Links 10/5/22

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

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


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* * *

The Asteroid that Killed the Dinosaurs Spawned a Monster Tsunami Gizmodo

Developing Developments James Howard Kuntsler (Lee)

The Stagflationary Debt Crisis Is Here Nouriel Roubini Project Syndicate

How a New ‘Great War of Africa’ Is Raging Under the Cover of a Media BlackoutThe Telegraph


La Niña’s Shock Return Suggests Important Details Are Missing in Climate Models Science Alert


Wall Street is Behind Jackson’s Water Crisis The Lever

What’s protected under the Clean Water Act? The Supreme Court is about to decide Grist


Neurogenesis is disrupted in human hippocampal progenitor cells upon exposure to serum samples from hospitalized COVID-19 patients with neurological symptoms Molecular Psychiatry


Turkish Government Moves to Lift Main Opposition Leader’s Immunity Balkan Insight

Netanyahu attacks US over Israel-Lebanon maritime border deal Al-Monitor

Iraq: Sadrists attack rival factions in Basra to choke off their funds Middle East Eye

European Disunion

Energy crisis feared by Europe long a reality in Iraq AFP

Pressure on Germany as energy crunch revives EU divisions over joint debt Reuters

Patrick Lawrence: The West—Technocrats, Incompetents, Ideologues Scheerpost

Old Blighty

Liz Truss’s speech: PM to say disruption will be worth it for growth BBC (Kevin W)

Hysteria Has Derailed Kwasi Karteng Unherd


Can ‘Peanuts’ Save Shanghai’s Covid-ravaged Retail Sales and Economy? SCMP

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

New Not-So-Cold War

Saudi Arabia and Russia plan deep oil cuts in defiance of US FT

Could Russia Use Nukes in Ukraine? Mark Sleboda vs. Could the US Use Nukes in Ukraine? 

Our Nuclear Options National Review

US Denies Ukraine’s Request for Long-Range Missiles in Latest Arms Gift Defense One

How the War in Ukraine Ends Benjamin Studebaker


Hours after being blasted for parroting Putin’s propaganda, Elon Musk says he is ‘obviously’ pro-Ukraine and says SpaceX has spent $80 million on Starlink in the country Business Insider

It’s Only a Conspiracy Theory when It Accuses the US Government Caitlin Johnstone (Kevin W)

South Korea’s Famed Chiron Missile Systems Will Soon Guard Ukrainian Airspace – Reports Military Watch Magazine

North Korea conducts longest-range missile test yet over Japan Reuters

US Warns Burkina Faso Coup Leaders on Russia AFP

Russia-India corridor now goes east, middle and west RailFreight

Biden Administration

Trump asks Supreme Court to intervene in Mar-a-Lago documents case Politico

Donald J. Trump v. United States of America The full application before the USSC.

Realignment and Legitimacy

Nearly Half the Country Now Has Serious Doubts about the FBI The Hill “Approval of the FBI is highest among voters with annual incomes above $200,000”

Imperial Collapse Watch 

Judge Finds Sailor Not Guilty in Fire That Destroyed $1.2B Warship Defense One

F-35A fighters operationally unready 234 times over 18-month period: lawmaker Yonhap

Democrats en déshabillé

The Democracy: How the Nation’s Oldest Political Party Learned to Think Small The Baffler

Police State Watch

LAPD Officer Killed in Training ‘Accident’ Was Investigating Gang Rape by 4 Other Officers Jezebel

New Yorkers can now look up the records of police they encounter Gothamist

If You Cannot Afford a Lawyer, One Will Be Appointed for You. Or Maybe Not. Medium

Our Famously Free Press

Class Warfare

Why We Should All Be Worried About ‘Chokepoint Capitalism’ Time

Housing Market in Chaos on 2008 Crash Anniversary (video) Breaking Points (Flora)

Our Health and Safety Are Not a Priority Here: Why Refresco Workers Unionized Real News Network

The past three(-ish) weeks in US unions, September 10th-October 2nd, 2022 Who Gets the Bird?

Groves of Academe

A Pandemic-Era Cut With a Hidden Price Tag: Private colleges slashed retirement contributions to their employees by $729 million in 2020 Chronicle of Higher Education


The Bezzle

Elon Flips the Script Platformer


Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Adrian D.

    The Covid Neurogenesis study looks worrying, but it’d be great if these could be reported wrt to what particular variant we’re talking about. From the link in question:

    “The study comprises serum samples collected from a total of 36 patients who were admitted to Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in UK (March-June 2020).”

    That strain has since been comprehensively out competed in the wild.The great majority of the more dire medical outcomes tend to come from the older strains.

    1. Kevin Smith MD

      It might be more accurate to say:
      “The great majority of the more dire reported medical outcomes tend to come from the older strains.”
      Early on the pandemic there was a strong tendency to write up and report a wide variety of cases and observations. That seems to be less common now.
      Serum studies on neural tissue or in animal models, using various vintages of serum, might give us some idea of trends in pathogenesis as a function of variant type.

      1. BeliTsari

        Just back from Zabar’s, cesspool o’ mouth-breathing unmasked contagion & trying to figure what euphemism GBD/ CDC will use, after the holiday Up-tick?

        ( ) Natural causes
        ( ) Old age
        ( ) Preexisting comorbidities
        ( ) Quietly, in their sleep
        ( ) Poor lifestyle choices
        ( ) Psychosomatic malingerers
        ( ) Lebensunwertes Leben
        ( ) Putin’s proletarian PLAGUE

        1. JEHR

          It’s a funny thing but every week there are covid deaths here and in the newspaper obituaries there are rarely any deaths attributed to covid.

          1. JBird4049

            It was same with AIDS for years. I remember reading the many obits in the newspapers where people were usually dying “after a brief illness.” Rather depressing, but then, back when being gay was verboten, and even getting AIDS from a blood transfusion was considered embarrassing or shameful. Plenty of gays, hemophiliacs, surgery patients, accident victims, and addicts died and their families hid the true reason.

            It was not a conspiracy by the rulers of the system, but that of many individuals, their families, doctors, and newspapers in the system who all conspired and for more benign reasons than today’s.

    2. ajc

      The dire medical outcomes come with every strain. Current strains seem less dire because we have a clinical praxis during the acute phase of the disease capable of saving lives, though that’s about to be challenged by fully immune evasive variants that have worse outcomes from mABs like Evusheld, die to ADE. Even the CDC is sounding the warning about this (while not calling it ADE even though that is what it is).

      I feel sorry for people like you who have been deluded by ‘The Science’s and made to believe that this virus is not much to worry about, when the reality is we should be doing China style lockdowns everywhere.

      1. Adrian D.

        @ajc “We should be doing China style lockdowns everywhere.” At what cost? Show me a cost benefit analysis that factors in the opportunity cost of those and then we can talk. To be clear – I’m not talking economic or the myriad other health implications (although they’re dire enough), I’m talking of the friendships not made, the partners not met, the fleeting, miraculous happenstances that lead to love. I’m a happily married man in my 50s with two lovely young boys and I’m horrified that such things can be considered to inflict on the young for a fantasy of absolute safety.

        We’ve all had it at least twice (delta & omicron) and I’m not locking them away again over this.

        1. Jorge

          Several thousand people have died in China, v.s. maybe 3-5 million dead if they had followed the rest of the world (comparing our population sizes).

          This isn’t enough benefit?

        2. SocalJimObjects

          You do realize that the lockdowns have all been temporary right with Wuhan being the longest at 3 months plus? Also, there’s research out there that shows that Covid damages are cumulative even for those with no symptoms. So if you trade freedom today with Long Covid or death after 3 or 4 more infections, what would your cost calculation look like?

  2. LawnDart

    Re; LAPD Officer Killed in Training ‘Accident’ Was Investigating Gang Rape by 4 Other Officers

    Where are the feds?

    There is no federal oversight of local PDs. Period. And in USA, there are still a lot of bad cops, bad departments, and entire jurisdictions gone wrong– from the courts, through the street-life, and throughout their jails: in many places, the entire system is corrupt– it’s pay-to-play “justice” and a game where the players would pocket the pennies off of a dead-man’s eyes.

    Advice to good cops in a bad system: run. You will not change things, no one cares or can afford to care, and no one has your back. Unless you have meat for a bigger fish, and it’s a free-meal… …you gotta make yourself worth the bother, or not worth the trouble.

    1. Eureka Springs

      Oversight? The feds wouldn’t even keep track of the numbers of people killed by cops. Keeping body cams on is a no go. Stealing more from the people than all reported burglaries. Imprisoning more of us then any other country. With extreme impunity what good could come of oversight? When things are fubar a little oversight just helps them.

      1. Offtrail

        Stealing more from people than all recorded burglaries

        Would you mind posting some evidence for this? Thanks.

      1. LawnDart

        Ok, Rev, story-time:

        Illinois Prison Official, Parole Board Member Indicted For Corruption

        Doesn’t tell the whole story.

