesterday basically his smelling a rat that regime change was afoot in England, he’s convinced it’s being arranged. If it happens, Liz may finally have time to bone on on geography and find Russia on a map. Meanwhile how long has Putin served as President?

      1. PlutoniumKun

        I haven’t seen that video, but the problem with that sort of theory is that it doesn’t explain how someone like Truss got into power in the first place. None of the main Conservative power players wanted her (similarly with Thatcher of course, who was distrusted and loathed by most of the big players in the Tories and outside). If there were Machiavellian powers behind the scenes who decide who gets to be in charge, they must have been on vacation for the last few years.

        The reality is that the Tories, and the self appointed UK establishment (which really isn’t one establishment, there are lots of interest groups and individuals who hate each other) is in chaos. Truss represented one very narrow brand of Toryism which is now thoroughly discredited. Its anyones guess what comes next.

        1. midget

          Mercouris’s thesis is that the end goal is a Starmer premiership, because Starmer has the ability and ruthlessness (demonstrated by his purge of Corbynites) to tighten screws on any and all opposition to the Establishment.

          A storm is nigh upon Britain, so the establishment must batten down the hatches in order to maximize its chances of survival.

        2. David

          I think that’s the frightening thing, really. If there was someone in charge, or even trying to guide things, that would be an obscure comfort of sorts. But here we have a political system which is simply out of control. As long as Tory MPs want the government to continue, it will. And as long as the Party is as bitterly divided as it is, no leader will be able to feel secure. And there is no Establishment, in the traditional sense, anymore. I’ve been trying and failing to think of an analogy for the sheer chaos here. Any offers?

            1. David

              He retired as Cabinet Secretary in 1985, after a series of bruising confrontations with Margaret Thatcher. He went on to become Bursar of his old Oxford College, but left when the job turned largely into fundraising. He was part of the team that briefed Tony Blair before the 1997 election, but left disillusioned. He died, I believe, around 2005. They don’t make them like that any more. Indeed, they don’t want to make them like that.
              His son Tom Appleby went to work for McKinsey and then Deutsche Bank, before being made redundant after the 2008 crash. He was brought into Gordon Brown’s Treasury to advise on financial management, and then went to work at Number 10 with Brown. An enthusiastic European, he went to work at the European Commission on competition policy, before returning to London to help Cameron win the Brexit vote. He subsequently went to a senior post in the Brexit Ministry under May, before resigning following accusations of organising illegal champagne and oyster parties for wavering MPs. He returned to work for McKinsey, where he played a major role in the handling of the Covid epidemic. He is being talked of as the next Permanent Secretary in the Treasury, since they want someone with experience of the “outside world.”

              1. The Rev Kev

                You’ve just described in perfect detail a re-boot of “Yes Minister” and now I want to see it made.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            It does remind me of the last scene in that old Hollywood epic ‘The Fall of the Roman Empire’ where someone stands up on an auction block offering the title of Emperor to the highest bidder.

            I, Claudius also has a few chapters that would be no doubt familiar to some in the Tory Party.

        3. Henry Moon Pie

          ” they must have been on vacation for the last few years”

          LOL. Amen to that. And maybe they had their phones off.

        1. OIFVet

          She will never recognize Russian sovereignty over Rostov, on that she stands as firm as the rock of Marmara, and may God save poor England, ’cause that’s not within the capabilities of the Brit establishment. Funny how the country that produced Captain Cook has a PM that can’t find herself geographically using Google Maps. Perhaps that’s the price paid for the sins of past exploration that led to colonization and exploitation of others

      2. nippersdad

        That was an interesting video, and Mercouris certainly did not have to wait long to see his prediction of the Kwarteng defenestration come true.

      3. Tom Bradford

        The Duran, Christoforou especially, comes on a bit strong with the “Dark State” theories for my taste, tho’ Mercouris does a lot of reading and a very good synthesis of what is happening even if the why of it I take with a pinch of salt.

        If there are sinister manipulators working in the background ‘arranging’ things they are either impressively incompetent or, more likely IMHO, in as much disagreement as to ends and means as any other ‘organisation’ with too many masterminds pulling in different directions.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          I agree. To think there is a big menacing Dark State manipulating things behind the scenes is to simultaneously believe that they are both supremely skilful enough to maintain their power and control while stupid enough to accidentally find themselves with a Liz Truss in the hot seat.

          I read it as a teenager, and didn’t really understand it at all, but over the years I’ve come to appreciate that one of the best descriptions of how power works at that level is Paul Theroux’s book Dr. Slaughter (very badly adapted into a movie thriller). It depicts a world where a lot of people think they are insiders, but most are not – the easiest people to manipulate are those who are arrogant enough to think that they themselves really are movers and shakers. In truth, you have a coincidence of strategic aims, which means that a lot of people who dislike each other all more or less pull things in one direction.

          1. Oh

            – the easiest people to manipulate are those who are arrogant enough to think that they themselves really are movers and shakers.

