Links 10/3/22

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

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


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* * *
Rare tree dormouse not seen for 20 years found in Austria BBC (furzy)

Stadia died because no one trusts Google TechCrunch

Elon Musk’s Texts Shatter the Myth of the Tech Genius The Atlantic (Resilc)

The new American Dream is buying a house with friends: ‘It’s a co-parenting model, it’s a co-economy model, and it’s a really great friendship and support model’ Insider

At a Loss for Words APM Reports

Rate the Room Lapham’s Quarterly

Young and Homeless in Rural America NYT (Resilc)


Study reveals main target of SARS-CoV-2 in brain and describes effects of virus on nervous system Medical Xpress (MN)


UK health secretary rejects advice to buy extra monkeypox doses FT (furzy)

The Strategic National Stockpile failed during COVID and monkeypox. Will it come through next time? Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists


China is betting big on another gas engine alternative: methanol cars MIT Technology Review

China on course to elude US chip-making equipment bans Asia Times

China’s zero-Covid pursuit has seen stocks plunge US$5 trillion since 2021, benefiting India SCMP (resilc)

Opportunistic Interests: The US-Pacific Island Declaration CounterPunch


How the Draft Telecom Bill Institutionalises Big Brother’s ‘Saffron Tick’ The Wire

W’Bank commits $8bn to Nigeria in 12 months Punch

Burkina Faso coup: Ousted military leader Damiba ‘resigns’ Al Jazeera


3 ways these latest Iran Demonstrations are different from past Protests Informed Comment (resilc)

Lapid, Gantz Accept U.S. Proposal for Lebanon Maritime Border, Israeli Official Says Haaretz

UAE prince accused of helping Russian oligarchs evade sanctions Middle East Eye

Bipartisan letter to Blinken calls for sanctions on Algeria after Russia arms deal Al Arabiya

United Airlines Cancels Cape Town Flights Amid Jet Fuel Shortage Simple Flying

Opec+ plans substantial oil production cut to prop up prices FT (KW)

European Disunion

KLM, travel groups fed up with Schiphol’s problems; “Big bonus” will attract staff, says union NL Times

Thousands of Germans expected to spend winter in warmer countries Anadolu Agency

Gas starts flowing through new Baltic Pipe pipeline Anadolu Agency

AWS, Microsoft, Google own 72% of Euro customer cloud spending The Register

* * *
Bosnia Elects New Leaders as OHR Imposes New Election Rules Balkan Insight

Latvia’s election confirms decisive win for pro-Western over pro-Moscow parties euronews

Meloni Contra Mundum Chronicles (CL)

Nicaragua cuts diplomatic ties with Netherlands, refuses entry to US envoy DW

US is recalibrating the power dynamic in East Mediterranean. Can South Asia be far behind? Indian Punchline (KW)

Old Blighty

Jacob Rees-Mogg in cronyism row after business partner made peer and minister Independent

Drax: UK power station owner cuts down primary forests in Canada BBC (furzy)

Kwasi Kwarteng U-turns on plans to scrap UK’s 45% top rate of income tax The Irish Times

Patrick Lawrence: The West—Technocrats, Incompetents, Ideologues ScheerPost (RK)

Brazil election goes to runoff as far-right’s Jair Bolsonaro finishes close second to left-wing rival Lula SBS

New Not-So-Cold War

Russia crisis challenges ETF sector’s ‘cockroach’ FT (furzy)

Germany, Denmark, Norway To Give Ukraine Howitzers Barron’s

‘Dilemma for the Russians’ after surrendering key Ukraine city Al Jazeera

Petraeus: US would destroy Russia’s troops if Putin uses nuclear weapons in Ukraine The Guardian

* * *
NATO Strategy, Part I: the 10-Year Plan International Views

How the War in Ukraine Might End The New Yorker (Resilc)

The War Has Just Begun Big Serge Thoughts (CL)

Tallinn postcard: Feels like a big war is coming Yasha Levine (RK)

Certified organic acres declined in 2022 Food Business News

Democrats en déshabillé

Dem lead with Latinos halved in past decade, poll says Politico

US supreme court to decide cases with ‘monumental’ impact on democracy The Guardian (KW)


US faces election worker shortage ahead of midterms due to rise in threats The Hill

Blinken to woo Latin America’s new leftist leaders, reassert U.S. commitment Reuters

The Fixers: Top U.S. flooring retailers linked to Brazilian firm probed for corruption Mongabay

The Bezzle

UAE’s latest bet on tech: a ministry in the metaverseAl-Monitor

More Than Half Of All Bitcoin Trades Are Fake Forbes

Imperial Collapse Watch

Army misses recruiting goal; other services squeak by Stars and Stripes

Class Warfare

170,000 UK rail, post and port workers strike in largest mobilisation this year WSWS

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. trapped in Europe

    Re ‘Dilemma for the Russians’ after surrendering key Ukraine city

    Things are not going well right now for the Russian Forces. Criticism in Russia seems to grow louder, for instance Kadyrov and others openly critisized General Lapin. General Berdnikov was appointed the commander of the front that collapsed in Kharkov and now Luhansk Oblast after General Zhuravlev was released from his duty. It’s seems unclear whether they can hold the Kremenaya-Svatovo line, where they fell back too.

    Russian war reporter Sasha Kots, who was in Krasnyi Liman, reported what happened there and was quite critical, e.g.:

    – lack of forces

    – errors of individual military officials in organizing defense

    – the notorious “five hundred” (or “refuseniks” – contract soldiers who refuse to fight and leave the battlefield – ed.), who leave strategically important positions

    – reserves that arrived late

    – lack of coordination between various units on the ground

    – lack of modern reconnaissance equipment

    It is pretty clear now (to me anyway) that Kharkov was in no way a “planned retreat” and that we should be more sceptical towards analysts who put up such claims.

    1. Tor User

      Long overdue.

      Some of the ‘analysts’ and reporters have acquired interesting reputations in certain places. War Gonzo has a recent habit of being in places that change hands shortly after he shows up.

      Then there is this from this:×1080/Q2M2q9fjNx5PSE6G.mp4?tag=14

      This is also true on the other side for a few ‘analysts’ early on. RAND Corp’s analysis for instance. But they continue on….

    2. Lex

      If it was not a planned retreat to some degree, the losses would have been significant. Take a lot of Russian telegram with a grain of salt (though Kotts is good). Russians are a massively cynical people. They simply do not trust authority or the government, which they assume is corrupt and incompetent. Americans and Europeans should try it!

      There are competing claims that some of the issues were related to non-integrated command with militias and some volunteer units disagreeing with the withdrawal and staying. Defenses of Lapin include that Liman forces weee supposed to withdraw and Lapin had to send unplanned forces to rescue them.

      That said, there are issues on the Russian side and to some degree it hardly matters what the detailed reasons for them are (beyond whether they can be corrected). They are issues. The Donbas militias are going to have a hard time coming to terms with being Russian military rather than independent actors as they have been for 8 years along with some resentment that if Russia had at any time just given them what they needed they would have won years ago. The fundamental question is whether the Russian army actually rolls in once the paperwork clears.

      1. lambert strether

        > The fundamental question is whether the Russian army actually rolls in once the paperwork clears.


        1. Polar Socialist

          As Sibiryak states below, it’s when and where rather than if.
          For days on end there have been videos of Russian military material (tanks, IFVs, artillery, rockets, AA-batteries) on trains heading towards Ukraine from all over Russia (In some equipment one can see even a Belarusian flag, which is either weird, maskirovka or a mistake).

          The problem Ukrainians are now facing is that they have pushed quite deep towards east, thus lengthening the front line and their lines of logistics pretty much at the moment Russia is about to more than double their manpower (to gain superiority in numbers for the first time). And right when the arsenal of democracy is running empty. No more 155 mm shells, no more HIMARS, no more Javelins are coming because there are none left.

      2. timbers

        Key question is, will Russia target infrastructure and decision centers. She may still win if she doesn’t but it will be harder. And I don’t see how she achieves her other stated goals of demilitarization and de – N word without doing that.

        1. Tor User

          Russia has been attacking Ukrainian infrastructure for months: Railroad, bridges, power plants and dams.

          They have fired at so many targets they are now using S-300 in ground attack mode.

          Russia is moving S-300 from St. Petersburg

          And Syria

          They also appear to be moving large numbers of personal from the far reaches of the country by air to fill out their units.

          1. Greg

            There is no evidence from non-Ukrainian-official sources that the S300 is being used for ground attack.
            The only videos of S300s hitting ground targets have been from misfires or misses on air defense.

          2. Polar Socialist

            Russia is moving S-300 from St. Petersburg.

            Don’t tell anyone, but the regiments of the air defence division (2nd, of 6th Air Defense Army) in Leningrad Area transferred to S-400 between 2015-2019.

            What you can tell anyone, though, is that when it comes to reporting from Russia, Yle is pretty much pure Atlantic council/Ukrainian propaganda – they don’t even try to hide it anymore.

            Besides, S-300 missiles are radar homing, so there’s no practical way to use them against ground targets – no matter what the Ukrainian propaganda says. Unless the target is at least 500 meters above the ground at distance. Not that their warhead was much use against anything they could hit on the ground anyway, being optimized for hitting fast, maneuvering aerial targets (read: expanding rods or small pellets).

            1. PlutoniumKun

              Missiles from the S-300 system can be used in ground attack mode (presumably using their inertial guidance). The Houthi’s have demonstrated (with older SAMs) just how effective this can be even with quite crude adaptions.

              Its not unlikely that the Russians are reconfiguring older SAMS for this. They would have minimal use in a coming conflict and they are more expendable. There was an interesting analysis in Rusi about Russian weapons used in Ukraine so far. They found that missiles/drones designed and built from around 1995 to 2010 have a very high dependency on western components – mostly off-the-peg items like chips and optical sensors. While the Russians may have stockpiles, they are likely to be wary of overusing these – they will find it easier to manufacture either older designs or the most recent ones. So it could well make sense to reconfigure older era SAMS for ground attack than more recent dedicated designs, at least until they can figure out how to eliminate western components for the latter.

              1. Polar Socialist

                Sorry, I remain sceptical. I can accept that on a good day, on a certain type of target you can hit close enough to have an effect on the target, but for all practical purposes it’s a waste of a good weapon for a completely wrong task.

                And using cheaper and/or more readily available components is not dependence if there’s domestic production of the said components. At least the Russian industry reported a few days ago they have boosted the production of missiles.

                1. PlutoniumKun

                  Swapping out even quite low tech parts is very difficult when a weapon has been designed as an integrated whole. Add in the need for testing and training and it could take a couple of years to ‘Russify’ even a mid-level tech missile or drone or other component.

                  Pre-1990 missiles are almost certainly of minimal use against modern aircraft. Their best use would be against high altitude drones, etc., so I don’t see that its a comparative waste to use it against a ground target. The Houthis have done a lot of damage to SA bases using converted SA-7’s.

                  I’m not saying that the Russians are using them – I’ve absolutely no idea. But I don’t think its outlandish to suggest that in re-ordering their logistical and supply stockpiles that they haven’t decided that prioritizing the use of older SAMS for ground attack when available isn’t a sensible option to modern (or older) purpose built missiles.

        2. Old Sovietologist

          NATO is spreading doom and demoralization across Russia. The only card it has left is a Maidan in Moscow. It could still happen but the window closes a bit more each day and many of the protest activists are fleeing from Russia which is not what NATO wanted.

          Russian mobilization has just started its not going to be weeks before its impact is felt on the battlefield.

          Will Russia target infrastructure and decision centers? Yes, it will come. The Russians will have to “accidentally shoot down” Western satellites that hang over Ukraine and transmit targets for attacks on Russian soldiers and territories.

          The Ukrainian war is about to begin. The last nine months have almost been a phoney war.

      3. Detroit Dan

        Well said, Lex.

        Russia did well to defend Kherson, enabling its relatively peaceful vote for annexation and preserving the important water supply and Crimean landbridge. Clearly, Russin made that a higher priority than defending Kharkiv.

        Also, Russia has prioritized world opinion and has been successful on that crucial front. Putin visited China just before the February 24 invasion, and he met with important non-western world leaders in Samarkand just before the recent annexation and escalation. By way of contrast, it seems that our allies, as well as the non-west, were caught by surprise with the recent Nordstrem sabotage. Russia’s military progress has been slower than it could have been because they have been working harder on the diplomatic fronts.