        You see, Matrisciano ran District One Parole– Lake, Cook, and Will counties– from Waukegan, through Chicago, to Joliet: he, a State of Illiniois official, was the mob’s [Chicago Outfit] connection or liasion from prisons to streets. The “DOCs second-highest official was fired for having given Matrisciano permission to testify at the hearing” not named in the article was one George DeTella, who ended up fleeing indictment in two states after he got his hands on a pension fund in another state after fleeing the Illinois shenanigans.

        Before he testified for hitman Aleman and got himself noticed, Matrisciano went after me through “internal affairs” Chief Mary Hodge after I helped manage to keep alive a police informant named D. who was giving information to the Chicago Police Department on the activities of Ralph Marreta who ran a “cage hotel” on South State Street using the Vice Lords as muscle for his operation– armed-robbery, child prostitution, murder, drugs, whatever– you name it, Ralph’s place had it going on.

        Marrera had a long relationship with the feds. He got let off an armored car (warehouse) robbery back in the early 70’s after an “enhanced interrogation” was found to have violated his constitutional rights, but a lot of money was still missing. Rumor has it that a pair of corrupt feds used the 2-million to loan/fund “Big Jim” Thompson’s run for Governor. And I’d bet a buck Marrera was a fed informant which is why his “hotel” and his people got away with what they did.

        So about 30-years after Serpico, it wasn’t just crooked cops running rackets in the streets, you had people like DeTella and Matrisciano actually running the “corrections” system and seeing crooks paroled from prison direct to Ralph’s hotel.

        Most kids going into law enforcement aren’t aware of this stuff, stuff that still happens today, and they can accidently find themselves afoul of special relationships not of their making, just as I did. Stuff had a pretty-good chance of making the papers back in Serpico’s day; today, not so much.

        Oh, the other informant in Marrera’s hotel gig (not my guy) was killed in a torture-slaying: the killers had the balls to leave the guy’s pecker on the street in front of CPD District One HQ– think of the message: “someone stuck it out for you, so here it is… …still want it?” [According to some of my gals, it was a GREAT loss– some serious horse-c**k]. That made my guy’s continued existence more problematic, but as far as I know, he may still be alive today.

        1. fresno dan

          Much further down in today’s thread, I have a link to an article about the FBI and SEC and their relationship with a criminal (conman). And what one sees is quite a similarity. Does using criminals corrupt law enforcement, or are too many of the people in law corrupt to begin with and will use any means necessary (i.e., criminals and dubious sources) to advance their ambitions (and finances)?
          And I have to say, the simplistic hero worship that so infects American entertainment and news media (Obama walks on water, Trump the devil incarnate) is responsible in large degree to the fact that the oversight of law enforcement is so lax and not taken seriously.

          1. LawnDart

            I think a lot of it is “monkey see, monkey do” that spreads the rot, along with not wanting to know how the sausage’s made.

            In Illinois, the gov had a problem when the Richard Speck videos surfaced, showing that not only were the gangs running the state prisons, but a lot of them were having a better time in prison than out on the streets– sex, drugs and booze 24/7. The public wasn’t thrilled when feared serial-killer Speck was seen on the news getting stoned and showing off his new set of knockers at Statesville CC.


            So how wrest your prisons back from the gangs? You can’t bust heads or violate anyone’s rights, right? You can’t…

            “If I do this for you, whatcha gonna do for me?”

            Jobs. Power. Control. Call it a “deal with the devil,” but bringing in the Outfit sure did make that little PR problem Illinois had go away. Dunno if other jurisdictions got this as their take-away or not…

            “Always act like you’re on camera,” was a saying spouted by one of Matriciano’s DOC supervisors– a politically-connected hanger-on who’d later buy a promotion/new position from Blagojevich. And, “appearance is everything!” This was a clean-cut white boy who’d have no problem pushing a handcuffed prisoner down a flight of stairs and claiming that the guy tripped. Did I mention he was a supervisor?

            Appearance is everything.

            A will to believe, and a willingness to be decieved, blinds the public to many falsehoods that might otherwise trouble minds pure of all but the most simple thoughts. I believe that what you’re suggesting is that Westerners are most gullible for a simple narrative, personified.

    2. JBird4049

      Not just murder or theft. Or even Chicago Homan Square style secret prisons. How about just disappearing people into jails as done by the NYPD.

      And yes, while the over one thousand a year deaths by police as listed in several websites is probably close, it is also probably an under-count and does not list the wounded and the crippled. It says something when up to ten percent of the gun homicides in a country is by the police and with around ten percent of those unarmed and even more with items like a rock or a stick or the gun is in the cabinet, not the hand

      A count of murder by guards or medical neglect in jails and prisons I do not see listed anywhere.

  3. LawnDart

    Nord Stream is still in play:

    Europe may start importing gas from Russia via the remaining Nord Stream 2 pipeline
    Tikhonov Sergey
    October 4, 2022

    Germany will be able to receive 27 billion cubic meters of gas per year via one line of Nord Stream 2

    The Germans have two ways out. Rely on liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the United States and the Middle East, as well as on good neighbors who will accept additional volumes of LNG supplies, turn it into a gaseous state and send it to Germany. This will at least be very expensive, but most likely simply impossible, given the shortage of gas in other European countries. But you can launch the remaining entire line of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which is “banned” in the EU.

    The condition of this line is still unknown, and a full inspection of the pipe is required, says Alexey Grivach, deputy head of the National Energy Security Fund. If everything is in order with it, then a German decision will be necessary to put the gas pipeline into operation. This would be in the best interests of both consumers and the supplier. The risks of supply disruptions and lower gas prices would be reduced. According to Grivach, just examining the Nord Stream 2 line should not take much time, but only if all the necessary permits are promptly obtained. They can be issued quickly at the interstate level, despite the sanctions imposed on the pipeline operator Nord Stream 2 AG.

    Source: rg[dot]ru

    1. digi_owl

      Watch German paper pushers stall the process indefinitely thanks to a conga line of technicalities.

      European Greens are looking more and more like agent provocateurs of Wall Street…

      1. hemeantwell

        The next few days will give us some sense of whether the groundswell of support for drawing on Nordstream can rebuild. It was broad spectrum, running from AfD and Wagenknecht to mayors conferences to Merkel talking of a renewal of the relationship with Russia, with a stream of plant closing and production cutback announcements going on in the background. And we’re also heading into a likely lull on the battlefield due to the rains. And I don’t think technical pettifogging will go down so well after the overt sabotage.

        1. caucus99percenter

          Keep an eye on Lower Saxony state election returns this coming Sunday evening (= Sunday afternoon in U.S. time zones).

          If the AfD does even better than the 10 or 11 percent forecast, yes, that could be a sign of a groundswell of anger at the German federal governing coalition’s policies, particularly re sanctions and war.

    2. BeliTsari

      To reiterate: whomever delays until the 0.007″ red-ox ID flow-liner is trashed (for a ‘thorough & transparent’ investigation of crazy Putin’s unconscionable & nefarious sabotage of his own pipelines) is the likely culprit. I’m not saying which oilgarchs will THEN have to blow up each-others’ pipelines with US taxpayers’ MANPADS or which kleptocrats stand to benefit from the ensuing financial corrections, regional conflict & arms sales, but it’s safe to assume, they’ve all got offers EU can’t refuse?

  4. zagonostra

    >How the War in Ukraine Ends – Benjamin Studebaker

    I’d rather do a peace deal in which Russia keeps the annexed territory but at a high price–the rest of Ukraine should be immediately admitted to NATO, with a path to EU membership.

    I don’t think so Mr. B.Stud. your opening paragraph starts out with faulty premises and thereby leads to faulty conclusions:

    It is hard for the regime to maintain its legitimacy when it is trying and failing to invade a foreign country. The regime looks weak and incompetent… there is no easy to way to restore confidence on short notice. But as difficult as that situation is, it is much harder for the regime to maintain its legitimacy…A Russian president who cannot defend Russia is pathetic.

    You have been drinking MSM laced koolaide. Everything I’ve been reading and listening to from Scott Ritter, The Duran, Mark Sleboda, and many other non MSM sources such as NC, tells a different story. Russia is achieving its objectives though not as quickly or seamlessly as some would like or without great cost. This war has been building up for 75 years, it’s not going to end like an Iraq-like “shock-and-awe.”

    As far as “legitimacy” you just aren’t in touch with reality. Putin’s has much more support than Biden, where the latter simply follow the Establishment Elites to execute foreign policy in total disregard for what the population desires.

    The article is good in the negative. It illustrates how out-of-touch the supposed “liberals” are with reality. It reminds me of former Clinton Labor secretary Reich supporting Elizabeth Cheney. The “Left” is totally discredited when it comes to Ukraine.

    1. DJG, Reality Czar

      Studebaker starts from all kinds of flawed premises. This dyad is one more instance of the thoroughly corrupting influence of the word “binary.” To wit:

      In doing this, the [Putin] regime is attempting to force Ukraine and its allies into a binary choice:
      1. Negotiate a peace in which Russia’s annexations are recognized, allowing the Putin regime to frame these territorial acquisitions as a kind of victory.
      2. Push for the annihilation of the Putin regime, with all the risks that entails.

