Links 10/4/22

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

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


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

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

* * *

Clash of the Titans Science. Neutrino experiments.

The Expected Financial Crash Is Finally Here Moon of Alabama (KW).

Credit Suisse and the hunt for the weakest link in global finance The Economist vs. No, Credit Suisse Isn’t on the Brink Bloomberg

Andrew Smithers: Lookout! Bad Models Equal Bad Outcomes McAlvany Weekly Commentary. From September, still germane.

Why ethereum’s big ‘merge’ is causing big headaches Agence France-Presse

Landlords of the Internet: Big Data and Big Real Estate (preprint) Daniel Greene (paywalled at Social Studies of Science). Well worth a read:

If the internet is a ‘network of networks’ then those networks must have physical points of interconnection. These points must be housed, guarded, and maintained, lest traffic be disrupted and the global economy stall. Essentially, someone—Markley, Equinix, 60 Hudson Street Owner LLC—is collecting rent for operating highly specialized buildings, with state-of-the art climate, security, and power systems, in which tenants make their networks available for interconnection, create private connections with strategic partners, and store digital assets. The speed of streaming and the ease of the cloud only exists because of these place-based economic relations. I call firms like Equinix and Digital Realty internet landlords. At the core of the new economy is one of the oldest: real estate.


Colorado’s state fish swims back from brink of extinction CNN

Pacific Surfliner, Metrolink facing 60-day service outage to Oceanside, San Diego official says Trains. “Concerns about erosion along a portion of the coastal rail line.”

UC researchers finally may have solved how to recycle plastic bags into something useful Local News Matter (DL).


The gift of water (KW):


Excess Death Rates for Republicans and Democrats During the Covid-19 Pandemic (PDF) Jacob Wallace, Paul Goldsmith-Pinkham, and Jason L. Schwartz NBER. “The gap in excess death rates between Republicans and Democrats is concentrated in counties with low vaccination rates and only materializes after vaccines became widely available.”

Norwegian Cruise Line drops all COVID-19 mask, vaccine and testing rules USA Today (KW).

NIH gives more bat coronavirus funding to Wuhan lab-linked EcoHealth Washington Examiner (MA).


China’s property crash: ‘a slow-motion financial crisis’ FT

The US-China Competition: Who’s Winning? (video) Chas Freeman, Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs. From June. Bracing stuff.


The NUG’s Economic War on Myanmar’s Military The Stimson Center

The Koreas

North Korea sends missile soaring over Japan in escalation AP

Squid Game, Blackpink, kimchi pancakes … How did South Korea become such a world power Guardian

Dear Old Blighty

Analysis: UK bond market crash takes shine off Big Bang plans for London Reuters

Tory MPs plot to avert welfare squeeze after humiliating U-turns Guardian (KW).

How Palantir will steal the NHS Cory Doctorow, Pluralistic

European Disunion

Poland demands €1.3 trillion in WWII reparations from Germany Deutsche Welle

Warning over winter halts to German energy exports FT

One of Northern Europe’s largest vegetable brands HAK to shut down entire production for six weeks EuroWeekly (KW).

A tradition ends: Paris says goodbye to iconic paper Metro tickets France24

New Not-So-Cold War

In bid for new long-range rockets, Ukraine offers US targeting oversight CNN

Military briefing: Which nuclear weapons could Putin use against Ukraine? FT

Sweden sends diving vessel to probe leaking Nord Stream pipelines Reuters (KW).

Frustration with Ukraine war spills out on Russian state TV AP

Kharkov and Mobilization Jacques Baud, The Postil

Mercenaries may have helped ancient Greeks turn the tide of war Science

Biden Administratation

Competition Authority Gives FTC New Tool on Gig Worker Policies Bloomberg

Justices To Examine Property Damage Claims Tied To Strikes Law360

Supreme Court declines to hear case on DOJ ‘filter teams’ used in Trump search The Hill

On The Money — The looming threats to Biden’s student loan wipeout The Hill

Currency-Using Governor Seeks Financial Aid from the Currency-Issuer Stephanie Kelton, The Lens (ctlieee).

US Military Massive Public Relations Machine Unable To Dig Navy out of the Red Hill Jet Fuel Contamination Hole (Re Silc).


OPEC+ production cut threatens gas price spike ahead of midterms The Hill


Trump Sues CNN for $475 Million in Defamation Lawsuit Jonathan Turley

Groves of Academe

At N.Y.U., Students Were Failing Organic Chemistry. Who Was to Blame? NYT (KLG).

Intelligence Community

The Curious Fate of Citizen Snowden’s Archive SpyTalk

Police State Watch

The Onion and the Supreme Court. Not a parody AP. From the The Onion’s filing:

Black Injustice Tipping Point

The first of many; read the thread (ctlieee):

Class Warfare

Doomsday bunkers, Mars and ‘The Mindset’: the tech bros trying to outsmart the end of the world The Conversation

Tech Billionaires are Actually Dumber Than You Think Counterpunch (Re Silc).

The Macabre Art of Baking ‘People Pot Pies’ Atlas Obscura (KS).

What if Elon Musk loses the Twitter case but defies the Delaware court? Philadelphia Inquirer

‘A fluke’: The world’s oldest webcam is still watching over San Franciscon SFGate

Antidote du Jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Lex

    The question of command unity in Russian allied forces is pretty significant, and it’s quite something that it’s playing out in public. I guess that puts paid to the notion that Russia’s media environment is totalitarian. However, it doesn’t mean what western opinion shapers think it means given that the criticism is that Putin is not being aggressive enough. I guess the only way the west is going to learn is for it to find out what kind of leader is most likely to replace Putin.

    After the AP article and some other discussions recently, I wish I had the chops to do a serious media review because my feel is that nearly all US media coverage of the conflict goes back to the ISW in one way or another. Sourcing all conflict analysis from a Kagan family business (and considering its familial ties to the highest echelons of DoS) seems like a real bad idea and a lesson that should have been learned 20 years ago.

    1. Stephen

      Exactly. This has been the western media (and possibly government, but are they really that stupid?) assumption all along: that regime change means another Yeltsin to kneel down in front of the “collective west”. In reality it is more likely to be someone with a mindset closer to Kadyrov. Especially at this stage.

      I made a similar comment yesterday that the debate within Russia demonstrates quite clearly that this is not a totalitarian regime. If anything, the debate seems even more open than in the west. My recollection of Britain’s misadventures in Iraq and Afghanistan is that our military did not perform well. But the debacles of Basra and Helmand were swept under the carpet for a very long time. Same thing with bad equipment. No generals were ever fired to my knowledge either. The Russians have fired generals, it seems. My guess is that our military industrial complexes get away with a lot because in reality our populations pay so little attention to their misadventures. Russians know that this is for real and they do care. War is not simply something to enable careers, enrich certain corporations and drive a political money flow.

      1. pjay

        – “If anything, the debate seems even more open than in the west…”

        Yes. I see *no* debate in the US media (I assume Britain is the same or worse). Bipartisan warmongering is everywhere, outside a very few critical voices like NC — and the occasional *Tucker Carlson* segment (I think there is a reason the Spytalk piece in Links makes a special effort to smear Greenwald by linking him to Carlson, thus to Trump and Trumpers). Although the majority of Americans probably don’t know what’s going on and don’t follow the news about the war, they still internalize the dominant mainstream narrative through osmosis. This means, as you say, that they have no idea that Putin is actually a constraint on Russian aggression.

        1. Ben Joseph

          outside a very few critical voices like NC — and the occasional *Tucker Carlson* segment

          Or Rand Paul who faces an actual challenger while they feed Mitch some Amy McGrath for lunch. Funny how partisanism shows up when someone steps out of line.

        2. Tom Stone

          It’s called the precariate for good reason, the lives of Americans have become extremely precarious over the last few years.
          Look at the stressors including $1MM Covid deaths the,years of hysterical RUSSAGATE!!! , the economic hard times for many with much harder times clearly beginning.
          Add Wildfires here in Sonoma County, this is the first year we haven’t had weeks of horrifically toxic smoke since 2016.
          Most people do not have the time or energy to pay attention to what the idiots in DC are doing especially since they know how much their opinion matters to TPTB.
          That last is an important point, the Government has made it brutally clear to the vast majority of its “Citizens” that their lives do not matter.

          1. JBird4049

            >>>Add Wildfires here in Sonoma County, this is the first year we haven’t had weeks of horrifically toxic smoke since 2016.

            Hey, we have another three months…

        3. Stephen

          Yes, my “even” was doing a lot of work and should probably been omitted.

          There is no Tucker Carlson equivalent on British TV who allows anti war discussion, that I am aware of. The only mainstream journalist I am aware of who has been consistently sceptical has been Peter Hitchens. He is well known and has a column in The Daily Mail. A few others voice sceptical views such as James Delingpole (from the right) and George Galloway (from the left) but they are no longer “mainstream”.

          Conservative Woman (quasi alternative right wing) has had some sceptical articles but the disclaimer needed for the attached sums it up. My sense is that monetisation issues are a driver. The editor, Kathy Gyngell, was openly sceptical at the start (even replying to comments) but has been more circumspect recently. I am not entitled to be critical: we all have to live.

          There was a CND style group with a small stand handing out leaflets in Kingston Upon Thames on Saturday: they had anti Israel posters with respect to Palestine but nothing about peace in Ukraine. Very odd.

          No one can point a finger at Russia and claim how we are the home of liberty while accusing them of not being free. To do so is rank hypocrisy. And I agree fully: hardly anyone has a clue that Putin is a moderate and even a westernizer by original inclination.

        4. digi_owl

          Because Tucker Carlson is effectively the designated shock jock, or courtly jester, of the modern day.

          1. skippy

            Wellie you have to be – fair and balanced – am I right … so it seems if liberal targeted media takes one side of a topic then Tuckers mob automatically have to take the other side so ***equilibrium*** is maintained.

      2. Old Sovietologist

        Is Putin aggressive enough? He will have to be if Russia is to succeed. For example; Those reconnaissance satellites that constantly hang over Ukraine will have to be taken out. That will be tough call for Putin to make with the all the dangers it brings.

        1. David

          You mean “pass over” don’t you? As I understand it, satellites in geostationary orbit are so far away they can’t see very much. And satellites which fly low enough to take detailed pictures can’t cover wide areas. I think satellites are one of those areas where there’s a “hands-off” agreement by unspoken consent, given their fantastic cost and how easy it is to destroy them.

          1. Old Sovietologist

            I think you’re right about the “hands off agreement” but I suspect that will have to change.

            1. Old Sovietologist

              Some striking images on Telegram of an incomprehensible glow in the sky over Belgorod. Could it be the Peresvet anti-satellite laser weapon in action? I suspect not but it looks interesting.


        2. Antifa

          Blowing up two natural gas pipelines, to deprive millions of Europeans of a steady supply of Russian gas, is the single biggest terrorist act since forever.

          It was a state actor using military grade explosives against a huge civilian population to achieve political ends not attainable by ballots. That’s the definition of terrorism in the West.

          But no one in the West is mentioning the T-word at all.

          1. pjay

            I’m not sure about that:

            “Former CIA Director John Brennan said that he believes Russia is the “most likely suspect” behind the apparent sabotage of the Nord Stream natural-gas pipelines off the coast of Denmark and Sweden.

            “This is clearly an act of sabotage of some sort and Russia certainly is the most likely suspect,” Brennan said during an interview on Wednesday with CNN … “I do think it’s a signal to Europe that Russia could reach beyond Ukraine’s borders… This just might be the first salvo of some additional things that might be coming toward Europe,” Brennan warned.”

            Although it is true he didn’t use the T-word.


            1. Anthony G Stegman

              Interest logic from Brennan. Russia reaches beyond Ukraine and punches itself in the face.

    2. Ejpjapan

      When I was a young boy living in France I spotted my conservative uncle reading “l’Humanite”, the in house organ for the French communist party. Knowing my uncles right wing catholic establishment values I couldn’t believe my eyes and asked him why he was reading something which was so inconsistent with his world view. He told me that if you were trying to understand the world it’s best to read widely and pay close attention to those with whom you disagree, get a diverse set of views before making your mind up.

      When the war broke out I came to NC to find alternative views to the propaganda that seemed so prevalent elsewhere. I also read ISW. More than six months later its clear that so much of the allegedly serious analysis offered by the likes of the MoA or the Saker, Doctorow and others of their ilk (a certain big serge was in links yesterday offering similar pablums) have been not just wrong but disatrously so, all saying some variation of “just you wait until the Russian’s take of the gloves”.
      Whether this is from a faulty analysis or because of ideological leanings I cannot say. But if I look at their predictions and compare them to ISW its clear which source has been more reliable. The catalogue of strategic mistakes, appalling leadership, and bad planning have all been meticulously detailed in ISW’s daily briefs and to my mind at least provide a coherent explanation for what we appear to be witnessing on the Ukrainian battlefield.
      You may look down on ISW’s pedigree as I did my uncles choice of reading material, but you may be missing something that your “side” for whatever reason is blind to see .

