Links 10/15/2022

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.

* * *

Neanderthals and modern humans may have copied each other’s tools Guardian (Kevin W)

FDA Officially Declares a Shortage of Adderall NPR

In gold-standard trial, colonoscopy fails to cut rate of cancer deaths. STAT (fk). Yours truly has long been skeptical of colonoscopies as medical industry grifting. No other country recommends colonoscopies for everyone over 50. Canada, for instance, limits colonoscopies to high risk populations. They believe an annual fecal occult blood exam (a $2 test even in the US) does at least as good a job of detecting colon cancer. And mind you, this study was v. no colonoscopy, as opposed to v. a less costly type of test.


When doctors become long Covid patients – and still aren’t believed Guardian (Kevin W)

Covid cases rise as one in 37 has virus in UK BBC. Kevin W: “So much for herd immunity. /sarc.”


Australian wheat yields plummet after decades of global heating, study finds Guardian

Abandoned Texas oil wells are blowing out. The state won’t fix them. Grist

Animal Populations Shrunk an Average of 69% Over the Last Half-Century, Report Says NPR

Maine lawmakers snap over lobster fishing’s impact on whales PhysOrg


Biden Is Now All-In on Taking Out China Foreign Policy (Kevin W)

U.S. Suppliers Halt Operations at Top Chinese Memory Chip Maker Wall Street Journal

Anti-CCP protest and lockdown fears fuel China tensions before congress Guardian (furzy)

China is late to improve its messaging re lockdowns: Long COVID exposes long-term, irreversible challenges of ‘lying flat’ approach, may lead to innovation and economic decline Global Times

Old Blighty

UK money funds draw ‘gigantic’ inflows as pension schemes build up war chests Financial Times

How Britain’s pension scheme hedge became a trillion pound gamble Reuters

Líz Truss Continues To Be The Bad Prime Minister Everyone Had Expected Her To Be Moon of Alabama

If Kwarteng should go, then so should Bailey. ConservativeHome

Inside the Thatcher Larp London Review of Books

La belle France

French strikes spread as government orders fuel depot staff back to work France24 (Kevin W)

Credit Suisse prepares Swiss business sales to raise capital Financial Times

Two men sentenced to 40 years jail for Malta reporter Daphne Caruana Galizia’s car-bomb murder (Anthony L)

New Not-So-Cold War

Ukraine Latest: Russia Strikes Energy Targets in Kyiv Region Bloomberg. As of 10/15 PM time in Kyiv.

Ukraine. Military Summary And Analysis 14.10.2022 Military Summary v. Russia Evacuates Kherson Civilians, Ukraine Evacuates Bakhmut Forces; Putin Erdogan Meet Partnership Alexander Mercouris. Dima of Military Summary claims that there are 60,000 Ukraine soldiers preparing to storm Kherson city, while Mercouris says he looked very hard as to whether there was much apparent reason for the Kherson mayor to have offered (not ordered) evacuation, when his #2 then largely walked it back, and Mercouris didn’t find any. Mercouris remarked that if anything Russian defense lines had hardened. Separately, even if Dima is directionally correct or even spot on, the Ukraine approach looks to be in the same open steppe area that made the last big Kherson offensive a pigeon shoot for Russian artillery. However, one basis for concern is Ukraine troops would not have to advance insanely far on one avenue to get within HIMARS shelling distance of Kherson, which would be reason enough to want to get civilians out of of the way. We’ll see soon enough who had the better reading.

Col Doug Macgregor – Ukraine Russia War Latest Judge Napolitano

* * *

Top EU diplomat calls most of the world ‘jungle’ RT (Kevin W)

Finnish Guys ‘Annex’ Russia Diplomat’s Parking Spot With Ukraine Flag Business Insider (furzy)

* * *

Erdogan backs Putin’s gas hub proposal RT. Kevin W: “Erdogan would have been all over this like Michael Jackson at a boy scout jamboree. So if the EU wants energy, they will have to come knocking at his door and beg for it. Can you imagine?” Moi: Biden and the State Department will be losing their minds….and looking for ways to punish Erdogan and Türkiye

Russia courts Muslim countries as strategic Eurasian partners Pepe Escobar, Press TV

Russia Suggests A Price Cap On U.S. LNG OilPrice. Kevin W: “This is just the Russians trolling the EU.”

* * *

Crimea bridge: Russia ‘to repair blast damage by July 2023’ Azərbaycan24

Putin reveals fresh threat to Istanbul grain deal RT. Putin mentions the Odessa connection recounted at length by John Helmer via Russian press sources. However, Putin depict evidence as not firmed up enough (yet) to bank on it.

Ukraine War Day #232: Why Russia Needs To Take Odessa Awful Avalanche (guurst)

* * *

EU’s weapons kitty runs dry as Ukraine seeks more arms Politico

Tucker, sadly, seems to be the only person with the viewership to be to get away with this sort of thing:

From “Steadfast noon” To One Minute To Midnight-Is NATO Going Nuclear? Larry Johnson (Chuck L)

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Meta’s New Headset Will Track Your Eyes for Targeted Ads Gizmodo

Consumer privacy tension increases with voice and face biometrics cases across the US Biometric Update

Digital License Plates Bruce Schneier

Imperial Collapse Watch

It may not say so, but US sees Africa as a growing military competition with China and Russia South China Morning Post


Secret Service response to Jan. 6 investigation has been ’cause for concern’: Lofgren MSNBC (furzy)

Trump ‘loves the idea of testifying’ before Jan. 6 committee: source close to the former president Fox

“All Hell Is Going to Break Loose”: How Trump’s Inner Circle Prepared for Violence Ahead of Jan. 6 Democracy Now (furzy)


Trump Organization assets should be frozen, New York attorney general asks court Politico


Five ways Biden can ‘re-evaluate’ the Saudi relationship now Responsible Statescraft (Kevin W)

Saudi Arabia calls out US bluster Indian Punchline

Senate Races That Could Tip The Balance Intercept

Atlanta Fed chief’s violation of trading rules reignites ethics scandal Financial Times

Tesla Shares Get Halved Wolf Richter

Bernanke v. Kindleberger: Which Credit Channel? Institute for New Economic Thinking

Charting the Global Economy: IMF Warns of Deteriorating Outlook Bloomberg

Class Warfare

Elites realize they need blue-collar workers they derided New York Post (BC)

The Republican assault on social insurance continues apace Angry Bear

Workers Say Amazon Is Punishing Them for Observing Union Vote Vice

Antidote du jour. Cheryl K: “I humbly submit Lucy (front, a Briard) and Garbo (German shepherd mix); 2 herding dogs that would always rather slack off on the Oregon coast.”

And a bonus (Chuck L):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Antifa

    (melody borrowed from Ringo by Lorne Greene)

    It started at colleges all through the West
    The professors, the social warriors
    The Robin DiAngelo’s and worse
    Or people like the cowards
    Who stole that primary from Bernie Sanders
    There’s always some like that in every time of history
    Most of them varmints
    And every time with every one of them
    There will be found
    A scam

    My corporate job just went away
    Exactly why I still can’t say
    I got an email from HR
    It said ‘You be down here by four’
    ‘You’ve Triggered someone on our List’
    ‘We think that you’re a Classisist’

    Woke Lingo
    (Lingo Lingo)

    Ye little fish and minor Gods!
    Woke Lingo is straight up at odds
    With logic and experience
    It’s full of puzzles and pretense
    But it’s essential to finesse
    Your rise to corporate happiness
    Woke Lingo
    (Lingo Lingo)

    Inclusion and Diversity
    Latinx, LGBT
    Misgender and Minority
    BIPOC, QPOC, Allyship
    Ethnic Female Leadership
    Woke Lingo
    (Lingo Lingo)

    Each day at work’s an awful test
    To make sure no one gets oppressed
    You can’t trust your own attitude
    You cannot be a chick or dude
    Can’t wink or blink or tip your hat
    Become a WokeSpeak acrobat
    Woke Lingo
    (Lingo Lingo)

    Millenials add to this mess
    They make up new words to express
    How much above this world they are
    They find Adulting so bizarre
    They keep Receipts and a Blocklist
    Their goal in life? To coexist.
    Woke Lingo
    (Lingo Lingo)

    I still recall in my lifetime
    When ridicule was not a crime
    When laughing at ourselves was joy
    No label came with eating soy
    When growing up and paying bills
    Was simply seen as grownup skills
    Woke Lingo
    (Lingo Lingo)

    But now we must Decolonize
    Self-loathing is the royal prize
    A racist in the bathroom mirror
    Cancel Culture’s layer of fear
    An end to income and your rep
    You’re yesterday for one misstep
    Woke Lingo

    WokeSpeak is spreading through the land
    Mass confusing clearly planned
    By every University
    Dividing through Diversity
    Inventing new terms to provoke
    And making lots of fog and smoke
    Woke Lingo
    (Lingo Lingo)

    (Lingo Lingo)

    1. John Zelnicker

      Another masterpiece for the Naked Capitalism Songbook.

      Your lyrics are a great takedown of the “woke lingo” that has taken over a big slice of what I used to think were intelligent liberal-minded folks. The divisiveness of identity politics drives me crazy. Can’t these people see that it’s nothing but a bright shiny object to distract them from the battle against the oligarchs running this country?

      There’s a link above about the elites realizing they will need blue-collar workers to survive, but they won’t need all those PMC managing directors and middle management bureaucrats and the PMC doesn’t even realize that they’ll be toast when the Jackpot arrives.

      1. Robert Hahl

        I used to wonder what would happen after “they” decided that they didn’t need us anymore. I think we are about to see it happen in Europe this winter. If I were trapped in Europe right now, I would probably go to Turkey, the new gas hub of the World Island.

        1. chris

          We’re about 2 weeks away from night time temperatures regularly being between 30 and 40 F in places like Germany. We’re about one month away from day time temperatures being in the 40s in cities like Berlin. I suppose we’ll see what happens when the well to do people see if they can burn hopium to stay warm :(

  2. Stephen

    Two Finnish guys ‘annexed’ a Russian diplomat’s parking spot by painting it with the Ukrainian flag

    The modern west seems to be full of people who have never grown up.

    If they really dislike what Russia is doing then the option to join an international brigade and do something meaningful (albeit dangerous and not something I would ever do) is always there.

    All this virtue signaling protesting is just a sign of immaturity. But when so called “leaders” behave in the same way, it is hardly surprising that their citizens do too.

    Ukraine itself seems particularly child like with the recent denunciations of their former best mate Elon Musk. It does feel very reminiscent of how most of us behaved when we were eleven years old: “I’m not talking to him”.

    This war is as much adults versus children as it is Russia versus the “collective west”.

    1. timbers

      Maybe just maybe if normal outlets of free speech where not so heavily censored, these folks could vent their energies debating their views with folks online or elsewhere. But these channels being heavily stacked by rules favoring the government approved narrative and preventing/hobbling the other sides from expressing their views, that “normal” channel or outlet to blow off steam in less violent ways, is diminished.

      1. semper loquitur

        Years ago, I read something about tattoos and bodily autonomy, wherein it was proposed that tattoo “culture” was to a large degree the response of people who felt they were losing their freedom. The body being the last thing that is ostensibly theirs, they felt compelled to do with it as they wish. Piercings too. The more extreme, the “freer” you are. Now we are approaching a time where your pills will have “compliance” chips in them, your dreams can be turned into Coors Lite commercials, and your toaster spies on you.

    2. digi_owl

      Because big biz don’t want us to grow up, as children are far more pliable.

      College and offices looks more and more like extended high school, or even kindergarten. At least based on what i read about tech companies.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Agreed. When you have people that are encouraged not to grow up, you can convince them that they can save the planet by throwing soup on a piece of artwork and gluing themselves to the frame.

        1. digi_owl

          Anon gone corporate, when “kids” believe they are affecting meaningful change by “firing the ion cannon”…

          1. Greg

            Call me when the acts achieve more than attention for the actors. Call me when oil execs are dropping out of the sky, Kim Stanley Robinson style.

          2. pylon

            I agree. What should they be doing? I don’t think the generations that have criminally failed young people to this catastrophic extent are in any position to judge their desperate tactics, unless they are doing something better. The activists haven’t harmed anyone or the artwork itself (as it was framed behind a glass pane), and Van Gogh I am sure would be happy if his work could help save the world each of his paintings was a prayer to. If Van Gogh were alive today he would likely not be a painter but an activist, since love was his motivating force. Surely the people who are doing nothing but criticising those who are trying, however imperfectly, to do something, are the spoilt and deluded ones?

            The fact this *has* gone viral when direct actions by the same and similar groups have not, the fact this *has* provoked more outrage than the actions of Oil Companies and the governments they have captured, proves the protesters’ point – our society is so damaged we care more about a painting of life than we care about life itself. Yes, art is important, and should be protected. My deeply loved brother who took his own life in his early twenties was an artist, so I strongly believe in the redemptive power of art. But in a few years’ time, many people will surely think, why were we criticising these young people? Why didn’t we join them, at least to give them advice if we were so much wiser?

        2. semper loquitur

          I watched that video, it’s on the Rightwing Youtube rage-channels. It’s a pointless exercise and probably alienated far more people than inspiring them to take to the streets. But the young girl’s speech was quite heartfelt….and heartbreaking. I feel sorry for her and her generation. I wish I thought something could be done.

        3. ckimball

          Benny Bufano, sculptor cut off his trigger finger WW11
          My mother and I met my Dad when he wanted to show us the newly finished development in the financial district of San Francisco.
          It was quite different from the big lined up sky buildings and instead there were plateaus of plazas with Benny Bufano’s
          sculptures of large rounded animals.. It felt wonderful so peaceful, spacious and clear. It was that day that I was told what he did.
          I was horrified but I will always know he did that and it still
          brings up in me incredulity and awe…something much different
          than throwing soup on a piece of artwork…but then, we are in a tough spot. It is hard to know what to do.

      2. petal

        This is what it is. Every day I’m shocked by the immaturity of the undergrads here, how much it is different from the folks I went to uni with 25 years ago, and the activities, coddling, and language provided by the university. It does treat them like little children instead of encouraging maturity and independence. And kids seem to come out of HS much less mature. Even my once-proud alma mater has gone down this route. It’s very disappointing and does not bode well.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Not a good development that. it looks like that most countries – including the US – are about to be put through the wringer because of the response to the NATO-Ukraine war. Yeah, tough times ahead. So how will those undergrads cope when they find that people will no longer have the time or inclination to mollycoddle to their whims and demands? Lots of them will learn to adapt but I do wonder about those who can’t – or won’t.

        2. flora

          an aside: How many kids were put on prescription drugs for attention-deficit disorder or unruly behavior in grade school and are still on those drugs. How many spent an entire k-12 time in a “teach to the test” demand. (So many stories about kids being stressed out by that. Some schools even got rid of recess to have more time to drill kids for mandated testing that would affect the school’s govt funding. It’s insidious.)