      Well, Studebaker, no.

      It is only later that this extended term paper gets to its real point: “The Biden administration is risking a civil war in Russia, it’s risking state collapse in Pakistan, and it’s risking nuclear use by Russia against Ukraine. These risks are too big for me. A peace deal might allow for substantial economic development in Western Ukraine.”

      Yes, it is time for the grownups to talk about peace–and about sending Blinken back to his parasitical RICO consulting firm.

      These risks are too big. It is truly too hard to perceive such things?

      But then Studebaker, who thnks he is writing about politics, falls back into the neoliberal trap of cheesy economics: Yes, peace will unleash a flood of Domino’s Pizzerias in Western Ukraine. Just what the Ukrainians need.

      1. Lex

        The US has had 30 years to economically develop all of Ukraine. It didn’t because it didn’t want to. It privatized and pillaged. So to assume that the west would now do what it could have done before is naive and disingenuous.

        The right developmental path for Ukraine this whole, long 30 years was to be a neutral nation that could serve as the interface between Russia and Europe. It could have been economically developed and encouraged towards sane politics. The most influential reason it is what is today (including pre 2/24) is because of the US. I know commenters know all this, it’s a response to the pointlessness of the link.

      2. Sibiryak

        the US now believes it can destroy the Putin regime outright –Benjamin Studebaker

        So, who is in the running to replace Putin, you may be wondering.

        Well, Politico’s got the answer to that question:

        After Putin: 12 people ready to ruin Russia next

        You might be surprised by some of the names on the list. (Warning: do not read while gulping coffee.)

        1. Ander

          I had a classmate claim yesterday that once Putin offs it Russia would disintegrate into a series of warlord states. This tight after a professor commiserated about Russia ‘weaponizing nuclear power’ by shelling Zaporizhzhia.

          I took pains to point out Russia had seized the plant months ago and there was 10 km of water between it and the nearest Ukrainian position, which was entirely ignored.

          The brain rot is real, and enabled by IAEA discussing the shelling of the plant, and Russian military assets parked in and around it, in depth without ever mentioning WHO is actually doing the shelling.

          Good Lord it has me wondering if these people understand whats going on but refuse to say it in order to adhere to a government line, or if they seriously think russia has shelled its own position for months

        2. GC54

          DCers believe that everyone has a price. Except that so far they haven’t found that for Mr. Putin because DC just thinks in U$D.

    2. pjay

      Studebaker’s world is elite academia. This is clear in all of his writings. Rather than drinking “MSM laced koolaid,” I think it is more accurate to see him a a product of the liberal academic bubble. But you are right that the results are the same. He simply accepts as fact the Western narrative that Russia has already lost the conventional war, and therefore Putin may be forced to use nuclear weapons to save his regime! He also makes the ridiculous argument that if Putin faces a coup, it may well be because the coup plotters want to *prevent* Putin from going nuclear! His whole analysis is Putin-centric. This from someone who often writes about the “structural” in the abstract when discussing political theories.

      Academics like Studebaker are indeed completely out of touch with reality. But they believe themselves smarter than the rest of us. They could never be taken in by ideology or propaganda. If only the world would listen to their oh-so-rational suggestions.

      1. tegnost

        well they are smart, if smart is a reliable horse with blinders on heading straight for the oats… Now that’s smart…

      2. Tom Stone

        The Problem is just ONE bad Man, one EVIL Man who stands in the way of the TRIUMPH of Light and goodness.
        Vladimir Trump.

        1. Henry Moon Pie

          Tom, that’s my problem with this OPEC+ (is Lavrov’s humor behind that name?) deal. Are the Saudis aligning themselves with Putin and the Russians or with Trump and the Bannonites? Joe is getting a kick where it used to hurt whichever is the case.

      3. Stephen

        More people on all sides who think Russia is losing need to review military history. This is an interesting “take” by Will Schuyler.

        We are in the fog of war. Confusing tactical activities with the overall situation.

        I think though that members of the western commentariat know the views that get printed and which enable them to develop their own careers. It is a big incentive not to question. Nearly all of those who do question publicly are either 100% in the “alternative” community or fully retired without lucrative consulting type deals in place. .

        1. Old Sovietologist

          Thanks Stephen.

          I don’t think the western commentariat have grasped that the war hasn’t really started yet.

    3. Polar Socialist

      Mr. Studebaker should have started with wondering if NATO or EU actually want Ukraine as a member. Which I still believe neither do. Ukraine is still the most corrupted country in Europe, has no economy left, is about to be shot to pieces and also seems to have unresolved border issues.
      Even if fooled by their own propaganda, the European elites must be, deep inside, aware of these facts.

      1. hk

        The same elites who went to war with Russia in 1612, 1700, 1812, 1856, 1914, and 1941? I doubt anything has changed

        1. Polar Socialist

          Oh, I’m sure they have an itch only fighting with Russia can scratch. It still doesn’t mean they want to let Ukrainians into The Club, even if Ukrainians are doing the actual dying part of the fight.

      2. David

        I’m not sure either organisation “wants” (or wanted) Ukraine as a member, in the sense of saying “wouldn’t it be nice if Ukraine joined!” NATO has been in search of a role and mission for thirty years now, and enlargement, which is at least an activity, gives it something to do, and allows it to claim part of the credit for stabilising certain areas. (Not an unreasonable argument, especially in the early 90s). NATO membership, or at least closer association, has always been a carrot to hand to small countries in the East. The problem is that, to say no to Ukraine would mean two things. One would be to give a third state a droit de regard over NATO expansion – in this case Russia – and that’s a lot to swallow politically. The other would be to admit that enlargement is over, which prompts the question of what NATO is actually for, these days. Once the immediate Ukraine crisis is over, these questions will come back, with even greater force.

        For the EU, it’s complicated. But one of its core missions, as seen from Brussels is to spread Brussels neoliberalism throughout the world, as our ancestors spread Christianity. (I’ve tried to address that in this essay.) It’s unthinkable that there could be any part of the world that could not be brought into the new neoliberal, post-modernist, post-nationalist post-cultural order. Hopelessly corrupt states have been brought into the EU in the past, but all very small. In the case of Ukraine, the reality-based community in western governments has so far managed to stop the EU from doing something really silly. Heaven knows what will happen now.

          1. Cristobal

            Agreed. Excelent essay, but what about the changed conditions? One of the lures for potencial members to the EU has been the EU development assistance money – roads, infraestructura, etc. Now that the Germán and EU economy seems to be wrecked, and the EU funds are dried up, would Ucraine and others even want to join that bankrupt club?

            1. David

              That’s a very reasonable question. I suppose it’s a variant of the grass is greener argument: no matter how bad it is in the EU, it will be worse outside.

    4. Katniss Everdeen

      What part of the fact that the actual people of the “annexed” areas are Russian; speak Russian; have been relentlessly persecuted by the rabidly anti-Russian, u.s.-installed kiev government and want to be governed by Moscow do these modern day Sykes-Picot “democracy” crusaders not understand?

      1. hunkerdown

        Tip: when you see “democracy” substitute “capitalist private property” and see if it makes more sense. You know, like “war is peace” etc.

        Actual people are not private property; they’re illegible to that crusade.

        1. Foy

          I notice in that twitter thread is also a clip of the interview with Zelenky’s special advisor Arestovych from 2019 where he said that Ukraine needed to go to war with Russia in order to join NATO and that it would result in much destruction of the country but that was ok and had to be done and that the civil war in the Donbass was part of creating a bigger war with the Russians.

          That clip is one of my go to clips when trying to explain this war to those not across the details. It usually stops them in their tracks, they literally freeze in their thoughts afterwards for a short while, cognitive dissonance kicking in.

          It should get more airplay.

    5. digi_owl

      Another thing is that Iraq didn’t end with “mission accomplished”, if anything it is still going on.

    6. Bill

      Putin may win the war. But I am not sure exactly how he is meant to win the peace. Ukraine government have shifted their diplomatic policy since Russia declared the annexations. While before they were open to negations.

      Yet again the international community has completely failed. International law failed, the UN failed, the experts failed. Is this Putin’s gambit? Rely on the west failing to do what they say they would do.

      1. Kouros

        Putin winning the war means that Russia has annihilated any semblance of Ukrainian Army and that the Ukrainian state is actually prostrated. If Zelensky doesn’t want to sign anything, he can be easily put in jail for bringing Ukraine in the state it is and a whole new set of Ukrainian politicians could be moved up and up, politicians that might in fact reflect the original will of Ukrainians when they elected Zelensky, peace with Russia.

        If then Ukraine declares itself again neutral and refuses any overtures from the US, let’s see what happens.

  5. Stephen

    “F*** off is my very diplomatic reply to you.”

    These Ukraine government guys seem to be very much in the Neocon school of “diplomacy”.

    Wonder how this plays with governments in the Global South.