        1. oledeadmeat

          Today there are reports the Russian forces near Kherson have come under attack and have been forced to retreat to Dudchany.

          This does not seem to jibe with previous suggestions/comments that the Kherson offensive failed to a degree such that Ukraine forces would not be able to sustain further efforts.

          Kherson has heavy defenses with higher quality Russian troops than were in Kharkiv and Lyman. I am wondering what their state of morale and supply is at this point.

          1. Tor User

            I heard somewhere that the Russians had just finished rotating out an airborne division and replacing it with a smaller unit in the area that Ukraine broke through.

            Supply for the Russian units on the west side of the river is not optimal given the state of the bridges. They have been running some ferries but the overheads I’ve seen show they only carry about a half dozen trucks or so.

      4. Greg

        One comment that stuck with me from russian telegram was something along the lines of “We like having a single leader like Putin because we don’t trust government or authorities. It’s easier to trust one man and rely on him to rein in the corruption of the elites”.

        That connection between lack of trust in government or large human organisations, and in preferences for autocratic forms of governance, was really enlightening for me.

    3. britzklieg

      yup, Russia is losing, will be regime-changed and split up into itty bitty bits just like you want and all will be well again, peace on earth and all that good stuff. Putin will be gone, Russia will be gone, the breakaway republics will revolt and rejoin Ukraine, China will succumb to Western seductions of a better world with Coke and covid and your insurance premiums, mortgage and food will become affordable again! Oh yeah, power will be plentiful and cheap too. Just give it a week or two, maybe sooner!!! What’s not to like?

      No eggs – at all in Publix today so… eat bugs!

      1. Hartly

        And just like Afghanistan and Iraq, all those chunks of ex Russia, will all grab a piece of the nuclear pie, the mobil launch trucks and small nukes. The tens of thousands of mapad anti aircraft rockets will flower all over Europe and America and make any take off and landing into into Russian roulette.

        Mr. Putin, hurry up and kick ass and then declare peace, for all of us.

    4. Stephen

      Alexander Mercouris stated in a video last night that General Lapin was not the General responsible for the sector. He commanded the relief forces. Another General apparently was in charge and according to Mercouris he has been removed.

      Russian channels do seem to be in a frenzy. On the one hand, it disproves any western idea that Russia is a totalitarian regime. The criticism is more open and instant than I recall in Britain’s recent wars of misadventure. The working assumption here is that everything in our military is awesome and the generals are fantastic. The debacles in Helmand and Basra get glossed over. The equipment issues associated with “snatch Land Rovers” and doctrine developed for Malaya and Ulster that did not work in Iraq were all hushed up for years. To my knowledge, no general got fired either. The US these days seem little better, although in WW2 Generals did get fired for incompetence.

      Another point is that Lyman seems not to matter; or at least did not once Izyum was relinquished. Apart from their rearguard, the Russian / allied militia forces seem to have been extricated once regular units got involved. Apparently, they have fallen back in good order to a new line. Relative casualty rates are unclear and Ukraine never discusses that side of things. Russian channels say that the direct Lyman defence was never more than 500 or so men who were outnumbered 10 to 1. Extricating a garrison under such circumstances and creating a new defence while avoiding a collapse in morale strikes me as the very mark of a highly professional military.

      Further comments suggest that Russian troops and modern equipment are pouring into the newly annexed territories now. Allegedly, the Belgorod nuclear submarine has left port too as a deterrence. UK newspapers are in hysterics over this. Suggestive though that a big offensive of some form is planned and that the strategic bases are being protected too. The Russian command may simply have decided to sacrifice Lyman and not disrupt their offensive plans. Very resonant of Stalingrad and pretty much every war that Russia has won.

      By the way, I agree too that Kharkov and Lyman were not planned retreats in the sense that they were set up as “traps”. Far too Machiavellian. But once they came under pressure, conscious decisions were then made not to reinforce and so forth.

      I guess we will see what happens though.

      1. Otis B Driftwood

        Mercouris may try, but his analysis is so heavily biased in favor of the Russian military he hardly seems credible anymore. Unfortunate, because he was doing excellent work on the negative consequences of the West’s economic sanctions.

        1. Detroit Dan

          I disagree, Otis. Mercouris has been wrong, but his basic underlying logic remains sound. As I commented above, interrelated economic and diplomatic considerations are a big part of this conflict. Mercouris has done a good job of explaining why Russia has moved more slowly than would have been militarily possible, while the west has again and again shown signs of desperation. The Nordstream sabotage, for example, may finally help people to understand that the West has been lying throughout.

          1. Otis B Driftwood

            Scott Ritter has been far more balanced in his assessment of the military situation. He has been wrong, too, but owns his mistakes and is willing to change his assessment as events unfold. He is a trained military analyst. Mercouris is not, as he often admits. Mercouris relies on sources that are unapologetically pro-Russian.

            This is no way means the propaganda from the West is not extraordinary. The NS sabotage is just the latest example and I am terrified they are slow walking a heavily misinformed public into nuclear conflict

            But let’s not pretend there isn’t a lack of candor from the Russians and their sympathizers, too.

            1. indices

              “…I am terrified they are slow walking a heavily misinformed public into nuclear conflict…”

              This. Maybe we will be uninformed of events, and then, for many, a flash and it will all be over. No “CONELRAD,” but survivors are not necessarily the fortunate ones.

            2. Yves Smith

              If you call flip flopping balanced. Ritter was one of the most aggressive in asserting Russia would win VERY quickly. He then went wildly the other way when the US and NATO were providing their first big weapons package, calling them “game changers’ when nothing of the sort has happened.

              Having said that, Ritter of late was one of the few not-Russia-hostile commentators to say Russia was spreading its forces too thin. But Mercouris was alone in anticipating that Russia might withdraw from Izyum.

          1. Ander

            IMO the bias is apparent in the sources he dwells on, and the way Russian gains are viewed as proof of the inevitably of Russian success while Russian losses are nearly always “of little strategic importance”.

            I don’t think he runs a bad channel, just that he has observable bias

              1. Yves Smith

                Yes, it might just be that *gasp* Russia has been winning the war despite fielding only a peacetime expeditionary force + the Wagner Group + sometime the Chechens to amp up LPR/DNR militias….and this is how it is done.

      2. Sibiryak

        Belgorod nuclear submarine…UK newspapers are in hysterics

        I had to check that out… the Daily Mail had this headline:

        Putin ‘deploys Belgorod nuclear submarine which carries Poseidon underwater drone capable of unleashing radioactive tsunamis which lay waste to enemy coastlines’

        Vladimir Putin may have deployed a huge nuclear submarine carrying its latest doomsday weapon, NATO has warned its members.

        The Belgorod has disappeared from its home base in the Arctic Circle and may be on its way to the Kara Sea to test the Poseidon nuke, a NATO warning note leaked to Italian media over the weekend has suggested.

        Poseidon is a drone that is said to be capable of travelling huge distances underwater before detonating with enough force to trigger a 1,600ft nuclear tsunami designed to drown and irradiate coastal cities.

        If the test does go ahead, it would be Putin’s latest attempt to intimidate the West over his failing war in Ukraine , after he was suspected of ordering stealth attacks on the Nord Stream pipes last week.

        The Belgorod was put forward as a candidate for the sabotage mission because it also carries mini-subs designed to carry out attacks on undersea infrastructure. [LOL!]

        However, doubt was cast on its involvement because – at 600ft long – the submarine is one of the world’s largest and getting into the Baltic undetected would have been extremely difficult.

        It is also unclear whether the Belgorod would have had time to get from its home base in the White Sea to the Baltic – a distance of just under 3,000 miles – without its absence being noted.

          1. Paradan

            north pole, those Poseidon torpedoes are basically a tiny nuclear submarine, so range isn’t a factor.

    5. Sibiryak

      Kadyrov and others openly criticized General Lapin

      Yes, and Kadyrov got huge pushback for misidentifying General Lapin as the person in charge the whole Kharkov operation. Kadyrov apparently had no idea what he was talking about on that point.

      On top of that, he completely went off the rails when he said Russia should have considered using tactical nukes! Tactical nukes to defend a small, mostly deserted town of questionable strategic importance! That’s crazy Chechen talk!

      Kadyrov also said Russia had to stop caring so much about how the US/NATO might react and just get the job done. What? Employ tactical nukes to prevent a minor Ukrainian advance, then watch the entire world turn against Russia and NATO get forced into intervening???

      Putting aside Kadyrov’s insanity, it’s worth considering Alexander Mercouris’ criticisms of the pro-Russian telegram bloggers. In his view they may be good, even essential, for getting information about tactical events unfolding in real time, but they really drop the ball when it comes to understanding big strategic issues, let alone the geoeconomic and geopolitical context within which this whole war is taking place.

      And when you take in all the facts and look at the big picture, it seems crystal clear that there was indeed a planned Russian retreat from weakly defended Kharkov positions.

      In May/June Russian forces seemed to be grinding steadily away at Ukrainian positions in the Donbass, while being under no threat of a major counter-offensive in the south. The SMO plan, whatever its shortcomings, seemed be working sufficiently well. At that time a huge mobilization would have garnered weak support in Russia, not to speak globally.

      But by July/Aug the Russians must have realized 1) that Ukraine was successfully manning up and arming up for some big counteroffensives, and 2) that they didn’t have enough forces to defend the entire front line against such impending attacks.

      Somewhere around the time a flood of telegram videos were coming out showing a huge build up of Ukrainian forces outside Kharkov region, the Russians had to have made a decision about how to respond to that build up (no, that build-up did not take them by surprise), and the decision was to make a strategic retreat from weakly defended positions in Kharkov and northern Lugansk regions while keeping up the offensive in Donetsk region and making sure the critical southern front (land bridge to Crimea) was invulnerable.

      Even the pro-Ukraine neocon thinktank The Institute for the Study of War adds support to that assessment:

      [the ISW] said the fall of [i.e., retreat from] Lyman suggested Russia was “reprioritizing defending Lugansk” to hold occupied territory in southern Ukraine .

      The strategic retreat from positions in the north must have been planned and begun weeks before the actual Ukrainian onslaught. The Russian MOD even revealed that they ran a deception campaign designed to make it look like huge Russian forces were rolling in to back up the Russian defenders of Kharkov positions with the goal of slowing down the Ukrainian advance while the retreat was in progress.

      No doubt there were many tactical miscalculations and mistakes made during the Kharkov /northern Lugansk retreats, and there is plenty of room for various criticisms as noted by Lex, but that doesn’t negate that fact that a planned retreat was indeed carried out.

      Furthermore, the planned retreat from Kharkov was part of an even larger strategy: the Kharkov retreat necessitated the speeding-up of the referendums in the Donbass republics, Kherson, Zaporozhye. Those referendums were needed to make it clear to the people in those regions, and to the Russian public, that those pro-Russia areas would under no condition be abandoned.

      The accession of those regions to Russia meant that those areas would henceforth be treated as Russian territory– invading forces would have to be expelled, and missile strikes would have to be stopped, one way or another. Since the size of the Russian allied forces was insufficient for that task, the mobilization of some 300,000 reservists was decided on.

      To sum up, the Russian decision not to mobilize earlier on, combined with Ukrainian force-building success, necessitated the decision to retreat from northern positions, which in turn necessitated the need for referendums, which in turn necessitated the need for mobilization.

      The question now is when/where–not if–a major Russian counter-offensive begins.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        Thanks for this. I seem to remember Scott Ritter concern about a fall offensive once he knew what the Americans were planning on committing to the effort. He suffered a lot of criticism at the time by those of us sympathetic to Russia’s situation, but he seems to have had a point.

      2. Polar Socialist

        Not to put too much significance on it, put the retreat from Kharkov also meant that during the referenda and the following process of accession Russian troops were not occupying any area of Ukraine that did not participate in the referenda.

      3. Lex

        I agree with when/where not if, even though I worded my conclusion differently. I don’t think there’s any question of it, really. If there was there would not have been referenda and speeches and rallies on red square. And I don’t think that it needs to wait for mobilized troops to be fully trained, because I’d be surprised if they’ll be counted on to be the bulk of the offensive effort. I expect they’re being prepped for being rotated in rather than the primary force.