            Aptly describes Reagan, Bush the lesser, Obama and Biden.

    3. Ignacio

      Sorry err… i found it hilarious. And do not have high expectations on the next leadership. I think it is important that some pervasive myths about conservatives might be falling apart and that is good news IMO. The conservatives are turning anarchists!

      1. Darthbobber

        If they’re seriously floating a collaborative Sunak-Mordaunt co-regency they’re about out of ideas. Maybe Starmer could switch parties and run for the Tory leadership? Is it my imagination, or there no front benchers in any party now who would have been in such positions 30 years or so ago?

          1. PlutoniumKun

            Its an interesting theory, and of course a few Tories have already made the switch. But I do think that the ingrained duality in UK politics would make it too difficult for all but a handful of Tories to do it. While some Labour strategists would love it, they must also be aware that it could open up the possibility of a genuine party of the left arising if sufficient numbers of Corbynite MP’s and others were to resign.

            If it did happen, it would open up all sorts of strange scenarios – like a rump Tory allying with the far right (a resurgent replacement for UKIP) to run against those Tory defectors. The FPTP system means that most new parties will quickly die a death, but after the dust settles you could end up with a complete realignment. It would probably still be Labour vs the Conservatives, but the make-up of those parties would be very different. Labour could end up as the party of the establishment while the Tories would be the party of populist disgruntlement.

  9. zagonostra

    >U.S. extends Covid public health emergency even though Biden says pandemic is over CNBC

    If ever the phrase “speaking out of both sides of your mouth” was apropos…

    1. flora

      Can’t have an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) without an emergency. / ;)

      (How’s fizer’s stock price doing?)

  10. Wukchumni

    Los Angeles is running out of water, and time. Are leaders willing to act? LA Times
    Everybody in the City of Angles lives so far away from their sources of water now all going tilt at the same time, but as long as the translucent goodness still flows like honey when you turn on the faucet, is there really a shortage?

    The forecast calls for another dry winter, just how would an Angeleno prepare themselves if something liquid this way doesn’t come?

    This new desalination plant probably wont come online till the year 2025 @ the earliest, not much help there. The previous attempt that got turned down on account of among other things-surfers calling the shots.

    The water won’t even go to LA, and 40,000 residents is, well a drop in the bucket in the SoCalist Movement.

    Oct 13 (Reuters) – California regulators unanimously approved a $140 million desalination plant on Thursday, offering a guideline for how the state can convert ocean water into drinking water amid the worst drought in 1,200 years.

    Just five months ago, the same Coastal Commission had unanimously rejected a much larger and privately owned plant, citing environmental concerns. But the South Coast Water District’s proposed Doheny Ocean Desalination Project, at one-tenth the size, won approval by the same 11-0 vote.

    The plant, expected to produce 5 million gallons of drinking water per day, enough for some 40,000 people, will serve a small water utility in Orange County, just south of Los Angeles.

    1. anon in so cal

      Anyone think it is insane and hypocritical for CA Gov Newsom to mandate construction of 2.5 million new homes in California? Habitat and open space are disappearing by the hour.

      Desalination plants are also massively environmentally damaging.

  11. zagonostra

    >Health insurance up 28%

    I was talking to a fire fighter at the park a couple of days ago who retired early, 58. I asked him about his health insurance and how he can afford it. I’m keenly interested in the subject because I’m 61 and would like to retire early too, but, I don’t want to pay through the nose for health insurance. He told me he doesn’t have health insurance. He owns a nice home nearby, is at the park each day walking and using the outside exercise equipment.

    If you are healthy it almost makes sense to roll the dice. About 3 years ago a friend who was in his early 60’s and was also retired, healthy and fit, was paying close to $1k monthly with massive deductibles and never used the insurance or went to the doctor. He is now on Medicare.

    I don’t see myself as a “punk” by I get this image in my mind of the Harry Callahan, Dirty Harry, with a Magnum 45 saying “do you feel lucky punk?”

    1. Noh1

      If you are a renter, it might be worth rolling the dice. If you own a home, it’s not worth it. One major illness or accident could wipe you out and cause you to lose your home.

      I paid for a so-called Affordable Care Act for a few years. Never was anything so inaccurately named. The cost of an ACA policy was the second-largest cost in my budget, second only to my mortgage.

      Still, it was a better option than risking the loss of my home.

  12. Jack

    WRT ” like Manchin, Obama tried to fast track transmission-nope” The family farm here has a 60kv transmission line passing directly overhead. The right of way was leased to the power company in 1965 for 99 years. For the first 30 years the power company maintained the right of way by hand, with crews of men. Then they started in with helicopters. Then they subcontracted the helicopter service. Two years ago, the helicopter subsubcontractor sprayed the hayfields and woods with a persistent broadleaf herbicide. We, and others so sprayed, tried to contact the power co. to complain. No way. When the lease expires in 2064, we’ll lawyer up and NIMBY.
    The article smells of greenwash, and needs expert critique. ” Wind and solar power that’s generated one part of the country needs to be shipped to cities and regions that use it.” How about carrying fossil fuel generated power to areas in the doldrums of renewable power?