          Anyway, I noticed the same sort of change in my undergrad student hires starting a few years ago: smart kids but could not seem to think for themselves, could not sort out how to work through a problem. (After a few months of “coaching” on my part they learned how to think through a problem and trust their ability to analyze a difficult tech problem. But, boy, that coaching takes a lot of work.)

          So lets see: teach to the test, cut recess and music, stress kids out, put really stressed kids on mood altering drugs, colleges creating “safe spaces” and questioning the value of free speech if it upsets anyone, and expect kids to grow into mature and confident adults. One of these things is not like the others. /end rant

          1. flora

            adding: the point where the “lightbulb comes on” for my undergrad hires is unmistakable. They start telling me how a problem should be approached and why they assess that as the right course. :)

            1. The Rev Kev

              At least that must be a very rewarding feeling knowing that you have helped a person change their life for the better.

              1. flora

                Thanks, Rev. Yes. I learn as much from them as they might learn from me. A lot of times their suggested solutions to a problem are better than my solutions. Young minds and new technology. win-win. :)

          2. Stephen

            I agree with this.

            My observation has been that recent graduates have a strong sense of self entitlement: not so much about money but principally related to feeling that they can and must give us all the benefit of the values that they have inculcated through school and university. Linked to this, I sense a very strong urge to conform and much less desire to engage with anything that is not in line with their values. Realism is not a quality in plentiful supply.

            Some of this is good in the sense that we all need an inner mojo but the issue is that their values are very subjective and definitely not universally held. It is potentially a recipe for a society driven by emotion and child like impulses rather than rational debate. Precisely what we are seeing in the modern west. It is really a secular religious revival but without an ultimate promise of redemption or paradise in the after life.

            Of course, every older generation bemoans the young so possible that my comparison is overblown. But there is something in it.

          3. OIFVet

            I see the same bewildering inability to formulate thoughts and express them verbally and especially in writing. Current teaching doctrines simply do not develop in kids the ability to think for themselves.

            I have seen a document given to teachers being trained by the Bulgarian affiliate of Teach for America, which states verbatim: “Our job as teachers is not to develop the students’ ability to think but to teach them the subject matter.” IOW, they say we have to be training automatons ready to enter low-paying service jobs or to be trainable for other more technical jobs. They do not want citizens, they want mindless workers and consumers.

            1. Mildred Montana

              >”They do not want citizens, they want mindless workers and consumers.”

              Or, as somebody or the other said, “Docile workers and eager consumers.”

            2. flora

              Thanks, OIFVet. My grade school teachers from long ago in a small town, rural k-6 school would throw away the idea to “not develope the students’ ability to think….” My wonderful old grade school teachers thought their social charge and important community mandate was to develop and teach students the ability to think. Even in a small town, rural area this charge and mandate was key in education back then. Glad I went to school there back then.

              1. flora

                adding: ‘reading, writing, and arithmetic’ is the basic grounding of learning to logically think about the material world. imo.

                I suppose by now my interest in the importance of k-12 education is obvious. OK, I’ll stop. / ;)

            3. Michael Fiorillo

              Teach For America is Evil incorporate, part of the point of the spear for school privatization, so it follows that their pedagogy would say that.

              1. semper loquitur

                Someone somewhere once described them as providing “teaching safaris” for well-off undergraduates to put a pubic service veneer on their resumes before heading off to business school. Probably here.

                1. Michael Fiorillo

                  If it wasn’t me, it could have been; I spent years fighting these arrogant, know-nothing colonizers and their school-privatizing agenda as a teacher union activist in NYC.

          4. hk

            I’ve been out of higher ed for some time now, but the problem I was facing in social sciences was something slightly different: they believed in X,Y, and Z with absolute conviction and they were interested in learning mainly to justify what they already believed–and my then colleagues were encouraging this sort of thinking. Not any attempt to critically evaluate what they saw and heard and try to think through what parts of X made sense, what didn’t, and how to reassess their “hypotheses” about the world on their own.

        3. LawnDart

          Petal, I went through the military to college pipeline almost 25-years ago, and it was a culture-shock to me even then. I had the attitude that I knew what I did to get there, and damn right I was going to take it seriously… …but this did not endear me to some of the middle-aged, no-knothing professors that I came across who seemed only there to stroke their egos and collect a paycheck, epitomes of the self-important. I soon learned to initially overload my schedule, spend a week or two evaluating instructors, and then dropping classes that seemed to offer few opportunities to advance my own knowledge and understanding– ones that weren’t worth my time. This kept me sane (minus any predispositions), focused towards graduation, and I received some excellent instruction, especially in courses noted as “writing intensive.”

          I don’t know if it really is a much different environment now: I came across nazi peaceniks who’d fail you for dissenting opinion, ball-cutting feminists who’d do the same unless you were female or a flamboyantly gay male, and still others who expected you to be docile and child-like.

          But in the workplace, I’ve noticed that (even among many recent military veterans) there seems to be a growing number of man-childs and princesses out there– all ego and little professionalism. It is discouraging, especially when management participate or abets juvenile behaviors– thinking of most “team-building” or role-playing exercises as examples, and silly, even insulting rewards for acomplishing organizational goals; pizza-party anyone?

          The bearing displayed by leadership sets the tone, be it from the head of a classroom, a production floor, or high office, and many instinctually conform their behaviors to meet the expectations of said leadership: treat ’em like childrens and get immature behavior.

          That’s my two-bits.

          1. ambrit

            One knock on effect of the “infantilize them” strategy is that ‘children’ seldom manage to develop and carry out effective counter measures to attempts to subjugate them. Docile child analogues are preferred, but when said analogues act up, slapping them back down is psychologically approved of by the “need” to chastise them. Chastisement implies a corrective and thus positive value to the violence visited upon the “children.” As most here will understand, “violence” comes in many grades and guises.
            In my career, such as it was, in commercial construction, logoed tee shirts were often distributed for workers to wear for both identification purposes and for subtle advertising. One memorable small project I worked on, when it completed, held an all afternoon crawfish and bar-b-que bash for the workers and families. (BYOB.) It was only after I entered the World of Retail, late in my working life, that I encountered the dreaded carry out pizza party. [“Lock the door! It’s Dom—-s!”] That and the retailer who charged us for the mandated company tee shirts. (That single tee shirt was the most washed item of clothing I have ever had.) By comparison, one mid-level plumbing contractor gave us three tee shirts over a two month time period. [I was told by a member of that companies management that the delay was based on the fact that most ‘new hires’ quit in the second and third weeks when they did do so. Otherwise, a ‘new hire’ was good for the life of the project. Thus the delayed ‘extra’ tee shirts.]

        4. OIFVet

          “And kids seem to come out of HS much less mature.”

          I now teach high school in Bulgaria, it’s my idealistic and perhaps very naive way to try to build some kind of positive and sustainable long-term change instead of pursuing more money. And unfortunately I couldn’t agree more with you regarding the lack of life skills and qualities that students graduate HS with. The problem comes both from home and from school. At home, many parents do not create basic structure and expectations for their kids, not to mention creating the understanding that actions have consequences and one has personal responsibility for his actions. These problems manifest themselves in school both as a discipline issues and lack of basic studying habits. Well, many schools have bought into Teach for America precepts which discourage old-school approaches to discipline and to building study habits. The result, again, is lack of both. If the kids don’t demonstrate academic improvement, the fault is with the teacher because he didn’t make the lessons interesting for the kids. Lemme tell you, if there is a genius who can make ESL grammar interesting for even 25% of the kids then he deserves a Nobel Prize.

          Suffice it to say, most students do not have some very basic academic skills upon graduation, and life skills are being brought down to a Hobbesian understanding of human nature. The school where I teach has an administration which tries hard to break this circle and most teachers are fully on board with it. But after school kids are out into our dysfunctional society which shows them that to get ahead you need to be a criminal, an illiterate politician, a starlet with grotesque alterations, and other things along these lines. They see people lying, cheating and stealing to get ahead, they hardly see those who have made something using their brains and hard work. Then they go home where parents couldn’t be bothered with parenting after a day in a shitty job for low pay, and the kids will do any number of things but study and prepare for school. It’s frightening what’s coming down the pipeline in Bulgaria. The minority of kids who have access to real parenting and work hard have only one dream: to graduate with high marks, good English skills, and get into a Western university and out of Bulgaria forever.

          Long story short, I believe the system is now set up to produce the exact type of citizens that the status quo needs in order to remain the status quo. Fighting within the system is hard and thankless given what we are up against in terms of family, society, and state, and the small joys come from veing able to reach even 10% of the kids and work with them to give them a fighting chance to face what awaits them after school. I do at times question my sanity for choosing this for myself rather than returning to working for myself with better pay and lower stress. Then I remember how much I hate the present reality and how much I want to do anything to try to change it by populating the world with prepared and independently thinking people, and I get my nose back to the grind. But I am paying a rather high price emotionally for this and I do wonder how much longer I can possibly last trying to fight that fight.

          1. CarlH

            It really is sad and frightening at the same time. Thank you for this window into a country far away.

    3. Janie

      Stephen at 07:07, re next to last paragraph. It’s well past childish. Brian Berletic at the New Atlas today discusses Ukraine’s kill list and Musk’s placement on it. Daria Dugina is on it, with killed written across her face. (Sorry, can’t link)

    4. Simple John

      Thanks for reminding me of the children.
      Who thinks of our children these days and the cauldron of fear we balance over their heads?
      I haven’t seen one reference to concern for our children for months.
      Here, there, or anywhere.
      Thanks to NC for so much to think about.

  3. SocalJimObjects

    What’s really funny about the whole AI and cutting off China’s access to chips thingy is that a lot of AI work in the United States are done by people from China and there’s no guarantee that these people will stay. So someday, perhaps many of these people will hear the siren from the motherland or they could see that the US is imploding, and at that time the United States will still have the fastest chips but they’ll have a lot less AI experts to utilize them.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I think this is one of the big ‘unknowns’ and aspects where there could be a lot of unexpected blowback in either direction. There is little doubt that many Chinese engineers/scientists in the US are now heading ‘home’ as a result of the changes, but anecdotally, there also seems to be quite a significant movement in the other direction. I think the perception has been created that for many people its ‘now or never’ – i.e. for ethnic Chinese with family outside China they now have to make a long term decision as to whether they should stick or twist one way or the other, not just for their own sakes, but their families sake.

      I think its anyones guess as to who the net beneficiary of this will be. But I do think that China has benefited greatly from returning students/emigrants, and cutting off this supply will damage it in the long run. But sectors where China is already strong, this may not matter.

      1. SocalJimObjects

        After the increase in Anti Asian sentiments after Covid, I am just not seeing this “significant movement” in the other direction. I mean if we are talking with people with money, well sure they are probably thinking life in America will be better, but I expect most current students will be heading home. I think people who have just settled in America (last 3 or 4 years) will have to make a difficult choice soon enough. With the whole USA vs China rhetoric, I can just see Anti Asian sentiments getting inflamed once again, and this time it will be worse.

        1. SocalJimObjects

          Also forgot to mention, the movement of people in and out of China has been severely curtailed. Nowadays, you better have a REALLY GOOD reason to leave China.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            I can’t put figures on it, but I’ve heard from Chinese American people I know that they’ve been surprised at how many people they know in China who are actively trying to move to the US or elsewhere. Its obviously something that only impacts on a tiny percentage of Chinese people. My guess – and its only a guess – is that its motivated by a belief that its now or never for anyone who’s been considering it. And for most its a reversible decision (more or less), so it can still make a lot of sense for an educated person with connections in the west. And the number of those cosmopolitan Chinese families is increasing all the time as the diaspora grows. For those families, picking and choosing a country to live in comes very naturally.

            I can’t recall who said it, but a recent very senior CCP official made the point that you can tell the attractiveness of a country by the queue for visas at the embassy – he was pointedly referring to the permanent queue outside many US embassies around the world, including in Beijing. From what I understood from the context, he said it as a warning to his countrymen who were being a little too triumphant.

            1. Yves Smith Post author

              I heard the reverse from former UN economist Jomo Kwame Sundaram, that Asian academics are leaving the US for the hostility they are encountering, particularly over masking.

              1. PlutoniumKun

                Oh, I’m not denying that there is a strong outflow of Chinese academics and engineers from the US, this seems certain. What I’ve heard is that there is also a significant move in the opposite direction too. Anecdotally, its younger people with family connections outside China. They may be thinking that its better to make the choice to move now (temporarily or permanently) before all options are cut off. This is just what I’ve heard second hand from a few Chinese Americans.

                There is a large class of cosmopolitan Chinese who don’t really see themselves (by which I mean personally and extended family) as belonging to any one country – their decisions in where to move are usually pretty pragmatic. Their Chinese identity is cultural, not dependent on passport.

                Its gotta be remembered too that for all the talk of US decline and an ascendent China, working conditions in Chinese companies can be pretty brutal, even for highly qualified people. The perception of a better work life balance is a major pull factor – certainly this is the case for some Chinese people I know who moved to Australia and Europe.

                1. hk

                  Essentially, the story of Taiwan, except without the “country” question? As noted before, by myself and otgers, the problem with Taiwan does not seem to be that the self identified Taiwanese don’t want to be under Beijing’s rule, but that they don’t seem to want to shed their own blood for the idea of a “Taiwanese nation.” They would rather stay “cultural Chinese” cosmopolitans (much the same thing with Hong Kongers opposed to China). I don’t think this is sustainable given the way things are going: Chinese Americans, in the medium to long run, will have to become unalloyed Americans if they decide that they are not Chinese. The Taiwanese won’t be able to stay in their ambiguous legal state for long, and they won’t be able to stay as an independent state if they aren’t willing to die for it. Like it or not, as in 1914, the cosmopolitan era seems to be closing fast.

              2. PlutoniumKun

                I’d also add that the Chinese have brought in stricter rules on dual citizenship, which would apply to many Chinese-Americans working in China. Essentially, they are being told to chose which passport they prefer and stick to it. Many who work for US companies are leaving for the US.

                So again, I think we are seeing a ‘sorting out’ rather than a flow one way or another.

                  1. PlutoniumKun

                    Never recognised, but it was not consistently enforced on workers/residents within China until recently (past crackdowns have been short term and fairly random). Now it is, mostly as a response to Biden’s policies. Whether this is another short term crackdown or a real policy change, I don’t know.

    2. Karl

      A quote from the FP article:

      The decisive American gamble: to openly block China’s path to become an advanced economic peer, even at significant risk to U.S. and allied interests.

      More possible blowback by allies questioning US hardball trade tactics just to carry out an economically punishing strategy aimed at one country. The article is pretty clear that the US is on very shaky ground with the WTO.

      Another example of how the US “believes” in a rule based order–until it doesn’t.