        1. Sibiryak

          …rallies on red square

          Did you catch Putin declaring “победа будет за нами!” (victory will be ours!)? I don’t recall ever seeing him so intense and impassioned.

          1. Lex

            I didn’t notice that, but he’s been more intense and impassioned since late February than I can recall going back to the second Chechen war when he said “we’ll kill them on the toilet”. It was what struck me most about his announcement of the SMO: he was visibly angry and displays of public public anger aren’t really his thing.

            1. JBird4049

              The Chechens were considered the enemy and bad, evil maybe, but perhaps understandable fighting the Russians who were in Chechnya; who is the enemy now, besides the agreement incapable, the truly corrupt who don’t even care about their own people, and morons like Liz Truss with all of them unable to create and maintain any goals?

              I can see Putin being disdainful of the former while angry about the latter.

          2. Exiled _in_Boston

            ‘The Kremlin said on Monday that it did not know where the borders are for the regions in Ukraine it recently claimed to have annexed…’
            The Russians hold referenda but don’t know where the new borders are? Oh, my.

            1. Robin Kash

              I wonder if that suggests Russia wi determine boundaries to its liking when it’s done, not that they don’t know, but haven’t decided.

          3. vao

            Is that a reference to the slogan “Our cause is just, the enemy will be beaten, victory will be ours” when the USSR was surprised by operation Barbarossa?

            If so, I presume that most Russians get the reference, but only a tiny minority of Westerners. I also interpret this as Russia seeing the war in Ukraine as an existential cause.

            1. Sibiryak

              Yes vao! You’re right! That phrase was used repeatedly by the famous radio announcer Yuri Levitan to end his war news broadcasts. Red Army soldiers went on attack with that slogan. Russians not alive at the time know it well from watching many Great Patriotic War movies and documentaries. So yes, most Russians get the reference, at least in general terms.

              You are also right that the phrase suggests an existential struggle by appealing to the memory of the Great Patriotic War.

              Yuri Levitan’s story:

              Moscow is speaking: The voice that brought hope to a nation

              Short video (1:25 min) with the phrase at the end.

              Yuri Levitan 22, June, 1941

      4. GW

        Not to belabor the obvious, but why bother referencing ISW Study of War? Intellectually self-respecting people (in most cases) never read that “think tank’s” pro-Ukraine, pro-NATO hype.

        Just do a google search on ISW. You’ll discover most of its funding comes directly from US arms manufacturers. That says it all, really.

        Further, check the footnotes on any of ISW’s daily “reports.” Most simply regurgitate statements made by the Ukrainian General Staff, Zelensky’s administration, or some oblast-level Ukrainian official. ISW repackages this info so it looks, superficially, like original thinking by ISW’s “experts.”

        ISW is little more than information pollution on the Internet. It’s a shame that so much of Western MSM treats ISW like a respectable, genuine think tank. It’s horrifying to realize that impressionable Americans actually believe ISW.

    6. Sibiryak

      Kharkov was in no way a “planned retreat”

      Former Swiss intelligence officer and NATO adviser Jacques Baud argues otherwise:

      For several weeks now, Western experts have been questioning the presence of the Russians in the Kharkov area, as they clearly had no intention to fight in the city. In reality, their presence in this area was only aimed at affixing the Ukrainian troops so that they would not go to the Donbass, which is the real operational objective of the Russians.

      In August, indications suggested that the Russians had planned to leave the area well before the start of the Ukrainian offensive . They therefore withdrew in good order, together with some civilians who could have been the subject of retaliation.

      As evidence of this, the huge ammunition depot at Balaklaya was empty when the Ukrainians found it, demonstrating that the Russians had evacuated all sensitive personnel and equipment in good order several days earlier.

      The Russians had even left areas that Ukraine had not attacked. Only a few Russian National Guard and Donbass militia troops remained as the Ukrainians entered the area.

      At this point, the Ukrainians were busy launching multiple attacks in the Kherson region, which had resulted in repeated setbacks and huge losses for their army since August. When US intelligence detected the Russians’ departure from the Kharkov region, they saw an opportunity for the Ukrainians to achieve an operational success and passed on the information. Ukraine thus abruptly decided to attack the Kharkov area that was already virtually empty of Russian troops.

      1. Martin Oline

        I think it is probably a good idea not to have your troops engaged with enemy forces when you carpet bomb them. I read this on South Front this morning: “As of October 3, no advance of the Ukrainian military towards Kremennaya was reported. The AFU are currently reinforcing their positions in Krasny Liman and the village of Torskoe located nearby.”

      2. trapped in Europe

        Thanks, i rate Baud highly. However i have also read (on pro-Russia channels) very different accounts on what was left behind in Balakleia, including a lot of tanks and even an T-90M. Difficult to know what to believe. But i’m calmer now after reading a lot of insightful comments above.Thanks for that.

        One more point: Liman may not be important in itself but it will give Ukraine the chance to give Lisichansk and Severodonetsk the Donetsk treatment, shelling civilians day and night.

        1. Sibiryak

          Fair points. Personally, I try not to get lost in details. Too much fog. Hard to verify anything.

    7. Otis B Driftwood

      One such analyst is Alexander Mercouris. His analysis is so heavily biased in favor of the Russian military, he hardly seems credible anymore. Unfortunate, because he was doing excellent work on the negative consequences of the West’s economic sanctions.

      1. Altandmain

        I’ve found Alexander to be quite objective.

        He has made criticisms of the Russians where he finds them short and is willing to self correct.

        Moreover, his point about the local blogs missing the strategic big picture is on point.

        There isn’t a truly neutral commentator anywhere. Actually I think that the Western world is making up whatever they want. A classic example being the Russian ammunition shortages – if they were short of ammunition back in March, why haven’t the Russians run out of the ammunition supplies? Why are Ukrainians coming under very heavy artillery attack?

        The irony of this situation is that the Western media is now citing these Russian sources critical of their own military, that they would have dismissed as “Russian misinformation” just days ago because they are pushing a regime change narrative against Putin.

    8. Don

      When did Lyman become a city, never mind a “key” city? Pre-conflict population <20,000; population lately, closer to zero than 20,000. Western media is so relentlessly on-message, that is difficult to withstand the message osmosis.

  2. Wukchumni

    Army misses recruiting goal; other services squeak by Stars and Stripes
    Humbly report, sir.

    Fighting solders from AI
    Fearless machines who can’t die
    Machines who do just what you say
    The brave machines of the MIC array

    Set a command within their chest
    These are machines, America’s best
    One hundred men meet a machine’s abilities today
    But would die when pitted against an MIC array

    Trained to live off man’s grid
    Trained in combat, won’t flip it’s lid
    Machines who fight by night and day
    Courage is a given with the MIC array

    Set a command within their chest
    These are machines, America’s best
    One hundred men meet a machine’s abilities today
    But would die when pitted against an MIC array

    Back at home, a young Boston Dynamics engineer waits
    Another fragile foe has met his fate
    He has died for those AI oppressed
    And didn’t honor his last request

    1. The Rev Kev

      While reading that article, I began to wonder how many young guys & galls are worried that if they join the military now, that perhaps by next year they will be stationed in a big, cold place with lots of guys named Ivan shooting at them.

      1. Wukchumni

        The link to why kids can’t read, hit home in that my soon to be 18 year old nephew can’t read a lick with a 1-sided page worth being tantamount to slow torture with every syllable in slow succession.

        He’d pinned all his hopes to being the next Messi or even a little less, but that ain’t gonna happen. His mom was hoping that he could get on a community college soccer team, but there’s that little comprehension conundrum, so the military has been also been mentioned, as my sister’s husband was in the USN-and that’s most likely where you’re gonna get your ‘Johnny Got His Gun’ types…

        …stay tuned

        1. The Rev Kev

          That was an awful article that which hit home. If you don’t pick up the habit of reading when younger, you get to hate it. And it can hobble you the rest of your life if you don’t. And when this has been done systematically for a whole generation, you get this being possible-

 (2:45 mins)

          1. Wukchumni

            He’s of the right age to have surrendered any possible memory skills to the hand held monolith-which like most kids of our times, has been in his possession since he was 11.

            If you can’t remember the plot of a modest 200 page book as you’re going along, what fun is that?

            Luckily, there’s video games to fill the void.

            1. ambrit

              We did the same for our children, and read to them at bedtime.
              *Dons tinsel armour* We are a dying breed good sir.
              What is amazing is that all electronica is hostage to the electricity supply. One good EMP or an electric grid collapse and all those Alexas and Siris become “Ghosts of Techmass Past.”
              From “A Techmass Carol”:
              “…it came on through the heavy door…the dying bubble leaped up, as though it cried, “I know her; Babbage’s Ghost!” and popped again. …the blockchain it drew …was long and wound about her like a tale; and it was made of…cash boxes, keys, padlocks, ledgers, deeds, and Bitcoin purses wrought of steal.”
              Etc. etc. etc.
              (I find Dickens to be very appropriate reading for these times.)
              Stay safe good Sirs and Ladies all.

              1. Amfortas the hippie

                i read Leaves of Grass to ours, beginning when they were a large appendage on momma;s belly.
                but it’s hard to compete with the damned iphone…and, for mine, to a lesser extent the video games(which remain a social endeavor)
                started them off on flip fones with zero data…but peer pressure(like air nike’s, really) was too much, and momma relented, against my objections.
                then, for a long while, we kept their individual data plans sparse…as in must be connected to wifi, which i could shut off at random.
                these tactics, while they worked, caused many a family night to ensue…with boardgames and such.
                even chess,lol.

                and, as a mitigating strategy, as with power outages…depending on how far away the neighbors are*, one can easily cause one’s own power and/or internet outage…just wander by and flip the breaker.
                i did this for a long time…especially with the internet*.

                *- if they can see the neighbors lights still on, yer caught out,lol.
                internet is easier to do in town than dad engendered power outages.

                1. ambrit

                  Yeah, managing teens is a psychological double bind.
                  In Ye Olde Dayes, one could restrict viewing time for television fairly easily. Now, video and audio is available at all hours, day and night, via the iphones.
                  Even when I was younger I knew that fads and group fetishes were covert methods of social control. The ‘In-Group’ and the ‘Out-Group.’ The best defense against the blandishments of the Group was to instill a strong self image in the children. I see that as one of the major strengths of the Evangelicals. They grow up “knowing” that they are ‘the chosen ones.’
                  Be safe over there in the dusty plains.

            2. antidlc

              I had a great selection of children’s books. An aunt (now a retired librarian) always gave books as presents. An uncle also gave books as birthday presents and Christmas presents.

              I tried to sell them at a garage sale. Very few parents (with kids in tow) even ventured over to look at them. These were great books at a fair price.

              The kids and parents would always look at the toys.

            3. semper loquitur

              I was lucky by virtue of having a narcissist for a mother who used money as a weapon against other family members, including her children. While other kids got the latest toy for their birthday or for Christmas, I got lots and lots of books because they were cheap. And new underwear.

              I was always borrowing my friend’s toys, which marked me as a mooch from an early age. Fortunately, I didn’t need to borrow their underwear. They never cared to borrow my books.

              1. Janie

                Books were my favorite Christmas presents, and I loved the World Book encyclopedia Santa brought in fourth grade.

                High school Latin made taxonomy in college science classes a lot easier.

          2. .Tom

            The topic changed mid thread. The article in question is now

            > At a Loss for Words APM Reports

            in which it is argued that many american kids are bad readers because they are taught to learn to read according to a method based on a bunk theory.

            I got the idea reading it that the idea that science advances one funeral at a time may be optimistic in this case.

              1. Cancyn

                I have a friend who went to an ‘alternate’ school. He learned to spell phonetically. We are in our 60s now. He is a reader, almost always has a novel on the go, but still spells knife ‘nife’ or even nif. He is stubborn and just assumes spell check is wrong! His texts are wonders to behold. His wife and I have always been puzzled that the phonetic spelling stuck in spite of his lifelong reading habit.
                I am librarian and worked in a secondary school for a while when I first graduated. Students would choose the ‘thinnest’ books they could find for reading assignments. “No thank you, miss, that book is too fat” was a common response to my recommendations.
                The rest of my career was in community college libraries and for most students reading seemed a dreary chore. Whenever I a rare student with nose in a novel, which was rare, I always said a silent prayer of gratitude.