    1. nippersdad

      “Two years ago, the helicopter subsubcontractor sprayed the hayfields and woods with a persistent broadleaf herbicide.”

      You might want to check with the local Ag service about the trespass laws and means of redress for overspray and material damages. I have heard about things like this before, and that is something that is taken VERY seriously. If you wait until the lease is up you may no longer have a case while they will have something akin to squatters rights and the argument that you should have notified them sooner so that they could have taken care of it….or some such. Most likely they will throw the subcontractor under the bus. Either way, it will be fully documented for further use.

      These people do not play by the rules; don’t give them any wiggle room.

  13. The Rev Kev

    “Kyiv hit by Iranian drones as Russia targets dozens of Ukrainian cities’

    The Russian drones have been doing a pretty decent job too of turning the Ukrainian military into a pure infantry force- (1:35 mins)

    Not so much an artillery war now as a hybrid artillery/drone war.

    1. Bugs

      To me it seems like the stenographers use “Iranian” in the headline as both a racist dogwhistle and to somehow rope Iran into the war.

      Remember how they always called munitions fired by Palestine “Katusha” rockets?

      Good times.

  14. Carolinian

    Re Coyotes–we have coyotes here, 2,500 miles from Los Angeles. I’ve even managed to get a picture of one of them although they are very secretive. My brother believes one of his cats was killed by a coyote.

    So if eradication is the goal it may not be any more successful than in the past given that this is now a nation wide phenom. I’ve read that there are lots of them in Chicago and they have even been spotted in NYC.

    1. Joe Renter

      Yes, coyotes are abundant. I had my first sighting two nights ago after moving here to Las Vegas this summer. One of the largest coyotes I have seen. It was turning dusk as I pulled down the street to the house and saw him. Lots of rabbits around for food. Last year I saw two walking in the middle of the road in Capitola CA in the evening, and they were owing it. I like wildlife, but don’t want cats to be their victims.

      1. Carolinian

        Back east they are very shy. Over the years I’ve only seen them four times and once only out of the corner of my eye.

        But we do have some undisturbed intown areas and that’s where they doubtless roost. These days bear sightings can also happen and deer are increasingly unafraid and easily seen.

      2. Norge

        I love cats, but (dangerous to say here) if allowed outdoors they are deadly killing machines for the bird population. Coyotes leave the indoor cats alone

        1. anon in so cal

          A lot of coyotes in the hillside areas of Los Angeles. Now and then I see signs about missing cats and I wish cat owners realized that, “in the United States alone, outdoor cats kill approximately 2.4 billion birds every year.”

          Los Angeles wildlife organizations are trying to preserve habitat and educate the public. Still waiting on the City’s decision about the Wildlife Ordinance. Developers and their proxies want it struck down.

        2. Don

          There are coyotes everywhere in this city (Vancouver) including just a few metres away below our balcony, and in Stanley Park, which often has to close at dusk due to coyote attacks on humans. Our cat, a bengal, who is only outside for daily walks on a leash (which he loves – the leash and the walks) is unfortunately, unafraid of canines, big or small, including pit bulls and coyotes, with the exception of chihuahuas, which terrify him. We do not take him out at dusk or later – unlike pit bulls, coyotes probably wouldn’t back down.

    2. Discouraged in WI

      We also have coyotes here — they go after the local deer, too. Neighbors have seen the dead deer on their lawns. We once saw a deer speeding across the back of our yard, with a coyote in hot pursuit. We are a pretty urbanized subdivision, and given the effect of the deer on the landscaping, we were rooting for the coyote.

    3. Questa Nota

      Coyotes are opportunistic, even wily ;), and move to food, water and shelter sources.

      Around the dry hills of LA, the odd fire or two reduces habitats. Combine that with some human-induced suppression measures like poisons and traps, after little Fifi and Muffy get eaten. The poisons ripple through the food chain, from insects through cougars and raptors. Add in the herbicide, insecticide and other over-spraying and you will not be surprised to see all the dead bees. Blossoms decline accordingly.

      Our little corner of paradise has seen a fall-off of coyotes, deer and others due to the above, with the springtime rabbit boomlets also reduced, even with fewer coyotes, due to less food courtesy of brown lawns and artificial turf.

    4. Phenix

      Coyotes are everywhere. The Western and Eastern coyotes are almost distinct populations at this point. At least that is what my local park ranger tells me.

      Coyotes will kill cats BUT cats should be indoors. In the outside world, if a cat is killed, its own the owner not the animal that saw a prey item.

      I own 2 cats and foster kittens. One of my cats is outdoors. She is a Philly cat. If a fox or coyote gets her then that is her fate. I’ve tried keeping her indoors but that is a pointless pursuit. She has destroyed windows to get out.