      This may be mostly anti-china window dressing, the “consequences” for failing to take orders on anti-Russia sanctions. This “sanctioning” of China seems also destined to fail. And bring more “self harm”.

  4. SocalJimObjects

    Kingfisher? Sonic boom? In Murica, we stick the photo of Brandon on each and every one of our nuclear warheads and we get the hypersonic nuclear boom!!! Murica wins again. Sorry Japan.

    Ok, that embedded video is actually pretty great.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Its interesting, but I think its more of a cute story than anything else. Tunnel booms are caused by the ‘piston effect’ which has long been studied by railway engineers (its used positively to, for example, improve ventilation within tunnels, particularly important in the days of steam). Reducing the boom effect has long been addressed through a mixture of train aerodynamic design and tunnel entrance designs. In Europe, if you look at any HSR tunnel entry it us usually elongated at the bottom, with an extended concrete hood, sometimes with perforations. This, along with the longer nose of the train (which is needed anyway for aerodynamic efficiency), greatly reduces the boom effect.

      Incidentally, the Eurostar trains in the UK were originally designed to be unpressurised to make them cheaper than TGV’s. Then someone realised that when two trains passed within the single bore tunnels proposed the likely result was a lot of deafened passengers. After a quick analysis, it was concluded that it would be cheaper to pressurise the trains than go for double-bore tunnelling.

      1. Revenant

        It’s been told as a story for some years. I think the point is not what causes the sonic boom, which is known, nor attenuating it with tunnel redesign, which is expensive, but what is the optimal shape for the moving body transiting between two pressure regimes, which is apparently something optimised by the kingfisher for least expense (beaks are costly in energy terms) with a lot of tradeoffs between laminar and turbulent flow etc behind the point of entry.

    2. Acacia

      Masumura’s 1975 film Mainline to Terror (Dômyaku rettô / 動脈列島) took the noise problems of the then-Shinkansen as its premise: a hopeful doctor decides the noise of the train is a serious public health menace and actually goes off the grid to undertake a series of sabotage operations against the Shinkansen, whilst sending anonymous, taunting letters to the police investigators. The film is unusual in that it takes a sympathetic view of what was essentially a campaign of terror.

      I can further add that Kingfishers are of especial interest to amateur photographers in Japan, where ‘amateur’ means they have a pro-level DSLR and spend hours hanging around a lotus pond to get the perfect Kingfisher photo.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        I’m sure someone somewhere has studied this, but I’ve long been fascinated by how the Japanese seem super sensitive to external noise, while highly tolerant of visual intrusion. They will shrug their shoulders when someone builds a hideous cheap office building next to some historic temple, or put a gaudy plastic sign on an historic castle, but go to extraordinary steps to suppress unwanted noise. I’ve often thought that this is a primary reason why everyone accepts very low speed limits on Japanese roads.

        I once stayed in a Chinese owned hotel in Osaka, on the 4th floor, pretty much level to an elevated highway that runs right through the city over one of the historic canals. Its unbelievably ugly and intrusive, but the noise absorption barriers on either side meant that I could pretty much reach out from the window to touch the side of the overpass (well, I could if the window was openable, it had been sealed shut), but I still couldn’t hear any noise whatever. I went around to follow the overpass the next day just to check that it was used (yes, full of traffic). Most Japanese highways and Shinkansen have very extensive and very expensive absorptive noise barriers – something I know from experience road and rail engineers in Europe avoid if they possibly can, due to expense and safety issues.

        But even when there is noise, it seems somehow delightful. There aren’t many urban sounds nicer than an old style Japanese train clanking and chugging through built up areas. I once wandered around the town of Onamichi to try to find some of the places certain famous scenes in Ozu’s Tokyo Story were shot. Most had long since disappeared (and remarkably, some were blatantly mislabeled), but the old railway running through the town sounded exactly as when Ozu did the sound design – he seemed to really love the sound of trains. Kurosawa of course, even used it as the name of one of his later films, Dodescaden.

    3. chuck roast

      I used to hang out at a little spot in Maine called Horseshoe Cove. There was a small stream at the top of cove at a place called Brooksville. It was only about 12′ wide, and at the top of this stream was a beautiful pond. I decided to paddle up there one day in my 7′ dinghy. The stream had a nice tidal change making for superior habitat. Its banks were infested with Kingfishers. You can not imagine a crankier lot…they gave me bloody hell. Kingfishers will not be solving any more of our human social problems.

  5. timbers

    Top EU diplomat calls most of the world ‘jungle’ RT (Kevin W)

    Addressing a group of students at the College of Europe in Bruges on Thursday, Borrell said “The rest of the world… 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.” He insisted that Europeans have to be “much more engaged” with the rest of the world and put their “privilege” to good use.

    Chance the Gardener aka Peter Sellers in Being There would disagree:

    “As long as the roots are not severed, all is well, and all will be well. In the Garden. The Garden will grow in the Spring. Then the fall will come.” He can’t write. He can’t read. He doesn’t understand – “I do not know what it means.” But he can watch TV and has much wisdom to share with Borrell if only Borrell would open his mind and learn. Because as the black cleaning lady who worked with him explained “there is nothing but rice pudding in between the ears. All you gotta be is white in America to get what you want.”

    1. digi_owl

      I get the impression that the “socialist workers party” has gone just as much neolib as their namesakes in the rest of Europe.

      That is some Roman era barbarians at the gates thinking. So much, and yet so little, has changed in 2000+ years…

    2. David

      Borrell is rather clumsily expressing what has been a commonplace of EU thinking for at least the last generation. The EU, it goes, is a haven of peace and security in a turbulent world, a place where, at great cost in human suffering over many centuries, we have finally managed to build a political system without war or conflict, and to pursue economic and social development. (As a concept this isn’t necessarily false: I’ve been in many parts of the world where it’s been a relief to get back to Europe.) But, the argument goes on, we shouldn’t be a walled garden. We should encourage immigrants from other nations to come and live here and share our advantages. After all, we have essentially solved the problems of ethnic division which caused so much conflict in the past.

      The, the argument continues, we should go out into the world, fortified by our virtuous state and our experience of building a good society, and teach other people how to do things. In practice, this amounts to the unreflective export of liberal economic and social ideas as I’ve explained in this essay , and is something which is becoming less and less popular with countries around the world, who are increasingly tired of listening to EU sermons.

      Borrell isn’t necessarily wrong in the wider sense – many other regions in the world would be happy to swap the EU’s problems for their own – but his approach is typically tone-deaf, and ignores not only the increasing resistance to these ideas in the countries where the EU operates, but the failures of EU governments to provide security and prosperity for their peoples, and the resentment this is starting to cause.

      1. The Rev Kev

        ‘After all, we have essentially solved the problems of ethnic division which caused so much conflict in the past.’

        You’d think so but I am not so convinced. To a large degree, ethnic divisions have been papered over but look at what happened in the former Yugoslavia when NATO went in to break the place up and the ethnic fighting that broke out. And you have had rumblings with Catalonia in Spain not that long ago. And look at the EU-wide intense Russo-phobia that blew up the past several months that went to such bizarre extremes. I can think of other regions in greater Europe but the point is that unless a region is “stress-tested”, you never really know if those ethnic tensions have gone away or not.

        1. David

          Well, indeed, but I’m explaining what people in Brussels think, I’m not saying it’s true. As I’ve argued elsewhere, an awful lot of effort has gone into things like the suppression of national identity, mandatory procedures against discrimination and so forth. The high-ups in Brussels really do believe this changes reality.

          1. The Rev Kev

            And with that I totally agree. And that is the worry. That those in Brussels think that they are the EU. Sure you have people like Clare Dally in the European Parliament trying to call them out but such people are isolated and thus ineffective. Your last sentence made me wonder what Brussels will do when the Russians start their campaign up and proceed to roll up most of the Ukraine. How will they cope with the break down of their reality?

            1. digi_owl

              The parliament is a rubberstamp factory.

              the real power is in the commission. And even though it is lead by member heads of state, their whole mission statement is to prioritize EU above all. Why you see them slapping around US tech companies, but coddle European ones.

              1. IsabelPS

                Are you saying that the European Commission is lead by member heads of state? That is the European Council, not the Commission.

          2. Ignacio

            Borrell is having a few field days with his visit classes and visits in Madrid. The other day he said that is trendy in Brussels (I guess Eurocrat Brussels) to talk about the Geostrategical Awakening of Europe, meaning this some more military spending. Not that there is much money to spend in such thing, no ability to construct large armies, but they talk.

            1. The Rev Kev

              Whenever I have heard Borrell talk, it is mostly a war speech where he gets all bellicose. Doesn’t sound much like what you would expect for the EU’s top diplomat.

        2. nippersdad

          Ethnic tensions have been a feature of reporting from Europe since the Arab Spring. How he failed to notice all of those boats across the Mediterranean, problems in France, Germany, Sweden and Britain due to immigration……….They have been stress tested, and failed. How Borrell managed to gloss over all of that will not be missed in Europe.

          1. digi_owl

            IMO, the larger problem is Saudi funded wahhabist preachers rather than immigrants.

            As i hear it, “muslim” ladies in the Balkans have started donning the scarf again after decades of it barely showing up while visiting the mosque. And that is largely thanks to SA covering the traveling expenses for visiting preachers spreading the wahhabist take on islam.

            Most of the people coming over on those boats, if they can even be called that, do so in order to escape all that.

            1. The Rev Kev

              When those million refugees flooded into Germany several years ago, the Saudis offered to pay for the construction of 200 mosques throughout the country who would of course have Wahhabist preachers in each one to convert all those Muslims into their own brand of Islam. The Germans shut that idea down straight away.

            2. David

              This is a general problem. The Brussels mindset has been terrifyingly slow to recognise that the activities of these imams (many from Qatar and Turkey) are a form of soft power for the countries concerned, and have acted to radicalise many younger Muslims and lead them to at least consider acts of violence. The post-religious nature of what’s called “Bruxellois” thinking is incapable of recognising religion as anything else but a cultural construct, rather than something certain people might be prepared to kill and die for. Likewise, young women in rundown suburbs of major cities (yes, including Brussels) forced to stay at home or to go out only accompanied by a male relative, are just exercising lifestyle choices. Discussion of such issues is discouraged in case it leads to anti-Muslim prejudice, as though it were not Muslims who were the main victims.

            3. PlutoniumKun

              I used to regularly pass the ‘Saddam Hussein Mosque’ in Birmingham, England back in the 1990’s. What was overlooked by many was that for years there had been a battle between the Wahhabist funders and the secularist funders of those mosques for soft power influence in the west. In removing Hussein, it gave the Saudi’s Gulf arabs free rein and almost total control. Classic blowback.

              I once had a walk around a German city with a secular Turkish friend from Ankara – she was utterly horrified by the number of ethnic Turkish women (including some of her distant relatives) she saw wearing the scarf. She saw it as the result of the influence of Gulf money, but more latterly I think Erdogan has seen the benefits of radicalising the expat community.

              Having said that, from my limited knowledge many muslim women in the west see it as a way of emphasising their culture – its more a rejection of loose cultural Western ways than an embrace of more extreme Islamacism. But it still a strong indicator that the overall arrogant assumption of liberalism that everyone wants to live like a secular USasian or European is very badly misplaced.

              Incidentally, on that subject I saw a recent study indicating that the births skewing towards male (usually an indicator of parents deliberately choosing male children) is stronger in Sweden than in Saudi Arabia. Its probably down to the easy availability of abortion (presumably among the immigrant community), while in SA there may be a strong male preference but its mitigated by restrictions on abortion and strong religious emphasis within Wahhabism against aborting females (or to be specific, female infanticide, which the Prophet strongly preached against).

        3. vao

          Of course, the Cyprus problem has not been solved either.

          Several years back, I heard an interview with a Bosnian (journalist or activist, I cannot remember), who stated that the situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina is completely rotten: the tripartite conflict has not been solved, political parties are corrupted clientelist organizations, the economy is in shambles, and democracy is a joke with the EU Representatives overriding local decisions whenever they deem it expedient. But the problem is in the freezer (i.e. EU subsidies), and so there is no stench. However, at some point, the freezer will be switched off, and then…

          1. digi_owl

            Sounds about right, as seen with how Poland is getting increasingly uppity as EU is trying to using the economic support as pressure for social changes.

            I wonder how much the “peace” came from the brain drain and support packages.

      2. digi_owl

        EU being the big kumbaya success project is a massive self-delussion of the European neolib “left”.

      3. anon in so cal

        Borrell is regurgitating modernization theory, which was a dominant 20th C development theory embraced for many decades by academics and governments—Parsons, Inkeles, Rostow, etc.. Modernization theory is the idea that the developed West can model / disperse its cultural norms, political and educational institutions, bureaucratic structures, etc. to pre-modern societies. As they absorb and implement Western values and practices, pre-modern societies will gradually experience economic development and societal change. Modernization theory was criticized as advocating the ethnocentric imposition of western values on the rest of the world and rebutted by dependency theorists who identified exploitative / unequal terms of trade as the cause of the periphery’s persistent “underdevelopment.”

          1. Tom Stone

            It’s not a burden, it’s the Christian Duty of the elect to teach those most in need of guidance.
            Their only desire is to do good.
            And they do very well indeed for the most part.

          2. polar donkey

            Or the EU thinks it is the Federation from Star Trek. Maybe they should study the prime directive rather than strip mine the rest of the world.

    3. nippersdad

      Borrell, speaking from Belgium, about most of the rest of the world being a jungle and needing the gardeners to go out and beat it back is going to go over really well in the former Belgian Congo and the rest of the Global South. If this is the best diplomat they have to offer, one who proves Putin’s points about Western colonialism in real time, then they really do need to pack up and go home.

      That was just appalling.

      1. vao

        I already mentioned it, but Borrell’s remarks are in line with Ehud Barak’s well-known propension to describe Israel as the “villa in the jungle“. Both Borrell and Barak betrayed their ingrained colonial mentality — which appalls most of the world, and riles those more suave-speaking politicians who want the EU, resp. Israel, to keep an amiable appearance.

      2. Stephen


        Thomas Pakenham’s great work “The Scramble for Africa” from thirty years ago is excellent on this. Of course, the Belgians were not the only guilty party. We British did a lot of very bad things.

        I guess Borrell also forgot about the rather nasty wars that occurred in Yugoslavia in the 90s and the “garden’s” more recent wars of misadventure across the Middle East. Not to mention our track record going back at least to the Seven Years War of inflicting our intra European wars on the rest of the world.

        Personally, I have no great desire to apologise for the past. It is what it is and people alive today did not create it. But we should recognise the good and the bad and not hide from the less savoury aspects, which all countries have. Above all, we should not repeat past errors. Which is exactly what people such as Borrell are doing.