          3. Jeremy Grimm

            That truly awful article was wrapped in a lengthy series of anecdotal ledes. I believe this ‘style’ is pushed as a way to draw in readers by a lot of those who control too many publications.

            The school systems are run by the same kind of managers that mindlessly debilitate their organizations by adopting the latest fads and fad tools pushed by whatever vendor caught their ear at the last trade show junket they visited. I recall several teaching fads from my school years — ALM for teaching languages, or the ‘New’ Math, and I understand these fads have already been replaced by new and improved fads. Reading problems are just one of the many problems sponsored by our PMC class.

        2. jackiebass63

          I’m a retired math teacher. The most important skill a person can have is being a good reader.This skill is important to be successful in every academic area.I once had a ninth grade student that read at a third grade level. No-one told me he couldn’t read. I had to discover it on my own.He was a nice polite kid that probably got by because he caused no problems.His guidance councilor got an earful from me when I discovered he couldn’t read.

          1. Bsn

            Step one, learn to read. Step two, read to learn. If step one isn’t completed by 3rd grade (USA apx. 8 years old) a student, and future adult, is in for big trouble.

            1. Mildred Montana

              Step three: Read with a dictionary (or tablet or phone) near at hand and get in the habit of looking up words whose definitions you are not sure of. The sooner the better.

              My 68-year-old brother, who got his Grade 12 but never went to university, has always enjoyed reading but never got into this habit. Consequently the better or more literary writers, who tend to have and use extensive vocabularies, are beyond his reach.

              He tells me, after attempting a challenging book, “I couldn’t read it. Too many fancy words.”

              1. smashsc

                That’s one reason I do most of my library reading on an e-Reader. Just highlight and click the Define button & I get one or more Dictionary definitions displayed for me.

                1. Mildred Montana

                  That is a wonderful feature! If I ever graduate from paper and ink and bindings and covers I’ll try it. Thanks for mentioning.

                2. caucus99percenter

                  I like reading on my iPad for the same reason.

                  I just highlight a word or phrase and “Look up” (in dictionaries including foreign-language ones) appears as an option alongside “Copy”. Anywhere I can “Copy” text for pasting elsewhere, I can also look it up.

              2. Amfortas the hippie

                i skipped that part(lugging around a dictionary) and just read the dictionary,lol.
                of course, i was bullied a lot as a kid….sitting under a tree at PE reading websters did not endear me to the neandertal set.

                1. Mildred Montana

                  That’s funny!

                  Back in my twenties I set out to read the entire dictionary and write down the definitions of all words I didn’t know. I think I got about halfway through the A’s before giving up.

                  1. Fred1

                    My wife was a Title I reading teacher for 43 years focusing on K -.3. I emailed her the article.

                    I’m superficially familiar with a lot in the article from our.coversatioms over the years. She has probably used all of the approaches in the article. Her favorite was Reading Recovery, because it had a diagnostic component which was very helpful to tailoring her approach to each student. Reading Recovery was criticized in the article.
                    Although Reading Recovery was her favorite she used any approach that worked.with a particular student.

                    She taught small groups of 1 – 4 students where she would pull the students out of their regular classrooms for about 30 minutes at a time. Progress was judged on a very granular basis based on state wide research that divided each grade into about 8 to 10 levels with diagnostic tests administered 2 to 3 times a year to gauge a student’s progress during the year.She and her librarians would level the book room using these levels so the classroom teachers could assign books for their students to take home that were on the their current level.

                    She was able to use any approach she thought best for a particular student because none of her principals understood how reading is taught.

                2. eg

                  An old college dictionary, a thesaurus and a World Book encyclopedia set provided hours of serendipitous entertainment for me when I learned to read.

              3. fresno dan

                from the autobiography of Malcolm X
                It had really begun back in the Charlestown Prison, when Bimbi first made me feel envy of his stock of knowledge. Bimbi had always taken charge of any conversations he was in, and I had tried to emulate him. But every book I picked up had few sentences which didn’t contain anywhere from one to nearly all of the words that might as well have been in Chinese. When I just skipped those words, of course, I really ended up with little idea of what the book said. So I had come to the Norfolk Prison Colony still going through only book-reading motions. Pretty soon, I would have quit even these motions, unless I had received the motivation that I did.

                I saw that the best thing I could do was get hold of a dictionary—to study, to learn some words. I was lucky enough to reason also that I should try to improve my penmanship. It was sad. I couldn’t even write in a straight line. It was both ideas together that moved me to request a dictionary along with some tablets and pencils from the Norfolk Prison Colony school.

                I spent two days just riffling uncertainly through the dictionary’s pages. I’d never realized so many words existed! I didn’t know which words I needed to learn. Finally, just to start some kind of action, I began copying.

                In my slow, painstaking, ragged handwriting, I copied into my tablet everything printed on that first page, down to the punctuation marks.

                I believe it took me a day. Then, aloud, I read back, to myself, everything I’d written on the tablet. Over and over, aloud, to myself, I read my own handwriting.

                I woke up the next morning, thinking about those words—immensely proud to realize that not only had I written so much at one time, but I’d written words that I never knew were in the world. Moreover, with a little effort, I also could remember what many of these words meant. I reviewed the words whose meanings I didn’t remember. Funny thing, from the dictionary first page right now, that “aardvark” springs to my mind. The dictionary had a picture of it, a long-tailed, long-eared, burrowing African mammal, which lives off termites caught by sticking out its tongue as an anteater does for ants.

                I was so fascinated that I went on—I copied the dictionary’s next page. And the same experience came when I studied that. With every succeeding page, I also learned of people and places and events from history. Actually the dictionary is like a miniature encyclopedia. Finally the dictionary’s A section had filled a whole tablet—and I went on into the B’s. That was the way I started copying what eventually became the entire dictionary. It went a lot faster after so much practice helped me to pick up handwriting speed. Between what I wrote in my tablet, and writing letters, during the rest of my time in prison I would guess I wrote a million words.

              4. C.O.

                One of the things I have recommended to many people who have got to the point that vocabulary is troubling them when reading in English, is to work their way through one of the many now freely available books on Greek and Latin roots used in English, which gives a real leg up on top of using a good dictionary. (I have a newer not so free one but second hand, Ayers’ bioscientific terminology oriented one.) Between the roots and learning how to dissect words, those books are astonishingly useful. The concise Oxford dictionary used to be great, but the newer editions reflect the current “don’t be difficult and include all the cool kids’ words” zeitgeist so I can’t recommend it anymore.

                I remember reading about a regular school in England (not one of their actually private public schools) where the teachers had brought back Latin, at least the equivalent of what is often taught in the first semester or so in university in many North American universities now. The kids were skeptical, of course. But once they had done the first semester, they were delighted because they could understand so many more words, including so much STEM vocabulary.

                1. Mildred Montana

                  >”…Greek and Latin roots used in English, which gives a real leg up on top of using a good dictionary.”

                  So true. If one has some idea of the etymology of a word one often can suss out the meaning of it.

                  For instance, and the only example I can think of at the moment (sorry), the word “homo” in Latin means “man” or “human”, as in Homo Sapiens, whereas in Greek “homo” means “same”, as in homo-geneous.

                  All of which is to point out why Gore Vidal (a “homosexualist” as he insisted upon calling himself) was always at pains to clarify the distinction. He was, as he emphasized over and over, a “same” sexualist, not a “man” sexualist.

                  Gore Vidal was a word lover.

              5. semper loquitur

                A few years ago I found one of those ginormous dictionaries. Someone had sat it out on a stoop. It’s about 7′ thick, no lie. When the power plants go down, I’m well placed to find choice words to describe my predicament.

                1. juno mas

                  Probably Webster’s Unabriged. Like Amfortas, I was fascinated with the dictionary; pronunciation and definitions. I’d much rather read a book than watch a movie.

        3. Steven A

          When my son was four years old we enrolled him in a Montessori pre-school and he was reading when he started kindergarten. He hasn’t stopped reading and writing, but because schools were switching to computers and keyboards at that time his penmanship is awful. But that is OK, he is now in graduate school.

      2. Stephen

        Even worse maybe: a small number of guys called Ivan whom they never see are firing long range artillery and missiles at them from miles away. Then they call up for land based air assistance to deal with it and Russian air defences shoot the aircraft down. Or they ask for carrier borne aircraft instead but a missile suddenly hits the ship. Does not make for a good recruitment advert. Even if the whole set up is woke and LBGT+ friendly.

        1. jefemt

          But that’s not how the advertisements during the foobaw games show it, at all?!

          Those ads, by the way, were paid for by the US Army, Navy, Marines.
          NOT the US taxpayer moms and dads. yeezus.

          I need a mind re-set that allows me to enjoy the show. Presently, I find it all incredibly inane, humorless, and so short of realizing our unlimited potential it is darned near maddening.
          (Not John Madden…)

      1. juno mas

        Those weekend National Guard that landed in Iraq/Afghanistan must surely thought they’d been drafted.

        1. Wukchumni

          We’d been in NZ for a couple of months in 2006 and flew back to the states and caught a van shuttle @ LAX that in theory should have taken an hour under optimal conditions but turned into a 3 hour cruise-a 3 hour cruise, on account of sig-alerts, BEFNAR’s*, the odd crash or 2 and a rolled over SUV en route.

          I struck up a conversation with a fellow on board who related he was from Alabamastan’, Birmingham in particular where he’d been on the fire dept for 23 years when he got his call up in 2004, being in the NG like most everybody else he knew, and spent his 50th birthday in Baghdad.

          He was widely traveled and had been everywhere, I enjoyed our conversation. I asked him how Baghdad seemed to him, and he said:

          “It’s like Tijuana-albeit one that barely functions”.

          *Brakes engaged for no apparent reason

    2. Ander

      The Army (or more likely Army Reserve) is the safety net I’ll jump into if decent state jobs allude me. I need the PSLF to cleanse my negative net worth, and if I can’t get that I’ll consider a Faustian bargain.

      Recruiting shortfall is materially good news for me though, when supply is low the price goes up, right?

  3. Lex

    Blinken will reassert commitment to what the article does not say beyond vague statements on drugs and free trade. Reading between the lines, Blinken will reassert the US commitment to Latin American neo-colonialism. There will be some brow beating about support demanded for other neo-colonial projects, some demands about “human rights” and maybe bit of begging for oil. Maybe a few promises of paltry financial aid someday in the future, though nothing approaching the billions given to Ukraine.

    US diplomacy is bankrupt and nothing but the most craven rent seeking.

  4. DJG, Reality Czar

    Do these Congresscritters even know where Algeria is?

    Writing to Blinken? “Therefore, we request you begin to immediately implement significant sanctions on those in the Algerian government who were involved in the purchase of Russian arms.”

    Algeria is a major supplier of natural gas to Europe. I guess it is soon going to have the same accident that Libya had a few years back.

    This sounds like Blinken, who is the very banality of evil, what with his consulting firm parasitizing the government, writing to himself.

    What could possibly go wrong?

    1. Michaelmas

      DJG, Reality Czar: Blinken, who is the very banality of evil, what with his consulting firm parasitizing the government, writing to himself.

      By ‘consulting firm parasitizing the government’, you refer to WestExec. But Blinken is involved in uglier hustles than that. With Lloyd Austin, he’s a partner in Pine Island Capitol, a PE firm specializing in defense, government service and aerospace industries and headed by John Thain — yes, that John Thain.

      From Pine island’s IPO: –
      “Pine Island Capital Partners spends the majority of its time focused in the aerospace, defense and government services sectors, where Pine Island Capital believes it has extensive connections to industry leaders, unusual access to information, and often unique insights into specific companies, programs and overall market dynamics. [. . .] The reputations and networks of Pine Island Capital Partners’ team, both individually and collectively, will ensure exposure to a significant number of proprietary opportunities.”

      More: –

      The US is a country founded and generally run on on an open policy of grift and self-enrichment by those governing it. Even by those standards the Biden administration is a historically corrupt one, what with little Hunter, old Joe himself, and figures like Blinken populating it from top to bottom.

      1. Irrational

        Thank you for that eye-opening post and link. So direct personal financial gain from war, war, war. “On leave” I suspect does not mean much.