      1. LifelongLib

        Reading ISW’s “Takeaways” and “Who We Are” I see a political slant that’s very like that of “the propaganda that seem[s] so prevalent elsewhere”. I suggest we look further for “alternative views”.

      2. KD

        What specifically has ISW gotten correct? [I tried to read them for awhile but the heavy-handed editorialization was too much–just give me the facts.]

        Saker can be a little much as well, I avoid him mostly, but MoA is solid, Doctorow is solid, Martyanov isn’t bad–although he approaches ISW-levels of editorialization at times.

        Per Clausewitz, its a trade off of time/space/lives. As it appears on the battle field, Ukraine has managed to deny the Russians space and bought time at a great cost of Ukrainian lives, and Russia has given up space at a great cost of Ukrainian lives, and is mobilizing and should start an offensive this winter, hitting all those over-extended Ukrainian lines which will not retreat so more Ukrainian lives. At some point, Ukraine runs out of not just soldiers, but NCO’s and Officers, and either NATO gets involved directly (and get thee to a bunker in NZ) and maybe China on the other side, and its WWIII, or NATO says, well guys, we tried, and evacuates US personnel from the roof of the embassy. My guess is when its all over, the US does not elect to start nuclear war over some wheat fields in Eastern Europe. At the end of the day, its not about territory, its about combat power, and not slaughtering your forces like Hitler.

        Leroy Austin was pretty clear about the war goals: to weaken Russia. He never said anything about Ukraine winning. The DoD head of European forces in a phone call was honest: Ukraine lacks the combat power to kick Russia out of Ukraine. The US DoD knows what is going on, and when they aren’t speaking to the press, but gets into the public record, its pretty clear that this is about bleeding Russia.

        The rest is just b.s. to feed a gullible public, because you can’t tell people we know Ukraine will lose but we want to use them to bleed Russia and so we are lying to you because if we tell the truth you won’t support the war we want you to support. Why do you think they don’t want US citizens and Europeans to get Russia media access?

        I recommend studying the German Eastern Offensive in 1941 and 1942 and how it all played out in the end. The Nazis almost got to Moscow. Then try Napoleon’s Russian campaign of 1812. Napoleon got to Moscow, and look what it got him. Invading Russia is where Great Imperialist powers go to die.

      3. pjay

        I agree with your advice about reading from divergent perspectives. I try to do so, especially on topics like this one. I think it is fair to say that commentators like MoA and the Saker were overly optimistic in the beginning, and they are of course not unbiased. But their interpretations of recent developments in the Lyman area seem as reasonable as the triumphalist interpretations of the same events by the ISW (both sides have similar descriptions of events, though they obviously disagree on their significance). The same holds in comparing the ISW description of Kherson action with those of Russian sources. ISW emphasizes incremental territorial gains as great “breakthroughs” while ignoring or minimizing the massive losses of equipment and manpower involved on the Ukrainian side. The latter are not sustainable. And they have occurred against Russian positions that will only get stronger soon. On that topic, I would argue that any analysis that claims to be objective would have to admit that Russia has definitely *not* “taken off the gloves” in Ukraine. That may change now. We’ll see what happens.

      4. The View From Howe Street.

        “Better to have imprecise answers to the right questions than precise answers to the wrong questions,” Old Australian Mining School saying applies.

      5. Lex

        I didn’t say I don’t read ISW. I do because I agree about gathering info from all sources. My point is that almost all of US mass media coverage of Ukraine traces back to ISW and the people behind it have a very long track record of being very wrong about everything and are tightly tied to the US government.

        They haven’t been right that much. They were pushing narratives like Russia expected and planned to topple the Ukrainian government and take Kiev in a few weeks. While Russia was negotiating with that same government.

      6. Roland

        While I share your dissatisfaction with MoA, Saker, etc., nevertheless I find it hard to take ISW seriously. Their work is attractively packaged, but the content is of poor quality.

        For example, early this year, in the lead-up to the war, ISW produced a report with maps and tables showing the RF buildup. However, that report contained absolutely nothing about UKR strength and dispositions. Since ISW almost certainly has at least as good information about UKR forces as they would about RF forces, the omission must have deliberate. Such blatant partisanship ruins any kind of technical work.

        Worse, since ISW did not even acknowledge to the reader that were omitting UKR force data, that means they’re not even honest about their bias. Their work, therefore, can only be treated as deliberate misinformation.

        If you want to study how NGO’s and think tanks market themselves, then the ISW’s success is worthy of attention. If you want to learn some things about graphic design and document layout, then you could do worse than flipping through ISW reports.

        But in terms of military affairs, ISW is garbage. Nice-looking, academic-sounding, but still garbage.

        Unfortunately, one cannot gain good information about the war in progress by simply compiling and collating the various kinds of garbage out there. The intelligent observer is compelled to remain on the defensive. The positive goals of correct, relevant, and timely war news are currently unobtainable to the layperson, and indeed might be unattainable even to the war’s protagonists. The best one can do is to try to defend the integrity of one’s mind against the worldwide propaganda bombardment.

        Such inactivity is very trying, especially to those of quick and vigorous intellect, who are accustomed to moving at will amidst the current of events. It takes discipline to hold oneself in check.

  2. Lexx

    ‘The Onion and the Supreme Court’

    Man, how many times have we been reading a headline here so absurd we had to do a double-check to see if ‘The Onion’ wrote it?

    Even The Onion’s lawyers are funny. They would have to be.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      You don’t have to be a chemist to recognize how special water is.

      True goodness
      is like water.
      Water’s good
      for everything.
      It doesn’t compete.

      It goes right
      to the low, loathsome places,
      and so finds the way.

      Tao te Ching #8 (Le Guin rendition)

        1. RA

          Hah. No dihydrogen monoxide for me.

          I think a better compound to use is hydrogen hydroxide or in a pinch hydroxic acid.

      1. ddt

        “Human beings were invented by water as a device for transporting itself from one place to another.”

        Tom Robbins from the book Another Roadside Attraction

        1. juno mas

          The events in Florida suggests that the warming atmosphere is doing a bang-up job of moving water.

      2. CanCyn

        Tell that to the people in the paths of recent hurricanes Fiona and Ian. Nature is never all good. It is not evenly in the human sense of the word but, and even more so thanks to our poor caretaking, it can do all kinds of damage.

        1. Henry Moon Pie

          Human moral pronouncements about Nature really don’t make sense.

          I think Lao-Tzu is likening water’s tendency to flow to “low” places to “the good’s” tendency to move toward the unrespected, the unimportant, the despised, the same way that the way is found in such “low” places. Christianity has the same viewpoint, placing Jesus in the company of unacceptable.

          Such views are completely contrary to religious and other views that locate the most moral among the respected while disparaging the poor and outcast as immoral.

          1. CanCyn

            I was questioning the line “water is good for everything”. I wonder if it should have been translated as “everything needs water”. And I did make a typo, I meant “evil [not evenly] in the human sense of the word”. So indeed, I agree that nature can’t and shouldn’t be be judged by human morality. But what happens when nature storms, and humanity’s role in both causes and consequences of storm, drought, etc. can certainly be judged and I find us sadly lacking. As Pogo said so long ago, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

  3. DJG, Reality Czar

    The Onion’s amicus brief is worth your while, particularly in an era in which some people think that “Dark Brandon” is either (1) funny or (2) ironic, when it wouldn’t pass The Onion sniff test.

    The opening, which soars with rhetoric and cadences that Obama tried his best to show off, then leads to what is more or less prophetic in these melodramatically crass times:

    ARGUMENT ……………………………………………….. 4
    I. Parody Functions By Tricking People Into
    Thinking That It Is Real
    II. Because Parody Mimics “The Real Thing,”
    It Has The Unique Capacity To Critique
    The Real Thing
    III. A Reasonable Reader Does Not Need A
    Disclaimer To Know That Parody Is
    IV. It Should Be Obvious That Parodists
    Cannot Be Prosecuted For Telling A Joke
    With A Straight Face

    Highly recommend that you read this unsurpassed legal document.

    Speaking of parody: Is that latest Polish government drama-queenery self-parody or not? I’m leaning toward self-parody but would rather not be too uncharitable.

    1. lambert strether

      My thought was that Helmer was right, and the Poles assisted in blowing up Nordstream (and also [family blogging] the Germans).

      So now the Polish elite sees themselves as having a seat at the big table at last, and so they’re full of themselves. Perhaps someone with a better knowledge of the Intermarium than mine can comment.

      1. jsn

        “While a parody targets and mimics the original work to make a point, a satire uses the original work to criticize something else entirely.”

        I don’t think so, The Onion rarely does allegories, so seems to parody its source material.

        Is there a better distinction between the two I don’t know?

        1. Acacia

          From a Glossary of Literary Terms:

          A parody imitates the serious manner and characteristic features of a particular literary work, the distinctive style of a particular author, or the typical stylistic and other features of a serious literary genre, and deflates the original by applying the imitation to a lowly or comically inappropriate subject.


          Satire can be described as the literary art of diminishing or derogating a subject by making it ridiculous and evoking toward it attitudes of amusement, contempt, scorn, or indignation.

          The crucial difference, I take it, is that the subject of parody is always a fictional work, whereas the subject of satire is something in our lived reality. If I write something that imitates and mocks a Marvel Superhero… that’s parody, while if I write something that mocks George Bush, that’s satire.

          Is the Onion only making fun of fictional works? That’s not my impression.

  4. zagonostra

    I finally got around to reading Putin’s Sep 30th speech that he delivered at the signing of the Donetsk, Lugansk and Zaporozhye incorporation into the Russia. The speech should be read directly instead of having it filtered through media outlets. Here is one that jumped out at me, though there are so many more juicy paragraphs that are worth quoting.

    Let me repeat that the dictatorship of the Western elites targets all societies, including the citizens of Western countries themselves. This is a challenge to all. This complete renunciation of what it means to be human, the overthrow of faith and traditional values, and the suppression of freedom are coming to resemble a “religion in reverse” – pure Satanism. Exposing false messiahs, Jesus Christ said in the Sermon on the Mount: “By their fruits ye shall know them.” These poisonous fruits are already obvious to people, and not only in our country but also in all countries, including many people in the West itself

    1. Steve H.

      Tertiary to actual belief, and the intelligence gathering potential of the Sacrament of Confession, Putin is performing a Kansetsu-waza (関節技) on a weak point of US internal cohesion: the Traditional/Secular dimension.

      >> These maps indicate that the United States is not a prototype of cultural modernization for other societies to follow, as some modernization writers assumed. In fact, the United States is a deviant case, having a much more traditional value system than any other postindustrial society except Ireland. On the traditional/secular dimension, the United States ranks far below other rich societies, with levels of religiosity and national pride comparable with those found in some developing societies.

      1. tegnost

        the United States ranks far below other rich societies, with levels of religiosity

        not really true…it is religiously asserted that money is god in the USA

        1. hunkerdown

          Middle classes like that thought stopper because it makes austerity a desirable moral choice and reduces demands and other antagonism from wage earners.

          The West’s civil religion is descended from the authoritarian Puritan movement, and its focus is servanthood. Elections answer the question of whether we want a left or right deviation from Puritan authoritarianism for the next term, nothing more.

        2. cfraenkel

          I think they meant that the US ranks below other rich societies in secularism; religion is in the denominator. (the original sentence is typically tortured academic English, it’s like saying a sports car ranks far below other cars in fuel efficiency, with power levels comparable to semi tractors)

          In the US, money as a god seems perfectly at home with the more ‘traditional’ meaning of religion.

          I was going to say ‘older’, but then I remembered the Vatican and walking around various cathedrals in Spain. Old (western) religion didn’t have much problem with co-existing with money either.

        3. c_heale

          And currently neoliberalism is the religion of the governing powers of the West. Among the nonsense in Harari’s book Sapiens, he does make one or two pertinant comments, and one is, that facism, communism, liberalism, et al, are modern religions.

      2. Revenant

        Odd maps. The clusters seem to be arbitrary. Why are Switzerland and Germany classed as Protestant? They are hardly uniformly so. Why stretch the anglophone group with a tentacle, to include the US with the Commonwealth?

        It would be more interesting to see which countries cluster together at any given time and over time to define the groups and then see what you get.

        Also, in the time series of the plot, Canada moves towards markedly greater self-expression AND religiosity. Immigration? Americanisation?

        The accompanying notes are fantastically tone deaf progressive. People who struggle to survive are mean to the gays and immigrants, I ask you!

        1. Polar Socialist

          Why are Switzerland and Germany classed as Protestant?

          I believe they are classified as “Protestant Europe” because it’s a convenient name for the North-of-Alps part that is very much different from the “Catholic Europe”.