        1. digi_owl

          His kind likely see anything but out and out neolib capitalism as part of the jungle, and thus 90s Balkan etc was all about clearing the jungle and extending the garden.

      3. Bugs

        The top level EU political posts are basically a retirement plan for failed politicians from the member states. How these absolute incompetents have somehow, without any mandate, been given free rein to spitball policy – in public – for the entire bloc is beyond me.

      4. eg

        Joseph Conrad was onto them 123 years ago when he described Brussels as a “whited sepulchre” in Heart of Darkness

  6. Sibiryak

    Putin answers questions about mobilization

    Astana, Kazakhstan Oct. 14.

    Lyubov Lezhneva, Izvestia:
    I have a question about mobilisation. You have already said that there are many associated problems, and now many companies do not understand which employees will be mobilised.

    I would like to ask you if there will be another wave of mobilisation. Will there be total mobilisation. Is the figure of 300,000 people mentioned by the Defence Minister still up to date or not? Thank you.

    Vladimir Putin:
    To begin with, the Defence Ministry initially planned a smaller figure – not 300,000 people. This is the first point.

    Second, nothing is planned additionally. The Defence Ministry has made no proposals about this and I don’t see any need for it in the foreseeable future.

    As for the mess I mentioned, it is linked with old forms of accounting, which have not been updated for decades. The quality of these papers became clear only with the start of mobilisation. This database is now being updated and modernised and will be as accurate as possible. So I think the quality of this work will be improved as well.

    That said I must note that this work is already ending. Now there are already 222,000 mobilised troops out of 300,000 people. I believe all mobilisation activities will be completed in about two weeks.

    * * * * *

    Gleb Ivanov, Argumenty i Fakty:
    Mr President, a follow-up question about mobilisation. The first deaths of mobilised soldiers have been reported. The Chelyabinsk Region authorities said several mobilised men had died. A Moscow Government employee who was mobilised on September 23 is being buried in Moscow today. He had no military training or military experience.

    The question is: how is this possible? When the partial mobilisation was announced, it was said that all those mobilised would undergo mandatory military training. How did people end up on the frontline and die before even three weeks had passed since the mobilisation was announced? What do you think about the mobilisation process? [asks another question about the Crimea bridge attack]

    Vladimir Putin:
    With regard to mobilisation, I can only reiterate what I said earlier. The line of contact is 1,100 kilometres long, and it is practically impossible to hold it exclusively with the contract soldiers, especially since they are taking part in offensive operations. This is the reason for mobilisation. This is my first point.

    Second, all citizens who are called up as part of the mobilisation must undergo training which is provided as follows. I said that 222,000 people are now in the army, more precisely, the formation units, where they receive initial training that lasts from five to 10 days. Then, depending on the military specialty, they go to combat units for training for a period of five to 15 days. The next step is training with troops involved in combat operations, where they undergo joint combat training.

    If you look at it from the time the mobilisation started to the present day, in principle, looking at the minimum values, in general, this is possible. And it is not only possible. Like I said, 222,000 are in the formation troops, 33,000 mobilised men are already in the units, and 16,000 men are in the units involved in combat missions.

    Since questions like you just asked still arise, I will instruct the Security Council additionally. There are former Defence Ministry employees with extensive experience on the Council. They are good at what they do; they are high-level specialists. I will instruct them to inspect the training process for mobilised citizens.

    1. RookieEMT

      This is excellent information. So Putin admits to problems with mobilization. Though more with accounting and paper-work, not people running out of the country.

      Is that decent total training days for reservists or rushed? I don’t know how to judge that.

      1. chris

        Based on training people for mobilization and deployment in other roles, as well as training people how to fight, I have some opinions about this. If your user name is related to any kind of experience as an EMT, you probably do too, just think about that question based on what your own training was like.

        How good would you expect someone to be if they had almost a month of general training in multiple areas followed by further training in one specific area? The results would vary significantly with the quality of the people going through the training. Because there is also a heavy physical component to this kind of thing, the success of the training will also depend on what kind of shape the people are in when they arrive. If they’re in younger and in good physical condition, then you could probably get them into condition for marching/carrying/fighting in a month or two. The benefit of a longer training period is more assurance of quality control for the end product.

        In my opinion, this can be done but it depends on a fairly homogenous group of people going into the training period. Large differences in physical and mental capabilities will make it difficult for the training to be effective in a short period of time. I think that the US cannot allow Russia to be seen as successful in this endeavor. There is no way we could take a random group of US citizens and get them in shape to do physical things like soldiering in 1-2 months. There is no way US citizens could learn all these tasks and become good at them in 1-2 months. If Russia really does take reservists and others train them into a group of reasonably capable support for the military operation in 1-2 months then it’s a huge indictment of our country and culture.

        1. The Rev Kev

          I have a book called “One Soldier” by John H. Shook talking about his experiences with ‘Nam and it was a shock when he talked about his “training.” By the end of it, his platoon was sicker than when they started but that is not all. When it came to weapons training, an NCO would call out instructions on disassembling the AR-15 and when they had done that, instructions how to put it together again. When finished, Shook said that he had left over parts but the NCO told him not to worry about it as the armoury sergeant would put it together properly for him. Shook then asked if the armoury sergeant was coming to ‘Nam with him. So on paper he had ‘qualified.’

          Next was range training where they would learn how to shoot it properly. One clip only. Shook said he took his time aiming but the NCO told him not to worry as everybody was going to qualify not matter what they did on the range. Shook said that as he was going into combat, that he wanted to learn to shoot properly, even if it was only one clip’s worth. So having shot off a clip, all those new soldier’s now qualified as being able to shoot. And this is why it got so bad that when soldiers arrived in ‘Nam, that the command there were putting them through what amounted to basic training. And you know that I am not making any of this up.

      2. Yves Smith Post author

        Putin admitted to it earlier, although I forget in what forum. People in essential jobs being called up and the bureaucracy needing to refine rules as to who got exempted for that.

        1. hk

          The impression I got was that it was analogous to the afmin problems in US when national guard and other reserves were activated for Iraq and Afghanistan–really what this “partial mobilization” amounts to, as far as I can tell.

      3. OIFVet

        It’s very, very rushed. Even with previous training, I would think that 6-8 weeks of intensive training is what’s needed. That would include not only combat training, but firearm training, physical training, first aid training, etc. I am rather shocked by what I just read.

        1. Tom Stone

          These are reservists who have already served their mandatory period, they will be in their 20’s to 30’s and already have basic Military skills.
          Some will have had specialized training ( Maintenance techs are always in short supply) but they all know how to do the basics.
          These are not raw recruits.

          1. OIFVet

            True enough. But as active US Army Reserve soldiers, my unit still underwent 6 weeks of training stateside before deploying to the sandpit. Modern war is complex and the action in Ukraine proves that. While the best learning is the one that happens under fire, having enough of it prior to being sent there and getting into the right mindframe greatly improve the chances of surviving the first several engagements. I don’t think Russia has enough lives to waste, to me such short retraining period is nuts, recently separated contract soldiers or not.

            1. Stephen

              I agree but we ought to remember that European armies of the past did exactly what Russia is now doing but with even less preparation.

              The German and French armies of 1914 were predominantly composed of called up conscripts who had served previously. They pretty much went straight into the field. There had typically been a refresher requirement for annual training but in the context of August 1914 they were simply deployed. They had to be.

              Despite the historical propaganda of my own country (the myths of the Battle of Mons) it is not so clear that the “professionals” of the 1914 British Expeditionary Force outperformed them either.

              Maybe modern war is more complex but there was still a lot to master in 1914 and not everyone was a rifleman. Just food for thought.

    2. Stephen

      A leader who answers questions. Admits issues and then says they will be dealt with. Wow.

      I cannot speak to how meaningful his answers are, nor the overall situation but on the face of it this is better than one sees in the U.K.

      Our government never admits any problems and certainly no leader ever answers a question. The shambolic way that the British Army operated in both Iraq and Afghanistan (notwithstanding individual bravery but clear that the overall system, doctrine and equipment were not fit for purpose) was covered up for years. Defeats were just swept under the carpet and there has still not been a public atoning or lessons learned political dialogue.

      1. Tom Stone

        I can’t comment on the rest of the UK’s equipment but I do know rifles and the SA80 series rifles is not fit for purpose.
        Look at a video of someone doing a speed reload with an M16 variant.
        Then look at someone doing the same with an SA80.
        With the MI16 variants you can easily keep situational awareness as you change magazines, due to the design of the SA80 you can not.
        That’s life or death for the poor bloody Infantryman.

  7. PlutoniumKun

    In gold-standard trial, colonoscopy fails to cut rate of cancer deaths. STAT

    Not my expert area, but so far as I’m aware, in most of Europe colonoscopy is only recommended after positive results from stool testing and other firm indicators that there may be a cancer.

    The US is an outlier on a whole range of cancers in advocating early random testing. Most European health systems only recommend it for a very specific range of cancers such as cervical and breast (after the age of 50) cancers.

    One of the few areas that the US scores well in comparative studies is in cancer survival rates. I know that there is a strong suspicion among many researchers that these figures are bloated by the ‘successful’ treatment of the many false positives generated by random testing.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      And with breast cancer in particular, discovering the cancer very early, which creates the illusion of longer average survival after finding a positive result. For instance:

      The women started receiving mammograms from 1980 to 1985. At the time, doctors believed screening saved lives by detecting early-stage cancers, which were considered more treatable than cancers detected later, especially in women aged 50 to 64.

      Instead, the study “found no reduction in breast cancer mortality from mammography screening,” the scientists wrote, “neither in women aged 40-49 at study entry nor in women aged 50-59.”

      Proponents of mammograms often point out that women whose breast cancer is diagnosed by mammography alone live longer than those whose cancer is diagnosed by physical exam. This study found that as well, but the apparent advantage was illusory, the researchers concluded. For one thing, if a cancer is sufficiently aggressive and resistant to treatment it will likely prove fatal no matter when it is detected. Finding it in 2011 by physical exam, as opposed to 2007 by mammogram, simply means that the woman lives longer knowing that she has cancer, not that she lives longer overall.

      Mammograms, the study found, increase perceived survival time without affecting the course of the disease.

      Mammograms despite the hype are not very good diagnostics. They do a poor job of detecting the fast-moving cancers that will kill you and are good at detecting slow-moving growths that most women will die with rather than of. Other methods, like manual breast exams by someone who has felt a lot of boobs (there are breast clinics in Australia with people like that) or thermography are better at detecting fast moving, potentially lethal growths. Also I suspect those annual mammograms have the effect of discouraging women from doing monthly self-exams.

      I suspect that many of the studies that have favorable result for mammograms (aside from supporting the longer survival fallacy described above) also are not matched v. a population doing proper self exams monthly. Participants would tend to lie about compliance too. I’d trust only a population like nurses to report accurately.

      And most women are not taught how to do self-exams properly. It was only by happenstance in an alternative medicine clinic in Santa Fe that one of the practitioners had a boob teaching model, with both benign and bad growths, and they really do feel different. And it was only in a recent visit to a new OB-GYN that I was examined lying down and sitting up. She said you could feel different things in different positions (I suspect particularly in lymph nodes near the armpit, which are also often neglected in self-exams).

      1. NotThisAgain

        I did quite a bit of work in this area once upon a time (although, sadly, did not get to feel very many boobs, although I have worked with quite a few of them since). It was quite a while ago, so the research may be outdated, but:

        1) Women don’t normally die from breast cancer–they die from the original cancer in the breast spreading (“metastisizing”) to other parts of the body
        2) A tumor that is less than 4mm in size is not a concern, because the cancer will not metastisize until the tumor reaches that size. X-rays are some of the very few techniques that exist for discovering tumors of such small sizes. (At least without using lots of metadata, which is expensive and which insurance companies and hospitals do not wish to pay for)
        3) For a variety of reasons that involve physical phenomenon, it is easiest to detect a tumor that is located in the breast, where there are no bones or other “hard objects” to absorb the x-rays.

        Therefore, the hope is to perform mammograms, discover tumors before they reach 4mm, and then prevent metastasis. Unfortunately, x-rays themselves cause cancer, so you need to be careful with dose. Also, the larger and denser the breast, the more difficult it is to discover the tumor without a higher dose.

      2. Michael Fiorillo

        OK, stool tests detect colon cancer cheaply and efficiently, but don’t colonoscopies identify pre-cancerous polyps, so that they can be removed prior to becoming malignant and potentially metastatic? As I understand it, stool tests identify cancer, while colonoscopies have a uniquely preventive dimension.

        1. anon in so cal

          Yes, both pre-cancerous polyps and carcinoma in situ (stage 0)—before either progress to the stage where the stool test would be useful.

        2. Yves Smith Post author

          See my point above: how many of those polyps they snip are actually pre-cancerous? Patients have been indoctrinated to think they all need to be removed. As I indicated, for women with uterine polyps, virtually all aren’t or won’t be.

          The colon cancer levels and fatalities in countries that don’t do much in the way of colonoscopies suggests that catching actual cancers early with other tests is just as successful in mortality reduction. And the fecal occult stool test can identify polyps. It detects such small amounts of blood that patients are often advised not to eat broccoli red meat, or take Vitamin C or anticoagulants like aspirin or a few days before the test (precautions I have never been told about and therefore not observed, BTW). See

          Colonoscopies also have risks: colon perforation:

          Colonic perforation occurs in 0.03–0.8% of colonoscopies [1, 2] and is the most feared complication with a mortality rate as high as 25% [1]. It may result from mechanical forces against the bowel wall, barotrauma, or as a direct result of therapeutic procedures.

          and use of improperly cleaned equipment:

          a growing body of research shows that the switch by doctors, hospitals, and specialty centers to reusable scopes to peer into various parts of the body have resulted in rising infection rates among colonoscopy and endoscopy patients, among others.

          Inspections show that the reused scopes don’t get cleaned properly and all the time. The more complex the medical device, the greater the risk, as clinicians and patients learned when complex and dirty duodenoscopes were tied to the deaths of 35 patients since 2013 and the sickening of dozens of others, leading to congressional investigations, lawsuits, and product recalls.

          Medical researchers since have scrutinized scopes’ use and cleanliness, finding them increasingly popular and widespread in use, even as they rack up checkered records for their sanitation and cleanliness. Bazar reported that a recent Johns Hopkins University study examined infection rates for a week for patients undergoing colonoscopies and endoscopies at free-standing specialty centers. Those facilities have burgeoned as convenient way to reduce costs for targeted medical services, including surgeries and other procedures, because they don’t carry high hospital overhead. But infection rates for the two scope screenings at such centers were much higher than previously thought: They once were believed to be about 1 in a million but experts in Baltimore calculated them, instead, at 1 in 1,000.