      2. Lex

        The stories of Washington’s real estate dealings are instructive and roundly ignored. IIRC, he swindled veterans of the French and Indian War and took the most productive tracts of land. Or how Hamilton killed small farmers with a whiskey tax designed to hit communal distillation disproportionately hard relative to the big distillers and then banned the US Army from buying whiskey from anyone except those big distillers. The US hasn’t lost its way, as you point out, it’s functioning just as designed.

        1. HotFlash

          Indeed! I was taught back in grade school that G. Washington’s profession was ‘surveyor’. It was decades before I learned that worked out to ‘real estate developer’.

          1. Lex

            Much like ‘merchant’ was code for ‘banker’ and how we needed the constitution rather than the articles of confederation because the merchants weren’t getting paid on their bonds.

  5. FreeMarketApologist

    Some mildly good news: The SEC seems to be catching up to the bezzlers:

    The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced charges against Kim Kardashian for touting on social media a crypto asset security offered and sold by EthereumMax without disclosing the payment she received for the promotion. Kardashian agreed to settle the charges, pay $1.26 million in penalties, disgorgement, and interest, and cooperate with the Commission’s ongoing investigation.

    The SEC’s order finds that Kardashian failed to disclose that she was paid $250,000 to publish a post on her Instagram account about EMAX tokens, the crypto asset security being offered by EthereumMax. Kardashian’s post contained a link to the EthereumMax website, which provided instructions for potential investors to purchase EMAX tokens.

    The SEC’s order finds that Kardashian violated the anti-touting provision of the federal securities laws. Without admitting or denying the SEC’s findings, Kardashian agreed to pay the aforementioned $1.26 million, including approximately $260,000 in disgorgement, which represents her promotional payment, plus prejudgment interest, and a $1,000,000 penalty. Kardashian also agreed to not promote any crypto asset securities for three years.

    And they’ve hit Deloitte with a USD 20m fine for violation of standards in auditing Chinese companies.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      jim cramer’s been “touting” for decades and all he gets is a lousy gensler interview dissing kardashian.

  6. Wukchumni

    Orange County health officials are reporting the discovery of a second rabid bat in the last month.

    A bat found Thursday outside the main lobby of the Kaiser Permanente Medical Building on Alton Parkway in Irvine has tested positive for rabies, according to the Orange County Health Care Agency.

    Given the location and circumstance, the OC Health Care Agency urged residents to be on the alert and avoid contact with any bats.

    On Sept. 14, a bat found at a parking lot at Pickleball Court No. 1 at the Fountain Valley Tennis Center on 16400 Brookhurst St. tested positive for rabies.

    The rabies virus is found in an animal’s saliva and is transmitted to people by a bite from a rabid animal. Although very rare, contamination of the eyes, mouth or an open wound by the saliva of a rabid animal can also transmit rabies.

    Most cases of human rabies in the United States in recent years have resulted from bat strains of rabies; bats have very small teeth, and their bites may go unnoticed. Once a person begins showing signs and symptoms of rabies, the disease is nearly always fatal.
    Dude, like what very small teeth you have…

    1. aletheia33

      small teeth maybe, but how could one not notice a direct encounter with a bat?
      i expect this question could provoke some “interesting” speculations from the NC community.

      1. kareninca

        A flying bat can brush against you outside in the dark (or in a dark attic) without your realizing that that is what it was, and in the course of it give you a little nip that you don’t much notice

        You then have to start searching that part of your skin for two tiny fang marks so that you can tell if you need rabies shots to keep from dying horribly.

        Yes, it is creepy.

        1. aletheia33

          thanks, good to know.
          i’ve seen a few bats indoors and got them to go out, but none has ever touched me.
          this may explain to some extent the very fearful, even hysterical, reactions some people have when there is a bat indoors, reactions i’ve never understood.

          also reminds me of the watch for the “bull’s-eye” mark on one’s skin indicating a lyme-bearing tick has struck. not to mention the search, often in one’s pubic hair, for the tick itself, in order to present it to the doctor for identification. one has 72 hours after the bite to treat, after which the infection cannot be quashed.

  7. The Rev Kev

    “Stadia died because no one trusts Google”

    It’s amazing this. Trust still has a place in the commercial world? Who knew? At every stage of Google trying to push Stadia out, their own past behaviours undercut them making people unwilling to commit and be the next ones stuck with something useless. And in a piece of irony, Google being forced to shut down Stadia only reinforces people’s view that Google was always going to do that anyway. And that means that if Google ever tries to do something like this again, that the bar is going to be even higher to reach to get people to trust them – which they don’t.

    And the thing about trust is that you can’t go out and buy it or rent it. Hiring a ‘celebrity’ or ‘social influencer’ to bring a measure of ‘trust’ will only get so so far – but nowhere far enough. You can’t acquire it by simply buying a company that has achieved trust as that trust is quickly dissipated. It can only be earned. And not in a financial quarter or even a financial year. A company achieves trust by keeping its promises not once but consistently over time. And if they have to break a promise, they take care to explain to people why they had to do so and apologize. Can Google do this? Yeah, nah!

    1. Toshiro_Mifune

      I don’t know. Stadia being shut down was not a surprise at all to anyone even kind of paying attention to it. Ars/Slashdot/etc commenters all had jokes about it being shutdown within a few weeks of launch.
      While I’d like to think this was a matter of “trust in google” the fact is (as the article does recount) Stadia just wasn’t a very good product. It really didn’t know who it was for.
      Gamers Nexus had a bunch of videos on the problems with it;
      and here

      Basically; monthly subscription + you have to pay for the games + really dependent on fast low latency internet connections + those games you have to buy you most likely already have.

    2. Tom Stone

      Google is an extension of the US Government and is equally trustworthy.
      Speaking of trust, the USA has just pissed away whatever tattered shreds of trust Europe might have retained in it.
      Betrayal is not easily forgotten and the destruction of the pipelines was an act of epic cruelty and stupidity.
      While Putin’s adherence to legal formalities and Russia’s history of keeping its deals have strengthened their soft power enormously.

      1. Robert Hahl

        As to why the US is refraining from making false accusations about who done it this time I have a wag. Russia monitored the whole operation and can prove exactly what happened, including the names of the sabateurs. Russia then said that if there were false accusations the truth would come out, Germany might regain its self-respect and revolt, and that would necessarily lead to martial law. Not a good look going into the November elections.

        1. The Rev Kev

          You may have a point. When Daria Dugina was murdered by that bomb in Moscow, it took Russian intelligence to have the outline of the plot, the people and the cars identified in about 24 hours. Probably by now they would know who did the bombings, how it was carried out, which military unites were involved and likely the people who gave the order and ran the operation.

          On a side note, you think that the US military will issue a ribbon for the ‘Baltic Sea Operation 2022’? The colours will be blue and yellow of course.

          1. JohnA

            “On a side note, you think that the US military will issue a ribbon for the ‘Baltic Sea Operation 2022’? The colours will be blue and yellow of course.”

            Blue and yellow are also the national flag colours of Sweden. Over the weekend, it emerged that Swedish naval warships were patrolling/loitering whatever around the exact locations of the pipe explosion in the days prior to the sabotage. They had left Swedish ports with their Automatic Identification System (AIS) transmitters on and then turned them off for several hours when they were over the pipe systems. The Swedish Military has confirmed this news, but declined to explain why, citing the information was top secret.

          2. Robert Hahl

            That reminds me of an art story from a blogger in DC. He had applied to a painting show at a well known venue knowing that the guest curator liked color-field stuff. He took close-up, blurry photographs of his military ribbons, and submitted three pictures. Of course all three pieces got into the show, so he had to drop everything and create the corresponding paintings. Later the paintings were sold at auction for a satisfying sum at Southeby’s.

    3. PlutoniumKun

      Its something I’ve been wondering about. In management school they always seem to emphasise the sunk cost fallacy as the sign of bad management, hence aggressively cutting loss making new products is seen as a sign of decisive leadership. But too much of this and it sends the signal to consumers that buying up a ‘new’ product from the tech companies is a high risk activity. Google in particular has form in this. Tech has always depended on first movers and geeks to get new products off the ground – if they get burned too often, they’ll eventually wise up.

      1. ddt

        Google “free” products and or business buyouts only serve one thing: protecting Google’s core business. Always have, always will. If something pans out, great. If it doesn’t, no big (for them).

        1. Bugs

          Their core business is advertising, and gathering data for advertising. Gamers are smart enough to avoid ads = shut down Stadia.

          Ever since the demise of Reader, probably the most useful thing they ever made, except for the 1st 10 years of the search engine, I just don’t count on anything they put up being there a year later.

  8. marym

    > US faces election worker shortage ahead of midterms due to rise in threats The Hill

    “This month, Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) introduced… legislation to address the rising threats against election workers.”

    The only two bills I find on a search are:

    H.R.6872 – Election Worker and Polling Place Protection Act- Actions to date: Introduced in House 02/28/2022
    S.3142 – Election Worker and Polling Place Protection Act – Actions to date: Introduced in Senate (by Ossoff) 11/02/2021

    and references in recent days about Senators “introducing” legislation with no bill number or link to bills.


    “RNC links up with ‘Stop the Steal’ advocates to train poll workers

    In workshops hosted by the RNC, GOP activists behind the party’s “election integrity” drive have primarily emphasized rooting out voting fraud — including “ballot stuffing” through the mail for which no evidence exists — as their key goal.

    The recordings suggest the goals are broader. At an April 5 Arizona summit, Mitchell spoke mostly about an emerging “new American majority” of people of color, young people and unmarried women that could make conservatives “obsolete.” Her private comments are significant because Democrats have long insisted it is these fears of displacement — and not legitimate election administration concerns — behind the GOP drive to tighten access to voting for certain groups, including through mail.

    In the tapes, Mitchell also disparaged the Democrats’ recent warnings about threats to democracy.

    “They bring democracy to your doorstep. I wanna pause right here. We don’t live in a democracy,” Mitchell said, to a round of applause from the crowd. “But to the left, everything is about democracy, the democracy fund, the democracy this, the democracy that.”

    “We live in a constitutional republic,” she said.”

    1. The Rev Kev

      When I saw that ‘US faces election worker shortage’ headline, I wondered briefly whether the true cause is that so many of those workers are no longer among us or are at home with long term illnesses due to falling sick with Coronavirus.

      1. marym

        Possibly a factor as well, but it’s important to listen to what actual workers say about their jobs.

        Harassment of working class people – organized and, in some cases, legalized at the top – is a common feature of “grass roots” activism on the right.

        1. britzklieg

          “Harassment of working class people – organized and, in some cases, legalized at the top”

          Do you mean like Obama surging his kevlar suited goon squadrons on Occupy Wall Street? His victory was certainly a “grass roots” effort and his “activism” was definitely on the right!

          Now lets talk about the Dem primaries and being above reproach…

          1. marym

            My initial comment pointed out that Democrats are responding to an organized voter intimidation plan by “introducing” bills with fancy titles that aren’t going anywhere, if that was unclear. Criticism of any claim that Democrats are “above reproach” when it comes to elections, Occupy and other protests, or pretty much anything else, are better directed toward someone who makes that claim.

            My second comment was a reference to events of the last few years in which activists on the right have shown their hostility to the working class in harassing election workers, voters, abortion seekers and providers, health care workers, retail workers, airline workers, street protesters, lgbtq people, school boards, teachers, and librarians. This is grass roots activism often funded, legislated, or encouraged in the media by right wing elites, as illustrated by the link in the first comment.

      2. Henry Moon Pie

        I remember the Democratic Party pushing through the Ohio primary to get rid of Bernie quicker. It was our Republican governor who stopped it, temporarily, but DeWine brought down the wrath of the Dem Establishment on his head. Jon Meacham, resident Morning Joe historian, chided DeWine that “Lincoln didn’t cancel the election of 1864 just because there was a civil war going on.”

        Of course, it’s not like voters had to put themselves in a “zone of danger” just to vote. Meacham acts like voters were streaming to the polls between Mead’s troops on Cemetery Ridge and Pickett’s advancing division.

        And the libs revealed their real attitude toward Covid then as well. Election workers? Let them eat Covaxid.

      3. Stillfeelinthebern

        While election workers skew older, most in my area are quitting after many years of service because the hours are too long. You arrive at 6:30am and leave at 9pm, if all goes well. That’s pretty rough on an older body. And, of course, the pay sucks. Add in the new sour attitude of some of the votes and it just isn’t worth it. These folks were doing this out of civic duty. Who believe in THAT anymore?