          Just an anecdata, but way back when I was on a course in Madrid, and during the first 5 minutes a dude from Austria did seek me out (not too difficult, me being the only bearded, blondish, tall Nordic type present) and promptly attaching to me for the week as the only other one from “The North”. A safe haven, if you will, among all those Spaniards, Portuguese and Italians.

          1. Revenant

            Perhaps – but they are not. Bavaria is cheerfully Catholic oompah-oompah land. Switzerland contains plenty of Catholics. The assumption is these labels are meaningful and then we impose meaning on the data. It would be more interesting to see what confessional/cultural groups lie in the data rather than which data lie in stereotyped groups.

            1. Polar Socialist

              The gist of my anecdata was that an Austrian Catholic felt more at home with a Nordic Protestant (or atheist, really) than with a bunch of Southern Catholics.

              I guess I was trying to make a point that the labels used are really not about religions of individuals. Probably not even religions of populations, it just seems to be the framework the writers were comfortable to use as labels. I’d say a better label for “Protestant Europe” would be “Apatheist Europe”, since minority of people in Nordic countries think religion has any meaning for them.

              I’ve never been a member of any church yet I don’t mind being labeled as Protestant in this article, since I think the society I grew up and live in with my Atheist, Protestant, Orthodox, Muslim and Hindu friends and acquaintances has been, is and will be shaped by the tenets of Protestant world view.

              1. Revenant

                Your interpretation is more charming! But it is a bit too explicitly fuzzy and, dare I say, “nativist” for social pseudoscience. I am probably being unreasonably grumpy about maps and plots but these things can be dangerous.

                All this grouping into arbitrary “Catholic” and “Protestant” smacks of Max Weber and/or some notion of WASP manifest destiny. A society is a more complex thing: what is the specifically Catholic aspect of society in a majority Roman Catholic country that is not present in the culture of an Anglican country (which professes to be a catholic religion) or a Lutheran one (not so clear about Lutheran doctrine!) or even an Orthodox one (only splitting from Catholicism post 11th century at the earliest and sometimes a lot later, given the various corner-case Catholic Rite churches)? Why are HK and Macao not denoted Protestant and Catholic?

                Anyway, to think of it your way, it is certainly interesting to cluster the countries by how at home people would feel. However, personally, I always feel more at home in Atlantic Europe (France, Spain, Portugal, Norway) than I do in Central Europe (Germany, Austria, Italy and points east). It is more than just the weather. Very few people in Atlantic Europe are more than a couple hundred kilometres from the ocean (nowhere is more than 70 miles in the UK; some more landlocked places elsewhere but nobody generally living there – perhaps Madrid is the honourable exception at 333km) and I think that changes society more than religion. If you don’t like life at home, you can go anywhere in short order. In central Europe, if you don’t like life at home, it’s a long walk and not much changes. Cultures change at walking pace whereas coastal states have long experience of quite distant cultures washing up on the borders.

                In the same vein, I find the US flyover states profoundly unsettling – how can one live in such homogeneous cultural “inner space”, with the world at such a vast remove? Much in common with Russia, there!

    2. The Rev Kev

      It is a remarkable speech that when you sit down and read what he actually said. That section that you quoted jumped out for me as well. In certain ‘progressive’ circles in places like Brussels, London, San Francisco, New York, etc. that was him calling out their entire belief systems and I am sure that they were totally outraged. However, it is a big world out there and I am positive that in places like Africa, Asia, the Middle East, South America that they would have been in complete agreement with him, especially when western countries have been telling those regions no money until they align with western ideological beliefs.

      1. Robert Hahl

        I don’t expect many Americans will feel outrage over Putin’s speech. Firstly, because they won’t even hear about it, ever, and secondly because whatever Putin says is a lie by definition.

    3. Carolinian

      Putin’s religiosity seems to be one of the things the Putin haters hold against him just as here in the USA Trump’s (!?) supposed union with fundamentalists makes him extra threatening to the TDS-ers. It’s as though they’ve overdosed on Handmaid’s Tale and think theocracy is just waiting in the wings. Plus rejection of the social side of Christianity makes all those Bible verses opposed to usury and greed moot. Call it not Satanism but the church of Greed is Good.

      Those of us who grew up Baptist know how rigid that world can be but it’s curious how the liberals of another era were often priests and believers. Perhaps it’s not a good idea to set aside one religion and replace it with another that’s worse..

    4. Henry Moon Pie

      Thanks for this excerpt that prompted me to do what you recommend: read the speech in full.

      So is Putin using these symbols as the most effective way to communicate the level of danger to a nation where many retain a close connection to Orthodox Christianity, or does he think he’s on a crusade to at least defend if not re-establish the “true faith?” Elsewhere, he says, “We cannot return to the past,” but that’s in reference to the Soviet Union and its old structures.

      One of the things out there that’s on offer as an alternative to anti-human, anti-life Neoliberalism is Steve Bannon’s back to the future push. Orban and Meloni, along with Bannon, are offering up a return to traditional Christianity as a solution to our ills, and they’re able to use some of the more unhinged aspects of Woke-ism as a pretty compelling argument that things have gone off the rails in the WEIRD countries. I’m not sure whether their ultimate solution is a return to the Inquisition or worse, but my read is that there’s about as much chance of Christianity regaining the level of influence among the plebes that prevailed a century ago as there is that an increase in church attendance will produce a direct improvement in the climate crisis.

      I think the Bannon/Orban/Meloni approach offers no real solutions to our situation. If they get power in this country, and they look likely to do so to me at this point, they will fix nothing, make most things much worse, and their prayer performances and repeated claims there’s pie in the sky will become comical before long. Sort of like Randy Newman’s “That’s Why I Love Mankind.”

      Maybe what really underlies this, at least in the U. S., is an argument among elites about the best method of soft suppression of the hoi polloi. For the Bannon side, it’s the Christianity of a few generations ago. (“Get those young whippersnappers in Sunday School, and they won’t be quitting jobs and forming unions.”) For the Obama side, it’s the levers and dials in our brains that Big Tech and Big Pharma claim can keep us in check (and make lots of money too!).

      There’s not much in either idea for us.

      1. Lex

        Thanks for this perspective. It nicely sums up my issues with Putin’s speech, which of course may be a matter of playing to certain domestic constituencies of his as much the announcement of a crusade. I don’t personally agree with those portions of the speech, but my opinion is moot in the context of Russian domestic politics since it’s not my place to demand other nations behave as I think is most appropriate.

        Of course in the west this section of the speech will be used to undermine the more practical and geopolitical statements that were made about western behavior towards the rest of the world. And in that context, the socio-religious aspect is also a statement that Russia will not bend to the dictates of the west. To what extent this statement reflects the majority opinion in Russia is a serious question the west lacks analysts to answer.

        1. juno mas

          Russia has a conservative (traditional) culture. The Orthodox church has significant sway in the nation. Russian history is replete with struggle. Ignoring culture (Orthodox Catholic or Muslim) when dealing with nations is an American vice.

          1. Michael Fiorillo

            The Orthodox Church in Russia has also traditionally, with the exception of the Soviet era, had close ties to the State, each validating and reinforcing the other.

      2. David

        Resentment of Putin obviously has many sources, but one, I think, is his use of the word “faith.” Now “faith” (assuming the translation from Russian is correct) refers to something that cannot be proved or disproved, and is fel0,t rather than adopted or learnt. Although faith has been the norm throughout human history, and remains the norm in some countries even today, modern western liberal culture cannot accommodate the idea. This is because we demand that reality should conform to what our ego is prepared to accept as aesthetically pleasing and personally agreeable. If we don’t like the idea of there being two sexes, for example, we demand that reality be changed. The point about faith is that you have to accept things as they are, not as you want them to be, and that reality is too big and strange to encompass with purely human capabilities. Reality is not an infinitely malleable post-modern toy that you can play with as much as you like. (The secular equivalent is the never-ending quest to “explain” a universe which appears to be beyond our actual ability to comprehend.)

        The modern western liberal view is that facts or doctrines which fail to please us, contradict our views or make us feel uncomfortable, are necessarily wrong. The alternative, which is that we might be wrong, and that there are some things we just have to accept, is more than our egos can tolerate. The modern western attitude to religion, riffing off this, takes it as given that religions are not actually “true.” They are, it is thought, lifestyle choices, political and social ideologies and social constructions, but contain no objective “truth.” This is why, for example, the threat from Political Islam was under-appreciated for so long, because Islam was not perceived as a religion, but as a set of social and ethical beliefs, a bit old-fashioned but we shouldn’t criticise because they are victims of oppression. When Islamists started slaughtering people with automatic weapons because their god told them to do so, we (some of us anyway) where genuinely surprised.

        If you evacuate faith from the argument, then propositions such as “I am not a Christian because of what X said or Y did”, no matter how logically absurd, can be made to sound reasonable, because you turn religion into just another set of norms and ideas. In Europe especially, liberalism thought it had pretty much conquered religion as anything more than a lifestyle choice and a tourism asset. How frustrating it must be for Brussels to see a country headed by a leader who clearly believes that religion (his anyway) is actually true. Nothing in the European Commission Manual of Epistemology covers that.

        1. lyman alpha blob

          Modern western liberal culture has no problem at all with faith. It’s just that the invisible object of worship is now a market rather than any deity.

          Excellent comment though.

          1. Polar Socialist

            But Eastern Orthodox Church states that all humans are prone to error, even the highest leaders – even in the church itself. Can modern western liberal culture handle that?

          2. Michael Fiorillo

            Yes, and the religious impulse is going to be expressed by humans, either explicitly or in sublimated form, as in the kneeling and hand raising imagery among all those committed secularists during the George Floyd demonstrations.

      3. tegnost

        going back to my comparative religion classes at the theological college I attended, religion is simply a contract between people to behave.

        1. hunkerdown

          Calvinism had to compete with maypoles and light debauchery. Don’t worry, once they “win” they’ll set the world right with their god whether we like it or not.

        2. Henry Moon Pie

          That was very interesting and a little frightening. Thanks. So Bannon and these Traditionalists want to take us back to the Ur-Religion through the Jackpot? Great. With them, combined with the Darby-ites trying to bring on the Rapture and a DoS filled with NeoCons, our odds of making it to the end of the decade are not looking good.

          And perhaps more important, here’s Bannon doing more or less what Ezra and his scribes did with the second Genesis story. He’s found a myth that explains how things got so f—ed up and how to make it better. Seems like a pretty loopy and wholly anthropocentric myth, but it will apparently be one of the items available at the cafeteria as Neoliberalism melts itself away.

      4. zagonostra

        Not sure you read his complete speech, but he doesn’t limit religion to Christianity as below excerpt illustrate he mentions Buddhism, Judaism, as well as Christianity.

        …we did not allow them to rob us during the period of colonial conquests and forced the Europeans to trade with us on mutually beneficial terms. This was achieved by creating a strong centralised state in Russia, which grew and got stronger based on the great moral values​​of Orthodox Christianity, Islam, Judaism and Buddhism, as well as Russian culture and the Russian word that were open to all.

      5. semper loquitur

        “Orban and Meloni, along with Bannon, are offering up a return to traditional Christianity as a solution to our ills, and they’re able to use some of the more unhinged aspects of Woke-ism as a pretty compelling argument that things have gone off the rails in the WEIRD countries”

        This. The synthetic Left has done an admirable job of keeping any impetus to change well within the boundaries of what is approved by the powers that be. It’s easy to make a shallow case that we have to return to the era of the Happy Housewife and leaving room for the Holy Ghost between couples at high school dances when you have people declaring their pronouns to be “frog/frog”.

        At the risk of going tin-foily, I have a theory that that is the ultimate goal of the identity politics: push things to a ridiculous place then watch society snap backwards when it recoils from the absurdities that emerge. I keep going back to Caleb Mauphin’s discussion of the Congress for Cultural Freedom:

        It was CIA funded with Irving Kristol as it’s director. It hated the average person. It promoted divisiveness between the intellectuals and the workers. It lives on in the form of BreadTube:

      6. Petter

        I’ll admit to not having read his speech (just what’s been revealed here) but does Putin’s speech vaguely reference The Great Schism – when the western and eastern churches split?
        Also thinking back to Solzhenitsyn’s Harvard Commencement speech in 1978 ( or around there) where Solzhenitsyn criticized Western consumerist society (from memory).
        And – watched the movie about the Ukrainian massacre of Poles in 1943 – Volhynia – religion definitely played a significant role – a signifier of nationality. The Ukrainians attacked the Poles on a Sunday while they were at Mass and the heroine of the movie had to identify herself to guards by crossing herself correctly and reciting correct version of The Lord’s Prayer.

        1. hk

          The irony (at least in Galicia–Volhynia is a bit different since it was part of the Russian rather than Austrian Empire) was that many Ukrainian nationalists were also Catholics, although they were Uniates rather than Latins like the Poles, ie they recognized the Pope’s leadership, but followed same practices (“Byzantine” rather than “Roman” liturgy) as the Orthodox (ie they crossed themselves like the Orthodox rather than the Western Catholics). Polish experience from 1920s and 30s was that the Uniate Catholics in Ukraine were more hostile to Poles than the Orthodox.