      1. Michael Fiorillo

        While these are yout’s and thus their imbecilic behavior can be granted a little bit of slack, I’ve no patience for groups like Extinction Rebellion, which seem to think shutting down mass transit is a way to re-orient the economy…

      2. Joe Well

        Aaargh clickbait. I read like 5 articles from more reputable sources and none of them included this tidbit that the painting probably wasn’t damaged. I finally read it on pbs just now. Still, absolutely horrible, stupid, pompous, narcissistic, unpopular and counterproductive thing that encapsulates why most people shy away from self- described activists.

      3. hunkerdown

        There’s action, and there’s acting out.

        Politics deploys the latter to avoid making good on promises of the former.

    1. Don

      Vietnam would have been totally depopulated if antiwar activists had sat around of an evening tossing ideas back and forth until they came up with the absolutely perfect scheme to piss off everyone about the antiwar movement. I don’t believe these cretins are actually trying to change anything for the better. It’s a psychological disorder.

  15. Screwball

    Wait. The FBI knew something was up. The Secret Service knew. The Capitol Police knew. And Pelosi had her own videographer — her daughter (!) — on site on the day? Something’s not right….

    She was going to punch Trump in the mouth, get arrested, and go to jail. And was glad to do so. And her daughter just happened to get this all on tape.

    The PMC class goes wild!!!!!! Auntie Nancy was going to kick the Orange Man’s ass.


    We are ruled by crazy people, and that’s being kind.

    Not to mention this dog and pony show (less than a month before the mid-terms – wonder why /s) seems to be the most important event to them. While oblivious to the ocean of bad data and news that will no doubt punish so many American’s via a rapidly contracting economy ravaged by inflation and supply chain disruptions.

    They truly don’t give one good $hit about us. And for the record – you are all a disgrace and can’t get voted out of office fast enough.

    FJB and all the President’s Men.

    1. nippersdad

      Sounds like a set-up. They spent five years talking about Russians and need a new distraction, so five more years talking about barbarians at the gates (with the potential of nobbling the competition) would not be outside the bounds of credibility. Just another squirrel to point at as the country burns down.

      If they spent half the time setting us up for success as they do conniving over new and exciting smoke screens we would not have such problems.

  16. KLG

    This is one of the saddest sentences I have ever read:

    “In the weeks that followed, over many other nights, I’d come back to that keyboard, searching the internet for solace.”

  17. John Beech

    So I’m yakking with a customer this morning. Mentions he has been working Uber for the last six years. I ask how is this latest thing in the news going to affect you? He scoffs and says, first, nothing is settled. Second, those people are idiots! He’s animated and not shouting but emotional. What’s the deal? He’s spent the last six years working for himself. Works his own hours doesn’t WANT to be an employee. Angry there are – his words – idiots rocking the boat. Continues, those people are stupid, I wouldn’t do this job for minimum wage. Why would they want to be considered employees? Means then they report to a boss. Me? I’ll find something else to do, instead.

    So for those thinking this is ‘sticking’ it to Uber and have disdain for the gig-economy . . . think again. Maybe this is more akin to, don’t throw me in that briar patch.

    1. tegnost

      Is it rude of me to assume he’s on his wife’s insurance policy?

      My guess with some experiential background is uber is a sop to families with extra workers and extra cars and the family corporation shoulders the extra costs without a negative impact to family GDP

  18. Questa Nota

    Adderall shortages, insert class here most affected.

    Will nobody think of the college students at mid-term time?
    And the PSAT newbies facing that crucial rite of passage?

  19. Lexx

    ‘Gabor Mate: Capitalism Society Is Making Us Physically and Mentally Unwell’

    ‘The second myth is capitalism’s essential assumption about human nature — that we are fundamentally selfish, individualistic, aggressive, and competitive. It’s false. It goes quite contrary to what we know about human evolution and genuine human needs.’

    What I said to my husband yesterday as we drove was that this brand of capitalism made humans feel and behave “small”. A term I picked up from my well-educated father decades ago, that used here has a particular flavor not often used now.

    The premise is that we are better and more powerful than we know, that self-knowledge and knowledge of others through our interactions causes us to grow spiritually and collectively as a culture toward something like Ascendance… and that capitalism socially retards our growth as individuals and as a species, turns us back on ourselves and against each other in competition for everything. It makes us small, petty, and mean, capitalism’s self-fulfilling prophesy about human nature as everyone paddles madly trying to stay afloat… or something along those lines. “Small” is the opposite of who we are and can be.

    I’ve read most of Mate’s books; I’ll add this one to the library. Thanks for the link; I wasn’t aware he’d published anything new.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      I liked this bit from Gabor’s son, Daniel:

      I think we have to understand myth in the old sense of the word. The way we use myth in the title is the way most people in this society use the word myth: to mean fabrication, falsehood, old wives’ tale, or urban legend. But legends and myths have been a bedrock of the human experience and part of the way we’ve made meaning out of a very complicated, chaotic world ever since we arrived on the scene. We’re mythmaking machines, and it has had a very positive effect on many cultures.