      1. ambrit

        So, as far as the election system here goes, the “fix” is in? Glad to hear that. I was worried for a moment that rabid hordes of deplorables would flood the polling places and actually try to elect people who would do something for them. Now that no such people are allowed to run for office any more, I can sleep soundly knowing that all is right with the Consumer’s Paradise we inhabit.

  9. PlutoniumKun

    Brazil election goes to runoff as far-right’s Jair Bolsonaro finishes close second to left-wing rival Lula SBS

    Seems to be a general consensus that this is really bad news. The polls were way off – Lula seemed to be winning easily. The right wing will now be able to claim if they lose that there was fraud and they’ll do everything they can to destroy a Lula government if they can. Its also strikingly clear that for a big chunk of the Brazilian middle classes, they see a vile individual like Bolsonaro as a better alternative than even a competent, moderate leftist like Lula. It doesn’t bode well.

    1. hk

      TBF, Lula does have a reputation from the times earlier in his career (for a long time, too) as a scary radical. That he actually governed as a competent moderate is not the only memory Brazilians have, especially if the unfortunate events of past few years (coup, imprisonments, etc) radicalized the leftists again and that they might be looking for revenge–and Lula, whether willingly or not, would have to oblige. I don’t know how anyone can address this, though.

    2. jsn

      I had dearly hoped the “interregnum” would begin to end, but it won’t, yet.

      The old is still struggling to hold on, the birth of the new will be predictably bloody.

      Blinkin’s impending “friendship” tour of South America is depressing beyond belief.

    3. Expat2Uruguay

      Glenn Greenwald is of the opinion that the success of “Bolsonarismo” in the elections on Sunday makes it less likely that Brazil will have a contested election if Lulu wins, simply because the Bolsonarismo side is assured of representation in the government and a continuation of their movement even if Lula wins. I guess that’s what you call a silver lining.

      Anyone interested and learning more about the Brazil election, Bolsonaro, and Lula would do well to listen to the podcast Brazil on Fire:

      Hosted by independent journalist Michael Fox in partnership with The Real News Network and NACLA, Brazil on Fire is the story of President Jair Bolsonaro’s rise, his far-right government that set the country ablaze, and how the United States helped him do it.

      Over six episodes, Brazil on Fire takes listeners on a journey to understand Brazil’s turn toward fascism. We’ll meet Bolsonaro supporters, victims of Brazil’s brutal 21-year dictatorship, and protesters demanding former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s release from jail. We’ll visit the birthplace of Brazilian Nazism, evangelical churches, and Indigenous villages in the Amazon.

  10. digi_owl

    > Stadia died because no one trusts Google TechCrunch

    Tautological, but true. Google basically do not have the stomach to go it long haul with a service that is barely doing break even. In large part because oh so much of their services are some programmers 20% project that is their ticket to manglement and fame. Once that is cashed, said programmer leave it to someone else to maintain the service, and is there anything programmers loath doing it is maintaining someone else’s project.

    1. Jason Boxman

      Google has a lot of NIH syndrome to be sure. During my time there, they authored all of their own internal development tools. Perhaps their scale required some of this, perhaps not all of it.

    1. hk

      I’d imagine they are still getting plenty of support from Latinx. Pity that most Latinos are not and never cared to be labeled with an X for PMC’s amusement.

      1. Carlitos

        The entire basis of latino-Spanish language is masculine/feminine nouns, clear identification of personalities, tendencies and family structure based on sex.

        Along come a bunch of pathetic wokeademics who try and mold the whole thing into their delusional gender-free concepts.

        ¡Pos, a la mierda con ellos! (Fuck them!) Any public official or author who uses “Latinix” is an obvious pandering jackass who deserves to be laughed at.

  11. Wukchumni

    Go-juice has shot up here in Cali getting dangerously close to $7.77 per gallon, which might construe that everybody in the golden state is a Jackpot ‘winner’ with each fill-up.

    1. fresno dan


      Maybe our illustrious economists can account for the price differential. I can imagine that CA more stringent environmental regulations, and TX less stringent enviornmental regulations, has something to do with it. But the differential seems too great for that to be the entire, or even the predominant reason. I would think, according to economic theory, that the oil companies would be just as axious to gouge southeners as westeners….

      1. Wukchumni

        Call me an oiletist if you will, but I think the high price of gas in Cali keeps the riff-raff out, or was it in?

        1. Wukchumni


          Saw a passenger car last week sporting out of state plates with half a dozen full-ish 5 gallon jerry cans of gas on top, arbitraging highly flammable Arizona valuation and savings versus losing their lives in a fiery rolling pyre.

          1. flora

            I saw a passenger car today sporting the bumper sticker “Sic Transit.” That made me smile. / ;)

      2. LifelongLib

        I have a vague memory that crude oil has to be delivered by tankers to California but can be moved more cheaply by pipelines in the central and eastern U.S. Sorry, it’s the only thing that comes to mind…

      3. Anthony G Stegman

        The local newspaper ran an article a few days ago explaining why gasoline prices at the pump have surged so much in California even as the per barrel price of oil has declined. A big contributing factor is the number of refineries making gasoline in the state has declined even as demand for gasoline has increased. Apparently, there is more profit to be made in making ethanol than there is making gasoline. Because California has more stringent requirements for gasoline formulations it is not possible to imported gasoline from other states, so shortages are built in. The governor recently ordered refiners to begin making the winter blend of gasoline early so as to shave a few cents per gallon off the pump price. In any event, the high prices do not seem to be discouraging driving. Weekend traffic is horrid in the SF Bay Area. And giant vehicles (along with lots of Teslas) are the norm.

  12. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: At a Loss for Words APM Reports

    O. M. F. G.

    If the results weren’t so obvious, I could never be convinced that an “educator” named ken goodman was allowed to become so influential in “teaching” american children to “read.” Per mr. (dr.???) goodman:

    When I asked him [goodman] what he makes of the cognitive science research, he told me he thinks scientists focus too much on word recognition. He still doesn’t believe accurate word recognition is necessary for reading comprehension.

    “Word recognition is a preoccupation,” he said. “I don’t teach word recognition. I teach people to make sense of language. And learning the words is incidental to that.”

    He brought up the example of a child who comes to the word “horse” and says “pony” instead. His argument is that a child will still understand the meaning of the story because horse and pony are the same concept.

    I pressed him on this. First of all, a pony isn’t the same thing as a horse. Second, don’t you want to make sure that when a child is learning to read, he understands that /p/ /o/ /n/ /y/ says “pony”? And different letters say “horse”?

    He dismissed my question.

    Had I been the interviewer, my next question would have been for him to “make sense” of the word “read.”

    1. Stephen

      I learned to read with Phonics, and I am therefore teaching my children to read using Phonics.

      My eldest, when he was in kindergarten and just starting, was first taught letter sounds. Words are combinations of letter sounds. Spell the word, then make each letter sound, then combine the letter sounds. Progress to more advanced concepts from that base.

      Both my children are voracious readers who read for pleasure when bored.

      1. Laura in So Cal

        I was taught phonics and am also a voracious reader. I read quickly and consume books in bulk. My husband was taught to read using some version of whole language. He can and does read for pleasure, but this is a slow and laborious process for him. I would estimate his reading speed is maybe 1/4 of mine.

    2. David

      This story is fascinating, because it’s probably the ultimate explanation for the catastrophic fall in literacy in France in the last generation. A country which has always prided itself on having a very high standard, now finds that around one in five of its 11-year olds are functionally illiterate. Obviously, among the poorer classes this percentage is much higher, and French employers are now complaining that they can’t actually recruit people who can read and write. It’s common to receive official documents full of errors.

      So this looks like something else that slimed across the Atlantic. In the 90s, the Education Ministry, largely dominated by educational theory experts, went over to the so-called “Global Method,” which teaches children to memorise entire words, in the expectation that they will eventually be able to pronounce new words properly. Because French education was highly centralised until recently, it’s possible to go back and look at the national literacy requirements of fifty or a hundred years ago. Many of the manuals of those days have been re-published, and it’s notorious that the verbal skills of working-class children of 13-14 years old in the 1930s are beyond the reach of many adults today. But never mind, the important thing is the creation of an environment of “co-learning”, where children don’t feel under pressure.

      Ironically, those actually in charge of education (like the newly-appointed Minister, Pap NDiayé, send their children to expensive, traditional schools that still teach phonics. And some French teachers make useful extra money by teaching the children of their wealthier parents how to read properly in the evening, using the phonic method.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        This story is fascinating, as are all the “conspiracy theories” regarding “educating” worthless serfs that literally generate themselves in response to its telling.

        1. hunkerdown

          It’s not a conspiracy theory. Laboring classes are indoctrinated into existence in all societies that have them, and it’s a nasty, Procrustean, psychopathic process. The details differ between societies, of course, but the general idea of forcibly dividing leisure and labor classes is as old as Moses, if not older.

          1. JBird4049

            The American public educational system was designed to produce good factory workers of the lower classes and using the university to produce well educated elites; however, the ability to read and write was expected of everyone, which doesn’t seem to be true today. More, the ability to read is probably the single most important skill a person needs to become knowledgeable and skilled.

            Teaching all children the same way as a century ago along with the knowledge developed since then to teach those with disabilities like dyslexia is probably the single most important and effective way to have an educated and informed society.

            I think that the various teaching fads are merely meant to give foolish, uncaring consultants and administrators more money, prestige, and clout, and not about better ways of teaching people. It is hollowing out and killing the educational system for greed. The system’s goal has been transformed from the teaching well of the student in certain skills as it was a century ago, regardless of class, to the goal of getting as much money from it often by deliberately crappifying the students’ learning.

      2. semper loquitur

        “But never mind, the important thing is the creation of an environment of “co-learning”, where children don’t feel under pressure.”

        There it is again. A constant softening, a wearing down of standards in the name of inclusion or harm reduction or hurting feelings. Moralizing in place of efficacy. It’s just a way to lower the standards for all. So, for example, with the food video I linked below, rather than working to bring healthy food to all, you accept that some people will eat garbage and get sick and die and you mask it with a concern for not judging others “choices”.

      3. PlutoniumKun

        I’d never heard those terms before, but I’ve been doing some reading recently on cognition and memory and its striking how many false ideas are out in the ‘practical’ world of education that are not backed up by data. An example being the use of spaced repetition as a learning tool (it is useful, but in a far more restricted way than is normally used/taught). I’ve been trying to cram all 2,200 or so kanji into my head in a meaningful way along with dabbling in Korean phonetics and I’m constantly wondering how on earth they can teach Japanese kids anything else but basic literacy skills. The Japanese and Chinese can consider themselves lucky they have a very traditionalist old style system that hasn’t fallen prey to such theories.

        Although having said that, from what I can gather foreign language skills are very badly taught in both China and Japan, especially in Middle to High Schools – thats one thing that definitely does not benefit from rote learning.

        1. c_heale

          One problem here in Korea with foreign language skills, is that the students:are only taught (and only have to pass exams in reading and writing). But surprisingly many Koreans can speak good English although they are shy about about doing this (I think it’s due to fear of losing face).

          Another aspect is that Japanese and Korean both have very complex grammer which is very hard for speakers of the big Western languages to learn. I imagine the reverse is true.

          As a language teacher, I was pretty much opposed to rote learning before I came here, but I now think it definitely has some good points. So I don’t think per se it is the problem.

          I think the problem with people reading nowadays is that many young children are exposed to a very high amount of visual but not textual information these days.

          Finally, text is not language. It is a symbolic representation of language. Spoken language is the basis of all human societies. But in our literate societies it could be the case that too much importance is attached to the written word.

          1. juno mas

            Hmm. Spoken language is the basis of human communication. Written language is the basis of self-learning.

            1. anahuna

              Years ago I heard a professor from Nigeria who was also a priest in the Yoruba religion describe his upbringing. He was first trained extensively inmemorization of the oral history of his tradition and only st the age of 8 or 9 sent to a British school ,(where he learned to read without difficulty). His teachers would sometimes recite a poem and then write it on the blackboard and ask their pupils to memorize it. They became quite angry when this particular boy was able to memorize a long poem instantly, simply by hearing it recited, and were convinced he was cheating somehow.