    Maybe Elon will now be on “the list”. Or will the US who really control things veto that?

    1. Mikel

      I’m f***ing sick of these corrupted Ukranian half-wits making threats at everyone who doesn’t agree with them.
      I don’t give a sh** what happens to them.

    2. hunkerdown

      It takes big brass ones to tell “We coup whomever we want – deal with it!” to familyblog off. This is better TV than the election, tbh.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        They might want to be couped with a rooftop escape. Retirement or a government in exile in Miami Beach is more appealing than being stuck in Kiev when the money stops. Pete Buttigieg…I mean Juan Guaido was physically forced out of a meeting of his own party as he has to pretend to play the part to earn retirement in Loudon County.

        Zelensky will be welcomed in certain enclaves. How long did the Ottomans keep a pet Polish ambassador?

    3. Glen

      I’m actually choosing to view having our billionaire oligarchs tweeting their plans for us peons as progress towards “open feudalism”.

  6. The Rev Kev

    ‘Ukraine’s ambassador to Germany is not having it.’

    Ex-Ambassador. He got the boot back in July and none to soon. Andrij Melnyk spent his time as Ukrainian Ambassador to Germany by either daily insulting Germany or insulting Olaf Scholz on a near daily basis and calling him things like an ‘offended liverwurst.’ if Scholz had had a pair, he should have had Melnyk declared persona non grata back in February and withdrawn his credentials. Instead, Scholz just sat there and let this guy insult him every other day and it was only when Melnyk let it be know that he was a paid-up member in the Stepan Bandera Fan Club that there was finally an opportunity to give him the boot.

    1. GramSci

      Scholz was just following orders from his handlers back in that small office in the basement of the Pentagon (h/t Michael Hudson) …

    2. chuck roast

      Unfortunately, the adults have access to small, 10 KT nuclear projectiles and land mines. Back in the ’60s Davy Crockett nuclear projectiles and Special Atomic Demolition Munitions were a part of forward US military operations in Europe and Korea. A small squad of soldiers could hump these weapons around and use them with relative ease and effectiveness. Big enough to do a lot of damage and small enough to simply send a message. Versatility, the hallmark of all adults n’est-ce pas? These weapons were supposedly retired in the ’70s…kind of like we retired our biological warfare capability. These are the kinds of things that put a twinkle in the eyes of the Kagans.

  7. Matthew

    Saudi Arabia is certainly not acting like a US client state. What is happening there? Are we an empire or not?

    1. Lex

      We are an empire in steep decline. Lot’s of talk about how Ukraine is existential for Russia but it is also existential for the US. Someone capable of standing up to our empire has actually done it. Whether it will be successful is still undetermined, but just the act is monumental. Many senators ended up stabbing Caesar, but likely none would have done so if Brutus hadn’t gone first.

      1. Stephen

        The Afghan guys started the whole process of standing up to the empire, of course. Successfully.

        A second debacle coming so soon after the Retreat from Kabul (which western media now ignores) is clearly existential for the empire community.

        The abstentions in the UN Security Council over condemning Russia’s annexations or liberations (depending on taste) are another dimension of the decline.

          1. Stephen

            Fair point. That was installment #1.

            Agree also with Lex. What is happening now is a much bigger issue for the empire.

            Both in terms of immediate magnitude and future impact to encourage a snowball effect of more resistance.

            1. Katniss Everdeen

              Especially for an “empire” that has let itself go to the extent the american one has over the last 50 or 60 years.

        1. Lex

          Oh yes. The fun part of historical imperial decline studies is the “what was the real reason”. There always myriad reasons. I agree with the Afghan withdrawal as very important and also above on Vietnam. This is a different order of magnitude though because this is a very powerful country and getting backed by other very powerful countries. Others who’ve stood up to the US have paid extremely high prices (Biden was so mad that he decided to starve afghans), while with Russia it appears that the US is powerless to make Russia pay much of a price at all. Add to that Putin’s speech where he talks about being proud of the USSR’s legacy of helping anti-colonial movements; he’s saying, “all of you who want to take a stab at the US, we’ve got your back again.”

      2. The Rev Kev

        The Romans faced a similar dilemma at the end of the Second Punic War. It came down to a choice between keeping their vaunted Republic or else going for Empire. We all know how they chose – but we also know how it ended. Here the US is not really having a choice as we are now in a multi-polar world but what we are seeing is the DC set fighting against this reality. But in doing so, it means that they will refuse to undertake the many reforms that the US will need to adapt to the new world as they believe that nothing will fundamentally change. And that is why they chose Biden as President.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          “America is back”

          Obama’s Cairo speech was pitched as a great reset of relations and America’s leadership, living up to its myths and so forth, but Obama was more of the same. Trump was supposed to be an awful aberration, but Biden didn’t undo Trump’s actions on Iran and Cuba. The best thing Biden did was to do what Trump pretended to do, leave Afghanistan, and ending Obama’s drone spree.

          The lessons of Obama are still there. The Saudis would get arms deals, launched their Yemen war, had the US knock over or try to knock over competitors.

          Stoller’s point about Democrats not grappling with how bad Obama really was is a major problem. I think it applies to foreign policy too. Very few want to admit how bad Obama was, so they now white wash Bush and to a lesser extent Clinton. It’s easier to blame Trump and pretend.

          Then there are aspects of deindustrialization a day globalization. The multi-polar world was inevitable. It’s just time line and the nature of the birth without the US knocking over countries on the cheap and moving on. We couldn’t move onto Iran or knock out Syria because costs were too high. Iranian drones are evading American made air defenses in Ukraine as a result.

          The most telling episode was Blinken griping African countries expected something in exchange for signing on to cut out China. During the Cold War, we at least promised to airlift out the local governments if the communists took over. The People’s Vanguards aren’t quite the threat they were in the 60’s, and of course, deindustrialization of the US means we aren’t the supplier of goods.

          1. fresno dan

            Your post simply points out what is wrong with the country as a whole. Really, your undisputed FACTS are never reported in the MSM, nor acknowledged in the general culture. We swm in a cesspool of mythology, where to acknowledge that Obama and Trump are more alike than different can’t be pointed out, and this just constantly leads to a society not dealing with reality.

            1. hunkerdown

              The Myth is sacred, because societies program their labor classes to respond to it and their personhood classes to correct any deviations from it. Changing the program without a Process would degrade responsiveness and performance, which is all the social cohesion a manager or commander cares about.

              States, like any other Cave of Shadows, are in the business of simulating reality, not responding to it.

      3. Jeremy Grimm

        I disagree with the notion that the Ukraine is existential to the u.s. hedgemon. Someone standing up to the empire is not a threat per se — it reflects the ineptitude of the u.s. hedgemon. I believe it is the height of arrogance and stupidity for the u.s. to become so involved with the conflict in the Ukraine or go to such lengths to cripple the EU — a region that had been one of the strongest allies to the u.s. I add the mishandling of the Ukraine war to the long list of mishandled, foreign ‘relations’ the u.s. has bungled or poisoned. I believe a true hedgemon should lead by example, with tolerance, patience, and a genuine desire to see all prosper and all do well. That characterization does not fit my perceptions of the u.s. I believe true Power is not the ability to command and issue fiats — it is the ability to guide and steer willing followers, through example not through propaganda or coercion.

        I believe the Ukraine is existential to elements of certain u.s. Elites who have proven their gross incompetence.

        1. Lex

          Existential to the US as an empire. It’s hardly important to the US as a nation state. And not necessarily to the US as an empire, but we’ve decided on global, full spectrum dominance as the baseline for our empire. So in that respect, it is existential since if we fail at this we are obviously not dominant globally and once we (Biden) made this so good vs evil, Putin must be overthrown it will be hard to pretend like it never happened. The strategy with Afghanistan and to a lesser extent Iraq, Vietnam, etc.

          1. Polar Socialist

            Somehow I believe that if Putin “wins” in any way or form, the might of the MSM will go all “look, a squirrel” and there never was a war in Ukraine.

            Like there was no war in Afghanistan.

            1. Old Sovietologist

              They will pretend they won. As long as the Russians don’t take Kiev. A win can be sold to western populations who will just be delighted the everything has ended,

    2. digi_owl

      Saudis may have overextended in Syria, and is using current event as a smoke screen to recalibrate expectations with reality.

    3. Mikel

      Sending tweets, monitizing social media, and “influencing” doesn’t generate the much coveted energy needed to produce necessities.

  8. Screwball

    I worries me to see the word “nuclear” in so many places these days.

    It’s time for the adults in the room to step up if we still have any.

    1. griffen

      Wait, I heard the adults went back in charge as of January 2021? Is that not the case as things gradually turn even further south? POTUS would dismiss the previous administration’s amateur hour conduct we were all advised.

      I read the Johnstone article, which might have to satisfy my daily must read limit.