      If you look at the way this book is trying to encourage people to think about things like health and illness, it is presenting it in a more mythic framework, in that everything has meaning. There’s metaphor in everything. Everything is connected. Everything is for some kind of purpose. Everything is tied to some kind of journey that the soul is on — trying to reunite itself with itself, to come out of illusion into clarity. All of these things are mythic archetypes.

      And if you look at any of the people in the book whose healing stories are told, they found some mythic connection between them and the natural world, between their earliest wounds and their deepest gifts. You could put any of these in a well-written Hollywood movie or a great novel, and they’d be very compelling. So I think it’s not a coincidence that toward the end of the book we remind people that myth has its place.

      The bulk of our society is currently bewitched by the myths they discussed. But we build commonality of worldview through myth, and Daniel points out that myths have beneficial uses as well as harmful ones.

    2. flora

      …mentally unwell. ffarma is here to help you. / ;)
      (I’m not disagreeing with Mate` at all. The following points out new money making opportunities.)

      From Edward Dowd

      “So they can say they have anxiety and sell them pills. This is bullshit people. ”

      1. JBird4049

        I do not think that this is all bullshit, but I believe that leaving people only drugs as the first, second, and only choice besides insanity or death to help is bullshit. It is no different than pumping in crack by the CIA in the 1980s or the Sacklers pimping Oxy in the 2010s; even drunkards would often drink with their fellows at the local dive in the past instead of dying of an overdose alone at home with OxyContin. This is the true difference.

        There has always been people selling poison for profit. Snake oil salesmen have been an American phenomenon for centuries, but neoliberalism excels in isolating the poisoned from the rest, both hiding the true costs and preventing people from either giving or receiving help.

  20. Carolinian

    Re How Russia Views America

    the Ameri­can people remain today “very nice folks” that “are generally patriotic and have common sense and a good sense of humour.” Yet in recent times, he argues, something has happened in American elite circles that has let the more grandiose and delusional side of the American psyche run amok, and this has happened at the very time when America is most in need of good leadership.


    Since the incentives are set up for people to focus wholly on themselves and their own careers, there is no reference to any common good to be defended, and so anyone who points out mistakes risks career suicide. Ensuring that the mechanism securing elite individual gain is upheld and insulated from criticism is more important than ensuring that it works. As with late Communism, most effort is expended on producing self-reinforcing narratives that justify the sys­tem itself, and there is little energy left for addressing genuine problems.

    Sounds like Martyanov has been reading NC or perhaps the truth is simply obvious to anyone not vested in the system. Meanwhile in Bubble World all the blame fingers are pointed at the American masses who are–perhaps to their discredit–only along for the ride. As a fancy poet once said we are “narcotized on the table” and have lost touch with civic life. In old movies American politics are portrayed as a kind of circus but at the same time a great American preoccupation where entire gavel to gavel political conventions received large TV audiences.

    People are now starting to pay attention again but will it be too late?

    1. Don

      The only thing I’m missing in my retirement. is that nobody accuses me anymore of not being a team player.

  21. The Rev Kev

    “Iowa to dramatically cut back on some restaurant inspections”

    Lambert always says never eat at a place called Moms. I would amend that now to say never eat at a place called Moms – especially if it is in Iowa.

  22. Mikel

    “Gabor Maté: Capitalist Society Is Making Us Physically and Mentally Unwell” Jacobin

    I have been trying to remember this doctor’s name.
    Some years ago while driving, I caught part of a radio interview with him. He talked about his observations on the effects of stress and shame on inflammation.
    Glad to rediscover him.

      1. Polar Socialist

        TurkStream can already deliver Ukrainian, Russian and Azerbaidjani gas to Bulgaria, Romania and Greece. Serbia started last year to build Tesla-pipeline planned to continue the network to Hungary and Austria.

        1. OIFVet

          Nope, Turk Stream can only deliver to Serbia. There are no branch-offs and delivery terminals in Bulgaria, it’s transit only.

          1. Polar Socialist

            Oddly Wikipedia (yeah, sorry) says TurkStream deliveries to Bulgaria were cut off due to 2022 gas dispute. Also the page about Trans-Balkan pipeline says it has been used to transfer gas to Bulgaria from TurkStream.

            Not disputing you, just stating the source of my error.

            1. OIFVet

              Dunno, you may be right. Last time I had checked, the gas flowed in throught the old pipeline through Ukraine and Romania. And now it flows I. From Greece.

              Assuming you are right though, Bulgaria’s current political and graft situation dictates that it gets Russian gas molecules, which have been relabeled ‘Azerbaijani gas’ through the newly opened interconnector with Greece. This adds a few new middlemen along the delivery route. Adding a few middlemen allows quite a bit of graft, with money going from my pocket into the right pockets, you see.