      7. Kouros

        Gilbert Doctorow has some interesting musings about Putin’s speech, one of which is this:

        “However, I would maintain that with this speech the Russians have both the Chinese and the Indians by the tail, not the other way around. There is no way that either of these great powers can walk away from Russia without losing all credibility in the Global South as champions of a multipolar world and challengers to the rapacious collective West.”

    5. KD

      Looking at the cultural sampling and the political discourse, it occurred to me to compose a book on “kind rainbow unicorn Satanism,” not written from a hysterical fundamentalist Christian perspective, but under a cynical, secular lens. Of course, there doesn’t have to be a real Satan for there to be a cult of Satan, but Western elites really have come to a point of constant dissembling, ignoring real problems, and promoting behavior which seems fair but is in truth foul, always cloaked in a mantle of (self)righteousness and lacking insight. Whether you look at the hospitals and activists cashing out on experimental treatments for children which leave them permanently damaged, or the getting in bed with the Azov movement and backing a one-party state in the name of democracy, it does seem downright Satanic. When Khomeini called the US the “Great Satan,” it was not very credible, but what is “not to be called groomers” have really done a good job of making it fit. Maybe East Asia won’t care, but it can’t help in the ME or Africa or Eastern Europe or the Midwest for that matter. . . soft power is not let us in so we can destroy your religion and propagandize your children and make them sterile. Putin is really going for the weak spot here.

    6. Ctesias

      I am alarmed about where this is heading, though. With eurasianism back in vogue within Russia, and understandably so, along with it, it seems, comes a strong sense of anti liberal, traditional and religious values, as it is the “spiritually corrupt” west that undermines Russia from the outside and from within.

      It is the Eurasianist Dugin, wrongly called Putin’s “brain” or mentor in western mainstream media, who has held the strong belief that liberalism had to be combatted, arguing that it didn’t much matter if this is represented by center left or center right parties within Europe and the US, but essentially they are all anti Russian in nature, are defendants of the unipolar world order, and curtail Russia’s attempts to advance her own economical and geopolitical interests. Therefore alliances needed to be forged with the extreme left and the extreme right (including Ukraine’s nazis, ironically). Mark Sleboda explains this (and his own rupture with Dugin) very nicely in this Thaddeus Russel interview.

      The concerning part, to me, is that the attempt to break the shackles of unipolar US hegemony should necessarily be accompanied by orthodox traditional/religious values and intolerance.
      Indeed, I’m observing a lot of gay bashing on pro-Russian channels that I follow. And the Slavyangrad Telegram channel recently expressed its support and ideological alignment to the extreme right-wing president Bolsonaro in his attempt to seek reelection, against Lula of all people.
      As Pepe Escobar wrote, in big picture terms, Bolsonaro in power or an extremely fragile Lula government is the very LAST thing that an emerging multipolar world needs.

      I wonder if a parallel with the Iranian revolution may emerge. Initially largely supported by leftists across the globe, it quickly resulted in some soul-searching, when they started rounding up and hanging secular leftists in Iran itself.

      1. KD

        The key to understanding traditional religions is the fertility boost that they provide for their followers, and the fact that under conditions of urbanization, fertility left to itself will go close to zero. Hence, why traditional religions hold on over the centuries. Values are imparted to children, and if the religious are over-represented in the next generation, those values win out in the long-term. Also, wars of religion can transpire because you have two large populations competing for power and/or territory, afraid of being swarmed by the other.

        Hard power is based on wealth and population. Population crashed in the Soviet and post-Soviet Union, and made Russia substantially weaker, so the last thing Putin is going to do is shred the fertility rate by adopting “Western Values.” Russia has been actually moderate on LGBT+ issues, but the shift now is that it is a means of demonstrating a rejection of the West, and it probably is appealing to other parts of the world that have more traditional societies. My guess is that traditional values are coming back, due to the gradual collapse of US power and influence, and the geopolitical advantage created by increased fertility.

        Values and norms and policies lead to long-term consequences, and like it or not, traditional religious values are what they are because they were more effective at perpetuating themselves across generations than their competitors. Eric Kaufmann has written extensively on this phenomenon, and there is a host of literature, and pretty much in similarly situated populations, the more religious and the more fundamentalist, the higher fertility.

        The future challenge is not religion vs. secular, it going to be the relationship between the state and religions, and the dealing with religious pluralism humanely.

        1. KD

          With regard to the Iranian Revolution, the Mullahs got where they got because there was a long tradition of the Mullahs standing up for the people against the colonialists. This is not the case in most of the world, or most of the Islamic World. . . and Khomeini was a brutally effective politician.

          1. Kouros

            The theocracy in Iran has a long history, way before western colonialists (including Alexander the Great) showed their faces there.

        2. Stephen

          I think your analysis makes sense. This is a way to create a line versus what will be characterized as the degenerate west. War always needs an ideology to persuade people to fight it.

          The west has kind of been asking for such a reaction too. Earlier in the year, the Head of MI6 sent a tweet that spoke about Pride as one of the western values that we are fighting for in Ukraine that Putin does not share. I must admit that I had previously understood that Russia was reasonably “tolerant” of Pride type issues in the same way that the west typically was in the 80s: do what you wish to but don’t advertise it or extol it, or expect everyone else to approve of it.

          Pride / LBGT+ also brings to a head a broader issue too. The US especially (and the collective west to a greater or lesser degree) has tended to believe that whatever values it currently has decided are human utopia need to be embraced enthusiastically by the rest of the world. Be that “liberal democracy”, “Pride” or whatever. Failure to do so then leads to the accusation of being evil and subject to sanctions and do forth. Of course, we do this when it suits us but we do it. Putin is presenting this as imperialism, which is a consistent message to the one that China gives about different paths for different countries. LBGT+ is then one place for him to fight that battle, especially given that within the west itself most such acts were illegal until a generation or so ago.

          The specific issue of Pride itself and the broader imperialist issue is likely to resonate in the Global South, which always seems to be a key part of his audience.

          1. KD

            It will be interesting in the West as well. In Israel, 40% or so of school age children are Haredim, who are exempt from military service and highly dependent on state benefits, and also like to stone cars in their neighborhoods for driving on the Sabbath. In other countries, the “Great Replacement”–not in terms of immigration–but in terms of the fertility disparity between fundamentalist and secular population, proceeds more slowly but inexorably toward an eventual political crisis. I think even if the PMC tries to ratchet up the repression more broadly, the fundamentalists will just go underground, like the Mormon fundamentalists have been doing for years.

          2. hk

            This is where things get interesting: many, perhaps even most, non Western cultures did not have such serious issues with homosexuality. Laws prescribing serious punishments for homosexuality were established by Western colonial authorities in Africa and Southeast Asia. This history is itself indicative of something interesting: in the West, which side you are on, whether for or against X, is something that matters, especially among the elites. Among others, including, I think, the masses in the West, being for or against specific mostly symbolic issues of little relevance to them. This is incomprehensible to the Western elite mind and the binary mindset: you are with us or against us–there is no “we don’t care” or “we don’t know.”

        3. feox

          My guess is that traditional values are coming back, due to the gradual collapse of US power and influence, and the geopolitical advantage created by increased fertility.

          This the horrible. It will make sure that only the cultural west has any claim to the moral high ground since every alternative will be fundamentally intolerant.

          1. KD

            Maybe they do? Or maybe its just ethnocentrism all the way down. Although in reality, tolerance isn’t a value its a practice.

            1. KD

              There are some beautiful things in the West and about the West that we take for granted and which may very well prove ephemeral, like all beautiful things.

    7. Tom Stone

      Putin’s remarks are to the point, the Western elites are clearly Evil as well as insanely reckless.
      Many recent US Presidents have come from seriously dysfunctional families and have demonstrated behaviors that vary from irrational to seriously and dangerously aberrant.
      Joe Biden is among those I consider to be seriously aberrant.
      He is a cruel man.
      That $600 he owes me would have cost him nothing and would have made a real difference to me.
      It might also have brought him a few votes.
      Forgiving all the Student loans would be a huge boost to the Real Estate Industry and would have bought the Dems a lot of votes.
      The remarks in regard to the crime bill, the treatment of Anita Hill, the repeated instances of on camera behavior toward young girls that are very sick displays of “Dominance”.
      His Daughter’s Diary, abandoned while she was in Rehab revealing the showers with daddy and obsessive compulsive behaviors and Hunter’s multiple laptops all point a picture of a very unhealthy individual.
      Who has been showing signs of serious cognitive decline for years.
      That’s “THE MAN”, “The BOSS”, “Mr President”.
      Joseph Robinette Biden, who is much smaller on the inside than he is on the outside.
      If he had entered office determined to do as much damage to the USA and the World as possible he couldn’t have done a better job.

      1. Oh

        This lowlife is a greedy crook who will use every means to enrich himself and put down the poor. He has no morals at all.

    8. Mikel

      He didn’t mention the West still being upset about the murder of their cousin Nicky and family.

    9. Harold

      I am not religious, but it has very often struck me that the saying that you shall know a false prophet by their fruits is one of the most telling and important messages from the accumulated wisdom of mankind, not a small part of which is contained in the Bible

  5. The Rev Kev

    “Poland demands €1.3 trillion in WWII reparations from Germany”

    You know, maybe Germany should pay Poland that €1.3 trillion. It’s only fair. And in exchange, Poland could give back to Germany all that territory that Germany had to cede to Poland. You know – the bulk of East Prussia, the bulk of Lower Silesia, Farther Pomerania, and the parts of Western Pomerania, Lusatia and Neumark that were awarded to Poland after WW2. As Poland looks like it is getting Galicia from the Ukraine, that should be a fair trade-

    1. Werther

      Twice their gross domestic product… might it be enough to facilitate the relocation of 8 million people to the Kresy after a lot of (white) Russian speaking people will have left… But to take the irony further, will the Bundesrepublik have the funds to rearrange all those once german regions. What a bad joke…what do these people even think to achieve with these reckless and stupid demands…

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        They’re a little carried away with themselves after serving as junior partners in the great pipeline caper. And this attitude toward Germany may help explain the Poles’ extra motivation for blowing up what might have saved their neighbors.

      2. JTMcPhee

        One wonders if woke-ism has withered enough to allow the resurrection of ethnic humor. As a young person in the Chicago area, which included more Poles than there were in Warsaw, I heard a ton of pretty hilarious jokes “at the expense” of a whole bunch of national identities. Polish jokes among them, and British and Scottish and Irish, my natal heritage. Part of the human problem is that so many take themselves so ridiculously seriously.

    2. NotThisAgain

      LOL! I realize that this is just typical bs posturing and grandstanding for a domestic audience, but just imagine–a foreign country demanding that the Germans pay war reparations which exceed the country’s ability to pay them while the country’s economy is tanking. What could possibly go wrong?

      More seriously, France in particular has made a concerted (and so far unsuccessful) effort spanning decades to weaken Germany and reduce its influence within the EU. I wonder if they are reconsidering this strategy–the options increasingly appear to be an EU with Germany at the head or no EU at all.

    3. Wukchumni

      In a similar way to finding that last Nazi guard in Auschwitz-who had eluded justice for 77 years and now there’s an urgency to jail him before the opportunity fades away, the Poles are doing the same thing… albeit from a different take.

      1. hk

        These last Nazi concentration camp guards were mostly Ukrainians, I think? Some people sure should be glad that there are no more of them left now.

    4. Exiled_in_Boston

      And then Russia can cede back to Poland the land it gained after WW2. After that, Königsberg can be discussed?

      1. hk

        Or, Poland can cede the lands it gained after 1918? This sort of stuff can go on forever…which is why ppl bring it up as rhetorical trickery.

        1. Exiled_in_Boston

          Exactly why Russia is wrong to be arbitrarily redoing internationally recognized boundaries. Where does it stop? If Russia can do this, why not other nations?

          1. pjay

            But are all such historical “redoings” equivalent? Why is Russia “arbitrarily” doing this? Just because it can, like, say, the British and French carving up the Middle East? Was this just an “unprovoked” expression of Putin’s ego? Does the reason matter?

          2. juno mas

            Maybe you missed the 8 years of shelling Russian speaking Ukraines in the Donbas, beginning in 2014. Or the intimidation-by-burning in Odessa. Or Putin’s attempts at a diplomatic solution (Minks II).

            As the Mexican abassador to the UN noted, he doesn’t approve of countries, the US, stealing Texas, New Mexico, and Alta California through military means.

          3. Kouros

            Sorry, but it was the US that started it. Remember Serbia and Kosovo? or Sudan and South Sudan?

          4. Adam

            I totally agree. This should make the millions and millions of innocents we killed in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Syria, Vietnam, etc, etc, feel much better about their demise.