      1. fresno dan

        I don’t know exactly when the lunatics gained control of the American polity, but I can confidently assert that every election gives us a wider, deeper, and more diverse selection of only screwballs (btw, our own “Screwball” is excepted) from which to choose for public office …
        seriously, what nationally recognized politcian can be regarded as stable (there might be a couple, so I will add the kicker of non-corrupt)

        1. Parker Dooley

          “I don’t know exactly when the lunatics gained control of the American polity”

          Does the name “Dulles” resonate? Or maybe way further back — James K. Polk?

      2. chuck roast

        Unfortunately, the adults have access to small, 10 KT nuclear projectiles and land mines. Back in the ’60s Davy Crockett nuclear projectiles and Special Atomic Demolition Munitions were a part of forward US military operations in Europe and Korea. A small squad of soldiers could hump these weapons around and use them with relative ease and effectiveness. Big enough to do a lot of damage and small enough to simply send a message. Versatility, the hallmark of all adults n’est-ce pas? These weapons were supposedly retired in the ’70s…kind of like we retired our biological warfare capability. These are the kinds of things that put a twinkle in the eyes of the Kagans.

      3. Jeremy Grimm

        This from the tail of the Johnstone link caught my attention:
        “Okay, empire. Message received. Does make me wonder about some of those other “conspiracy theories” you’ve told us to ignore, though.”
        And I believe there is quite a lot to wonder about.

  9. Stephen V

    Thank you Conor and (Lee) for the JK piece on Developing Developments–Today’s must-read. Evidence, motive, opportunity.
    I’ve had problems with non-winterized diesel. But did not know the bit about truckers needing kerosene. And Winter is coming…

    1. Wukchumni

      The pipeline airerist attack strikes me as something akin to it yet different from the Ribbentrop-Molotov gig and i’d guess we have a similar amount of time before the really big show shows itself in earnest.

      Will it be an all encompassing war, a financial crisis, or both at the same time?

      I had a good ride for 60 years, but you get the feeling the next 20 is going to be downright awful as Americans become pauperazzi (‘i’ll take your photo for a Quarter and e-mail it to you’) and the country slouches towards desperation, armed to the teeth.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “South Korea’s Famed Chiron Missile Systems Will Soon Guard Ukrainian Airspace – Reports”

    So first South Korea supplied drones that the Ukrainians used to bomb Crimea with, and now South Korea will be supplying the Ukraine with missile systems to shoot down Russian aircraft. It’s a good thing that there will be no blowback to this whatsoever for South Korea and that Russia will not use another State actor to rile South Korea with by upgrading some of their weapons systems. I mean, it’s not like Russia has a border with any such hypothetical State. Oh wait-

    1. Paradan

      from Intel Slava:

      Large-scale explosions and detonation of ammunition are now being observed at the Gangneung airbase on the coast of the Sea of ​​Japan, where the 18th air wing of the South Korean Air Force is deployed. Local residents report on the work of air defense.

      1. The Rev Kev

        It was a misfiring missile-

        ‘A South Korean missile crashed down at a military installation in the country’s northeast during a joint show of force drill with the United States on Wednesday, held in retaliation for North Korea’s latest weapons test, which crossed Japanese airspace.

        Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff confirmed the incident, noting that a short-range Hyunmoo-2 ballistic missile encountered technical problems and fell out of the sky over the town of Gangneung, located some 56 miles (90 kilometers) from the border with North Korea. No casualties resulted from the crash, though a blast was reported at an air base in the town.’

        Still, it was a nice reminder of what could happen if things got out of control with their northern neighbours.

        1. Paradan

          Just came back to link to Zero Hedge about that and complain about the only places we can get actual news from.

            1. Old Sovietologist

              Bowen what an embarrassment he’s become. Since the Israeli’s “accidently” shelled him he’s been a faithful servant of the ruing class.

              The woman with her shopping is probably wondering what the idiot is doing.

        2. fresno dan

          establishing plausible deniability for future missiles accidentically landing on various North Korean infrastructures? (cough, cough, coughs out lung…pipelines)

    2. jo6pac

      I guess we’ll find out real soon how good the SK system is against Russian systems. My money is on Russia.

    3. digi_owl

      SK has really been upping their military exports game in recent years.

      their tanks were even a contender for the Norway’s replacement of the German made Leopard II currently in service.

      1. vao

        I am not surprised.

        The Germans, French, British, Italians and Americans have no modern tank to offer — all their current models (Leopard II, Leclerc, Challenger 2, C1 Ariete, M1 Abrams) date back from the late 1970s to early 1990s. Sure, with upgrades and revisions, but the designs are now at least 30 years old.

        On the other hand, the Korean K2 Black Panther was designed in the 2000s.

        1. Altandmain

          The Germans recently demonstrated the KF51, a new Main Battle Tank.

          In practice, it will be years before such a system is viable and that’s ignoring the energy crisis that Germany will experience.

          1. vao

            In other words: no up-to-date offering from Western countries available yet.

            If a country wants a modern tank, it basically has the choice between the Korean K2, the Japanese Type 10, and the T14 Armata if it is ready to buy from Russia. I am not sure how much the Merkava IV is a new tank vs. a revision of earlier models, but that could be a further option.

            I wonder how much NATO officers responsible for armoured units are worrying when they see their fleet of tanks designed 35-40 years ago inexorably aging towards obsolescence despite numerous upgrades, with no indigenous production to replace it in the foreseeable future.

            1. Polar Socialist

              Tanks do age rather well, though. The markets are filled with update kits even for T-55 (which is a stretch, I admit). A T-72 with updated tracks, engine, transmission, NERA blocks, spaced armor, optics, fire control, gun and ammo is still a pretty capable second tier tank.

              I think the main selling points for K2 is that it’s 10 tons (and more) lighter than the western, up-armored offerings so it’s more mobile with cheaper lifetime price tag and also because Hyundai has no qualms about licensing the production – Turkey and Poland will be building their own K2s, and so will Egypt, too, if they make the deal.

      2. Revenant

        An unknown-elsewhere SK *tram* company is in the running to sell america some trains. Cannot say more….

  11. KD

    How the War in Ukraine Ends

    NC is trolling us again.

    1.) All this discussion about tactical nukes. Russia has tactical nukes, but their nuclear doctrine is to use nukes only if Russia is being invaded by a numerically superior force, meaning they can’t save their bacon conventionally. If Russia goes nuclear, they are more likely to hit with everything they have and destroy the West’s counterforce capabilities, because any nuclear exchange is going to escalate to that point anyway. I understand the Milligram experiment was fake, but the idea that the army will coup in face of the annihilation of their homeland by an invasion of post-modern Huns is pretty deluded. Look at all the nasty things that happened in Germany “just following orders,” the Russian Army can follow orders too. [And don’t think they psychologically profile people with their finger on the nuclear button.]

    2.) This has already begun, with the mobilization of reservists. But these measures seem unlikely to work. RF mobilized ~ 150,000 troops, and maybe twice that with Wagner, Syrians, Chechens, and the militias, and is conducting an offensive campaign against 400K to 600K of Ukrainian troops in positions they have been fortifying for 8 years. The defenders are in fortifications and outnumber the Russians x2 to x3 times. On what basis can you blithely say doubling the number of troops is not going to change the battlefield?

    Also, Russia has not been following their doctrine, they have not targeted Ukrainian infrastructure, electricity, communications, transportation, they have not shut the country down. Above and beyond the troop surge, if this becomes an anti-terrorist operation or a war, you are going to see something like the Russian version of shock and awe. Yes, maybe it won’t work.

    3.) The second front: Russia does not have a peace treaty with Japan and is refusing to sign one now. North Korea just sent a missile over Japan. It is entirely possible that either Japan or South Korea or both become the target of a second front. Also, Iran has been operating drones in Iraqi air space, so who knows there. Needless to say, if this happens, it would suggest that Russia is not acting alone. You have to be blind not to consider problems in the ME or SE Asia as a likely future event if this war does not conclude quickly.

    4.) Where is the evidence that the Putin regime is being destroyed? The war in Ukraine is more popular than Putin, and Putin has about 80 percent support. In Vietnam, it took almost 4 years before the public became fed up, and Vietnam didn’t matter to the US. Ukraine is on the border of Russia. If Russia can’t stop NATO in Ukraine, they won’t be able to stop NATO from taking Moscow.

    5.) The fact that the United States believes it can manage all this–and that there does seem to be a real possibility that it might in fact manage it–illustrates that the American state is in a much stronger position in 2022 than many people realized as recently as two years ago. They said the same thing about Hitler in 1938, how did that work out for him? You don’t have to be a Nazi to overextend your empire and fall from hubris.

    6.) Biden’s endgame in Ukraine should be discussed and scrutinized. Putin’s endgame in Ukraine should be discussed and scrutinized, because either Russia obtains some face saving victory or someone will be mining glass off the surface of DC. If Putin falls, rest assured you will see Russian ultra-nationalists in power, and they will nuke first and ask questions later. Read what happened to Sodom in the Bible–because the Ultras in Russia will see that as a moral justification for the use of nuclear bombs on the West.