  23. The Rev Kev

    “France to supply air defence systems to Ukraine after wave of Russian strikes”

    A whole bunch of countries have rushed forward to say that they will send air defence systems but there are huge problems here. There are only able to send a few and to send the rest will take several years, not months, years. And as they arrive in the Ukraine, the Russians will pick them off one after another. Training the crews will also take several months and as they are different systems, it will be a nightmare to try to mesh them together. There was a tweet in that article where the Ukraine was asking for more Caesar artillery systems so obviously the French can go to their warehouses, pick out a few, and ship them to the Ukraine, right? Well, no. Brian Berletic at The New Atlas was saying in his latest video that the manufacturer is only able to make TEN of those Caesar system a year. Macron asked them to work faster but it doesn’t work that way. And an artillery system is simpler to build than an air defence system. So in the end this whole story means nothing but PR chaff- (22:57 mins)

  24. Mikel

    “Wait. The FBI knew something was up. The Secret Service knew. The Capitol Police knew. And Pelosi had her own videographer — her daughter (!) — on site on the day? Something’s not right….”

    Starting to get the picture?

  25. zagonostra

    >AOC town hall meeting fallout

    Tucker Carlson leveraged the video of AOC being called out by two of her constituents that went viral yesterday to devastating effect. I don’t think she’ll ever recover from this, hopefully other “progressives” will take note before we are faced with a different kind of fall out.

  26. Eric Anderson

    “This unprecedented act would inevitably be used to justify a cycle of reprisals, and risks turning the Justice Department into an instrument of never-ending political warfare.”

    The author states this like it’s a bad thing. Were the justice department truly equitable in handing down justice, half of the DC elite would be hanging around in orange jump suits keeping Bernie Madoff company.
    Nothing would please me more than the justice dept swinging it’s stick at the elite without left/right bias or compunction. Nothing scares the elite more than the law applying to them.

    Signed … #SoTiredOfZeroAccountabilityForTheRich

    Dog tired.

  27. Tim

    Jan 6th “Something’s not right…”

    I’d chalk this up to having a strong sense that your enemy is about to do something stupid, but let’s wait and see because I’m not sure I believe it, as opposed to conspiratorial collaboration.

    1. Bugs

      Occam’s razor does seem applicable here, if not as sexy as a conspiracy. The daughter was probably there to film what would already have been a pretty raucous day in Congress.

  28. zagonostra

    >Pro-Mandate Covidians Try To REWRITE History – Kim Iversen

    Kim Iversen’s departure from the Hill’s The Rising sure has given her a voice. I was listening to her below video clip while reading that Macron is feeling some heat for having to throw out almost a half billion dollars of vaccines.

      1. Basil Pesto

        He really is an idiot, isn’t he?

        He got everything he wanted, and – like the murderous GBD – pretends it’s vindication rather than a massive, universal failure; public health’s own controlled flight into terrain.

        It’s pretty funny how the plandemic/the vax is literally poison/“if
        it’s happening and our GloboCap overlords are at least purporting to take it seriously, it must be fake dystopian proto-fascism” goobers really do have the thin end of the wedge: the various governments of the world have just learnt they can kill 20+ million people (Economist magazine excess death estimate, 1 million alone in the US – see Water Cooler) through their own criminal negligence, and face absolutely no consequences for it at all, not even a fraction of a BLM protest, and to the extent this factors into the thinking of the likes of Hopkins at all, this is… good, actually? a nothingburger? Healthy democracy at work? And apparently the real tyranny is not this basic, irrefutable fact which puts many of the peacetime mass death/killing events of the 20th century comfortably in the shade, but the few meagre and incompetently executed measures implemented to hold back this tide of now-permanent immiseration, like masks and (mediocre and inadequate) vaccines? wild, wild stuff. What a spoilt little boy.

  29. Tim

    “what exactly is its end strategy?”

    If the status quo is beneficial to US superiority (Over Russia and the EU), then our government doesn’t need or even want to have a strategy to end it. The reality of us supplying weapons to balance the capability of the combatants means we actually have a strategy in place to perpetuate the war indefinitely.

    That’s what the facts say.

  30. Tim

    From the CNN article on Starlink:
    “The letters come amid recent reports of wide-ranging Starlink outages as Ukrainian troops attempt to retake ground occupied by Russia in the eastern and southern parts of the country… “That has affected every effort of the Ukrainians to push past that front,”…There was no warning to Ukrainian forces, a second person said, adding that now when Ukraine liberates an area a request has to be made for Starlink services to be turned on….Musk didn’t dispute the outage, saying that what is happening on the battlefield is classified. ”

    Musk put a bridal on Mr Z, and perhaps a has a direct line from the US/DoD on how to use it.

    Note my comment above on perpetuating the war. We provide weapons to them AND restrain them.