          5. jonboinAR

            I have to agree with Russia, here. Having suffered the, by far, brunt of loss in WW2, having a geographically badly insecure western border, when they tell Ukraine, “Hey, you are not going to ally with NATO, even informally”, I can’t say they are wrong when they back that up with force.

        2. HotFlash

          Or, Poland can cede the lands it gained after 1918? This sort of stuff can go on forever …

          Forever, indeed. Julius Caesar, Bill the Conqueror, Cortez, it does go on in both directions. AnHow, and from whom, did the US get its territory? IIRC, there was no referendum of the inhabitants. Your point?

        1. Tom Stone

          The Southwest US will certainly become more Hispanic over the next few decades, where do you think the population of Mexico City will move to when the current location becomes uninhabitable due to climate change?

  6. Stephen V

    Property damage from strikes?
    We’ve come a long way baby or perhaps not. From Local 1330 v. US Steel, 1980 , the court tried to find a property right in the “lifeblood of the community”–

    This Court has spent many hours searching for a way to cut to the heart of the economic reality that obsolescence and market forces demand the close of the Mahoning Valley plants, and yet the lives of 3500 workers and their families and the supporting Youngstown community cannot be dismissed as inconsequential. United States Steel should not be permitted to leave the Youngstown area devastated after drawing from the lifeblood of the community for so many years.

    Unfortunately, the mechanism to reach this ideal settlement, to recognize this new property right, is not now in existence in the code of laws of our nation.

  7. Louis Fyne

    re. that Musk-Twitter lawsuit.

    For anyone who (smartly) dip their toe in the Twitter-sphere….Musk blew up Twitter with a tweet opining for peace and partition of pre-2014 Ukraine.

    Someone on Twitter made the point that if Musk is playing 4-D chess for his lawsuit re. Twitter bots, Musk purposefully throw out a provocative tweet to document the Twitter bots in the act.

    1. Lex

      And then he rolled with it to the point of claiming he’d name his next child pidoras X99 based on the number of replies it appeared in. One has to think that he looked up the word before tweeting about it, right? The deeper issue was the overall response to what was (especially for Musk) a rational peace proposal, or at least starting point for one in the original vote, the bot swarm and the replies.

      1. Carolinian

        Trump has just said that he could go to Ukraine and negotiate a peace. That’s some first class trolling against the White House. Personally I’m convinced that the US public at large is sick of war against “terror” or anything else.

        Of course Trump has been as much of a rhetorical warmonger as anyone and is not a serious person although he at least seems to have all his marbles outside of the election megalomania thing (he still says Biden should step down). Also his party unlikely to support flipping against the war–at least not yet.

  8. Lexx

    ‘Colorado state fish swims back from the brink of extinction’

    We started out in Gunnison, which is SW of Summit County. In the middle of the RV camp, one tenter had set up his office away from home. He had strung a rain fly over his picnic table and was running his computer off of a small Jackery battery. Since we last owned a trailer, the wi-fi in trailer camps has greatly improved. Half the trailers there were for ‘long-timers’. I was curious about what all he used to stay connected and walked over to chat him up. He was from California and drove east to Colorado once a year to spend a month fly fishing.

    Fishermen were the only wildlife we saw in that part of the state where the lakes and rivers are greatly diminished by the drought. The waterlines are so ridiculously low I had to wonder how the fish survived only to be further bothered by catch-and-release fly fishermen. You could see from a distance men standing in the middle of rivers that barely reached the thighs of their waders, that in wetter years would have forced them to fish from the banks.

    Now that they’ve saved the cutthroat from extinction they have to be just as worried the fish will survive the drought. Colorado is also home to a land-locked salmon species, where the park service is on the constant lookout to prevent invasive species getting into the lakes via plunker’s boats.

    1. Wukchumni

      My longtime backpacking partner fly fishes and an awful lot of destinations are based on finding a place that will accommodate the possibility-which is more or less endless in the capillaries of the Sierra which spread tendrils of trout possibilities.

      You’ll find me reading a book when he’s out and about, but occasionally i’ll dip a pole in the waters if he brings a casting rod along…

      To find hallowed ground means walking off-trail to the watery bounty, and the further away the better the chances of to have boldly gone where no man has gone before, or something like that.

      One of the tougher gets was Eagle Scout Lake in Sequoia NP, devilish in fact. Nobody goes there for a reason, and the 1 time we went I was definitely interested in fishing, there had to be a reward for the bushwhacking and whatnot we endured!

      He got himself ready to fish around the lake while I plumbed the outlet stream below about 1/2 mile down and found a 6 foot waterfall emptying into a nice deep pool and went about my business and an embarrassment of riches in the guise of 15 to 17 inch cut-throats, a variety nether of us had ever seen in the Sierra.

      After it became boring as in old hat, I wondered how he was faring @ the lake, must be killing em’ for sure!

      So I make my way up there and he hasn’t even had a bite, and I say, ‘follow me to the promised land…’ and he’s pulling 20-22 inch cut-throats out of the outlet stream, never had a fishing day like that, one for the books~

      While i’m at it, another fishing story…

      Evelyn Lake in Mineral King is @ 9.000 feet and typically lakes at those levels or higher freeze over during the winter, leaving you with concentration camp like victims, as the trout have big heads and little bodies from being systematically starved.

      Evelyn’s got a secret though in that it doesn’t have an inlet stream and is spring fed, so it doesn’t freeze over.

      Its a 15 mile walk to the lake so it doesn’t get a lot of action, and the last time we were there, off he went to do what looks an awful lot like fencing and comes back to camp a few hours later and I ask how it went, and he sez ’50 casts, 49 trout. All 10-12 inches long’

      I then chided him for that missed opportunity, ha.

      1. juno mas

        Walking and fishing in the Sierra is a delight. You are lucky to have it close by.

        (Wuk, look at Doug Smith reminiscence of his time there @

        1. Wukchumni

          living on the front porch of the back of beyond is where i’ve always wanted to be, and so far so good.

      2. HotFlash

        to have boldly gone where no man has gone before, or something like that.

        Oh, lordy! To have boldly gone ‘where no mosquito has ever tasted the delicious human blood before’ is what I recall.

  9. Ctesias

    Re: The Curious Fate of Citizen Snowden’s Archive

    The same curious case of Greenwald’s archive on the Telegram correspondence between members of the Prosecuting office, responsible for the Lava Jato (Car Wash) investigation in Brazil, and judge Moro, tasked with getting former president Lula jailed and preventing him from running in the 2018 presidential elections.

    What Greenwald released was sufficient to see Lula’s sentence overturned, after having spent 500+ days in jail, but he promised and threatened to release much more with “I know what you did last summer” type statements. Then it suddenly all stopped. It’s gone absolutely quiet on that treasure trove.

    It may be that he was bluffing and there wasn’t much more significant to report or he may be holding a few things in his back pocket to ensure his safety and that of his family. It’s a curious case as well.

    1. the last D

      Always waiting to hear more from greenwald. So many nuggets in his pan. Always hopeful he’ll share with tucker.

  10. dftbs

    With respect Credit Suisse, I don’t believe it’s on the “brink”. At least not with respect to its private loans. Moreover, the reg cap regime that began with Basel 3, and reinforced by Volcker regulations, have made SIFIs quite robust. IMO Archegos is a clear demonstration of this. That’s not to say that banks have adequate risk management, if anything Archegos demonstrated the deficiencies in risk management models. But in terms of scale the losses incurred thanks to Archegos dwarf those of BSAM, which was the initial cascading event of the GFC.

    Because the GFC is the experiential touch point for most analysts they are missing the mark in our current crisis. What happened in the UK last week showed the nature of the current crisis. It is not a “Lehman moment”. That would imply the banks have loaded up their balance sheets with fugezi loans and their derivatives. Ok the contrary, banks are stuffed with level 1 collateral, HQLA and deposits. But it’s these High Quality Liquid Assets that have “gone bad”.

    Last week, British pension funds took down the UK in a way Napoleon and his Marshalls could only dream of. Traditionally pensions are end users of their investments, not subject to mark-to-market. But over the last decade of ZIRP these traditionally conservative institutions have leveraged out in search of returns. The collapse of their asset values due to vanilla rate increases begat a chain of events that in one day reversed centuries of Bri’sh good sense regarding money, at least since Newton was running the mint.

    This isn’t a “Lehman moment”. The bad stuff isn’t some fraudulent MBS, but the sovereign debt of the West. There will be “bailouts” forthcoming, but for nations, not banks. UK fell first, Europe is next; and one day soon, after America has digested the UK and Europe, it will have to eat itself.

    And really all because we decided to put the “faith and credit” up for sale to support some Coke head Ukie Notsies that pretend they’re not slavs.

    1. Wukchumni

      The Swiss are akin to us in that their Bretton Woods moment came at a similar time thanks to much more goldsmith possibilities than you could shake a stick at, they were practically inundated with inventory.

      How to clean it up and remove the taint of what may have been formerly teeth?

      Initially their response after the war was to strike 1935 dated 20 Franc coins-each containing almost 1/5th of an ounce in content, see-no way these could have been made from Nazi gold!

      They got smarter though, and outsourced their windfall from the downfall of the 3rd Reich by having the Austrian mint strike old Habsburg era gold coins dating from 1908 to 1915, which was aimed directly at the US market for an odd reason, in that although ownership of gold bullion in bar form was illegal, all gold coins dated before 1933 were perfectly legal to own since the mid 1930’s.

      The UK managed to off most of their holdings of old yeller @ $250, while the Swiss did better, selling off the lion’s share from their vaults @ $400 a year or 2 later.

      How are those 2 paper tigers doing now?

      1. dftbs

        I can’t comment on their historical trading acuity beyond what the books may say. But CS(FB), the current “incarnation” includes First Boston, make of that franchise what you will; are a victim of the current moment. Victim of course like some Rockefeller or other beast on the sinking Titanic. The West is the Titanic.

        1. Wukchumni

          We’re in the same imbrogliowe as were countries on the eve of Sarajevo, mutual interlocking alliances all forced into the meat grinder.

          1. Dftbs

            Forgive me Wukchumni. I’m a quibbler today. If we ever meet at a future NC meet up, first pint on me! I think the moment is really more like 1918. The collective West playing the Germans, and Ukraine the field of the Spring Offensive. We may soon realize the cupboards are bare and the people restless. There are sadly no Sparticists.

            1. Wukchumni

              Its a fine analogy as any, and we certainly have the look of 1914-18 Germany which was basically untouched by war, while lavishing on no mans land in tranche warfare.


  11. The Rev Kev

    “Mercenaries may have helped ancient Greeks turn the tide of war”

    Not surprising at all the presence of mercs, even at this early period. Even back then, lots of guys had no desire to spend their lives holding onto a plow and watching the south end of a mule. Straight off the bat, I can think of two other occasions where mercs were noted. After the Peloponnesian Wars ended after some thirty years, you had mercs from all the city states cut adrift and wandering around looking for employment from city to city. I suppose this problem only really ended when those mercs aged out over time. Then there were The Ten Thousand – mostly Greeks – who were part of an army in Persia fighting to help seize the Persian throne. When their side lost, their story how they had to fight their way back home to Greece became famous-

    1. PlutoniumKun

      The socio-economy of mercs is fascinating. It seems to have for many societies been a convenient way of getting rid of over-testosteroned young men. If they didn’t come back, it helped the older sons who got all the property (and more women), if they did return, it was usually with lots of gold. In more recent times, it would seem that many were from the upper classes – it was a good way for the boisterous second son of an aristocrat to make his own way in life. When the Irish catholic gentry were heavily suppressed in the 18th Century, they sent their sons all over the world – its hard to find an account of any battle from South America to Asia, not to mention all the European wars when there wasn’t an O’Brien or Lynch involved somewhere. The protestant gentry did the more ‘legal’ thing of sending their second sons out to fight for the empire. I was recently showing some Chinese friends around St. Patricks Cathedral in Dublin, they were surprised and enthralled by the tombstones of young men all name checking long forgotten battles in China, Burma and India.

      As for the ‘hirers’ of mercs, thats interesting too. In the 17th century there was a huge surge in the use of mercs, primarily because it made more sense to keep your own men working in the fields and hiring men who fought for money. It was more cost effective and efficient. I’m often surprised at how poor the US has been at adapting to this, very few empires have been as dependent on citizens as the US – or perhaps its just easier to use the plentiful supply of poor from flyover states.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Very good you comment. I will add that primogeniture really had an effect on the British empire. As the eldest son inherited the whole estate, younger sons tended to go to the Army, the Navy, the Church or Government. The net result was a steady flow of highly educated young men for those institutions where advancement was usually due to a matter of seniority and connections. It may have not been the best system but for its place and time, it did tend to give some stability.