  12. Kevin Smith MD

    It might be more accurate to say:
    “The great majority of the more dire reported medical outcomes tend to come from the older strains.”
    Early on the pandemic there was a strong tendency to write up and report a wide variety of cases and observations. That seems to be less common now.
    Serum studies on neural tissue or in animal models, using various vintages of serum, might give us some idea of trends in pathogenesis as a function of variant type.

          1. pjay

            That video is really excellent – factual, informative, and effective. Also delivered by the Jewish Katie Halper, which of course does not protect her from charges of “anti-semitism,” but it does make those charges harder to defend. Everyone should watch it, and recommend it to others. Make this a real “Streisand effect” moment.

    1. semper loquitur

      I’ve pretty much had it with Rising. I was under no illusions about it’s origin but under Saager and Krystal it was decent. I didn’t always agree with their takes but at least they were coherent and seemed to be honest in their convictions.

      Now it’s pretty bad: Robby’s knee-jerk libertarianism is infuriating, apparently every problem in the world can be solved by less oversight and regulation, while Briahna engages in ludicrous convolutions and omissions to try to maintain the $hit-lib progressive narrative. If you have a few minutes, compare these two videos about “food neutrality”:

      Here is Breaking Points, I posted this video the other day. They point out that one of the speakers in the “food neutrality” video is a shill for Big Food and that they are promoting terrible health advice in the name of (insert Woke trope here):

      and here’s Rising completely missing the shill and the point that just because, according to them, doughnuts are actually lower in calories than bagels you still shouldn’t eat doughnuts on the regular:

      1. zagonostra

        I ditched Rising long ago though it initially was promising. I ditched Breaking Points when it became obvious that they were playing it safe, and, their coverage of Ukraine is dismal. It’s too bad…but, you have new upstarts like Jackson Hinkle and others filling the breech nicely.

        1. semper loquitur

          That’s true about Breaking Points coverage of Ukraine, I’ve noticed it as well. I still look at them for other topics. Jackson Hinkle has some good stuff, although I sometimes find his style to be a bit annoying. But that’s a minor point. I also like some of the stuff Redacted has put out.

  13. flora

    With the rising political gains by so-called populist parties in Italy, Hungary, Le Pen’s growing strength in France, and with recently past populist electoral successes with T in the US and Brexit in the UK, I keep wondering what Thomas Frank thinks about all this rising expression of populism. I can’t find any essay more recent than last year. This is an excerpt from his book “The People, NO.”

  14. .human

    Liz Truss’s speech: PM to say disruption will be worth it for growth BBC

    There. It’s been acknowledged out loud. Western capitalism is a Ponzi scheme.

    1. fresno dan

      If I have siad it once, I have said it a million times – what isn’t reported is vastly more important than what is reported. The reporters and media are just uninformed of these particular tidbits? – I think not.
      It is time everyone acknowledge that the era of objective fact based reporting never really existed, but that the present era is much worse.

    2. GramSci

      I found Kunstler’s link to Monkey Werx especially interesting. I’d be interested to hear its assessment by the war geeks in the brain trust.

      Is it indeed a smoking gun identifying a US Navy P8 dropping an anti-sub torpedo on Nord Stream??

      1. Paradan

        Its only got a hundred pound warhead, but, its been designed to punch through sub hulls. My guess is that you could update the sonar software to recognize the ping back from a gas pipeline. They probably would have gone down to the pipeline earlier to ping it and record the return, then sent that to Raytheon.

        1. Polar Socialist

          I wouldn’t be surprise if a pipeline filled with gas had pretty similar sonar signature to a submarine filled with gas. I also wouldn’t be surprised if that was not the case. The pipeline is 7 times smaller than Kilo-class submarine, beam-wise.

          On the other hand, Mk 54 is supposed to be able to sense the metallic mass of a ship (or a pipeline?) to trigger the payload, so technically they have to only arm it and make it’s search pattern pass the pipeline close enough. Boom.

    3. fresno dan

      And tidbits from Kenstler’s rant:
      Secretary Blinken is, of course, completely insane.
      What no government official can acknowledge — even among the Euroland victim nations of this awesome stupidity — is that the US demolition of the Nord Streams was an act-of-war against our own allies vassals.

    4. Katniss Everdeen

      This, from Kunstler, should be required reading in the “context” of blinken’s “tremendous opportunity”:

      Let’s get a few technical matters straight about natgas. Gas pipelines allow for cheap gas, without costly intervening shipping procedures. Flows are continuous from producer to customer. LNG requires compression of the gas at super-cold temperatures and costly-to-build LNG tanker ships to keep that gas cold and compressed in transit. Each tanker can carry only so-much gas and the flow is not continuous. At each end of the energy-losing journey there is a costly LNG terminal to load and unload the gas. Bottom line: Euroland customers can’t afford US LNG, though for now they’ll be getting it good and hard to struggle through the first winter of a permanent depression that will feel more like the forecourt of a new dark age. Also bear in mind that American shale gas is a finite resource; that we need plenty of it ourselves; and that the earliest-developed US shale gas fields are crapping out one-by-one.

      Also too, in the “vampire squid” rhetorical tradition, appreciate his characterization of ukraine as a “sucking chest wound.”

      1. juno mas

        …Kunstler has a vivid penchant for delightful description. His choice of words for the future rump state Ukraine is jackboot straight.

  15. Tom Stone

    Elon got told to sit down and shut up in no uncertain fashion.
    I guess he didn’t read the Mar A Lago memo..

    1. LifelongLib

      Amateurs shouldn’t try to be diplomats. Now, if only the the professionals would do something…

  16. The Rev Kev

    “Saudi Arabia and Russia plan deep oil cuts in defiance of US”

    This may be a reaction to the EU reaching a tentative deal to try to put a price cap on Russian oil. The Saudis are not idiots and realize that if this was ever carried out, that the same game plan would next aimed at OPEC. And if there is one thing that all oil-producing countries can agree on is to never let the G-7 be the ones to set oil prices for them. So I suspect that cutting back oil production to jack up prices just 33 days short of the US midterms is firing a shot across the US/EU bows. Apparently Washington is panicking over this move and are preparing a statement that will probably threaten the Saudis to calm things down a bit-

    ‘According to CNN, some of the talking points drafted in a state of urgency by the White House suggested the potential cut would be viewed as “a hostile act” and a “total disaster.”

    “There is great political risk to your reputation and relations with the US and the West if you move forward,” the media quoted the talking points draft as saying.’

    1. Sibiryak

      “OPEC+ is aligning with Russia” — WH Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre after today’s production cuts,

    2. Wukchumni

      Haven’t been in a gas line since ’79, and should they come back in time for the midterms, the Donkey Show will be exposed for its shortcoming.

  17. fresno dan
    From an article:
    WHEN I WORKED FOR a personal finance magazine in the mid-1990s, I wrote a story about conmen who met their marks in internet chat rooms devoted to stock investing. One of the slickest tricksters went by the name of Josef von Habsburg. He told people he was descended from Austrian royalty.
    I thought von Habsburg’s grift was finished once my story was published in February 1995. By then, he’d been charged with securities fraud by the Securities and Exchange Commission in the fake hedge fund case, and been publicly identified as a conman in a national magazine. I went on to other stories and never realized his career was only starting to blossom. ….
    Von Habsburg would ingratiate himself with shadowy figures operating on the margins of Wall Street, and then introduce them to his handler, an undercover FBI agent named Michael Grimm. …. When the net was sprung, the mark got arrested, charged and typically pled guilty. Von Habsburg was free to reel in another mark for law enforcement.

    What became of his FBI handler, Agent Michael Grimm? He parlayed his law-and-order experience into a seat in Congress, representing Staten Island. After losing re-election, he kept two sets of books at a Manhattan restaurant he’d opened. He was convicted of wage fraud and underreporting his income, and was sentenced to eight months in prison.
    So these people eventually ended up in prision. But it does tell you something about the character of some FBI agents, and maybe how the agency operates – the same rule manipulation carries over after the FBI career….

    1. Tom Stone

      There was no such thing as the Mafia ( Our Thing) until Appalachia.
      The FBI was certain, no Mafia.
      As an aside Hoover and his husband Clyde were very lucky playing the ponies.

  18. Bazarov

    These Plato worshipping liberals like Studebaker are bizarre.

    On the one hand, they write feverishly about virtue and how to achieve it in politics.

    On the other hand, when faced with a state that actually achieves it (China’s zero covid), they hand wave it away with the most vulgar pleading (what about the economy!).

    Studebaker discredited himself with his post endorsing “let er rip!” covid, backed up with some sentimental tripe about his father dying from prostate cancer. Did you know we’re all gonna die?

    As for his Russia analysis, he’s got the “what about nuclear!” mind virus that the mainstream media’s been harping on these past few weeks. Of course, there’s no mention here about the real escalation: Russia mobilizes 2 million troops. In fact, Russia would mobilize 10 million before resorting to nuclear attack.

    Ukraine has little recourse against the resources Russia can bring to bear, if it chooses to do so. There’s no need to commit the ultimate escalation when the natural escalation–declaration of war followed by full mobilization–has yet to be.