          The Baltimore experts added:

          Patients who’d been hospitalized before undergoing one of the procedures were at even greater risk of infection. Almost 45 in 1,000 patients who’d been hospitalized within 30 days prior to a screening colonoscopy visited a hospital with an infection within a month. Within those same parameters, the rate of infection-related hospitalization for EGDs was more than 59 patients per 1,000.

          1. Anthony G Stegman

            I recall a few years ago that UCLA had a major scandal involving improperly sterilized instruments that led to many deaths.

      3. Katniss Everdeen

        From a Newsweek article published 1/11/16:

        On Monday, the panel published new guidelines in the Annals of Internal Medicine recommending biennial mammograms for women age 50 to 74 who have an average risk for breast cancer. The USPSTF [U. S. Preventive Services Task Force] guidelines suggest breast cancer screening with mammography before age 50 has limited benefits, and conclude that more research is needed to assess whether women 75 and older actually benefit from the test.

        I remember it well. The announcement was met with swift, angry vilification by breast cancer “advocacy” groups, especially the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

        What received far less coverage, was the revelation of the close financial association between the foundation and Siemens, maker of the very expensive mammogram screening equipment, exemplified in “collaborations” such as this from 2006:

        The key component of the Siemens/Komen Foundation partnership is the ?Change the Statistic? Web site ( where women can virtually promise to have their annual mammogram, and where all visitors can send e-mail reminders to their loved ones to promise to have regular breast cancer screenings. For each of the first 50,000 promises, Siemens Medical Solutions will donate $1 to the Komen Foundation….Every visitor who makes a promise on the Web site will have the chance to have their first name, photograph, and promise number featured on Siemens Times Square SuperSign in New York City during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

        Also soft-pedalled was the declining percentage of the foundation’s large and growing revenues dedicated to its ostensible “mission,” finding a “cure.”

        As I’d imagine will be true with colonoscopies, having invested heavily in a reliable profit stream, for-profit american “healthcare” will not give it up willingly, whether it “benefits” actual patients or not. So much for “science.” See diabetes for further confirmation.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Note I have not recommended against breast cancer screening. I have said other methods are at least as good and don’t involve irradiating boobs.

    2. CanCyn

      Canadian here. My former, now retired, doc said that colonoscopies are rather invasive tests and not without risk. She recommended stool tests regularly and colonoscopy only if something abnormal comes up in stool test.
      Also mammograms only after 55 and only every 5 yrs. thereafter. COVID delayed my second ever mammogram and I just had it recently. A false positive then a follow up mammogram which indicated all is well. ‘Just a funny shadow’. Sigh.

    3. Field in Texas

      I heard about this study on the radio and it was pointed out the study actually does NOT represent what the headline suggests. The issue is that while the test was OFFERED to the study group only 42% had it done. Here’s the wrap up from one of the commenters;
      What a terrible misconstruing of the actual results of the study. You should be ashamed of yourself for spreading false information. What including the 58% of people selected to get colonoscopy in the study who did not get it simply says that not getting a colonoscopy does not reduce death rate. A totally useless statement. What should have been highlighted was the 50% reduction in death for the 42% that did get a colonoscopy. That is a big effect and something that could encourage people to actually get a rather unpleasant but lifesaving procedure.

  8. griffen

    Well I could use some good news and that study above on the screening and colonoscopies is the brightness to start my weekend. I really, really don’t want to follow through with that procedure next year. The second hand anecdotes all sound unpleasant, particularly the prep before the procedure.

    On the other hand, cancer runs in the family in particular on my father’s side. Smokers and non smokers alike.

    1. Sibiryak

      The article’s conclusion:

      Even if cancer therapy has progressed to the point where a 15-year follow-up fails to eke out a mortality reduction, UCSD’s Gupta pointed out that preventing cancer nonetheless can have a great benefit.

      The study still showed that colonoscopies reduced cancer incidence, which also means a reduction in surgeries, chemotherapies, immunotherapies, and other bad times.

      The process of being treated is awful, ” Gupta said. “If you ask patients if you’d rather be treated or prevented, a lot would say prevented. ”

    2. Sardonia

      You might want to look into the option of a Virtual Colonoscopy (VC). Same prep (inconvenient, but it’s all easy), and has been suggested to be done every 5 years rather than a regular colonoscopy, which is suggested for every 10 years (athough the linked article certainly raises questions on that)

      The VC is a CT scan – instead of a tube “stuck up there” one gets a CT scan of the colon.

      VC upside:
      1 – No risk of bowel perforation, which sometimes happens with a regular colonoscopy (and can be serious)
      2 – It can see into nooks and crannies that a regular colonoscopy can miss

      VC downside:
      1 – like an X-ray, a CT gives radiation
      2 – if the CT scan finds anything that needs to be snipped out, you have to get a 2nd procedure to get that snipped – with a regular colonoscopy, if it finds anything that needs to be snipped it can be done at the same time.

      I’m not a doctor, but you can discuss this with yours

      1. griffen

        Thank you I will plan on researching that as a possible option and of course, discussing with a doctor as well.

    3. nippersdad

      FWIW, my experience was not all that bad.

      For prep I filled the bath tub with bubble bath. I turned on the heater so the bathroom was warm. I got out a nice bottle of Pinot Grigio, put some good music on the CD player and settled in for a nice relaxing evening. When I needed to run for the commode it was right there. I took a quick rinse in the shower and then got back in the tub. There was no cramping at all.

      Bottom line, I did not treat it like a normal evening and even attempt to do my usual routine.

      The next morning they gave me something that put me right to sleep, the best sleep I have ever had, and then when I woke up got to look at pictures of the insides of my guts. Never having grown up, that was kind of cool.

      I’m not going to sit here and tell you it was the most pleasant thing I have ever experienced, but it certainly wasn’t the worst, either. I have had worse experiences after eating some bad take-out for lunch at work. The biggest fear that I had was that something could go wrong, but I made it clear, in both the paperwork and to EVERYONE in the room that they were to take a brick to me were I to go into a coma; so that all worked out as well.

      Point being the whole concept is kind of gross if you over think it, but it is only as bad as you make it.

      1. anon in so cal

        For my last colonoscopy experience, I opted for no anesthesia. In my institution, I choose the physician from a list and there is no contact prior to the procedure. The physician seemed displeased that I was declining anesthesia, interrogated me about it, and tried to get me to change my mind, saying that, as a tall and skinny female, I would surely have a tortuous colon. I think that, had it not been for the prep, she would have declined the procedure. Anyway, the procedure was uncomfortable but nothing that would motivate me to get anesthesia for it. I think the US is alone in the world for recommending anesthesia for colonoscopies.

    4. Sibiryak

      Re: Colonoscopy study. This seems like a fairly balanced review:

      Does the NordICC Trial Dethrone Colonoscopy for Colon Cancer Screening?

      Two points I think are important (there are others–read article in its entirety):

      1) The study assessed the risk of colorectal cancer at 10 years only among participants who were invited to undergo screening colonoscopy, not among only those who actually got a colonscopy:

      For the study, about 28,000 people between 55 and 64 in Poland, Norway and Sweden were randomized to be invited to undergo colonoscopy and followed on average for 10 years, while about 56,000 served as the “usual care” controls. (“Usual care” in those countries implies zero colon cancer testing; apparently these frontier nations do not love their citizens enough to even try to prevent them from dying en masse from colon cancer.) Only 42% of invitees actually got a colonoscopy.

      Of that whole group, there was no overall mortality benefit, and only a very modest reduction in colorectal cancers detected — roughly 1% vs 1.2% — and even more modest, and not statistically significant, reduction in colorectal cancer deaths, 0.28% vs 0.31%.

      […]when studying only those who actually bothered to get the screening colonoscopy, the authors found approximately 50% reductions in colon cancer cases and deaths — although the drop in absolute terms was small, from about 1.2% to 0.8% for cases, 0.3% to 0.15% for deaths. And, as Hematologist/Oncologist gadfly, Dr. Vinay Prasad, points out, shifting the outcomes from the randomized intention-to-screen group to only those who chose to undergo colonoscopy blows the benefits of randomization, which really is why the trial was so important in the first place.

      2) A colonoscopy is not simply a screening test:

      [there is ] a remarkable benefit to colonoscopy, and the reason why I am often encouraged to recommend this “gold standard” procedure: unlike a PSA test or mammogram, it’s possible to snip pre-cancerous lesions out of the colon during endoscopy, thereby theoretically not just screening for colon cancers but actively preventing them.

      1. semper loquitur

        Another benefit of the test is the pair of socks that the department gives you when you take the test. I kept mine. They have no-slip grips and are a bright yellow color. I call them my “booty” socks. :)

      2. will rodgers horse

        No, that is NOT balanced. that is dissemination.
        1)RCTs are typically held to the standard of Intention to Treat Analysis. Suggest you read up on it, but suffice it to say there are HUGE reasons why we dont just limit results to those who complied with a protocol.
        2) If that were true it would show up in the results. The goal is to limit death from colon cancer and more importantly to limit all cause mortality. Did you happen to read what was the finding on ARR??

    5. Yves Smith Post author

      If you are not in a high risk category, annual fecal occult stool tests! Super cheap, all MD does is insert gloved finger not very far. Not hard to tolerate. But you must do them annually.

      Perhaps I am also countersuggestible, but the docs administering the colonoscopies also snip everything. snippable, as far as I can tell. Are there any studies that indicate how many colon polyps are benign? It’s a different system, but most uterine polyps are benign….

      1. Keith Howard

        An additional thing to note in connection with the colonoscopy procedure [not a reply to YS’s comment directly above]: For individuals who have Inflammatory Bowel Disease, the occult blood test is impossible to interpret, because IBS lesions may cause bleeding, as can diverticulitis.

      2. Bugs

        Some data and anecdata: In France they just send us the stool test every two years. You return it by mail. I’ve never heard of anyone who has had a callback. We also don’t do statins. But hoo boy plenty of people on benzos and SSRIs. And high blood pressure meds.

  9. zagonostra

    Last night I listened to a Scott Ritter podcast where he is talking to a military Russian counterpart of some sort. Both of them made eminent sense of the Ukraine situation, they gave historical context and communicated their cultural perspective from the Russian and American side. How is it possible that the political class and populace is so deaf to reason and history?

    What is the best theoretical structure/paradigm to view what is going on. I don’t think Lambert’s formulation of the Democrat Party is sufficient (the class power of the PMC both expresses and is limited by other classes; oligarchs and American gentry…and the working class spring to mind), nor do I think the formulation is intended to offer such a over arching perspective. But, the PMC exists in both political parties and thus does not help in understanding what is happening.

    One theory I’ve come across is that what we are seeing unfold on our personal screens is a huge collective school play, at the last scene Kissinger will enter and offer a peace deal and thus live long enough to go out as a “peace maker”; that a massive rebuilding of Ukraine’s infrastructure will provided billions of dollars for American corporations to feed on for years to come and make the oligarchs happy. If it is a school play the political elites are putting on, it’s a sick one.

    1. digi_owl

      Because they are educated in economy, business management and law, not history.

      And that school play sounds about right, with Iraq having been a long winded dress rehearsal.

    2. ex-PFC Chuck

      It’s the inertial interaction among the forces that see the perpetuation of the “Rules Based Order” as in their interest. As for what is the RBO? It is the post-USSR rebranding of the predatory foreign economic policy regime Michael Hudson so eloquently described half a century ago in Super Imperialism. The aforementioned forces are, first and foremost, the sector of the donor class that most directly benefits from the RBO, the neoconservative group-think tanks that feed the flames of ethnic, religious and other hatreds the origins of which go back decades and centuries while also providing livelihoods of its adherents not currently in government positions, and their adherents currently in government foreign policy and defense positions. As for the donor sector, that includes the financial, natural resources (i.e. oil, gas, mining, etd.) arms manufacturing, and agricultural exporting sectors. This is what military reformer Chuck Spinney dubbed the “Self-Licking Ice Cream Cone.”

    3. chris

      Heh. If this is a play, then the last farcical act will be Hillary cementing peace on her way to another nomination.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “Crimea bridge: Russia ‘to repair blast damage by July 2023’”

    That’s about nine months from now to fully restore that bridge to full working capacity. I saw on a video a day or two ago that they already had a crane on a barge next to that part of the bridge to start the heavy work. We use to be able to do stuff like that once upon a time. Projects like the Hoover dam in the US or the Snowy River scheme here in Oz. These days? We wouldn’t even be able to write out a tender for such a project in nine months.

  11. Revenant

    The UK money funds article exposes another doomloop. The BoE has already warned earlier this year about open ended funds, which create and redeem units according to demand and are therefore vulnerable to runs because their underlying assets are… (tada!) traded securities which have a nasty habit of not trading when everybody rushes for the exit and gets stuck like Laurel and Hardy.

    I really don’t see how selling gilts to buy money market funds reduce the liquidity risk for pension funds. Or is it inspired regulatory arbitrage, mixing their liquidity assets with retail investors’ and daring the BoE not to bail them out down the line.

    I really don’t understand what UK regulators are doing here.

    Also, bigger picture, the whole Kwarteng-Truss crisis looks like a Berlusconi-Draghi coup by the powers of “sound money” (that’s austerity and regressive taxation, for those at the back). There wouldn’t be a crisis if the BoE simply controlled the yield curve with quiet BoJ efficiency….

    Bailey should be sacked with Kwarteng

    1. Stephen

      I was struggling to understand that too unless these assets are pure cash, which they seem not to be.

      The Bank and other regulators seem to have very effectively escaped any blame for the LDI leverage issue that pension funds had / have. Interest rate increases reducing bond prices were always likely I guess to have such an impact that they seem not to have predicted nor to have regulated so as to prevent in the first place.

      Market thinking has offered some excellent commentary on the topic, which I have been inspired to try to understand. He seems more optimistic on LDI but may not have drilled into the assets that gilts have been swapped for. He rightly seems pessimistic that other such issues are likely to arise as interest rates adjust.

      1. griffen

        I read the Reuter’s article discussing the LDI strategies and the current challenges. Trying to follow better what is happening there, it gets frequent daily updates on CNBC as well. Per the Reuter’s article there were several references to concerns dated back to 2018, at least according to the later paragraphs. Not sure about the UK regulatory approach exactly; I presume these reports and warnings are issued and then summarily put into the trash bin or conveniently forgotten, AKA much like the SEC regulators here in the states were alerted well in advance that Bernie Madoff was perpetrating a scam. And then they, the SEC, sat on that information.

        One would think pension managers are qualified to make these decisions having short term and long term implications. What is the line repeated often, why is nearly everything seemingly like CalPers?

  12. Sardonia

    Lizzie Truss versus the Head of Lettuce. Tough call.

    But we should add Tucker Carlson to that lottery. That man is spitting right in the face of the MIC – and those folks don’t take kindly to that. Sure, he has 4 million viewers, but that doesn’t stop “operatives” from “acting” if they think someone is stepping on their toes – and Tucker is stomping on them. Good for him. But that does entail risk….