        1. Revenant

          My father in law is found of pointing out that thanks to second sons of gentry going to the clergy as hunting, shooting, fishing parsons, for much of the last 500 years in rural England, you were never more than a couple of miles from someone who could read and write New Testament Greek. This is the same rich soil of Oxbridge* divinity graduates from which 500 years of British botanist and archaeologists and folklorist and historians and gentleman scientists and philosophers and general crackpots sprang.

          The stay at home clergy were the “Il faut cultiver nos / Ses jardins” types. The restless adventuring ones were best shipped abroad.

          (And that, with a big dollop of religious dissent, is fons et origo of America’s problem).

          (*and Durham and Trinity College Dublin and the Scottish Universities)

          1. HotFlash

            A German co-worker (he ex-Luftwaffe, immigrant to Canada) once remarked to me about the US, “What do you expect from a nation founded by every kook and religious nut in Europe?” The man had a point.

            1. Revenant

              Yes. Trust a German to say it bluntly but that was the point I was making. :-)

              The Pilgrim Fathers always struck me as the “B Ark” people from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (actually from one of the later books – the third? – I think).

      2. Ranger Rick

        I highly recommend checking out a book that I found here years ago: the Modern Mercenary, by Sean McFate. Mercenaries are still around, they just don’t use that name (because it’s apparently proscribed by international law). They featured quite large in Afghanistan and Iraq, where Blackwater or whatever it’s known by now landed itself in quite a bit of trouble. The author is a veteran of armies both public and private.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          An issue of course is that there is a spectrum, and always has been, between real ‘national’ soldiers and various people who do it for the money. We see of course the Wagner Group in Ukraine – but there are many variations on this.

      3. Lexx

        My Scottish jiro of a great-grandfather immigrated to the U.S. and was bartending in the Unassigned Lands (Oklahoma) when they opened that land up to settlers. He inherited money but not land or title and used the money to purchase his claim to a large chunk of land to ranch and proceeded to begat a lot of children, of a number that would have raised the eyebrows of even Irish priests at that time, many of which were usually ‘not-first-born’ themselves. He didn’t hold onto it though and died a destitute drunk, or so the story goes in that family but who knows.

        I’d go with the ‘plentiful supply of poor’ theory. It supports the other theory of the advantages of keeping the poor poor to guarantee a supply of youngsters with few social opportunities that makes what the military has to offer viable. I thought though I read recently (here?) the armed forces were having a recruitment problem. ‘Huh, they don’t say?!’

        1. HotFlash

          Pls, Lexx, can you elucidate? My search for “Scottish jiro” got me this, which I found interesting but not even faintly enlightening.

          1. Lexx

            I’m playing loosely with the term in deference to Pluto’s interest in Asian cultures. Usually a reference to second sons or all those not first born in Japan. He was not Japanese born and there may have been (and may be still) a reference for non-inheriting second sons in Scotland, but I don’t know what it is.

      4. David

        In a sense, of course, mercenarism was the norm until the arrival of the nation state and ideas of citizenship. Before then you fought for a monarch or prince, and you might or might not be a subject of that same person. Notoriously, at many major battles of early modern history, you could find people from the same area fighting on both sides.

        In turn, that was because “soldiering” was then a profession, in a way that it isn’t now, and in your career you might find yourself fighting on both sides of a long-running conflict. State capacity was weak in those days, and quite often regiments would be raised by Colonels effectively as small businesses, with a budget to pay the soldiers, and the right often to recruit them forcibly. In turn, the soldiers’ pay might not be very good, but there was the universally recognised right to loot as much as you could from conquered towns. All this started to change after the French Revolution with the rise of the nation-state and indeed the growth of state capacity itself. But even then there were still exceptions: I remember many years ago seeing a monument to the Prussian cavalry who died at the Battle of Sedan in 1870, and there were several Scottish and Irish names among them.

        There’s a difference, of course, between true mercenaries, who will fight for anyone for pay, and foreign nationals serving in your armed forces, like the Gurkhas and the Foreign Legion. The first category pretty much went away after Angola in the 1970s, and these days “mercenaries” of that type tend either to be real specialists, like snipers, or more usually engaged only in training.

      5. Harold

        The Venetian Republic at the height of its prosperity relied exclusively and very successfully on mercenaries, according to William McNeil‘s (1974) Venice : Hinge of Europe, 1081- 1797, pretty good book, I might add, and not too long.

    2. hk

      Heck, Socrates was supposedly a mercenary earlier in his life (part of his connection to Xenophon–the latter learned more than just philosophy from him). One has to think mercanaries we’re pretty central to ancient Greece.

      1. Revenant

        READ THIS LINK ^^^^^ ABOVE – if true (no primary source presented), there is public data consistent with US P-8 attack on NS2 by torpedo.

        Not sure how this explains three attacks but equally, not sure how the P8 flight can be explained as other than at least one attack….

        Devil’s advocate – would they really be this blatant…?

  12. PlutoniumKun

    Mercenaries may have helped ancient Greeks turn the tide of war Science</blockquote

    Its amazing to think that there were mercenaries from as far away as the Baltics fighting in Greek/Cartheginian wars.

    A lot of this information comes from isotopic analysis of bones – this allows archaeologists to pinpoint with great detail where someone grew up, even down to a specific valley or mountain. Its mind-blowing technology for building up our knowledge of ancient times, there are some fascinating findings – and interestingly, these findings often back up 'older, outdated' analyses based on linguistics. Arguably, its as useful as DNA sampling.

    1. The Rev Kev

      ‘Its amazing to think that there were mercenaries from as far away as the Baltics’

      I suspect that this was an effect of shipping. They were the superhighways of their day and once you reached a port, it could take you to the four corners of the Mediterranean – or even further afield. They did a good job of scattering DNA around the ancient world. Another example.

      When younger I brought in on the story of how most Medieval peasants were born, raised and died withing sight of their village church spire. But then it was after reading “Canterbury Tales” when young that made me aware of ‘going on pilgrimage’ and how common it was.

      And then I read how you could go into a tiny, isolated, rural village in Cornwall in the early 19th century – and could talk to men who had been to South America, Africa, North America, Australia, etc. because they were miners. Things are never as simple as you would assume them to be in the past.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        One of the most interesting findings in recent archaeology (at least to me) is that the megalithic structures of the 3rd millennium BC in Ireland and up to the Shetland Islands were built by people with strong connections with the eastern Mediterranean. It makes sense if you take a small boat hopping along every harbour and eating as you go.

        Even more interestingly, DNA studies indicate that most Irish wildlife (plants and animals) has its genetic roots in northern Spain, not Britain as always assumed (I was taught in school that all our wildlife hopped across the land bridge from scotland before post glacial seas rose, the snakes being too slow to make it). It raises the possibility that Ireland was ‘terraformed’ by peoples in Spain simply setting sail and landfalling in Ireland, which is still what you’d do if you set sail most times of the year without doing too much steering.

        There was an old linguistic theory dating back to the late 18th Century that Irish and Scots Gaelic had some structural similarities to biblical hebrew and early forms of Arabic and Aramaic. This was long dismissed by scholars, but the most recent research indicates that its entirely possible that there was a linguistic unit from Turkey to Shetland in the pre-IndoEuropean period, with the last remaining structures being found as shadows in Irish and in the bible.

        1. Will

          Perhaps a modern day example is the little known history of Mohawk iron workers from Canada in the early/mid 1900s building skyscrapers in and ‘settling’ the US. It’s a notable absence from the history books because these workers were actively recruited by American builders for their expertise and skill. Skills learned while building railway bridges in Canada, which started when they were able to negotiate for jobs building a bridge for a railway crossing over and displacing their settlement.

          And moving to job sites in different cities didn’t mean they lost their identity as they actively worked to build and maintain their community.

          The video embedded in the article is worth your time. The article actually doesn’t do the subject justice.

          There’s a lot of old mixed in with the new, but I guess myth making is easier if you leave out the old.

          1. Michael Fiorillo

            Joseph Mitchell rote beautifully of the Mohawk ironworkers in The New Yorker. See his compilation, Up In The Old Hotel: amazing early/mid twentieth century New York.

        2. Paradan

          The Basque would be good candidates for that. I think they might even be classified as proto-Celtic peoples or a Celtic branch? Any way they’ve been around forever and they were a whaling culture prehistorically that hunted the Bay of Biscay. Ireland’s an easy trip from there.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            Its possible, but I think this proto-Atlantean (if it existed, its still controversial) predates Basque or was at best very distantly related. There is certainly no linguistic connection between Irish/Scottish and Basque that I’m aware of, although I think some has speculated that Pictish may have been related. Basque languages were once quite widespread in the Iberian peninsula – quite a few pre-Roman placenames in the south of Spain are thought to be related to it.

            1. Revenant

              Just for you PK… I got distracted from Russian SMO twitter by this paper on genetic contributions from mainland Europe to Britain and Ireland (taurevanime posted it, if you were wondering). Make a brew, it is long even on twitter! Plus the interface is rubbish of course….


              My botanist in-laws can regale you with the plants that grow only in Ireland and the eastern seaboard of the Americas. I think there is one that is endemic to Trinidad (?) and Ireland. There are also a lot of glacial period / subarctic plants and animals which have survived because Ireland is just wet and cold enough.

              1. ambrit

                A lot of this might be related to the “Clovis First?” controversy. Some lithic finds in the Carolinas that are considered precursors to the Clovis style of knapping flint points have strong affinities to a style of stone point that originated in Iberia, called Solutrean
                At the time, the glacial ‘front’ would have been an easy sea route from Europe to the Americas. Could the Iberians have carried some of their favourite plants across to the Americas? The Polynesians did that in their travels in the Pacific. It seems to be a common action of far travelling peoples everywhere.
                Stay safe! Those flint edges are very sharp. (I speak from painful personal experience.)
                Read, pages four and five:

        3. hk

          One thing that I always found amusing is how similar Russian pelmeni and Polish pierogie are to regional varieties of dumplings in Korea: my grandmother whose family was originally from what is now North Korea although she came to Seoul in late 1940s was often amused that pelmeni was more than just superficially like Seoul style dumplings while pierogie was very close to the Pyongyang style. I wondered (almost 100% impossible, I know) that these dumplings came to Eastern Europe by way of Koreans who signed up for service with Mongols, if not as part of Batu Khan’s invasion, possibly as part of many Mongol mercenary groups who signed on with the rulers of Russia, Lithuania, and Poland in the Middle Ages.

  13. PlutoniumKun

    Squid Game, Blackpink, kimchi pancakes … How did South Korea become such a world power Guardian

    It seems more or less accidental (there are theories about deliberate government policies, but I don’t think they stand up to close analysis) but ROK is becoming a genuine soft power superpower. For quite a few years now, ROK media (mostly TV and music) has been head to head with Japan for dominance in Asia, and now it seems to have spread everywhere with amazing speed. Even the mighty Demon Slayer it seems couldn’t stand up to the combined power of Blackpink and Squid Game (which, incidentally, is a clear rip-off of a number of Japanese manga).

    Its such a pity that its not really down to its quality (except maybe for its cinema, which is genuinely amazing), and perhaps more reflects a world where either the arts are in decline or stagnation, and people are increasingly looking to any country that hasn’t blotted its reputation in the recent past, so it helps to have been colonised, not being a coloniser. I suppose the North Koreans would argue otherwise, but it also helps not to be a military threat to your neighbours.

    It will I suppose be interesting to see whether this type of soft power really has a meaning in broader terms, or whether old fashioned things like aircraft carriers and microchip manufacturing trumps it.

    1. digi_owl

      So basically Netflix lost their Hollywood backlog access when the Starz contract ran out, and then Disney went on a buying spree in order to grab the hottest properties. End result was that Netflix needed a source of fresh content that didn’t have previous contracts with anyone.

      1. Lexx

        Ahso. On Saturday I cancelled the DVD portion of our subscription because we’re down to 8 DVD’s remaining, 81 in ‘Saved’ and diddlysquat coming up. We picked up HBO Max and even that content is getting old, so ‘watch out HBO’.

      2. PlutoniumKun

        I’ll say something for Netflix – when they fund non-western sources they at least don’t force them to tone things down or make them more palatable for global audiences (for example, by randomly casting in a US name actor). Their Japanese output is refreshingly Japanese, with all the good and bad that involves. It seems the same with their Korean output, although I haven’t seen enough to judge. I’m watching one at the moment – Taxi Driver in English – which is diverting enough, but would definitely have had about 20% of its running time hacked off had a western editor being allowed near it.

    2. Lexx

      I will say this about the increasing presence of Korean horror films/series streaming on Netflix… wow are they good at scaring the bejesus out of me. Love to know where these directors are getting their educations on the anatomy of horror. It’s like they went through every great horror film scene by scene and frame by frame and scored like they’d invented The Disney Formula. I don’t like horror and even I’m impressed with the acting and production values. Can’t wait for the next season of ‘Kingdom’.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        I generally don’t like horror, but I’ve been intrigued by Kingdom, I might give it a go. But the Koreans do an excellent job with horror in general, as do the Japanese. I think its as much to do with the popularity of scary fairytales in both cultures. Train to Busan is probably the best zombie film I’ve ever seen.