              I have heard and read a number of other accounts from oral traditions, and they all agree that those exposed too early to reading lose this marvelous ability to absorb and retain what they hear. The poet/shamans of the Altai were said to be able to recite for 8 days from memory. This, like memorization of the Qur’an,
              tends to be derided as rote learning, but, unlike symbols on a page, it embodies the full rhythm and vibration of human speech.

              Borges has written about the odd and essentially lonely transition from group recital to the practice of silent reading, each one enclosed in a private experience.

          2. PlutoniumKun

            I’m inclined to the input hypothesis as the basis of language learning/acquisition – i.e. you learn best by inputting high quality material in quantity (which is why Netflix may well be the greatest language learning app ever invented). But I agree that it must lie on a basic structure of knowledge, and there is no real way of avoiding this without some form of rote learning.

            In my experience most Asian people I’ve met who learned high quality fluent spoken English have one thing in common – an obsession with some variety of western culture, which they’ve absorbed through English. I’ve known people who learned very high quality English just by watching lots of teen dramas, repeats of Friends, costume dramas, playing Call of Duty, or just listening to the BBC world service every night (a very common thing in China pre-internet), while their more diligent fellow students learn very structured, but somewhat tortured English. The latter may have scored higher in exams, but the former find general communication much easier. I can almost always tell how they learned it from their prosody.

            I’ve only been to Korea once, but the impression I get is that there is very little ‘half way’ with English – most Koreans either have some poorly remembered school lessons (a little like my French/Irish), or near perfect English. In Seoul/Busan I met plenty of English speakers, while they seemed few and far between in smaller towns and cities.

    3. marieann

      I am horrified that this reading technique is still being taught. My nephew was taught this way in Michigan in the 1970’s. He ended up not being able to read properly for the rest of his life (he died a couple of years ago)
      his younger sister had to help him with homework and later anything that required good reading skills( legal paperwork etc.) His sister was 5 years behind him so I had thought they had realised how bad this “teaching method” was. Apparently they brought it back!!

    4. semper loquitur

      This article was enraging. Here’s a choice bit:

      “For Goodman, accurate word recognition was not necessarily the goal of reading. The goal was to comprehend text.”

      What the fu(k?! How can you comprehend text if you cannot recognize the word?!? Then:

      “Goodman rejected the idea that you can make a distinction between skilled readers and unskilled readers; he doesn’t like the value judgment that implies.”

      I smell $hit-lib moralizing. Are you “illiterate-phobic”? Everyone has a story to tell; some just cannot read them.

      This is the same framing that tells us that to warn a person who is obese and eating garbage is “fatphobic” and that we should strive for “food neutrality”. Here is Breaking Points discussing a video put out by the LA school district discussing how judging people’s eating habits is a form of oppression:

      Notice that a plate of doughnuts is used as a prop. Also notice that one of the narrators is a nutrition scientist who works for Big Food. Also notice that one of the narrators is obese. Like so much else in the world of the Wokel, science be damned…

      I think we have a population primed for this “three-cue” garbage. Learning words is long and tedious for many, in the best of scenarios. Then add in children addled with pharmaceuticals, ingesting a rainbow of sugary and chemical laden foods, and with the attention spans of goldfish thanks to their phones and PlayStations.

      Then you have overworked teachers who are fighting to keep the children focused. Trying to learn lists of words would be like pushing a rock up a hill. The teachers I know struggle to keep kids in the classroom, literally, let alone keeping them rooted in their seats performing rote exercises.

      1. hunkerdown

        Your nose is keen, good evertalker. To “comprehend” is to receive the pathos of a piece of rhetoric and “empathize” with it, I suppose. More materially, to understand the dispositions that the reader is expected to exhibit and to expect.

        Score another point for emotivism as the de facto meta-ethics of our time.

        1. semper loquitur

          “To “comprehend” is to receive the pathos of a piece of rhetoric and “empathize” with it, I suppose.”

          That’s a really good point, hd. Further, it’s much easier to manipulate a student’s understanding of a text when “pony” and “horse” are considered the same concept. Gee, I wonder what other words there are out there whose meanings have been blended together to promote an ideological, not to mention economic, goal……………

      2. Harold

        This is true of beginning readers, but if too much emphasis is placed on “decoding” then those whose scored higher in first and second grade can begin to fall behind after third and fourth.

        Yes, to spell and pronounce English it is necessary to have information about phonetics and those who unfortunately have trouble processing this information are at a great disadvantage — like my son who had an articulation disability for the first six years of his life. (Though he eventually became a good speller and highly articulate speaker.)

        Nevertheless experienced readers of English don’t decode words, they read them as pictographs like the Chinese. (Not to mention that English words are also pronounced differently in different regions). There really is a difference between reading comprehension and decoding. The fact is that English uses etymological, not phonetic spelling and phonics will only get you so far. Spelling and handwriting require continuous practice, but not phonics. Once learners have mastered phonics it is pointless, and probably harmful to keep drilling them.

    5. Sibiryak

      I said to myself, “Katniss is eternal”. I didn’t really know what the words meant, but it somehow made sense.

  13. The Rev Kev

    “The new American Dream is buying a house with friends: ‘It’s a co-parenting model, it’s a co-economy model, and it’s a really great friendship and support model’ ”

    When I was younger, the general pattern for a lot of kids here in Oz was to share a house with each person having their own room and kicking in for the bills. But if they decided to go overseas or move in with a partner, it was easier to move. But this is different and I can see problems arising as people change their minds, fall sick, pass away, get married, etc. Maybe a partial solution is to have the house held by a trust with all the people living there owning their part in that trust. So maybe it might be easier for people to buy in or sell out if circumstances change – which they always do.

  14. semper loquitur

    LA restricts water flow to wasteful celebrity mansions: ‘No matter how rich, we’ll treat you the same’

    The city’s water department has a small yet effective solution to keep its famous residents’ water use in check – a flow restrictor

    “Los Angeles is living through a historic drought, but that hasn’t stopped some of its most famous residents from keeping their mega mansion lawns and ornate gardens well watered. In response, local authorities have turned to a surprisingly simple trick for keeping the wealthiest in check.

    That solution is a tiny metal disc known as a “flow restrictor”. The restrictor can be installed in minutes over the pipes of chronic wasters, dramatically slowing down a home’s water flow.”

    Now we just need a flow restrictor on the Kardashian’s access to media…

  15. Wukchumni

    Goooooooood Moooooorning Fiatnam!

    We were rightly afraid of the domino factor coming into play where if one too big to fail bank fell, all the rest would topple over-and thanks for playing the game of capitalism, you win the consolation prize-an all expense paid 1-way trip to Exhegemon.

  16. Westernnycoop

    “new American Dream is buying a house with friends:”

    Or better yet, renting it with room mates. Here’s some great suggestions from a Granddaddy website that inspired a group of college friends to move in together. Add Ten dollars a day in heating costs October to April and the numbers pretty much reflect what we pay.

    Our Monthly Expenses divided among all seven people:

    $2720 Mortgage. Because owner gets all the tax advantages of interest write-off, she pays all property tax and insurance costs.

    Utilities, Gas- about $150 month in winter and $60 month in summer. Averages $130 month. Pre-solar panels, electricity was about $150 a month year round.

    $150 water approximately

    $90 Garbage and recycling.

    $102 cable Internet access…cable soon to go up, we’re going to dump it and use neighbor’s wifi with their permission. [Not illegal. They chose to leave it open for others to share].

    Analogy, is it illegal to use a neighbor’s porch-light that shines in your window? Or, we’ll let the neighbor piggyback on ours with a 50% shared payment of costs offered with low introductory rates.

    $140 two land line shared phones. Will drop as some opt for own cell phone.

    $228 community agriculture vegetable delivery (2 boxes)

    $900 food for communal meals and sundry expenses.

    Total monthly costs $4610 shared by 7 people= $658 per person per month or about $ 22 per day per person for all housing and essential food costs.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      You do realize that this way of living “cheap” is old as the hills and twice as dusty?

      Those of us who’ve been around long enough to have tried it would offer one piece of important advice:

      Don’t be the one who puts his or her name on the important bills–electricity, water, garbage, cable etc.–because you’re guaranteed to get stuck for the “balance” when there’s a dispute or someone decides it’s time to move out or someone comes up short one month. In my case, many moons ago, it was the phone bill, with one of the roommates calling his long distance girlfriend in Italy.

      Can’t imagine how this would work with a mortgage.

      PS. How many bathrooms in that house?

    2. Mildred Montana

      Westernnycoop: I sincerely hope the living arrangements of you and your friends work out well.

      Seven years ago I lived in a house with five other people. $450 per month all found, except residents were responsible for their own food and cooking.

      If my experience can be used as an example, I would humbly offer the following suggestions:

      1. Appoint an authority figure with real power, including the power to evict. Disputes will almost inevitably arise and it’s important to have a leader to sort them out, with all decisions final.
      2. House rules are necessary. These would be strict but not unreasonable (to avoid resentment). They would cover issues like dishes, cleaning, noise, guests, lawnmowing, garbage takeout, etc. etc. etc.
      3. Have a weekly meeting of all residents to discuss any problems. Everyone is free to speak openly without fear. The leader of the house would moderate these.

      I’m sure there are more. I can tell you that my fifteen months in the shared house was a good time and I look back on it with fondness.

    3. Jason Boxman

      I never rented with roommates before, and having seen the leases for these, I’m not glad I never did. The leases I saw all had each tenant separately and jointly liable for the rent.

      No. No thanks.

    4. semper loquitur

      Be on the lookout for anyone who wants to take too much control of things. I lived with a small group for a couple of months. One of the group had all the bills put in her name and was trying to get the lease-holder to let her put her name on the lease as well. We quickly learned she was a viper when she began to demand cash for the bills but refused to show them to us. Things fell apart pretty quickly after that.

  17. Sub-Boreal

    Thanks for flagging the BBC investigation of the impacts of Drax’s presence in the Canadian wood pellet industry. This scrutiny is overdue since its acquisition of a major BC-based producer, as well as a top former forestry bureaucrat (revolving door).

  18. Tom Stone

    I have two safety suggestions
    1) If You live in California and have a heavy foot or are black and drive a nice car seriously consider becoming a member of the 11-99 Foundation in order to get their license plate holder.
    other States have similar foundations supporting the widows and children of Highway Patrol officers.
    My late friend Jim was a member and told me it was of the best investments he ever made…

    2) Glock pistols have a serious safety flaw which can be corrected by installing a “Striker Control Device”, which costs about $65.00.
    It can be installed in a matter of minutes without the use of tools.
    The flaw?
    Glock leg, plenty of pics on line if you don’t mind a little gore.

      1. Tom Stone

        You are probably better off with a dedicated pistol caliber carbine, the Hi Point is ugly, inexpensive, has an excellent reputation for reliability and accuracy and it is
        American made with a lifetime warranty.
        It’s a good no frills tool.
        The conversions all work pretty well however they tend to be expensive.
        Be sure to check the laws in your jurisdiction about either choice.

  19. Jeremy Grimm

    “Study reveals main target of SARS-CoV-2 in brain…”
    Based on a reading of this Medical Xpress overview article, several questions come to my mind. This study was done by Brazilian Scientists, a very large number of them working together, judging by the list of authors on the PNAS publication reviewed. Why is u.s. science so concerned with defending defunct theories of how the Corona virus spreads, only slowly acknowledging that the Corona pandemic is not just another flu and can have long term impacts on patient health — while early on Brazilian scientists were studying potential long term impacts: “. A preliminary version (not yet peer-reviewed) posted in 2020 was one of the first to show that the virus that causes COVID-19 can infect brain cells, especially astrocytes.” –???

    The Brazilian scientists used what sounds like a simple[?] staining technique to tag the Corona spike, the tissue they were studying and determine whether the Corona virus was replicating in the tissue under study. Why did the u.s. health system shove cotton-ended sticks up our noses to test for Corona flu infection for so long? Lambert posted many links to alternative test methods that were faster, cheaper, and far less invasive.

    Assuming the findings of this Brazilian paper holds up — which appears highly likely to me — what impact does this evidence for Corona virus attacks on the brain suggest about possible origins for mysterious diseases like muscular distrophy, Alzheimer’s, other supposedly autoimmune diseases mysteriously triggered in otherwise healthy individuals? Is it possible that flu and cold viruses should not be so cavalierly regarded as “just another”? How well does u.s. research funding support study of what appears to this old layman as an extremely enticing area for study?