    I would SO love to see AOC take him up on his many invitations to interview her. But I won’t hold my breath….

    1. The Rev Kev

      ‘Lizzie Truss versus the Head of Lettuce’

      Alright. After studying that image closely, which is Liz Truss and which is the Head of Lettuce? Anyone?

      1. ambrit

        The “Head of Lettuce” is obviously a ‘Green’ “plant.” Those wily neo-libs are infiltrating everywhere!
        To tell them apart may I suggest that they each be subjected to an electroencephalogram? We could ‘make book’ on who would be the ‘winner.’ After all, Truss is presently “running” England and the Head of Lettuce is “running” Germany. Wars have been started over less.

        1. Mildred Montana

          You beat me to the EEG idea, but I will forge ahead nevertheless.

          If electrodes were attached to the Head of Liz and the Head of Lettuce, I think the resulting EEGs might surprise more than a few.

          1. ambrit

            It would be too much a case of “Life Imitating Art” if the two EEGs were to be shown to be identical. Truss does ‘read’ like a Tory Pod Person. The question then becomes; if there are Pod Person clones, will the Tory leadership “suspiciously” cease to visibly age?

            1. Mildred Montana

              EEGs identical? I was thinking that that of the lettuce might show MORE brain activity than that of Liz, to the astonishment of botanists and medical experts everywhere.

              1. ambrit

                Hmmm…. You are ascribing “agency” to The Liz??? No doubt a heretical thought in Tory circles.
                Easy and euphonious solution to The Liz question. Appoint her Governor General of the Antipodes and we can call her “The Lizzie of Oz.” Branding done right! Any more questions? All right team. Let’s get to it.

    2. griffen

      That Carlson video clip, well lately like a broken clock the man is occasionally right. I don’t really care for Fox, CNN, MSDNC generally any of it but that is a point that has to be made. We got stuff here that needs fixing and mending.

      1. Sardonia

        “I don’t really care for Fox, CNN, MSDNC”

        Well, add the rest of the Alphabet to that: NBC, ABC, CBS, PBS, NYT, WAPO – every national and local media outlet is gobbling up the US narrative and broadcasting it. Tucker seems to be the lone exception. His guest for the segment that had that rant was Aaron Mate. When was the last time Meet the Press or Face the Nation had Aaron Mate as a guest? Or any of Tucker’s other most frequent guests – Glenn Greenwald and Tulsi Gabbard?

        He’s a tricky guy to pigeonhole. He rips into Lindsey Graham as much as he does Joe Biden. There are a lot of voices in the wilderness who are calling out exactly what the US and NATO are up to in Ukraine – but like us here, all those voices are in the wilderness. Tucker has 4 million people watching him as he dismantles The Narrative. That’s not something to sneeze at.

        1. Della

          If you combine his viewership, based on subscriptions, and add in youtube downloads of most of his shows that are available, and remember that multiple people may be watching each download, he’s way over four million.

          Add in Russell Brand’s 6 million subscribers on Youtube, plus his uncensored show on Rumble, plus the multiple family viewers and put them all together, and I bet there are over 25 million people getting the antiwar, anti vax anti corruption message.

          How many of those are in America and are registered to vote is the question.

        2. semper loquitur

          I think Tucker realizes that people are fed up with the mainstream media. His “schtick” is to tell at least part of the truth a lot of the time. It lands with viewers, which is why more Democrats watch him than MSCNNBC:

          He also, as mentioned, has on authentic Lefties like Greenwald, Dore, and Mate and actually lets them talk. This sends a strong message to his viewers: I’m not afraid to talk to my ideological opponents because I’m confident in my point of view. A number of commentators on the Right have done so. Glenn Loury had Richard Wolff on, Ben Shapiro had Taibbi. Here’s Taibbi on the Megyn Kelly Show discussing the Identi-Left’s censorship of a movie about GitMo detainees:

          Contrast that with this Jimmy Dore segment presenting a CBS host interrupting and deriding the Chinese ambassador during an “interview”:

          For a fun mental exercise, imagine the Chinese Ambassador on that bastion of critical thinking The View. There would be a nuclear war.

          I listen to segments of Tucker’s show. He’s funny, quick-witted, and pointed. I despise many of the things he says but when he is right, he’s really right. And with the synthetic Left’s insanities and obscenities on parade he is a voice of reason in a wilderness of absurdities. It’s the same thing with Matt Walsh, who lards his penetrating critiques of popular degeneracies with references to Satanic influences and the notion that he and his supporters are soldiers in God’s army.

      2. Pat

        Just out of curiosity, can you name someone among the more acceptable press that gets it right more often?

        I don’t agree with Carlson a great deal of the time, but in the last few years he has pointed out the obvious that our highly deluded Beltway and main stream media ignores and wants us to ignore on a fairly regular basis.

        Like stating we have a lot of domestic critical issues that are apparently too expensive to deal with while sending billions to the ungrateful foreign punk ass whose country wouldn’t have been invaded if he had done as he promised when elected and made peace with Russia. (Yes I know it was more complicated than that, but since America is going to screw his country anyway he might as well have kicked them to the curb before the missiles started flying.)

        1. Felix_47

          It is hard to fathom a US national interest in Ukraine and this conflict that is so destructive to Russia and the US and Europe. Obama, who I supported, was opposed to Ukraine intervention. Why is his successor, Biden, so resolute? He is not that demented. An exhaustive study of his entire families finances would be in order. Hunter’s millions from oligarchs might be just the beginning. It is not hard to hide and no one in the government is looking. Maybe Biden wants to create a dynasty before he leaves. Many have made dynasty creating money through Biden’s influence during the years. Maybe Biden thinks he sold himself cheap and is trying to make up lost ground. Maybe if the Repubs win in the senate we will get real investigations…..maybe. But Tucker seems to be the only one with a huge audience who is willing to raise this issue. For that we should be thankful.

      3. Gregorio

        Apparently, now kids put a Ukrainian flag in social media posts or messages to their parents, to signal them to send money.

    3. digi_owl

      Carlson is the court jester.

      As long as people tune in to him for an outlet at the end of the day, all is fine.

      If he starts barking about “regime change” beyond the tag team parties however…

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        If you are a Shakespeare student, the court jester played the invaluable role of being the only one one in court to have license to tell the king the truth and not be punished. Their use in Shakespeare was often to show the king unwisely ignored them. And in Lear, only the King’s fool, the Earl of Kent, and Cordelia remain loyal to him and try to protect him.

        Shorter: I would not be so dismissive of jesters! Not that Carlson would run out in a heath during a thunderstorm to render aid…..

        1. Tom Bradford

          Not just Kings. Both Feste the Jester in Twelfth Night and Touchstone in As You Like it provide a running, usually ascerbic, commentary on the other characters losing their wits for love or various other vanities. As Puck, the fairy jokester in Midsummer Night observes, “Lord, what fools these mortals be.”

    4. PlutoniumKun

      The Star took that idea off the Economist, which in an editorial pointed out the Truss really had just 7 days of power between the end of the mourning of the Queen and the disastrous mini-budget. It made the comparison with the lifespan of a head of lettuce.

      I don’t normally associate the Economist with successful memes, but I suspect this is one Truss will never live down.

      1. Stephen

        We did have a Queen for nine days once: the tragic Lady Jane Grey in 1554.

        But I don’t think any PM had such a short period of power. The Duke of Wellington did serve for 22 days in 1834 but that was always intended as a caretaker role while Robert Peel got back from Italy.

        Officially, Truss already outlasted him so she is spared that ignominy.

  13. nycTerrierist

    reply to notabanker, re: That Octopus

    Yes, the camouflage at the end — wow!
    (realistic) painters – mere humans – strive to color/value match like that

  14. Deak

    Re. Ukraine: If these reports about 60,000 troops massing for a push on Kherson city prove true then I must say that Ukraine’s ability to replenish its troop losses and, to an even greater degree, it’s equipment losses are significantly greater than I had assumed, particularly in like of the Kharkov offensive. My view has been that the Russian retreats to date have reflected strategic decisions in light of the limited number of troops available to it in the SMO prior to the partial mobilisation. It seems unlikely similar strategic calculus will come into play with the far more valuable Kherson city (i cant see there would be any way theyre retreating and letting the ukranians take it), so I would expect this could get bloody if the reports prove true. Have there been any direct confrontations of forces of a similar scale to date in the conflict?

    With regards to the Russian bombardment of Ukrainian infrastructure, does anyone know if it is ongoing? I haven’t seen any reports in the media I follow but I’m also not across any Russian or Ukrainian telegram channels that seem to be the most direct sources for information

    1. nippersdad

      Mercouris said last night that the barrage has continued at the same pace since the Kerch bridge bombing.

      1. Polar Socialist

        I believe Putin said yesterday (or on Thursday) that 22 of 29 targets had been destroyed, and work continues with the remaining 7.

        Several russophile TG channels reported a strong Ukrainian attack in Kherson region being driven back by heavy artillery, and the withdrawing Ukrainians being chased by Russian ground troops and aviation.

      2. digi_owl

        If true, and the casualty figures have not budged much, i find myself impressed by the precision and logistics of the Russian army.

    2. Sibiryak

      Putin stated yesterday in Astana:

      There is no need for massive strikes now. Other tasks are on the agenda because I think out of the 29 targets the Defence Ministry had planned to hit, only seven were not. But now they are dealing with them gradually. There is no need for massive strikes, at least for now. As for the future, we’ll see.

      But apparently missile strikes have not been entirely halted:

      13.22 BST A missile strike has seriously damaged a key energy facility in Ukraine’s capital region as the Russian military strove to cut water and electricity in populated areas, the country’s power system operator said Saturday, as reported by Associated Press. –The Guardian

      1. SocalJimObjects

        Well Putin said “there is no need for massive strikes”, he didn’t say anything about halting all missile attacks.

        1. bystander

          Yes, as I understand it, massive strikes were day 1. They’ve continued daily so far at a lower but apparently steady level.

          1. chris

            Not to worry. All the very smart people are convinced Russia will run out of missiles. Any day now. Because they’ve been running out of missiles for the last six months now you see…

    3. Lex

      If we assume the troop numbers are true, then the next step is to ask a few questions. 1. What level of training and equipment do these troops have. Because less equipped/trained troops are generally considered ok for defensive operations but problematic for offensive operations. They’ve been there for at least a few weeks and almost daily ~1,000 seem to be sent on probing offensive attacks which accomplish little except loss of life and equipment.

      2. How many reserves and how much supply can be used to support this concentrations? If the 60K in Kherson includes all available reserves for that front and includes all the tasks of military operations, then the numbers pulling triggers is much lower. With a secondary question of has this concentration emptied out other places?

      3. If we take the numbers at face value we end up with around 100k in Kharkov and Kherson (areas) plus whatever is still in Donetsk. What sort of percentage of total forces Ukraine has does this represent? It may be rather high based on the request for international observers on the northern border, which suggests an inability to defend that and prepare offensive operations on two fronts plus defense in Donetsk.

      It may be that in a realistic sense, this is the last of what Ukraine can effectively put in the field. Austin said that the US is running out of the ability to supply Ukraine with high end equipment. Europe probably already has run out. The UK trained troops got a pretty quick run through based on British reports, they may be a lot less effective than presumed. And there’s lots of chatter that the US is demanding some more victories soon. Is the Ukrainian force actually ready and capable of producing them against a degree of opposition it didn’t see in Kharkov oblast? Is Russia waiting for Ukraine to tire itself before a new offensive? That’s related to the question of how ready Russia is for whatever offensive it has planned. Russia cannot run the Kharkov play in Kherson, or anywhere in the south.

      1. digi_owl

        Possibly NATO standard basic training, as there seems to have been set up NATO run boot camps in UK for training Ukrainian conscripts.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Mercouris reported that he had assumed the UK training of 10,000 men in 90 days was 10,000 men for 90 days each. He was shocked that it was actually 4 rotations of 2500 men for 3 weeks each. That is barely enough to learn how to use and clean a weapon.

          Plus given when that training started, I doubt as many as 20,000 have been “trained”. Spain was launching a program but I don’t think they have much/any graduates so far.

          Also I saw a report that Ukraine trainers are in short number, they’ve been sent to the front lines. So Ukraine is eating its seed corn.

          Of course some of those 60,000 (assuming this is accurate and not Ukraine psyops) could be mercs.

          1. Tom Bradford

            Did not Mercouris today suggest that the Ukrainians were being urged by the US to ‘take’ Kherson without delay – despite the adverse weather and Russian preparations – in order to deliver Biden a victory before the mid-terms?

            Sounds like the Ukrainians are being set up for another Charge of the Light Brigade from another Crimean War. There bad staff work and carelessness from above led to an order to attack a Russian battery across open ground those on the ground knew was both pointless and would be disastrous. Nevertheless they did it.

            And it was a disaster, yet it’s worth remembering that despite being very badly mauled the Light Brigade did take the Russian guns. They were melted down and used to make the Victoria Cross.

      2. Mark Gisleson

        Doesn’t using experienced Polish troops wearing Ukrainian uniforms solve most of those problems?

        Poland has 300,000 troops for NATO to squander.

        And then there are always our former enemies now friends in the Middle East.

        I don’t think Biden’s short on proxies.

    4. hk

      Weird story, for precisely that reason. Not just that Ukraine has been able to raise that many troops and equip them, but that they were able to deploy them and still run large scale operations. If these are even fractionally true, it would be absolutely impossible for Russia to maintain “SMO,” with the smallish footprint they’d been doing so far. Still curious where the troops are coming from (and being trained): either NATO is really that good at training troops, Ukraine is really resorting to throwing undertrained cannon fodder just for the show (I am a bit skeptical at this since it can’t accomplish anything, even for PR purposes), or practically the entire Polish Army already in Ukraine thinly disguised as Viet Cong, I mean the Ukrainian Army.

      1. digi_owl

        Now that’s a thought. Maybe more than Polish army even, as the Baltics may be willing to send some on the sly as well. This while other NATO members take up the slack back home.

        1. Deak

          The polish army possibility would indeed make a lot of sense in the event the 60k numbers prove true. Imagine if NATO were no longer content to just degrade its capabilities through weapons destocking but now decided it was time to lose large numbers of troops too

          1. The Rev Kev

            By now there must be scores if not hundreds of Americans killed in the Ukraine but apart from the occasional short video, the numbers and mention of them still remains dark in the news. How many have heard about the American soldiers killed way back in the Ukraine in 2015 or even the Georgian war in 2008?

            1. ambrit

              Think “off base training accidents” and “car crash while traveling” for starters. The military can get very inventive. I worked with a veteran once who had a Purple Heart for breaking his leg in an inter-service football game at Ramstein Air Base. That was when I ‘got’ the idea that American football is a war game.