        1. Mikel

          I also got a kick out of “All of Us Are Dead”….Teen angst and zombies. It’s more of a series.

    3. MaryLand

      There are several K-dramas on Netflix that are very high quality. The acting is good, the plots are full of twists, and they have many genres. The tv series are addictive. In general they are much better than the rest of Netflix IMHO.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        I’d be interested in recommendations – I’ve been attempting to tune my ears into Korean, so I justify my time watching Netflix as educational.

        1. orlbucfan

          PK: you ever seen a horror flick called “Cat People”? It came out in the 1970s, and stars Malcolm McDowell and Natassia Kinski. David Bowie wrote the title tune. I’m not a vidiot; I’m a book fanatic. But, this was an excellent treatment of one of the standard themes in storytelling: good vs. evil via human shape shifting. I recommend it.

          1. ambrit

            That was a remake of an original done in 1942 and directed by Jacques Tourneur. An excellent film.
            There was a sequel, “Curse of the Cat People” that partakes of an almost pure fairytale essence. Also a very good film. Really beautiful and sensitive.
            Both of the original ‘Cat People’ films were produced by the very underrated Val Lewton. He made several of the best horror and weird themed films, on low budgets too, for RKO Pictures in the 1940s.

          2. PlutoniumKun

            That brings back memories. My peak adolescence coincided with Natassia Kinski’s brief stardom. The poster from that film… lets just say I spent a lot of time trying to find a copy for my bedroom wall.

        2. Ed S.

          Here are three that I enjoyed:

          Hometown Cha Cha Cha (maybe the worst title ever, but about a big-city dentist who moves to a small seaside town)

          Something in the Rain (romance about “older” woman secretly dating her younger brother’s best friend)

          Our Blues (a series of interlinked stories set in a small town and primarily about the long-standing relationships between the various characters).

          1. Roland

            Two K-Dramas on Netflix which really show a different culture’s values and perspective:

            My Mister: a truly brilliant series, which starts out as a tale of corporate intrigue, but develops into a story about many different kinds of love (filial, siblings, neighbours, colleagues, etc).

            Misaeng (Incomplete Life): the travails of 21st century globalization, seen from the eyes of young Korean workers. Concludes with an Arabian Nights fantasy, filmed on location in Jordan!

        3. Lexx

          Not of horror, but a drama I enjoyed called ‘Mr. Sunshine’. Languages included Korean, Japanese, and English. Good acting, set during those years when Korea was ruled by Japan.

    4. Acacia

      there are theories about deliberate government policies, but I don’t think they stand up to close analysis

      Broadly that may be true. However, while I can’t speak to other aspects of South Korean pop culture (music, manga, etc.), I would say it is absolutely the case that deliberate government policy plays a large role in the current status of South Korean cinema. A comparison with neighboring Japan is revealing. Just as South Korea imported the French TGV to connect Seoul to Busan, and French tech for the Busan metro system, they heavily borrowed from the French model for support of cinema (CNC). The result: the Korean Film Council (KOFIC), a state-supported, self-regulating organization that can set film policy. There is no equivalent in Japan.

      Similarly, thanks to both local and govt support, the Busan Intl Film Festival has become the largest in Asia. Bear in mind here that film festivals are markets for distributors. By contrast, Japan never implemented a cultural policy on cinema, and spent decades dithering instead of building a serious film festival. Here, also, notice that despite many successes of Japanese directors at intl film festivals, e.g., Kitano Takeshi, Kore-eda Hirokazu, Kurosawa Kiyoshi, Kawase Naomi, et alia. at Cannes and Venice, cinema was never part of so-called “Cool Japan”, which was more about stuffing money into pockets over at Dentsu. It is telling that when compared with BIFF, the Tokyo Intl Film Festival has never received similar support by the govt, and was mainly taken over by the large studios and distributors as a venue to push their latest offerings. BIFF in Busan has a beautiful, dedicated cinematheque designed by Coop Himmelb(l)au, while the Tokyo TIFF is just rotating between the various Toho multiplex theaters in shopping malls.

      Basically, the Japanese had a shot at creating something like Busan — there were certainly historical efforts dating back to Nagata Masaichi’s 1953 Asian Film Festival —, they could have built a serious film market to cater to the vast emerging middle class in Asia, but ultimately failed because the attitude has always been “what’s good for General Motors Toho is good for Japan”. Despite the ongoing and clearly negative consequences for Japanese cinema, nobody will dare to take on the cartel or Toho as the single dominant player, e.g., to pursue anti-trust actions against them for anticompetitive business practices (Toho is both the largest studio AND owns a majority of the multiplex screens in Tokyo — which would be illegal under U.S. v. Paramount Pictures, et al.).

      At the end of the day, the cultural policy of cinema is really not rocket science. The French CNC is a good example of finding a balance between the artistic and commercial logics of cinema. The South Koreans understood this, they built the necessary institutions, while the Japanese didn’t and still don’t seem to “get it”. It’s odd because Japan clearly understood the importance of industrial policy through the postwar period, so it seems like it should be obvious that it could work for culture as well (you don’t even need to read Adorno and Horkheimer to see that).

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Thanks for that deep dive. The contrast between the poor quality of modern Japanese cinema compared to its Golden Age, plus modern Korean cinema is striking – and very sad for us Kurosawa/Naruse/Ozu fans. With the arguable exception of Kore-eda I am deeply unimpressed by nearly all modern Japanese non-anime film making and TV. Nothing they produce comes close to Korea – all the talent in Japan seems to be in anime.

        Your point about film festivals is well made. Its something AAK overlooks when he attacks the ‘Korea cinema is a government creation’ theory.

  14. PlutoniumKun

    The NUG’s Economic War on Myanmar’s Military The Stimson Center

    It looks like the NUG have a good idea of what they are doing. When you look at the history of insurgencies, its clear that the most successful ones did more than take up arms against the government or over-ruler – they undermined the ruling system by setting up parallel judicial and economic/taxation structures. Most oppressive regimes don’t care if they lose a few soldiers in an ambush. They very much care if they aren’t getting taxes paid or if everyone goes to an alternative court for justice.

  15. Wukchumni

    Doomsday bunkers, Mars and ‘The Mindset’: the tech bros trying to outsmart the end of the world The Conversation
    This fantasy of eluding a fade accompli is cute and its how we often ended up with grave goods in the guise of King Tut et al, but what are historians gonna extract from Thiel’s bunker complex in EnZed?

    If the illionaires want to do it right, they should emulate the earlier efforts of the first ones to seek refuge in NZ…

    The word pā (Māori pronunciation: [ˈpaː]; often spelled pa in English) can refer to any Māori village or defensive settlement, but often refers to hillforts – fortified settlements with palisades and defensive terraces – and also to fortified villages. Pā sites occur mainly in the North Island of New Zealand, north of Lake Taupō. Over 5,000 sites have been located, photographed and examined, although few have been subject to detailed analysis. No pā have been yet located from the early colonization period when early Polynesian-Māori colonizers lived in the lower South Island.

    …a sobering hour well worth your time

    How to Enjoy the End of the World

    1. digi_owl

      Huh, comparing them bunkers to Egyptian tombs do have a certain ring to it.

      And it also brought to mind the Fallout series of games, where a common activity is scouring abandoned bunkers.

      1. Roland

        I’ve been playing many hours of Fallout: New Vegas, which is good training for my future career in dumpster-diving.

        Personal development aside, the game’s fictional post-apocalypse is more appealing than our actual prox-apocalypse. And the soundtrack is really good.

  16. The Rev Kev

    “In bid for new long-range rockets, Ukraine offers US targeting oversight”

    Since it is the US through NATO that is supplying virtually all the ammo by now, I always assumed that it was the US that was calling the shots for what the Ukrainians were targeting. So when they started to target that nuclear power plant for week after week, that told me that either the US saw no problem with that or else they were the ones telling the Ukraine to do it. And I saw a week or so ago the US tell the Ukraine that in using western-supplied weapons, that it was permissible to hit any Russia-occupied Ukrainian territory. And by that they meant Crimea. Frankly I am surprised that at this point, that the Russians do not announce a bounty for any American killed or captured in the Ukraine in uniform.

  17. CaliDan

    Military briefing: Which nuclear weapons could Putin use against Ukraine? FT

    Paywall. But if we’re talking about future military plans I got one for you: yesterday a plane circled my Santa Cruz Mountain house for about half an hour––pretty low and loud. Turns out it was waiting for the anthem to finish at which point it would make its grand flyby and the Santa Clara masses would cheer. Usually the flyby crap is limited to fighter jets or other small whathaveyous. This is not terribly unusual; what is unusual is that the annoying plane overhead happened to be a B-1 Lancer, or Bone, a nuclear-capable bomber. I guess they’re trying to whip up a special kind of patriotic frenzy these days?

    [And now that I think about it, as a person with family still on the rez, the Niners’ red and gold color scheme is morbidly on point.]

  18. semper loquitur

    “On The Money — The looming threats to Biden’s student loan wipeout”

    Did Biden ever promise to “wipeout” student loans? If I recall correctly, it’s been an eligibility bounded, truncated proposition from the jump. This seems a bit exaggerated.

  19. digi_owl

    > Landlords of the Internet: Big Data and Big Real Estate (preprint) Daniel Greene (paywalled at Social Studies of Science).

    Plus ca change…

    More and more the internet is starting to look like pre-internet mainframe/BBS era, with the major “innovation” being that packet switching allows a single physical pair of wires to carry multiple simultaneous connections.

  20. tegnost

    Dr Gladys West…
    the funny thing is Larry Summers probably would be lost without his GPS, (or at least if his precariat, preferably male, immigrant driver didn’t have it)
    And how could larry be an rational economic actor without turning on the location data for his phone?

      1. orlbucfan

        Patsy Cline’s voice was better than Lynn’s. Unfortunately, she died in a small plane crash flying to a gig. She was only in her 30s.

  21. Quentin

    Russian consulate vandalised in NYC, facade defaced with orange paint. The NYC police cannot or will not protect diplomatic missions. Move the United Nations to a location outside the U.S.A., somewhere other than in the west.

  22. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: At N.Y.U., Students Were Failing Organic Chemistry. Who Was to Blame? NYT

    Since I was out of free articles, I read it here:

    Yet another “educational” O. M. F. G.

    I cannot imagine standing in front of my Organic Chem (I and II) prof from 50 years ago, Dr. Truce, and “hyperventilating” or whining that his course was too hard and he was messing up my chances of getting into medical school. I still have nightmares that involve aldol condensation, and not in a good way.

    On the other hand, this article may have cracked the case of why u.s. “healthcare” outcomes are so abysmal.

    At any rate, I’m making a note to self to check the CVs of possible “providers” my “healthcare” insurance “covers.” If I see nyu anywhere, I’m movin’ on down the list.

    Some snips:

    “Students were misreading exam questions at an astonishing rate,” he wrote in a grievance to the university, protesting his termination. Grades fell even as he reduced the difficulty of his exams.

    After several years of Covid learning loss, the students not only didn’t study, they didn’t seem to know how to study, Dr. Jones said.

    Many students were having other problems. Kent Kirshenbaum, another chemistry professor at N.Y.U., said he discovered cheating during online tests.

    When he pushed students’ grades down, noting the egregious misconduct, he said they protested that “they were not given grades that would allow them to get into medical school.”

    “They weren’t coming to class, that’s for sure, because I can count the house,” Dr. Jones said in an interview. “They weren’t watching the videos, and they weren’t able to answer the questions.”

    And Ivermectin is “horse paste.”

    1. lyman alpha blob

      That one reminded my of one of my physics professors. He only got to teach one or two classes, and none of the core courses. I had him for astrophysics, which was a very small class at my liberal arts college. To me he was pretty brilliant – the course had no textbook and he lectured off the top of his head, filling the board with equations on hydrostatic equilibrium and other stellar functions.

      Rumor had it that he wasn’t allowed to teach the core courses because he had ticked off the administration one semester by failing everyone in his class. His argument was that no of the students had even really put in an effort, so they didn’t deserve even a “D”. That response didn’t fly to those expecting grading on a curve, so the next semester he gave everyone an “A”, which relegated him to the back bench for the rest of his career despite his brilliance and aptitude for actual teaching.