  19. timbers

    Anxiously awaiting to see exactly how Russia’s military operation becomes un-“special.”

    1. The Rev Kev

      You won’t have long to wait-

      ‘Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law four unification treaties with the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, as well as the Kherson and Zaporozhye Regions, on Wednesday morning.

      Earlier the documents were unanimously endorsed by the Federation Council, the upper house of the Russian parliament. The agreements were ratified on Monday by the State Duma, the lower house of parliament, after they were certified as lawful by the country’s Constitutional Court over the weekend.’

      They are now Russian territory so the Special Military Operation is no longer in effect. It is now a case of the Russian Federation not only defending their territory but soon liberating occupied Russian territory. How will this play out? Not sure but I do not think that we will have long to wait.

      1. timbers

        Likely but….have read it may be advantageous to wait until the ground freezes but confess don’t know much regarding that strategy.

        1. Polar Socialist

          In 1943 The Battle of the Dniepr was fought from end of August to end of December, and the Red Army beat the living daylights out of Wehrmacht which had hoped to check the enemy at Dniepr.

          In other words, Ukraine doesn’t really suffer from “rasputitsa” in autumn, and even if it did, it hasn’t stopped large military operations in the area before.

          Needless to say, in the next phase Red Army rolled all the way to the Carpathian mountains, since Germans had very little to throw into fight.

      2. Old Sovietologist

        I mentioned yesterday about Russia taking out some satellites .

        Resident on Telegram

        “MI-6 transmitted intelligence to the Office of the President and the General Staff about the transfer of Russian space forces to combat readiness, the Kremlin gave the go-ahead to destroy satellites over Ukraine”.

        Just before Russia moves onto the offensive we can expect this to occur. They have to blind the Ukrainians & NATO.

        It will be an interesting escalation but the they need to do it.

        1. Scylla

          There were images all over Telegram last night showing some strange lights shining upward in various regions in Russia (Moscow, Belgorod, and Murmansk, that I saw) and the speculation is that Russia has activated Peresvets anti-satellite systems.

        2. timbers

          Good to learn this. Believe I mentioned more than once here, that part of Russia taking this war seriously should involve taking out US & NATO satellites.

          1. Old Sovietologist

            More drone strikes in Odessa this evening. The Ukrainians don’t seem to have any air defence against them.


            Why use expensive missiles when you can use a cheaper option. The Kalashnikov of military drones. They are going to be an easy sell.

    1. Pat

      I think the US diplomatic corps is very slow on the uptake. And slow to realize that their actions are dismantling the illusion of American power. At this point in time they have about a quarter of the world that isn’t out right rejecting their ‘advice’ and a significant portion of that quarter is facing growing rejection of the leadership that is going along with the US.

  20. David

    It’s refreshing to see at least some coverage of the crisis in Ethiopia, even if the Telegraph story isn’t particularly good, and seem to rely on one source of limited value. But this is a really, really serious issue, for two reasons.

    First, until recently Ethiopia was the success story of Africa North of the Sahara. Addis Ababa is a surprisingly modern city (they were building the Metro line when I was last there) and Ethiopian is actually a pretty decent airline. All this on the basis of thirty years of government which could be described as strong (though there were pretty free elections), but which managed to reinforce a distinct national identity that you don’t often find in Africa. Addis is the HQ of the African Union, and the country was regarded as the main source of stability in the region. Like a lot of people, I was concerned when Abiy came to power, drenched in western praise and quickly awarded the Nobel Peace prize, but I didn’t expect things to go so catastrophically bad so quickly.

    Second, there’s no obvious solution, and old issues, especially with Sudan, are cropping up again. You can’t really “mediate”in such a situation, whoever you are, and certainly Obasanjo is regarded as far to close to the government to be acceptable to the others. It’s the kind of war which will have to be fought out to a conclusion, except there’s no obvious conclusion.

    Just a word on the Congo comparison, which is grotesquely inappropriate. The Congo was a resource war, when Rwanda and Uganda invaded the country to loot the mineral resources of the Kivus and impose a pliant figure as President. Other nations, notably Angola and Namibia, also intervened and financed their own wars quite handily. There were, in fact, relatively few casualties on the battlefield, or even among the civilian population, because armies were small and direct combat was rare. The deaths in that conflict, from roughly 1996-2000, though still not entirely concluded, were primarily from the indirect effects of the war, in reduced natality, increased child mortality and sickness. They’ve been estimated at anything from1-4 million, depending on what you think the statistics were before the war, and how accurate they were. This war is completely different. The Ethiopians have modern equipment, including supersonic aircraft, and their troops are well trained and organised. There were large conventional battles against Somalia in the 70s, and against the Dergue in the 80s, and the officers are well-trained. That means that the level of destruction from the war is going to be much higher, not least because many of the senior officers in the EPDF were Tigrayans.

    Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse.

    1. zagonostra

      It’s so bizarre that I first became aware of what was going on in Ethiopia from activist and Ethiopian-American reporter Hermela Aregawi on Jimmy Dore’s comedy show. She was on his show a couple of months ago in a 30 minute video clip that broke down the situation nicely.

      She really does a great job bringing people who, like myself, are clueless in what the Biden administration has been doing there since it came to power. Aregawi’s take is that Ethiopia was much better off under Trump since he basically just ignored the area as unimportant and left them alone, unlike the current administration.

  21. DJG, Reality Czar

    Patrick Lawrence on European Disunity.

    He’s making too many mistakes in this column, so I’d say not to bother.

    Lawrence violates DJG’s Axiom of Anglo-Americans Who Write about Italy
    They Are Almost Always Wrong.

    Lawrence begins by writing that the Italian Senate will confirm the government, which is incorrect on two counts: President Mattarella hasn’t offered anyone the job. And Italy, having a perfectly bicameral parliament, which is one of the sources of some of the confusion, means that, constitutionally, the Chamber of Deputies votes on the government also. There will be two votes of confidence.

    Then Lawrence misspells the names of two of the political parties. Yes, Fratelli d’Italia is quite rightwing–but they fancy themselves something like the Tories in the U.K. There are plenty of tensions in the “centrodestra,” in particular because the Lega is much in debt to Northern Italian mid-sized and big business, whereas Berlusconi represents plain old Big Business. Goldwater Girl Clinton would fit right in with Forza Italia and Berlusconi.

    What Lawrence doesn’t get is that the Italian elections were made into an enormous mess because the Partito Democratic followed U.S. Dems standard operating procedure of (1) treating the Left vilely and (2) campaigning by panic.

    But strains on Europe? Not from Italy, not for now, and not from the centrodestra.

    1. Michaelmas

      But strains on Europe? Not from Italy, not for now ….

      Amateurs talk Italy, professionals talk Germany.

  22. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: cori bush and gaggle celebrating bush’s “book” release tweet

    Not a lot of luv for bush, her writing ability, or her and her friends’ governing prowess being expressed in that particular thread.

    One of my favorites, by one Jones Burr, in a long list of universally disparaging comments:

    I hope that book sells well, from the look of it you can’t even afford twitter bots to defend you in the replies.

    1. Michael Ismoe

      I’m not sure why anyone would think that Cori Bush hasn’t accomplished anything. She makes $200,000 grand a year, has a Congressional pension, probably has an official Congressional E-Trade account and no one expects jack from her.

      She could be the Benjamin Studebaker of the US Congress.

  23. russell1200

    I haven’t seen this posted here. Maybe I missed it. The primary reason I note it is because the author has a little bit more clue about military force correlations than most you see cited. If I had to guess, I would say he favors to some degree The Ukraine, but has a lot of Russians he knows personally.

    In any case, it seems like a fairly good blue print for how Russia gets out of this situation and looks reasonably ok doing so.

  24. digi_owl

    > Liz Truss’s speech: PM to say disruption will be worth it for growth BBC (Kevin W)

    The worship of the growth curve is looking ever more like a gathering of new age witches casting a spell…

  25. James O'Keefe

    “Ukraine has captured 460 Russian main battle tanks, 92 self-propelled howitzers, 448 infantry fighting vehicles, 195 armored fighting vehicles and 44 multiple-launch rocket systems, according to visual evidence compiled from social media and news reports from Oryx, an open-source intelligence consulting firm. The real number is likely higher as not every captured piece of equipment gets filmed.”

    Ukraine’s New Offensive Is Fueled by Captured Russian Weapons

    Oryx page on Russian material losses:
    And Ukrainian losses:

    1. tegnost

      well that it explains it! Now they have stuff that works!
      but seriously…
      Oryxspioenkop, or Oryx, is a Dutch open-source intelligence defence analysis website, and warfare research group. It is run by Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans. Both have previously worked for Netherlands-based Bellingcat.
      Wow, Thanks…

      1. James O'Keefe

        I get that some people would be suspicious of Oryx, but they link to images of all the vehicles they list sometimes with info on where the image came from. Better than a lot of the other speculation I have seen with this war.