  15. The Rev Kev

    For today’s Antidote du jour, Lucy and Garbo are a great looking odd-couple. I had to look up what a Briard was and I see that really both dogs were developed as sheepherders though they look so different. Those are good looking dogs, Cheryl K.

      1. Revenant

        Our school librarian had a Briard, which she would bring to school and it would sit under the great table at which she signed out and took back books.

        I have never met another (school librarian or Briard).

    1. Michael Ismoe

      Schools are back in session. You can’t teach a kid with ADD is he isn’t totally zonked out.

      I realize I am ancient, but I went to Catholic grade school. There were 80 kids in my classroom and not one suffered from ADD after the third whack of the ruler on your first grade knuckles. Call the FDA: Nuns are the cure for ADD. Sister Mary Pfizer and Mother Catherine Sanofi will see you now.

      1. digi_owl

        Nuns are the cure to many a “problem”, based on what was found under the floorboards of some old boarding schools…

  16. Dftbs

    Forgive me for being short on corroborating Twitter link, but I believe the anti-CPC protest has been disproven as being “Chinese”. The banner hung over the bridge was pointed out to have very basic Chinese mistakes, indicative of a foreigner having written the slogans.

    But I think this goes to something a bit more important. That artificial anti-CPC protests in China aren’t meant to incite Chinese popular opinion against their government. These spectacles are aimed at Western audiences. The quality of life and material reality of the West is deteriorating rapidly. Unlike versus the previous global competitor, the Soviets, the US doesn’t hold the material advantage over the Chinese. The templates for propaganda that were formulated and easily deployed vs the Soviets won’t work versus the Chinese. Blue Jeans and Big Macs may have won the “ideological battle” versus Soviet economic development; but the Chinese have their own blue jeans and their bao buns beat our Big Macs. I think the people up top actually believe we won an ideological conflict versus the Soviets rather than a material one. If they understood it was the latter, they would see how closely fought it was. After all, our competition had to fight a genocidal war machine that killed nearly 30 million of their countrymen before we turned on them.

    But alas, our system has no tricks up it’s sleeve. We will deploy propaganda on ourselves, because that is all we know. We have to convince ourselves that we’re “numbah one!!” And the people in charge will hope these delusions are enough to feed our complacency and fire our arrogance, since they won’t fill our bellies or warm our homes. At the point we notice, they’re lies we’ll be dead and of no concern to TPTB.

    Found it.

    1. Basil Pesto

      Interesting if true. The insidiousness of the need to prove China as a public health dystopia to the rest of the world to make them believe, if not TINA, that the Alternative is not worth living with, is quite sinister. I’ve never really been “pro-China” (I’m generally a believer in the predominance of universal human mediocrity, especially in the domain of politics/governance/economics/leadership or whatever you want to call it) but the topsy-turvy bullshit world we live in gives me pause when considering all western claims made about the country now. I do remember reading a study earlier this year, which I may have linked to here at the time, of international democratic “sentiment”, ie how citizens felt about how democratically robust their countries felt. China performed quite well, the US about as poorly as you would expect. It’s possible the citizens of the former are all brainwashed moronic stooges. But I doubt it.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      I’ll run this past some people with better mandarin than me, but I’m pretty sure that twitter comment is nonsense – the guy seems to be followed by the usual white monkey crowd, so I wouldn’t consider him credible. None of my Chinese friends who saw it thought it was fake. The main consensus was that the guy was ‘stupid, maybe mentally ill, but brave’.

      That type of crudely written banner is common, anyone who has travelled a bit in China will have seen protests like that, usually over some very local issue (and miss-spelled hanzi are very common – sometimes deliberately so to create a bit of ambiguity). What made that stand out was the location and timing. The guy arrested was Chinese – if there was even the slightest suspicion that the perpetrators were foreigners you can be absolutely sure the CCP would be shouting it from the rooftops, it was seen by too many people on social media for it to be suppressed as a story.

    3. hk

      Doubtful the sign would have been written in Hanzi, even bad Hazi, if the targeted audience was Westerners: there are plenty of protests around the world with English signs aimed at TV cameras. The twitter guy’s point does seem accurate, but, per PK’s point, badly written signs might actually be common…but I’d feel more confident if he can get corroboration from people who are actual Chinese. (No offense to PK, but my friend who lived more than half his life in Sinosphere missed the obvious clue some years ago in the now discredited Mike Daisey fake story about Foxconn–private guards with guns, which would never be allowed in China, which a Chinese person noticed right away.)

    4. digi_owl

      My first thought was that it is another reform movement being mislabeled by western media as being against the CCP as a whole.

    5. bonks

      The words were crudely expressed, like how a high schooler or a villager would express their grievance, with a juvenile undertone in its stanza. Anyone who’d gone through the rigorous Chinese literature classes to pass gaokao would phrase the words a little more eloquently and with more complex vocabularies.

  17. The Rev Kev

    “Digital License Plates”

    ‘I’ve got a bad feeling about this.’ A solution without a problem is exactly what this is. Can you imagine the hacking possibilities that could arise? So you are behind a car with one of these Rplates when, unknown to the driver, they have been hacked. You suddenly see that Rplate change to a message that says ‘Call 911. Stolen Car. Gun.’ Call it a form of swatting but we have most of us seen what happens when police approach cars which they think have criminals at the wheel.

    1. semper loquitur

      Or “they” just turn it off. “They” being a Moldavian teenager or the Deep State. Then you cannot legally drive anywhere. Then you lose your job.

    2. Darvon

      Who will use these?

      Same a**holes that put 9/11 Foundation license plate holders, Highway Patrol will still give you a ticket…same jerks that put BLM stickers on car,
      same class of people that put the European nation “Fr”, or “CH” stickers on their car in the 1980s. Pretentious dolts. What happens when someone kicks the eplate? Who pays for it’s replacement?

      Also, the advertisements that appear on the rear plate when parked. If the front plat is up against a bush or a wall or another bumper, how do cops ticket the car? These will be made illegal after the bozos buy them for their expensive cars.

  18. Chas

    Regarding the story about whales becoming tangled in lobstering ropes and equipment, there’s hope for a win-win solution. Two weeks ago we were in Maine where we visited a lobsterman friend. He said lobstering used to take place close to shore, where whales seldom visit. Then, some years back, lobstermen began setting their traps further and further out to sea sometimes a hundred feet or more below the surface. That’s when the tangling and trapping of whales began. However, a new type of lobster trap is being developed that doesn’t need to be hauled up by ropes. Instead, a signal is somehow sent to the underwater trap that turns on a machine that inflates air into a ballon in the trap and causes it to float to the surface where it is picked up by the lobster boat.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Confirming your point, when I was a kid, there was a time of year (I forget when it stared but it generally ended in July) where the lobsters not hiding after shedding their shells were in deeper waters. So basically lobsters once had a season! Going into deeper waters changed that.

    1. nippersdad

      Looks like someone must have just answered the question about how many MBA’s are necessary to screw in a light bulb. The answer scared them.

      1. semper loquitur

        Q. How many people does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

        A. Two, but they have to be very, very, very tiny people.

  19. The Rev Kev

    Maybe, just maybe, for the first time in his life he just realized how much of his life was made possible by blue-collar workers. And this only happened because of the effects of the pandemic on his personal life the first two years. But after reading that Wikipedia article, I would be very wary about listening to his opinions.

    1. Mikel

      He customarily illustrates his combination of views by stating: “I’d like to live in a world in which happily married gay people have closets full of assault weapons to protect their pot.”

      He may have a better sense of humor than the average PMCer?

    2. Carla

      Sorry, Rev Kev, I’m really afraid he’s just trying to make Democrats look bad — which they do very well all by themselves. And they make themselves positively evil when they don’t call out and counteract neoliberal s**theads like Bill and Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama, and Sleepy Joe Biden. Yeah, I’m talkin’ to you, Robert Reich, and legions like you…

  20. Dave in Austin

    The Russian withdrawal to the east side of the Dnipro River has hit an obvious snag. The Russians would like to settle into a comfy defensive position east of the river for the winter. But Kherson is on the west side of the river with only one bridge to supply it. The slow, wide, lower Dnipro is like the Mississippi River below Baton Rouge, which has only one car bridge at New Orleans in the 125 miles between Baton Rouge and the Gulf of Mexico.

    So the Russian choices are: supply and defend the city of 300,000 on the wrong side of the river; give it up to Ukraine along with the remaining population; move the population before doing either defending it or abandoning it. The city has no real physical significance- the river it depends on is closed to traffic- but control of the population matters. Both the Russian and Ukrainian populations will be emotionally invested in the fate of the place and the people who live there. That is what makes Kherson important.

    As a practical matter, most Kherson residents care less about the politics of the war than they do about staying in their homes. If the Ukrainians gain control and then use the position to fire on the Russians, the Russians will fire back. The NYT will declare it “Another Russian atrocity”. The best solution would be to declare Kherson an open city and send in UN peacekeepers but that will not happen. I’m afraid that Kherson, like Melitopol, will be sacrificed in the name of… whatever.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I doubt that the Russian people themselves will allow Kherson to be sacrificed. If that happened – and remembering that they are now Russian citizens – having the Nazis go through that city and slaughter thousands of people for cooperating with the Russians would create an unholy fury in Russia itself. This would happen even if that was declared an open city. I heard a report today from Russian officers saying that they are ready to fight and I think that they mean it. And UN Peacekeepers would never work as you just know that they would be from NATO countries who would need a port to have supplies and transport. Say, Odessa? And with that the Russians would lose all chances to take that city. Even now those Russian units are being reinforced and pretty soon they will have numerical superiority over the Ukrainians. The time for giving up territory to swap for the destruction of Ukrainian units is coming to a close. And in any case, the grounds are getting too wet for a Ukrainian advance and *ahem* power shortages are causing chaos for Ukrainian logistics. Just my take.

      1. Sibiryak

        TASS: KHERSON, October 15. 20:19

        The actions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, which on Saturday launched a counteroffensive in the Kherson region, so far include only shelling, deputy governor of the region Kirill Stremousov said on Saturday.

        “Despite the shelling of the defense line, which is located in the Dudchan area, …, the counteroffensive that the Armed Forces of Ukraine tried to launch today is limited to shelling,” he said.

        He said earlier on Saturday that the active phase of the offensive of the Armed Forces of Ukraine started in the Kherson region, but the Russian army is ready to repel the attacks.

        “Our army is ready to repel all these attacks, to stand to the end. The Kherson region is a full-fledged subject of the Russian Federation ,” he said in an interview with Solovyov.Live.

    2. ambrit

      Sorry Dave, but there are five road bridges across the Mississippi River below Baton Rouge. Also, the New Orleans bridge is a twin span affair. The Huey Long bridge in the appropriately named Bridge City is also a railroad bridge.
      I do wonder about the “offensive” supposedly undertaken by the remnants of the Ukrainian army towards Kherson though. Until it actually occurs, I will hold off on comment. Too many unknowns to make an accurate assessment.

    3. bystander

      I call bullshit. I actually did watch Military Summary report linked above. His entire point of differentiation is tracking the battlefield as carefully as he can. Mercouris also makes daily sitreps but at a much more general level. Neither made mention of any Russian signs of attempted withdrawal even on a limited basis. Mercouris in trying to make sense of Kherson subordinate repeatedly and publicly contradicting his boss said only 350 citizens had chosen to evacuate. He also mentioned that the mayor was the mayor before, under the Ukraine gov’t. In trying to make sense of the situation, it’s surprising that Mercouris didn’t consider that the mayor might be have, shall we say, conflicting loyalties.

      And did you miss that Kherson is a Black Sea port? That makes it strategically significant. This comes from Indian Transport and Logistics News:

      Despite many experts pointing out that Odessa is the end goal for the Kremlin, Kherson assumes significance considering that it is an urban and economic center and an important port on the Black Sea and on the Dnieper River and the home of a major ship-building industry.

      Russia’s move assumes strategic significance as it can control Ukraine’s Southern coastline and also mobilize the movement of Russian troops through this entryway as its invasion in Ukraine enters a week…

      Reports are rife that through capturing this southeastern port, Russia aims to create a ‘land corridor’ linking two breakaway regions that have pro-Russia rebels with Crimea. Russia’s capture of Kherson can be read as its intention to control the economic trade route to the Mediterranean sea and also to create a buffer zone in the south to stem any threats. HOME TO SHIPBUILDING INDUSTRY Kherson port is located near the mouth of the Dnieper River and is navigable year-round. Kherson houses the important Kherson Shipyard that has a reputation for building and in the construction of various types of vessels like merchant ships, tankers, container ships, icebreakers, Arctic supply ships, refrigerators among others. It also has an airport among other important civilian infrastructure and institutions.

      Kherson port is located near the mouth of the Dnieper River and is navigable year-round. Kherson houses the important Kherson Shipyard that has a reputation for building and in the construction of various types of vessels like merchant ships, tankers, container ships, icebreakers, Arctic supply ships, refrigerators among others. It also has an airport among other important civilian infrastructure and institutions.

      Yves has challenged you repeatedly for not providing links. What basis do you have for your assertion? I don’t have the impression that you speak or read Russian, or have in country contacts. You cop a ‘tude of superior knowledge w/o any apparent foundation.

      1. trapped in Europe

        Khersons port is tiny though compared to the three big ports in Odessa Oblast. Also the shipbuilding industry in Kherson and Nikolaev is a shadow of its former self in Soviet times. Most plants have simply shut down.

        But i agree that Russia won’t give up Kherson. That’s a no-brainer really.

        1. bystander

          Russia can’t allow even a tiny port to be under Ukraine control. It seems pretty clear that Russia will in the end take Odessa. Taking Odessa is an important objective as far as the Russian public is concerned and controlling the Black Sea coast allows Russia to exert great influence over supplies to rump Ukraine.

    1. IM Doc

      It is even more fun when you realize that his opponent, a minister, stands accused of trying to run over his own wife with a car as well as the church he leads evicting tenants from rental property owned by the church. At least one of which owed less than 100 dollars. All the while, his church pays his over 7000/month rent in his multi-million dollar “parsonage”.

      What would Jesus do?

      Which sinner is the least toxic? It is truly God’s wrath being handed down to the American voters.

      I have little sympathy for either one. I do have sympathy for the voters of Georgia trying to navigate this mess.

      When I am contemplating the American political world today – I am often reminded of the story of Lot. Are there 50 upstanding citizens in the Congress? Are there 30? Are there 10? And then God asks Lot – “Is there at least one?”

      And we all know what happened to Sodom.