      1. KLG

        This article came up during a Zoom meeting on “Core Competencies” for medical school applicants this very afternoon. My organic chemistry professor was great back during the Gerald Ford Administration! But even then the premeds on the cusp of changing their major to Business Education and Beer, on the way back home sans degree to become Dad’s Assistant Sales Manager at the Ford dealership, wrote witticisms such as this on his overhead projector scroll “You can tell a Harvard Man, but you can’t tell him much.” Dr. Jones just erased the graffiti and began his lecture. Which was brilliant as usual. My physical chemistry teacher had worked on the Manhattan Project and didn’t care who didn’t understand him, which was everyone in the room but the Math Whiz from Mars. He once filled the board with an equation, and when he finished the Math Whiz told him the sign should be positive (+) at the end. Professor Smith laughed and turned the negative sign into a plus sign with a stroke of his chalk. So he did have a sense of humor. And then he found his error, with Math Whiz’s guidance. By that time I was just watching the show. But I still remember PV=nRT, Carnot, and Clausius Clapeyron!

    2. Michael Fiorillo

      NYU is a real estate development company with a higher education subsidiary. Back in the day it was a second tier commuter school, but aided by astute marketing (like celebrity profs that students will never see) and the pixie dust of its Greenwich Village location, it has been able to pose as something else.

      I got a Masters degree there twenty five years ago, and even in grad school, fewer than twenty percent of my classes were taught by full-time tenured faculty. The rest were taught by adjuncts and TAs, who ranged from pretty good to awful.

      Higher education has devolved into a racket, and NYU has been on the leading of that for decades.

    3. eg

      It were the six hour organic chem labs on a Friday afternoon while my friends were down at pub what inspired me to ditch Biochemistry and switch to English.

      1. Revenant

        Hmm. I fell out of love with Chemistry for Part II. The labs on Lensfield Road were opposite a nice Sinfaporean-Chinese restaurant called Chato’s. I would go there and skip the lab! I took the theoretical papers in finals….

  23. Bart Hansen

    Today in Private Equity

    From KHN

    “Des Moines Register: Iowa Nursing Home Resident Suffocates While Suspended Upside Down

    According to the inspectors’ report, Clarion Wellness had installed a grab bar — also known as an assistance handle or bed bar – on a resident’s bed in June 2021. The facility installed the device without first assessing the risk it might pose and without obtaining consent from the resident’s family, the inspector reported.”

    From the Register’s article. Warning: The following description may be disturbing –

    “The resident’s torso was wedged between the headboard and the grab bar, with their head resting on the floor and their feet suspended in the air over the bed. The resident’s face had turned purple and black due to the pooling of blood, and rigor mortis had already begun to set in, according to inspectors.”

    Clarion Wellness is a PE firm owned by another PE firm, that when I looked it up had been acquired by yet another PE firm.

    1. Late Introvert

      Both of the war parties that serve the rich have their campaigns in Iowa funded by the firms that own the Nursing Homes. Very few inspections, minor fines, bags of cash changing hands. None of those people are in their families, so who cares?

      I have cousins in small town Iowa who either drive a truck or work at the Nursing Home, no unions in sight. It’s either that or meth.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Thanks for the link! I saved a copy of the video to watch again the next time I watch “Planet of the Humans”. I was amazed at how persistent the Drax defender was in repeating his lies in the face of such plain evidence to the contrary.

  24. T-14 Armatie

    The Russian professional elite troops have yet to enter the SMO, Ukrainian losses number in the hundreds of thousands while the Russian losses, as unfortunate as they are, remain under 6000. The Nato supply stores of munitions are running dry, winter awaits, and total Russian victory and control of the Ukraine is possible by the end of the year.

    1. Anthony G Stegman

      Russian losses are in the tens of thousands. Russia is taking a beating in more ways than one. If there is a master plan Russia best unveil it very soon. Otherwise, a Russian retreat from all of Ukraine is inevitable.

      1. tegnost

        Russian losses are in the tens of thousands

        I’ve been wondering about that, where did you get your numbers?

        1. lyman alpha blob

          Pretty sure it was Mercouris who was talking about this a few days ago – he mentioned that the official Russian figure of just under 6,000 killed was only for the Russian military proper and didn’t include Wagner group or Donbass militia casualties, so the real figure is probably over 10K.

          Not sure if tens of thousands is accurate, but teens of thousands overall probably is.

          1. hk

            6k killed should translate to 20k to 30k wounded, including serious. If the irregulars are included–and they had borne the brunt of hard frontline fighting once Russia reduced it’s troop presence–at least 10k killed and 35-40k wounded is not implausible.

            1. hk

              These are much heavier losses than those taken by US Army in Iraq insurgency, which led to a lot of doomsaying–not shocking since the fighting has been at least a few orders of magnitude more intense. I doubt Russia would pull out if Ukraine, though, any more than Lincoln would have pulled out of Virginia after Chancellorsville, though. Things have gone too far now

            2. Polar Socialist

              When Shoigu revealed the 6000 dead, he also said 9/10 of the wounded have returned to service, whatever number that means.
              DNR (IIRC) used to report their casualties, LNR did not.

              If the Donbass militias are integrated to Russian military, I guess there will be even less Telegram material available from Russian side in the future.

              1. orlbucfan

                What’s with the FT article about where Putin should direct nukes against Ukraine? These wars started by greedy Neanderthals are bad enough, but now we’re reading about where nukes should be aimed? War is BS, but nuke “advice”? Ultimate stupidity!

      2. GW

        Let’s not overlook that Western officials, including high ranking statesmen and intelligence officers, have said Russian and Ukrainian casualties are roughly equal. That’s a fact.

        Given that Western officials are literally Ukraine’s war patrons, they’re inclined to round down Kiev’s true KIA and WIA levels. Therefore, Ukraine’s casualties may be even higher than Russia’s. Easily. I don’t think anyone can argue with me on this point, given the remarks of Western officials.

        Here, I’ll share my sources with you.

        The first is a NYT article published May 1st, 2022. It’s titled “Deaths of foreign fighters draw renewed attention to the military volunteers in Ukraine.” In the middle of the article, an anonymous US intelligence official cites (his/her estimate) of each sides casualties as of mid-April. The numbers are virtually identical.

        The second is a CIA report published in July, 2022, which features William Burns’s estimate of Russian and Ukrainian casualties up till that point. Burns stated Russia’s losses, and added that Ukraine’s were probably “a little less than that, but significant.” In other words, Burns tacitly admitting Kiev’s lost as many troops as Russia. The Hill published a synopsis of Burns’s remarks on July 20, 2002, titled “Russia has lost 15,000 soldiers in Ukraine, CIA chief estimates.”

        Unquestionably, the casualty figures work very much to Ukraine’s disadvantage. That’s because Ukraine’s current population is roughly 30 million, while Russia’s is 150 million. At this rate, Kiev will run out of troops. Russia won’t.

        This war is far from over. Anything could happen. But nobody should have any illusions about each sides’ casualties relative to available manpower.

        1. hk

          In the medium term, I don’t think just population comoarisons matter much. The forces available for serious large scale operation, especially in the modern environment, will be limited by the number of properly trained military professionals and no country has that many of them, especially in combat arms–not Russia, not US, probably not even China–which is why US casualties in Iraq, even if they numbered only in thousands, led to such doomsaying. The forces on the defensive don’t need such well trained personnel: less need to use sophisticated gear, less need for large scale coordination, erc. A lot if Russian casualties probably fell on military professionals in conbat arms. Most of Ukrainian ones orobably fell on conscripts and they are more or less expendable–and, as indicated by their recent offensives, they were able to preserve enough of their professional cadres. This is not the kind of exchange to Russian advantage, even if Ukrainian casualties are several times that of Russians. (This does make me wonder why the Russian were withdrawing recently–there aren’t signs, as far as I can tell, that Russians are actually losing battles. But if they have been failing at smashing Ukrainian professional cadres so far, letting them launch (and sort of succeed at) large scale offensive(s) would be a good way to lure them out into the open. Just a guess, nothing more.)

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          > Western officials, including high ranking statesmen and intelligence officers, have said Russian and Ukrainian casualties are roughly equal. That’s a fact.

          So one could infer that the casualties are not equal?

    2. GW

      “And I don’t follow why Russia will be so much better than Ukraine in the winter.”

      Conventional wisdom says military operations are difficult to execute during winter because of mud, slush, and bad weather. This means Ukraine will likely shelve its offensives for a few months.

      After that, in January or February, Russia will supposedly have fully reinforced its army in the war zone. If so, then Ukraine will lose the huge advantage in troop numbers which have enabled its recent successful offensives.

      That’s all anyone’s saying.

    3. The Rev Kev

      Russian vehicles are more better designed to deal with muddy terrain because it is where they live. The western-supplied vehicles are not as they are designed with different terrain in mind. The Ukrainians were starting to make a salient a coupla days ago but then the rains hit and slowed that advance right down.

    4. Yves Smith

      I suggest you bother getting up to speed.

      First, Russians have been fighting winter wars since at least the days of Alexander Nevsky.

      Second, more specifically, it has been widely reported on the sites that cover the war in detail that the armored and tracked vehicles supplied by the West to Ukraine (recall pretty much all of the original Soviet equipment, including NATO members supplying Soviet vehicles and materiel from their stocks, is gone) will not operate in mud or on frozen ground, while the Russian vehicles are designed to handle those conditions.

      Third, I have read reports that Ukraine is begging for money for winter uniforms. It appears not to have enough for its current force.

  25. Anthony G Stegman

    Regarding the expected financial crash – the markets are up sharply two days in a row. What does Wall Street know that Yves and Roubini don’t know?

    1. lyman alpha blob

      Even dead cats bounce once in a while.

      However, what Wall Street likely knows is that if things really turn pear shaped, Uncle Sugar will have their back, even if this economy based on financial engineering followed by the cheerleading of charlatans deserves to go to zero.

    2. hk

      Stock market went up fairly sharply during the half year after Black Thursday. What does Wall Street know that Great Depression doesn’t know?

      1. Late Introvert

        pump and dump

        most of my retirement is in bond funds, I might shift to stocks to buy the dip, we will see

  26. GW

    Has anyone read Orlando Figes’s Russophobic screed published by Time? I can barely believe that he wrote such a bigoted, hateful article. Figes, who was a professor at University of London, has written magnificent books about Russian history in the past. I cannot imagine what’s gotten into the mind of this once very enlightened scholar.

    The lamentable article – propaganda, really – was published on September 30th. It’s titled “Putin Sees Himself as Part of the History of Russia’s Tsars—Including Their Imperialism.”

    Figes’s piece isn’t just acrimonious. It also twists historical facts. For example, Figes argues that Russia incorrectly perceives itself, Ukraine, and Belarus as part of a tripartite nation dating back to Kievan Rus. He claims the reason for this alleged lie is that, after 1991, the Russian Orthodox Church pushed this idea as part of a scheme to unite all Orthodox Slavs in the former USSR.

    But anyone who’s read Russian history knows that the origins of the Russian idea of a tripartite nation dates back to the 1400s, when the Grand Princes of Moscow announced their goal of reuniting “all the Russias,” meaning all lands that once formed Kievan Rus. It’s an old theme in Russian history, and not something cooked-up by the ROC after 1991.

    I could go on and on about Figes’s tortured, twisted anti-Russian claims, but I’ll leave it at that. To repeat myself: I am very surprised to see that a man of Figes’s intellectual integrity could stoop so low as to pen an article of this sort.

    My parting comment will be to ask, is it possible that state-level players in the US and UK might have asked Figes – and his highly regarded academic colleagues – to produce anti-Russian propaganda at this time, given that the winds of war are blowing at Russia and NATO?

    1. wilroncanada

      Or, has he been “subsidized” all along by MI6 or CIA, or both? He wouldn’t be the first.

    2. Late Introvert

      If you were running such an operation, would you not have assets in place that have reputations built up over years, with your assistance, such that you could call on them when needed?

  27. Michael Fiorillo

    The great NYC reporter and columnist Murray Kempton, while covering a trial about a hapless Tammany Hall schmoe caught up in a municipal corruption scandal, wrote of him, “He gave away what a lesser man would have sold for money.”

    I think it’s more likely Figes, rather than producing on contract, provided the war machine with something useful that a “lesser” man would have taken on as a brute academic mercenary. I might be naive, but the levels of derangement and delusion are such that I expect he didn’t need to be solicited.

  28. square coats

    It’s probably too late for my comment to reach many people, but I was wondering if anyone knows anything about the original court case between Glacier and the Teamsters that is now going to be taken up by the Supreme Court.

    I’m curious about the original decision of ruling that Glacier’s claim wrt property damage was preempted by the NLRB, rather than potentially ruling that Glacier’s claim to intentionality wasn’t supported because of the union’s contrary evidence.

    It seems to me, based on the article in the links, that the union potentially had a solid argument about that, and if the ruling had been decided that way instead then this case wouldn’t have reached the SC and wouldn’t be threatening workers’ collective rights.

    Upon a cursory search I’ve only found information/coverage focusing on the trajectory of the case following the initial ruling and/or discussing the possible implications of the SC decision but I’d really like to know more about the original case, and also whatever happened with the NLRB prior to the case being brought.

  29. Jim in MI

    Law enforcement officer corruption and dishonesty is tied directly to selection, screening and education. When these factors decline problems go up.

Comments are closed.