        1. hk

          Unless they have demonstrable serial numbers–and if Ukraine has possession of them and have halfway decent military Intel helping them, they should have them, bad pictures nothing. (And Ukraine has been claiming such ludicrous tales of its success from the beginning that there’s no reason to expect that they would not bandy them about wildly.)

    2. pjay

      Wow. 460 captured Russian tanks is pretty impressive! I don’t see how Russia can go on.

      Oh. Here’s the first sentence of the Oryx Wikipedia page:

      “Oryxspioenkop, or Oryx, is a Dutch open-source intelligence defence analysis website,[1] and warfare research group.[2] It is run by Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans.[3] Both have previously worked for Netherlands-based Bellingcat…”

      Around here that’s pretty much ’nuff said. But thanks for the laugh. You aren’t *the* James O’Keefe, are you?

    3. OnceWereVirologist

      The methodology of Oryx is not really credible. When Russia withdrew over the course of just a few days from the entire north – that was supposedly due to losses that amounted in total to hundreds, even thousands of pieces of equipment. Yet those losses seemingly evaporated – they were never photographed and catalogued as far as I know. It’s ludicrous that rather than an accounting of serial numbers and dog tags pulled off and out of abandoned Russian wrecks, we’re still expected to take blurry photos from social media posts dating back months as serious evidence.

      1. James O'Keefe

        Yup open source intelligence is hard going off of a video or photo someone posted to social media. Even worse when your source of photos are soldiers who are more interested in attacking Russians than making it easy to track which vehicles the Russians left behind or who are more interested in getting those same vehicles back into the fight on their side.

        The Russians are pulling 50+ year old T-62 tanks out of storage and committing their latest T-90M tanks to the war. You only need to do that if you are losing a lot of tanks.

        1. hk

          Soldiers posting social media photos on frontlines are unprofessional intelligence liability. If there are so many Ukrainian soldiers snapping photos that they constitute a useful source of “intelligence,” Ukraine doesn’t have much of an army. That Ukrainian army, of late, has actually performed fairly competently is the first reason to not take these social media junk seriously.

        2. OnceWereVirologist

          Sounds like you’re admitting that Oryx is bogus. Capturing almost 500 Russian tanks would be a massive achievement. So why don’t the Ukrainians document it and use it for propaganda ? Serial numbers and high-quality photographs would make the achievement absolutely undeniable. No need to present social media as evidence for captured equipment if it’s not just an “information warfare” operation.

    4. Anthony G Stegman

      Don’t discount these reports entirely. Everything is not going Russia’s way. They are taking heavy casualties, and losing lots of military equipment. Whether or not all of this is enough to turn the tide in Ukraine & NATOs favor remains to be seen, but Russia most certainly has been hammered (and maybe not from the Stoli).

      1. pjay

        Taking heavy casualties? I had not read that. Though they have given up territory, I have not really seen evidence of Russia being “hammered.” From what I’ve read their retreats have been attempts to avoid this where they have been significantly out-manned. What are your sources?

        I’m not suggesting that everything is going Russia’s way. But the relative losses of equipment and personnel are significant issues.

  26. Irrational

    Another country will go to the polls in Europe. Denmark’s social democratic minority government has called a snap election on 1 November in order to avoid a no confidence vote. Sadly, it is neither over EU, NATO or energy, but over the culling of all the mink early on in the pandemic. Expect the social democrats to be re-elected and not much to change in their belligerent Russia policy.

    1. digi_owl

      Not sure what party would need to take power there for their stance towards Russia to change.

      It is sad really that i’m likely more versed in the political antics in Washington than i am my Nordic neighbors.

    1. Wukchumni

      It isn’t uncommon in the SoCalist movement for home moaners to live out in BFE and commute to work over vast distances, we’re getting close to the point where after gas expenses, they aren’t making bupkis.

      1. Anthony G Stegman

        As much as people complain about high gas prices in California I see very little evidence of changes in driving habits. The freeways are jammed to pre-COVID levels, the roads leading to and from the Central Valley to the SF Bay Area remain choked with super commuters. Most importantly perhaps, recreational driving on weekends has not diminished. Whatever pain at the pump there is is not bad enough. Perhaps $10 per gallon gasoline will do the trick. $7 certainly isn’t.

  27. fresno dan

    Nearly Half the Country Now Has Serious Doubts about the FBI The Hill “Approval of the FBI is highest among voters with annual incomes above $200,000”

    But it gets worse — as if political bias weren’t bad enough. The FBI has been regularly adding to a growing list of forceful arrests and searches of targets on the right that seem dramatically out of proportion to the alleged crimes being investigated. Early morning residential door-banging by a phalanx of heavily armed FBI agents traditionally was reserved — and used sparingly — for subjects of serious violent crimes known to be armed and dangerous.
    Do you remember the arrest of Roger Stone? Now, I don’t care for Roger Stone. But I care even less for over zealous police arrests. For one thing, it raises sympathy for people not really deserving of any, as well as diminishing what should be iron clad constitutional rights.
    What is disturbing is that NOT EVEN HALF of Americans have serious doubts about the FBI. It should be every American…

    Look, I followed the inspector general reports about the FISA court (foreign intelligence surveillance court) and the Crossfire Hurricaine “investigation.” Its not just the FBI. Still, that the FBI could be both so incompetant and corrupt, and so many in the US be unaware and/or unconcerned, says something about what has happened in the US. There once were things like the Church commission. Now, we are at the point that we are not even trying to pretend that there are institutions that are above board. The idea has taken root that people you disagree with are unentitled to fundamental constitutional rights, and that you can’t count upon most public officials to enforce laws unbiased. Without fear or favor – I simply do not believe the US attorney general can say that any investigation or action against Trump was excessive. (and again, I can’t stand Trump)

  28. fresno dan

    Michael Tracey
    It was never a real “fear” grounded in policy critique, it was just a partisan attack on Trump. Hillary played up “TRUMP WILL START WORLD WAR III” in 2016 even as she called for a No Fly Zone in Syria. They’ve always supported pro-WWIII policy under the right political conditions
    Branko Marcetic
    One of the biggest liberal/Democratic fears about Trump’s election was he could bring the US to nuclear war, but it’s that very same anti-Trump faction that’s now attacking anyone calling to avoid this outcome, even saying it’s a risk worth taking.
    even saying it’s a risk worth taking.
    Can we just admit that the dems are the WAR PARTY? That is, they never start out for the war and than change their minds – now its first, middle and end War, War, and more War. Sure, it isn’t like the repubs, OR Trump, are the peace party, but we need to acknowledge that the dems have progressed from John Kerry’s statement: ‘I actually did vote for the $87 billion (proxy for Iraq war) — before I voted against it,”

  29. Wukchumni

    MacKenzie Scott, the billionaire philanthropist, novelist, and ex-wife of Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, gave the Fresno Unified School District a $20 million donation, the district announced Wednesday at a news conference.

    The money will be used for FUSD’s new Foundation for Fresno Unified Schools. This story will be updated. Just last month, Fresno Unified announced its “largest single donation ever” at the time: $30,000 from Amazon. That money was to sponsor the district’s State of Education Gala tomorrow night at the Fresno Chaffee Zoo.

    Wow, a bit of a {family blog} you to her ex.

    1. juno mas

      Mackenzie has been funding education for years. She gave my community college (SBCC) $20 million last year to fund a program for disadvantaged students to attend college. While Santa Barbara gets lots of notoriety for all the “fabulous people” who live here, many of the ‘essential workers’ that make the place function are Hispanic (Latinx to the PMC.)

      Ms. Scott and her foundation are prolific donors

    2. Anthony G Stegman

      I’m sure that Jeff Bezos has made sizeable donations to Your Kevin (since 07) reelection campaign. Pelosi probably got some too just in case. Billionaires always hedge their bets.

    1. Expat2Uruguay

      Lambert described it as “bracing stuff” and I would have to agree. Sorry I misspelled the guy’s name it’s Chas Freeman, former US ambassador to Saudi Arabia

  30. Exiled_in_Boston

    ‘Could Russia Use Nukes in Ukraine? Mark Sleboda vs. Could the US Use Nukes in Ukraine?’
    It makes no difference who, it is sheer madness for anyone to use nukes. As Caitlin Johnson wrote ‘Nothing’s More Important Than Avoiding Nuclear War’

    1. Anthony G Stegman

      Hmmmmm…South Koreans may disagree. In episode 2 of Netflix’s Little Women one of the characters (a high level business honcho) stated that the most important thing in life is money. The Masters Of The Universe would probably agree. Nuclear war is certainly an inconvenience, but it won’t entirely stop the pursuit of money.

      1. hk

        The question is what money, seriously and literally. If things break down enough for a real nuclear war to have broken out and did its thing, the socio-economic-political institutions around the world will be in shambles–especially United States seeing as that most of US govt and institutions will have been obliterated in process. So what will be the valuable currency in the post nuclear world? No doubt there will be people eagerly pursuing whatever that might be, but it sure won’t be dollars or, probably, not anything that we accept as currency today.

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