    1. MILLER

      We can’t ever even consider, of course, that Russian electronic warfare technology has been upgraded to meet the Starlink challenge. Those Russkies are just so backward. Gas station masquerading as a country and all that.

      1. hunkerdown

        I don’t think anyone is excluding that RF knows how to use RF and has degraded the Starlink service, as RF has reported on their clobber lists. We’d discuss that if it were pertinent to the current discussion about the Ukrainian attitude problem, Musk’s apparently normal and quite healthy unwillingness to keep serving ungrateful Karens, and the strategic management of a proxy war. To that last, I remind you that Voentorg, Russia’s materiel supply line to LDNR, contoured its inventory a few times over the past 5-6 years to regulate LDNR militias’ progress according to Russia’s political aims, and to keep LDNR forces from biting off more than they/Russia could chew. US/UA would absolutely do the same, were they at any risk of excess success, short of the nuclear false flag that self-actualizes the Western managerial caste or whatever.

        1. Polar Socialist

          One wonders how difficult it would be to make a seeker head tuned to Starlink frequencies and put those into anti-radiation missiles. Or small drones with long loitering time.
          Communications designed for military use jump many times per second from frequency to another, but I believe Starlink terminals are designed for stable uplink and downlink, not hiding their location or connection.

  31. fresno dan

    The point of it all (the Jan 6 committee) was to create a distraction campaign. The committee wants to make the midterms a referendum on Donald Trump rather than the actual current president, Joe Biden. That distraction campaign has succeeded beyond their wildest dreams with the Post and its more-absurd-than-ever slogan “Democracy Dies in Darkness” at the top of each website page, in white text on a black banner just in case you miss the point.

    If you’re concerned about the economy, inflation, or the job performance of the actual president, all the WaPo daily digest offers is darkness.

    To conclude on that point, the (Washington Post) digest today mentions Trump five times. Want to guess how many times it mentions Biden? Zero. Zilch. Nada, even while Biden is campaigning in California and commenting on the inflation report.
    And I would presume that any analysis of any other MSM site would present similar findings. And the media wonder about Trump’s hold of the public’s attention. I would say Trump has far more of a hold on the media’s attention*. Of course, this isn’t because the media likes Trump, but our market based system assures that money drives everything, and just as the media can’t ignore Trump, they can’t confess that they, the media, don’t cover what is important, but what is profitable.
    * I mean, who wants to read about Biden? Not too many people like Biden, and those who don’t like Biden probably don’t want to read about him. On the other hand, people who hate Trump can’t get enough of how bad Trump is.

    1. Duke of Prunes

      Same on TV. My wife had what we call “the scary news” on last night (ABC world new tonight), and at least the first 10 minutes were devoted to Trump. I thought the big thing about getting the adults back in charge was never having to hear/see that guy again. Insane.

      1. OIFVet

        Well, how else would the adults keep the children in line and steal their lunch money if not by scaring them with the short-fingered vulgarian?? If Yrump didn’t exist they would have to invent him.

  32. tegnost

    Hey an 8.9% increase in the US min wage would get it up to 7.90 an hour (of course you’d be rounding up from 7.89525, so that hardly seems fair) !

  33. Carolinian

    Biden’s Saudi tantrum

    The Saudi official, inter alia, made a startling disclosure that the Biden Administration had actually tried to get Riyadh to postpone the OPEC+ decision by a month. Presumably, the rage in Washington today is not so much about the oil prices as the panic that the OPEC decision casts on the US diplomacy and foreign policy in general — and, especially, on President Biden personally — in a poor light as ineffectual and illogical, as the Republicans are highlighting.

    Conceivably, the one-month delay that was sought was intended to overlap the forthcoming midterms in the US on November 8. Unsurprisingly, the Saudis didn’t oblige the White House and it now becomes an unforgivable slight on the US’ sense of entitlement and Biden’s vanity.

    In other word’s Biden’s purpose is not so much to spare taxpayers higher gas prices as to deceive them long enough to squeak through another Democrat Senate. The same motive doubtless also is behind the drain down of the Petroleum Reserve.

    Of course presidents using their federal powers to influence elections is hardly new but turns out those don’t extend to Saudi Arabia. Now he’s threatening the Saudis with unspecified punishments unless he gets his personal and party advantage. Sounds like it’s the same m.o. as when he used to throw his weight around in Ukraine as VP. If a prosecutor is threatening Hunter with prosecution then have him fired.

    1. Screwball

      Don’t you know this is the most important election EVER? /s

      They are already starting to craft that statement. And many are eating it up. Does it matter?

      I don’t think so.

      I think many people think we, as a country, are in a bad place. Others think it’s great, and we know who they are. There are no signs, IMO, of things getting any better any time soon (recent PPI & CPI prints), not to mention how this war goes. The adults in the room might as well be Halloween characters at this point, but they dress up and pretend to be one. In reality, they are nothing but graft and lying machines that Boston Dynamics would be proud of, while the media covers for them.