  21. The Rev Kev

    “Ukraine War Day #232: Why Russia Needs To Take Odessa”

    Might disagree with several things here. There is no point in occupying Snake Island. It’s a rock. Any troops on that island from either side just get used as target practice. And the Russians don’t need a garrison on that rock to monitor ship traffic as they have radar, satellites, drones, etc that they can use for that job. But I do agree with the necessity of taking all that land through to Transnistria . This shuts down any future attacks on Transnistria itself encouraged by NATO, brings those Russian-speakers under the umbrella of the Russian Federation and turns the Ukraine into a land-locked country that will also deny them the opportunity to have a fleet of missile-carrying ships that will always threaten Sevastopol, Crimea, Mariupol and the Kerch bridge.

    1. Collin

      The Biden administration is an existential threat to humanity, the biosphere and life on earth.

      It should be weakened, overthrown, destroyed, replaced, voted out, whatever verb you want. There is no going back from this.

    2. Screwball

      With a GDP about the size of Nebraska. Of course with all the money we are giving them, it might turn into California.

    3. Mildred Montana

      That map of Ukraine super-imposed on one of the US looks to me like two time-zones, CST to EST, Chicago to New York.

      Russia itself has a mind-boggling ten time-zones and eleven if one includes the non-contiguous area of Kaliningrad. A vast, vast country.

      1. digi_owl

        As best i recall, Russia dropped a number of those time zones.

        And while it is a physically large nation, so much of it is north of the polar circle.

        Thus it is in much the same situation as Canada, having most of the population living in a band along the south border.

        1. Mildred Montana

          Russia turned out to be ideal for the “Gulag Archipelago”. The northeastern, sub-arctic region of Kolyma, for instance, is rich in mineral reserves and Stalin established a Gulag there to exploit them.

          Unfortunately for the slave labor there, Kolyma was brutally cold. Many years ago it recorded a world record low winter temperature of -96 degrees Fahrenheit.

          1. Polar Socialist

            Picking nits here, sorry, but technically it was Sevvostlag (short for North-Eastern Correctional Workcamps), established many years before Gulag, for the sole purpose of a) building the infrastructure needed to colonize and exploit the Kolyma river valley, and b) form “army of laborers” to act as Far East army reserve in case of enemy action.
            The corporate actually responsive for employing all the hired people, volunteers and forced labor in the area was Dalstroi (short for Far-East Construction).

      1. JBird4049

        Sadly, this does make me less embarrassed for my own state’s former Attorney General and current United States Vice President, Kamala Harris.

        1. Donko

          A.K.A. “Willie Brown’s Mattress.”

          One of the least qualified people to ever rise, or be pushed up, to high political office.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            She was schtupped. Etymologically from “push” but usually now when not sex poking or jabbing with a finger. You can be schtupped by someone arguing with you and poking their finger into your chest while doing so.

  22. chuck roast

    Maine lawmakers snap over lobster fishing’s impact on whales

    Here the anthropologists and sociologists can help with a solution. Maine lobstering is firmly a family and community thing. Family’s fish the same waters for generations…all by community consensus. Mess around with the ancient arrangements and the shotguns come out, the cinder blocks are dropped from aeroplanes, buoys disappear and boat suffer midnight spontaneous combustion. Young guys want to fish. Unless the old-man dies there is no way to your own fishing grounds, and you are stuck being yet another stern-man.

    Unless…a young guy buys an old Jonesport/Beal crate and reconditions it. And then they go way out in the Gulf and abandon inshore and bay fishing. Thar’ be monsters out there commuting up and down the Gulf. The whales like to ride the deep underwater canyons. The young guys don’t mind dropping pots in these canyons, but the whales mind. This article starts with wrong premiss and asks the wrong questions.

  23. MaryLand

    Is this true? A married couple with social security is more likely to lose their assets than if they are divorced but still living together. Medicare can require assets to be nearly used up before they will pay for nursing home care. Seems fair unless only one person is in the nursing home and the partner not in the nursing home loses assets to the point of poverty. The linked article says if you are divorced the partner not in the nursing home would have their assets protected. If you have joint ownership of a home or other assets this seems problematic. Any tax experts that can weigh in on this?

    1. ChrisFromGA

      I’m not a tax expert, but I have heard anecdotally that more and more seniors are using “strategic divorce” as a way to save assets from being depleted to pay nursing home bills.

    2. JBird4049

      With benefits in these blessed United States, assets and income are used to deny benefits. Personally, I have been told to add the income and assets of any roommates that I have on my applications. Or anyone that I am renting a room from. As if I can legally compel and report such personal information.

      Now, there is nothing, yet, besides ones own statement for them to check although your IRS information is shown to any clerk you see, and in some counties like Los Angeles, they send agents in to your home to check. Nice world, yes?

      SNAP/Food stamps, Medi-Cal/Medicaid, SSI/SSDI, even college aid are all dependent on your, and your family’s, income and assets; the increases in income and especially the asset limits never even match, forget surpass, inflation. The financial vise just gets a little tighter each year and has been for decades. If you want to survive, you are probably going to have to be economic with the facts, unless you think being open is worth being homeless with your family also having to share in the “benefits.” Again, nice system we have.

    3. Franklin

      And, other than conventional man/woman marriage, two non-homosexuals, non-lesbians, can transfer property to each other and share it through a same sex “marriage”.

      An Army buddy did that with his best friend after he found out he had a terminal disease. “Get married” then do some financial transaction together in a community property state. NO TAXES.

  24. Glen

    Hospital implosion:

    Silverdale hospital short on staff calls 911 for help after being overwhelmed with patients

    Washington hospital ER director leaves days after nurse calls 911

    CommonSpirit Health confirms ransomware attack

    The funny thing is we know people that work at this hospital, and the older hospital (was in Bremerton, now closed) and the new management (acquired by Franciscan) has been trying to force out older, more experienced (better paid) employees. It seems they were successful. Now, ambulances wait hours in front of the hospital (I witnessed this myself) because patients cannot be accepted.

    The older hospital (when under older management) was a very good hospital. This new one is a bit of a nightmare. I feel sorry for the MDs, RNs, techs that have to work there. The new company and new management has done a very good job of running the place into the ground.

    I don’t know why this was not more foreseeable. We have been asking our front line heath care workers to save everyone they could all while making working conditions impossible (understaffed, overworked, short supplies). Working in a country that has declared the pandemic over and for CEOs that place profits far above human life (including employees), and dealing with managers that have been inculcated to treat employees as replaceable widgets. (I still see this where I work too.)

    1. IM Doc

      I had the privilege decades ago of working in hospitals when they were actually run by nuns. There were about 75 nuns in the first hospital in which I worked. And they took their turn just like all the other employees cleaning up urine and vomit. Helping to feed those who could not feed themselves. Helping people go to the restroom. Tending to the wounds. And they did it all with a smile and hymn singing. It was deeply inspiring to every one of us in the trenches.

      Their head nun was an 80 year old woman. Her office was a room with a desk and a couch and a conference table. She governed that hospital as if on a mission from Christ himself. Their entire operation was not to make money – it was to break even and provide the best care possible.

      Then the MBAs moved in. Within the first year, all of the lobby and common areas were stripped down and bejeweled in marble and mahogany. Stuffed to the gills with crazy expensive furniture and art work. The “executive suite” was decorated as if it was the HQ of Goldman Sachs. No expense was spared. Within months, the nurses had their patient responsibility increased from 6 per shift to 10. And unlike the nuns, the MBAs would never deign even visiting the wards, much less touch a patient. They were too busy playing golf. Within months, the hospital system which under the nuns was debt free had taken on millions of dollars of bonds. The last time I looked ,that debt had ballooned to 300 million dollars.

      And the end result – to all of us who had experience with both, it is crystal clear that the patients received much better care under the nuns. But as I have been trying to say for years, patient care and health is not the goal of our current health care system. It is all about the lucre.

      I had occasion to visit Sister Teresa a few months ago. She is the very last one of the nuns left alive. I told her how grateful I was for her years of service – and the conversation soon drifted to the current state of the hospital. She just looked at me with a blank stare – “Lord have mercy”.

      At least I can say that I was around for a few brief years when this health care system was actually extant to improve the health of the community. I am not sure I can say that now about a single hospital system in this country.

      1. flora

        Thank you, IM Doc. Commenting, with much redacted to protect the peoples involved, I can say a nearby once Catholic charity owned hospital – best in its class for heart ailments and other serious problems – was sold to to a private corporation. Said private corporation demanded the large and important volunteer (Volunteer!) group that helped patients in many ways must now conform to the new buyer’s management demands on work times and scheduling. Let’s just say the volunteer group said, “F’ That! We’re not getting paid by anyone so F’ you and your scheduling demands!” I think the private group buying the hospital lost the entire very important volunteer group helping patients. Many of them found good paid work in other health care areas.

        1. flora

          adding: when a private, for profit corporation expects unpaid, historically volunteer work to contribute to their new, private wealth, bottom line they may be in for a surprise.

      2. Screwball

        Thanks for this Doc. You are a treasure and thank you for all the words of wisdom you have spread here.

        I’m old, and we all know the late stages in life are not good medically. I have been lucky so far, but when I talk to my buddies about all their issues, I only get depressed, and worry how I am going to deal with it. I want to leave all I can for my kids, but I’m not ready to cash it all in just yet either. I expect some tough choices going forward, but it is what it is. Our medical system doesn’t seem to be on our side.

        Example; a close buddy had a stress test last week. The last time he had one he was in surgery within a few days for a stint. This time, after a couple of days – the nurse called him – and said there was bad news. The doctor wanted to talk to him. He will contact you on November 2nd. WHAT?

        So the poor guys has to sit around for almost 3 weeks to find out this bad news? It is simply crazy to do that to someone. I told him I would be demanding to know now, not tomorrow, not next week – now. I consider that abuse.

        Webster should expel the word healthcare from the dictionary – there is no such thing. At least for many it seems.

        Again, thanks for all you do and the contributions you give us here. Stay strong.

      1. Mark Gisleson

        Sorry, I subscribe and didn’t notice it wasn’t available. More talk about there not being any significant withdrawal from Kherson and that the advancing Ukrainian troops would meet the same fate as the other Ukrainian troops.

  25. XXYY

    … one basis for concern is Ukraine troops would not have to advance insanely far on one avenue to get within HIMARS shelling distance of Kherson.

    My understanding is that the Russian military has extremely good counter-battery technology. That is, their radar tracks incoming shells and missiles in flight, extrapolates back to the firing point, and then feeds those coordinates into the Russian targeting system. Apparently, this whole process takes about 10 seconds, so Ukranian artillery and missile launchers can expect to get off about one shot before being targeted with very accurate incoming fire.

    One reason the British M777 howitzers have not been terribly helpful is that they are “towed” weapons, and take several minutes to be reconfigured from firing configuration to towing configuration. In other words they become sitting ducks after shooting one round.

    I imagine the small number of HIMARS launchers the Ukraine has will also be destroyed in short order by counter-battery fire.

    1. Paradan

      Actually they haven’t been using counter-battery radar. Instead they’ve got a system called 1B76 Penicillin, and it uses acoustic and thermal sensors to locate the firing artillery. Range is claimed to be about 25km.

      My armchair guess is that the thermal system looks for the reflected IR flash in the atmosphere, that gives you a bearing, and then the acoustic picks up the infrasonic boom and times it to the flash. Thing is though, that it takes over a minute for sound to travel 25km and the Russians claim the system takes 5 seconds to locate a target.

      1. Polar Socialist

        They do have 1L271 Aistenok counter-battery radar in service, though.

        Regarding Penicillin, I assume the 5 seconds means the time it takes for the system to combine and analyze the data from all it’s sensors (UV/thermal and infrasonic), for which it supposedly uses AI. They seem to claim the system can also evaluate the accuracy of the counter-battery fire.

        The main problem with M777, I read, is that it was designed to be extremely light while it was not designed to fire 4-6 shells as fast as it can and then be immediately hauled over Ukrainian fields from that overheated barrel as if your life depended on it. The barrel just can’t take it and eventually bends.

        1. The Rev Kev

          I’ve seen a coupla videos where the Ukrainians are towning those M777s by their barrels. That must be hard on those barrels, especially when you see them swerve from side to side.

          1. vao

            Is towing cannons by the barrel a standard way of moving artillery, or a hack to expedite matters when in a hurry? I thought one could only use those trunnions to hook them to lorries.

            1. The Rev Kev

              To be honest I am not sure. I have read that they can be so maybe they are depending on the strength of those barrels because of the titanium used in its construction. Those M777s were deliberately made lightweight so that they can be flown in by helicopter, hence the titanium – which was probably imported from Russia. But I have read that the harsh conditions of the Ukrainian war are leading to breakdown in parts of this artillery system. And as well, they were never designed to cope with the sheer number of rounds that the Ukrainians have been pumping through them daily. And when they are damaged and have to be repaired, they have to be towed to Poland for that – a thousand kilometers west of the front.

              1. Polar Socialist

                Since 1950s it has been the choice for making the carriage lighter and the gun/howitzer more compact.

                Some also claim that it’s a bit faster to get the piece into a firing position since the towing vehicle can just “drop” it already pointing at the right direction.

                A towing eye at the end of the barrel is the give away in this case.

        2. Mike

          Overall this war will probably bring about big advances in artillery usage. We have sent the Ukrainians the ridiculously priced GPS guided shells and they instead have shown that they can range a target in 2-3 shells precisely with cheap drones. I can only dream our government won’t continue to buy over priced ordinance like that and instead goes to Wally World and buys some cheap drones.

  26. marym

    > Trump ‘loves the idea of testifying’ before Jan. 6 committee: source close to the former president Fox

    “Trump declines to say if he’ll testify in letter to Jan. 6 panel

    …In the 14-page letter addressed to Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), the chair of the committee, Trump rehashed a multitude of critiques he and his Republican allies have previously lodged against the panel.

    After an 8-page appendix laying out unfounded claims of fraud in the 2020 election, he wrote: “At your request, I will present these additional numbers to you.””

    Link to 14-page letter

    Overview of content

  27. Ranger Rick

    We’re coming up on a year since the US Postal Service started an experimental financial services program. Haven’t seen any news on how that’s going.

    1. chris

      They have pilot program offices in DC and Baltimore. The reports I’ve heard is that no one is using them. However, there was zero publicity on the roll out and there aren’t a lot of places to access the program and as far as I know you need something like a payroll check to open a $500 gift card account. So, it’s nowhere close to an option for the poor or unbanked or people who operate using cash.

    1. The Rev Kev

      A little on the nose that. It’s a pity that the global south have nowhere else to go for loans. Oh wait…

    2. OIFVet

      Hope they don’t give him the codes to the vaults. Better keep a close eye on luxury property sales in Florida, the Caribbean, and Switzerland and Italy.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I’m just imagining him getting together with Jens Stoltenberg after the war when Stoltenberg gets the Governorship of Norges bank – which has under its management the Norwegian oil fund which is the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund.

    3. Acacia

      Finance Minister of the most corrupt country in Europe gets nominated to chair both.

      So, the shareholders feel these institutions aren’t corrupt enough yet?

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