  20. Henry Moon Pie

    I ran across this on Google News and thought it was interesting. The Lee County evacuation order didn’t turn up until Tuesday, and with all those fatalities (we’re not numbed to those yet), the blame cannons are looking for a place to aim. The story is from Fox, so it’s another tale of DeSantis owning the libs, but he reveals the thinking of the elites here:

    Romero took this question to DeSantis directly asking, “Why do you stand behind Lee County’s decision to not have that mandatory evacuation until the day before the storm?”

    “Well, where was your industry stationed when the storm hit?” DeSantis replied. “Were you guys in Lee County? No, you were in Tampa.”

    So the state and local governments are just like a corporation.They’re aiming for the bullseye, And what lies their inability to see their responsibility for safety is a hubris that forgets that prediction is not control. There are going to be a lot of politicians made out to be fools by Nature in the coming years.

    1. Wukchumni

      Whack-a-mainstream media-mole in a misery loves company to blame things on staring role.

      Yes, the amount of damage to come will be epic and what will be the turning point not to rebuild, maybe when a city has rebuilt after a 1 in a 1,000 year flood, only to have another 1 in a 1,000 year flood show up after you fixed everything?

  21. Karl

    RE: Gas starts flowing through new Baltic Pipeline

    What, no sabotage risk? Key quote:

    The pipeline which has a capacity of 10 billion cubic meters per year, is an important element of the Polish strategy to diversify its energy imports away from Russia…. The flow from Norway along with supplies via LNG terminals is central to Poland’s energy security plan.

  22. Karl

    Curious to hear NC reactions to what Scott Ritter said yesterday, that his warnings weeks ago that Russia was now fighting, in effect, a Russia-NATO war are coming true. Ritter says that Ukraine is NATO’s best trained army, and all of the Western arms aid Ukraine has been given is making a big difference. He had nothing but the highest praise for Ukraine army’s fighting capabilities, which he thinks helps explain some of the recent Ukrainian tactical successes in North Donbass region.

    This does not contradict other reports that Russia had already withdrawn most forces from this area; but Ritter was quite emphatic that Ukraine’s NATO-trained fighters are now without peer in NATO. That may be so, but how can good training and Western aid (such as it is) make such a big difference in the face of constant Russian artillery pounding? Has Russia’s tactics become less effective?

    1. vao

      I have difficulty to understand that assertion that the Ukrainian military has been thoroughly trained to NATO standards, or that the gear provided by NATO is a game changer.

      1) Military equipment is designed for a doctrine of utilization, and this explains some crucial design differences between, for instance, Soviet tanks and Western tanks, or the emphasis put on air defense by Russia vs. the emphasis put on air superiority by NATO. Looking at how the Ukrainian military is equipped, it is immediately apparent that its main systems (tanks, IFV, APC; airplanes and helicopters; artillery, towed or self-propelled; anti-aircraft defenses; electronic warfare; engineering vehicles) are Soviet, Russian and Ukrainian production — whatever NATO and other countries provided is utterly marginal.

      How coherent is the result of training to NATO standards an army equipped to fight with Soviet-Russian-Ukrainian gear according to a Ukrainian doctrine based on modified Soviet methods?

      2) Ukraine is not NATO, and has therefore been prevented from receiving the real goodies from NATO countries. When the M777 arrived, astute observers noticed that they lacked the fire director allowing accurate long-range firing. Similarly, the M142 was not initially delivered with the long-range ATACMS missiles. Whatever Western countries delivered in terms of NATO fighting vehicles were outdated equipment, such as the Finnish XA-18*, or even really obsolete equipment like 1960s-era Gepard, M113, or Leopard-1. The paucity of NATO counter-battery radars (indispensible in view of the massive reliance of Russia on artillery) was also noted.

      Interestingly, and referring to point (1) again, it has been repeatedly noted that Ukrainian troops felt abandoned by their officers, and could not communicate with them — a discrepancy between the Russian and Ukrainian tradition of officers leading from the front, and the NATO doctrine of officers directing from behind the front. But in the latter case, how could they implement a NATO combat leadership doctrine without the comprehensive communication system (C3I) required to make it work?

      How can an army be trained to a standard if the required equipment is missing? And how can equipment, often a downgraded version thereof, supplied only in the dozens be a “game-changer”, when was is needed, and what the comparable equipment available so far numbers many hundreds or thousands of pieces?

      3) Much has been said about tens of thousands of Ukrainian soldiers having been trained to NATO standards since 2014. Why do countries like the UK, France, Gemany, the USA, Poland, etc, suddenly launch programmes to train Ukrainian soldiers outside Ukraine? What have they been doing for the past 8 years? Are all those previously NATO-trained personnel already dead without having subsequently NATO-trained other personnel?

      There are those persistent rumours that Ukrainians manning M777, HIMARS or Caesars are actually commanded by NATO personnel taking charge of the complex matters such as targeting, fire direction, detection for counter-battery, etc. Even for relatively simple anti-tank missiles, we get testimonies like this one, or that other one.

      All in all, it looks as if the much touted NATO training has been very partial. How can one declare that Ukraine has the “NATO’s best trained army” if they are incapable of fully mastering complex NATO equipment (requiring several months to a year of training and experience), and are even incapable of dealing with the individual weaponry like individual missile / grenade / rocket launchers?

      4) Thus far, the tactics relied upon by the Ukrainian army were

      4.a) Static defenses in trenches, pillboxes and bunkers reminiscent of WWI (Donbass), and static urban “Festungen” reminiscent of the last phases of WWII (Mariupol).
      4.b) Waterborne assaults and landings without artillery or air support (Snake island, Kherson).
      4.c) Frontal attack by land forces (infantry and armoured), with some artillery preparation but no air support (Izyum, Liman).

      Are these really the kind of tactics with which NATO has been inculcating the Ukrainian staff? Because they do not look like the kind of tactics that NATO is supposed to rely upon (lots of air support, mobile warfare, etc).

      All in all, I am extremely sceptical about the value, and even the extent of the NATO training given to Ukraine, and I do not believe at all in the “game-changing” character of the weaponry delivered to it. The tenacity of the Ukrainian army is to be explained by its military traditions and national spirit. Those who think that the performance of the Ukrainians is due to NATO input are not credible.

      Conversely, there are those pro-Russian commentators declaring that if Ukraine is the best that a NATO-trained, NATO-equipped army can achieve, then NATO as such is toast when facing Russia. They will have a nasty surprise when Russia faces a fully trained and equipped NATO force.

      To put it crudely: The King’s African Rifles get an equipment and training that is compatible with, but by far not as powerful, resp. not as extensive and thorough as those received by the Coldstream Guards. And the tactics they follow are for a different kind of war. The Ukrainians are the (expendable) askaris of NATO.

      When the war is over, and if Ukraine maintains a professional general staff, it will compile a thick report detailing the course of operations, assessing tactics and strategy, evaluating the weapons and the training of the troops. If that report is leaked, we shall finally know about “game changers” and what “NATO training” was really good for.

      1. Paradan

        Are these really the kind of tactics with which NATO has been inculcating the Ukrainian staff? Because they do not look like the kind of tactics that NATO is supposed to rely upon

        Throughout the entire Cold War, NATO’s basic plan was to try and hold back the Soviets for a few days, and then use nukes. So, yes, it’s NATO style fighting, problem is that the Soviet Army didn’t show up for the fight.

      2. Jeremy Grimm

        I believe your comment about the complexity of using 2nd or 3rd tier NATO equipment is accurate and very astute, as is your assessment of the amount of training required to become competent in using that equipment. This leaves the question of how many NATO personnel might be “taking charge of the complex matters such as targeting, fire direction, detection for counter-battery”. The u.s. traditions of providing military “advisors” tend to skew my suspicions. I do not know what kind of tactics and strategy the Ukrainian forces are using. I do not know what NATO tactics and strategy might be for opposing a Russian force. However, I believe a fully trained and equipped NATO force might have a nasty surprise when facing a fully trained and equipped Russian force. For example, consider the u.s. reliance on lots of air support and mobile warfare. How effectively has that air support performed in the past — even against limited air defense? How will the u.s. maintain its mobile warfare facing a prime source for a major component of the diesel that mobile forces run on? I neither believe one need be pro-Russian to question the wisdom of kicking a Russian bear nor pro-Chinese to question the wisdom of poking at China, a major source for too much of the parts and guts of u.s. military equipment. In the light of your comment I am inclined to believe NATO and the Ukraine seem intent on destroying a generation or two of Ukrainian youth for purposes I cannot and prefer not to imagine.

  23. kareninca

    Those poor kids in the U.S. Army training photo look unwell. I don’t mean that they look worn out from exercising a lot; I mean they actually look sick. Take a look at their faces, and their silhouettes. What on earth is up with that. I have an opinion that I’ll keep to myself.

    1. flora

      Er, um, and not to go over the boundaries NC sets as I understand them, but…
      DARPA is big on cyborging US mil recruits. Instead of adding links which readers can find I’ll leave it at this. Maybe becoming “Locutus” isn’t the goal of most young people. / ;)

      1. kareninca

        To me, they look more like they have damaged endotheliums, and a lack of blood oxygen, and they are consequently exhausted. And like their blood sugar is screwed up. But of course I am not a medical expert of any sort.

        Whatever it is, they are not going to have the energy to fight a war, even from a keyboard. Maybe someone managed to recruit them, but they’re going to be leaving the military due to medical issues soon enough.

        Maybe I shouldn’t be making such wild claims, but again, look at them; you’d have to be blind not to see something is wrong. For all I know it is due to corn syrup; they all have bellies, for heaven’s sake.

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          I looked at the photo leading the link “Army misses recruiting goal…” but I could not see the same health problems as you saw, although the recruits do look over-well-fed even when allowing for the bad perspective and distortion in the image. The lighting in the photo is not too helpful either. What I do see in the eyes of most of the recruits is a look of resignation. I also wonder at the mix of recruits in the photo. Is the mix of races and genders typical or an artifact of design by the photographer? In any case, this small group of recruits visible in the photo offers little to instill my confidence in their heart as a fighting force.

  24. GW

    Here’s the latest on Ukraine. A few hours ago Elon Musk tweeted a very reasonable solution to the war. Ukrainian diplomat Andriy Melnyk retorted with an adolescent slur against Musk.

    Western MSM is now lionizing Melnyk.

    There is no bottom to just how low Western MSM can sink regarding Ukraine reporting. I’m ready to tear my hair out.

    1. Paradan

      He’s collecting evidence of Bot usage on Twitter, so he can take them to court and get out of buying them.
      Given the unprecedented propaganda campaign “Our Democracy”(TM) is currently waging this was a dam near perfect target for influence goons to sick their bots on.

      Then again, I could be full of it, and just another Kremlin spy.

    2. c_heale

      Re the Western MSM and Internet, I think they are starting to suffer and are going to suffer an enormous amount of damage due to blowback, from the twin propaganda wars they have been waging on behalf of the Covid pandemic and the Ukraine war. I now question all the MSM news on every subject and don’t bother reading (I don’t possess a TV or listen to news radio) anything about Covid or Ukraine. Before they were more subtle and more open to alternative views so the propaganda was more believable and probably more effective.

      They have killed the goose that laid the golden egg.

      Thank goodness I found NC many years ago

  25. Old Sovietologist

    Musk has put the cat amongst the pigeons.

    The world is getting tired of the Ukrainian crisis. In six months when the world faces the spectre of hunger, his tweet will take on a whole new dimension.

  26. Anon

    Dear John McGregor,

    Welcome to NC! It would give great pleasure to see a sentence or two, with a snarky comment, personal peeve, or related interest, indicating why you believe each link made the cut. I would love to get to know your mind as well as I am familiar with Lambert’s and Yves’, whom I consider dear friends in that wholesome, yet creepy internet way.


    Anon Of Many

    1. Expat2Uruguay

      Seconded. It also makes links much better reading material since many of the linked stories are behind paywalls and they can’t be read anyway by someone who isn’t willing to pay them

  27. OliverN

    “How the War in Might End”

    “The War Has Just Begun”

    “The big war is coming”

    I smiled to see these headlines one after another. Sometimes I suspect there is a bit of subtle prose (or maybe humor) to the way the NC team puts links on a page!

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