      I’m torn between what to worry about most – the coming recession/depression – or if part of our country goes up in a cloud.

      I’m 66 years old. I’ve never been more worried about our future in my lifetime.

      These people aren’t going to fix shit – and we can’t flush (vote) them out fast enough – so what do WE do?

      1. fresno dan

        Don’t you know this is the most important election EVER? /s
        I think its the most historic election ever ;)
        just like every election is now a days…

  34. GW

    Igor Strelkov hasn’t posted anything on his Telegram channel since October 10th. Does anyone know why this is the case?

  35. Michael Ismoe

    I just paid $5.79 for a dozen jumbo eggs at the supermarket.

    Slava Ukraina!

    Hey Democrats – I suggest you come up with a different hook than “saving out democracy” if you want to get more than 20% of the vote next month.

    1. britzklieg

      You’re lucky to have them. There have been no eggs – zero, zilch, nada – at my Florida Publix for 2 weeks and the cost, if there were any, is beyond ridiculous. Also frequent outages of milk.

      And no lemons. Fresh vegetables noticeably scant.

      Plenty of processed frozen dinners though…

        1. britzklieg

          great scene in a great movie! Newman’s belly after, it hurts to see it.

          and the famous motif:

          “What we have here is failure to communicate.”

  36. Louiedog14

    Re: Strategic Empathy

    This is a concept I try to always use when interpreting history and current events. I find it very helpful but have recently had little luck in imparting any of its’ value to my fellow citizens. I figure it’s a nice, soft introduction to the concept that maybe we ought to chill out a bit on the nucular weapons nonsense regarding Russia.

    Apparently, Putin is just so damned evil, he (and by extension his country) cannot even have a P.O.V., much less one that could be articulated rationally, or (GASPS!) empathized with.

    Since our dear leaders have whipped up this frenzy, I despair they lack the capacity for strategic empathy also. The recent China/Taiwan fiasco was anothe r recent example.

  37. JBird4049

    Note that CDC’s bias against airborne transmission is so extreme that its monkeypox case collection form doesn’t even include a field for changing bedding

    Are we f888ing kidding here? I could be wrong as infectious diseases isn’t my thing, but isn’t monkeypox a close relative of smallpox, which could be transmitted by infected bedding as well as by air?

    Stochastic eugenics is becoming more like active eugenics, here; biological warfare has been conducted using infected bedding and clothes after all.

    I keep having these fantasies or nightmares in which monkeypox mutates into a new form of smallpox and the more monkeypox there is, the more chances for mutation; having smallpox return would be a bright, shining jewel in Neoliberalism’s crown. I assume that having a highly infectious disease with a twenty percent fatality rate that scars and often blinds the survivors might be just what is needed to thin the herd. New opportunities for mask and beauty mark makers!

    More seriously, some disease is going to mutate into something truly infectious and lethal here. As long as the CDC and the other European disease control agencies keep messing up, the chances for this nears certainty. It might take years to find ways to treat the disease, which would keep killing people and shutting down whole countries until then.

  38. spud

    100% spot on. i have always said it was 1993 onwards.

    How Russia Views America
    By Philip Pilkington

    Rotting from the Head Down

    Martyanov’s economic analysis may reflect his Soviet materialist education, but ultimately, he views America’s core problem as being a crisis of leadership. He traces this problem back to the election of Bill Clinton in 1993. Martyanov argues that Clinton represented a new type of American leader: an extreme meritocrat. These new meritocrats believed their personal capacities gave them the ability to do anything imaginable. This megalomaniacal tendency, Martyanov observes, has been latent in the American project since the founding. “Everything American,” he writes, “must be the largest, the fastest, the most efficient or, in general, simply the best.” Yet this character trait has not dominated the personality of either the American people or their leaders, he says. Rather, the Ameri­can people remain today “very nice folks” that “are generally patriotic and have common sense and a good sense of humour.” Yet in recent times, he argues, something has happened in American elite circles that has let the more grandiose and delusional side of the American psyche run amok, and this has happened at the very time when America is most in need of good leadership.

  39. square coats

    I think it would be marvelous if the humans participating in the trash war in Australia could figure out how to encourage(/condition perhaps through positive reinforcement) the parrots to be tidy trash pickers!

  40. spud

    well we have two choices, more nafta nazi democrats, or peace.

    Trump Calls For Peace In Ukraine

    By Ajamu Baraka, Black Agenda Report.

    October 15, 2022

    While Democrats Make Support for War a Midterm Campaign Issue.

    Donald Trump is no peace maker, but his stance on negotiations to end the war in Ukraine is in stark contrast to that of the democrats, who fully support continuing the dangerous proxy war against Russia. Anti-war forces must step up and struggle for peace.

    even if he does not mean it, like free trade, trumps actions will open many peoples minds.

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